Sunday, September 27, 2009

NFL Picks - Week 3

New York Jets (-1) over Tennessee
Houston (-4) over Jacksonville
Philly (-7.5) over Kansas City
Baltimore (-13.5) over Cleveland
N.Y. Giants (-6.5) over Tampa Bay
Washington (-6.5) over Detroit
Green Bay (-6.5) over St. Louis
San Francisco over Minnesota (6.5)
Atlanta over New England (-4.5)
Seattle over Chicago (-2.5)
New Orleans (-6) over Buffalo
San Diego (-5) over Miami
Pittsburgh (-3.5) over Cincinnati
Denver (-2.5) over Oakland
Arizona (-3) over Indy
Dallas (-8.5) over Carolina

Last week: 10-6
Overall: 19-13

Friday, September 25, 2009

NCAA Big Game Pick 'Em - Week 4

Sure, I nailed my upset pick, but after a heartbreaking, last-second, streak-crushing week two in college football, I'm back at the grind picking more great games. Here we go:

(in the battle of the "Why is this team ranked?")
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets - 27 #24 North Carolina Tar Heels - 10
Northwestern Huskies - 23 Minnesota Golden Gophers- 21

#9 Miami Hurricanes - 30 #11 Virginia Tech Hokies -17
There's just something different about this Miami team than ones we've seen in the last three or four years. Obviously, they have Jacory Harris (who I have a huge man-crush on), need I say more? But I would argue the biggest difference is that Miami post-Larry Coker was just...Miami whereas in 2009, this isn't Miami. It's the "U." And I'm happy that the "U" is back. I love seeing Miami's swagger back in college football. It just makes the game more fun to watch. And I'll be watching when Harris and co. put on another show Saturday afternoon.

#13 Ohio State Buckeyes - 27 Illinois Illini - 24
#24 Washington Huskies - 24 Stanford Cardinal - 17

Last week: 3-3
This week: 1-0
Overall: 10-4

Thanks fo' reading, y'all.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Upset Special!

So, I don't care if you believe me or not, but I correctly (verbally) picked the biggest upsets of the last two weeks in college football.
Sitting around talking about week two's games, I said that Houston (my pick to win C-USA) would beat then-number 5 Oklahoma State. And, after they did, I kicked myself for not putting the pick in writing. So what did I do in week three? I predicted Washington to beat #3 Southern Cal, and promptly left it out of my week three pick column. After those debacles, I debated whether or not to leave my "Upset Special" pick out of the column again because of the success I had with the Cougars and Huskies.
Irony's got nothing on me.
I'm taking South Carolina, and the best defense in the SEC (yeah, I said it) to beat #4 Mississippi tonight in Columbia. Final score:
South Carolina - 17 Ole Miss - 13

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

And Another Thing...

How could you not be pulling for Washington after the Huskies beat USC? If you aren't, shame on you.

The Weekend Recap

My roommates and I had a conversation Friday about how the weekend of football would probably suck because of how fantastic the previous weekend was. Oh, how wrong could we be? Another weekend delivered more unbelievable games than we expected. While Florida and Texas played snoozers against Tennessee and Texas Tech - those two games were never really in question - the rest of the top 25 delivered great excitement from start to finish.
I'll start in Miami, where Jacory Harris was phenomenal (again) and cemented himself as a legitimate Heisman contender while the 'Canes got back to the college football spotlight for the first time in Randy Shannon's tenure. You thought Miami/Georgia Tech was going to be a close game? Me too. Was it? Not quite. Miami dominated the Yellow Jackets and left no doubt as to who is the favorite in the ACC.
Next, in Blacksburg, Virginia, the Hokies escaped (to put it lightly) Nebraska with a last-minute miracle 81-yard pass to set up the game-winning touchdown with under :30 to go. I picked Nebraska to win, and was feeling great about it, until Tyrod Taylor crushed my unbeaten streak at eight. A few more noteworthy items: 1) As we (my roommates and I) talked football while we watched this game, we all agreed that this is the year that perennial powers (Miami, Nebraska, Michigan, and, to some extent, Notre Dame) getting back into contention is fantastic news for college football, and makes the game better overall. 2) ESPN broadcaster Sean McDonough has had the best job in college football so far this season, and he hasn't disappointed. He got to call the Michigan/Notre Dame game two weekends ago, and landed the VT/Nebraska thriller this week. I get chills watching those.
In more afternoon games, Oregon finally looked like the team I picked to win the Pac-10 and beat Utah, and Notre Dame survived to beat Michigan State because of one of the worst throws in college football history. I just don't understand why every time the Irish win a game it turns into a program-resurrecting victory. HELLO! They barely beat Michigan State! They're going to lose at least three more games, and if their defense keeps playing like this, they'll lose more. It's sickening to hear sideline reporters gush over a team being 2-1. Ugh.
The only sore spot on my weekend was that I picked BYU to beat Florida State. And then the Seminoles went and put up half-a-hundred. Wow, that was embarrassing. But as a whole, Saturday was great entertainment.
The NFL didn't disappoint, either.
One moment I was mourning the loss of my sleeper AFC playoff team, the Houston Texans, when they were getting embarrassed by the Titans, 21-7. I was visibly upset. I was throwing a tantrum. And throwing books. But wait! Matt Schaub to Andre Johnson, 21-14. And AGAIN! Schaub to Jacoby Jones, 21-21! And after the 34-31 win, they're not dead yet! They still look awful on defense, and that makes me worry, but hey, I'll take the W.
Random thoughts because this is getting wordy: My Steelers lost. Can't win them all. Drew Brees is a beast. I can't believe Cincinnati beat Green Bay. The Bengals still suck. Ray Lewis could be 22 and I wouldn't even know it. Neither would Darren Sproles. Tony Romo is overrated. Tom Coughlin is underrated. And I'm starting to love Lane Kiffin.
All my teams of Fantasy had a resurgence this week, as I went 4-1 and was victorious in both my serious leagues, so I have nothing to complain about there (except, of course, the enigma that has been Brandon Jacobs, but here's to hoping he comes around).
After another weekend like that, the next one should be a letdown, right? Maybe not.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

NFL Picks - Week 2

After going 9-7 against the spread in week one, I'm back in the grind of picking NFL games. Here are the picks (home teams in bold):

Falcons (-6) over Panthers
Vikings (-10) over Lions
Packers (-9) over Bengals
Texans over Titans (-7)
Raiders over Chiefs (-2)
Jets over Patriots (-4)
Eagles (-3) over Saints
Redskins (-10) over Rams
Cardinals over Jaguars (-3)
Buccaneers over Bills (-4)
Seahawks (-1) over 49'ers
Broncos (-4) over Browns
Steelers (-3) over Bears
Giants over Cowboys (-3)
Colts (-3) over Dolphins

Last week: 9-7
Overall: 9-7

Enjoy the day. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Last Weekend's Recap and NCAA Big Game Pick 'Em - Week 3

In my opinion, last weekend was the official start to the sporting year; NFL action began and there were great games in both the professional and college games, while I completely forgot that baseball was still in the regular season (come on, guys, what are you doing over there at MLB?). In the NCAA, I was a perfect 5-0, which I haven't stopped bragging about since. I'm especially excited at just how I was perfect. Take a look at what I predicted for the USC/OSU game last week.

"I say Barkley leads the game winning touchdown drive with under two minutes left and
continues the Big-Ten woe in big games."

Well, folks, it doesn't get any better than that: A perfect week. Don't expect it to happen again. Otherwise, in college football there was a remarkably high number of fantastic games last Saturday. From Michigan's win over Notre Dame (one of the best games of the year, no doubt, and one of the best final calls I've heard in a while) to UCLA beating Tennessee to USC/Ohio State, this past weekend proved to be what we waited for all summer and then some. But the beauty of fall weekends is when Saturdays leave you wanting more, Sundays bring it. And Sundays bring it hard.
When the NFL kicked off and I opened my "Fantasycast" on ESPN, I was in sports heaven. Unfortunately, my Sunday got off to a horrible start and ended just as poorly (at least on the fantasy side of things, that is). I finished the weekend 1-3-1 in my five fantasy leagues, not once finishing with more than 71 points. It was one of the worst overall weeks of my fantasy career, so I can only go up from here and I went 9-7 in my picks against the spread, so I'm in desperate need of a rebound week in all NFL aspects.
Anyway, here are my college football picks for this week (NFL to come later):

Miami Hurricanes - 37 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets- 33

After Miami played another of the best games of the year against Florida State, the Hurricanes got a week off to prepare for the Jackets, who barely survived Clemson last Thursday. Jacory Harris was marvelous in the opening week win, and I expect him to be on his game again in a high-scoring ACC slugfest. Against GT's stellar triple option, Miami's defense is going to get run on, sure, but the key will be keeping the ball out of the hands of the Tech offense, and I think Miami and Harris can do just that.

Nebraska Cornhuskers - 21 Virginia Tech Hokies - 13
Oregon Ducks - 27 Utah Utes - 17
Michigan State Spartans - 30 Notre Dame Fighting Irish - 27
Brigham Young Cougars - 40 Florida State Seminoles - 24
Auburn Tigers - 24 West Virginia Mountaineers - 20

Last week: 5-0
Overall: 6-1
I appreciate you. Thanks for reading.

Friday, September 11, 2009

NCAA Big Game Pick 'Em - Week 2

Week two of college football is coming up fast, and that means it's time for another week of predicting the best games on the slate this weekend.
Last week, I told you I had faith in Oklahoma and Sam Bradford. Well, thanks to a wonderful shoulder injury, BYU upset the Sooners and spoiled my perfect opening week. However, I was far from perfect even with that loss, because I told you I thought the OU/BYU game would be a shootout (14-13 final), and I told you that the Alabama/Virginia Tech game would be low scoring (34-24 final). So, I have some work to do.
Here are my week two picks:

North Carolina Tar Heels - 24 Connecticut Huskies - 10
Michigan Wolverines - 31 Notre Dame Fighting Irish - 23
UCLA Bruins - 24 Tennessee Volunteers - 20
Georgia Bulldogs - 17 South Carolina Gamecocks - 6
And, most importantly:
USC Trojans - 28 Ohio State Buckeyes - 27

I covered Terrelle Pryor in high school, so I'm pulling for him to win a huge game at home against Southern Cal, but, at this point, how can you find fault in any decision Pete Carroll makes? He believes in his freshman quarterback, and so do I. I say Barkley leads the game winning touchdown drive with under two minutes left and continues the Big-Ten woe in big games.

Week 1: 1-1
Overall: 1-1

Thanks for readin'.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Super Bowl Predictions: There's nothing like a repeat

I'm not going to do much writing about this subject, seeing as how I have class today and because the season kicks off tonight.
By the way, I'm going to have a weekly picks column, which will be coming soon, but for now, I'm taking the Steelers over the Titans, 24-13. Pittsburgh hasn't lost an opener in forever, and they certainly won't lose one in yet another "Defense of the Ring" season. Biggest key to the game that no one is talking about? The only injury the Steelers couldn't recover from last year was the season-ending injury to fantastic punter Daniel Sepulveda. Well, Danny's back, so you can expect Kerry Collins to be operating inside his own ten quite a lot tonight.
Anyway, here are my season predictions, team-by-team, postseason awards, and the Super Bowl Champion. I went through and (hastily) picked every game of the season, so these should be pretty accurate (yeah, right, I expect to be laughed at by week 8, at the latest).

AFC North:
Pittsburgh Steelers - 13-3* (#2 seed based on AFC record)
Baltimore Ravens - 11-5*
Cincinnati Bengals - 8-8
Cleveland Browns - 4-12

AFC South:
Indianapolis Colts - 13-3*
Houston Texans - 11-5* (#5 seed based on AFC record)
Tennessee Titans - 8-8
Jacksonville Jaguars - 6-10

AFC East:
New England Patriots - 14-2*
New York Jets - 5-11
Buffalo Bills - 4-12
Miami Dolphins - 3-13

AFC West:
San Diego Chargers - 9-7*
Kansas City Chiefs - 4-12
Denver Broncos - 4-12
Oakland Raiders - 1-15

NFC North:
Green Bay Packers - 12-4*
Minnesota Vikings - 12-4*
Chicago Bears - 6-10
Detroit Lions - 2-14

NFC South:
Atlanta Falcons - 12-4* (#2 seed based on NFC record)
New Orleans Saints - 10-6
Carolina Panthers - 9-7
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 3-13

NFC East:
New York Giants - 12-4*
Philadelphia Eagles - 12-4* (#5 seed based on NFC record)
Dallas Cowboys - 11-5
Washington Redskins - 9-7

NFC West:
Seattle Seahawks - 11-5*
Arizona Cardinals - 10-6
San Francisco 49'ers - 4-12
St. Louis Rams - 3-13

AFC Playoffs:

Wild Card Games: (3) Indianapolis over (6) Baltimore, (5) Houston over (4) San Diego

Divisional Round: (2) Pittsburgh over Indianapolis, (1) New England over Houston

Conference Championship: Pittsburgh over New England

NFC Playoffs:

Wild Card Games: (3) New York Giants over (6) Minnesota, (5) Philadelphia over (4) Seattle

Divisional Round: New York over (2) Atlanta, (1) Green Bay over Philadelphia

Conference Championship: Green Bay over New York


Pittsburgh Steelers - 27
Green Bay Packers - 17


MVP: Tom Brady - QB, New England Patriots
Offensive Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson - RB, Minnesota Vikings
Defensive Player of the Year: Mario Williams - DE, Houston Texans
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Percy Harvin - WR, Minnesota Vikings
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Rey Maualuga - Cincinnati Bengals
Coach of the Year: Jim Mora Jr. - Seattle Seahawks
Comeback Player of the Year: Carson Palmer - QB, Cincinnati Bengals


Saturday, September 5, 2009

NCAA Big Game Pick 'Em - Week 1

The college football season has kicked off, and the first slate of games has already produced some fireworks. Let's recap the action so far: my preseason Pac-10 Champion Oregon got embarrassed by Boise State and then suspended their star running back for the season after he sucker punched a Bronco player (good start for my predictions). Greg Paulus and the Orange lost in overtime on a 35 yard field goal, and, speaking of field goals, Northern Iowa didn't have much success in the clutch as not one, but TWO game winning attempts were blocked by Iowa's defensive line.
I'm going to begin picking a few big games of the week in college football (I may pick the whole weeks schedule in the NFL, but we'll see), so here are my previews and predictions for two big games coming up tonight.
In the first game of the night, Oklahoma takes on BYU from inside Jerry Jones' baby. ESPN has been preaching how good the Sooners defense is going to be in 2009, but do they mean compared to other Big-12 JV defenses? I don't believe the hype, but I do believe in the greatness of Sam Bradford. BYU has a great quarterback of its' own in Max Hall, and I think we're going to see a shootout at Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
Oklahoma Sooners - 41 Brigham Young - 27
In the other nightcap, Alabama takes on Virginia Tech in the best non-conference game of the year. Needless to say, I'm ecstatic to watch this game, I think it'll be a Steelers/Ravens-type game; you know, a hard-hitting defensive war that's only fun to watch if you appreciate magnificent football. I'll be parked in front of the TV, no doubt.
Alabama - 20 Virginia Tech - 13

Enjoy the games, I know I will. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

BCS Predictions: Not so fast, Gators

In my quest to find the 2009-10 BCS National Champion, I had to first narrow down the field to a handful of teams that could win the title. The eight teams (or groups of teams) that make up my list of hopefuls are: Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Penn State/Ohio State, Southern Cal, Alabama, Virginia Tech, and Boise State/TCU/Utah.
Let me explain a few those picks: the winner of PSU/OSU has a shot at an undefeated season and a title chance, and the only reason I didn't do the same with UT/OU is because the Sooners lost to Texas last year and still made it to the title game. Realistically, only one of the mid-majors has a chance. I'd say Boise has the best shot, returning QB Kellen Moore, a sophomore who threw 25 touchdowns last year.
To narrow it down even more, lets start by giving Virginia Tech and the group of small schools the axe. To be nice, the ACC is horrible, and the Hokies always seem to have big expectations. Accompanying those lofty goals in 2009 will be a brutal start to the season, when VT plays Alabama in the best non-conference game of the year and Nebraska two weeks later. Even if they get past those two, Beamerball will fall apart for one week like it always does, and they'll probably lose to, say, Boston College. Also, while we're being honest, the BCS will never let a mid-major win a National Championship, so bye-bye little guys.
Next, I think Penn State, being at home, will win the annual clash with the Buckeyes, so that removes Ohio State from contention, but we've seen the Nittany's get screwed before, and, even if they go unbeaten, I don't think they'll make the cut. Moving to the west coast, USC is starting a freshman quarterback and lost their entire linebacking corp from 2008, so I'm saying "naw" to the Trojans, plus I don't even think they'll win the Pac-10.
That leaves us with Florida and Alabama from the SEC and Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12. Florida isn't going to lose until the SEC Championship at the earliest, when they play the Tide and I don't see them losing there either. Florida will move unscathed into the BCS Title Game. On the Big 12 side, sticking with the home-field theme, I think Colt 45 and the Longhorns beat Stoops' Sooners in the Red River Rivalry. Texas' biggest challenge will be a matchup at Oklahoma State, but I think they will win that game and advance to play Tim Tebow in January.
Do you remember the last time the media was anointing a college football team as "one of the greatest teams ever?" I do, and I remember that team being 2005's Southern California team led by Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush. ESPN ran a segment leading up to the Championship game that matched USC up to the greatest teams in history and analysts picked the winner of each matchup. Do you remember what happened to Pete Carroll and company in that title game? They got pushed around and flat-out beat by Mack Brown, Vince Young and Texas. So, ladies and gentlemen, I'm calling for the upset.
The 2009 National Champion will be the Texas Longhorns.

More Predictions:
Heisman Trophy Winner: Colt McCoy, Texas

ACC Champion: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Big Ten Champion: Penn State Nittany Lions
Big East Champion: South Florida Bulls
Big Twelve Champion: Texas Longhorns
Pac-10 Champion: Oregon Ducks
SEC Champion: Florida Gators
MAC Champion: Central Michigan Chippewas
Mountain West Champion: TCU Horned Frogs
WAC Champion: Boise State Blue Fields
Conference USA Champion: Houston Cougars
Sun Belt Champion: Florida International Golden Panthers

Do they matter anymore?
Notre Dame: 7-5
Michigan: 6-6

BCS Bowl Predictions:
BCS National Championship Game: Tim Tebow's vs. Colt 45's
Rose Bowl (of course, presented by Citi): Oregon Ducks vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Sugar Bowl: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. Boise State Blue Fields
Orange Bowl: South Florida Bulls vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Fiesta Bowl: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Southern California Trojans

NFL predictions will be up by next week. Thanks for reading.