Sunday, September 30, 2007

New York's State Of Mind

Sports personalities around the country have been trying to debunk the theory that you need to be playing your best baseball heading into the playoffs. Even Mike & Mike spent a segment this week proving that teams that slagged in September didn't continue their woes in October. You can even look at last year's Cardinals team, who lost seven straight late in the season, but ultimately won the World Series. However, there is one flaw in this theory: you have to actually make the postseason.

The Mets did not make the postseason. They lost six of their last seven games, and were swept by Philadelphia at home in their last meeting. Don't tell me playing good September ball doesn't matter. It sure matters to the Mets, their fans, and more importantly, Willie Randolph. I don't see any reason he should be invited back. This might be the worst collapse in MLB history, and as far as Mets fans are concerned, it is.

While most of the talk around the water cooler will be about the Mets, let's not forget about the Phillies. They did what they needed to do: win. Although they are hot going into the playoffs, there has to be a fear of a letdown. It was an emotional finish to the 2007 regular season, and I am not sure if they have enough left in the tank for a playoff run. But then again, you look at the Diamondbacks, Cubs and Padres/Rockies, and you remember they have as good of a chance as anybody.

Which leads us to tomorrow's playoff-before-the-playoffs. I love these games. There is nothing better in sports than a Game 7 or sudden death. After all, that's why the Superbowl and March Madness are so popular. The Rockies have won thirteen of their last fourteen, and considering that they are at home, I got them beating the Padres, who were swept by Colorado last weekend.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Small Conferences

Connecticut. South Florida. Syracuse. Kansas State. Colorado. Oklahoma State.

These are the contenders in the Big (Small) East and the Big (Small) 12. The basement dwellers currently include Texas, Oklahoma, Louisville, and West Virginia. Oh have the mighty have fallen. The Sooners could have cruised throughout the rest of the season, but lost to Dan Hawkin's squad like they were playing intramurals. Texas lost to Kansas State, again. West Virginia lost to South Florida, again. Louisville lost to Syracuse - at home. In my best Jerry Seinfeld voice, I will ask, what is going on with these conferences?

The Week 1 AP polls had those schools ranked as follows: West Virginia (3), Oklahoma (5), Texas (7), Louisville (8). I kind of expected Texas to lose, since they have been unimpressive all season. West Virginia did play a ranked South Florida team, but had six turnovers in doing do. These two conferences are horrid. Even Nebraska had trouble beating Ball State at home. And then they have to play road games at Missouri, Texas, Kansas (who is 4-0) and Colorado, who just beat Oklahoma. Next week's Red River Rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas should be interesting, though I expect Oklahoma to win easily. Louisville still has to play West Virginia and South Florida, and could possibly lose both.

There is no reason to watch games that don't involve SEC or PAC-10 schools anymore. Those conferences, from top to bottom, are far superior than any others. Even the Big Ten is getting small in stature, with Michigan losing their first two games and Penn State losing their last two games. Notre Dame doesn't have a conference, and fittingly so. By Monday, the top four teams will be from the SEC and Pac-10.

Next weekend LSU visits Florida in what is easily going to be the most important game of the year. After that, we have to wait for the USC/Cal game on November 10. These are really the only two games that matter anymore, since the Small conferences have completely shot any excitement about a national title run. And this isn't really helping a push for playoffs in college football, because as of now, there's only going to be two teams left anyways.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Where's The Love?

You know those shirts that say "I *heart* New York"? Well, I've never worn one of those and I probably never will. Most Midwesterners are tired of hearing about East Coast sports, since it takes up 90% of the airwaves. I guess the reasoning behind this is that the games end earlier, so sportswriters can actually watch them and turn their columns in at a decent time. Whatever the reason, I get tired of it. But not this time. Nope, I can talk about the Mets all the day long.
On September 12th, the Mets had a seven game lead on the Phillies. It was wrapped up; done. Now, they find themselves one back from the lead, and 1.5 games back from the Wild Card. They've lost five straight, including losing eleven of their last fifteen, all complete with a sweep at the hand of the Phillies during that stretch. Mmmm, playoff baseball, can you smell it? Though I'd like to go on, there's not much else to say, so I'll let the readers of do it for me:

game over…going to go kill myself now…goodbye boys

I am just glad my 6 month old triplets are too young to comprehend what has happened to the Mets. Though, they were all wearing their Mets baby-gear and crying hysterically today. It was eerie.

Done. See you in March.

what a joke of a team. what a joke of an organization.

is this really happening?

the players will be over it by monday morning. you’ll feel it all winter. they could careless about you. so don’t care about them

Actually, now that I think about it, I *heart* New York.

Sugar, Cream and the Clear

If you ask any random person off the street if they think boxing is a legit sport, and they say yes, than you should be confident in the assumption that this person is not somebody who you want to be taking advice from. It's been that way for a while, and it is part of the eventual downfall boxing has taken since Lennox Lewis retired. The De La Hoya/Mayweather fight was supposed to save boxing from the depths of MMA hell, but Sugar Shane Mosley might have just buried its corpse.

Mosley, who is scheduled to fight Miguel Cotto on Nov. 10 for the WBC welterweight title, is alleged to have taken "the cream" and "the clear" before his 2003 fight with De La Hoya, which he won. Somewhere, the CEO of Spike TV is smiling. As far as boxing goes, nobody cared about fixed fights. Nobody cared that in the Hoya/Mayweather fight that neither boxer seemed willing to get a bruise. But everybody cares when it comes to steroids. This makes boxing seem as unrealistic (not to mention unwatchable) as pro wrestling.
According to the report, Mosley doped up as early as five days before the fight. I would say that is a definite advantage, especially considering that the Balco drug is used primarily for stamina sports like running and cycling, and that the De La Hoya fight went 12 rounds.
I officially declare the sport of boxing dead. It's been on life support for a long time now, was showing some signs of life, but after much deliberation from friends and family members, it has been decided to be let go. Oh, and by the way, Mike Tyson might be going to jail. I'll go get the shovel.

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

The East is tied. The West has three teams separated by two games. The Central has two teams separated by two games. The Wild Card has four teams separated by one game. Oh, and over in the American league, they already have things wrapped up. I know that the networks will try to make you think that the Sox and Yankees games are interesting, but they aren't. It's all about the NL this weekend. And what weekend it will be.

Now, this is where it gets interesting. San Diego goes on the road to Milwaukee this weekend. So, whoever loses that series is done. However, San Diego can take two out of three and still be tied at the top of the Wild Card race. And where it really gets fun is when the Rockies host the Diamondbacks. Colorado has won 11 straight, and is only two behind Arizona. For those two series, here are your pitching match ups for tomorrow:

San Diego: Greg Maddux 13-11
Milwaukee: Chris Capuano 5-12

Arizona: Brandon Webb 17-10
Colorado: Jeff Francis 17-8
May the best team win.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Week 4 Lines

I have the honor of watching either a.) the Oakland/Miami game or b.) the Dallas/St. Louis game on Sunday. At this point, it's impossible to hear the words "Time Warner Cable" without wanting to punch somebody in the face. Maybe I'll get to see Lane Kiffin freeze Jay Feely during a last second field goal, complete with Feely flying to Bristol immediately after the game to give a rant on 1st and 10. Anyways, on to the lines...
Oakland at Miami (Miami, -4)
Kiffin attempts to freeze Feely, but fails, leading to a 17-14 Miami win. I hope one team would just win by twenty, so I can see exactly how good (bad) they really are. Oakland is ranked 15th in total offense, 27th in defense. Who would've thought that the Raiders would be better on offense than defense? Conversely, Miami is ranked 14th and 20th.

Houston at Atlanta (Houston, -3)
Despite what it seems, Atlanta hasn't looked completely bad. Maybe the news on Michael Vick's career going up in smoke will give this team some rest. Probably not. Houston 24, Atlanta 10.

Baltimore at Cleveland (Baltimore, -4 1/2)
I'm going out on a limb and say that Cleveland won't put up fifty. I'll also go out on a limb and say nobody can talk about the Browns without mentioning that they scored fifty against Cincinnati. I still don't like the fact that Billick might use a two-quarterback system, but alas, Cleveland is no good. Baltimore 20, Cleveland 3.

Chicago at Detroit (Chicago, -3 1/2)
I'm taking the Lions all the way on this one. While Griese might throw for 3 scores, the Bears are just too banged up right now. It won't help that in Griese's first start he's going on the road, either. Detroit 24, Chicago 20.

Green Bay at Minnesota (Green Bay, -2)
Last week, with both teams facing the AFC West, Green Bay beat San Diego and Minnesota lost to Kansas City. The Vikings have no quarterback, and the Packers are good defensively. Plus, Minnesota ranks behind the Rams offensively. Green Bay 28, Minnesota 13.

St. Louis at Dallas (Dallas, -13)
The Rams are no good, we know that. Dallas is very good, we know that too. However, I think St. Louis covers in this one. Even without Steven Jackson, this offense should be better, and I think playing Dallas is a good time to start producing. Dallas 30, St. Louis 27.

New York Jets at Buffalo (New York, -3 1/2)
There's a good chance that Buffalo is the worst team in the league. New England is going to win at least 12 games, so the Jets have to win these kinds of divisional match ups. Plus, I have a hard time betting on Buffalo with Trent Edwards behind center. New York 27, Buffalo 10.

Tampa Bay at Carolina (Carolina, -3)
This is Vegas' way of telling you that they have no idea which team is better. Well, neither do I. This is exactly the type of game that will tell us who is really the team to beat in the NFC South. As of today, Delhomme is questionable (well, he's questionable every week, really), so I'm taking the Bucs. Tampa Bay 17, Carolina 10.

Seattle at San Francisco (Seattle, -2)
I'm getting the feeling that Seattle's Super Bowl appearance two years ago is convincing people that this is still a good team. I'm not buying it. They are a team on the decline, and the Niners are a team on the rise. San Francisco 21, Seattle 14.

Pittsburgh at Arizona (Pittsburgh, -6)
The Steelers haven't really proved to me that they are an elite football team. Arizona has proved that they are mediocre. I also like the fact that Ken Whisenhunt is seeking revenge for not having the Pittsburgh job for the next twenty years. Pittsburgh 17, Arizona 13.

Kansas City at San Diego (-12 1/2)
What has San Diego done to prove that they are 12 1/2 points better than anybody? I refuse to look at last year's stats. The whole coaching staff is completely different, and not very good. On the flip side, they are probably as bad as the Chiefs' coaching staff. I'm begging for an LT/LJ shootout, but I doubt it. San Diego 24, Kansas City 14.

Denver at Indianapolis (Indianapolis, -9 1/2)
Vegas is way too generous on this one, in my opinion. The Colts will flat out dominate this entire game. And as we saw from Week 1, Coach Dungy (Manning) won't let a double digit lead get in his way to put up more points. Indianapolis 38, Denver 21.

Philadelphia at New York Giants (Philadelphia, -2 1/2)
Here's some advice to all you future superstars: if you make controversial remarks regarding race, religion, sex, etc., make sure that you play Detroit and New York back to back. McNabb could score over 100 in two weeks, and Philly fans would still boo a missed screen. I think the over/under on defensive backs covering Kevin Curtis is 3 1/2. Philadelphia 35, New York 21.

New England at Cincinnati (New England, -7 1/2)
Tony Kornheiser and Jaws better have their second half monologues ready, because this one will be done early. I have this penned as the week where Wes Welker goes for 100+ yards and 2 scores, since the Cincy defense will be all over Randy Moss. He's this week's Kevin Curtis. New England 38, Cincinnati 24.

Byes: Tennessee, New Orleans, Washington, Jacksonville.

Shut Up And Play

Upon hearing the news that Shawn Marion asked to be traded from Phoenix, the opening scene of the movie Baseketball came to mind. I invite you to play the first few minutes of the video above. These lines in particular stand out:

The games themselves became subordinate to the quest for money. Players sold their services to the highest bidder, much like the hired guns of the Old West. The search for greener pastures went on unabated. Fist-fighting and brawling permeated every sport, overshadowing any evidence of competition. As the problems mounted, the fans became less and less interested. But no matter how far the major sports went, it wasn't enough to bring the fans back.

My favorite vigilante social commentators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone (creators of South Park) again hit the nail on the head. Athletes like Barry Sanders, Cal Ripken Jr. or even Mike Sweeney are an endangered species. At the first sign of a storm, men like Marion jump ship. Today's athletes realize that owners and GMs don't want players with bad attitudes plaguing their franchises, and that there is a lot of power in a trade request. My advice to new Suns GM Steve Kerr: call his bluff.

The team Marion wants to be traded to, the Los Angeles Lakers, just went through this. Kobe Bryant used the idea that his attitude towards the team was so bad that the Lakers couldn't afford to keep him. They called his bluff, and he is still in L.A. These GMs need to obtain a "shut up and play" mentality. Marion won't sit out. While occasionally the players are holding a good hand, remember: as the general manager, you always have the upper hand.

10 Down, 4 To Go

This weekend I will kick back, pop open a Coors, and enjoy the show the Rockies have been putting on. Well, no, I won't be drinking Coors. My father recently made the switch to it, which is of concern to any KC native, because there is something in our blood that makes us hate everything associated with Colorado. However, I must admit I'll be rooting for the Rockies this weekend. Like father, like son.
Currently two games back in the West and one game out of the Wild Card, Colorado is on a ten game winning streak. In those ten games, they are outscoring their opponents at a ratio better than 2-1. I believe they call this "momentum". For how much it pains me to root for my western neighbors, I must say that the Rockies deserve it.

Colorado has made the playoffs a total of one time. The teams they are fighting - Arizona, San Diego, New York, And Philadelphia - since 1993 (the year of the Rockies' conception) have made eleven playoff appearances. The only other team who has any right to complain (and they will) is Philly, who hasn't been active in October since that same year. So I guess I would want something like the Phillies winning the East and the Rockies winning the WC. It probably won't happen, but then again, it's not like I'll be paying much attention to the NL come October anyways. Well, unless they can get Sam Elliot to do the play-by-play. Then I'll be watching, Coors in hand.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Burned Out

Kelly Naqi from ESPN has reported that Michael Vick had tested positive for marijuana. Why couldn't that town hall meeting extravaganza have been held today instead of last night? Oh well. It looks like Vick is done in the NFL. Now, I could care less about what Vick does or does not smoke. However, many people do, and they seem to be the ones who are the loudest. I can't imagine a dog-killing, pot-smoking, middle-finger-waving Michael Vick being allowed to play again, unless it's for the Raiders.

This latest transgression isn't what people care about. Believe me, more people hate dog killers than pot smokers. But for the people that really hate Vick (for his dog killing), they will use this positive test as a means to strike a nail in the coffin. It kind of reminds me of the people who were giddy over the possibility of O.J. going to jail over his latest arrest; using one crime to punish someone for a former crime.

If you consider the fact that Pacman Jones was suspended one year for crimes he was never found guilty of, how long would a twice-convicted player who flips off his own fans be suspended? I would be fine with three years, given that he doesn't have that long of a prison sentence. If Vick can sit out three years and still make a team, more power to him. If he can't, then I can't feel sorry for him. If you're guilty, you are not a victim.

Hatin' On The Media

I'm growing concerned of the state of Midwesterners. First there was Colorado football head coach Dan Hawkins, my neighbor to the west. He is best known for his rant about parents complaining about the lack of time off his players get. You can listen to that here: Now, Oklahoma State's head coach Mike Gundy, my neighbor to the south, is getting a lot of airplay with his rant about journalists attacking collegiate players. I happen to agree with both coaches, but I don't know why they felt the need to pretend like they were attending Al Pacino's School of Acting.

Fact is, journalists shouldn't be attacking college players as if they were paid professionals. They should be able to, as freedom of the press allows, but morally they should stand back. The problem is there are too many journalists who will put morals behind in order to get a good story. When I was in school for journalism, morality, as we were told, was a "gray issue"; it's hard to draw a definitive line. The problem is that when writers consider their own values when coming up with a story, it might skew the facts. They are taught to be as objective as possible, putting in the bad as well as the good. I happen not to find anything morally questionable with the article in question. It seemed like a mediocre story about a team I care nothing about it, and if it weren't for Gundy's outburst, it would have stayed that way. But for what it's worth, coach Gundy does have a point, even if that point has nothing to do with him.

The majority of college athletes will never go pro and will lead normal lives like the rest of us. They go to class, they have girlfriends and boyfriends, and suffer the problems every young adult does. Add the pressure of collegiate athletics (especially in a state like Oklahoma, which has nothing else to do), and we're talking about a whole set of problems most people never have to deal with. Professionals get paid in the millions, so they shouldn't complain about anything. Kids in college however, do not.

I find it confusing to hear one coach scream in his best Sam Kinison voice, "It's Division I football! It ain't intramurals, brother!" and on the other end hear another coach say that his players are amateurs. Coaches want their players to act like professionals and get treated like kids. The mixed messages being sent are not good for anybody. I constantly rip on Notre Dame, but rarely (if ever) attack the players. The coaches are to blame for 90% of what goes on. So what's wrong with attacking the coaches? The article won't suffer, the writer won't suffer, the newspaper won't suffer, and none of the kids will suffer.

But it is nice to see that people are outraged by journalists, whether right or wrong. It's good to keep writers on their toes. Is there any reason to believe that the attacked writer won't be the most careful journalist in the country? I bet she will think twice before writing anything, which can only be a good thing. I see this as a healthy evolution; a natural distrust of the media. Add these stories with Vick, O.J. and everything else, and you'll notice people are finally paying attention. Well, until Paris Hilton gets another DUI, that is.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ryan Leaf, Jake Plummer and Rex Grossman Walk Into A Bar...

Early reports are coming out that Rex Grossman will be benched and Brian Griese will Start Sunday for the Chicago Bears. Watch out, NFC North, because the division has just gotten that much tougher. Starting the year 1-2, with six interceptions and only one touchdown, Lovie Smith has finally pulled the plug. This is why official NFL jerseys should only cost $10; you buy the jersey of your favorite team's quarterback, only to have to get your second mortgage to afford your new pink Brian Griese replica. Grossman jerseys are currently on sale for $74.99 on For $79.96, you can buy four DVDs of America's Games: 1985 Chicago Bears.

For all of you Grossman fans (both of you), consider this: Rex has a worse passer rating than J.T. O'Sullivan. His current ranking is one spot higher than Trent Edwards, two spots higher than Tarvaris Jackson, three spots higher than Ronald Curry (a wide receiver) and four spots higher than Robbie Gould (Chicago's place kicker). He is barely better at being a quarterback than his own kicker! Ouch. The only other quarterbacks with worse ratings are Luke McCown, Melwelde Moore and Anthony Wright.

I can't wait until Griese puts up three TDs against the horrible Detroit secondary, sparking the "what if?" conversations in the Windy City. Also, Sexy Rexy will still be on the sidelines, clipboard in hand, giving us his best Drew Bledsoe impression by folding his arms for all four quarters, starting into the sky like a teenage girl dreaming about Hollywood. The 2007 NFL season is now officially underway.

NFL, Week 3

Before I get to the Week 3 games, I want to say something about Bill Parcells. He is the best studio personality I have ever seen. He gives insight about what coaches discuss during the week, he understands the current game (having coached just last year), and he, of course, has a great football mind. During ESPN's Monday Night Countdown, he referred to Reggie Bush as a 'satellite' player, meaning that he should be removed from the rest of the team and be out in space. Not really the type of originality you would ever get from Shannon Sharpe (well, maybe, but it would come out as "jfklsdfbjwfrsfidsf", so it's hard to tell). I really hope he stays on, because he is far better than Michael Irvin and Keyshawn Johnson combined.

Also, what's with this new delay of game penalty? Apparently, if you don't hand the referee the ball after every play, it's called for delay of game and minus five yards. Yet another attempt from the NFL to take emotion out of the game. Players spike the ball or toss it up after big plays, it's just a reaction of being excited. In the middle of game play, it's impossible to ask them to stop, think about what they are doing, and gently hand the ball to the closest ref. These rules are pointless.

Oh, and another thing that is quickly becoming old: last second time outs. After the last two Oakland games, coaches will be quick to point out how icing a kicker really does work. It doesn't. Denver got lucky against Oakland, and Oakland got lucky against Cleveland. Unfortunately, there is really nothing you can do about it. You can't just ban timeouts once the players get to the line, there are too many important instances were a timeout is necessary. These coaches like to think they are smart. They're not. On to the games...

San Diego 24, Green Bay 31
Somewhere, Marty Schottenheimer is smiling. Having already matched their loss total of 2006, the only team San Diego has beaten is the Bears, whose only win came against Kansas City. I never liked Philip Rivers and here's why: he is a whiner. He can't believe it when things aren't going smoothly, and loses his temper easily. It was fun watching him and LT, a fellow whiner, whine at each other at the sidelines. The Packer fans should have asked them if they wanted some of that Wisconsin cheese to go with their whine.

Minnesota 10, Kansas City 13
Speaking of whining, LJ will not be outdone. Now he is complaining about the play calling. However, he is right. Mike Solari should have never been hired as the offensive coordinator. He is simply wretched. Despite what I was sure of during the draft, Dwayne Bowe has already become the Chiefs #1 receiver. Pay attention to him and Adrian Peterson in the next few years, because they can flat out play. Bowe also has the Chiefs' only two touchdowns this year.

Buffalo 7, New England 38
Here are New England's first three games: 38-14, 38-14, 38-7. Yikes. Moss again had a 100 yard, multiple touchdown game. This is like giving the world's sexiest man a billion dollars: it is just too easy. Actually, Tom Brady might be the world's sexiest man as far as fantasy football is concerned. And noticing his former and current girlfriends, he's quite the looker as well. His son is going to have the best life ever.

Miami 28, NY Jets 31
I don't understand why people hate on Chad Pennington. He's a solid player. Remember, he's played under Herm Edwards and a guy who is quickly becoming my least favorite coach in the league, who Edwards used to be. It's not like he's going to be winning Super Bowls. Anyways, this division is done, which means the networks will be showing Part 2 of Dolphins/Jets instead of Jaguars/Colts. Thank God for the Internet. And beer.

Detroit 21, Philadelphia 56
Everybody stop gushing about McNabb, please. So he hit a wide open (and I mean wide open) Kevin Curtis three times. So what? Any quarterback not named Grossman could do that. If anything, this game told us more about Detroit than Philly. The Lions will not win 10 games, but they very well could make the playoffs. After all, it's the NFC. By Monday morning, I wonder if there was one person in America who had the Detroit or Cincinnati defenses on their fantasy team. If so, that one person should be shot during halftime of the Super Bowl.

San Francisco 16, Pittsburgh 37
This game shows us how much more dominant the AFC is versus the NFC. It's really no contest. By the way, getting the Steeler's head coaching job is the greatest gig on Earth. There's just something about it that makes the guy in charge a winner. Mike Tomlin is solid and I really like what he is doing with Big Ben. Pittsburgh is like the Atlanta Braves of football; always winning, always in the mix, only one championship. I believe they could get more, but not this year.

St. Louis 3, Tampa Bay 24
Scott Linehan is a joke head coach. I simply can't stand this guy. I know their O-line is thin, but you simply can't put up scores of 13,16 and 3 with Bulger, Holt, Jackson and Bruce. And now Jackson is out at least a week. They are done. On the other hand, Tampa Bay has risen from the NFC South basement and are tied with Carolina at the top. We all know about the last place teams in that division and how they turn it around, but nobody really thinks the Bucs will win it. They can, believe me.

Arizona 23, Baltimore 26
We've been waiting for the Dennis Green Coors commercial forever, and when it finally came, it stunk. Good job Coors. I can't even fathom how they messed that up. I also can't fathom how they took Matt Leinart out of the game. Listen Whisenhunt, you're not winning a title, so keep the young gun in. What a confidence killer that must have been. It might not matter though, since I don't get the feeling that Leinart cares much about the game at all. Oh well.

Indianapolis 30, Houston 24
You know, I still like the Texans. Unfortunately they play in the best division in football, so I don't think they will make the playoffs. The AFC South is 9-3, with all three losses coming in divisional match ups, so somebody had to lose. On the flip side, Indianapolis needs to lose a few. For the past couple of years, Indy has dominated the regular season, only to fall short in January. Last year, their defense was awful and everybody wrote them off, ending as world champions. They're smart though; they'll wait to lose to non contenders, making their playoff birth easier.

Jacksonville 23, Denver 14
While looking at the other players' picks in my weekly pool, I laughed to see that everyone but me picked Denver. I said to myself, "Well, at least I got one-up on that one". When you need last minute field goals to beat Buffalo and Oakland, you're not any good. Actually, the whole AFC West is no good. I have no idea who will win. Mark my words: the Raiders could win the division. They won't, but unless San Diego picks themselves up, it's up for grabs.

Cleveland 24, Oakland 26
L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said he started Derek Anderson over Donovan McNabb on his fantasy team today on Around The Horn. And people wonder why there are bloggers? Anyways, I was excited to see this game, and it turned out to be a good one. Well, up until the last second timeout turned into a blocked field goal fiasco. I wonder how good Oakland would be with Calvin Johnson? I picture JaMarcus Russell being a member of the Ryan Leaf QB Protection Program in about five years.

Cincinnati 21, Seattle 24
I love it when defensive guru head coaches have teams with nothing but offense. SI writer Michael Silver once said about Marvin Lewis, "If ever a man proved his worth as a future head coach, Marvin Lewis did it with this complete domination of the Giants in their 16 possessions: Punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, interception, punt, interception, interception, punt, interception, punt, punt, punt, end of game". On that note, I will say this: If ever a man proved he is unworthy as a head coach, Marvin Lewis did it with his complete domination handed to him by the Cleveland Browns in their 13 possessions: punt, field goal, field goal, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, interception, touchdown, touchdown, turnover on downs, touchdown, field goal, punt.

Carolina 27, Atlanta 20
Did you see DeAngelo Hall's tirade during this game? Expect him to be chilling with Michael Vick during the next couple of games. The Falcons fans have to feel cheated, don't they? I mean, they have really been dealt a harsh hand. As for Carolina, I'm still not impressed. They almost lost to Atlanta, and got beaten down by Houston. Yet another example of how poor the NFC is.

NY Giants 24, Washington 17
They say Tom Coughlin saved his job with this game. Hardly. The Skins blew this one, but I guess I'll give New York props for hanging in there. The goal line decisions at the end of both halves were simply embarrassing. Joe Gibbs is putting the blame on himself, obviously protecting his young quarterback (take a note, Herm), but it was obvious to anyone who watched this game that Campbell was, as George Bush would say, The Decider. That's Campbell's new nickname, by the way. It's good to be a Cowboy.

Dallas 34, Chicago 10
Speaking of the Cowboys, another easy win. Can we trade the Bills to the NFC for them, since they obviously belong in the other league? Come Wednesday, if Rex Grossman is still the quarterback, I'm going to punch somebody in the face; and I'm not even a Bears fan. That's how strongly I feel about him. I can't wait for Lovie Smith's press conference: "We're 1 and 2 with Rex at quarterback. We're 1 and 2 with Rex at quarterback. Oh crap! We're 1 and 2 with Rex at quarterback! Griese will start on Sunday."

Tennessee 31, New Orleans 14
I must say, I am shocked that the Saints are this bad. And they are bad. I am also shocked at how good Tennessee is. This I don't get: in the fourth quarter, down by ten, with the Titans kicking off, Sean Payton didn't send Reggie Bush out there to receive? He even said before the game that he would send Reggie out there if the offense needed a spark. At what point does he pull that card? Young coaches are like young quarterbacks: for every outstanding decision, there are two horrible ones. Unfortunately, only the good ones make Sports Center.
*Heavy metal watch: I didn't notice any new bands this week. However, I'm pretty sure they play Slayer and Death during Raiders home games. I mean, why else would people act that way?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Rough Starts

How would you like LaDainian Tomlinson, Larry Johnson and Steven Jackson all on your fantasy team? Here's what you would get: 730 yards, 2 touchdowns. Kevin Curtis, Chris Brown and Benjamin Watson have 586 yards and 6 touchdowns. Those three were taken in the 12th, 14th and 8th round in my league.

Furthermore, Jackson is now out for at least a week, Shaun Alexander has a cracked bone in his left wrist, Tomlinson is yelling at his quarterback and Johnson is complaining about his coaches. Time to look towards the wires. Once again, get Wes Welker if you can. Also, with Eddie Kennison's injury, Dwayne Bowe is becoming top receiver for KC. Even though the Chiefs stink this year, Bowe will be getting more involved, especially if LJ can't get it going.

I want to mention the Kevin Everett story for a second. A common theme for sports writers is to remark on how this is a great story getting hidden behind bad ones like Cameragate. Why is this a good story? A guy was nearly paralyzed and needed a miracle just to be able to walk again. This is going to lead to more rules about hard hitting, specifically when it comes to leading with the head. Listen, these guys get paid millions of dollars for a reason. Permanent injuries are part of the risk of professional sports. If you don't want to get hurt, don't take the money. I don't want to see a watered down version of the NFL in the next few years.

Sloppy Saturday

"Tackling is optional, fumbling is mandatory." That should be the new slogan for the 2007 college football season. Just about every game on Saturday, whether it was top BCS schools or teams that could only beat Notre Dame, had an inordinate amount of mistackles, fumbles and horrible decisions. Here's my favorite stat from Saturday: During the Rice/Texas game, Rice punter Luke Juist had 9 punts for 334 yards, one of which netting an outstanding 1 total yard. When you're playing a top-ten school, you can't be punting 1 yard.

I'm not sure why Saturday's games were so sloppy, but it did make it fun to watch. Florida almost lost to Ole Miss, Wisconsin almost lost to Iowa (who lost to Iowa State last week), Michigan beat Penn State (which means we have to pay attention to the Big Ten, until Ohio State destroys them), Georgia beat Alabama, Miami embarrassed Texas A&M (showing the country how easy Oklahoma has it), and Nebraska almost lost to Ball State at home. But this is the game that blew everybody's mind: Syracuse 38, Louisville 35. At Louisville. This same Syracuse team lost 35-0 against Iowa, and were 0-3. The Cardinals have become the Bengals of college football, minus the police records.

Check this out: . Here, you will find an article by Chuck Klosterman (who I actually like) written in February. It is titled Three Things You Need to Know About Sports This Fall, and here is what he wrote:

"1. Notre Dame Football. NBC broadcasts every home game the Fighting Irish play, and it seems like ABC finds a way to get two thirds of their road games on the air, too. This has been a mild annoyance for most of the previous decade, as Notre Dame has usually been slightly better (or slightly worse) than mediocre. But that dark era is over: Notre Dame has the best (and most entertaining) college football team in the country, and anything less than undefeated will be a failure. This means we will be able to watch the equivalent of a national-championship game every Saturday for three straight months."

My running stat for this season will be a Randy Moss vs. Notre Dame touchdown ticker. So far we're at Moss: 5, ND: 2.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mets And Sox: Get It Together

Darn. My preseason Mets/Sox World Series pick looked good for a long time, but not anymore. I realize a slumping September team won it all last year, but that is the exception rather than the rule. In 2005, the White Sox had a record of 19-12 in September and October, for the regular season, winning eight of the last ten, and winning the first seven games and last five games. Going into the playoffs, they were playing good ball. In 2004, The Red Sox had a record of 21-11, finishing the regular season going 7-2, and going 14-1 from Aug. 16-Sept. 8. In 2003, The Marlins went 18-8, ending the season going 7-1, with a seven game winning streak. Need I go on? You have to have momentum going into the playoffs.

As it stands, the Mets have lost six of seven and the Red Sox have lost five of six. Conversely, the Phillies have won eight of nine and the Yankees have won four in a row, with a seven game win streak in September. If either the Mets or Sox want to be successful in October, they need to go on at least a four game win streak to end the year.

I was at Kauffman Stadium yesterday and witnessed Zack Greinke's eight inning, two hit, zero walks and ten strikeout performance against the White Sox. Where did that come from? All 48 of us in attendance were getting geeked up about seeing him come out to a standing ovation in the ninth, but thanks to Buddy Bell, it never happened. He sent in Soria, and Greinke never even got a chance to come out and wave for the fans. What a disgrace. I mean, what could Bell possibly be saving him for? The explanation was something about putting Zack on a pitch count, which is valid, except for the fact that Greinke was pitching the game of his life. He couldn't throw a ball to save his life; just amazing command. What if he had a no-hitter going? $100 says Bell still would have sent it Soria. Horrible.
By the way, Jon Garland threw a complete game with only 78 pitches - and lost.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

If I Cried Everytime I Had These Problems...

Breaking away from sports for a moment, I have to mention what is quite possibly the most entertaining show on television: The Pick Up Artist. Here's the premise: A master pick up artist named Mystery (yeah, that's his name) teaches nerds how to pick up women. I just had to see it for myself. This guy looks like he raided Marilyn Manson's wardrobe circa 1998. I've only seen one episode, and there were only three contestants left. What happens is Mystery (yeah, that's his name) has the guys go to a strip club, where the objective is to hook up with a dancer. My favorite lines: "Is being a stripper what you wanted to do with your life?" and "Where are the hot girls at?". Those were said by the same guy; the one who ended up making out with one of the girls in the back of a limo. Great stuff.
Well, needless to say, the other two hopefuls were on the chopping block. And here's what transpired: Guy #1 and Guy #2 are waiting for Mystery (yeah, that's his name) to announce who's going home, and while they wait, they are holding each other's hands. Not quite the kind of studliness a master pick up artist should show. Then, after Guy #1 is eliminated, Guy #2 starts crying. Again, not quite the kind of studliness a master pick up artist should show. This is followed by a Baywatch-esque montage, showing all of the emotional challenges Guy #1 had to endure during his stay.

With all of the emotions and drama this show tries to generate, remember one thing: the objective is to teach otherwise nice guys how to trick women into sleeping with them. It's impossible not to laugh when every time they show a contestant breaking down because of his failure to impress Mystery (yeah, that's his name), you remember that the reason he wants to stay is to learn how to have sex with a different Maxim model every day of the week. Life is rough.
By the way, I saw a commercial during this show with Usher and Martha Stewart talking about perfume, and Usher was wearing a purple sweater. What happened to that guy? He needs to shoot somebody to get his credibility back, preferably Mystery (yeah, that's his name).

Week 3 Picks

week 3
Originally uploaded by jfishsports
I haven't picked any games yet, because just like in fantasy football, you couldn't really tell who is who. Now the teams are coming into their real 2007 form, here are my picks. These could change however. For example, if Rex Grossman tries to throw a Frisbee and hits a 5 year old girl a mile away, and then her dad breaks his arm, I'd be picking Chicago. Until then, click on the picture to the right to enlarge.

Down The Stretch

Only eleven days left of the MLB season, so let's look at some numbers.

NL Central

Cubs - 0 games back, 0 games behind. 0 games against an opponent with a winning record.
Brewers - 0 games back, o games behind. 7 games at home to finish the season.

NL West

Arizona - 1 game ahead. 665 runs scored, 688 runs scored against. No other division leader has this problem. For example, Boston has scored 811 runs and allowed 616.
San Diego - 1 game back, 1.5 games ahead in Wild Card. 7 games on the road to end the season to the before mentioned Brewers, who are good at home.

NL East

NY Mets - 1.5 games ahead. 11 of 12 last games against either Washington or Florida, with 1 game against St. Louis. Last 7 at home.
Philadelphia - 7 games against Washington, last 6 games at home. But here's the number that has mattered: won last 8 games against the Mets.

AL East
Boston - 2.5 games ahead. 0 games against a winning opponent. Haven't played a winning opponent who weren't the Yankees since Aug. 19. Yankees won 5 out of 6 in that stretch.
New York Yankees - 2.5 games back, 4.5 games ahead in WC. Final 11 games played against Baltimore, Toronto and Tampa Bay. They've currently won 2 in a row versus Baltimore, took 2/3 at Toronto, and 1/2 versus Tampa Bay.

AL Central
Cleveland - 6.5 games ahead. 0.5 games back from tying for home field advantage.
Detroit - 6.5 games back, 4.5 games back from WC. 0% chance to win either.

AL West
LA Angels - 8.5 games ahead. 0.5 games back from tying for home field advantage.
Seattle - 8.5 games back, 6.5 games back from WC. 0% chance to win either.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Charlie and His Underachieving Football Factory

Now, it's too early to call just yet, but Charlie Weis doesn't seem to be handling this head coach gig as well as we thought he would. Now that we are seeing a Notre Dame team that is actually his, it is easier to judge. It's not necessarily the 0-3 record that bothers me, it's the fact that this team simply was not ready to play football this year.

Weis has said as much. Explaining a special Sunday practice after another embarrassing loss, Weis said, "We are going back to our first day of installation of training camp ... and everything is even steven, like it's the first day out there and everything's up for grabs." What? You're going into week 4, buddy. You are supposed to have these things figured out by now. Training camp is over. Notre Dame has a tradition of winning, and the boosters, alum and student body don't have time for you to go back to square one. That is what training camp is for. In no way did Weis prepare his team for the 2007 season. They have -14 rushing yards for the year, for God's sake! Struggling at the beginning of the year is fine, but not even being ready by week 4 is underachieving at the highest level.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Week 2 is in the books. From now on, we will be able to fully gauge each team's status. Up until this point, you couldn't really take too much out of these games. Yes, the Bengals' defense is bad, but is Cleveland really capable of putting up another fifty points? What version of Donovan McNabb will we get this year? Why is Rex Grossman still playing? We will find out the answers to these questions and more. These are what I call my preseason rankings, since everything until now was just a guessing game:

1. New England 2-0
No doubt about it, these guys are for real. They dismantled the Chargers, Brady actually has weapons, and their defense will only get better. Oh, and insert your cheating joke here.

2. Indianapolis 2-0
They got a scare on Sunday, but wins on the road in the division are always good things. I actually like this team better than last year's Super Bowl team. It's probably because they no longer have Jason David.

3. Pittsburgh 2-0
Haven't had a real test yet, but they look good. They were supposed to cream Cleveland and Buffalo, and they did.

4. Dallas 2-0
Firing on all cylinders. They need to clean their defense up, but they play in the JV league, so everything should be fine.

5. Green Bay 2-0
If Favre can settle into his new role, then the mix of defense and no mistakes puts them in the playoffs.

6. San Francisco 2-0
Bad division. Good defense. Frank Gore. No wonder they were the bandwagon team of 2007.

7. Houston 2-0
Matt Schaub has looked great so far. However, he has played the Chiefs and an unstable Panthers team. I still would've taken Reggie Bush.

8. Detroit 2-0
Jon Kitna is coming through with his promises. They still look about a year or two away from really competing though.

9. Washington 2-0
Two wins, but both were very close. With their running backs, they should be closing out games better than this.

10. Denver 2-0
Same story as Washington. Games against Buffalo and Oakland aren't really barometers for the season.

11. Baltimore 1-1
I would put them higher, seeing as their game against the Bengals shows why you can't predict how a team will do in Week 1, but I don't put teams above others with better records. "You play to win the game!"

12. San Diego 1-1
What happened to Philip Rivers? He needs to pick things up, because teams will stack the line. Gotta love that Norv Turner offense, right?

13. Arizona 1-1
They split their first two division games, but will get better. It's hard to see what these NFC West teams are like when they are only playing each other.

14. Seattle 1-1
The Seahawks should run away with this division, but they are moving further and further away from their Super Bowl team. A squad in decline.

15. Tennessee 1-1
They have their ups, they have their downs. The quicker Vince Young learns, the quicker this team moves up the ranks.

16. Carolina 1-1
So inconsistent. For some reason, everybody expects this team to do well every year. Why?

17. Jacksonville 1-1
Does Jack Del Rio even care anymore? I have no idea what he is trying to do with this team. I don't expect a lot from the Jags.

18. Minnesota 1-1
Is Adrian Peterson the real deal? The Vikings better hope so. You only need one play maker in this division.

19. Chicago 1-1
The defense will end up getting worn down by the end of the year. If the Saints didn't have a rookie coach last year, the Bears would've missed the Super Bowl, which would had left Grossman in a Falcons uniform.

20. Tampa Bay 1-1
Jeff Garcia can win games. Unfortunately, not too many others on this team can, and their coach forgot how.

21. Cleveland 1-1
It would really serve you better to lose games and get Quinn in. You see what happened to Notre Dame without him?

22. Cincinnati 1-1
Man, this defense is awful! 51 points to the Browns? Almost losing that Monday night game to Baltimore? This whole team is awful.

23. New Orleans 0-2
This team needs an identity quick. Luckily, no undefeated teams in the NFC South.

24. Philadelphia 0-2
McNabb is obviously not healthy. They could probably right the ship, but they have two 2-0 teams ahead of them. Time to buckle down.

25. New York Jets 0-2
Two tough games to start the season. But in the AFC, you can't fall behind.

26. Buffalo 0-2
I still don't know what they see in Losman. Just not enough talent on this team to compete, so it's not like its his fault, but I just don't see it.

27. New York Giants 0-2
The NY teams are becoming irrelevant right before an election year. The media thanks you. So does Tiki Barber.

28. St. Louis 0-2
With Orlando Pace out, the Rams struggle. These are the things that kill fantasy teams. Linehan needs to figure it out, quick.

29. Miami 0-2
The door is closing for this defense. They should use all their draft picks on Alabama grads and never play them. It'll make them feel better.

30. Kansas City 0-2
What a horrendous coaching staff. The decision to make Mike Solari the OC will haunt this team. Is Schottenheimer available?

31. Oakland 0-2
Their defense doesn't look as good as last year's, and their offense is better, but still not good. A lot of work to be done.

32. Atlanta 0-2
What can you say? I hear they are looking at signing Leftwich. It won't matter. Hello Brian Brohm!

* Fantasy note: you should only be adding/dropping players due to injury, or if nobody has picked up Wes Welker yet. Just wait it out.
*Heavy metal watch: Ted Nugent has been added and Ozzy Osbourne confirmed.

What Happens In Prison, Stays In Prison

O.J. Simpson is being charged with armed robbery. Everyone is having a ball with the "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" quote. While people will laugh at him and make jokes to co-workers, I feel nothing but sadness. What his life was, and what it is now, it just a shame. Does he deserve every bit of it? Well, yes. He (allegedly) killed two people. But there is a reason he has become a cartoon of his former self.

The Simpson trial was a warning sign to celebrities everywhere. Mass media was changing and its power was growing. We can see this change when we look at the lives of Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan, or even Princess Diana. The pure ferociousness of tabloid journalists (and their readers) has altered the way public figures have to live their everyday lives. Most of these celebs are innocent. However in this case, Simpson is not. But it is the way we championed the media's coverage of him that is the problem. The way we covered murderers is now the same way we cover pop stars. When this new chapter of Simpson's life came out, it was nothing but gossip. Jokes are being made and nobody is shocked. Mass media didn't create O.J. the murderer, but it did create O.J. the clown. It has been impossible to be O.J. Simpson for the last decade. Again, did he deserve it? Yes. If we could only limit this kind of coverage to murderers and the like, then everything would be fine. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Beware, Michael Vick, because this is what can happen to you.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Welcome To The Jungle

By Sunday evening, we are supposed to start learning a lot about where the NFL teams stand. What did I learn about the most? That more and more stadiums are using heavy metal to pump their fans up. This might be my favorite subplot of the season. While watching the few games that I can get access to (thanks, Time Warner Cable) I noticed these band's songs playing during critical moments of the game: Van Halen, Metallica, Guns N Roses, Godsmack and Marilyn Manson. I am also aware that many stadiums use Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" during games. I will try to tally how many songs from Satan's favorite genre are used this season. With our growing PC culture, it is nice to know that a band with a name like "Godsmack" can be played to thousands of people in Tennessee without a single complaint. And as my ode to the marriage of metal and football, here's what happened today:

Marilyn Manson - "1996"
Cleveland, 51 - Cincinatti, 45
That was the first year the Cleveland Browns became the Baltimore Ravens. 96 is also the number of total points scored during their match against Cincinnati. The Bengals barely beat the ex-Browns last Monday, and got beaten down by the neo-Browns on Sunday. I don't think Cleveland will rock too much this year, but anytime you put up 51 points, you're definitely rolling. Brady Quinn (unfortunately) will have to wait.

Megadeth - "Sweating Bullets"
Indianapolis, 22 - Tennessee, 20
Indianapolis couldn't win a divisional road game in 2006, and nearly blew it again against the Titans. Vince Young is a winner, no doubt about it, but he still has a lot to learn. Driving in the fourth quarter, Young had an ill-advised personal foul penalty called against him, which pretty much ended the game. They aren't there yet, but watch out for Tennessee in the future. A very scary team to see on your schedule.

Metallica- "Seek And Destroy"
San Francisco, 17 - St. Louis, 16
Sacking Marc Bulger six times, the 49ers had a mission against the Rams. With the absence of Orlando Pace, St. Louis could not keep the surging Niners defense off of their leader's back. I'm not a big Scott Linehan fan, and with an 0-2 start, most of St. Louis is probably starting to feel that way as well. It's only Week 2, but San Francisco has now won two divisional games already. It must be Mike Nolan's tie.

Ozzy Osbourne - "Flying High Again"
Green Bay, 35 - New York (N), 13
Brett Favre must be feeling like he's fifty again. With wins over two teams that were in the playoffs last year, the Packers have got to be feeling good. On the other hand, the Giants are 0-2. It would be pretty funny to see New York fire Coughlin, and to pick up Jacksonville's coach. Again. It's good to be Tiki Barber.

Queens Of The Stone Age - "No One Knows"
Pittsburgh, 26 - Buffalo, 3
As in no one knows what to think about this Pittsburgh Steelers team. They've had two convincing wins, but they've been against Cleveland and Buffalo. Next week's game versus San Francisco should tell us a lot about both teams. Any way you look at it though, the Steelers are the only 2-0 team in the AFC North.

Godsmack - "Voodoo"
Tampa Bay, 31 - New Orleans, 14
The 2007 New Orleans Saints desperately need to start making some voodoo dolls. Two starts, two losses, two blowouts. At one point they were down 28-0 against the Bucs. The Bucs! Good thing they didn't start putting in the pins yet, because nobody needs to be making a doll of Jon "Chucky" Gruden. (Also, runner-up song for this game was Judas Priest's "Saints In Hell", but New Orleans can still salvage their season. It's the NFC South, after all.)

Nine Inch Nails - "Something I Can Never Have"
Houston, 34 - Carolina, 21
It's just plain mean for Matt Schaub to be showing off in front of David Carr. While the Texans have struggled to win games since the franchise's conception, it wasn't until they let the man who took all the hits go that they started to look respectable. And the Texans look good. Forget the 49ers, the Texans are now the bandwagon team of 2007. It must feel really bad to be a Falcon's fan right now. Like really, really bad.

Pantera - "Cemetery Gates"
Jacksonville, 13 - Atlanta, 7
Speaking of Atlanta, they are officially done. I couldn't wait for Joey Harrington to prove to us that he just needed the right situation. He hasn't been that bad, but he isn't winning games. It is time to step up. Oh, and Jack Del Rio, your decision to not use Maurice Jones-Drew effectively means that you are now dead to me.

KISS - "Detroit Rock City"
Detroit, 20 - Minnesota, 17
This one is pretty obvious. 2-0, 1-0 in the division. Only eight more games to go Kitna, and your guarantee will be fulfilled. A little to messy for my taste, but it will do in the NFC North. They are now tied with Green Bay at the top. I'm really starting to love 2007.

Slayer - "Hell Awaits"
Chicago, 20 - Kansas City, 10
I now really hate 2007. Herm Edwards continues to show why he shouldn't be an NFL head coach. He constantly proves that his philosophies do not work. There is a lot of talent on this Chiefs teams, but for some reason they are not able to compete. And Bears fans, don't be too happy about this win. With all of the ineptitude of the Kansas City coaching staff, you still almost lost this one. If you keep Grossman as your starting quarterback, you won't like what awaits you either.

Judas Priest - "Delivering The Goods"
Dallas, 37 - Miami, 20
Because that is exactly what Tony Romo and the Cowboys are doing. While their defense leaves a lot to be desired, the Dallas offense is downright rocking. This is my NFC Super Bowl team (New England being the winner), and I'm feeling really good about that pick. Maybe changing gears with Wade Phillips was exactly what this team needed. But it's time to make Marion Barber III the starting back. Believe me.

Alice In Chains - "Got Me Wrong"
Arizona, 23 - Seattle, 20
Ah, so this is the Arizona Cardinals team everyone expected them to be. I guess they were who we thought they were. This division is pretty much up for grabs, which is good news for football fans. Because otherwise, you couldn't pay me to watch these teams play. (Actually, if you would like to pay me to watch them, I'll accept. Seriously. Call me.)

Black Sabbath - "Heaven And Hell"
Denver, 23 - Oakland, 20
Heaven: kicking a 52-yard field goal in OT to win a divisional game. Hell: having that field goal nixed due to a timeout, missing the next kick, and then losing on the opponent's next drive. Fear not, Oakland fans. The defense is good, and they were in the first two games until the end. Is anybody else excited for their game next week against Cleveland? I know I am.

Guns 'N Roses - "Welcome To The Jungle"
Baltimore, 20 - New York (A), 13
It's not easy facing the Baltimore Ravens for your first NFL start. Kellen Clemens was sacked four times and had two interceptions. I think Chad Pennington was glad to let him have this one. But don't worry, young one, the New York media isn't that bad. Well, if you are a member of, that is.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Suck Of The Irish

Monday will be halfway to St. Patrick's Day 2008. The Fighting Irish celebrated it in a weird way. Actually, just call them the Irish, because there is absolutely no fight in these dogs. After a 38-0 massacre at the hands of the 0-2 Michigan Wolverines, we are left to wonder if this team can just simply win a game. Here are the rushing totals for their first three games: -8, 0, -6. To quote the coach from Dazed and Confused, "Hell, man. My grandmother's quicker and tougher than you pansies." This is utterly pathetic. And to think that the Irish still has to face USC...
Speaking of USC, they are currently giving Nebraska a beating in a game that I stopped watching a while ago. I loved all the hype about this game. During the Trojans' week off, Nebraska Fan spent every waking minute hootin' and hollerin' about how they were ready to knock off the #1 team in the country. I guess they didn't get the memo that you actually have to tackle the opposing team's running back. Have fun trying to play two-hand-touch with Texas A&M and Texas. We'll all be watching. Until halftime, anyways.

Other notes from around college football

Florida, Cal, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Oregon looked really good on Saturday. It's been a while since we've had this many outstanding teams in one season. Any of these teams could beat USC or LSU. Penn State is also impressing a lot of people, but I don't see them being title contenders. I still like LSU/Oklahoma, since I see USC losing to Oregon and/or Cal, both of which are road games. If LSU beats Florida on Oct. 6, they will go unbeaten. If Florida wins, then it's Oklahoma vs (fill in the blank). The Big 12 is weak this year, even though Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri are looking better every week. A lot will shake out in the next few weeks, but I don't expect any of these teams to flounder.

What's The Matter With Milwaukee?

Beer. Brats. What's not to love? Apparently there is a lot not to love about Milwaukee, as it has come to light that Charlie Bell no longer wants to be a Buck. Neither did Yi Jianlian, though they eventually convinced the Chinese mob that they are, and I'm quoting here, "totally communist". I can't quite figure out why people are shunning away the Bucks. Is it the organization, or perhaps the city itself?
As Alice Cooper so famously and poignantly stated in the award winning, critically acclaimed masterpiece, Wayne's World, Milwaukee is Algonquin for "the good land." Sounds pretty groovy to start. It is famous for beer. Check. Famous for artery clogging food. Check. Famous for football. Oh, there we go. Today's athletes don't want to be playing second fiddle in some small market city, especially if said city is a one-sport town. Well, unless you are playing that one sport, of course. Even if the athlete in question is somebody as unfamous and uninteresting as say, Charlie Bell, there still lies a lust for glory in the big city. This might make sense for somebody like Shaq, who went from Orlando (only fun if you're under thirteen) to L.A. and Miami (only fun if you're single or devoid of morals). But for Bell? Why would you want to go somewhere like L.A. or New York? A young rich man like him should really look at the situation.


Alright, do you really think being in a bigger market will make you a bigger superstar? If it hasn't happened yet, it probably won't ever. You need to embrace your role. And that role should have been discussing Che Guevara with Jianlian during pregame warm ups. *note: whenever I mention Yi Jianlian, I will use his last name to make you sound it out in your head*

Advantage: small market

Night Life

Ok, towns like Milwaukee and San Antonio aren't known for their happening clubs and parties. Unless you were really into keg stands in college, and haven't let it go, hanging out at the local sports bar probably isn't as appetizing as chilling with Jay-Z or P-Diddy (it's still P-Diddy, right?).

Advantage: big market


However, when you are at a club or party in a smaller city, you will be The Man. You'll get the same feeling walking around town that Corey Haim got when he found out "The Two Coreys" was green lighted. Your confidence will be higher than Shawne Williams, which might give you a boost in your playing abilities, thus giving you actual leverage to move to a big market.

Advantage: small market


While the girls in L.A. and Miami might seem like bigger markets will have the huge advantage, they don't. Women in those cities look for cocky rich upstarts to marry, divorce and ultimately destroy. Plus, they don't get nearly as excited to see a "celebrity". With your before-mentioned Man status, you can have any girl you want. Well, unless that girl is talking to a member of the Packers (yes, even the place kicker).

Advantage: small market

So there you go, Charlie. Stay in Milwaukee. After all, do you really want to be testifying for Isaiah Thomas and/or Kobe in 12 months? I didn't think so.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Unholy Players Union

The World Anti-Doping Agency is currently developing a blood test for human growth hormone, or HGH. The test is thought to be readily available in just a few months. At first glance, this is great news. However, the road to clean professional sports has a few obstacles, the biggest of which are the players unions.

Gene Upshaw, head of the NFL Players Union, has been quoted to say "There's no way I'm having my guys punched for a blood test every time they walk into a locker room”. Donald Fehr, head of the MLB Players Union, is also expected to try to block this new test. After all, who wants our players clean? Apparently these two men do not. Upshaw and Fehr will be heard using the word “protection” more than there are marks on Wilt Chamberlain’s bedpost. What they are protecting is the inevitable reality that many of their players will be suspended or banned when this new test comes out. This is more important to them than the integrity of the game. What is bound to happen is that Congress, once again, is going to have to get involved. This is a sordid state of affairs when the leagues themselves cannot be expected to police themselves. The actions of these union heads do have one silver lining though. We can now get off of Bud Selig and Roger Goodell’s back.
Throughout the steroids renaissance, Selig has taken most, if not all of the flack. He was in charge, and he should’ve of done something to prevent this. What could he have done? Any significant change that is overall for the good of the game but bad for the players cannot be conducted without the United States government getting involved. These players unions are preventing the fans from being able to watch any great tackle or long home run without thinking in the back of their heads, “I wonder if that guy is ‘natural’”.

Cheating has become the defining term in sports in the 21st century. Shawne Merriman, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Rodney Harrison, Tim Donaghy and now even Bill Belichick. While cheating is nothing new, the next generation of competitive advantage is not something to simply toss out of the window. Don’t expect the union heads to do anything about it; it’s not their problem. That burden is laid by the feet of the commissioners, all of which we should owe an apology. Bud Selig has already said that he is all for a new blood test for HGH. He wants this all to go away. And while he is proactively trying to make changes to bring the integrity of the game back, men like Upshaw and Fehr just want it to go away. They won’t do anything about it though.

As a matter of fact, they are doing everything in their power to make sure the necessary changes are not rendered. It is time we bring pressure upon the people who are actually responsible for the ongoing bastardization of athletics. We cannot depend on the lowest rated Congress in history to do our dirty work for us. It is time we bring the hammer down on these unholiest of unions.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Woes For Oden

Professional basketball has never been kind to Portland. Whenever they get a chance to finally breakthrough and have somewhat of a respectful franchise, Lady Luck continues to show her bad side. While there may never be a bigger mistake than picking Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan, it currently will be overshadowed by their selection of Greg Oden over Kevin Durant this year. This is because Greg Oden is now out for his rookie season.

Now, Oden might recover and still be the guy who Dennis Green thought he was. That being said, I feel the same way as I did in January; that Durant was the player to get. Everybody else seemed to think so as well, until around late February. That's when everybody jumped on the bandwagon that picking the franchise big man over the flashy star was the right choice. While Oden could be seen dominating college centers during his stay at Ohio State, he constantly was sitting out games because of foul trouble. Kevin Durant, on the other hand, completely took over every game he was in. It was amazing to anybody who watched him. Despite losing to them twice (see: Rick Barnes), he carved up Kansas like a Thanksgiving turkey. During key pressure moments, he was seen screaming and pumping his fists. He was a leader, a force to be reckoned with. Oden was apathetic. This is the same guy who would've been a dentist if he wasn't such a physical monster. Which makes sense, because when Seattle's newest star is ripping up defenses all over the league, Blazers fans will be pulling their teeth out.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Poem For Carl Peterson

Roses are red
Violets are blue
And if you're a Chiefs fan
Then so are you

We have not done a thing
For the last 19 years
No longer a reason
For us to cheer

Maybe we can take solace
In the fact
That the new Mr. Hunt
Won't invite Carl back

Because Carl ain't good
When it comes to rebuildin'
Hey, at least we
Don't have Matt Millen

Maybe we won't
Have anymore victory spoils
I guess now we'll just have to
Root for the Royals

The Greatest Job In The World

The Chicago White Sox are the worst team in baseball. And there's only one thing to do when you're a game and a half back from the Royals: extend your manager's contract. After all, their skipper is a genuinely great guy who never causes any problems. Oh wait, he's actually a nut job who causes controversy for the sake of causing controversy. But they had to keep him through the next five years. His contract is up, and they don't want to downgrade. Oh wait, his contract runs through next year with a 2009 club option. Sports is a funny business. If I did as bad as a job at work as Ozzie Guillen did this year with the Sox, I'd be out of a job. Guillen, Matt Millen and Carl Peterson get paid millions when they blatantly do not do their job right. Granted, the White Sox did just win a championship recently. But with a year left on his contract, why wouldn't you wait until next year's results to be giving this guy a five year extension? It's a sad day when the coaches and general managers of sports are being treated with the same amount of pseudo-reality as the players. Try going to work tomorrow drunk and curse out a customer. Let's see if your boss promotes you.

Stay Away From The Wire!

So, your fantasy team got owned by the Tony Romo/Randy Moss duo your grandmother put up against you? Don't panic. And whatever you do, get away from waiver wire. Unless your quarterbacks' names are Eli and Chad, you don't need to revamp your roster. Just because Larry Johnson didn't get you thirty points doesn't mean you're doomed. I never pick up anybody after the first week unless I have injuries. Remember, I have the perfect recipe for second place. It's better than last.

However, if nobody in your league was smart enough to draft Wes Welker (as I was), pick him up now. Wes recorded a touchdown Sunday, and with the sudden rebirth of Randy Moss, expect the double teams to favor him. Maybe the Pats won't be able to cheat their way to your Week Two victory, but you can't lose to your six year old niece and start off 0-2.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yet Another Reason To Be Sick Of Boston

It's not easy being the commissioner of the NFL these days. After the Michael Vick saga took a back seat to the regular season, Roger Goodell is now faced with dealing with the fact that the Patriots filmed the Jets' signals on defense to gain a competitive advantage. Reports are that the team might lose multiple draft picks due to the violation. They deserve more. In my opinion, the game should be forfeited. While that seems harsh, you have to look at the circumstances. If somebody was able to identify signals and relay that to the coaches, then it doesn't take too much of an imagination to believe that it affected the outcome of the game. Was the game a blowout? Yes, but it doesn't matter. Well, it shouldn't matter.

On another note, what are we to think of Bill Belichick? The certified genius has to be looked at in a different light. Exactly how did he win those championships? Was he cheating the whole time? What he has done in New England has been nothing short of amazing, but these recent allegations have now tarnished it. Tom Brady is great, and there wasn't any cheating when Vinatieri made those kicks, but how they got in those situations can now be questioned. This is extremely serious. We get all up in arms about steroids, but this seems to be the equivalent for coaches. It is just one step below on the cheating scale than gambling. Taking away draft picks isn't enough. Take away the win and give it to the team who felt it wasn't necessary to cheat. Otherwise, you're just encouraging this kind of behavior.

What A Difference A Day Makes

There is nothing I want to do more than break down most, if not all of the games this weekend. The only problem with that is there is nothing to be learned. Week One is an illusion. With the exception of Indianapolis and New England, there is no telling yet who will be the elite teams of 2007. You cannot say Cincinnati will be better than Baltimore this year, or that the Saints will be awful, or even that Atlanta will have a top five pick. One thing you might be able to take out of this weekend though, is coaching. And oh, were there some bad coaching calls...

There is something to be learned when you are watching football with casual fans. For example, if a group of people who rarely watch games that their teams aren't involved in start making fun of a commentator's analysis of a play, make note of it, because the commentator was probably right. However, if you are watching a game where their teams are not involved, and they are looking around in disbelief of a play call (or a series of calls), then they are probably on to something. This happened during last night's Bengals/Ravens game. Somehow, with eight plays on a goal-to-go basis with the game on the line, Baltimore threw five times with, get this, Kyle Boller. Needless to say, an interception in the end zone ended the game. Which suits them right, since they decided to throw on fourth and one earlier in the game. All of this makes you forget that in the first quarter, the Ravens fumbled three times in five plays. You would think having the advantage of an extra day to game plan (or, in the case of the Colts and Saints, four days), that Brian Billick would be more prepared than the other coaches. You would think. But he's not the only one...

...because Mike Nolan and Ken Whisenhunt didn't seem to use the extra time wisely either. Games where there aren't very many offensive highlights will be hailed as a great defensive struggle by purists. In the case of the Cardinals/Niners, it was just bad play calling. It's not hard playing defense when the other team refuses to throw beyond the first down marker. There is only one word I could think of to describe the offensive calls of last night's game: scared. And scared play calling is the precursor to scared quarterbacks. I respect the fact that Whisenhunt comes from the Bill Cowher School of Ram-It-Down-Your-Throat Football, but you have to use the tools in the shed. With one of the best wide receiver tandems in the game, an aging running back and a weak offensive line, smash mouth football isn't the way the Cardinals are going to win games. What this game should have looked like is what happened at the end of the game when both teams went on their ending drives. We saw the best of Alex Smith and Matt Leinart in those drives. So what's with the conservative play calling? With an extra day to figure out how to score on the other team, these coaches still decided that run-run-pass was the best option for victory.

There isn't a lot to gain from one game, but one thing has been true for a while: coaches tend to over think situations way too often. Both Monday night games were atrocious to watch, despite the fact that they came down to the wire. Very few teams were well prepared this weekend, but if anybody should have been, it would be the participants of last night's games. What a difference a day makes.

Monday, September 10, 2007

While You Were Gearing Up For Football...

... there were baseball games going on. And now, nearing the middle of September, there are only two races left: the NL Central and NL Wild Card. This is exceptionally bad for the MLB. With twenty days to go, interest in baseball is going to hit a serious downhill slope. September and October are the most important months for the NFL, and football being the most watched sport in America, baseball suffers. And having only two races worth watching, let's see if the cities involved even care.

As far as the Wild Card, we have San Diego, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. Do we really need to address the latter? We are left with Chargers/Padres and Eagles/Phillies. Show of hands of who thinks either the Padres or Phillies will do anything if they make the postseason? I didn't think so. How about the future of the Chargers or Eagles? The Chargers are a given. Anyone who has the Roto King in the backfield is going to matter. And despite the loss to Green Bay, the Eagles should find themselves having big games at the end of the season.

Now, we turn our attention to the NL Central. The Brew Crew is currently one game ahead, but guess what? It's Milwaukee, and the Packers are undefeated (1-0, but we are talking about Cheeseheads, people). I'm giving this one to the NFL. However, the Cubs are coming in second, and I have to believe that they matter more to Chicago right now than the Bears. First off, the Bears were in the Super Bowl last year, so there might be a quiet confidence that they will fare well this season. Having said that, the fact that they put up the same amount of points as the Chiefs on week one might send enough panic through the Windy City that the message boards will be run amok with Rex Grossman threads. I'll give this one to the MLB.

So, with only two races left, and only one city really paying attention, baseball will be put on the back burner for fantasy trades and reruns of NFL Live. By the time October comes around, will anybody really care? I expect fans from Boston and New York (Yankees and Mets) to pay attention as always, since the Patriots would have locked up a bye and the Giants/Jets will have locked up a top ten draft pick. Arizona, Cleveland and Los Angeles (Angels) are the other teams left, and all three have bad or no teams. So there might be a chance of a ratings spike in October, due to the fact that the only cities who would've been watching anyways won't be tied up with football. Or will they? As bad as the NFC West is, the Cardinals might be relevant. As bad as the Browns are, the whole city will be waiting for Brady Quinn. My last visit to L.A. gave me the impression that sports don't exist there. So there is only one thing that will help baseball, and that's the Cubs in the Series. Because if it's Angels/Diamondbacks, expect America to be tuning into Raiders/Titans.
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