Friday, November 04, 2011

Week 9 Picks: Unguarded? Try Unimpressed...

So, I watched ESPN's Unguarded on Tuesday, and per usual, I've got an unpopular opinion in regards to how I felt it went.  To put it simply, I'm far removed from being impressed by recovering addicts, no matter how hard and far they may have fallen, and I'm not nearly naive enough to believe that, at 32, former Durfee star, Chris Herren, has actually beaten his addictions and should serve as an inspiration to anyone that hopes to grow up healthy and contribute to society...

I know, it's a rather dark take on what was supposed to be an inspirational story, but I just can't find any reason to sympathize or even empathize with Herren.  He was an amazingly talented basketball player, who multiple times threw his career away because of drugs.  OK, sucks for him, but I don't really see how it's that impressive of a tale.  Dude's been clinically dead twice, and we're supposed to be impressed that he's out telling kids to stay off drugs?  He's just a lucky bastard, and matter of fact, if he were doing anything other than what he's doing, I'd say he were just a flat out awful person.  Again, dude died twice.  There are only two ways to go from there.  Either OD again, and die for real, or clean up your act.  Props to him for choosing the latter, but it's still way too soon to say he's achieved anything, and to flaunt his exploits as some example of triumph over adversity just sort of makes me chuckle...

You're too famous at a young age?  They say you faced adversity.  You had no friends? Adversity.  It's called LIFE.  We all face adversity.  He made a bunch of bad decisions, and now his reaping what he sowed.  Better yet, he's getting paid to tell his story!  Sorry, I just have a hard time feeling bad for this guy, and I fail to see how even now, as someone speaking out and warning others,that he's someone that others should look up to.  I mean, I get the sensational aspect of it, and I know these things are always meant first to "entertain", but I just find it hard to say that Herren's story was all that interesting, and what's more, all that uncommon...

That's one thing I kept thinking while I was sitting there watching.  OK, this is cool to see a guy playing in the same gyms I grew up playing in, but are people really watching this thinking that this is all that uncommon a story?  Guys drug their way out of sports all the time!  Hell, in between when I saw Unguarded and wrote this piece, former NASCAR star, Jeremy Mayfield, was nabbed with $100,000 in stolen goods and a few grams of Meth!  This shit happens all the time, and I'm sorry, but it's gonna take a lot more than the person being from New Bedford for me to think the story was worthy of a national expose...

Your OC dealer is not walking through that door....oh wait, there he is!
Hey, I'm glad Chris Herren cleaned up, and like I said before, I'm glad he's out there spreading the good word.  But consider this.  In watching Unguarded, you see a lot of footage from 1999, when Chris got out of rehab for the 1st time, and everyone is talking about how they "almost lost him" and how he's gonna be clean from then on out...and then he got worse than he'd ever been, again ending up in rehab after an overdose.  That tells you this isn't the 1st time he's professed himself as drug free, and if you know anything about addiction, that should also tell you that it's far too short sighted to view his recovery as a success.  Herren himself even says he needs to sometimes deal with his demons hour by hour.  Hour by hour? Does that sound like someone who's recovered to you?  Recover-ING, maybe, but far from recovered...

So, not only don't I think his story isn't all that rare and interesting, I think it's also absurdly incomplete.  Like The Social Network, or the Eminem Behind the Music that VH1 aired in like 1999.  Just another story being told, and being packaged, as a "complete story", when it's obvious to everyone that's watching that the story is far from over.  Entertaining?  Sure.  But meaningful, or eye opening like a lot of people are making it out to be? Nah, not even close.  Unless of course you were completely unaware that drugs and/or drug addicts actually existed...

Can you believe he left warm ups during a Celtics game to grab some OC's??? YES! HE'S A FREAKING DRUG ADDICT! THAT'S WHAT DRUG ADDICTS DO! MATTER OF FACT, IT'S USUALLY HOW THEY COME BY THE LABEL, ADDICT! What am I, the only person that's ever seen Intervention?!  Actually, making the kind of money he was pulling in, and living in the hospital capital of the world, I'm more surprised that his freaking OC dealer lived over an hour away!  But let's not get caught up in the details...

I enjoy stories of players that "should have made it" as much as the next guy, I'm just here to tell you this one isn't nearly as intriguing as the packaging of it suggests.  Show me the guy that beats drugs and goes on to have a 10 year career, not the guy that had it, blew, had it again, blew it again, and is now making money telling people his story.  Sorry, that's just not doin' it for me, no matter how big of a local legend the kid may have been...

I will tell you this, though.  I may not have enjoyed Unguarded, but I love The Money Pit.  So that is what I have to say about that.  Now, let's help you add some money to your own personal pit, and get down to picking some weekend winners...

What, are they testing missiles here?  Enjoy...  

Week 9 Picks
New England Patriots (-8) vs New York Giants

The Patriots defense, or lack there of, has been a major point of discussion this week, and for good reason. It's been typically awful since the season began.  Now the questions are abound that, if he's supposedly a defensive guru, AND he's the GM, then why isn't Bill Belichick able to figure it out?  A concern that gains more and more traction on a week following a loss, and one leading up to a match up with the team that many said ended the Patriots' era of invincibility...
Scott Pioli, anyone?

My take, is that like any other genius head coach or GM, Bill was/is only as smart as his supporting staff.  And not to sell his current guys short, but between Weis, Crennel, Pioli and Dimitrov leaving during his tenure, he's lost a lot of guys that were helping him look really good.  He's still a genius, don't get me wrong, but no genius is going to look as good when he continuously gets his cupboard raided.  And I think it's become apparent that the place he's feeling these types of losses the most, is in the personnel department.  More importantly, the talent evaluators.  I just don't think he's getting the same type of quality players in the draft (Seymour) or in free agency (Vrabel) as he did in the past, and he's feeling the effects of it on the field...

Will he get the help I feel he needs?  Probably not, but that doesn't make him a bad guy, or really even have me concerned.  After all, we are talking about a 5-2 team right now that almost annually makes the playoffs.  Sure, their success of late in the playoffs hasn't been that great, but those are one game situations.  And call me crazy, but 2 straight home playoff losses aside, I'd still take my chances with Bill B on my team's sideline in a 1 and done every day of the week.  Yep, and twice on Sunday...

This week, were they healthy (Bradshaw? Nicks?), I'd be all over the Giants.  Instead, I'll take the Patriots in a nice bounce back win.  They may lose at home in the playoffs, but it's something they haven't done in the regular season for a very long time.  23 straight, or somethin.  And while I wouldn't doubt if this one is close for a while, I expect the Pats to walk away with a 2 score victory...  

Atlanta Falcons (-7) @ Indianapolis Colts

The Colts can't stop the run, and that's all the Falcons want to do.  Obviously, I don't envision them having any problems executing that plan with great success...

Buffalo Bills (-1.5) vs New York Jets + UNDER 45.5

Here we go.  This game should tell us something.  If the Jets win, I'd be inclined to believe that they're more legit than they've shown.  Should Buffalo win, they'll basically be solidified as a force to be reckon with in terms of the AFC playoff picture.  Obviously this game won't end anyone's season, but don't be surprised if both teams come out playing as if it might.  There's a lot on the line here, if only in or minds.  Which is the only place all this really matters, anyway...

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+8) @ New Orleans Saints

Here's my token, "I just know I can't win picking the other way"/"The Bucs always screw me when I pick against them" pick of the week.  Coming off a sketchy loss to St. Louis, I'd normally love the Saints to bounce back big at home, but this is Tampa, and this is the NFC South.  The shadiest team, in the most unpredictable division from week to week in the National Football League history.  SO, for those reasons, and with no real statistical logic to back it up, I'm taking the Bucs.  Although they are coming off their bye, so maybe somehow that'll work to my advantage.  Or if Brees lights 'em up, that'll work for me too, seeing as he's my fantasy QB...

...yeah, you might not wanna take my advice on this one.  Seems like my head might not be in the right place...

I like how Rodgers hand crosses over the line in this picture.  Weird...
Green Bay Packers (-5.5) @ San Diego Chargers

San Deigo's in a downward spiral, there's no doubt about it.  Fortunately for them, their division sucks, so even a few more losses won't seal their fate.  Unfortunately for them, The Packers are in town, and coming off their bye, while the Chargers are still licking their wounds from Monday Night.  I like the Pack big in this one.  If the Chargers felt their season were on the line, then maybe I'd consider taking them, but like I said, they know that at 4-3, or even at 4-4, they'll still be right in the thick of the race for the AFC West...

Don't think the resurgent Steelers have forgotten about that
opening week beat down...
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) vs Baltimore Ravens

The Steelers looked great last week, in beating the Patriots, and I expect that solid play to continue as they look for revenge against a Baltimore team that beat them 35-7 to open the season.  Matter of fact, considering how inept the Raven offense has been of late, I wouldn't be surprised if we see the Steelers completely flip the script.  IT should all come down to the game plan.  When Tomlin and Pittsburgh come into a game with a good one, they're tough to beat.  Like the Patriots of old.  I expect them to have a great plan this week for containing Ray Rice, and that combined with home field should help push them past their biggest rival in the AFC North...

As for the rest of the games, I told myself I wasn't going to take any double digit favorites this week.  That seemed to work out well...

San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) @ Washington Redskins

Dallas Cowboys (-11) vs Seattle Seahwaks

Kansas City Chiefs (-4) vs Miami Dolphins

Houston Texans (-11) vs Cleveland Browns

Cincinnati Bengals (+3) @ Tennessee Titans

Denver Broncos (+8) @ Oakland Raiders

Monday Night
Chicago Bears (+8) @ Philadelphia Eagles

I know the Eagles are riding high, and I certainly like them to win, but with the Bears coming off their bye and having been on a roll, that's just too many points.  There's always the chance that Philly comes through with their 2nd blowout in as many weeks, and officially becomes the team that many had predicted, but I'll ride that unicorn when I actually see it, rather than attempting to predict it's arrival.  After all, it is a mythical creature, and those rat bastards are notoriously difficult to get a handle on...

Last Week: 6-9-0

Overall: 79-61-4 (.563)

As predicted, I'm going back to my LSU girls for a little karma, and after last week, Lord knows I could use it.  Had my first losing week of the season, last week, and now I'm stuck back down at around 65%.  Unacceptable people!  I demand 70% winners up in here!  And that's what I aim to get back to, starting by taking the #1 team in the country and the 5 points they're getting spotted.  Yeah, I'm crazy like that.  I don't like picking against the best team in the country when they're being spotted points.  I don't care where they're playing.  Especially since I know they'll have plenty of motivation, wanting to arrive home to these ladies above as the conquering heroes of Baton Rouge.  I know that'd be enough inspiration for me...

NCAA Top 25 Picks
(1) LSU (+5) @ (2) Alabama

(3) Oklahoma St. (-21) vs (17) Kansas St.

(4) Stanford (-21) @ Oregon St.

Washington (+16) vs (6) Oregon

(7) Oklahoma (-13.5) vs Texas A&M

(8) Arkansas (-5) vs (10) South Carolina

Northwestern (+16) @ (11) Nebraska

(13) Michigan (-4) @ Iowa

UCLA (+9.5) vs (20) Arizona St.

Pittsburgh (+2.5) vs (23) Cincinnati

Louisville (+13.5) @ (24) West Virginia

Last Week: 5-8-1

Overall: 63-34-1 (.648)

That's it for me, friends. Good luck, and have a great weekend...

Teddy Williams...



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