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Friday, October 26, 2007

College Football Picks

Well, that was depressing last night. My Va. Tech pick looked great for 58 of 60 minutes, until BC qb Matt Ryan decided to go all 'Heisman' and throw two touchdowns in the last two minutes. Thanks for nothing Va. Tech...

So, with my loss last night, i stand at 19-18. Above .500, but just barely. And this week's games scare me. A ton of good games, but a ton of hard games to pick. Here goes nothing...

Oregon -3 over USC
Not sure what it is, but I love this Oregon team. They can put up points with the best of them, and qb Dennis Dixon has looked phenomenal all year. This game is a toss-up with USC's defense, but because Autzen is a tough place to play and USC is starting sophomore qb Mark Sanchez, i'll take Oregon.

South Florida -4.5 over UConn
UConn has really played no one, at least South Florida was tested last week against Rutgers. I believe in this USF team more than the Huskies.

Texas A&M +3 over Kansas
(Sigh) I think this is the third week in a row i've picked Kansas to lose, yet they somehow keep winning and screwing me in the process. Kansas is not an 8-0 team. They're just not! (Keep telling yourself that, keep telling yourself that...)

Arizona State -3 over California
Even though i bill this as a blog about sports in the Valley, i have up to this point neglected to write about the #4 ranked Sun Devils. This is mainly due to the fact that a) I don't care about them, and b) I haven't watched more than 10 minutes of them all season long. That being said, they apparently have been playing well. Cal comes in on a two-game losing streak, which scares me for the 'we have to win to save our season' factor. However, like many Cal teams of the past, i don't think they have the emotional make-up of a team ready for a true gut-check. This team came into the season as a National Championship contender, played that way for half a season, then had a disastrous loss with their back-up qb, followed by another loss. I think this team folds. On a side note, if ASU does win and gets to 8-0, i promise i will write a preview of their matchup against Oregon (which, by the way, they are losing).

Ohio St. -4 over Penn St.
As much as i want to believe Penn St. will knock off the Buckeye's, i just don't see it happening. Penn St. has been too erratic this year to beat a team coming in on a roll and full of confidence. I hate to say it, but i see this year for the Buckeye's turning out much the same way as last year; i.e. running the table, getting to the national championship game, and getting destroyed. Michigan, i am begging you: Beat the Buckeyes and keep them out of the Sugar Bowl. The Big Ten does not need to give any more ammunition to the haters...

Auburn -18 over Mississippi
These big lines are killing me, as is taking almost all favorites. In the year of underdogs, you would think i would learn at some point...

So there you have it. I will be watching all day long tomorrow, as i normally do. Looking forward to the USC - Oregon game, if ANYONE in the country was getting it on tv (don't get me started). Here's to a winning day...

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Throwing my obvious Suns' bias aside, this is absolutely ridiculous.

Remember all that fuss after Game 4 of the Western Conference Semi-finals, when Amare and Boris got suspended for 'leaving the immediate area of the bench'? And everyone talked about whether Stern should go by the letter of the law or allow a little interpretation? These were some of the Commish's comments after announcing the suspensions:

"A precedent wasn't necessary here. The rule with respect to leaving the bench area during an altercation is very clear."

"Historically, if you break it, you will get suspended, regardless of what the circumstances are."
"It's not a matter of fairness. It's a matter of correctness."

"That's why it's a red-letter rule."

(Read article here)

I will get to more Stern quotes in just a bit, but wanted to further expound on the situation of today. The League announced today that every single current NBA Referee has violated the LEAGUE RULES against referee's gambling of any kind. Admittedly, most were minor violations, such as playing poker or craps. Nevertheless, the League has a rule, and these referee's violated.

So let's get to the penalties that every single current NBA referee will be incurring: Nothing. In fact, instead of penalizing these LEAGUE RULE - BREAKING referee's, David Stern came out and said the rule was out-dated and will be thrown out. So, what happened to sticking to the letter of the law, and not allowing any interpretation Mr. Stern? Where was the 'red-letter rule' quotes about this latest scandal? I think this rule, much as the rule about leaving the bench, was VERY CLEAR. So what was the Commish's defense, where was his reasoning?

Stern said none of the violations was major, and no referees had admitted to wagering in a sports book or with a bookie.

"Our ban on gambling is absolute, and in my view it is too absolute, too harsh and was not particularly well-enforced over the years," Stern said. "We're going to come up with a new set of rules that make sense."

"It's too easy to issue rules that are on their faith violated by $5 Nassau, sitting at a poker table, buying a lottery ticket and then we can move along"

So, just to clarify Mr. Stern, what you're saying is that these rules, while just as clear and absolute as your rules about leaving the area of the bench during an altercation, are open to interpretation and second-guessing, while the others were not. They were, as you say, too absolute, too harsh and not well-enforced. Does this sound anything like the rules about leaving the area of the bench, when Amare and Boris were clearly not going anywhere to start an altercation?

In the business world, this is called CYA. Cover Your Ass. If you don't think this is what Stern is doing in this instance, you're incredibly naive. Stern has every single one of his ref's doing something illegal, all coming after the incredibly damaging Tim Donaghy scandal. He can't very well fire every ref he has, and he knows it. He could suspend each ref for a couple of games, spread out over the course of the season, pretty easily. But that only brings more attention and more negative connotations about the refereeing in NBA games, which has come under enough scrutiny the last few years, particularly in the playoffs. So how does Stern CYA?

He takes the blame himself. He knows it isn't anything that is going to get him in trouble. He says it hasn't been well-enforced for years, indicating this is a problem with not just him, but the league and it's rules, which places some of the blame on the owners as well for not 'fixing' this rule. For him and the league's reputation, it's the best thing he can do to cause the least amount of damage.

For the fans, however, it is another shady move by a commissioner who, up until the last two or three years, was widely regarded as the best commish in NBA history, and one of the best in all of sports. But as many high-ranking officials or CEO's eventually have, one thing will be his downfall: The Refereeing.

Whether it is this latest debacle, or the Tim Donaghy scandal, or the overall quality of refereeing during games the last few years, this will eventually be Mr. Stern's downfall. Every story about referee's in the last three years has been a negative one, and it is starting to affect the integrity of the game. And as i wrote about here, when the integrity of the game comes into question, the fans start to leave. When the fans start to leave, the money leaves. And when the money leaves, someone will get blamed. That someone will be David Stern

College Football Picks

This isn't the complete list, but this week I am including the Thursday night game in my picks.

Va. Tech -3 over Boston College
Blacksburg is a tough place to play, and BC is about to become the 2nd #2 team in the country to lose on Thursday night, in consecutive weeks. I think the Hokies show up big, with their defense playing tough and a Frank Beamer Special type of great special teams play. No one this season (apparently) wants to get to and stay at the #2 spot, and it continues this week.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

World Series Update

Forget everything i said in my last post.

Red Sox in 5.

I hate the Red Sox...

World Series Preview

Preview is a 'loose' term. I am not really going to break down either team, nor am i really going to go into any detail regarding either team. In fact, i should have named this post World Series Prediction, but i'm too lazy to go back and change the title now. Deal with it.

Honestly, i'm not even sure which team to pick. Logic tells me to pick the Sox (who [whom?] i hate), because they seem to have the most going for them. The have the better hitters, they have the better pitching, with the possible exception of middle relief. They also have home field, and as they proved in 2004 and again in this years ALCS, Fenway can be a magical place for the Red Sox. They know the angles, they know the quirks, and the other team most assuredly does not (Cleveland third base coach holding up Lofton in 7th inning of Game 7 after weird bounce? Anyone? Bueller?).

The illogical part of me tells me to pick the Rockies, mostly due to their unbelievable run over the past three weeks. 21 of 22? Are you kidding me? Really? That's unheard of, just a ridiculous cavalcade of things that had to go right for them to even make the playoffs, then run roughshod over their first two opponents in the playoffs. The layoff scares me a little, but people were saying the same thing during their layoff before the Dbacks series, and that didn't seem to bother them much. As for the actual team match up, about the only thing the Rockies have going for them is their defense, which was far and away the best defense in baseball this year. Other than that, the Rockies would appear to be grossly over matched in this series.

All this is not to mention another stat, the fact that the NL hasn't won back to back World Series since 1982 (need i remind you the Cardinals won it last year from the NL?). All this adds up to what seems to be a staggering amount of information pointing to Boston. Then again, if there is one hard and fast rule of gambling, it's look at the team that the public is overwhelmingly in favor of, and go the other way. This rule, much like the Rockies entire season, seems to go against all logic...

My Pick: Rockies in 6

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

NFL Picks Review

Not a great week, as i went 3-4. That puts me at 15-14-3 on the year. Not great, but not below .500. Yet.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

NFL Picks

Ok! Had a good day yesterday picking College Football, let's continue it today. 12-10-3 on the year, on to the picks...

New Orleans -8 over Atlanta
I wish this line was still at 6, but i still like the Saints. They are at home, have seemingly found their groove, and this Atlanta team is terrible.

Buffalo +3 over Baltimore
Buffalo has shown some spunk at home, and the Ravens defense isn't what it used to be.

Indianapolis -3.5 over Jacksonville
The Jags have played the Colts better than anyone at home the last few years, but i like the Colts to win this one.

Houston -2 over Tennessee
Vince Young is not playing. That's all i got.

Washington -9 over Arizona
This line is higher than i would like it to be, but the Cardinal's are down to their third string qb, who was a high school coach two weeks ago. They just won't be able to put up points.

Philadelphia -6 and the over (42) over Chicago
I don't make a whole lot of bets on over/under's, but just trust me on this one. Chicago can't really stop anyone anymore (their defense is a shell of itself), but can put up a few points. The Eagles can put up points. Look for this one to be something like 31-24 Iggles.

New England -17 over Miami
New England struggles in Miami. They were shut-out there last year. I don't care. The Patriot's haven't let me down on the spread yet this year (save for a push a couple weeks ago), and the Dolphins are terrible. Patriot's win big.

Les Miles

This man has HUGE JUEVOS. 12 seconds to go, down by 1 on the 22 yard line, with one timeout, and instead of letting the clock tick down and kicking a field goal, he calls a throw to the endzone. And it works! LSU 30, Auburn 24.
Not to mention going 5-5 on 4th downs against Florida two weeks ago, including a 4th and goal from the 3 in the 4th quarter when they were behind.
Mr. Miles, i tip my hat to you. You have ginormous brass balls.

College Football Picks Review

Now that's what i'm talking about. I killed this week, going 5-2. That puts me at 19-17 on the year. Special thanks to Ohio St. for fumbling a whole lot and allowing Michigan St. to cover. Absolutely no thanks goes out to Notre Dame, who continues to screw me no matter which way i pick them, and Colorado, who only needed one more point to cover...