Monday, November 29, 2010

Missing Persons Case Solved: Rich Rodriguez Found Hiding Under A Rock



The 48-hour search for Michigan's head football coach has finally come to an end. It ended happily (or not, depending on who's side you're on), with the coach alive and well. Rodriguez was found alone, hiding under a rock, singing kumbaya.

It isn't clear why exactly the 15-21 head coach ran away in the first place, but experts think that it must have something to do with one of the following reasons:

  • An ugly lawsuit with West Virginia
  • Continuous controversy over NCAA violations
  • Posting the worst record ever (3-9) for the winningest program in college football history
  • Snapping the nation's longest bowl-appearance streak at 33
  • Losing to Ohio State three times in a row, including the two worst losses ever
  • Leading Michigan to an 0-12 record against teams that finish with a Big Ten record of .500 or better
It's hard to say, really.

While Michigan fans are devastated by the news that RichRod is alright, the other Big Ten coaches are rejoicing. Getting Rich back is a blessing, said one coach who wished to remain anonymous. He'll continue to make Michigan a competitive program - competing with teams like Indiana and Minnesota for the bottom of the division.

Rodriguez did not want to discuss his episode, saying that it would only distract the team from what's really important. We've only got a month to prepare for the PapaJohns.com Bowl, he said. And then, I'll be busy hunting for a job.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

NFL Picks: Week 12





Minnesota-2At Washington

Pittsburgh-6.5At Buffalo

At Houston-5Tennessee

At NY Giants-7.5Jacksonville

At Cleveland-8Carolina

At Baltimore-7.5Tampa Bay

Philadelphia-3At Chicago

At Atlanta-2Green Bay

At Oakland-3Miami

Kansas City-1.5At Seattle

At Denver-3St. Louis

At Indianapolis-2San Diego



Monday Night Football Line
San Francisco-1At Arizona

Friday, November 26, 2010

Countdown Friday: The Top 5 Sports Days Of The Year





5. Black Friday - Perhaps one of the more underrated sports days, the day after Thanksgiving is always full of great games to watch. Sleeping in and spending a day on the couch is an excellent alternative to 5 a.m. fist fights at Toys R Us. There are always plenty of college basketball games, some NHL contests, and a few great college football matchups.


4. Thanksgiving - The day after Thanksgiving is great, but it doesn't quite top Thanksgiving day itself. There's high school football from the time you wake up until the afternoon, at which point you can shift your attention towards the pro game. The three games match the holiday schedule perfectly: appetizers (12:30 game), Thanksgiving dinner (4:30 game), food coma (8:20 game).


3. March Madness Opening Day(s) - For these two days, we put aside all the schoolwork or desk work and turn our eyes to the television. Productivity is at an annual low and sick days hit their yearly highs. The opening of the NCAA tournament is a spectacle, a circus, and one of the happiest days of the year.


2. Super Bowl Sunday - Super Bowl Sunday is the closest thing to a national holiday that the sports world has. All day long, you can watch pregame shows, season lookback shows, or even crappy Super Bowl inspired programming like "MTV's Rocks vs. Jocks." And when the game itself finally arrives, it's always a treat. The football is fantastic, the commercials are (sometimes) hilarious, and there's always more food than anyone could possibly want.


1. New Year's Day - The greatest sports day of the year is, without a doubt, New Year's Day. From the time you wake up, you are bombarded with sports. In fact, there is almost too much to watch. The schedule of college bowl games goes as follows: Outback Bowl, Capital One Bowl, Gator Bowl, Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl. Wow. Add in the NHL Winter Classic, and you have an unbelievable day of sports.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Why I Love Thanksgiving


...no further explanation necessary. Enjoy the holiday and all that you are thankful for.


Happy Thanksgiving!

-The Casual Sports Fans

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Breaking News: Miami Heat players admit: “We forgot to learn how to play basketball this offseason”



With all of the hype surround the Miami Heat going into the season, an 8-6 start has to be considered an immense disappointment. How is it that a team with 3 star players (James, Wade, and of course, Eddie House) could have such a lackluster first month of play, boasting a record identical to that of the Portland Trailblazers?

Well, we may have our answer. A Miami Heat player who wishes to remain anonymous recently explained the situation:

As soon as we found out we’d have James, Bosh, and Wade, we knew we’d have to practice a lot. And we did. We practiced photo shoots. We practiced standing behind them looking tough. We practiced behaving arrogantly to the media. We even had an exhibition preseason rally in preparation of our actually preseason rally. Unfortunately, with all this going on, we forgot to learn how to play basketball this offseason.

The Heat didn’t plan on going into the season cold. Apparently, there was a practice scheduled the day before the opener vs. the Celtics. We got there at 1 pm, ready to go, said another Heat player. We were about to start practicing when LeBron couldn’t decide: red headband or white headband? By the time we figured it out, it was time for Bosh’s nap.

This lack of drive makes sense, really. Practice is superfluous for the already ESPN-crowned NBA champions of the next 6 years.  But the Heat, who would at least like to entertain the 500 or so fans in their building, realize that they need to do better.

We’ve starting getting down to business. We haven’t picked up a basketball yet, but we have practiced forgiving LeBron for turning the ball over, hugging D. Wade when he goes 3 for 19, and destroying all the paperwork that would send Chris Bosh on a trip to the D-League.

Soon to be ex-coach Eric Spolestra declined to comment on the lack of practice. He did, however, comment on the Haslem injury. We’re sad to lose such an important player, Spolestra said. But as a team, you have to move on. We'll be starting an ottoman at the center position. We think it gives us the best chance to win.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Week 11: Fantasy Football and Power Rankings



Here's a quick look at what happened this week in the fantasy league. Congratulations to The Backside Georges for clinching the Chuck Downfield's Dad's Socks division.

Shut Up Meg101
Bleeding Nipples66
Petey Jones. RB.83
Armchair Quarterback65
Carolina sex panther73
TwoDat115
Nick8
SlapBet Commissioner113
Hocus Pocus125
MonStars64
bitchesaintshit81
Captain Insano51
Market St. Marauders68
The Backside Georges107
NorthEastGrapepicker44
vick's pooch kick107


And now for some NFL Power Rankings:

5. Philadelphia Eagles (7-3) - Michael Vick is doing what Donovan McNabb couldn't quite do with the Eagles offense. Vick's arm and feet fit in perfectly with the quick receivers. The Eagles have been held below 20 points only twice this season, and those were Kevin Kolb starts.

4. Green Bay Packers (7-3) - The Packers have a great defense. If the offense can avoid another crippling injury, this team could find itself in the Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers was definitely the guy to choose in the 2005 draft. Sorry Alex Smith.

3. New York Jets (8-2) - The Jets pulled an escape act for the third week in a row. This team might be making some fans nervous, but it's hard to argue with 8-2. Sanchez is maturing quickly, showing an impressive ability to comeback late in games. Santonio Holmes was a key (and cheap) addition.

2. Atlanta Falcons (8-2) - Atlanta hasn't had the toughest schedule, but don't sell this team short. They had 2 impressive victories (vs. Saints and vs. Ravens) and, unlike some of the other top teams, have won all the games that they should have won. The next two weeks (GB and TB) could prove to be big for the Falcons.

1. New England Patriots (8-2) - The Patriots look good, but not necessarily for reasons that the fans are accustomed to seeing. A defense that plagued the Pats for several years is now proving to be an asset. And the running game is becoming a nice compliment to Tom Brady's arm. The Patriots and Jets both essentially have byes this week (NE vs. Detriot and NYJ vs. Cincinnati). Next week, they'll meet on Monday Night Football, a game that could decide the division. 

 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NFL Picks: Week 11


At Pittsburgh-7Oakland

At NY Jets-6.5Houston

Baltimore-13At Carolina

At Tennessee-7Washington

At Dallas-6Detroit

Green Bay-3At Minnesota

At Cincinnati-4.5Buffalo

At Jacksonville-2.5Cleveland

At Kansas City-7.5Arizona

At New Orleans-11.5Seattle

Atlanta-3.5At St. Louis

At San Francisco-3.5Tampa Bay

At New England-4Indianapolis

At Philadelphia-3.5NY Giants



Monday Night Football 

At San Diego-9.5Denver

Friday, November 19, 2010

Countdown Friday: The Commissioners - How Do They Rank?

There's no mystery regarding the names on this countdown. Still, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the commissioners in the 5 big U.S. sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLS) and see how they stack up. So I did.





5. David Stern - I wish that I was alive during the 80s to see what basketball was like. Because right now, it's absolute crap. David Stern has done a few good things, like help the NBA expand internationally and implement a rookie salary cap. But the game itself has shifted to revolve around the "star," and as a result, the quality of basketball has suffered immensely. I don't even think Stern himself could explain what a foul is these days.


4. Gary Bettman - Bettman sure had the deck stacked against him, having to go through some tough years that included the only full-season lockout in American sports history. But ultimately his legacy will be remember for two things: over-expanding into unprofitable cities like Phoenix and Carolina and choosing money over exposure by signing with Versus instead of ESPN. Both of these were huge mistakes, and it's easy to see why many NHL teams are struggling to turn a profit.


3. Bud Selig - Steroids. Need I say more? OK, instant replay.


2. Roger Goodell - Goodell runs a tight ship, and it can't be easy with all those owners behind him. The NFL is, from a fan perspective, the most successful league in America. Goodell handles disciplinary matters in a unique, well-informed, meticulous way. His legacy will ultimately tie to the current labor disputes.


1. Don Garber - That's right, the best commissioner in the country works for the MLS. He's kept the job since 1999, and for good reason. Garber is faced with the very difficult task of implementing fair playing compensation (compensation that's enticing enough for top talent to come to the league) while keeping costs under control. So far, he's done a good job. In the next few years, the MLS will be adding 3 new teams, expanding to 19 (and probably more after that).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tiger Tweets To Try To Tackle Troubled Times

Man, I can't wait for her to leave so I can go meet a much less attractive prostitute.


...it won't work.

But in the wake of Tiger's wholly irrelevant attempts to improve his image, I figured it was about time for the Sports Casual take on things. I'm not interested in who got asked to do what in which position, or who gasmoigaddied whose gaflavitty, or even where Tiger would have ranked in that Duke girl's powerpoint. We're talking strictly sports and sports business, here. If you want that soap opera stuff, All My Children is on ABC weekends at 1 pm. I mean, uh, I don't know when it's on.

It's easy to see how Tiger lost his #1 ranking. It was remarkable how long he held it, really, but in the midst of domination we forget how slim margins of victory are in professional sports. In the Beijing Olympics, Usain Bolt, who dominates the sport, won by .2 seconds, a difference of about 2%. In Lance Armstrong's final Tour de France victory, he won by 4 minutes and 40 seconds, a margin of less than 0.1% of the total tour time.

Despite the perception, Tiger was only feet - not miles - ahead of the competition. In his 14 major championships, his average margin of victory was a little over 4 strokes. And that's including the two outliers. Get rid of those, and his average margin of victory is a little over 2 1/2. It's easy to see how, in the past year, Tiger got 2 1/2 strokes (and then some) worse.

For the companies that had substantial money invested in Tiger, the day the news came out regarding his transgressions can essentially be considered 25% Black Tuesday. Before the "incidents" Tiger was estimated to be worth roughly $600 million. Through the divorce settlement and lost sponsorship deals, he is poised to lose half (if not all) of that. Certainly, his image isn't completely worthless, but expect many of the remaining sponsors to let their deals lapse when the contracts expire.

The moral of this story? This was an astronomical collapse. No tweeting, no published Newsweek articles, no Mike & Mike interviews will resurrect the image that we once had. The only thing that can help Tiger? Winning. I don't see it happening anytime soon.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fantasy Football: Week 10





It was a wild week, during which we saw the last remaining undefeated team fall. The races for Coach Boone's Dictatorship and Rod Tidwell's money are heating up, while the reces in Chuck Downfield's Dad's Socks and Shane Falco's Sentinels may be over.

Carolina Sex Panthers (6-4) def. The Backside Georges (9-1), 95-46
Byes finally caught up to our formerly only undefeated team left. Missing a QB, TE, and DEF, The Backside Georges mustered a season-low 46 points. Matt Ryan of Carolina Sex Panthers led all with 24.

 
Bleeding Nipples (6-3-1) def. NorthEastGrapepicker (0-9-1) 136-18
This one was ugly. About as ugly as you'd expect a 118 point rout to be. Dwayne Bowe had 30, which would have been enough to win alone. Gronkowski went off with 25, and Brendan Lloyd had 21.

Market St. Marauders (2-7-1) tie SlapBetCommissioner (3-6-1), 63-63
This matchup was a real nailbiter. Going into Monday Night Football, SlapBetCommissioner needed 6 points from Heath Miller for the tie, 7 for the win. Miller managed 6, and this game ended in a deadlock. Market St. Marauders was saved by a 23 point performance from Mark Sanchez. Mario Manningham had 25 for SlapBet Commissioner.

Armchair Quarterback (7-3) def. bitchesaintshit (3-7) 77-65

bitchesaintshit's entire scoring essentially consisted of Tom Brady (32) and Maurice Jones-Drew (24). Armchair Quarterback started JON KITNA and got 23 points from him. Seriously, WTF.


Petey Jones. RB. (8-2) def. Hocus Pocus (5-4-1), 116-94
Can anybody stop Petey Jones. RB's tear? This game was a high scoring affair. Petey Jones. RB. got a solid all-around performance, with only 3 players in single digits. Hocus Pocus had 2 players at 20+ points, but didn't get enough help from the supporting cast. 


Captain Insano (4-6 ) def. Shut Up Meg (6-4), 79-50
Shut Up Meg's offensive struggles continue. Inconsistant RB play is proving to be a liability, as LaGarrette Blount had 15 but Cedric Benson had only 1. Captain Insano had 27 from Kyle Orton and 16 from Dez Bryant.

MonStars (7-3) def. TwoDat (4-4-2), 94-87
MonStars reclaimed the division lead with a win over TwoDat behind great RB play (30 points total). TwoDat got 24 from David Garrard but 0's from Jacoby Jones and Jason Witten were the difference.

vick's pooch kick (5-4-1) def. Nick (1-9), 91-60Nick has secured a place as one of the most irrelevant teams in the league with yet another blowout loss. vick's pooch kick got excellent WR play, with a combined 39 from Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Maclin, and Michael Crabtree.
**Special Awards**

Highest Scoring Team: Bleeding Nipples with 136. That's scary good. 
Lowest Scoring Team: NorthEastGrapepicker with 18. Ugh...
Best Player: bitchesaintshit's Tom Brady, the most perfect human being in the world, with 32.
Worst Player: Vick's Pooch Kick's KC DEF with -4. Against Denver???
Best Matchup: Market St. Marauders (63) vs. SlapBet Commissioner (63). It was too close to call!
Worst Decision: NorthEastGrapepicker, for even showing up.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Redskins Offer McNabb $78 million Extension

YAY FREE MONEY!!!


Shortly after being benched for Rex Grossman (wait, he's still in the NFL?), Donovan McNabb was offered a 5 year, $78 million extension ($40 million guaranteed) by the Washington Redskins. That's one heck of an apology right there. I don't really know what to say except for that the Redskins are just proving that they're very good at throwing money away. First it was Albert Haynesworth at 7 years, $100 million, and now it's the 34 year old McNabb. He will be 39 by the time this deal expires, and he's being given $15.6 million per year.

McNabb is a player in decline. Yes, he was once great. The man is a 5-time Pro Bowler. However, this year he has his lowest QB Rating (76) since he became a starter in 2000. His TD-INT ratio is 7-8, his worst ever, and when it comes to accuracy, his INT% (percentage of pass attempts that are intercepted) over the past four seasons has been increasing (1.5%, 1.9%, 2.3%, 2.9%). He should no longer be paid like an elite QB with numbers like that.

I guess the current Redskins front office is more concerned with being really bad than trying to build a winner. Sorry DC.

NFL Week 10: Seriously, What Is Going On?



This season has been tremendously exciting. But after yesterday, I think it's also fair to say that the season has been a little disorienting. Week to week, it seems no team is able to get any real traction. Who am I supposed to root for (or against) when a different version of every team shows up each Sunday??

Here are the 5 most surprising headlines from yesterday:

5. The Miami Dolphins win with a quarterback carousel - The Dolphins raised eyebrows during the week when Coach Tony Sporano announced Chad Pennington would be starting. Well, that lasted all of two plays. Pennington reinjured his shoulder, and let's face it, the man needs to retire. Newly demoted backup Chad Henne also got hurt, so after some wildcat offense, Miami gave the ball to...Tyler Thigpen? OK, sure. It worked. The Dolphins won, 29-17.

4. The Patriots take down the Steelers convincingly - One week removed from their hapless loss at Cleveland, the Patriots put on a show in Pittsburgh. What was most surprising about this game was the way that the Patriots won. We expect Tom Brady to be the deciding factor, and sure, he was great (4 TDs). But what surprised me was a defense that kept Pittsburgh out of the endzone until the 4th quarter (and had a TD of their own) and a running game that racked up 100+ yards against one of the league's best rushing defenses.

3. The Chiefs lay an egg against the Broncos - At the beginning of the season, there's no way this would have been news. But the Chiefs have been one of the NFL's surprises, whereas the Broncos have been right up their with the Cowboys as a big disappointment. It didn't look that way yesterday. At one point, the formerly 2-6 Broncos led the once 5-3 Kansas City by a score of 35-0.

2. The Cowboys beat up on the Giants - (And that is why we watch). What a bizarre win. The Giants, who have one of the best defenses in the league, made Jon Kitna look like John Elway.

1. The Jaguars win on a last-second Hail Mary - Hail Marys never work. Ever. Until they do. And when they do, it's something to see. The best part? Gus Johnson. Enjoy.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Why We Watch



My apologies for the long hiatus. It's good to be back. It was very exciting to hear that several people were looking forward to the next post. I have readers! Who knew.

I wanted to write about something important for my return to the blogosphere. Something more than the everyday post. I thought about discussing the NFL, but it would have gone something like this: "there are a lot of good teams and I don't know who will win." I considered writing about the NBA, but I think my talents might be wasted on South Beach. I contemplated posting about the NHL, but I'm not Canadian. I even toyed with an MLS playoff article, but...you know.

It was somewhere between this morning's coffee and Golden Grahams that I thought to myself: I'm going to spend the next 9 hours in front of the TV. Why???


And so we arrive at this post: Why We Watch. It's an interesting subject to consider, really. Sports are incredible, don't get me wrong. But if some outsider, like an alien from V or some crap like that (is that still a show?) saw sports for the first time, I'm sure there would be some confusion. These games fuel one of the largest industries in the world, with hundreds of billions of dollars flowing through sporting channels around the globe.

So why do we watch, then? Why does anybody care? What makes sports better than, say, movies? It starts with a sort of connection to a sport. Most of us sports-watchers have played (or play) a sport or two, and it's fascinating to see the top level athletes compete in one of our sports.

But it's certainly more than that. We watch for camaraderie. Fanhood ushers us into the arms of a city; it gives us a sense of belonging. When's the last time you went to a movie and high-fived the stranger next to you when something amazing happened? And sports are a conversation starter with virtually anybody. "Did you see the game last night?" is all it takes to go from awkward silence to a great discussion.

But above all else, we watch for the authenticity. Sport itself is an art form. The intricacies of a Tampa 2 or an umbrella powerplay can be fascinating. Or, to the more casual sports fan, the action as a whole is enough. But sports are separate from art for one important reason. When we watch a movie, we know that the actors spent hours getting the staging just right, that someone edited scenes together, that somebody else added special effects. When we read a book, we know the ending has already been inked onto the last few pages. But when we watch a game, the story is written right before our eyes. The players don't have any more of an idea regarding what's going happen than we do. We might "know" that the Cowboys are going to lose by double digits today, but we don't know until we see it with our very own eyes.

And that is why we watch.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wade Phillips Fired By Cowboys

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Ddfc28jTSx8/SyGB-maBwNI/AAAAAAAAAog/b5cOyQwTP7I/s320/Wade+Phillips.jpg








About damn time. Give that headset to a monkey and he could get a team with as much talent as the Cowboys (pre-Romo injury) to at least 2-6. Jason Garrett, the former Offensive Coordinator, will take over as the Head Coach.

Crowder vs. McClain



Love the rant. Even more, I love the quote:

"Then they said something about they let Karlos Dansby get away with a facemask the play before," Crowder said. "Who the f--- cares? A guy just spit in my face! I don't give a damn about Karlos pulling somebody's facemask. Like they didn't see Chad Henne get hit twice when he slid. Yeah, [the officials were] a little Stevie Wonder and Anne Frank...Who was that? Is that the blind girl? Helen Keller...I don't know who the f--- Anne Frank is. I'm mad right now. F--- it. I'm not as swift as I usually am."


Friday, November 5, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fantasy Football: Week 8



Here are the results from week 8:












And here's a look at the standings:

Coach Boone's Dictatorship
3. Monstars
5. Carolina Sex Panther
6. Shut Up Meg
10. Vick's Pooch Kick

Rod Tidwell's Money
2. Petey Jones. RB.
7. Armchair Quarterback
15. Nick
16. NorthEastGrapepicker

Shane Falco's Sentinels
4. Bleeding Nipples
9. TwoDat
12. bitchesaintshit
14. Market St. Mauraders

Chuck Downfield's Dad's Socks
1. The Backside Georges
8. Hocus Pocus
11. Captain Insano
13. SlapBet Commissioner

Monday, November 1, 2010

RANDY MOSS CUT BY VIKINGS

Peek-a-boo! He's baaaaaack.....

In a stunning move, Randy Moss was waived by the Minnesota Vikings today. Brad Childress gave no reason as to why, which made him appear as clueless and incompetent as ever. Rumors are now swirling about which teams are interested, and the New England Patriots are obviously on the list.

The Buffalo Bills will have the first shot at Moss, given they have the worst record in the NFL. The Patriots have the best record, and therefore will only be able to get Moss if all 30 other teams decide to pass on picking him up. If he is picked up off of waivers, he will be paid $3.4 million over the remainder of the season. If he is not claimed within 24 hours, he will become a free agent.

Moss had 13 catches for 174 yards and 2 TD's  in 4 games with the Minnesota Vikings.