Monday Night Pick

The beginning of the end

It was a Monday Night Football game in 1985 that Joe Theismann’s playing career came to an end.  Lawrence Taylor didn’t bite on the flea flicker and the rest of the story is censured due to extreme violence.  So, lets hope that the Redskins don’t call a flea flicker tonight and if they do LT is no where near the field.  If history does repeat itself, Jason Campbell could be the next failed experiment in the broadcast booth.  

Onto the actual game-  The NFC East has been extremely competitive, in the 9 league games the average margin of victory is 7.1 pts.  If you exclude the 40-17  schalacking the Eagles put on the Giants in Week 8 that average drops to  5.1 pts.  That being said, I expect more of the same this week.  In the last few weeks, the Redskins have taken care of the Raiders handily and  narrowly lost to the Saints, Cowboys, and Eagles.  I think they are due for a quality victory.  I’ll take the Redskins to cover (+3) and win a tight game in honor of the great Joe Theismann.  I wouldn’t be shocked to see a back and forth scoring affair either.    

(All spreads provided by SportsBook)

Update:  Well, that was a complete beating…. The Redskin offensive line tried their best to recreate Theismann’s monday night masacre, and Washington never looked like it belonged on the field.  Thanks for the memories Zorn.

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NFL Sunday Picks

Give credit to Wyoming coach Christensen and quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels who won a thriller against Fresno State last night.  This could be the start of an exciting bowl season and I am sure this isn’t won’t be the last ups we see.  Overall, a mediocre day, finishing 2-1 yesterday in picks.  Here are some NFL picks that I have my eye on (all spreads according to SportsBook):

Miami @ Tennessee (-4.5): Titans will cover.

Arizona @ Detroit (14): Look for Detroit to keep it close; take the Lions.

Houston @ St. Louis (14): Look for Houston to cover the spread.

Tampa Bay @ Seattle (-6.5): Take the Seahawks to cover.

Green Bay @ Pittsburgh (-2.5): Take the Packers.

On the Moneyline front:

Cincinnati @ San Diego (43.5): Put money on the over.

Bowls: Day One Picks/Odds

Today kicks off the college bowl match ups with the New Mexico and St. Petersburg Bowls.  Here are the current spreads and what I am putting my money on today (all spreads according to SportsBook):

Wyoming vs. Fresno State (-10.5):  Fresno State will cover the spread

Central Florida vs. Rutgers (-3): Look for Rutgers to cover the spread

On the moneyline:

Central Florida vs. Fresno State: Over 44.5

Has the DH seen its Final Days?

Just recently, talks have circulated throughout the major league baseball community that the designated hitter rule could be on its way out.

Ever since the introduction of the DH Rule back in 1976 by the American League, the primary objective of the rule was to create greater run scoring and also increase attendance.  Now, 37 years later, Commissioner Bud Selig has created a newly formed “competition committee” which consists of 14-members that will examine and recommend changes to major league baseball on the field.  The 14-member committee will consist of four current managers, four current or former general managers, and four ownership representatives.  Also on the committee, MLB official Frank Robinson and journalist George Will.

Bud Selig has already come out and stated that he will “be guided by what the committee comes up” on various issues such as “scheduling, postseason format, umpiring, pace of play, and instant replay.”  Ultimately, the players’ union will have to approve any changes, including the possibility of having the DH Rule eliminated.  However, the DH Rule topic will not even be discussed until early 2011.

Now that the facts have all been presented on this matter, I have to comment on this particular story because if something like the DH becomes obsolete in major league baseball, this will have a profound affect on teams in the AL.  First, whatever the committee decides on (in regards to the DH) in the future, they must make the two leagues, AL and NL, both uniform in their game styles.  I don’t think a move to eliminate the DH is aimed at making the NL more competitive.  The goal is and should be to make both leagues have consistent playing styles.  I have never been a huge supporter of the DH rule that is exclusively only allowed in the American League.

I know people will argue, “well I don’t want to watch a pitcher strike out four times a game, or consistently bunt the runner from first to second every time they are at bat.”  Well, sorry to bring this to your attention but that’s baseball.  Baseball, historically, has always been played with 9 players, with one of those being the pitcher who also bats.  I don’t care if the pitcher strikes out every time, that is part of the game.  The DH completely eliminates the strategy of managers to decide upon whether to leave a pitcher in the game or to bring in a pinch-hitter.  I would much rather prefer watching a fantastic pitching duel than a home-run derby.  The DH, in essence, is just an inflated glory position for players who can’t handle the rigorous task of taking the field every day.

I hope the DH position does become obsolete and baseball can be played in the American League how it was meant to be played.  Will the players’ union go for it?  Who knows, but probably  not.  It will take much convincing and persuading to change the minds of players and union officials sign off on the approval of such a ban.  Who in the players’ union would want to ban a rule that allows players like Jim Thome and Daivd Ortiz to earn $13 million a year to just get hits and score runs?  Yeah, things like that will be extremely difficult to convince the players’ union otherwise.  But, nonetheless, just the possibility of having the DH banned is still interesting and we will have to wait until 2011 to see what transpires.

NBA Pick’em Tuesday

For all the sports betters out there, I thought I would share what I am putting my money on in tonight’s NBA match ups.  (All spreads are according to SportsBook)

New Jersey @ Cleveland (-14): Take Cleveland to cover.

San Antonio @ Phoenix (-2): Look for Phoenix to cover.

Sacramento @ Portland (-7): Portland will not cover. Take the Kings and the points.

Back to work: Weekend Wrap Up

Another weekend…another Monday.  Here are the top stories and news from this past weekend:

Tiger Woods

I know, I know, so you don’t have to tell me.  However, if you are one of those celebrity-news junkies that must know everything about other peoples’ lives, well here is what transpired over the weekend.  The continuation of “Tigergate” or the more appropriately named “Tiger Zoo” by Bill Simmons saw the first major sponsor of Tiger Woods say “thanks for the good times but your image just doesn’t represent us well.”  Accenture announced on Friday that they are cutting ties with the troubled golfer.  This may be a prelude to sequential acts by other sponsors, however, his major sponsors like Nike are not, as of now, following Accenture’s mentality.

Army vs. Navy

Navy saw their win streak continue against their academy rivals with a 17-3 victory.  A defensive battle for the majority of the game, Navy’s Ricky Dobbs aired it out to a wide open Marcus Curry mid-third quarter to put the Midshipmen up 7-3.  Navy from there didn’t look back and Army never responded.  A late turnover by Army all but sealed the victory for Navy, as Ricky Dobbs took advantage of the turnover and plunged into the endzone to give Navy a 14 point lead.  On that one yard touchdown plunge, Ricky Dobbs set the NCAA single-season record for rushing touchdowns scored by a quarterback with 24.  Considered one of the oldest and best rivalries in college football, the series has been somewhat one-sided as Navy won their eighth straight against the Black Knights.

Heisman

The closest Heisman vote in history saw Alabama’s Mark Ingram take home the prestigious trophy.  Mark Ingram is the first player in the Crimson Tide’s school history to win the award.  When it seemed historical back in 2007 when Tim Tebow was the first sophomore to win the Heisman, now has become somewhat routine.  The last three Heisman trophy winners (including Ingram) were sophomores.  I am not belittling the significance of the award or the individuals who won it but my personal vote (if I had one) would have gone to Toby Gerhart.  Many times this trophy awards “the best player on the best team” and looking at the Heisman’s track record, this theory seems quite evident.  Gerhart has had an incredible season and has posted better numbers than Mark has this season.  I do feel like because of the conference Gerhart plays in and also because of the fact that his team has four losses, he lost this award to Ingram.  However, without Gerhart, Stanford wouldn’t have even won 8 games; he meant that much to this team.  But I am not disappointed in the award going to Mark.  Hopefully, the “Heisman jinx” won’ plague Ingram or the Crimson Tide, as only one Heisman trophy winner (Matt Leinart) since 2000 has gone on to win the national championship.

Undefeateds

Both the Colts and Saints remain undefeated at 13-0 after yesterday’s games.  The Saints edged out Atlanta 26-23, on a 4th & 2 defensive stop.  The Colts, despite Brandon Marshall having a record-setting day, took care of business in Denver 28-16.  With only three games remaining in the regular season, which team do you think will finish the season (including postseason) undefeated?

BCS: “Because Congress Says”

The once dormant and controversial Congressional topic has made its resurgence back onto the House floor and back into the media mainstream, thanks in part to the recent BCS selections. 

On Wednesday, December 10, a House subcommittee approved legislation that would essentially coerce college football to switch to a playoff system.  Whether or not this is the appropriate timing for such a piece of legislation to be discussed and sought into becoming law is something, in itself, the heart of the controversy.

The American economy is still reeling from the effects of a recession, the national debt is continuously increasing (there are even talks of increasing the federal debt ceiling up to $1.8 trillion before New Year’s), and the unemployment rate is still hovering around 10%.  Obviously, there are far more pressing matters currently that need to be resolved in this country than reforming the BCS.  But according to Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL), who is a co-sponsor of the bill, “We can walk and chew gum at the same time.”  Well, I hope so considering the vast amount of issues that are present that have yet to see resolutions, including also the healthcare debate and the Afghanistan war.

I am not saying the current BCS system is perfect or even adequate.  Like most fans of college football, I think the current system is in serious need for reform, as the subjectivity and corruption has become too overwhelming.  However, don’t get too excited or upset, depending on your point of view, as the process of transforming this bill into a law is not going to come without significant difficulty. 

College football has become an enormous business, accumulating vast amounts of money ever year.  The convincing of 120 Division I-A presidents and  numerous conference commissioners that a playoff system is the best route to determine the national champion is something that may never happen on its own.  As the smokescreen of greed continues to blind presidents, coaches, and officials alike, taking the initiative to clearing the smoke eventually was going to come to rest on the shoulders of Congress. 

Considering Congress’ continuous attempt to increasingly mandate more of our society, this doesn’t seem all that surprising.  Should Congress have the authority and the right to dictate how postseason affairs of college football be conducted?  Well, consider this:  Back in 2005, Congress decided to investigate the allegations of excessive use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball and of the player’s union’s opposition to administer serious testing for these drugs.  There is, without a doubt, evidence that Congress did change the sport of professional baseball for the better.  Now, college football is next in the lineup. 

What people tend to forget, more often than not, is that representatives in Congress follow the requests and desires of their constituents in their various districts.  Representatives such as Joe Barton of Texas, probably have pushed for this investigative probe into the BCS probably because the people he represents in his district have expressed their frustrations and concerns (part of the Joe Barton’s district encompasses the Ft. Worth area, where TCU is located) about it.  The same can be probably said about Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. 

I will say this on the behalf of the BCS: ever since it’s inaugural debut during the 1998-1999 season, there has been a growing popularity in college football, as ever year, roughly around the beginning of December, there is no shortage of debate or controversy surrounding the schematics of the BCS.  A Harris Interactive Poll, conducted in January of this year, shows that college football ranks third as the most popular sport in America, falling behind professional football and baseball. 

Who is more deserving?  Who played who?  Why is this team going to a BCS bowl and this one isn’t? All are common and routine questions that are essentially asked every year, which spark ongoing intense and passionate debates.

Don’t expect to see any significant changes in the BCS in the next couple of years.  This process will be a slow and arduous verbal fist-fight between university presidents and commissioners  in one corner and Congress and the fans in the other.  Would I like to see the BCS changed?  Yes, because I believe it will be more beneficial to the sport and to all the schools that have to succumb to the system.  For example, this year, I still don’t see the logic of only having two undefeated teams play for the national championship when there are a total of five teams that are undefeated.  Should the presidents of these universities care?  Of course not; heck they are still receiving a fat check for making it to a BCS bowl.  But, hey, it’s the money that got us here in the first place.

Here is a link to the College Football Playoff Act of 2009 that was introduced in the House.