Monday, October 31, 2011

Who Will Be Kim K's Next Husband?

Banter favorite Kim Kardashian is back on the market. Who will she marry next?

Here's my guess:

LA Dodgers' outfielder, Matt Kemp

I have no idea why he's wearing goggles

My reasoning-

He's an athlete of African American persuasion, he's on the cusp of super-duper stardom, he's younger than KK, and he plays his home games in LA. Plus, he's dated a celebrity before (Rihanna).

Almost makes too much sense.

-Back to your regularly scheduled sports commentary-

2012 NFL Mock Draft: Take I

With apologies for not writing my usual Sunday night 11 Things column because of a prior commitment, here's a sneak peak at what the top 10 picks of the 2012 NFL Draft would look like if it were to happen today, and it's downright offensive (nine of 10 guys play on that side of the ball):

1. Miami - Some Dude Named Luck, QB, Stanford: If you haven't heard about this guy already, please close this tab of your browser and go pay attention.

2. Indianapolis - Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama: An incredible consolation prize for the team that misses on Luck at the top of the draft. Richardson might be on his way to winning the Heisman and would look great next to Peyton Manning in 2012. I encouraged Bill Polian & Co to take a shot on Bama's last Heisman-winning running back - Mark Ingram - in the 2011 Draft but to no avail. Now, they are stuck with the trio that brings fear to no one, Delone Carter, Joe Addai, and Donald Brown. Richardson would change the whole dynamic of the Indy offense.

3. St. Louis - Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford: This wouldn't be the sexiest pick, but the Rams whiffed the last time they took an offensive lineman this high (Jason Smith, number two overall in 2009) leaving a gaping hole on the left side of their line. That needs rectifying if they want to give Sam Bradford a shot to succeed.

4. Arizona - Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State: Pretty sure Larry Fitzgerald would approve of this one. I considered Matt Barkley here for the Cardinals, but it's too early to give up on Kevin Kolb. I also think they have a bitter taste in their mouth from the last time they took a QB from USC in the top-10 (see Leinart, Matt). If Kolb can't hack it with the combo of Fitz and Blackmon, though, they'll be looking for a signal caller in 2013.

Love the idea of a Blackmon-Fitzgerald

5. Minnesota - Matt Kalil, OT, USC: The Vikings are all-in with Christian Ponder. Gottaa protect his blind side. Kalil has a great pedigree - his older bro his an offensive lineman for the Panthers - and he's honed is craft protecting Luck for the last three years.

6. Jacksonville - Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame: The Jaguars are one of the most boring teams in the NFL. As I said prior to this year's draft, they need playmakers. I completely disapproved of the Blaine Gabbert selection at the time (and still do), thinking they should have traded up for one of the premier wide receivers, AJ Green or Julio Jones. That didn't happen and now the offense is sputtering. Jacksonville has not had much luck at the position over the years - R Jay Soward, Reggie Williams, Matt Jones - but Floyd seems like a man on a mission this season despite facing constant double- and triple-teams. Mike Thomas is miscast as a number one receiver. Get Gabbert some weapons.

7. Carolina - Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU: The Panthers, thanks to the miracle worker known as Cam Newton, are actually a decent team right now. The offense is flowing, and now it's the defense's turn to catch up. Claiborne is a shutdown corner that could pair with Chris Gamble to form one of the better combos in the NFL.

8. Seattle - Matt Barkley, QB, USC: Pete Carroll recruited this guy to USC and had enough faith in him that Barkley started from Day One as a freshman. If he slips this far, I think this is a no-brainer.

9. Denver - Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma: This whole Tim Tebow experiment is going to end badly...unless they move him to H-Back and have him carry the ball a few times a game. Jones has plenty of arm to throw through the winds in Denver, and he is the best option left on the board right now.

10. Washington - Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: The only thing that would shock me with the Redskins is if they weren't picking higher than 10th by the time April comes around. This is a bad team with a terrible quarterback situation. They will have a new body under center by next fall, and I'm guessing it will be the multifaceted RG3.

Monday Mullet


Thursday, October 27, 2011

NFL: Week 8 Picks

Huge 4-1 week sends me over 61% for the season and into the top 15% of the Hilton SuperContest.

Panthers -3: Christian Ponder got lucky in his first start last week. That won't last. I'm going to ride this Cam bandwagon until it throws me off.

Those of us backing this guy consistently have been all smiles.

Redskins +7: Call it the curse of the bye week, but I think the Bills will struggle after their week off. Washington is the more desperate team, and I expect them to play like it.

Saints -13: It is a rare, rare day when I take a road favorite especially when they are giving almost two touchdowns. However, this New Orleans offense couple with the atrocious St. Louis offense could make this one a romp.

Seahawks +2.5: Homefield advantage in Seattle is worth about a touchdown in my mind. I think the Seattle D can keep this in the game much like they did last week against the Browns. Vegas expects this one to be a low scoring affair too as they have the over/under at just 38, lowest of any game this week.

Cowboys +3.5: Again, that bye week thing hasn't been kind to teams. Dallas has been playing well and could put a huge monkeywrench in Philly's postseason plans. I'm guessing the Eagles win but by less than the spread.

Record: 19-12-3

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

College Football: Week 9 Picks

In a rut right now, so I'm gonna try to shake things up by making picks in list form.

Kansas State +14
Notre Dame / Navy - Over 62
USC +8
Upset: Illinois +5.5
Pick of the Week: Oklahoma State -13.5

Record: 20-17 (PoW: 4-4; Upset: 3-5)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Suck for Luck" Hath a New Name...

... "The Dolphins Sign JP Losman"

This is priceless. Miami has decided to stop trying to pretend like they actually want to win games this year.

Just send Luck our way already. We'll do anything.

The only win UFL superstar JP Losman will lead Miami to:
the fist pick of the 2012 NFL Draft

The Hedge (Update)

As you remember, when faced with my initial decision, I could have hedged at the outset and guaranteed myself either $660 (Cardinals win Series) or $387 (Rangers win Series), but decided to just wager game-by-game (we’ll call it an intra-series).

Game 1, bet 150 on Rangers to win 165.
Result: Lost $150

Game 2, bet 150 on Rangers to win 165.
Result: Won $165
Running Total: +$15

After Game 2, I wimped (stronger words are probably appropriate here) out and took the Rangers to win the Series at -180. Bet $360 to win $200.

I stayed away from Games 3 and 4 in hopes the Cardinals could steal one because the Rangers were -200 to win both of those games. I lucked out when Albert Pujols cemented his status as the greatest hitter of our generation in St. Louis’ Game 3 victory.

The people who do these sorts of things estimated Pujols’ first game 3 homer to have gone 423 feet. My guess would have been closer to 600. Ball was CRUSHED.

Game 5, bet 130 on Rangers to win 100.
Result: Won $100
Running Total: +$115 (with $360 hedge still at risk)

Game 6, leaning towards betting $150 on Rangers to win 165. This would leave me at one of the following two places:

Rangers win: $200 (series hedge) + $165 (game 6 bet) + $115 (running total) = 480

Cardinals win: -$35 running total (with $360 hedge still at risk) and put $300 play on Rangers in Game 7

Assuming Cardinals do win Game 6, my Game 7 outcomes would be:

Rangers win: $200 (series hedge) + $270 (game 7 bet) - $35 (running total) = 435

Cardinals win: $1260 (Vegas bet) - $360 (series hedge) - $300 (game 7 bet) - $35 (running total) = 565

Unless the odds spin completely against me, I should be guaranteed at least a $435 payday which is slightly better than what I would have gotten had I hedged from the beginning.

My only regret is the midseries hedge. Once I decided to go game-to-game, I should have held the fort.

In the end, that decision will cost me a few dollars, but overall, this has been a great learning experience and a solid return on my $10 investment.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Mullet

Mr. Perfect (Mullet)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

11 Things I Know I Know: Week 7

1. I know the Jets did exactly what I expected them to against the Chargers. Well, at least in the second half they did. A fluke fumble by Dustin Keller was returned for a score putting New York behind early. Then Mark Sanchez threw his token goal line interception, and they trailed by 11 at the half. But, the Jets showed some resiliency.

They chipped away and battled back to finally take their first lead of the day midway through the fourth quarter. Then the Norv Turner - Philip Rivers combo took over and ran one of the worst two minute offenses I ever remember seeing. Game over.

Chargers fans recognize this face.

The win moves them to 4-3 as they head into the bye.

Another great sign for the Jets is that they are now 4-0 at home. They haven't won more than five home games in a season since 2004 but look to be on their way this season. Now if they could only win a roadie (0-3 so far).

2. I know the Raiders looked like complete fools this week. First they overpay for Carson Palmer, then they start Kyle Boller who throws three picks, and then they let Palmer take a shot only to see him throw three interceptions. Maybe old #3 will turn things around - they can't get much worse - but the early returns are not positive.

3. I know the Titans blew a golden opportunity to seize control of the AFC South. The Texans came to town and demolished Tennessee. Chris Johnson looked terrible again (18 yards rushing on 10 carries and 27 yards receiving on 6 catches). What happened to this guy?

4. I know the Suck for Luck contest is in full effect, and my pick to win it might surprise: the Cardinals. The Dolphins have to be the favorite, but the teams that follow really don't have a need for a franchise quarterback - Rams (Sam Bradford, Colts (Peyton), Jaguars (Blaine Gabbert), Vikings (Christian Ponder) - until Arizona where Kevin Kolb is not the answer.

5. I know the Lions honeymoon is over. Back-to-back losses has Detroit at 5-2 and the upcoming stretch will be incredibly challenging: at Tebows, at Bears, vs Carolina, vs Green Bay, at New Orleans. They'll be lucky to come out of this more than two victories.

6. I know teams coming off byes are now 3-9. I'm chalking it up to the new rule that mandates players get at least four consecutive days off at some point during the bye. Is that the main culprit? I have no idea, but it's definitely plausible.

7. I know never to bet against Tim Tebow. Part Messiah, part Steve Young, part bowling ball, part anything good in the world. For some unquantifiable reason, the guy just finds ways to keep his team in games. The miracle in Miami that he pulled off today just adds another chapter to his storybook career. And yes, winning national titles at the high school and college levels, being a first round pick and starting in the NFL qualifies as storybook to me.

Not always pretty, but always effective.

Side note: one of the funniest thing I saw on Sunday was Kyle Orton, Denver captain, going to midfield for the overtime coin flip. It's like John Fox can't come up with enough ways to kick Orton while he's down.

8. I know this was a brutal week for running backs around the league. Tim Hightower, Beanie Wells, Earnest Graham, Willis MacGahee, Tashard Choice, and Joe Addai were all banged up during game action and Marshawn Lynch was injured during pregame activities which prevented him from playing at all. Very painful week for a lot of these teams.

9. I know the 49ers win when they don't even play. They had a bye this week and watched every other team in their division lose. I might have to amend my guess that San Fran will clinch in Week 12. Could be a lot earlier than that.

10. I know the BCS needs to go. Case in point: in tonight's standings, Nebraska is ranked one spot ahead of Wisconsin. On October 1st, the Badgers throttled the Huskers by 31 points. Makes no sense, just like the whole system currently in place.

For what it's worth, the Big East - one of six conferences with an automatic berth into the BCS - has no teams ranked in the top 24. West Virginia is the conference's first representative at number 25.

11. I know the Ravens will beat the Jaguars on Monday Night Football, 27-16. For some reason, I actually think Gabbert can lead a few scoring drives. Maybe it's his hair, maybe it's because he'll be flanked by MJD. Either way, I think the Jags keep this relatively entertaining.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

College Football: Week 8 Picks

Another ugly week (2-3). Meed to snap out of this funk somehow.

Auburn +21.5 - Love getting more than three touchdowns against a team missing their best offensive and defensive players.

Texas Tech +29.5 - This wager is a vote of confidence for TT's offense. I have no confidence in their D keeping the Sooners under 50, but I think they can out up a 30-spot to cover a 30-spot.

Upset: USC +9.5 - They aren't the Trojans of old, but they have enough talent to put up points and get an occasional stop to keep this one close.

Pick of the Week: Northwestern +4.5 - Penn State is simply not a good football team. Road favorites? Don't think so.

Record: 18-15 (PoW: 4-3; Upset: 2-5)

NFL: Week 7 Picks

As we've covered before, no winning week is a bad week. However, after hitting my first three games, I finished 3-2. Not bad, but not good enough to make a move in the SuperContest.

Jets +2: I love this game. Really really love it. Being a home 'dog is a slap in the face no matter whom you are playing. Rex Ryan will use that as motivation. Also working in the Jets' favor is the cross-country trip the Chargers have to make to play the early Sunday game. The Chargers are also coming off a bye, which I think is a bad thing this year since players are mandated to take four consecutive days off in a row. Expectations are low for the Jets (that's when they have thrived under Ryan) and sky-high for the 4-1 Chargers. Look who this team has beaten: Minnesota (1 win on the season), Kansas City (2 wins), Miami (0 wins), and Denver (1 win). That's four combined victories in 21 games. Not impressive at all.

Matchups work in the Jets favor as well: Jets D can contain Chargers O; Jets O can actually score on the Chargers D; Chargers special teams are awful while the Jets special teams have been great.

Love. This. Game.

Gotta think this guy has at least one big special teams play on Sunday.

Panthers -1: John Beck is the starting quarterback of the Washington Redskins this week. No one in the Redskins organization wanted this to happen (including their best WR, Santana Moss). Rex Freakin Grossman beat him out in the preseason. If that doesn't tell you everything you need to know, you are not a football fan.

Colts +15.5: Give Indy credit. They are still playing hard. For that reason, I think they will show up in primetime on Sunday Night Football to keep this game interesting. It also helps that anyone can score on the Saints defense.

Falcons +3.5: Football is a momentum game and after a tough loss, I'm guessing the Lions will struggle in this game. They felt invincible until last week but the 49ers proved otherwise. On the flip side, Atlanta beat a Carolina team that's no joke anymore. They seem to be trending upwards.

Denver Pk: Did you watch the MNF game against the Jets? The Dolphins are an abysmal team. Tim Tebow's homecoming will bring out the Broncos fans in full force making it feel like a home game for Denver. Your opportunities to bet against Matt Moore are dwindling quickly. Get in on the action while you can. Suck for Luck in full effect.

PSA: This chump is starting for Miami at QB

Record: 15-11-3

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Hedge

On Labor Day weekend, I happened to be in Las Vegas with a bunch of close friends. At the time, the Cardinals were seven games off the division lead and further out of the Wildcard hunt. The MGM Sportsbook listed the Cardinals at 125:1 to win the World Series on that Saturday. Seeing some opportunity, I put $10 on St. Louis winning it all. (In truth, I went to the ‘book with $50 in hand looking for 200:1 odds. When I didn’t get those long odds, I toned done my wager substantially. Slapping self in face.)

Now, a month and a half later, the Cardinals are in the World Series, and I am left wondering how I can hedge myself. After all, the Cardinals are now 1.35:1 to complete the unthinkable.

The way I see it, I have a few options:

1- Let it ride. The Cardinals have done the near impossible just to get here. If they win four of the next seven games, I get $1,260 ($1,250 for the win + my original $10 bet)

2- Bet the Rangers to win the series (-155). Unfortunately as the favorites, the payoff will be small. A $600 hedge, would only pay out $387. So either I get $660 if the Cards win or $387 if the Rangers win. That’s either a 66x or 38x return on investment. Not too shabby.

3- Take the Rangers +1.5 runs per game in each game they are ‘dogs. Upside: the Rangers could lose and cover meaning I could win both sides. Downside: too expensive as I would need to bet $215 to win $100. Also, these odds are only available when the Cardinals are favored which might only happen in Game 1 with Carpenter on the hill. Game 5 will be played in Texas, and I think the Rangers would be favored even in Carpenter starts.

4- Take the Rangers straight up in every game of the series. The bet here would be that Texas will not be a bigger favorite than -155 (odds of them winning the series) in any individual game. Let’s go through the scenarios using $150 a game wager. If the Rangers sweep, I would win more than $407 as long as the individual game odds stay below -155. If the Cardinals sweep, I’ll have thrown away $600, just as I would have in Option 2. If the series lasts longer than 4 games, it will mean that I have won at least one of these hedges meaning I can re-hedge.

5- A combination of Options 4 and 5. Take the Rangers +1.5 when they are ‘dogs and take them straight up when they are favored.

6- Something else. I’m all ears for suggestions and Would love to hear from some wise guys and/or quant guys for comments or suggestions. What am I missing? What would you do?

For what it’s worth, I’m going with option 4 unless someone can convince me otherwise.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

11 Things I Know I Know: Week 6

This will be an abbreviated version as I'm working on no sleep, feel under the weather, and don't get paid for doing this like my boy Peter King.

1. I know the San Francisco 49ers will clinch the NFC West by Week 12. It's feasible they could rest their starters for a month before the playoffs.

The '9ers follow the lead of their head coach. It's clear they want to win, badly.

2. I know the Packers are the class of the NFL. If the defense holds opponents to less than 20 points, I can't see this team losing. By the way, the Rams are averaging a pathetic 9.9 points per week. As good as Green Bay is, that's how bad St. Louis is.

3. I know the AFC South has lost a combined 14 straight games (Colts-6, Jaguars-5, Texans-2, Titans-1) and as a division they have one less win than the NFC West(8-7). There are some bad football teams in this division.

4. I know the Eagles saved their season today. They are only two games out of first place in the NFC East and roll into their bye with some positive momentum for the first time all season.

5. I know the Giants looked good but need a revamping of their secondary. They too head into their bye with great momentum.

6. I know all teams with Week 7 byes won today (one exception was Buffalo but they played the Giants who are also heading into the bye).

7. I know Cam Newton failed to cover for the first time which means betting against the Panthers is now an option.

Dude is human after all.

8. I know the Cowboys wasted a golden opportunity to knock off the Pats in Foxboro. They would have been a game out of first with a win. Wasn't to be.

9. I know that as of this writing only one team in Week 6 reached the 30-point mark. I'll need to confirm with my buds over at Elias, but that seems like a crazily low number. So much for the overs crushing it this year. Overs went 2-9 today in the 1pm and 4pm games combined. Reversion to the mean or a fluke? I'll guess the former.

10. I know you tune in for NFL thoughts, but here are my initial BCS thoughts:

a) Clemson might crash this party. The Tigers have a realistic shot of finishing the regular season undefeated with their toughest remaining game being a road trip to South Carolina on November 26th. They would then likely face Virginia Tech or Georgia Tech in a rematch in the ACC Title game. They'll need some help with upsets ahead of them, but they could be this year's Auburn.

b) Kansas State is getting plenty of love from the computers (average ranking of 7th), but they have a buzzsaw upcoming month beginning on October 29th: vs Oklahoma, at Oklahoma State, vs Texas A&M, at Texas. Let's talk if they survive that quartet.

c) Penn State is not a good football team. It speaks volumes about the rest of the talent level of the rest of the country that they are in the BCS top 25. Just watch them for a quarter and tell me they have any shot of being a top 10 team. You will not be able to.

d) Next week's slate of games is pretty awful. I guess the game of the week is Wisconsin at Michigan State. Blah. After that though, almost every week for the rest of the season will feature a matchup of top-10 teams. Oklahoma-Kansas State (October 29), Alabama-LSU (November 5), Oregon-Stanford (November 12), Clemson-South Carolina (November 26). It's going to be a great finish, as always.

11. I know the Jets will win on MNF, 24-21. For more details, click here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

College Football: Week 7 Picks

An ugly 1-3 week knocks my winning percentage down to 57.1% for the season. Over the long haul, that's not terrible, but taken in context (I was at 73% just three weeks ago), it's not great. Not thrilled with this week's options, but here are the picks which seem to be underdog-heavy:

BYU +3.5

Washington State +21.5

Baylor +9.5

Upset: Maryland +9

Pick of the Week: Arizona State +14.5

Record: 16-12 (PoW: 3-3; Upset: 2-4)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

NFL: Week 6 Picks

A 2-2-1 week would have catapulted me up into the top 18% of the SuperContest standings. On a related note, I have one major complaint about this contest, and it would drive me insane if I were actually in it this year: the standings. Take a look here at how they are tabulated. I think an illiterate three year old is maintaining this site. For $1500, I would expect A LOT more. They could start with the rank. I digress. On to the picks:

Eagles PK: This game is for Philly’s season. If Michael Vick cannot lead his team to victory in DC on Sunday, we can start talking about the version 2012 Dream Team because the 2011 one will be finished. It’s impossible to come back from a 1-5 start and still make the playoffs. In my “11 Things” column, I somewhat boldly predicted the Eagles will make the playoffs which means I think they are going to win this game.

Bears -3: I am not a defensive coordinator but what is stopping the Bears from putting nine guys in the box to shut down AP and forcing Donovan McNabb to beat them? I can’t think of a single thing. Chicago got embarrassed on MNF by a top-5 team in the league. I don’t think they will let a bottom-5 team do the same thing to them on national television this week.

Packers -15: The best team in the league is playing at home against the worst team in the league. This spread should be closer to three touchdowns than two. The only thing I can see working in the Rams’ favor is they are coming off a bye week. Unfortunately, they didn’t get a new team during that bye so I’m guessing they’ll still suck.

Is 6 touchdowns too aggressive of a prediction for this guy on Sunday?

Panthers +4: I’m backing Cam Newton every week until he fails to cover. The Falcons, much to my dismay, are not a good team, or at least they have not played like one this year.

Miami +7: I hate this matchup for the Jets. They do not thrive when people expect them to play well. Miami’s season is basically over at this point, and they are set to play spoiler for the next 12 weeks. Recent history is also working against the Jets as the Dolphins have won their last three trips into the Meadowlands.

In Miami’s last 36 games (2009, 2010, 2011 seasons combined), they are 14-22 overall.

During that time, they are 3-1 against the Jets and 11-21 against everyone else. They just seem to have this team’s number.

Miami is also coming off their bye week. I think the Jets win but not by 7.

Record: 13-9-3

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Mullet

"Ravishing" Rick Rude

Sunday, October 9, 2011

11 Things I Know I Know: Week 5

1. I know I was wrong about the San Francisco 49ers. My preseason predictions had them winning three games all season. Well, by the end of Week 5, the 49ers have four wins. They have a two-game lead in the NFC West and have won more games than the rest of the division combined.
Alex Smith is making believers out of the San Francisco faithful, something no one thought possible.

Their defense ranks among the league's best and should keep them competitive every week.

San Fran travels to Detroit to face the undefeated Lions next week in the biggest game of Week 6. If anyone had foresaw that being the premier game before the season, my congratulations.

For what it's worth, next week's primetime games are downright awful: Minnesota at Chicago and Miami at New York.

2. I know the Giants blew a golden opportunity to seize control of the NFC East. They were 10-point favorites as they hosted the 1-3 Seattle Seahawks. Unfortunately for them, they squandered two separate fourth quarter leads and got upset by Pete Carroll's squad. A loss like this is inexcusable. They need to win these games early in the year because the end of the schedule is a proverbial murderer's row. Luckily for them, they only lost a half a game in the division because Dallas and Washington both had byes.

Food for thought: has any player in the NFL had a crazier roller coaster of a season than Victor Cruz? I think not.

3. I know the Vikings finally held a second half lead. It definitely helped that they jumped to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter behind three Adrian Peterson rushing touchdowns. I can't believe it took them five weeks to figure out it was a good idea to get their best player the ball early and often.

Get out my way, rookie.

4. I know it's Tebow time in Denver. The Chosen One resurrected the Broncos in the second half against San Diego after coming into the game facing a 13-point deficit. The fans in Denver finally got their wish / prayers answered. Of course Denver has a bye in Week 6, but I fully expect TT to be under center when they visit Miami in two weeks. My guess is he will have more fans than the Dolphins do since Florida is home state, and he starred at the University of Florida.

5. I know the Dream Team looks down and out, but they will make the playoffs. That's right. The Eagles will make the playoffs despite starting 1-4.

Michael Vick looked pretty terrible in today's game, throwing four picks behind a patchwork offensive line, but the schedule gets easier. They travel to the nation's capital in what is an absolute, no-doubt MUST win game against the Redskins. Then, they have their bye followed by three winnable home games. If they get through that stretch unscathed - a big if - they will head to Met Life Stadium to take on the Giants in what would likely be a first-place-on-the-line game.

Give them a chance.

On the other side of this coin, the Bills looked great, again. Fred Jackson is making a run at the early season MVP Award, and Buffalo is sitting at the top of AFC East. They have an interesting game at the Giants next week which I am definitely looking forward to.

6. I know the AFC South went 0-4 this week. Houston, Tennessee, Jacksonville, and Indianapolis all lost despite three of them being home favorites (Tennessee was the exception).

Oakland went into Houston and won one for Al Davis. Nice story that I'm sure Peter King will drop 1,000 words on.

Jacksonville lost at home to red-headed Andy Dalton.

Kansas City came back from 17 down to beat the Colts. Don't look now but the Chiefs are only a game out of the Wildcard lead, and they may have found a running back in Jackie Battle.

7. I know Big Ben manned up in a big way to help the Steelers knock off the Titans. Roethlisberger threw five touchdowns and put the game away early as Pittsburgh was up 18 by half. I'm more convinced than ever that Big Ben is a bionic man. His leg was bent in about six places as he was sacked last week and the guy doesn't even miss a snap. He is indestructible.

8. I know the Jets impressed me today. Sure, they lost by nine, but they competed for the full 60. The defense looked good, and Joe McKnight is on pace for the greatest special teams season of all time through five weeks. Best of all - from the perspective of a Jet fan - was the running game looked decent, which may not seem like much but is a big improvement. Maybe it was Nick Mangold's return that fueled the change or maybe something else but Shonn Greene looked like the 2010 playoff-version of himself. Very encouraging.

9. I know Cam Newton and the Panthers covered again. Do not bet against this man unless you like losing money.

10. I know the Lions will beat the Bears 34-27 on Monday Night Football. Gut tells me this is going to be an offensive showcase. I'm a little worried that Chicago won't be able to establish the run against Detroit's defensive front, but the screen pass will be a big weapon for Mike Martz's offense. However, the Bears will not be able to stop Calvin Johnson. I'm expecting huge things from the crowd too. Should be electric in the Dome.

11. I know that anyone reading this should make an effort to come to this charity event on Wednesday evening in New York City.

It's a great cause and will be an awesome night.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

After falling behind 7-0 against Kansas....

...Oklahoma State scored 35 points in 8 minutes and 24 seconds. Holy crap.

After the first quarter, OSU leads 35-7.

Cowboys QB Brandon Weeden's stats thus far:

16-18, 225 yards and 4 touchdowns

Not the Way They Drew It Up

Check out Kentucky's passing stats from today's game against South Carolina:

Completions: 4
Interceptions: 4
Combined QB Rating: < 0
Attempts: 26
Passing yards: 16
Completion %: 15.3% (or 30.6% if you include passes caught by the other team)

Back to the drawing board, Kentucky.

30,000 Visits passed 30,000 visits today. Just wanted to say thanks again to the readers/commenters.

It's been a great 2+ years, and I hope to keep it going for a while longer.

Your feedback is always appreciated.

MLB Awards

Here are my votes for some MLB Awards for the 2011 season. These will be combined with the rest of the writers that comprise the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. The results will be published throughout the month of October.

Connie Mack (top Manager)

1. Jim Leyland, Detroit
2. Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay
3. Manny Acta, Cleveland

1. Kirk Gibson, Arizona
2. Don Mattingly, LA
3. Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia

Willie Mays (top Rookie)

1. Eric Hosmer, Kansas City
2. Ivan Nova, New York
3. Mark Trumbo, LAA

1. Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta
2. Brandon Beachy, Atlanta
3. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta

(Clean sweet for the Braves. Kind of like how they got clean swept out of the playoff picture.)

Walter Johnson (top Pitcher)

1. Justin Verlander, Detroit
2. CC Sabathia, New York
3. Jered Weaver, LAA
4. James Shields, Tampa Bay
5. Dan Haren, LAA

1. Clayton Kershaw, LA
2. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia
3. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia
4. Matt Cain, San Francisco
5. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia

Stan Musial (top Player)

1. Juston Verlander, Detroit
2. Curtis Granderson, New York
3. Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston
4. Jose Bautista, Toronto
5. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit
6. Michael Young, Texas
7. Dustin Pedroia, Boston
8. Adrian Gonzalez, Boston
9. Robinson Cano, New York
10. Adrian Beltre, Texas

1. Matt Kemp, LA
2. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee
3. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee
4. Justin Upton, Arizona
5. Clayton Kershaw, LA
6. Joey Votto, Cincinnati
7. Albert Pujols, St. Louis
8. Jose Reyes, New York
9. Shane Victorino, Philadelphia
10. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia

Friday, October 7, 2011

This is Getting Weird

Three famous sports writers have tried to steal my thunder in the last five days. This is getting really weird.

1) I write my "11 Things" articles on Sunday nights in order to beat Peter King to the punch. Good thing I did or everyone would think I was plagiarizing his work instead of the other way around. Look at the first five topics of his MMQB on Monday:

Do these look familiar? They should. See my "11 Things" from Sunday night:

Lions (see #1 in 11 Things):

Cam Newton (see #8 in 11 Things):

Eagles (see #2 in 11 Things):

Cowboys (again refer to the end of #1 in 11 Things where he copies my thought verbatim).

Wes Welker (see #9 in 11 Things):

2) Buster Olney - not nearly as egregious - followed my tweet about 3 seconds after I made it describing Joaquin Benoit's nasty slider:

3) Finally, in today's weekly picks, Bill Simmons basically quotes my article from last night.



Let's go fellas. You are all better than this.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

College Football: Week 6 Picks

No complaining about a winning week (3-2), but it's frustrating to lose by less than a field goal when giving 30.5 like I did with LSU. Would have been a great week but can't do anything about it now except pick more winners this week. Not a very appetizing selection, however.

Kansas State +4 - Undefeated, playing at home, and underdogs? Don't get this spread.

San Diego State +4 - They aren't going to win the BCS Title like I predicted, but I'm still a believer.

Upset: Air Force +14 - Falcons are riding high after nail-biter over Navy last week.

Pick of the Week: Northwestern +7.5 - Dan Persa has not done me wrong this season.

Record: 15-9 (PoW: 3-2; Upset: 2-3)

NFL: Week 5 Picks

Now THAT is exactly what I needed, a 5-0 week to push the record from a disappointing sub-.500 mark to 11-7-2. It also would have catapulted me into the top 25 percentile in the Hilton SuperContest.

Anyway, the picks:

Bills +3: The Dream Team seems like much ado about nothing. They are hands down the most disappointing team in the league. On Sunday, they will also be without Trent Cole, their best defensive player. They couldn't stop the run to begin with. Now, they are toast. The Bills on the other hand are one of the NFL's best stories. They got knocked back to Earth a bit with a road loss to Cincy in Week 4, but the crowd will be in a frenzy and Fred Jackson is about to run wild.

Eagles can expect to see a lot of this on Sunday.
(I especially love this picture bc of the Jason Taylor corpse in the background)

Giants -9.5: The formula for wagering on Seattle's games: bet on them when at home, bet against them on the road. The Giants are playing great football and I can't see the Seahawks containing Ahmad Bradshaw.

Patriots -9: I try to be as objective as possible when evaluating the Jets, and I do not have a good feeling about this game for the Jets. Sanchez has looked awful. They haven't been able to protect him. The running game has looked terrible (although this would figure to be a the game they break out of their slump). All signs are pointing to a blowout especially with the Pats rolling right now.

Chargers -4: No idea how Denver plans on stopping the San Diego aerial attack.

Bucs +3: I just don't learn my lesson with the 49ers. They've burned me twice already this year, but I'm a Josh Freeman believer.

Record: 11-7-2

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Mullet #2

An old favorite

Monday Mullet #1

Big day for me means a big day for you. Two mullets today.

Jared Allen (a bit forced for my liking but too good not to include)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

11 Things I Know I Know: Week 4

1. I know the Lions are for real. Any doubt I had before has been erased. After coming back from a 24-point second half deficit this week after coming back from a 17-point second half deficit last week, Detroit is now 4-0 and rolling. Chicago comes to town next week for Monday Night Football in what will shape up to be the biggest game in the Motor City in about 10 years.

The Calvin Johnson - Matthew Stafford combo has to excite the faithful.
I know it excites me, the fantasy football fan.

Dallas and Tony Romo on the other hand are now a couple turnovers away from being 4-0 and a couple field goals away from being 0-4. Still not sure whether to buy or sell on them.

2. I know the Dream Team is staring 1-5 in the face. After four games, the Eagles are 1-3, and now they have to travel to Buffalo and Washington the next two weeks before their bye. Michael Vick can't do much more, but they had two game-losing plays this week: a) Ronnie Brown's lateral/fumble at the goal line and b) Alex Henery's missed 33-yard field goal. Good teams don't make those mistakes. Dream Teams don't put themselves in a position where one or two plays can lose a game. Philly is now two games off the division lead four weeks into the season. Sounds more like a nightmare.

I also have to give the 49ers credit. They came back from 20 points down today on the road and seem to be a lot better of a team than I thought they would be. They lead the NFC Least, err, West by two games.

3. I know the offensive line play in the NFL seems to be at an all-time low. Not sure if it's the lockout (highly doubt it), the increased emphasis on the blitz (doubt this too), or something else (probable but I can't identify a reason), but quarterbacks around the league are getting beaten like rag dolls. Big Ben, Sam Bradford, and Kevin Kolb are all lucky to be alive this evening after the beatings they took this afternoon. I'm guessing there will be a huge premium placed on offensive linemen in next year's draft.

4. I know the Falcons save their season in Seattle this week. It may seem like an overstatement that last year's NFC champs (regular season) could be finished after four weeks but had they lost, they would be 1-3 with Green Bay and Detroit looming in the next three weeks. Like the Cowboys, I'm holding steady for now until I get some more data, but 2-2 is a whole lot sweeter than 1-3, and winning in Seattle is no easy feat.

5. I know the Giants took advantage of a terrible call on the Victor Cruz fumble like only a very good team would. New York is 3-1 atop the the NFC East with the surprising 'Skins and will be a home favorite in each of their next three games (Seattle, Buffalo, Miami). They need all the wins they can get early in the year because they close with one of the most difficult schedules imaginable. Good win for them though.

6. I know the Chargers need to be challenged a little bit. They either seem bored or not that good. The three teams they have beaten thus far have a combined total of one win between them. I hope they are playing possum with the league but I'm afraid they just aren't the team many believe they are.

7. I know Matt Hasselbeck makes the Titans a contender in the AFC. Chris Johnson hasn't done anything yet and still Tennessee is atop the AFC South with a 3-1 record thanks to the efficient play of their quarterback. Their win over Baltimore looks very good now and figures to look even better by the end of the season.

If the Titans can win at Pittsburgh next week,
the rest of the league will take notice.

8. I know Cam Newton is pissing off a lot of bettors. He has now covered in each of the first four games of his career including two of the backdoor variety (Week 2 vs Green Bay and Week 4 vs Chicago). Bet against the man at your own risk.

9. I know Wes Welker is the MVP through a quarter of the season. 40 catches, 618 receiving yards, and five touchdowns. Holy crap. Have a season. Looks like he's bounced back from that knee injury just fine.

10. I know that of all the winless teams in the NFL, only one needs a franchise quarterback: Miami. Indy, St. Louis, and Minnesota either have Hall of Famers or recent first rounders playing the position for them. Is it possible Andrew Luck doesn't go first overall? It very well could be because I think the Dolphins are the best of this group, but then again Matt Moore is their quarterback of the present.

11. I know the Bucs will beat Indianapolis tomorrow night, 30-17. The NFL can't be happy with this snoozer of a matchup in Week 4. There was no way to know Peyton Manning would be out, but feel free to skip this one.

Big week for The Banter's picks as I was able to go 5-0 to improve the overall record to four games over .500 (11-7-2).