Wednesday, December 31, 2008

off to the pacific northwest


We'll be in Seattle/Portland for the next week. Enjoy what's left of 2008 while you still can.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

HOW TO: cook a steak on a george foreman grill

I'm using a bacon-wrapped filet mignon. You can find these in a two-pack for about 8 bucks at any grocery store, and it would cost you about $60-80 for two filets at a steakhouse. But can you cook one in December in your kitchen to turn out just as well?


Start by plugging in your George Foreman and preheating the oven to 450 degrees. Once the grill is ready, put the steak down, close the lid and don't touch it for a couple minutes. Then flip the steak and rotate 90 degrees to get a nice criss-cross pattern. Remove it to a small oven-safe plate after a minute or two on that side. (You do have oven-safe plates, don't you? Good.)


Don't even think about cutting into it yet. It's still purpley-raw inside. Season generously with a layer of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and spicy montreal steak seasoning and rub it into the crust on both sides.


Then put the plate on a cookie sheet and put it on the oven. Bake for five minutes for a juicy, pink medium-rare. (Obviously, if you like less pink, cook it longer.) Let it rest for a few minutes before cutting into to let the juices settle. It comes out juicy and flavorful and you don't need any steak sauce.


You might wonder if I'm going to use the oven, why not just use a cast-iron skillet or something. Well, this way you don't have to use any butter or olive oil. And I like using my George Foreman. It's quick, easy, easy-to-clean, and makes damn good food.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

best albums of 2008

It's the end of the year and I'm going to keep this one short and sweet, plus stay true to my word. If you want a longer list, here you go.


2. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive

1. Panic at the Disco - Pretty. Odd.

Sorry, that's all I got. If I missed another great album in 2008, let me know in the comments.

Also, this guy still slays me. It's definitely the worst review I've ever seen on Amazon.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Construda Super Bowl II recap

We got 6 guys together in a 12-team league. And it seemed like most of the strangers stopped playing at one point. But we still got beat by a stranger.



But as you know, if I had been in the playoffs, I would have advanced to play Dynomite Kings in week 16 for the Super Bowl. Here's how I would have done:






cassel 32
forte 15
slaton 9
colston 21
royal 12
jackson 11
keller 0
longwell 5
dolphins 11

total 116

I still would have lost by 16. I had Shiancoe on my bench who scored 25. So I was two moves away from winning a championship. I needed one more win in the regular season and needed to start Shiancoe over Keller in a mythical week 16 matchup.

But what about Mark? What if his players hadn't crapped the bed in week 15?

warner 1
chris johnson 12
portis 14
housh 0
r. white 2
owens 12
daniels 11
prater 11
bucs 1

Mark's Total 64

Mark's team was not built for the postseason. In fact, quite literally his 2008 team is much like the 2008 Arizona Cardinals. They put up a bunch of points in nice weather, but once it got to December, they fell apart. Not coincidentally, Mark's team was based around Warner and Boldin.

So even if he had survived in week 15, he would have lost to matt, or lost to me if I had made it in.

The flip side of that token, is that for Matt (or for me with an extra regular season win) we would have easily won our week 16 Super Bowl against Mark.

But that's the way it goes. You could "if" just about everything, but Dynomite Kings beat us all and he earned his place in our fantasy hall of fame.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Construda Super Bowl II

So it's Matt vs Dynomite Kings in the least anticipated matchup of the year. Seriously, there wasn't even a media day this year.

But it also easily could have been Me vs Dynomite Kings as I would have replaced Niraj in the playoffs and beaten Matt last week.

And really, if we're being honest, it should have been Me vs Mark.

So with a revisionist eye, here are our lineups to see what would have been the outcome if everything had gone to plan.

Mark's Week 16 Lineup
warner
chris johnson
portis
housh
r. white
owens
daniels
prater
bucs STD

Dave's Week 16 Lineup
cassel
forte
slaton
colston
royal
jackson
keller
longwell
dolphins

Friday, December 19, 2008

ouch

Okay, that's a bad beat.

But who plays fantasy to two decimal places? I'm guessing if your defense records a safety, it's worth pi.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

WHY?

Why am I only finding about this after I've already told everyone what I what for Christmas?
But seriously, AFC vs NFC? Way to capture all the excitement of the Pro Bowl.

You should be able to pick 2 teams to come with it, and then they can sell the rest separately, so idiots like me would buy every team, so I could simulate the Chiefs season. They'd probably still go 2-14.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

what's the deal with egg rolls?


They sound so good in theory. A tube of deep-fried goodness. A delicious side dish to go with my Chinese banquet.

So how come I bite into them and it tastes like I'm chewing on grass. Apparently, according to Wikipedia, they're filled mostly with cabbage. That's stupid. No one like cabbage. Why don't we fill egg rolls with peppered beef and fried rice, or cashew chicken, or moo shoo pork?

I would suggest filling them with General Tso's chicken, but that wouldn't make any sense. Since I always order that it would be a little redundant to have it as my side dish.

Monday, December 15, 2008

funny moment from today's podcast

At 5:35 in to today's Fantasy Focus podcast, Nate asked, "Roddy White hasn't caught a TD in 5 straight games--are you concerned?" Matthew Berry said "No, he's still a stud."

This just in...Roddy White's crappy performance contributed to getting Mark eliminated. But Mark shouldn't be concerned.

Playoffs Can Be Cruel

After scoring 1495 in 14 weeks (194 more than the next closest), Mark is knocked out of the playoffs with 58 - his worst total of the year.

This really is a shame. If anyone ever deserved to win a Super Bowl, Mark did this year. Over 9 consecutive weeks, he had 8 over 100, and his other was 96.

Three times he cracked 120. Another 4 in the 110's. And 2 more over 105.
9 out of 14 times, Mark scored over 105. I only did that once, and I tied, and really should have lost if nfl.com updated Forte's ruling.

As for the other people in Construda Super Bowl II: Matt scored over 105 only once, Dynomite Kings 4 times. To have Mark lose in the first round isn't fair. But what can you do?


The weird thing is, there weren't any injuries, he didn't leave monster points on his bench. He just got weak performances from EVERYONE. And they weren't particularly tough matchups. Running against the Texans and Bengals. Throwing on the Vikings. His 3 receivers are in the top ten for the year, and combined for 10 points. Boldin missed 3 weeks and still had 7 games with 14 or better, including 21, 22, and 32. And he scores 1 point this week.

In the other matchup, Niraj needs Akers to kick 4 50-yard field goals. Except in his case, if he had started Garrard over Ryan, he would be trailing Matt by only 1 point, feeling comfortable that Akers would put him over the top.


So there you go. Construda Super Bowl II: Matt vs Dynomite Kings. The matchup that no one would have predicted at the beginning of the year, or at the end of the year.

So if I would have won my division, which came down to a 23-point performace by Marion Barber in week two, a game I knew at the time could determine the season, how would I have done?

Here's the lineup that I set on Saturday:

Cassel 31
Forte 11
Slaton 11
Colston 14
Jackson 12
Royal 4
Keller 3
Longwell 5
Dolphins 11

Total 102

It would have been the best performance of any of the 4 playoff participants. I would have crushed Matt and his 81. My team was built for the playoffs. It's just a shame that I couldn't win 8 measly games during the season to get there.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Construda Playoffs, Round 1

I tried to build my team for success in the playoffs. Unfortunately, I didn't make them.

So I'm going to see how it would have played out. If I had won my division, I'd be going up against Matt this week. So here's my lineup for this week, and we'll see if would have beaten Matt.

Cassel
Forte
Slaton
Colston
Jackson
Royal
Keller
Longwell
Dolphins

Monday, December 08, 2008

What Could Have Been

Sure, I presented playoffs before, but that was before I updated the formula. If you notice, most BCS games aren't close. I think the playoffs would fix that.

January 2008: Actual BCS

Rose: USC (Pac-10) 49, Illinois (at-large) 17
Sugar: Georgia (at-large) 41, Hawaiʻi (automatic) 10
Fiesta: West Virginia (Big East) 48, Oklahoma (Big 12) 28
Orange: Kansas (at-large) 24, Virginia Tech (ACC) 21
BCS National Championship: LSU (SEC) 38, Ohio State (Big Ten) 24

January 2008: Fymbo Formula 1.1a
Rose: #1 Ohio State vs #8 Hawaii
Sugar: #2 LSU vs #7 USC
Orange: #3 Virginia Tech vs #6 Missouri
Fiesta: #4 Oklahoma vs #5 Georgia

- - -

January 2007: Actual BCS
Rose: USC (Pac-10) 32, Michigan (at-large) 18
Fiesta: Boise State (automatic) 43, Oklahoma (Big 12) 42
Orange: Louisville (Big East) 24, Wake Forest (ACC) 13
Sugar: LSU (at-large) 41, Notre Dame (at-large) 14
BCS National Championship: Florida 41 (SEC), Ohio State (Big Ten) 14

January 2007: Fymbo Formula 1.1a
Rose: #1 Ohio State vs #8 Oklahoma
Sugar: #2 Florida vs #7 Boise State
Orange: #3 Michigan vs #6 Louisville
Fiesta: #4 LSU vs #5 USC

Sunday, December 07, 2008

2009 Edition - Fymbo Formula™: A College Football Playoff That Works

Actual BCS Schedule
Rose: Penn State (Big Ten) vs USC (Pac-10)
Orange: Virginia Tech (ACC) vs Cincinnati (Big East)
Sugar: Utah (automatic) vs Alabama (At-Large)
Fiesta: Ohio State (At-Large) vs Texas (At-Large)
Championship: Florida (SEC) vs Oklahoma (SEC)

Fymbo Formula 1.0
This formula includes all 6 BCS champions and the highest ranking non-BCS team (provided in top 12) and an at-large team based on BCS rankings.

Fiesta: #1 Oklahoma (Big 12) vs Virginia Tech (ACC)
Sugar: #2 Florida (SEC) vs #7 Cincinnati (Big East)
Orange: #3 Texas (At-Large) vs #6 Penn State (Big Ten)
Rose: #4 USC (Pac-10) vs #5 Utah (non-BCS automatic)

Semifinal #1: Fiesta vs Rose
Semifinal #2: Sugar vs Orange

Championship: Semifinal #1 vs Semifinal #1

Under my original proposal (1.0) Alabama is #4 but snubbed because Texas got the at-large berth ahead of them, and Utah was an automatic selection.

Fymbo Formula 1.1a
This iteration is based on rankings, restricting each conference to maximum two teams, and including at least one non-BCS team if they are in the top 12.

Fiesta: #1 Oklahoma (Big 12) vs #8 Boise State (non-BCS)
Sugar: #2 Florida (SEC) vs #7 Penn State (Big Ten)
Orange: #3 Texas (Big 12) vs #6 Utah (non-BCS automatic)
Rose: #4 Alabama (SEC) vs #5 USC (Pac-10)

This proposal includes 8 of the top 9 teams in the country--Texas Tech is left out because they finished 3rd in their conference, just as they were left out of 1.0 and the actual BCS. Compared to 1.0, this kicks out Cincinnati and Va. Tech (ranked 12th and 19th in the country, respectively) for the sake of Alabama (ranked 4th) and Boise State (ranked 9th). Of course, the flip side of this is that two conference champions are not included, mediocre as they may be.

Fymbo Formula 1.1b
This iteration is based on rankings, restricting each conference to maximum two teams, and including at least one non-BCS team if they are in the top 12, and any conference champion that is in the top 16.

Fiesta: #1 Oklahoma (Big 12) vs #8 Cincinnati (Big East)
Sugar: #2 Florida (SEC) vs #7 Penn State (Big Ten)
Orange: #3 Texas (Big 12) vs #6 Utah (non-BCS automatic)
Rose: #4 Alabama (SEC) vs #5 USC (Pac-10)

By including conference champions ranked in the top 16, Boise State is removed and the Bearcats get added. This is a minor adjustment and comes down to the question of who is most deserving: a team ranked 9th from the WAC, or a team ranked 12th from the Big East?

The temptation is to reward winning the Big East, but Boise State won their conference too. And the reason that Boise State is ranked ahead of Cinci is because they went undefeated and Cinci lost twice. Because of this, I think version 1.1a got it right. If your conference sucks so bad that you can win it and there's that many teams better than you, you don't deserve a shot at the national championship.

What January 2009 Should Look Like
(based upon my best formula to date: 1.1a, and my best guess at how it would shake out)

January 1st, Thursday
Fiesta: #1 Oklahoma (Big 12) vs #8 Boise State (non-BCS)
Sugar: #2 Florida (SEC) vs #7 Penn State (Big Ten)
Orange: #3 Texas (Big 12) vs #6 Utah (non-BCS automatic)
Rose: #4 Alabama (SEC) vs #5 USC (Pac-10)

January 10th, Saturday
Semifinal #1: Oklahoma vs Alabama/USC
Semifinal #2: Florida vs Texas

January 19th, Monday
BCS Championship: Oklahoma/Alabama/USC vs Florida/Texas

The beauty of this system is that it would shake out everything. Would we get a rematch of the SEC Championship, proving that conference's superiority? Or would the Big 12 roll and get Red River II? Would USC prove they belong in the picture or would a non-BCS school pull a cindarella run? We'll never know.

Streak Update

Bigsam1122 got 25 in a row and $1M when the Steelers came back and won 20-13. Pittsburgh was at most favored by 4, so they covered any bets, and if Bigsam put any money on the Cowboys, that was lost.

If he would have followed my advice, he could have won the million last night because the fight didn't go 12 rounds. Or he would have won the million today as the Saints beat the Falcons. Unfortunately they won by 4, so he would have lost his $100k on the Falcons +3, but it looked good when the Saints were up 16-14 at the half.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Streaking for the Cash

So someone has 24 in a row in ESPN's million-dollar race to 25.

It seems a good bet would be to say that the De La Hoya fight tonight will not finish all 12 rounds.

But a safer strategy would be to pick the Saints to win tomorrow (vs Falcons). Then to hedge your bets put $100,000 on the Falcons +3.

Worst Case Scenario: The Saints lose and you win your $100,000 bet in Vegas and don't owe ESPN anything.

Good Scenerio: The Saints win by more than 3: You lose $100k in Vegas but win ESPN's Streak for the Cash and get the million plus the notoriety.

Best Case Scenario: The Saints win by 1 or 2 (or 3 for the push) so you win both bets.

I bet he bets on the NFL tomorrow, you can follow what happens here.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Quarterback U.

Finding a franchise NFL quarterback might be the toughest thing in building a sports team. It might also be the most essential. If you think about the teams that have had continued success, what do they have in common? Patriots and Colts of this decade, Cowboys and 49ers in the 80/90's, Steelers of the 70's. You need a franchise QB. But drafting them is a 50/50 shot.

This is Part 1 of at least a 1-part series where I look at colleges to see if that's a good indicator of success.

I'll start with the current crop of good QB's, and then go back every four years or so, and then go back further to get more elites.

I drew the line between Kerry Collins and Gus Frerotte. Sorry Tulsa, but the Gus Bus is not making your case that you are Quarterback U.



Michigan (Brady, Harbaugh)
Purdue (Brees, Orton)
Northern Iowa (Warner)
Vanderbilt (Cutler)
NC State (Rivers)
Syracuse (McNabb)
Tennessee (Manning)
Cal (Rodgers)
Marshall (Pennington, Leftwich)
East Carolina (Garrard)
Southern Miss (Favre)
Boston College (Ryan, Hasslebeck, Flutie)
Ole Miss (Manning)
Auburn (Campbell)
Eastern Ill. (Romo)
Louisana (Delhomme)
Miami-Ohio (Roethlisburger)
Stanford (Edwards, Elway)
Delaware (Flacco, Gannon)
West Virginia (Bulger, Hostetler)
LSU (Russel)
Virginia (Schuab)
Penn State (Collins)
Central Florida (Culpepper)
Indiana (Green)
Arizona State (Plummer)
Virginia Tech (Vick)
USC (Palmer)
San Jose State (Garcia)
Washington (Brunell, Moon)
Alcorn State (McNair)
Central Wash. (Kitna)
BYU (Young)
FSU (Johnson)
Miami-FL (Testaverde, Kelly, Kosar)
Pittsburgh (Marino)
Washington State (Bledsoe, Rypien)
UCLA (Aikman)
Maryland (Esiason, O'Donnell)
UNLV (Cunningham)
Notre Dame (Montana
Morehead State (Simms)
Oregon (Fouts)

So there you go. The colleges of the good quarterbacks of the last 20 years. Somewhat surprisingly, there is hardly any overlap. Also, surprising, many of this schools aren't football powerhouses.

Here's the list of multiples:

Boston College (Ryan, Hasslebeck, Flutie)
Miami-FL (Testaverde, Kelly, Kosar)
Michigan (Brady, Harbaugh)
Stanford (Edwards, Elway)
Purdue (Brees, Orton)
Washington State (Bledsoe, Rypien)
West Virginia (Bulger, Hostetler)
Marshall (Pennington, Leftwich)
Maryland (Esiason, O'Donnell)
Delaware (Flacco, Gannon)

I never would have guessed, but based on quality and recency, if there was one school that you might expect to have a good quarterback soon, it would be BC.

It would probably be worthwhile to do a breakdown by conference, but it seems again that there is so much variance, you can't really even say that one conference produces a large number of gunslingers. Just from a glance, I say the Pac-10 looks good, but whatever.

The verdict: a college is no predictor of QB success.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Big Ten vs SEC: Who's Faster?

So I've heard for a long time that the Big Ten is a slow football conference. But is it just a myth? Are Big Ten athletes really slower than, say, the SEC?

I decided to look up the track and field times to get the truth. I was able to find the top 8 100m times for the Big Ten and the top 20 for the SEC.

Big Ten 100-meter Dash
1. Ibrahim Kabia, MINN :10.29
2. Anthony Cole, OSU :10.30
3. Adam Harris, MICH :10.36
4. Dominique Worsley, ILL :10.37
5. Marcus Thigpen, IND :10.55
6. Troy Woolfolk, MICH :10.58
7. Andrew Cope, PSU :10.61
8. Devin Pipkin, IND :10.62

SEC 100-meter Dash
1. Richard Thompson, LSU :9.93
2. Evander Wells, TENN :10.01
3. Trindon Holliday, LSU :10.05
4. J-Mee Samuels, ARK :10.08
5. Rubin Williams, TENN :10.12
6. Jeremy Hall, FLA :10.17
7. Willie Perry, FLA :10.19
8. Rickie Bratton, OLE :10.20

So there you have it. There is a reason for stereotypes. The fastest runner in the Big Ten would have finished 13th in the SEC.

Post-Turkey NFL Hamper Dump

After 13 weeks, I am still the #1 Chiefs fan in Home Team Challenge. And 183rd nationally.

The #1 Ravens fan gets this: Overall First Prize** - Trip for two to watch the Baltimore Ravens. Cheerleader Swimsuit Calendar Shoot. Includes round trip airfare and hotel accommodations. Location to be announced. (ARV: $2,600.00)
The #1 Chiefs fan gets nothing. Oh well.

As for Construda, my fantasy season ended in a 13-point loss to Burnsy. If I would have started Eddie Royal over Vincent Jackson, I would have gotten 14 more points. Likewise, Forte over Addai would have produced 14 more points. Of course, if Burnsy would have started Driver over Walter, he would have gotten 11 more and won by 24.
Link
Matt and Mark both won their divisions, and dynomite kings will be the wild card. The final spot will come down to Kirat vs Niraj. In a ruling that ends up not affecting anything, Kirat should be credited with a win against me in week 12. We tied 108-108, but the NFL ruled that Forte didn't actually get 10 receiving yards, which means I should have lost by a point. But for Kirat, a tie is as good as a win, so it doesn't matter.

What's also interesting is that the #1 seed is still up for grabs between Mark and Matt. What we know is that the #1 seed will face dynomite kings in week 15, a 8-5 team that includes Rivers vs Chiefs, Westbrook vs Browns.

You could make the argument, that the easier road for either Mark or Matt would be to take a dive this week, grab the #2 spot, and play the winner of Niraj/Kirat.

Last year, after week 13, Mark had sewn up the #1 pick, and Rishi/Dave was in the #3 slot. Kirat beat Niraj in week 14 for the right to play me in the playoffs. I ended up scoring more points than Mark in the playoffs. If Kirat had benched his studs in week 14, he would have tied Mark in the first round of the playoffs and who knows what would have happened then. In essence, last year Kirat chose to win week 14 and it cost him in week 15. I wonder if that will happen to Mark or Matt in this year's week 14.

In pigskin pick'em, I forgot to make picks during thanksgiving, but can still be compared on a plus-minus games over .500 to Mark and the Sports Guy. After Mark has 2 bad weeks in a row, I think I'm ahead of him now. I'll add it up later.

Oh and Colston finally got a touchdown, winning another board bet for Mark. Full recap after the season.

And the Chiefs have slammed the door on the Lions by becoming the 30th best team in the NFL. I can almost taste that burger now.