Friday, April 28, 2006

And with the first've gotta be kidding me

For months the obvious thought was #1 was going to be Reggie Bush. Back when SF-Houston were fighting for the bottom spot it was the Reggie Bush Bowl. Then when Vince Young shined in the Rose Bowl you could see Houston taking the hometown hero. But this...Mario Williams? In 5 years this will be a turning point in the Houston franchise. Will Reggie Bush be a star elsewhere? Will Williams be a cornerstone of a defense. No one knows yet, but I am surprised.

Speaking of draft surprises... Back in 2003, I wasn't that excited about the Chiefs taking a Penn State RB. Especially with Priest Holmes starring. Well, this relates to the Saints. They need Reggie Bush. He could rejuvenate a community that needs to get excited and sell tickets and merchandise. Don't tell me they have Deuce. He is getting older and he already has injuries. And the knock on Bush is that he's not an every down back so he needs a power back to complement him. A defensive lineman will not help the Saints as much as Bush will. In a few years, maybe Deuce is injured, and Bush is making moves like this:

Thursday, April 27, 2006

5 Years of Draft Lessons


San Diego had the #1 pick, and basically traded Michael Vick for Tomlinson and Brees. Worked out pretty good for both teams, Tomlinson is the best player of the 3, but you can't call Vick a bust.

The Pats got Seymour with the 6th pick.
The Jets got Santana Moss with 16, but he only blossomed with the Reskins.
The Seahawks got Hutchinson at 17, Saints McAllister at 23, Colts Wayne at 30, and Ravens Heap at 31.

So that's 3 great players taken in the top half of the first round, 5 in the bottom half.


David Carr goes #1 to the Texans, Peppers #2 to the Panthers. Harrington #3 to the Lions.
Cowboys Roy Williams at 8, Colts Freeney at 11, Giants traded up to get Shockey at 14.
Walker to Packers at 20, Ed Reed to Ravens at 24.

Some mediocre players throughout the round, Buchanon, Ducket, Lelie, plenty of guys not making a difference from top to bottom. Colts and Ravens get 2 great first round picks back to back.


Palmer goes #1 to Bengals, Rogers WR goes #2 to Lions.

Vikings with the #7 pick, let the clock run out and the Jags pick Leftwich at 7. The Vikings decide to wait until 9 to pick a guy you've never heard of.

Pittsburgh and Kansas City make a trade. Steelers go up to get Polamalu, Chiefs go down to get Larry Johnson. Both team get Pro Bowlers. Indianapolis get Dallas Clark at 24. 3 years in a row the Coltss make a solid pick.


San Diego had the #1 pick, and traded Eli Manning and got Philip Rivers. They liked how it worked out so well in 2001, they thought they could do it again.

Larry Fitzgerald, Sean Taylor, DeAngelo Hall all go in the top 10. Roethlisburger at 11. Vilma to the Jets at 12. No really great picks later than that. The Lions took another WR at 7.


It's a little too soon to judge 2005's picks but Tampa Bay did pretty well at #5 with Cadillac and you wonder if the Packers knew that Favre would play in 05 and 06, if they would still take Aaron Rodgers. Oh yeah, and the Lions did take another WR with the 10th pick.

So what's the lesson here. It seems that more important than the draft slot, is the team making the pick. The Colts, who didn't have an 04 first rounder, made 3 great picks in a row, while the Lions had 4 busts in a row (streak still active). Being in the top half doesn't imply any great success than the bottom half, and a lot of the top picks will never be heard from again.

Draft Mock

So I've been hearing a lot of different stuff about the top 10 draft picks. But should I change my picks? Or is just draft posturing?
If I were to change my picks it might look like this, even though I'm not going to:

1. Bush
2. Williams
3. Leinart
4. Ferguson
5. Hawk
6. Davis
7. Young
8. Justice
9. Huff
10. Cutler

I had always thought that the Titans would go crazy to get Leinart, but who knows. My ideal situation, would be to put the Big 3 QB's on teams where they start Game 1. I'm really looking forward to seeing Vince Young, one for when he uses that quick release to squeeze it in a tight spot, and two for when he tries to run and Dwight Freeney lays a lick on him.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Mock Draft

Because I'm addicting to any sort of sports predictions, against my better judgement, I entered ESPN's draft challenge.

Friday, April 21, 2006

NBA Playoffs

As we prepare to embark on a 2 month journey that is the NBA playoffs, I thought I would break down the bracket.

First Round Matchups worth watching:

Nuggets-Clippers: Although I think LA did the right thing by tanking to avoid the Mavs, the karma should be against them.
Suns-Lakers: The Suns are worth watching any time, and Kobe is good for at least one buzzer beater.
Cavs-Wizards: The Cavs have a much better record, but the Wizards have experience. All eyes on LeBron.
Nets-Pacers: The Nets have been really good and high-flying this year, but could they be ready to fall?

Possible 2nd Round Matchups worth watching:

Spurs-Mavs: Should be awesome. Hard to beleive that this will be in the 2nd round. Wow.

Possible 3rd Round Matchups worth watching:

Suns-?: Western Semis should be almost as good as Spurs-Mavs.
Pistons-Heat: Revenge is sweet, but it won't happen.

Before I get to my bracket, let's review my earlier picks:

Preaseason Picks: Spurs d. Mavs, Heat d. Pistons, Spurs d. Heat. LeBron for MVP.

Well, my final four did pick the top 2 teams in each conference, but a stupid rule prevents Mavs from facing Spurs in the 3rd round. I still like LeBron for MVP.

April 7th Picks: Spurs d. Suns, Pistons d. Heat, and Pistons d. Spurs. LeBron for MVP.

Based on the Mavs projected bracket I had to bump them up, and the Pistons turned out to be even better without Larry Brown. I'll stick with my April 7th picks in my bracket:

Spurs, Mavs, Clips, Suns
Spurs, Suns

Pistons, Wizards, Nets, Heat
Pistons, Heat

Pistons beat Spurs in 6

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Gaucho Way of Preparing Meat

After 10 months of waiting, I finally experienced dining in an authentic Brazillian Churrascaria, a steakhouse featuring continous service. Gauchos roam the restaurant carrying giant skewers of meat that have been slow roasted over an open flame. They bring it to your table and if you want what they have, they will slice it on to your plate. And you control when you want them to come to you, with a color-coded coaster - green brings it on, red holds of for a while.

In addition to the meat, there was a giant salad bar included in the flat rate price and I enjoyed the unlimited side dishes I tried: cheesy rolls and mashed potatoes. But the reason you go to Fogo de Chao is for the meat. I've ranked them into 4 tiers:

Top Sirloin
Bottom Sirloin
Pork Roast
Parmesean Pork

Both of the sirloins were great. Some bites were a little too crispy, but they were flavorful cuts. The pork roast was moist, and the parmesean cheese gave it added flavor. This group was enjoyable, and added to the variety, but better things lie ahead.

Picanha (house special)
Leg of Lamb
Filet Mignon
Pork Sausages

These four meats were outstanding. The filet was tender, the picanha had a rich, salty flavor. The leg of lamb was surprisingly excpetional. I've never tasted lamb this good. The sausage was bold. Maybe the best sausage I've ever had. If you were at a normal restaurant and just ordered any of these as your entree, it would have been a meal to brag about. Having all four was a feast. And yet it was not the best.

Filet Mignon wrapped in bacon
Chicken wrapped in bacon

It's hard to describe the culinary masterpiece that is the two pieces wrapped in bacon. Crispy on the outside, moist and juicy on the inside. Cooked and seasoned to perfection, these cuts were the best in the room. Each bite was a sensory overload, rich and full in the mouth. These cuts alone made the dinner worth the trip. It was a sure sign that I was done, when I couldn't take another bite of these cuts. As a side note, both cuts were deliverd by one gaucho. If you let him walk by without getting at least one piece, it was equivalent to passing on Reggie Bush.

Not Good:
Pork Ribs
Beef Ribs

Despite all the praise I've given here, there were 2 disappointing cuts. Both of the ribs were lacking in texture and flavor. The pork ribs were dry and small. But the beef ribs were the low point of the meal. Not only did I have to specially ask for them, because in the hour and 30 minutes that we sat there feasting, not once were offered beef ribs. That turned out to be a blessing, as they were fatty and tasted like an overcooked pot roast.

But of the 12 meats that I tasted, 10 were amazingly good and I would probably consider it the best meal I've ever had. Not only was the meat overall fantastic, but the service couldn't have been any better. My water glasss was never more than half empty and when they took the mashed potatoes away the replaced them in one motion. And if you ever had an empty plate of meat then you forgot to turn your coaster over.

Although at a flat rate dinner price of 48.50, (tax and tip brought it to $63) Fogo won't be mistaken for "free meat" and if I go once a year, I'll be lucky.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Remember when you had to wait until tomorrow's newspaper to find out what happenned today? Me either.

Why wait until tomorrow when you can watch SportsCenter in a couple hours?

But why wait until 5pm when you can watch Around the Horn and PTI break down everything going on in sports at 4pm.

But sometimes that's not fast enough. Good think there is ESPNews, running just news constantly.

But what if you can't wait to get through the newscycle, you need it now. Just log on to

Yeah, that's pretty good, but their lead story only changes a couple times a day. If only there was some sports news site that updated news stories 20 times a day. Enter

But what if you're not at a computer, or it's just not fast enough. I wish there was some sort of phone that could call me when anything happens. Did Pujols hit a dinger? Did the Bucks take the lead over the Pistons? Is the Dodgers game getting rain delayed? Is someone applying an ice pack? Was there a blocking foul in the NBA? I need to know! Now! Thank goodness there is an ESPN phone.

But it's not really instant, is it? That's why I am so excited about the news that scientists are developing a new microchip that can be implanted in fetuses in the womb, so that as soon as a baby enters the world, all the latest scores, highlights, and analysis is transmitted electronically directly into the brain. But is it fast enough?

Friday, April 14, 2006

Buying a Cow

The old saying goes "Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?"

Here's a joke to go along with that: "Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize its not worth buying an entire Pig, just to get a little sausage."

But back to the original question. I think that besides milk, there are other good reasons for buying the cow. Beef for example. Or leather pants. If you apply this metaphor to marraige, perhaps a leather belt is the feeling of trust. And a steak is loving commitment, I'm not quite sure. Maybe it's just a steak.

So even if there is a milkman, that is practically giving away bottles of milk on every street corner, I think there are good reasons for buying cows. Besides who says that all milk tastes the same? Maybe if you nurture and love a cow, the milk tastes
better. Not to mention you can grind the cow up, cover with a texas dry rub and smother with BBQ sauce.

Just remember the old slogan: Milk. It does a body good.

Got Milk?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Power Stripe

If the power stripe is so good at fighting odor and wetness, why not make an entire deodorant out of the power stripe?

That could be the headline for the new product launch of the all new Power Stripe Solid Deodorant. Right Guard you're on notice.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Why I can't sit through the national pastime

The 2004 Boston Red Sox went 98-64 during the regular season for a winning percentage of 60.49%
The 2005 Kansas City Chiefs went 10-6 during the regular season for a winning percentage of 62.50%

The Sox won the Series and the Chiefs won a seat at home in January.

So what? So depending on the year, the same winning percentage gets you in the playoffs in baseball, but not football. Big deal. But besides the percentages, here's what is really matters: 64 times the Fenway Faithful can see their team lose and still win it all. 64 times! You could lose every game, every day for 2 months and still make the playoffs.

But in football, you know that if you lose 7 games your chances for the playoffs are slim. And sometimes even if you only lose 6. That's how important every game, every snap is. At the end of the NFL regular season, most teams could point to 2 games that if they had gone in a different direction, their postseason would have ended up differently. If Roethlisburger had missed another game due to injury the Steelers don't make the playoffs. But when you miss the baseball playoffs by 2 games, you can think back about the 60 games that you lost, and say that's a shame that we lost 60 games. I wish we had a couple back. But not one game has the importance of a football game.

To further illustrate the point, look at college football. If you have thoughts about winning the championship, elite isn't going to cut it. You have to be perfect. And isn't that the way it should be?

Do you know what made the USC-Notre Dame game so exciting? There is 10 seconds counting down, and if Leinart doens't cross the goalline, USC won't go to the Rose Bowl. The entire postseason which is months away, could vanish on one play. Well shucks, that makes this play kind of important. USC scores and sets up probably the best national championship game ever.

So back to baseball. Who cares if the Cards just got swept by their division rival? They're still the favorite to win the pennant. Playing ten times more games than football means that a football game is ten times more important than a baseball game. If the Cards open the season 0-10 that's the equivalent of dropping the NFL opener - which half of the teams are guaranteed to do every year - that's science.

UPDATE: So today, Tuesday morning, I was listening to Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio and they were talking about the joy of walking into a baseball stadium for the first game of the season, and how you can't recreate that feeling. And they opened up something to me. One of the nice things about a baseball game is how it doesn't matter. You can root for your team and if they lose, it's a shame. But it's only one game. You can come back tomorrow and try and do better. It's not life and death like football. It's relaxing, it's beer and hot dogs and if you miss a half inning, it's fine. It's an enjoyable pastime.

And I don't think there's anything wrong with having a game that you can go and have fun no matter what. It's hard to enjoy a football game when you're team is losing. So it's not that I don't think that baseball is worthless, and doesn't have a place. For my money, and time, I just want my sports to be important. I like the significance. I like putting everything on the line. But I don't have a problem with going and eating some dogs and just having fun at ye olde ballpark once in a while. If that's your thing.

Friday, April 07, 2006

This Week in Sports

Let's see the baseball season is a couple days old. Rollins lost his streak, and the Cardinals will win it all. I think that's enough baseball coverage until October.

Also, you know what is even more pointless than baseball?


Can't think of anything? I know it's tough. But how about races to make the NBA playoffs? Who will get the 8th spot in the East, the Bulls or 76ers? How bout I get some graphics and scenarios to determine who will get SWEPT by the Pistons. The brackets haven't been decided and I already know that it is a rematch of last years Finals.

Spurs beat Suns, Pistons beat Heat, and Pistons beat Spurs.

How about that NFL Sked?

Vengenace Games:
Dallas at Philly
Colts at Pats
Love Boats at Dolphins

Manning Bowl

The Saints first game in the Superdome is on MNF

3 Thanksgiving games including Denver at Kansas City

TO again on Christmas

Also, the strength of schedule by opponent's winning % is misleading. If you play 3 games against 6 win teams, and 1 against a 14 win team, you can hope to be 3-1. But if you play 3 games against 10 win teams and 1 against a 2 win team, you might only be 1-3. And those would be the same strength of schedule. But for the record the Bears do have the easiest SOS. I like the Chiefs schedule. They could easily start 3-1 and end 4-1. That would be 7-2. And of the 7 games in the middle, 4 are at home.

In other Chiefs news, the voters agreed to upgarde Arrowhead, but not add a rolling roof. But the upgrades mean that the Chiefs will be in Arrowhead for another 25 years. As for the Super Bowl and maybe a Final Four, I know it wouldn't help the team that much, but I care about the city too. I think it would be great for the city, although I'm not sure if I really want it anyways. I like pure outdoor football and a roof, even if it rolls, rubs me the wrong way.

Also, every year I tell myself I will not watch the Heisman presentation or the NFL Draft. Yet I usually get sucked in. I managed to avoid the Bush heisman, so hopefully I wan't get trapped in front of the draft. I am interested in where the 3 qb's go, but I'm pretty sure that the Chiefs will get a player I've never heard of.

And I have to end with the Duke lacrosse story. This thing is just so terrible. The only thing I have to add that hasn't already been said, is that this really hurts the image of lacrosse. It is an up and coming sport, that is fun and popular with a diverse audience, but it's been tainted now. Sort of like White House intern. But seriously, the whole thing just makes you sick, and I'm just have this feeling that one day this will be forgotten, and no will be convicted. Rape is the one crime where it has become acceptable for the media and the lawyers to further attack the victims, and question them harder than the accused.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

It hurts to always have to be honest with the one that you love

I was listening to a song and a band that really got to me. It reminded me of the power of music. How a couple years ago, finding new music, music that speaks to me, was a passionate pursuit of mine. As of late, sports has been filling that purpose. But as I watched the confetti trickle down on the Florida Gators winning the NCAA title last night, and I saw the best player on the court, Noah, climb on the press table and encite the crowd, and without it speaking to me at all...I was thinking about why we like sports. Why we like music. Or movies for that matter.

There is something special in all of these. Something that draws us in. It might be different for everyone. This could be a daily reflection, it probably won't be, but I encourage anyone reading this to share a comment with what draws them in to anything.

Sports gives people a chance to live thier dreams. To achieve greatness. To rise above everyone else, and sometimes it isn't about God-given skill, or even the hard work that players put in. Sometimes it's about luck. In a game of inches, it's hard to say what makes the difference between the competitors. Sometimes it's about trying harder than you ever have before, and coming up short. Sometimes you push yourself beyond what you thought was possible. Overcoming what was considered impossible. Jason McElwain symbolized so much that night when he did what you though wasn't possible. And not only did he live his dream. He rose above and achieved greatness, if only for 4 minutes. The 4 minutes that changed his life.

Sports gives us so much. It gives us hope. It gives us a distraction from all the negative things going in our lives. Sports can be uplifting or crushing. Just look at the faces of the Gator fans and then look at the Bruins fans, quietly walking out of the RCA Dome, heads down. Sports gives us something to root for. But what are we rooting for. Laundry, as Jerry Seinfeld put it?
When they started the game last night, we knew one team had to win, and one team had to lose. Does it matter who it is? If you ask the people in the arena, of course they would say yes. But does it really? How will it affect their lives?

Sure they'll have the championship t-shirt, but what does it all mean. More than anything I guess it is about the people that you share these moments with. When I look back on the Illinois title game loss last year, I think it would have been fun to celebrate as fans. It would have been great to reward the players and coaches for such hard work. It would have been great to show that Illinois is for real, and you don't have to be in the ACC or live in North Carolina to play basketball. But would it really affect any thing in my life. Aside from a few more shirts or towels or whatever, my life would be the same. And I still have all the great memories of going to Hoop City and the Bud brewery and sharing the Metrolink with Louisville fans on the way to the game. And crowding 5 guys into 4 seats and believing in our team.

I wonder if the Chiefs ever win a Super Bowl, which I desperately hope that they do, each and every year, what will happen? Will I be looking to football just as much the following year? Will I be content with one championship. Last night the fans on SportsCenter were appalled that they were #2 on Dick Vitale's 2007 projections. Just moments after winning and bringing home their first title ever, the fans weren't satisfied. Should they have been?

For all the time spent reading about sports, making picks, filling out brackets, drafting fantasy teams, planning our lives around the schedule of the games...why? Why does it dominate our interest? For all of the negative aspects, labor disputes, contract hold-outs, poor officiating, overpaid athletes given free passes, steroids, cheating, lying, fighting, spitting, who knows what goes down in the dogpile...why? Why do we come back to it?

There's a lot of good in sports, and a lot of bad. Just like a lot of other things in life. For every song that connects someone and makes them think, and strikes an emotion, and just makes them sit and stare in awe and think that the song was so good they need to hear it again, there are people making music because they want to be famous, make money, and they never had anything to say in the first place.

Songs like the one I am listening to right now, that the more you listen to it, the more you want to listen to it again.

The band that started this whole thing in my head, Brand New.
The song, Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't
Here are some lyrics:

I hope this songs starts a craze,
the kind of song that ignites the airwaves
The kind of song that makes people glad to be where they are
with who ever they're there with
This is war
Every line is about who I don't write about anymore
Hope you come down with something they can't diagnose,
don't have the cure for
Holding on to your grudge
Oh it's so hard to have someone to love
Keeping quiet is hard
'Cause you can't keep a secret if it never was a secret to start
At least pretend you didn't wanna get caught

And these are the words you wish you wrote down
This is the way you wish your voice sounds,
handsome and smart
Oh, my tongue's the only muscle on my body that works harder than my heart
And it's all from watching TV
and from speeding up my breathing
Wouldn't stop if I could
Oh it hurts to be this good
You're holding on to your grudge
Oh it hurts to always have to be honest with the one that you love
Oh so let it go

This is the craze only we can bestow
This is the price you pay for loss of control
This is the break in the ground
This is the closest of calls
This is the reason you're alone,
This is the rise and the fall!


Well played Mark...

Here's the recap for how we did for each round:

Sweet Sixteen
Mark: 4/8
Dave: 5/8

Elite Eight
Mark: 0/4
Dave: 1/4

Final Four
Mark: 4/4
Dave: 1/4

Mark: 1/2
Dave: 1/2

Extra Champ Picks:
Mark: 3/7
Dave: 6/7 + 2 points for getting MOP

Total Without Extra Picks:
Mark: 9/18
Dave: 8/18

Total With Extra Picks:
Mark: 12/25
Dave: 16/25

It should be noted that Mark did state his opposition to the extra picks based on lack of knowledge - er, avaibility to coverage. So that's why I calculated the totals with and without the extra picks. So after all that, we have shown that we know as much about basketball as a flipping a coin. Or maybe basketball has shown us that it's more unpredictable than ever.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Opening Day Headlines

Well, it's the first day in the 2006 season so you know what that means...

a hitting streak has been extended to 37 games...
the Royals blew their chance to have a winning record this year...
and if the over/under for Pujol's RBI after one game was set at 3.5, I hope you picked the over.

Who's the Champ?

- 1 Florida
+ 1 UCLA


In addition to these 2 picks, here are 7 more, making it a 9-point Championship Round:

1. Which team scores first?
2. Which team scores last?
3. Which team makes more 3's?
4. Which team has the high scorer in the game?
5. Which team has more players in double figures?
6. Which team grabs more rebounds?
7. Will the game be decided by 5 points or less?

(2 Point Bonus Question: Write in MOP:_________________