Thursday, December 29, 2011

College Bowl Picks - Part 5

Florida State vs. Notre Dame
Line: Florida State -3.5

You can't really bring motivation in to the conversation here since both teams aspired for something bigger than the Champs Sports Bowl. Before the year. Florida State was ranked in the Top 10 in the preseason and Notre Dame in the Top 20 in both polls. This game boils down to two things for me, better QB and better defense and in both cases Florida State has both. Couple that with the game being played in Florida and it's kind of a no-brainer for me.

The Pick: Florida State -3.5

Washington vs. Baylor
Line: Baylor -9.5

When all else fails I am a fan of taking the team that has the best player on the field which in this case is obviously Robert Griffin III. You couple that with the game being played in Texas and I shouldn't have to look much further than that. But why do I find myself leaning towards Washington? Both defenses are awful but Baylor's more awful, Washington was only 7-5 and their bad loss was a late hiccup at Oregon State. Other than that their losses were at Nebraska, at Stanford, at USC and at home against Oregon. Those are excusable to me. There is something in my gut that tells me it's going to be a one score shootout and 9.5 is a lot.

The Pick: Washington +9.5

BYU vs. Tulsa
Line: Pick Em

I can't take anything BYU has done this year seriously. The beginning of the year looked promising. Beating a lousy SEC team on the road and then lost by 1 at Texas back when we thought Texas was good. Since then they have only been tested once in a "neutral" site game against TCU (in Arlington, TX). On the year BYU has beaten one team that is participating in a Bowl game and that is (after their loss in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl) 7-6 Utah State at home and that was on a fluky tipped TD pass at the end of the game). If you take TCU away, the combined record of their opponents is 50-84. As for Tulsa, they don't have any remarkable wins either but at least they beat two teams going to bowls and their 4 losses were at Oklahoma and Boise and home to Oklahoma St and Houston. That's the top of college football right there. Don't get me wrong, I think it's going to be a close game but I like Tulsa's running game and senior QB to pull it out.

The Pick: Tulsa


Rutgers vs. Iowa State
Line: Rutgers -1.5

Big East football is dreadful. On the last week of the year Rutgers had a shot at a share of the Big East title and a place in the Orange Bowl. They laid an egg, turned the ball over 6 times and lost to a (at the time) 4-6 UConn team. If I'm Rutgers than I'm thinking one of two things: 1) how close we were to a BCS Bowl and this doesn't compare or 2) we are better than we really are. I'm not a big Iowa State fan but at least they are the reason we are seeing a rematch of LSU/Alabama in the BCS Championship instead of LSU/Oklahoma State.

The Pick: Iowa State +1.5

Mississippi State vs. Wake Forest
Line: Mississippi State -6.5

There are few Bowl games I care less about than this one. Wake Forest doesn't do any thing particularly well. Mississippi State held opponents to less than 20 points a game. They did only go 2-6 in the SEC West. But it's the SEC West. Alabama, LSU, Arkansas and on top of that, the top 2 teams in the SEC East in Georgia and South Carolina. Going from playing teams like that to Wake Forest should seem like slow motion. Wake Forest also lost 4 out of 5 coming in to the Bowl. I can't think of a reason to take them

The Pick: Mississippi State -6.5

Iowa vs. Oklahoma
Line: Oklahoma -14

Like I mentioned before with Texas. Guys don't come to Oklahoma to play in the Insight Bowl. 14 points is a lot in a Bowl game. Landry Jones has hit a funk and hasn't thrown a TD pass since November 5th. Oklahoma is going to win but Iowa is going to want it more enough to keep it within 14 points.

The Pick: Iowa +14


Texas A&M vs. Northwestern
Line: Texas A&M -10

With the exception of the Boise State/Arizona State game, I don't like big spreads in these smaller bowl games. Wacky things happen in these things. Texas A&M come in losing 4 of 5 while Northwestern comes in winning 4 of 5 (including a win at Nebraska last month). Like the Insight Bowl above, I think Texas A&M will end up ultimately winning the game but not by more than a score.
My two concerns are that A&M have the geographical advantage and Northwestern is turnover prone. It's a concern but not enough to overcome getting double digits.

The Pick: Northwestern +10


Georgia Tech vs. Utah
Line: Georgia Tech -2.5

These are the type of games that get me in trouble. Utah is behind the 8-Ball with me from the get go. They finished under .500 in the Pac12 without having to play Stanford or Oregon. What team worth their while loses home games to Washington, Arizona State and Colorado. I'm tempted to take Utah here because Georgia Tech just doesn't win Bowl games lately. Four weeks to prepare for the option attack nullifies it a bit. The problem I have with betting on an option team is that if they fall behind and have to play catch up they are done. Utah is offensively challenged enough that I don't think they have the firepower to jump out to a big enough lead. I think Georgia Tech is due to break their 6 bowl losing streak.

The Pick: Georgia Tech

Cincinnati vs. Vanderbilt
Line: Vanderbilt -1.5

I know I'm giving another Big East team the short straw but this is pretty much a home game for Vandy. Vandy played a lot better defense that Cincy in the best conference in college football. Zach Collaros is coming back from an injury so you don't know what you're going to get. I would have taken Vandy up to 3.5 to 4 points.

The Pick: Vanderbilt -1.5

Illinois vs. UCLA
Line: Illinois -2.5

This line doesn't make much sense to me. I know the game is in California but I'm high on Illinois in this one. When in a rush I'll just go with the simplistic train of thought and say "they shouldn't even be in a bowl, they aren't going to win." But that gets me in trouble during the NCAA Basketball tournament so I didn't just discard UCLA without looking at the match up. My absolute favorite stat when picking football games is how a team can run and stop the run. Illinois doesn't run it at an elite level (171 yards/game which is 42nd overall out of 120 teams) but UCLA is towards the bottom of the FBS is run defense. On the flip side, UCLA can run the ball (better than Illinois actually. 190.7 yds/game) but Illinois is around the top 3rd in run defense and 7th overall in total yards allowed per game. With all the off the field stuff at UCLA, I don't see how Illinois doesn't win this by at least a touchdown.

The Pick: Illinois -2.5

Chick-fil-A BOWL
Virginia vs. Auburn
Line: Auburn -3

All things being equal I would like Auburn a lot in this game. But all things are not equal. Auburn's coaching staff is in disarray with both offensive and defensive coordinators getting hired elsewhere. Also Auburn's best player Michael Dyer is suspended. They are towards the bottom of the FBS in passing and without Dyer you can't say they are going to justify their 39th over ranking in rushing in this game. Virginia has a pretty good defense. Good enough to stop Auburn. I like Virginia to win outright in a low scoring game.

The Pick: Virginia +3

A couple of late additions. Busy weekend so I didn't have time for the full write ups.

Houston (-6.5) over Penn State
Michigan State (+2.5) over Georgia
Nebraska (+3) over South Carolina
Florida (-3) over Ohio State
Oregon (-4.5) over Wisconsin
Oklahoma State (-4.5) over Stanford

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bowl Pick Em - Part 4

Western Michigan vs. Purdue
Line: Purdue -3

This is one of games you take a look at and think "there are too many bowls." If I was actually going to bet this game (which I probably won't) I'd probably just lean towards the conference strength and go Purdue. In the interest of "breaking it down" though, the one thing Western Michigan does well is throw the ball (close to 329 yards a game). Purdue is in the Top 3rd in NCAA in Pass Defense though. Both teams are pretty even in turnover ratio. Western is Even and Purdue is -2 for the season. But ultimately it is going to come back to conference strength. Western was 100th out of 121 in Total Yards allowed in the FBS and that was primarily against a MAC schedule. Purdue was around the middle of the pack defensively overall but at least it was against the Big Ten.

The Pick: Purdue -3

Louisville vs. NC State
Line: NC State -1.5

This is a very simplistic way of looking at this game but can I really bet on a team that lost to both participants in the Beef O' Brady's Bowl at home this year? The game is in North Carolina so NC State has the big geographical edge here. Both defenses are in the upper half of the FBS in yards allowed but NC State led all college football in INTs. I can't justify taking Louisville here.

I didn't know Belk was a department store.

The Pick: NC State -1.5

Toledo vs. Air Force
Line: Toledo -3

Can I really pick against Air Force in the Military Bowl? Toledo has trouble stopping the pass (113th out of 120) but Air Force doesn't pass (113th in total pass yards). Toledo is 28th in the country against the run and Air Force is a rushing attack. Home field advantage does go to Air Force with it being the Miliary Bowl and everything but I don't think they'll be able keep up offensively with Toledo.

The Pick: Toledo -3

California vs. Texas
Line: +4

I think this is a pretty even matchup on paper. Texas is coming in to the Bowl game losing 3 out of 4. Granted it was against pretty good competition but nevertheless. Since there isn't a lot to go on statistically in this game, I'm turning to geography and motivation. Geography favors Cal since the game is being playing in the state of California. This current group of Texas players either played in or were recruited during the back-to-back BCS Bowls in 2008 and 2009 with the latter year being for a National Title. I doubt these guys came to Texas to play in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl. I'm going to happily take the points.

The Pick: California +4

Overall: 5-3

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bowl Pick Em - Part 3

I'm doing these two together

Nevada vs. Southern Miss
Line: Southern Miss -8.5

Missouri vs. North Carolina
Line: Missouri -5.5

If I was doing a confidence pool I would definately have these two bowl games (Independence Bowl as well) at the bottom of my list. I don't know how to read either game. Southern Miss got snubbed for the Liberty Bowl, Southern Miss's Larry Fedora is on his way to UNC after the game, UNC's Interim Coach is on his way to coach under Urban Meyer at Ohio State, Missouri didn't get selected for one of the Big 12 affiliated bowls....I don't know what any one's motivation is.

In the Hawaii Bowl, Nevada was 7-5 but their worst loss was at Texas Tech by 1 point. This is the 3rd time in 7 years Nevada is playing in this bowl. They play that weird offense. Southern Miss was impressive against Houston and I'm an Austin Davis fan but I like teams that can run and 8.5 is a big line for a Bowl like this.

In the Independence Bowl, North Carolina did backslide towards the end of the season finishing 2-4. Missouri lost Henry Josey for the year but Kendial Lawrence did fill in well enough so I don't know if Missouri will lose much there.

So gun to my head....

The Pick: Nevada +8.5

The Pick: Missouri -5.5

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

College Bowl Picks - 2nd Batch

Here is the next batch of games to be played during this week:

Florida International vs. Marshall
Line: Florida International -4

Florida International clearly has the geographical edge here by being in Florida and a trip that is roughly 10 hours closer than the Thundering Herd fans will have to travel.

The game looks pretty even. They actually both won at Louisville earlier in the year but looking at some stats that I deem important, FIU takes care of the ball a little better, runs it a little better and D's up a little better.

When I was in college, if Buffalo made it's first bowl game ever and they won on a last second field goal I'd kick myself for not going. The following year if they made another bowl I'd want to recreate what I missed and more. That's the situation FIU fans are in this year. So based on my reasons above plus the easy trip for FIU fans. I'm liking them in this game.

X Factor - I'm not going to pretend I've ever seen him kick but FIU's kicker is 21-25 on the year including 5-7 over 40. For a college kicker that's pretty solid.

The pick: FIU -4

TCU vs. Louisiana Tech
Line: TCU -10

It's so easy to want to just take TCU. They are clearly the more superior team. But how does a team with BCS Bowl aspirations gear up for the Poinsettia Bowl against a WAC school?

I'm not going to lie and say I'm very familiar with Louisiana Tech but looking in to them and trying to find some real reasons to pick them, I was able to find a few. Louisiana Tech can pick balls off. They were their in the FBs with 20 INTs with 5 of them going for TDs. Two of the picks were against Case Keenum who only had 5 all year. So Casey Pachall only having thrown 6 picks on the year doesn't worry me. Chances are La Tech will get their hands on one.

Looking at La Tech from a betting aspect they are 7-0 ATS as an underdog this year (4-0 as an underdog of 3.5 to 10 points). They are 4-1 ATS in non-conference games (10-2 for the season). TCU on the other hand is only 4-6 ATS as a favorite.

I've done it. I've convinced myself. I'm banking on TCU overlooking this game and just anxious to get into the Big 12. It's not as if any of TCUs best players are seniors. QB, top 2 RBs, team leading WR and pass rusher are all back for the next year or two.

The pick: Louisiana Tech +10

Arizona State vs. Boise State
Line: Boise State -14

Like the game above I question Boise State's motivation for this game after being snubbed by the BCS again. But unlike TCU I believe Boise will be sending Kellen Moore out on a high note. Chris Petersen has been one of, if not the most vocal coach about the BCS mess. I believe he'll get Boise up to show the college football world that they got screwed with a monster blowout of Arizona State.

Arizona State is a mess. They fired their coach and arguably their best defensive player might not play. Their lone bright spot in the QB but Boise defends the pass pretty well. I just can't make any arguments for them

The pick: Boise State -14

Overall Record: 1-2

Monday, December 19, 2011

Couldn't "Help" But Be Surprised

Since my son was born, the amount of movies I watch has gone from roughly five a week to roughly five a year. This weekend I asked my wife if she wanted to watch a movie. She said yes but followed it with "Is The Help on demand yet?" Being the movie lover in the family I generally get to pick the movie so my excitement level went from "Sweet I'm watching a movie tonight!" to "At least I'm watching a movie tonight." I justified it to myself because I generally like to see the movies that are up during awards season and The Help is just the type of movie that I'd prioritize last when trying to watch them all by The Oscars.

Anyway, the whole point of this wasn't to review the movie or anything. I just wanted to give a heads up that I found it to be a surprisingly pretty entertaining two hours and 24 minutes. And besides, I rarely find Emma Stone to be anything short of delightful in whatever movie she's in.

Couldn't "Help" But Be Surprised....get it?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Let's Bowl, Let's Bowl, Let's Rock-'n-Roll - Part 1

If you are going to use a lyric from Grease 2 this has to be the time, right?

It's the start of Bowl Season. I'm going to do my picks in bunches so I can pick against the most accurate line. So here is my first set picks for the first day of bowls on 12/17.

Temple vs. Wyoming
Line: Temple -7

Temple is 7th in the nation in rushing yards per game. Wyoming is 6th WORST in the nation in rushing yards allowed. Temple is also 3rd in the nation in points allowed per game (13.8). Both teams finished the seaosn well. Temple with 5 straight wins and Wyoming winning 5 of their last 7 but losing to Boise and TCU.

Statistical analysis aside, it should be a pro Wyoming crowd. It's easier to bus fans 600 miles to a game than it is to get fans from 1900 miles away. Plus Wyoming played in this bowl two years ago. They are playing a freshman QB but there is probably some familiarity with this situation for a bunch of players on Wyoming. I'm sure Temple wants to make a good showing here after being the only bowl eligible team to not be invited to a bowl last year (despite having the same 8 win record).

FYI - As per Wikipedia, Gildan is a clothing company which produces basic apparel and hosiery.

Earlier in the week I was leaning heavily towards Wyoming. While it doesn't look like I made much of a case for Wyoming, it really wouldn't surprise me to see them win this game. My ultimate deciding factor was that while Wyoming is a good football team, they don't excel at any one part of the game. Temple on the other hand, can run the ball and play D at higher level than Wyoming can.

The Pick: Temple -7

Ohio vs. Utah State
Line: Utah State -1.5

Ohio was so close to playing in the prestigious Bowl but they blew a 20 point half time lead to lose the MAC Championship. I don't play MAC football so I don't pretend to know if every player in the MAC has a " Bowl or Bust" mentality? Did Ohio punter Paul Hershey just say what the whole Ohio team was thinking?

I'm going to go ahead and say yes. Forget about what bowl Ohio and Northern Illinois ended up going to. Winning a MAC Championship is the thing that means something to the players. And having to play on the first day of bowl season means that Ohio is only playing these games 15 days apart. I'm banking on Ohio still having a hangover from that game. Utah State on the other hand was sitting at 2-5 heading in to November before rattling off 5 in a row. I'm guessing Utah State is happier to be there than Ohio. Couple that with Boise being only 4 hours from Logan, Utah and I know who I'm going with.

The Pick: Utah State -1.5

San Diego State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Line: San Diego State -4.5

I'm having a tough time with this one because geograpically and motivationally Louisiana-Layayette should be my pick. They are playing in their home state and this is the first bowl in 41 years. They should be fired up.

But I'm actually leaning towards Sand Diego State. They won 4 of 5 heading in to their bowl (with their loss being to Boise State) and they will have the best player in the game in Ronnie Hillman. Louisiana-Lafayette on the other hand is going in to the bowl on a two game skid. These teams are trending in opposite directions.

FYI - R+L Carriers are a Global Transportation Solution. They ship anything, anywhere, anytime.

The Pick: San Diego State -4.5

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Its That Time of Year

Its the most wonderful time of year. Why? Not because Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are fast approaching. Not because of the beautiful lights and decorations that make us all feel so warm inside. And no, not because of the excitement in my sons eyes when we talk about Santa Clause coming to visit. Its because its time to start making lists. And lists are mint.

My first list of the season is the essential 12 (one for each day of Christmas?) holiday songs for any great holiday party mix. Enjoy.

1. Mele Kalikimaka - Bing Crosby
Not only does this song conjure up images of Chevy Chase imagining a swimming pool in Christmas Vacation, but it transports you to a relaxed tropical paradise for 2:54.
2. Christmastime is Here (Vocal)- Vince Guaraldi
This is probably my favorite of all time. Beautiful, serene, and hopeful.
3. Last Christmas - Wham!
What can I say? Its a classic.
4. Christmas All Over Again - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Probably the best blend of holiday and rock you can find anywhere.
5. Little Saint Nick - Beach Boys
Everyone loves it. And best of all people know the words and its an original.
6. Merry Christmas Baby - Bruce Springsteen
I wasn't sure about this song. I like it, but not sure if its top 12 material. Ultimately I decided that much like Petty, this song rocks and helps a mix.
7. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town - Jackson 5
Great song, and even greater lyrics. "Curly haired dolls that tootle and coo?" Really?
8. What Christmas Means to Me - Stevie Wonder
I have had to listen to the Jessica Simpson version of this song so much that I almost forget how awesome the original is.
9. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Mariah Carey
Don't mock me. Its fun.
10. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Jimmy Sommers featuring Chris Botti
I'm a sucker for Jazz renditions of Christmas songs. This one is perfect.
11. Auld Lang Syne - James Taylor
My wife thought this song was called Old Man Time. And even if it was, it would still be awesome.
12. Christmas Must be Tonight - Hall & Oates
"Son of a carpenter. Mary carried the light." Nuff said.

*The She & Him and My Morning Jacket Holiday CD's are too new to consider for this list.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Coming To Grips With Losing Jose Reyes

If there is one thing the Mets executed perfectly since the end of the season was to condition the Mets fans to expect to lose Jose Reyes. While I'm very disappointed Jose Reyes is gone, it took me zero time to get over it. If I went in to this off season thinking there was chance the Mets could seriously re-signed Jose Reyes back and I got blindsided by the ESPN scroll that he signed with the Marlins, I would have been devastated.

Jose Reyes has faults. He hasn't played over 133 games since 2008. He has what could be described as "chronic" hamstring problems which is a problem for a guy whose #1 attribute is speed. But I'm a traditionalist. If I have a good home grown player, I want him to start and end his career in a Mets jersey. It's not just with the Mets, I like to see that everywhere in every sport. I don't want to see Pujols leave St. Louis and LeBron shouldn't have left Cleveland. I just like when a star stays with one franchise like Tony Gwynn or Cal Ripken. We're coming to a point where when everyone comes back for an Old Timers day, Gaylord Perry's jersey won't look so unique.
I was recently thinking though, while Jose Reyes said all the right things about loving New York and wanting to come back, could you really blame him for really wanting to leave? In 2004 they signed Kaz Matsui and moved him over to 2nd base, somehow the Mets got him to sign a 4 year 23.25 million dollar contract that was way under market value (when David Wright got 6 years/55 million the same month) and he's the only major league player that I've seen have to be re-taught how to run. Was he really treated that great by the organization?

It's crazy but one of the things that annoy me the most about it is from a statistical and historical standpoint. He's the Mets all time leader in Triples and Stolen Bases. Reyes is no longer a Met but he took those records from a beloved, all-time Met in Mookie Wilson which is what I really hoped he would be. Now those records just belong to some former Met that never really lived up to the promise of what we wanted his career to look like.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One Of My Comedy Pet Peeves

I throughly enjoy the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World commercials. I couldn't be more jealous that it is people's job to come up with those quotes. But on the latest one, they do something that bothers me to no end because it sucks the "funny" out of the joke. And they do it twice. Check it out below:

If you didn't pick up on it the narrator adds his commentary on two of the statements which, to me, completely deflates the humor of the line.

-"His New Year's resolutions would blow your mind. That's why he doesn't tell anyone."
-"One should never shake his gifts. Trust me on this one."

Personally I just let those first sentences hang there for a second before moving on to the next one.

I know this is very nit-picky but isn't this what blogs are for?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Where are my Happy Endings people at?

Generally when I like a comedy on television, it's critically acclaimed but ratings challenged (i.e., Arrested Development and Community). And usually my friends are watching the same shows which is why, I assume, we're friends to begin with. But I happened to stumble across Happy Endings (I'll admit, I'm a huge Elisha Cuthbert fan...and not for her acting talent.) and initially found it just "watchable." It seemed like the type of show that I wouldn't get attached to because there wasn't a lot that differentiates it from dozens of shows I've seen get a quick hook from a network before.

Most of the first season focused on Cuthbert and the nurse dude from FlashForward's character which was tough since they aren't comedy leads but in the second half of the season they made it more of an ensemble and I'll say that it became one of the funnier shows on television. I'm pretty sure that at this point, Damon Waynes Jr has already elicited more laughs out of me than his dad has.

Now I'm looking at magazines and stuff and they're saying that over 8 million people a week are watching it and it's great partner for Modern Family but I have not found a single person besides myself who watches this show. I have seen every episode yet have not been able to discuss it with anyone or reference a quote to anyone. So where is everyone who's watching this?

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Take on American Horror Story

Please stop reading if you have not watched through the 11/9/11 episode

If I could sit Ryan Murphy down and ask him one question about American Horror Story it would be "Is this a joke?" Now that may initially sound like I'm bashing the show which I am not. I have tuned it to the first six episodes and only hated two of them. The other four I enjoyed. The problem is that I enjoyed them in the same way I used like to sometimes go to the horror section of a video store and pick out a movie like 3 On A Meat Hook. It's not like it's a "good" movie but it's a campy and fun way to spend some time. The only problem for me and AHS is that I didn't go rent those type of movies every week. I guess my opinion of what makes a good horror is a mixture of drama, tension and shock. American Horror Story seems to only be aiming for shock. In this latest episode (11/9/11 - Piggy Piggy) I challenge anyone to watch that episode and tell me anything that happened that had to do with a plot. The whole episode seemed to just lead up to Connie Britton eating some raw brains. It's a shame too because I thought the first scene of the episode with Tate's school shooting was awesome. Even though we were pretty much told what happens in this scene last episode, it was edge of your seat stuff. But then it went down hill from there (can you tell this is one of the two episodes I hated?).

I think my biggest worry going in to the series was that I don't trust Ryan Murphy. I'm not ashamed to admit I gave Glee a shot. While they are two wildly different shows the both seem to have the same issue. In Glee, they'll fore go any semblance of a plot just to get the characters to a point where they can sing a specific song they have the rights to. I watched probably 8 episodes and there were only slight traces of any arcs. They seemed to interested in doing tribute episodes or having guest stars that the show catered to them more than the characters they "developed." In American Horror Story I feel something similar is happening. I feel the writers just have the actors moving around to screen not to further their own development or story, but to get some sort of shocking visual. And he also wrote the screenplay to the 2nd worst Book to Movie adaptation I've ever seen in Running With Scissors (The Firm is #1). So he has strikes against him

Connie Britton is way too good for this show. Taissa Farmiga (Vera's sister...just kidding. I don't think there was a single thing I read leading up to the show that didn't say that. It's not like Vera Farmiga is A list or anything.) is a good find too. I find her to be very good and probably the most interesting living character on the show.

Maybe it's just my own limitation. Maybe I have to try to look at this show a different way. During the course of typing this I think I figured out what my issue is so far. It's that there aren't any rules established yet with maybe the exception of if you die on the property you are bound to the house or something. If I'm watching something with vampires I like to know what kills them. In Buffy, vampires couldn't go out during the day. In Twilight, Edward can go out during the day but he sparkles like a beautiful diamond. In some zombie movies they can track by sight, sound or scent in others it could be only one or two senses. I have a feeling the AHS writing team is never going establish many concrete rules so they can do what ever they want with out the internet continuity police coming after them and so they have no limitation on who or what they can pair up for a gruesome scene and I guess I find that lazy.

All that being said, it is hitting .667 for me. I do like it, but my fear is that they've thrown so much stuff at us early that I don't have faith in the writers to keep it up. And most of the stuff I wrote above is all speculation based on that lack of trust. But we're only six episodes in so I really hope I'm wrong because there really isn't anything else like it on television.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Ball Is Tipped....

This year I was lucky enough to have my favorite team kick-off the college hoops season. I feel it gives me an excuse to post specifically about the game under the guise of posting about the start of the basketball season.

St. John's is chock full of interesting stories: 9 new players, top 3 recruiting class, 3 of those players not being eligible to start the season, walk on tryouts out of necessity because they couldn't even run a 5-5 scrimmage at practice and last but not least, Steve Lavin's prostate cancer surgery. Being largely a team of newcomers I'm fully expecting a very frustrating season which I'm okay with thanks to last year and the promise of the future of St. John's hoops.

Tonight's win, I feel is going to be a microcosm of their season. It was a nice 15 point win over a team with a style that does (did) give St. John's fits. Instead of me rehashing the whole game, you can check out the boxscore of the 74-59 win HERE. But I would like go over things I liked and disliked from the game tonight:


Free throw shooting - There is nothing in sports more frustrating than a team who can't hit free throws. For the game they were 12-25 (48%). I can't take that. At one point I realized I was only 23 minutes in to the college hoops season and I was already angry. And on such a glorious opening night of basketball too.
The dreadful ESPNU logo - I love everyone else's logo but St. John's is the worst. It has to do with being the Red Storm (which is ridiculous and a whole different post) but it's just terrible and makes no sense.
I know the mascot is a bird but that makes no sense either

Three point defense - This may seem like nitpicking since they did only hold William & Mary to a shade under 35% for the game but they started missing some as they heaved them up in late desparation. They scramble and gamble a lot with their full court pressure which leaves them out of position a lot to jump out and contest a lot of 3s. With 7 guys getting regular minutes I wouldn't mind seeing them call off the pressure sometimes for now. Most of the guys on the floor seem quick and long enough to still get their hands on some balls in the half court defense. I know full pressure is the style but I can't see keeping that up with this little depth.

Rebounding - Like everything in the 2nd half, it got better. But they were out rebounded for the game but closed the gap in the 2nd half. That could largely be attributed to them shooting just about 68% in the 2nd half but it's obviously going to be an issue this year.

Three point shooting - I'm not in panic mode or anything after one game but do you know the last time a St. John's finished the season shooting better than 35 percent for a season?......Neither do I.


The 2nd half defense - Obviously. But what I liked about it is that they got over their jitters and completely overwhelmed William & Mary with their superior athleticism after being down 7 at the half. William & Mary is the anti-St. John's or St. John's 2010-2011 with them returning 12 players and 4 starters from last year. With that kind of experience, it wouldn't have surprised me in the least if the Tribe we able to salt that victory away so it was nice to see St. John's literally take the victory tonight.

JUCOs - During the offseason everyone liked to talk about the freshmen. But this game St. John's was led by God's Gift and Nuri Lindsey. A lot of GG's rebounds were uncontested but he shot a high percentage from the floor and looked the most comfortable at the FT line. He also drew some charges and only commited 1 foul which is going to be very important for this team o have him not foul out. Lindsey on the other hand I was very frustrated with in the first half. Who cares if a guy could get to the line if he couldn't hit any free throws. His FT does need work but he was able to get to the rim and finish a lot and also shot a high percentage when all was said and done. 5 steals didn't hurt either.


4 Turnovers!!! - To me that's amazing for such an inexperienced team playing their first regular season game together. I don't believe they turned it over at all in the 2nd half either. That was a +17 differential for the game.

I didn't really mention any of the freshmen but this is getting long and I'm not going to get too excited or panic too much based on one game.

How fantasy football killed my NFL Sundays

"Why couldn't Romo throw to Dez Bryant instead of Laurent Robinson??" This was a quote from one of my friends yesterday while watching the Cowboys/Seahawks game. This friend, who happens to be a Redskins fan, made about 100 similar comments over the course of the day prompting myself and my other friends to threaten a fantasy intervention. What happened to the good old days where we just watched football on Sundays rooting for only our team?

Now, I wish I could say that this is just the case of one overly invested friend of mine, buts its not. Its an epidemic. Here is a scenario. I am a NY Giants fan living outside of Philadelphia, home to the WORST sports fans. During a Giants/Eagles game last year, I ordered pizza and wings from a nearby eatery. The delivery guy, looking like he crawled out of the dingiest Philadelphia alley, came to my door holding my food and donning a Desean Jackson jersey. I of course, fearless as usual, was wearing a Giants hoodie and hat secure in the safety of my own home. Here is the exchange. Doorbell rings and when I answer, he says "A Giants fan? I shouldn't even give you your food today." I explain "Thats why I'm having food delivered instead of sitting at a bar risking my life." And then, he fires back with "Its cool man, I have Eli Manning and Brandon Jacobs on my fantasy team. Hope they score me some points today. Good luck!" What the hell was that? These are the worst sports fans in America and even they have been softened up by fantasy sports?

And to be honest, I cant say I am completely immune to this illness. I am constantly looking at the tickers, checking the Ipad or listening to the NFL Sunday drive on Sirius for updates instead of exclusively watching/listening to the Giants game. And when the Giants were driving down the field late in the game yesterday, Id be lying if I said I wasn't rooting for an Eli TD pass instead of a Jacobs TD run (I mean, I'm starting Eli in 2 leagues this year!) Argh, that's not the way I want to be thinking, but its intrinsic at this point.

I wish I could go back to the good old days where myself and some friends would crowd around Augie's dining room table and live draft, watch Sportscenter together, read box scores and wait for stat reports to come in the mail (That's right, stat reports came in the mail before computers). At the end of the day, we loved fantasy sports, but we loved our teams even more. Now that gap has shrunk to a level no sports fan should be comfortable with.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rebuilding the Big East

I could probably write 50,000 words on how pissed off I am about the state of the Big East but instead I'm going focus on what the Big East is doing to rebuild themselves from a basketball only standpoint. The Big East is and never will be a football conference.

After 2013 the remaining members still comprise a pretty decent basketball conference. Cincinnati, UConn, DePaul, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall, South Florida, St. John's and Villanova is still at least a 6 or 7 bid league even without adding anyone else. You really can't replace Syracuse and Pitt from a historical rivalry standpoint or West Virginia from a competitive standpoint but I really don't feel all is lost. I think 2 of the 3 schools can make some impact in pretty short order:

Houston - The Cougars have a pretty good history that doesn't really date back that far. They made the NCAA Championship game two years in a row in the 83 and 84 and they have guys like Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon with their numbers in the rafters. No high schooler dream of playing in Conference USA but if you start talking up a few recruits and selling them a new age of Phi Slama Jama with the Big East name behind it and Houston could acclimate to the Big east quicker than South Florida or DePaul has.

Central Florida - The Knights are already starting to build their basketball program. Some experts rank this year's recruiting class in the top 20 and they are a landing spot for transfers from BCS schools. For years you've been hearing that Central Florida could be a "Sleeping Giant" in athletics. I've been to the campus where I saw their facilities and it's a really nice place to spend your college years. Associate them with the Big East brand and their already increasing talent level can only get better.

SMU - This is just a market capturing move. With the two Texas schools you lock up Houston and Dallas but I can't see what they add to basketball. They'll probably be joining South Florida towards the bottom of the Big East for awhile. It sure would be a crazy, round-about way for Matt Doherty to get back to coaching in the Big East though.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Another One Bites The Dust

I do have a post about the Big East situation coming. I'm waiting until I'm less pissed off.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Random Thought Extended - 10/01/11

Random thought extended - Products I refuse to go generic: Ketchup, Gatorade, Soda, and Deodorant. I'm sure I'll think of more later

Random Thought - 10/1/11

Random thought: For my money America's Choice makes cereal every bit as good as Kellogg's or General Mills

Friday, September 30, 2011

I Love Baseball, But Should I Be Done for 2011?

I am Mets fan. My baseball season has, for all intents and purposes, been over for weeks if not months. When the Mets are bad I generally follow the same pattern. I'll watch til football season since I'm back to having a horse in the race (I'm not saying the Jets are a Super Bowl contender, it's just that there is so much parity in the NFL) and then go back to baseball for the last two weeks to watch pennent and wild card races.

I honest to god can't remember having as much fun watching baseball as I did last night. That's how I want my baseball season to end. I know the playoffs ratchet up the intensity and everything but there is nothing the postseason is going to offer me that last night didn't already give me. I'm going to tune in more at least the last half of every game just to keep myself a well rounded sports fan but for the first time in my life I could do without October baseball. I already have the memory of 2011 that I need.

I stated I'm a Mets fan only because I know that if you have a team in the playoffs you obviously care. I would care too. This is from a baseball fan with no team left. Thank You.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jose Reyes - NL Batting Champion...and well deserved

Jose Reyes is taking alot of crap for the way he went about winning the NL Batting title. People see it as him being a coward and taking the easy way out to winning the batting crown. Just like last night's blown save by Jonathan Papelbon wasn't the reason the Red Sox didn't make the playoffs (it was a month in the making), Jose Reyes taking his last two at bats off did not win him the batting title. It took 537 at bats of hitting .337 that did it.

The Mets weren't playing for anything. I don't know why people are making such a big deal about a guy trying for something that would benefit him individually in a situation like that. It's not easy to win a batting title and now for the rest of time he can see his name on the list of former NL batting champions. I'm almost positive I would have done the same thing.

Then people talk about the fans who came to see Jose Reyes. There are two types of fans who showed up at the game yesterday, the suckers who bought season tickets and finishing out the string (you knew what type of season this was going to be) and the guys who paid two bucks on StubHub to get in (I was one of them the night before). Be happy that you got to see a classic Reyes bunt base hit, got to give him his ovation as he was pulled from the game and got an early ticket to go to McFadden's.

On a side note: Hey Rob Parker (from ESPN), why does Derek Jeter's name have to come up at all in your column? You're not un-biased enough to have a legitimate opinion on what Reyes opted to do yesterday.