Thursday, September 30, 2010

College Football: Week 5 Picks

A monster 6-2 week has us sitting nine games over .500 after four weeks. Let's keep it up.
Going big this week with nine picks:
Navy +10 & Under 50- Navy has won this matchup outright the last seven years. I think they'll be able to keep this game close. Both teams love to run the ball so the clock will be constantly ticking making for a low-scoring contest.
Boise State / New Mexico State Over 60.5 - If NMSU can put up just 10 points, I feel very confident about this one as the Broncos should have little trouble putting up a 50-spot.
Alabama -7.5 - We have no indication Florida can compete in this matchup.
Stanford +7 - When in doubt, take the points, especially if the 'dog has the best quarterback in the country too.
Oklahoma -3.5 - Maybe Texas overlooked UCLA. More likely, Texas just isn't that good.
Tennessee +16 - Gambling Mantra #1: Never bet on a team coached by Les Miles. The Vols keep this one close every year. In fact, the last time this game was decided by more than two touchdowns: 1993.
Best Bet: USC -10 - Washington has given no indication they can compete on the big stage this season. USC, down a bit from prior years in talent, still ranks among the nation's best.
Upset: Florida International +19 - Florida International has played three solid games against superior competition, Rutgers, Texas A&M, and Maryland. They are primed to break through. Pitt finds itself reeling and has very little motivation to play this non-league game.
Record: 19-10 (Best Bet: 3-1; Upset: 2-2)

Thursday Links

Bryan has been wrapped up in other things so you are stuck with me today.

-Deadspin's Funbag
-NFP's Brandt

-For any budding football coaches out there, learn from the best: Nick Saban. [Smart Football]

-Speaking of coaching, this guy is no ordinary Joe. []

-Interception of the day from Gallaudet University, a school for the hearing impaired:

The NFL and College picks are scheduled to be released over the next two days. Then, 11 Things I Know I Know on Monday, and an NBA post on Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Belated Thank You to Pete Wilk

Georgetown Baseball came up on my RSS Feed this week. Truthfully, I can't remember why, but it made me reminisce.
I try not to hold grudges, but I smile a little bit inside when people that dismiss me fail. 
Back in 2000 when I was deciding where to go to college (being able to play baseball competitively was a major criterion), I went to a showcase at Georgetown University where I played really well. I distinctly remember raking in batting practice, hitting two homers in game situations (off pitchers that ended up at GU), and playing solid defense all over the diamond. Admittedly, I am being a little boastful when I say I performed better than anyone else at the event, but I am also a realist and firmly believe that was the case.
I loved the campus, the academics, the city. At that moment, I basically considered myself a Hoya.
Georgetown head coach Pete Wilk had other ideas.
He told me he liked what he saw out of me but could envision no way I would be able to compete at the Big East level because I was "too small" (at the time, I was a wiry 5'9" 150-pounder with plenty of room to grow). They would not recruit me any further.
In retrospect, this was one of the best things to ever happen to me.
Since then, Wilk has led the Hoyas to the following records:
2002: 9-47 (overall); 2-24 (Big East)
2003: 13-33; 3-22
2004: 25-30; 8-17
2005: 25-31; 7-18 
2006: 24-32; 10-17
2007: 21-34; 8-19
2008: 18-32; 8-20
2009: 17-34; 8-18
2010: 24-31; 5-22
For those keeping score at home, that's a record of 167-257 (.393 winning percentage) overall and 57-153 (.271) in the Big East. Amazing that he still has a job there.
I went on to attend Johns Hopkins, played on four highly-ranked teams that went a combined 141-29 (.829), and met some incredible people, including my wife.
For rejecting me Pete, I thank you.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What Would It Take To Acquire Pujols?

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Albert Pujols would approve trades to the Astros, Marlins, Dodgers and Angels.
Pujols will be 31 years old on Opening Day 2011, the last year of his current 7-year, $100m contract. One would figure his next contract (if he agrees to a market-appropriate deal) would fall in the 6-year, $120-150m range.
Admittedly, a deal is not likely, but what would it take for each of these teams to make a move and would it be worth it?
Angels (15-1 odds of a deal happening)
Possible offer for Pujols: Kendry Morales, Mike Trout, and Jordan Walden
The Angels have the makings of an extremely solid rotation with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana. Pujols would stabilize a lineup that has lacked any pop since Mark Teixeira left town two years ago. Arte Moreno has not been bashful when trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to throw money at premium talent (see Teixeira and CC Sabathia). The Angels would be World Series contenders.
From the Cardinals perspective, Morales - assuming he can fully recover from a freak injury - would replace a portion of Pujols' production for a fraction of the price; however, the real key to the deal would be Trout, a player many consider to be the top prospect in the minors. St Louis would be looking at a Holliday-Colby Rasmus-Trout outfield for the next five years. Throw in Morales and Yadier Molina plus David Freese, a player I am higher on than most but who is also coming off injury, at the hot corner and the lineup would be impressive. Dealing Pujols would also allow them to sign another free agent bat.
Walden could take over the closing duties in St. Louis from Ryan Franklin.
The Cards also have the luxury of sending Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter to the hill two out of every five days. Mix in Jaime Garcia and at least one Dave Duncan-rejuvenated arm, and this would be more of a reloading process than a rebuilding one.
Verdict: The Halos have the players and the cash to make it happen; however, they would be mortgaging the future. For a team craving power, I think it's a worthwhile gamble.
Dodgers (25-1)
Possible offer for Pujols: Matt Kemp, James Loney, Dee Gordon, and Chris Withrow
The Dodgers have grown frustrated with Kemp despite the fact he displays five tools with relative ease. Upgrading the offense by coupling Pujols with emerging star Andre Ethier would be a welcome site for the team's pitching staff, but it's doubtful that the two of them alone could carry the offense. More moves would be necessary, but acquiring the game's best hitter would be a great start.
St. Louis would have to seriously consider any deal that included Kemp, a player under team control for another two years. He would slot nicely into the 3-hole of the lineup as the everyday right fielder. Loney, known more for his defensive prowess and contact skills, would be a huge downgrade from AP5. Brendan Ryan has been a defensive stud, but his offense leaves plenty to be desired. Gordon could eventually overtake Ryan or simply slide over to play second base.
Withrow struggled this season in AA but has an electric arm.
Verdict: The Dodgers have the players but too much uncertainty with ownership to be taking this type of risk.

Marlins (500-1)

Possible offer for Pujols: Mike Stanton, Logan Morrison, and Matt Dominguez

On talent alone, the Fish could likely offer the best deal, but they have never shown a willingness to break the bank or to deal prospects in exchange for proven commodities. They dealt Miguel Cabrera - arguably the best player in franchise history - at the age of 24 before he could sign a megadeal.

For fun, though, let's play along. If this trade came to fruition, we would be looking at a lineup containing Hanley Ramirez and Pujols. As a Mets fan, I am petrified. As a baseball fan, I am ecstatic. A deal like this would make a lot of people forget what kind of swindlers run this organization (and may send Jeff Passan's blood pressure through the roof).

The Cardinals would slot Morrison at first and Stanton in right on Opening Day. Dominguez has upside as well, but this would be a monumental gamble on their part.

Verdict: They have the players but not the cash / willingness to spend it so let's not get too excited.
Astros (1,000-1)
Possible offer for Pujols: The entire minor league system
Verdict: Houston has the cash but not the players. I cannot envision a scenario in which the Cardinals would send a division rival the best player in the game. The Astros minor league cupboard is as barren as any in baseball. Plus, Brett Wallace - their top prospect - was traded away by the Cardinals to acquire Matt Holliday last year. Simply put, it's not happening.

Tuesday Links

-Interesting question: should the Packers have let the Bears score a touchdown last night to give them a better shot to win the game? Hindsight, of course, and Brian Burke would say yes. [Advanced Football Stats]
-Another conundrum: should the Jets have gone for the two-point conversion to put them up by nine points? Hindsight and Brian Burke say no while I personally would have said yes. [Advanced Football Stats]
-Blast from the past: Kevin Jones signs with the UFL. I remember when Jones announced on national television that he would be playing his college ball at Virginia Tech. I was sure he was going to be a superstar. [Lost Lettermen]
-As teams start to clinch postseason berths, here is what organizations have to look forward to. [Biz of Baseball]
-Can you really blame Evan Longoria for calling out the fans in Tampa? I can't. We've said it before, the fans in Tampa do not deserve a team as great as the Rays.[ESPN]
-Revenue Sharing in baseball
  -Why it's broken [Biz of Baseball]
-Is hockey the next sport to realize a statistical revolution? [Ottawa Citizen]
BC 9/28/2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

11 Things I Know I Know

Peter King of publishes his "Ten Things I Think I Think" each Monday. In an attempt to outdo the writing legend, let me introduce "11 Things I Know I Know" - a weekly commentary on the weekend's NFL games. This can be expected each Monday or Tuesday.

1. I know Michael Vick is back. His four-touchdown performance was the stuff of legend. His 61-yard touchdown toss to DeSean Jackson in the first quarter crushed the Jaguars' hopes ten minutes into the game.

2. I know the Chargers screwed up their clock management. Here's the situation: San Diego trails 27-20 with no timeouts remaining. Clock reads 0:48 when Malcolm Floyd gets tackled in bounds at the Seattle 12 yard line. By the time, the Chargers get to the line, there are 30 seconds left. Philip Rivers decides to spike the ball here to stop the clock. However, there was no need for the spike. This cost San Diego a down and more importantly an opportunity at the end zone. Their second and third down plays resulted in incompletions. They line up for fourth down with a full 21 seconds on the clock, proving my point that they didn't need the spike on first down. Rivers - knowing he needs to find the end zone on fourth down - tries to force a throw into traffic and is intercepted by Earl Thomas to end the game. Terrible, terrible clock management.

3. I know the Bucs are still the Bucs. Yes, they jumped out to a 2-0 start this season, but look at the teams they beat: Cleveland and Carolina, both 0-3. This team is not ready to make the jump just yet.

4. I know Leon Washington is making the Jets look really bad for trading him. His two monster kick-off returns (101 and 99-yards respectively) in the second half propelled the Seahawks to victory. Meanwhile, Joe McKnight - the player the Jets basically got in return for Leon - did not even dress last night.

5. I know Garrett Hartley will have some sleepless nights this week. Shanking a 29-yarder in OT would get most kickers fired. He may have a little leeway but not much.

6. I know rumors of the Cowboys' demise were exaggerated. Huge win for Jerry's 'boys yesterday. Season-saving.

7. I know the Jets should have benched Braylon Edwards for last night's game. Maybe I'm not a realist, but every once in a while, morality should dictate our actions. There is absolutely no excuse for Edwards' actions this week.

8. I know Eli Manning is not an elite NFL quarterback. If not for the David Tyree helmet catch, I would imagine the rest of the country would also realize this. He makes too many dumb decisions (see yesterday's left-handed flip) to be trusted. In fairness, his receivers drop too many passes too.

9. I know Chris Johnson doesn't look quite right. He put nice fantasy numbers yesterday - 125 yards, 2 TDs - but he looks genuinely disinterested when running. Take away his 42-yard scamper, and he averaged only 2.6 yards per carry against a porous Giants rush defense. I would put the chances of him reaching 2,500 yards this season at about 10,000-to-1.

10. I know that I did not foresee Austin Collie and Brandon Lloyd leading the league in receiving yards after three games. Great performances by both yesterday.

11. I know the Packers will win tonight by a score of 24-20. (I also know that I'm sitting 10-2 with my picks - college and pro - this week heading into tonight's game.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

NFL: Week 3 Picks

Week 2 treated me a bit better than Week 1, but there remains plenty of room for improvement. 
Rams +3.5 - The Skins choked away last week's game and seem primed for a letdown here.
Colts -5.5 - No Knowshon, no chance. 
Packers -3 - Right now, the Pack look like the NFL's best team. Until someone knocks them off the pedestal, I'll back them.
Best Bet: Pittsburgh -2.5 - We talking about the Bucs here. The Bucs! Not the Saints, the Bucs!" [Allen Iverson voice]
Upset of the WeekCowboys +3 - It was only two weeks ago that I picked the 'boys to have the NFL's best record. If they lose here, they may not even make the playoffs. Home-state, season-defining (and possibly saving) game.
Record: 4-5-1 (Best Bet: 1-1; Upset 0-1-1)

College Football: Week 4 Picks

Despite losing three games by one point each, I was able to salvage a 4-4 record last week to remain five games over .500.
Oregon State +18: This is somewhat of a hedge bet. It has been widely assumed Boise State will need to win convincingly in all their remaining games to reach the BCS title game.
North Carolina -1: The Tar Heels have been decimated by suspensions, but players are finally starting to return. This will be their most complete team of the year, and if they have any hopes of earning a spot in a reputable bowl, they need to win games now.
Wake Forest +20: Wake has kept this game close (within two touchdowns) in each of the last five years. They have also covered in five of the past six meetings and won outright in their past two trips to Tallahassee despite being 'dogs.
Stanford -4.5: Time for Jim Harbaugh and his crew to make a statement in front of a national audience.
Georgia PK: Do or tie time for the Bulldogs of the UGA variety.
Virginia Tech -4 - Regular season ACC games are the Hokies' cup of tea. Their two losses Boise State (one of the best teams in America; James Madison team (classic letdown) - are explainable, although not defensible. The second half showing last week convinced me they are better than they've played thus far. I expect them to keep things rolling.
Best Bet: Arkansas +7 - In Mallett's rocket arm, I trust. 'Bama will be motivated, but the homefield advantage will help keep things close.
Upset of the Week: Temple +14 - The Owls treated me well last week when they knocked off UConn. They now sit 3-0 and are pried for another upset. Penn State hasn't beaten anyone of note, and this sets up as a textbook trap game (they travel to Iowa next week in the Big Ten opener).

Record: 13-8 (Best Bet: 2-1; Upset: 1-2)

Real-Life CSI [Non-sports]

I liked this story so much, it deserves its own post.

BC 9/24/2010

Friday Links

-Weird is the day that I actually agree with Mike Francesa. Today is a weird day. [PFT]

-The Sports Banter sits comfortably in the top-10. We need the Angels to get hot to climb up as high as third in the annual MLB Over/Under contest. [Vegas Watch]

-Friday Blast from the Past: Chad Hutchinson [Lost Lettermen]

-Last week, Baseball America's Connor Glassey posted an interesting stat: Ichiro has more career intentional walks (155) than ARod, Chase Utley and Derek Jeter combined (149). We are all now wiser.

-Statistical proof that the 3-4 defense is better than the 4-3? You decide. [Advanced Football Stats]

-A study on how travel affects NBA teams. [Sabermetric Research]

-NFL and NCAA Football picks are scheduled to be posted later today.
Have a great weekend.

BC 9/24/2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday Links

 -Brandt [NFP]
-Buster Olney blog. [ESPN Insider; password required]
-Lombardi. []
Note: The daily links will transition to a three-times-a-week format in the near future.
BC 9/22/2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday Links

-David Aldridge trying to become to NBA Monday mornings what Peter King is to NFL Mondays. []

-Lombardi. []

-If someone told you there would be eight undefeated teams after Week 2, who in his right mind would have guessed Tampa Bay, Kansas City, and Chicago would be among them?

-College football quick hits. [NFP]

-In the latest version of Ask BA, Jim Callis tells us the Pirates' magic number to clinch the top pick in next year's draft is just seven. [Baseball America]

BC 9/21/2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Clothed Greg Oden

The first person I see when I get off the plane in Las Vegas:

Monday Links

Solid weekend out of ESPN

Peter King's MMQB. []

Stewart Madel's Weekend Recap. []

BC 9/20/2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

NFL: Week 2 Picks

Time to start digging out of an early hole.
Colts -5.5
Steelers +5
Panthers -3
Upset of the Week: Jaguars +7
Best Bet: Packers -13
Record: 1-3-1 (Best Bet: 0-1; Upset 0-0-1)
Sorry for the abridged version this week.

Friday's "Finally Here" Links

-Buster Olney blog. [ESPN Insider; password required]
-Forget Prisoners. We have a Linebackers' Dilemma. [Advanced Football Stats]
-ESPN's Tom Habestroh names the five worst players in the history of each NBA team. My favorite part: Trenton Hassell comes in at #1 for two different teams. [Insider; password required]
-Real-life Jaws. [Fox]
BC 9/17/2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

College Football: Week 3 Picks

Hawaii +12: The Rainbows can score. They put up points and rack up yards through the air. After last week's 45-point stomping suffered against Cal, the Buffaloes seem primed for another letdown.
Illinois -7
USC -12
Vanderbilt +12: Didn't Ole Miss just lose at home to Jax State?
Texas -3
Arizona +2: Time for my Sleeper of the Year to make a move. If they win this one,a top-12 ranking can't be too far away.
Best Bet: East Carolina +20: After being embarrassed by James Madison at home, the Hokies' season is basically shot. Sure, they can win the ACC and get to a BCS game, but this is a relatively meaningless non-conference game to them and they'll never be able to shake the stigma of losing to an FCS school. East Carolina can score, and few teams in the country have more momentum coming into this weekend. They beat Tulsa on Opening Weekend thanks to a Hail Mary, and they smoked Memphis last week. I think they can at least keep this one close.
Upset of the Week: Temple +7: I hate hate hate picking against UConn, but I think Temple is for real this year (or as real as they have ever been).

Record: 9-4 (Best Bet: 2-0; Upset: 0-2)  

Thursday Links

-Buster Olney blog. [ESPN Insider; password required]
-Kendall Rogers' Big Ten baseball offseson review. [Yahoo]
-Andrew Brandt tells us how close the Packers were to signing Randy Moss on two different occasions. [NFP]
-Chad Ford grades the NBA offseasons: East and West. [ESPN Insider; password required]
BC 9/16/2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday's "Halfway to Another Football Weekend" Links

-Tampa doesn't deserve the Rays. What a pathetic turnout.[Biz of Baseball]
-Solid day out of Deadspin yesterday:
   -Eric Bledsoe transcript fun (I especially like that he took Algebra 3 before Algebra 2)
-Buster Olney blog. [ESPN Insider; password required] 
BC 9/15/2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday Links

-Peter King's MMQB. []

-Florida Gators football = Jail Blazers * Bengals.

-Andrew Brandt breaks down the contracts of Charles Woodson and Tom Brady and then details the threat of NFLPA decertification. [NFP]

-JI Hassell wonders if the Darrelle Revis deal sets a poor precedent. [Inside the Cap]

-Pat White takes advice from the Banter and gives up football (at least for the time being). [Pro Football Talk]

-Really, you can't wait two seconds until celebrating? [Wiz of Odds]

-Buzzkill Central: On the heels of the university's most defining athletic moment, Northern Iowa could abolish their D1 sports. [Des Moines Register]

-Further to our point that Felix Hernandez should win this year's Cy Young [SB Nation by way of Rob Neyer]

-Dave Pinto still scheming about a massive tie scenario. [Baseball Musings]

-Mike passed this along because he claimed to have "called this" while it happened and before Elias confirmed it.

-One of the boldest marketing strategies I have ever seen. [ESPN]

BC 9/14/10

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Shameless Heyman at It Again

In a recent tweet, Jon Heyman sings the praises of Scott Boras' most famous client (now that ARod dumped him), a client that seeks a new contract this winter - Manny Ramirez.

Rumors that Heyman has a place on Boras' payroll are really not far-fetched.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Links

-Buster Olney blog. [ESPN Insider; password required]

-It drives me crazy when teams winning a title in the US (MLB, NBA, NFL) call themelves "world champs." This would help and be extremely entertaining. [Fangraphs]

-Kendall Rogers sums up the Big East offseason. [Yahoo]

-Top 50 Dunks of All Time [Baketball Reference]
If you dont have time for all 50, check out these eight:
-45: Deron Washington jumps off a trampoline to throw this down
-44: Renaldo Balkman dunks at MSG with Isiah Thomas in attendance prompting Thomas to waste a first round pick on Balkman
-43: Darrelle Porter - very underrated dunk. Could have been top-10 worthy
-39: The last time Travis Leslie and DeMarcus Cousins will ever appear in the same sentence. A great dunk nonetheless
-23: Jason Maxiell kicks Otis George (at least) three times in the head
-20: Chris Porter with one of the five best putbacks of all time
-14: Vinsanity
-12: My vote for #1

Enjoy the weekend.

BC 9/10/2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

College Football: Week 2 Picks

Things we learned / confirmed last week:
1- Never bet on a Les Miles-coached team.
2- Memphis is absolutely terrible.
3- So is Akron.
4- Boise was one VT first down conversion away from being a completely forgotten team. Now they have a good chance to play for the BCS title.
After a solid 5-2 opening week, let's try to stay hot.
Auburn -1.5 - It's always dangerous picking against a team that just burned you a few days back (Mississippi State), but I think the Tigers will be able to run the ball with ease.
East Carolina -13.5 - The Pirates are on an emotional high after last week's Hail Mary victory.
Oklahoma State -13.5 - Troy barely covered at home against Bowling Green last week while the Cowboys' Kendall Hunter galloped for more than 250 yards.
Oklahoma -7.5 - Until Florida State wins a big regular season game, which they haven't since 2003, I will bet against them (Note: FSU's victory at way overranked BYU last season doesn't count to me as a "big" win).
Upset: Iowa State +14 - These rivalry games are typically tight and the Cyclones have covered 10 of the past 12 against the Hawkeyes.
Best Bet: Alabama -11.5 - True freshman quarterback Robert Bolden will be making his first ever start on the road and against an FBS opponent, an opponent that happens to be the defending national champs. The Crimson Tide's D should swallow him whole.
Record: 5-2 (Best Bet: 1-0; Upset: 0-1)

NFL Predictions & Prop Bets Galore

Week 1
Jaguars -2.5
Colts -2
Jets -.5 (1st Half)
Upset of the Week: Rams +4
Pick of the Week: Saints / Vikings Over 24 (1st Half)
Wildcard: Colts over Steelers; Patriots over Chargers
Division: Bengals over Patriots; Jets over Colts
Conference: Jets over Bengals
Wildcard: Falcons over 49ers; Saints over Eagles
Division: Falcons over Cowboys; Packers over Saints
Conference: Packers over Falcons
Super Bowl
Jets 30, Packers 24
Prop Bets
Value, value, value. The only reason to make prop bets is to get great value. Here are some I'll be making.
Regular Season MVP
Chris Johnson 10/1
Ray Rice 30/1
Michael Turner 30/1
Most Passing Yards
Matthew Stafford 20/1
Most Rushing Yards
Shonn Greene 10/1
Most Receiving Yards
Roddy White 13/1
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Sam Bradford 7/1
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Rolando McClain 8/1
Win Totals

Cincinnati Bengals* 7.5

Green Bay Packers* 9.5

Dallas Cowboys* 9.5

Houston Texans 8

New York Jets 9.5

New England Patriots 9.5

Atlanta Falcons 9

Pittsburgh Steelers 9

Indianapolis Colts 11

Tennessee Titans 8.5

Oakland Raiders 6

Philadelphia Eagles 8.5

New York Giants 8.5

Detroit Lions 4.5

New Orleans Saints 10.5

San Francisco 49ers 8.5

St. Louis Rams 4.5


Buffalo Bills* 5.5

Chicago Bears* 8

Seattle Seahawks* 7.5

Baltimore Ravens 10

Denver Broncos 7.5

Carolina Panthers 7.5

San Diego Chargers 11

Cleveland Browns 5.5

Jacksonville Jaguars 7

Arizona Cardinals 7.5

Miami Dolphins 8.5

Kansas City Chiefs 6.5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5.5

Washington Redskins 7.5

Minnesota Vikings 9.5

* = Best Bets

Thursday "Are You Ready For Some Football" Links

-According to Banter-favorite Andrew Brandt, teams that win in March rearely win in January. [NFP]

-Matt Bowen takes us inside the playbook in a micro-preview of tonight's Saints-Vikings matchup. [NFP]

-Lombardi. I find a little humorous that seven of the most eight intriguing people in the NFL are quarterbacks and the eighth is a head coach. []
-In a recent article, Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats critiques some of Football Outsiders' "theories":
  • Standard team rankings based on total yardage are inherently flawed. -- Ok
  • Running on third-and-short is more likely to convert than passing on third-and-short. -- Concur
  • If their overall yards per carry are equal, a running back who consistently gains yardage on every play is more valuable than a boom-and-bust running back who is frequently stuffed at the line but occasionally breaks a long highlight-worthy run. -- Not always. If you're the underdog or significantly behind in the game, you want the boom/bust guy.
  • A running back with 370 or more carries during the regular season will usually suffer either a major injury or a loss of effectiveness the following year, unless he is named Eric Dickerson. -- False. As one of my commenters put it, this notion "is a violent assault on good logic and reason."
  • Teams with more offensive penalties generally lose more games, but there is no correlation between defensive penalties and losses. -- Probably false. It's possible they've fallen for the same trap I fell into years ago. The NFL calls penalty yards by an opponent "defensive penalties." But if true, it's interesting. The real question would be why don't defensive penalties matter?
  • Field-goal percentage is almost entirely random from season to season, while kickoff distance is one of the most consistent statistics in football. -- True.
  • Field position is fluid. -- Huh? I think this is just supposed to mean that defenses affect their offenses' field position and vice-versa.
  • Injuries regress to the mean on the seasonal level, and teams that avoid injuries in a given season tend to win more games. -- Ok. Did we need a study for this?
  • A team will score more when playing a bad defense, and will give up more points when playing a good offense. -- And all this time I thought it was the other way around!
  • The future NFL success of quarterbacks chosen in the first two rounds of the draft can be projected with a high degree of accuracy by using just two statistics from college: games started and completion percentage. -- Intriguing, but I'd like to see how this system has performed since it was published. As I recall, it's been off the mark.
  • Championship teams are generally defined by their ability to dominate inferior opponents, not their ability to win close games. -- Interesting.
-Two of Deadspin's nerdier recent posts:
-Real-time Sales Analytics

-Breaking down the "greatest kick ever" with physics

-When Harold Miner surfaces, we link. [Lost Lettermen]

-Well, that was easy:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

King Felix Deserves the Cy: Exhibit 7

I am not one to spend much time debating awards and Hall of Fame candidacies. However, when I see something as egregious as CJ Wilson outranking Felix Hernandez in any Cy Young race, I have no choice but to speak my mind.
If Hernandez fails to win the award this season, it will be a travesty. According to ESPN's "Cy Predictor" such a scenario will play out. In fact, by their calculation, Felix ranks seventh in the AL (Wilson ranks fifth). What a joke.
Here are some of the King's numbers:
IP: 219.1 (2nd in MLB)
K: 209 (1st in MLB)
ERA: 2.30 (3rd in MLB)
WHIP: 1.09 (8th in MLB)
Quality Starts: 27 (1st in MLB)
Quality Start %: 90% (1st in MLB - by a wide margin)
Tough Losses: 7 (2nd in MLB)
Opponent OPS: .597 (2nd in MLB)
Wins: 11 (37th in MLB)
He has been dominant in nearly every start this year. His team has failed him offensively, but to say any other pitcher has been more "outstanding" this season would simply be incorrect.
Ironically, his peripheral numbers across the board are better this year than they were last season, a year in which ESPN predicted he would win the Cy.
A closing thought - Connor Glassey of Baseball America had this to say about the King yesterday: 99 of the 162 players that have made their Major League debuts this season are older than Felix.
A scary thought for the rest of the league.

Wednesday Links

-Rich Lederer of The Baseball Analysts looks at strikeouts per pitch.  
-Feel good story alert. Rocco Baldelli homers in his first Major League swing of the season, and he has no plans to return to coaching. [NYT]
-As stadiums vanish, their debt lives on. [BYT]
-Kendall Rogers with a Pac-10 baseball summer update. [Yahoo]
-Most fans root for a particular team. Dave Pinto at prefers to root for ties.'s Tom Verducci explains how to "fix" baseball's playoffs. Truthfully, I had no idea the system was broken.
-The four guys that most impressed me this weekend in college football were RB Ed Wesley (TCU) and Boise State's three-headed running back trio - Doug Martin, DJ Harper and Jeremey Avery. These guys would start at almost every BCS school.
-Andrew Brandt breaks down the Revis deal. [NFP]
-"The Amazon Freak" might play this season afterall. [Baltimore Sun]
-In case you haven't gotten enough Boise State news this week, Chris Brown of Smart Football dissects their schemes from a coaching perspective.
-Deadspin Mailbag.
BC 9/8/2010

NFL Predicted Standings

NYJ 11 5
NE* 11 5
Miami 8 8
Buff 3 13
Cin 11 5
Pitt* 10 6
Bal 9 7
Cle 4 12
Ind 11 5
Hou 10 6
Ten 9 7
Jax 6 10
SD 9 7
Oak 7 9
Den 6 10
KC 6 10
Dall 12 4
Phi* 10 6
NYG 9 7
Was 7 9
GB 12 4
Minn 9 7
Det 5 11
Chi 5 11
NO 11 5
Atl* 10 6
Car 6 10
TB 4 12
SF 9 7
Ari 7 9
StL 5 11
Sea 4 12
* = Wilcard

Tomorrow: Playoff Predictions / Prop Bets / More to Follow