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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mikey Does the Dirty Bird, While Eli's Just A Dirty Hick

WINDY CITY SHUFFLE
With their victory over the Chicago Bears this weekend, the New England Patriots sent a myriad of statements to the entire NFL. The first is that the 3 time Super Bowl champs are far from ready to be removed from the AFC's upper echelon. After home losses to Denver, Indy and the Jets this year, many people were starting to slide the Pats behind the Chargers and Ravens into the second class of the conference. I'm not saying this one win makes up for those home losses, but it's tough to keep the Pats out of the top of the AFC with an 8-3 record, safe division lead and a win over the top NFC squad. Secondly, as far as the NFC goes, to quote Dennis Green "they are who we thought they were!" Not to immediately disqualify my last remarks, but that's the best team in the NFC? Rex Grossman has been fully exposed as the guy he is, and that's a QB that at best is still learning and growing. He's certainly not the type of guy that can lead you to a title. And as long as he's at the helm, the Bears are going to have to force at least one more turnover than he produces. And even then there are no guarantees. Their defense is the real deal, there's no argument there, but if they can't get someone like Trent Dilfer to "just not make mistakes", then they could be in for an early playoff exit. And lastly, I think this week's game proved that it's virtually impossible to be a DB in the current NFL. After watching all the blown calls (face guarding against Chad Jackson) and all the wrong calls (two pass interference calls against Artrell Hawkins and Ellis Hobbs) in the secondary, I have even more respect for what those guys are able to accomplish back there. For Asante Samuel to play with enough intensity and aggressiveness despite knowing that at any moment he could get flagged for sneezing on a guy is impressive. The rules protecting receivers are almost as bad as the ones protecting QBs, and some rule changes need to be made before we find ourselves watching flag football every Sunday. And as for Asante, I've always been one of his toughest critics (namely because he was burned for more TDs than any other starting CB in the NFL last season), but I have to give him props. Not just for his 3 picks on Sunday against the Bears, but for his overall improved cover skills this season. I've always had to defend my position that he's only a good run defender against friends that only see his big hits and occasional pick, but now I won't even have to bother. I'm still not ready to place him in the Pro Bowl just yet, but his vast improvement this season is a big reason that the Pats have the #2 scoring defense in the league. It's just too bad that he's really starting to come into his own in his free agency season and has already turned down a new deal from the Pats during the bye week. Oh, well. So, now after christening the field turf with an opening win, we welcome the laughing stock that is the 2-9 Lions to Foxboro. Let's put the Jets out of their playoff misery ASAP and bury those cock-a-roaches...

Patriots Update
Last Week: New England Patriots 17 Chicago Bears 13
Record: 8-3, 1st in AFC East, 4th in AFC

Next Week vs Detroit Lions (2-9) <----Brandon Jacob's thinks they "suck"

NFL News and Notes
*You really have to hand it to the New York Giants. I mean really, it takes a special kind of team to blow a 21 point lead to the Tennessee Titans. Oh and I mean BLOW. Whether you want to point at Mathias Kiwanuka not wrapping up Vince Young, Plaxico yet again showing a lack of effort after an interception, or Eli chuckin' the INT that ultimately led to the game winning FG, the fact is that these G-Men are falling apart. And as far as Kiwanuka goes, I can't say I blame the guy. Sure, a lot of people will say that at that time of the game you shouldn't even be concerned with penalties, but where were those people at the end of the Michigan/Ohio St. game? Yeah I thought so. Fact is, if Young had thrown during his pump fake like Kiwi thought, then he would have probably been flagged had he continued driving VY to the turf. Too bad for the Giants, that was the only excusable mistake they made. Plaxico Burress failed yet again to even make an effort to go after a deep ball that he felt was out of reach, or help tackle a defender after an interception. I think we have a poor-man's Randy Moss on our hands. He's got the skills that's for sure. but he can't keep taking plays off and deciding when he feels like giving his all. And that brings us to the #1 problem with the Giants, Eli Manning. Not only has he just not looked right the past few weeks, but the pick he threw at the end of the game to Pac-Man Jones was just a sign that he's in his own head. I understand wanting to make a play, but for his whole football life you know he's been taught to throw that ball away. Tiki's bitchin', Shockey's bitchin', and Tom Coughlin says they won't get over this one "forever". Geesh. What ever happened to the Super-Manning-Bowl? Well to turn Brandon Jacob's words about the Titans against his own team. Right now the Giants "just suck".

*Leave it to a Vick to give new meaning to the term "dirty bird" in the ATL. I just thought it would be Marcus, not Michael, flipping the bird to a slew of Falcon fans that were booing him as he left the field after Sunday's loss to the Saints. I figured the only time you would hear the word's "Vick" and "flip" in the same sentence would be when he was pulling unreal plays like the one on the right. Instead, after throwing up the two most insulting digits to the Falcon faithful, Vick is left to answer even more questions. Not only does the question still loom about whether or not he can be a pocket passer (only 9-24 for 89 yards on Sunday), but now he has to answer for his actions after the game, as well as his team's 4 straight losses and fall from playoff contention. Now there is talk that the Falcons should move Vick to a "slash" type position and give the reigns at QB to backup Matt Schaub. After all, every time Schaub comes in for Vick, it seems the entire league drools at what he could bring to the table if made a full time starter. But could Atlanta make that move without alienating Vick? Probably not. And even if they suspend him for his post-game actions, what if Schaub comes in and starts to win? Stay tuned for this one, cuz it's lookin' like things are just getting heated up in the dirty south.

*Could Bill Cowher possibly be leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers for, gulp, the NC State Wolfpack? Well that's certainly the buzz running through the grapevine. It's no secret that I have a serious distaste for Cowher, so needless to say I would love to see him exit the league. Also, I'd love to see how he fares in the ACC, seeing as I'm still under the impression that he's failed to live up to his reputation as an NFL coach and has repeatedly choked in big games. No matter how he does in the ACC, I do have to give him and the Steelers credit for making this look like he's leaving on his own terms and that all is good. Fact is, he may be coming off a Super Bowl win in '06, but that shouldn't erase in their minds all the AFC championship games he lost (2 to the Pats and one to the Chargers) and of course the Super Bowl loss to the Cowboys. Hey I'm not saying you have to win them all, but you should win more than you lose if you don't want to get the axe, no matter what the situation. I'm sure everyone in Pittsburgh is not only ready to start over, but is actually wishing they had a better coach the last decade in big games, rather than one that spent more time polishing his chin and kissing his players than game planning.

*Oh, and just in case anyone was wondering what former big mouth, mo-hawker and Eagle wide receiver Freddie Mitchell was up to these days. Check this out, he's a substitute teacher at an Indiana high school! Check it out at www.deadspin.com. Something tells me he's not teaching PE, because he can't catch. But that leaves me wondering, what the hell is that guy qualified to teach? I got it. He's teaching a course on how to quickly go from possible Super Bowl star, to eating pizza and nuggets at $2 a pop every weekday for the rest of your life. Good work Fred-Ex. You sure have delievered. Oh yea, and don't forget to "thank your hands" for slapping you out of the NFL and right into the PTA.

My NFL Picks
Last Week: 5-1-0

2006 Season:
37-31-5 (.541)

*Who would have thought that in a week where I picked the Cardinals and 49ers that it would have been the Chargers to cost me a perfect week? Oh well, at least I got a little more cushion between me and the Mendoza line. Five weeks left until the playoffs begin, so it's a good time to start turning things around. But hey, 5-1, Pats win, fantasy win. Can't ask for much more than that. But it's the holiday season, so I plan on asking for as much as I think I can possibly get!


Notre Dame, FRAUDS. Arkansas, FRAUDS. So now the real question. Who is #2? Well, it basically boils down to Florida and USC doesn't it? Michigan fans will argue that they beat ND just like the Trojans, and that USC's loss to Oregon St. is much worse than Michigan's to Ohio St. But I'm sorry Wolverine fans, the consensus is that nobody wants to see a rematch of your battle with the Buckeyes. So it comes down to this. After Arkansas losing this weekend, will a Florida victory be enough to propel them past USC in the BCS? And, if USC and Florida happen to lose their next games (USC playing UCLA), does Michigan get it's wish despite the guaranteed uproar should they win? I personally hope that's the case, simply because it will cause the BCS to yet again review and revise it's system. And you know that can only mean we are that much closer to a long proposed playoff system. For now that's still a dream, there's a still a lot of great football to be played before we have to start asking those questions. But hey, that doesn't mean I have to stop dreaming about a playoff does it?

College Football Top 10
1. Ohio St. (12-0) 1
2. Florida (11-1) 2
3. USC (10-1) 3
4. Michigan (11-1) 4
5. Boise St. (12-0) 10
6. LSU (10-2) NR
7. Louisville (10-1) NR
8. Wisconsin (11-1) 9
9. Auburn (10-2) NR
10. Arkansas (10-2) 5

just missed: Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Wake Forest,
dropped: (6) Notre Dame, (7) West Virginia, (8) Texas

Games to Watch This Week
Arkansas vs Florida (Atlanta, GA)
*Florida needs this win for any shot at a National Championship. I'd say that makes this a big game. Let alone that it's for supremacy and bragging rights in arguably the nation's toughest conference. Let's just hope Chris Leak doesn't get whatever disease has been striking QB's lately in the ATL.

USC @ UCLA
*A rivalry game with a chance to lock up a title game bid for USC. Something tells me even Petey boy will make sure his troops aren't still celebrating their win over the Irish or looking forward to a shot at the Buckeyes in January.

Nebraska vs Oklahoma (Kansas City, MO)
*I've said all seasons long that the Big XII is a shadow of what it has been in recent years, but that doesn't mean this won't be a heated battle. Oklahoma has done well keeping it going since Adrian Peterson went down, and one more win will guarantee them the Big XII's spot in a BCS bowl. Way to keep 'em focused Stoops!

Rutgers @ West Virginia
*Well, the Big East has lost a lot of it's Cinderella appeal that's for sure, but there is still a BCS bid on the line for the conference champ. With the Mountaineers latest loss, Louisville will be rooting for them to clear Rutgers out of their way and make it a tie-breaker situation with WVU owning the head to head over the Scarlet Knights. You can't count out coach Greg Schiano and Rutgers though. He may be out to prove that the reason he turned down the Miami head job is because he has more talent right at home in the Dirty.

Wake Forest vs Georgia Tech (Jacksonville, FL)
*Should they come out on top, the Daemon Deacons will not only capture the ACC, but they will also carry the title of "Least Likely BCS team of '06-'07. Picked to finish near the bottom of the conference, all they've done is go 10-2, 6-2 with wins over BC, @ Florida St. and @ Maryland. And while Reggie Ball and the Yellow Jackets have struggled of late, expect WR Calvin Johnson to display on a national stage why he's considered by many (including this guy) as the best wide out in the country.

Like I said before the season began, my top 10 is going to change drastically and frequently in the first few weeks while I have time to watch teams play and make my own judgements. I've never been a fan of pre-season polls to begin with. Who can tell how good a team is before they even take the floor? Not this guy that's for sure. So with all that being said, the most drastic change I made this week was probably leaving Florida at #1 despite their loss to Kansas in the Vegas Invitational final. Simple explanation: I want my poll to represent which teams I feel would have the best shot at winning the NCAA tourney if it started today. So, even though they lost to the Jayhawks, I can't deny the talent or experience of the Gators simply because of one 2 point loss. That being said, there was a considerable shake-up through the rest of the top 10, mostly due to the fact that I got to watch more and more of these teams. UNC and LSU haven't really impressed me in the early going, though I still like their talent, while Butler and Wichita St. have made it known that they just aren't March spoilers anymore. Perhaps the biggest news though has been the play of Ohio St., without arguably the biggest impact player in the country, 7-foot freshmen Greg Oden. Thad Motta knew he had a lot of talent in Columbus, but I bet he never thought he would have the Buckeyes thinking National title double dip as early as 2007. So here is the new top 10, but don't think the drastic changes have come to an end. With big time games like Ohio St./UNC and Syracuse/Wichita St. on tap for this week, there's bound to be another shakeup.

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

just missed: UNC, LSU, Butler, Wichita St., Memphis
dropped: (2) LSU, (3) UNC, (10) Washington

Big Games This Week
11/28
Maryland @ Illinois
FSU @ Wisconsin
Indiana @ Duke

11/29
Oregon @ Georgetown
Ohio St. @ UNC

12/2
Kentucky @ UNC
Gonzaga @ Texas
Illinois @ Arizona
Georgetown @ Duke
Wichita St. @ Syracuse
Clemson @ South Carolina

12/3
Notre Dame @ Maryland
Florida St. @ Florida
Nevada @ California

12/4
USC @ Kansas

Fantasy Update
Last Week: Otis Nixon's Pubes 88 Team RamRod 36
Record: 7-5-0, 6th place

Next Week vs Team PAPES (6-6-0)

*Well, I wasn't sure this day would come, but I can right now say that if the season ended today I would be in the playoffs! With my 4th win in a row, and my 5th in 6 games, I moved into possession of the 6th and final playoff seed. Now, the only thing keeping me from the playoffs is Pape. It's simple. If I win, I'm in. If I lose, I'm gonna need a lot of help. While I racked up a ton of points this week, it still will probably spell the end of my season if it comes down to a tie-breaker. But let's not even think about that. I'm gonna win, and I don't plan on stoppin till I reach the top gangstas!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

NFL Week 12 Picks

Could we be watching a Super Bowl preview this week when the Chicago Bears travel to Foxboro? Probably not, but it's fun to think of it like that if you ask me. On paper, both teams are at or near the top of their conferences, but in reality they are both very flawed teams that have benefited from rather soft schedules. But hey, you can only play who's on your schedule right? And that's what makes this game so important for the confidence of both teams. To this point, the Pats "marque" win would have to be the game @ Cincy, but how good to the Bengals look now? And while the Bears may have wins @ the Giants and game against Seattle, they haven't exactly instilled confidence with performances against Arizona and Miami. Plus, nobody ever feels good about a team where their defense is constantly bailing out their erratic QB (see Jake Plummer). Fact of the matter is, even though the loser of this game will still be very much in control of their playoff destiny, they will also have to address the issue of if they have what it takes to win the big games. One team is going to be exposed as a FRAUD, and I'm betting it won't be the Pats. As for the rest of the week, big point spreads is the name of the game. Oakland sucks, San Fran doesn't and Philly doesn't stand a chance with Jeff "just cuz I'm clean and have a squeaky voice and sound like a huge homo doesn't mean I am one" Garcia. As for the Cards, this is just one of those games where I am going against all my instincts. I figure Matt Leinhart is still due for a huge game with all those weapons to throw too and should do better than his career high 253 yards despite going against a good Viking D. So that's that. Here's to wishing and praying that I can scrap together 4 or 5 slashes in the win column this week so I don't have to hire that monkey to start making the picks. I'd rather not have him in my room throwing feces at me while he decides which games to pick...

Week 12 Picks
New England Patriots (-3) vs Chicago Bears
Indianapolis Colts (-9) vs Philadelphia Eagles
Arizona Cardinals (+6.5) @ Minnesota Vikings
San Francisco 49ers (+5) @ St. Louis Rams
San Diego Chargers (-13.5) vs Oakland Raiders

Monday Night
Seattle Seahawks (-8.5) vs Green Bay Packers

Last Week: 3-3-0

2006 Season: 32-30-5 (.516)*

*Monday Night: 7-5-0 (.583)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Pats, OJ......Just Killin' Peeps!

A VERY BRADY WEEKEND

Let's not get carried away. I mean after all, it was the lowly Green Bay Packers. But that doesn't mean we can't be encouraged right? There were a lot of things I saw Sunday that made me think the Pats were putting it together. For instance, coming off an injury, G Stephen Neal returned to the lineup and helped stabilize an offensive line that had been leaky at best the last few weeks. You also have to like the way that Ben Watson, Reche Caldwell and the newly acquired Jabar Gaffney stepped up to help Brady in the passing game. But most importantly, I was impressed with the play of a New England defense that was without Rodney Harrison, EugeneWilson, Asante Samuel and playing with a banged up Richard Seymour and Ty Warren. Not only did they post a shutout and give up only 120 yards of total offense, but they hit Brett Favre so hard that he is again addicted to pain killers! Well maybe not, but they did manage to knock him and his backup Aaron Rodgers out of the game, Rodgers actually for the season. So the defense looked good (they're actually 2nd in the NFL and only allow 13 points per game) and the WR corps seems to be coming around. But we've seen that before right? Well let's hope this time it's for real. At the very least it appears that Captain Tom has turned it around. I mean maybe it was the lack of chemistry with his receivers, or myabe he was hurt, or maybe he just had a few off weeks? I personally chose to believe that if Tom Terrific isn't playing well then there has to be some outside force at play, but that's just the diehard confidence and belief I have in the guy. Either way, the Pats will need all the receiving help they can get against the vaunted Bears defense this weekend. Remember how I said the Pats had the 2nd best defense in the league? Well guess who's #1. That's right. So even if Tom and crew do play well, it might not be enough against such a tough D. Hopefully the Pats D can help Rex Grossman revert back to his usual big-game form, and take a little heat off Tom and the offense. No matter what, it's gonna be a great show on the new surface! It's time to christin the new turf baby!

Patriots Update
Last Week: New England Patriots 35 Green Bay Packers 0
Record: 7-3, 1st place in AFC East

Next Week vs Chicago Bears (9-1)

NFL News and Notes
*Let's just get this out of the way. Not only is Ladanian Tomlinson the best player in the NFL right now, it's reasonable to say that over the last few season's he's made a great case for the most talented player ever. Now notice I didn't say "best player ever". I like to save those titles for guys that already have a full body of work, an entire career. But seriously, have you seen this guy play? Not only do his numbers put him on pace to break the single season touchdown record (he has 22 through 10 games and the record is 28), but the guy just can't be stopped. He can catch in the flat, in the middle, over the top, you name it. And I shouldn't even have to mention how great of a runner he is. The guy has had 2 straight 4 touchdown games, and now he gets to play the Raiders. Not only do the Raiders suck, but if LT dropped 4 TDs on the Broncos, a team which he'd never run for more than 60 yards against, then I don't see things going well this week for Art Shell and Co. You gotta love watching this guy, and I'm hoping he goes on to score 35+ TDs this season and leaves no doubt about his greatness.

*Is it me, or does it seem eerily appropriate that Jeff Garcia is now leading the Eagles after Donovan McNabb went down with a season ending injury? Let's recap, Philly fans are fags, and Jeff Garcia is...uhhh...a little light in the loafers? I'll keep sayin it. This is what happens when you consistently boo your own team. Karma's a bitch Philly fan. Just forget football this year and get ready to start booing Ryan Howard in a few months.

*This weekend, if you wore a suit, you won. Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio and 49ers head man Mike Nolan both took advantage of the NFL letting them wear their Reebok suits, and both guys came out winners. They looked sharp, and I say if a coach wants to wear a suit, then they should be allowed to. Why not? As long as they can get the proper logos on there I don't see why it would be an issue. Then again, I didn't think there was a problem with most "group celebrations" that were going on either. Just another example of the NFL trying to live up to it's moniker, the "No Fun League".

*Wait. FOX decided that airing OJ Simpson's interview entitled "If I Did It" was a bad idea? After taking a lot of heat over the past week or so, FOX owner Rupert Murdock decided that it wasn't in the networks best interest to air the special in which OJ described how the crimes would have gone down had he actually committed them. I don't get it. You know they already filmed this thing, you know the book has already been written, and you know he already did do it! We saw the trial, we've seen the E! True Hollywood Story. I mean hell you paid the Brown and Goldman families over $30 million! How I did it? How bout you snuck up on Nicole and Ron and stabbed them to death? Then you got off because of any of a million reasons you chose to believe. I say air it FOX. Why the hell not. I want to watch it. What's better TV than a former NFL star lying to a national audience about the double murder he "allegedly" committed. But Juice, come on man. I don't know what world he's living in, but I'm guessing it's one where he and Kato Kaelin are some sort of supreme beings.

My NFL Picks
Last Week: 3-3-0

Overall: 32-30-5

*Blah blah blah. As much as I wish I did bet when I do well, it only takes a few weeks like this to remind me that I should stick to poker, blackjack and roulette. At least I know my odds in the those games before I start. Stupid Vegas. Another week like this and I'm gonna have a monkey start flipping a coin. That's about what I'm doin' now anyway.



*Good news. We can stop talking about Rutgers! You new they couldn't go the whole season unbeaten. I mean hell, they are Rutgers right? And with the pride of Dirty Jerz falling to the Ill Natti this weekend, all eyes can finally focus on the real big games remaining. Michigan might still be #2 in the BCS after losing to Ohio St., but there are still plenty of teams and games that can change all that before New Years. The two biggest of those games are the SEC championship game, Arkansas vs Florida, and this weekend's battle in Pasadena between USC and Notre Dame. We all remember what happened when these teams met last year, and this year there is just as much riding on the line. While I don't see Notre Dame jumping Michigan in the BCS even if they win (seeing as Michigan blew out ND in South Bend), a Fighting Irish win could help clear the path for the SEC winner. Then there's this scenario. What if Arkansas and Notre Dame both win out in the regular season. Do you give one of them a shot at Ohio St., or do you let Michigan take another shot? Well, it all depends on how you view the BCS. If you think it should match up the two best teams, then maybe Michigan should be in the game. But what's that gonna prove? You're telling me Michigan could go 1-1 against Ohio St. and end up with the title? That doesn't sound right. So does that mean Michigan gets passed over simply so another team can have a shot? Well that doesn't sound right either. I personally just don't think a rematch is fair. Ohio St. can't be asked to beat Michigan twice, and Michigan can't lay claim to the title by going 1-1 against the Bucks. This year more than any in recent memory just make any system not involving some sort of playoff look stupid. And while I still hope for a great finish

College Football Top 10
1. Ohio St. (12-0) 1
2. Florida (10-1) 4
3. USC (9-1) 9
4. Michigan (11-1) 2
5. Arkansas (10-1) 10
6. Notre Dame (10-1) 7
7. West Virginia (9-1) 8
8. Texas (9-2) 5
9. Wisconsin (11-1) NR
10. Boise St. (11-0) NR

just missed: Louisville, LSU, Auburn
dropped: (3) Auburn, (6) Louisville

Games To Watch this Week
Boston College @ Miami (Thursday)
*In the grand scheme of things, this game may not be much, but there are a few interesting story lines here. Nevermind that it's a Thursday prime time game, it's got the intrigue of a BC team trying to cement itself at the top of the ACC, as well as the rumors of Steve Spurrier possibly heading to Miami as head coach next season. The best athletes in the country with the best offensive coach under 300 pounds in the country (gotta give my boy Charlie props there), and both with the biggest chips on their shoulders. You gotta love that combo.

Notre Dame @ USC
*Let's put it this way. If you like Ohio St., then you're rooting for USC and if you like Michigan then you're rooting for Notre Dame. Seeing as the Wolverines smacked the Irish around earlier this season in South Bend, if the Irish beat the Trojans, than it would mean Michigan would still be the #1 1-loss team in the eyes of many. I personally don't see how a one loss SEC champ doesn't get in, but hell, Auburn went undefeated in the SEC (which was ranked the strongest conference in the country that year) and still didn't get a shot at the BCS title. What a great system!

LSU @ Arkansas
*This game may not mean much in the way of the standings (Arkansas has already clinched a spot in the SEC title game), but hey it should still be one hell of a game. And besides, I want as many teams in the one-loss category as possible come the post season. That's the plan isn't it? Embarrass the BCS to the point where they're forced to create a playoff system.

Wake Forest @ Maryland
*The battle for the ACC Atlantic is far from opver. At 5-2 in the ACC, Maryland and Wake are tied for the division lead with Boston College. Winner of this will greatly improve which bowl they attend this year, and we all know how everyone loves their bowl money!




*It's the most wonderful time of the year! No, I'm not talking about the holiday season, I'm talkin' the start of the college hoops season. There's nothing I like more than college hoops, and this year is setting up to be one of the best in recent memory. National powers like Duke, UCONN and Kentucky seem to be in rebuilding mode, while upstarts like Ohio St., Marquette and Texas A&M start the season as a few of the key teams to watch as the season unfolds. And of course, the biggest storyline of the season, do the Florida Gators have a chance of being the first team since the '91-'92 Dukies to repeat as National champs. Well, without question they bring back the most talent in the form of Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer, all of whom opted to stay in college despite being guaranteed first round draft picks. But we all know how hard it can be to survive the college hoops regular season, let alone the grind of March Madness. Hey, I'm just anxious to see it all unfold as usual. And I even got Cuse in my top 10 to start the season! No hating this year boys and girls. I am a full out Paul Harris fan. Still screw Darryl Watkins though. So here's my debut top 10. And make sure to check back each week for news and notes on NCAA hoops, my All-American picks and more...*

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

just missed: Marquette, Kansas, Duke, Memphis

Fantasy Update
Last Week: Otis Nixon's Pubes 66 Juan J 41
Record: 6-5-0, 9th place

Next Week vs Team RamRod (6-5-0)

*Well don't look now, but I'm actually making my move. After a 2-4 start, I'm 4-1 over my last 5 and right on the cusp of a playoff birth. My remaining schedule is still a good news/bad news situation. I still have to play KB this week, who is 6-5 and right ahead of me in 8th, and next week I battle with Pape in the season finale who is also 6-5 and currently sits in the final playoff spot. So if I win out, not only will I be at 8-5, but both of them will have at least 6 losses, putting me in at least 7th place. That still won't be enough for a playoff birth, but hey all I can do is try to win my own games. And yea, if I lose by a tie-breaker, I'll prolly start cutting myself.

Friday, November 17, 2006

NFL Week 11 Picks and Some Quick Hitters



Even I'm, not sure how to react after going 0-6 last week, but I've decided it's just Karma. After all, I did blast Vegas odds makers for making the Saints 5 point dogs at Pittsburgh, despite the Saints clearly being the better team. Alas, I was wrong, and they were right. Pittsburgh won by 7. So...Vegas...allow me to apologize. Please welcome me back into your good graces, and may all my picks this week somehow find their way into the win column. If you need me to sacrifice virgins or somethin', well just say the word and I'll see what I can do. As for the actual games this week? Well I expect the most entertaining game (outside of the Pats game that is) will be Cincy in New Orleans for pure offensive output, but the actual "game of the week" has to be Dallas and Indy. With Tony making it harder each week to call him "Homo", the Boys might be a little too tough for the Colts in Irving. And besides, nobody goes undefeated these days right? Eh, I'm pickin' Indy anyway. I don't trust T.O. That sneaky pill guzzlin' bastard.


Week 11 Picks
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) @ Cleveland Browns
Dallas Cowboys (+1) vs Indianapolis Colts
St. Louis Rams (+6.5) @ Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints (-3) vs Cincinnati Bengals
Miami Dolphins (-3) vs Minnesota Vikings

Monday Night
New York Giants (+ 3.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Last Week: 0-6-0

2006 Season: 29-27-5 (.519)*

*Monday Night: 7-4-0

Patriots Update
Needless to say the loss to the Jets last weekend was hard to take. But we're champs. Ain't no thang. Now all we have to do is go up to cheese land, and remind Brett Fav-rah that he's actually old and washed up. Probably a little easier said than done, but hell, we should steamroll these fools right? Right?!? Fact is, the Pack are historically tough in Lambeau. And while they may only be 4-5, they have won 3 of their last 4 on the strength of Brett and his passing attack. During their current run, Favre is 88-149 and 1,022 yards with 6 TDs versus only 2 picks. I'd say he bounced back nicely after the bye week wouldn't you? The one thing the Pats do have going in their favor is, while they may have 6 defenders including Rodney Harrison on their injury list, the Pack will have to deal with rookie wideout Greg Jennings playing at less than 100%. He's been a dangerous weapon next to Donald Driver this season, hauling in 29 grabs for almost 500 yards and 3 scores. The Pats success on defense will lie directly in how effective they are in stopping the pass. As for the offense. Never thought I'd say this, but Tom Brady needs to step up....and quick. Pats fans have already accepted that are receivers are never going to be as good as we want them to be, and now we just need our main man to do what he does best. Find the open man! I'll take the tipped pass interceptions now and then, but when they happen this frequently, that means something is off. And it's been Tom's accuracy. After the Monday night performance against the Vikes, everyone immediately forgot that until that game, Tom had been mired in the worst start completion % why in his entire career. If he can't right the ship this week I might have to start mentioning how maybe it hasn't been a joke that last 2 seasons when he' s showed up every week in the injury report.


HickoryDickory Dock...The Dais-Man Cometh!
The big news out of Red Sox Nation recently has of course centered around Asian phenom Daisuke Matsuzaka (Dice-oo-kay Mat-soo-zah-ka). Matsuzaka, or the Dais-Man as many have dubbed him, had his negotiating rights purchased by the Red Sox for an astonishing 6 billion Yen, or 51 million bones. Well done I say Theo and friends. Well done indeed. Not only will the Sox have a chance to land the hottest free agent on the market, they were able to keep Daisuke away from their heated rivals, the Yanks. Now all they have to do, is sign him within the next 30 days. And unless they made the bid simply to keep Matsuzaka out of the US for a year, I don't see how a deal won't get done. Let's give Theo and crew the benefit of the doubt on that one. Now, I don't want to jump the gun on this guy and start handing him 15-20 wins like a lot of people are already doing, but I'm excited. He's 26, he loves to pitch a lot of innings, and while his career numbers might seem to go up and down a little, he's coming right into his prime. A guy with 5 pitches (including the "gyro ball" which is basically a screwball but you should check it out at YouTube) coming into his prime? Yea I'll take my chances. Especially when the money isn't counting against the salary cap. However, while I strongly support that move, there's another move going down that I couldn't be more against. Yes, I'm talking about the strong possibility the Sox are signing J.D Drew to a 4-year $56 million contract. That's exactly what this team needs. Another soft outfielder (only played more than 135 games twice in 10 year career) who constantly has his desire questioned. I understand he's an on base machine (career .393 and posted .436 in '04) and he can hit for some power (although I bet it would surprise most people that he's only topped 30 homers or 100 RBI once in his career), but I just don't want him on my team. His attitude sucks, and his performance doesn't counter balance that. And $14 mil a year? Sounds like the Sox owe Drew's agent Scott Boras a favor. Maybe that's why the Dodgers are filing tampering charges against the Sox on this whole deal. And how are you going to sell this to the fans. I won't sit here and apologize for Trot Nixon, because he greatly underperformed in the last few years, but he became such a fan favorite and an icon for his hustle and his grit. To replace him is one thing, but to replace him with this prissy tool who has always seemed more interested in the money than the actual game. Good thing I really like that Asian, or else I could be super pissed right now. But rest assure, the Drew bashing has only begun.

Danny Being Danny
Just when you thought the Celtics season was spiraling down the drain, they turn around and blow out the Pacers at home. Well lemme tell ya somethin, if Ainge can't turn that win into a few more in good time, he and Glenn Rivers may be out of a J-O-B. Not only is it clear that the "young guys" aren't getting any better, but it's become painfully clear that Glenn Rivers M.D is about as good a coach as he is an actual doctor. Subbing guys at weird times, not playing guys altogether for no apparent reason (Rondo) and just flat out not being able to create plays that get guys open. At this point, I don't know whether or not it's the fact that the players aren't getting Doc's philosophy, Doc's philosophy sucks, or the players themselves aren't actually any good. If it's either of the first two, then Doc has to go, and if it's any of the three, Danny has to go too. The plan was to keep Paul, and either build up a young core around him, or bring in enough young guys to make a package to trade for a star (like Iverson this summer?). Well, it seems we are the only ones that like our young guys like Jefferson, Green and Perkins enough to want them. Which leaves the Celts with a bunch of young guys who can't play, and a few shoot-first veterans like Pierce and Wally. Celt fans have been very patient with Danny and Glenn, but time seems to be running out. Seeing as no veteran was brought in this offseason (call Telfair a veteran and I may have to contact a member of his entourage and have you shot), it looks like Danny is still trying to force the youth movement. And it's just not working. Their inability to mesh or find an identity is why I picked them to finish 10th in the East, and while they can be fun to watch on certain nights, it's that very inconsistency that should keep them down and force ownership to issue pink slips to both the Mormon and the good doctor.

Still Nothin' Bruin
Hey since I touched on the other major Boston sports teams, I figured I'd at least mention how well the Bruins are doing. Normally, that would be an opening I'd use to set up a slam on B's, but they actually have been respectable of late, going 5-3-2 in their last 10 and winning their last 3. I say good for them, but I still don't plan on watching. Even though now I can catch a game or two in beautiful HD. Eh, so maybe I'll check 'em out. From the scraps I catch on SportsCenter, Patrice Bergeron and Phil Kessel actually seem to be puttin'g on some sort of show. Then again
THE GAME

And of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't touch on the game that I (along with the rest of college football) have been hyping for close to 2 months. It's finally here. This Saturday. Number 1 vs number 2. Wolverines and Buckeyes. Packed house in Columbus. Tickets selling for more than $1,500 a piece. Does it get any bigger than this? Not that I've seen. In fact, I'm gonna go ahead and name this the biggest regular season college football game ever! I mean geez, only the Big 10 title, #1 ranking and National championship bid are on the line here! Not to mention bragging rights in more than likely the sports biggest rivalry. It's sure to be an instant classic to say the least. And seeing as I've had Ohio St. #1 in my poll all season long, I'm gonna go ahead and say they win this won. They have more playmakers on offense (Ginn, Smith, Gonzalez, Pittman) and their defense leads the nation in points against. Don't get me wrong, I respect everything Chad Henne, Mike Hart and Mario Manningham can do for the Maze and Blue, and I understand they have a vastly underrated defense, but I think Troy Smith will just be too much for them to handle. Besides, Jim Tressel and his Buckeyes have owned Lloyd Carr since the man in the sweater vest took the helm at OSU, winning 4 out of 5 against Michigan. And don't think Lloyd Carr doesn't know it. Want to know how a coach can win 10 games almost every year and still somehow always find his head on the chopping block? It's called losing this game more than you win it. Just ask former OSU coach John Cooper (funny thing is Cooper actually started off by winning 5 of his first 6 against Michigan but then just couldn't beat them late in his career). But as for the actual game play. It won't be a shootout, but I'll take OSU in this one 24-20. Here we go. Get ready to reserve a spot in the title game for someone. Sorry, not you Rutgers. Oh and one more piece of bad news for Michigan fans? Michigan has gone into this game in Columbus undfeated 4 times. Their record? 0-2-1. Maybe their due...or maybe it just isn't meant to be...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wardrobe Malfunction...and by Wardrobe I mean My Computer


That's right. Technical difficulties have sidelined me for this week, but never fear. I won't be gone for long. Even the people at Toshiba selling me a computer that breaks down more often than Manny's hammy can't stop this train. Well not for more than one week anyway. And no, I'm not just skipping out on taking heat for going a stellar 0-6 last week with my NFL picks. I can handle it, and it's just inspiring me to regroup and at least win one game next week. So there. And no I'm not hiding because my Pats lost 2 straight for the first time in forever this weekend to the rival Jets. Again, I can take losses. It's just that I can't take it when my laptop freezes up....Again. So make sure you check back Friday for my NFL picks, with an extended section to touch on topics like the Sox and Daisuke Matsuzaka, Bobby Knight, and my college top polls, including the season debut of the NCAA bball top 10. And oh yea, the picture at the top? Well I happened to change my fantasy football team name to Otis Nixon's Pubes. Money in the Bank...

Friday, November 10, 2006

NFL Week 10 Picks...Now With No Rumsfeld!


*I tell ya. Vegas really has me scratching my head this week. I mean, usually I just sit back and accept the fact that they know more than I do, but this time I must speak up. Now before I say what I have to say, just let me clear up that I do know that betting lines are created to maximize the action on the game and doesn't always reflect the skill of the two teams playing. That being said, how on earth are the New Orleans Saints (6-2) almost 5 point dogs to the Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6)? I understand the Steelers are playing at home, but they are merely 2-2 at Heinz field this season and are coming off an 11 point home loss to the Broncos. To make matters worse, the Saints sport a 3-1 road record in '06 and are coming off a 17 point victory last week in Tampa. So what's with the Steelers being the favorites? God, I mean I know I hate the Black and Gold more than any other, but this isn't just me seeing this is it? Talk about giving the defending champs a lot of respect. Maybe the boys making the book heard that Joey Porter guaranteed a win and that was good enough for them, you never know. So, needless to say, I'm taking the Saints this week, but they are the only dogs on my list and actually the only pick I can justify with stats like the ones I just gave you (although the Pats have won 8 straight against the J-E-T-S and the Chiefs are 5-1 in their last 6 including 2-1 on the road). As for the rest, how do 3 road favorites and a double digit Patriot spread sound? Road favorites have burned me all season, but I never learn. And I'm glad, cuz what fun would that be?*


Week 10 Picks
New England Patriots (-10.5)
vs New York Jets
Kansas City Chiefs (-1) @ Miami Dolphins
Baltimore Ravens (-7) @ Tennessee Titans
New Orleans Saints (+4.5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Denver Broncos (-9) @ Oakland Raiders

Monday Night
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+9.5) @ Carolina Panthers

Last Week: 3-3-0

Overall: 29-21-5 (.580)

*2006 Monday Night: 7-3-0

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cut That Meat!

MANNING UP
I hate to admit it, but it looks like the Colts might be overcoming their fear of Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. In the Colts 27-20 victory Sunday night in Foxboro, Peyton Manning moved the ball up and down the field almost at will to the tune of 326 yards and 2 touchdowns, both to Starvin Marvin Harrison. The Colts just looked like the better team. Maybe not defensively, but just overall better. And I don;t wanna hear it, you know, the same shit I heard when the Pats lost to the Broncos in the playoffs last year. And that's the theory that's often popular around here when the Pats happen to lose, "Wow we were so close despite all those mistakes we made. If we played them again we wouldn't make those mistakes and we would win!" Sorry people, you can't have it both ways. Don't you think that Colts fans were saying similar things while we beat them like a drum all these years? No fan base sits back and says to itself "Wow we suck, they are just so much better than us in every aspect of the game". Me, I say give the Colts their due. Sure Tom Brady threw 3 interceptions that were deflected, but are those luck? I see it more as a combination of Tom's bad passes, the receivers unable to hang onto the bean, and good timing by the Colts defense. Maybe you view all those things happening once as lucky or random, but not me. And don't tell me when you see me that I like the Colts now, because I may hit you. It's just I know a better team when I see one. And right now, not only are they better than the Pats, the Colts are the best team in the league. Peyton Manning has also placed his claim as the best QB in the league. I know, we could sit here all day and argue Brady V Manning (also known as rings vs commercials), but the fact is that this season Manning is far superior. He has more TD's and yards, a better completion %, and the best of all, his team is 8-0. We always put Brady over the top of Manning based on results, and right now this season, Manning has him beat. However, I will be the first to tell you, it all means nothing if he can't win when it matters, and that's the playoffs. But hey, this was a tough win too, so I give them their due. We've all seen what good being the best regular season team has done for them in the past. So don't worry Pats fans, hopefully we will get another shot at them and show them that while they may be a regular season monster, we are the only true Dynasty on the block.

*Oh and just a side note. Anyone else notice Marvin Harrison jawing at Ellis Hobbs? I've been watching Harrison play since he was at the 'Cuse, and I've never seen him say a peep to anyone, yet he was all up in Hobbs' grill. Note to Ellis: Marvin already has 99 touchdown grabs, and those all came when he was mild mannered. You pissed him off and he made one of the best grabs of his career. Next time just leave him alone and spend your energy trying to cover him!

Patriots Update
Last Week: Indianapolis Colts 27 New England Patriots 20
Record: 6-2

Next Week vs New York Jets (4-4)

*Just a little somethin for you Jet fan. You may look at it like Pats are coming off a loss, but I look at it as we are pissed off. So watch yourself Mangina, Big Bill is about to make you look like Kindergarten Coach...again.


NFL News and Notes

*Well, apparently the Bears were exactly who the Dolphins thought they were! The Bears defense was run all over by Ronnie Brown and passed on by Joey Harrington while their offense was shut down by Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas. Maybe the more appropriate statement would be "The Dolphins played like Sports Illustrated thought they could!" I mean after all, SI did pick the Phins to win the Super Bowl this year right? Well for the first time all season, they actually looked like a team that could contend. The bigger mystery though, was the play of a team that has realistic Super Bowl aspirations this season, the Chicago Bears. The Bears remain 2nd in the NFL in both scoring offense and defense, but the shine has certainly come off these golden boys. Rex Grossman has fallen out of favor faster than George Bush (oh wait was he actually ever in favor?) ever since his disgusting performance on Monday night against the Cardinals. Now, with both Mike Brown and possibly Brian Urlacher missing from their stellar D, and fans clamoring for Brian Greise or even (gulp) Kyle Orton. Now you know you have issues when you think your team might be better off with a guy who got benched during his senior year at Purdue strictly for sucking. I'm not saying the Bears are done, because I would be an idiot to say that an 7-1 team is "done". But, they better start playing with a purpose, and stop turning the ball over, or they may waste one of the best starts in franchise history.

*As has been the case with most Cowboys games this year, this one had it all. T.O dropping the bean, Parcells marching up and down and screaming and of course a missed kick by everyone's favorite liquored up idiot. The Cowboys have turned from a world class football team to a reality show that deserves a weekly time slot before Breaking Bonaduce, but right after House of Carters. After a game in which T.O dropped a pass from Tony Romo that arguably cost his team the game, he did all he could in the post game presser to take blame. But is that really enough? Fans don't want to hear you apologize for blowing the game. They want to see you use those 25 million reasons to live to motivate you to catch the damn ball! And yea, those end zone celebrations are crowd pleasing, but the true fans knows that each time T.O costs his team 15 yards it's not worth the mild entertainment. Now with Romo at the helm, T.O bringing out his antics in full force and dropping pills (yea pun intended), and the Tuna steaming, you can get ready for full throttle chaos in Big D. Yeeeeeeeeee Haaaaaaa

*There are just certain times where I question where my brain actually was when my body made certain decisions. The Falcons /Lions game was one of those times. When you think about teams that have locked Mike Vick up in his career, and the first that comes to mind for me is the Tampa Bay defenses of the past 5 years. Well..who was the defensive co-ordinator of those Tamp teams? None other than new Lion head coach Rod Marinelli. Marinelli always owned Vick then and he apparently owns him now. Mike and his boys promptly went out and turned the ball over 3 times in the first half, once for a TD. What happened to the new Mike? The pocket passer? I guess it doesn't matter what style he plays, Marinelli still owns him. See, these are the blatant trends that I miss and hence, why I don't wager my own money.

*Apparently "Ocho Cinco" is mad at the way he is being used (or not being used) by the Cincy offense. I must say, he's got an interesting argument, but one that's almost impossible to prove. It's your classic chicken/egg argument. Is it Carson Palmer? Is Johnson not getting open? Has he lost a step? He even asked these questions of himself right after the game. But no matter what the reason, his numbers are way down. Why haven't you seen him dancing in the end zone? Cuz he's only made it 2 times! That's right. For all the times you've seen the man on TV this year, whether selling Madden with Daunte Culpepper (gee maybe there is something to this curse, heck, it seems to have hexed 'Pep twice) or telling the media which DB he is going to embarrass next. Fact is, he's got career lows in every major category. Whether it's him, the QB, or just the team in general, something is going wrong with the potent Cincy offense. If they don't get it fixed, there could be problems in the Natty that for once don't involved the high crime, poverty or in-breeding.

*And I would be remiss if I didn't react to the Raiders Tyler Brayton kneeing Seattle TE Jerramy Stevens right in the junk. On the one hand, you know as a man that you never hit another man in his money maker. On the other hand, am I the only one sick of Jerramy Stevens? What has this guy done besides run his yap like Shannon Sharpe? Kid called out Joey Porter in the Super Bowl, and then promptly went out and dropped several key passes on his way to a non-descript game, and his team's loss. I guess I'm just glad that Brayton kneed him in the balls before I went out and did it....I gotta save money everywhere I can...can't afford that fine son. P.S. Tyler if you could find whatever cardboard box Freddie Mitchell lives in and knee him I'd greatly appreciate it.

My NFL Picks
Last Week: 3-3-0

Overall:
29-21-5 (.580)

*Eh, another .500 week. It's about as much fun as it looks.

*Louisville won big, Ohio St. and Michigan won small, and Joe Paterno busted his leg. I'm not sure which is the bigger story, seeing as JoePa is almost 80, and Louisville now has another do or die game for a chance of going to the National title game. You heard right, Louisville and Rutgers are involved in a game that has championship implications, and for once that championship isn't the NIT.

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

just missed: California, Wisconsin, Boise St., Rutgers, LSU
dropped: (8) Tennessee

Games to Watch This Week
Louisville @ Rutgers
*This Thursday night matchup is basically the exact same scenario that Louisville found themselves in last Thursday against the Mountaineers. The difference? This one's on the road. But make no mistake, just because it's Rutgers doesn't mean their aren't National championship implications on the line. Should be another classic for the Big East, let's just hope this one stays a little closer than last week.

Oregon @ USC
*The Ducks can make the path real smooth for the Cal Bears if they can upset the Trojans in Pasadena. But we all know that's not going to happen. Actually, screw that. I have yet to unleash my really fury on Pete Carroll for blowing that bet for me to Oregon St. So you know what. Here's my prediction. Oregon 63 USC 6...Pete Carroll fired....then shot and killed while leaving the stadium. Ahhh...that felt much better.

Tennessee @ Arkansas
*The Vols are basically looking to do to the Hogs this week exactly what LSU did to Tennessee last week, and that's crush their hopes. Tennessee now sits at 2 SEC losses, much like LSU, but the Hogs have only one loss and none in conference. In fact, they are 5-0 and in control of their own destiny in the SEC West. I know they might not have the National appeal of some other squads, but doesn't it look like their 50-14 loss on opening night to USC was an aberration? Since they made the change to freshmen phenom QB Mitch Mustain, Arkansas is 8-0 with wins @ Auburn, Vandy and South Carolina and at home against 'Bama. So can they show and and prove they are the cream of the SEC crop and more deserving than Florida? We'll see.

Boise St. @ San Jose St
*Sure this one looks like a lemon, and unless I'm at home when it's on I doubt I will be able to convince anyone to watch it, but this game has some appeal to you if you're always trying to find ways to make the BCS look foolish. And that's where I find myself. Let's see how Boise St. can handle playing on a green surface. Should be interesting. But if they can manage to run the table along with Ohio St./Michigan and Rutgers/Louisville, that will leave 3 undefeated teams. Let the annual cries for a playoff system begin again!
NBA 2006 Season Preview
I give the NBA so much respect, that I wait until the season's been going on for a week before I make my bold predictions. Either that or I'm actually lucky I remembered to write anything about this boring league before the start of the new year. So pretty much all I got for ya are my predictions on where all the teams will finish, and a little commentary to cut the league down to size a little. That's what I do...

Eastern Conference
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
2. Detroit Pistons
3. New Jersey Nets
4. Chicago Bulls
5. Miami Heat
6. Orlando Magic
7. Washington Wizards
8. Indiana Pacers
-------------------------------------
9. Milwaukee Bucks
10. Boston Celtics
11. Philadelphia 76ers
12. Charlotte Bobcats
13. Toronto Raptors
14. New York Knicks
15. Atlanta Hawks

*OK, the East is still awful. However, we do have some bright spots. The Bulls are vastly improved with the addition of Ben Wallace and Tyrus Thomas, the Magic have matured and of course LeBron is one year closer to greatness. And that's where I pretty much stop analyzing. I like Lebron, I want him to win, so that's who I'm picking, He's got enough to carry a whole team on his shoulders and this is the year he shows us all. As for the Celts, I have pairs of socks that are both older than most of the players and show more potential. Stay tuned for my weekly Celtics watch which will be called "Danny Being Danny".

Western Conference
1. San Antonio Spurs
2. Los Angeles Clippers
3. Utah Jazz
4. Dallas Mavericks
5. Phoenix Suns
6. Los Angeles Lakers
7. NO/OK Hornets
8. Houston Rockets
----------------------------
9. Sacramento Kings
10. Denver Nuggets
11. Golden State Warriors
12. Memphis Grizzlies
13. Seattle Sonics
14. Minnesota Timberwolves
15. Portland Trailblazers

*For starters, most of these games are on when I am sleeping or drinking. That being said, I like the Spurs, so I'm picking them. I know, I know, another very analytical break down of the standings. But here's how I see it. I think the Spurs are going to win the West, so aren't the rest of the standings pretty irrelevant? I'll tell you one thing, look out for the Hornets in the West. I know they're young, but aren't the young teams the most exciting and compelling? And oh yea, I hate Kobe even more know that he stole my number. What a prick. So just like Pete Carroll, I hope Kobe gets hit by a car. I think it's something about L.A man. Nice weather, but I think all that smog is screwing with people's heads.

Awards
MVP: Lebron James
*King James is the man. He means the most to his team. And this year they are going to win the East. Hmmm. Best player, best team. Sounds like an MVP to me. Not to mention the countless highlights he will be entertaining me with on Sportscenter. God knows I won't be watching the games.
other candidates: Tracy McGrady, Steve Nash

Rookie of the Year: Brandon Roy
*To be honest, my favorite rookie coming out of the draft was the Celtics original pick, Randy Foye, so I wanted to pick him. But after actually watching a decent amount of the pre-season, and reading NBA writers constantly, it looks like Roy is the most talented right now. It also doesn't hurt that he plays for a team in Portland that should have no trouble getting him some PT while they are playing themselves into another lottery selection. Some props to my man Rajon Rondo though for at least making it so there is a Celtic on the floor that I not only like, but respect the way he plays the game.

other candidates: Rajon Rondo, Adam Morrison

NBA Finals Predictions
Eastern Conference: Cleveland Cavs over Chicago Bulls in 6
Western Conference: San Antonio Spurs over NO/OK Hornets in 5

NBA Finals: San Antonio Spurs over Cleveland Cavs in 6
*I like the Spurs, and I like LeBron. Pretty simple I think.

Fantasy Update
Last Week:
Open Back Door 64 I Got Warrants 58
Record: 4-5-0, 10th place

Next Week vs The vegetable Garden (1-6-1)

*Hey now I know I said I wouldn't start celebrating until I got to .500 again, but come on now. I narrow victory over the first place team? Those don't come around every day. But realistically, I'll need to string at least a few more of these together to keep myself in the race. Rome wasn't built in a day bitches!