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)