Sunday, October 26, 2014

NFL Coaches On The Hot Seat (Pre-Halloween Edition)

REX RYAN, JETS:  Ryan has survived the ax the last two years, but it seems all but inevitable that Ryan will be out of Gotham Green after this season.  They are 1-7 and Ryan's usually stout defense is giving up over 28 points-per-game.  Ryan has also wasted away two top quarterback picks in Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith.

MIKE SMITH, FALCONS:  I thought Atlanta's sad sack season of 2013 was an aberration.  Injuries and bad luck just strangled them.  Well, the 2014 Falcons are checking in at the halfway point with a 2-6 mark and they just wasted away a 21-point lead to the Lions in London.  Smith's Falcons have been close to a Super Bowl but didn't push through, meaning he doesn't have the kind of cache to survive this kind of nosedive.

MARC TRESTMAN, BEARS:  Chicago was supposed to contend for an NFC North title and a possible Super Bowl berth.  However, these Bears are mired in a slide where they've lost 4 of 5 games and two of their three wins have come against bottom feeders Jets and Falcons.  This pasting by the Patriots this Sunday doesn't help matters.  Chicago's saving grace is that they still face the Lions and Vikings twice each and the Packers once more ... making a surge up the standings possible.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Redskins Are 1-5 ... And Check Out Who Also Sucks

You are what your record says you are.  So despite how you want to frame it, the Washington Redskins (my favorite team) is 1-5.

Who else sucks?  Five other teams have 0 or 1 wins on the season and none of them are who you want to be associated with:

ST. LOUIS (1-4):  The Rams have been competitive this year, but they are the lone team to lose to the Buccaneers.

TAMPA BAY (1-5):  The Bucs have been horrid this season.  Tampa Bay has lost a game 56-14 and 48-17 this season.  No one has given up more points than Tampa's 204. Ugh.

NEW YORK JETS (1-5):  The Jets are a mess.  Whether it is Geno Smith cussing at fans or missing meetings because he's at the movies, it is Michael Vick saying he wasn't prepared to play when called upon.

OAKLAND (0-5):  The Raiders are scoring an NFL-low 79 points this season.  And they are the Jets only win on the season.

JACKSONVILLE (0-6):  Those Jags.  People even pegged them as a possible surprise team this year.   They are averaging a league low 13.5 ppg this season, are being outscored by 104 points this season.  They are bad.

So I'm watching these teams as if they are in their own division.

Jets 1-0  (W Raiders)
Buccaneers 1-0  (W Rams)
Redskins 1-0 (W Jaguars)
Rams 0-1 (L Bucs)
Raiders 0-1 (L Jets)
Jaguars 0-1 (L Redskins)

W11: Tampa Bay at Washington
W13: Oakland at St Louis
W14: St Louis at Washington

Monday, October 6, 2014

NBA 2014-2015 Predictions (East)

LeBron is back in Cleveland.  But can he bring with him
the success he had in Miami?

Later this month, the NBA season will be underway.  So let's look at how I ... the Sportz Assassin ... see the Eastern Conference unfolding (check the West here).


Good:  The Bulls are a tough bunch.  They are defensively sound and won despite being limited offensively.  They get Derrick Rose back, who looked great for Team USA.  They also get Doug McDermott to be the off-ball scoring threat they've longed for.  Oh, and Pau Gasol is a perfect compliment to Joakim Noah on the baseline.  I really like this team.

Bad:  Rose has played just 49 games in three years for the Bulls.  This is a decent team without him, but Rose turns them into a legit contender.  Can you trust him to stay healthy?


Good:  You go from missing the playoffs to adding LeBron James and Kevin Love.  How can it get any better than that?  Oh yeah, you resigned Kyrie Irving to a long term deal and surround them all with guys like Mike Miller, Shawn Marion and Brandon Hayward.

Bad:  Aside from LeBron, none of their starters ... okay Anderson Varejao ... has played in the postseason.  There will be an obvious learning curve that may stunt their growth at times.  Plus, there will be a big honeymoon period right now so there isn't the pressure to bring home an immediate title like there was for LeBron in Miami.


Good:  The young Wizards finally found success last year and hung on to Marcin Gortat in free agency.  They also added Paul Pierce, which gives them huge playoff experience as well as a guy that can rise to the occasion.

Bad:  Not much, except for the fact that they have arrived and are now expected to win.  Can they handle that?


Good:  Kyle Lowry returns.  So does a very talented and cohesive roster.  DeMar DeRozan gained valuable experience with Team USA.

Bad:  No one will respect them, which is fine.  While they are a team that plays together, do they have enough go-to guys to make a difference when the playoffs come around?

Cincinnati TV Station Gets Their Panthers Mixed Up

Cincinnati's NBC affiliate, WLWT, must have someone in the graphics department that doesn't know their football.  The Bengals, who lost badly to the Patriots last night, will face the NFL's Carolina Panthers next Sunday.

The graphic says that the Bengals will instead play the Eastern Illinois Panthers.  Who?  Yeah, wrong Panthers.

Eastern Illinois plays in the NCAA Division I FCS in the Ohio Valley Conference.  Eastern Illinois is currently 1-4 this season.  According to the OVC's website, those Panthers will be a few miles south next weekend as they'll face Eastern Kentucky in Richmond, KY.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

NBA 2014-2015 Predictions (West)

The Spurs are the defending champions.  But will the be the
best in the West this coming season?

Later this month, the NBA season will be underway.  So let's look at how I ... the Sportz Assassin ... see the Western Conference unfolding.


Good:  Kevin Durant is coming off an MVP season.  OKC is coming off a season where Russell Westbrook missed a lot of time due to injury and Serge Ibaka missed key games in the postseason.  Anthony Morrow was added to help stretch defenses.

Bad:  Thabo Sefalosha is gone and he was their premiere perimeter defender.  As good was the Thunder have been, the core have been to just one Finals.  With KD's free agency looming, will there be some weirdness among the team?


Good:  They are defending champs who have been to the Finals two straight years.  They know what they are doing.

Bad: They are all a year older and that motivation of letting a title slip away from them isn't there anymore.


Good:  The Donald Sterling mess has been resolved so not only is that storyline not hanging over their head, but they went from a cheap owner to one that wants to make good on his hefty investment.

Bad:  They lost some depth and they haven't really added that "it" role guy to help bring it all together.


Good:  The Mavs are a talented bunch that added Chandler Parsons and Raymond Felton.  There is a lot of depth with guys like Devin Harris, Jameer Nelson, Al-Farouq Aminu and Brandan Wright coming off the bench.

Bad: But is Felton right to lead this offense?  And is this team too old?  It is starting Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler in the power spots.

Friday, October 3, 2014

I'd Like To See NHL Add Two Teams, Go To 8 Divisions

If you know my blog, I like tinkering around with divisions.  In the NFL ... keep them the same.  In baseball, I'd like the old NL and AL East and West.  In the NBA, just give me a Western and Eastern conference and screw the divisions (or go back to the 4 division format of yore).

In the NHL, I'm torn on the newer four division format.  The NHL, unlike the NBA, employs a division heavy scheduling format.  So making smaller divisions makes sense.  That's why I wasn't as angry at the six-division format the NHL had that the NBA still uses.  I don't like the current format where the two divisions in the Eastern Conference have 8 teams and the two in the West have 7.  That's not very fair when half the teams in the East get into the playoffs and 57% of the teams in the West do.

That being said, I'd like for the NHL ... as which has been rumored all summer ... to add two new expansion teams and make the conferences even at 16.  Those franchises will be, I decree, in Seattle and Houston (I'm not against Las Vegas, Quebec or Toronto getting ones either, but I think those two are the favorites).  There.

Now go against what I usually want and actually expand out like the NFL (the only other major league with 32 teams) and have two conferences with four divisions each.  Since, like the NFL, intra-division scheduling is weighted, I like this a lot.


NORTHEAST:  Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, Ottawa
ATLANTIC:  New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia
CENTRAL:  Columbus, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Toronto
SOUTHEAST:  Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay, Washington


MIDWEST:  Chicago, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis
SOUTHWEST:  Arizona, Colorado, Dallas, Winnipeg
NORTHWEST: Calgary, Edmonton, Seattle, Vancouver
PACIFIC:  Anaheim, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Jose

I like this.  Again, the NHL isn't like the other leagues where they really depend on geography to help with travel and align divisions accordingly.  And the scheduling is easy:

SIX games each against division teams.  Play each three times at home and three on the road.  (18 total)

FOUR games each against the teams in the same division.  Two at home and two on the road. (48 total)

ONE game against each team in the other conference.  Play half the teams at home and half on the road.  I'd like it to split each division so you'd play two teams in one division at home and two on the road.  That would allow, say, for each Western team to play a game in New York every year and every East team to play a game in the Los Angeles area.  I'll have the splits below. (16 total)

There is your 82 game schedule.  Simple, eh?  Then the champs of each division makes the playoffs with the four best non-winners from each conference making up the wildcard.  Those teams qualify for the playoffs, but seed them by total points.  There you go.

Okay, here are your splits:
Boston/Buffalo, Montreal/Ottawa, NY Islanders/NY Rangers, New Jersey/Philadelphia, Detroit/Toronto, Columbus/Pittsburgh, Florida/Tampa Bay, Carolina/Washington, Chicago/Minnesota, Nashville/St Louis, Arizona/Dallas, Colorado/Winnipeg, Calgary/Edmonton, Seattle/Vancouver, Anaheim/Los Angeles, Las Vegas/San Jose

That's what I would like to see.