The Sports Page

Where I will show love for the Steelers, Pirates, Thundering Herd, & Mountaineers and utter contempt for the Cowboys, Yankees, Jeff Gordon, & Notre Dame.

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

About these ads

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

-

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

-

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

-

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

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

-

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

-

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

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.

.

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

*

.

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.

*

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

*

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

*

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

*

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

*

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.

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 5

Friends I have done something this week that was very difficult for a control freak to do. But before I go into that let me mention that last week I went 2-3, which wasn’t a huge shock and an outcome that I am not particularly upset about. I knew that picking against both the Alabama Crimson Tide and Seattle Seahawks was risky and unfortunately it didn’t pan out. Zach also went 2-3 although he got there in a slightly different way. So for the season so far it looks like this:

Me = 9-12
Zach = 9-11

For the first time ever I let Zach pick the games this week. It is pretty slim pickins’, especially on the college level. There aren’t even any interesting west coast games to look forward to Saturday night. However, I think he came up with a good assemblage of games from the lackluster crop from which he had to choose.

*******************

*******************

Maryland at Indiana (-3)
The Terrapins are 3-1 but haven’t beaten anyone. Their most impressive game was a close loss to my WV Mountaineers. Conversely the Hoosiers are 2-1 but university-of-maryland-terrapinscoming off an impressive upset of Missouri in Columbia. Are they really that good?? Will there be a hangover after such a big victory?? Indiana has the slight home field advantage, but based solely on what I saw (well okay…heard on the radio…we don’t get The Big Ten Network here in Appalachia) when Maryland played WVU I’m going to pick the Terps. Zach isn’t buying the Missouri game as any kind of indicator that Indiana is actually a decent football team and thinks Maryland will roll.

My Pick = Maryland
Z’s Pick = Maryland

-

Arkansas vs Texas A&M (-10.5)
texas_am_01I have to be honest…I really thought the Aggies would struggle a bit after the departure of Johnny Football, but I was wrong. Thus far they razorhave looked unstoppable in the course of going 4-0, destroying their opponents by an average margin of victory of 46 points. Meanwhile, the Razorbacks are a mildly impressive 3-1, having lost their opener to Auburn. This is a neutral site game being played at The Palace in Dallas, approximately three hours from College Station, TX and 5 hours from Fayetteville, AR. I’d be really surprised if Arkansas wins this game and I don’t think it’ll be all that competitive. Covering the spread shouldn’t be an issue for A&M. Conversely, not only does Zach believe this wil be a close game but he thinks Arkansas might actually win.

My Pick = Texas A&M
Z’s Pick = Arkansas

-

Green Bay at Chicago (-3)
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is telling the good folks in Green Bay to relax after their tepid 1-2 start. He’s probably right, but let me say this to Mr. Rodgers: I have youGreen_Bay_Packers_Helmet and a couple of your teammates on some of my various fantasy teams so you better GET THE LEAD OUT!! Okay…I feel better now. The 2-1 Bears have the home field but I’m going to go with the underdogs. I predicted them to go 13-3 and make it to The Super Bowl in my NFL Preview and I can’t abandon that idea just yet. Zach also has faith that Green Bay will work out the kinks and get back on track in this contest. Don’t let us down Rodgers!!

My Pick = Green Bay
Z’s Pick = Green Bay

-

Philadelphia at San Francisco (-4)
10517112-san-francisco-49ersThis should be a really good game. The Eagles are 3-0 although it hasn’t been easy. The 49ers are 1-2 and certainly don’t look like the same eaglesteam that has been to three straight NFC title games and lost the Super Bowl just two years ago. I’m a little bit surprised that ‘Frisco is favored even if they are playing at home. That being said, I don’t think any team stands a chance of going undefeated and this is probably as good of an opportunity for Philly to be knocked off their perch as any. Zach is even more surprised than me about the spread and thinks that the Eagles’ explosive offense will lead them to victory.

My Pick = San Francisco
Z’s Pick = Philadelphia

-

Carolina at Baltimore (-3)
Both teams come into this game with identical 2-1 records and haven’t looked especially terrible or particularly impressive. Therefore I really can’t get a good read on CarolinaPantherseither one quite yet. I don’t think any of the off-the-field stupidity circling around Baltimore has had any kind of significant negative effect on the team’s efforts. My Steelers showed the blueprint for beating the Panthers…good old-fashioned smashmouth football. Eat the clock and keep Carolina QB Cam Newton off the field. But do the Ravens have the horses to pull that off?? I’m going to roll the dice and go with the underdogs. Zach concurs and predicts the Panthers will win by a field goal.

My Pick = Carolina
Z’s Pick = Carolina

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 4

I am so mad at myself. Sometimes something is so obviously staring one right in the face that we too easily look past it. Such was the case last week. There was a fantastic opportunity for me to go 5-0, which I think would have been the very first time in three years that has happened. I am far too lazy to research the archives in order to verify that fact. At any rate, instead I ended up going 3-2. Why?? Well, first of all, the Green Bay Packers only beat the NY Jets by 7 points. The spread was 8. That one wasn’t so much my fault as it was a Packers team who basically phoned it in and may have actually lost were it not for the inexplicable ineptitude of the Jets coaching staff. Then there was the major upset…the San Diego Chargers defeating the Seattle Seahawks. I should have seen it coming. There was no way the Seahawks were going to go undefeated. That just doesn’t happen. I am the guy who said in my NFL Preview that “Super Bowl Champions oftentimes slip a little the following season” while predicting a rather pedestrian 10-6 record for Seattle. At the same time I called the Chargers “sneaky good” and also predicted a 10-6 record as well as a playoff berth. The Seahawks had dismantled Green Bay in the opening game of the season while San Diego lost a heartbreaker to the Arizona Cardinals. Seattle-San Diego was a home game for the Chargers & a classic trap game for the Seahawks, and they fell into the trap. I should have seen it coming but I didn’t. The good news for me is that while I went 3-2 Zach went 1-4, which means our season thus far looks like this:

Me = 7-9
Zach = 7-8

********************

Iowa at Pitt (-6.5)
iowaI ranked Iowa 14th in my pre-season Top 25, but after a last second loss to in-state rival Iowa pittSt. they have some work to do if they’re going to fulfill that prophecy. Meanwhile, the hated Pitt Panthers have gotten off to a solid 3-0 start, including a victory at Boston College. Heinz Field isn’t much of a home advantage for the Panthers since there are usually only a few dozen people there on Saturdays, including vendors and homeless people hoping to score some scraps from discarded Primanti Brothers wrappers. Most folks in The ‘Burgh wait to spend their hard earned money on Sunday at the Steelers game. Pitt seems like they may be the real deal, but who knows?? I think this will be a close game and it is undoubtedly pivotal to both teams’ seasons. I’m going to support my own pre-season prediction by going with the Hawkeyes. Using the logic that Boston College beat USC and Pitt beat Boston College so therefore Pitt must be a legitimately good team (which actually does make sense) Zach is picking the Panthers to pound the ball with their rushing attack and win easily.

My Pick = Iowa
Z’s Pick = Pitt

-

Florida at Alabama (-14.5)
Where is the love for ‘Bama?? Are we just so use to them being a top team that we don’t even feel the need to discuss themflorida gators image anymore?? Is there a bit of Tide fatigue amongst the masses?? The answer is probably yes on both counts. However, this game should receive a fair amount of attention. Florida isn’t back to its Spurrier/Urban Meyer heyday just yet, but they are 2-0. Yes it took them 3 overtimes to beat Kentucky last week. I think they may have been looking ahead just a bit. Anyway, if this game were at The Swamp it’d be really intriguing, but alas it is in Tuscaloosa. Therefore I believe there is probably not much of a doubt that Alabama will win. The question is by how much?? I am probably going to regret this, but I guess maybe I am one of the doubters. I think the Tide rolls, but by less than 14 ½ points. Zach has a man crush on Nick Saban but agrees with my assessment that this will be a close game.

My Pick = Florida
Z’s Pick = Florida

-

Clemson at Florida St. (-20)
There are no shortage of folks who already have had the #1 ranked Seminoles on upset alert. They were less than clemsonimpressive in a season opening victory over Oklahoma St., a game in which the Cowboys narrowed their deficit to within a touchdown with 2 minutes remaining but ran out of time to make anything else happen. Add in the fact that Florida St.’s quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner, upstanding citizen, scholar, gentleman, & all around class act Jameis Winston is suspended for the first half of this game because he is a moron. Meanwhile, the Tigers are 1-1 after a season opening loss to Georgia followed by dismantling an overmatched junior high team last week. I honestly don’t know how Clemson is still in anyone’s Top 25. They certainly haven’t earned such accolades. However, that could change with this game. Heck, if the game were being played at Memorial Stadium in South Carolina I might actually give them a puncher’s chance to win. However, it is in Tallahassee. The point spread does concern me just a bit. Florida St. has put up only 37 points in each of its first two contests. I think Clemson will be overmatched but motivated, while I am not sure the apprehension of the doubters has reached enough of a crescendo for Florida St. to pay much attention…yet. Zach not only agrees but is boldly predicting an outright Clemson victory. That boy has a set of brass ones. He gets it from his mother’s side of the family.

My Pick = Clemson
Z’s Pick = Clemson

-

Denver at Seattle (-5)
For anyone who may have been hiding out in one of those bomb shelters from the 60’s recently, this is a rematch of last denverseason’s Super Bowl. In that game the Seahawks’ defense made living legend Peyton Manning look like…well…Eli Manning and cruised to a 43-8 victory that was even more underwhelming than Bruno Mars’ halftime show. But the beauty of the NFL is that every season is new and teams can change…both for the good and the not so good…at the drop of a hat. The Broncos made notable improvements to their defense, while Seattle lost a few pieces, although I don’t think it’s had a significant impact so far. Adding intrigue to this game is the fact that the defending champions, as previously mentioned, were upset last week. Could they really lose two games in a row?? Is Denver as good as their 2-0 record indicates?? The revenge factor for the Broncos cannot be overlooked, but neither can the anger of the Seahawks after a tough loss. This is a hard game to figure out, but I’m going to roll the dice on Manning and go with the underdogs. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Denver
Z’s Pick = Denver

-

Chicago at NY Jets (-2.5)
Jets-Pin-ProThe Bears spoiled the opening of their brand new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers last chicago-bears-logo13Sunday night and looked pretty good in doing it, especially in the 4th quarter. But let us not forget that they lost their season opener at home in three OTs to the Buffalo Bills. The Jets are 1-1 as well. So basically no one really knows what to expect in this game. New York gets the nominal home field advantage but I’m not sure that means much. This is the story of two quarterbacks. The Bears’ Jay Cutler is, in my opinion, overrated. The Jets’ Geno Smith…a former WV Mountaineer…has potential and occasionally shows flashes but has been disappointing to some. I look for this to be a defensive battle defined by turnovers and lots of smashmouth football. Which QB will make the least mistakes?? Which one will make a blunder at the worst possible time?? Whose running game will dominate?? This is the Monday night game so I suppose I’ll stay up past my bedtime to find out. In a flip of the proverbial coin I’m going with the Jets. Zach disagrees and is picking the Bears.

My Pick = NY Jets
Z’s Picks = Chicago

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 3

Better late than never. Simmer down. No worries. Our first game doesn’t kick off until 10pm EST Saturday night.

There are few things more frustrating than being right and still losing. However, when I began doing these picks I decided that it would be far too prosaic to just do straight win/lose, that the element of the point spread had to be incorporated to increase the complexity of the challenge. Unfortunately, as I am sure hardcore gamblers know all too well, this also means that sometimes the spread can reach up and bite one in the butt. Such was the case last week when the Denver Broncos beat the Indianapolis Colts by 7 points instead of 7 ½ points. Even more infuriating is the fact that at one point the Broncos led the game 24-7. Denver letting their foot off the gas resulted in a loss for me and a win for Zach, making me 2-3 for the week and him 3-2. I am rather competitive so this kind of ticks me off. Thanks a lot Peyton Manning. At any rate I suppose I just need to move on and hope for better things this week. The season thus far shapes up like this:

Me = 4-7
Zach = 6-4

**********************************

Nebraska (-10.5) at Fresno St.
The Huskers barely escaped what would have been a devastating loss to 1-AA (I kick it old school) McNeese St. last week. Meanwhile, the normally solid & nebraska-cornhuskersentertaining Bulldogs come into this game 0-2, having been hammered by an average of 35 points. Double digit spreads make me nervous, but I’ll go with the favorites here. Zach thinks Nebraska will win by 4 TDs.

My Pick – Nebraska
Z’s Pick – Nebraska

 

 

Nevada at Arizona (-15.5)
nevadaThe Wolfpack are one of those teams that no one likes to play. They are usually a solid bowl team and seem to play “bigger” teams tough, pulling off the occasionalcollege_arizona_90 upset. They did go 4-8 in 2013, but come into this game 2-0, including an impressive victory over the PAC 12’s Washington St. Cougars last week. The Wildcats….as much as it physically & emotionally hurts me to say it…have been pretty decent under head coach Rich Fraudriguez and come into this game 2-0 as well, although they had a difficult time defeating Texas-San Antonio last week. It is likely that Arizona holds serve on its home field this week, but the large point spread gives me pause. For that reason I’m going to pick Nevada. Zach, apparently unware of Nevada’s 2-0 record, thinks they suck and reluctantly picks Arizona, even though he hates their coach as much as I do.

My Pick – Nevada
Z’s Pick – Arizona

 

 

Miami at Buffalo (even)
Buffalo_Bills_HelmetNo result from the first week of NFL action was as shocking to me as the Dolphins upsetting the New England Patriots. But the Bills pulled off Miami_Dolphins_Helmeta pretty big surprise themselves by beating the Chicago Bears. Now look, let’s be honest…the Patriots are still winning the division. However, both of these teams (as well as the New York Jets) ae looking to make the jump up to a solid wildcard contender that wins 9 or 10 games. This game will tell us a lot about both teams. The folks in Vegas seem to think they are evenly matched, which both simplifies and complicates things. I’m going with Buffalo because of the home field advantage. Zach doesn’t believe that Miami’s victory last week was a fluke and believes they will be a serious playoff contender.

My Pick – Buffalo
Z’s Pick – Miami

 

 

Seattle (-5.5) at San Diego
The defending Super Bowl champions looked quite impressive in their season debut, soundly defeating the Green Bay Packers. Meanwhile, the Chargers lost a seattle-seahawks1heartbreaker last week to the Arizona Cardinals. As much as I’d love to go with the underdogs here I just can’t pull the trigger. I thought Seattle might ease off the throttle and fall back just a little bit this season, but so far that prediction looks like it might be wrong. Zach concurs.

My Pick – Seattle
Z’s Pick – Seattle

 

 

NY Jets at Green Bay (-8)
The Packers began the season on the receiving end of the previously mentioned beatdown at the hands of the Seahawks. The Jets took care of the Oakland Green_Bay_Packers_HelmetRaiders. I like Green Bay to rebound here, especially in the friendly confines of the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. The points are a bit much for my taste, but if Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense are firing on all cylinders it shouldn’t be a problem. Zach agrees.

My Pick – Green Bay
Z’s Pick – Green Bay

Winning & Musing…..Volume 2.14

I know that this blog has become very sportscentric lately…again. That always happens during football season and I have apologized on previous occasions. Rest assured that there is other non-sports stuff in the hopper. However, there have been some really interesting things happening in the sports world recently, things that I cannot ignore and must opine about. Unfortunately they are, for the most part, of the off-the-field variety and the kind of subject matter which makes me sometimes wish I was more like some of my friends who are blissfully ignorant of almost everything that the folks on ESPN drone on about for hours every day. But I am who I am…a guy who’d probably rid myself of every other form of entertainment on the planet before being forced to give up my ball games and sports talk shows only if my life was in peril. At any rate, sit back, relax, and indulge your humble Potentate of Profundity as I whine & moan about things that have no direct effect on my life and over which I have no control.

 

 

 

Ray Rice. Oh where to begin?? Halfhearted kudos to the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL for dismissing Rice from the team and suspending him indefinitely from the league. However, I find it strange that all of this occurred months after the initial incident happened and only after TMZ released video footage from inside the elevator where Rice knocked out his girlfriend/wife. Originally the only video we saw was Rice dragging the woman’s unconscious body out of the elevator and into a hallway. But what did people think happened inside that elevator?? Why all of this fresh fury and long overdue action from the Ravens & the NFL?? Now granted…actually watching the video is disturbing, yet I can’t help but wonder why intelligent people couldn’t use reason & logic to assess the situation in the first place and also be a bit flummoxed at folks who act like the this new video riceprovides some kind of revelatory information. We all knew that Ray Rice was a punk who hit a woman. Why is anyone surprised by what is on that video?? Rice’s release by the Ravens and laughable suspension by the NFL (which is kind of like putting a bullet in a guy that’s already dead) are too little too late and simply a PR move by people who got caught being neglectful of their duties in the first place. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell…already an assclown of epic proportions…has embarrassed himself and the league by his woefully inept handling of the situation in which he originally suspended Rice for only two games and then instituted a domestic violence policy after the fact and only because there was such public outrage about his stupidity. Allow me to join the chorus calling for Goodell’s ouster. He has already ruined the game of football with all of his silly rules in an effort to make a violent collision sport safer. Now he has made it clear that he believes it is a far more heinous offense to smoke weed or tackle a quarterback a little too hard than to smack the snot out of a female, and he has also proven to be one of those inept wimpy types that makes bad decisions and then backtracks on them after people call him out on his incompetence. That’s not leadership. I don’t know who this moron slept with or paid off to get his job, but he needs to go…not next year or next month or next week – immediately. Roger Goodell might be the single most embarrassing human being to ever draw breath. He’s disgusting.

 

Let’s talk about Janay Palmer Rice. She is Ray Rice’s wife…the one who he knocked out in that elevator. Now I’m venturing out on a very sensitive rice-wifelimb here. I do not blame the victim. A man should never strike a woman no matter what the circumstance may be, and the newly released video makes it clear that she did not hit Mr. Rice first or at all so not even that argument can be utilized. However, what I cannot wrap my mind around is the fact that this woman MARRIED Ray Rice a few weeks AFTER the incident in which he knocked her out. I cannot fathom that. I am not an expert on domestic violence and God knows I’d never claim to know all that much about women, but it saddens me to think that a person would have such a lack of self-respect, such a dearth of self-worth, & such low self-esteem that she’d marry a man after he abused her. I can, on an intellectual level, understand how a wife would stay with a husband who has become abusive. Maybe she feels trapped. Maybe she has nowhere to go. Maybe she is tied to her husband financially. Maybe she stays for the kids. All are poor excuses to remain in an abusive relationship but atleast they are reasons that kind of make sense in some way. But to make the conscious decision to go forward into a marriage where the guy is abusive before you’ve walked down the aisle?? I don’t get it. So no…I don’t think it is right to blame Janay Palmer Rice for Ray Rice’s abuse. However, I think it is fair to question her judgment & intelligence for choosing to not only continue with the relationship but to take it to the next level by marrying an abusive man.

 

I couldn’t help but wonder, in the midst of all of this Ray Rice controversy, what Pete Rose may be thinking. A strange thought?? Comparing apples to oranges?? Maybe. But here is a guy that is a legit baseball Hall-of-Famer but who has been banished from the game for over 25 years (with no end in sight) and for what?? Yes he gambled. He gambled on baseball. He gambled on his own team. He lied about it for years. Pete Rose is no saint. But pete-rose1there is no evidence that he ever bet against his team and purposefully tanked any games. Yet he is treated worse than guys who took drugs therefore indirectly affecting the outcome of games and altering baseball’s sacred record book. He is treated worse than players who are allegedly responsible for other peoples’ deaths. And until now he was treated worse than a scumbag who punched a woman in an elevator. Heck, Ray Rice may still end up getting a better deal than Rose. It would not surprise me at all if, in a year or two, Rice does some sort of teary-eyed interview (probably with Oprah) claiming to be a changed man and some NFL team (probably the Raiders or Cowboys) signs him. And when that day comes Pete Rose will likely still be waiting for his second chance.

 

What is the deal with this dude who owns the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks?? Bruce Levenson, who has been the Hawks majority owner for a decade, “self-reported” a “racially insensitive” email he sent TWO YEARS AGO and has decided to sell his stake in the team. There is a fine line between honorable and insane and I think maybe this situation skews toward the latter. Levenson stated “If you’re angry about what I wrote, you should be. I’m angry at myself, too. It was inflammatory nonsense. We all may have subtle biases and preconceptions when it comes to race, but my role as a leader is to challenge them, not to validate or accommodate those who might hold them.” This guy has apparently been watching way too much MSNBC and probably likes The View. The email in question was a discussion about attracting more fans for the team and Levenson wondered if “the black crowd school_debatescared away the whites” in racially diverse Atlanta and theorized that “there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base.” He further noted that the typical arena crowd was “70% black, the cheerleaders are black, the music is hip hop, the bars are 90% black, there are few fathers and sons at the games, & we are doing after game concerts to attract more fans and the concerts are either hip hop or gospel” and indicated that “I want some white cheerleaders and the music to be music familiar to a 40 year old white guy”. Look, are Levenson’s concerns awkwardly articulated?? Of course. But are they legitimate concerns of an owner trying to make his business as successful as possible?? I think so. The sad thing is that he will sell the team, make a boatload of cash, & go away quietly while the NBA tries to sweep all of this under the rug. However, I can’t help but think that this is a textbook opportunity for an honest discussion of cultural issues. Are white folks really that turned off by black culture, i.e. hip-hop, rap, etc.?? And if so why?? Are those feelings valid?? If I don’t like that kind of thing and choose to spend my entertainment dollars elsewhere does that make me racist?? Whenever I go into any kind of office setting where there is music playing it is almost always the all-everything pop/rock station that plays hits from the past 4 or 5 decades. It isn’t a rap station. It isn’t a country station. It isn’t a station playing classical, big band, or heavy metal. The audiences for those genres are varying degrees of narrow, so the doctor’s office or whatever kind of business it is plays music that has wider appeal and probably won’t be offensive or unpleasant to any of its employees or patrons. It seems to me that that is what Bruce Levenson, in a rather clunky manner, was trying to do. But we live in a hypersensitive society where the Thought Police are becoming more powerful every day, so instead of having an intelligent debate on the merit of these issues we’ll just make the troublemaker shut up & go away.

 

I can admit when I am wrong and I was wrong about NFL rookie defensive lineman Michael Sam. I was absolutely convinced that he’d make the St.samgarrett Louis Rams’ roster or atleast their practice squad. Mega kudos to the Rams for having the courage to cut Sam loose and face the public backlash. But of course that wasn’t the end of the saga. The suits in the NFL office (that damn Goodell again) and the liberal media just can’t seem to accept the exceedingly simple fact that maybe Michael Sam just isn’t good enough to play in the NFL. It isn’t all that unusual for a great college athlete’s talent to not transition well to the NFL or NBA. It happens all the time. Heisman Trophy winners like Matt Leinart, Jason White, Chris Weinke, Eric Crouch, Ron Dayne, Danny Wuerffel, Gino Torretta, & Andre Ware were all failures at the pro level. Naismith Award winners Jimmer Fredette, Andrew Bogut, Jameer Nelson, TJ Ford, Elton Brand, Calbert Cheaney, & Johnny Dawkins were all underwhelming in the NBA. It happens. But apparently it isn’t allowed to happen to openly gay Michael Sam!! NFL officials reportedly called teams in an effort to persuade them to sign Sam after he was released by the Rams. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says that his team’s decision to sign Sam had nothing to do with pressure from the league. Maybe he’s telling the truth. Maybe he’s a filthy liar. Either way, the idea that the NFL tried to coerce teams into signing a player who probably doesn’t have the skill or talent level to play professional football because they are more concerned with their sociopolitical ideas than the integrity of the game is reprehensible.

 

So I guess it is back to business as usual at Penn St. The NCAA handed down a stiff penalty a couple of years ago in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation debacle, including a 4 year bowl ban and a significant limiting of football scholarships for four years. Now, halfway thru that penalty the NCAA has basically said “Ehhh…never mind”. Many are applauding the decision. There are those that feel that Sandusky is in prison, legendary coach Joe Paterno is dead and stricken from the record books, & others associated with the scandal are long gone from Happy Valley, and that it is psuunfair to punish current players, coaches, & fans for sins they didn’t commit. I understand but disagree. The problem at Penn St. was systemic. The football program became bigger than everything else and protecting it became more important than protecting innocent children from a sexual predator. Fans surely didn’t molest those children and neither did they participate in the cover-up. However, they were complicit in making Penn St. football & Joe Paterno into a bigger-than-life entity whose importance in relation to other aspects of life became completely cock-eyed. I thought the program was fortunate to escape the dreaded “death penalty” and that the bowl ban and loss of scholarships (which can cripple a football team for years) was entirely reasonable and a great way to make the folks at Penn St. get their priorities in order. Players who chose to matriculate there would be going in with their eyes open and with no right to complain about not having an opportunity to play in the post-season. But now all of that is out the window. Penn St. football is back. And once again Pete Rose…who simply bet on baseball and did not molest any children…still waits for his second chance.

2014 NFL Preview & Prognostications

laces-football-grassAllow me to be bluntly honest. Not that I am usually dishonest, but I am rarely blunt. At any rate, I’m not as excited as usual to do goodevil-copythis preview. The NFL is becoming harder & harder to watch thanks to that moron Fidel Goodell. I look at professional football suits, including the league office and team front offices, kind of like I do the government. I believe they should interfere with the game as little as possible. Unfortunately nowadays, with Goodell’s “personal conduct policy” and the pathological need to make a violent collision sport “safe”, all the talking heads ever yap about (whenever they aren’t slobbering all over rookie defensive end Michael Sam, indulging Browns “backup” QB Johnny Manziel, or being offended by the Washington Redskins name) are penalties and suspensions. Defense used to win championships, but the NFL has neutered defenses to the point that they might as well not even take the field. I sincerely believe we are only a few years away from flag football. Goodell is a succubus that has almost singlehandedly ruined what was once the greatest sport and the best pro league in the world. Thanks a lot jackass. So anyway, I suppose I will move forward with this preview and I’ll watch the games. I might even enjoy myself on occasion. But it’s not the same. It never will be unless Goodell is run out office and is replaced by someone with the cahonas to reverse nearly every bad decision that has been made in the past 8 years.

 

 

 

 

 

NFC

East
Philadelphia Eagles
(10-6) 14-2
Dallas Cowboys
(8-8) 7-9
NY Giants
(7-9) 6-10
Washington Redskins
(3-13) 6-10
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly didn’t have quite the growing pains in his rookie season that I expected, and I believe Philly will be even better this year. The rest of eaglesthis division is mediocre at best. The Cowboys defense isn’t any better than it was in 2013. The Tom Coughlin era in New York will likely end in the next couple of seasons with a whimper instead of a bang. And the Redskins backup quarterback may be better than their vastly overrated starter.

 

 

 

North
Green Bay Packers
(8-7-1) 13-3
Detroit Lions
(7-9) 8-8
Chicago Bears
(8-8) 7-9
Minnesota Vikings
(5-10-1) 7-9
Another mediocre division. The Packers, despite losing defensive tackle BJ Raji (to injury not free agency), should run away with the crown behind QB Aaron Green_Bay_Packers_HelmetRogers and RB Eddie Lacy. The Lions may show some improvement but aren’t ready to break thru just yet. Bears QB Jay Cutler is even more overrated that RGIII in Washington. And Minnesota won’t contend until they decide to let Teddy Bridgewater take the reigns as the franchise signal caller he was drafted to be and stop pussyfooting around with Matt Cassel.

 

 

 

South
New Orleans Saints
(11-5) 10-6
Carolina Panthers
(12-4) 10-6
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(4-12) 9-7
Atlanta Falcons
(4-12) 7-9
Now we’re starting to have some fun. Until Drew Brees shows that he just can’t do it anymore he has to be considered one of the few elite quarterbacks in the 10_new_orleans_saintsleague. I’d feel a little bit better if the Saints had a franchise RB (no…Mark Ingram, Khiri Robinson, & Pierre Thomas don’t count), but as long as TE Jimmie Graham is around to catch touchdowns from Brees and the defense is atleast solid the Saints must be considered the favorites. Carolina probably takes a bit of a step back this year since their all new receiving corps consists of Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant, & rookie Kelvin Benjamin and they lost cornerstone left tackle Jordan Gross. I look for Benjamin to grow into a big time receiver, but let’s not rush things. The brief Greg Schiano era is over in Tampa and Lovie Smith…inexplicably canned by the Chicago Bears a couple of years ago…takes over a team with a solid defense, a potentially very good receiving corps, and a decent running game. I understand why the Bucs are receiving a lot of buzz. But neither Josh McCown nor Mike Glennon inspire much confidence in the quarterback position, so until they remedy that issue Tampa can’t be considered serious contenders. I look for the Falcons to bounce back a little bit from an abysmal 2013, but this is such a tough division that I still think they draw the short straw.

 

 

 

West
Seattle Seahawks
(13-3) 10-6
San Francisco 49ers
(12-4) 10-6
Arizona Cardinals
(10-6) 9-7
St. Louis Rams
(7-9) 3-13
Super Bowl Champions oftentimes slip a little the following season. They have a huge target on their back, spend a little too much of the offseason in celebration seattle-seahawks1mode, and tend to lose a few players to free agency who are understandably cashing in on the team’s success. Seattle is no different. However, luckily for the Seahawks their main rivals…the 49ers…are having a rough offseason with the 9 game suspension of troubled defensive tackle Aldon Smith as well as not having the services of linebacker Navorro Bowman, who tore up his knee in the NFC championship game. I like the Cardinals a lot but I’m not ready to say they are better than Seattle & ‘Frisco just yet. I might regret not venturing out on that particular limb. The Rams’ season was probably going to be forgettable anyway, but with the loss QB Sam Bradford…again…to another knee injury they are likely looking at a top 5 pick in the 2015 draft (which they’ll probably use on a quarterback to replace the disappointing Bradford).

 

 

Playoff Teams: Philadelphia, Green Bay, New Orleans, Seattle, Carolina, San Francisco
NFC Championship: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Green Bay Packers

AFC

East
New England Patriots
(12-4) 13-3
Buffalo Bills
(6-10) 8-8
NY Jets
(8-8) 8-8
Miami Dolphins
(8-8) 7-9
Good Lord when will the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era end?? Ateast the Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl in awhile. But they shouldn’t have any problem winning New_England_Patriots_Helmetthis division. I think the Bills are headed in the right direction and we’ll find out this season if QB EJ Manuel is the real deal. The addition of rookie WR Sammy Watkins will help. Jets coach Rex Ryan did enough last year to keep his job, but I don’t believe we’ll see any improvement this year. I am sure the Geno Smith/Michael Vick battle at QB will be the dominant story all season in The Big Apple. The Dolphins are likely to remain insignificant. Don’t be surprised if head coach Joe Philbin finds himself on the hot seat by the end of the year.

 

 

 

North
Cincinnati Bengals
(11-5) 10-6
Baltimore Ravens
(8-8) 9-7
Pittsburgh Steelers
(8-8) 7-9
Cleveland Browns
(4-12) 6-10
As much as it breaks my heart I have to admit that I don’t have much confidence in my Pittsburgh Steelers. A quarter of their draft picks didn’t even make the team. Cincinnati_Bengals_HelmetClearly something is amiss in the Steelers front office. I don’t think the Bengals will get very far in the playoffs but they should win the division. The Ravens are no longer a serious Super Bowl contender but they’ll be competitive. The quarterback situation in Cleveland is murky at best and I’m not at all impressed with new head coach Mike Pettine who seems ill prepared for the job.

 

 

 

South
Indianapolis Colts
(11-5) 12-4
Jacksonville Jaguars
(4-12) 8-8
Tennessee Titans
(7-9) 8-8
Houston Texans
(2-14) 6-10
Is Andrew Luck just an above average quarterback or is he an elite transcendent talent on par with Manning (you know which one), Brady, & Brees?? I think we’ll beIndianapolis_Colts_Helmet better equipped to ponder that question after this season. I like the direction the Jags are headed, but they need to stop this Chad Henne silliness and make rookie Blake Bortles the starting QB. Sure he’ll make some mistakes, but he’ll also grow & learn and do some good things that Henne just doesn’t have the talent to achieve. Tennessee and Houston are treading water, although if the Texans make newly acquired QB Ryan Mallet the starter sooner rather than later they might have some potential.

 

 

 

West
Denver Broncos
(13-3) 11-5
San Diego Chargers
(9-7) 10-6
Kansas City Chiefs
(11-5) 9-7
Oakland Raiders
(4-12) 8-8
This is probably it for Peyton Manning. The window is closing fast. The Broncos upgraded their defense a lot this offseason and the offense should be as good or broncos-4759better than 2014, so anything less than a Lombardi Trophy would be a huge disappointment. The Chargers are sneaky good and could be a scary team to face in the playoffs. I think the Chiefs fall back a bit from their surprisingly successful season of last year. The Raiders will run like the wind with Maurice Jones-Drew but it won’t be enough. Look for rookie QB Derek Carr to emerge as the starter, but head coach Dennis Allen might be the first to lose his job this year.

 

 

Playoff Teams: New England, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Denver, Baltimore, San Diego
AFC Championship: Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts

Denver Broncos 31 sbGB Packers 28