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.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Big Ten AND 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

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?


Saturday, September 26, 2009

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

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.

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,


Monday, September 21, 2009

The Inaugural 2009 Big Ten Football Power Poll

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.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Week 2 NFL Picks

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


Thursday, September 17, 2009

How the Rangers Broke my Heart

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.


Monday, September 14, 2009

NFL 2009 Preview, Part IV

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

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!


Friday, September 11, 2009

NFL 2009 Preview, Part II

I lied. Three-part NFL preview? What do you think we are, nuts?!?!

We gotta go at least 4.

Here's Tom Lea with his Week 1 picks. Still to come: B-dubs and AJ with a season preview for the greatest league on earth, the National Football League.

Have at it, Tom. And way to use the same opening line as I did in the Part I post, haha. This was written Thursday evening, before the Titans-Steelers game.

And so it begins.

Just a measly seven hours separate me from the (real) kickoff to the wonderful season of blocking, punting, groaning, bitching, whining, winning, Chad Ochocinco, beer drinking, hilarity, and Lendale White-dropping-30-pounds-after-dumping-Patron version of NFL football.

It’s been a long summer. The Brewers suck, my golf game sucks, not being a college student anymore sucks and having a job that pays just a tad more than a gas station attendant sucks. So, thank you, Mr. Goodell, for letting your league start tonight ... I need something to get me off.

By the way … Brett Favre sucks something harder than all of my life's suckiness combined.

So, without further ado, here are my picks for Week 1. And yes, I am expecting to get a multitude of bonus points for getting my picks in three days early. And yes, I plan on having an oh-fer at some point this season. C’mon, that was one of the highlights of this pick ‘em league a season ago.


Pittsburgh over Tennessee

Remember the last time a stud athlete was hit with sexual assault allegations? Oh, who am I kidding. I only had to listen to all those Eagle, Colo. references as the Lakers deposited the Nuggets into the bank of have a nice off-season last spring. (Editor's note: Fuck you, Tom.)

Anyway, my point is that Kobe Bryant led his team to the championship following that episode. Granted they got bumrushed by the Detroit Thugs (Pistons) in the finals, but the point is they made the finals.

So, I am picking the Steelers in week one and yes, I am calling it right now, the Steelers will return to the Super Bowl this season. They won’t win it, but they’ll get there. You’ll see who my NFC pick for Super Bowl contention and ultimate championship is later on in this piece.

And to Ben Roethlisberger…..I believe you. We just can’t trust women these days.

SUNDAY (aka the best day EVER)

Miami over Atlanta

What better way to start the opening Sunday than to do it with an upset pick. It’s kind of minor, but hell, it’s how I pick. It’s the Lea way.

Chad Pennington may have a noodle for an arm, but anytime that noodle transforms a 1-15 team to a playoff team in a division the Patriots play in, I will pick him over the Falcons any day of the week. Plus, Matty Ice is poised for a sophomore slump and he will kick that shitshow off in week one.

Baltimore over Kansas City


Philadelphia over Carolina

McNabb, though he is the one who wanted Vick, feels the dog killer nipping at his heels.
He will be drowning in emotion at the start of the game only to see it hanging in the balance with a beaten up offensive line on the final drive. He’ll get it done with an electrifying performance in the fourth quarter en route to giving the Eagles the win.

Denver over Cincinnati

I have been watching Hard Knocks on HBO, and as disoriented as the Broncos are, believe me, the Bungals are just as bad, if not worse. This may be shocking to you, but in Orton I trust.

Minnesota over Cleveland

I thought about not picking the Vikings all year, but I decided against it. Favre throws 3 touchdowns and 2 picks en route to an easy 31-14 win. Excuse me, but I need to go vomit.






Okay, I’m back.

Houston over New York Jets

When it’s over, Houston will be the one delivering any Dirty Sanchez’s.

Jacksonville over Indy

Here’s another upset pick … call me stupid you will, but try me once, you’ll have to try me again twice. Wait, how does that go? I’m confused. (Editor's Note: what else is new)

New Orleans over Detroit

Believe me, I’ll be the first one in this damn thing to get the Lions' first win in 13 years correct. Count it.

Tampa Bay over Dallas

Yes, the Bucs fired their offensive coordinator. Yes, they have 31 quarterbacks on their roster. Yes, the Cowboys have “Mr. Dreamy” Tomo (See what I did there). But this will come down to a critical punt hitting the 3,000-foot long TV Mr. Jones put up above the field. Wait, I’m getting a call….

I guess it’s not in Dallas……fuck it. Go Bucs Go.

Arizona over San Fran

I’m not even wasting my time. Crabtree with 8 catches for 210 yards and 3 touchdowns…….


I don’t care, just wanted to type that out.

Seattle over St. Louis

Oh, how I love Interleague play. Pujols will go 3-5 with 2 dingers. Ichiro will have 2,183 hits, but the Cardinals still win 8-4 … Oh shit, this is football?

I guess Seattle will take it.

The Pack over Da Bears

And here they are … S.U.P.E.R. B.O.W.L. champions … I’ll leave it up to you to decipher if I’m talking Packers or Bears.

New England over Buffalo

I hear this Tom Brady character is back. Personally, I thought Drew Henson was better.

San Diego over Oakland

Merriman is just going to choke out the opponents.

There you have it. Sorry for cutting it off so soon, but I have six proud fantasy franchises to attend to.

Until next week,


Thursday, September 10, 2009

NFL 2009 PREVIEW, Part I

And so it begins...

The road to Super Bowl XLIV begins today, when the Tennessee Titans play the defending World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers in a contest in which even the towels aren't safe from harm.

Here at The Other B.S. Report (name to change again soon, in all likelihood. Don't wanna get sued by the Sports Guy's lawyers), we're looking at a three-part NFL season 2009 preview. The first segment has been so kindly provided by Quad-City Times six-pointer DJ Jarvis, who seems certain that Jay Cutler is the second coming. The second coming of what, I'm not personally sure. Could be of this guy, for all we know.

But I digress. B-dubs and AJ's preview coming before Sunday. Take it away, DJ.

Projected 2009 NFL Standings

NFC North
1. Chicago 11-5
2. Green Bay 10-6
3. Minnesota 9-7
4. Detroit 1-15
Other Predictions: Four 1,000-yard backs (Matt Forte, Ryan Grant, Adrian Peterson, Kevin Smith) and two 1,000-yard receivers (Greg Jennings, Earl Bennett) come out of the NFC North. Brett Favre throws more picks than touchdowns. And even though he will rush for 1,000 yards, Peterson will have a down year.

NFC East
1. Philadelphia 11-5
2. Dallas 8-8
3. New York Giants 8-8
4. Washington 6-10
Other Predictions: Like the North, every team will have a 1,000-yard back (Brian Westbrook, Marion Barber, Brandon Jacobs and/or Ahmad Bradshaw, Clinton Portis). Donovan McNabb will have one last great season. Michael Vick will catch 50 passes and score at least 5 TDs.

NFC South
1. New Orleans 12-4
2. Atlanta 10-6
3. Carolina 9-7
4. Tampa Bay 5-11
Other Predictions: Reggie Bush gets 2,000 all-purpose yards.

NFC West
1. Seattle 11-5
2. Arizona 9-7
3. St. Louis 6-10
4. San Francisco 3-13
Other Predictions: Kurt Warner is hurt by Week 5, but Matt Leinart carries them to a solid season. Michael Crabtree finally signs, and carries the Niners to wins in 3 of the last 4 games.

AFC North
1. Pittsburgh 11-5
2. Baltimore 8-8
3. Cincinnati 7-9
4. Cleveland 2-14
Other Predictions: Eric Mangini quits as head coach of the Browns during the season. Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco have a great year, but can't get over the .500 mark.

AFC East
1. New England 14-2
2. Miami 9-7
3. Buffalo 7-9
4. New York Jets 7-9
Other Predictions: Mark Sanchez has a good rookie season, but falls short of the playoffs. Tom Brady has an MVP year, he and Randy Moss hook up for 20 TDs to lead the Pats to the league's best record.

AFC South
1. Houston 10-6
2. Indianapolis 9-7
3. Tennessee 9-7
4. Jacksonville 5-11
Other Predictions: Torry Holt still has it. Andre Johnson tears the South up. Vince Young carries the Titans after Kerry Collins can't cut it.

AFC West
1. San Diego 10-6
2. Kansas City 7-9
3. Denver 6-10
4. Oakland 2-14
Other Predictions: LaDainian Tomlinson rushes for almost 2,000 yards. Matt Cassel shows that he isn't a terrible quarterback. Kyle Orton and Brandon Marshall do well, but defense lets them down. Oakland is Oakland.


Wild Card Round
Houston def. Indianapolis
San Diego def. Miami
Atlanta def. Seattle
Green Bay def. Philadelphia

Divisional Round
Pittsburgh def. Houston
New England def. San Diego
Chicago def. Atlanta
Green Bay def. New Orleans

Conference Championship
New England def. Pittsburgh
Chicago def. Green Bay

Super Bowl XLIV
New England def. Chicago, 35-17
Super Bowl MVP: Randy Moss, 175 yards, 3 TDs
-DJ Jarvis

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Why the Badgers might (emphasis on, MIGHT) actually win the Big Ten and more College Football Preview

Wait a second. I'm confused.

(And save the "you're always confused jokes...I'm only walking around confused 63 percent of the time.)

Why ARE the Wisconsin Badgers getting zero love from college football nation?

Try and remember, I'm not a Wisconsin "fan", per se. I want the team to do well, sure - I mean, it was always more enjoyable writing about a successful team during my 4 years in Wisconsin, the last three spent covering the football team. Besides, with more wins come more fan support, and thus more people reading your articles and what not. So naturally, now that I'm away from Madison, it's easier to support the team's success. But I still maintain that same sense of non-bias, trying to view all things Wisconsin with an objective eye.

That being said...I think this IS the year Wisconsin returns to prominence. Not completely, but this year marks the start.

The quarterback situation has never been better since Brooks Bollinger left in 2003 - I mean, did I actually see Scott Tolzien making plays last night? Never saw Evridge or Sherer or Donovan do that, and I would even argue that while John Stocco was grossly underappreciated and a good game manager, he's not exactly your sling-it-around kind of QB. As highly touted as Curt Phillips is, it says something that Scott Tolzien - donning my favorite football number, 16 - beat him out for the starting gig. Plus, Phillips is a viable option to take snaps and make plays with his legs.

John Clay is still John Clay, a bustout star waiting to happen. And just like the QBs, it must say something that Zach Brown is being considered the starter.

The wide goodness, the wide receivers. We all know Nick Toon could rack up 1,000 yards this year, but how about Isaac Anderson? Maurice Moore looks solid too, and David Gilreath is still around, though his being shoved down the depth chart could positively impact his, uh, impact on special teams. (In the words of Bill Simmons, I swear that made sense when I wrote it.) Plus, Garrett Graham and Lance Kendricks should make sure the loss of Travis Beckum isn't too hard. Besides, Beckum missed most of last year anyway, so, you know, nbd.

Throw in the already solid special teams (let's hope Welch's worst night of the year was last night - two missed FGs and an extra point banged off the upright and in), and a defense that appears better than expected (O'Brien Schofield could be a BEAST, plus Mike Taylor and Chris Maragos made big plays last night), and...uh...yeah, why aren't the Badgers getting more respect?

Oh, yeah, they play in the Big Ten Conference.

No qualms there, really. The Big Ten doesn't "appear" to be down, Big Ten Network anchors slash fools and jesters. (Side note: now that I'm watching these games on TV, I'm realizing that the Big Ten Network is painfully bad. I love the principle, and it's nice to get more coverage to flyover state teams, but their programming is fairly pathetic.) The Big Ten IS down. It just is. Hey Ohio State and Iowa, seriously, it's okay to blow out Navy and Northern Iowa at home. Yo Minnesota, for all that talk of being so improved, it's not too impressive when you need overtime to beat a team with five wins in the last two years and is being led by a BASKETBALL POINT GUARD who's a nice story, but hasn't played football in five years. And Illinois? Hi. News flash: the season started. Yeah, it did. Yesterday. When you went out and got punked by Mizzou? (Yes, I'm a Mizzou fan, but still, humor me.) Maybe you want to show up for your nationally-televised opener and not let the Big XII have more ammo than it already has.

But therein lies my exact point with Wisconsin, and the No. 1 reason it's back: the SCHEDULE. Those four non-conference games - NIU, Fresno State, Wofford, and at Hawaii - are four guaranteed wins. Then you've got a Big Ten schedule highlighted by a visit to Columbus and...




at Minnesota? Home for Michigan State or Iowa?

Please, somebody tell me why the Badgers CAN'T go 11-1 with that schedule. Sure, they'll go to a bowl game above their heads and get punked there, but the fan base has to be pleased with 11-1, right?

What I like about the result of last night's game is that national pundits will see the score - 28-20 over Northern Illinois - and think, oh, another Big Ten team barely surviving a lower-end team. But honestly, Wisconsin played MUCH better than that score indicates. It's a young team, it'll grow up and learn how to play 60 minutes. It's also a fairly beaten-up team right now (no starting center, no backup defensive ends to spell Schofield and Watt, no backup safeties due to suspension), so that situation will improve. If King Bielema can make better personnel and in-game decisions this season - which can only go up after the 2008 debacle - there's no reason why Wisconsin can't shock some people this season. And as I've been saying for about a year and a half...basically the ENTIRE offense returns in 2010. That's when I believe the Badgers are a down Terrelle Pryor year away from WINNING the Big Ten Conference, for sure.

As for 2009, I see them losing in Columbus, and possibly even at home to the Spartans. But that's it.

Write it down: the Badgers will win double digit games this year.

And with that, some final predictions that I swear weren't affected by yesterday's action:

Big Ten champ (runners-up): Michigan State (Penn State, with the Buckeyes and Badgers right behind)
Big XII: Texas (Oklahoma...better get well soon, Sammy...and Oklahoma State)
ACC: Florida State (Miami or Virginia Tech)
Big East: West Virginia (Pittsburgh or Rutgers)
Pac-10: USC (Cal and Oregon)
SEC: Florida (Georgia and Ole Miss)
Top Four BCS Busters: Brigham Young, Boise State, Central Florida and Tulsa (that's right, Tulsa)
Heisman Winner: Jesus-Man slash Tim Tebow (who else?)
Runners-up: Scott Tolzien. OK, no, kidding. Let's go Colt McCoy, Jahvid Best and Dez Bryant.
Which non-BCS team not from Idaho or Utah could crash the BCS party? Central Michigan
Which currently ranked team will not make a bowl game? North Carolina
Best BCS team to get left out of the BCS party: Alabama
BCS title game: Florida over Texas

Look for our MEGA-NFL season preview later this week. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to buy Rose Bowl tickets.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Why the Sooners will Win the National Championship

Editor's Note: AJ did not write this. B-dubs did, as part of his grand comeback tour.

I think my Oklahoma Sooners will win the National Championship because...their defense will be dominant just as it was back in 2000. Returning 9 of 11 defensive starters and its entire dominant front seven, Oklahoma will shut down defenses week in and week out. Combine this with the fact that they have a Heisman Trophy winner at QB and two returning 1,000 yard rushers... it creates a monster.

Sure, the O-line only has one returning starter. Sure, the special teams may be an issue again. But OU won't need to score 40 a game this year because of the defense (but they will average over 30 pts/gm).

Bring on Florida. Bring on Tejas. The Sooners are ready for another championship run.

Stay classy,

The Morning Report, Vol. 1

Ah, the first Saturday of college football. A tasty appetizer before the MAIN COURSE WHICH IS NOW JUST EIGHT DAYS AWAY WEEK 1 OF NFL WEEK 1 OF NFL OMIGOD OMIGOD...

Sorry about that. It's too early for outward emotion. But seriously, great day of college football ahead. For me personally, I'll be watching medleys all day.

11 am (CST):
Northern Iowa at No. 22 Iowa (my NEW local team)
Minnesota at Syracuse

2:30 pm:
Mizzou-RAH at Illinois
No. 13 Georgia at No. 9 Oklahoma State (let's go, Z-Rob)

6 PM:
Northern Illinois at Wisconsin (more on the Badgers later today)

7 PM:
No. 5 Alabama at No. 7 Virginia Tech

God, I miss Madison today. But anyhow...

Throw in a STAR-STUDDED day of U.S. Open tennis (Federer-Hewitt, Oudin-Sharpova in a battle of the hotties, Djokovic-Witten, Soderling-Querrey, Isner-Roddick, topped off by Blake-Robredo) and, um, why leave the house? Butt, meet couch. It's been a while.

But before we get started, here are six points to ponder in the first (and hopefully not last) installment of "The Morning Report", which'll rattle off some lingering thoughts when I wake up in the a.m.

  • These Toaster Scrambles - bacon, egg and sausage - are deeeeeeeeeeeelicious.
  • Watched Big Ten Cookout this morning, and it took me about 4.8 seconds to figure out that Melanie Collins - our April TNEA - is really dumb. Like, kind of unconsciously dumb. I'll cut her a break, since she's 22 and just getting started on TV (and apparently, BTN thinks it's a great idea to have a girl fresh out of college hosting important Saturday shows). But she's got a lot of work to do before entering the class of our girl EA. But say Big Ten Cookout, I say "Stare at Melanie Collins' Rockin' Body For 30 Minutes." She is deeeeeeeeeeelicious.

  • Answer to a previous tennis trivia question (Name the 11 American citizens to win a GS singles title in my lifetime): Sampras, Agassi, Roddick, Serena and Venus are the easy ones. The toughies? Jim Courier (4, a two pair of Aussies and Frenches between 1991-93), Michael Chang (the 1989 French, two months before Matt and Dan's births), Lindsay Davenport (every tournament but the French, between '98 and 2000), Jennifer Capriati (two Aussies and a French), and then the two American converts - Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles.

  • After two rounds, heading into Labor Day weekend, my dad holds a slight 90-88 point lead over me in our U.S. Open draw. Overall, he has been better: all 8 of his quarterfinalists are still in tact and he didn't make a lot of dumb early picks. Despite me losing Mardy Fish as a quarterfinalists, my entire top half round of 16 is still in tact (and they could all win today too), which has helped me keep pace. Again, I have Murray beating Federer in the final, Dad has the opposite.

  • Go ahead and Google "college football". This is the No. 2 hit. And this is the No. 9 hit. Gotta love the fact that college football has apparently become synonymous with Jenn Sterger. Google is awesome.

  • Picks, picks, picks: I'll take Oklahoma State to barely fight off Georgia (best game of the day), No. 3 Oklahoma to sneak by No. 20 BYU, Northern Colorado to stun No. 25 Kansas in Lawrence in my upset special, Washington to topple No. 11 LSU in my other upset special, and No. 7 Virginia Tech to score a big BCS win over No. 5 Alabama tonight. Also give me Miami over host No. 18 Florida State in my third upset special on Monday, Michigan narrowly over Western Michigan, Wisconsin big over Northern Illinois (again, more on this later today), Illinois over Missouri, and common sense over LeGarrette Blount's stupidity.
College football preview coming later today! Enjoy Labor Day Weekend, everybody!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Next Erin Andrews: September

ABC has a genius or two working at the network.

There are three basic principles for what will get people to consistently watch your television programming - and no, none of them involve a ghastly overload of "reality" or "dramatic" TV.

1) Physical comedy (and lots of it)
2) Some element of competition

The latter is our TNEA of the Month, Jill Wagner of ABC's Wipeout, one of the true can't-miss shows out there. Some may recognize her as "The Mercury Girl" as well.

Jill's an easy choice for this award - and a potential TNEA of the Year candidate - because if you've seen her on Wipeout, she does a lot of the same things Erin does, only with more flair and humor. Granted, nothing against Erin, since Jill has a script and can always "Take 2", but one could definitely see Jill on the sidelines for ESPN someday (especially with the ABC relationship.)

Jill's an easy choice for this award - and a potential TNEA of the Year candidate - because if you've seen her on Wipeout, you know she does a lot of the same things Erin does, only with some cool flair and a lot more humor (and is fairly flirty as well). Granted, nothing agianst Erin, since Jill has a script and can always "Take 2" and is supposed to be flirty where EA is supposed to be professional, but still. One could definitely see Jill on the sidelines for ESPN someday - particularly considering the ABC-ESPN relationship and the fact that SportsCenter anchor John Anderson is one of "The Two Johns" who host Wipeout.

Here is a few clips of Jill working the Wipeout sidelines, so to speak:

Yeah. Throw in a TON of physical hilariousness alongside Jill's stunning...uh, reporting...and you've got yourself a fun hour of TV right there. Hey CBS - yeah, you with all the reality TV - take note.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sportsman of the Month: August

Sportsman of the Month: Danny Macaskill

Guarantee you've never heard of Danny Macaskill.

Guarantee you need only reason for Danny Macaskill to drop your jaw with his talent, and it's in the video posted below.

Oh yeah. Macaskill's got mad skills.

Past Sportsmen of the Month
July - Roger Federer
June - Ed Thomas
May - Calvin Borel
April -Crazylegs runners/walkers
March - Team Japan baseball team
February - Rafael Nadal
January - Larry Fitzgerald