Friday, December 30, 2011

Baylor Just Scored Again

Good morning everyone.  Unfortunately I had to go and work last night, and I left my place when Washington and Baylor were tied 21-21 in the Alamo Bowl.  Later on, I learned that the Huskies were ahead of the Bears 42-24.  My next update had the Bears trailing 49-46.  Then Baylor was ahead 53-49.  When I asked for a final score, I was told  Baylor 67  Washington 56...  :)  Do you think today that there are some BCS Bowls that are regretting passing on the Bears for their own bowl game???  Speaking of bowl games, as much as my NFL picks have recently been missing as often as an Alamo Bowl tackler, I went on a nice little run during the past week.  After going 20-4 on my bowl picks for the last 8 bowl games (no, that is not a misprint), I am now 27-15 overall.  I am 10-4 straight up (losing only the Air Force game this week), I am 10-4 against the spread (8-0 this past week), and I am 7-7 on my over/under selections (5-3 this past week).  For those of you who are new to the blog, these bowl selections can be found in my 'Comprehensive Bowl Predictions (2011-12)' entry.  I think that I have stated here before that I usually do well during the bowl season, and it's a good thing, because if you've been following my NFL picks recently...

As I am typing away right now, I am predictably watching ESPN, and although you may not agree with them, there is a certain amusement factor to watching Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless barking at each other...  Okay, enough stalling...  Last week I once again went 3-7 on my NFL selections, and for the season I am now sitting at 25-34-1.  If you have been following the blog for a while, you know that I had a winning NFL record before I jumped from selecting 3 to 10 picks a week when college football's regular season ended.  Using last week's poor performance here as a teaching tool, that is one of the things that I can take from it.  In a sports-betting book that I have been reading in anticipation of my eventual return to Las Vegas, the book instructs to go with the picks that you feel most strongly about.  During the season I have been typing my NFL picks for this blog in order of strength.  I skim through the games, find my strongest pick, type it, then go on.  Well, if I would have stopped at 3 last week, I would have gone 3-0 (next thing you know, I will be writing an article here on why the college football season should be extended...).  ;)  The other thing that I can caution you on about betting is that you can come really close and still lose.  In the Miami/New England game, I took the Patriots to win (- 9 1/2), and I picked the under (under 49).  After trailing the whole day, the Pats came back and took a 27-17 lead with about 2 minutes to go.  The Dolphins get stopped on that drive, I win both picks.  Low and behold, Miami scores a touchdown, the final is 27-24, and I lose both picks...  The most important lesson to convey is that you should only bet what you can afford to lose.  My recent NFL run has made me feel pretty thankful that I am just betting air here in San Marcos, America, and not losing my bankroll in the desert.  I am going to once again make 10 NFL picks this week, but I am going to use this week as a tune-up for my NFL playoff game predictions that I will be making for the next month.  I am going to give you my score predictions on five of this weekend's most meaningful games, and by virtue of doing that, I will be picking each game against the spread and in regard to the over/under (picking the toughest college games throughout the year worked out well for me, and what do I have to lose at this point?...).  ;)



Baltimore @ Cincinnati:     Ravens (- 2 1/2)     Over/Under  38

The Ravens lock up the AFC North and a high playoff seed if they win, and the Bengals lock up a playoff spot if they win.  Let it be noted here that I am a Steelers fan, but I am not picking the Steelers/Browns game because if we don't win the game, then we deserve to be a wild-card team.  However, if we do win, and the Ravens lose...  :)  The Ravens won the first meeting in Baltimore 31-24.  I am trying to keep my heart out of this, but I honestly believe that the Bengals and their home-field will show up for this game.  The number 38 is so low, that just like in the first game, I think that points will come from somewhere...  Will the Bengals pull off the upset?

My Prediction:     Bengals  24   Ravens  17     -----   Cincinnati (+ 2 1/2)     Over  38

                                                                     

Kansas City @ Denver:     Broncos (-3)     Over/Under  37

The Broncos lock up the AFC West with a win, and the Chiefs probably win a coaching job for Romeo Crennel if they win.  The Broncos won the first meeting 17-10 in Kansas City.  This is the game where Tim Tebow completed 2 passes (he went 2 for 8).  Kyle Orton gets some revenge if he can win in Denver.  This number is also temptingly low, but there is less offensive firepower on the field in this game.  Can 'Tebow Mania' extend into the playoffs???

My Prediction:     Broncos  20  Chiefs  13     -----   Denver (- 3)     Under  37



San Diego @ Oakland:     Raiders (-3)     Over/Under  47

Let's assume that the Raiders don't trust my Broncos' prediction and believe that they can win the AFC West with a win and a Denver loss.  The Raiders won the first meeting 24-17 in San Diego.  This is the third straight game where there ought to be an absolutely crazy home crowd in the stadium.  Oakland and San Diego have been involved in a lot of high-scoring games this season, and this is the game in this first group of three that I can see turning into a track meet.  Will the Raiders do their part?

My Prediction:     Chargers  31  Raiders  20     -----   San Diego (+ 3)     Over  47



Carolina @ New Orleans:     Saints (- 7 1/2)     Over/Under  54

The Saints are playing for a first-round bye in the NFC if the Rams can beat the 49ers.  For our purposes, let's pretend that the Rams can beat the 49ers...  The Saints won the first meeting 30-27 in Carolina.  54 is a high number, but these teams just play so much offense.  How many yards will Drew Brees tack onto the record?

My Prediction:     Saints  38  Panthers  28     -----   New Orleans (- 7 1/2)     Over  54



Dallas @ New York Giants:     Giants (- 3)     Over/Under  46

The winner of this game takes the NFC East - the loser is watching football on t.v. next week.  The Giants won the first meeting 37-34 in Dallas.  The Cowboys have let so many games slip away this year.  The Giants are capable of playing great and then losing to the Redskins twice.  The Cowboys are probably already a victim of this game's magnitude, as the move to primetime will likely provide colder and nastier weather for this matchup.  Tony Romo's hand is bruised and Dallas doesn't have DeMarco Murray.  The Giants now have both Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs and are playing at home.  Barring a blizzard, points will be scored.  Can the Cowboys take a bite out of the Big Apple?

My Prediction:     Giants  27  Cowboys  21     -----  New York (- 3)     Over  46

If my friends who are Cowboys fans don't execute me on the Square in San Marcos, America, I will be back on Monday with my ramble.  On the other hand, with my recent lack of success picking NFL games, Dallas fans must be feeling pretty good right now.  I hope that you have a great weekend, one that promises to bring you some very meaningful football games.  Happy New Year!








    

  









  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Goodbye 2011

Good morning.  Since I'll be doing my regularly scheduled weekly NFL predictions tomorrow, we'll take this opportunity to say goodbye to 2011.  2011 was a mixed-bag for me personally.  Those of you who know me or have been following this blog consistently know that the overwhelming low point of my year came during the summer when I was unsuccessful in finding a teaching and coaching job after spending the majority of my summer driving all over the state to fruitless interviews.  On the bright side, that has resulted in bringing me back to San Marcos, America, which is a place that I have always enjoyed.  If I have to be in a place where I don't have instant access to sportsbooks and poker tables and the ocean, I'll take San Marcos...  :)  2011 also has the distinction of being the year that I decided to start my little sports-related blog.  I will continue to refer to 'Bikini Hill' as being "sports-related" because I am going to continue writing my Monday ramble, which is and can and will be about anything and everything.  Additionally, just as there already have been, some of the Tuesday and Thursday topics that I write about won't necessarily be sports-related.  As much as I follow sports and have enjoyed starting this sports-related blog, I have friends that I don't get to see very often who couldn't care less about sports, friends who inexplicably enjoy my sarcasm and wit and would be perfectly happy if the subject matter here didn't stretch beyond the scope of my weekly rambles.  :)  Being the team-player that I am, I will continue to be there for everyone...  ;)  It definitely appears that there is a niche for my sports-related blog, as the viewership here has started to explode during the course of December.  My blog had been viewed about 900 times since its inception (in late September) through the end of November.  In this month alone, my little sports-related blog has seen over 1,300 clicks.  As I'm sitting at my computer this morning, watching the stand-ins on the 'Mike and Mike' show and cringing, I almost feel obligated to write my blog...  :)  Since I woke up this morning, I have heard this on the show:  1)  One of the guys (who I do not know) said that the NBA's Eastern Conference is better than the Western Conference???  2)  Brian Billick was comparing the late-season schedules of the Giants and the Cowboys heading into Sunday night's showdown, and he mentioned that the Giants had losses to the 49ers, Packers, and the Saints, while the Cowboys were playing teams "like Miami and Washington."  Ummm, Coach Billick, Washington beat the Giants TWICE this year...  You MIGHT want to use a different team in your comparison???  3)  Mark Schlereth said that fans shouldn't be involved in voting for the Pro Bowl because "fans are stupid" - OUTSTANDING Mr. Schlereth...  :)  ANYWAY, I'm glad that there is room in cyberspace for my little sports-related blog, and I hope that you continue to enjoy it.  Now on 'Mike and Mike' the guy just asked Mark Schlereth if he thought that Ben Roethlisberger would play against the Rams this week (the team that the Steelers beat LAST WEEK).  This show is turning into a total trainwreck...  Regarding my blog, remember that you are always free to leave comments here, and if you have suggestions for any subjects that you would like to see covered, or if you have any questions that you would like to have answered, let me know.  Back to 2011, I hope that the year went well for you, and maybe more importantly, I hope that we all have an OUTSTANDING 2012.  You have less than three full days now to make those resolutions for next year...  Remember to visit again tomorrow if you want to know what may or may not happen on this final Sunday of the NFL regular season...  (I'm just gearing up for my playoff predictions, okay???)  ;)  Have a good one!
                                 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Father Time Is Undefeated

"Father Time is undefeated" -Charles Barkley-  I don't know if Sir Charles thought this quote up himself, but I believe that it is very appropriate for describing what promises to be a very chaotic NBA season.  I am going to address this imminent trainwreck in greater detail for tonight's entry, and then I will let it be...  I am currently watching the Jazz/Lakers game as I type this.  With each passing day it seems that NBA analysts and commentators are starting to vocalize with greater frequency what is in store during this condensed regular season schedule, but I still don't think that they grasp the magnitude of how turbulent the scene will be with injuries, fatigued players, missed games,  increased stress levels, etc...  I addressed this issue quite awhile back, but just like some of the predictions that I have made in the past, the more that I think about this, I don't see any way that a frenzied, previously uncharted atmosphere will be avoided.  Players are not going to have adequate time to recover between games during this schedule of 66 games being crammed into 4 months.  It is not even major injuries that I am necessarily referring to as being problematic.  The potential for bumps and bruises and ankle sprains and various other 'nuisance' injuries becoming more serious are a very real threat.  A factor that I don't think I have given enough time to before is the fact that a lot of these players may not have played much serious basketball since their teams' seasons ended in April, May, or June of last season.  It is already the end of December, a full half-year in some cases for many of these players.  It is my experience that no matter what type of offseason program you put yourself through, it is rarely as tough as the actual grind of the season of the sport in which you participate.  Many players will literally be trying to 'play their way into shape' during the regular season since the preseason only consisted of two games.  Another point that I did not address before was the fact that coaching staffs (who normally work most of the time anyway) will have less than a day in many cases to scout their next opponent and relay that information to their own team.  The quality of basketball is going to be way down during the regular season due to fatigued starters and to the number of bench players who will be seeing record minutes along the way.  Although this could be a potential source of contention for ticket-buying fans, virtually every team in the league should be in the playoff chase for most of the season because there are not going to be a lot of games for that 8th seeded team to separate itself from the pack of teams trailing it.  The teams within the top 8 of each conference should also be packed pretty tightly.  I found this to be true when I did my regular-season predictions blog entry.  I didn't group the eight playoff seeds in order until after I had assigned every team a record, and predictably the whole group was pretty stacked fairly close to each.  The potential for seeds to flip-flop in the last few weeks of play will be very high.  I have to smile - as I'm typing this, the Lakers are still playing Kobe Bryant, up 24 points on the Jazz with 6 minutes remaining in the game...  Tsk, tsk, tsk...  I have to ashamedly admit that I am more interested in watching games during this regular season just to see how all of this plays out.  Knowing that the players and owners are making MILLIONS of dollars makes me feel less guilty though...  Okay, that's the last time that I am getting up on that soapbox for awhile...

I want to extend a sincere thanks to you for stopping by and reading my blog.  'The View From Bikini Hill' was born exactly 3 months ago today, on September 28th, and today the blog went over the 2,000 mark for  views.  Whether you are here for my Monday rambles, my surprisingly accurate college football predictions, or my TRUCKLOAD of missed NFL picks during the past month, thank you for following the blog.  Hopefully when the NFL reduces that field of teams to 12 this weekend, my selections there will be a lot more accurate.  I hope that you have a great day and I'll see you on again on Thursday.

          

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Wrap Up

Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to what is my last ramble of 2011.  I hope that all of you enjoyed your Christmas as much as I did.  I woke up early yesterday for no reason, which at first you might attribute to the fact that it was Christmas, but I've actually had a habit of being a late riser on Christmas Day.  Particularly when I was a college student (and maybe this is true of all college students), I have vivid memories of my younger brother and my even younger stepsister coming into my room and imploring me to get out of bed so that we could begin opening our presents.  My dad and my stepmom would already be in the living room also, making me the very last one to wake up.  Of course when I was much younger I woke up early like every child, but yesterday I was up before 7:30 for whatever reason...  I decided to fill up my gas tank because I knew that I would be heading down to the Alamo City to see my family, so I drove through the very empty streets of San Marcos, America.  Let me tell you, there wasn't a lot going on in San Marcos, America at 7:30 a.m. on Christmas morning.  I filled up my gas tank, drove home, ate some scrambled eggs and toast, made my texts and phone calls to San Antonio, and then I headed south.  As I took the same path toward Interstate 35 for the second time yesterday morning, I approached the same blinking red light a couple of hundred yards from the highway that I had seen a few hours earlier.  This time I had a couple of cars in front of me though, and as I followed them, they both preceeded to drive through the light - they didn't STOP, but they just drove THROUGH the blinking RED light.  As I pulled to a stop, now mentally quizzing myself about the law, I sat there thinking, 'do they think that the blinking red light is some sort of tribute to CHRISTMAS?!  Blinking lights on the Christmas Tree, blinking traffic signals...'  :)  Anyway, I reached San Antonio and got to see my twin niece and nephew, eleven years-old and enjoying their new gifts as children should be.  As I chatted with my stepsister, more of the sarcasm that you know and love (or simply tolerate) started brewing in my head...  A family member was trying to track down an item that one of the twins had apparently misplaced, and my stepmom eventually became a key player in this search, as she may have seen the missing item.  My stepsister was unable to reach her by phone, and assumed that she was at church.  When relaying this information, my stepsister's theory was questioned, because surely my stepmother's church would be closed.  (ENTER MY MOUTH)  "Her church would be closed, on CHRISTMAS, and when Christmas falls, on a SUNDAY?"  Anyway, it's not like I've never said anything questionable (just check my NFL predictions for the last three weeks if you don't believe me)...  ;)  My stepmother eventually showed up to the house, and it was very nice seeing everyone again.  That's one thing about living in San Marcos, America - San Antonio is the home of my closest immediate family members, and I don't see them as often as I probably should.  Later in the day I was hanging out with my dad watching basketball games, the Packers game, and socializing.  I STILL don't think that most NBA fans or analysts realize how turbulent this condensed season is going to be with injuries, tired players losing their cool, the pressure of every game being more meaningful due to the reduced number of games, seeing bench players play a bigger role than they EVER HAVE during an NBA season, etc, etc...  Soooo, I'm socializing when this Packers fan enjoys our gathering at the start of the Packers game...  :)  She IS a Packers fan, from Wisconsin, and she's talking to the t.v. from the outset of the game (and she's friendly - I'm not getting ready to say anything horrible about her, just because I'm a Steelers fan)...  She waves me over after a few minutes, and straightens out my upturned collar - after I take my seat, I joke that she wouldn't have done that if she knew which team I was a fan of...  When asked, I hinted that my team would LOVE a rematch with her team.  After a few missed guesses, she figures out that it is the Steelers.  She proceeds to barely say a word to me for the next 20 minutes before she leaves - some people take their football just a little too seriously...  ;)  I also smiled this morning when driving by the Bikini Hill that inspired the name of this little blog - there was a man on the predictably empty stretch of grass searching for treasures with a metal detector...  This is the same Bikini Hill that hasn't had its regular masses of inhabitants since like... August???  GOOD LUCK finding something buddy...  A friend of mine relayed a story to me from the local institution of higher learning during final exams:  he was walking by a couple of female students who were engaged in a 'deep' conversation when he overheard, "Do you know how I can tell when it's cold outside?  When I walk outside, and I'm cold..."  Makes me proud to be a Bobcat...  ;)  I hope that all of you enjoy the start of what is the last week of 2011, and I will see you again tomorrow.
                                      

Friday, December 23, 2011

Drowning

Good morning everyone.  Welcome back to what have recently become the dreaded Friday football predictions here on 'Bikini Hill'...  Let me give my first update on how I'm doing on my bowl game selections before we talk about the NFL.  I am involved in a bowl pool with some of my friends (just picking the winners of the games straight up), and I have to admit that after the first three bowls I was drowning in the pool (I cannot express how much I hated seeing 2 of my 3 picks -Utah State & San Diego State- lose their games in the final seconds)...  On the picks that I made here for the blog, I am now 7-11 overall in the bowls.  I am 3-3 straight up after winning the last 3 games, I am 2-4 against the spread, and I am also 2-4 on the over/under selections.  In the next week we will have more bowl games descending upon us than we will know what to do with.  The dates and matchups of all 35 bowl games are still in the blog in my 'Comprehensive Bowl Predictions (2011-12)' entry if you want to check them out.

Now onto the NFL...  Taking the Chiefs plus the 14 points last week was about my only saving grace in recent memory, getting me that victory and making my prediction that the Packers wouldn't go undefeated come through...  I can't imagine how many of you laughed at the Chiefs pick...  My blogging friend in Las Vegas http://pkrdlr.blogspot.com/ and one of my friends and former co-workers in Austin both let me know that the thought that crossed their minds was "CHIEFS???"...  :)  The bad news is that I still only managed to 3-7 for the week on my selections, and I am now sitting at a dismal 22-27-1 on the NFL season with just 2 weeks remaining...  The Saints (-6 1/2) over the Vikings (42-20) and the Seahawks (+ 3 1/2) at the Bears (38-14) are the only other picks that I hit last week.  Needless to say, I am swinging for the fences this week, needing to have at least 8 victories in my 10 picks to get my record back above the .500 mark.  This recent drought makes me so glad that I've decided to pick all of the NFL playoff games with scores for the blog...  Ah, I forgot to mention this up above, but I did predict that TCU would beat Louisiana Tech 35-24, and TCU actually beat them 31-24, so there is that...  :)  Okay, now for this week's picks:

Raiders @ Chiefs  UNDER  42
Bengals (- 4 1/2) vs. Cardinals
Giants @ Jets  UNDER  46
Bears @ Packers  UNDER 44
Broncos @ Bills  UNDER  41 1/2
Dolphins @ Patriots  UNDER 49
Patriots (- 9 1/2) vs. Dolphins
Vikings @ Redskins  UNDER  44
49ers @ Seahawks  OVER  37 1/2
Eagles @ Cowboys  OVER  50 1/2

Just a couple of over/unders there for you...  ;)  I'll be back Monday with my ramble.  I hope that you and yours have a Merry Christmas!
      

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chemistry Takes Time

Good morning.  Believe me when I tell you that this entry is not being typed by a scientist - don't let the title mislead you.  There are times when I compose this blog for you that the ideas come easily to me.  At this point, 'Bikini Hill' is on a sort of autopilot on Mondays and Fridays, because I know that I will always being doing a ramble or making predictions on those days.  There was nothing that I felt compelled to write about leading up to this post, so I was skimming the news and sports stories out there, keeping my eye out for topics to share with you.  One of the popular stories out there with the upcoming NBA season preparing to get underway on Christmas Day deals with the Los Angeles Clippers.  Now that the Clippers have acquired Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups to go along with Blake Griffin, a lot of people seem to have exceedingly high expectations for the team this season.  The Clippers finished last season with a 32-50 record, which was the 3rd worst record in the Western Conference, and left them a full 14 games out of the final playoff spot.  As I did my '2011-12 NBA Regular Season Predictions' entry for this blog, I debated with myself over projecting them to finish with a winning record this season (I predicted that they will finish with a 35-31 record this season, giving them a playoff spot as the 7th seed in the West).  Yesterday I heard a t.v. analyst putting the Clippers in this season's Western Conference Finals.  I am not saying that this can't happen, but let me mention a few examples here of other teams who were supposed to be the next big thing in recent memory.  As recently as September, everyone just LOVED the Philadelphia Eagles, and had them CRUSHING the NFC...  Those same Eagles are now just barely clinging to playoff life, needing multiple things to break their way to finish the NFC East in a three-way tie with the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants at 8-8, which is the only way that they can reach the playoffs.  I will admit that I expected Philadelphia to perform better than they have this season, but a lot of that was based on their success in recent seasons, and was not attributed solely to their new additions.  Not trying to pick on the city of 'Brotherly Love', but the Philadelphia Phillies are another team that added some talented players, and were unable to live up to some very big expectations.  After free-agency, the Phillies had a starting pitching rotation that looked dominant on paper.  I will grant you that in the case of the Phillies, the team did win 102 games in the regular season and was knocked out of the playoffs after losing a 1-0 game to the St. Louis Cardinals, but for all of the hype that was generated surrounding the team, they did not even reach the National League Championship Series.  The Miami Heat have to be the most infamous victims of the hype-machine in recent memory.  In the case of the Heat, they added LeBron James and Chris Bosh to a roster that already included Dwyane Wade.  This prompted former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy, while working as an analyst for ABC and ESPN last season, to predict that the Heat would eclipse the 72-10 single-season wins record that Michael Jordan's Bulls achieved in the 1995-1996 season.  Not only did the Heat not come close to winning 72 games, but they failed to win the championship also.  Building chemistry takes time, but now the Clippers are being touted as the next superteam.  Let these guys introduce themselves to each other first maybe...  Not only do I think that the aforementioned Miami trio is better than this Clippers trio, but I also believe that the Western Conference is stronger than the Eastern Conference.  I think that this year's Clippers squad is more talented than last year's group without a doubt, but I think that it would be wise to remember the overhyped teams of the recent past before engraving their names on anything...  I will be back tomorrow with my weekly NFL predictions (which will be good for a chuckle if I run anything like I have been for the last two weeks)...  Have a great day and I'll see you then.
                        

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Today's Special: Rocks

Good morning everyone.  I have to apologize for not having this post here yesterday.  No matter how fast and skillfully I type right now, it became Wednesday on the West Coast about 20 minutes ago, so I've missed my Tuesday deadline.  My sleep pattern gets disrupted whenever my schedule at work has a day shift thrown into it, so I ended up working a little bit on Monday night, going back in Tuesday morning to run an errand for my friend/boss, and I did this before returning a few hours later for another short early afternoon shift.  Don't mistake this for complaining - I'm just letting you know why my post wasn't here.  I woke up a little over an hour ago after sleeping from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

I had a job waiting tables in a town about 15 minutes from San Marcos, America when I was a college student. My workplace started out a 'Sizzler' restaurant (yes, the same 'Sizzler' chain mentioned in the movie 'White Men Can't Jump' when on the basketball court the over-confident player starts chanting, "We going to the Sizzler, we going to the Sizzler")...  Anyway, my manager at Sizzler, a good friend of the family, once made the comment about our specials board in front of the restaurant.  He said that if we put the word 'Rocks' on that board, then we would have customers coming in and ordering them...  The reason that I am mentioning this is that I am going to be doing a little house-cleaning with this post, and will actually being doing some literal house-cleaning here in the next week, but I knew that if I had tagged this post with that title, there might be a total of 2 people who would read what I'm typing right now.  Sorry that I had to deceive you...  ;)  By the way, I laughed at my manager's statement about the rocks, because I think that he was completely right.  I am on the other end of the spectrum - advertising has almost no effect on me.  I cannot remember the last time that I opened one of the advertising packets that my friend Mr. Mailman has put into my box.  I specifically remember my dad getting upset with me on one New Year's Day when we had friends over to watch the bowl games because I would change the channel from one bowl game to another during EVERY SINGLE COMMERCIAL...  :)  If you have been a regular reader of this blog for the past month, you have probably figured out that I watch commercials just to make fun of them in my Monday rambles as much as I'd watch them for any other reason other than that I forgot to change the channel.

I have quite a bit of house-cleaning to do personally and we approach 2012.  For those of you who don't realize it, we are TEN days away from New Year's Eve.  Today we are also exactly one year away from the date that the Mayans predicted that we'll see the end of the world (allegedly) - like everything else, the meaning of the Mayan inscriptions is being disputed.  Either way, since I am personally prone to making a prediction or two, I will probably be keeping an eye on this one...  2011 was a year that took a definitive downward turn for me about midway through when I decided to get back into teaching and coaching, coming up as dry as the drought that plagued the state of Texas during this past summer (see my post 'Cruel, Cruel Summer' if you want a more detailed accounting of this).  The job that I currently have is not going to make me rich, but I do enjoy the people that I work with and the job has given me the opportunity to recuperate from what was a MISERABLE summer.  I am glad that I decided to start this blog, and at the present time I do not plan on changing anything.  I will continue posting four times a week, and the blog will continue to be a mixture of things that I find amusing, sports-related topics, my predictions about sporting events, and whatever I feel like typing about at any given time...  ;)  I told a friend after I had just started the blog that I wouldn't want to make a bunch of predictions and then go 0-5 on my selections every week.  I also wouldn't want to write a blog that no one was reading.  Well, the blog has now had over 1,700 visitors since its inception on September 28th, and I feel that its quality will only improve as I continue working on it.  I laughed recently as I skimmed through a few online articles that dealt with the topic of attracting more visitors to blogs.  One piece of advice was that the title of the blog should be strongly connected to its content,  and that the content should have a specific focus...  :)  Don't get me wrong, I'm not mocking this as bad advice, but I'm just saying that 'Bikini Hill' is going to shoot for being the exception to the 'rule'...  ;)  Remember, you're reading the blog of a person who thought that the Chiefs could make a game of it with the Packers a few days ago...  As I have said in the past regarding this blog, if you ever have any comments or suggestions, feel free to leave them.  As we enter 2012, my resolution for the coming year will simply be to trust my reads.  From the poker and life experience that I have gained at the poker tables, this is one of my favorite phrases - "trust your reads" (the phrase simply means that after you analyze a situation, you should have faith in the fact that you have made the right analysis of the situation and that you should ACT on your analysis).  A few days ago one of my facebook friends posted that her New Year's Resolution was going to be to lay around on the couch and be lazy since she never follows through with her resolutions...  :)  As you leave here today, keep in mind that there are only FOUR days until Christmas now.  I hope that everything is going well in your holiday preparations and I will see you again on Thursday.  Have a good one!
                

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chiefs And Bolts

Good morning everyone.  I have had a lot of new visitors to my blog here on 'Bikini Hill' during the past week, so let me tell you how it works.  I post four times a week, on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.  I have nicknamed my Monday posts 'rambles' - these posts are basically one long paragraph about anything and everything.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays I usually write about a post about one or two specific topics, which may or may not be sports-related.  On Fridays I post predictions about the upcoming weekend's football games.  After the Super Bowl the Friday posts will consist of predictions about other happenings in the sports world.  Last week, due to posting my comprehensive college football bowl picks and my predictions for how the upcoming NBA regular season will play out, the whole week kind of seemed like one long Friday for the blog.  Let me take this opportunity to once again mention my friend's blog - for any of you who enjoy the game of poker, things relating to Las Vegas, or hiking, you will want to visit http://pkrdlr.blogspot.com/  His blog, 'Life As A Las Vegas Poker Dealer', is very interesting, and for those of you who have found my blog through reading his, welcome to 'Bikini Hill'.  Thank goodness for the teams at the bottom of the AFC West, eh?  The Kansas City Chiefs made one of my predictions come through yesterday as I have been calling all along that the Green Bay Packers would not go undefeated this season.  The Chiefs also made my Friday pick of taking them plus the 14 points look pretty sweet, but we'll leave the predictions discussion until later in the week, which of course has nothing to do with the fact that I got clobbered in Saturday's bowl games and in most of my other NFL happenings yesterday...  AHEM...  I also want to express my thanks to the San Diego Chargers, who along with the Carolina Panthers have given my favorite football team a HUGE opportunity.  The Pittsburgh Steelers now control their own destiny in the AFC, and can win home field advantage throughout the playoffs by winning their next three games.  Tonight's game in San Francisco is going to be BIG...  This week marks what will largely be a month of hibernation for San Marcos, America.  This has now become a sleepy little college town due to final exams ending last week.  Congratulations to all of the new Bobcat Alumni on a job well done!  I personally had a very good weekend.  I saw somebody who I had not seen for a long time, and it's just one of those things in life - it's cool to have those people in your life who you just seem to have a special connection with.  I hope that you have met people like that in your lifetime.  One of the graduates was introducing me to her friends at another point during the weekend, and my introduction included, "this is the most decent guy I know."  Yeah, it was a pretty good weekend...  ;)  After work last night while I was sitting around preparing to go home, I looked down at my phone, and then INSTANTLY put the fantasy football app that was on the screen into the trash bin - didn't even want to LOOK AT IT anymore...  Yeah, I don't stay bitter for very long (LeSean McCoy, a running back for my team who was knocked out of the playoffs last week, scored 3 touchdowns and went for over 100 yards yesterday)...  :)  Hmmm...  A different graduate than the one that I referred to above has moved to Colorado since walking the stage this weekend - she posted on her facebook that the temperature in Colorado was forecast to be -5 degrees when she arrived.  Some of her friends commented that -5 isn't really cold up there, along the lines that it is a different kind of cold...  Folks, -5 degrees is -5 degrees, especially if you've been a lifelong resident of TEXAS...  For my blog-writing friend above who is evidently trying to get under my skin, I have a football prediction - the AFC Championship Game WILL NOT be a matchup between the Houston Texans and the Denver Broncos.  ;)  It's enough to post that as a comment to my blog, BUT THEN to include it in his own blog...  I'm just now flipping through the channels, and as I get to the city's news station, I see the words 'Traffic Update' at the top of the screen and IMMEDIATELY think, "there is none..."  Really, if you haven't been to San Marcos, America between semesters, I've got two words for ya - GHOST TOWN...  I wonder if anyone else has seen the Geico commercial that is specifically aimed at the Texas market - the gecko is two-stepping on the dance floor, and I keep waiting for him to get stepped on...  Am I the only one thinking that during that commercial?...  A few nights ago after I got home from work, I enjoyed some time hanging out with my neighbors.  A girl that was part of our group made the comment that she likes waffles because they have the 'syrup trappers'...  This was part of a breakfast food discussion that would probably only take place in San Marcos, America at 5:00 in the morning on graduation weekend...  :)  For those statisticians in the crowd, my little blog has now been viewed over 1,550 times - thanks again for your support...  It's funny how it didn't rain here in the state of Texas practically all summer, and now the same day has been rolled out over and over for about a week now - off and on drizzle, temperatures in the 40's and 50's - thanks goodness!  I saw a preview recently for another movie about an armored car being robbed - I'm not a thief by nature, but if I was, I think that I might go for a target that didn't have the word 'ARMORED' in it...  Okay, that's enough for today - please send your good karma to my Steelers tonight, and I'll see you again tomorrow.
        

Friday, December 16, 2011

KA BOOM!!!

Good morning boys and girls.  It only takes one bad weekend of predictions to screw up your whole season's record apparently...  Maybe that's the reason that I've been posting so many predictions on here throughout this week, because I couldn't wait a whole another week for today to come.  Venturing out from 3 NFL predictions to 10 did not work out so well for me last week, as I went (wait for it)... 2-7-1 in the 10 games that I picked last week.  I was right in choosing the Falcons (- 2 1/2) over Carolina (ATL  31-23), and I was correct in taking the under in the Indianapolis/Baltimore game (Ravens 24-10).  I tied taking the Broncos (-3) against the Bears (13-10).  This is one of those weeks where it is better to just burn the game film and erase all memory of the 7 picks that I chose incorrectly.  I am now sitting at 19-20-1 on the NFL season, typing this with a LOSING record...  Now it's time to find 10 picks to flip that record back to where it should be...
Again, I'll type these predictions in the order that I like them (I would have finished 1-1-1 last week if I would have stopped after my first 3)...  :)  Okay, here we go...

Redskins/Giants  OVER  46
Arizona (-6 1/2) vs. Cleveland
New Orleans (- 6 1/2) @ Minnesota
Ravens/Chargers  UNDER  44 1/2
Patriots/Broncos  UNDER  46
Seahawks/Bears  UNDER  36 1/2
Tennessee (-6 1/2) @ Indianapolis
Carolina/Houston  OVER  45 1/2
Seattle (+ 3 1/2) @ Chicago
Kansas City (+ 14) vs. Green Bay

For those of you giving my last pick a roll of your eyes, I'm thinking that this game is going to be like the Chiefs Super Bowl, and that they might show up at home and play it like they did against the Steelers a few weeks ago...  I hope that you have a great weekend and I'll see you again on Monday.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011-12 NBA Regular Season Predictions

Good morning everyone.  If you a regular follower of my blog and came here for my comprehensive college football bowl predictions, I decided to do them early and you can find them in Tuesday's post.  This is turning into prediction week on 'Bikini Hill' as I have decided to post my predictions for the upcoming NBA regular season today.  As I posted here previously, I believe that this will be one of the more interesting NBA regular seasons in recent memory due to the fact that everyone's schedule will be condensed into such a short amount of time.  I  believe that player fatigue will create the potential for injuries to occur, and I think that we are more likely to see tempers flare from tired players who will be competing in 66 games during a 4-month span.  I think that teams will need to play deep into their benches and avoid serious injuries to be successful this season.  With that being said, I am throwing my predictions out there anyway because that's the kind of team player that I am...  ;)  For those of you who are new to the blog, some of my better predictions in recent memory were calling that none of the #1 seeds would reach the Final Four in last year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, picking the Houston Texans to win their division this season, thus earning their franchise's first-ever trip to the playoffs, and predicting that the defending AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs would not reach the playoffs this year.  And of course my list of missed predictions is too long to list here...  ;)  Here are my regular season predictions for the upcoming NBA basketball season:

                                Eastern Conference                                                        Western Conference  
Atlantic Division             W           L                        Southwest Division                 W           L
 x  Boston                            44          22                      x  Dallas                                      45          21
 x  New York                      39          27                      x  San Antonio                          42          24
 x  Philadelphia                 34          32                      x  Memphis                                37          29
      New Jersey                   24          42                          Houston                                 32          34
      Toronto                         20          46                          New Orleans                         29          37

Central Division               W           L                        Northwest Division                 W           L
 x  Chicago                           46          20                      x  Oklahoma City                   43          23
 x  Indiana                            38          28                       x  Denver                                  41          25
      Milwaukee                     31          35                       x  Utah                                       34          32
      Cleveland                       28          38                            Portland                               31          35
      Detroit                             25         41                             Minnesota                           17          49

Southeast Division           W           L                        Pacific Division                       W           L
  x  Miami                              48         18                        x  LA Lakers                             39          27
  x  Atlanta                            40         26                       x  LA Clippers                          35          31
  x  Orlando                           37         29                            Phoenix                                 33          33
      Washington                   22         44                            Golden State                        23          43
      Charlotte                        19         47                             Sacremento                         14          52


                                Eastern Conference                                                        Western Conference
Team                            Games Behind                      Team                                   Games Behind
   Miami                                    -                                         Dallas                                           -
   Chicago                                 2                                        Oklahoma City                         2
   Boston                                   4                                        San Antonio                              3
   Atlanta                                   8                                        Denver                                        4
   New York                             9                                        LA Lakers                                   6
   Indiana                                 10                                      Memphis                                     8
   Orlando                                11                                       LA Clippers                              10
   Philadelphia                       14                                      Utah                                             11


I am curious to see how many of the eight playoff teams I can get right in each conference.  I will be back here tomorrow with my usual Friday football predictions.  If you remember last week's NFL picks, then you know to take these basketball predictions with a grain of salt...  :)  Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow.




   

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Comprehensive Bowl Predictions (2011-12)

It's just like getting to open a Christmas present early, isn't it?  I know that I said earlier that this post would be made 2 days from now, but I am now going to be working the next 6 days straight, so it made more sense to do this little project tonight.  I am approaching this in the manner that I would purchase a parlay ticket, meaning that if there are injuries or suspended players after I enter these picks, I am not going to come back and change my predictions.  Whenever you're reading this, please remember that these picks were made on December 13th (central standard time).  There are a total of 35 bowl games, and since I am making 3 predictions for each game, I will be making a total of 105 picks.  I will be picking the winner straight up, against the spread, and will also be predicting whether the total points for the game will be over or under the 'Vegas line'.  Using the first bowl game as an example, I am predicting that Wyoming will beat Temple 31-28.  First, I am obviously picking Wyoming to win the game straight up.  Second, Wyoming gets 6 1/2 points when betting against the spread, so if Temple does win the game by 6 or fewer points, I would win that pick.  Finally, the over/under projection for the game is 48 points, and my predicted total is 59 (31 + 28), so I am taking the over.  If the total goes over 48, I would win that pick.  Remember that these predictions are just for our collective amusement, and that I haven't seen some of the teams competing in these games play at all this year, especially if they are involved in one of the earlier bowl games.  Here goes nothing - these are my 2011-12 bowl game predictions:

DATE               MATCHUP                MY PICK & THE LINE     OVER/UNDER      MY SCORE 

12/17           Temple/Wyoming                Wyoming   (+  6 1/2)              48            Wyoming  31-28
12/17           Utah State/Ohio                    Utah St.    (-  2 1/2)             57 1/2         Utah St.    35-31
12/17           Lafayette/San Diego St.       Lafayette   (+    5   )             58 1/2         SD St.      38-35
12/20           Fla Int'l/Marshall                 Marshall     (+  4 1/2)              49             Marshall   31-21
12/21           La. Tech/TCU                           TCU         (-   10   )             55 1/2          TCU        35-24
12/22           Arizona St./Boise St.              ASU          (+  14   )                66             Boise St.  41-35
12/24           Nevada/So. Miss                    So. Miss    (-     6   )                61             So. Miss   31-23
12/26           UNC/Missouri                      Missouri     (-    4    )            52 1/2          Missouri   35-21
12/27           W. Mich/Purdue                  Purdue       (-  2 1/2)               60              Purdue     28-24
12/27           Louisville/NC St.                  NC St.       (-  2 1/2)               45              NC St.     27-21
12/28           Toledo/Air Force                 Air Force    (+   3    )               70             AFA        41-38
12/28           California/Texas                  Texas          (-   3    )              47 1/2          Texas       35-27
12/29           Notre Dame/Fla. St.             Fla. St.       (-   3     )               47               Fla. St.    27-23
12/29           Washington/Baylor              Baylor        (-    9    )             78 1/2          Baylor     45-35
12/30           Tulsa/BYU                               BYU          (-  2 1/2)             55 1/2          BYU       31-27
12/30           Rutgers/Iowa St.                  Iowa St       (+  2    )             44 1/2         Iowa St.   28-21
12/30           Wake Forest/Miss St.          Wake         (+ 6 1/2)               48             Wake      24-20
12/30           Iowa/Oklahoma                       Iowa           (+  14  )               58               OU         31-21
12/31           Tx. A&M/Northwestern       TAMU       (- 9 1/2)              65               TAMU   41-27
12/31           Utah/Georgia Tech               Utah           (+ 3 1/2)           50 1/2             Utah      27-21
12/31           UCLA/Illinois                          UCLA        (+   3   )                 47                UCLA    31-27
12/31           Cincinnati/Vanderbilt          Vandy         (- 2 1/2)           48 1/2            Vandy    27-17
12/31           Virginia/Auburn                   Auburn        (- 1 1/2)           48 1/2           Auburn   24-14
01/02           Penn St./Houston                Penn St.       (+  6    )               57              Penn St.   28-21
01/02           Michigan St./Georgia          Georgia        (- 3 1/2)          50 1/2           Georgia    27-17
01/02           Nebraska/S. Carolina         Nebraska     (+  2    )            47 1/2        Nebraska  27-14
01/02           Florida/Ohio St.                    Ohio St.        (+  2    )               44             Ohio St.   24-17
01/02           Wisconsin/Oregon                Oregon         (-  6    )                72             Oregon    40-24
01/02           Stanford/Oklahoma St.        OSU            (- 3 1/2)               74              OSU       47-35
01/03           Michigan/Virginia Tech       Michigan       (-  2    )               51            Michigan   42-23
01/04           West Virginia/Clemson       Clemson      (- 3 1/2)          60 1/2          Clemson    31-23
01/06           Kansas St./Arkansas          Arkansas      (- 7 1/2)               63            Arkansas   42-31
01/07           SMU/Pittsburgh                Pittsburgh    (-  5 1/2)           48 1/2        Pittsburgh   31-14
01/08           Arkansas St./N. Illinois       Ark. St.        (-  1   )              62 1/2         Ark. St.     42-33
01/09           Alabama/LSU                          LSU             (-  1   )                 40               LSU       24-10

Let the bowl games begin!!!  See ya on Thursday...

                               



                                                      

Monday, December 12, 2011

Castaway

I am sitting here on a Monday afternoon watching a little 'Castaway' on FX as I do today's ramble.  I am about to have the shortest turn-around time between any two blog entries that I have done, because after tonight's Monday night football game I will be entering my 'Comprehensive Bowl Selections' for this year's college football season.  I had originally intended to do this on Thursday, but now that I am working the next two night's before Thursday (and then the next three), it makes more sense to type everything in while I am wide-awake instead of doing it after a shift at work.  After I finish this ramble, I will be studying the bowl games and making my picks through the end of the Monday night game, which has become very interesting to me in the last 24 hours.  I really do wish that they could make a flex schedule for the Monday night games also, but I know that is only a dream before it would involve making teams play on different days than originally scheduled and that it would mess up the plans of people who expected to go watch the game in person on a Monday and not a Sunday.  The flip side of that is that we are stuck with St. Louis at Seattle.  That game has become interesting to me due to fantasy football of course.  With my last transaction of the season, I decided to pick up the Seahawks defense for my first-round playoff game.  I watched in horror yesterday as the Philadelphia Eagles defense decided to show up and score 21 points as they were sitting on my bench.  Yes, this is the same Eagles defense who seemingly couldn't stop a snail crawling uphill in molasses against the wind in a driving rainstorm...  Okay, I just got a phone call, and now I'll be working the next six days straight - can you see why I like the ramble format?  I can just type anything I feel like, at any time, and it's like that's what I was supposed to do...  :)  Anyway, after the Eagles put up all of those points yesterday on defense, my opponent Carly came back on my team and put up a total of 128.04 points.  The bright side is that if I would have played the Philly defense yesterday, I would have already lost.  The dark, cloudy, ominous thunderstorm side of things has me needing 32 points tonight from the Seattle defense.  I think that my pickup will go down as the greatest transaction in the history of fantasy football if I can come back and win my playoff game tonight...  :P  Well, Tom Hanks managed to start a fire, so let's see what else there is to ramble about...  All I need to do to get material for this ramble is to drive around San Marcos, America for a few hours every week.  I left the comfy confines of my home to pay some bills this morning, and first I'm driving in the left lane by someone who leaves like 3 yards between the right side of their car and the curb, but is like 1 inch from the dotted line separating our cars...  MORON...  After I finished paying my bills, I'm heading home when this car with a Michigan State window sticker is crawling along, and then at the last moment flips on their turn signal and makes a right turn - I may pick Georgia in the bowl game against the Spartans just for that...  The bright side of that trip was that I got a free calendar when I paid my electric bill this morning...  SCORE!!!  I saw the highlights of the Vikings loss to the Lions yesterday, and the game basically ended when the Lions defense forced the scrambling quarterback to turn the ball over by yanking on his face mask - NO FLAG...  WHAT are the officials watching if they are not watching the ball in that moment?!  I'm finally starting to see some commercials that I like on t.v. - there's an AT&T commercial where the guy is holding a meeting, and he address one of his employees with, ... "keep ignoring me and updating your fantasy football team" - the guy responds with "HUH?"...  :)  I also like the VW Passat commercial where they play Elton John's "Rocket Man" - if you haven't seen it, the premise is that everyone gets the same lyric of the song wrong, but that the sound system in the car will allow you to clearly make out the words.  There isn't anything much funnier in life than when someone is getting the words wrong, is there? :)  If you don't think that one person can make a difference, take the Colts without Manning, the Bears without Cutler, or the Broncos without Tebow, who is now 7-1 after taking over as the starting quarterback for a team who was 1-4 before he became the starter.  I was reminded why I don't watch t.v. 'morning shows' today - whatever channel this was on, they were doing a story about how a lot of the moon rocks which have been loaned out are lost (like 19% of the people that they were loaned to have no idea where they are...).  As the story ends, the lady says, "there could be some of those in your Christmas stocking instead of coal" - Al Roker responds with this fake laugh...  that wasn't funny AT ALL!!  The freaking things that annoy me, I know...  :)  I will be back here in about 8 hours with my comprehensive bowl picks, complete with score predictions, but now it is time to make those selections, so have a nice day, what's left of it...  ;)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy People

Good morning everybody.  Just for you loyal followers of the blog am I doing this post at this moment.  I still feel bad about Tuesday's blog entry coming out so late, so I'm typing now after leaving work about as late as I can remember for this job, to be returning in the morning to do some special cleaning for tonight's festivities.  Between the holiday season hitting its stride and final exams nearing their end, there are a lot of happy people around San Marcos, America.

To recap last week, I went 3-2 on my college picks and 2-1 on my NFL selections.  For the year, I finished at 32-14 on my regular season college predictions, predicting the winners of the games straight up.  Remember that this coming Thursday, on the 15th of December, I will be releasing my comprehensive selections for all 35 of this season's bowl games.  It seems that word of this got out, because I read that Playboy magazine is now releasing their Lindsay Lohan issue on the very same day - the competition in this business is tough I tell ya...  :)  Back to reality, I am now 17-13 making my NFL picks against the spread this season.  It's funny looking at that record, with a total of 30 games over 10 weeks, knowing that I will be picking 10 PER WEEK over the next 4 weeks...  For last week's college games, I successfully picked Baylor, Oklahoma State, and LSU.  I was mistaken about Michigan State in another very close game with Wisconsin, and Virginia Tech just got throttled by Clemson after I decided to jump off the Tigers' bandwagon.  In the NFL, I won with the Ravens over the Browns (- 6 1/2  Final  24 10), and I also had the Titans over the Bills (+ 1 1/2  Final  23-17).  I got blown out of the stadium taking the under 53 on the Packers/Giants game (Packers 38-35 in a defensive struggle...).

Now for the 10 NFL picks that I promised you...  I am just going to list these in a format similar to what I plan on using for my bowl selections.  Although I'm sure that you love reading everything I type, it will be pretty lengthy to go into explanations for all 10 of my picks.  After making my bowl selections next Thursday, I will probably reference the upcoming games in subsequent blog entries, but I am just going to keep it simple for these games.  These will also be listed in the order that I like them, because as I'm doing this, I'm typing a pick when I like it, and then I'm going back through the lines...

Denver (-3) over Chicago
Buffalo/San Diego  OVER  47 1/2
Kansas City/NY Jets  UNDER  36 1/2
New England/Washington  UNDER  48 1/2
Atlanta (- 2 1/2) over Carolina
Indianapolis/Baltimore  UNDER  41
San Francisco (- 3 1/2) over Arizona
New Orleans/Tennessee  OVER  48 1/2
New England (-8) over Washington
Oakland/Green Bay  UNDER  52

Like I said in a previous post, this would have been going on my 2 dollar parlay ticket when I lived in Las Vegas, but now I'll just be watching these games out of the corner of my eye as I'm desperately rooting for my fantasy football team to win its opening round playoff game...  I hope that all of you enjoy a great football weekend and I'll see you again on Monday.


  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Trainwrecks

Good morning everyone.  I've been a little scatter-brained over the past few days in regards to trying to keep my focus on one thing.  I only lead in with that tidbit to let you know that this post won't be about one specific topic, but I will hit on a few things as this week comes to a close.  I haven't had a shift at work since late Monday night (EARLY Tuesday morning), and that has been a blessing in helping me to get over the cold that I've had for the past couple of weeks.  When I first told my dad about the cold that started hitting me on Thanksgiving night, he informed me that he had just gotten over something that had lasted for ten days.  It's now almost a full two weeks later for me, and I would venture a guess that I am at about 95% now.  During the past few days I have actually gotten more accomplished in straightening up my apartment than I have since I moved in during the middle of August.  If you are one of the newer followers of the blog (which has been viewed over 1,100 times now by the way), then you may not have read my early entry which detailed the brutally disappointing and frustrating job search that I endured this summer.  To make a long story short, after two months of driving all over the state in a fruitless search, I didn't feel like doing much 'tidying up' in my new apartment.  What I am basically saying is that if there was something that I did not need to function on a day-to-day basis, then I did not make an effort to unpack it.  I have actually moved some of that stuff around over the last few days, and I set up some shelves in preparation for unpacking.  One thing that I have failed to do this week is my normal 'blog' entry for my fantasy football league.  In any league that I have been a member of with friends during the past few years, I have done a weekly recap of our games.  This is the 3rd year of the 'Sunday Funday League', and after I am finished with this post I will be doing that one.  I wanted to mention that league because it is really interesting how evenly matched the teams are in our 12-team league this year.  Our top six teams make the playoffs, which is pretty standard in most leagues with a dozen teams.  Our league finished the regular season with two 9-4 teams, three 8-5 teams, and two 7-6 teams (one of the 7-6 teams was eliminated by a total points tiebreaker).  I finished in 5th place during the regular season, so I will be playing in a playoff game this week (which is nice since it is the first time that I've made the playoffs in this league that I founded three years ago)...  What strikes me as funny is that when I looked at my first-round matchup, I thought, "I don't want to play her in the first-round."  Then I looked at the other teams who made the playoffs, and I really don't want to play ANY OF THEM.  Our league is just that evenly matched this year.  About a half-hour ago I took my first peek at an NBA schedule for the upcoming season, specifically that of the San Antonio Spurs.  One thing that I will tell you about this season right now is that it will be a test of endurance.  Each team is going to be playing 66 games in 4 months, which basically breaks down to playing one game every other day.  It is actually a little worse than that, because they are squeezing those games into 120 days (66 is half of 132).  To make matters worse, there is about a six-day break (at least for the Spurs) during the week of the All-Star Game.  In a nutshell, they are going to be playing A LOT of basketball in four months.  The Spurs are one of the teams with TWO sets of back-to-back-to-back games on their schedule.  I also noticed that the Spurs finish the regular season with 8 games in 11 days, and will face the Lakers twice during that stretch.  Injuries are going to play a HUGE factor in the season as it goes along.  When someone gets hurt, they will miss twice as many games as normal for that injury because the schedule is so condensed.  For the sake of these players, I hope that they stayed in shape during the off-season.  A commentator made the point today on t.v. that teams are going to need a deep rotation to be successful, and I agree with him.  If you try playing just seven players over the course of this packed schedule, it is going to end up in a trainwreck.  This season is going to be extremely interesting to follow.  I am really looking forward to a week from today when I will be posting my comprehensive predictions for all 35 of this season's college bowl games on December 15th.  I will be posting those picks with my predicted scores for the games, and in that way you will be able to see who I pick to win, to cover, and if I think that the game will go over or under (total points).  I have decided that from here on out, I will make 10 NFL picks every Friday (like I would when wasting 2 bucks on a parlay ticket in Vegas).  Since there are no more regular college games to pick, this won't involve much more work for me.  I hope that you have a great day, and I will see you tomorrow with this week's NFL picks.

                            

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dead Day

Good evening folks.  I apologize to my loyal followers who checked in today and didn't find a post earlier.  Last night was a rare very busy Monday night at work - we hosted a party for one of the local residential establishments on the last day of regular classes for the local university, one which walk-ups from off the street were allowed into.  Well, eventually the word spread, and at the peak of the festivities our venue resembled what it does on a Thursday night.  I'm basically saying that I was too tired to type anything when I got home from work last night, and I spent a good portion of today on some long overdue cleaning of my apartment.  Now I'm waking up from the three-hour nap that I took.  The good news about being up until 3 or 4 in the morning is that I will be matching my normal work hours, which should make me good to go for the rest of the week.  The 'dead day' title of this post refers to the day off that our local university gives its students before final exams officially start.  Graduation weekend in San Marcos, America starts in about ten days, and the result of that weekend is the ghost town that our fair city will become for the month afterward.  It wasn't until my last year of school here when I moved off-campus that I learned how dead San Marcos really becomes during this time period.  A huge chunk of humanity is absent from town between semesters, much more so than in the summer when the university offers a bunch of various camps to kids in addition to summer classes.  I am looking forward to making the predictions for the comprehensive football article that I will be doing on the 15th for this blog, although I am not thrilled with many of the matchups.  It's great to hear so many people stating how blatently ridiculous the BCS is this year.  On ESPN's 'Mike and Mike' earlier this morning, they were relentlessly attacking a system that includes a 'coaches poll' as one of its segments.  Both Alabama and Missouri had Oklahoma State ranked #4 on this most recent ballot.  Alabama obviously did this because it helps their cause, and Missouri did this to stick it to the Big 12 since they will be departing for the SEC next year.  Again, what a ludicrous system we have in the BCS...  As you probably figured out from what I've typed so far, I stayed close to home today, and there is good reason for that.  For those of you from around various parts of the country, and different parts of the world to be more exact, this is probably one of the coldest weeks of the year that we will experience in south Texas.  The forecast low for tonight is 27 degrees, and while the high for tomorrow is supposed to reach 55 degrees, it will be followed up by another low of 28 degrees.  It is not enough to make a person long for the drought-stricken 100-plus degree days of this past summer, but it makes you think about it.  We had about three days of rain preceding this cold front, so the cold that we are experiencing is that wet, damp, miserable chill that reminds a certain person of why they live in Texas, the reason being that this is NOT the norm...  My itch to live in Las Vegas, America has really been coming on once again, with the bowl season starting, the NFL playoff-chase hitting its stretch run, the tipoff of the college hoops season, and just the simple itch to go out and play some poker whenever the urge hits me.  It wouldn't surprise me if the title of this blog becomes 'The View From (Somewhere In Las Vegas)' during the next year if I can find a way to swing it financially.  For all of the complaining that I did while living in the desert about the fact that it seemingly never rained, that it what we had last summer here in Texas.  The unemployment rate is so high in the desert right now that it makes you think twice about making any decision to move too hastily.  That is about all that I have for you right now.  On Thursday I should be coming back at you with an entry aimed at a specific topic, and on Friday I will give you some football predictions (maybe more than three NFL picks this week since the college teams will be resting for a while).  I hope that everything is well where you are, and I'll see you in a couple of days.

Monday, December 5, 2011

BCS Implosion

Good morning everyone.  Today's Monday post will be a combination of the ramble that you're used to finding here and the joke of a system that is the BCS.  Yesterday's announcement of this year's bowl games prompted me to include the BCS in today's post because some of what happened is just ridiculous.  It wasn't difficult to see this coming if LSU had lost once, leaving the BCS with the next to impossible task of choosing from among several one-loss teams to find a national championship matchup and round out its top-tier bowls.  What has the water starting to boil right now is that Alabama was chosen by the system over Oklahoma State to face LSU in the national championship game.  The Alabama choice is not the only one that has people hot though...  Alabama, who did not qualify for their conference championship game, beat three opponents this year with records of .500 or better.  Oklahoma State, who CRUSHED Oklahoma in their conference championship game, beat SEVEN teams with records of .500 or above this season.  Five of the seven BCS computers chose Oklahoma State over Alabama as the second-best team in the country.  Let a great month of debate over a STUPID system for determining who plays in the national championship game begin!!!  For those of you who are new to my blog, I wrote an article here a little while back expressing my belief that we should have a playoff system to determine who plays for the national championship.  Please feel free to read that entry and see what you think.  Another ridiculous outcome of the current system of selecting teams for bowl matchups can be seen when looking at this year's Sugar Bowl pairing.  Michigan State beat Michigan this year and went to the inaugural Big 10 Championship Game to face Wisconsin.  I have stated before that qualifying for a conference championship game just gives teams an extra opportunity to lose under the current system.  Michigan State lost to the Badgers by a field-goal for the Big 10 title.  Michigan, who stayed at home this weekend, was rewarded with a SUGAR BOWL BERTH, while the Spartans are going to the Outback Bowl...  What makes this even more laughable is that Virginia Tech, who was CRUSHED 38-10 by Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, received the OTHER BID to the Sugar Bowl...  GREAT SYSTEM guys...  Due to the arrangements that the bowls have with the conferences outside of the BCS bowl games, Boise State is relegated to going to Las Vegas to play Arizona State (6-6) this year.  As much as I bash the Broncos for playing a soft schedule, they were 7th in the BCS rankings and would have qualified for the eight-team playoff on my wish-list (where's the love Boise fans?).  ;)  In spite of all of this nonsense, I will still be coming out with my comprehensive bowl predictions in my blog entry on December 15th.  The 15th is one week from Thursday for those of you who don't have a calendar handy.        

Now onto my usual Monday ramble and a little bit more silliness...  Note to self:  don't run for political office after having a 13-year affair, or... don't have the 13-year affair...  Tim Tebow is now 6-1 since taking over as the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos, who were 1-4 before he became the starter, and now those Broncos are tied for first place in the AFC West...  I'm thinking of starting a band called 'We Want More' - I just like the name for what the crowd will be chanting when the show is finished...  I cannot believe that the Cowboys did not use either of their remaining two timeouts yesterday to stop the clock during their final drive, but that they DID use one as their kicker made what would have been the game-winning field-goal (in a game that they went on to lose to Arizona)...  Does anyone else think that the 'AFLAC Duck is tired, like years ago???  For those of you who watched the 'Bowl Selection Special' on ESPN last night, doesn't it seem like the commentators on that show have been told NOT to discuss the fact that we should have a playoff system instead of the current nonsense that we're stuck with?  They ALL so readily agreed that Alabama was the 'clear-cut' number 2 team in the nation, although the system had them beating out the Cowboys by .0086 of a point...  I saw this week where scientists have discovered that 18 more "Jupiter-sized" planets - did any of you grow up when we thought that we had just 9 planets total?  I have no idea what the current count is at now...  If I was Todd, I would give my sandwich to Samantha, not Sally (Subway commercial people, keep up)...  ;)  I made a post on facebook recently where I expressed my surprise that the local 'Sights and Sounds' celebration here in San Marcos, America was receiving so much attention on facebook - after making that post, 'Sights and Sounds' has been rained out every night since...  Don't mess with 'Coach'...  ;)  The Cincinnati Bengals?  Yeah, not so much...  Twenty days until Christmas boys and girls...  Once again, I want to express my sincere appreciation to you for stopping by - 'The View From Bikini Hill' has now been viewed more than 1,000 times since September 28th.  Have a great day and I'll see ya tomorrow!

Friday, December 2, 2011

GRRRRR LeSean McCoy

Good morning.  The worst thing that I did in preparation of my fantasy football matchups this week was notice the status of LeSean McCoy.  McCoy was my 2nd overall pick for my 8-4 team in this year's draft (after Tom Brady).  I noticed that he was listed as questionable with a toe injury this week, so I replaced him in my starting lineup.  I never went back to check his status before the game, but I know that toe injuries can be tricky.  You get one shot to guess who scored 25.30 points last night against the Seahawks...  On a totally unrelated note, I vote that we start employing this flex scheduling that is available on Sunday night games for the Monday night ones as well.  The New England/Indianapolis game was moved to a daytime start this week because the Colts are not competitive this year.  Well folks, on the next two Monday nights, we get Chargers @ Jaguars and Rams @ Seahawks...  YAWN...

It appears that I should not have gone with my gut last week when picking a couple of the college games.  After looking at the in-state matchups last weekend, I decided to take two of the underdogs, and they were responsible for my only defeats as I went 4-2 last week.  Virginia and Clemson were not able to upset Virginia Tech and South Carolina, but LSU, Stanford, Georgia, and Wisconsin did come through for me.  The NFL was again a source of frustration for me as I managed to go 1-2 during a week that I was sure I would register a winning record.  Carolina -3 came through with flying colors (27-19 over Indy), but I managed to lose my other picks.  I took Texans/Jaguars over 37 1/2, and there were ALREADY 27 points scored by halftime.  One field goal scored during the whole 2nd half of the Texans/Jags game - YEP...  I also took the Steelers -10 against the Chiefs, thinking that Kansas City couldn't score.  The Cheifs only scored 9 points, but the defense really showed up at Arrowhead for K.C., and the final was 13-9 - YEP...  My records for the season are now 29-12 on the college games (straight up) and 15-12 on the NFL picks (against the spread).  Maybe not moving back to Vegas worked out well...  :)  On to this week's games...

It looks like we have 5 college games involving matchups of teams that are ranked in the Top 25 this weekend.  We'll start with #22 Texas at #17 Baylor.  The Longhorns are coming off a huge Thanksgiving win over Texas A&M in a matchup of teams that may not be repeated for a while on the football field.  While that victory may or may not provide a hangover, I think that Heisman candidate Robert Griffin III will just pose too many problems for Texas, as he has for many opposing defenses this year.  I am picking the Bears over the Longhorns.  #15 Wisconsin at #13 Michigan State:  I got this one right the first time around, when the Spartans hit on a 'Hail-Mary' pass to defeat the Badgers (I still haven't bothered looking this one up on the YouTube).  I am going to take the Spartans again in the rematch, which this time is for the Big 10 Championship.  #5 Virginia Tech vs. #20 Clemson:  I'm going to go with the Hokies in this one.  The Tigers have seemingly lost some of their magic, having dropped 3 of their 4 games, while the Hokies have quietly (at least it's been quietly in Texas) climbed into position for a big bowl game this year.  #10 Oklahoma at #3 Oklahoma State:  A very big game north of the Red River.  The Sooners have won 7 or 8 straight in this matchup (hey, it was 20 minutes ago when they said how long the streak is on ESPN - how am I supposed to remember TWENTY minutes ago?).  I like the Cowboys in this matchup because they are playing at home, because they are taking on a Sooners team that has more often than not looked unimpressive to me this year, and because I think that their loss to Iowa State had a lot to do with the melancholy feeling on the Stillwater campus after Oklahoma State lost a couple of its women's basketball coaches in a plane crash during the week preceding the game.  #14 Georgia at #1 LSU:  I am going with the Tigers in this game, but I have a lot of respect for the way that the Bulldogs have played this year after starting the season out slowly.  To go against the Tigers in this game would be rooting for a huge upset I think.

Baltimore - 6 1/2 over the Browns is my first NFL pick.  I swear, if the Ravens can't beat the Browns by more than a touchdown...  :)  I am also going to go with the Titans + 1 1/2 against the Bills.  It seems to me that Chris Johnson has found his running game, and the Bills haven't looked very sharp lately.  I'm really not sure why Buffalo is favored in this game, but I like the Titans.  I am going to take the under 53 in the Packers/Giants game for my final pick.  It's simply the temptation of the high number, and whatever possibility there is of inclement weather that could adversely affect the passing games.  I think that at home the Giants will show up for this game and that it will be a very competitive contest.  The anticipated return of Ahmad Bradshaw for the Giants should mean more handoffs and more clock being ticked off.  Hopefully I won't be ticked off next week after another 1-2 weekend... (Ba dump, ching!)

Remember that the college bowl selection special will be televised early Sunday evening.  I hope that you have a great football weekend, and I'll see you again on Monday for the ramble...

 

      





    

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December

Good morning everyone.  It's hard to believe that it's the last month of 2011 already.  I'm sitting here this morning with plenty to write about, but there's not really one specific topic that I want to dedicate a whole blog entry to, so I guess that you could classify this undertaking as one of my rambles that makes a little bit of sense.

For most standard fantasy football leagues, tonight marks the first game in the last week of the regular season, and has the Eagles traveling to the state of Washington to take on the Seahawks.  In my two fantasy leagues, I have one team that is right in the thick of things, while the other has no chance of playing beyond this week.  Let's start with my hopeless team, a team that is currently 5-7. This team has lost FIVE straight games after jumping out to a 5-2 start.  The thing that has tripped me up in this league is that each week the teams with the worst records get the first selections from the waiver wire.  Pretty much everyone has to make changes to their teams during bye weeks, so the quick start ending up shooting me in the foot.  Well, that and injuries to Andre Johnson, Ahmad Bradshaw, Benjarvus Green-Ellis, etc, etc, etc...  In my other league my team is 8-4 and is currently in a four-way tie for first place.  I have already secured one of the six playoff spots in this league, and my team can realistically finish anywhere from 2nd thru 6th place for the regular season based on what happens in this week's games.  In this league players are pretty much 'first-come, first-served' when it comes to adds and drops - the catch is that you are limited to 15 transactions for the whole season.  I have also sustained injuries in this league, but I was fortunate to draft Tom Brady and a very strong group of running backs, and this has helped me to overcome those setbacks.  If you are in the thick of your fantasy football playoff chase or have already assured yourself a spot in the playoffs, I wish you the best of luck as the NFL's regular season winds down.

I have decided that two weeks from today, on December 15th, I will be typing up my comprehensive football selections for the college bowl season.  After snooping around online, I found out that the bowl games are scheduled to take place from December 17th - January 9th.  The bowl pairings are also supposed to be announced this Sunday if everything that I read is correct.  I will pick my winners for each bowl game in my blog entry on the 15th, and I will also include my predictions for the final score of each game.  That score will give my thoughts on whether the game will be over or under the number of total points that is projected to be scored, and will give my thoughts on which team will cover the spread.  I will include the spread and the over/under total beside the game information (this promises to be quite the blog entry)...  ;)

December certainly promises to be an entertaining month, with the college bowl games, the NFL playoff chase, the return of the NBA on Christmas Day, fending off the next cold and virus that will be going around, the joy of holiday shopping in crowded stores, the bombardment of absolutely insane advertisements...  I was thumbing through a magazine the other day when I saw the print ad:  "Pringle Bells, Pringle Bells"...  :)  I also saw a t-shirt at the store the other night:  'Dear Santa, Define Good'...  This was on the trip where I bought 'AA' batteries for my work flashlight.  I found a pack of four 'AA' batteries for 97 cents.  The caption on the package stated, "Ideal for low-drain devices."  Don't you think that's a great way of saying, "These are CHEAP batteries."???  :)  One of the more interesting tidbits that I read this week came from 'Newsweek' I believe.  There's this outfit called Kentucky Fried Chicken (they sell chicken) - anyway, they evidently refused to reserve a table for John Travolta.  I had not heard about this story before reading this quote in the magazine, but whatever the ramifications of the decision were resulted in a higher-up at KFC being quoted as saying something to the effect of, "in hindsight, we probably should have reserved the table..."  You really can't make this stuff up...  :)  I am going to stop here, but I will be back with my football picks tomorrow.  It looks like we'll have five matchups of college teams in the 'Top 25' this weekend, and I'll find some NFL picks that I'll try not to screw up.  If you only knew how much I despise going 1-2 again...  :)  Have a great day and we'll see you tomorrow.