Saturday, October 13, 2007

More Knee-Jerk Reactions

It looks like there's going to be a new #1 team in the nation. LSU went up to Kentucky and lost in triple overtime, 43-37. The Tigers shouldn't go down too far in the polls, but will lose the #1 spot.

Enter Cal. The Bears had a chance to be the new #1, but quickly lost to Oregon State, 31-28. Cal had a chance to tie the game late, but the Bears were unable to get a game-tying field goal attempt off in regulation.

So, who will be #1? It looks like it will be The Ohio State University. Remember them? The Buckeyes are 7-0, and are the next team standing. Luckily for them, this is also the first week of the BCS rankings. Boston College should be right behind them at #2.


Knee-Jerk Reactions

Nebraska football has experienced a lot of ups and downs in the four years of Bill Callahan's reign as head coach. Texas Tech hung 70 on the Huskers in Lubbock in 2005. However, today was the low point in the modern history of Nebraska football. Oklahoma State went to Lincoln and manhandled the Huskers, 45-14. That's not Oklahoma, but Oklahoma State.

Nebraska is a proud program that deserves much better. The athletic director, Steve Pederson, and coach Callahan both received contract extensions in recent months. The Nebraska athletic program will be in an even bigger hole by paying buyouts for both of them. However, that appears to be the only course of action.

The people of Nebraska want their football program back.

Friday, October 12, 2007

It's Hoops Time, Baby!

Tonight is the beginning of college basketball season, as it is the first day schools are allowed by the NCAA to conduct practice.

The NBA is currently in its exhibition season, playing in places such as London and LaCrosse, and playing teams from places such as Greece and Israel.

This means one thing: It's basketball season!

The author of this blog has been spending weekdays during the last two months in the Hartford, CT-Springfield, MA area on a project for work. Springfield is best known as the birthplace of basketball, and the home of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

I have not been able to visit the Hall of Fame, as it closes at 4 pm during the week, and I have not been there on a weekend. However, I took some pictures of the outside. The Hall of Fame moved into new quarters about five years ago.

Welcome back, hoops!

NFL Picks, Week 6

The NFL is settling into something that resembles form after five weeks of the season. There are three undefeated teams: Dallas, New England, and Indianapolis. There are three winless teams: Miami, New Orleans, and St. Louis. There are a ton of other teams in the middle.

Last Week: 10-4
Season: 49-27

Here are this blog’s fearless picks for Week 6 in the National Football League:

New England at Dallas: The mighty Patriots roll into Dallas for a meeting with the Cowboys. Can the Cowboys shut down Tom Brady and Randy Moss? The Cowboys are coming off an improbable win on Monday night at Buffalo, winning 25-24 despite 6 turnovers by Tony Romo. Who wins on Sunday? Who do you think? Pick: Dallas

Minnesota at Chicago: Someone named Adrian Peterson will be a winner in this game. The one from Oklahoma isn’t surrounded with nearly as much talent as the one from Georgia Southern. The Bears saved their season last Sunday night with a win at archnemesis Green Bay. Da Bears make it two in a row. Pick: Chicago

St. Louis at Baltimore: The injury-wracked Rams visit Crab City, where the Ravens’ defense awaits. Good luck with all that. Pick: Balmer

Philadelphia at New York Jets: The Eagles had such a hard time in their last appearance at the Meadowlands, they needed a week off. Now they head back up the turnpike to take on the Jets. The Jets aren’t nearly as good as the Giants, and they proved that last week. It’s a long year for the New York Football Jets. Pick: Philly

Miami at Cleveland: The woeful Dolphins visit CLE to take on the no-longer-horrible Browns. The Dolphins are now being led by quarterback Cleo (Real) Lemon as a result of last week’s possible career-ending injury to QB Trent Green. A skunk by any other name still stinks, though, and the Dolphins stink. Pick: Cleveland

Washington at Green Bay: The Packers are reeling after last week’s home loss to Da Bears. The Redskins come off of a whipping of Detroit. Packers bounce back. Pick: Green Bay

Kansas City at Cincinnati: Bengals are coming off a bye, but did they find a defense on that week off? Carson Palmer, Ocho Cinco and company should be able to outscore the Chiefs. Pick: Cincy

Tennessee at Tampa Bay: The Fighting Vince Youngs go on the road to the city by the Bay. Tampa Bay, that is. Bucs got spanked last week in Indy, but lots of teams would get spanked in Indy. Bucs bounce back at home. Pick: Tampa Bay

Houston at Jacksonville: The Texans are in last place in the AFC South with a winning record at 3-2. The Jags find ways to win, whether they look good or not. When in doubt, pick the home team. Pick: Jacksonville

Carolina at Arizona: Quarterback problems continue in Charlotte. Jake Delhomme is out for the year. David Carr has a back injury. So, the Panthers signed Vinny Testaverde this week from the St. Aloysius Home for the Aged. The Panthers will start either Vinny or ex-Cowboy training camp star Matt Moore. Meanwhile, Kurt Warner is regaining his magic in Arizona. If Testaverde is the starter, the combined age of the two quarterbacks in this game will be 80. Pick: Arizona

Oakland at San Diego: Winner will be in first place in the very mediocre AFC West. Chargers exploded back onto the scene with a 41-3 win last week in Denver. Think they’d like to have the first four weeks of the season back? Chargers coach Norv Turner formerly coached the Raiders. Pick: Chargers

New Orleans at Seattle: The Saints have been awful this year. Their task doesn’t get any easier with a long trip to the Northwest. I’m sure NBC is really looking forward to this one now. Pick: Seattle

New York Giants at Atlanta: If the schedule makers had known that the Michael Vick fiasco would happen, this game wouldn’t smell Monday night. So, ESPN gets stuck with a real dud this week. The Giants are looking pretty good. Strange things can happen on the road in the NFL. However, the Giants are better than the Falcons. Pick: New York

Bye: Buffalo, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Denver, Detroit, San Francisco

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Baseball Is A Talking Sport..

...and I'm not very good at predicting it.

This blog predicted a Yankees-Phillies World Series. That prediction was blown to smitherines. So, we have the Rockies and the Diamondbacks in the National League, and the Red Sox and the Indians in the American League.

The National League matchup begins tonight, and has been looked upon as the Ugly Duckling of the two series. Both teams are young. They are also both recent expansion teams, though the Diamondbacks won a World Series in 2001. This series is already getting grief, as Game 1 is not a sellout in Phoenix. The Division Series games there last week were sold out with the help of a lot of Cub fans.

In a way, I can't really blame the people of Phoenix for not jumping on the bandwagon. First, the fan base was burned by the results of the 2001 championship. The team overspent on a lot of veteran players, then had to dump a ton of contracts and start over in building their team. Six years later, they have a very good young team, but the fans haven't identified with them yet. Second, Phoenix is the fastest growing metropolitan area in the United States. There are tons of transplants there. Thus, loyalties in Phoenix are spread all around the country. A lot of people simply aren't going to jump on the bandwagon, at least where their time and money are concerned. As for me, I'm for the Rockies. They've been in the baseball wilderness for all but one year of their existence.

In the American League, the Red Sox and Indians begin their series Friday night in Boston. The Red Sox are slightly favored. I was listening to a radio show out of Boston last night, and everyone called in to analyze the National League teams as future Red Sox opponents. I have to admit that I was impressed with their baseball knowledge. However, I have one thing to say to Red Sox Nation: YA GOTTA LOOK OUT FOR CLE! Go Tribe!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

College Picks: Week 7

College football has been nothing if not exciting and interesting. The last two weeks have been good for more upsets than Pepto-Bismol can handle. The second half of the season looks to provide more of the same. The last two teams standing will be in New Orleans in January for the BCS National Championship Game.

The ranks of the unbeaten have been whittled down to 11. They are: Cincinnati, South Florida, Connecticut, Boston College, Ohio State, LSU, Kansas, Missouri, Cal, Arizona State, and Hawaii.

Last Week: 13-7
Overall: 80-40

Missouri at Oklahoma: The Tigers have moved up to #11 in the country and are favored to win the Big 12 North. Sooners are coming off of a win over hated archrival Texas. Bob Stoops has lost one conference home game in eight years as coach of OU. That won’t change. Pick: OU

Oklahoma State at Nebraska: Who can figure this out? OSU is good enough to beat Nebraska, but can they win on the road? Nebraska had a road game scheduled last week, but didn’t show up to play Missouri. Oops, I guess those were the Huskers that got their heads handed to them. All will be well in Huskerland for one week. Pick: Nebraska

Texas A&M at Texas Tech: First of four murderous road trips in the Big 12 for the Aggies. Ags were fortunate to escape with a home win last week over OSU. Ags have not had success in recent years in Lubbock. Tech should be able to win this game. Pick: Tech

Colorado at Kansas State: K-State needs this one desperately to stay in the race in the Big 12 North. CU finds themselves in first place in the North. The cannibalization of the Big 12 North begins here. They all start to eat each other up. Pick: K-State

Baylor at Kansas: The Guy Morriss death watch continues in Waco. Well, he’s not actually going to die, but he won’t be the Baylor coach after November. KU is flying high at 5-0. Jayhawks become bowl eligible this week. Pick: KU

Texas at Iowa State: Longhorns gave a valiant effort last week against OU, but came up short. They have now lost star WR Limas Sweed for the year. Things don’t look good for the Longhorns. However, they’re Texas. They should beat Iowa State. Pick: Texas

LSU at Kentucky: Tigers got a big, big comeback win over the mighty Gators last week. Kentucky fell flat on its face on the national stage, losing at South Carolina. Can the Cats bounce back? The way this college football season has been going, that’s a pretty good possibility. #1 goes down again. Pick: Kentucky

South Carolina at North Carolina: One of the crimes of South Carolina’s now long-ago departure from the ACC is that these two schools do not play every year. These two schools really should be in the same conference and should play regularly. It’s now a rivalry that rarely is. The Old Ball Coach takes his ‘Cocks to Chapel Hill, where Butch Davis is rebuilding the Tar Heels. This is a dangerous trap for USC of the East. But, the ‘Cocks have surprised us before. Pick: SC

Purdue at Michigan: After two years of not playing Ohio State and Michigan, the Boilermakers get them back-to-back this season. The Train Men make the trip to the Big House, where the Wolverines are still paying penance for the opening loss to Appalachian State. Meatchicken puts itself back on the map this week. Pick: Michigan

Georgia Tech at Miami: The Ramblin’ Wreck are the ultimate yo-yo team. Up and down. They now go down to Little Havana to take on the Canes, who saved face last week in a near-blowout loss to North Carolina. When in doubt, go with the home field. Pick: Miami

Boston College at Notre Dame: Who does the Pope root for? The only two Catholic schools in Division I-A meet in South Bend. Notre Dame got their first win of the season last week, despite 140 yards of offense against UCLA. Boston College is undefeated and ranked #4 in the nation. Notre Dame needs all the luck they can get. This game will be worthy of the green jerseys for the Fighting Leprechauns. Luck or no luck, BC is just plain better than Notre Dame. Pick: BC

Rice at Houston: The Bayou Bucket is on the line at Robertson Stadium. Rice absolutely stunk until last week, when they upset Southern Miss in Hattiesburg. The Coogs had a chance to pull out a comeback win at Alabama last week. Things should return to form this week. Pick: Houston

TCU at Stanford: The Frogs are reeling, having lost three games, and must now go out to Palo Alto to face Stanford. You remember Stanford. Last week, they were a 40 point underdog against USC, and pulled the biggest upset in the history of Las Vegas bookmakers. Stanford will not be able to avoid a letdown. The Frogs have struggled on offense this year. Which Stanford shows up? Pick: Trees

Connecticut at Virginia: The Huskies are 5-0, though their schedule has been suspect. Still, 5-0 is 5-0 at this stage of the season. They get their toughest test in a road trip to Virginia, who has a five-game winning streak of their own after losing their opener at Wyoming. Pick: Virginia

Louisville at Cincinnati: The Ville has collapsed. At the beginning of the season, they were thinking BCS. Now, they’re just thinking BS. This team has no defense, and must go up the river to face the undefeated Bearcats. Cincy took care of business in a surprising way last week, beating Rutgers on the road. This one looks too obvious. Pick: The ‘Nati

Auburn at Arkansas: Auburn has, in a short amount of time, turned their season around. Winning in the Swamp will do that for you. Now, they make a trip to the Pigsty to face the Razorbacks. All is not well in Hogland, as the natives are restless and ready to make a coaching change. The Hogs have a great RB in Darren McFadden, but that’s all they have. If War Eagle can win in Gainesville, they can win in Fayetteville. Pick: Auburn

Florida State at Wake Forest (Thursday): When these two teams last met, it was a shellacking in Tallahassee. Wake Forest delivered the pasting. FSU has found a quarterback in Xavier Lee. The Noles are slowly returning to relevance. Wake Forest is no pushover. Still, I like FSU to pull this one off on the road. Pick: Florida State

Indiana at Michigan State: Just when you thought Michigan State was going to be pretty good, they go and lose an overtime game at home to Northwestern. Indiana has won 5 games, and can become bowl eligible with a win. Indiana and bowl in the same sentence? It could happen. Not this week, though. Sparty bounces back. Pick: Michigan State

Oregon State at California: Cal has not been to the Rose Bowl since 1958. This year, they’re in line for something even bigger: the national championship game. This game is guaranteed to feature some ugly uniforms. The play on the field, however, won’t be as ugly as the clothes. Pick: Cal

Benedictine at Peru State: Peru is a state? Do they play Ecuador A&M or the University of Colombia? Actually, this Peru is a town in Nebraska with a college. Pick: Peru State

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Homer Call of the Day

This is courtesy of YouTube and the Worldwide Leader in Sports. The clip is from last Saturday's Akron-Western Michigan game. The Akron radio broadcast team of Steve French and Frank Stams got a little excited on this game-winning play.

Monday, October 08, 2007


The Dallas Cowboys remain undefeated, in the most unlikely of ways.

The Cowboys went to Buffalo and snatched a 25-24 win. How did it happen?

Tony Romo threw five interceptions and lost a fumble for the Cowboys. The Bills ran two interceptions back for touchdowns, and also scored a touchdown on a kickoff return.

At the end of the game, Romo led the Cowboys on an 80-yard drive for a touchdown. The Cowboys scored with 20 seconds left, and missed a tying two-point conversion. The Cowboys then improbably recovered an onside kick. Romo led the Cowboys down the field to set up a long game winning field goal. Nick Folk kicked a 53 yard field goal to win the game. But wait! The Bills called timeout right before the snap, forcing the rookie kicker to think about what he was doing. What does Folk do? On the rekick, he kicks a 53 yard field goal to win the game.

There was a little bit of fortune involved in this game, and a whole lot of skill. The Cowboys went out there and stole a game they deserved to lose.

It would really suck to be a Buffalo fan. All of the ghosts of Buffalo teams past came back to haunt them. All of western New York has to be totally sick right now.

NFL Highway, Week 5

Back on the NFL highway for 13 games. Nothing is ever a sure thing in the NFL, and some of the events of Sunday only proved that notion.

Poor Miami. The Dolphins can’t buy a break. They lost their fifth game in a row on Sunday, as Kris Brown kicked a 57 yard field goal on the last play of the game to give the Houston Texans the win. A bizarre occurrence happened earlier in the game. Dolphins QB Trent Green was on the ground, and attempted to get back up to make a block. He tried to block Texans DL Travis Johnson at the knees, and promptly suffered a concussion as a result of a head-to-knee collision. As Green laid on the ground, Johnson continued to talk trash to him. Unbelievable.

The New England Patriots continue to roll. The Pats scored 34 points once again, defeating the Cleveland Browns, 34-17. The game was actually closer than that, but the Patriots returned an interception for a touchdown late in the game to provide the winning margin and to cover the point spread. The Pats have scored 38, 38, 38, 34, and 34 points in their first 5 games. They are nothing if not consistent. They next travel to Irving to meet the Dallas Cowboys.

The Jacksonville Jaguars held Kansas City to 10 yards rushing as they went to Arrowhead and spanked the Chiefs, 17-7. The Chiefs did not score until the last play of the game. I’m glad I didn’t see this game. It looked ugly.

The New Orleans Saints are quickly reverting to becoming the Aints again. The Saints, for the first time in four games, were not blown out. Nonetheless, they lost to David Carr and the Carolina Panthers, 16-13. This team was picked by many to go to the Super Bowl. They’re a long way from there right now.

The New York Giants won the endorsement of Mayor Bloomberg on Sunday, as they won bragging rights to the Big Apple by pasting the Jets, 35-21. Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward are now a two-headed running back monster for the Giants, as both scored touchdowns.

In Pittsburgh, the Steelers returned to the win column by skunking the Seattle Seahawks, 21-0. The Eastern Time Zone has not been kind to the Seahawks, who reverted to their former nickname of Seabags in this one.

A Jekyll and Hyde team resides in Detroit. Or, maybe I-95 is Kryptonite for the Lions. The Lions were spanked yesterday by Washington, 34-3. The Lions have played two games to date in stadiums on the Main Street of the East Coast. Philadelphia hung 56 on the Lions, and the Redskins scored 34 on them. That’s a total of 90 points allowed in two games against the NFC East. The Lions have actually won 3 games this year. However, they can’t drive 95.

The Cardinals played in St. Louis yesterday. Kurt Warner also played in the River City yesterday. And, both of them won. The current St. Louis football team, though, is a shambles. Warner led the Cardinals to a 34-31 win over the injury-depleted Rams. The Rams are in deep doo-doo at 0-5.

The states of Georgia and Tennessee did a two-step over the weekend, as their universities met on Saturday in Knoxville, and their pro teams met on Sunday in Nashville. Tennessee came out on top on both days. The Titans hosted the Atlanta Falcons and came out on top, 20-13. The Titans get that Cracker Barrel franchise in Chattanooga. The Falcons go home to lick their wounds.

The Indianapolis Colts just keep rolling along. They plugged in a no-name running back, Kenton Keith, and ran all over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 33-14. The Patriots are getting all the attention, but they will have to beat the Colts to get to the Super Bowl. That will not be an easy task.

The AFC West is officially pathetic. The San Diego Chargers are not out, and aren’t even down any longer. The Chargers beat the bejeebers out of Denver at Mile High, 41-3. All of a sudden, Norv Turner can coach. As bad as the Chargers were, they are in the thick of the division race. Actually, the Raiders are in first place due to their bye, at 2-2.

Out on the Left Coast, the Baltimore Ravens got three field goals and beat the 49ers, 9-7. This defined ugly. The Ravens don’t care what it looks like, as long as they win.

In the Sunday Night extravaganza, the Chicago Bears saved their season, as Brian Griese led Da Bears to a 27-20 win over the Green Bay Packers. Brett Favre, fresh off of breaking the all-time record for touchdown passes, broke the all-time record for interceptions thrown. That only proves that he played for a long, long time. You have to be good to play long enough to break that record.

Tonight, Wade Phillips returns to Buffalo as coach of the Dallas Cowboys. The fans will be jacked up in Buffalo. This is the definition of trap game. Anything can happen in the NFL. Hopefully, the Cowboys will escape with the W.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Even More Knee-Jerk Reactions

It seems there was more football on TV Saturday night than there was in the afternoon. At one time, there were 6 different college football games on on our TV (ABC, CBS, ESPN, ESPN2, FSN, and Versus).

A game I am glad ABC did not send into our area was Notre Dame-UCLA. The Uclans were down to a third string walk-on QB, and turned the ball over 7 times. Notre Dame had a whopping 140 yards of total offense. This sounds like it was an awful game. And, to make it worse, the Irish won. Yuck.

Nebraska is so ordinary. The Huskers have gone into the tank after giving contract extensions to their coach and athletic director. They fired Frank Solich for this? That "antiquated" option offense they ran wouldn't have done any worse than what the Huskers are throwing out there now. And, the Blackshirt defense is looking more like the Tie Dye defense. No, the old Nebraska will never be back. But, the new one isn't even a cheap imitation of the old one. Missouri made them look like a high school team.

The Big 12 North is up for grabs, in a good way. Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Colorado and Nebraska can all beat each other. Actually, it might be a stretch to put Nebraska in that group. Mizzou, KU, K-State, and CU are all pretty good teams. CU has improved a ton from Week 1 to the present. Sadly, the same doesn't apply to the Huskers.

The Oklahoma Aggies found another way to pull off a Poke Choke. Actually, they were behind, so it's not really a choke. But, they found a way to blow a chance to win a game. With less than two minutes to go against the Texas Aggies in College Station, and Texas A&M leading 24-23, OSU attempted to block a punt. The Cowboys were called for running into the kicker, giving A&M the first down and the chance to run out the clock. OSU didn't get a chance to drive for a game winning field goal. You have to have spent a lifetime watching Oklahoma State to understand this. They find new ways to blow chances to win. But, they're good kids. They go to class. They're respectful to the media.

Meanwhile, ex-OSU coach Les Miles finds himself on top of the college football world at LSU. The Tigers made a fourth quarter comeback to beat Florida, 28-24. LSU stole victory from the jaws of defeat. The Tigers are shooting for a home crowd advantage in the BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans.