Pages

Friday, October 31, 2008

NFL Week 9 Picks

Greetings boys and girls, and Happy Halloween. Here are this week's picks, hot off the presses. And while I won't be dropping my pants like Mike Singeltary and showing you my ass, I'd like to think the pack of gems you're about to lay your eyes on will in some way be just as sweet...



Week 9 Picks

New England Patriots (+5.5) @ Indianapolis Colts

A mere two months ago, this game was marked on calenders. For two fan bases that didn't expect their teams to lose more than 2-3 games, this one could be THE one to decide the post season pecking order...

If you had told me the team with the best record going into this was 5-2, I wouldn't have believed you. If you told me neither team had a completely healthy quarterback, I wouldn't have believed you. And if you told me that one of these teams would need a win just to get to .500? Well then I would have flat out accused you of being difficult, with the sole purpose of starting some sort of nonsensical, fact-less argument...

But in real life, sometimes shit happens. Sometimes. Well sometimes stories have an interesting way of writing themselves...

Now, the match up once figured to be two heavyweights slugging it out, is now serving as more of a test for two teams hoovering very much so on the brink. Granted the Patriots are sitting pretty at 5-2, but any fan that tells you that they still have great confidence in this team's ability, is more or less just putting on a brave face...


The good news, is that while the secondary is still suspect, and the passing game is still rounding into form, the defensive line and the front 7 have general have re-emerged as a serious force. Tom Brady may be gone, but a lot of the traits that helped guide the Pats to 3 Super Bowls are again starting to become strengths. That's what their gonna need with a "limited" Matt Cassel at the helm, at the great play of the defense is the reason they aren't floundering at 3-4 like the Boys in Indy...

Then you have the Colts. They may not have lost their star QB to injury, but what they lack in one huge injury, they more than make up for with their plethora of nicks and dings. Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne aren't close to 100%. They've suffered numerous injuries along the o-line. CB Marlin Jackson is now out for the season with a leg injury. Dallas Clark only recently got back to near his full capacity. And both Joseph Addai and safety Bob Sanders are attempting to recover from mid season injuries that has caused both of them to miss some significant time...

Even for the all mighty Colts, that's a lot to overcome...


Chicago Bears (-13) vs Detroit Lions

The Lions suck, and the Bears are coming off a bye week. Done and done...

Oh, and word on the street is they spent the time off designing a lot of direct snap and trick plays for superfreak, Devin Hester. Just hearing that gives me the mental image of a dude teasing a dog with a Frisbee or a tennis ball. You know? When he keeps pretending to throw it, but never actually does. But the dog keeps turning to run for it anyway? Yeah, this game could look an awful lot like that...


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8.5) @ Kansas City Chiefs

Last week the Chiefs were able to hang with the Jets thanks to some timely gifts from one, Brett Favre. This week, I don't expect the Bucs to be as charitable. Only Tennessee and Chicago have forced more turnovers than Tampa Bay's 15, and while Tyler Thigpen has only turned the ball over 4 times himself, I don't like his chances against the non stop pressure. There are just a few defensive coordinators that salivate when they see a young QB come their way, and the Bucs Monte Kiffin is one of them. His son may have gotten the axe, but unfortunately for Herm Edwards and the Chefs, Monte is still runnin' strong...


Oh, and I'd mention that the Bucs turn it over a lot, and the Chiefs cause a lot of turnovers, but that really doesn't help my argument now, does it?...


Nah, but seriously. Tampa gots...


Denver Broncos (-3) vs Miami Dolphins

The Denver defense sucks. This much we know...

Lucky for them, if all goes to plan, they won't even need it for this weekends game with the Phins. Miami's 25th ranked pass defense is gonna serve as target practice for the bye week fresh Jay Cutler and the Bronco passing attack...


So not only will Denver win this thing, but they'll win it by scoring an ass load of points. I see 4 TDs for Cutler, spread around to Scheffler, Marshall and Royal, and I see a lot of highlights featuring the backs of both those aforementioned receivers, and the Miami Dolphin defensive backs...


Oakland Raiders vs Atlanta Falcons OVER 40.5

Neither team can stop the run (ranked 23rd and 26th), and neither team can stop the pass (ranked 19th and 24th). As long as the Oakland offense doesn't get in the way, I think this over/under should be a cinch...


And hey, if Oakland really decides not to show up, Matty Heisman and the Dirty Birds should have no problem droppin' that 40 spot all on their own...



Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5) @ Seattle Seahawks

There was once a time when the Seahawks were one of the most feared home teams in all the NFL...

That time has passed...

ENTER: Seneca Wallace. He's got a better shot of making a cameo with Kenny Mayne in a future episode of the "Mayne Event" then he has this week against the blitzing Eagles. Sure his scrambling ability could open up plays for his wide outs, but seeing as he doesn't have any legit wide outs to actually throw to, then I'm not so sure how big of an advantage that's gonna turn out to be...




New York Giants (-9) vs Dallas Cowboys

Call this one a guilty pleasure, because it's simply out of morbid curiosity that I'm picking the Giants to cover. Brad Johnson or no Brad Johnson, heads will roll in Big D should the G-Men lay the smack down, and I for one am pumped as all Hell to view the no doubt hysterical fall out...

Hey, Jason Garrett. Getcha popcorn ready, buddy. Jerry's about to use one arm to bitch slap Wade Phillips' gullet, and the other to confidently tap you on the shoulder. From Aikman's do-boy to the prodigal son of America's Team. Time to get 'er done, PADNAH!...


Here are the rest of this weeks picks. And I swear, there were like 2-3 games on this list that I was "this" close to sneaking into my top picks. As we know from weeks past, that's either a really good thing, or a really bad thing. Just throwin it out there...



Green Bay Packers (+6) vs Tennessee Titans

Cleveland Browns (-1) vs Baltimore Ravens

New York Jets (+6) @ Buffalo Bills

Cincinnati Bengals (+7.5) vs Jacksonville Jaguars

St. Louis Rams (+3) vs Arizona Cardinals

Minnesota Vikings (-4) vs Houston Texans



Monday Night
Pittsburgh Steelers (+2.5) @ Washington Redskins

Two things will happen in this game...

1) Jason Campbell will throw his 1st interception of the season.

AND

2) Ben Roethlisberger will throw at least 2 touchdown passes of 20 yards or more.


This game could go a long way towards legitimizing Campbell and the Skins, but I feel their still just a notch below an elite team like the Pittsburgh Steelers. I don't see this as a blowout, but I also don't see the score accurately reflecting the the actual pace of the game. Pittsburgh will sprint out to the early lead, and hold on for a win in the 21-16 range. Get some...



Last Week: 6-8-0

Overall: 64-49-3 (.565

Top Picks: 26-18-1 (.589)






I guess I don't have definitive proof of this fact, but I'm gonna go ahead and make the assumption anyway...

If people in Florida and Texas had it their way, Yankees like you and I would never be anywhere near their sacred temple known as college football. We wouldn't care about results. We wouldn't weigh in on the rankings. And we sure as Hell wouldn't have any of our "non-slave-lovin'" teams anywhere within a corn cob pipe of the top of the National Polls...

Well, fellow Northerners. This week the hicks get their wish. Two of the biggest games to hit the South since movable type take center stage on this weekend's slate, with all four teams hailing from the South, and both games being played on good ole Southern soil. It's Florida/Georgia in the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party", and Texas v Texas Tech in a top 6 shootout that could easily put any over/under # to shame. The winners of these games will rocket themselves to the top of the National Championship mountain, while the losers will be left scrambling and hoping that the teams they just lost to lay an egg in the seasons few remaining weeks. Gotta love the BCS...

So catch the action, baby! It's gonna be bigger than Charlie Daniels at a lone star square dance!...



NCAA Top 25 Picks
(6) Texas Tech (+5) vs (1) Texas

(2) Alabama (-23) vs Arkansas St.

(4) Oklahoma (-22) vs Nebraska

(5) Florida (-5.5) vs (8) Georgia (in Jacksonville, FL)

(7) USC (-44) vs Washington

(9) Oklahoma St. (-30.5) vs Iowa St.

(10) Utah (-7.5) @ New Mexico

(11) Boise St. (-20.5) @ New Mexico St.

UNLV (+14.5) vs (12) TCU

(14) Missouri (-20) @ Baylor

(15) LSU (-25) vs Tulane

(16) Florida St. (+2.5) @ Georgia Tech

(17) BYU (-14.5) @ Colorado St.

Arkansas (+7.5) vs (19) Tulsa

Northwestern (+7) @ (20) Minnesota

(22) Michigan St. (-4) vs Wisconsin

California (-3) vs (23) Oregon



Last Week: 10-8-1

Overall: 93-62-4 (.597)


And that's it, kids. Hope you all have a great weekend and a Happy Halloween. I'll be back next week with the NBA, college hoops, fantasy football and all things Manny Ramirez. So make sure you check back. Ya know, once you've managed to eliminate the candy corn crater that's clogging up your colon. Bet you never thought you'd be seeing that kind of corn in the bathroom now did ya??


Ha! Trick or treat bitches! I'm ghost!...


Ha, again!


....nah that last one was gay. Peace in the middle...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cassel, Pats Shine Through Otherwise Cloudy Weekend

Well fan-freaking-tastic...

My fantasy team crapped out again, Curlin screwed me in the Breeder's Cup, and my NFL and NCAA picks continue to look more and more like shares of Lehman Brothers...

I, my friends, am officially running bad. I even de-bearded myself to try and turn the tides! The only good news, is that while I hoover on the verge of tilt, a team so near and dear to my heart used this weekend to help bring back that lovin' feelin'...

And not a moment too soon...


Patriots Update




Watching the Pats this week, was like strappin' in next to Doc and Marty, and crankin' that Delorian up to a sweet 88 miles per hour. They win by 7, on a drive in the 4th quarter, behind a stout front 7 on defense and a quarterback playing poised, relatively mistake free football. Vintage Pats, baby. And it was great to see...

It all started with Matt Cassel. He may have won AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against Denver, but it was his play this week against the Rams that actually gave me a lot more confidence in his ability. He looked confident in the pocket, he didn't make any brain dead passes, and he finally focused on getting the ball into the hands of Randy Moss and Wes Welker. He's still no Tom Brady, but he's proving to be more than just a mere "game manager". If he can continue his improvement as the season rolls along, he'll cease being a reason the Pats "can't" succeed, and quickly turn into a key reason for their success...




Then there was the defensive line. Maybe Richard Seymour and Adalius Thomas are closet Rooch Nation lovers, because I called those fools out two weeks ago, only to see them show up the last two Sundays with a massive chips firmly perched on both shoulders. This week in particular, those two led an onslaught on QB Marc Bulger, and keyed the biggest stop of the game, forcing the Rams to go 3 and out after recovering that onside kick to start the half. All the good Patriot teams of years past always had a dominant defensive line, and this unit's performance of late has to instill confidence that this year's team should also have a shot at greatness before all is said and done...

One negative in the game had to be the overall performance of alleged #1 cornerback, Ellis Hobbs. Now I'm not a hater, mind you, but there were several aspects of his Sunday display that were, let's just say, less than desirable...

First and foremost, that guy needs to start looking for the ball when he's out in coverage. I get that he wants to watch the receivers body and whatnot, but especially when you have double coverage help over the top, you really need to turn around and make a play on the ball. Not only will not turning around get you burned more often than not, but you're just begging for the refs to throw an interference flag...

Secondly, there's no way he should be run down by a kicker on his kickoff returns. I get the fact that he's a great returner (leads the NFL in return average), but anytime you get run down by a kicker, you're gonna hear it. So, Eliis. Nice return, but if you wanna dance after every big play, then you're gonna have to not get tackled by any more kickers. It's as simple as that...

...and keep an eye on Brendan Merriweather, people. With Rodney out, and a year under his belt, this kid is going to be expected to be a force out there. He's already shown drastic improvement between years 1+2, (his ability to catch, for one) and now that he'll be playing a lot more safety, we should be able to see him utilize more of his natural skill set...

And let's hope he continues to step up, because my man James "the Colonel" Sanders looks lost out there without his running mate and mentor, Rodney Harrison...


Tackle Box


You ever hear the saying "those who can't do, teach"? Well when I watched Mike Singletary flip out at his first post game press conference on Sunday afternoon, I couldn't help that the opposite statement might just be as appropriate. "Those who can do, probably shouldn't be teaching anybody"...

The guy just has too much fire in 'em to be a coach. Remember that NFL Films cut of him? With that glass cutting stare as he yells "I like this kind of party!". That's not a guy that's gonna stroke egos, baby rookies and accommodate veterans. Sure there will be plenty of guys that will be ready to run through a wall for him, but there are also gonna be plenty of guys like Vernon Davis, guys like TO. And as sad a commentary as it might be, today's coach needs to be able to baby and handle guys like that if he wants a chance to compete at the top. He simply can't have that much passion. That's a sad reality. Maybe Mike can harness his passion and make it work, a la Jon Gurden. But from the looks of his start, he might just be a little too proud, and a little too focused, to see that today's players don't exactly jive with his "old school" mentality...

I hope he succeeds, because I like where his heads at, but I get the feeling his greatest impact will be when this video clip makes it's way into a Coors Light advertisement. The Silver Bullet. Now that's my kind of party!...








And just to clarify. I never said the Titans were frauds at 6-0, I just said I wanted to see them play somebody before I crowned them the best team in the NFL. And I'm sorry, but after watching them beat the Colts at home on Monday Night, I'd still place them 3rd in my power rankings behind both the Giants and the Steelers. Tennessee has a great defense and a solid running game, but I'm just not buying that there shady passing attack will get 'er done against any sort of legit defense. Examples:

1) Last night, Kerry Collins completed 24 of 37 pass attempt. 16 of those completions went to either running backs or tight ends. The top WR on the Titans, Justin Gage, has just 13 grabs for 182 yards on the entire season...

2) Through 7 games, the Titans have yet to pass for more than 200 yards. With a 75.0 QB rating, Kerry Collins has completed just 58% of his passes while tossing 3 touchdowns and 3 picks...

Sorry, folks. I know they have a fierce running attack, and that teams have recently won it all with the combination of caretaker QBs and ill defenses, but I'm just not buying it. Kerry Collins is NOT Trent Dilfer. And this defense doesn't hold a candle to that of the Super Bowl Bucs and Ravens of years past...



Peyton Manning. The Devil? Or just doing his best impression of Elaine from Seinfeld. You decide...

..."You stole my Jesus Fish, didn't ya?!?!"...


Oh, I almost forgot. I embarrassed myself this weekend attempting to predict outcomes of football games. Here's how I did...


My Picks
Last Week: 6-8-0 (Top Picks: 3-2-0)

Overall: 64-49-3 (.565)

Top Picks: 26-18-1 (.589)

NCAA Picks
Last Week: 10-8-1

Overall: 93-62-4 (.597)

Took one on the chin this week, but that's bound to happen now and again. What worries me, is that I'm having weeks like this in week 8. Week 2 or 3 I could understand, but droppin' a dud like this nearly halfway through the season doesn't bode well for my chances from here on out...



News and Notes



Isiah Thomas once said about Larry Bird, "if he were black, he'd be just another player". Well, Zeke. In light of your latest incident, I have these words to offer for ya. "If you were white, you'd be just another fired GM". Not only has he destroyed the a whole league, crippled two NBA franchises, and cost the Knicks millions in a sexual harassment lawsuit, but now he's thrown his own daughter under the bus in some sort of botched suicide attempt...

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3663455


So, to clarify. Somebody called the cops to Isiah's house. The cops report that when they arrived, they had to take a 47 year old male, who had apparently taken too much sleeping medication, to the hospital for treatment. Zeke then said that it was his 17 year old daughter that was taken to the hospital. Then, the head cop in charge of the operation called Isiah a tard, and said his officers know the difference between a 47 year old man, and a 17 year old girl. The cops aren't backing down from their story, and Zeke's family is backing him with his. AKA, this is exactly what went down that time with TO, and just like that time, we're probably never gonna learn any more information...


Well I know this. Now, it's official. There have to be pictures that exist of David Stern and James Dolan on all fours, wearing dog collars, and doing a frame by frame remake of 2girlsonecup. And those photos must be in the night stand, right next to the alleged suicide pills of a former Detroit Piston's Hall of Fame point guard...

Truly hysterical, man. Isiah's the guy, and his life is the story, that just won't seem to die. And just when you think it can't get any more twisted, somethin' like this pops up. You can't help but laugh...



While we're on the topic of the National Basketball Association, what better time to give you my prediction for the '08-'09 season.

Now, in years past I've gone to great lengths in order to provide you with a complete pre season breakdown, but as my interest in the league continues to dwindle, so goes most of my motivation. So, without further ado, I give you my expansive predictions for the wondrous romp that will be the 2008-2009 NBA season...



Western Conference Finals
New Orleans Hornets over Utah Jazz (6 games)

other contenders: LA Lakers, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets





Eastern Conference Finals
Cleveland Cavaliers over Boston Celtics (7 games)

other contenders: Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat

NBA Finals
Cleveland Cavaliers over New Orleans Hornets (7 games)

As much as I despise the NBA, there's no doubting my success in predicting the finals. Two years ago, I called San Antonio over Cleveland. And last year, even though I had the Mavs winning it all, I had them narrowly beating the Celtics in a hard fought, 7 game series. This year, I like LeBron to finally take that next step, dethroning the Celtics on his way to his first NBA Championship trophy. He will finally arrive, just in time to leave the city of Cleveland. And when you're ready to cash in, leaving on top is the ONLY way to go...


And remember, I'm not a Celtics fan just picking them because they won last year. Granted I follow and know more about the team than most of their pink hat fans circa "the day we got KG, dude", but I'm so over the NBA that I feel I'd do the word "fan" a disservice should I say that's how I feel about Glen and the Green. I still think they're good enough to give LeKing a run for his money, but with the vets a year older and James Posey in New Orleans, I think the Celts will fall just short of being able to challenge for banner 18...

Oh, and don't forget how much you loved banner #17 when the now extended Danny Ainge and Glen Rivers MD are busy bumbling around trying to rebuild this thing when the Big 3 are finally done...


The "World Series That Wasn't" just won't go away! Bud Selig and friends decided it would be a good idea to start a potential series ending game 5 in spite of ominous weather forecasts, and now they're paying the price. Game 5, which is in the 6th inning by the way, won't finish now until tonight, tomorrow, or whenever the weather finally clears up in Philly. It's yet another hopeless situation allowed to happen by a hapless, and pathetic regime, but I just don't care enough to comment any further...


Now, it's time to truly get hyped. It's college hoops season, baby, and I'm getting things started in style. In years past, I've given you a weekly top 10 to help whet your appetite. This year, while I'll still have the top 10, I'm kicking the season off with a full fledged, border line official, top 25...

(Reminder: My poll is always a reflection of which team I feel has the best chance to win the NCAA tournament if it started tomorrow. NOT necessarily the best team. It's a fine line I know. But it's a line nonetheless.)


College Hoops Preseason Top 25
1. North Carolina

Whenever you return what figure to be 2 All Americans in Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson, then you figure to be the odds on favorite to win it all. That's the case in Chapel Hill, and between their star power and their depth, they're gonna be one Hell of a tough out come tourney time...

2. Louisville

Earl Clark might be the best unknown guard in the Big East, and you always have to like your chances with Rick Pitino. They were a trendy Final Four pick going into last year's tourney, and look for that character and experience to be a main reason why they stay near the top all season long...



3. Oklahoma

Mark my words. Blake Griffin will be National Player of the Year. And while he isn't all the Sooners have to offer, his play will determine if this team is just another Big XII also-ran, or a legit threat. If he plays even 80% of what I think he's gonna bring, then I gotta think the latter statement is the more likely outcome. The kid's a beast...

4. Michigan St.

Love Tom Izzo. Love Raymar Morgan. And I love the fact this team is finally healthy again. Delvon Roe will return from injury and should team with Morgan to be the most dynamic tandem in the Big 10. And even though the Big 10 is a little down this year, their perennial slate of pre season behemoths should have them well tested once they enter the field of 65...

5. UCONN

The Huskies are a bit of an enigma. On paper, with talent like Hasheem Thabeet and AJ Price, Jim Calhoun and friends look like one of the premier teams in the nation. Then, you actually watch them play. Unlike UCONN teams of the past, this one just doesn't seem to be able to pull out the "ugly" wins. If these Huskies can finally mature, and begin to play together, then the motto in Storrs will quickly become "National Title or Bust". As opposed to the old mantra, which was "Steal Laptops, Baby!"...



6. Texas

Rick Barnes' Longhorns are a little weak on the interior, but their depth everywhere else should give them a good shot to contend. They key is how well Turkish PG Dolgus Balbay can replace the departed DJ Augustin. If he can do a good job running the offense, and getting the ball to potential breakout star, Damion James, then the Horns will figure as a top team in the Big XII, and a serious player in this year's tourney. Their fans won't realize their good until about mid January thanks to that other team on campus, but I figure that probably won't slow them down...


7. UCLA

Exit Kevin Love. Enter, Jrue Holiday. He's got just as fan-friendly a last name, and while he can't replace Love's inside presence, his addition to the perimeter should make the Bruin back court one of the most dangerous in the nation. Darren Collsion, Josh Shipp and Alfred Aboya have all played roles on 3 straight Final Four teams, and that experience should help key a talented squad towards yet another deep tournament run...

8. Notre Dame

Big East POY Luke Harangody returns, and PG Tory Jackson is probably one of the nation's best unknown play makers. And speaking of unknown, head coach Mike Brey is quickly earning a Jeff Fisher-like reputation of success from those of us that really follow the game. Look for the Irish to serve as the big dog in the Big East for the early part of the season while the Huskies find thier stride...

9. Gonzaga

Fresh from the Phish concert and fully recovered from his mushroom binge, forward Josh Heytvelt is back. He joins fellow returnee, Austin Daye, and draft dodging (NBA, not like Slick Willy) PG Janero Pargo to give head man, Mark Few his most talented bunch since the days of Richie Frahm and Matt Santangelo...

No relation to now confessed roider, FP Santangelo. Still the best call Keith Olberman ever made, by the way. FP Santangelo, HELLO!...Ahhhh, you had to have been there...





10. Arizona St.

Last year all you heard from the Left Coast was OJ Mayo and Kevin Love. Well there were people then and there are people now that will tell you the Pac 10's best frosh in the '07 class was Sun Devil G/F, James Harden. Whether he alone is enough to keep ASU in the top 25 all season long remains to be seen, but as one of the toughest matchups in the country, he'll be giving opponents fits for 40 minutes every time he steps on the floor. And you just gotta love head coach Herb Sendek, too...

Here are the rest of the teams, 11-25. They're not as good, so not only aren't there names in bold type, but they don't get anything written about them either. Well, except Cuse that is...

11. Pittsburgh

12. Purdue

13. Miami

14. Duke

15. Marquette

16. Tennessee

17. Wake Forest

18. LSU

19. Davidson

20. Memphis

21. USC

22. UNLV


23. Syracuse

*Eric Devendorf and Andy Rautins are back. And even though Donte Green is gone to the NBA, those two combined with Johnny Flynn and Paul Harris are going to give the Orange one Hell of an explosive backcourt. They'll gain a lot of confidence and get to know each other again with their early slate of dome cupcakes, and should be ready to knock heads with the big boys when Big East play begins...

24. Florida

25. Kentucky


some others that nearly made the list. AKA - teams that I can now "justifiably" slide right into my rankings should they get out to a torrid start...

Georgetown, Baylor, Alabama, Arizona, Villanova, Xavier, Texas A+M, St. Mary's



Check back next week and I'll have more predistions on all things hoops. NBA MVP, defensive player of the year, and my 1st, 2nd and 3rd team NCAA All Americans. That's must read shit, right there...



Fantasy Update
Last Week: Dick Whitman 66 General Lee Higgins 77

Overall: 5-3-0, 5th in standings + 6th in points

Next Week vs Donald Draper (5-3-0) <----FROSCO Well, it was bound to happen. After pulling off two impressive Monday Night comebacks this season, I was finally rundown this week as I turned a 7 point Sunday Night lead into an 11 point Tuesday morning defeat. My main man from last year, Dallas Clark, was the one who did the damage, and now I find myself loser of 2 straight, and barely in position to make the playoffs... What's interesting, however, is that I lost this week, and managed a semi-respectable 66 points, all while getting just a combined 3 points from big guns Reggie Wayne and Maurice Jones-Drew. That's either a promising sign, in that my supporting cast is good. OR, it could be an ominous sign, that the guys I picked to lead my team, are going to be the ones that end up holding my squad back... This week is as good as any to figure out which way I'm going, as I clash with Frosco. We've both won the league, we've both been in 1st this season, and we're both in danger of slipping right out of what looked like comfy playoff seats. And if you don't get the Mad Men reference that's inherent in our matchup, then you just missed of the best season's of a TV show that I've ever seen in my life. I'd say you should watch it On Demand or on DVD, but you're not hip enough to get it, so I won't even bother...




And on that note, I'm gonna call it a day. Hope you made it all the way through this week's odyssey, and I'll catch you on Friday...


Be good...

Friday, October 24, 2008

NFL Week 8 Picks

Greetings, greetings fellow Friday lovers. I know it might be a lot to ask, but if you could tear yourself away from the World Series for a minute or two, I have a few suggestions on this week's games that I'd like to lay on ya...



Week 8 Picks

New York Jets (-13) vs Kansas City Chiefs

Last week, I went against my own intuition and picked the Jets as a mere 3 point favorite against the lowly Raiders. The line looked shady, I took the Jets anyway, and I paid the price.

This week, I've found the Jets in a game with an equally as shady line, but have this time decided to use the shadiness to my advantage. With the Raiders, the line looked weird because Oakland seemed to be getting too much credit. With the Chiefs, the line is so high, you get the feeling the odds makers would make it higher it they didn't deem it a complete insult to the entire state of Missouri. So this time, I'm siding with the shadiness, taking the points, and putting even a larger chunk of my weekend in the hands of Brett Favre...

And hopefully Herm Edwards will call himself to get advice on how to beat the Jets. That would really help my cause...



Carolina Panthers (-3) vs Arizona Cardinals

Simply put, the Panthers are on a roll. Aside from a blowout loss 2 weeks ago at the hand of division rival Tampa Bay, Carolina's been winning, and winning big. In their last 3 wins, all at home, they've won by an average of 24 points...

With Steve Smith now back and healthy, and Muhsin Muhammad returning to the site of his prime, Jake Delhomme has this balanced offense clicking. And the key word there is balanced. While not a juggernaut, Carolina combines Delhomme's 220 pass yards a game with 119 rushing yards a game courtesy of DeAngelo Williams and rookie Jonathan Stewart. That's bad news for the equally balanced Arizona defense. They're 12th in the league against the run, 20th in the league against the pass, and at 24.3 ppg, give up 12th most points per game. Not even their 6th ranked offense can dig them out of that hole. Especially when the Panthers flash the 3rd best scoring D in the entire NFL...

Look for the Cardinals to keep playing that "butter face" style. They look great from behind. That's when they're able to sling the rock around with reckless abandon, and that's where they'll be for the greater part of this game. And much like tagging a butter face from behind, the idea sounds a whole lot better than the actual result...



New York Giants (+3) @ Pittsburgh Steelers

In this one, I feel it comes down to Big Ben Roethlisberger and how he reacts to the pressure brought forth by the New York Giants defense. I know that sounds rather elementary, but with the Steelers it's actually quite an enigma...

You see, it's possible for the Steelers to be at both their best, and their worst, when Big Ben is being pressured in the pocket. What separated him from the other QBs in the class of '05 was ability to throw on the run, and it's that ability which when honed correctly, is what makes the Steelers so tough to beat...

So, one way or another, Big Ben is gonna be on the run. I'm saying the Giants D gets the best of him, and it's New York that will walk away from this one at 6-1...



Atlanta Falcons (+9) @ Philadelphia Eagles

Call me naive, but especially coming off a bye week, I have great faith in Matty Heisman and the 4-2 Falcons. The Eagles are a good team, and I know they're getting healthy, but this 9 point line looks like they're just sticking with the spread they had pegged for this game before the season started. I'll give the Falcons respect for just this one week, and if they actually come out on top in this one, I won't be the only one having a drastic change of heart...



St. Louis Rams (+7.5) @ New England Patriots

I know, I know, I know. The Pats just played arguably their best game of the year, and now I have the nerve to pick against them?!? Well , as usual, it's not quite that simple...

First off, it's a short week for the Pats, and fan or no fan, I never like betting on a team coming off a short week...

Two, this isn't the same Ram team that limped out to that 0-4 start. They may not be the Greatest Show on Turf, but new head man Jim Haslett has made a few key changes, and has these guys actually playing like the .500 team they should be. Bulger is back at the helm, Torry Holt has become a major factor again, and the defense is applying a lot of pressure simply by blitzing a lot more. What a concept?...

That being said, I still like the Patriots to come out with a win in this one, I just don't expect them to blow the Rams out. Two fairly even teams, will play a fairly even game, that will probably be decided by a touchdown or less. I know it's askin' a lot for me to have the Rams cover and the Pats win, but I've always enjoyed wanting my cake while simultaneously eating it...


...oh and let's please stop talking about Tom Brady and his knee infection. Your not a doctor, I'm not a doctor, and to sit here and discuss the minutia of his recovery to me just seems ludicrous. The world renowned Dr. James Andrews says he should still be OK, and that's good enough for me. Let's move on people, there's an actual team on the field that could use some attention...


Here are the rest of my week 8 picks. The more I look at them, the more it's starting to make sense why my percentage of picking these games has my "Top Picks" running for the hills. Sure look like some gimmies out there...


Baltimore Ravens (-7) vs Oakland Raiders

San Diego Chargers (-3) @ New Orleans Saints (London, England)

Buffalo Bills (-1.5) @ Miami Dolphins

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2) @ Dallas Cowboys

Washington Redskins (-7.5) @ Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars (-7) vs Cleveland Browns

San Fransisco 49ers (-4.5) vs Seattle Seahawks

Houston Texans (-9.5) vs Cincinnati Bengals


Monday Night
Indianapolis Colts (+4.5) @ Tennessee Titans

I've had bad luck this year when I've sided with the Colts, but this week I'm using a few pieces of bettors logic to justify my decision...

1) The Titans are due to lose. They haven't lost, they have to lose at some point, and who better to lose to than a legit team like the Colts. Granted it would be a better situation if the game was being played in Indy, but we can't always have the ideal circumstances now, can we?

2) Make sure you bet the right weeks with an up and down team. That's what the Colts are right now, and after that dud last week against the Packers, they're due for an uptick. They won by 31 2 weeks ago in a romp of the Ravens, and I expect them to more or less return to that form this week as they give it their all against the 6-0 Titans...



Last Week: 9-4-1 (Top Picks: 4-3-0)

Overall: 58-39-3 (.596)

Top Picks: 23-16-1 (.588)

It's a sad state of affairs when my Top Picks have been crushed by by "other" picks the last 2 weeks, but I'm a big fan of taking 'em whenever I can get 'em. I'm selfish like that...


Now it's on to the college game. A place where the sport is pure, the athletes are amateurs, and every booster handshake comes complete with a $50 bill folded up like a paper football. Oh, and every recruiting trip comes filled with beautiful campus tours, an inventory of the legendary library, and of course a ping pong match against two women that prefer to be called, "exotic stage performers"...

This week, not only are there 4 match ups featuring 2 ranked teams, but there are several other heated games that should do more than enough to keep your blood boiling for the entire afternoon. Check 'em out...


NCAA Top 25 Picks
(1) Texas (-12) vs (7) Oklahoma St.

(2) Alabama (-6.5) @ Tennessee

(10) Ohio St. (+3) vs (3) Penn St.

Kansas St. (+20) vs (4) Oklahoma

(5) Florida (-24.5) vs Kentucky

(6) USC (-16) @ Arizona

(19) Kansas (-2.5) vs (8) Texas Tech

(11) LSU (-2.5) vs (9) Georgia

(13) Boise St. (-7.5) @ San Jose St.

Louisville (+5) vs (14) South Florida

(15) TCU (-32) vs Wyoming

(16) Missouri (-21.5) vs Colorado

Rutgers (+9) @ (17) Pittsburgh

(18) BYU (-22.5) vs UNLV

(20) Ball St. (-21.5) vs Eastern Michigan

Virginia (+11.5) @ (21) Georgia Tech

(23) Boston College (+3) @ North Carolina

Virginia Tech (+5) @ (24) Florida St.

Purdue (+1) vs (25) Minnesota



Last Week: 11-7-0

Overall: 83-54-3 (.604)


Uh oh. If you thought I was done for the week you were sadly mistaken my friends. Get your trumpets out, get your wallets ready (no, not for the exotic performers, you sick freaks), because it's time for those little midgets to mount those majestic beasts and make a run for the pile of cash. It's the world's best horses, there's $5 million up for grabs. it's the Breeder's Cup, baby. Get some!...


2008 Breeders Cup Picks
I've never given my Breeders Cup picks before, mostly because I've never bet on the Breeders Cup before. Derby, Preakness and Belmont, just never the Cup. This year, my buddy Sean, after years of trying, was finally able to convince me to take a stab at the Breeders, so here we are. And seeing as this is the only event of the weekend in which I will actually have dollars at stake, I'd figure I'd throw you all yet another bone, and let you use my intuitive instincts to help make you some cakes...

Now, while I've yet to confer with my betting partners and finalize my race day selections, here are just a few notes and a couple bets that, if I were you, I recommend tossing some cakes on. But then again, if I were you then you'd be me, making you the pimp and me the sad, disheartened degenerate looking for betting tips on the Internet...

Bet on Curlin: Everyone in the know is telling me this horse can't be beat. That means 1 of 2 things. Either he romps to certain victory, or he gets upset in epic fashion. He's the 7 to 5 morning line favorite, so you'll need a bunch of cash to benefit from his victory, but sticking him at the front of all your exotics will probably prove a successful strategy. Lord knows that's what I'll be doin'...

The Return of Casino Drive: Remember him? He's the American bred, Japanese raced "ringer" that was supposed to derail Big Brown's Triple Crown bid. Well Casino Drive never saw the track after getting dinged up by a loose rock, and Da'Tara smoked Big Brown in one of the sports most surprising upsets. Now, Casino Drive is back for more, and at 10 to 1 is still being given plenty of attention. You gotta figure if there was that much hype around the horse last time around, that he's gotta be pretty good, right? I say he finishes strong and should be a good bet for the money. Maybe not strong enough to catch Curlin, but at a better price, strong enough to have some action on...

No Good Names: Usually when I look at a racing form, the first thing I try to do is match the most creative name with the most reasonable price. Not very scientific, I know, but over the years it's actually proven a pretty decent method. Unfortunately, there's no such match in this race. The best name is Casino Drive, and at 10 to 1, that's not nearly a tasty enough price to make me feel like I'm rooting for an underdog...


All that being said, check these picks out. Sure to line your pockets with extra coins, these are...


TRIFECTA
(9) Curlin

(2) Casino Drive

(11) Colonel John


TRIFECTA
(8) Raven's Pass

(9) Curlin

(6) Smooth Air


SUPERFECTA
(9) Curlin

(3) Tiago

(2) Casino Drive

(8) Raven's Pass


And don't forget my lock of the week. 60 to 1 that a horse gets euthanized on the track! Sure I may be sick, and may have made that line up myself, but you and I know that's more of a lock than betting on the cleanliness of Al Davis' Depends. Ha!...


...and if you want complete info on the 2008 Breeder's Cup Classic, check here...
http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/horse/breederscup08/index


So, bam! That's it for this week. Check back next week for the debut of my college hoops top 15, my '08-'09 NBA predictions, and hopefully an article praising my fantasy team for their outstanding return to prominence.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Not the Best Weekend...

Call me arrogant.

Call me paranoid.

But just because I feel the sports world revolves around me and reacts to my thoughts and wishes, doesn't mean I don't have feelings!!


What am I talking about? Well try this on for size. In less than 48 hours, all these things happened...


1) My fantasy football team, which came into the weekend leading the league in both record and points, finished week 7 with robust total of 27 points! And that was after the Patriots D actually came through with 19 points on Monday Night Football!

Not only that, but in about a 10 minute span, I lost Devin Hester for at least the next week or 2, and lost my best player, Reggie Bush, for God knows how long with some sort of knee injury. He's heading to see Dr. James Andrews, and I'm headed back to the drawing board...


...and don't even get me started about Favre. Just feel free to remind me that I told myself this would happen...


2) After using a post season record comeback to force a game 5, and starting off game 7 with a Pedroia solo shot that put them up 1-0, the Red Sox fell to the Rays in the ALCS. Tease complete. Comeback thwarted. Season over. I know you can't win the World Series every year, but that's just not the way it should have ended. As dumb as it sounds, I would have rather the Yanks won the division and the Red Sox missed the playoffs. At least that would have made some sense...


3) I played 18 free holes of golf @ Quail Ridge in Acton, MA courtesy of my buddy, Chris "to punt a predator" Hanson, but came out a loser when a clutch 10-footer on 18 put my scrambling foursome on the losing end of a 1 stroke decision. I played like ass, my team lost, and while I had a good time, losing never leaves a good taste in my mouth. It's like pounding a stiff screwdriver right after you finish brushing your teeth. Sure the greater good was served, but for the most part, you just wanna bend over a trash can and start ralphin'...


OK. So maybe my world didn't exactly come crumbling down, but it sure as Hell felt like it. When I woke up on Monday morning, I was half expecting to go to ESPN.com and find a picture of me with my shoulders shrugged under a headline that read "Rooch: He Is Who We Thought He Was". You know, like in Eddie Murphy Raw? "Johnny's Wife Gets Half Johnny's Money". Well that's how I'm feelin' right now. SO give me a few days to recover, and I'll be back on Friday to rock your world...

...like a hurricane

Friday, October 17, 2008

NFL Week 7 Picks


Well, that was unexpected...

Just when I was prepared to compare the demiss of the '08 Red Sox to the presidency of George W. Bush, the Sox pull themselves from the fire with a 7 run, come-from-behind win for the ages. Very impressive. Even if it was capped of by David Jonathan Drew, that listless hick...

So now they travel back to Tampa. They still have to win 2 games on the opposition's home turf, but they have that game 2 mentality back. Why? Because they still have Beckett and Lester left to throw! Granted it doesn't sound like as much of a luxury as it may have just a week ago, but it's still something to cling to, isn't it? And I for one am ready to cling...

Now it's the Rays that are back on their heels a bit. They're the ones who've altered their rotation, they're the ones who blew a 7 run lead in one inning, and now more than ever they have to be feeling the fact that they're the ones that have never been there before. Will that be enough to help the Sox overcome their 2nd 3-1 ALCS deficit in 2 years? We'll have to wait for Saturday. But after last night's heroics, they even have this realist thinkin' that maybe when it comes to this team in the playoffs, anything is possible...

After all. When JD Drew is getting game winning hits, what the Hell else am I supposed to believe?!?...


OK enough baseball. I know this is a "baseball town" 'n whatnot, but it's time to breakdown ways to win you all money on this week's slate of NFL games. So sit back, relax, and peep the hotness...



Week 7 Picks
San Diego Chargers (pick) @ Buffalo Bills


Perhaps I'm being a bit nearsighted, but after watching the Chargers dismantle my Patriots last Sunday night, I gotta make them one of my top picks of the week. They dominated at the point of attack on both sides of the ball, and the emergence of Vincent Jackson will only help to bolster their already explosive offense...


I like that the Bills are coming off a bye and that they're at home, I just think they're running into a bit of a buzz saw...




Baltimore Ravens (+3) @ Miami Dolphins


There's no way that "Wildcat" offense works against a legit defense. There's just no way. And you know Ed Reed and friends are gonna be extra pissed after being worked over last week by Peyton and the Colts...

I know the Dolhpin defense is more than capable of bringing enough exotic looks to keep Joe Flaccid on his toes, but I'm willing to bet that it's Chad Pennington that's going to spend most of the afternoon on the run...




New York Jets (-3) @ Oakland Raiders


OK. Let's establish the obvious. This is a shady line. Why the 3-2 Jets are only favored by 3 at the 1-4 Raiders is beyond me. The Jets have won 2 straight, the Raiders have lost 3 straight. The Jets are the 2nd highest scoring team in the Conference, the Raiders have given up the 12th most points in the Conference. So what gives? Goes Vegas have the lowdown once again? Are they set to pull our pants down? Well, probably. But I'll believe it when I see it...


Look for my man Favre to light it up to my man Cotchery, as the Jetropolitans build a big lead and never look back...




Cleveland Browns (+7) @ Washington Redskins


Two teams headed in opposite directions? Well, not quite. But I do believe last week's performances were more indicative of who these 2 teams really are...


Cleveland finally decided to show up on Monday night against the Giants, and even without Kellen Winslow's swollen pair were able to hand the defending World champs a world class beat down. The Skins on the other hand, dropped a shocker at home to the previously winless Rams just a week removed from positioning themselves at the top of the power laden NFC East...


Simply put, the Skins aren't as good as we thought, and the Cleveland Browns just aren't that bad. This should be a relatively close game, which is why I suggest you take the points...




Indianapolis Colts (-2) @ Green Bay Packers


Peyton and friends really got the ball rolling last week, and I don't expect a little 'ole trip to Lambeau Field to throw any sort of hitch in their giddy up. The healthier this team gets, and the more they're going to start looking like the Indy teams of old. Granted Jospeh Addai is out this week, but I don't expect him to be sorely missed. His versatility is just the icing on the cake when this offense is clicking, and Dominic Rhodes should be able to serve as a more than adequate replacement in his stead...


The Packers are good, and they'll have the home field, but they just quite aren't ready for Prime Time...


Yet...




St. Louis Rams (+7.5) vs Dallas Cowboys


St. Louis smells blood, as well they should. Romo's gonna play with a broken pinke, PacMan's headed to rehab, Dallas is adding a new WR to their already enigmatic offense, and the Cowboys are coming off a brutal defeat at the hands of the lowly Arizona Cardinals. Mind you that doesn't totally cover up for the fact that the Rams are pretty awful themselves, but it goes a long ways towards swaying mu judgement...


Listen, if Brad Johnson starts and/or plays the majority of the snaps, I like the Cowboys. They'll keep the offense simple by pounding the ball on the ground and should be able to easily grind the Rams right out of it by the start of the 2nd half. But seeing as Romo is gonna try and play hero, I'll take the home team to keep this one close and possibly pull off an upset that would leave Big D spinnin'...

That's when you'll really need your popcorn...

...and maybe a bottle of pain killers and a saucy, "walk of shame" lookin' PR rep by your side, just for good measure...NEXT QUESTION!...




Tennessee Titans (-7) @ Kansas Shitty Chiefs


Seven points seems like a lot to ask from the Titans on the road, but seeing as it's the Chiefs, I'm willing to make an exception. Kerry Collins and the offense will do their part to keep the game even, while my boy Keith Bullock and the vaunted Tennessee defense will do its part by putting a 7 spot of their own up on the board. Either Bullock, Jevon Kearse or Cortland Finnegan will take a turnover to the house, and the Titans will walk away with a 10+ point win...

24-10 sounds about right. Somethin' in that ballpark...



And here are the rest of my picks for the week. Six games, six home teams, and only one underdog. About as exciting as Hellen Keller's porno collection...(bump, bump, 3 vertical bumps, bump, no bump, ahhhhhhhhhh I'm about to blow!....)


Cincinnati Bengals (+10) vs Pittsburgh Steelers

Chicago Bears (-3) vs Minnesota Vikings

Carolina Panthers (-1.5) vs New Orleans Saints

New York Giants (-9) vs San Fransisco 49ers

Houston Texans (-6.5) vs Detroit Lions

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10) vs Seattle Seahawks



Monday Night
New England Patriots (-2.5) vs Denver Broncos


If I were you, I wouldn't listen to me at all when it comes to picking a winner in this one. I need the Patriots defense to do well, and I need about half the Bronco's offense to do poorly....for my fantasy team. So while you might think that I'm picking the Pats because I am a fan of theirs, you would be sadly mistaken. Like I always say, "When the Patriots start paying me money, I'll start cheering for them to do well more than my fantasy team". Until then, I know which side my bread is buttered on...



Last Week: 9-5-0

Overall: 49-35-2 (.581)

Top Picks: 19-13-1 (.591)


I have to admit. It's a little tough for my pride that my overall picks and my top picks are getting so close in percentage. Then again, I'm willing to take wins anywhere I can get 'em...



Really been workin' the middle of the road these past 3 weeks with my college picks, but this week I think I've stumbled onto some gold...

Now usually, in a normal week, I have to convince myself to take a few upsets. You know, games where I just really don't know but figure "there have to be upsets" so I pick it? Well this week that wasn't the case, which always makes me feel really confident in my selections. For instance, picking Hawaii, Michigan St., Vanderbilt, Virginia and Navy all came quite naturally. Throw in a favored, but unranked, Boston College over (17) Virginia Tech in Chestnut Hill, and I'd say I've got enough varitety in my picks for even the staunchest of college football experts...

The only picks I'm really split about are the Texas/Missouri game and the size of the spread in the USC/Washington St. game. I was close to taking the Tigers to dethrone the newly #1 ranked Longhorns, but I figured since I had to pick a a winner, and I figure the game to be close, I'd go with the home team and lay the points. With USC, it's not that I doubt their ability to win, but winning by 43 points is a tall order for any team. Granted I made one of the biggest scored of my life when I bet on the Oklahoma Sooners as a 55 point favorite, but it's just not something I like to make a habit of...

Anyway, my advice to you this week is to either pick with me, or pick 100% against me. When I have gut feelings like this week, I either do really well, or I totally stink the joint up. So buyer beware. While I've made 17 decisions and laid them out nicely here before you, the ultimate decision is really yours. Don't screw up!...


NCAA Top 25 Picks
(1) Texas (-5.5) vs (11) Missouri

(3) Penn St. (-23) vs Michigan

(4) Oklahoma (-20) vs (16) Kansas

(6) USC (-42.5) @ Washington St.

(7) Texas Tech (-20.5) @ Texas A&M

(8) Oklahoma St. (-16.5) vs Baylor

(22) Vanderbilt (+15) @ (10) Georgia

(20) Michigan St. (+2) vs (12) Ohio St.

(13) LSU (-3) @ South Carolina

(14) Utah (-21.5) vs Colorado St.

Hawaii (+25) @ (15) Boise St.

Boston College (-2) vs (17) Virginia Tech

Virginia (+5) vs (18) North Carolina

(19) South Florida (-24) vs Syracuse

(21) Wake Forest (-1.5) @ Maryland

Navy (+3.5) vs (23) Pittsburgh

(25) California (-2.5) @ Arizona



Last Week: 8-7-1

Overall: 72-47-3 (.602)



Well there you have it, pimps. The Sox survive to see a game 6, and you have all the top notch football betting advice you could possibly want. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to tend to my Forsted Flakes before they get soggy, and get set to kickstart what I'm sure will be another fine weekend. And if....(cough) I mean when the Sox pull it out and make it to the World Series for the 2nd straight year, I'll be right here to tell you not only how it happened, but what miraculous thing is going to happen next...

So make sure to check back next week..

Marty McSuperFly, signing off...

...and Peace in the Middle...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Freakin' Ray-Holes!

It was great.

I'm in my car on early Monday afternoon, listening to Michael Holley do a solo broadcast of the Dale and Holley show, live from Fenway Park. Mike goes to take a call from a guy named John, but has to cut him off when Tedy Bruschi called in to do his scheduled interview. Michael asks John to hold, which he does, and a good 6-8 minutes later, when Tedy is finished, he gets his turn. And to the dismay of programming directors everywhere, but to the absolute delight to yours truly, he gets his rant going, with this classic gem...


"With all due respect to you and your station's management, this is a baseball town. It's the ALCS. Nobody cares about that 3-2 team that plays down the road."


From there he went on to discuss Beckett's performance and comment on some of Francona's decisions, but for me, the point had already been made. The caller, no matter how unstable, had answered the question that I've been asking for the past three weeks. People in New England like the Patriots because they win, not because they like football. These people are baseball fans, through thick and thin. And you know what, they actually seem to be more passionate about the team when they aren't even winning...

At least, they used to be...


American League Championship Series
When I started making plans for my blog on Monday morning, this is not where I thought the Sox would be. Actually, far from it. They had escaped Tampa Bay with a split, they now had home field advantage, and they hadn't even had to throw their new found ace, Jon Lester...


Then comes Monday. The Rays shell Lester, the Sox lose home field, and the pivotal game 4 start lies in the hand of experienced post season veteran, Tim Wakefield. Terry Francona also decides to mix up the lineup in this crucial game 4, hoping to jump start an offense that had only averaged a little under 4 runs in games 1 through 3...



Then comes Tuesday. Wakefield gets rocked, the Sox fall down 3-1, and all at once, the world seems to be coming to an end. Just as in game 3, game 4 saw the Rays run out to a big lead, silence Fenway Park, and prove for the 3rd time in 4 nights that they are indeed the better team in this series. The Boston offense remained silent as well, and it's that fact which has me worried that any attempt at a 3 game winning streak may very well be an exercise in futility...

But we'll trek on, won't we? As Red Sox fans, we've seen this hole overcome, just last year. And at the risk of seeming to take the easy way out, the only thing I can do is look forward to the next game, game 5. I have to think, "If Dice K can get a win, then we still have Beckett and Lester" AND "The Rays are still too young and inexperienced, they might still fold up under pressure of a clinching game"...

As a fan, that's all you have is hope. As a realist, I look to facts and trends, but to do that now would be a disservice to my team. So, with the Sox down 3-1 in the ALCS, let me leave you with this. They've done it before. They've down it before, and it's gonna be one Hell of a ride if they pull it off again...

So getcha popcorn ready, pray for the best, and keep your eye out. If neither the Sox, nor the Pats are reigning supreme, what on earth is Pink Hat Nation gonna do with itself?...

Ahhh, that's right. I forgot the Celtics were now taking applications to their bandwagon. What a bunch of spoiled brats those Boston fans are, huh?...


Oh, and if you haven't read this article by Ken Rosenthal yet, I suggest you take a look. Oh, and if the timing of the article and the topic seem really odd to you, then that just means you're a normal person. So don't sweat it...

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/8670984/

I'll have my complete commentary on it next week. Gotta let it simmer for a bit...



National League Championship Series
TBS and FOX have got it all wrong. What I love about October, is watching softball slobs like Matt Stairs make 162 games virtually irrelevant with one burly swing of his Paul Bunyan sized bat. And I'm being completely honest, no sarcasm. I was asked recently which league I liked better, AL or NL. The question was posed mostly around whether or not I like the designated hitter, and as I've always done in the past, I quickly picked the National League. The style of the game lends it to more strategic, managerial decisions, and opens it up more so than the AL, for bench guys like Stairs to be post season heroes...

It's not that American League managers don't make roster moves during a game, it's just that in the NL they do it more often, and seem to do it with more purpose. A guy like Stairs is oddly enough placed on the roster specifically for instances like the one he faced on Monday night. He's there to provide a big, left handed, pinch hit bat off the bench. And when he launched that 2-run bomb in the 8th inning of game 4 on Monday, it was less that he has just getting a clutch hit, and more that he was simply sliding the final piece into an almost completed puzzle. That's the beauty of the NL, and that's the beauty of October. Some teams, like the Angels and Cubs, couldn't handle October, while a team like the Phillies are thriving because of the quirky little pieces that make them complete. Quirky pieces like Matt Stairs. A guy that once held out on a Winter League contract until the owner agreed to fly him Burger King to the Dominican once a week for the length of his stay...

NL baseball is a chess match, where as in the AL they're playing with checkers. And in the playoffs, in the pressure of October, it's the game of Kings that reigns supreme for me. It's just a shame, that after 162 games, and 2 playoff series, the NL is then forced to play with a DH. Kinda ruins it...



Patriots Update
Last Week: New England Patriots 10 San Diego Chargers 30

Overall: 3-2, 2nd place in AFC East


That, my friends, is what we call a clinic. You name the aspect of the game, and the Chargers were better at it. It's true from the coach on down. More importantly, it was the continued inconsistency, and the diminished performance of two key groups that was me more concerned than ever about this team's long term possibilities...

Simply put, it's the offensive and defensive lines...

Last year, with the group getting accolades, and the numbers seeming to justify the praise week after week, I still sat here and said I never felt great about the offensive line. Perhaps that was just me being a naive idiot, but I'm unwilling to accept that's the case this year as well. Matt Cassel, despite all his short comings, cannot be blamed for the fact that as of today he is on paced to be sacked a "David Carr like" 60+ times this season. Yeah, 60. How can Cassell be expected to do anything at all when he's constantly running for his life back there? I know people complain that he's holding onto the ball too much, and think that could be inflating that stat, but please. Be logical. If you're QB is getting sacked 4+ times a game, then it's obviously a combination of things. The first of which, is that your offensive line is allowing him to fall under too much pressure...

And they aren't much better in the running game either. Patriot backs may be averaging a rather respectable 3.8 yards a carry this year, but in my eyes it's not due in large part to the up front blocking. If you look at the numbers, more elusive and more experienced runners Kevin Faulk and LaMont Jordan have had all the success this year. And not that I somehow think their experience is more important than the play of the o-line, but their running style and the situations they get the ball just seem to be more beneficial. To the point, if you take Jordan and Faulk out of the equation, and the per carry average dips all the way down to 3.2. Not too good considering Faulk is just a 3rd down back, and Jordan has been on the shelf the pas few weeks with a calf injury...

They say run blocking is easier, too. So if that's the case, then these are really ominous sings for the remainder of the season...


Then there's the D-line. For years we've been told that the Pats have the best players possible to play the down lineman positions in the 3-4 scheme, but now I'm not so sure. We were always told that despite their lack of sacks and pressures, guys like Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, Richard Seymour and Jarvis Green were ideal fits because they could occupy blockers and free up the second wave of defenders to make the plays. So, logic states that if those guys are doin' their job, then guys like Adalius Thomas, Mike Vrabel and the Patriots linebackers should be able to do their job and bring the pressure, right? Well, I could show you stats to tell you they aren't bringing any pressure, but I'll assume you have two eyes and have seen it for yourself.

It's simple. Good teams start from the inside out. So Matt Cassel or no Matt Cassel, this team is gonna struggle when it keeps losing all the battles at the point of attack...

And I don't know. Maybe Tom Brady was so good that he was able to overcome and cover up all these deficiencies, but I just don't see it. Even with Tom Terrific calling the shots, this would not have been the 13-14 win team that many of us thought it would be when the season began...

It's now turned into a week for week struggle. So for now, it's just on to next week...



Tackle Box
There were a lot of exciting finishes this week in the NFL, but with no time to recap all that delicious action, here are a few notes...


-Bizarre week in Big D. First, they lost to the Cardinals, which would be odd enough on it's own had they not won the game on a blocked punt return for a TD. Second, they go out and acquire Detroit WR Roy Williams in the same week where Tony Romo heads to the bench for a month with a broken pinkie. And third, Pacman gets suspended 4 games stemming from a lavatory scuffle with his own bodyguard...

As for Pacman, well that's just what he does. But the news surrounding the Cowboy offense just has me scratchin' my head. To me, adding the explosive Row Williams to a team that already boasts weapons like TO, Jason Witten, Marion Barber and Felix Jones, is like adding a bag of camp fire marshmallows to a bowl of freaking Lucky Charms. I mean, can Jerry Jones and crew really think their biggest issue is not having enough outlets for Tony Romo? Please, Jerry. Either fire Wade Phillips, or stop scratching your head worrying why team isn't winning. At this point, your just insulting everyone else's intelligence...

Hear this, though. With Brad Johnson at the helm, this offense and this team will thrive. Johnson will rely heavily on the running game, keep it simple, and get the right people the ball at the right time. It won't be as flashy as Romo, but I'll be shocked if it's not more effective, at least in the short term. They're getting too cute down there in Big D, and it's possible Tony goin' down is the reality check they need to get their season back on track...


-I hope you were listening, because the Colts announced their presence with authority this week. When Marvin Harrison is getting pub for catching TD passes instead of allegedly shooting peeps outside of his bar in Philly, well it's bad news for the rest of the NFL. If they managed to start the season 3-2 despite the myriad of injuries they've suffered, then I'd hate to see this squad when they're clickin' on all cylinders at full strength...

...oh wait, I did. It's called like the last 5 years. And I wouldn't think too much of the Joseph Addai injury. As great as he is, he's one of the least important pieces of this offense when it's workin' right. Just like the Pats, and just like with any good team, it will all start with the o-line. And now that they, along with Peyton and Marvin all seem to be rounding into form together, it's gonna make it all the more tougher for opposing defenses...



-Word on the street, is that Cleveland's Kellen Winslow was in the hospital this week with an enlarged package. Now I don't know if he got blasted in it, or what happened, but I gotta say it's mighty discouraging. I mean, I can't have people on my fantasy team walking around with enlarged scrotums! That can't possibly be any good for karma...



News and Notes

Dead. At 19 years old. While playing hockey. And due at least in part to negligence by a Russian EMT crew. If there's a worse way to go, I've yet to discover it. Makes it look like Eight Belles got off easy...

http://www.freep.com/article/20081014/SPORTS14/810140359/1062

..and yes, I know just how wrong all of that was...



If I were my good buddy Frosco right now, my insides would be churning and I'd be fighting the urge to uncontrollably dry heave and body spasm until I would just end up flopping around on the ground like a dying fish. And it wouldn't be because I was so short. Or even because I was currently living in an apartment with no interior doors. No, I would be sick to my stomach because the wheels have been set in motion. With his dad set to take the big dirt nap in Tallahassee, and Tommy Bowden now free of his duties as the head coach of Clemson, it's now only a matter of time before the second generation Bowden kids take over as caretakers for Seminole Nation. I know offensive coordinator, Jimbo Fisher, has been installed as the hier apparent, but if you think that Terry and Tommy Bowden are gonna go quietly into the night then you my friend are sadly mistaken. I'm not sure how it's gonna happen yet. Whether it be a death bed request or a contract buyout stipulation. I just know it's goin' down. And go ahead, say I'm crazy. Just keep in mind that I was the first one to tell you this when you're watching the Bowden's turn FSU upside down, and you start making comparisons between Terry + Tommy, and Erik and Lyle Menendez...

It's gonna be great, Frosco. And for your sake, I'd just like to apologize in advance for being so spot on with my prediction...


Now it's time to do a little housecleaning, otherwise known as recapping my picks from last weekend. I'm still defying odds, kickin' ass and takin' names. If you bet on football, and you still haven't utilized my services, well then my friend the short bus beeps for thee. Get with the program...

My Picks
Last Week: 9-5-0 (Top Picks: 2-5-0)

Overall: 49-35-2 (.581)

Top Picks: 19-13-1 (.591)


There are some weeks where my Top Picks make me look like a superstar, and then there are weeks like this. In a normal year, I would have picked those 7 games, the one on Monday night, and gone 3-1-0. But, seeing as everyone kept prodding me to just go ahead and do the whole slate, I managed to tack on 6 extra wins to help pad my resume. So thank you...and you should be thanking me. And your welcome....and I'll assume you just said the same and we'll just keep makin' sweet, sweet cakes together...


...and "cakes" = money, for those still not in the know.

Although donations in the form of actual pastry are also encouraged...



NCAA Picks
Last Week: 8-7-1

Overall: 72-47-3 (.602)


What can I say? I told you Clemson sucked, didn't I?...



Fantasy Update
Last Week: Mr. Monday Night 87 WHO'S YOUR DJ? 63

Overall: 5-1-0, 1st in standings + 1st in overall points

Next week vs BoroBall8 (3-3-0)


Well at least for the first week, I was able to avoid the predictable, Monday Night come from ahead loss, and walk away with yet another solid win. Now I find myself in the enviable position of being in first in both the points and the standings. And that's right where I wanna be, baby. Either I run away with this thing, or I have a great story to tell here if I do happen so suffer a catastrophic fall from grace. It's a real win-win...

In closing, I'd like to reflect upon the fine time I had this past weekend celebrating my buddy Ryan's birthday at the CBS Scene @ Patriot Place. For those that haven't been, it's a upscale sports bar on meth, very much akin to one of the many ESPN Zones that are scattered across the country. As my buddy Neal D and I were able to diagnose, it's basically like going to a screening of the movie Minority Report while at the same time being trapped inside the Matrix. It's just TVs everywhere. And where there isn't a TV, there's a bar. Perfect!

Highlights from the outing included sightings of Patriots President Jonathan Kraft, Aerosmith's Tom Hamilton, and my good buddy, the curator of The Hall at Patriot Place and former THE SCORE afternoon drive host, Bryan Morry. Sure Neal D and I will go straight to Hell for the remarks we made about Tom Hamilton when we though it was Bradley Whitford, but it was cool to see Bryan, and nice to watch some huge TVs...

..and it was really cool when Neal almost ran his brother Scottie over with his car later on in the parking lot. Ahhhh, good times...

And that's it for now. Check back Firday for all my picks, and enjoy the rest of your week. You grimey, bastids...