Monday, October 26, 2009

CBS Sports BlogPoll Ballot Week 8: I’m Joining The Resistance!

Raise Your Hand If You Want To Be In The Resistance

I’m keeping Alabama at #1 this week and dropping Florida to #3 just because I don’t agree with what the SEC is doing. Both teams struggled against lesser opponents on Saturday, Bama at home against Tennessee and Florida on the road at Mississippi State. The difference was that the Tide won with the assistance of Terrence Cody blocking two field goals. Florida won with the assistance of an officiating crew who once again gave the Gators a favorable call which was also once again the wrong call. Its clearly obvious by now to everyone who isn’t a Tebow worshiper that the SEC is protecting their “cash cow” and is working to script the season, much like a WWE event, so that we see a Bama vs. Florida SEC Championship game. I’m not buying the hype nor am I adding to it. Florida is a good team and could be the best in the country but I don’t want ESPN and CBS telling me that. I want to see them go out and earn that type of respect on the field without the assistance of a biased officiating crew. Until that happens you can count me in the group of people standing against the ridiculous nonsense we’ve seen the last two weeks from the SEC. We are the resistance and we call ourselves the Anti-Tebows. Lookout Georgia, you’re next in line to get hosed by SEC officials!

I've got 12 teams on the move this week on my ballot. Arizona and Notre Dame are new this week as I said goodbye to Texas Tech and South Florida.

1 Alabama
2 Texas 1
3 Florida 1
4 Cincinnati
5 Boise State
6 Iowa
7 Southern Cal
9 Georgia Tech
10 Penn State
11 Oregon 4
12 Virginia Tech
13 Oklahoma State
14 Mississippi
15 Ohio State 1
16 TCU 2
17 Utah 2
18 Pittsburgh 2
19 Miami (Florida) 8
20 Houston 1
21 South Carolina 2
22 West Virginia 2
23 Arizona
24 Notre Dame
25 Brigham Young 8
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Texas Tech (#22), South Florida (#25).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

SEC Officiating Crew Suspended For Sucking!

If you don’t believe that the SEC tries to protect its top teams from being upset then you didn’t watch the LSU/Georgia or Arkansas/Florida games. In both of those games the underdogs were bidding for an upset late in the contest and the officials called a questionable personal foul swinging the momentum in favor of LSU and Florida. In both games the SEC came out and said afterwards that the penalties were unwarranted. In both games it was the same officiating crew.

After Saturday’s farce of a call that set the Gators up at the Arkansas 10 while trailing 20-13, Referee Marc Curles’ crew has been suspended. It was the first time that the SEC has taken such action against an officiating crew but it certainly was needed.

“A series of calls that have occurred during the last several weeks have not been to the standard that we expect from our officiating crews,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Wednesday. “I believe our officiating program is the best in the country. However, there are times when these actions must be taken.”

While I agree with the commissioner’s decision to suspend this crew, I also believe that it should have been for more than just one game. I also can’t understand how Commissioner Slive can think that he’s got the best officiating program in the country when he’s putting a crew on the field that favors the higher ranked teams and clearly doesn’t know the difference between shedding a block and a personal foul.

Do you have a disaster recovery plan?

Monday, October 19, 2009

BlogPoll Ballot Week 7 Says Goodbye To Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska

Last week the BlogPoll guru said that there wasn’t enough movement on my ballot and this week he’ll probably say that there was too much. My top three teams are the same but just in a different order. Alabama has been the most impressive team that I’ve seen to date and I’m ready to put them at Number 1 now. Texas had a chance to make some noise by thrashing an injury depleted Oklahoma squad but instead squeaked by with a 3 point win. Anyone who thinks the Longhorns can play Bama or Florida to within two touchdowns right now is either crazy or named Mack Brown.

Pittsburgh (20), Texas Tech (22) and West Virginia (24) are all new this week to the ballot while a trio of Big 12 schools (Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska) say goodbye. Those are my thoughts, now let me hear yours!

1 Alabama 2
2 Florida 1
3 Texas 1
4 Cincinnati 3
5 Boise State
6 Iowa 4
7 Southern Cal 2
9 Georgia Tech 4
10 Penn State 1
11 Miami (Florida) 1
12 Virginia Tech 8
13 Oklahoma State 1
14 Mississippi 3
15 Oregon
16 Ohio State 10
17 Brigham Young 1
18 TCU 2
19 Utah 3
20 Pittsburgh
21 Houston 3
22 Texas Tech
23 South Carolina 2
24 West Virginia
25 South Florida 2
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Kansas (#16), Oklahoma (#19), Nebraska (#25).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dolphins Make AFC East A Tight Race

Miami needed a win in a bad way over the New York Jets and they got it! Coming into the game the Jets had a one game lead on the New England Patriots and two games on the Dolphins. Leaving Miami the Jets were tied with the Pats and just a game ahead of the Dolphins putting the defending AFC East Champions in striking distance.

Miami torched a Jets defense that was highly touted going into the game for 413 yards and 31 points. The Dolphins controlled the ball for 33 ½ minutes and converted nine of their fourteen third down attempts. “I used to see all those gimmicks when I was coaching back in college,” Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan said about Miami’s Wildcat offense. Well, he may have seen it but he sure couldn’t stop it!

Speaking of gimmicks, Ryan had to use two fake punts to keep two different scoring drives alive and had it not been for those and a very questionable pass interference call that put the Jets inside the 1 yard-line this game would have been very ugly.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

BlogPoll Ballot Week Six

It was actually a normal weekend in college football in which most of the favorites actually won. Ten teams are on the move this week in my ballot with Auburn leaving and Nebraska coming on.

1. Florida (1) – Won a slugfest with LSU 13-3

2. Texas (2) – Beat Colorado 38-14 but 46 total rushing yards and 1.8 yards per carry cant be settling well.

3. Alabama (3) – Won 22-3 at Mississippi.

4. Virginia Tech (4) – Won 48-14 against Boston College.

5. Boise State (5) – IDLE

6. Ohio State (8) – Won 31-13 over Wisconsin

7. Cincinnati (7) – IDLE

8. LSU (6) – Lost 13-3 against Florida.

9. USC (9)– IDLE

10. Iowa (10) – Won 30-28 over Michigan

11. Penn State (12) – Won 53-3 over Eastern Illinois

12. Miami (13) – Won 48-16 over Florida A&M

13. Georgia Tech (15) – Won 49-44 at Florida State

14. Oklahoma State (14) – Won 36-31 at Texas A&M

15. Oregon (17) – Won 24-10 at UCLA

16. Kansas (16) – Won 41-36 over Iowa State

17. Mississippi (11) – Lost 22-3 to Alabama

18. BYU (18)– Won 59-21 at UNLV

19. Oklahoma (19) – Won 33-7 over Baylor

20. TCU (20) – Won 20-17 at Air Force

21. South Carolina (22) – Won 28-26 over Kentucky

22. Utah (24) – Won 24-17 at Colorado State

23. South Florida (23) – IDLE

24. Houston (25) – Won 31-24 at Mississippi State

25. Nebraska (NR) – Won 27-12 at Missouri

Next Five Out…
26. Notre Dame

27. Pittsburgh

28. Arkansas

29. Auburn

30. Wisconsin

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Three Questions About The Angels/Red Sox ALDS With Halos Heaven

As the MLB postseason marches on we have another guest with us today to share some thoughts about the playoffs. This time we’re discussing Angels/Red Sox with Rev. Halo Fan from the ever popular LA Angels fansite Halos Heaven. You can checkout all the Angels/Red Sox information and opinions (from an LA perspective of course) at Halos Heaven.

The Angels appear to have the best offense in a while, if not ever, with a major league best .285 batting average and club records for runs (883), RBIs (841) and hits (1,604). Is this the year that LA gets past Boston in the playoffs or do the Red Sox still have their number?

I think Game 1 is a must-win for the Angels. The Red Sox are, sadly, in their heads and there would be a demoralizing effect if Boston were to blow them out or have a dramatic come from behind victory Thursday. That said, the teams match up well and this could be our year!

Defensively the Angels have held David Ortiz and Mike Lowell to just a .167 batting average and 21 strikeouts. How much confidence does this give you in the Angels’ defense going into this series?

Torii Hunter is a gold-glover, Erick Aybar is a fantastic defender, Chone Figgins has now played 3B exclusively for most of 3 seasons and is superb with the glove. If anything, the Red Sox vets have been put into check by Angels pitching, it seems to be their newer members that give us fits - last year it was Bay and Drew with the big hits for example.

Is it true that Santana is moving into the bullpen for this series? How do you see that working out for the Angels?

Great move, Ervin throws hard and can stop the bleeding if there is a starter gets dumped on. He'll eat some innings and buy time for the offense to come back. HE would also do well as a set-up man in a pinch. Heck, I would take him as a closer compared to our weak Brian Fuentes in the 9th.

Prediction Time – Tell us who will win and in how many games.

Angels in 4. This is our year!

You can follow the Angels through the post season at Halos Heaven.

MLB Playoff Notes And Quotes: First Games Maintain Status Quo

The Major League Baseball Playoffs provided us no sense of shock and awe on Wednesday when all three home teams won fairly comfortably. They Dodgers had the slimmest margin of victory for the home teams. After taking a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first they never trailed the Cardinals again and went on to a 5-3 victory. The Yankees fell down by 2 runs to the Twins in the top of the 3rd but outscored Minnesota 7-0 from there. In the early game the Colorado Rockies couldn’t find any offense in their 5-1 loss to Philadelphia.

“I had him 0-2 and I stepped off and wanted to give myself a chance to absorb it all. Then I threw three straight balls and allowed a double in the gap. Maybe it cost me a run. Whatever, we had a five-run lead.” Philadelphia pitcher Cliff Lee on Troy Tulowitzki’s RBI double with two outs in the bottom of the 9th.

“He was aggressive, he had good tempo and rhythm and he handled the whole flow of the game real good.” Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel on Cliff Lee’s 113 pitch performance.

“Up until the fifth, it was one of the better games he had pitched over the course of the month” - Rockies manager Jim Tracy on pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.

“It felt just like the old place. We couldn’t have drawn it up any better for us.”Derek Jeter on the first playoff game in the new Yankee Stadium.

“This is what you come here for. It was electric tonight.”CC Sabathia on the atmosphere in New York.

“You get a two-run lead quick, and as soon as you go back out, it’s a 2-2 ballgame with a homer. That’s a little deflating.”Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire on Derek Jeter’s 3rd inning homerun.

“A lot of people believe they have one of the best bullpens in baseball. They kind of shut us down. They shut the door.” St. Louis’ Ryan Ludwick on the Dodgers relief pitchers.

“It was a little sinker down the middle,” Kemp said. “We haven’t done too well against him, but we came tonight with the confidence. We were trying to make him battle and got him out pretty early and got to the bullpen.”Dodgers’ Matt Kemp on his 1st inning two-run homerun off Chris Carpenter.

“We had too many chances, too many chances. Their bullpen came in, and inning after inning, we didn’t get the big hit we needed.”Mark DeRosa on St. Louis leaving runners in scoring position.

“I wasn’t making very many good pitches and they put some bats on the mistakes I made. I was either right down the middle or out of the strike zone and that’s not a good way to pitch.”St. Louis pitcher Chris Carpenter on his pitching performance.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Three Questions About The NLDS With Purple Row

We are literally just minutes away from the beginning of the MLB Playoffs with Colorado and Philadelphia leading the way. In a match-up between one of baseball’s best pitching teams (Colorado) and hitting teams (Philadelphia) we’ve invited the Colorado Rockies blog Purple Row to share some insights with us.

In 2007 the Rockies swept this series on their way to the World Series. Is there anything that either team can bring from that series into this one (confidence, tendencies, revenge) or is that ancient history by now?

PR: I'm gonna go ahead and say no to this notion. There's a big difference between the 2007 Rockies and the 2009 Rockies. The 2007 Rockies were a relatively young team, roughly no playoff experience (I mean, like Matt Herges had some with SF, but nobody really substantial). The were probably a legitimately 83-85 win team, but they caught fire at just the right time and had that unprecedented run into October, capped with the miraculous play-in game vs SD.

The 2009 Rockies featured some young players as well, but the pitching staff had far more major league experience, basically the Rockies have really started playing to ability and were able to sustain success from June through the end of the season (with a couple of hot streaks to help recover from their early struggles). Essentially, the team has arrived and is nicely poised to sustain this successful season.

In terms of bringing something into this series from 2007, Colorado swept Philly, so we have no ill will there. Philly won the WS last year, so they've more or less forgotten 2007, or at least it's greatly diminished in their minds. The differences will be that the guys who were young and fresh, such as Hamels, Jimenez, and Tulowitzki, are more seasoned and have those 2 extra years of veteraniness about them.

Colorado has a deep rotation with five pitchers registering 10 wins or more. Conversely the Phillies have a pretty stout lineup as well with a combined 224 homeruns and four players with 30 or more homers. How confident are you in either Colorado’s pitching or Philadelphia’s hitting?

PR: I'd be more concerned from Philadelphia’s end! Out of the 8 teams in the postseason, only St. Louis and LA's pitching staffs rank ahead of the Rockies in terms of HR prevention (and even then, Busch Stadium played as a very home run suppressing park as compared to, say Coors or The Cit - which makes Pujols that much more impressive).

However, on the flip side of the coin, the Rockies are 2nd to Philly in home runs hit, but Philly's pitching is 2nd to last in the NL in terms of HR prevention (3rd in the majors). Don't play your "but the Cit" card, Coors Field still is a more homer-friendly park!

So to answer the question, I take our pitching over their hitting.

Colorado pitcher Jorge De La Rosa (4.38 ERA) won’t be a factor in this series due to injury. What does that mean for either team?

PR: Well my initial response was going to be "Strong LHP gone" but Philly has hit lefties and righties relatively the same this season - actually lefties a little harder. What this does to Colorado is it takes a pitcher who's been absolutely awesome this season past the first 2 months of the season (can we just strike April and May from the record? That'd clinch Home Field for Colorado, I'm pretty sure...). He's set franchise high marks for strikeouts per 9 innings, and if you saw the 4 innings he was able to muster in his final start vs LA before he got hurt, he has just disgusting stuff (.597 OPS allowed in Sept/Oct).

Prediction time. Tell us who’ll win and in how many games.

PR: I'm so awful at this part. I've been saying Rockies in 4 (steal one from Hamels in Philly, sweep Coors), but with the loss of DLR, we'll be seeing some combination of Contreras and Marquis in game 4, and that just doesn't make me comfortable at all. I'll stick with Rockies in 4, but a Game 5 isn't out of the scope of reality to me.

You can follow the Rockies through the Post Season at Purple Row. Our guest blogger today posts there under the name, RockiesMagicNumber.

Strapped For Cash, 1 Hour Loans Can Help

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Receivers On The Move: Braylon Edwards To The Jets/Crabtree Ends Holdout

It’s been a busy morning for NFL receivers as Cleveland receiver Braylon Edwards is being moved from Cleveland to the New York Jets and Michael Crabtree ended his rookie holdout.

Edwards had already been in the news this week for an incident in which he allegedly punched Edward Givens, a friend of LeBron James, early Monday morning. The altercation helped overshadow the fact that Edwards didn’t catch a pass for the first time in his NFL career on Sunday in a 23-20 overtime loss to Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, moving over to the West Coast, rookie holdout Michael Crabtree finally ran out of options and signed a six-year deal with the 49ers. Props to San Francisco for filing tampering charges against the New York Jets basically ending any talk that Crabtree could re-enter the NFL draft next year to become a higher pick and sign for more money. At 3-1 San Francisco is in first place in the NFC West and may not be in a hurry to get Crabtree on the field.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

BlogPoll Ballot Week Five

Another weekend of college football leaves us with more shakeups in the Top 25. This week a total of 16 teams moved from last week, 3 teams moved out (Georgia, Cal, Michigan) and 3 teams moved in. I didn’t punish the Top 10 teams that played closer to their opponents than we thought they should because if you punish one you should punish them all and that would have moved four more teams in on a ballot that is already very much in flux.

Go ahead and tell me where you agree or disagree with my rankings this week.

1. Florida (1) – IDLE

2. Texas (2) – IDLE

3. Alabama (3) – Won 38-20 over Kentucky.

4. Virginia Tech (4) – Avoided upset by North Carolina with 34-26 win.

5. Boise State (5) – Won 34-16 over UC Davis.

6. LSU (6) – Late game heroics win the day again for the Tigers.

7. Cincinnati (7) – Won 37-13 over Miami (OH).

8. Ohio State (14) – Won 33-14 over Indiana.

9. USC (12)– Destroyed Cal 30-3

10. Iowa (10) – Struggled but won, 24-21, over Arkansas State.

11. Mississippi (16) – Won 23-7 at Vanderbilt.

12. Penn State (13) – Won 35-17 at Illinois

13. Miami (21) – Won 21-20 over Oklahoma

14. Oklahoma State (14) - Idle.

15. Georgia Tech (18) – Won 42-31 over Mississippi State

16. Kansas (17) – IDLE.

17. Oregon (19) – Won 52-6 over Washington State.

18. BYU (22)– Won 35-17 over Utah State.

19. Oklahoma (11) – Lost 21-20 at Miami.

20. TCU (23) – Won 39-14 over SMU.

21. Auburn (NR) – Won 26-22 at Tennessee

22. South Carolina (NR) – Won 38-14 over S.C. State

23. South Florida (NR) – Won 34-20 over Syracuse

24. Utah (25) – IDLE

25. Houston (9) – BCS Busted by UTEP!

Next Five Out…
26. Missouri

27. Nebraska

28. Georgia

29. Wisconsin

30. Michigan

Raiders May Have Reached A New Low

Maybe its age, possibly stubbornness or perhaps ignorance but Al Davis just doesn’t get the fact that the entire football world is laughing at the Oakland Raiders and has been for quite some time now. The organization has set the standard for what a losing franchise looks like, first round draft picks have been wasted on fourth round talent and the team has been a revolving door of coaches. Former players have are in line to bash the organization on everything from draft picks to team management.

However there may be a new low surfacing for an organization that has made a habit of reaching new lows. Head coach Tom Cable could be arrested at any moment for an incident in August where he assaulted one of his assistant coaches. Some sort of disagreement between Cable and assistant Randy Hanson left Hanson with a broken jaw and three other assistants as witnesses. Now there are criminal charges possibly pending and no one knows who would take over should Cable wind up in the pokey or suspended by the NFL.

“Everybody is trying to figure out who’s going to take over if Tom isn’t here,” said an assistant coach, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “John Marshall has a lot of experience, he’s probably the guy. But it’s nuts. It’s crazy when you start to really think about it.”

I say just put the old man out there and let him give coaching in today’s NFL a whack. He really couldn’t be any worse than anyone he’s thrown out there since Jon Gruden.