Thursday, November 30, 2006

Topics that I don't want to talk about, but have to menton to fullfill my 2006 quota.

Headbands
New basketballs
Barbaro
T.O.
McGwire
Steroids
MVP Voting
New York Football Giants Locker Room
Cowboys' kickers
Hockey coaches getting fired
Any Kobe that's not beef
Knicks
Celtics
NBA teams that don't end in 'azz'
Ohio State Football
Ohio State Basketball
The whole state of Ohio
Michael Vick as a passer
Marcus Vick as a human being
Ricky Williams in Canada
Anyone in Canada
Dancing With the Stars
American Idol
Lost
Luna Carpet
Empire Carpet
Any other Chicago-based companies that think I really need to memorize their phone number in song format

The Best Picks Ever Made: Week 13

Ravens +3 over Bengals
Vikings +9 over Bears
Bucs +7 over Steelers
Cardinals +6.5 over Rams
Colts -7.5 over Titans
Dolphins PK over Jags
Saints -7 over Niners
Redskins -1 over Falcons
Chiefs -5 over Brownies
Pats -13.5 over Lions
Chargers -6 over Bills
Jets -1 over Packers
Cowboys -3.5 over Giants
Raiders -3 over Texans
Seahawks +3 over Broncos
Panthers -3 over Eagles

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It's not real. It's not real.

I resist the urge to write about video game experiences, because, for one, they're not real. But sometimes things happen which amaze me to no end. A little background: I played through a Chiefs franchise on Madden 06 - ps2. The Chiefs won the Super Bowl (I traded Priest Holmes for Urlacher - I might have had to give up a draft pick, I'm not sure) and then Trent Green retires. So now I'm trying to repeat with a rookie QB named Gardener, or Gardner, or something. I'm playing on All-Pro (3rd of 4 difficulty levels), with a 4-1 record entering a game against the Broncos. So far, All-Pro combined with a rookie QB has produced realistic results, including a loss to the Colts on the road.

Final Score:
Chiefs 38, Broncos 0.

Offense Yards:
Chiefs 319, Broncos 19

The Chiefs had 213 rush yards, but only 29 on 6 runs by Larry Johnson. His backup, Amos Zereoue, got 180+ and 3 TD on 10 attempts, including an 89 yard score. I took out my RB and QB in the second half when I was up 24-0.

Jake Plummer
1/18 with 6 sacks and 2 picks. His one completion? -2 yards.

The funny thing? Both teams had 4 turnovers. And the Broncos still couldn't score. And Tynes missed a field goal that I kicked well, and then made a field goal that I shanked and curved back in. Did I mention it was raining? Kinda crazy Madden game.

College football needs a playoff. Part Three: Here’s what it would look like now

This is what it would look like if the playoff seeds are strictly based on BCS Standings. I contemplated giving the at large teams #7 and #8, but that wouldn't work. Winning your conference gets you in the playoffs, but no guarantees of seeding.

Sat, Dec. 23rd


Cotton Bowl
(#4 Florida vs #5 LSU)

Gator Bowl
(#3 Michigan vs #6 Louisville)

Fiesta Bowl
(#2 USC vs #7 Oklahoma)

Orange Bowl
(#1 Ohio State vs #8 Georgia Tech)


New Year's Day (this year Mon, Jan 1st)

Rose Bowl
(#1 Ohio State vs #4 Florida)

Sugar Bowl
(#2 USC vs #3 Michigan)


About One Week After New Year's Day (this year Mon, Jan 8th)

National Championship Game
(#1 Ohio State vs ?????)


Under this plan, Ohio State gets rewarded for beating UM, by getting GT in the first round. And would you look at that final four, Florida has a shot at the title game, and we would actually get a fair answer as to who should play OSU for all the marbles. If you can't see that this is an improvement over this, then I don't know what more I can say.

College football needs a playoff. Part Two: Here’s how to do it.

I've come around. I've seen the light. An 8-team playoff is what we need. We can keep the BCS standings as is--I have no problem with them. The 8 teams selected include the conference champion from each of the six BCS conferences plus the 2 others ("at-large" selections) that are highest remaining in the BCS standings.

I've heard the extra game argument. Now every team is currently playing 12 games. So we reduce to season back to 11. Then there will be 4 quarterfinal teams than only play 12 games in a season--so the only teams that will actually be playing more games they do now will be the Final Four.

The 4 BCS Bowls would rotate between the matchups in a 4 year pattern so that once every 4 years, each BCS Bowl would occupy each position.

Here's how it would look:


Saturday about a week before New Years Day (this year Sat, Dec. 23rd)

Cotton Bowl
(#4 vs #5)

Gator Bowl
(#3 vs #6)

Fiesta Bowl
(#2 vs #7)

Orange Bowl
(#1 vs #8)


New Year's Day (this year Mon, Jan 1st)

Rose Bowl
(Orange vs Cotton)

Sugar Bowl
(Fiesta vs Gator)


About One Week After New Year's Day (this year Mon, Jan 8th)

National Championship Game
(Rose vs Sugar)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

College football needs a playoff. Part One: I was wrong

I used to think that a playoff would ruin the excitement of the biggest regular season game. For example, last year's Bush Push put USC in the title game, and Notre Dame out of the discussion. I rationalized that if both teams would go to a playoff, that outcome wouldn't have been so important. Likewise, this year Michigan had to go on the road to beat the #1 team in the country for a chance to go to the title game. If there was a playoff, perhaps OSU-UM could have rested their starters to prepare for the playoffs.

But I've realized that we need playoffs because although there are some years where there are 2 clear cut teams (2005, 2002) at the top of the list, other years there are 3, or 1, or 0, or 5 top teams. And even when there is only 2 top teams, then presumably they would still meet in the championship game anyways. The playoffs would provide a fair winner, and no shared titles.

Also, there is the counterargument that instead of fighting between slots 2 and 3, you'll now be fighting between slots 8 and 9. It's pretty simple, if you're #3 and undefeated ('03 Auburn) or even have the same one loss record('06 Michigan) as #2, you have a legimiate claim for the title game. If you're #9 in the country you should be lucky to get a nice bowl, not be worrying about the playoffs.

Rivalry games will still matter. No team is about to lay down in a big game. And while one loss might not knock you out of the playoffs, it could. And 2, most likely would guarantee it. So, the playoffs would still maintain the most excited regular season in sports. No question about it. (This years OSU-UM game would still matter as now OSU would be the 1seed playing the 8seed and 4/5seed to reach the title game. UM would be the 3 having to play the 6seed, and then likely the 2seed--a much harder path and worth playing for.)

So what would it look like?

Websites That Should Exist

questionablefacts.com
dubiousclaims.org
uncertainfigures.net

99.6%

(click to enlarge)

How does that compare to ESPN's experts?

My 14-2 record for this week, and my 116 right on the season is better than any of the Bristol braintrust.

Recap 12: Everyone's a winner

Week 12
Dave: 10-6 = Up $80
Mark:
9-7 = Up $40
Sports Guy: 12-4 = Up $160
Sports Gal: 11-5 = Up $120

On the Season
Dave: 87-89 = Down $40
Mark: 69-91 = Down $440
Sports Guy: 84-86-6 = Down $40
Sports Gal: 89-81-6 = Up $160

They still have to play one more game, right?

With all of the talk putting USC in the National Championship game, you would think I'm the only one who's noticed that USC still has another game.

Against UCLA.
A rivalry team that would rather win this week, than win any bowl game this year.
A 6-5 team that beat Oregon State (USC's only loss).
A team that USC might be overlooking as they think about Glendale.

I'm not saying that the Bruins should be the favorites. The Trojans should win this game. But everyone acting like that's a foregone conclusion hasn't seen enough football.

Rust

The Colts are in as good of a place as they could have hoped for. If I were a Colts fan at the start of the 2006 season, this is what I would have hoped for:

1. Not to be undefeated
2. Have as many wins as possible without being undefeated
3. Have competition forcing the Colts to play hard until the last game of the season

Here's my theory on rust: It's not the amount of time off in the NFL, it's the concept of having a game where you don't give 100%. (By the way, I'm not one of those people think you can give more than 100% - that extra boost you give yourself in crunch time, that's still 100%, and if you didn't do that you would only be about 94%).

But let me explain my main point. When playoff teams get bye weeks they almost always win. So an extra week off seems to be a good thing. But what hurts is when a team locks up HFA early in December, and then goes through gameday motions without actually playing like it means something. Then you lose focus, and intensity, and it's hard to turn it on again in the playoffs.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Strategerie

Hypothetical Situation #1:

On offense, you have 3rd and 1 from just inside your opponents 15-yard line. You call a running play, that gains the necessary yard, but there is also a defensive offsides penalty. The decision:

Accept: 1st and goal from the 10.
Decline: 1st and 10 from the 14.

Even though you would be giving up 4 free yards, I think it is better to decline. The counterargument is that you have to get 10 yards either way, so you might as well get the 10 yards to score. But I disagree. I think it is much harder to get the 10 yards when it is goal to go. When you start on the 14, it opens up the underneath passing game and the running game.


Not so Hypothetical Situation #2

On MNF, early in the 4th quarter, the Seahawks score a touchdown to take the lead, 25 to 21. The decision:

Go for 2: Either have 25 or 27.
Go for 1: Have 26.

They decided to go for it. That is a terrible mistake. I know the chart says to go for it any time you are up 4. Well, that chart needs to be reexamined. (More on that, later.)

My reasoning is simple. The Packers have 21, and 14 minutes left in the game. A field goal doesn't help, so you have to assume that for this decision to be relevant, that the Packers will score another touchdown. A 6-point lead would force the Packers to have a successful PAT. Big whoop. That is not worth the risk. If you assume that the Packers would get to 28 points, I would much rather have 26, then a chance of 27. That way a field goal would win it.

In fact, the simplistic chart has been reevaluated. This chart takes into account time of possession and your success rate of 2-pt conversions. For example, at the end of the game, even if you only score 1 out of 20 conversions, if you are up 5 it is worth the risk. However, at the time in question with a lead of 4, you would need a 50% success rate to make it a smart move. (The average success rate is around 40%).

As a side note, with 3 minutes to go and a tie game, I find it interesting that you would need a 97% rate to go for 2. I would have guessed you would need a 100% rate.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Bears Are Who I Thought They Were!

How do you force 5 turnovers and still lose?

Rex Grossman 15/36, No TD, 3 INT, and a fumble for good measure. Oh, and that Rex Grossman injury watch? He did hurt his hand today, but remained in the game. Remarkably, was able to maintain his level of ineffectiveness after his injury.


A team that reads TMQ.

The Titans did exactly what you have to do when losing by 21 in the 4th, on 4th down--go for the score and try to win, not settle for a field goal to deny your opponent a shut out. The Giants make 2 boneheaded plays on 4th downs for the Titans, giving them first downs. Manning makes terrible interceptions, and it's hard to believe the Giants have a winning record.



Who may have the best passer rating in NFL history?

LaDainian Tomlinson. 146.8
6/9 for 5 TD and no picks.



And it's official.

There are 5 legitimately scary Super Bowl contenders. And they are all in the AFC:
1. Chargers
2. Colts
3. Ravens
4. Patriots
5. Bengals

These AFC playoffs are shaping up to be incredible, while the NFC playoffs look to be a snoozer.


Michigan could mop the floor with USC

USC is not very good, and lost to a not very good team. Michigan is very good and lost to the #1 team. So why is Michigan being denied a rematch on a neutral field? Ohio State beats USC by double digits while Michigan easily wins their BCS bowl game.


The Centaur

Larry Johnson is a beast (tell me something I don't know).

Key Stat from Thanksgiving Night:
KC rush yds: 223
DEN rush yds: 38

The way it looks now, the Chiefs have the inside track for a wild card spot, and the right to lose on the road to a much better AFC team. But a playoff berth in Herm's first year, with Larry Johnson just getting started? I'll take it.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving Picks

Fins -2.5 over Lions
Bucs +11 over Cowboys
Chiefs +1 over Donkeys

Bills +3 over Jags
Jets -6 over Texans
Ravens -3 over Steelers
Bengals -3 over Browns
Vikings -6.5 over Cards
Niners +6 over Rams
Saints +3 over Falcons
Panthers -4.5 over Skins
Patriots -3 over Bears
Colts -9 over Eagles
Giants -3 over Titans
Chargers -13.5 over Raiders
Packers +9 over Seahawks

Happy Birthday


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Best Last Name in Sports?

What is the best last name in sports?

Here are the contenders:

Manning
Archie
Danny
Eli
Peyton

Jackson
Bo
Shoeless Joe
Phil
Reggie

Johnson
Andre
Chad
Rudi
Larry
Larry
Jack
Joe
Keyshawn
Magic
Randy

Jones
Andruw
Chipper
Thomas
Marion

Ogunleye
Adewale

Looks like Johnson is the winner!

A Meal to Remember


My vegetarian wife nice enough to take me out for a birthday dinner of my choosing: The Capital Grille. There were certainly diners there for who this was nothing but a normal Monday dinner. But to us, who rarely get dressed up for dinner, this was probably the most expensive restaurant we've been to. And we were definitely looking forward to it all day.

I started with the lobster bisque ($12). It was outstanding, rich and full of lobster chunks. And for the main course, I chose one of the most expensive items on the menu:

A 24 oz. Dry Aged Porterhouse ($40), medium-rare. The steak that combines the flavorful sirloin, with the tender filet.

It was the first time I had ever ordered a Porterhouse.
It was the first time I had ever had dry aged beef.
It did not disappoint.

In fact, with every bite it got better and better. It wasn't served with steak sauce, because it didn't need any extra sauce. I'd have to say it was the best pure steak I'd ever had. Both sides were excellent, but the filet was incredible. It was perfect. I could have finished the whole thing, but I took about 6 oz of the sirloin home to save room for dessert.

They even brought 2 complimentary desserts for my birthday, including the best cheesecake we've ever tasted. And the service was excellent throughout; my water was never more than half empty.

My part of the bill was $52.
My wife enjoyed a salad $10, soup $8, and mashed potatoes $8. Plus tax and tip and we spent an even $100 on one meal.

Overall, the entire meal was special. And without putting them in order, I'd put it among my top 3 restaurant meals of all time:

Le Village Buffet, Paris Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas
Fogo de Chao, Chicago
Capital Grille, Chicago


Honorable Mention:
Gaslight Bar & Grill, Chicago

11 Recap: Mark didn't lose. OOM didn't matter.

Week 11
Dave: 7-9 = Down $40
Mark:
8-8 = Even
Sports Guy: 8-7-1 = Up $20
Sports Gal: 8-7-1 = Up $20

On the Season
Dave: 77-83 = Down $120
Mark: 60-84 = Down $480
Sports Guy: 72-82-6 = Down $200
Sports Gal: 78-76-6 = Up $40

Monday, November 20, 2006

I stink at fantasy

I have a vague memory of not stinking at it, but it's been so long, it might just be my imagination. Here are players that I most certainly, did not have.

Losman 30
Tomlinson 41
Jamal Lewis 28
Evans 38
Chad Johnson 37
Dolphins DST 25

Friday, November 17, 2006

Lucky Number 11

Vikes +3.5 over Fins
Steelers -3.5 over Brownies
Bucs -3.5 over Skins
Titans +13.5 over Iggles
Pats -6.5 over Pack
Bungles +3.5 over Aints
Texans -2.5 over Bills
Rams +6.5 over Panthers
Falcons +4.5 over Ravens
Bears -6.5 over Jets
Raiders +11.5 over Chefs
Hawks -6.5 over 49ers
Lions +2.5 over Cards
Colts -3.5 over Boys
Bolts +2..5 over Donkeys
Gints +3.5 over Jagoffs

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Week 10 Recap: Sports Gal is the only one who doesn't stink at this

Week 10
Dave: 8-8 = Even
Mark:
6-10 = Down $80
Sports Guy: 7-9 = Down $40
Sports Gal: 9-7 = Up $40

On the Season
Dave: 70-74 = Down $80
Mark: 52-76= Down $480
Sports Guy: 64-75-5 = Down $220
Sports Gal: 70-69-5 = Up $20

Monday, November 13, 2006

How old is Drew Bledsoe?


During a discussion with Matt, I insisted that Bledsoe is very, very old. I implied that he has an artificial hip, and requires a walker on the field. Matt disagreed and claimed that there were probably 10 (at the start of 2006) starting quarterbacks older than Bledsoe. That seemed like way too many. But how many are there?

Mark Brunell.
Brad Johnson.
Brett Favre.
Kurt Warner.
Trent Green.

And of those 5, one was replaced, and one was injured.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

YouTube Recuts

The Office


Office Space


The Shining

Week 10: I can't do any worse, right?

Vikings -5.5 over Packers
49ers +5.5 over Lions
Falcons -7.5 over Browns
Chargers -1.5 over Bengals
Jaguars -10.5 over Texans
Jets +10.5 over Patriots
Eagles -6.5 over Redskins
Ravens -7.5 over Titans
Bills +12.5 over Colts
Dolphins +3.5 over Chiefs
Broncos -9.5 over Raiders
Cowboys -6.5 over Cardinals
Saints +4.5 over Steelers
Rams +3.5 over Seahawks
Giants -2.5 over Bears
Bucs +9.5 over Panthers

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Week 9 Recap: Mark has the best picks. Does not compute.


Week 9
Dave: 3-11 = Down $160
Mark:
6-8 = Down $40
Sports Guy: 4-10 = Down $120
Sports Gal: 5-9 = Down $80

On the Season
Dave: 62-66 = Down $80
Mark: 46-66= Down $400
Sports Guy: 57-66-5 = Down $180
Sports Gal: 61-62-5 = Down $20

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Brady vs. Manning

There's been a hip trend among the new revolution of sport bloggers to turn their backs on Bill Simmons - even though it's obvious his influence has spread to many of these same people. I've never stopped reading his articles, but after opening up his latest piece preparing for the Brady/Manning showdown, I couldn't even finish the whole thing. I'm not even a Colts fan, and I've been rooting for the Patriots in the Super Bowls, but his anti-Peyton rhetoric just got out of hand. And it's not his fault, he's a diehard Pats fan. I get it.

But I'm realizing that what make this new revolution of independent sports writers so great, is a double edge sword. The fan's perspective is infused with passion and originality, but lacks objectivity. To make it work, the fan usually provides enough self-depricating comments to balance out the bias...but Simmons has strayed away from that. He titled his column: I really hate the Colts. And his argument comes down to he hates that people think Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks ever.

So I took a great pleasure in watching the Colts beat the Patriots, and doing so by doing everything Simmons said wouldn't happen.

His 4 predictions about the game:
  • You can't beat a great team in a big game if you can't stop the run.
  • Vinatieri would prove to be a costly addition to the Colts.
  • Manning can't win a big game.
  • You shouldn't go against Brady in a big game.
1. The Colts didn't stop the run. Still won the game.
2. Gostowski missed a big FG (2/3), but Vinatieri missed 2 big ones (2/4). The last one even gave new life to the Pats.
3. Manning kept the offense moving, and played well. Not perfect. But really well.
4. Golden boy Brady had 4 picks, no scores, and didn't come through in the clutch.

Now I already know how he's going to respond. He'll say something about how "I don't want to bring up the refs" even though that's what he's doing, and then claim that this is just an example of a regular season game. And that Manning won't come through in the playoffs. Nevermind that throughout his column, Simmons refers to this game as a big game. And that the Colts went to Foxborough and beat them 40-21 last year, as well.

This is no criticism of the Patriots or Brady. But you can't deny that Manning is good, no matter who you root for. Debate over.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Green Bay is the Ultimate Sports City

It's Friday, so it's time for part three of a thirtysomething-part series.

Basketball

Hmm...perhaps it's just to cold to play basketball there. Or maybe, Green Bay doesn't care about black people. But here's why Green Bay is such a great sports city. What do you order at basketball games? That's right: nachos. And what does Green Bay have? That's right: cheese. Case closed.

Hockey
Well, there's no NHL teams, but if the Packers ever leave, they could just play hockey in Lambeau Field. It is after all, frozen tundra. And they presumably have enough white people to field a team, so I'm fairly positive that if Green Bay had a hockey team, they would win the Stanley Cup every year. Maybe that's exactly why they don't have a team--they would be too good.

Baseball
This shouldn't be a factor because baseball is a spring-summer sport, and they don't have spring or summer in Green Bay. It would thaw the tundra. Part of the blame should go to Green Bay's puny population. They don't even have enough people to fill the Big House in Ann Arbor, so how could they get a starting roster for a baseball team. Impossible. But they do have cheese, which is great on pretzels at baseball games.

Football
Ahhh, football. The bread and butter of Green Bay. Or bread and cheese, if you will. This will prove beyond a shadow a doubt that this is the Best Sports City. The first question you might ask yourself, if what is a Packer? Well of course, it's named after the teams founding sponsor, The Indian Packing Company. Then you might ask yourself, what's so great about the Packers? Two words. Brett Favre. Brett Favre is Brett Favre. And he is breaking all sorts of records, including the all-time interception record. Green Bay is so good, I'm sure he'll get that record he's been chasing.

Part One: Detroit
Part Two: Miami


Picks for Week Niner

Rams -2.5 over Chiefs
Bucs +1.5 over Saints
Giants -13.5 over Texans
Packers +3.5 over Bills
Cowboys -3.5 over Redskins
Falcons -5.5 over Lions
Titans +9.5 over Jaguars
Bengals +3.5 over Ravens
Bears -13.5 over Dolphins
Vikings -5.5 over 49ers
Chargers -13.5 over Browns
Broncos +2.5 over Steelers
Colts +2.5 over Pats
Seahawks -7.5 over Raiders

Thursday, November 02, 2006

"I've Got Bones" by Rocky Dogg


I’m here, I’m real,
Ain’t nobody fakin’
Forget dog food
Who’s bringing home the bacon?

I’ve got bones in different area codes
I’ve got bones

I mix it up like bisquick
I’m eating straight up biscuits
T-bones, Ribs, Porterhouse, fuck it
I’ll eat anything you put in a bucket

I’ve got bones in different area codes
I’ve got bones

Who’s this thug, Who’s this pug
Who you callin a jerk?
Lights out – hit the switches
I’m going to work
Sniffin’ on them bitches

I’ve got bones in different area codes
I’ve got bones

I’m ready to burst
You know I gotta whiz
Take me outside
So I can handle my biz

Peace out, Snausage for life

What's the Best Division in the NFL?

Important Note #1: I chose the sample size of since the start of the 2004 season, before I looked at the data. This was to prevent any skewing of the data. For example, sometimes people use stats like he's made 7 of his last 9 shots. Well what about his 10th shot? If you're starting at counting his last 9 shots, he probably missed the 10th, making him 7 of 10. So they presented the stat to make a point, but they skewed the data. It's better to reference those stats with time, if you say he's 7 of 9 in the second half, at least you're not leaving out any critical data.

Important Note #2: I chose the sample size of since the start of the 2004 season, because of NFL schedule irregularities, it's important to include multiple years, but I thought that data from 3 years ago wasn't relevant to the current teams and divisions. Although, my hypothesis is that even adding a couple more years to this data, wouldn't change the results that much.


Best Division in the NFL as of Week 8 in 2006
1. AFC West (16-12)
2. NFC South (16-13)
3t. AFC South and NFC North (15-13)
5. NFC East (15-14)
6. AFC North (13-15)
7. AFC East (13-16)
8. NFC West (11-18)

Best Division in the NFL in 2005
1t. AFC West and NFC East (36-28)
3. AFC North (34-30)
4. NFC South (33-31)
5. AFC South (32-32)
6. NFC North (29-35)
7t. AFC East and NFC West (28-36)

Best Division in the NFL in 2004
1. AFC East (37-27)
2. AFC North (36-28)
3. AFC West (34-30)
4. AFC South (33-31)
5t. NFC East and NFC South (31-33)
7. NFC North (29-35)
8. NFC West (25-39)


So what really is the best division in football?

Best Division in the NFL (2004 - current)
1. AFC West (86-70)
2. AFC North (83-73)
3. NFC East (82-75)
4. AFC South (80-76)
5. NFC South (80-77)
6. AFC East (78-79)
7. NFC North (73-83)
8. NFC West (64-93)

Also, since 2004:
AFC (327-298) 52.3% wins
NFC (299-328) 47.7% wins