Author: sammano

I'm just a guy...just a man trying to survive in this wacky world, stay true to myself (whatever that means), maybe have some fun, have a positive influence on people and events, and navigate this curvy, bumpy road called life.

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 13

Okay I just have to vent…again. This college football playoff thing is a complete joke. I never in a million years thought something could be worse than the BCS, but the current system has somehow managed to make the BCS look logical & fair. As an alumnus of Marshall University and a longtime fan of the Thundering Herd I find it outrageously offensive that they have thus far been excluded from the playoff committee’s Top 25. Even some of the talking heads thought this would finally be the week that the Herd was included, but instead Minnesota…a three loss team that was defeated by Ohio St. just a few days earlier…remained in the same #25 spot they’d held previously. Three loss teams Louisville and Clemson (who lost a few days ago just like Minnesota) are both ranked ahead of 10-0 Marshall as well. To add insult to injury, last week on ESPN’s Mike & Mike former Florida St. QB Danny Kanell, whose prickishness just oozes thru the TV screen, said in reference to some highly ranked team (it may have been the Seminoles, who like Marshall have had many question the strength of their schedule) that they can only play theFU teams that are put in front of them. Oh really?? That’s exactly what Marshall has done you sanctimonious assclown, and they’ve beaten the snot out of everyone they’ve faced (unlike Florida St., which is the luckiest team I’ve ever seen and should have lost atleast 2 games already). No one is saying that Marshall should be in the playoff. That’s not the point. The issue is that the committee not even putting them in their Top 25 is ridiculous. It’s basically a bunch of arrogant elitists saying to someone they perceive as “lesser” than them “you’re not invited to our exclusive club”. D*****bags like Kanell even refer to games among the “power” conferences as “big boy football”. The problem with their logic is that the “power” 5 conferences AND the “other” 5 conferences are ALL in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision (what used to be called Division 1-A) and therefore should have equal access to the FBS National Championship. If the “have-nots” aren’t going to have that kind of access then the divisions need revised. Let the chosen ones play “big boy football” while guys like Danny Kanell lube up and pleasure themselves watching it on TV, and allow the teams in the MAC, C-USA, Mountain West, AAC, & Sun Belt to form their own division and play for a separate national title. Maybe some “lower” teams like Boise St. would try to move up to “big boy football”. Maybe some current 1-AA teams would move up into whatever this new “lower” division would be. It’s all good. The point is that we could remove all pretense and let the morons in the media focus their idolatry on their chosen few, while the little guys would still have something legit to play for.

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Anyway, sorry for the rant. Y’all are here for some picks. Last week I went 3-4, bringing my season record to 35-32. Zach was an impressive 6-1 and nailed the prediction that Alabama would defeat Mississippi St. but not cover the 7½ point spread. His season record is now 36-31. This looks like kind of a mediocre week in college football, but I think we’ve found a few noteworthy games as well as a couple of NFL matchups that should be fun. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Arizona at Utah (-4)
Neither of these teams is heading to the playoff or even the Pac 12 title game, but both are solid Top 25 teams that have had quietly successful seasons. The Utes ArizonaWildcatsget the slight home field advantage, but I think Arizona is the better team and will win this game easily. Zach likes the Wildcats by a TD.

My Pick = Arizona
Z’s Pick = Arizona

 

 

 

Louisville at Notre Dame (-3.5)
It’s awfully convenient that Louisville was never given the time of day when they were in the old Big East, but now all the sudden they are in the ACC and the playoff NotreDame1committee awards them a Top 25 spot even though they’ve lost three games (including an early season loss to now 4-6 Virginia) and have such luminaries as Murray St. and Florida International on their schedule. Oh by the way, Marshall also played Florida International and beat them by almost the same margin as Louisville did. The Irish have lost 3 out of their last 4 games and have quietly slipped out of the polls. Not even the idiotic playoff committee ranks Notre Dame. Apparently Minnesota’s victories over Eastern Illinois, Middle Tennessee, San Jose St., & Purdue (honest to God…the Gophers haven’t beaten anyone with a damn pulse…exactly what Marshall is accused of) are more impressive than Irish wins over Stanford and…well, okay…Stanford is the only decent team Notre Dame has beaten and even they are only 5-5. At any rate, I think Notre Dame is going to open up a can of epic whoopass on Louisville, and I hope it happens just to make the playoff committee look stupid. Zach has no love for Notre Dame, but he thinks they’ll win.

My Pick = Notre Dame
Z’s Pick = Notre Dame

 

 

 

USC at UCLA (-3.5)
ucla_bruins2The Battle of L.A. And it may also decides who will meet Oregon in the Pac 12 title game. I suppose UCLA still has an outside shot to make USC_Trojans2the playoff if all the dominoes fall their way, but that is highly unlikely. The Bruins have the slight home field advantage, but I’m not sure that means much considering both teams are based in the same city. I’m going with UCLA if for no other reason than I ranked them 5th in my pre-season poll and they might actually get there if they keep winning, therefore making me look like a freakin’ genius. Conversely, Zach believes that the Trojans will win by three TDs.

My Pick = UCLA
Z’s Pick = USC

 

 

 

Detroit at New England (-7)
New_England_Patriots_HelmetWhen I was a kid the Detroit Lions were a joke. Occasionally they’d have a decent season, but for the most part they were mired in Detroit_Lions_Helmetmediocrity. Not even the great Barry Sanders could lead them to a Super Bowl appearance in the 90’s. But right now they are having a really good season and the folks in Vegas give them 16-1 odds to make it to The Super Bowl. We’ll have a much better idea if the Lions are legit after this game. The Patriots, whose eulogy was being written by the geniuses at ESPN about a month & a half ago, have risen up like one those horror movie killers that never really die. Trust me, there is no one on Earth who’d like to see New England crash & burn more than your humble Potentate of Profundity, but I’d be shocked if that occurred in this game. Zach likes the Patriots…but not by 7 points. He thinks the Lions will lose a close game and cover the points.

My Pick = New England
Z’s Pick = Detroit

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Arizona at Seattle (-6.5)
seattle-seahawks1The defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks have been knocked back down to mediocrity quicker & even moreso than I predicted. At thisnflarizonacardinals point it will be a struggle for them to make it to the playoffs. One of the reasons why?? The division leading Cardinals, who own the best record in the NFL. Raise your hand if you saw that coming (put your hands down…liars). However, Arizona has lost QB Carson Palmer for the season and now must rely on journeyman Drew Stanton to lead them the rest of the way. Stanton got off to a good start last week in a victory over the Detroit Lions, but can he keep it up?? If this game were being played in the desert I might say yes, but it is being played in Seattle at one of the league’s most raucous venues. If the Seahawks have any hope of defending their crown this is a must win and I think they will rise to the occasion. Zach has lost faith in Seattle’s celebrated defense and thinks it is the Cardinals who deserve that kind of respect now.

My Pick = Seattle
Z’s Pick = Arizona

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2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 12

I knew that last week was a giant roll of the dice. Every game involved two highly ranked teams trying to remain in the national championship hunt. Zach & I both went 2-3, splitting the four games in which our opinions differed and losing the one we agreed on when Alabama covered the 6½ point spread with a touchdown in overtime. Close but no cigar for us. At any rate, that brings my season record to 32-28, while Zach is holding serve at 30-30. I’m throwing a curveball this week by starting with a few NFL games, the reason being that our first contest is the Thursday nighter on NFL Network.

 

 

 

 

Buffalo at Miami (-4.5)
As expected it looks like the New England Patriots will easily win the AFC East. However, as I predicted, these two teams are atleast in the discussion for a possibleMiamiDolphins wildcard spot. Actually the Dolphins have been a little bit better than I expected. I’m not sure either one will make it to the playoffs, but I bet none of their opponents look forward to facing them. Miami gets a healthy home field bump from the oddsmakers and I have no reason to disagree. Zach is far less enamored with this matchup than me, but he likes Dolphins’ QB Ryan Tannehill.

My Pick = Miami
Z’s Pick = Miami

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Philadelphia at Green Bay (-5)
eaglesThis should be a really good game. I picked both of these teams to win their division, but both are currently in real battles to be able to fulfill Green_Bay_Packers_Helmetthat prophecy. The Eagles didn’t miss a beat when starting QB Nick Foles went down with a season ending injury and everyone seems suddenly supportive of Mark Sanchez, a guy that was laughed out of New York. It’s funny how things change in the NFL. Meanwhile, the good people of Green Bay have been relaxing per the instructions of their QB Aaron Rodgers, and the Packers have won 5 out of their last 6 games. The Packers get the requisite home field advantage, and if this game were being played a month from now that might be even more relevant…you know, frozen tundra & all that jazz. However I think the Eagles are the better team right now. Zach has jumped on the Sanchez bandwagon but thinks he will get discount double checked by the Packers.

My Pick = Philadelphia
Z’s Pick = Green Bay

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New England at Indianapolis (-3)

Indianapolis_Colts_HelmetThis is the Sunday night game on NBC and I’m predicting a barn burner. Take the over. It’ll be something like 38-28. The question is who New_England_Patriots_Helmetcomes out on top?? I try not to let my personal feelings cloud my judgment (Yoda taught me that), but it is easier said than done. Just a month ago the talking heads were sounding the death knell for Tom Brady’s career. Since then, much to my chagrin, the Patriots have reeled off 5 straight victories. Meanwhile the Colts are easily winning a division in which all three of the other teams are below .500. This is youth vs. experience and I am taking youth. Neither team’s defense is that great, but I think Colts’ QB Andrew Luck has more weapons to utilize and a more reliable running game to fall back on. Zach too has doubts about Indy’s defense and thinks Tom Brady will shred their secondary.

My Pick = Indianapolis
Z’s Pick = New England

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Florida St. (-1.5) at Miami, FL
Not that long ago this would have been the headliner. For about two decades these were two of the elite teams in college football, and whenever they met on the miamiufield, whether it was during the regular season or in a New Year’s Day bowl game, it was an event. Since then the Hurricanes have become just another middle-of-the-pack ACC football team that no one pays all that much attention to. Conversely the defending national champion Seminoles are still in the spotlight, although I am not really sure they deserve it this season. They look like a lock to make the 4 team national title playoff if they finish undefeated, but their schedule, in my humble opinion, isn’t much more inspiring than that of my alma mater Marshall, a team that may finish 13-0 but won’t get anywhere near the playoff. Most agree that Florida St. hasn’t looked impressive against that humdrum schedule, barely escaping losses to Clemson, Oklahoma St., & Notre Dame. Meanwhile, Miami has won three in a row and still has an outside shot to win their division and make it to the conference title game, but let’s be honest…this is their Super Bowl. Winning a December bowl game against another mediocre foe doesn’t have the same level of meaning in Coral Gables, FL as beating their long time arch rivals and costing them an opportunity to play for another championship. Can they pull it off?? It is interesting to me that Florida St. is favored by less than 2 points. Sure they are the visitors, but normally one would assume that being the #2 team in the country would hold more prestige. I guess the oddsmakers have watched the same Florida St. Seminoles as the rest of us and know that they are vastly overrated. Maybe I’m looking thru my rose-colored glasses again, but I’m picking the upset. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Miami, FL
Z’s Pick = Miami, FL

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South Carolina at Florida (-6.5)
Steve Spurrier returns to The Swamp. I had high hopes for the Gamecocks, picking them #4 in my pre-season poll. That is undoubtedly the biggest miscalculationGamecocks I’ve made in my prognostications in 2014. South Carolina is currently 4-5 and faces an uphill battle to even become bowl eligible. Meanwhile, the Gators are a once powerful program that have been going thru some hard times. Certainly 5-3 isn’t a horrible record, but it is far from being in the national title discussion. This is another game that just a few years ago might have been a marquee matchup but will instead be a regionally televised noon game. As noted, South Carolina needs to win 2 out of their last 3 games to be invited to a bowl, and I think that will be enough motivation. Zach thinks the Gators will win the game but won’t cover the points.

My Pick = South Carolina
Z’s Pick = South Carolina

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Nebraska at Wisconsin (-6)
These are two teams that haven’t completely disappointed me, but they have underachieved. I picked both as Top 12 teams, and while the Cornhuskers sit right WisconsinBadgersabout where I picked them the Badgers have bounced in & out of the lower tier of the polls. This game will likely decide who plays Ohio St. in the Big Ten (which has 12 teams) championship game. Both clubs are in the top 10 in the nation in rushing, and I expect this game to showcase that. Wisconsin has the home field advantage and I believe that will hold true. Zach agrees.

My Pick = Wisconsin
Z’s Pick = Wisconsin

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Mississippi St. at Alabama (-7.5)
AlabamaCrimsonTide2Will this be an elimination game when it comes to the national title playoff?? Maybe. Both teams are among the chosen 4 right miss stnow, and the loser will almost certain fall out…atleast temporarily. It’s no secret that the success of the two Mississippi schools has been a surprise to me even if everyone else seemed on board since the pre-season. I have to give the Bulldogs credit though. They have met every challenge and defeated heavy hitters like LSU, Auburn, & Texas A&M. Meanwhile, the Tide has rolled even though they haven’t been quite as dominant as usual. They were extremely fortunate to escape potential losses to Arkansas and LSU. Because I am not enamored with this new playoff system (what can I say…as a Marshall alum I am somewhat bitter) I am rooting for chaos. Ideally that’d mean a ‘Bama win here followed by them losing to either archrival Auburn or in the SEC title game (where the likely opponent would be Georgia or Missouri). If Mississippi St. wins this game then all that’d stand between them and the playoff is a season ending game against in-state rival Ole Miss and the SEC title game. I am more comfortable with the former scenario than the latter because I think Auburn has a better chance at upsetting the Tide than the Rebels beating the Bulldogs. This is how my brain works folks…like it or not. Zach, once again, is picking a team to win but not cover. He thinks ‘Bama will score the victory, but by less than a touchdown.

My Pick = Alabama
Z’s Pick = Mississippi St.

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 11

5-0 baby!! I’m almost positive I’ve never done that before.

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I have to be honest. I was really really down last weekend. My WV Mountaineers snatched defeat from the jaws of victory due to the poor decision making of their drunken head coach, and my undefeated Marshall Thundering Herd were being totally disrespected by the talking heads. I was so bummed after the WVU loss that I just turned my TV off and went to sleep at 7:30pm. The last time I went to bed that early I was in trouble with my parents. I had pretty much made up my mind to break up with sports altogether. After church Sunday I didn’t watch a minute of the NFL on Redzone, and I didn’t even watch my beloved Steelers defeat the hated Ravens on Sunday Night Football. I was prepared to end these picks as well. You see, I am a firm believer in a kind of male menstrual cycle, and as I emailed my friend The Owl Sunday evening, I was “in a very dark place” and felt “as if I could mow thru a crowded room with a machete and laugh like a giddy child.” Thankfully when the gloom overtakes me I know that if I just disengage for a day or two factory settings will be restored and I regain my emotional equilibrium. Not that I’d ever actually hurt anyone anyway. I am far too delicate for prison. I am much more likely, to paraphrase a line from the 2004 rom-com Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, to tear someone to pieces with vicious rhetoric.

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At any rate, I couldn’t abandon these picks, especially after my brilliant prognosticatory ability led me to a perfect record. I can’t let down my nephew Zach or the citizens of The Manoverse. While I was going 5-0 Zach was going 3-2, so for the season I am 30-25 and he is 28-27. There are several great college games this week that…theoretically…should add clarity to this 4 team playoff deal. Or maybe it’ll just become a bigger mess than it already is. For God’s sake I am actually starting to miss the BCS.

 

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Baylor at Oklahoma (-5.5)
oklahomaThe Big 12 doesn’t have a title game (or 12 teams), but the regular season conference champion might have a decent shot at being one of thebaylor chosen four playoff teams. The Sooners are probably on the outside looking in at a three team race between TCU, Baylor, & Kansas St., but they can certainly play the role of spoiler. This is a must win for the Bears and I am a little surprised that they aren’t favored even though they are the visiting team. Oklahoma’s two losses…to the aforementioned TCU & Kansas St…were by a total of 5 points. I’d be surprised if this game is much different, but I’ll roll the dice. Zach doesn’t think Oklahoma has a chance and predicts the game will be over by halftime with Baylor winning by atleast 4 TDs.

My Pick = Oklahoma
Z’s Pick = Baylor

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Notre Dame at Arizona St. (-2.5)
Arizona_State_logo_blanketThe Sun Devils would need a lot of things to go right for them to make the playoff, but an appearance in the Pac 12 title game certainly NotreDameFightingIrishseems feasible. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see the Irish jump back into the national championship picture if their only loss is to an overrated Florida St. team that they clearly outplayed on a call that was dubious to say the least. Unfortunately for Notre Dame I think they receive the death blow in this game and will be eliminated from playoff contention. Zach notes that Notre Dame is “good at beating small conference schools”, which I think may be a big ol’ flip of the bird to the Pac 12.

My Pick = Arizona St.
Z’s Pick = Notre Dame

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Kansas St. at TCU (-5.5)
kansas-state-dmThis essentially is a de facto Big 12 championship contest. The winner would almost certainly leap into atleast being on the cusp of the TCU_Horned_Frogsplayoff. I have watched both teams play this season, and in my opinion it all comes down to coaching. Kansas St.’s Bill Snyder won’t be outcoached the way that West Virginia’s head lush was last weekend. Zach believes that Horned Frogs’ QB Trevone Boykin will win the game with his legs.

My Pick = Kansas St.
Z’s Pick = TCU

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Ohio St. at Michigan St. (-3.5)
Ohio_State_BuckeyesThe Buckeyes are too far down on the totem pole to snag a playoff spot, but they can be spoilers while also securing a spot in the Big Ten Michigan_State_Spartans(which has 12 teams) title game. Meanwhile, the Spartans are in a dog fight for one of those four playoff spots. A win in this game would certainly help, while a loss would likely be the knockout punch. This is one upset that no one seems to be predicting, so I suppose I will be a trailblazer. Zach has a robust disdain for Ohio St. (no one knows why) and is going with Michigan St. all the way.

My Pick = Ohio St.
Z’s Pick = Michigan St.

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Alabama (-6.5) at LSU
Can the Bayou Bengals do it again?? A couple of weeks ago Zach & I correctly predicted the LSU upset of then #3 Ole Miss. LSU is coming into this game well lsu_logorested after a bye week. The Tide are also coming off a bye, so neither team has the advantage there. ‘Bama just hasn’t seemed to be firing on all cylinders this season yet they are a Top 5 team as usual and have won the last three meetings in this series rather handily. I think the momentum shifts back to the underdogs in 2014 and the game will be decided…one way or another…by 3 points or less. Zach concurs.

My Pick = LSU
Z’s Pick = LSU

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 10

Okay friends…your humble Potentate of Profundity is woefully behind so this is going to be quick & dirty.

 

But first allow me to vent…..

 

I was really looking forward to the new college playoff, but now I’m not so sure. First of all, if there are going to only be 4 teams in the playoff why is the selection committee doing a Top 25?? This on top of the AP & Coaches’ polls seems redundant. Secondly, why is the committee doing their poll on a weekly basis?? It’s the very definition of excess. So many of these teams are going to be playing each other in the coming weeks and knocking one another out of the race, so any & all debate right now is kind of useless. Why wouldn’t the committee do a Top 10 and announce it…at the most…every other week?? Also, though I am admittedly biased since Marshall University is my alma mater, to not have the Herd anywhere in their poll is a huge insult by the committee. Look, I know Marshall’s schedule is weak. I am not one who believes they should be anywhere near the playoff even if they finish the season undefeated. I am hoping that East Carolina, Colorado St., & Boise St. all lose another game and Marshall is the clear choice to represent the non-power conferences in a New Year’s Day bowl game. I think it is the best case scenario. However, to not even rank them as one of the Top 25 teams is wrong. I think it is becoming clear that we are heading for a split wherein the 5 power conferences (SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac 12, & Big 12) will play for a national title and all other football programs will either drop down to the 1-AA/FCS level or be placed into their own division with their own title game. As it stands teams in conferences like the MAC, AAC, Sun Belt, C-USA, & Mountain West have very little to play for because, as is being proven with Marshall, even an undefeated record will not garner a team enough respect to be considered a championship contender.

 

Anyway, you came here for some picks. Last week I went 4-3 while Zach went 5-3. That brings both of our season records to 25-25. Let’s see if either one of us can get above .500.

 

 

 

 

East Carolina (-7) at Temple
templeI need the Pirates to lose this game…plain & simple. The highest ranking non-power conference team at the end of the season gets to go to East_Carolina_Pirates2either the Orange or Fiesta Bowl and I want that spot to go to my Thundering Herd. Right now East Carolina seems to be getting more love even though they’ve lost a game. I don’t know anything about the Owls except for they always sucked when my WVU Mountaineers used to play them every year. I need them to not suck enough to win this game. Zach…apparently not aware of the stakes…is picking the Pirates to win by 40. Dammit.

My Pick = Temple
Z’s Pick = East Carolina

 

 

 

Arizona at UCLA (-6.5)
ucla_bruins2I had the Bruins as a Top 10 team in my pre-season rankings but they’ve suffered a couple of losses and bounced in & out of the rankings. ArizonaWildcatsMeanwhile the Wildcats have had a nice season (as I predicted) and could eventually sneak into the Top 10. I think the ‘Cats play better as underdogs but despite the point spread they aren’t sneaking up on anyone anymore. A victory here could save UCLA’s season. Zach still thinks Arizona has some magic left and is calling for the upset.

My Pick = UCLA
Z’s Pick = Arizona

 

 

 

Auburn at Ole Miss (-1.5)
Both of these teams currently hold a playoff spot so this game should be an elimination game. However the talking heads are so in love with the SEC that their auburnteams are kind of like one of those killers in slasher films…never really dead no matter how many times they get taken down. That’s one reason why I have very little interest in the game. It should matter but I’m not sure it does so I don’t really care. I remain convinced that the sports media would have a collective orgasm if they could somehow finagle an all-SEC playoff…no matter how much ESPN’s Colin Blowhard tries to convince me otherwise. I suppose I’ll take Auburn. Zach thinks Auburn is a bit overrated (he’s probably right) but believes they’ll rise to the occasion.

My Pick = Auburn
Z’s Pick = Auburn

 

 

 

Arizona at Dallas (-3.5)
It is looking more & more like the Cardinals are for real. And I guess the Cowboys are as well…atleast until they choke in the playoffs. Since I have a deep & nflarizonacardinalslongstanding disdain for Dallas I suppose I’ll take Arizona. Zach dislikes Dallas and their idiotic owner Jerry Jones as much as I do.

My Pick = Arizona
Z’s Pick = Arizona

 

 
Indianapolis (-3.5) at NY GiantsIndianapolis_Colts_Helmet
Last week my favorite fantasy team…my decade old dynasty league team…went into the weekend undefeated. I started QB Philip Rivers as I had most of the season because Ben Roethlisberger isn’t usually a great fantasy QB. Big Ben proceeded to torch the Colts like villagers hunting down Frankenstein. If I would have started him my team would have set league records that might never be broken and of course remain undefeated. None of that happened though. However, I don’t think Indianapolis will have another week like that. I believe they’ll score a fairly easy victory. Zach agrees, although he thinks it’ll be a close contest.

My Pick = Indianapolis
Z’s Pick = Indianapolis

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 9

Your humble Potentate of Profundity hasn’t been feeling well. It’s a long story that I won’t bore citizens of The Manoverse with, but tonight after a couple of mugs of hot tea there seems to be a slight break in my misery, so I figured I’d better get this done now. Just please keep me in your prayers. I wish I had the robust faith of my brother The Owl and my buddy Don, but the truth is that sometimes my “blessed assurance” can occasionally falter. I’ve obviously still got some work to do there. Anyway…..

Last week I went 3-2 while Zach went 2-3. If you’d like all the details check out last week and see for yourself. Sorry…I’m feeling slightly better but still not as verbose as usual. Our season records are 21-22 for myself and 20-22 for Zach. I wasn’t feeling like Mike Tyson has been punching me in the groin for hours a few days ago when I chose this week’s games, so for some strange reason y’all get bonus picks this week. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Texas at Kansas St. (-10)
I like Texas head coach Charlie Strong and think he’ll eventually get the Longhorns turned around even if by the time he does the table is set for his fortunatekansas-state-dm successor. However this season they pretty much stink. Meanwhile, Wildcats’ head coach Bill Snyder, who I believe was born during the Millard Fillmore administration, has his team leading The Big 12 (which has 10 teams) and still with an outside shot to make it to the national title playoff. I think K St. easily covers the spread on their home field. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Kansas St.
Z’s Pick = Kansas St.

 

 
Ole Miss (-3.5) at LSU
The Rebels come into this game as a Top 5 team. I was under the impression that the Bayou Bengals kind of sucked this season but apparently they have snuck lsu_logo-9547into the Top 25. I suppose I should pay more attention. Anyway, I am picking the upset, as is Zach. Great minds think alike.

My Pick = LSU
Z’s Pick = LSU

 

 

 

USC at Utah (even)
USC_Trojans2How often is USC vs. Utah a game with even odds?? I’m not buying it even if the Utes are at home. Zach, however, thinks Utah is very utahtalented and is picking them to win the game in double overtime.

My Pick = USC
Z’s Pick = Utah

 

 

 

Ohio St. (-13) at Penn St.
Apparently the NCAA doesn’t believe that all the child molestation that occurred at Penn St. is a big deal, as earlier this season they were all like “You remember Penn_State_logo111111those sanctions that were going to set Nittany Lions football back a decade?? Ehhhh…forget it. Play ball!!”. Regardless of how one feels about that particular ruling the fact is that the Penn St. football program hasn’t gone that far in the crapper, atleast not far enough to get beaten by two TDs in Happy Valley in what I assume will be a nationally televised game. Zach agrees.

My Pick = Penn St.
Z’s Pick = Penn St.

 

 

 

Texas Tech at TCU (-22.5)
The Horned Frogs come into this game as a Top 10 team and are really only one improbable Baylor comeback away from being undefeated. Conversely the RedTexas-Tech-260x300 Raiders are a sub-.500 team that doesn’t seem to play all that well against legitimate competition. That being said, I am not comfortable with a 3+ TD spread. Zach thinks TCU will win…but only by 17. He’s probably right.

My Pick = Texas Tech
Z’s Pick = Texas Tech

 

 

 

Philadelphia at Arizona (-2.5)
The surprising Cards get the slight home field nod but this is essentially a pick ‘em. I am not yet convinced that Arizona is for real so I have to go with the underdogs.eagles Zach agrees.

My Pick = Philadelphia
Z’s Pick = Philadelphia

 

 

 

Miami (-5) at Jacksonville
Miami_Dolphins_HelmetHey it’s the Battle of Florida!! I remain convinced that the Jags are headed in the right direction with rookie QB Blake Bortles under center, butJacksonville_Jaguars they still need more pieces. The Dolphins aren’t a serious playoff contender yet but I think they’ll get the job done against less than stellar competition. Zach is predicting a big rushing day from former Michigan Wolverine QB/WR Denard Robinson and thinks Jacksonville will score the upset victory.

My Pick = Miami
Z’s Pick = Jacksonville

 

 

 

Minnesota at Tampa Bay (-3)
Zach doesn’t know this but he’s flying solo on this one. Because of a slight error made earlier in the season he has had one less game on his record than me forvikingshelmet1 several weeks. We’ll even things up now. These two teams are a combined 3-10 thus far and I’d rather take a nap or surf YouTube for…well…anything…than watch them do battle. Zach, because he is probably feeling better than me, has an even funnier (yet depressing) visual, saying that he’d “rather see Oprah Winfrey & Dr. Phil together on Dancing with the Stars” than watch this game. That boy has some good genes. Anyway, he apparently did “eeny meeny miney moe” and is going with the Vikings. That’s cool with me.

My Pick = n/a
Z’s Pick = Minnesota

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 8

Well…last week was definitely an improvement over the previous one, although I remain unsatisfied and determined to do better. I went 3-2, with Louisville, the Denver Broncos, & the Philadelphia Eagles all winning for me. Zach correctly picked the Dallas Cowboys over the Seattle Seahawks while we both whiffed on the Baylor/TCU game. Baylor won an entertaining Arena League-esque 61-58 battle but didn’t cover the 8½ point spread. Zach went 2-3 for the week to fall below .500 for the season:

Me = 18-20
Zach = 18-19

I’m kind of bored with the highly ranked SEC teams beating one another, atleast from a prognosticating standpoint, so those games don’t make the cut this time. They are entertaining to watch but are repetitive & monotonous to analyze. We know that the SEC champion will make it into the national playoff and I think it is inevitable that a 2nd SEC team will be there too, especially if Alabama can realistically be shoehorned in without it seeming like someone is on the take. So basically we just need to sit back and let it all shake out. There are other interesting games on the schedule and I find the question of which teams will secure the other two or three playoff spots much more thought provoking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iowa at Maryland (-4.5)
The Hawkeyes were in my pre-season Top 25 so I remain mildly invested in their success. They are 5-1 and have a genuine opportunity to break into the rankings ifiowa they continue to win as various other teams knock each other out. I haven’t paid too much attention to the Terrapins since their narrow loss to my WV Mountaineers back in September but they are 4-2, with the other loss being last week to the Ohio St. Buckeyes. Maryland gets the nominal home field advantage but I’m going to stick with my summertime vibes and pick Iowa. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Iowa
Z’s Pick = Iowa

 

 

Nevada at BYU (-10)
I love late night west coast football. I am a night owl and even though I get up fairly early for church on Sunday it is still a part of my routine to watch these games that nevadadon’t start until 10pm or after and aren’t over until atleast 1am. It doesn’t hurt that games involving Pac 12 or Mountain West teams are typically high scoring back & forth affairs with plenty of drama, comebacks, & 4th quarter heroics. I resisted putting the Cougars in my Top 25 this pre-season because whenever I do (which is usually every year) they end up breaking my heart. So of course since I left them out this time they are 4-2 and were ranked before losing two straight so far this month. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack is 3-3 and every game…win or lose…has been a battle. Nevada is a program that seems to be slightly above average with occasional brief spikes of being very good. They have been to a bowl game 9 out of the past 10 seasons. BYU understandably has the home field advantage, but 10 points is just too much. I think it’ll be closer than that. Once again Zach is in agreement.

My Pick = Nevada
Z’s Pick = Nevada

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Stanford (-3.5) at Arizona St.
Stanford was ranked in most pre-season polls, including mine. However most “experts” had them hovering right around the Top 10. I had them at #17, which after photo.stanfordtreetwo early losses (to USC & Notre Dame) is looking like a best case scenario. I said that their schedule is brutal and I was right. Conversely, I didn’t rank the Sun Devils but they are currently sitting right about where most others had them back in August. This is a huge game for both teams. They each have a realistic chance at their division crown and a spot in the Pac 12 title game, but a loss here pretty much ends those hopes. It is interesting that Stanford is favored as the visiting team. I’m not sure what that’s about since it seems to be a fairly even matchup and the home team usually gets the advantage in that scenario. I will assume that the oddsmakers know something that I don’t and go with the favorites. Zach likes Stanford’s defense and believes they will win easily.

My Pick = Stanford
Z’s Pick = Stanford

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Notre Dame at Florida St. (-11.5)
This is the big one. The playoff picture is kinda sorta beginning to take shape. We know the deal with the SEC and just have to see who beats who over the course NotreDame1of the next several weeks, We also know that if the Seminoles win this game their remaining path looks rather rather smooth, while the Irish still have a couple of potential pitfalls along the way. Those rooting for chaos & arguments about who deserves to be in the 4 team playoff should be hoping for a Florida St. loss here and a Notre Dame loss to either Arizona St. or USC next month. I’d be down with that cause it’s just how I roll. Plus the point spread is ridiculous. Zach thinks both of these teams are overrated. He’s not sure who’ll win but certainly doesn’t think it will be by double digits.

My Pick = Notre Dame
Z’s Pick = Notre Dame

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New Orleans at Detroit (-3)
10_new_orleans_saintsOur lone NFL game this week is a sleeper. Detroit is 4-2 and tied for the division lead with the Green Bay Packers but I don’t think anyone is paying much attention Detroit_Lions_Helmetbecause…well…it’s the Detroit Lions. The last time they won a playoff game I was a drunken college student, George HW Bush was in The White House, Johnny Carson was still hosting The Tonight Show, Cheers & Home Improvement were dominating the TV ratings, Michael Jackson topped the Billboard charts with Black or White, and Zach hadn’t even been born. Meanwhile, the Saints are struggling at 2-3 but surprisingly remain just a game out of first in their division. The Lions get the customary 3 point bump for being at home, but this is essentially a pick ‘em. Call it unfair if you want, but I just can’t wrap my head around Detroit being a legit playoff contender and N’awlins being a bad team. It is true that every NFL season is different and it isn’t unusual to see teams go from worst to first or fall precipitously from a lofty perch. However I am going to go with the past decade or two of history and pick this game for the Saints to turn around their season. Zach is a bit more openminded than me and is willing to put all that historical perspective stuff aside (the advantages of being young). He likes Detroit’s defense and thinks they win the game easily.

My Pick = New Orleans
Z’s Pick = Detroit

Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice: A Whole New Perspective

Is legal suicide the same as legal abortion??

 

This is a question I have been pondering lately as a result of a story out of Oregon where a 29 year old woman with an inoperable brain tumor has think“scheduled” her death. It’s an emotional topic with a variety of opinions. No one wants to disparage a terminally ill individual. However, it’s an issue that is bigger than just one person…partly due to this woman’s actions.

 

I do think there is one significant difference between physician-assisted suicide and abortion even if terminology like “pro-life” and “pro-choice” can be applied to both. One of the things pro-choice advocates always say is that it is a woman’s right to decide what happens to her own body, to which my rebuttal is usually “what about the innocent child’s body??”. In the case of suicide though there is no baby to consider. This woman really is deciding only what happens to her own body.

 

handsAlso, though I have been blessed enough to not have to witness it myself, I empathize with the idea of someone not wanting to suffer and not wanting their family to be burdened with the emotional & financial toll that a dying person’s last days may present. My mother died of lung cancer when she was 52 years old in 2000. I was a grown man by then but it was nevertheless gut wrenching. However, my mother’s passing, though realistically the end result of health problems that she had suffered thru for two decades, was fairly sudden. I only had to see her in a vegetative state for a few days. So I will not criticize a person for not wanting to experience weeks or months of horrific pain and for trying to spare their loved ones everything that encompasses. That being said, I have two problems with this story.

 

First of all, the woman (who I will not name…I’m not trying to pile on) is using her last days to become an advocate for assisted suicide. She’s doing interviews, starring in PSAs, and becoming an outspoken advocate for “death with dignity”. It’s a free country and she certainly has a right to live her life how she wants, especially given the circumstances. However, it is one thing to choose to quietly end your own life, but when a person decides to become a sociopolitical spokesman for a cause then they open themselves up to legitimate critique.

 

Many “hot button” issues these days are inherently controversial, but they are oftentimes made more contentious on purpose. Do we really think that shouthomosexuality didn’t exist a century or two ago?? Of course it did, but it has only been in the last few decades that it has become a topic of intense public debate. Did no one ever have an abortion before Roe v. Wade made it legal in 1973?? Of course they did. Why did no one seem to have an issue with the Washington Redskins in the 1980’s when they were winning Super Bowls?? Why is the team name offensive now yet it apparently wasn’t 20 or 30 years ago?? If this poor woman in Oregon had simply decided to take her own life and kept it low key then very few people would have even noticed. But she had to become an advocate. Okay…fine. But now it’s out there and the debate has begun.

 

Secondly, we must be able to objectively look at the subject matter in general aside from the specific individual(s) involved. Any human being would have sympathy for this person’s particular circumstances…but what about the big picture??

 

jesuslmbMany will have faith-based objections, i.e. it isn’t up to us to play God with our own lives or anyone else’s life. That’s the biggest issue in my book. It’s a real fork-in-the-road. Those who see nothing wrong with suicide…assisted or otherwise…are generally those who don’t exhibit a strong belief in or allegiance to God or His ways. They obviously don’t believe in miracles. People of that ilk are, in our modern times, increasingly self-centered & narcissistic. It’s the Burger King attitude – “I want it MY way, right away, NOW!!”. This woman in Oregon wants to die “on her own terms”. Nevermind that most of us will never have the opportunity to choose how or when we die…nor should we. One has the right to worship or not worship however they choose. However those who do have a deep belief in God and Biblical principles are going to see this as a poor choice. Of course the rebuttal to that is “well it’s her life and she can do what she wants”…which is absolutely true. But by advocating for this “right” for the masses and allowing the situation to go public that gives others…like me…the right to espouse an opinion. I’m really tired of Christians being accused of “shoving our beliefs down other people’s throats” and being called haters, bigots, & judgmental. Why does everyone else get to have an opinion but Christians do not?? Is my opinion not atleast as valid as pro-choice, pro-gay, anti-gun, Muslim, socialist supporters who think God is “our imaginary friend”??

 

Blogger Matt Walsh wrote a really good piece about this story and expresses his thoughts far better than I. His objection isn’t as much with the woman as it is with those who are holding up her choice as heroic, brave, inspiring, & honorable. I’ll let y’all peruse his article, but let me just add that to me this is a slippery slope full of “what ifs” that is all about the value of human life. It is completely understandable that this young lady in Oregon wants to avoid the horror of what is to come…as much for her husband and others as for herself. But let us ponder this. What if there is a person out there that is middle-aged, single, lonely, financially strapped, & professionally unsuccessful?? Should a doctor prescribe them The Pill of Death just because their life kind of sucks?? How about a perfectly healthy 75 year old who has retired to Florida but feels like they’ve accomplished all they can…raised their kids, had a decent career, donated their time & money to various charities…and wants to end things on a high note before they get old & decrepit?? What about the overweight teenager who struggles academically, gets bullied, and isn’t treated especially well by their family?? Should we legally help them end their life just because they’re going thru a rough patch?? Yes I know…none of this would ever happen. I am sure there is an assisted suicide rulebook in the places where it is legal. But it isn’t unusual for rules to be modified. The line in the sand often moves. People use the old chestnut “times change”. This is usually seen as “progress”. Using that logic it isn’t hard to see the very dangerous path all of this could go down without people even batting an eyelash.

 
I have never been terminally ill. I have never been seriously depressed. I have never been suicidal. My life isn’t all that grand but I have hope. I’m not bibleall that exciting but there are things in my life that make me smile and will continue to do so…hopefully for a very long time. I am not always the perfect ideal of morality and scrupulous behavior, but I do have faith in God and His Son, my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. I believe that His will is more important than what makes me comfortable or content. It is for that reason that I believe we must be extremely cautious when dealing with certain matters…especially the sanctity of life. We must be sensitive to the issues that others face. But we should not put their decisions on a pedestal. The world is watching, and when we cross the line from empathizing with a person’s tragic plight to rubberstamping & applauding their decision to circumvent the will of God in a vain attempt at making their path easier then I believe we have gone too far.

 
I realize that I am likely in the minority on this. I understand that people are going to continue making these types of decisions whether I approve or not. And I agree that, at the end of the day, each person must choose how to live their own life and not get wrapped up in everyone else’s opinions. I just think the world would be a better place and the golden streets of Heaven would be far more crowded someday if folks were guided by God’s will instead of their own.

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 7

Last weekend was a bloodbath. There’s no other way to soft sell it. One of the keys to success in the prognostication arts is being able to predict big upsets and last week college football had more than its fair share…very few of which I saw coming. As a fan it was lots of fun to watch, but for the purpose of these picks it was viciously humbling. I ended up going 3-4. Both Zach & I picked Arizona & Virginia Tech correctly, and I was happy to see Nebraska stage a late comeback to atleast cover the points even though they didn’t win. Zach was 4-3 and picked both Mississippi St. and Notre Dame correctly. We both completely whiffed by picking LSU & Alabama. You know it’s a wacky year when both of those teams lose in the same day. So the season records look like this:

Me = 15-18
Zach = 16-16

There are several big college games again this week but I prefer to have a little variety and not pick games involving the same teams week after week. With the NFL this is somewhat unavoidable because there are only 32 teams, but the NCAA has a much bigger selection from which to choose and so we shall.

 

 

 

 

 

TCU at Baylor (-8.5)
The Horned Frogs are 4-0 and coming off a surprising upset of Oklahoma. Baylor is now a legitimate part of the national playoff conversation but they need to keep baylorwinning. I am sure TCU will put forth their best effort, but don’t believe they are an authentic Top 10 team. This game is in Waco and the home team should roll to a solid double digit victory. Zach likes the Bears’ high powered offense and expects that it’ll be hard for TCU to get revved up for another big upset so soon.

My Pick = Baylor
Z’s Pick = Baylor

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Louisville at Clemson (-10.5)
Louisville-CardinalsThe Cardinals have represented themselves rather well in their inaugural season in the ACC. They are 5-1 and currently in 2nd place in theirclemson division. I must admit I did not think they’d be that successful this season, especially after losing QB Teddy Bridgewater to the NFL. Conversely Clemson is 3-2 and hasn’t done well against stiff competition. They lost a lot of talent to the NFL and it has shown. I don’t think Louisville will win this game, but I do think they’ll play good enough to cover the points. Zach disagrees and thinks Clemson will win in a blowout.

My Pick = Louisville
Z’s Pick = Clemson

 

 

Denver (-8) at NY Jets
8 point spreads in the NFL are almost like 20 points in the collegiate ranks. Theoretically these guys are all professional athletes and no team should get shellacked denverby 2 or 3 touchdowns. However we all know that it does happen. This spread is especially insulting to the Jets since they are the home team. However, I do agree that the Broncos are a team on a mission…Super Bowl or bust…and that New York is a hot mess without a good starting QB and with a head coach who has to feel the noose tightening. I’d be surprised if the game isn’t essentially over at halftime and Peyton Manning isn’t chillin’ on the sidelines by the 4th quarter. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Denver
Z’s Pick = Denver

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Dallas at Seattle (-8)
seattle-seahawks1I know everyone is jumping on the Dallas bandwagon, but I’m not buying it. They are 4-1 but three of their wins are over teams with a dallas-cowboys-logo2combined record of 4-10. Simmer down Cowboys fans…no need to be more obnoxious than usual just yet. Philadelphia is still going to win the division. Meanwhile the defending champs are 3-1 and I think their early season loss to the San Diego Chargers will actually prove beneficial. It’s really easy for champions to become complacent but the Seahawks got a wake-up call and now seem to be back on track. I think this will be an easy win for Seattle. Zach isn’t a Cowboys fan but does believe that there is good reason for folks to have high expectations. He thinks Dallas is a solid playoff team and will atleast cover the points in this one.

My Pick = Seattle
Z’s Pick = Dallas

 

 

NY Giants at Philadelphia (-2.5)
philadelphia_eagles-3715The Giants are another team that everyone suddenly has renewed faith in, although it’s a bit more understandable in their case. They have aGiants Logo history of bouncing between being a playoff contender and a bottom dweller as effortlessly as Marty McFly travels thru time. On the flip side the Eagles are 4-1 but haven’t been quite as dominating as some (including me) expected. RB LeSean McCoy is only averaging 55 yds/game. To call that underwhelming would be like calling President Obama somewhat of a disappointment. Philly’s defense isn’t that good either, ranking 24th in the league against the run and 29th in passing defense. This is the Sunday night game and I think it’ll be a high scoring back & forth kind of contest with the home team getting the victory late in the 4th quarter. Zach agrees that it’ll be close but believes it will be the Giants that score late to seal the victory.

My Pick = Philadelphia
Z’s Pick = NY Giants

Superfluous 7 – Best & Worst TV Spinoffs

TVThe television landscape is littered with spinoffs/sequels/continuations/reboots both good & bad…mostly bad. Logically one can conclude that any series worthy of a spinoff must be pretty good itself, which right away means the new show has high standards that it must live up to, something that oftentimes proves to be difficult. The spinoff needs to provide viewers with a sense of comfort & familiarity while at the same time standing on its own as a fresh and different entity from the original. It’s tricky and usually doesn’t work. However, there have been a handful of notable spinoffs that have achieved a certain amount of success. Sometimes folks forget that a show is even a spinoff, and on rare occasions the spinoff equals or even outshines its parent show.

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We are going to try something a bit different with this installment of Superfluous 7. For each slot I have listed a good & bad…a yin & yang…a hero & villain. It’s a TV2twofer, a BOGO, a double feature!! But first let me offer a few qualifiers. In all cases I am familiar…on some level…with both the parent series and its spinoff. Y’all know that I love, love, love The Andy Griffith Show, and I am well aware that it is a spinoff of The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room for Daddy). However, the only episode of the original show I’ve ever seen is the one that was a “backdoor pilot” for TAGS (you can find it on YouTube) so that particular spinoff doesn’t make this list. Ditto for Happy Days, which was a spinoff of Love American Style, a show I’ve never seen. I am also aware of the plethora of spinoffs of shows like CSI, Law & Order, & NCIS, but since I don’t watch those shows nor their “offspring” you won’t find them here. They just aren’t my cup o’ tea. Your mileage may vary and that’s okay. Something else you won’t see here…reality shows. I know that The Bachelorette is a spinoff of The Bachelor, but since I am of the opinion that such programs are contributing to the decay of society they aren’t worth the time & energy to even talk about. Also let me take this opportunity to say that narrowing this list down was harder than I expected. There are shows that I rather enjoy like Mama’s Family (a spinoff of The Carol Burnett Show), Trapper John M.D. (from MASH), Mork & Mindy (one of a few spinoffs from Happy Days), Benson (a spinoff of Soap), Family Matters (a spinoff of Perfect Strangers), and The Simpsons (spun off from something called The Tracey Ullman Show) that just didn’t make the cut. There are others, such as That 80’s Show (a follow-up to…of course…That 70’s Show), Just the Ten of Us (a spinoff of Growing Pains), Flo (a spinoff of Alice), and Living Dolls (a spinoff of Who’s the Boss? notable for kicking off the careers of Halle Berry & Leah Remini) so inconsequential that I’m surprised I remember them at all. At any rate, without further ado, The Manofesto ambitiously presents…..

 

 

 

from the home office in Mount Airy, NC…..

 

 

 

The Superfluous 7 Best & Worst TV Spinoffs:

 

 

 

7 Best – The Facts of Life      Worst – Three’s A Crowd
facts_of_lifeIn the middle of the second season of Diff’rent Strokes housekeeper Edna Garrett leaves the Drummonds to become the housemother at a private girls’ school in upstate New York. And so The Facts of Life was born. At first we were shown the lives of a large group of 3crowdstudents at Eastland Academy (including a very young Molly Ringwald), but eventually the show focused on just four: rich girl Blair, tough girl Jo, funny girl Natalie, & Tootie, who spent most of the first season on roller skates. Facts was one of those sitcoms that didn’t shy away from heavier topics & issues that a typical teenager might face. It was also a very adaptable show, going with the flow of cast changes and realistically putting the four girls in different settings as they grew up. The show was never a ratings juggernaut but quietly stuck around for 9 solid seasons. More than 25 years after it left the air I can still sing (badly) the theme song. On the flip side we have what was intended to be a continuation of Three’s Company. Crowd had Jack Tripper settling down with a lovely stewardess and their relationship being constantly meddled in by her father. Not even the comedic brilliance of John Ritter could save Three’s A Crowd though. It wasn’t all that funny and the cast just never seemed to gel in the way that its predecessor’s had. Three’s A Crowd lasted just one season.

 

 

6 Best – Knots Landing      Worst – Joanie Loves Chachi
knotsPrime time soap operas were a big thing in the 80’s & 90’s. Dallas and Dynasty were the kings of the genre and forerunners tochachi shows like Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, & Desperate Housewives. During the third season of Dallas Jock & Miss Ellie’s middle son Gary Ewing & his estranged wife Val (parents of Lucy Ewing Cooper) reunite and move to a cul-de-sac in California. Friendships, rivalries, business deals, & love affairs amongst the various neighbors were the basis of Knots, which was more grounded & realistic than its parent show but just as soapy. It lasted an astonishing 14 years and survived a plethora of cast changes as well as all manner of ratings competition. Conversely, Joanie Loves Chachi did not last anywhere near as long. The idea was that the Happy Days lovebirds relocate to Chicago to pursue a music career. But without Ritchie, Fonzie, Potsie, and Mr. & Mrs. C the twosome just weren’t all that interesting. The show was cancelled after two years and Joanie & Chachi made their way back to Milwaukee for Happy Days’ final season.

 

 

5 Best – Gomer Pyle, USMC      Worst – The Golden Palace
gomerI was fortunate enough to grow up in the 70’s & 80’s when syndicated reruns of popular shows from the 60’s like The Beverly palaceHillbillies, Hogan’s Heroes, The Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island, The Munsters, Batman, The Addams Family, & Bewitched were shown on television a lot. Thank God I was provided the opportunity to appreciate such classic programs that had originally aired long before I was born. One of those shows was a fish-out-of-water spinoff of The Andy Griffith Show that saw dimwitted but good-natured mechanic Gomer Pyle leave Mayberry and enlist in the Marines. Gomer’s contentious relationship with drill instructor Sgt. Carter was hilarious and his penchant for inadvertently screwing up drove many of the plots. NBC’s The Golden Palace was, much like Three’s A Crowd, a failed money driven attempt at prolonging a show that had run its course. When Bea Arthur decided that she wanted to leave The Golden Girls after its seventh season the powers-that-be simply had Blanche, Sophia, & Rose buy a Miami hotel and build a show around their interactions with the establishment’s staff & guests. Not the worst idea in the world I suppose, but it’s hard to catch lightning in a bottle twice and the concept just didn’t work. The Golden Palace was cancelled after one season but is notable for being one of the early entries on the resume of actor Don Cheadle. The Golden Girls did launch a more successful spinoff called Empty Nest about a doctor and his two grown daughters.

 

 

4 Best – Laverne & Shirley     Worst – Saved by the Bell: The College Years
lsJoanie Loves Chachi may have been a bust, but Happy Days did have two successful spinoffs. I liked Mork & Mindy and became a huge Robin Williams fan, but it just doesn’t quite make the cut for our current purposes. However, Laverne & Shirley most Saved-Bell-College_400definitely deserves a spot. It retained the 1950’s Milwaukee setting of its parent show but otherwise stood out on its own merits. The supporting cast (Lenny & Squiggy, “The Big Ragu” Carmine Ragusa, Laverne’s father Phil & his gal pal Edna) was solid. Laverne & Shirley isn’t one of the greatest shows in the history of television and it kind of limped to a finish in its final two years (the entire cast inexplicably relocated to California together…as if that is realistic…and Cindy Williams, aka Shirley, isn’t even around during the last season), but amongst spinoffs it has to be considered a tremendous success. The prime time spinoff of Saturday morning staple Saved by the Bell, on the other hand, can’t be called successful by any metric one could possibly use. Now let’s be honest…the original show wasn’t a high water mark of artistry or excellence. But for what it was…a Saturday morning show meant to appeal to teenagers…it did the trick. The problem with shows set in high school (besides the fact that the powers-that-be always seem to cast 25 year olds to portray characters that are supposed to be a decade younger) is the fact that they should realistically only last 4 years. What to do with a successful (i.e. profitable) show after that?? Follow the kids to college of course!! It’s been done multiple times and almost always bombs. In this case only half the cast moved on to the spinoff and characters were added (most notably a dorm advisor played by former NFL player Bob Golic) that just didn’t pan out. The other issue was that for some odd reason The College Years aired in primetime instead of Saturday morning. Big mistake. The show only lasted one season. I should mention that I didn’t forget about Saved by the Bell: The New Class (although I wish I could) but chose to aim my scorn & derision at The College Years if only because the original cast should have known better.

 

 

3 Best – The Jeffersons      Worst – Mayberry RFD
jeffersons-castI am a little too young to remember the sociopolitical climate of the mid-1970’s, but I do remember that at the time black folks were still being portrayed in pop culture as poor, uneducated, & usually living in the ghetto. Shows like Good Times, Sanford & Son, & What’s Happening! all seemed to…unintentionally…perpetuate a stereotype that African-Americans (a term I don’t particularly rfdlike…we are all Americans) are doomed to a struggling blue collar existence in “the projects”. Diff’rent Strokes was about two orphaned boys that only make it out of Harlem because a rich white man adopts them. Even Saturday morning cartoon Fat Albert had the kids hanging out in an inner city junkyard. But George & Weezie Jefferson were different. George owned a chain of dry cleaning stores. They lived “in a deluxe apartment in the sky” (after they’d moved from Queens where they were neighbors of Archie Bunker and thusly spun off from All in the Family). They had a maid and a doorman. The Jeffersons showed that The American Dream is accessible to everyone. It is a formula that was later followed by shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters, and especially The Cosby Show. On the other side of the coin we have Mayberry RFD, a show still set in Mayberry but missing key elements like Sheriff Andy, Barney Fife, and little Opie. To be fair many of the supporting characters from TAGS were a part of the spinoff. Aunt Bea, Goober, Howard Sprague, & Clara Edwards were all in the cast. However, Ken Berry (who would go on to play the hilariously dimwitted Vinton on Mama’s Family in the 80’s) as farmer & town councilman Sam Jones was a poor substitute for Andy Griffith. Mayberry RFD…in my opinion…didn’t differentiate itself enough from its parent show and instead was a watered down copycat. The show had solid ratings but was cancelled after three seasons as CBS tried to overhaul its image and distance themselves from rural themed shows like Green Acres, Petticoat Junction, & Hee Haw.

 

 

2 Best – Star Trek: The Next Generation     Worst – The Love Boat: The Next Wave
TNGOftentimes spinoffs have a “backdoor pilot” within the parent series and usually run either concurrently or immediately following the demise of the original. TNG is odd in that it premiered nearly two decades after the cancellation of TOS. What the two shows…set a century apart…have in common are the starship Enterprise and really cool tales of space exploration and adventure. TNG gets the formula exactly right. There is a certain amount of familiarity that makes the viewer feel as if we are revisiting an old friend, but the characters are not at all carbon copies of their predecessors. Captains Kirk and Picard couldn’t be more different. Doctors McCoy and Crusher are nothing alike. Engineers Scotty and Geordi LaForge?? No. Spock & Data?? Well…maybe just a little bit but not really. As a trifling Trekkie I must say that the TOS movie franchise was far superior to the tepid TNG films, but as far as the TV shows go the spinoff gives the original a real run for its money. I didn’t really follow any of the other Trek shows that came after, but I loved The Next Generation. Conversely, I, like the majority of the population, barely recall that The Love Boat had a spinoff. The Love Boat was a product of its time. It’s not going to rank anywhere near the best television shows, but as Saturday night comfort food in the 1980’s it boatworked well enough to last a decade. But the spinoff had a few issues that it couldn’t overcome. First off it debuted over a decade after the original bid us a fond bon voyage. That kind of delay may have worked for Star Trek: TNG but that is the exception to the rule. Secondly The Next Wave aired on UPN, a network that only lasted a decade (in comparison to CBS, ABC, & NBC that have all been around since the dawn of television), never offered a full prime time schedule, and only had mild hits including forgettable shows like Moesha and Veronica Mars. Now I’m not saying that The Next Wave would have been successful on a real network, but it never had a chance on UPN. And much like Mayberry RFD the spinoff tried too hard to be exactly like the original only with actors and characters that couldn’t hold a candle to their predecessors. The concept…perfectly acceptable in the 80’s…was far too trite for the edgier 1990’s. The Next Wave lasted two seasons only because UPN had no better options.

 

 

1 Best - Frasier     Worst – AfterMASH
frasierThere are many people that are of the opinion that Frasier actually outdid its parent show Cheers. That’s a fun little debate, but amongst spinoffs Frasier stands alone. Rather than try to replicate its predecessor the show took the titular character of Dr. Frasier Crane and transplanted him to a completely new setting and surrounded him with a whole new cast of supporting players that weren’t anything like the bar crowd on Cheers. Dr. Crane himself developed quite nicely as a character without undergoing any drastic changes from what we knew of him as a recurring bit player on the original show. About the only thing the two shows have in common is the superb writing that made me fall in love with both. Frasier is such a good show that it probably would have found an audience and been a ratings success on its own merits, but having a built-in audience of faithful Cheers viewers certainly helped it get off on the right foot though. However the tone of the two shows are so vastly different that I’d be willing to bet that there were a decent amount of Cheers fans that tuned out after realizing the spinoff wasn’t going to blindly follow the trail blazed by its forerunner. If that’s true then Frasier deserves even more kudos for building an audience and lasting 11 seasons…just as many as Cheers. Now when one considers the success of Frasier then it is fair ponder the question of why AfterMASH was such an epic failure (other than its stupid & uncreative title). Afterall, it tried the same thing…transplanting characters from one show and spinning them off into a show that had a totally different setting & tone. So what was the difference?? Well, for one ting AfterMASH took Col. Potter, Cpl. Klinger, & Father Mulcahy from The Korean War to working together at a aftermashhospital in Missouri. Whereas Frasier relocated one character in a totally logical way (he moved back to his hometown to be near his family) AfterMASH clunkily reunited three characters in a completely unbelievable manner. It just didn’t work. Otherwise there are a lot of possible explanations. If TV industry people knew why some shows failed and some were smash hits they’d run for political office and fix the nation’s more important problems. AfterMASH actually had decent ratings in its inaugural season (I am assuming due to curiosity from loyal MASH fans) but then crashed & burned in its second season in part due to brutal competition from The A-Team. But if that were the only issue they could have just put it in a new time slot. I think people were just over their MASH love and ready to move forward. The writing and storytelling obviously wasn’t compelling enough for folks to stick around, and when those things aren’t good no amount of nostalgia will keep a show alive. Not only is AfterMASH probably the worst spinoff of all time but it is largely remembered as one of the worst television shows in general.

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 6

Last week both Zach & I went 3-2. We both whiffed on Carolina/Baltimore, where our disdain for the Ravens may have clouded our judgment a bit. Conversely we both correctly picked Maryland over Indiana and the Packers over the Bears. Zach was spot on in his assessment of Texas A&M/Arkansas, as the Aggies needed overtime to finish off the Razorbacks and didn’t cover the double digit spread, while I correctly chose the 49ers over the Eagles. For the season that leaves the numbers looking thusly:

Me = 12-14
Zach = 12-13

As for this week, your humble Potentate of Profundity is feeling frisky and you know what that means…bonus picks!! We’re going with all college games because a) unlike last week there are a plethora of really good matchups and b) the NFL has become inundated with sociopolitical correctness, thuggery, & general stupidity that I find exhausting and has really lessened my passion as a fan. No worries though…we’ll pick some pro games next week.

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Arizona at Oregon (-23)
First of all, as much as I loathe to admit it, I rather enjoy watching Coach Fraudriguez’s Wildcats. They beat California on a last second hail mary a couple of weeks ArizonaWildcatsago. Two previous games…against Nevada & Texas-San Antonio…weren’t decided until late in the 4th quarter. And of course the Ducks are almost always a lot of fun to watch, even when they are destroying their opponents. Both teams come into this game 4-0, though Oregon is #2 in the polls and Arizona is puzzlingly unranked. #1 Florida St. seems to have its share of doubters, so I don’t think it is out of the question that Oregon could eventually take over the top spot even if both teams continue winning. As for this game, I’d be surprised to see the Ducks lose, especially at home. However I am really uncomfortable with the spread. Oregon only beat Michigan St. by 19 a few weeks ago and I think Arizona has the potential to be even more potent offensively than the 9th ranked Spartans, a team that is averaging 50 points/game. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Arizona
Z’s Pick = Arizona

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Texas A&M at Mississippi St. (-2)
texas_am_01I have to believe that if the Aggies hadn’t almost been defeated by Arkansas last weekend that they’d be favored here despite being the road MSU Matte M-Wteam. It looks like that game has the folks in Vegas a bit spooked. The Bulldogs have snuck up on everyone who were busy heaping praise on their in-state rivals…a team we’ll get to a little later. On paper this looks like a classic trap game…a road team coming off a victory in which they struggled vs. the home team that just pulled off a huge upset over a highly ranked conference rival (LSU). Both teams still seemingly have a lot to prove. The vibes are telling me to pick the underdogs, and y’all know I am a slave to my vibes. Zach likes Mississippi St.’s defense and thinks they win easily.

My Pick = Texas A&M
Z’s Pick = Mississippi St.

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Virginia Tech (-2.5) at North Carolina
When doing the pre-season rankings I predicted that the ACC’s Coastal Division would go to Tech despite all the talking heads heaping praise on Miami, FL and Virginia_Tech_Hokies2North Carolina. Here is where the rubber meets the road on that forecast. Neither team is setting the world on fire. The Hokies are 3-2 and the Tar Heels are 2-2. However the conference schedule is just beginning. It is telling that UNC isn’t favored despite being the home team. As things so often do with Virginia Tech I suspect this will be a game decided by turnovers and special teams. They usually win those battles. Zach…I think…literally flipped a coin and picked the Hokies. Hey, it’s as legit a method as any.

My Pick = Virginia Tech
Z’s Pick = Virginia Tech

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Alabama (-6) at Ole Miss
Not only is the media shaky in its support of #1 Florida St., but they also don’t seem to have much faith in the Crimson Tide despite the fact that they are 4-0 and AlabamaCrimsonTide2haven’t really broken a sweat yet. Alabama beating my WVU Mountaineers by only 10 points instead of five touchdowns really bothered people for some reason. Meanwhile, the Rebels were recipients of much pre-season hype from everyone but me and have lived up to expectations so far. However, the total record of Mississippi’s four previous opponents is only 7-11. The combination of Ole Miss being vastly overrated and ‘Bama probably getting just a bit tired of people questioning their dominance in all likelihood means a very long day for the underdogs. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Tide rolls by 30+ points. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Alabama
Z’s Pick = Alabama

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Stanford (-2.5) at Notre Dame
Stanford_logoI am far too lazy to do any research but I’d guess it is a rarity for the Irish to be underdogs at home. Stanford is a very quiet…and deceiving…3-1. NotreDame1Their only loss was at home against rival USC by a field goal with two minutes remaining in the game. Admittedly their three wins haven’t been against elite competition either, but I still think the Cardinals (yes…I add the s because not adding the s is stupid) are a very good team that people might be overlooking in a stacked Pac 12. The Irish are 4-0 but haven’t beaten anyone yet which is probably why they are the underdogs. Oddsmakers are much more intellectually honest than pollsters. At any rate, I’ll take any opportunity I can to pick against Notre Dame as long as it makes logical sense. Zach finds Stanford boring and is all in on the Irish.

My Pick = Stanford
Z’s Pick = Notre Dame

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LSU at Auburn (-8)
Last weekend the Bayou Bengals rebounded from a tough loss at home to Mississippi St. and now stand at 4-1, although the only victory that really meant much lsu_logo-9547was the season opening win versus Wisconsin. This will be the first true away game for LSU. Meanwhile, Auburn is following up its superb 2013 season with another impressive campaign. I ranked the Tigers 24th in my pre-season rankings and still think they could end up there due to their brutal second half of the season schedule, but thus far they are a Top 5 team and in the thick of the national playoff conversation. I’m going to go way out on a limb and predict the upset. Zach concurs.

My Pick = LSU
Z’s Pick = LSU

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Nebraska at Michigan State (-8.5)
nebraskaI am looking forward to this being what pro wrestling announcer Jim Ross might call a slobberknocker. The Cornhuskers come into the gameMichigan-State 5-0 but this will undoubtedly be their toughest test to date. The Spartans fell to the 2nd ranked Oregon Ducks and have three victories over junior high teams to stand at 3-1. I’m not surprised that Michigan St. gets the home field bump, but 8 ½ points does seem a bit much. I think this is going to be a toss-up, the kind of close game that doesn’t get decided until late in the 4th quarter with special teams making the difference in some capacity. No matter who wins I don’t think it will be by more than a touchdown. Zach likes Michigan St.’s defense and doesn’t think the Spartans will have any problem covering the points.

My Pick = Nebraska
Z’s Pick = Michigan St.