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Thursday, January 27, 2011

College Hoops Top 25: Jimma Donna! & The Road to New Orleans...


Ever just wanna get away?  Well, after the Cuse got dropped by 20 at home at the hands of Seton Hall, their 3rd straight overall and 2nd in the Carrier Dome, I had that very question creep into my mind.  So I figured, why the Hell not?  Why not 'just get away'?  So this weekend, I am just getting away.  And better yet, I'm using this weekend as sort of a college basketball therapy.  Yup, in just a few short hours (weather permitting), I will be on my way to pay homage to one of the greatest sports achievements of my lifetime.  I'm headed to New Orleans, kids, to celebrate the 8th anniversary of the Syracuse men's basketball National Championship.  In the very city in which it was viciously fought for, and on the very streets in which it was rightfully earned...

OK, truth is I'm just heading down there for a 4 day bachelor party that's been 4 months in the planning, but forgive me if I tried to tie things together nicely and include some sort of half-assed theme.  After all, you know my penchant for those sort of things.  And that's 'half assed themes', NOT 4 day bachelor parties at remote and slightly exotic locations.  Although I'm sure that after this weekend, I'll probably have a penchant for those as well...

SO here ya go, my damies.  A little college hoops action for your Super Bowl bye week viewing pleasure.  And don't worry, I'll be back next week with all the betting info you'll need to know for the big game.  And seeing as how I've been straight ON FIRE! lately (see: predicting the championship games to within 3 points total), it'll definitely be in your best interest to see what I've got to say.  That, and I'm sure I'll have some hilarious yet monetarily beneficial props that you're gonna wanna have some action on.  Like, ya know, the length of Rodgers facial hair at kick off...

Yeah, it should be a good time.  And speaking of good times, I gotta get this thing down so I can get to the airport.  SO here we go, friends.  Enjoy...      




College Hoops Top 25
1. Ohio St. (21-0)

I had basically given the Buckeyes a pass.  Lose a close one in Illinois, and you'll still be my #1.  Well, they pulled it out against the Illini, then thumped the #12 Boilermakers by 23.  You're move, Duke...

2. Duke (18-1)

3. Pittsburgh (19-2)

4. Texas (17-3)

Winning back to back road wins @ Kansas and then an emotionally charged OK State, may be the best such stretch any team's had so far this season.  Ricky Barnes is coachin' 'em up, baby!  And this Longhorn squad is gonna be a tough out.  A REAL tough out...

5. Kansas (19-1)


6. UCONN (17-2)

I've officially taken off the "UKemba" tag, as some of his suite mates have finally started to show up (namely Jeremy Lamb).  Just make sure Shabazz Napier doesn't have the ball at the end of the game, and the Huskies should be all set for a steady, season long run at the top of the Big East...

7. Villanova (17-3)

Their loss @ Providence isn't as bad as it seems, and their win @ Syracuse is looking a little less impressive as the days creep by.  Jay Wright's Cats still have the ability to shoot your lights out, like they did in the Carrier Dome, and combined with great senior guard play that will always make them a dangerous squad in the one 'n done format that is the NCAA Tournament...

8. Missouri (17-3)


9. Syracuse (18-3)

Things are bad in the Cuse right now, I'm not gonna lie.  It's just the fact remains they probably aren't nearly as bad as they seem.  I don't care how good you are, if team's consistently open up against you hitting 70% from NBA 3 range to beat your zone, it's gonna be pretty damn tough to win.  Now don't get me wrong, a lot of that onus falls on the Orange themselves.  Their sloppy ball handling and inefficient offensive possessions certainly aren't helping the cause...

That being said, they're still one of the Top 10 teams in the country on talent alone, and barring this temporary slide turning into a prolonged losing streak, that's exactly where I'll keep them...

10. Notre Dame (17-4)

11. Wisconsin (15-4)

12. Texas A&M (17-2)

13. BYU (20-1)

Pretty sure his name had been "Jimmy" Fredette up until this year, but whatever, "Jimmer" is great.  Especially for someone like me, who likes to predict possible headlines or come up with hilarious game calls.  My head's already flooded with everything from "The Jimmer Man" to "Jimma Donnnnna!".  And just you know Gus Johson will be bustin' out that second one out when Fredette is making it rain from the parking lot in the early rounds of the tournament.  And when throwing to commercial he'll say...

"Jimm Jimmer! He's got the keys to the Beamer!.  And he's driving the Cougars right into the Sweet 16!..."

I'm right, you know I'm right, but that does nothing to take away from how awesome it's gonna be when he actually does it.  DO you, Gus,  DO YOU!...

14. Purdue (17-4)

15. Washington (15-4)

16. Vanderbilt (14-4)

17. Kentucky (15-4)


18. Florida (16-4)

Impressive 2 OT win vs Georgia, but I'm still not gonna buy these Gators until I see some better consistency.  The past few seasons, inconsistency has been there MO.  Never a good thing.  But they have the talent to contend if they can ever steady the ship.  So far, not so bad...

Oh and a great line from this week: "Remember when Billy Donovan left to coach the Magic?....oh wait."

Ha!  What a Ted.  Great coach, but a Ted nonetheless...

19. Illinois (14-6)

20. San Diego St. (20-1)

It's never good when you take a huge dump on your first real National stage, especially when you came in with a really soft looking 20-0 record.  Get ready for the Aztecs to fall as quickly as they rose if they don't right the ship, and get back to smokin' the also-rans in the Mountain West...

21. Florida St. (15-5)


22. Louisville (16-4)

I'm thinkin' that loss @ Providence, his first loss ever to the Friars, really got under Pitino's collar.  Ya know, just that chick that tried to extort him did that time on that restaurant table?  Yeah, so he's fired up, and he's got his boys playin' a good brand of defense that should serve them well and prepare them for the type's of games that are going to become more increasingly common as the season progresses...

23. Minnesota (15-4)

24. Utah St. (18-2)

25. Cincinnati (18-3)

Hasn't been a lot of love for this 3 loss Big East team, so allow me to toss some their way in the shape of a Top 25 spot.  Their only 3 losses on the season are @ SYR, @ NOVA & @ ND, and no one can blame them for those.  It would be nice if they had a marquee win to point to, but that still doesn't mean they're not a good ball club...

Besides, I bet they nail down that big winner sooner or later.  That's how it is in the Big East.  You can't survive on beating up the beat squads, because there just aren't that many.  I wrote them and asked that they just change the conference name to "THE BEAST", in all caps, and be done with it, but I'm still waiting to hear back.  I bet they opt to use it, though.  I mean, how could they not.  IT's gold, Jerry! Gold!


just missed: Georgetown; West Virginia; Arizona; Georgia 


There you have it, friends.  Now, I'm off to retrace Carmelo's historic footsteps, and hopefully collect a pair of beads or two.  Which I'm pretty sure, if I follow exactly in the trail he blazed, shouldn't be too much of an issue...


Have a great weekend, and I'll see you for the Super Bowl...


Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>

Friday, January 21, 2011

Championship Weekend: IT's Time for Some Stuff...


Time can be a peculiar animal.  Like, it hasn't been any longer than usual since my last post, but for some reason, it seems like I haven't written anything in ages.  It's probably due in large part to the fact that I've yet to react to the Patriots' stunning loss AND that I've continued to slack in terms of my college basketball rankings, but whatever the reason it's put me in the mood to clean some house.  Ya know, tie up some loose ends.  Even though I shouldn't technically have to...

Hey, like I said, time can be a peculiar thing.  And since I know we're all short on it, I'll end this little intro and get right down to business.  After all, just because the Patriots lost in excruciatingly painful fashion doesn't mean there still isn't business to tend to.  Because there is.  But before I get down to it, let's first get a little college hoops analysis out of our systems, shall we?  Yes, we shall...

Enjoy, friends.  Or should I say, have a good...time...  


College Hoops Top 10
1. Ohio St. (19-0)

I'm still not fully convinced half their team isn't over 25 (I'm looking at you, Mr. David Lighty), but the fact remains the Buckeyes have the talent AND the toughness to be considered the front runners here in the relatively early going.  Thad Motta continues to recruit like a BOSS, and his latest import, Jared Sullinger, is making the analysts think they voted the wrong freshmen onto the pre season All America team.  Kid's a beast.  The Bucks will get a real test when they travel to Illinois in what's gonna be one Hell of a weekend, but a close loss there would do little  to sway my  current opinion of of good they are.  Hey, that's just how I operate my rankings.  Ya know, like a SANE person.  And I was gonna say "operate my poll" there, but as you can see I take my college basketball very seriously...

2. Syracuse (18-1)

Yeah...not so much
I'm not usually one to take a lot from a loss, but being able to fight back after going down 19-0...at Pitt...AND without Kris Joesph?  Well even I would say that was pretty damn inspiring.  And it showed me that, when healthy, the Orange are the best team in the country's best conference.  No matter how awful Fab Melo has been.  Scoop Jardine and Rick Jackson make this team go, and you're not going to find a better inside-outside combination anywhere in the country.  Questions remain about their ability to handle the ball in key situations, but that's something that would prevent them from winning in the Final Four, NOT something that would prevent them from getting there...

3. Pittsburgh (18-1)

You know that "If you were starting a team, who would you pick..." question?  Well if I'm starting a college basketball program right now, I'm picking Pitt's Jamie Dixon to be my head coach.  He's just the man, plain and simple.  He'll teach you efficient and effective interior passing techniques one minute, and save you from a car accident the next.  What more do you want?  And while this Panther team may not be as talented as the crew with DaJuan Blair and Sam Young, they're pretty damn close.  From the way they're gelling, this could very well be the year the Panthers finally make a serious run for a National Title.  Lord knows they're shadily overdue...

4. Duke (17-1)

With Kyrie Irving healthy (the cast comes off February 4th), they're the clear cut #1.  Without him, the Dukies will have to be content with slumming it here towards the tale end of the Top 5...

5. Kansas (18-0)

Remember, people.  This is Kansas.  And as with most Kansas teams, my one worry come tourney time, is who's going to take the big time shots?  I like Josh Selby as much as the next guy, but this is just more of the same from Bill Self and the Jayhawks.  A dominant regular season, and then a less than stellar (by their lofty standards, at least) run in the March.  Still, on talent alone, I'd have to favor them on a neutral court right now against anyone not already mentioned in the Top 4...

6. Texas (15-3)

Rick Barnes' boys will have a big test Saturday when they travel to Kansas, but blowing out A&M in Austin was definitely a good warm up.  Their depth and size are going to give a lot of team's problems, and I really like how swingman Jordan Hamilton (27 against the Aggies) is blossoming into one of the best scorer's in the country.  Not only has he doubled his scoring and rebounding output from his freshmen season, but at 6'7", the fact he connects on nearly 45% from 3 makes him a matchup problem for nearly every team the Longhorns will play...

7. Villanova (16-2)

Speaking of Saturday smack downs, rumor has it 33,000 tickets have already been sold for Nova's game up @ the Carrier Dome this weekend.  I remember being at the "first" game that broke the Dome record back when good Melo was there in 2003, and this atmosphere should be just as electric.  A loss here does nothing to discredit Mr. GQ Jay Wright and his Wildcats, and maybe that free rolling attitude will propel them to a nice upset, and a signature win to stow away come tournament seeding time...

8. UKemba (15-2)

I call 'em "UKemba", because Calhoun's Huskies have proved to be little more than what the Kemba Walker allows them to be.  That being said, he's headed for an All America season, and that alone is enough to solidify UCONN as a Top 10 team.  Not to mention he's already proven to be the most clutch shooter in the Nation.  If they can mesh around him, they could be REALLY dangerous, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the team trend downward if Walker doesn't continue to play at this absurdly high level.  Again, they go as he goes.  Hence, UKemba...

9. San Diego St. (20-0)

Chances are, you've yet to see the Aztecs play.  Chances also are, that fact lands you in the majority.  They're good, though.  Top 10 good.  And if you need further proof, just check out their sophomore big man, Kawhi Leonard.  Hes' only averaging 16 and 11 en route to his team's 20-0 start.  Ya know, no big deal...

10. Missouri (16-3)

I know I seem to harp on coaches a lot, but the importance of the coach is something I enjoy so much about the college game.  That being said, the defensive attitude Mike Anderson brought with him from UAB to Mizzou is making all the difference.  He's made the Tigers a team nobody wants to play.  They make you work, and they'll run you rabid...

just missed: Kentucky; Notre Dame; Illinois; Texas A&M


OK, maybe that wasn't my usual Top 25, but it's certainly a start.  And rest assured, I'm watching as much college basketball this season as I probably ever have.  At least since 2003.  So though my analysis may not be there in volume as it usually is this time of year, have no fear that when it's time to dissect that magical bracket, I'll be more prepared than a hooded coach in an AFC divisional playoff game.  Oh wait, probably not the best example.  Hell of a segue, though!..


I don't have a ton to say about the Patriots loss to the Jets this past weekend, and to be honest, I haven't really had a "hangover" in wake of it, either.  Something I've chalked up in large part to the fact that they played like shit.  And more to the point, Tom Brady played like shit.  So even though I was surprised that they lost, AND surprised with the fact that Brady played like complete ASS, I'm not surprised that they lost, because Tom Brady played like ASS!  Basically, if you'd told me Brady was going to play one of his worst games ever, I would have picked the Jets to win.  He did, and the Jets won.  SO again, "surprise" wouldn't be the emotion I choose to describe my reaction.  Disappointment, maybe.  But certainly not surprise...

And as for the fans that want to blame Belichick for not preparing for a zone defense, or for sitting Welker to start the game?  Well they're probably the same Pink Hatted Teds that were booing the Pats as they went into the locker room at half time, so I wouldn't take anything they say too seriously.  Or listen to them at all, actually.  Did Bill make mistakes?  Sure he did.  Did his mistakes lose the Patriots the game?  Not in my eyes.  And even if they did, his track record will tell you that at least he had the best intentions, and was most likely using a formula that's led him to great success in the past...

Hey, teams win and teams lose, and it's our job as fans and pseudo journalists to try and figure out how and why.  For my money, this one's a 50/50 split.  50% the Jets played well, and 50% Tom Brady played like ass.  A disappointing end to a promising season, for sure, but more or less the result you can expect when your best player, and your leader, has the worst game of his career...

Hats off to the Jets, they deserve it.  And hats off to Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan.  They've certainly proven me wrong more times than I'd like to admit this season, and I wouldn't be surprised if they do it at least one more time before all is said and done...

Speaking of which, that sounds like another segue, doesn't it?  Why yes, yes it does.  And for good reason...

          

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) vs New York Jets (Sunday @ 630 pm)

What is, "A fat, foot rapist with good pocket presence?"

Until now, that was the only answer to the question, "What do you get when you combine Ben Roethlisberger and Rex Ryan?"  Now, there's a more suitable, and less disgusting answer...or Jeopardy style "question", if you will.  What is, the AFC Championship...

And while I had glowing words for the Jets in describing their win over the Patriots, that doesn't mean I'm picking them to win.  Matter of fact, when asked all week who I was going to pick in this game, I've been saying "Al Qaeda" or "Osama bin Laden".  That's how much I dislike both of these teams.  That being said, I still have to pick a winner...

I'm giving the Steelers the edge in this one not because they least resemble an international terror organization, but more because they're at home and well tested in these type's of situations.  Not to say the Jets, who were in last year's AFC title game, don't have the needed experience to take this thing down, it's just from a betting standpoint I feel much more comfortable rolling with a home team that I've seen do it before.  In a perfect world, I'd 3 point tease both this and the Green Bay game down, and then take both the Packers and Steelers to win by the half point, but seeing as that's not the case, I figure taking both of those teams to cover the field goal + is my best course of action...

Steelers 24 Jets 20


Green Bay Packers (-3.5) @ Chicago Bears (Sunday @ 3 pm)

Much like with their game last weekend against Atlanta, I'm picking the Packers in this one not only because I like what they're doing, but because I don't trust their opposition.  Namely, I don't trust Jay Cutler...

Believe me, the Bears defense is for real, and they're going to give Aaron Rodgers some issues.  Unfortunately for Julius Peppers and associates, that seems to be when Aaron Rodgers is at his best.  As is being represented by his Superman impression above...

It's due to Rodgers, in fact, that I've made the Pack my pick to win the Super Bowl.  Hey, I figured I picked them to make it there before the season started, so why the Hell not, right?  And besides, they are the hottest team in football right now, and hot teams with hot QB's tend to have a pretty good track record in situations like this...

IT'll be a grudge match, that's for sure.  With tempers and emotions running higher than Lawrence Taylor on a tour of South America.  But the Beard will prevail, and the Pack will march on to the Super Bowl.  My only fear is that somehow brings Brett Favre back into the equation...

Eh, you can't win 'em all...

Packers 21 Bears 17   


Last Week: 3-2-0

2010-11 Top Picks: 92-71-4 (.563)

2010-11 Overall: 162-116-6 (.581)


There you have it friends.  A little hoops, a little football, a couple cocaine references.  All in all, not a bad little post if I do say so myself.  Per usual you should keep your eyes peeled for my latest outbursts on Twitter (@RoochNation), but other than that, I'll catch you next week...

Have a great weekend, kids.  And I hope you considered this, time well spent.  See that?  Full circle, baby. BAM!


Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>

Friday, January 14, 2011

Divisional Picks: It's All About The Quest...


Carl: Hey Chris, you know what I just got?  The box set of 'The Lord of the Rings'.  It's awesome...

Chris: Yeah, but you remember that giant eagle they rode in the first one that then rescues them at the end of the third one?

Carl: Yeah, yeah.

Chris: Yeah, why didn't they just fly the eagle to Mordor instead of spending three movies walking there?

Carl: That's not what it's about Chris.  It's about...the quest...


Now to some, that may just seem like a random, yet hilarious, segment from a popular episode of Family Guy (Baby Not On Board).  And it is.  But to me, for today's purposes, it will stand to be rather multi-functional.  Not only does it make a good point in reference to a Lord of the Rings plot hole (I love finding plot holes), but it also does well to embody the spirit of this week's match up between the Pats and the Jets, and more importantly, the "pageantry" that's been leading up to it...


'Look out, Frodo!!'
Think about it, kids.  Just because the Jets' penchant for midweek smack talk lends itself to becoming old and played out by the time we reach Thursday and Friday, doesn't mean you'd want to trade it for anything in the world.  It is, after all, about "the quest", and all that comes with it.  So just because the banter becomes old and stale, doesn't mean we as fans should wish it away.  Because without it, without all the pre game angle-shooting, never ending press conferences and sensationalized headlines, it's just a football game.  OR to fit today's theme, it's just a couple of hairy midgets tossing a piece of metal into a volcano.  And that wouldn't be nearly as exciting, now would it?  No, of course it wouldn't...
'Google image search "Rex Ryan hobbit feet" + you STILL get Jenn Sterger! HA!...and DAMN!'
So while I won't go as far as to pair each character in the trilogy with a player or coach in this Sunday's game (although Brady would totally be the giant eagle and Rex would totally be licking and sniffing the Hobbits' furry feet), I do want to recognize the importance of the hype that's led up to it.  Even if it has become a bit unbearable.  It's the hype, after all, that provides the guaranteed entertainment.  IT's not whether or not the ending is what we had though, or even hoped it would be.  IT's the build up, the actual journey and the quest itself.  That's where the bulk of the fun lies.  So just because it's become a little tiresome and almost a parody of itself, don't look away.  If you do, you might miss the only chance you have to marvel at how appropriate and compelling this match up actually is...


Now, the Pats and Jets have their own trilogy to complete on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.  And while this match up may not be the last stop on either team's overall "quest", it will move one of the bitter rivals one step closer to being able to call themselves the NFL's 'Lord of the Ring' for the 2010-2011 season...


'The flaming I?'
And while my pick for this game may be as predictable to most as that last line was both corny and tacked on, I figure it's worth shellin' it out to you fine people anyway.  Ya know, because that's probably half the reason you chose to frequent my blog in the first place...


So here ya go, friends.  Another set of can't miss playoff selections that will hopefully tickle your fancy and fill up your wallet.  And remember.  IT's all about the quest.  So if you don' read the WHOLE thing, it's quite possible the world will fall into the hands of goblins and evil wizards...and quite possibly some sort of evil, flaming eye that's apparently the most powerful being in the universe.  Personally, when I hear "flaming eye" I think of Isaac Mizrahi (not even sure why I know who he is), but I think we've already deconstructed The Lord of the Rings enough for one blog, don't you?  Hey, it's not my fault it's been on Encore all week...


Thankfully, I won't have to contemplate watching it at all this weekend.  And neither will you.  Enjoy...         

Divisional Picks


New England Patriots (-8.5) vs New York Jets (Sunday @ 430 pm)

It's safe to say we all knew I was going to pick the Patriots.  Pick them to win, pick them to cover, pick them to win the freaking Super Bowl.  Hey, what can I say?  I'm on board.  The question then comes to this: Do I think the Patriots are going to blow the Jets out?  And the answer, is NO, no I don't.  Then again, I guess that may hinge on what your definition of a "blow out" is...

Despite seemingly every factor being in the Patriots' favor (they blew them out last time, Sanchez is awful in the cold, they're at home), it's just hard to blow a "good" team out twice in one season.  IT just doesn't really happen that often.  Not like I researched it, or anything, but I'm more than certain the numbers would back me up.  Beating a "good" team twice in one season, however, why that happens all the time, as our next game will clearly support.  And that's what I figure the Pats to do.  They'll beat the Jets.  Won't blow 'em out, won't let 'em "hand around", they'll just beat 'em.  By enough points to cover the spread, but NOT by enough points for the ingenious and industrious Patriot fans to spend most of the 2nd half using Photoshop and YouTube to create viral masterpieces that mockingly chronicle the mighty Jets downfall...

'Weeeeeeeeeee!'
I see Brady targeting CromartieDBs call him out (I'll let you decide what "DB" means in that instance).  Oddly enough, and I know it sounds sacrilege, but I see that strategy actually leading to a Brady pick early in the game.  Breaking his string of like 400 or whatever straight throws without a pick.  Naturally it will be followed by a Devin McCourty

But let me make one thing perfectly clear.  I'm not totally counting the Jets out of this thing.  I'm picking them to lose by more than 9 points, sure, but that doesn't mean I'd be shocked if they won the game.  Last time I checked, the Patriots' season ended last year at home with them as a favorite too, didn't it?  And also, if I'm not mistaken, the last time the Patriots' were so heavily favored in a playoff game was the 2008 Super Bowl, was it not?  And again, this may be a little sacrilege, but what happened in that game, huh?  Exactly.  So combine those paranoid elements with the fact that this secondary is still prone to giving up large chunks of yardage to less than stellar QBs, and you should clearly see that while the well rested Patriots should be able to win this one going away, it wouldn't be a total shock if they ended up in some sort of 4th quarter rock fight...

Obviously, I don't think that's going to be the case, but like any good journalist, I like to cover my ass.  Ya know, so I can pretend I was right after the fact...

Pats 31 Jets 17

And it's on to the next...  


Baltimore Ravens (+3.5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (Saturday @ 430 pm)

Speaking of divisional rivalries, this one's got every bit the vigor of the Jets and Pats, it just doesn't get nearly the amount of hype.  Partly because their coaches and teams aren't nearly as entertaining and enigmatic, but mostly because the only things interesting in Baltimore and Pittsburgh are crab cakes and unemployment.  And lots of street drugs, if you're down with The Wire.  OK, maybe that's not entirely true, and realistically a little harsh, but I have a great distaste for both these teams, and just because I have to pick one of them, doesn't mean I'm going to be kind...

'Premeditation?'
In reality, it's a "Yankee" type hate that I have for both of these franchises.  I hate 'em because they're always good, and I respect them for it.  Not something I'd ever admit to during a game, but something that would make me seem ignorant should I not at least acknowledge it...

As for picking this game against the spread (ATS), I've decided to walk the finest of lines.  Well, not really I guess, seeing as I'll win with a wide range of outcomes.  But I'm taking that 3.5 points and using every last half of it...

Here's how I see it.  The Ravens are good.  They split with the Steelers this year, and they've proven over the last 2 seasons that they can win playoff games on the road.  In a lot of people's eyes, they're primed to take that next step.  While I don't necessarily disagree, there is one hurdle they'll still have to jump before I pick them in a spot like this.  They'll have to beat Ben Roethlisberger.  Something they haven't been able to do the last 6 times they've faced him.  And as has often been the case in the recent editions of this rivalry, it will be Big Ben leading yet another comeback and pushing the Steelers into yet another AFC title game...

What's that, you say?  Didn't I pick the Ravens?  Why yes I did.  And here's that fine line.  Big Ben's final drive leads to a come from behind 23-20 win for the Steelers over the Ravens, setting up an even bigger match up the following week in New England...

But hey, let's not get ahead of ourselves here.  One weekend at a time.  Remember, it's about the quest.  Gotta enjoy the quest...  


Green Bay Packers (+2.5) @ Atlanta Falcons (Saturday @ 8 pm)

I bounced around on this one a bunch, but eventually just went with the ole "first instinct" adage, and settled on taking Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers...

All year I've said (with mixed betting success, mind you) that I was believer in the Packers and a NON believer in the 13-3 Falcons.  Whether I'm right or wrong is totally another issue, but the point is here that I've decided to stick with my guns.  Even if Green Bay has gone from almost missing the playoffs to every body's flavor of the week...

So while the Falcons may be as good a home team as the NFC has to offer, I still like the Packers chances of  going in there and taking it down.  They've had to play with desperation for goin' on a month now, so they got that goin' for 'em.  And to be quite honest, a few offensive line issues aside, they have the most complete team in the NFC.  Probably the most complete team NOT named the New England Patriots, to be honest.  And after seeing what they did in New England with backup Matt Flynn @ the helm, I think anyone would be hard pressed to argue that fact...

In addition, another adage I like to adhere to is to always look at your pre season predictions before you start picking teams in the playoffs.  Why?  Well mostly so you can laugh at yourself, but also just in case you can spot some sort of trend, even if it only applies to you.  I happened to pick the Packers to lose in this year's Super Bowl....to the Colts.  But ignore the part where I was completely wrong for a second and focus on where I could possibly be right.  A team that was pegged for greatness at the start of the season, only to stumble a bit along the way.  Now, they're peaking at just the right time.  So I gotta figure, if I picked them to win the NFC back in August, and they're playing their best football of the season right now, it would be pretty stupid of me not to take them as a 3 point underdog, wouldn't it?  Why yes, yes I would...

Green Bay 27 Atlanta 20

Packers/Patriots Super Bowl?  That's what I'm thinkin'.  But no time for that now, either.  We're still questing, here...

Chicago Bears (-10) vs Seattle Seahawks (Sunday @ 1pm)

My final pick of the week is actually the weekend's 3rd game, but seeing as there was no way I was going to bury the Pats/Jets at the bottom of this week's picks, here we are....

For the Seahawks, their ride ends here, even if the Bears are the shadiest team to ever receive a bye.  To host let alone win 1 playoff game was more than Seattle could have hoped for this year, and while I don't expect them to "mail it in" with a berth in the NFC title on the line, I don't expect them to put up much of a fight, either...

'Rob Lowe? Emilio Estevez? Dammit!'
For the Bears, it's all about the two players pictured above.  It's about how much damage Julius Peppers can do on defense, and hopefully for Bears' fans, how little damage Jay Cutler can do on offensive.  Damage, that is, to his own team.  It's like he's Bernie in Weekend at Bernie's, and the Chicago running game and defense are the one's playing the roles of those two Teds holdin' Bernie up.  Pretty sure one of 'em was Jonathan Silverman and the other was that kid from St Elmo's Fire.  Ya know, the only guy from that movie whose name doesn't come to mind right away.  But neither of those guys were in The Lord of the Rings, so it's not important...

Point is, as long as Jay Cutler doesn't lose this one for the Bears, they should have no trouble winning.  And by the 10 allotted points, too.  Chicago might not be exactly what we think of when we think #2 overall seed in the NFC, but they can run the ball, and stop people on defense.  In my experience, that's a pretty good combination to have, especially in the one and done playoffs...

Bears 27 Seahawks 13

...and Petey Carroll will say "gosh darn it" in the post game press conference, as is his want.  It's just too bad they aren't playing this game at Qwest Field.  That really would have tied things together nicely...


Last Week: 3-1-1

Top Picks: 89-69-4 (.562)

Overall: 159-114-6 (.581)


By the way, if you missed Wes Welker possibly winning a lot of money from his Patriots' teammates by playing the Rex Ryan edition of the "Meow game" made famous in Super Troopers, you're gonna wanna check that out.  Other than that, that's all I've got for ya.  I promise that next week I'll actually unveil my long awaited College Hoops Top 25, and also that I'll do a better job of coming up a theme not inspired by my DVR.  Then again, those do tend to be the best...
'Enjoyed, I hope you did'

Carl: Oh, well have you ever seen Krull?

Chris: No.

Carl: Yeah, you don't need to see Krull...


Hope you enjoyed the Quest, friends, because after all, that is what it's all about.  Large eagle or not...

Oh, and have a great weekend...


Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>

Friday, January 07, 2011

Wild Card Weekend: Underdogs & Underboobs


Greetings friends, and welcome to "The Once".  For those that may have been slacking on their Rooch Nation as of late (and I'll give you a pass since it's been the holiday season), that's not the word once, but the Spanish word "on-say", meaning '11.  IT's just like El Nino, except it's actually real, and it's how I'll be referring to the current year for at least the next couple weeks, so I suggest you get used to it.  OR at least learn to tolerate it...

But there's no time to waste discussing the finer points of Espanol.  It's the freakin' playoffs!  And just as you'd get your fake tree out of storage for Christmas, or dust off your ceramic pumpkin for Halloween, it's time to bring the legendary Jim Mora clips out of the archives and get ready for the celebration.  The celebration in this case being the games, and of course more pertinently, my picks.  So let's get right down to it...

Playoffs?!?! You're damn right, coach.  And here at Rooch Nation, we make sure not to spare any of the "diddly poo".  And we also try NOT to ruin classic press conference clips...unlike a certain beer vendor I know.  FAIL, Coors.  ULTIMATE FAIL...

Enjoy...

Wild Card Picks




Seattle Seahawks (+10.5) vs New Orleans Saints (Saturday @ 430 pm)

For those of you that may not count yourselves among the prolific when it comes to spotting patterns and trends, allow me to throw you a bone.  For whatever reason this week, I've gone solely with underdogs.  Not just so I could have a "theme" (if that were the case I would have worked it into my intro, duh), but because in looking at each game, I determined the underdog to always have the better value in terms of betting...

Perfect example is taking the Seahawks and nearly 11 points at home against the Saints.  Do I think the Seahawks are going to win?  Of course I don't.  But they have a great home field advantage and their playing a team that's not exactly the picture of health.  To me, that screams great value right there.  Screams it louder than Pete Carroll's giddy laugh on the practice field all week.  At least, that's how I've imagined their practices have gone this week...

And that's another thing.  While there are plenty of legitimate reasons as to why the 'Hawks are 11 point dogs and why the Saints should walk into Qwest Field and roll them like a vanilla Dutch, I've grown more and more comfortable in recent years picking teams that everyone universally agrees doesn't have a shot.  Oddly enough, they seem to win at a much higher clip than you would ever expect.  Then again, maybe that has something to do with the fact that I don't bet, and just get more enjoyment from picking against the masses, even if I am wrong more often than I'd like to think...

Oh well, whether it's pride or wisdom, either way I'm goin' with Seattle.  They may suck, and they may not "deserve" to be in the playoffs, but their great home crowd and their "nobody is picking us" attitude should be just enough to make taking them with the 11 points the right choice to get your weekend started off on the right foot...

New Orleans 31 Seattle 23

...and speaking of feet...  


New York Jets (+2.5) @ Indianapolis Colts (Saturday @ 8 pm)

Next up on the underdog parade, I'm taking the Jets over the Colts.  OR as I heard them referred to as earlier in the week, "Feety & the Rapists".  Pretty sure that's libelous, right there, but seeing as it's hilarious, and I didn't come up with it, I figure I'll use it anyway.  Besides, I couldn't find a picture on Google of a foot with Ryan's face superimposed on the big toe and a few of his players likewise pictured on the smaller toes, so there really wasn't anything else I felt I could do...(and what the F is superimposed???)

Rex has said this game against Manning and the Colts is "personal", but that's just Rex being Rex.  Personal?  Of course it's personal!  Every game should be personal! I mean, I don't know about you, but ANY time someone runs at me with the intent of slamming me to the ground, I take it personally.  Again, maybe that's me, I don't know...

Personal or not, I like the Jets in this spot mainly because...well, because they're the better team.  Peyton Manning is the man, and he will probably lead a comeback effort that will make Rex's feet sweat, but ultimately, I think the superior talent of the Jets will shine through just enough to push them into the 2nd round.  A round in which they'd have to travel to New England to face the top seeded Patriots.  Hmmmmm.  Could that be the reason for me picking underdog #2?  For another chance to embarrass the Jets @ Gillette Stadium?  Guess you'll have to wait a week to find out...or just assume, because chances are, in this case, you'd probably be right...

Feety & Friends 27 Indy 24  


Kansas City Chiefs (+3) vs Baltimore Ravens (Sunday @ 1 pm)

If any of my picks were influenced by my underdog mentality this week, it would have to be the Chiefs/Ravens  Which is to say, maybe I talked myself into this one...

'Mid Atlantic underboob'
Maybe it's the Chiefs being littered with former Patriots, but I'm thinking it's more along the lines of the thinking with the Seattle/New Orleans game.  Nobody, and I mean NOBODY is picking KC in this spot, and they, like Seattle, have one of the best home field advantages in football.  Granted they aren't as experienced as Baltimore, who won in New England in this spot just a year ago, or maybe even as talented, but the way they're being written off by national pundits and bettors alike just doesn't seem appropriate.  People talk about Ray Rice and the Baltimore running game, and for good reason, but I think it's under the radar MVP candidate, Jamaal Charles and the KC running game that will make their presence known in this one.  And while that would still leave Matt Cassel to deal with Ed Reed and the Baltimore secondary, I'll like his chances if he's got the benefit of a good play action in his arsenal...

So while the Ravens may be the sexy pick to beat KC and then upset the Pats (again) in Foxboro, I've got them pegged to fall early to the upstart Chiefs.  But seeing as they are the sexy pick, I figure it wouldn't hurt to throw a photo of a sexy, and no doubt classy, Ravens fan showing off her underboobs.  Ya know, for editorial purposes and what not...

KC 23 Baltimore 21


Green Bay Packers (+2.5) @ Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday @ 430 pm)

Our final game of Wild Card Weekend brings us to the underdog I was most eager to take.  The Green Bay Packers...

I had them as my NFC champion before the season began, and while an Aaron Rodgers concussion may have thrown a serious wrench into my fantasy campaign, I'm still not losing faith.  And besides, isn't this Packer team exactly the type of team that seems to make a run?  A highly touted team that struggled at times but otherwise appears dangerously well balanced?  Yeah, that's the Pack.  And it doesn't hurt that they'll be playing perhaps the most over hyped team since the '98-'99 Vikings.  A team that, conveniently enough, was also being led by an African American scrambling QB who was looking to revive his career...and had also once played in Philadelphia.  Hmmmmm...

'Green Bay underboob'
Quirky similarities aside, this is yet another game where it seems everyone is picking one side.  So naturally, I'm on the other.  But yet again, it's not just "because", it's because I think Green Bay is the better team.  I like Aaron Rodgers chances of moving the ball up and down the field against a shadily suspect Philly secondary, and I like chances of their defense making just enough big plays against Mikey Vick to assure they come out on top...

I'm taking this as the game of the weekend, and I'd be really surprised if it managed to disappoint.  And if it does?  Oh well.  That's what the pretty lady is for.  To distract you from the money slowly migrating out of your wallet.  She also begs the question, "Why isn't the style of shirt she's wearing more popular?"  I for one think that's a good look, both for business and casual.  Naturally your "business" would have to be stripping/hooking and your "casual" would have to be making your own porno at home, but I still think it's a versatile outfit that doesn't get enough love.  Just like the Packers...

And you know what?  I bet Rodgers wouldn't mind if little miss Erin Andrews (alleged GF?) started rockin' that shirt on a regular basis.  Even though we've all seen her naked, I doubt anyone would turn down another look at her rockin' this gear.  Getcha peep holes ready!!  

Green Bay 31 Philly 27


Monday Night


Oregon Ducks (+3) vs Auburn Tigers

Our final stop of the weekend brings us to College Football and the BCS National Championship game.  It may not be the pros, but seeing as Cam Newton is probably getting paid more this year than Danny Woodhead, I think it's legit that I include them on the slate...

Future underboobs of America
And as is the case with the 4 NFL games, I'm going with the underdog.  And much like my reasoning with most of those, I'm more or less taking the underdog Ducks (underducks?) because basically nobody else is.  More so even than in professional sports, it seems these unanimous type games are the ones that end up going   much differently than most experts expect.  IF I had more info, I could probably point out ways in which I think Oregon has an advantage, but that would all just be window dressing.  This one I'm picking almost entirely to go against the masses.  If I'm wrong?  Oh well, I still slaughtered the competition in my sole Bowl Pick 'Em pool.  But if I win?  Well if I win, then I'm the ultimate savage who had Oregon when everybody else had Auburn.  Yeah!  Take that society!

IT'll probably be all for not, though, as either A) Auburn will win and I will be wrong OR B) Oregon will win, and everyone will forget within the week that I had picked them.  Seriously, people.  I know my memory is extraordinary to the point where people think I read, study and memorize useless info with every waking second, but the fact that the average person I know can barely remember things within a 48 hour window really has me worried about where we may be headed as a human race.  And I'd blame the Internet for creating this crisis by shortening people's attention spans, but that would be like blaming the sun for people getting sun burned.  Instead, I blame you, you crazy Teds.  Try remembering stuff, once in a while.  It actually makes doing all those cool things you do...well, worth it...

Oregon 28 Auburn 26


Last Week: 13-7-0

Top Picks: 86-68-3 (.557)

Overall: 156-113-5 (.578)

LOCK OF THE WEEK: 10-10-0


So there it is, friends. A few picks, a few laughs, and a few scantily clad women.  What more can you ask for?  OK money, I guess, but that's what the picks are for...

Now before I go, I'd like to thank all of you out there that made it out to watch me interview the Patriots' Sebastian Vollmer on Monday night.  We talked beards and playoffs, mostly, and I was really encouraged that so many of you came to show your support.  After all, a Nation can't just be one man, no matter how suave and handsome that man happens to be.  I couldn't do it without you, friends, and again, I really appreciate you all comin' out...

Other than that, keep your eyes peeled for the soon to be revealed @RoochNation College Hoops Top 25, and I'll catch you on the flipman...


Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>