I know, it's supposedly really fucking cold in at least half of the U.S. and Canada is always cold, right? So I thought we'd start with a pick that might warm things up...Maybe one more will really help to put your mind in a warmer place...
So, Wild Card weekend is done...I went 2-2...I had San Fran, San Diego, Philly, and KC...From what I saw all the games were competitive...I was so sick of hearing about the weather, and possible blackouts leading up to the games, that I really lost most my interest...I'll be honest, the NFL has been losing me for the last couple years...
The rain, and near 40 degree temps in Cincy didn't bother the Chargers as they won 27-10...Now the Andy Dalton can't win talk is in full force...Personally I think Marvin Lewis is that teams biggest problem...He seems like a swell guy on the two seasons of hard knocks, but swell guys aren't always good head coaches...So the Chargers get to face Denver, again...The Colts came from way behind to beat the Chiefs 45-44...From the bits I saw, it looked like half the Chiefs players were knocked out with injuries...
Speaking of knockouts...Did you see LaRon Landry's idiot teammate slap his head around, after Landry gave himself a concussion?
What a fucking Dolt!
So the Colts will go to New England to face the Patriots...Sorry, Indy...You're not beating Brady...
-Saturday Night the Saints were in Philly, were the weather was hyped, but played no factor...26-24 Saints...Next the Saints will head to Seattle, and lose...
Sunday in Green Bay, the 49ers and Packers would square off against each other and THE WEATHER! It was cold...It's January in Wisconsin, that's what happens...Shut the fuck up about it...Again, weather hype, yet it played no factor as the 49ers won 23-20....Now the 49ers have Carolina to look forward to...
-Texas has finally found their next Head Football Coach...After a few weeks of many rumors...And a number of coaches saying they aren't interested, the Longhorns named Charlie Strong, formerly of Louisville as the new man...I like Strong...He's a "Football Guy"...He's a really good coach...But I don't know if he is the right fit for Texas...He can handle being in a big-time conference, and he can handle a top-tier program, but there are certain programs that seem to demand something more...And I'm not sure if he can play that game...I get the feeling he's more concerned about football, and teaching, then he is about dealing with a lot of the external shit that surrounds "elite" programs...I hope he does well....
That leads us to Monday...The BCS National Championship Game between Auburn and Florida State...Listen, I'm not going into some long-winded breakdown of this game...We don't need that shit...All you need to know, I don't like Jameis Winston, and Auburn is a bunch of witches that just find a way to win...Auburn wins this thing...But let's be honest...Can it be any better then what happened in the Alabama/Oklahoma game!?!
OU is just rollin' Bama, and this Alabama MILF just went bat-shit crazy on a pack of Sooner fans...
No regard for herself, let alone some damn Sooner fans...Then after her stupid ass went viral, what does she do? She says she'd do it again, but apologizes to Nick Saban...Fucking 'Bama fans are fuck-tards!
As of today it's being widely reported that the Steelers are still in the playoff mix. A few articles I've found disagree, but the vast majority of what's being reported (including on the NFL Network) says they have a chance because they'd win the 4-way tie they need with Miami, Baltimore and San Diego (all of whom would have to lose next week while they win).
I say that's wrong. Here's my rationale:
The NFL's wildcard tiebreaker for 3 or more teams says:
1. Apply division tie breaker to eliminate all but the highest ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to step 2. The original seeding within a division upon application of the division tie breaker remains the same for all subsequent applications of the procedure that are necessary to identify the two Wild-Card participants.
2. Head-to-head sweep. (Applicable only if one club has defeated each of the others or if one club has lost to each of the others.)
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
(1) is applicable only in that it vaults the Steelers over the Ravens.
(2) couldn't work since the Steelers have lost to the Fins.
(3) gives the title to Miami. They are 7-4 in the conference today. Baltimore is 6-5. SD and Pittsburgh are both 5-6. After a loss and a Pitt win Miami is 7-5 and Pitt is 6-6.
So the winner in any tie scenario is Miami, unless it's a 2-way with the Ravens, who won in Miami on week 5. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it no matter what NFLN says.
Happy Friday, Gabbers! The MLB season is winding down and the American Wild Card race is shaping up to be epic (not quite AL 1967 epic, but multiple teams fighting in the last week is just fantastic for the game!). I’ve been ecstatic with this MLB season (and not ONLY because my fantasy baseball teams have hung around to--if not dominate--at least not crumble to the bottom of the standings) and have had a great time watching games all season (thank you MLB network). It’s hard to believe that the baseball season is winding down and the playoffs are just around the corner.
Here in Boston, the rest of our great nation is about to gob-smacked with the national media East Coast/Boston bias (I love it!) and talk about how the New York Yankees fell flat this year and ignore great stories like the start to finish dominance in Atlanta, the underachieving Washington Nationals, the what-the-heck-happened San Francisco Giants, the how-the-heck-did-this-happen Los Angeles Dodgers, the amazing story of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the hold-tight for a bumpy landing Texas Rangers, the holy-moly Terry Francona is a GREAT manager Cleveland Indians, the cruising until October Detroit Tigers, and so much more.
The Red Sox are looking to wrap things up in the division and settle into setting the rotation, so September will be a bit anti-climatic in Boston while the Wild Card spawn chaos in other markets. After the September 2011 collapse by the Red Sox and last year’s Booby Valentine misadventure, I’ll take this fall with no complaints.
Besides baseball, my not-so-secret crush on English Premier League Football (soccer to us Americans) and the Peoples Club, the Everton Toffees is in full swing as the EPL season enters weekend number five. With long-time manager David Moyes (who looks stunningly like my next door neighbor...like separated at birth similarity) moving to the mighty Manchester United in the offseason, former Wigan manager Roberto Martinez slid over (and seemingly brought half the Wigan squad). Star Striker Marouane Fellaini was sold to ManU to rejoin Moyes, and Everton looked shaky early on with three draws before beating a very strong Chelsea club.
Unfortunately, the top of the division is manned by the three win and one draw cross-town rival, Liverpool. In Boston, as if Liverpool were not a natural enemy being an Everton fan, the brats in red are stuffed down our throats due to Red Sox owner John Henry having purchased Liverpool. Now the Liverpool matches are rebroadcast on the Red Sox owned sports superstation (NESN) and I’m already tired of hearing about the return of Luis Suarez, who you remember for his infamous biting of Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last season and ten game ban. I think the loss of Suarez has been an improvement for Liverpool, as the ball-hog’s absence has led to better team play, so bring the shithead back and let him be a cancer and ruin Liverpool...I’m all for that!
The big news in the NFL was the trade by the Cleveland Browns of running back Trent Richardson, the number three overall pick in the NFL Draft last season, to Indianapolis (who lost promising running back Vick Ballard to injury for the year) for their first round pick. For Cleveland, this team is not going anywhere with Richardson or without Richardson. The team is in heavy rebuild, and Richardson was not picked by current General Manager Mike Lombardi.
In addition, after a weak class of quarterbacks this year, next year’s NFL draft is full of potential big time quarterbacks. I believe the St. Louis Rams made a terrible mistake last year when they traded down with Washington to let the Redskins steal franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III while St. Louis stuck with their former number one draft pick, the eternally underachieving (and NOT a franchise quarterback) Sam Bradford. Choosing Bradford over RG3 is a colossal mistake that will haunt that franchise for years. Kudos to Lombardi for recognizing the need to be decisive and find a quarterback to lead the franchise.
Richardson, like fellow ‘bama back and first round pick Mark Ingram, has failed to make an impact in the NFL (is this like the NFL-Penn State running back curse from 20/25 years ago?). Whether he made an impact or not, in today’s NFL the position that determines success is quarterback, not running back. Taking a running back so early is a harbinger of doom these days. The Colts had a desperate need and gave up a lot to get a much needed running back. For Cleveland, the value of the trade will come after the 2014 NFL draft.
OK, Gabbers, thanks as always for reading...my apologies for not being as active on the site as I’d like this week, but hopefully life will normalize a bit more soon. OK, it’s still Friday, so c’mon weekend! I’ve got my underground, illegal, it never happened and doesn’t exist so what are you talking about monthly floating Texas Hold’Em game on Saturday (which was on summer hiatus) so things are looking up. Add in the lovely Mrs. B. starting her new regular daytime shift (very few overnights! Hooray!), and its looking like a great weekend. Have a great one, one and all!
Not sure about you folks, but we’ve been waking up to some cold weather here. I even had to fire up my car’s heat the other day when we dipped into the 30’s before I had to go off to teach. While the cold weather brings up ideas of the holidays and fall’s simple pleasures, it also signals the end of the baseball season. With a week and a half of the regular season left, the game is not going quietly.
The playoffs look to showcase some familiar faces as well as some pleasant surprises. The Baltimore Orioles lasted much longer than last season’s second half run and Buck Showalter has a perennial poor sister of the AL East chomping at the Yankees’ heels. Still, AL powerhouses like New York and Texas still have a firm grip on playoff spots. Large payrolls haven’t paid off for teams like Detroit and Anaheim. While both teams are still alive in the wild card hunt, every passing day brings them a little closer to home.
Still, if the season ended today, fans would be treated to a one game playoff between the Oakland Athletics and the Baltimore Orioles. While both teams have been great stories this year, I would have to throw my support behind the O’s if both teams can hold their wild card spots. The Angels and Rays are 2 and 3 games back respectively. The Angels have 6 games left against Seattle, but 3 against the Rangers. The A’s have 6 games left against the Rangers. The O’s and Rays finish off the season with a three game series which could very well be a three game playoff for the final wild card spot. The winner of the wild card round gets the honor of taking on Texas in the first round.
Most folks didn't give the White Sox much credit, as seen in these projections.
Here in Detroit, the Tigers finish with two series against KC and a three game set with the Twins. Chicago has a tougher road with a four game home stand against Tampa. Still, the Tigers have struggled mightily against the Twins and Royals this year. Both teams could very well be tied tomorrow when this is published, but the stretch will prove tough in a division that neither team seems to be able to hold. Whoever comes out of the Central will be squaring off against the Yankees in the first round. SO I think most of us can agree that we’ll be cheering for either Central team.
Things in the national league have sorted themselves out lately. As Bandit pointed out, the Reds have clinched their division over the weekend. St. Louis is still in the lead for a wild card spot, but is currently 9.5 games behind the Reds. As much as I wanted to see the Pirates get to the playoffs, it will be something to see if they can even finish over .500 this season. The Washington Nationals have had their team grow into a division winner, with only Atlanta in their rear view. The NL West, which I imagined may have been the craziest race to watch, has been seceded to the San Francisco Giants. With Tim Lincecum struggling this season (10-14 with an ERA just south of 5), the rest of this team’s young rotation has stepped up. Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong, and Madison Bumgarner have put together wins in the teens with Barry Zito winning 13 games and maybe showing a little of his old form. If Lincecum can recover for the playoffs, this is a very dangerous team.
Both Atlanta and St. Louis hold 3.5 game leads in the wild card. These traditional powerhouses should make for a very exciting one game playoff and the winner will be the first to face the Nationals, who will be without Stephen Strasburg. The Giants’ stacked rotation will meet the Reds. The Reds haven’t faced the Giants since the first half of the season and hold a slight 4-3 edge over the Giants this season. The Reds have scored 35 runs on the Giants this year and tagged 9 runs on Matt Cain early this season.
Michael Strahan, the odd choice to co-host with Kelly Ripa, has made an accusation that the current NFL replacement refs were employed by the Lingerie Football league. He also joked that the crew was fired for not making the right calls. You know those guys won’t call holding in that league.
A lot of folks in Detroit were up in arms with the officiating during this week’s loss to the Tennessee Titans. Most of the no calls or flat out bad calls I saw, however, screwed the Titans over. In a game that neither team seemed to want, the Lions finally handed the game ball to the Titans on a botched attempt at drawing the D-Line offsides. Apparently, no one told center Dominic Raiola that he wasn’t supposed to snap the ball. That game was a huge comedy of errors and, while, it was entertaining, it gives me a lot of worries about the Lions.
Speaking of overhyped games, last weekend’s Michigan-Notre Dame game will be one of the last of the series. Notre Dame has announced in that juggling its schedule to include more ACC games, they have had to drop the Wolverines as an opponent. To purists, this puts a halt to one of the great rivalries of the college game. I think, however, if the games are going to look like what I had to watch Saturday that Notre Dame is doing itself a favor. Again, neither team seemed to want that game.
Well, that’s it for me this week. I have my first observation where I’ll actually be giving a lesson this week. My cooperating teacher and I have come up with a nice plan about letter writing and, as we’re reading Night, we’ll have the kids write letters home from the concentration camps. Good luck to all the proud poppas (and moms) this Friday. As always, thanks for coming by and sharing your thoughts. I leave you with your word of the week.
Skymall solution, noun
An absurdly single-purposed tool or solution which solves a problem you don't actually have. Like many products in the popular in-flight catalog, Skymall.
I thanked my cousin for the gift of a Hot Dog Toaster, but thought I'd never need to cook enough hot dogs to justify owning such a Skymall solution.
There are few things in life that I enjoy more than baseball. Any time I have the chance to catch more baseball, I'm normally all in. Spring Training games, college baseball, you name it, I'll watch it.
That said, I'm not too wild about the new Wild Card format.
Don't get me wrong, I have no issues with adding another team to each league's playoff format. I love the Wild Card and the divisional rounds of the playoffs. Still, I get the arguments by some baseball fans that the Wild Card winner does not get penalized enough for not winning their division. Instead the worst they get is a date with the top team in the league. And to make matters tighter, they get a best of five series to pull of an inevitable upset.
So in Bud Selig's infinite wisdom, which is the equivalent of a monkey learning to smoke, Major League Baseball thought it wise to add another team to the playoffs in each league. Again, no problem here. However, I'm not a huge fan of how it is being handled.
First off, the league has opted that the two Wild-Card teams will face each other in a one-game playoff, with the winner advancing to the divisional round. The question of course will be how MLB schedules the additional game, making sure that extra travel involved doesn't make it completely unfair to both teams involved in the game. Would it be fair for a team to play a game in Los Angeles one day and then jet across the country to New York the next night? I'm not sure that by rushing into this that the good old boys in the MLB office have truly thought this piece of the puzzle through.
Secondly, I have issue with the series being just a one-game format, as if they are choosing to force force an end-of-season tie-breaker. Why make it single elimination? THIS is the format that should be a best-of-five series. Then you could change the divisional round to a best-of-seven series like it should be. Why tease us with an expanded playoffs by adding just a single game. What satisfaction is there if the Cardinals and Giants have to sort it out in one game and the final score is 7-0?
No, this is just the Windows Vista of playoff plans; not quite a finished product.
- What is Roy Oswalt thinking? At 34-years-old, Oswalt is nowhere near the age where he should be considering himself a hired gun. I get the desire to play closer to his Mississippi home, but when the options to play in Texas or St. Louis washed out, he opted to take his mitt and wait for an injury or need to arise rather than play for someone else. I can understand wanting to be close to your family, but if it is that important, the decision should involve retirement, not proximity.
- Matt Kemp has been quoted on multiple occasions as saying his goal for 2012 is a 50/50 season. While I applaud Kemp's optimism, he plays in Los Angeles, where as a player that just signed a huge extension, he should be focused on helping them rebuild by talking up the team and not individual achievements.
- Hal Steinbrenner announced today that he wants to reduce the Yankee payroll below the threshold to $189 million over the next couple of seasons. What does that say for the state of the game versus the state of the economy? When the two biggest spending teams over the last decade are making noticeable strides to reduce expenses, then the rest of the league needs to take notice and see that growth can not be sustained while the rest of the economy is struggling.