Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Curse of A-Rod

I have hated the New York Yankees as long as I have watched baseball, which is since I was a little boy. My hate has subsided to mere dislike as I have gotten older (I am annoyed even more by the Red Sox), but I still get tickled when the Yanks fall short.

Alex Rodriguez is a great player. He’s not worth $25 million per year, but no one is. However, he brings bad fortune everywhere he goes. In his early days in Seattle, the Mariners were good, but could not quite get over the hump to get to the World Series, in spite of having some pretty good teams. He took a lot of Tom Hicks’ money to go to the Rangers, and the Rangers immediately went into the tank, stayed there, and still have not recovered. He was such a failed bit with the Rangers that they paid the Yankees to take him off their hands, and are still paying part of his salary. That’s right: the money from those $5 hot dogs at Ameriquest Field in Arlington helps pay A-Rod to play for the Yankees.

So, A-Rod goes to Gotham to play for the Bronx Bombers, winners of 25 world championships, and with more money than Fort Knox to spend on players. The Yankees are stacked every year with talent at every position. They also are a mainstay in the post-season. However, after spending all that money on A-Rod and others, the Yankees have not won a world championship in six years, and have not been to a World Series in five years. A-Rod was still in Seattle when the Yankees last won a World Series. His curse has infected the Yankees. After today's event in Detroit, heads will roll.

These are the Yankees. The Yankees should do better.

The Debacle In Dallas

The Oklahoma Sooners played a great second quarter today against Texas, at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Problem is, there are four quarters in a football game. The Longhorns manhandled the Sooners at the line of scrimmage, and won, 28-10.

The Sooners committed 11 penalties and 5 turnovers. That will get you beat every time, often by a wider margin than 18 points. As much as it pains me to say, Texas was better than us today.

OU has a long second half of the season ahead of it, with tough road trips to Missouri and Texas A&M, and grudge matches with Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. With the national championship off the table, and only an outside shot at a Big XII championship, all the Sooners have left to play for is pride, and the best bowl possible. They have a choice: to suck it up, or to just plain suck.

In the words of Jim Rome: Have a take, and don’t suck! The Sooners need to suck it up and play ball.

Friday, October 06, 2006

NFL Week 5 Picks

NFL Week 5 Picks

Last Week: 10-4 Season: 40-20

Dallas at Philadelphia: The traveling circus that is Terrell Owens returns to the City of Brotherly Love. T.O. is wearing a target bigger than the sign in front of SuperTarget. He’ll come through for the Cowboys. The Iggles have injury questions on both sides of the ball, but Brian Westbrook should be back. My heart says Dallas, my gut is torn, and my head says Philly. Pick: Philly
Buffalo at Chicago: Da Bears are da bomb. They are the real deal. The Bills are fair to partly cloudy. Not great, but not bad. The Bears stay undefeated. Pick: Chicago
Cleveland at Carolina: The Browns came back to beat the sorry Raiders last week. The Panthers are on the way back after an 0-2 start. Pick: Carolina
Detroit at Minnesota: Detroit has scored 68 points in the last two weeks. Problem is, they have allowed 81 in those two games. There’s no D in Detroit. The Vikes are an above-average team. In the old dome in Minneapolis, I’ll take Minnesota.
Miami at New England: The Dolphins have slipped into the muck of suckage. The Pats came up big last week with a convincing win at Cincinnati. I see no way the Dolphins can win here. Pick: New England
St. Louis at Green Bay: Sant Louis (as my dearly departed mother used to call it) is 3-1. They’re a shaky 3-1, but they have 3 wins. Green Bay is 1-3. The vultures are circling around Brett Favre. That only means that Favre comes up big. In a slight upset….Pick: Green Bay
Tampa Bay at New Orleans: The Bucs are struggling. The Saints come home. This is so hard to pick, because the Bucs are bound to break this winless streak sometime. However, they have no quarterback. So…Pick: New Orleans
Tennessee at Indianapolis: This has Survival Football written all over it, only I’ve already used the Colts. The Titans are a bad, bad team. Vince will get some yards in mop-up duty, though. The Colts are good, and stay undefeated. Pick: Indy
Washington at NY Giants: Huge game for the New York Football Giants, as they do not want to be left behind in the NFC East. The Redskins have bounced back after losing their first two games. I have to pick a road team, and this is a good time to pick one. Pick: Washington
Kansas City at Arizona: The Fighting Damon Huards made San Francisco look like a high school team last week. The Cardinals have all those offensive weapons. However, they’re still the Cardinals. A leopard doesn’t change its spots, and the Cardinals are forever cursed to be terrible. Pick: Kansas City
New York Jets at Jacksonville: The Jags are a great 2-2 team. The Jets are perhaps overachieving at 2-2. Pick: Jacksonville
Oakland at San Francisco: This is about as bad as it gets. It’s a grudge match for the Bay Area, but it will really go a long way toward determining the #1 pick in next year’s draft. Pick: San Francisco
Pittsburgh at San Diego: The Chargers lost a tough one in Baltimore last week. That won’t happen this week. Pick: San Diego
Baltimore at Denver: Steve McNair has a lease on life in Baltimore. The Broncos are pretty inconsistent. It’s Monday Night in Denver, though, and it’s hard to go against the home team. Pick: Denver

Thursday, October 05, 2006

College Picks: Weekend of October 7

Last Week: 13-7 Overall: 77-23

Oklahoma vs. Texas: Big game for Texas. Really big game for the Sooners. OU has played two pretty good teams in Washington and Oregon. Texas has played the best team in the country, and three creampuffs. I really think OU will win the game. This isn’t a homer pick. Pick: OU
Nebraska at Iowa State: Both teams barely escaped last week, the Huskers against Kansas, and the Cyclones against Northern Iowa. Nebraska was fortunate last year in an overtime game in Lincoln. Nebraska has improved a little, and I’m not sure if Iowa State has. The ‘Clones have the home field. The Huskers have a better team. Pick: Nebraska
Texas A&M at Kansas: Beginning of the end for Coach Fran. The Aggies are pretty average. KU should have come out of Lincoln with a win last week. KU should come out of Larryville with a win this week. Pick: Fighting Manginos
Missouri at Texas Tech: Mizzou is unbeaten, and Tech would be unbeaten if they would have scheduled someone other than TCU in the third game of the season. The game is out on the plains of West Texas, which tilts the game ever so slightly in favor of Texas Tech. My gut says Tech. Pick: Texas Tech
Baylor at Colorado: Baylor got a win last week, which is something Colorado does not have as of yet. The Colorado losing streak stops here. Pick: Buffs
Oklahoma State at Kansas State: The Ag Bowl. K-State is on the way to its pre-Snyder days. OSU hasn’t shown a lot yet, but took care of business against some sorry teams. OSU has a few more athletes. Pick: OSU
Florida State at N.C. State: Not much offense on either side here. Take the under, if so inclined. N.C. State is playing for coach Amato’s job. FSU can’t lose another conference game. FSU has more talent. Pick: FSU
TCU at Utah: Both teams are reeling after unexpected defeats. TCU lost decisively to BYU, while the Utes were rolled by Boise State. Hard to get a feel for this one, but I’ll take the Frogs. Pick: TCU
Arkansas at Auburn: The Hogs will keep this close, but War Eagle is too much in the end. Pick: Aubrn
LSU at Florida: Should be a good one. LSU is really good, but I’m not sure if they can win a big game on the road. Pick: Florida
Michigan State at Michigan: Michigan is off to a really good start. Michigan State is in a freefall. Irresistible force does not meet immovable object here. Pick: Michigan
Tennessee at Georgia: Tennessee has bounced back this season. Georgia has struggled, but is still undefeated. The Bulldogs have the home field, but have had serious quarterback problems. Senior Joe Tereshinski comes back from injury this week. I’m not sure if that will be enough. I like Rocky Top in this one. Pick: Tennessee
Oregon at California: Cal has been rolling over opponents since their opening week loss at Tennessee. Oregon is still undefeated, thanks to Pacific 10 officials. This one is in Berkeley, and I like Cal. Pick: California
Clemson at Wake Forest: Huge game for the still-undefeated Demon Deacons. This will be close, but Clemson has too much talent. Pick: Clemson
Purdue at Iowa: Hawkeyes coming off drubbing at the hands of Ohio State. Purdue bouncing back from loss at Notre Dame. Iowa is a little too good for Purdue this year. Pick: Iowa
Pittsburgh at Syracuse: Syracuse has tripled last year’s win total. Pittsburgh is getting better every week, including last week’s whipping of Toledo. Pick: Pittsburgh
Navy at Air Force: Key to the Commander-In-Chief Trophy, won by Navy the last two years. Navy takes a step toward winning it this year, as well. Pick: Navy
Arizona at UCLA: A couple of mediocre Pac-10 teams meet in the Rose Bowl. Pick: UCLA
Penn State at Minnesota: Both teams appear to be down from previous years. This one is in the dome, and is a pure crap shoot from this vantage point. Pick: Minnesota
Ursinus at Case Western Reserve: Why this one? Why not. By the way, Ursinus is pronounced ur-SIGH-nus. Pick: Ursinus

Monday, October 02, 2006

Baseball Post-Season: First Round

In the middle of the greatness of football season, we still have baseball, which enters its postseason playoffs. With three rounds of playoffs, the postseason is no longer as special as it once was, and it drowns in the sea of 500 channels of cable & satellite, as well as the 800 pound gorilla known as the NFL. Nonetheless, there are some storylines worth addressing, and picks to be made.

Division Series

American League
Detroit vs. New York (AL): DET led the American League Central for the entire season, until the last day, when they blew a 6-0 lead to the hapless Royals, allowing them to be swept by a team that lost more than 100 games. DET has the wild card to fall back on, but they have to play NY. NY is there every year, but the Yankees haven't won a World Series in six years. DET is young, and NY has experience. Pick: NY, 3-1.
Oakland vs. Minnesota: MIN was the best team in the second half of the season. OAK had little trouble winning the West. MIN will have too much for OAK. Pick: MIN, 3-1.

National League
St. Louis vs. San Diego: The Cardinals very nearly pulled the biggest choke in the history of baseball, blowing an 8 1/2 game lead with 13 to play. Their lead got down to 1/2 game, but managed to split a four-game series with Milwaukee and hold off the Astros. The Padres held off the Dodgers and won the West on a tiebreaker. Pick: SD, 3-0.
Los Angeles vs. New York (NL): The Dodgers have played well in the second half of the season. NYM is struggling, now that ace Pedro Martinez is out for the playoffs. That can't help but hurt NYM. Still, NYM has a strong lineup, and should hold off the Dodgers. Pick: NYM, 3-2.

Championship Series

American League
NYY vs. MIN: When in doubt, go with the Yankees. NYY in 6.

National League
NYM vs. SD: If Pedro were healthy, it would be NYM in a slam dunk. Pedro is out, and I'll take the Padres in the upset in 6.

World Series
SD vs. NYY: Los Yanquis.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

NFL Week In Review-Week 4

NFL Week In Review: Week 4

What’s with the blowouts? There were a lot of points scored today, and some one-sided affairs. There are some pretty good teams, and some really bad teams. Anything can happen on a given Sunday in the NFL, but there are some things that are more predictable than others in this league.

First, we start in Music City, U.S.A. I expected the Cowboys to beat the sorry Titans, but I didn’t expect 45-14. Thanks to our friends at the NFL, I didn’t get to watch this game. I’m sure Fox 26 in Houston would have liked to have shown hometown boy Vince Young in his first start against the Cowboys, but the NFL wants everyone to watch the Texans when they are on TV in their hometown. I knew Vince would struggle in his first start, but he had some good spots. Julius Jones and Terry Glenn had good games for the Cowboys. Good win for the Silver and Blue, and the T.O. circus returns to Philly next week. The Titans are a bad team.

While on the subject of blowouts, the 49ers soiled the legacy of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice with that awful goose egg they laid in Kansas City. The Chiefs, with backup quarterback Damon Huard, horsewhipped the Niners by a score of 41-0. Rarely does an NFL team lose 41-0. The Bay Area is starving for quality football. Dante Hall came up big for the Arrowheads, with a punt return and a catch for touchdowns.

What was that thud we heard from Cincinnati today? The Patriots, coming off a dreadful game against Denver, beat the Bengals like a rented mule. Props to Laurence Maroney, for breaking 100 yards, scoring a touchdown, and helping my fantasy team.

The discussion of blowouts is incomplete without mentioning the Sunday Night event in Chicago. The Seahawks were missing Shaun Alexander, and they may as well have been missing their entire team. Da Bears are the real deal, as they now have some offense to go with that defense.

Downstate and across the river in St. Louis, there was a shootout in the return of Mike Martz to the River City. My friends at Fox 26 were able to show this one, as it was the token 3:00 game on Fox. Yeah, it started at 3, and ended at 6:45, without going into overtime. Just a ton of passing, as the Rams beat Etroit, 41-34. Where’s Etroit? There’s no D in Detroit today, as they gave up 41, so it’s Etroit. Those teams went up and down the field all day, and the Lions even had a chance to chunk it into the end zone to tie it at the end. It was not to be, and the Rams are 3-1.

The Colts have played as many games in New York this year as they have in Indianapolis. Their trip to the Meadowlands to play the Jets ended well. They were given a scare by the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets. Peyton Manning scored a rushing touchdown for the second game in a row, for the winner. The Jets almost won at the end on a multiple-lateral play, but fell about 25 yards short, and the Colts won 31-28.

Here in Harris County, the sad sack Texans beat the suddenly hapless Dolphins, 17-15. They tried to give it away, as the Dolphins scored in the last two minutes, missed a two-point conversion, then fumbled a recovery of an onside kick. Big win for the Texans, and they have a chance for as many as three more wins this year, with two games against the Titans and one against the Raiders still on the schedule.

The Raiders were competitive today, and actually had a 21-3 lead. However, they blew it, and Cleveland won, 24-21. I’m sure it was a competitive game, but there were games in the USFL and XFL that were competitive. That doesn’t mean it was a quality game. The Raiders are bad, bad, bad.

Atlanta put a whipping on the Cardinals, 32-10. What’s the over/under on Matt Leinart’s debut in Arizona?

The Carolina Panthers got win #2, 21-18 over the Saints. The Panthers are recovering from a slow start, and have Steve Smith back. The Saints are marching back to earth.

There was a barnburner in Landover, Maryland today, as Jacksonville and Washington lit up the scoreboard and went into overtime. Santana Moss picked overtime to catch his second touchdown pass. The Redskins needed the win, especially one over a quality team.

Just up I-95, the Ravens had a battle with San Diego. Last week’s comments apply here. Good teams find a way to win. The Ravens are a good team. Steve McNair is liking crab cakes, especially at 4-0.

Finally, the Bills beat the Vikings in Buffalo today. I got that pick wrong. The Vikings’ new uniforms are ugly, especially the road version with the white jerseys, purple pants, and white stripes. Bud Grant can’t be happy.

So Close, Yet So Far, and the Latest Big XII Rankings

Blogging while watching this sorry game between the Dolphins and the Texans. Thanks to the NFL's TV rules, the Cowboys-Titans game cannot be shown in Houston, because the Texans are home at the same time. So, it's the Dolphins and the Texans, or no football at all until 3:00 pm.

Last night was a fun night in college football, as there were three potential upsets brewing at the same time. Unfortunately, none of them came to fruition. The University of Houston outplayed Miami, but the Canes scored two touchdowns, and were able to win, 14-13. USC went up to the Palouse and barely beat Washington State, 28-22. SC is not invincible, but has tons of young talent. Oregon and Cal will give them all they want. And, Nebraska needed overtime to outlast Kansas, 39-32. The Huskers couldn't stop the Jayhawks, but KU botched an extra point early in the game which caused them problems later in the game.

Big XII rankings:

1. Texas. Still first, until Saturday in Dallas.
2. Oklahoma. Didn't lose to Open Date. Mad at the world, and primed to take it out on Texas.
3. Nebraska. Probably still the best team in the North, but looked very mortal against KU.
4. Missouri. Still undefeated, but must go out to the Plains of West Texas this week.
5. Texas Tech. Big win over A&M, which has become a regular occurence.
6. Kansas. Gave Nebraska all they wanted, and should have won the game.
7. Texas A&M. The vultures are circling in College Station.
8. Iowa State. Barely escaped against Northern Iowa.
9. Baylor. Put it together for conference win #1.
10. Oklahoma State. Also defeated Open Date. Winnable game at K-State this week.
11. Kansas State. Bad loss at Baylor, but OSU is a winnable game for them this week, as well.
12. Colorado. Improving, but must win to get out of the cellar.