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Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend...........
13) Its an amazingly bad NFL card for Week 13; they hitched national TV games to the NFC East this week, but except for the Giants, it’s a down year for that division.
Week is so bad that NBC didn’t flex out of the Eagle-Dallas game, and the Eagles have been in the tank for a while now.
12) BCS people have to be rooting like hell for Alabama to beat Georgia in SEC title game; a Bama-Notre Dame national title game is their best case scenario for good ratings.
11) Patriots have five return TDs in their last two games; Miami hasn’t forced a turnover in its last four games. Trap game for New England which hosts the 10-1 Texans next week.
10) Dome team from desert visiting the New Jersey swamp on December 2? Doesn’t sound good for a 4-7 Cardinal team that was once 4-0. As bad a season as the Jets have had, they’re 3-1 as a favorite this year.
9) Stanford hammered UCLA in Pasadena last week; the two teams meet again in the Pac-12 title game tonight in Palo Alto. Not often college teams meet twice in same season, much less two weeks in a row.
8) I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that BJ Upton got $75M for five years from Atlanta; with the winter meetings starting up, will any other ballplayers get paid stupid-high money?
Upton’s deal has to drive the market up a little.
7) Four of the top five scorers in college basketball are seniors, led by Coastal Carolina’s Anthony Raffa at 26 ppg; leading freshman scorer is Arizona State’s Jahii Carson, scoring 21 ppg. ASU will be a fun team to watch, now that they have a solid PG.
6) I’m predicting that the people who won Powerball Wednesday night will a) hear from a lot of their old friends this weekend and
b) make as many new friends as they want to have in the coming weeks. My advice: Change your phone number!!!!
5) Winner of the Northern Illinois-Kent State MAC championship game is headed to a BCS bowl game. Their game will be fun to watch, but I’m guessing FOX ain’t too happy about it. Not like those Tuesday/Wednesday MAC games on ESPN2 are ratings blockbusters.
4) Patriots-Texans-49ers are all heavy road favorites over divisional rivals; I’m trying to think which of the three underdogs has best chance to pull an upset. Probably Miami. Titans fired their offensive coordinator this week. Rams will have Niners’ full attention after the tie in Candlestick three weeks ago. Dolphins will need to create turnovers to pull the upset.
3) Total on the Oklahoma State-Baylor game is freakin’ 86. That means if game ends 43-42 and you bet over, you lose. I’ve never seen a total that high, that I can remember.
2) First Giant-Redskins game had a dramatic ending, with both teams scoring TDs in last 2:00, as Giants pulled out a 27-23 win. RGIII is worth watching, all by himself. Am thinking this could be a fun game.
1) Ravens-Steelers is only interesting if Roethlisberger is playing; can’t see Steelers winning with Charlie Batch under center. They had 8 turnovers last week in Cleveland, first NFL team in 11 years to do that.
Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but..........
13) Gregg Popovich caused a pretty big stir Thursday night, when he made a loud, public statement about the NBA schedule, sending home four of his starters rather than have them play their sixth road game in nine nights, a nationally televised game against the Heat in Miami. It was only Miami’s third game in 12 nights, all at home.
They need to reprogram the computer that makes the schedule. Spurs actually led late in the game but folded late and lost by 5, covering what swelled from a 6 to a 12-point spread in Las Vegas.
12) St Joe’s plays Creighton today; Hawks’ coach Phil Martelli actually compared Bluejays’ F Doug McDermott to Larry Bird. Thats quite a handful, big compliment, but he’s also blowing smoke.
Its unfair to compare any college player to Bird, who was a little bit older when he went through college, plus he wasn’t seen much in college, since he graduated school the year ESPN was founded.
11) Thursday night’s TV games found teams called Red Storm/Scarlet Knights both wearing black jerseys at home, while Notre Dame was wearing a black-on-black outfit where you couldn’t see the players’ numbers on TV. Falcons also wore black when they usually wear red, but those were throwbacks that Atlanta wore back in late 60’s, when they first joined NFL.
10) Former North Carolina guard Kendall Marshall is example of a kid who didn’t stay in college long enough; now he’s playing in the D League, learning the pro game the hard way. Should’ve stayed in school another year and improved his skills more before turning pro.
9) Minnesota Timberwolves are a fun team to watch, and now they’re getting PG Ricky Rubio back in a couple weeks; Rubio is the closest thing the NBA has to the Robby Benson character in the old basketball movie, One on One. Flashy player, floppy hair, fun to watch.
8) Its conceivable Atlanta Falcons could play only one more outdoor game this season, when they visit Charlotte to play the Panthers. Super Bowl is in the Superdome, a place they’ve had a lot of trouble, but since they wouldn’t be playing the Saints there, it might not be so bad.
7) David Wright gets 8 years, $138M from the Mets, who finally ponied up for one of their stars. They needed to do that.
6) Pirates outbid the Bronx Bombers for Russell Martin? $17M for two years for a guy who hit .211? I know he walks a decent amount, but his power numbers were inflated by the short dimensions in the Bronx ballpark. Curious to see how Martin handles Pittsburgh after spending his whole career in LA/NY.
5) Look at college basketball conference ratings, and you see Mountain West at #5, highest they’ve ever been, ahead of SEC/Pac -12/A-16. Boise State’s win at Creighton was big, and so is Colorado State’s fast start under Larry Eustachy. UNLV-San Diego State are the league's two best teams.
4) So I’m buying glasses couple of months ago, when I notice that Nike sells a line of frames. Of course, they’re ridiculously expensive but that never stops me. Why would I buy glasses from a company that got famous making sneakers? Are they just there so kids will buy them? Would kids even want them? I got Timberland by the way. Really bought 2 pairs. Cause ya never know.
3) New Mexico State/Western Kentucky are next in line to move up to Conference USA, should some more of their members switch leagues. Middle Tennessee and Florida Atlantic already bolted the Sun Belt this week.
2) A country club banned Michael Jordan because he wore cargo pants playing golf. What? I wear cargo pants all the time; good thing for me I don’t want to play golf in Miami. In this technology age, you need all the pockets you can get, though it gets complicated at the security gate in the airport, emptying all my stuff out into those plastic bins, then filling the pockets up after I’ve gone through security.
1) Christmas might be a little bit awkward at the Kiffin place this year, seeing as son Lane just fired his dad as USC’s defensive coordinator. They said Monte Kiffin “resigned” but coaches at that level don’t resign, and dads sure don’t quit on their sons. “Merry Christmas, Dad. Here’s a gift certificate to Kinko’s. Go update your resume.”
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a Saturday filled with sadness.....
13) What causes a 25-year old pro athlete to snap, kill his girlfriend and then himself, leaving a little baby without a parent? How do Chiefs' coaches go to work Sunday after watching one of their players kill himself?
Some questions in life have no answer, and this is one of them. Life moves in cycles, some good, some bad, but none permanent, unless you cross a line from which there is no turning back, and thats what Jovan Belcher did today. Now his daughter will never know him or her mom, and that is very sad.
12) College basketball coach Rick Majerus, who took Utah to the '98 Final Four, passed away Saturday at age 64 from heart problems. Majerus had a long history of health issues; he was considered one of the brightest coaches in all of basketball and one of its most unique characters. RIP, coach.
11) Was surprised to hear that ESPN's Sean McDonough underwent skull surgery Friday, but is said to be doing well in his recovery. Any surgery on your skull would be considered serious, but a couple people tweeted that he is doing well. McDonough is an underrated play-by-play guy in all sports.
Now on to the doings on the fields/courts.......
10) Alabama-Georgia was one of best college football games I've ever seen; it was well-played, dramatic, important, played with great enthusiasm on both sides. It was a rare game where I felt bad for the loser, and I didn't care which team won. Excellent entertainment.
9) Wisconsin 70, Nebraska 31 wasn't great entertainment. Badgers ran ball 50 times for 539 yards, which is hard to imagine against the Cornhuskers. When do these teams play next year? Revenge will be in order.
8) Northern Illinois won MAC football title in overtime Friday, then had a very bad day Saturday; first football coach Dave Doeren bolted DeKalb for the NC State Wolfpack (and a lot more money).
Then Huskies' hoop team played at Dayton, where they were down 26-5 at halftime-- not good. Huskies actually won second half (and covered spread), losing 60-43, but they've got a long winter of bad basketball ahead of them.
Not sure if Doeren will coach the Huskies in their bowl game.
It bears repeating: Dayton led Northern Illinois 26-5 at half. In basketball.
7) Florida State mystifies me; they sleptwalked past a poor 6-7 Georgia Tech team, 21-15, but are ACC champs. Handicapping bowls is a very tough thing in the BCS era. Handicapping Florida State is always a puzzle. But then there is the Spooky Bowling for Dollars selections and all is right in the world.
6) Bowl pairings will be out Sunday night; would be more fun if they had a 64-team tournament, or at least 16, but while handicapping the games has become a Rubik's Cube of sorts, looking at the matchups is interesting.
5) Kentucky's hoop team lost at home to Baylor, 64-55; it is apparent that this team is going to struggle. You can't put a team of total newcomers on the floor every year and maintain dominance. Wildcats will win their share of games because they have very talented players, but not talented enough to overcome good teams with much more experienced players.
4) San Diego State beat UCLA 78-69 in Anaheim and had most of the fans; Aztecs are the best college hoop team in California.
3) No one seems to know for sure, but from all I read this weekend, the 88.5 total in Oklahoma State-Baylor game was highest ever posted. Bears won the game 41-34, staying under the total. Big X is a wild league.
2) Say what you want about the Spurs resting four starters Thursday, but they rallied back from 13 down after three quarters Saturday, beat Memphis 99-95 in OT, just Grizzlies' second loss in their last 14 games. Hope it was worth the $250,000 the NBA fined them.
1) I say this every so often, a little too often if you ask me, but life is short, and we need to have fun while we can. I tend to take things too seriously sometimes, but I'm trying to do that less. Life is too short to be stressed over things that really don't matter much. Go do something fun today!!!!
Monday's Dirty Dozen: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday.........
12) What a season the Colts are having; 8-4, heading towards playoffs, and in storybook fashion, with their coach fighting a battle against leukemia-- they scored two TDs in last 2:39 at Detroit, scoring the winning TD as time expired to win 35-33 and stun the Lions, who slipped to 4-8. So what else is new?
11) Think about Chuck Pagano fighting so hard to live, then think about Jovan Belcher giving up his own life and taking another at age 25; what makes someone do that?
Chiefs players/coaches rallied around each other and played a game Sunday, they even won it, but this week will be hard, with a funeral and an empty locker reminders of Saturday's horrors. Going to be a long week for them.
10) Chiefs won the coin toss Sunday, making Carolina 0-13 on coin flips this season. Take a coin and see if you can get it to land the same way 13 times in a row. Odds against it are staggering.
9) Arizona's Ryan Lindley was 10-31 passing for 72 yards in Redbirds' 7-6 loss at Swamp Stadium; he is just second QB in last fifty years with fewer than 75 passing yards and at least 30 pass attempts in a regular season game and first since Seattle's Stan Gelbaugh in 1992 (66 pass yards, 31 passes).
8) Eight teams completed less than half their passes Sunday; I'm totally convinced the Cardinals could make a quantum leap next year, if they can find a competent QB- they have Larry Fitzgerald and a good defense. .
7) Teams with a 10+ yard advantage in field position were 3-1 this week; only team to lose was Detroit, which led 33-21 with 2:45 left, before Andrew Luck tore their hearts out.
6) Baltimore's last three games, all decided by three points, tell me one thing; the Ravens are pretenders. Can't split two games with Pittsburgh when Ben Roethlisberger doesn't play in either one.
5) Would've been great fun to have been in a Las Vegas sportsbook for last 5:00 of Philly-Dallas game, when pair of return TDs in last 5:00 changed who covered the spread, twice. Not often you win/lose a bet on a 98-yard punt return in the last 40 seconds. Must've been quite a scene.
4) Spunky Rams beat San Francisco 16-13 in OT, with defense getting the only TD and a safety; Jeff Fisher's team is 4-0-1 in division games, 1-6 in all the others. Problem is, they only have one divisional game left.
As weird as it sounds, Rams' next three games are Buffalo-Minnesota-Tampa Bay; if they won those three games, a big if, they'd be 8-6-1 going to Seattle in Week 17. Going from 2-14 to the playoffs?
3) Rams kicked winning FG with 0:26 left in OT. Had this game ended in a tie, the way their first meeting did, it would been first time since 1963 that two teams played two ties against other in same season (Steelers-Eagles).
2) Someone explain to me how Louisiana Tech went 9-3 and isn't going to a bowl game? Independence Bowl wanted Tech, but school held out for a bigger game, against someone other than UL-Monroe of Sun Belt-- they got hung out to dry, and now their 36 seniors' reward for a great season will be.......no game at all. TV fans got cheated; Tech has the best offense in the country-- they lost to Texas A&M 59-57, the same Aggie team that beat Alabama. Tech's kids deserved a bowl trip.
Georgia Tech is 6-7 and not only is going to a bowl game, they're playing USC in the Sun Bowl; thats a good bowl!!! They're 6 and freakin' 7.
1) Put it this way: these are bowl matchups, where Louisiana Tech is better than both of the teams playing........
-- Central Florida-Ball State-- Only TV viewers will be friends/gamblers.
-- East Carolina-ULLafayette-- This should actually be a pretty good game.
-- Western Kentucky-Central Michigan-- The Chippewas? Seriously?
-- Ohio-ULMonroe-- Bobcats stepped in for Tech here.
-- Rice-Air Force-- How the hell is Rice in a bowl game?
-- Navy-Arizona State-- Sun Devils' six victims' combined record? 21-51.
-- Kent State-Arkansas State-- This will be fun to watch, at least.
-- Minnesota/Iowa State getting into bowls shows how hideous this system has become. What have the Gophers done to deserve a bowl game?
The Worst of Week Thirteen - dont take it too seriously fellow Express friends
OK, so by now we all know about Jovan Belcher who decided that his walk-through practice would involve bullets. This is a pretty shitty story. Killing your baby mama in front of your mother? Check. Driving to work and talking with your bosses while holding a firearm? Check. Thanking your bosses and then killing yourself? Check fucking plus. This story is sort of similar to that of Chris Benoit's horrible saga but thankfully Belcher spared his son. I can't even begin to imagine what it's like to actually watch someone shoot themselves. That has to be the worst. I don't know how KC handled this before the game or what they did, all I know is that it sucks.
In conclusion, whenever you hear someone say that "I'd kill to not have to play for Romeo Crennel anymore", you should probably take them seriously. Dammit. DON'T JUDGE ME! Anyway, onto the week's bad players but not killers.
People crying about Brees - I don't get this. The dude was awful. I get it. But that shouldn't have had much effect on you at all. If your fantasy playoffs start in week 13 then LOLZ your league sucks and is stupid. If your playoffs haven't started yet, you should be safely in anyway. If that 5 pick game DID hurt you then you really suck at fantasy football and should kill your girlfriend. Dammit.
Brian Urlacher - The entire Bears defense deserves a Nelson Muntz HA HA but I'm going to single out the guy who stuck it to Paris Hilton for awhile. Good job letting the legend of Rusty Wilson grow. Go ahead and keep fucking around with home losses and you're going to end up sitting at home for the playoffs. Prime GAY.
LOLions! - Hilarious. What a terrible team. If the Colts are CHUCKSTRONG then I suppose that the Lions are JIMPUSSY. That was one hell of a defensive collapse. I wish that I could watch that every day. Schwartz is so fired. At least he should be. Im embarrased (again and still) to be a Lions fan.
Jordy Nelson - Well, well, well the day that Commander Snatch (Greg Jennings) came back Captain Gash gets hurt AGAIN. When your name is Jordy, I guess that no one should expect manly behavior.
Everyone but Adrian Peterson - This cat better get a whole shit-load of MVP votes because he is BY FAR the best player in the league. FACT. Imagine how awesome he would be if he didn't have a terrible QB on his side? I guess what I'm trying to say here is...BRING BACK FAVRE!!!
Mason Crosby and David Akers - These guys went from great to horrible so fast that I hardly even noticed.
BRAH! - Fuck you, Jim Harbaugh! Man, is it easy to root against him. I'm glad that they lost to the Rams because his little fagbait QB was piss poor. He deserves that. I'm no Alex Smiff fan but I am rooting for Jimmy to fail so I guess that that does make me a Smiff fan after all. I have no problem with Colin Cowherdnick but I would appreciate it if Jaws stopped calling him KaeperNACK.
Cam Newton - You can beat the Eagles but not a team that just had a guy kill 80% of the Kansas City population. It really bothers me that Cam chews gum during the game.
Mark Sanchez - It's over, Nacho. What a tremendous blaze of glory that was. He should probably never start another NFL game ever again.
Jets Fans - Bad play makes fans do weird things...like give Greg McElroy a standing ovation. That guy is a cocksucker. I'd bet that Mike Lupica LOVES him.
Carson Palmer - The King of the Garbage Time Touchdowns is now being phased out gradually by the WildTatt offense of Terrelle Pryor!!! Another solid effort by the Brownies...all of that ELITE talent is coming together nicely.
Marmalard and Norv - Another week, another embarrassing loss for these two mental midgets. At this point, I think that we can all agree that Philip Rivers is a below average QB.
BRAH again! - Eat shit, John! You just got taken to school by Charlie fucking Batch! This is the thing about the Steelers: they have enough experience and old man know-how to never be counted out. Plus, Joe Flacco is a horse's ass.
GAMBLOR! - Not a very good weekend for this fella even with my Lions failing. I would like to give myself a high five for putting coin on Nebraska -3 which might be the worst wager ever.
None of that matters though for tonight's Monday Night is all that matters now. Remember to save your zombie and bootleggin' talk until the afternoon. Roar! Meow!