NBA Preview: What Free Agent Signing Will Have The Biggest Impact?

The NBA season seems like it just ended yesterday.  The fact that we have free agents signing big contracts in September is really crazy, and it makes the season seem like it never ends.  We had a massive summer, with all of the free agent signings, trades, and the stacked draft.  Five columns will help preview and predict this NBA season, which, as always, will prove to be amazing.

Here, I’m going to figure out what free agent signing is going have the biggest impact, excluding Lebron James.  The free agent market this summer was insane.  Lebron put the whole thing on hold, and then, it blew.  He held the league hostage, pretty much.  Besides him, other signings will prove to be huge by the end of year.  Take a look below.

These are free agents that signed with new teams this summer.

Lance Stephenson, Charlotte Hornets

Lance Stephenson made the headlines last year.  Blowing in people’s ear during they Playoffs, and is regularly flopping.  Leaving Indiana after the Eastern Conference Finals loss, might be smart, for this year, at least.  Indiana is destined to slip, with Paul George out for the year, and Lance in Charlotte.  The Hornets (formely Bobcats) grabbed the 7th seed in last year’s playoffs, making a statement to the league that they’re competitive.  With Al Jefferson (Big Al!) and Kemba Walker, the Hornets felt pretty good coming into the playoffs, however, they had to match up with the Miami Heat, and were swept in that series.

Now, with Lance Stephenson, Al Jefferson, and Kemba Walker, this team could become interesting this year.  The back-court is now stacked.  They’ve got Big Al in the paint.  They drafted Noah Vonleh, the power forward from Indiana, who looks promising, but is a project.  On the wing, Michael Kidd Gilchrist has developed nicely, and is solid, but is not someone to rely on, yet.  If you have anyone on your team with the last name Zeller, you’ve got a good player on your team.  Cody Zeller, another big man in the paint, is another young guy on this team who can protect the rim.

Lance also plays good defense, and is a feisty defender.  He can generate turnovers and get steals.  The Hornets are already a very good defensive team, with the big rim blockers and the fast back-court.  The acquisition though, is more about the offensive side of the ball.

With Lance, the offense of this team can be really dicey.  Lance is very athletic, and should add some speed to the offense.  With Kemba Walker at PG, Lance at two guard will be very complimentary.  I’m not worried about enough shots on this team, though Lance needs to learn about high and low percentage shots.  It’s not like he’s awful shooter, but it’s the decisions he makes with the basketball that costs him.  The Hornets have a very bright future, and with Lance coming over, they could be moving up the standings in the East quietly.

Chandler Parsons, Dallas Mavericks

Now they may have signed him in a night club, which honestly makes sense giving how much they payed him, but Parsons is a very unque talent.  A talent were there aren’t many of in the league.  A maximum of ten guys int he league have his skill: A wing player who will shoot 3’s and create shots for other people.

Parsons is one of my favorite players in the league.  He is tall and athletic, and can shoot the basketball, from anywhere with 15-25 feet.  He’s a 47% career shooter, and will pass the ball if not given the  right opportunity.

Parsons is also young, something this Mavericks team lacks.  With Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler, it’s a old team.  Parsons adds the athleticism, but not any kind of speed.  Parsons doesn’t play great defense, as Damian Lillard proved to us last year.

Parsons wing play is special.  You can play him at the 3 or 4 spot, and he will contribute.  He’s gonna move around a bit, and will shoot the ball when given the opportunity.  The Mavericks though, may want try to help on his defense.  It’s not as bad as it seems, and wing is a offensive position, but contributions on defense are never a bad thing.

Isaiah Thomas, Phoenix Suns

In Preseason so far, Thomas has looked phenomenal.  With Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, Thomas comes in as the 3rd guy, however, coach Jeff Hornacek, has played all three at once.  It’s unlikely that they all start at the same time.  The speed while that lineup was on the court though, was incredible.  Guys were just flying up and down the court, as the three tossed the ball around and shot three’s.  It going to be raining in Phoenix.  I can’t wait to watch this team, overall.

Thomas is a total heat-check guy.  He is going to launch at any given moment, which is what is going to drive this team.  He can also drive to the paint, and lay the ball in.  He’s going to be huge on offense.  Adding to speed to this blazing offense is just going to capitalize it.

Thomas is also a very good defender.  He’s quick, and won’t be beat.  Thomas is going to be able to stay with guards, but not anyone else.  He’s tiny, and anyone not playing guard is going to get by him.   Thomas is scrappy, and can take it too far when guarding, but usually, it ends up in a steal.  Defensive guards is something the Suns don’t lack, but if your coach is Jeff Hornacek, then you can’t enough of them.

 

 

2014 World Series Preview

In the bottom of the 8th inning in Kansas City during the AL Wild Card Game, the Royals were down 7-3 to the Oakland A’s.

Now, they’re playing for a ring.  With the insane rally, it sparked a fire that no one has been able to put out.  The Royals haven’t lost this postseason, beating the A’s, and sweeping the Angles and Orioles.  It is absolutely incredible, and the funniest thing is, we didn’t see it coming.

Really, nobody saw it coming.

Including me, a fan of this (or these) teams.  I picked against the Royals all postseason.  By the end of this column, it may be the same case.

And they’ve burned me every time.  Now, I did think they would be competitive.  I didn’t think they were going to get swept out of the Playoffs.

And it’s gone the complete opposite way.  The Royals are owning everyone, and taking everyone by storm.  Kansas City, where my Mom grew up, and a place I’ve lived, isn’t only in shock, but is turning into a complete madhouse.  The whole town has Royal fever.

A title would just pile it on.  The opponent though, has other ideas.

The Giants, who have battled their own way here, are coming off one of the most dramatic wins ever in postseason history.  A walkoff home run to win the National League Championship, just like Bobby Thompson did 63 years ago, for the same team.  This time, though, it was Travis Ishikawa.

Now, if I hadn’t lived in the Bay Area at anytime in 2014, I probably wouldn’t of known who Ishikawa was.  But having lived 40 minutes east of San Francisco, I did know who he was, and I’ve also watched these Giants.  Watch them win.

The Giants, with possibly winning this World Series, would win three championships within five years.  That’s a incredible feat.  Giants fans (like me and many friends) would be going absolutely insane, and San Francisco would truly become a baseball town.

So who’s going to win this thing?  Well, that’s what I’m going to try to figure out.  In the end, my prediction, probably won’t be right.  However, in previous columns, my main points have been correct, but the outcome is opposite.

Let’s start with the bullpens, for each side, because both of them are great.

Both teams have incredible bullpens that haven’t given up anything to anyone this postseason.

They’re so good, there isn’t much words for them.

These teams have destroyed other teams bullpens though, which is where the main focus is.

Hitting is going to play a huge part in this series.  Both teams have great lineups, and have proved it this postseason.  The Royals offensive explosion has been a complete surprise.  Nobody saw this coming.  A team that hit so bad during the season is averaging just over five runs a game this postseason.  It’s incredible.

The Giants though, have a killer lineup of their own.  In a different way though.  The Giants can strike at anytime.  They’ve got some big time power guys, like Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt.  The Giants are a team that doesn’t usually have a big inning, though it is possible.  The Giants spread their offense out.  It doesn’t come in huge plates.  And they hit home runs, unlike the Royals.

The Royals feed off the big inning.  Getting men on base is their specialty.  Why?  Because they have guys who steal the bag.  They’ve stole 13 bases this postseason.  In eight games!  They get base hits, which advance the runners.  It’s quite simple.  Even though they have hit the ball out of the park better, it’s still not great.  They’ve lived up to the 30th in the league ranking in HR’s.

This series is going to come down to if the pitchers on both teams can get past the lineups.   The Giants pitching has been phenomenal, and that starts with Madison Bumgarner, who has taken the league by storm.  With a ERA of 1.42 this postseason in three starts, he’s struckout 28 batters.  Right now, he’s the best pitcher on this team.  They’ve fed off him.  He hasn’t blown anything.  He hasn’t even pitched a bad game.

The other pitchers on the Giants are good.  They’ve gotten the job done.  And really, that’s what they need to do.  Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson have provided solid starts.  The bullpen of the Giants though, has to be able to get past the Royals lineup.  The Royals lineup gets those big innings usually after the 5th inning, because that’s when they need those runs.  The small handful of Royals who can hit the HR is who the Giants need to avoid.  When those guys come up in clutch situations, that’s when the trouble occurs.

However, AT&T Park isn’t the most hitter friendly park, and for a overall bad hitting team like the Royals, it won’t help them out much.

The Royals pitching staff though, is pretty good also.  Led by James Shields, the starting pitching has done well so far.  The Royals pitchers aren’t the types that are going to strike you out every time.  They live off the ground ball.  The Giants, as said above are more of a power team.  It may be tricky for the Royals to strike them out, because the range of the Giants hitters is ridiculous.  San Francisco has good amount of gap hitters, who are going to put the ball on the ground.  Giving the Royals incredible defense, the base hits should be limited.

But then again, the Giants know their ball park the best.

Both of these team’s defenses are just incredible.  The Royals have shut gaps in the infield, and have caught close to everything in the outfield.  With amazing catches by Hunter Pence and Lorenzo Cain,  the outfields are magnificent.  We saw though, in the NLCS, that the Cardinals, and even the hometown Giants, had trouble seeing the ball at AT&T Park.  Both teams dropped easy catches, but it’s not like the drops really meant anything.

Now, I got to throw this in, but the Panda (Pablo Sandoval), one my favorite players in the Majors (I own his jersey) has played incredible so far, but not at the plate.  The Panda has made some incredible plays at 3rd base this postseason.

That’s just one of them……

Alright.  It’s time to make a final call.  Two of my favorite teams, playing for the World Series.  It really is a household divided at my place.  My Mom rooting for her hometown Royals, and my Dad rooting for the Giants.  I’ve decided I’m not rooting for either team, because I’ll be happy no matter who wins.  My prediction, though, probably won’t be right, like almost every postseason series this Fall.

This Fall Classic is one where, I’ll truly be able to enjoy baseball.  I won’t have a biased opinion, I won’t pull for one team over the other.

(The only time I’m not rooting for one team in championship series/game is if it’s two of my most hated teams, for example, if a 49ers-Steelers Super Bowl were to happen)

So.

Prediction: Giants in 5

 

NFL Week 7 Roundup

This column is going up today, because I really don’t want to have to write about Monday Night Football tonight.  I’m kidding.  I want to leave room for my World Series Preview tomorrow, and posting two big columns on the same day is something that doesn’t strike my fancy.

Anyways, Sunday provided a lot of fun, close games. With a couple of upsets as we approached the halfway mark, we start to figure who’s really bad, and who we may be concerned about.

New England-27 New York Jets-25

In another game that ended in a typical Jets way, it actually remained close throughout.  The Jets though, didn’t score a touchdown until the second half, and still had 12 points at halftime.  The Patriots played great, with Tom Brady throwing three TD passes.  The Pats though, struggled containing the New York running game, rushing for 218 yards as a team.  It’s definitely a plus to a pretty weak offense.  Surprisingly, it came down to the wire.  With five seconds left, the Jets set up for the game-winning field goal.  It was blocked, which ended the game.  In a incredible ending, which is typical for the Jets, the Patriots looked phenomenal.

Green Bay-38 Carolina-17

This game was a lot worse than the score showed.  At halftime, the Packers led 28-3.  The Panthers couldn’t get the offense going, and with no help from the defense, it got ugly.  Aaron Rodgers threw for 255 yards and three touchdowns, and made his typical 2-3 incredible plays.  Cam Newton, on the other hand, only threw 205 yards,   Greg Olsen had a huge game, but ultimately didn’t help.  The Packers dominated, that’s as simple as it gets.

Detroit-24 New Orleans-23

This was a thriller, and I’m not joking whatsoever.  This was a incredible and super fun game to watch.  The Saints dominated the 1st half, leading only 10-3 halftime, but it worse from there.  The largest lead the Saints had was 13 points, but it’s not all about what’s on paper.  The Lions didn’t let that get to them, though.  Matthew Stafford threw two late TD passes, which got the Lions lead.  It was a breakdown of the Saints secondary that caused it, and the loss results in the Saints record falling to 2-4.

Miami-27 Chicago-14

Man, this Bears defense is only getting worse as the season goes along.  Giving up 277 yards to Ryan Tannehill isn’t great, and the offense didn’t help.  Jay Cutler didn’t have a good game, and we know the offense is the heart and soul of this team.  Culter only threw for 190 yards.  Matt Forte had a rushing TD, but didn’t gain many yards.  The defense is the main problem for the Bears, and the resolution isn’t visible yet.

Buffalo-17 Minnesota-16

Another game that remained close the whole way through, Kyle Orton and the Bills got it done at the end, breaking the Vikings hearts.  Orton threw for 283 yards and a TD in the game, connecting with rookie Sammy Watkins for the game winning TD with a second left.  The catch was ridiculous.  The day though, wasn’t all smiles for Bills.  CJ Spiller, someone who I expected to get traded before the deadline, broke his collarbone, and is out for the season.  Fred Jackson, another running back, was injured also.  With a couple of good receivers, Kyle Orton may be able to keep this going, but it’s going to be a tough task.

Indianapolis-27 Cincinnati-0

I really thought this game would be a total shootout, not a blowout.  If anything, this game could’ve been 27-0 Cincinnati.  The Bengals just didn’t show up for a big game.  Andy Dalton was horrific, and the running game never got going.  Part of it resides on the offensive line, but I’ve never felt like Andy Dalton is that good.  Honestly, it’s the big game issue.  The Bengals don’t do well in them.  It’s that simple.  Andrew Luck had a huge game with 344 yards passing and two TD’s.  T.Y Hilton had another great game, with 107 yards receiving.  The Colts look great, and Bengals laid a egg, as they usually do in games like these.

Jacksonville-24 Cleveland-6

Oh boy, we had a great game here. (Nope)

This was actually pretty close throughout, but wasn’t fun to watch at all.  Blake Bortles looked like a rookie QB Sunday, throwing three picks and only 159 yards passing.  It didn’t really matter, because Cleveland was worse.  Brian Hoyer threw the football 41 times.  He completed 16 of them.

(And the moral of the story is)

You get it.  With a completion percentage like that, you aren’t going to win.  The Browns pretty good running game wouldn’t work, and it was just a wall that was to hard to climb for the Browns.  Too many things went wrong for them.

As for Jacksonville, the win was big, since it was their first of the season.  They’re young, and Bortles will struggle.  This game probably meant more to Jags fans then the team.

St.Louis-28 Seattle-26

Man, this is huge for my Arizona Cardinals.

(Let’s start that over, homerism alert)

This was really impressive by the Rams.  They pulled two special teams trickery plays on the Seahawks, and one went back for a TD return by Stedman Bailey.  The Rams dominated this game.  Being up 21-6 at halftime was incredible.  Austin Davis, who is very confusing, only threw three incomplete pass, but only had 152 yards.  He also threw two TD’s.  Davis has shown flashes, but has also had some awful games.  There’s no way you can evaluate him, yet.  The Seahawks laid a egg here.  I’m not concerned about them, because Russell Wilson had great game, passing and running wise.  The defense is what isn’t clicking.  This shouldn’t have happened against the Rams.  Seattle hasn’t lost back to back games since 2012.

This was huge for the Rams, but their not a threatening team to anyone.

Washington-19 Tennessee-17

Another close, but boring game on Sunday.  These two teams had no separation throughout, but it’s a miracle the Redskins pulled it off.  Kirk Cousins was benched for the 2nd half after a decent performance in the 1st half.  I was a little surprised by the move,  because Cousins was 10/16 for 139 yards at halftime, but a pick was thrown.  It may be just a test for Washington, who expects RG3 back soon.

I remember when I wrote a column defending Cousins, telling the world how great he is.

Now, I wrote that column with the mindset that RG3 was going to be out for they year, because when I posted it, that was the expectation.

Anyways, Colt McCoy did great, and threw a 70 yard TD pass on his first play.  He only threw one incompletion.

The game ended with the Redskins kicking a game-winning field as time expired, which gave them the win.  Honestly, the Titans shouldn’t feel good at all, because giving up a drive like that to a Colt McCoy led offense isn’t great.

That’s all I’ve got on this game.  I already spent to many words on it.

Baltimore-29 Atlanta–7

Talk about a blowout.  The Falcons defense just collapsed, and I thought we could’ve seen a ton of points here.  Joe Flacco threw 2 TD’s with 258 yards, but also had two picks.  Justin Foresett had another monster game running the football, with 96 yards.  The Ravens just dominated.  Matt Ryan didn’t have a great game, with 228 yards and TD.  The accuracy was pretty ugly though.  The real problem with the Falcons is horrific line play.  On both sides.  The offensive line can’t block, which led to 68 rushing yards for the whole team.  The defense is a mess.  Really, I don’t know anyone can fix it.  It’s only going to get worse for Atlanta.

Kansas City-23 San Diego-20

(Homerism Possible)

This was a really fun and competitive game.  The Chiefs made a statement against San Diego, which only puts them at 3-3, but the slow start paved it.  Neither QB put up huge numbers, with Alex Smith and Philip Rivers not getting above 230 yards passing.  The Chiefs running game stole the spotlight, with a huge Jamaal Charles game.  Brandon Oliver had 67 yards, as the Chargers running game never sparked.  The Chiefs drove down the field with under two minutes, and broke the tie with a field goal with 21 seconds to go.  The Chargers got the ball back, and after one throw, Rivers threw a pick, which ended the game.  The Chiefs are 3-3 after the slow start, and even though they aren’t the same team as last year.  It’s pretty respectable for being in a tough division.

Arizona-24 Oakland-13 

(Homerism Possible)

This game shouldn’t have been this close, but really, it doesn’t matter to me.  5-1 is wayyyy better than I expected.

(Let’s talk about the game now)

Carson Palmer had another good game in his second game back from injury, throwing for 253 yards and a TD.  Andre Ellington had 83 rushing yards as the Cardinals dominated the Raiders.  Ellington was the also the Cardinals leading receiver.  The Cardinals defense played a lot better this week, shutting down the Raiders already weak offense.  Derek Carr threw for only 173 yards, and really didn’t play well at all.  The Raiders the league’s only winless
team, and Darnell Dockett let their rowdy fans know.

Hey, I’ve got no problem with it.

Dallas-31 New York Giants-21

Yet another pretty fun game, the Cowboys continued their shocking season, beating the Giants to improve to 6-1.  Tony Romo threw for 279 yards and three TD’s.  DeMarco Murray had yet another 100 yard rushing game, as he is the league leader in rushing yards.  151 yards receiving from Dez Bryant contributed to the win.  The Giants didn’t play well enough win this game.  Eli Manning had a decent game, but he did throw three TD’s.  The real problem for the Giants is the running game, which needs to improve, but rookie Andre Williams had a decent day. Really, the Giants are average, just average.

Denver-42 San Francisco-17

On a historical night in Denver, the Broncos steamrolled the 49ers.  Peyton Manning threw 4 TD passes, including number 509, which broke Brett Farve’s record for most career TD passes.  The Broncos dominated the game, as they should have.  Colin Kaepernick didn’t have a great game, with only 263 yards.  The 49ers running game never got going aagainstthe stubborn Bronco defense.  San Francisco’s WR’s though, had a decent impact and had multiple guys over 50 yards.  The 49ers lost a game they probably weren’t confident about winning anyways.

 

What To Watch For: College Football Week 8

Wait, it’s already Week 8?  This season has flown by so far.  This Saturday features five more ranked-ranked match ups, with one game that will have major playoff implications (It feels so nice to say “playoff”).

No.14 Kansas State vs. No.11 Oklahoma

(Homerism Possible)

In a conference that doesn’t have a championship game, every time you play a conference opponent, it means so much more than any other game.  Both of these teams have only one loss, and they sit 2nd and 3rd in the conference, only behind Baylor.  The Sooners have a defense that is comparable to a brick wall.  The defense has to contain an explosive Wildcats offense, which puts up 40 points a game.  If Oklahoma’s secondary can buckle up the Wildcats wide receivers, they win.  If Kansas State’s wide receivers get open, they win.  Prediction: Oklahoma-21 Kansas State-10

No.21 Texas A&M vs. No.7 Alabama

I really not sure how the Aggies are even ranked coming into this game, because there are some serious issues with them.  After a blazing first game, quarterback Kenny Hill has looked awful.  I’m not sure his vision is great, which is leading to the accuracy issues.  Even though Hill hasn’t played great, he puts up massive numbers, and in certain games can put someone away.  Last week, they were blown out by Ole Miss.    The Tide, though, are rolling, and have proved me wrong this year.  The loss last week doesn’t mean much, because Mississippi State is really good, like No.1 good.  Anyways, Alabama’s defense should be able to stop the Texas A&M offensive attack.  If they can play ball-hawk and take advantage of Hill’s accuracy issues, the Tide roll.  Prediction: Alabama-35 A&M-17

No.15 Oklahoma State vs. No.12 TCU

With TCU on fire, the Cowboys have a tough task ahead of them.  This offense slings the football, and that’s all they do.  Combining that with a stellar defense, TCU sets up perfect for this game.  Though, the last time they matched up, Oklahoma State dominated, and TCU’s offense collapsed.  It’s possible, but unlikely.  This will be a lower scoring game, because I’m not sold on the Cowboys offense, but another good BIG 12 defense helps them out.  Defense will win this game, no matter what.  Prediction: TCU-21 Oklahoma State-10

No.5 Notre Dame vs. No.2 Florida State

This is hopefully the one game I will be able to catch this weekend, but wow, we have a showdown here.  This is going to be a phenomenal game.  Both teams have the offenses and the defenses to win,  so it’s a matter of who executes.  A game like this is hard to predict because there are very few advantages going for either team.  The game is being played in Tallahassee, which is a plus for the Seminoles, giving the weather in South Bend the past couple of weeks.  Expect a lot of points in this one.  My pick, probably won’t be right with this one. Prediction: Notre Dame-47 Florida State-42

No.23 Stanford vs. No.17 Arizona State

(Homerism Possible, for both teams)

Now I’m rooting for the Sun Devils here, mostly because they need the win more than Stanford does.  Now these team’s rankings disagree.  Stanford is a better team than ASU.  Even with Taylor Kelly at QB, Stanford’s defense is just too good.  ASU shot up the rankings because of Kelly’s return for this game, which automatically raises ASU’s chances.  The offense was a disaster without him, even though the Devils beat USC.  Stanford, on the other hand, has the lower ranking, but has a little bit more relation with the committee and has more success in previous years.  We know what the Cardinal can do, and it’s more than likely they do it here.  Prediction: Stanford-24 ASU-14

Other Interesting Games

 No.4 Baylor vs. West Virginia

This West Virginia team is a shock compared to last year, and at 4-2, it’s a little intimating.  This game though, is going to be a tough one for the Mountaineers.  Baylor is coming off of the highest scoring game ever between top 10 teams, and with a odd ending that resulted in a Baylor win.  The Bears have offense, that’s obvious.  If West Virginia wants to keep this thing close, they have to do all they can on defense.  Prediction: Baylor-45 West Virginia-17

UCLA vs. California

UCLA isn’t ranked after the blowout loss to Oregon last week, which is somewhat of a shock to me.  This team is super talented, and they just haven’t been able to put it together this season.  California is surprisingly very sneaky, and were in first place in PAC-12 North at a point this season.  This is going to be a measuring stick game for the Golden Bears.  A win would surely get them ranked, and would send UCLA down the hole.  Prediction: California-28 UCLA-24

Missouri vs. Florida

Both of these teams should be ranked, and giving that Marshall is, well, that tells it all.  Florida has surprised me this year, because I thought they would be terrible.  They’ve redeemed themselves after almost pulling off a upset over Alabama.  The Tennessee win got them recognized more, which sets this game up.  Missouri has been in&out of the rankings this year.  They beat South Carolina, then laid a egg against the Todd Gurley-less Bulldogs.  I loved this Missouri team, but they’ve collapsed since, and this could be the dagger.  Prediction: Florida-31 Missouri-17

Upset Alert

No.10 Georgia vs. Arkansas

The Bulldogs will again be without star RB Todd Gurley, and really, it’s not looking good for Gurley to play the rest of this season, which would end his college career.   The Gurley thing is something that’s hard not to bring up, like the James Harden trade with Oklahoma City and Houston.   Anyways, without him, this could be a dangerous game.  Even though the Bulldogs steamrolled Missouri last week without him, Arkansas matches up differently.  The Razorbacks haven’t won a conference game this year, and sit at 3-3, but a powerful and sneaky offense can keep them in it.  If Arkansas can pull it off, they will gain more national attention, lose, and well, yea.  Georgia should win this game.  It would keep assuring everyone until November 15 they’re fine without Gurley.

Todd Gurley Suspension: The Start Of Something Bigger Than Football

Remember before you read this, this isn’t a rant, this is strictly a idea with a prediction.  

I woke up last Friday morning sensing that something newsworthy was going to break that day. It just felt like it.  I waited all-day, through school and all that.  It was about an hour after I got home when it broke.

REPORT- TODD GURLEY SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY FOR NCAA RULES VIOLATION

There it was.  I was shocked.  I tried to gather anything I could on it.  The news broke, and then exploded.

That was all I had for quite awhile.  It wasn’t until about 45 minutes after until the violation specifics were released.

Todd Gurley was suspended indefinitely for selling autographed memorabilia.  The NCAA prohibits this, as we all know by now.  The NCAA has some absurd rules regarding their athletes.

The NCAA is supposedly non-profit.  But yet, they drive in billions and billions of dollars from fans, schools, and TV networks.  The organization is a total powerhouse, and really, it’s a like a dictatorship.

They allow their athletes to do absolutely nothing.  The rules range from the water they use on campus to getting gifts from friends.  It’s crazy.  None of this has anything to do with sports, it’s all about the money they want to drive in.

Now, some people don’t realize, and maybe even I don’t, how busy these athletes are.  They are in class, on the practice field, playing in a game, lifting weights, or on a plane.  There is no way that they have anytime for a job.  So they have no money coming in, at all.

Here’s the thing, however.  If you’re a prospect, you’ve got a good shot of going pro and making millions.  That’s a plus.  But as Shabazz Naiper said after winning the NCAA Tournament in April “I go hungry at night”.

And really, I believe him.  That’s why something has to give.  Whether it be a breakaway or rule change, something has to done.  And that’s were the options pile up.

I wouldn’t be surprised if, by 2020 or sooner, we have two separate college athletics leagues/organizations/associations (leagues sounds to professional).  If that were to happen, the Power 5 conferences would split from the NCAA.

Let’s be honest.  In college football, the revenue that the NCAA drives in from games, comes mostly (that’s probably a understatement) from Division 1, let alone the Power 5.  Division 1 is what we care about.  It’s what the media and TV networks care about.  So, it’s where the money comes from.

Now I’m writing this from a football standpoint.  With college basketball, it gets to messy.  That’s where this whole thing gets derailed.  Now again, it’s not just football players who are getting in trouble for things like this. And really, they shouldn’t be getting in trouble for it.

College athletes should be able to sell their name for money.  As said above, these guys can’t hold down a job.  They’re to busy.  So why not make a little cash over autographs?

Now don’t get me wrong, Gurley and these other athletes know the rules, and if those rules are in place, they should follow them.  They know if their caught, there will be consequences.

Or on a less controversial standpoint, why can’t I buy a Andrew Wiggins Kansas Jayhawks jersey?  I can, but it won’t have his name on it.  Why?  The NCAA won’t let it happen.  They fear the athletes would be making money off it.

Now I’m against game salaries or yearly salaries.  That’s taking it a little to far.  This isn’t a grueling season for basketball or football.  45 games max for basketball, 15 for football.  C’mon, your playing for a career, not money.

The Power 5 schools are rich enough that they could pay their players per game.  But, they would have to split.  That would take balls and a lot of money.

It would be fun to see two college leagues.  One we would care about and has the best teams and events, and then others would be the NCAA.  I’m for Division 1 splitting away, not just the Power 5.  Let’s keep Division AA, they have the NAU Lumberjacks.  (Homerism alert).

With the new Playoff system we have, it would be devastating for the NCAA to lose it, since they spent so much money on it.  The NCAA would become a laughing stock compared to the new league/association.

We need a name for it, even though it’s not going to happen for the next six years, and maybe not at all!  I can’t think of a good one.

You maybe thinking I’m getting ahead of myself.  Well, this is going to happen soon, and fast.  It’s going to happen within the next six years.

College athletes deserve to be able to make money off their name and memorabilia.  Yea their young, and they have to be smart with that money.  This may not be the issue the causes a possible split, but if it were to happen, then it it would definitely be one of the main reasons.

The other option, which seems a little bit out of reach and complicated, we be for the NCAA to let athletes sell their name and make money off of it.  A rule change, actually.  Though, who would be allowed?  You would HAVE to allow all athletes, from all divisions, conferences, and schools, and all athletics, be able too.  If not, it doesn’t go through.

This is issue could cause a massive riff between schools and the NCAA.  Honestly, it’s going to be a riff that won’t be solved.

Prediction: Division 1 (FBS&FCS) split from NCAA before 2020, citing multiple issues with NCAA rules and restrictions.

NFL Week 6 Roundup

In a weekend where we had a tie, other games stole the spotlight, even the games that there wasn’t much expected of.

Indianapolis-33 Houston-28

I think the match up was actually Indianapolis vs. JJ Watt.  I’ll have to double check.  Anyways, the Colts opened the game on fire.  They took a 24-0 lead at the end of the 1st quarter as it looked really ugly for the Texans.  T.Y. Hilton had a monster game, and if you had him on your bench in fantasy (like me!), you paid for it.  Hilton had nine catches for 223 yards and a touchdown.  He lit up the Texans secondary.  The Texans rallied in the game, but ultimately succumbed to the explosive Colts.  JJ Watt, the so-far MVP, had a 45 yards fumble return for a TD, so that ended the night on a positive note for the Texans.

Green Bay-27 Miami-24

In a crazy, close and exciting game, the Packers fought and eventually got it done, right at the end.  The Packers scored first in the game, and the scoring never let up.  Aaron Rodgers had a great game, and made a incredible pass to Randell Cobb later in the game.  Neither team ran the ball well at all, which lead to the great passing performances.  Ryan Tannehil played decent, throwing two picks to go with two TD’s.  He has to limit the turnovers.  It bites him and is hindering his success.

The Packers found themselves down three with 2:00 minutes left, and knowing how they preform, I had no doubt Green Bay was going to win.  Sure enough, it happened.  With three seconds left, Rodgers threw a four yard pass to Andrew Quarless, stunning the Dolphins and their home crowd that probably doesn’t exist.

Cleveland-31 Pittsburgh-10

Who saw this coming?

The Browns completed dominated the Steelers, bottom line.  The Steelers scored the first points of the game, going up 3-0.  They didn’t score till the 4th quarter, and let the Browns jumped to a 31-3 lead.  Brian Hoyer only threw the ball 17 times, which is probably the most the Browns wanted him to throw anyways.  Passing for 217 yards and a touchdown was decent, but it was the running game that carried the Browns.  Ben Tate and Isaiah Crowell both had over 70 yards, and three TD’s combined.

In a embarrassing loss for the Steelers, Ben Rothlisberger completed only 50% of his passes and threw for 228 yards.  A TD and a pick followed.  It was kinda weird how they got blown out so bad, because the stat line was decent for Pittsburgh.  A combination of a productive Cleveland offense and a great defense forced the Steelers to lay a egg.

Carolina-37 Cincinnati-37 (OT)

Yes, you read that right.  A tie.

I debated it, but I’m going write about.  They’re both good teams.

This game remained close throughout, obviously.  I knew this would be a great game at the start, and it surely paid off.  Both QB’s were making noise due to match-up of two of the better QB’s from the 2011 draft, Cam Newton and Andy Dalton.  The two QB’s played pretty well.  Both threw the ball over 40 times, both threw for over 280 yards, and both threw 2 TD’s.  The running game for both teams was strong, with Giovanni Bernard rushing for 137 yards and a touchdown.  Newton was the Panthers leading rusher with 107 yards and touchdown.

And with all this excitement, the game ended in a tie.  (Sigh)

New England-37 Buffalo-22

For the second straight week, Tom Brady redeemed himself after rumors of his unhappiness in New England by completely dominating.  The Patirots dominated the Bills Sunday, which included four TD passes by Brady.  Three Pats receivers had over 90 yards, and Brandon Lafell had two TD catches.  Overall: Complete domination.

It was a shock the Bills put up this many points.  Kyle Orton had a decent game, completing 24/38 passes and 299 yards.  The Bills couldn’t run the ball at all, which is usually what they do best.  CJ Spiller hasn’t looked great this year, and that has to be concerning.  It’s not a big deal yet, but if he continues to decline, there is a serious problem developing.

Detroit-17 Minnesota-3

Another game where a domination was evident.  The Vikings were humiliated at home Sunday.  Teddy Bridgewater actually looked like a rookie QB, and the running game couldn’t going.  Without Adrian Peterson though, it has pretty low expectations.  Bridgewater threw three picks in the loss, and had trouble relying on anyone.

The Lions on the other end, won this game.  Matthew Stafford didn’t do much, but he didn’t really have to.  Even with Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush out, the Vikings turnovers played such a big role, that nobody really registered a huge role.  Joique Bell had a good game rushing the ball, while Theo Reddick had great receiving game.  This Detroit defense played great, with turnover and sacks.  That ultimately led to the win.

Denver-31 New York Jets-17

How was this even this close?

I had hopes for the jets this year.  I thought they could possibly contend for a Wild Card spot if Geno Smith played well enough.

IF.

That was a big if, and it’s proving itself.  Geno Smith has been horrendous this year, and it’s time for a change.  I noted that they have a solid backup if things were to turn ugly.  I’m still sticking with that, even though I hate his guts.

As for the game, Peyton Manning did Peyton Manning things, and that overall led to the win.  Manning had 237 yards passing and three touchdowns as he inched closer to the record for most TD passes in a season, which is currently held by Brett Farve.  Demaryius Thomas had a great game again, and the Jets just couldn’t stop the Broncos offensive attack.

Geno Smith had a pretty bad game.  23/43, 190 yards, two TD’s and a pick.  Not great.  It’s not what the Jets need in a game like this.  The running game was really bad, but this Denver defensive line is pretty good.

The Jets lost to a bad team, and I’m surprised it was this close, but from a overall performance standpoint, it needs to improve.

Baltimore-48 Tampa Bay-17

It was pretty amazing the Ravens didn’t score 80 points, because for a while, it looked that way.

At the end of the 1st quarter, it was 28-0 Ravens.  This was ugly from the start.  Torrey Smith, after a tough start to the season, finally got his mojo back and had a killer game.  Catching the first two TD’s the Ravens scored was only two of the five that Joe Flacco threw.  It was a incredible preformance.

Alright, I was a little harsh there.  I like Joe Flacco, I think he’s a really good QB.  He proved me he was Sunday even against a bad team.

Speaking of that, the Bucs seem really bad.  Worse than I thought.  This was a terrible performance at home.

Nice showing, Bucs fans.

Tennessee-16 Jacksonville-14

(Do I really have to write about this game?)

Yea somewhat.

Nobody tells me to write.  I’m my own editor. I’m not getting paid.  It’s for fun, so if I trash your team here.  Well, don’t complain to my boss, cause I don’t have one.  

This was a thriller, wasn’t it?

How bad can these AFC South games get?

Anyways, Blake Bortles played great.  He threw for 336 yards and a touchdown in the loss. Cecil Shorts, the Jags best option at wide receiver, had a good game with over 100 yards receiving.  It’s a shame they couldn’t pull it together.

The only reason the Titans are winning games is…

whitehurst shoot
I might just put this photo in every column.

Yup.  That’s it.  Both teams suck, on to the next game please.

San Diego-31 Oakland-28

First of all, how was this game so close?

Second of all, how did the Raiders score 28 points?

This game beat me.  I really don’t know how to feel about it.

In a great game from Derek Carr, he almost led his team to a massive upset over the Chargers.  Carr had four TD’s, with two of them going to Andre Holmes.  Darren McFadden had a great game, surprisingly.  With 14 carries, he had 80 yards.  Philip Rivers had another Philip Rivers game, continuing his great season.  Rivers threw three TD’s and 313 yards.  A huge game from Brandon Oliver (Yup, Brandon Oliver) contributed to the win, carrying the ball 30 times and for 101 yards.  Malcolm Floyd had a great game, adding another 100 yards to the Chargers offensive performance.

Overall, Tony Soprano infused this team with something.  Keeping up with the Chargers is no easy task.  Derek Carr looked great, and for someone like me who didn’t like him at all, he looks like he can lead this team.  Carr looks like the best player on this team.

Chicago-27 Atlanta-13

The Bears absolutely dominated this game.  Jay Cutler threw for 381 yards on 26 passes and a touchdown.  Matt Forte had two TD runs and ran for 80 yards (also gave me about 28 fantasy points!).  Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall both had over 100 yards receiving.  The Bears played great on both sides of the field, even on the defensive side.  Matt Ryan didn’t have a great game, but played decent.  The problem isn’t him, though.  This Atlanta team has nothing else around him besides some stud receivers on the outside.  The Falcons offensive line can’t block and help out the running game.  It is terrible how bad they are.  There are a lot injuries, but it doesn’t matter.  The defense is horrid, too.   The Bears have a good offense, but giving up 100 yards to TWO receivers and 80 yards to a running back isn’t good.  Matt Ryan is wasting years, and GM Thomas Dimitroff needs to go, now.

Arizona-30 Washington-20

(Homerism Possible)

In Carson Palmer’s return, the Cardinals won a somewhat sloppy game over the Redskins in the desert.  Though the Cardinals didn’t turn the ball over, the defense had trouble tackling and defending Desean Jackson, who racked up 115 yards.  The Redskins had four turnovers, three of which were Kirk Cousins interceptions.  Cousins did throw for 254 yards and two TD’s, but made some awful decisions.

The Cardinal’s defense, giving all the injuries and criticism still played great.  The secondary is living up to the hype, minus Patrick Peterson, who hasn’t had a great season so far.  The defensive line is is still stellar, and shut down Alfred Morris Sunday.

The real show, however, was on the offensive side.  In Carson Palmer’s first game since Week 1, he threw for 250 yards on 28 passes and two TD’s.  It looked like he didn’t even get hurt.  The shoulder had no issues.  Larry Fitzgerald had his best game so far this season, with six receptions for 98 yards and TD.

The Cardinals are 4-1 and are travelling to Oakland next week.  This team has their QB back, which is huge.  Expect the Cardinals to continue to surprise everyone, including me.

Dallas-30 Seattle-23

DeMarco Murray, again, had a incredible game.  Rushing for 115 yards on 29 carries and touchdown led the Cowboys to upset win in Seattle.  Russell Wilson played poorly, which drove the Seahawks into a hole.  The game was close throughout, but the Cowboys were visibly the better team, The Seattle stat line was miserable, and part of it had to with Wilson’s rough game.

This Cowboys defense has been a shock so far.  The defensive line has played very well, well enough to get this team to 5-1.  I had them at 5-11 this season.

As for Seattle, there isn’t any need for concern.  The secondary isn’t playing like they did last year, but they’re still really good.  The offense has to get back on track.  That’s the key.

Philadelphia-27 New York Giants-0

So much for the Giants getting the offense together.

This game was ridiculously lopsided.  Unfortunately, to add to the rough night, Victor Cruz torn his patella tendon in his knee, and is out for the season.  The hardest thing to watch is a very popular player get hurt that seriously.  People reported hearing his screams and his balling on the field.  Watching from home, you could tell it wasn’t good, and he knew it.  Giving how quickly the injury was confirmed was even worse.

I’m not going to get into the stats or how the game played out, because it was so lopsided.  Adding to that, I didn’t watch much of it, but I was just in time, unfortunately, to see the Cruz injury.

San Francisco-31 St. Louis-17

What a weird game.  The Rams opened with a 14-0 1st quarter lead.  Austin Davis looked like Drew Brees, as Jon Gruden kept comparing him to before the game.  That eroded pretty quickly.  The 49ers got their act together made it a four point game at halftime, partly helped by a ridiculous 80 yards touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick to Brandon Lloyd.  The rest of the night belonged the 49ers as they scored 24 answered points, and ended up taking the game.  The Rams defense collapsed, and gave up way to many big plays.  Kaepernick had a great game with 313 yards and three touchdowns  The 49ers running game really didn’t show up, not that it had to.  As the game went on, Drew Brees 2.0 turned to Brandon Weeden 2.0, and completely fell apart.  Austin Davis completed only half of his passes, due to poor communication between him and his receivers.  The simple answer to this game is the 49ers won a game they should have, no matter how they started.

On to Week 7… 

 

 

Sucks To Be You Column: Arizona, Georgia Tech, And A Lot Of Really Close, Almost Upsets

Saturday was really interesting.  We had five ranked-ranked match-ups, and a good amount of games that came oh-so close to becoming a major upset.  TCU-Baylor scored 119 points combined.  That final score was 61-58, where TCU almost had a incredible upset.  That game though, ended in a surprising way, with Baylor kicking a field goal as time expired to win.

That was just one game on Saturday.  Others included the much-storylined Georgia vs. Missouri game, where without Todd Gurley, the Bulldogs cruised.  I will have a column on Gurley later this week.

Let’s start with the Arizona Wildcats, and, as always…

(Homerism Possible)

The Wildcats were ranked 10th in the country coming into the showdown with USC.  One team had came off a massive upset, and one had came off a devastating loss.  The Wildcats were at home, and had tons of momentum.  I was really skeptical of their ranking and their chances with this game.

The Wildcats were dominated early.  The Trojan running game couldn’t be stopped.  Arizona had no chance defending it.  The halftime was 14-6 USC.  It felt a lot worse than that.  It wasn’t just the pounding of the running, it was the fact that the Trojans broke tackles and went for long gains.  Arizona couldn’t tackle, and it really cost them.

Anu Solomon, Wildcats QB, threw 72 passes in the game, and completed 43 of them.  That’s a pretty evident sign that things weren’t in the Wildcats favor.  Solomon isn’t very accurate, but does have a cannon.  Relying on the Freshman was tough, mostly because the Wildcats couldn’t run the ball at all.  That’s what caused 72 passes to be thrown.

However, all of that didn’t lead to disaster yet.  The Wildcats rallied after being down two possessions at the end of the 3rd.  First, a 41-yard touchdown pass cut it to 28-20 around 10 minutes in the 4th.  After that, it got wild.  At least, not for another nine minutes.

The Wildcats answered again with just over a minute left.  That cut it to two points.  As anyone would, Arizona went for two.  A pass interference on the first attempt gave the Wildcats a second chance.  Instead of throwing a bubble screen pass, they ran the ball straight up the gut, and failed.

Now I was pretty mad at Rich Rodriguez.  I thought he would take the chance of throwing it.  Tat might’ve been the safer bet.  But no, instead, he let Leonard Williams spoil it.  Williams, who had a incredible game, boosted his already high draft stock for late April.  The kid should be a top 10 pick when we get their.

After the failed two-point conversion, Arizona went for onside kick.  They recovered, and my esophagus almost came out again.

So I, feeling pretty good about the drive, which started at the USC 47, was pretty confident they would get it done.  After two nice passes, Anu Solomon lost it, and threw two terrible incompletions.  It doomed the Wildcats, majorly.  The Wildcats hadn’t been kicking the ball well all night, having one blocked in the first half.

With 12 seconds left, Arizona set up for the field goal, and guess what.

NO GOOD.

At first, I thought it was blocked, so I wasn’t totally surprised.  Under further review, he actually missed the field goal, ending a pretty bad night for Wildcats.  It was a bad loss, mostly because they had the opportunities to win the game.

That pretty much summed up the night.  The missed field goal, the constant inability to stop the run.  At home, the Wildcats should have won.

However, the loss didn’t plummet their ranking.  In the new AP Poll, which I rely on, the Wildcats rank 16th in the nation, previously at 10th.  That’s fine with me.  They were ranked to high coming into the game anyways.  16th is about where they belong.

USC, on the other end, was unranked coming in to this game (surprising, right?).  The loss to ASU hurt (them, not me) but that necessarily wasn’t their fault.  It was a great offensive play.  Anyways, at 4-2, the Trojans rank at 22nd.  It’s not that they aren’t good, it’s more about the win-loss record and the teams that are better than them.

The other real upset Saturday took place down South, in Atlanta, where Duke upset No.22 Georgia Tech.

I don’t have much to say here….

The Yellow Jackets had only been ranked one week before losing to Duke Saturday.  Duke, a team that I’ve always liked and who almost pulled off a incredible win over Texas A&M last year, went into Atlanta and rolled over Georgia Tech.

The Blue Devils got their running game going, which ultimately put Georgia Tech on their heels.  The Jackets couldn’t stop it.  Too add, Georgia Tech couldn’t hold on to the ball with three costly turnovers in the game.

A thunderstorm delayed the game over an hour, and adding to the misery, Georgia Tech gave up a ridiculous amount of points after the delay, putting themselves in a hole.  Down 31-12, the Yellow Jackets pulled themselves out, and made it a six point game with a minute left.  The rally didn’t pull through, as the final score was 31-25.

The Yellow Jackets fell from the rankings, and Duke got much respect, but not enough, being one of the lead vote getters to not make the poll.

As for Duke, the win was big, and a somewhat easy schedule the rest of the way could make them very interesting the rest of the year.

Heisman Poll

With Todd Gurley most likely out for the year, the Poll has been majorly shaken.

1. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State

2. Amari Cooper, Alabama

3. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraksa

4. Marcus Mariota ,Oregon

5. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin