Monday, October 30, 2006
I was very happy to see the Cardinals win their first World Series since 1982 and 10th World Championship overall on Friday night in Detroit behind unlikely heroes like David Eckstein (MVP) and Jeff Weaver (Dave Duncan deserves a ton of credit for turning Weaver around). The main thing people will remember about this postseason will be Detroit's monumental upset of the Yankees and the same Pitchers that guided Detroit to the World Series costing them a championship because of untimely throwing errors throughout their final 5 games.
Got to give the Cardinals credit, no matter how wide the perceived gap between the National and American Leagues (by Simmons and myeself included), the Cardinals simplay outplayed Detroit and won a world championship.
I would argue that the Cardinals deserved to win at least the '85 series (anyone remember Don Denkinger?) and very easily could have won the '87 series they not had the misfortune of playing 4 out of 7 games in the Metrodome in series that all 7 games were won at home. Those cardinal teams behind Vince Coleman and Willie McGree were lethal on turf.
Very good weekend for Cardinal fans and I have to admit that I feel grateful to be fan of such a great franchise. Now if my Rangers would ever turn things around, things would really start looking up.
Random Fact: The Cardinals were the 13th best team record wise in baseball during the regular season. This should be a lesson to Ranger fans that going for it at the trade deadline like this year's deal to get Carlos Lee is not a bad thing. Getting in the playoffs and getting hot at the right time can really make a difference in the current playoff format.
The Horns outlasted Tech in Lubbock in a win that Texas really had no business winning. Giving up 500 passing yards to Graham Harrell was inexcusable but give the Texas coaches credit for going in at halftime and figuring out how to shutout Tech in the 2nd half. I would have more commentary on the game, but frankly I haven't rewatched my Tivo recording yet and I have vague recollections of much of the game thanks to the Bri-guy's wedding shower. It ended up turning into more of a game watching party with all the Tech and Texas fans there.
As always, Lubbock at night when all those nutso fans have been getting sauced all day is usually a bad recipe for Longhorn teams. Getting down 21-0 didn't help either, but Texas was able to find a way to get a W, and this season in college footbal is all about just winning. Tech always seems to find a way to play Texas tough in Lubbock (2004 excluded) and has absolutely owned A&M of late. Give Mike Leach credit, he is a mad scientist.
USC's 27 game PAC - 10 winning streak came to a screeching halt in Corvallis losing to Oregon St. 33-31 on a failed two point conversion attempt. USC was down 23 but somehow manged to get within 2 of putting it into overtime. Watching this one, I felt like Oregon ST. had to stop that 2 point conversion or SC would have had too much momentum going into overtime. Didn't matter and SC should have a very interesting end to the season. ND is LOOMING on the horizon.
Who saw the 500 hours countdown to Michigan and Ohio St this weekend during Gameday? Look I'm as excited as anyone else about Michigan-Ohio St. but that was so lame and I have begun to tire of College Gameday on Saturday mornings. Maybe I'm just turning into a soccer fan, but watching the Premier League is about even as watching Lee Corso bumble through his analyis.
Speaking of Ohio St, Jack Nicklaus dotted the I this weekend at halftime. Having been to the shoe last season, I can attest to the coolness of this tradition, whatever the hell that means.
This is our Country ad campaign by John Mellencamp is going to end his career. Book it. It was bad enough when he pimped himself and his Chevy trucks during Game 1 of the World Series. And look I am as big a John Cougar as anyone but this is too much. I remember drinking beers in the back of Cuyler's pickup jamming Jack and Diane, but he has gone too far, and I won't stand for it.
The Tony Romo era has officially begun in Dallas and It feels good. Romo (who went to I-AA Eastern Illinois) and grew up in Wisconsin does resemble a young Brett Favre. His talents are becoming stuff of folk legend (Rylan said Romo dropped 35 points in a pickup basketball game and he is a scratch handicap golfer). For now, he is going to have to worry about being the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys because he looks as good at first glance of any guy in a Dallas uniform since old #8 retired.
As nice as it feels to be a Texas, Notre Dame, Ohio St. Michigan, USC or any other big school fan, you have to give credit to fans of schools like Temple, who endured a 20 game losing streak before finally winning a game against Bowling Green 28-14 . It may not seem like much but to the fans of Temple, but one win it is a huge step for that program.
Duke is next up on the watch list with a 16 game losing streak. North Carolina (November 25th) may be their next chance.
Ali G interviews the Beckhams
In the give credit where credit is due department,
Texas A&M and Oklahoma both had a huge wins for their respective programs this past Saturday.
Oklahoma went into Columbia and got a win in convincing fashion dominating both sides of the ball. This season might be Bob Stops best coaching job and his team has a 1 loss A&M squad on the horizon.
Coach Fran was on the verge of losing the Aggy program and I was one of his biggest critics, but the Aggies have played inspired football this year since the heartbreaking loss to Tech and they have really impressed me the last two weeks with Wins @ Oklahoma St. (a miracle win if you saw the highlights) and @ Baylor this past weekend. Fran has people excited about Aggy football again and that is not necessarily a bad thing. But I admit I like it better when the Aggies stink.
A look at the upcoming week
Louisvile/West Viriginia (Thursday)
Just to name a few this weekend in an increasingly exciting college football season.
I'm off to the SMU/UAB game tommorrow for a halloween special. So if you are watching TV instead of out on the town tomorrow night, turn the dial to ESPN because chances are you might see me on TV. SMU draws about 4 thousand to its games. Let's hope it's more for the TV audience...
And finally, Red Auerbach is dead at 89 and Boston mourns including the Sports Guy.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
I know it really doesn't matter all that much, but I did pretty well otherwise on the weekend with medium sized wins with Idaho, WAZZU, and Wyoming. Colorado was close to pushing for me at +14 until Stoops decided to run up the score with about 30 seconds to play and move that game from a push to a Loss.
To rub salt in my wounds, Clemson didn't get off the bus last night against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and I was one week off in trying to guess which game they wouldn't show up for. Lesson learned.
On a brigher note, the Cardinals are one game away from another World Championship.
On to this week's picks.
Medium Sized Plays
@Missouri -1.5 over Oklahoma
At some point, the Sooner luck is going to run out, and it has to be this weekend right? Mizzou has historically played OU tough and the teams have never been so even talent wise as this year. After their slip up against A&M, I think Mizzou knows they must win this game if they have serious thoughts of winning the North title.
Mizzou and Gary Pinkel get a landmark win against the hated Sooners.
@Georgia Tech -5 over Miami
Georgia Tech has to show up this week right? After failing to even get Calvin Johnson one catch last week, the Jackets get their offense going against a Miami team that is just a shell of its former self. If Georgia Tech loses this game, I will never bet on a Chan Gailey coached team again. I promise you that.
Wyoming +6 over TCU
Quietly, Wyoming has put together a good season relying on a damn good defense. I've taken advantage the last two weeks and I see no reason to jump off the bandwagon now in a road game against the Frogs. Sure, TCU got back in the win column against Army last week, but this game should be very close. I'll take the points in what will almost assuredly will be a defensive struggle (O/U is 38)
BYU -8 over Air Force
@South Carolina +3 over Tennessee
@Baylor +4.5 over A&M
LA Tech +9 over San Jose St.
@Okie St. +6 over Nebraska
Good luck to everyone this week!
Friday, October 20, 2006
This week's card includes one play I feel very confident about (strongest I've felt about a game in at least year) and a few others that I'm still trying to figure out exactly how I feel about them. So here we go:
PLAY OF THE YEAR
Georgia Tech +7.5 over Clemson This should be a great game that is all converging into a perfect storm for Georgia Tech backers. The visitor has covered 16 of the last 17 in this series. Georgia Tech is off a bye week and Clemson has a short week coming up with a Thursday night game in Blacksburg following this home game against Georgia Tech.
Clemson has two of their top receivers out for this game and don't forget their two top linebackers already out for the year since early in the season. Clemson has put up gaudy numbers rushing (7.0 YPC) but has not faced a defense nearly as talented as the outfit Georgia Tech runs out there every week (2.5 YPC against).
This game has so much working in Georgia Tech's favor and I expect this game to be another close one with Georgia Tech have a real shot at winning this one outright. Maybe there is something I don't see with this game (Chan Gailey factor?), but I haven't felt this strongly about a single play in a long time.
As for the rest of my plays, the follwoing 4 plays all into the medium play category:
@Wyoming -3.5 over Colorado St
One of my dumber picks last week was taking Utah -4 on the road in Wyoming. Utah got their asses handed to them by the Cowboys and ended up losing 31-15 but the score could have been much worse. Wyoming showed me something last week and I think this is a good spot for them against a mediocre CSU squad who is a little banged up.
Colorado +12 @ OU
Dan Hawkings finally ended the suffering for Colorado fans with a win over Tech with the Z man and the Defee brothers in attendance for the elder Defee's bachelor party. Coloardo has gotten some confidence and makes a trip to Norman to play a wounded Sooner squad thanks to the loss of their all-world running back Adrian Peterson. Going to be tough for OU's offense to recover fromt that loss, and I'll take the Buffs to make this one cloer than expected.
@Idaho +21 over Boise St.
Sure, Boise is rolling people under new coach Chris Peterson and his potent offense. But Boise can't kill every team on the road and Idaho appears to be in a good spot here getting 3 TDs at home. I'll take my chances with the hope that Idaho shows the form they have been playing with lately.
@Wazzu +3.5 over Oregon
This game traditionally is a close one and I see no reason why this game won't be any different. Oregon is pretty banged up after their UCLA game and I expect they are gonig to get everything they want from a feisty Wazzu crowd.
Other still under consideration:
Good luck to everyone this week and Go Jackets!
What a game 7 last night between the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals won the pivotal game on a 2 run homerun by the unlikeliest of heroes, catcher Yadier Molina in the top of the ninth . The Mets were able to load the bases in the bottom of the ninth off rookie closer Adam Wainwright but left them all stranded when Carlos Beltran struck out looking to end the game. It seemed like NY had all the momentum after the sixth inning catch by leftfielder Endy Chavez, making one of the best catches I've ever seen off a ball hit by Scott Rolen.
The Cards now move on to face the Tigers in a rematch of the great 1968 World Series. Let's hope this year's fall classic approaches the 7 game epic that was the '68 series. Obviously I'm rooting for my hometown Cards, but the Tigers seem like a team on a mission and the Cardinals may have a tough time matching up to the strong Tiger pitching.
Tigers in 6 is my prediction but I am mainly just hoping the Cardinals are able to save more NL ridicule and make this an entertaining World Sries.
Monday, October 16, 2006
This past weekend could not have gone better. Well with the exception of forgetting to set my lineup for any of my 3 fantasy football teams on Sunday in running out the door to make the TExans/Cowboys game. It started with a Friday night showing of The Departed, which somehow manages to live up to the epic hype.
Saturday was a just a great day of football and I went 7-0 on my bigger bets but was abysmal with my lesser plays and only netted a a modest amount this past weekend. A nice profit but nowhere near what it should have been had I practiced better money management.
In a grind that is a college football season, you need to not only pick winners but also narrow a card on any given saturday down to 5 or 6 strong plays. I continue to not practice the proper discipline and it has cost me the last few weeks. I plan on not making the same mistake next weekend.
In other disciplinary related news, the Miami Hurricanes and commuter school/ Sunbelt member Florida International were involved in an ugly, ugly brawl on Saturday night that I had the pleasure of watching courtesty of ESPN Gameplan. This brawl not only left a black eye on the entire sport but almost assuredly provided the final nail in Larry Coker's coffin. The final verdict from the fight included 31 players suspended and the length of the suspensions is still being determined.
The schools and their conferences Sunday suspended 31 players for one game: 13 from Miami, which plays Duke on Saturday, and 18 from FIU, which plays Alabama on Oct. 28. Monday evening, each school announced tougher penalties:
• Miami safety Anthony Reddick, who swung his helmet as a weapon, was suspended indefinitely. Miami and the Atlantic Coast Conference said in a statement "additional disciplinary measures will be taken for all involved (Miami) players, including community service and other unspecified actions."
• Florida International dismissed Chris Smith and Marshall McDuffie Jr. from the team and suspended 16 others indefinitely. All 18 will be required to complete 10 hours of anger-management counseling and fulfill 50 hours of community service "intended to educate South Florida youth on appropriate behavior at athletic competitions."
Just an unbelievable scene Saturday night that also included former Hurricane and announcer Lamar Thomas getting fired for comments made during the brawl.
Check out Lamar's work:
Thomas cheered as his fellow Hurricanes embarrassed themselves in an on-field fight with FIU that resulted in 31 players getting suspended from both teams, but surprisingly didn't cost Miami Coach Larry Coker his job.
"Now that's what I'm talking about," Thomas bragged as helmets swung and players attacked one another with little regard. "You come into our house, you should get your behind kicked. You don't come into the OB (Orange Bowl) playing that stuff."
Thomas sounded like a fool, behaving as if he were watching a professional fight instead of one of the biggest disgraces of the college football season.
"I say, why don't they just meet outside in the tunnel after the ball game and get it on some more?" Thomas crowed. "You don't come into the OB, baby. We've had a down couple years, but you don't come in here talking smack. Not in our house."
93 Sugar Bowl
Thomas announcing Saturday's game against FIU
The lesson as always don't mess with the U!
Friday, October 13, 2006
Play of the week
@Kent St. -7 over Toledo
This looks like one of my strongest plays of the year so far. Kent St. has forgotten all about their struggles of last season and this appears to be a great spot to gain even more momentum going into the bye week. Homecoming weekend for the Golden Flashes and with wins @Miami (OH), Bowling Green, and Akron already under the belts, this team cannot afford a slip up against a struggling Toledo team. I look for Kent St. to assert itself early and hopefully cruise to an easy cover. Of course, this is the MAC so anything's possible but I really like this play.
South Florida -2.5 @ UNC
Originally got this one from my dad, but after looking at it more closely seems like a good play for a team that won my biggest play to date in USF's thrashing of UCONN last weekend. I'm going to ride the Bulls this week against a UNC team that seems to be headed nowhere yet again in the ACC. USF has more guys coming back from suspension so I feel pretty good about laying pts. as a small road fave in this one.
@Wisky -8 over Minnesota
I didn't know whether the new coach at Wisconsin would be able to fill Barry Alvarez's shoes, but he has done a fine job this year with the exception of a slip-up against Michigan. I still don't think Minnesota has quite the same team as previous years and this appears to be a spot where they might get exposed. Wisky lost in heartbreaking fashion last year, and I expect them to extract some revenge this year against the Gophers in the battle for Paul Bunyan's axe.
Okie St. +2 @ Kansas
The Cowboys went belly up for me last week at home against K-st. so I'm hoping they get their breakthrough win this week against Kansas in a game both teams desperately need.
@Auburn +2 over Florida
Jordan-Hare should be rocking and Auburn comes up with a much needed win to make the SEC conference race very interesting heading into the 2nd half of the season.
Mizzou -2 over A&M
Aggies cannot afford to lose this game at Kyle but Mizzou has too much momentum to slip up here. Take the Tigers.
Tech -7 @ Colorado
Tech needs a bounceback game after an embarrassing loss at home to Mizzou. Colorado is a good place to get your confidence back
Hawaii -4 @ Fresno
Fresno somehow managed to lose to Utah St. last week and the wheels have completely fallen for Pat Hill's bunch since late last season. Hawaii is playing some of its best football since June Jones arrived so I'll lay the points even with the Bows traveling away from the island this week.
Utah -4 over Wyoming
@Bama -14 over Mississippi
@K St. +10 over Nebraska
@San Jase St. -14 over Utah st.
UCLA +10 @ Oregon
@Penn St. +6 over Michigan
Good luck to everyone this week!
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Polarek was complaining about me not posting my mid-week plays so I figured putting one up this week couldn't hurt anybody. All my picks for the rest of the weekend should be up by tonight.
Colorado St. +6 @ Air Force
The Rams have been playing some decent football and I see nothing on Air Force's resume to warrant being this large of a favorite in what figures to be a close game. Air Force is coming off a tough home Loss to Navy and now must play Colorado St. on a short week. I'm not into trends but Coloardo St. is 6-1 ATS their last 7 on Thursdays and Air Force is 0-4 SU on their last 4 Thursday night games. As long as Colorado St. has at least some success running the ball against a surprisingly good Air Froce run defense, I think Colorado St. has a real good show of covering.
Medium Play on CSU
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Just a terrible, terrible tragedy and puts New Yorkers on edge about their own security.
Meanwhile, some of the A's are mourning their former teammate as they play game 2 of the ALCS against the Tigers desperately needing a win.
On a side note from an article in the ESPN Lidle story. Manny Acuta, the Mets thrid base coach, lived in the building that Lidle's plane crashed into. Acuta just happens to be one of the leading candidates for the Rangers managerial jobe.
Just a crazy story and such and such an unnecessary tragedy.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Sure, OU had won the previous 5 games in Dallas prior to 2005. And Bob Stoops has owned Mack Brown in the past pre-Vince Young. Whatever the past results in the Red River Shootout between these two coaches can now be thrown out the window going forward. Because Mack Brown has changed the momentum in this series and the talent gap is widening between Texas and Oklahoma. Since the 2004 Orange Bowl, Oklahoma is just 11-7 and the recruiting for Texas is like a runaway freight train for Mack Brown.
In a convincing 28-10 victory that I had the good fortune of witnessing from Section 19 with Sarah and her parents, the Longhorns have exorcised any demons that may have existed from past Mack Brown teams. See 63-14 on that cold, dark day in 2000 and the play below in 2001 on a perfect October day shortly after 9/11 as examples of how painful this series was for Longhorn fans during that era:
See if you can spot Cuyler on this clip who was the handler for Bevo during this game and I have seen on other replays of this painful play.
Commentary on Cotton Bowl
While the TX/OU game will remain in Dallas through at least 2010, you can't go to this game and not wonder what could have been had the City of Dallas not missed their opportunity to bring the Cowboys to Fair Park. The area around the Cotton Bowl and Fair Park is very run down as well as crime-ridden and it will most likely will never recover from the city's mistake. By losing the Cowboys, the city has probably lost any chance of connecting Fair Park to downtown and reveloping the land that has become a wasteland between Deep Ellum, downtown, and Fair Park. It's a very distinct possibility that development similar to what has happened in Uptown would have occurred in the area around Fair Park with new Cowboys stadium and all the money that comes with Jerry Jones. If this money had been dedicated to fund such development in the form of money from the Cowboys, private development and the City. The Super Bowl, Final 4, and many other marquee events may still be played out in Arlington, but what a pity for the city of Dallas and for this area in general by missing such a great opportunity.
The Cotton Bowl may or may not be able to keep a game that is played once a year, and the people who live around the cotton bowl will fear for their lives on every other weekend of the year. But you know what, yay for Arlington and for the bastards in Fort Worth who were probably the main reason professional starts where put in Arlington in the first place. I'm not bitter or anything..
While the stadium itself was actually in pretty decent enough shape, a couple minor problems included seats being way too small (everyone stands anyways) and the concession stands are a huge problem with people standing in long lines thanks to above average temperatures. I will admit that I hope the schools decide to keep this game at the Cotton Bowl for the next 50 years. Tradition is a thing lost on many in this generation and I would hate to see a day when the TX/OU game isn't played in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl.
Best Player of the Weekend
The honor goes to Cal's Desean Jackson who not only had a sick TD catch but had this punt return that was downright nast in Cal's thumping of Oregon.
On the same play, an Oregon kicker jumpkicks a Cal player an inexplicably doesn't even get flagged on the play after officials review. Expect a suspension in this one
Mean Green take 7 overtimes to get by Florida International. And the kicker missed about 4 other field goals before kicking the game winner in the 7th overtime.
Denis Hopovac's fifth field goal of the game in an NCAA record-tying seventh overtime gave North Texas a 25-22 victory over Florida International on Saturday night.
Hopovac connected from 34 yards after he and Florida International counterpart Dustin Rivest each missed four field goals in overtime. Hopovac also tied an NCAA record with nine attempts
Tigers End Yankees
In a scene right out of Major League with players like Kenny Rogers and Carlos Guillen going into the stands and celebrating with fans (check video below), the Tigers somehow managed to beat the mighty Yankees with a lineup compared to their 1927 team. Good pitching always beats good hitting in the postseason and just because the Yankees had the NY on their hat didn't mean they could go against that old adage that all Rangers fans knows all too well.
The Yankees house is crumbling with Steinbrener fuming, Torre's job on the line, and A-Fraud being rumored to be on the way out of town. A-Fraud is the root of this mess if you ask most Yankee fans. The knock on him throughout his career has been that he puts up empty numbers and gone into a shell when it really matters. The stastics bear this reputation out. Check out these numbers:
3-29 .103 AVG -- Last two playoff series
4-41 .098 AVG 0 RBI Last 12 playoff games
It's hard to argue with the curse of A-Fraud and he has managed to not only bring down Joe Torre and turn a Derek Jeter led team from a Champion into a 200 Million Dollar laughing stock with this collapse and the "Biggest Choke in Professional Sports" history. You have to start to wonder about A-Fraud. Either that or the fact the Yankees ran out a broken down Randy Johnson and mediocre Jarret Wright in games 3 and 4. Despite the shock many seem to make of this happening, The Yankees were a puny 2 games better than the Tigers during the regular season and anyone who followed the American League knows the Tigers had the best record in baseball for much of the regular season not too mention much better pitching.
Can't wait to see the A's/Tigers series and I really have got to give major league baseball credit for providing great drama and my baseball renaissance continues and even more drama awaits....
Monday, October 02, 2006
My posted plays were 6-3 on the blog. While my actual plays were a little different, dropped Wisconsin who just absolutely throttled Indiana and Washington who Tyrone Willingham has playing pretty well and they beat up on Airzona. Special Thanks to Dustin who talked me out of the Washington play. I added Cal and Michigan who both beat up on Oregon St. and Minnnesota respectively in convincing road wins. Ohio and Iowa were my big losses on the day as neither team showed up at home against Bowling Green and the #1 Buckeyes. I was especially disappointed in Kirk Ferentz's squad. Ohio St. has the two best wins so far this year in wins in Austin and at Iowa City.
My other small play wins were San Jose St., ), overall a very positive week for me. I felt like ths week gave me my confidence back so hopefully more good things are to come the rest of the season. After reviewing the early lines for this upcoming week's games, I didn't see a ton of games that stood out to me. Expect a much smaller card this week.
With that being said, a great Saturday slate of games, most notably the Tech-A&M thriller and Bama-florida games. The night games left a little left to be desired thanks to Ohio St. turning their huge clash with Ohio into a snoozer.
Tech beating A&M was Franchione's equivalent of Custer's last stand. As bad as A&M has been under Francione (20-20 in his short career), Saturday's loss was the low point of his tenure. I almost feel forry A&M, but I can't help but laughing with glee at the poor agroids.
Check out Mike Leach comments after the game:
"How come they get to pretend they are soldiers?" Leach asked in the article. "The thing is, they aren't in the military. I ought to have Mike's Pirate School. For homework, we'll work pirate maneuvers and stuff like that."
More Aggie ridiculousness..
More commentary on Aggie under Fran
1-9 versus Tech, UT, and OU.
20-20 overall record, including this year's 4 laughable non-conference games.
11 losses (in 40 games) of 20 or more points.
Overall Big 12 record: 10-13 with an average loss of 22 points.
Big 12 South record 5-9 with an average loss by 21 points.
2005 pass defense ranked 119th...119th!!!!...in the country.
Average loss is 23.35 points per game.
Worst loss in A&M history. (77-0 to OU).
Worst loss to Tech in A&M history. (56-17)
Worst bowl loss in A&M history (Tennessee)
I have become a Premier League fan like many people who followed this year's world cup. They broadcast a lot of the games on Fox Soccer Channel and it's actually really fun to watch. I picked Arsenal as my team this year and I'm pretty happy they are struggling because I don't feel like too bad about picking one of the perennial top teams.
Here is Peter Crouch from Liverpool and probably the best goal i've seen so far this season in the Premier League...
David Beckham's New Job as coach of Brad Pitt's son