2019 College Football Pre-Season Top 25

First things first…I am indeed aware that the college football season begins tonight when the Miami Hurricanes visit the Florida Gators. I usually get these rankings published earlier in August, but…well, that didn’t happen. You’re not interested in my excuses and I’m not really into making any, so we’ll just go with the flow. I don’t think the Canes’ nor the Gators will factor significantly into how things play out, so it’s all good. We know that out of 130 FBS football teams only 65 “power” conference teams (including “independent” Notre Dame) have any shot at the national title, and this season it feels like it’s a ten team race at best. As a fan I am still entertained by watching games, but I have to admit that the foregone conclusion that the playoff has become sort of harshes my football buzz. I need underdogs. I need upsets. I need some semblance of parity. I need a little variety from year to year. One of the charms of college football has always been that each season players graduate and new players come in, which means that every year is different…except nowadays its seems like nothing much changes. There have always been dominant programs, but there were still cycles wherein some teams would rise for a couple of years while others fell off a bit. That yin & yang was part of the fun. I hope that happens this season. I hope a team or two that everyone expects to win a lot of games unexpectedly loses a few. I hope a few teams that no one sees coming win 10+ games and challenge for conference titles. I hope…but I won’t hold my breath. Still, it’s nice to have football back.




25        Virginia Tech

Last Season:     6-7

Key Games:     10/5 @Miami, 11/2 @Notre Dame, 11/23 vs. Pitt

This season will go one of two ways for the Hokies. Either they’ll have another miserable losing season and head coach Justin Fuentes will be on the hot seat…or they’ll rebound with 8 or 9 wins and have a legit shot to win a conference title in a rather weak ACC. Obviously I lean toward the latter scenario.



24        Auburn

Last Season:     8-5

Key Games:     8/31 vs. Oregon, 9/21 @Texas A&M, 11/16 vs. Georgia, 11/30 vs. Alabama

Here’s the thing about the SEC. Atleast half the conference is going to get some attention from the talking heads early in the season because…well, that’s just how it is. Heck, I have five SEC teams in these rankings, and that’s me being conservative. But logic dictates that only a couple of those teams will really be elite. The rest will either fall flat & have disappointing seasons or fall short a few times and end up with a solid 8 or 9 win season. I think the Tigers will land in the latter category. The season opener against Oregon should be a good barometer of what we can expect.



23        Michigan State

Last Season:     7-6

Key Games:     9/14 vs. Arizona St., 10/5 @Ohio St., 10/12 @Wisconsin, 10/26 vs. Penn St., 11/16 @Michigan

Trips to Columbus & Ann Arbor don’t bode well for the Spartans Big Ten title hopes, but I believe they’ll rebound from a subpar 2018 and win nine games.



22        Central Florida

Last Season:     12-1

Key Games:     9/14 vs. Stanford, 9/21 @Pitt

The Knights hadn’t lost a game in two years until they ran into the LSU Tigers in the Fiesta Bowl. Do I expect more of the same this year?? Maybe. Out-of-conference games against Stanford & Pitt are important and could make a huge difference. It’s probably too much to ask UCF to go undefeated again, but I think a ten win season deserves some respect.



21        Army

Last Season:     11-2

Key Games:     9/7 @Michigan, 12/14 vs. Navy

Very few football fans pay attention to the Black Knights until the very end of the season when the Army-Navy Game has the spotlight all to itself, but Army has gone 21-5 in the past two years, which is quite impressive. I don’t think they’ll go into Ann Arbor and pull off an upset, but I don’t believe another ten win season is far-fetched.



20        Northwestern

Last Season:             9-5                             

Key Games:              8/31 @Stanford, 9/21 vs. Michigan St., 9/28 @Wisconsin, 10/5 @Nebraska, 10/18 vs. Ohio St., 10/26 vs. Iowa

Perhaps it’s the purple uniforms, or maybe it’s the fact that they were perennial underdogs when I was growing up but ten win seasons have now become fairly normal in Evanston. It might be the tenacity of former linebacker & current head coach Pat Fitzgerald. For some reason I have a soft spot for the Wildcats. This prediction could be an epic disaster since they’ve got to travel to Palo Alto to begin the season and also have road trips to Madison & Lincoln. However, if Northwestern can gut out a few upsets and win eight games I may be onto something.



19        Fresno State

Last Season:     12-2

Key Games:     8/31 @USC, 9/7 @Minnesota, 10/26 vs. Colorado St.

I’m a bit sad because my work schedule has changed yet again and I have to be in bed super early on Friday & Saturday nights so I can get up at 5am. That means that for the first time in many years I won’t get to watch hardly any late night west coast games. The Pac 12 gets all of the attention, but don’t forget about the Mountain West. It has become standard for Boise St. to get the infinitesimal amount of love left over for the MWC, but I believe the Bulldogs will emerge as the better team this year.



18        Michigan

Last Season:     10-3

Key Games:     9/21 @Wisconsin, 10/5 vs. Iowa, 10/19 @Penn St., 10/26 vs. Notre Dame, 11/16 vs. Michigan St., 11/0 vs. Ohio St.

Are patience wearing thin where Jim Harbaugh is concerned?? Possibly, but I still think he’ll ditch Michigan before Michigan cans him…and neither scenario may ever happen. This isn’t the early 20th century anymore…everyone outside of the state of Alabama understands how difficult it is to win a national championship and knows it isn’t the only barometer for success. Harbaugh has won ten games in 3 out of 4 seasons leading the maize & Blue, which is pretty darn good. The one thing he has to do to quell any sort of rebellion: beat Ohio St. Now is the time. This is the year. The Wolverines could lose 3 or 4 other games and it won’t matter if they defeat the Buckeyes in The Big House in November.



17        Arizona State

Last Season:     7-6

Key Games:     9/14 @Michigan St., 10/19 @Utah, 11/9 vs. USC, 11/23 vs. Oregon

I’m a big fan of Sun Devils’ head coach Herm Edwards. He might be a better talking head than head coach, but I saw some flashes a year ago that leads me to believe that this is a team that could pull off a couple of upsets and sneak into the rankings.



16        Texas A&M

Last Season:     9-4

Key Games:     9/7@Clemson, 9/21 vs. Auburn, 10/12 vs. Alabama, 11/23 @Georgia, 11/30 @LSU

No team has more chances to affect the National Championship picture than the Aggies. All five key games noted above involve potential playoff contenders, so A&M has a unique opportunity to be the ultimate spoiler…or be embarrassingly inept. Entering Year 2 of the Jimbo Fisher era I believe they’ll continue to build a solid foundation that will eventually lead to playoff appearances in the near future.



15        Stanford

Last Season:     9-4

Key Games:     9/21 vs. Oregon, 10/5 vs. Washington, 11/16 @Washington St., 11/30 vs. Notre Dame

The Pac 12 is stacked, and it’ll be really interesting to see which team(s) emerge to lead the pack. Stanford has its biggest games at home, and that could lead to good things.



14        Nebraska

Last Season:     4-8

Key Games:     9/28 vs. Ohio St., 11/16 vs. Wisconsin, 11/29 vs. Iowa

I’m really going out on a limb. After back to back four win seasons the Cornhuskers enter Year 2 of the Scott Frost era, which means that noticeable improvement is expected.  So does that mean going from losing seasons to bowl eligibility?? Or does it mean bursting back onto the scene with 8-10 wins?? The biggest games are at home, and just one upset might mean a huge turnaround for the program.



13        LSU

Last Season:     10-3

Key Games:     9/7 @Texas, 10/12 vs. Florida, 10/26 vs. Auburn, 11/9 @Alabama, 11/30 vs. Texas A&M

Ed Orgeron now seems to be firmly entrenched as the Bayou Bengals’ head coach, and that kind of stability provides a real sense of freedom for a program. A split against the four noted conference foes would be fantastic, but an early season non-conference battle at Texas could be the key to LSU’s entire season.



12        Utah

Last Season:     9-5

Key Games:     8/29 @BYU, 9/20 @USC, 9/28 vs. Washington St., 10/19 vs. Arizona St., 11/2 @Washington

Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to figuring out the Pac 12, but the Utes seem to be getting a lot of love. Anyone who has spent any time reading sports related content here at The Manofesto will recall my affection for BYU, which is why I consider that an important in-state contest for Utah even though BYU has only won eleven total games the past two years. I’m not sure what to think about Southern Cal or the two Washington teams…all three could make these rankings look silly a few months from now. One thing is for sure…the Utes are going to need to have some big road wins to have a successful season.



11        Iowa State

Last Season:     8-5

Key Games:     9/14 vs. Iowa, 11/9 @Oklahoma, 11/16 vs. Texas

Everybody loves to yap about Oklahoma & Texas, but Big 12 fans know not to sleep on the Cyclones. They’ve won eight games in each of the last two seasons, and with QB Brock Purdy entering his sophomore year I think bigger things await. I am predicting that they’ll upset either the Sooners or the Longhorns and finish third in the conference.



10        Wisconsin

Last Season:     8-5

Key Games:     9/21 vs. Michigan, 10/12 vs. Michigan St., 10/26 @Ohio St.

The bottom line is this…the Badgers have to upset one of the two Michigan teams because going into The Horseshoe & beating Ohio St. in October might be too much to expect. Otherwise, I expect a solid 8-10 win season, which is par for the course.



9          Southern California

Last Season:     5-7

Key Games:     9/7 vs. Stanford, 9/20 vs. Utah, 9/28 @Washington, 10/12 @Notre Dame, 11/2 vs. Oregon

I’m doing it…I’m rolling the dice on the Trojans!! I’m not sure what the heck happened a year ago, but it was USC’s first losing season in eighteen years. Was it an anomaly?? Or was 2018 indicative of a backward slide that will continue for the foreseeable future?? Obviously I’m betting on the former, and in the words of Billy Joel I’ll walk away a fool or a king.



8          Texas

Last Season:     10-4

Key Games:     9/7 vs. LSU, 10/12 vs. Oklahoma, 11/16 @Iowa St.

The long road back to relevancy is about as complete as one can expect nowadays…all they need to do now is maintain consistency. A losing or even mediocre season now would be disastrous for a program that’s taken almost a decade to rebuild. Most “experts” expect the Big 12 to come down to Texas & Oklahoma, so the Red River Shootout in mid-October will be a huge game, but the Longhorns shouldn’t overlook Iowa St. just a month later.



7          Notre Dame

Last Season:     12-1

Key Games:     9/21 @Georgia, 10/12 vs. USC, 10/26 @Michigan, 11/30 @Stanford

Coming off a playoff season expectations are high in South Bend, but the schedule is brutal. One slip will knock them out of contention, and with big road games at Georgia, Michigan, & Stanford I’d be stunned to see the Irish go undefeated.



6          Ohio State

Last Season:    13-1

Key Games:     9/28 @Nebraska, 10/5 vs. Michigan St., 10/26 vs. Wisconsin, 11/23 vs. Penn St., 11/30 @ Michigan

Ohio St. is a football factory that recruits elite athletes and churns out winning seasons as easily as you & I change socks in the morning. However, the dividing line for such teams is whether they win 9/10 games and finish highly ranked or go undefeated and contend for a playoff spot. I don’t think there will be a significant dropoff under new head coach Ryan Day, and perhaps it is even positive for the program to be rid of the various distractions that accompanied former coach Urban Meyer. However, I don’t think you’ll see the Buckeyes in the playoff, and they might even suffer a loss to Michigan.



5             Oregon

Last Season:     9-4

Key Games:     8/31 @Auburn, 9/21 @Stanford, 10/19 @Washington, 11/2 @USC

Mario Cristobal started his reign as the Ducks’ head coach with a nine win season, so now anticipation is at a fever pitch in Eugene. A non-conference battle with Auburn to kick things off is a neutral site game at The Palace in Dallas. I don’t necessarily think that game will make or break either team’s season, but the winner will certainly be headed on an upward trajectory. I’m not sure what to make of the Pac 12 quite yet, but if Oregon can emerge from the pack they just might find themselves in playoff contention.



4             Alabama

Last Season:     14-1

Key Games:     10/12 @Texas A&M, 11/9 vs. LSU, 11/30 @Auburn

I don’t know about y’all, but ‘Bama has become a team I love to see lose. I’m just really over the whole thing. I know I should root for fellow West Virginian Nick Saban, but I just can’t. I’m an underdog kind of guy and The Tide has evolved into The Evil Empire. However, a year ago I opined that Alabama might have to lose as many as three games for the powers-that-be to leave them out of the playoff. We know for sure that they don’t need to win the SEC or even play in the title game. So here is how I see it going down. I think A&M and LSU will both provide legit tests for ‘Bama, but they’ll go into the SEC Championship ranked #1 or #2 in the country, lose the title game to Georgia, and still make the playoff.



3          Oklahoma

Last Season:     12-2

Key Games:     10-12 vs. Texas, 11/9 vs. Iowa St., 11/30 @Oklahoma St.

Sooners’ head coach Lincoln Riley…at just 35 years old…has made a believer out of me. Two straight 12 win seasons. Two consecutive Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks. With former Alabama QB Jalen Hurts transferring in to lead the offense I see no reason to believe that Oklahoma won’t win the Red River Shootout and claim another conference title. The Big 12 doesn’t get as much respect as the other “power” conferences, and it would probably be easy for the playoff committee to squeeze the Sooners out…but I don’t believe that’ll happen this season.



2          Georgia

Last Season:     11-3

Key Games:     9/21 vs. Notre Dame, 11/2 vs. Florida, 11/16 @Auburn, 11/23 vs. Texas A&M

Beating Notre Dame in September is an absolute must for the Bulldogs’ playoff hopes, but fortunately it’s a home game. I’m not buying into any Florida hype, and by late November I think tough schedules will have taken their toll on Auburn and A&M. I also believe Georgia will win the SEC Championship. I would much rather see a Clemson-Georgia National Championship versus any matchup involving Alabama.



1          Clemson

Last Season:     15-0

Key Games:     9/7 vs. Texas A&M

Champion wrestler Ric Flair used to say “to be The Man you’ve got to beat The Man”, and until someone steps up & knocks the Tigers from their perch there’s no other choice for the #1 spot. When I look at the schedule it looks like A&M is the only legit threat they face in the regular season, and the playoff committee hasn’t penalized Clemson in the past for the relative weakness of the ACC so it would be inconsistent to do so now. Most “experts” seem to recognize that Clemson is on a whole other level at the moment, and QB Trevor Lawrence is special. He’s my favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.

2019 NFL Preview & Prognostications

I was at an outdoor concert a couple of weeks ago, and as darkness fell around 9pm I felt a slight chill in the air. Autumn was in the breeze. That’s a feeling I usually don’t experience until Labor Day Weekend while attending our local Italian Heritage Festival. In the moment I was not pleased because I tend to prefer the warmth & sunshine of summer. I have nothing particular against fall except for the fact that it ushers in winter, which I despise. At any rate, in an effort to find a silver lining and think positive I must say that there are a few good things about autumn…my birthday, Halloween, & football. Glorious football is back!! It’s time once again to look into the pigskin crystal ball and make some predictions about how this season might play out. I don’t put a whole lot of stock in pre-season, but there are injuries, holdouts, & emergent rookies we can’t ignore. As always the team’s record from the previous year is in parentheses, with the predicted record for this season following it. And remember…no wagering. I am not a professional and most of the time I’m not very good at this. Let’s just relax & have some fun.






Pittsburgh Steelers (9-6-1) 10-6

Baltimore Ravens (10-6) 9-7

Cleveland Browns (7-8-1) 8-8

Cincinnati Bengals (6-10) 3-13

Despite an eventful off-season that saw talented but troubled WR Antonio Brown shipped to The Left Coast I don’t think my Steelers will implode. However, I do expect divisional games to be even more competitive than usual. Don’t sleep on the Ravens…they’ll battle for every yard on both sides of the ball, and new QB Lamar Jackson is feast or famine: he’ll have moments of pure brilliance, but he needs to become a better passer and has to stay healthy. Everyone needs to slow their roll on the “new & improved” Browns. Going back to his college days I’ve always opined that QB Baker Mayfield gave me a Bret Favre-ish vibe, and I see it now more than ever. Adding receivers Odell Beckham Jr. & Jarvis Landry into the mix along with a backfield of Nick Chubb & Kareem Hunt bodes well for the offense. I like their defense too…DEs Myles Garrett & Olivier Vernon and tackle Sheldon Richardson should be stout against the run as well as put some pressure on opposing QBs, and the secondary might be sneaky good. Having said that, I’m not buying Cleveland as a playoff team just yet. The Bengals finally pushed longtime head coach Marvin Lewis out the door, but I’m not sure 35 year old Zac Taylor is the answer. He’s never been a head coach at any level and the learning curve will be quite foreboding. Regardless of whether or not Taylor lasts more than a season or two Cincy probably needs to blow things up and construct a whole new roster from the ground up.




Indianapolis Colts (10-6) 10-6

Houston Texans (11-5) 9-7

Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11) 9-7

Tennessee Titans (9-7) 5-11

There are just so many questions…this might be the most difficult division in the league to calculate. Can Colts’ QB Andrew Luck stay healthy?? Will QB Nick Foles be the answer Jacksonville has been seeking?? Marlon Mack, Derrick Henry, Lamar Miller, or Leonard Fournette…which running back will lead the pack?? Will any of these four defenses emerge as elite (the Jags were #5 a year ago, the Titans #8, Indy & Houston were #11 & #12)?? I’m downgrading Indianapolis a bit due to concerns about Luck’s ankle, but still think they will win the division if he doesn’t miss more than a couple of games. I like Foles and the Jags’ defense is stout, but have serious doubts about the durability of Fournette and the rest of their skill players inspire little confidence. I love Texans’ QB Deshaun Watson, but somebody other than WR DeAndre Hopkins has to step up and be reliably productive. Houston has the same issue on the defense…JJ Watt is fantastic, but others have to contribute. My vibe is that they take a step back this season, make some adjustments, and become serious contenders in 2020. This feels like a make or break year for Titans’ QB Marcus Mariota. When he came out of Oregon in 2015 the big debate about who would go #1 overall in the draft was between him and Florida St.’s Jameis Winston. Winston went to Tampa while Mariota was chosen next, but neither quarterback has set the world on fire. There just seems to be something amiss in Tennessee. I think they decline slightly and head coach Mike Vrabel finds himself on the hot seat.




New England Patriots (11-5) 10-6

New York Jets (4-12) 8-8

Miami Dolphins (7-9) 8-8

Buffalo Bills (6-10) 3-13

Here we go again. Tom Brady appears to be ageless and Bill Belichick’s stature as a head coach grows with each passing year, despite his shady tactics. The Patriots have become Tiger Woods from two decades ago when he was winning a lot but we all knew he really only cared about the majors. In much the same way it seems like everyone understands that New England will win a rather weak division, and their only true goal is another Super Bowl. With that in mind I think they’ll win the division but not run away with it. Jets’ QB Sam Darnold continues his maturation process, and now he has RB Le’Veon Bell as a safety net. I like what the Jets are doing and believe they’ll noticeably improve. I feel bad for Dolphins & Bills fans. They’ve known for a decade & a half that their teams aren’t winning the division, but they don’t even get to enjoy watching obvious progress. Both squads just seem to be treading water and perpetuating their mediocrity with poor coaching hires, bad free agent moves, and subpar drafts.




Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) 11-5

Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) 10-6

Oakland Raiders (4-12) 6-10

Denver Broncos (6-10) 3-13

At the time of publication Chargers’ RB Melvin Gordon is threatening to continue his holdout into the start of the season, which could certainly have a negative impact. Even if he’s back in uniform Week 1 there have to be questions about fitness & durability after sitting out the entire pre-season. It’s a messy situation that opens the door just enough for the Chiefs to slip by & take the division. There’s a lot to like about KC, led by NFL MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Speaking of messy situations, the Antonio Brown Circus has moved from Pittsburgh to Oakland, which theoretically should make the Raiders better on the field…but I’m not convinced. I’ve lost track of whether this is the team’s final season in Oakland or if they’ll have to wait until 2021 to relocate to Las Vegas, but until that move occurs I think the Raiders are stuck in neutral. The Broncos have ostensibly improved their quarterback quandary with the addition of Joe Flacco & by drafting Drew Lock out of Missouri in the second round of the draft. They also have new head coach Vic Fangio, which should help the defense. Give this group time to gel & they have potential, but I have low expectations for the current season.


Playoff Teams:   Chiefs, Steelers, Patriots, Colts, Chargers, Texans

AFC Championship:    New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Chargers






Chicago Bears (12-4) 11-5

Minnesota Vikings (8-7-1) 8-8

Green Bay Packers (6-9-1) 8-8

Detroit Lions (6-10) 5-12

The more things change the more they stay the same, and I don’t expect much difference in what ESPN’s Chris Berman used to call the Norris Division. The Packers have a new head coach and QB Aaron Rodgers has become increasingly enigmatic. The Vikings have some talent but not enough to move the needle. The Lions are…well, they’re the Lions. That leaves the Bears to claim another division crown and vie for home field thru the playoffs. QB Mitch Trubisky should take another step in his development and I have high expectations. Combined with a tough defense that makes for a potentially elite team. Anything short of an appearance in the conference title game will be a disappointment for Chicago.




New Orleans Saints (13-3) 14-2

Atlanta Falcons (7-9) 9-7

Carolina Panthers (7-9) 9-7

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11) 2-14

My heart still hurts for the Saints and their fans. They absolutely should have been in the Super Bowl last season but got royally screwed by an inept officiating crew. My vibe is that situation will provide motivation to an already very solid team. QB Drew Brees is almost as nature-defying as Brady, but I suspect this may be his last great opportunity to get another Lombardi Trophy. The Falcons & Panthers will both be good but not great, and I have serious concerns about the health & durability of Carolina QB Cam Newton. Tampa is just a warmer version of Buffalo with a more heralded QB. They can change coaches and do all the tinkering they want, but none of their decisions seem to work out the way they hope. Jameis Winston is undeniably talented, but I just don’t think he is a top shelf NFL quarterback.




Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) 10-6

Dallas Cowboys (10-6) 9-7

Washington Redskins (7-9) 7-9

New York Giants (5-11) 6-10

The Eagles’ safety blanket is gone, so QB Carson Wentz better stay healthy. Not only that, but he needs to live up to the hype. The division will be a dog fight, and Wentz needs to fulfill his potential for Philly to come out on top. I’m not buying the Cowboys’ hype. I don’t think they’ll be horrible, but the holdout of RB Zeke Elliott could have a negative impact. Media types will yap endlessly about a “quarterback controversy” in New York, but does it really matter?? I’ve never thought Eli Manning was that good, and if he loses the starting gig to rookie Daniel Jones it says a lot more about Manning than it does Jones. Either way the Giants’ QB…whomever it may be…won’t have Odell Becham Jr. to throw to, and that’s a problem. RB Saquon Barkley can only do so much, right?? The Redskins will have some solid games and at times look like a potential playoff team, but at the end of the day their fans will be disappointed and be left to wonder what happened. Head coach Jay Gruden is an offensive coordinator masquerading as a head coach, successfully trading on his more famous brother’s name, and he’s not going to achieve much success with Case Keenum as his starting quarterback. Rookie signal caller Dwayne Haskins will likely snag the job by mid-season, so there is some hope for the future.




Los Angeles Rams (13-3) 10-6

San Francisco 49ers (4-12) 9-7

Seattle Seahawks (10-6) 8-8

Arizona Cardinals (3-13) 4-12

I hated what happened in the NFC Championship game last season not only because of how the Saints got shafted, but also because I knew the Rams were sitting ducks in the Super Bowl. As talented as they are I just knew that the Patriots were foaming at the mouth to take on a young & inexperienced coach/QB combo, and it turned out exactly as I knew it would. And now the Rams aren’t a secret to the rest of the league so their opponents will be more prepared than a year ago. I still think they’ll win the division, but it won’t be quite as effortless. Jimmy G. is back under center for the Niners, and that means a huge turnaround. They’ll be in a battle with several other teams for a wildcard berth, but that’s a nice change from last season. Seattle still has Russell Wilson and they made some solid draft picks, but I believe they’ll take a step back this year. The Cards are trying to copy the Rams’ formula, but I’m not convinced it’ll work. Kliff Kingsbury probably needed a few more years as a college coach before taking the helm of an NFL team, and Kyler Murray is a perfect example of a great college quarterback whose skills just don’t translate to the NFL. Kudos to the powers-that-be in Arizona for rolling the dice and trying something new, but two years from now Kingsbury will probably be coaching on Saturdays and Murray will be playing baseball…if NFL defenses don’t maim the little guy.


Playoff Teams:   Saints, Bears, Rams, Eagles, Falcons, 49ers

NFC Championship:   New Orleans Saints vs. Chicago Bears















Top 5 Picks in 2020 NFL Draft

1       Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2       Denver Broncos

3       Cincinnati Bengals

4       Buffalo Bills

5       Arizona Cardinals

The Unofficial Goldman Sachs Guide to Being a Man

Greetings Manoverse…it’s been awhile.

Your Humble Potentate of Profundity had another little health calamity…osteomyelitis in my foot, which is an odd trick for someone who doesn’t even walk. A few weeks in one hospital, a few more weeks in another hospital, a couple of weeks of self-infused IV antibiotics at home…but now I’m on the mend and back to work. The truth is that I hadn’t been writing even a couple of months before being hospitalized, which should have been an indicator that something was off. But sometimes…especially when it comes to our own health…we just can’t see the forest for the trees. At any rate, the clouds have parted and I feel the urge to jump back into the fray here at The Manofesto, and I think I’ve found the perfect avenue to do just that.

Y’all know I like checking things out over on Pinterest, and I ran into something that piqued my curiosity called The Unofficial Goldman Sachs Guide to Being a Man. Now I’m 40-something years old, and while I believe that we should always be willing to grow & evolve the fact is that I am pretty much who I’m going to be. If folks can appreciate my positive qualities and deal with my shortcomings then there’s an opportunity for us to be friends, but chances are I’m not going to change all that much at this stage of my life. So am I manly enough according to Goldman Sachs?? Have I learned the right lessons from other men in my life, or have I totally been screwing things up for decades?? The charm…in my opinion…of having a forum like this is to pontificate on such matters, and so we shall. We’re going to go down thru this unofficial guide point by point and see just what being a man is all about.




Stop talking about where you went to college.

I get it I suppose. College was great. I had lots of fun & made a lot of good memories. I’m not so sure those years created much of a solid foundation for me vocationally, but that’s mostly my fault. I think the point though is a man should ideally achieve & grow & create an interesting enough life in the decades that follow that a thirty/forty/fifty-something is not hearkening back to long past collegiate glory. I don’t necessarily disagree, but neither do I totally agree with the sentiment. Everyone’s collegiate (or even high school) experience is different. Some buckle down, do what they gotta do, get the degree, & never look back. They might not ever go back for any kind of reunion and don’t set foot on campus for the remainder of their lives. Others may adopt where they attend college as a second hometown, make lifelong friends, & return every chance they get. I have friends from college who go to as many football games as possible, and a couple even have jobs at the university. Basically they never left. Where they attended college became a part of them and has been integrated into their lives, and that’s okay. Even those who don’t still live in their college town or go back all that often might still support their alma mater, watch games on TV, & maybe even wear a t-shirt or hat occasionally. I fall into that category and I don’t believe it somehow makes me less of a man.


Always carry cash. Keep some in your front pocket.

My Dad is a big believer in this one. He gets annoyed when he sees someone writing a check for $10 at a store because he thinks that everyone should have what he calls “AP Money” (i.e. ass pocket money, which I suppose goes against the grain of keeping it in your front pocket). However, I think technology plays a part nowadays. I don’t carry much cash & pay for a lot of things with a debit card. I could actually use my phone, but I’m not that fancy yet. So, while I would hate to stand behind some slowpoke paying for his $8 meal at Burger King by writing a check, I take no issue with that person whipping out a card or their phone instead of a few dead Presidents.


Rebel from business casual. Burn your khakis and wear a suit or jeans.

What you wear depends entirely upon the situation. It is a delicate balance between having some class and being comfortable. Personally I am a fan of business casual. I am not going to wear a suit if it isn’t required or atleast proper. I once had a job where I had to wear a tie every weekday, but I felt much more productive wearing jeans on the weekends. Conversely, I hate seeing people wear jeans to funerals or weddings or anywhere that business casual should be as informal as it gets. I don’t think rebellion is all that manly. There’s nothing wrong with simply being appropriate.


It’s ok to trade the possibility of your 80s and 90s for more guaranteed fun in your 20s and 30s.

Okay…live in the moment…I get it. I think most people do that anyway, but even if a person does try to plan ahead a bit and live conservatively with the future in mind I’d be surprised at anyone who thinks that far in advance. Most folks understand that nothing in life is certain.


The best public restrooms are in hotels: The St. Regis in New York, Claridge’s in London, The Fullerton in Singapore, to name a few.

Ummm…okay. I’ll keep that in mind if I’m ever in London, NY City, or Singapore and really really really need to…go.


Never stay out after midnight three nights in a row… unless something really good comes up on the third night.

Some comedian…I think it may have been Chris Rock…did a really funny routine about going to the ATM at 3am and how one isn’t going there at that hour for any good reason. The parameters change as we get older & our circumstances vary. I am very rarely out past midnight these days, and a three night stretch would definitely be odd. It would have to be something really interesting the first two nights, let alone the third night.  


You will regret your tattoos.

I 100% agree. I almost got a tattoo on my ankle in college, which atleast would have been inconspicuous, but I am glad I didn’t do it. It’s a free country. I have friends with tattoos. To each their own…I just don’t see the attraction.


Never date an ex of your friend.

Yeah, I can see it. Depending on the depth of that friendship dating your buddy’s ex seems like it would be rather awkward.


Join Twitter…become your own curator of information.

Absolutely. To its credit Twitter can be somewhat informative depending on who you follow and if you can stay out of the muck that is so easy to get sucked into. I’m a big retweeter. I love to retweet quotes or profound thoughts by others that I find particularly meaningful.


If riding the bus doesn’t incentivize you to improve your station in life, nothing will.

I’ve had to ride the bus a couple of times recently, and it is quite humbling. I have friends who ride the bus with some regularity and I don’t judge. They’re good people…just not as affluent as they’d prefer. To be honest I’m just more well off enough than them to be able to afford a vehicle, and even that gets dicey when repairs need done. Let’s not be pejorative, but instead be thankful that public transportation is available to get folks to & from work, medical appointments, the grocery store, etc.


Time is too short to do your own laundry.

lol I get a good chuckle because I do in fact have someone who helps me do light housework, including laundry. But that’s only because of my disability. Otherwise I’d be happy to do laundry. I’d much rather do laundry than wash dishes!! Anyway, I assume most adults do their own laundry, and I see nothing wrong with that.


When the bartender asks, you should already know what you want to drink.

I don’t spend much time in bars these days, but yeah…know what you want. Don’t waste the bartender’s time or the time of those waiting behind you.


If you perspire, wear a damn undershirt.

Ehhhh. I’ve never been an undershirt guy myself. I suppose if your one of those people who sweats profusely wearing an undershirt is preferable to a big wet spot in your armpit, but I don’t think it’s necessary for everyone.


You don’t have to like baseball, but you should understand the concept of what a pitcher’s ERA means. Approach life similarly.

Hmmm…there’s a lot to unpack here. Earned Run Average represents the number of earned runs a pitcher allows per nine innings. An earned run is any run that scores without the aid of an error or a passed ball. To calculate ERA you multiply 9 x earned runs then divide by innings pitched. If a pitcher exits a game with runners on base, any earned runs scored by those runners will count against him. Your outcomes in life depend on your “ERA”. Performance determines longevity, and you might get few chances to you earn that longevity. Be responsible when it comes to time & effort. To stay in the game you have to perform well. ERA takes what we’ve done and gives us an average of what we might do if given multiple opportunities in the future. Make the most of every opportunity and surround yourself with a good team of people.


When people don’t invite you to a party, you really shouldn’t go. And sometimes even when you are invited, you shouldn’t go.

I concur. Not much into partying anymore, but I can’t imagine going to one to which I wasn’t invited. I’m just not that…aggressive. My father told me many years ago that there’s nothing wrong with staying home. I happen to live in a small town where not much goes on & I have a rather solitary life anyway, so I’m perfectly happy to stay home, read a book, watch a movie, love on my dog Rocco, or listen to some tunes.


People are tired of you being the funny, drunk guy.

I was the funny drunk guy for a few years back in college. That’s okay when you’re 19 years old, but when you’re…older…it’s just kind of sad. I can’t even remember the last time I had an adult beverage. I am delighted with a glass of iced tea or a bottle of water.


When in doubt, always kiss the girl.

I tend not to wallow in regret, and as previously mentioned I’m not particularly forceful, but I do look back and wish I would have rolled the dice a bit more with the ladies. Not in an offensive #MeToo kind of way or anything like that, but more like a self-confident “What do I have to lose??” manner.


Tip more than you should.

I agree wholeheartedly. I will…hold back…if the service is bad & the server is rude, but if a person is generally polite and does a good job then I believe they deserve a nice tip. Service industry jobs are tough and don’t pay all that much, so if I can help someone who’s done well in helping me then why not??


You probably use your cell phone too often and at the wrong moments.

This is likely true for most of us. Smartphones are a tremendous convenience and it’s great to have the world at your fingertips, but when you’re with family & friends we should step away from the technology and enjoy the people.


Buy expensive sunglasses. Superficial? Yes, but so are the women judging you. And it tells these women you appreciate nice things and are responsible enough not to lose them.

My father always taught us the value of good quality items. You don’t necessarily have to have the best, most expensive, top of the line stuff, but look for something well made from a reputable company. Whenever I get new glasses I also purchase prescription sunglasses, so by definition they are expensive and pretty nice. I don’t buy the $10 sunglasses near the grocery store checkout. As far as impressing women…ehhh. I understand the point. It’s probably an accurate statement and makes a lot of sense. However, if a woman is going to judge a man by the sunglasses he wears then I’m not completely sure she’s someone I need to know.


If you want a nice umbrella, bring a crappy one to church.

I have no idea what that even means.


Do 50 push-ups, sit-ups, & dips before you shower each morning.

Ha!! If I did fifty of even one of those the next shower I’d take would be in a hospital.


Eat brunch with friends at least every other weekend. Leave Rusty & Junior at home.

Well I don’t have any kids to worry about, but the sentiment makes sense. It’s important to stay in contact with friends, and I imagine those with children need some occasional adult interaction. Sadly I have not done a good job of keeping up with friends (to be fair they haven’t kept in touch with me either), and I especially miss a couple with whom I used to have really interesting conversations.


Be a regular at more than one bar.

I’m not a regular at any bar and have no desire to change that. However, back in college we had a special hangout that everyone gathered at several nights per week. When I was a kid one of my favorite television shows was Cheers, so I kind of have a romanticized idea of a friendly little neighborhood speakeasy “where everybody knows your name”. What exactly is wrong with being a regular at one place if the atmosphere is to one’s liking, the refreshment is appetizing, & the company is good?? And if you’re a “regular” at more than one bar what exactly are you doing with your life??


Act like you’ve been there before. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the end zone at the Super Bowl or on a private plane.

Exactly. I agree wholeheartedly. ‘Tis good advice in multiple walks of life.


A glass of wine or two with lunch will not ruin your day.

The writer of this guide really enjoys imbibing adult beverages.


It’s better if old men cut your hair. Ask for Sammy at the Mandarin Oriental Barbershop in Hong Kong. He can share his experiences of the Japanese occupation, or just give you a copy of Playboy.

Okay. I’m probably never going to be in Hong Kong for a haircut, but I do still like the idea of an old-fashioned neighborhood barber shop ran by geezers who’ve been plying their trade for decades. They do tell the best stories.


Learn how to fly-fish.

I don’t recall ever having gone fly-fishing per se, but I have gone fishing and didn’t enjoy the experience all that much. If I’m going to have a lazy day I’d prefer to just chill with a good book. I love the idea of being on the water, but a relaxing voyage on a pontoon boat is more my speed.


No selfies. Aspire to experience photo-worthy moments in the company of a beautiful woman.

Well…yeah. My life would be amazing if I spent all my photo-worthy moments with a beautiful woman. Sign me up.


Own a handcrafted shotgun. It’s a beautiful thing.

I am a huge supporter of The Second Amendment and do appreciate the craftsmanship of a handmade shotgun. However, I don’t currently own a gun because…well, I’d prefer to be properly trained & licensed, and even then I could totally see myself being one of those unfortunate souls who mutilates myself while cleaning the gun. Also, I’m not an outdoorsman at all, so if I was to become properly trained & licensed it would be so that I could own a handgun for target shooting & protection.


There’s always another level. Just be content knowing that you are still better off than most who have ever lived.

Amen. Dad always says that one doesn’t have to look very far to find a person worse off that you are. About my own life I always say that I have a roof over my head, food to eat, a few people I can count on, & relatively good health, so I think I’m doing okay.


You can get away with a lot more if you’re the one buying the drinks.

Again with the drinking!! Look, I’m not a cheapskate, but neither am I wealthy. If I do happen to find myself in an establishment with adult beverages I’m fine with buying my own drinks, and I’m not going to be the guy putting a round for everyone else on my tab. Perhaps I might buy a drink or two for a lovely young lady to see where things go, but that’s about the extent of my generosity. If that means that I can’t get away with much (whatever that means) then so be it.


Ask for a salad instead of fries.

Absolutely 100%.


Don’t split a check.

I don’t know…I think it depends on the situation.


Pretty women who are unaccompanied want you to talk to them.

Oh how I wish that were true. It’s partially correct. The full statement should read pretty women who are unaccompanied want single men with fat wallets, six pack abs, & fancy sports cars to talk to them.


Cobblers will save your shoes. So will shoe trees.

I am in a wheelchair every day of my life. Shoes last me for years. I’ve never owned a shoe horn and when I think of cobbler it is on a plate topped with ice cream.


When a bartender buys you a round, tip double.

I’ve never had that occur, but if it ever happens I’ll be sure to leave a really nice tip.


The cliché is that having money is about not wasting time. But in reality, money is about facilitating spontaneity.

Well, first of all, I’ve never had all that much money. Having said that, I could see where it could facilitate spontaneity. Hopping on a plane to some exotic locale or buying an expensive vehicle on a whim sure would be easier if money wasn’t an issue. Most folks I know save spare change for years or plan months in advance for any kind of major purchase.


Be spontaneous.

It’s a nice sentiment, but for various reasons related to my disability spontaneity hasn’t ever been easy for me to achieve. I need to plan ahead & know what I’m getting myself into.


Find a Times New Roman in the streets and a Wingdings in the sheets. She exists.

That’s a good one!! We’ve all heard variations of the idea (which is a perfectly legit goal by the way), but using a font related example is rather amusing. Kudos.


Piercings are liabilities in fights.

I got my ear pierced once back in the day when guys getting one ear pierced was the cool thing to do, and I spent days trying to hide it from my Dad. It was a phase I grew out of and have never had the desire to do again. I have seen people with all kinds of piercings on their face and on various parts of their body, and I do believe it’d hurt pretty bad to have that stuff tugged on or pulled out during a fight. Ouch.


Do not use an electric razor.

I don’t see anything wrong with an electric razor or a straight razor. To each their own. Do whatever works for you.


Desserts are for women. Order one and pretend you don’t mind that she’s eating yours.

No no no no no no no. No!! Poppycock. Not only do I love dessert, but if a woman wants dessert she needs to order her own. Keep your damn hands off my cheesecake!!


Buy a tuxedo before you are 30. Stay that size.

Okay, now we are becoming delusional. Look, if you run in the kind of social circles that necessitate you wearing a tux on a regular basis then by all means go out & buy one. It’s probably a smart investment. However, other than a few fraternity formals and being the best man in a wedding a decade ago I’ve not had to wear a tuxedo. And I don’t know very many people who remain the same size they were in their 20s forever. It’s just not realistic.


One girlfriend at a time is probably enough.

Probably?? How about definitely. Look, I love women. I wish women loved me as much as I love them. But let’s be honest…some of them are…high maintenance in a variety of ways. Not only is it not morally proper to have more than one gal at a time, but it is also impractical.





Your ties should be rolled and placed in a sectioned tie drawer.

Sorry, I’m just not that fancy. When I was wearing ties on a regular basis for work I had them hanging in my closet, and in the decade+ that I haven’t had to wear a tie hardly at all they’ve been stuffed in a plastic bag somewhere in the closet.


Throw parties. But have someone else clean up the next day.

I’d much rather attend a party somewhere else and return to my quiet little abode with no mess to deal with.


You may only request one song from the DJ.

So now we’ve segued from bars to nightclubs, which definitely aren’t my scene. The only place that I’ve ever had occasion to request a song from a DJ is at a wedding reception. However, I do understand the idea…don’t be the person going up every five minutes requesting a different song. That would be annoying.


Measure yourself only against your previous self.

Truth!! In the age of social media we have more access to other peoples’ lives than ever before, but sometimes the view can be somewhat misleading. Most folks are smart enough not to post the more mundane aspects of their lives for public consumption, so what we see are the highlights. Comparing ourselves to others is never a good idea. Conversely, looking at yourself now as opposed to ten years ago can be instructive and possibly even inspiring.


Take more pictures. With a camera.

Yes!! My life isn’t all that exciting, but I usually take my camera to occasions that are even remotely interesting. I’m sure others couldn’t possibly care less about my photographs, but I enjoy looking at them and remembering fun times. I wish I’d been more of a picture taker many years ago, but I’ve really only gotten into it in the past decade. My paternal grandmother always had her ‘Kodak” with her and took a ton of pictures thru the years. Nowadays people tend to use their phones to take pics, and that’s fine. Technology is wonderful. But in the same way that I still prefer an actual book to e-readers I think my camera takes better photos than my phone.


Place-dropping is worse than-name dropping.

My life isn’t adventurous enough to engage in either one.


When you admire the work of artists or writers, tell them. And spend money to acquire their work.

I’ve not had the opportunity to meet any famous writers, but if I had the chance to meet one of my favorites I’d be happy to tell them how much I enjoy their work. As far as acquiring their works…sure, go for it. That’s kind of the idea behind something being a favorite, right?? You spend money on what you enjoy.


Your clothes do not match. They go together.

Semantics. I’m not that much of a sophist.


Yes, of course you have to buy her dinner.

Well…yeah. Sorry ladies…I’m just old-fashioned like that.


Staying angry is a waste of energy.

Of course it is. But sometimes it’s pretty easy to do. I try to avoid it though.


Revenge can be a good way of getting over anger.

I see both sides. Revenge is a dish best served cold, but on the other hand “vengeance is Mine…I will repay, saith the Lord”. (Romans 12:19)


If she expects the person you are 20% of the time, 100% of the time, then she doesn’t want you.

Nailed it. Look, most people are complex to some degree. We put our best foot forward at work & church, regress back to being a goofball when we’re hanging out with friends, & can be a lazy hump when we’re home alone watching TV. It’s not that we’re being fake in some situations and genuine in others, it’s that most of us adjust our attitude & personality accordingly in any given situation. I’m no relationship expert, but I’m smart enough to know that trying to be the best version of yourself to impress a woman can become exhausting. She’s got to accept me for me, and that includes all variations of who I am.


Always bring a bottle of something to the party.

I’m not necessarily sure it has to be a bottle of anything, but I was always taught not to show up to a gathering empty handed.


Avoid that “last” whiskey. You’ve probably had enough.

No problem. I didn’t even have the first whiskey.


Don’t use the word “closure” or ever expect it in real life. There may still be a mortally wounded Russian mobster roaming the woods of south Jersey, but we’ll never know.

That’s probably true.


If you are wittier than you are handsome, avoid loud clubs.

It really does make a lot of sense. I just so happen to be more witty than good looking, and I realize that the chances of a woman taking one glance at me and instantly feeling some sort of physical yearning is remote at best. The only chance I have is to charm her with my warmth & sense of humor, which isn’t going to happen in an obnoxious dance club. I’ve always heard that the grocery store is the best place to meet women, but thus far it hasn’t worked for me.


Drink outdoors. And during the day. And sometimes by yourself.

Or how bout this…read a book, adopt a puppy, dig into God’s Word, get a hobby. I’m beginning to think the author of this guide is a functioning alcoholic. Life isn’t a television commercial. Most people who drink booze every day aren’t suave, sophisticated, or sexy…they’re sad & pathetic.


Date women outside your social set. You’ll be surprised.

I’d be down with that. I’m willing to outkick my coverage for a woman who is willing to lower her expectations.


If it’s got velvet ropes and lines, walk away unless you know someone.

I agree. That’s not my scene anyway.


You cannot have a love affair with whiskey because whiskey will never love you back.

I’m really worried about this writer. Perhaps someone should contact Alcoholics Anonymous or The Betty Ford Clinic.


Feigning unpretentiousness is worse than being pretentious. Cut it out with the vintage Polo and that ’83 Wagoneer in Nantucket.

I hate pretentious people, but most folks that I know who are modest & humble are genuinely so and not feigning anything.


The New Yorker is not high-brow. Neither is The Economist.

Magazines are still a thing?? Perhaps the writer should sober up and leave the bar more often.


If you believe in evolution, you should know something about how it works.

The rule can be applied to many things, not just evolution. If you say you believe in anything you probably should be somewhat knowledgeable about the subject.


No-one cares if you are offended, so stop it.

Can I get an amen up in here?!?!?!?? I am offended by people who are constantly offended, and nowadays it doesn’t take much to offend everyone. As a nation we may have become more “woke” than we were a few decades ago, but that doesn’t mean we’re better off for it. Sometimes I ponder what The Rat Pack would think about 21st Century America. Oh sure, you could question their moral compass, and that’s a conversation I’d be willing to have. But those guys were cool, and I think they’d be befuddled by how sensitive we’ve become, how everything is bad for us, & how other peoples’ shortcomings have become everyone else’s business. My maternal grandmother used to say “tend to your own rat killin’” and she was right. Lighten up everybody. None of us are getting out of here alive, so relax & enjoy the ride.


Never take an ex back. She tried to do better and is settling with you.

That makes a lot of sense. I’m sure there may be exceptions, but in general it’s probably a good rule of thumb.


Eating out alone can be magnificent. Find a place where you can sit at the bar.

I eat out alone a lot, and don’t mind a bit. I don’t care about sitting at the bar though.


Read more. It allows you to borrow someone else’s brain, and will make you more interesting at a dinner party — provided that you don’t initiate conversation with, “So, who are you reading…”

An old friend once observed that I “live in a library”, meaning that my humble abode is lined with bookshelves. But the truth is that I don’t read as much as I used to, and I need to get back into it. I feel like my attention span has decreased as I’ve gotten older, and I am too often distracted by other things.


Ignore the boos. They usually come from the cheap seats.

I’m rarely in a position to be cheered or booed, but I understand the sentiment. No matter who you are, what you do, or where you go not everyone is going to be a fan. I used to care way too much about people liking me, but as I’ve aged that has lessened quite a bit. I don’t go out of my way to be unlikeable or anything, but neither do I go out of my way to impress anyone.


Hookers aren’t cool, but remember, the free ones are a lot more expensive.

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Don’t ever say, “it is what it is.”

I say “it is what it is” all the time because it’s true. What’s wrong with that??


Start a wine collection for your kids when they are born. Add a few cases every year without telling them. It’ll make a phenomenal gift in 20 years.

Sweet fancy Moses!! Look, if you’re really into being a wine connoisseur that’s cool. It’s a fine hobby. But your offspring may not roll like that. If my parents had given me a wine collection when I was 20-something years old I would have sold it and used the money for something I actually wanted. How about this…don’t project. Don’t assume others are going to be into something just because you are. And for the love of God put down the glass, get out of the bar, & call an Uber!!


Don’t gamble if losing $100 is going to piss you off.

Absolutely. 100%. Never gamble more than you can afford to lose. I used to occasionally play poker for pocket change, which is about my speed. When the Triple Crown horse races roll around each spring I might bet $10-20 on a trifecta. It’s been years, but once upon a time I would sometimes put $5-10 on a football parlay. I can’t relate to high rollers that spend thousands of dollars gambling. It’s just not that important to me.


Remember, “rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.”  

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. – Plato