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Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but...........
13) Seven SEC football teams are playing I-AA foes this weekend. 7 out of 14; half the SEC. Is it some kind of holiday I don't know about?
12) Georgia made the SEC football title game, so coach Mark Richt cashes in a $150,000 contract bonus; hope he at least buys the players pizza to thank them.
11) Kentucky beat Maryland by 3 in Brooklyn in large part because of a smallish former walk-on named Jarrod Polson, who got one scholarship offer, from Liberty of the Big South Conference. Go figure. Wildcats play Duke tonight, in feature game of the ESPN college hoops marathon.
10) Fresno State scored three defensive TDs Saturday night in Reno; don't see that too often in college ball.
9) NCAA basketball Eastern Regionals will be in Madison Square Garden in 2014, first time NCAAs have been in MSG since 1961.
8) Pac-12 basketball tournament in March is in Las Vegas, at MGM Grand; interesting to see how that event draws, but for the other 10 teams, guess its better than going to LA every March.
7) Three college hoop games on ships were a debacle this year; only one was actually finished, and that game was awful because of the wind. Still, there will be games on ships next year. There has to be better way to honor the military than holding games under poor playing conditions.
6) If you're a night owl and like golf, Australian Masters is this weekend, so that'll be fun. Golf Channel has the action.
5) Speaking of which, Camilo Villegas/Stuart Appleby are both headed back to Q School, thats how competitive the PGA Tour is. Appleby has won nine PGA tournaments in his long career.
4) Jeremy Lin is first Harvard graduate to play in the NBA since 1954.
3) Clippers/Lakers both played at home Sunday; would love to know how many people were at both games.
2) Funny how the Knicks canned Mike D'Antoni because their so-called superstar wouldn't play hard for him, but the Lakers signed him up to be their coach, because Steve Nash/Kobe Bryant like playing for him. Not too hard to see why the Knicks' last title was in 1973, when they had a reserve forward named Jackson. #18, Phil Jackson.
1) Watching all this NBA coaching news, something tells me Phil Jackson didn't really want to coach the Lakers, so he kept asking for stuff until they looked elsewhere. Didn't want to turn his girlfriend down, but didn't want to work for her daddy/brother anymore.
In case you missed this on yesterdays post -
The Worst of Week Ten from the Express
Let's get on with the worst of the week where the Redskins and Browns didn't play.
Elisha Manning - OK, buddy, I keep defending you and you continue to make me look like a jerk. This is now 4 terrible games in a row for the more decorated of the Manning Bros. His interceptions keep getting DERP-ier every week. I guess what I'm trying to say here is: We Want David Carr!
The 2012 Miami Dolphins - Oof, they're playing like they acquired all of Chuck Pagano's leukemia last week. How do you lose by 5 touchdowns at home to the Titans???
The 1972 Miami Dolphins - I still hate them. What the fuck was Roddy White doing talking about how his Falcons have the pedigree to go undefeated? How do you know this? You played at UAB and then for the Falcons; what do you know know about going undefeated and what that feat requires? Shut up, Hot Rod.
Fatty Fatty Fat Fat Stafford - The Lions are officially toast. How do you lose to the Vikings twice in one year. It's over for me once again. I would really like to see Chins not constantly throw off his back foot. That would be nice. Cmon Man. Just when I thought I was back in it, they pull me right back out of it.
Donkey Kong Suh - Back-to-back champion at being named the dirtiest player in the league. In a sport that features Cortland Finnegan, James Harrison, and Ryan Clark, that is quite an accomplishment.
Ryan Fitzpatrick - Even after his great "acting" on The League last week, Harvard Boy followed it up by doing what he does best: toying with the emotions of Bills fans and then chucking a horrible interception to lose a very winnable game. The Bills are awful.
Philip Rivers - Did you see the pick six that Marmalard floated? It will be nominated for LOL Play of the Year.
Muscle Hamster - Doug Martin hates his nickname. Fuck him. Now it will forever be his. I only list him here because when he doesn't score 4 touchdowns, I am disappointed. Tampa Bay = not bad.
Cam Newton - An awful pick six AND a terrible safety? Yeah, he beat the Redskins last week. I loved the blue socks that the Panthers wore though.
John HarBRAH - Is there a more BRAH thing to do than run a fake FG when your team is up by over 20 points in the second half against a horrid Raiders team? Oh, he and Jimmy will be laughing about that one for awhile the next time they get together and punch each other in the nuts.
Rex Ryan - You so fired, big guy. Don't worry, the Redskins will be replacing Jim Haslett with you in no time. I hope that you like coaching really bad players!
Mike Vick's mind grapes - Good night to you, too, slightly more talented version of Marcus Vick. Everyone was happy to see Vick finally get benched, but guess what, Nick Foles is worse. The Eagles are fucking terrible. They gave up THREE D/ST touchdowns to the least disciplined team in the league. They couldn't even hang around long enough for Romo to DERP into another loss. The Redskins are better than the Eagles. FACT!
Wrapping up an NFL Sunday from last week..........
13) I'm thinking to myself, if I owned an NFL franchise, four most important people to hire would be: a) personnel guy, b) head coach, c) QB, d) trainer. For some reason, Carolina let a really good head coach walk two years ago, in a cost-cutting move. Not very smart.
John Fox came back to Charlotte Sunday, and his Broncos waxed Carolina 36-14, getting a punt return for a TD and a defensive score. Denver is going to be in the playoffs; the Fox-less Panthers? The draft is in April.
12) Denver's Trindon Holliday ran that punt back for a TD, but being a cool guy/showoff, he flipped the ball to the ground as soon as he thought he was across the goal line. Problem is, he wasn't in the end zone yet when he did it. Luckily for Bronco backers, the replay official let the play stand, which begs the question.......
"What percentage of replay officals are competent, and what percentage just collect an easy paycheck?" Some guys seem reluctant to review/overturn any call. Its a fair question.
11) Tampa Bay scored TDs on a blocked punt and an INT, beating the Chargers in a game they were outgained 426-279. San Diego isn't going to make the playoffs; rumors have Andy Reid replacing Norv Turner as San Diego's coach next year.
10) Speaking of Reid, the Eagles became the first team since 1966 to give up TDs on a fumble, INT and punt return in the same quarter.
Nick Foles played his first significant snaps after Michael Vick got hurt. If he is the Eagles' future, likely it'll be playing for a different head coach.
9) Favorites are 6-7 in NFL so far this week; home teams 6-7, over 8-5. Teams that were +2 or better in turnovers were 7-0 this week, 6-1 against the spread (NE). Teams that had a 10+yard edge in field position were 5-0-1, with only the 49ers not winning.
8) Speaking of which, the first tie since 2008 took place at Candlestick, with the Rams-49ers battling to a draw for five quarters in a game that was fiercely competitive, if not always well-played.
7) Tennessee owner Bud Adams ripped his club last week after they got waxed at home by the Bears, so Titans went to Miami and pounded on the Dolphins, who apparently are more comfortable as the underdog.
6) Tom Brady is now 20-2 as a starter against the Bills. Buffalo had 14 penalties for 148 yards, including four pass interference penalties, three in the end zone. Bills had one PI penalty in their first eight games. Hmmm
5) Cincinnati had four TD drives in their easy win against the Giants; they were 79-11-12-16 yards. Eli Manning hasn't thrown a TD pass in his last three games, first time thats happened to him since his first month as an NFL quarterback. You go -3 in turnovers, you get beat.
4) Atlanta just can't beat the Saints, especially in Superdome; not good, considering the Super Bowl is in New Orleans this year. Falcons had ball on the 1-yard line second-and-goal at the end, but threw two passes and lost to a team they always seem to lose to.
3) Sunday night was a graphic example of why God invented Field Turf; playing surface at Soldier Field was a mess, players couldn't cut properly on it, which made for a crummy game. Poor weather cities need artificial turf-- NFL made the Patriots get it, could the Bears be next?
2) Seahawks play with so much more confidence at home.
1) I see guys on fantasy baseball teams miss half a season with a pulled hamstring; Danny Amendola was a warrior Sunday, with 11 catches for 102 yards, three punt returns for 14 yards, another 142 all-purpose yards nullified by penalty, including an 80-yard catch in OT. All this six weeks after he separated his collarbone from whatever the collarbone is supposed to be attached to. He has to be in agony today. Tough guy.
Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud..........
13) Mike Redmond got hired to manage the Marlins a week or two ago; he never managed above A ball. Wonder if he knew he was still going to be managing a minor league team next season, just one that plays in a great stadium against big league teams. Poor guy is going to have a long summer.
12) When it comes to contract obligations for 2014 and beyond, Marlins have $0 on the books, as in, zero. Think about the Bronx Bombers owing Alex Rodriguez $114M over the next five years. Who would you rather be?
11) If they ever decide to contract franchises, Marlins are team they need to cut. Put Mr Loria out of business, move the A’s to Miami and two problems would be solved. That would be crazy sick since Im living here in Florida now.
10) ESPN.com reports that players traded from Miami to Toronto should wind up paying roughly 14% more taxes on the money they earn in home games, roughly 45% of their salary. No decent free agent will sign with Miami anymore unless they get a no-trade clause.
9) Tigers signed Torii Hunter for two years; you have an 80+year old owner, a 69-year old manager and Hunter just doesn’t seem that old. In other words, the future is now in Detroit.
8) Spring training starts earlier next year because of the goofy World Baseball Classic; can’t wait to see which pitchers get hurt during the regular season because they pitched in this meaningless exhibition that is designed to “grow the game”, a euphemism for “put more money in the pockets of greedy MLB owners”. Braves’ first spring training game is a ridiculously early February 22.
7) I’m thinking the site of the Final Four should host a doubleheader to tip off every college hoop season in mid-November.
This week’s event in Atlanta was excellent; do it every year, wherever the Final Four is being held, just have different teams every year.
6) Gonzaga looked really sharp Monday night; trick is to maintain that for the next 4.5 months. Teams like West Virginia and Butler, who looked awful this week, will use losing badly as a learning tool and will gradually improve as the season goes on.
5) If you watch Celtic games on NESN, you hear analyst Tommy Heinsohn, who is so bad he makes Hawk Harrelson sound like Vin Scully. Not sure how they keep putting him on the air.
4) Over last two games, Alabama’s football team didn’t force a turnover (-5), while allowing opponents to convert 21-38 3rd down plays. Hard to beat good teams like that, even if you’re better than they are.
3) Mike Brown’s salary for this year (for not working) is $4.5M; Mike D’Antoni will make $4M, but combined its still less than if the Lakers had hired Jeannie Buss’ boyfriend (Phil Jackson), who would've commanded a $12M/year salary.
2) It bears repeating that Brown got fired after five games, during which time Nash-Bryant-Gasol-Howard were on court together for a combined total of 45:00, less than one game. How do you fire a guy that fast?
Brown gets fired, but assistant Eddie Jordan, who got hired to teach the Lakers the Princeton offense which helped cause this whole debacle, he gets to stay. Whats up with that?
1) First a sex scandal in the US Army, now the CEO of Waffle House is in hot water because he can’t keep his pants on.
Dolphins (4-5) @ Bills (3-6)-- Two fading teams who really need a win. Miami won six of last eight series games, winning last two played here, 15-10/30-23; Fish are 4-0 when they win turnover margin, 0-5 when they don't. Bills haven't had takeaway in last three games (-6); they're 0-6 when they allow more than 17 points. Dolphins are 3-1 as road dogs; since '08, they're 23-8-1 against spread when getting points on road. Buffalo lost its last three games, allowing 35-21-37 points; they're 1-2 at home, 2-2 as faves, 1-1 at home. Home teams are 1-5 vs spread in AFC East divisional games this year. Under is 4-0-1 in last five Miami games, 3-6 in last nine Buffalo games, 0-3 at home.
Eagles (3-6) @ Redskins (3-6)-- Free-falling Iggles likely to give rookie Foles his first NFL start with Vick having concussion; they've lost last five games, giving up 30.8 ppg in last four- they've changed DC's, hasn't helped. Redskins lost last three games, scoring 12-13 points in last two games (no takeaways, after 16 in first seven games); they're 1-3 at home, but are 0-4 this year when scoring less than 24 points. Philly won five of last six series games, taking last three by 31-7-24 points; Eagles won five of last six visits here, winning last three by 10-31-7. Home teams are 0-5 vs spread in NFC East divisional games. Three of last four Philly games, six of nine Redskin games went over the total. Washington is 0-4 vs spread in last four post-bye games.
Packers (6-3) @ Lions (4-5)-- Green Bay won 12 of last 13 series games, taking five of last six visits here (Rodgers didn't play in loss) with all five wins by 7+ points. Three of last four series games were decided by 4 or less points. Since '04, Green Bay is 8-4 as a road favorite in divisional games. Packers won five of last six (6-0 vs spread) in last six post-bye games; they're 2-2 away from home- this is their 4th game in dome this year. Detroit is 2-1 at home, with only loss 20-13 to Vikings (Minnesota didn't have offensive TD in game, but had PR/KR for TDs). Underdogs covered four of first five NFC North divisional games. Five of last six Packer games, four of last five Detroit games went over total.
Cardinals (4-5) @ Falcons (8-1)-- Since 2008, Atlanta is 17-3-1 vs spread when they lost previous week; they lost for first time last week in Superdome, are 4-0 at home this year, 2-2 as home favorites, winning by 6-2-3-6 points, so hard to lay double digits with them. Home side won five in row and nine of last 10 series games, with average total in last three, 53.0; Cardinals lost last five visits here, with three losses by 23+ points- they lost 41-7 in last visit here, two years ago. Redbirds lost last five games after 4-0 start, scoring 10.6 ppg; they won all four times they scored 20+ points. Arizona is 1-5 vs spread in last six post-bye games. NFC South teams are 8-6 vs spread in non-divisional games, 6-6 at home; NFC West underdogs are 10-6, 6-5 on foreign soil.
Buccaneers (5-4) @ Panthers (2-7)-- Tampa Bay is finding ways to win; in last week's win over San Diego, they had blocked punt for TD and defensive TD. In their last three games, Bucs scored 36-42-34 points; they've got 20 TDs on last 54 drives in last five games, and are 4-0 vs spread on road. Carolina looked like beaten team when they got smoked by Denver last week; they lost 16-10 (-2.5) in season opener down in Tampa; Panthers ran ball only 13 times for 10 yards- five of their seven losses are by 6 or less points. Underdogs covered four of first five NFC South divisional games. Last six Tampa Bay games went over total; three of Panthers' last four home games stayed under.
Browns (2-7) @ Cowboys (4-5)-- Sandwich game (Eagles/Redskins) for Dallas team that kept season alive with win in Philly; they're 1-2 at home this year, 0-3 vs spread, with only win 16-10 (-7.5) over Bucs. Cleveland is 1-3 as a road dog, losing all four games by 7-7-14-4 points- they're 5-8-2 in last 15 games against NFC teams. Dallas covered five of last six vs AFC opponents. Favorites are 10-1 vs spread in Cleveland's post-bye games, with Browns 0-6 as post-bye dogs; they've lost both meetings with Cowboys, 28-10/19-12. NFC East favorites are 3-12 vs spread in non-divisional games, 2-7 at home; AFC North road underdogs are 3-4. Five of last seven Cleveland games stayed under the total.
Jets (3-6) @ Rams (3-5-1)-- Mark Sanchez faced his old college coach last week in Seattle; he faces his old offensive coordinator here, as Schottenheimer landed in St Louis after Jets ran him out of town. Two teams with similar records going in opposite directions; Jets lost last three games, last two by 58-16 combined score. Only Jet TD last week was scored by defense. Rams are 0-3-1 in last four games, but tied 49ers at Candlestick last week, showing improvement. St Louis is 3-1 at home, with only loss to Packers- they're favored for first time this year, but are 3-0 in games where the spread was 3 or less points. NFC West non-divisional home favorites are 4-3; AFC East road underdogs are 4-5.
Colts (6-3) @ Patriots (6-3)-- Who thought this would be a big game this year? New England is 1-3 as home favorite, with wins by 10-3-6 points, and a loss to Arizona- they allowed 20+ points in seven of last eight games. Colts are playing inspired ball with HC Pagano ill; they've won/covered last four games, are 4-2 as underdogs, 1-2 on road, but two of their three losses were by 20-26 points (also lost to Jags by 5). Patriots won last two series games (31-28/31-24) after losing five of previous six to Indy; last seven series games were decided by 7 or less points. AFC East favorites are 6-5 vs spread, 3-3 at home; AFC South dogs are 10-8, 5-4 on foreign soil. Last seven Patriot games went over total; under is 3-0-1 in Colts' last four.
Jaguars (1-8) @ Texans (8-1)-- Trap game for Houston, after national TV win vs Bears, before Thanksgiving Day in Detroit; they hammered Jags 27-7 (-7.5) back in Week 2, outrushing hosts 216-65, holding Jax to 117 total yards, seven 3/outs in 11 drives. Texans won last four series games by average score of 26-13; they are 4-1 as home favorites, winning home games by 20-24-30-12 points. Jaguars lost last six games (2-4 vs spread); they're 4-0 as road underdogs, losing away games by 3-3-9 points, with win at Indy- they had three extra days to prepare. Under is 5-3 in Jags' last eight games. Home teams are 1-4 vs spread in AFC South divisional tilts; home favorites are 7-16-1 league-wide in divisional games.
Bengals (4-5) @ Chiefs (1-8)-- First road game in five weeks for Bengals, who forced four turnovers in home upset of Giants last week; Cincy is 4-0 when it scores 27+ points, 0-5 when it doesn't- they're 2-2 on road, with dog covering last three. Chiefs allowed 24+ points in seven of nine games, losing 16-13 in slop in OT at Pittsburgh Monday- they have three TDs on last 55 drives, but finally had a lead on Monday. Home side won nine of last 11 series games, with Bengals losing six of last eight visits to Arrowhead. AFC West non-divisional underdogs are 5-9 vs spread, 2-2 at home; AFC North favorites are 3-9, 0-4 on road. Three of four Bengal road games, three of last four KC games went over total.
Saints (4-5) @ Raiders (3-6)-- Oakland gave up 42-55 points last two games (12 TDs allowed on last 27 drives) now explosive Saints come to town; if Freeman, Flacco averaged 7.6/10.0 ypa, what will Brees get? Oakland is 2-2 at home, with last three of those going over total; Raiders allowed average of 29.5 ppg at home this year. Saints won four of last five games; they're 1-3 on road, with only win by 7 at Tampa Bay- they covered last three tries as a favorite. Saints won five of last seven series games, winning last two played here, 13-10/31-26. NFC South favorites are 8-6 vs spread, 2-0 on road; AFC West underdogs are 5-9, 2-2 at home. Three of Saints' four road games went over total.
Chargers (4-5) @ Broncos (6-3)-- San Diego lost four of last five games, allowing four TDs on defense/special teams last four games; Denver won/covered four in row, scoring five TDs on defense/special teams. Broncos (+1.5) won 35-24 first time teams met in Week 6, forcing six SD turnovers (+3) in game Bolts led 24-0 at half. Denver scored 31+ points in all six wins; 21-25-21 in losses. San Diego allowed 7-13-34 points in last three games, but only one of three Buc TDs was allowed by defense. This is Norv Turner's last stand as Charger coach. Favorites are 4-2 in AFC West divisional games, 2-2 at home. Five of last six San Diego games, four of last five Bronco games went over the total.
Ravens (7-2) @ Steelers (6-3)-- Health of Roethlisberger's shoulder big concern for Steelers, who won last four games, but were lucky to do so with Leftwich under center in Heinz quagmire Monday night. Steelers are 4-0 at home, allowing average of 12.3 ppg; in last three games overall, they've allowed three TDs on 31 drives. Ravens are +9 in turnovers; they're 2-2 on road, woth wins over Browns, Chiefs, maybe two worst teams in NFL. Ravens scored TD on defense/special teams in four of seven wins. Baltimore swept series 35-7/23-20 LY; they've won two of last three visits here, are 4-3 in last seven series games overall. Last four Pittsburgh games stayed under total; three of last four Raven games went over.
Bears (7-2) @ 49ers (6-2-1)-- Both starting QB's got concussions last week; not sure if either will play, but both teams have decent backups. Home teams won last 10 series games; Bears lost last seven visits here, with last win in '85, season Chicago won only Super Bowl. Bears' only losses came in night games; they are 3-1 on road, with all three wins by 16+ points. Chicago was +16 in turnovers in first half of season, but was -2 in loss Sunday; they;ve turned ball over 8 times in last three games, as sputtering offense was hidden by aggressive defense. 49ers are 2-3 as home favorites, losing to Giants, tying Rams. NFC West non-divisional home favorites are 4-3 vs spread; NFC North road underdogs are 1-3.
As I posted on the college football thread forgot to post my NFL pick last night as well and of course I mention it cause it was a winner also.
But hopefully some jumped on Buffalo or a pretty easy win.
Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend.......
13) Andrew Luck’s first genuinely big game as Colts’ QB, in Foxboro. When schedule came out last spring, no one thought this would be a big game anymore, but it is.
12) Kansas State’s last road game is at Baylor; win there, then beat Texas and its off to play for a national championship.
11) Chargers had a 24-0 halftime lead first time they played the Broncos; they lost 35-24. This is Norv Turner’s last stand coaching San Diego- they won't make playoffs if they lose here. Broncos covered their last five games as a favorite.
10) Are there any polls that recognize Ohio State, even though they’re on probation? If there are, Buckeyes have shot at a mythical national title. This is very tough game for them, at Wisconsin.
9) Jets and Brian Schottenheimer parted ways after last season; now they meet up again, with Mark Sanchez in a funk, having been blanked by his college coach last week. Now he faces his old coordinator. Rams are 3-0 in games where spread is 3 or less points.
8) Jim Mora Jr gets his first shot at crosstown rival USC; you get idea the gap between Bruins-Trojans is getting smaller, but until UCLA beats them couple times, LA is still the Trojans’ town.
7) Red Sox are right now worst team in AL East, by far; supposedly they tried to get in on the Marlins’ fire sale, but didn’t get a deal done. When are they going to make moves, and what will they be?
Would make sense if they panicked and threw a pile of cash at free agent OF Josh Hamilton. Not sure it would work out well, but it would quiet people.
6) Oakland Raiders gave up 42-55 points last two weeks, now Drew Brees and the Saints come to town; good luck there. New Orleans gets back to .500 with win here.
5) Vanderbilt is favored over Tennessee for third time in last five years, but they’re 1-13 in last 14 series games. Much like Norv Turner in Denver, this could be Derek Dooley’s last stand with the Vols.
4) Clippers beat Miami Wednesday, host the Bulls Saturday and visit San Antonio Monday; tough stretch of games. How is it as soon as Grant Hill leaves Phoenix, he’s out hurt again? What is it about the Suns’ trainers that kept him healthy those years in the desert?
In five years with Phoenix, Hill played in 91.7% (362 of 392) Suns' games; he hasn't played in any of the Clippers' eight games this year.
In six years in Orlando, the six years before Phoenix, he played in 32.0% (131-410) of Magic's games. Suns' trainers must be pretty good.
3) Ravens at Steelers is always a big game, with Roethlisberger out this week, tough game for Steelers to win. Whats up with Baltimore running a fake FG last week, when they led 41-17 late in third quarter?
2) This Saturday used to be Rivalry Saturday in college football, the best day of the whole year, including New Year’s Day; the BCS nonsense and the expansion of the season finished all that, to point where half the SEC is playing I-AA teams this week. Seriously; 20 years ago, this week was the end of the regular season in college ball, except for 10-12 rivalry games Thanksgiving weekend.
1) Alex Smith is expected to play Monday night; not so sure about Jay Cutler. Bears’ two losses this year are at night; they haven’t beaten 49ers in Candlestick since 1985.