Thursday, January 31, 2008

Carrie Underwood/Keith Urban Tour Starts Tonight!

And no, I'm not going - that would take a plane ride cross country to Patriot-land and then a trip to Connecticut. The Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Carnival Ride tour begins at tonight at the Mohegan Sun arena in Uncastle, Connecticut. Carrie and Keith will be playing both tonight and tomorrow night beginning at 7:30 pm. It should be an amazing show as they are arguably Country music's two biggest stars at the moment. I have friends going to both shows, and if I'm lucky I might get to use a picture or two of theirs in my blogs in the coming days!!!.

As for me, I have to wait until March 13, when the tour hits Los Angeles and the Honda Center (formerly the Anaheim Pond).


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Twins Make Another Big Mistake

Over the past four years or so, baseball's best pitcher has resided in the American league - the city of Minnesota to be specific. Pending a physical and a contract extension, the Minnesota Twins have agreed to trade Johan Santana to the New York Mets for minor leagues pitchers Philip Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey along with outfielder Carlos Gomez. Humber is a top prospect, but the others are still developing. If you're a Mets fan, you have to be happy with this trade as it effectively amounts to getting Santana for next to nothing.

As for the fans in Minnesota, well I don't think any of them can be too happy at the moment. They signed Justin Morneau to an $80 million, six year deal after posting an abysmally bad three home runs, 26 RBI's and a .237 batting average in his final 63 games. Is he injured? Was he pressing? Are the bone spurs in his elbow acting up again? If healthy, he could produce a 40 home run season easily, but if not, this could turn out to be a HUGE mistake for the Twins. They also gave outfielder Michael Cuddyer a three year, $24 million contract after posting 16 home runs, 81 RBI's and a .276 batting average last year. After his career year in 2006 (24 homers, 109 RBI's, .284 BA), maybe he was worthy of this kind of money, but after last year's numbers? No. As any fantasy leaguer will tell you, those 2007 stats put up by Cuddyer are very average. The Twins would have been a lot wiser in spending their money to either resign Torii Hunter or give Santana a contract extension.

Just how good has Santana been the past four years? In 134 games started, he's got a 70-32 record (including 15-13 last year when he got very little run support). His other numbers: a 2.89 ERA a 0.9996 WHIP and 983 strikeouts in 912 1/3 innings (9.7 per 9 innings). Simply put, these numbers are FAR and AWAY the best in baseball over that time. Now that he's moving to the National League, where there is no DH, guess what? The numbers are going to get BETTER! If you have him in a keeper league like I do, consider yourself very blessed. When it comes to draft day in your fantasy leagues, you better bump him up about $3 in auction leagues and 2-3 spots in your snake draft.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Johan Santana to the Mets!

Yes, it's happening and I have a couple of friends who are going to be extremely pleased when they hear the news. In Johan Santana, the New York Mets have landed baseball's best pitcher. More on this tomorrow, but I just had to post this before I hit the sack for the night.


Debunking the Mitchell Report - Part I

Believe it or not, Major League Baseball's regular season is less than two months from beginning. Sadly, many in the sports media (including many columnists and writers whom I respect) have decided that everything in the Mitchell Report is gospel and that all of the players must be cheats. We've already seen several cases where the information in the report was false - the Roger Clemens article and subsequent retraction by the Los Angeles Times and Jack Cust being singled out in the report as a user and saying he's never used for example.

Also, when you start seeing ridiculous stuff in forums questioning whether closer J.J. Putz of the Seattle Mariners started using PED's after the 2005 season, when the common sense reality of his improvement from 2005 to 2006 was the addition of two pitches - a two-seam fastball and a curveball to an already blazing fastball and splitter. Historically, when a pitcher adds new pitches to his arsenal, they get BETTER! Duh!

While on the topic of the Mitchell Report, I'm all but convinced now that Roger Clemens is innocent and that Brian McNamee is going to spend A LOT of time in prison. Some have questioned how Clemens' numbers have remained pretty good as he's gotten older and how it's impossible for a guy to pitch effectively into his 40's. Do any of you remember a pitcher named Nolan Ryan? "The Express" had an amazing career, but as anyone can see when looking at his career numbers, his stats started to decline in his late 30's. That said, they were still good as Ryan took very good care of himself and put together a legendary workout regimen. Ryan then added a split-fingered fastball to his repetoire and suddenly he experienced a rebirth in his 40's. He led the National League with a 2.70 ERA and 276 strikeouts at age 40 in 1987. He posted a 301 strikeout season at the age of 42 (his first 300 K season in 12 years) in 1989, and threw his seventh career no-hitter at age 44 in 1991 - a season where his ERA was only 2.91. He finally retired in 1993 at the age of 46 after posting a remarkable 5,714 strikeouts.

"The Rocket" is also a power pitcher, and has always had a workout regimen almost as legendary as that of Ryan's. Power pitchers take longer to decline for a very common-sense reason - their 95-100 MPH fastball at age 30 is still usually in the 90-95 MPH range at age 40, which usually is good enough to get hitters out a good percentage of the time. Ryan threw his fastball over 100 MPH at one time. When he retired in 1993, he was still capable of throwing the ball 95 MPH! Why is Randy Johnson still effective today at age 43? His once near 100 MPH fastball is still in the mid-90's and he still has a nasty curveball. The same can be said for Clemens. He doesn't throw as hard as he used to, but his fastball is still topping out in the 90's and he has a large arsenal of pitches. Most pitchers BEGIN with a fastball that will top out in the low 90's if they are lucky. When they get to be in their late 30's, their fastballs are typically running up to the plate in the 80's... That usually makes them very hittable and unless they have pinpoint control like Greg Maddux, it also means they rarely pitch into their 40's. Roger Clemens is simply the latest in a long line of power pitchers who has been able to pitch well into his 40's. Innocent until proven guilty. This is still how things work in this country. I wish people in the sports media would attempt to understand this concept.

For more on this topic, please check out this GREAT article by Gary Armida on the site.


Monday, January 28, 2008


Is it going to be Tom Brady and his New England Patriots completing their perfect season in style, or will Eli Manning and the New York Giants win in an upset of historic proportions? Please vote in my poll to the right and feel free to leave me your thoughts and comments about the big game. It's only SIX days away!


Tiger Tames Torrey Pines

For a three hole stretch on Sunday, Tiger Woods actually did look "beatable" as Rory Sabbatini would like to say. After getting to 21-under par and flirting with the tournament record, Tiger uncharacteristically bogeyed three consecutive holes (14 thru 16). But alas, the lead was still seven strokes after his rare misstep. A birdie on 18 sealed the amazing week for Tiger. His 19-under par total of 269 was eight strokes better than Ryudi Imada who closed with a 5-under par 67 to tie for the low round of the day. Sabbatini matched Imada's score to tie for third with Stewart Cink at 9-under par. Phil Mickelson battled a respiratory infection all weekend to finish at 6-under par and tied for sixth. 48-year-old Fred Couples closed with an even par 72 to finish at 5-under and tied for 8th. For "Boom Boom" this week marked a remarkable comeback. Back injuries plaged him all year as he only played three events in 2007. It was his first top 10 finish since the 2006 Masters where he finished third to Mickelson.

There were several highlights to Tiger's final round. A remarkable pitch from behind the green to save a par on the 9th hole - where mere mortals would have been happy to get it to within 15 feet, he stuck it to within a foot and a half. On 11, Tiger was about 65 feet away from the hole with a long curling putt for birdie. From that distance, all you're trying to do is get it close. Well, Tiger read the putt perfectly and as you can probably guess, the ball somehow found the middle of the cup after rolling for nearly 10 seconds. Check out the shot of the day, if you haven't seen it yet. For Tiger it was his fourth straight win of the Buick and his 62nd career win to tie the great Arnold Palmer for fourth on the PGA's all-time list.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tiger on Cruise Control at Buick

For a brief moment of yesterday's Buick Invitational, Phil Mickelson made a charge to get within five strokes of Tiger Woods. "Lefty" shot a 6-under par 30 on the back nine at Torrey Pines to get to 7-under par for the tournament. He struggled on his final nine though, shooting a 2-over 38 for a 4-under par 68 total. At five under par, Phil now finds himself 13 strokes back of Tiger. The world's #1 player shot a bogey-free 6-under par 66 to get to 18-under par, and an amazing eight strokes ahead of Stewart Cink and the rest of the field. Tiger's 62nd career win (to tie Arnold Palmer for 4th on the all-time list) is almost a foregone conclusion, the only question is the weather. There's a 90% chance of rain for the San Diego area today. So, round four may or may not be finishing today. A rare Monday finish may be in the cards. Weather permitting, live coverage of the final round starts on your local CBS affiliate at 3PM ET/12 noon PT.


Saturday, January 26, 2008


All I can say is WOW! That man needs to stay un-retired! If you were somehow lucky enough to secure tickets to one of Garth's five shows in two days here at the Staples center here in Los Angeles, consider yourself VERY blessed!

As you can tell, I just got back from seeing the incredible Garth Brooks perform. Everyone in attendance had a great time as Garth performed for nearly two hours before a packed house. He opened with his hit "The Fever" and closed with his classic, "The Dance." In between, there were all kinds of highlights including his first ever hit "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)", "Friends In Low Places," "Unanswered Prayers," "The Thunder Rolls," "Shameless," his latest hit "More Than A Memory" and a special guest performer named Trisha... as in Trisha Yearwood! They sang together on "Runaway Joe." Garth then took a five minute breather to let his wife sing one on her own. Another great moment during the show came when Garth gave one of guitars away to a fan named Robin. He even signed it for her!

One of the best parts of the show was near the end when Garth paid tribute with a montage of songs to those who laid the foundation for him including the late Keith Whitley.

The concerts were put together by Garth to help out the victims of this past year's fires which ravaged through southern California. A great man, a great cause, and needless to say, a GREAT show!!! One that certainly I will not forget anytime soon!


Friday, January 25, 2008

New Year, Same Ol' Tiger...

The year may now read 2008, but for Tiger Woods, that number hardly seems to matter as he continued this year right where he left off from in 2007 - in command of a tournament at the midway point. Tiger shot a 7-under par 65 to move to 12-under par and four strokes ahead of Kevin Streelman, a third alternate who wasn't even expecting to tee it up this weekend at Torrey Pines. Stewart Cink lies another stroke back at 7-under. Boo Weekley tied for the second best round of the day with a 6-under par 66, and is amongst a group six strokes behind Tiger. Fred Couples turned in a surprising 3-under 69, and is tied for 9th at 4-under par. Amongst the other notables, Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk both sit at 3-under par, while Phil Mickelson is at 1-under par after a 73. Last week's winner, K.J. Choi was amongst those to miss the even par cut line, finishing at 5-over par after a 77 today.


Getting My Phil of Tiger

Thankfully, neither Phil Mickelson nor Tiger Woods played either of the past two weeks when I was not watching the Golf Channel. This week marks what most would call the official start of the season as both Phil and Tiger are playing at this weekend's Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, CA (not far from San Diego). Woods got off to a good start, shooting a 5-under par score of 67 to finish the day tied for third, two strokes behind first round leader Troy Matteson. Mickelson wasn't too bad himself, shooting a 2-under par 70 to finish the day tied for 21st. Not bad for a guy fighting a respiratory infection. You can watch three hours of live coverage of the remainder of the second round starting at 3PM ET/12 PM PT today on the Golf Channel, and over the weekend on CBS.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

All-American Girl(s)...

When you think of the ideal "All-American Girl," most people presumably would still think of Miss America. Kind of coincidentally, Carrie Underwood has a song entitled "All-American Girl" rocketing up the Country charts at the moment - FYI, it's at #12 with a bullet as they say in the music biz. Even though the Miss America pageant is no longer held on network television, it's still a very prestigious event, and in my estimation still defines what the perfect "All-American Girl" is all about.

Growing up, I watched the pageant a lot, but rarely did the girl who I was rooting for win. It was kind of a moral victory for me if the girl I was rooting for made the top 10. So, as time went on, I watched less often. Then, a little over a year ago - actually it was December 26, 2006, I happened upon the CMT website while looking for some news about the aforementioned Underwood... Well, I saw that CMT also happened to be televising the Miss America pageant last year (for the second year in a row) and they had a section spotlighting all 52 contestants. Pretty much immediately, a beautiful young woman representing the District of Columbia kind of caught my eye. I read her bio and saw like me that she enjoyed Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban music-wise and that she also was a huge baseball fan! I then read the Q&A and was struck by her intelligence. Her beautiful photos taken pretty much all over the U.S. and even destinations like Italy showed she really loved to travel. The video was really cute too...I can't ever see her being "left out" though. :) After that, I knew I had found the girl I wanted to root for in the 2007 Miss America Pageant in Kate Michael.

So, for the first time in a very long time, I watched the Miss America pageant in anticipation. The first thirty minutes of the show would be very important as that's when they would narrow it to ten contestants. As they called the last of the 10 finalists and Kate wasn't chosen, I was a little upset actually. I was so sure she would be there! That said, there were a few contestants that I did like that made the finals - Jacquelynne Fontaine (Miss California), Kristen Eddings (Miss Washington), Amanda Kozak (Miss Georgia), and the eventual winner, Lauren Nelson (Miss Oklahoma).

Although I thought Lauren was a great choice as a winner (and she's done a GREAT job in her year) I wondered what would become of Miss DC... I was on Wikipedia one morning a week or so after the pageant and discovered that only nine of the 52 delegates had pages there and Kate wasn't one of them. So, without ever making a Wikipedia page before, I set about to make my first one. It was soon before long that my mission was accomplished. Kate Michael had her own Wikipedia page! And it wasn't long before I was in touch with Kate and became friends with her. She turned out to be just as warm, friendly and nice as I thought she would be. These days, Kate is working for the Greater Washington Sports Alliance and also is one of the hosts of Just Another Sports Show. Yes, she definitely keeps busy as her K Street Kate blog will attest to!

Since I didn't get to see the Miss America pageant in person last year, I figured that I would do the next best thing this past July and attend the 2007 Miss D.C. pageant. Two weeks earlier, I flew out to D.C. for the big 4-0... I tracked Tiger Woods at Congressional on my birthday and also happened to run into Kate's boyfriend Bill Dean on the 7th hole... that was sooooo random! I met up with Kate, Bill, and a bunch of Miss D.C. and Teen Miss D.C. hopefuls for Miss D.C. Day at the Nationals the next afternoon at a Nationals game vs. the Milwaukee Brewers. At the game, I also met a couple of former Miss D.C.'s in Teri Galvez and Tricia Morrin-Lloyd. Tricia and I got to talking about the upcoming pageant, and I ended up working with her online to help promote it. That turned out to be A LOT of fun!

As for the 2007 Miss DC pageant itself, I had a GREAT time! I got to see Kate perform, and also a bunch of other talented young women, including eventual winner, Shayna Rudd. I also got to meet Kate's parents and 1997 Miss D.C. Sonya Gavankar-McKay (and yes Sonya, I've been checking out your blog too!) I was struck by just how well-run the pageant was, and also how nice everyone was. I was definitely proud to have an affiliation with the Miss America organization and particularly the D.C. chapter of it!

This week marks the moment that Shayna has been targeting ever since winning the Miss D.C. pageant six months ago. The Miss America pageant preliminaries are currently under way, and in just two more days, she and the other 51 contestants will stake their claim on the crown. Who will be this year's "All-American Girl?" Unless you're going to the pageant (I have a Garth Brooks date earlier that day, so there is no way for me to go), you'll have to watch it on TLC from 8-10 P.M. ET this Saturday night. Other than Shayna, I still haven't picked out any personal favorites for this year's pageant yet... maybe by tonight I'll have some more. So for now, I'll just wish Shayna the best of luck!


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, bro!

Just a quick entry here today... Just wanting to wish my brother Ron a VERY Happy 39th birthday... Ron was going to the game between the Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks to celebrate the big day.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Idol Worship

In case you might have missed it last week, American Idol is back and going strong for season seven. Unlike the previous two seasons when bona fide multi-platinum superstars Carrie Underwood and Chris Daughtry were produced, last year's show has failed to produce a top-selling music talent so far. Will this season be different than last year? Well, judging by what the judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson have been saying so far, I'd have to say the answer is YES! Of course, it's too early to have a favorite yet, but I'm sure as we get closer to trimming the field down to 24, that I will have some I'm rooting for.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Some Monday Ramblings...

... I'm actually still a little stunned that the New York Giants are actually playing in the Super Bowl. I did mention to as many people who would listen to me at work, that the NFC Championship was wide open after Dallas and Green Bay struggled down the stretch. I didn't see Seattle making any waves, but under the right circumstances, I could see any of the other five teams advancing.

One thought has been in my mind ever since Eli Manning began his remarkable turnaround against the Patriots a few weeks ago: Where art thou, Tiki Barber???!!! Remember how just five months ago, the retired Barber questioned Manning's leadership abilities, and how Manning responded back?

You may be curious as to how many times did the New York Giants get to the Super Bowl in the 10 years Tiki Barber was there? The answer is one. Super Bowl XXXV seven years ago when the Giants were roundly trounced by the Baltimore Ravens by a 34-7 score. Yes Tiki, what goes around comes around!!! Eli's doing a fine job of leading, is he not?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pats & Giants Make 2nd Date!

When the New York Giants sunk to 0-2 and #27 in my Week 2 NFL Rankings back on September 18th of last year, little did I think they would bounce back and be able to salvavge their season, let alone make the playoffs. Nine other teams started the year with the same 0-2 start as the Giants got off to, and none of them managed to make it back to .500 - let alone make the playoffs. In a thrilling game tonight in Green Bay, the Giants again played error-free ball. Brett Favre threw two interceptions for the Packers, the second of which proved costly as it set up the game winning 47 yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes 2:35 into the extra period to give the Giants a 23-20 win. Tynes went from potential goat to hero as he had two chances to give the Giants the lead in the fourth quarter, pulling a 43 yard field goal attempt wide left with 6:43 to go and doing the same with a 36 yarder as time expired - the latter though was more the fault of the snapper as a bad snap threw off the timing of the play.

In the early game, the New England Patriots beat the San Diego Chargers 21-12 to extend their perfect run to 18 games. The Chargers scored one more time than the Patriots and also turned the ball over one fewer time, but once again the Patriots took care of business when it counted. Tom Brady threw for two scores and Lawrence Maroney had a one yard touchdown run to account for the Patriot scoring. The Chargers could never get in the end zone against the "bend but don't break" Patriots defense, settling for four field-goals by Nate Kaeding. The Chargers defense forced three Brady interceptions, including one in the end zone with just under three minutes to go in the third quarter to keep them in the game. The injured TE Antonio Gates and RB LaDainian Tomlinson were non-factors for the Chargers as Gates only caught two passes for 17 yards, and Tomlinson only touched the ball three times before being pulled out of the game early in the first quarter by coach Norv Turner.

What would have a healthy Chargers team done against the Patriots? None of us really knows, but the Pats certainly seem like a team of destiny. One more win and they become the first team to ever go 19-0 in a season. It almost seems impossible to be talking about that! The Giants and Patriots now get two weeks to prepare for the rematch of their December 29th, 2007 thriller where the Pats ran their regular season record to a perfect 16-0. For a second time, the New York Giants stand in the way of this season's New England Patriots making history. Will the Giants be able to make some history of their own this time, or will the Patriots accomplish what many thought was unthinkable in this age of parity in the NFL? In two weeks we get to find out!


Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Final Four

Around this time tomorrow night, we will finally know who is playing in Super Bowl XLII. For once, instead of providing a lot of numbers and looking deep into the match-up, I'm going to just give a quick glimpse of both while my left arm is on the mend. By the way, there's nothing broken, but boy is it sore!

In the first game, the New England Patriots continue their run at perfection against the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers have a lot of injuries to key players - QB Philip Rivers and TE Antonio Gates are both questionable to start and RB LaDainian Tomlinson may not be at 100%. The Tom Brady-led Patriots are 14 point favorites. As much as I want to root behind my Chargers, I don't see them winning. They mave been able to do it with mirrors last week against the World Champion Colts for a half, but I don't see them doing it for a full game against the Patriots. Look for it to be close early, with the Patriots nearly covering the spread.

In game two, it's the marquis QB matchup of Favre vs Manning... no not Peyton, but rather Eli. The game tomorrow night between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants for the NFC Championship has all the makings of possibly being the Ice Bowl II... The temperature will be below zero at game time and the wind chill is supposed to make it feel like -15 to -20 degrees!!! The Packers of course are led by Brett Favre, but Ryan Grant has proven that the Pack can also run the ball - something that will be necessary tomorrow night. Eli Manning will do his best to manage the passing game and will try to build on his past three weeks of nearly mistake-free ball. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw should be the focus of the Giants offense in the game. I look for this to be a close, hard-foughtand low scoring game, with Favre and the Packers winning on a late field goal. How can anyone not root for Brett Favre? Not me... I sure hope that this Cinderella run of his Packers continues!


Friday, January 18, 2008

When Stairmasters Break...

... and you're using them the right way (not using the arm supports except when resting) at 6:45 in the morning, only bad things can happen. Fortunately, when the left foot pedal gave out on me about 3 minutes into my workout this morning, I only injured my left arm. Ugly black and blue mark (and maybe pics) to follow.


Thursday, January 17, 2008


Bobby Allison & me. Yes, it was a fun day - a VERY fun day at work!

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I (along with my co-workers) was going to be afforded the opportunity to meet a NASCAR legend... and that legend happened to be the leader of the Alabama Gang, Bobby Allison!!!

Bobby talked about many things in the twenty minutes or so that he talked to us. He talked about winning his first race with a "$50 engine." Wow, how times have sure changed! Later, he went on to talk about the many different battles he had on the track and how thankful he is to have survived a near-fatal crash in 1988.

After he spoke to us, it was time to get pictures taken... after everyone was done, we were all free to stop by and visit with Bobby and take more pictures on our lunch hour, so that's exactly what I did! I had the opportunity to ask the legend several questions. He told me some of his favorite drivers included Jeff Gordon (I guess I made a good choice with the shirt!!!) and Jimmie Johnson, and that he attended about half of the NASCAR races last year. He still loves the sport dearly and is so thankful that can go on speaking tours like he's on currently...

Later, I got to share with him some of my favorite memories growing up and watching NASCAR with my Grandparents. I told him my two best memories were actually ones where there accidents - the 1976 Daytona 500 where Richard Petty and David Pearson (the only two drives with more career NASCAR victories than Bobby) crashed on the final lap. Petty could not get his car to restart, but Pearson could and he limped across the line in first. For some reason I thought it was the Firecracker 500 where the crash occured, but Bobby quickly corrected me. He's still sharp! The other memory actually did involve him - in the final lap of the 1979 Daytona 500, Cale Yarborough and his brother Donnie Allison crashed. A fight ensued between the two drivers, and then Bobby came to check on the fight and Bobby said the same words of Cale as he said nearly 29 years ago: "Cale kept hitting my fist repeatedly with his nose." I got a good laugh out of hearing that comment straight from the horse's mouth today!!!

Later, we talked about his 84th and final win, the 1988 Daytona 500. In the race, his late son Davey came in second. That night, he even won a fishing contest in the middle of the track... yes, it was definitely his day! 50 years old at the time of that win, he still is the oldest winner of the "Great American Race." Sadly, Bobby was involved in a near-fatal crash four months later that year in the Pocono 500. The crash put him in a coma and caused him to have a severe memory loss. To this day, he still doesn't remember the events of that day, and the time before is a little hazy. But you ask him about things that happened further back, and it's as clear as day. The medical condition is called retrograde amnesia. Being someone who actually did suffer from this same condition in 2004 (thankfully, just about everything eventually came back), I could relate very well to what happened to him. Maybe that's why I was so excited to see him today. It's rare that you meet someone, let alone someone famous, who has gone through a similar trial as you have and come through it stronger and better than ever!!! Bobby, you're an inspiration to me and to many others all over the world!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

How Far We've Come...

... I figured the title to the latest Matchbox 20 tune would eventually serve as a blog title, so here you have it. For some reason, I'm kind of in a reflective mood this early morning where I coincidentally got up at 3 a.m... Yes, "3 a.m" is another MB20 song title for those of you who don't know...

In a little under 10 months here of blogging, I've put up almost 350 entries, and have received positive feedback from so many people. The encouragement I get almost daily is so rewarding. I really have no idea what 2008 has in store for me and this blog, but I do look forward to continuing to give you all a glimpse into my interests and insights. By the way, if you ever have an idea for a blog topic or if you would like to make a suggestion, please feel free to comment and leave me an email address (or a link to your blog) so that I can get back to you. This blog has come a long ways from it's humble beginnings... and I truly think that the best is yet to come!


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Wizards Sweep Celtics, Lakers Tied For 1st!

Without Gilbert Arenas, would anyone have given the Washington Wizards a chance at winning back-to-back games against a Boston Celtics team that had only lost four times all season coming into this weekend? Probably not. On Saturday, the Wizards rallied from a five point deficit going into the fourth quarter to win 85-78 at the Verizon Center. Last night, the teams had their rematch at the Boston Garden and once again, the Wizards trailed late, falling behind 77-63 with a little more than six minutes to play. The Wizards though would not be denied, and went on a 25-6 run to close the game for an 88-83 win. Caron Butler scored nine points during that closing run, and a team high 21 for the game, while Antawn Jamison added 20 points to go with 10 rebounds... The win moves the Wizards to within 1 1/2 games of the Orlando Magic for the Southeast division lead.

Across the coast, the Los Angeles Lakers got some bad news before last night's game against the Seattle Supersonics started. Center Andrew Bynum was injured early in the third quarter of Sunday night's 100-99 victory over Memphis when he landed on teammate Lamar Odom's left foot while going for a rebound. Tests yesterday revealed Bynum had temporarily dislocated his kneecap and suffered a bone bruise. He will be out eight weeks. Without Bynum at center, the Lakers will suffer both offensively and defensively so other players will need to step up if they are going to keep pace with the Pheonix Suns. Last night, Kobe Bryant took over the game, pouring in a season-high 48 points including a game winning 18 foot jumped with 4.3 seconds to play in a hard-fought 123-121 win in Seattle. The win was the Lakers' 7th in a row, and put them into a tie with the Suns for the Pacific division lead and the best record in the Western Conference. Can the Lakers continue to grow without Bynum? Time will only tell, but this team seems to have a resiliency that last season's squad seemed to lack.


Monday, January 14, 2008

(Not A) Blue Monday...

or maybe I should have entitled this one "While You See A Chance, Take It"... but that wouldn't have covered everything.

It was an exciting day for me today for many reasons... I can't share them all here - yet. I will share some news that I'm going to get to meet a very famous NASCAR personality later this week. I'll give you a hint - he's in the all-time top five in wins on the circuit. Yeah, that's pretty big! As for the other news, well I'll leave you all hanging for a bit...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Eli Manning Coming of Age?

Perhaps he had one of those "pep talks" from his big brother Peyton a few weeks ago. Whatever it is, Eli Manning is not at all playing like the QB who struggled mightily against the Buffalo Bills just three weekends ago. In that game, the Giants won, 38-21 in spite of Manning as they scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter on interception returns. Manning was 7-for-15 for 111 yards with two interceptions and also two fumbles in that December 23rd game.

In the three games since then, Eli has ONE turnover total, to go along with eight touchdown passes. Yes, they lost the first of those three games, 38-35 to the New England Patriots, but the Giants turned some heads that night. They turned some more heads last week as they easily took care of the Tampa Bay Buccanneers by a 24-14 score. I was so impressed by that win, and so unimpressed by the Dallas Cowboys play the past month that I went out on a limb and picked the Giants to upset the heavily favored Cowboys.

Manning made me and everyone else who had faith in him look good today as he was an efficient 12-for-18 for 163 yards with two touchdown passes to Amani Toomer as the Giants stunned the #1 NFC seeded Cowboys by a 21-17 score. Tony Romo had another off day for the home team, only connecting on 18-for-35 passes for 201 yards. Other than a long 20 play, 90 yard scoring drive to end the first half, the Cowboys offense really never looked in sync. The Giants really didn't look all that great either, but they made the plays when it counted and most importantly took care of the ball.

So, what do Eli and the Giants get for their win today? A trip to the frozen tundra of Green Bay. After next Sunday's 6:00 PM ET/3:00 PM PT game, we shall know whether we will have a Manning in the Super Bowl for a second straight year, or whether there will be a bunch of happy cheeseheads!


Colts Get De-Charged!

If I had told you that at the end of the day, one Manning would be playing in a NFL divisional championship game next weekend you probably wouldn't have been at all surprised. If I told you that Manning would not be named Peyton, everyone probably would have been shocked as that would have meant that both of today's NFL playoff games were won by the underdogs. Well, that's precisely what happened!

In the early game between the San Diego Chargers and the Indianapolis Colts, both offenses pretty much moved the ball at will against the opposing defenses. The only thing that really stopped either team were turnovers. The Colts took an early 7-0 lead on a 25 yard pass from Manning to Dallas Clark. The Chargers then put together their own drive, but it was thwarted by the Colts as Kevin Hayden intercepted a Philip Rivers pass at the Colts 24 yard line. Manning drove the Colts down the field on their ensuing possession, connecting on a 17 yard pass to Marvin Harrison. Unfortunately for the Colts, Harrison was still rusty from not playing the second half of the season, and he fumbled the ball as he went down. The Chargers recovered, and from there on we had a game.

The Chargers took full advantage of that miscue, scoring on a 14 yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson to tie the game 7-7 with 8:38 to play in the second quarter. The score came at a cost to the Chargers though as they lost RB LaDainian Tomlinson for the rest of the game after he injured one of his knees on an eight yard run, two plays prior to that score. The Colts would settle for a 46 yard Adam Vinatieri field goal on their next possession to take a 10-7 lead. The Chargers drove down the field, and kicker Nate Kaeding had a long field goal attempt of his own. Kaeding's 48 yard attempt started right, hooked left, but only enough to clang high off the right upright for a miss. Manning drove the Colts downfield again as the half closed, but he was intercepted by Antonio Cromartie on a tipped ball deep in Chargers territory to thwart another threat.

The second half of the game went back and forth. Rivers drove the Chargers down the field 83 yards on eight plays, capped by a 30 yard pass to Chris Chambers for a 14-10 Chargers lead. The Colts stormed right back down the field, driving to the Chargers three yard line. On a third down and goal play, Manning tossed a pass to RB Kenton Keith, but the ball went right though Keith's hands and into the waiting arms of Charger safety Eric Weddle. The Chargers went three-and-out with their ensuing drive, and with 5:55 to play in the third quarter, we saw our first punt of the game. The Colts took over at the 50 yard line. Manning drove the Colts six plays and into the end zone on a 9-yard pass to Reggie Wayne at the 2:53 mark for a 17-14 lead. The Chargers came right back though, as a short pass from Rivers to Darren Sproles turned into a 56 yard touchdown as time expired in the period to give the visitors a 21-17 lead. For the second time in the game, a touchdown drive would prove costly to the Chargers, as Rivers limped off the field in obvious pain as the play was completed. As with Tomlinson, he would not return.

The fourth quarter began oddly, as both teams went three plays and out on their respective first possessions. The Colts then took the lead again as Manning hit Anthony Gonzales with a pass on the left side. Gonzales eluded a tackle and then barely avoided stepping out of bounds before going 55 yards for a score. Trailing 24-21, Billy Volek took over the reins at QB for the Chargers and did very admirably, completing all three passes he attempted and then scoring on a one yard plunge with 4:50 to play to give the Chargers a 28-24 lead. Once again Manning and the Colts would quickly drive down the field, getting to the Chargers nine yard line with 2:51 to play. The Colts could only manage to gain two yards in their next four plays, turning the ball over on downs. The Chargers went three and out, and Colts had one last chance, taking over at their own 32 yard line with 1:30 to play. Manning could not move the Colts though as a pass to Dallas Clark fell incomplete with 58 seconds to play. With that two kneeldowns followed and the Chargers had their improbable win, and now an opportunity to get revenge against the same New England Patriots team which knocked them out of the playoffs last season.

For the Colts, it was a tough loss, and it's also possibly going to be the last game that the great Tony Dungy coaches for them. Four times they got deep into Chargers territory and did not produce a point - that was the difference in the game today. As I said prior to the game, the team that took care of the ball was probably going to win. Unfortunately for me, I didn't correctly predict which team would do a better job of that in this game. Regardless, I'll be cheering on the Bolts as they try to ruin the Patriots' perfect season.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Chargers/Colts Tomorrow - I'M TORN!!!

My two favorite AFC Teams are playing tomorrow and I really have no clue who I want to root for... last year, it was pretty easy for me to root for the Indianapolis Colts all through the playoffs, especially after the New England Patriots beat the San Diego Chargers to set up a Patriots/Colts AFC Championship game. Thankfully, the Colts won that matchup and went on to beat the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI.

Most of you are probably pretty familiar with both teams. The Chargers have both the NFL's best running back in LaDainian Tomlinson and the NFL's best tight-end in Antonio Gates, while the Colts feature the highest profile player in quarterback Peyton Manning. The Colts are looking to avenge a 23-21 loss in San Diego during the season in which the Charger defense intercepted Manning a career-high six times. The Colts have the #3 ranked defense in the NFL and also allowed the fewest points during the regular season. The Chargers led the league in turnover margin and also interceptions with 30 on the year. Tomlinson himself was perfect in that area, not even as much as fumbing even once in his 315 carries or 60 pass receptions this year... Colts running back Joseph Addai was equally proficient at holding onto the ball, not fumbling once in his 261 rushing attempts nor his 41 receptions. No other NFL players with even as many as 200 total touches (let alone 300, as both Tomlinson and Addai each had), were able to say that they didn't fumble at least once this year.

Yes, I think the key to tomorrow's game will again be the turnovers. I look for Manning to have a big game tomorrow, and for Addai to be a big reason for his success. The Chargers will keep it close early, but I think the Colts will pull away late, winning by about 10 points (barely covering that 9 1/2 point spread)... It should a fun game to watch, and I'll look forward to cheering on whichever team wins against the Patriots next week!

As for the other game, Peyton's brother Eli and the New York Giants take on the Dallas Cowboys. The Giants are a team that is playing pretty well at the moment. Their defense took over a close game on the road in Buffalo, where the younger Manning was ineffective for a 38-21 win. The Giants almost beat the Patriots to ruin their perfect season as Manning had one of his best games ever, going 22-for-32 for 252 yards, four touchdowns and an interception... Last week, Manning was a very efficient 20-for-27 for 185 yards and two scores as the Giants dominated Tampa Bay by a 24-14 score.

The Cowboys are a team that has played very unspired ball of late. After beating Brett Favre (quite literally) and the Packers 37-27 on November 29th, they have looked anything but good. A come from behind 28-27 win against the Detroit Lions followed the next week, followed by a 10-6 loss at home to the Philadelphia Eagles where the offense looked COMPLETELY out of sync. All kidding aside, I don't think Jessica Simpson could be blamed for Tony Romo or the rest of the team's poor performance that week. A 20-13 win against a poor Carolina team followed... and then in the final game of the regular season, the Washington Redskins just manhandled them in a 27-6 game which had all the meaning in the world for the Redskins and none at all for the Cowboys. That said, the Cowboys did play most of their starters (including Romo and tight end Jason Witten) well into the third quarter.

So, you have a classic case of a "hot" team playing against a "cold" team. The Cowboys are seven point favorites tomorrow, but should they be? Eli Manning has grown up a lot the past couple of weeks, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Giants pull off the HUGE upset. Actually, I'm going to say this will be a close game throughout and that the Giants will win on a Lawrence Tynes field goal. Regardless of what happens in that game, I'll be pulling for Favre and the Packers in the NFC Championship game next weekend...


Patriots Get To 17-0...

... to move within two games of perfection with a 31-20 defeat of the Jacksonville Jaguars... and as I predicted they once again didn't cover the spread. So, I got both games right today!

As in many games of late, the Patriots opponent kept things close early, and then collapsed late. The Jaguars scored on their first possession to take a 7-0 lead, but the Patriots answered right back. The game went into halftime tied at 14-14. From there, Tom Brady and the Patriots offense took over as the 2007 NFL MVP led them to third quarter scores on touchdown passes to Wes Welker and Benjamin Watson. Brady had numbers more like you'd expect in playing a video game: 26-for-28 (a crazy 93.3% completion percentage) for 262 yards to go along with three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Jaguars offense couldn't get things going in the second half, settling for two Josh Scobee field goals.

The Patriots await the winner of tomorrow's game between the Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers for the AFC Championship and their continued persuit of the 19-0 perfect season...


#5 Bruins Top #4 Cougars!

It's a little early for me to get REALLY involved in following college basketball, but my UCLA Bruins are looking like they're going to be strong contenders for a third consecutive final four appearance in the NCAA Tournament in March. The Bruins dominated today's matchup with the Washington Cougars at Pauley Pavilion in Westwood from the start, taking a 26-8 lead, crusing to an 81-74 win to hand the Cougars their first loss of the year. Kevin Love led the Bruin attack with a career high 27 points and 14 rebounds. For the now 16-1 Bruins, it was their ninth straight win.


Calling All Cheeseheads!

If you were lucky like me and happened to miss the first four minutes or so of today's NFC playoff game between the Seattle Seahwaks and Green Bay Packers, then you pretty much missed the entire set of highlights from the Lambeau Field visitors. The Packers spotted the Seahawks a 14-0 lead thanks to two early fumbles by running back Ryan Grant in a fairly and driving snowstorm. Grant more than atoned for those early miscues, rushing for 201 yards and three touchdowns, while Brett Favre was nearly perfect, going 18-for-23 for 173 yards and three touchdowns. After the initial Seattle onslaught, the Packers scored touchdowns on an incredible six straight possessions! The final score was 42-20, meaning if you happened to take my Thursday prediction to heart and bet on it, you won! :)

The Packers now will take on the winner of the game tomorrow between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC Championship at a time to be determined next weekend.


Friday, January 11, 2008

No Longer A Hanging Chad...

Is it my imagination or have there been a whole bunch of rumors about the Washington Nationals trading Chad "The Chief" Cordero the past couple of years? Well, I know I've personally seen them a lot of places, and it's been a very hot topic of discussion over on the Baseball HQ forums, pretty much since I became a member early last season.

Well as of today, Chad and the rest of us are no longer hanging... as the Nationals and he put an end to those rumors. Today "The Chief" signed a one year contract for $6.2 million dollars, a raise of over $2 million from what he made last year.

Believe it or not, we are barely two and a half months away from the beginning of the regular season. As we get closer to the season, I'll be doing a lot more entries about baseball and of course fantasy baseball so that you can be almost as prepared as me on draft day. :)


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Some Kelly Tilghman Polls

A couple I just happened to find while browsing. It's interesting how different sites put their own spin on things:

Should the Golf Channel punish Kelly Tilghman for her 'lynch' comment?
Yes - fire her (49) 13%
Yes - suspend her (56) 15%
No - accept her apology and move on (260) 71%
Total Votes: 365

Should Kelly Tilghman be fired for her "lynch Tiger Woods" comment?
Yes 19%
No 77%
Undecided 5%
Total Votes: 809


In spite of ESPN's attempt at tabloidism, the people are speaking LOUD & CLEAR. The Golf Channel really needs to do the right thing and clear this up ASAP.

And Then There Were 8...

While I attempt to cool my blood down a little, I will take some time out to talk a little football. Eight teams are left in the NFL Playoffs, and four games will be played this weekend to determine who is going to play in the respective league championships. In the NFC, the Dallas Cowboys will take on the New York Giants for the third time this season, while the Green Bay Packers will welcome the Seattle Seahawks into the "frozen tundra"... The AFC offers us a rematch between Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers, while the Jacksonville Jaguars attempt to put an end to the New England Patriots dreams of a 19-0 season.

Saturday's games both have a good chance of being blowouts, while Sunday's games should be closer. Of course, after how badly I did this past weekend - one of four right on the pros, while I incorrectly predicted that Ohio State would beat up on LSU in the BCS championship, perhaps you should take my opinions with a grain of salt.

In the early game, the Packers square off against the Seahawks. Look for both teams to attempt to throw the ball a lot in the cold conditions. Presently, the forecast high is 32 degrees with a 20% chance of snow. Neither team has a very impressive running game to speak of, though we all know how good Shaun Alexander can be when he's healthy. The problem for the Seahawks is that it's been 2 seasons since he was healthy. After rushing for 1880 yards in 2005, he only totalled 1610 yards the past two years. Not to mention that in 2005 he gained 5.1 yards per rush, while in 2006-2007 he averaged only 3.5 yards/attempt. For the Packers, Ryan Grant did an admirable job, rushing for nearly 1000 yards with an impressive 5.1 yards per rush average.

I believe the key to winning this game will be not turning the ball over. This means that Matt Hasselbeck and Brett Favre must not try to make a play when there isn't one available. The Packers were 2nd in the NFL in passing offense, while the Seahawks were 8th. Once again though, we know the Seahawks played a VERY soft schedule this year, while the Packers played some pretty tough teams and still came out three games better off in the win column. Look for the Packers to take this one by at least two touchdowns.

In the later game, the Patriots will take on the Jaguars. Quietly, the Jaguars took six out of their final seven meaningful games - only a 28-25 loss to the Colts kept them from winning seven straight. Most of their regulars were rested in their final game of the year, a 42-28 loss against Houston. Last week, they got up 28-10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, only to see Ben Roethlisberger pull off another of his patented 4th quarter comebacks. Jaguar QB David Garrard saved the day though, gaining 32 yards on a 4th and two play to set up Josh Scobee's game winning 25 yard field goal for a 31-29 win. The Jaguars have a VERY balanced offense - not something that you would have guessed early in the season. Garrard tossed 18 TD's against only three interceptions during the regular season, while the duo of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew totalled nearly 2,000 yards on the ground, scoring 14 times.

The Patriots stormed out of the gate of course, running up the score on their first eight opponents, before the Colts finally gave them a scare in week 9 (a close 24-20 comeback win). From there, the Patriots looked quite beatable. In fact, four of their final six contests were decided by 10 points or less. The Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens both came close to beating them, as the Patriots struggled to three point wins. The Giants came close to ruining their perfect season in week 17, but they too came up three points short. Tom Brady tossed a record 50 TD passes, 23 to Randy Moss (for a record as well)... Even though the Patriots were number one in the league in passing, they were only 13th in rushing. If the Jaguars are going to pull the upset, they will need to force the Patriots to run the ball. Look for this to be a closer game than predicted, with the Patriots winning by about a touchdown.

Tomorrow, I'll look at the Sunday matchups.


PGA Players Siding With Tilghman...

... as the saga continues... I'm hoping the Golf Channel will do the right thing and reinstate Kelly Tilghman IMMEDIATELY to her position as co-anchor on their telecasts. Here are some comments from some of the PGA Tour's players:

"There was no ill intent at all. I think it was just a slip, and they said that Tiger has already forgiven her. I think when you're in the TV tower for that many hours, you're going to wish you didn't say some things probably, and that was one thing that slipped out. I think you've got to give them a little grace.

"Her integrity, how Kelly is respected out here, is pretty good. I think Tiger really likes Kelly, so that helped squash it. Because Tiger could have run off with that if he took it the wrong way. But he didn't, so that was good
." - Fred Funk

"I'm sure Kelly wishes she never said that. I haven't spoken with Tiger, but I've been told that they've had their talk and they've discussed it. Anything I say is kind of just like pouring salt in the wound at this point. Obviously, she would love to not have said that and for it not to be news. I'm glad that her and Tiger spoke." - Jim Furyk

... more to come on this one, and more player's comments as I find them. What would be really nice would be for Tiger himself to make a statement.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Can I Survive 2 Weeks Without The Golf Channel?

Well, I'm going to try. If I were to list the five channels I watch the most at home, it would definitely be amongst them. For those interested, the other channels that I happen to like to spend my time on would include Fox News Channel, ESPN News, CMT & GAC.

Basically, I'm boycotting the Golf Channel for the next two weeks for their knee jerk reaction today to commentator Kelly Tilghman's comments about Tiger Woods which very obviously were made in jest and jokingly. Woods and Tilghman have been friends for a very long time, and anyone with some common sense would have researched this before going off and assuming she's a racist. The articles and slanderous stuff I've seen directed at Tillman have been very appalling.

As you may know by now, the Golf Channel's "knee jerk reaction" which I speak of here is their two week suspension of Tilghman effective today... so, until January 23rd, The Golf Channel WILL NOT be seen in my home. Yes, that means I won't even be watching the Natalie Gulbis Show. Sorry, Nat!


Kelly Tilghman & Tiger Woods are STILL friends...

... just in case you missed it or were told otherwise. And Fuzzy Zoeller is still a good friend of Tiger's as well.

Another day, another instance of the sports media being overly sensitive and not doing their research before going off on someone. This past weekend, the PGA Tour held it's first event of the season (the Mercedes-Benz Championship) in Hawaii. During the third round coverage of the tournament the Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman and Nick Faldo were talking about Tiger Woods (who was not present at the event) and the chances of someone beating him. I was watching coverage of the tournament and listening to the bantor when Kelly jokingly said that the only way to test him would be to "lynch him in a back alley." Clearly, no harm was intended, but someone went off and ran a story on the non-story, causing a media uproar.

The media circus around the non-story grew to such a level that Tiger's agent Mark Steinberg had to issue a statement today. Steinberg stated "this story is a non-issue. Tiger and Kelly are friends and Tiger has a great deal of respect for Kelly. Regardless of the choice of words used we know unequivocally that there was no ill-intent in her comments. This story is a non-issue in our eyes. Case closed."

It's interesting that a golfer like Rory Sabbatini can berate a fan with an expletive-filled tirade and not even get a fine out of it (he actually got the fan ejected), yet a non-story like this can garner headlines. One can only hope that the people covering the golf world in the future would be more focused on those who are actually doing wrong (and continuing to set a bad example) like Sabbatini and doing something about it, and less focused on the politcal correctness of an innocent comment by one of the tour's most-liked and qualified commentators.


Lake Show Keeps Rolling

After the Los Angeles Lakers started this season 9-8, most observers thought that once again, they would be a fringe playoff team again at best. Since that sluggish start though, the Lakers now have won 13 of their past 16 games, the most recent being a 117-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies last night in the first of a short two game road trip. Derek Fisher was almost perfect from the field, making 10 of 11 shots including all five of his three-point attempts, while scoring 26 points. Kobe Bryant added 25 points for the Lakers.

In the past few years, the Lakers have been basically all about Kobe. The modus operandi of opponents has basically been if you shut down Kobe, you'll beat the Lakers. Such is no longer the case. Over the past three years, Kobe was averaging about 41 minutes of playing time a game, while averaging a tick under 32 points a game. This year, the Lakers have been playing so well, that Kobe has gotten a lot more rest, particularly in the fourth quarter of games. In fact, he's only playing about 36 1/2 minutes a game, scoring 26.7 points a game - his lowest levels since the 2003-04 season. As a direct result of not having to shoulder so much of the offensive burden, Kobe has been able to focus more on defense. His 2.1 steals per game and 6.0 rebounds per game are his highest marks since the 2002-03 season.

So, who has taken up the slack? Fisher has been a steadying force with his experience, calm demeaner and leadership, scoring 12.8 points per game and hitting on nearly 45% of his 3-point shots. Lamar Odom has been healthy for most of the year and has been very productive when commissioner Stern has not doled out cheap one-game suspensions to him, scoring nearly 14 points a game to go with 9.3 rebounds. The big surprise continues to be the growth of center Andrew Bynum. The 20 year-old is scoring 12.8 points per game and is grabbing a team high 10.0 rebounds per contest. His 62.2% field goal percentage leads the team.

With a 22-11 record, this Laker team is looking very strong. The Lakers are currently only 1 1/2 games behind the Phoenix Suns for the division lead - a team the Lakers have beaten in both of their contests so far this season. Unlike last year's team, which started strong and folded late, this Laker team has a lot of depth. Luke Walton and Jordan Farmer also continue to grow and play prominent roles for them, while Vladimir Radmanovic adds a potent weapon off the bench from the outside. Don't be surprised if this Laker team actually makes a serious run at the division title and challenges the San Antonio Spurs for the Western Conference championship... Yes, folks... the Lake Show is BACK!!!


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Redskins Coach Gibbs Resigns

After helping lead the Washington Redskins to an unprobable playoff run after the untimely death of safety Sean Taylor, coach Joe Gibbs resigned as coach early today. With a 5-7 record, many wondered if the Redskins would be interested in keeping Gibbs for the final year of his contract. After the inspired four game winning streak to close the season gave the Redskins an improbable NFC Wild Card berth, most thought that retaining Gibbs would a top priority of team owner Dan Snyder. As it turns out though (as with the first time he retired) Gibbs chose his family ahead of football. This past February, Gibbs' 2-year-old grandson Taylor was diagnosed with Leukemia and he stated during a news conference today that it is "time for me to be with them."

As for replacements, the list would appear to include current Redskins coaches Gregg Williams and Al Saunders along with former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher.

Personally, I just want to wish coach Gibbs the best of luck with his family and prayers for his grandson. Joe Gibbs is as classy a man as there is, and all of us that are fans of the Redskins are very happy that he will continue with the organization in as an advisor to Snyder.


Monday, January 7, 2008

Chargers Bolt Past Titans!

In a game which eerily resembled their regular season matchup, the San Diego Chargers offense managed nothing in the first half of their matchup against the Tennessee Titans. Once again, the Charger defense kept them in the game, allowing only two Rob Bironas field goals to give the visiting Titans a 6-0 lead.

The tide began to turn in third quarter though as the Chargers drove 86 yards in 12 plays on their first drive to set up a Matt Kaeding field goal. The Chargers would score again on their next two possessions, taking a 10-6 lead on a 25 yard pass from Philip Rivers to Vincent Jackson with 2:35 to play in the quarter. On their next possession, the Titans drove down the field inside the Charger red-zone, but the defense stiffened, forcing a 38 yard field goal attempt from the All-Pro Bironas. Bironas pulled the kick wide left for a rare miss.

The Chargers drove downfield again with their next possession, and after a 9 yard run from LaDainian Tomlinson, they were faced with a fourth and goal from inside the one yard line. Tomlinson leaped high into the air and was met right at the goal line by Titan linebacker Stephen Tulloch. Tomlinson then stretched his hands across the goal-line with a second effort to give the Chargers an insurmountable 17-6 lead.

The Titans could not put together drives on their final two possessions, the final one ending on an interception of Vince Young with 3:33 to play. The Chargers took over after that and were able to run out the clock.

Next Sunday, the Chargers take on another team they played and beat previously in the Indianapolis Colts. This time though they travel to Indianapolis to face Peyton Manning and the rest of his teammates. You may recall that the Chargers forced six Manning interceptions in that previous game - a career high. In the Colts' other 15 games, Manning only tossed eight interceptions total. Since these are my two favorite teams remaining in the playoffs, it will be hard to do a lot of cheering for either side. All I know is that I will want the victor to somehow get past the Patriots and win the Super Bowl against whomever makes it there from the NFC.


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Go Chargers!

OK, so one of my teams got knocked off last nite... still have three left that I wouldn't mind seeing win it all. The Colts and Cowboys have byes this weekend, while the San Diego Chargers have a rematch this afternoon with the Tennessee Titans at QualComm Stadium... Hopefully I'll do a little better at predicting the games today. I think the Chargers will take control early and cruise to an easy 14 point or so win.

As for the early game, I think the Tampa Bay Buccanneers will beat the New York Giants today as the Buc defense will force several turnovers, while the "Giant Slayer" Jeff Garcia will have a steady game on offense. Look for this one to be decided by a late field goal.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Redskins Lose 35-14. :(

For a very short time today, it looked like the Washington Redskins were going to pull off an amazing comeback in today's NFC Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks. Trailing 13-0, the Redskins scored twice early in the fourth quarter to take a 14-13 lead. The Redskins then recovered a kickoff at the Seattle 12 yard-line to give them a golden opportunity to score again. But alas, the Skins went 3-and-out and had to settle for a 30 yard field-goal attempt which the usually reliable Shaun Suisham pulled to the left for a rare miss.

From there, the tide of the game turned. The Seahawks took the lead on a scoring pass with a little less than 8 minutes to go, and then converted a 2-point conversion to make it a 21-14 game. Two Redskins drives were then ended on interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns. The final score may have been 35-14, but the result was definitely a lot closer to that.

For the Redskins, it marks the end of a remarkable run... and it does give the team some great momentum and hope for the 2008 season.


Friday, January 4, 2008


Why is it whenever I hear the word "playoffs" I always think about the legendary New Orleans Saints coach Jim Mora? I guess I've seen his little tirade after a reporter once questioned him about his team's playoff chances (as I'm sure many of the rest of us have) one too many times over the years... Mora now works for the NFL Network and his son coaches in the NFL... Sadly, Mora's former team, the New Orleans Saints got off to a slow start in 2007 and missed the playoffs this year after being the Cinderella team last year. We have four games on tap for this weekend and I'll give a quick rundown of what I think will happen...

On Saturday, the Washington Redskins take on the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. The Redskins have been playing inspired ball ever since the tragic death of safety Sean Taylor. The Seahawks have been played semi-uninspired ball pretty much all season, often eeking out close games against inferior opponents while losing to elite teams such as the Pittsburgh Steelers convincingly. I look for the Redskins to control the ball on both the ground and through the air. Seattle's running attack has been non-existant all season and I look for the Redskins D to try to make the Seahawks run a lot... I think the Redskins will take this game by a touchdown or more...

Saturday's second game matches two teams which are pretty much equal in terms of competitiveness. The Jacksonville Jaguars go to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. Look for the Jaguars to run first and pass second as they will try to give a steady dose of Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor against the Steeler D. Ben Roethlisberger will be forced to air the ball out a little more for the Steelers as they're without all-pro RB Willie Parker. Look for the Steelers to eek out a close win by three points.


Sunday's games coming later...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Week 17 NFL Rankings

New England completes their perfect season, the Redskins win four straight to become the third team in NFL History to make the playoffs after a 5-7 start, and the Cleveland Browns end the season in the top 10 of my rankings, but of out the playoffs due to a little bad luck...

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

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Georgia, USC Score Convincing Bowl Wins

Many of us on the sidelines have questioned LSU's selection into the BCS Championship against Ohio State over teams such as the Georgia Bulldogs, USC Trojans and the Virginia Tech Hokies. Georgia won it's last six games, including wins against three ranked opponents. USC won it's final four games, two of those against ranked opponents. Virginia Tech won it's final five games, also beating two ranked opponents.

LSU lost two of their final seven games during the season, including a 50-48 overtime loss to the unranked Arkansas Razorbacks - the same Razorbacks who got soundly beat by Missouri 38-7 today in the Cotton Bowl! How does an unimpressive 21-14 win the following week over a 14th ranked Tennessee team net a jump of 7-2 in the final BCS rankings? I still have no idea! And in case you don't know it, LSU is a 4 1/2 point FAVORITE to beat Ohio State next Monday night!!! Anyone feeling lucky as in "Vegas lucky"??? All I know is that after the results of the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl today, people in Southern California and Georgia will only question the BCS system even more. And if LSU does get get soundly beat by Ohio State on Monday night (which is what I'm predicting), well the 2007 BCS controversy may rage on forever...

As for the two aforementioned games, USC was simply dominant throughout against #13 ranked Illinois in the Rose Bowl this afternoon, rolling to an easy 49-17 win. John David Booty was 25-for-37 for 255 yards and three touchdowns. The Trojans also piled up 344 yards rushing and 633 yards in total offense in their convincing win. As much as I hate to say it, congrats to my rival Trojans on a job well done.

Georgia also had it's way with #10 ranked Hawaii tonight, with an easy 41-10 win in the Sugar Bowl... Georgia's defense forced six Hawaii turnovers and sacked Hawaii quarterbacks seven times. Georgia's balanced offense racked up 340 yards - 165 passing and 175 rushing... congrats to the Bulldogs on an impressive victory over the last undefeated team left in the nation!