Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year 2008!

I just wanted to wish each and every one of you a very, safe and Happy New Year 2008! 2007's been a great year, but 2008 promises to be even better!

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Hail To The Redskins!

Four weeks ago, did anyone really give the Washington Redskins a chance at making the playoffs? After the tragic loss of Sean Taylor and a tough 17-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills the following Sunday, the Redskins were left with a 5-7 record and with little hope of making the playoffs. A hard fought 24-16 Thursday night win against the Chicago Bears got them to 6-7 and still with faint hopes of playing into 2008... A week later, a very convicing 22-10 win in New Jersey against Eli Manning and the Giants got them to .500. Then came a dominating 32-21 effort last weekend in Minnesota against a Viking team that had won five straight games... At 8-7 and going into the final week of the regular season, the Redskins suddenly controlled their own playoff destiny. All that was needed to secure the #2 NFC Wild Card spot was a win against the Dallas Cowboys at home on Sunday.

The Redskins not only rose to the occasion they simply CONTROLLED every phase of the game, holding QB Tony Romo in check and rendered the Cowboys ground game useless as they could only manage a franchise record low of one yard rushing as a team in a 27-6 Redskins rout.

On the offensive side, Clinton Portis contined to carry the memory of his slain friend with him, wearing a Sean Taylor shirt under his jersey. Portis rumbled for 104 yards and two scores on 25 carries. Santana Moss also had a huge game receiving, catching eight passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. Todd Collins was again a steadying force at quarterback, completing 22 of 31 passes for 244 yards. In four games now, Collins has completed 67 of 105 passes for 888 yards and five touchdowns, most importantly without throwing an interception.

Inspired and unified. I think those two words probably best describe this Redskins team. After making that huge mistake by calling back to back timeouts to ice the Bills kicker and turning a 51 yard field goal attempt into a the game-winning 36 yarder, coach Joe Gibbs has proven to be a resilient and steadying voice and force.

Ironically, the Redskins will now face the team that I've probably picked on more than any other in this blog in 2007: the Seattle Seahawks. Since winning their week one matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Seahawks failed to defeat another team with a winning record this season. More than anything, the Seahawks are a team in search of an identity. Coming into the season, people took them as a "run first, pass second" team with a good defense... With running back Shawn Alexander suffering through an injury plagued season, the Seahawk running game has been virtually non-existant. QB Matt Hasselback has ignited the offense at times, but more often than not, that offense has sputtered. Yes, the Seahawks are 10-6 and have the home field advantage for the Saturday afternoon game, but the Redskins are the team with all of the momentum, and right now there is not a team playing better football in the NFC... Are you excited, well I certainly am! Go Skins!

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Patriots Complete 16-0 Perfect Season

The New England Patriots made NFL history tonight becoming the 2nd team ever to go through a season undefeated with a 38-35 win over the New York Giants at the Meadowlands in New Jersey tonight. Tom Brady also tossed his 50th touchdown pass of the year and Randy Moss caught his 23rd TD pass. Both set new NFL records. Congrats to the Patriots on their amazing 2007 season!

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UCLA Names Neuheisel Coach!

The UCLA Bruins football team finally have named a replacement to Karl Dorrell, and to those of us who have followed Bruin football for a very long time like me, the name is a very familiar one. Rick Neuheisel is coming back to his alma-mater! Neuheisel quarterbacked the Bruins and led them to a 1984 Rose Bowl victory over Illinois. He also had successful coaching stints at Washington and Colorado before working the past three years as an assistant coach for the Baltimore Ravens.

Here's hoping that Rick can lead the Bruins to some better finishes in the coming years and lots of wins over those rival USC Trojans!

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Friday, December 28, 2007

I Win Again!

Well, the week was a very busy one and I capped it off with my now monthly or so get-together at the Stornetta's home for a friendly game of Texas Hold 'Em poker... Five of us played for a little more than four hours and once again I came out on top! Is it just coincidence that I've been doing better now ever since my friend Dave Dixon moved to Thailand? I don't know, but whatever it is, it sure is nice to win even if the stakes aren't all that high. And of course the camraderie and friendship along with the friendly joking and ribbing never get old!

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

R.I.P. Stu Nahan

The sports world lost one of it's great sportscasters yesterday in Stu Nahan. He passed away of cancer at the age of 81. Stu worked for many years in the same NBC Studios in Burbank that my late father did. As a youngster, I still always remember looking forward to the local news segment on Channel 4 and Stu's sportscasts around 5:20-ish every evening. Stu was someone who the athletes always looked forward to talking to, and his of humor even made the tightest of athletes want to open up.

Stu was not only a local icon, he was very well known nationwide. Stu appeared in over 30 movies including the 80's classic movie Fast Times At Ridgemont High. He was also the play-by-play announcer in all six Rocky films.

Memorial services for Stu are pending. He leaves behind his wife, three children and five grandchildren.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Week 16 NFL Rankings

The New England Patriots "only" beat on the Miami Dolphins 28-7 last week (no, they didn't cover that 22 point spread)... as it marked the biggest battle in terms of disparity of records in NFL history. Next Saturday, the Patriots try to become the second team in NFL history to through a regular season undefeated as they take on the New York Giants. The Giants are already locked into the playoffs as the #1 Wild Card in the NFC and basically have nothing to play for.

The other NFC Wild card spot is still up for grabs, but the Washington Redskins took a HUGE step towards securing that spot with a 32-21 win over the Minnesota Vikings on the road on Sunday night. The win was their third straight and got them back into the top 10 of my rankings. The Redskins face a Dallas Cowboys team this Sunday who has nothing to play for as they have the #1 seed in the NFC all locked up.

Here are this week’s rankings with last weeks rank in (). Record is only one consideration. I also take into account strength of schedule, strength of victory (or loss) and other intangibles…

1.(1) New England Patriots (15-0)
2.(2) Indianapolis Colts (13-2)
3.(4) Dallas Cowboys (13-2)
4.(5) Jacksonville Jaguars (11-4)
5.(6) San Diego Chargers (10-5)
6.(3) Green Bay Packers (12-3)
7.(8) Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5)
8.(7) Cleveland Browns (9-6)
9.(13) Washington Redskins (8-7)
10.(9) New York Giants (10-5)
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11.(10) Tennessee Titans (9-6)
12.(12) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-6)
13.(15) Seattle Seahawks (10-5)
14.(11) Minnesota Vikings (8-7)
15.(14) Buffalo Bills (7-8)
16.(18) Philadelphia Eagles (7-8)
17.(16) New Orleans Saints (7-8)
18.(17) Houston Texans (7-8)
19.(19) Arizona Cardinals (7-8)
20.(21) Chicago Bears (6-9)
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21.(22) Cincinnati Bengals (6-9)
22.(20) Carolina Panthers (6-9)
23.(23) Denver Broncos (6-9)
24.(24) Detroit Lions (6-9)
25.(28) San Francisco 49ers (5-10)
26.(25) St. Louis Rams (3-12)
27.(27) Kansas City Chiefs (4-11)
28.(26) Oakland Raiders (4-11)
29.(29) New York Jets (3-12)
30.(30) Atlanta Falcons (3-12)
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31.(31) Baltimore Ravens (4-11)
32.(32) Miami Dolphins (1-14)
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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Here's to wishing everyone a very safe and Merry Christmas. I will be off to my brother's place in a bit with my sister and brother-in-law just as soon as my morning coffee kicks in.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Cash from CBS!

I knew I was going to be getting my cash prize for winning one of the three CBS Sportsline fantasy baseball leagues I competed in this year in the mail soon. Well, I just got today's mail and lo and behold there was my $600 check for winning the one league! And gosh, if Jake Peavy had managed to pitch just decently that final game of the regular season, well I could have won or tied for first in a second league... So close... but hey, I more than doubled my investment so I'm not complaining! Winning cash is so much better than winning t-shirts. Yes, I have a closet full of ESPN t-shirts from the fantasy baseball championships I've won over the years... next year I look forward to competing in even more CBS Sportsline leagues and winning a heck of a lot more CA$H MONEY!!!

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As The BCS Ball Turns...

On this Christmas Eve day, the BCS controversy rages on in my office and offices nationwide. The general consensus is that Ohio State does belong in the BCS championship, and that LSU may have not been the best choice as an opponent. Personally, I still think the Georgia Bulldogs should have been in the championship game as they were #4 in the BCS standings prior to the final week when the #1 and #2 ranked teams lost. #3 Ohio State moved up to #1, while Georgia was inexplicably dropped to #5 despite being on a six game winning streak and beating three ranked teams.

Who do you think Ohio State should be playing in the BCS Championship? I've given four choices to choose from in my poll to the right.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Redskins Rout Vikings!

At 5-7 and with thoughts of Sean Taylor in their hearts and minds with every play, it wouldn't have been hard to see Joe Gibbs and the Washington Redskins just fold up shop and call it a season. Such as not been the case as the Redskins have played the past three weeks with a renewed vigor and purpose - almost as if the spirit of Sean is in them... In a must win game to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Redskins rose to the occasion again, jumping to a 22-0 halftime lead over the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, and then cruising in the second half to a 32-21 victory. Coming into the week, the Vikings had been one of the hottest teams in football, winning five straight games.

The Redskins defense opened the scoring in the first quarter, tacking Viking running back Tony Richardson in the end zone for a safety. Todd Collins threw touchdown passes to Chris Cooley and Santana Moss to make it 16-0 midway through the first half. Cliton Portis then threw a touchdown pass on an option play to Antawn Randle El late in the first half to make it a 22-0 Redskins margin.

Shane Suisham kicked a 26 yard field-goal just past midway through the third quarter to make it a 25-0 Redskins lead. A Tavaris Jackson two yard pass to tight-end Jim Kleinsasser gave the Vikings their first score of the game late in the third quarter to make it a 25-7 game. Jackson would score again with 10:18 to go in the fourth quarter on a six yard touchdown run to trim the margin to 25-14. The Redskins answered right back, driving the length of the field and closing the deal with a 13 yard Portis run to make it 32-14. Jackson scored again for the Vikings on a one year run just after the two minute warning to tally the final points of the game.

The Redskins now control their own destiny. A win over Dallas next week at RFK Stadium would give the Redskins second wild card spot in the NFC. The Cowboys figure to rest a lot of their regulars in the game as they locked up the #1 NFC seed today. Green Bay lost their chance to be the #1 seed in NFC as they were stunned by the Chicago Bears by a 35-7 score today at a snowy and windy Soldier Field. Even if the Redskins lose next week, they would still get in the playoffs if both the Vikings and Saints lose. For a team that was in mourning and seemingly out of the playoff race three weeks ago, it's certainly been an amazing turnaround for the Redskins.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

BYU Beats Bruins in Las Vegas Bowl

All I can say is the I was glad to be out at a Christmas get-together and ornament exchange with friends, rather than watching my Bruins suffer through one more tough, heartbreaking loss under the current era. The BYU Cougars held a 17-16 lead over the UCLA Bruins in the Las Vegas Bowl late in the 4th quarter. The Bruins drove down the field, 85 yards to the 11 yard line in just over three minutes. As time expired, the Bruins attempted a 28 yard field goal to win the game, but it was blocked by Eathyn Manumaleuna of the Cougars and with that it was over. With the win, BYU finishes the season on a 10 game winning streak and with a 11-2 record. The Bruins in the meantime finish with a 6-7 record.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Innocent Until Proven Guilty?

That is the way it's supposed to work in this country, but given the fallout that's happened in light of the findings of the Mitchell Report investigating the usage of steroids and other substances in Major League Baseball, you would hardly think that's how it is.

Witness the case of Roger Clemens. A story came out in the once respected, and now highly tabloidian (is that a word?) Los Angeles Times in October of 2006 regarding an affidavit in which several Major League Baseball players were accused of using performance-enhancing drugs. The Times reported that Clemens name was on that list of players. Yesterday, it was revealed that Clemens name did not appear in the document as was previously reported by the Times.

As those of us here in Los Angeles know, you can't believe everything you read in the Times today - particularly the sports section. It's much like reading the New York Times or the Washington Post. An alamring number of the columns have a definite bias to the left of center, and a similarly alarming number of the stories found in these three "newspapers" have later been proven to be untrue. Seriously, Bill O'Reilly could probably write a book on all of the inaccuracies and false stories these three "newspapers" have reported the past few years.

My point is that you can't believe everything you read, and if it's in a source that's not going to give you a fair and balanced viewpoint, it's best to check out that information with another source first. Innocent until proven guilty? I sure hope people here still believe that. Let's let things play out before we start convicting everyone on that Mitchell Report. Can the sources be believed? Let's look further into this aspect, OK?

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Week 15 NFL Rankings

I'm not sure which was bigger news this week... the Miami Dolphins finally winning a game or the Dallas Cowboys suddenly looking very mortal the past two weeks??? What has happened to T.O.??? He's suddenly disappeared on the Cowboys offense, with only five receptions for 58 yards the past two weeks combined. With their stumbles the past two weeks, the Cowboys slide a spot to #4 in the rankings.

Speaking of stumbling, how about the Seattle Seahawks? Yes, they are the NFC West division champs, but they haven't played like champs the entire year. A week one win over Tampa Bay, and eight wins against teams with losing records. Was it really that surprising that they would finally lose a game they should have easily won last weekend? No. They do have a 9-5 record, but in the NFC West (aka: "NFC Least") that really doesn't hold much weight. And yes, the teams in contention for the NFC Wild Card are chomping at the bit to be their first round opponent in the playoffs.

Here are this week’s rankings with last weeks rank in (). Record is only one consideration. I also take into account strength of schedule, strength of victory (or loss) and other intangibles…

1.(1) New England Patriots (14-0)
2.(2) Indianapolis Colts (12-2)
3.(4) Green Bay Packers (12-2)
4.(3) Dallas Cowboys (12-2)
5.(5) Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4)
6.(7) San Diego Chargers (9-5)
7.(9) Cleveland Browns (9-5)
8.(6) Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)
9.(8) New York Giants (9-5)
10.(11) Tennessee Titans (8-6)
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11.(13) Minnesota Vikings (8-6)
12.(14) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6)
13.(15) Washington Redskins (7-7)
14.(10) Buffalo Bills (7-7)
15.(12) Seattle Seahawks (9-5)
16.(16) New Orleans Saints (7-7)
17.(17) Houston Texans (7-7)
18.(19) Philadelphia Eagles (6-8)
19.(18) Arizona Cardinals (6-8)
20.(24) Carolina Panthers (6-8)
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21.(20) Chicago Bears (5-9)
22.(21) Cincinnati Bengals (5-9)
23.(22) Denver Broncos (6-8)
24.(23) Detroit Lions (6-8)
25.(26) St. Louis Rams (3-11)
26.(27) Oakland Raiders (4-10)
27.(28) Kansas City Chiefs (4-10)
28.(30) San Francisco 49ers (4-10)
29.(31) New York Jets (3-11)
30.(29) Atlanta Falcons (3-11)
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31.(25) Baltimore Ravens (4-10)
32.(32) Miami Dolphins (1-13)
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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Long December...

It's cold, dreary and rainy here in sunny Southern California as I write this... just the kind of weather which is perfect if you want to catch up on your reading. If you're into sports like me, and most especially into fantasy baseball then this time of the year has some added importance. You're probably thinking at this point why am I thinking about baseball when it's still almost 3 1/2 months until opening day??? Well, it's around this time of the year when the most important fantasy resource around is published - Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster. Now in it's 22nd year, Ron's methodologies have been the foundation of my (and many others') success in fantasy baseball leagues the past several years. The Forecaster is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what can be gained from Ron, his associates, and their wealth of knowledge and expertise. I strongly recommend everyone to check out and subscribe to his site at BaseballHQ.com for an even more in-depth look into the world of fantasy baseball. The forums there also can be quite informative and interesting as well. Many of the outstanding contributors to the Forecaster make regular appearances in the forums.

Anyways, I've been perusing my copy of the Forecaster since this past Saturday when I received mine in the mail, looking for some hidden pitching gems that no one other than those of us in "Ron's world" know about. Last year's prize new find was probably James Shields of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who had a breakout season in 2007 and was a major contibutor to my successes last year. Shields put up a 1.11 WHIP (3rd best in the AL), a 3.85 ERA, 184 strikeouts and 12 wins. Great numbers for someone who, chances are, wasn't drafted in your fantasy league last year. Ron was also VERY bullish on Javier Vazquez of the Chicago White Sox and Jake Peavy of the San Diego Padres (who suffered through an injury-plagued 2006) to have breakout years, and they both delivered... Vazquez won 15 games last year, while striking out 213 batters, allowed a miniscule 1.14 WHIP and perhaps unlucky 3.74 ERA. All Peavy did in the National League in 2007 was win pitching's version of the Triple Crown, as he led the senior circuit in ERA at 2.54, strikeouts (240) and wins (19). This success led to his winning the NL Cy Young award as well.

Who is going to step up and perform next year? It's too early to tell yet, but once I start doing some number crunching and working the spreadsheets I will have some guys I'll be looking target come next February and March.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Chargers Cruise, Redskins Roll!

Yesterday was certainly an interesting day in the NFL... the Dolphins finally got off the snide and scored their first win of the year, by a 22-16 margin against the Baltimore Ravens on a dramatic overtime touchdown pass - the same Ravens who were 20 seconds from beating the now 14-0 New England Patriots two weeks ago. As for the most interesting game of the day, that one had to be the Cleveland-Buffalo game which was played in a driving snowstorm. I sat pretty much glued to the TV for that one as both the Browns and Bills struggled to move the ball in the horrible conditions. You could barely see the yard markers, and at times, you could hardly see the players when the blizzard was at it's hardest. The Browns managed two Phil Dawson field goals, including a 49 yarder in the second quarter that barely seemed to get more than 10 feet off the ground. As with his game-tying kick a couple of weeks ago, the ball nailed the center post supporting the crossbar. This time, however, the ball went through (while knocking off a nice little clump of snow from the support). The Bills also gave up a safety after a bad snap over the head of punter Brian Moorman deep in their own territory. Moorman had the presence to kick the ball through the end zone, rather than try to recover it and/or give the Browns a chance at an easy score. The 8-0 final score was more than appropriate - an 8 is known as a "snowman" to those who play golf (it's never a good thing there though!)

Normally on a Sunday, when the San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts are playing, I'm pretty much going to flip back and forth between their respective games... the "snow bowl" though was just too much fun to turn away from. Also, the Chargers had pretty much complete control of their game against the reeling Detroit Lions from the start - LaDainian Tomlinson scored two touchdowns in the first quarter. Halfway into the second quarter it was 27-0, and it was in effect over. The Chargers managed to score on their first seven drives of the game, punting for the first time with 1:32 left in the third quarter. By that time, it was a 44-14 game. The Chargers would tack on another touchdown late in the fourth quarter to finish win a 51-14 win. For the Lions, it was their sixth straight loss after a 6-2 start. Remember that mirage? The Chargers clinched the AFC West title with the win, their fourth in a row and eighth in 10 games after their 1-3 start.

The Lions anticipated collapse has opened the door for many teams in the NFC who would like to sneak into the NFC playoffs as the final wild card. Going into last night, the New York Giants at 9-4 had all but sealed up one of the two wild card spots. The Washington Redskins at 6-7 were facing a must win to keep their slim hopes of nabbing the final playoff spot alive. Both teams came into the game with something to prove as well. The Giants had yet to defeat a team with a winning record this year, while the Redskins were looking to avenge a 24-17 loss to the Giants at RFK Stadium back in week three - a game the Skins led 17-3 at halftime. The conditions last night were horrible - freezing temperatures and a swirling wind that made passing and kicking an absolute nightmare. That said, Todd Collins managed to navigate the Redskins on five scoring drives (even though he only completed 8 passes on the night) in his first start in 10 years, and Shane Suisham judged the wind perfectly, hitting on field goals of 49, 31 and 28 yards. In conditions like yesterday's, moving the ball well on the ground was critical and Redskins RB Clinton Portis more than delivered the goods, churning out 126 yards on 25 carries including a 5 yard run early in the third quarter to give the Redskins a 22-3 lead. Brandon Jacobs moved the ball similarly well for the Giants, gaining 130 yards on 26 carries. The quarterbacks certainly struggled throughout as Collins was only 8-for-25 (32%) for 166 yards, while Giants QB Eli Manning was only 18-for-52 (35%) for 184 yards... When you consider that QB's typically complete about 2/3 of their passes, the stats on Collins and Manning certainly told the story yesterday night. Manning did manage to toss a touchdown pass late in the game to trim the margin to 22-10, but that was as close as they would get. With the win, the now 7-7 Redskins very much still have their playoff hopes alive!

Next Sunday is a critical game for the Redskins as they face the 7-6 Minnesota Vikings at home. The Vikings play the Chicago Bears tonight at home. If the Redskins could manage to beat the Vikings next week (regardless of what the Vikings do tonight), they would be the front-runner for that final NFC Wild Card spot. In their final game of the year, the Redskins take on the now suddenly mortal Dallas Cowboys, who lost at home 10-6 in a lackluster effort against the Philadelphia Eagles. Last weekend, the Cowboys had to rally to defeat the Lions by a 28-27 score in Detroit. Perhaps that victory against Brett Favre and the Packers the previous weekend made the Cowboys a little overconfident? I'm not sure what has happened since that game to them, but they certainly don't look like the same team as two weeks ago. Yes, Redskins fans, there is definitely hope!!! Speaking of Favre, some more congratulations to him as he broke Dan Marino's NFL record for passing yards yesterday with a five yard slant pass to Donald Driver.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tiger Roars, Rory Bails...

For Tiger Woods, Sunday was just another walk in the park so to speak, as he weathered a brief Jim Furyk challenge on the front nine and went on to dominate the tournament and finish with a record-tying score of 22 under par and a seven stroke win over 2007 Master's champion Zach Johnson at the Target World Challenge held at Sherwood Country Club here in Thousand Oaks. The turning point of the round came on the 10th hole as Furyk hit his approach to within about 4 1/2 feet. Furyk had pulled within two shots of Tiger with four birdies on the front nine and with Tiger about 10 feet away for his birdie putt, it looked like Furyk may trim the margin to one. That wasn't in the cards though as Tiger rolled in his birdie and Furyk inexplicably three putted for a bogey. The margin was back to four strokes. Tiger added an exclamation point to his day by draining a 25 foot eagle putt on the 16th hole.

Perhaps the bigger story though was the sudden departure of Rory Sabbatini before the round started. Sabbatini was 10 over par and 28 strokes behind Tiger after three rounds of play. He then informed tour officials that he was withdrawing for "personal reasons." This withdrawel left Brett Wetterlich to play his final 18 holes all by himself, and left the other 14 players perplexed. Fred Couples went as far to say that "Tiger deserves better than that," while others thought that he owed it to Tiger to finish the tournament. Another player probably echoed the sentiments of most in attendance stating, "the fans didn't miss him anyways, they were probably happy he was gone." Never in the nine year history of the tournament had anyone ever withdrawen. Don't look for Sabbatini to be invited back by Tiger anytime soon. After the fiasco he created with his now infamous "he looks beatable" comment, this weekend was a great opportunity for Sabbatini to mend some fences with Tiger and create some positive experiences for those in attendance. It's not really in my nature to root against any particular player, but Rory Sabbatini was a lone exception coming into this weekend due to his brashness... he had an oppotunity this weekend to pick up some "brownie points" in my eyes, but as with everyone else, he miserably failed.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tracking The Tiger (and Freddie) - Part Deux!

Though the Sherwood Country Club here in Thousand Oaks has been in existance for 18 years now, today was the first time that I actually took in a golf tournament there. I was up brighter and earlier than usual for a Saturday morning - 6 a.m. - so that I would be to the course nice and early and get a chance to see the 16 players hit the practice tee. Brett Wetterlich's caddy was the first person to make his way there, followed by Rory Sabbatini at 9 a.m sharp. The players and their caddies gradually kept trickling in, and then a very loud cheer came up as fan favorite Fred Couples made his way over at 9:25... I've been a big fan on Freddie's for a very long time, so getting to see him close and hitting shot after shot almost effortlessly with his picture-perfect swing was a treat in itself.

About 15 minutes later, Tiger Woods and his playing partner for today, Jim Furyk, came to the tee and lucky for me, Tiger (like Freddie) was directly in front of where I was standing. I guess I picked a good spot. The best part of Tiger's practice time was when he was going through his routine and taking very slow deliberate swings with his driver, striking the ball hard enough to only move it perhaps 20 yards. During the routine, Furyk chimed in "none of us knows what the 'heck' he's doing either!" - obviously making reference to Tiger's dominance and how he makes it look so easy on the course. The crowd, Tiger, and everyone else just busted up laughing... it was definitely an ice-breaker! Speaking of that, an ice-breaker could have been used on the golf course as there was a light dusting of frost literally everywhere even as late as 10 a.m.

As Tiger neared the end of his practice routine, the crowd started to thin out. The first group of the day - Sabbatini and Colin Montgomerie - teed off at 9:50 a.m. Given that I'm a big fan of both Freddie and Tiger, I figured I would try to follow them both as much as possible. Surveying the course, it looked like the 5th green would be an ideal place to catch a lot of play and a glimpse of everyone, so I parked myself there about 10:40 or so and watched the groups trickle in. It turned out to be a GREAT place to watch from as the pin was very close to the back edge of the green... Also, I have to admit the company there was great as well! A very nice couple from Orange County made the 45 minute drive to be there for a second straight year. For the next hour or so, that couple, along with about five or six others and I talked about all kinds of golf-related things and as we watched the players stream in. Seeing a few of the pros hitting balls into the trees and hazards made us all feel a little bit better about our own games! :)

Wetterlich and Niclas Fasth were the first pair we all saw there, followed by Couples and Lee Westwood. Henrik Stenson and Mark Calcavecchia were next and provided the first big highlight of the day as "Calc" drove the par-5 hole in two shots and narrowly missed an eagle putt. Minutes later, Luke Donald and Steve Stricker's group provided another highlight as "Strick" nearly holed out his third shot from the fairway, the ball stopping just inches from the hole as he spun it back from about 10 feet past the pin. About a half hour later, Woods and Furyk both drove the green in two shots. Both would two-putt for birdies, getting Tiger to 15 under par, and Furyk to 12 under for the tournament.

With the final grouping finished with the 5th hole, our little group disbanded and went our separate ways. I was hoping to catch back up to the Couples/Westwood group at the 9th hole, but they were already gone, so I watched Donald and Sticker play the hole before heading to the 10th green where I followed that twosome and three more as we all awaited Tiger. Woods drove the ball only about 320 yards and had a simple wedge shot to the pin, which he stuck to about two feet for a gimme birdie.

One thing that I quickly learned about Sherwood was that it takes a lot of walking to get from one hole to the next. Following a golfer isn't nearly as easy as it was at the AT&T in our nation's capital on my birthday... In another effort to catch up with Couples, I headed to the nearby 16th hole. Freddie had found the trees off the tee and scrambled to hit a great 4th shot to within four feet of the pin. It just wasn't his day today though as he missed the par putt. I followed the Couples/Westwood twosome to the 17th and 18th holes... They arrived to a rousing ovation on 18 - most of the cheers were obviously for Freddie. He settled for a 4 over par round of 76. After a year plagued by back injuries where the Masters was his only full competitive tournament of the year, it was nice just to have the opportunity to see him play.

As the groups arrived at 18, I noticed a very familiar face being interviewed by the Golf Channel - longtime resident and actor Tom Selleck of Magnum P.I. fame! Many of the fans in attendance (not me) actually got his autograph. I did get 2007 Masters Champion Zach Johnson's autograph, and also got to talk so Furyk for a few seconds after the round was over. Johnson gave all of us a thrill on the closing hole as he hit the flag with his approach shot. Unfortunately, the ball finished about 10 feet to the right of the hole, and he wasn't able to make the putt. He finished the day at 11 under par and in solo third place. Furyk missed his birdie chance on 18, but made a par to finish at 12 under and remain in the runner-up chair. What did Tiger do? Well, he hit his approach about eight feet under the hole, curled his putt into the left edge of the cup for his 7th birdie of the day (to go along with two bogeys) for a 5 under-par 67. At 18 under par, Tiger is now six strokes clear of the field and looks set to win his tournament again this year...

By 3 p.m., it was all over, though many of us hung around and hoped to catch one last glimpse of our favorite players - Tiger did come out about 3:45 p.m. or so, but only signed a couple of autographs... He's quite busy now that he's a father... A fun time was had by all in attendance and I look forward to attending again next year!

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Tiger Torches Sherwood With Record 62!

It's the middle of Decemeber, the mornings here in Thousand Oaks, California have been in the lower 30's the past three days, yet one thing was as hot as the July sun today: Tiger Woods. Mr. Player of the year and all-everything else again looked as if he were in midseason form, as he poured in eight birdies and an eagle to set a new Sherwood Country Club course record with a 10-under par 62 at the 2007 Target World Challenge. Tiger's two round total of 13-under par is four strokes better than the world's #3 player, Jim Furyk. As for the other end of the scale, the argumentative and sometimes confrontational Rory Sabbatini shot a 9-over par 81, 19 strokes worse than Tiger. Rory, I think you must have looked a little beatable today. :)

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mitchell Report Out Today

In just another couple of hours, the content of the Mitchell Report and it's findings of up to 80 Major League Baseball players usage of steroids and other questionable substances will be made public. A lot of us have not at all been looking forward to this day. Hopefully, once the findings are made public, baseball and commissioner Bud Selig can take the steps necessary to clean up the game and it's soon to be very tarnished image.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

9th Annual Target World Challenge

While most of the Country is right in the midst of winter, those of us lucky enough to live out here in California are thinking about golf this week. Tournament host Tiger Woods leads an elite 16 man field in the ninth annual Target World Challenge presented by Countrywide.

World #3 ranked player Jim Furyk, 2007 Masters Champion Zach Johnson, Vijay Singh and fan favorite and 1992 Masters Champion Fred Couples are amongst those who will attempt to take the crown from Tiger. The Pro-Am event which preceeds the tournament begins at 9:30am today. The actual tournament starts tomorrow and runs all four days from 9:30am through 3:00 pm PST. Live, televised coverage of the tournament runs from 12 noon until 3pm on the Golf Channel Thursday and Friday and on your local NBC affiliate on the weekend. I'm planning on being there on Saturday and perhaps also on Sunday... no cameras are allowed though, so no pics! Oh well!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Week 14 NFL Rankings

There were certainly a number of very exciting and surprisingly entertaining games this weekend. The Dallas Cowboys had to pull a rabbit out of their hats to get a late 28-27 victory over the Detroit Lions at the Silverdome. Tony Romo drove the Cowboys for the winning score, hitting Jason Witten on a 20 yard scoring pass with just 19 seconds to play. It was sweet redemption for Witten who had fumbled at the Detroit 1-yard line on the Cowboys' previous possession. Witten tied an NFL record for receptions by a Tight End with 15 in the game. The great Kellen Winslow established the mark for the San Diego Chargers in 1982.

Speaking of the Chargers, they also stole a game last weekend by turning a 17-3 fourth quarter deficit into a 23-17 overtime win against the Tennessee Titans. Philip Rivers hit all-pro Tight End Antonio Gates on a 2 yard scoring pass with just 9 seconds to play in regulation. In overtime, LaDainian Tomlinson finished off the comeback, scoring on a 16 yard run to the left corner of the end-zone.

Was that the Seattle Seahawks finally coming up with an impressive win? Indeed it was. They beat up on the Arizona Cardinals by a 42-21 score on Sunday as they intercepted Cardinals QB Kurt Warner five times while Matt Hasselback led the offense, tossing four touchdown passes and no interceptions. Good for a move almost into my top 10. Maybe next week they will finally land there.

Here are this week’s rankings with last weeks rank in (). Record is only one consideration. I also take into account strength of schedule, strength of victory (or loss) and other intangibles…

1.(1) New England Patriots (13-0)
2.(2) Indianapolis Colts (11-2)
3.(3) Dallas Cowboys (12-1)
4.(4) Green Bay Packers (11-2)
5.(5) Jacksonville Jaguars (9-4)
6.(6) Pittsburgh Steelers (9-4)
7.(7) San Diego Chargers (8-5)
8.(10) New York Giants (9-4)
9.(8) Cleveland Browns (8-5)
10.(12) Buffalo Bills (7-6)
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11.(11) Tennessee Titans (7-6)
12.(14) Seattle Seahawks (9-4)
13.(13) Minnesota Vikings (7-6)
14.(9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5)
15.(15) Washington Redskins (6-7)
16.(17) New Orleans Saints (6-7)
17.(19) Houston Texans (6-7)
18.(16) Arizona Cardinals (6-7)
19.(18) Philadelphia Eagles (5-8)
20.(20) Chicago Bears (5-8)
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21.(24) Cincinnati Bengals (5-8)
22.(25) Denver Broncos (6-7)
23.(26) Detroit Lions (6-7)
24.(22) Carolina Panthers (5-8)
25.(21) Baltimore Ravens (4-9)
26.(27) St. Louis Rams (3-10)
27.(23) Oakland Raiders (4-9)
28.(28) Kansas City Chiefs (4-9)
29.(29) Atlanta Falcons (3-10)
30.(30) San Francisco 49ers (3-10)
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31.(31) New York Jets (3-10)
32.(32) Miami Dolphins (0-13)
—–

Monday, December 10, 2007

Patriots & Dolphins Still Perfect!

Not to really anyone's surprise, the Miami Dolphins lost again early Sunday afternoon to the Buffalo Bills by a 38-17 score to continue their winless season. In the evening, the Pittsburgh Steelers tried to put the first blemish on the New England Patriots season. Early on, the game was close, and the Patriots only led 17-13 at halftime. But Tom Brady and the defense took control of the game in the second half and carried the Patriots to a 34-13 win.

The Dolphins are still the only team to go through a season undefeated. It's pretty ironic that they are in the midst of their worst season ever at 0-13 while the Patriots take a run at their 1972 record-setting season.

Next week, the Dolphins take on Baltimore Ravens at home. If they lose, they will equal the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccanneers at 0-14. The Patriots get arguably the second worst team in the NFL at the moment in the New York Jets next week. A win against the Jets will make them only the second team ever to go 14-0 in a season, equalling those 1972 Dolphins.

And guess what? In week 16, the Patriots take on the Dolphins. I wonder what the point spread for that one will be?? 30+ points? It could be a record for sure!

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Got Garth???

I just got my Saturday mail and look what I found in it... This is gonna be FUN!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

42nd Channel Islands Harbor Parade of Lights

It's Decemeber, and chances are you're probably pretty busy right about now worrying about who you still need to buy Christmas gifts for. Saturday night was a good chance to rest and relax as my friends Teresa & Heidi had a get-together last night at their home in Oxnard. It's a home which actually faces the Channel Islands Harbor with a balcony that has a perfect view of the harbor and of course, the annual Channel Islands Harbor Parade of Lights! Over 25 boats were out in the harbor and decorated with all kinds of different themes - some seasonal ones and some sea themes, while others were just kind of plain "random" so to speak. The big hit amongst many of those of us there was the "Rock Lobster" boat (below right) which loudly played the B-52's Anthem of the same name.






The parade was only part of the fun as about tifteen or so of us socialized, ate appetizers and even played a game called the "T-Shirt Game." The game actually was pretty interesting, and of course being the competitive person I am, I wanted to win, but alas I only came in 3rd out of the seven of us that played...

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Rick Ankiel Exonerated!

As many of you know, the "feel good" story of the 2007 baseball season was the amazing comeback of St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel. The pitcher who became a hitter due to "wildness" issues on the mound hit 11 home runs and drove in 39 runs while hitting .285 in 47 games last year after his August call-up from the minor leagues.

Late in the season, several media outlets reported that Ankiel had received Human Growth Hormone (not a steroid) in 2003 and 2004 to help him recover from an injury. HGH was legal at the time, and it was used for a valid medical reason. Many respected media outlets such as ESPN tried to convict him and bring him down on the spot. It was a sad commentary on the state of our sports media today and how it's become almost tabloid-like in many instances. From what I could tell, Ankiel had done nothing wrong and I vehemently argued this point on several other websites.

Yesterday, and not at all to my surprise, Ankiel was exonerated of ANY wrongdoing by Major League Baseball. For more on this story, go to this link.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Dodgers Sign Andruw Jones

After what can only be described as a horrible "contract year" season for the Atlanta Braves in 2007, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed outfielder Andruw Jones to a two year, $36.2 million contract last night. Jones hit 26 home runs with a league-low .222 batting average last year, while scoring only 83 runs. These were all career lows (in 1999 he also hit 26 home runs). Two years ago, Jones hit 51 home runs for the Braves. He followed that up with a 41 home run effort in 2006. Last year, I saw many Braves games on the Atlanta Superstation, and it appeared to me that he was pressing an awful lot, chasing balls that he normally wouldn't go after. Jones also battled a variety of nagging injuries last year.

In Andruw Jones, the Dodgers did also happen to get one of the league's best defensive outfielders. The weak-armed Juan Pierre will presumably move to left field. If Jones is fully healthy next year and he stays patient at the plate, expect Dodger fans to be very happy with this signing... he's a proven run producer and a great talent!

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Under The Weather (Again) :(

For someone who rarely gets sick (yes, I was my hands almost obsessive compulsively), getting two colds in the span of two months is a very rare occurance - actually hadn't happened to me in over 10 years! Unfortunately for me this time, everyone at work is or has been sick and try as I did to avoid catching the bug, it got me! I guess I can be thankful that I didn't catch this before my recent trip to Washington, D.C. and that it's happening now and not during Christmas like last year (when I caught a stomach flu from a co-worker). Also, this cold doesn't seem to be as severe as the last one (yet), so hopefully I can get over it quickly and be able to carry on with my weekend plans...

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Week 13 NFL Rankings

Three days later and people are STILL talking about the New England Patriots controversial 28-24 win over the Baltimore Ravens to keep their perfect 2007 season in tact. The Ravens players and staff have basically all but accused the officials of throwing the game. Referee Phil McKinnely has also been accused of taunting several of the Ravens players. The NFL is investigating the entire incident. Expect several Ravens players and the official involved to be fined and possibly suspended.

What has gotten into the Minnesota Vikings? After a stunning record-breaking second half performance by Adrian Peterson in a 35-17 win against the San Diego Chargers in week 9, the Vikes promptly got buried 34-0 by Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers the following week. Three straight victories over Oakland, the New York Giants and Detroit Lions have gotten the once 3-6 team squarely in the fight for the final NFC Wild Card playoff spot. Quarterback Tavaris Jackson has also been a steadying force. Coming to the season's final four weeks, this is the team that no one wants to play. Will they continue to play well and secure a playoff spot? Time will tell.

Speaking of those Lions, what did I tell you when they were 6-2? Yes, I said they'd have trouble finishing 8-8. Well, they've lost four straight now. A powder puff schedule and a little good fortune got them off to that mirage of a start... They face Dallas, San Diego and Green Bay (3 of the top 7 teams) along with Kansas City the season's final four weeks. Yes, they could wind up 6-10 very easily!

You want another team that is not as good as their record? Try the Seattle Seahawks. They are 8-4, but other than Tampa Bay in week 1, they haven't beaten a top-ranked team. #6 Pittsburgh blew them out 21-0 in week 5 and #8 ranked Cleveland beat them 33-30 in week 9. Four of their wins were by seven points or less, and their three blowout wins came versus #30 San Francisco and an injury-depleted St. Louis team. After they face #16 ranked Arizona this weekend, they don't face another team in the top 20... Yes, they could finish the season at 12-4, but trust me they aren't that good. Unless they really blow out some of these teams the final four weeks, they won't be in my top 10. As far as I'm concerned they are the Hawaii Warriors of pro football, without the undefeated season of course! A first round playoff loss awaits them (unless somehow they bumble things away starting with this weekend's game against Arizona).

Here are this week’s rankings with last weeks rank in (). Record is only one consideration. I also take into account strength of schedule, strength of victory (or loss) and other intangibles…

1.(1) New England Patriots (12-0)
2.(2) Indianapolis Colts (10-2)
3.(3) Dallas Cowboys (11-1)
4.(4) Green Bay Packers (10-2)
5.(5) Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4)
6.(6) Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3)
7.(9) San Diego Chargers (7-5)
8.(7) Cleveland Browns (7-5)
9.(8) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-4)
10.(10) New York Giants (8-4)
—–
11.(16) Tennessee Titans (7-5)
12.(17) Buffalo Bills (6-6)
13.(23) Minnesota Vikings (6-6)
14.(14) Seattle Seahawks (8-4)
15.(13) Washington Redskins (5-7)
16.(15) Arizona Cardinals (6-6)
17.(12) New Orleans Saints (5-7)
18.(11) Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)
19.(18) Houston Texans (5-7)
20.(19) Chicago Bears (5-7)
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21.(25) Baltimore Ravens (4-8)
22.(26) Carolina Panthers (5-7)
23.(29) Oakland Raiders (4-8)
24.(23) Cincinnati Bengals (4-8)
25.(21) Denver Broncos (5-7)
26.(20) Detroit Lions (6-6)
27.(27) St. Louis Rams (3-9)
28.(24) Kansas City Chiefs (4-8)
29.(28) Atlanta Falcons (3-9)
30.(30) San Francisco 49ers (3-9)
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31.(31) New York Jets (3-9)
32.(32) Miami Dolphins (0-12)
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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Got Carrie??? Got Keith???

Unless you're a Country music fan, or maybe an American Idol fan, you probably would have no idea by the title of this message what the heck I'm talking about... OK, so Country superstars Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban are teaming up to tour the U.S. early next year for 24 dates on their Love Pain & the Whole Crazy Carnival Ride tour, one of which is going to be here in the L.A. area - the Honda Center (formerly known as the Anaheim Pond) to be precise. Carrie was in studio guest for an entire hour this morning on our local Country station, KKGO (Go Country 105 FM)... Although she didn't talk about the pre-sale for the concert which happened today, she talked A LOT about football. Yes, she's a Dallas Cowboys fan and cheers for her friend Tony Romo, and she also likes the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning. However, she's not a Tom Brady or New England Patriots fan - which is good as I'm not one either. By the way, just how did the Pats win that game last night against the Baltimore Ravens? They've been more than lucky the past two weeks in reaching a 12-0 record. If they play a subpar game for a third week in a row at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers, expect the number 13 to not be so lucky for them.

But I digress... the main reason for this post is the pre-sale for the Anaheim concert was at 10 a.m. this morning, and I kid you not I actually had to pay someone $5 to get one of the computers in my break room at work so I could have an opportunity at getting the best possible seats. I got some pretty good seats on the floor, but I was hoping to do better - I actually didn't get logged in until about 10:01 am... argh! After the INCREDIBLE 8th row seats that I scored for Rascal Flatts, I guess I got a little spoiled. Nonetheless, I have many friends that also will be going to the March 13, 2008 show and I know it's gonna be an absolute blast even if I'm not quite as close to the stage as I'd like to be.

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Monday, December 3, 2007

BCS Madness???

Given how my UCLA Bruins bumbled and stumbled to a 6-6 record this year behind now former coach Karl Dorrell, I didn't follow college football nearly as closely I might otherwise have. College basketball season couldn't come soon enough for me!

That said, I've still paid some attention to this crazy college football season where the top ranked teams lost much more often than usual. Only Hawaii (who played a very weak schedule) managed to go undefeated through the regular season. Ohio St. and Kansas both lost once. Everyone else lost at least twice this year.

This takes me to the BCS rankings. The top 10 stood like this as of last weekend:

1. Missouri
2. West Virginia
3. Ohio State
4. Georgia
5. Kansas
6. Virginia Tech
7. LSU
8. USC
9. Oklahoma
10. Florida

True to 2007 season form, the top two teams lost this past Saturday. #1 Missouri fell to #9 Oklahoma 38-17, and #2 West Virginia was stunned 13-9 by unranked Pittsburgh. #3 Ohio State, #4 Georgia, #5 Kansas and #10 Florida were all idle this past weekend. #6 Virginia Tech beat #12 ranked Boston College 30-16. #7 LSU got by #14 Tennessee 21-14. And #8 USC beat my unranked Bruins 24-7.

Other than Oklahoma's stunning upset of Missouri, where they completely took over the game in the second half, none of the other ranked team's victories was all that impressive. Virginia Tech was tied with Boston College with only 7 1/2 minutes to play in that one. LSU was tied with Tennessee with less than two minutes to play. In other words, both of these were close games which could have gone either way. USC didn't look all that great against UCLA - my Bruins just did not seem to be in that game at all from the opening kickoff.

With that said, you would logically figure that Ohio State would move up to #1 in the rankings and Georgia to #2 and be playing for the BCS Championship... but NOOOOO... Here's what we got with yesterday's BCS rankings:

1. Ohio State
2. LSU
3. Virginia Tech
4. Oklahoma
5. Georgia
6. Missouri
7. USC
8. Kansas
9. West Virginia
10. Hawaii

All I can say is how? Ohio State should be #1. I have no problem with that at all. But LSU going 7 to 2 after a VERY unimpressive win? Virginia Tech going 6 to 3 after an almost equally unimpressive win? And why do we move Oklahoma up 9 to 4 after beating the previous #1 ranked team??? This is the same Oklahoma team that lost to unranked Texas Tech two weekends earlier and who had only beaten two ranked teams the entire season! In the meantime, Georgia sat idle and fell a spot. Why??? Arguably, the Bulldogs are playing the best football in the country at the moment, winning six straight games - three of which came against ranked opponents!!! Kansas sat idle too, and fell from 5 to 8... then again, they hardly played a good team all year save for now #6 ranked Missouri who beat them 36-28 the previous Saturday.

#1 vs #2? We didn't get it this year, and that's a shame! The only solace that those of us who think Georgia should be in the championship game is that they get a shot at putting a blemish on #10 Hawaii's undefeated season in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day.

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

NFL Remembers Sean Taylor

In a tribute to Redskins safety Sean Taylor, each of the NFL teams observed a moment of silence in memory of the slain player prior to the kickoff of each of today's games. Additionally, every NFL player has added a #21 logo onto their helmets in tribute to him.

In Washington, there was still a football game to be played today as the Redkins took on the Buffalo Bills this afternoon. The Redskins played inspired ball early, controlling the battle most of today against the Bills to take a 16-5 lead late in the third quarter. The Bills though would score four more field goals late, including a 36-yard one in the final seconds to give the Bills a 17-16 victory. Given how emotionally spent the entire Redskins team and coaching staff was, they put out a very valient effort, their defense managing to keep the Bills out of the end zone the entire day...

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

I'm Going To Garth!!!

Yes, you heard it here first! This morning, tickets went on sale for what was supposed to be one and only one Garth Brooks concert on January 26th, 2008 at the Staples Center here in Los Angeles. Well, that show sold out reportedly in three minutes, and four more shows were added (two more on the 26th and two on the 25th)... I managed to secure a couple of tickets to the first show (1 p.m.) on the 26th! I've never seen Garth in concert before, but from what I understand he puts on an incredible show. Needless to say, this should be an amazing concert and one I very look forward to!!!

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UCLA vs USC is TODAY!


Last year, my "gutty little Bruins" upset the Trojans by a 9-7 score and ended their National Title hopes. Can we make it two in a row today? The game is at 4:30 ET/1:30 PT and will be televised on your local ABC network. GO BRUINS!!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

L.A.Carrie Underwood/Keith Urban Date Announced!

After much anticipation, I can finally tell you when the 2008 Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy Carnival Ride Tour is going to hit the Los Angeles area!!! The date is March 13, 2008 at the Honda Center (formerly known as the Pond of Anaheim). Tickets will go on sale to the general public on December 8th at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster. Those in both Carrie's and Keith's fanclubs will have access to tickets via a pre-sale on Ticketmaster from December 4th, beginning at 10 a.m. through December 6th... What a show this shall be!!!

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Phil Jackson Gets 2 Year Extension!

This is definitely yet another victory for those of us on the anti-T.J. Simers and anti-Bill Plaschke bandwagons... As those of us in the Los Angeles area know very well, these two "sportswriters" for the Los Angeles Times have been trying to run Kobe Bryant out of town for several years now. Guess what "guys," you have failed! The Kobester is going nowhere, and now, neither is his coach! Yesterday, Phil Jackson signed a two year, $24 million dollar extension to remain with the Lakers through the 2009-2010 season. Already the highest paid coach in the league, this marks a $2 million per year annual raise. The Lakers are starting to grow and develop as a team with a 9-6 record so far this year. Young talents such as Luke Walton, Andrew Bynum and Jordan Farmar along with veterans like Bryant, Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher have given Jackson reassurance that this team is going in the right direction and have given Lakers fans hope for the future!

For more on this, go to this article on Yahoo's NBA blog

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cowboys-Packers Tonight!

For those of you that have DirecTV or certain cable providers, you'll be able to watch this battle of 10-1 titans starting at 8:15 ET/5:15 PT. Brett Favre, Donald Driver and the rest of the Packers visit Dallas to take on Tony Romo, Terrell Owens and the Cowboys. The Packers only loss this year came at the hands of the Chicago Bears by a 27-20 score - a game the Packers led 17-7 at halftime. Three costly turnovers - two Favre interceptions and a Charles Woodson fumble on a punt return resulted in 10 Bears points and proved to be the final margin of victory. The Cowboys lone loss this year came at the hands of the undefeated New England Patriots by a 48-27 score. The Cowboys actually led that game 24-21 with five minutes to play in the third quarter, only to see the Patriots score 27 unanswered points in the final 20 minutes of the game on two Tom Brady touchdown passes, a 1-yard Kyle Eckel run and two Stephen Gostkowski field goals. It should be an exciting game as each claim stakes it's claim to who is the best team in the NFC!

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A Sad Wednesday...

During the past week, baseball player Joe Kennedy and football star Sean Taylor both passed away. Although both of these deaths were tragic and sad, they didn't hit me as hard as a couple more passings I found out about yesterday.

Early yesterday afternoon, I found out one of my co-workers, Patricia "Patty" Rubio succumbed to the effects of cancer. She was only 44 years old. Patty had beaten cancer once, and was in remission, but the cancer returned a few years ago. Patty was someone you instantly liked when you met her. Her kind heart, bubbly spirit and wonderful smile would always brighten anyone's day. The last time I saw Patty was about a year ago. She still seemed as cheery and determined as ever to beat the cancer. Sadly, she lost that battle on Monday. Patty, you will be missed!

Later in the afternoon, I received an eMail from my church, Cornerstone Community. A couple of months ago, my pastor, Frances Chan announced to the congregation that his beautiful wife Lisa was expecting another child. I even remember seeing Lisa after that Sunday morning 9 a.m. service and telling her congratulations. They were so full of joy. Sadly, they found out on Monday when she was having an ultrasound that the child had died a couple of weeks ago. Francis and Lisa are two great examples of people of integrity - they truly walk the walk and live the life. They are genuine and authentic. I truly feel for them, because they are family to all of us that are part of the congregation.

Please keep the Rubios and the Chans, their families and friends in your thoughts and prayers...

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Week 12 NFL Rankings

The New England Patriots came thisclose to losing this past week in spite of being 22 point favorites to the Philadelphia Eagles, while the Pittsburgh Steelers nearly lost in the muck at Heinz Field to a winless Miami Dolphins team. A miraculous comeback by the Chicago Bears, and HUGE lost oppotunites by both the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals highlighted week 12's games... Lastly, "Ocho Cinco" was back doing his thing for the Cincinnati Bengals, scoring three TD's and even manning the TV camera after one of his scores. It's nice to see him having fun again! It would be good for the league if the officials let the players be a little more free to celebrate like they used to - the fans both at the game and watching the game on TV usually get a big kick out of the post TD antics as long as they're in good taste...

Here are this week’s rankings with last weeks rank in (). Record is only one consideration. I also take into account strength of schedule, strength of victory (or loss) and other intangibles…

1.(1) New England Patriots (11-0)
2.(2) Indianapolis Colts (9-2)
3.(3) Dallas Cowboys (10-1)
4.(4) Green Bay Packers (10-1)
5.(5) Jacksonville Jaguars (8-3)
6.(6) Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3)
7.(8) Cleveland Browns (7-4)
8.(9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4)
9.(11) San Diego Chargers (6-5)
10.(7) New York Giants (7-4)
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11.(15) Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
12.(16) New Orleans Saints (5-6)
13.(12) Washington Redskins (5-6)
14.(13) Seattle Seahawks (7-4)
15.(14) Arizona Cardinals (5-6)
16.(10) Tennessee Titans (6-5)
17.(18) Buffalo Bills (5-6)
18.(17) Houston Texans (5-6)
19.(21) Chicago Bears (5-6)
20.(19) Detroit Lions (6-5)
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21.(20) Denver Broncos (5-6)
22.(26) Cincinnati Bengals (4-7)
23.(25) Minnesota Vikings (5-6)
24.(23) Kansas City Chiefs (4-7)
25.(24) Baltimore Ravens (4-7)
26.(22) Carolina Panthers (4-7)
27.(27) St. Louis Rams (2-9)
28.(28) Atlanta Falcons (3-8)
29.(30) Oakland Raiders (3-8)
30.(31) San Francisco 49ers (3-8)
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31.(29) New York Jets (2-9)
32.(32) Miami Dolphins (0-11)
—–

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sean Taylor & Joe Kennedy R.I.P.

... after watching perhaps the ugliest football game ever Monday night - a 3-0 win by the Pittsburgh Steelers over the still winless Miami Dolphins - my thoughts quickly returned to Washington Redskin safety Sean Taylor who had been critically injured by a gunshot wound earlier yesterday evening at his home in Miami. When I woke up this morning a little after 4:15 am, and put on Fox News Channel, I saw the news of Taylor's passing come across the newsscroll on the bottom of my TV screen. So sad, and so tragic. Why??? He was only 24 years old... his whole life was still ahead of him. His 1 1/2 year old daughter is now fatherless... He also left a girlfriend behind. Taylor had just made his first Pro Bowl last year. This year he was tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with five despite missing the past two games due to a knee injury. He was one of the NFL's brightest young stars and now he's gone...

Just four days ago, pitcher Joe Kennedy of the Toronto Blue Jays died suddenly. He was actually to be going to a wedding and serving as best man the following day. Unlike Taylor, Kennedy was more of a journeyman, pitching for three teams last year after compiling a nifty 2.31 ERA in 2006. Like Taylor, he died way too young - he was only 28 years of age... His wife and young son are now left to mourn and wonder why... The cause of death is still not known, though reportedly he may have had an enlarged heart.

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A lot of times, athletes feel like family. You almost feel like you personally know them. You watch them play, you cheer for them, you cheer against them... they entertain and bring emotions to those watching... They almost seem like they are bigger than life when you watch them perform. In just five days, two of those who were living out every American kid's dream of becoming a professional athlete are now no longer with us. Think a moment about the families and friends of the late Sean Taylor and Joe Kennedy. Keep them in thought and prayer... they say everything happens for a reason. Often times though, you really wonder what that reason is, especially when it involves professional athletes who seem to have everything going for them... Yes, athletes are human too - as mortal as the rest of us.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Kate Michael Shines at Miss DC USA!

All I can say is what a GREAT Thanksgiving weekend I had! Personally, it really could not have gone better... Then again, what could be better than watching my friend, Kate Michael, compete in a beauty pageant? Not too many things.

A little after 1 p.m. on Saturday, I made my way from my hotel to the Foggy Bottom Metro station en route to the Federal Triangle station. A short walk up Pennsylvania Avenue took me to my destination at the JW Marriott Hotel Grand Ballroom where the 2008 Miss DC USA and Miss Teen DC USA pageant was to take place. I arrived a little after 1:30 p.m. At first I didn't see anyone I really knew, but that soon would change as Kate's parents and brother came down from their hotel room - they were very smart to stay at the same hotel as where the pageant was being held. Kate's Mom gave me a wave and I was soon chatting away with them.

The doors to the Grand Ballroom opened just before the scheduled 2 p.m. start time and we found some seats in the second row on the right side of the stage. Kate's boyfriend, Bill Dean, soon joined us and then we waited... and waited. This turned out to be the theme for the day... A little after 2:30 p.m. the preliminary portion of the pageant started... Kate looked beautiful as always in her swimsuit and self-designed evening gown... I soon would find the lighting was not nearly as good as at the Miss DC (America) pageant four months ago. Also, microphones and balloons were in the way practically every shot it seemed, so getting good pictures would prove to be a HUGE challenge all afternoon and evening...


Over 20 girls were competing for the Miss DC crown along with Kate, while six girls were competing for the Teen crown. The prelimaries lasted only an hour and a half, so by 4 p.m. we were all outside the ballroom making plans for the finals, and also making sure we would have enough seats for "Team Kate."

Originally, I had thought about heading back to my hotel between the prelims and the finals and posting some pictures from the event, but that didn't end up happening. Instead, I ended up getting to hang out with Kate and her family. Not at all surprisingly, that was a lot of fun - we ended up in the food court area of the hotel, chatting about just about everything you could think of and, of course, eating.

Around 5:30 p.m., we made our way back down to the area in front of the ballroom. We chatted some more and then another of Kate's biggest fans made his way - photographer Joe Whiteko from the Pageant.com website! Though I had never met Joe before, I was very familiar with his outstanding work. Kate had to make her way backstage and her parents had to change into their night attire, so left me and Joe to talk. It was fun getting to talk about some of his work, most especially the photo shoot and the props for the outstanding Kate's New Clout article he did earlier this year.

By 6:30, we were all back in line and ready for the finals. Joe was there with us, waiting to get his photographer's seat. In the meantime, 2006 Miss Virginia (America), Adrianna Sgarlata - Kate's friend and travel companion for the 2007 Miss America pageant - came over to Kate's family and reacquantied herself. Adriana was very gracious and friendly. Joe then got his credential and front-row seat. The doors opened for the rest of us about 15 minutes later. Kate's family and I quickly grabbed seats in a couple of rows just behind the judges in front of the stage... Bill and several of Kate's other friends would be arriving there right around 7 p.m...

The finals began a little before 7:30 p.m. Although we were all pretty certain Kate would make the final 10, we didn't want to just assume anything. We were all relieved when Kate's name was called for the final 10, and again when she had made the final five.

A little before 9:30 p.m., the finalists finished up with the question of why each of them should be the new Miss DC USA. Quite honestly, I really thought Kate won the pageant with her answer as it was easily the best, and most original one. The other four contestants all gave pretty similiar, almost rehearsed answers, mostly talking about how they deserved to be the winner based on the person that they were, not really elaborating on what they would do as Miss DC USA. Kate talked about making DC a "sexy, sophisticated city" and what she would do to make it just that.

So then we waited for the judges final decisions... we were all pretty nervous at that point, and as the first two names were called, we collectively breathed sighs of relief. We were now down to just three finalists. And then it happened - Kate's name got called. Bill and I especially were both a little shocked - we REALLY thought Kate had it won, but it just wasn't meant to be. Still, 2nd runner-up at the Miss DC USA pageant - in a completely new format and system - is something to be VERY proud of. Kate did her absolute best and looked simply incredible - that's all we could ask for.


After the pageant, I reacquainted with 1988 Miss DC (America), Tricia Morrin-Lloyd, who was quick to put things in perspective. Kate will always be number one in our eyes, and that's all that really matters... She still is Miss District of Columbia 2006, and got to be in the Miss America pageant this year. How many people can say that???

I was actually planning on heading to my hotel after it was all over, but instead Kate invited me up to spend some time celebrating with Bill and her friends Tony, Mike and his girlfriend Colleen. Mike is better known to those in DC as Michael Kosmides, the owner of the very hip and happening Play Lounge. I had a fun time with them, telling stories, watching football and, of course, having some drinks.

A little before midnight, it was time for all of us to go - Colleen offered me some "must see" places and things for future trips to DC... we said our goodbyes, and then I headed back to my hotel. It was just a terrific and priceless experience getting to hang out at the pageant and spend time with Kate's family and friends... I very look forward to my next trip out to DC, whenever that may be.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Safe & Sound In DC!

Hey all:

Just a quick note to everyone that I made it safely into Washington, D.C. The plane ride from LAX to St. Louis went smoothly - I was there just long enough to watch #1 ranked LSU go down to the Arkansas Razorbacks by a 50-48 score in triple overtime. That just throws another monkey wrench into the whole BCS this year. Is there going to be a #1 that can hang on to the ranking for ANY length of time??? Well, not in 2007 it seems! I grabbed a quick bite at the Chili's in the airport and then we took off a little before 7 p.m local time. Our plane made it into Reagan National about an hour and a half later at just about 9:30 pm (we changed one time zone)... Unfortunately, I missed the Metro from Reagan National to Fargo by about two minutes, so I had to suffer through the barely above-freezing temperatures outside the airport for a little over 15 minutes - good thing for me I brought plenty of warm clothes... Was it really 76 here yesterday???!!! But alas, I am now safe, sound and warm and ready to do some cheering for Kate tomorrow at Miss DC USA after a good night of sleep!

As for tomorrow and the pageant, I'm not exactly sure how everything is going to work. I know the preliminaries are at 2pm, and the finals are at 7pm. If there's some down time in between, I may try to sneak in a blog entry and maybe some pictures...

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Off to the Miss DC USA Pageant!

So are you all ready for Black Friday??? I for one am not. Then again, I've never really been one to partake in that little tradition... I'm one of those who most years would rather just sit back, enjoy the day off from work, catch up on my sleep a little and then watch all of the news reports of the people shopping and spending lots of money that they probably don't have!

As most you reading this probably know, I'll be doing something a little different for this year's Black Friday - I'm gonna take to the air! I'll head to LAX mid-morning to fly out to DC... After a plane change in St. Louis, I should arrive at Reagan Airport a little before 10pm EST. Lord, Metro & weather willing, I should be in my hotel room at the Best Western in Georgetown a little before 10:30pm... On Saturday afternoon, I'll be heading off to the JW Marriott hotel for the 2008 Miss DC USA pageant to support my friend Kate Michael as she competes. I'm sure hoping that Kate can complete that double of winning both the the Miss DC America and the Miss DC USA pageants... Two nights from now, about this time we should be close to knowing if she pulls it off! GO KATE!!!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to wish everyone a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving. I hope everyone here gets to spend some quality time with friends and family and that you all get your fill of turkey, stuffing and of course, football!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Gilbert Arenas To Miss 3 Months! :(

I knew something was wrong when I saw him play for all of six minutes 2 1/2 weeks ago on TV when the Washington Wizards took on the Orlando Magic at the Verizon Center. The explosiveness that I've grown accustomed to seeing along with the deadly outside shot of his were missing... It did appear that "Agent Zero" was starting to finally get it back together last week as he tallied 57 points in impressive Wizards wins against the Indiana Pacers and Minnesota Timberwolves... However, Gilbert felt pain after the Timberwolves game and missed the last two games against the Portland Traliblazers and Philadelphia 76ers as a result. Today, Gilbert got the bad news - a torn meniscus and a microfracture on his surgically-repaired left knee. He will miss three months! For the complete story, go to Gilbert's Blog.

Needless to say, this puts a HUGE damper on the Wizards and their high hopes for the 2007 season. After starting the year 0-5, the Wizards have won five straight games. Last year, the Wizards made a nice surge near the end of the season, only to see Gilbert and Caron Butler go down with injuries within games of each other. The Wizards literally limped into the playoffs and were swept in four games by the eventual 2006-07 NBA runner-up Cleveland Cavaliers. One can only hope that Butler and others can pick up the slack and keep the Wizards respectable while their star is down.

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Week 11 NFL Rankings

Coming into last week, one of the NFL's hottest teams was the Buffalo Bills. Winners of four straight games, they had the unenviable task of a home date with the juggernaut known as the New England Patriots this past Sunday. In case you missed it, the Patriots scored a season-high 56 points in beating the Bills by 46 points!

The most bizarre finish to any game this season happened in Baltimore where the Ravens took on the Cleveland Browns. The Browns took a 27-14 lead into the fourth quarter before the Ravens rallied to tie the score and then take a 30-27 lead on a Matt Stover 47 yard field goal with just 26 seconds to play. The Browns returned the ensuing kickoff to their own 43. After two Derek Anderson completions, Phil Dawson had a chance to send the game into overtime with a 51 yard field goal. Dawson's kick had plenty of leg, but was hooking toward the left goalpost as it made it's way. The ball glanced off the inside of the left goalpost and then kicked down over the crossbar and through the uprights, striking the support bar and then bouncing back onto the field of play. At first, the officials incorrectly ruled that the kick was no good. But after conferencing and looking at some replays, the oficials corrected the call and the game went into overtime. The Ravens, who had come off the field and were celebrating an apparent victory, had to come back out of the locker room to play the extra period. The Browns won the toss and quickly drove the ball down to Baltimore 16 yard line. Dawson's 33 yard field goal 5 minutes and 50 seconds into the sudden death period split the uprights to give the Browns a thrilling 33-30 win.

The Washington Redskins suffered a tough 28-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys this past weekend, making it their 8th game decided by eight points or less this year. In week five the Redskins beat up on the Detroit Lions by a 34-3 score. Three weeks later, the Patriots pounded the Redskins 52-7. In other words, the 5-5 Redskins could just as easily be a 9-1 team or a 1-9 team... Speaking of the Lions, they are predictably now facing reality. Who amongst you thought that 6-2 record of theirs was legit?? Losses to Arizona and the Giants have brought them back down to the pack... and they get to face Brett Favre and the red-hot Green Bay Packers tomorrow... expect the Lions to slip to 6-5 with tomorrow's game.

Here are this week’s rankings with last weeks rank in (). Record is only one consideration. I also take into account strength of schedule, strength of victory (or loss) and other intangibles…

1.(1) New England Patriots (10-0)
2.(2) Indianapolis Colts (8-2)
3.(3) Dallas Cowboys (9-1)
4.(4) Green Bay Packers (9-1)
5.(6) Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3)
6.(5) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3)
7.(7) New York Giants (7-3)
8.(8) Cleveland Browns (6-4)
9.(11) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4)
10.(10) Tennessee Titans (6-4)
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11.(9) San Diego Chargers (5-5)
12.(13) Washington Redskins (5-5)
13.(15) Seattle Seahawks (6-4)
14.(16) Arizona Cardinals (5-5)
15.(17) Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)
16.(12) New Orleans Saints (4-6)
17.(18) Houston Texans (5-5)
18.(14) Buffalo Bills (5-5)
19.(19) Detroit Lions (6-4)
20.(22) Denver Broncos (5-5)
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21.(20) Chicago Bears (4-6)
22.(21) Carolina Panthers (4-6)
23.(23) Kansas City Chiefs (4-6)
24.(24) Baltimore Ravens (4-6)
25.(27) Minnesota Vikings (4-6)
26.(26) Cincinnati Bengals (3-7)
27.(29) St. Louis Rams (2-8)
28.(25) Atlanta Falcons (3-7)
29.(30) New York Jets (2-8)
30.(28) Oakland Raiders (2-8)
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31.(31) San Francisco 49ers (2-8)
32.(32) Miami Dolphins (0-10)
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Jimmy Rollins Wins NL MVP

In the closest race in 16 years, Jimmy Rollins was today named the Most Valuable Player in the National League. Matt Holliday of the Colorado Rockies finished second, only 17 points behind Rollins. Yesterday, Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees took the American League MVP award with a near unanimous vote - most people had conceded A-Rod the award long before the season was over... Congratulations to both Jimmy and A-Rod on their amazing 2007 seasons and their MVP awards!

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Pats Get To Double Digits...

After a week off to heal from their close call against the Indianapolis Colts, the New England Patriots were back at it against the Bills in Buffalo last night. The Bills actually were one of the NFL's hottest teams, winning four straight games. Did that matter to the Pats? Hardly. Four quarters later, the Bills were just left in a cloud of dust as the Patriots beat them every possible way by a final score of 56-10. Tom Brady had ANOTHER nearly perfect day, going 31 of 39 for 373 yards and five touchdown passes, four of which went to Randy Moss. By my count, only one of the Moss TD's last night should have been called back for offensive pass interference... Gotta love the "Randy rules"... Why Moss is routinely allowed to get away with pushing off defenders (especially in the end zone) is beyond me. I guess if the referees are going to let you get away with it, you just keep on doing it until they start pulling out those yellow flags. Somehow though, I don't think that's going to happen... as even the zebras seem to be caught up in the hype of the Pats now 10-0 start to the 2007 season.

Regardless of how you feel about Moss, Brady, coach Bill Belichick and the rest of the Patriots, there is little doubt that this team is amongst the best ever assembled. They have scored 411 points in 10 games - a ridiculous 41.1 point per game pace... Brady's got 38 touchdown passes now... he's back on pace for 61! Moss has 16 of those 38 TD receptions himself... Can anyone beat them??? I don't see the Philadelphia Eagles playing with them with or without QB Donovan McNabb next Sunday, and they should make mincemeat of the Baltimore Ravens the following Monday night to get to 12-0. In week 14, they do face the 7-3 Pittsburgh Steelers - a team which at times this year has looked brilliant. At other times though, the Steelers have looked a little inept such as yesterday when they lost in overtime 19-16 to the hapless New York Jets... Will Big Ben and company be able to keep up and end the Patriots streak??? Time will tell...

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Jimmy Johnson Wins NEXTEL Championship

Six years ago when Jeff Gordon recruited Jimmie Johnson to race for Hendrick Motorsports, he probably had no idea just what kind success was ahead for his protege. This afternoon, Johnson clinched his second consecutive Nextel Cup championship with a seventh place finish tonight in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Gordon himself came in fourth place, and finished second in the cup standings, 77 points behind Johnson. In winning back-to-back titles, Johnson becomes the first driver to do so since Gordon himself did it in 1998. Congratulations to Jimmie & everyone at Hendrick Motorsports on an outstanding season. With the addition of Dale Earnhardt Jr. to the team in 2008, who knows just how much more dominant team Hendrick will be next year????

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

More Carrie Crazyness...

I'm really thinking of purchasing that lotto ticket now... those of you that read my earlier blog entry for today probably know where this is leading. I slept in this morning (if you call 7:30 am sleeping in) and decided to go to the gym late in the morning about 11:40am. While on the freeway, you guessed it, I heard Carrie Underwood on the radio again with "I'll Stand By You" on MY FM 104.3 for a third time in three consecutive road trips... so now the streak is at six! Amazingly, I also hit every single light green on the way (all five of them) to get there in only five minutes. It usually takes me about eight minutes to get there...

I finished my full workout about an hour and a half later at 1:15pm, and decided to get gas with as my yellow gas light had been on the past ten miles or so. The 435.8 miles I went on this last tank is a pretty good run in my 2001 Honda Accord EX, though I have actually gone 500 miles on a tank before... After putting in 14.600 gallons and spending $49.63 (gasp!!! - yes gas is $3.399/gallon out here), I turn on the engine and guess who is on MY FM 104.3 two minutes later???... yup, it's Carrie AGAIN... this time with "Before He Cheats"... I got home about five minutes later...

Seven trips and now seven straight times of hearing a Carrie song on the radio... I have to hit the road later this afternoon, so I wonder if the streak will continue... I probably should be on the road now as "So Small" is now playing on KHAY again... Maybe I'm being followed! ;)

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A "Carrific" Friday!

As I went about my normal business yesterday morning of getting up around 4:15am and posting the latest music chart information on Carrie Underwood's official site, I had little idea of what an odds-defying day it would turn out to be - and there would be a lot of Carrie involved in those odds. After some pancakes and a couple of cups of coffee, I headed off to the 24 Hour Fitness for 30 minutes of cardio. Those of you that know me well know that I love to listen to the radio in the car and I'm a compulsive "button puncher"... I'm always looking for the best song on the radio - my 12 presets get A LOT of work in my typical day... Anyways, I take the short drive to the gym and much to my surprise, Carrie's new song "Ever After" from the Enchanted movie soundtrack is playing on one of my two country stations, KKGO a little after 6:30 am. It's the first time I'd ever heard it on the radio. I got out of the gym right about 7:10 am, and I flip on the radio and turn to my other country station, KHAY and Carrie's current #2 hit "So Small" starts playing.

After getting home, showering, making lunch and getting ready for work and my 9-6 shift, I hit the road again at 8:30 am and sure enough, not even 10 minutes later, another Carrie song, "Wasted," is playing on KHAY...

I decided not to venture out anywhere during my lunch hour from 1-2 pm, instead opting to hang out with some friends in the computer room and then watching my friend Kate Michael and company in the latest edition of Just Another Sports Show...

After that very enjoyable experience, it was back to work for me... I got off at 6 pm sharp, got to the car two minutes later and what do you know, but Carrie's on the radio again with her remake of the Pretender's "I'll Stand By You" playing on the new 104.3 MY FM.

The half hour drive from work in Oxnard to the Stornetta home in Moorpark took the typical 30 minutes... It was another Friday night of poker for me, Ken & Bethany (the Stornettas) and my other longtime friend Chris Silvester... and for the first time in quite a while, I ended up coming in first! What was really odd about the night (in addition to me getting an inordinate number of good hands for once), was that on one hand Ken and I both were dealt "pocket 10's"... of course, there was no way to pair up with anything else on the table and since Chris and Bethany were both long out of the hand it was just between Ken and me... Needless to say, we were all a little shocked when we flipped our cards to show our matching pairs of 10's! I won't even try to get into the odds of that one, all I know is I've never seen it happen in all of the nights I've been playing poker over the years with my friends...

Our night of poker ended right about 11pm, and after parting ways, Chris and I hit the road to go our separate ways to head home... I hit the road about 11:10, and around 11:20 I'm flipping through the stations on the radio again and guess who I hear? Yes, it's Carrie again and "I'll Stand By You" is on 104.3 MY FM again!

So lets sum this all up... five different road excursions, total time driving about 1 1/2 hours, and I hear exactly one Carrie song on the radio each time... you throw in those dueling "pocket 10's" that Ken & I had during poker and it makes me wonder if it's time for me to purchase a lottery ticket??? Hey, the Lakers actually beat the Detroit Pistons last night too, so I guess anything's possible these days!

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Peavy Wins NL Cy Young

Although the 2007 season didn't quite end the way Jake Peavy and the San Diego Padres had hoped - with a controversial 9-8 loss to the Colorado Rockies in their one game playoff on October 1, there is little doubt that Peavy was baseball's most consistent and dominant pitcher from April through September. He led the majors with a 2.54 ERA and 240 strikeouts, and won an NL-high 19 times, winning the pitching equivalent of the "triple crown." Yesterday, he was awarded for his efforts, becoming the 12th unianimous choice for the National League's Cy Young award. Congratulations to Jake on winning this award for the first time! At only 26 years of age, there's little doubt that there may be more of these Cy's in his future!

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In other news, it looks like A-Rod is not coming to the Dodgers, the Angels or anyone not named the New York Yankees. :( The free agent thirdbaseman apparently is about to sign (get this) a 10 year, 275 million dollar contract to come back to the Yankees... I guess for those of us not in the Big Apple, this is definitely a "worse case scenario."

Speaking of worse case scenarios, Barry Bonds was indicted yesterday by a grand jury in the steroids scandal... The 10-page indictment is mostly made up of excerpts from Bonds' December 2003 testimony before a grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO). 19 occasions are referenced in which Bonds allegedly lied under oath. Will Bonds ever play baseball again? There's a good chance that the 762nd home run he hit on September 5th at Coors Field against the Rockies may have been his last. If convicted, Bonds faces up to 30 years in prison. What will become of his records if he's found guilty? None of us know for sure, but with several others such as Jason Giambi and Troy Glaus already being acknowledged as taking and/or buying steroids illegally, there are a lot of numbers that could someday be erased from the books.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Politically Incorrect...

Sometimes you watch the news or you hear about what's happening, and it really makes you wonder what this world is coming to... This morning I was instant messaging with one of my good friends on the east coast and she tells me that in Sydney, Australia that Santas have been warned not to say "ho ho ho" there because it may be offensive to women... Seriously!!! And it gets better - they've been instructed to say "ha ha ha" instead! No sooner do I hear about this then I'm watching America's Newsroom on Fox News Channel and see them doing a story on a hugging ban at a Colorado middle school. I can't believe these people are being serious!!!

You would think that people would have better things to do with their time than this. It's quite obvious to me that some people in this world have WAY too much time on their hands... It was nice to see the hosts of America's Newsroom, Megyn Kelly and Bill Hemmer embrace in a hug at the end of the story to make a mockery of the latter one.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Week 10 NFL Rankings

I had a nightmare last night that Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts threw six interceptions in a game against the San Diego Chargers. Thankfully, that kind of thing could never happen to Peyton... I mean after all, he had only thrown five interceptions in his previous 12 regular season games. Maybe I could see his brother Eli on the New York Giants throwing six pics, but not Peyton. Not in a million years, right? Never ever... Hmmm... someone has just informed me that it really did happen!!! Yes, I'm still in shock about it two days later. Peyton Manning six interceptions in one game. It still doesn't compute! Perhaps even more amazing is that the Colts actually had a chance to win that game in spite of Manning's interceptions, only losing when the best clutch kicker in NFL history, Adam Vinatieri, missed a chip shot 29 yard field-goal in the closing seconds of the game. The Chargers managed a 23-21 "win" over the Colts, but I doubt any of them are celebrating.

One team doing a lot of celebrating this week are the St. Louis Rams as they managed a 37-29 win over the New Orleans Saints for their first win of 2007. The Miami Dolphins managed to lose their ninth straight game this past weekend and now are the only winless team in the NFL. They also manage to take over the #32 spot in my rankings.

Here are this week’s rankings with last weeks rank in (). Record is only one consideration. I also take into account strength of schedule, strength of victory (or loss) and other intangibles…

1.(1) New England Patriots (9-0)
2.(2) Indianapolis Colts (7-2)
3.(3) Dallas Cowboys (8-1)
4.(4) Green Bay Packers (8-1)
5.(5) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2)
6.(8) Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3)
7.(6) New York Giants (6-3)
8.(9) Cleveland Browns (6-3)
9.(10) San Diego Chargers (5-4)
10.(7) Tennessee Titans (6-3)
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11.(13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4)
12.(11) New Orleans Saints (4-5)
13.(12) Washington Redskins (5-4)
14.(14) Buffalo Bills (5-4)
15.(17) Seattle Seahawks (5-4)
16.(20) Arizona Cardinals (4-5)
17.(22) Philadelphia Eagles (4-5)
18.(19) Houston Texans (4-5)
19.(15) Detroit Lions (6-3)
20.(24) Chicago Bears (4-5)
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21.(16) Carolina Panthers (4-5)
22.(25) Denver Broncos (4-5)
23.(21) Kansas City Chiefs (4-5)
24.(18) Baltimore Ravens (4-5)
25.(26) Atlanta Falcons (3-6)
26.(27) Cincinnati Bengals (3-6)
27.(23) Minnesota Vikings (3-6)
28.(28) Oakland Raiders (2-7)
29.(32) St. Louis Rams (1-8)
30.(30) New York Jets (1-8)
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31.(29) San Francisco 49ers (2-7)
32.(31) Miami Dolphins (0-9)
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