Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Amazing Race...Or, Kirk Herbstreit's Saturday

The folks at ESPN/ABC value the college football knowledge and expertise of Kirk Herbstreit. Every week, he appears on College GameDay at a campus location, then appears later that night on an ABC Saturday Night game. Most weeks, GameDay and the Saturday Night game are not at the same location.

Today is not Kirk's longest single-day trip, as he appeared earlier this season on GameDay at Virginia Tech and did a game that night from Berkeley, California. Just last week, he was on GameDay in the morning in Eugene, Oregon, then did the night game in Boston. Today's trip, though, if done conventionally, would be worthy of a spot on The Amazing Race. Luckily for him, ESPN provides a private plane and a pilot.

This morning, GameDay was live from the campus of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Williamstown is in the far northwest corner of Massachusetts in the Berkshire Mountains. Tonight, Kirk is in Stillwater, Oklahoma to broadcast Kansas-Oklahoma State. Without the pilot, he'd be busting it through the mountains to Albany, NY to catch a flight to Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland or Detroit, just to catch another plane to Tulsa or Oklahoma City. He'd then have to rent a car and drive an hour to an hour and a half to Stillwater. Good luck with all that.

Good private pilots are very valuable. On the other hand, Kirk probably won't realize he is in Stillwater until he gets to the hotel tonight.

Is There Any Defense in Texas?

Today was not a good day to be a defensive coordinator at a Division I school in Texas. The results to date:

Texas A&M gave up 40 points, losing 40-26 to Missouri.

Rice and SMU went up and down the field on each other. Rice outscored the Mustangs, 43-42.

The Houston Cougars were smashed by the University of Tulsa. TU beat Houston, 56-7.

Texas and Texas Tech played pinball today in Austin. The Longhorns won, 59-43.

The biggest defensive breakdown occurred today in Denton, as Navy's option outscored the North Texas spread offense, 74-62. That was a football game, not a basketball game.

Baylor is playing at Oklahoma as I type. It would be shocking if Baylor gave up less than 40 points to OU. Addendum: Baylor scrapped with OU, but the Sooners won, 52-21.

No wonder the first coach firings of the season are occurring in Texas.

There is no "D" in Texas.

Knee-Jerk Reactions

What’s up with Nebraska? Just as the hangmen are about to get Bill Callahan, the Huskers go out and hang 73 on Kansas State. Was Callahan playing the wrong quarterback all along? Nebraska is 5-6. If they beat Colorado in two weeks, they will be bowl-eligible. There are a bunch of Big 12 teams that will be 7-5 or 6-6.

Speaking of coaches on the hot seat, Dennis Franchione took the A&M train wreck up to Missouri and gave the Tigers all they wanted. Mizzou pulled away at the end to win, 40-26. The Ags were within 24-19 and 31-26 in the second half, but could not get over the hump. Buyout negotiations continue in College Station.

Don’t look now, but Mississippi State is now bowl-eligible. For the second year in a row, embattled coach Sylvester Croom beat his alma mater Alabama, 17-12. The Bulldogs now have six wins. They’ll need a seventh to be sure of an SEC bowl bid, but they have a game with Ole Miss at the end of the year.

The Big Ten is weak. So weak. First, Michigan goes down to Wisconsin, 37-21. Then, #1 Ohio State fell at home to the Fighting Illini of Illinois, 28-21. The Rose Bowl will have a Big Ten team after all. The BCS national championship game will not.

Friday, November 09, 2007

NFL Picks, Week 10

NFL Picks, Week 10

Last Week: 12-2
Season: 89-41

Dallas at New York Giants: When these teams met in Week 1, the Cowboys won a 45-35 shootout. The Giants have now won six in a row, but are coming off a bye. Look for more fireworks here. Tony and the Fighting Romos come through again. Pick: Dallas

Minnesota at Green Bay: Another divisional rematch. The Packers are rolling at 7-1. The Vikings have the NFL’s latest rookie sensation in RB Adrian Peterson. AD is forced to be a one-man gang, and still rushed for a league record 295 yards last week. Brett Favre is 39 going on 29. Go with the fountain of youth. Pick: Pack

Jacksonville at Tennessee: David Garrard may be back this week for the Jags. That shouldn’t matter, as the Titans are tough at home. Pick: Tennessee

Denver at Kansas City: The Broncos are hemorraging before our eyes. The Chiefs have lost RB Larry Johnson for this week. Not to worry, because they have brought Priest Holmes out of a cryogenically frozen state for this week’s game. The Chiefs are simply better at this point. Pick: KC

St. Louis at New Orleans: The Rams are slowly getting their team back, as QB Marc Bulger has joined RB Steven Jackson in returning from injury. But, they run into a hot Saints team. The Rams remain winless for another week. Pick: New Orleans

Buffalo at Miami: While on the subject of winless teams, we move over to Miami. The Dolphins are down to backups at multiple positions. They play a Bills team that is 4-4 but could be easily 6-2. The Bills are turning out to be pretty decent. Pick: Buffalo

Cleveland at Pittsburgh: These two teams, fan bases, and cities hate each other. Both teams have been scoring a lot of points this year. This week, the Steelers score more. Pick: Pittsburgh

Philadelphia at Washington: Just another NFC East bloodbath. The Eagles will bleed more than bathe. The Redskins aren’t quite as ugly. Pick: Washington

Atlanta at Carolina: The Falcons got their first win last week. The Panthers may be forced to start their fourth quarterback, Matt Moore. Flip a coin on this one. Pick: Carolina

Chicago at Oakland: The Raiders went back into their dreadful state last week in a loss to the Texans. Now, the suddenly mediocre Bears visit. This has the potential for ugliness. Go with the Bears’ defense here. Pick: Chicago

Detroit at Arizona: The NFL’s surprise team visits the desert in search of win #7. They get it. Pick: Detroit

Cincinnati at Baltimore: This was once a premier matchup. Now, it’s a disappointing team vs. a mediocre team. This one is in Crab City, so go with the home team. Pick: Baltimore

Indianapolis at San Diego: The Chargers are desperate after laying a big fat egg in Minnesota last week. The Colts blew a chance to beat the mighty Patriots last week. San Diego will give the Colts all they want. But, the Colts are simply better. Pick: Indy

San Francisco at Seattle: Yuck. Get ready for an all-time low TV rating in the history of Monday Night Football. The Seahawks should have more than enough to handle the Niners. Pick: Seattle

Ugly Uniform of the Day-Addendum

Recently, the West Virginia Mountaineers earned UUOTD with their gold jerseys. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it did.

Thursday, West Virginia wore gold jerseys and gold pants against Louisville. Their fans filled the stadium wearing gold, making for a gold-out.

These uniforms are even worse. They look like canaries. The crowd looked like empty seats in the Pittsburgh Steelers' stadium. Only difference is that that's the color of the seats in Pittsburgh, while it was the color of the crowd in Morgantown on Thursday night.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

A Bad Joke

No, this is not Mack Brown at Christmas.

I received a stack of sample Christmas cards in the mail today. They had a University of Texas theme. Anyone who knows me knows that I like the Texas Longhorns about as much as I like broccoli or a root canal. Someone must have been wanting to play a joke on me by putting me on this mailing list. This is bad.


Sports By Brooks

I'd like to thank Sports By Brooks for linking to this week's college picks. The exposure is always appreciated.

Brooks Melchior is the author of the well-visited blog. I spent the summer of 1993 in Charleston, South Carolina. That season, Brooks Melchior was the voice of the single-A Charleston Rainbows of the South Atlantic League. I went to a few games at their old ballpark. Those were fun times.

Welcome to all who come over from Sports by Brooks. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

College Picks, Week 11

This week's picks, with a twist:

Last Week: 14-6
Season: 131-69

Baylor at Oklahoma: Mismatch city. Famous Baylor alum: Drayton McLane (Astros owner). Famous OU alum: James Garner. Pick: OU

Kansas at Oklahoma State: Saturday Night Football on ABC, live from Stillwater, America. The Fighting Manginos are America’s darlings at 9-0. The Oklahoma Aggies continue to find ways to lose. Both teams score lots of points. If you’re looking for late local news on your ABC station Saturday night, don’t bother trying until 10:30 CST at the earliest, because this game will run long with all the pass attempts. Famous KU alum: Bob Dole. Famous OSU alum: Garth Brooks. Pick: KU

Texas Tech at Texas: The Red Raiders invade Austin to meet a team that will take a win any way they can get it. I get the feeling that the Longhorns are winning games simply because they have “Texas” on their jerseys. These guys are going to mess around and go 10-2. Famous Tech alum: Pat Green. Famous UT alum: Matthew McConaughey. Pick: UT

Texas A&M at Missouri: The Good Ship Fran is sinking ever so slowly. OU took it easy on them last week. Mizzou is out for blood, even after hanging half a hundred on Colorado last week. Famous A&M alum: Gov. Rick Perry. Famous Mizzou alum: Sheryl Crow. Pick: Mizzou

Kansas State at Nebraska: Nebraska is an eight-point underdog at home to an unranked team. Go figure. The Bill Callahan death march continues. K-State won’t score 76 on the Huskers, but they’ll score enough to win. Famous K-State alum: Gordon Jump. Famous Nebraska alum: Johnny Carson. Pick: KSU

Colorado at Iowa State: Gene Chizik has the Cyclones playing hard, and they got their first Big 12 win last week over K-State. The Buffs aren’t having much success playing in the North division, but got three wins against the South. Strange things happen in the corn fields of Iowa. Famous CU alum: Chris Fowler. Famous Iowa State alum: George Washington Carver. Pick: Iowa State

Auburn at Georgia: The most underrated rivalry in the South resumes Saturday. Both teams have owned the Florida Gators this year. There is a rumor that Georgia will show up in black jerseys. I pray this isn’t true. Georgia’s on a roll. Famous Auburn alum: Toni Tennille. Famous Georgia alum: Ryan Seacrest. Pick: UGA

Louisville at West Virginia (Thursday): The Ville goes into Morgantown as a decided underdog. West Virginia is rolling through the Big East after an early loss at South Florida. Famous Louisville alum: Larry Birkhead (father of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby). Famous West Virginia alum: Brad Paisley. Pick: West Virginia

Arkansas at Tennessee: Hogs ride the Darren McFadden Express into Knoxville. The Vols suddenly find themselves in control of their own destiny in the SEC East. They won’t blow it this week. Famous Arkansas alum: Jerry Jones. Famous Tennessee alum: Todd Helton. Pick: Tennessee

Florida at South Carolina: The mighty Gators find themselves with three losses in the conference, and going to Columbia to face Gator legend Steve Spurrier and his Gamecocks. The ‘Cocks left their season on the field in Knoxville two weeks ago in a heartbreaking loss. The Gators should be able to win here. Famous Florida alum: Erin Andrews. Famous South Carolina alum: Van Earl Wright. Pick: Florida

USC at Cal: This game once had BCS implications. Now, it has Sun Bowl implications. Both teams are disappointing. Famous USC alum: O.J. Simpson. Famous Cal alum: Judge Lance Ito. Pick: USC

Illinois at Ohio State: The Fighting Ron Zooks are having a nice season. However, they won’t be able to stop the train that is Ohio State. Famous Illinois alum: Gene Hackman. Famous Ohio State alum: Dwight Yoakam. Pick: TOSU

Florida State at Virginia Tech: FSU returned to college football relevance last week with their upset of Boston College in Chowderland. They now visit Virginia Tech, who plays on a Saturday for the first time in a month. Can it happen two weeks in a row for FSU? Doubtful. Famous Florida State alum: Burt Reynolds. Famous VT alum: NBC reporter Hoda Kotb. Pick: VT

Kentucky at Vanderbilt: Kentucky was once a top 10 team. Now, they find themselves in the scrum that is the SEC East. Vandy, once a doormat, could find themselves in a bowl game this year. My gut says go with the ‘Dores. Famous UK alum: Ashley Judd. Famous Vandy alum: Ross Perot, Jr. Pick: Vandy

Michigan at Wisconsin: What does it say about the Big Ten that Meechigan can win 6 in a row in the conference after losing to Appalachian State and getting thumped by Oregon? I’d like to see Wiscy get this one at home, but my gut says Michigan. Famous Michigan alum: Gerald Ford. Famous Wisconsin alum: Greta Van Susteren. Pick: Michigan

Minnesota at Iowa: This is for Floyd of Rosedale, a statue of a bronze pig. Minnesota has been playing like real pigs this year, with one win all season. Iowa is making a late-season run at a bowl game. Floyd of Rosedale stays in Iowa City. Famous Minnesota alum: Loni Anderson. Famous Iowa alum: Tom Arnold. Pick: Iowa

Fresno State at Hawaii: Warriors have their toughest home game to date. Fresno will represent well, but Hawaii remains undefeated for another week. Famous Fresno State alum: Mike Martz. Famous Hawaii alum: Mat McBriar. Pick: Hawaii

TCU at BYU (Thursday): Frogs got a huge shutout win last week over New Mexico, 37-0. Now they head to Provo to battle the conference-leading Cougars. It doesn’t look good for the Froggies. Famous TCU alum: Bob Schieffer. Famous BYU alum: Mitt Romney. Pick: BYU

Michigan State at Purdue: Battle of the middle rung in the Big Ten. Purdue has performed very well against the lesser lights in the conference. Michigan State had their hearts broken last week against the hated Wolverines. Purdue should put the boot on the throat this week. Famous MSU alum: Robert Urich. Famous Purdue alum: Orville Redenbacher. Pick: Purdue

Wabash at DePauw: Battle for the Monon Bell. Huge Division III game in Indiana. Famous Wabash alum: David Kendall (Bill Clinton’s attorney). Famous DePauw alum: Dan Quayle. Pick: DePauw.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ugly Uniform of the Day

Today's UUOTD was unveiled Monday night for the second time this season. The Pittsburgh Steelers broke out their 60's throwbacks for a celebration of their 75th anniversary. These do not match. The mustard-colored helmets do not go with the white pants. The Steelers did well to do away with these uniforms in time for the dynasty of the 70's. The team was as bad as the uniforms when they wore them regularly.

Speaking of their dynasty: If the franchise is celebrating their past, why didn't they just wear their 70's uniforms? They're not that different from what they wear today, except for the fonts of the names and numbers.

The Steelers need to get back to their modern uniforms quickly.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Bonehead Moves of the Week

The absolute bonehead moves of the week were made by the owner of this blog, who doubles as manager of the fantasy football team known as the Redneck Hayseeds. This team is in a Yahoo public league.

I used Yahoo's analysis to choose my lineups. Mistake #1: Yahoo rated Kevin Jones of Detroit as a 5-star play, as they did LaDainian Tomlinson. L.T. was a no-brainer. Problem is, I also have Adrian Peterson. He was rated as a 4-star play. So, I used Kevin Jones. He scored 7 points in a league that values touchdowns. Adrian Peterson sat on the bench. So did his 45 points.

Mistake #2: Yahoo rated the Baltimore defense vs. Pittsburgh ahead of the Detroit defense vs. Denver. I had both defenses, and chose the Ravens. The Ravens' defense has produced 1 point so far tonight. The Lions' defense rode two touchdowns to 29 points. That is a total of 74 points on the bench.

Fast forward to the Monday night blowout. The Ravens got drilled. Willis McGahee of the Ravens was in my opponent's lineup. He scored a touchdown, and my opponent actually took a lead. I became fortunate in 4th quarter garbage time. The Ravens got an interception. On the ensuing drive, McGahee was knocked out of the game with a concussion while trying to make a block.

What should have been an easy win instead became one that needed an injury to be preserved. Redneck Hayseeds win, 70-69.

Such is life in fantasy football. Don't trust the experts at Yahoo Sports.

He's Gone

The coach, not the dog.

It is being leaked that Texas A&M has agreed to a buyout of Dennis Franchione's contract. The news and details are neither being confirmed nor denied, but it's a matter of time.

Rumor has it that due to the VIP Connection scandal, the Aggies have a case for breach of contract, and will only need to pay him a year's salary of $2,000,000 for a buyout. Otherwise, A&M would be on the hook for upwards of $8,000,000. Boy, that's a big price to pay, at $1200 a subscription. And, Fran will never make this kind of money again.

Among the candidates for the A&M job is Tommy Tuberville, head coach of Auburn. Tuberville survived Auburn super-booster Bobby Lowder's attempt to fill his job with the clandestine interview of then-Louisville coach Bobby Petrino in 2003. Tuberville answered by coaching War Eagle to an undefeated season in 2004. The Ags have some high-powered boosters, but none as wheels-off as Lowder.

Undeniable truth of life: An Aggie is an Aggie is an Aggie.

NFL Highway, Week 9

A record-breaking game and a game that lived up to its hype. Just another weekend on the NFL highway.

Sunday night in Philadelphia, the Dallas Cowboys lit up the Eagles for 38 points, and pounded the Eagles 38-17. Tony Romo threw three touchdown passes for the Cowboys in his first game since signing his new contract and his weekend with Britney Spears and friends. The Eagles are in big, big trouble.

The game of the year was in Indianapolis, where the New England Patriots came back from a 10-point deficit to defeat the Colts, 24-20. The Pats have a very good chance to go 16-0. Their biggest obstacle to a perfect season looks to be in the last regular season game, when they travel to New York to play the Giants in an NFL Network Saturday night game. The Colts will have to play well to outlast the Titans and Jaguars in a tough AFC South.

Elsewhere in the AFC South, television viewers in southeast Texas got to see the Houston Texans get win #4 against the Oakland Raiders, 24-17. This game wasn't even that close, as the Raiders scored late to cut the deficit to 7. The Texans now go into their bye week at 4-5.

Another AFC South team that continues to win is the Tennessee Titans. The Titans dominated the quarterback-poor Carolina Panthers, 20-7. The Titans' defense recorded seven sacks of Panthers' QB David Carr. Some things never change.

The Jacksonville Jaguars came out on the wrong side of a track meet at the Superdome against New Orleans. The Saints earned their fourth win in a row, 41-24. Drew Brees threw three touchdowns for the Who Dats. The Saints were given up for dead a month ago, but now have a very good chance to win their division.

There was a bizarre event on Sunday at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Two NFL records were set in this game. The Chargers' Antonio Cromartie returned a missed field goal 109 yards for a touchdown. That was overshadowed by an all-time great performance by the great Adrian Peterson. AD rushed for 298 yards and three touchdowns, setting the all-time single-game rushing record. The Vikings won the game, 35-17. What makes AD's accomplishment even greater is the fact that the Vikes have no passing game. The Chargers should have been able to slow him down, but they didn't. San Diego is lucky they are in the AFC West, where they still have a chance to make the playoffs. However, they would get smoked by the Patriots or the Colts in the playoffs.

The Cleveland Browns continue to light up the scoreboard. Jamal Lewis scored four touchdowns as the Browns scored a comeback win over the Seattle Seahawks, 33-30 in overtime. The Browns are now 5-3. They are the surprise team of the year.

Speaking of lighting up scoreboards, the Detroit Lions did exactly that. The Lions beat up the Denver Broncos, 44-7. Detroit scored two touchdowns on defense to add to the domination. The Lions are now 6-2. Jump on the bandwagon while there's still room.

The New York Jets had a chance to win a game on Sunday. However, the Washington Redskins used a methodical running game, and came back to defeat the Jets, 23-20 in overtime. Clinton Portis ran for 196 yards for the Redskins. The Jets are officially putrid.

Marshawn Lynch ran all over the Cincinnati defense, gaining 153 yards and scoring two touchdowns as the Buffalo Bills beat the Bengals, 33-21. The Bengals were once a good team. All is not well in the 'Nati.

Two inconsistent teams met on Sunday at the Pirate Ship in Tampa. The Buccaneers out-uglied the Arizona Cardinals, 17-10. The Cardinals had a banner day rushing (sarcasm), running the ball 12 times for 23 yards. Some things are absolute: death, taxes, and the mediocrity of the Cardinals.

For three quarters on Sunday, the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs played an ugly game. The teams started scoring points in bunches in the 4th quarter, and the Packers used an interception return for a touchdown to extend their winning margin to 33-22. Brett Favre has now beaten every team in the NFL, one of only three quarterbacks to do that. The Pack is now 7-1, tied with Dallas for the best record in the NFC.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

No Live Blog

I have to go back on my promise of a live blog. I have some errands to run this afternoon, such as getting a new router and hooking it up. Ours is having trouble.

I'm afraid the Pats are going to win big anyway. I'd love to be wrong.