Saturday, October 31, 2009

Martina, Meth Isn't a Performance Enhancing Drug

The big buzz around tennis right now is the revelation that Andre Agassi spent nearly a year doing meth back in 1997. Pretty shocking since Agassi was one of the most finely tuned athletes in a grueling sport.

Fellow tennis legend Martina Navratilova isn't cool with any of this. She even compared Agassi to Roger Clemens, someone who allegedly lied about using performance enhancing drugs. Apples and oranges.

I'm not a doctor or a physical trainer, but I've never heard that "ice" was a performance enhancer. No one has attributed their gawdy stats to smoking crank. In fact, Agassi's worst professional season came during the year he says he was using.

I mean, musicians and artists can claim that the hippie lettuce and acid help them be more creative. But not one of them has ever said that the "jib" has boosted their creativity. Well, maybe a porn star ...

Yes, it is illegal ... but so is pot. If you heard that an athlete lied about smoking the weed and got caught, it would elicit jokes but no one would say that the player should be kicked out of the league. Baseball historians love to forget that half the players back in the day were either drunk or hungover during games. Should we strike them down?

Meth is a lot harsher and it did shock me to learn this information. Meth has destroyed lives, families ... even towns ... and is spreading like wildfire. But to completely condemn Agassi for his actions 12 years ago is ludicrous. Of course he's going to lie if he got caught. HE WAS A METH ADDICT AT THE TIME! What did you think he'd say?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sportz' Week 8 Picks

Last week, I went 11-2. I picked the Panthers to beat the Bills and Giants to beat the Cardinals. Both, I felt, were pretty safe bets. Oh well.

That puts my season record at 69-34 ... which is 66%. That's better than a flip of the coin!

So here are my Week 8 Picks:

RAVENS OVER BRONCOS: Just a hunch that B-more's offense will break through that improved Denver defense. And Kyle Orton will get a heavy dose of pressure.

BEARS OVER BROWNS: This is my Eliminator pick, so that tells you how confident I am.

COWBOYS OVER SEAHAWKS: Dallas is starting to get some momentum and Seattle is sooooo unpredictable.

LIONS OVER RAMS: I've always said that picking games where two teams suck is harder than picking the ones involving championship caliber teams. I like Detroit here just because ... well, I don't know why.

GIANTS OVER EAGLES: I explained to someone today that Philly is one of the luckiest teams in the league. They beat Carolina while Jake Delhomme was throwing picks like crazy; beat the dysfunctional Redskins and lost to the Raiders. Giants.

TEXANS OVER BILLS: Houston is getting no respect. Beating Buffalo won't do much to improve that.

COLTS OVER NINERS: Indy is on a roll. San Francisco is struggling.

JETS OVER DOLPHINS: I don't like Chad Henne facing off against that Rex Ryan defense. The Wildcat will help, but this is a smart defense.

CHARGERS OVER RAIDERS: Won't be as close as their first meeting.

TITANS OVER JAGUARS: Upset special! Tennessee is switching to Vince Young and I think the team will step their game up. Plus, Jacksonville barely beat the crappy Rams ... so I'm not too impressed with them.

CARDINALS OVER PANTHERS: Jake Delhomme keeps his job. Too bad he has to face one of his biggest demons now. How many times will they show replays from his horrid playoff game against Arizona during the week?

PACKERS OVER VIKINGS: I think the Packers will rally around Aaron Rodgers and get him this win. Green Bay is improved since their shootout a few weeks ago. Also, I think Brett Favre will actually try to show up the Packers which will hurt the team's cause.

SAINTS OVER FALCONS: I think N'Awlins is the second best team in the league and the Superdome will be bumping on Monday night!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blake Griffin Out; Clipper Curse Continues

Blake Griffin will miss at least six weeks of the regular season due to a broken kneecap. Get out of here!

This marks the second time in three years that the top overall pick has been hurt coming out of the gate. Two years ago, Greg Oden underwent microfracture surgery and missed the entire season.

The Clippers have also been bitten before. In 1988, the Clips drafted Danny Manning with the top overall pick. Manning played just 26 games in his rookie season before blowing out his knee. In 1998, the Clips drafted Michael Olowokandi with the top pick. He didn't get hurt, but he's one of the biggest busts in NBA history.

You can also add in Shaun Livingston, the No. 4 pick in the 2004 draft. Livingston battled injuries and played in just 91 games over his first couple of seasons. Two seasons later, Livingston blew out his knee in one of the most hideous sports injuries ever televised. Joe Theismann's broken leg nearly threw up after seeing Livingston's knee.

In 2005, the Clippers used the No. 12 pick on Yaroslav Korolev. Korolev would play just 34 games in his NBA career ... averaging 1.1 points per game.

The Clippers can't catch a break. They "visit" the Lakers tonight in a nationally televised game on TNT. The hook was not only The Battle Of Los Angeles but the defending champions taking on the top pick in the draft.

Monday, October 26, 2009

'Weak 7' Report: Now I Want Challenge Flags Available For All Penalties

Week 7 of the NFL season is over and, boy was it bad! "Weak 7". But as they saying goes, you learn something new every day ... so what did we learn over the weekend?

NEW YORK-PHILLY: Next week, the New York Giants visit the Philadelphia Eagles at 1pm. That night, the New York Yankees will visit the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 4 of the World Series. Cool.

BLOWOUT CITY: There were only 12 games on Sunday. Six of them were won by at least 28 points. How does this happen? Packers beat Browns, 31-3. Chargers beat Chiefs, 37-7. Colts beat Rams, 42-6. Patriots beat Buccaneers, 35-7. Jets beat Raiders, 38-0. Bengals beat Bears, 45-10. This just lends more to the argument that there are just soooo many bad teams out there. Those six losers scored a grand total of 33 points (around 5.5 ppg). Those six teams are a combined 7-34 on the season. Yikes.

GOOD TEAMS GONE BAD ... OR GOOD ... OR BAD: Not only are there some really bad teams this season, some of those mediocre teams look really bad one week and look outstanding the next. The Bears were 3-2 heading into Cincinnati last week and were blasted. The Chargers looked out of it last week, but then blow through the Chiefs. How about the Jets, who lost three in a row and then beat the Raiders 38-0? Yes, it's only the Raiders but the Eagles couldn't win in Oakland last week.

CHALLENGING PENALTIES: I went on a rampage last week about the NFL allowing coaches to throw challenge flags on pass interference calls. This week, I'm now open to allowing challenge flags on any penalty. The tripping call in the Vikings-Steelers game directly affected the outcome of that game. Instead of a Sidney Rice touchdown, a few plays later the Steelers recover a fumble and return it for a score. We can throw the red flag to fight over a few inches of field position, or a seemingly meaningless play during a game ... but you cannot use it to challenge a bad call that cost your team points. It is ridiculous to have this system and not use it to the best of its abilities.

WHERE DID MILES AUSTIN COME FROM? Miles Austin has been the NFL's best receiver over the last two weeks. Fantasy owners are stumbling over each other in order to nab him on their teams. Austin is perfect for the Dallas Cowboys. He's quiet, effective and makes plays. The touchdown he scored to beat the Chiefs two weeks ago was due to a great play by him breaking a tackle and scooting in the endzone. The fact that Terrell Owens isn't in Tony Romo's ear anymore has helped create some fluidity for the offense ... both in playcalling and execution.

SPEAKING OF THAT, IS DALLAS THE BEST TEAM IN THE NFC EAST?: Last week, the Cowboys had a bye but still gained a half a game on every team in the division (the Giants, Eagles and Skins all lost). This week, they showed us that they are a good team and beat the Atlanta Falcons rather handily. With the Giants loss (and the Eagles/Skins game ensuring another division foe will lose) and Dallas is atop the standings. Their two losses are to the Giants and undefeated Broncos. They have a great rushing attack and the passing game seems to have found a rhythm. The defense, at times, looks strong ... though they aren't the best tackling group. I still think they are the third best team in the division, but they are playing the best right now.

CEDRIC BENSON FOUND THE WIZARD OF OZ: I used to firmly believe that Cedric Benson lacked heart. My main line of thinking is the fact that he really didn't fight Thomas Jones for the starting gig in Chicago ... then slinked out of their Super Bowl appearance against the Colts. IT'S THE FREAKING SUPER BOWL! MAN UP AND PLAY! Some bad decisions and on the outside of the league for a while must have taught Benson how to focus on his job. Since the Bengals plucked him off the garbage heap, he's been one of the most productive running backs in the NFL.

SAINTS-DOLPHINS WAS GREAT: Sometimes it's good to not watch a game with a mind for fantasy football points or some gambling point of view. The Dolphins-Saints game on Sunday was an outstanding game just to watch. There were all kinds of exciting plays. There was the Wildcat Offense, the undefeated team trailing by 21 points early, Drew Brees' attack and a great atmosphere. Great game. Great game.

BRETT FAVRE DETRACTORS HAVE AMMO: While Brett Favre was gun slingin' and leading the Vikings to an undefeated mark on the season, those anti-Favre fans kept saying that down the road he'll lose a game for you. That happened yesterday. His late fumble was returned for a TD ... then an interception was returned for a TD. Yeah, Chester Taylor got his hands on it but that pass was thrown with too much fire on it that it was nearly impossible for him to pull it in.

Sportz College Football Playoff Bracket - 10/26

Another weird week in college football and my playoff bracket shook up a little. Remember that it is a 12-team playoff with the champions of the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big East, Big XII and Pac-10 getting automatic bids ... as well as the highest ranked non-BCS school. The five at-large bids are the top ranked (in the BCS) among the rest of the nation.

1-Florida (SEC Champ)
3-Texas (Big XII Champ)
4-Iowa (Big Ten Champ)
6-TCU (Highest ranked non-BCS Champ)
7-Boise State
8-Cincinnati (Big East Champ)
10-Oregon (Pac 10 Champ)
11-Ga Tech (ACC Champ)
12-Penn State

FIRST ROUND (December 19th)
12p-LSU at Cincinnati
3:30p-Georgia Tech at TCU
3:30p-Oregon at Boise State
8p-Penn State at USC

SECOND ROUND (December 26th)
12p-Cincinnati/LSU at Florida
3:30p-TCU/Ga Tech at Texas
3:30p-Boise State/Oregon at Alabama
8p-USC/Penn State at Iowa

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yeah, the NBA Refs Are Back! I Guess.

Who needs the preseason? The roster of NBA referees certainly don't. The refs union agreed to a new two-year deal with the league.

They will somehow be ready for the start of the regular season this week.

While the officials were locked out, the NBA used replacement refs during the preseason. For the most part, they did a good job. I mean, how much worse could they possibly be? It was nice watching refs that didn't show ego, took berating better (imagine the stuff players would say to a replacement ref) and controlled the game fairly well. Yes, it would get a bit choppy with some non-NBA decisions (last night after J.R. Smith slipped on a wet spot, the refs never called time to ensure the spot get cleaned. NBA refs would have done so to ensure safety).

Now we get Dick Bavetta, Joey Crawford and the rest back. We get those relationships that the refs have built with some players. Some biases too.

And we get back those conspiracy theories. Welcome to the 2009-2010 regular season.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I Guess Jim Zorn Will Be Around For a While

Redskins VP Vinny Cerrato said on a Washington radio station that Jim Zorn will be the head coach for the remainder of the season. Now, that's over with.

Probably not because this thing could get ugly pretty quick. If the Skins get embarrassed at home by Philadelphia on Monday Night, then there will be some reservation over keeping him going into the bye week. And just because Cerrato has spotted him the season doesn't mean that the vultures will stop flying over FedEx Field.

I do appreciate the fact that the team actually has made a public stance. The vultures aren't going anywhere but the mob with the burning stakes can go back home and rest for a couple of months. Maybe this will allow Zorn to be a bit more free with his decision making. More aggressive. Sherman Lewis may now be calling the plays, but Zorn gets to make the tougher decisions.

I don't know, maybe I'm grasping at straws. I rather Zorn coach the rest of the season and then get canned. This season isn't salvageable ... no matter who the coach is. Let Zorn finish out the string for the "maroon and yellow".

Get Rid of the Insane Coaches' Poll

I'm not a fan of the Coaches Poll in college football or basketball and I think they should dump it. My reasoning?

ARE THEY QUALIFIED? It's tough for anyone to actually come up with a fully informed poll. Does anyone watch every game during every week? Of course not. You link together guesses by reading boxscores and seeing a few highlights to form a poll. That's tough for the AP poll, let alone the coaches' poll.

AREN'T THEY BUSY? Which brings me to the fact that I doubt any college coach has the time to even thumb through the highlights and build a ranking system. In college football, you are dealing with prepping for a single opponent which that coach would be overly qualified to rank. In college basketball, you have two or three games a week that you have to prepare for, travel to and from. Throw in the recruiting that all coaches must do as well and I just don't see how there is any time for any coach to make an educated decision.

AREN'T THEY BIASED? This goes out to the football coaches than basketball coaches. In basketball, the poll really doesn't matter. Yeah, it sparks pride and debate during the season, but it doesn't help teams get in the tournament, the seeding process or their success once they get there. In football, however, the coaches poll is part of the formula that determines who is in the BCS and which bowl they are in. So if you are a Big XII coach, wouldn't you rank Texas in the top spot so they have a shot at getting to the BCS title? As an ACC school, wouldn't you rank Miami and/or Virginia Tech a bit high to try to get one of them into the BCS? Many conferences see the huge money trickle down to them in a variety of ways so it pays to rank your conference members higher than someone else.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

NFL Should Expand Replay to Pass Interference Calls

One of the biggest momentum changers in the NFL is the pass interference play. In the NFL, it is a spot foul, so the penalty can be huge. No other penalty on the field can cost you 60 yards ... so, yes, it is quite a big deal.

That's why I don't understand why pass interference calls aren't subjected to review. They use replay to haggle over a few yards -- heck, a few inches at times. Yet they won't use it for a penalty that could cost a team 50 yards.

It's hard for an official to gauge pass interference. The ref is also looking at if the ball is caught, if two feet are in bounds, if there is a fumble, etc. Most of the time, the refs are correct with their P.I. calls, but I've seen enough wrong calls this season to demand a rules change.

I just watched the Short Cuts version of the Saints-Giants game (DirecTV replays games that they package in 25 minute morsels.) The Giants were called on a pass interference call on Marques Colston that was a sham. In live action, it does look like an easy, textbook pass interference. Upon further review, Colston tripped on his on feet and fell to the ground. The defender never touched him.

When Colston got up, he was winking and giggling because he knew there was no foul.

Yet this play cost the Giants about 30 yards. And there was nothing that the G-men could do about it, except send a copy of the tape to the League offices after the game and hope for a "sorry about that" email. By the way, the Saints would turn that bad call into a TD.

The coaches have challenge flags; let them use 'em!

There is a couple flaws with this, though. If you can challenge a pass interference call on the field ... can you challenge when one isn't made? If you think your receiver was interfered with but there was no call, could you challenge that to get the call? I'm not sure on that one yet. Also, if you are going to challenge P.I. calls, then why not holding or late hit calls? Very interesting questions, too.

I've also heard the argument that there should be two types of pass interference penalties. A 15-yard penalty for "unintentional pass interference" ... which is when there is just some incidental contact ... and a spot foul for an "intentional pass interference" when the defender holds, grabs, tugs, pushes with the intent to stop the reception. The issue with that is it is so subjective already that complicating things won't help.

We have replay for a reason.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Going Back to the Way Things Used to Be

Please indulge me here. I'm just going back the basics with the divisions and conference set up when I was a teenager coming up (the 1980s-1990s) ... but with the newer teams added in. What would we be looking at?


NL EAST: Chicago Cubs, Florida Marlins, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals.

NL WEST: Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants

AL EAST: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Toronto Blue Jays

AL WEST: Anaheim Angels, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers

(We go back to the 1993 setup with two divisions in each league. I kept with the original divisional members ... including the horrible Atlanta, Cincinnati, Houston trifecta in the NL West. I put the Brewers back in the AL East where they were at. I also put both of the 1998-expansion Diamondbacks and Rays in the American League. When I was growing up, the AL always had the more teams.

The dynamic of MLB would be some interesting division races. The Phillies and Cardinals in the NL East; the Dodgers/Rockies/Braves/Giants in the NL West; the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry will be joined with the Tigers; and how about an Angels/Twins run in the AL West?)


ATLANTIC DIVISION: Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Wizards.

CENTRAL DIVISION: Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors.

MIDWEST DIVISION: Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Hornets, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs.

PACIFIC DIVISION: Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz.

(Now, I wanted to go with the original format that was used prior the the Bobcats entry into the league six years ago. To accomodate the new Bobcats and the relocation of the Seattle SuperSonics to Oklahoma City, I had to make a few changes. The Atlantic Division is exactly the same as it was back then. The Central Division is essentially the same, though I kept "Charlotte" there and move the "Hornets" to the Midwest Division. Also, I switched the Jazz and Thunder in the Western Conference.)


NFC EAST: Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins.

NFC CENTRAL: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

NFC WEST: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers.

AFC EAST: Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets.

AFC CENTRAL: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans.

AFC WEST: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks

(Interesting since I basically made few changes to the format. Remember how jacked up the NFL divisions were back then: Arizona and Dallas in the East; Atlanta and Carolina in the West? I have the divisions set up exactly how they were just before Houston joined the league a few years ago. That meant that I added the Texans to the NFC West because, well that's where they make the most sense. )


ADAMS DIVISION: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning

PATRICK DIVISION: Atlanta Thrashers, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals

NORRIS DIVISION: Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs.

SMYTHE DIVISION: Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks

(The Winnepeg Jets move to Phoenix was easy, as was the Hartford Whalers move to Carolina and Minnesota North Stars move to Dallas. But with all the expansion since 1990 -- nine teams have been added since -- and Quebec's move to Coloardo, it was tough to keep things sane.

I put the two Florida teams in the Adams Division because Carolina was already there. Ottawa joining them made just as much sense. That meant Atlanta and Nashville got sent to the Patrick Division. Pretty easy to put Minnesota and Columbus in the Norris. Even simpler to put Anaheim, San Jose and the relocated Colorado in the Smythe

Realigning With the Kansas City Kings

I hope that the Sacramento Kings choose to go back to Kansas City to play. I just do. And when they do, the NBA will have to re-realign the divisions again.

PACIFIC DIVISION (Clippers, Lakers, Warriors, Suns and Blazers). With the Kings over in KC, this would be a great time to trade them out for Portland. Portland is on an island now that Seattle doesn't have a team and has more in common with this division.

MIDWEST DIVISION (Nuggets, Jazz, Timberwolves, Thunder, Kings). With no northwestern teams in the division, they can go back to the ol' skool Midwest Division name. With teams in Denver, Utah, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City and Kansas City it makes sense. The Kings and Thunder could form a nice rivalry.

SOUTHWEST DIVISION (Hornets, Rockets, Mavericks, Spurs, Grizzlies). No changes here.

Looking Back at My NFL Predictions

We are about 1/3 of the way into the NFL season, so it's a good time to see how my pre-season predictions are going.

NFC EAST: This is pretty much going as planned. The Giants and Eagles are the class of the division. I over-estimated the Cowboys a bit (I had them finishing at 11-5) and had the Redskins at 6-10. That was figuring the Skins would win a few of those cupcake games they just had. Grade: A

NFC SOUTH: Not so good. I had the Carolina Panthers winning the division ... which was a mistake. I also had the Saints and Falcons as 8-8 teams ... which was a mistake. Hey, I was right to pick Tampa to have a horrid season. Grade: D

NFC NORTH: I really like my picks here. I had the Packers, Vikings, Bears and Lions ... with only Detroit suffering a losing season. I like my picks, though it doesn't look like the Packers will pass the Vikings. The Bears look like a 8-8 team. Grade: B

NFC WEST: I over-estimated the Rams by saying they would win four games. I like my Arizona pick to win the division, but I wish I had switched the Seahawks and Niners. Grade: B

AFC EAST: It may not look like it right now, but I love my picks here. There is no way the Patriots go 14-2 (they've already lost two games) but they are easily the class of this division. I have the Dolphins behind them, though at 8-8. The Jets are just behind that and the Bills are in last. I like these picks. Grade: A

AFC SOUTH: I'm cool with picking the Colts to win the division. Yeah, but I had the Titans going 12-4 too. Ouch. The Texans are better than a 6-10 team and the Jags are a wee bit better than 5-11. Grade: C

AFC NORTH: I still like my Steelers and Ravens picks right now. The Bengals will top my prediction (5-11). The Browns won't (4-12). Grade: B

AFC WEST: Horrible. I had the Chargers blowing through this division and the Broncos finishing 5-11. Kansas City will have to do a lot to get to that 7-9 record I predicted. Just bad. Grade: F

So, it is just a twisty rundown of predictions. I like most of them still and won't pick nits with the non-essential teams. I'm angry at myself for not really hitting on any surprises (Bengals, Broncos, Saints) and missing on some of my big dogs (Panthers, Titans, Chargers).

Monday, October 19, 2009

Where 2009 Ranks Among The Worst Redskins Seasons

I became a Redskins fan in January 1983. I was 7 years old and for some reason I liked watching that team. Of course, those Skins would go on to beat Miami in Super Bowl XVII and a love was born.

Since then, I've seen them win two more Super Bowls, lose another one, change owners and change stadiums. The fortunes also changed in 1993.

For the first decade of my Redskins life, I saw them win three Super Bowls, five NFC East titles, win 16 playoff games and just one losing season. The Redskins were one of the elite teams of that time frame (along with the 49ers and Giants) and you'd like to think it would always be that way.

It hasn't. Since the 1992 season, my Redskins have won just one NFC East title, won just two playoff games and just five winning seasons (out of 16) ... while posting 7 seasons with at least 10 losses. It was a bad time for the empire (Shogun Assassin reference).

It seems, at the moment, that it couldn't get much worse than it is right now. The Redskins latest embarrassing loss has sent Redskins Nation into panic mode. It's so bad that you almost hope it hits rock bottom so some changes can be made. But is it "the worst time in Redskins history" as some have decided to call it?

Well, going back to my era of fandom ... no. But it's close. That initial bad season of 1993 was horrible. The team that just went 14-2 and cruised to a Super Bowl two years earlier was now 4-12 and getting pummelled each week. The next year we went 3-13 ... and had to win the final game of the season to get that mark (to be fair, the final five losses were by a combined 12 points).

Easily one of the most frustrating moments that I can vividly remember was in 1997. In that season, we were supposed to be pretty good. Not great, but we were rising back to something similar to the good ol' days. Well, on November 23rd, we tied the Giants 7-7. This was also the game where Gus Frerotte headbutted the stands after a TD and was injured for the rest of the game. This was the game where Michael Westbrook, after catching a pass that put us in field goal range and the win, took his helmet off in celebration and cost us 15 yards ... and put us back out of range. My frustrations that night were unbelievable.

The Steve Spurrier years were frustrating ... just as that the 2006 season where we went 5-11 a year after we won 10 games.

If I had to rank my frustration, 2009 just barely falls behind the 1993 season. Back then, I never saw the Redskins as an embarrassing mess. It was beginning of the dark times we live in now.

Now, for those people screaming "worst in Redskins history" need to go back to the books. In 1961, the Skins finished 1-12-1 and were blown out on a weekly basis (35-3, 20-0, 24-0, 53-0 are the worst ones). Counting the season before it, and the Redskins were 2-21-3 in that two year stretch. There also is that 73-0 loss to the Chicago Bears in the 1940 NFL Championship game which is still a record for margin of victory and points allowed in a game. Rumor is that so many footballs were lost in the crowd after PATs that the officials asked George Halas to run or pass for the PAT instead of kicking.

The point is that 2009 is definitely one of the worst seasons in the history of this once proud franchise. There have been a few worse, but a ton more better.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Jim Zorn Showing His Panic

Jim Zorn is officially worried about his job.

Coming out of the half of a sad 3-0 defecit to the lowly Kansas City Chiefs, Zorn benched quarterback Jason Campbell in favor of Todd Collins. Apparently he benched Clinton Portis in favor of Ladell Betts (the word is he has an ankle injury -- right).

Stuff like this makes you think that Zorn is willing to do anything.

It is good and bad all at the same time. I can understand Zorn doing this. His team has come under fire over the first five weeks of the season. He's heard all kinds of noise about his job being in jeopardy -- that it is "when" and not "if" he's canned. Next week his team will be on Monday Night Football against the very talented Eagles (and should get spanked). After that is the Skins' bye week.

Bye week in the NFL could mean "good-bye" week for coaches who are close to being fired. It is the best time to change horses midstream ... if there even is one. If Washington loses this game to the 0-5 Chiefs and then gets stomped by Philly, Zorn will most likely be shown the door. He knows this and is grasping straws to try to get any kind of momentum.

There's a lot of changes goin' on in Washington.

UPDATE: Apparently CBS wants him gone, too. CBS has lost the feed for the Chiefs-Redskins game ... and we are pumped with Brett Favre while we wait. Thank you, NFL Sunday Ticket for other options.

It's Getting Harder to Defend Jason Campbell ... Especially When He's Benched

I've defended Jason Campbell over the past couple of years and have done so as late as yesterday. But it's getting extremely hard to do this when he and this Redskins offense performs like this.

Let me start off by saying that our offensive line is shoddy. It was held together with rubber-bands and duct tape before the season began. The inevitable injuries that were going to occur have now, so our lack of depth is further exposed. Having a crappy offensive line doesn't help Campbell much.

Having said that, it is still Campbell's job to make smart decisions even faced with the rush. He's not doing that. He underthrows some receivers. He overthrows others. He has never heard of the word "touch pass". Santana Moss was wide open in the first half against the Chiefs, but Campbell threw a laser that fell short of the streaking receiver.

Things like that happen, but what really pissed me off was the Redskins final drive of the first half. With less than two minutes and a full compliment of timeouts, we failed to get anything done. He threw short passes over the middle, forcing us to eat our timeouts. Then, with about 20 seconds remaining and no timeouts left, Campbell goes back to pass but everyone is covered. Instead of ditching it and throwing the ball away, he tucks the ball in and runs. Gained about three yards and forced us to spike the ball with six seconds left. From there, we got one Hail Mary shot at the endzone (instead of a 54-yard FG attempt -- thanks Zorn) which was intercepted.

*-note: I started typing this during halftime of the Redskins-Chiefs game.

Coming out of the half, Campbell now has been benched in favor of Todd Collins. Collins first pass was hitting a wide open Santana Moss for 42 yards. Nice bomb with nice touch.

Thanks for the past couple of years, Jason. It was nice knowing you.

Sportz' NCAA Football Playoff Pairings - 2nd Editon

Some very interesting things happened this weekend that could change up my Playoff Pairings. Screw the BCS rankings coming out today -- we just settle this on the field (or on the cyberspace).

As usual, my playoff format consists of 12 teams. The champion of the six BCS conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac-10 and SEC) get into the dance. Also, the top ranked team among the non-BCS conferences (WAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt, MAC, Conference USA) gets in. The other five openings go to the five highest ranked BCS teams that didn't get in already.

The top four teams get byes. Only the national championship game is played on a neutral site. And regardless of how they got in, use the BCS poll to seed the teams (though some changes may be made to keep conference foes from meeting up in the first round).

1-Florida (SEC Champ)
3-Texas (Big XII Champ)
4-Boise State (top non-BCS Champ)
5-Cincinnati (Big East Champ)
6-Iowa (Big Ten Champ)
11-Oregon (Pac 10 Champ)
12-Virginia (ACC Champ ... not likely but they are the ACC's only undefeated team)

December 12th
12p-Virginia at Cincinnati
3:30p-Oregon at Iowa
3:30p-LSU at TCU
8p-Miami at USC

December 19th
12p-TCU/LSU at Florida
3:30p-Iowa/Oregon at Texas
3:30p-Cincinnati/Virginia at Boise State
8p-USC/Miami at Alabama

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Hopes, Wishes and Dreams For the New Tar Heels Hoops Season

Yes, it is exciting when Midnight Madness hits and college basketball season is on the way. But when your team just won the title back in April, you don't mind as much if the offseason is a little long. Basking in the championship glory is a great feeling.

But life moves on and so did a lot of UNC's scoring from last year. So what do I expect, hope and wish happens this upcoming season?

Well, unlike 2005-2006, this defending champ is stocked. After the 2005 title, the top seven scorers either graduated or left early for the NBA leaving the Heels with role players like Reyshawn Terry and David Noel and a great crop of freshmen (Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green, Bobby Frasor, Marcus Ginyard). This year, Carolina lost a lot (Hansbrough, Green, Frasor, Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington) but they kept a little bit more than before. Deon Thompson is the lone starter remaining, but the team still has Ed Davis (who would've been a lottery pick in the last draft), Tyler Zeller, Ginyard (who had a medical redshirt last year), Larry Drew and Will Graves.

Adding to that is, again, another great recruiting class. John Henson should be the starting small forward (more on that later); Dexter Strickland could get a ton of time as a combo guard; Leslie McDonald should get his chances backing up Drew; and the Wear twins add even more depth to the front court. With both Wear twins, Henson, Thompson, Davis and Zeller, we have six guys who are 6'9 or taller. A probable frontcourt of Thompson-Davis-Henson would be a matchup nightmare for opponents.

I'm not expecting a championship or even a Final Four berth -- but unlike '05, I have hopes that both those things could happen. If we could pull that off, that would be totally amazing! To lose a former National Player of the Year and the past two ACC Players of the Year, three first round draft picks and most of the perimeter scoring and then go back to the Final Four? Wow!

I expect another ACC regular season championship. The ACC will be down a bit this year due to a lot of losses of star players. That frontcourt rotation will allow (a) the Heels to keep a matchup advantage over everyone, (b) should make us a rebounding machine, (c) make foul troubles a non-issue and (d) allow the team to be able to score in the half court set if the break-neck speed of the Lawson and Felton eras don't develop at times.

LARRY DREW II: He is the key to what kind of season the Heels will have. Drew didn't wow anyone last year in the minutes he had backing up Ty Lawson. Still, players and coaches keep saying that Drew really can run this team. I hope so. He's not a great shooter and hasn't shown the best decision making at times but that's to be expected from a freshman point guard. At UNC, you really see PGs step up in development in their second year.

MARCUS GINYARD: I think Ginyard will get the starting shooting guard gig off the bat. He is the Heels best defender and he will be needed for that. He also is a do-everything kind of guy who is athletic, can shoot and is smart. Expect him to become the leader of this team.

JOHN HENSON: We've been waiting for this kid for about four years now. He's 6'10 with looooong arms, quick legs and an outside game. He needs to bulk up a bit but the fact that he could come in at starting small forward makes Roy Williams drool. That would allow the Heels to put three trees on the court at the same time and hardly lose a thing. Henson has the ability to become one of the team's top scorers this season.

DEON THOMPSON: Thompson played really well last year. He showed a lot more confidence in his offensive game, played much better defensively and hopes to take on a leadership role on this team. The fact that he is comfortable with his turn-around shots keeps the lane from getting clogged up. I think Thompson could be the next Scott Williams -- a guy who was just a helper until his senior year when he became the man.

ED DAVIS: Davis is the guy that NBA scouts are drooling over. The lefty big man showed a nose for the ball with his rebounding and shot blocking. During the Final Four, he showed us that he could score as well. Davis will most likely be the focal point of the offense this year and should lead the league in rebounding and blocks.

TYLER ZELLER: People forget that Zeller came out of the gates with a bang last year. He broke his wrist near the end of his second game of the season and missed the next 10 weeks. When he came back, he was out of sync and out of shape. However, he really could become a star this year with his 7-foot frame and his ability to run the court. This kid is good.

WILL GRAVES: Another guy that will be counted on. Graves was suspended from the team last year due to undisclosed issues, but he's back with an edge. With Ellington, Green and Lawson gone, so went the Heels lone three point shooters. Graves, though, is one of the best gunners on the team and could see a strong bump in time if he shows he can nail those shots.

DEXTER STRICKLAND: This is a guy who could become the next Carolina star. He's a combo guard (more of a point) who is a beast in the transition game. That's always a good thing in Chapel Hill. He's a very good ballhandler who can get to the basket and finish (think Lawson). Strickland could get a lot of time backing up both guard spots ... or even taking either of the starting guard spots. The kid is that good. If he continues to develop his three-point shot, he'll be unguardable.

LESLIE MCDONALD: Think a freshman version of Wayne Ellington. He's a great catch-and-shoot player who does need to develop some slashing skills. Still, he's a smart player who is also a good rebounder for his position. He, like Strickland, could be a combo guard.

DAVID and TRAVIS WEAR: I hate lumping these two together, but the are so similar in their games. They are the same size, play the same position and have mainly the exact same skill set. They are very good mid-range shooters which will make them great at the high post. Because of that and their passing abilities, they could see some time at any of the forward spots to keep that size advantage at all times. They are neither very athletic, but both are extremely smart and understand the game better than most freshmen. There is some belief that one or both of these guys could redshirt this year.

JUSTIN WATTS: Here is a forgotten man. Remember that Watts saw some action during the late rounds of the NCAA Tournament, including the title game. He works very hard and is an unbelievable athlete. That could be key for a team that really doesn't have a ton of that in the backcourt. Sure, the numbers probably knock him out of a steady rotation, but he could have his moments.

This is a nice team. Again, I expect them to fight off Duke for the ACC title. I expect a Sweet 16 run ... pretty sure of an Elite Eight appearance ... hopeful for a Final Four berth ... and praying for another championship. This is a top 10 team all season long that will have its highs and lows because they are so young. But think about this: they will play AT Kentucky, AT Texas in Cowboys Stadium and AT Duke. They'll also face Ohio State, Michigan State and either California or Syracuse. They'll be tested.

Sportz' Week 6 NFL Picks

Alright, I didn't have a good week last week. Still, I was 8-6. Right now I am 50-26.

Week 1: 12-4
Week 2: 7-9
Week 3: 11-5
Week 4: 12-2
Week 5: 8-6

So let's see what I got for what seems like an easy Week 6:

BENGALS OVER TEXANS: I think Houston could scare Cincinnati in this one and pull the upset. But these Bengals have shown some major cojones in every game this season and it's hard to pick against them in this one.

PACKERS OVER LIONS: The game is in Green Bay. That's pretty much it.

JAGUARS OVER RAMS: Jacksonville couldn't score a point last week and were stomped by Seattle. But the Rams really, really, really, really stink.

VIKINGS OVER RAVENS: Good one here. Baltimore has imploded in each of the last two weeks. I think Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson do a number on a shaky secondary and the Williams Wall shuts down Ray Rice.

SAINTS OVER GIANTS: Easily the best game of the day. I like what the G-men have done this year, but the Saints are so hard to beat at the Superdome. The fact that Eli Manning has that plantar faciitis convinces me that New York gets its first loss.

STEELERS OVER BROWNS: Again, Cleveland won last week while Derek Anderson completed two passes. Pittsburgh rolls.

PANTHERS OVER BUCCANEERS: This used to be a great game. Now it is a matchup of two teams that are a combined 1-8. Carolina will be the team to get the win here.

REDSKINS OVER CHIEFS: This one is huge for Jim Zorn and the Skins. A loss at home to the bumbling Chiefs would be beyond embarassing. Please don't screw this up!

EAGLES OVER RAIDERS: Philly will find this game easy since they don't have to defend a quarterback.

SEAHAWKS OVER CARDINALS: Seattle has looked better so far than Arizona. Huge divisional game.

PATRIOTS OVER TITANS: It's getting to be Vince Young time soon. New England is bent, at home and facing a reeling team. This game may tell us more about the Pats than the Titans.

JETS OVER BILLS: Last week's horrible effort will forever keep me from picking Buffalo.

FALCONS OVER BEARS: Great matchup. Atlanta seems like a more solid team right now. The fact that Roddy White is playing at the level he is and that Chicago won't be able to match that has been going A-T-L.

CHARGERS OVER BRONCOS: Weird that I finally admit to believing in Denver and then I pick them to lose. This is a huge game for both teams. A Denver win over San Diego would put the Broncos in a cushy position to take this division. The Bolts need this to keep that hope alive. They can't count on a late season collapse again.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Skip Bayless Is Having a Bad Time

Unlike most people, I don't hate ESPN's Skip Bayless. Yeah, he speaks out of his butt sometimes, seems out of touch at other times and seems to hold onto too many grudges. I believe that he gets his role as the guy people hate. And he does predict some things that do happen.

Not for a while, though.

Going into the college football season, Bayless trumpeted the Oklahoma Sooners as the next champion. They've lost two games already. Sure, he didn't know that Sam Bradford would be injured but the Sooners didn't look that good against BYU before he got hurt.

Going into the baseball playoffs, Bayless was trumpeting the Boston Red Sox. He said that they were laying in the weeds and will take down the mighty Yankees. Boston was swept out of the first round by the Angels. Speaking of the Yankees, Bayless predicted that Alex Rodriguez and C.C. Sabathia will continue their poor postseason play and doom the Bronx Bombers. A-Rod was awesome in their series with the Twins and Sabathia has been dominant in his two starts.

He also picked the Dallas Cowboys to do some big things in the NFL this season. Right now, they are 3-2 after an overtime win over the winless Kansas City Chiefs. Hardly dominant. Hardly playoff worthy.

Maybe that's picking nits, but you lose a bit of credibility when your anti-Yankee beliefs hinder your objective reporting (hey, I hate the Yankees too but I know this is a special squad).

Again, I'm not a Skip Bayless hater at all. I'm about 50-50 on what he says. Still, he's struggling with his picks recently.

UPDATE: On Friday's "First Take", Bayless predicted an Oklahoma win over Texas and that Sam Bradford would come up with big plays late. Of course, there is no way he could have known that Bradford would be knocked out early on in the game ... but he still was wrong, twice.

Then he says that USC would blow out Notre Dame 30-10 and that there is no chance the Irish can keep it close. Well, USC did win, but the score was 34-27 and Notre Dame had a chance to tie with time expiring.

He then says that it is time for the Dodgers to panic in the NLCS (LA beat Philly in Game 2).

Midnight Madness Continues to Be Awesome Event

Usually in sports, the beginning of training camp or practice is a time for celebration. Baseball fans covet the day that pitchers and catchers report to spring training. NFL fans flock to various training camp sites to root for their team. In college football, fans fill stadiums to watch scrimmages.

But none of that is like Midnight Madness to me. The event, which has been around nearly two decades, has become the top of the heap. Arenas all over this country will be filled with rabid fans as they see their favorite teams start up again.

In college basketball, there is both tremendous turnover and tremendous exposure. At North Carolina tonight, fans will finally get the opportunity to see John Henson perform in Carolina blue after years of waiting for his arrival. The timid freshmen of a year ago come out of their shell to become confident veterans. Seniors begin to latch onto the all the memories of their final season. Hope is high.

The only gripe I have about Midnight Madness is the makeup of the crowd. Usually, the tickets are free to give away. However, you could go on eBay or Craig's List to find people selling the ducats. To me, the event should be about the students first and foremost. Many of the big-time programs have to turn some students away in order to sell to the high rollers. This is a free event that represents the pride of your school and should be celebrated by those actually attending the university.

The only Midnight Madness I went to was waaaaay back in 1993. I was a freshman at UNC-Charlotte and attended the Madness (back when it actually was held at midnight) with a couple of my friends. I don't remember much except for the party feel in the arena. This was my school; these were my peers. A couple of those on that team were in my Psych class. Also back then, they actually practiced.

Now the event is so much more fun. The festivities start around 7:30pm and there are skits and dancing and the coaches are getting into the act a little more. Instead of dull practicing, there are scrimmages and dunk contests. It's all part of the college experience for both the fans and the players.

I'm not against others getting in and I understand that if a broke student has a free ticket worth $100 to someone else he should sell it. I just rather they let as many students as they can in and raffle off the other tickets.

Either way, bring on the newest college basketball season and ... GO HEELS!

Kings May Be Moving Away From Sacramento

The city of Sacramento may not have the Kings around much longer. With the ownership (the Maloofs) failing at getting a new arena built and the current economic mess in California, the Kings may be on the way out.

According to ESPN's John Ireland, the Kings will probably be moving in the very near future ... possibly next season. They will have to do so if the franchise wants to be economically viable.

It's such a problem that even the NBA may endorse a move away from Sacto. There are plenty of NBA-ready cities and arenas out there that it would be foolish for the franchise to sit, wait and hope for new digs in Cali's capital.

So where do they go from here?

ANAHEIM KINGS? The Honda Center is an NBA-ready arena that has hosted a lot of basketball events already. The team would be close enough to keep some of its diehard fan base in northern California. The problem will be the fact that three NBA teams would be in the LA-Anaheim area and could be overkill. The Clippers have spent a quarter of a century trying to get some solid footing in the Lakers shadow. How hard would it be for the Kings to do the same?

KANSAS CITY KINGS? I like this. The Kings franchise moved to Sacramento from Kansas City over two decades ago. It should be easier to build a fan base there. They have the lovely Sprint Center ready for the NBA to come. Also, the NBA would get to have a nice regional rivalry between Kansas City and Oklahoma City.

LAS VEGAS KINGS? The Maloofs are Las Vegas kind of guys so it would make sense that they may think about moving to Sin City. The problems are numerous, however. Professional franchises have been very shy to even consider placing a team in the gambling capital of the country. Also, the Thomas and Mack Center is serviceable but isn't much of an upgrade over ARCO Arena.

SEATTLE SONICS? Seattle believes they are next up to get a franchise. They lost the Sonics over a year ago to Oklahoma City, but got to keep the Sonics name, logo and colors. Any franchise placed in that city would be the Sonics ... so the long running Kings franchise would pretty much be dead. Having said all of this, the stadium issues that made the original Sonics move haven't been resolved yet.

SAN JOSE KINGS? This move could make some sense. The team would only be moving south a bit and should be able to keep a lot of their fans. Yeah, it would butt in on the Golden State Warriors (who play in Oakland), but the Kings were already doing that in Sacramento. The HP Pavilion can house NBA basketball, but it's only five years younger than ARCO.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

TBS Gives Us Some "Wolrd" Series Facts

I was told earlier this year that using proper sentence structure was the most important thing in the sports media world. Well thanks to TBS for throwing up this graphic telling us about Kirk Gibson's pinch hit home run in the 1988 "Wolrd Series". Now, we all make typos on our blogs, writings or anything we put a pen to. But when your job is perfecting these graphics, please take a second to proof-read first

Sportz' NBA Preview and Predictions

I love the NFL and dedicate a lot of time to it. But the NBA may be the league I'm most in tune with for some reason. I feel that the NBA, more than the NFL and MLB, is a league that I can follow everything with better clarity.

So, the 2009-2010 season will begin soon. There's questions everywhere (which I'll get to) and a race for another championship by the Lakers, Celtics and Spurs ... and Shaq.

First off, check out my individual division predictons here: Atlantic, Southeast, Central, Southwest, Northwest and Pacific.

Now a more in-depth look:


EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF TEAMS: 1-Cavaliers, 2-Celtics, 3-Orlando, 4-Washington, 5-Atlanta, 6-Philadelphia, 7-Chicago, 8-Miami

WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF TEAMS: 1-Lakers, 2-Nuggets, 3-Spurs, 4-Blazers, 5-Mavericks, 6-Hornets, 7-Jazz, 8-Suns

NBA FINALS: Lakers beat Cavaliers, 3-2


WILL RON ARTEST SCREW UP THE LAKERS? I don't think so. He respects Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson enough not to be the cause of the problem. He pretty much was on his best behavior last year. Most importantly, this is his best chance at a championship and he doesn't want to be the guy who ruins that.

WILL SHAQ HELP OR HURT LEBRON? This is the one I'm interested in. I've been on record saying that Shaquille O'Neal will muck up the lane a bit for LeBron James. The Cavs' best play was having LeBron blow past his man and attack the rim. Now, Shaq and his defender will be there in the way. Having said that, Shaq will keep the defense from zeroing in on LeBron and should leave guys like Mo Williams and Delonte West wiiide open.

IS SAN ANTONIO STILL A CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM? They can win the title but I'm not as enamored with the Spurs as others seem to be. Yeah, Parker, Manu and Jefferson form an awesome athletic bunch ... I don't like when Tim Duncan is a center. He seems to play better at the power forward spot.

ARE THE CELTICS TOO OLD? This is a great question. I think they are old but not too old. Ray Allen is 34, Kevin Garnett is 33 and Paul Pierce will be 32. That's not too old to win a championship.

WHAT PLAYER WILL BE THE GUY TEAMS GO AFTER AT THE TRADE DEADLINE? Carlos Boozer. The Jazz didn't think he'd be coming back. Boozer didn't think he was coming back to Utah. But with the economic climate and the open market down, Boozer didn't opt out of the final year of his deal and stayed put. Utah just broke the bank for Paul Millsap and he needs starters minutes. For teams that need an inside scorer, Boozer would be a smart bet. You aren't bogged down with a bad contract.

WILL THE KNICKS EMBARASS NEW YORKERS? This isn't a playoff team, but it's close. I think this Knicks team will be relatively quiet. They have some talent and most of those big mouths are gone.

WHAT TEAM WILL BE AN EMBARASSMENT? I'm picking Golden State. They have some players there but it seems as if no one is getting along. You have Stephen Jackson demanding out, Monta Ellis whining about Stephen Curry and questions about the future of coach Don Nelson. This thing could get out of hand quickly.

WHAT WILL IVERSON BE IN MEMPHIS? The Grizzlies will be an interesting social experiment. Iverson ... who cares about starting, shooting and scoring ... joins O.J. Mayo in the backcourt. Are there enough touches to go around? Mayo is the future so he needs to gain experience. Of course, Iverson always sees himself as the man on the court at all times. Iverson will get his points, but it will be plain to see that he isn't the same player anymore.

CAN ORLANDO WIN THE EAST AGAIN? No. They are good but they won't punk the Celtics or Cavaliers again. The C's will the healthy and the Cavs will be hungry. Vince Carter adds more excitement and scoring, but losing Hedo Turkoglu will really hurt come playoff time.

Sportz' Southwest Division Predictions


1-SAN ANTONIO SPURS (Parker, Ginobili, Jefferson, McDyess, Duncan): San Antonio added Jefferson to a talented group. This team looks very Spurs-like. The key will be if Manu can stay healthy and the continued developement of bench guys like Roger Mason and George Hill.

2-DALLAS MAVERICKS (Kidd, Terry, Howard, Nowitzki, Gooden): Not liking their center situation, but the rest of the lineup is loaded. Terry, Howard, Dirk and newly acquired Shawn Marion can fill up the bucket and Kidd is the perfect guy to dish out those assists. Defense won't be their friend and this kind of hinges on if Howard can get his act together.

3-NEW ORLEANS HORNETS (Paul, Posey, Stojakovic, West, Okafor): The Hornets underachieved a bit last year and nothing really was done to correct that. Okafor takes Tyson Chandler's spot but he isn't the offense presence. He will offer a steady defender and rebounder in the lane, which will help.

4-HOUSTON ROCKETS (Brooks, Battier, Ariza, Landry, Scola): It wasn't a good offseason in Houston. Injuries have already decimated this franchise. Tracy McGrady will miss a good while of the season and Yao Ming will most likely miss the entire season. Ron Artest is in LA. So, that leaves all their other guys to get the job done. They won't get anywhere near the success they had last season with a full crew, but this isn't a team that will run away scared.

5-MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (Mayo, Iverson, Gay, Randolph, Gasol): This is a team that will be a great social study. This was a team that started FOUR rookies last year. Now those guys have Iverson and Randolph around to bring veteran ... well, it isn't "leadership" ... but experience. I think Iverson mucks up what the Grizz wants to do. They need to have Mayo as the guy with the ball in his hands, while Gay, Gasol and the recently drafted Sam Young and Hasheem Thabeet develop into starters. This will be a very interesting team to watch, even if they don't win that much.

Sportz' Northwest Division Predictions


1-DENVER NUGGETS (Billups, J. Smith, Anthony, Martin, Nene): The Nuggets gave the Lakers a good fight in the Western Conference Finals. Pretty much everyone is back in the fold and they added Ty Lawson. They'll get a full season with Billups which will help a lot. This team will be there in the end and success will be achieved by getting to the Finals.

2-PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (Miller, Roy, Fernandez, Aldridge, Oden): This young talented team got a taste of the postseason last year. Now comes the next step where they do some damage once they get there. It will be interesting to see how Andre Miller fits in with Portland. Roy is a star and Aldridge is and up-and-comer. A key will be if Oden can improve from his rookie season.

3-UTAH JAZZ (D. Williams, Brewer Kirilenko, Boozer, Okur): This is a team I can't figure out. Going into last season, people thought that they could give the Lakers a run for their money in the West. Instead they finished 8th in the conference and quickly dismissed by Los Angeles. That team is pretty much intact, though Carlos Boozer may be moved at any time. The issue is the attitude of this team.

4-OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (Westbrook, Harden, Durant, Green, Krstic): This is a very young lineup but they are also very good. Harden gives them a tough-minded swingman that should allow Durant easier shots. The bench is very thin so the luck of this team will come from how high the young crew can lift them.

5-MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (Flynn, Sessions, Pavlovic, Jefferson, Love): Jefferson is awesome and Love is a nice role guy. They did a good thing bringing in Sessions. But this is a franchise that is building for the far future than they are for now. Ricky Rubio is still in Spain and the bench is filled with journeymen and guys I thought were out of the league. They'll fight the Kings for the worst record in the league.

Sportz' Pacific Division Predictions


1-LOS ANGELES LAKERS (Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol, Bynum): This is the class of the Western Conference. The defending champions brought nearly everyone back from a year ago (Ariza is the only notable loss) and added the edgy Ron Artest. This team could be scary due to the constant mismatches they create. They could have a backcourt of Kobe and Artest ... two of the best defenders in the NBA ... and a very tall frontcourt of Gasol, Odom and Bynum. In this division, there really isn't anyone who can compete with LA.

2-PHOENIX SUNS (Nash, Richardson, G. Hill, Stoudamire, Frye): The Suns have undergone some changes of late, but Nash and Amare are still there. With their commitment back to the run-and-gun game, this is the only way for the team to be successful. They have a chance to sneak back into the playoffs, but I'm guessing they miss out again.

3-LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (B. Davis, Gordon, Thornton, Griffin, Kaman): This is my darkhorse team in the West. Yeah, they are the Clippers but this team has a lot of talent. If Baron Davis can get back to his form when he was with G-State, there is a lot of reason to hope. Their last couple of drafts have netted Eric Gordon, Al Thornton and this year's top pick in Blake Griffin. There is reason for optimism. They also have Ricky Davis and Marcus Camby off the bench who can contribute.

4-GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (Curry, Ellis, S. Jackson, Maggette, Beidrins): This team is talented, but is also a mess. Stephen Jackson wants out badly. Monte Ellis doesn't think he can play alongside Stephen Curry. And the starting power forward is Maggette. Yeah, they have issues. They also have a team that if they actually came together then they could cause some damage. Look for Anthony Randolph to step up his game.

5-SACRAMENTO KINGS (Evans, Martin, Nocioni, J. Thompson, Hawes): They are the worst team in this division and may be the worst team in the West. They have some nice young talent in Evans, Thompson and Hawes and continue to have the great scoring of Martin. Nice guys but this team just isn't good enough to do much this season. Get these kids some playing time and experience and then continue to improve the talent level.

Rush-ed Out in St. Louis

The group that will bid to buy the St. Louis Rams franchise has dropped Rush Limbaugh from their roster. The move was made after players lashed out at the prospects of the highly controversial radio host actually running a team, Colts owner Jim Irsay promised not to vote for the group and commish Roger Goodell's not-so-thinly veiled comments.

The group needed to drop Rush if they really wanted a shot at owning the Rams. I'm not getting into his past because you can read that anywhere.

I will say that, even as a Republican, I believe this was the right move. As a Republican, I've grown a bitter taste to where my party has been headed. Instead of the true roots of being a fiscal conservative group, the party has instead pushed fear and paranoia on people. Fear comes in many shades: religion, patriotism, racism and conspiracy theories.

This was the same man who was on ESPN saying that the media is craving for a black quarterback to be successful (referring to Donovan McNabb). He also referred to the players in the NFL as "Crips and Bloods."

Limbaugh went on his show and said that his dismissal from the bidding group was a sign that the "left" will do anything to hush the "right's" voice and the fact that everyone was against him shows that this country is going into the crapper. He even went off about the fact that the Black Eyed Peas Fergie is a new part owner of the Dolphins. Again, I'm a Republican and I don't agree with him at all. He was kicked out because of his racist remarks over the year and his inability to quiet his noise.

The collection of NFL owners are predominately conservative, so it isn't as if the players didn't want to play for a Republican. It is because none of those other owners have made anti-black comments in a public forum and the NFL isn't scared that any of them would. Limbaugh has and you know that he, at some point, will again.

Look at the NFL owners for a moment. Yeah, there are some interesting and driven people amongst them but they all know their place. If Limbaugh was part of any ownership group, anything controversial he said would them be connected to the league. Goodell doesn't want that and neither do the other owners.

So Limbaugh will go back to the airwaves and preach to his legions of followers that he was ousted because of his political beliefs. Instead, we don't want his racist beliefs around the game we love.

John Riggins Goes Off on Redskins, Jim Zorn

Whoa. Our Hall of Fame running back got a lot off his chest. He goes off on owner Daniel Snyder, Vinny Cerrato, DeAngelo Hall and gets all into head coach Jim Zorn.

He is just saying what most of Redskins Nation is saying: Zorn is in over his head. That whole "you could coach high school" and "ankle biters" is classic!

The crumbling continues ...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bengals Bandwagon, Like Their Stadium, Still Has Seats Available

This is the 11th year I've lived in the Cincinnati area (it's been that long!?!?!?) so I have had the privilege of seeing how Bengals fans work. They want badly to have a winning team but hate their miserly owner. They'd rather see the team do poor enough that Mike Brown will see the light and higher a GM, a scouting department and a football guy to help make decisions.

That ain't happening. This franchise has had just one winning season since 1991. That's right when Mike Brown started running things. And there ya go!

It's sad, really, because these fans are dying for something. The Reds are stuck in mediocre-to-bad life, their strong Cincinnati Bearcats basketball program was gutted and the Bengals have been an embarrassment on and off the field (the Bearcats football team has people excited, however).

Right now the Bengals sit at 4-1. Right now, their home game against the Houston Texans will be blacked out. From the way it looks, there are too many tickets to sell to lift the blackout so the city won't see their first place team play this weekend.

Normally this points to a bad fanbase. When a good team is there and people aren't going to the games usually means the fans aren't as die-hard as in other places. But I don't think Cincinnati is like that. These people love this team. My ears are bleeding from hearing "Who Dey" everywhere again. People have their Bengals hats, shirts, jerseys and whatever else attached to them.

The problem is both the economic downturn (which has killed Ohio) and the unbelievability about what's going on. The Bengals have let these fans down time and time again that it's starting to wear on them. Yeah, the team looks like it is back on the upswing but will Brown mess it all up down the line? It's easier to invest a lot of your heart to the team than it is to invest a lot of your money in them. Tickets, parking and concessions are expensive and it feels like an expenditure that isn't worth it. That's tough because this is one of the franchise's best seasons in two decades.

Too bad these fans won't get to see it.

This May Be One Of the Worst NFL Seasons In a While

Spare me two gripes going into this: yeah, I've been a bit grumpy with my blogging of late but I've had two surgeries that weren't too pleasant over the past two weeks. And, yeah, the fact that the Redskins stink does contribute a small bit to what I'm about to write. But not much more than that.

This has the makings of being a really bad NFL season.

That's not to say it's unwatchable. Far from it. There have been some very exciting games and interesting results. Someone is going to win the Super Bowl but it's highly doubtful that the team who does will really be "great". There just isn't any of those kinds of teams out there. The league is filled with mediocrity and piss-poor franchises.

So here are the reasons I believe all of this:

THERE ARE TONS OF REALLY BAD TEAMS: Every year has its fair share of bad teams and I doubt that any of this year's crop will match the Lions 0-16 mark last year. That's because these crappy teams will happen onto another crappy team and beat them. Seriously, there are some very bad teams. The Rams, Lions, Buccaneers, Browns, Bills, Raiders and Chiefs are horrid. The Titans and Panthers ... two division winners of a year ago ... are a combined 1-8. The Redskins are a mess with their only two wins against the Bucs and Rams (and two of their losses to the Lions and Panthers).

The fact that there are so many bad teams means that mediocre and good teams will pad their records with wins over these teams.

AND I MEAN THEY ARE REALLY BAD: The Raiders are averaging less than 10 points a game this season. The Rams are averaging less than 7 points. How does that happen???? The Browns average 11 points per game. Those three teams have been outscored by a combied 259 points this year. Yikes.

THE SUPER BOWL CHAMP HAS PROBLEMS: The Pittsburgh Steelers had a good shot to repeat as champions. They brought back basically the same team and have a much easier schedule. But they haven't looked too sprite. Yeah, they are 3-2 but they struggle running the football and the defense is seeming to wear down late in games.

Injuries have been a issue but this doesn't look like the same team that tore through the league last year.

TOM BRADY ISN'T BACK: One thing that baffled me was how many "experts" expected Tom Brady to just waltz back into the saddle after having his knee destroyed a year ago. It rarely happens. Brady has struggled a bit. He doesn't seem to fully trust his knee and the fact he's not stepping into his throws are the ball is sailing on him a bit. He isn't the main problem. The fact that the defense lost a lot of veteran leadership is showing a bit. You don't just lose Richard Seymour, Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi in one swoop and expect to keep on rolling.

DENVER AND CINCINNATI ARE ATOP THEIR DIVISIONS: How in the heck are the Broncos and Bengals a combined 9-1? How? And the one loss was when Cincinnati lost to Denver. How did this happen? The Bengals were 1-10-1 at one point last year. Denver completely imploded in the second half of last season, lost their Super Bowl winning head coach, lost their Pro Bowl quarterback and have had to deal with a grumpy Brandon Marshall. Yet these two teams sit at 9-1 a have wins over the Steelers, Ravens, Cowboys and Patriots on their resume.

Again, this isn't to say that there aren't good teams out there. The New York Giants just look like a Super Bowl squad. New Orleans defense is adequate enough to help out that awesome offense. Minnesota has feasted on an easy schedule but still has talent everywhere. Peyton Manning is looking like an MVP again for the Colts. Atlanta and Chicago are lying in the weeds.

But every week it seems like we are feasting on five blowouts and the rest are up in the air.

Can't wait for the Giants-Saints game!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

UNC to Hang Four New Jerseys In the Rafters

North Carolina is set to add four new jerseys to the rafters during basketball season. To get your number retired, you must have been a National Player of the Year. To have your jersey honored and hanging from the rafters, you had to be a first or second team All American, an Olympic Gold medalist or team voted MVP of a National Championship team.

Tyler Hansbrough, of course, will have his number retired and jersey hanging alongside Jordan, Jamison, Worthy and the rest of the Players of the Year. Ty Lawson, because he was an All-American this past year, won't have his number retired but his jersey will hang in the rafters.

Those we knew. But UNC announced that two more jerseys will be honored.

The school announced that they are adding "ACC Player of the Year" winners and "Final Four Most Outstanding Player" winners to the rafters. That means Wayne Ellington and Donald Williams will be hanging up there with all the other jerseys.

Ellington won the MOP award this past year. Williams won his on the 1993 Championship team.

Ranking the AFL Throwback Jerseys

With the original AFL teams celebrating 50 years of excellence, they are popping out their original uniforms. So, I want to rank the uniforms from best to worst ... and the results surprised even me.

1-TENNESSEE TITANS: The old Oiler uniforms make the current Titans uniforms look foolish. I loved the Oilers logo and look. It's a shame that the NFL wouldn't let Houston keep it.

2-DENVER BRONCOS: If I did this post a week ago, Denver would be near the bottom. I don't know, I actually liked the brown and yellow unis. You just don't see that much brown in sports uniforms anymore. I loved the striped socks. I loved the simple helmets. It just works for what it is.

3-SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: I'm not all ga-ga about the powder blue Bolts jerseys but they are better than most of the others.

4-NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: I've always like the Patriot on the helmet. Yeah, it represents the tough times for the franchise while the new logo makes us remember three Super Bowl victories. But those helmets and logos have a bit more fun to them then the current model.

5-OAKLAND RAIDERS: Not a huge difference over the years. The silver and black always zings, even if it's 50 years old.

6-KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Like the Raiders, these uniforms aren't much different than the originals. The old "Dallas Texans" had much different logos but it isn't quite the change as any of the other uniforms.

7-BUFFALO BILLS: I like the helmets more than the uniforms. Still, I prefer the 1990s era Bills gear more than anything.

8-NEW YORK JETS: The "Titans" uniforms are easily the ugliest of the bunch. The diarrhea yellow and skank blue doesn't go well together. Whomever thought that would look good should be forced to wear them until they die ... if they haven't already.

Sportz' NCAA Football Playoff Pairings - 1st Edition

Hi again. Another year and another opportunity for me to play fantasy college football. No, not with the players but with the teams. The fantasy world where teams actually compete in a playoff to determine a champion.

As usual, my playoff format consists of 12 teams. The champion of the six BCS conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac-10 and SEC) get into the dance. Also, the top ranked team among the non-BCS conferences (WAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt, MAC, Conference USA) gets in. The other five openings go to the five highest ranked BCS teams that didn't get in already.

The top four teams get byes. Only the national championship game is played on a neutral site. And regardless of how they got in, use the BCS poll to seed the teams (though some changes may be made to keep conference foes from meeting up in the first round).

So, here is my first edition of the year.

1-Florida (SEC Champ)
3-Texas (Big XII Champ)
4-Virginia Tech (ACC Champ)

5-Boise State (top non-BCS team) vs 12-Oregon (Pac 10 Champ)
6-USC vs 11-Iowa
7-Ohio State (Big Ten Champ) vs 10-LSU
8-Cincinnati (Big East Champ) vs 9-Miami

We could make the schedule for the first round on December 12th:
12p-Miami at Cincinnati
3:30p-LSU at Ohio State
3:30p-Oregon at Boise State
8p-Iowa at USC

The second round set for December 19th:
12p-Boise State/Oregon at Virginia Tech
3:30p-Cincinnati/Miami at Florida
3:30p-USC/Iowa at Texas
8p-LSU/Ohio State at Alabama

Sunday Just Reaffirmed That I'm Not a Big Baseball Fan Anymore

On Sunday, I sat and watched a little bit of every game. With my NFL Sunday Ticket package, I had my TV flipping around games and my computer on the Red Zone channel.

I forgot completely that the baseball playoffs were also going on.

Why? I don't care as much anymore. I'm not a big baseball fan anymore. I've known it for years but I think I'm finally fine with it.

Please don't say that I just don't understand baseball. When I was young, baseball was my life. My grandpa coached Pete Rose in Knothole League. My uncle played for the Red Sox, White Sox and Indians and managed the Reds and Braves. My dad taught me everything as my youth coach. I just KNEW I was going to play professional baseball -- even if it was just the minors. It's all I cared about.

Not anymore.

Baseball has lost me. There is no single moment that drove me away. I just grew out of it. Now, I love the NFL. I love the NBA. I love college basketball. Those three would be my groomsmen. Baseball would get to be an usher.

Baseball isn't as accessable to me anymore. I know I can carve out 3 hours for a football game or 2 1/2 hours for some hoops action. Baseball? Who knows? That is picking nits, but it does matter when trying to fit it around your life.

Baseball also seems to have this line of thinking that players 50 years ago are better than players today. I've always said that the 0-16 Lions would beat the 17-0 Dolphins if they ever played. Football players are much faster, bigger and stronger than ever. Same goes to the NBA where guys built like Wilt Chamberlain are now shooting threes. But baseball fans believe that Mickey Mantle would still destroy today's pitchers. That kind of puts me off.

Also, the weird way that baseball has "embraced" technology. They finally have replay for home run calls ... but nothing else. Replay would have been helpful on that horrible call on Mauer's double that was ruled foul. Aside from balls and strikes, baseball is probably the easiest game to review. Was he safe or out? Fair or foul? Catch or trap? Not much else to look at. And give me all the crap about it would slow the game more than it already is. Would a quick look at the replay of that take as long as ... say ... a manager going out and arguing a call?

Heck, they put a left field umpire out there to pretty much just make THOSE CALLS and he can't do that right.

Saturday's Phillies-Rockies game was postponed because of the cold weather. Tonight's game may be the coldest in playoff history. We better hope for a Dodgers-Angels World Series so we don't have frigid temps in Denver, Philadelphia or New York in a November Series.

Yes, November. A month where college football is winding down, the NFL is in its second half, the NBA and NHL are in full swing and college basketball teams are practicing. Oh, and when World Series games are played. This is the "summer game". The other sports work well in cold weather ... but watching cold baseball just sucks. Just wait until Minnesota's next trip to the postseason and games are being held at frigid open-aired Target Field.

Also, playoff baseball goes on too long. The most memorable World Series I've ever saw was the 1991 Twins-Braves meeting. I missed most of the endings of those games because I was a junior in high school and had to go to sleep. When I woke up the next morning, I'd turn it on the ESPN to see who won that game.

I'm typing this as the Phillies-Rockies game is ending. I've probably watched a total of 12 innings of baseball this postseason. I've watched two preseason NBA games this weekend and sat through 10 hours of NFL action. I'm not saying I hate baseball at all. I'll keep an eye on the playoffs and definitely the World Series. It just doesn't grab me like it used to.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Week 5 Really Opened My Eyes

During the first few weeks of the season, you really don't know if what you are seeing is legit. Is this team really that good? Has this team lost it? Who really is a contender?

After Week 5, what you see is pretty much what you get. There are some things that may not be totally what they seem, but for the most part the picture comes clearer.

BRONCOS ARE FOR REAL: I've been the leader on the march that the Denver Broncos have benefitted from an easy schedule and two magical plays in order to stay undefeated. This defense has improved dramatically, the players seem to love playing for Josh McDaniels and Kyle Orton has really shined. You don't shut down the Patriots like that and then take the overtime kickoff and march it down their throats without being pretty good.

BENGALS, I GUESS, ARE LEGIT: I'm not as sold on the Bengals, but I gotta give them their propers. I didn't think they'd have a chance to win in Baltimore. But this much improved defense held down the second best scoring team in the league (their only points came from an Ed Reed return and a great effort on a long run from Ray Rice). I've really been impressed with the way the offense makes plays when they need to. Even including the Week 1 loss to Denver, Cincinnati has scored game tying/winning TDs at the end of each game. The new Cardiac Cats.

THERE ARE A LOT OF TEAMS THAT SUCK: The Rams really looked bad against the Vikings. The Buccaneers looked like garbage in Philly. That Bills-Browns game set football back 70 years.

PAGING MIKE SHANAHAN: Jim Zorn stuck another nail in his coffin when he still couldn't figure out how an offense is supposed to run. With the news that Daniel Snyder contacted Mike Shanahan, it is just a matter of time until Zorn is out as the Redskins coach. How in the heck can you be 2-3 when EVERY GAME YOU PLAYED was against a team that hadn't won a game going into that day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sportz' Central Division Predictions


1-CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (M. Williams, West, James, Varejao, S. O'Neal): Things are tight around Cleveland. With LeBron in possibly the final year of his deal and Shaq on his last legs, this could be the last year the window stays open before slamming shut. I'm not sold on how Shaq helps LeBron, and this Delonte West mess has me concerned. They are easily the best in the Central but this team won't top last year's regular season record.

2-CHICAGO BULLS (Rose, Salmons, Deng, Noah, B. Miller): The team that put fear in the Celtics last year should be back for more. I'm not sure if they can challenge the top three in the conference, but they are right there in the level just behind. This is a very athletic team that will miss Ben Gordon if Deng doesn't get back to his pre-injury production level.

3-DETROIT PISTONS (Stuckey, Gordon, Prince, Villeneuva, K. Brown): There has been quite a turnover in Detroit. Gone are Billups/Iverson and Sheed. Enter Gordon and Villeneuva. It really isn't a fair trade, but at least the team should have better chemistry. The key will be if Rip Hamilton can come be the sixth man we know he can be.

4-INDIANA PACERS (Ford, D. Jones, Granger, Murphy, Foster): This team is in a holding pattern. Granger is a stud, but the rest aren't much more than role guys. One key to the season is trying to develop Roy Hibbert and Tyler Hansbrough. If yes, then the future does look a little brighter.

5-MILWAUKEE BUCKS (Jennings, Redd, Delfino, Warrick, Bogut): Boy, things have fallen fast. Their two remaining studs, Bogut and Redd, are coming off injuries. Delfino and Warrick aren't much more than journeymen. The excitement will come from what Brandon Jennings brings to the table. He could have a Derrick Rose-type season and give the Bucks some hope.

Sportz' Southeast Division Predictions


1-ORLANDO MAGIC (Nelson, Carter, Pietrus, R. Lewis, Howard): Of course everyone will be wondering if Orlando did the right thing but letting Hedo go and bringing on Vince-anity. Vince brings a better offensive player, but Hedo was the man running things. Don't forget that to get Vince, they had to part with Raefer Alston and Courtney Lee ... two starters on their Finals squad. They still are the class of the division since no one can step to Howard, but I don't see them making a return trip to the Finals.

2-WASHINGTON WIZARDS (Arenas, M. Miller, Butler, Jamison, Haywood): Injuries decimated the Wizards last year. So much so, that despite being one of the worst teams in the East in '08-09, they are one of the trendy teams to pick in the conference this year. I love the fact that they dealt their No. 5 pick in the draft for two guys (Randy Foye, Mike Miller) that can help them immediately.

3-ATLANTA HAWKS (Bibby, J. Johnson, J. Smith, M. Williams, Horford): I really like the Hawks this year. They have a formidable starting lineup mixed with veteran reserves in Jamal Crawford, Mo Evans and Joe Smith. If draft pick Jeff Teague can bring something to the table, Atlanta could challenge for the division title.

4-MIAMI HEAT (Chalmers, Wade, Beasley, Haslem, J. O'Neal): The fact that D-Wade is so good makes anyone believe in this team. There isn't much talent behind him. Beasley has some issues to work out, O'Neal is a shell of his former self and the bench is filled with less than stellar role players. Look for Wade to lead the league in scoring.

5-CHARLOTTE BOBCATS (Felton, Bell, G. Wallace, Diaw, Chandler): Charlotte has enough to make a run for a playoff spot, but the offense still lacks a go-to scorer. This is a stellar defensive team who have to shut down opponents if they want to win. With the ownership situation unsettled, it will be tough for this team to bring in the pieces to compete.

Friday, October 9, 2009

My NFL Week 5 Picks

I've done alright in my NFL picks this season. As of now, I am 42-20.

Week 1: 12-4
Week 2: 7-9

Week 3: 11-5

Week 4: 12-2

Not too bad. Not bad at all. So, here are my Week 5 picks:

Ravens over Bengals: Yes, Cincy fans have every right to be excited, but they aren't good enough to win in B-more.

Bills over Browns: Both teams have laid eggs since the season started. Still, the Bills are more talented and should beat the dysfunctional Browns.

Panthers over Redskins: This is a tough one for me. The Redskins are my favorite team. I grew up in Charlotte and want to see the hometown do well. But not that well. Go REDSKINS! I just think that the week off for the Panthers will get them back to basics and get them in the win column.

Steelers over Lions: Last year's champ will be last year's winless team. Even though it's this year now. Um, yeah.

Cowboys over Chiefs: This will be a confusing game as the "Dallas Cowboys" will be taking on the Chiefs origin team, the "Dallas Texans". Whatever. Dallas wins.

Giants over Raiders: Eli or not, New York rolls at home.

Eagles over Buccaneers: Tampa continues their trek through the NFC East with another loss.

Vikings over Rams: St. Louis has looked horrible all season long. The Vikings are on a roll. Easy call.

Niners over Falcons: Ooooh. First tough one. I love San Francisco's defense enough that I think they can slow down Atlanta.

Cardinals over Texans: This is a tough one and I was tempted to take Houston. But Mario Williams may miss the game and I think Arizona will get a lot from the bye week.

Jaguars over Seahawks: These are two tough teams to figure out. The long trip from Jacksonville to Seattle could hurt the Jags chances, but I just have this hunch.

Patriots over Broncos: Okay, the charade ends now!

Colts over Titans: This will be a lot closer than the records may indicate, but Peyton Manning is clicking right now and Tennessee is a bit banged up in the secondary.

Jets over Dolphins: Rex Ryan's defense will be too much for the young Chad Henne.