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.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Week 7 Football Picks

I never thought that not writing would benefit me so much. Two of the last three weeks, I haven’t submitted any football picks. That was the best choice I made relating to football all season. Week 5 I was 4-6 picking college football, bringing my record to 25-15 (yikes) and 7-7 picking NFL which brings my NFL record to 36-26 (WTF!) Goodness that is pathetic. Someone was on their high horse before the season saying he was going to pick 75% of the games correct. I said last week if I didn’t turn things around I might need a pep talk from Dr. Lou. If I don’t put up a good week this week, it’s time for that pep talk.

I think there are two main reasons my picks have been atrocious.

Reason One: I’ve been working tirelessly on an NBA preview which is without question the best thing I have ever written in my blog, and most likely my entire life. You are in for a serious treat two days from now.
Reason Two: The NFL and College Football seasons have been more unpredictable than ever. To illustrate this, I raise a point about each. The last remaining undefeated team in the NFL was the Kansas City Chiefs, who were 3-0 at the time. A Kansas City Chiefs team which was nowhere close to the playoffs last year. In college football, the two teams who most experts predicted would play in the BCS Championship (Oh crap, I forgot! No mentioning BCS. I broke my own rule) have gone down in back to back weeks (Alabama to South Carolina and Ohio State to Wisconsin.) Those aren’t the only instances. Underdogs are having a field day considering in the NFL there are only two truly crappy teams, Buffalo and Carolina. The saying “Any Given Sunday” or Saturday, applies more this year than ever.

So how do I possibly decide who is going to win this week? Well, I’m going to pick college games as usual. But for NFL, I want to talk out what I feel about each game. Think of it as a self-help pep talk. And if worst comes to worst, we bring Dr. Lou in next week.

College Football
Michigan St. over Northwestern
Notre Dame over Navy
Auburn over LSU
Wisconsin over Iowa
Nebraska over Oklahoma St.
Clemson over Georgia Tech
Kentucky over Georgia
Miami over North Carolina
Missouri over Oklahoma (It's a stretch, but I say 3 weeks in a row number 1 goes down)
TCU over Air Force

Atlanta at Cincinnati- Okay, this one is easy for me. I haven’t felt strong about Cincinnati all year long. Carson Palmer is as mobile of a quarterback as Y.A. Tittle would be, right now. It’s about time people start realizing the guy stinks. Then we have Atlanta who has lost to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, which makes me both question if Atlanta is actually that good and if Philadelphia is better than I thought. In the end, I’ll take Atlanta.

Washington at Chicago- Two more consistently inconsistent teams. Washington looks terrific some games, but then get handled by the Rams. Chicago takes out Green Bay, but then goes down to Seattle. These are two teams I cannot figure out. One thing I know for sure is Chicago cannot protect Ed Norton’s brother at all. That is a major problem. However, I have faith in my team and I’m not totally sold on Washington yet. I’ll reluctantly pick Chicago.

St. Louis at Tampa Bay- Hey, what do you know? Two more teams that I can’t figure out. I like this Tampa Bay offense, even though against Pittsburgh and New Orleans they’ve been less than impressive. St. Louis, like every other team in the league looks good some weeks (wins over Washington, Seattle and San Diego) and awful other times (losses to Arizona, Oakland and Detroit). The common trend with St. Louis is their inability to win on the road. I’ll take Tampa Bay.

San Francisco at Carolina- San Francisco. Since this game doesn’t mean anything, let me give you my UFC 121 predictions.
Lesnar over Velazquez
Shields over Kampman
Thiago over Sanchez
Hamill over Ortiz
Gonzaga over Schaub

Buffalo at Baltimore- Baltimore. Sing it with me Bills fans, “Hey ay ay ay! Let’s Go Buffalo!” You’re half the season away from making history as the worst team ever.

Philadelphia at Tennessee- Alright let me break this one down real quick. Philadelphia losses to Green Bay, then win with Vick at QB at Detroit and at Jacksonville. Then they go down to Washington. And the last two weeks they get wins over San Francisco and Atlanta. Now, we look at Tennessee who beat Oakland, New York Giants, Dallas and Jacksonville and lost to Pittsburgh and Denver. What do I gain from these results? Tennessee beat Jacksonville 30-3 and Philadelphia beat Jacksonville 28-3. Tennessee is two points better than Philadelphia. Tennessee gets the win.

Jacksonville at Kansas City- For some reason I really like Kansas City. They aren’t flashy, but they do things right. They have the best rush offense in the league (hard to believe right) and the fifth best rush defense. They’ve dropped two straight, but they were both on the road and were to quality competition (Indy and Houston) and really they played both games very competitively. Jacksonville on the other hand doesn’t give me too much to be excited about, especially since Trent Edwards had to come in for David Garrard last week. Kansas City wins, and goes to 4-2.

Pittsburgh at Miami- Miami is undefeated on the road, winless at home. And Pittsburgh, who now has Big Ben back, could be considered the best team in the league. Pittsburgh wins and Miami stays winless at home.

Cleveland at New Orleans- I know New Orleans has looked far from a Super Bowl contender, but there is no cause for concern in a home game versus Cleveland and their rookie quarterback Colt McCoy. New Orleans wins big.

Arizona at Seattle- Seattle proved last week they could win on the road. Arizona proved two weeks ago they could win a fluke game at home. I hate to say it, but I kind of like this Seattle team. Not in an actual contender way, more like a “whoa, they could actually get 9 wins” way. Seattle wins at home, as expected.

New England at San Diego- Could San Diego’s time at the top of the AFC West be coming to an end? It’s not like they’ve lost to teams that are real contenders (Kansas City, Seattle, Oakland and St. Louis) and they haven’t beat anyone good either (Jacksonville and Arizona.) Their offense is dynamic, but they can’t find ways to win games like good teams should. I love the Randy Moss trade that New England made. In fact, I think getting rid of Moss and signing Deion Branch makes them better than they were with Moss. A bit of a throwback to the Patriot teams that won multiple Super Bowls in the early 2000’s, minus the good defense. I know San Diego is good at home, but I think New England continues to roll.

Oakland at Denver- Denver is a tough place to play (despite their 1-2 record at home this year.) That is solely what I’m basing this pick on. Denver beats Oakland.

Minnesota at Green Bay- This game is a win-win for me. If Chicago wins, we gain a game in the division no matter what. Minnesota is 1-1 since the Randy Moss trade, and won the Panic Bowl last week. Green Bay should be just as panicked as Minnesota. Things are going south quick for the pre-season NFC favorite. Injuries have plagued them and they just don’t look as good as expected. If Minnesota vs. Dallas was the panic bowl, then Minnesota vs. Green Bay is Panic Bowl II. I think Minnesota continues to turn things around.

New York Giants at Dallas- No logic goes into this one. Dallas was my pre-season NFC Super Bowl representative, and if they have any chance of getting there, they must win this game. Dallas wins or their season, and Wade Phillips job effectively crumble.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Week 5 Picks

I sincerely apologize for my disappearance last week. I was busy with school, going to New York and working on two mega columns (NBA Preview and Saw preview) which will both be released within the month of October. So I hope you forgive me for my disappearance last week and lack of anything good this week.

Week 3 I was 6-4 picking college football and 10-6 picking NFL. My college record is now 21-9 and NFL is 29-19. That is 50-28 overall. Good thing I didn’t post anything last week. I picked games absolutely awful. If I don’t turn things around, I might need a pep talk from Dr. Lou.

College Football
Alabama over South Carolina
Michigan over Michigan St.
Arkansas over Texas A&M
Notre Dame over Pittsburgh
North Carolina over Clemson
Arizona over Oregon St.
Florida over LSU
Miami over Florida St.
Stanford over USC
Washington over Arizona St.

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

One more thing to add:
I saw The Social Network last night, and it was absolutely phenomenal! It rightfully deserves all of the praise it is getting. It is funny, smart and dramatic. I dare say that it is one of those movies that have a legendary feel. I have already said it has vaulted into my top 20, potentially top 10 all time. It’s that good and I demand you readers to see it. Seriously, get to it!