Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sportsmen of the Month: Our 100th Post

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Felt it was appropriate to christen the 100th post in the long, storied history of "The Other B.S. Report" with my annual column, in which I basically take Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year pick, rip the decision to shreds, and give my 12 Sportsmen of the Month, from each of the 12 calendar months (duh).

But this year's different. For once, I actually agree with SI's pick. Derek Jeter might be getting this award as somewhat of a 'Lifetime Achievement', but you know what? He had an awesome year offensively, he saved his best for last, he won a championship, and most importantly, he embodies everything that is right with sports - and not to mention, he did it in a near-impossible position to do so, as a prominent figure in New York sports. Can't disagree with SI's call one bit.

But is that gonna stop me from doing the 4th annual Sportsman of the Month column???



Here they are: your 2009 SPORTSMEN OF THE MONTH...

January: Larry Fitzgerald
Five games, including the Super and Pro Bowls. 33 catches. 627 yards. Nine - nine! - touchdowns. And he's a nice guy! See, he's just like Jeter. Without the rings and army of gorgeous babes by his side.

February: Rafael Nadal
He won a scintillating Australian Open men's final against Roger Federer, putting everyone on notice that Federer's pursuit and overtaking of Sampras' 14 Grand Slam titles is much like Barry Bonds in the home run race: yeah, you're now the leader, but don't get too comfortable, because you know A-Rod and Rafa will hold those records before long.

March: Team Japan, WBC Champs
Like Nadal, they also won a great championship victory, this time in the World Baseball Classic against bitter, bitter foe South Korea. Stars such as Ichiro and Daisuke Matsuzaka were rare on a roster with just five MLB players.

April: Crazylegs Classic Record-Setters
Cruddy weather wasn't enough to chase away 18,541 crazy souls ... er, noble men and women who braved the elements and completed the Madison, Wisc. course, one of the great annual athletic events in Mad-town not directly involving a certain group of Badgers.

May: Calvin Borel
It might be freezing in December, but let's not forget that horse racing was the "in" thing last spring. The little man who rides horses fast was responsible for that. Borel won the Kentucky Derby (atop 51-1 underdog Mine That Bird) and the Preakness (riding slightly-less underdogish Rachel Alexandria.)

June: Ed Thomas
A legendary football coach out of Aplington-Parkersburg High in Iowa, Thomas was tragically shot down by a former player in his own weight room, putting a perspective-ridden spell on the entire 2009 football season. Thomas' impact was felt on such a widespread scale that he graced the cover of Sports Illustrated just weeks after his death.

July: Roger Federer
For setting the all-time record with 15 Grand Slams. Until Nadal shows he can stay healthy and win majors consistently the same way Federer has, Roger is officially the greatest tennis player in history. The sickest statistic that people don't know about, besides those 15 titles, is making 22 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals.

Let me repeat that in all caps and bolded font for you. ROGER FEDERER HAS MADE TWENTY-TWO CONSECUTIVE GRAND SLAM SEMIFINALS. That, to me, is even greater than the Yankees' 27 championships or the Braves' 14 straight division titles. Making 22 straight Grand Slam semifinals would be like, I don't know, the Lakers playing in 12 straight NBA Finals, or Tiger Woods placing in the top five in 15 straight majors or Michael Phelps winning eight golds a piece at four different Olympic Games and never losing a single important race. It's that dominant. The tennis world will be shocked the next time Roger loses before the quarterfinals.

August: Danny Macaskill
He just had a sick video. Here, I'll post it again. Needless to say, August was a slow sports month.



September: Jim Tracy
I can't really say it any better than Jayson Stark. Tracy is an absolute savior.

October: Kirk Ferentz
Here was the post-Oct. 3 schedule laying before the 5-0 Hawkeyes: vs. Michigan (Homecoming, night game, national TV), at Wisconsin, at Michigan State, Indiana. Iowa took Michigan's best punch and held on at home, and Indiana gave Iowa fits before the Hawkeyes hung on. But Ferentz gets his due for the two middle games. Who the heck could ever have predicted a team to win back-to-back games in those two environments?

Iowa shook off a 10-0 deficit and thrashed the Badgers at the Camp, then scored a dramatic touchdown at the horn to shock the Spartans in East Lansing - and all of this came with a running game very much in flux (Shonn Greene bolted for the NFL and Jewel Hampton was out for the year with a preseason injury, making that position a revolving door all season). It's no wonder Ferentz is always rumored to be leaving for the NFL, but the kind, gentle guy says he's quite happy in Iowa City, thank you. Hawkeye fans are thrilled for that.

November: Peyton Manning and Drew Brees
Time will tell if the Colts and Saints can hold on for 16-0 regular season records - or, for that matter, if one or both teams even try to do that with No. 1 seeds wrapped up. But both men have played brilliantly all year, making this - along with Brett Favre's resurgence - one of the toughest MVP races I can remember in any sport. Can they just split it multiple ways?

I don't think I'm the only one who hopes Indy and N'awlins hang on for 16-0. Because if they meet in the Super Bowl ... I mean, does that automatically become the most anticipated sporting event of the past 30 years? It's got to be up there.

December: Elin Nordegren
Ha, psych. Just screwin' with you.
December: Hunter Lawrence
I am STILL waiting on an explanation from Colt McCoy. WHAT. THE. HELL. WAS. HE. THINKING???? That last-second incompletion was beyond inexcusable. He's a lucky, lucky man. This had better be rehashed when the wave of BCS title storylines come out around New Year's Day.

But amidst McCoy's near screw-up, was every kid's dream coming true. Who doesn't want to score the overtime goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals or hit the winning basket in the NCAA title game or the walk-off home run or 18th-hole putt? Hunter Lawrence lived that dream to a great extent, calmly nailing a long field goal and sending the Longhorns (finally!) back to the title game.

Fortunately, with the Heisman stuff behind us, Colt now has a bunch of time to learn the clock rules.

***********************************************

This is the part where I'm supposed to pick my Sportsman of the Year. Honestly? I don't have a problem whatsoever with Jeter winning. Verducci's story sold me. It's a little Lifetime Achievement-y, but that's fine. Jeter played awesome in the postseason, his team removed a rather large monkey from its back, he plays in the most impossible of spotlights and does it all with a genuine smile on his face. He's a true role model in a world with few. So, for the first time in the history of this column, I second SI's motion for Derek Jeter as Sportsman of the Year. Congratulations to the magazine and even more so to the Yankee shortstop.

-AJ

Monday, November 23, 2009

FINAL Big Ten Power Poll

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These will be my final Big Ten football rankings of the year. On Dec. 1, I’ll unveil my initial hoops rankings of the 2009-10 season.

1) No. 10 Ohio State (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten; last week, 1)
And they’re off to the Roses! You can imagine that Saturday’s win over “that team up north” was anything but meaningless to Ohio State.

2) No. 11 Iowa (10-2, 6-2; last week, 2)
Got to see the Hawkeye defense in person for the second time this season on Saturday. What a terrific, terrific unit that is. Iowa will be a tough out for any bowl opponent, whether in the BCS or another prestigious New Year’s Day game.

3) No. 13 Penn State (10-2, 6-2; last week, 4)
Well, the Nittany Lions may have earned themselves a BCS bid after all. Helps to win on the road, by 28, against a decent program (albeit the Spartans are playing poorly), in one of those nationally-televised afternoon time slots. Iowa fans should be nervous.

4) Northwestern (8-4, 5-3; last week, 5)
What a fine three weeks Northwestern put together: beating ranked powers Iowa and Wisconsin, and cooling down a hot Illinois squad. The ‘Cats put themselves in fine position for either the Outback or Alamo Bowl.

5) Wisconsin (8-3, 5-3; last week, 3)
I warned you, Badgers. So much for entering the BCS conversation … now that Alamo assignment everyone wanted last season may be arriving a year late, unless the Outback people decide they do want Wisconsin’s fans over Northwestern’s bandwagon.

6) Minnesota (6-6, 3-5; last week, 7)
Was that really a former all-Big Ten second-team quarterback I saw out there at Kinnick Stadium, Adam Weber? Fierce Iowa defense or not, you’ve got to complete more than 35 percent of your passes.

7) Michigan State (6-6, 4-4; last week, 6)
So much for a top-three finish in the conference, as was predicted in August. The Spartans might not even leave their own state to go bowling. Hello, Little Caesars.

8) Purdue (5-7, 4-4; last week, 9)
Finished an up-and-down year with a win at rival Indiana. Not a terrible debut season for Danny Hope.

9) Illinois (3-7, 2-6; last week, 8)
Idle this week, with two games to go at Cincinnati (BCS buster buster?) and then home for Fresno State. Good thing the Illini aren’t 4-6, or that could seriously mess up the Big Ten’s bowl situation, since they still would have been eligible.

10) Indiana (4-8, 1-7; last week, 10)
Almost put the Hoosiers above Illinois, since IU did beat UI. But losing five straight, and eight of nine, isn’t very convincing.

11) Michigan (5-7, 1-7; last week, 11)
Just two years, but is Rich-Rod’s seat already getting toasty? What a dreadful season for Big Blue.

Sorry I haven't been posting more often. I will try to be better about it in December.

-AJ

Friday, November 20, 2009

Power Rankings

Big 12:

1) Texas: Obvious choice, although I see them getting smoke by either SEC team and I think TCU gives them a run for their money.

2) Nebraska: Two bad losses and the rest of their resume looks really good.

3) Oklahoma State: Overcome injuries and suspension for a pretty good season.

4) Oklahoma: Looked bad against the Cornhuskers... then demolish the Aggies. Could jump to #3 with win in Bedlam game.

5) Texas Tech: Pirate should do well in a bowl game.

6) Missouri: Rollercoaster season for Pinkel.

7) Kansas State: Surprise story of the season. Just a few games could of gone the other way and this team could have won the north!

8) Iowa State: Kept most games close just couldnt finish most of them.

9) Kansas: A bad season got worse this week. I just hope Mangino doesn't eat anyone.

10) Aggies: Sure why not! Baylor and Colorado you can go fight for the title of Big-12 cellar team.

NFL:

1) Colts: Undefeated and you cant give the ball to Payton with 2 minutes left..... EVER
2) Vikings: Most complete team in the league with just one blemish (some awful officiating)
3) Saints: Undefeated but injury bug is killing them.
4) Cincinnati: I cant believe I just made the Bengals a top-5 team.... but they deserve it.
5) Pittsburgh: A lot of teams at 6-3... gotta break the tie with the champs.
6) New England
7) Dallas
8) Chargers
9) Cardinals
10) Baltimore

Stay Classy,

B-Dubs

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Who's it gonna be ... Phillies or Yankees?

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So instead of B-dubs or me writing 6,000 words on the Fall Classic (shouldn't that be the Winter Classic?), I took a sampling from a few people who know things.

First, some quick-hit thoughts ... Who will win the World Series?

Matt Brenner: Phillies, cuz the Yankees suck. 6 games.

Jordan Schelling: Yankees in 4

Michael Bleach: Yankees in 5 ... Cliff Lee will win a game for the Phillies

Dan Brenner: Well, I'm not a psychic or anything, but the Yankees will win in five games. But I'm rootin' for the Phillies.

Carlyn Burris: Where's the NL spirit?!? Phillies sweep. (Won't actually happen but one can hope)

Mike Lemar: Yankees because I said so. They'll probably win it 4-2.

Then, our good friend Joseph Rower chimes in with a little more...

Joseph Rower: Yankees in 7.

"When have we seen a postseason where no series had any sort of "do-or-die drama, game 7 winner moves on" magic? Well, it hasn't happened yet (I mean, you really thought the Angels were going to force game 7 against Andy Pettitte?), so I'm thinking now is the time.

"On paper, the teams are evenly matched. Lee vs CC, the great Pedro vs Burnett, Hamels vs Pettitte. If each of those pitchers pitches as they're capable, it is going to be a long series for the hitters. If they're a bit off, well, they're are enough hitters on both sides to make them pay. Who is more fearsome than Jeter, Damon, Tex, A-Rod ... only Rollins, the Flyin' Hawaiian, Utley, and the Big Dog Ryan Howard? You throw Matt Stairs into the mix in Yankee Stadium and the Phils lineup looks as good as any AL team's.

"Obviously the Yanks have a better 3B and catcher offensively, but the Phils OF is more dangerous than the Yanks. Phils win the managerial war, and I think that buys them an extra game. Girardi just isn't seasoned enough. Bullpen success will be dependent on the managers ... as Jim Tracy did so well this year, success is so often about putting your players in a position to succeed rather than fail. Lidge looks like October reminded him what he is capable of, and so the 9th inning looks solid for both clubs. I'm not sure which way to go in the intangibles ... both play in hitters' ballparks, both have rabid fans, Phils were here last year, Yanks act like this is their birthright. Each game is going to be competitive, close, and intense.

"I'm seeing game 7 coming down to a 2-1 Phils lead going into the bottom of the 8th against the top of the Yanks order...A-Rod hitting a bomb to put the Yanks in the lead and the great Mo coming in to close it out.

"In short:
The Phillies spend like few other NL teams, but the Yanks make them look like a cheapy market team. The offseason duo of CC and Tex come up big for the Yanks, and a close Series ends in a dramatic game 7 with the Yankees being given the title they paid for last winter."

Now, we've got two special guests with us today. The first is Stephen Watson, UW athletic communications extraordinaire and true-blooded Phillies fan.

S-dub writes the following:

"We have some big names, but we don't have bona fide superstars, or a special set of rules for certain players. Everyone here is the same, from Ryan Howard to Antonio Bastardo. Or they're treated the same. The expectations are the same. And because of that, you know where you stand every day."
-Jimmy Rollins

I think that speaks perfectly to the Phillies. They have a swagger about them that I just love and it makes them a threat. They are a team, not just an A-Rod or a Jeter or a Sabathia.

Also, the Phillies hit 10 homers by 6 different players against the Dodgers. They scored at least 8 runs in three of the five games (something they will need to do to beat the Yankees).

I know that CC is not pitching with the Brewers behind him anymore, but the Philles did a good job against him last postseason (5 runs in 3 innings). And lets be honest, the Phillies offense is exponentially better than last year.

CC has been Superman for the Yankees, but they are finally going to play a 7-game series in 9 days. They recently played 9 games in a span of 22 days, so I think that will wear down their pitching staff. The Phillies have been able to adjust to that schedule already.

As the Phillies proved in both series thus far, they can battle back from pretty much any series. Even if our starting pitching falls through, our offense can bounce back and get some runs late in games (ex. 3 runs in the 9th, 2 of which with 2 outs in game 4 of the NLCS).

So that's my argument. Am I nervous? Of course, it's the Yankees. With a payroll that high, they should be the best team. But I love this Philadelphia team and I think they have great charisma that could provide an upset.

Our second guest? My very own uncle, Dennis Rabida, who likes only a good horse race more than his beloved Yanks.

Yanks in 6. Three simple words: CC, A-Rod, and Mo.

Succinctly said, Uncle Buck.

Oh, wait, wanna know what I think? I'll channel my inner Rower and try to see my way through the series. I see Cliff Lee continuing his dominance in game 1, shocking the Yankees and triggering 58 hours of "uh oh, the Yanks might choke" programming on ESPN. Then NY will take game 2, showing Pedro once and for all who his daddy is. The Phillies will then proceed to take 2 out of 3 back in the CoBL, capped by one more dominating performance by Lee in game 5, making it look very much like we'll be seeing the rarest of rarities in a repeat champ.

And then the series will go back to New York, and their bevy of stars will show what they're made of. Which is more than just hundred-dollar bills.

The pick: Yankees in 7.

(Oh, yeah, and GO NUGGETS!!!!!!)

-AJ

Monday, October 26, 2009

Big Ten Power Poll: Week 9

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1) Iowa (8-0, 4-0; last week, 1)
Do you believe in miracles? Captain Kirk does.

2) Penn State (7-1, 3-1; last week, 2)
Gorgeous story on Joe by Joe: that is, on Joe Paterno, by new Sports Illustrated writer Joe Posnanski. I guess I’m in a linky mood today.

3) Ohio State (6-2, 4-1 Big Ten; last week, 4)

At Penn State. Home for Iowa. At Michigan. That’s the remaining Buckeye schedule (sans this week’s out-of-conference laugher against New Mexico State.) Maybe it’s not enough to get back to the BCS title game, but if the Sweater Vest wins out, that’s probably enough to get into the BCS party, at least.

4) Wisconsin (5-2, 2-2; last week, 6)
The Badgers go 0-0-1 last week, they move up two spots in these rankings … and the student section STILL doesn’t show up until the second quarter. Figures.

5) Michigan State (4-4, 3-2; last week, 3)
What? They played gamely at home against a top-five team and came within a Marvin McNutt play of beating them? And they drop two spots? Yer darn right they do. I watched the whole game. That was ugly football, and nothing convinced me the Spartans are an elite Big Ten team.

6) Michigan (5-3, 1-3; last week, 5)
Yikes … so much for that encouraging start. At least the Wolverines are going orange for Halloween – the Fighting Illini are hardly frightening these days.

7) Purdue (3-5, 2-2; last week, 7)
Bucky would be wise to watch out for that trap door in front of him. (Or her. Is Bucky a him or a her? I think it’s a him. Am I rambling again?)

8) Minnesota (4-4, 2-3; last week, 8)
Finally turned it over to Marquise Gray, after Adam Weber was literally “point”less for eight quarters. So much for the Gophers turning a corner.

9) Northwestern (5-3, 2-2; last week, 9)
The Wildcats might only win one more game this year (home for Penn State and Wisconsin, at Iowa and Illinois). That would be enough to make them bowl-eligible for the third straight year, but then again, 6-6 wasn’t enough in 2007.

10) Indiana (4-4, 1-3; last week, 10)
The Hoosiers were up 28-3 on Northwestern Saturday. They should be 5-3 right now. Instead, the remaining schedule screams 4-8. Still an upgrade from what we thought Indiana would produce.

11) Illinois (1-6, 0-5; last week, 11)
What if … WHAT IF … the Illini were just screwing with us, and they come out and hammer Cincinnati on Thanksgiving weekend and spoil the Bearcats’ season? Now THAT would make Illinois’ season. Unlikely, but what if?

Coming Tuesday: Riverside Rants (Halloween edition)
Coming Wednesday: World Series preview
Coming Thursday: Slightly belated NBA season preview
Coming Friday: NFL Power Rankings and Jump Around Remix standings

-AJ

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Top Ten Denver Trades of the Past 15 Years

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10) Feb. 22, 2001: Avalanche receive Rob Blake and Steve Reinprecht (the Badger!) from Kings for Adam Deadmarsh, Aaron Miller, and a first-rounder

9) Dec. 13, 2006: Rockies receive Willy Taveras, Taylor Buchholz and Jason Hirsh from Astros for Jason Jennings and Miguel Asencio

8) April 2, 2009: Broncos receive Kyle Orton, two first-rounders and a third-rounder from Bears for Jay Cutler

7) March 4, 2004: Broncos receive Champ Bailey and a second-rounder from Redskins for Clinton Portis

6) Dec. 19, 2006: Nuggets receive Allen Iverson and Ivan McFarlin from 76ers for Andre Miller, Joe Smith, and two first-rounders

5) Nov. 12, 2008: Rockies receive Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street and Greg Smith from Athletics for Matt Holliday

4) Dec. 6, 1995: Avalanche receive Patrick Roy and Mike Keane from Canadiens for Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Rucinsky and Andrei Kovalenko

3) March 6, 2000: Avalanche receive Ray Bourque and Dave Andreychuk from Bruins for Brian Rolston, Martin Grenier, Samuel Pahlsson and a first-rounder

2) Nov. 3, 2008: Nuggets receive Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess and Cheikh Samb from Pistons for Allen Iverson

1) June 30, 1992: Quebec Nordiques trade C Eric Lindros to Flyers for C Peter Forsberg, C Mike Ricci, G Ron Hextall, D Steve Duchesne, D Kerry Huffman, F Chris Simon, two first-round picks (eventually G Jocelyn Thibault and F Nolan Baumgartner) and $15 million

Thibault was traded straight-up for some other goaltender. His name is Patrick Roy. He was somewhat important to the franchise.

Through a long, winded road that Sports Illustrated, well, illustrated about 6 years ago, the Avs ended up using components of that trade to land defensemen Ray Bourque and Rob Blake. Those two - you know, along with everybody else - were instrumental in winning the 2001 Stanley Cup.

The hilarious part of this trade is the $15 million. And the two draft picks. Like five players wasn't enough. Thank you, Philadelphia. The Avs enjoyed unbelievable glory years because of you. In the words of John Kelly: "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Big 12 Power Poll

Ok AJ... I guess I will throw my 2 cents in as well....

1) Texas (6-0, 3-0, Last Week #1)
The Big 12 is down this year. Texas MUST go undefeated to make the National title game. If not, they still make a BCS bowl. Not a bad deal if you are a longhorn fan. But if you miss the title game... I hope to God you lose to Boise in Phoenix. I think this team is overrated. Their defense is pretty good, but their offense is not what it was last year. They could slip up against OSU in Stillwater or even at Mizzou this weekend. Bowl Prediction: Fiesta

2) Oklahoma (3-3, 1-1, Last Week #2)
I'm not a homer. I'm not a homer. I'm not a homer. Maybe if I tell myself that enough times I will believe it. Look, there is only one team in the league with more losses. But the three losses are by 1, 1, 3... against, #20, #17, #3. They lost their best receiver (Gresham) before the season and their Heisman Trophy winner has played a total of 2.5 quarters all season. Yet, they have been in every game. Their defense is legit. They have the 8th ranked yardage defense and 3rd ranked scoring defense with that gauntlet of a schedule. They have the potential to win out and if they do they should be back in the top-10-15. The fact of the matter is... they would beat every team below them in this poll if they played today. This is a beat-up team, but they are still good. A few plays go differently and this team is in the top 5 right now. Bowl Prediction: Cotton Bowl
3) Oklahoma State (5-1, 2-0, Last Week #6)
They have recovered well from the upset vs Houston. They beat Missouri pretty good. They still have Texas, OU, and Tech left. They need two of three of those to make the Cotton Bowl... they only win one. Bowl Prediction: Holiday Bowl
4) Texas Tech (5-2, 2-1, Last Week #7)
The Red Raiders look pretty darn good. Their only Big-12 loss is to Texas. They are firing on all cylinders with their back-up QB. They still have OU and Oklahoma State on their schedule. If they can split those games, they will be in great shape for a good bowl game. Bowl Prediction: Gator Bowl

5) Kansas (5-1, 1-1, Last Week #4)
Well that game in Boulder was not pretty. We already knew it, but it was confirmed last week... Kansas has no defense. None. In a conference with a lot of offense, it doesn't look good for Kansas. The Reesing and Briscoe combo can only win you so many games. With Zero shoe-in wins left, Kansas is going to have to play near perfect football to make a bowl game. Good luck Jayhawks. Alamo Bowl

6) Nebraska (4-2, 1-1, Last Week #5)
They got beat by a superior team, but it wasn't even close. The defense just didn't have an answer for Tech's high powered offense. They were at home too. This game proved to me just how far the gap is between the north and south. Bowl prediction: Insight Bowl

7) Missouri (4-2, 0-2, Last Week #3)
A tough loss to Nebraska. Tough tough loss. The hangover showed against OSU. This team just isn't that good. They don't have a consistent offense and with a mediocre defense... they just aren't an elite Big-12 team. I am feeling a bowl game, but something along the lines of the Buy.com Furniture Meinke Car Brakes bowl. Bowl Prediction: Independence Bowl

8) Kansas State (4-3, 2-0, Last Week NR)
Woah! The Wildcats are leading the Big-12 North... why are they not above those other north teams?? Oh thats right... their wins were vs. Iowa State and Texas A&M. These Wildcats still aren't too hot, but they have a chance at a bowl game. Bowl Prediction: Texas Bowl

9) Iowa State (4-3, 1-2, Last Week #9)
Every Big-12 game has been a nail biter for the Cyclones. Unfortunately only one win to show for it and it was against a Griffin-less Baylor. The bright side is that you have 2 very winnable games left against CU and A&M. But will 6-6 be good enough for a bowl game? No.

10) Colorado (2-4, 1-1, Last Week NR)
I am ranking the Buffs ahead of Baylor just because of their win against ranked Kansas. With two wins thus far... its going to take a hell of a run for Dan Hawkins keep his job.

Others Receiving Votes:
Baylor:
Its too bad that Robert Griffin got hurt, but Baylor cant do anything without him.
Texas A&M:
Quality Wins: UAB, New Mexico, and Utah State... quality not so much. Also when you get beat by Kansas St but 50.... you head straight to the cellar of the rankings.

Stay Classy,
B-dubs

Big Ten Power Poll

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1) Iowa (7-0, 3-0; last week, 2)
People in these here parts – and for those of you who don’t know, these here parts for me these days is Iowa – still aren’t sure if the Hawkeyes can make the national title game. Ummmm…why not?

They’re sixth in the first BCS rankings, just a tiny, tiny smidgen behind No. 5 Cincy. They’re third – THIRD! – in the computers. Previous wins at Penn State, at Wisconsin and against Iowa State are impressive. Wins at Michigan State and Ohio State would be even more impressive – in other words, the schedule allows them to do this. IF they run the table.

I’ll come out and say it: IF Iowa goes 12-0, it is better than a coin flip that the Hawkeyes will play for the national championship. Big IF, though.

2) Penn State (6-1, 2-1; last week, 3)
Still just the one blemish against Iowa at home. Penn State will be licking its chops and chasing Iowa the rest of the year.

3) Michigan State (4-3, 3-1; last week, 6)
And back come the Spartans, reeling off a three-game winning streak. Could the top spot in these rankings – not to mention a Rose Bowl trip – be on the line Saturday night in East Lansing?

4) Ohio State (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten; last week, 1)
And the nation breathes. The Buckeyes won’t be playing in Pasadena this year – not in the title game, anyway.

5) Michigan (5-2, 1-2; last week, 5)
Wow, Michigan. Delaware State. Let’s see if that gets you good and tested for the visiting Nittany Lions this week.

6) Wisconsin (5-2, 2-2; last week, 4)
“It’s not how you start, but how you finish.” I’m guessing Bret needed new markers after writing that phrase in the locker room whiteboard about 650 times.

7) Purdue (2-5, 1-2; last week, 9)
Hey! There are the Boilermakers in which I saw potential! Nice – very nice – win for Danny Hope and the program.

8) Minnesota (4-3, 2-2; last week, 7)
The Gophers could use a split of this road swing at Penn and Ohio. Couldn’t reel in the first – and it doesn’t look good against the Buckeyes, who should be hopping mad.

9) Northwestern (4-3, 1-2; last week, 8)
“Party in the USAAAAAAAAAAA” Darn it, obnoxious Miley Cyrus song, get out of my head! (Sorry. Couldn’t think of anything interesting to say about Northwestern.)

10) Indiana (4-3, 1-2; last week, 10)
If the Hoosiers and Illini play a night game on Big Ten Network and nobody watches, does it actually count? It does? Really?

11) Illinois (1-5, 0-4; last week, 11)
Ummmm…basketball season is around the corner? There you go. I knew I could cheer up the Champaign crew.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

TNEA of the Month REPLACEMENT?!?!?!

.This ... is unprecedented.

Not once in the long, storied, six-month history of The Other B.S. Report have we selected a replacement for TNEA of the Month, halfway through the month. But a) the Dallas Stars Ice Chicks were a cop-out, and b) this one couldn't wait, due to Saturday's circumstances.
I am taking a risk here. A risk of losing my co-blogger. But I don't care.

Rachel Glandorf, the girlfriend of Colt McCoy, isn't just a smokin' hot former Baylor track athlete. She does some TV spots for a CBS station in Texas, on the Longhorns. So, in honor of the upcoming Red River Rivalry Game, I present to you, Ms. Glandorf (on the left). Oklahoma fans, enjoy.


And a YouTube clip, too...



And a Colt picture, just for good measure...


















-AJ

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Terrific Tiebreakers and Playoff Picks

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You all better thank the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers for putting on one hell of a show Tuesday night. They just saved you about 14,000 words of kisses and flowers toward the Rockies.

Instead, the Twinkies' 12-inning win has inspired me to talk about something else, so I'll just say a few words about ROCKTOBER.

First off, my Sportsman of the Month goes to Jim Tracy. September wasn't his best month, no, but it's a Lifetime Achievement pick, and by lifetime, I mean since June. Thankfully, just about every baseball writer I've seen has picked Tracy over Tony La Russa for NL Manager of the Year, so Rox fans won't be alone in crying bloody murder if La Russa wins the award. But I do truly feel that Tracy entered the "If He Doesn't Win This Award Than They Shouldn't Give The Damn Award" realm when his team clinched a postseason berth with three games to spare. 20-32 to a playoff spot? In a year where it took every bit of 90 wins to earn a playoff spot (whereas in other seasons, 82 is plenty)? Simply ridiculous. Unfathomable. Jim Tracy is a savior.

The other thing I wanted to tackle is an explanation. I get pretty aggressive when it comes to analyzing national attention given (or not given) to my beloved Rockies, and a little while back, I figured out why. I was coddled with Denver-based media for 18 years, never having to worry about national media. Well, when you go off to college in Wisconsin, and then work in Iowa, all you have to depend on is national media. Sure, I read Denverpost.com religiously, but sometimes, it's just not the same. My father and a few close friends do their best to keep me keyed in, but again, it's just not the same. I STILL have not been a Rockies game this year, which is the first time in the existence of the franchise that I did not attend a regular season game at Coors Field or Mile High Stadium. Throw in the fact that I am a sportswriter at heart, and of course, my criticism of ESPN just gets more intense.

So, two things: first, I don't mean to spit on ESPN. It covered the Rockies an appropriate amount, and from working full-time for a newspaper these past four months, it's helped me learn that, well, you don't always necessarily cover the HOT team; you gotta please the highest amount of readers. It sounds awkward and perhaps unfair, but hey, ya can't bring home the bacon if you're not serving your highest readership. Subscriptions and ratings DO matter. So I understand why ESPN does what it does. I'm just spoiled by their strangely-stalkerish love of the Nuggets and Broncos, so sometimes I get a little carried away with how much or little they cover the Rox. And secondly, it may have taken all of four years - or, well, it probably just took my first full summer away from home - I learned that it sucks covering a team from afar. It's absolutely dreadful. I can deal with it for Nuggets season, because they're on TV every other night; and I'm more of an NFL fan than a Bronco fan, so I can deal there too. But it's been very difficult to enjoy the Rockies this year. It makes me sad, but it's the facts of life, and I hope that everyone who currently lives in the city of their favorite team cherishes it, because it's much different watching from afar.

So on that note, I will announce that I have made plans to be back in Denver for games 3 and 4! I have not been in the Mile High City since May, and even then, I was groggy from oral surgery. It's been a long time, so anybody who reads this and is in Denver, hit me up on my cell or the good ol' Facebook if you want to hang out Saturday, Sunday or Monday.

And please, don't Tweet me. That's just lame.

Well, that was longer than I expected. So here's the REAL fun part of the blog post. Let's recap the past three MLB seasons:

2007 - Padres-Rockies, both 89-73, play in Colorado for NL Wild Card. Rockies win 9-8 in 13 innings.
2008 - Twins-White Sox, both 88-74, play in Chicago for AL Central. White Sox win 1-0 on Jim Thome home run.
2009 - Tigers-Twins, both 86-76, play in Minnesota for AL Central. Twins win 6-5 in 12 innings.

Three tiebreaker games in three years. Two go to extra innings. The other was 'first to score wins'. All three decided by one run.

And I guarantee you, whether you're a fan of the Rockies or Tigers or Yankees or Yomiuri Giants or Quad-City River Bandits ... you were watching. And you were tense. And you were EXCITED.

Why not? How seldom do we get ONE game in baseball to decide it all? Would any of us complain if you knew there would be a play-in game in 2010 and 2011 and 2012 and every year after that?

So, to coin an old phrase of mine...HERE'S A THOUGHT. What if we DID have a play-in game every year?

Take a breath. Calm down. Now listen to this ... what if we had TWO OF 'EM?!?!?!

Here's my plan: the division winners make the playoffs as they usually do, and seed 'em 1-2-3. Then you take the two non-division-champion teams with the best records in each league, and they play ONE GAME FOR THE WILD CARD. The winner moves on to play the top seed (divisions don't matter ... so for example, this year, Rockies could play Dodgers in the first round), the loser goes home.

Here are the positives: you extend the regular season longer for more teams, because there's a better chance of playing past 162. You have less teams mailing in the last 10, 15 games of the season. You give home advantage to the wild card team with the better record, and not only that, but if they've wrapped it up a few games in advance (while the weaker wild card is still fighting for a berth in this play-in game), they can set their rotation perfectly for such an event. It gives a great advantage to the overall top seed - something that should be rewarded - because the winner of this play-in game will have presumably lost its best pitcher for the first few games. TBS gets a doubleheader - one AL game, one NL game - and one hell of a promo event for the upcoming playoffs. And most importantly, you get the fans' juices running on overdrive right at the end of the season and beginning of the playoffs. You GRAB THEIR ATTENTION so they are more inclined to watch the rest of the postseason, rather than dismissing it and just sticking with college and pro football.

How could this miss? HOW COULD IT?

I think it's brilliant. Let me know what you think.

And now, playoff picks

AL Divisional Series:
Yankees beat Twins in three. New York is too good and too deep. Minny is a nice story, but this thing will be essentially over before the series shifts back for some Metrodome Magic.
Angels beat Red Sox in five. How do the Angels do it year after year? You figure they've got to figure out Boston sometime.

NL Divisional Series:
Cardinals beat Dodgers in four. Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright versus Randy Wolf and Clayton Kershaw. Any questions?
Phillies beat Rockies in five. The Rox must start out with a win Wednesday, because Cliff Lee has been terrible lately. Give Philly a 1-0 lead and veteran Cole Hamels the ball on Thursday, and Colorado risks digging itself a hole it might not dig out of.

Then again, you might have said that about 20-32.

-AJ

Monday, October 5, 2009

Brett Favre Drinking Game, Vol. 1

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This game begins at kickoff, pauses at the end of the first half, resumes at the third quarter kickoff and ends 60 seconds after the final gun. For the good of your souls. And your livers.

Take a drink...

Every time Brett Favre is compared to Aaron Rodgers

Every time Brett Favre is shown in a replay wearing a Packer uniform

Every time Brett Favre is shown in a replay wearing a Packer uniform playing the Vikings (extra drink)

Every time Brett Favre is called "this guy" by Jon Gruden

Every time Brett Favre's family is shown

Every time Brett Favre is shown in a Wrangler commercial (two drinks)

Every time Brett Favre is shown in a Sears commercial (three drinks)

Every time 'Brett Favre' is said in the same sentence with 'National Football League' by Ron Jaworski

Every time Brett Favre looks at a tenured Packer and smiles

Every time Brett Favre shakes hands with Aaron Rodgers or Mike McCarthy (chug)

BONUS: Every time Brett Favre shakes hands with Ted Thompson (consume the house)

You might want to update or write your will first.

-AJ

Thursday, October 1, 2009

NFL Picks Week 4 (US Weekly Edition!)

I will lead off with just saying... Thank God I was raised in Texas (See AJ's post below).

Well we are starting this new tradition and I lucked out this week and get to turn in my picks even though I am a co-founder of the blog. Without further ado... my week 4 picks with each pick related to a celebrity.

Detroit at Chicago
Congratulations Detroit on getting your first win since 2007!! You wont be getting number two. No way you travel to Chicago and get a win at Soldier Field. I think Detroit could be described kinda like Gwyneth Paltrow... she was pretty good for awhile back in the day (her Shakespeare in Love era) but then we didn't hear from her for awhile and she made some bad movies (see Shallow Hal and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow). But she made a strong comeback in Iron Man! Now we just have to see if she can stick around as an A-lister once again. She just wont get it done this week (and by her I mean Detroit).

Cincinnati at Cleveland
Its never a good sign if you are changing quarterbacks before the calendar flips to October. This one is one of the easiest picks, I don't care if this is a rivalry game inside the division... the Browns are bad. And check out the 2-1 Bengals, who (no offense AJ) should be 3-0. They are making a Robert Downey Jr.-esque comeback. They are definitely here to stay.

Seattle at Indy
Peyton doesn't lose at home to inferior teams. He just doesn't. Speaking of injured Matt Hasselback. He led his team to a super bowl appearance but it was a down year for the NFC. What has he really done that is so impressive in his career? Kinda like Ashton Kutcher... he is a real popular guy, his show Punked was pretty cool... but have you ever seen him in a movie that was above average? Maybe Butterfly Effect... but Amy Smart pushed that movie over the mediocre mark. Hasselback is always hurt and just doesn't get me excited about their team.

New York Giants at Kansas City
This is a dud of a game. One of the best teams in the league against one of the worst. Just a mismatch from the start. Which reminds me of a movie called "The Holiday." I was flipping through the movie channels and I stopped on this movie when I saw that Kate Winslet and Jack Black were hooking up. Seriously? Now don't get me wrong, I like Jack Black and Kate isn't like a top ten hot celebrity... not even top 20... but come on. Definitely a mismatch.

Baltimore at New England
Is New England favored purely on history and fame? Baltimore has looked like the best team in football... hands down. I like the Ravens in this game. They have played the Patriots tough in the past and they have the young gunslinger who is actually leading a high scoring offense in Baltimore! Who woulda thunk?
By the way, does Belichick really think he can just trade away or let his veterans leave and still win? This reminds me of the announcement of a Ghostbusters 3 with new actors. Like you can replace Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd and Ivan Reitman and have a good sequel... what genius thinks this is gonna work. It won't work for the Patriots either.

Tampa Bay at Washington (-7)
I have mentioned Kansas City and Cleveland as some of the worst teams this year. These two complete the bottom 4 (maybe Oakland in there somewhere). Two terrible teams... ugh I'll take the home team. But hell no I won't be watching this. This might be worse than watching Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez in Gigli.

Tennessee (-3) at Jacksonville
Desperate playoff team from last year playing on the road in a must-win game against a team that can't fill half their stadium (next to zero fan support). All of this means a Titans win. Jacksonville was good for awhile but now nobody likes them. The same could be said for A-lister Nicolas Cage. He made some great movies back in the late 90s: Con-Air, Face-Off, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Rock. But now... its always *Movie anouncer voice* "Nicolas Cage in enter a disaster movie here where Cage is a badass and has some power or ability that makes him valuable... this movie is terrible but people will see it because it's Nicolas Cage!" I hate him... and I think people are more in my boat than people that like him. Same goes for you Jaguars... you suck.Oakland at Houston
Al Davis has ruined a great franchise. Very easy pick here. Al Davis cracks me up with his old age and complete loss of control of his franchise. Its not the identical situation with Clint Eastwood, but he CRACKED ME UP in Gran Torino because he was so old and ridiculous but also so badass.

New York Jets at New Orleans (-7)
How is this spread 7? Should be 3. I'll be taking the Jets solely because this should be a great game and I want a chance at double the points because the Jets are such a big dog. Sanchez is like Jamie Foxx in Any Given Sunday... except he is white and not exactly a very mobile QB. But he has injected some excitement in J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS land. Just like Beamen did with the Miami Sharks.

Buffalo (-2) at Miami
Cry baby T.O finally gets a win. By the way, has there been a bigger rollercoaster than the Miami Dolphins. 1-15, then 11-5, and then what... probably 4-12? I haven't seen this big of a swing since Britney Spears popularity! Ba-da-Ching.... ok that joke has been so overused but it works... so go with it.

St. Louis at San Francisco
Good teams tend to rebound well, especially against awful teams (thats now 6 REALLY REALLY bad teams). The 49ers will have a nice rebound, but it does not rival the rebound of Justin Timberlake after he broke up with Britney... hitting up Jessica Biel and Scarlett Johanson in a 2-week span... SOLID!

Dallas at Denver
Dallas lost to a top-5 team by a field goal when they lost the turnover battle 4-0. I like my team and I'm sure AJ likes his... but they should have lost to Cinnci and beat... *gulp* Oakland and Kansas City. The Broncos WILL make the playoffs as division winners this year... but they don't beat the Cowboys on Sunday. Denver is the most handsome team in an ugly division. They are the Vince Vaughn of the Swingers group.

San Diego at Pittsburgh
Two teams that everyone thought would be powerhouses this year... that may not make the playoffs. I'll go with the home team here. Meanwhile Ben Rothlisberger is getting his Roman Polanski on. I just don't buy it though... I gotta think this is more of a Kobe Bryant thing. No way she wasn't willing to pounce on "Big" Ben.

Green Bay at Minnesota
I don't think either quarterback performs that well. Two really good defenses. My boy AD will do alright. I just think Farve can pull another moment if he needs to in order to stick it to Packers management. This is a year of destiny. I do feel bad for Rodgers though. I'm not the biggest Farve fan, but he is/was an all-time gunslinger. It's like trying to replace Sean Connery as James Bond... its a lose-lose situation for Rodgers. He is going to be a different type of quarterback and not a small-town down-to-earth (and selfish) guy like Farve. Whether he is Roger Moore or Pierce Brosnan... he is no Sean Connery.

Stay Classy,

B-Dubs

TNEA of the Month...sort of

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So I had a girl in place for 'The Next Erin Andrews', somebody I saw on television who fit the bill quite nicely. However, I had never heard of her before, and when I went to find pictures online, I couldn't find any. Unfortunately, that's kind of an important aspect to this monthly feature. So, I'll have to keep her in mind, and perhaps get her in for a future honor. Let's just say she's in the volleyball world, and again, she has appeared on television as an analyst.

Now, I owe pictures. Well, how about I do you one better and go with video? But first, a picture. Without further ado...The Dallas Stars Ice Girls.


And now, a video daily double.

Enjoy. (I know B-Dubs will. That Dallas rascal.)



They can grab a microphone and replace EA anyday...you know, if tragedy struck and they were needed.

-AJ

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Big 12 Power Poll

We will be continuing our segment of "guest" NFL picks for the week either tomorrow or Friday. We will choose this guest by whoever scores best in AJ's pick'em league. This week yours truly will be giving the picks because I dominated hitting 14/16 games. But for now lets update the Big 12 Power Poll!

1) Texas (4-0, 1-0, Last week: #1)
Even if it's UTEP, dropping 50 in a half is impressive. They only have played one solid team and it was a home game and they struggled. So let's not anoint them just yet. If I had an AP vote they wouldn't be in my top 3.

2) Oklahoma (2-1, 0-0, Last week: #2)
They had a bye last week and have their big Miami game this weekend. We should learn a lot about them on Saturday. Side note: how does USC jump us in both polls? Was their 20 point win at home against Washington State (AWFUL TEAM) really that impressive?

3) Missouri (4-0, 0-0, Last week: #t-4)
Again, tough to choose between Kansas and Mizzou. My deciding factor was that the Tigers had make a comeback on the road, while the Jayhawks struggled at home. I don't think either of the teams would have a chance in the Big 12 title game against OU or Texas but that has been the case for several years.

4) Kansas (4-0, 0-0, Last week: #t-4)
See above. Just unimpressive so far. They may lose 5 conference games... so watch them to slide down this list in the coming weeks.

5) Nebraska (3-1, 0-0, Last week: #7)
The Cornhuskers jump OSU because of their loss. NU has three blow-out wins and a tough tough loss to a top-10 team. We will learn a lot about that Bo defense against Mizzou in two weeks, but for now they look like they could make a run at the north title.

6) Oklahoma State (3-1, 0-0, Last week: #6)
Amazingly the Pokes stay in same slot. Some may argue that they have a better win than Nebraska, and have a pretty good loss. Well, I'm sorry, I don't care how good a Conference-USA team is... you can't lose at home to a non-BCS school. Sorry.

7) Texas Tech (2-2, 0-1, Last week: #3)
The freefall stops here. Poor Red Raiders. I thought you guys could take it to Houston. They were coming off a big high and you could just run up and down the field. But you didn't. And your "improved" defense couldn't stop them when it counted. However, this is my team to watch that could rise in these polls. They have the potential to win every game left on their schedule (including at home against OU). So watch out for the pirates revival! Also, Mike Leech is hilarious. That is all.

8) Texas A&M (3-0, 0-0, Last week: #9)
I will not talk about how good this team is until they play someone. Lets talk after a mediocre SEC team this weekend (Arkansas).

9) Iowa State (3-1, 0-0, Last week: #10)
They beat Army pretty good last week. But Duke beat Army by about the same margin... so that doesn't mean much. Again... I would be hard pressed to find more than one game I think they definitely will win left on their schedule. Not a good sign before we are in October.

10) Baylor (3-1, 0-0, Last week: #8)
The tears are streaming in Waco, Tx. I even thought you guys could make a bowl this year. Unfortunately I didn't forsee your ridiculously athletic QB to go down for the season. I'm not saying you guys were a one-man team... but you were a one-man team. Good luck winning A big 12 game. Side note: Griffin tore part of his ACL on the first drive, then went on to play the rest of the first half and threw 3 TD's. At halftime they realized the severity of the injury and he was done for the season. Kids got heart... no ligament holding his knee together... but at least he has heart.

Others receiving votes (Undeserving of an entire paragraph describing their obismal situation):
Kansas State: Congrats on beating Tennessee Tech... good luck winning two more games.
Colorado: Travelling to the state of West Virginia to get Tim Tebowed...err concussed.

Summary: The Big 12 is not as strong as it was last year. Texas and Oklahoma are the heavy favorites and the North is fairly weak as always. Thinking about the other conferences, I just think its a weak year overall, no one stands out as a great team. Bama and Florida are the best of the SEC. Name a team in the Big 10 or Pac 10 that scares you. The ACC and Big East are just so-so. I think there is a good chance that the Red River Shootout winner plays either Florida or Bama in the title game... again.

B-Dubs

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Big Ten AND NFL Power Rankings

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WEEK 4 NFL POWER RANKINGS
1 New York Giants
2 Indianapolis Colts
3 Baltimore Ravens
4 New Orleans Saints
5 New York Jets
6 Minnesota Vikings
7 New England Patriots
8 Denver Broncos
9 Cincinnati Bengals
10 San Francisco 49ers
11 Green Bay Packers
12 Atlanta Falcons
13 Philadelphia Eagles
14 San Diego Chargers
15 Chicago Bears
16 Dallas Cowboys
17 Pittsburgh Steelers
18 Arizona Cardinals
19 Jacksonville Jaguars
20 Houston Texans
21 Tennessee Titans
22 Buffalo Bills
23 Seattle Seahawks
24 Carolina Panthers
25 Miami Dolphins
26 Detroit Lions
27 Oakland Raiders
28 Washington Redskins
29 Kansas City Chiefs
30 St. Louis Rams
31 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
32 Cleveland Browns


WEEK 5 BIG TEN CONFERENCE POWER POLL
1) Ohio State (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten; last week, 3)
Is 68-0 a good margin over a two-week period? I think so. Yes, the schedule has been fairly weak, but…well…68-0.

2) Iowa (4-0, 1-0; last week, 4)
I got ripped for daring to place the Hawkeyes as high as fourth in last week’s poll – I even got the ‘Homer’ claim. As if I’m, like, a total Iowa fan now. Oh well. I guess I’ll just have to let 21-10 in Happy Valley – and 21-3 in the final 58 minutes – do the talking. Kirk Ferentz’s defense is one collective tough customer.

3) Michigan (4-0, 1-0; last week, 2)
Careful, Wolverines. All it takes is actually losing a game like that to Indiana to not only plummet down these rankings, but also throw some serious ink stains into what has been a masterpiece renaissance.

4) Penn State (3-1, 0-1; last week, 1)
So, Joe, how’d that early-season trip to the cupcake buffet turn out for you? Just another example of teams not properly preparing themselves for tough schedules that matter. I should place the Kitties, like, seventh or eighth on general principle. But Daryll Clark and Co. will rebound.

5) Minnesota (3-1, 1-0; last week, 5)
Ryan Field: the land where football players can take an unimpeded nap on TV timeouts. Credit the Gophers for taking that licking at home by Jahvid Best and recovering to go 1-0 in conference play. But yes, I know Cal was exposed last week.

6) Wisconsin (4-0, 1-0; last week, 6)
I’m risking getting screamed at again for placing the Gophers over the Badgers. Fair enough. How’s this, Bucky Nation: beat Minnesota in its new beautiful home, and we’ll fix that. Deal?

7) Northwestern (2-2, 0-1; last week, 7)
Toughest place to play in the Big Ten, eh, Mike Kafka? The ‘Cats might find themselves down in an 0-2 hole if they don’t bounce back at…

8) Purdue (1-3, 0-0; last week, 10)
The Boilers were completely written off before the season. Danny Hope’s crew may not make a bowl game this year, but they are going to give a lot of teams fits before this season is through. Just ask Oregon and Notre Dame.

9) Indiana (3-1, 0-1; last week, 11)
A valiant effort in the Big House from the Hoosiers, who might have gotten “hoosed” on an interception ruling that appeared to be caught by both players (and thus should have been IU’s ball.) Not a bad weekend for football in that state, combined with the Colts’ domination in the desert.

10) Michigan State (1-3, 0-1; last week, 8)
Oof. Remember when Mark Dantonio’s squad was picked to finish third in the conference? Looks like Javon Ringer is being missed more than we thought. In other news, congratulations to Bret Bielema for incurring zero penalty yards on Saturday!

11) Illinois (1-2, 0-1; last week, 9)
Is Ron Zook the anti-Bo Ryan? Great, great recruiter; can’t coach ‘em up. To think Jaevery McFadden very nearly decommitted from UW by Zook’s wishes. Betcha No. 47 is glad he’s wearing cardinal and white, not orange and blue, right now.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Great Moments...are born from great parenting

Sportsman of the Month nominee, anyone?



-AJ

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tom Lea puts his NFL Pick 'em fate in the hands of Jay-Z, Phil Collins and Neil Diamond

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You've heard the saying, 'you keep eating those muffins, I'll keep baking them'? Well, if Tom Lea keeps churning out these ridiculously hilarious, off-the-cuff and sometimes insightful rationale columns for how he makes his weekly NFL picks, I'll keep posting them. I go to Tom Lea for my obscure music references. -AJ

Okay, obviously last week’s picks did not go the way I wanted them to. Not only did I finish last in my division last week in my 30-team pick ‘em league, but I did so with some really dumb picks. I blame it on the swine flu.

Anyway, this week I have a new plan to launch the comeback. And I am going to utilize some help from my 1,066-song strong iTunes library.

So basically because I am God-awful at correctly picking the right outcome with these games, I figured I could use all the help I can get.

So, my iTunes shuffle is on, and I am just going to randomly tie in every pick I make to whatever song pops up. Yes I expect to be fully embarrassed, and no, I will not be ashamed of it.

Let’s see how this goes.

GREEN BAY over St. Louis

Wow … iTunes didn’t waste any time starting off with a monster hit from the 80’s. Alright, I can work with this.

Yeah, the Packers line is horrendous, awful, despicable, vile and just straight crappy. But as Corey Hart would be the first to point out … they will ‘Never Surrender.’

Sure, they lost to a Cincinnati team that tried everything in its power to blow another game they had no business losing. Obviously that first game against Denver was the fluke of all flukes, but props to them for coming into Green Bay and knocking off the Pack.

Unfortunately, the result in Lambeau from a week ago will do nothing but piss off a Packers team that is ready to prove everyone wrong. Let’s just let Mr. Hart take us home with his lyrical genius. (Tongue very much in cheek with that comment)

“No one can take away your right to fight and never surrender.”

Pack wins going away.

MINNESOTA over San Francisco

I knew Phil Collins would make an appearance in this thing. I guess when you have 54 of his songs, it’s simply bound to happen.

Don’t get me wrong, I love everything about the 49ers. I love their jersey, their colors, their running back and their coach. And most importantly, I know they are 2-0 and Frank Gore looks poised to rip through the NFC West and elevate his game to another level.

But, I just don’t think we’ll see them go into that atrocious dump they call a stadium in Minneapolis and leave with a win.

To San Fran: “I see your true colors shining through. I see your true colors, that’s why I love you. So don’t be afraid to let them shine. Just show your true colors.”

Unfortunately, I think San Fran’s true colors reek of an overrated team ready to collapse. I hope they prove me wrong.

ATLANTA over New England

New England is old and simply not that good anymore. I know this will definitely come back and bite me in the ass, but I really think it’s true. The Patriots should have lost to Buffalo, and the Jets defense completely shut them down.

Meanwhile, Atlanta is a young and exciting team on the rise. Matt Ryan looks like the real deal and Tony Gonzalez is still doing his thing even though he’s, what, 75 years old now? Pretty impressive.

I think the days of the New England dynasty are over. Randy Moss is slowly starting to come out of his PG-rated front he’s put on since arriving in Boston and is about to explode in an expletive-laden tirade or simply moon the Foxboro faithful. They are falling apart and falling apart fast. So, clearly, if they want to right this ship, they should probably converse with a higher power.

“Tell me all your thoughts on God. Cause I’d really like to meet her. Ask her why we’re who we are.”

I think her response would have something to do with them being a bunch of has-beens with a weak defense.

(And at this very moment, I am sticking my foot into my mouth.)

TENNESSEE over New York Jets

Fitting that a song from Jay-Z’s new album would come up. I have done nothing but listen to this over the past two weeks. It's truly good stuff. Anyway, 'Venus vs. Mars' is a tough one.

Tennessee has looked awful and I believe the Jets are highly ready for a letdown. I know the defense is terrible, but I think the Titan offense will do some things against the Jets, especially in the red zone.

“Shawty get it in…”

I told you this was tough … and when the song has obvious sexual under and overtones, I need to cut that one off quick.

PHILADELPHIA over Kansas City

Fitting that Kelly Rowland and Nelly’s classic 'Dilemma' would come on for this one. How are the Eagles going to use Mike Vick? I have no idea, but I am very intrigued. Maybe Nelly says it best:

“And in no time, I’m gonna make this friend mine. And that’s for sure. Cause I, I never been the type to break up a happy home.”

Just picture Vick singing that to McNabb. It fits perfectly into the situation.

Even though I don’t trust Kevin Kolb, Kansas City is just too weak. Eagles roll.

NEW YORK GIANTS over Tampa Bay

Clearly I have 'Too Much Time On My Hands'. Giants will dominate the Buccos.

CLEVELAND over Baltimore

Here’s my upset special. How can you not like a team that has looked everything short of death in its first two games. Now, you have a rookie throwing both ice cubes and punches at his teammates.

“Don’t forget that boy I told ya, get that dirt off your shoulders.”

Or just throw ice around … I don’t care. The Browns will win. Count it.

HOUSTON over Jacksonville

Good timing, Shuffle … Texas is the home of country music, isn’t it?

I like Houston for all the wrong reasons. They have great talent on the team, but I live and die by the play of Matt Schaub, Owen Daniels and Kris Brown each week with my fantasy team.
Of course, the time when Schaub and Daniels go off, I take them out of my lineup. That won’t happen again. Oh yeah, and Jacksonville is horrible. Houston will win.

Please just “Don’t tell my heart, my achy breaky heart,” if you were to lose, Texans. “I just don’t think it’d understand.”

DETROIT over Washington

Wait for it … wait … be patient … hold on … aaaaaaaannnnnnnnddddddd. Yup, it’s official. I’m picking the Lions. (AJ's note: don't go TOO nuts, Tom. 13 of 18 people who have their picks in so far have Detroit.)

Damn it, of all the songs that could have played, 'Over My Head' by the Fray had to come on now … It’s a sign. And that’s why I suck at this. (AJ's note: no disagreement here)

CHICAGO over Seattle

With Hasselbeck hurting, I don’t see anyway the Bears lose. Cutler looked like he rebounded after a terrible first game and the Bears offense looks somewhat capable of moving the ball.

“Hands. Touching hands. Reaching out. Touching me. Touching you … Sweet Caroline (BUM BUM BUM), good times never seem so good.”

Don’t get used to these current good times, Chicago. They’re not going to last.

NEW ORLEANS over Buffalo

I don’t think it matters who they play, because when the Saints put up 482 points a game, it’s tough to beat them.

I think Drew Brees says something like this in the huddle every time the offense takes the field:

“Imma take you there, Imma take you there, so don’t be scared, I’m right here baby. We can go anywhere, go anywhere, but first, here’s your chance, take my hand.”

Hell, if I threw 5 touchdowns a game, I would dance 'Forever' too.

CINCINNATI over Pittsburgh

I’m on the Bengals bandwagon. “You all don’t understand, make me throw my hands in the Ayer, a, ayer, ayer, a, ayer.”

Anytime you come in and beat my Packers in Lambeau, I’ll drink that Kool-aid.

MIAMI over San Diego

Miami should have beat the Colts. Ronnie Brown is legit and the Chargers defense is shaky at best. Thus, Miami will win.

And plus, I am slowly starting to gain some trust in Pennington. But, as the great Phil Collins once told me - and yes, this is his second appearance in this article - 'You Can’t Hurry Love.'

I’m taking it slow.

DENVER over Oakland

Who would have ever thought that Denver would be playing for a 3-0 start. And man, if the Raiders win, Al Davis might just break out in song because his team would actually have a winning record.

But the Broncos will squash that idea quickly, leaving Davis to sing about the past.

“I used to rule the world. Seas would rise when I gave the word. Now in the morning I sleep alone. Sweep the streets I used to own.”

Coldplay is so versatile.

ARIZONA over Indy

Simply put, 'Dream On', Indy. You’re not going to stop those Cardinal wide receivers.

DALLAS over Carolina

What, since they have a new stadium, does Dallas get to play in every night game?

I really don’t like the Cowboys, but Carolina is just not that good. The Panthers will just be 'Another one (that) Bites the Dust.'

And with that, I’m out.

The Complete 'Tom Lea Musical Guide To Making NFL Picks and Reaching Your Pick 'Em Glory ... Except The Complete Opposite", now in stores (except not), includes the following songs:
-Never Surrender by Corey Hart
-True Colors by Phil Collins
-Counting Blue Cars by Dishwalla
-Venus vs. Mars by Jay-Z
-Dilemma by Nelly and Kelly Rowland
-Too Much Time on My Hands by Styx
-Dirt Off Ya Shoulder by Jay-Z
-Achy Breaky Hart by Billy Ray Cyrus aka Hannah Montana's Dad
-Cable Car (Over My Head) by The Fray (Denver, what what)
-Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond
-Forever by Chris Brown
-In the Ayer by Flo Rida
-You Can't Hurry Love by Phil Collins
-Viva La Vida by Coldplay
-Dream On by Aerosmith
-Another One Bites the Dust by Queen

For the record, the following songs came on AJ's shuffle while re-posting this:
-Banter #3 by Dane Cook
-I Should Be by Dru Hill
-Keep the Faith by Bon Jovi
-Always on Time by Ja Rule and Ashanti
-U Don't Have to Call by Usher
-Miserable by Lit
-Home by Switchfoot

-Without Me by Eminem

That's a 2-disc, 24-song set. If you really want that as a collection...uh...I guess send $3.99 our way, and we'll make you a mix CD. If you really want.
-AJ

Thursday, September 24, 2009

First annual Big 12 Power Poll

I like this idea AJ. I don't know how often this will be updated... but lets go for it.

1) Texas
The Texas offense looked pretty bad against a mediocre (at best) Texas Tech defense. Before Tech, the Longhorns took it to some powerhouses... Wyoming and Louisiana Monroe! I still think they are about even with OU this year, but they are the undefeated team. Watch out for that defense though, they allowed 20 points to Louisiana Monroe... not so good.

2) Oklahoma
Losing Jermaine Gresham for the season and Sam Bradford halfway through the BYU game was not such a good thing. However if there was one game on the schedule that my Sooners could afford to lose it was against BYU. The defense is nasty this year. Shutting out FCS Idaho State is nothing really... but shutting out the high powered offense of Tulsa was truly impressive. With Bradford most likely back for Miami, OU still has a great chance at making a title run. Their strength of schedule should carry them if they were to win out, because I don't see any undefeated teams this year outside of Jesus's team in Florida.

3) Texas Tech
Tough loss at home to Texas, but this was supposed to be a rebuilding year. This team could surprise some people and make a run at 9 wins and a decent bowl bid.

4t) Missouri
4t) Kansas
I couldn't pick between this border war rivalry. Either or both of these teams could end up with more wins than the Red Raiders, but I think Tech is the better team (as of now). Both teams have some impressive wins (points-wise) against far insuperior competition. Lets wait until Big 12 play before we judge either of these north teams.

6) Oklahoma State
Congratulations Pokes for beating an SEC team! But you still have to beat Conference-USA teams. The Cowboys haven't played a road game yet, and that defense doesn't look like its improving. Looks like OSU will struggle to stay ahead of the Red Raiders this season in the Big 12 South (once again). Embrace 4th place Stillwater.... embrace it.

7) Nebraska
Bo is well on his way to bringing back the Blackshirts defense of the past... but where is the O Bo? The Big-12 is much better than the ACC, Nebraska didn't show it, but hopefully OU will against Miami.

8) Baylor
Everybody knows Baylor doesn't have the athletes yet to make a run at a Big 12 title, but can Robert Griffin lead Baylor to a bowl game? I think so. Baylor should enter Big 12 play 3-1. They need at least 3 more wins. Possible wins in the Big 12: @ISU, OSU and Nebraska at home, @Texas A&M, Tech at home??

9) Texas A&M
Narrowly beating Utah State in College Station is not getting anyone excited. I don't care if they use their 12th man, 13th, 14th, 15th... it doesnt matter, they wont finish higher than 5th in the South.

10) Iowa State
The good news: The Cyclones could start the season 4-1!!! The bad news... try finding more than 2 winnable games on the rest of the schedule. Go ahead, try. Come on. Ya, I didn't think so.

11) Colorado
Dan Hawkins last season? I don't know if he finishes the season in Boulder. I see the Buffaloes starting 1-5. A 4-win season at best doesn't scream out "Job security."

12) Kansas State
You can't lose to Louisiana Lafayette. I'm sorry. I thought Bill Snyder was a bad hire, err... rehire. Yes they looked better against UCLA, but I don't see this team winning more than 2 more games. And yes, I am including Tennessee Tech in those two wins. The Wildcats just flat out stink. Nuff said.

Stay classy,

-B-dubs

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Inaugural 2009 Big Ten Football Power Poll

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I figure every league needs three weeks to unfold before ANY power rankings are released. Which means as much as I want to make an NFL power poll right now, right NOW (before the Broncos go cold again), I’ve gotta wait one more week. So, the first Big Ten power poll of the season will have to hold me over.

1) Penn State (3-0)
Yawn. Three business-like wins over three nobodies. Wake me when the real games begin...oh, they're here? Starting Saturday night at home with Iowa? It's on.

2) Michigan (3-0)
Oh, you say No. 11 Ohio State should be here? This is why we shouldn’t do preseason polls. Michigan had won all three games in fairly convincing fashion, beaten a pretty good Notre Dame team, and fought off all sorts of adversity in just one month’s time to feel pretty good about itself heading into the Big Ten season.

3) Ohio State (2-1)
On the other hand, the Buckeyes needed an escape act against Navy, lost to a USC team that just got depantsed at Washington, and then saved face by wiping out Toledo. Not good enough. The Wolverines deserve the higher spot.

4) Iowa (3-0)
You know what I like about this team? They’ve gotten better with each week. Crappy start against Northern Iowa, encouraging rout of in-state foe Iowa State, and extremely satisfying home victory over a tough Pac-10 foe with Arizona. Plus, besides Michigan’s win over the Pudding Boys of Notre Dame, it’s the biggest Big Ten statement so far. Good for the Hawks.

5) Minnesota (2-1)
Don’t even care that the Gophers averaged their two defeats of ‘Cuse and Air Force by a mere five points, then got Jahvid Bested on national television. Tougher schedule equals more battle tested equals better team in my book.

6) Northwestern (2-1)
Slight edge to the Wildcats, which should have beaten Syracuse, over Bucky. Honestly, the Nerds ran into a desperate squad with the Fightin' Greg Pauluses. Mike Kafka talked big in Chicago during the media days, time to put up or shut up.

7) Wisconsin (3-0)
Fact: There are 83 teams that participate in the nation’s eight largest conferences (your six BCS boys, plus the Mountain West and WAC). Fact: Twenty of these teams are currently 3-0 after three weeks. Fact: just two of those 20 aren’t receiving a single vote in the Associated Press poll. Fact: Wisconsin is one of them. Better throw some more detergent in that spin cycle, Bret.

8) Michigan State (1-2)
Hard to hand out too many brownie points to a team with two non-conference losses … especially when one of them was to Central Michigan. At home.

9) Illinois (1-1)
I still can’t get that disgusting effort against Missouri out of my mind. But upward mobility can be earned against the Buckeyes and Lions of Nittany in the next two weeks.

10) Purdue (1-2)
You know what? I kind of like the Boilers more than others. Good win over Toledo, pull no punches and fight to the finish at Oregon (2-for-1 pun intended), and lose by just a touchdown to a Northern Illinois team that nearly beat the Badgers. Not too shabby, actually. We'll see if it translates to Big Ten play.

11) Indiana (3-0)
Fact: Indiana is the other team from that string of facts in No. 7, and their three victims are Eastern Michigan, Western Kentucy, and Akron. Or, in other words, a combined 10-26 record in 2008. Not impressed. Not at all. Don't you just love the Big Ten scheduling? Bring on the real stuff that matters.

-AJ

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Week 2 NFL Picks

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In 20 words or less, AJ's picks for the weekend (home team in CAPS):

The fish monster's team looks tough. USC backup boy's team does not
Raiders over CHIEFS

Steve Slaton, Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels? Too much for even the Titans
Texans over TITANS

I realize New England has defensive issues. Nothing like facing a rookie quarterback to fix those
Patriots over JETS

OK, I'll be a sonofabitch and re-quote what everyone else already said: "Child please!"
PACKERS over Bengals

Upset special of the week. Lions always play the Vikes tough at home
LIONS over Vikings

Drew Brees tosses another four, Kevin Kolb not good enough to match
Saints over EAGLES

Because my next-door neighbor and friend, T.J., might kill himself if the Dirties don't
FALCONS over Panthers

Will the Rams EVER be relevant again?
REDSKINS over Rams

Have fun playing a 10 am local time game, defending NFC champs
JAGUARS over Cardinals

Tough call here. Solid game potential. I like the experience over the frisky
Seahawks over 49ERS

Desperate team has gotta win here, or things are gonna get real ugly in western NY
BILLS over Bucs

Denver ALWAYS starts 2-0, builds up excitement...and then falls flat. Sunrise, sunset
BRONCOS over Browns

San Diego ALWAYS starts slowly. So why this pick? SD should be learning from this by now
CHARGERS over Ravens

Flip-flopped on this one. But Pittsburgh pass rush + sieve Chicago O-Line = battered Cutler
Steelers over BEARS

Oh, because it's the home opener, Cowboys CAN'T lose? Ummm...G-Men are pretty good, ya know
Giants over COWBOYS

Peyton Manning over an overrated team. One more time, since 85's from Miami: "Child please!"
Colts over DOLPHINS

-AJ

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How the Rangers Broke my Heart

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I have an old Jerry Seinfeld stand-up CD and there was a joke that went like this:

"In a recent poll asking people what they feared most, number one was 'public speaking.' Coming in at number two... was 'death.' That means that at a funeral, most people would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy!"

Well... ya its kinda like that. No I wouldn't rather bite the bullet than write this eulogy, but I feared this day would come since the moment AJ and I made our MLB predictions. I guess technically I hit my prediction of the Rangers giving the Angels a run for their money, but I hoped... I dreamed it would be more.

The Texas Rangers haven't made it to the post season since Johnny Oates manged the Rangers to an AL West title in 1999. That's a decade of pain and suffering for Texas fans... and Texas loves it's baseball.

This past summer I spent hours and hours going to the girlfriend's family and my own family's little league t-ball, machine-pitch, and club baseball games. I now realize that all of these kids have grown up and not even seen the Rangers in the playoffs... heck not even sniffing October. It's sad for a part of the country that used to be the heart of baseball and now it is centered around football.

The Cowboys have stunk, but at least they make the playoffs every now and then. College football dominates the region now... and baseball falls on the back-burner.

But this was our year! Pitching was actually a strength. The team was good enough to overcome injuries of all of All-Stars. The bullpen was solid and young pitchers brought excitement to ballpark (see Neftali Feliz). Not only was this the year, but the town was getting behind them. Talk in August was not of the Cowboys and Mavericks... but of October baseball in Arlington.

Texas had a sizable lead in the AL West early in the season and kept things close with the Angels through the All-Star break and into early August. Even when things looked bleak in the division, the Red Sox weren't too far ahead in the Wild-Card. There was hope.

And then there was September. The last two weeks have been some of the most disheartening days I have ever had as a sports fan. The Rangers grabbed my heart for the majority of the summer... I ACTUALLY WATCHED FULL BASEBALL GAMES ON TV (never done before in my entire life). They had me at hello in April and then they ripped my heart out.

The pitching failed.
The hitting was non-existent.
The will, the heart... was gone.

The 2009 Texas Rangers survived the absence of Josh Hamilton not once, but twice, but then faltered on the third occasion. They thrived during Ian Kinsler's absence, but they could not score runs without their veteran and leader... Michael Young. This was their true downfall (And pitching disappearing in September... Kevin Millwood WHERE ARE YOU).


So this is my tribute to the season that almost was. Everyone said 2010 was our year back in the Spring... and I guess they were right in the end. But I truly thought we had the muscle to make a run in October this year. I was wrong.

Rest in Peace 2009 Texas Rangers. There is always next year.

B-Dubs

Monday, September 14, 2009

NFL 2009 Preview, Part IV

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And finally, for your reading pleasure...B-Dubs' picks for this season. No homerism or anything.

NFL MVP: I picked this before he ran for 180 and 3 TD's ... Adrian Peterson, Minnesota
Coach of the Year: Jim Mora, Jr., Seattle
Fantasy MVP (LaDainian Tomlinson Memorial best player category): Adrian Peterson
Fantasy MVP (Chris Johnson Memorial drafted in the teens rounds category): Patrick Crayton, Dallas (I know I'm a homer... but without TO he shines!)

AFC Offensive Player of the Year: Tom Brady, New England (and Gisele of course)
NFC Offensive Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson
AFC Defensive Player of the Year: James Harrison, Pittsburgh
NFC Defensive Player of the Year: Justin Tuck, New York Giants
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Matthew Stafford, Detroit (Dallas area product)
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Aaron Curry, Seattle (Duh)

Comeback Player of the Year: Osi Umeniyora, New York Giants
Goaway Player of the Year (opposite of above award): Jay Cutler, Chicago
Currently unknown player who will be a household name by January: DeMeco Ryans, Houston (MLB for Texans... beast)
Star player most likely to be linked to steroids in 2009: Patrick Willis, San Francisco
Current starting player who will not be an NFL player in 2010 (Brett Favre category): Brett Favre, Minnesota
Current starting player who will not be an NFL player in 2010 (non-Brett Favre category): Shawne Merriman, San Diego

Team to make biggest jump in 2009: Seattle Seahawks
Team to make biggest fall in 2009: Arizona Cardinals
First team to change quarterbacks in 2009: Houston Texans
First team to fire coach in 2009: Oakland Raiders (easiest pick so far)

Best Game of 2009 (divisional): Vikings-Packers... a lot of bad blood before Farve... now its gonna be nuts
Best Game of 2009 (in-conference): Patriots-Colts in November
Best Game of 2009 (inter-conference): Steelers-Packers in December

AFC East champ: Patriots
AFC North champ: Steelers
AFC South champ: Colts
AFC West champ: Chargers (No surprises there)

NFC West champ: Seahawks
NFC North champ: Vikings
NFC South champ: Falcons
NFC East champ: Giants

AFC wild cards: Jaguars, Ravens
NFC wild cards: Eagles, Packers
Best four teams to miss the playoffs: Saints, Panthers, Cowboys, Dolphins
Who will be on the clock for the 2010 NFL Draft No. 1 pick? Rams

AFC Championship game: Steelers beat Patriots
NFC Championship game: Vikings beat Eagles
Super Bowl MVP: Adrian Peterson (150 all purpose yards and a TD)
Super Bowl XLIV champion: Vikings defeat Steelers 23-17

In summary, I think Adrian Peterson goes from a superstar to a pantheon-type player. He is a beast (see commercial below). I truly think he can break the all-time season rushing record this season with a competent QB at the helm. It’s hard to find many flaws in the Vikings and I think they can edge out a powerful Steelers team (if they can overcome the early loss of Polamalu).




Saturday, September 12, 2009

NFL 2009 Preview, Part III

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Less than 15 hours to kickoff!!!
Part III, just straight-up season picks. No need for explanation. Here we go.

NFL MVP: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis
Coach of the Year: Rex Ryan, New York Jets
Fantasy MVP (LaDainian Tomlinson Memorial best player category): Adrian Peterson, Minnesota. Just because it’s plain doesn’t mean it won’t happen
Fantasy MVP (Chris Johnson Memorial drafted in the teens rounds category): James Davis, Cleveland

AFC Offensive Player of the Year: Philip Rivers, San Diego
NFC Offensive Player of the Year: Drew Brees, New Orleans
AFC Defensive Player of the Year: Ed Reed, Baltimore
NFC Defensive Player of the Year: Jared Allen, Minnesota
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Knowshon Moreno, Denver. Had to pick something good for the Broncos.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Aaron Curry, Seattle

Comeback Player of the Year: Carson Palmer, Cincinnati
Due for a Letdown: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona
Currently unknown player who will be a household name by January: Glen Coffee, San Francisco. Davis from the Browns also applies.
Star player most likely to be linked to steroids in 2009: Brett Favre, Minnesota. You think I’m kidding. I'm not kidding.
Current starting player who will not be an NFL player in 2010 (Brett Favre category): Brett Favre, Minnesota
Current starting player who will not be an NFL player in 2010 (non-Brett Favre category): Fred Taylor, New England

3 teams to make biggest jump in 2009: Detroit, Seattle, Green Bay
3 teams to make biggest fall in 2009: Miami, Carolina, Tampa Bay
First team to change quarterbacks in 2009: Miami. Time to see what Chad Henne and/or Pat White have got. Carolina (Josh McCown) is another possibility.
First team to fire coach in 2009: Buffalo. The Bills will be 2-6 at the bye week, and Dick Jauron will be dismissed.

Best Game of 2009 (divisional): Minnesota-Green Bay, Week 8. There are NO other choices
Best Game of 2009 (in-conference): New England-Indianapolis, Week 10
Best Game of 2009 (inter-conference): Either Philly-San Diego, Week 10 or Baltimore-Green Bay, Week 13
Worst Game of 2009: San Diego-Oakland (why is this game on Monday night? No, seriously…why?)

AFC East champ: New England
AFC North champ: Baltimore
AFC South champ: Indianapolis
AFC West champ: San Diego

NFC East champ: Philadelphia
NFC North champ: Green Bay
NFC South champ: New Orleans
NFC West champ: Seattle

AFC wild cards: Pittsburgh, New York Jets
NFC wild cards: Atlanta, Minnesota
Best four teams to miss the playoffs: New York Giants, Chicago, Jacksonville, San Francisco
Who will be on the clock for the 2010 Draft No. 1 pick? Tampa Bay. Oakland’s division is bad enough, and Detroit should be improved enough, but the Raiders and Lions are good choices too.

AFC Championship game: San Diego over Baltimore
NFC Championship game: Philadelphia over Green Bay

Super Bowl MVP: DeSean Jackson, WR
Super Bowl XLIV champion:
Philadelphia 31, San Diego 20


Have a good one, everybody. Enjoy one of the best days of the sports year!

-AJ