Friday, December 30, 2011

NFL Picks - Week 17: Because the same people who are in charge of the BCS also get to pick players for the Pro Bowl

Week 16 NFL Picks: 6-9-1
NFL results season to date: 111-114-11

College Football results season to date: 29-27-2

Week 17 NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):

Lions vs. Packers (Lions, road, -3) Is there a team that got disrespected more than Detroit in the Pro Bowl vote? In spite of having the highest scoring defense and one of the most prolific offenses in the league, Calvin Johnson was the only player on their roster named to the Pro Bowl. Even though Mathew Stafford is one of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL, he was sixth in the pecking order of NFC Pro Bowl quarterbacks behind Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Cam Newton and Tony Romo. While nobody will argue that Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees aren't the two best quarterbacks in football right now, let's look at how Stafford matches up with the others:

-Eli Manning: Stafford leads Manning in wins (10 to 8), QB rating (96.6 to 90.3), touchdowns (36 to 26) and interceptions (14 to16). The only significant category that Manning leads Stafford in is yards, and that lead is only by 87 yards;
-Cam Newton: Stafford has Newton in wins (10 to 5), head to head, QB rating (96.6 to 85), touchdowns (36 to 20), interceptions (14 to 16) and passing yards (4518 to 3893). Newton leads Stafford in rushing TD's (14 to 0) and rushing yards (674 to 78). 
-Tony Romo: Stafford leads Romo in wins (10 to 8), head to head, touchdowns (36 to 29). Romo leads in passer rating (102.2 to 96.6) and interceptions (9 to 14). It should be noted that Romo has single handedly cost the Cowboys wins against the Jets and Lions due to inexplicable interceptions.
I guess the same people who are in charge of the BCS also get to pick players for the Pro Bowl. Look for the Lions to roll in order to preserve the top Wildcard seed while Green Bay rests their key players heading into the Playoffs.
Colts vs. Jaguars (Jaguars, home, +4) Indianapolis desperately needs to lose this game to have a shot at drafting Andrew Luck. Throw in third string QB (and current Colts starter) Dan Orlovsky's wife giving birth to triplets this week, and I think we have as done of a deal for Jacksonville as you can get with Blaine Gabbert as their starting quarterback.
Jets vs. Dolphins (Jets, road, +1.5) This game is the equivalent of a technical foul shot at the end of regulation and the game on the line for Marc Sanchez and New York. With Miami's season already over, there should be little opposition from the Dolphins for the Jets. It's just a matter of whether or not Sanchez can overcome the pressure and make a wide open shot their season on the line.
Bears vs. Vikings (Bears, road, +1) God, which quarterback is worse, Christian Ponder or Josh McCown? Unless Minnesota does the smart thing and plays Joe Webb, I'm going to take the Bears and the point since they have a much stronger defense than the Vikings do.
Pigskins vs. Eagles (Pigskins, road, +9) Would you give up 9 points with the Eagles this season in a meaningless game? 
Panthers vs. Saints (Saints, home, -8) Carolina has done well getting points this year, while New Orleans should not be bet against at home. Since this game means more to the Saints than it does to the Panthers in terms of their playoff seed, I'll go with New Orleans giving up the points at home.
49ers vs. Rams (49ers, road, -11) The Rams only option at this point on offense is running the ball, and stopping the run is what San Francisco specializes in. The 49ers are in the hunt for a first round bye, so expect little mercy for the Rams in this game.
Titans vs. Texans (Titans, road, -3) Aside from momentum, Houston has noting to play for with their playoff seed already set, while Tennessee still has an outside shot of making it in.
Bills vs. Patriots (Patriots, home, -11) With New England playing for home field advantage in the Playoffs, a talent deficient and injury ravaged Buffalo team stands very little chance in this game. 
Buccaneers vs. Falcons (Falcons, home, -11.5) Raheem Morris says he won't fire himself, but his Tampa Bay team has long since quit on him. Atlanta couldn't get a better match-up...assuming that Detroit loses to Green Bay and the 5th NFC Playoff seed is still up for grabs.
Ravens vs. Bengals (Ravens, road, -3) Cincinnati has exceeded all expectations this year. In fact, it's a disgrace that their fans have not embraced them in their Playoff run. Unfortunately, I just don't think they have it in them this season to defeat Baltimore in a game that is also meaningful for the Ravens in terms of Playoff position.  
Seahawks vs. Cardinals (Seahawks, road, +3) As the Playoff picture unfolded, this game means absolutely nothing. With all else equal, I'll take the points.
Chiefs vs. Broncos (Broncos, home, -3.5) While I want to pick Kyle Orton to derail Denver's Playoff hopes, the Chiefs have struggled recently when playing in Denver. And aside from Orton, nobody on Kansas City has anything to play for.
Chargers vs. Raiders (Raiders, home, -3) While Oakland remains in the Playoff hunt, I can't see San Diego showing up for this game as their front office and coaching staff gets ready to roll. On the other hand, how much is one player worth for the Raiders? Al Davis inexplicably failed to match the $12 million a season that Nnamdi Asomugha received from the Eagles. In their game against Detroit the Raiders let the Lions come back from a 13 point deficit on their final two drives of the game, in large part due to poor coverage where Calvin Johnson was inexplicably allowed to get behind their secondary. Now they are tie-breaker behind the Broncos for the AFC West division title heading into the final game of the season. I'm thinking that they are second guessing re-signing Stanford Routt for almost $11 million a year and letting Asomugha walk.
Steelers vs. Browns (Steelers, road, -7) As it stands, Pittsburgh has to play this game to win. That's bad news for the Browns and Colt McCoy's brain.  
Cowboys vs. Giants (Giants, home, -3) I'm not sure which quarterback is going to give this game away first, but my money is on Tony Romo.

College Football's Top Bowl Games:

OUTBACK BOWL: Georgia vs. Michigan State (Michigan State, +3.5) This is one of the better match-ups on paper of the bowl season. Both have top 5 defenses in the nation. Both run pro-style offenses with quarterbacks that will play in the NFL. Both finished second in a power conference with identical records. Common perception about the B1G be damned, the Spartans are just a little bit more athletic and explosive offensively than the Bulldogs. The Spartans win this one.

Whether you're an environmentalist or not, I'm pretty sure this Michigan State Cheerleader could convince you to "Go Green!"

CAPITAL ONE BOWL: Nebraska vs. South Carolina (South Carolina, -3) The Cornhuskers are just a little too one dimensional on offense to score against the Gamecock defense. While Nebraska's "black-shirt" defense has had a few shutdown games this season, the more likely scenario has them giving up a butt-load of points.

What girl wouldn't be happy to have big "Cocks" in her hands like this South Carolina Cheerleader?

COTTON BOWL: Arkansas vs. Kansas State (Kansas State, +8) This should be a good game. Kansas State only lost the the Oklahoma's, while Arkansas only lost to LSU and Alabama. Kansas State has the offense to keep up with the Razorbacks and keep this game close.

Arkansas Cheerleader: Apparently this is socially acceptable in Arkansas. However, if he was a black guy...

ORANGE BOWL: West Virginia vs. Clemson (West Virginia, +3) If there was a game to serve as a poster child for the Big East and the ACC to lose their automatic bids for the BCS, this would be it.

West Virginia Cheerleader: Some things in West Virginia never hairstyles.

FIESTA BOWL: Oklahoma State vs. Stanford (Oklahoma State, -4) To me, this game is much more compelling than the LSU-Alabama National Championship Game. With only one loss to a national power, Stanford definitely deserved the right to lose to LSU on the road, and while Oklahoma State blew their chance for a National Championship by losing to Iowa State, they just might be the best team in the country this year.

Oklahoma State Cheerleader: Honestly, this duo is only slightly less disturbing than Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson.

ROSE BOWL: Wisconsin vs. Oregon (Wisconsin, +6) These two teams are going to score some points. If either one is capable of stopping the other, I think it will be the Badgers stopping the Ducks. Wisconsin running back Montee Ball was all but left out of the Heisman Trophy consideration in spite of being on the verge of breaking Barry Sanders' single season touchdown record and having one of the best three seasons in NCAA history along with Sanders and Tim Tebow.

These two Oregon Cheerleaders have it all wrong, he's supposed to be pushing down on her head...then again, he's gay.

SUGAR BOWL: Virginia Tech vs. Michigan I refuse to acknowledge that this loose stool of a bowl game even exists. The Hokies couldn't win a brutal ACC that didn't even have a single good team in it this year, while the Wolverines finished a distant second - not the Big Ten - but in the Big Ten Leaders Division. Somehow having the same overall regular season record as Michigan State and getting their asses kicked by Sparty in their head-to-head match-up propelled the Wolverines to a BCS bid when the Spartans missed out on the Rose Bowl because of a questionable roughing the kicker call that cost them the ball on the 1-yard line for the go-ahead score with less than a minute left in the B1G Championship Game. Not only is the football going to be bad at the Sugar Bowl, but one of the great things about having sporting events in New Orleans are the college co-eds showing off their boobs on Bourbon Street, and the BCS is even wasting that on fat chicks from the University of Michigan and bullet bait from Virginia Tech.

University of Michigan girls: I'm fine with naked girls crying, but not when they're ugly.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Blogging Survivor: South Pacific: "Don't be pissing down my back and tell me that it's raining"

After making the stupidest move in Survivor history in which he gave away his Immunity Necklace immediately before getting voted out, Russell's Nephew refused to admit his mistake and instead blamed Albert for not giving it back to him. "I made a commitment to Albert. I forgive him, I love him. I hope he learns from what he's done."

Personally, I'm not exactly sure what Albert did wrong for Russell's Nephew to forgive. Giving Albert an Immunity Necklace when he was almost certain to get voted out and then expecting him to give it back is kind of like lending Chaz Bono and condom and then asking him to return it unused...okay, bad example, but you get where I'm going with it.

Upon hearing how Russell's Nephew got voted out, Ozzy was less than sympathetic. "He wasn't blind-sided, he gave up the freakin' Immunity Necklace. Whenever you give up the Immunity Idol, you're going home...(Russell's Nephew) is playing this game like he's playing with God, but he's not. He's playing with human beings who are greedy and want that money."

Coach took things a little more personally. "I'm sick of people coming out here and trying to look holier than thou and have people bully me...When people bully me, you're cut off. I've been made a fool of in my life enough over this game."

The Redemption Duel consisted of Ozzy and Russell's Nephew climbing a pole and trying to hang on the longest. Both had extensive training for the contest. Ozzy's tree climbing in the jungle, and Brandon's pole grabbing in jail. Ultimately Russell's Nephew's grip wasn't strong enough, and Ozzy outlasted him and sent him to the Jury.

The Immunity Challenge involved holding a rope to balance a tray, and then building a house of cards to a specific height on that tray the fastest. When Jeff asked whether any of the competitors liked to build houses of cards for fun, Sophie eagerly responded by saying, "I do, I have a book on how to build them," which instantaneously lowered the cool factor for any guy who has dated or will date her in the future.

While most college age girls spend their time playing beer pong, experimenting with their sexuality or both, Sophie's lame hobby seemingly gave her a huge advantage. However, she initially built her house too strong and ended up running out of cards before reaching the top.

Forced to start over, Sophie knocked her cards over, causing her inner bitchiness to come out when she demanded, "Albert, drop your stack and pick up my damn pieces! I'm going to beat you!" In the end, Sophie should have spent more time in college exposing her side-boob and less time on old fashioned games and puzzles, as Ozzy was able to defeat her at her own game to win Immunity.

I'm calling for Mose from Amish in the City to make an appearance on Survivor. However, Sophie will be sad to see that while Mose has left the Amish way of life, he married a city girl who likes to play with his "beano stick." 

An increasingly cocky Coach proclaimed that it was his game to lose. He discussed the possibility of voting out Rick with Albert. Rightfully so, Rick was skeptical of Coach's integrity. "Coach is really good about skirting the truth. You've really got to listen to his words, he's kind of like an attorney." Trying to stir up tension within the Upolu Alliance, Ozzy told Albert about Coach's promise to take him to the end in a secret alliance "as a Christian man."

At Tribal Council, Ozzy took things further and outed Coach to the entire tribe for trying to make a deal with him after Coach began talking about his tribe as "family." When Sophie accused Ozzy of being disrespectful towards her by not talking to her, he told her that she was a "freaking brat" and "pretentious." Showing her strong feminine side, Sophie then broke down in tears and bawled for the rest of Tribal Council.

Ultimately Coach got his way and the tribe voted out Rick. However, when Coach got up to shake his hand Rick snarled, "Go have a seat...Go have a seat, man. Go have a seat." He explained his hostility. "All that honesty, integrity and all that, and Coach stood up, 'oh, don't be that way.' It's like, sit down. Don't be pissing down my back and telling me that it's raining."

Following Tribal Council, Coach confronted Ozzy about outing their secret alliance. Ozzy responded by telling him how he had been burned in the game in the past by trusting people and that "I felt like I couldn't trust you yesterday." Coach, having also been burned by trusting too many men in his past was obviously moved. "When I saw that in Ozzy, my heart broke for him," and when all was said and done the two reaffirmed their plan to take each other to the end.

The final Immunity Challenge required the contestants to navigate an obstacle course and grab five bags with puzzle pieces and then solve that puzzle. Coming off of her embarrassing upset while trying to build her house of cards, Sophie redeemed herself and won immunity.
While Coach and Ozzy had discussed deadlocking their vote and sending Albert and Sophie to build fire to break that tie at Tribal Council, Sophie's win made Ozzy the logical target for eviction since Coach still had a hidden Immunity Idol.

Ozzy pressed Coach to adhere to their agreement to take each other to the end, but Coach was torn. "You know what I'm battling against, I'm battling against my word (referring to his alliance with Albert and Sophie)," which caused Ozzy to exclaim, "You gave me your a Christian man."

At Tribal Council Ozzy reminded Coach of his word, and asked him to consider splitting the vote so he and Albert would end up tied and compete to build fire in order to stay in the game. This caused Albert to say, "I know how to make fire, but that's like saying I know how to drive and expecting me to beat Jeff Gordon in a race."

In the end, Coach broke his word to Ozzy (but kept his pledge to Albert and Sophie) and voted Ozzy out, who left to applause from the Jury. "The Jury clapped for me. That was such an awesome feeling." That left Coach, Albert and Sophie as the final three competing for the $1,000,000 grand prize before the Jury.

At the final Tribal Council, Albert, who was convinced that he had played the best overall game of the final three, emphasized his social game play in his speech to the jury.

Sophie noted her strong physical game and how she dominated several challenges, as well as her strategy and honesty in picking one alliance and sticking with it to the end.

Coach stressed his leadership, claiming that he lead with "compassion, love and appreciation" instead of being "self righteous and arrogant" as he had been during his two earlier appearances on Survivor.

After calling Sophie a privileged and pretentious brat, and saying that Albert did nothing in the game except be in the right place at the right time, Ozzy gave Coach a chance to win his vote by asking him if he thought that he compromised his word. Coach agreed, saying that he had overextended his promises, which caused him to come to several crossroads in the game in which he was forced to be dishonorable.

Jim asked Albert to explain why Coach and Sophie did not deserve to win, but warned him not to start with a compliment. Apparently trying to lose the game, Albert began by saying, "Great question, I love your approach to the game," before ultimately saying that Coach was not a leader as he claimed to be, and that he was instead carried to the end by his tribe.

Dawn asked Sophie something about being the only woman...but I honestly stopped listening to her question about three words in.

After scolding Coach when he got voted out, Rick pressed Sophie about lying to him as well. Sophie tried to justify her deceit by saying that she only lied when she "felt like it was justified to get to the end," which was pretty much the entire game as Rick had implied.

Russell's Nephew, who was betrayed by his religious mentor, asked Coach if he had anything to say to him. Coach answered cryptically by saying, "I know you were hurt, and I want to make it up to you." Russell's Nephew also asked Albert for a "yes or no" answer on whether or not Albert knew that he was going to get voted out. Albert continued to botch his questions in front of the Jury by trying to answer with an explanation four times before he finally answered with a "no."

Whitney added little to the Jury debate, calling Albert "sleazy," accusing Coach of using his religion to manipulate the game, and calling Sophie "condescending."

Edna followed Whitney's comment up by noting how religion has historically been the most successful way of manipulating people, and she congratulated Coach on duping everyone.

Keith's question concerned Coach's use of the Immunity Idol, but Coach got hijacked on the question when Sophie blurted out how Coach had initially found the Idol and concealed it from Russell's Nephew, who looked at him like a confused puppy who had just been kicked by his master.

Cochran used his Jury question to talk about his experience as a child with The Second Mile. "I did 'Coach-Chi' with you with only my underpants on and a sweater vest. You say the word honor so frequently, it really means nothing to me."

Back at the live finale, where everyone strangely always looks much worse after they've been allowed to bathe and groom themselves (except Cowboy Rick, who looked exactly the same), Coach and Sophie sat with the Chinese dude who was re-cast as Albert to wait for the final vote.

While Brandon got confused and voted for Mikayla, Coach's numerous betrayals ultimately did him in and Sophie was voted winner of Survivor: South Pacific despite her inferior strategic game play.

After Sophie was announced as the winner, Jeff asked the Jury how Coach would have fared had he taken Rick with him to the end instead. When the Jury overwhelmingly indicated that they would have voted for Coach in that scenario, Coach made a face like he had just crapped himself...probably because he did.

Survivor aficionado and historian Cochran admitted to Jeff that he had overestimated his game play until he returned home and Googled himself on the internet. "When I go on the internet like an obsessive freak, everyone hates me." Not surprisingly, he also announced that he's still single.

While Brandon stressed that he was proud of the way he played the game, he acknowledged that upon returning home he was not welcomed or even accepted by his family. "I don't think anyone from my family is really proud of me."

Only on the "mean streets" of Katy, TX do two guys, a dog and a .22 constitute being in a "gang." I'm just disappointed that the old guy in the camouflauge vest didn't have Brandon Hantz's back the time he got jumped by that possum for wearing dayglow orange.  

To rub salt in his wounds, Jeff had Russell in the live studio audience, who was eager to offer his analysis of his nephew's game strategy. "I think he went out to change what I did...I made greatness." When asked what Brandon did wrong, Russell snarked, "He didn't do one thing right...he didn't live up to the Hantz family name," which anyone aside from Brandon would probably take as a compliment.

In the end, fan favorite Ozzy was announced as the winner of the Audience Vote for $100,000. It was also revealed that Keith and aspiring country music singer Whitney were now dating, which earns them the Nashville appropriate couple name of 'Keith-Whitney."

With Sophie becoming yet another in a long line of undeserving Survivor winners, I have a theory on how to remedy the problem of the best players getting voted out of the game early. I think that a future "twist" should involve a "reverse merge," with the game starting with only one tribe, and a second tribe being built from the members of the original tribe who had been voted out. This would force the original tribe to vote out it's weakest members out of fear of giving the rival tribe an advantage when it comes to strength.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NFL Picks - Week 16: Because in the end, the ghost of Wayne Fontes is returning to Detroit...only this time he's white and has really bad acne scars.

Week 15 NFL Picks: 8-6-2
NFL results season to date: 105-105-2

College Football results season to date: 29-27-2

Week 16 NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):

Texans vs. Colts (Texans, road, -6.5) Indianapolis didn't come close to stopping Arian Foster last year. They couldn't stop Ben Tate earlier this season. With the Texans playing conservative behind T.J. Yates and the Colts defense even worse off now due to injuries, I don't see anything changing.

Raiders vs. Chiefs (Chiefs, home, -1) Oakland absolutely needs to win this game to remain the the playoff hunt. In an AFC West where mediocrity is mandatory, that pretty much means that they are guaranteed to lose.
Broncos vs. Bills (Broncos, road, -3) Tim Tebow and Denver travel to Hell this week in order to take on Buffalo and whoever they have left who isn't injured.
Jaguars vs. Titans (Titans, home, -7) If Tennessee wants to make a push at the final Wildcard spot, I'm not so sure that Jake Locker isn't the better option at quarterback right now over Matt Hasselbeck. As a side note, I can't wait to see the prices in the Jacksonville area fake mustache market bottom-out when new owner Shahid Khan moves the Jaguars to Los Angeles. If Jaguar fans think a $25 million dollar penalty clause in his purchase contract is going to prevent him from moving the team from the worst market in the NFL to what would be by far the largest market, they might as well start praying for Tim Tebow right now...I heard that paper mill just outside of town is hiring.

The Shahid Khan inspired "Jag-Stache" is one of the few things that the Jacksonville fanbase has going for them right now.

Cardinals vs. Bengals (Cardinals, road, +4.5) Arizona, lead by their defense, has been quietly playing the best football in the NFC West over the past month. Granted, that's kind of like saying that Lindsey Lohan is the best actress in her community service class, but at least it's a start. Look for the Cardinals to hang around in a low scoring game with a very similar Cincinnati team. 
Dolphins vs. Patriots (Patriots, home, -10) Miami's defense has been playing well enough that they actually might have a decent shot at slowing down New England's offense. I'm not saying that they will, but at least they have a chance.
Browns vs. Ravens (Browns, road, +13.5) Cleveland hasn't exactly been lighting up the scoreboard behind Colt McCoy and their West Coast Offense, but they've been hanging close with some tough teams. Baltimore won the first match-up in Cleveland by 14 points, but if the Browns can slow down Ray Rice they should be able to keep things within two scores.
Giants vs. Jets (Giants, road, +3) I'm not even sure how the New York dynamic works for these two teams. If I hate the Yankees, which of these two teams should I hate, the Jets or the Giants? Season ticket holders aside, this is essentially a road game at home for the Giants since they don't have to travel. With two evenly matched teams both fighting for a Playoff spot, I'll take the better quarterback in Eli Manning and the 3 points.
Vikings vs. Redskins (Vikings, road, +6.5) Minnesota is really not all that awful for a team that only has two wins. Sadly, if Washington had stuck with Rex Grossman and just accepted his crappy games every other week, the Pigskins would be close to .500 and still be in the hunt for the NFC Division title.  
Buccaneers vs. Panthers (Panthers, home, +7.5) Tampa Bay is the one team that you can't gamble on under any circumstance this season, while Carolina behind Cam Newton is one of the teams that you don't want to bet against.
Rams vs. Steelers (Steelers, home, -13) Even if Pittsburgh elects to go with Charlie Batch at quarterback, they still have better talent across the board than St. Louis. Not only that, but they have far superior coaching as well.
Chargers vs. Lions (Chargers, road, +2.5) With a big running back, a versatile running back and a vertical passing game, San Diego seems like a match-up nightmare for a Detroit defense that has at least eight key players who will be out or limited due to injuries this week. Then again, Detroit should have a field day with their front seven going against an injury ravaged offensive line. In the end, the ghost of Wayne Fontes is returning to Detroit...only this time he's white and has really bad acne scars.
 49ers vs. Seahawks (49ers, road, -2) San Francisco still isn't getting any respect when it comes to the gambling lines. While the 49ers are not flashy, they are a solid team that stops the run and doesn't make mistakes That translates to easy money in a gambling world that is influenced by big names and bright lights. If they can shut down Marshawn Lynch and hold on to the ball, look for San Francisco to cover.

R.I.P. coach Fontes...

Cowboys vs. Eagles (Dallas, home, -1.5) People are once again talking about Philadelphia having an outside shot at running the table and winning the NFC East. I can assure you that this Eagles team has not changed much from the start of the season and their track record speaks for itself. Sure they have plenty of talent at their skill positions, but the Eagles are a team that is incapable of putting together a significant winning streak given their glaring holes at linebacker and offensive line. Even though this game means very little for Dallas since they still have to beat the Giants next week regardless of what they do against the Eagles in order to make the Playoffs, the Eagles will take themselves out of the Playoff race this if they haven't done so already.

Bears vs. Packers (Packers, home, -13) Chicago has finally come to the conclusion that Caleb Hanie was not capable of holding down the ship while Jay Cutler is out due to injury. With Mike Martz unwilling to adapt his complex offense even in the event of an injury to his starter, I highly doubt that Josh McCown will fare much better with only six weeks on the roster in which to get up to speed...especially with the Bears traveling to Green Bay.

Falcons vs. Saints (Falcons, road, +7) Superdome or not, prime time or not, these New Orleans and Atlanta are too evenly matched to lay seven points.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Blogging Survivor: South Pacific - "I'm at peace with that. I'm pissed, but I'm at peace with that"

As the Upolu Five returned back to camp, Russell's Nephew took time to pay his respects to the one who got them this far. "The first thing we need to do is give thanks to the person who did this for us." To my surprise he wasn't talking about Cochran, but he instead lead a tribe prayer.

An increasingly cocky Albert began to target Sophie, who to this point had been his closest ally. "I'm in a good position to pull off what I think will be the biggest blindside in the game so far."

Personally, I'm not exactly sure how voting out the fat girl that everyone was indifferent about and losing your own numbers constitutes "the biggest blindside in the game," but Albert seemed pretty confident that Coach was going to take him to the end. Then again, so did Rick, and Russell's Nephew and Sophie.

The Redemption Duel between Ozzy and Edna consisted of completing a slide puzzle and then a puzzle cube. In spite of receiving help on how to correctly solve her puzzle cube from the entire Upolu Tribe, Ozzy ended up defeating Edna, who was eliminated as he stayed in the game at Redemption Island.

Back at camp Albert continued on with his big plans to make a major move at least one week too late. "The five of us when we got together way back when on Upolu beach, we talked about 'honor and integrity' all the way. The interesting thing is, in the game of Survivor, I don't care a single thing about 'honor and integrity.'"

Albert pushed his idea to Coach, who wasn't having it. "He's got a thing about Sophie. I think it's because she's smarter than Albert. She's speaking up in Tribal...She's not the quiet little mouse he thought she was." In the mean time, Sophie warned Coach about the dangers of taking Ozzy to the end given that he has fed and comforted every jury member on their way out of the game on Redemption Island, making him very likable.

Coach continued to push Russell's Nephew away following his dad's visit at a "loved one" reward last week, who obviously gave him PTSD flashbacks of getting pushed around by the original Russell. When Russell's Nephew approached Coach and Albert to question their conversation, Coach flipped out. "C'mon man, don't sound like Russell. I don't want you to come in here and try to bully us, man. Seriously, you've turned into a bully."

For whatever reason, Coach's lecture struck a nerve with Russell's Nephew. "That definitely hurt my feelings, what you just said bro...I don't feel like I've acted like Russell." But by that point the damage had been done in Coach's eyes. "(Russell's Nephew) really pissed me off. I think Mr. Hantz came in and gave him a shot of 'the Hantz, and all of a sudden (Russell's Nephew) comes bullying up to us and is like what are you guys talking about?"

Coach went on to say, "The apple never falls far from the tree, and meeting his father is confirmation as to what these last couple of days I need to do for my next move." On the other hand, Russell's Nephew sensed that he was no longer in Coach's good graces, as he said, "Chill out man, God's got everything under control."

The Immunity Challenge consisted of climbing a wall to retrieve bags full of pieces, and then using those pieces to solve a puzzle. Russell's Nephew won Immunity and a pizza party, to which he invited Cowboy Rick instead of Coach.

Coach, who narrowly lost to Russell's Nephew, lamented losing the opportunity to vote him off. "I believe in divine intervention. It was not (Russell's Nephew's) time to go home tonight. He saved his own skin by winning Immunity, and I'm at peace with that. I'm pissed, but I'm at peace with that."

As Sophie approached Russell's Nephew and Cowboy Rick to "smell their pizza," she informed them that she planned to vote against Albert. As Albert's promises to multiple people that they'd go to the end together quickly became more exposed than a shot of Sophie's sideboob, his house of cards began to fall.

Russell's Nephew, who was convinced that he and Albert had formed a special bond, began to question that relationship. "You got a lot of people who don't know how to tell the truth, and I'm talking specifically about Albert." Holding true to his fashion, Russell's Nephew then confronted Albert in front of the whole tribe, and exposed him as a fraud at a critical time when the five remaining Upolu Alliance members were trying to decide who would be the next to go.

Just when it seemed that the decision of who would be voted out next had made itself, Russell's Nephew began to have a change of heart when Albert approached him in a last ditch attempt to try to mend fences. "If I can just draw Brandon back over with me, I think I'm back where I need to be." "Who am I not to forgive, I am an imperfect person...Everyone has lied in this game, including myself," said Russell's Nephew as he reflected on his religion.

After Albert continued to pull at Russell's Nephew's emotions and religious beliefs by saying, "I just don't want you to close your heart on're making me look like a bad dude," Brandon changed his mind on the spot and smiled as he said, "I'm not voting you." He went on to explain that he believed Albert truly deserved to remain in the game.

Russell's Nephew then truly went "Pequeno Loco," and did the unthinkable and offered Albert his Immunity Necklace to show Albert that he still has his back...after Albert lied to HIM!! "If I have to, I'll give you my Immunity Necklace...Coach will not vote for me, Albert will not vote for me, and I'll vote for Sophie."

When Russell's Nephew approached Coach about his idea, he received no guarantees about his own safety if he were to give away the Immunity Necklace. "I honestly believe that this is what God wants us to do," explained Russell's Nephew. However, Coach interrupted and said, "This is what God wants you to do. What I need to do right now, is I need to pray. And I promise you this, I will do whatever God tells me to do." A nervous Russell's Nephew responded by saying, "I understand you gotta do what God wants you to do, I but I know he doesn't want you to write my name down."

At Tribal Council, Jeff Probst's eyes bugged and his jaw nearly dropped to the floor when Russell's Nephew immediately announced that he was giving his Immunity Necklace to Albert. "It's really hard to explain, because my loyalties are a little bit different."

Russell's Nephew explained that, "Back home when I was in the hole the whole gang scene..A lot of my friends would be, 'bro, I've got your back I got your back,' and I was really willing to give my life to these guys," but when it was time "to brawl," he would be left hanging and his friends wouldn't show.

When Jeff to sarcastically commented, "So it really wasn't a gang," Russell's Nephew acknowledged that "it was people taking my loyalty for what they wanted to use it for, and then leaving me."

Jeff got in one more good blast when he asked, "Is there any chance that's happening tonight?" Russell's Nephew admitted that he did not feel at peace with his decision since "Coach is going to do what God wants him to do, and if God wants him to vote me out, I believe he would," which is pretty much his way of saying that he got played like a bitch without having to admit it or give Coach any credit.

The deal was all but sealed when Jeff asked Albert if he was willing to give the Immunity Necklace back to Russell's Nephew, and he responded by saying, "I hope (he) feels comfortable enough with me, him and Coach, knowing that he can make a move like this and go I'm not giving him the necklace back."

Sure enough, Coach took Russell's Nephew's decision to give his Immunity Necklace away as an opportunity to vote him out to Redemption Island, but not before he belittled him even further by telling him, "It's God's will, go win Redemption."

Ranking the Survivors:

6. Russell's Nephew - Move over Eric, we have a new winner for the Stupidist Use of Immunity in Survivor History!

I hope you all enjoyed the religious Brandon Hantz, because his did is going to beat the ever loving Bejesus out of him when he gets back home.
5. Ozzy - Ozzy is still off in his parrell universe on Redemption Island, which Sophie called "Ozzy's Pleasure Dome" in reference to how he's wining and dining his competitors before he beats them in the Redemption Duel and sends them to the jury in his good graces.
4. Albert - There's a special place in Hell for the guy who takes advantage of the retarded kid and takes his lunch money or makes him sit in the giant puddle at the end of the 6th grade long jump pit...not that I'm speaking from personal experience or anything.
3. Sophie - Sophie's comment about getting rid of Albert ended up coming back to haunt her when Russell's Nephew inexplicably gave him his Immunity Necklace, saving Albert from a sure banishment to Redemption Island. "It's gratifying seeing Albert get exposed, because instead of a blindside, he gets to go out looking even more pathetic than he has so far...It's like he's in the toilet bowl, and now (Russell's Nephew) Coach, and I, and Rich have a chance at flushing him down, he keeps scrambling back up, but I think Jeff will have the final flush tonight"
2. Rick - Now that Russell's Nephew is almost gone, I guess Albert said it best. "If I was voting people off based on how much i liked them, Rich would be the first person to go...Rick is the least dangerous player in the game...He hasn't done anything strategically...He hasn't done anything to win a challenge...Coach has been the cult leader, Rich has been the follower."
1. Coach - I love how Coach wanted to vote Russell's Nephew out, but said he needed to pray to see what God wanted him to do. In the miracle of all miracles, God told Coach exactly what he wanted to hear. "There was a name in my head over, and over, and over again. I cleaned the slate and I asked for it again, and it came up over, and over, and over again. My soul has never breathed like it does in this moment." I think it's safe to say that this whole season of Survivor has consisted of a bunch of pricks doing whatever the hell they like, but then wiping their hands clean of any wrongdoing under the cloak of their religion...kind of like Chick-fil-A does.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

NFL Picks - Week 15: Because Tim Tebow will be forced to throw the ball, and that's a miracle that even baby Jesus can't help him with.

Week 14 NFL Picks: 8-8
NFL results season to date: 97-99-8

College Football results season to date: 29-27-2

Week 15 NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):

Jaguars vs. Falcons (Falcons, home, -11.5) Atlanta is back at home with a Wildcard birth on the line, while Jacksonville's ownership quit twice on their team this year. First by releasing David Garrard and forcing Jack Del Rio to play rookie QB Blaine Gabbert, and then by firing Del Rio midway through the season. Look for the Falcons to run early in order to set up deep passes to Roddy White and Julio Jones.

Cowboys vs. Buccaneers (Cowboys, road, -7) The only question in this game is whether Tony Romo will find a way to choke a game away to a Tampa Bay team that has clearly quit on its season. Look for Buccaneer coach Raheem Morris to be fired as soon as the season ends.

Pigskins vs. Giants (Giants, home, -7) With Eli Manning is quietly having the best year of his career, New York is now back in the Playoff race after defeating Dallas last week. With RB Ahmad Bradshaw returning to health to take some pressure off of Manning and Prince Amukamara adding some reinforcement to their secondary, a home game against Washington is one that the Giants should win handily.
Saints vs. Vikings (Saints, road, -7) Minnesota will get some much needed help with the return of Adrian Peterson. AP will take some pressure off of rookie QB Christian Ponder, who turned the ball over 5 times last week in just over a half against the Lions. Unfortunately, this will not be a good week for the Vikings to play conservative football, as New Orleans comes to town looking to exploit their injury depleted secondary through their record setting pace passing game.
Packers vs. Chiefs (Packers, road, -14.5) Green Bay not only comes into this game on a roll, but they get to take advantage of a Kansas City organization that fired coach Jack Haley mid-week. While Haley is not without blame in terms of his play calling and the way he handled his players, Scott Pioli needs to be questioned for assembling a roster that didn't have any depth to overcome several key injuries. Specifically, not having an NFL caliber back-up quarterback is inexcusable.
Bears vs. Seahawks (Seahawks, road, +3.5) As strange as it may sound, the battle between Caleb Hanie and Tarvaris Jackson could have huge implications on the NFC Wildcard. At this point Seattle has a slightly better situation at QB and RB than the Bears do because of the injuries suffered by Jay Cutler and Matt Forte. This game should be a defensive struggle that comes down to a battle of field position. My guess is that it's decided by a field goal, with Devin Hester and Leon Washington being the deciding factors on special teams.
Dolphins vs. Bills (Bills, home, -1) With Matt Moore expected to start at QB for Miami, I give them the advantage over Buffalo. That's right, I'm entirely basing my pick on this game based upon whether or not Matt Moore plays...which is kind of like picking one movie over another because Nicholas Cage is starring in it.
Panthers vs. Texans (Panthers, road, +6.5) With Carolina having no run defense, and Cam Newton putting up points no matter what defense he plays against, this game could become a shoot-out. With Houston having already clinched a Playoff berth, I will continue to take the Panthers and any points that they are handed.
Titans vs. Colts (Titans, road, -6.5) At least Chris Johnson is starting to develop a pattern...he only plays well against crappy defenses. Defenses don't get much crappier than Indianapolis'.
Bengals vs. Rams (Bengals, road, -7) Cincinnati is coming off of a rough schedule where they faced a string of tough defenses. Look for them to take out some pent up frustration out against a St. Louis team that is stopping absolutely nobody. With the Rams practically unable to score under Josh McDaniels' offense, and Sam Bradford dinged up as well, I look for the Bengals to win convincingly.
Lions vs. Raiders (Lions, road, -1) Traveling across country to play Oakland on the road is never an easy task. However, Carson Palmer and the Raiders have been hemorrhaging turnovers lately, and Detroit leads the league in defensive scores.
Patriots vs. Broncos (Patriots, road, -7) No matter how good the Denver defense has been playing lately, I'm pretty sure that New England will score enough points that Tim Tebow will be forced to throw the ball. That's a miracle that not even baby Jesus can help him with.

Tim Tebow might be taking this religious thing a little too far...
Jets vs. Eagles (Jets, road, +3) I just don't trust Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson against New York's secondary, even though they are playing in Philadelphia.
Browns vs. Cardinals (Cardinals, home, -7) Arizona is on a mini-streak of late, and given a favorable schedule, they still have an outside shot at a Wildcard. Playing Cleveland at home should be another victory for the Cardinals, although I'm not convinced that Seneca Wallace playing QB for the Browns in place of an injured Colt McCoy is a bad thing.
Ravens vs. Chargers (Chargers, home, +3) On one hand I want to stay clear of San Diego given their abysmal season, but history tells me that they are putting together their classic December winning streak where they finish 9-7 and do just enough for Norv Turner and A.J. Smith to save their jobs. I'll go with history and take the 3 points at home in a prime time game against a Baltimore team that has had some questionable losses this season.

Steelers vs. 49ers (49ers, home, no line) Pittsburgh was going to have enough problems facing the San Francisco run defense on the road on Monday Night Football. Throw in the possibility that Ben Roethlisberger might not play due to a high ankle sprain, and I like San Francisco to win in a low scoring game. While we're at it, how is it that James Harrison only gets a one game suspension for being a repeat offender head hunter, when Ndamukong Suh gets suspended for two games for kicking at the hand of a guy who repeatedly tried to untie his shoes because he knew he was physically outmatched? I guess the NFL's hypocricy has no limits.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blogging Survivor: South Pacific: "I'll eat a piece of his shit, that's how much of a 100% I am that he's with us"

Upon arriving at Redemption Island, Ozzy greeted Cochran by scolding, "Cochran, Cochran, Cochran - why? Didn't you learn your lesson?" Cochran responded by acknowledging, "I drank the Kool-Aid."

Last week's Tribal Council ended with Russell's Nephew announcing that not only would the Upolu Alliance would be voting out Cochran, but that fellow alliance member Edna would be the next to go. Edna understandably began to feel frustrated and alienated by the betrayal of a tribe that she thought she had been a part of.

When Russell's Nephew asked the Savaii Tribe Alliance to come together for a morning prayer she excused herself because she did not feel like she was "part of the tribe." This caused Russell's Nephew to pray that God "softens her heart," because in his mind it's logical to pray for forgiveness for the person who you screwed over...Sadly, it appears as if poor Jimmy Swaggart's message fell on deaf ears and he died in vain.

Edna went on to voice her displeasure to Coach by saying, "I feel one guy, a 19 year-old high school drop-out, who's advertised that he's crazy, dictated to me the direction of my own destiny here."

When Cochran informed Ozzy that he felt as if the Upolu Alliance showed him no gratitude for shifting sides and giving them numbers, Ozzy got to the point and asked him whether he was going to vote for Coach or himself. That question caused Cochran's competitive juices to boil (which is probably the first time he ever had any of his juices boil). "What if I demolish you at the Duel, why that not a possibility?" Ozzy responded by saying, "You have a chance, you have a chance," before saying in private, "he really doesn't stand a chance."

The Redemption Duel between Ozzy and Cochran consisted of tossing grappling hooks to pull back a bags of balls, and then using one of them to solve a table maze. Despite getting off to a big lead in the grappling toss, Ozzy had problems with the table maze and was only able to defeat Cochran in a photo finish...and if you watch close enough, you can actually see Ozzy slightly piss himself.

Ozzy was told that he could choose three members of the Upolu Alliance to receive visits from loved ones, who had sent videos and were waiting on the island. Ozzy ended up choosing Coach, Albert and Russell's Nephew, in what could be viewed as an attempt to show Sophie and Rick that they were at the bottom of Coach's pecking order.

However, Coach made a surprise strategic move and approached Ozzy about making a secret alliance to go to the Final 3, giving him his "word as a Christian man...two noble warriors fighting it out." Seeing new found hope to get back in the game, Ozzy agreed to Coach's proposal.

Speaking of Christian men, all hell broke loose when Russell's Nephew was shown meeting with his loved-one, Russell's Brother, a/k/a, Russell's Nephew's Father. Alright, even I'm getting confused....I might have to actually start calling these hicks by their real names since they seem to be multiplying on Survivor like rats.

Russell's Nephew began by telling Russell's Brother about his strategy for the rest of the game. "I'm going to be such an example, I'm going to change peoples lives. Spit on one million dollars...I'm playing to set an example for Christ."

This angered Russell's Brother, who urged his son to take any opportunity that would assure him making it into the Final 3. When Russell's Nephew said that he wouldn't, Russell's Brother became irritated. "Are you kidding me?...You came here to win a million dollars, let's not lose perspective...No, it doesn't make me upset that you want to stand by the fact that you're a Christian, but you're also here to do a job, and that job is to bring home the gold...God also wants us to be wise, make a good position, put your family in a good position."

As much as I'm sure that God wants nothing more to give the Hantz family a million dollars, I'm pretty sure that he also wants their clan of Hobbits to stop getting jacked up on crystal meth and breeding...but I'm pretty sure that neither one of those two things are going to happen.

Speaking privately to the camera, Russell's Brother expounded. "I'm seeing (Russell's Nephew) frazzled...I don't like what I see, so I'm really glad that I came today...If I had to grade (Russell's Nephew) on the way he's playing, I'd probably give him a 'C.' I don't know how he hasn't gotten voted off yet...He's got to begin to play the game, and play it to win. It's the Hantz way, baby."

Not one to pass on an opportunity to seize additional camera time, Russell's Brother actually approached Coach and put him on the spot about his plans to take Russell's Nephew with him to the Final 3.

This seemed to irritate Coach who said, "(Russell's Nephew's) dad, a chip off the old block. They're all cut from the same cloth. (Russell's Nephew's) dad basically tried to bully me into making sure his son goes all the way to the end...It's all about manipulation and control, and the Hantz family are the kingpins...The kid's a loose cannon and...a ticking time bomb. But guess what, that 'tick-tock,' that's not a time bomb, that's your clock. You're about ready to be expired on this island."

The Immunity Challenge consisted of taking steps on a puzzle board, where each piece that a contestant stood upon became ineligible to be used in the future until only one contestant remained. While Coach won, Russell's Nephew explained his early exit by blurting out how he had played to ensure that a "particular person didn't win." This caused Edna to snap, "You can just use my name - like you do."

Edna tried to convince Coach to vote Brandon out based on his lack of honor and integrity, the two traits that Coach has said that he values the most in the game. "I just cannot accept that our tribe is saying 'honor and integrity'...and then you allow such behavior to happen around camp. That is like almost a hall pass for him to act irrationally around camp and emotionally destructive to everyone around us, me, Mikayla."

Coach told Edna that if she got Albert and Mikayla on her side he'd go along with her plan to vote Russell's Nephew out. When Albert questioned whether Edna actually had Coach on her side, Edna responded as convincingly as one could sound when she said, "Coach is 100%...I'll eat a piece of his shit, that's how much of a 100% I am that he's with us."

At Tribal Council Edna continued to plead her case when she said, "I've been trying to target (Russell's Nephew). His actions and behaviors have been in consistent with our Upolu mantra of...What is it again Coach?" When Coach responded by saying, "Our mantra is honor, loyalty, integrity," Edna pointed out how Russell's Nephew deviated from those traits by lying earlier in the game in order to get Mikayla voted out, as well as his strategy in the Immunity Challenge where he played only to prevent her from winning.

Russell's Nephew said that he didn't mind being Edna's punching bag, but warned her against "taking shots at my character...she's running around the tribe and planting seeds in people's minds". Edna quickly shot back, "To clarify, I wasn't planting seeds. I am not fabricating the events that happened. They happened, I didn't make one of those things up."

Ultimately, Coach, Albert and Sophie remained true to their original plan for a "Upolu Five," and they voted Edna off to Redemption Island, but not before she got in one last jab at Russell's Nephew as she voted against him. "I know you came out here to cleanse your family name. You're not doing a very good job of it."

Ranking the Survivors:

7. Edna - Even though she was sent to Redemption Island, I like the way Edna stood up to Russell's Nephew after he gave her a hollow apology for rubbing it in and publicly announcing that she was not part of Upolu's final five. "(Russell's Nephew) did verbalize an apology, but it was insincere. It's like beating your wife and apologizing or buying her a diamond necklace. 'I bought her a diamond necklace, I apologized, that's it.' In his mind he apologized, let's go on to the next insult."  In fact, the more I think about it, I'm starting to think that as a doctor, Edna just might have gained access to Russell's Nephew's psychiatric file from his real life domestic abuse case.
6. Ozzy - Ozzy still needs to make it off Redemption Island before he can pursue his secret alliance with Coach.
5. Sophie - With all the wanna be Bible thumpers playing the game this season, I think Sophie put things in proper perspective. "(Russell's Nephew) thinks an apology absolves all sins, and maybe that's true in church, but on Survivor people are not as forgiving as Jesus Christ is." In fact, I think this needs to be added to Survivor's official motto of 'Outwit, Outlast, Outplay.'
4. Rick - While it took nearly all season, Rick finally found a way that he can communicate, by making references to animals. For example, like Sophie, Rick was upset at the way Russell's Nephew treated Edna. "Why do you have to do that (Russell's Nephew)? I like Edna. It didn't need to happen. She was clearly not going to win the game...That's like calling a little dog, 'come here, come here, come here,' and then whacking it in the gut with your foot. I mean, that's not right." You heard it here first, when Rick makes his final Jury Speech/Vote, there will be an animal reference in it.
3. Albert - I'm afraid that this was the week that Albert and Sophie should have made a move. It seems pretty clear that Rick and Russell's Nephew will remain loyal to Coach, so Albert and Sophie no longer have numbers in their favor in regards to Savaii's final five. Even if Edna returns from Redemption Island, it would still only be three on three. If Ozzy returns, he already seems to be locked into a secret deal with Coach. Still, if there's one other person who can defeat Coach in this game aside from Ozzy, it's Albert.
2. Russell's Nephew - Coach has had every opportunity to get rid of Russell's Nephew after he initially undermined him by trying to vote out Mikayla, as well as the way he shoots off his mouth towards those outside their alliance. Nonetheless, the little fella keeps sticking around, which makes me think that Coach plans on bringing him along to the end.
1. Coach - I'm starting to think that when this game is over Coach should right a philosophy book, only it needs to be marketed towards born-again Christians and Dungeons and Dragons players...because they're the only ones stupid enough to buy into his crap.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

NFL Picks - Week 14: Because Brett Favre needs to get a dog. Not a Mississippi dog, but one that actually lives indoors and can keep him company when he gets lonely.

Week 13 NFL Picks: 7-9
NFL results season to date: 89-91-8

Week 13 College Football results: 4-1
College Football results season to date: 29-27-2

Week 14 NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):

Browns vs. Steelers (Steelers, home, -14.5) Cleveland is going to be hard-pressed to score enough points to keep up with Pittsburgh's offense, which could put more pressure on Browns QB Colt McCoy than he's able to play up to.

Colts vs. Ravens (Colts, road, +17) I know that New England's defense is terrible, but the Indianapolis offense actually held on the the ball and showed some signs of life behind former 3rd string QB Dan Orlovsky last week. I look for Ray Rice and the Baltimore offense to have another big game like they did against Cleveland this week, but I think the Colts might be able to keep up with them for the most part, or at least 17 points worth.
Texans vs. Bengals (Bengals, home, -3) Both Houston and Cincinnati feature top defenses and rookie quarterbacks. Andy Dalton and his Bengals offense have just a few more healthy weapons, which gives Cincinnati the edge in what should be a low scoring game.
Chiefs vs. Jets (Jets, home, -9) New York's defense needs to fare better against Kansas City QB Tyler Palko than they did against the Broncos a few weeks ago. With this game being played in New York, I like the Jets to win by double digits.
Lions vs. Vikings (Lions, home, -8) Much has been said about Detroit imploding after a strong start, but if you looked at their schedule you could pretty much anticipate their recent swoon. Things get easier again starting this week when Minnesota comes to Ford Field. Throw in a few comments from redneck DE Jared Allen that slam the cities of Detroit and New Orleans that are beyond being even borderline racist, and the Lions should have plenty of motivation in this game. BTW, I voluntarily took not one, but two vacations to Detroit this year and had a blast both times. Great food (Slows BBQ, Detroit "square style" pizza, Polish Village Cafe, and original Detroit coney's at Lafayette) great people, great sporting events. And as a point of reference, I used to live in the Florida Jared Allen can take his stupid ass mullet back to Idaho, white trash Texas or wherever the fuck he likes to rape cattle and suck it.  

You might be sartorially challenged if you're basing your look on Jim "Hacksaw" Duggan
Saints vs. Titans (Saints, road, -4) There is a good chance that Drew Brees breaks Dan Marino's single season passing record and loses the league MVP award to another quarterback. In fact, I don't you'd hear anyone even so much as complain if that happened and Aaron Rodgers won MVP in a unanimous vote. Look for Brees and the New Orleans offense to continue their assault on the record this week against a solid, but not spectacular Tennessee team.
Eagles vs. Dolphins (Eagles, road, +3) Philadelphia and Miami are teams heading in two different directions. DeSean Jackson has completely tanked his season. Personally, I think that most NFL players looking for a new contract absolutely despise getting hit with the Franchise Tag. I suspect that Jackson and his agent have put together a plan where he plays so lackadaisical and alienates himself so much from his teammates and coaches that Philadelphia wouldn't want to bring him back under any circumstance, including under the Franchise Tag. Of course, if I was the Eagles front office I'd publicly announce that if he picks up his play they could negotiate a new deal during the off season, and if not, they'll "Franchise" him for sure. DeSean Jackson's issues aside, I look for Michael Vick and Jeremy Maclin to give the Eagles a boost with their return from injuries.
Patriots vs. Pigskins (Patriots, road, -9) New England should be able to move the ball at will against Washington, who would have benefited from a flextime move to Sunday Night Football that could have enhanced their home field advantage.
Falcons vs. Panthers (Panthers, home, +3) Carolina is the team you just don't want to bet against when they are getting points. A heavy dose of Michael Turner is clearly in Atlanta's game plan, but they haven't played a game outdoors in almost two months. 
Buccaneers vs. Jaguars (Buccaneers, road, -1) Jacksonville has already fired their coach mid-season, while word has it that Tampa Bay will fire Raheem Morris as soon as the season ends. Neither team can sell out their stadiums. The clear solution I see is to let the winner of this game move to Las Angeles, with the loser moving to Orlando where they can rename the team and draw fans from both sides of the state. As for the game itself, the Jaguars have the better running game and better defense, while the Buccaneers have the better quarterback. I hate to do it, but I'm going to go with Tampa Bay's potential on offense over the sure thing in the Jacksonville's running game in this game.
49ers vs. Cardinals (49ers, road, -4) Arizona has an underrated defense, which could cause San Francisco some problems. On the other hand, the 49ers should be able to shut down Arizona's running game and make them a one dimensional passing team, which is not a good thing the way Kevin Kolb has been playing. With a home field advantage and Alex Smith playing mistake free football all season, I can't bet against the 49ers.
Bears vs. Broncos (Bears, road, +3.5) So Brett Favre made it known this week that he'd be willing to come out of retirement and play for the Bears if they were interested. My first thought was that Brett Favre needs to get a dog. Not a Mississippi dog, but one that actually lives indoors and can keep him company when he gets lonely at times like this. Then when I thought about it, signing Favre actually seems like the logical thing to do with Jay Cutler likely out for the rest of the season due to injury. If I was Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith, I'd send Mike Martz on a sabbatical, and run a simplified offense where they pound the ball with Marion Barber and put Favre in a position where he only has to make simple reads and passes. With Chicago's defense, that should at least get them one or two wins and put them in the Playoffs. As it stands, Chicago is stuck with Caleb Hanie and the Broncos are stuck with Tim Tebow. I don't think either one of them will be able to move the ball against the other's defense. In that case, I'll take the points, especially when they amount to more than a field goal.

...Just not this one, it would probably bite him.
Packers vs. Raiders (Packers, home, -11.5) Carson Palmer and the Oakland Raiders are not going to score enough points on the road to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay. In fact, Darren McFadden's hammy tightened up just thinking about playing at Lambeau Field in December.
Bills vs. Chargers (Chargers, home, -7) San Diego and Buffalo have been two of the coldest teams in the NFL in recent weeks. They also have two of the most inept general managers in the league. I guess it's not a coincidence that Buddy Nix worked under A.J. Smith in San Diego. Given that Buffalo has no pass rush and an injury riddled secondary, it seems like a prime opportunity for Phil Rivers and Vincent Jackson to have big games. Then again, we are talking about the Chargers, Phil Rivers and Vincent Jackson.
Giants vs. Cowboys (Cowboys, home, -3) The Cowboys had a huge letdown last week against the Cardinals, mainly because they got away from using DeMarco Murray as their full-time back in favor or using Felix Jones more on passing plays. Jerry Jones and Dallas are obviously oblivious to the fact that using Murray full time after Jones was injured is what took the pressure off Tony Romo by making them less predictable and made them into the front-runners in the NFC East. Fortunately for Dallas, the Giants are in a downward spiral. So if they can go back to properly using Murray, they should prevail at home in a game that looks like it could be a shootout.

Rams vs. Seahawks (Seahawks, home, -4.5) The Rams and the Seahawks on Monday Night Football? Really? At least I have Marshawn Lynch playing in a fantasy football playoff game to keep me interested. Seattle's running game and a prime time home field advantage should allow them to easily cover against a St. Louis team that has been amongst the worst in the league this year against the spread.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Blogging Survivor: South Pacific - "It's a chicken. You grab it by the neck and you spin it around and you kill it. Or you bite its head off if you want to be cool"

In describing his rebellious 5th grade days, before he became "chained to a reputation" as a "brown-noser," Cochran told the story of he tried to woo the girls at his school through prank phone calls. "'You're so hot. I really want to trade sperm with you,' then I'd hand up and think that was a successful prank call...not fully understanding how sex worked."

Unfortunately, after a brief honeymoon period, Cochran's abrasive personality and annoying stories finally started to rub some members of the Upolu Tribe Alliance the wrong way. Sophie was one of those people who no longer found his antics amusing. "When I first came here I felt kind of bad for Cochran, I thought people kind of bullied him. I can see now why people got annoyed with him."

Cochran also began to recognize that he was the odd man out in the Upolu Alliance, comparing their use of "The Family" with "The Manson Family." "(Russell's Nephew) in particular almost seems excessively devout, to the point that he's trying to suppress something a bit more scary. I don't want to be Sharon Tate in this scenario." Cochran actually might be on to something, but he shouldn't flatter himself. The "Sharon Tate" in Upolu's scenario was clearly Mikayla, who's body is probably buried in a shallow grave just outside of Katy, Texas.

At the Redemption Duel, Ozzy met Whitney and Dawn in a Challenge that consisted of balancing a stack of bowls and plates the longest. Dawn was eliminated first, showing that it's one of her husband's seven other wives who's responsible for doing the dishes in her family back in Utah (Dawn's responsibility was "cleaning the bedroom," if you know what I mean). Whitney dropped her stack next, allowing Redemption Island to remain "Club Ozzy."

Edna began to chastise Albert for his lack of effort around camp. Rick called Albert a "precious little thing," compared him to a "Barbie Doll" by noting how he sits around looking cute without really doing anything, and gave him the nickname "Princess Albert." However, aside from his obvious Brokeback attraction to him, Rick too had issues with Albert's work ethic around camp. In fact, Rick's lust/resentment towards Albert has a few too many parrellels to the way that "Russell's Nephew" viewed Mikayla for my liking...but at least I finally figured out why Rick has that mustache.

The Immunity Challenge consisted of two stages. The first three competitors to throw bean bags on three targets advanced to a second round, where they shot coconuts to see who could knock down a series of targets the fastest. While Rick took an early lead in stage two, Albert ended up coming from behind and winning Individual Immunity.

Albert not only won Immunity, but a reward in the form of a trip to a spa for a shower and a massage. Allowed to select one other person to accompany him, Albert selected Coach. He also elected to give up his own reward to Cochran, who had told the tribe earlier that it was his birthday.

Hilarity ensued, not because Cochran revealed that he had lied about it being his birthday, but because he said, "I've given my mom massages over the years, but I've never received one." He then took it a step further when he told Coach, "It feels great, having a beautiful (woman) stroke the insides of my legs is a new experience for me."

Like Cochran, Edna realized she was at the bottom of the original Upolu Alliance after Coach told her she would likely be the next to go after Cochran. After telling Albert about Rick's comments, Albert called Rick "about as sharp as a bowling ball," and said that he'd join Cochran and Edna in voting Rick out if they could convince Coach to join them.

After Coach promised that he'd "go down fighting for his man Cochran," Cochran told him about their proposal to vote-out Rick. That caused Coach to contemplate, "There's a tide that is coming. I either take it and ride with a new alliance, or I stick with my original five...I just want to make sure I pick the right tide." Ultimately, Coach went back on his word to fight for him and voted Cochran out, who joined Ozzy at Redemption Island.

Ranking the Survivors:

8. Cochran - Cochran. While their reunion on Redemption Island should be very uncomfortable, can you imagine what an upset it would be if Cochran, who came on the show idolizing Ozzy, only to get "bullied" by him, ended up beating his former mentor in the Redemption Duel?
7. Ozzy - As he predicted, Ozzy continues to thrive free diving and spearfishing on his own at Redemption Island. I just wonder if he'll live up to his promise to "cook his competitors a nice fish" when former Savaii Alliance member Cochran arrives, considering that Cochran betrayed him and caused him to get voted out.
6. Edna - Edna tried to make a big move after Coach was dumb enough to confirm her suspicion that she was going to be the next to go in the Upolu Alliance after Cochran. Unfortunately, she needed Coach to vote with her in order to get numbers back on her side.
5. Albert - Albert arrogantly became comfortable with his position in the game and began allowing the weaker members in his alliance to do all of the work around camp. He described his strategy as follows, "The players in my alliance think it's not 'Outwit, Outplay, Outlast.' They think it's 'Outclean, Outgather, Outorganize.' To me this game is about doing well in challenges, creating a great strategy and playing a strong social game...I'll leave to housework to Martha Stewart."
4. Sophie - Sophie commented on how Cochran noted how he thought members of the Upolu Alliance felt indebted to him. "I don't feel indebted to him, screw you." Reading between the lines, my money is on the two of them hooking up after the show.
3. Rick - Rick, the silent Cowboy who has pretty much refrained from speaking all season, chimed right in when Russell's Nephew was shown losing his grasp on a chicken that the Upolu Tribe was trying to kill, allowing it to run free into the jungle. "It's a chicken. You grab it by the neck and you spin it around and you kill it. Or you bite its head off if you want to be cool." I'm not really sure what it means to be cool in Rick and former contestant Dawn's home state of Utah, but I'm pretty sure that I'm never going to go there to find out.
2. Russell's Nephew - Once considered a liability for him in this game, "Russell's Nephew's" inability to control his impulses is now his greatest asset given that he has ridden Coach's coattails this far. It would be nearly impossible for him to beat anybody who is smart enough to take him along to the Final Two as a human consolation prize. In fact, I propose they make a life size trophy in Brandon Hantz's image for every weak reality show contestant who gets drug along to the end to ensure another competitor's victory.

Yep, Brandon Hantz is that douche who posts shirtless pictures of himself flexing after getting his "swole on" at the gym on his Facebook page (which, BTW, is priceless). Way to pump those two 45 pound plates tough guy!

1. Coach - If there was any question as to whether Coach was the top seed to win Survivor: South Pacific, it was erased when he was the deciding vote as to whether the other controlling alliance members were going to be Edna, Cochran and Albert, or Rick, "Russell's Nephew" and Sophie. Thankfully, Coach gave us a "thumbs-up" in the otherwise useless "never before seen clips" episode that aired over Thanksgiving.

He finally did it!!! "Thumbs-Up Coach," meet "Thumbs-Up Jesus." "Thumbs-up Jesus," meet "Thumbs-up Coach."