Sunday, September 28, 2008

Monday Musings

  • In all my years of following college football, I don't ever remember a week where #1, #3, and #4 went down. To make it even more remarkable, #3 and #4 went down at home. What can we take from all this? Well, I'm glad you asked:

Oklahoma is the best football team in a America right now. That's not saying they will be on the last day of the season, but right now I don't see much dispute. Let me put it this way, can you imagine Oklahoma allowing a 5'6" freshman running back to run straight up the middle for nearly 200 yards? Can You imagine OU losing to a vastly inferior team on its home field? Can you imagine OU being dominated on both lines and completed dominated in every aspect of the game on any field against any team? Finally, can you imagine OU and Bob Stoops ever resorting to motivational tactics like a "Blackout"? The answer is, of course, no. Then again, last Thursday I would never have imagined USC, UF, or UGA doing any of those things except, of course, the cheap motivational tactics. In other words, there is no telling what this season holds from week to week, but for now, it's OU's to lose.

  • For the record, The WAD's Top 5 right now is: 1) OU, 2) Alabama, 3) Missouri, 4) Texas, 5) BYU. Before you go off at BYU, ask yourself this question: Do you really think LSU's offense could score enough points to beat BYU? Obviously, I don't.

  • Speaking of LSU's offense, I just have to ask: how can schools like LSU, Auburn, and Tennessee not manage to put a competent quarterback on the field. Listen, I'm a guy that suffered through 4 years of the Reggie Ball era, and I'm hear to tell you that he wasn't as bad as the abysmal quarterbacks these teams are trotting on the field. I can't believe I just wrote that, but it's true. The point? With these three miserable offenses, and with UF and Ole Miss combining for 61 points and UGA and Bama combining for 71 points, can we put the talk of the dominant SEC defenses on hold for a bit? Please.

  • Yes, there is something to the WAD MOTW curse. Don't believe me? Just ask Jim Grobe. Good Lord, how does Wake lose to Navy? Oh, it's wild and lean times in the ACC.

  • Speaking of ACC underachieving, can someone just put Tommy Bowden out of his misery? Honestly, I feel like I'm watching a dog that's been run over by a car. Somebody just end it already. The good news for Clemson fans is that one day they might call Tommy Bowden their Jim Donnan. You know, their coach that recruits tremendous talent and chronically under achieves. Of course, in order to complete the comparison, Clemson has to hire their version of Mark Richt and take it to the next level. Frankly, they should have made the move last year and thrown the kitchen sink at Rich Rodriguez. Since that ship has sailed, where do they go? How about the man that took them down this past Saturday? That's right, I'm championing the Fridge as the next coach at Clemson. Think about it, the Fridge has had solid to great success at Maryland without being able to recruit any talent. Put him in a place where he can recruit even decent talent, and he would be amazing. And, put him in a place where he can inherit elite talent, and he may well win a national title.

  • It must be the last weekend in September because I can hear the choking all the way from Flushing. Nice job Mets.

  • Don't look now, Jimmy Clausen may just be turning into the quarterback everybody expected.

  • The Skins' win Sunday was huge for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is the fact that Jason Campbell looks more and more like a legit NFL quarterback every week. If he keeps playing at this level, and if Portis stays healthy, the Skins are going to be in the race all season. That's not good news for the Giants.

  • What can I say about Brett Favre's performance Sunday? There is no disputing he was remarkable, but does anybody else find it odd that he was throwing for 40 yard touchdowns with a 14 point lead and less than 2 to play? I mean, if I didn't know better I would think #4 was a stat whore.

  • Speaking of the Jets, what they hell were they wearing Sunday? Were they impersonating the cast from that awful George Clooney football movie? Whatever it was, here' s hoping we never see that again.

  • Finally, on a television note, it should come as no surprise that "The Office" hit it out of the park in its season debut. It's an unofficial stat, but I'm pretty sure I broke my all time record for laugh out loud moments while sitting alone in my house. Simply fantastic.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

For Informational Purposes Only

Hans made a great point the other day. I have been doing a terrible job with the most important column of the week, The Monday Morning Musings. In fact, I haven’t been writing them at all, so you might say I’ve been doing worse than terrible. At any rate, starting Monday, I will do better. Also, given the fact that television is finally roaring back into our lives, you can expect the return of Television Tuesday in the near future. Speaking of television’s triumphant return, I have to watch “The Office” and “Grey’s Anatomy” season premiers, as well as the USC game tonight, so there is no time for commentary, just the picks. And yes, my record is atrocious this year, but in my defense, I have been picking too many games with way too little research. In an attempt to rectify that problem, I’m scaling things back this week and only picking 10 college games and 10 pro games. Let’s see if this can get things moving in the right direction.

COLLEGE

1) Michigan St. -8.5 @ Indiana

2) UVA +7 @ Duke

3) Pitt -15 @ Syracuse

4) Florida -22 v. Ole Miss

5) Texas A&M -27.5 v. Army

6) Colorado +5.5 @ FSU

7) Wisconsin -6.5 @ Michigan

8) Arkansas @ Texas OVER 59

9) Wake -16 v. Navy

10) Alabama +6.5 @ UGA

11) Va. Tech +7 @ Nebraska (Okay, so I had to pick 11)

NFL

1) Carolina -6.5 v. Atlanta

2) N.O. -5.5 v. San Fran

3) Arizona +1.5 @ NYJ

4) Tennessee -3 v. Minnesota

5) Houston +7 @ Jax

6) Cleveland +3.5 @ Cincy

7) San Diego -7.5 @ Oakland

8) Washington +11 @ Dallas

9) Chicago +3 v. Philly

10) Pittsburgh -5 v. Baltimore

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mid-Week Musings

  • Three weeks ago, I drafted what I thought was going to be a very formidable fantasy football team. Then, Brady went down, which rendered Randy Moss useless for me and put me in a state of chaos. What did I do? I went out and traded Bulger for the 49er's #2 receiver. Well, even though my season is in the crapper, I do take pleasure in the fact that Bulger hit the bench today and Shalls is stuck with him. Sure, Shalls is one of my best friends, and I shouldn't take delight in his misery, but what can I say? I'm an a-hole.

  • I just watched the 9th inning of the Braves' one run win over the Phillies. The Braves have been out of the race for months now, but it was still great to watch them rise to the occasion in a playoff atmosphere. As my buddy said, this is what is great about baseball. You can bet totally out of the race, but every day is a new day with something to play for. If you don't believe this is true, all you had to do was watch the intensity the Braves played with tonight. You just don't see this in the NBA or NFL. In those leagues, teams out of the hunt tend to pack it in and way for next year. Not so in MLB. And, after watching tonight's game, I am really excited about the upcoming playoffs. There really is nothing in sports quite like playoff baseball when every pitch matters. Good times.

  • Tonight was episode 4 of "90210", or as I call it, "The Deuce". It's not Season 1 of "The O.C." good, but I'm telling you it has come out of the gate stronger than Barbaro. Let's just hope it doesn't meet its demise as suddenly.

  • We are three episodes into the new season of "Entourage", and I am still on the fence. The writers are doing a great job with Ari and Lloyd, but none of the other characters seem to be catching their stride. We need Vince to get a job, the money to start rolling back in, and the parade of talent to start rolling through Drama's condo, right? In other words, let's get back to the basics and let's do it fast.

  • Other than the debilitating sunburn on my face, Saturday's Tech v. Miss. St. game was phenomenal. If you had told me a month ago that our offense would look this good after 4 games, I would have laughed at you. But, once again, I would have been wrong. Things are really starting to click, and when you combine the developing offense with our dominant front 4 on defense, we have a chance to beat any team on our schedule. Again, I would never have believed that a month ago. Suffice it to say, I'm enjoying the Paul Johnson era.

  • There is no doubt that this week's game of the week is between the hedges. After looking inept against South Carolina, UGA looked fantastic last week against ASU. Their rush defense was dominant, and they continually got pressure on the quarterback. And, on offense, Moreno did what he does, Stafford looked fantastic, and A.J. Green did an amazing Calvin Johnson impersonation. On the flip side, Alabama dominated Arkansas last week, but given the Hogs' ineptitude, I don't think we can really take too much from that. Instead, the only real barometer we have for the Tide is their dismantling of Clemson in week 1 on a neutral field. Frankly, I think this game could go one of two ways: 1) John Parker Wilson could be overwhelmed by the Dogs defense and the hostile crowd and hand UGA the game in the first quarter; or 2) John Parker Wilson could show the poise and composure the Bama fans have been waiting so long for, and UGA could find themselves in a 4th quarter fight with a team that, unlike South Carolina, actually has the firepower to beat them. I'm leaning towards one direction, but since it's only Tuesday night, I am withholding judgment for a few more days.

  • Everyone can rest easy now, Steph has decided to report to the Knicks' training camp. This should be the decision that gets them back on the right track. Who knows, they could win 17 games this year!

  • Speaking of New York sports teams, with all the talk about the Cowboys, which is deserved, people seem to have forgotten about the defending World Champion Giants. The G-Men are 3-0 going into their bye week, and they have a legitimate chance of being 6-0 after hosting Seattle in Week 5, traveling to Cleveland (the most inexplicably awful team in recent memory) in Week 6, and hosting the Niners in Week 7. Considering their schedule after Week 7 (@ Pittsburgh, 2 games against both Dallas & Philly, on the road at Arizona and Minnesota, and a home game against the Panthers in Week 16), they may need to be 6-0 to have a chance to defend their title in January.

  • Huge props go the U.S. squad for their great triumph at this year's Ryder Cup. It was truly a great victory, and I enjoyed every minute of Sunday's singles matches. Well, every minute except for the minutes I was flipping through the Sunday Ticket watching my fantasy team implode. At any rate, despite the fact Paul Azinger is one of my least favorite people in professional sports (he is the golf broadcasting equivalent of Troy Aikman) and despite the fact I cringed every time an American golfer "raised the roof" and every time the crowd chanted "U.S.A." (there is a time and a place, people, and that place is never a golf course), I was truly proud of this team's performance. And, the fact they pulled off the victory while Mickelson managed to once again embarrass himself on Sunday made it all the better. I know women that have bigger balls than Mickelson...don't ask!

  • I would like to officially thank the Miami Dolphins for humiliating the Patriots this past Sunday. You have done football fans around America a great service.

  • I almost forgot, my buddy Jack wanted me to point out that Indiana quarterback Kellen Lewis should be a Heisman candidate. Honestly, I looked up his stats, and I'm not sure Jack has, but I promised I would pass along the message. Don't shoot the messenger.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

For Informational Purposes Only

After a few weeks to warm up, I’m feeling big things this weekend. If wagering were legal outside Las Vegas, here’s where I would be looking to pay the mortgage:

COLLEGE

1) UConn -12 v. Baylor

2) G. Tech -8 v. Miss. St. - I’m sold. I honestly cannot quantify how excited I am about the new attitude on the Flats. If we hold onto the football, the Jackets should break out in a big way this weekend.

3) Ohio +11.5 @ Northwestern – Didn’t Ohio hang with Ohio State? What am I missing?

4) East Carolina -7.5 @ N.C. State – After a scare last week, the Pirates get back on track against a terribly mediocre team.

5) Penn St. -28.5 v. Temple – Temple isn’t as bad as usual, but Joe Pa’s boys are putting up points faster than they are racking up indictments.

6) Iowa PICK @ Pitt – Ferentz v. The ‘Stache, and I don’t have to lay points? C’mon, this is easy money.

7) Central Michigan @ Purdue OVER 65 – just feels right.

8) Ohio St. -20.5 v. Troy – Troy has athletes, but OSU has a lot of frustration to take out.

9) Arkansas +9 v. Alabama - It kills me to back a Petrino coached team, but after two rough weeks to start the season, you’ve got to believe Petrino took the bye week to get his offense ready. Look for Casey Dick to put up big numbers.

10) UCF +10.5 @ B.C. – UCF took a very good South Florida team to overtime. I find it hard to believe B.C. is more than 10 points better than the Fighting O’Leary’s.

11) Eastern Michigan +21.5 @ Maryland – The Fridge had a great win last week, but would you ever consider laying 21.5 points with a team that beat Delaware by 7 and lost to MTSU? I didn’t think so.

12) Missouri -34 v. Buffalo – Just keep riding the Tigers. They play with a chip on their shoulder every week.

13) UCLA +3 v. Arizona – after losing my lock of the week by 51 points last week, I’m going back to the Bruins for a refund!

14) BYU -28 v. Wyoming – after handing me the worst loss in the history of wagering, I’m a believer.

15) Notre Dame +8.5 @ Michigan State – This is as big a game as N.D. has all year. Right now, I’m not sure if they are decent or horrible. We should know the answer around 7 p.m. Saturday.

16) Va. Tech +3 @ UNC – UNC’s win at Rutgers was nice, but I have to see them do it on the big stage before I’m a believer.

17) Oregon -10 v. Boise St. - When are Mike Belloti and the Ducks going to get the respect they deserve?

18) Florida -7.5 @ UT – The Gators can name their score, and I’m sure the Great Dick (a/k/a Urban Meyer) will.

19) FSU -5 v. Wake – Don’t look now, the ‘Noles might be on the comeback trail. If they win Saturday, you better keep an eye on them.

20) Auburn +2.5 v. LSU - Still looking for the first 3-0 overtime win in NCAA history…

21) Arizona St. +7 v. UGA – UNLV beating ASU was the worst thing that could have happened to the Dogs (I refuse to spell it incorrectly)

NFL

1) Atlanta -6 v. K.C. – Is Bobby Thigpen really playing QB for the Chiefs?

2) Arizona +3 @ Washington - The Skins looked awful in Week 1 and great in Week 2. Until proven wrong, I’m thinking this may be a trend. Not to mention that Kurt Warner is suddenly awesome again.

3) Houston +5 @ Tennessee – You couldn’t pay me to watch this game.

4) Buffalo -10 v. Oakland – JaMarcus Russell on the road? No thanks.

5) Chicago -3 v. Tampa – Brian Griese on the road? Not with a gun to my head.

6) Carolina +3.5 @ Minnesota – Gus Frerotte in an NFL game? Good God, what is going on here?

7) NYG -13.5 v. Cincy – The Super Bowl Champions have to be two touchdowns better than this mess at home, right?

8) N.E. -12.5 v. Miami - The New England defense might set an all time fantasy record this weekend.

9) N.O. +5.5 @ Denver - I know they lost a game they shouldn’t have last weekend, but I still love the Saints. I also love this Broncos team, but with the Brandon Marshall indictment mixed with the karma from the end of last week’s game, they have to lose this week, right?

10) San Francisco -4 v. Detroit - you have to bet against the Lions. Honestly, you have no choice.

11) Seattle -10 v. St. Louis - Good grief, there are some horrible teams in the NFL.

12) Cleveland +2 @ Baltimore - This is a must win for the Browns. Not so much for the Ravens.

13) Pittsburgh +3 @ Philly – the short week after an epic Monday Night game will do the Eagles in.

14) Indy -5.5 v. Jax - If Jacksonville was playing with an offensive line, I might feel differently.

15) Dallas -3 @ Green Bay - Even I don’t think Aaron Rogers is this good.

16) San Diego -9 v. NYJ – traveling 3,000 miles to play an angry Chargers team…good luck Favre.

As excited as I am about the likes of Brees, Romo, Cutler, Eli, Warner, etc.., I can’t help but notice that the following men are starting at quarterback for NFL teams this week:

Ryan, Thigpen, Collins, Russell, Orton, Griese, Frerotte, Cassel, O’Sullivan, Kitna, Flacco, and Garrard.

That is over 1/3 of the NFL that can’t manage to put a decent quarterback on the field. Am I really supposed to believe that only 20 men in this entire country can capably play quarterback? And yes, I know the jury is still out on the likes of Ryan, Russell, Cassel, and Flacco, but even if all of them turn out to be decent, I still don’t feel very good about this.

That being said, enjoy your weekend and if you see a big bus making a U-turn, I’m driving!

Your Own Worst Enemy

Before getting started, I have to give big props to Fite for stepping up and giving us the amazing links below. I don’t know how he does it, but nobody can find more disturbing internet links than Fite. He has a gift, and we should celebrate it.

So, I just had dinner with some buddies at this place called “Six Feet Under” here in the A. Dinner was good, but the conversation was better. One of my buddies and I engaged in a heated discussion over my growing frustration at what I consider to be over the top praise for the SEC among the local fans (notice I intentionally do not use the word “alumni”) and the local media. First of all, I have always been up front about the fact that I think the SEC is the best conference in America. I don’t think that is debatable right now. From top to bottom, the SEC has more competitive teams than any other conference, no question. So, praise of the SEC does not bother me. What does bother me, however, is the arrogant attitude that is permeating not just from the typically over zealous and rabid SEC fans, but also from the local Atlanta media. You simply cannot turn on local radio in Atlanta and not hear somebody not only lavishing praise on the SEC, but also dismissing and ridiculing the nation’s other conferences. I even heard this same theme, in all places, on Dennis Scott’s show this evening on 790 The Zone. And yes, the fact that Dennis Scott has his own show and I don’t keeps me up at night.

A perfect example of what I am talking about is a day late last week when a local radio team was going on about how none of the elite teams in any other conference could even compete in the SEC. As happens from time to time, I felt compelled to call in and ask, “do you really think Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, USC, Oregon, or any of the “elite” teams from the other conferences couldn’t COMPETE in the SEC?” Well, I was cut off before I could offer too much support for my argument, but ultimately, at least two of the three man team, said the didn’t think any of these teams could even compete in the SEC.

Needless to say, I respectfully disagree with these gentleman. It is one thing to exalt the SEC, but it is a completely different thing to ridicule and diminish the quality of the other conferences by dismissing their elite teams out of hand. I will tell you that the teams I listed above, and any number of other teams from the other BCS conferences could compete for an SEC title. The SEC is the best conference in the country, but it does not hold a monopoly on great football teams. And frankly, the attitude of the SEC fans and the SEC media isn’t doing their teams any favors. Having lived outside the southeast for three years, I can tell you that the attitude of the SEC fans and media creates a great deal of resentment around the country. Coaches and media around the country can only hear so many negative things about their teams and conferences from the SEC fans and media before they decide to take it out on the SEC teams. They can only hear their fans mocked because they aren’t loud enough or enough them so many times. They can only hear their teams mocked as not being fast enough so many times. Now, after the recent success of Florida and LSU, they are hearing these things way too much.

Believe it or not, teams outside of the SEC play some pretty decent football and their coaches and beat writers are pretty proud of it. If you don’t believe the opinions of these coaches and beat writers are important, just call Tommy Tuberville. And, when you are done there, give Peyton Manning a call and ask him how much it meant to win the Heisman. Oh, that’s right, given any other viable option, the national media chose to given Peyton’s Heisman to the best of the Big Ten. At the end of the day, the best thing the SEC fans and media can do is cut down the chest thumping and let the teams do their talking the field on Saturdays. If you are as good as you think you are, and I believe you are, there is no need to constantly try to ram it down the rest of the country’s throat. It can only have a negative impact.

Finally, on a related note, if I haven’t pissed you off enough, you should give this a read: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/12/opinion/12bissinger.html?_r=4&ei=5070&oref=slogin&emc=eta1&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

I’m not always the biggest fan of Buzz’s methods, but he is an extraordinary writer, and he does provide an interesting and important perspective.

Links to pass some time

I got an e-mail today with the first link. Then I looked at related stories, and I think the WAD readership will be interested in all of them. They are from a British website, and as always these are safe for work.

In case you're wondering what any of this has to do with sports, well, it doesn't. Or maybe it does. After all, Chris Cooley studies in the nude.

Have a wonderful day.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Stop What You Are Doing...

No, I'm not quoting "The Humpty Dance", well, I guess I am, but that's not the point. I was going to compose my weekly musings tonight, but honestly, there is no way I can take my eyes off the Cowboys and Eagles long enough to write anything coherent. If you aren't watching and you happen to see this, immediately stop what you are doing and turn on this game. We have 6 minutes left in the first half and we have 48 points on the board and one of the most bone headed plays all time already (thank you, Mr. Jackson). This is old school, and I'm loving it. In sum, I'm too busy watching football to write, but check back tomorrow night for my weekly musings.

Friday, September 12, 2008

For Informational Purposes Only

My buddy, DB, sent me a text last night asking, “you think Greg Schiano wants that Miami offer back yet?” After starting 0-2 and being embarrassed by UNC on national television, my answer was unequivocally “yes!” DB then went on to suggest that I write a column about how foolish Schiano was to turn down the ‘Canes, and to discuss other coaches that have made similar awful decisions. I think that is a fantastic idea, and I fully intend on doing that sometime soon. For now, however, I just want to make it clear that I think Schiano’s decision to stay at Rutgers was the most career devastating decision this side of Senator Craig deciding to tap his foot in that Minneapolis airport bathroom, or Vince Young deciding to leave his cell phone at home Monday night.

At any rate, in many respects, the college football season really kicks off in earnest this weekend. From the “Dawgs in Columbia to the Jackets in Blacksburg, and the Buckeyes in L.A., this weekend is chalked full of huge games. So, let’s get to work and figure out how you would get rich this weekend if you were in Las Vegas where sports betting is legal:

COLLEGE

1) Kansas +3.5 @ USF - the weekend kicks off with a quietly solid game Friday night. Kansas is coming off an Orange Bowl title, and USF is coming off a riveting overtime win against the fighting O’Leary’s. (As a quick aside, no human being has ever looked worse in HD than Big George…I just thought you should know). This is a total hunch, but I have faith in the fighting Manginas.

2) Washington State @ Baylor – I’m not picking this game, but I felt compelled to warn you all that it is on television tomorrow night. I couldn’t live with myself if anybody actually had to watch these two teams play, even for a second.

3) Cal -15 @ Maryland - It’s a long cross country trip for Cal. Good thing for them the ‘Terps are an embarrassment to the ACC, which should tell you all you need to know.

4) Michigan St. -17 v. Florida Atlantic - Under my much tested rule, you can’t go wrong if you lay points at home against a team whose location is a complete mystery to you. Does anyone know where Florida Atlantic is located?

5) Navy +1.5 @ Duke - If you actually wager on this game (if you happen to be in Las Vegas), make your way to the nearest Gamblers Anonymous meeting immediately.

6) Clemson -19 v. N.C. State - I’m banking on two things: 1) Clemson looked awful last time we saw them against a I-A team, so they will look fantastic this time out; and 2) N.C. State is AWFUL (it really kills me that I keep saying that about every ACC team).

7) Temple +6 @ Buffalo - I learned last week that Temple is just good enough to lose to an obscure Northeastern school by less than 6 points.

8) Missouri -26.5 v. Nevada - Chase Daniels for Heisman!

9) UAB +30.5 @ Tennessee - Did anybody in Vegas see Tennessee’s quarterback against UCLA? Do they really think they can score 31 points?

10) ECU -13 @ Tulane - Can you really go against the Pirates right now?

11) Oregon -8 @ Purdue - Drew Brees isn’t walking through that door!

12) UGA -7.5 @ USC - This won’t be the week for the ‘Dawgs. They are focused and looking to make a statement Saturday. The much bigger problem for the ‘Dawgs is next Saturday in the desert and the following week against the Tide.

13) Notre Dame +2 v. Michigan - This used to be one of my favorite games of the year, but this year, watching this game would be punishment. This could be the first ever 3-0 overtime win in NCAA history. (For the record, I have no idea if there has ever been a 3-0 overtime game before, but I figured the odds were in my favor).

14) UCLA +8 @ BYU – Good God, I love the Bruins in this game.

15) Va. Tech -6.5 v. G. Tech - I love the Jackets at +7, but I hate them at +6.5, but I don’t see us losing by a touchdown. Can someone explain that?

16) Oklahoma -21 @ UW - UW is not very good. UW’s hearts are still lying on the field from last week. Not a good combination when Stoops is bearing down on you.

17) Ohio St. +11 @ USC - This is by far the biggest game of this young season. Chris Wells is playing. Chris Wells is not playing. Does anybody know if Chris Wells is going to play? Here is why I am picking the Buckeyes: Three weeks ago, all the pundits were calling this the game of the season. Now, nobody is giving Ohio State a chance. This just has the feel of a game where the Buckeyes come out and “shock the world” and lose by less than 11.

NFL

The bad news from Week 1 is my 5-10 record. The good news is that I now have an idea which teams are good, bad, and the Lions. I’m guaranteeing a better record than last week. If I fail to deliver, you will get a full refund:

1) K.C. -3.5 v. Oakland - K.C. is awful, and they are now employing the ridiculous two quarterback system. But, Oakland is coming off a very short week (the late Monday night game), and they have JaMarcus Russell throwing to Ronald Curry. Gun to your head, would you ever dreaming of placing any portion of your financial well being in the hands of the Raiders? If you said “yes”, you need a financial advisor.

2) Green Bay -3 @ Detroit – Falcons 34 Lions 21. Do I really need to say anything else?

3) Cincy -1 v. Tennessee - I have actually requested DirecTV to black out this game on my television. Cincy can’t possibly be as bad as they looked in Week 1, right?

4) Carolina -3 v. Chicago - Jake is back! Seriously, the Panthers looked great against the Chargers. It is actually unbelievable that they had to win on the last play of the game considering how they dominated the game. The Bears? Well, what can you really make of them beating the crap out of team quarterbacked by Dan Marino at age 48? What? That was Peyton Manning? Unbelievable.

5) Jax -5 v. Buffalo – The Jags need to win this game. Buffalo still can’t believe they won last week. That combination makes this one of my favorite games of the week.

6) New Orleans -1 @ Washington - Clearly, somebody forgot to tell the odds makers the NFL season started last Thursday night. Has a coach ever been fired after two games? I really don’t care, but my friend Jim Zorn wanted me to ask.

7) Indy -2 @ Minnesota - Even a 48 year old Dan Marino is better than Tavaris Jackson.

8) St. Louis +9 v. N.Y. Giants – Is it just me, or are the Giants a team that should never be favored by more than a field goal? I don’t love this game, but there is no way I could lay the points, so I have to take them, right?

9) Seattle -7 v. San Fran - I don’t even know why.

10) Tampa -7.5 v. Atlanta - I just can’t bet on a rookie quarterback on the road, especially when he plays for the Falcons. That being said, last week was a lot of fun.

11) Arizona -6.5 v. Miami - It’s the whole cross country trip combined with historically bad team theory.

12) Pats +1 @ N.Y. Jets - Tom Brady is out, but it’s still the Pats. More importantly, it’s still the Jets. Hail Mary heaves might work against the Dolphins, but they won’t work against the Pats. After all, Tom Brady didn’t play defense.

13) San Diego -1 @ Denver - See the Jax v. Buffalo game above. Same theory applies here.

14) Cleveland +6.5 v. Pittsburgh – Again, I don’t even know why…just a gut reaction to this line.

15) Dallas -7 v. Philly - This just in…Dallas is the best team in the NFL right now. Who knows how things will play out this season, but nobody looked better in Week 1. And yes, I know Philly scored 87 points against the Rams, but that was more about the Rams’ ineptitude than the quality of the Eagles. Trust me, I watched most of the game. It was like a train wreck, I just couldn’t take my eyes off it.

16) Baltimore @ Houston – Football is the least of all worries in Houston right now. Here’s wishing all those on the Gulf Coast well and praying for your safety.

Don’t forget to send me your LOCKS OF THE WEEK!!!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Mid-Week Musings

What’s on my mind? I’m glad you asked:

- Coach Johnson’s Yellow Jackets stole a big road this past weekend. Sure, BC is not a great team. Hell, BC may not even be a good team, but they are a decent team with a strong defensive line, and the Jackets managed to overcome a case of fumblelitis to manage just enough points to win. I, of course, am not ready to run out and buy my tickets to the ACC Championship game just yet, but I am very excited about two things: 1) The Jackets’ defensive line should give them a puncher’s chance against every team on our schedule, with one glaring exception I choose not to acknowledge at this point; and 2) 4th and 1 with 2 minutes to play and the opponent is out of time outs, what do you do? Paul Johnson lines his offense up and gets that damn yard. It’s a new era on the Flats…thank God!

- Am I the only person that is terribly bothered by the fact that Skip Holtz doesn’t speak like he has marbles in his mouth? Are we sure Lou is his biological father?

- I’m tired of hearing about the un-sportsman like conduct against UW. Here are the facts: 1) Under the rules, if a player throws the ball high in the air after scoring a touchdown, it is a 15 yard penalty; 2) Locker threw the ball high in the air; 3) UW should have still made a 35 yard kick from the center of the field; 4) the call did not “cost UW the game.” If they make the extra point, the game goes to overtime, and there is no guarantee they would have won the game; and 5) the kicker kicked the ball in the center’s ass. It’s not like the kick came up a yard short. In sum, the rule may suck, but the ref’s job is to enforce the rules, so let’s lay off the ref and maybe ask why the kicker hit his center in the ass.

- Urban Meyer once again proved himself to be a complete a-hole. I know that is not very eloquent, but some facts do not lend themselves to eloquence. If you are up 20 points on any team, much less a rival that is loaded with freshman and sophomore talent, and you can take a knee and run out the clock, you don’t throw the ball into the end zone and then kick a field goal with :25 left. There is no justifiable defense for doing this. It’s classless, and unfortunately, it is typical for Meyer. Remember, this is the same guy that whined his way into a national championship game by trashing Michigan, Lloyd Carr, and essentially everybody else in college football, and this is the same guy that threw for touchdowns in the waning minutes against UT last year when the game was well in hand. In short, I long for the day the ‘Canes meet the Gators again and don’t have to rely on freshmen and sophomores. All that being said, if I was a Florida fan, I would thank God every night that Urban Meyer was my football coach. There is no greater sign that you have a great coach than random people blasting them for running up the score. If he wasn't great, we wouldn't care. He's still an a-hole, though.

- I simply refuse to take responsibility for jinxing the Falcons, so I will just say that Sunday was fun.

- As for the rest of the NFL, I think Stats did a nice job in summing up Week 1 and the state of the League in his comments on Monday. You can’t help but feel that a new day is dawning. Guys like Cutler and Reggie Bush appear to be making the leap. Guys like Aaron Rogers, Matt Ryan, and Joe Flacco (I have no idea if that is spelled correctly, and I am too lazy to look it up) seem very comfortable at the reigns, and some guy in a green jersey appeared pretty comfortable in his new surroundings. On the flip side, Tom Brady looked pretty uncomfortable writhing in pain, and Peyton Manning looked pretty uncomfortable watching his teammates decompose in front of him. In all sincerity, after a long and miserable stretch of terrible offensive football, it appears that it may actually be cool to score points again in the NFL. Courtesy of the Sunday Ticket (more on this below), I watched every game Sunday afternoon, and I truly enjoyed watching the Saints, Chargers, Panthers, Cowboys, Steelers, Falcons, Lions, Bills, Eagles, and Cardinals play offense. That’s 10 teams, which is approximately 8 more teams playing enjoyable offensive football than in the past 5 years. And, the funny thing about that is the two teams that have actually embraced offensive football over the past 5 years, the Colts and Pats, looked miserable this weekend. In all fairness, the Pats are now starting a high school starting quarterback.

- As for the Sunday Ticket, I have honestly never wrestled more with a legal purchase. Listen, $400 is a ridiculous amount of money to spend for anything that doesn’t involve splitting Aces, so I went back forth no less than 3 dozen times on whether I should actually make the investment. Ultimately, as is usually the case, I showed very little self restraint and made the fiscally irresponsible decision. That being said, I’m so glad I did. Let me tell you, being able to watch every game is great, but being able to turn to the “Red Zone” channel and never miss a score is even better. And, even better than that is being able to turn to the “Game Mix” and watch up to 8 games at one time. But, the greatest feature of all is being able to program your entire fantasy team, as well as your opponent’s team, in the “Player Tracker” and receive alerts every time the quarterback completes a pass, the running backs have a carry, and the receivers make a catch. At the end of the day, the only negative is that it is all almost too much. I mean, somewhere around half time of the late games I did have to go to Taco Bell just to give my eyes and right thumb (my channel changing finger) a rest.

- Football, of course, wasn’t the only highlight Sunday. Everybody else in the country was able to view the premier of Season 5 of “Entourage”. I, on the other hand, didn’t enjoy the premier until tonight. Much to my delight, it was worth the wait. Since we last saw the boys, E has gained a client, Drama has filmed over 50 episodes of “Five Towns” and is quite the diva, Ari hasn’t changed a bit, Turtle has been having sex with attractive women on a deserted beach in Mexico, and Vince has been having sex with multiple attractive women at the same time on a deserted beach in Mexico. In short, not bad times. As is typical, the season premier didn’t provide many fireworks. It simply updated us on each character and framed the issues and upcoming storylines. It looks like we have a season of Ari being Ari, E turning into Ari, Drama making the most of his fame, Vince fighting his way back to the top, and Turtle living off Vince’s scraps. Season 4 was somewhat disappointing, but if the Varsity writers show up for every episode, Season 5 is poised to be a great comeback for the boys from Queens Blvd. On the other hand, if we see the J.V. writing squad, this season could be, as Stats predicts, the boys jump the shark.

- Finally, I say the following with full knowledge of the heckling I am going to endure: The CW’s reincarnation of “90210” is really good. I’m not ashamed of the fact that I was a huge fan of the original, and I am pleasantly surprised with the quality of the Deuce. The characters are likeable, the actors do a pretty decent job, and the writing is not terrible. Plus, the integration of the old characters (Kelly, Nat, and Brenda) has been seamless and actually makes a lot of sense. If you liked the original, and/or you liked the “OC”, you should give the Deuce a shot. And no, I take no responsibility if you hate it. With that, let the heckling begin.

Teaser...

I just wanted to let you all know that I will be posting either later tonight or first thing in the morning. It will be a sort of "Monday Musings"/"Television Tuesday" hybrid. My original plan was to do this column on Monday, but the DirecTV Gods struck down that plan. To make a long story short, after dumping over $500 into the ESPN Gameplan and NFL Sunday Ticket, my service went hay wire Sunday night around 8:15 p.m. Not to fear, however, everything has been restored, and my PS3 helped me through this hard time. At any rate, this means that I have yet to see the season premier of "Entourage", and I missed the final 3 games of Week 1 of the NFL. I can't do anything about the games, but I am going to rectify the "Entourage" situation as soon as I get home tonight. And, for the record, despite the service interruption, and despite the fact that it is absurdly expensive, I would never, under any circumstance, leave DirecTV now that I have experienced the Sunday Ticket. I'll save all the glorious details for tomorrow, but suffice it to say it as close to Heaven on Earth as you can find outside the Spearmint Rhino.

Friday, September 05, 2008

For Informational Purposes Only

I'm sorry for the tardiness, but I have no doubt the picks will be worth the wait. I'd give you some analysis, but after the whole Va. Tech debacle I'm pretty certain you don't want to hear it:

COLLEGE

1) Navy +7 @ Ball State

2) Eastern Michigan +21.5 @ Michigan St.

3) UConn -6.5 @ Temple

4) Wisconsin -21 v. Marshall (If the Badgers don't cover this week, I'm jumping off the bandwagon...maybe)

5) Ohio St. -33.5 v. Ohio

6) G. Tech +7 @ B.C.

7) So. Miss +17 @ Auburn

8) BYU -10 @ Washington (UW is AWFUL)

9) UGA -24.5 v. C. Michigan (After falling from #1, Richt won't let off the gas)

10) Oklahoma -21.5 v. Cincinnati

11) Oregon St. @ Penn St. OVER 46

12) WVU -7.5 @ ECU

13) Miami @ UF OVER 50.5

14) UCF +14 v. USF

15) Texas -26.5 @ UTEP


NFL

1) N.O. -3 v. Tampa

2) St. Louis +8 @ Philly

3) Miami +3 v. NYJ

4) K.C. @ N.E. OVER 44

5) Houston +6.5 @ Pittsburgh

6) Cincy -1 @ Baltimore

7) Detroit -3 @ Atlanta

8) Seattle +1 @ Buffalo

9) Tennessee +3 v. Jax

10) Dallas -6 @ Cleveland

11) Carolina +10 @ San Diego

12) S.F. +2 v. Arizona

13) Indy -10 v. Chicago

14) Minnesota +2.5 @ Green Bay

15) Denver -3 @ Oakland



Enjoy the weekend of football! God, it's a great time of year.

Locks of the Week

Either later tonight or in the morning I will post my weekly NFL and College picks. In the meantime, either email your locks of the week to me or post them below.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Welcome back, NFL

For me, the NFL season starts today. Along with every other slow, short, fat, pallid man I'll be drafting my fantasy team tonight. Of course there's nothing more important in fantasy football than your team name. Here are some funny names from years past.

Travis Henry's Rhythm Method
Hopefully this one doesn't need any explanation, but here goes. Travis Henry has 9 kids with 9 different women. That he knows of. Shawn Kemp couldn't be reached for comment.

Najeh's Closet
Somehow, this one slipped by me.

Chmura's Hot Tub
Mark was charged with having sex with a 17 year old after drinks in the hot tub. He got off. Oh yeah, the jury also found him not guilty.

Rae's Trunk
If I were to hide from the FBI what would I need? Naturally it would be candy bars and bottles to hold my urine while staying in the trunk of a car.

Straight Cash Homey
Damn the Patriots for taking the fun out of Randy. Damn them to hell.

It's not a Toomer
It's a baby. Or a clump of cells. Either way, it's shocking there's a female out there that isn't thinking long-term cash.

Last year, I was the Cleveland Steamers. Real original, I know. Interestingly enough, there's an NFL player that pays to give the steam. How terrifying. I've seen great danes crap, and it's nothing to laugh at.

Have a nice day, and a pleasant fantasy season.

Monday, September 01, 2008

For Apologetic Purposes Only

I owe you all a huge apology. It is true that I can never give you back the time from your life that you spent reading my prediction that Va. Tech would go undefeated this year, but I promise to fully refund all your subscription fees. Not to worry, the check is in the mail. Seriously, I hope my prediction in combination with Va. Tech’s humiliating loss on Saturday reminds you of each of the following: 1) Any idiot can post anything on the internet; 2) I rarely have any idea what I am talking about (if you need further proof, just check my picks for this week: 6 – 8 at press time with UCLA +7.5 still out there); and 3) The ACC is awful this year.

Honestly, number 3 above is the major reason I felt Va. Tech could actually go undefeated despite losing 8 starters on defense and dressing 30 players in week 1 that had never played a college football game. Now, in a strange way, Va. Tech’s failure validates the underlying theory behind the prediction. And no, this is not my way of trying to somehow salvage some credibility after making one of the worst predictions of all time. If I was trying to do that I would remind you of Celtics in 6 and Pierce as MVP, but I would never stoop so low. No, all I am trying to do is state what should be obvious after this past weekend: the ACC is in a state of crisis. As much as I would like to do so, I simply cannot defend my alma mater’s conference. Unless Miami and FSU can somehow find a way to achieve a level of success befitting their talent level and their history, there does not appear to be an ACC team that can sniff the top 10 this season. Any thoughts of Clemson or Va. Tech serving this role certainly didn’t survive this weekend.

Now that I have completely buried the ACC, here are a few more observations from Week 1 of the ’08 season (no predictions, just straight observations):

Alabama, Fresno State, and Missouri are really good;

Michigan, Arkansas, and Mississippi St. are not good; and

After Week 1, USC and Oklahoma look like the two teams most likely to play for the Crystal Ball. But, as we know all too well, the beautiful thing about college football is that this is subject to change every week.

That’s all for now. I have to prepare to watch the premier of “Raising the Bar” on TNT (starring Zack Morris with very long hair). Hopefully, Steven Bochco’s latest law drama will mark the beginning of a great fall television season, which really takes off with the “Entourage” premier next Sunday. Just a hunch, but I don’t think that will be the last time you see a reference to “Entourage” in this space.