Friday, November 30, 2007

Lifestyle vs Deathstyle

In the early hours of Monday morning, November 26th, someone busted into Washington Redskin's Sean Taylor's Miami home, and fatally shot him. Police are calling it a burglary gone awry, yet nothing was stolen. The media at large is saying that this is a result of the "crowd" that Taylor ran with. His coaches and teammates will tell you that since the birth of his daughter almost two years ago, Taylor has cleaned up is act and isn't the same person that pistol whipped a man that he thought had stolen his SUV, or spit in the face of another player as he did to Tampa's Michael Pittman. And then there's his former Miami Hurricane teammate, Antrel Rolle, who says he knows for a fact that Taylor has been living in fear for his life for the past 3 years. Whoa, that's a lot to digest, right? Well, lemme try to break it all down for ya.

First and foremost, no matter what caused this event to take place, nobody, and I mean NOBODY, deserves to be shot in their own home while they are sleeping. OK. May-be OJ. But you get my point. So I don't care if Sean Taylor ran with a bunch of gun toting thugs. Unless you can prove to me that Taylor himself had direct involvement with an actual murder, then there's no way he deserved this end to his life. Now, just because he didn't deserve it doesn't mean he was smart in making sure it didn't happen. For one, that same home was broken into only 8 days before, yet Taylor had taken no precautions to make sure it didn't happen again. Not even that, but what was this guy even doing in Miami to begin with? If he had cleaned up his act, and he did fear for his life, then why stay in the place that is most likely to cause you most harm? I understand it's tough to leave your friends, but the fact that he has a family, and was trying to set a good example for them, should have been enough motivation for him to move on. Unless, of course, he was in a gang stemming back to his childhood, and couldn't leave. Which in that case, his untimely death would probably have been punishment from the gang for him making it big, and then leaving them behind. I'm not saying he was in a gang, but it's a theory I've heard floated out there, and racist or not, I'm not quick to dismiss it. It's sure as hell better than the theory the cops are feeding us right now...

I'm no criminal, but when people break into a house (and possibly for the 2nd time in 8 days), shouldn't they be stealin' shit? I mean, isn't that the whole point? And don't try to sell me on the fact they got flustered when they shot Taylor so plans changed, because then there should be an orgy of evidence left behind from the hasty getaway. From all the accounts I've heard, from Taylors girlfriend to number of investigators, it sounds like these guys were there to murder Sean Taylor, plain and simple. Then again, would they have left him with just a groin wound, which they could not have known was fatal, if they were strictly there to kill him? Maybe, maybe not. I think what it comes down to, is I'm more willing to believe that the shooter wasn't that bright (or a good shot), more than I'm gonna believe that these people intended to steal shit, and then just decided against it. Thanks, but no thanks.

Now I don't want to make it sound like Taylor got what he deserved, because Lord knows I've been rough on him in the past. Like I've already said, no matter what his past discretion's, nobody deserves this, but when something like this "isn't a surprise," is it really any different? We're talking about Sean Taylor. Best known for pistol whipping a guy, getting his SUV shot up with an AK while he wasn't in it, cheap-shotting a punter in the Pro Bowl, and spitting in a guys face during a playoff game. And that doesn't even begin to account for all the trouble he got into while a member of the Miami Hurricanes (who oh, by the way, have had 11 of their players die due to off the field incidents since 1992). When you can't separate your boys from the grabbers on, and you can't tear yourself away from all your bad habits, you're gonna have a tougher time getting by than the rest of us. Sean Talyor's daughter doesn't deserve to grow up without a father, and Sean Taylor didn't deserve to meet his end at only 24 years old, but sometimes, you just are who you are, for better or for worse. And in the end, it seems that Sean Taylor didn't "reap what he sowed" as much as his Lifestyle came to determine, his Deathstyle. It's a far too frequent tale of tragedy, and if more people in sports and in life don't start looking at their life more seriously, it's only going to continue in a vicious cycle for the rest of time...

R.I.P Sean Taylor (1983-2007)

Freaky stat of the year: Marquise Hill, Darrent Williams and Sean Taylor were all victims of either murder or accidental death this year. All were 24 years old when they passed away. I know a lot of you reading this are 24, or at least close too it. Kinda scary, isn't it?

Much like the Redskins this week, we all have to accept that this tragedy occurred, and move on. After all, it is the most therapeutic thing to do, and if I'm one thing, it's therapeutically correct. So it's on to the games that are sure to make you sound like a pimp, and possibly even dress like one too...

First up, I'm flippin' the script. For most of the season, the Indianapolis Colts have been a lock to cover as a favorite, but since the injury bug has hit them harder than an 8-ball of Meth they just haven't been the same and now can't be trusted. They are at home, and they might pull this one out, but the Jags always play them tough, and I'll take my chances with a reinvigorated Jacksonville offense to go along with that stout defense (17.7 ppg allowed). David Garrard has been playing real solid QB since his return, and Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew are as potent a combo as ever. With Reggie Williams finally stepping up as the #1 WR, this is beginning to look like the only team that will have a feasible shot at knocking off the Patriots come playoff time. Make sure and take note that I said "feasible shot," which can also be translated to "still no real chance in Hell." The Indy defense just isn't the same without Freeney, and the offense isn't the same without Starvin' Marvin Harrison. Take the Jags, and the points, and begin polishing your best Peyton Manning impression so you can mock him throughout the entire game. Dang!...

Next on the docket is what I feel is my biggest reach of the week, and that's the San Diego Chargers over the Kansas City Chiefs. The only thing I really have to hang my hat on, is that the Chargers are "hot," winning 5 of their last 7 and coming off an 18 point win against the Ravens. Other than that, everything is telling me KC should be a solid cover here. Their at home, they have a great pass rush, they have great corners, and they already beat the Chargers by 14 in San Diego about 2 months ago. Maybe it's just my disdain for KC coach, Herm Edwards (who cost his Chiefs the game last week when he decided against kicking a 35 yard field goal that would have tied the game late in the 4th), or maybe it's the fact that I feel the Chargers are turning it around, but I'm goin' with the Bolts. Oh, I know what it might be. My good friend, Sean Philipps, just got a powder blue "Shaun Phillips" San Diego Chargers jersey! If that's not karma, then I really have no clue what good karma might be. Look for Merriman and Shaun P to be in the backfield enough to make life difficult for the KC offense, and look for LT play-action to open up some major seams for Philly Rivers to connect with Gates, Chambers and Vincent Jackson all day long. It might already feel like a loss, but I just gotta go with my gut on this one...

If you thought that was a bit of a reach, then you're really gonna think I've lost it with this next pick. Fresh off his 3 TD performance, I like Chad Johnson, Carson Palmer and the Bengals to roll into Pittsburgh and flat out beat the Steelers. Just weeks removed from being one of the Patriots biggest competitors, the Steelers have fallen off the map with a loss to the Jets and a near loss to the Dolphins in the Monday Night Monsoon. Maybe they started reading their own press clippings, or perhaps they haven't been getting their daily dose of Humble Pie, but whatever it is, they just haven't been that good lately. Now they come up against a Bengal team that put a 29 point smackdown on Vince Young and the Titans last week, and at 4-7, are in must win mode from here on out. Obviously they shouldn't have realistic expectations to make the playoffs at this point, but they also have to know that any hope goes right out the window with their next loss. The Steelers are good, don't get me wrong, and they're probably a better team than the Bengals, just not this week. If you're lookin' for a solid money line, take Cincy for the win, but if you want the safe play, then take Ocho Cinco and lay the 7 puntos....por favorrrrrr....

For my fourth selection, I've chosen to go with a game that the only people watching will have chains around their tires, snow shoes in their garage, and a love for all things having to do with hunting, fishing, and Canada. We venture to the Great North, where we find the Detroit Lions in town to face the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikes are winners of 2 straight and fresh off a pasting of Eli and the Giants, while Detroit has dropped 3 in a row and lost those by an average of 10 points a piece. Minnesota is great at controlling the line of scrimmage on offense, while the Lions lead the league in sacks allowed. So, to cut to the chase. Minnesota will be able to run all day long and control the clock, while Jon Kitna will be scrambling for his life the entire day while his team tries to play catchup. The Detroit defense feeds off turnovers, so as long as Minny can keep from coughing up the pill, they should have no problems pulling this one out. And hey, Jon Kitna. To get those 10 wins you guaranteed before the season, you're gonna have to lead your boys to a 4-1 finish my friend. Sounds like it's time to make a deal with the devil, and tell Jesus to beat it...

For my final game, I went into the division where all sure things go to die, the NFC South. This division constantly burns me whenever I try to pick one of it's teams, and especially when I pick a "divisional" game. Eh, screw it. I'm going to play devil's advocate to...well...myself, and go with who I don't think should win this game, the Tampa Bay Bucs. I know this sounds wicked retahded, but trust me, when it comes to NFC South match ups, it's always Bizarro World Central, or BWC if you like to sound cool like all the cool kids and their leather jackets. So, while the Saints have been relatively hot, seem to have things clicking, and are at home, I'm taking the Bucs to not only cover, but to win this sucker outright. A reach? Maybe. Flawed logic? Certainly. I'm just tellin' ya, these games never turn out like they should, and if you're crazy enough to play that trend, then I think you can cash in.

Week 13 Picks
Jacksonville Jaguars (+7) @ Indianapolis Colts
San Diego Chargers (-5.5) @ Kansas City Chiefs
Cincinnati Bengals (+7.5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Minnesota Vikings (-3.5) vs Detroit Lions
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5) @ New Orleans Saints

Monday Night
New England Patriots (-20) @ Baltimore Ravens

*OK, so now the Pat's have burned me twice this year. Even so, they're still 9-2 against the spread, and their playing a Ravens team that makes the wishbone look like a revolutionary passing attack. Their defense seems to be aging in front of our eyes (no matter how much Bill Belichick gushes about Ed Reed), and they simply don't have any answers for the barrage of weapons the Pats bring on both sides of the ball. As I said before, the only team I fear now, is possibly Jacksonville in the playoffs, so consider the Ravens just another speed bump on the way to 16-0. The Eagles may have provided the "Blueprint", but after this one I don't think there will be any "Reasonable Doubt" that New England is the best team in the league. Catch that Jay-Z reference in there did ya? I used to sell snow flakes by the O-Z!! I can see it now. Hova and the Hoodie LIVE from Carnegie cameras allowed...

Last Week: 4-2-0

Overall: 42-29-4 (.587)

News and Notes
*Everyone in Red Sox Nation has Johan Santana fever, baby! Reports surfaced early Thursday that the Twins had made an offer to the Sox in which Boston gives up Coco Crisp, Jon Lester and minor leaguers Jed Lowrie (SS) and Justin Masterson (P) in return for Santana, the two time Cy Young Award winner. Lowrie, is a big time prospect that projects to be a power hitting short stop at the Major League level in just a few years time, and Masterson is a 6'6 sinker baller that could very well be ready to go in the bigs as soon as the end of the '08 season. Notice that the two names not included in the deal were Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz. I say, screw Buchholz, if you can get the deal done without trading Ellsbury, then it's on like Donkey Kong. Hell, even if it takes Ellsbury to get Sanatan here, I think I'm doing that deal too. Having Johan Santana on your team, and just as importantly keeping him from the Yankees, will ensure a killer rotation for years to come, and can certainly overcome any offense and defense that Ellsbury might bring to the table. Not only would the Sox be adding Johan, a guy that has gone 70-32 over the last 4 seasons, but it's just as important that they are keeping the game's best left hander away from the pitching starved Evil Empire. Granted, it's going to take a real big extension after Santana arrives (he's demanding 6 years and $150 mil before he waives his no trade clause), but while the Sox have been reluctant to give long contracts in the past, I think the Minnesota ace is one of the few in the game for who they might make an exception. The guy is a once in a generation type player, and if Boston has the chance to land him, then Theo Epstein and friends would be best served to get the deal done.

*In other news, Bobby Knight shot some guy with his shotgun while on a hunting trip, Isiah Thomas continues to be the world's worst employee, and Rodney King (yes that Rodney King) got shot in the face with a shotgun, but not by Bobby Knight. There's way too much to get too, and I have way too little time. Sorry to tease you like that, but I'm movin' on and I just had to throw those thoughts out there...OK fine. Here's the video of Cardinal's coach Tony LaRussa sauced off his can. Don't drink and drive kids!
Now the only thing better than random guys getting blasted in the face, or attempting to drink their face "off", is college hoops baby! It's freekin' awesome!

College Hoops Top 10
1. Memphis (6-0) 1
2. North Carolina (6-0) 2
3. Kansas (6-0) 3
4. Washington St. (6-0) 4
5. UCLA (7-0) 6
6. Georgetown (4-0) 10
7. Southern Illinois (3-1) 8
8. Indiana (5-1) 9
9. Butler (6-0) NR
10. USC (6-1) NR

just missed: Texas A&M, Oregon, Gonzaga, Kansas St.

dropped: (5) Louisville; (7) Tennessee

*Unlike the real pollsters, I'll be honest and tell you that I've yet to see all of these teams play. Even more, I haven't really seen enough of any team to make a real sound judgment on them. Now that doesn't stop me from putting out a poll, but just keep in mind that in the coming weeks, as I watch more and more of the great game we call college hoops, my opinions of certain teams may change quite drastically. More so than any other sport, college basketball is a living and breathing game that's constantly in a fluid state of motion. That's why the games are so fun to watch and why the tournament is so great. Well, that and all the office pools, of course. So, with all that in mind, here are a few observations I have made through the start of the season...

-This year's crop of freshmen is stacked. Keep your eyes out for Michael Beasley (Kansas St.), Donte Greene and Jonny Flynn (Syracuse), Kevin Love (UCLA), OJ Mayo (USC), Eric Gordon (Indiana) and Kyle Singler (Duke). These kids can flat out ball, and don't be surprised if a few of them hang around longer than some of their one and done predecessors.

-Butler is quickly emerging as the Gonzaga of the East. The Bulldogs already have wins over Michigan, @ Virginia Tech and @ Texas Tech to open their season, and they showdown with Ohio St. on Saturday. Adam Graves (18.5 ppg) is back from the team that went to the Sweet 16 last year, and they've proven they are just as tough this year, bursting out of the gate at 6-0 with some impressive non conference road W's...

-I hate to say it, but watching Duke play the other night really convinced me. Not only are the Dukies real good again, but they are super athletic this time around. Not since the days of Corey Maggette, Elton Brand and William Avery did Coach K have guys that can fly around like Gerald Henderson, Kyle Singler, and senior leader Demarcus Nelson. OH, and you know they can shoot 3's like a mother, and they bust their ass on defense. Greg Paulus is still a dirty punk from the dirty 'Cuse, but it's only a matter of time before one of the UNC blue chipper's tries to take some of his teeth out...

-As for my Syracuse Orange, I might have been a little hasty putting them just outside my top 10, but I still love the talent and potential this team has. And I'm talking about this year too. The loss against Ohio St. wasn't a bad one for such a young team, and while giving up 107 to UMASS in the Carrier Dome isn't exactly awe inspiring, it doesn't really worry me either. I saw how a young team, led by Carmelo Anthony and Gerry McNamara came together as the season progressed, and I can see a lot of the same happening this season. Donte Greene (20.5 ppg / 8.5 rpg) and Johnny Flynn (12.5 ppg / 6.8 apg) are probably the best freshman tandem in the nation, and coupled together with soph Paul Harris and junior thug Eric Devendorf, should make for a tough guard based team to deal with come tourney time. That is if they don't get snubbed again this year...

Fantasy Update
Last Week: Make It Reign! 55 Payroll Bitches 70

Overall: 8-3-1, 4th place

*The good news is that I clinched a playoff spot. The bad news is I don't trust my team any further than I can throw any of them. I loaded my roster with big name guys that are known for scoring touchdowns, and I'm watching them consistently not score touchdowns, with the exception of TO and Brian Westbrook. If I'm gonna make any sort of run in the post season, Torry Holt and LaDainian Tomlinson are gonna need to step it up, Dallas Clark will need to return to pre-concussed form, and I, as the, GM will have to make the right call each week between David Garrard, Jason Campbell and the now shaky idiot hick, Elisha Manning. Too bad these games aren't played on paper, or I'd really like my chances, instead of sitting here expecting my team to underachieve, yet again.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pass the Bird...

Thanksgiving time is a busy one in my life, so excuse me if I didn't get to a full edition this week. And if you believe that, I have some rather angry dogs and a nice big house in Virginia I'd love to sell ya. Truth is, I've been more lazy than bust, so this is what you're gonna get. Don't worry, I'm all over the latest news with Mike Lowell (he signed), the Celtics (they finally lost), Nick Saban said some dumb shit (yeah, again) and Mike Vick (he went to jail...before he was sentenced) and I'll get back to it next week, but for now all you're gonna get is my Week 12 NFL Picks. Seeing as I'm in a festive mood, I'm picking the 3 Thanksgiving Day games and then then filling in 3 additional games to round out my weekly selections. I hope you enjoy, I hope you can parlay that enjoyment into some possible financial gain, and above all, I hope you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving. Don't forget, we're celebrating the slaughter of this country's indigenous people by the White Man. So pass the cranberry sauce!!

Turkey Day Picks
Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Detroit Lions

*Gotta love the traditional Turkey Day match up, right? Sure, most years these two teams are about as relevant to East coast sports fans as surfing, soccer, wrestling, and pretty much anything going on west of the Mississippi, but you gotta watch, right? Maybe Barry Sanders isn't able to WOW us anymore, but we do have Brett "the Pharmacist" Favre, right? Come on, he's slingin' it around the yard, and besides, you only really need to catch glimpses between delicious bites of culinary mastery, right? That's part of the beauty of this match up. The game will be entertaining enough to provide a few ooo's and ahhh's during the drive for the appetizers, but not close enough to require any serious watching. So, while I'd love to root for Jon Kitna and Lions in this one, their offensive line is just way too leaky. I expect Favre to be Favre, and throw a few TDs, and the Green Bay defense to make the lead stick. It's bound to be another disappointing Thanksgiving in Detroit, but seeing as it's no different than any other day in that porta-potty, I doubt anyone will even bat an eye. My only wish is that John Madden could be there to hand out 25 Turducken legs to all his Thanksgiving MVPs. Brett Favre? John Madden? Loads of greasy bird arms? Now that's what I'm talkin' about! Boom!! It's a chicken, in a duck, inside a turkey! Boom!!

Dallas Cowboys (-14) vs New York Jets

*On one hand, the Jets just beat the Steelers last week. On the other hand, the Jets suck, and the Cowboys just convincingly beat down the Redskins with one of the non-Patriot offensive performances of the season. Gee, I wonder which hand I should take? That's like having a hand full of $100's, and another hand full of dead hooker panties. Sure, at one point those panties looked good, but you know as good as I that you can't very well touch them without having to dismember your hand, or at the very least let it soak in bleach for a solid 72 hours before you dare touch yourself again. Anyway. The moral of that disturbed analogy, is to take the Cowboys, and in a big way. That win over Pittsburgh may have done a lot for the confidence of a struggling Jet team, but that "high" won't be nearly as good as the "low" following this prime time holiday beatdown. Can't wait to see you in Foxboro, Mangina! We got some presents for ya!

Indianapolis Colts (-12) @ Atlanta Falcons

*Nothin' goes better on Thanksgiving with all the turkey, mashed potates and stuffing like a good dog fight, wouldn't you say? Oh, wait. No good? Then how about a good episode of Fat Albert? Hey! Hey! Hey! Right? Not down for that, huh? Well, neither are the Falcons, and with Mikey gettin' a head start on his prison time, and Fat Leftwich injured again, it's time to push the turkey aside for a big serving of PIG. As in Joey, "The Pig" Harrington. I don't care if Adam Vinatieri is breakin' windshields in the parking lot, and Peyton Manning is sitting behind a line made of actual street bums. Rest assured that Joey Harrington will provide the necessary interception for a TD, or "Pick 6", securing the Indy victory and the cover of the spread. So sit back, relax, and enjoy your pie during this one. Of course, only if you get the NFL network...DUN! DUN! DUN!

Week 12 Picks
Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5) vs Oakland Raiders

*Maybe this is a little backlash of finally being able to watch KC on TV this week against the Colts, but I'm feelin' the Chefs. Great Googly Moogly!! No, hell hasn't frozen over. I still think the offense is suspect at best (especially with no Larry Johnson, and now no Preist Holmes), and I still think Herm Edwards is about as smart as he is a good public speaker, but there's somethin' about that defense that just gives me confidence in their match up with the Raiders. I mean D-End Jared is a straight man beast. Banged up or not, he made a mockery of that Indianapolis offensive line, and I have a gut feeling he'll do the same this weekend against Oakland. Defense wins games, baby. And like Herm says..."We play to win the games!" I'm sure he's got a whole stash of those deep mental notes for us somewhere in that desk of his. I'm just waitin' on the next gem to come rollin' out! Do you practice to get ready? What league is this?!?

New England Patriots (-22) vs Philadelphia Eagles

*Come on, it's the freaking Holidays! Of course I'm taking the Pats this weekend! Even though it was a little tough for me to find a spread, seeing as a lot of places are apparently not taking any action on this game, I still managed to find a line I was willing to throw all my logical and unbias support behind. To be honest, the spread could have been 42 and I was still going to take the Pats here. They destroy everyone they play, and teams they seem to have some sort of grudge against, they flat out embarass. And whether he's playing or not, don't think New England has forgotten Donovan McNabb's "can we get our ring?" comment in the wake of "Spygate". In jest or not, giving the Patriots motivation is comparable to giving George Bush actual "reasons" to invade a country. Like they wern't just gonna stomp you out anyway, right? Face it, the only weapon the Philly offense has, is Brian Westbrook, and I have full faith that given a week's time, Belichik and crew will find plenty of ways to slow him down. What am I saying? Even if Westbrook does somehow manage to find the endzone 3 times (which I hope he does for personal fantasy football gain), Brady and crew will still rack enough TDs to cover the number. It's going to be another great Sunday, capping off one of the best weekends of the year, so make sure you're in front of a big TV, with some good peeps, and some good booze, and have yourself gay ole time. You know, gay like in olden times, not like Lance Bass. How appropriate, too. Thanksgiving weekend, and the Patriots are going to be dismembering a large bird, and tearing it to shreds. Isn't it just the smallest world ever!!??!

*Holiday Tip: Play the new "Randy's Candy" or "Straight Cash" drinking game with your friends this Thanksgiving weekend. Every time Moss catches a touchdown pass from Brady, you drop a shot of Jack Daniels (Moss), into a nice tall glass of Sam Adams Boston Lager (Brady) and you chug it down. The Jack represents Moss and his West Virginia roots, and the Sam represents Captain Tom Terrific and his association with all things New England, and the fact that he's so smoooooooth. It may taste like ass, but it's sure to get you so drunk, that even you will be out in your car hitting meter maids, pretending to moon people and maybe, if you're lucky, you'll get to play hoops with Jason "White Chocolate" Williams". Yes, I invented this game, and no, I've never tried those two alcohols mixed together. Give it a whirl and let me know how it works out for ya. (not responsible for excessive puke-fests and/or blackouts)

Monday Night
Miami Dolphins (+16) @ Pittsburgh Steelers

*Nothing is going to give me more pleasure than watching the Dolphins go 0-16 while the Patriots go 19-0, but I just don't see a Monday Night blowout in this one. The Steelers proved that they were less than the elite team Merril Hodge thought they were (the analyst had the Steelers ranked #1 in his power poll last weekend), yet I see them being good enough to eek out another W this week. Without star WR Santonio Holmes, and All Pro safety Troy Polamalu, Shittsburgh becomes more of an average team, but still talented enough to put some points up on the board, and defensively good enough to hold their own. Helping their cause, Miami is 0-10, and they pretty much blow. The only reason I even think they have a shot at covering, is the recent explosiveness of rookie WR Ted Ginn Jr., and the emergence of QB of the future, John Beck. You see Ginn finally take one to the house and haul in 6 balls for 70+ yards? Sure the Dolphins reached to draft him at #7, and probably should have taken Brady Quinn, but there's no doubt that if healthy this kid can be a game changer at this level. Now I might be going out on a little bit of a limb, here, but I just see Miami hanging close enough with some big plays to tease their fans for one more week. And how pissed is this going to make those grumpy old fools on the '72 Dolphins, the last team to go undefeated? Salty bastards. Can't wait to rub the 19-0 in their face while they're wallowing in their 0-16 feces pile of a franchise.

Last Week: 4-2-0

Overall: 38-27-4 (.579)

Good luck to everyone, and I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving! I can only hope is as much fun as it was at my house last year. Take a look for yourself. MY family is crazy! And yes, Samuel L Jackson is my uncle...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Week 11 Picks - Wade Phillips Must Die!

Wade Phillips! You have officially made the list! That son of a bitch cost me a win in my fantasy football league, and come hell or high water, I will make sure he receives the proper retribution for his dirty, Busch league tactics! In case you missed it (and I probably would have if not for this), Phillips, that fat loser of a man, reported to the league that a sack counted against the Cowboys, by the Giants Osi Umenyiora, should not have been a sack by league rule. Since Romo had botched the snap, he was no longer a passer that could have been sacked, but a runner who could only be tackled. Fine, if that's the rule, then I guess my 1 point win last week was based on a technicality. But who on earth reports these types of things as if they actually matter?! Did the ruling affect the outcome of the game? Nope! It was obviously a personal vendetta being set straight. Whether it was one player not wanting Umenyiora to get the sack, or it was Wade not wanting to have Tom Coughlin and the Giants get over on them in any way, it's just bizarre. There have to be plenty of examples of minor statistical errors like this in the league every week, matter of fact, I know there are! Which makes this thing all the more peculiar. Fact is, Wade Phillips is a fat loser with a gullett like a turkey, and if I had the financial means, I'd go down to Dallas and shove him in front of the nearest bus. That miserable old turd! Oh well, the only reason I care is because it cost me fantasy football win, so I guess it's not really that big of a deal. But don't think just because fantasy teams aren't "real," that losses like this don't hurt the very "real" owners. My feelings are hurt Wade, and you're on the list. The rest of my league better look the Hell out!

Now, onto "actual" teams, playing "actual" games, that "actually" matter. The trend I decided to follow this week was taking favorites, and more or less taking teams that appear to be "sure things." These teams may range from the 9-0 Pats to the 1-8 Rams, but I think you'll dig my logic, and come out a winner...

To jump start the week, fresh from the "thank God their back" department, we have the dynastic, the dynamic, the New England Patriots. Sure, the last time we saw them in action they may not have been covering the spread, but I'm sure we can all find it in our hearts to forgive them. The Pats come into this game with only one thing on their mind, beating Buffalo. Their fans, also have only one thing on their mind this week, and that's going 19-0 and being able to take a huge dump right on Don Shula's grave when he eventually runs out of steak house money and kicks the bucket. One game a time, people. He'll be gone soon enough. Now surprisingly, the Bills come into this as one of the league's hottest teams, winning their last 4, and they have actually had some semblance of an offense since the return of one Jonathan Paul Losman. I don't feel it will be enough in this one, especially with the absence of rookie RB stud, Marshawn Lynch, but there is one thin g I would keep my eye on. Remember when the Pats pounded the Bills in week 3 by 31 points? And remember how Vince Wilfork took what looked like a cheap dive at the leg of Losman? Hmmmm. I'm not saying the Bills have payback on their mind, but if I were Tom Terrific, I'd throw my 4 TD passes as early as possible, and get the fuck out of dodge. Eh, I'm sure nothin' will happen. Just take the Pats, and the points, and start countin' your cakes...

Now, as good as the Pats are at winning this season, there's a team that happens to be just as good at losing. That team, of course, is from the land of Cocaine and Cubans, the one and only, Miami Dolphins. At a stellar 0-9, and with a good shot to go winless this season, I'm a little disappointed I haven't been picking against the Phins with more regularity. Maybe it's because they usually have a good defense that keeps them in games. Or maybe because in the back of my mind, I always remember how much trouble the Patriots always have with them. Either way, I'm over those concerns and ready to start taking all the money I have, all my belongings, and everything I can steal from my loved ones, and place it against whoever the Dolphins are playing that particular week. This week, the lucky team is the Philadelphia Eagles! (cue Price is Right music) I don't care if the Eagles have been less than stellar lately, I'm Hell bent on picking against the Dolphins, so I'm gonna do it. Besides, I could use a big week from Eagles RB Brian Westbrook for my fantasy team, so I might as well go into that game expecting big things from Philly. Now it's on them to deliver like one of Andy Reid's son's in the slums of Philly. Take Philadelphia and the dime bag...errr...I mean the 10 points...

Speaking of locks, the one team that used to be one (Colts), has been replaced by a team making their claim as the "new #2," the Pittsburgh Steelers. I know I told you last week that the Colts weren't as bad as they looked against the Chargers, but that was before I knew Dwight Freeney was out for the season. I'm not saying he makes that big of a difference, but add his shelving to the other laundry list of injuries in Indianapolis, and it gets me to worrying about them a little from week to week. So this week, I'll ride with my new #2 team, and hope they don't burn me out of spite. After all, I've been a certified Steeler hater for a solid decade now, and while I don't plan on stopping, I figure I can use them this week and still sleep fine at night. Steelers in a landslide in this one, as Eric Mangina starts flipping through the Want Ads for a summer job...

Next up on the "sure thing" chopping block, are Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers. I've been going with the Pack the last few weeks, and seeing as they have yet to do me wrong, I'm stickin' with 'em. Just like the past few weeks, I'm not thrilled about the match up, but I just have faith that Brett Favre and that stout Packer defense can get the job done against a so-so Carolina Panther team. Even more assuring, is that I can't even remember who the Panthers are trotting out at QB this week! And believe me, if I can't remember, then you probably don't know, which makes the Panthers a prime candidate to lose. They have one weapon, Steve Smith, and Green Bay happens to have guys named Charles Woodson and Al Harris in their secondary. Advantage, Green Bay. Victory, Green Bay. Might be a tight squeeze to cover the big number, but when that's the case, take the favorite and hope for a blowout...

Finally, the last favorite I'm ridin' with this week is a team I'm glad I can finally take with at least a smidgen of confidence, the St. Louis Rams. Put aside the fact that the 49ers have been absolutely awful of late (and oh yea Trent Dilfer is starting again this week), the Rams are finally healthy and ready to start playing some serious ball. Well, at least on offense. Marc Bulger is healthy, Steven Jackson is healthy, and Tory Holt, while still not 100%, is still on pace for 1,400 yards. Well, I'm sold. The Niners suck, and now the Rams do not. And boy it feels good to finally take the team I picked to win the 2007-08 NFC Championship. Ooops...

Week 11 Picks
New England Patriots (-16) @ Buffalo Bills
Philadelphia Eagles (-9.5) vs Miami Dolphins
Pittsburgh Steelers (-9.5) @ New York Jets
Green Bay Packers (-10) vs Carolina Panthers
St. Louis Rams (-2.5) @ San Fransisco 49ers

Monday Night
Tennessee Titans (+2) @ Denver Broncos

*Vince Young + Big Game = Victory for whoever has Vince Young on their team. Personally, that strategy has yet to fail me, and in Denver or not, I'm still goin' with VY and the tough Titan D.

Last Week: 3-4-0

Overall: 34-25-4 (.571)

NCAA Top 25 Picks
(1) LSU (-19) @ Mississippi

(3) Oklahoma (-8) @ Texas Tech

(4) Kansas (-26.5) vs Iowa St.

(5) West Virginia (-6) @ (21) Cincinnati

Kansas St. (+7) vs (6) Missouri

(7) Ohio St. (-4.5) @ (23) Michigan

(8) Georgia (-7.5)
vs (22) Kentucky

(10) Virginia Tech (-16.5) vs Miami

(13) Hawaii (-7) @ Nevada

(14) Florida (pick) vs Florida Atlantic

(18) Boston College (+7.5) @ (15) Clemson

(17) Boise St. (-34) vs Idaho

(19) Tennessee (-11.5) vs Vanderbilt

(20) Illinois (-13.5) vs Northwestern

(24) Wisconsin (-14) @ Minnesota

(25) UCONN (-19) vs Syracuse

Last Week: 8-13-0

Overall: 109-95-6 (.533)

*You know the drill. I suck at picking college games, but because I feel like each week I can somehow buck that trend, I keep making picks.

News and Notes
*OK, so Barry Bonds has been indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice, and OJ is back in court on kidnapping charges. My oh my. When will the court system in this country ever learn? You tell me that the indictment on Bonds has proof he used anabolic steroids (FACT), and I point to the fact that OJ's DNA was sprayed all over the murder scene like a super soaker at a Girls Gone Wild party. You say Bonds will have his career marred by a haunting asterisk (aren't we glad we all know how to say it now?), and I say look at all the money OJ was offered for a book deal describing the murders he "didn't commit." Basically, I don't wanna hear how shocking these indictments are, because they aren't shocking at all. These two fools have gone out of their way to prove time and time again that not only are they unsavory characters, but that they see nothing wrong with committing crimes and then repeatedly lying about them. Don't tell me that they're victims of a vicious media, or that "everyone has problems." Listen, the difference between my problems and their problems, is that when and if I ever get charged with murder, perjury, kidnapping, roid shooting, or whatever you wanna toss at me, I'll be convicted with not much more than a little blurb in the Sun Chronicle. Since neither of you care what people think, then just sit their in court, smile and waive, and go collect your checks once you've been given another slap on the wrist by this country's fabulous legal system. Trick me into caring once, shame on you, but trick me into caring again...well you know how it goes. These guys are losers, and if there is justice out there, they will both be in jail in the next year. Too bad that's such a big "if"

*In a far more entertaining saga (I know, hard to imagine), Stephon Marbury has found his way back to the New York Knicks after his blowup with Idiot #1, Isiah Thomas. Let's recap what went down.....

1) Marbury erupted at Thomas on the team flight to Phoenix after the coach told "Starbury" that he would be demoted to the bench...

2) The verbal fight between the two almost came to blows ("almost" because neither connected with a punch, according to reports) at the hotel after the flight landed...

3) Marbury left the team, and said that the Knicks gave him permission to leave. Then, he added that Thomas needed to put him back in the starting lineup because Marbury "had too much on Isiah." Yeah, blackmail is always a classy option...

4) The Knicks fined "Starbury" $180K for missing the game against the Suns. Hmmmm, thought you had permission?

5) Marbury rejoined the team in Los Angeles against the Clippers, and pledges that he and Zeke can work out their differences...

Right. Two days ago you were trying to decapitate the guy and drag his reputation through the landfill, and now you're just gonna make nice? I really felt the Knicks had a legit shot, talent wise, to make the playoffs in the East this year, but at this rate, they have a better shot at making the cut for the next episode of Springer. Isiah Thomas and Stephon Marbury deserve each other, and whatever may come of this whole incident will be more than enough to send both of their questionable careers into the crapper. Kind of reminds me of the saying "when you have two QBs, you have no QB." When you have two over zealous, egotistical point guards on the bench, you really don't have a point guard at all, you have a media circus.

*Like any proud prognosticator, I love to toot my own horn when I'm right, so if you're scared of loud noises, I recommend covering your ears for a moment. TOOT! TOOT! A-Rod won't go back to the Yankees? The Yankees refuse to talk to A-Rod if he opts out of his contract? I said it was all BS at the time, and low and behold, I was 100% on the money. There was no way that the Yankees were just going to let A-Rod walk away, and there was no way A-Rod was going to eliminate the biggest bargaining chip he had, the Yankees payroll flexibility. Now everyone is talking about how Scot Boras cost A-Rod millions by having him opt out, but that's not really true at all. I know Boras said A-Rod would garner up to $350 million for a 10 year deal (reportedly his new deal will be about $275 mil), but he always makes extravagant predictions like that, and always ends up settling for less (see:Johnny Damon). He's a shrewd negotiator, and he knows how to get deals done. I don't care if he wasn't involved in the negotiations, like many are saying, he's the one that gets these things done, plain and simple. As for A-Rod returning to the Big Apple, I could really care less. Sure it makes the Yankee lineup better than it would have been without him, but the guy has still yet to prove he can deliver when it counts. Hell, if half his own fan base doesn't want him, and he's won 2 MVP's while playing for them, then why should I care? The only difference now, is he has more money to pay his strippers/friends, and he can finally get the lip implants made strictly from the fat that used to be in Star Jones ass. Hey, if they work for Shannon Sharpe, I figure they will work for A-Rod. See, I'm a lawya. If he had $250 million before, and he just got $275 million more. Then that's almost twice as many millions...(that's Tracy Morgan as Star Jones on SNL some years back. Sorry if you don't get the reference, but I couldn't find the video.....Waa Waa Waaaaaaaa...)

*A lot of people have been hittin' me up lately and asking me how on earth Josh Beckett didn't win the Cy Young Award, so I figure I'll do my best to explain the reasoning behind his 2nd place finish. First and foremost, the voting takes place before the end of the season, so as much as the tow head to head match ups between Becket, and eventual Cy winner Cream Cheese Sabathia, have no impact on the race. So, discounting those games, it's a little easier to see why Sabathia won. He had more strikeouts, more innings pitched, and a lower ERA than Beckett, so all those voters who strictly gave the two the "eye test" when it comes to stats, would have picked CC. The one peculiar thing, is that when the season ended I don't recall people thinking that the vote was going to end in the landslide, and in fact, I got the impression at the time that Beckett was probably a favorite going into the vote. Oh well, Beckett has the real hardware anyway, and as long as the people voting for these awards watch games as frequently as they change their diapers, then we are going to keep getting these results. Have fun with your Cy, CC, just make sure you don't try to swallow it whole. It's kind of pointy, might be a little tough to digest.

*And finally, I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome Sticky Icky Ricky Williams back to the National Football League. So welcome back, Rick. You'll be glad to know not much has changed since you have left. The Bush's are still screwing up the country, the Clinton's are still trying to fix it, and Al Gore is still inventing things (the Internet) that make the world a better place to live. Oh, and the Dolphins are still garbage. Have a good time tryin' to play just enough games so that you don't have to pay the Phins a single dirty nickel. The man is an American institution. He's a pot smokin', dred sportin', holistic medicine lovin' American dream, and his life story is going to make for one heck of a book (and possibly a movie starring Mario Van Peebles or Mehki Phifer) once his playing days are done. They'll call it, From Grass to Turf: The Ricky Williams Story. Coming to a head shop near you in the year 2009. Hey Ricky, have you ever played football....on weed? Red team go! Red team Go!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

NFL Power Struggle & Hoops Predictions!

It sounds weird to say, but even with all that is going on around me in the wide world of sports these days, there wasn't that much in the past week that got me all that excited. Oh well, I'll still try my best to make fun of those who need to be mocked, and just in general get into a little verbal mischief...

Tackle Box

*Before we get all giddy and ahead of ourselves, the Indianapolis Colts are not nearly as bad as they looked Sunday night against the Chargers. What you saw was a team still obviously hungover from their loss to the Patriots, and a team that was missing 9 of their 11 starters due to injury. I know, injuries aren't an excuse in this league, but I'm not making one, I'm just explaining the loss. Indy is still clearly the second best team in the NFL, and the Chargers were just lucky to escape that piece with a mark in the W column. Just look at it from this angle. San Diego needed unprecedented choke jobs from both Peyton Manning (6 interceptions) and Adam Vinatieri (2 missed FGs), on top of the fact that both Marvin Harrison and Dallas Clark weren't even on the field. And they still barely won! A lot of people have already been quick to elevate Pittsburgh to the #2 seed in the AFC power rankings, but not this guy. The Colts are still the team to beat in the AFC not named New England, and the rest is just pure noise...

*On the flip side of that coin, maybe a lot of people (me included) put the cart before the horse a bit when it came to the New York Giants. The Giants were riding sky high a few weeks ago, but fresh off their sloppy game in London against the Dolphins, and well rested off their bye week, they got pretty beat up by the Cowboys at the Meadowlands. Maybe they are still suffering from the UK hangover (also known as the George Michael), but it might just be a case of them not being all that great. Sure, when their defense is making big, game changing plays, they can hang with anyone. I just don't think it's realistic to expect that from the defense every week, especially against top tier talent. Right now, I'd have to say Dallas is still the cream of the NFC, and Green Bay is a rather close second. Closer than I'd like to admit, granted, but by smacking Minnesota in the mouth up in Minneapolis, they're really making me a believer. I know Minnesota has zero offense, and Adrian Peterson went down with an injury, but anytime you shut a team out and beat them by 30 it's worth taking note. Maybe in the long term, the Giants can get back in the groove they were in earlier this year, but unless they do, I see the NFC as a league with two legit teams, Dallas and Green Bay. Of course if Brett Favre reverts back to being hooked on pain killers, then all bets are off. And I hear those odds are actually running 8 to 1 in favor...

*Most of the country could care less, but if you happen to be in the Baltimore or DC area these days, the only talk is about Raven head man Brian Billick and his employment situation. The one time offensive genius (right?), Billick is coming off a 13-3 season in which his team continued to win on defense, despite having one the most anemic offenses in the league. Hell, when they won the Super Bowl in 2001, didn't they go 8 straight games without scoring a touchdown on offense? I just know they set on awful record for offensive ineptitude. Fact is, no matter how much you want to point to results, I can't blame Raven fans for wanting Billick out. The guy is know as a publicity hog, and was recently called out indirectly by current Patriot, Adalius Thomas, for just that. Thomas said a lot of guys in Baltimore were more concerned with the spotlight and the "Me" factor than they were about winning games. A lot of people took that to mean Ray Lewis, but those really paying attention probably see that as more a shot at Billick, who has seemed content to rely on his defense while watching his offense sputter for about a decade. He's certainly been there a long time, and he's definitely helped the "expansion" Ravens gain an identity, but I think it's time to go. Hey, if Marty Schottenheimer can be let go after a 14 win season, then I don't see why Brian Billick can't be released after a season in which his team will struggle to score 14 touchdowns. Every coach, every player, every owner can sometime run their course with a franchise they are seemingly tied to, and I think that's the case here with Billick. He needs a new job to get his mind back in the right zone, and whether that's with another team or with a TV network, I have to think the change is coming sooner rather than later.

*One guy that doesn't have to worry about his job, is the dynasty director, Bill Belichick. This week, Billy and the boys will be traveling to Buffalo to take on the surprising Bills. Not surprising that they are 5-4, but more surprising that they could realistically be 6-3, or 7-2 if not for a few key breaks. They are better than most people give them credit for, they've fought through possibly more injuries than any other team and Belichick said himself he thinks Dick Jauron has done the best coaching job of anyone in the league this year. Too bad for them they have to play the Pats this week. It's a Sunday night game, so get your Monday morning excuses ready, and while it might be a little tighter than many think, I don't see the Bills being the speed bump on the way to perfection. Oooo Eee it's just gonna be great to get the Dynasty back on the field after the bye. Seems like it's been a month since they've played, hasn't it? Oh well, back to work. Nine down, 10 more to go...

News and Notes

*I know I've probably said this about a zillion times over the years, but isn't it laughably obvious to everyone that college football is in dire need of a playoff system? Thanks to another #1 falling this week in the form of Ohio St., the Kansas Jawhawks stand alone as the only undefeated team left in the country. Problem is, they're currently #3 in the BCS standings behind LSU and Oregon. I mean I don't expect Kansas to win out and make this a huge issue, but doesn't it just keep becoming more and more obvious that this system of polls is about as useful as a comb for Tony Kornheiser. Think about it this way. Imagine if writers from around the country had to pick two NFL teams to compete in a title game, and try and tell me there wouldn't be absolute chaos every single year when they went to do it. Ahhhh! This system just drives me crazy, and the fact I'm even devoting any of my time to talking about it is making me even more upset! Here's to every team in the league finishing with 2 or more losses expect for Kansas, Boise St., and maybe Hawaii. Choke on that, BCS...

*In Red Sox Nation, all the buzz lately has been about Pedroia winning Rookie of the Year, Schilling saddlin' up for another season, and Mike Lowell deciding to apparently go ahead and test the free agent market. Pedroia was a no brainer. That kid be about 5 foot nothin' and a buck nothin', but I think he proved he's somehow got stones the size of Rhode Island. He's a keepa, kid! Schilling, signed up for a one year deal, loaded with incentives, that will pay him a base of $8 million, and with some reachable incentives could garner the vet as much as $12 million. Good move there too. Schilling might not be close to the guy he was even when he came to Boston, but he's learned to be a control pitcher and his post season experience alone is enough reason to take a flier on him for at least another season. As for Lowell, as much as I'd like him to hang around (to the tune of about 3 years $40 million), I can't blame him for making a grab for the cash either. He's worked hard, survived cancer, and if some team wants to give him $50 million, I say take it. Of course he will be missed, but something tells me there's a big deal in the works that would address the loss of Lowell at 3rd. I'm not saying it's A-Rod, or even Marlin 3B Miguel Cabrera, but I just feel Theo is up to something. In the past, deals like Coco Crisp and Josh Beckett have always come out of left field, so I feel a similar situation here. With Manny most likely out the door after this season, look for the front office to look ahead by either bringing in an heir apparent via trade, or actually trading Manny this off season as part of a deal for a younger, big time slugger. Again, I just don't see A-Rod signing with the Sox due to his requested financial terms, but I do see big things on the horizon for Boston this off season.

*Meanwhile, in the rest of baseball, MLB is doing it's best Wag the Dog impression by releasing names of known roid users one day, followed by Gold Glove winners the next. Anything to stay on the front page, eh fellas? It's one thing to conduct this steroid investigation with George Mitchell, but it's totally another to say you have your results, and you won't release them for another two months. Allow me to translate. We have all the names, but we want to leak them out in a manner that best fits our league and it's interests. Why else would the word be out that 11 current free agents (Sammy Sosa, Sammy Sosa, Sammy Sosa) are directly implicated as steroid users by the Mitchell investigation? If you have the names, let them out and stop pussyfooting around it. Wouldn't it be less painful and less detrimental to the league if all this were just ripped off fast like a band aid anyway? I mean are they actually milking the scandal that has marred their sport, for publicity? Hey, it's one thing to try to get your sport in the news, but when it becomes clear that you don't care how your product actually makes the front pages, then that's just downright greedy, selfish, and idiotic. Old fat men, sitting in luxury suites, running the world from their assistants' CrackBerry. God help us all...

*In news about a sport that's actually playing games these days (no, not the Bruins), the new look Celtics continue to roll. They're off to a 5-0 start, Lord knows the best start they've had since God knows when, and they don't seem to have any real noticeable weaknesses. As for the rest of the league? Well, here's an abbreviated NBA preview, and while it might be short in length, make no mistake about it, it's long on substance. From the guy that predicted the Spurs over the Cavs in last year's NBA Finals, I give you my 2007-2008 NBA season preview....Earl Boykins edition (get it? because he's so tiny!)

Eastern Conference Finals
Boston Celtics over Chicago Bulls in 6 games

Western Conference Finals
Dallas Mavericks over San Antonio Spurs in 7 games

NBA Finals
Dallas Mavericks over Boston Celtics in 7 games

*Pretty scummy of me huh? Say the Celts have no chance of winning the title this year in one breathe, and then in the other say they're going to make the Finals. Well, what can I say. I feel with all the media scrutiny finally elsewhere, Dirk and the Mavs can finally get down to business and play like the team that many have thought they were the past 5 years or so. Sorry, Celtic fans, but hopefully this finals loss will be exactly the motivation Danny the Mormon needs to fire Doc Rivers, and bring in a veteran coach with some playoff experience. What's that you say? There's turmoil in LA with Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant?!? Hmmmm....

Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

*Hey, I figure if I'm gonna have the Mavs as my champs, then I have to have Dirk as my MVP right? Granted, there are plenty of players you could put into this mix (Garnett, Duncan, Nash, LeBron), but I'm goin' with the large German. He's always had the talent, and seeing as he'll be leading his team to the title, he will more than deserve the hardware.

Rookie of the Year
Kevin Durant, Seattle Sonics

*Let's see here. He was the best player in the draft. And he's playing on a team that's gonna be getting him the ball a ton. Gotta think the Sonics new owners are pumped for the draw Durant will bring win they move to Oklahoma City, in the heart of Big XII country. Yee haw!

From the guy that was the best collegiate hoopster in the land last year, to the guys that are driving for that honor this season. Without any further ado, I give you the 2007-2008 debut of my NCAA top 10 poll. The way it goes is, I list the top 10 teams that I think would have the best chance of winning the NCAA tournament if it started today. That might mean I think they're the best right now, or it might mean I think they have a great balance of talent and experience. It might change from week to week, but for the most part, it's going to have to take a lot for teams to move all that much in my mind. That doesn't mean I'm gonna be stubborn, it just means teams are going to have to prove a lot to me to crack into my poll, just as the teams already there have done enough, either in past performance or recruiting, to earn their spots. So without further ado, here's the debut of my top 10, with John Calipari's Memphis Tigers leading the pack at #1...

College Hoops Top 10
1. Memphis (2-0)
2. North Carolina (0-0)
3. Kansas (2-0)
4. Washington St. (0-0)
5. Louisville (0-0)
6. UCLA (1-0)
7. Tennessee (1-0)
8. Southern Illinois (0-0)
9. Indiana (1-0)
10. Georgetown (1-0)

just missed: Gonzaga, Marquette, Kansas St., Syracuse

And here are the guys that will be powering these teams, my first team All-Americans

1st Team All Americans
Tyler Hansbrough, North Caronlina Jr. Forward

*Michael Beasley, Kansas St. Fr. Forward (above: he's not the clown or the corpse)

Roy Hibbert, Georgetown Sr. Center

Darren Collison, UCLA So. Guard

Derrick Rose, Memphis Fr. Guard

*player of the year

Plain and simple, these are my 5 best players in the country. I'll listen to arguments for plenty of other guys, don't get me wrong, but these are the guys I'd take if forced to make a decision.

Hansbrough is probably the most relentless, physical and polished players on one of the best teams in the country, so he's in for sure. He has one goal on his mind, and that's winning a National Championship. That's why you gotta love this guy. He may be white, but he's as good an unselfish player since the likes of Grant Hill or Illinois' Deron Williams.

Beasley and Rose are the two freshmen on my list (not USC stud OJ Mayo), and they are pretty much there because talent wise they might be hands down the best in the nation. Whether they can stay with it night in and night out is obviously yet to be seen, but they have the ability to absolutely cram the stat sheet every night, and are lottery locks when they decide to bolt for the NBA. My prediction, is that Beasley leads Kansas St. on a Carmelo-esque run this season, and in doing so garners himself Player of the Year honors. Go ahead and say I'm just having a knee jerk reaction to his monster games so far this young season, but I really feel this guy is going to have his talent on full display thanks to coach Bill Huggins, and in doing so will lead his K-State Wildcats to a lot of wins.

Center Roy Hibbert can hold down the middle on my All American team any day of the week. At 7 foot 3, he's got the body to man down the middle, and with his quickness and passing ability, gives coach John Thompson III ( or JT3 if you're in the know) all the flexibility he needs in the high post of his modified Princeton style offense. Jeff Green might be gone, and with him any realistic title hopes, but Hibbert helps to stabilize a squad that should probably still find themselves in the mix atop the dangerous Big East.

My final player could have been anyone from Marquette's Dominic James, Southern Illinois' Jamaal Tatum, Kansas Mario Chalmers, or even UNC's Ty Lawson, but I went with Darren Collison of UCLA for one major reason. He's more important to his team than any of those other guys. Collison proved to be one of the best point guards in the country last season, and with the departure of Arron Afflalo to the NBA, he should be able to show off his skills even more in coach Ben Howland's system. Having blue chip big man, Kevin Love, in the middle for all those half court sets isn't gonna hurt his stock either, that's for sure.

Make sure to check back here every week for my college top 10, as well as updates on big games, big performances, and pretty much anything BIG going on in the world of college hoops...

My Picks

Last Week: 3-4-0

Overall: 34-25-4 (.571)

*From college hoops, something I know a ton about, to picking winners, something I like to think I know a lot about. In the early games this week, I was 2-0, always a good thing. Then the wheels just came flying off faster than racial epithets out of Dog the bounty hunter's mouth. Luckily I was able to bounce back with a Monday night win to keep my weekly record somewhat respectable, but it was just real bad on Sunday afternoon. Maybe I've learned my lesson and should never take Detroit again, let alone Detroit and Oakland in the same week. Or maybe I'm just crazy like a fox! Yeah, it's probably the former, but I don't care, man. I pick with my gut, and that's the way it's gonna stay! Next week, St. Louis and Miami are my locks of the week! he joking???

College Picks
Last Week: 8-13-0

Overall: 109-95-6 (.533)

*I don't feel so bad, because nobody seems to be doing well with college games this year, but it's still disconcerting. I try to anticipate upsets, they don't come through. I try to ride with some big time programs, they get upset. I just can't seem to catch any breaks. Right now, in all honesty, I'm just gonna try and finish the season up with a record above .500. Might seem like a lock, but I've been about as dependable as the phrase "Magic Johnson has AIDS" since like week 4. If that guy has AIDS, then we should all be so lucky...

Fantasy Update
Last Week: Make It Reign! 81 Team Brady Bunch 80

Overall: 8-2-0, 2nd place

*Sabby almost managed to pull off an incredible comeback on Monday night with Seattle's defense pitching a shutout, but I was just able to hang on. And for a guy that often complains about the small breaks never going his way in fantasy sports, I have to admit I got a little fortunate. No, not because Dallas Clark and LenDale White were injured this week, and no not because the Giants defense got lit up like a menorah. No, I got lucky because while my team was clinging to a one point lead late Monday night, I had to sit and watch 49er QB Alex Smith avoid rush after rush and throw wobbly ball after wobbly ball into the Seattle secondary. One Seattle sack, and I tie. One Smith interception or fumble, and I lose. It's a dangerous line we walk when we play the dealy game of fantasy football, but it is after all the very thing that makes it worth while. I'm livin' on the edge, I'm flyin' by the seat of my pants, and if I can hold off the injury bug for just long enough, I could very well be headed to the playoffs, and the big money!

On a movie note, I went and saw American Gangster, the biopic based on NYC heroin dealer, Frank Lucas. For those of you living under a rock, the movie was directed by Ridley Scott (Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, Bladerunner) and stars cinematic heavyweights Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe and Cuba Gooding Jr. Not to be outdone are appearances by about half the hip hop community, including T.I., Common and RZA from the Wu Tang Clan. Overall, I give the movie about a 7.7 out of 10. Specific enough for ya? The story was a good one, the acting was great, and the opening scene immediately became one of my favorite movie moments of all time. But it wasn't all good. There wasn't enough background information for my liking when it came to the actual drug trade in New York City, and the other colorful figures that helped build those drug slanging empires. Also, the entire storyline involving Russell Crowe's character, Richie Roberts, and his dissolving marriage, was totally one the movie could have done without. It didn't totally drag the movie down, but at 2 hours and 40 minutes, the movie could have definitely done without it. Most importantly, Denzel was the man again, and the life of Frank Lucas was more than interesting enough to turn into a movie. Do yourself a favor, and go see it. Unless of course the new Coen Brothers movie "No Country For Old Men" is playing, then I would go see that. Looks sick!

Oh, and then there's this. I hope you like movie themes written by John Williams! The NBC Olympic theme song is my favorite, and I apologize in advance for getting half of these tunes stuck in your head. This kid never leaves his basement (the kid in the video, not me you wise asses), and it shows! Enjoy, gangstas!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Quack! Quack! Quack!

The Big 3-0

Annnnnd I'm back. Now if you were shocked by the fact that I didn't already have a post earlier this week, then what happens next might shock you even more. I still haven't commented on the Pats/Colts game, and while it might be a football Friday, I'm leading off with the Boston Celtics. That's right. The Mean Green. The Big 3. Or maybe even PGA, if you're down with the whole "brevity" thing. I know, I said I wasn't gonna be all up on the C's bandwagon, because I didn't think they were actually good enough to win it all. Well, 3 games in, I still don't think they will have what it takes come playoff time, but damn are these guys fun to watch! After only three games (all Celtic wins), we've already seen a game winning 3 from Ray Allen, a myriad of great passes and blocks from Kevin Garnett, and continued steady play from Paul Pierce, who can now actually show off his skills as a passer as well. Not to mention, all the alley-oop dunks and 3 pointers any basketball fan could possibly want! A lot of people thought that this team might need some time to blend together and get used to each other, but apparently that learning curve was about as shallow as the Menendez family gene pool. Granted, it's only been 3 games, and maybe not against the absolute best competition, but everyone from the Big 3, to Perk and Rondo, to the new bench guys like Posey and House have been contributing, and clicking on all cylinders. 77 points in the first half against Denver? Amazing. And best yet, it was fun to watch. I hope these guys can stay healthy, and keep entertaining us all season long, because I have a feeling they are headed for a big time letdown in the playoffs. Let me put it this way. If it looks like the Suns, and plays like the Suns, then expect the same results as the Suns when it comes to the playoffs. Whatever. Let's cross that bridge together when we actually get there. For now, just getcha popcorn out, and be ready to be screaming like the AND 1 guy for the next 5 months...OH BAAABY!! Or in the words of Celtic's radio man, Cedric Maxwell..."QUACK! QUACK! QUACK!"

Glad I got that out of my system. Now, I turn my attention to last week's Patriots 24-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in what was dubbed, The Game of the Century, or Super Bowl 41 1/2. For once, a game actually game pretty damn close to living up to the hype, which nearly gave me a heart attack at first, but made the game that much more enjoyable in the end. As for analysis. The easiest way to sum up that game, is to say the Colts had plenty of chances to put the game away, didn't, and gave Tom Brady just enough room for error and time to fashion a nice comeback. On their first 3 drives of the game, Indy should have come away with at least 17 points, but instead found themselves trailing 7-6. Right then and there I said that was their chance, and if they lost, they could point to the very start of the game as the reason. Forget the Reggie Wayne dropped pass, Matt Light's two personal foul penalties, and the myriad of bogus calls that went against New England, this game was lost by the Colts in the first quarter, and won by the Pats in the fourth. They kept it close enough, so that in the end Tom Brady could make the plays to get them a well deserved win. Now, it's onto the bye week, before a showdown with the suddenly invigorated Bills and the much anticipated battle with the Shittsburgh Steelers. Almost half way to 19-0, baby!...which leads me to this...

Former Miami Dolphin head coach, and current steak slanger, Don Shula, said in an interview this week that should the Patriots run the table and go 19-0, an asterisk should be placed next to their accomplishments because of the whole video tape incident. I happen to not agree with that statement, if anything I say you would have a better argument if you wanted to put an asterisk next to the other 3 Super Bowls, but that's not where I have a problem. What I find disturbing, is that Shula's suggestion of using an "as-ter-isk", has basically outed most of the national media as a bunch of FRAUDS who don't know how to use or pronounce the word asterisk! I've heard everything from "asterick" to "asteris", even a few "asterixs" and "astriss". It's AS-TER-ISK. "AS" as in ASS. "TER" as in PE-TER. And "ISK" as in WHISK. Say it with me now. AS-TER-ISK. Good! Now go out today and use it. And when you hear people saying it wrong, make sure to correct them, and if possible, demean them and rob them of any sort of dignity or stature in the process. Example: You overhear a coworker saying "as-ter-ix". Go up to him/her and say the following...

"Hey TJ Douchmanzadeh. I'm gonna put an "asterix" on my foot, and stomp it into your mouth if you keep saying it wrong. And on your grave there will be an "ASTERISK" saying *this guy was a huge tard, so he had to go. The world is now a better place. So either keep your mouth shut, or try only to use 2 syllable words. You're an insult to the English language, you Ebonic whore!"

That should put those losers in their place. Or possibly get you fired, one or the other for sure...

Now, onto the real bidness at hand...

Coming off a 3-2-1 week, I'm really looking for a big statement this weekend. So, where better to start than with the team I was just chattin' about, the Indianapolis Colts. Indy travels to the on again off again Chargers, eager to lay the smack down after letting one get away against New England. The logic here is simple. The Colts are the second best team in the NFL, and seeing as the Chargers are no longer in any one's top 5, you take the Colts, and the points, even on the road. Joseph Addai is every bit as good as Adrian Peterson, who torched the San Diego D for a league record 296 yards last week, and Peyton Manning is just a tad better than whatever barely warm body the Vikes trotted out at QB. A big loss here could send Norv Turner, LT and crew into a tailspin, but a hard fought loss could still leave some playoff light at the end of their turbulent tunnel.

From Indy, I bring you to the battle of the NFC's two best teams right now, the Cowboys and Giants. A lot of people will tell you the Boys are still the team to beat, and while I don't totally disagree, I'm taking the G-Men and the 2 points in this one. The Giant running game has been stellar of late, and Eli Manning has got to be itchin' to bounce back from his poor performance in rain soaked London. And who better to do it against than one of the leakiest pass defenses in the entire league. The best shot the Cowboys have, is to get a lot of pressure on Eli. Otherwise, he'll be able to sit back and pick them apart. For the Cowboys, I know they have all the weapons in the world on offense, but I just get the feeling they are kinda holdin' on by a thread right now. Maybe not the best choice of words, but when I watch that team I just get the feeling a mini implosion or brain cramp game is in their near future. Romo was able to bail himself out after all mistakes against Buffalo, but I don't think the Giants will be as forgiving. I expect a high scoring game with at least 4 turnovers, and whoever has 3 of them, will come out with the "W." My money is on the G-Men...

Well, as long as I'm taking one home underdog, I might as well stick with it. After all, it's not a trend I mind following in the least. Home teams have a built in advantage, and my rule of thumb is, whenever one team isn't clearly better than the other, take the home squad every time. Granted, this isn't a fool proof strategy by any means, but I think it applies well in this match up. The Bears are traveling to Oakland this week, and the Raiders are three point under dogs. Do I think the Raiders are any good? Nah, not really. Then again, neither are the Bears. They're last in the North, they just lost to the Lions, and their always crappy offense is higher in rank (26) than their usually staunch defense (27). Chicago is a mess, and at least the Raiders have something they feel they are building towards. OK, I'll admit, you shouldn't really take the "state of the team" into all that much consideration on a regular basis, but sometimes it's nice to say to give yourself a little extra confidence. Don't ask me how they do it, but I like the Raiders to cover, and flat out win...

Next up, we have the Green Bay Packers, a team that has treated me almost just as good as the Pats and Colts this season. In this match up, I really like the Pack's chances of shutting down rookie phenom, Adrian Peterson, or at least slowing him enough to come away with a comfortable win. The Vikes are going to try and control the clock with AP and Chester Taylor, mostly because they have no passing attack, and this should pose little trouble for the Packer D. I know the Minnesota offensive line is the best when it comes to run blocking, and they ran over a pretty good Charger defense last week, but this isn't at home, and this isn't the Chargers. The Pack should have more success offensively than the Vikings, and simply put that will be the difference in this game. Sounds like idiot logic, I know, but trust me, I know of what I speak. The Packers are a top 5 NFL team right now, and the Vikings aren't. Pack and the points. Hmmm...sounds like "Pats and the points," doesn't it? Coincidence? I think not...

Last pick this week, before my bonus over/under that is, is Jonny "touchdown Jesus" Kitna and the Detroit Lions over Kurt "interception Jesus" Warner and the Arizona Cardinals. The Lions are starting to make me a believer, at 6-2, and it seems like for the first time in forever, this might not be a Lion team that falls apart. They can take a big step towards not collapsing this week against a Cardinal team that's lost 3 in a row. Arizona has been in all 3 games they've lost, as I expect them to be around in this one, but I just don't like their chances of hanging with Detroit for 4 quarters. Touchdown Jesus, make believers of us all! Hallelujah! (Oh and no pressure boys, but the loser is going to Hell, and doesn't get to eat any Communion wafers for the next 6 months...Let's get it on!)

For my over/under spectacular this week, I'm going with the OVER in the St. Louis/New Orleans game. I keep wanting to pick the Saints, but I'm still not 100% convinced that they've turned the corner. And I wanna pick the Rams, too, because I liked them before the season, and just feel they have to be due. Well, since I haven't had the stones to take either of them in recent weeks, I'll fulfill all my hopes and desires by taking them both to run up the score on each other to the tune of more than 46 points. Hey, St. Louis did it for me against Cleveland, so I don't see why they can't get it done with the Saints as well. And yes, I know Reggie Bush is a little dinged up, but trust me, if I'm half as right as I think I am, that really shouldn't matter...

Week 10 Picks
Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) @ San Diego Chargers
New York Giants (+2) vs Dallas Cowboys
Oakland Raiders (+3) vs Chicago Bears
Green Bay Packers (-6) vs Minnesota Vikings
Detroit Lions (+1) @ Arizona Cardinals

*New Orleans Saints vs St. Louis Cardinals OVER 46

Monday Night
Seattle Seahawks (-10) vs San Fransisco 49ers

*I don't like taking almost any team not named New England or Indy when they are 1o point favorites, but I really think the Niners are that bad right now.

Last Week: 3-2-1

Overall: 31-21-4 (.590)

NCAA Top 25 Picks
(1) Ohio St. (-15) vs Illinois

(2) LSU (-36.5) vs Louisiana Tech

(4) Oklahoma (-38) vs Baylor

Oklahoma St. (+6) vs (5) Kansas

(7) Missouri (-19.5) vs Texas A&M

Maryland (+6) vs (8) Boston College

(9) Arizona St. (-9) @ UCLA

(10) Georgia (-2) vs (18) Auburn

(11) Virginia Tech (-6) vs Florida St.

(24) California (+4) vs (12) USC

(13) Michigan (-2.5) @ Wisconsin

(14) Hawaii (-17.5) vs Fresno St.

(15) Texas (-6.5) vs Texas Tech

(16) UCONN (+6.5) @ Cincinnati

(17) Florida (-6.5) @ South Carolina

(19) Boise St. (-24) @ Utah St.

Wake Forest (+9) @ (20) Clemson

(21) Alabama (-5) @ Mississippi St.

Arkansas (pick) @ (22) Tennessee

Miami (+3.5) vs (23) Virginia

(24) Kentucky (-3.5) @ Vanderbilt

Last Week: 10-7-3

Overall: 101-82-6 (.550)

*Three ties in one week is an awful lot. Then again, they probably would have just been 3 more losses. Oh well, at least I held my winning percentage steady at .550 this week, which is about as impressive as a hooker tying a cherry stem into a knot in her mouth. Curious enough to give a look, but not exciting enough to make you pay...

One final note for the week. While in New York City this weekend, I heard an announcer say with a straight face to an analyst "Can you handicap the field for us, today." Problem you ask? They were talking about the wheelchair division of the NYC marathon. Way to stay classy, New York. There is no truth to the rumor, however, that a Brooklyn Italian in a wheelchair was overheard during the race trying to pass people and yellin' "Hey I'm disabled here! You stinkin' piece of braciole!"

Make sure to check me out next week, where I'll be giving my NCAA and NBA season previews, and also take a look at the Red Sox plans and actions so far this off season. Until then, keep on keepin' on, and don't let the pimpin' get in the way of what's really important...tha pimpin'!