Thursday, December 01, 2011

Week 13 Picks: Wine Me, Fine Me, & Valentine Me...

Bobby Valentine is the new coach of the Boston Red Sox, and the Bernie Fine scandal is officially beginning to spin out of control.  Oh yeah, and we've got some NFL and NCAA games to pick.  Yep, there are no shortage of topics on which to wax poetic, so let's get to it...

Nah, this doesn't look like a staged photo attempting to convince the public
that they're all in this together.  No, not at all...
First up, we've got the hiring of Bobby V, a move that I'm not against in principle, but one that's already seemed to gotten the 2012 season off on the wrong foot...

It's like this.  Does Bobby Valentine know baseball? You're damn straight he does.  Can he handle a big market?  Sure.  I mean, he may have bumped heads with writers and fans when manager of the Mets, but he knows what he's getting himself into.  Fact is, he's a good baseball guy, and he's a good manager.  My issue, comes with the fact that this blatantly wasn't a unanimous hire by the front office AND the fact that with a 2 year deal, they seem to be feeding into the public opinion that their really just biding their time until one of the guys they really wanted (John Farrell, Joe Maddon), become available.  That's a bad sign, an even worse "strategy" (pretty laughable trying to predict 2 years down the road), and not exactly the most encouraging news for a fan base that watched it's team collapse down the stretch in epic fashion...
Joe Maddon knows where that "wait 2 years"
strategy is akin to...

See, while many will point to Bobby V's volatile nature, or his hard line, "my way or the highway" approach as being a bad fit for this roster, I'm far more concerned with the actions of the front office on this one than I am about his ability to manage the 2nd highest payroll in baseball to a successful season.  If anything, this team, this franchise, needed to represent a unified front on this decision after a tumultuous off season that's already seem numerous instances of infighting and finger pointing.  Instead, they make a hire that blatantly looks like one half of the decision makers were on board with (ownership) and the other half wasn't (Ben Cherington).  There's nothing wrong with that, mind you, but allowing that sort of "in house" thinking to become public is just yet another example of how this ownership group has lost all trust in anyone that's not Larry Lucchino, to make a decision.  My worry, is that will do nothing but create a more volatile situation in the Boston front office, which I can only imagine will have to eventually find it's way down to the field.  Bobby Valentine, or no Bobby Valentine...

So, yeah.  Don't hate the guy, (matter of fact, I'm more indifferent to this hiring than anything) but I'm sure as Hell not a fan of the process that brought him to Boston, OR the alleged "plan" that he's a part of , that will eventually land the Sox Joe Maddon or John Farrell.  I'm just not comfortable with any of that logic, and I don't think it bodes well for the off season ahead, and Bobby V's OR anyone's for that matter, tenure as manager of the Red Sox under the current management.  People say coaches eventually run their course, that their effectiveness usually has a shelf life.  Well, I think the same can be said for management, and it might take a drastic change at the top before my faith in this ownership group can be renewed...

He may sound defiant, but that doesn't make him wrong...
As for Bernie Fine up at Syracuse, since I've last written, the other shoe has apparently dropped.  I still stand behind my support of Jim Boeheim, and his blind loyalty to his longtime friend, but as for Bernie Fine, it's becoming more and more apparent that he's probably guilty.  Just too much smoke for there not to be fire.  Even if the smoke is coming out of the accuser's Meth pipe...

And, while it will obviously be viewed as pure deflection, I'm liable to believe that if anyone should be held accountable for allowing Bernie Fine to stay on as an assistant coach after the reports started to surface in 2002, it's ESPN and the Syracuse Post Standard.  We still don't know if Jim Boeheim knew or not, Or what he knew and when, but we know EXACTLY what ESPN and the Sub Standard knew, and the fact that they chose to sit on it, in my eyes, almost makes them accessories after the fact.  Granted, I didn't go to law school, and I took most of what I just said from old episodes of Law & Order, but the point remains.  They had this info, did nothing with it, and their feeble attempts to explain "why" they didn't do anything with it, have only gone to muddy the waters, and promote the theory that there was a widespread cover up.  Not to mention the fact that they let this story hang out there for like a week before revealing they even had these audio tapes.  Really?  I mean, who the Hell is runnin' things over there?  I mean, I know calling them accessories to child molestation may have been a little strong, but at the very least they're just God awful journalists, and should have to answer in some way, shape or form, for their negligence in handling what they had in their possession.  Not just a few statements from their suits that can be summed up with "Uhhhhh, we couldn't verify the tapes".  Yeah, whatever you say there, World Wide Leader...
Hot chicks can't cover for shoddy journalism.  Well, not completely...
Now, if Boeheim knew what all of these media outlets knew, then yeah, he's just as maliciously culpable as they are.  Like I said, I'm not trying to deflect, I'm just trying to deal with the facts.  Facts which, as we sit here today, tend to suggest this: Bernie Fine had an improper relationship with a young man, Jim Boeheim didn't know about it, ESPN and the Syracuse Post Standard did.  For that, I don't think Jim needs to be fired, but I think that ANYONE that knew about those tapes needs to be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.  If that ends up including Boeheim, then so be it.  But as we sit here today, I still take the man at his word, and feel he still deserves to be coaching his basketball team...

"...Now build me a God damned practice facility."
Oh, and one last thing.  I've been hearing a lot of "Jim Boeheim runs the city", and that talk was a major focus of his post game press conference after their Tuesday win.  Now, I'll be the first to admit that he's a huge figure up there, and the school plays a large roll in that city's economy and power structure, but to summise that he's somehow a Nucky Thompson-like figure who calls all the shots, and therefore had to have  known every bit of this scandal before it broke, is just ludicrous.  Again, I'm not ruling out that he could have known, I'm just saying that if he did, it's unlikely that he would have been able to, by himself, cover it up.  He just doesn't have nearly that kind of power.  Like he said in his press conference, if he did have that power, do you think it would have taken a donation by Carmelo Anthony to get him the new practice facility he'd been wanting for the better part of a decade?  Of course it wouldn't have.  If he had the power a lot of people want to say he had, Chancellor Cantor and the Mayor of Syracuse would have been digging the foundation themselves at his beck and call.  He's an influential guy, I'll give you that, I just don't think his influence has nearly the reach that all his detractors are trying to say it does...

Again, not deflecting, but Jim Boeheim should be the least of our worries in all of this.  ESPN, The Post Standard, they should be next in line once the powers that be have dealt with Bernie Fine...

Now, let's get down to some picks...    

Week 13 Picks
With half of this historic tandem missing, this shouldn't be much a game.
New England Patriots (-20) vs Indianapolis Colts

My dad passed along an article from this week's Wall Street Journal (ripped of here, by, which basically said you needed to be a sucker to pick an NFL team to cover a 20+ point spread.  Well, at the risk of telling my dad he raised a sucker, I'm going against that Wall St. logic, and taking the Pats.  Not just because they're "due" to cover one of these big numbers, but mostly because they'll be trotting out Dan Orlovsky at quarterback.  You know, the guy who the last time he started went 0-16 and made one of the most embarrassing plays in NFL history by running out of the back of the end zone as if he had no idea it were there?  Yeah, sorry Pops, but I'm takin' the Pats and the points...

San Francisco 49ers (-13) vs St. Louis Rams

They've had a long week after their loss in the Harbaugh Bowl, and I like San Fran's chances of bouncing back in a big way against division rival, St. Louis.  It's a big spread, I know, and a big spreads have been bad news in this year's NFL, but the numbers still suggest it's a great play.  Not only is San Fran 9-1-1 against the spread, this year (best mark in the league), but a win would guarantee them the NFC West title, and assure them of a highly anticipated playoff spot.  If that's not evidence enough as to why they should blow the Rams out, I don't know what is...

He believes he can fly, and that's good enough for my money...
Denver Broncos (+1) @ Minnesota Vikings + OVER 37

Still haven't lost picking with Tebow, so I'm still gonna pick him.  Gonna ride this Bronco til he bucks me, if you don't mind the semi-homosexual expression.  And if you do, I don't blame you.  Actually not a huge fan of it myself.  Yet, here we are...

Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) @ Houston Texans

I'm still on the Falcons, too, after I hastily traded them all from my fantasy team.  Hey, sometimes admitting when you're wrong can be profitable.  Hopefully, this will be another one of those times.  On a side note, it really is unfortunate what's happened to the Texans and their QB situation.  I guess they're just always going to be destined to be the team that everyone ALWAYS picks to do well before the season begins, but that's never able to actually put it together...

New Orleans Saints (-9) vs Detroit Lions

Two teams headed in drastically opposite directions, and that should be rather apparent when they meet on Sunday night in the Big Easy.  As for Ndamukong Suh, he's mentally unstable, and will most likely end up dying well before his time in some mysterious instance involving either a boat or a hunting rifle.  It's a shame, really, that someone with such skills has so little control over his emotions...

...That being said, my money is on the mysterious boating accident.  I'll even take it one step further. It'll be on Lake Michigan.  Hey, sounds crazy, but I successfully predicted that Laurie Fine sex tapes would surface, and according to Deadspin, that's exactly what's happened.  So, yeah.  I may be sick and twisted, but I'm the Nostradamus of this perverse and perverted shit, so you'd be wise to listen to what I've got to say.  Well, either wise, or equally as perverted or perverse...

Here's the rest of the slate, including the Bengals revenge and yet another shady road performance by the enigmatic Baltimore Ravens...

Buffalo Bills (-1.5) vs Tennessee Titans

Chicago Bears (-7) vs Kansas City Chiefs

New York Jets (-3) @ Washington Redskins

Miami Dolphins (-3) vs Oakland Raiders

Cincinnati Bengals (+7) @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Carolina Panthers (+3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cleveland Browns (+6.5) vs Baltimore Ravens

New York Giants (+7) vs Green Bay Packers

Monday Night
For whatever reason, these two Teds still haven't figured it out...
Jacksonville Jaguars (+3) vs San Diego Chargers + OVER 38.5

I've been picking with Tebow, picking with the Falcons, and picking against the Chargers with great success, so I'm not gonna stop, now.  They may have more to play for than Jacksonville, thanks to the pathetic nature of their division, but just because they need to win, and should win, doesn't mean they will.  I expect a performance similar to that put on by Philly and Seattle last night.  A game in which I had the Seahawks, by the way.  Both to win and to cover.  The Jags aren't as good as Seattle, but I imagine they'll play with the same sort of intensity in front of their home crowd, which should prove as more than enough to topple the confusingly inept Chargers...

Last Week: 1-3-0

Overall: 109-81-4 (.572)

WOW.  Had I know Virginia Tech had such potential, I probably would have been picking them a lot sooner and a lot more often.  I hadn't searched more than 3 seconds with the term "Virginia Tech girls", and I found these.  Just a thing of beauty.  And you just know you're in for a good week when the first page of images provides an underboob shot.  That's just good NCAA karma, right there.  Which I could definitely use after last week's less than pleasant results...

NCAA Top 25 Picks
(12) Georgia (+13.5) vs (1) LSU

(3) Oklahoma St. (-3) vs (13) Oklahoma

(5) Virginia Tech (-7) vs (21) Clemson

(24) Southern Miss (+13.5) @ (7) Houston

(8) Oregon (-30) vs UCLA

New Mexico (+49.5) @ (9) Boise St.

(11) Michigan St. (+9.5) vs (15) Wisconsin

(16) Kansas St. (-11) vs Iowa St.

(18) TCU (-39.5) vs UNLV

Texas (+3) @ (19) Baylor

Last Week: 6-8-1

Overall: 94-48-3 (.659)

There you have it, friends.  Hope you enjoyed your stop to my little piece of Interweb, and I hope you all have a great weekend.  Oh, and keep an eye out.  I'll have my inaugural College Hoops Top 10 rolling out any week now.  Something you'll definitely want to keep an eye on as the season progresses...

Teddy Williams...



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