November 21, 2009

College Football Picks - Week 12

Another relatively boring week of a college football season that has seemed lacking in excitement through most of the meat of the schedule. Most of the big games happened a month ago, and most conferences are just waiting for the championship week. There just aren't that many consistently good teams this year, making it very rare to see games between two such teams. Anyway, on to the picks.

ARIZONA (+6) over Oregon - I would take the Ducks by this spread and more at Autzen, but they haven't been great on the road. Arizona is good enough to win this game.

OLE MISS (-4.5) over Lsu - The Rebels are finally looking like the team everyone expected to see this year.

NOTRE DAME (-6) over UConn - The Irish will find a way to win Charlie Weis' last home game, before getting crushed by Stanford on the road.

Yep, that's it. That's just how many good games there are this week. Don't believe me? Count the number of single digits spreads there between teams with winning records...

Last Week: 3-3
Season: 37-40-1

November 20, 2009

NFL Picks - Week 11

This post is sponsored by, our favorite online sportsbook.

Back to a full slate of games this week after the bye weeks end. By this point in the season, we feel like we know just enough about all the teams so that we get ourselves into trouble with these picks.

Brien (23-26-1)
I should have known the Broncos-Redskins game last week was a classic WTF line.

Cincinnati (-9.5) over OAKLAND - I'm a believer in the Bengals, finally.

Arizona (-9) over ST. LOUIS - The Cardinals take care of business against terrible teams.

MINNESOTA (-10.5) over Seattle - I hope this isn't the week Favre starts his collapse.

San Diego (-3) over DENVER - Two teams headed in opposite directions

GREEN BAY (-6.5) over San Francisco - OK, so maybe the Packers are pretty decent

Jason (25-25-0)

A 5-0 week really helps get things back on track.

DETROIT (-3.5) over Cleveland - Both of these teams are quite bad, but Cleveland is the only one of the two who has given up completely.

NY GIANTS (-6.5) over Atlanta - The Giants are coming off their bye, which means Eli's foot is as good as it's going to get.

Arizona (-9) over ST. LOUIS - There are no moral victories in football. Arizona will take St. Louis seriously after they scared the Saints.

New Orleans (-11) over TAMPA BAY - Likewise, New Orleans will take Tampa seriously.

San Diego (-3) over DENVER - Chris Simms?

Jeremy (20-30-0)
Resigned to not making it back to .500 on the season.

Indianapolis (-1) over BALTIMORE - Yes, the Ravens D looked excellent on Monday night, but is this a trap line or something?

Washington (+11) over DALLAS - I've been burnt all season long betting the 'Skins, but the 'Skins have now played six consecutive quarters of excellent football. Miles Austin vs. Redskins secondary scares me, though.

TAMPA BAY (+11) over New Orleans - The Bucs have been playing significantly better since Josh Freeman took the reins and the Saints played way down to the level of competition last week.

San Diego (-3) over DENVER - "Free Fallin'" is going to be the official anthem of the last 10 games of the Broncos season. Anybody remember last year's 6-2 Redskins? Exactly...

Cincinnati (-9.5) over OAKLAND - The Raiders defense is stout, but I'm going to assume that the Raiders put up 10 points or less, making it an easy decision that the Bengals can score 20 or more.

Magic 8 Ball (21-29-0)

Indianapolis (-1) over BALTIMORE - "No." (Ravens won't beat the spread)
Washington (+11) over DALLAS - "My answer is no." (Cowboys won't beat the spread)
New Orleans (-11) over TAMPA BAY - "No." (Bucs won't beat the spread)
DENVER (-3) over San Diego - "Signs point to yes." (Broncos will beat the spread)
OAKLAND (+9.5) over Cincinnati - "Signs point to yes." (Raiders will beat the spread)

Russell (24-25-1)
So first place only lasted a week, but at least I didn't go 0-5 to beat myself.

Pittsburgh (-10) over KANSAS CITY - The Chiefs' wins are over the Skins and the Raiders, neither of which occurred at home.

Arizona (-9) over ST LOUIS - I don't think the Rams can play well against 2 good teams in a row.

San Diego (-3) over DENVER - I wanted to pick this the other way, but just couldn't find a single reason to do so other than the WTF line.

DETROIT (-3.5) over Cleveland - A terrible offense on a short week going on the road...

NY GIANTS (-6.5) over Atlanta - The G-Men stop their free fall, benefiting from a bye and an injured Michael Turner.

Brien: CIN, ARI, MIN, SD, GB
Jason: ARI, DET, NO, NYG, SD
Jeremy: CIN, IND, SD, TB, WAS
Russell: ARI, DET, NYG, PIT, SD

November 18, 2009

Classic Postgame Presser

This care of ECB reader Jim, a loyal reader since Day 1 of ECB, a law school buddy of mine, a long-suffering St. Louis Cardinals (football) and Rams fan, and an alum of Miami University...

We have an early candidate for postgame presser of the year folks! Take a look at Miami Head Coach Charlie Coles field a question from a Lexington sportswriter after the Kentucky-Miami game on Monday night seeking a response as to how unranked and underdog Miami "let the game get away" to fourth-ranked Kentucky, home of the present "Jesus in Nikes" John Wall...

Let's see...

Thick Southern drawl... check.
Incredulous facial expressions... check.
Calling out the opposing head coach... check.
Sarcasm level of 12 on scale of 1 to 10... check.
Certain ramblings making no sense... check.
Mocking newspaper writer for a stupid question... check.
Proving a point... check.

If Coors Light opened up their commercials to coaches of other sports, I think we'd have a candidate for a great commercial here.

November 17, 2009


About ten thousand times during the last Maryland basketball game, Comcast SportsNet played a commercial about sportsmanship sponsored by the “Foundation for a Better Life.”

You can watch the video above, but the gist of it is that a basketball player tips a ball as it goes out of bounds, but the ref doesn’t see it.  During the time out, the player tells his coach that he tipped the ball and then goes to tell the referee.  The tag line is “Sportsmanship - Pass It On.”

Is that not the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard?  Are you not appalled that some stupid ethical foundation would suggest such a thing?  Would you not punch your teammate in the face for merely suggesting such an idea?

Here’s the thing: the rules of basketball are founded on the idea that referees call the game how they see it.  Players have no role in calling the game.  I don’t even think an official would reverse a call in the example shown above.  It’s just ridiculous to suggest that players should make calls against themselves in a game with referees. 

Someone who would tell a referee that he tipped the ball would also probably do a lot of other stupid things:

  1. Turn himself into the police for speeding
  2. Tell his girlfriend whenever he has lewd thoughts about another woman
  3. Submit an amended tax return because he forgot to claim the $10 check his grandmother sent for his birthday as income
  4. Diligently repay all money taken from the “Take a Penny” dish

This “Foundation for a Better Life” is apparently a group that creates ads for behavioral values it wants to see advanced.  It is entirely funded by some oil tycoon’s kid - I was shocked to find out that there was no oddball religious backing.  Most of the ads are pointless and silly, but not actively stupid like the sportsmanship one.

Good sportsmanship is losing gracefully, not trying to make sure that no bad calls go in your favor.

November 15, 2009

Belichick Pays Manning Enormous Compliment, Slights Own D

With 2:08 remaining in the 4th quarter, up 6, 34-28, Bill Belichick decided to go for it on 4th and 2. Thanks to a bobble, Kevin Faulk's reception was spotted short of the marker. Without any time outs, New England could not challenge and Peyton Manning was a mere 30 yards away from winning the game with a full 2:00 left and a time out. Obviously, the Colts won.

Some might say that Belichick's decision to go for it reflects his arrogance, but I think he made the right move. His defense was gassed, and he simply KNEW Manning would take the Colts down the field with two full minutes. He could not risk giving the ball back, and the Patriots short passing game is the most reliable in football. If Faulk makes a clean catch, the Patriots kneel and win. He didn't, and Belichick was made to look the fool.

Belichick did the equivalent of walking Alex Rodriguez with the bases loaded in a two-run game. No quarterback has inspired such legitimate fear. The only real question is whether the disrespect he showed his own defense will have repercussions for the remainder of the season. He essentially told his team that they could not stop Manning, especially with no time outs to change personnel.

And Bill, next time leave your headset on until after you fail to block the extra point or run the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown. Don't send the message that all hope is lost with 13 seconds left down a point.

NFL's Most Annoying Fans - NFC North

This is the fifth in a running feature at ECB. We'll be rating NFL Fanbases by annoyingness and picking a winner for each division. After that, we'll select wild card teams, and have ourselves a little playoff. If you have suggestions for upcoming divisions or wildcard selections, send them to [email protected]. So far we have given you the AFC West, the NFC West, the AFC South, the NFC South, and the AFC North. Who will join the Raiders, Cardinals, Jaguars, Panthers, and Ravens fans as the most annoying fans in their division? This week we present the NFC North.

Green Bay Packers

Quick Reaction:

Let's see... borderline morbidly obese... check... wearing a tacky gimmick to prove how much of a fan you are... check... booing wildly the quarterback who ached and bled and fought for you for years and brought you back to relevance... check. Now for the things in Packers fans favor... they come out and fill Lambeau for EVERY home game in the most wicked weather conditions in the NFL, they've made the gameday experience at Lambeau one of the "can't-miss" events to attend for any sports fan, and they actually own part of the team.

Detroit Lions

Quick Reaction:

If the task of these posts was to grade Lions fans, I think they'd at best get an Incomplete right now. That said, I post the above video for your enjoyment. Who doesn't love a drunk girl at a football game getting cuffed by the cops and dragged off sobbing after she tries wildly to throw a haymaker at somebody else in her section?

Chicago Bears:

Quick Reaction:

Chicago lives and breathes by the Bears as they say goodbye to beautiful Chicago late summer weather and bear down for the horrible winter ahead. Their fans have stuck with the team through the woeful post-Super Bowl shuffle years through the horrible 90s. Cade McNown, Rashaan Salaam, Curtis Enis... the Bears drafts of the 90s almost make me feel like the Redskins made good decisions. Almost. They have fans in every city and town but they don't permeate and multiply and feel the need to make themselves immediately apparent, like Steelers fans.

Minnesota Vikings:

Quick Reaction:
Outside of Minnesota, nobody really hears about Vikings fans. We see them dressed up in their horrible costumes to attend games, but they have little to no reputation around the league in any particular direction (annoying or not). They are coddled by the Metrodome and don't have to attend games in the brutal Minneapolis winter, that much is clear. Vikings fans are just kind of there. They don't arouse really any sort of reaction from anybody.

The Big Winner:
Congratulations Cheeseheads... in what I'm sure will be a controversial selection, you are the most annoying fanbase in the NFC North. You own the team and you come out in droves and you make Lambeau Field great. But your persistent need to not only be great fans of your team but to let everybody else in the world know just what great fans you are makes you the most annoying fans in the NFC North. Oh, and boo Ted Thompson, not Brett Favre next time.

Coming up in the next two weeks... the divisions many people have been waiting for... the AFC East and NFC East (I have to recuse from the NFC East selection but arguably the four fanbases in the NFC East would rank 1 through 4 if you had to rank all teams in level of fanbase annoyingness)