Super Bowl Preview

Football is a great game.  Everyone loves it.  Most sports fans pay attention to it.  It’s the most popular game in the USA.

This is the game we all look forward to.  This is the game that non-sports fans look forward to.  The Super Bowl is a holiday.  It not being an official holiday isn’t a problem, but it’s something that should be debated.

A holiday is when people get together, hang out, celebrate, and have fun with each other.  People do that when it comes to the Super Bowl.  Non-sports fans watch it.  Why?  Well, because someone they know is watching it.  Other people within their family watch it.

I remember the Super Bowl in 2007, where the Colts beat the Bears.  It wasn’t the first Super Bowl I watched.  It was the first one I remembered.  Two years later, my Arizona Cardinals made it, and lost in a heartbreaking way.  I was 8 when that happened.  I wasn’t a sports nerd yet.  I knew that my team though, was playing for the biggest prize there is.

And that’s what Seattle and New England will be doing on Sunday.  Battling for football’s ultimate prize.  Seattle is going for a repeat, while New England is caught up in a controversy that has unfortunately overshadowed this game.

I’ve tackled DeflateGate.  I’m not talking about it again until we find out the punishment and what actually happened.

Super Bowl Sunday is always awesome.  I don’t do anything on that day.  I might sit there and just think to myself about the game, and how great it truly is.

As for the game itself, we have a great matchup.  We thought that last year, but it only took one play for that mindset to change.  Last year, Seattle blew out Denver 43-8.  It’s the worse Super Bowl ever played in my lifetime.

Seattle’s looking to repeat off of that domination from last year.  Though this time, they have a tougher task.

The Seahawks are playing a team that is angry.  No know has dealt with what the Patriots have these past two weeks.  They are looking to prove everyone wrong, or at least shut everyone up for awhile.

That is why this means so much to the Patriots.  If they lose, the DeflateGate talk continues, while Seattle owns this half-decade.

I’m hoping that this game is better than last year’s.  It should be.  Here’s why:

Seattle’s defense has been dominate since 2010.  It’s absolutely unbelievable what they do.  Last year was a prefect example, shutting down history’s best offense ever.

New England’s offense isn’t the best ever, but features some great role players who make plays.  It’s lots of little things that add up for the Patriots.  Rob Gronkowski is a huge part of this offense.  He is a machine.  Gronk does it all.  He can go out over the field and catch 15 yard passes while also blocking on the line.  He doesn’t block much, but is great when he does.

I don’t expect Gronk to be shut down in this game.  Seattle has a handful with Gronk.  There is limited ways to cover him.  You can put a corner on him, yet that leaves a speedy wide receiver possibly open.  He is a decoy, who making plays at the same time.

Seattle is going to have put their linebackers or safeties on him.  The Seahawks safeties are smaller, but have outstanding covering abilities, and can hit you hard.  Kam Chancellor is a beast in the secondary.  He should be on Gronk in this game.  He’s Seattle’s best hope covering him.

Besides Gronk, New England has a great quarterback, who can makes things happen with close to nothing.  The Patriots have Tom Brady and Gronk on offense.  There isn’t a whole lot else.  LeGarratte Blount is a good running back, and can power run when needed, but is a tad bit frisky.  He’s never been consistent.

I don’t believe New England is going to be able get it’s offense going to the maximum.  Seattle’s defense has been the best in the league since 2012.  Overall, the Patriots are going to have to rely on Gronk and Tom Brady to make plays.  New England is going to struggle running the football.  This is where things could turn.  If New England can’t run the ball, then they have to throw.  Yes, Tom Brady is great, but the Patriots don’t have great weapons.  Seattle should be able to cover New England’s short passing game, then worry about Gronk.  They have to answer though.

Hey media, leave Marshawn Lynch alone.  He’s really good.  Also, NFL, stop taking his money.

Marshawn Lynch doesn’t care.  He gets fined at least $100,000 a year these days.  Lately, his hush-up to media and his crotch grab has costed him.  Now, he’s in trouble with a hat he wore to media day.  A hat that wasn’t “NFL approved”.  Ok, whatever.

The dude is a machine.  He carries people.  Literally!


So, New England has to stop this.  Somehow.

The Patriots’ defense has been good this year, but that’s it.  Just good.  The front seven is actually the weaker spot of the defense, which has to be concerning.  Seattle’s offensive game-plan should feature Lynch, and only throw the ball when needed.

If Lynch can have a good game, that may win it.  It’s the key for Seattle.  Ground and pound against the weak line, then run the play action and surprise them.

When Lynch gets going, the Seahawks fire up the play action, and that’s where their QB Russell Wilson breaks into his happy dance.  Wilson is outstanding outside of the pocket.  Rolling him out of the pocket does two things: 1) Puts the defense in panic mode 2)  Opens up the field and leaves someone open.  It’s a perfect gameplan for Seattle.

New England’s better side of their defense lies in the back, with the secondary.  It’s drastically improved throughout the year, but still has trouble covering the deep ball.  They struggle defending the big arm QB.  Russell Wilson doesn’t have the biggest arm, but can launch when he gets out of the pocket.

New England’s defensive plan is similar to Ohio State’s gameplan against Oregon in the National Championship.  Keeping Marcus Mariota under control was their goal.  That happened.  The Patriots have to do the same with Russell Wilson.  Keep him under control, and worry about defending the run.

There is no way this won’t be a great game.  Last year was a fluke.  Denver was off, and Seattle capitalized.  This should be a competitive game.  Seattle is going to have to contain Gronk, while the Patriots can’t let Marshawn Lynch carry them all over the field.

I hope there is some good commercials this year.  Last year overall was so bad, the commercials were better than the game itself.  The commercials weren’t that funny.  Also, I hate how companies released their commercials before the game.  Really? Why spoil it?

Anyways, Super Bowl Sunday is a holiday.  Our next president needs to take care of it.  Make it official.

Have fun on Sunday, and lets hope for a good game.

Oh yeah, we need to make one more thing official.  My prediction!

Prediction: Seattle-34 New England-28

Super Bowl Week Media Mania: DeflateGate And The Josh Gordon Suspension

I’m doing all football this week.  It’s the Super Bowl baby!

If the media didn’t have enough to cover this week, I don’t know what else.  I don’t consider myself media.  I’m 14.  School is my first priority.  This is a side job.  But anyways, it’s just more for me and the media to cover this week.

The DeflateGate Scandal/Controversy/Stupid Thing is a mess, yet the media coverage over it is ridiculous.  It’s overblown.

Now, I’m not going to go over what happened.  We don’t know what happened yet.  Were going to find out, just not as soon as we expected.  The NFL is in the process of investigating what happened, and who was/is to blame.  This isn’t coming out before the Super Bowl.  Some thought, as a punishment for the scandal, the NFL could pull the Patriots from the Super Bowl.

That was madness.  I floated it, but also said there was 5% chance of it happening.

Whatever the investigation finds, I care about the punishment.  I’m interested in what it finds, but the punishment is my concern.  It could, depending on who’s to blame, have a major impact on the Patriots.

With SpyGate in 2007, the NFL levied fines of $750,000 against the Patriots and Bill Belichick, and took away their first round draft pick.  I don’t believe it will be that severe, but if we find out that Tom Brady and Belichick are lying about this whole thing, then it may be extremely severe.  I couldn’t imagine how bad that would be.

I believe the Patriots.  I think they are telling truth, from both Belichick press conferences and Brady’s.  It would shock me if they weren’t telling the truth.  This relationship between the two, the team’s history, and this dynasty, would be completely altered if they weren’t.

Bill Belichick’s press conference on Saturday was incredible.  I found it totally boring. But still, it was fascinating listening to him talk about physics and pressure and all this.  Thank god my science teacher is more enthusiastic than that.  He’s great.  I love him.  Anyways, that was fascinating.  That solidified my belief that he is telling the truth.

As of right now, the NFL is reportedly looking into a Patriots locker room assistant.  It contradicts what Belichick said, as he blamed the weather for the deflation of the balls.  He walked the media through what their (the Patriots) preparation is for the footballs.

It’s great that the NFL is looking into who is to blame, and it’s better that they have proof, with a video they have their hands on.  But, I’m wondering something?  How can the NFL find this tape so easily, when they couldn’t get the Ray Rice elevator video that TMZ had the whole time?! Or, did they just not try?  Just something to think about.

On Sunday morning, it was announced that Josh Gordon had been suspended for the entire upcoming season for substance abuse.

Now, this isn’t his first run-in with the policy.  It started in college, where he was suspended twice for drug abuse.  Once in the pros, he was suspended two games in 2013.  Then, over this summer, was arrested for DUI in North Carolina.  Gordon entered the league’s program, which was supposed to help him recover.

But in August, the league announced that he was suspended yet agin, this time for 10 games.  It didn’t totally effect the Browns, since they were already beating expectations, but it certainly might’ve helped them make the playoffs.  And now, we have this.

Look, Gordon obviously has a serious problem.  It’s so serious that it could end up costing him his career.  This also proves Gordon hasn’t had substantial help, or at least help that would cure him of his addiction.

It’s a shame.  I said over the summer that he’s wasting his career.  We knew he needed help, and it’s obvious he hasn’t gotten it.  The question is pretty simple:  Drugs or money?  Money that you would earn because you deserve it.  He’s special.  Gordon is true talent at wide receiver.   He is really good at what he does.  He hasn’t realized that.  That’s why it’s shame, and it’s still heading in the wrong direction.

One more suspension and he’s out of the NFL.  That’s how serious this is.  He’s out of job, and won’t be let back in.  Football can’t be his priority.  He has to get clean.  If he does that, he’ll earn his money.  He’ll earn it through his talent.  He’ll earn it so that he can pay for his future.  So that he can be happy.

As for his NFL future, Gordon is done as a Cleveland Brown.  There is no way that they can keep him.  You have to move on at some point.  His issues are ones that they can’t contain. The help has to come from somewhere else.  If you’re Cleveland, you can’t wait around any longer.

Gordon being suspended for this year allows him to get clean, and make a comeback.  He’ll be a free agent, most likely.  Depending on how he’s earned his reputation back, some one will offer him.  He’s too talented.  Some one will take a chance.  It won’t be huge.  It’ll be a one year deal, for a minimal amount of money.

That though, is a long time away, and unfortunately, it may not happen.

Also, I don’t want to hear about the rules or the policy.  Josh Gordon has a problem.  It needs to get fixed.


Pay Up! The Max Scherzer Signing And Where Will James Shields End Up?

First off, “Scherzer” is a really painful name to spell.

On Wednesday, the Nationals officially gave Max Scherzer, this year’s biggest free agent pitcher, a ton of money.  Scherzer signed a seven year, $210 million contract with Washington, only improving an already beastly rotation.

The contract is huge.  Massive.  It’s the biggest contract ever given to a right handed pitcher.  You could tell that Nats wanted him really bad.  The move though, is one that seems great, but, you have to wonder about down the road.

Honestly, this is a great short term move for Washington.  Scherzer brings a lot to the table.  Cy Young caliber pitching that’s consistent.  Adding that to this rotation will be unhitable come spring.

Seven years though, is a long time.  Scherzer is 30.  That means he’ll be 37 by the time the contract is up.  Given from what we’ve seen over the past years with players over 30 signing long term deals, it’s unlikely he’ll be a National for the entire span of the contract.  It’s also likely he’ll decline fast.

But then again, this is a short term move for Washington.  They are going all in.  They have tons of young talent, like Bryce Harper, who’s only going to improve.  You have capitalize on it now, and lock them up when you start to succeed.

An issue coming off of this siging for Washington is, though it may not be an issue, is that they now have six starting pitchers in their rotation.

  • Max Scherzer
  • Stephen Strasburg
  • Doug Fister
  • Tanner Roark
  • Gio Gonzalez
  • Jordan Zimmerman

So yea, that’s like the best problem you can have.  All of those guys are really good, and three are still devolping into what they’ll become.

It’s not inconceivable that you could have a six man rotation.  Teams have done it before.  However, guys like playing time.  Pitchers play every 4th or 5th game.  Adding more guys means less playing time.

It’s most likely Washington deals one these pitchers.  For how much Scherzer is getting paid, he should play.

The three names being floated the most are Zimmerman, Fister and Strasburg.  The Strasburg thing is quite interesting.  This is highly hyped guy who came in and pitched outstanding, then had a devastating arm injury, and now is regaining his stuff.  He’s entering the early stages of his prime.  I believe, that Strasburg is going to be really good.  He stays.

Doug Fister just got to Washington a season ago.  He had a great 2014, with a 2.41 ERA and a record of 16-6.  I don’t see him getting moved.  He is a very reliable pitcher.  He should be very valuable.  Then again, the way players have gotten traded over the past six months is comparable to pinballs.  Anything can happen.

I see the Nationals trading Jordan Zimmerman.  Though he’s been there awhile, and the Nats made him, I think he’s the odd man out.  Zimmerman is coming off of two great years.  Washington should get some nice pieces back.

Let’s stick with the Zimmerman trade for a second.  Say they trade him, but where?

The Brewers could easily be a possibility.  Milwaukee dealed Yovani Gallardo to Texas early this week.  It cleared a spot up.  Many thought they’d be after Scherzer, or someone I’ll get into later.

Just today, Milwaukee engaged in conversations with Philadelphia for Jonathan Papelbon.  It’s obvious they’re looking for someone.

The Marlins are another team that are in the market for a starter.  Jose Fernandez isn’t expected back until June, a kicker that could be a killer for Miami this season.  Why not call up Washington?  Miami doesn’t have great starters besides Fernandez.  Their bullpen is what they’ve been building.  It’s time to capitalize.

I expect Miami and Milwaukee to land someone.  That someone, is as follows.

James Shields remains the top free agent pitcher left.  His decision and signing is expected soon.    Multiple teams have made themselves clear whether they are out or not.  The Diamondbacks pulled out yesterday (unfortunately) (homerism).

Multiple teams claim to be in running for Shields.  Some we are questioning why they aren’t in the running.  The Yankees fit the bill (literally), but does Shields want money, or does Shields want to win?  Boston is team that could surely sign him.  They, after trading away most of their starters, need to put it back together.

Outliers include San Francisco and Toronto.   Boston seems really interesting to me.  The Red Sox have spent a ton of money this offseason.  They’re going all in, yet are rebuilding at the same time.  Shields would be the ace in Boston, but wouldn’t benefit from Fenway’s small dimensions.

Miami seems ideal to me.  Adding him would bolster a young rotation, and give this team a couple more wins this year.  It doesn’t mean it’d make them contenders, but in the long run, it could be huge.

I believe we’ll know Shields’ decision soon.  It’s getting down to the wire now.  This better happen fast.  Spring training isn’t far away.

College Football’s Most Disappointing Teams

Every year, there is that group of teams that disappoint.  They don’t live up to expectations.  The season doesn’t end well for these teams.  There is usually a lot, but I’m only taking my top three.  The last one, is quite embarrassing on my part.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Record: 8-5

Notre Dame may not have had a bad season is some eyes, but when it comes to expectations, they fell well short.

First, the defense didn’t play well at all.  Ranked 84th overall, the Irish pulled away from what they’re known for.  Run defense plagued them, giving up 4 yards a run.  It got hammered this year, and it’s what pulled them down.  The pass defense was much better than the run, ranked 21st in the Nation.  They kept teams below 60% passing completion, but gave up lots of big plays down the field.  The defense as a whole is what brought this team down.

On the offensive side, Everett Golson’s return was huge.  The Irish finished 18th in passing offense, with 285 yards a game.  Golson provided help in the running game too, with 8 TD’s, including a 61 yard run.  Notre Dame didn’t run the ball much in 2014, which is okay.  They relied on Golson’s return, and it panned out.

However, the record didn’t get enough support, and landed them against our next team, in the Music City Bowl, or as I called it, the All Disappointment Bowl.

LSU Tigers

Record: 8-5

As a team, maybe LSU didn’t let me down.  They didn’t have a great quarterback, and even ran two, due to different systems and talents.

Anthony Jennings was never, like Blake Sims, a great QB in my eye.  He’d had accuracy issues, and this just continued to show this season.  He’s not a true passer, and only had 11 TD’s tosses this past season.

However, LSU didn’t want to rely on him this season.  They knew his weaknesses.  Instead, the relied on stud, freshman running back Leonard Fournette.  This guy, coming out of high school, looked really, really good.  And no doubt, he is.  His season though, wasn’t as I expected.  With just above 1,000 yards, I was disappointed.  This was not what I expected from him.  He was going off this year.  I said it before the season.  It didn’t happen.

Fournette had 10 TD’s, and still showed some studly moves this year, but it just wasn’t what I had in mind.  I’m not saying it’s what brought them down, but if he lived up to the large expectations, it would have definitely helped the Tigers.

On the other side of the ball, LSU continued to do what they do best.  The defense this year ranked 5th, with pass defense being the highlight.  In the SEC, you have to play good defense.  It’s what leads to the grudge-match games.  LSU’s run defense took a slide this year, ranking 35th.  The defense isn’t what brought this team down though.  Bad QB play has a huge impact.  A little more from the running game may have gave this team another win.  I expect much better things from LSU  next year.

Oklahoma Sooners

Record: 8-5

This is really embarrassing writing about this team.  I had them in the playoffs, at the No.4 seed.  Let’s just say, that didn’t work out.  So what happened?

This should have been a better team.  Their running game was fantastic all year, ranking 11th in the nation.  Samaje Perine had 1,713 yard season, including a NCAA record 427 yard game that featured five TD runs against Kansas.  It came a week after Melvin Gordon broke the record.  He’s was incredible, and will get better.

The QB position was a spot that we expected better from, but didn’t get it.  Trevor Knight only threw for 2,300 yards and had a 56.6% completion rate.  He also, got some attention from Katy Perry.

The Sooners lost that game to the rising TCU Horned Frogs.  Knight ended suffering a major neck injury in a blowout loss to Baylor later in the year.  That brought back the Sooners, and it didn’t get better from there.

The Oklahoma defense was never great in 2014, ranking 56th.  The pass defense was really bad,  giving up a stellar rating to opposing QB’s.  The run defense was excellent, only allowing 3.2 yards a run.

This was a major let down for Oklahoma.  Nobody saw this coming.  Injuries and bad defense at bad times plagued them.  The BIG 12 is really competitive, I understand that, but Oklahoma should be much better next year.  This team is too talented to not be good.

Championship Weekend Roundup

This is probably my favorite week of the season.  It’s the day we find out who plays in the Super Bowl.  These games are usually great.  This past weekend, one was great, and the other, not so much.  The Big Game is set.  But first, let’s recap:

Seattle-28 Green Bay-22 (OT)

I don’t even know where to start.

What if I told you Seattle turned the ball over five times?

What if I told you they were down 16-0 at halftime?


All of this happened in this game.  And yes, the score at the top is correct.

So, how did it happen?  Well, Green Bay came out on fire.  They looked unstoppable.  Aaron Rodgers’ calf treated him well, or at least, better than it had last week.

Yet, the first drive of the game, he threw an interception, giving Seattle the ball in their own territory.  But guess what?  Seattle gave it right back!  TWO PLAYS LATER.  It was one of FOUR interceptions Russell Wilson would throw in this game. Green Bay took advantage, and kicked a field goal.

It was a sloppy start.  Get used to that.  It was a common trait during this game.

On the kickoff return, Doug Baldwin fumbled, and the Packers recovered.  Yea, we were all confused.  How could Seattle start this bad?

Green Bay though, didn’t totally take advantage of the great field position.  They kicked another field goal.  The Packers finally got something better than that at the end of the first, with a Aaron Rodgers TD pass.  They led 13-0 after the 1st.

More Russell Wilson interceptions gave the Packers opportunities, but they didn’t capitalize on them all.  That would play killer later in the game.  It was only 16-0 at halftime.  The deficit sucked the energy out of Century Link Field, and trust me, that place was jacked before the game.  I thought I was there when I heard the fans screaming through the speakers in my basement.

Russell Wilson had three interceptions at halftime.  The Seahawks were killed by those, because Marshawn Lynch and the rest of the team had a good day.  Lynch finished with 157 yards and a TD.

Speaking of running backs, Eddie Lacy had a great day.  That dude has so many incredible moves.  Spins, jukes, and whatever.  He’s gonna do a backflip to avoid someone next.

The turnovers were really what gave Green Bay the big lead at halftime.  They weren’t great in the first half.  Aaron Rodgers was half decent, and finished with a QBR of 51.

So, Seattle got the ball back to start the second half.  You’d expect them, to try and actually do something with this drive.  Not a chance.  Wilson didn’t throw a pick, but the drive lasted four plays.  Green Bay countered and did the same thing when they got it.

At this point, Seattle was desperate.  They needed something.  Anything at all would have been great.

Finally, with 10:53 left in the 3rd quarter, they got something going.  The Seahawks went down the field, yet couldn’t get in the end zone.

On the Green Bay 19 yard line, Seattle set up for a field goal.  BUT WAIT.


Jon Ryan, the Seahawks punter, and placeholder, faked it, and threw it to Garry Galliam for a TD pass instead.  Just like that, it was 16-7.  We had a ball game.  That was the only score of the quarter, but man, was it a big one.  It completed turned this game around.

Green Bay answered, though it was only another field goal.  It gave them a little bit more cushion.  It was another long drive, which it almost a waste when you can’t score more than three out of those.

Seattle failed to provide an answer, which led them in a desperate spot.  They regained the ball shortly after, but Russell Wilson threw another interception, his fourth of the day.  At this point, all hope was lost, as the Seahawks were down 19-7 with 5:13 left.  Their winning percentage sat at 8.5% at that time, per ESPN Stats and Info.  I remember seeing that, and telling my Dad, “If they come back, remember that stat.”

After another stagnant drive by the Packers, Seattle got the ball with 3:52 left.  A huge 35 passing TD to Marshawn Lynch looked like the score that would put them back in it, but Lynch stepped out of bounds, forcing the ball back.

With no fear though, Russell Wilson just plays later took it in on his own.  It was now a 19-14 game with 2:09 left.

Then, the most hilarious, and unthinkable thing happened:


Ouch dude.  That’s Brandon Bostick, who had the ball right in his hands.  He dropped it, and Seattle recovered.  Had he caught it, we’d be talking about him catching it, not him dropping it.

With the drop, Seattle went right down the field, and scored on a Marshawn Lynch beast mode TD run.  It was ridiculous.  Oh yeah, did I mention the Seahawks took the lead with it?

This game was absolutely insane.

Green Bay is drained at this point.  They can’t believe what just happened.  Neither can Packer fans.  They’re sobbing.  They can’t believe they blew this lead.  They know it’s Seattle, who’s done crazy stuff in the past, yet they were playing so well.  They aren’t used to this.

There was still time on the clock.  Green Bay had a chance, and they took it.  Aaron Rodgers, who’s calf acted up at this point, led his team down the field, and gave Mason Crosby the chance of tying the game.  He nailed it, and we had a tie game.  At 22.  Yes, 22.

With the playoff OT rules, if the first team to possess the ball scores a TD, that’s it.  It’s over.  If they kick a field goal, the other team gets a chance.  Seattle got the ball first.  At this point, the NFL had moved the AFC Championship Game back 10 minutes, to avoid interference of the two.  They didn’t need that extra 10 minutes.

Long story short, Doug Baldwin caught a huge 35 yard pass from Russell Wilson on 3rd&7 to keep the drive alive.  The next play, well:

For the same exact amount of yardage came the game-winning TD to Jermaine Kearse.  The TD carried the Seahawks to the Super Bowl.

As for the Packers, I mean, I’m sorry, but how in the world do you blow that?  It was a combination of conservative play calling, bad drives, and simply bad team play altogether.  There were many ways they could have held it even when Seattle was rallying.  This falls on you, Green Bay.

As for Packer fans, tough luck.  You now join understand how Cowboys fans felt a week ago.

New England-45 Indianapolis-7

Good grief, this was a horror show.  I really thought the Colts had a chance in this one.  I thought that, if Andrew Luck could have another huge game, and Indianapolis played good defense, the Colts would sneak it out.  That, didn’t happen.  It didn’t even come close.

The Patriots owned the Colts last night.  They ripped them apart.

On offense, New England clobbered the Colts secondary.  A secondary that had been underrated and had played really well this year.  The Pats broke the seal.  They ran deeper, and got open.  It’s what led to Tom Brady throwing three TD passes.

It’s not like though, the Colts gave up big play after big play.  The longest play of the game was a 30 yard pass to Shane Vereen.  The didn’t throw over the top much.  New England was simply consistent with what they were doing.

The other half of this offensive display by New England was running game.  No, Jonas Gray didn’t play a factor.  LeGarrette Blount ran for 148 yards and 3 TD’s.  They pounded the ball to him.  His longest run was 22 yards, again showing how consistent he was.  The Colts weakness on defense is the line, and Sunday, it showed big time.

With New England putting up points, Indy didn’t respond well.  Andrew Luck had miserable game, going for 12/23 and two interceptions. The Colts have him on offense, and that’s pretty much it.  If they are going to have a chance, he has to play well.  Luck doesn’t have a running game around him, and that was exposed once again, with Boom Herron rushing for only 51 yards.

I’m sorry, but I had to.  That team he was talking about is now in the Super Bowl.  They will play the Seattle Seahawks, the defending champions.  That should be fun.

Head Coaching Hirings:

Todd Bowles: Hired as New York Jets Head Coach

Thoughts: As I write this in somber, I want to say that Todd Bowles did an excellent job with the Arizona Cardinals defense.  That guy is mastermind, and he produced one of the best defenses in the league during these past years.  As he moves on, he walks into a similar situation.  The Jets have an outstanding defense, with a line that’s phenomenal.  He should only improve it.  The problem is on the other side of the ball, where the Jets have no QB.  Have fun dealing with that.

Jack Del Rio: Hired as Oakland Raiders Head Coach


Mark Davis, Raiders owner (left) Reggie McKenzie, Raiders GM (right)
Mark Davis, Raiders owner (left) Reggie McKenzie, Raiders GM (right)

Anyone want to explain to me how these two people still have a job?

Jim Tomsula: Hired as San Francisco 49ers Head Coach

Thoughts:  This came as a surprise.  Reports had Adam Gase linked to the 49ers’ job, but San Francisco decided to go from within and promote Tomsula from defensive line coach to head coach.  I don’t know a whole lot about Tomsula, but I know he’s smart, and that he will get this team back together.  He’s well-respected throughout the organization, and will probably have a longer leash than others.  This is kinda a wait and see, but it should pan out eventually.

John Fox: Hired as Chicago Bears Head Coach

Thoughts:  This is really a great fit.  Fox has always been a defensive minded coach, and will hopefully patch up a really bad defense that the Bears own.  He should be granted some rights when draft time comes around.  Also, Jay Cutler will probably remain a Bear with this hire.  Fox has worked with good QB’s before.  If he can’t fix him, then it’s not his fault, and by then, we’ll know what the Bears have up their sleeve when it comes to Cutler’s future.

Gary Kubiak: Hired as Denver Broncos Head Coach

Thoughts:  This is truly all about keeping Peyton Manning.  Kubiak is an offensive minded coach.  However, not promoting Adam Gase may come back to haunt them.  At this point, Manning is probably not up for learning a new system.  If Kubiak completely revamps the offense, would Manning leave and retire?  It’s still up in the air, but I expect we’ll know soon after the Super Bowl.  One more tidbit, Manning is owed $19 million next year.  Would that be enough for him to stay?


Pro Bowl, Sunday—-

Oops, nobody cares about the Pro Bowl!

Super Bowl: New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks, February 1st, 6:30 PM EST

That’s more like it!

Love Or Letdown: Do These Teams Know What They’re Doing?

As we edge toward the end of free agency and closer to Opening Day, teams are making moves.  Signings, trades and weird stuff are no surprise this time of year.  However, some teams make odd moves.  Ones that confuse you, excite you, or whatever.  These teams have ideas of what they want to be (or what they don’t want to be), and how competitive (or not) they’ll be this year.

Other teams though, make really stupid moves.  Ones that no one can figure out.  These teams tend to be ones that aren’t sure how they will preform this year.  They’re struggling to convey the facts.  These teams, are as follows:

Oakland A’s:

Do they know what they’re doing?: Yup

Will it work?: Maybe

This may be the most interesting team of the offseason.  The A’s have made five trades, shipping out fan favorites and getting back depth.  It doesn’t seem like a great combination.

But, that depth they’re acquiring, will pay off.  Guys like Derek Norris have been shipped out for Ike Davis.  They’ve signed Billy Butler, and have totally reshaped their infield.  It’s completely different.

Shipping out these guys, who may be exiting their prime, gives them the possibility of getting younger.  It also is a cheaper option, and with the A’s, a poor team, that helps.  Oakland is revamping the infield, but not touching their outfield.  Minus Yoneis Cespedes, who’s now the ultimate pinball player.

If your Oakland, your simply getting rid of guys who you’d let go later because you can’t pay them.  A player earning himself money then leaving is disheartening.  It sucks.  The A’s are avoiding that.

Oakland knows though, that if this doesn’t work, that they have a plan for the future.  That’s where acquiring young guys comes in.  Guys like Brett Lawire and Joe Wendle have had missteps, but the A’s hope they can fix that down the road.

With all eyes on this season, it could be disappointing for Oakland.  This whole “young&cheap with a little bit of spice” thing may not work.  The expectations this year shouldn’t be set high by the front office.  The rotation is horrendous, so bad I don’t want to talk about it.  If their plans don’t work, and the pitching is a train wreck, it won’t be a surprise to me.

It would be a surprise for the A’s to contend.  Their pitching would have to be outstanding, and younger players would have to remain healthy.  There is a shot, but the A’s have to look at the future for now.

Atlanta Braves:

Do They Know What They’re Doing?: Nope

Will it work?: Nope

Atlanta seems to be in reboot mode.  Or rebuild.  I don’t know.  They’re a mess.  I’m not sure they know what they’re doing.  I don’t even think they have a plan.

After an epic collapse at the end of the season, the Braves pretty much blew it up.  They traded Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Jordan Walden, and now, just two days ago, Evan Gattis.  This team is going to average like three runs a game, right?

The selling of these offensive players makes you think they’re rebuilding, yet they go ahead and sign guys like Alberto Callaspo and Nick Markakis.  Those are two very good players, but, why sign them, when your not planning to compete?

Maybe it’s the money thing.  Guys love money in baseball.  Too sign with a bad team, you’ll get paid more.

Atlanta is also stockpiling guys in the minor’s, which will help significantly over the next couple years.  The Braves have to be smart about when to bring them (minor leaguers) up, but also can’t wait too long (cough, Twins, cough).  They’ve added nice pieces through the trades, like Shelby Miller, but, I can’t see this team coming together just yet.  It’s not all there.

The rebuild has to be frustrating for stars like Freddie Freeman.  This was a really promising team.  They were really good a couple years ago.  I don’t know what they have up their sleeve quite yet, but some clarity should be presented soon.

I’m going to be ridiculous and half-empty, but maybe they’ll just wait till the new stadium opens up to be good.  Maybe that’s the plan.

Chicago White Sox:

Do They Know What They’re Doing?:  Nope

Will it work?: Maybe!

It seems like the White Sox are stuck in between rebuild and “Ehh, we could just do that and see how it goes, and pull something out of our butt if we have to.” mode.

They have some great young talent.  Some are on the roster, some they still have to call up.

But, at the same time, they’ve signed and traded for some players this offseason.  Good players.    Chicago has signed Melky Cabrera, Adam LaRoche, and David Robertson.  Those are some really nice pieces.  It’s interesting though.  It makes you wonder what their plans are for this upcoming season.  Do they want to contend?  Do they think they have a shot?

The White Sox plans though, seem to be more about the future than now.  With Jose Abreu locked up, they have some serious young talent that they will be able to keep.  These signings may be for building hope.  They will be better this year.  Every year, for the next five or so, they should continue to get better.

I criticized the White Sox in December.  I didn’t understand what they were doing.  Now, it’s clear.  Acquire big-time players, who will make impacts, combine them with your young talent, and surprise people.  It’s a process, but it will work, eventually.

Chicago’s offense is going to be good this coming year.  The pitching rotation is going to be really scary.  With the acquisition of Jeff Samardzija from Oakland, they add a reliable pitcher to a rotation already featuring Chris Sale, one of the strikeout masters in the league.

So, could this team, with a confusing front office, actually be good this year?

Or are they wanting to still rebuild?

It’s a cluster.  A good cluster, but a cluster.  This team could shock some people.  It could also go down the drain.   It’s really a wait n’ see.  It’s what you get with people like this running a baseball team.  Love or letdown.

National Championship Roundup

Hey College Football Playoff, your fun.  See you next year.

(Is that all I need?)

I was wrong.  I’m admitting it.  I was wrong about the game and the score.  Honestly, I didn’t see this coming.

Ohio State-42 Oregon-20

If you’re a Duck fan, or one of the Oregon bandwagon fans (you know who you are), your not happy with what transpired Monday night.  I wouldn’t be.  You had opportunities to win the game.  You blew it.  You did not preform well, and it killed you.  It ended your season on the negative note.

What happened to Oregon is something that is tricky to explain.  There was so many twists and turns in this game.  Shifts of momentum, crazy plays, big hits.  LOTS OF COMMERCIALS.

Oregon couldn’t have played worse on offense.  The power running game I had praised didn’t show up.  The Buckeyes stuffed the gaps, and closed the edges.  They kept Heisman winner Marcus Mariota under control.  WAY under control.

Mariota didn’t play well, putting up a 60.3 QBR.  He threw for 333 yards and 2 TD’s, but had a pick and struggled with accuracy.  Some throws he made were way off, and it had an impact on this game.  With his struggles, Oregon tried to run, but was stuffed by Ohio State’s stout defensive line.  Man, those guys can hit.

I underrated the Buckeyes’ defense.  They really stepped up, especially in the front seven.  Again, keeping Mariota under control was key, and they did that.

However, Oregon’s defense was horrendous and great at the same time.  Ohio State turned the ball over four times, three fumbles and an interception.  Oregon did a great job forcing the ball out, but allowed Ezekiel Elliott to run all over them.  Oregon’s defense had to play well in this game; that didn’t happen.

The Buckeyes offense, led by Cardale Jones, their 3rd string quarterback, dominated Oregon.  The Ducks could not stop them.  Running back Ezekiel Elliott ran for 246 yards and 4 TD’s.  That dude is a beast.  He is unstoppable.  Oh yeah, and get this: His longest run was only 33 yards.  That shows you how consistent he was.

Through the air, Cardale Jones didn’t light it up, but did still play great.  Throwing for 242 yards and a TD, his stats were fine, but man, that kid has an arm.  He launched a couple balls.  Not all of them were complete, but still, he can throw a football.

As mentioned, Ohio State turned the ball over four times.  One fumble by Cardale Jones looked identical to Jameis Winston’s fumble in the Rose Bowl.  The ball literally slipped out of his hands.    No contact was made whatsoever.

Per SBNation and ESPN
Per SBNation and ESPN

How ironic is that?

Anyways, that was one of the Buckeyes four fumbles.  Wait, how did they win this game?

Oh yea!  Oregon did nothing with the ball.  Not only were Oregon’s stats bad, but the way they played on the field was horrendous too.  They couldn’t score.  Their only lead was 7-0, and they had one set of back-to-back scores.  Make that back-to-back-to-back, when they scored a field goal, touchdown, and field goal again.  At that point, they only trailed by one.  They never scored again.

See, Oregon’s offense was cold.  Something was off.  Nothing went well for them Monday night. It almost looked like the Broncos offense in last year’s Super Bowl.  This wasn’t what we were used to seeing.

As for the future of these teams, both should be competitive next year.  Ohio State has dilemma  on their hands that teams wish they could have.  Three quarterbacks capable of starting.  One who was injured before the season, one who got injured right before their biggest game, at the time, and one who looks promising, and is still super raw, but just the National Championship.

Look, Cardale Jones isn’t going pro.  There is no reason for that.  He has played in three games.  Yes, he looks promising, but, why not stay, and build the hype?  ESPN’s Todd McShay has Jones as a projected 5th or 6th round pick.  Yes, it’s significant he has him ranked, but, that can only climb, right?

I expect Jones to be in spring practice in a few months.  He should stay, and probably will.

As for the other two, this is where it gets interesting.  Braxton Miller, a pre-season Heisman candidate, didn’t even play after tearing a muscle in his shoulder.  The kid had huge expectations for this year.  That changed quickly.

After the injury, everyone, including me, discounted Ohio State.  “Nope, not a chance!”  That was the mindset.

But then, J.T. Barrett comes in, and plays out of his mind for most of the year.  Barrett is super fun to watch.  He’s small, yea, but makes great plays while still having a good arm.  He, out of any of the three, is the one most likely to be with the Buckeyes next year, just in case Jones loses his mind.

As of this point, I expect the camp battle to between Jones and Barrett.

So, where does Miller end up?

Speculation about him has been widespread.  Most, expect him to transfer to a competitive school.  One that would contend with him at QB next year.

From what I’ve seen, Oregon (yup), LSU, and Texas seem like popular places.  The Oregon rumor is ironic, but sounds like the most likely destination at this point.  With Marcus Mariota leaving, (that has been confirmed) they do have an opening.  They would surely welcome him, but he’s played three years already.  It would be a one year stint.

The big wrench in this, however, is that no matter what all these guys do, they can all transfer, or at least, are all eligible to transfer.  Say Barrett wants to leave.  That would create a crazy camp battle between Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller.  Two very similar QBs with similar skills going at it.  Seems weird, right?

All in all, Ohio State is the National Champion.  That’s what matters now.

Divisional Round Recap+Get Excited, Bills Fans+The Denver Domino Fall

Note: I am not writing about Saturday’s games.  I didn’t see them due to my attendance at the Spurs-Timberwolves game that night. This column focuses on Sunday’s game.

Crazy endings, bad calls, upsets, UNEXPECTED FIRINGS.  It’s the playoffs!  What more do you expect?

Green Bay-26 Dallas-21

What a game.  What else did we expect?  There was no shortage of drama in this one.  Both QBs played through injury, with Aaron Rodgers playing on a torn calf muscle.  Tony Romo suffered a minor knee injury in the third quarter, but it didn’t have a huge impact.

As we know, the Cowboys got away with a big call last weekend against Detroit, one that helped them win the game.  This week, that changed a bit.

The game was very competitive.  The teams traded scores multiple times, and no one was ever down by two possessions.  The Packers though, had a tough time in the first half keeping up.  Aaron Rodgers was in visible pain in the second quarter, but his team was only down 14-10 at halftime. Rodgers fought through the pain, and put an incredible stat line of 24/35, 316 yards and three TD’s.  He did fumble in the first quarter.

Dallas used their weapons nicely, with DeMarco Murray running for 123 yards and a TD.  Jason Witten had a nice receiving day, with 71 yards and a couple classic Witten-like catches.  Tony Romo didn’t do a whole lot, throwing the ball only 15 times for 191 yards.  2 TD passes were thrown by him in the first half, but that wasn’t when they needed them.

With 4:12 left in the 3rd quarter, DeMarco Murray ran in a TD, putting Dallas up 21-13.  At this point, Aaron Rodgers hadn’t looked great, visibly limping.  I was concerned for the Packers, fearing the offense would be stagnant without him at his best.  But all Green Bay did was prove me wrong.

2:31 later, Aaron Rodgers threw a 46 yard bomb to Davante Adams, who made some great moves after the catch, for a TD, cutting the Cowboys’ lead to one.  Now, the Packers owned the momentum.

Adams had a great day with 117 yards and a TD.

They kept it.  A drive later, the Packers went 80 yards down the field, and Rodgers found RICHARD Rodgers in the end zone, giving Green Bay the lead, in what I would call a comeback.

The next 9:10 though, was something we and the Cowboys will never forget.

After a great drive by Dallas, they had a decision to make with 4:42 left on the Green Bay 32 yard line.  On 4th&2, Dallas was down five.  If they punted or kicked the field goal, it wouldn’t have done them any good.  Giving the ball to Green Bay wouldn’t of been smart.  Dallas went for it, and boy, did it get wild.

This was the play call.  A deep shot to Dez Bryant, who made an outstanding, leaping catch.  It set the Cowboys up perfectly.

However, the Packers challenged it, saying he didn’t maintain possession of the ball going to the ground.

I thought it was a catch.  His elbow was down with the ball in his hand!

After review, the refs overturned it, giving the ball to Green Bay, who killed the clock and converted a key 3rd down, caught by Davante Adams, of course.

And that’s how the Cowboys’ season ended.  A bad call at the end of a game, sounds a lot like last week, right?

I don’t want to here the karma talk.  It was a bad call.  Okay, maybe it was karma, but still.  It’s silly.

It was a great effort by Dez Bryant, who was visibly upset at the end of the game, deservedly so.

All in all, the Cowboys beat my expectations for them this year.  Their defense was outstanding. It kept them in games.  Really, it’s too bad it ended this way.

As for Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers makes things happen, no matter how hurt he is.  Everyone put in effort Sunday.  Now, they’re playing for a chance to the Super Bowl.

To quote Lebron James after the winning the 2013 NBA Finals, “You need a little bit of luck.”

Indianpolis-24 Denver-13

Yes, I’m a little shocked.  If anything, I thought this would be close and exciting.  I wanted to take the Colts.  I really did.  I knew this had to happen.

It did. It sure did.

The biggest question: How did the Broncos’ offense play this bad?

What killed them:  Andrew Luck had a huge game, and Denver couldn’t respond.

The game was close in the first half.  Both teams went back and forth, and it was clear early on that Luck was going off.  He, for the second week in a row, had amazing protection, allowing him to shine.

It was also clear early that the Broncos were off (sounds familiar) (FLASHBACK) (FLASHBACK)(FLASHBACK).  They had scored twice in the first half, and only had one TD.   It came with 10 minutes left in the 1st quarter!  Still, Denver only trailed by four at halftime.

Andrew Luck’s massive day included two picks, but he threw for 265 yards and 2 TD’s, and made some incredible throws (Hey, that happened last week too!).  With Trent Richardson being a HEALTHY scratch, the Colts threw it around a bit more.  T.Y. Hilton had 72 yards, and Colby Fleener had a decent day.

Boom Herron, the Colts featured back, did run in a TD.

Denver’s offense looked frozen (It wasn’t that cold!).  Peyton Manning had a rough day, going 26/46 and 211 yards.  The accuracy was the main problem Sunday.  Adam Gase called a ton of deep throws, throws that Manning was struggling to make.  Some went over his receivers’ head, some where too short.

Manning hasn’t been himself the past three weeks.  I know he’s been hurt, but he had a week off for this game.  I expected a lot better from him.  His team though, didn’t totally help him.  His receivers had trouble getting open, against a sneaky good Colts secondary.

That was the biggest shock of this game.  Indianapolis’ secondary has been the bright spot of their defense, but boy, it did quite a job Sunday shutting down the Broncos’ wide receivers.  They totally outplayed Denver’s “pro-bowl” secondary.

Denver’s offensive failure is what plagued them.  You have to score against Andrew Luck.  He will, no matter who’s around him, will make things happen.  That, is something we have now realized.

As for Peyton Manning’s future, this just might be the end.  Just might.

Ugh.  It’s so hard to think about, but he just hasn’t looked himself.  You really have to wonder what will come out these next couple of weeks.

News: Bills hire Rex Ryan as Head Coach:

On Sunday morning, it was reported the Bills had hired Rex Ryan to become their new head coach.  Doug Marrone opted out of his contract last week, and has been actively interviewing with other teams.

I love the hire by Buffalo.  Many saw Atlanta as the favorites for Ryan, due to a defense that has mightley struggled the past couple years.  The Bears also expressed interest in Ryan.

With Buffalo, Ryan has a stacked defense to work with.  With Marcel Dareus and Mario Williams on the line, and Kiko Alonso behind, the run defense is outstanding.  Ryan can only improve it, and even bring guys to him.

On the other side of the ball, however, it’s the same story is was with the Jets:  No QB.

The Bills were shocked when Kyle Orton retiring after having a fantastic year, and kept the Bills in the playoff hunt.  It leaves them with E.J. Manuel, who was benched early in the season, after they realized he wasn’t the answer.

The Bills have two options.  First, it depends on where the front office and Rex stands with how far away this team is.  I believe that a QB is all this team needs.  With a great defense and young talent on the offense, that’s all it will take.  Since you this talent, why draft someone, and wait three years for them to develop?

With this hire, add Buffalo to the list of teams looking to trade for someone this Spring.  A decent QB is all they need.

Rex Ryan walks into a nice situation with the Bills.  Honestly, I’m convinced though, that the Jets situation is no worse than Buffalo’s.  Translation: Add them to the list of teams looking trade for someone.  Don’t waste your talent.

MORE NEWS: John Fox and the Broncos part ways:

Did anyone see this coming?  I was shocked.  I couldn’t believe it.  At around 4:00 PM CST yesterday, it was released that the Broncos and head coach John Fox had mutually parted ways.

First, I think this wasn’t mutual.  The Broncos realized that their team hasn’t been able to win in the playoffs, due to… well…. offensive collapses, things being off, bad defense, etc.  Denver has to think that changing this starts with the coaches.  Offensive coordinator Adam Gase has been a hot commodity of other teams, from the likes of the Jets and 49ers.  Now, an opportunity arises with his current team.

Fox himself will be a hot commodity now.  Teams who were sold on someone else may change their mind and bring Fox in for an interview.  I expect him to be a head coach next year.

This change is key in Peyton Manning’s possible retirement this offseason.  Manning has said he isn’t fully committed to next season, and said he needs some time to think about it.  Manning also said that it may depend on who’s here.

So, would Adam Gase becoming head coach keep Manning in the league?  Did the John Fox firing tick him off?  Would Manning not be fond of having a new coach come in this late in his career?

These are all questions that we will find out soon.  As for now, nobody knows.  Nobody has a clue.

Next week:

NFC Championship Game: Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks, 3:05 PM EST

AFC Championship Game: Indianpolis Colts vs. New England Patriots, 6:40 PM EST

2015 National Championship Preview

We’ve made it.  We’ve made here, to the National Championship.  We completed the playoff round, and now have two teams, who deserve to be here.  That, has now been proven.

Oregon provided a decent surprise in the first playoff game, whooping Florida State 59-20.  Oregon simply outscored Florida State, while more than capitalizing on their mistakes.  Jameis Winston did not play well, setting an unfortunate tone for the rest of the game.  I believed Oregon was the best team in the playoff, and they’re one game away from proving me right.

Ohio State, on the other hand, gave us an incredible game against Alabama.  Winning 42-35, this was a game that made you speechless.  You had no idea what to think.  No words could come out of your mouth.  You thought the game was going one way, then it changed.  The Buckeyes did fabulous attacking Alabama.  Ohio State also capitalized off of a shaky Crimson Tide QB.

Let’s get to the grand prize now.  Again, these teams deserve to be here.  They have proven that.

National Championship: No.4 Ohio State vs. No.2 Oregon, January 12th, 8:30 PM EST

Going into this game, both teams are probably saying the same thing.  “We have to score, or we will fall behind.”

It’s true.  Oregon’s offense has repeatedly shown us just how good they are.  It doesn’t matter who they are playing.  Marcus Mariota is the best player in the country.  He is unstoppable.  He makes everyone around him better.  There isn’t any right way to defend him.  No matter what, you can’t let him escape the pocket, because he will destroy with his legs.  Marietta’s skills are NFL worthy, and that’s what the Buckeyes are going to be dealing with.

Oregon’s offense though, doesn’t just consist of Mariota.  The team is actually quite balanced.  The running game that is featured is a power-like run game.  They love to go up the middle.  The Ducks have speed with their backs too, allowing them bust out into the open field.  The Buckeyes defense has a lot to deal with.  They have to keep the edges close.  Mariota will kill you if let him outside.  Ohio State has to close the gaps with their linebackers also.  Allowing Oregon to go up the gaps will leave a heavy cost.

Ohio State will have a tougher time clogging those gaps.  Though their defense is a lot better than Oregon’s, the run defense hasn’t been great this year.  Oregon, if they can’t throw on the Buckeyes, should look to go to the run game.  Ohio State’s pass defense is much better than it’s run.  The Buckeyes have held teams under 195 yards passing a game.  Keeping Mariota in the pocket will pressure him to force things.  Though he has only thrown four interceptions all year, he’s better on move.  Mariota is still incredible no matter where he is on field.  It’s a matter of where he moves to, and if the Buckeyes will let him get there.

By now, you know what you’re getting with Ohio State on offense.  It’s doesn’t matter who their QB is.  Nothing matters with them.  Who they play is going to preform.  Cardale Jones blew me away against Alabama, making some ridiculous deep throws.  He is big arm, big stature quarterback.  He’s huge and a pain to tackle.

The Buckeyes aren’t going to be afraid to throw deep again.  They weren’t scared against Alabama, one of the nation’s best defenses.  And in this game, they should be letting it fly.  Oregon’s had issues all year defending the air game.  Really, they aren’t good at all in pass defense.  When playing Arizona for the first time this year, they gave up all sorts of deep passes from Anu Solomon.  Ohio State really needs to do what they do.  They don’t have to change much.  Throw the ball as much as you can, because Oregon will give something up.

Since J.T. Barrett’s injury, Ohio State has trusted the pass and Cardale Jones.  However, Ohio State can run the ball excellently.  Heck, they’re 10th in the nation.  They ran surprisingly well against Alabama.  The Buckeyes have the offense to hang with Oregon.  The big question is if the defense can step up.

This game, I believe, will resemble Ohio State-Alabama.  I expect a lot of points, and tons of action.  This should be pretty back&forth.  These teams can score fast.  Like, really fast.  There will be a stretch in this game featuring back-to-back-to-back quick scores.  It’s going to happen.

Oregon has to play good defense.  They got lucky with Florida State.  The Seminoles turned the ball over.  They pretty much helped them out.  Ohio State has to keep Marcus Mariota contained.  He has to stay in the pocket.  That is their main key to this game.  If he goes off, and the Buckeyes let him escape, they’re done.

Oregon has to outscore Ohio State.  That is their key.  This could come down to the last possession, setting up an incredible game.

However, Oregon has Marcus Mariota.  He makes things happen.  There isn’t any reason to think that he will do anything different.  He’s just too good.  Mariota might be the one thing that gives Oregon the edge.

Ohio State is going to keep this thing close.  They have a decent shot at taking this title.  Some think they will.  Oregon though, is just too mighty.

Prediction: Oregon-42 Ohio State-37

Blockbuster! Knicks Shed Cap, While Cleveland Confuses Many

We had a really big trade completed last night in the NBA.  One that confused some and one that got people excited, well, some what.

The Knicks were the main piece of it.  Cleveland was the big receiver, while Oklahoma City gets another guard to help move the ball around.  Let’s lay it out, then break it down:

Thunder get: Dion Waiters

Cavaliers get: Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, 1st round pick (protected) from Oklahoma City

Knicks get: Alex Kirk, Lou Amundson, and Lance Thomas, 2nd round pick from Cleveland

So, that’s a blockbuster.  Most of those names you’ve heard before, except for the guys the Knicks received.  Those I’m not to sure about.

It doesn’t matter though.  The Knicks have waived those three players, plus Samuel Dalembert, who they acquired from Dallas when they shipped Tyson Chandler there this past Summer.

The move is a total money dump.  Shedding J.R. Smith’s salary applies to next year, where he is owed $6.4 million.  Smith has also been in nothing but off the court issues and controversies.  It’s what many have called a change in culture.  One that could maybe change the way the locker room flows, especially on this losing team.

Trading Shumpert was no surprise.  As a Knicks supporter, I love Shumpert.  I love his game (and his hair).  I think it’s unique in this league.

Though, to add on what I said above, his name was floated last year in trade talks.  Truthfully, this was no surprise to me.  The possibility of trading him now was as high as it could have been.

Shumpert is also an expiring contract, which makes him more valuable on the market.  The Cavaliers won’t be forced to pay him anything next year.  As Howard Beck noted on Twitter, it’s likely that the Knicks didn’t have any interest in re-signing him after this season.

It’s unfortunate.  But then again, as a Knicks supporter, I understand that trading these guys will help us this coming Summer.  We will have cap space, more than we would of if we kept those two guys.  It may help us add a nice free agent.

The fact that I don’t know who the three guys the Knicks acquired says a lot, and I’m glad we waived them.  It takes up space and roster spots.

This is already a lost season for New York.  They’ve won five games, and have battled turmoil and injuries all season.  Getting rid of these guys now was the right thing to do.

When I first heard that Cleveland was involved in a trade, I immediately thought it would be for a big man.  Brandon Bass was the first person who crossed my mind in Boston.  When I realized they were part of this three team trade, I was confused.  Why would Cleveland, trade for forwards and guards when the need a true center, or even a plain big man who can do dirty work?

It made no sense.  I don’t like this move for Cleveland.  Shipping Dion Waiters out made sense, though, with the acquirement of Shumpert and Smith, but why?  Why did they want J.R. Smith.  I mean, on the sarcastic side, Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith are literally the same dudes!  They don’t get along with anyone and just cause trouble!

Anyways, the Shumpert move I like more than anything.  He will open the floor a little more for Cleveland.  He will take quality shots, and can drain three’s.  His defense is great, which any help to the Cavaliers on the defensive side of the ball will boost them.

J.R. Smith going along is where this gets odd.  Smith isn’t a good shooter, if you factor in his decision making when it comes to high percentage shots, he’s not great.  He’s like the baseball player who bats .265 the whole year, then goes on a crazy streak like .350, 10 HR’s and a 20 game hit streak in a month.  The after the streak, goes back to his old ways.  Smith will have big nights.  It’s hot&cold.  One or the other you will get with Smith.  One night he shoots 30%, the other he has eight threes.  It really just depends, and for a contender, that’s not exactly what you want.

Then we get to the Thunder, who landed Dion Waiters from the Cavaliers.

This move is really interesting.  It started more exaggerated than it is.  First reports had Reggie Jackson going to the Knicks, but that was later shot down, as he will stay put.

The move for the Thunder is strictly for depth.  Oklahoma City can rotate Waiters in&out of the game, in the first and second lineups.  He won’t start, unless there is an injury, but will get quality minutes.  Waiters will add a little “umpf” to the Thunder lineup.  Waiters, like Smith has issues with shot selection, but will make the high percentage shots.  He is a guy who will boost this Thunder lineup.  I’m not totally sure how much it will help them.  It definitely won’t harm them, but overall, this team might be fine without Waiters.