Greetings from the Hoodwood where the fantasy teams are getting ready to get back to the championship ways
More of the NFL Preview Lets look East where the more things change…
New England Patriots
2013: 12-4 Champs lost to Denver in Conference Championship
Coach: Bill Belichick 163-61 in 14 Seasons in New England, 199-105 in 19 Seasons with Cleveland & New England; 218-114 overall
Man on the Hot Seat: Stevan Ridley needs to be more a force in the running game, 774 yards won’t be enough to balance the load of the offense
Fast Facts: Belichick’s 163 wins is more than triple the wins of the next winningest coach Mike Holovak
The Patriots have had one losing season in the Belichick tenure his first the 13 straight winning seasons, they had 18 winning seasons in the 40 years before Belichick arrived
The Patriot Way: The Patriots have been the class of the division and are a shoo in for at least 10 wins, as long as Brady has his health, the Pats are the team to beat. Their defense is still suspect and their running game has always been subpar but they are the Pats and there isn’t a team in the division that matches up well enough to beat them out.
2013: 8-8, Missed Playoffs
Coach: Joe Philbin, 2nd Season in Miami 8-8 overall
Man on the Hot Seat: Ryan Tannehill, he has to see his peers in Dalton, RG3, Luck and Wilson have all made the playoffs and he hasn’t come close
Fast Facts: The Dolphins have missed the playoffs in 11 of the past 12 seasons. Before this they had never missed the playoffs more than 4 seasons in a row
The Dolphins have only had a 1000 yard rusher 12 times in their team history
Big Fish or small tuna: Pushing past the mess that was the Martin-Incognito the Dolphins are a decently talented team, but lack a big name on either side of the ball. Tannehill is on the spot to assert himself more on the offense while a non-descript defense needs to play better.
New York Jets
2013: 8-8 Missed Playoffs (worst season since 2005)
Coach: Rex Ryan 42-38 in 6 Seasons in New York 46-40 overall
Man on the Hot Seat: Ryan, he can’t have another mediocre season and get away with it in Gotham
Fast Facts: The Jets 290 points were the 4th fewest in the NFL in 2013, the three teams scoring fewer points had 10 wins combined
Gotham Gridiron: The Jets are an overhyped mediocre squad, they might get up for the Pats but they fall asleep at the switch way too often, I’m not convinced that the grinning jeering Ryan will ever change and that the Jets will do nothing to change their perception.
2013: 6-10 Missed playoffs
Coach: Doug Marrone 2nd Season 6-10 overall
Man on the Hot Seat: EJ Manuel, the Bills QB needs to grow and fast, the
Fast Facts: The Bills are the only team in the NFL to have not played in the playoffs in the 20th Century (Even the Browns and Raiders have made the playoffs since the turn of the century, in 2002)
B-Lo Football: The Bills are stuck in a rut, they are in a weak division but don’t have the chops to pass the other teams in the division much less take on the Pats. They have the tools to be sure, but one can’t be sure if they can put it all together. The loss of their long time beloved owner puts the team’s long term future in western New York in doubt, but the Bills are just stuck in a bad situation.
2013: 7-9 Wild Card lost to New Orleans in Wild Card Round
Coach: Chip Kelly 2nd Season 10-6 in 1 season in Philadelphia
Man on the Hot Seat: Nick Foles, the job is his as the Eagle QB how will he handle it?
Fast Facts: The Eagles haven’t had a losing season since 2006
Philly Phootball: Chip Kelly and the fastbreaking Eagle offense are not to be trifled with. Start with the accurate Foles at the helm and dangerous running backs Shady McCoy and Darren Sproles seemingly everywhere, the Eagles will score points. They are good enough to win a weak NFC East again but how deep can they get in January?
New York Giants
2013: 7-9 missed playoffs
Coach: Tom Coughlin; 90-70 overall in 10 seasons in New York, 98-73 overall, 170-137 in 17 total seasons overall in New York and Jacksonville
Man on the Hot Seat: Eli Manning, if he throws 25 interceptions again 2 rings or no he and Coughlin might be unemployed
Fast Fact: The Giants have never had back to back losing seasons during Coughlin’s tenure
Big Blue Football: If there was a rebound waiting to happen, it’s the G-Men. I still have yet to embrace the laconic style of Eli Manning but I can’t count a Coughlin coached team out.
2013: 8-8 Missed playoffs
Coach: Jason Garrett 29-27 overall in 3+ seasons in Dallas
Man on the Hot Seat: Jason Garrett, HA! You thought I was going to say QB Tony Romo. Romo can only do so much the Pokes mediocrity is Garrett’s responsibility
Fast Facts: The Cowboys 3 straight 8-8 seasons are the longest .500 streak in team history
Big D Football: The Pokes and their fans talk big but the reality is that a solid offense can only cover up just so much for a horrid defense that is marginally better than the putrid squad of last year. Jones can bluster all he wants about respect but the Pokes are no better than a 9-7 team, and in a loaded NFC that won’t get them to the playoffs.
2013: 3-13 missed playoffs
Coach: Jay Gruden, 1st Season
Man on the Hot Seat: Robert Griffin, III. After a poor sophomore year the electric QB needs to make a stand
Fast Facts: Only the Vikings gave up more than Washington’s 478 points last year and only Jacksonville had a bigger point differential…and the Vikings beat Washington last year
Capital Football: A new regime in DC and old problems, a so-so running game, a defense that gets no better and continued problems with the development of RG3, who is the starter but if Washington starts 1-3 again…uh oh.
Ill add more as the day goes. Until next post fellow sports fans…
Yesterday I had my fantasy football draft. I think this was the hardest I ever had to work in selecting a team. My draft day strategy changed several times before draft day even arrived. I knew I had the 5th pick in the draft (we do it just like the NFL, based on the previous seasons won/lost record) so I had time to over analyze. In the league I’m in you have to pick 2 QB, 2 K, 2 Def, 4 RB, 5 WR/TE. So Gabbers, here is my draft in the order I picked them:
TE Jimmy Graham
WR Julio Jones
RB DeMarco Murray
RB Zac Stacy
RB Frank Gore
WR Michael Floyd
K Mason Crosby
QB Nick Foles
WR Reggie Wayne
QB Ben Roethlisberger
D New England
RB Bernard Pierce
K Greg Zuerlein
WR Marqise Lee
Notes: This draft was the first time I ever drafted 3 RB in a row.
Adrian Peterson was taken first
Jamaal Charles was taken second.
Peyton Manning taken third.
LeSean McCoy was taken fourth.
Marshawn Lynch was taken in the second round.
Seattle was the first defense taken and that was in the fourth round.
I took the first kicker in the eighth round.
WR’s Boldin and Evans were not taken.
Happy Labor Day Weekend. I know Country isn’t the most popular choice here at The Gab, but this video I play every Labor Day Weekend is my way of honoring the hard working folks who struggle every day doing it the right way just to keep even – you folks are in no way honored enough, and I for one am tired of others trying to steal little pieces of what you all work hard your whole life for!!! Let the words speak for themselves.
The reality is that this type of worker is becoming more and more rare based on pure greed on both sides, but know this folks, you have at least one fan here, and many, MANY more. And by the way, Alabama is THE BEST country music out there!
But before I move on to what we all came here to do, allow me a rant would ya: I am really trying to get into sports on the regular X’s and O’s level, I swear to you all I am. But my goodness, the idiotic greed and unmatched stupidity of professional sports right about now is mind-boggling, and unfortunately, I have to discuss it here today. For that I profusely apologize.
Mary Jane. How freaking stupid do you have to be to spark up then go and drive? I generally don’t give a damn if you do smoke weed, except when your Jamacian Voodoo Posse imitation invades my space and/or you’re operating machinery and putting yourself (but more importantly others) at risk. If you ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY have to smoke, can you at least wait until you freaking get home and know you aren’t going anywhere? DAMN!
MLB – Oakland/Anaheim/Seattle. How great a story is the AL West for MLB? Oakland took two thrillers Friday and Saturday night that had ole Uncle B.O.B. glued to a Baseball game on TV, and that takes A LOT...
MLB – LA/SF. Milwaukee gave San Francisco an absolute gift last week, and looke what they did with it: pissed it away. What happened Sunday in Washington was a flameout of epic proportion by the gas can known as the SF bullpen. Good Lord, how do you go from being up 6-2 to down 14-6? Jesus...
NFL – Mike Ditka. How dare Mike Ditka express his opinion on this battle regarding the Washington Football Franchise nickname. Who the hell is he? Well, here is what he said and by golly I'm gonna stand up to him - the PC Army needs to fight this scourge of a man and darn it, like Al Bundy on Labor Day, I'm just the guy to take on Iron Mike. Did you read what that pathetically obnoxious little man said? Well, the short version is here. I wonder how long before ESPiN drops the hammer on him? Shameless plug alert: I will be having a blog next week which directly addresses this issue: If you are PC, I’m here for you – to support your vision and to encourage you that your efforts haven't gone far enough and I'm making a proposal that should solve this problem of nicknames! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!
NFL Preseason. Landon Cohen of the Buffalo Bills is my newest favorite player in the NFL. Why? Because he’s a fat guy who recovered a fumble, rumbled 59 yards with the rock and showed some good cuts. Too bad he ran out of gas and slowed down to let the Steelers tackle his ass. What is it John Madden says: “I love it when a fat guy gets the ball”???
NFL Preseason – Weekend #3. They say that this is the weekend to get an idea of what your teams will look like at the start of the season and if what I saw is any indication, you could almost hand the Lombardi Trophy back to those whiny bastards in Seattle, though a case could be made for an improved Green Bay and New Orleans. Meanwhile, 30 teams are gonna get overshadowed by douchebaggery coming out of New York and Cleveland, both of which will be worthless.
NBA – The Big Trade. It’s official and America’s (and ESPiN's) self-appointed #1 NBA fan Bill Simmons is pissed: Kevin Love is going to Cleveland to help LeBron win that title for long-suffering Cleveland. Let me beat ESPiN to the punch: The Cavs are not just must-see TV, but the first team favored to go 82-0 and sweep the playoffs. THEY’RE THAT GOOD!!! You see ESPiN, I just saved you some time, so don’t bother.
Hey Simmons, no trade you can engineer (since we know Danny Ainge just LOVES to hear your rumors because you are so much smarter than him - that's why you're a blog site editor and he's a championship winning General Manager) will help the Celtics stay with the Cavs.
Let me be 100% serious for a moment: I am going to enjoy the hell out of this if it blows up and Cleveland doesn’t live up to the hype. It’s no disrespect to Cleveland, but a hell of a lot of disrespect to the hype machines, and that whiny little (bleep) Kevin Love.
But wait, somebody with a sense of logic chimed in: Here’s the scouting report when playing against Cleveland, RUN! For the first eight seconds of the shot clock you’ll get to play 5 on 4 because Love will still be down on the other end pouting about something. It’s very similar to what we go through in Sacramento when the Kings whine to the refs while the opponent goes 4 on 1 for the same reason.
NBA – Joel Embid. Hey Joel, you know you’ve screwed up on Twitter when the Iron Sheik gets loose and asks you: “you have the kush bubba?” You get props for having brass balls on Twitter trying to get with Rihanna or whoever – it’s actually pretty funny somewhat – if it didn’t sound so pathetic. Hey Joel, if a chick says “Get back with me when you’re rich and famous…” trust me my man, you don’t want none of that!
Come on Joel – you’re now a millionaire and trust me, you don’t need the drama of Rihanna in your life, you’re a freaking rookie on a team desperate to improve right away. Focus on the roundball and find something less distracting.
NBA – Kobe Bryant. Once again when he has a chance to keep his mouth show he's not a Richard Cranium, Kobe Bryant just can't avoid saying something freaking obnoxious. This time? Here he says elite players like LeBron and of course himself are underpaid and that the salary cap isn’t fair to the big dogs. So it’s fairer for the elite players to make as much as they can while the owners low ball the ham and eggers? I can’t wait for the liberals who want everybody to share talk about this one. Wait, no response? Shocking, a double standard.
Yeah, way to stand up for ALL players in the league Kobe – so typically you. Get yours and fuck 90% of the league, who if they didn’t exist, there’d be no NBA. Hey Mr. Bryant, I hate to burst your bubble, but you aren’t as elite as you might think now. So I guess you should give back your money and give it to Carmelo or Dwight Howard, or Kevin Durant, or CP3 or because they are far more worthy of it, right?
Douchebag of the Week - NFL – Super Bowl Halftime Show. The NFL is really trying to force performers to pay them for the privilege of performing at halftime of the Super Bowl? Now I hate these Hollyweird freaks, but if I was every single one of them and this rumor was true, I’d laugh at the NFL and tell them to piss off.
Besides, no self-respecting Gabber is going to watch that, well, except for the pervs who will just be hoping for a Katy Perry wardrobe malfunction. But then again, this is who the NFL is trying to get to perform: Katy Perry, Rihanna, or Coldplay? Good Lord, Kirk Franklin and his gospel choir are probably more popular.
Now, to provide an opposing view, our friend Doug is also right – let the market dictate this. If the NFL wants to get greedy, they’re within their right. But let me say this: if the NFL is gonna go this route, how long before they don’t give a damn and find a way to go PPV for regular season games or the Super Bowl?
You know what I hate? I hate when I have to hit the head after eating spicy food,
That and saying nice things about guys who work for the competition.
Peyton Manning has been playing for, what? 16-17 years?, and he’s still got that fire in his gut. He’s a passionate guy – and when you knock his favorite receiver out of a pre-season game with a concussion, he’s coming after you. He gets up in DJ Swearinger’s face for an illegal hit, concussing Welker – and he’s wearing Manning’s temper tantrum as a badge of honor? That’s not cool.
All the news about the Rams/Brown tilt was Michael Sam sacking Johnny Football, but apparently what was missed was Sam Bradford tearing his ACL and heading out for the season. Oops. He’s making a pretty good salary for a guy that’s not actually doing anything – think about it, how many other guys do you know who get hurt at work and wind up fired? Certainly they don’t get a $12MM salary.
On Saturday the Yankees – the hated Yankees – retired Joe Torre’s number. Torre, who was the captain of the team who basically terrorized the Red Sox, was never anything other than a class act. Actually, the reason I have such a hard time hating on the Yankees is that they’re so damned professional – in part as the legacy Torre left. Ruthlessly efficient. I think that’s probably one good reason people hate the Patriots. The organization does the right thing and they have the right people in the right place. The fact they have gobs of money behind them doesn’t hurt, but given the Sox recent history I’m not allowed to complain about buying championships, but let me just ask – who wouldn’t want to work for an organization willing to pay you what you think you’re worth in your job?
Albert Ebosse is a name you probably haven’t heard before. He’s a “striker,” or “forward,” for an Algerian soccer team. He died Saturday night after being hit in the head by a rock thrown from the stands in his teams’ home stadium. He was 24 years old, and had actually scored the teams’ goal in a 2-1 loss. Just random happenstance that he should be hit, never mind die from being hit. Consider this now, this could be ANYONE.
Throwing that homerun ball back doesn’t seem so innocuous does it? I did a google search “athletes killed for losing.” Turns out North Korea sends Olympic losers off to prison camps, and Iraq under Saddam Hussein did some pretty horrible things to losers, but I couldn’t find anything to compare to this. Maybe Andreas Escobar, about whom I wrote a little bit this summer, but this was just a random act. Escobar cost someone a bunch of money because the Columbian team lost. This guy actually scored. He should’ve been the one bright spot for the local fans. That would be like David Ortiz taking one off the melon because the Sox lost, even though he hit his 400th homerun in a Sox uniform.
So, there was this:
So in Part I, I talked about the arguments and some reasons why the SEC could be moving to a nine-game schedule. My reason for coming up with scenarios is because I would hope that the additional games would be the most compelling and logical ones possible. This is why in this scenario I would want the SEC to move to two permanent opponents rather than one permanent opponent with two in rotation.
My first group of proposals is based upon the divisions as they are. I talked about potential realignment last May, so I don’t want to rehash all those arguments again, but I’ll add a few possibilities for match=ups in a realigned SEC at the end.
The first is what I believe to be the most traditional approach. Under each team is listed my two proposed permanent opponents. I relied on this site for most-common opponents:http://football.stassen.com/records/all-opponent.html. It doesn’t count all the turn of the (20th) century games, but that’s not really important to this analysis.
Anyway, bolded opponents are the most commonly-played interdivisional games; italicized opponents are the second-most commonly played. What is true for one team is not always true of the other. For instance, South Carolina rarely played any SEC West teams before joining the SEC. They played Alabama and LSU the most, but they’re nowhere near the top of most commonly-played SEC opponents of either LSU or Alabama.
There were a few spots, such as with the four newer teams (Arkansas, Missouri, Texas A&M, and South Carolina), where the match-up is based more on geography than history, but where I didn’t think the connection was obvious, I put a mark next to the team with a note below. Some people might have an easier time looking at the map.
*Florida does have a longer series with Auburn, but Miss. St. is still a traditional series. The Gators have played Miss. St. more than they’ve played Vanderbilt, Tennessee, or South Carolina. Between 1955 and 1992 (when the SEC was first divided into two divisions), Florida actually played Mississippi St. more than it played LSU.
On the other side, Miss. St. has played no team of the SEC East more than it has played Florida.
#These two teams admittedly have not faced each other often. Before South Carolina joined the SEC, there were only 4 games played between the two.
Still, it makes a lot of sense geographically. This is better for South Carolina than either Mississippi St. or Arkansas, neither of whom have a reason to play the Gamecocks (other than recent custom).
LSU, Ole Miss, and Alabama were the only teams the Gamecocks had historical series against before South Carolina joined the SEC, but the Gamecocks are #6 in the SEC East for all three teams, ahead of only Missouri.
&Other than South Carolina, which Arkansas was forced to play when both joined the SEC, Tennessee is Arkansas’s most-played opponent in the SEC East.
Tennessee is more accustomed to playing every other team in the SEC West, apart from Texas A&M, but again, this is a decent geographical pairing.
^There is no good reason for South Carolina to play Texas A&M other than the fact that they’re both in the Southern part of their respective divisions and both are among the four newest SEC teams.
~Mississippi St. has only played Kentucky two fewer times than Ole Miss has. Mississippi St. has also only played Tennessee four more times than it has played Kentucky, but it has played Kentucky more in the last 60 years.
%Ole Miss and Georgia are each third on the other’s list. Ole Miss’s second is Tennessee, and Georgia’s second is Alabama. Since 1955, Ole Miss has actually played Georgia 16 more times than Alabama has. In the same period, Ole Miss has played Georgia two more times than it has played Tennessee.
I don’t have the energy to make another chart like the one above, and it’s after 10 on the east coast, so I’m just going to post two pictures for each arrangement below. One will be a screen-capped list similar to the above, and the other will be a map showing how the teams are matched.
The traditional proposal above does not try to take into account competitive balance. I have one more than also does not take into account competitive balance, but it works better for some teams and not as well for others:
The below was my first attempt to change some of the opponents so that it would try to have each two-team combination balance out competitively. For instance, in the last one I posted, I can see someone from Auburn being upset with having to play both Georgia and Florida every year while Alabama would be playing Tennessee and Vanderbilt instead (even though Vandy has had a couple good seasons lately).
The fourth one I did was more of a hybrid. Teams would be a little less happy with it due to where these programs are right now; but on the other hand, it makes a little more sense historically than the one I just posted.
The below was the only series of match-ups that made sense if the simplest realignment takes place, which would be switching Missouri and Auburn. As I mentioned before, Auburn is clearly to the East of Vanderbilt of the SEC East as well as all the other SEC West teams. Auburn is nearly as far East as Knoxville (Tennessee) and Lexington (Kentucky). Obviously, we would want to have a permanent series with Alabama, but two other major series for Auburn are Georgia and Florida, which would both become intra-divisional series. Missouri of course is among the three westernmost teams in the entire SEC. Not coincidentally, three of the most logical opponents, Arkansas, Texas A&M, and Ole Miss, are all in the SEC West.
The final maps are two variations of permanent opponents in a North/South alignment. The one that makes the most geographic sense is presented first, but I think there might be some griping especially by Florida and Auburn.
The second proposal would make things difficult for both South Carolina and Georgia, but being that they could both be expected to be in the title race every year and we would take Florida out of the mix (by moving them to the new SEC South, made up mostly of the current SEC West), I don’t think they’d have too much right to complain. All four teams that have recently won BCS titles would be in the South.
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