Alright back to back .500 weeks, need to get back in the positive:
Detroit @ New England (Patriots -7.5): Eventually the line will get too big and this could be the game but I refuse to go against the Patriots right now.
Dallas @ New York (Cowboys -3.5): Don’t love the Cowboys away from home but just give the ball to Murray and they should be fine.
Arizona @ Seattle (Cardinals +6.5): I mean I get 12th man but really a touchdown underdog for the best team in the NFC?
St. Louis @ San Diego (Chargers -4.5): Chargers are struggling against the spread this season but I’m taking a leap and thinking Big Game/Next Game let down for the Rams.
Cincinnati @ Houston (Bengals +1.5): I get the line and don’t get the inconsistency of the Bengals but I’m going to show a little faith in Dalton.
Tampa Bay @ Chicago (Bears -5.5): The Bears aren’t great but the Bucs are worse.
Still positive after going .500 last week (31-29 overall) so lets attempt to keep it going. I don’t love a lot of these spreads and will be less than shocked if I don’t “Hank” this week.
Houston @ Cleveland (Browns -3): I can’t believe I’m still picking the Browns either.
Denver @ St. Louis (Broncos -10): The Rams just don’t have the fire power to keep up with Manning.
Philadelphia @ Green Bay (Packers -6): I don’t love this line but Aaron Rodgers has only lost like 3 games at home ever. I’ll take the Packers after they demolished Chicago.
Minnesota @ Chicago (Bears -3.5): The Bears defense is absolutely terrible but I think a shootout still favors Cutler and Marshall.
Detroit @ Arizona (Lions +1): I don’t trust Drew Stanton even if he has a stellar defense to protect him.
New England @ Indianapolis (Patriots +3): In my General Ackbar “It’s a trap” pick I’m taking the Pats here. Because of my lack of football knowledge I fail to comprehend how a team that has Tom Brady at Quarterback with a 5 game win streak, who have scored over 40 points in their last two games can be an underdog even on the road.
Chicago Bulls “made of glass” point guard Derrick Rose is being heavily criticized by fans and the media for his statements a couple days ago regarding comments he made conserving himself for the future. In case you missed it:
“I’m thinking about long term. I’m thinking about after I’m done with basketball. Having graduations to go to, having meetings to go to, I don’t want to be in my meetings all sore or be at my son’s graduation all sore just because of something I did in the past. [I'm] just learning and being smart.”
Admittedly this is probably something better thought than shared publicly but Rose’s self assessment is not nearly as bad as people are making it out to be. Yes he does have a 95 million dollar contract and yes he did choose to play a sport for a living. However the fact that an athlete whose career has been defined more by sidelining injuries and potential than points on the floor I don’t blame him for thinking that way.
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has been criticized over the past few years for resting perfectly healthy players but still continues to use this strategy to preserve his stars. His justification is obvious, he has older players who can’t sustain the 82 game NBA schedule so he rests them to give his team the best chance to win. Derrick Rose knows his best chance to continue playing this game and also live a life in the future that doesn’t involve a ton of surgery and pain is to monitor his body and attempt to reduce future issues.
The bottom line is, this isn’t Derrick Rose’s fault. Most people who are criticizing Derrick Rose which they could be in his shoes. The NBA and professional sports are a business first and foremost. It is an environment that has allowed for this situation to occur but will do nothing to curtail it because players will continue to be paid millions of dollars to play a game. Don’t be mad at Derrick Rose for being selfish, be mad at genetics or your inability to hit a 12 foot jump shot.
5-1 Last week puts us at 28-26 this year against the spread. Little bit of a confidence boost going into this week’s picks, however there are a lot of games where teams are favored by more than a touchdown so anything could happen this week.
Pittsburgh @ New York (Steelers -4): Big Ben probably isn’t going to put up 6 touchdowns again but the Steelers are hot and the Jets are terrible.
San Francisco @ New Orleans (Saints -5.5): I hate everything about this pick including picking against my Niners but I just don’t feel good about this team this year.
Miami @ Detroit (Dolphins +3.5). Lamar Miller is on fire this season and Ryan Tannehill is managing the quarterback position extremely well. This team reminds me a lot of the Chiefs and speaking of…
Kansas City @ Buffalo (Chiefs -2.5): This is a tough road game for Kansas City but I think they can pull out a big road win at Buffalo.
Green Bay @ Chicago (Packers -7): The Packers are something like 9-1 against Cutler and these teams are going in different directions. Parlay this with Brandon Marshall going insane on the sideline at some point.
Carolina @ Philadelphia: (Eagles -6.5): The Eagles are 4-0 at home this year and I just don’t think there is any way Carolina can keep up with their offense.
Meh 3-3 last week but a couple of fun match ups this week:
Philadelphia @ Houston (Eagles -2.5): Is J.J. Watt an offensive player in any fantasy leagues yet?
Arizona @ Dallas (Cardinals +4.5): Tony Romo has back issues and this feels like a good time for Dez Bryant to have his annual freak out on the sideline.
Jacksonville @ Cincinnati (Jaguars +11.5): Bernard is out, Green is questionable… maybe Bortles won’t piss this game away and keep it close.
Denver @ New England (Broncos -3.5): Brady vs Manning, Brady has all of the advantages this game but I still like Peyton.
Baltimore @ Pittsburgh (Steelers +1.5): I don’t expect Big Ben to throw 17 touchdowns again but I think the Steelers are better especially at home.
Indianapolis @ New York (Colts -3.5): I want to believe Luck can avoid back to back losses but honestly I just hate the Giants.
“Marcus Mariota vs. USC” by Neon Tommy-
I’m finally coming to grips and coping with the fact that there will never be a great way to determine the “best” team in football.
The first rankings for the college playoff system were released Tuesday night. In case you missed it the committee shares this country’s love for the SEC with the following rankings:
1) Mississippi St
2) Florida St
4) Ole Miss
Honestly I don’t really care about the “hits” or “misses” of the initial rankings. Sure Notre Dame probably got a little hosed being ranked at 10 considering they lost to the number 2 ranked Florida St on one play, while Ole Miss lost to two loss LSU. The committee is clearly emphasizing strength of wins as well. All in all that doesn’t matter because half of these arguments will take care of themselves over the next couple of weeks when all of these 1 loss teams are match up so arguing about it now seems a little arbitrary.
However, this system has finally led me to realize that I’ll never truly be satisfied with college football’s playoff system. I don’t believe that a four team playoff will ever satisfy my desire to find the “best” team in the nation. I heard a phrase on ESPN Radio this morning where Mike and Mike discussed that it wouldn’t find the “best” team but perhaps “the most accomplished.” Initially I liked that wording better but now I can’t decide if that is just a fancier synonym for an objective that can’t be determined. With 128 Division 1 FBS programs and each team playing only 12 to 13 games you can’t efficiently determine a true “best” or “most accomplished” champion. You throw into the mix a committee that while bound by certain criteria, will never be able to overcome at least some type of subjectivity, good or bad.
The NFL playoffs aren’t really that much better. You can feasibly win the Super Bowl having only played less than half of the league in a given season. The fact that geography and conferencing can affect a playoff almost as much as playoffs is a frustrating concept to come to terms with as well but that is another argument for another time.
Ultimately I’m not sure there is a much more efficient way to determine a “national champion” in college football. The change is an attempt to make it better which I respect, I just have to accept that it will never really be good enough.
2 and 4 after such promising signs of redemption. I hate everything so for this week I’m going to give you my picks and then tell you while they are wrong.
Detroit @ Atlanta (Lions -3.5): I have no business picking this game.
Chicago @ New England (Patriots -6): Tom Brady is too old and this is a sucker’s line based the Patriots smacking the Bengals a couple weeks ago and the Bears play much better on the road this season since nobody boos them.
Minnesota @ Tampa Bay (Vikings +2.5): Honest to god I can’t tell you why this pick will or won’t suck.
Houston @ Tennessee (Texans -2.5): Rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger is getting his first start for the Titans and eats so many lucky charms before the game he literally shoots a rainbow out of his ass after his first of five touchdowns.
Philadelphia @ Arizona (Eagles +2.5): Arizona’s defense slams Shady McCoy early, Foles throws interception after interception, and Chip Kelly isn’t present because he is already interviewing for the Florida job.
Green Bay @ New Orleans (Packers +2.5): New Orleans comes out like hurricane and blows away Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Too Soon?
3100 Students over the course of 18 years took “fake” classes at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. I’m a little surprised at the lack of notoriety this story seems to be receiving on the front pages of main stream media. This is possibly one of the biggest academic scandals mixed with athletics in the history of college sports. Every punishment fathomable including the death penalty should be on the table for UNC.
For every dumb rule the NCAA chooses to enforce (see punishing individuals for being paid for signing autographs) these infractions hit at the very core of what the NCAA and college institutions are supposed to believe: STUDENT-Athletes. According to a CNN article, UNC could be charged with one of the most serious charges: lack of Institutional Control. This charge is the gateway to some of the NCAA’s harshest penalties which can include the “death penalty.”
The University of Southern California was hit with this penalty and was forced to vacate championships, lose scholarships, and face post season bans in multiple sports. SMU was hit back in 1986 with the “death penalty” which shattered their football program and athletics department as a whole. (A hit I don’t think they have recovered from).
Look this isn’t recruiting violations, this isn’t signing autographs, this isn’t sneaking extra practices… this is blatant cheating. This was UNC meeting expectations in the shadiest, dirtiest, and most unethical ways possible. It wasn’t over the course of one, two, or even five years. 18 years this went on, and it was even brought to the school’s attention back in 2009. The worst is, the fraud isn’t limited to one sport, multiple sports have been labeled in the report.
I know, I know, I’m not a UNC fan and in fact pretty much loathe them with regards to athletics. This goes beyond athletic rivalry and simple competitive animosity. Academic institutions are responsible for holding kids to certain standards even if they are part of athletic programs that bring their respective universities millions of dollars a year. The easy argument is that if the broad scope of this travesty happens at a place like UNC it is bound to happen at other colleges and universities. That argument may hold some merit and may in fact be true however there is no proof. If this investigation exposes more academic fraud in other institutions then so be it. Maybe it needs to happen so perhaps the priority of college athletics can be reestablished.
It was never going to work out. I wanted to believe that it could I really did. Combine tonight’s first half debacle of a performance with his overall lack of production in numerous opportunities I’ve decided the Mario Balotelli experiment at Liverpool is a failure.
I can give you all the X’s and O’s as to why he won’t work with the style of play that Brendan Rodgers and this Liverpool side are accustomed to playing. He is stagnant and lazy on the field, refusing to work into space and combine with dynamic, faster players around him, and instead demands balls played at his feet, or settles for being a weak target in the air. He has ability, he has flair, yet fails to exploit his talents at the right time. (His one goal for Liverpool this season backs this up.)
However, it is more than that. Balotelli doesn’t get Liverpool and he doesn’t get being a member of a team. I was willing to look past his prior antics with Man City (Why Always Me Shirts, constant rows with the manager, conflicts on the field with teammates…) but I can’t look past them when he does it at Anfield. To take your shirt off at halftime to trade with an opponent that has defended you with less effort than sneezing is absolutely ludicrous. This is a place that accepted Luis Suarez back with open arms after multiple suspensions for classless acts which he repaid in effort and production that put Liverpool back in the Champions League. Fans of Liverpool were willing to give Balotelli a pass and a chance to shine and instead he repaid them with a gesture of selfishness and ignorance.
Some people are standing up for Balotelli even still, saying it is unfair to blame Liverpool’s failures tonight on him. Maybe so, but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results… and the only results Balotelli fans receive is more insanity.
We are seven weeks into the college football season and have been blessed with a number of quality teams and headlines. That being said it is still way too early to really begin discussing who should/will be in the 4-team playoff at the end of the season.
Currently there are 3 undefeated teams: Florida State, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State. The Egg Bowl between Ole Miss and Mississippi State will eliminate one of those two teams but with the beast of an SEC conference schedule to go, either team could lose before their in state rivalry match up.
There are also 18 other teams with only one loss this season. So currently 21 teams are up for realistic discussion for a 4-team playoff. That is entirely too many teams to even begin a discussion as to who should have the opportunity to play for the championship at the end of the season. Last week everybody wanted to criticize Alabama as being “mediocre by their standards.” Now after mollywhopping the Aggies they are back in the discussion. Don’t expect any thank you cards or flowers from the Texas A&M staff for motivating the Tide this weekend.
I realize that it is the obligation of sports media to carry on these discussions but lets spend more time analyzing current teams and match ups and less time speculating teams’ chances of competing 3 months from now. Let the schedule take care of the half the discussion which will allow for more relevant conversation in a couple of weeks.