Sunday, December 30

John's Week 17 Picks

Um, so, Ryan hasn't had Flippy come by to make his picks for last week, and we didn't get a guest picker for this week, so I'm going to continue the slack-off trend by following the recent Ryan format and not adding comments for my picks this week.

Cincinnati over Miami (6)
Seattle over Atlanta (5)
Jacksonville over Houston (4)
Tampa Bay over Carolina (3)
New Orleans over Chicago (2)
Tennessee over Indianapolis (1)

Upset: Dallas over Washington (-9.0)
(Yes, you read that right, Washington's favored by 9 points, starters sitting or not, this is an easy choice).

Wednesday, December 26

Week 17 Slate

I'm pretty sure I lost in Pick'em this week, so a recap's coming, but here are the games to pick for this week. Who wants to be the final guest picker?

Carolina at Tampa Bay
Cincinnati at Miami
Jacksonville at Houston
New Orleans at Chicago
Seattle at Atlanta
Tennessee at Indianapolis

Keep in mind that a lot of these wouldn't be under three points except for the fact that several of these teams have already clinched playoff spots and may be sitting their starters. Choose accordingly.

Monday, December 24

Who Ya Got?

Ok, much has been made in the recent weeks (at least in Chatham Co) about the starting #4 position in the Tar Heels' lineup. So I decided to take a look at the early returns on the competition. Thanks to rate based stats, we needn't worry about silly playing time issues, though we will have to consider with whom the individuals shared the court. In the following figures and tables I've included the 2 main big men (behind Tyler) along with the shoes they're trying to fill.

Offense


I suppose the main question here is, do we need the offense? Overall, the constant from last year's team has been the impressive offense (top 5 in KP-land). The offensive slack has been taken up by Wayne Ellington, Ty Lawson, and among the reserves Danny Green, which would explain the fact that the Heels have been able to keep the OE on par with last year's team. Between the current two options however, Thompson seems to be slightly better offensively (ORtg 93.4 to 87). If you scan down the table, this number might confuse, as Stepheson shoots better from the field, has higher OR%, (Oops, what is DR% doing on an offensive table?) and definitely gets to the line more often. That is one of the biggest reasons I've seen and heard for Stepheson's starting over Thompson, the simple fact that he gets to the line way more often, its hard to draw a foul when you're executing the baby hooks and turnaround jumpers that Deon is so fond of. However, Alex's turnovers look to be holding back his ORtg. I would imagine if he took better care of the ball his rating would be closer to (or higher than) Thompson's. However, the defensive end seems to be where Brandan Wright is missed most.

Defense

On this end of the court Brandan Wright always made his presence felt. It is also often said that individual defense is one of the hardest stats to measure in basketball. There are only 3 stats you have to go on (all listed above) anything else must be discerned from observation. I can say I watched a lot of UNC basketball games this year and last year, and Deon (or Alex) are no Brandan Wright. This is supported by the numbers above. In a recent BP article KenPom discussed the Renaldo Balkman Threshold of excellent defense (6.0 block & 2.5 steal rates). In 3 years only 2 players in power conferences met these criteria (Shelden Williams and Joakhim Noah). Brandan Wright came very close to meeting them his freshman year, providing defensive support that is sorely missed, considering the Heels current adjusted DE (92.1, 65th) and 2006-07 number (85.6, 4th). The two current Tar Heel big men seem to be roughly equivalent on defense, with Alex blocking more shots and Deon disrupting more passes. Alex Stepheson has always been a tremendous defensive rebounder (23.3 DR% last year), so it might be interesting to see if that continued with an increase in minutes, though as I mentioned above, I doubt the minutes will come unless the turnovers go down. As a side note, Brandan Wright's DR% is probably a little bit lower than his talent level. Last year he had to compete with Reyshawn Terry for defensive rebounds, and for all Terry's defensive faults, he loved to collect errant rebounds as the opponent scampered down the court to defend the fast break (DR% 20.1)

It isn't really a huge surprise that Thompson is starting and Stepheson is coming off the bench. They're incredibly similar except for in a few small areas (DR%, FTR, TO%), and Alex will likely have to take better care of the ball before he sees his minutes and touches go up.

Sunday, December 23

Oops

So, here are the 2 picks the haven't happened yet:

Tampa 6 over SF
Minny 5 over Wash

Baltimore (+12.5) over Seattle

I'll flip the rest later

Wednesday, December 19

John's Week 16 Picks

Tampa Bay over San Francisco (6). Okay, I know we have some high spreads this week, but this is just ridiculous. -6.5 points? Really, Vegas? This is one of those games that makes me want to open an account somewhere with Ryan.

Minnesota over Washington (5). I'm pretty high on the Vikings right now, and the Redskins will be without War Eagle for at least this week, so it doesn't look like Washington will be doing much here.

Cleveland over Cincinnati (4). The Browns offense is still firing on all cylinders, as is Cincinnati's, so this one could be another shootout if the weather in Cincinnati is good.

Detroit over Kansas City (3). Not really much to say about this game...both teams are pretty awful, but Detroit can pull this one out.

Philadelphia over New Orleans (2). Fresh off their victory over Loveboat Romo & Co., Philadelphia should be able to stave off the New Orleans offense and take advantage of that dreadful New Orleans secondary.

New York over Buffalo (1). This game could really go either way, but I'm banking on the Giants reverting to earlier form, not on their past few games.

Upset Special: Atlanta over Arizona (-10.5). Atlanta, while bad, has looked better this season than Arizona, and has a real chance here with Boldin and Fitzgerald still hurting.

Bethany's Week 16 Picks

Cleveland over Cincinnati (6)
Minnesota over Washington (5)
Tampa Bay over San Francisco (4)
Detroit over Kansas City (3)
New Orleans over Philadelphia (2)
Buffalo over New York (1)
Upset Special: Baltimore over Seattle (-10.0)

Week 16 Slate

Cleveland at Cincinnati
Kansas City at Detroit
New York at Buffalo
Philadelphia at New Orleans
Washington at Minnesota
Tampa Bay at San Francisco

Lots of high spreads this week, maybe it'll be easy? Maybe? Not?

Monday, December 17

Week 15 Recap

Shawn: 3-3, -1 point (43-41, 9 points)
Ryan: 2-4, -2 points (51-33, 83 points)
John: 2-4, -7 points (55-29, 112 points)

Ouch, rough week for all parties. Shawn guessed correctly on Jacksonville beating Pittsburgh this week, which carried him to a slim victory even though Ryan came charging in hard with his correct Eagles upset pick. Miami's first win of the season came at a heavy price for all of us, as we each picked that one as our six-pointer. John's and Ryan's blistering streak of six straight weeks with at least a .500 record came to an end this week, as each went 2-4 for the first time since Week 7. Maddeningly, the guest picker also had the same streak...but kept it alive this week thanks to Shawn's 3-3 performance. Not even Flippy could derail the train in Week 11. There are still two weeks remaining for all you TFSB readers out there to bump up those scores in hopes of being selected to pick for the playoffs. Bethany has the best chance of topping 20 combined points (Cason's and Lucy's current total) out of those that have already picked, but one correct upset pick could change a lot of things for others.

Thursday, December 13

Ryan's Week something-or-other picks

6Baltimore
5Tennessee
4New York
3Denver
2Pittsburgh
1New Orleans
UpsetPhilly (-13)

(who knows, maybe it was the formatting)

Wednesday, December 12

Where have all the matchups gone?

Long time passing? Well, seriously, its been a weak week in college basketball. So, to tide you all over until the Heels get back into action (Saturday @Rutgers) or until there are meaningful games on television (who knows when that will be), here are a few college basketball related discussions:
SOS from a Vegas perspective
Early Undefeateds one of whom fell last night.
And and early BlogPoll ballot.

John's Week 15 Picks

Here are my preliminary picks; I'll fill out the rest of the comments later in the week.

Baltimore over Miami (6). Miami's not putting a win up this week; sorry.

Tennessee over Kansas City (5).

Denver over Houston (4).

New York over Washington (3).

New Orleans over Arizona (2).

Pittsburgh over Jacksonville (1).

Upset Special: Detroit over San Diego (11.0).

Tuesday, December 11

Week 15 Slate

Denver at Houston is on Thursday, so make sure to have your pick in for that one (at least) by 8:15 that day. Shawn has agreed to be our guest picker this week.

Denver at Houston
Arizona at New Orleans
Baltimore at Miami
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh
Tennessee at Kansas City
Washington at New York

Monday, December 10

Week 14 Recap

Ryan: 5-1, 19 points (49-29, 85 points)
John: 5-1, 11 points (53-25, 119 points)
Lucy: 4-2, 7 points (40-38, 10 points)

Well, it was a solid pick'em week for everyone involved, as only the Tampa Bay loss hurt everyone, and Lucy's pick of St. Louis only cost her two points. Winning records all around are always cause for celebration. Ryan's victory this week pulls him into a tie with John for weeks won with five, with the guest taking two weeks, and with John and Ryan tying one week (and the bye week makes 14). Ryan's within shouting distance of John in points now, and with three solid weeks, could easily challenge John for the points lead. There are now just three remaining pick'em weeks, so be sure to post a comment if you'd like to be a guest picker before the end of the regular season. As it stands, Lucy and Cason will receive invitations to pick the playoffs, as each have accumulated 20 points (Cason in one week, Lucy in two). Shawn is in third with 15, so I'll be sure to ask him if he'd like to hop on in the next three weeks to try and pull ahead into first.

Sunday, December 9

Ryan's Week 14

6New Orleans
5Cincinnati
4New York Giants
3Cleveland
2San Diego
1Tampa Bay
UpsetCarolina (??)

Editor's note: The Carolina/Jacksonville spread is 13.5 points.

John's Week 14 Picks

Cincinnati over St. Louis (6). So, uh, this game isn't exactly under 3 points, so I'm not used to seeing such pick'em mismatches as this one. All the Bengals on offense seem to be relatively healthy, which should more than account for their porous defense.

Tampa Bay over Houston (5). Even if Garcia's out, McCown showed me more than enough last week to make me think he'll be fine against fellow backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels and the Houston defense.

Cleveland over New York Jets (4). Even with the Jets making me look bad by picking Miami to beat them last week, I don't see them beating the Browns. The Browns defense is one of the worst, but there's still worse: the defense suiting up in white and green.

San Diego over Tennessee (3). San Diego's really picked it up in the last several weeks, and Tennessee's offense is pretty pathetic.

New Orleans over Atlanta (2). Even with Bush out, I think the Saints can still ride Brees to a victory here. Look for big passing games from both teams.

New York Giants over Philadelphia (1). Both teams have their faults, and this one should be a close game, but I feel like I've seen more from New York this year than I have from the Eagles.

Upset Special: Kansas City over Denver (7.0). I really wanted to pick Pittsburgh over New England here, but I just can't do it if the game's being played in Foxborough. Kansas City gets the nod because their defense matches up well with Denver's offense.

Saturday, December 8

Lucy's Week 14 Picks

Tampa Bay over Houston (6)
New Orleans over Atlanta (5)
San Diego over Tennessee (4)
Cleveland over Jets (3)
Giants over Philadelphia (2)
St. Louis over Cincinnati (1)
Upset Special: Pittsburgh over New England (-15.0)


Cincinnati let me down last time I picked them and those Brownies turned out to be more impressive than I thought before. I'm upset that we didn't pick earlier so that Chicago would have been on the slate, but it's probably for the best since I would have picked them I'm sure. I'm going to choose the "fashionable" Pittsburgh over New England special upset.

Wednesday, December 5

Week 14 Slate

Chicago at Washington
New York Giants at Philadelphia
San Diego at Tennessee
Tampa Bay at Houston
Cleveland at New York Jets
New Orleans at Atlanta

Lots of upset possibilities this week (only four of those six games are three points or under), so opportunity's a-knockin' to raise those point totals.

Edit: So, um, the Thursday game caught me off guard. We'll be picking St. Louis at Cincinnati this week in place of Chicago at Washington. Do we have a guest picker lined up yet?

Week 13 Recap

Editor's note: John's all-time record has been modified to reflect his actual record of 4-2 in Week 11, not 3-3 as calculated by Ryan. I probably deserved it, having crapped out on my recap duties for that week.

Bethany: 4-2, 2 points (36-36, 3 points)
John: 3-3, 1 point (48-24, 108 points)
Ryan: 3-3, -1 point (44-28, 66 points)

Well folks, it looks like there are some serious bragging rights on the line here. After Bethany scored the upset to squeak by both John and Ryan on the week despite picking one more game correctly, she and Dani are the only guests to have beaten both John and Ryan in the same week. Ouch. If we don't get our act together soon, we may end up getting run out of the Pick'em building. The charge now goes out to both males and females: Ladies (Emily and Lucy, I'm looking at you), do you care to try your chance next week, and extend the streak against the hapless TFSB boys? Guys, after having seen the girls do it, do you think you too can show Ryan and John how a real pro picks 'em? Come one, come all, only four more weeks left until our special by-invitation-only playoff tournament. Details to come, but those with the best records will be asked to return to pick all the playoff games after the season's over. If you want a chance to form a new record (or improve upon your current one), don't hesitate to shoot us a comment.

Sunday, December 2

UNC vs. Kentucky (12/1) Game Wrap

So, since John took the reins last time, it looks like I'l be leading the charge with the Kentucky recap. Also, this will more than likely be the last recap for a while, since we're only planning to recap games against quality opponents. The Heels' upcoming schedule gets easier through the exam period (@Penn, @Rutgers, Nicholls St, UCSB, Nevada, Valparaiso, etc etc). The average KP Rank of the next 6 opponents is 181, so it looks like we'll be slated to recap against when UNC hosts the Golden Flashes of Kent St (#37) on January 2nd. Now, to the recap.

Wow, Danny Green, Danny Green, Danny Green. That is literally all the Heels need to go from good to great. As long as one roll player (ROLL OUT!) (Green, Ginyard, Thompson, Frasor) steps up when the opposing team focuses all of their attention on Tyler. And, at least for the time being, Tyler hasn't seemed to have figured out how to pass out of a double/triple team, so the fact that someone steps up is more important now, when Tyler assisting buckets isn't happening automatically (if at all). I noticed this as well; Tyler had a lot of trouble dishing after getting the ball in the low post against the Wildcats. This was a large contributer to the high percentage of free throws we took this game; when Tyler got the ball, he took it up, most of the time resulting in a foul. Tyler shot 12 free throws to eight field goals.

Other than Danny Green stepping up, UNC took care of the ball against a team that has, thus far this season, built their defense around causing TOs. The Heels only had 13 turnovers in a game where there were 76 possessions. Other numbers looked similar to the Ohio St game (holding the opponent to 25% OR while posting a +35% OR rate), which seems to indicate that the Heels are doing the little things well, the things they had seemingly forgot how to do against weaker competition (SC St, ODU, BYU). Hopefully this 2 game shift will prove to be a trend that will be continued for the rest of the season. BYU weaker competition? Really? I mean, they're not as good as we are, but they're a solid team, and Plaisted really did a number on us. (Ok, so BYU isn't necessarily weaker, but we played a far worse game against BYU, rebounding and defense-wise, and got away with it, maybe it was the neutral floor) One other thing; we didn't have nearly as good on-the-ball defense against Kentucky as we did against Ohio State, but the Wildcats have much better shooters on their team than Ohio State does, so an uptick in opponent field-goal percentage was to be expected. We'll leave you with Danny Green's stat line for the night.

Green, Danny. 8-11 FG, 2-4 3-pt FG, 2-2 FT-FTA, 2 OR, 4 DR, 2 TO, 1 B, 1 S, 20 Points in 24 Minutes.

Friday, November 30

UNC vs. Ohio State (11/28) Game Wrap

A few quick thoughts on our game against Ohio State. Most of these (on my end at least) will be notable things on our Game Plan page on Kenpom, expounded on by what it looked like on television. I'm just going to comment with italics here, and for equity's sake I'll take the baton in the review of the UK game tomorrow

First off, I thought a huge key to the game was making Ohio State's center Kosta Koufos look bad on the court - he looked so bad that Matta sat him on the bench for much of the second half despite not being in foul trouble. For a 7-footer to be playing only 27 of your team's minutes with just one foul, that's saying a lot about his inability to do anything positive for you on the court, be it on offense (Koufos shot 1-10, and collected just one offensive rebound) or defense (Hansbrough was able to score 13 points and collect five offensive rebounds). Yeah, one of the storylines going in was the fact that Roy pushed hard recruiting Koufos, and I'm not exactly upset we missed out after his performance. Everything I had heard about his being in the mold of a soft European player was confirmed as he seemed to wither under outstanding post defense by UNC's three-headed PF/C monster.

In addition to keeping Koufos in check, we also did an all-around good job of playing defense on the Ohio State shooters. The Buckeyes shot 27% for the night - a pretty terrible number. Only one player had a good game in terms of shooting, and that was Jon Diebler. Everyone else (including Jamar Butler, who recorded 17 points but shot only 6-22) was forced into bad shots. Helping this matter was OSU's seeming eagerness to put up the 3, they came in shooting in the low 30% range from 3, on average they take 37% of their FG's from behind the arc, but against UNC it rose to nearly 50%, though this is in part due to the absence of Koufos for much of the game I can't help but wonder what would make a mediocre 3pt shooting team lean so heavily on the 3 ball.

Both sides did an excellent job not turning over the ball. 10 and 11 turnovers for them and us, respectively, are fine numbers for a 70-possession game. One thing we did do poorly was our free throw shooting - we didn't get to the line often (some would say that's the refs' fault, but I refuse to take that stance), and when we did, we shot poorly, allowing ourselves to get PUNK'D by the Buckeye faithful. 7-14 free throw shooting is simply unacceptable. On the whole this seems to be in line with OSU's early season profile, keeping their own TOs down (21st) but not forcing any either (304th), they have a similar skewing in Free Throw Rate, (233rd/3rd) not getting to the line often, but not allowing their opponent to get their either. As for the students punking our players, they are 53rd in %FT defense cough, sample size, cough.

Overall, we didn't have our best shooting night ever, but we played excellent defense, meaning Ohio State's shooting was even worse, and we completely shut down Ohio State's big man Koufos. In doing so, we were able to overcome our relatively cold shooting night from the field and from the line and record a victory. Like I say, we can screw up on one end of the floor at a time, if our offense is off, our defense better be on, and it was against OSU. Promising was the fact that the defense defended shots well (24% on 2pt FG) as opposed to forcing turnovers, which helps explain the lack of offense (no TOs forced = no transition points). This game was quite a confidence builder because the Heels won while playing out of their comfort zone and without their star point guard and, for argument's sake, MVP. Notice the fact that neither John nor I spoke of our +16 rebounding margin. I feel that this was more an artifact of the Buckeyes only shooting 27% (creating plenty of oppurtunities), hustling back on a transition prevent defense to allow us to gather a large majority of their 51 misses, and on defense playing a zone which allowed us to get more offensive boards than usual.

As for the Kentucky game, Billy Gillespie already has his fingerprints all over this program. They're top 10 in defending both 2 and 3 point FGs, and 30th at forcing TOs, and 7th in Adj Defensive Efficiency. However, these numbers are based on games played against pretty weak opponents (241 average KenPom ranking, and that's with Gardner-Webb at 130 skewing the numbers towards the impressive end, all 4 other opponents are in the 230's or worse). The Heels should be able to shut down the Wildcat offense, and with any luck will drag UK into a high paced contest to wear out their injury thinned bench.

Ryan's Week 13 Picks

6)Cleveland over @Arizona - Cleveland is 7-4 in the AFC, Arizona is 5-6 in the NFC, and coming off a loss to the Niners, why is the line even close? John, should we just open up a BoDog account now and quit our jobs? (There, that should jinx the hell out of the pick)

5)Seattle over @Philadelphia - I think last week was a major fluke, look for Philly to come out flat against the Seahawks.

4)@New Orleans over Tampa Bay - The Saints smell blood in the water, the absolutely need this game to stay in the playoff race, a loss would put them 3 games back of the Bucs with 4 to play.

3)@Carolina over San Francisco - We're not that bad, are we?

2)New York Giants over @Chicago - I've decided to bet against common sense, and bet for another Giants' second half meltdown. Come on G-men, don't let me down.

1)@Miami over NY Jets - Rough luck has cost the Dolphins this year, who have lost 6 games by a mere 3 points (including to the Jets in NY). I think they'll get that win this week (and if not they still have the Bengals and Ravens on the home slate, oh, and Buffalo).

Upset: Jacksonville over Indy (7.0) - the Jags aren't going to run all over the Colts any more, but the Colts are still banged up, and I don't think a team as good as the Jags should be getting 7 points.

Bethany's Week 13 Picks

Cleveland over Arizona (6). Jamal Lewis rushed for 134 yards on 29 carries last week. And besides, Cleveland rocks!

Seattle over Philly (5). McNabb is iffy, and Hasselbeck is hot.

Tampa Bay over New Orleans (4). Buccs should close up the NFC South.

Chicago over NY Giants (3). The Giants are 4-1 on the road, but Eli hasn't been doing much of late, other than throwing interceptions (and ruining my fantasy team).

Carolina over San Fran (2) The niners are weak on the road, even if the Panthers are weak everywhere.

Jets over Miami (1). The battle of who could care less…

Upset: Bills over Skins (-5.0). duh.

John's Week 13 Picks

Cleveland over Arizona (6). The Browns may be without Braylon Edwards, so this one might be a bit close if that's the case. Even without him, though, their offense is too powerful for Arizona to overcome.

New York Giants over Chicago (5). Eli will certainly bounce back this week against a weak Giants secondary, and Adrian Peterson has not shown much this year in limited use backing up the now-out Cedric Benson.

Carolina over San Francisco (4). Say what you want about Frank Gore, the 49ers haven't been able to win this year with or without him. Even ugly teams like Carolina should be able to get by San Francisco, and having Vinny Testaverde available will only help the cause.

Miami over New York Jets (3). Jesse Chatman has looked good this season, and should be able to power the Dolphins over a pathetic Jets defense.

Tampa Bay over New Orleans (2). Jeff Garcia is likely out for this one, but I think the Bucs can squeak by the Saints even with Luke McCown leading the charge.

Philadelphia over Seattle (1). Color me impressed that A.J. Feely was able to total 375 yards against the New England defense. I'm not sure how much that will influence his success in the future, though, so I'm tempering the enthusiasm. Seattle is without D.J. Hackett, which should help Philly's chances.

Upset Special: Cincinnati over Pittsburgh (-9.0). Going for broke here because there are only four games over 4 points, but Troy Polamalu is out for the Steelers, which can only help the Bengals' passing game. Add in the fact that the Steelers are without Santonio Holmes, and I like my chances for a tasty upset here.

Tuesday, November 27

Week 13 Slate

Sorry for not posting a recap this week. I'll recap the upcoming week after it's over, no matter what the outcome. Bethany has agreed to be our guest picker this week; here's the slate:

New York Jets at Miami
Seattle at Philadelphia
San Francisco at Carolina
Tampa Bay at New Orleans
Cleveland at Arizona
New York Giants at Chicago

Monday, November 26

NFL Pick 'em Recap...

...uh, for week 11

First things first, deadbeat Flippy turned in his pick sheet:

6. New York
5. @Baltimore
4. San Diego
3. @Houston
2. St. Louis
1. @Denver

What an honest guy, weeks later he still turns in his picks without cheating. On the week that leaves us at:

Ryan: 15 pts (5-1) [67, 41-25]
John: 7 pts (3-3) [105, 44-22]
Flippy: 3 pts (4-2) [1, 32-34]

Damn you John, again finding a way to net major points with a 3-3 record. I wonder what your record is on the year with 5 and 6 pt picks. I'm only 3 games behind you, but I'm a whole world of points in the red. The guest sniffs positive points for the first time, well, all year I think. Look for some college basketball commentary soon, as this past weekend the "Feast Week" tournaments got things kicked off in earnest, while the two conference challenges look to keep the ball rolling this week. Hopefully, John and I plan on writing up the major UNC games (maybe against all top 50 KP opponents?) and perhaps one major game per week, we should be able to find one top 50 matchup per week, right? Leave any advice, tips, or requests for games to be reviewed (~1 week early please) in the comments, because as you know John and I personally read all of your input.

Thursday, November 22

Happy Turkey Day!

Okay folks, the last relative has been chased from the Campbell house in Charlotte, I had visions earlier of posting about all the things I'm thankful for, in picture form, but then something happened. I ate a lot, like a whole lot. So, now I just want to go to bed, or at the least not put the amount of work it would take to track down pictures, not to mention finding things (sports related) for which I am thankful, just imagine lots of college basketball pictures, with some Jon Beason thrown in.

In other news, John has headed for Alabama, so over the break I'll clean up the pick 'em mess from last week while John and I officially take our bye this weekend. I hope everyone has a good weekend and enjoy this (very limited) set of pictures of things that I am thankful for:





Also, as a Public Service Announcement, the Heels play on ESPN"F*^@"U at Midnight Friday to take on the 12th (mod-major poll) ranked Old Dominion Monarchs, then they take on the winner/loser of the Louisville/BYU game at 10:30/7:30.

Tuesday, November 20

No, this isn't Photoshop



Weird, just weird. John should be by later with the pick 'em results.

Sunday, November 18

Ryan's Week 11 Picks

aka "Bienvenido a la Tierra de Puntos Negativos"

6) New York over @Detroit - despite losing to the 'boys, the Giants are a much more well rounded team
5) St. Louis over @San Francisco - as long as they play like the Week 10 Rams and not Week 1-9 Rams
4) Cleveland over @Baltimore - Cleveland = NFC Playoff Team, Baltimore is starting Kyle Boller, ouch
3) San Diego over @Jacksonville - I was going to bet on San Diego's inconsistency, but I don't think the Jags can run the ball on the Chargers, so I'll go with the Bolts here
2) @Houston over New Orleans - Andre Johnson rips the Saints pourous secondary to shreds
1) @Denver over Tennessee - Wow, MNF could you get more irrelevant? (yes, yes, they could be showing SF/St Louis)

Carolina over GB (-11) - when Vegas dangles a big fat 6 point carrot in front of me, attached to my favorite team, its really really hard to say no (even if Seattle over Chicago is a free 2 pts that I'll need here in la Tierra de Puntos Negativos), maybe Steve Smith will get the start on a game-time decision, right?

Look for Flippy to drop by later, I think he got out on parole.

John's Week 11 Picks

New York over Detroit (6). I'm definitely not on the Lions bandwagon, and the Giants have looked especially strong of late, being picked by FO as the most likely team to defeat the Patriots this season after the Colts came up short.

St. Louis over San Francisco (5). San Francisco SUCKS. Nothing more to say.

Tennessee over Denver (4). Look for LenDale White to run rampant over the Broncos defense, while Tennessee holds the Denver offense to mediocre numbers.

Cleveland over Baltimore (3). The Browns offense has been on fire all season; don't expect it to slow down against a weaker-than-usual Ravens defense.

New Orleans over Houston (2). The defenses are pretty much equivalent (in terms of being awful), and the Saints have the much better offense, although that's offset by the return of Andre Johnson this week. Look for a close shootout here.

Jacksonville over San Diego (1). Yes, the Chargers took down Indianapolis last week, but they looked ugly doing so. The Jaguars offense should be able to power up against a mediocre Chargers defense.

Upset Special: Carolina over Green Bay (-11.0). I'm not really feeling any of the other big upsets, and I missed the two-point conversion last week, so here's to "keeping the faith." Maybe DeShaun will have a big day.

Wednesday, November 14

Week 11 Slate

San Diego at Jacksonville
Cleveland at Baltimore
New Orleans at Houston
New York at Detroit
St. Louis at San Francisco
Tennessee at Denver

Get ready for negative points this week, kids.

Monday, November 12

Oh, The Humanity


Yes, it was a wild weekend in the NFL, so incredibly wild that Dani takes the weekly Pick 'em crown. We really shouldn't invite her to play any more, whenever she shows up we all seems to sink to ~.500, for instance, on these weekends, teams that suffer insanely lopsided losses in previous weeks (Minny 35, SD 17), go ahead an defeat teams they shouldn't (SD 23, Ind 21), while the previous victor totally lays an egg (GB 34, Minny 0). Oh NFL, you're so mysterious. In all seriousness, congrats to Dani for nailing the upset pick and managing the rest of her picks well enough to captain a 3-3 record to a victory on the week.

Dani: 3-3, 4 points (Guest: 28-32, -2 points)
John: 3-3, 1 point (41-19, 98 points)
Ryan: 3-3, -1 points (36-24, 52 points)

Saturday, November 10

Ryan's Week 10 "Peyton Manning Special"


Hey there folks, just providing you with my "Peyton Mannings" of the week. Ok, relax everyone, don't worry, I do have the Colts beating the Bolts, I'm just picking at Peyton a little bit.


6) Buffalo over @Miami - Um, really? Miami is really really really bad, has no one in Vegas noticed this. Ronnie Brown is out for the season.

5) Indianapolis over @San Diego - I can't see the Colts dropping the game after the Pats game, and the Chargers haven't been very consistent. The Colts defense should give Rivers fits.

4) Detroit over @Arizona - I'm all over the Lions bandwagon, and the Cardinals haven't really shown me much since they surprised the Steelers and gave the Ravens a game.

3) Dallas over @New York - Cowboys = class of the NFC, Giants = winning streak from playing a poor schedule. The Giants last real contest was at home agains the Eagles, in week 4.

2) @Kansas City over Denver - I like the Chiefs here, they're a tough matchup at Arrowhead (see last week's game agains the Packers), and their injury is where the Denver is weakest (29th against the rush)

1) Philadelphia over @Washington - This showdown rounds out the NFC East doubleheader of the day. I don't have a whole lot of faith in either team, but after Donovan is in the media he usually plays pretty well that following weekend, so after his "Its not all my fault" claim look for him to lead the team to victory.

Minny over GB (-6)

Dani's Week 10 Picks

Apparently i've been nominated for pick'em...so here they are. and let me just say, i feel much better about this now that i have an understanding of the rules.

6. Buffalo over Miami
5. Indianapolis over San Diego
4. Detroit over Arizona
3. Philadelphia over Washington
2. Denver over Kansas City
1. New York over Dallas


And my upset: Cincinnati over Baltimore (-5.5).

The circ desk did not contribute this week, all but the upset are gut instinct/impression picks. After last time, I trust those more.

John's Week 10 Picks

Indianapolis over San Diego (6). The Chargers really didn't show anything last week against Minnesota, and the Colts play both excellent offense and excellent defense. Indy rolls.

Dallas over New York (5). The Giants are a good team, but they're just not as good as Dallas, on either side of the ball. I think the Giants' defensive line will pressure Romo a bit more than he's used to, but I don't think that will be enough to tip the balance of this game.

Buffalo over Miami (4). Marshawn Lynch is going to have a field day in this one.

Detroit over Arizona (3). Eww, ugly game here. Neither team really plays offense or defense especially well, but I'm going with the Lions due to their slight advantages in all facets.

Philadelphia over Washington (2). Neither team is really that good, but Brian Westbrook is going to tear apart the Washington rush defense because McNabb won't be able to hit anyone through the air on the Washington secondary.

Kansas City over Denver (1). The Broncos offense is banged up, and the Holmes/Smith tandem should be an upgrade over the wholly ineffective Larry Johnson. Kansas City's defense should carry them in this one.

Upset Special: Minnesota over Green Bay (-7.0). These teams are close enough together in talent level that I've got to put my hopes on Adrian Peterson for four points this week.

Friday, November 9

Week 10 Slate

Here are the games we'll be picking this week (do we have a guest picker lined up yet?):

Denver at Kansas City
Buffalo at Miami
Philadelphia at Washington
Dallas at New York
Detroit at Arizona
Indianapolis at San Diego

Tuesday, November 6

Week 9 Pick'em Recap

Ryan: 5-1, 15 points (33-21, 53 points)
Guest (Lucy): 4-2, 13 points (25-29, -6 points)
John: 4-2, 11 points (38-16, 97 points)

A hearty congratulations to all on another good week of pick'em, marking the second time in TFSB pick'em history (in as many weeks) that the guest picker has scored higher than either Ryan or me, with Lucy pulling the victory out over John this week after Cason got by Ryan last week. John decided to pick against the Lions this week and it cost him big time, giving the rest of the panel 11 points while costing him a victory. So much for not usually ending up on the wrong side of blowouts; that one wasn't even close as the Denver defense totally collapsed and Patrick Ramsey had no shot at keeping the Broncos in the game on the offensive side of things.

A New Season is Here!

That's right folks, as you all were sleeping, well, maybe more like as you all were playing EA Sports' MVP Baseball, or whatever you do when you realize the MNF matchup is a blowout, the college basketball season quietly tipped off, with the initial rounds of the Coaches v. Cancer Tournament.

To kick off the morning, a couple of locally themed links:

The 2-0 Bobcats host the Suns (2-1) tonight, who might be without Amare Stoudemire, if he doesn't go, I'll give the 'Cats a decent shot at 3-0.

Another week, another quarterback quagmire for the Carolina Panthers (I kinda want to see what Matt Moore has to offer).

Back to college basketball, the Heels have found their new Tyler Hansbrough, nailing down another typical Roy Williams white boy, Tyler Zeller.

Also, just for John, some Hot Stove questions.

Saturday, November 3

Super Bowl XLI.5

So, apparently it has been requested that John and I opine on Pats-Colts, we appreciate Byron's curiousity and respect for our thoughts, though we have our doubts to his actual motives (ie, to throw it in our face how WRONG we were after the game). To opine, John and I will attempt a dueling post/thread, with me initiating the conversation (as such), to which John will respond in kind.

Ryan: I'll start off pretty generic here, the Pats are GOOD. Like, really good. There has not been an 8 run game like the one they've been on ever seen in the NFL, pre or post Free Agency. The Patriots closest game was a 34-17 walk over the Browns, and as FO says, championship teams can best be judged not by their play against equal competition, but by how handily they defeat weaker opponents. Using this idea, the Patriots are good. Indy has "had trouble" (won by less that 7 pts) twice, 22-20 over the Titans and 30-24 over the Texans. Along with that, for the first half of last week's game against the middling (sigh) Panthers, the Colts looked very beatable. John, does Indy have a prayer?

John: Of course Indianapolis has a chance; you can't say that a team that's 7-0 and has the second-highest DVOA this season in the NFL (and pretty high up there all-time, although FO decided to pull that from their efficiency ratings, for some reason) doesn't have a chance. The difference in DVOAs this season between New England and Indianapolis is about 13%. That's roughly the same as, say, Seattle and Cleveland, or Cleveland and Detroit. Couldn't you see either of those games going the other way? Certainly. Keep in mind, this is with the Patriots running up the score on certain Sundays, so had they not been doing so (or had the Colts been doing that to their opponents), the DVOAs would be closer. Ryan, how much advantage does being in the dome give Indianapolis this Sunday?
Edit: Lets not forget the law of averages John. There are a lot of teams hovering around the middle of the pack like the Browns and Seahawks, who just get pulled up and down by playing teams of equal strength each week. Its much harder (disproportionately so) to dominate the league and be 15% higher in DVOA over the next competitor, who themselves are 20% ahead of the next guy, playing all those average teams weighs you down.

Vegas: [to be read in a computer voice] The Colts get a 3 or 3.5 point advantage from playing at home.

Ryan: Hey! How'd he get in here? The Colts, uh, get about 3 points... Well, special teams wise, the Patriots have got to like that Gostkowski gets to kick inside instead of at a potentially wet and 45 degree Gilette. I feel like that bonus helps him more (since he needs more help to begin with) than it does Vinatieri. Offensively the turf doesn't help the Colts that much. The Patriots now have an equally high powered offense and fast recievers, and the Colts offense has recently become equal parts power and speed (Since '04 the Colts OL has gone from 5th to 15th on outside runs and 6th to 3rd on runs between the tackles). Defensively the Colts do rely on speed, so it should help them to play at home. In the end its about an average boost, its nice to play for the home fans, and sleep in your own bed, but this Colts team doesn't rely on the turf to make its offense go like it once did. That said, it will be fascinating to see who will win the matchup of Colts balanced offensive attack and Patriots defensive scheming. Who's got the edge there John?

John: Well, the Colts offense has DVOA ratings of 54.9 (Passing, 2nd in NFL) and 31.0 (Rushing, 1st in NFL) this season. Conversely, the Patriots have defensive DVOAs of -22.5 (Passing, 2nd in NFL) and -8.2 (Rushing, 9th in NFL) this season. Given these numbers, I think the Colts will go to Addai early and often, while Peyton is certainly good enough to move the chains when Dungy needs him to and to keep the Patriots honest. Addai has been the best running back in the NFL this season, and he should continue to show this dominance against the Patriots' front line. And to give credit where credit is due, the Indianapolis offensive line has been the best in the NFL this season both in run blocking and pass protection, to debunk any naysayers who think the stats might be unfairly inflated. The Patriots' defensive line is only ranked 18th against the run, so check out those stats if you want to see exactly what the Patriots have done against the run (when they've had to face the run, that is). Ryan, the flip side of this is obviously: How will the Patriots fare when they have the ball?

Naysayer: Nay, Nay, Nay.

Ryan: How do all these people keep getting in? Byron, did you leave the door unlocked again? Um, John just lobbed me a soft one, nice high arch. The Patriots will score points. Last week the Patriots played FO's #1 ranked defense (per DVOA), and they put up 52 points, now the Redskins are the 5th ranked defense. The Patriots will score lots of points. Last year, the Patriots put up 34 on Indy in the playoffs, with Gaffney, Caldwell, and Brown playing WR. They're much much better this year. The Colts really don't have the corners to cover all three of the Patriots recievers simultaneously. And despite what Tony Kornheiser says, Bob Sanders is not Chuck Norris. As long as the Patriots have watched their game film, and know that the best way to run on the Colts speed defense is up the middle, and don't forget to throw plenty of jump balls to Randy Moss, they'll be ok. The true question here is not if the Pats will score, but if the Colts will be able to keep up. So, John, can we have a prediction (score included)?

John: I'll take the Patriots, 35-21.

Ryan: Sounds feasible, though I think it will be a little more high scoring than that. I'll go with Patriots 41, Colts 28.

Ryan's Pick 'em (9)

6) Dallas over @Philadelphia - The Cowboys should continue to show that they're the cream of the NFC, up there along with Green Bay and maybe the Giants (I'm not on board with that train yet). The Eagles will provide evidence that their window to winning a Super Bowl is closing fast, extremely fast (or should I say closed fast?).

5) @Detroit over Denver - No one seems to believe in the Lions, ladies and gentlemen, they're actually good. The offense is putting up points, and the defense is playing haphazardly and causing turnovers doing so. The key here is that the Lions have a healthy Kevin Jones and the Broncos have a weak rush defense (29th per FO).

4) Green Bay over @Kansas City - Brett Favre seals the deal and nails down the last franchise (other than Green Bay) that he hasn't defeated. Look for 52 yards on 28 carries for Larry Johnson.

3) Cincinnati over @Buffalo - I don't see the Jets Bills defense containing the Cincy passing game (or running game), so they'll put up tons of points. Can Buffalo even put up tons of points? I'm leaning towards no.

2) @Cleveland over Seattle - I just can't get behind a team that lost to New Orleans at home a few weeks ago, the Browns are looking strong and being 4-3 in the AFC is impressive, being 4-3 in the NFC is.

1) @Atlanta over San Francisco - No reason to think that the [blank] can pull it together for a win here, they've shown some signs of life but nothing to make me feel strongly about them pulling off a victory here over [blank]. Yeah, can you tell which team goes where? Me either.

Jacksonville over @New Orleans (-3.5) - for a measily 2 points

Friday, November 2

Lucy's Week 9 Picks

Take it away, Lucy...

How dare you threaten me with flippy mcquarter! When have I ever let you down? But I understand Dr. Huff wanting to redeem himself after he blew it the first week. I emailed my mom today and got her picks but then I went to the bookstore and read USA today there just to double check and now I have made my desicion.

detroit over denver (6)
atlanta over san fran (5)
dallas over philadelphia (4)
cincinnati over buffalo (3)
greenbay over kansas city (2)
seatle over cleaveland (1)


I'm listening to mom 100% even though USA today picked Kansas and Cleavland. Kansas won the last 5 times they met and it's the Packers second week on the road but they are a higher rank so why wouldn't I listen mom? Traveling and packing sort of go together anyways don't you think? As far as Seattle @ Cleaveland's rank it's a toss up so here are my thoughts...hmmm... I think Browns is a horrble masscot and I will not pick them. What is a Brown anyway? Those Seahawks have way more style.
Since I had to look up the masscots for teams so that I could understand what I was reading about in the paper, I don't know what an upset would be but I would like to pick Carolina over Tennessee (-4.5). Does that count?

Thursday, November 1

John's Week 9 Picks

Green Bay over Kansas City (6). Green Bay seems to do everything right, and Ryan Grant has a chance to really shine over the last half of the season. Kansas City's pass defense is very stout indeed, but their offense is just pathetic, and their rush defense is decidedly mediocre.

Dallas over Philadelphia (5). Dallas also seems to do everything right, and Philadelphia's defense just hasn't lived up to expectations this season. Look for Romo to throw all over the Eagles' pedestrian secondary.

Atlanta over San Francisco (4). The 49ers have been just abominable this season. Yuck. Their only bright spot, Frank Gore, has been limited by injuries for the past several weeks. While the Falcons are certainly nothing to write home about, they should be able to get it done at home this week.

Seattle over Cleveland (3). Seattle gets D.J. Hackett back this week, so let the fireworks start against the 31st-ranked pass defense in the Browns.

Denver over Detroit (2). Denver gets the slightest of edges in this matchup because I think their offense matches up better with Detroit's defense than the other way around. Both teams are pretty terrible at both pass and rush defense, but the Broncos' passing attack has shown to be much better than the Lions', with the rushing games being roughly equivalent. This one will be close.

Buffalo over Cincinnati (1). This one will definitely be close too, but I have more faith in Marshawn Lynch running all over the Bungles' weak linebacking corps than I do in Palmer's ability to beat this surprising Buffalo secondary.

Upset Special: Jacksonville over New Orleans (-3.5). Uh, not sure how this is really an upset...but I'll take the easy two points anyway.

Week 9 Slate

Here's the slate of games for this week; hopefully we can hold our heads above water with these. Lucy has expressed interest in being the guest picker this week; hopefully she'll respond by Sunday or we'll haul in Flippy.

Green Bay at Kansas City
San Francisco at Atlanta
Denver at Detroit
Cincinnati at Buffalo
Seattle at Cleveland
Dallas at Philadelphia

Tuesday, October 30

Pick 'em Results (8)

Wow, what a pick 'em barnburner:

John: 24 pts, 6-0 (86, 34-14)
Cason: 20 pts, 5-1 (-19, 21-27)
Ryan: 19 pts, 5-1 (38, 28-20)

Wow, congrats on a great week, in total points (63 points handed out) this week topped our previous high in Week 5 (55), when Shawn guest picked. Not sure if we'll approach that ever again since all 3 pickers going 6-0 would total 63 points. Also, a hearty congratulations to Cason, becoming our first guest to top either me or John. The only mistakes were Cason's severe desire not to be a homer and pick Green Bay (even though Favre was on MNF). Meanwhile I surrendered to the siren's song of homerism by picking a Panthers upset.

Now, onto next week, a quick preview of the lines and games has 10 games at 3.5 or less, here they are:
Wash@NYJ, GB@KC, Ariz@TB, SF@Atl, Jax@NO, Den@Det, Cin@Buf, Sea@Cle, Hou@Oak, Dal@Phil

Something tells me our records may take a bit of a hit, we shall see.

Monday, October 29

Champ Bailey

Back in the preseason, Mike Tirico claimed that Champ Bailey had allowed 4 receptions all of last year. Well, this being impossible, FO turned to its game charters, who only have an order of magnitude different (40 catches). Only 40 completions in 16 games is pretty impressive (2.5 per game), especially considering that 97% of the time he was in single coverage.

Now, fastforward to tonight when he was blantantly responsible for the 79 yard TD pass to James Jones in the 1st quarter of MNF. How rare is that? Champ only allowed 5 plays longer than 25 yards last year, and allowed exactly 0 touchdowns.

Sunday, October 28

Ryan's Week 8 Pick 'em

Sorry for the late post, morning birding kept me away from a computer, now I'm back and ready to enjoy some football:

6) Pittsburgh over @Cincinnati - Um, really guys? Though I would like to pick the Chargers win today, this game should be as easy to pick. The Steelers are a good all around team, and they're coming off a loss, another misstep and they'll really begin to fall too far behind the class of the AFC (well, the class of the NFL).

5) Buffalo over @NY Jets - Also a seeming no brainer. The Bills have had a lot of close losses, and them beating the Ravens didn't exactly surprise me, they should handle the Jets while making Pennington looks silly, also losing Vilma doesn't help.

4) Cleveland over @St Louis - Even with Steven Jackson, the Rams are bad, and the Browns have kept their heads above water in the much stronger AFC.

3) Green Bay over @Denver - despite the impressive performance last week, the Broncos' weakness (stopping the run) might let the Packers have a more balanced attack than usual, and the Denver offense isn't scaring a fast-maturing Green Bay defensive unit.

2) New Orleans over @San Francisco - This is one of the games I'm not so confident in. The Saints really don't have the ability to stop the run and no matter how poorly the Niners are playing, they still have Frank Gore.

1) Philadelphia over @Minnesota - The Eagles strength this year has (surprisingly) been their running game, well, that just won't fly when you play Minnesota. Kelly Holcombe could keep the defense just honest enough to let the RB tandem run wild.

Upset Special: I'm usually wrong on these, so its not like I'm losing a lot by saying that the Panthers will beat the Colts (-7.0) today. Keep the faith.

Week 8 Pick'em

Cleveland over St. Louis (6). The Rams just haven't done anything right this season, and Marc Bulger didn't show me anything last week. If anything, his ribs might be more tender after the beating he took.

Pittsburgh over Cincinnati (5). I agree with Cason; last week's loss to the Broncos was a fluke for the Steelers. The Carson Palmer-led offense is amazing, but Cincinnati really Bungles along on defense. Expect a high-scoring affair, but with the Steelers ending with a comfortable lead.

Green Bay over Denver (4). The Packers have looked solid all season long on both sides of the ball. The Broncos are missing Javon Walker on offense and their defense is one of the league's worst.

New Orleans over San Francisco (3). This one could get ugly. Both teams have cobbled together two wins on the season, but New Orleans' offense is a bit of an upgrade over the 49ers'; especially with Alex Smith just coming back from injury.

Buffalo over New York (2). The Bills' defense has looked decent so far, so they should be able to stave off the Jets' offense, whether it's led by Pennington or Clemens.

Philadelphia over Minnesota (1). Going to be a close one here, but Philadelphia's offense is so much better than Minnesota's, and their defense will be looking to stop the rush all day long and let the pass beat them.

Upset Special: Detroit over Chicago (-6). I really don't see how people are still all over the Bears' nuts this season, even though they've been just awful. Detroit's no great shakes either, but they'll roll in this one.

Guest Week 8 Post

This week we welcome Cason Dwyer, Project Manager, Epic Systems, since Cason went the wordy rout, I'll turn it over to him:

Greetings from the land of cheese and beer (if only I could indulge in both...)! Writing from the headquarters of Epic Systems, I'll be the guest picker for this week and I'll try to improve upon last week's poor performance. Let's get started, winners in bold:

6)Pittsburgh at Cincinnati:
Although the Steelers looked bad losing to Denver, I'll give them a pass and assume it wasn't their week and that the Broncos were upset by the Rockies' popularity so they decided to win a game. I think the Steelers will definitely beat the spread and be able to force enough turnovers to slow down the Bengal offense while scoring with ease when they have the ball.

5)Buffalo at New York Jets:
Let's see, Vilma is likely out as of the time of writing, Chad Pennington is starting, and the defense made Kenny Watson look like LaDanian Tomlinson...

4)Cleveland at St Louis:
A lot of people think the Rams are due for a win. I agree, but not this week.

3)New Orleans at San Francisco:
In previous years, I'd always have trouble when it came to predicting the Saints. In Last One Standing pools, my dad, my uncle and I would all have a rule that developed from experience: don't ever bet on the Saints. The corollary to that rule was don't ever bet against the Saints. In five years of LOS pools, anyone who picked the Saints would always lose because the Saints would do the exact opposite of what we expected. Predicting the Saints is much harder than cheering for them even when they were terrible.

As you can see, I've picked the Saints to win here. From a logical standpoint, the Saints have won two in a row against, at best, mediocre competition. However, San Francisco certainly fits that description. I don't think they will put up a plethora of points, but I think they will do enough to win against a 49ers team that is just getting back Alex Smith. Reggie Bush might get a bunch of scores like he did last year against the 49ers, even though he's had to fight harder for his yards and TD's this year.

In spite of all my predictions, don't be surprised at all if the Aints show up in San Fran and Alex Smith throws for a bajillion yards in a 49er win.

2)Green Bay at Denver:
Finally, a home team! I would love to see the Pack win since I was required by state law to become a Packers fan, but I think the Packers have been getting too lucky in many of thier wins. Denver woke up against the Steelers and I think they will be able to force Favre into throwing interceptions since Green Bay's running game suffered another injury with DeShawn Wynn hurting his neck.

1)Philadelphia at Minnesota:
I think this is the toughest call. The Eagles haven't scored a lot and they probably won't break 20 on Sunday. However, the defense can slow Adrian Peterson and force the Vikings to throw, where they are weakest.

Editor's note(s): Cason's upset pick is Detroit over Chicago (-6), also, I hope I inferred the correct pick for each game

Thursday, October 25

Thursday's Links du Jour

I'm at it early this morning. It looks like its going to be a long day, so I've started posting links early, check back often for all the blogs that are fit to republish, and columns, of course.

Oh, and a clerical note, the Jax/TB game will not be picked this week (I have a feeling the rapidly climbing line has something to do with Quinn Gray starting at QB). We will pick Pittsburgh Cincinnati instead. Now, onto the links:

Ladies and Gentlemen, straight from the University of Florida, Channing Crowder

This week's Blog Poll (and for John, FEI)

The Rockies stumbled out of the gate last night, though did anyone expect them to top Beckett? I'd have to agree with Mr. Boswell, the layoff was way too long. If you remove the Fox scheduling, the Rockies would have only had to deal with about a 5 game layoff (2 extra days to set up the series on a Wednesday, 1 unnecessary day off in the Cle/Bos series), which seems a tad more realistic. Honestly, these guys haven't gone 8 days without playing since March. (While we're on the subject, one more preview)

KenPom does some similarity scoring (also, there are some great previews up at BP including the ACC)

MJD @ AOL Fanhouse gives Londoners all the information they need to know regarding the NFL showdown at Wembley Stadium

Also, THT looks at the decline in innings pitched in the majors, since 1871

Wednesday, October 24

World Series Preview

Just to remind everyone, the baseball season isn't quite over yet. The Red Sox have the mind-numbing formality of playing the NL Champion Rockies. Yeah, you'd think they'd have started that by now, huh? Well, at least we all got an extra episode of House out of it to tide us over. Anyways, John and I will be strongly pulling against the Red Yanks, err, I mean, Sox. Its time for ROCKtober, here are some previews via sites that know more about baseball than I (more than even John!). As a side note, if you came here because I pestered you and convinced you that you should know about the teams playing, you should keep reading down to John's "New York Look Yankees?" post, its the kind of original idea, well-researched post we put up about once a month around here.

The Hardball Times What2Watch4 in the World Series (also from THT the cases for the Rockies and for the Red Sox

The AP points out that this series was already played, in June

"Sox and Dawgs" goes back to look at the aforementioned
3 game series at Fenway

The writer of "Baseball Musings" previews the series at TSN

BP has a couple of articles about the rotations for both teams and their patience at the plate

Epic Carnival gets in the the World Series preview action, and follows up with 6 important issues facing the teams as they head into play tonight.

Byron commented on the lack of a prediction from John or I. We both more or less argee with the pundits, I've got the Sox in 6, John has them in 7. The Rockies pitching seems overmatched, and the Sox lineup is so much better from top to bottom. Though, as if you couldn't tell, we hope ROCKtober rolls on.

Tuesday, October 23

New York Look Yankees?

One of Ryan's comments at lunch yesterday prompted me to do some research into the Yankees payroll (I forgot what that comment was, exactly, maybe Ryan can elucidate). Looking at Cot's Baseball Contracts, I came up with a list of the Yankees' top contractual obligations and determined when New York would be able to cut bait with all of their highly-paid talent, if they decided to. Amounts are an average per-year salary through the given year, giving an idea of how much payroll they're taking up, and how much will come off the books in what year.

Mariano Rivera: free agent this offseason ($10.5M in 2007)
Roger Clemens: free agent this offseason (prorated, actually paid Clemens about $17.4M in 2007)
Alex Rodriguez is signed through 2010, but has a 10-day window after this World Series ends to opt out of his current contract and become a free agent.

Andy Pettitte: $16M player option for 2008
Jorge Posada: $12M player option for 2008
Bobby Abreu: $16M club option for 2008
Kyle Farnsworth: $5.7M through 2008
Carl Pavano: $10M through 2008
Mike Mussina: $11.5M through 2008
Jason Giambi: $17.1M through 2008, $22M 2009 club option

Hideki Matsui: $13M through 2009
Johnny Damon: $13M through 2009

Derek Jeter: $18.9M through 2010

Kei Igawa: $4M through 2011

As you can see, a whole crap-ton of money comes off the books after next season for the Yankees. Of course, they may choose to re-sign a lot of these guys, but I just don't see Cashman going that route for anyone but Abreu. Everyone else is just dead weight on that 2008 list. If Rodriguez stays in New York next year, the Yankees will have contractual obligations to just five players (not including pre-arbitration guys): 3B, LF, CF, SS, and a SP. Cashman could certainly choose to wipe the slate clean after 2008, and let his minor leaguers fill most of the holes while signing free agents or trading to play positions that there are no in-house options for. The Yankees could, and probably will, look MUCH different in 2009 than they do now. Surprisingly to some, the Yankees' pitching prospects in the minors ranked first among MLB clubs at the beginning of the season according to Baseball Prospectus, with names like Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, and Tyler Clippard. Whether their payroll will still be as bloated as it is now depends on how much say Cashman has on whether he uses young guys or free agents to fill his holes, and whether the Steinbrenner family continues to be as liberal with the pursestrings as George has been in the past. The fact that they were asking Joe Torre to take a pay cut to stay in New York may signify the first sign of payroll slashing as much as it signified their unhappiness with not winning the World Series since 2000. If the Steinbrenner family does indeed decide to keep paying players more than they're worth just to come play in New York, Cashman might not have much need to look to his farm system for much. The fact that all these players will be at least six years into their careers will pretty much guarantee that the Yankees of the future will be of the same mold as the Yankees of current, just with different numbers on their jerseys. Cashman, and the Yankees organization as a whole, has a crossroads to look forward to at the end of the 2008 season. Here's hoping they have enough sense to look to the future, not just of the club, but of MLB as a whole.

Sunday, October 21

Early Pick 'em Recap

OUCH, we're all reeling after the 1 o'clock entire week of games:

Ryan: -11 pts, 2-4 (62, 28-14)
John: -11 pts, 2-4 (19, 23-19)
Dani: -13 pts, 2-4 (-39, 16-26)

If I weren't such a flip-flopper (or such a sucker for Vince Young) I'd have at least 1 correct pick. We all whiffed big time on sure bets such as Pittsburgh beating Denver, and Baltimore beating Buffalo. John and I also kept up our sterling record, always topping the guest we invite to join in the misery of picking the crapshoot that is the NFL. I'd like to point out that though I'm only 5 games behind John (not a heavy or insurmountable lead) he's running away with the points 62 to 19. This is probably due to the fact that his 5 and 6 point games seem to always go John's way.

Next week, Epic System's newest, uh, well, we know Cason works for Epic Systems in Madison, WI, but we're not sure what he does, maybe he can elaborate when he gets here. Also an early look at the games: Cle/StL, Phi/Min, Buf/NYJ, Jax/Tam, NO/SF, GB/Den (the lines page is in the "Links" section). Somehow, Pittsburgh is only receiving 3.5 points at Cincinnati, not sure how that's working, John and I really need an account at one of these places.

Friday, October 19

Guest Pick 'em Week 7

Friday's Links

This week's guest picks are courtesy of Dani Volker and her colleagues at the Circulation Desk in Davis Graduate Library. Actually, in all seriousness, we'd like to thank Dani for actually putting some research and thought into her picks unlike previous guests (Flippy McQuarter, Byron Huff). These picks look pretty good to me, though as you all know that's as much of a curse as a blessing. With a slightly easy week to pick and some minimium research Dani might have a shot at the #1 guest picker spot held by John labmate Shawn (5-1, 15 pts). As an aside, care to post an upset pick Dani?

6. Baltimore over Buffalo: Apparently my picks are gonna pretty closely resemble the guys', but having brushed up on my football knowledge some this week, even I know that a team with weak offense stands no chance against a team with a good defense.

5. Houston over Tennessee: With Vince Young all banged up, Tennessee would have a rough time pulling this one out.

4. Pittsburgh over Denver: Tune in to watch Denver's defense fold like a cheap card table under the weight of the Steelers' offense.

3. Indianapolis over Jacksonville: This one should be close, but from what I hear, when in doubt, don't bet against the Colts.

2. Tampa Bay over Detroit: From the looks of it it's gonna be a bad week for the home team. But with the Lions in a slump and the Bucs on a roll, this game shouldn't break the trend.

1. Kansas City over Oakland: My office football officianado tells me asking who'll win this game is like asking who's gonna be second to go down the drain, but we'll have a go at it anyway. With a slightly better record and a recent win under their belt, Kansas city should ride momentum to win over an Oakland team fresh off a loss.

Alright, that's all I've got.

Ryan's Week 7 Pick 'em (and some links after that)

Go road teams!

6) Pittsburgh over @Denver - No Javon Walker doesn't help the (already injured)Broncos here. Their backs are against the wall, and its not good to look up from that position and see the Steelers. Currently, IMO (and FO's), there are only two teams you'd least like to see, the Pats and the Colts, but somehow, no one seems to be talking about the Steelers.

5) Tampa Bay over @Detroit - Um, guys, hello? Vegas? Really? I know Tampa doesn't do it with flair or style or anything like that, but they get it done. This matchup seems tailor made for them, move the ball on a weak Detroit defense, and then shut down the high powered passing attack, easy enough, right?

4) Baltimore over @Buffalo - This was really tempting to swing the other way, as Beatpaths points out, the Ravens have really been feasting on weak competition, defeating the Jets, Niners, Cards, and Rams. However, the Bills are starting a rookie QB and have been feasting on weak competition themselves (if you count a 17-14 win over the Jets). Look fo an ugly matchup with total points not breaking the 35 point threshold.

3) Kansas City over @Oakland - We really have a habit of picking the bad teams, well, its not our fault, Vegas sets the lines. Oakland this year has been horrid, especially against the rush. Combine that with a bouncing back KC defense and you've got the recipe for a win at the Black Hole. Also, congrats to all you LJ owners if you've held onto him, enjoy him for the next 3 weeks before he blows a tire.

2) Indianapolis over @ Jacksonville - Don't think the Jags have the horses on offense to run with the Colts, nor can they stop their vaunted passing attack (gimpy Marvin Harrison and all). Tony Dungy lives on trading field goals for TD's, which is what the Colts will be doing Monday night.

1) Tennessee over @Houtson - This game hinges on whether or not one person plays, Kerry Collins. Well, indirectly Kerry Collins, directly Vince Young. You all may remember I got screwed by picking the Titans while Young decided to take the 4th quarter off, something about a strained quad (what a baby). So, this week its pretty simple. Vince Young plays, Titans win. Vince Young sits, upset city. Will Carroll thinks he'll play, so Titans win.
Edit: OK, note here folks, I was serious about the whole Vince Young thing, if he starts and gets injured (thus Titans lose), I'll take the points hit. If Kerry Collins starts, this pick flips instantaneously over to Houston>Tennessee, I may get up and physically switch this, but we'll see.

And I'll hop on John's bandwagon for the upset Atlanta over New Orleans (7.5), the Saints haven't shown me a whole lot yet, so I'm not ready to bet on them, also their defense shouldn't be able to stop Leftwich and some competent recievers.

Links (wasn't that cool? it just jumps you down the page!)
Via John, the Tar Heels' newest stud pitcher was top 15 MLB draft talent, but is coming to school instead.

Apparently Joe Torre hit 30 HRs, 110 RBIs, all while pitching 200+ innings a year for the '96-'01 Yankees

Guess who was right

Terry Pendleton might not be going anywhere

Oh, and bummer John, I mean, Mr. Pac-10 Basketball

I knew I forgot something, "Joe says No" to one giant sham of an offer from the Steinbrenners, as John says "Hello Cardinals!" (more on Joe, this guy mirrors my general beliefs, more or less)

Great stuff by Josh Beckett last night, and as everyone is now noticing, he's stepped up twice now ('07 & '03) in the playoffs. Here are Beckett's career playoff numbers: 9 G (8 GS), 5-2, 3 CG, 1.78 ERA, 65.2 Innings, .716 WHIP, 73 K. Now, that's a smallish sample size (one-third of a season), but against some damn fine hitters Beckett has gotten it done.

Also on Baseball Reference, an interesting feature called "Stat of the Day"

From Baseball Musings (Via RMN), Troy Tulowitzki is the first rookie shortstop to start in a World Series since one Derek Jeter

Meant to post this PC article on Chief Wahoo earlier (and now we've go a Bobby Knight interview on the same blog)

John and I dominate the KP chat

Thursday, October 18

Week 7 Pick'em

Pittsburgh over Denver (6). It's weeks like these that make me wish I lived in Vegas. 3.5-point spread for this game? Really, Vegas? Denver will be without a mostly ineffective Javon Walker due to surgery, but even with him, Denver wouldn't have had a prayer in this game. Steelers roll.

Tampa Bay over Detroit (5). This game is almost as ludicrous as Pittsburgh/Denver. Apparently, people still aren't giving Tampa Bay the credit it deserves while at the same time being on the Jon Kitna 5,000 yards watch. There's no way this one's close.

Baltimore over Buffalo (4). Yes, yes, we all know the Ravens can't score, but neither can the Bills, and the Ravens play defense. The Bills don't.

Indianapolis over Jacksonville (3). Gutsy going with this one as my three-pointer, but even at Jacksonville, and even though they might be without Harrison, this Colts offense is just too good for Jacksonville to stop. The Colts defense has surprisingly held its own this season as well, ranking eighth in the NFL.

Kansas City over Oakland (2). These two games are a bit iffy for me, but Oakland has just been awful this season. Even if they have another implosion from Larry Johnson, the Chiefs should still manage to get by this pathetic Raiders team.

Houston over Tennessee (1). Vince Young will likely be at less than full strength even if he starts, and if Kerry Collins starts, I don't see much hope for the Titans in this one.

Upset Special: Atlanta over New Orleans (-7.5). Damn, one win and everyone hops right back on that Saints bandwagon. I'm surprised the wheels didn't come right off after all that extra weight suddenly jumped onto it. The Falcons are the better team here, if not by much, so I've got to go with them this week.

Links Du Jour

So I think I'll just have a running post each day (or every couple of days) with links to visit, here are what I've found thus far morning:

BlogPoll is up (John mentions that the FEI is also up this week for the first time, Go Heels! UNC is a spot above Wisconsin)

The Ohio State Buckeyes are teaching their new dogs some old tricks (and putting up with crap for a weak schedule)

In a shoutout to Jason, the US broke their European winless streak

And from Dani, the New York Times is reporting that Norse wizards (not starting pitching) are to blame for the Yankees' playoff failures this season

Apparently Jon Beason has been reading his handbook on how to be a good rookie, "it's not like I'm going to bring more to the table than a healthy Dan Morgan. I think with both of us out there, we're a better defense."

And finally, some quotes from FO:
“I go with my gut. Your gut always tells you what’s right.” -Herm Edwards
“I have to make sure I don’t lose my (composure), because then it becomes bad … it becomes ‘Da-Da-Da-Da-Da-Da.’” -Also Herm (that's the Sportscenter Theme Song)
“I told you you couldn’t overthrow me.” -Steve Smith (I mean, he's right, you can't)

Wednesday, October 17

Mid-Week Pick 'em Update

Ok folks, since I've slacked off for some time, accidentally letting the pick 'em results slip by due to all the baseball hysteria. Anyways, last weeks results:

John: 14, 5-1 (73*, 26-10)
Ryan: 9, 3-3 (30, 21-15)
Flippy McQuarter: -7, 2-4 (-26, 14-22)

*John awarded himself 20 points for last week, when he only earned 19. I know, I know, see what he tries to sneak by while I'm not around?

So, John was his usual self, just missing on one pick, though it was the 5 pointer. Though nailing the upset (+3) helped pick him up a little. He correctly predicted a barnburner in Miami and the falling flat of the Jets' offense, though apparently Brian Greise should scare people. I fared a little worse, but for the first time (ever) knew my limitations. I nailed the 6, 5, and 4 point affairs, and whiffed on the lower games. In my defense, if Vince Young had played the whole game the Titans would have won, and the other game I missed, Washington over GB, was also a 3 point affair. And from both John and I, what the hell Cincy, you SUCK. Our friend Flippy got a little caught up, apparently he hasn't read a paper in quite some time. Just an FYI Flippy, Michael Vick is on house arrest. Investing 6 points in the Fowlcants (or Foulcants) really cost him (Flippy, not Vick).

In the coming week we've got lots of good teams playing at home, which makes for 7 and 8 point lines. Joining us in the role of guest will be the newest librarian in Davis, Dani Volker. Here are the nailbiters we're planning on picking, as always subject to change (Away/Home):
Bal/Buf, TB/Det, Ten/Hou, KC/Oak, Pit/Den, Ind/Jax

Links
Move over John Hollinger, get ready for Basketball Batting Average, but are free throw attempts ~ walks? So who's ready for basketball OBP, or OPS even?
Um, really Deadspin? Could you be any later to the party?
Earlier this was above (linked to "hysteria"), but its a good HBT article on what the Rockies did to the D'backs. In part the D'backs took 8 walks and 0 scored, the Rockies took 18 walks and 6 scored
Is it time to retire Cheif Wahoo?

Tuesday, October 16

Links

I really love reading Darin Gantt, there is no good reason he should be writing for a small town paper like the Rock Hill Herald, but I enjoy his Panthers coverage. In this weeks' columns he fleshes out the QB situation (for next year) including a great Hurney quote "I think at this point everybody thinks Jake's going to be back and ready, and we've got some young guys that we like.", and lets a little rain fall on the parade.

WTF Commish?

And all you Purple Jesus/AD/AP fans out there can stop crowning the next Eric Dickerson

I LOVE Roy Williams, first the Megatron/Orch Dork saga, and now there is apparently some pizza delivery saga (first he didn't tip pizza guys, now he's running pies for a Detrot area pizza hut)

Oh, and a baseball special for John, Will Leitch never disappoints at Fair and Foul (to be fair, signed Dice-K was a business decision, that will reap benefits beyond the field such as merchandise in Japan, a pipeline to Asian talent, and the Yankees not having him). Oh yeah, and what's today's date? Its the 16th of ROCKtober, congrats to the NL Champs. And for what its worth, I think 8 days rest is the easiest opponent that the Rockies have faced in the past 22 games. (PS: notice the new look sleek Deadspin?)

Monday, October 15

Knee-Jerk Top 10 (Week 8 or something?)

So, I think this college football season is shaping up rather well, lots of exciting upsets and if everything goes well perhaps the fall of the BCS!! Ok, follow my logic here, in the top 20 there are 10 one-loss teams and 6 zero-loss teams. Included in the 0-loss teams are the following: Arizona St, Hawaii, South Florida, Boston College, and Kansas. Not that I doubt these teams, ok, I do. Four of them WILL LOSE BEFORE THE SEASON IS OVER, in fact, likely 3 this weekend (BC, USF, ASU). Of the other two, only Ohio St has to lose to fell the great BCS. If Hawaii is undefeated they likely won't make the title game (if they do, and get stomped, even more outcry which is good). Basically Ohio St has to lose some time over the next 5 weeks (Mich St, @Penn St, Wisconsin, Illinois, @ Michigan), to leave (and I'm assuming here) roughly 8-10 teams with one loss as of bowl time. In the past, there have been easy decisions to make to set up a national chamionship (last year the only undefeated teams played) or any one-loss controversy has only plagued one of the two spots (see 2000 & 2001 where a controversial one-loss team was picked to play an undefeated). Hopefully this year, there will be up to 5 or 6 teams claiming the right to play for the national championship and the powers that be might realize that a playoff is the best system for all parties involved (fans, schools, sponsors, etc)

Edit: Ok, for some reason I didn't catch that the other 2 undefeated teams I predicted to lose are both idle, and playing in fact NEXT weekend, oops. At least I was right about USF

1) Ohio St - as I've said, they've been improving in leaps and bounds this season, which has been full of OTJ training for the offense, now some losses (Cal, LSU) have them atop the polls (Mich St)
2) USF - well, they haven't lost yet, and their resume is quite impressive, they've got a rough mathup comin this week (@ Rutgers, Thurs)
3) Kentucky - the lovely SEC Beatloop (LSU>SC>KY>LSU...), luckily the two SEC East teams have yet to play Florida, hopefully that will help settle things out a bit in the comparative rankings, but until then we're just have to guess, or go with the hot hand, hence the whole "knee-jerk" gimmick, they'll get a chance to prove their ranking this weekend (Florida)
4) Oklahoma - dispatched upstart Missouri this week to help everyone forget about the stumble at Colorado, they should coast (and steadily creep up the AP rankings) until a game at Texas Tech in November (@ Iowa St)
5) LSU - rough loss at Kentucky, its looking more and more like an undefeated season for any BCS conference team will punch your ticket to the national championship game, well, it usually does, but it seems especially certain this year, with the polls favoring them winning out should get them a date with Oklahoma (guessing here) on Jan 8th (Auburn)
6) WVU - just like Florida they benefit from the bye week (Miss St)
7) SC - quite impressive in the first half against UNC, and quite not in the second, I feel like the real Gamecocks were the ones playing the first half, but their running game has to improve if they want to put away teams in the fourth quarter (Vanderbilt)
8) Florida - I've returned them to the top 10 because everyone else seems to be mired in suckatude, that and I'm anticipating a win over Kentucky since it would only cloud the picture in the SEC (@ Kentucky)
9) Missouri - Losing by 10 to a top-10 ranked team, on the road isn't that bad, we'll leave them here for a bit, could have some trouble with Texas Tech's system offense this weekend (Texas Tech)
10) BC - #2 in the AP, finally a loss comes this week, I really hope they don't tear down the goalposts in Blacksburg (idle)
Would have been in if I didn't want to rant about the lunacy that is BC's #2 ranking) Oregon - they're looking like the best team in the Pac-10 right now (undefeated top-10 Arizona St is a CROCK a la BC)

Dropped: Cal, Illinois

Great story on Vinny here
Apparently the Red Sox Nation (which has elected a president) is none too pleased with Eric Gagne
College Basketball is just around the CORNER!!!

Sunday, October 14

Random Guest Picks Week 6 (and probably 7 and 8 and...)

Since apparently the challenge of going up against John and I at a totally random pick 'em is more than any mortal can bear, that and no one apparently reads what amateur internet hacks write, we're having to flip a coin this week to see what the "guest" says.

6) Atlanta over New York

5) Philadelphia over NY Jets

4) Tennessee over Tampa Bay

3) Cincinnati over Kansas City

2) Green Bay over Washington

1) Miami over Cleveland

(exactly 3/3 split heads/tails, and in such a small sample size)

Wow, the coin seems to be a pretty big dumbass, the Falcons over the G-men for 6 pts? Well, we'll see who is laughing come Monday night, but that's quite a gamble.

Week 6 Pick'em

Philadelphia over New York (6). Once again, I'm devoting six points this week to an apparent mismatch between Philadelphia and a New York team. The Jets don't do a lot of things right, but Chad Pennington is the least of the Jets' worries. Even so, he could be on a short leash on Sunday with Kellen Clemens waiting in the wings. Expect both teams to attack through the air often in this one.

Cincinnati over Kansas City (5). Even without much of a linebacker corps, the Bungles should still be able to slow down a one-dimensional Chiefs offense and let Palmer and Watson take over when they have the ball.

New York over Atlanta (4). The Giants have proven to be a force on both sides of the ball, and while Atlanta's defense isn't terrible, it won't be enough to stop a top-ten offense consisting of the best running back tandem in the NFL right now, Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward.

Tampa Bay over Tennessee (3). While Tennessee's defense has been phenomenal thus far, their offense has been decidedly sub-par. Tampa Bay is much more well-rounded, and Earnest Graham should be able to keep the defense honest enough to give Jeff Garcia a few looks downfield.

Cleveland over Miami (2). Expect a barn-burner here, when the NFL's 30th- and 31st-best defenses hook up. Derek Anderson vs. Ronnie Brown, here we come. Except Anderson has a running game; Brown has...Cleo Lemon?

Green Bay over Washington (1). Close one here, as two excellent teams on both sides of the ball meet in a matchup of (somewhat) surprise teams this season. I give Green Bay the edge due to Antwaan Randle El's and Santana Moss' lingering injuries.

Upset Special: Minnesota over Chicago (5.5). Going with three easy points here, as Brian Griese doesn't scare anyone with Bernard Berrian battling a case of turf toe and Muhsin Muhammad still not able to catch anything thrown his way. I don't care how inept the Minnesota offense is; as long as its defensive line can stuff Cedric Benson and put moderate pressure on Griese, it should be a victory for the Vikings.

Week Six Pix

(note: since the Carolina line hss ballooned to 5/5.5, likely thanks to Carr not playing, we're switching over to Cleveland-Miami)

6) NY Giants over Atlanta - um, in case you haven't noticed, the Falcons are bad, I wonder how the ratings juggernaut of MNF will do with this ugly contest

5) Philadelphia over NY Jets - the Eagles just don't lose after bye weeks under Andy Reid, and they can easily blitz Pennington while covering his 15 yd throwing radius

4) Cleveland over Miami - the Dolphins are pretty bad as well, and the Browns can move the ball on offense (they put up 17 on the Pats, 17!)

3) Cincinnati over Kansas City - wow, are we just picking games involving shitty teams this week?

2) Tennessee over Tampa Bay - the Bucs have no running back, the Titans have 3

1) Washington over Green Bay - this is my 50-50, should be an entertaining matchup, can old Favre overcome the lack of a running game? can young Campbell handle an on-the-rise Packers' defense?

Upset) Houston over Jacksonville (7.0) - the young Texan D may be able to halt the Jaguar rushing attack that is just gaining momentum, do this and the Jags very well may fall apart at the seams (all over again), now when the Texans have the ball, I have no idea how they'll pull it off, o/u for points: 22

Friday, October 12

Testing, Testing...

Never done this before, we'll see if my html-ing skills are up to par

The World Series Preview

Here are some links to VegasWatch where there are previewing the World Series matchup between the Clevelan Indians and the Boston Red Sox. I mean, that's what it is, right? Essentially? Ok, ok, the Rockies could probably take on either of these teams, despite not having a starting pitcher that would crack the top 2 (Cleveland) or top 3 (Boston) of the rotation.
(edit: upon further review, Francis' VORP is higher than both Schilling and Matsuzaka)

Lineups
Fielding
Starting Rotations
Bullpens
(yeah, he's a little Indian crazy)

To tag on (in case the VW preview didn't quite fill you with enough knowledge of the ALCS combatants, from BP:
"six different hitters homered versus New York, and of the 12 who played, 11 collected at least one extra-base hit. In the Indians' balanced attack"
Also from that article, though the Sox and Tribe tied for 1st in the AL with 96 wins, the Red Sox projected win total was 15 games higher than that of the Indians (103-88)

Links (thanks as usual to Deadspin, AA, etc)
Dick Vitale's MLB Playoff picks (click only if you have a strong stomach)
Manny Acta interview (not sure why this is here, John and I both read it)
And Will Carroll's weekly injury report, I'd be worried but no one in my fantasy league bothers to read this blog OR update their rosters

Later: John and I co-post to knobslob the new BP!! (and preview our plans for hours and hours of College Basketball viewing)