Winning & Musing…..Volume 1.12

The first W&M of 2012 finds us ever so close to the annual sports “dead zone”, when football will be over, Nascar not quite back yet, baseball still several weeks away, and only college basketball (which isn’t all that exciting until March Madness) and the NBA (completely useless until the playoffs begin) to keep us company. And no, I have no interest in hockey in case you are wondering. Take heart sports fans…it’s the perfect time to catch up on your reading, hone your culinary skills, and of course become Manotized!!

 

 

 

I must admit that I did not watch one second of the NCAA championship game between LSU & Alabama, and from what I have heard I didn’t miss anything as it wasn’t that much more interesting than the first time the two teams met a couple months ago. Come on NCAA…it’s time for a playoff!! One argument that I have heard ad nauseum by opponents of a playoff system is the ol’ “College football’s regular season IS a playoff every week…lose and you’re out!!”. Well…not quite. LSU did what it was supposed to do by defeating Alabama in the regular season and were still forced into a rematch, which of course they lost. So that “logic” has now officially gone down in flames. The regular season game between the two meant zero, zilch, nada. I have absolutely no clue why we can’t have a 4 team playoff (which this season would have included ‘Bama, LSU, Oklahoma State, and most likely Oregon) and still maintain a thriving, robust bowl system. There’s just no reason for not doing it.

 

Speaking of the bowl games…

I am usually not one to boast, but I have to give myself a bit of a public pat on the back. I picked 28 of the 35 post-season games correctly, which is an 80% winning clip and by far the best I have ever done in forecasting those slate of contests. Go Me!!

 

Conversely, my NFL predictions were mediocre at best. My two Super Bowl teams were San Diego & Tampa Bay. They finished a combined 12-20 and didn’t make the playoffs. Oops. I owe a huge apology to the Cincinnati Bengals, who I picked to go 1-15 and have the top pick in the draft. Instead they went 9-7 and made the playoffs as a wildcard. Mad kudos to Bengals’ rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, who exceeded all expectations and in my universe would be a slam dunk choice for Rookie of the Year. Sadly for him that honor will instead go to Carolina Panthers’ signal caller Cam Newton. I was also way wrong on the NY Giants, who I predicted to go 5-12…far from the division winning 9-7 record with which they ended up. I totally whiffed on the Philadelphia Eagles, but everyone else did too so I don’t feel so bad. I nailed the AFC North race by saying that the Steelers & Ravens would tie, with Baltimore winning the division in a tiebreaker and Pittsburgh being a wildcard team. That is exactly what happened. I pretty much had the AFC East & NFC North pegged right on as well. I did not see the utter implosion of the Indianapolis Colts coming, but then again no one did because the extent of Peyton Manning’s injury wasn’t made known until after the season began. I got 2 of the NFC’s 6 playoff teams right, while in the AFC I chose 4 of 6 correctly.

 

NY Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez needs a change of scenery. He has obviously lost the confidence of his coach, his teammates, and the fans. That’s tough enough anywhere, but in New York I just don’t think it’s something from which he can recover.

 

If I am in charge of the Indianapolis Colts I trade the #1 overall choice they “earned” (with a dreadful 2-14 record) for everything it’s worth, which should be atleast a half dozen picks including a slightly lower first rounder. Andrew Luck, as much potential as he has, is overhyped. There will be a next “greatest prospect ever” coming ‘round the bend in a few years (maybe even next year, when Matt Barkley finishes up at USC). Assuming his neck heals Peyton Manning has probably 3 or 4 years left, but he needs a better team around him.

 

To the Penn St. alumni & former players who have been critical of the hiring of new head coach Bill O’Brien…what is your freakin’ problem?? I fully understand the penchant of college sports teams to hire “within the family”, aka a former player or assistant coach who understands the tradition & history of the program. However, in this case, does it shock a-n-y-o-n-e with a brain that the powers-that-be in Happy Valley want to make a completely fresh start and decided to go with a guy with absolutely no ties to the school, the team, and especially any connection whatsoever to Joe Paterno or his former coaching staff?? Sure in a perfect world interim head coach and long-time Paterno assistant Tom Bradley would have gotten the gig as a reward for all his years of loyalty. But in this case that simply was NOT going to happen. They HAD to have a 100% clean break from the past. It’s a drop in the bucket compared to the issues the school faces and the unseemly reputation they must now fight an uphill battle to overcome, but it is a step in the right direction and was the only choice that could be made.

 

I will address this issue once & only once, and then I will never speak of it again and erase the abomination from my memory. If the debacle that was the Denver Broncos’ shocking overtime victory over my Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL playoffs taught us anything, it is that, despite their ranking as the league’s #1 pass defense, the Steelers’ secondary is atrocious. They somehow managed to make quite possibly the worst “quarterback” in pro football history look like the love child of Dan Fouts & Dan Marino. When April’s draft rolls around the Steelers simply MUST spend atleast 2 or 3 picks…including their 1st rounder…on new cornerbacks. If there are any talented corners available in free agency they need to sign one or two of them as well. Ike Taylor, their supposed top CB, would be no better than a dime package backup on most other teams. And guys like Bryant McFadden, Anthony Madison, and the atrocious William Gay need to be given their walking papers. This has been an issue for several years that has not been properly addressed by the team’s braintrust. Well gentlemen…the time is now. It may also be time to begin grooming a successor for 74 year old defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau. Undoubtedly he has been very successful, but he’s not getting any younger and in two consecutive seasons post-season opponents…the Broncos this year and the Packers in last year’s Super Bowl…have outcoached him and played his defense like a fiddle.

 

Some things never change. Even after the death of nutjob owner Al Davis the Oakland Raiders are as dysfunctional as ever. The new regime just fired head coach Hue Jackson after ONE season…a season in which they went 8-8, tied for the division lead, and fell one tiebreaker short of making the playoffs. Really?? Do the suits there think they’ll be able to lure a big name coach that’ll do any better?? Maybe…maybe…twenty years ago. But not now. When will people learn that organizational stability is the cornerstone of success in sports?? Certainly they haven’t learned that lesson in Tampa, where the Bucs also foolishly fired a coach after one bad season. Raheem Morris was in his third year as head coach and had lead a 7 game turnaround, finishing 10-6 in 2010, a vast improvement over their 3-13 record in his first go round in 2009. In 2011 the team admittedly took a step backward, going 4-12. However, based on the success of the 2010 season I feel like Morris should have been given one more chance. Unfortunately I don’t own an NFL franchise.

 

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2 thoughts on “Winning & Musing…..Volume 1.12

  1. Sam, why so darn antagonistic toward Tim? Say you think he’s overrated – ok – but this constant stretching for new negative superlatives is bordering on a fixation. I doubt that God is all that concerned about football, but then again, He did say that if you acknowledge Him in all you ways He will grant you the desires of your heart. Hmmm, maybe it works.

  2. First of all, he committed the ultimate sin…he beat my team. That is something for which he will not ever be forgiven. At that moment he became my enemy. Secondly, regardless of the context, whether it be football related or concerning religion, I am sick to death of the constant barrage every single day. It’s kind of like when Princess Diana died and the coverage droned on for hours, days, weeks, and months. Enough already. I stopped watching one of my ESPN talk shows because this guy was the chief topic of conversation EVERY SINGLE DAY for months. It became sickening. You’ve heard of overexposure?? We surpassed overexposure with him months ago!! Even the stupid Kardashians are probably saying “Can we PLEASE stop talking about Tebow?!?!??”. Thirdly, please point out, in the above discourse, what I said about him that is negative?? Oh yes…I saidt that he is the worst QB in the NFL. That’s not negative, that is a truth that can be proven with numbers. Also, I’m pretty sure a “negative superlative” is an oxymoron *lol*. And finally, I just think your boy is a phony. He’s a bit too showy & prideful with his faith. It has sort of a wacky televangelist vibe to it. Of course that’s just my opinion. Only One really knows what is truly in his heart. The people that I have referenced previously…with the aura, the glow, the calm presence…those types of folks don’t seem to feel the need to be all “look at me…I’m a good Christian!!”. They just live it, they aren’t bragadocious about it. Now I grant you, this is a weird situation because the dude is a famous athlete who is in the spotlight. Maybe that’s the bigger issue…the media has just blown all of this out of proportion, whether they are making fun of him or kissing his feet it’s all the same & just too much. I guess I am the ring leader of the inevitable backlash. But even in his own words he comes across as phony. He does a commercial for…I don’t know…something…where he’s all like “They said I’d never get a Division 1 scholarship. They said I’d never win a Heisman Trophy”. Both of which are patently false. He was a 5 star recruit out of high school who played for one of the elite teams in college football and was hyped as a Heisman contender almost from the moment he stepped on the field. I think it was that commercial that started it all for me. Since I knew it was all poppycock I began to wonder how much everything else was just a marketing creation. Like i said, we’ll likely never really know the answer to that, but at the end of the day the bottom line is that I just would like to see everyone shut the heck up about this guy.

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