Monday, December 29, 2008

Random Thoughts - December 28, 2008

* With 6 minutes left to go in the third, Warriors down 14 after a made jumper by Crawford, Barnett says “He is really starting to feel it – watch for this to continue for the rest of the quarter” … that is what we call “reaching” for something good to say.

* Niners wear their regular (errrr, throwback) jerseys and the win the game in the last seconds. Coincidence?

* No

* If Romo played for the Browns, he would be traded this off-season. Instead, he plays behind one of the best offensive lines with two quality receivers and everyone thinks he is a great quarterback. Ridiculous.

* I love the Randy Johnson signing and it has nothing to do with what he is going to do on the field.

* Brandon Wright is growing up before our eyes – it is just too bad you are missing it.

* The Niners need to make a trade for one of the few quarterbacks that will be available this off-season. The best they can do next year is 9-7 or, more accurately, out of the playoffs with Shaun Hill.

* Lets see here – you have a chance to sign a player away from your main rival that will (1) make your team much better, (2) make your rival significantly weaker, (3) sell ~300,000 more tickets than you normally would have AND (4) have your rival fans turn on their own organization. I give up – I tried to think of reasons to sign Manny – but I just couldn’t think of any.

* Warning Soccer comment in the next bullet point

* For those of you who think we (Americans) are terrible at soccer, you will be surprised to hear that (A) Brad Friedel, from Ohio, owns the record for most consecutive games played in the English Premier League and (B) Clint Dempsey, from Texas, almost single-handedly led his completely over-matched Fulham team to a 2-2 draw against mighty Chelsea with 2 goals. USA soccer is getting better.

* (1) Fred Lewis, (2) Pablo Sandoval, (3) Manny Ramirez (4) Bengie Molina – just sayin’

* Congratulations Mike Singletary and the 49ers front office for doing something right!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

BCS Breakdown (The Fat Guy)

Orange Bowl Jan. 1 @ 5:00pm
Cincinnati Bearcats
Virginia Tech Hokies +2

Cincinnati had a fullback named Baehr and some fan yelled something about the team being Baehr-cats. That’s where it came from. I’m not sure how to react, on one hand it’s better than wildcats, but on the other hand it’s a pretty dumb way to get a nickname. Also, the mascot doesn’t have a name, he/she/it is just, The Bearcat. As far as the mascot throwdown is concerned a half bear half cat could do some damage. It’s no Manbearpig, but nothing really is.

Virginia Tech Hokies. Another “what the hell is that?” mascot. A Hokie is taken from the Old Hokie Spirit Yell. The Hokies are also known as the Fighting Gobblers, which stems from back in the day when it was a military college and the cadets ate so fast they were called gobblers. The actual mascot is Hokie Bird, who is just a giant turkey. You can win all the mascot championships you want, but a turkey versus a half bear half cat? No contest.

The Pick: Cincinnati Bearcats -2

Rose Bowl Jan. 1 @ 5:00pm
Penn State Nittany Lions
USC Trojans -10

Penn State Nittany Lions. The mascot is a combination of nearby Mount Nittany and local Mountain Lions that once roamed where the campus is located. The legend goes that a student made up the Nittany Lion on the spot after being ashamed that Penn State had no mascot when he visited Princeton in the early 20th century. The reasoning behind the mascot was that lions are dignified, courageous, magnificent and allegorically (ooh, big college word) represented the College Spirit of Penn State. Noble reasoning, to be sure. The mascot looks old school, with scarf, but not much else. The mascot's name isn't even creative, just The Nittany Lion? I’m less than impressed.

USC Trojans. USC’s nickname is the Trojans, the mascot is Traveler, a horse. That’s a little confusing because a guy who looks like a Trojan rides Traveler. Florida State lists both its horse and rider as mascot, while USC does not. It’s a shame because an armed warrior would really help USC’s case in the mascot throwdown. Although, I’ve never seen a mountain lion take down a horse, it could be possible. I have been bitten by a horse before and it hurts. I don’t think it’s a horse’s number one method for attack, but it’s still useful and quite surprising when you’re ten years old.

The Pick: USC Trojans -10

Sugar Bowl Jan. 2 @ 8:15pm
Alabama Crimson Tide
Utah Utes +10

Alabama Crimson Tide. The Crimson Tide may be the nickname, but the mascot is Big Al the elephant. A writer in the 30’s described the Alabama football team coming out from halftime as sounding like elephants and that stuck. Big Al didn’t make his debut until 1979, when having a cartoony mascot became en vogue. He’s big, is name’s not totally dumb and he’s an elephant. I don’t know too many things that stop an elephant.

Utah Utes. The Utes are named after the indigenous Native American people. Born in 1996, Swoop is the Red-tailed Hawk mascot of Utah which represents the soaring spirit of the state and school. I like the red-tailed hawk as a mascot. It’s different, it’s a bird of prey, the school had good reasoning behind the name, but hawk v. elephant is a no brainer.

The Pick: Alabama -10

Fiesta Bowl Jan. 5 @ 8:15pm
Ohio State Buckeyes
Texas Longhorns -9.5

Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeye is the state tree of Ohio and its fruits are poisonous to cattle and humans. Let me emphasize that, its fruits are poisonous to CATTLE. Of all the matchups the Ohio State could draw for the matchup throwdown, this may be the best one. Brutus the Buckeye is the mascot with a nicely alliterative name. He’s unarmed and is just a big nut head with human body, but it doesn’t matter, he’s, cue BBD, POISON!

Texas Longhorns. Texas has two mascots, Bevo and Hook ‘Em. Bevo is a Texas longhorn steer, the fourteenth in a long line of previous Bevos. A proud lineage that includes charging a SMU cheerleader (male), scattering the Baylor band, running loose on campus for a couple days and throwing down with a parked car. Hook ‘Em on the other end of the scale is pretty tame and probably only created because Bevo can only be “safely” deployed at football games. Bevo has a lot to offer and I would almost have to take him, but Buckeyes are his kryptonite. Although, he would have to eat the buckeye first, thereby destroying the buckeye. I have to believe Bevo would just stop the Buckeye and if he ate it afterwards, oh well.

The Pick: Texas Longhorns -9.5

BCS Championship Game Jan. 8 @ 8:15pm
Oklahoma Sooners
Florida Gators -3

Oklahoma Sooners. A Sooner, if you didn’t know, was a person who entered the Oklahoma territory before the land was opened for non-native settlement. It’s nice that it’s historically relevant tot the university, but also kind of weird- they have nicknamed themselves after cheaters, or line cutters, essentially. The Sooners mascot is the Sooner Schooner which is an old timey wagon pulled by two white ponies. This is a hard one to gauge for a mascot throwdown. A wagon? Pulled by two ponies? How does that quantify in a mascot throwdown? I guess it’s pretty formidable. If you can’t have an elephant you might as well have a big ass wagon pulled by horses. I’d jump out of the way.

Florida Gators. Florida and gators go hand in hand. Albert E. and Alberta Gator are the human costumed mascots. Apparently, they attend all FU sporting events together and are rarely seen apart, poor guy. Seriously, give the guy a second alone! The gator is a good mascot and also good for a mascot throwdown. On a neutral site though, I’ve got to go with the wagon. It’s close because the gator could spook the ponies causing havoc, but if they didn’t see the gator he’d get flattened.

The Pick: Oklahoma Sooners +3

The BCS made simple

BCS Bowl Breakdown

Virginia Tech v. Cincinnati (-2)

Most people hate the BCS because it does not give us, the fans, a fair way of determining who should play for the National Championship. I hate it because it gives us “big” bowl games with Virginia Tech facing Cincinnati. Who is going to watch this game outside of Blacksburg, VA and Cincinnati, OH!? To make matters worse, the line is 2 so it isn’t even worth betting on. I will breakdown the game for you in one sentence:

Betting against Frank Beamer rarely makes sense.

Pick: Virginia Tech +2

(That was painful)

Penn St. v. USC (-10)

How in the world is this line just 10 points!?! USC has proven year after year after year that they always show up for the big game and they usually run up the score when they feel they have been cheated by the BCS “system”. Furthermore, Pete Carroll knows that the Rose Bowl is one of the biggest recruiting events for him. All the recruits from cold weather states either watch the game on TV or go to Pasadena to watch USC kill their inferior Big Ten appointment. What 18 year old recruit would choose a cold weather school over 4 years in LA playing for a team that is always in the top 10? The only thing that could change their mind is a USC loss to Penn St. Pete Carroll is not about to let that happen and you can bet (get it) that he will not take his foot off the accelerator when the Trojans are up 21.

Pick: USC -25 (I mean … -10)

This is the lock of the bowl season.

Utah v. Alabama (-10.5)

The pick to win this game is easy … Alabama. However, the line makes this game interesting. Alabama should push Utah around with relative ease and their speed should be overwhelming but is it enough to beat an undefeated team by 11? Asking John Parker Wilson to beat a team by essentially two touchdowns makes me really nervous. When you couple that with Utah’s motivation to prove they can beat an SEC team, I have to go with the underdog.

Pick: Utah +10.5

Ohio St. v. Texas (-10)

Boise St. has killed almost every team they have played this year and NOBODY wants to play them on the big stage. This year is no different. Texas misses out on the National Championship game and now they have to try and get up for a game where they have nothing to gain. You have to love Boise St. in this …

Wait a second, Texas is playing Ohio St.!! Last time I checked, Terrell Pryor cannot complete a pass against a good, not great, Penn St. team and Texas is full of talented players on defense that are lead by one of the best coordinators in the game. Did I forget to mention that Texas is really bitter about how the Big 12 screwed them out of the National Championship and McCoy got shafted in the Heisman voting?

This game is a blowout!

Pick: Texas -10

(The only reason that this game is not the lock of the bowl season is the remote chance McCoy gets hurt and Texas wins 7-0. I would argue that Boise St. deserves to be in this game more than Texas deserves to be in the National Championship game and that is saying something)

Oklahoma v. Florida (-3)

The National Championship game is going to require a little more detail because it is (A) the game most of us care about and (B) it allows me to prove how much I know about both teams.

Oklahoma: If there has been one constant for OU all year it has been the stellar play of the offense. They can seemingly score at will and Bradford has been nothing short of amazing. While I believe McCoy was more deserving, Bradford has had a special year and is very much worthy of the Heisman. Similar to Texas and Vince Young in the 2006 National Championship game, OU’s chance to win this game rides almost solely on Bradford’s ability to dominate the game the way Young did three years ago.

Bradford must shoulder most of the responsibility because Oklahoma does not have a good defense and Bob Stoops is far from a big game coach. Texas and Oklahoma State scored at will on the Sooners and their offenses are very much inferior to Floridas. There is no reason to believe OU will be able to stop Tim Tebow and the Florida offense. Furthermore, Bob Stoops is not a big game coach. I know you have heard this from countless other people but you need to hear it again. Pete Carroll always has USC ready to play in the big games and Bob Stoops is the exact opposite. There are too many examples to name so you need not look any farther than last year’s Fiesta bowl where the Sooners looked disinterested at best. The defense and Stoops are HUGE question marks for the Sooners.

Florida: The strengths of the Gators are speed and Tim Tebow. The Gators are stacked with 5 star recruits that are faster and quicker than any other team in the NCAA. Besides their brain fart against Ole Miss, the Gators have won every game by just being faster to the ball than their opponents. It is hard to believe that the story will be any different on Jan. 8th. Of course, speed is not enough to win a National Championship. You need a leader and the Gators have one of the best leaders in college football history in Tim Tebow. His unselfish play is the reason the Gators are in this game. He could have put up the numbers he did last year but he knew that would not lead to more wins. He changed his game and the results speak for themselves.

The only weakness that can be seen in the Gators game is that they can be pushed around. Alabama was poised for the upset until the real John Parker Wilson emerged and the Crimson Tide offense slowed to one yard in the fourth quarter. Florida will not have that same luxury on Jan. 8th because the Sooners do have an above average offensive line and a supremely talented quarterback. Florida will have to mix-up their defensive play calls in-order to keep the Sooners from turning this game into a shootout which does not benefit the Gators.

Conclusion: Florida has too much speed on both sides of the ball for the Sooners. Bradford has not faced a team with the talent and quickness of the Gators and the lack of a true big play receiver is going to hurt them in the end. Furthermore, Tebow and Percy Harvin will run all over the OU defense just like Texas and Oklahoma State did. After the Georgia-Florida game I said I would take Florida minus 5 over any team in the country and I have no reason to think any differently.

Pick: Florida -3

Friday, December 12, 2008

Early Bowl Picks (RT)

NCAA Tournament Light

Bowl season is upon on us and it is time to join your office pool. The only problem is you don’t watch college football (up until last week I would have said lots of you do … just on Sundays). Never fear, I helped my friend Harrell make $60 in the NCAA tournament pool in 8th grade and I can help you win your pool this year. Unfortunately for you, I will only be giving you my non-BCS bowl picks today so you will have to check in next Thursday for the BCS picks.
(However, all smart gamblers know that the money is made in the smaller obscure games that are not as scrutinized by Vegas)

Navy v. Wake Forest (-3) – December 20

Whenever the line is 3 or lower, Vegas has no idea who is going to win so they just make the more popular team with the public - the favorite. In this case, that team is Wake Forest because most people think the armed forces teams are still terrible. As a result, this game is easy to pick …

Pick: Navy +3

Colorado St. v. Fresno St. (-3) – December 20
This Fresno St. team is not your older brothers Fresno St. team. What does that mean? They are not nearly as good as they have been in the past. Teams (I mean schools) have lowered their academic standards so all the great athletes Fresno St. used to have that could not spell smrt (smart) are able to play at more national schools. More accurately, Dennis Erickson is back at a warm weather school so all the junior college drop outs are going to Arizona St. instead of Fresno St.

Pick: Colorado St. +3

Memphis v. South Florida (-12.5) – December 20

Whenever a team is 400x more athletic than their opponent and they are dedicating a game to a player that died on their team this year, you always take that team no matter how many points they are giving up.

Pick: South Florida -12.5

BYU v. Arizona (-3)

Again, Vegas has no idea what to do with this game so they make Arizona a 3 point favorite because mormons don’t gamble. Furthermore, there is one rule you should always remember – never bet on a team in a bowl game coached by a Stoops. (Hint: you will hear this statement again next week)

Pick: BYU +3

Southern Mississippi v. Troy (-4)

When most people think of Troy, they think of a city in a history book that had a smokin’ hot lady named Helen and a wooden horse. When college football fans think of Troy, they think of them running up the score on teams that have idea how to stop the spread offense.

Pick: Troy -4

Boise St. v. TCU (-2.5)

I would pick Boise St. to beat every team in the country expect for USC, Florida, Texas, OU and Alabama. So when they are getting 2.5 points against TCU, I say lock of the non-BCS bowls.

Pick: Boise St. +2.5

Notre Dame v. Hawaii (-1.5)

Hawaii doesn’t lose in Hawaii and this game is basically a pick’em.

Pick: Hawaii -1.5

Florida Atlantic v. Central Michigan (-7)

Close your eyes. Seriously, close your eyes. If I told you a team from Florida was playing a cold weather team in a dome and the team from Florida is 7 points underdogs, what would you say? Me, too.

Pick: Florida Atlantic +7

West Virginia v. UNC (Pick)

This game is the hardest to pick out of all the non-BCS bowls. On the one hand, you have a West Virginia team that has basically underachieved for the entire season but they are coming off a decent win against South Florida. On the other hand, you have one of the most inconsistent teams in the country that smoked Rutgers and lost to NC State at home. Unlike OU, West Virginia always seems to play well in bowl games.

Pick: West Virginia

Wisconsin v. Florida St. (-5)

Wisconsin should have lost to Cal Poly at home! Again, Wisconsin should have lost to Cal Poly at home!

Pick: Florida St. -5

Miami v. Cal (-7)

Bad News: Cal never beats good teams from other conferences away from home. Good News: they are playing a bad Miami team 10 minutes from campus.

Pick: Cal -7

N. Illinois v. Louisiana Tech (-2)

If in doubt, take the team from the south (and it rhythms)

Pick: Louisiana Tech -2

NC State v. Rutgers (-7)

Beating Louisville by 700 points doesn’t mean you are good. It just means you are mad that they cost you a chance to embarrass yourselves on in a BCS bowl last year. Also, NC State beat UNC at UNC while Rutgers lost by 32 to UNC at home. This pick is easy.

Pick: NC State +7

Northwestern v. Mizzou (-13)

It has to be tough to be a Mizzou fan right about now. Can you imagine having to travel to Kansas City for two straight weekends to watch your team get beat? I would be angry even if my team had won! Northwestern rarely plays well away from home and they are catching a very motivated Mizzou team.

Pick: Mizzou +13

Maryland v. Nevada (-1)

Nevada? Favored? No.

Pick: Maryland +1

W. Michigan v. Rice (-3)

Rice has the greatest scoring duo in the history of college football and the over/under is 72 points which means neither team plays much defense. I will take the top scoring duo in a shootout.

Pick: Rice -3

Oregon v. Oklahoma St. (-3.5)

Oregon played one good game all season and it was two weeks ago. They have been out classed in almost every other tough game. Oklahoma St. lost to Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Texas. They only lose to good teams and they blow everybody else out. Oregon is not a good team.

Pick: Oklahoma St. -3.5

Air Force v. Houston (-2.5)

Do you have the guts to bet against Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl? Either do I.

Pick: Air Force +2.5

Pittsburgh v. Oregon St. (-3)

I have felt like Oregon St. has been skating on thin ice all year and the ice finally broke in the Civil War game. I don’t think they recover against a very good Pittsburgh team that is still trying to recover from their opening weekend loss to Bowling Green

Pick: Pittsburgh +3

Vanderbilt v. Boston College (-4)

Vanderbilt in a bowl game!? See Indiana v. Oklahoma St. for an indication of what happens to teams when their goal is just to make the post season.

Pick: Boston College -4

Minnesota v. Kansas (-10.5)

Vanderbilt = Minnesota = Indiana in 2007

Pick: Kansas -10.5

LSU v. Georgia Tech (-4)

Georgia Tech is well coached and they are playing this game at home. Not even Les Miles can convince his team that this is a big game.

Pick: Georgia Tech -4

South Carolina v. Iowa (-3.5)

Never, ever take a Big Ten school that is favored over an SEC school. It just doesn’t make sense.

Pick: South Carolina +3.5

Nebraska v. Clemson (-3)

Very similar to the Niners, the Clemson Tigers just needed to fire their terrible head coach to start playing well. Nebraska is still a work in progress but they are making progress. Normally, I would take Nebraska in this game but I think Clemson is just too athletic.

Pick: Clemson -3

Michigan State v. Georgia (-7.5)

The Citrus bowl is always worth watching because the SEC does not dominate the game as much as people think. (See Michigan against Florida last year). I think Michigan St. shocks Georgia.

Pick: Michigan St. +7.5

Ole Miss v. Texas Tech (-5.5)

Are Michael Crabtree and Graham Harrell sitting this one out!? How can a former number one team who only lost to Oklahoma be favored by only 5.5!? Lock number 2 of the non-BCS bowls.

Pick: Texas Tech -5.5

Buffalo v. UCONN (-4)

Buffalo avenges the loss by the basketball team and beats UCONN.

Pick: Buffalo +4

Tulsa v. Ball St. (-2.5)

How do you spell overrated? B-A-L-L-S-T-A-T-E

Pick: Tulsa

There are your picks for the non-BCS bowl games. Remember, my commission is 10%

Early Bowl Picks (The Fat Guy)

I love the NFL. I watch it every Sunday. I don’t watch so much college football. Its part of the peace treaty I have with my wife where I get NFL football, but not college football. So, when Bowl Season arrives, formerly known as Holiday Season, I’m not very familiar with any of the teams. I want to win some money in a bowl pool and I don’t have the patience to weigh a ton of statistics for each team to help me decide who to pick. So, I’ve gone a different route. Mascot Throwdown! For each bowl I have a brief paragraph about the involved mascots and base my pick on who would win a mascot battle. Note: My reasoning is completely arbitrary and sometimes inconstant. Also, I got 99% of my information from Wikipedia and I don’t have a fact checker. All game times eastern.

Eagle Bank Bowl Dec. 20 @ 11 a.m.
Navy Midshipmen +3
Wake Forest Demon Deacons

The Navy Midshipmen. Contrary to what Navy would have you believe, a midshipman is in fact, not a goat. A goat, however, is probably more intimidating than an actual midshipman. So, Navy loses a point for having a mascot not related to their actual team name. I am partial to goats and think they are hilarious, so they make up the point.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The Demon Deacons were originally the Tigers way back in the 19th century. So, they get a point for changing from an all too common mascot to an obscure one. Wake Forest gets another point for being a religiously affiliated school (Baptist) that uses a heretical themed mascot. Another plus for the Deacons is because, as the legend goes, the school paper’s editor called the football team Demon Deacons because of their devilish play and fighting spirit against the school that became Duke.

The Pick: Demon Deacons -3

New Mexico Bowl Dec. 20 @ 2:30 pm
Fresno State Bulldogs
Colorado State Rams -3

The Fresno State Bulldogs. Fresno State’s Bulldog mascot is named “Timeout.” That doesn’t seem like that would inspire confidence in athletics. Timeouts are usually used to regroup and stall the opposition’s momentum. The mascot looks tough with bared teeth and a spiked collar, but the bulldog is also a very common.

The Colorado State Rams. Colorado State used to be Colorado A&M and used Aggies as a mascot. Lame. For the last sixty years CAM the ram has been the CSU mascot. A ram is not a goat, but its close and that’s a plus in my book. A ram may not strike fear in many people, but it does have some cool horns.

The Pick: Colorado State -3

magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl Dec. 20 @ 4:30 pm
Memphis Tigers
South Florida Bulls -13

The Memphis Tigers. There are a million tiger mascots, and his name, TOM, is an uncool acronym for Tigers Of Memphis. On a positive, TOM is a real, live Bengal tiger with some pretty sweet digs. According to he has “two swimming pools, a dedicated water well, a climate controlled den box, a veterinary facility, and multiple redundant security features.” All that will only set you back $600,000. Memphis does have a good cause to fight for this year. TOM II recently lost his bout with cancer and passed away in October. I don’t care what the spread is, when a mascot dies of cancer, you take the points.

The South Florida Bulls. A mascot choosing contest was held in 1962. The favorite was Buccaneers(no NFL Bucs, yet), but someone thought a Florida JC was already the Bucs and the second most popular suggestion was selected. The Golden Brahman. A Brahman is a breed of cattle originally from India. It’s like a Longhorn, but foreign and weird. It was soon discovered the Florida JC was the Pirates and a recount (In Florida!?!?) ensued. In the ‘80s, the mascot was changed to Bulls for marketing reasons. Also negatives for the Bulls, no real live Bull mascot and the bull’s name is Rocky D. Bull. I hate those kinds of names. Lou Seal, I’m looking at you.

The Pick: Memphis +13 (Do it for TOM II!)

Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl Dec. 20 @ 8:00pm
BYU Cougars
Arizona Wildcats -3

The Brigham Young Cougars. After a few failed attempts at humanely housing live cougars between the 1920’s and 40’s (they tried, which is worth something) the university settled on a costumed student. The cougar was named “Cosmo”, because BYU had just been named a Cosmopolitan school. Since I have no idea what a Cosmopolitan school is, it gets minus points. Cosmo Kramer and Cosmo Cougar are almost close enough to earn some points, almost. I should espouse on an actual cougar, which is pretty fierce and could mess you up. You definitely don’t want to mess with a cougar, that’s just common sense.

The Arizona Wildcats. The university had a real live wild cat (bobcat to the rest of us) as a mascot from 1915 to 1950 and he even had a cool name, Rufus Arizona. Alas, a costumed critter was created and named Wilbur. Making Wilbur even less cool than Rufus Arizona is the fact that he had a girlfriend wildcat named Wilma that he married in 1986. So, what started out as a cool, untamed mascot with a cool name became a "happily" married, dorky named mascot. Not to mention a cougar would totally mess a wild cat up.

The Pick: BYU +3

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Dec. 21 @ 8:15 pm
Troy Trojans
Southern Miss Golden Eagles +4

The Troy Trojans. At one point, Troy University, which is in Alabama, was known as the “Red Wave,” but by the ‘70s people thought it was too close to Crimson Tide and so Troy became the Trojans. These days Trojans are known for being courageous and skillful warriors. Although, they did fall for the Trojan Horse thing, so that’s not good. Troy’s mascot is named “T-Roy”, which is borderline lame. It should be TeRoy, like LeRoy, only cooler. Trojans are equipped with a cool helmet, armor and a sword in case there’s a throw down, so that could tilt it.

The Southern Miss Golden Eagles. They’ve gone from Tigers to Yellow Jackets to Confederates to Southerners and finally Golden Eagles. Eagles are pretty sweet, swooping on prey and such. I mean, when your classified as a “bird of prey” people are going to know you mean business. How do you turn a cool bird of prey into Foghorn Leghorn? Name him Seymour D’Campus. I won’t even get into what I think his surname should be, but I’ll give you a hint. Southern Miss does not hold classes on Mardi Gras and this is the New Orleans Bowl. Nuff said.

The Pick: TeRoy! -4

San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Dec. 23 @ 8pm
Boise State Broncos
TCU Horned Frogs – 2.5

The Boise State Broncos. The Boise State crowd is apparently too sensible for me to make fun of their mascot. They picked the mascot in 1932 because riding horses was, and probably still is, popular around the university. His name is Buster Bronco, which is cute, but not blatantly retarded. Unfortunately, the Western Michigan mascot is also known as Buster Bronco. I can see having the same type of mascot, but the same name? That should not stand. How would they decide it, Rodeo-style? Could they have a buck-off? Seriously, a bucking bronco is dangerous and if you ride said bucking broncos, you are a man. No doubt.

Texas Christian Horned Frogs. This just in! A Horned Frog is not, in fact, a frog. It’s not even an amphibian! It’s a lizard. That’s minus points for misleading us. I’ll give the points back because I love hearing Yosemite Sam say “Great horny toads!” Also, in addition to the “horns”, as a defensive measure, these creatures can squirt an aimed stream of blood from the corners of its eyes up to five feet. This defensive tactic isn’t very effective against human encroachment and the animal is endangered. That’s a bit of a downer. The mascot’s name is Superfrog, which I like, but I don’t know it’d hold up versus a Bronco.

The Pick: Boise State +2.5

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Dec. 24 @ 8 pm
Hawaii Warriors
Notre Dame Fighting Irish +2

The Hawaii Warriors. Formerly known as the Rainbow Warriors until 2000 when the football team, probably tired of rainbow related insults, asked for it to be changed. While the men’s athletics department shortened the mascot to the Warriors, the Rainbow Wahine (or Rainbow Women for us mainlanders) shortened theirs to the Rainbows or just Bows. To make up for the emasculating taunts over the years, the new rainbow-less warrior wasn’t going to take any crap from opponents. In fact, their was a bit of a dust up when, amongst other things, he dropped a Jimmy “Super Fly” Snuka elbow on the University of Alabama mascot. Well, what did you expect? He was going to pass around rally leis all game?

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Maybe the most politically incorrect mascot name that no one cares about. Technically, the nickname is Fighting Irish and the mascot is a leprechaun. So, leprechauns are magical and, ironically for this bowl, chill at the end of rainbows. The leprechaun is a type of male faerie, who likes himself some gold. You have to catch him and interrogate him to get it, so brush up on your water boarding before you hit the shamrock fields.

The Pick: Hawaii Warriors -2

Motor City Bowl Dec. 26 @ 8 pm
Florida Atlantic
Central Michigan -6.5

The Florida Atlantic Owls. Not a big , scary owl, a burrowing owl. They are quite popular in the area, so popular they decided to dig up the owl habitat to plant a university on it. In fact, the Audubon Society declared FAU’s land an owl sanctuary so the university couldn’t expand its campus in 1971. On a positive side, the mascot’s name is easy to remember, Owsley the Owl.

The Central Michigan Chippewas. Central Michigan does not have an actual mascot, just the Chippewa nickname. They also have the backing of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, political correctors take notice. You’d think it’d be easy to top a burrowing owl, but Central Michigan is not giving us much. The Chippewa do have a traditional Sasquatch-like figure named the Wendigo, who was a cannibalistic family devourer. Something to think about, CMU.

The Pick: Florida Atlantic Owls +6.5

Meineke Car Care Bowl Dec. 27 @ 1 pm
West Virginia Mountaineers
North Carolina Tar Heels (Pick)

The West Virginia Mountaineers. A mountaineer is a buckskin clad dude with a coonskin cap who runs around cheering and shooting his rifle in the air. Davey Crockett reincarnated, basically. It’s a little plain, but you get a rifle and can grow a beard and get to hang out with cheerleaders, so it’s not all bad. While in costume, he may not be under the influence of alcohol at any time, which kind of limits the authenticity. What’s a mountaineer without moonshine?

The North Carolina Tar Heels. What’s a Tar Heel? Someone from North Carolina. Yup, that’s it. North Carolina used to be the top tar producing state and people from the state eventually were called Tar Heels. Bo-ring. The UNC mascot, Ramses, is way more exciting. He’s got a cool pharaoh name and painted blue horns. There’s also a costumed human mascot of the same name. If a mountaineer can skin a buck and a raccoon, he probably sheared a sheep while in his squirrel skin diapers.

The Pick: West Virginia

Champs Sports Bowl Dec. 27 @ 4:30 pm
Wisconsin Badgers
Florida State Seminoles-4.5

The Wisconsin Badgers. Wisconsin was known as the Badger State because prospectors in the state had to live like badgers in the harsh conditions. The mascot’s name is Buckingham U. Badger, or Bucky Badger for short. The university tried a real live badger at first, but it proved to be too fierce (good sign) and was retired to the zoo. The live badger was replaced by a costumed human and a real live raccoon named Regdab, which is badger spelled backwards. That’s a little confusing. Stick with one animal. Still, I don’t know anyone who wants to go throw down with any Badgers.

The Florida State Seminoles. The Florida State mascot is Chief Osceola, who was a famous Seminole warrior, who often rides Renegade, named for the unconquered renegade spirit of the Seminole people. That’s pretty bad ass. He’s got authentic garb, designed by Seminole women and a big ass spear. I think I’ve seen the spear on fire, which might not be historical, but it does add to the badassedness. It’s tough to beat this mascot. It’s got a live animal, no stupid name and a weapon that sometimes is lit on fire and thrown.

The Pick: Florida State Seminoles -4.5

Emerald Bowl Dec. 27 @ 8pm
Miami Hurricanes
California Golden Bears-7

The Miami Hurricanes. Here we have another school with a different mascot than the nickname. Miami’s mascot is Sebastian the Ibis. Why the Ibis? Apparently, the ibis is the last to leave a marsh before a hurricane and the first to return. That makes it leaderly or something. His name, Sebastian, comes from the San Sebastian building that was a dorm and is now apartments. Whatever. I don’t see many Ibis(Ibises? Ibis’? Ibii?) in my neighborhood, but they don’t seem that tough. Another unsettling fact, Sebastian looks more like Howard the duck than an Ibis.

The California Golden Bears. The bear is a pretty good mascot for a mascot throwdown. Cal had live bears as mascots until WWII, so that’s a plus. The Golden Bear mascot since then is Oski the Bear. Oski comes from the “Oski Wow-Wow” yell, which is the Cal spirit yell. Unfortunately, Oski looks the same as he did in 1941. He’s like 1920’s Mickey Mouse or Tracey Ullman Show Simpsons. He’d still maul an Ibis that’s for sure.

The Pick: California Golden Bears -7

Independence Bowl Dec. 28 @ 8:15 pm
Northern Illinois Huskies
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs +1.5

The Northern Illinois Huskies. First, they were the Profs, then Cardinals, then the Evansmen before becoming the Huskies. Now, a Husky is a dog, so that’s a plus. However, the husky is also a very popular mascot choice and NIU’s is named Victor E. Huskie and that is lame. Huskies are very wolf-like in appearance and the Iditarod is no joke. Hmm?

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. This is a dog eat dog matchup. Oops. I told RT I wouldn’t use any bad puns in my articles. Damn. LTU has two mascots and two nicknames. Champ is the costumed human bulldog and Tech XX is the real live bulldog. XX is Roman numerals, not like Dos Equis, sadly. As for a huskie-bulldog throwdown? Bulldogs were used in bullbaiting and bearbaiting back in the good ol days of the 17th century and were bred specifically for that purpose. Hard-core.

The Pick: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs +1.5 Bowl Dec. 29 @ 3pm
NC State Wolfpack
Rutgers Scarlet Knights-6.5

The North Carolina State Wolfpack. Why settle for one animal when you could use a whole pack? You see, that’s smart. When a disgruntled, snobby (probably) fan calls your behavior at a football game, “like a wolf pack”, you take that “negative” and you turn it into a positive. I don’t know what exactly constitutes a pack, but for the sake of a mascot throwdown I’ll say six. Six wolves would be a formidable opponent for many, many a foe. Yet, NC State uses only one mascot to represent the pack, Mr. Wuf. Did you know Mr. Wuf is married to Ms. Wuf and has his own myspace page? Now you do.

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights. In the early days they were the Queensmen. Yeah, I know. Rutgers used to be Queen’s College, like that makes it any better. After that it was Chanticleer, a rooster from the Canterbury Tales. Finally, the Scarlet Knights was chosen in the ‘50s because people in New Jersey know only people from Delaware want a chicken for a mascot. As for the Scarlet Knight himself, he’s horseless and sword less, but he is fully armored. Now, I’ve seen pictures of a more realistic looking Scarlet Knight on a horse with a sword and probably a shield, but the goofy one in the picture below is the one I’m going with. He’d definitely have no shot versus an entire wolf pack, but Mr. Wuf? Not without a sword. Well, maybe he does have a sword?

The Pick: NC State Wolfpack +6.5

Valero Alamo Bowl Dec. 29 @ 8pm
Missouri Tigers
Northwestern Wildcats+13.5

Missouri Tigers. The tigers were a bunch of armed guards who protected Columbia, MO from Union soldiers and Confederate Guerrillas during the Civil War. Historical anecdotes are always important to good mascots. The university felt so good about historical anecdotes they named their mascot Truman the Tiger after President Harry Truman, Missouri native. Again, the tiger is a popular mascot and they didn’t name the tiger Truman until 1986. 30 years after he left office and almost fifteen after he died. Better late than never, I guess.

The Northwestern Wildcats. Yet another non-exciting mascot matchup. Blah, blah, blah, some guy in the ‘20s said the team looked like wildcats on the field and the women swooned with joy. Frankly, it’d be cooler if they were still the Fighting Methodists. Northwestern also chose the all too safe Willie the Wildcat as its mascot’s name. I thought this school was where all the good journalists went? The Wildcats and Willie the Wildcat? That’s all you’ve got. Kansas State also has a Willie the Wildcat and both schools have purple as a main color. C’mon people! I can’t decide, so I’m taking the points.

The Pick: Northwestern Wildcats +13.5

Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl Dec. 30 @ 4:30pm
Maryland Terrapins
Nevada Wolf Pack -1

The Maryland Terrapins. The diamondback terrapin is the state reptile of Maryland. UM’s mascot is named Testudo. That’s a little confusing because testudo is a genus of tortoise, yet a terrapin is a turtle, not a tortoise. Another downer is that we (I) think of Testudo as being a big snapping turtle you don’t want to f with. But upon further review, the diamondback terrapin doesn’t usually grow larger than 7 inches long at maturity. They almost went extinct because they are so tasty.

Nevada Wolfpack. No, I’m sorry. Nevada Wolf Pack. First, there was Wolfie. Wolfie bequeathed the cheering duties to his nephew, Aphie in 1999. In 2007, Alphie was joined on the sidelines by his brother, Wolfie, Jr. I have no idea which one this is, but he could eat a tasty turtle for sure.

The Pick: Nevada Wolf Pack -1

Texas Bowl Dec. 30 @ 8pm
Rice Owls
Western Michigan Broncos +3

The Rice Owls. There’s an interesting back story on the naming of the mascot, Sammy the Owl. His canvas form was abducted by Texas A&M hooligans. Rice students hired a P.I. who sent back a coded telegram that he had located “Sammy.” Sammy the Owl went from canvas interpretation to real live owl to costumed student. Sammy the Owl prefers Facebook to myspace. His facial expression doesn’t bode well for the mascot throwdown.

Western Michigan Broncos. They’ve been the Broncos since 1939, but Buster Bronco has only been around since 1988. So, we’ve got no mascot history and the mascot has the same name as another university? And, Western Michigan changed to the Broncos because they used to be the Hilltoppers and Western Kentucky was already the Hilltoppers? That makes no sense.

The Pick: Rice Owls -3

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl Dec. 30 @ 8pm
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oregon Ducks +3.5

Oklahoma State Cowboys. I got all excited when I saw that OSU’s mascot’s name was Pistol Pete. Yeah! That was my nickname in college. He’s got a cool hat, some chaps, a bad mustache and most importantly a pistol. Just like I did in college! I love me some mascots with weapons.

Oregon Ducks. The Duck doesn’t really have a name and you may have noticed illustrations of The Duck that look surprisingly like Donald Duck. An AD at Oregon knew Walt Disney and got his okay to use the depiction for its athletics. So, Oregon’s got Nike AND Disney? Dang! Unfortunately, I seem to remember Donald Duck coming up short in most of his fracases and he doesn’t like wearing pants.

The Pick: Oklahoma State Cowboys -3.5

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Dec. 31 @ Noon
Houston Cougars
Air Force Fighting Falcons+2.5

Houston Cougars. Shasta is the name of the Cougar mascot. It’s a name that’s been passed down since 1947 and has crossed over from real live cougar to the costumed student. Shasta is also Title IX compliant being one of the only female mascots around. I guess if you’re going to have a cougar as a mascot it should be a female. Right, fellas? Rowr. Although, judging by the photo below, Shasta may be going through an identity crisis. It’s still hot.

Air Force Fighting Falcons. The Air Force and a bird of prey mascot go together like PB&J. The mascot was chosen by the first graduating class from the academy in 1959. The Air Force has a real live falcon named Yeti and a costumed cadet known as “The Bird.” I hate ultra cheesy names, but you have to at least try, right? As for the matchup, cats eat birds. I saw it on Looney Tunes.

The Pick: Houston Cougars -2.5

Brut Sun Bowl Dec. 31 @ 2 pm
Oregon State Beavers
Pittsburgh Panthers +3

Oregon State Beavers. According to his myspace page, Mr. Beaver's interests include supporting Beaver Nation and hanging out with his fellow Beavs. He listens to Justin Timberlake, AC/DC, Jay-Z and Johnny Cash. He’s a Libra and has a Ph.D. in Mascot Skills, so that’s Dr. Beaver to you. And ladies, he’s single!!!!

Pitt Panthers. The University of Pittsburgh is very logical. When they decided on the Panther as mascot the following reason were given:
1)The panther was the most powerful animal that roamed western PA
2) It’s a noble animal
3)At the time(1909), no other school used the panther as a mascot
4) It had similar colors to gold and blue
5) Alliteration
That is exactly the type of dedication all universities should show when selecting a mascot. Strength, Nobility, Unique, Colors, Alliteration or SNUCA. Remember it next time you need to think of a mascot. You can tell they were thinking about being in a mascot matchup throwdown 100 years down the road.

The Pick: Pitt Panthers +3

Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl Dec. 31 @ 3:30pm
Boston College Golden Eaglese
Vanderbilt Commodores +4

Boston College Eagles. Outraged at the university being depicted as a cat in a local newspaper, a reverend wrote the paper suggesting a nobler mascot was needed to represent Boston College. The obvious choice to the reverend was the eagle because it was “symbolic of majesty, power and freedom.” BC tried live eagles at first, but one escaped and the other broke it’s beak trying to escape. Baldwin was born in 1966 and his name is the lame combination of Bald, for Bald Eagle, and win, for win. It’s also a little confusing using a Bald Eagle as a mascot when your nickname is the Golden Eagles.

Vanderbilt Commodores. Cornelius Vanderbilt made his fortune in shipping. What’s a Commodore? Don’t say Lionel Ritchie. It’s a naval rank higher than captain, lower than rear admiral. I’d rather be a Commodore than a rear admiral, that’s for sure. Mr. C’s got a cutlass, a cool hat and some serious mutton chops. There haven’t been too many naval battles in Nashville lately, so he’s probably hard up for some swashbuckling. As much as I like birds of prey, a crazy 19th century dude with a cutlass gets the edge.

The Pick: Vanderbilt Commodores +4

Insight Bowl Dec. 31 @ 5:30pm
Kansas Jayhawks
Minnesota Golden Gophers +10.5

Kansas Jay Hawks. A Jay Hawk is a “mythical” cross between the noisy Blue Jay and quiet Sparrow Hawk. A Kansas militant abolitionist group adopted the name Jayhawkers before the Civil War. When Kansas was admitted to the union as a free state the term became synonymous with Kansans. Wow, I never knew. That’s pretty noble. Why doesn’t Kansas promote that more? I don’t know what kind of powers a Jayhawk would have, besides militant abolishing, and that’s going to hurt in the mascot throwdown.

Minnesota Golden Gophers. I thought Minnesota was just the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Wrong. It’s also the North Star State, The Bread and Butter State, The Wheat State, New England of the West and The Gopher State. There’s not a whole lot to say about Goldy the Gopher, mascot of UM. Goldy was judged to look the LEAST like a gopher amongst other similar rodents, including the chipmunk and beaver. He’s a gopher impostor, he’s unarmed, but at least he’s got an alliterative name. Hawks eat gophers for breakfast in real life and in this matchup.

The Pick: Kansas Jayhawks -10.5

Chick-fil-A Bowl Dec. 31 @ 7:30pm
LSU Fightin' Tigers
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets -3.5

LSU Fightin’Tigers. The Fightin’ Tigers comes from two Louisiana Confederate brigades known for fighting fiercely during the Civil War. Mike the Tiger exists in real live tiger form and as a costumed student. Mike VI is the real live tiger who chills in his $3mm habitat. I wish I was a mascot, sometimes. Mike VI currently weighs in at over 300 lbs. and could reach upwards of 700 lbs., making him the largest Mike the Tiger, ever. Also, in Mike VI's first year as mascot, LSU won the BCS national championship game.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The mascot Buzz may be a wee yellow jacket, but he gets stuff done. His trademark move is the Buzz Flip. He crowd surfs, parachutes and leads the band in the Budweiser song, a beer jingle. Buzz isn’t afraid of capitalism and is available for weddings and birthday parties. No word on his longest keg stand or the most beer bongs he’s done in a night, but he sounds like the life of a party. Unfortunately, Mike the Tiger is a tiger.

The Pick: LSU Fightin’ Tigers -3.5

Outback Bowl Jan. 1 @ 11 am
South Carolina Gamecocks
Iowa Hawkeyes -3

South Carolina Gamecocks. South Carolina has two mascots, a real live cock (can I say that?) named Big Spur and a costumed student named Cocky. Cocky, the human one, has multiple mascot national championships and was on the Capitol One All-America Mascot Team 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008. He’s got pristine mascot credentials, sure, but what are his throwdown credentials? He was bred to fight. He’s probably got some razor blades on him somewhere. I bet he likes the taste of blood. He’s arrogant and his name has phallic undertones providing easy comedy.

Iowa Hawkeyes. The term Hawkeye comes from The Last of the Mohicans and was used to describe the people of Iowa at some point supposedly to honor Chief Black Hawk. Herky the Hawk was named after Hercules. In 1997, Herky got into a brawl with a Minnesota band member and in the ensuing rumble, broke his fiberglass head piece that has since been replaced with Kevlar. Yup, Herky is bulletproof. Tough call in this avian matchup, but I’ll give the edge to the bird of prey versus the cock.

The Pick: Iowa Hawkeys -3

Capital One Bowl Jan 1 @ 1pm
Georgia Bulldogs
Michigan State Spartans +7.5

Georgia Bulldogs. Chosen for its dignity and ferocity, the bulldog has been the mascot at Georgia since the early 1900’s. Georgia has two mascots, UGA, the real live bulldog and Hairy Dawg, the costumed student. UGA has a literally iced out doghouse to keep him cool on the sidelines during games and tried to bite an opposing player after a touchdown once. Hairy Dawg was created in response to Florida’s new mascot, much like the arms race between Cold War powers.

Michigan State Spartans. MSU used to be an agricultural college and the mascot was the Aggies like every other agricultural school. Is that a requirement or something? They changed their mascot when trying to expand beyond just an agricultural school and originally chose the Michigan Staters before a sports editor picked the better Spartan nickname. Sparty the Spartan has held Best Mascot and Buffest Mascot titles in previous years, including winning Best Mascot in three out of four years. He’s buff and armored, but he’s unarmed, which hurts in a mascot throwdown.

The Pick: Georgia Bulldogs -7.5

Konica Minolta Gator Bowl Jan. 1 @1pm
Clemson Tigers
Nebraska Cornhuskers +3

Clemson Tigers. In 1896 some coach came to Clemson from Auburn and because he admired the Princeton Tigers he gave that nickname to Clemson. I hate that. Princeton was the Tigers and he came from Auburn which is also the Tigers and he names Clemson the Tigers? In 1896? There were plenty of other options back then. There was no need to recycle. The Tiger and Tiger Cub are the names of the Clemson mascots. Are there no creative people in the Clemson Athletic Department?

Nebraska Cornhuskers. On the other end of the creative spectrum, the University of Nebraska had a litany of colorful nicknames around the same time the Clemson Tigers were being mascot lazy. The names included: Antelopes, Old Gold Knights, Bugeaters and Mankilling Mastadons. Brilliant, all of them. Herbie the Husker is sort of buff and has a nice cowboy hat, but not much to help him versus a tiger.

The Pick: Clemson Tigers -3

AT&T Cotton Bowl Jan. 2@ 2pm
Ole Miss Rebels
Texas Tech Red Raiders-5.5

Ole Miss Rebels. Colonel Reb was the long time mascot who looked like a 19th century plantation owner and has been locked away since 2003 when the university removed the mascot for being blatantly politically incorrect. He looks like you could find him at Colonel Sanders’ cocktail parties sipping mint juleps. Due to lack of interest, a new mascot was never selected. I smell a DQ.

Texas Tech Red Raiders. Originally called the Matadors, the Red Raiders have two mascots. The Masked Rider is a masked rider who is sort of a Lone Ranger/Zorro combination. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a sword or a gun, but he does ride real horse. Red Raider, who looks suspiciously like Yosemite Sam, has two holsters on his belt, but they are empty. I’ll just say, the Red Raiders are lucky to be matched up against a school with no mascot.

The Pick: Texas Tech Red Raiders -5.5

AutoZone Liberty Bowl Jan 2 @ 5pm
Kentucky Wildcats
East Carolina Pirates -2

Kentucky Wildcats. The mascot’s name is Scratch. In protest of the Wildcat mascot, I present this excerpt from a Simpsons episode:
Ned: Who are we?
Kids: The Wildcats!
Ned: Who are we gonna beat?
Kids: The Wildcats!

East Carolina Pirates. Here’s a fun fact. Blackbeard (the pirate) resided along the North Carolina coast. A pirate is always good in a matchup throwdown. He’s got a cutlass, cool hat, eye-patch, often bearded and sometimes they get to fire cannons. Pee Dee the Priate is named for the Pee Dee River that housed many pirate encampments.

The Pick: East Carolina Pirates -2

International Bowl Jan. 3 @ Noon
Buffalo Bulls
Connecticut Huskies -4

The Buffalo Bulls. Not a typo. The University changed its mascot from the Bison to the Bulls in order to separate itself from professional sports teams of the area in the 1930’s. Victor E. Bull and his sister, Victoria E. Bull, walk the sidelines at “The Bullpen” football stadium. He’s big, blue and has horns. Not much else to say.

Connecticut Huskies. There are two Jonathan the Huskies representing UCONN. The original was a real live Husky and was later teamed with a costumed student, also named Jonathan the Husky. Jonathan was the winning name in a 1934 name the husky contest. Seriously? That was the winner? I’m running on fumes and these bowls keep feeding me unoriginal, stale mascots! Must. Fight. Through. Uninspired mascots.

The Pick: Buffalo Bulls +4

GMAC Bowl Jan 6 @ 8 pm
Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Ball State Cardinals-2.5

Tulsa Golden Hurricane. That’s more like it! Not just a hurricane, a Golden Hurricane. And on top of that, the mascot’s name is Captain Cane! Yes! You want to know what the name of the mascot was before 1994? Huffy!

Ball State Cardinals. Originally known as the Hooserions, somebody finally figured out it was a ridiculous name and chose the cardinals because it looked good on the St. Louis Cardinals(MLB) jersey. The mascot’s name is Charlie Cardinal and that is way too bland when you’re facing CAP-TAIN CANE!!!!

The Pick: Tulsa Golden Hurricane +2.5
Comeback next week for the BCS breakdown.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Giant Offseason (RT)

A Giant Off-Season

(In round two of the never ending battle between the Fat Guy and me, we are discussing the top 5 things the Giants should do this off-season)

Let’s get something out of the way right now – the Giants are not going to the playoffs in 2009. There are too many holes and not enough money and/or prospects to fill them. With my eyes on 2010 and beyond, I give you the genius which is RT’s top 5 things the Giants should do this off-season:

1) Acquire Jake Peavy

Allow me to give you rule #1 in baseball, if a #1 starter, who is a power pitcher and is under 30, becomes available, you do whatever it takes to acquire him. There is no exception to this rule. It is worth the gamble every single time. It doesn’t matter how good your prospects are because, after all, they are just prospects. Ask Theo Epstein while he is shining his two World Series rings how much he regrets trading the best young player in baseball (Hanley Ramirez) for Josh Beckett. Ask Brian Cashman how smart it was not to trade Phil Hughes for Johan Santana last year.

(That move was made for the Yankees and they screwed it up.)

This is the trade that makes sense to me:

Posey, Gillespie and (either Bumgarner or Alderson – whichever one they want) for Peavy.

What’s that you say: Peavy has a no trade clause he does not want to play for the Giants? I think voiding his current contract and giving him $20 mm over the next 5 years seems to make sense. Money has a way of changing player’s minds.

2) Trade Cain for Prince Fielder

They should have been done months ago. Fielder would be perfect fit for the Giants at first base for the next 10 years and his upside is ridiculous. He is only learning how good he can be and there is that whole – “We have a big left handed hitter that can put the ball into the water” – marketing plan. He will put butts in seat because of the way he plays and that is important over the next couple years. Fielder makes sense from a business side and a baseball side. Furthermore, the Giants have to trade Cain before his stock drops through the floor. Please allow me shed light on why there is an urgency to trade Cain.

(I will use bullet points so I don’t get too wordy.)

* He is an ever other pitch pitcher. Seriously, go back and watch any of his games. His first pitch hits the target and the next one bounces in front of the plate or sails over the catcher’s head. If you think this trend is going to change, you need to put the koolaid down.

* His motion is about as compact as a Cadillac Escalade. He did not exactly go to the Greg Maddox school of pitching mechanics. As a result, he will never be an elite pitcher because he does not have the command required to be dominant.

* At best, he is a poor man’s Nolan Ryan. In English that means, he will strike out a bunch of guys but is never going to be a consistent winner.)

3) Don’t sign C.C. Sabathia, Derek Lowe or A.J. Burnett … Sign Brad Penny

I am feeling the bullet points so let’s keep using them

* C.C. = Why pay a guy Johan Santana money when A) he has never won anything on the
big stage and B) he is not feared by elite hitters?

* Lowe = I will admit it – about 10 years ago I learned how to read people’s minds so let me tell you what Lowe is thinking this off-season: “I play in a league where all money is guaranteed so I busted my butt over the last 4 years so I could sucker an idiot GM into thinking I will care during my twilight years.. Little does that GM know that I really just want to party and I have no motivation because this contract is my last big pay day. It’s not like I have not won a World Series. Now, if I could only get a rich guy to buy the Marlins … I love Miami Beach.”

* Burnett = Trivia time: If A.J. Burnett was an NBA basketball player, what would his name be? Jamal Crawford.

(Extra Credit: If he played in the NFL, what would his name be? Jeff George.)

* Penny = Has something to prove (check) Hates the Dodgers (check) Has HUGE upside if he get through his injury (check). Seems to make sense to me.

4) Trade Jonathan Sanchez for Jorge Cantu

We can all agree that Sanchez will be pitching out of the bullpen in two years. Trade him away while he still has some value. Cantu is an up and coming player who hit 29 home runs while playing in one of the hardest parks to hit home runs in. He is not a bad fielder and he is only 27. Of course, I could be the only person in the Giants fan base that thinks trying to find a long term solution at third is a bad idea.

(That’s right, I have just acquired left handed power hitting vegetarian and a player on the Mexican national team. Who said I don’t know anything about marketing!?)

5) Trade Molina and Winn to the Mets for a bag of potato chips and some dip to be named later

Now that we are paying Peavy $20 mm, they need to cut some payroll. The Mets are the perfect team to take these two guys off our hands. Who cares what we get in return!? We need to save money for next year when we ….

6) Sign Matt Holiday

(Dear Fat Guy: I realize this is cheating but I couldn’t help myself)
Think about next year’s offseason for a second. The United States will be reaching the bottom of the current recession we are in. (I work in finance for a living – we are not close to the end of this economic downturn). Matt Holiday will have underperformed (think Johnny Damon in 2001) because nobody can hit in that ballpark and he is playing in the American League. Ticket sales will have cratered for all the teams not names (Cubs, Red Sox and Yankees) during the 2009 season and nobody will have the money or the desire to pay a player $20 mm a season. The combination of all of these factors will create the “perfect storm” for us to sign the left fielder we have needed since 2004 and we will get him for a lot less than he would have received this year. (Not to mention, we will piss off the A’s fans to no end. You have to love that)

After all of these moves, here is the 2009 (and 2010) Giants:

2009 Rotation: Lincecum, Peavy, (damn that is sweet), Penny, Lowery and Zito

2009 Starting Line-up:
1) Lewis, 2B
2) Renteria, SS
3) Sandoval, C
4) Fielder, 1B
5) Cantu, 3B
6) Rowand, CF
7) Schierholtz, RF
8) Burriss, 2B
9) Pitcher

2010 Rotation: Lincecum, Peavy, (still sweet), Penny, (Bumgarner or Alderson), Zito

2010 Starting Line-up:
1) Burriss, 2B
2) Lewis, RF
3) Sandoval, C
4) Holiday, LF
5) Fielder, 1B
6) Cantu, 3B
7) Rowand, CF (the worst 5th hitter in the league just became the best 7th hitter)
8) Renteria, SS
9) Pitcher

If you are looking for me at the World Series, I will be sitting in the GMs box. I figured they give it to me for a reason.

A Giant Offseason (The Fat Guy)

5 Moves the Giants Should Make

A wise man once said, “There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee -- that says, fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again.” (I don’t understand this quote but I might just be an idiot) C.C. Sabathia is so tantalizing. I was going to say the Giants should sign C.C. for $120 mil. Sign Adam Dunn to play first and trade Jonathan Sanchez for A-Rod. Then the absinthe wore off. The reality is the Giants are not World Series contenders heading into next season and probably not in 2010, either. Much has been said over the last couple of years about going with younger players and I’ve said this myself numerous times. But like the Giants, the free agent market has been lacking talented young position players for years. This limits the Giants options for upgrading the offense for the future, so I say sign some older guys to short deals while we wait Bumgarner, Alderson, Posey, Gillaspie, et al. Pitching and defense will be the key for the Giants to be competitive over the next two seasons. They have good pitching, but need to improve the defense. No contracts should be offered for more than three seasons to anybody

1) Sign Derek Lowe

He’s a sinkerball pitcher in a division with many HR unfriendly parks. He’s got a 2.17 ERA at AT&T the last three seasons(5 starts). At 35, he had a 3.24 ERA last year and should be open to three year contract offers. According to Baseball Reference’s Similarity Scores, four pitchers with Giants connections are listed (Don Robinson, Danny Darwin, Lindy McDaniel and Dick Tidrow).Don Robinson? Caveman? C’mon. You cannot argue that the Giants need less Caveman(s). The caveat to signing Lowe is that he’s waiting for Sabathia to sign a contract and set the market for pitchers and his agent is Scott Boras. Lowe could be contemplating a massive five year deal with a True Religion Jeans contract to boot. If that is the case, I take a flyer on Brad Penny.

2) Don’t trade Matt Cain

He’s younger than LinCYcum and his value is down after a bad luck season. Buy low, sell high, or something like that. He’s under Giant control for a few more years at a good price so there is no need to rush any trade. Trading him would mean the Giants are trying to win in 2009, which they should not be because they are not one player away from contending. Let things play out this season. We know he’s got potential, so wait to reap the benefits whether it’s for the Giants on the field or through a trade. If Cain was traded now, who would fill his spot in the rotation this season? Lowry? Misch? Please.

3) Sign Casey Blake

Look, there aren’t a lot of premier corner infielders on the free agent market. In fact, there is only one who is under 30, Texeira, and he’s going to be a pricey piece of pie. Sure, Adam Dunn is under 30 and he “could” play 1B, but he’s not the right fit for the Giants. Blake is old, 35, but he’s solid defensively and can swing the bat a little. His three year splits, .275/.346/.457. Again, his age will let the Giants offer a shorter deal, two or three years max, and Sandoval can play first base. I think Blake even played some first for the Dodgers last year, but I have to believe Blake at third and Sandoval at first is better than the other way around. Plus, Baseball Reference lists four(!) former ROTYs with matching similarity scores thru age 35: Chris Sabo, Ben Grieve, Marty Cordova AND Eric Hinske. That means something, right?

4) Trade Randy Winn/Sign Pat Burrell

Baggs talked to Sabean the other day and he doesn’t envision the Giants signing another outfielder, which is totally understandable. Can we give one back? Dave Roberts, anyone? Winn is in the last year of his contract and as a decent MLB outfielder making $8.25 mil the Giants should be able to move him. This one might not happen until summer. If the team could move Winn, that would open a space to bring in Burrell. Now, I’m not even close to ga-ga for Burrell. In fact, I’m much closer to whatever the opposite of ga-ga is about Burrell. The fact remains that the Giants cannot have a 3-4-5 of Rowand-Molina-Sandoval. Pat the Bat would strike out a ton of times, but he’d be at “home” and he can hit the ball really hard. Burrell is 31, so I wouldn’t want to see anything longer than three years. The silver lining of a recession is that guys who used to demand five year deals, and get them, will have to settle for three year deals.

5) Kick the tires on O-Dog

As of this minute, second base will be fought over by Eugenio Velez, Kevin Frandsen, Manny Burriss and whoever won the Play for the Giants Spring Training prize from the KNBR/BAYSHOF auction. Frandsen is the only one who “should” have a chance at earning the spot and he’s coming off a torn ACL. All the others need more seasoning, minor league seasoning. Orlando Hudson is an above average defender and a decent hitter. He’s 30 years old and has played more than 145 games only once in his six year career. He’s the best second base free agent this winter and he is likely going to be looking for a deal of more than three years. However, there is always a possibility he would be willing to settle for a short term deal if the price is right.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Why you should NOT watch the 49ers in December

Why you should NOT watch the 49ers in December?

1. They are not going to make the playoffs

This statement might seem a little obvious but it needs to be said. There really is no point in watching a team with no chance of making the playoffs in December unless they are winless. (that’s right – I would rather watch the Lions than the Niners). In the past, you could view a strong end to the season as a reason to believe the team is going to carry the momentum into the following year. In the modern NFL, what a non-playoff team does in December has little to do with their record the following year. As a result, does it really matter if they go 0-4 or 4-0? Think about it.

2. The Vernon Davis Phenomenon

If I would have told you last year that Vernon Davis would surpass Jeremy Shocky as the most talked about mediocre player in the league you would have called me crazy. Well, we all know what has happened and I cannot stand it anymore. I don’t care if he is good or bad. I just want people to stop talking about him. Every time you watch a Niner game you will hear something about Vernon Davis. Why in the world are we still talking about this guy and why do fans continue to debate his value to the team!? Warriors’ fans no longer talk about Belinelli so why should Niners’ fans keep talking about Davis? The Vernon Davis talk should be enough for anyone to watch something else.

(Yes – I just compared Vernon Davis to Marco Belinelli.)

3. The Sell Out Uniforms

Remember that friend (“Joe”) you had in college who dressed like he was always going to a Pearl Jam concert – random gray tee-shirt, beat-up jeans, worn-in shoes, permanent 5 o’clock shadow and long hair. Joe was one of your best friends that you could always count on. Some of your best memories are drinking too much on Thursdays while playing Madden until 4 am. Needless to say you and Joe had some pretty good times together.

Those times could not last as you both graduated. Joe got consumed by his job that was more about statistics and turning a profit then what defense he was playing in Madden. The next thing you know Joe looks like he is getting paid to wear J. Crew (not to mention his “never-thought-possible” corporate haircut). No matter how much Madden you and Joe play together, it is really hard to remember the good old days because nothing about the Joe’s appearance reminds of the guy you once knew. Not only does he look like a complete sell out but also his Madden skills have diminished so considerably that he isn’t even fun to play anymore. As a result, you stop hanging out with Joe because you have all but forgotten the good old days.

13 years later

You hear a knock on your door and there is Joe looking like he use to. He has come to ask forgiveness for all the stupid things he has done over the last 13 years. You are so excited that the two of you go straight to the couch for a good old fashion Madden session. Joe’s game still leaves something to be desired but there is renewed hope for the future …

Until the Niners ask their fans for forgiveness and stop wearing those sell out uniforms - why keep watching them?

4. Offense?

The offensive line can’t block anybody. The wide receivers are completely overmatched. Shaun Hill is (to be nice) mediocre. Frank Gore never gets the ball because A) Mike Martz and the rest of the offensive brain trust have no idea what they are doing or B) the organization is saving is body from getting beaten down every Sunday. Either way, there is no reason to watch the Niners in December 2008.

5. The Draft is not the regular season

The idea of watching the Niners so you can see what draft pick they are going to have in April is just plain stupid. People make this argument all the time and I never understand what people are talking about. Furthermore, I don’t even know what exactly you want to happen. Rooting for a top-5 pick doesn’t make any sense because a top-5 player is rarely worth the money he gets paid. Rooting for a pick below 5 doesn’t make any sense because the pick is a toss-up and the money they save by not signing a top-5 pick goes straight into the pocket of Jed York. If you care about the 2009 Draft – watch ESPN in April not the Niners in December.

Why you should watch the 49ers in December

Why you should watch the 49ers in December.

1. The Singletary effect.

You’ve heard the refrain interim head coaches don’t succeed. What does that mean for Singletary? He’s definitely not the traditional interim head coach, but does that mean he’s the right fit for the permanent job? The last four weeks should provide insight into his capabilities as a head coach, so pay attention.

The schedule is a little daunting, which is a good thing for evaluating an interim head coach. Next week at home vs. the Jets followed by a 10 am start in Miami, another 10 am start in St. Louis and ending the season by hosting Washington. Singletary is a Hall of Famer whowon a Super Bowl ring as the leader of one of the best defenses the NFL has ever seen. He doesn’t speak in shades of gray, he speaks in black and white. In his first game as head coach, he famously sent Vernon Davis to the showers early and dropped his pants during his halftime speech for visual aid. During the following bye week, there was much consternation from the media that “Today’s player” is different and wouldn’t respond to Singletary’s antics. Yet, Vernon Davis said about Singletary after the Buffalo win just last week, "I think he should get the job. He's a great coach. He's been there, done that. He knows what it takes, and he's very straightforward." Davis only has three catches over the last four games and Niners have only thrown the ball his way seven times in those four games so it would be easy for him to be unhappy. It seems, Singletary has the players attention and they like what they’re hearing. Football is a manly game. It’s often associated (correctly or not) with warfare and battle because of its violent nature and the necessity of total team cooperation for success. True competitors don’t like to play he said/she said games. They want to hear it like it is -face to face. No need for sugar coating, just come clean. It seems to be working right now for Singletary, let’s see if it works the last four weeks.

If Singletary is seemingly winning over his players, what about the coaches? Singletary doesn’t have to win over his coaches, or Nolan’s coaches, but he is handling them differently, perhaps more effectively, than Nolan did. Let’s start with Martz. Nolan brought in Martz to save the offense and, thus, save his own job. Nolan wasn’t an offensive minded guy and left Martz to work on his own in his mad scientist laboratory trying to bring the monster of JTO to life. JTO was inserted as starting QB after a puppet QB competition and proceeded to get sacked repetitively and turn the ball over more than any other player in the league. Singletary saw less than one half of JTO as head coach and immediately went to Shaun Hill. Hill has already thrown as many touchdowns in 4 ½ games as JTO did in the first 7 ½ games, with 8(!) less interceptions. Hill is also getting sacked about half as much as JTO did. You can credit Hill and you can credit Martz with changing the offense to mesh with Hill’s skill set, but what took so long? Singletary doesn’t do offense, either. Yet, he has successfully reined in Martz and forced him to call the game according to the team game plan, not the mad scientist game plan. The defense has shifted to a base 3-4 instead of the ineffective hybrid that Nolan was running. Greg Manusky has gone from up in the booth to down on the field. Seems harmless, right? While Nolan was running the defense from the sideline Manusky was up in the booth. Was Nolan spending too much time worrying about the defense while ignoring his resposiblities as a head coach? I can’t say. From everything I’ve read throughout his tenure, Nolan was always overmatched as a head coach and a GM. Singletary seems to be running the team in a more CEO style than Nolan, which is a good thing. Monitor the temperature of the team and their response to Singletary throughout December.

2. Offensive line.

The unit has potential. When you use terms like “potential” it means that they aren’t good, but they are young and there is hope for a better future. Offensive line continuity is highly important to the overall success of any team. Look to see how the 49ers line plays over the next four games. The positions are firmly set: Staley, left tackle, Baas, left guard, Heitmann, center, Rookie Rachal, right guard and Snyder at right tackle. Good offensive line play involves teamwork and trust. Defensive blitzes and stunts are designed to confuse the offense into making mistakes. For an offensive line to be effective everybody has to be on the same page and that can only happen when guys play together. The 49er O-line currently ranks 8th in Football Outsiders Adjusted Line Yards(ALY), which measures the effectiveness of the RB/OL combination for all running back carries and then adjusts for down, distance, situation and opponent. Eighth!8th out of 32 teams is pretty darn impressive to me! . On the other hand, the 49ers are last in the Power Success category, which measures percentage of successful 3rd and 4th down carries of two yards and less to go as well as 1st or 2nd and goal of the same distance. The 49ers O-line also ranks 31st in Adjusted Sack Rate (ASR), which calculates sacks per pass attempt. The high ALY ranking is encouraging, indicating that (A Frank Gore is good and (B maybe the line hasn’t been playing as bad as it seems. In these next four games, look to see the sack rate drop, partly because Hill takes waaaaay less sacks than JTO, but the unit should also play more cohesively. The Power Success ranking should get better as well. On 3rd or 4th and short, see how many yards the team picks up and see which guys are making the key blocks.

3. Receiving corps.

It’s not pretty going down the list of leading wide receivers on the 49ers since T.O. left in 2003. The list includes, Cedrick Wilson, Curtis Conway, Brandon Lloyd, Johnnie Morton, Antonio Bryant, Darrell Jackson and Arnaz Battle. Four years of bad, ugly, pug-fugly receiving. No wide receiver has even had 60 receptions since 2003. This season, with Mike Martz, Isaac Bruce would have to average at least 5 catches each of the remaining games to get to 60 receptions. The 49ers need to create a more balanced offensive attack and the passing game needs to provide a more consistent threat to opposing defenses. Josh Morgan and Jason Hill have provided reasons to believe that there could be hope for the future. Morgan showed up in the pre-season then got a staph infection, lost a bunch of weight and was on the sidelines for a couple weeks. When he got back, he was looking good, and then he tweaked his groin and has been out the last couple weeks. The staph infection is random and unfortunate and the groin could be the same, but now Morgan has to comeback and prove he can stay healthy and productive. Jason Hill has had a couple nice games after barely even getting on the field last season. A strong finish to the season could be a sign of bigger and better things to come.

4. P-Willy.

Patrick Willis was defensive rookie of the year for 2007. He’s got the second most tackles in the NFL this season after leading the league last season. If there is one guy you can watch on this team every defensive play, it’s Willis. He’s active. He’s exciting. His motor is always running on high. He’s a playmaker. Yet, he hasn’t been the same P-Willy all year. Sure, he had that 85 yard INT return against Seattle early in the season, but something has been missing. Mostly, it’s because O-lineman were getting to him and keeping him from making more tackles. The constant changing of defensive sets put out there by Nolan seemed to be the biggest reason for his drop off in production. Last year, the success of P-Willy had to do with the NT clogging up opposing offensive lines enough to let P-Willy roam freely and hunt down ball carriers. Since Singletary took the headsets, he and Manusky have stayed with a base 3-4 most of the time. Players (Sopoaga and Franklin, mostly) can focus on that one formation and getting comfortable in their responsibilities. This newfound defensive stability should allow P-Willy to do what he does best – dominate. Watch for P-Willy to make more plays over the last month.

5. 2009 1st round draft pick.

The 49ers are likely going to be selecting between the 6th and 12th picks in the April draft. I’d feel pretty comfortable if the 49ers get the 11th pick. Since 2003, here are the #11 picks: Marcus Trufant, Ben Roethlisberger, DeMarcus Ware, Jay Cutler, Patrick Willis and Leodis McKelvin. That’s going to be a prime pick that should contribute immediately. Who will it be? Go over and check out the top 12 rated prospects and various sites and then pick your favorites. Could they get a Michael Jenkins or Vontae Davis to step in for an aging Walt Harris? Will they decide they need to go Michael Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin at wide receiver? Or maybe pick an OT, with Michael Oher or Eben Britton, moving Snyder to the utility lineman role? I didn’t even mention the elephant in the room, quarterback. Sam Bradford? Matt Stafford? These last four weeks will be used by the coaching staff and front office to evaluate personnel. Do your own evaluations. Keep track of who’s giving up big plays, sacks, dropping passes, missing tackles or not really doing anything when they’re on the field? Which players are standing out above the rest? Diagnose the most troubled starting position and then check the draft boards and figure out who would fit best.

There are reasons to watch the Niners in December.

The Fat Guy

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Jamal Crawford Effect

The Jamal Crawford Effect

(Editor’s Note: RT lived in Chicago when he was on the Bulls, New York when he was on the Knicks and JC followed RT to the Bay Area. He is very passionate about this topic)

I was watching the game last night and I realized that there are at least 15,000 Warriors fans who do not know anything about the Jamal Crawford Effect. I only say 15,000 because that is how many people who actually cheered when he was scoring last night. These are the same people who cheered when Jamison made three pointers. You always have to ask yourself – If you do not encourage your children to run around blind folded with sharp objects, than why would you encourage equially dangerous behavior like Jamal Crawford going for more than 30 points!? Why would I not want a Warrior to score a lot of points? Allow me to explain …

As I have said for the past 6 years (the length of my relationship with Jamal Crawford basketball), he is a loser. To be clear, he does not play on winning teams and he is more often than not the reason for the lack of winning.

Here are the problems:

Problem #1: He doesn’t get paid to win

There isn’t a player in the league who cares more about getting paid than winning more than Jamal Crawford. Somebody told him a long time ago that the player that scores the most points gets the most money. (I have to admit that it is pretty good advice). He shoots as much as possible without regard for the score or what the current score is in the game. Furthermore, Crawford knows that NBA teams do not have large staffs of scouts so if he looks good on paper (which he does) somebody will always pay him.

(Ironically, I thought the only somebody was Isiah. However, I have to admit that part of me believes Mullin made the trade so Cohen and Rowell would be stuck with two of the three biggest losers in the NBA for the next three years.)

Problem #2: We are talking about passing, not scoring, passing

If you asked Jamal Crawford – “Whose game most closely resembles yours” – he would answer AI. JC believes he should be the leading scorer every night and is the perfect combo guard. I guess he didn’t catch the breaking news that there is only one AI and everyone else under 6’4” should learn how to pass.

(The perfect example of his selfish play was last night when Jackson could have had a wide open look to win the game but JC decided to continue with his fourth quarter cold streak and lose the game while being triple teamed. Of course, everybody in the arena was surprised he missed and thought it was a good shot. Don’t worry, just like fans in Chicago and New York, you will get used to it)

Problem #3: I scored 40 and that is more than the guy I was guarding

This statement sums up the fun part of the Jamal Crawford Effect. JC learned this trick in high school and it hasn’t failed him sense. It has not failed “him” but his teams have suffered since college. He goes into every game thinking it is a duel between him and the guy he is guarding. The only score JC cares about is how many points he had compared to his counterpart.
Let’s look at the JC scoreboard:

(We will not count the game in Washington because he was new to the “offense”)

@ Boston – JC: 18 vs. Rondo: 22

Tough loss but they are the World Champions

@ Cleveland – JC: 15 vs. Mo Williams: 16

A very close score but the victory went to Williams because he was able to covert from the line while JC was only 1-3 from the stripe. Williams did play 8 less minutes than JC but who is counting.

@ New York – JC: 21 vs. Duhon: 12

JC gets his revenge on his first trip back to New York. Congratulations!!! Duhon did have 22 assists and lead his team to an 82 point first half but that doesn’t really matter.

Miami – JC: 40 vs. Chalmers and Quinn: 20

JC doubled the score of his two counter parts. I have to admit he dominated last night! I hope he went out to a steak dinner.

The Warriors are 0-5 with Jamal Crawford but he is 2-2 including the current 2 game win streak. I cannot wait to see if he keeps the streak alive.

Go Jamal Crawford … I mean Warriors!

Nothing quite like the Jamal Crawford Effect

Monday, November 24, 2008

Random Thoughts - November 24, 2008

Random Thoughts – November 24, 2008

* If Alabama loses by less than 7 to Florida, why do they not deserve to play Florida again in the National Championship games – (because the BCS is stupid is not an answer)

* The over under on number of jump shots taken by the Warriors in a given game in March is 250.

* I have come to the conclusion that I am the only person in the Bay Area that realizes that Matt Holiday was picked up by the A’s because A) they need to give their fans something to root for next season and B) Billy Beane gets two first round draft picks when he signs elsewhere next winter.

* I need three reasons why I should watch any Niners game for the rest of the season –

* Because they will wear the throw backs one more time this season is not a reason.
* There is no way JaMarcus Russell went 10 for 11

* At this point, you have to trade Cain while he still has value. If the Giants wait too long, they are going to get screwed just like the Warriors with J-Rich

* The Bay Area is a LOT better than New York in November

* Talk to you soon

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Anthony Morrow: Surprising?

Anthony Morrow: Surprising?

Like everybody else in the Warriors world, I have been swept up in the hype that is surrounding Anthony Morrow. We have seen two truly historical performances in a row and there are two questions that we all want answered –

1) How much staying power does he have?
2) How surprising are these two games?

I will do my best to answer both without making too many outlandish predictions.
Question 1


As over 3 million bloggers and professional journalist have pointed out, the NBA is not nearly as fundamentally sound as it use to be. One of the results of this trend is that there are very few players that can consistently knock down an open shot let alone one that is contested. To keep it simple, Morrow can shoot and from almost anywhere on the floor. Will he continue to shoot as well as has over the past two games – of course not. However, his quick release and soft shot suggest that he belongs on the floor for at least 25 minutes a night for the foreseeable future.

Now for the bad news

One of the other results of the “Lack of Fundamentals” era in the NBA is that there has never been this many gifted athletes in the league. Today’s NBA player is quicker and faster than ever before which makes defending guards on the perimeter as hard as it has ever been. Anthony Morrow is not an elite athlete and we should start to see him get exposed by teams (Nellie would give anything to exploit him) on the defensive end. There is always a reason a player 6’5” who can shoot does not get drafted and for Anthony Morrow it is because he does not possess the out-of-this-world athletic ability that you will find in most established NBA players under 7’ tall.

Question 2

A little a short of very

First of all Anthony Morrow was not exactly a stiff before he joined the Warriors. He earned Mr. Basketball honors in the basketball crazy state of North Carolina in his senior year which should not be under emphasized. Furthermore, he suffered a stress fracture in his lower back (believe me – I know what that feels like) which caused him to miss all the weight room preparation and most of fall practice before his junior season at Georgia Tech. Obviously, this injury adversely affected his abilities his junior year but he came back strong in his senior season which included 14.3 ppg and a ridiculous 44.8 3p%. There was no doubt that he could shoot when he entered the draft last year which should not make his shooting percentages (64.7 3p% and 62.7 fg%) that surprising.

However, what is surprising is his lack of big scoring efforts in college. The most points he ever scored against a team you have heard of after his back injury was against Wake Forest last year where he scored 23 points. I don’t think anyone could have predicted he would score 37 points against the Clippers and then 25 points against a very athletic Blazers team. I realize he was shooting the lights out but he was never that hot in college. Additionally, he is playing on a team without a point guard so it is not like he is getting set up to score. His past scoring outputs and lack of a teammate that can distribute the ball does make his last two games pretty surprising.

Unfortunately for Morrow, there are a lot of reasons to believe he will have a rough shooting night in at least one of the next few games. I think the entire Warriors world will be very interested in how he (and almost more importantly Nellie) reacts to some adversity.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Random Thoughts - Nov. 17, 2008

Random Thoughts – Nov. 17, 2008

* Anthony Morrow: WTF?

* The Stanford touchdown at the end of the USC game was the second greatest gambling moment of the 21st century. USC was all set to cover until … 1) Stanford attempted to kick a FG (which would not have affected the spread) 2) But Pete Carroll got pissed and screwed over at least 25,000 USC gamblers by “icing” the kicker 3) Jim Harbaugh (who is just as big an egomaniac as Pete Carroll) decided to go for the end zone instead. 4) Stanford scored a touchdown as time expired and USC doesn’t cover.

* The greatest gambling moment: Chris Duhon hitting a half court three as time expired against UCONN in the final four in 2004

* I also love how Jim Harbaugh said the quarterback “convinced” him to go for it. Does anybody believe that? Yes, the Chronicle

* How did the Lakers lose to the Pistons at home? People in LA had a tough weekend of sports gambling

* Damon Bruce talked about as much $hit as you can talk about Mike Singletary on his Friday show. He even went as far as to say he needs to blow out the Rams to prove he can coach. If this guy was doing a show in NY, he would have been fired this morning. However, nobody is going to say anything to him today. The West Coast where accountability doesn’t happen

* Does anybody actually watch the Raiders?

* I don’t care how many people disagree with me – Baron Davis would have cared if he was on the Warriors right now.

Talk to you soon