Sunday, October 31, 2010

NFL Picks: Week 8

San Francisco
(At London)

At Dallas-6.5Jacksonville43

At Detroit-2.5Washington45

At NY Jets-6.5Green Bay42

At St. Louis-2.5Carolina37.5

Miami-1At Cincinnati44.5

At Kansas City-7Buffalo45.5

At San Diego-5Tennessee44

At Arizona-3Tampa Bay39.5

At Oakland-2Seattle40.5

At New England-5.5Minnesota44.5

At New Orleans-1.5Pittsburgh45

At Indianapolis

Friday, October 29, 2010

Countdown Friday: The Top 6 Hated Teams In Sports

We all know that Miami is number 1, so lets countdown 6 though 2.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers - The only thing Pittsburgh has ever been good for? Troy Polamalu's hair commercial. Pittsburgh has never been a "liked" franchise - they win too much, they always flirt with the fine line between big hits and cheap shots, and their fans are obnoxious. Now that their quarterback is officially a rapist, it's safe to say we all hate them even more.

5. New England Patriots - A great way to become hated in sports is to win a few championships in a short period of time. Throw in a cheating scandal, and you've got a recipe for a despised team. The Patriots have become a little harder to hate since their defense started looking like butter against a warm knife, but still, the Spygate ramifications have not fully subsided.

4. L.A. Lakers - The Lakers are just so annoying. Pau Gasol sucks, I don't know how else to put it. And Kobe...Quite possibly the most infuriating personality in sports.

3. Dallas Cowboys - I'm still not sure how the Dallas Cowboys qualify as "America's Team" when so much of America spends week after week rooting for the Cowboys' opponents. From Jerry Jones' obnoxious personality and terrible personel decisions to Tony Romo's completely undeserved stardom, there are plenty of reasons to hate this franchise.

2. New York Yankees - Of course, the New York Yankees are the most-hated franchise on this list. As soon as the whole Miami-mania dies down, expect the Yankees to settle into their their standard position at #1. The Yankees won way too much. And the spending was outrageous. I'm not saying other teams don't spend too much, but you sure can blame NY for the beginning of the free-agent frenzy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


In other equally exciting news, I had leftover pizza for breakfast.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

This past summer, I wrote a few posts that touched on a sad subject: the considerable lack of sports that we faced. Well, now, the tables have turned.

As of last night, with the tip of the NBA season, we are in the midst of the best part of the year. All four major sports leagues are currently up and running, with the MLB heading into the World Series, the NBA and NHL just getting underway, and the NFL approaching the midseason mark. (Even the MLS playoffs are about to start.)

There's nothing to do now but set up shop on the couch with some nice snacks and a beverage or two. And whatever you do, never, ever give up the remote.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

R.I.P.: Paul the Octopus

Paul: The Myth, The Octopus, The Legend (2007-2010)

Today is a sad day for soccer fans all across the globe. Paul, the Oracle Octopus passed away this morning in Frankfurt, Germany, at the age of 2 1/2 years. Paul was the most intriguing subplot of the 2010 World Cup. He went 8 for 8 in his picks, which consisted of all 7 of Germany's games, and Spain over the Netherlands in the championship. He gained such an enormous amount of fame over this summer that he was sought after by Aquariums all over Europe, and the Madrid Zoo wanted to bring him in so all of Spain's fans could thank him. He was an Octopus who's legacy at times overshadowed the game itself. Paul will be given a small burial plot and shrine within the grounds of the Oberhausen Aquarium.

Fantasy Football: Week 7

The battles for division leads continue. There's a 3 way tie between Shut Up Meg, Carolina Sex panther, and MonStars in Coach Boone's Dictatorship. Petey Jones. RB. has a slim one-game lead in Rod Tidwell's money, while Bleeding Nipples and The Backside Georges enjoy comfortable leads - for now.

The Backside Georges (7-0) def. bitchesaintshit (2-5), 66-38
The Backside Georges can't be touched. Despite scoring only 66 points, the only undefeated team in the league kept on rolling. It certainly helped that bitchesaintshit posted a depressing tally of 38. Thomas Jones had 18 for The Backside Georges and MJD put up 17 for bitchesaintshit
Bleeding Nipples (4-3) def. Carolina Sex Panther (5-2), 122-111
What a matchup this was. There were 5 players who scored 20+ points: Eli Manning (22), Hakeem Nicks (22), and Dwayne Bowe (20) for Bleeding Nipples, and Matt Ryan (23) and Washington defense (26) for Carolina Sex Panther. In the end, the difference came at WR. Bleeding Nipples got 46 from his wideouts, while Carolina Sex Panther only had 27 at the WR position.
Market St. Marauders (2-5) def. NorthEastGrapepicker (0-6-1), 99-45

Market St. Marauders got a much-needed win in this lopsided affair. AP had 23 points and Jordan Shipley (really? Jordan Shipley???) put up 19. Despite favorable matchups for NorthEastGrapepicker's RBs, the two running backs managed only 2 points.

Armchair Quarterback (5-2) def. Hocus Pocus (3-3-1), 76-64 

Armchair Quarterback gets away with starting 2 players on a bye because Darren McFadden was everyone's daddy this week. McFadden had 43.

Petey Jones. RB. (6-1) def. SlapBet Commissioner (1-6), 97-56
SlapBet Commissioner, always seemingly in the game in the "projected points" category, continues running into high scoring teams. Roddy White had a casual 31 for Petey Jones. RB. and Josh Freeman put up 16. One bright spot for SlapBet Commissioner: Knowshon Moreno is back, and put up 20 points. 

Shut Up Meg (5-2) def. Nick (1-6), 91-47 It was a rather routine win for Shut Up Meg over Nick, whose struggles continue. Lee Evans led all with 28 points. Nick got some good play from the WRs, but 0 from the RB position was too much to overcome. 

MonStars (5-2) def. Vick's Pooch Kick (3-4), 98-51
The battle at QB says it all. Carson Palmer had 28 points for MonStarts. Max Hall had -4 for Vick's Pooch Kick. Game over. '

TwoDat (2-3-2) def. Captain Insano (23-4), 117-96
TwoDat went off this week, with all but 2 players in double digits including 26 from Michael Turner. Still, I'm not sure how Captain Insano managed to lose. Kenny Britt had 40 and Dez Bryant scored 23.

**Special Awards**
Highest Scoring Team: Bleeding Nipples with 122. Can probably thank the Cowboy's D for that. 
Lowest Scoring Team: bitchesaintshit with 38. No comment. 
Best Player: Armchair Quarterback's Darren McFadden with 43. Wowzah. 
Worst Player: Vick's Pooch Kick's Max Hall with -4. As an general rule, never start a Cardinals QB. Ever. 
Best Matchup: Bleeding Nipples (122) vs. Carolina Sex Panther (111). A slugfest. 
Worst Decision: Hocus Pocus starting Tony Romo (5) over Ryan Fitzpatrick (28). Come on, we all saw that coming.

Monday, October 25, 2010

5 Takeaways From Sunday: Week 7

1. The Broncos Are A Disgrace - Props to the Raiders for some excellent play. I hope they make they playoffs, and they very well could win that division. But Denver? Come on. Letting the perennial basement dwellers of the AFC West hang 59 points at you at home in the first 3 quarters? There's no coming back from that.

2. Brett Favre Is Old - Just wanted to get that in here again.

3. Kevin Kolb Is No Mike Vick - Obviously. He isn't terrible. But he just isn't a dynamic playmaker. Let the era of mediocrity begin.

4. The Browns Are On The Upswing - I'm not going to get carried away. They won't win the division this year. But who knows, they might not finish in last. Of course it was just one game, but an upset of the Super Bowl champs in their home stadium is a big deal. I'm more impressed with how the Browns did it: defense. Cleveland will have a chance in every game if their defense can force a few turnovers.

5. There Is More Parody In This League Than There Has Been For A Decade - We're only 7 weeks in, and there are no undefeated teams and there's only one winless team. More impressively, there is only one division in which the division leader has a lead of more than one game (and it's the AFC West with the Chiefs, go figure). Four divisions either have ties at the top or teams 1 and 2 are separated by half a game.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

NFL Picks: Week 7

Pittsburgh-3At Miami

At Atlanta-3.5Cincinnati

At Kansas City-9Jacksonville

At Tennessee-3Philadelphia

At Chicago-3Washington

At New Orleans-12.5Cleveland

At Baltimore-12.5Buffalo

San Francisco-2At Carolina

At Tampa Bay-3St. Louis

At Seattle-6.5Arizona

At San Diego-2.5New England

At Denver-7Oakland

At Green Bay-3Minnesota

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

You Know What Really Grinds My Gears?

The lack of hockey highlights on SportsCenter. It has me more wound up than that time I did steroids.

You don't have to love hockey games to agree that hockey highlights are awesome. So when I tune into SportsCenter in the morning, I want to see what happened the night before. Unfortunately, we only get about 30 seconds of action from 2 or 3 games.

I understand that ESPN has less incentive to show NHL highlights because they no longer broadcast hockey games. (I'm sure I'll write something in the future about how stupid the NHL was to go with Versus). And I understand that ESPN wants to hype the NBA because basketball and Monday Night Football are the network's biggest draws.

But I DON'T CARE ABOUT A MEANINGLESS LAKERS VS. BARCELONA GAME. And I certainly don't want to see upwards of two minutes of highlights on a game like that. So ESPN, show the games that matter, not the ones that don't. When the NBA season rolls around, go nuts. But as long as the NHL is in session, show us some hockey.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Picks

San Diego-8.5At St. Louis

At Houston-4.5Kansas City

At New England-3Baltimore

New Orleans-5.5At Tampa Bay

At Philadelphia-2Atlanta

At NY Giants-10Detroit

At Chicago-6Seattle

At Green Bay-3Miami

At Pittsburgh-14Cleveland

NY Jets-3.5At Denver

At San Francisco-7Oakland

At Minnesota-2Dallas
Indianapolis-3At Washington

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ticket Prices

Ticket prices for the London 2012 Olympic Games were announced this week. Of the 6.6 million tickets available to the public, 2.5 million will cost $32 or less. Around 4.4 million will cost $80 or less. The most expensive ticket for the most expensive event - the 100 yard dash - will cost around $1,200.

That's less than a regular season ticket at Yankee Stadium. (That was supposed to be a joke, but who knows, it might actually be true.)

The pricing scheme makes the Olympic Games accessible to more fans. (And yes, I'm hoping to be there, you should go too). And it brings up an interesting and increasingly prevalent issue in sports: the rapid increase in ticket prices.

Sports clubs are businesses, and there is no question that they try to generate as much revenue as possible. But the argument that they should have consumers' interest in mind is also valid. Sports teams are permissible monopolies, and it seems like they owe something to the people that cheer them on through thick and thin. Yet, ticket prices are skyrocketing, with new venues accelerating ticket price growth.

Some consumers are being priced out of the market. In time, we may see some changes. Red Zone, for example, makes football perhaps more fun to watch at home. As technology for the at-home fan continues to develop, sports teams may need to make changes to continue drawing fans.

But most fans will still tell you there's nothing like being at the game. For now, there's no reason to expect changes in pricing schemes for teams. Most clubs are still able to fill their stadiums or at least operate near capacity. And so we are faced with a tough decision: miss out on "being there," or dig deeper and deeper into our pockets.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Countdown Friday: Top 5 Football Video Games

Last week, I (finally) played Madden '11 for the first time. I certainly enjoyed it, but it got me thinking...where, if anywhere, does this game rank amongst the greatest football video games ever? After extensive investigative research into my younger days, I bring you the Top 5 Football Video Games of all time.

5. Madden '09 - My favorite version of Madden during the "XBox 360 Era." Gameplay was simple enough - it wasn't Madden '08, where the middle linebacker made that ridiculous over-the-head catch every time you threw a pass over the middle. And I certainly enjoyed the fact that you could actually tackle running backs, unlike '10 and '11. The graphics were great too. I only wish Brett Favre wasn't on the cover.

4. NCAA Football '97 - A Sega Genesis classic. Graphics were terrible, gameplay was difficult...but it was just so much fun. It's hard to believe how far video games have come in less than 2 decades, but it's very important that we don't forget our roots.

3. Backyard Football - Perhaps the "most played" football game in my gaming career. This was the very first "Backyard Sports" game in which kid likenesses of professional players were incorporated. Chuck Downfield peppers the game with witty commentary. And the Super Colossal Cereal Bowl? Hysterical. That's a gem. There's a distinct possibility that one of us bloggers got it for his 9th birthday and that both of us stayed up all night during a sleepover to beat the game. Go Wombats.

2. Madden '07 - My favorite Madden ever. This was the last Madden that was unique to the old XBox ('08 got released for XBox and for 360). This game wasn't very realistic, but it was incredibly fun to play. PA Streaks to a fast wide receiver went for 80 yards, and running backs frequently broke off absurd runs. But defense wasn't impossible - some skill could lead to a pick or a fumble. Just an all-around good time.

1. NFL Blitz 2000 - What a fantastic game this was. Whether you played it in an arcade or on an N64, you were in for a treat. The game threw the rules of football out the window: 1st and 10 changed to 1st and 30, pass interference went out the window, and late hits were not only allowed, they were encouraged. One of the best and most underrated features of this game was the "Free" extrapoint. Seriously, who wants to waste time kicking that in a video game? Turbo, spin moves, big hits, and smack talk all added to the atmosphere, helping to make NFL Blitz 2000 the greatest football video game of all time.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fantasy Football: Week 5

Byes are becoming a big factor for coaches to consider. Here are the results:

The Backside Georges (5-0) def. Shut Up Meg (4-1), 94-67
And then there was one. The Backside Georges took the battle of the undefeateds by a 27 point margin. In a bizarre occurrence, kicker Josh Scobee led all scorers with 22. Cendric Benson put up 17 for Shut Up Meg.

Petey Jones. RB. (4-1) def. Market St. Marauders (1-4), 79-68
Petey Jones. RB. got big performances from the Philadelphia defense (18), Roddy White (16), and Joe Flacco (15). Market St. Marauders fell victim to a non-updated roster. Get in the game.

Carolina Sex Panthers (4-1) def. MonStars (3-2), 95-71
With the win, Carolina Sex Panthers is now tied for first in Coach Boone's Dictatorship. Excluding a goose egg from Anquan Boldin, Carolina Sex Panther got huge WR play. The K and DEF positions helped, combining for 29. MonStars got 25 from Chris Johnson, but didn't get enough help from the remainder of the roster.

bitchesaintshit (2-3) def. Nick (1-4), 62-51
In a low-scoring affair, bitchesainshit edged Nick behind 21 from Shaun Hill. I wish there were more good things to say about either team.

Hocus Pocus (2-2-1) def. Vick's Pooch Kick (2-3), 89-77
In much needed awakenings, Tony Romo put up 22 puts and LeSean McCoy got 19. Vick's Pooch Kick kept it close with 27 from Ray Rice and 13 from Jay Feely, but a 2-spot from Matt Schaub was too much to overcome.

Captain Insano (3-2) def. NorthEastGrapepicker (0-5) 63-34
I would equate this matchup to Rams vs. Lions. Boy, it was an ugly one. Kyle Orton led all with 20. NorthEastGrapepicker couldn't break double digits with any player.

TwoDat (1-3-1) def. SlapBet Commissioner (1-4), 114-71
SlapBet Commissioner got 30 from Matt Forte, but unfortunately ran into an unbelievable week from TwoDat. Malcolm Floyd had 27, Donovan McNabb had 17, and Michael Turner/Jason Witten each had 14.

Bleeding Nipples (3-2) def. Armchair Quarterback (3-2), 105-63
This one was never close. Bleeding Nipples got 50 points from Hakeem Nicks/Brandon Lloyd (25 each) and 19 from QB Eli Manning. Terrell Owens led Armchair Quarterback's team with 16.

**Special Awards**
Highest Scoring Team: TwoDat with 114 points. Nice way to get win number one.
Lowest Scoring Team:  NorthEastGrapepicker with 34. Ugh...
Best Player: I'm not going by points this week. Josh Scobee gets the award, for 22. He's a kicker!
Worst Player: Shut Up Meg's defense, STL with -3.
Best Matchup: Hocus Pocus (89) def. Vick's Pooch Kick (77).
Worst Decision: Shut Up Meg needed a defense to fill a bye, and had it narrowed down to St. Louis or Detroit. The Rams defense put up -3. The Lions? Try 26.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Great Debate

The most contentious issue in baseball finally
isn't steroids. In fact, it has nothing to do with potential cheating, nothing to do with the players' actions at all. It's a very simple problem: should umpires be able to use instant replay to verify calls when there is some degree of uncertainty the first time around?

Those in favor of instant replay will likely put forth some form off a very basic argument: the umpires should get it right. There is so much at stake, especially during the playoffs, both for fans and for clubs. If replay helps umps get calls right, it belongs in the game. It works in football, basketball, and hockey - why not baseball too?

On the other side, the are a few arguments to make. First of all, replay will extend the game. Baseball games are already 3+ hour affairs, and wide use of instant replay would cause games to approach (or pass) the 4-hour mark. Second, replay would mess with the tradition of the game. Umpires have never used replay (save home run reviews), and that lack of replay has never been an extreme hinderance to the game. Finally, widespread use of instant replay may stir fears that technology will phase out human umpires. We have the technology to have baseball games be almost completely officiated by computers, and this is a scary thought for some.

So where are you on the issues? Feel free to comment and vote in the poll. Where am I? Well, I don't love the idea of more instant replay. I do think games are long enough right now, and I do believe in some sense of baseball tradition. However, despite my reservations, in the end I believe baseball should expand the use of instant replay. 

Why? Let's say you're building a shed. You need to put in a screw, and you have a screwdriver right in front of you. Wouldn't you use it?!?! If you have a tool that's right for the job and will make everything easier, you should put it to use. Baseball has that tool in instant replay. There's no reason for umpires to be missing a handfull of calls every game.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The NHL Season Began Today

...who knew?

My Stanley Cup picks: Bruins over Red Wings.

Home town biases did not affect those picks...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Playoff Predictions

American League:

Rays defeat Rangers, 3 games to 1 - No mystery here. The better team wins.

Yankees defeat Twins, 3 games to 0 - A Minnesota enigma: how can a team that's so good in the regular season be so bad in the playoffs?

National League:

Reds defeat Phillies, 3 games to 2 - Against all odds, the cinderella story continues.

Giants defeat Braves, 3 games to 1 - Superior pitching prevails.

ALCS: Rays defeat Yankees, 4 games to 2 - The Yankees (now 3-man) rotation has too many issues. Unfortunately, this means more games will be played at the eye-sore that is Tropicana Field.

NLCS: Reds defeat Giants, 4 games to 3 - Bold, I know. But the Reds have Joey Votto.

World Series: Rays defeat Reds, 4 games to 2 - At which point Al Gore immediately demands a recount. If it wasn't for Disney World, Florida would be the worst state in America.

BREAKING NEWS: Patriots Trade Moss

I don't even know what to say...

In one of the more lopsided trades in recent memory, the New England Patriots traded Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings for a third round draft pick. Wait, what the hell?! Yeah, you read that right. The Pats traded the 7-time Pro Bowler to the Vikings.

Now I understand that this is the last year of Moss' deal, and the Pats want to get something back for him. But a 3rd rounder? Come on. If we got Oakland's #1 for Seymour we should have gotten at least a 2nd round pick for Moss, if not more. That's just a poor job negotiating by the Patriots. Some of the rational for this is that Moss is older than Seymour was, and that the Pats already have 2 first rounders, 2 second rounders, and 2 fourth rounders in the next draft. Getting a first or second round pick means the Pats might not be able to sign all their picks, because nobody knows what the cap is going to look like after the new CBA is established.

Still, trading Randy Fucking Moss for a third rounder not alright. Even if you traded him for the best skill player in the 3rd round of the 1998 draft (the year he was drafted), you're getting Hines Ward. Who would you rather have?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fantasy Football: Week 4

A bit of a lull this week, as defense reigned supreme. Here are the results:

The Backside Georges (4-0) def. Hocus Pocus (1-2-1), 119-42
The Backside Georges managed to put up 119 points despite starting Thomas Jones (on a bye). No matter, as Hocus Pocus started a QB and a K on a bye. These shenanegans need to end. Arian Foster had 30 despite sitting out the 1st quarter, and Antonia Gates had 26. 
Bleeding Nipples (2-2) def. bitchesaintshit (1-3), 71-58

Great wide receiver play helped guide Bleeding Nipples to victory, with 11, 11, and 15 from Hackeem Nicks, Brandon Lloyd, and Davone Bess, respectively. bitchesaintshit got a strong showing from MJD (23), but too many players laid an egg.
Carolina Sex Panther (3-1) def. Market St. Marauders (1-3), 80-64
The resurgent LT put up 27 for Carolina Sex Panther. Market St. Marauders was severely crippled by the Mike Vick injury. A healthy QB could have meant a W for the week.

Armchair Quarterback (3-1) def. SlapBet Commissioner (1-3), 85-56
Terrell Owens and Sam Bradford combined for 45. SlapBet Commissioner got respectable performance from Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne, but didn't get much help otherwise.

Petey Jones. RB. (3-1) def. NorthEastGrapepicker (0-4), 64-54

In a low-scoring affair, PeteyJones. RB. eked out a victory against the winless NorthEastGrapepicker. Derek Anderson put up an unfortunate -2, though NorthEastGrapepicker can find a bright spot in RB play. Petey Jones. RB. had a couple zeros at WR, but got enough from Mendenhall, Flacco, and Clark.

Shut Up Meg (4-0) def. TwoDat (0-3-1), 81-57
Shut Up Meg matched the predicted total exactly, with help from Zach Miller (18), Drew Brees (15), and Jonathan Stewart (13). TwoDat's leading scorer, the man with four names, posted 13.

MonStars (3-1) def. Nick (1-3), 79-46
MonStars got an absurd performance from the NYG defense, who sacked the Bears quarterbacks 324 times. Nick, who had Jay Cutler, put up -4 at QB.

Captain Insano (2-2) def. Vick's Pooch Kick (2-2), 76-71
In this close matchup, SD's defense led the charge (28) and Kyle Orton (20) put Captain Insano over the top. Peyton Hillis had 16 in a losing effort.

**Special Awards**

Highest Scoring Team: The Backside Georges with 119 points. Be intimidated.
Lowest Scoring Team: Hocus Pocus with 42. Update your roster.
Best Player: The Backside Georges' Arian Foster (again) with 30.
Worst Player: Nick's Jay Cutler with -4. Quite the headache.
Best Matchup: Captain Insano (76) def. Vick's Pooch Kick (71).
Worst Decision: In retrospect, NorthEastGrapepicker starting Derek Anderson (-2) over Brett Favre (on a bye). Sorry about that one.

Next week, the two undefeateds - The Backside Georges and Shut Up Meg - square off.