Playoffs, Round 2!
So we're on to the second round of the playoffs. Last week i went 2-2, which means i need to finish 5-2 the rest of the way to meet my prediction of 7-4, or finish 4-3 the rest of the way to finish 6-5 and not lose money. On to the picks!
Green Bay -7.5 over Seattle
Last week aside, when the C-Hox did exactly as i said they would, i have been betting against them all year long because they are terrible. As in, really terrible. You realize they got 5 of their 10 wins against the 49ers, Rams, and Cardinals right? And four more against the Ravens, Bears, Bengals, and Eagles? They have one good win, against the Bucs, and that was at home in the first game of the season! They have no good wins!
Oh, and let's see, what else... Hasselbeck has an injured throwing wrist (did you see him shaking it the rest of the game after he re-injured it in the 2nd quarter?), Alexander is D-U-N done as an elite running back, and maybe as a running back period. DJ Hackett and Deion Branch are both banged up. This team is supposed to walk into the Frozen Tundra and beat the Packers?
Don't buy it. The Packers are rolling, Favre is playing well, and they actually have a running game since the middle of the season in Ryan Grant. I'm not even sure this game will be close...
New England -13 over Jacksonville
This is this week's 'everyone is leaning one way, so go the other'. Oddly enough, this game last week also involved the Jags. Unlike last week, i don't think they will win this game. Did you see Jacksonville practically collapse in the 2nd half last week? They almost lost that game! And they're supposed to hang with the Patriots?
I see it going like this: Belichick has had two weeks to prepare, and he is a master of this. The Patriots will come out firing on offense and defense, get a big early lead, and go on cruise control in the 2nd half. They will cover easily. That's what i see
Indianapolis -9 over San Diego
Now this is the game i've been waiting for. Bet the house! Did you see how terrible the Chargers looked in the first half against the Titans last week? That was at home! They were terrible! They still only finished with 17 points!
The Chargers, behind Phillip Rivers and the Norv! face, are not going to come into the RCA dome and beat the Colts. They're just not. My prediction is a fight between Rivers and LT somewhere about the middle of the 3rd quarter, after the Chargers go 3 and out on their second possession of the 2nd half and are behind by 17 points...
New York Football Giants +7.5 over Dallas
So i picked favorites in the first three games, and i was thisclose to doing it again for this game. But, one favorite always loses, and we haven't had a matchup of #1 seeds in the Super Bowl since 1995 (ish). The Cowboys absolutely coasted into the playoffs, not playing good football and being banged up. T.O. is still hurting, and though he will play i'm not sure how effective he will be.
Plus, as i've stated before, it's hard to beat a team three times in one season, and Dallas has already beat the Giants twice. The Giants are actually playing good ball, and even Eli looked pretty good on the road last week. And even though Eli is still unproven in big games, so really is Tony Romo (last year's Seattle game anyone?). And i'll take Tom Coughlin over Wade Phillips any day. I can't believe i'm doing this, but i'm taking the Giants.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Playoffs, Round 2!
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
So now the Big 10 is 12 - 13 vs the SEC in bowl games this decade. Not really a bad record but due to OSU losing two years in a row to Florida and LSU in the National Title game, the SEC is perceived as the much better conference. I want to dwelve into the Big 10's problems.
Unfortunately for Big 10 they play most of their Bowl Games on the road.
3 neutral bowl games
MSU vs BC in Orlando, Florida
Indiana vs Oklahoma in Phoenix, AZ
Wisconsin vs Tennessee in Tampa Bay, Florida
5 road bowl games
Purdue vs Central Michigan in Detroit, Michigan
Penn St vs Texas A&M in San Antonio, Texas
Michigan vs Florida in Orlando, Florida
Illinois vs USC in Pasadena, California
OSU vs LSU in New Orleans, Louisiana
Looking strictly at locations and not teams you would expect the Big 10 to have a losing bowl record. And please explain to me how the 9th place Big 10 team (MSU) ends up playing the second place ACC team in Boston College. That can not, should not, and would not be fair or even competitive, except for the fact that MSU should have won and was easily the better team on the field except for the 5 turnovers. Thus bringing me to my last point.
The Big 10 does not play games after mid November and then waits 5 to 7 weeks to play a bowl game, and this is what really pisses me off. The Big 10 teams always play like shit, or more specifically like they haven't played in almost 2 months. Take a guess at the plus/minus turnover ratio for the Big Ten teams in bowl games this year?
A. +4 B. even C. -6 D. - 13
Times up, D. -13. Minus 13, how the hell did they manage to win any games let alone go 3 - 5.
Here is my problem with the Big Ten teams, I am an admitted homer and love them and think they should play better than they do in the bowl games. They fucking take six weeks off and then play sloppy football, have trouble catching passes, too many penalties and are - 13 in the turnover department. That is no way to get er done.. -13 includes Indiana who was +2 and still managed to get rolled in the 'Sweet, Dude, We are in Fucking Phoenix for the Holidays instead of Bloomington' Bowl. As soon as the Hoosiers flight landed at the airport in Phoenix the entire team had a hard-on for the ASU honeys and sunshine. We can all imagine how hard it is to play a football game with no blood flow to the brain.
How does the Big Ten fix the problems? Tough questions, but playing and extra week or two later in the season would be a good start. I don't want to hear it about the weather either, the players and fans will be used to it and you could always utilize the domes in the area for late season games or Bowl Games. Minneapolis, Detroit, St. Louis, and Indianapolis all have domes and could be utilized for late season Big Ten Games or new Bowl Games and would still attract a full stadiums of fans. If the Big Ten plays later into the season maybe they would not be so rusty and turnover prone during bowl season. Add in the fact if even one or two new bowls being held indoors in the Big Ten Country instead of in SEC or Pac 10 country and we might, just might be able to change some opinions across the country.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Well, as promised, here is my preview of tonight's BCS Championship game between LSU and Ohio St. When this game was first announced, it was assumed by a lot of people that LSU would win this game, with the line being as high as LSU -6 at some places. Lately though, the line has been coming down, and now people are starting to believe that Ohio St. can pull this out. Currently the line sits at LSU-4.
I have been going back and forth on this for a couple of weeks now. LSU, when i have watched them this year, quite frankly have not been that impressive. That said, their only two losses have both been in triple overtime, which means to me that they are very hard to beat. They do play in a better conference (at least this year), and the rigors of that conference has to have toughened them up and made them battle ready. And lastly, with the last month off, LSU will actually be healthy going into this game, especially Glenn Dorsey, their stud D-lineman.
On the other hand you have Ohio St. Playing in the weaker Big Ten, the Buckeyes largely rolled through the conference schedule, with one notable exception: losing at home to Illinois. That loss wasn't a good one, but the officiating was questionable at best (see article here) and it was against a spread option offense, something the Big Ten teams traditionally struggle against when run well. LSU does not employ a spread offense, nor does it have particularly mobile quarterbacks like Illinois does with Juice Williams.
Most people point to just last year, when Ohio St. was in the same position, playing for the National Championship against a 'fast' SEC team, that time Florida. Big Ten - SEC matchups are always billed as speed (SEC) vs. strength (Big Ten). I myself am a proponent that strength will always beat speed, because if you hit someone hard in the mouth repeatedly, you wear them down, thus negating their speed aspect. Going into this bowl season, since 2000 the Big Ten was 11-11 against the SEC in bowl games. Pretty even if you ask me. But because of last year's Championship game, in which Ohio St. got destroyed by Florida, the perception is that the SEC is much better than the Big Ten.
It is last year's game precisely though that i think gives a little extra edge to the Buckeyes. They were embarrassed in that game, falling behind early (despite scoring first) and never being competitive in that game. There are many players from that squad still on the team this year, and i think they have something to prove.
Let's take a look at one more aspect, the coaching. Coach Les Miles has been a brash, risk-taking coach this year, and it has largely worked out for him. While his decisions can sometimes be questioned, his desire to win and competitiveness cannot. In the Florida game he went for it on 4th down four different times. In the Auburn game, which i still cannot believe and is one of the greatest endings to a game i have ever seen, Coach Miles had his team throw a 22-yard touchdown pass on 3rd down with 8 seconds remaining and down by 1, needing only a field goal. It was caught with 1 second on the clock left, but he risked running out of time if it was not caught. Coach Miles has huge juevos. Huge.
Coach Tressel, while not quite the risk-taker Miles is, is a fantastic in-game coach and is great at preparing his team. This team got beat-down last year, and Coach Tressel has been using that as motivation for a month. He has put together a 10-minute videotape of 'experts' spouting off about the Buckeyes not having a chance against LSU, and has been showing it to his team for the last week. And he had a month to prepare and gameplan for LSU, which is what he does best.
The game, as most bowl games do, will come down to turnovers and execution. For some reason, i think Ohio St. can pull this out. I think they will be fired up, from all of Tressel's motivational techniques and from last year's Championship game. I think they will be flying around the field on defense hitting people, and i think on offense they take Beanie Wells and pound him up the middle over and over. I also think Tressel will throw in a trick play or two to keep things off balance. And though Les Miles will certainly have some things in store for his team, i think Ohio St. gets it done.
Ohio St. +4 over LSU
Go Big Ten
4 games down, 7 to go. As stated before, I need to go 6-5 to break even, but i predicted that i would go 7-4 in the playoffs. After one week, i am 2-2. Special thanks to Jacksonville, who won but didn't cover by one point. Then again, the Chargers covered by only one point, so i can't complain too much. Lines for next week aren't out yet, so later in the week i will make my picks for the divisional round of the playoffs.