Thursday, December 23, 2010

Week 16 NFL Podcast

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bowl Preview Podcast and Confidence Picks

Pauley Clark- 1- Ohio, 2- Texas Tech, 3- Kentucky, 4- Stanford, 5- UTEP, 6- Fresno State, 7- Louisville, 8- Air Force, 9- Miami FL, 10- Kansas State, 11- Auburn, 12- Clemson, 13- Arkansas, 14- South Carolina, 15- North Carolina, 16- North Carolina State, 17- LSU, 18- Miami of Ohio, 19- Wisconsin, 20- Georgia, 21- Missouri, 22- Maryland, 23- Toledo, 24- San Diego State, 25- Baylor, 26- Florida, 27- Mississippi State, 28- Alabama, 29- Oklahoma State, 30- Hawaii, 31- SMU, 32- Nevada, 33- Nebraska, 34- Oklahoma, 35- Boise State

Sonny “The Captain” Giuliano- 1- Troy, 2- Pittsburgh, 3- Southern Mississippi, 4- Fresno State, 5- Arkansas, 6- Stanford, 7- Miami FL, 8- Clemson, 9- Georgia Tech, 10- Georgia, 11- Auburn, 12- North Carolina, 13- LSU, 14- Kansas State, 15- North Carolina State, 16- Baylor, 17- San Diego State, 18- Texas Tech, 19- Toledo, 20- South Carolina, 21- Maryland, 22- Alabama, 23- Mississippi State, 24- Miami of Ohio, 25- SMU, 26- BYU, 27- Missouri, 28- Florida, 29- Hawaii, 30- Wisconsin, 31- Oklahoma State, 32- Nevada, 33- Oklahoma, 34- Nebraska, 35- Boise State

Dr. Collin Stucko- 1- Nevada, 2- Middle Tennessee, 3- South Florida, 4- Troy, 5- Fresno State, 6- Baylor, 7- Army, 8- Oklahoma State, 9- Maryland, 10- Missouri, 11- Toledo, 12- Tulsa, 13- Southern Mississippi, 14- Georgia Tech, 15- BYU, 16- Boise State, 17- San Diego State, 18- West Virginia, 19- Syracuse, 20- Georgia, 21- Miami FL, 22- Florida State, 23- Michigan, 24- LSU, 25- Oklahoma, 26- TCU, 27- North Carolina, 28- Penn State, 29- Pittsburgh, 30- Ohio State, 31- Alabama, 32- Texas Tech, 33- Stanford, 34- Nebraska, 35- Auburn

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Bowl Preview Podcast Part 1

Bowl Preview Podcast Part 2

Time To Go Bowling

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Christmas songs are on the radio. Holiday cheer is being spread. The Christmas tree is beautifully lit and decorated in my living room. People are kissing under the mistletoe and roasting chestnuts on an open fire (Yupp, I just turned back the clocks 50 years, because I have never once seen either of those two Christmas traditions occur in real life.) It’s a winter wonderland outside… oh wait, I’m not in New York anymore. No winter wonderland for me. But that’s okay, because I’m filled with the Christmas Spirit. Not only is it Christmas season, but it is Bowl Season too. This year my interest in the college football bowl games is higher than usual. Why? I’m not quite sure. Maybe it is because I wrote a totally awesome paper on why College Football should turn to a playoff in English class for college. Maybe it’s just because I have watched more college football this year than I ever have. Whatever the reason may be, I am just as ready for Bowl Season as I am for Christmas Season.

Just to remind everyone, I do still have a serious problem with the BCS. I feel that my playoff system solves all problems, including world peace, lack of oil and global warming. In case anyone was wondering, this is what the Playoff Bracket would look like.

Holiday Bowl- 1. Auburn vs. 16. Alabama
Music City Bowl- 8. Arkansas vs. 9. Michigan State
Alamo Bowl- 5. Stanford vs. 12. Virginia Tech
Outback Bowl- 4. Wisconsin vs. 13. Missouri
Insight Bowl- 6. Ohio State vs. 11. LSU
Independence Bowl- 3. TCU vs. 14. Nevada
Chick-Fil-A Bowl- 7. Oklahoma vs. 10. Boise State
Liberty Bowl- 2. Oregon vs. 15. Oklahoma State

Because it’s the season for giving, I’m going to give the BCS a break. And I’m going to enjoy the BCS. In fact, there is something I will be able to enjoy about each bowl game, all 35 of them. Here are the bowl games in order of when they will be played. You will also notice that all of the winners will have a number between 1 and 35 next to them. This is my confidence level in the game (35 being most confident, 1 being least confident.) Yes indeed, the Captain is going all out with this bowl preview. That is my present to all of you readers. A totally kick-ass College Football Bowl Game preview, which I guarantee will be the best one you read (well, at least top 10.)

New Mexico Bowl- BYU vs. UTEP (December 18, 2 p.m. ESPN)
-The fact that this is the first game of the bowl season excites the hell out of me. The only other thing about that game that excites me is BYU runningback JJ Di Luigi.
Winner: BYU (26)

UDrove Humanitarian Bowl- Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State (December 18, 5:30 p.m. ESPN)
-Northern Illinois had a terrific season. Going 10-2 in the regular season, 8-0 in MAC conference play. However, Coach Jerry Kill decided to “chuck a deuce” and leave the Huskies to coach for the Gophers of Minnesota. Fresno State is bowl eligible for a fourth straight season. Three of their four losses were to WAC powerhouses Hawaii, Nevada and Boise State. Fresno State running back Robbie Rouse was a 1,000 yard rusher this season, and I expect him to lead the Bulldogs to victory. The key in this game is Fresno State coach Pat Hill. He will be coaching with a lot of confidence due to the fact that Dave Wannstedt is no longer coaching. Pat Hill has taken over the number one ranking for Best Mustache by a Coach.
Winner: Fresno State (4)

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl- Ohio vs. Troy (December 18, 9 p.m. ESPN)
-A must see match-up between MAC and Sun Belt. Can’t get much better than that, right? Well the night cap on the first night of bowl season may be a good one. Unfortunately, it’s between two teams that don’t matter much.
Winner: Troy (1)

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl- Southern Mississippi vs. Louisville (December 21, 8 p.m. ESPN)
-Former Florida Defensive Coordinator Charlie Strong is taking the Cardinals to a bowl game in his first season as head coach. Hopefully he can get his Louisville defense to play the way his Florida defenses had in the past. Southern Miss has scored over 30 points in all but two games this season.
Winner: Southern Miss (3)

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl- Utah vs. Boise State (December 22, 8 p.m. ESPN)
-This one is simple. Boise State is overwhelmingly better than Utah, and they are pissed off. I don’t care what conference they come from, or who they played. Boise State is good enough to play in a BCS bowl, and win a BCS bowl this year. Utah doesn’t stand a chance in this game, especially without their starting Quarterback Jordan Wynn. Utah has a ten game bowl winning streak going into the Las Vegas Bowl. I’m willing to put 35 points on Boise State and say the streak doesn’t extend to eleven games.
Winner: Boise State (35)

S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl- San Diego State vs. Navy (December 23, 8 p.m. ESPN)
-San Diego State burst onto the scene with a close loss to TCU in the middle of the season and they were a competitive team in the Mountain West Conference (Finished 5-3, tied for third in the conference). This is their first bowl appearance since 1998. Navy seems to be bowl eligible every year (8 straight bowl appearances) and this year is no different. A 9-3 record is their best regular season finish since 2006. They are a model of consistency, which makes since considering it is a military school. However, I like the upstart Aztecs in this game to get the win and continue to turn the program around. By the way, don’t sleep on the San Diego State Basketball team. Come March I assure you I will be saying the same thing.
Winner: San Diego State (17)

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl- Hawaii vs. Tulsa (December 24, 8 p.m. ESPN)
-Annually, the Hawaii Bowl is one of my favorite bowl games to watch. The delight of Christmas Eve combined with a Bowl Game is terribly satisfying. This year will be a special treat. Plenty of points will be scored in the Hawaii Bowl, as for both teams have good offenses and suspect defenses. If the over/under in this game was 100 it might be tempting to bet over. Hawaii is playing a home game, and they have won the Hawaii Bowl three times since 2002.
Winner: Hawaii (29)

Little Caesars Bowl- Toledo vs. Florida International (December 26, 8:30 p.m. ESPN)
-There is one bright spot to this game. December 26th marks my return to New York, and more importantly, the Big Room, where more sports have been watched than any other room in the history of rooms or sports. Did that make sense? The unfortunate news is this is a matchup between two relatively bland teams. Fun fact about Toledo: Their opening game versus Arizona, they scored just two points. They are probably the only team in the country who could brag about this.
Winner: Toledo (19)

AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl- Georgia Tech vs. Air Force (December 27, 5 p.m. ESPN2)
-If you enjoy games with a lack of passing and a lot of rushes, specifically a number of option plays: Welcome to your wet dream! The over/under of passes in this game is officially set at 10.5. These two teams are the number one and two rush offenses in the country. It’s tough to make a prediction when the teams are practically identical, so I’m going to take a chance on Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech Coach Paul Johnson had six wins over Air Force when he coached at Navy, and Air Force is a little worse against the run than Georgia Tech. Like I said… Wet dream for fans of the run!
Winner: Georgia Tech (9)

Champs Sports Bowl- West Virginia vs. North Carolina State (December 28, 6:30 p.m. ESPN)
-This is my candidate for sneaky good bowl game of the year. Both of these teams had BCS aspirations, and had they won their respective conferences they most likely would be squaring off in the Discover Orange Bowl. The difference maker in this game is North Carolina State Russell Wilson, who could be playing his last game for North Carolina State. Wilson had over 3,000 yards passing, and 26 touchdowns this year.
Winner: North Carolina State (15)

Insight Bowl- Missouri vs. Iowa (December 28, 10 p.m. ESPN)
-This game lost a lot of its attractiveness after Iowa suspended Derrell Johnson-Koulianos (I always have to do a double take when I am listening to an Iowa game, because when I hear the announcer say “Koulianos” it sounds a similar to my last name, “Giuliano”) and Adam Robinson, their leading receiver and rusher respectively. Iowa didn’t end the season in ideal fashion anyways. Missouri was underrated all season within the Big 12 all season, which is hard for a 10-2 team to manage. Coach Gary Pinkel has turned Missouri into a yearly Big 12 contender.
Winner: Missouri (27)

Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman- Maryland vs. ECU (December 29, 2:30 p.m. ESPN)
-This one intrigued me simply because I had no idea who or what Northrop Grumman was. So I did some research. Northrop Grumman is not a person. Rather, it is a company which is the fourth largest defense contractor, and largest builder of naval vessels. That was a mild disappointment to me. I imagined Northrop Grumman to be a heroic war hero who took down an entire militia after his troop was ravaged by typhoid or small pox. It turns out they are just ship builders. Ironic considering Pirates live on ships, and the East Carolina mascot is a Pirate. If East Carolina didn’t have the worst defense in the country, I would pick them based on the fact they are Pirates. But I have to go with Maryland in a high scoring affair.
Winner: Maryland (21)

Texas Bowl- Baylor vs. Illinois (December 29, 6 p.m. ESPN)
-Neither of these teams finished the year on a good note. Baylor has lost their last three games, and Illinois has lost three of their last four, only winning in the “Losers Walk” game at Wrigley Field. By the way, I would totally love seeing a bowl game there. In this game I like Baylor. They have a special quarterback in Robert Griffin III, whom Paul Clark and I both enjoy.
Winner: Baylor (16)

Valero Alamo Bowl- Oklahoma State vs. Arizona (December 29, 9:15 p.m. ESPN)
-With the exception of Oregon and Stanford, the Pac 10 has been extremely disappointing this year. There were high hopes for Arizona at the start of the year, and they finished the season as badly as any team who is in a bowl game. Oklahoma State is extremely explosive, and was very close to playing in the Big 12 Championship. This game is a given in my opinion.
Winner: Oklahoma State (31)

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl- Army vs. SMU (December 30, Noon ESPN)
-Army became Bowl eligible this year for the first time in 14 years. However, they are playing an SMU team which will be playing in their home stadium. June Jones is taking the Mustangs to a bowl game for the second time in his three years with SMU. Don’t forget, SMU played BCS buster TCU earlier in the year, and led in the 2nd half of that game.
Winner: SMU (25)

New Era Pinstripe Bowl- Kansas State vs. Syracuse (December 30, 3:20 p.m. ESPN)
-I like that this game is being played at Yankee Stadium. Its gives the game an old school feel that I enjoy every once in a while. I think on ESPN Classic they should show the game in Black and White, and run the game on a ten second delay so the announcer can be a little bit ahead of the play just like all announcers are any time you see clips of old games. I can’t figure out why NFL Films can’t fix this. The bottom line in this game is the Big 12 was tremendous this season, and the Big East was awful. Advantage Kansas State.
Winner: Kansas State (14)

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl- UNC vs. Tennessee (December 30, 6:40 p.m. ESPN)
-Tennessee had to win their last four games of the season to become bowl eligible, only because their six losses were to bowl eligible teams, including one to the number two team in the country Oregon. North Carolina had high hopes this season, but due to a butt load of suspensions they got off to a 0-2 start and never totally recovered. I’m not big on either team, but I think North Carolina will end the year on a good note. Get it? A good note… it’s the Music City Bowl. A good note. Ugh, nevermind.
Winner: North Carolina (12)

Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl- Nebraska vs. Washington (December 30, 10 p.m. ESPN)
-Right here is an example of why it would be so much better if I ran the sports world. Remember when these two teams met in September? Nebraska beat the hell out of Washington, 56-21. Jake Locker, the expected number one pick in the 2011 NFL Draft at the time had an absolutely dreadful performance (4-20, 71 yards). Well guess what everyone; we get to watch this highly anticipated rematch! I’d like to say kudos to those of you who have the power to choose bowl matchups, you prove year in and year out that I, Sonny Giuliano, a college freshman could create better bowl matchups than you could.
Winner: Nebraska (34)

Meineke Car Care Bowl- Clemson vs. South Florida (December 31, Noon ESPN)
-As a new South Floridian, this is a game where I should be backing the Bulls. They beat the bottom feeders of the Big East and Miami. Otherwise their wins over Florida Atlantic, Western Kentucky and Stony Brook are underwhelming at best. I’ll go with Clemson, and coach Dabo Swinney in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. It’s fun enough just to say Dabo Swinney. I can’t wait to root for him. Sorry South Florida.
Winner: Clemson (8)

Hyundai Sun Bowl- Miami FL vs. Notre Dame (December 31, 2 p.m. CBS)
-If only this were Catholics vs. Convicts again. I’d be much more intrigued with that then a matchup between two 7-5 teams. I never got to witness Catholics vs. Convicts. What I get to witness is one team who just fired their coach and the other with a defense that has 11 guys slower than me. Tough choice, but I’ll go with the convicts.
Winner: Miami FL (7)

AutoZone Liberty Bowl- UCF vs. Georgia (December 31, 3:30 p.m. ESPN)
-There has been talk that Central Florida could be a potential tenth team for the Big East. This is their chance to prove they are worthy. Georgia had a down year, but their season really turned around when star wide receiver AJ Green returned. Central Florida had a tremendous year, finishing 10-3 and winning the Conference USA. I like Georgia to finish the season with a winning record by defeating Central Florida in a game that could go either way.
Winner: Georgia (10)

Chick-Fil-A Bowl- Florida State vs. South Carolina (December 31, 7:30 p.m. ESPN)
-South Carolina proved themselves as a legitimate contender in the SEC this year. I am not going to look too deep into their blowout loss against Auburn in the SEC Championship. Auburn was clearly the better team, and had the best player on the field. Florida State has some good wins this year (Miami, Florida, Maryland) and first year Coach Jimbo Fisher led the Seminoles to the ACC Championship game, but I don’t want to undervalue the SEC or South Carolina.
Winner: South Carolina (20)

TicketCity Bowl- Northwestern vs. Texas Tech (January 1, 12 p.m. ESPNU)
-For an hour this will be the marquee game on New Year’s Day. Then three better games start, and the Ticket City Bowl will get lost in the shuffle. The only way it would make an appearance is when the other three games are at halftime, or if God forbid all three other games are at commercial, which is one of the great catastrophes in television.
Winner: Texas Tech (18)

Outback Bowl- Florida vs. Penn State (January 1, 1 p.m. ABC)
-Both of these teams had high hopes heading into this season, and both were disappointing. The deciding factor in this game is its Urban Meyers last game as Florida’s coach, and they win this one for him. He took this Florida program to another level. They owe it to him to get the win.
Winner: Florida (28)

Capital One Bowl- Alabama vs. Michigan State (January 1, 1 p.m. ESPN)
-There were plenty of new coaches this season who were worthy of winning coach of the year. Only one had a heart attack mid-season, and continued to coach his team. That was Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio. Michigan State had a fantastic season, going 11-1 in a difficult Big Ten, when they were picked to finish near the bottom of the conference, and then got completely shafted (just wait until you get to Connecticut vs. Oklahoma) and left out of the BCS. Alabama was the heavy favorite to win a second National Title in a row. Hopes were high, and they finished fourth in the SEC West. I’m not sure whether to expect a pissed off Alabama team, or an Alabama team that doesn’t care, similar to the one that got rocked by Utah two years ago. If Alabama comes to play, they are the more talented team on the field.
Winner: Alabama (22)

Gator Bowl- Mississippi State vs. Michigan (January 1, 1:30 p.m. ESPN2)
-Here’s a fun game to play: Who is going to be coaching their respective team longer, Dan Mullen or Rich Rodriguez? It’s a tough call, but I’m going to say Rich Rodriguez. I think Dan Mullen’s terrific season at Mississippi State, plus a bowl win is going to land him a high profile coaching job. I’m very surprised he didn’t get the opportunity at Florida. Rich Rod is finally getting some pieces to turn this team into a contender. I think he needs a little more time. Whether he makes it to next year or not, I still think he has the edge over Mullen. Not in the game however, Mississippi State rolls.
Winner: Mississippi State (23)

Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO- TCU vs. Wisconsin (January 1, 5 p.m. ESPN)
-The David vs. Goliath matchup is always so interesting. Especially when Goliath is as good as TCU is. TCU has become the consistent non BCS power that teams like Gonzaga and Xavier have in College Basketball. They are facing a challenge unlike any they have ever faced. Perhaps no team has been as hot or dominant as Wisconsin has been in recent weeks. The key to the game is up front. Wisconsin’s offensive line is massive, and TCU’s defensive line in smaller and fast, in true David vs. Goliath form. Although I really like Wisconsin in this game, I wouldn’t rule out TCU winning. They need a statement win to prove that they aren’t just a team that beats up on “the little sisters of the poor.”
Winner: Wisconsin (30)

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl- Oklahoma vs. Connecticut (January 1, 8:30 p.m. ESPN)
-First, can anyone explain to me WHY Connecticut should be in this game? I understand the setup of the BCS, and I get that every BCS Conference gets an automatic bid… But is that how we want it to be? Connecticut was 8-4 in the awful Big East. Not to mention their losses are awful (Michigan, Temple, Rutgers, Louisville). Now they get thrown to the hypothetical wolves. I’m not even buying into the fact that Oklahoma is vulnerable as the heavy favorite. I know they got shocked by Boise State and West Virginia in past BCS games, but this Connecticut team isn’t nearly as good as either of those teams were. Plus Connecticut can’t throw the ball. So if, well when they fall behind, they won’t be able to come back. They are going to be unsuccessful in trying to run the ball and control the game. Oklahoma wins this game easy, and in doing so proves another point why the BCS is so damn screwy. Give me Michigan State, LSU or Boise State in this game please.
Winner: Oklahoma (33)

Discover Orange Bowl- Virginia Tech vs. Stanford (January 3, 8:30 p.m. ESPN)
-With the exception of the BCS Championship Game, this BCS game interests me more than any other one. Take away the awful loss to James Madison, and Virginia Tech is a top 8 BCS team. Take away the second half of the game against Oregon, Stanford is going to the National Championship game. Bottom line is since their respective losses, these two teams have been playing as good as any teams in the country. The difference in this game is Andrew Luck. I, along with most NFL scouts believe he is a sure thing at the next level. Although Tyrod Taylor has had a tremendous career and season, give me Luck.
Winner: Stanford (6)

Allstate Sugar Bowl- Ohio State vs. Arkansas (January 4, 8:30 p.m. ESPN)
-Ohio State seems to win every bowl game they play, unless it is against an SEC team. I think Ohio State is 0-74 against the SEC in bowl games. Unfortunately for Ohio State, Arkansas is a member of the SEC and defeated LSU in the last week of the season to get a BCS spot. Arkansas has plenty of playmakers on offense, and a quarterback who is soon going to be in the NFL. Ohio State’s offense isn’t a slouch though. What it comes down to is I like Ryan Mallet a heck of a lot more than I like Terrelle Pryor. Ohio State is going to fall to 0-75 all-time against the SEC.
Winner: Arkansas (5) Bowl- Middle Tennessee vs. Miami of Ohio (January 6, 8 p.m. ESPN)
-The only hope for this to be a good game is if there are some new commercials on display during the game. Candice Michelle getting half naked makes this game my favorite of the bowl season. As for the game itself, Miami of Ohio capped a terrific turnaround season (1-11 last year, to 9-4 this year) with a win over heavy favorite Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship. Middle Tennessee was 3-6 before rattling off three straight wins to end the season 6-6. That to me looks like a team that isn’t good.
Winner: Miami of Ohio (24)

AT&T Cotton Bowl- Texas A&M vs. LSU (January 7, 8 p.m. FOX)
-Of the non BCS games, this one is the most intriguing. You never know what kind of game you are going to get when the Mad Hatter is involved. I will be the first to admit that I was skeptical of LSU at the start of the year, and I am the first to say I wish they could be in the BCS. Texas A&M was another team that exceeded my expectations. They started the season 3-3, and finished strong by winning their last six games. I expect nothing less than a very unpredictable game.
Winner: LSU (13)

BBVA Compass Bowl- Pittsburgh vs. Kentucky (January 8, Noon ESPN)
-Kentucky has two terrific playmakers in Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke. The suspension of Senior Quarterback Mike Hartline will be a difficult void for Kentucky to fill. Almost as difficult as it will be for Pittsburgh to find a coach with as memorable of a mustache as Dave Wannstedt had. Wannstedt gave Pittsburgh as good of a three year stretch as the school had ever had, but it wasn’t enough for him to keep his job. With both teams dealing with difficult losses, I like Pittsburgh to gather themselves and get the victory.
Winner: Pittsburgh (2)

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl- Nevada vs. Boston College (January 9, 9 p.m. ESPN)
-This game means a lot to me. Since 2006 I have been a proud supporter of the Pistol offense in college football, and in particular at the University of Nevada. I recall joining a picking pool where confidence points were given to teams you picked to win. Foolishly, I put a large amount of points on Nevada to win over Miami FL considering a few weeks earlier I saw a formation that I never even dreamed of. Since then, I have had a love affair with the program. As a football fan, I grew up with Colin Kaepernick and Vai Taua. This will be their last game at Nevada. Their legacy will be cemented with a victory in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
Winner- Nevada (32)

Tostitos BCS National Championship Game- Oregon vs. Auburn (January 10, 8:30 p.m. ESPN)
-I have changed my mind on this about 97 times since the matchup came to be. I love Oregon’s speed on offense. I think Darron Thomas is underrated and if Oregon wins, he may be the key player. I think LaMichael James could have a huge game due to his loss in the Heisman ballot. I think Oregon’s defense might be better than we know. And I absolutely love the uniforms. I also love Auburn’s playmakers, even the ones not named Cam Newton. I think Nick Fairley can cause huge problems for the Oregon offense. Obviously the SEC is much tougher than the Pac 10. Obviously, there are going to be a lot of points scored in this game. It may come down to who has the ball last. Or it could come down which team could get a defensive stop. Despite going back and forth with this prediction, I settled on one thing: Cam Newton has a little bit of the Vince Young from Texas DNA. If he has to, he can will Auburn to a win. Everyone knows I was a huge Vince Young fan, and it takes a lot for me to compare someone to him… Go ahead Cam Newton. It’s your time to establish yourself on the biggest stage just like VY did. For your sake, I hope you don’t go crazy when you get to the NFL.
Winner: Auburn (11)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Captain's Corner

Week 15 NFL Picks, Featuring my Cousin Paul Clark. Check back on Saturday December 18 for my College Football Bowl Preview, plus an Episode of The Captain's Corner where Paul Clark and I disect this years Bowl Games.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Week 14 NFL Picks Podcast

Paul Clark and I make our Week 14 NFL Picks

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Podcast with Phil Ostroski

Check out the first appearance of Phil Ostroski on The Captain's Corner

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Week 13 Football Picks

College Football
UCF over SMU
Pittsburgh over Cincinnati
Oregon over Oregon State
Auburn over South Carolina
Washington over Washington State
Virginia Tech over Florida State
Oklahoma over Nebraska
Connecticut over South Florida
Hawaii over UNLV

Philadelphia over Houston
Jacksonville over Tennessee
Chicago over Detroit
Minnesota over Buffalo
Kansas City over Denver
Green Bay over San Francisco
New Orleans over Cincinnati
Miami over Cleveland
New York Giants over Washington
San Diego over Oakland
Indianapolis over Dallas
St. Louis over Arizona
Seattle over Carolina
Atlanta over Tampa Bay
Baltimore over Pittsburgh
New England over New York Jets

Current Records
College Football- 60-40 (5-5 last week)
NFL- 93-54 (11-5 last week)
Yahoo! College Football Picks- 134-118 (11-8 last week, 2,686th in the country)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Return

I’m two days early with this blog entry. However, I feel it is necessary to touch on something that for one night is bigger than the NFL sorting itself out and the Bowl picture becoming clearer in College Football. Tonight is the sequel to “The Decision.” Tonight is “The Return.”

I know I have written about LeBron a countless number of times. There are good reasons for this.
A.) He is arguably the best athlete in the world
B.) He is arguably the most controversial athlete in the world
C.) He is my favorite athlete in the world, and therefore, I know more about him than most subjects
D.) He pulled arguably the biggest jerk move of any athlete in the world

In my eyes, those are all good reasons to discuss someone. At least I’m not the only one who is enamored with LeBron. Heat Index, LeBron Watch, The Decision all ring a bell? Yeah, I guess ESPN has a little bit of interest in him too. For seven glorious years, the sports world was more focused on Cleveland, Ohio than it ever had been. When 18 year old LeBron James made his NBA debut in 2003, “The Mistake by the Lake” was brightened up. Gloomy and dark Cleveland was turned around. I know. I saw the change firsthand. I was in Cleveland at a Cavaliers game prior to LeBron James’s arrival. The arena was empty. The city was a mess. It was dirty. It was dark. It was boring. It was lifeless. I have been there a number of times in his seven years with Cleveland. LeBron James raised that city like no other athlete may have ever done. He was a savior. Seven years after his debut, LeBron James shut the lights off in Cleveland. It became a dark place again. People were angry and sad. And they still are.

On Thursday December 2nd the bright light will be shined once again on Cleveland. And it’s right in the eyes of LeBron James. In fact, it’s blinding. It’s not the spot light LeBron James is used to though. He has been in the spot light for nearly ten years now and for the most part, he has handled it extremely well considering the circumstances. LeBron James is a hated man. This is a rare case where the game within the game is bigger than the game itself. This is a social issue. This issue is between a man and a city. A city that feels betrayed. Often times an athlete can become the face of a city. A visual representation of a geographical area. Michael Jordan in Chicago, Derek Jeter in New York, Peyton Manning in Indianapolis. LeBron James was the face of a city, and the face of the people of the city. He was a visual and lifelike representation of Cleveland. Cleveland is an underdog, blue collar, hardworking town. LeBron James was a poor kid from nearby Akron, Ohio who rose above everyone else and became a superstar against all odds. He ended up on a Cavaliers team that desperately needed a boost. Together they exceeded expectations, and were oh so close to becoming the all-time underdog story. Then… it ended.

LeBron single handedly put an end to the underdog story. LeBron took his talents to South Beach. A flashy, popular and bright city, the polar opposite of what Cleveland is. As I prepared to watch “The Decision”, word leaked out that LeBron James was going to Miami. It didn’t seem right. I didn’t think it could actually happen. LeBron James was Cleveland. Rather, Cleveland was LeBron James. LeBron James brought the spot light to Cleveland. He rejuvenated a city in a way no athlete ever has. He was now going to take the spot light away. It didn’t seem possible. No man has ever had that kind of power over a city or over thousands of people, and then crushed them like he was about to. As LeBron James appeared on camera, things seemed weird. He looked nervous, unsure and uneasy, yet still arrogant and confident (if that makes sense). Typical LeBron fashion. Biting his finger nails on the bench during a timeout, and dancing as he makes his way back onto the court.

“In this fall, I’m gonna take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat.” The lights went off in Cleveland. “They’ve seen me grow from an 18 year old kid to a 25 year old man.” Yes they did. They backed him from day one and then he turned on them. The videos don’t lie. When LeBron James uttered those words, the collective heart of Cleveland broke. Not only broke, but shattered into a million pieces that could never be repaired. You could see it in people’s faces. Looks of disbelief and depression took over the Cleveland bars where many people were watching The King decide his fate and theirs. It was sad and hard to watch, even for me who was getting ready to move only 2 hours away from Miami and surround myself with a number of Heat fans. The spotlight had been moved to Miami, as if Miami needs any more spotlight than it already has. With this shift, a different kind of light could be seen in Cleveland. The light that will be blinding LeBron James tonight is the light of hell. It is the light of the fire that was set to his jersey after he made his decision. It is the negative light that Dan Gilbert cast over LeBron James in his letter to the Cavaliers fans. It’s a damning and punishing light.

Tonight is going to take the phrase “hostile crowd” to another level. The general safety of a player is at risk during this game. No one can convince me that all of the police and security will keep this from getting out of hand. No one can convince me that the words from the Cleveland Cavaliers management will keep this game civil. I fear for LeBron James and I think a lot of onlookers feel the same way. For so long he has seemed impervious to pain. He has seemed invincible. Tonight is different, he’s vulnerable. He isn’t just dealing with an opposing team’s crowd who similar to the rest of the league doesn’t like the Miami Heat. He is dealing with 20,000 people who once were witnesses. 20,000 screaming fans at The Q. 20,000 of his biggest fans and supporters. Now they feel betrayed. The fire that was set to the jersey of LeBron is going to be brought into Quicken Loans Arena tonight. How LeBron handles it I have no idea. As you can see I wrote nothing about the skills or legacy of LeBron James, the struggles of the Miami Heat or if the choice he made was a mistake. That material has gotten enough attention from me and everyone else. Like I said, tonight this is more than a game. This is more than two opposing teams playing each other on a cold December night in Cleveland. This is a man versus a city. LeBron James could have stayed in Cleveland; the dark city that he made bright with his dazzling play and genuine team continuity. He took his talents to Miami. A bright and vibrant city which now has a dark cloud cast over it. LeBron James was the hero of Cleveland. He is now the ultimate villain. Taking a quote from The Dark Knight, “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become a villain.”

Check out the most recent episode of The Captain's Corner, where Paul Clark and I discuss this issue, and the Week 13 NFL games. My NFL and College Football picks will be released on Saturday morning.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Alot to be Thankful For & Week 12 Picks

I understand I’m two days late of Thanksgiving, but I guess there is no limit on days when you could give thanks. So two days after Thanksgiving, here are some things I am thankful for.

Family- At the end of the day, this is what we all should be most thankful for. I thoroughly enjoy sitting down and stuffing my face with food while watching football. But without the people who mean something to you, this day could be just like any other day. Only where gaining five pounds in acceptable.

Food- I’m thankful for the delicious food I consumed on Thursday. It seems like it is a Thanksgiving tradition to discuss with others how much you ate on Thanksgiving. So here is my rundown: Two servings of Turkey, two servings of mashed potatoes, two biscuits, three servings of stuffing, one turkey sandwich, one serving of squash, one piece of apple pie, and one piece of pumpkin pie. That’s Sonny doin’ work.

Day after Thanksgiving Football- Not only are we given good football on Thanksgiving Day, but by the graces of God, we get good football the day after Thanksgiving as well. This year, the stakes of the marquee triple header were as high as any trio of games this season. Early we saw #11 Alabama blow a 24 point lead at home to #2 Auburn, which all but locked up the Heisman Trophy for Cameron Newton. Interesting fun fact about this game: During the first half of the game, which was easily controlled by Alabama, I was putting up Christmas decorations. It’s always been a tradition in the Giuliano household to put up Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving. This year, it was significantly different though. You see, it’s not exactly a winter wonderland in Fort Myers, Florida. So while putting up Santa Clauses and Nativity Scenes, I was looking out of the window at a palm tree instead of blustery snow. It was beyond surreal. It’s polar opposite of what I am used to. Just imagine if Roger Goodell, who handed the Super Bowl trophy to Drew Brees last year ended up handing the Super Bowl trophy to Michael Vick this year. I’m not trying to say New York weather is an inspirational story and Florida weather is a former convict winning the Super Bowl. I’m just saying it’s a drastic change… Anyways, let’s get back on topic. The second game featured #21 Arizona at #1 Oregon. Again, the favorite trailed at half. Oregon’s high powered offense took over in the second half and Oregon won easily.

Game three was a matchup between #4 Boise State and my #19 Nevada Wolfpack. I must say, this was one of the best college games I have seen in quite some time. For nearly four years I have been hyping the Pistol Offense, and the Nevada Wolfpack. Every year I jokingly predict that Nevada will beat Boise State. Little did I know, the year when Boise State looks more dominant than ever, Nevada pulled the upset. Nevada stormed back from down 17 in the 2nd half to tie it at 24 late in the 4th quarter. From there, what ensued was bananas. After Nevada tied it at 24, on Boise State’s first play, they scored from around 80 yards out. 31-24 Boise State. Nevada then put together a terrific five minute drive to tie the game with less than 20 seconds remaining. 31-31, all tied up. Regulation is not over yet. Kellen Moore launches a bomb with less than ten seconds left that is complete to Titus Young with only one second left. Boise State’s senior kicker Kyle Brotzman has a chance to win the game, and cement the Moore to Young throw as one of the ten greatest college football plays ever: but he pushes the kick right… Overtime in Reno my friends. Boise has the first possession in overtime, and is forced to settle for a field goal. Well, an attempted field goal. In what turned out to be the biggest choke job in college football history, Kyle Brotzman missed two field goal attempts inside of 30 yards; one of which would have won the game for Boise State, and the other which would have put Boise State on top. Nevada’s freshman walk-on kicker nailed the game winning field goal in overtime… I guess you could say it was a pretty good day of football.

NFL and NBA- Although I’m thankful for these two great leagues every year, this year it means more. Why? Well, next year we might not have any Thanksgiving football. I might not be angry with the Miami Heat. The threat of two potential work stoppages scares the ever living hell out of me. In fact, nothing would crush me more than if both the NFL and NBA ceased to exist next year. If that does happen, I will grow a beard, not shower for days at a time and sit in my closet rocking back and forth as I play out game scenarios in my head, and probably announce the games out loud myself.

The Chicago Bears- I don’t know if I am more surprised or happy that the Bears are 7-3. Well, actually I’m definitely more happy than surprised. After their week 4 debacle versus the Giants, I thought that there wasn’t a snowballs chance in hell that this team would be 7-3. I thought there was no way this team would be 7-3 after Jay Cutler threw four interceptions to DeAngelo Hall alone. But hey, they are 7-3 and sitting atop the NFC North. I have said before that they are the worst 7-3 team ever. If they can defeat this Philadelphia juggernaut this week, I think I can finally start believing in my Bears.

Brett Favre- Thanks for coming back Brett! I love the way you’ve played this year, and I hope to see you next year!

The Miami Heat- Oh wait, no I’m not! Why should I be at all happy about what is going on in South Beach. LeBron and Wade can’t play together. Bosh wants to chill. Haslem is out for the year. Spoelstra is super close to being fired. The supporting cast is exceedingly crappy. They have lost three straight games… on and on and on. In reality, LeBron made a huge mistake. I think very soon, unless something changes, he is going to realize this. It’s a sad situation. I know I like LeBron more than the next guy, but we are going to see three great players careers suffer because of this move. We will never know what the maximum potential of LeBron, Wade and Bosh was because they are taking turns deferring to each other. As a basketball fan this has to be disappointing. I don’t care how much you despise LeBron James as a person or a player, it is unfortunate that his big decision robbed the basketball universe of potentially one of the five greatest players of all time.

NFL Wackiness- Do we know who the best team is yet? I’m not sure we do. Could it be New England? What about either of the New York teams? Philadelphia? Atlanta? Baltimore? Pittsburgh? I could list maybe six more teams, but that is just getting redundant. Personally, I love the fact that we have absolutely no idea what teams are going to be in the Super Bowl. I cannot think of a season in any sport where going into the year, you could make a legitimate case for one third of the league as potential champions. It just never happens. But it does this year.

Gus Johnson- This is a man every sports fan should be thankful for. Not only does Gus Johnson bring intensity like no other announcer, it just so happens Gus Johnson is in a serious hot streak right now. Five weeks running, Gus has been involved in a game that has been absolutely bananas. Let me recap.

Week 6- Houston scores with 11 seconds left to defeat Kansas City 35-31.
Week 7- Cincinnati comes back from down 21 points to take the lead against Atlanta. Atlanta wins 39-32.
Week 8- Kansas City beats Buffalo 13-10, in the first of back to back overtime games for Gus.
Week 9- Detroit almost upsets New York, but the Jets come back and win in overtime 23-20.
Week 10- The Hail Mary. Enough said. Jacksonville defeats Houston 31-24.
Week 11- Buffalo is getting blown out early, then proceeds to go on a 42-3 scoring run to defeat Cincinnati 49-31.

We can only hope that Gus can keep this miraculous run of mind-blowing games up until the end of the season. If this can somehow carry over to March Madness, God help us all, and especially Gus, because if he keeps up at this pace his head will explode by the Sweet Sixteen.

Fantasy Football- The Fantasy Football Gods have been kind to me this year. In my two Fantasy Football leagues I am in, I have a combined 15-7 record, and sit in 2nd place in one league, and 3rd in the other. After poor seasons last year, I have rebounded and appear in the playoff picture in two leagues.

Christmas in a month- When I was working on my list of Things I Am Thankful for at about 2 A.M. early Thanksgiving morning, I realized that Christmas was really close. So I went to and started listening to Christmas music. If you feel like getting in the Christmas spirit, I suggest you do the same. If you are reading this on Saturday (the day this entry came out) then smile, because Christmas is exactly one month away. God, I’m giddy!

2005 Texas Longhorns Football- Not only did this team give me a champion and give us the greatest National Championship game ever… but it also reminds us that Vince Young wasn’t always a lazy cry baby. In all likelihood Vince Young will never be a productive NFL quarterback. Typing that previous sentence saddens me. Vince Young was my favorite NFL Player, and I guess he still is until he is out of the league. Again, I’m saddened by the previous sentence. Instead in remembering him as the injury prone whiner of the Tennessee Titans, I get to remember him as the inspire leader of a Texas Longhorns team you knew wasn’t going to lose just because he was their Quarterback.

Big East/NFC West- Yes, that’s right. I’m thankful for the worst BCS Conference in College Football, and the worst Division in the NFL. Why you ask? Well, they deserve a little credit… right? I guess not. Honestly, I’m thankful because there is a good chance that we will see a team with a losing record makes the playoffs (that’s only happened, well never) and because the Big East gets an automatic BCS berth. And that means there is one pick you can feel 100 percent safe with when making Bowl Game Selections, and that is the Fiesta Bowl: Big 12 Winner over Big East Winner. I’m thankful for because they have allowed me to take my talents to Podcasts. Remember to check this blog for updates on podcasts featuring The Captain and others. Speaking of which, here is a Podcast from November 24th which featured Paul Clark and I picking Week 12 NFL Games, and discussing the College Football world.

College Football
Ohio State over Michigan
Michigan State over Penn State
Miami FL over South Florida
LSU over Arkansas
Florida over Florida State
North Carolina State over Maryland
South Carolina over Clemson
Georgia over Georgia Tech
Oklahoma over Oklahoma State
USC over Notre Dame

New England over Detroit
Dallas over New Orleans
New York Jets over Cincinnati
Minnesota over Washington
Houston over Tennessee
Atlanta over Green Bay
Cleveland over Carolina
Pittsburgh over Buffalo
New York Giants over Jacksonville
Oakland over Miami
Seattle over Kansas City
Denver over St. Louis
Baltimore over Tampa Bay
Philadelphia over Chicago
San Diego over Indianapolis
San Francisco over Arizona

Current Records
College Football- 55-35 (6-4 last week)
NFL- 82-49 (13-2 last week due to forgetting to pick the Tampa Bay vs. San Francisco Game)
Yahoo! College Football Picks- 123-108 (11-8 last week, 3,423rd in the country)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Podcast Update

The Captain has taken his talents to the world of podcasting. So far, three podcasts have been done in an attempt to get my feet wet. Check them out by copying/pasting them above.

Episode One (Featuring Collin Stucko)-

Episode Two (Featuring Paul Clark)-

Episode Three (Featuring Paul Clark)-

Saturday, November 20, 2010

College Basketball Preview and Week 11 Picks

I’ll be completely honest. My build up and preparation to this College Basketball season has been far less than it usually is. That isn’t a good sign when I’m getting ready to write a college basketball preview. I realized that my knowledge level was significantly lower than usual when I started writing a preview, and how no idea what to write. Don’t get me wrong, I am more than excited for College Basketball this year. However, I just hadn’t put myself in a mental state where I was fully ready for a College Basketball preview. I blame my lack knowledge on three things. First, I was totally stoked for the start of NFL and College Football, and neither have disappointed. In fact, I’ll go as far as saying I’m in love with these football seasons. Second, the fact that I have been preparing for this NBA season since LeBron decided to take his talents to South Beach might have something to do with my lack of preparation of College Basketball this year. Third, and most importantly, I have no favorite team in College Basketball. This really isn’t a huge issue. I have never had a consistent favorite team in College Basketball, and it hasn’t hindered my interest yet. I think it’s time for a change though. Instead of having one or two year affairs with a team, it’s time for me to settle down with a school.

This decision isn’t as simple as me just choosing a team. Actually, I have no decision to make. Instead, I’m leaving it to fate. Let me backtrack. Prior to last year’s tournament, I had the same feelings as I do now. I need a favorite team in College Basketball. Shouldn’t someone who is as big of a fan as me have a favorite team? So I left it to fate. Whichever team won the 65 team tournament would be my new team. Well, a monkey wrench was thrown into my plan. Duke won the tournament, and I refused to call Duke my favorite team. That wasn’t going to happen.

Well, I’m back at it again this year. However, reluctantly Duke isn’t going to be excluded. If Duke wins the 2011 tournament (gulp) they will be my favorite team. Sure, that sounds really similar to a guy getting trapped with a girl because she gets knocked up, but in reality, it happens. I’m not an exception. If Kentucky wins the tournament, they will be my favorite team. In translation, that’s like marrying the really hot girl. The hot girl who might cheat on you though. If Austin Peay wins the tournament, they will be my favorite team. That’s finding the inner beauty in a not so pretty girl and marrying her. It doesn’t matter who it is. Whoever wins the tournament, I’m marrying.

Of course there are some stipulations. I can’t possibly be locked into a relationship forever. I need a way out. So after three years, I can get a divorce. If things are going south or if there is another team that has stolen my heart, I need to be able to get out of the situation. If I’m enjoying my time with my team, I can sign on for another three years. Also, at any point I can opt of my team if:
A. The team is a part of a major academic or legal scandal which disallows them from being in the NCAA Tournament or dismembers their team (fingers crossed Kentucky doesn’t win the title this year!)
B. Florida Gulf Coast University turns into a perennial Cinderella Team. Hey, they can’t get into the tournament this year, but when they are eligible watch out for my FGCU Eagles to become the next George Mason.
C. My team perishes in a plane crash. I don’t wish that scenario on any team, even Duke.

Before I realize where I want to be, I need to look at my past relationships.

North Carolina Tar Heels (2004-2005)- I guess you could say it was a little bit of a bandwagon pick. They had a lot of good players and I jumped on just in time for a title run. I was excited about it. It was my first title since the Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls days. Yeah, the Tar Heels and I had a good year.

Gonzaga Bulldogs (2005-2006)- My affair with the Gonzaga Bulldogs was due to one player: Adam Morrison. I quickly fell in love with Morrison. White boy with serious game (Gus Johnson thought he was perhaps the next Larry Bird), scoring machine, diabetes, slamming the basketball against his head… what isn’t to love? Unfortunately, the Bulldogs got knocked out in the Sweet 16. Although I was saddened, the closing moments of Gonzaga’s loss to UCLA remains Gus Johnson’s most legendary play call.

Florida Gators (2005-2007)- After I broke up with Gonzaga, it was time for a new team. I took the team of my brother Paul Clark, and made them my new team. Florida was my most successful relationship. In my two seasons with the Gators, I got two championships, Joakim Noah dancing crazily after winning the SEC Championship (check it out on You Tube) and the emergence of a phrase, rather a word, that I cannot say in this blog. I’ll just say this, if you were describing Lee Humphrey (who ironically enough Pauley was complimenting) you would not use this word.

Texas Longhorns (2006-2007)- While I was with the Gators, I had a relationship on the side with Texas. We never met, just texted. Think of it like a Brett Favre/Jenn Sterger relationship. I was big on Kevin Durant, and even went as far as picking Texas to reach the National Championship and lose to the Gators. That didn’t really work out. Durant was awesome, but the team underachieved. Little did I know, there was a third team in this tournament that would soon steal my heart.

Davidson Wildcats (2007-2009)- When I walked into HSBC Arena for the first round matchup of Davidson vs. Maryland, I had no idea that Stephen Curry would soon hold the key to my heart. Curry scored 30 points, and I was on board. Fast forward to the 2008 Tournament. I hadn’t yet fallen for Davidson, rather it was just like a girl you text occasionally. See how their doing, what’s going on but that’s it. I had faith in Stephen Curry, and picked Davidson to make a run to the Sweet 16. 40 points versus Gonzaga later, I was in love. Davidson was my team, for the rest of the tournament, and I was devastated when the Cinderella run ended in the Elite Eight versus Kansas. I stayed with Curry and Davidson for the 2008-2009 season, despite a significantly worse team. They failed to make the tournament, and for the first time, I was without a team in the NCAA Tournament.

Ohio State Buckeyes (2009-2010)- Looking back, I have no idea what this was about. I liked the way Evan Turner played, even though I didn’t really like him personally. I guess this is equivalent to getting a girl who you just had stuff in common with, despite no physical attraction. I liked that Turner was a triple double threat. I didn’t like him though. The Buckeyes lost in the Sweet 16 and I wasn’t too upset.

Obviously I have some preferences of teams I would like to see win this year’s tournament. I broke them up into four categories.

Cinderella Teams
Xavier- The Gonzaga of the East. Every season they seem to make a decent tournament run. I like that out of a team.

Gonzaga- The Xavier of the West. The original Cinderella team is a good choice to be a fan of. Plus, I have a year under my belt as a Gonzaga fan and a Gonzaga T shirt that might fit if I lost 15 lbs. Let the workouts begin!

Butler- The ultimate Cinderella. If Gordon Hayward’s half-court shot went in last year, I’m not even writing about needing a favorite team.

Power Houses
Michigan State- I wouldn’t be complaining about liking the team that seemingly makes the final four every year. Tom Izzo consistently assembles a good team.

Syracuse- Although I strongly despise “The Bandwagon” (if you don’t know what “the bandwagon” check out my Running Diary of the NCAA Tournament) Syracuse would be an enjoyable team to call my own.

Friend’s Favorites
Villanova- The Wildcats are the team of good friend Collin Stucko. One thing I’ve learned about Collin over the last ten years: He’s passionate about his teams and it’s a lot more fun to be rooting for the same team as he is than rooting for an opposing team. He can get mean and ignorant when his team is successful. Something I would love to join in on.

Florida- I had my two year run when they won back to back championships, mainly because of Paul Clark. Even the last few years I consistently root for Florida to do well. I have plenty of Gators gear. Florida is a near perfect match.

Emerging Contenders
Kansas State- I have to say I love Frank Martin almost as much as I love Jacob Pullen’s beard. Pullen won’t be in Manhattan forever, but winning a Title would be a nice start for mine and K State’s relationship.

Baylor- I’m not quite sure what I like about this team, but for some reason I already like them. Maybe it’s because they turned into a contender overnight. Maybe it is because they nearly eliminated Duke last year. Or maybe it’s because they recruit guys with names like Tweety Carter, Quincy Acy and LaceDarius Dunn.

Oregon- The Ducks are in no way an emerging contender. The fact is they have the coolest court in the NCAA. You can find it on the internet. Trust me, it’s a revelation. It is a challenger to Boise State for best home court/field.

The Picks
Sweet 16- Baylor, BYU, Duke, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Michigan State, Missouri, Murray State, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Syracuse, Villanova

Elite Eight- Duke, Florida, Kansas State, Michigan State, Ohio State, San Diego State, Syracuse, Villanova

Final Four- Duke, Kansas State, Michigan State, Syracuse

National Championship- Michigan State over Duke

I need to be optimistic that things aren’t going to be terrible for the next three years. Michigan State over Duke in the championship. Fingers Crossed!

College Football
Wisconsin over Michigan
NC State over North Carolina
South Florida over Pittsburgh
Stanford over California
Ohio State over Iowa
Virginia Tech over Miami FL
Arkansas over Mississippi State
Nebraska over Texas A&M
Baylor over Oklahoma
San Diego State over Utah

Miami over Chicago
Cleveland over Jacksonville
Pittsburgh over Oakland
Tennessee over Washington
New York Jets over Houston
Baltimore over Carolina
Green Bay over Minnesota
Kansas City over Arizona
Dallas over Detroit
Buffalo over Cincinnati
New Orleans over Seattle
Atlanta over St. Louis
New England over Indianapolis
Philadelphia over New York Giants
San Diego over Denver

Current Records
College Football- 49-31 (5-5 last week)
NFL- 69-47 (6-8 last week)
Yahoo! College Football Picks- 112-100 (7-12 last week, 3,290th in the country)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

LeBron and Week 10 Picks

I’m going to come right out and say it. Hell, I did on Thursday night when Miami was getting out played by Boston. Not just out played. But out smarted, out toughed and out hustled too. I’m sick of this Miami experiment. 9 games in, and I’m really pissed off at this whole situation. I wish LeBron stayed in Cleveland. For those of you who know me, you know that saying that is a really tough pill for me to swallow. If you go back to July 8th, I couldn’t have been more excited that LeBron left Lake Erie and took his talents to South Beach. July 9th when Miami introduces the new Big Three to the home crowd, I was thinking about how fun it would be to get to go the victory parade every year after they won the championship. Now we come back to the present, November 11th, and I’m wishing I could have been there when LeBron asked, “What should I do?” Knowing what I know now, this is what I would have told him.

LeBron: What should I do?

Me: Well, if you are looking to make a big mistake, then Miami is your premier choice. Go for it Bron! You want no championships, take your talents to South Beach. You want people to hate you, then Welcome to Miami! I know Miami sounds great. You, D Wade, and Bosh. That’s 3 of the top 15 players. So you think… It turns out Chris Bosh is going to be less effective than Udonis Haslem. Trust me, Bosh is soft, and he WILL disappear in big games. Playing with D Wade could be fun. You guys will have some awesome fast breaks against crappy teams and make a few Sport Center Top 10’s. That isn’t what it is going to be like though. How do you feel about standing in the corner and watching Wade go to work? Sounds like a riot doesn’t it? And then get this, when you feel like taking a turn, he’ll stand in the corner for you. What a teammate! Speaking of teammates, you have Eddie House, Joel Anthony, Carlos Arroyo and James Jones logging big minutes for your squad. Think they would get any minutes for the Lakers, Celtics or Magic? Probably not. They might not get big minutes for the team you should be playing on… the Cleveland Cavaliers. Remember, the team you promised a championship to. And for the last three years when you didn’t bring them one, they still backed you up. They were the best home court advantage in the NBA in quite some time. One hundred times better than the Miami crowd will be. They absolutely loved you. When people called you Queen James, LeChoke and a quitter they still chanted MVP for you. They still rose to their feet and yelled every time you threw the powder into the air. The Cavaliers held Cleveland together. The Heat are a small part of Miami. LeBron, you meant everything to Cleveland. And whether you want to admit it or not, the Cavaliers are your best chance to win a title. The way you play together with those guys, the fun you have, and the way they look up to you. That all goes down the drain if you go to Miami. What I liked the most about the way you played was how much fun you had. All of that fun will disappear. You are going to be an angry and hurt man. Right now you are asking, “What should I do?” If you go to Miami, you will be soon asking yourself “What did I do?” Stay in Cleveland LeBron. Win a title there, and write your name in history as the best ever.
It’s that simple.

Now that I got the angry stuff out of the way, I want to touch on what has transpired in the NFL in the last two weeks. Two weeks ago I did my first NFL power rankings. Well, keeping with the theme of unpredictability, a lot has changed since then. Pittsburgh was number one back then, and that weekend they got beat by New Orleans. The Jets were two, and they lost to the Packers. New England was three, and they got beat by Cleveland (Hey, smile Cleveland!) The moral of the story is that whatever you expect is going to happen, probably isn’t going to happen. Whatever you think is real, isn’t real. In a way, I’m not too upset with my last power rankings though. I don’t have a good track record picking NFL. I was hoping not to bring this up, but I unfortunately picked the Cowboys to go to the Super Bowl this year (gulp). But I’m asking for a redo. Well, really I’m just giving myself a redo. No one can tell me I can’t, considering this is my column on my blog. Here are my new and hopefully improved NFL playoff picks.

Wildcard Round
3. Indianapolis Colts over 6. Tennessee Titans
5. New England Patriots over 4. Kansas City Chiefs
3. Green Bay Packers over 6. New Orleans Saints
5. Philadelphia Eagles over 4. Crappy NFC West Team with an 8-8 record (Arizona for arguments sake)

Divisional Round
1. Pittsburgh Steelers over 5. New England Patriots
2. New York Jets over 3. Indianapolis Colts
1. Atlanta Falcons over 5. Philadelphia Eagles
2. New York Giants over 3. Green Bay Packers

Conference Championship
1. Pittsburgh Steelers over 2. New York Jets
1. Atlanta Falcons over 2. New York Giants

Super Bowl
Pittsburgh Steelers over Atlanta Falcons

It was my Super Bowl matchup last year. What I forgot to mention last year was I was picking for this year. My bad to everyone I told this to, but didn’t elaborate.
Before I get to my picks, I want to let everyone know what my next week’s topic will be about. Last year before the NCAA tournament, I told quite a few people that whoever won the tournament would be my official favorite college basketball team. Well Duke won, and I rescinded my statement. The same stakes are alive this year. Next week I’m going to cover my Elite Eight choices of teams I would love to be a fan of. Plus I will be making my official NCAA Basketball picks. Until next week, here are my football picks.

College Football
Ole Miss over Tennessee
Kansas State over Missouri
Oklahoma over Texas Tech
Virginia Tech over North Carolina
Baylor over Texas A&M
Alabama over Mississippi State
Florida over South Carolina
Oregon over California
Arizona over USC
Florida State over Clemson

Atlanta over Baltimore (Yeah that’s right, I picked Atlanta)
Detroit over Buffalo
Minnesota over Chicago
New York Jets over Cleveland
Tampa Bay over Carolina
Houston over Jacksonville
Indianapolis over Cincinnati
Tennessee over Miami
Kansas City over Denver
New York Giants over Dallas
Arizona over Seattle
San Francisco over St. Louis
Pittsburgh over New England
Philadelphia over Washington

Current Records
College Football- 44-26 (5-5 last week)
NFL- 63-39 (10-3 last week)
Yahoo! College Football Picks- 105-88 (10-10 last week, 1,614 in the country)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Week 9 Football Picks

Don’t you just love those Political ads that are on television all of the time, for about two months straight? They are so much fun. All it boils down to is one candidate scum-bagging another candidate just to get ahead, when the reality is, they are all extremely shady. I’ve been gathering some info about the Florida Governor Race, and I came up with this: Alex Sink, Charlie Crist and Rick Scott are all crooks. They are all slimy. They belong in the Political Creep category, just as John Calipari, Billy Gillespie, Jim Zorn and Mike D’Antoni are in the Coaching Creep category. This led to me thinking about what it would be like if every MVP race was debated and settled with such dirty tactics as political races are? That would be so awesome, and so image-mangling at the same time. Just try to imagine this:

Ben Roethlisberger. Not once, but twice has he been accused of sexual assault. If that isn’t bad enough, the girls were only 19 years old. Michael Vick. Does a man who runs a dog fighting ring deserve to win an award that carries so much honor? Probably Not. Peyton Manning is a proven winner. He is a leader and a valuable teammate.
I’m Peyton Manning, and I approve this message.

Or how about this one?

Loyalty. A word that isn’t in the vocabulary of LeBron James. He abandoned his home town, and left them without an NBA title, despite promising year after year it would come. Los Angeles has five titles because of Kobe Bryant. He kept his promise to Los Angeles. Kobe Bryant keeps his promises and wins titles. This message has been paid for by the supporters of Kobe Bryant.
And that would be followed up with this:

Eagle, Colorado. This message has been paid for by Leon Rose, Maverick Carter and William Wesley.
Can you imagine the rivalries that would result because of this? My god it would be amazing. These players would be competing like never before. We also might see a rise in athlete fatalities. I’m not going to take the low road and be a shady like every politician and most high profile coaches are. I’m going to present to you the top three MVP and top three Heisman candidates as of right now. You’re only going to hear the good stuff from the captain.

MVP Award
Peyton Manning- Could we start anywhere else? The Colts offense is like clockwork as long as Peyton Manning is taking the snaps. He makes mediocre receivers into superstars, and has carried the Colts to the playoffs year after year despite not always having a defense or a running game. Anyone who questions that he is the best in the game is crazy.
Stats: 2,184 yards (4th), 15 tds (2nd), 101.4 QB Rating (2nd)

Phil Rivers- San Diego is just 3-5, but it was the same story two years ago when they came storming back to make the playoffs after starting 4-8. It’s not like the AFC West is great. There is a definite chance San Diego can still make the playoffs. If they do, and Rivers keeps up at the pace he is playing at now, he may deserve it. To put into perspective how good he has been, no other quarterback has passed for as many yards in the first eight games of any season as Rivers has this year.
Stats: 2,649 yards (1st), 15 tds (2nd), 98.9 QB Rating (3rd)

Tom Brady- I have to say, I like the Patriots a heck of a lot more without Randy Moss than with him. I think that they are better off going back to “spread the ball around” mode than “let’s throw it deep to Randy” mode. Hell, they won three super bowls without him, and won zero with him (as you can see I am omitting the fact that they went a destructive 16-0 in the regular season). Sure, Brady had his best statistical season ever in the first year of the Moss experiment, but you see how great he really is when he is making Danny Woodhead, Brandon Tate and Rob Gronkowski look like superstars.
Stats: 1,602 yards (15th), 12 tds (6th), 96.6 QB Rating (5th)

Heisman Trophy
Cameron Newton- As of right now, the overwhelming leading candidate. Dare I say, he has a little bit of a Vince Young-esque feel to him? You can never really count Auburn out of any game, even if they are trailing late, just because you feel like Newton isn’t going to lose. Newton has overtaken Denard Robinson as the top duel-threat quarterback in the country, and if Auburn can get past Alabama in Tuscaloosa, he’ll be playing for the title. Along with Newton’s stats, take a look at Vince Young’s stats from the 2005 season where Texas won the national championship. Remember, I was a huge Vince Young at Texas fan, and I still consider him my favorite football player. Young has the upper hand, but I’m just saying the Young/Newton comparison may be valid… if Auburn plays for the championship.
Stats: 1,573 passing yards, 1,122 rushing yards, 29 total touchdowns through 9 games.
Vince Young: 3,036 passing yards, 1,050 rushing yards, 38 total touchdowns.

LaMichael James- The most dynamic player on the most dynamic offense in the country. That counts for something. Oregon is very much the sexy team this year. Their offense is absolutely unstoppable, and that’s what people like. High scoring games, long plays and a different set of uniforms every game. Continuing with the 2005 analogy, LaMichael James would be the Reggie Bush to Cam Newton being Vince Young. Oh wait, Reggie Bush at USC never happened. My bad, I always forget that. Anyways, if Oregon runs the table and James’ productivity stays high, he’s a Heisman threat.
Stats: 1,210 rushing yards, 15 total touchdowns

Kellen Moore- By all means, Kellen Moore is having a great season. Again. His problem, much like his teams problem is he isn’t getting nearly enough credit. Moore has been outstandingly efficient and is once again leading his team to an undefeated regular season. However, his stats aren’t even close to being as good as they were in 2009. In 2009 he had a ridiculous 3,536 passing yards, 39 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. You take a look at his stats this year, and also look at the way Boise St. has played this year (not much more convincing than last year) and he, much like Boise St. gets lost in the shuffle. In reality, the award should’ve been Moore’s last year. He deserves recognition, but I hope he doesn’t win just because he was slighted last year.
Stats: 1865 passing yards, 18 passing touchdowns, 2 interceptions.

College Football
Oklahoma St. over Baylor
Syracuse over Lousiville
Michigan over Illinois
TCU over Utah
Alabama over LSU
Florida St. over North Carolina
Oregon over Washington
South Carolina over Arkansas
Missouri over Texas Tech
Stanford over Arizona

Atlanta over Tampa Bay
Chicago over Buffalo
New England over Cleveland
New York Jets over Detroit
New Orleans over Carolina
Baltimore over Miami
Houston over San Diego
Minnesota over Arizona
New York Giants over Seattle
Indianapolis over Philadelphia
Oakland over Kansas City
Green Bay over Dallas
Pittsburgh over Cincinnati

Current Records:
College Football- 39-21 (6-4 last week)
NFL- 53-36 (8-5 last week)
Yahoo! College Football Picks- 95-78 (9-10 last week, 2,998th in the country)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Week 8 Football Picks and Power Rankings

And just like that, the Captain turned it around! A good week last week picking college football (8-2), NFL (9-5, not terrific, but I’ll deal with it), and Yahoo! Sports college football picking with the point spread (15-5) brings my record up to 33-17 picking college, 45-31 picking NFL and most impressively, I am currently 1,628th in the country picking college football on Yahoo! Sports. Dr. Lou’s visit is put on hold thank God. This week, I want to go a step further than just discussing every NFL matchup. Since it’s just about mid-season, it’s time for some NFL Power Rankings. And, we are going to dive back into “The Tournament Everybody Has Wanted For Years.”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The NFL is exceedingly unpredictable this year. There is not one team that you could go into any week and say, “They are definitely going to win.” This being the case, properly ranking teams is that much harder. After careful evaluation, this is what I came up with. It will be fun to look at these rankings next week and have to completely change them (SARCASM).

Total Crap Teams
32. Buffalo Bills
31. San Francisco 49ers
30. Carolina Panthers

Should they really be here Teams
29. Detroit Lions
28. Cincinnati Bengals
27. Dallas Cowboys

The Not Good but Not Terrible Teams
26. Denver Broncos
25. Cleveland Browns
24. Arizona Cardinals
23. Jacksonville Jaguars
22. St. Louis Rams
21. San Diego Chargers
20. Oakland Raiders

NFC Mediocrity
19. Minnesota Vikings
18. Chicago Bears
17. New Orleans Saints
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
15. Washington Redskins
14. Philadelphia Eagles
13. Green Bay Packers
12. Seattle Seahawks

AFC Teams lost in the Shuffle
11. Miami Dolphins
10. Kansas City Chiefs
9. Houston Texans
The Contenders
8. Baltimore Ravens
7. New York Giants
6. Atlanta Falcons
5. Indianapolis Colts
4. Tennessee Titans
3. New England Patriots
2. New York Jets
1. Pittsburgh Steelers

Notice the contenders. Six of the top eight team are in the AFC. Nine of the top eleven are in the AFC. This is like the NBA Western Conference in the early to mid 2000’s when the Eastern Conference was terrible. Just think of it this way: There is the San Antonio Spurs who are a model of consistency in the west, and a pretty underrated dynasty (Steelers). The Los Angeles Lakers who won three titles early, but then got to the finals in 2004 only to be upset by the Pistons (Patriots). The Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves are the new teams on the block who might make a splash (Jets and Titans). And we have the Dallas Mavericks who put up amazing numbers, have a terrific star, and reached the finals only once despite getting so close so many times (Colts). Then in the Eastern Conference there are teams who for the most part didn’t stand a chance against the West. I give you, the 2010 NFL season.

Now, onto College Football which has somehow been crazier than NFL. Number one has gone down three straight weeks. There are a bunch of teams that have come out of nowhere that have emerged as contenders. Much like the NFL, it seems as if there is no team you could point to that you know is going to win every week. The only thing is, we have seen this story before. Let me take you back to the season where “The Tournament Everybody Has Wanted For Years” should have been born.

Some fun facts on the 2007-2008 Season- The season which saw three weeks where the #1 and #2 teams lost in the same weekend. No dominant teams. No undefeated teams. A two-loss BCS Champion. This was “The Year of the Upset.” 59 lower ranked teams defeated higher ranked teams. #2 Teams lost seven times throughout the season. Thirteen unranked teams defeated top 5 teams.

Here is the telling fact though: South Florida, Kentucky, Kansas, Missouri, Boston College, Oregon, Arizona St., Hawaii, South Carolina all began the season outside of the top 20. All of these teams were at one point were ranked in the top 10. All of these teams but Kentucky and South Carolina made their way into the top 5. So far this season, Arizona, Auburn, Missouri, Utah, South Carolina, Michigan St., Stanford, LSU have all climbed from outside of the top 20 into the top 10.
In a season with so much unpredictability, close games and upsets, the national championship in 2008 was a matchup of two loss LSU and one loss Ohio St. LSU won 38-24. Why was there not a tournament? Wouldn’t my tournament be a much more fitting end to a season where there clearly wasn’t a dominant team much better than this was? Why make this mistake again? I’ll admit, I think that Oregon and Auburn are the two best teams in the country. But three weeks ago, I would have told you Alabama and Boise St. were. In 2005 all year it was Texas and the imaginary USC Trojans that were the top 2 teams all year. But this year there is constant changing and shuffling in the top five. So take the top 16 at the end of the year and find out who is truly the best team. Do I have to keep repeating myself? Here is how it looks right now.

Holiday Bowl- 1. Oregon vs. 16. Arizona
Music City Bowl- 8. Utah vs. 9. Wisconsin
Alamo Bowl- 5. Michigan St. vs. 12. LSU
Outback Bowl- 4. TCU vs. 13. Nebraska
Insight Bowl- 6. Alabama vs. 11. Oklahoma
Independence Bowl- 3. Auburn vs. 14. Stanford
Chick-Fil-A Bowl- 7. Missouri vs. 10. Ohio St.
Liberty Bowl- 2. Boise St. vs. 15. Florida St.

We can only hope that someone important will read this, like it, and make it happen. We can only hope. Anyways, onto the picks

College Football
Kansas St. over Oklahoma St.
Michigan St. over Iowa
Nebraska over Missouri
Georgia over Florida
Auburn over Ole Miss (the streak of number one going down ends)
Stanford over Washington
Mississippi St. over Kentucky
Baylor over Texas
Oregon over USC
Michigan over Penn St.

Washington over Detroit
Jacksonville over Dallas
Miami over Cincinnati
Kansas City over Buffalo
St. Louis over Carolina
Denver over San Francisco
New York Jets over Green Bay
Tennessee over San Diego
Tampa Bay over Arizona
New England over Minnesota
Oakland over Seattle
Pittsburgh over New Orleans
Indianapolis over Houston

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2010 NBA Preview- Part Two


14. Miami Heat- I’m not going to sit here and say that the Heat are going to break records. I’m not going to tell you that they are the best team ever or even the best team in the league. The Heat are the NBA’s enigma, considering we have no idea if this experiment will be a disaster or if they will just massacre every team that crosses their path. There are so many questions. However, I can tell you that the Miami Heat will be the most scrutinized, watched and talked about team in NBA history. There is absolutely no doubting this. Even if you hate everything about the Miami Heat, like LeBron is a first class d-bag and attention hog, Bosh is riding the coat tails of LeBron and Wade, their team is filled with holes at a number of positions… you will watch them and root for them to fail. But they will be getting your attention. A couple months ago I wrote about how the Heat should embrace the “villain” role. I stand by it. LeBron has pissed people off like it’s his job. Why not keep doing it, and take care of business along the way? To paraphrase 50 Cent, “If people hate, let em’ hate and watch the wins pile up.” If Miami runs through the league and wins an NBA title, it will be something that we have never seen before and possibly will never see again.

15. Los Angeles Lakers- 5 interesting subplots surrounding this Los Angeles Lakers team, not counting the Adam Morrison issue.
1. If the Lakers win a 3rd consecutive title, where does this place them as a dynasty? Top 5 all time? Top 3? Are their two 3 peats viewed as more impressive than Chicago’s?
2. If the Lakers win a 3rd consecutive title, how high does Kobe vault into the discussion of best players of all time? Top 10 (if he isn’t already there)? Top 5? What kind of arguments would be made about him and Jordan?
3. If the Lakers win a 3rd consecutive title, where does that put Phil Jackson? Twelve titles, four 3 peats; does that make him the greatest coach in sports history? I’m pretty sure it does.
4. Are the Lakers too injured? Kobe played with a broken finger all last year and this year, his knee could be a major concern. Andrew Bynum appears to have knees made out of construction paper. If Kobe has to miss a significant chunk of time along with Bynum, how much does this affect a Lakers push for a 3 peat?
5. Will Ron Artest have a secret affair with Khloe Kardashian? I’m still convinced that this could happen.

16. Oklahoma City Thunder- They splashed on the scene last year as Kevin Durant took the league by storm, and were only one defensive stop away from taking the Lakers to a game 7 in round one. Just six months later, the Thunder are getting recognition as a potential title contender. Is this hype warranted or are they too young and inexperienced to get to the top? What they did last season was no fluke. Kevin Durant is without a doubt one of the best players in the league, and a scoring machine like we may have never seen. The supporting cast is loaded with explosive young talent and useful pieces. Russell Westbrook runs the show, Jeff Green does the dirty work, Serge Ibaka is the hyper active big guy every team would love to have and James Harden is one of the best sixth men in the league. The key is Durant though. He had a look in his eye at the World Championship like he was ready to get in between Kobe and LeBron and steal the metaphorical torch away from both of them. The Thunder were a legitimate threat in the western conference last year and they are this year too.

17. Orlando Magic- Orlando has officially taken the title from Phoenix as the team that could easily score 120 points a night. Let’s not forget that Orlando has been to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals and an NBA Finals two years ago. They seem to get lost in the shuffle considering they got picked apart by LA in the finals, Rajon Rondo slaughtered them in the Eastern Conference Finals last year (not quite as bad as he did with Cleveland the round earlier) and there is a certain team playing in South Beach that has monopolized the Florida media. If it is possible for a team that has won 170 games in the previous three seasons and has a perennial franchise player to be underappreciated, Orlando has done it. Orlando scares me though. Dwight Howard really scares me. I watched a video of him training with Hakeem Olajuwon (the best Center in NBA History) and I just have a feeling Howard has his best offensive year this season.

18. Utah Jazz- Utah is this year’s sneaky good team. You won’t realize they are that good until May rolls around, you notice they have over 50 wins and already advanced out of the first round of the playoffs. Jerry Sloan is a true professional and he is always going to get the best out of his team. And I like what Utah did to improve their teams. I personally think that Al Jefferson makes Utah a more legitimate contender than Carlos Boozer did. Boozer was never really the type to establish himself as a post presence. With Boozer gone, and Mehmet Okur recovering from a torn Achilles, Jefferson comes in and Paul Millsap finally gets a chance to start at power forward (it’s about time, I think he has a great season as starter.) Not to mention, Deron Williams is a top 3 point guard. Don’t sleep on the Jazz.

19. Chicago Bulls- Back in early July, I thought that when I was going to be writing this column Chicago would be the HEAVY favorite to win the championship. I predicted that LeBron and Bosh would be taking their talents to the Windy City rather than South Beach, and effectively making Chicago the overwhelming favorite in the east. Let’s compare the starting lineup for the Miami Heat and the starting lineup that could have been for Chicago.

Miami- Arroyo, Wade, James, Bosh, Anthony with Udonis Haslem as sixth man.
Chicago- Rose, Bogans, James, Bosh, Noah with Luol Deng as sixth man.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic for this upcoming Heat season. But does the Chicago scenario perhaps set up LeBron better than the Miami scenario does? I’m not sure, just some food for thought. Anyways, Chicago adds all-star Carlos Boozer and a good role player in Kyle Korver to a solid nucleus of Rose, Noah and Deng.

20. Boston Celtics- Why not sign Robert Parish, Antoine Walker and Bob Cousy too? The Celtics are clearly establishing that they think their time is now and 5 years ago. I can’t knock their pick-ups though. I think that the Celtics significantly improved by signing Shaq (who by the way has officially become a team whore), Jermaine O’Neal (fun fact about Jermaine O’Neal- I have a High School Jermaine O’Neal jersey. It’s orange and green. Most likely the oddest basketball jersey I ever bought) and Delonte West. One thought: could the Celtics signing Delonte end up hurting them? I think there is a 95% chance LeBron unleashes basketball hell on the Celtics every time they play because of this. On the flip side, there is a 5% chance that the Boston fans come up with some kind of chant relating to the LeBron/Delonte incident that completely takes Bron out of his game. Something along the lines of GLOR-IA! GLOR-IA!

21. San Antonio Spurs- Much like Boston, the Spurs window has been slowly coming to a close the last couple of seasons. Tim Duncan is reaching to twilight of his career, much like Manu Ginobili’s hair is. San Antonio has added a few young pieces recently (George Hill, DeJuan Blair and potentially Tiago Splitter.) Can this young group along with the experience of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker lead San Antonio to yet another 50 win season? I say yes, and I say as long as San Antonio still has the quietest superstar of all time, Tim Duncan, they are contenders.

22. Eastern Conference Standings
1. Miami Heat 63-19
2. Orlando Magic 59-23
3. Boston Celtics 53-29
4. Chicago Bulls 50-32
5. Milwaukee Bucks 47-35
6. Atlanta Hawks 46-36
7. New York Knicks 43-39
8. Washington Wizards 38-44
9. Charlotte Bobcats 36-46
10. Indiana Pacers 35-47
11. Philadelphia 76ers 30-52
12. New Jersey Nets 27-55
13. Cleveland Cavaliers 26-56
14. Detroit Pistons 20-62
15. Toronto Raptors 16-66

23. Western Conference Standings
1. Oklahoma City Thunder 57-25
2. Los Angeles Lakers 56-26
3. Utah Jazz 51-31
4. Dallas Mavericks 51-31
5. San Antonio Spurs 50-32
6. Portland Trailblazers 48-34
7. Houston Rockets 44-38
8. Los Angeles Clippers 43-39
9. Memphis Grizzlies 42-40
10. Phoenix Suns 42-40
11. Denver Nuggets 40-42
12. New Orleans Hornets 36-46
13. Golden State Warriors 34-48
14. Sacramento Kings 30-52
15. Minnesota Timberwolves 19-63

24. Awards
MVP: Kevin Durant
Defensive Player of the Year: Dwight Howard
Coach of the Year: Erik Spoelstra
Most Improved Player: Darren Collison
Sixth Man of the Year: Manu Ginobili
Rookie of the Year: Blake Griffin

All NBA Teams
1st Team- LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Deron Williams
2nd Team- Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Dwayne Wade, Amare Stoudemire, Pau Gasol
3rd Team-Chris Paul, Joe Johnson, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Bosh

25. Playoffs
1st Round- Miami over Washington (4-0), Orlando over New York (4-1), Boston over Atlanta (4-2), Chicago over Milwaukee (4-2), Oklahoma City over LA Clippers (4-1), LA Lakers over Houston (4-1), Utah over Portland (4-2), San Antonio over Dallas (4-2)
2nd Round- Miami over Chicago (4-2), Boston over Orlando (4-2), Oklahoma City over San Antonio (4-1), LA Lakers over Utah (4-2)
Conference Finals- Boston over Miami (4-2), LA Lakers over Oklahoma City (4-2)

26. The Champion
Boston over Los Angeles (4-3)
God I hate this. This means Boston beat Miami, which would be awful because I hate losing to the Celtics so much. And it means I have to hear Kevin Garnett yell “Anything is Possiblllllllleeeeee!” again. Yuck! But I can’t deny it, I like what Boston did in the off season, and I think they have just enough left in those old bones to win another title. If Miami wasn’t in the equation, this would be the ideal NBA Finals match-up we could ask for. The rubber match between two storied franchises who played one of the most memorable NBA Finals games in NBA history in June. Ultimately, Los Angeles might not have Andrew Bynum or a totally healthy Kobe Bryant. With that being the case, Boston raises the banner again. Should I really be so excited for this NBA season then?

I would like to thank my good friend Collin Stucko for a number of ideas that you have read in this column. If you want to know exactly what they were, feel free to ask him.

Monday, October 25, 2010

2010 NBA Preview- Part One


Last October in my NBA preview, I went with the theme of Ridiculous NBA Predictions. I jokingly predicted the Lakers were going to self-combust at the end of the season due to the fact that Lamar Odom would find out that Ron Artest had been sleeping with Khloe Kardashian. I continued to say that this would lead to a Cleveland NBA championship. Fast forward to the following May. Coincidentally, an incident similar to this occurred. Unfortunately, I put the reverse jinx on my Cavaliers, and I was the reason that Delonte West slept with LeBron’s mom. I am taking full blame for the Cavs not winning the NBA title. Therefore, I am the reason LeBron James is now a member of the Miami Heat. So rightfully so, I am very excited for the season I have played a vital part in creating. Let’s get to it!

Now, this isn’t your normal NBA season. Commissioner David Stern said so. Stern said, “We're going to have, really, our most successful season,” and “I think you're going to be getting to see some of the greatest basketball ever played.” That is really saying something. The man has been in charge for 25 years, which means he saw:
Bird’s Celtics vs. Magic’s Lakers at its peak
The Bad Boy Pistons
Michael Jordan’s 1st Three Peat
Olajuwon stepping up in the void left by Jordan and winning two titles
Michael Jordan’s 2nd Three Peat
Popeye Jones, Sam Cassell and Tyrone Hill (the 3 ugliest NBA players ever)
Lakers Three Peat
An Underrated Spurs Dynasty
Tim Donaghy
Celtics return to the top
The beginning of a LeBron vs. Kobe rivalry

Through all of this, he feels like the 2010-11 season is going to be the most successful and greatest NBA season ever. You may be asking yourself why. Well I am here to tell you. David Stern is entering his 26th NBA season as Commissioner, so in honor of this, here are 26 tidbits of information about the 2010-2011 season.

1. Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers- Could we start anywhere else? No matchup is more anticipated than Miami and LA. They play in Miami on March 10, a game I will most likely be going to, which will be legen…wait for it… dary! And they play in the City of Angels on Christmas Day. By the way, thank you Santa. That is exactly what I wanted for Christmas! Now if you also give me one day of snow in Florida, you’re covered. I’ll just put it this way, 3 of the top 5 and 5 of the top 15 players in the league are going to be playing at the same time. That’s 60% of the top 5 and 33% of the top 15. Yeah, it’s going to be on like Donkey Kong! Plus, this matchup doubles as a potential NBA Finals preview, which triples as the most watched NBA Finals ever. Speaking of which, the five most watched NBA Finals of all time are:
1. Chicago vs. Utah 1998
2. Chicago vs. Phoenix 1993
3. Chicago vs. Utah 1997
4. Chicago vs. Seattle 1996
5. Los Angeles vs. Boston 1987

The top five of the 2000’s are:
1. Los Angeles vs. Philadelphia 2001
2. Los Angeles vs. Indiana 2000
3. Detroit vs. Los Angeles 2004
4. Los Angeles vs. Boston 2010
5. Los Angeles vs. New Jersey 2002

Take a look at the top five from the 2000’s. With the exception of LA vs. Boston, is there one matchup there that is anywhere close as intriguing as a potential LA vs. Miami series? Not close.

2. Adam Morrison- LeBron James taking his talents to South Beach was the most talked about move of the off season. Perhaps no move was more important however than Adam Morrison taking his talents to the team in the nations capital. Let’s not forget that Adam Morrison is a two time defending NBA champion. He was a key contributor to the Lakers, offering a number of back pats and chest bumps, along with awkward white guy high fives with Luke Walton. Can the Lakers deal with the loss of Morrison? And what kind of impact will he have on Washington? Will he start carrying around gats and doing the John Wall dance? Only time will tell.

3. Josh Childress- The Dr. J look alike of the 2000’s makes his way back to the NBA after spending a few years playing overseas… that’s all I got considering Childress isn’t really that good. As long as he keeps the afro I’m happy.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers- Is there anything for Cavs fans to be excited for? To answer that question I’m going to revert back to being a Cavs fan. (Gulp) Here we go.
Question: Sonny, what’s the outlook on your Cavaliers this year?
Answer: Well, we lost the greatest physical specimen and one of the best NBA players in the last decade. Not only does that move devastate the team, but it also destroys the city. Our next best guys are Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams, who are proven pants crappers come playoff time, but that doesn’t matter because we won’t even sniff the playoffs. For the first month of the season the fans might be united and loud and try to show everyone LeBron didn’t mean too much. But by Christmas time when the Cavs are hovering around 13th in the eastern conference, the attendance will slowly dwindle and the city will officially start their upcoming 50 year slump. That’s right, it might be 50 years before there is sunshine is Cleveland again. Translation: There is nothing to be excited about. It looks bleak.

5. Charles Barkley- How fat is Chuck going to be this upcoming season? It’s definitely something that needs to be mentioned. Remember the Taco Bell commercial? You know, “the five buck box, it rocks it rocks.” He could barely make his way out of the phone booth in the commercial. I think he got to sample several thousand five buck boxes before he signed the contract to film the commercial. He brings a lot to the table for TNT’s pre-game show… and a lot of food to the dinner table as well.

6. Rondo vs. Rose- Don’t you think Rondo’s exit from Team USA this summer had a little bit to do with Coach K deciding Derrick Rose would be starting, and Rondo wouldn’t? Two years ago these two squared off in an epic first round matchup where we established two things: 1. Rajon Rondo was the best player on the Celtics (this was hammered home by his superb play in last year’s series versus Cleveland) and 2. Derrick Rose was on his way to being really, really good. Possibly the best point guard in the league (which was hammered home by his superb play in last year’s series versus Cleveland.) In the last 11 games these two played against each other (seven playoff games and four regular season games) these were their averages:

Rondo: 15.7 ppg, 11.3 apg, 7.8 rpg, 6 wins
Rose: 20.3 ppg, 5.9 apg, 5.9 rpg, 5 wins

Pretty close right? I see Rose playing with a lot of confidence due to some big minutes with Team USA this summer, and Rondo playing with a bit of an edge because he was slighted by that same team for his rival. They play four times, all on television. I advise tuning into one of the best rivalries in the NBA. This rivalry leads me to…

7. The Golden Age of Point Guards- The last time there was a golden age in the NBA was during the late 1990’s to early 2000’s when we saw a golden age in power forwards (Malone, Duncan, Garnett, B. Wallace, R. Wallace, J. O’Neal, Webber, Nowitzki, Rodman and Horry.) Right now, the NBA’s crop of point guards is absolutely outstanding. There are twelve quality point guards in the league right now which are one of the two best players on their respective team. Rose and Rondo obviously, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, Tyreke Evans, Aaron Brooks and Darren Collison are all on that list. Not to mention you have guys like Raymond Felton, Mo Williams, Jason Kidd, Derek Fisher, Jameer Nelson and Tony Parker all leading playoff teams. Almost every team can confidently say “at least our point guard isn’t a disaster.” Most teams have at least one position that is a major question mark, and rarely is it the point guard.

8. Lorenzo Mata Real- I had to bring him up since I mentioned Popeye Jones, Sam Cassell and Tyrone Hill. Mata-Real, or as I affectionately call him, Lorenzo Mata-Really Ugly, has been playing in the Mexican league LNPB. If he somehow makes an NBA roster this year, he will immediately bring himself to the top of the list of ugliest NBA players ever. Keep your fingers crossed. On second thought, do we want this atrocity making his way to the USA? If you feel like having fun, do a Yahoo! Image search for all four of these guys and decide for yourself who is the ugliest.

9. LeBron’s Mental Notes- So far my count of who is on the list of people who questioned LeBron is Charles Barkley, Skip Bayless, Dan Gilbert along with most of Ohio, the Orlando Magic Organization, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest and Michael Jordan. I wish LeBron would announce what the mental notes are. Who are the people that the King feels crossed him? Will he tell us at some point and if he does will it be another one hour special on ESPN? That would be way more exciting than the release of the Mitchell Report.

10. Carmelo Anthony- CAUTION: The following paragraph was written before any Carmelo Anthony trade.
I don’t know who Carmelo thinks he’s fooling. For a month all we heard about was how Melo wanted out of Denver. Then it comes time for the start of training camp and Melo is still in a Nuggets uniform. Now all of the sudden, he never wanted to leave. He loves Denver. He thinks it’s happening place. He loves Aspen too! What a crock. Listen, if Chris Broussard and J.A. Adande are telling people that you demanded a trade, you demanded one. Those men do not lie and they are not misinformed. I find it ironic that Carmelo wants out of the Mile High City so bad considering he has been caught with pot before and he must be smoking it again if he actually thinks anyone buys the fact that he wants to play for Denver. Carmelo wants exactly what his buddies LeBron, Wade and Bosh got: A bunch of attention and a chance to play with other superstars. All of the sudden Birdman, Earl Smith and Chauncey “we have a 3 on 2 fast break so I’m going to kill it with a pull up three that will brick off the side of the rim” Billups aren’t looking so promising. Apparently, Carmelo wants to play with…

11. Chris Paul- Who has also made it pretty obvious he wants out of his current situation. Can you blame him really? Three years ago CP3 looked like the modern day Isiah Thomas, but better. Now due to some injuries and a crap team, he might waste away his career unless he makes a move. Can we really blame Melo and Paul for wanting out of their current situation? Why not want to play in Madison Square Garden? It’s clear that they both want to end up in New York, the concrete jungle where dreams are made of. And frankly, Melo might be there sooner than later.

12. Three Promising Rookies
1. John Wall- As an Evan Turner fan this past college season, I didn’t really appreciate John Wall so much during his one soon-to-be-named illegal season at Kentucky. However, Wall has every quality you want in a point guard dominated league. Fast, strong, athletic, confident and he is a playmaker. In five years we may look at John Wall as the cream of the point guard crop.
2. Blake Griffin- The way I look at Blake Griffin has changed over the last year. Griffin was as close to a sure thing as you could’ve asked for, until he broke his knee which we can solely blame on the Clippers. Now, I see Griffin as a bundle of potential. He can be the super athletic power forward that Charles Barkley was in his prime before he ate several thousand five buck boxes. He can dominate like no power forward has. I’m excited to find out if he will.
3. DeMarcus Cousins- Cousins might be the biggest sure thing of any player from this draft. He is a guaranteed 20-10 guy for a number of seasons. Just wait, when the Kings are a top five team in the west within the next five years, Cousins will be leading the charge.

13. NBA on NBC- This hasn’t showed up on the radar of any type of NBA discussion in quite some time, but God I miss NBA on NBC. Is the pain ever going to go away? There has to be someone who wants this back as much as I do, right? I mean it was only the single greatest sports theme ever, with bright/flashy graphics during a period when the NBA’s greatest player was at his best. I think you need a reminder of NBA on NBC as you get ready to read part 2 of this NBA preview tomorrow.