Monday, December 28, 2009

Talking Points

Here is the link to my latest column for It's Just Sports on Mlive.com. Please login to Mlive and leave me a comment, either positive or negative.

Talking Points: Dick Vitale defends Bob Knight and Michael Irvin would trade his Super Bowl rings for an unbeaten season

http://blog.mlive.com/its-just-sports/2009/12/talking_points_2.html

Thursday, December 24, 2009

NFL PICKS - Week 16

Week 15 NFL Results: 6-9
NFL Results Season to Date: 109-124-2

College Football Results Season to Date: 33-22

Week 15 Mark My Words Results: 1-1
Mark My Words Results Season to Date: 30-29

Week 16 NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):

Friday Night Football

At Tennessee -3 San Diego (San Diego)

At Green Bay -14 Seattle (Seattle)
At Cleveland -3 Oakland (Oakland)
At Cincinnati -13.5 Kansas City (Kansas City)
At Atlanta -9 Buffalo (Atlanta)
At Miami -3 Houston (Miami)
At New York Giants -7 Carolina (Carolina)
At New Orleans -14 Tampa Bay (New Orleans)
At New England -8 Jacksonville (Jacksonville)
At Pittsburgh -3 Baltimore (Baltimore)
At Philadelphia -6.5 Denver (Philly)
At Arizona -14 St. Louis (Arizona)
At San Francisco -12 Detroit (San Francisco)
At Indianapolis -5 New York Jets (Indy)
Dallas -6 at Washington (Washington)

Monday Night Football

Minnesota -7 At Chicago (Chicago)

College Football:

Pittsburgh -2.5 North Carolina (North Carolina)
USC -7.5 B.C. (USC)
Clemson -7 Kentucky (Clemson)

Mark My Words:

Here are the pro and college lines that I would put money on, and why:

San Diego +3 over TENNESSEE - With Keith Bulluck out for Tennessee, I look for San Diego to be able to establish the run on the road. That should help set up the play action pass downfield to Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd for at least one deep ball, which could make the difference in this game. Chris Johnson could have a big day running between the tackles as opposed to outside against San Diego's depleted interior DL.

NEW ORLEANS -14 over Tampa Bay - New Orleans' secondary has been vulnerable of late in their defensive backfield and their pass protection. Tampa Bay has been unable to throw the ball downfield consistently, nor have they been able to rush the passer. I look for New Orleans to win in a blowout.

ARIZONA -14 over St. Louis - St. Louis is starting a third string quarterback against an aggressive Arizona secondary. Look for Arizona's offense to score at will on the St. Louis defense.

SAN FRANCISCO -12 over Detroit - Detroit is starting their third string quarterback against a strong 49'er defense. While Frank Gore should be able to run against Detroit's front 7, the key to this game will be Alex Smith exploiting Detroit's secondary, which has lacked talent all season, and is now even more depleted due to injury. If Smith can't pull this one off, he'll likely be out of a job.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

NFL PICKS - Week 15

Week 14 NFL Results: 8-8
NFL Results Season to Date: 103-115-2

College Football Results Season to Date: 33-22

Week 14 Mark My Words Results: 2-1
Mark My Words Results Season to Date: 29-28

Week 15 NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):

Thursday Night Football

Indianapolis -3 At Jacksonville (Indianapolis)

Saturday Night Football

At New Orleans -7.5 Dallas (Dallas)

At Baltimore -11 Chicago (Chicago)
New England -7 At Buffalo (New England)
Arizona -12.5 At Detroit (Arizona)
At Kansas City -2 Cleveland (Kansas City)
At New York Jets -4.5 Atlanta (New York Jets)
At Philadelphia -7.5 San Fransisco (San Francisco)
Houston -13.5 St. Louis (Houston)
At Tennessee -4 Miami (Miami)
At Seattle -6.5 Tampa Bay (Seattle)
At Pittsburgh -2 Green Bay (Green Bay)
Denver -14 At Oakland (Oakland)
At San Diego -7 Cincinnati (Cincinnati)
Minnesota -9 at Carolina (Minnesota)

Monday Night Football

New York Giants -2.5 At Washington (Washington)

Mark My Words:

Here are the pro and college lines that I would put money on, and why:

Green Bay +2 over PITTSBURGH - Two reasons. First, Green Bay's offensive line is slowly improving. Second, the Steelers have quit on the season. They'll be lucky to win another game.

Arizona -12.5 over DETROIT- Detroit will be starting their backup running back and backup quarterback. Arizona's prolific passing attack goes against the worst secondary in possibly the history of the NFL. I've never been so sure of anything in my entire life.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Talking Points

Here is the link to my latest column for It's Just Sports on Mlive.com. Please login to Mlive and leave me a comment, either positive or negative.

Talking Points: Matt Millen botches his own rule and Mark Ingram steals the show at the Heisman presentation

http://blog.mlive.com/its-just-sports/2009/12/talking_points_matt_millen_bot.html

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Talking Points


Here is the link to my latest column for It's Just Sports on Mlive.com. Please login to Mlive and leave me a comment, either positive or negative.

Talking Points: Remembering Jim Valvano and tiring of college football coaching searches

http://blog.mlive.com/its-just-sports/2009/12/talking_points_remembering_jim.html

NFL PICKS - Week 14

Week 13 NFL Results: 5-10
NFL Results Season to Date: 95-107-2

Week 13 College Football Results: 4-0
College Football Results Season to Date: 33-22

Week 13 This Is Why Results: 1-3
This is Why Results Season to Date: 27-27

Week 13 NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):

Thursday Night Football

Pittsburgh -13 At Cleveland (Pittsburgh)

At Indianapolis -7 Denver (Indianapolis)
At Minnesota -6.5 Cincinnati (Cincinnati)
New York Jets -3.5 At Tampa Bay (Tampa Bay)
At Kansas City even line Buffalo (Kansas City)
Green Bay -3 At Chicago (Green Bay)
New Orleans -10.5 At Atlanta (New Orleans)
At Baltimore -13.5 Detroit (Baltimore)
At Jacksonville -3 Miami (Miami)
At New England -13.5 Carolina (Carolina)
At Houston -6 Seattle (Seattle)
At Tennessee -13 St. Louis (Tennessee)
Washington -1 At Oakland (Oakland)
At Dallas -3 San Diego (San Diego)
At New York Giants -1 Philadelphia (Philadelphia)

Monday Night Football

Arizona -3.5 At San Francisco (Arizona)

This is Why

Here are the pro and college lines that I would put money on, and why:

Green Bay -3 over CHICAGO - While Green Bay's offensive line continues to heal and come together as a unit, Green Bay is protecting Aaron Rogers with more three step drops. Chicago's weak pass rush should by Rogers some additional time this week to get the ball deep to Greg Jennings and Donald Driver. Jay Cutler has been a turnover machine this season, and now faces Green Bay's top ranked defense. With Orlando Pace struggling at left tackle and Chris Williams undersized and out of place on the right side, don't look for the Bears running game to take any pressure off Cutler. In fact, he'll likely be forced to throw into an aggressive secondary.

San Diego +3 over DALLAS - San Diego is one of the hottest teams in the league right now, so I like the fact that they are getting 3 points in a stadium that is fairly friendly to visiting teams. Dallas will need to establish Marion Barber up the middle against San Diego's battered defensive tackles to have a shot in this game, and lately they've abandoned the power running game.

New Orleans -10.5 over ATLANTA - Drew Brees should have a field day with Atlanta's sub par secondary. With starting quarterback Matt Ryan out with injury, Atlanta's only hope of hanging with the Saints is to slow the game down and keep Brees and his explosive offense off the field. Unfortunately, star running back Michel "burner" Turner will likely miss the game with a high ankle sprain. Atlanta's starting left tackle Sam Baker has also been dinged up, so I don't see the Falcons being able to control the clock with their running game.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Talking Points

Here is the link to my latest column for It's Just Sports on Mlive.com

Talking Points: The Vitales prefer Miley Cyrus to Michigan State and ESPN loves to love Tom Brady

http://blog.mlive.com/its-just-sports/2009/12/talking_points_1.html

NFL PICKS - Week 13

Week 12 NFL Results: 8-7-1
NFL Results Season to Date: 90-97-2

Week 12 College Football Results: 1-3
College Football Results Season to Date: 29-22

Week 12 This Is Why Results: 1-3
This is Why Results Season to Date: 26-24

Week 13 NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):

Thursday Night Football

New York Jets -3 At Buffalo to be played in Toronto (Jets)

At Pittsburgh -14.5 Oakland (Oakland)
At Jacksonville even line Houston (Houston)
At Indianapolis -6.5 Tennessee (Tennessee)
Philadelphia -5.5 At Atlanta (Atlanta)
At Cincinnati -12.5 Detroit (Cincinnati)
New Orleans -9.5 At Washington (New Orleans)
At Carlolina -6 Tampa Bay (Tampa Bay)
At Chicago -9.5 St. Louis (St. Louis)
San Diego -13 At Cleveland (San Diego)
At Seattle even line San Francisco (San Francisco)
Denver -4.5 At Kansas City (Denver)
Minnesota -4 At Arizona (Arizona)
Dallas -2.5 At New York Giants (Giants)
New England -4 At Miami (New England)

Monday Night Football

At Green Bay -3.5 Baltimore (Baltimore)

College Picks

At Oregon -9.5 Oregon State (Oregon State)
Central Michigan -13 Ohio (Ohio)
Cincinnati -2 At Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh)
Florida -5 Alabama (Alabama)

This is Why

Here are the pro and college lines that I would put money on, and why:

New York Jets -3 over BUFFALO - I like that the Jets get to play a road game against Buffalo in Toronto. I like that the Jets are simplifying things for Mark Sanchez, which tells me that they will try to establish the run. I am a bit worried about the Bills' offensive rejuvination under Perry Fewell, especially with his decisions to go with Ryan Fitzpatrick and quarterback and Fred Jackson at running back. If the the Bills can keep it rolling this week against one of the best points against defenses, then you can count me as a believer.

San Diego -13 over CLEVELAND - San Diego is hot right now. Despite missing Pro-Bowl defensive tackles Jamal Williams and Luis Castillo, the Chargers flat out took it to the Chiefs last week. Not only is Phil Rivers is a cool customer on the road, but the Chargers running attack should get a boost from recently signed offensive lineman, John Runyan. Furthermore, I can't see Brady Quinn moving the ball up field against San Diego's defense.

CINCINNATI -12.5 over Detroit - Detroit is going to make shutting down Cincinnati's running game their number one priority, thereby exposing a secondary that Bengals WR has described as "beautiful." Just because Cincinnati has relied upon their running game in recent weeks doesn't mean that QB Carson Palmer won't make the Lions' defense pay downfield when given the opportunity. On the other side of the ball, injuries at the G position all but force the Lions to give up on their running attack before the game even starts. Look for the Bengals to bracket Calvin "Megatron" Johnson in coverage. This will force rookie QB to beat them with an underneath passing game, which is not exactly his strong suit.

San Francisco even line over SEATTLE - While Seattle has a strong run defense, San Francisco is slowly changing to an "11" personel base offense. This will force teams to move their extra player out of the box in order to defend against a pass first offense featuring TE Vernon Davis and rookie WR Michael Crabtree. If Seattle decides to leave an extra defender in the box in attempts to shut down RB Frank Gore, Alex Smith is surprisingly showing the abililty to make defenses pay. While RB Justin Forsett has been a pleasant find for the Seahawks on offense, San Francisco's run defense should limit his impact to the passing game, rendering Seattle's offense one dimensional.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Big Ten - ACC Challenge Breakdown

In anticipation of this year's Big Ten - ACC Challenge, I decided to do a quick breakdown of each of the Challenge's eleven games. After looking at the lineup for 2009, I can say that this the first time since the inception of the Challenge that I can ever remember predicting that the Big Ten should definitely come out on top. Here's a list of all the games, my analysis of each, and my predicted winners in parentheses:

Penn State at Virginia: (Penn State) Penn State will be a surprise team this season with their guard play. Mark my words on this.

Wake Forest at Purdue: (Purdue) With the Final Four taking place this year in Indianapolis, Purdue and their talented junior class led by Robbie Hummel are one of my sleeper Final Four teams. Purdue will pounce on Wake Forest with a tough home court advantage in West Lafayette.

Northwestern at N.C. State: (Northwestern) The Wildcats are another one of my surprise teams for this season. Not only does their zone defense gives opponents fits, but they shoot the ball especially well from outside.

Maryland at Indiana: (Maryland) Indiana will improve this season with a heralded recruiting class, but even playing at Assembly Hall won't be enough to beat Maryland.

Michigan State at North Carolina: (Michigan State) Look for the Spartans avenge their lopsided losses to the Tar Heels last season at Ford Field in Detroit in both the Big Ten - ACC Challenge and the National Championship Game. MSU's depth and quickness should negate Carolina's stable of young big men.

Virginia Tech at Iowa: (Virginia) Another down season for the Hawkeyes. Okay, I don't have anything on either of these teams. This is just a miserable match-up.

Illinois at Clemson: (Illinois) This should be a good match-up where the ACC and Clemson could pull an upset. Illinois will need to show up on the road.

Minnesota at Miami: (Minnesota) Another pick 'em game. I like the toughness of Tubby Smith's Golden Gophers.

Boston College at Michigan: (Boston College) Manny Harris and company bring the Wolverines' high hopes for this year, I just don't think they are playing good enough man to man defense at this point in the season to feel confident in selecting them against B.C.

Duke at Wisconsin: (Duke) I see Wisconsin having their first "down" season in years. While you should never underestimate the Badgers at the Kohl Center, Duke is the type of school that is not intimidated by a hostile environment.

Florida State at Ohio State: (Ohio State) The Buckeyes are expected to be one of the elite teams in the Big Ten this season behind Evan Turner. I expect them to take care of business against Florida State at home.

Final Prediction:
Big Ten 7, ACC 4

Saturday, November 28, 2009

NFL PICKS - Week 12

Week 11 NFL Results: 8-8
NFL Results Season to Date: 82-90-1

Week 11 College Football Results: 3-1
College Football Results Season to Date: 28-19

Week 11 This Is Why Results: 1-3
This is Why Results Season to Date: 25-21

Week 11 NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):

Thanksgiving Day Games

Green Bay -9 At Detroit (Green Bay)
At Dallas -11 Oakland (Oakland)
New York Giants -7 At Denver (Denver)

Indianapolis -3.5 At Houston (Indianapolis)
At Cincinnati -14 Cleveland (Cincinnati)
At Minnesota -10.5 Chicago (Minnesota)
At Philadelphia -9 Washington (Philadelphia)
Miami -3.5 At Buffalo (Miami)
At Tennessee -3 Arizona (Arizona)
Seattle -3 At St. Louis (Seattle)
At Atlanta -12 Tampa Bay (Tampa Bay)
At New York Jets -3 Carolina (Carolina)
At San Francisco -3.5 Jacksonville (San Francisco)
At San Diego -13.5 Kansas City (Kansas City)
Baltimore At Pittsburgh No Line (With Roethlisberger out, I'm taking Baltimore at any line of -7 or less)

Monday Night Football

At New Orleans -1.5 New England (New England)

College Picks

At Florida -24.5 Florida State (Florida)
At Georgia Tech -7.5 Georgia (Georgia Tech)
At LSU -3.5 Arkansas (LSU)
At Stanford -10 Notre Dame (Stanford)

This is Why

Here are the pro and college lines that I would put money on, and why:

STANFORD -10 over Notre Dame - Charlie Weiss is all but officially on lame duck status. He is also going against a Stanford team that is coached by his possible replacement in Jim Harbaugh. Stanford running back Toby Gerhart should run all over the Irish defense. "Notradamus" says Cardinal wins 34-13.

Kansas City +13.5 over SAN DIEGO - As much as I hate Kansas City's team this year, a 13.5 point line is too high for a San Diego team missing their two Pro-Bowl defensive tackles in Jamal Williams and Luis Castillo. Look for Kansas City to establish the run, slow this game down, and cover the spread.

MINNESOTA -10.5 over Chicago - Jay Cutler struggles on the road. He also struggles with pressure behind a disappointing offensive line. This week he travels to the Metrodome to face the best pass rush in football. I like the Vikings in a blow-out.

PHILADELPHIA -9 over Washington - I thought Washington had a chance to keep the score down and cover the spread until Albert Haynesworth was deactivated with an injury. Now Philly should have their choice of running or picking on Washington cornerback Carlos Rogers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Talking Points

Here's the link to my first column for It's Just Sports on Mlive.com. My weekly column will be called "Talking Points." Your comments on the Mlive website, both positive and negative, are greatly appreciated. I'd like to give a special thanks to Patrick Hayes and everyone at It's Just Sports for getting me started.

http://blog.mlive.com/its-just-sports/2009/11/talking_points_matt_millen_com.html

Friday, November 20, 2009

NFL PICKS - Week 11

Week 10 NFL Results: 9-6
NFL Results Season to Date: 74-82-1

Week 10 College Football Results: 4-1
College Football Results Season to Date: 25-18

Week 10 This Is Why Results: 3-1
This is Why Results Season to Date: 24-18

Week 11 NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):

At Carolina -3 Miami (Carolina)
At Detroit -3 Cleveland (Detroit)
At Jacksonville -8.5 Buffalo (Jacksonville)
Pittsburgh -10 At Kansas City (Pittsburgh)
At Baltimore -1 Indianapolis (Indianapolis)
At New York Giants -6.5 Atlanta (New York Giants)
At Green Bay -6.5 San Francisco (San Francisco)
At Minnesota -10.5 Seattle (Minnesota)
At Dallas -11 Washington (Washington)
New Orleans -11 At Tampa Bay (New Orleans)
Arizona -9 At St. Louis (Arizona)
At New England -10.5 New York Jets (New England)
Cincinnati -9 At Oakland (Cincinnati)
San Diego even At Denver (San Diego)
Philadelphia -3 At Chicago (Chicago)

Monday Night Football

At Houston -5 Tennessee (Tennessee)

College Picks

Central Michigan -16.5 At Ball State (Central Michigan)
Boise State -21.5 At Utah State (Boise State)
Ohio State -12 At Michigan (Ohio State)
At Ole Miss -3.5 LSU (LSU)

This is Why

Here are the pro and college lines that I would put money on, and why:

Pittsburgh -10 over KANSAS CITY - Kansas City finds a keeper in waiver wire pickup WR Chris Chambers, then promptly loses Dwayne Bowe to a suspension for taking a banned substance. Even with Troy Palamalu out for this game, I don't think Kansas City has the fire power to matchup with Pittsburgh's pass happy offense.

New Orleans -10 over Tampa Bay - I'm always wrong when I pick with my gut instead of my brain. I noted in a comment on my Week 10 NFL Picks blog entry that Tampa Bay has been a different team with Josh Freeman behind center. I also noted that the New Orleans offense was slowing down (actually they are becoming more balanced and run orientated), causing New Orleans to fail to cover the large spreads that they have been generating after their early season point production. So with this game being played in Tampa Bay, I'm logically taking New Orleans and laying the 10 points. The only reason I'm doing so is this is the first week that I think Vegas has sufficiently adjusted the New Orleans point spread downward in order to reflect their more ball controlled offense and injuries on the defensive side of the ball.

Cincinnati -9 over OAKLAND - The Bengals are a really good team. In spite of missing Cedric Benson due to injury and traveling to the west coast, the Bengals should be able to move the ball against the Raiders defense. I'm betting that new starting QB Bruce Gradkowski will not move the Raiders offense any better than JeMarcus Russell would against a solid Bengals defense.

JACKSONVILLE -8.5 over Buffalo - Buffalo is turning their offense over to a quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick who can't throw the deep ball. He will also be playing behind an offensive line that is starting it's 6th different tackle tandem due to injuries, so you can forget about supporting him with an already non-existent running game. Adding to the chaos in Buffalo, the Bills fired head coach Dick Jauron this week. While changing coaches sometimes can provide an underachieving team a spark, I think the Bills' problem is a lack of talent, not effort or chemistry. I really like Jacksonville's running game against Buffalo's weak defensive line.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Thanks To Everyone!

I would like to express my gratitude to those of you who helped me set up "The Red Mieni," as well as to any of you who have even so much as clicked on my blogspot profile. For a blog that I have not made public knowledge to even some of my closest of friends, I am more than thrilled to have received almost 800 "Profile Views" to date.

I am very excited to announce that I have been selected to write a weekly column for "It's Just Sports." "It's Just Sports" is a featured sports blog on Mlive.com. For those of you outside the Great Lake state, Mlive.com is the online arm of Booth Newspapers, and is known for its in-depth coverage of sports and breaking news in the state of Michigan. The Mlive.com website is said to receive approximately 1.7 million hits every month. Booth Newspapers owns The Ann Arbor News (now operating as AnnArbor.com), The Bay City Times, The Flint Journal, The Grand Rapids Press, The Jackson Citizen Patriot, The Kalamazoo Gazette, The Muskegon Chronicle, and The Saginaw News. Mlive's sister sites include NJ.com, Masslive.com, Cleveland.com, Oregonlive.com, AL.com, and Nola.com.

The weekly column that I have been asked to write for "It's Just Sports" is going to focus on a review of the local and national sports media. While no topic within that category will be off limits, I'm going to try to focus on critiquing comments from studio hosts and announcers touching on athletes and teams from the state of Michigan whenever possible (so long as it makes for entertaining reading). I'm also going to analyze the studio shows and broadcast booths of the major television networks for pro and college sports during their respective seasons. So if any of you out there are watching a game where an announcer says something that is either especially profound or that you couldn't disagree more with, please give me a shout....I can only Tivo and watch so many games a week.

While I'm going to focus on writing for "It's Just Sports" and Mlive.com, I'll be sure to post or link those weekly columns to "The Red Mieni." I will continue to post blog entries like my weekly football picks exclusively on this site. I also look forward to tackling columns that I intend to write annually on "The Red Mieni," such as "Oscar Predictions from a Hollywood Outsider" and my various "NFL Mock Drafts" in the upcoming months. I do hope that those of you who visit "The Red Mieni" from time to time will also check out my work on "It's Just Sports." This new link to a major newspaper conglomerate should only increase the traffic and my love for this site. Remember, the more people who comment on my columns for "It's Just Sports," the better. The links to Mlive and "It's Just Sports" are: http://www.mlive.com/sports/ and http://blog.mlive.com/its-just-sports/index.html.

Again, I would like to extend my most sincere thanks to everybody who has supported me to date. I definitely look forward to continuing on with "The Red Mieni," as well as with this new opportunity that I have been presented with at "It's Just Sports" and Mlive.com.

Thanks again,

-The Red Mieni

Monday, November 16, 2009

NFL PICKS - Week 10

Week 9 NFL Results: 4-8
NFL Results Season to Date: 65-76-1

Week 9 College Football Results: 1-4
College Football Results Season to Date: 27-22

Week 9 This Is Why Results: 1-3
This is Why Results Season to Date: 21-17

Week 10 NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):

At San Francisco -3 Chicago (Chicago)
At New York Jets -7 Jacksonville (Jacksonville)
At Pittsburgh -7 At Cincinnati (Cincinnati)
At Tennessee -6.5 Buffalo (Tennessee)
At Minnesota -16.5 Detroit (Minnesota)
New Orleans -13.5 At St. Louis (New Orleans)
Atlanta -2 At Carolina (Atlanta)
At Miami -10 Tampa Bay (Tampa Bay)
At Oakland -2 Kansas City (Kansas City)
At Arizona -8 Seattle (Arizona)
At San Diego -1 Philadelphia (Philly)
Dallas -2.5 At Green Bay (Green Bay)
At Indianapolis -2.5 New England (Indy)

Monday Night Football

Baltimore -10.5 At Cleveland (Baltimore)

College Picks

At Wisconsin -8.5 Michigan (Wisconsin)
Western Michigan -12 At Eastern Michigan (Western Michigan)
At Ole Miss -4.5 Tennessee (Ole Miss)
Florida -15.5 At South Carolina (Florida)
Alabama -12 At Mississippi State (Alabama)

This is Why

Here are the pro and college lines that I would put money on, and why:

MINNESOTA -16.5 over Detroit - Brett Favre vs. Detroit's secondary, or Adrian Peterson against Detroit's run defense. Factor in Minnesota being able to shut down Detroit's running game and Detroit has little chance of staying close in this game.

New Orleans -13.5 over ST. LOUIS - Possibly the best team in the league, against one of the worst. Even at home St. Louis shouldn't be able to put enough points on the board to hang with Drew Brees and New Orlean's offense.

Cincinnati + 7 over PITTSBURGH - The Bengals have quietly become one of the better teams in the league. Their surprisingly good offensive line should allow Cedric Benson and company an chance to keep this game close in a defensive game.

Baltimore -10.5 over CLEVELAND - Whether it's Brady Quinn or Derrick Anderson behind center for the Browns, I don't like their chances against Baltimore's defense. Cleveland simply has no weapons on the offensive side of the ball, and Baltimore's offense has shown the ability to put points on the board for the first time in years.

Friday, November 6, 2009

NFL PICKS - Week 9

Week 8 NFL Results: 4-9
NFL Results Season to Date: 61-67-1

Week 8 College Football Results: 2-3
College Football Results Season to Date: 26-18

Week 8 This Is Why Results: 1-4
This is Why Results Season to Date: 20-14

Week 9 NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):

At Atlanta -10.5 Washington (Washington)
At Chicago -3 Arizona (Arizona)
Baltimore -3 At Cincinnati (Cincinnati)
At Indianapolis -8.5 Houston (Indy)
At Jacksonville -6.5 Kansas City (Jacksonville)
Green Bay -9.5 At Tampa Bay (Green Bay)
At New England -10.5 Miami (New England)
At New Orleans -14 Carolina (New Orleans)
At Seattle -10 Detroit (Detroit)
At New York Giants -5 San Diego (San Diego)
At San Francisco -4 Tennessee (San Francisco)
At Philadelphia -3 Dallas (Dallas)

Monday Night Football

Pittsburgh -3 At Denver (Denver)

College Picks

Boise State -21 At Louisiana Tech (Louisiana Tech)
Oregon -6.5 At Stanford (Oregon)
At California -7 Oregon State (California)
At Alabama -8 LSU (LSU)
At Notre Dame -11 Navy (Notre Dame)

This is Why

Here are the pro and college lines that I would put money on, and why:

LOUISIANA TECH -21 over Boise State - I don't think that I have ever picked against Boise State before. However, they have struggled in the past against Louisiana Tech, expecially when they have traveled to Ruston. A Friday night game on national TV serves to amp up the home crowd even further. I think Boise State wins, but fails to cover in a game that will be closer than most people think.

Oregon -6.5 over STANFORD - While my radar is going off for wanting to pick against Stanford in a late season Pac-Ten road team against a team rated in the Top Ten (the "Trees" are good for a random upset like this every few years), Oregon is quietly playing some of the best football in the country right now.

Green Bay - 9.5 over TAMPA BAY - Green Bay has managed to post a 4-3 record in spite of putting one of the worst offensive lines on the field this year due to injuries and a lack of depth. This week starting tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher return to the starting lineup. Aaron Rogers has been ridiculously good this year even while running for his life. If he is given any time to throw deep, look out. I'm not saying that Rogers is the NFL league MVP this year, but nobody has been more valuable to his team than he has. Green Bay's defense has been hit or miss this season, and they rely heavily on forcing turn-overs in their new 3-4 scheme. Tampa Bay is starting their third different quarterback on the season in rookie Josh Freeman, who in my opinion is nowhere near being ready to play in the NFL in terms of maturity or his grasp in reading defenses. I look for Green Bay to win in a blow-out.

SAN FRANCISCO -4 over Tennessee - I'm reluctantly taking Alex Smith in what I'm going to refer to as the Bust Bowl. These teams are actually very similar on paper. Both offenses look to establish the run. Both defenses are good at stopping the run. Both teams have turned their offenses over to a quarterback who was a former top three draft pick that has widely been regarded as a "bust" to date. When it comes down to it, I think San Francisco's defense is better as a whole in stopping both the run and pass. Furthermore, Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jacksonville Jaguars may have exposed some holes in the Tennessee run defense last week that Frank Gore may be able to exploit.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

COULD THERE BE A CONSPIRA-S-E-C?

"You can criticize our calls. You can criticize our judgment. You can even criticize our intelligence.....but you cannot criticize our integrity." - SEC Coordinator of Officials, Rogers Redding.

Well Roger, I do question the integrity of your officials. And by the way, don't ever tell the rest of the country what we can't do in light of the shady shit going on below the Mason-Dixon Line when it comes to college football.

I know that SEC football fans don't want to hear thoughts on their conference from an acknowledged Big Ten guy, but how many Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi State, and Tennessee fans felt slighted after their teams lost games to SEC front-runners jockeying for BCS positioning due to questionable/blown calls by conference referees?

One of the first things I noticed in terms of the socio-political climate upon moving down south was the corruption in local government, and in particular, county elections. At first I wondered why somebody would risk committing a crime in rigging an election simply to run a small community government in return for a salary that really wasn't worth the risk that was involved. Then somebody explained to me that the reward was not the salary of the elected position itself, but in the power that comes with the ability to appoint one's family members and friends to county positions. In essence, by virtue of taking office you gain the ability to provide for your own (not to mention the bribes that come with that power). What does any of this have to do with a football blog entry? Well each team appearing in a BCS Bowl game in 2009 earned their respective conference $17.5 million dollars (to be equally divided amongst the conference's teams). Taking after the political spoil system down south, it is my belief that SEC officials went out of their way to look after the conference's East and West division front-runners in order to ensure that as many teams as possible remained in contention for BCS Bowl bids. Unfortunately, they did so at the expense of the conference's middle of the road teams that were on the verge of pulling huge upsets this season. My take is that by bringing two undefeated teams to the SEC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on December 5th, the conference will essentially ensure that two SEC teams make BCS Bowl games, and thereby bring that conference a minimum of $35 million dollars in revenue to be shared (in addition to the revenue that they receive from lesser bowl bids). Under this theory of protectionism, even a third SEC team like LSU could wind up with a major bowl bid, thereby bringing the conference payout even higher. In the event that an East or West division champion were to arrive at the SEC Championship Game with one loss, and then suffered their second defeat in that game, there would be no guarantee that the conference would receive a second at-large BCS Bowl bid, thereby COSTING the conference $17.5 million. Now, let's take an in-depth look at some facts and accusations that have transpired in the SEC this season in regards to conference officiating:

10/3/09 - LSU defeats Georgia in order to go 5-0. That game is decided in part due to an excessive celebration penalty that the SEC later acknowledges was an erroneous call by the officiating crew. Georgia previously had one loss (in their season opener at Oklahoma State), and falls to 3-2 in an obvious rebuilding year in which the Bulldogs had little or no chance to compete for a BCS Bowl bid. LSU remains undefeated and in contention for the SEC West title pending their upcoming matchups with Florida and Alabama.

10/17/09 - Undefeated and #1 ranked Florida narrowly avoids being upset in a 23-20 victory over Arkansas. Their victory is aided by three questionable calls late in the game by the same officiating crew that was reprimanded after the LSU-Georgia game two weeks earlier. Specifically, Arkansas is called for questionable pass interference and personal foul calls on back to back plays in the 4th quarter that aided a game-tying touchdown drive by the Gators. Later, the officials did not call Florida WR Riley Cooper for an apparent offensive pass interference penalty, helping set up Florida's game winning field goal. The officials working the Florida - Arkansas game becomes the first crew in SEC history to be suspended after the conference determines that some of the questionable penalties that they called were not supported by video evidence.

10/24/09 - Florida defeats Mississippi State 29-19. Video evidence appears to show Mississippi State's Brandon McCrae stripping Florida's Dustin Doe of the ball just before he crosses the goal line on a 4th quarter interception return for a touchdown. The call on the field is NOT reviewed by the replay booth, and the decision not to review that play effectively kills Mississippi State's chances of winning that game.

10/24/09 - Tennessee loses to Alabama on a blocked field goal by Terrence Cody as time expires. Before the play is over Cody removes his helmet, causing Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin to question the motives of the SEC officiating crew for not calling a penalty. While this is a petty argument from coach Kiffin given that even if a penalty had been called possession of the ball would have already changed over to Alabama, he is the first conference coach to formally insinuate a formal bias by SEC officials in favor of conference front-runners, Florida and Alabama.

10/30/09 - The SEC announces that any further comments from coaches criticizing officials will result in suspension/fine.

"The problem is there is greater scrutiny than ever because more SEC games are on national television now than ever because of the television contracts. We've made a couple of mistakes, but I think overall the officiating has been terrific — given the scruitiny. And I know our officials know they are under greater scrutiny, and because of that they are better." - SEC Coordinator of Officials, Rogers Redding (referring to missed calls by conference referees and the SEC's new contract with ESPN this season instead of local provider Jefferson-Pilot).

And to that Mr. Redding, may I say EXACTLY! In their quest to become the nation's power conference, the SEC now has heightened scrutiny on some of the good old boy shenanigans that have been taking place behind "closed doors" (relatively speaking in terms of the national media) over the last past 15 years. Now that the rest of America IS watching on national television, THE REST OF THE NATION NOT ONLY HAS THE RIGHT, BUT ALSO THE ABILITY TO QUESTION YOUR INTEGRITY....especially since the BCS is being manipulated into a political moneymaker instead of a mechanism to reward the country's best and most qualified college football teams. Look, I'm not a big C-O-N-spiracy theorist, but I first brought up how I was starting to notice a pattern of officiating errors in SEC games that clearly went in favor of the conference's front-runners when I was speaking with my "Old Racist Neighbor" after the Florida - Arkansas game on October 17th. If the SEC wants to stop the negative perception that their league is attempting to propel their expected front-runners to the top of their respective divisions, then they may want to reconsider suspending their coaches for criticizing officials for bad calls and make sure that their games are played on an level playing field. Otherwise, this "gag order" just makes it look like they are trying to cover something up. Needless to say, I don't expect LSU to get any calls if their game at Alabama this weekend is even remotely close.

Speaking of Lane Kiffin, is there a bigger idiot in the game of football right now? First he comes to Tennessee and publicly accuses Florida coach Urban Meyer of a recruiting infraction for contact with a recruit that was actually within NCAA rules. Then, after failing to live up to the victory that he predicted against Florida, Kiffin accused coach Meyer of downplaying the Gator's margin of victory due to an outbreak of the flu. After being reprimanded by the SEC for his verbal sparring with Meyer, Kiffin went on to accuse league officials of holding a bias in favor of certain teams (perhaps rightfully so) following the Vols loss to Alabama, which in part lead to the league implementing it's policy to suspend/fine any coach who publicly critizes conference referees. Before I say anything else, I will go on record as saying that I truly hated former Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer. I thought he was one the biggest sleaze bags in all of sports, and I really was counting down the days until he got fired and a more likeable replacement was named as head coach for the Vols. I also will go on record in saying that I initially thought that Lane Kiffin got a raw deal when he was fired by Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders. As insane as Al Davis might be, after seeing the way Lane Kiffin has acted at Tennessee I just might be in Al's corner. His infamous letter (http://www.prosportsdaily.com/forums/showthread.php?t=277033) ripping coach Kiffin's integrity might not be that far off base after all. And as for Urban Meyer....while I've always respected him as a disciplinarian coach, his decision to suspend LB Brandon Spikes for only the first half of Florida's next game after he committed a blatant eye gouge of Georgia RB Washaun Ealey (http://video.google.com/videosearch?sourceid=navclient&rlz=1T4GGLL_enUS326US326&q=spikes+and+%22eye+gouge%22&um=1&ie=UTF8&ei=gyvxSunsG5Df8AaE5umICQ&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&ct=title&resnum=6&ved=0CCUQqwQwBQ#) clearly shows that he is more interested in winning than all else. Sometimes teaching a player a valuable life lesson to help them improve as a person is more important than chasing a National Championship.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

NFL PICKS - Week 8


Week 7 NFL Results: 7-5-1
NFL Results Season to Date: 57-58-1

Week 7 College Football Results: 1-3
College Football Results Season to Date: 24-15

Week 7 This Is Why Results: 3-1
This is Why Results Season to Date: 19-10

Week 8 NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):

At Baltimore -3.5 Denver (Denver)
At Chicago -13.5 Cleveland(Chicago)
Houston -3 At Buffalo (Houston)
At Green Bay -3 Minnesota (Minnesota)
At Indianapolis -11 San Francisco (Indy)
At New York Jets -3.5 Miami (New York Jets)
At Detroit -3 St. Louis (Detroit)
At Dallas -9 Seattle (Seattle)
At San Diego -16.5 Oakland (Oakland)
At Tennessee -3 Jacksonville (Jacksonville)
At Arizona -8.5 Carolina (Arizona)
At Philadelphia -2 New York Giants (NYG)

Monday Night Football

At New Orleans -8.5 Atlanta (New Orleans)

College Picks

At Wisconsin -6.5 Purdue (Wisconsin)
At Arkansas -36.5 Eastern Michigan (Arkansas)
Michigan -7.5 At Illinois (Michigan)
Michigan St. -4.5 At Minnesota (Michigan St.)
Penn State -14 at Northwestern (Penn St.)

This is Why

Here are the pro and college lines that I would put money on, and why:

Michigan State -3.5 over Minnesota - Expect cold weather and rain at the Golden Gophers' new stadium. Michigan State wants to establish the power run with Larry Caper and Edwin "Rock" Baker. Their quarterback, Kirk Cousins, is on record as saying that he prefers to play in the cold and rain. Minnesota is struggling to score points. Minnesota lost All-American candidate WR Eric Decker for the season due to an injury in last week's game. Michigan State's defense is really starting to gel, at least for the first 59 minutes of their games. Yup, I'm laying points and taking the road team.

Michigan -7 over ILLINOIS - All Michigan does is run from Rich Rodriguez's spread offense. Illinois defense can't stop the run. Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier is just dangerous enough through the air to burn you through the air in the event that Illinois tries to cheat up with 8 in the box. Michigan has the added incentive to win in order to become bowl eligible for the first time in two years.

ARKANSAS -36.5 over Eastern Michigan - A mediocre SEC team playing one the worst teams in the MAC. I don't think Eastern Michigan can cover this one unless the Razorbacks lay down and die.

CHICAGO - 13 over Cleveland - I don't fully trust Chicago, but I'm going to continue to bet against Cleveland. If Chicago can't establish Joseph Forte and their running game against the Browns, then you can write them off for the rest of the season as a contender for the NFC North title.

Jacksonville +3 over TENNESSEE - Tennessee has done nothing this season to lead me to believe that they are ready to win a game, let alone lay down 3 points in the process. I know that Tennessee has one of the top run defenses in the league to try and stop Maurcie Jones-Drew, but Jacksonville's passing game has been sneaky good with the addition of Torry Holt and the emergence of Mike Sims-Walker.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Here's How Brett Favre Tried to Screw Over the Green Bay Packers

There are a lot of mixed emotions for Green Bay Packer fans who used to idolize Brett Favre heading into his return to Lambeau Field this weekend as the quarterback for their arch rival Minnesota Vikings.

Was Brett Favre screwed over by Ted Thompson and the Green Bay front office? Or did Favre betray his loyal Packer fan base by plotting to force Green Bay to release him?

While a minority of Packer fans who are less educated in the intricacies of the NFL salary cap feel sympathetic towards Favre and blame his departure from Green Bay on Ted Thompson, below I make a case for my firm belief that it was Brett Favre who attempted to screw the Packers over by sabotoging their salary cap so he could play for his friend Brad Childress in Minnesota.

The following timeline not only documents the relevant events in the Favre/Green Bay "unretirement" saga, but I have added my own commentary in italics explaining how it was Favre who forced his way out of Green Bay against the will of the Packers front office.

I would point out that this timeline is not based upon my own reporting, but from various news reports that I found on the internet. While I cannot attest to the veracity of information from those outside news sources, I can make the links to such available upon request:

TIMELINE

2/1/05 - Packers wide receiver Donald Driver goes public with his belief that Brett Favre will likely retire instead of playing in the 2005 season.

4/23/05 - Green Bay drafts Aaron Rodgers with the 24th pick of the 1st round in the NFL Draft.

Brett Favre became threatened when the Packers drafted Rodgers, believing that Thompson was attempting to force him out of Green Bay. However, with Brett Favre remaining uncommitted for the 2006 season, it is hard to fault Green Bay for drafting an insurance plan in case he was considering retirement. Even if Favre returned, it made perfect sense for Green Bay to secure an understudy to groom as his long-term successor. Of note, Favre was so bitter about Rodgers' presence in Green Bay that he refused to help mentor him as his back-up.

When asked why he refused to mentor Aaron Rodgers as his back-up, Brett Favre bitterly responded by saying, "That's not my job."

1/6/06 - The Minnesota Vikings hire Brad Childress as their head coach, who is close friends with Brett Favre.

1/30/06 - Brett Favre suggests that he may not return for the 2006 season after his friend Mike Sherman was fired as the Packers coach following a 4-12 season in 2005.
4/29/06 - Green Bay drafts WR Greg Jennings in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft. Jennings gives Favre another option at WR, putting up 632 yards and 3 TD's in his rookie year.
Sherman was Favre's last close friend on the Packers in regards to both the coaching staff and the locker room. Ted Thompson's decision to fire Mike Sherman further alienated Favre from the Packers front office.

11/12/06 - Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy indicates that he would like Brett Favre to return to the Packers for the 2007 season, but asks him to make a quick decision.

12/31/06 - Brett Favre indicates that Green Bay's last regular season game could be his last. (Green Bay finishes the 2006 season 8-8 and misses out on the playoffs on the last day of the season).

2/2/07 - Brett Favre commits to return to the Green Bay Packers for the 2007 season.

4/28/07 - Green Bay drafts WR James Jones in the 3rd round of the NFL Draft. Jones gives Favre another deep threat. He catches passes for 676 yards and 2 TD's in his rookie season.

5/14/07 - Brett Favre voices displeasure that Green Bay did not trade for Randy Moss from Oakland and requests to be traded.

By this point it is becoming clear that Brett Favre is going out of his way to voice his dissatisfaction with the Packers front office, and towards Ted Thompson in particular. In addition to using high draft picks on Greg Jennings and James Jones in back to back years, the Packers also have Donald Driver, Ruvell Martin, Donald Lee and Bubba Franks to round out a deep group of pass catching targets. Trading for Randy Moss would have been a pure luxury, and the Packers failure to do so would hardly have been an independent basis to demand a trade. Favre's request to be traded was more of a reflection of his alienation with the locker room and front office after his closest friends (Mark Chmura, Mike Flanagan, and Doug Peterson) gradually left the NFL, and Ted Thompson decided to fire Mike Sherman.
2007 season - Green Bay finishes with a 13-3 record, missing out on going to the Super Bowl after losing to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game due in part to a Brett Favre interception in overtime.4/25/06 - Brett Favre commits to play another season for the Green Bay Packers.

2/22/08 - Ted Thompson calls Brett Favre after hearing that he is upset. Thompson assures Favre that he wants him back as the Packers quarterback, and tells him that they know he can still play in the NFL.

2/29/08 - NFL free agency begins, which was the date Green Bay had asked Brett Favre to make a decision as to whether he was going to return to the Packers for the 2008 season or retire. Nonetheless, Green Bay tells Favre that he is their number one priority and that they are not holding him to any formal deadline.

3/3/08 - When Brett Favre still won't commit to returning for the 2008 season, Mike McCarthy offers him the option of decreased repetitions in practice if he would come back as quarterback for the Packers.

3/4/08 - Brett Favre announces his retirement from the NFL, with a formal retirement conference taking place on 3/6/08.

3/24/08 - Reports surface that Brett Favre is having second thoughts about retiring, and he requests Packer coach Mike McCarthy to call him. Mike McCarthy calls Brett Favre and asks him to return to the team. A plane is chartered for Brett Favre to fly to Green Bay in order to meet with the Packers front office.

3/29/08 - After meeting with the Packers, and in response to their offer to return as starting quarterback, Brett Favre tells Mike McCarthy "thanks, but no thanks."

4/4/08 - Bus Cook, Brett Favre's agent, begins contacting other NFL teams to gauge their interest in his client.

4/9/08 - Brett Favre formally indicates that he would consider returning to the NFL.

4/7/08, 4/14/08, & 4/24/08 - After Mike McCarthy contacts Brett Favre (on each of these three occasions), the Green Bay Packers officially place him on the NFL "retired" list.

5/6/08 - After the NFL Draft, Ted Thompson travels to Mississippi to have lunch with Brett Favre on his porch.

6/20/08 - Brett Favre tells Mike McCarthy that he may play again.

7/8/08 - After several calls with the Packers, Brett Favre declares that he is 100% committed to returning to football, but he requests his release from the Green Bay.

7/11/08 - Brett Favre formally requests to be released from the Green Bay Packers.
Things are getting interesting now. When the Packers went out of their way to try to convince Favre to come back he was non committal. Now he says he wants to play, but with another team.


It is significant to note that when Favre was placed on the NFL "retirement list," the $12 million he was scheduled to earn in 2008 came off of Green Bay's salary cap. It was no coincidence that Favre decided to "unretire" only after Green Bay spent Favre's $12 million base salary for 2008 in free agency and on contract extensions for existing players. This was a calculated move by Favre and Bus Cook to put Green Bay over the salary cap, which they hoped would force Green Bay to give him his unconditional release so he could sign with the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent.
7/14/08 - Brett Favre tells Fox News that he wants to play somewhere other than Green Bay in 2008.

7/16/08 - The Green Bay Packers file formal tampering charges with the NFL against the Minnesota Vikings for their alleged contact with Brett Favre.
Even though Favre was technically retired, his contractual rights were still the property of the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay was obviously aware that Favre had been discussing a return to the NFL with his friend Brad Childress. Given that Childress was the head coach for their arch rival Minnesota Vikings, giving Brett Favre his unconditional release and allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent was no longer a viable option for Green Bay from a PR standpoint.
Aware that Green Bay was unwilling to voluntarily release him as he had requested (which would have allowed him to sign with the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent), Favre tried to force his release by threatening to report to training camp under the guise that he was willing to play fo the Packers. His official return to the Packers would have caused his $12 million base salary to count against the $109 million salary cap for the 2007 season. This left Green Bay with three options to avoid going over the NFL salary cap:


1) Unconditionally release Favre, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent,
2) Trade Favre to another team, forcing the Packers to absorb the remaining pro-rated "signing bonus" from his contract against their salary cap (which in terms of salary cap ramifications would have been the equivilent to Favre having remained retired), or
3) Cut or renegotiate with players on their existing roster in order to create room for Favre's $12 million base salary for the 2007 season.
7/28/08 - The Green Bay Packers open training camp.7/25/08 - Brett Favre says he will formally report to training camp with the Green Bay Packers.

7/29/08 - Brett Favre faxes a request to the NFL to be reinstated from the "retirement" list.

7/31/08 - The Green Bay Packers offer Brett Favre $20 million to stay retired and work for their front office.

As an alternative to having to trade or release Favre, Green Bay essentially offered him the same amount of money that they would have owed him for the remaining two years of his contract to stay retired in order to keep the $12 million they would owe him in 2008 off of their salary cap.
8/3/08 - The NFL officially reinstates Brett Favre from retirement.

8/4/08 - Brett Favre formally reports to training camp with the Green Bay Packers.

Inexplicably, the NFL granted Green Bay a temporary roster exemption for Favre, which temporarily kept his 2008 base salary from counting against their cap upon his arrival at training camp. Not only was this move from the NFL unprecedented, but it allowed Green Bay a window of opportunity to negotiate with Favre so as to avoid having to immediately release him due to salary cap ramifications.
By threatening to create salary cap space for Favre on their roster, Green Bay called Brett Favre's bluff in order to see if his true intent was to report and play for Packers, or whether it was to force his release.
After the Packers called his bluff by inviting him to compete for the starting job and creating salary cap space on their roster, Favre realized that he would be forced to play for the Packers or accept a trade to a team that the two could mutually agree upon.

8/6/08 - The Green Bay Packers trade Brett Favre to the New York Jets.8/5/08 - In spite of showing up for training camp, Brett Favre refuses to practice, stating "this isn't going to work."8/4/08 - The Green Bay Packers announce that they will have an open competition between Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers for their starting quarterback position.
Brett Favre chose to accept a trade to the Jets over the opportunity to compete with Aaron Rodgers for the Green Bay starting quarterback job.
2/13/09 - After one season with the New York Jets, Brett Favre announces that there is "no way" he'll play another game in the NFL.

4/28/09 - The New York Jets grant Brett Favre his unconditional release.
Why did the Jets release Favre when he was he was retired and his salary was off their cap? What was the potential benefit to the Jets in releasing Favre UNLESS THEY WERE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that Favre would not return to the NFL with one of their conference rivals? Unless the Jets knew for sure that Favre would only return to the NFL with a non-conference foe like the Vikings, there was absolutely no reason for the Jets to release him instead of keeping him on the NFL "retirement" list. I have no source on this, but I am almost certain that the Jets released Favre knowing full well that he already had a deal with the Minnesota Vikings.
6/15/09 - Brett Favre expresses an interest in returning to the NFL.

8/18/09 - Brett Favre "unretires" and signs with the Minnesota Vikings.

ANALYSIS

Brett Favre had his feelings hurt when the Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers even though he wouldn't immediately commit to coming back for the 2006 season. Favre already felt isolated in the Green Bay locker room after some of his closest friends from his earlier playing days left the league. His feelings were further hurt when the Green Bay front office fired his remaining friend, head coach Mike Shermer, following a 4-12 season in 2005.

As time progressed, Favre looked for reasons to get out of Green Bay and play for his friend Brad Childress in Minnesota, as shown by his ridiculous request to be released when the Packers didn't trade for Randy Moss in 2007. Favre later tried to force Green Bay to release him by retiring in March 2008, and then "unretiring" on the eve of the 2008 training camp in order to put the Packers over the salary cap so as to force his release.

When Green Bay offered to let Favre report to camp and compete for the starting quarterback job with Aaron Rodgers by restructuring enough contracts to create room for his 2008 salary, Favre showed his true colors and refused to practice with the Packers. Not surprisingly, having realized that he would not be able to force Green Bay to release him so he could sign with the Vikings as a free agent, Favre reluctantly agreed to a trade the New York Jets just one day later.

Favre's true desire to play for Minnesta was evidenced by his signing a contract with the Vikings after having inexplicably been given his release by the Jets without so much as having even negotiated with any other franchise.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

NFL PICKS - Week 7

Week 6 NFL Results: 6-8
NFL Results Season to Date: 50-53

Week 6 College Football Results: 4-1
College Football Results Season to Date: 23-12

Week 6 This Is Why Results: 3-3
This is Why Results Season to Date: 16-9

Week 7 NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):

At Houston -3 San Francisco (San Francisco)
San Diego -4.5 At Kansas City (San Diego)
Indianapolis -13 At St. Louis (Indianapolis)
New England -15 neutral site Tampa Bay (New England)
At Pittsburgh -3.5 Minnesota (Minnesota)
Green Bay -7 At Cleveland (Green Bay)
At Carolina -7 Buffalo (Carolina)
New York Jets -5.5 At Oakland (New York Jets)
At Cincinnati -1 Chicago (Chicago)
At Dallas -3.5 Atlanta (Atlanta)
New Orleans -6.5 At Miami (New Orleans)
At New York Giants -7 Arizona (NYG)

Monday Night Football

Philadelphia -7 At Washington (Philadelphia)

College Picks

Penn St. -4.5 At Michigan (Michigan)
Florida -23 At Mississippi St. (Florida)
Boise St. -25 At Hawaii (Boise St.)
At Michigan St. even Iowa (Michigan St.)

This is Why

Here are the pro and college lines that I would put money on, and why. I was struggling to find any college lines that jumped out at me this week, so I'm going to focus on the pro games:

New England -15 over Tampa Bay - New England's offense is starting to click after last week's blow out win over Tennessee. Tampa Bay's defense is struggling, and Bill Belichick is not afraid to run up the score.

Green Bay -7 over CLEVELAND - Green Bay is still struggling to protect Aaron Rogers, but Cleveland's pass rush doesn't install fear in much anyone. This should allow Green Bay to run a "max protect" scheme in order to hold the sacks to a minimum (under five). Furthermore, Cleveland has had 12 players out of practice this week due to a flu outbreak, and their status for Sunday's game is still unknown.

Indianaplis -13 over St. Louis - Peyton Manning is finding his rythym of 3 seasons ago with six straight 300 yard games to start the season. This another example of an elite team playing a bottom dweller where Las Vegas simply cannot set the line high enough. Indianapolis' defense has been performing well even without Bob Sanders, who should return from injury this week and give the Colts an extra boost.

Atlanta +3.5 over Dallas - Dallas is simply not a very good team. While the Falcons are on the road this week, they are a good team. The key to this match up is whether Tony Romo and the Dallas receivers can exploit a banged up Atlanta secondary, who lost Brian Williams to injury last week. I still like Atlanta taking any amount of points in this game, especially given Tony Romo's inconsistencies this season.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Why Steelers Fans Suck

 
There are certain unwritten rules that must be observed when watching football in a sports bar so as to avoid potential conflict and ridicule.

Unfortunately, on the way to watching their team possibly become the best franchise in the NFL, Steeler fans seem to be completely unaware of this applicable code of etiquette and fashion for football fans.

Here is a list of some rules that every Steeler fan needs to familiarize himself with:

1. Loud cheers are acceptable for touchdowns, important first downs, big stops, big hits and turnovers. It is not appropriate to yell or clap loudly in a sports bar when the Steelers run for 3 yards on first down, or when they get a first down in the second half while leading 31-6. 

Pittsburgh fans also need to be aware of the fact that not everybody in the bar is cheering for the Steelers. So every time you're not in Pittsburgh, and you turn to the table next to you looking for a high five, alert yourself to the fact that you are just as likely to get punched in the face by a Bengals, Browns or Ravens fan.

2. No man should feel the need to bring an accessory to a sports bar. If you feel like you need a hanky to bring the Steelers good luck, then stuff it down your pants.

We don't need to see you obsessively folding your stupid fucking Terrible Towels or draping them over the side of your table like they're more sacred than the Shroud of Turin.

Sorry Steeler guy, if you bring something to a bar that serves no functional purpose, it's an accessory 

3. Willie Parker has lost a step. He is no longer fast...in fact, he might be dead. Please stop yelling "Fast Willie" every time he touches the ball.

4. Lose the "mustaches con queso" (cheesy mustaches). Just because you thought that Bill Cowher had a bitchin' mustache it doesn't mean that it is cool to rock one of your own.

Keep in mind that transitioning to a goatee won't help either, as the goatee is equally dated as the "porn stache" of the new millenium.

5. Many people will say that you shouldn't wear a jersey in public to begin with if you are over the age of 30. However, if you do feel the need to wear a jersey to the bar, it should NEVER, EVER be tucked in. It is a proven statistical fact that Pittsburgh fans lead the league in tucked in jerseys.

Worse yet, Pittsburgh fans are afficianados de tucking their jerseys into jean shorts, and for those few Steeler fans who actually reside in Pennsylvania, jean shorts have not been an acceptable fashion option for guys since 1997.

A Terrible Towel, a goatee and a Big Ben jersey tucked into black and gold Zubaz style pants?...Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you the protypical Steeler fan!  (fat wife included)

6. If you are a Steeler fan and you are not from Pennsylvania or West Virginia, or if you do not have family from those areas that raised you as a Steeler fan, and if you have no idea what a "jagoff" is, then you really have no right to cheer out loud for the Steelers as if they are your local team.

I'm not saying that you can't like the Steelers, you just can't wear your emotions on your sleeve since your only investment in that team was choosing to root for a team that was good while you were growing up without a father to teach you right from wrong in: a) the mid to late 1970's, b) the mid to late 1990's, or c) the mid to late 2000's.

I'm willing to bet that this Steeler fan that I recently spotted in Kentucky wearing a camouflage Ben Roethlisberger jersey has no ties to the Pittsburgh area...He just really likes hunting and raping women.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

NFL PICKS - Week 6


Week 5 NFL Results: 9-5
NFL Results Season to Date: 44-45

Week 5 College Football Results: 1-3
College Football Results Season to Date: 19-11

Week 5 This Is Why Results: 4-1
This is Why Results Season to Date: 13-6

Week 6 NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):

At Washington -6.5 Kansas City (Washington)
At Cincinnati -4.5 Houston (Cincinnati)
At Pittsburgh -14 Cleveland (Pittsburgh)
At Minnesota -3 Baltimore (Baltimore)
At Jacksonville -9.5 St. Louis (Jacksonville)
At New Orleans -3 NYG (NYG)
Carolina -3.5 At Tampa Bay (Carolina)
At Green Bay -13 Detroit (Green Bay)
Philly -14 At Oakland (Philly)
At Seattle -3 Arizona (Arizona)
At New York Jets -9.5 Buffalo (New York Jets)
At New England -9 Tennessee (New England)
At Atlanta -3.5 Chicago (Chicago)

Monday Night Football

At San Diego -3.5 Denver (Denver)

College Picks

At Ole Miss -22 UAB (Ole Miss)
Central Michigan -6.5 At Western Michigan (Central Michigan)
Miami -14.5 At Central Fla. (Miami)
Ohio State -13.5 At Purdue (Ohio State)
Georgia -7.5 At Vanderbilt (Georgia)

This is Why
Here are the pro and college lines that I would put money on, and why:

Baltimore +3 over MINNESOTA - Green Bay did not blitz or pressure Brett Favre two weeks ago. Last week St. Louis was incapable of blitzing him. I fully expect Baltimore to make Brett Favre as uncomfortable as possible in the pocket and force him to make mistakes. I think Baltimore wins this game even though it is being played in the Metrodome. In fact, any time Baltimore gets points this year there's a good chance I'll probably take them.

Philadelphia -14 over OAKLAND - This game highlights a couple of trends. AFC West bottom dwellers Oakland and Kansas City have struggled to cover even large spreads against good teams. NFC East elite teams like Philadelphia and New York have easily covered large spreads against poor teams. I'm taking Philadelphia in this one as my pick of the week.

New York Giants +3 over New Orleans - Much like the Ravens, if the Giants are getting points this season then sign me up. This is actually a great mactch up. New Orleans is at home with a prolific offense, but the Giants strong pass rush is going against a Saints team missing their starting left tackle. Additionally, how many times do we see an up and coming young team fall to the more established team that is used to playing in big games? At the very mimimum New York stays in this game by being able to run the ball, while I look for New Orleans to struggle on the ground against the Giants. Advantage New York.

NEW YORK JETS -9.5 over Buffalo - Buffalo is really struggling right now. While the Jets have lost two in a row, I think that their defense will rebound by putting "Revis Island" on Terrell Owens and keeping 8 in the box in order to stuff Buffalo's running game. Buffalo's defense has some pretty significant injuries, so I don't think the Jets will have any problem putting up enough points to cover this spread.

NEW ENGLAND -9 over Tennessee - Staying true to my words from last week, I am staying away from Tennessee until they prove to me that they can right the ship. A struggling team playing in Foxboro against Tom Brady with two possible rookie starting corners is a recipe for disaster. Even if Cortland Finnegan does manage to play, there will still be mismatch issues that Tennnessee will have to deal with between New England's wide receivers and their secondary.

Central Michigan -6.5 over WESTERN MICHIGAN - The game that sparked "The End of the World Party" is on. Western Michigan has a fairly decent football team, but Central Michigan is looking pretty special right now behind qb Dan Lefevour. I think CMU wins in a route in this in-state rivalry game.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

NFL PICKS - Week 5


Week 4 NFL Results: 6-8
NFL Results Season to Date: 35-40

Week 4 College Football Results: 3-2
College Football Results Season to Date: 18-8

Week 4 This Is Why Results: 2-2
This is Why Results Season to Date: 9-5

Week 5 NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):

Minnesota -9.5 At St. Louis (Minnesota)
Dallas -8.5 At Kansas City (Dallas)
At Carolina -3.5 Washington (Washington)
At Philly -15 Tampa Bay (Philly)
At NYG -16 Oakland (NYG)
At Buffalo -6 Cleveland (Cleveland)
At Baltimore -8.5 Cincinnati (Cincinnati)
Pittsburgh -10.5 At Detroit (Pittsburgh)
At San Fran -2.5 Atlanta (Atlanta)
New England -3.5 At Denver (New England)
At Arizona -5.5 Houston (Houston)
At Seattle even Jacksonville (Seattle)
At Indy -3.5 Tennessee (Indy)

Monday Night Football

New York Jets -1.5 At Miami (New York Jets)

College Picks

At Tennessee -2 Georgia (Georgia)
Florida -7.5 At LSU (LSU)
Michigan State -4.5 At Illinois (Michigan State)
At Ohio State -16 Wisconsin (Wisconsin)

This is Why
Here are the pro and college lines that I would put money on, and why. While last week I did not like many of the lines, I consider this week's lines to be some of the most favorable ever. The reason is that many of the top notch NFL teams are playing against some of the worst teams in the league, and at this point in the season I don't think the odds makers can set the betting lines high enough. Accordingly, I think the smart money is to take the favorites in the following David v. Goliath games:

Minnesota -9.5 over ST. LOUIS - Minnesota should be able to throw and run all over the St. Louis defense. Conversely, Minnesota's front four should be able to overwhelm the Rams' offensive line, allowing them to keep 8 in the box to shut down Steven Jackson, their only offensive threat.

PHILLADELPHIA -15 over Tampa Bay - Josh Johnson makes his second career start. Is there any worse scenario for an inexperienced quarterback than making a start against a blitz happy team IN Philladelphia? No...no there isn't. This one could get ugly.

NEW YORK GIANTS -16 over Oakland - Even if Eli Manning is out with plantar fasciitis the Giants should be able to run all over the Oakland defense. The worst quarterback in the league, JaMarcus Russell, meets one of the best defenses in the league...on the road. This one could could get ugly too.

Pittsburgh -10.5 over DETROIT - Even if Matt Stafford is able to start Detroit will have a rookie quarterback trying to read a complicated blitz happy defense without having practiced this week. If Daunte Culpepper starts Detroit will have a rusty quarterback who is known to have problems reading complicated defenses. This one could also get ugly.

INDY -3.5 over Tennessee - Even though Tennessee typically plays Indianapolis tight, I have given up on the Titans until they prove me wrong. Peyton Manning and the Colts are playing good football right now, and if Tennesse starts two rookie corners as expected this one will get ugly.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

NFL PICKS - Week 4


Week 3 NFL Results: 10-6
NFL Results Season to Date: 23-24

Week 3 College Football Results: 4-1
College Football Results Season to Date: 15-6

Week 3 This Is Why Results: 3-2
This is Why Results Season to Date: 7-3

Week 4 NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):

At Houston -9.5 Oakland (Houston)
Tenn -3 At Jacksonville (Tenn)
At New England -2 Balt (Balt)
Cinci -5.5 At Cleveland (Cinci)
NYG -8.5 At Kansas City (NYG)
At Chicago -10 Detroit (Detroit)
At Washington -7 Tampa Bay (Washington)
At Indy -10.5 Seattle (Indy)
At New Orleans -7 Jets (New Orleans)
Buffalo -2 At Miami (Miami)
At San Fran -9.5 St. Louis (San Fran)
Dallas -3 At Denver (Dallas)
At Pitt -6.5 San Diego (San Diego)

Monday Night Football

At Minnesota -3.5 Green Bay (Green Bay)

College Picks

Alabama -15.5 At Kentucky (Alabama)
Cincinnati -29 At Miami OH (Cincinnati)
At Iowa -21 Arkansas St. (Iowa)
At Georgia -3 LSU (LSU)
At Michigan State -2 Michigan (Michigan St.)

This is Why

Here are the pro and college lines that I would put money on, and why. For me, this is a great rivalry week with Brett Favre and Minnesota playing Green Bay on Monday Night Football, and Michigan State hosting rival Michigan. Those might not be my best money bets for the week, but I'm going to break them down in This is Why just because I want to put my money where my mouth is:

MICHIGAN STATE -2 over Michigan - Michigan State comes in a disappointing 1-3. Michigan comes in a suprising 4-0. While Michigan State's secondary has struggled, Michigan's spread offense is designed to run the ball, not pass. Michigan State will be hungry and pull out all the stops in this game. Look for Sparty to win 27-17.

Green Bay +3.5 over MINNESOTA - I don't see how Minnesota is favored in this game. Sure they are 3-0, but they beat two terrible teams in Cleveland and Detroit. Then they needed a last second miracle catch to beat San Francisco at home. In any event, Green Bay has the better quarterback and the better team. Take the points.

New York Giants -7 over KANSAS CITY - Kansas City can't stop the run or run the ball. The Giants have covered similar spreads against two bad teams with similar problems in Washington and Tampa Bay. Look for the trend to continue.

Dallas -3 over DENVER - Denver is 3-0, but still might be one of the five worst teams in the league with their wins coming on an incredibly lucky tipped pass to win at the last second over Cincinnati, as well as against two terrible Cleveland and Oakland teams. Even though they are at home, this is Denver's first real test. Look for them to fail miserably.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

2009 NFL PICKS - Week 3


Week 2 NFL Results: 6-10
NFL Results Season to Date: 13-18

Week 2 College Football Results: 4-2
College Football Results Season to Date: 11-5

Week 2 This Is Why Results: 4-1
This is Why Results Season to Date: 4-1

Week 3 NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):

Wash -6 At Detroit (Detroit)
Green Bay -6.5 At St. Louis (Green Bay)
At Minnesota -6.5 San Fran (San Fran)
At New England -4.5 Atlanta (Atlanta)
At Jets -2.5 Tenn (Tenn)
At Philly -9.5 Kansas City (Philly)
At Balt -13 Cleve (Balt)
At Houston -4 Jacksonville (Houston)
NYG -7 At Tampa (NYG)
Chicago -2 At Seattle (Chicago)
New Orleans -6 At Buffalo (New Orleans)
Pitt -4 At Cinci (Cinci)
Denver -2 At Oak (Oak)
At San Diego -6 Miami (Miami)
At Arizona -2.5 Indy (Indy)

Monday Night Football

At Dallas -8.5 Carolina (Carolina)

College Picks

Boise St. -16.5 At Bowling Green (Boise St.)
Florida -21.5 At Kentucky (Florida)
At Utah -14 Louisville (Utah)
Notre Dame -7 At Purdue (Notre Dame)
At Penn St. -9.5 Iowa (Iowa)

This is Why

Here are the pro and college lines that I would put money on, and why:

New Orleans -6 over BUFFALO - Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense is in the Indianapolis/Peyton Manning - New England/Tom Brady mode from a few years back. The Saints will put up 30 plus points and Buffalo's offense will simply be unable to keep up.

Atlanta +4.5 over NEW ENGLAND - Atlanta is underrated, while New England is overrated. Even with Atlanta traveling to Foxboro, New England's inability to stop Michael Turner will keep this one closer than a field goal.

New York Giants -7 over TAMPA BAY - Tampa's only signs of life on offense is on the ground. Look for the Giants to load the box with eight defenders and force Byron Leftwich to beat them. On top of that, Tampa will struggle to stop the Giants running attack. I'd be surprised if the Bucs can stay within 14 points in this game.

Tennessee +2.5 over JETS - The Jets have been surprising under their new coaching staff and rookie quarterback. However, with two weeks of game film to watch, a good team like Tennessee should be able to figure them out and pull off a road win.

Florida -21.5 over KENTUCKY - I just can't see Kentucky's quarterback, Mike Hartline, being able to move the ball against Florida's defense to the extent that will be necessary to keep the Wildcats remotely close in this game.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

2009 NFL PICKS - Week 2


Week 1 NFL Results: 7-8
NFL Results Season to Date: 7-8

Week 1 College Football Results: 7-3
Season to Date: 7-3

Week 2 NFL Picks
(winners in parenthesis):

At KC -3 Oak (Oak)
At Tenn -6.5 Houston (Tenn)
New England -4 At Jets (New England)
At Green Bay -9 Cinci (Green Bay)
Minn -10 At Detroit (Detroit)
At Philly -1.5 New Orleans (New Orleans)
At Atlanta -6 Carolina (Atlanta)
At Wash -9.5 St. Louis (Wash)
At Jacksonville -3 Arizona (Jacksonville)
At San Fran -1.5 Seattle (Seattle)
At Buff -4.5 Tampa (Tampa)
At Denver -3 Cleve (Cleve)
At San Diego -3 Balt (Balt)
Pitt -3 At Chicago (Pitt)
At Dallas -3 NYG (NYG)

Monday Night Football

Indy -3 At Miami (Indy)

College Picks

At Penn St. -29.5 Temple (Penn St.)
At Notre Dame -10 Mich St. (Mich St.)
At Fla -29.5 Tenn (Tenn)
Cal -13 At Minn (Cal)
At Kentucky -13.5 Louisville (Louisville)
At Texas -17 Texas Tech (Texas)

This is Why

Here are the pro and college lines that I would put money on, and why:

ATLANTA -6 over Carolina - Until Jake Delhomme proves that he is back, I am betting heavily on his opponents. It looks like teams will stack the box against D'Angelo Williams and company until Carolina proves that they can once again move the ball through the air.

Pittsburgh -3 over CHICAGO - Pittsburgh is simply a better team. Cutler is yet to gel with his new team, and Chicago's secondary is weak. Look for Big Ben to have a big day.

New York Giants +3 over DALLAS - I know that Dallas has the intangibles with opening their new stadium, but there is still a football game to be played. Tampa Bay ran all over Dallas last week, so look for the Giants to at least cover running behind the best OL in the league.

Michigan State +10 over NOTRE DAME - In spite of a hicup against Central Michigan last week, the Spartans own Charlie Weiss, and they own Notre Dame...especially in South Bend. The Spartans will win this game outright.

Tennessee +29.5 over FLORIDA - I don't like Tennesse, but Eric Berry and company held Florida's offense in check last year. I think 30 or so points is way too much to give up in a rivalry game.