NFL Predictions

September 13, 2013

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It is football season again. By the time this article is published, the first week of the regular season will already be on the books. The following is my prediction of what the results of this season will be. In 17 weeks we will see just how right or wrong I am, at least as far as the playoffs go.

Division 2012 2013 Prediction
AFC East New England New England
AFC North Baltimore Cincinnati
AFC South Houston Houston
AFC West Denver Denver
AFC Wild Card Indianapolis Indianapolis
AFC Wild Card Cincinnati Pittsburgh
NFC East Washington New York
NFC North Green Bay Green Bay
NFC South Atlanta Atlanta
NFC West San Francisco Seattle
NFC Wild Card Seattle San Francisco
NFC Wild Card Minnesota Minnesota

 

  • Exiting Playoffs: Baltimore, Washington – Baltimore defense is just too weak, RGIII will get hurt.
  • Joining Playoffs: New York Giants, Pittsburgh – both purely on defense
  • San Francisco moves from division champion to wild card – Keapernick will get hurt
  • Cincinnati and Seattle move from wild card to division champion – Overwhelming talent
  • All four divisional playoff games will be blowouts (more than 14 point victories)

 

Super Bowl: Atlanta vs Houston

Super Bowl Champion: Atlanta Falcons

 

December Football

December 5, 2012

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December is finally here. The college football regular season is complete and the bowl invitations have been made. If your team is in one, the travel plans are in work. The sports talk shows are arguing the merits and weaknesses of each team and bowl pairing. Fans are excited by or bemoaning the season, the rankings and the talk shows.

The Big Ten conference has provided much of the fodder for discussion this year. The two best teams (Penn State and Ohio State) are not bowl eligible, and a five loss team (Wisconsin) is going to a BCS bowl because they absolutely trounced a theoretically better former Big XII team (Nebraska) 70-31. The Big XII put 9 out of 10 teams into bowl games with both of the new comers (TCU and WV) showing well and with 2 of the 4 teams who left (Nebraska and Texas A&M) getting bowl bids as well. The SEC is the SEC and a couple of weeks ago the writer decided that they would be the second half of the championship game. I am not saying that Alabama does not deserve to be there, I am just a little tired of a one loss SEC team being considered so much better than a one loss team from any other conference. In some polls, and SEC team can have two or even three losses and be considered better than a one loss team from anywhere else.

One last college comment, here is a big shout out to the Northern Illinois Huskies! Great season and good luck in the bowl game. Florida state will be a challenge, but you guys are playing on New Year’s Day!

In Pro football not much has changed over the last few weeks. The New York Giants as still slogging away leading the mediocre NFC East. Atlanta and San Francisco have control of their divisions. Green Bay and Chicago have to decide who gets the division and who gets the wild card. Although it looks like Seattle will get the other wild card, there are several other oh so average teams that could take it. On the AFC side, the divisions are pretty much locked up with Houston, Denver, and New England locked in, and Baltimore needing an absolute melt down to fail. The wild cards are also almost sewn up with really only three teams vying for the spots, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Indianapolis. Indy has to play Houston twice while Pittsburgh and Cincinnati have to play each other.

In the end, the AFC wild card and the NFC north are the interesting battles. If you are a fan of one of the six teams trying to get the last NFC wild card spot, it will be interesting for you, but, honestly, none of those teams have shown well against any of the division leaders.

Has Thanksgiving Become Black Thursday?

November 23, 2012

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I first saw the term Black Thursday in the comic strip Retail.  The strip makes a serious point, though.  Is Thanksgiving just a year or two away from become a complete afterthought?  Will people begin completely ignoring tradition and just head the stores at 5 AM on Thanksgiving instead of eating turkey and watching football?  Battling other shoppers for the the best deal on a flat screen TV at Wal-Mart seems to reduce the rest and relaxation aspect of a holiday.

I avoid the Black Friday craziness.  Sure, you may save a few bucks, but what’s the cost of standing in line and getting shoved around.  I hate crowds (not a phobia, just a dislike) and really don’t like to wait in line for more than about 10 minutes.  Waiting hours in line in the freezing cold for a store to open?  No thanks.  I’ll stay inside where it’s nice and warm.

And for the people shoving others to the ground and trampling them (this happens every year) – what the hell are you people thinking?  Would you behave like this on a random shopping day in June?  If it’s not appropriate behavior then, it’s not appropriate behavior on Black Friday (or Black Thursday) either.  Behave like civilized people.

Need to get some shopping done but wary of the crowds?  Amazon has everything 🙂

Sports stuff

Another reason I’ll be staying home today is that there are two interesting football games on TV.  Nebraska vs. Iowa (my wife’s team) followed by West Virginia vs. Iowa State (my team).  A win by my Cyclones would get us to 7-5 on the year.  We lost one of our best defensive players (Jake Knott) earlier in the year, and he could possible be back for a bowl game.  This would allow him to finish his career on a high note (although he was conference defensive player on the week in his last game – playing with any injury sustained the week prior) and put on a show for any NFL teams that may be watching.

Everyone’s talking about the Lions losing a game because their coach challenged a touchdown by the Texans.  By rule, all scoring plays are reviewed, and challenging the play is an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and negates the review.  The officials made the right call according to the rule book.  Strange rule, though.  I can see having the 15 yard penalty, but negating the review seems odd.

The Patriots scored 21 points in less than a minute in their game.  That’s hard to do – especially since there were no onside kicks involved.  The Patriots scored, then quickly caused a fumbled and returned it for a touchdown, then the kick returner fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Patriots scored on the play.  Strange.

Notre Dame Closing In On National Championship?

November 19, 2012

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Football

This weekend was wild in the world of football. First on the college ranks, the championship picture went topsy-turvy. Both number 1 Kansas State and number 2 Oregon fell. Now Notre Dame is the only undefeated (that can compete for the championship, so we cannot count Ohio State). That makes one half of the game easy to set, but now there are eleven one loss teams that want that other spot. Now we should be down to six after conference championships, even there are three contenders in the SEC and a couple of other conferences that do not play championship games. (I have always had the opinion that if you do not win you conference, you should not be considered for the BCS championship game.) So, unless there is another shake up like this week, there will be plenty of people complaining about who gets chosen for the other side of the championship equation.

This last weekend also means that my Notre Dame friends will not be cheering for Texas on December 1 when they play Kansas State, unless of course they are afraid of playing Kansas State in the championship game.

In the NFL, the picture is getting much clearer as teams separate. On the NFC side, although not done with much strength, the Atlanta Falcons continue to lead. Chicago is keeping ahead of Green Bay and the Giants and 49ers are the default leaders of two week divisions. On the AFC side, Houston is leading again without a lot of punch this week. Baltimore is in the driver’s seat for second with New England and Denver as the default leaders of two more week divisions. The wild cards are also almost set in the AFC with Pittsburgh and Indianapolis making some separation even though they both lost. The NFC wild card is a bit more difficult with Green Bay, Tampa Bay and Seattle all in the hunt. This is way to early in the season to actually predict the final standings, but the character of all of the teams is becoming much clearer with only six games left.

NaNoWriMo

We are past the half way point of the NaNoWriMo. We only have one more weekend left, so you actually need to be much more than half way done. There have been a number of pep talk emails sent out by the NaNoWriMo staff. This is the point in the effort where you have captured most of the ideas you had floating around at the beginning of the effort. No what? You are not alone, even professional writers hit this plateau. This is my fourth effort, so I have been thing about this story line for most of the year, especially since I failed last year. I am at 35,000 words, which is well ahead of schedule. This may sound great, but now I face the Thanksgiving holiday with guests arriving any minute, and kids coming back from college. I just cannot plan any large batches of time to write, even if the ideas keep flowing.

Whether you are a NaNo or not, keep writing. There Is nothing to fear but blisters on your fingers.

Did Geno Smith Lose The Heisman?

October 23, 2012

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Where did Geno’s Heisman Go?

A few weeks ago, I like many of the other sports aficionado’s had declared the Heisman Trophy all but won by West Virginia’s Geno Smith.

Boy was I wrong…..

It never ceases to amaze me how in the world of college football, things can change so quickly.

Who saw these things happening?

At the start of the season, Michigan State looked like the favorite to win the Big 10 Conference after knocking off the Boise State Broncos in the opener, and Le’Veon Bell carry the ball 225 times for like 565 yards. Update – Sparty then loses 4 of the next 7 games and is basically out of it and waiting for Izzo to take the floor to get renewed hope.

Kansas State looked like a “nice” team in the B ig 12 Conference. Bill Snyder, aka Methuselah had resurrected the Cats of the bowels of despair (also known as the Ron Prince experiment) and was set for a decent year. Update – A decent year is being undefeated, having the current Heisman front runner – Colin Klein – leading your team, and being undefeated and currently #3 in the BCS rankings.

English: U.S. President Barack Obama and Aubur...

Gene Chizik (left) in happier days.

The Auburn Tigers – Just a short time ago Cam Newton was taking his expensive brand of college football quarterbacking and leading the club to a National Title. Now, Auburn shows up as #100 in the USA Today ranking of teams from 1-124 in Division 1. Auburn went 8-5 last year and coach Gene Chizik was expecting a better year in 2012 with 16 returning starters. Update – Auburn fans are figuring out what Iowa State already knew…..it is fine if this guy leaves. Chizik left town for greener pastures when he left Iowa State overall Clones fans would say they are better off with Paul Rhoads.  Auburn meanwhile is 1-6 this year and 0-5 in conference play.

I had to give a shout out to Auburn fans here – as they seem to like my article on recruiting which has been getting some play on message boards in War Eagle country.

Notre Dame is undefeated.  Man did I miss this one, of course Coach Kelly hangs his hat on a slew of wins over ranked teams. Let me re-cap – Michigan State – Top 10 at the time but now has a losing record. The hot and cold Michigan team that had 28 turnovers in the red zone to lose to the Golden Domers. The ol leprechaun’s got the Luck of the Irish – AGAIN – against Stanford – whose running back Stepfan Taylor still hasn’t hit the ground. This week they looked un-inspired in a narrow win over BYU. Update –I am going on record that Boomer Sooner will roll one up on this over-rated team. Of course I could be completely wrong as frankly Oklahoma can be pretty average as well (see loss to Kansas State). Coach Stoops has a way of losing the big one, but I predict this will look more like the game against Texas than the turnover plagued loss to the Wildcats.

It was the Dukes it was the Dukes….

Hold onto your hats….the Blue Devils are BOWL ELIGIBLE. That is right. We are talking about Duke. They have David Cutcliffe at the helm and he has led Duke to a place they have not been both literally and figuratively in forever. Duke went uninspiring 19-117 in the dozen years before the arrival of their head honcho. This will make their first chance to head to a bowl game since 1994 and only the third time since 1961. The last time they were in this position they were coached by the Old Ball coach himself, Steve Spurrier.

A lot of tough games for them the rest of the way, as they have to still play the Seminoles, but this is the first time in a long time the Cameron Crazies maybe are not ready to sleep in tents to see Coach K’s boys just yet.

The more things change, the more they stay the same….

I have to offer a written “Shout Out” to an old friend who I tailgated and attended the Northwestern vs. Nebraska game with this past weekend in Evanston. I have had the pleasure of seeing two of the more exciting college games in person while travelling with my buddy Terry. (We also went to the Missouri vs. Nebraska infamous “kickeroooskie” game in 1997 together) As always we had a great time and we picked up right where we last left off, the last time we went to a game together some 4 years ago. One thing is true about Nebraska Fans, they travel like no others. The stadium at Ryan Field (PS Northwestern Athletic Department – you have plenty of money at your University…how about some facility upgrades. Port-a-potties at the stadium….really???) was at least 50% Nebraska fans.

There really is no place like Nebraska…or any fans like their fans. Now go bring home a win against Michigan.

If they do, I just might cease to be amazed.

Until Next Time – Stay Classy Union Grove, Wisconsin

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Resetting Priorities

January 16, 2012

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Things I have stopped doing

I want to start this with a disclaimer that I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with the activities I am avoiding or the products and services that I am no longer using.  The first area of life that I am resetting is the use of my spare time.  I have cleared my friends list to just actual friends and family.  I have stopped using the time consuming on line games that kept me going through my period of heavy travel.  I am limiting my television watching to planned program viewing.  All of this is to realign the use of my time with what I have claimed (and really want) I want to do.

Next, I am no longer consuming carbonated beverages (colas, beer, etc.).  These beverages are liquid candy and except for the beer, have no nutrition value.  I am reducing the amount of sweets (candy, pie, cake, cookies, ice cream) to actually be treats.  I am forgoing the second helpings of my favorite meals (pasta, pizza, turkey, stuffing).  These actions are to reduce my caloric intake to address the fact that I am significantly over weight.

Things I am starting

I am spending more time writing.  I have taken up crocheting again.  I have already completed two single bed afghans for my college age kids.  This is something I learned as a child at the feet of my grandmother.  I have even gotten books from the library to help me understand the secret language of the crocheting patterns.  I am doing this with my wife (she actually is knitting and taking classes).  It is something we do together while watching television programs.  Having something to do with you hands really cuts done on the snacking or even the channel surfing.  These activities help to calm me especially during high stress with work, kids or life in general.

I am going to the gym more.  I am trying for at least three trips a week.  This in combination with my eating adjustments should work towards my weight loss goals.  My doctor has told me to try for at most one pound per week.  This is the sustainable loss rate the will result in a weight that can be maintained.  If I success, I will lose 50 pounds by next Christmas.  So far I have lost five pounds in the first three weeks of 2012.  I know that there will be plateaus, but I am encouraged.

Other adjustments

I was wrong in my prediction that Green Bay would make it back to the Super Bowl, but I still stand by my prediction that Baltimore will win it all this year.  I did not win the lottery – again- so I will just have to keep working and earn a retirement.  The History Channel and National Geographic Channel have become my favorite stations, mostly because they are not reporting on the primaries.  And finally, I really have to get my first book into the Hyrax store.

The Writing Continues – Or Does It?

November 14, 2011

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This year I have again challenged my readers to join in the writing frenzy known as the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.org). This year, my attempts have been an abject failure. The goal of the challenge is to capture 50,000 words towards a novel in the 30 days of November. We are at the half way point and we should be at 25,000 words. I am just shy of 10,000. I have thrown away two weekends that should have provided the time to get ahead of the curve. My only chance of meeting the goal is to use the time off that I have planned for Thanksgiving.

I have written several articles on how to stay focused, break through writer’s block, and various writing techniques. I have failed to heed my own advice. The cares of the world (work, family, yard work) have interrupted my writing and my chain of thought. The weekend days, those days that should provide the best opportunity for writing, have been the very days I have not written at all. I certainly hope that each of you has fared better.

So if I cannot really write about writing today, I have another topic to bring up. As most of you who have read my other articles are aware, I am a college and professional football (American) fan. I have an observation, not just from this weekend, but an over all consideration for the season. Both at the collegiate level and the professional level, effort are underway to make the game safer by implementing a helmet to helmet contact rule. What I have observed in the application of this rule. If the defender lowers his blow to strike the chest or midsection and the offensive player also lowers and initiated the helmet to helmet contact, the defender is flagged.

I understand the difficulty in determining intent or over aggressiveness. In the cases that I thought were incorrectly called, there was no net effect on the game. I believe that they will work out the system, similar to the way they have incorporated a good system for calling spearing (launching oneself head first). I also understand that the officials are erring on the side of safety. There is one part of this rule that I like, fines are assessed on players even if there is no penalty during the game. This action will teach the players that even if they get away with a dangerous hit during the game, reviews will still result in corrective action after the fact.

I diverged from writing to write about sports. I should return to writing. I hope that you do too.

2011 Fall TV – What Are YOU Looking Forward To?

August 24, 2011

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With the Fall TV lineup fast approaching, I figured (well, maybe Kosmo SUGGESTED) that I’d talk a little bit about what I’m looking forward to…and some changes we’ll see.

Changes? What changes? Well, at least one HUGE change. Ashton replaces Charlie on Two and a Half Men. Will the show ever be the same? Do you think it’ll be better, or worse? Personally, I don’t think it’ll ever be the same. Not that I’m a huge Charlie Sheen fan, or a fan at all. I just think that role couldn’t have been more perfect for him, based on his personal life (did the show make his personal life, or did his personal life make his role on the show?). And, once somebody plays a character on a sitcom for so long, it’s hard to imagine the show without said character. My favorite sitcom of all time, The King of Queens, could never have replaced Doug, Carrie, or Arthur. It just wouldn’t have been the same. And I get that Charlie will be “killed off” and isn’t just being “replaced”, but……I don’t know. I’ll give it a go, but my hopes are really really low.

My favorite new show from last year, Mike and Molly, will be making a triumphant return this fall, and could be one of the top rated sitcoms on TV. Like I said earlier, it’s difficult for me to like any show as much as I liked The King of Queens (TKOQ), but this one is fairly close. It does have a love story, but it’s more funny than anything and that’s what I like.

Speaking of a show close to TKOQ, The Big Bang Theory is extremely close. How funny can a group of nerds be? Very funny! If you haven’t given this show a chance, please do. I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed. Personally, I’m hoping for a Penny/Leonard reunion…..wonder what this season will bring?

Taking a break from comedies, my favorite non-comedy show has to be Criminal Minds (the original show, not this new Suspect Behavior nonsense). How the writers for this show can come up with so many crimes/storylines is beyond me, but they do. And they’re very good at it. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the Suspect Behavior spinoff is a bad show, because personally I’ve only watched a few episodes. I just like the original Criminal Minds so much that I don’t feel like the “new” show can come close. Maybe I should expand my horizons….

Last, but certainly not least, FOOTBALL! I know, I know, it’s not a “show”, but it’s TV/entertainment. I can’t wait to spend every weekend from September to January watching nothing but football (I think the wife is as excited as I am….OK, maybe not). When the NFL lockout first started, I thought to myself, “you know what, these overpaid bums need to just play the GAME that they have the opportunity to play…..I’m not going to watch if they ever start playing again”. I was wrong! I’ve never been so excited for a season in my life. Do you think they planned the lockout on purpose, to give fans a sense of what they might not have, and when the lockout ends the fans are more excited than ever?!?! Conspiracy, I say…

How Will the NCAA Punish Ohio State?

April 26, 2011

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Big problems continue for the beloved Ohio State Program. Not that it is any big shocker, but the NCAA the fastest yacht in the boat race, finally made a public statement yesterday that they are looking into “alleged” infractions. The violations in the Ohio State case happened a basically 12 months ago. The news splash came out in late December right before the bowl game, and then further escalated about 2 months ago with Tressel’s admission he knew about the problems with the five players trading equipment and awards for tattoos. Heck he even had the email train to show for it.

Now the Buckeyes have until July 5 to answer questions for the NCAA. A hearing before the infractions committee is scheduled Aug. 12 in Indianapolis.(coincidentally one day before Johnny Goodman’s Birthday) After that, god only knows how long this will drag on. Heck it took the NCAA 5 years to nail USC for Reggie Bush and other violations of basketball players taking place during the same time span.

The lingering question is will the NCAA think that the penalties imposed by the school are strong enough, or will they wield a heavier hammer? Hard to tell. The scuttlebutt in the coaching fraternity is that “The Vest” is in deep doo doo. Heck even Nebraska increased head coach Bo Pelini’s salary just yesterday making him the third highest paid football coach in the Big Ten. Why? They lost way more games than they should have last year and folded like a cheap card table in their bowl game re-match with lowly Washington. Maybe Athletic Director Tom Osborne wanted to make a possible move to Pelini’s alma mater, Ohio State, look less appealing from a financial perspective.

Lucky #7

The NFL Lockout drama saga continues this week we are quickly approaching the 2011 Draft. AP writer Jaime Aron had an excellent article on April 23rd that listed the top players taken at each position in the draft since the modern day draft has taken place. As you can imagine this could be a hotly debated topic. I mean which #1 overall is the best? Bradshaw? Manning? Aikman, Campbell? You could make your argument for any of these guys at #1. But what I found interesting was that the #7 pick in the first round has been a veritable point of weakness overall.

Tops on Aron’s listing was Adrian Peterson in the #7 spot, who many felt “slid” to the Vikings as he was coming off an injury plagued college career at Oklahoma. Phil Simms, Sterling Sharpe, Bryant Young and Champ Bailey are others of mention at the number 7 spot but no one really stands out like is the case at the other positions in the top 10 overall in any given year

Maybe this means the #7 spot is due to have a great player taken. Of course anyone in the Top 10 each year is considered great or they would not be considered to be drafted that high. The consensus at #7 this year is Patrick Peterson, the dynamic secondary player from LSU. Only time will tell if a Peterson will dominate from the #7 spot overall in the draft.

Until Next time…stay classy Mel Kiper Jr.

Why Is Ohio State Getting Special Treatment From The NCAA?

March 8, 2011

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You knew it could not go away this quietly. Tattoo gate is alive and still well in Columbus Ohio. According to Yahoo Sports, Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel was informed that some of his players had sold memorabilia to the owner of a tattoo parlor more than eight months before the school said it was made aware of improper transactions.

Yahoo Sports, citing an unidentified source (shocker, when is the last time anyone reported their source in a scandalous story?), reports Tressel received information as early as April 2010 that players were selling items to Edward Rife, who owns Fine Line Ink Tattoos in Columbus.

Ohio State officials did not immediately respond to a requests for comment by the AP. – Again a big shocker here. They need to back pedal or more importantly call in Tressel this morning.

Ohio State Athletic Dept – So ummmmm Jim. You knew about the tattoo stuff way back in April last year???

The Vest – I cannot confirm nor deny that rumor.

OSAD – But Yahoo! Sports is claiming that you knew about this much earlier than you previously told us and we were only alerted by the US Attorney’s office last December. The NCAA who loves the Big Ten more than, well Dan Bebee loves Texas went kid gloves on us. They even allowed us to make a deal to let the guys all play in a bowl game but they had to cross their fingers and toes and “promise” to come back and play for us next year and not go professional or anything like that.

The Vest – Yeah I did not know anything earlier, I promise “wink wink, nod nod”

If it does come out that Tressel, or anyone at thuh Ohio State for that matter, had any knowledge or knew anything prior to this date in December, the punishment should be swift and fierce. Including ruling all players ineligible for the remainder of their college days as well as loss of scholarships, suspensions of coaches etc.

The NCAA is walking a fine line here. They essentially bust Cam Newton for one day, but then take off the gloves and do nothing. The Reggie Bush sage lasted 5 years but at least the penalties were harsh.

The NCAA needs to set an example that cheating, or breaking rules, in any way shape or form will not be tolerated whatsoever. Period end of Story.

Isn’t a school which calls itself “Thee” already laying the impetus for a crashing fall from grace due to improprieties. Or does the entire university, just like those players that trades gifts for ink fell that they are above the law in little Columbus, Ohio. It is amazing that the normally un-reserved Buckeye fans have been so quiet.

Nice job Bunkeyes. Nothing like tarnishing your program for the next decade or so if any more of this turns out to be true. And all over a bunch of tattoos that you are going to look at when you are in your 50’s and wonder ‘what the heck was I thinking”

At least your conference landed Nebraska, maybe that will turn away the problems for awhile.

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