Here are my picks for the Workingthecorners.com over/under competition of the sporting year. Let me know what you think.
# of tackles for Patrick Willis: 220
Over: You have to like the over on this one. He was only a rookie this year so imagine what this guy is going to do once he understands the game a little more. The defensive line is not exactly impressive, so running backs are going to run right through it which gives Willis every opportunity to set some serious tackling records.
While the Niners’ appalling time of possession was by far the worst in the NFL, giving the individual players plenty of time to lead the NFL in defensive statistics, Willis was the only one who took advantage. While all Niners fans can hope for a better offensive output equating to less time the defense is on the field next year, Willis will only get better, doing more in less time. The only way you can appreciate this man is to watch him on the field, and notice he is never more than 5 feet away from 90% of the plays.
# of touchdowns by
Push: It is really hard picturing this guy in the end zone with a football he caught or carried into the end zone while following all of the league rules. However, pure luck should get him there once because, after all, he is a physical specimen, looks like Predator, and was drafted as a can’t-miss prospect. Of course he is going to score one touchdown – right? Right?
***I am not a football genius but I do know that if you win the SEC defensive player of the year award while playing with one hand, you are probably good at football. If I have never heard of you (which is hard to do, given the 12 hours of college football I watch every Saturday in the fall) and all of a sudden on draft day everyone thinks you are the greatest thing in the world, I have to question your potential.
# of visits to Dr. James Andrews by Alex Smith: 3
Under: Dr. J.A. has to be expensive and Smith’s COBRA health care probably won’t cover three visits after he is let go by the Niners. Of course, you know the Niners won’t have the balls to cut him because they have seen how well number one picks perform when a team holds on to them and prays they didn’t waste a number one overall draft pick and the salary that comes with it – David Carr, Michael Vick and Eli Manning (oops) come to mind.
# of home runs by the entire outfield combined: 35
And you thought the Giants were not going to have a power drought in ’08. I will believe that when the Giants are perennial bottom feeders and the
# of games started by Tim Lincecum in September: 2
Under: It is hard to pitch when you are frozen in carbonite because there is no point in your wasting time, energy and self-confidence on this season. However, this will never happen for the following three reasons:
1) The Giants PR team has the (what would be impossible in NY but somehow seems very easy in SF) task of convincing the fans that the Giants have a chance this year. As a result, they have to promise Lincecum pitches.
2) The only other option for the third starter is a batting tee or Trevor Wilson.
3) The Bounty Hunter was killed in “The Return of the Jedi” so the Giants/the world don’t know how to freeze people in carbonite without killing them.
# of playoff wins in 2008: 3
Under: For the record, I would have said under even before last night’s embarrassment at the Rose Garden. I still think the Warriors will make the playoffs because they have the easiest February schedule in the history of the NBA. However, the West is even better than it was last year and I cannot see the Warriors catching lighting in a bottle twice. They do not match up well with anyone except for Dallas and Houston so I will take my chances with 2 playoff wins this year.
# of years on Baron’s contract extension: 4
Push: I don’t know anything about the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, so don’t take this too seriously. 4 years would be the perfect amount of time for the Warriors. Baron seems to have plenty of magic (both the game displayed by the former Laker Johnson and the stuff used by wizards) left in him but he is not going to go the way of Steve Nash. His body will break down somewhere in the 4th year and the Warriors will let him travel down south to play one legged ball for the Clippers.
(You have to love that the chances of Baron playing for the Clippers at some point in his career is 100%. Too bad for the Clippers).
# of runs scored in the Friday night Giants-A’s game at
Over: Based on my sophisticated and uber-complicated model, here are the projected starters for this game:
Atlee Hammaker for the Giants: (Part of Sabean’s new youth movement)
Bob Welch for the A’s: (Beane signed him to what he calls “the Esteban Loaiza contract*”)
* to be explained later
The starters will keep both teams in check until they break down in the third inning. The bullpens are unable to keep the respective anemic offenses down. A combined 20 walks leads to an offensive explosion by both teams. However,
# of “Billy Beane has done it again” comments by an ESPN analyst: 4,000,000
Under: We will have to wait until next year as none of the current prospect acquisitions will be good enough this year to warrant 4,000,000 positive comments. However, when he trades 3 of the prospects for 10 more prospects next year and further proves that he has no interest in winning a world series – he will be hailed as a hero in
# of times I tell an A’s fan this year about how bad the Chavez contract is; 4,000,000
OVER!!!!: Lock of the year. You want to know how bad this contract is!? Billy Beane cannot find any takers for it. Nobody will take this guy and his ridiculous salary. Anyone who argues that they are keeping him because he is the cornerstone of the franchise is CRAZY. All it would take is one 4 star prospect and Chavez is shipped out of town. However, nobody is in the business of getting a glorified Pedro Feliz clone for $2.50 on the $1. I hate the Bay Area media because they NEVER talk about this issue. Shame on them! (I need to calm down)
* There are two schools of thought on Billy Beane’s strategy when it comes to signing/acquiring terrible free agents/his own players to terrible contracts: Eric Chavez, Esteban Loaiza, Terrence Long, Jermaine Dye, Jason Kendall, etc.
(1) He cannot evaluate major league talent with any kind of accuracy
- While I would love to believe this theory, Beane is too smart to be this bad. Not to mention he has made some impressive signings like Frank Thomas and Mark Kotsay that have played very well.
(2) He signs/acquires these players with the intention of trading them away to his competitors so he looks like a genius to the national media. (Nothing like feeding your ego at the expense of A’s fans) **
- BINGO! We have a winner. Beane knows exactly what he is doing. Chavez is the first real significant contract that he cannot get value for on the open market. However, he did a masterful job of convincing Ned Colletti that Loaiza’s contract was worth taking and he has succeeded again in everyone thinking he is a mastermind. Congratulations lemmings (A’s fans), your fearless loser has done it again! His genius knows no bounds.
** Chris Mullin has done the exact same thing (See Jackson-Harrington trade) and he is going to take the Knick’s money and run out of town before he has to do some real GM-ing.
JaMarcus Russell is Jeff George II. There, I said it. You heard it here first.
Until next time