Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sportz' Bubble Watch 2015 (Updated 3/1)


Okay. I've been doing my whole Sportz' Bubble Watch for a few years now and I think it is time to start back up. With only a few weeks left in the season before conference tournaments, let's see how the bubble looks.

So, here are my locks ... yes, by conference. Locks are teams that I think are in no matter what.  Looking good are teams that are in, barring a total collapse.  I split the bubble teams either In or Out; self explanatory.  Also there's a spot for teams that need a miracle.  No more losses and maybe a deep conference tournament run.

I figure there are 20 conferences who are one-bid leagues and 12 conferences that could net multiple bids. So who should be going?

Friday, February 13, 2015

MLB Thinking About ... Shrinking the Strike Zone?

I know there's this new feeling that with Bud Selig gone, baseball will be heading into an exciting new era.  I'm on that bandwagon.  I think some of those traditions Selig was still holding on to could use a jolt (that being said, Selig did have a lot of tradition-breakers come through his tenure).

One of the things I really don't agree with is shrinking the strike zone.  What?  You are going to make it harder to throw strikes?

The theory is this: Since steroids aren't as prevalent and umpires are actually calling the proper strike zone, offense is down and baseball is boring.  Called strikes are up and that part of the strike zone at the knees is hard on hitters to drive.  Pitchers pitch low and either get those strikes or hitters do hit it and can't drive it out.  I don't see it like that.

Sure, the stats may support it but will it really work?  More walks will be better than more strikeouts?  Forcing pitchers to pitch up would mean more batted balls.  I mean, attendance is great for baseball right now ... so is it that dire of a problem?  Also, doesn't think spit right in the face of baseball trying to move games along?  In the Steroid Era, we had some looong games that have gotten down a bit.  Although look at what high offensive numbers have done for fantasy football and how it has made the NFL grow in popularity and maybe baseball has some ideas.

Maybe.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Adam Silver Is Interested In Realigning NBA's Divisions

Photo via: Wikipedia
NBA commish Adam Silver is saying that he's open to changing the current playoff format and even open to realigning the divisions and conferences we enjoy today.  Many people are wanting a change with the Eastern Conference getting much weaker teams in the postseason while stronger Western Conference teams are left at home.

With private jets and easy hotel check-ins, a lot of the travel issues that pop up when discussing this thinking are getting trivial.  Sure, a Portland-Miami postseason series would have some challenging travel issues, but let's not act like a Portland-Houston or Memphis-Los Angeles Western Conference playoff series is a neighborhood battle.

If we went straight into this format, then 10 of the 16 playoff spots would be nabbed by Western teams.  As of right now, here would be your playoff series (all six division winners make it, though they fall right into proper seeding):

Monday, February 2, 2015

Looking Back At My 49 STOPS TO SUPER BOWL XLIX

Looking back at my 49 Stops To Super Bowl XLIX, let's see where those trends I included hit on the actual game:

#46-AFC LOVES FEBRUARY: The Super Bowl will be held on February 1st. Since the first February Super Bowl in 2002, the AFC is 7-5 in those games held in the calendar's shortest month ... though the NFC has won four of the last five:

Well, the AFC won again, making them 8-5 in February Super Bowls.  

#45-SCORE EARLY AND OFTEN: The team who scores first in a Super Bowl is 32-16. 
*Teams who score at least 30 points are 25-2.  Only the Cowboys (SB XIII) and the 49ers (SB XLVII) scored at least 30 points and lost.  
*Teams that score the first TD are 35-13.
*Teams leading at the half are 36-10 (there have been two ties)


The Patriots scored first, so that makes the record 33-16 in Super Bowls.  Also, teams that score the first TD are now 36-13.  This was also just the third halftime tie in Super Bowl history.  

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Patriots Become Third Team To Win Super Bowl After Being Down Double-Digits

The New England Patriots bucked one of the Super Bowls biggest trends.  They became just the third team in history to win a Super Bowl after being down 10 or more points in the game.

The Patriots were down 24-14 in the fourth quarter.  They would score two touchdowns to pull out the championship with a 28-24 victory.  They join the 1987 Washington Redskins and 2009 New Orleans Saints as teams to do that.

The Washington Redskins went down 10-0 to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII.  However, the Skins would go on to score 42 unanswered points, including 35 points in a wild second quarter alone, to win 42-10.  The Saints were also down 10-0 to the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV before scoring 13 straight points to take the lead.  The Saints would go on to win 31-17.

That is the big difference and what makes this comeback special.  The Redskins and Saints made their moves in the 2nd quarter ... while New England was down 10 points in the 4th quarter.  Amazing.

The Redskins and Saints not only were down 10 points in that Super Bowl, they also would lead (and win) by more than 10 points.  These Patriots won by just 4.  Still, it is a win.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Maybe a New ACC Hoops Schedule As Well?

Yesterday, I took a look at possibly realigning the ACC football schedule to make it a bit tighter and teams would face each other more frequently.  Today, let's look at the basketball schedule.

The two big differences between taking on the basketball and football schedules is (a) Notre Dame adds a 15th member to hoops that they aren't a full time member in football, (b) right now, every ACC hoops member faces each other and (c) it really isn't a dire issue.

But let's have some fun.

Right now, the ACC's schedule is 18 games long.  Each ACC member has two schools they face twice each and every year (for a reference, UNC's two yearly rivals are NC State and Duke), then they face two other schools twice (which rotates every six years) and then five at home and five away.

There really isn't anything wrong with that at all.  But why not just simplify it?  Instead of rotating those two home-and-home games to just two more natural rivals?  Therefore you play four teams twice each year and the other ten teams you just bounce home and away each year.  I like that better.

I like it since those long-time ACC schools (and those former Big East schools) get to face off a bit more and it makes it easier for fans to understand the schedule.

So who would be the rivals?   Below is my attempt to match them up.  The first two teams on everyone's line are their rivals right now and the italicized names are the ones I've added.

Should The ACC's Football Divisions "Split" Up?

With the news that Wake Forest and North Carolina have agreed to a non-conference football series, there has been a lot of discussion about the scheduling of the ACC schedule.  The main issue is that you could play at one school just once over a 12-year period, which is what UNC and Wake were facing with the new 14-team format and the side deal with Notre Dame.

Should the ACC do something different with their division format?  Should they dump divisions altogether?  Should they go to a 9-game season?  Let's look.

NINE GAME CONFERENCE SEASON

I'm going to shoot this down.  I don't like this and I don't think a lot of the schools like this.  Maybe some do, but the league as a whole isn't interested in it.  Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Louisville already have a built in rivalry game with an SEC opponent.  Also, each school plays Notre Dame once in a three year stretch.  So if you are Florida State, you could have a 10-game schedule already lined up.  That leaves little room to schedule another game against a quality opponent and a game against a lower level FBS school or a FCS school.  I just don't think this will happen without a big fight.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

UNC-Wake Show How Mega Conference Can Be Too Big

UNC-Wake Forest may not be a well known national
rivalry, but it is very important to the schools
involved.  
I like the fact that Syracuse, Notre Dame and Louisville are now in the ACC.  I like the fact that the ACC was proactive in the conference realignment game.  However, I'm not a fan of the mega-conferences and the wreckage they've left behind.

This is pointed out in the fact that UNC and Wake Forest have agreed to play a non-conference series at the end of the decade.  UNC and Wake Forest have played each other pretty much annually for 125 years and are just miles apart in the state of North Carolina.  However, they are placed in separate divisions in the ACC and will have to wait until 2022 to play again after their scheduled game this coming season.

Neither school likes that.

So they scheduled this "non-conference" series in 2019 and 2021.  It won't count in the standings, however, but it will be a game against a Power 5 opponent and one the schools want to see and players want to play.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

I Still Hate The Pro Bowl ... Just Not As Much


Look, I've made no bones about the fact that I wish the Pro Bowl would go away.  The football is weak, the players have either been sitting for a month or just come off a tough playoff loss so they aren't in to it.  If it went away, I wouldn't care.

However, the NFL still has it on life support and ... well, I'm coming around to some of the ideas.  It could still go away for all I care, but if it has to be, at least they are changing things up.

I rolled my eyes with the whole "fantasy draft" aspect of it originally since it reeked of desperation.  But in its second season, I actually enjoyed watching the draft (though Chris Rose sure look tired are ragged hosting it).  I like the fact that not only were the guys drafting (this year Michael Irvin and Cris Carter) into it and had some sort of homework they were doing when constructing their rosters but the players themselves were there and would go up on stage to join their new teams.  That was pretty cool.

49 Stops To Super Bowl XLIX


Every year since Super Bowl XL, I have used this blog for my "Stops To Super Bowl" list.  Every year, I create a list of smart, dumb, inane and chat worthy items for you to use in any banter leading up to and during the Super Bowl.

This year, it is 49 Stops to Super Bowl XLVIX and I'm back with some more (and some of the same) little items for you about the upcoming big game.

#49-BY THE TIME I GET TO ARIZONA:  The Phoenix area will be hosting their third Super Bowl.  Their first one was SB XXX, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, when the Cowboys beat the Steelers, 27-17.  They hosted it again for SB XLII, this time at the University Of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, for the immortal Giants 17-14 win over the Patriots that ended New England's perfect season.
Super Bowl XXVII was supposed to be held at Sun Devil Stadium as well, but when the state chose not to observe the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, the NFL backed out of the site and held the game in Pasadena.  In that game, the Cowboys pummeled the Bills, 52-17.

#48-WE'RE NOT NEIGHBORS:  Seattle and Foxborough, MA are 2,488 miles apart, making it the third longest distance between Super Bowl opponents in history.  Only the 49ers-Dolphins (Super Bowl XIX) and Raiders-Eagles (Super Bowl XV) were further apart.  As you can see, the west coast team won both previous games.  


#47-BELICHICK KNOWS SUPER BOWLS:  Bill Belichick ties Don Shula with his sixth Super Bowl appearance as a head coach.  Belichick has taken the Patriots to the big game each time.  Shula took the Dolphins to five Super Bowls and the Colts to one.
Belichick was also the defensive coordinator for the Giants in Super Bowls XXI and XXV and an assistant head coach for the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI.  That's nine Super Bowls he's coached in.

Amazingly, in his 15 seasons as the Patriots head coach, Belichick has taken his team to 9 AFC Championship games.  


49 Stops To Super Bowl XLIX (#1-9)


Every year since Super Bowl XL, I have used this blog for my "Stops To Super Bowl" list.  Every year, I create a list of smart, dumb, inane and chat worthy items for you to use in any banter leading up to and during the Super Bowl.

This year, it is 49 Stops to Super Bowl XLVIX and I'm back with some more (and some of the same) little items for you about the upcoming big game.

#9-STILL HAVEN'T WON ONE: There are now four franchises that have never appeared in a Super Bowl (Lions, Browns, Jaguars and Texans). But there are nine others that have never won the Super Bowl in any of their appearances. They are the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals. The Bills and Vikings have lost four games apiece; the Bengals and Eagles have each lost two. The rest lost on their only trip.

And while the Jaguars (1995) and Texans (2002) haven't been to the big game, they don't have quite the drought as some other franchises. The Jets haven't been to the Super Bowl since the 1968 season. The Chiefs went to two of the first four Super Bowls but their last appearance was after the 1969 season.

It's been a while since the Vikings (1976), Dolphins (1984), Bengals (1988) and Redskins (1991) have been there as well.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

49 Stops To Super Bowl XLIX (#10-19)


Every year since Super Bowl XL, I have used this blog for my "Stops To Super Bowl" list.  Every year, I create a list of smart, dumb, inane and chat worthy items for you to use in any banter leading up to and during the Super Bowl.

This year, it is 49 Stops to Super Bowl XLVIX and I'm back with some more (and some of the same) little items for you about the upcoming big game.

#19-WEARING WHITE IS THE KEY:  Since the Seahawks are designated the home team, they will be wearing their home blue jerseys for the Super Bowl. That means the Patriots will go with their white jerseys. In fact, the team that has worn white uniforms had won the last nine of ten Super Bowls (Seahawks, Ravens, Giants, Saints, Steelers, Giants, Colts, Steelers, Patriots).  The Packers won three years ago wearing green. The Seahawks won last year's Super Bowl victory while wearing white.

#18-ALTERNATE VIEWING: Wife doesn't watch the Super Bowl?  Are you forced to go somewhere where football isn't recognized?  Well, here are some alternatives for her or what you may be forced to watch.  Remember, there's not only the Puppy Bowl, but a Kitten Bowl and Fish Bowl as well.

Friday, January 23, 2015

49 Stops To Super Bowl XLIX (#20-29)


Every year since Super Bowl XL, I have used this blog for my "Stops To Super Bowl" list.  Every year, I create a list of smart, dumb, inane and chat worthy items for you to use in any banter leading up to and during the Super Bowl.

This year, it is 49 Stops to Super Bowl XLVIX and I'm back with some more (and some of the same) little items for you about the upcoming big game.

#29-FUTURE SUPER BOWLS: Next year's Super Bowl will be a huge one.  The 50th Super Bowl.  Unlike every other Super Bowl, there will be no Roman numeral used.  It won't be Super Bowl L.  Instead, for one year only, it will be Super Bowl 50.  The logo will have the 50 in gold with the numbers on either side of a graphic of the Lombardi trophy.

That game will be played in Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, CA ... home of the San Francisco 49ers.

Super Bowl LI will be held in NRG Field in Houston, TX.  Houston will be hosting its third Super Bowl.  Super Bowl LII will be in the new Vikings Stadium in Minneapolis, the second time that city has hosted the game.

Atlanta is looked at as the front runner for Super Bowl LIII.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

49 Stops To Super Bowl XLIX (#30-39)


Every year since Super Bowl XL, I have used this blog for my "Stops To Super Bowl" list.  Every year, I create a list of smart, dumb, inane and chat worthy items for you to use in any banter leading up to and during the Super Bowl.

This year, it is 49 Stops to Super Bowl XLVIX and I'm back with some more (and some of the same) little items for you about the upcoming big game.

#39-TOP SEEDS MEETING AGAIN: Believe it or not, but Super Bowl XLIX is the third time that the No. 1 seed in the NFC and AFC met in the Super Bowl since 1993.  The top seeded Colts and Saints met in Super Bowl XLIV and the Seahawks and Broncos met a year ago.  Both times, the NFC team won the big game.  

#38-DIVISION ALL IN: The only divisions that don't have all of their members with appearances in a Super Bowl are the AFC North (Browns), AFC South (Titans, Jaguars) and NFC North (Lions).

No division has all their members with Super Bowl championships. The NFC East (Eagles didn't win), AFC West (Chargers) and AFC East (Bills) have seen three of their four members win a title. The NFC East is the only division to have each of their members in multiple Super Bowls. The Cowboys have been to eight, the Redskins and Giants have been to five and the Eagles have been to two.

The odd thing is that each team in the NFC South has been exactly once to the Super Bowl. The Panthers and Falcons lost their only time there, while the Bucs and Saints won in their only appearances.