Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Start Spreadin' the News...

There's a new Evil Empire on the block, baby, and their name is the Boston Red Sox. After disposing of the Colorado Rockies in 4 games, much the same way they dominated the Cardinals in '04, the Boston Red Sox can now lay claim to being the most dominant team in baseball over the last 5 years. Check it. Since falling behind 0-3 to the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, the Sox are an astounding 19-6 in the post season, capturing two World Series titles. That's just flat out amazing. Eighty six years between championship crowns, and then two in four years? You could have told me that 5 years ago, and I would have thought it to be improbable, if not impossible! Sure, the fan in me would have been optimistic, but the realist in me would have seen roadblocks like the Yankees and let's face it, the Sox themselves. Now, however, it's more than a dream, it's become a reality. The 2007 Boston Red Sox were the best team in baseball, and justifiably so, they walked away with the World Series crown.

How they did it, surprises absolutely nobody that's followed the team this year from Spring to Fall. Theo Epstein did a great job of blending veteran and rookie talent, and for the first time in what seems like forever, was able to put a product on the field made up mostly of home grown players. Varitek, Ellsbury, Lester, Youkilis, Pedroia, Delcarmen and Papelbon are all products of the Sox minor league system, and guys like Schilling, Ramirez, Ortiz and Wakefield seem like they've been with the team forever. This team was different. The '04 team was a bunch of self proclaimed idiots, mostly grabbed off the free agent scrap heap. This team was one that was built for success in the long haul, and is now reaping some of those benefits earlier than most expected. Which means, that with this Series under their belt, you really have to like the chances of this team moving forward, as long as they can keep their core group in tact. But, that's a different story for a different day. For now, I just want to celebrate, baby. The Sox are World Series champs, and there's no better feelin' in all the land! Too bad not everyone feels the same way....

Right after the Series ended, Colorado Rockies owner Charlie Monfort had the audacity to make this claim. Speaking about the Sox after his team was outscored 29-10 in their 4 game sweep, Monfort said: "Well, I think the Red Sox got the breaks. Are they better than us? I don't think so. If we play 10 games against them, we win 6. We only played 4." Wow, man, are you serious? I understand you're disappointed, but that is one of the dumber statements I've ever heard. First of all, not to discredit the Rockies, but how many breaks you think they got on their way to winning 21 of 22 games? And we're supposed to believe that after being beaten rather convincingly in 4 straight, that your squad was going to win the next 6? Did you watch the game? Do you understand the sport? Saying that means you believe that not only would your team win those 6 games, but they would have to beat Josh Beckett at least twice (games 5 & 9), with at least one of those games coming at Fenway. Yea, that sounds likely, you old coot. It's a good sign that none of the players or coaches are agreeing with their owner, but to even say something that idiotic tells me that this guy knows about as much about running a baseball team as I know about running the marathon. Keep your mouth shut, Chuck, unless it's to give the Sox the praise and congratulations they deserve.

One final Series note. This year's contest between the Rockies and Red Sox garnered the second lowest rating in the history of the event. Can't say I'm surprised. Game 1 was a blowout that most people turned off around the 5th inning, and the games just started too late for the average East Coast baseball fan to want to stay up and watch the whole thing. Add to that, the Rockies have about as much national appeal as Communism, and that's where you get the poor rating. Oh well, so FOX didn't get as much money as they thought they might. Boo hoo. Too bad for them, they don't have this next game to help make up for it...

As has been tradition here on Now You Know for a few weeks now, I like to follow news about one dynasty, with news about another dynasty. This time, by a narrow margin, it's the Pats taking the back seat to the Sox, despite being involved in perhaps the most hyped regular season game in the history of the NFL.

The Pats made quick work of the Redksins this week, 52-7, and while the way they run up the score has me a bit concerned, there are much bigger fish to fry right now. This week, at 4:15 eastern standard time, the (8-0) Patriots travel to Indianapolis to battle the (7-0) Colts. Not only is this the latest in any NFL season that two undefeated teams have met, but even if that weren't the case, it's the match up everyone in the league has been waiting to see. The Colts are the defending champs, and the Pats are still the league's lone dynasty. The Pats are the league's highest scoring team (41.4 ppg), and the Colts are the third highest (32 ppg). The Colts have beaten the Patriots 3 straight, including last year's AFC title game, but Tom Brady owns Peyton Manning in their career match ups. Simply put, these are far and away the two best teams in the NFL, and this weekend should go a long way in deciding who the true favorite is to win this year's Super Bowl. Make sure you check back here on Friday for the complete breakdown of the game, and see if I pick this game as one of my locks of the week. I guarantee that you aren't going to believe what I have to say, and my pick just might shock you...

News and Notes

*Well, apparently I was wrong (yea, you heard me). Contrary to what I basically predicted as fact last week, Don Mattingly will not be the next manager of the New York Yankees. According to reports, former Marlin manager and NL manager of the year, Joe Girardi, will take the job, signing what appears to be a three year deal worth about $7.5 million. Girardi spent 4 years as a backup to Jorge Posada, and a few more seasons as an assistant to Joe Torre, before taking the job in Florida. While Girardi might be a great manager, I see trouble brewing on the horizon already. For starters, he's likely losing his pitching coach, Ron Guidry, and he's definitely losing the Yankee bench coach, Don Mattingly, who feels betrayed that he wasn't chosen for the gig. Even more concerning, is the way Girardi was run out of Florida by owner Jeffrey Loria, the same year he was named the league's best manager. What Joe Torre was so good at as manager of the Yankees, was deflecting criticism and attention in general from his players onto himself. Girardi is a guy that craves the spotlight, as he's shown as a TV analyst, and that kind of attitude might not be exactly what Yankee ownership is looking forward too. He's young, he's bold and he's been waiting for this job for a few years now. Think he just wants to let things happen, or you think he's gonna want to try and start doing things his way? Well, I'm guessing it's going to be the latter, much to the delight of the rest of the AL. Joe Girardi might be a great manager, but I just don't see him as the right fit for this or any New York Yankee team. George Steinbrenner had all those public battles with Billy Martin, so it's only appropriate that his son's start their tenure as owners by battling in the media with Girardi on a weekly basis as the Yanks struggle to find an identity next season...

Which leads me to A-Rod. Let's forget the fact that he and his douche of an agent decided to make the "opt out" announcement during the World Series to try and steal the spotlight, and focus on the fact that he and his douch of an agent are trying to extort as much money as possible for a man that's rapidly challenging David Beckham as the World's richest metrosexual. Again, I said A-Rob would be back, and to some degree, I'm stickin' by that. I know the Yankees say they won't negotiate with him anymore, but I'm not buying that for a second. They need his bat in their lineup, and the last thing they want is for Rodriguez to end up in Boston or Anaheim where he can continue to beat them for the next decade. Here's my prediction. Obviously, Scot Boras is going to make sure Alex gets a big payday, but from who? Well, if he signs in the next week or so, my sources tell me if will be with either the Yankees or Mets. However, if this drags out, like so many Boras free agents tend to do, then I see him ending up in either Anaheim or with the Chicago Cubs within the next two months. If you're wondering why I didn't mention the Sox, it's because I just don't see it happening. If Theo and crew didn't want to give a 4 year deal to Johnny Damon or Pedro Martinez, I don't see them willing to dish out a 10 year deal at close to $300 million for A-Rod. I expect Boston to sign Mike Lowell to a 3 year, $35-40 million deal sometime during the off season, and keep the '07 MVP in the Bean for the remainder of his prime. It's an interesting set of dominoes that have been set up here to say the least, and it's going to be fun to watch them all topple one by one, at the hands of the real MLB commish, Scot Boras.

*Now, I've had several people ask me in recent weeks about the Boston Celtics, and how I plan to address them as an entity this upcoming season starting . Well, simply put, I'm just going to try and enjoy them. I've always been a much bigger fan of NCAA basketball than I have the pro game, and seeing as the Celtics have been downright awful for most of my adult life, I haven't exactly had much reason to turn my attention to the NBA. However, with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen now in town to help Paul Pierce, I can't help but at least give them a nice hard look. If you want my honest opinion, and trust me, most of you don't, I still don't think this team has much of a shot at winning anything, but I think they might still be fun to watch. They're starters are about as talented as they come, and to be honest, their bench isn't even that bad, but I'm just not buying into them quite yet. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce have both missed large chunks of at least one of the last two seasons with injury, and to say Rajon Rondo is still a question mark would be a major understatement in my eyes. Don't even get me started on Glen Rivers MD, who finally has the talent on his roster, but still doesn't have the coaching IQ that God gave Corky from Life Goes On. Every team has holes, though, and it's how you cover up those holes that speak to the strength of your squad. Do the Celtics have the talent to make it to the NBA Finals? Of course they do. But will they dodge all the necessary bullets in order to get there? Well, that I'm not so sure of. I know I will have fun watching the team, but whether or not they reach all their lofty expectations? Let's just say I'm not drinkin' the Kool Aid quite yet....OH YEAHHHHHHHH!!!

My Picks
Last Week: 5-2-0

Overall: 28-19-3 (.590)

*When you're hot, you're hot, baby. Not only am I flat out on fire the last 3 weeks, but I basically predicted exactly how the Green Bay/Denver game was going to go down. Sure, maybe I said Denver would win or lose by 1-2 points, but I don't see how a 6 point OT loss is all that much different. I'm just a cash machine....

College Picks
Last Week: 8-7-0

Overall: 91-75-3 (.547)

*Damn man, this pickin' college games is tough. Guess I'm not surprised, though. I was never all that good at college to begin with...

Fantasy Update
Last Week: Make It Reign! 71 Cavanagh Plantation 60

Overall: 6-2-0, 4th place

Next week vs irishbrawlers (1-7-0)

*This week was about as straightforward as you can hope for when it comes to fantasy football. I went in thinking I was gonna win, but not by a ton. And I won, but not by a ton. Solid performances all around, except for Eli in London, but I won't hold that against him. Coming up this week, I go up against Mr. Barry, who has checked his team once all season long, and that was about a month ago. Figures that all his players have passed their bye week by the time he plays me, but I've had enough good luck this year to really complain about it. Just have to go out and take care of bidness, even though I may be starting my backup QB and defense. A loss here would be one hell of a way for karma to bite me in the ass, but I think I've been nice enough to the fantasy Gods this season to walk away with a stress free win.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Boston Two Party - Week 8 Picks

Let me tell you. It's a great time to be alive, and it's a great time to be a sports fan in New England. Every Pats game is a celebration of greatness, and with each pitch of the World Series, the Red Sox come closer to tossing a brick into their own little dynasty construction project. First, here's a breakdown of game's 1 & 2 of the World Series at Fenway Park...

Well, no sooner do I actually get a chance to write about some World Series action then it appears the series might already be over. In game 1, Josh Beckett started off by punching the Fighting John Denver's (look out for those sea gulls) in the mouth by striking out the side, only to have freshly anointed AL Rookie of the Year, Dustin Pedroia effectively end the game with a lead off homer in the first. After that opening shot, the Rocks were down for the count, and many, myself included thought they might not get up. However, much like the ALCS, a blowout in game 1 was followed by a tougher, more hard fought game in game 2. This time, Schilling and the Sox were able to keep the Rockie bats at bay just long enough for Oki and Papa to turn the lights out on 'em. If the series wasn't over when Petey went yard to lead off the first, then it just might have been when Paps caught NL MVP nappin's off of first. Game. Set. Match....

Hey, I know all about how "a series doesn't really start until the road team wins a game," and I get that, but to expect the Rockies to come back and win this thing is expecting a little too much. They are clearly shaken by the big stage, they're clearly at least a little rusty from their 8 day layoff, and they flat out don't have the pitching needed to compete. What did I tell you before the series? The Rocks starters are having trouble accumulating innings, simply because the Red Sox hitters are being so patient and selective. It's not a good mixture for success, and barring a Dice K collapse in game 3, it's looking like this thing could be over in 4. Time to ride the Duck Boats baby! And here's to hoping the next time I talk to you all, the Boston Red Sox are 2007 World Series Champions!!

(I'd say Cowboy Up!, here, except I'm afraid it might get around to Kevin Millar, and he might be even more encouraged to come back to Boston. What the hell is that guy doing at Fenway at rooting for the Red Sox anyway? Is it me, or isn't he on the freaking Orioles? And Bronson Arroyo? Dude, we replaced you with Kyle Snyder. Haven't you seen that "Bizarro" Seinfeld where Elaine says "Sorry, we already have a George." We let you go, man, now it's time for you to let us go. Can you say, restraining order?)

Now, it's on to the official bidness at hand. Get your bank teller and your book maker on hold, people, cuz it's time to chase that paper...

I'm gonna start off this week with a real shocker. I'm taking the Redskins, and the points. this week against the Pats. Ha! And if you believe that, then I got a whole bunch of 2007 New York Yankee World Series tickets to sell ya. While the Redskins probably have the best defense (and no doubt the best defensive secondary) the Pats have seen so far this season, I'm still sticking with my strategy of picking the Pats until they don't cover. Brady and the offense are still rolling, and with the defense doing enough to make every win a rather comfortable one, there's no chance in hell I'm gonna bail on them. At this point, it may sound arrogant, but I'm just expecting them to steamroll absolutely everyone, no matter the talent level. If it so happens there's a week this season they don't cover, then maybe I'll start to re-evaluate my decision, but I honestly don't see that coming any time soon...and yea I know Indy is on the horizon...

Next up on the docket, is the big game this week between the Giants and Dolphins taking place across the pond in merry 'ole England. Pip pip, and cheerio and all that good stuff, but I just don't think this was what the NFL had in mind when they decided to bring the game in for a European showcase. The Giants are good, but not nearly as good as people think they are, while the Dolphins are letting it be known more and more every week just how determined they are to run the table in reverse (0-16). That team flat out stinks. Maybe when the Dolphins had Ronnie Brown (injured), Trent Green (brain damaged) and Chris Chambers (traded) this off season, this may have looked like a big game, but now, it's going to be just about as exciting as the other sport they usually play in Wembley know, the one where all those dirty Euros fall down and get taken off on stretchers, only to reappear seconds later with a mouth full of orange slices to score the winning goal? What a gross and boring game. Anyway, as for the actual game itself, it's real bad news for the Fish. The only "advantage" they had was home field, and now the game is on a neutral site. Eli to Plaxico, Eli to Shockey, Eli to Amani "it's not a" Toomer. Game over. Giants roll big, a lot of Brits smoke a lot of fags, and everyone gets sick from all the gross native cuisine. Make that a large "spotted dick" for Cleo Lemon if you please...

Speaking of stuff that makes you hurl, anyone see David Garrard's backup, Mel Gray, play on Monday night? Personally, I thought Mel Gray was the ill return guy from the Lions that I used to roll with in like Madden '96, but apparently I was wrong. Who knows, maybe this kid can settle down and be a viable fill in until Garrard gets back on the field, but in the meantime I highly recommend picking against the Jags. Garrard's numbers may not have been huge, but he has highly successful at managing the game, and putting his teammates in good positions to make plays. And let's face it, how good would any NFL team be right now without their starting QB anyway? Matt Cassell anyone? Cleo Lemon? The Bucs may not be the best team around, but at home, and against Mel Gray, I'll take my chances...

As long as we're talking about back up QBs, I might as well give props to the Bears Brian Greise, who's come in and done a more than adequate job (86.0 QB rating 8 TD / 6 INT) since replacing Rex Gross-man. Well, if Rex was the problem, then why are the Bears still 3-4? This is gonna sound sacrilege, but you think maybe it's the defense? I know, you think Bears, you think D, but that hasn't even been close to the case this year. They're 25th in yards allowed per game, at 358, and they're giving up almost 24 points per game, good for 23rd best in the league. That's not only bad in respect to where the Bears expect to be, that's just bad period. Maybe the QB was the problem last year, and you could argue (I won't) the reason they didn't win the Super Bowl, but that's not the case this year. Sure, Greise has helped by adding some consistency to the deep passing game, but not to the point where they can be getting in shootouts on a consistent basis and expect to win. That brings me to the Lions. Detroit passes for an average of 244 yards a game, while the Bears defense is 23rd against the pass. That alone gives me enough hope to think that at the very least, Kitna and company can keep this one close. I figure, if the guy is coming back from a concussion in the same game, and talking to Jesus, then he can cover a 5 point spread on the road against a suddenly punchless Bears defense. I did take into account that it's about that week where the Lions start "being the Lions" again, but I'm hoping that can hold out for one more week, and I can just squeak by...

My last pick of the week comes attached with a very interesting note. No QB in the NFL has beaten more than 30 teams in his career. Tom Brady has beaten every team, except the Redskins, and Peyton Manning has beaten every team, except the Panthers. Oh, and did I mention that these two are slated to showdown next Sunday afternoon? The reigning champs, vs the reigning dynasty, both undefeated, and both with the only two QBs in history to beat ever other team in the league. Man, on karma alone I'm taking the Colts, because you know this has to happen. I mean, I can already see all the graphics packages ESPN is putting together! That's not even to mention that I like the Colts in this game anyway. They're far and away the second best team in the league, and they're way too focused to get distracted by their week 9 duel with the Dynasty. I respect the Panthers, and what they've been able to do this season despite injury, but this isn't some NFC chump squad, it's the defending champs. Steve Smith will probably get two scores, but that'll only be enough to match Dallas Clark, never mind the rest if the Indy offensive machine. Colts by like 20 here, and it should never be all that close. Then it's on to the AFC title game preview...

OK OK I lied, I got one more for ya. Seeing as I've been on such a tear, I feel I have to share the one bet I actually feel the strongest about this week. Now, I don't like making a habit of picking over/unders, but I know a lot of you out there like 'em, so make sure you take this one down. Take the over of 45 in the Cleveland/St. Louis game. Only two games this year, have the Browns been in a game under 45 and in those two instances, it was 40 and 41 respectively. Add to that, the Rams are getting healthier on offense with Marc Bulger, Isaac Bruce and Steven Jackson. They may still suck, but at least you can mark them down for a few passing TDs, right? Perfect combination if you ask me. Two weak defenses, and two relatively strong offenses. Either they shoot it out and blow the 45 points away, or one team smacks the other so bad that they basically take care of the number themselves. In that case, it would probably be Cleveland, but no matter how it happens, I really like my chances...

Week 8 Picks
New England Patriots (-16) vs Washington Redskins
New York Giants (-9.5) @ Miami Dolphins (London)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5) vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Detroit Lions (+5) @ Chicago Bears
Indianapolis Colts (-7) @ Carolina Panthers

*St. Louis vs Cleveland over 45

Monday Night
Green Bay Packers (+3.5) @ Denver Broncos

*As much as I want to pick Denver here, Green Bay just has too much going for them in this situation for me to pick against them. They're coming off their bye week, Brett Favre is a menace on Monday Night Football, and the Broncos specialize in stopping the run, something the Packers could care less to try and do. I know Mile High is a tough environment for any team to play in, but stuff like that never really seems to bother Favre. The AFC may be the better conference, and the Broncos may be the better team, but I give the edge to Brett and crew because of the amount of time they've had to prepare, and the way the two teams match up stylistically. To get really cute, I like the Pack and the points, but I like the Broncos to win or lose by 1-2 points. Exact enough for ya?

Last Week: 5-1-0

Overall: 23-17-3 (.570)

NCAA Top 25 Picks
(1) Ohio St. (-3.5) @ (24) Penn St.

(5) Oregon (-3) vs (9) USC

(25) Rutgers (+6) vs (6) West Virginia

(7) Arizona St. (-3) vs (18) California

(9) Florida (-8.5) @ (20) Georgia

(11) South Florida (-4) @ UCONN

(12) Kansas (-2.5) @ Texas A&M

Iowa St. (+28.5) @ (13) Missouri

(14) Kentucky (-13.5) vs Mississippi St.

(15) South Carolina (+2.5) @ Tennessee

(16) Hawaii (-27.5) vs New Mexico St.

(17) Texas (-20.5) vs Nebraska

(19) Michigan (-23) vs Minnesota

(21) Virginia (-3) @ N.C. St.

(23) Auburn (-17) vs Mississippi

Last Week: 8-8-0

Overall: 83-68-3 (.549)

*At this point, even I don't trust these picks, so I don't expect you too either. But hey, I say if you have a gut feeling, and I happen to agree with it, then bet the farm man! This week, I basically went back to my strategy of picking teams I like (Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina), taking almost any decent home team that's an underdog (NC St., Rutgers), and going against teams I don't like (Tennessee, Nebraska, UCONN, USC). This was how I built my good record to begin with, so I figure going back to basics can't hurt. Pray for me, please.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lucky Number Seven!

Wow, what a weekend. The Sox are in the World Series, the Patriots are 7-0 and rapidly making a case for being one of the best teams of all time, I pulled my NFL picks record out of the crapper, and I was involved in a fantasy football match up for the ages. We start, of course, with the Sox...


In real life, it's totally unrealistic to "expect" your team to make the World Series or win it, but we don't live in the real world, we Red Sox Nation. I know, Yankee fans will say that making the World Series twice in 4 years is hardly reason to "expect to get there", but we always expect it, hence all the heart breaking disappointments. This year, the boys were able to pull through, coming back from a 3-1 deficit to spike the Tribe, and land a Series date with the red hot and well rested Colorado Rockies. What a comeback it was, too. Beckett was dealing, and earned himself MVP honors, while everyone from ManRam and Big Pepsi to Pedroia, Drew and Youk was flat out strokin'. I mean, Kevin Youkilis hit .500 for the series, and didn't even get a sniff of MVP honors because of how dominant Josh Beckett was! Truly a performance for the ages.

However, as with any good team (and fan for that matter), it's time to put those accomplishments in the past, and focus on the task at hand, the Colorado Rockies. Now I'll admit, even I barely know anything about this streaking team from the land of Coors, so this refresher course is good for everyone. Here's a breakdown of who this team actually is, and what they've done to make it here...

(Rockies took 2 of 3 games at Fenway Park this season during inter league play, as if that's even close to relevant right now....and is that mascot some sort of dinosaur? I'd love to see Wally and that guy throw down....and you might as well throw Otto the Orange in the mix if all the plush suits involved have nothing to do with the actual team they represent.)

Starting Lineup (2007 post season statistics)
1. CF Willie Taveras (.167 / 5 RBI)
2. 2B Kaz Matsui (.310 / 1 HR / 8 RBI)
3. LF Matt Holliday (.286 / 4 HR / 7 RBI)
4. 1B Todd Helton (.154 / 1 RBI)
5. 3B Garrett Atkins (.185 / 1 RBI)
6. RF Brad Hawpe (.304 / 2 RBI)
7. SS Troy Tulowitzki (.179 / 1 HR / 2 RBI)
8. C Yorvit Torrealba (.320 / 1 HR / 7 RBI)

Team Totals : .242 / 7 HR / 8 2B / 3 3B / 32 RBI

Pitching Rotation
1. L Jeff Francis (2-0 / 2.13 ERA / 12.2 IP)
2. R Ublado Jimenez (0-0 / 1.59 ERA / 11.1 IP)
3. R Josh Fogg (2-0 / 1.13 ERA / 8.0 IP)
4. L Aaron Cook (not active in NLCS)

Closer: R Manny Corpas (1-0 / 5 SV / 1.04 ERA / 8.2 IP)
Main set up guys: L Brian Fuentes, L Franklin Morales, R Matt Herges

Team Totals: 7-0 / 6 SV / 2.08 ERA / 54 K / 20 BB / 65.0 IP

From looking at the numbers, all you can really tell is that this team is unknown, and have apparently been winning games without scoring any runs. Naturally, they having been giving up any runs either, but that was to much weaker National League lineups. Will their team stand up to the pressure of the World Series, and can they overcome their 8 day layoff, something the Tigers had trouble doing last year? I certainly hope not, but we'll have to wait and see.

As for my prediction, it's an easy one. As a fan, I like the Sox. As an analyst, I like the Sox because they've had the tougher road, and are arguably just as hot. So, shockingly enough, I'm taking the Sox in 6. I do think the long wait will have an effect on the young Rockies, and their young pitching staff will have to contend with the most patient group of hitter's they've seen all season long. Sox in 6. Two titles in 4 years baby!

And let's just finish up with a recap of the total futility that Ohio sports fans have had to endure in the last calender year:

*Ohio St. loses BCS Championship game to Florida

*Ohio St. loses NCAA Championship game to Florida

*Cavaliers swept in NBA Finals by San Antonio Spurs

*Indians blow 3-1 lead in ALCS, fall to Sox in 7

Dear god, talk about a kick in the junk. At this point, you gotta think the Columbus Blue Jackets are headed to the Stanley Cup Finals (it's the hockey title game for all you non Europeans/Canadians out there) only to blow a 3-0 lead when they get there! Oh, and don't look now, but Ohio St. and Boston College are #'s 1 and 2 in the BCS standings right now. Talent aside, is there any chance at this point that a team from Ohio, where dreams go to die, can beat a team from New England, where dynasties are born? Not in this lifetime...

Next up on the dynasty rundown, is the men responsible for bringing the word itself to the Northeast vocabulary, the New England Patriots.

Like many people predicted, the Pats made quick work of the Dolphins this weekend. What many couldn't have seen coming, was Tom Brady's 6 touchdown passes en route to a perfect 158.3 QB rating, the first time he's ever done that in his career. Whether it's Moss, Stallworth, Welker, Watson, or any other warm body the Pats toss out there, Brady is finding them open with regularity. Check this. Only 7 games into the season, Brady has 27 TD passes, 5 more than any other QB through 7 games, and only 1 short of his career high set in '02 and '04. Add to that, Randy's 10 TD grabs already tie him for the Patriot single season record with Stanley Morgan. Unreal! This team is a juggernaut in every sense of the word. Sure, some people will point to the defense as a slight weakness at this point, but to them I say, every time we let up points, it just puts our offense back on the field. Come on, it's the 21st century. Offense is the new defense! Ha!

So, Brady and Moss are on pace to smash all sorts of historic records, and it appears as though their meteoric climb might also help lead the team somewhere no team has ever gone, and that's 19-0. I know it's really rather ignorant to even discuss such things, but the way this team has been dominating, it's quickly becoming a matter worth addressing. The problem is, the best team always seems to lose at least one, it's just the nature of the league and speaks to it's competitive balance. However, I've never seen a team this good before, with this much experience, and this much motivation. Skill, passion, dedication and desire can be a deadly combination, and where other teams have fallen short of perfection in the past, I think this one has as good a shot as any as running the table.

Patriots Update
Last Week: Super Bowl Champs 49 Miami Dolphins 28
Overall: 7-0 (magic # 3 to clinch AFC East)

Next Week vs Washington Redskins (4-2)

Tackle Box
*If you didn't see the ending of the Tennessee/Houston game on Sunday, then you missed quite the delicious treat. Rob Bironas kicked his 8th FG as time expired, to give the Titans the 2 point win over the Texans, who had just scored their own go ahead TD about a minute before. Matt Schaub, the Houston QB, had gone out injured, so Sage "Steele" Rosenfels came in. All he did, was lead the Texans to 29 4th quarter points, and a final touchdown toss that appeared to seal the epic comeback. Ah, but it was not to be. Always the good drunk, Kerry Collins came back on the field, and got his boys just far enough down the pitch to allow Birnoas to do what he does best, kick the bean through those yellow tubes. I'm glad CBS finally realized that since they had the broadcast rites, they could show us the ending, instead of simply watching Shannon Sharpe trying to to see how many of his Super Bowl rings he could hit in his mouth. Good work CBS, and good work Tennessee. I've been saying for a while now that Vince Young just finds a way to win games, but the more I think about it, the more I think the key is Titan's coach, Jeff Fisher. The guy has been at the same job longer than any coach in the league, and that alone has to say something about his success, especially in this day and age.

*Seeing as I don't think they are going to pull it off, and therefore might never really get any mention by me, I have to take time right now to give props to the Boston College Eagles football team. Despite their proximity, and being the best D-I sports school in the state, I've never really been a big BC fan. It's not that I've rooted against them, matter of fact I've cheered them on in big football wins (Notre Dame way back in the day) and enjoyed watching them make runs in the NCAA tournament, but I just haven't been a real "fan". I do have to give them props, though, for being good enough this year to make college football relevant in a market already saturated with baseball, football, basketball and even hockey more so than other parts of the country. Having climbed all the way to #2 in the rankings, and having the ability to control their own destiny, has the town buzzing about the team in a way they haven't since Flutie to Phalen won the Eagles the Orange Bowl. However, like I said, I think this is all going to be for not due to the tough games coming up on the schedule. Their final 5 games, before a possible ACC title game that is, are as following: @ #8 Virginia Tech, Florida St., @ Maryland, @ Clemson, Miami. All the credit in the world to BC if they can run that table, but even one loss, and they're probably all but out of the running for any chance at the title game. Still, good work're just doing it in the wrong town...

News and Notes
*Apparently, everyone knew that Paul Byrd was taking HGH...or at least that's his side of the story. This weekend, a report surfaced in the San Fransisco Chronicle (where else) that Byrd bought and received shipments of human growth hormone from an online pharmacy. Byrd claims that he has a pituitary gland condition, and that he was taking the hormone under the supervision of a doctor. To take it one step further, Byrd claims that the teams he was playing for during the time in question (Dodgers, Royals and Braves) actually knew about his HGH use, and helped him store the drugs in their facilities. Interesting, Paul. Only one problem. If everyone already knew, then why was their an investigation into it, and why the hell were you buying this shit on the Internet? I know the information super highway is a great tool, but Al Gore didn't invent it so we could buy drugs, he invented it so we could learn how to make pipe bombs, chat with other guys pretending to be bisexual women and bid on 80's memorabilia on eBay. My point is, if you're taking legitimate drugs, for an actual condition, then where is the doctor that diagnosed it, and why hasn't he already come forward to support you? You say you didn't abuse the drug even though you were tempted to do so, and I say prove to me that you actually have this condition.

*While the Sox prepare for their second World Series appearance in the last 4 years, the Yankees continue their already tumultuous off season by attempting to retain their star slugger while at the same team trying to find their new skipper. Here, I'll save you the trouble. A-Rod's comin' back, and Don Mattingly is going to be the new manager. Done and Done...

*It's time to change the saying "he who laughs last", to "she who laughs last". Remember the coach that replaced US women's soccer goalie, Hope Solo, in the World Cup semifinals? OK, well neither do I, but I certainly remember the situation. Well, that guy, whose name is actually Greg Ryan, was just fired. Again, I don't know jack about soccer, but I still think benching Solo in favor of a 39 year old when you were only one game from the finals was one of the oddest, and unexplainable actions since Grady Little left Petey Martinez on the mound to twist in the wind during the '03 ALCS. Get a clue man, and while you're at it, get a job. I'm sure there are plenty of other high paying woman's soccer coaching gigs out there...

*And since we're talking about idiots, I have to bring up the findings of this remarkable, dare I say ground breaking new study. I'd like to thank Frosco for bringing it to me attention, and I'd just like to also add, that I've known all of this for years...Suck on it Philly!;_ylt=AjJZmIxFB2qqxc27j69_TdQDW7oF

*Finally, there has been yet another changing of the guard in the world of sports journalism. Rick Reilly, who has spent the last 20+ years entertaining millions with his back page column in Sports Illustrated, has announced he is leaving SI in June 2008 to begin writing for ESPN the Magazine and For SI readers, this is going to come as a major shift, as Reilly's excellence over the years has made it so most people just grab the mag, and flip right to the back. For ESPN, this can only be described as a great move. They are bringing one of the best sports columnists and novelists of our time onto their staff, and continuing to add to their already powerful journalistic stable. I did find it strange, though, that ESPN said in their press release that they would be adding Reilly to a website already featuring, Sports Guy, Bill Simmons. Compared to Reilly (and compared to me too actually), Simmons is a no talent hack, and if anything, Simmons now works with Reilly, not the other way around. Either way, it's going to be great to have access to Reilly on my computer, and I honestly feel that the only thing keeping my SI subscription as a must have, is the fantastic cover shots. It's the end of an era for sure, but thankfully not the end of a good thing. Good luck Ricky, and please try to avoid bumping into Simmons, as I'm sure he'll turn the encounter into a 3 hour long "fictitious chat" in his column.

My Picks
Last Week: 5-1-0

Overall: 23-17-3 (.570)

*Boo-freakin'-ya baby! I took some chances this week on some sad lookin dogs like Buffalo and Denver this week, and it paid off big time. I'm now 9-2-1 in the last 2 weeks, and I must admit, I'm just in some sort of NFL picking zone. In addition to these picks, I'm in a pool in which I just pick the winner of each game every week. This week, I went 12-2, besting my previous best of 10 in one week, but that 10 came in a "non-bye" week in which there were 16 games. I don't wanna say I have an air tight way to pick winners all of a sudden, but it would be and understatement to say I'm feeling confident. Hey, if the Pats are gonna run up the score, I figure I will too. Look for this trend to continue.

College Picks
Last Week: 8-8-0

Overall: 83-68-3 (.549)

*A .500 record is like masturbation, without the payoff. Yet I keep doing it...hmmmmm

Fantasy Update
Last Week: Make it Reign! 104 King Jesus 90

Overall: 5-2-0, 4th place

Next Week vs Cavanagh Plantation (2-5)

*This, was a week for the ages. After my team sprinted out to a monstrous lead, thanks to big performances by LenDale White, Eli Manning, Terrel Owens and the Giants defense, I watched as Sean's team clawed back. The 4 o'clock games were deep into their third corner, I was up about 60 points and already thinking about next week, when the barrage started. Anquan Boldin. Touchdown. Dallas defense. Touchdown and blocked filed goal. Marion Barber III. Touchdown. And the kicker. Jets WR Jerricho Cotchery scored 9 fantasy points as time expired for the Jets, a TD that only helped cut their deficit to 9 as the game ended. Then, comes Sunday night, and the attack of Steeler TE Heath Miller. After he was through, Boldin/Cotchery/Miller had only accounted for 139 receiving yards between them, but somehow managed a mind boggling 5 touchdowns! Just like that, my lead was all but gone, and I was faced with the dubious task of having my TE, Dallas Clark, hold off Jacksonville QB, David Garrard. Going into the game, one thing was clear. The loser was going to have to suffer through every fantasy player's nightmare, losing in a week where the only team that outscored you, was the one you played. The winner, was not only going to win, but take the money that goes with the weekly points title as well. Quite a swing if you ask me. This time, I was the one who managed to avoid my own classic fantasy bad luck, when Garrard was injured in the 2nd quarter, and unable to muster more than 1 total point on the night. V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! What a huge win. For once, I was able to avoid the most unlucky of breaks, and come out on top in a pivotal game in my run towards the title. My condolences to Sean P, who would have walked away with the game had he left in Big Ben, instead of yanking him shortly before his game in favor of Garrard the next night. Personally, I don't like tinkering with my lineup on game day for any reason short of injury, but Sean was fearful of the Denver snow (that never came), and may have second guessed himself right out of the playoff race. Believe me, I've been there, so I can relate, and nothing leaves a more sour taste in your mouth. Oh well, for once it's me on the other side of that coin, and believe me I'll take it. Sabby is still undefeated at the top of the league, but I've moved up to 2nd in points, and still feel poised to take the regular season title, the points title, and possibly even both. Lofty goals, I know, but that's why you do this shit, right? I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE!!!!!! SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!!

*Lastly, here's a little treat for ya. I haven't been able to post as many funny video clips as I would like over the past few weeks, but here's one that all football fans are sure to enjoy...that is unless you like the Bills or hate the Pats & Colts, in which case you're really not gonna like it...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Week 7 Picks - The Sox Ain't Done Yet!

(Exhale) Well, now that my Sox have guaranteed themselves a game 6, and yet another day of playoff survival, I can finally focus and get down to the real matter at hand this week, and no, I don't mean the Yankees "contract offer" to Joe Torre. Of course, I'm talking about the NFL. Tempers may have flared in the Sox game last night, and everyone outside of the North East wants to talk about how lazy Manny is, but I'm sorry, for today it's just not at the fore front of my mind. The Sox survived, Beckett was the man, they live to play another day, end of story. Don't get it twisted, I know the Red Dudes current run is the best thing goin' right now in Boston sports, and totally the most "important," but excuse me if it hasn't totally distracted me from what guarantees to be yet another week of exciting football action...

So it's on to week 7. I finally got my act together last week, with a 4-1-1 mark, but I almost feel with this week's picks, I'm trying to use up all the karma I just gained, in one fell swoop. You be the judge...

As usual, the first pick of the week is the Pats, and the points. I know New England tends to struggle in Miami, but even that isn't a good enough reason to pick against them at this point. Until there's a spread out there that actually resembles the same number of points the Pats have been beating people by (average margin of victory is 23 points a game), I'm gonna ride them out. Who am I kidding, I'm taking them every week of the season unless someone shoots, and actually kills, Tom Brady. The Dolphins are a mess. Who knows who they are gonna trot out there at QB, they just traded their best receiver in Chris Chambers, and their once feared defense is giving up over 30 points a game. As long as Trent Green Green doesn't manage to get a concussion while watching on the sidelines, Dolphin fans should consider this one a resounding success. Seven down, 12 more to go baby...

In my next game, I like the team the Pats dusted last week, to bounce back in a big way. I know Adrian Peterson has really given Minnesota a shot in the arm offensively (he leads the NFL in rushing with 607 yards, yet is still listed as their #2 RB), but I still don't see them hanging with the Cowboys on the road. The one thing Dallas can actually do defensively, is stop the run and pressure the quarterback. It's a little bigger of a number than I'd like, at 9.5, but you have to figure Romo and crew are gonna be eager to run up the score after last week's home flop fest. Until further notice, the Cowboys are still by far the team to beat in the NFC, so take them as often as you can, especially at home...

And while we're taking NFC East teams favored by 9+ at home, you might as well chalk the G-Men down as a near lock this week. Their playing extremely well on both sides of the ball, they're at home, and they're playing a team that has issues surrounding their QB situation. Even if Alex Smith is healthy, and does play, will it be enough to counteract the newest QB-WR sensation to hit the league in Manning to Burress? (8 TD connections) The Niners just aren't good enough to take on the road right now. Frank Gore might be able to make this a game if he can help San Fran control the ball on the ground, but I see the Giants running out to a multiple score lead, totally negating the running game. Seems like forever ago that the Giants were 0-2, and everyone wanted to kill Tom Coughlin, doesn't it? After this week, they should be 5-2, and right in the thick of the NFC playoff race...

This next team doesn't seem destined to make the playoffs, but before the season started, many people (including yours truly), predicted big things for them. That, of course, is the Denver Broncos. Now, this is what I was talking about earlier when I said I was using up all my good will, or "karma." I really have no good reason, or statistics for that matter, to tell me that the Broncos are gonna win, but I'm going with my gut. Matter of fact, the stats will actually tell me that the Steelers have allowed the fewest points in the league (47) and the Bronco offense is one of the most anemic on football, scoring only 15 points per game. Maybe it's because they're at home, and getting points. Or maybe I just really don't like the Steelers. Either way, I feel a statement game coming here for Shanahan and his boys. If they lose this week, they can pretty much mail in any legit play off hopes, but if they win, they're right back in the mix for the AFC West crown. Crazy stuff, I know, but that's what tends to happen when everyone limps out of the gate. Anyway, football aside, you have to like the fire that's been ignited right now in Denver by the Rockies. I figure, at the very least, some of that will rub off, and inspire the Broncos to pull off the out right win...

Finally, I'm really taking what most would look at as a leap of faith, by picking the Buffalo Bills against the Baltimore Ravens. Now, don't worry, I don't still have a hard on for the Bills because of what they almost did on Monday night, it's more like I just don't trust the Ravens. They're defense is still good (ranked 4th overall), but not as good as it has been, and they're offense is still allergic to the end zone (6 offensive TDs in 6 games). Trent Edwards has a real shot to cement himself as the Buffalo starter if he can pull out a win here, and I think his simple approach to the game might be just what it takes. You have to figure, even if the Ravens do pull out a win, they aren't gonna score, so taking the home team and the points is the way to go...

Week 7 Picks
New England Patriots (-16.5) @ Miami Dolphins
Dallas Cowboys (-9.5) vs Minnesota Vikings
New York Giants (-9) vs San Fransisco 49ers
Denver Broncos (+4) vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Buffalo Bills (+3.5) vs Baltimore Ravens

Monday Night
Jacksonville Jaguars (+3) vs Indianapolis Colts

*I'm gonna be honest with ya, this is the way I broke this one down. Indy, unlike New England, isn't gonna go undefeated this season. Therefore, they gotta lose sometime, right? No better week than this, if you ask me. The Jags should be able to control the clock running the ball, and seeing as David Gerrard doesn't turn it over (0 interceptions all year long), it's really gonna limit the opportunities for Peyton Manning and his cast of thousands. The crowd will be pumped up, and the Jags will be ready to announce their arrival to a National TV audience, much like they were able to do about mid way through last season.

Last Week: 4-1-1

Overall: 18-16-3 (.527)

NCAA Top 25 Picks
(1) Ohio St. (-17) vs Michigan St.

(4) Oklahoma (-29) @ Iowa St.

(5) LSU (-11.5) vs (18) Auburn

(6) South Carolina (-13) vs Vanderbilt

(7) Oregon (-11) @ Washington

(8) Kentucky (+6.5) vs (14) Florida

(9) West Virginia (-24.5) vs Mississippi St.

(10) California (pick) vs UCLA

(15) Missouri (-2.5) vs (22) Texas Tech

Colorado (+3.5) vs (15) Kansas

(19) Texas (-24.5) @ Baylor

Alabama (pick) vs (20) Tennessee

(23) Cincinnati (-9.5) @ Pittsburgh

Illinois (+2.5) vs (24) Michigan

(25) Kansas St. (+3) @ Oklahoma St.

*I managed to keep my head above water last week...barely, so this week is basically do or die. Or...ya know...barely keep my head above water again. Either way, I tried to keep it really simple this week. While I never like rooting against the Florida Gators, I picked Kentucky, just like I went with some other home underdogs (Illinois, Colorado). Hey, if I think a game is going to be close, like I think all of those are, then I'm goin' with the home team that's getting the points everyday, and twice on Thursday...

Last Week: 10-9-1

Overall: 75-60-3 (.554)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Big D Takes a Big Dump

It was billed as a possible Super Bowl preview, and in all reality, it lived up to it's billing. After all, the Super Bowl is usually a blow out, right? And the Patriots usually win the Super Bowl, right? So should we have expected anything less? I think not. Now, if you want to get technical, you can get into how the Patriots really only win their Super Bowls by very few points, but lets look through those trees, shall we? The fact of the matter, is that despite not having even close to all cylinders clicking, Tom Brady and the boys went down to Dallas and absolutely robbed the manhood of the Dallas Cowboys. Not Tony Romo, not TO, and not Wade Phillips' gullet could stop the Patriots, as Brady spread the ball around 7 different receivers, including 5 TDS, 2 coming to Wes Welker. Even without their two top running backs, the Pats were able to keep the Dallas defense on their toes, and while the D line did manage a few sacks and pressures on Brady, he was again given more than enough time to dissect their hapless secondary.

Sure, the Cowboys showed they could score and pressure the QB behind a real good offensive line, but to lose like that on your own field, in what was being called the biggest game in the league so far, has got to be the ultimate let down. Now, even if the Boys should make the Super Bowl, they will have to be thinking that the team their playing, even if it isn't the Patriots, is most likely a hell of a lot better than they are. That doesn't mean they can't win, mind you, but those are some daunting thoughts to have in your head going into the biggest game of your life if you ask me.

However, this isn't about how good or bad the Cowboys are or might be, it's about how great the Patriots are now. Brady is a freak, and with 21 TDs is on pace to shatter Manning's single season record of 49, with 56, and Moss is just as insane, whether making mind boggling grabs, or drawing constant double teams to help open up the offense. This team has yet to consistently show any sort of flaw (I stand by the fact that whoever we put in the backfield will be good enough to get this thing done), and with the sudden emergence of my fantasy main man, Donte Stallworth on offense, and the expected return of All Pro Richard Seymour in the coming weeks, there doesn't seem to be any goal going forward that is unachievable for this squad. Hey, I'm not gonna say it and jinx 'em, but you can take from that statement what you will.

Now, it's on to week 7, in Miami. Or what I like to call, "Six of One, Half Dozen of the Other". Bam!

Patriots Update
Last Week: Super Bowl Champs 48 Dallas Cowboys 27
Overall: 6-0 (magic # to clinch AFC East is 4**)

Next Week @ Miami Dolphins (0-6)

**A lot of people always ask me what the magic number means, so here is the break down. The "magic number" is the number of Patriot wins and/or Bill or Jet losses it will take for the Pats to clinch the division and a playoff spot. Example. If the Pats go 3-1 over their next four games, than the Bills or Jets need to do undefeated in those same 4 games to still have a shot at winning. The Pats would have "3" towards the 4, but since there were no losses by the Bills/Jets in this scenario, their magic number would still be at "1". More easily put, if the Pats win 4 more games, the division is over. But that's how the magic number works, hope I could help you out.

Now, before I go onto the rest of the news in the NFL, I gotta stop and get to the more pressing matter at hand. No, not the fact that the Rick Solomon and Pam Anderson wedding might be the most obvious match in the history of the universe, I'm talking of course, about the ALCS....

American League Championship Series
Cleveland Leads 2-1

*Before I start, I must warn you that I am writing this just minutes after the Red Sox game 3 loss to the Indians. That being said, I had to say that all night long, I felt like I was watching an elimination game. Obviously I'm not giving up hope, far from it, but it's undeniable that Cleveland has fully seized momentum. Thanks to what I've always deemed an odd homefield "advantage," the Tribe now have a shot at closing out the Sox without having to travel back to Boston. Timmy Wakes will take the mound in game 4 to help stop the bleeding, and should he be able to do it, I would again like the Sox chances with Beckett going in game 5. Maybe it's the drastic game to game changes and emotions that I'm all caught up in right now, but I just don't feel all that great about the fact the season hangs in the balance with Shaky Wakey, a guy who wasn't healthy enough to be on the ALDS roster, at the helm. Here's to hopin' the bats wake up, and Timmy shakes off the rust and turns in a performance better than his playoff career averages. (1-5, 6.97 ERA in 14 career post season series with Sox)

National League Championship Series
Colorado Wins 4-0

*I told you the D-Backs couldn't hit and I told you the Rockies were too hot to be stopped. Now, the only issue for the red hot Rocks, is that after winning 21 of their last 22 games, they'll have to sit out about a week and wait for a winner in the Sox/Tribe series. I know rest is usually a good thing, but when you've been this hot, for this long, and been playing basically every day for the last month, it might be a little hard to turn that off and on again after a longer than average break. Either way, props to the Rocks for fighting their way to one of the most improbable World Series runs in history, and even though I still can't name any of their pitchers / I'm convinced neither can their color commentators, I still think they'll put on a great show no matter who they face in the Series. Let's just hope we don't get any snow delays. After all, it is Denver, and it is almost November...

Tackle Box
*Who else saw Vinnie Testaverde lead the Carolina Panthers to a freaking win this Sunday, huh? Dude is 43 goin' on 143, and all he wants to do is toss around the pill on Sundays for whoever wants to trot him out there. What's even stranger, is I had a fifth sense type of feeling that Vinnie was gonna give the Panthers a good shot to win. Earlier in the week, when I looked at that game as a possible pick, I really like the Cardinals, more or less because Carolina was gonna be trotting out some street corner bum, or David Carr, who arguably isn't much more than a bum himself. Then, when Vinnie was brought into the fold, I figured, he'll know to get the ball to Steve Smith, and Carolina will have a shot. The ole paizan did just that, finding Smith 10 times, for 136 and a score, and leading Carolina to the 15 point road win, and a 4-2 record. I don't know whether to feel good for Vinnie for staying in such good shape and hanging around the game, or feel bad for the NFC, a league so pitiful that a 43 year old can walk in after one week of preparation, and win a game on the road. Eh, good for Vinnie. Heyyyyyyyyyyy, Mr. V! Oh! Vinnie Boom Bots!

*Has the Madden curse officially struck again?! Vince Young came up lame in the Titans loss to the Bucs, and was replaced by veteran booze swiller, Kerry "Tom" Collins. Originally, as I was watching the game, Dan Deirdorff made it sound like Young had smashed into the ground on track near the stands, and that his life was in jeopardy. Lowe and behold, once they gave us all an actual view of what happened on TV, we could all see that he pulled up lame while on the field, and then plopped himself down when he hit the track. Good one, Dierdorff. Guess I should just be glad he wasn't calling Young "Akili Smith" or "Randal Cunningham," like half the old coot bastards they have up there in the booth. It's a regular lithium convention up there half the time. As for Young, the second Deirdorff made it sound like he'd been assassinated by the CIA, I couldn't help but think of the Madden Curse. Now, turns out Young should be OK the rest of the way (listed as day to day after an MRI on his quad), but you can't help but wonder. I figure, if Madden has managed to make a living out of speaking, when the only words he knows are "bam," "bloomin' onion," "athlete's foot," "hardware," and "football," then he's more than capable of working some sort of curse.

*While we're on the topic of curses, is there anyone more cursed in today's football world than the person who hires Bill Callahan to coach their football team? I know it's college, but seeing as he's fresh off a nice debacle with the Oakland Raiders, I figure it's still relevant enough for me to thoroughly rip him. No sooner had he taken a nice dump with the Raiders, where he drove a Super Bowl team to 15-17 over the next two years and completely alienated all his veterans, then he arrived in Nebraska with a rather sketchy plan. Basically, he came in and said "I know you've been having great success with your style down here the last half century, but I think a pro style passing offense is the way to go, instead of the old school running game." OK, interesting theory, but it just didn't seem like the right mix. Fast forward to the here and now. After a few seasons of mixed results, and fresh off a contract extension only 3 weeks ago, Callahan has led the Huskers to two of their biggest home losses in school history in the last 3 weeks. Guy comes in, tries to completely flip the script on a dynamic program, and now teams like Oklahoma St. are shitting on them in their own back yard to the tune of 45-14? It was one thing to lose to USC at home by 18, but this is supposed to be Nebraska, isn't it? Good God. I understand if you want to change a system, but how about recruiting the right guys to run it first? It's like Steve Spurrier, taking his act to the Cuse, and not getting why they can't run up the score every week. Come on, man, it's just coaching 101 we're talking about here...

Get ready for things to get real ugly in Lincoln, because Callahan is an arrogant guy, and the Husker fans are gonna be out for blood. Lord knows there's nothin' worse than a bunch of methed up farmers in a pickup truck, reeking of whiskey, Big Chief Chew and cough syrup, hell bent on knockin' down every mailbox you try to put up, until you move your ass out of town. I'd watch out for your lawn, coach, if they even have lawns in that barren wasteland. This is Divison 1 football! It's the Big XII!! Callahan should take a note from his fellow Big XII coaches, and go on a nice little rant to spark his team. Seems to be workin' for Colorado's Dan Hawkins (4-3) and Oklahoma St.'s Mike Gundy (4-3)...

*I love Marion Barber III (aka Marion the Barberian) as much as the next guy, if not more, but homeboy needs to stop punchin' people when he's runnin' with the pill! Bro, nobody loves a good stiff arm like me, hell, I basically wore that button out when I used to play Madden, but there's a difference between a legal stiff arm, and trying to punch a guys head off. It may seem like a fine line to you, but believe me, when you're visibly going up under a guys face mask with a fore arm shiver, it's more than crossing the line. Make a fist when you stiff arm, that's fine by me, but you can't just be goin' around punchin' people in the grill, and not expecting any retaliation. I know you think that since Stephen Jackson is hurt, that you're the illest running back with dreds, so you can do anything you want, but it just ain't true! Keep it clean, hombre, or next time we might just send Roidney Harrison after your ass, and pump you full of straight up anal roid lovin'...Yeah, that's how we get down...

News and Notes
*Word out of the Big Apple has Yankee owner and media whore, George Steinbrenner, handing over control of most of the team to his sons. Sounds like the end of an era, right? Not so fast. I know people have been saying that the Boss has been ailing lately, and could be on the door steps of Alzheimer's, but I'll believe all this when I actually see it with my own two eyes. For this guy to step away from this team, this life, is gonna take an act of God. I hope for his sake, he is still in charge, because there's nothing better than beating that bastard and his group of over paid mercenaries. Say it ain't so George, it won't be the same rubbing it in that nerd Cashman's face.
*Apparently, the rumor is true, and they don't have cable TV in Cincinnati. I mean, you gotta figure they don't right? Cuz if they did, wouldn't they have known better than to hire Dusty Baker as their manager? Sure, get a guy that that's relentless in his approach to "patience" at the plate, and stick him with a bunch of veterans that are "successful" free swingers. I'm sure Dusty and Adam Dunn are going to get along about as famously as Baker did with Jeff Kent, Sammy Sosa and Derek Lee before him. If this doesn't work right away, then it's gonna get ugly, and might not last one full season. My money is on the latter. He wore on his players in San Fransisco, he wore on his players in Chicago, and he's gonna do the same thing here, with far worse success to boot.

*This just in, Marion Jones used roids and has given back the 5 gold medals she won at the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney. If you care about track and field, or were the least bit surprised by this development, then I truly feel for you. Most people don't realize it, but Jones was exposed just as blatantly as Bonds in the book, Game of Shadows, and the evidence against her has been mounting for years. Her ex boyfriend, Tim Montgomery, has been banned from competition for using roids, and her ex husband, CJ Hunter, was also banned in 2000 for a positive roid test, in addition to telling a grand jury that he shot Jones full of roids on multiple occasions. Busted, bitch. Sucks for her, but hey, when you shoot enough juice to where you start looking like the animal the drugs were actually intended for, then you deserve what you get. Heee hawwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

*Sound the Lindsay Lohan and Drew Barrymore alarm (which I would assume sounds like a mix of a crack whore vomiting and a dude whipping off his belt in the throws of anger/passion/speed-balls), Michelle Wie's agent has quit. Now, I don't have any personal knowledge that Wie is on a drug binge, compulsively vomiting, or cuting herself, but combine her agent quitting, with all her questionable actions the past few years, and I'd say there's some trouble a brewin.' She obviously wasn't ready for the jump to major competitive golf, and now her confidence is so shattered, that I'm surprised she hasn't lost total interest in the game all together. Besides, with a body like that, I'm sure there's a home for her in the pro volleyball / B-movie industries. Say it with me now, "Michelle Wie in Wai Ki Ki Dreams, now airing on Lifetime and somehow involving Sally Fields." A few of those, and then it's straight to getting felt up by Steve Buscemi in some creepy FX Woody Allen biopic. Ewww.

My Picks
Last Week: 4-1-1

Overall: 18-16-3 (.527)

*That's what I'm talkin' about!! Finally, a winning week that I can be proud of, and now that I'm finally above .500 on the season, I don't plan on lookin' back. Stay tuned next week, as the steam rolling should continue...

College Picks
Last Week: 10-9-1

Overall: 75-60-3 (.554)

*If you want me to say that I don't know nearly enough about college football to be making these picks every week, then you got it. I don't know how much longer I can stand embarrassing myself on a weekly basis, so keep your eyes peeled for this segment's quick and shameful exit. Damn you, you promising start to the season!!

Fantasy Update
Week 5: Make It Reign! 50 Syzmanksi's Jetski 57
Last Week: Make It Reign! 94 Kill_Whity 55

Overall: 4-2-0, 4th place

Next Week vs King Jesus (2-4-0)

*You know, I just might be getting the hang of this fantasy football thing after all. Last week, I was pretty sure my team would need an act of God to win, because of my unfavorable matchups, and while Tony Romo tried his darnedest to deliver me that miracle, it just wasn't meant to be. This week, however, I went in almost certain that not only was I going to win, but that I was going to dominate. Now, I'll admit, the day was a bit slow in developing, but thanks to the breakout performance by LaDainian Tomlinson, the return of a healthy Brian Westbrook, and the solid showings by the likes of Bobby Engram and LenDale White, my squad was able to romp to victory and my 2nd weekly points title. That was crucial, too, because that game when you're just one game above .500, like I was at 3-2, is a huge swing game Now, I'm 4-2, one of the league leaders in points and poised to make a serious run. Had I lost, I would be at 3-3, and while not the end of the world, it's only a 13 game regular season, and it would make basically every game from there on out a must win. Oh well, that's one hurdle cleared, in a road full of about a zillion. Now it's on to week 7, a fierce battle against the self proclaimed "Human Hunan Beef Injection," Mr. Sean P.

Friday, October 12, 2007

It's Cowboys and Indians Week!

If you're a fan of Boston area sports, then this is Cowboys and Indians week for you, with Boston facing Cleveland in the ALCS, and the undefeated Pats headed for the "Duel in Dallas" on Sunday afternoon with the likewise 5-0 Cowboys. Greetings to time killers, friends, sports enthusiasts, true pimps huge frauds and gambling degenerates alike. I'm sorry if I ruined your week by not posting on Tuesday, but when the papers are on the loose, you need to chase 'em, or be chased, you get me? I know my hiatus has caused me to fall behind on some of the top news stories, but never fear, I got a few notes for ya to chew on, and maybe even a few one-liners you can use on your friends. Just make sure it doesn't get back to me that you're stealing my material. There's nothing I deplore more than plagiarism, and I will hunt you down and give you a verbal lashing that will make you wish you were born deaf! But enough of that, it's on to the picks that are sure to make you A) look like a genius B) make you straight cash money, or C) make us both look about as prophetic as your local weatherman...

The first pick of the week follows this season's #1 rule of thumb. Until they steer you wrong, take the Pats and the points, and start counting your money. New England covered for the 5th week in a row, and are now facing the lowest spread of the season since their match up with the Chargers. Also, I have heard personally, from the head of the sports book at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, that the bookies are taking a beating with the Pats this year, and if they do stomp the 'Boys this week in Big D, then Lord knows what the spread could be for any NFC team in this year's Super Bowl, whether the Pats are in it or not (hahaha yea that's about as likely as Charlie Weis passing on his ninth helping of whatever the hell he's inhaling these days) I know Dallas is good, and I know they're at home, but like I said, you have to ride the Pats until they buck you, and even then, you jump back on that mother humper and ride it some mo! The real question in this game, is how good are the Dallas Cowboys. Should be a good measuring stick for them if they can show any sort of fight against the current league juggernaut...

Next up, there's the Philadelphia Eagles visiting the suddenly punchless J-E-T-S. Philly gets Westbrook back this week, and should be well rested and prepared for a Jet team coming off back to back road losses and currently entrenched in a nice little QB controversy. The fact is, the Eagles hold a distinct advantage in every aspect of this match up, except home field, and should have no trouble pushing the Jets even deeper into the AFC basement. Hey, Jets fans, tell me when your down in the basement if the Patriots laundry is done yet, you rat fink bastards. Ha! Seriously though, teams coming off byes went 3-1 last week, and I think the Eagles are the one team this week that will be able to truly optimize their bye week, and come away with a big road win...

My third game, is the last game of the week where I will be truly "shocked" if I lose, and oddly enough, involves two teams that before the season, I thought I would only be picking to lose, and lose big. Instead, I'm showing some respect and picking the Cleveland Browns to win at home by 5 or more against the hapless Miami Dolphins. Cleveland wasn't given a chance in hell against the dynamic New England Patriots, and while they still lost by 17, they by far were the Pats stiffest competition in the '07 campaign. Add to that, Miami is without the newly concussed Trent Green, and will be going to battle with Miss Cleo Lemon. I know Joey Porter hates the Browns, but the fact is, his team is garbage, on the road, and starting their backup QB. Browns, Browns, like on it!...

OK, now that I've really put myself out there, predicting, if not damn near guaranteeing a Browns 20 point victory, it's time to go out on that ledge a little further, and pick the St. Louis Rams to cover on the road. That's right, the 0-5 Rams are 10 point underdogs to the 3-2 Ravens, but something is telling me, that Gus Frerotte and friends are due! Baltimore may be the better team, but they've been outscored by 9 this year, and still have a winning record, and that's just shady to me. I like the chances of the Rams, with Brian Leonard getting more experienced my the week, to run up and down at least a few times against an overrated Baltimore defense (14th overall in points allowed per game at 19.4), and at the very least keep the game close. Granted, St. Louis has been awful to start the season, but they still have the offensive weapons to make a game interesting. Now that they have a QB that isn't dinged up, their learning to play with the various holes in the backfield and along the offensive line, and should start to gel together, and become an improved team. I like the Rams to win this game as the big "upset" of the week...

The last pick on the docket for week 6, is Vince Young and the Titans to cover, and most likely win on the road against the Tampa Bay Bucs. Jeff Garcia has been solid, but I think Tampa will struggle running the ball, which will lead to lots of pressure on Jeff. And while we all like to assume how much he loves those guys rubbing all over him, it's not gonna make for a pretty picture offensively. The reason I think the Bucs won't be able to run, however, has nothing to do with the health of their backfield and more to do with the Titan defense. Whoever Tampa has back there won't be able to do much against the stingy Titan run defense, which is 3rd in the NFL allowing only 72 yards per game. On the flip side of that coin, Vince Young teams with LenDale White and Chris Browns to form the league's 4th best running game, at over 153 yards a contest. If you stop the run on defense, and run the ball well on offense, you can control the clock. If you can control the clock, you're gonna be tough to beat.

Week 6 Picks
New England Patriots (-5) @ Dallas Cowboys
Philadelphia Eagles (-3) @ New York Jets
Cleveland Browns (-4) vs Miami Dolphins
St. Louis Rams (+10) @ Baltimore Ravens
Tennessee Titans (+3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Monday Night
New York Giants (-3.5) @ Atlanta Falcons

*If I had followed my guy last week, and chosen the Bills to cover, (aka: if I had any stones) then my first "7 pick" week would have not only been a winning one, but a resounding success. Lucky for me, I have no conflict when it comes to this Monday Night match up. The Giant defense has been much improved of late, and despite giving up 24 points last week to the Jets, has only given up an average of 14 points in their last 3 games. On the offensive side, Manning to Burress is quickly become one of the deadliest combinations in the league, as they've now connected for over 400 yards and 7 scores. The Atlanta Dogfighters might be the home team here, but they really haven't shown anything this season that would indicate they have what it takes to keep this one all that close.

Last Week: 4-3-0

Overall: 14-15-2 (.484)

NCAA Top 25 Picks
(1) LSU (-9) @ (17) Kentucky

(2) California (-14) vs Oregon St.

(3) Ohio St. (-30) vs Kent St.

(4) Boston College (-13.5) @ Notre Dame

(5) South Florida (-12) vs UCF

(11) Missouri (+11) @ (6) Oklahoma

(7) South Carolina (-7) @ North Carolina

(9) Oregon (-18) vs Washington St.

(10) USC (-21) vs Arizona

(12) Virginia Tech (-13.5) @ Duke

Washington (+12) @ (14) Arizona St.

(15) Cincinnati (-10) vs Louisville

San Jose St. (+19) vs (16) Hawaii

(18) Illinois (-3.5) @ Iowa

(19) Wisconsin (+6.5) @ Penn St.

(20) Kansas (-20.5) vs Baylor

Arkansas (-3) vs (22) Auburn

(23) Texas (-16) @ Iowa St.

(24) Georgia (-7) @ Vanderbilt

(25) Tennessee (-7) @ Mississippi St.

Last Week: 7-7-1

Overall: 65-51-2 (.560)

*Not gonna lie, I'm "this close" to yanking this picks due to all the bad luck I've encountered since I started doing it. I've slipped from 1st, all the way to 5th in my picks league! Ahhhhhhh! Karma, you bastard! I knew this was gonna happen! In all honesty though, I really think it's just a coincidence. I nailed a lot of the out of conference games early on, but I just don't know enough about conference match ups and dynamics to pick up on certain trends. Maybe the more I pick, the better I'll get, but I won't be surprised if this trend continues for the rest of the season. Hey, it takes a proud man to admit when he's beat, and while I'm not throwing in the towel quite yet, I do have the ring doctor on standby.

News and Notes Quick Hitters

*The Sox swept the Angels...again...and are now headed for a showdown with the Cleveland Indians, with a berth in the World Series at stake. Now, you know I love the Sox in this series, but rooting interest aside, I do think the Indians are going to put up a good fight. Granted, this is the same guy who correctly predicted exactly 1 correct Division Series winner (the Sox, at that), but I think the Tribe has what it takes both in pitching and in hitting, to make this a series. The bad news for them, is they have their best pitchers, 700-pounder CC Sabathia and Fausto Carmona, going on the road in Boston against post season legends Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling. If they can scrap out a win in one of those two games, then this thing is bound to get real interesting, real quick. Both team have the ability to hit the long ball, run the bases and score in bunches, so if the pitching happens to fail, then look the hell out. For now, I'll take the Sox in 6, and sit back and enjoy.

*In the NLCS, all signs point to 50 guys you've never heard of putting on quite a show. Arizona specializes in winning tight games, while the Rockies are the NL's ultimate comeback kids. Somethings gotta give right? Well, in game 1, Colorado pretty much put to rest any real doubts I had about this series. I mean look, The D-Backs can't hit worth a lick, and that's not gonna cut it anymore. The only good starter Arizona has on it's whole staff, is Brandon Webb, and we all saw how well that went last night, didn't we? / I'm probably the only one that watched that minor league fest. Whatever. Here's to watching the Red Sox wear sweaters and turtle necks, while dodging hail and sleet at Coors Field. Rocks in 5...

*The Yankees lost, I'm not sure if you heard, and it's now possible the dynasty could be facing a mass exodus. With Joe Torre halfway out the door, and Mariano Rivera saying he will only return if Torre does, it almost makes people forget that arguably the team's two best players, A-Rod and Posada, are going to be the biggest targets in the off season market. Wow-za. To describe all this drama as interesting, would be the understatement of the millennium...

*If there's breaking news in the "Reggie Bush taking money at USC" story, you know it's gotta be from Yahoo! Sports. The only media outlet to actively pursue this story is now saying they have a guy willing to testify that Bush received about $280 K while winning titles for the Trojans. I still don't know why the folks at Yahoo! Sports are the only ones on this story, like 24/7, but I guess now it's finally gaining some steam. Ohhhhhh, wait a minute. The reason nobody else is on this, is because it can only retroactively hurt both Bush and USC (if it hurts the school at all), and people will only remember the titles and the records, not the "scandal" that followed. We know these guys take money to play! Stop wasting you're time on Reggie Bush, Yahoo!, and start focusing your energy on ways to improve your fantasy football leagues!

*I decided to end this week with an admission. Yes, I have watched a little bit of both Celtic pre season games in Italy. And yes, I enjoyed what I saw. I know I've ripped Danny Ainge and crew a lot over the past few years, and while I'm not totally jumping off the mistake prone Mormon, I have to admit I've loved what I've seen on the court thus far. Allen, Pierce and Garnett are obviously as good as advertised, and watching the improved play of guys like Kendrick Perkins, Eddie House and the healthy Tony Allen has been rather encouraging. Now, I still stand by my statement that Glen Rivers MD won't be able to coach this team to anything more than an Eastern Conference appearance, but from what I've seen, the team might be determined to win even in spite of their hapless leader. Go get 'em, Green! And go get 'em a new coach, Danny! You're dream is almost complete! (No, not the one where your people get to have like 20 wives, man. That's still only chill in Utah.)