Archive for December, 2010

My last post ever! Well, OK—if by “ever,” you mean “2010.”

I don’t wish to brag, but I will just come out and say it: this year was simply remarkable. I can’t think of any other way to put it. I got a lot of things done that I set out to do, like:
-Go to way too many baseball games (Check!)
-Attend a NASCAR race (Double check!)
-Maintain a healthy, fulfilling relationship with The Lady (Check! I got engaged, so quintuple check?)
-Figure out what I want to do with my life (Check! I got in to grad school!)
-Run a 5k (Check!)
-Run in the Governor’s Cup (Check!)
-Watch way too much of the World Cup (OK, not really a “goal,” but it happened—so, check!)
-Blog effectively (Semi-check—need some work in this category)

No matter what way you slice it, things went well. However, there’s always room for improvement (and I’m not just talking about the Carolina Panthers). I’m not big on resolutions, (as a matter of fact, I’m pretty much against them) but there are some things that I’d like to pull off in 2011. So, here are a bunch of things that you better not try to ask me about some reasonable…focus points for 2011:

Maintain momentum
As you can see, I had a lot go right in 2010. While some of that can be attributed to good fortune, a lot of it was due to very hard work on my part. I took the time to get references and fill out the application for grad school. I trained for the 8k/5k races. I went to The Lady’s friends to get ideas on an engagement ring (that’s not as easy as it sounds). I mapped out the baseball games that I would go to (which is actually kind of pathetic). It’s really important to not get complacent just because things are going my way. It would be wise to not experience any sort of hangover. We see how that’s working out for the Lakers right now, don’t we?

Develop some sort of resemblance of…focus
I am the most absent-minded person on this planet. If you are raising your hand to disagree, just save yourself the time. I’m awful. I really do have trouble focusing on a single task at one time. I’m sure this happens to other people, but I’m very confident that I’m on another level. Sure, I can used the “I get bored easily!” excuse. But that’s not really fair. I should be better in this category. I’m almost certain that in order for me to maintain my momentum that I “worked so hard” to create. However, the fact that it’s taken me about three hours to write this entry isn’t really a good start, is it?

Gain clarity
This is really more in reference to…religion. I grew up in church, and let’s just say that I’ve experienced a few “fire and brimstone” sermons. No, it’s not for everyone. But now that I’ve grown up and lived a little, there are a lot of things that just…don’t make sense to me. Don’t worry, this isn’t the place for me to list those…concerns. But I really think that I need to gain some clarity here, and it’s not as simple as just “going to church” and “reading your Bible.” As long as this clarity doesn’t result in me joining a re-creation of Heaven’s Gate, I think that this will only be positive.

Develop confidence
In a shocking twist, I am not very good at debating sports with other…people who know about sports. It’s easy to force my opinion on people who don’t really have an opinion on the matter. But if I get in a debate with someone who may know a couple of things about that particular sport, I tend to buckle, mumble, and do everything to look like the biggest dumbass out there. But, um, I may or may not be going to Valparaiso to study Sports Media…so this is probably something that I need to be better with. And soon.

I think those are four very reasonable goals! Now, just as I thought that my NFL pick ’em idea with The Lady was ready to blow up in my face, I went 11-5 last week!! I’m up three in the Race For A Dinner Date. This week’s slate will be tough, since a lot of teams will be “resting its starters” (yeah, thanks a lot, guys). If I can just not suck this week, I like my chances:
(home team in caps)
FALCONS (-14.5) over Panthers (It’s been real, John Fox)
STEELERS (-6.5) over Browns
LIONS (-3.5) over Vikings
CHIEFS (-3.5) over Raiders
Dolphins (+3.5) over PATRIOTS
RAVENS (-9.5) over Bengals
SAINTS (-7.5) over Bucs
Bills (+2.5) over JETS
Bears (+10.5) over PACKERS
COLTS (-9.5) over Titans
Giants (-3.5) over REDSKINS
TEXANS (-.5) over Jags
Cardinals (+6.5) over 49ERS (Hey Vegas: The Niners suck. Stop making us think otherwise.)
BRONCOS (+3.5) over Chargers
Rams (+2.5) over SEAHAWKS

(No longer putting my actual record here because it’s…bad. But just know that I’ve picked 118 games against the spread correctly this season; The Lady has picked 115).

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No need for introductions, kids. If you haven’t seen them already, I made eight picks yesterday. Here are a couple of reasons why those were pretty much a disaster:

1. The title of the entry says Week 14. Obviously, I live a week behind…everyone else on Earth.

2. The blog has me picking the 49ers at +8.5—great pick, Jordy! However, the Internet says that I chose something else. So, whatever.

3. A reader mentioned that I said “waving battle” instead of “waging battle.” My Droid 2 does a lot of things. Helping me write posts without rather embarrassing typos is not one of them, apparently.

Having said all that, let’s get rolling with the rest of these picks! Just like yesterday, home team in caps.

PANTHERS (-2.5) over Cardinals

I know, I know. The Panthers have been really, really bad. But do you really trust Max Skelton on the road? I’m pulling out all the stops for this one. I’ll be wearing my Steve Smith Jersey, and Fox Sports is even throwing viewers a bone by playing music in the background. Also, you have the classic “West Coast(ish) team playing a 1 p.m. game” factor going for the Cardinals. As was the case with the 49ers, if there was ever a chance for the Panthers to win a game, it should be Sunday. I sure as hell hope so.

Saints (+2.5) over RAVENS

I think Drew Brees is already licking his fingers with excitement over facing that Baltimore secondary. Also, if you think the Saints are the better team, they should win here….right? Also, isn’t Brees beating the “Madden Curse” in the face? Yes, he’s thrown 18 INTs. However, he’s thrown 28 TDs as well. You still have to like your chances wiht him more than you would, say…Joe Flacco. Right?

Eagles (+2.5) over GIANTS

Excuse me, but haven’t the Eagles won at least the last three meetings between these two teams? And don’t the Giants still turn the ball over way too much (Yes, they lead the league, the entire National Football League in turnovers!!)? So I’m supposed to feel OK with taking the Giants anyway? Oh well, the intrigue in this game will probably be “How many minutes pass before Joe Buck and Troy Aikman tackle the ‘Should Michael Vick ever own a dog again?’ question?” I’m going to go with….45. And I know that you haven’t asked, but my official opinion is: “Eh, I guess so.” I should really just leave it at that.

SEAHAWKS (+6.5) over Falcons

I think the Seahawks will win out, making that trip for the NFC five seed in the NFL Wild Card round not that easy. So, in order to win out, they have to win this game. If you doubt me, well, I really don’t blame you. But! Remember the NFC Wild Card round in 2009? The Falcons looked like the superior team, and they had to go on the road against measly Arizona. Well, let the record show how that turned out. Obviously, this isn’t quite the playoffs…but Qwest Field is a tough environment. Just ask Jimmy Claussen.

Jets (+6.5) over STEELERS

As the Steeler fans probably beat their chests and scoff at this pick, I ask you this: Have you seen Ben get hit repeatedly over the past couple of weeks? Somebody broke his nose! And the Jets have to win this game. I mean, they really do, right? Don’t they want to exorcise the ghosts of the 2005 Divisional Playoff game in Pittsburgh (OK, maybe that’s just me who needs to get over that game)? Anyway, the hungrier team always wins. Or so I’ve heard.

RAIDERS (-6.5) over Broncos

As soon as I saw “Tim Tebow has been taking more snaps with the first team in practice this week,” I knew that this was not a game that the Broncos would do well in. A special thanks to Kyle Orton and his minus 3 fantasy points last week. I’m not trying to win a fantasy football league or anything. How about another one of those stnkbombs again this week, Kyle? Whaddya say, pal? Anyway, I think that Tim Tebow will end up being great in the NFL. I just don’t think that’s going to happen this Sunday.

PATRIOTS (-10.5) over Packers

I reserve the right to change this pick in the event that Aaron Rodgers actually starts. By the way, doesn’t he seem to get hurt a lot? I’m not trying to call him injury prone, but it’s got to be a little disconcerting that your franchise quarterback has suffered two concussions this year. As Steve Young and Troy Aikman will tell you, multiple concussions aren’t supposed to happen. So, I’m thinking that’s something the Packers and Rodgers will need to address very soon.

Vikings (+3.5) over BEARS

By taking da Bears(!), you’re saying that you trust Jay Cutler in a December game that’s actually important. If that’s your opinion, then I feel sorry for you. Also! I smell revenge in this game. You only need to go back one year (almost to the day) for when the mighty Vikings went on the road to face the lowly Bears on Monday night. Yes, Favre (who apparently ended his 297 straight starts streak last week—I really had no idea!) brought the Vikes back, but da Bears(!) still won the game. Am I crazy enough to think that this will happen yet again? Of course I am!!!

Last Week: 6-10 (In fairness, so was The Lady!)

Season: 103-105 (maybe I shouldn’t list wins and losses against the spread)

The Lady’s Overall record: 101-107

Believe it or not, The Lady and I are still waging an epic battle with our NFL picks. After 14 sometimes painful, often dramatic weeks, I am ahead 102-101.

After two craptastic weeks (7-9, 6-10) of picks, I wandered into the wilderness in search for answers to why my picks had been so terrible. Did I need to do more research before picking? Should I just forfeit now, and take The Lady to dinner in defeat? Was an animal sacrifice to the Football Gods needed to change my fortunes? Some of these things actually crossed my mind. But the answer is painfully obvious: I haven’t been writing as much! As always, I have no excuses. So let’s see if I can get back on track with a two-part picks post! As always, home team in caps!

49ers (+8.5) over CHARGERS
OK, I will confess: I believe in Ned York! He said that the Niners would win the division, and, lo and behold, they’re one game out! As crappy as the other teams in the NFC West are, can you really discount San Francisco? Also, the Chargers can’t keep coming back every year, right?

Browns (+1.5) over BENGALS
Colt McCoy might be coming back for Cleveland, and Terrell Owens is blaming the coaches for the team’s struggles. I’m not saying that this is a slam dunk pick, but I heard that Chris Brown will be performing “Dueces” during the pregame.

COWBOYS (-6.5)  over Redskins
Why in the world do I believe in the Cowboys? Well, Donovan McNabb has been terrible. There’s really no other way around it. While I would love to harp on the coaching staff, QB1 is not doing them any favors. Obviously, Andy Reid knew what he was doing when he traded McNabb to a division rival. I just wish that Master Leader Mike Shanahan would just say, “OK, we’re afraid to play Donovan because he suuuuucks. Any questions?”

Texans (+1.5) over TITANS
I hope that y’all are excited for the Downward Spiral Bowl! Matt Vasgurgian said it best (I think): You can only do so much to dress up a turd. From Matt Schaub’s TAINTtastic (you know you love that word) end to Monday night’s game, to a seemingly undeniable Curse of Vince Young with a side of the Randy Moss Will Murder Your Team Syndrome for the Titans, this game might be unwatchable. Which means…someone will win on the final play of the game, and it will be an instant classic. Whatever.

Jags (+4.5) over COLTS
I am t-i-red (courtesy Michael Irvin) of going with the Colts! Obviously, this is of my own choosing, but I’m not here to talk about the past. I just think that until proven otherwise, you can’t take the Colts if they’re giving more than 3 points. Having said that, watch them win by 20.

RAMS (1.5) over Chiefs
So this game actually matters. Not just to the teams involved, but for the Dixieland Stars and Bars (this may or may not be the name of my fantasy football team) as well. I have Dwyane Bowe, who seemingly stopped his record-setting hot streak the moment I picked him up off waivers. (Not that he’s playing for my benefit only or anything) Should I give him another start this week? I can’t afford another sour performance from any positions; I only won the first week of this two-part matchup by nine. This Matt Cassel appendectomy happened at the wrong time. As LeBron would say, “What should I do?”

DOLPHINS (-5.5) over Bills
Unlikely as it may be, the Fins are kinda in the hunt. With the Jets falling apart, and with the Colts kind of vulnerable, shouldn’t the Dolphins be considered at least for the final playoff spot? And if a playoff berth hinged on whether or not Tony Sporano would take off his sunglasses for more than ten minutes, would he do it? I don’t think the answer would be so obvious.

BUCS (-6.5) over Lions
This game is worth the price of admission for one reason only: Ndamukong Suh vs. Josh Freeman! Suh has been throwing people around all year, and Josh Freeman can lay out a DB if necessary. Honestly, if UFC got these guys in the octagon, you’d watch…wouldn’t you?

(Check back tomorrow for Part II)