Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Turkey Day Weekend NFL Posting

Thanksgiving is here, time for excessive consumption of food and football:

Packers vs. Lions

An NFC North battle with first place on the line, even if neither of these teams are good at this moment. The Rodgers replacement QB cycle has gone from can't throw (Wallace) to can't throw with any accuracy (Tolzien) to competent (Flynn).

The Lions have had a golden opportunity to take control of the division with the Packers & Bears faltering over the last month and they have done nothing with it. Even though I still don't feel good about the Packers, I have a feeling that the Lions will commit enough boneheaded mistakes and that Flynn will do enough to make it a happy turkey day.

Packers 24 Lions 20

Raiders vs. Cowboys

The Raiders were seconds away from grabbing the 6 seed in the AFC. The Cowboys actually came through in the clutch as Romo led them to a last second victory. In this game, the main interest is at the Fantasy level. Since Kansas City's defense has stopped helping my team ever since they starting playing good QBs (Manning and Rivers) and they play Denver again on Sunday, I scoured the waiver wire looking for a defense with a favorable match up.

This led me to picking up Dallas' defense for a one week trial basis. Granted, McGlonin has shown signs of competency but the Raiders haven't exactly lit up the scoreboard even against mediocre competition.

Cowboys 35 Raiders 17

Steelers vs. Ravens

What is traditionally a strong match up has been reduced to a battle of two of the six teams in the AFC that are currently sitting at 5-6. These teams are the first two in line to grab the 6 seed in the event that the Titans lose. I'm not sold on either team but my gut says the Steelers extend their winning streak to 4 in this one.

Steelers 28 Ravens 20

Buccaneers vs. Panthers

The Buccaneers deserve credit for playing better lately but at this point they are only playing for pride. The Panthers have won seven in a row as Cam Newton has broken through and been one of the more consistent performers on Zeplen's team. I also got Vincent Jackson starting this week so this is definitely one of the games where the more points scored...the better.

Panthers 38 Buccaneers 27

Jaguars vs. Browns

The Jaguars may be horrible but they deserve credit for putting up a fight and staying away from the 0-16 neighborhood that they seem destined to. I think the Browns are a team that they are capable of beating.

Jaguars 17 Browns 10

Titans vs. Colts

If the playoffs were to start today, this would be one of the AFC Wild Card Match Ups. Part of me doesn't want to pick the Colts as they've gone through a rash of inexplicable losses and even had to dig themselves out of a hole against the Titans. The other part of me doesn't want to pick the Titans because they are starting Ryan Fitzpatrick. That's enough for me to pick the Colts.

Colts 24 Titans 17

Bears vs. Vikings

The Bears (along with the Lions) have failed to take advantage of the NFC North created by Aaron Rodgers' mustache and broken clavicle. On paper, the Bears should win this one easily but this feels like one of those games that they find a way to not win.

Vikings 21 Bears 20

Dolphins vs. Jets

A battle of two teams that are both a colossal train wrecks but inexplicably still have legitimate playoff hopes. Since the Jets have broken their win-loss-win-loss cycle, this can't be used to pick for or against them. Going with the Dolphins since I think Tannehill will have a better game than Geno Smith.

Dolphins 21 Jets 14

Cardinals vs. Eagles

A battle of two teams while playing strongly lately, are on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs. The Cardinals offense has started to come around to complement what was already a strong offense. The Eagles have found a nice groove for now between Nick Foles and Chip Kelly's offense. A case could be made for either team to win but the fact that the Cardinals have a much stronger defense puts them over the top here.

Cardinals 31 Eagles 20

Patriots vs. Texans

Yeah, the Patriots should be careful to not overlook their next opponent after a thrilling comeback victory. But since they're playing the Texas they should be fine even if they don't bring their A game.

Patriots 35 Texans 24

Falcons vs. Bills

Congratulations to the Atlanta Falcons who are the only team to get mathematically eliminated from the Playoffs before thanksgiving. The Bills may be mathematically alive but being the 14th ranked team in the AFC, its only a matter of time before they too are eliminated.

Bills 21 Falcons 10

Rams vs. 49ers

The Rams are a tough team to figure out. They give off the vibe of being a terrible team but have managed to score some nice wins as they begin to utilize Tavon Austin. They have given the 49ers trouble over the last couple of years and just because they beat the Redskins doesn't mean they've figured things out. Things could begin to get dicier for the 49ers going forward.

Rams 31 49ers 17

Broncos vs. Chiefs

The battle for AFC West supremacy here. The Chiefs got off to a nice start (along with their defense) and then their schedule got difficult. Look for a nice bounce back from Peyton Manning in this one.

Broncos 42 Chiefs 21

Bengals vs. Chargers

The Bengals are hoping to sneak into the #3 seed while the Chargers are just trying to sneak in period. Rivers and the Chargers seem poised for a late season surge and the Bengals got them at the wrong time.

Chargers 38 Bengals 24

Giants vs. Redskins

I'm surprised this didn't get flexed out of the NBC game. With Eli Manning going up against RGIII expect to see plenty of sloppy QB play.

Giants 21 Redskins 10

Saints vs. Seahawks

A Monday night match up that is compelling and could be crucial to whether Zeplen's team goes to 7-6 as I have both Pierre Thomas and Jimmy Graham starting. This could be a possible NFC Championship game preview as these teams are currently the top two seeds in the NFC. Going with the Seahawks here mainly due to the home field advantage.

Seahawks 35 Saints 28

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

College Football Turkey Day Weekend Preview

With the short week, we're condensing the Weekday & Weekend College Football action into one post.

Western Michigan vs.  (14) Northern Illinois

The third consecutive mid-week game for Northern Illinois. Over the last couple weeks two of the league's better teams (Toledo & Ball State) gave them their best shot but fell well short. If they can't do it, a Western Michigan team that barely beat UMass for their only win ain't getting it done.

Northern Illinois 56 Western Michigan 10

Oregon State vs. (13) Oregon

The yearly Civil War that has a lot less at stake with Oregon's struggles over the last few weeks. Oregon has effectively played their way out of  a chance to win the Pac 12 while Oregon State is going to a low-level bowl game regardless of the results. Personally, I think Oregon may be going through the motions and is highly vulnerable to an upset.

Oregon State 49 Oregon 35

(16) Fresno State vs. San Jose State

San Jose State is basically playing out the string to end a very disappointing season while Fresno State still has high aspirations to play in a BCS bowl game. In theory Fresno State should be getting the best shot from their opponents but they have enough struggles holding their opposition to 55 or less.

Fresno State 63 San Jose State 34

Arkansas vs. (17) LSU

Last year, Brett Bielema left Wisconsin out of the blue for the SEC and Arkansas. He has yet to win a conference game while Wisconsin is rolling on to another solid season. They do not get their first SEC win in this one.

LSU 49 Arkansas 10

South Florida vs. (19) UCF

Even by the low standards of the American Athletic Conference, South Florida is not very good (even though they did somehow beat Cincinnati). Don't count on them getting another upset against UCF.

UCF 42 South Florida 14

(1) Alabama vs. (4) Auburn

In the state of Alabama, this is already the game of the year. In college football, this very well could be the game of the year. I think Auburn somehow pulls off the win here and throws all of College Football into a state of chaos and anarchy. This will be an Iron Bowl for the ages.

Auburn 42 Alabama 39 (2 OT)

(2) Florida State vs. Florida

One thing I don't like is how some schools (SEC) cough cough sorta game the system by paying an FCS school to take a beating towards the end of the year. When a team like Georgia Southern takes the money, not only wins (like they did against Florida) but do so WITHOUT COMPLETING A PASS....its not funny, its hilarious. Unless your a Florida State fan, there will be nothing hilarious or even exciting about this game.

Florida State 70 Florida 21

(3) Ohio State vs. Michigan

Another rivalry game that has reduced luster due to the mediocrity of one of the teams involved (Michigan). Ohio State definitely has plenty to play for in the event my Auburn vs. Alabama pick comes true.

Ohio State 35 Michigan 0

(21) Texas A & M vs. (5) Missouri

A battle of ex-Big 12 teams who joined the SEC and no one thought they would be good because they weren't dominant in the Big 12 and then they joined the SEC and they actually turned out to be good. In what could be Manziel's last SEC game, don't expect him to go out a winner. Missouri has the much better team and an outside chance to be more than a top-5 team if things break right this weekend.

Missouri 56 Texas A & M 35

(6) Clemson vs. (10) South Carolina

A battle between two very good teams with a penchant for losing games they shouldn't (historically) that is getting very little attention for a match up between two top 10 teams.

Clemson 42 South Carolina 28

(25) Notre Dame vs. (8) Stanford

This was a first round match up in the Mock 32. While Notre Dame has showed enough that they may be a consistently good team under Brian Kelly (if not necessarily a championship contender), Stanford just has the better team.

Stanford 27 Notre Dame 24

(9) Baylor vs. TCU

It turns out that Baylor can be stopped (along with their title aspirations). They also have a pretty terrible TCU team to take out all of their frustration on. This one isn't going to be pretty.

Baylor 77 TCU 10

Minnesota vs. (11) Michigan State

Minnesota showed that they have been a better team than usual this year (despite a loss to Wisconsin). I think Minnesota puts up a fight against Michigan State but fall short again in an attempt to upset a top-25 opponent. That still shouldn't take away from the progress their team made this year.

Michigan State 24 Minnesota 7

Arizona vs. (12) Arizona State

Not sure how to pick this one. On the one hand Arizona is coming off a blowout win over Oregon and proved themselves capable of betting top teams (such as Arizona State). On the other side of the coin, Arizona State is this close to playing in the PAC 12 title game and they don't strike me as a team that would take this for granted. Arizona State wins this one, but its not going to be easy.

Arizona State 56 Arizona 49

Penn State vs. (15) Wisconsin

Penn State has been a pretty average team this year and Wisconsin has beaten the teams they should beat and at least didn't embarrass themselves in the two games they lost. Wisconsin rolls to a win behind their loaded running attack.

Wisconsin 49 Penn State 21

(22) UCLA vs. (23) USC

Two teams located in the greater LA area and ranked very close to each other in the rankings, both getting there in opposite ways. UCLA got off to a nice start with the help of an easy early schedule but started to struggle once they competition level increased, USC was destined towards a train wreck 5-7 season before Lane Kiffin got fired in the parking lot at LAX. Even if Ed Orgeron does not get hired by USC, the job he has done will get him a head coaching gig somewhere.

USC 35 UCLA 24

(24) Duke vs. North Carolina

With this match up, you would almost expect Dick Vitale & Digger Phelps to be calling this game. In all seriousness, Duke's football team deserves a lot of credit for having their most successful season in a long time. All they have to do is win this game to earn the right to lose to Florida State in the ACC Championship game.

Duke 38 North Carolina 21

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Mock 32: 11/25 Edition

Time to see who would win a mock 32 team NCAA Football tournament if it were to start today. As usual, based off the AP Rankings.


16-Fresno State

25-Notre Dame


29-Ole Miss

13-Arizona State
22- UCLA



3-Ohio State

19-Texas A&M


11-Michigan State

7-Oklahoma State

10-South Carolina

2-Florida State

18-Northern Illinois

On to who I think would win these match ups.

Alabama over Minnesota - Minnesota probably would need to upset Michigan State to stay in field
Fresno State over UCF in non BCS league elimination game

Stanford over Notre Dame in match up that happens in real life Saturday
Baylor over Duke --Baylor's stock is down after loss to OSU but they would take care of business here

Auburn over Ole Miss in SEC Elimination Game
Arizona State over UCLA in rematch from Saturday

Missouri over Texas in what would have been Big 12 elimination game up until a couple years ago
Louisville over Oregon, first upset of first round

Arizona over Ohio State in first major shocker. Arizona took down Oregon...Pac 12 would have them more battle tested
Texas A & M over Wisconsin...I think Wisconsin has the better team but not Manziel

Cincinnati over Clemson...Clemsoning at its finest
Michigan State over UCLA..UCLA would offer little resistance

Oklahoma State over Georgia...OSU showing it has what it takes to ruin perfect seasons
USC over South Carolina..Battle of two teams w USC as acronym

Florida State over Nebraska..The Seat gets warmer for Bo Pellini
LSU over Northern Illinois..MACtion ends here

Now to the round of 16:

Alabama over Fresno State...No mid major upset here
Stanford over Baylor....Battle of two teams with crippling losses over last couple weeks

Auburn over Arizona State..ASU has made some great strides but their run ends here
Missouri over Louisville...Setting up SEC battle royal

Texas A & M over Arizona...Arizona got lucky with one favorable match up but not two
Michigan State over Cincinnati....Pretty one sided game

Oklahoma State over USC...Took most of the season but finally sold on the Cowboys
Florida State over LSU....Probably FSU's last win of tourney

The Elite Eight:

Alabama over Stanford....SEC Dominance Continues
Auburn over Missouri....Pretty close match up that could go either way

Michigan State over Texas A & M....It helps to play defense
Oklahoma State over Florida State....OSU w/formula to stop high powered offense

Final Four:

Auburn over Alabama...Iron Bowl II....The whole state of Alabama on edge with national title on the line
Oklahoma State over Michigan State....Leading to a final that no one would predict

This week's king of the hill of the Mock 32 stays in the state of Alabama but transfers over to Auburn who beats Oklahoma State in the final.....stay tuned as the results are likely to be different next week.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Week 12 of the NFL, here we come

With the Thursday night game out of the way, time to shift focus on to the rest of the weekend.

Ravens vs. Jets

This may not be a match up between two high quality teams. However, it is a game that commands our attention because this has implications on the last playoff seed in the AFC. If the playoffs were to start today the Jets win out on tiebreaker over the Dolphins at 5-5 with the Ravens being one of five teams at 4-6. If the Jets and Dolphins both lose this weekend we could be one step closer to a major tie breaker quagmire. However, since the Jets lost last weekend and are on the every other week plan, they'll probably mess this up and win on Sunday.

Jets 21 Ravens 10

Steelers vs. Browns

A battle between two of the aforementioned 4-6 cluster of teams in the AFC that only have playoff aspirations due to the Jets mediocrity. This is a game where i'm not high on either team and this game is likely to be poorly played but someone has to win. My pick is for that team to be the Steelers.

Steelers 28 Browns 14

Buccaneers vs Lions

The Buccaneers finally showed what they are capable of by handily beating the Falcons (with a major assist from Vincent Jackson who helped Zeplen's team improve to 6-5). Even though they're still terrible, i'm not quite sure i'm sold on the Lions winning games that they should. Despite a strong first half, I felt they played down to the level of their competition. My gut feeling is they're catching Tampa at the right time and they're not preparing adequately to win.

Buccaneers 31 Lions 28

Vikings vs. Packers

So, the Packers have turned into a Vikings caliber team. Both teams come into this game starting mediocre QBs but are either elite (Peterson) or surprisingly competent (Lacy) in the running game. For the Packers, this is a must win while the Vikings would like nothing more than to kick the Packers while they are down. Scott Tolzein has shown some flashes of brilliance and some decent arm strength but can't seem to keep way from the INTs. Until Rodgers comes back, I can't justify picking the Packers to win a game.

Vikings 35 Packers 14

Jaguars vs. Texans

If this was opposite world, were losses were wins this would be a potential match up for the AFC Championship game. As it stands, this game is a battle for 15th seed in the AFC and for top draft positioning. Everything about this game screams unwatchable.

Texans 13 Jaguars 7

Chargers vs. Chiefs

The Chargers have a chance to go to 5-6 and hope the Jets and Dolphins come back to join a giant cluster. In reality, this is another opportunity for the Chargers to stay close in a game but find a way to lose by 7 points or less.

Chiefs 27 Chargers 24

Panthers vs. Dolphins

The Panthers keep on rolling coming off a close win over the Niners and a controversial win over the Patriots. What hasn't been controversial is that Cam Newton has helped Zeplen's team stay in the playoff hunt especially after a strong showing on Monday. The Panthers seem to be my double down team of the week as I also picked up Brandon LaFell on the waiver wire this week. As for the Dolphins, i'm pretty sure nobody wants them to win a game at this point.

Panthers 38 Dolphins 10

Bears vs. Rams

The Bears are sitting at 6-4 and have a decent shot at the playoffs (even if they haven't been that impressive and are having to rely on  their backup who has been doing a surprisingly decent job. The Rams are in a battle with the Giants for the 11th seed in the NFC without the ability to benefit from a highly incompetent division. Neither of these teams are great but the Bears have more motivation to play for.

Bears 23 Rams 17

Colts vs. Cardinals

One of the more under-rated matchups of the weekend. The Cardinals under first year coach Bruce Arians (who served as interim coach of the Colts last year) brings a team that is fighting for the last spot that is being carried by a strong defense. Maybe if they gave Ellington the ball more, maybe that would help improve things on the offensive end (it keeps the ball out of Carson Palmer's hand).

The Colts are having a strong follow up to their playoff appearance last year (even if many people thought they would regress to average this year). Currently, they are battling New England & Cincinnati for playoff positioning to get the first week bye. While I think the Colts are the better team, I think the Cardinals find a way to pull this off as they have a higher sense of urgency.

Cardinals 24 Colts 14

Titans vs. Raiders

The only thing compelling about this is this gives both teams a chance to be in the 5-6 free for all in case the Jets lose. Not sure how relevant it is since both teams are likely going 7-9 in the best case scenario. Gonna go with the Titans on this one.

Titans 17 Raiders 10

Cowboys vs. Giants

Two teams that are only slightly better than the Titans and Raiders but have a lot more to play for due to the NFC East being absolutely terrible. Momentum seems to be on the Giants side as they've won four in a row and have a history of making out of nowhere runs. This is also the type of important game where the Cowboys come up short.

Giants 31 Cowboys 24

Broncos vs. Patriots

On to the Sunday Night match up. The Broncos are coming off a key win over the Chiefs and Tom Brady is coming off a loss to the Panthers and the refs from said game. My instinct is that Tom Brady channels that anger productively and makes this game more one sided than expected.

Patriots 45 Broncos 28

49ers vs. Redskins

Might as well be called the under-performing QB bowl. The 49ers are struggling to maintain playoff positioning. Not ideal, but at least they're not in self destruct mode like their opponenet.

49ers 21 Redskins 10

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Weekend College Football Preview 11/21

The weekend in College Football, lets see what we have in store:

The Citadel vs. (7) Clemson

This is the first of unfortunately several match ups this weekend between FCS teams getting paid to get trounced by top 25 team. If your gonna schedule a FCS team at least schedule one that could possibly put up a fight such as North Dakota State, not one that is floundering at 5-6. For what its worth The Citadel did beat Appalachian State in early October.

Clemson 63 The Citadel 0
Over before it starts

Memphis vs. (21) Louisville

Yeah, this game is likely to also be a rout but its not Louisville's fault that the Big East/American Athletic Conference turned into Conference USA V2.0 which has cupcake teams such as Memphis. Louisville wins this one easily.

Louisville 52 Memphis 21
One Sided

(25) Duke vs. Wake Forest

This is Duke's first weekend as a nationally ranked team in a very long time. They have been impressive in moving up from lucky to win a game to being a very competitive team. Wake Forest's best win came over Maryland this year. This should be a relatively easy win for Duke.

Duke 31 Wake Forest 14
Not the Best Game, Not the Worst

(22) Oklahoma vs. Kansas State

The first game of Saturday that could be compelling. Oklahoma while 8-2, hasn't been that impressive doing so. Kansas State had a rough start to their season but they have been playing well lately. Kansas State is better than their 6-4 record as they have played the best teams in the Big 12 (Oklahoma State & Baylor) pretty tough and have a record of beating teams that seem destined to fall out of the top 25 (Texas Tech). This could be Oklahoma's last weekend as a ranked team.

Kansas State 35 Oklahoma 28
Upset Special #1

 (13) Michigan State vs. Northwestern

It seems like only yesterday that Northwestern was 4-0 and fighting Ohio State to the wire. Its been all downhill since there and they have nothing to play for but pride. Michigan State needs to take care of business and work towards getting to the Big 10 Championship game and a possible BCS bowl appearance. I think Northwestern puts up a fight but falls short.

Michigan State 28 Northwestern 17
Better than Expected

Coastal Carolina vs. (12) South Carolina

At least South Carolina picked a good FCS (10-1) team to go up against. Maybe they put up a fight maybe not.

South Carolina 35 Coastal Carolina 0
One Sided

Chattanooga vs. (1) Alabama

The Chattanooga mocs are 8-3 and have zero chance to make that 9-3.

Alabama 56 Chattanooga 3

Idaho vs. (2) Florida State

At least Florida State picked a FBS cupcake to pick on. They beat Temple by 2 for their only win for what its worth

Florida State 70 Idaho 3

Indiana vs. (4) Ohio State

Yeah, we got ourselves another lopsided game. Can't blame Ohio State for this one and the Big 10 being down in general. Indiana's best win this year is against Penn State. Too bad for them that Ohio State is a much better opponent.

Ohio State 70 Indiana 17

(9) Texas A & M vs. (18) LSU

Finally got ourselves a good game after wading through the FCS/Idaho clunkers. Got ourselves a good QB battle between potential first round picks. Don't expect much in the way of defense and for LSU fans to be frustrated at getting their fourth loss of the season.

Texas A & M 56 LSU 42

(16) Wisconsin vs. Minnesota

The Battle of Paul Bunyan's axe is looking to be much more compelling than expected due to a Minnesota resurgence. While Minnesota has benefited from a pretty easy schedule (three best wins against Nebraska, Penn State & San Jose State), they next two weeks (vs. Wisconsin & Michigan State) will reveal whether they are better than usual or much, much better than usual. This is likely one of the better games of the afternoon but I don't see it resulting in an upset.

Wisconsin 42 Minnesota 31
Better than Expected

(5) Oregon vs. Arizona

Oregon continues working on the path of getting the Pac 12 championship and even more (if things somehow evolve into chaos over the next couple weeks. Arizona continues on the path of being the good bad team that can beat the bottom feeders but struggles immensely against the better teams.

Oregon 56 Arizona 28
One Sided Game

California vs. (10) Stanford

Yeah, this is one of the more historical rivalry games. This year, it just seems to be another game between an elite team versus a very awful team on what is basically one-sided Saturday. Cal's only win was a 7 point win over Portland State, I somehow don't see them getting win number 2 out of the blue.

Stanford 49 California 3
Great Rivalry, Not so Great Game

New Mexico vs. (15) Fresno State

New Mexico may not be great but they are capable of putting points on the board (even if they give them up at a much faster pace). Fresno State still has the chance to play in a BCS bowl game and everyone's trying to knock them down. If that happens its going to be to a better team.

Fresno State 56 New Mexico 35
Offense, Offense & More Offense

(19) Arizona State vs. (14) UCLA

A battle of two good but not great PAC-12 Teams that has major implications on who gets to go to the PAC-12 championship game. In the Mock 32 from Monday, this was the first round match up where I picked Arizona State, I stand by an Arizona State win on Saturday.

Arizona State 49 UCLA 42
One of Better Games of Week

(8) Missouri vs. (24) Ole Miss

While Ole Miss is a good team, I think that Missouri still comes away with the victory here as they have a higher incentive (SEC East lead and the right to lose to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game).

Missouri 42 Ole Miss 28
Closer than the final score indicates

(3) Baylor vs. (11) Oklahoma State

In what could amount to the BIG 12 game of the year (since the last one). As the season rolls on and Baylor is getting to and beating opponents that are capable of winning games, its looking more and more like Baylor is legitimately an elite team. Hopefully, they can win out catch a break and have a chance to show what they can do in the title game.

Baylor 56 Oklahoma State 21
Baylor dominance makes game not as good as hyped

(23) USC vs. Colorado

USC is coming off a huge win over Stanford. Typically, there would be the risk of having a letdown hangover game (sort of like what Stanford had in last weekends game) but that risk is lowered substantially as they get a Colorado team whos only conference win was over Cal.

USC 56 Colorado 21
One Sided

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Weeknight Football Preview 11-20

Getting caught up with this week's weeknight football action:

(20) Northern Illinois vs. Toledo

Another mid-week episode of MACtion and another week where Northern Illinois will have to hold their ground against a team that would like nothing more than to eliminate Northern Illinois' hope of playing in a high level bowl game.

Toledo is bringing in a pretty strong team to the Glass Bowl and I don't think they would be intimidated by things such as national ranking and undefeated record. Northern Illinois isn't even the best team they've faced all year (that honor goes to Missouri) and they aren't shy about lighting up the scoreboard (45+ points in four of their last five).

Ultimately, I think Toledo falls short but they make things very interesting in the process.

Northern Illinois 56 Toledo 45

Rutgers vs. (17) UCF

The other ranked weeknight action involves another team in a middling conference that still has legitimate hopes to play in one of the BCS bowl games. Unlike Toledo, Rutgers hasn't been that good of a team but if things fall right they could pull off a massive upset (they nearly took down Fresno State to start the season). Since UCF almost lost to Temple, I originally was going to pick Rutgers but they have been underwhelming lately and they themselves didn't exactly dominate Temple (winning 23-20).

UCF 35 Rutgers 17

Saints vs. Falcons

This match up looked MUCH more enticing when the season started (NFL Network can't be too happy with this one). With the Falcons floundering towards a top draft pick, my only incentive to pay attention is to see if Jimmy Graham will have a big game.

Saints 31 Falcons 10

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Do They Belong in the Hall: Lieber, Lo Duca, Loaiza, Maddux

And now,on to our continuing series of Do They Belong In the Hall

Jon Lieber:

In the movie Idiocracy, a very average man is set to be cryogenically frozen for a year only for it to be forgotten and to wake up 500 years in the future to find himself to be the smartest man in the universe. If they would have sent a baseball player instead, it may have been Jon Lieber and his 103 ERA+ and .514 winning percentage.

While he was always a solid contributor, he never really stood out (in either a good or bad way). Even the one year perceived to be good (2001 where he finished fourth in Cy Young Voting) had more to do with him stumbling into 20 wins than having one good season (109 ERA+, 5.7 SO/9).

A lot of his similar players are still active (Lohse, Arroyo, Haren) but none of them are in the hall of fame discussion.

Verdict: No

Paul Lo Duca:

Didn't start playing regularly until 29 when he had his best season .320/.374/.543. From there, he put up average production and somehow was an all-star on four separate occasions. On the similarity scores list, Yuniesky Betancourt ranks #10.

Verdict: No

Esteban Loaiza

A slightly worse version of Jon Lieber, a relatively average pitcher who managed to stick around for a good while. The only differences are in extremes. Loaiza had quite a few seasons where he was not very good. On the other side, he had one season (2003) where he was legitimately very good and came very close to being one of the more random Cy Young award winners in recent history. They also have the connecting link of having Kyle Lohse being the most similar pitcher to them career wise.

Verdict: No

Greg Maddux:

What is there to say that hasn't already been said about Greg Maddux. He was heads and shoulders the most dominant pitcher from about 1992-1998. While the record books were being re-written on the offensive side, all Maddux was doing was getting players out left and right.

By common sense measures, he should be voted in on all 100% of ballots but it will be more like 97%-98% since there are some hard core voters out there that think the vote should never be unanimous. On a side note, his brother Mike while not a hall of fame pitcher turned out to be one of the greatest pitching coaches of this generation.

By all measures available on Baseball-Reference, Maddux should have no problem getting into the hall of fame. Out of his 10 most similar pitchers, nine of them are already in the Hall of Fame and the 10th one should be (Clemens) at some point in the near future.

Verdict: Yes

Monday, November 18, 2013

11/18/13: The Mock 32 NCAA Tourney Football Style

Now, for the weekly feature of who would win the non-existent 32 team NCAA tourney based on current rankings.

Note: There were only six teams receiving additional votes in the AP Poll (i.e. 31 teams), Louisiana-Lafayette was the 32nd team in as they had the most "other receiving votes" amongst teams in the USA Today poll amongst teams that did not receive any votes in the AP poll.




9-Texas A & M
24- Ole Miss

4-Ohio State

13-Michigan State
20-Northern Illinois


12-South Carolina


19-Arizona State

27-Notre Dame

11-Oklahoma State



15-Fresno State

2-Florida State

Here's how I think it would go down:

Alabama over Lousiana-Lafayette...SEC Trumps Sun Belt
Wisconsin over UCF...I was higher on UCF...until they almost lost to Temple

Missouri over Duke....Duke can beat Miami but Missouri is much better
Texas A & M over Ole Miss....Setting up consecutive SEC matchups for A&M

Ohio State over Georgia...Ohio State still unproven after giving up 35 to Illini, but they at least advance here
Michigan State over Northern Illinois...pretty close match up but MSUs defense helps win this one

Oregon over Texas...Another Track meet win for Oregon
Louisville over South Carolina....Bridgewater further strengthens NFL draft stock in this one

Baylor over Cincinnati....Over before it starts
Arizona State over UCLA...Setting up a defense optional  second round game

Auburn over Notre Dame....At least Notre Dame was good enough to make the playoffs
Oklahoma over Oklahoma State....Bedlam V 2.0

Clemson over Minnesota....Minnesota is nice surprise but haven't had toughest schedule
USC over Stanford...USC may not be an elite team but they are peaking at right time and have winnable matchup

LSU over Fresno State....Fresno State could go further w right matchup, just not this one
Florida State over Nebraska....More competitive game, if this was the 90s

Round of 16:

Alabama over Wisconsin...#1 SEC Team  > #2 Big Ten Team
Texas A & M over Missouri...Johnny Football adds to his legend

Ohio State over Michigan State...In Possible rematch of Big 10 Title Game
Oregon over Louisville...Blink and you might miss some TDs

Baylor over Arizona State...The Baylor Offense Machine Rolls on
Auburn over Oklahoma....Setting up High Power Offense versus Redemption Season match up

USC over Clemson...Late Surge + Rematch of Victory + Clemsoning = Surprise Elite 8 Appearance
Florida State over LSU....I think media distractions from news around Winston may decrease focus and may lead to early just doesn't happen in this round

Elite 8:

Alabama over Texas A&M..Entertaining rematch of earlier this year...Johnny Football ends his career with a great game....the A& M Defense, not so much
Oregon over Ohio State...Ohio State's lack of conference competition catches up to them

Baylor over Auburn....The Baylor train keeps rolling
USC over Florida State....USC continues their unlikely run...distraction of news revolving around Winston catches up to them

Final 4:

Alabama over Oregon....Tide keeps rolling
Baylor over USC....Baylor's offense trumps USC post-Kiffin momentum train


Alabama over much as everyone would like the Alabama/SEC dynasty to end, the biggest threat to that happening (Florida State) gets stopped due to a perfect storm of circumstances. For Baylor, getting to the finals is still a breakthrough year since they have gone through several years of being an also-ran and have a springboard to maybe win their own title within the next few years.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Week 11 NFL, What to Expect

With the NFL season going into week 11, lets see what we can expect.

Jets vs. Bills

The Jets seem to be the only one of these two teams with something to play for. However, since they are coming off a good game against New Orleans that means its probably time for the bad Jets to show up.

Bills 28 Jets 20

Ravens vs. Bears

Both of these teams played some close games last week. The Ravens survived a hail mary touchdown vs. the Bengals and the Bears came within a 2-point conversion of taking the Lions to overtime. Likely that both of these teams will be 5-5 at the end of this game.

Ravens 21 Bears 14

Browns vs. Bengals

The Bengals may be struggling a bit lately and things may not look as strong as they did a couple weeks ago. Fortunately for them, they get to play the Browns and get a good chance to snap their two game losing streak.

Bengals 31 Browns 14

Raiders vs. Texans

Battle of two teams going nowhere. In one corner, a Raiders team that I for some reason keep thinking they'll win but don't. In the other corner, a Texans team that is on the front line of innovation in finding ways to lose ballgames.

Texans 14 Raiders 7

Cardinals vs. Jaguars

If not for fantasy football, I would have absolutely zero reason to care about this game. But with picking up Andre Ellington and starting him (even with him getting 10-15 carries a game, how could I resist with Arizona playing Jacksonville). I'm still not sure how the Jaguars stumbled into one win, it would be a shock if they stumbled into win number 2.

Cardinals 24 Jaguars 10

Redskins vs. Eagles

The Eagles seem to be coming full circle since the first Redskins match up. They were offensive innovators in Week 1 before becoming a punch line before starting to come back up due to the play of Nick Foles. A lot of noise has been made about the disappointing seasons both of these teams are having. Both of these teams have an opportunity to help people forget said disappointment by finishing strong over the next couple months.

While I would prefer the Eagles to win (as it would do more to undermine the Cowboys playoff hopes). What i'm hoping for the best is a lot of touchdowns and some big games from Riley Cooper and Pierre Garcon so I can improve upon being in sixth place. This is probably one of the early games i'll be paying a lot of attention to.

Eagles 35 Redskins 28

Lions vs. Steelers

The Lions were able to take control of the NFC North with a win over Chicago and are in the drivers seat as the Bears & Packers are in various states of disarray. Yeah, the Steelers beat the Bills for what its worth but I don't see this wining pattern repeating against a team with legitimate playoff aspirations.

Lions 38 Steelers 21

Falcons vs. Buccaneers

 Massive trainwreck of a game with the only thing on the line is the battle for the #1 overall pick. Yeah, i'm starting Vincent Jackson but this game still serves little interest.

Falcons 21 Buccaneers 14

Chargers vs. Dolphins

Match up between perpetual mediocrity and dealing with the aftermath of a horrible scandal. Mediocrity wins this battle.

Chargers 35 Dolphins 10

49ers vs. Saints

Got ourselves a possible playoff preview here. While 49ers have the defense to keep up with the Saints, their offense is not in the same league. This one is interesting both as a measuring point of where these teams are on the NFC totem pole and to see if they'll throw the ball to Jimmy Graham more this week than last.

Saints 31 49ers 20

Packers vs. Giants

This was supposed to be a much more compelling match up at seasons start. With Scott Tolzein starting this game, the Packers QB situation has been upgraded to meh from cringe-worthy. With a week of practice, Tolzein showed enough that he may have what it takes to be a competent place-holder. The Giants have been playing better lately, recovering from an 0-6 start and are lucky enough to be in a mediocre division where they still have a chance. I wouldn't put it past them to make some sort of run at the division.

Giants 42 Packers 28

Vikings vs. Seahawks

On paper this should be a one sided affair. However, the Seahawks seem to have a tendency to play down to their level of competition. While I think they will pull it out, this game ends up being closer than expected.

Seahawks 24 Vikings 20

Chiefs vs. Broncos

This looks to be a very telling matchup. First of all,  Chiefs get one of their first real tests on the validity of their 9-0 start. And this happens to be my Fantasy football double down as i'm starting the Chiefs defense and my opposition is starting both Manning & Welker. I'm hoping Manning can be contained but I gotta admit the Kansas City double down contains high risk.

Broncos 31 Chiefs 20

Panthers vs. Patriots

The Panthers (but not Cam Newton) passed their first major test against the 49ers. For me, this is a battle of the QB of Fantasy Football present (Newton) and Fantasy Football past (Brady). In addition, I get to go up against the Panthers defense. Basically, i'm rooting for points and lots of them on both sides.

Patriots 42 Panthers 35

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A look ahead to this weekend's college football action

Plenty of college Football Action ahead on Saturday. Which games are going to be an absolute joke and which ones are worth watching and are there any upsets on the horizon? Lets see:

(15) UCF vs. Temple

UCF is off to a nice start in Conference USA V 2.0 as they have the inside track to the conference championship and a spot in a BCS-bowl. For a few years, Temple was a nice story as they went from getting kicked out of the Big East, eventually landing in the MAC, starting to play well, getting begged to return to the Big East in time for the name change, only to fall flat on their face. Expect the same to happen to Temple on Saturday.

UCF 42 Temple 3
Game Type: One Sided

(3) Ohio State vs. Illinois

Ohio State's high ranking comes with the disclaimer that we don't know how they'd do against elite competition because they haven't played that much elite competition. They can score all the points they want but that perception will be impossible to change on Saturday.

Ohio State 63 Illinois 10
Game Type: Run Up the Score

Iowa State vs. (22) Oklahoma

Granted, Oklahoma has been a disappointment and basically no-showed to last Thursday's game against Baylor. Lucky for them, they have a terrible team to take out their frustrations on.

Oklahoma 56 Iowa State 17
Game Type: Run Up the Score

Indiana vs. (17) Wisconsin

The best of the 9am games (which isn't saying much). In recent years this match up would see Wisconsin's offense but up video game numbers against Indiana. While that part of the equation is unlikely to change, Indiana has shown a propensity to light up the scoreboard as well this year (even if their defense is still sub-standard). Expect lots of Touchdowns in this one.

Wisconsin 70 Indiana 42
Game Type: What is this Defense you Speak of?

(24) Miami vs. Duke

Miami has been free falling down the rankings ever since they started playing some actual competition. Duke may have spent several years as a football laughingstock but they are quietly putting up a good season. My prediction is come Monday, Duke will be in the top 25 and Miami will not.

Duke 21 Miami 10
Game Type: Mild Upset

Syracuse vs. (2) Florida State

Florida State continues their dominant season and scoring lots of points against mediocre competition in this one.

Florida State 56 Syracuse 21
Game Type: Run up the Score

 (25) Georgia vs. (7) Auburn

The afternoon's first match up between two Top 25 teams. Georgia has under performed and is not making it back to the SEC Championship game but there is the possibility that Auburn may be distracted and looking ahead to the huge Iron Bowl match up against Alabama.

 Georgia 28 Auburn 24
Game Type: Mild Upset, One of Better Games of Afternoon

(14) Michigan State vs. Nebraska

They say that defense wins games and Nebraska loses four games a year, no more & no less. A strong Michigan State defense plus Nebraska only having two losses to date equals Michigan State winning in solid but unspectacular fashion.

Michigan State 24 Nebraska 10
Game Type: Defensive Struggle

(12) Oklahoma State vs. (23) Texas

Our second top-24 battle of the afternoon. Oklahoma State doesn't give off the vibe that they are as good as their ranking. Meanwhile, Texas has rebounded nicely over the last couple months and prevented what appeared to be a sure-fire disaster ridden 5-7 season (like the one Florida is having from happening). The Texas redemption tour continues here.

Texas 38 Oklahoma State 30
Game Type: One of Better Afternoon Games, Not sure if this could be considered an upset

Utah vs. (6) Oregon

Twisted logic could dictate a Utah upset here. Utah beat Stanford and Stanford beat Oregon. In retrospect, Utah over Stanford is probably the most inexplicable game of the year and I think Oregon bounces back and takes out their frustration on a very average Utah team.

Oregon 73 Utah 10
Game Type: Run up the Score

Texas Tech vs. (4) Baylor

A few weeks back the profiles of these two teams were similar. Teams that got off to a nice start and had strong rankings on the backs of primarily weak opponents. While Texas Tech fell short against the Oklahoma & Oklahoma States of the world, Baylor passed their first test with flying colors and have aspirations beyond just a nice season. Turn away from the TV momentarily and you might miss about 2-3 touchdowns.

Baylor 84 Texas Tech 49
Game Type: Defense??? Whats that??

(1) Alabama vs. Mississippi State

It seems like MSU has to play a ranked opponent every week and not win. No reason to suspect this week is any different.

Alabama 35 Mississippi State 10
Game Type: One Sided

(5) Stanford vs. USC

Stanford needs to stay on top of it to avoid a let down after an beating Oregon. If this was played while Kiffin was still coaching, this game would be a pretty one sided affair. USC has played much better over the last month. I think this game is better than expected but I don't think USC has enough in them to pull off the upset.

Stanford 31 USC 20
Game Type: Better than Expected

Oregon State vs. (21) Arizona State

Not a bad night cap. Expect a lot of offense in this match up between a couple of solid but not spectacular Pac 12 teams. Arizona State barely escaped Utah last week but I think they lose a highly entertaining game here.

Oregon State 49 Arizona State 38
Game Type: Upset Special

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Do they belong in the Hall? Gonzales, Jenkins, Jones, Kent

Time to evaluate some more HOF ballot candidates:

Luis Gonzales

Another good but not great player amongst many in the history of this game. He had one truly great season where he hit 57 home runs out of nowhere (even then outshadowed by Barry Bonds). His power numbers improved as he got into his 30s and I was surprised to see that he made it past 350 home runs. He had a few all star seasons but was never an elite player.

Surprisingly, three of his similars are in the hall (Billy Williams, Tony Perez & Andre Dawson) and on the HOF statistics shown on B-R, he has a somewhat favorable measurement on the HOF Monitor. Honestly, i'm surprised the measurements for him are that favorable. He may stick around on the ballot for a few years but his HOF case is weak at best.

Verdict: No

Geoff Jenkins:

His career definitely had a major what-if factor to him. What if he was not injury prone, would his career be longer and his numbers look better. For most of his career, he was one of the best players on a lot of really bad brewers teams. He was able to end his career on a high note by winning the world series as a member of the Phillies.

Looking back, I am surprised he was an all star only once and only had four seasons with a WAR above 3. None of his similars are in the hall. Going forward, we could deduce that players such as Jason Bay, Micheal Cuddyer & Justin Morneau are also players with no hall of fame case as well.

Verdict: No

Todd Jones:

Another above average pitcher who managed to rack up 300+ saves while pitching for nine different teams. While he had several good seasons he never really had the wow factor when you think of HOF players. For players on his level (Roberto Hernandez, Bob Wickman, etc.) there is no precedent or rational for getting elected, or any votes for that matter.

Verdict: No

Jeff Kent:

At first blush, Kent doesn't scream hall of fame. In looking at his peak, his numbers were better than what I was expecting. Outside of Sacrifice Flies, he never led the league in anything but he does have an MVP and three top ten finishes to his resume. One thing working in his favor is he put up relatively strong power numbers while playing second base, a position not known for its offensive prowess.

In looking at the past, he has a case even if its not particularly compelling. Three of his similars are in (Jim Rice, Ryne Sandberg & Ron Santo) but even there it took Rice & Santo several years to get in. Also his HOF Monitor & HOF Standards measurements are somewhat favorable. He could be one of those players who gets in on their 15th and last chance at the ballot and has momentum build over time, its just that this time is not today.

Verdict: Not this year, maybe down the road

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Weeknight Football preview Shormogasboard

And now, for the weekly post that covers the non-weekend football action for the week, starting with college football.

Ball State vs. (20) Northern Illinois

It's a Wednesday its moving deeper into November and that means one thing and one thing only.....MACtion. The weeknight MAC conference games  have never failed to entertain (though they have failed to play defense over the years) and crazy things happen. Northern Illinois is fighting an uphill battle with the BCS rankings and Fresno State to get into a high end bowl game for the second straight year (and not get embarrassed in said bowl game for the first consecutive year).

Ball State is a good enough team (to sneak into the Mock 32 tournament and get blown out by Alabama in said fake tournament) and good enough to to ruin Northern Illinois' BCS bowl hopes. Expect lots of scoring and even some overtimes in this one as a MACtion legend for the ages.

Ball State 63 Northern Illinois 60 (3 OT)
Verdict: This could be a sneaky good game.....that doesn't get watched because its Wednesday

Georgia Tech vs. (8) Clemson

Thursday night brings another top 25 team playing with aspirations of playing in a BCS-bowl game. Like the Wednesday game, I think these aspirations also get dashed on national television. They're playing a decent but not spectacular Georgia Tech team and Clemson has a history of losing to these types of teams.

Georgia Tech 31 Clemson 21

Washington vs. (13) UCLA

Another ranked team playing during the week that hasn't proven the ability to beat elite competition and seems vulnerable to being upset. Unlike the first two cases, I don't think it happens here as i'm even less sold on Washington and their inevitable 7-6 finish.

UCLA 42 Washington 31

Colts vs. Titans

A battle between two teams with very head scratching losses on Sunday. The Colts somehow got dominated by a Rams team that is pretty uninspiring. The Titans lost to a Jaguars team that had a legitimate chance to go 0-16. My first reaction is to pick the Colts because they are the better team, my second reaction is that is too logical based on what happened the other day. My third reaction is that Locker is out for the season and that they are stuck w/Ryan Fitzpatrick and that replacement caliber qb's make this more of a 6-10 team than an 8-8 team.

Colts 31 Titans 14

Monday, November 11, 2013

Do They Have a Chance? Estes, Foulke, Gagne & Glavine

It's been a while since i've gotten a chance to review who has a chance. Now is a good time as any to geo down the list.

Shawn Estes:

The biggest head scratcher so far. Based on ERA+, he had one average season and two above average seasons. In his best season (1997), he led the league in walks. The only other thing he ever led the league in is wild pitches. When you have more former Brewers in your top 10 similars (Doug Davis & Rick Helling) than hall of famers, that says more than enough.

Verdict: Nope

Keith Foulke:

A much better player (like thats saying anything). He had a nice 6 year stretch as a closer and even won a world series with the 04 Red Sox. Still, he fell way short of greatness. The standards for  relievers is much higher for the Hall and Foulke likely falls short just like players with a similar profile (Jeff Shaw, Rod Beck) have. Based on active players with similar profiles, Heath Bell & JJ Putz can also be ruled out unless they somehow dominate for the next decade.

Verdict: No

Eric Gagne:

Gagne was VERY, VERY, VERY good for three years (2002-2004). However, he was plagued by injuries an ineffectiveness the rest of his career. This is the second player (Durham) being the first who ended his career with the 2008 Brewers. By then he was not very effective and lost the closer job very early in the season. Not surprisingly none of the similar players are in the hall. If we learn anything from this list is that we can rule out Jonathan Broxton & Fernando Rodney as future hall candidates.

Verdict: No

Tom Glavine:

Now were finally getting to someone with a legitimate chance. Glavine was a very good pitcher  on a lot of 1990s Atlanta Braves teams that were playoff regulars. He did win a couple of Cy Young awards and finished in the top 5 a few other times. Due to a combination of things in his control (very good pitcher for a very long time) and things he was a beneficiary of (playing on teams that won a lot of ballgames), he was able to get to 305 wins for whatever the win is worth.

While 300 wins is a nice shiny number, it doesn't necessarily make things a slam dunk (albeit strong case). Four of his top 10 similars (Early Wynn, Tom Seaver, Red Ruffing & Mickey Welch) are in Cooperstown while others are struggling to get in or are on the outside looking in (Tommy John, Jim Kaat, Jack Morris)

Out of the other B-R measurements (Black Ink, Grey Ink, HOF Monitor, HOF Standards & JAWS), he's better than the average HOFer in three of them.

At first I thought this was a slam dunk HOF case before doing this review. After taking a closer look, I still think he has good case to be in Cooperstown but it isn't a no doubter. Still, I think having 300+ wins in an offense friendly era resonates with enough voters and he'll likely get voted in.

Verdict: Yes

The Monday 32 King of the Hill: College Football Style

Last Sunday, I took the top 32 from the AP rankings and matched them all together in a mock playoff to see how I think things would roll out if College Football had a 32 team tournament (the human rankings used over the computer to account for the arbitrariness of human element that would be in place to determine rankings). Alabama over Oregon was last week's winner, lets see who takes it this week.

As it was for last week, the AP rankings are used as our starting point

32-Ball State

16-Fresno State




12-Oklahoma State
21-Arizona State


20-Northern Illinois


11-South Carolina

3-Ohio State

14-Michigan State

26-Ole Miss

10- Texas A & M
23- Texas


2-Florida State

The way I think this would play out is as follows:

Alabama over Ball State in a game thats over before it starts
Fresno State over Wisconsin in a close one (Fresno State always seems to play Wisconsin tough)

Clemson over Georgia in a rematch of this years opening game
Missouri over a free falling Miami team

Stanford over Nebraska
Arizona State upsets an Oklahoma State team that i wouldn't be sold on for this tournament

Baylor over Duke. In football, Duke being in would be a nice story but nice stories don't equal wins.
Northern Illinois over UCLA. I feel that UCLA is over-rated and Northern Illinois would have something to prove

 Oregon over Minnesota. Still think Oregon would make a nice run despite Thursday's loss
 South Carolina over Oklahoma. Not sold on either team but someone has to win

Ohio State over USC. USC has been better since firing Kiffin but they have a long way to go
Michigan State over Louisville. Strong defense from MSU plus Louisville being used to lower competition swings this game

Auburn over Ole Miss, as the Auburn redemption tour continues.
Texas A&M over Texas in a game with absolutely zero defense

LSU over UCF. UCF is a good team they just got an unlucky matchup.
Florida State over Washington. This has 63-0 written all over it.

Now on to the Sweet 16:

Alabama over Fresno State. Fresno State is a nice team, Alabama is a machine
Missouri over Clemson. This seems like a place where Clemson would come up short

Stanford over Arizona State. ASU puts up a fight, they just don't have the defense.
Baylor over Northern Illinois. Baylor offense trumps MAC-tion 99 times out of 100.

Oregon over South Carolina. Oregon would struggle a bit in SEC but i'm not sold on South Carolina
Ohio State over Michigan State. One of the better round of 16 games but OSU keeps rolling.

Texas A &M over Auburn. First team to 50 wins.
Florida State over LSU. Setting up for epic round of 8 QB duel.

To the Round of Eight:

Alabama over Missouri. The tide keeps rolling.
Stanford over Baylor. I wasn't quite sold on Stanford but the way they numbed Oregon's offense made me rethink things.

Oregon over Ohio State. Oregon took a step back but with Ohio State's schedule its hard to see how serious of a player they would be in a 32 team tourney
Florida State over Texas A & M. Florida State is the more complete team and they show signs of being able to play defense.

Alabama over Stanford. Very close game here but Alabama keeps finding a way
Florida State over Oregon. Setting up for another 1-2 matchup.

Like last week, I think a playoff would produce a 1-2 match up and that the polls/computers are getting it right on accident. One thing i'm going to deviate from is I think Florida State would have a legit chance to dethrone Alabama and prevent a three peat from happening.

Florida State 42
Alabama 35

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Week 10 NFL: Looking Ahead

Getting closer to the weekend, which means closer to another Sunday of NFL Action.

Seahawks vs. Falcons

A rematch of last year's NFC Divisional match-up. When the season started this looked like it would be one of the more entertaining games of the weekend. While the Seahawks have done their part and look to be contenders (despite a near slip to the Bucs), the Falcons have basically self-destructed.Not much interest here.

Seahawks 35 Falcons 21
Verdict: Find Something Else To Watch

Bengals vs. Ravens

Another game that looked compelling when the season started but not so much now due to the Ravens sluggish start. The Bengals need to prove that their slip up to a Dolphins team in disarray is merely a fluke. Mainly paying attention here to see if Marvin Jones (who replaced Hartline) on my team can get some more TDs.

Bengals 28 Ravens 14
Verdict: Keeping an eye on it for fantasy purposes only

Lions vs. Bears

A battle of the two teams in the NFC North other than Green Bay that are 5-3 and the two teams that actually have some hope going forward. I think this game will be highly entertaining but as a Packers fan, this game is a no-win situation. With this being Cutler's first game back i'm not sure he does enough to help the Bears win.

Lions 42 Bears 31
Verdict: Highly Entertaining but Deflating as it makes it impossible for Packers to get the upper hand

Eagles vs. Packers

If not for the events of Monday Night, I would be feeling much better about this game as i'm not sold on the Eagles despite last weekends offensive explosion. For the Packers, I really hope Aaron Rodgers stops doing those discount double check commercials (nothing good ever seems to happen for the Packers when one of these commercials comes out).

The premier of the commercial with him, Matthews & Raji happened when the Giants blew them out in the NFC Divisional Playoffs a couple years back.

The first discount daaable check commercial come on the same day the defense no-showed on an opening day loss to the 49ers.

Monday's new discount daaable check commercial came in a game where his clavicle gets broken against the Bears. Bottom line, it seems like bad vibes for the Packers to be doing commercials with a bunch of 80s SNL characters that worshipped the Chicago Bears.

I'm not sure how long the Packers can go with trotting Seneca Wallace out there. Players such as Matt Flynn, Vince Young (who've both spent time with the Packers and are familiar with the playbook) would be better options as would gasppp....Tim Tebow.

Eagles 31 Packers 14
Verdict: Cringe worthy, probably need to walk away at some point to avoid yelling at the TV

Rams vs. Colts

Run of the mill early game with a Super Bowl contender versus one of the weaker teams in the league. This game is likely to be dull enough that not even Red Zone pays much attention to it. The team i'm up against is starting the Colts defense so i'm at least hoping the Rams put up something resembling a fight.

Colts 31 Rams 3
Verdict: Find Something Else to watch

Raiders vs. Giants

Expect a minimal amount of scoring, sloppy play on both sides some Eli Manning INTs maybe a crazy good rushing play or two from Pryor and about a dozen Raiders penalties rinse lather and repeat.

Raiders 13 Giants 10
Verdict: Only for diehard fans of either team

Bills vs. Steelers

My starting defense for the last month or so has been the Kansas City and i've gotten positive results out of this decision. However, with them having the week off, i've had to find a substitute. Originally, I wanted to get the Titans (playing Jacksonville) but lost out due to waiver wire process. Next, I went with the Dolphins (playing Tampa Bay) but decided to drop them as it seemed like bad fantasy karma for rooting for a team where bullying & intimidation appears to be acceptable at the institutional level.

Which eventually led me to picking up the Bills defense and all of a sudden caring about this game. In past years this is a match up I would avoid but the Steelers are clearly not themselves this year. On top of  that the fantasy team i'm up against is starting Roethlisberger. Basically, i'm going out on a limb that the Bills defense shows up strong on Sunday.

Bills 17 Steelers 10
Verdict: Generally sloppy game, but highly interested for Fantasy reasons

Jaguars vs. Titans

Average but boring team goes up against team with aspirations to go 0-16.

Titans 35 Jaguars 10
Verdict: Watch Something Else or Get some fresh air

Panthers vs. 49ers

A compelling match up from both the Fantasy & Real life perspective. This game serves as a good test for a Panthers team that has been doing a good job (albeit against subpar opposition). On the fantasy side, Newton is my starting QB and he has been performing very strongly lately and relatively consistently (hes only had one bad game). It will be interesting to see how they measure up against a team with Super Bowl aspirations.

49ers 28 Panthers 17
Verdict: Close game for three quarters, 49ers pull away towards the end

Texans vs. Cardinals

Since it appears Foster is still going to be out, this feels like on of those blah match-ups that gets quickly forgotten. Only main subplot is whether Keenum can continue to keep up his good start against a strong defense. Me, I think not.

Cardinals 21 Texans 10
Verdict: There's better games out there

Broncos vs. Chargers

Peyton Manning keeps putting up crazy numbers all year and there is very little indication that the Chargers defense puts up very little resistance. Even though this could get out of hand, this is a game i'll be keeping an eye on since i'm planning on starting both Matthews & Woodhead. I think Rivers has a surprisingly good game but the Chargers find a way to not win this one.

Broncos 49 Chargers 31

Cowboys vs. Saints

Another chance to see Tony Romo put up big numbers but fall short towards the end. A chance for the Saints to bounce back from an inexplicable loss to the Jets. A chance for Jimmy Graham to put up monster numbers and help towards my team's playoff push.

Saints 42 Cowboys 28
Verdict: Lots of offense, should be more interesting game than what final score indicates

Dolphins vs. Bucs

ESPN is probably not too excited to air this game. Based on how their seasons have gone on and off the field, this could be your last chance to see an NFL game coached by either Philbin or Schiano. This could make that monday nighter between the Vikings and Giants look compelling.

Dolphins 10 Bucs 0
Verdict: Yeah its monday night football, but for this matchup not worth it

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The College Football Broken Crystal Ball

While the College Football weekend starts with a bang on Thursday, that does not mean that the College Football weekend stops on Thursday. Now, a look ahead to Saturday's action:

(9) Missouri vs. Kentucky

This would be a much more compelling basketball match-up than football. Either way, Missouri defiantly showed that they have put their come from ahead loss to South Carolina behind them. Kentucky, they're just running out the string at this point

Missouri 42 Kentucky 10
Game Type: One-Sided

(7) Auburn vs. Tennessee

Auburn just keeps on rolling on moving up the polls. They continue to move light years ahead of where they were last year. While I thought Tennessee would put up a fight last week, i'm getting less convinced of their ability to make things interesting as the season moves on.

Auburn 35 Tennessee 7
Game Type: One-Sided

(3) Florida State vs. Wake Forest

At this point, Florida State is in line to be the best team to not be able to play for a national championship. They've spent much of the year utterly dominating teams that are much better than they one they have this weekend.

Florida State 70 Wake Forest 14
Game Type: Run Up The Score

Kansas State vs. (25) Texas Tech

Probably the best of the 9am games. Kansas State has taken a major step back since last year but I think they still have some fight in them. Even though they are 4-4, on a good day they can give a good team a fight for their money (like they did against Baylor). After the last couple weeks, i'm becoming less and less sold on Texas Tech. They've made some nice strides in their first year under Kliff Kingsbury but they're probably a couple years away from being an elite team. This is likely Tech's last week in the Top 25 for awhile

Kansas State 35 Texas Tech 24
Game Type: Mild Upset

Mississippi State vs. (11) Texas A & M

Granted, Texas A & M is playing a team better than UTEP this week. With that said, they likely go through this game relatively unchallenged.

Texas A & M 56 Mississippi State 21
Game Type: One-Sided

BYU vs. (21) Wisconsin

While this match up isn't being talked about much, I think this could be one of the better games this weekend. BYU is a tough team but i'm feeling better about the Badgers as the season moves on.

Wisconsin 42 BYU 31
Game Type: Much Closer than what the final score indicates

 Kansas vs. (15) Oklahoma State

The second match up of Saturday that would be much more compelling if it was basketball. Since its not, its just another game that's over by the end of the 1st quarter.

Oklahoma State 56 Kansas 0
Game Type: Run up the Score

(23) Arizona State vs. Utah

Arizona State should definitely be on upset alert and not take this game lightly. If Utah can pull of a win against Stanford, I think they got another upset in them on Saturday.

Utah 35 Arizona State 21

Virginia Tech vs. (14) Miami FL

ACC Battle between teams hoping to get more out of this season. Virginia Tech while once ranked is looking to bounce back from losses to BC & Duke. Miami is coming off a very expected blowout loss to Florida State. I'm not quite sold on either of these teams but someone has to win, in this case Miami.

Miami 17 Virginia Tech 10
Game Type: Close game but very sloppily played

Houston vs. (19) UCF

A Marquee battle in the American Athletic Conference or the closest it comes to this. UCF is currently on track to make it to their first BCS-bowl ever. Houston is looking to prove that their 7-1 record has some legitimacy to it. This conference (whatever name its been under) seems to always be chaotic and nobody asserting their dominance. Houston pulls off the upset and continues this trend.

Houston 31 UCF 24
Game Type: Surprisingly Entertaining

(24) Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh

While Notre Dame is not going back to the title game, they've done enough to prove that overall they are on the rise and that their days of only winning 5-7 times a year may be behind them. Pittsburgh is just another average team that has a ceiling of being barely bowl eligible.

Notre Dame 31 Pittsburgh 10
Game Type: One-Sided

(10) LSU vs. (1) Alabama

Alabama has been the team to beat and is looking to three-peat.  A very good LSU team is looking to give them their best shot. Going out on a limb here but I think LSU pulls off an upset and throws complete chaos into the finale of the BCS.

LSU 31 Alabama 24
Game Type: Best Game All Week

(16) UCLA vs. Arizona

Late nite Pac-12 battle that will likely have lots of offense. Personally, UCLA is a bit over-ranked and Arizona is a bit of a wild card here. A chaotic Saturday continues here with lots of offense and another upset.

Arizona 59 UCLA 42
Game Type: What is this defense you speak of

(17) Fresno State vs. Wyoming

Fresno State continues its quest to get to its first ever BCS bowl. Wyoming does very little to stand in their way.

Fresno State 63 Wyoming 21
Game Type: Run up the Score


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Do They Have a Chance: Casey, Clemens & Durham

Now to continue the alphabetic quest of who's a Hall of Famer and who will not be.

First up, Sean Casey

Sean Casey had a pretty nice career in the player and seems to have a nice-post laying career as an MLB Network analyst and thanks to baseball-reference I know he can be found on twitter as @TheMayorsOffice.

As a hall of fame candidate, not so much. He did lead the league in something once. Unfortunately, it was in double plays. He was a slightly above average hitter who didn't help things any with his glove (-7.4 dWar) lifetime. Not surprisingly, none of his comparables are in the hall of fame (David Segui, Mike Greenwell, Kevin Millar, etc.) His similar list also includes some active players (Lyle Overbay & Nick Markakis). I'd be surprised if he even gets a vote.

Verdict: Nope

Roger Clemens:

If voting was based on twitter creativity name (@rogerclemens) i'm pretty sure that would not help his case. Its safe to say other criteria factors prevented him from getting in on the first go around getting 37.6% of the vote.

This is another case where eventually the stance on Steroid use and Hall of Fame softens (even if it isn't this year and he gets in). He's one of the greatest pitchers of this generation. He led the league in ERA+ 8 times (the last time being at age 42, he won 7 Cy Youngs, 1 MVP and was in the top 10 in Cy Young voting five other seasons. He was worth 5 wins above replacement an absurd 14 times. By all numerical measures, Clemens is a slam dunk hall of famer.  Out of his top 10 similar pitchers, the only ones not already in the hall of fame (Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux & Tom Glavine) are either on the ballot for the first time this year or have not been retired long enough to be eligible.

Verdict: Yes, once PED rage cools off

Ray Durham:

Durham had a nice career and he's a player I personally like as he did play relatively well (122 OPS+) when the Brewers acquired him for the 2008 stretch run that resulted in their first playoff appearance since i've been alive. Bottom line is that Durham's another slightly above average hitter with an underwhelming defensive profile (-5.7 dWAR).

Surprisingly, two of his similars (Larkin & Sandberg) are in the hall of fame. However, he falls short in measures such as Gray Ink, Hall of Fame Monitor, etc. Still, I think is HOF case is weak at best.

Verdict: No

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Mid-Week Football Preview

This week seems to be a pretty spread even week for football with the weekly Thursday night game and even some intriguing Top 25 match-ups before we get to the weekend.

Redskins vs. Vikings

While watching the Monday night game and watching Seneca Wallace impersonate an NFL Quarterback (hopefully the Packers can find someone...anyone to fill in at QB), they were trying to spin this game as a battle of two super-stars (Peterson & RGIII). While technically true, the description sort of covers up the fact that this match up is a complete clunker.

While RGIII & the Redskins started off the season under-performing, they have started to show signs of life in recent weeks which is more than what could be said about the Vikings. Personally, only reason I have interest in this game is to see if Garcon can help my fantasy team improve upon 5-4 record and fifth place ranking. The Redskins may be 3-5 but this game is still important to them as they are still within striking distance in the NFC East and can still make a season out of 2013 yet.

Redskins 30 Vikings 14

Normally, the weekday college football games have tend not to be appointment television but for this week, Thursday has a couple of good matchups on display.

(5) Baylor vs. (12) Oklahoma

This one has a compelling argument for Big 12 matchup of the year. We have ourselves an aspiring up and comer with an outside national championship shot versus an established old school program. While Baylor has gotten to the #5 ranking on the back of a soft schedule, I think this game is their coming out party.

Baylor 63 Oklahoma 42

(2) Oregon vs. (6) Stanford

Not to be outdone, the Pac-12 is having their game of the year two hours later.  While Stanford is having another excellent season, I just don't think they (or anyone else in the Pac 12) has the firepower to outlast Oregon. While I think Stanford will make it tough for Oregon early on, the Ducks likely dominate the second half.

Oregon 49 Stanford 28

(20) Louisville vs. Connecticut

Yes, weird games happen on Friday night and this timeslot is known for many an upset (as Louisville can attest to). However, that requires the opposing team to have something resembling a competent team.

Louisville 56 Connecticut 3

Monday, November 4, 2013

Do they have a Chance? Biggio, Bonds & Borowski

On to the continuing saga of who has legitimate hall of fame hopes and who doesn't:

Leading off, is someone who was on the ballot for the first time last year and received 68% of the votes, lets see if Craig Biggio is worthy of going over 75%.

Craig Biggio spent his entire 20 year-career in Houston as one of the Killer B's along with fellow Hall of Fame hopeful Jeff Bagwell. If nothing else, the guy had a high pain tolerance as he got hit by 285 pitches in his career leading the league in this five times.

One thing that goes against him looking at the details is that while he did win four gold gloves, his career defensive WAR comes in at -3.9 which leaves the perception of maybe he get over-rated somewhere along the line. Also, the OPS+ came in lower than most of the other hopefuls (112) but some of that may be forgiven since he spent much of career at second base which is not known for its offense.

One thing in his favor is that many of his BR comparables are in the hall of fame (Yount, Morgan, Molitor, Almoar, Ripken, Robinson & Brett) with another active player likely to get in with decent offensive numbers and a better defensive reputation than what the numbers indicate (Jeter). My gut says that if he played a position known for its offense (i.e. First Base) he wouldn't have much of a case but based on past precedent for middle infielders, I think he gets in even if I wouldn't vote for Biggio if I had a Hall of Fame vote.

Verdict: Likely in within the next couple years

Barry Bonds:

Its safe to say that either Bonds or Clemens is the most polarizing & controversial player on the ballot. Whats not controversial is that Barry Bonds was pretty good at baseball. The guy led the league in OPS+ nine times, by the end of his career pitchers were scared to give him anything even close to the strike zone. Even at 48 years old, I think Bonds would be a productive player.

Obviously, the fact that he got 36% of the vote in his first year had more to do with things that happened off the field than on. The three players with the highest similarity scores are Mays, Aaron & Ruth. My take is this is the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Ethics. Whatever issues people may have with Bonds is at some point going to come secondary to this guy was a once in a generation or more talent.

Verdict: They can't keep him out forever, In.

 Joe Borowski:

This is one of those "huh, they put him on the ballot?" type reactions. He had a couple good seasons 2002-2003 but other than that a very average player. His 2007 season makes for a compelling argument to devalue the save as he led the AL in saves despite having an era north of 5.00.

Not surprisingly, none of his comparibiles are in the hall of fame. The most similar players are Jorge Julio & Brandon League. He's definitely a one and done and likely getting zero votes.

Verdict: No

Sunday, November 3, 2013

2014 Hall of Fame Ballot, Do They Have a Chance Part I: Alou, Bagwell & Benitez

With Baseball done for the season does not mean that i'm done talking about it. I want to start breaking down the players on the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot, per baseball-reference.

One thing i'm going to work on is looking at the people on here and seeing which ones have a Hall of Fame case and which of these players are only going to the hall of fame if they buy a ticket. Also, i'm working under the assumption that the committee will eventually soften their stance on those tied to steroid use (even if its not this year). During my evaluation, the focus is solely on what they did on the field, not off it.

Unless otherwise indicated, players are going to be evaluated alphabetically and broken down into several postings.

Moises Alou:

At first glance, a good but not necessarily great hitter. He had a couple of top five MVP finishes (ranking third in 1994 & 1998) the only two seasons where he was more than five wins above replacement. While never the best hitter in the league, he was a highly productive player for many years being a productive player until he was 40.

Amongst his top 10 comparable in Similarity Score, the only one in Cooperstown is Chuck Klein and even then I think its a different case as he had a brief stretch where he was very dominant (1931-1933) where Alou was above average for a very long time without being the best.

However, Alou's other comparisons back up my gut instinct as he's grouped with other very productive hitters that are not in the hall of fame (i.e. Ellis Burks, Reggie Smith, Will Clark, Fred Lynn). He at least stays on the ballot for a few years but never gets in.

Verdict: Maybe if they change the name to Hall of Very Good

Jeff Bagwell:

Bagwell was the best player on some pretty good Astros teams with his peak coming in his 1994 NL MVP season when his OPS was an un-worldthy 1.201 and had a WAR greater than 5 in 8 of his 15 seasons.

My initial perception is that his induction is being delayed by things beyond his control (i.e. the inflated power numbers of the 1990s amongst other things). The last few years his Hall of Fame case is growing with him getting a shade under 60% of the vote last year. Out of his top 10 similar players, only one is in the HOF (Stargell) which I find a bit surprising.

This I feel is a bit misleading as there are several in there that are either in year 1 of eligibility (Frank Thomas) or are currently active (Giambi, Big Papi, Pujols, etc.)

Out of the five HOF stat monitors tracked on players baseball-reference pages (Black Ink, Grey Ink, Hall of Fame Monitor, Hall of Fame Standards & JAWS), his numbers are better than the average hall of famer for four of these. I don't know if he'll be in this year but I think he's in within the next five years.

Verdict: Probable Hall of Famer

Armando Benitez:

Every year it seems like a handful of players end up on the HOF ballot just for kicks and giggles and my first impression is that Benitez is one of these players. Granted his OPS+ of 140 is much better than what I remember, he even had a few separate seasons where he was actually pretty dominant. The numbers indicate he was better than what I remember.

The standards for a closer go beyond "oh he's better than I remember" with only two seasons with a WAR above 3. A couple all star games and a shade below 300 saves ain't gonna get you into Cooperstown. All of his baseball reference comparison players were also players that had sustained success as a closer but with no HOF shot (i.e Tom Henke, Troy Percival).

What a 32-Team NCAA Football Bracket Would Look Like

Yesterday, was a beautiful day here on the coast that I got to spend outside with both Heather & Zeplen. After starting out with lunch at Rooster Creek, we ended up walking the Bob Jones trail and hanging out in downtown Avila Beach (apparently there was a wine festival being held at the golf course as well). After a 6-mile walk, we had dinner at Tanner Jacks before calling it a night.

Today, we're camped out at home and i'm watching RedZone as I type this.

With the BCS about to go and be replaced with a 4-team playoff, I say why stop there. With this article i'm imaging what the matchups (if March is March Madness, i'm calling this December Delerium) would be if they last gasp.....32 teams into the playoffs.

Some critics may say this dilutes the system but I say allowing every 6-6 team to play in an exhibition game already does the trick.

The rankings aren't very scientific, for this version taking the top 25 teams from the most recent poll plus the top 7 in the also receiving votes section.


17-Fresno State

25-Texas Tech

24-Notre Dame

4-Ohio State
29-Ole Miss

13-South Carolina



3-Florida State

19-Central Florida


11-Texas A & M
22-Northern Illinois


23-Arizona State


15-Oklahoma State
18-Michigan State

In looking at this, most of the teams that would deserve a shot make at and for the most part mediocrity is avoided (despite three teams from the American Athletic conference getting in). For all apologies to Michigan, Ball State & Duke fans, there isn't exactly anyone with a compelling case for a championship despite being excluded. Based on how I think these matchups go down, the Sweet 16 would be as follows:

1-Alabama  (No Challenge From Washington)
17-Fresno State (Nice battle of CA, UCLA hasn't gotten a marquee win)

25-Texas Tech (Beneficiary of Clemson clemsoning on the big stage)
9-Missouri (Manti Teo' is not walking through that door, neither is his girlfriend)

4-Ohio State (Ole Miss is no match)
20-Louisville (South Carolina is the better team but they lose games they shouldn't and I think Bridgewater would have a big game

5-Baylor (BYU is no match)
12-Oklahoma (Wisconsin has the offense to keep up but haven't proven themselves to be able to beat tourney worthy teams)

3-Florida State (This one is over by end of 1st quarter)
19-Central Florida (Miami not as good as their record or ranking)

27-Georgia (Just not sold on Stanford)
11-Texas A & M (Easy win over MAC team

7-Auburn (Texas is improved but not championship worthy)
10-LSU (One of more entertaining 1st round games but ASU not quite there

2-Oregon (Not even close)
18-Michigan State (Defense wins this game)

Now Off to who gets to move on from here

1-Alabama (No way Fresno State would have to prepare based off of their oppositions)
9-Missouri (Texas Tech doesn't have a marquee win and don't stumble into Clemsoning V 2)

4-Ohio State (Pretty easy win here)
5-Baylor (Scoreboard operator earns their money in this one)

3-Florida State (UCF is a good team, Florida State is a juggernaut)
11-Texas A & M (Winston vs. Maziel matchup setting up for monster ratings...just saying)

10-LSU (Dominated them once, will do so again)
2-Oregon (Last of the one-sided matchups)

Two teams or 32, one consistent college football theme is that the SEC trumps all with 4 teams in the Elite Eight....does it keep going like this, lets see.

1-Alabama (Missouri is a nice story but nice stories don't get you into the final four)
5-Baylor (First loss in the Urban Meyer era)

11-Texas A & M (Johnny Football Strikes again)
2-Oregon (First team to 50 wins)

As much as i'd like to see a Baylor-Oregon final (something that would strike fear into people that are defensive coordinators, their families and anyone who even likes the concept of defense), Baylor is no match for Alabama. Even though Texas A & M has the offense to keep up with Oregon, their defense does not.

Assuming Alabama & Oregon win out and all the other undefeateds lose at least once the BCS may stumble into gasp....getting the two right teams. Either way, I think five weeks of December delreium is a much more entertaining way to get to this.

At this point, Alabama continues their dynasty as being in the SEC makes them more battle tested and prepared to play for and win the championship. Which is why Alabama's this week national championship pick.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ranking & Ranting About the NFL Slate

The NFL week got off to an unusual yet surprising start as the Dolphins not only win, but win on a walk off safety, only the third time thats happened since 1989.

For previewing this weekend's NFL action, I decided to do this with a twist. I've decided to countdown the 12 games on Sunday & Monday based on things such as interest, emotional investment & with some contribution to my own fantasy football implications.

12) Titans vs. Rams

With all apologies to those late-90s Super Bowl affectionate out there, there's not much engaging interest here. You have two teams who aren't that interesting, yet ain't absolutely horrible. Basically a battle of two teams with 7-9 written all over them.

Titans 10 Rams 3

11) Eagles vs. Raiders

What's with these super bowl rematches? This time we're going back to a rematch of the 1981 Super Bowl. If standings were judged by hype after playing one game against an over matched defenses, the Eagles would be better than 3-5. The Raiders while still not a serious player have exceeded many people's expectations by getting to 3 wins. With that said, Terrelle Pryor generates enough offense to lead the Raiders to victory

Raiders 21 Eagles 17

10) Vikings vs. Cowboys

Not a Super Bowl rematch, but it is a rematch of the lopsided Hershel Walker trade that spurred the Cowboys to three Super Bowl wins. Probably the last time in a while that the Cowboys and Super Bowl get mentioned in the same sentence. The Cowboys may be a bit underwhelming but at least they don't have sit through Freeman/Ponder/Cassell trio of QBs.

Cowboys 38 Vikings 17

9) Browns vs. Ravens

The matchup between the former Cleveland Browns and their second incarnation. Even though Jason Campbell almost did enough to take down the undefeated Chiefs, any chance they had of relevancy went out the window with Brian Hoyer's injury. The Ravens have not had the most inspiring Super Bowl defense but there's no way they lose this game.

Ravens 28 Browns 10

8) Steelers vs. Patriots

If it was a few years ago, this match-up would be higher on this list. While the Patriots have played their part (even if it hasn't looked pretty in the process), the Steelers seem destined for their first terrible season in a very long time.

Patriots 35 Steelers 14

7) Seahawks vs. Buccaneers

Likely to be one of the more one-sided affairs this weekend. The only reason it ranks this high is to see if Vincent Jackson will be able to score any garbage time touchdowns.

Seahawks 38 Buccaneers 10

6) Chargers vs. Redskins

Very average game between a Chargers team that may get the right to lose in the first round versus a Redskins team that is having a weak follow up to RGIII's rookie season. Main point of interest is to see whether Garcon or Woodhead can put up some numbers.

Chargers 31 Redskins 28

5) Chiefs vs. Bills

Kansas City's defense has given me a few good weeks. However, they didn't do much on the Fantasy side despite picking up a win over Cleveland. Still sticking with them since they get to go up against a weak Buffalo offense.

Chiefs 21 Bills 7

4) Saints vs. Jets

Saints should win this in a rout. At this point, keeping up to see how much Jimmy Graham is going to be used on Sunday. The Jets are tough to read as they alternate between incompetent and surprisingly good. Ultimately, the Saints are too much for the Jets to handle.

Saints 49 Jets 21

3) Colts vs. Texans

Sunday night game that will likely be a rout but sort of left hanging regarding whether or not Arian Foster will be cleared to play.

Colts 38 Texans 24

2) Panthers vs. Falcons

Having Cam Newton as my starting QB, i'm seeing first-hand that he's setting himself up for a monster season. My opposition is countering with Matt Ryan. The one thing in common are these are two QBs who struggle to handle Arizona's defense. Carolina continues their path towards surprising respectability.

Panthers 31 Falcons 24

1) Packers vs. Bears

Yeah, i'm unapologetic of following games for fantasy purposes only, but all of that gets trumped by what are the Packers up to this weak (especially when playing the hated Bears).

The Packers while not at 100%, have been doing enough to be 5-2 and get into first place in the NFC North. The Packers are catching a break as they are catching the Bears as their injuries keep piling up. GO PACKERS!!!

Packers 35 Bears 21