September 29, 2007

Terps Shock Scarlet Knights!

How about them Terps! We dominated both halves, and Chris Turner stepped up big to carry us to victory. We held Rutgers to less than 100 yds rushing, and held the ball for almost 14 more minutes than the Knights. Meanwhile, we put up 458 yds of total offense. This is a huge win for this season and for the program. This year, we're now 3-2, with all of the confidence we should have had after a good road win at WF. That debacle is now completely forgotten, and we enter the ACC schedule with confidence. For the program, after bottoming out two years ago, we've shown that was a fluke, and we can expect another winning season in the top half of the ACC.

As a note for the Rutgers students that wore shirts saying "Nobody Fears the Turtle," you wait until after the game to make fun of your opponent. You should have feared the turtles, they're the ones biting your undefeated record in the ass. How about that 0-2 record as a top ten team? Overrated? J-Red: "Do you fear the turtles now bitches?"

Three other top 10 teams also lost in the last 24 hours, two of them demonstrating that the "revenge" factor doesn't do much in college football. WVa and Texas lost for the second straight year to USF and K State, respectively. How embarassing for Mack Brown, losing by 20 at home in a game that you knew not to overlook? Fortunately, he won't hear about it as much as he might have because Oklahoma lost too. The Oklahoma loss wasn't a fluke either, as Colorado held the ball for about 38 minutes, dominating most of the game. Oklahoma only had one third down conversion most of the game.

Unfortunately for my picks, Ga Tech is apparently the exception to the revenge rule, winning their last 6 games against teams that beat them by 21+ the year before. Anybody questioning Cal after a gritty win at Oregon?

Jets Fan Files $184M Class Action Against Patriots

Ok, so this is another frivolous law suit, right? A Jets fan has filed a class action alleging deceptive business practices by the Patriots in their games at Giants Stadium since Belichick took over in 2000. The claims are under both the New Jersey state law against deceptive practices and federal RICO statutes.

If the suit can survive the summary judgment phase, the parties will conduct discovery. That's where things get very interesting. It's unfortunate that the suit wasn't filed before the NFL destroyed the tapes, as they would not be allowed to destroy potentially relevant evidence. Discovery in the legal sense is the only way we'll actually know how often the Pats cheated and against whom. If people like Gregg Easterbrook (TMQ) are right, and cheating took place in the Super Bowls, the NFL has a very puckered collective asshole right now.

A Tribute to the Best Thing in Football

The safety. The scourge of and/or best friend to the against-the-spread gambler and by far the most exciting play in football for a fan of dominating defense.


The general rule is that a safety is recorded whenever the ball would be spotted in a team's own end zone. The defense then gets two points, and the offense free kicks back to the defense from their own 20. Two points and possession in good field position -- obviously, quite devastating.

There are five major ways to record a defensive safety (tackled in the end zone, fumble out of the end zone, blocked punt in the end zone, intentionally kneeling to take one, committing a penalty (holding, intentional grounding) where the enforcement spot is in the end zone). Six, if you count Jim Marshall running the wrong way and underhand tossing the ball to a fan in his own end zone. However, most people are unaware that there are one-point safeties as well. In the NFL, if a team is going for two and loses possession of the ball, and the defending team recovers the ball and retreats into their own end zone, where they are tackled, the offensive team records a safety and is awarded one point. This has never happened in th e NFL, but has happened in college football, in a 2004 game between Texas and A&M.

Jim Marshall learning that when the referee looks confused, you're doing something wrong.


In college, there is a defensive one-point safety. Unlike the NFL, in college a turnover on a conversion attempt (one-point or two) can be run back by the defensive team for two points. However, it is theoretically possible that the defensive team could run a turnover back, lose the ball near the original kicking team's own end zone, and record a one-point safety by tackling a kicking team player who takes the ball into his own end zone (the one 98 yards away from where the conversion initially took place.) This has never happened. It is, however, the only way for a team to finish a game with a score of one, though the team could never win 1-0, as a touchdown is required for the other team to get the whole scenario rolling.

The NFL and college records for safeties in a game is three, held by the L.A. Rams in the NFL and Arizona State, North Texas and Bowling Green in college. Two NFL games have ended in overtime on safeties, one on a blocked punt and one on a fumble. One L.A. Ram, Fred Dryer, holds the distinction of being the only man to record two safeties in a game (not in the same game the Rams recorded three). I remember reading that some games in the 1930s ended 2-0, but I can't find it now.

If you think that's exciting, wait until I post about the rouge/single in CFL football. It will blow your mind.

September 27, 2007

Week 4 Against the Spread Picks

Brien dropped the hammer with his "we don't know shit, so bet who has beaten the spread" strategy, going a strong 4-1. He has now taken the overall lead, where I will join him in the next couple weeks. He's up first.

Brien (8-7-0)

I'm going to try to keep the momentum from last week going. This turns out to be a pretty scary week, though. We still don't know a whole lot about the teams, so we have to make picks based on experience. The way the games stack up this week, home teams are either huge favorites or underdogs to better teams. When in doubt, take the better team (Simmons says when in doubt, take the points. I disagree). That means I'm taking a bunch of road favorites, violating one of the cardinal rules of NFL gambling. No one ever said these picks had to make sense.

Houston (-3) over ATLANTA - The Texans (3-0 ATS) still aren't getting respect from Vegas. I'm a little concerned that this might be a WTF line.

Green Bay (-2) over MINNESOTA - I'll keep riding teams who are undefeated ATS until it comes back to bite me. (You hear me? NO COMEUPPANCE!)

Seattle (-2) over SAN FRANCISCO - The Seahawks should be able to handle the anemic 49ers offense, especially with Vernon Davis out indefinitely.

NY Jets (-4) over BUFFALO - The Bills average 200 yds of offense a game, give up 458 yds, and lose the time of possession battle by 10 minutes a game. They suck.

Baltimore (-4.5) over CLEVELAND - The Browns are still getting some love for that win against the Bengals, but the Ravens are finally starting to find a bit of a groove this season. Fair warning: Baltimore is 0-3 ATS. Like I said, consistency isn't my strong suit.
blahbhblahblahblah This man represents Brien and Jeremy

Jeremy and Magic 8 Ball (both 7-5-3)

New England (-7) over CINCINNATI - Yeah, the Bengals defense isn't exactly going to contain the Pats enough to make it close... and check out the over/under!

SAN DIEGO (-11.5) over Kansas City - This is a HUGE spread that kind of scares me, but the Chiefs will be just the right medicine for an ailing Chargers offense (despite Norville).

Green Bay (-2) over MINNESOTA - The Packers offense is on a roll and the Vikings D won't be able to make up for their deplorable offense.

DETROIT (+3) over Chicago - I'd like an extra point on this one, but I don't see Brian Griese making up that big of a difference on a Lions offense that ran into a buzzsaw in Philly last week.

Seattle (-2) over SAN FRANCISCO - A line this small is like picking the Seahawks straight up, and even with a nicked up Alexander the Seahawks should get this win easily.

Magic 8 Ball Picks:

CINCINNATI (+7) over New England - "My sources say yes." [Bengals beating spread]

Kansas City (+11.5) over SAN DIEGO - "Don't count on it." [Chargers beating spread]

Green Bay (-2) over MINNESOTA - "Don't count on it." [Vikings beating spread]

Chicago (-3) over DETROIT - "My answer is no." [Lions beating spread]

Seattle (-2) over SAN FRANCISCO - "No." [49ers beating spread]

J-Red (6-10-1)

[Stop reading here if you are actually betting hard-earned money. Russell and I have proven that we have no clue this season.]

Pittsburgh (-6) over ARIZONA - Peter King is right. Kurt Warner looked so good against the Ravens because they went hurry-up (as every AFC North team knows to do. Thanks Whisenhunt, you ass). I am seriously concerned about a sympathy for the old coach - shut it down too early - back door cover.

DETROIT (+3) over Chicago - If you like a home underdog to win outright, ride it hard.

MINNESOTA (+2) over Green Bay - Vegas, why the hell would I take a Minnesota team that is devastated by injuries, shitty besides, and run by a shitty coach and a shitty owner? Because I'm on to your little WTF game.

INDIANAPOLIS (-9.5) over Denver - Jay Cutler in a shootout. Should be a fun day to play DB for Indy.

DALLAS (-12) over St. Louis - Wade Phillips is the most energetic coach in football. Read that again. He got his second (third, actually) shot at being a head coach and he's showing off what he learned. Translated, that means no mercy on a very bad St. Louis defense.

BONUS PICK - Bye 28, Redskins 24. The Skins will blow a 24-0 fourth quarter lead, even without that clutch comeback cowboy Eli Manning leading the charge.

blbljlahblahblahblah This man represents Russell and J-Red

Russell (3-11-1)

After a miserable start, am I embarassed? Yes. Discouraged? Yes. Ready to give up? No.

CLEVELAND (+4.5) over Baltimore - Cleveland has covered two weeks in a row and played well.

Green Bay (-2) over MINNESOTA - This looks like a WTF line, but the Pack are much better.

Seattle (-2) over SAN FRANCISCO - The 49ers are still a year or two away from really competing for this division.

ARIZONA (+6) over Pittsburgh - The Cards have kept every game very close this year, and their two top coaches were snubbed by the Steelers front office. They'll have a little something extra waiting in the desert. Consider AZ to win.

Kansas City (+11.5) over SAN DIEGO - This spread only reflects respect for last year's SD team. We'll see if that team shows up for the first time this year.


Brien - BAL, GB, HOU, NYJ, SEA
Jeremy - DET, GB, NE, SD, SEA
Magic 8 Ball - CHI, CIN, GB, KC, SEA
Russell - ARI, CLE, GB, KC, SEA

(Bolded picks are consensus picks. Italics indicate dissent.)

September 26, 2007

Michael Vick - Stupider and Stupider

So while out on bond pending sentencing, word today is that Michael Vick has tested positive for marijuana. Judge Hudson placed Vick on curfew from 10pm - 6am with electronic monitoring and random urinalysis. Vick is really lucky that he didn't get 24-hour home detention pending sentencing. I don't have much time to talk about this, nor do I think it really warrants that much discussion. But Vick seems to be doing everything he can do to cause Hudson to go above the Guidelines of 12-18 months and sentence him to more jail time. Nothing, and I mean nothing, pisses a judge off more than a Defendant who blows bond like that, especially with full knowledge that you're being supervised, and with full knowledge that you need to be on your best behavior pending sentencing. That Vick family must have lived under power lines in Newport News.

I'm Matt Stover

Bonds' Home Run Ball to be Branded

Following a two week voting period, the results are in, and fans have chosen for the home run ball that broke Hank Aaron's record to be branded with an asterisk and then sent to Cooperstown. I was one of the many that voted for the asterisk, and I hope that everyone will realize that cheating is not a respectable approach. While no one has proven that Bonds took steroids knowingly, I think it's obvious that he did, and I don't think his ball deserves to be next to Hank's without some sort of asterisk.

That having been said, even though Big Mac has not made the Hall, I think Barry should be a first ballot HOF inductee. His Gold Gloves, MVP's, and 40-40 performances all show how great he was before steroids. Even without the drugs, I think he could have reached 600 HR and could have been revered as one of the greatest players ever.
Final results here

Story here

September 25, 2007

Chipper Jones Poised to Win Batting Title

Chipper Jones has been a great, under-the-radar player for a long time. This year, even though he's not in the MVP discussion, there are a few numbers that deserve being noted and appreciated.

In his 13th year with the Braves, he is 1st in batting average (.341), 1st in OPS (1.033), 3rd in slugging, and 2nd in OBP (.428) (all stats in the NL). Much of this year, he hit with Andruw Jones behind him, hitting about .200 most of the year. In spite of missing a few games to injury, he is 2 RBI's from a 100 run, 100 RBI season. He's also the only player with that high a slugging percentage to have fewer K's than walks (so he's not just swinging for the fences).

Even though most people don't know, he won the NL MVP in '99 and is a career .307 hitter. I think Chipper will deserve serious consideration for the Hall of Fame whenever he decides to retire, even though his stats reflect his lack of steriods in the steroids era, at least as far as I can tell.

In other baseball news, the Nats spoiled another one for the Mets in spite of giving up 6 in the 9th, and the Braves could be two games out of the wild card with Smoltz and Hudson pitching the next two days against the Phillies. I am happy to root for the Braves against the Phillies and the Mets.

Surry County Prosecutor to Seek State Charges Against Vick

[UPDATE: A Surry County grand jury has indicted Vick on two charges - financing a dogfighting operation and illegally killing dogs. Additional charges could be added once witnesses leave federal protection. Both charges are basically self-proven by Vick's plea agreement in federal court. He'd have to attack his own plea deal to attack his statements in support of it, and that ain't happening.]

As first reported here on August 20th, Surry County Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald Poindexter is seeking an indictment against Michael Vick for various charges stemming from his dogfighting operations on property located within that county.

Humorously enough, ESPN and CNNSI are reporting that Vick faces "county charges". No, they're state charges. If found guilty, he'd go to state pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

blahblahblah Surry County Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald Poindexter

Oh, and you know all those admissions he made in connection with his federal plea? Those can be used against him in state court. The sentences will not overlap. The federal crime is totally separate from the state crime since the two are "dual sovereigns".

Let's recap how exactly right this blog has been about the Vick situation since it first broke:

5-15-07 : J-Red applauds Gerald Poindexter's handling of the case in light of the Duke Lacrosse fiasco

5-25-07 : J-Red defends Gerald Poindexter against slander by accusing him of being on the take, lazy, or stupid

6-08-07 : J-Red explains how the federal prosecution complicates the state's job (Note: I thought the Feds were in it for media coverage and distraction value, not to actually prosecute the case. My bad.)

7-23-07 : Jeremy predicts Vick's "stay away from training camp" orders mean that he's gone for 2007 and probably 2008.

7-26-07 : J-Red reports that word of a superseding indictment coming against Vick indicates that one of the co-defendants has flipped.

7-31-07 : Jeremy discusses the difference between jail time and the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement
8-14-07 : J-Red reports that the other two co-defendants are flipping, adding that Vick "is now certain to get jail time"

8-17-07 : J-Red ponders whether Vick should enter a plea or not, and frets about the racial implications of pleading guilty and looking railroaded. Though I was ridiculed at the time, ESPN will air a town meeting called "The Vick Divide" tonight. They will pretty much argue over exactly what I said they'd argue about. Also note this article on BET's website from August 20, interesting titled the same as mine and interestingly mimicking my exact argument.

8-20-07 : J-Red reports on his conversation with Gerald Poindexter, directly refuting Len Pasquarelli's report that the state charges were holding up Vick's plea. J-Red also reports that Poindexter will seek an indictment.

8-26-07 : Jeremy gives an accurate portrayal of the procedure used for Vick to enter his plea agreement.

That's some pretty good news and comment. I'd put that record up against any other news source on the internet, including the AP, ESPN and CNNSI.

Vegas (Hearts) ECB

Week 3 ATS pick results. Clearly, on Brien had the right idea of looking only at records against the spread the first two weeks. Who knows? Maybe it'll work in Week 4 too.

Jeremy: (1-2-2) BUF, CAR, IND, MIN, WAS
Magic 8 Ball: (2-1-2) CAR, IND, MIN, NE, WAS
Russell: (0-4-1) DEN, DET, IND, OAK, WAS
Brien: (4-1-0) DAL, GB, OAK, TB, TEN
J-Red: (0-4-1) BUF, DET, IND, OAK, SF

Brien: 8-7-0
Jeremy: 7-5-3
Magic 8 Ball: 7-5-3
J-Red: 6-10-1
Russell: 3-11-1

Week 5 CFB Picks

This week there are only two games between ranked teams, which I am obliged to pick. The rest are interesting matchups, but this probably won't be the best Saturday of football you've ever seen.

SOUTH FLORIDA (+7) over West Virginia: The big Friday night showdown will be decided by whether USF can slow down White, Slaton, Devine, and Reynaud. I'm going out on a limb and calling for the upset. Definitely not the conservative pick, but I think the emotion and the crowd will help USF get it done.

California (+4.5) over OREGON: Cal is more experienced in big games like this, and wins a close shootout. Big game for status as main challenger to USC.

The best of the rest:

Alabama (+3) over FLORIDA STATE: Memories of five years ago are the only thing keeping FSU a favorite here. I think Alabama is much better and might even win by double digits.

Mississippi (+15) over GEORGIA: UGA is a little flat after the big win over Alabama, and doesn't have the offense to justify a spread like this anyway. Ole Miss looked very respectable against Florida last week, and could take Georgia to the wire.

Penn State (-3) over ILLINOIS: Morelli will bounce back this week, and the Penn St. D will dominate the Illini.

Clemson (-3) over GA TECH: People still think the ND and Samford wins were impressive. Clemson has actually beaten some decent teams this year.

Maryland (+14.5) over RUTGERS: We always play better against traditional offenses, and I think we can bottle up Ray Rice for a good chunk of the game. I'm still not expecting a W.

Last week: (5-5-0)
Season: (12-9-0)

September 24, 2007

I Never Thought I Would Say I Agree with Milton Bradley

For those of you who have been under a rock for the past two days (or just immersed in the NFL), you missed an incident in San Diego on Sunday. Here's the quick rundown...

Milton Bradley is called out on strikes. He lingers at the plate staring into the air, clearly disagreeing with the call. He finally flips his bat in the air and walks back to the dugout. Next time up at bat, the home plate umpire asks Bradley if Bradley had flipped his bat at the umpire after the strikeout. Bradley responds that he had not. The home plate umpire tells Bradley that the first base umpire told him that Bradley had flipped the bat at him. Bradley then singles. Bradley gets to first base, and asks the first base umpire, Mike Winters, if he had told the home plate umpire that Bradley had thrown the bat at him. Winters replied that he had done so. Bradley told him he had no business inferring that. At that point, conversation ceases, fan in the stands yells that Mike Winters sucks, or something to that effect. Bradley points to the fan and nods affirmatively. At this point Mike Winters says something highly inflammatory, according to the Padres' first base coach. Bradley, who we all know has a short fuse (and who Winters surely knows has a short fuse) absolutely loses it to the point of having to be restrained by his manager. In the process, Bradley tears his ACL and is out for the season and the playoffs, a crippling blow to the Padres.

Don't get me wrong... the officials in professional sports who engage in such shitty behavior or make such horrible calls and need to be reprimanded are in the distinct minority. For every crappy official, there are five good ones. But there are also five good ones in the minor leagues, in the NBDL, in the NCAA, or elsewhere, who should take the spot of that crappy one in the pros.

Hi, I'm Mike Winters. I enjoy long power trips and baiting players into flipping out so I can eject them. It's fun. And now the rest of my crew is going to cover my ass so nothing will happen to me!

Bottom line is that Mike Winters should be suspended for the remainder of the season, and into next season. He should not be allowed to work any postseason games. What he did is inexcusable. Umpires and officials are supposed to take control of the situation. They are never supposed to engage in behavior that causes the situation to spiral out of control. Especially here, where it appears that Winters intentionally provoked Bradley. Bradley compares this situation to that of Joey Crawford taunting Tim Duncan and being suspended for that. I wholeheartedly agree. Officials need to be held accountable, most especially for unprofessional behavior such as what we saw in San Diego on Sunday. I would also say that officials need to be held accountable when they make truly deplorable calls (i.e. Rich Garcia in Yankee Stadium in October 1996), but I worry that this makes them gun-shy in pressure situations. There may be a balance that can be drawn there when a call is objectively blown under any stretch of the imagination.

But Mike Winters needs to be gone. And any official in any sport who would dare to engage in any similar behavior need to be gone as well. It's easy to go on a power trip when you're in charge. I hope Selig grows a pair and disciplines the right person in this situation, because I'm sure Bradley will be facing a suspension whenever he heals from his injury.

And sorry for my prolonged leave of absence. Private sector lawyering demands a lot more hours than public service. Glad to see brother Russell stepping it up though!