Saturday, January 28, 2012

Live Blogging the UFC of FOX 2 Event Tonight - TRANSCRIPT

Here is the transcript of the live UFC on FOX 2 event:

Friday, January 20, 2012

NFL Championship Weekend Picks

Line: New England -7

I'm 3-5 in these games. I'm done putting a lot of thought in to them. I'm going with my gut now. Baltimore looked awful last week. New England will put points up on anyone. Baltimore went up there and beat New England in embarrassing fashion two years ago in the playoffs and the Pats can use that as extra motivation. I think alot of pressure has been put on Joe Flacco and I don't think he's the type of QB who will react well to it. I agree with his critics, he's a passenger on this team. I think the Pats go up a few scores and don't take the foot off the Ravens throats until it's 00:00.

The Pick: New England -7

Line: San Francisco -2.5

The Giants are peaking at the right time. I throw out all previous games and all previous stats. They don't mean anything at this point. They are a different team now. That doesn't mean I'm not taking San Fran though. As much credit as I give the Giants, there are not many teams in the NFL who wouldn't have beat the last three teams they faced with the way they showed up. I've mentioned Dallas in my Giants/Atlanta write up and I mentioned Atlanta in my Giants/Green Bay write up. This week it's Green Bay. There were at least 14 completions left on the field by Green Bay last week. And I'm talking unforced errors. Rodgers missing guys 25 yards downfield, 8 or 9 drops, etc. It was just a terrible performance. The one thing I like about the 49ers is that they don't throw up clunkers. The Giants are going to get a team's best for the first time in a month. And in that case, I'm taking the home team.

The Pick: San Francisco -2.5

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Awards Season Movie Catch Up - The Ides Of March

I have a weird relationship with movie awards shows. I watch the Golden Globes and The Oscars but I really don't care who wins or loses YET, I find it important to see as many nominated movies as possible before these shows take place.

I used to go to the movies multiple times per week. I now have a 20 month old and have seen 7 movies in the theater since then. So it's been increasingly more difficult. But luckily I was sick this week so I put the kid in daycare and called in to work so I got to see Ides of March.

I'm not a movie critic and I'm going to keep these spoiler free (in case I bump my head and forget I saw it since I'm under the assumption I'm the only one who reads this.) but while the movie was decent it got me asking the question, "Is good acting enough to get a movie in to the Best Picture discussion?" Because honestly the story was nothing special. I've seen plenty of better political dramas. But at the same time I think the cast acted the hell out of it. You want to put Ryan Gosling in the running for Best Actor I'd have no problem with that. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti were both solid as rival campaign managers and Clooney was Clooney. This movie was able to get a Globe nom because of the two separate best movie categories but I can't see it sneaking in to the top 7 or so Oscar nominations (that's the number I'm hearing with gain enough votes). If it does, like I said, it'll be on the strength of the acting and not the story and I would give it a roughly zero percent chance of winning.

Little side thought: Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Marisa Tomei had a scene together in this movie sitting around the table. Hoffman seems like the consummate professional but as a guy he had to be looking across that table and remembering the last time they worked together, right? That opening scene of When the Devil Knows Your Dead was pretty intense.

And just for the record, so far I've only seen: The Help and Young Adult as far as movies that might have a shot for movie or acting nominations. And I guess Bridesmaids too if you believe some of that hype. My priorities are Moneyball, The Descendants and The Artist in that order.


I know this is a few days late but Monday night's are busy with The Bachelor and all....

When a new show premieres that looks interesting to me I tell myself it has three episodes to hook me. I'm going to give Alcatraz a little more than that. I'm a big Fringe fan. It's arguably my favorite drama on TV right now. In Fringe's first season they tried a similar formula to what Alcatraz looks like it's going to try. Fringe did a "monster of the week" with a little bit of mythology mixed in from time to time (remember The Pattern?"). Alcatraz looks like it's shaping up no different. It looks like "prisoner of the week" with a little bit of mythology mixed in. Both have sneaky attractive female leads who landed a case at their respective law enforcement agencies and stumbled across something bigger.

Alcatraz has a more accessible premise than Fringe does which will allow it to use it's more procedural aspects more often than Fringe does now. But what I anticipate happening is that once people officially invest in the show and it becomes a part of their Mondays (or season passed on DVR), it will be for the mythology and not the "prisoner of the week" stories. And that's when the show will change for the better for me. And because I trust the people behind Alcatraz I'm willing to wait it out for a little while til that happens.

One issue I have right now though since I always seem to need to have one is why was Alcatraz's story that they transferred to another prison? One place I think they made a mistake was mentioning and then showing a visiting day. That made me start thinking, how are they going to explain to the prisoner's families that they can no longer visit them anymore at their new prison? It would have been cleaner to say they all died via some believable way.

That's really it though. Other than that it's not a terrible way to spend an hour in front of the TV.

Friday, January 13, 2012

2012 NFL Divisional Round Playoff Picks

I know after a 1-3 Wild Card Weekend people have been refreshing this page waiting for my Divisional Round picks.

Here we go:

Line: New Orleans -4

New Orleans is the sexy team right now. They've averaged over 42 points a game in their last three (all in domes FYI). When people think about the Saints they think 40+ points a game. But look at their point totals on the road: 34, 23, 30, 20, 22, 21(dome), 26(dome), and 42(dome). That's 27.25 points a game (25.8 in outdoor road games). And San Francisco, by the way, scores 27.6 points a game at home and has a top 5 defense. Not it wouldn't shock me if New Orleans won but don't think for a second we're looking at a 42-20 type game. If New Orleans wins it'll be more like 24-20. Have to take the points for the home team.

The Pick: San Francisco +4

Line: New England -13.5

New England's defense isn't good but I don't think it's as bad as advertised. For some reason they come out flat but if you look close games they were in, they clamped down in the second half. I think Denver will be able to move the ball but ultimately New England will get the 2nd half stops to pull away a little. That being said, much like I thought with the Lions/Saints game last week. I think this is going to be a 10-11 point game that only looked that close because of a garbage touchdown.

The Pick: Denver +13.5

Line: Baltimore -7.5

This is the toughest game for me to pick. When you think about Baltimore you immediately associate them with defense. Houston is starting a rookie quarterback so it's not out of the realm of possibility that Baltimore could blow Houston out. On the flip side, Houston's defense was actually slightly better that Baltimore and Houston can run the ball as good as anyone. At 7.5 points I'm betting more that we'll be seeing a 14-10 game than a Baltimore double digit win.

The Pick: Houston +7.5

Line: Green Bay -7.5

I really wish this was a 7 point line. It's be alot easier for me to take Green Bay. The Giants are peaking at the right time and 2007 is still fresh in people's minds with the Giants having played Green Bay tightly earlier in the year (a la New England in 07). The Giants will get to Rodgers a few times. He's been sacked 41 times this year. On Chad Millman's blog a good point was raised, a few weeks ago when these two teams played Green Bay was a 7 point favorite in New York. Now it's essentially the same spread six weeks later after Green Bay has had an extra week off to get healthy? I can't take all four dogs...

The Pick: Green Bay -7.5

Monday, January 9, 2012

Easy formula often neglected

I'm on my way out to dinner with the wife and son and for the unteenth time we are going to the Pop Shop in Collingswood, NJ. If I sound disappointed, I'm not. This place is kid friendly, has over 30 types of grilled cheese, great salads and sandwiches and sundaes galore for reasonable prices. I'm always amazed that we can go out for a meal there, eat a ton of good food, and spend less than $30. As other local restaurants in my area struggle, I wonder why they often go upscale cuisine when so few places like the Pop Shop exist.

The same can be said for bars, probably more so. The local drinking franchise of choice is PJ Whelihans. They have 7 locations, all of them with beer specials all day every day, and great bar food for reasonable prices. With flat screen TV's everywhere, it's hard to deviate from a place like this on game day. Yet, so few bars try to duplicate this. If I had a dollar for every time I walked into another bar and was told they didn't have any dink specials, I had have an undetermined amount of money. Point is, the formula is easy, but it's often neglected.

Side note, PJs doesn't have a jukebox so it's not perfect.

Men Don't Diet!

I'm ripping off a topic from my buddy over at Dixonthewall about the quest to drop a few pounds after the New Year

Men seem to have a stigma attached to idea of "dieting". Even someone so evolved like myself (sarcasm) associates dieting with something feminine. It's the reason that Coca-Cola branded Coke Zero with a black label and kept the word diet off the bottle. I'm guilty of it. I wouldn't have dreamed of drinking Diet Coke. It was a "chick's drink." But when Coke Zero came out suddenly I was okay drinking a zero calorie soda. Even one of my New Year's Resolutions as you can see from an older blog post was to "Eat Better." If someone asks me if I'm on a diet, for some reason I'll find it uncomfortable and ultimately say some derivation of, "Not exactly. I'm just trying to eat better and exercise more."

So all that being said, I am currently 9 days in to eating better and exercising more. The method I'm using is straight up calorie counting. I'm using the website and iPad app to keep track and let me tell you, it is the most frustrating way to live. Eating becomes a chore. I'm the type of guy who associates football (especially playoff football) with eating and drinking but so far I've mixed Rum and Coke Zeros on a digital food scale, I've counted every calorie I used to cook a dinner, I portion controlled chips and dip while watching football, I bought Bud Select 55 so I can still have the feel of a beer bottle in my hand while watching sports and not have it "kill my day" calorie wise and the most annoying one of them all, just this morning I ate 30 M&Ms. That's right 30. I sat there and counted out 30 M&Ms! I'm going to keep it up for a few months but I don't want to live in a world where I do this for the rest of my life. I just want to get to a point where I get used to eating a certain amount every day.

One of the greatest benefits for me in using the site is that it does all the calculations for you. I set my goal as a very modest 1 pound a week, it asks you questions and pretty much tells you how many calories to eat to achieve that. But what it also does it allows you to enter your exercise and how many calories you burned and adds them back to your remaining available calories for the day. Some sites discourage you from eating things. Like if you go to and look up a food like M&Ms, it'll tell you that for 1 ounce of M&Ms it'll take 16 minutes of jogging to burn those off. For me, I like to have some drinks from time to time so I'll now go running to justify that. I'll run and say burn 500 calories and in my head I'll now be thinking, "that's 5 guilt free Bud Lights!" And as sad as that is, sometimes that actually will be my motivation for going out for a run.


I just want to share an anecdote from something weird that happened to me last night while on my second run of 2012. I was at the tale end of my 2.5 mile run and this guy on a bike rides past me and starts motioning me to take my ear buds out for a second. Mind you, it's 8:45pm and it was towards the end of a run from a guy who just started running so automatically I assumed my breathing must have sounded like I was dying and he was going to ask me if I needed any help. But no, I take out my ear buds and he asks, "did you go to St. John's?" I was wearing a St. John's hoodie. I had to explain that no I did not but I'm a fan of their hoops team. He then proceeds to tell me that his sister goes there and the tells me to enjoy the rest of my run. Who does that? He completely messed up the rhythm I had going on my 25 or so minute miles I was rocking.

Friday, January 6, 2012

NFL Wild Card Round Picks

Sorry. I don't want to make this a picks dominated blog but it's just that season.

Cincinnati at Houston
Line: Houston -4

I see this being a pretty low scoring game. I'm going under the assumption at this point that T.J. Yates is starting and not Jake Delhomme. If it was Delhomme I'd be done typing this game already. Both teams have a good defense but Houston's is better and they are at home. I do think they will win this game and it doesn't leave me much margin of error but I think this is a field goal game. 17-14ish. Cincinnati is scrappy. That's why they are here.

The Pick: Cincinnati +4

Detroit at New Orleans
Line: New Orleans -10.5

The Saints are a near impossible out at home. In the Super Dome they are going to put up 45 points. That's great for me because the Lions are going to put up 38. The Lions are built to play in a dome as well. This game is a back door cover waiting to happen.

The Pick: Detroit + 10.5

Atlanta at New York Giants
Line: New York Giants -3

The Giants are playing better but it wasn't too long ago that the Giants couldn't stop the pass. And I don't believe that a game against a terrible Jets offense and a Cowboys team who still hasn't shown up for their Week 17 game should change anyone's mind about that. Atlanta has a ton of weapons and should be able to use them all against the Giants. The Giants will get to Matt Ryan a few times but you can't sack him on every drop back. The Giants have a good passing offense and a lot of weapons as well but Atlanta is solid against the run allowing less than 100 yards a game. I was leaning towards the Giants when it was supposed to be cold but it's supposed to be a picture perfect 45-50 degree day.

The Pick: Atlanta +3

Pittsburgh at Denver
Line: +8.5

I don't see a way that the Broncos score in this game. The Steelers are going to make Tim Tebow throw but that's not going to go well for. The bloom is off the rose with Tebow. Denver backed in and Tebow started doing something he wasn't doing during their run which is turn the ball over. All that being said, with Big Ben banged up I can see Pittsburgh getting a two score lead and just putting it cruise control. The Broncos defense is good as well and they are at home so Pittsburgh won't run away with it. I'm thinking like a 13-6 or 17-9 final. The Over/Under is 33. I'll probably take the under as well.

The Pick: Denver +8.5

College Bowl Picks - Last 4 Bowls

So I sit at 13-17-1 after 31 of the 35 bowl games. It's my final drive to salvage a .500 Bowl season.

Kansas State vs. Arkansas
Line: Arkansas -8

We are back to the non-BCS Bowls which means I like taking points. Granted, on paper this is probably the most interesting non-BCS bowl with two teams from power conferences.

The one stat that jumps off the page at me is that Kansas State is +13 in turnover margin while Arkansas is even. That is an important stat but I my big concerns are that if Kansas falls behind that they don't have the fire power to come back. On top of that, Kansas State is one of the 20 worst teams in college football in passing yards per game which is what Arkansas does very well. Despite all that though. I still like the points. 8 is lot.

The Pick: Kansas State +8

SMU vs. Pittsburgh
Line: Pittsburgh -3.5

I was actually a little surprised to see Pitt favored by this much (if even favored at all). Pitt lost Ray Graham and did manage to go 2-2 without him. The rushing yards from Pitt were still there but the RBs who took his place average over a full yard less per carry. SMU throws the ball well (277.8 yards a game, 23rd in FBS).

From a personal stand point I can't Pitt. I don't think they should have been in this bowl. Western Kentucky got snubbed in favor of Pitt missing out on their first bowl game in school history. I'm not a Hilltopper fan but it's a shame when a team is going to lose 12 seniors, we're 7-1 in their conference and won 7 of their last 8 with their loss being at LSU. It's probably due to them being in the Big East and the fact they won the same bowl last year and over 40,000 were reported in attendance. On another interesting note, SMU is one of the teams replacing Pitt in the Big East shortly so it'd be a nice kick in the ass to have Pitt lose.

The Pick: SMU +3.5 BOWL
Arkansas State vs. Northern Illinois
Line: Arkansas State -1.5

Northern Illinois can put up points. Thanks to the MAC getting run on ESPN during midweek games, I've seen more of Chandler Harnish and Co. than someone living in New York probably should. Normally I love teams in bowl games that can run. Northern Illinois gains 248.6 yards a game on the ground (8th in FBS) while also hanging in the middle of the pack in passing yards. And it's rare to have a QB like Chandler Harnish who has a 26 to 5 touchdown to interception ratio and also rush for close to 1400 yards. All that being said, I like Arkansas State in this game. Yes, Northern Illinois could put up 38 points a game but they also allowed 31 per contest. Arkansas State is capable of putting up points as well (around 33 a game) but they allowed less than 20 points and was 16th in FBS in rush yards per game allowed. When both teams have dynamic offenses and one team has a good defense, I lean towards the team that has the chance to get the most stops.

The Pick: Arkansas State -1.5

Alabama vs. LSU
Line: Alabama -1

Despite this being the biggest game, I have probably the least to say about it. I expect this game to go roughly the same way as the first one. A low scoring affair that comes down to field goals. Some times in sports I get the feeling things are supposed to happen. This year I feel that Alabama is supposed to win this game. There has to be a change in the BCS system and one of the catalysts of change for that would be an unsatisfying solution as to who the national champion should be. Even if Alabama wins this game by a field goal, it was a neutral site and LSU beat them at home. Oklahoma State won their BCS Bowl game, don't they deserve some consideration. If LSU wins this game than the BCS can present their champion with no controversy. I believe the rematch is happening to throw a wrench into the works.

The Pick: Alabama -1

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

College Bowl Picks - Part 6

Tough bowl season for me. I'm 13-16 so far with a lot of bad beats. 50 yard game winning FGs by college kickers, going for the win with a 2pt conversion rather than go to OT and about 4 TDs that happened in the final minute of the game to blow covers. Profitable Bowl season has not been but it's been fun to watch anyway.

Michigan vs. Virginia Tech
Line: Michigan -3

Usually when a team loses their conference championship it means losing a BCS Bowl bid. In Virginia Tech's case that didn't happen. They are still in a BCS bowl and it's actually a better game than having to play West Virginia. I've been reading that a lot of people like Michigan in this game. Personally I don't. I think it's going to be a close game as most of these games probably will be but Virginia Tech is a faster team than Michigan and I like the speed team in this game especially in a dome.

The Pick: Virginia Tech +3

West Virginia vs. Clemson
Line: Clemson -3

I immediately lean towards Clemson in this game because of my feeling on Big East football. But to be fair, they are 2-1 in bowl games thus far. West Virginia does do one thing very well and that is throw the ball. I'm sure if I go with Clemson I'm going to have a few frustrating moments as Geno Smith keeps a play alive and turns it in to a 30 yard completion. But other than QB, I don't see West Virginia matching up anywhere else better than Clemson.

The Pick: Clemson -3

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Dick Clark Needs to Shut it Down

That's it really. Strokes are bad for TV.

The New Years Resolutions I Probably Will Not Keep

1. Eat better (I may need a therapist for this. I put food on a pedestal.)
2. Run a 5k. (I got the Nike+ Sportsband for X-Mas. I can probably do this although my first synced run will probably be .008 miles.)
3. Be a better homeowner. (I do believe I have a very nice house but I don't do enough to make it nicer.)
4. Carve out some "me" time once a week that's not between the hours of 11pm and 1am.
5. Stop biting my fingernails and cuticles.
6. Watch one movie a week that I haven't seen yet.
7. Listen to one new (to me) album a week.