Saturday, October 31, 2009

being an illinois student fan

While writing the previous post I realized that this is the 5th football season since we graduated. Which means that an entire group of people (Class of '09) came in after we left and have since left as well.

It's a weird thing. It's one thing to think about saying goodbye to the last class that have shared memories with you. For example, the Class of '08. They were Freshman when we were seniors. They were students that shared in our Final Four run, and we may have rubbed elbows that cold night waiting for the Illini bus to come back after they beat Arizona (aka the night we found out Deron had smooth hands).

But the Class of 2009, has no connection to us. And they're already gone.

- - -

So here's a list of all the great things to happen to Illinois sports this decade:

2000-01 Basketball: Elite Eight
2001-02 Football: Sugar Bowl
2004-05 Basketball: Championship Game
2007-08 Football: Rose Bowl

We were fortunate to witness 2 of them.* Of course the Class of '08 got to experience 2 of them as well. But right now half of Illinois students have been there for 1, and the other half are still waiting. If you believe in patterns, you should get excited about the 2010-11 Illini Basketball team.

- - -

*I said that we were fortunate to witness 2 notable seasons. Dating back to 1960, here were the other notable Illinois seasons:

1963-64 Football 8-1-1 (5-1-1 Big Ten) Rose Bowl win
1983-84 Football 10-2 (9-0 Big Ten) Rose Bowl loss
1983-84 Basketball: Elite Eight
1988-89 Basketball: Final Four
1989-90 Football 10-2 (7-1 Big Ten) Citrus Bowl win
1999-00 Football 8-4 (4-4 Big Ten) Micron PC Bowl win

So if you went to U of I in the early 80's, you got a Rose Bowl loss and a decent tourney run.
If you went there in the late 80's, you got a win in a semi-major Bowl and a Final Four run.
And if you started in 1998 or 1999, you were the only Illinois classes ever to witness 3 great seasons: A bowl win (albeit a crappy bowl) an elite eight finish and then a BCS berth.

Still, there are plenty of stretches when Illinois students didn't get any memorable seasons.

- - -

I drew the line at Elite Eight. Sweet Sixteens are exciting for mid-majors but aren't really a notable accomplishment. I suppose the line should really be drawn at Final Four, but I threw Illinois a bone.

muck fichigan: 2nd year in a row


The last time Illinois had back-to-back wins against Michigan? 1957 & 1958.

The last time Illinois beat the Wolverines in Champaign? 10/29/1983. 24 days before I was born. Today, 60,119 people were there in Memorial Stadium to see it happen again.

- - -

Last year, Illinois was coming off a Rose Bowl berth and had huge hopes. They lost their first game to Missouri by 10 and lost by 14 to Penn State in their first Big Ten game. But it wasn't a terrible season. We beat Iowa by 3, Indiana by 42 and beat Michigan 45-20 in the Big House.

This year, on the other hand, is a terrible season. Coming into today Illinois was 0-6 against 1-A teams, and ranked below 100 (there are 120 1-A [aka FBS] teams) in such unimportant categories as passing yards. Plus, this Michigan team isn't the same team that lost to Appalachian State. They beat Notre Dame and just two weeks ago beat a team 63-6.

And we crushed them!

500 yards of total offense. (Last year it was 501.) We rushed it 56 times at 6.7 yards a carry. That's 377 on the ground--of course it helps your average when you rip off 70 and 79 yard touchdown runs. Juice only had to throw it 11 times and got 8 for 123 and a score. We were +3 in turnovers. And that doesn't even count the goal-line stand turnover on downs.

At least 4 times, Michigan had the ball in the red zone in the second half:

1st and goal from ILL 1 (Mich 13-7) Result: turnover on downs
1st and goal from ILL 10 (Ill 28-13) Result: sack, fumble on 3rd down
1st and 10 from ILL 14 (Ill 31-13) Result: turnover on downs
1st and 10 from ILL 15 (Ill 31-13) Result: forced fumble on 1st down

Getting to 1-6 against 1-A opponents doesn't salvage a season. But there is some delicious irony. Back in 2001, our Sugar Bowl team, Michigan was our only regular season loss. Even when we were good, the Wolverines were the thorn in our side, the team that we considered our biggest rival and would beat us without even getting excited about it. And now? We stink and two years in a row we have made Michigan our whipping boy. The games haven't even been close.

Think about the Illinois sophomore students. Their football team is a collective 7-13 over two seasons. But Illinois has outscored Michigan 83-33 and is 2-0.

more madden highlights

Cassel and Engram run pylon, with playaction.

Cassel throws a WR screen to Bradley. I never call this play because it never works.

From a previous franchise, Thigpen and Bradley run pylon.

Another old one, Croyle to Sippio, breaking tackles.

Friday, October 30, 2009

sportsbook: hard eight

Lions -3.5 over Rams $30
Colts -12.5 over 49ers $40
Jaguars +2.5 over Titans $30

Let me get this straight? I get to bet against the Titans and Vince Young...and I'm getting points?

No parlay this week, because I stink at those.

IT'S ON!

This is all you need to know about my matchup this week:

I still can't believe I lost in week 3. Eff.

Oh and yeah, and it's the War Across the Shore!

*Photoshop by Niraj

Week 8: Vag @ Cock! Week 9: Cock @ Vag!



Mark is lucky the War wasn't in weeks 6 & 7. That would have been 12 burrito smacks to the face. (116 point victory margin.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

playoff picks: week 7

AFC

Clearly In
Colts
Steelers
Pats

Likely In
Broncos
Bengals
Jets

Likely Out
Chargers
Ravens
Texans
Jaguars

Clearly Out
Dolphins
Bills
Browns
Raiders
Chiefs
Titans

NFC

Clearly In
Saints

Likely In
Giants
Vikings
Packers
Cardinals
Eagles

Likely Out
Bears
Cowboys
Falcons
Seahawks
49ers

Clearly Out
Bucs
Panthers
Rams
Lions
Redskins

- - -

Not that much changed in the AFC. The Pats came to play. And the Dolphins and Redskins have the same number of wins. Doesn't Miami seem good and Washington seem terrible? And as much as it pains me, the Broncos, whether they are real or not, are 6-0.

In the NFC, with Favre and Eli due for 2nd-half disappointments, neither one of their teams are assured playoff spots. Likely? Yes. But not for sure.

i'm allegedly posting this


Yes, a motorist may have tore through their home, but who could be sure at this point?

If you're going to use the word allegedly, I would think that would go in front of "drunk driver," but it seems that no, they have no hesitations about calling him a drunk driver. But driving into their bedroom? Allegedly!

- - -

But what do I know? I allegedly took Journalism 100 from the allegedly University of Illinois.

recap city

Burnsy and are still alive in Eliminator, and I've got a decent lead in Pigskin Pick'em.

The Board Completed Bets
Week 5: Mark wants Bloopy +20 (+3)
Week 6: Mark wants Boss +20 (+17.5)
Week 6: Mark wants Niraj -15 (-37.5)
Week 6: Mark wants Himself -25 (-26)
Week 6: Mark wants Savan +7.5 (+7.5) push
Week 7: Mark wants Doyle +12.5 (-5.5)
Week 7: Mark wants Swag -12.5 (-61)
Week 7: Mark wants Savan -20 (-11.5)
Week 7: Mark wants Boss +32.5 (+18.5)

Mark is up 7-1 at this point. It appears I need to stay away from betting on fantasy matchups. There's only 5 active matchups, so if I want to get back in this thing, I'm going to need a substantial amount of new bets.

Sportsbook Update:

I was at $160 before last week's bets:

Saints -6.5 over Dolphins $30
Colts -13.5 over Rams $30
Chargers -4.5 over Chiefs $30

Early & Night Parlay #2 ($5 at 6-to-1): Packers +7.5 AND Vikings +4.5 AND Cards +7.5
3pm Parlay #1 ($5 at 6-to-1): Bears +1.5 AND Bills +7.5 AND Falcons +3.5

For the record, the Packers, Cards and Bills, I got right. The Bears and Falcons weren't close and the Vikes would have come through except for that stupid interception.

Anyways, a great week puts me to +$130:

Invested: $200
Currently: $330

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The War Across the Shore

A two-week, back-to-back, cumulative fantasy showdown between Mark and Niraj. My role, purchasing the stakes.

Here are the best three options I've come up with.

The winner gets to smack the loser in the face with...

a) a cooked, room-temperature bratwurst (or sausage variety of the winner's choice, ie: polish, italian, etc.)
b) a Chipotle burrito
c) an ethnic showdown--if Mark is the winner, he smacks burnsy with a Schwarma. if Niraj wins, he smacks Mark with a samosa.

Optional variant: every 10 points of victory margin is an added swing. eg, Niraj wins by 33 so he gets a total of 4 swings (1 for victory, 3 for points).

Let's get this decided by Saturday...put it on the board!

bob, why don't you stop talking for a little while

During a college football game, Bob Griese was asked where was Juan Pablo Montoya in the Nascar standings, since they were looking at a top-5 drivers graphic, and he wasn't listed.

Griese's response: "Out having a taco."

Griese has been suspended.


But in his defense, how does ESPN know that Montoya wasn't having a taco at that very moment? Who doesn't enjoy a good taco? I think people of all races can come together and agree that tacos are good, and there's no reason that a Columbian guy shouldn't be allowed to have a taco, or not assumed not to be having a taco.

Wouldn't it be worse to say that he was out having an egg roll? I mean, that's both racist and wrong. At least he got the Latin American stereotype correct.

If someone were to wonder where's Dave when looking at a graphic of the top-5 fantasy teams, and someone replied "out having a hoagie" or even "out having a burger," I wouldn't be offended. I would be grateful that someone deflected a fantasy criticism by referencing foods that I do in fact enjoy. And we've already established that everyone enjoys tacos.

So there you have it. Bob Griese: not a racist.

fantasy storylines

Let's start with Mark's matchup...he loses by 5.5 and Fred Jackson got 0 at flex. A bad time to have Chris Johnson, Kevin Smith and Brandon Marshall all on a bye. Any one of them should get 6 in a given week. Of course, he could have started Maclin and gotten the win (5 for 53, 7.5 points).

Plus, his opponent traded away 14 points this week, by starting Roddy White instead of Ricky Williams, but still won.

Ricky Williams was one of four players on Boss' team that got 20+. In fact the only player that wasn't in double digits? His newly acquired Manningham (6). How about that Vernon Davis, 3 tds all in the second half with Alex Smith off the bench, for a 30.5 day. Welker and Maroney both score in London, and Kaeding puts up good numbers despite being banged up. The guy that let down Stevo? Cutler. Sucks to have your hometown QB blow your fantasy day, wasting such good performances.

On the other side, Burnsy starts Rodgers and Grant and both go off. V-Jax torches the Chiefs as expected, but Miles Austin gets another 34? I was supremely confident that Austin was a flash in the pan because of poor Chiefs' tackling. Wow. So Burnsy beats him by 16, and Stevo left 25 points on the bench with Romo. I know Cutler has been sorta good lately, but you're still starting Romo, right?

Harlan got 25 from Desean Jackson on Monday night, too bad Savan had the unstoppable combo of Palmer and Benson. Seriously, Palmer and Benson outscored Team Bloopy--but more on that later. Savan benched Steven Jackson, and it worked out for him.

Kirat's Peyton Manning pick looks pretty good right now. Kirat and Niraj are sitting at 5-2, tied for first. Last week, Matt set a new weekly low at 72.5. He told me he didn't think anyone could sink lower. He was sort of right. He got 61 this week, and rightfully deserves that Double Red Banner of Shame.

And then there's me. Tom Brady showed up, even across the pond. Jacobs got 9 more than Manningham. And my defense du jour worked out. I'm just glad that I wasn't closer going into Monday, or God forbid, up by 5 or so. I had Westbrook and Celek, who should be good for a solid 25 or so, right? And he had Akers. Westbrook gets a concussion, Celek gets shit, and Akers outscores them both by 8.5.

It wasn't the reason I lost, but it didn't help that Westbrook, Brown and A. Johnson all left with injuries. Of course, Boldin who was injured on my bench actually had a decent game.

Thanks a lot Bears, for letting Ocho Cinco look good (30.5). And Schuab to Daniels got Swag 20.5 points on one play, so that sucked.

Basically at this point, I'm trying to avoid buying the trophy. I'm one of 3 teams at 2-5, and Matt's alone at 3-4. So there's that.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The only good Chiefs play

and it's a must see. Usually when a receiver drags his toes at the sideline, he's got one foot planted and is only dragging one foot. Not Dwayne Bowe.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-cant-miss-plays/09000d5d813acaea/WK-7-Can-t-Miss-Play-Bowe-on-his-toes

- - -

So Chiefs are 1-6 with their bye next week. Lions are 1-5 and host the Rams next week, so they should get to 2.

Remaining schedules:

Lions:
Rams
@Seahawks
@Vikings
Browns
Packers
@Bengals
@Ravens
Cardinals
@49ers
Bears

The Lions should beat the Rams, Browns, and at least one other team. That's 4-12.

Chiefs:
@ Jaguars
@ Raiders
Steelers (my birthday, sigh)
@ Chargers
Broncos
Bills
Browns
@ Bengals
@ Broncos

They really have to beat the Raiders this time around, and maybe they can beat both the Bills and Browns. Hard to say what happens to the Broncos. The Chiefs usually play them close at home, and who knows, they might rest players in week 17. Still, 4 wins looks like about the ceiling for this time, 3-13 might be more realistic. (Although, I do like their odds in a tiebreaker situation.)

And in case it comes down to week 17, the Lions play at noon, the Chiefs at 3. The way it looks now, you would think there shouldn't be more than 1 game separating these two. Early prediction. The Lions are 4-11 heading into the last game, but lose to the Bears at noon. The 3-12 Chiefs are comfortably ahead in point differential, so they just need to beat the Broncos on the road to win me a burger. We'll see.

And for the record, Brandon Flowers didn't get a pick-six in the second quarter. Must not have been a premonition. Damnit.

- - -

Also, no comments on the fact that Mark looks like McNabb and I look like Westbrook?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

my favorite argentine film

is Nine Queens.

It's in Spanish, but it's good. Rent it. But don't go to the wiki page until you've seen. No spoiler alert at all!

great name that tune clip

Friday, October 23, 2009

vote for the supersonic ESPY play of the year

I'm not going to embed these, since I just embedded four new videos. Here are the best youtube highlights in my first year of the game. Vote for your favorite in the comments.

Nominee A: Last-second tip

Nominee B: Flying away redirect


Nominee C: No-look reverse goal (2nd in clip)

Nominee D: The Save


Nominee E: Destroy and Clear (from :30 to :48 in clip)

- - -

Update: 2009 ESPY Goes to D, "The Save"

yet more supersonic highlights

Video #1: three angles of a shot that got a lucky bounce after hitting the pipe, and then two looks at a sideway flip goal


Video #2: three looks at a last second touch to tip it past the goalie, plus a goal where I slam into a teammate to get him a goal


Video #3: four looks at a double jump angle goal from off to the side. this was the highest i've gone up and gotten a goal like this. in the 4th slo-motion angle you can see that it was a double jump.


Video #4: four views of the hardest, and I think most impressive highlight. I redirected it into the goal while flying away from the direction of the goal. It's easy to angle your shot when you're pointing at the goal, this was much harder.

separated at birth

This is a screenshot from last week's game.

Of course I think it's funny when they label our names next to NFL athletes. But I think there's something else going on here.

Does anyone see the resemblance between Mark and Donovan McNabb, and me and Westbrook?

sportsbook: lucky week 7

Well, my co-worker's stupid 4pm Sunday flight saved me $20. The two teams I considered betting on, the Eagles and Seahawks, got blown out.

And since my fictional picks matched my hypothetically real picks, I lost $100 last week.

Invested: $200
Currently: $160

Need to do better or else I need to go to the Hoagie ATM again.

Saints -6.5 over Dolphins $30
Colts -13.5 over Rams $30
Chargers -4.5 over Chiefs $30

Early & Night Parlay #2 ($5 at 6-to-1): Packers +7.5 AND Vikings +4.5 AND Cards +7.5
3pm Parlay #1 ($5 at 6-to-1): Bears +1.5 AND Bills +7.5 AND Falcons +3.5

Also, hard to believe we're already at week 7. Time flies when you're team is 1-5.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

fantasy preview: week 7

Last week Illini went 4-1 against Naperville. Only Savan lost to Swag.

Interestingly, if you would have relied on the projected point spreads, you would have been 3-2.
If you would have picked based on history, you would have gone 4-1.

Since it proved to be valuable, plus it's fun, here's a look at this week's matchups, analyzing how the teams have fared head-to-head each week.

In the Brats vs Swag history, 5 of the 6 have been close. Interestingly, in the stretch that I went 0-4, I would have won 3 games against Swag. In the last 2 games, where I've been 2-0, I would have lost both games.

3-3 Swag-Dave
4-2 Mark over Doyle (Mark would have won first four, Doyle the last two)
5-1 Niraj over Boss
4-2 Savan over Harlan
4-2 Kirat over Matt

Based on this week's matchups, Illini would have been 20-10 vs Naperville through 6 weeks. Last week I showed they were 16-9, and we went 4-1 in week 6. So after 2 weeks of calculation there is less variance in the numbers than I expected.

board update

Completed Bets
Week 5: Mark wants Bloopy +20 (+3)
Week 6: Mark wants Boss +20 (+17.5)
Week 6: Mark wants Niraj -15 (-37.5)
Week 6: Mark wants Himself -25 (-26)
Week 6: Mark wants Savan +7.5 (+7.5) push

Active Bets
Dave: Tom Brady 142 (bye remaining) vs Mark: Drew Brees 131
Dave: Pierre Thomas 53.5 vs Mark: Kevin Smith 74.5
Dave: Steve Slaton 74.5 vs Mark: Steven Jackson 71
Dave: Flacco 127 vs Mark: Delhomme 36
For weeks 5-17, subtracting Westbrook's lowest, Dave: Westbrook 27.5 vs Mark: Kevin Smith 16.5

So I'm down 0-4 with 5 on the board right now. Who's stupid idea was it to put fantasy matchups on the board? And how did we nail 3 of the week6 lines within 3.5 combined total points?

And yes we need to make stakes for the Board. I was thinking equivalent to $10. How about $10 worth of barbecue: that's probably about 1/2 a rack of ribs or a big pork sandwich and fries, depending on where you choose.

What Does A $19 Hamburger Taste Like?


I've never spent $19 on a hamburger before. Yesterday, I ate the Rockit Burger. A burger made with kobe beef and topped with melted brie, fried shallots and a medjool date aioli. Served with a side of truffle fries. I've still never spent $19 on a burger--work covered the tab.

So what does a $19 hamburger taste like? And what the hell is a medjool date aioli?

For that you have to go to Rockit.


Oddly enough, on their menu they have a section called "sandwiches/burgers" and the Rockit Burger is not listed there. It is under "entrees." Well then.

This is the first time I've ever had a Kobe burger. I had heard that in America, sometimes when they say Kobe beef, it's really Kobe-style. Whatever. I have no idea if that cow was really Wagyu or from Japan or Peoria.

I ordered it medium. Also, it's important to note that we got the food delivered. So by the time it got to me, it was still warm, but the cheese was completely melted and the beef had time to rest. I think this only made it better. The burger was actually closer to medium-rare, so I definitely think the extra delivery time only helped the consistency. It's possible that burger could have been too pink and mushy if I had been eating in.

After seeing this picture on yelp, I'm glad the cheese had a chance to melt. I think the brie would have been overpowering in that state, but melted it was subtle and delicious. The fried shallots were not as overflowing in the picture on Rockit's site. And the date aioli? It was a good sweet sauce that paired nicely with the cheese and the beef.

Ultimately, what made the burger so amazing was the way it all came together. I didn't really taste these as separate elements. The bun was perhaps the best part, a onion brioche, I believe, and the way it soaked up the sauce and beef juice was perfect. It was slightly crunchy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside. The cheese, sauce, shallots and bun were there to highlight the taste of the meat and it worked to perfection.

This was also the first time that I had truffle fries (or truffle anything). If you hadn't told me they had truffle oil, I might not have noticed there was anything exotic. They were just really good in a way that I hadn't really had before. Addictive fries.

I still think that it was overpriced. I don't think any burger should cost over $14 or so. But it's hard to think of a better burger I've had. I love the one at Gaslight, with the Merkt's, bacon and barbecue sauce, abut I don't think it beats the Rockit Burger.

And I want to go back to Grand Lux for their Max Burger, an angus patty topped with cheddar, bacon, onion, AND short ribs!

But the Rockit Burger did not disappoint. And I'm glad I didn't have to pay for it to experience it.

I had a dream

I'm no Dr. King, and I'm no psychic medium.

But I had a dream last night. I was sitting in a restaurant and I looked up and saw a football play on a TV. The play was a touchdown. The teams playing were the Chiefs and Chargers. The Chiefs were in red.

[At the time, I didn't know when this was. When I woke up, I realized that this week's upcoming game is the Chiefs vs Chargers. And the Chiefs are at home, meaning they are in red. To clarify, yestereday--before the dream--I did know the Chargers were the next game, but I didn't know if it was home or away.]

So was this a premonition? Probably not. But here's what I saw:

The score was definitely 0-0 when I saw the touchdown happen. I think it was the 2nd quarter, about 5:25 remaining. The Chiefs were in red and scored, moving left to right on the TV.

When I looked up I saw a Chief carrying the ball across the goal line. But there weren't any Chargers in the picture. It looked like either a defensive return for touchdown or possibly a catch and run. I think it was #24. I just looked it up. That's Brandon Flowers, our #1 CB. Which would support the theory that it was a pick six.

- - -

So there you have it. If anything close to that comes true, it would be amazing. But I'm not holding out much hope. The restaurant I was in was a Buffalo Wild Wings with Missy, Sakina and some other girls that I didn't know. I was playing around with an iPhone that I just had gotten in the dream (don't have one in real life) and I had just passed through a Chinese museum, looking at some translation tool called Twang Lisa.

My dreams don't make sense.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

put it on THE BOARD!

Chiefs win! Chiefs win!

Just like that, the Chiefs are now ahead, based on the net points tiebreaker, in the burger standings:

Chiefs 1-5 Net: -46 points
Lions 1-5 Net: -85 points


And the Rams and Bucs both lost, and Titans just kicked off against the Pats...so the Chiefs are definitively no worse than 30th in the league. I'll take that right now.

- - -

By the way, no team really deserved to win this game. It was ugly and the announcers acknowledged that. Bowe made a great play under 2 minutes to get a first down, but then ran out of bounds jumping for the pylon, instead of running the clock out. So the Chiefs had to give the Skins the ball back, down six. The Chiefs stepped up and got a safety to ice it.

I'd love to credit our defense, but the truth is the Redskins are just terrible, they benched Campbell at halftime. Even the coaching was not good, with a lot of questionable decisions on 4th downs. Our kicker is money though and a win is a win.

Friday, October 16, 2009

sportsbook week 6: what if?

A weird week in Sportsbook. Yesterday I found out that a co-worker was going to Vegas. I had a spare $20 in my wallet. So now I just had to pick out my real live bets.

My gut instinct was to like the Seahawks -2.5, the Eagles -14.5, and the Lions +13.5. Then I found out how injured the Lions are. So then I thought about the Chiefs +6.5. Not to win mind you, no that would make me happy. But they should at least cover, right?

The problem was I had $20. It's not worth splitting it 3 ways. And I don't like betting on 2 teams. Because I feel like odds are, I'll get one right, one wrong, and I'll lose 2 bucks on the commission. I do like betting on 3 teams, in the hopes that I'll at least get 2 of 3, to make a profit, or at worst get 1 of 3 and not lose too much. But I didn't have $30, so I decided to just put the $20 on one team and see what happens. The Chiefs weren't in my mind any more, just because how easy would it be for the Chiefs and Redskins to be tied at 13 with 2 minutes to go, and then Washington gets a TD to cover the spread by half a point.

So Seahawks as -2.5 or Eagles -14.5? I asked Mark for his advice.

In the meantime I make my decision. I put my money in an envelope with a post-it marked EAGLES -14.5. And I go hand it off to my co-worker.

And as soon as I hand it to him, he says his return flight is Sunday at 4pm. So he can't place the bet since he wouldn't have time to collect, so I took my money back.

I got back to my desk and saw Mark's advice: Seahawks -2.5

So now I have all this hypothetical stuff. A bet that I had essentially placed and then refunded to me. Come Sunday we'll find out what would have happened.

- - -

Time to recap fictional week 3:

I nailed the Giants and Colts and the Titans busted my parlay.

Invested: $200
Currently: $260

But I'm up $60 so far this year.

Week 5: HCsportsbook

LOCK: Eagles -14.5 $40

LOCK #2: Seahawks -2.5 $30

PARLAY: Bucs +3.5 and Jets -9.5 and Giants +3.5 $30

Thursday, October 15, 2009

sweaty breakdown

One thing I miss about nfl.com's fantasy presentation, is the breakdown. It offers a truer sense of how teams are performing, a more complete picture than their actual record.

With that in mind, I wanted to see how I would have expected to do, week by week, based on the scoreboards but ignoring the schedule. If my winning chances are higher than 50%, I'll classify that as an expected win--vice versa for lower than 50%. This way I'll see what my record would be if you didn't have the schedule in front of you.

Week 1: My 89 points was 9th highest that week (out of 10). The breakdown for that week would be 1-8. So you could say that of the 9 possible opponents, my chances of winning would be 11%. Expected loss.

Week 2: 98 points. Winning chance: 22%. Expected loss.

Week 3: 122.5 points. Winning chance: 89%. Expected win.

Week 4: 84 points. Winning chance: 44%. Expected loss.

Week 5: 108.5 points. Winning chance: 67%. Expected win.

So there you have it. I could only expect to be 2-3 at this point. It's a shame that I lost in week 3 when there was only 1 possible matchup that would have resulted in defeat. But at least I won last week, when 3 out of 9 schedules would have had me lose that one.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

fantasy preview: week 6

The fantasy projections and game lines are notably unreliable, particularly because many teams wait until Sunday to set their roster.


So what's a better way to preview the games?

Using the handy charts on the bottom of the preview panel, perhaps it's using a head-to-head breakdown of what would have happened if the teams matched up in week 6 had played each other in the previous 5 weeks. I'll put the current line in parens for reference.

Dave OVER Doyle 3-2 (Sweaty -56.5)
Kirat OVER Boss 3-2 (Kirat +31.5)
Niraj OVER Harlan 3-2 (Niraj -65.5)
Savan OVER Swag 3-2 (Savan -1)
Mark OVER Matt 4-1 (Mark -71.5)

There you have it. Illinois division is 16-9 vs. Naperville in hypothetical head-to-head matchups (based only this week's schedule. It would be different depending on who was playing who.) In fact, right now Illinois division has 13 wins, Naperville has 12. But most of those have been divisional games, so it's still a small sample size.

Also, week 6 is the first week in which every game is interdivsional. Can Illinois go 5-0?

extra gum

Wrigley makes a gum called Extra. When I was younger, I thought of this as a quality gum. I perceived it as top-tier, more expensive gum than say Dentyne or Trident.

This is what it looked like.

Look at the strong solid color. The font that doesn't mess around. The callout: Lasts Extra Long! That's a nice looking gum.

So what the fuck is this?


The font looks generic. The coloring is washed out. It no longer lasts "extra long", now it's just "long lasting." And look at that weak dental logo. This looks like gum that belongs in a dollar store, not a premium retailer like Walgreens. Get your shit together man.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

go for 2? OR on positivity

Should the Chiefs have gone for 2?

The situation: 20 seconds left in the game. Bowe just caught a 4th down TD to make the score 19-20. This was the Chiefs best drive of the game, 74 yards for the score. They're at home with the crowd in the game.

Kick for overtime or go for 2?

- - -

I was watching the entire game in a sports bar. At the time, my reaction was: I don't know what to do.

When it came down to awarding the 2016 Olympics, the city of Chicago was split on whether people wanted it to come here. Myself, I had an opinion. I wanted them to come, because I think it's good to represent. I think it's good for the country, I think it's good for Chicago.

But even before the announcement, I recognized the downsides--the traffic, the construction inconvenience, the economic impact--and was prepared to instantly be satisfied with whatever decision was made. Ever since Rio won it, I'm happy for Rio and happy that I don't have to worry about the inconvenience if I'm still in Chicagoland in 2016.

So, should the Chiefs have gone for two? I don't think it mattered. I don't think the Chiefs would have converted. We couldn't run the ball (21 carries for 37 yards is pitiful) and you'd think they would be ready for a Vrabel-like playaction the second time around. I wasn't upset about kicking the extra point because I wasn't confident that we'd make it. But at the same time I wasn't confident we'd score in OT.

Although, I thought they would probably win the toss and score with our offense on the bench. That's probably the biggest deciding factor of why you should go for it.

But that didn't happen. We got the ball, punted pinning them deep. Got the ball back this time at midfield. We needed 20 yards to kick a field goal and couldn't get it.

But when you think about that scenario, get 2-yards for the win in regulation vs get 20 yards for a 50-yard field goal in OT...the first one seems a smidge easier, eh?

- - -

I'm sure TMQ made a similar point today, but I swore to never click on one of his articles after he argued that The Dark Knight is not a good movie.

So yeah, I loved it in 2005 when Vermeil went for the win instead kicking a field goal, down by 3 in a similar situation. And I think it's an easier path to victory. But I can't dump on a coach for wanting to extend the game with the momentum at home.

- - -

Epilogue

Though the point could be made that choosing to go to overtime is a call that puts the blame off the coach's shoulders. When they lost in overtime it was because we have a crappy defense that lets America's #1 College Town get 250 receiving yards. If we would have lost in regulation it would have been because our coach make a blunder.

on heaven

When I was about 7 or so years old, I was trying to understand the concept of heaven. My mom described it as a perfect place where you have whatever you want.

So the 7-year-old me asked her, "So in heaven could you have a chocolate shake whenever you wanted it?"
She said yes.

That conversation pops into my head occasionally, and I laugh at my naive understanding. Well, as it turns out, if you believe my wife, I wasn't that far off.

playoff picks: week 5

AFC

Clearly In
Colts

Likely In
Broncos
Ravens
Steelers
Pats
Jets

Likely Out
Chargers
Bengals
Jaguars
Texans

Clearly Out
Dolphins
Bills
Browns
Raiders
Chiefs
Titans

NFC

Clearly In
Giants
Saints
Vikings

Likely In
Falcons
49ers
Eagles

Likely Out
Bears
Cowboys
Packers
Seahawks
Cardinals

Clearly Out
Bucs
Panthers
Rams
Lions
Redskins

- - -

Took a week off. This probably works just as well as an every other week feature. Looks like not even a third of the way through, and there are 11 teams with no playoff hopes. Sad cities. Don't trust the Bengals yet, and based on numbers I had to slot the Broncos ahead of the Chargers.

In the NFC, I like the Bears but couldn't place them above the Eagles or Falcons. Would have them above the 49ers, but someone from the West has to make it.

week 5 roundup

Burnsy and I are still alive in eliminator.


And Pigskin Pick'em against the spread, is anybody's game, though we're all a bit behind Simmons.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

fantasy confessions

Chocolate tastes sweeter. The air feels fresher. Water is more wet.

The world is a better place tonight. Sweaty Bratwursts are 1-4.

- - -

Illinois is 0-4 against 1-A teams.
Kansas City is 0-5 and broke my fucking heart after an incredible drive that ended with a 4th and 7 TD catch by D-Bowe in traffic with 20 seconds left, only to lose in overtime (after starting a posesssion at the 50 in OT). And yet they're still only 1 game back in the Burger Standings.

But yeah, my 2 football teams are 0-9. And my fantasy team sucks too. But not tonight.

- - -

I love Andre Johnson. Watch these clips and see what he did for me. That last play put him over 100 yards.

2 for yardage, 2 for milestone, 6 for TD and .5 for the catch. 10.5 on that play and I win by 6. He is the #1 draft pick in my heart. I would totally go gay for him.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

put it on the board?

Update: 2 New Bets!

From weeks 5-17, (subtracting Westbrook's lowest week to account for Smith's bye)...
I'll take Westbrook, Mark takes Kevin Smith...
PUT IT ON THE BOARD!

(Smith has 58 points through week 4, Westbrook 21, to be subtracted from their 2009 totals.)

And for Week 5 only, I'm taking Sweaty Brats -20, Mark's taking Bloopy +20...
PUT IT ON THE BOARD!

- - -

here's where we stand right now...

Dave: Tom Brady 71 vs Mark: Drew Brees 91
Dave: Pierre Thomas 46.5 vs Mark: Kevin Smith 58
Dave: Steve Slaton 40.5 vs Mark: Steven Jackson 47
Dave: Flacco 89 vs Mark: Delhomme 19

hmm...we should add at least 3 more to spice up this board.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

good news for detroit

The Tigers magic number is 1!

heartbreak in tel aviv

Mark went into Monday needing AD to outscore Donald Driver by 4.5 points. And he would have tied, if Peterson hadn't been stripped and awarded -2 points.

Still there might be more to this story...I remember logging in to Fantasy during the 2nd half, and I thought I saw that Mark's team was ahead. And Kirat posted at 11:51 ET, probably right as the game was ending, then he saw a fantasy tie.

I'm not sure what happened, perhaps ESPN was late in adding AD's fumble? But it sure looks like AD scored 9.5 and Driver got 7, and I don't know where the discrepancy is.

- - -

For the second week in a row, I was matched up against the highest score of the week. Last week I was 2nd in weekly scoring, this week 6th. So I didn't really deserve a win, but I would have gotten one if I had been paired with 4 out of 5 of the Naperville teams.

Through 4 weeks, here's a list of ranking by points scored and records:

1st: Niraj 3-1
2nd: Mark 2-2
3rd: Kirat 3-1
4th: Swag 1-3
5th: Savan 1-3
6th: Harlan 2-2
7th: Matt 3-1
8th: Dave 0-4
9th: Stevo 2-2
10th: Mac 2-2

Through 4 weeks, it's a bit wacky. Partly because of the division scheduling and the fact that the Illini division is averaging 11 more points a game. Still, you would hope that the guy who's only 7 points off the lead for more points scored, would have a better record than the two lowest-scoring teams.

Illini: 2245.5 (avg per game: 112)
Naperville: 2027.5 (avg per game: 101)

Maybe next year I should put Mark and Burnsy in the same division and put myself in a different one.

- - -

Also, Swag is ridiculous. For the 2nd time, he's got the Red Banner of Shame. He also owns the Golden Helmet for highest score. I am sure when I play him he will put up 227 points.

Friday, October 02, 2009

nfl sked trivia

In 2002, the NFL got a lot of structural things right. They added the Texans creating a 32-team league. More importantly, this makes it an even number of teams. Why is that so important? Because prior to 2002, there was at least one team on a bye every week, including obviously week 1 and week 17. That blows.

Also, this is the 8th year of the 8-year scheduling rotation started in 2002. So at the conclusion of this year, every team will have played every other team at least once, both home and away. That's nice.

Here were some of the quirks from the pre-2002 sked:

# Oakland did not play in Pittsburgh from 1981 through 1999.
# Miami and Denver played once between 1983-1997 when Dan Marino and John Elway were in their primes.
# Green Bay and Washington did not play from 1989-2000 and have not played in Washington since 1979.
# Atlanta and the New York Giants did not play from 1989-1997.
# Pittsburgh and Kansas City have played five consecutive times in Kansas City.
# Green Bay played in Dallas four years in a row from 1993-96.
# Tampa Bay has never played in Buffalo.


It also means that all the interconference matchups taking place this year, haven't happenned since at least 2001, and in some cases a lot longer. For example: Cowboys at Broncos this week. The last time that happened was in 1998.

So I'd thought I'd look at the Chiefs 2009 NFL sked and see when the last time those matchups occurred.

Chiefs at Eagles, week 3 2009. Previously: 1998
Giants at Chiefs, week 4 2009. Previously: 2001
Cowboys at Chiefs, week 5 2009. Previously: 1998
Chiefs at Redskins, week 6 2009. Previously: 2001

So there you go. It's been 11 years since Kansas City hosted the Dallas Cowboys. Will it be worth the wait? No.

on the burger bet

The burger bet is on the Mt. Rushmore of greatest ideas I've ever had. It's up there with the 9-day week, starting fantasy football and there's room for one more.

Why?

Because the Chiefs are terrible. Even if they were to pull a miracle upset of the Giants this weekend, they're still not going to the playoffs. They could still go 2-14 even with a win this week.

So forget the AFC West. Right now the Chiefs are only 1 game back...in the Burger Standings! Every game counts! If they could pull a win out of their ass and the Lions lose to the Bears, then the Chiefs would be tied for 1st!

Here are the games the Chiefs could win this year: Redskins, Raiders, Broncos (at KC only), Browns, Bills and Bengals. That's 6 "coulds."

With Stafford the Lions might be good enough to beat the Bears or Packers, but if you assume the worst for Detroit, here are their easy pickings: Rams, Browns, Bengals, and possibly the Seahawks, Cardinals and 49ers. Hard to say depending on injuries, how good those teams are yet.

It looks like it will be a tight race until the end. God bless the burger bet.

playoff predictions: week 3

AFC

Clearly In
Colts
Ravens

Likely In
Jets
Pats
Steelers
Chargers

Likely Out
Broncos
Bengals
Titans
Bills
Jaguars
Texans

Clearly Out
Raiders
Dolphins
Chiefs
Browns

NFC

Clearly In
Giants
Saints

Likely In
Falcons
49ers
Vikings
Eagles

Likely Out
Cowboys
Packers
Seahawks
Bears
Cardinals

Clearly Out
Bucs
Panthers
Rams
Lions
Redskins

- - -

Not much changing, just wanted to keep this going, so we can look back at the end of the year and analyze it then.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

sportsbook 3: revenge of the ooze

Recap:

2-TEAM TEASER (lines teased by 6) $60
Packers -.5 AND Falcons +10.5

3-TEAM PARLAY (actual lines at 6-to-1 odds) $20
Lions +6.5 AND 49ers +7.5 AND Seahawks +2.5

3-TEAM PARLAY (actual lines at 6-to-1 odds) $20 = $120
Chargers -5.5 AND Broncos +1.5 AND Colts -1.5

Invested: $200
Currently: $200

Stupid Bears beating the stupid Seahawks. I could have won more fake money! And after how good the Falcons looked the first two weeks, and how bad the Pats looked, I would take the Falcons +10.5 again and again in that situation.

- - -

Well, I'm back to even money. Let's make some profit.

LOCK: Giants -9.5 $50

LOCK #2: Colts -8.5 $30

PARLAY: Lions +10.5 AND Bengals -5.5 AND Titans -2.5 $20

I had to struggle to find games to like this week, where as last week I thought it was easy money. We'll see.