Wednesday, December 19, 2007

bowls previews and reviews

here are my previews of some of the bowl games, with reviews written after the game. all picks were made before the games themselves. check back often as games go final to get the reviews.

poinsettia bowl - utah vs. navy

preview: my first instinct is to say that utah lost to air force, and navy beat air force, so it stands to reason that navy can probably beat utah. so i'll pick navy based on this simple, yet often-times flawed, logic.

final score: 35-32 utah

review: utah had a good game plan. navy looked slightly lost with paul johnson no longer at coach.

new orleans bowl -
florida atlantic vs. memphis

preview: howard schnellenberger has done a pretty good job at a school that did not even have a football program 7 years ago. who would've thought the school at which he once coached, miami, would be absent in bowl season, but a team nicknamed the owls would be in? i think FAU is better coached and will be better prepared thanks to having played a tougher schedule. i pick the owls.

final score: 44-27 fau

review: memphis was simply overmatched. bowl - (20) cincinnati vs. southern miss

preview: cincinnati has made a habit of beating inferior opponents all season. this game will be no different.

final score: 31-21 bearcats

review: this was the type of tough-fought game that southern miss typically has. and also typically, they lost.

las vegas bowl - ucla vs. (19) byu

preview: byu is the better team. they were when they played ucla in september, and they still are now. only bad coaching and/or turnovers will cause their loss. i don't see too much of either of these happening, so i'll take the cougars.

final score: 17-16 byu

review: byu needed a hand of Moroni field goal block to retain victory. i hope the voters will forget about this by january 8th and put byu in the top 15, thus increasing our chances at high preseason placement next season.

hawaii bowl - (24) boise state vs. east carolina

preview: though i will pick the broncos, i will in no way be surprised if east carolina wins this game.

final score: 41-38 pirates

review: i am in no way surprised by this.

holiday bowl - (12) arizona state vs. (17) texas

preview: arizona state is a little overrated heading into this game, and texas is probably getting a little overlooked after laying an egg versus rivals texas a&m. after seeing what usc did to the sun devils, i'll take texas to deliver a similar, though slightly more gentle, beatdown.

final score: 52-34 longhorns

review: there were zero definitive angles that showed that kid on the texas sideline touching the ball. so how was that determined "conclusively" by video review? i may never know the answer to this question.

champs sports bowl - (14) boston college vs. michigan state

preview: this looks like a classic team just happy to be playing in december versus team that's annoyed to be stuck in something called the champs sports bowl. in many of these cases, it's wise to take the underdog, which is what i'll do here. go spartans.

final score: 24-21 eagles

review: michigan state had a chance to win this but boston college's superior talent ultimately won out. i forgot how easy it is to beat a mediocre big 10 team.

liberty bowl - central florida vs. mississippi state

preview: my only question entering this game is how did mississippi state win 7 games this year? seriously, i could spend an entire year thinking about this and still not come up with a good answer. while i honestly do believe sylvester croom is doing an admirable job in starkville, for him to be voted SEC coach of the year over the potential national champion coach les miles of LSU is somewhat ridiculous. still, i will pick the bulldogs here, only because i just know croom will make me rue the day i pick against him (again).

final score: 10-3 mississippi state

review: i think i'm glad i only watched the one highlight of this game.

meineke car care bowl - connecticut vs. wake forest

preview: this is by far the worst name for a bowl. incidentally, i will be attending this game, which is being played in charlotte. i'll pick wake forest in what will be basically a home game for them.

final score: 24-10 wake forest

review: the uconn husky is a humorously plain mascot.

independence bowl - alabama vs. colorado

preview: two 6-6 teams. only one will finish with a winning record. i'm picking saban just because i'm sure his players will play more scared than dan hawkins' players will.

final score: 30-24 alabama

review: john parker wilson somehow played a decent game, while colorado took a good quarter and a half to realize they were not, in fact, playing intramurals.

music city bowl - kentucky vs. florida state

preview: the seminoles will be without like a million players and will basically be fielding the chess team plus local denny's employees. still, they'll play inspired football and keep it close, but lose.

final score: 35-28 kentucky

review: maybe it's just me but bobby bowden just doesn't seem that upset with losing anymore. he's still a legend, and he's certainly earned the privilege of leaving FSU on his own terms, but shouldn't he be a little more passionate?

insight bowl - indiana vs. oklahoma state

preview: oklahoma state head coach mike gundy is both a man and 40 years old. do not bet against him.

final score: 49-33 cowboys

review: i expected indiana to make this more of a game.

chick-fil-a bowl - (15) clemson vs. (23) auburn

preview: this is one of my favorite bowls of this season simply because i can call it a tiger fight. i predict the clemson tigers shall be mighter than the tigers of auburn

final score: 23-20 auburn (o.t.)

review: for this being a game between two teams nicknamed tigers, and for them both having orange in their school colors, i was disappointed with the lack of orange jersey and/or pant in this game. in other news, c.j. spiller is really good.

outback bowl - (16) tennessee vs. (18) wisconsin

preview: though i live in orange country, i am not a volunteer fan. still, i acknowlege they've had a good season, and their tough schedule will prepare them well to beat wisconsin.

final score: 21-17 vols

review: it just wouldn't feel like new year's if tennessee wasn't playing at 11:00 a.m. they improve to 54-47 all time in outback bowls.

cotton bowl - (7) missouri vs. (25) arkansas

preview: i fully expect darren mcfadden to run through the mizzou secondary like a knife through hot butter and for jeremy maclin to have a sub-par day. missouri will still be disappointed to have been snubbed by the bcs. my pick is the hogs.

final score: 38-7 missouri

review: really, i could not have been more wrong in this prediction. arkansas looked very lazy and missouri looked very sharp. i hope bobby petrino goes 0-12 next year.

capital one bowl - michigan vs. (9) florida

preview: florida's spread option attack should overpower and bewilder lloyd carr's bunch.

final score: 41-35 michigan

review: there are many things i could say here for excuses, such as the well-documented post-heisman-winning jinx. but really the michigan players played hard for lloyd carr in his last game. and florida's inexperience on the defensive front really showed. sadly, the michigan seniors did not go 0-4 in their bowl games.

rose bowl - (13) illinois vs. (6) usc

preview: only the most deluded of college football fans really believe illinois is either 13th best in the country or that they'll give usc problems. the trojans have already played and nearly beat oregon. they will have no trouble with oregon jr.

final score: 49-17 usc

review: it looked like the illini had never seen such speed on defense. indeed, it's unlikely they had; as the happy ninja put it, "they don't make teams like this in the big 11."

sugar bowl - (10) hawaii vs. (4) georgia

preview: i look forward to the inevitable.

final score: 41-10 uga

review: "i don't care who you play, going undefeated is impressive."

fiesta bowl - (11) west virginia vs. (3) oklahoma

preview: an interesting conspiracy theory surrounding rich rodriguez has emerged, stating that he intentionally threw the game vs. pittsburgh so that the mountaineers wouldn't be playing in the national title game so that he could take the job at michigan. i'm not sure whether this is actually true, but i do know that oklahoma currently has a better coach and better athletes, so i expect them to win.

final score: 48-28 west virginia

review: "did i say ninja? i meant ninny. i am such a ninny." i should probably start believing more in west virginia. they looked very good and i was surprised how well they played given the uncertain coaching situation. the long runs by pat white and noel devine prompted me to say out loud that they looked like a video game. i'm sorry to say, but once again, bob stoops lays an egg in a bcs game.

orange bowl - (8) kansas vs. (5) virginia tech

preview: kansas has had a good season, and their fans should be happy with their 11-win campaign. they should also probably not watch this game, as the hokies will show no mercy.

final score: 24-21 jayyyyyhawwwwwwks

review: at least for me, this is one of the bigger surprises of the bowl season. va tech drops to 0-3 all time in BCS bowl games. k.u. coach mangino always seemed a step ahead of beamer and the hokies. it also helped that tech QB sean glennon kept throwing passes directly to the opposition.

bcs championship - (2) lsu vs. (1) ohio state

preview: would usc have made a better opponent for the tigers? will ohio state's record in bowl games versus the SEC fall to 0-9? and are there way too many commercials for astrive loans on television? the answer to all of these questions is yes.

final score: 38-24 lsu

review: thankfully, with this second consecutive beatdown of ohio state in a championship game, people are starting to realize that it has nothing to do with "a huge 50-day layoff" and has everything to do with the SEC simply being a stronger and better conference than the Big 11, and this is particularly true when ohio state is the team doing the representing (or lack of). gary crowton had a good offensive game plan to exploit ohio state's lesser speed on defense. on the other side of the ball, lsu was simply too fast and too physical on defense. their db's were able to play man coverage all night, freeing up 7 to 8 players to load the box and, with the exception of one long play by chris wells early, they contained the buckeyes running game.
congratulations to the tigers for playing a great game and winning the national title.

Friday, December 14, 2007

coach weighs in on the mitchell report

what can i say about the mitchell report that hasn't already been said? my guess is probably nothing. so i'll just give my reactions.

1) none of these names surprise me. none. not barry bonds. not brian roberts, despite peter gammons going bananas over that. i'm certainly not surprised by roger clemens. i mean honestly, how do you explain a pitcher with a sub-2.00 era despite being over 40. dis is not right.

2) george mitchell is pretty much 100% right about everything. that's perhaps an over-statement but my point here is that his recommendations are proper, and everyone in baseball who's responsible for the proliferation of the steroids era, which is pretty near everyone, needs to work together to rid the game of PEDs. will they do this?

3) i think bud selig will finally get serious about this. he's likely retiring within the next three or four years. he's already going to remembered for certain things like expanded playoffs and interleague play. he's also going to be remembered, obviously, for the steroids era. he can't really do anything about that, but he can now work to help clean up the game, and be remembered for helping to solve a problem (even though he, through his negligence, helped to create it). however, this also leads me to ask another question.

4) how much does the average fan honestly care about this? i don't mean to diminish things, because i know there are some parents that care, because they see their children in high school using PEDs after seeing the professionals doing it. but MLB did just set attendance and revenue records last year. the NFL is also enjoying an era of unprecented popularity, and despite their relative clean skate through the media, they also aren't free of PED use. i really think the average fan knows that a lot of players do a lot of various things to enhance performance. at some level, we demand bigger, better, faster, more of the athletes in the leagues we actively follow. how much do we all, to one degree or another, turn our collective heads, or just accept certain things as coming with the territory? how much do we even think about it at all?

5) i think the media cares about this stuff a lot more than the average fan. it's fodder for their trade. it helps to sell papers and get website clicks. but if barry bonds wasn't such an enormous jerk, and if he hadn't been chasing the most hallowed record in sports, most americans probably wouldn't have cared nearly as much that he used steroids. in my opinion, this helped further media attention on baseball as a "dirty sport." but as i alluded to in my previous point, i wonder how much the average fan truly worries about this.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

bobby petrino officially resigns 3 months after unofficially resigning

do you want to know how to make the best of a bad situation? don't ask bobby petrino. he'll just quit on you and then inexplicably hate you. bobby, you'll be missed about as much as jeff george was, which was not at all.

go away

Saturday, December 8, 2007

heisman prediction and vote

if i had a vote for heisman, here's how i'd vote it. these are also the same as my predicted order of finish:

1. tim tebow, qb florida
2. darren mcfadden, rb arkansas
3. colt brennan, qb hawaii
4. chase daniel, qb missouri

i think tebow will win by only a handful of votes. more on this after dinner...

i am back. that was a good fajita. tebow won by more than i thought he would. and this is the end of this post.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

hot stove part 1

i have returned from my mini-sabbatical to talk about some of the recent trades and free agent signings in baseball. there have been many so i'll only talk about a few of them, (though i think some of the more under the radar ones will pay big dividends).

tigers get: 3B miguel cabrera and SP dontrelle willis
marlins get: SP andrew miller, OF cameron maybin, and 4 prospects

i like this deal for both clubs, but a little more for the tigers. after having perused the marlins most recent firesale-equse trades, i'm not convinced they always know what prospects to target. for every hanley ramirez there seemed to be more than one grant psomas. meanwhile, the tigers have basically established a modern-day murderer's row with cabrera, sheffield, and ordonez. i view willis for miller at best a tie for the tigers, but dontrelle won't be asked much in the 4th or 5th starter role, and who knows, he actually might improve because most a.l. teams have seen him little, if at all. the tigers go from on the verge to definite contenders. the marlins once again are building for the future. maybin will be a star, miller will probably round out into a good #3. the 4 other guys, it's anyone's guess.

OF andruw jones to dodgers for 2 years $36.2M

it's probably slightly disheartening to dodgers fans that apparently the royals were the only other team after him, for 2 years and $22M (thanks to for the tip). having watched andruw for a lot of years as a braves fan, it's a little tough to see him go. were these still the days of ted turner and big budgets, andruw would still be in a braves uniform. he's still definitely got the talent and physical ability, he just developed far too many bad habits at the plate. these can be fixed, and don mattingly is a good hitting coach. so i can see andruw improving at the plate, that is to say, to a level in the .260 avg 32 hr 105 rbi range. is that worth $18.1M a year? no, but it's better than anyone on the current dodger roster, so in that way it's not a horrible move. plus it is only 2 years, so no huge committment.

OF torii hunter to angels for 5 years $90M

i remember thinking last year that the angels had over-spent by giving $50M over 5 years to gary matthews jr., a guy who has a connection to h.g.h. and still can't hit 20 hr. now they've spent nearly twice that this year. i realize the angels needed a bat, and that there were multiple bidders for torii's services, so they had to spend a lot. but i just think they could've spent more wisely, as in, on another player, even at another position. in my opinion, torii hunter is one of the more consistently overrated players in the game. yes, his defense is really good. but he's also a .270 hitter that doesn't take walks. 5 years $90 million just seems way too high.

OF jose guillen to royals for 3 years $36M

if i were a royals fan, i'd have wanted my team to: a) not be so public about their desires to get guillen, and b) not have given him 3 years guaranteed. the royals had to give guillen more money to get him since they were so obviously going hard after him. anyway, how good this contract will ultimately look hinges on the if's: if guillen can stay healthy, and if guillen can shut his mouth. so far in his career, he's not consistently been able to do either. but if he can in kansas city, this deal will be a super-bargain. the royals could've spent their money in much worse ways.

tigers get: SS edgar renteria
braves get: RHP jair jurrjens and OF gorkys hernandez

another deal i like for both teams. the tigers lineup is simply loaded. as a braves fan, i'll speak more on what this deal means for them. jair jurrjens, i don't know a whole lot about him except that he neither walks nor strikes out many guys. i'd suspect the braves would like for him to make the team out of spring training and be their 5th starter. they will give him every opportunity to do this at least. gorkys hernandez is a great prospect with speed and power, but hasn't played above high A-ball, so it's likely at least mid-2009 before he's up with the big club. this deal also shows the braves are very confident in yunel escobar. escobar's career path projects very much like renteria, but $8M cheaper. so, given that, i can understand this move. i just hope escobar develops more quickly.

francisco cordero to reds for 4 years $44M

i don't even know where to begin. why did they sign this guy? the reds starters' ERA is the worst in the national league. how are they even going to get leads for this guy to save? why didn't they go after a starter? plus, wasn't cordero like on the rangers garbage pile just a year and a half ago? suddenly one good season for milwaukee = $11M a year for 4 years. no, no, no, this doesn't make any sense at all. this is the dumbest move of the offseason by far. it will only be surpassed if someone is actually foolish enough to give aaron rowand 6 years and $100M.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

college football preview: week 14

ACC championship - 1 p.m.
(6) virginia tech vs. (11) boston college

if the question is "sooooooo, how do you like the b.c." my answer is i don't really. boston college has gotten kind of lucky in a few games this year. or at least, they've seemed to need more luck than virginia tech, who lately have just been rolling over teams. the hokies deserved to win that first game against b.c. but allowed matt ryan to make some plays to win it. the question i have is will virginia tech feel a sense of redemption or intimidation? my vote is the former. i think their defense is certainly good enough to hold ryan sufficiently in check, and we already know the eagles can't really run the ball. on the other side of the ball, the hokies will run well enough to set up the play-action for QB sean glennon, who will play better than he did in the first meeting. va tech wins a close rematch and the ACC title, going to the orange bowl.
the pick: virginia tech

SEC championship - 4 p.m.
(14) tennessee vs. (5) lsu

the breaking news that head coach les miles is actually staying at lsu, if you believe it, is pretty big. perhaps it's a posture to get his players to play inspired football, or perhaps it's legitimate. i choose to believe it because i wouldn't be surprised if michigan tried to float him a low ball offer and then miles to simply tell them where to go. in any event, the result will be inspired play by the tigers. this has the potential to get ugly for the volunteers, who have actually been outscored in their 8 conference games despite winning the east division. that says to me that they've won a lot of close games. so i think they're due for a loss, and anyway, there's no question which team is more talented. tigers make the sugar bowl and prepare for the inevitable.
the pick: lsu (big)

battle for the victory bell - 4:30 p.m.
ucla at (8) usc

surely the pac-10 and the rose bowl committee both are rooting for usc in this matchup. they do not want the embarrassment of a 5-loss team representing the pac-10 in the rose bowl. usc has been playing well lately and will look to avenge last season's upset to the bruins. this will probably be one of those games where usc gets ahead early and then slowly lets ucla back into the game, only to step on their necks at the end.
the pick: trojans

the civil war - 4:30 p.m.
oregon state at (18) oregon

somehow the winner of this game will make the holiday bowl. i didn't know oregon state was even in a position to do that. this is a game of two teams going in opposite directions, with the beavers having won their last 2 and oregon losing its last 2 and reeling from the loss of dennis dixon. despite the fact that they will be the road team, i think oregon state will pull the upset, while ryan leaf's brother continues to play mediocre football.
the pick: oregon state

this is not a rivalry - 6:30 p.m.
(21) byu at san diego state

this game will have basically no meaning for byu if usc, tennessee, arizona state, and hawaii don't all lose. still, the cougars will continue to play inspired football because john beck is starting for the dolphins.
the pick: byu

backyard brawl - 7:45 p.m.
pittsburgh at (2) west virginia

why is this rivalry called the backyard brawl? were the first games in this series actually just kids on the intramural squad playing in someone else's backyard? i do not know the answers to these questions. what i do know is that this game could get very ugly, very quickly. lou holtz has said this could be a close game because the wannstache is the coach of pittsburgh. i'm not sure i understand even a portion of this supposed "logic", because pitt is the single most undeniably-awful team. trust me, i've done my research. i know every nooks and cranny. i know them so well, i know their whole...
the pick: mountaineers (huge)

territorial cup - 8:00 p.m.
arizona at (13) arizona st

i don't know why this rivalry is named after a nirvana song but whatever. arizona state needs only to win this home game to get a BCS bowl that would essentially be another home game. i think they'll beat their rivals in a close game and then likely play either oklahoma or kansas in the fiesta bowl.
the pick: sun devils

big xii championship - 8:00 p.m.
(9) oklahoma vs. (1) missouri

once again the game of the week involves missouri. will they have a letdown after their big win over kansas last week? i think there is risk of this, but it will be outweighed by the knowledge that one more win = chance at a national championship. chase daniel and the missouri offense are clicking on all cylinders right now. much has been made this week of how bob stoops has a ton of big game experience, while missouri has virtually none. what has not been said much is that bob stoops also has a lot of experience losing said big games. it's tough to beat a team twice in the same season. oklahoma will likely again have a partisan crowd but not quite to the extent as their first meeting vs. the tiggers in norman. another big question will be if missouri comes out and plays tight as the higher ranked team and oklahoma plays more loose as the team with less to lose. this was less analysis and more a collection of rambling thoughts. anyway my pick here is somewhat influenced by who i'd rather see win.
the pick: missouri

this is also not a rivalry - 11:30 p.m.
washington at (11) hawaii

is hawaii really the 11th best team in the country? i'm not sure anyone outside of polys and delusional rainbow fans actually believe this. still, i will be rooting for them tonight, in their quest of the inevitable.
the pick: warriors

Thursday, November 29, 2007

separated at birth

north carolina big man tyler hansbrough and actor michael cera both expressed no surprise when they were recently informed of their separated at birth status. the two are actually far more similar than you might think. the rogue league sat down with each for a short interview.

rogue league: michael, what sport do you enjoy most?
michael cera: probably basketball... like, i can use my size to my advantage, clear people out and get rebounds and stuff. i'm an ok shooter too.
RL: what was your least favorite moment on the court?
cera: there was this pick up game last year. it was late and we already had the game in hand. then during a missed free throw, some thug smashed my face with his elbow for no reason. there was a copious amount of blood on the floor. i felt fine later, but the thing that bothered me the most was there was some loudmouth in the park across the street that kept saying the hit wasn't intentional.
RL: have you ever thought of leaving early?
cera: yeah, like, i know that's where the money is. but at the same time, i can still really develop and have a lot to learn. but yeah, if i left early to direct, i think i would do well. i would probably be terrible at first with really bad stats but eventually i'd get the hang of it.
rogue league: what is your biggest pet peeve?
tyler hansbrough: probably when people meet my girlfriend. they're always saying "her?" and i'm like "yeah, her, what's your problem?" even my dad, he's probably met her like 20 times, and each time he's always like "oh, who's this?" then he gets her name wrong and calls her something like plant or hog. it's frustrating.
RL: that's a very interesting story. moving on, what is your favorite food?
hansbrough: without question, a hard-boiled egg with mayonnaise in the mouth. mmmmm....
RL: we just call it an egg.
hansbrough: ...
RL: i've heard your career here might only last three seasons. do you think that's too short?
hansbrough: yeah probably. we've got a really good thing going here. and yet, they just don't market us well enough. sometimes we're rescheduled and run up against monday night football or something. but who knows, maybe we'll make a movie.

Monday, November 26, 2007

could byu sneak into a bcs bowl?

thanks to a not-often-quoted rule in the BCS, mountain west conference champion BYU has a slight chance at sneaking into a BCS bowl, which would probably the fiesta or sugar bowl. we're all familiar with the rule that if a non-BCS school finishes in the bcs top 12, they are automatically in a BCS bowl. but what about this tasty lick (from wikipedia):

the highest ranked champion of a non-BCS conference will receive an automatic berth if ranked in the top sixteen and higher than another BCS conference champion.
BYU needs to have many pieces fall in place for this to happen. UCLA must defeat USC this saturday. also, arizona needs to beat arizona state. this would give UCLA the pac-1o title and open the door for the cougars, since they would be a non-BCS conference champ that finished higher than a BCS conference champ. (UCLA is currently not ranked in the BCS top 40.) here's the current BCS standings from 13-19:

13. arizona st .5571
14. tennessee .4614
15. illinois .4198
16. clemson .3358
17. oregon .2706
18. wisconsin .2628
19. byu .2252

BYU would also need LSU to beat tennessee in the SEC title game, and for oregon state to beat oregon in the civil war. with teams 13, 14, and 17 ahead of them all losing, byu could climb ahead of them all and finish at 16. incidentally, whether or not hawaii (currently ranked 12th in the BCS) wins is not relevant to byu's chances, since they could also make it in under the same scenario as champs of the WAC. hawaii also needs to lose, and pretty bad at that so that they tumble, since the BCS rule references only the highest non-BCS conference champ, which BYU would not be if hawaii stays at #12. doh.

do i think BYU would get beat down like a rented goat in a BCS bowl? yes, i do. but the multiple million dollars would be nice for us and our mountain west colleagues.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

space invaders

what is nbc doing on the set of football night in america? why do cris collinsworth, jerome bettis, and tiki barber sit so close to each other in the players room? this is like some kind of weird geico commercial. but the desk was built too small. for one whole year sparks will fly! seriously, hasn't nbc heard of the concept of personal space? like, don't they know that it's not really comfortable for a guy when some dude is constantly 6 inches from you, and keeps touching your hand or something? then during the "green is universal" campaign, they turned off all the lights in the studio. so, of course, that was three men sitting within one foot of each other in a darkened room. if some red satin drapes get hung next week, with kenny g playing smooth saxophone in the background, i will start to get a little worried.

Friday, November 23, 2007

food review: taco bell chipotle burrito

as i typically do when taco bell introduces a new menu item, i tried their new chipotle burrito this week. basically, this is not much different from any other burrito they have. i could barely taste the chipotle. i guess that's maybe at least partially what they're going for, based on their commercials making fun of overly-spicy foods. but honestly this seems to run counter to what makes taco bell good in general, that is, distinct taste. this is a bland, flavorless taste. if the test of food is if you'd go back to eat it again, with the chipotle burrito, i may or may not. therefore, meh.

rating: 5/10

Thursday, November 22, 2007

college football preview, week 13

(13) texas at texas a&m - friday, 3:30 pm
as correctly noted by fellow blogger limeade, this isn't as much of a rivalry for texas as their game with oklahoma is. but it's the only real rivalry for texas a&m, so i'll oblige them. texas has more physical talent on both sides of the ball. texas should be able to establish the ground game. while colt mccoy continues to make the occasional mistake, i think he'll be good in this game. meanwhile, texas a&m's players are probably counting the days until they no longer have to hear lame motivational speeches from franchione. EXCELSIOR!!!!!!!!
the pick: texas

(17) boise st at (14) hawaii - friday, 9:00 pm
boise state has been a better team than hawaii all year long, and tomorrow they're going to prove it on the field. hawaii's gotten lucky quite a few times versus inferior opponents like san jose state, while boise learned from an early loss and have improved greatly over the season. hopefully after this game we'll be able to stop hearing the inanity that is pro-BCS hawaii speech. then again, perhaps i should root for hawaii to win out and make the fiesta bowl so they can get a giant dump laid on their heads.
the pick: boise state

(8) va tech at (16) virginia - saturday, 12:00 pm
the battle for the commonwealth cup also decides one of the acc's two divisions (don't ask me which one, i don't care). so the winner will play boston college in the conference title game. virginia tech has been playing as well as anyone in the country right now, and as they say in vegas, don't bet against the streak. i think virginia will give them a tough game but beamerball wins out in the end, setting up what will be a much-anticipated rematch versus Mr. Overhyped.
the pick: va tech

(19) tennessee at kentucky - saturday, 1:30 pm
kentucky hasn't beaten tennessee in 23 years. so this is as important a game for the wildcats as their game against louisville was earlier in the season. with nothing else really to play for, i think kentucky will be very up for this game. however, i'm not sure how well they match up with tennessee, and also, they seem to be reeling the past few weeks. on the other hand, tennessee has a lot to play for, as a win will put them in the sec title game, to later receive 50 lashings from lsu.
the pick: tennessee

utah at (23) byu - saturday, 2:00 pm
byu wins the mountain west outright with a victory versus their rival in the battle for the beehive boot. the cougars will continue to play inspired football because john beck is the starter for the dolphins. one might think that since byu lost to ucla and ucla got beat down by utah, that utah will beat byu. no.
the pick: byu

oklahoma st. at (10) oklahoma - saturday, 3:30 pm
the big question will be how oklahoma bounces back after their humiliation versus texas tech. what was that anyway? i mean, oklahoma looked like they had never seen a forward pass before. anyway, oklahoma state has been one of those teams that has been close in games pretty much all year but finds ways to lose down the stretch. i don't expect them to reverse that trend versus their bedlam series brethren.
the pick: oklahoma

(6) georgia at georgia tech - saturday, 3:30 pm
georgia tech's chances of winning this game are significantly better now that reggie ball is no longer their quarterback. of course, chan gailey is still their head coach, so that evens things out. georgia is fully on a roll now, but will probably get shut out of the sec championship game, losing the east division to tennessee. this is actually a benefit to them though, as the loser of the title game always gets relegated to a lesser bowl, thus opening up the probability of a BCS bowl for georgia, much to UT's fans' sadness everywhere.
the pick: uga

florida st. at (12) florida - saturday, 5:00 pm
the once proud program of florida state has become something of a punchline lately. it's strange to say this, but the sooner bobby bowden retires, the sooner that program gets out of the dumper. the gators have better and faster athletes, and it helps their young team that they get this game at home. florida's pass defense has made less than adequate qb's look good, so drew weatherford could possibly have a decent game. this will be of no consequence.
the pick: florida

(3) missouri at (2) kansas - saturday, 8:00 pm
the game of the day features two of the most unlikely national championship contenders ever. the winner then has to get past the south division winner in the title game. ultimately, i think this will result in a knockout of both these teams from the national title race, opening the door for a west virginia team of questionable worthiness. i'll be pulling for kansas in this game, but i think chase daniel is the more complete quarterback, and missouri a slightly better team, and they'll get the win.
the pick: mizzou

alabama at (25) auburn - saturday, 8:00 pm
auburn has won five in a row in this suddenly lopsided series. this is largely what got mike shula fired. but what bama fans fail to realize is they simply don't get the same quality of recruits they used to get back in the days of bear bryant, or even gene stallings. this game is all alabama has left to salvage of a disappointing season. this season the crimson tide have actually stayed close in a lot of games versus superior opponents but can never seem to win them. saban will eventually get this program turned around, but right now, he just doesn't have the personnel.
the pick: auburn

Sunday, November 18, 2007

top 12

the list has been pared down once again. oklahoma has no place on this list after that bad performance in lubbock.

2 Kansas
3 Arizona St
4 Missouri
5 Va Tech
6 W. Virginia
7 Ohio St
8 Georgia
9 Oregon
10 USC
11 Florida
12 Boise St

Friday, November 16, 2007

college football preview, week 12

7 ohio st @ 23 michigan - 12 pm
the rumors are swirling that lloyd carr will announce his resignation (read: quitting before he gets fired so he can save face) after this game. so that makes it all the more difficult to predict. the wolverine seniors have never beaten ohio state, and they are also very loyal to carr. so they'll be inspired for two reasons. on the other side of the ball, jim tressel has only lost once to michigan in 5 games. the key will be whether or not the buckeyes suffer a hangover after their embarrassing loss to illinois last week. i expect michigan to fall behind early and then for mike hart to take the game into his hands and will his team to victory. then michigan goes to the rose bowl and loses. again.
the pick: x-mens

22 kentucky @ 8 georgia - 12:30
i've never seen a team benefit more from a butt-beating than georgia has this season. they have morphed into a completely different team since that debacle in knoxville a month and a half ago. this is probably as confident a team as mark richt has ever had. i expect them to keep the pressure on tennesse this week and avenge their loss to kentucky a year ago. running back knowshon moreno will continue to tear through opposing defenses like indian food through a white man's intestines.
the pick: dawgs

6 missouri @ kansas st - 12:30
i'm guessing that the kansas state defensive unit is not the most confident group right now after giving up 70+ points to a backup-qb led nebraska team. their only chance in this game is if they catch missouri looking ahead to next week's game vs. kansas, which will decide the big 12 north. i think mizzou avoids the "trap" and wins by at least 2 touchdowns.
the pick: tiggers

byu @ wyoming - 2:00
somewhat quietly, byu can clinch at least a tie of the mountain west this week with a win over the hapless cowboys. byu will be inspired by the news that john beck will start this week for the dolphins and they'll beat down a wyoming team whose season is on the brink.
the pick: cougars

vanderbilt @ 19 tennessee - 2:00
the last time tennessee played vanderbilt at home, jay cutler led a 4th quarter comeback for the commodores for their first win in knoxville in like 20 years. but now cutler is too busy stinking it up for the broncos and hurting certain people's fantasy teams. advantage: tennessee.
the pick: vols

mississippi st. @ arkansas - 2:00
sylvester croom has won two conference road games for the first time in his life. somewhat amazingly, he's got his team playing some decent football, at least on the defensive side of the ball. the bulldog's 3-3 conference record is somewhat deceiving, though, as all of their conference wins came after their opponent had lost a very tough game the previous week. fortunately for them, arkansas has been on a constant letdown all season.
the pick: bulldogs

duke @ notre dame - 2:30
this is already the worst season in the history of notre dame football. and yet, it can get even worse this week. i can't really overstate how bad both of these teams are right now. two questions i've been wondering are will notre dame fans even get loud for this game? and what does your program even gain by scheduling duke? jimmy clausen did show some improvement last week vs. undersized slow white men. take that for what it's worth. to martin scorcese's dismay, the irish barely escape a beating.
the pick: notre dame (i will be rooting for duke)

dang. i was in a mood to beat some irish

miami @ 10 va tech - 3:30
there was a time when, every year, this game was a battle of top 10 teams and would decide the big east champ. now it's a shell of its former self, though va tech is actually playing really good football right now. they will not lose to a team that just allowed 40+ points to virginia in a sport other than basketball.
the pick: gobblers

1 lsu @ ole miss - 3:30
perhaps you are thinking that, given the rumors of lloyd carr's departure from michigan, that les miles will be distracted this week, and that lsu might get upset. if you think this, then clearly, you do not understand the futility that is ole piss football.
the pick: tigers

iowa st @ 4 kansas - 3:30
iowa state is awful. if kansas blows this game, they should drop out of the top 25 entirely.
the pick: jayhawks

5 w. virginia @ 21 cincinnati - 7:45
as far as i'm concerned, this is the game of the day. west virginia played way too close with louisville last week. cincinnati thoroughly thumped connecticut without looking ahead to this week's clearly bigger game. as i mentioned before, the bearcats have clubbed inferior opponents all year. west virginia, of course, is not inferior, and in fact will be the most talented and fastest team cincinnati has faced this season. assuming west virginia can handle connecticut next week, this game is essentially for the big east crown. i'll be rooting for the upset, but i think the west virginia on turf will just be too fast for cincinnati.
the pick: mountaineers

17 boston coll @ 15 clemson - 7:45
at home, at night, with a division title on the line. this is *exactly* the kind of game where a tommy bowden coached team kicks the crap out of their opponent.
the pick: clemson

Update: Regrettably, I picked Michigan simply because I wanted them to win. Not because I think they are well coached, because they're not. Nor because they have a good quarterback, because they clearly don't. I just wanted to see the big 10 champ be a team that had been defeated by a 1-AA team. That just seems appropriate. And also, I wanted to see USC take a giant dump on their heads in the Rose Bowl.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

new top 15


2 Oregon
3 Kansas
4 Oklahoma
5 Missouri
6 Arizona St
7 Va Tech
8 W. Virginia
9 Ohio St
10 USC
11 Georgia
12 Florida
13 Texas
14 Clemson
15 Boise St

Monday, November 12, 2007

if i had a vote, part 2

for part 1, click this

AL Rookie of the Year:

1. Dustin Pedroia, .317 avg .380 obp .442 slg 8 hr 50 rbi 86 r 7 sb
2. Delmon Young, .288 avg .316 obp .408 slg 13 hr 93 rbi 65 r 10 sb
3. Jeremy Guthrie 7-5 175.1 ip 123 k 3.70 era 1.21 whip .249 baa

i won't make any predictions as the award was actually already given today. these were the top 2 and brian bannister was #3. pedroia was a pretty obvious choice. this award was his to lose starting in about early september. i think delmon young was hurt to an extent by his own hype. and probably by this too. i think guthrie has a decent career ahead of him.

AL Cy Young:

1. C.C. Sabathia 19-7 241.0 ip 209 k 3.21 era 1.14 whip .259 baa
2. Erik Bedard 13-5 182.0 ip 221 k 3.16 era 1.09 whip .212 baa
3. John Lackey 19-9 224.0 ip 179 k 3.01 era 1.21 whip .254 baa

sabathia is a horse, doesn't walk guys, and pitched great all year, leading his team into the playoffs. this award should be his, HOWEVA, i won't be shocked if beckett wins it. that's what i'm predicting will happen, because of the undying media love for boston, but hopefully i'll be wrong. bedard would've gotten my #1 vote if he had had more innings. lackey is a solid #3. you could make a case for beckett there as well, it's really close.

AL Most Valuable Player

1. Alex Rodriguez, .314 avg .422 obp .645 slg 54 hr 156 rbi 143 r 24 sb
2. Magglio Ordonez, .363 avg .434 obp .595 slg 28 hr 139 rbi 117 r 4 sb
3. David Ortiz, .332 avg .445 obp .621 slg 35 hr 117 rbi 116 r 3 sb

uh, this one is pretty obvious. if any writer doesn't vote a-rod #1, he should suffer the fate of norv turner. magglio won the batting title by a mile and had a great year for the tigers. ortiz once again is a, doesn't finish 1st. my prediction is a-rod 1, ortiz 2, ordonez 3.

Comeback Players of the Year

I forgot to do this for the NL in my first post so I'll vote both here:

NL - Josh Hamilton, .292 avg .368 obp .554 slg 19 hr 47 rbi 52 r 3 sb
AL - Carlos Pena, .282 avg .411 obp .627 slg 46 hr 121 rbi 99 r 1 sb

Friday, November 9, 2007

college football preview, week 11

(13) michigan at wisconsin - 12:00 pm

ever since michigan's embarrassing first two home games, they've actually played a lot better while under the radar. of course, they still play in the big ten, so they're not exactly challenged on a weekly basis. this game should be no exception. michigan is on a mission to win out and make the rose bowl, thus cementing the truly mediocre nature of the big 11. wisconsin was exposed by illinois a few weeks ago and has not really been the same since. camp randall stadium is a tough place to play in, but less so at noon. as is often the case in college football, it will go down to who wants it more.

the pick: michigan

arkansas at (22) tennessee - 12:30 pm

i don't understand why darren mcfadden has been getting virtually no talk for the heisman lately. i mean, look at these stats. or this table. anyone that's watched him play even a little bit knows he's a lock top 3 pick in the nfl draft next year. once again this goes to show that being awarded the heisman has become increasingly more a matter of being popular and playing for a good team, and less to do with actually being the truly best player. this is perhaps the topic for another post, so i digress. tennessee has no run defense to speak of. arkansas has no defense at all to speak of. while i think mcfadden will get his yards, houston nutt will make his typically terrible calls at crucial points in the game.

the pick: tennessee (begrudgingly)

air force at notre dame - 2:30 pm

navy beat notre dame last week, and i think air force has an even better chance of beating the irish. and i will be rooting for this. i'm quite happy that notre dame has struggled so much this year. they made their bed with charlie weis and now they have to sleep in it. that 10-year contract will look like an albatross yet.

the pick: air force

illinois at (1) ohio state - 3:30 pm

this is an interesting game. illinois only lost by 7 to the buckeyes at home last year, and that was really before they had as good players as they do now. i was thinking of picking illinois for this, but then i heard mark may pick them on sportscenter. so now i'm a little less convinced. i am of the opinion, however, that this house of cards is soon going to crumble for the buckeyes, but that it will be next week vs. michigan.

the pick: tOSU

(16) connecticut at cincinnati - 3:30 pm

cincinnati has laid waste to many an inferior team this season. connecticut is one of those types of teams. yes, their rush defense is supposedly really good, but they've also played nobodies. i expect the bearcats to murder them with a trident.

the pick: cincinnati

(18) auburn at (10) georgia - 3:30 pm

most people outside the south probably don't know that this is a big rivalry game. last year, auburn was ranked in the top 5 and lost at home to an inferior georgia team. i would suspect auburn is out for some measure of revenge. also, tommy tuberville seems to have supplanted mark richt as the best road coach in the SEC. all three of auburn's losses were close games, so they're better than their record might indicate. and georgia was pummeled by tennessee, so they're certainly worse than their record.

the pick: auburn

baylor at (4) oklahoma - 6:30 pm

baylor stinks.

the pick: oklahoma

(17) florida at south carolina - 7:45 pm

the cocks are reeling, having lost 3 in a row. i have absolutely no proof of this, but i think that the rest of college football coaches in general have caught up to spurrier's genius. at the very least he no longer has that aura of invincibility. plus, it's really hard to recruit at south carolina. on the other side of the ball, florida had their get well game vs. an inferior vanderbilt team last week after having gone more than a month between home games. now they're back on the road again in a hostile environment at night. this will be a tough a test for a still mentally weak gator team.

the pick: florida

(5) kansas at oklahoma state - 8:00 pm

i think this is going to be a really good game. despite their 5-4 record, oklahoma state is a lot better team than you might think. they have some explosive players on offense. it's their semi-permeable defense that gets them in trouble, and kansas has had no trouble moving up and down the field this year. however, it's a night game, and stillwater, oklahoma is one place where you do not want to make a wrong turn down a dark alley. this will be kansas toughest test of the season, and they will just barely fail.

the pick: oklahoma state

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Top 15

This has become too grueling, so I'm changing it from Top 25 to Top 15. At this point, who really cares about teams 16 through 25 anyway? Am I right? Yes. Anyway, here it is.


2 Ohio St
3 Oklahoma
4 Oregon
5 Missouri
6 Kansas
7 Arizona St
8 VA Tech
9 W. Virginia
10 USC
11 Auburn
12 Georgia
13 Florida
14 Boston Col

15 Clemson

i will keep posting these until harry wakes up. bring the painster.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

if I had a vote, part 1

now that it's almost time for the 2007 baseball season individual awards to be handed out, i will make my selections as if i have a vote. obviously i don't have one, but if i did, here's how it would go for each of these awards, along with my predictions for what will actually happen.

NL Cy Young

1. Jake Peavy, 19-6, 2.54 ERA, 1.o6 WHIP, 223.1 IP, 240 K
2. Brandon Webb, 18-10, 3.01 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 236.1 IP, 194 K
3. John Smoltz, 14-8, 3.11 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 205.2 IP, 197 K

it's pretty hard to not give this to Peavy. i tried and everything, but his numbers are just too much better than anyone else. i don't have much more to say about this race. my prediction for what will actually happen is the same, except that i predict cole hamels will be #3.

NL Most Valuable Player

1. Matt Holliday, .340 avg, .405 obp, .607 slg, 36 hr, 137 rbi, 120 r, 11 sb
2. Chase Utley, .332 avg, .410 obp, .566 slg, 22 hr, 103 rbi, 104 r, 9 sb
3. Albert Pujols, .327 avg, .429 obp, .568 slg, 32 hr, 103 rbi, 99 r, 2 sb

the race is not between holliday and rollins. jimmy rollins is not even the mvp of his own team, let alone the entire national league. anyone that watches baseball knows that chase utley is the better pure hitter, and had he not been out for a month, his numbers would've been much better. look no further than the phillies record when utley was out (15-13), and then how they quickly got better (22-11) when he came back. he's that influential; rollins isn't. pujols is just sort of a bail out pick. he's got good numbers, but i could've probably just as easily picked russell martin or prince fielder. my prediction is holliday #1, fielder #2, rollins #3.

NL Rookie of the Year

1. Ryan Braun, .324 avg, .370 obp, .634 slg, 34 hr, 97 rbi, 91 r, 15 sb
2. Troy Tulowitzki, .291 avg, .359 obp, .479 slg, 24 hr, 99 rbi, 104 r, 7 sb
3. Hunter Pence, .322 avg, .360 obp, .539 slg, 17 hr, 69 rbi, 57 r, 11 sb

i don't think the race between braun and tulowitzki should be as close as it will probably end up being. Braun's rookie numbers, in terms of OPS and HR/AB ratio, are up in the Mantle/Pujols territory. really, that alone should win it for him. though that's not to say that tulo isn't a good player, because he is, and his defense is certainly far better than braun's. but i think braun more than made up for it with his offensive prowess, while tulowitzki's .479 slugging percentage is fairly pedestrian. my prediction is this same top 3.

tomorrow: part 2, american league

Sunday, November 4, 2007

this man is happy

Before this weekend, Roger Staubach was the quarterback for Navy the last time they had beaten Notre Dame. That was 44 years ago. To put that in a little perspective, back in 1963:

- Color television was only 10 years old
- There was no such thing as the Super Bowl
- Segregation on the basis of race was still legal
- "Sugar Shack" by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs was a #1 song
- Al Gore hadn't yet invented the Internet

Needless to say, the world is pretty different today. And Roger Staubach is not rolling in his grave anymore.

Here are some other thoughts I had on this weekend's college and pro action:

- Anyone watching the Colts/Patriots game noticed that, on the first play in the 4th quarter, the artificial crowd sound track got stuck for a couple of seconds. This confirms what many of us have suspected, that the Colts pump in fake crowd noise, which is both illegal per NFL rules and gay. I'd suspect they're not the only team that does it, but something about the Colts doing it bothers me more. I think it's because 1) Colts fans are, relative to other teams' fans, generally not all that loud on their own, and 2) they play in a dome, so the fake crowd noise is that much more enhanced. The good news is that, undoubtely, Roger Goodell noticed this, and if there's anyone in America that will do something about this, it's him.

- As for the game itself, I didn't have any particular rooting interest, despite what I have no doubt are thoughts to the contrary by happy ninja. I'll admit I'm no longer a Peyton Manning hater as I once was, but I'm also not an apologist. Also, I don't like how the Patriots have been running up the score like it's a video game, so I wasn't pulling for them either. I just wanted to see a good game, and I did. I expected the Patriots to score on that final drive and they did. I think they're still in the Colts' heads, despite the fact that they'd never admit it.

- I fully expected Florida State to give away the game to Boston College on Saturday, but I was pleasantly surprised, and now thankfully we can all go back to ignoring Boston College. They weren't the 2nd best team, everyone knew it, and everyone outside of the New England area is happy now that they lost. I'll still have LSU as my #1 with Ohio State at #2. I predict some in the media this week will start to talk about how LSU keeps playing "too many" close games, and so they're probably not all that good, but rather lucky. That's both dumb and untrue.

- I think every crowd in the world now is singing along with a series of "oh's" to this song, and it SOUNDS RE-TAR-DED. (Ed. note: To hear what this sounds like, click on almost any other "Kernkraft Zombie Nation" youtube video besides the one I linked. Then make sure no puppies are in the room, as you will likely feel a strong desire to punch one in the face.) It's a techno song. It is not made to be sung to. I can't possibly be the only person who thinks this. (Zincke, back me up on this.)

- Somehow, in only 8 professional games, Adrian Peterson is once again a man among boys, as he was in college. He will go #1 in some fantasy leagues next year. Yes, even ahead of LT.

- The Cleveland Browns have won 3 in a row for the first time in 6 years... I don't really even know how to respond to that.

- Bill Callahan, go ahead and clean out your desk.

UPDATE: The NFL has cleared the Colts of any suspected tomfoolery in yesterday's game. I say hogwash and balderdash. Anyone that's watched a lot of football can just hear it in the Colts crowd noise. In my estimation, it's simply too perfectly sustained. The disparity between how it sounds when the Colts are on offense and on defense is just astounding. Plus, I stand by my statement yesterday that Colts fans are just not that raucous a bunch naturally.