Friday, December 05, 2008

Championship Saturday

It's hard to believe the college football season is nearly over. If, like me, you have a horrendous record picking college games, all you can do is thank God for bowl season (a/k/a "Redemption Month"). Before we can obtain redemption, however, we must first get through Championship Saturday. Of course, not all Saturday's games will decide conference championships, but at least three will. And, it just so happens each of those three games also have enormous BCS implications. Let's stop wasting time and break those three down Herbstreit style:

1) Bama v. UF - In "Rounders", Damon astutely says, "the nicer the guy, the poorer the card player, and these guys are real sweethearts." Well, similarly, when it comes to college coaches, I think the general rule is the nicer the guy, the poorer the coach. Not to worry, in this game, both these coaches are real assholes. So, let's call the coaching match up a draw.

Honestly, I can't remember the last time the undefeated number 1 team in the country went into a game this late in the season as a double digit underdog to a lower ranked team. And frankly, I can't for the life of me understand why Bama is a double digit underdog. Listen, nobody has been more impressed with UF's dominance over the past 6 weeks than me. They have been awesome. No doubt about it. But, I can't help but think that something has been lost in UF's dominance. What's that? Well, Bama's own dominance.

Sure, some of Bama's wins have been uglier than they would have liked (UK & Ole Miss), but there are three undisputed facts about Bama's season: 1) They have won 'em all; 2) The one time they were in real danger of losing, at LSU, they made a huge defensive play in OT and then rammed the ball right down the Tigers' throat for an OT touchdown; and 3) twice this season, Bama has been a big underdog (Clemson on a neutral field & UGA in Athens), and both times Bama has dominated those games. All these things are true because of two simple facts: 1) Bama has the best offensive line in America; and 2) Bama has the best defensive line in America.

I've actually heard some people this week say that Bama's dominance on both lines will be neutralized by Florida's speed. Here's a question for you: did Clemson, UGA, LSU, and Auburn trot out a bunch of dudes that looked and ran like me? (For those that don't know me, I'm a devastatingly handsome man with a large gut and no speed) Seriously, I'm so sick of the "speed" argument. Can we all just agree that every elite team has superior athletes with tremendous speed? Honestly, look at Bama's 40 times versus UF's 40 times and I guarantee you there is very little, if any difference. And, as far as how that speed translates to "game speed", UF didn't look a whole lot faster Ole Miss, did they? And, Bama looked pretty damn fast against UGA, right?

Look, my intention is not to make Bama out to be the greatest team ever assembled, and it's certainly not to diminish UF's greatness. I could go on for pages and pages about how amazing UF has looked over the past six weeks, but everybody else has been doing that all week, so I figured I would take some time to sing Bama's praises. So, where does all this leave us? Well, it leaves you in one of two camps. Either you think everything I've said about Bama is crap, and UF is going to roll over the Tide. Or, you think an undefeated team coached by Nick Saban is going to rise to the occasion on a neutral field like they've done all season long. Me? if you give me a chance to take Nick Saban plus the points, I'm going to jump on that faster than a lonely girl whose friends left her at the bar. Final score: UF 23 Bama 20. Bama +10.

2) Oklahoma v. Missouri - Don't worry, this one is not nearly as complicated. If you want to know where to go in this game, here's all you need to consider: 58, 62, 66, 65, and 61. That's OU's point totals in each of their last 5 games. In case you aren't sure where I'm going with this one, consider this. Missouri is ranked 116th out of 119 FBS teams in pass defense. Suffice it to say I would be happy to take the Sooners -17 if, of course, it were legal to wager on sporting events. Final score: OU 55 Mizzou 28.

3) USC @ UCLA - Frankly, if I broke this game down, I would not only be wasting your time, but I would also be putting my friendship with loyal Bruins fan, Vines, in jeopardy. Normally, I would be okay with both of those things, but I need a place to stay in NYC next week, so I'll just say I'll take the Trojans -32.5 and leave it at that.

Now, for the rest of tomorrow's games:

4) Pitt +3 @ UConn (this definitely feels like a sucker bet)

5) Navy -11 v. Army

6) Tulsa -12 v. ECU

7) Va. Tech +1 v. B.C. - I picked the Hokies to win the national title. An ACC title is almost as good, right?

8) Cal -33.5 v. UW

9) Troy -11 v. Arkansas St.

10) WVU -7.5 v. South Florida

11) Arizona -10.5 v. ASU

12) Hawaii +7.5 v. Cincinnati


1) Jax +7 @ Chicago

2) Minnesota -10.5 @ Detroit

3) Green Bay -6 v. Houston

4) Indy -14 v. Cincy

5) Atlanta +3 @ N.O.

6) Philly +7.5 @ NYG

7) Tennessee -14 v. Cleveland

8) Miami +1 @ Buffalo

9) Denver -9.5 v. K.C.

10) San Francisco +4 v. NYJ (when you see a line like this that doesn't make any sense at all, you have to assume somebody knows something you don't and take the points)

11) New England -6 @ Seattle

12) Arizona -14 v. St. Louis

13) Dallas +3 @ Pittsburgh

14) Baltimore -5 v. Washington

15) Carolina -3 v. Tampa

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Television Thursday?

Yes, I know this column gained world-wide praise as "Television Tuesday", but who says we can't mix things up and talk a little T.V. on a Thursday? And yes, by "world-wide praise" I mean Hans really used to like it. And yes, I realize I haven't written this column in over a year. In my defense, however, I submit respectfully that this television season has completely sucked (yes, I actually just wrote "submit respectfully" and realized that my job has completely infiltrated every aspect of my life. I was going to delete it but decided to leave it in so that you would understand if I decide to bludgeon myself to death tonight with a blunt object). So, why now, after a year's absence, do I feel compelled to bring back "Television Tuesday" on a Thursday? Two words: "Friday Night Lights".

I don't know many things to an absolute certainty in life, but I do know: 1) We will all die; 2) We will all pay taxes; 3) Paul Johnson has brass balls; and 4) "Friday Night Lights" is the best show on television. I don't want to talk about death or taxes, and it might be a little weird if I talked about Paul Johnson's balls, so that leaves us with FNL. But, here's the rub. Unless you have the greatest gift God has ever given us (a/k/a DirecTV), you haven't had the chance to see any of the 9 new episodes this season. Amazingly, FNL's ratings have been so poor in its first two seasons on NBC, the only way Season 3 received the green light was DirecTV agreeing to air the season on The 101 (great channel) before NBC fully committed to airing the season after the first of the year. Bizarre, right? All this reveals two things: 1) Not enough people are watching FNL; and 2) most, if not all, of you have not had the chance to watch any of Season 3.

Bearing these two things in mind, I want to make a point about FNL, but I don't want to give away any of the plot twists from Season 3. Let's give it a shot: Please, if you ever cared for me at all, watch Season 3 of FNL this winter and spring on NBC!

Seriously, we have to do everything in our power to make sure Season 4 sees the light of day. In a television era increasingly dominated by ridiculous shows about Phd's and renegade cops played by terrible actors (I'm calling you out David Caruso) solving murders and loathsome Atlanta housewives (yes, I watched it), there simply has to be room for a show that provides riveting story lines; complex, interesting, and well-developed characters; realistic, humorous, and entertaining dialogue; and the hottest chick in Hollywood, Minka Kelly. Seriously, she's out of control. I can't stress this enough.

In sum, in case I haven't been clear, PLEASE watch season 3 of FNL. We need more shows like it, and we definitely need more of this: You're welcome.

Check back Saturday for my Championship Game breakdowns and NFL picks. I'm feeling a big week coming. Then again, I always feel a big week coming.