Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Top Ten of 2014

This has been the most challenging year of my life. It has been strange and overwhelming. I don't expect to look back at 2014 with fondness. So it goes. Tonight, on New Year's Eve, I looked back at my blog. There were so many things that happened. A lot of things in the sports world that I had forgotten about. The Broncos Super Bowl. The Avs playoff run. The World Cup. The Royals run. Even when Illini basketball was #1 in the country in scoring seems so long ago. Aside from sports, there were a lot of things that I did for the first time. I started and completed a cookbook. I did a burrito search. I built something. I played a game of soccer. I went to Conifer and played frisbee golf in the hail with Mark. I made a five-course dinner. And then I looked through my blog and there were a lot of in-depth posts, stuff that you can't find anywhere else, but I don't know that they really warrant best of status. Things like this and this. Or this or this.

But enough of that. It's time for the good stuff.

Honorable Mentions

Nike's new Illinois uniforms
Spoilers: Zig Zag.

Tyson Chandler blocking a shoe
I seriously considered making this #1 for a while.

LV Anderson sucks
It blows my mind that she gets paid for this.

Reinventing the Video Game
Maybe in another life I'll get to this

Super Bowl Dips
At the time, Burnsy predicted this would make the top 10. So close!





10. Mates Ratings
Loyal viewers will know all about stormtroopers hitting the ground.

9. Cumulative Big Ten Standings
This should be a thing.

8. The Search for Denver's Best Burrito
This was a good series. I can't wait to see the results in the finals.

7. 24 Hours in Paradise
I get to see the Chiefs win and have the best barbecue in the world. At first the title seemed tongue-in-cheek but now I'm not so sure.

6. Avalanche Comeback on my Birthday
This was the best game I attended in 2014.

5. Blast from the Past
I'm a sucker for nostalgia. Also considered making this #1.

4. DIY Soccer/Hockey Goal
I've always wanted to build this. Now I have.

3. Playing Indoor Soccer
This was exhilarating and intimidating. And I scored our team's only goal.

2. Game of the Year
I got to see one of my teams actually win a playoff game. What a way to do it.


...and what was the best thing that happened in 2014?
Number One

Nostalgia / The Mole

This clip first aired on TV in February 2003.

In a rage of nostalgia, Niraj and I found captured it off a DVD in June 2007 and uploaded it to YouTube.

It is now 2015.

This is nuttier than "Cleopatra living closer to the building of Pizza Hut than the pyramids."
After completing our divorce mediation, Brittany and I went to dinner at Crave. We got two burgers, one beef, one black bean. But we both ordered the Love Stinks burger.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Nostradamus 2?


The funny thing is that even though Mark was being pessimistic in his approach, he actually oversold his team's future. The Lions secured the 6 seed, not the 5 seed, so instead of a road game against the Panthers they face a road game against the Cowboys.

- - -

I complain all the time about the Chiefs playoff history (last win 1993, 0-7 since) but the Lions know that pain (last win 1991, 0-6 since).

If it's any comfort, the Lions last playoff win was a 38-6 blowout over...the Cowboys.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Last Words on 2014 Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs beat the Chargers today, knocking San Diego out of the playoffs. The Chiefs finished with a winning record. Justin Houston broke Derrick Thomas's franchise sack record and finished with 22 on the year. (The NFL record is 22.5, set by Strahan via Favre.) After playing Manning twice, Rivers twice, Roethlisberger, Brady, and Wilson, the Chiefs did not give up 300 passing yards all year. They also didn't have a wide receiver score a touchdown.

- - -

Last year the Chiefs were 10-0 against non-playoff teams and 1-6 against playoff teams.

This year the Chiefs were 7-3 against non-playoff teams and 2-4 against playoff teams.

- - -

4 of this years wins over non-playoff teams (2 vs Chargers, Bills, Dolphins) were against teams in serious contention, and losses could have made them playoff teams.

Their biggest wins by margin were...

beating the Dolphins by 19. Beating the Rams by 27 (I was there.) And beating the team with the best record in the NFL, the Patriots, by 27.

- - -

They started 0-2, and then 2-3. No one was thinking playoffs.
I saw them beat the Rams and get to 4-3 and they were just in the hunt.

At 6-3 they were sitting at that point with a playoff game at Cleveland.
At 7-3, the #1 seed was in play. All they had to do was to beat the 0-10 Raiders. They didn't. They lost 4 of the next 5, getting to 8-7.

- - -

It's great to beat the Patriots and Seahawks. But losing to the 2-14 Titans and 3-13 Raiders erases those wins.

After the first day of the season, I saw them play super shitty against the Titans and called the season. Yes it was an overreaction. When they were 7-3, I looked foolish. But in the end, that first game of the season was the difference between going to the postseason and sitting on the couch.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Nostradamus

Before the season started, Brit predicted a shoulder injury for Peyton that he would play through but affect his performance.


Well, it's not a shoulder injury...partial credit?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Things That Sound Impossible

In our Fantasy Football Super Bowl, Kyle Orton outscored Andrew Luck by 27 points.

8-7.

(I started the day wearing a Chiefs shirt.)

Brit: Why are you shirtless?
Me: The Chiefs lost.
Brit: So?
Me: The season's over.
Brit: Did you have to take it off immediately?
Me: Yes. It is a symbolic gesture marking the end of the season.

FUCKING GARBAGE CALL

The refs just called a total bullshit call against the Steelers. Chiefs down 11, would have been punting on 4th and 17. Instead refs make up a taunting personal foul and gift the Chiefs a first down. Steelers fans should be livid. As a Chiefs fan, it feels wrong, but sure, I'm happy it was called the way it was.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

I've never really felt this way before, but I'm not sure that I want to watch the Chiefs tomorrow. I mean, after watching them lose to the Raiders, Broncos and Cardinals, I don't have a good feeling about this. And even if they do win, they still have to win again in week 17 against a good Chargers team.

It feels like watching offers a lot to lose and not a lot to gain.
If you trust Vegas favorites, the Chiefs hopes for the playoffs end tomorrow. But right now I can still dream. This is my ideal scenario:


It's going to be a road game no matter what. I don't want the Colts. Ravens or Steelers would be tough. Bengals are beatable. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Fantasy Breakthrough

It's going to be Fat Dave vs Fat Mac in Burnsy Sucks Super Bowl VI.

Really glad that I secured the #1 seed as I would have lost to either of the other teams in the playoffs, not to mention 5 other teams that didn't make the playoffs.

I've never made the Burnsy Sucks playoffs, so it's a nice thing to make the Super Bowl.

- - -

In my work league, I came up a bit short. I lost 208-216.

Had I rested some starters in week 12, I would have advanced to the Super Bowl to play the guy that I just lost to. (If I had lost in week, he would have been the #1 seed, not the #3 seed. I was locked into #2 no matter what.) Or if I had won one more game, I would have gotten the #1 seed and also advanced by beating the #4 seed. Regardless, it was a good season, and I still have a chance to get my money back for 3rd place.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

This is Stephen Curry attempting to pass a shoe to a teammate, and Tyson Chandler rejecting it.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Fantasy Update: Work League Playoffs


This is week 1 of a 2 week matchup, semifinals. I'm the #2 seed for winning my division, going up against the guy that was #1 all year. I beat him in week 12 knocking him down to the #3 seed. If I had let him win, I would be playing the current #1 seed. (She put up 111 points, while the #4 seed has 86.)

At halftime, Matt Ryan hardly had any points and Lacy already had 20. I was up about 40 points.

Other notes:
I had stashed Josh Gordon since about week 4, benched Maclin going against the Seahawks, which cost me 7 points.

Catanzaro has been my kicker for a while. This week I dropped him for Tucker on the Ravens, who was on waivers until Friday. Somehow I neglected to start Tucker for the 11am start. I noticed at about 1:20, and needed to put in somebody. Catanzaro was in a late game and seemed like the best choice.

Tucker only put up 4. But Catanzaro should have had 16. He doinked 2 field goals off the uprights for a net swing of 8 points.

Good time for Green to act like Green.

I traded Steve Smith for Ellington in week 2, which seemed like a steal, especially considering my receiving corps. And then Ellington is done for the year, without playing in any playoff games. I just went back and looked. He helped me win one week, but I still would have won with either of my other guys. So even though he has a rep as a solid RB2, he didn't matter to my team for a single week.

I've got some tasty matchups in week 15, so I think I'll be okay, but man, this could come down to a few points.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Breaking Down the Bowls

First, I think the playoff selection worked out great. Yes, TCU and Baylor are right in the ballpark of Ohio State, any of them would be a deserving #4.

It's very ironic that the one conference who bragged about having "one true champion" was the only conference that ended up presenting co-champions.

On Big 12 media day in July, Big 12 Commish Bowlsby said if there was a tie for conference champion, they would go to tiebreakers, meaning head to head. On Sunday, Bowlsby told ESPN: "I went back and looked ... and just plain misspoke."

Um...your conference put up the website onetruechampion.org. That's not misspeaking. That's going back on your word because your one true champion is Baylor but the committee kept ranking TCU over Baylor and you didn't want to hurt the chances of having any Big 12 representation in the playoff.

What I like about the match ups:
SEC vs Big Ten. SEC is always thought of as the best conference so I think it worked out nicely that Bama has the #1 seed. The Big Ten has a chance to either confirm or change conference perceptions.

Oregon vs Florida State. Florida State has the better record but no one thinks they're a better team. Settle it on the field.

And then assuming Bama wins, you've either got a matchup versus the high-flying Ducks, or a Florida State vs SEC rematch.

- - -

Anyways, I wanted to look at the bowls in descending order and see who get what. All numbers are final CFP Committee Rankings.

Sugar Bowl: 1 Alabama vs 4 Ohio State
Rose Bowl: 2 Oregon vs 3 Florida State
Cotton Bowl: 5 Baylor vs 8 Michigan State
Peach Bowl: 6 TCU vs 9 Ole Miss
Orange Bowl: 7 Miss State vs 12 Georgia Tech
Fiesta Bowl: 10 Arizona vs 20 Boise State

Those are the "New Year's Six." There are 2 other games on New Year's Day not a part of that distinction.

Kansas State was ranked 11th but did not get selected for the NY6.
- - -

Alamo Bowl: 11 K State vs 14 UCLA
Belk Bowl: 13 Georgia vs 21 Louisville
Sun Bowl: 15 Arizona State vs (nr) Duke
Citrus Bowl: 16 Missouri vs 25 Minnesota
Russell Athletic Bowl: 17 Clemson vs (nr) Oklahoma
Outback Bowl: 18 Wisconsin vs 19 Auburn
Las Vegas Bowl: 22 Utah vs (nr) Colorado State
Music City Bowl: 23 LSU vs (nr) Notre Dame
Holiday Bowl: 24 USC vs (nr) Nebraska

So that's all the bowls with the top 25.

To my ears, Outback and Citrus have more cachet than Belk or Sun which had teams ranked higher. But I guess there's not really a huge distinction between any of these.

- - -

Lastly, I thought I would go through the Big Ten Standings and explore our possible future destinations.

Ohio State 12-1: Sugar Bowl, New Orleans (#4 seed in the playoffs)
Wisconsin 10-3: Outback Bowl, Tampa
Michigan State 10-2: Cotton Bowl, Arlington
Nebraska 9-3: Holiday Bowl, San Diego
Minnesota 8-4: Citrus Bowl, Orlando
Iowa 7-5: TaxSlayer Bowl, Jacksonville
Maryland 7-5: Foster Farms Bowl, Santa Clara
Rutgers 7-5: Quick Lane Bowl, Detroit
Penn State 6-6: Pinstripe Bowl, Bronx
Illinois 6-6: Heart of Dallas Bowl, Dallas

If you think about it, Illinois got the same destination as Michigan State. And in December, I'd rather go to Dallas than New York. And I'd rather go to Dallas than Detroit any day of the year.
WHAT A FUCKING GARBAGE CALL.

The Chiefs had the ball on the Arizona 22, down 3, with 4:52.
Arizona challenges and in video review, the refs make one of the worst calls I've ever seen, giving the ball to Arizona.

Complete College Football Bowl Schedule

I thought I'd make my own personal Bowl Schedule of the games that sound interesting to me. All times Mountain.

Heart of Dallas Bowl: Illinois vs Louisana Tech, Friday, Dec 26, 11am, ESPN

Saturday, December 06, 2014

A look back

Back in May, ESPN made predictions about how the college football playoffs would play out.

I'll summarize.

They started by listing 16 contenders in alphabetical order.

Alabama
Auburn
Baylor
Clemson
FSU
Georgia
LSU
Michigan State
Ohio State
Oklahoma
Oregon
South Carolina
Stanford
Texas A&M
UCLA
Wisconsin

Then they picked their final four to make the playoffs, again in alphabetical order.

Alabama
Auburn
FSU
Oregon

Their title game pick: FSU over Alabama.

- - -

TCU was not on the radar at all. But aside from that, their picks seem pretty good. Or looking at it another way, the games have actually gone according to script.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Goal of the Year



Well, at least for the Avs.

Monday, December 01, 2014

So the Dolphins come down and get a field goal, take the lead 16-13. The Jets have a kickoff coming with 1:57 and two timeouts to at least get a field goal.

It's strangely fitting. Because when the Chiefs acquired Alex Smith, I was hoping they would draft Geno Smith. I don't wish that anymore. But for the next 1:57 it sort of feels like Geno Smith is the QB of the Chiefs' playoff hopes.
So I'm rooting for the Jets because the Chiefs are fighting the Dolphins, among others, for a wild-card spot. And miraculously the Jets are tied 13-13 in the 4th quarter. They have a 3rd and 7 from the Miami 19 and what happens? Geno Smith takes a 8-yard sack. Brings up a 45-yard field goal that Folk pushes wide. Would have made it from 37. Fucking Jets.


Rooting for the Jets, even for one night, feels hopeless.

This coming from a team that hasn't won a playoff game since Forrest Gump.