Friday, September 29, 2006

Press Conference Wrap Up and Predictions

I know it’s Friday, and I know that means most of you have probably completely forgotten about last weekend, but as you have read, it’s been a pretty tough week and it has taken me until now to get you a transcript of this week’s WAD press conference. So, without further adieu, here is what transpired when the nation’s most esteemed sports journalists got together to question some of the nation’s most prominent coaches, athletes, and former child stars turned amateur porn stars (by the way, after his shameful selling out of Jason Whitlock by towing the company line in Wednesday’s ESPN.com chat, Bill Simmons has had his WAD credentials indefinitely revoked).


Q: Coach Willingham, congratulations on early success with this year's
Husky team. Most expected less than a 3-1 start. I can think of a team
that's 3-1 right now that everyone expected to be much better. Care to talk
about it?

A: No, not really. I mean, I don’t really have much of an opinion about Georgia Tech.

Q: Calvin, tell us about the chemistry between you and Reggie Ball... and
how great would you be if you had anything that resembled a qb throwing to
you?


A: I’m sorry, I don’t know anything about Chemistry. I’m a business major so I got to take Biology. As for Reggie, I mean, he sucks. What else do you want me to say? Sure, if I went somewhere with a half way decent quarterback I would be the greatest receiver in the history of the ACC, but instead, I came to play with this guy. The good news is that this time next year I will be rich and he will be riding the pine for some minor league arena team in Pine Bluff or Grand Rapids. I wish him a life of misery. I think that just about covers it. Next question.

Q: Karl Dorrell... are you really a good coach? How come your team shits
the bed all the time? Wyoming? Arizona? Washington? You're overhyped,
aren't you?


A: Dude, I’m the football coach at a school that doesn’t know we have a football team in a city that only cares about our cross town rival. Hell, I didn’t even know I was hyped much less overhyped.

Q: Callahan, wouldn't it piss you off if those no-name schools you played
ate clock all game and never tried and didn't let you rack up the 50 you
usually do in Lincoln?


A: Sure, I didn’t play to win at USC, but we pay those no name teams more than a quarter of a million dollars to come let us whip their ass. If they sat on the ball like we did in L.A. do you think we’d EVER pay them to come back?

Q: Art Shell, great game this past weekend. The offense looked the most
alive since the beginning of the season.

A: What? I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention. I was just sitting here staring off into to space. That’s all Mr. Davis pays me to do.

Q: Mike, was that really you the first two weeks or was it Ron Mexico? Is
he coming back or are you gonna pull this shit again the rest of the year?

A: Well, the NFL regular season is 4 months long, so I’m guessing that Ron will pop up at least one or two more times.

Q: Coach Weiss, your team just proved that there is a God and that he bleeds Notre Dame football. Other than divine intervention, what do you chalk the win up to? Is John L Smith just that big of a dumbass?

A: You know, I never bought into this whole “luck of the Irish” thing, but then I looked at our schedule before the season started and saw that we got to go up Chan Gailey, John L. Smith, and guy that apparently needs to wear Depends in the first four weeks! Are you kidding me? My gastric bypass may not have worked, but I still feel like the luckiest man alive.

Q: Brady Quinn, you go to a school famous for the unattractiveness of its co-eds. Is there nothing you like better than getting a big win on the road at a big state school like MSU and getting to be the man of the town in a place with some hot girls? How many Spartan cheerleaders will you play hide the leprechaun with tonight?

A: My sister is not a slut! Oh, I’m sorry. That’s not what you asked was it?

Q: Brett Favre, you just beat the Lions for Green Bay's first win of the season. Do you think you will win any games against professional teams? Do you feel at all guilty about taking out your frustrations on the Lions Pop Warner secondary?

A: Are you serious? I’m Brett Favre. I’m the most selfish athlete on the planet right now. I don’t feel guilty about anything.

So, as you can tell, it was a fascinating week in The WAD press room. Well, enough about the week gone by, let’s take a look at the weekend to come:

COLLEGE PICKS

Last week was a level 4 disaster in college. The only thing that kept it from reaching level 5 was the fact that Bill Callahan remembered that the object of the game was to cross the other team’s goalline. No small accomplishment for a former NFL guy…just ask Chan Gailey (I’m sorry, I just can’t resist an opportunity to take a shot at this stiff). How am I going to respond to a level 4 disaster? What do you think? Here we go:

Virginia -5.5 @ Duke - Virginia is horrible, but they aren’t "lose to Duke" horrible. Good thing for Ted Roof that nobody at Duke is actually paying attention.

Illinois +26 @ MSU – Sure, Illinois is even worse than Virginia or Duke, but John L. Smith and the Spartans have officially entered “always take the points against them” territory. There is just no amount of points that I’d feel comfortable laying with this team.

LSU -33 vs. Mississippi State - Mississippi State has to score to beat this spread. So, I feel pretty good about laying the points.

Oregon +1.5 @ Arizona State - Phil Knight is till an Oregon fan, right? I like the Ducks.

Alabama @ Florida Under 39 - If Alabama scores 14 points, I’m in trouble.

Va. Tech -10.5 vs. Georgia Tech – Here we go again. We play a highly touted team tough, we beat a few bullshit teams, we sneak into the Top 25, and everybody gets all fired up for a big showdown game where the Jackets can finally prove they are back on the national stage. Only problem is, under Chan Gailey, we don’t win these games. Don’t believe me? Just look back at Va Tech at home in ’04, Va Tech on the road last year, Georgia at home last year, and Notre Dame at home this year. All those games more or less fit the description, and all of those games ended in losses. I’ve never hoped to be wrong about something so badly, but I’ve seen nothing to make me thing I’m wrong. I’m taking the Hokies and laying the points, and if I’m wrong, I’m okay with that.

Texas Tech @ Texas A&M Over 57 - Going back to the well again. Remember, I said it was a long term investment.

Houston @ Miami Over 48.5 - Houston’s offense is phenomenal and their defense is horrible. I mean, even Miami can put points up on them. I like big points in this game, and yes, I’m biased. The Houston quarterback is my college fantasy quarterback.

Temple +34 @ Vandy - I figured it would be fun to pick this game, and I don’t think Vandy has beaten anybody by 34 points in my lifetime. Oh well, these are the kinds of things you do when you have a gambling problem.

NFL PICKS

Atlanta -7 vs. Arizona - I don’t care if its Kurt Warner or Matt Leinart, the Falcons D is going to bounce back strong from Monday night’s charitable contribution in New Orleans. And, if Ron’s flare up is over, we should put up a lot of points too. Should be a fun day at the Dome.

Indy -9 @ NYJ - The Jets are better than we thought they would be, but after being bottled up by the Jags last week, the Colts are going to come out firing. J-E-T-S = BLOWOUT!

Miami @ Houston Under 40.5 - How do you not take the under this game?

Carolina -7 vs. New Orleans - If the Saints hadn’t just done what they did the way they did it Monday Night, I probably would like them in this game, but I just figure they’ve got to come crashing back to Earth sometime, and that crash is probably going to be a bad one.

San Francisco +7 @ K.C. - I’m telling you, there is something about this Niners squad that just makes me really want to lose money betting on them. I can’t explain it, it’s like an abusive relationship. I know it’s bad for me, but I just can’t leave.

Cleveland -2.5 @ Oakland – Is it Christmas?

Washington +3 vs. Jacksonville - Joe Gibbs as a home dog with a legitimate chance to get this season turned around? Did you really think I could resist this one?

Chicago -3.5 vs. Seattle - I’ve been saying this since the day he got drafted, but I’m going to say it again: Rex Grossman is the next Brett Favre…at least the good part of the Favre career. He’s a gunslinger and a winner, and he’s coming into his own. A big Sunday night stage against the defending NFC Champs minus their best player is as good a time as any for Rex’s coming out party.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Re: Hasselback (Part 2)

Well, the only thing worse than taking a trip for work is the return trip. Well, at least, in my case that is true. So, since you got a look at the ordeal that was my trip to Baton Rouge, I figured you might enjoy the chronicle of the return trip. And remember, everything contained in these emails is 100% true. These are just the things that happen when I travel. It's my curse, and it's also the reason why nobody ever wants to travel with me:


---- Original Message -----
From: The WAD
Sent: Tue Sep 26 16:24:25 2006
Subject: Re: Hasselback

I'm back! Not in Atlanta of course, but I'm back on the email train! Ill be brief. The past two days have been brutal. Let's see...what if I told you that you could spend hour upon hour reading 20 year old documents and spend the rest of your time taking a beating of epic proportions at the blackjack table and battling an upset stomach that is worse than the beating at the tables only to drive over an hour at a dangerous speed to catch your flight home then find out that...you guessed it...your flight is already delayed over an hour...is that something you might be interested in? I didn't think so.

Somebody please tell me that I am going to catch a break in this lifetime....PLEASE!!!
This message was sent from Handheld Blackberry wireless device


----- Original Message -----
From: The WAD
Sent: Tue Sep 26 17:03:19 2006
Subject: Re: Hasselback

I had a few marlboro lights left from the blackjack table, so I decided to step in the smoking lounge and be one of the non dipping cool kids. While in there, I took note of three things:

1. The smoking lounge in BR is actually nice. Nice chairs, t.v. on the wall, and the patrons look like normal people. I guess it goes to prove that the nicer you make a place, the better clientele you will attract. How else do you explain why you will drive 5 miles out of your way on a road trip to take a dump at McDonald's instead of Hardees? I think that makes sense.

2. Everybody in an airport smoking lounge is asking to bum a light, because you aren't supposed to take matches or a lighter past security. So, this begs the question... How does anybody have a lighter? And, if our security system was working, wouldn't this render it impossible to light a cigarette in the airport, thus rendering the smoking rooms unnecessary? So, does the fact that I can smoke a cigarette at the airport mean that the entire security system is failing? Think about that for a while.

3. Finally, there was a pregnant teenage girl sitting in the smoking room with what I pray was her father. Granted, she herself wasn't smoking, but come on! How dumb do you have to be? Then again, I guess I shouldn't expect miracles from the state that's proud motto is "hey, we aren't Alabama!". Okay, you got me. That's not really the state motto.


----- Original Message -----
From: The WAD
Sent: Tue Sep 26 18:16:21 2006
Subject: Re: Hasselback

All set for takeoff. I'm a little nervous though, because not only is this plane tiny, but I took more pills than usual, so I'm a little scary out of it! Wait a minute... You can't make this up...as I'm typing this email, the captain comes on and says we are having a minor mechanical problem in trying to refuel the plane! I'm sorry, but the words minor and fuel never go together when an airplane is involved. CRAP! Seriously, even though I don't genuinely like many people, I think I manage to be a good person. I mean, I don't try to make people feel small or worthless unless they deserve it. So why does everything in my life turn into an ordeal? I can only think of one possible explanation, but I really don't think cheating on a history test in 4th grade would bring me this much bullsh*t. And, if you didn't get the "Goonies" reference then you deserve to feel small and worthless!


----- Original Message -----
From: The WAD
Sent: Tue Sep 26 18:43:21 2006
Subject: Re: Hasselback

Still here. Not a peep from the captain. If this flight gets cancelled, I'm walking home.



-----Original Message-----
From: The WAD
Sent: Tuesday, September 26, 2006 9:02 PM
Subject: Re: Hasselback

Just got back in Atlanta. Not before, however, the flight attendant spilled diet coke on me. In all fairness, my stupor of a state may have been a contributing factor. Anybody taking odds on whether my bag got lost? If it did, you can bet you will hear about it!



So, yes, finally I have made it back from my trip in one piece. Yes, I'm much lighter in the wallet, and I'm very sleep deprived. You should also know that my baggage was, in fact, misplaced by the good folks at the hometown airline. Fortunately, they were able to get their hands on it in less than an hour, and I, of course, remained extremely calm during the process (you believe that, right?). And, if that wasn't enough, for one last kick in the balls, 4 lanes were completely closed on 75/85 North on the drive home, so I was forced to take some back roads through a few areas of town where...well...let's just say that you could probably get a great deal on real estate. But, now, I'm home, and at least I can look forward to waking up to a pile of two day's worth of work that has piled up on my desk in my absence. Boy, I just can't wait.

By the way, tomorrow you can either have a question and answer session on the WAD (remember, we discussed this last week) or you can have a day of Fite's links tomorrow. The choice is totally up to you. Hint: if you want me to write tomorrow, send me some questions to which I can write smart ass answers.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Re: Hasselback

So I turn on my computer this morning, open my Outlook and 10 emails with "Re: Hasselback" come flying across...the odd thing was they were all from the same source, The WAD. I felt there was enough comedy in his messages/ramblings that they needed to be posted as there is noone else that I know that could have a conversation like this with themselves. Happy Monday!

-fisher


----- Original Message -----
From: The WAD
Sent: Sun Sep 24 18:38:35 2006
Subject: Hasselback
I benched him this week for Alex smith! Would somebody please never allow me to touch my fantasy roster again. It only makes it worse that I am watching him have a record breaking fantasy day while I am sitting in the freaking airport waiting to fly to the middle of nowhere Louisiana. How could this day get any worse? Actually, don't answer that. And, by the way, I officially fell completely off the no gambling wagon yesterday. What two games did I load up on you ask? That's right...Penn state and west Virginia! Just tell me this... If I had bet on Ohio state is there ANY way they get two pick sixes in the last four minutes for a miraculous cover? Of course not! Just like if had played hasselback he would have thrown for 76 yards, no touchdowns, and 4 picks! I've never met anybody with luck half as bad as mine. Now, I have to get on a comair plane in a thunderstorm. You can't make this stuff up.

----- Original Message -----
From: The WAD
Sent: Sun Sep 24 18:50:31 2006
Subject: Re: Hasselback
And, right on cue, they just announced for the first time that my flight, originally scheduled to take off at 7:10, is now delayed for...you guessed it, 15 minutes. Now, you and I both know that there is no way this flight is taking off only 15 minutes late. That's just what they tell you to keep you calm. I don't know about you, but I think I would hav a lot easier time dealing with one announcement of a three hour delay than 12 announcements of 15 minute delays! Airlines are the worst run companies in America. I don't think the government could do a worse job running them!

----- Original Message -----
From: The WAD
Sent: Sun Sep 24 19:01:20 2006
Subject: Re: Hasselback
That a not hasselback! Only two more pick sixes and I won't feel too bad about leaving 5 touchdowns on the bench! Seriously, who benches their second round pick in week 3? I'm an idiot.

----- Original Message -----
From: The WAD
Sent: Sun Sep 24 19:10:33 2006
Subject: Re: Hasselback
And now...we are scheduled to depart at 8. Shocking! On the bright side, at least Eli is proving that his brother doesn't have the market cornered on worthless 4th quarter stats. Actually, I love Eli so I will stop hating.

----- Original Message -----
From: The WAD
Sent: Sun Sep 24 19:34:18 2006
Subject: Re: Hasselback
Okay, for anyone that ever doubted that things happen to me when I fly that don't happen to other people, get a load of this crap...
Some old dude dressed in a pilot uniform just stands up at the gate and announces the following:
I am going to be your captain tonight, but it appears that we are waiting on a plane that isn't coming. So, I am going to taxi over to the hanger and see if I can get us a plane!
Then, for some reson, the other people at the hate erupt into applause. Meanwhile, I don't know how I feel about chuck yeager just honchoing a plane out of the hanger! This stuff only happens to me.
By the way, have I mentioned there is a casino in my hotel in baton rouge? Make what you will of that!

----- Original Message -----
From: The WAD
Sent: Sun Sep 24 19:58:09 2006
Subject: Re: Hasselback
8:45 is the new departure time. On another note, I have spent $20 since I have been here. I bought the new Maxim with Vanessa minillo, a water, a nutrigrain bar, a pretzel, and a can of skoal. Unfortunately, I was just informed by a miserable woman at my gate that you aren't allowed to use any form of tobacco except in the smoking room. So, you guessed it...I am sitting in the smoking room dipping. The amazing thing is that the dregs in this place are looking at me like I am a lowlife. This is a lowpoint of epic propetions in my life. Seriously, the smoking room at the airport makes Teddy KGB's place look like the Four Seasons, yet somehow, I am the outcast! The hits just keep on coming!

----- Original Message -----
From: The WAD
Sent: Sun Sep 24 20:23:26 2006
Subject: Re: Hasselback
Chuck yeager just came back and told is to get on the plane. So, I guess we are a go. I wonder if this is how Richie Valens and the big bopper felt?

----- Original Message -----
From: The WAD
Sent: Sun Sep 24 20:44:18 2006
Subject: Re: Hasselback
What do you know, I'm sitting next to another day guy. And, of course, the flight attendants are ugly enough they might sleep with me. Wait a minute, that's not a bad thing. Whatever! Alright, I just poopped two of the good stuff and now its time to fly. God willing, ill be in touch from Tigerland.

----- Original Message -----
From: The WAD
Sent: Sun Sep 24 22:37:23 2006
Subject: Re: Hasselback
On the ground In BR. Not another sole in the airport. The flight wasn't too bad either. Well, except for the first ten minutes when I was pretty sure I was going to see George clooney and mark waglberg floating by my window. I honestly still can't believe we took off in that sh*t. Oh well! It was also a nice touch when I ordered a drink and the flight attendant said they didn't have any because they had just taken this plane out of storage! True story.

----- Original Message -----
From: The WAD
Sent: Mon Sep 25
Subject: Re: Hasselback 01:53:24 2006
So, I spent less than 3 minutes in my room before I hit the casino. I treaded water for an hour and then lost 200 bucks in like 6 hands! There was lots of splitting, doubling, and cursing involved. The only saving grace is they stop serving booze at midnight so atl least I didn't go insane. A perfect ending to a completely bullsh*t day! Now, I'm going to check my fantasy results and hang myself by my shoelaces!

Friday, September 22, 2006

For Informational Purposes Only

I just got back from the Calvin Johnson show on the Flats. It was a solid win for the Jackets over the Wahoos, but it’s hard to overlook one glaring fact: Virginia is AWFUL. It’s hard to believe that they have gone from a legitimate ACC title contender a few years ago under Matt Schaub to what they are today. I’m actually stunned that they were able to put up 7 points. It did, of course, require a Tech turnover followed by a facemask on third and long, followed by a fourth and long touchdown pass. But hey, nothing worth having comes easy. So, after four straight home games, Tech finally goes on the road to face what will undoubtedly be the defining game of the season at Virginia Tech. Believe it or not, I’m actually glad the game is on the road, because it was evident last night that, after four straight weeks of home game, the Tech crowd is tired. Last night, the crowd was decent, but it lacked the electricity we’ve come to expect from the annual Thursday night game. Part of that certainly had to do with the quality of the opponent, but I can’t help but think that we are still a little weary from all the emotion expended in the Notre Dame game. Honestly, it’s hard to go from that kind of emotion to attempting to get jacked up for consecutive games against Samford, Troy, and a gawd awful Virginia team. At any rate, I think a road trip will be good to focus the troops, and will finally give us an idea of how good this team can be. Believe it or not, with a win in Blacksburg, I think the Jackets may just be the favorite to represent the Coastal Division in the ACC title game. Well, enough about the Jackets, let’s get to this week’s picks. And, as always, remember: if you take my wagering advice, you should probably have your head examined.

College

Iowa -20.5 @ Illinois - I don’t think Illinois has been within single digits of a I-A opponent in over a year. So, they are clearly awful, and Iowa is very good. Seems simple enough.

Georgia -27 vs. Colorado – I’d be willing to take side action on whether Colorado scores in this game. The Buffs are an absolute mess, so traveling across the country to face a dominating defense in a hostile environment seems like a good idea, doesn’t it?

Auburn -41 vs. Buffalo - why not?

Florida State -30 vs. Rice - Look for a lot of Weatherford in the shotgun and a lot of frustration to be worked out by the Seminoles. Sure, they aren’t what they used to be, but the ‘Noles are still 30 points better than Rice.

Texas -25 vs. Iowa State - Yes, I know this is my fifth consecutive huge favorite, but honestly, how can you not lay these points? The ‘Horns must spend the rest of the season trying to make up for their loss to the Buckeyes, so they will pour it on every chance they get. And, Saturday will be one of those chances.

Alabama +1.5 @ Arkansas - A true freshman quarterback is just never a good thing in the SEC. Expect the countdown to the end of the Houston Nutt Era to really pick up steam after this one.

Ole Miss -2 vs. Wake Forest - Ole Miss may be terrible, but Wake is playing in a hostile environment without their starting quarterback and their starting tailback, who happens to be their best player. If Ole Miss can’t win this one, they might not win again this season.

Troy @ Nebraska Over 46.5 – After refusing to throw the ball last week at USC, the Huskers will be itching to throw it around the field. Couple that with the fact that Troy is coming off two physical beatings in Tallahassee and Atlanta, and Nebraska might cover the over by themselves.

Nebraska -23.5 vs. Troy - See above.

B.C. -7 @ N.C. State - State lost to Akron, then they were blown out by So. Miss. No way I’m not picking against them. No way!

USC -22.5 @ Arizona - Really, what’s one more huge road favorite at this point? Anybody else get the sense that this is going to be a disastrous weekend for me?

NFL

Chicago -3 @ Minnesota - I’ve picked against the Vikings twice already this year, and I’ve lost twice. Now, they are a home dog, and I’m picking against them again. Hey, if nothing else, you have to admire my persistence.

Cincy +2 @ Pittsburgh - This is one of those, “somebody knows something I don’t games”. I mean, how else do you explain a team coming off a short week where they looked atrocious being favored against a team that has looked fantastic in the first two weeks? Well, I’m taking the bait anyway.

Green Bay +7 @ Detroit - I just can’t resist the temptation to take points against the Lions. I’m just not strong enough.

N.Y. Jets + 5.5 @ Buffalo - Is J.P. Losman really going to start the season 3-0 against the spread? Hell, is J.P. Losman really going to start the season 2-1? I like the Jets on the money line, but since there are points to take, I’ll go ahead and take them to be safe.

Tennessee +11 @ Miami - At this point, I’m not sure I would back Culpepper in anything other than an eating contest. Sure, the Titans aren’t good, but what have the Dolphins done in the first two weeks to make you think they are 11 points better than anybody?

Washington -4 @ Houston - The Skins have to turn around sometime, don’t they? If not, I reserve the right to revisit my Super Bowl prediction.

San Francisco +6 vs. Philly - I’m riding this Frank Gore train as long as I can. Plus, it’s always fun to bet against Andy Reid. He just seems like a real twit.

New England – 6.5 vs. Denver - The Pats are going to want some measure of revenge from last season’s playoff debacle. Plus, the Broncos have scored one touchdown in two games. Sounds like a winner to me.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Kinky, Kinky, Kinky

Ask and you shall receive. Here are today's links:

Big news in Austin yesterday: Kinky Friedman, independent candidate for governor, is in some hot water for comments made in an interview last year. When asked what to do with child molestors, "Throw them in prison and throw away the key and make them listen to a Negro talking to himself," Friedman said. He also called "Negro" a "charming word." The funny thing is that Kinky isn't backing down. He said that negro is fine, in part because the United Negro College Fund still uses it. Friedman said if you don't like him, vote for somebody else. Nearly everyone says that Kinky isn't a racist, and that he just likes to stir things up. Check out the names of his bandmates from Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys on the Wikipedia link above.

This is no way to treat your girlfriend's pussy.

I thought I was cheap.

One in five Americans wants plastic surgery. We have a ways to go before we catch Columbia, where shows such as "Without Breasts There's No Paradise" are popular.



Quick Thoughts

Two weeks into fantasy football, and we've got some interesting developments. Anybody that drafted Steve Smith, T.O., or Portis in the first round can't be very happy. On the other hand, people that were pissed they got stuck with Vick or Grossman as their starting QB are pretty happy.

Chicago is good, but it sure helps to play in the NFC north.

Chris Simms' season was doomed the second I took him as my backup QB.

Are some people really stupid enough to want Chaz Batch starting for Roethlisburger? I watched Batch for years in Detroit and he couldn't do a damn thing. Don't let one good game fool you. Remember, Falcons fans, Schaub has looked good and nobody thinks he's better than Vick (yes, I suppose I just compared Big Ben to Vick).

Favre had a good game. Must have just ripped his heart out to lose after leading 13-0. Pass the pain pills.

Reggie Bush definitely belongs in the NFL, but I'd be terrified to have him returning kicks. Seems like it would be way too easy to get hurt.

Don't call it a comeback: Kurt Warner's season is looking better than nearly anyone would have thought.

Edge, on the other hand, misses Indy's line.

Falcons signed Morton Anderson. There must not be any good kickers out there. If a 46 year old is one of the 32 best in the world at something athletic, there's something wrong. The PTI guys were right: if he's so good, why wasn't he on a team the past two years?

Doug Flutie looks creepy on TV. No way around it.


Have a nice day.

Fite

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

House Cleaning and The Great Debate

Before posing this week's great debate, here are a couple of house cleaning notes:

1) Just as a head's up, we are only a few weeks away from the 1 year anniversary of The WAD. It's hard to believe, but this thing all got started on October 5, 2005, the same day the Braves began their divisional series against the Astros. Unfortunately, I won't be writing about the Braves' playoff fate on the 1 year anniversary, but I would like to do something special, and I'm open for suggestions. So, if you have any ideas on how you would like to see us celebrate the 1 year mark or the weeks leading up to it, please pass them along.

2) Also, I'm scaling back my writing to at least 4 days a week, and in some cases, 3 days a week. Right now, I'm thinking I will problem do the Musings on Monday, the Great Debate on Wednesdays, and football picks on Fridays. For the time being, I'd like to do a new column that Huge suggested on Tuesday of each week, but I'm going to ask for a little help. What I need from you guys is for you to identify certain decisions or actions from the weekend in football (i.e. the Oregon replay officials crapping the bed) and send me questions you think should be asked of the people that committed those actions or made those decisions. In turn, I will offer up what I hope to be humorous, derisive, and entertaining responses. In other words, it will be the press conference we wish we could hear on Tuesday mornings. I'll give you an example:

Question (to the Oregon replay official): Despite the fact that everybody in America could easily tell that the onside kick didn't go 10 yards and the pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage, you failed to overturn either call. How can you explain that?

Answer: Listen, I'm sick of this crap. Put yourself in my shoes. On the one hand you've got fairness, equality, and the integrity of the game. On the other hand, you've got Phil Knight offering you bags of cash, shit loads of Nike stock options, and unlimited access to the VIP room at Crazy Horse in Vegas. Are you really going to tell me you wouldn't uphold those calls? Next question.

So, you get the point. Stuff like that. So, if you like the idea, send me questions this coming Sunday and Monday, and I will do my best to put together an entertaining column. And as for the fifth day of the week, Thursday, he doesn't know it yet, but I'm counting on Fite to work is internet linking magic.


Alright, now that the housekeeping is out of the way, let's get on to The Great Debate:

As we've been heading into this week's Ryder Cup, one story that you keep hearing is that Tiger has a less than stellar Ryder Cup record (7-11). Then, this morning on ESPN.com, the cover story is a defense of Tiger's legacy despite this Ryder Cup record. So, this begs the question: Is Tiger's Ryder Cup record a blemish on his legacy, and must he turn it around this year, and in the years to come, to officially supplant Jack Nicklaus as the greatest golfer of all time, no matter how many Majors he wins?

Have at it boys.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Something to pass the time

The WAD is taking a day off today, he must have taken the Steelers and the over.

We'll start, as always, with the clips of the day:

Doctors in China completed the first penis transplant, but had to cut it off two weeks later. The article even tells you it was 4 inches. Nice. Too bad the surgeon wasn't Dr. Wang.

A court ordered Tommy Lee's new band, Supernova, to change their name. Leave five smart guys in a room for long enough, and they'll come up with a sweet new name.

Go here to get something nice for that special lady in your life.



On to the business at hand:

The Pac-10 has admitted that their refs blew several calls against Oklahoma. The instant replay official has been getting death threats.

Let's start with the death threats: I hope those are coming from gamblers and not OU fans, because nobody deserves death threats for deliberately allowing Oregon to keep the ball. Sure, it was a shitty thing to do, but don't threaten to kill the guy.

So now the Pac-10 has confirmed what everybody already knew: OU should have had the ball, which would have likely let them win the game. Should the records be changed? I don't think so. People are outraged at this call because it happened at the end of the game, but if the onside/TD had happened during the last minute of the first half nobody would want the record changed. I think it's something we'll have to live with.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Monday Musings

What a tremendous weekend of football. We learned a lot, and we have a lot of new questions. For example:

  • During last year’s baseball playoffs I went on a long tirade about my disdain for any type of instant replay system. In my view, sports are games played by humans, officiated by humans, and therefore, we should have to live with the decisions made by humans…good and bad. I understand I’m in the minority on this one, and I certainly understand the argument against my position. So, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that replay is now a part of sports (at least basketball and football). What I haven’t resigned myself to is the fact that the people running the replay booths can’t seem to get it right. I’m not sure anything infuriates me worse than watching the replays of an important play and realizing that the refs on the field were CLEARLY wrong only to hear the ref come back and say that “no indisputable video evidence” exists to overrule the call on the field. I’m sorry, but this is horseshit. Never has this been a bigger problem than this week’s Oregon vs. OU game. I won’t rehash the calls, because I know you are all painfully aware of them, but suffice it to say, that game was not decided by the kids on the field. No, it was decided by the old dudes in the replay booth lacking the stones to do what was right in a hostile environment. Honestly, I’ve never in my life seen a team screwed worse than OU was screwed this weekend. The entire point of replay is to fix mistakes and keep teams from getting screwed like OU did. If, however, that is not how it’s going to be used, then please, for the love of God, get rid of it. If it’s done right, I still won’t like it, but I can live with it. If it’s done like it was Saturday in Eugene, I just don’t see the point.

  • It kills me to say it, but when you have a team go out and lose at home to Southern Miss, one of your powerhouses get destroyed by a Big East power, another struggle for three quarters at home with Troy, another go to overtime with a I-AA school, and another go to overtime at home with BYU, your conference is down…really down. I am, of course, talking about the ACC. I’m not sure exactly what is going on, but I do know that when Wake Forest beating UConn is your marquee victory of the weekend, it’s not exactly a banner year.

  • What does Clemson beating FSU in Tallahassee really tell us? I mean, FSU gained 2 yards on the ground against a Miami defense that looked as thin as Nicole Ritchie at Louisville, they trailed Troy in the 4th quarter at home, and now, they lost to a team that can’t kick an extra point. So, is Clemson good, or is FSU average at best? I’m reserving judgment for now, but I’m leaning toward the latter.

  • How did Texas Tech only score 3 points against TCU? Seriously, if anybody watched the game and can provide me an answer, I would really appreciate it.

  • I’d like to congratulate Bill Callahan who apparently was the valedictorian of this year’s class at the Chan Gailey School of College Coaching. Are you kidding me? In all honesty, not even Gailey has ever been as absurdly conservative as Callahan was Saturday night against S.C. I’ve never before seen a coach so clearly not care about winning a football game; but instead, solely focus on keeping the game respectable and not getting anybody hurt. If I was a Nebraska fan (and, I would never cheapen myself to that level), I would be furious. He not only never gave his team a chance to win, but he never intended to. That is what you get when you bring in an old NFL retread to run your program. They come from an environment where you expect to lose some games, and you can afford to lose some games. That just doesn’t work in college. Sure, Nebraska has made strides under Callahan, but he must be held accountable for what he did Saturday night.

  • One final observation from college football: With Clemson vs. FSU, UF vs. UT, and USC all going on simultaneously, never before has there been a greater collection of hotter cheerleaders on network television at the same time. I haven’t enjoyed watching football that much in quite a while.

  • I can’t tell if it’s the Atlanta Falcons or the ’96 Nebraska Cornhuskers, but I like it. I know we are only two weeks into the season, but man, it’s really nice to see Mike Vick being Mike Vick again. He’s dropping back, going through his progressions, and if nobody is open, he’s taking off and running with conviction. We are even mixing in a little Woody Dantzler style option out of the shot gun. Not to mention, we are back to the days of where any third and less than 10 yards is almost an automatic conversion with Vick’s feet. Again, it’s only two weeks in, but it looks like ’06 is going to be a fun one in the Dome.

  • Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d like to officially announce the arrival of Eli Manning in the realm of elite NFL quarterbacks. Sunday’s fourth quarter comeback on the road at the Linc was the type of quarter that launches careers and Super Bowl seasons. And yes, I’m biased, but I think the G-men are off and running.

  • With a decent showing in week 1 and an impressive victory in week 2, is it possible that the Niners aren’t that bad? Is it possible Alex Smith might be a good quarterback? Is it possible that Frank Gore might be the real deal? Only time will tell, but it’s a good sign for the Niners that I’m even asking these questions.

  • Yes, I’m keenly aware that I picked the Redskins to go to the Super Bowl and they are now 0-2. On the bright side, they have Houston on the schedule next week, and I can’t think of a better place to get healthy.

  • Speaking of the Texans, circle this date on your calendar: December 3, 2006. That’s the day the Texans visit Oakland, and the #1 overall pick in the draft is going to be on the line.

  • And finally, speaking of the Raiders….I don’t even have a joke here. The word disaster doesn’t even come close to sufficiently describing what is going on with this team. The only compelling question left for the Raiders if whether they can score a touchdown before the Bucs. It’s too bad the Bucs and Raiders don’t play each other, or we might have a chance to witness the firs 0-0 time of our lifetimes.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Week 2 Predictions

I got the season off to a roaring start last week with a sizzling 8-9 overall record. On the bright side, it could have been much worse. Trust me, it has been much, much, much worse. Let’s not dwell on the past, however, and let’s get right to it:

College

1) Wake Forest +6 @ UConn - Jim Grobe is the most underrated coach in America, and Micah Andrews is starting for my college fantasy team this weekend (yes, I’m playing in a college fantasy league, and it is AWESOME!!!). How can I not take Wake and the points?

2) Boston College -7 vs. BYU - B.C. is coming off a huge win, they are playing at home, they have a phenomenal coach, and BYU just traveled across the country. Unless Ty Detmer is suiting up and Lavelle Edwards is combing the sidelines, I’m taking the Eagles.

3) Cincinnati +29.5 @ Ohio St. – OSU has to have a let down of some kind don’t they? And, doesn’t this seem like the type of game that OSU always tends to struggle with? At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

4) Syracuse @ Illinois Under 39 - these might be the two worst teams in major college football. I can’t imagine them scoring more than 20 combined points. Seriously, I only hope this game is not televised.

5) Georgia Tech vs. Troy Over 38 - I don’t even know what to say here. I think that if Tech scores 28 points this over will fall into place. Let’s just pray for the sake of my sanity that Tech scores at least 28 points. (For the record, my esteemed roommate and landlord, Hans, thinks Troy is the biggest lock since Hoover over Vestavia. If you don’t get that reference, you clearly aren’t watching the greatest show to hit television since season 1 of The O.C., “Two-a-Days”, and you should adjust your behavior to rectify this situation immediately).

6) LSU +3 @ Auburn - I think LSU is the best team in the SEC, and I think Jamarcus Russell may be the best player in the conference. Yea, I said it. And, if Auburn blows out LSU, I’m sure you guys will never let me forget it.

7) Michigan @ N.D. Under 49.5 - This game presented the biggest dilemma for me this week. I can’t bet on Michigan, because, as I discussed last week, I NEVER win when I bet on Michigan. And, I can’t bet on N.D. because I’m still EXTREMELY bitter that they stole a win here in Atlanta, so the only logic thing to do was to play the over/under. So, I’m banking on a slugfest. I just don’t think either one of these teams will blow the other one out, and I just can’t imagine this game being a shoot out, so I’m going under.

8) Miami +4 @ Louisville - I know Miami looked AWFUL against FSU, and I know FSU almost lost to Troy at home, and I know Louisville scores points at will, but at the end of the day can you imagine Miami starting the season 0-2? Me neither.

9) Rutgers -15.5 @ Ohio - Rutgers is good. Go ahead, read that sentence again. Seriously, this shouldn’t be that surprising. It’s been happening for a few years now. They have been getting better and better, and I think the State University of New Jersey might be poised for a breakout year.

10) Texas Tech @ TCU Over 54.5 - I told you last week, I’m taking the over in every Texas Tech game. I don’t care if it is 80, it’s just a good long term investment strategy.

NFL

1) Carolina -1 @ Minnesota - I know I preached last week about not taking road favorites, but it’s only a point! Plus, Carolina isn’t as bad as they looked last week, and Minnesota isn’t as good. Just like Miami in the college game, can you imagine the Panthers starting 0-2?

2) Indy -13.5 vs. Houston - I took Houston last week, and I should be punished for it. I’m not making that mistake again. But, if they get Reggie Bush the ball more, they could get a lot better. Oh, wait a minute. That’s right. My bad Houston fans. Please, just go back to ingesting those pills.

3) New Orleans +2.5 @ Green Bay - Well, at least the Texan’s fans can watch this game, right? Anyway, I’m not going to beat a dead horse, but there used to be a time you never bet against Brett Favre at home…ever. Now, I wouldn’t bet on Brett Favre if you held a gun to my head. Sorry Fish.

4) NYG +3 @ Philly - Must win in Week 2 for the Giants. Should be an old time NFC East war, and I expect it to be decided in overtime. How’s that for a prediction?

5) Tampa + 5.5 @ Atlanta - Let’s see, the Bucs got blown out last weekend, and the Falcons got a huge win on the road. Hmmm. What should that tell you? Well, coupled with the fact that these two teams played two games decided by a field goal last year, it should tell you to take the Bucs and the points.

6) Rams -3 @ San Francisco - I know. Another road favorite. Listen, the Rams aren’t bad, and the Niners are. So, me saying no to laying these points is harder than Michael Irvin saying no to a bag of blow on the bar at Mansion in South Beach. It just ain’t going to happen.

7) Baltimore -12 vs. Oakland - Do I think Baltimore should be favored by 12 points over anybody? Probably not. But, after Monday night’s performance by Aaron Brooks and the Raiders, I’ve decided to bet against them every week regardless of the spread. Much like Texas Tech and the over, it’s just a good long term investment.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Great Debate

I've tried to think of anything other than this to ask, but the fact is that it is the most important and prominant question in all of football right now:

What should happen with Brett Favre in Green Bay? Should he be the starter the whole year? Should they bench him to make way for Rogers? Should they try to trade him? (I don't even know if this is possible with his salary and the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement). Should they cut him and let him pursue a spot with a contender? What should the Packers do, and what should Brett Favre do?

Have at it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tuesday Musings? Why Not?

A few observations and questions from this season’s first full week of NFL and college football:

  • What are the odds Mississippi State goes the entire season without scoring a point? I’m guessing they are higher than the odds of them actually winning a game.

  • Calvin Johnson has four catches for two touchdowns. It’s probably best we don’t throw him the ball more. We might actually win more than 7 games.

  • If you think that Mark Richt isn’t down right giddy that Joe T. went down, you are kidding yourself. All he needed was an excuse to turn the reigns over to the true Freshman.

  • Penn State is awful. That’s the only explanation for what happened in South Bend on Saturday. And yes, Notre Dame could go undefeated and I will still refuse to believe they are a better football team than Georgia Tech.

  • It appears that the reports of Tennessee’ resurgence may have been greatly exaggerated. How in the world do you go from what they did in week one to having to hold off a two point conversion by Air Force in week 2? Ah…Phil Fulmer you are a coaching genius.

  • Anybody want to bet against Troy Smith winning the Heisman? Didn’t think so.

  • Has there ever been a better week 3 of the college football season than this coming week? We’ve got Oklahoma vs. Oregon, Miami vs. Louisville, Nebraska vs. USC, Auburn vs. LSU, and Tennessee vs. Florida. That’s at least five games with major BCS implications in week 3. Not to mention you’ve got Troy at Georgia Tech. Does it get any better than that?

  • You think I can count on 26 fantasy points from Frank Gore every week? Don’t answer that.

  • As a football fan, which of the following statements would you rather make:

    a) I can’t believe our starting quarterback is Charlie Frye

    b) I can’t believe our starting quarterback is Aaron Brooks.

    c) Please don’t shoot me. Instead, please slit my wrist and let me bleed to death slowly.

    Yea, I’m taking c) too.

  • Hey, while I’m taking shots at quarterbacks, I can’t resist the opportunity to point out that the Steelers’ offense has never looked as prolific under Big Ben as it did under Chaz Batch. That was fun.

  • Only one more quarterback to bash, and you can consider this a public service announcement on behalf of the people of Wisconsin: WALK AWAY BRETT!!! Either demand a trade or retire, but whatever you do, don’t make us endure watching another season of you completing more passes to the other team than to your own shitty team!

  • So, I went 5-6 on my college picks, and 3-3 in the NFL. Now, that’s a record Chan Gailey would be proud of.

  • Imagine this: Michael Vick gets out of the pocket, runs for first downs, makes big throws on the run, and the Falcons dominate the Panthers. I find it shocking that when you stop screwing around with Vick and let the most electrifying player in the NFL play the way he was born to play, you suddenly look like a Super Bowl contender. Shocking. $100 says Greg Knapp and Jim Mora spend the next six days trying to convince Vick to stay in the pocket. They are just that smart.

  • And, while I’m picking on Mora, I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again: There is no way his players like him. I mean, he’s the Mark Cuban of NFL coaches. I have no doubt that he goes up to the guys after every game and asks, “where are we going drinking guys? C’mon, let’s go hang out.” And, I have no doubt that the typical response is “sorry Coach, we are just heading home, but we’ll call you if we decide to do anything.” Then, of course, all the players frantically run out of the locker room and take separate cars to meet up at some place where he will never find them. (i.e. not Applebee’s, Chile’s, or Outback…you just know Mora is a chain restaurant guy). That is a really long winded way of saying that I think he is a HUGE dork!

  • Finally, I don’t know about you, but I was down right giddy every time Reggie Bush touched the ball Sunday. The Reggie Bush era is going to be very fun.

  • One last point that has nothing to do with football. Maria Sharapova is now my favorite athlete. If you saw that outfit she wore in the U.S. Open Finals, you understand.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Fite for Freedom



Gentlemen, if we don't blog today the terrorists win.







College football thoughts:

NC State might be looking for a new coach.

Mack Brown is still a pussy.

OU got a trash touchdown for Adrian Peterson with about 3 minutes to play on Saturday. I knew it was trash, but I liked us getting it. Then ABC cut from the game, so I didn't see the end. Apparently Washington scored again. That really pissed me off. Logically, I have no reason to be pissed at their trash TD and happy about ours at the same time, but logic doesn't fit with college football.

Pro football thoughts:

You can't tell anything by the first week of the season. If anybody thinks otherwise, how do you explain the Chazzes (Batch and Pennington0 being the best QBs in week 1?

We might owe Greg an apology for picking Bush so high, especially after the stats turned in by Alexander and Palmer.

Who feels worse today, Favre or Trent Green? Favre gets my vote.

My sleeper pick, Chrissy Simms, got me negative fantasy points this week. The only other player that pulled that trick was Plummer.

Bettis coming out in the bus on Thursday night was ridiculous. The only "men" who should make an entrance like that are Boy George, Elton John, or Liberace.

Have a nice day

Fite

Taking a Moment to Remember

It was undoubtedly a fantastic weekend in sports. We had some great finishes and big games in college football, and we finally had the start of the NFL season. Yes, there is a lot to talk about in the world of sports, but we will have plenty of time to talk about it as the week moves on. Today, however, it seems appropriate to put those things on hold and take the time to pause and remember the events of September 11, 2001. We all have our very own distinct memories of that day. We have memories of the images of those planes flying into the towers. We have memories of those that were taken from us too soon. And, of course, we all have memories of the heroes of that day and the days to follow. These are memories we carry with us every day, but especially today. Therefore, I will step aside for the day, and I will encourage you to take time to take listen to the words of President Bush from the night of September 11, 2001 ( http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/gwbush911addresstothenation.htm ) , and take a moment of silent reflection or prayer (or both) to remember those that were lost, those that had the courage to risk their own lives to save others, and those young men and women of our armed forces that risk their lives every day to try to prevent us from ever facing another day like September 11, 2001 again.

Friday, September 08, 2006

For Informational Purposes Only

Welcome to Week 2 of the college football season and week 1 of the NFL season, so that can only mean one thing: this year’s first session of For Information Purposes Only. Let me just say that I in NO WAY recommend you wagering any money based on the predictions you read here for two major reasons: 1) It’s illegal; and 2) I’m an idiot. That being said, there is nothing more enjoyable than trying to pretend that you are smarter than the odds makers in Vegas and spending a couple of thousand words to try to convince you why. Well, I know I’m never going to convince you of that, but let’s see, if nothing else, the ’06 – ’07 season is a little kinder than last season. Oh, one other thing before getting to Saturday’s action, I kind of hinted at it earlier this week, but I should also let you know that it is my intention not to personally place any more wagers this football season. Let’s just say that the end of the Ole Miss/Memphis game has was just too predictable, and quite frankly, it was a brutal shot to the gut. I felt like I had already lived through it about 1,000 times and it left me feeling sick to my stomach. (of course, the ass load of money I dropped on on-line blackjack at the same time didn’t help). Okay, enough tales of my issues. The only reason I brought it up is that I don’t want you to in any way think that I’m “standing behind” these picks like Pacino in “Two for the Money”, and if I happen to have a really good wee prognosticating, I don’t want you fools thinking I’ve come into any money and hitting me up. So, that is that. Let’s talk lines.

College Football

Here are 11 games I’ve identified as solid action this weekend accompanied by a little analysis (i.e. inevitably flawed and often times sarcastic analysis).

1) Central Michigan +28 @ Michigan - look, I’m not going to lie and claim to know the first thing about CMU. I, however, learned a lot about Michigan last week. For example, they could only manage to beat Vandy by 20, and for the 779th time in my life, they failed to cover for me. I’m sick of it damn it. I don’t care what happens from here on out, I’m finally facing reality. If I bet on them and constantly lose money, then maybe it’s time to start betting against them. It’s only taken 10 years, two degrees, and potentially thousands of dollars, but I’ve finally gotten my arms around this concept. What should be glaringly obvious to you at this very moment? Michigan will win this game 63-7. That’s the kind of stuff that happens to me. Trust me.

2) Mississippi +8 @ Missouri - Did I miss something, or didn’t the greatest player in Missouri football just spend four years raising them from abysmal to mediocre? Now he’s gone, and they are suddenly laying 8 points against an SEC team with a tremendous athletic play maker at quarterback? Could somebody please explain this to me? Never mind. I don’t need an explanation, just give me the points.

3) Auburn -20.5 @ Mississippi State - Look out. Week 2, and I am already breaking one of my cardinal rules: never take a team favored by more than a field goal on the road in a conference game. Why am I so willing to forsake my rules? C’mon, you saw MSU against South Carolina. I’m pretty certain Hoover High (go ahead and brace yourself for weeks of “Two-a-Days” references) has a stronger offensive attack than MSU. Here’s the deal in this game. Auburn is going to score 28 points. Raise your hand if you think MSU can score more than 7. If you just raised your hand, please clinch your fist and use that hand to beat some sense into yourself.

4) Penn State +7.5 @ Notre Dame - I’m taking the points against the Irish all year. No questions asked. When a team is this overrated, you would be an absolute fool not to jump on this bandwagon. In fact, I’ll make you a side wager: If you take the points against the Irish 12 times this year, you will win no less than 8 times. It just makes good economical sense. Plus, I LOATHE them right now. It’s going to take a while for the wounds to heal.

5) Colorado State -2.5 @ Colorado - Hey, another road favorite. Good times. Again, this is forgivable for two reasons: 1) they are favored by less than a field goal; and 2) Colorado lost to freaking Montana State last week. Listen, I’ve spent time on the Montana State campus, and Bozeman is probably my favorite town in all of America, but that doesn’t mean for one minute it’s okay for a major college football program to lose to them. Unbelievable. I think you have to bet against the Buffs until they prove last week was the biggest aberration since Clay Aiken’s 15 minutes of fame.

6) Central Florida +23 @ Florida - This one is personal. I love Coach O’leary, I have good friends on his staff, and damn it, I would LOVE to see them win this game outright. Since that, however, probably isn’t going to happen, I’ll at least take the points.

7) Tennessee – 20 vs. Air Force - I’m such a sucker. One week of precision offense and resurgent old school Vol D, and I’m all over the bandwagon. Hell, I even made their offensive coordinator the man of the week. I’ve convinced myself they are a virtual lock for the SEC Championship Game. How can I not take them laying 20 at home?

8) UAB -7 vs. East Carolina - Hey, I watched the replay of the UAB/Oklahoma game, and with the exception of the fact that they can’t tackle anybody in the open field, UAB isn’t that bad. They’ve got speed and a little attitude. Plus, it just violates all good and rational logic not to think that a team that stayed within a touchdown of Oklahoma in Norman can’t win by more than 7 at home against a deplorable football program. That’s right ECU, I called you out. Your program is awful!

9) South Carolina +3 vs. UGA - Spurrier as a home dog? Are you kidding me? Remember all that crap I said about not wagering this year, forget it. I might take a second mortgage on Hans’s house for this one. In Columbia, under the lights, and the Gamecock defense against UGA’s disaster of a quarterback situation. But again, I come back to, Spurrier as a home dog? I’m moist. (I can hear one of my best friends since childhood and UGA Alum and HUGE Dawg fan, Zach, right now saying, “go ahead you dumb Tech f*ck. Go ahead and bet against us. You stupid f*ck. We are going to kick USC’s ass, and then I’m going to kick yours! - The great thing is he would be completely serious. How can you not love southern college football?)

10) Texas Tech at UTEP Over 57 - I applying the same theory here as I discussed about Notre Dame earlier. I’m betting the over in every Texas Tech game. I’m guaranteed to make money, right?

11) Ohio State +2.5 @ Texas - What a tremendous game this promises to be. I think both teams are going to be fun to watch, and the only reason that I’m taking Ohio State is the experience edge at quarterback. I just don’t have any other reason. That being said, no matter what, it is going to be an all out war to try to get out of Austin with a win. I have a sneaky feeling, however, that if Texas has a chance to win late, the pressure might be too much for Colt. And, if not, I’m pretty certain Fite my run out on the field and do everything in his power to keep Texas from clearing their road to a second straight National Title.


Well, I think that covers the college games, so let’s turn to the boys that get paid above the table to play:

The NFL

This won’t take nearly as long. Over the decade I’ve been gambling, one of the rules that I’ve developed that I NEVER break is that in the first four weeks of the season, when the odds makers are still really trying to figure everything out, you HAVE to take every home dog. But, alas, every rule is subject to a caveat or two, and this season, I have developed what shall be ever known as the Favre/Brooks caveat to the aforementioned rule. In other words, if the quarterback of the home dog in weeks 1 – 4 happens to be decomposing Brett Favre or Aaron Brooks, you do not have to bet on them, you must simply leave the game alone. So, under this rule and the new caveat, pencil in the following predictions:

St. Louis +3.5 vs. Denver

Houston +5.5 vs. Philly

Detroit +6.5 vs. Seattle

NYG +3.5 vs. Indy

Listen, I know it feels down right dirty to put money on Houston and Detroit under any circumstances, but trust me on this one.

Okay, so this leaves us with two more games on my radar this opening weekend:

1) Falcons +5 at Carolina - With an undeniably healthy Steve Smith, I probably lay off this game, but with his status up in the air, I figure what the hell. Plus, as a Falcon fan, I really want to believe that the humiliation of last year’s season ending 87-2 beat down at the hands of the Panthers is still stinging. But, as a realist, I’ve seen D. Hall and Roddie White at the club recently, and they didn’t look too bothered. Okay, that’s a bold faced lie. We all know that I could never get into any club where D. Hall and Roddie roll. I’m rambling. Why am I taking the Falcons? Because they are the greatest football team…..EVER! At least that’s what Shalls told me.

2) Pats -9 vs. Buffalo - HA! I don’t even know what to say except THANK YOU VEGAS! The Bills won’t sniff the endzone in this game.


There you have it. We are off and running. May all your wagers hit, and the Good Lord give you the strength to stay away from the parlays and teasers. God bless you all.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Beasts in the East & Super Bowl Prediction

It seems like only yesterday that our Sunday afternoons in the fall were filled with classic NFC East battles that included great names like Simms, Taylor, O.J. Anderson, Art Monk, The Hogs, Reggie Brown, Jerome Brown, Reggie White, Randall Cunningham, Bill Parcells, Joe Gibbs, and Tom Landry. It, however, wasn’t just yesterday. It was over a decade and a half ago when the best division in football was inevitably brought to us on the NFL on CBS, with the soundtrack brought to us by Madden and Summerall. In my mind, these were the glory days of the NFL. The NFC was king, the NFC East was the best division in football, and the 49er’s were the only obstacle between the NFC East Champion and a Super Bowl ring. Well, I’m here to tell you that after all these years, those days are back. Well, not exactly. The 49er’s are awful, but the NFC East is again the best division in football. This time around, however, it’s even better than it was back in the glory days. Back in the day, only the Eagles, Giants, and Skins were contenders, and the Cowboys were the odd man out. But now, all four teams enter the 2006-07 season believing they are the best team in the East, and believe it or not, they all have a legitimate argument. Don’t believe me? Well, allow me to take you team by team and tell you why you might want to think again:

Eagles - I don’t think I have to tell you that the Eagles are solid on D. It’s one of those things that simply goes without saying, kind of like Jessica Simpson looked better before the lip injections or “Two-a-Days” is the greatest show on television right now. The questions, of course, all surround the Eagles’ offense. Well, with a healthy McNabb, Westbrook, Buckhalter, and Pinkston, this team has weapons. And, don’t forget about former UGA Bulldog, Reggie Brown, as an emerging downfield threat for McNabb. Oh, and one other thing…no T.O. drama this year. What I’m saying here is that between injuries and off field drama, the Eagles never had a chance last year. With those obstacles out of the way, the Eagles should be a force to be reckoned with again.

Cowboys - Speaking of T.O. drama! As far as I’m concerned, the Cowboys’ season breaks down this simply: If T.O. shows up to play and doesn’t rip the team apart, Drew Bledsoe will make the Pro Bowl, Julius Jones will explode, and we will have to read thousands of stories in January about the genius of the Tuna.

Giants - I must come clean from the start and say that the Giants are the closest I’ve ever come to sports bigamy in my life. While the Falcons have always been my undisputed favorite NFL team (i.e. the only NFL team that has ever made me cry tears of joy and pain), I have always been a “casual” fan of the Giants. That being said, with the trio of Eli, Tiki, and Plaxico, they are stacked with playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. Unlike the other three teams in the division, however, the huge question mark for the Giants is their defense. With Strahan and Umenyiora applying pressure from the ends, Lavar Arrington doing everything in his power to prove Joe Gibbs and the Skins wrong, and Webster and Madison on the corners, I think they will be just fine. I’m expecting huge things out of the Meadowlands, and I’m certainly not talking about the Jets.

Redskins - How sick is this defense? Specifically, how sick is this secondary? With Carlos Rogers and Shawn Springs on the corners, and Archuleta and Sean “thank God I’m not getting the Ralphie Treatment” Taylor at the safeties, it is going to be impossible to throw the ball against these guys. Seriously, with the coverage these guys provide, Philip Daniels could play with a prosthetic leg and rack up 15 sacks. So, the defense is definitely sound. What about the offense? Well, let’s see…Portis and Duckett in the backfield, Moss and Brandon Lloyd burning on the outside, Randel-El working the middle from the slot, and Chris Cooley picking up first downs, let’s just say that you should definitely expect much more production than last year’s abysmal performance. Sure, Mark Brunell is 114 years old and needs a cortisone shot in his hips and knees between quarters, but in today’s NFL, that’s just not a problem. With the exception of the Mannings, Brady, Palmer, and McNabb from time to time, there are no quarterbacks left in this league that you can count on to win you a game. Instead, you just ask them to “manage” the game and not get you beat. Well, if Brunell can avoid being embalmed at some point this season, he should be able to accomplish that. Oh, one more thing…Joe Gibbs is the greatest NFL coach of our lifetime. Don’t even think about arguing this one. And, on that note, think about this for a minute: Joe Gibbs has won three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks that were arguably worse than Brunell (Theisman, Williams, and Rypien).

So, what does all this mean? Go ahead and prepare yourself, there are some bold prediction coming….are you ready? Okay, here we go:

1) Three of the four NFC East teams will make the playoffs. They only have to play six games in the division. So, if each team can hold serve at home, they can still lose three out of division games and finish 10-6. Could you imagine a division with four teams with at least 10 wins?

2) On February 4, 2007 in Miami Florida, the Washington Redskins will be crowned Super Bowl Champions, and Joe Gibbs will hoist his 4th Lombardi Trophy after they defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 34 - 27.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Great Debate

So, I'm sitting here in a dingy hotel room in the glorious Panhandle of Florida trying to bring one long day of work to a close and staring down the barrel of another one tomorrow, and I figured I had three options for today's column:

a) I could ball it.

b) I could write 2,000 words on how hot Christina Aguilera suddenly looks. She just finished performing on Letterman, and I've got to tell you that rarely have I ever seen a comeback this strong. When she came out years ago, she was hot. Then, she went through her "I'm going to look like a total whore for no good reason" stage, which wasn't horrible, but it was definitely a step down. Now, she's outrageous. Granted, much like Floyd Landis, her great comeback has clearly been aided by....hmmmm...some performance enhancing medical treatment. But, unlike Landis, I just don't think anybody can complain about Christina's resurgence.

c) I could give you a little something to debate in my absence today.

Well, luckily for you, I have fought the urge, and I'm not going with the Christina angle. And, of course, by now it should be obvious that I'm not balling the column. So, that leaves us with the Great Debate:

Again, I'm going to keep it simple:

Which team was most impressive in Week 1 of the College Football season:

a) Tennessee

b) USC

c) Texas

d) Notre Dame

e) Florida State


There you have it. I look forward to your thoughts, and if you think some other team is worthy of mention, feel free to put it out there.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New Season...Same Pain

I spent month after month counting the days until the start of college football season. More specifically, I was counting the days until Notre Dame came calling at Bobby Dodd on the first Saturday night of the season. Now that it’s come and gone, I took away a few great memories, but unfortunately, I took away a lot more of the same old frustrations and disappointments that come with living and dying with a Chan Gailey/Reggie Ball led football team. First, let me talk about the good memories (don’t worry, this won’t take long):

With the exception of my three year stint in New York, I’ve only missed three Georgia Tech home games since I was 11 years old, and only a handful between the ages of 6 and 11. Why do I bring that up? Because, other than the FSU game in 1998, I’ve never seen Bobby Dodd anywhere near the fever pitch it was on Saturday night. Bobby Dodd is usually a solid 9 for any night game, but it was at least a 15 this past Saturday. The stands were packed a solid fifteen minutes before kickoff, and by the time the F-16 roared overhead, the crowd was in a certifiable frenzy. Even the old timers in the West stands never sat for a single play. Only rarely did the noise level lessen to the point where you could hear the guy standing two people away. I have no doubt that with the softy schedule the Irish play, littered with Big-10 schools and service academies, they won’t come close to facing a crowd like the one they faced Saturday night. In short, the fans did their part.

In addition to the crowd, Jon Tenuta and the Jacket defense once again did their job. This, of course, should be no surprise. In a program as unpredictable as Georgia Tech under Chan Gailey, the one thing you can actually count on is a top notch defensive game plan and performance in a big game. In fact, at this point, if I was defensive player on this team, I wouldn’t even acknowledge the existence of the offense. Think about this for a minute: In their last three regular season games, the Jackets have held the #3 team in the country (Miami in the Orange Bowl), the #13 team and eventual SEC Champs (UGA at home), and the #2 team in the country (N.D. at home) to 10, 14, and 14 points respectively. And, in those three games, the Jackets are 1-2! I don’t care how big an apologists you are for Chan Gailey, Reggie Ball, or Georgia Tech in general, that statistic is simply unacceptable.

So, I think you can probably see that we have quickly transitioned from the good from Saturday night to the bad. And, trust me, there was plenty of bad. Before I begin my no holds barred torching of Chan Gailey, let me say this: Saturday night’s loss wasn’t entirely Chan Gailey’s fault. The blame must also rest on the shoulders of Reggie Ball and the officials. I hate bitching about the officials, but it can’t go without saying. In all my years, I’ve never seen a more one sided officiated football game. From the three egregious no calls when Notre Dame offensive linemen all but reenacted an episode of “OZ” on the Tech defensive line on N.D.’s touchdown drive to end the first half (including two on third and longs that allowed Quinn to run for first downs), to the ridiculous “helmet to helmet” call that directly led to N.D.’s second touchdown, to the absurd overruling of C.J.’s beautiful third down catch late in the fourth quarter, it was abundantly clear that the N.D. and Brady Quinn hype machine had a direct impact on the officials. Essentially, if you had two eyes and the capacity for rational thought, it was really clear the Jackets were going to have to overcome N.D. and the officials to win. That being said, here’s the problem: If Chan Gailey was even remotely competent, the Jackets would have overcome all those obstacles. Instead, he chose only to utilize the best player on the field for one drive the entire game (which culminated in said player catching the Jacket’s only touchdown), he chose to punt the ball on 4th and inches on the N.D. side of the field with two and a half minutes left in the third quarter when his defense had already spent approximately three hours on the field, and he chose to waste a timeout with six minutes left in the game so he could draw up a play on third and 15 that resulted in a sack of the worst four year starting quarterback in college football history. So, yes, the refs sucked, and we got screwed like a virgin on prom night, but we should have still won the game, and Chan Gailey is the reason we didn’t.

In the wake of Saturday night, the same thing is clear to me now that was clear to me the day Gailey was hired: he’s not the right man for this job. Sure, if your goal is to win 7 games a year, go to a bowl game that is likely not to exist the next year, rack up moral victory after moral victory, and occasionally actually pull off a big upset, then he’s your man. Then again, if those are your goals, you walk through life with a loser’s mentality, and I value your opinion as much as I do Alec Baldwin’s. But, being an attorney, I understand that you just can’t take my word for it, you need objective evidence in order to come to your ultimate decision, so here is the objective evidence:

In his four full seasons as Tech head coach, Gailey boasts the following losses on his resume:

  • Wake Forest (24-21 in 2002)

  • Georgia (all 4 years, including a 51-7 loss in 2002)

  • Fresno State (30-21 in 2002)

  • Clemson (39-3 in 2003 the week after losing to FSU by a point in Tallahassee)

  • Duke (41-17 in 2003)

  • UNC (34-13 in 2004)

  • Va. Tech (51-7 in 2005)

  • Utah (38-10 in 2005)

Now, these aren’t all the horrible losses, but they are the most embarrassing. Honestly, by themselves, the losses to Wake, Duke, and the 2002 beating by UGA could have been reasons to fire him. Even more devastating than the humiliating losses are the “near misses” when we had every chance to win a huge game, and we somehow snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. For example:

  • Blowing a 13-0 lead with 7 minutes left in Tallahassee in 2003 on national t.v

  • Giving up 25 fourth quarter points to lose 34-20 to Va. Tech on national t.v.

  • Losing 19-13 to UGA on national t.v. when Ball threw the ball out of bounds on 4th down on the UGA 32 with :28 left in 2004.

  • Losing 17-14 to N.C. State on national t.v. when Ball threw a pick in the endzone on the last play of the game in 2005.

  • Losing 14 – 7 to UGA on national t.v. when Ball threw a pick on the UGA 6 yard line with 1:11 left in 2005.

  • Then, finally, the devastating loss of last Saturday filled with all the mental mistakes and questionable calls already detailed above.

So, there is your objective evidence. In four seasons and one game, Gailey has managed to coach the Jackets to 7 unquestionably embarrassing losses to inferior programs and six losses resulting directly from poor decision making either by him or his quarterback. The quarterback, I remind you, that he has unwaveringly staked his fortune to over the past four years. If, however, that’s still not enough for you, then consider this:

Chan Gailey has spent his career as an offensive coach. Hell, when we hired him, he was the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins. So, you would think that, if nothing else, we could find ways to score points. Well, you would be wrong. In his now 4+ seasons as Tech’s head coach, the Jackets have scored over 30 points only 8 times (twice against UConn, once against Vandy, once against UNC, once against Duke, once against Wake, and twice in shitty bowl games against Tulsa and Syracuse). So, in 51 games, this offensive guru has only managed 30 points 8 times and NEVER against a quality opponent….NEVER.

Finally, if you still somehow harbor a belief that Chan Gailey is a quality football coach fit to run this program, I want you to think back to Saturday night, and I want you to remember that time late in the third quarter I already talked about. You know, the time when the Jackets had 4th and inches on the N.D. side of the field and the defense was in desperate need of a breather and the offense was in desperate need of a score, and we punted. Yea, that time. Well, now, I want you to think about the moment N.D. faced 4th and inches at mid field with just over a minute left clinging to a four point lead. Do you remember what they did? That’s right, they lined up and shoved it down our throat and got on a plane and flew back to South Bend undefeated. It doesn’t take an Ivy League degree to know that is the difference between a man with the stones to be a big time head coach and one that lacks them. The only question now Tech fans is whether you want Georgia Tech to be a big time program? As for me, if you don’t want to be big time, then you shouldn’t even play the game.

OTHER MUSINGS ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S OPENING WEEKEND:

Of course, the heartbreak at Bobby Dodd wasn’t the only action on college football’s opening weekend, so here’s a few thoughts on what else we saw:

  • Lloyd Carr has a lot to be worried about. We all know this is a make or break season for him, and last week I detailed the difficulty of their schedule. Well, let’s just say that if you can only muster 27 points against Vandy at home, it might be time to start talking to your CPA about the tax ramifications of liquidating that 401K!

  • We didn’t learn much about Colt McCoy except that he is good enough to beat North Texas at home. Nothing more. Let’s wait until next week to start the hype machine.

  • In case you forgot, Adrian Peterson is the best running back in college football.

  • Speaking of the Sooners, on paper 24-17 against UAB doesn’t look that impressive, but Paul Thompson settled in and played well in the second half. Not to mention, the Blazers are coached by Mack Brown's brother, Watson. So, it's not hard to imagine that they were well prepared for the Sooners. At the end of the day, I think the Sooners will be more than ready for their trip to Oregon in two weeks.

  • David Cutcliffe + UT = Good times on Rocky Top.

  • Speaking of the Vols, please take this to heart. Whenever a Pac-10 team not named USC is favored on the road against one of the SEC heavyweights, max out your credit cards and bet on the dog. It’s the easiest money you will ever make. Trust me.

  • And yes, USC is still awesome. No, check that, they are disgusting. Is there any chance they lose this season? Now that we know Cal is shit, does it all come down to the Irish? If so, go ahead and pencil the Trojans in for the Fiesta Bowl, because when you wipe away all the frustration and bitterness from Saturday night, one thing became abundantly clear: Notre Dame is a decent football team. Nothing more. They have some talent at the skill positions, they have a solid offensive line, but their defense is suspect at best. Tech had receivers open all night, especially C.J. Notre Dame was just lucky that our quarterback is 5’6” and dumb as bricks. At the end of the day, the Irish probably would at best be the third best team in the SEC East, SEC West, or Big 12 South. That is, of course, if you are playing 11 on 11, which is clearly not the case when the Irish come to town.

Finally, please forgive me for failing to give you my predictions on Friday. Between drinking and watching football on Thursday night, and matching Fite, Shalls, and Hans double bogey for double bogey on Friday, there just wasn't any time. Believe it or not, however, I actually had a pretty decent weekend of prognosticating. Well, that is until Memphis inevitably screwed me with a late two point conversion that I saw coming a mile away. You know you've had too many horrific gambling losses when you bet on a four point favorite and they are up 4 and you are pissed when they score a late touchdown to go up 11 instead of having to settle for a field goal to only go up 7. If you don't understand why this is a bad thing then consider yourself lucky, because you clearly don't have a gambling problem.