Monday, October 31, 2011

The Most Annoying Thing About Facebook

Happy Halloween everyone - I hope that all of you have a safe and happy day today as we say our farewells to the month of October.  I think that people would hate Mondays a little less if every Monday was Halloween, but I haven't been able to get that legislation passed yet.  I had a pretty good weekend leading up to today, seeing my family for the first time in a few months, and enjoying a belated birthday dinner.  It was a pretty eventful weekend around Bikini Hill, as it was Homecoming Weekend in San Marcos, America.  A lot of Bobcats and Bobcat Alumni were wandering around town, many in costume, as tonight will be capping off at least a good half week of Halloween celebration for the local ghosts and goblins.  My straight-days streak at work had been run up to 17, but was broken yesterday as I watched my Steelers beat the Patriots before dining with my family, with what I would call naps sandwiching those festivities.  I just finished a post-nap trip to the grocery store, and was wondering if anyone else buys any of the restaurant-brand items when they're shopping.  I was picking up some salsa, and I bought some of the "On The Border" mild salsa.  Doesn't it feel like, even just a little, that you're 'out to eat' when you have the restaurant brand stuff?...  I also managed to slip out once again with the family-size shampoo and conditioner, even though I live alone (you just have to play it cool at the register, so that the cashier won't suspect that anything is up)...   

Okay, if you're still with me after reading that line, let's get into the meat of this blog entry.  First of all, I want to welcome all of the new readers who have been viewing the blog.  The 'View' was seen about 90 times for the last 3 posts, after receiving about 200 clicks for the first 15 entries, so we're definitely picking up speed here, and I appreciate it.  I've got the faithful Law & Order churning beside me, and a lot of things bouncing around in my head after a very busy weekend.  In case you're unaware, until I moved back to San Marcos, America in early August and began working at my two new jobs, which usually have me arriving home at about 4:00 in the morning, I had never watched any episodes of ANY of the Law & Order shows before.  As luck would have it, they are the best thing that is on t.v. in the early morning, running marathon style, hour after hour on a few different networks, depending on the day of the week.  For me, that means that every episode is new as I'm watching the orignal series, and special victims unit, and criminal intent, and all of the seasons of these shows, etc, etc...  A few days ago on facebook, I quoted this from an episode:  (Suspect)  "I didn't kill her!"  (Stars of the show)  "Yeah, we hear that a lot..."  You've gotta love it...  ;) 

Facebook.  First let me say that I love facebook, a website that has allowed me to catch up with many people that I haven't seen for years.  I also like how you can click on a person's page and get caught up instantly with what is going on in their life.  It seems that I am not alone, and that when I am working or am just out in public, I see more people accessing their facebook accounts than any other website on their phones hands down.  Easily the most annoying thing about facebook is one of the things that I like most about it.  I enjoy seeing all of the things that my friends are doing on any given day (I have about 500 friends on my account, to give you a reference point).  In just the past few days, I've had friends who were at the World Series, at various college football games, at homecoming, going out for Halloween, doing fun things with their families, visiting other states, etc, etc..  Of course, everyone is posting photos of everything that they're doing, and my problem is that I like doing EVERYTHING!  Does anyone else feel like a slacker, or like they're missing out, because they're not doing the HUNDREDS of different things on any given day that all of their friends are?  :)  I once annoyed my Dad at the racetrack because I was wanting to be on ALL of the races, from every track...  I would just LOVE to be doing all of this stuff that everyone is doing.  Just something else that amuses me...      

Now, on to sports...  A FULL sports weekend just took place, that's for sure.  I am in good position to be 7-1 and 5-3 in my fantasy football leagues if I can avoid Ryan Mathews going out of his mind tonight for the San Diego Chargers in Kansas City (the 5-3 is already in the books actually).  One of the better World Series, and one of the most heartbreaking for a lot of my friends, just ended recently as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Texas Rangers in seven games.  It seems that the Cardinals sparked the whole state of Missouri, as the football Tigers went to College Station and upset the Texas A&M Aggies the next day (Coach Pinkel mentioned the Cardinals in his on-field, postgame interview), and then yesterday, the previously winless St. Louis Rams SMACKED the New Orleans Saints to pick up their first win of the season.  Previously unbeaten #5 Clemson lost to Georgia Tech on Saturday, previously unbeaten #8 Kansas State lost to #9 Oklahoma (I'm so sorry Kathryn), # 20 Texas Tech got demolished at home by Iowa State the week after beating Oklahoma in Norman, and #6 Stanford stayed undefeated only after surviving THREE overtimes against # 20 USC.  My Pittsburgh Steelers beat a Patriots team that has been a thorn in our side in recent years, setting up a great Sunday night matchup with the Ravens next week.  I think that most of America would be happy if the Steelers and Ravens just played each other 16 times every year, ensuring one intriguing matchup each week, and the fact that their favorite team would never have to play either squad...  The Eagles woke up from their bye-week and shut down Dallas, making it likely that the NFC East is going to be an absolute free-for-all in the second half of the season.  So many storylines, you just have to love this time of year!

Okay, that is going to be all for now.  I hope that everyone has a great Halloween, and I'll see all of you again next month (that would be tomorrow)...  Again, please feel free to leave comments, topic suggestions, etc... if you have any.  One of my friends from out of town who was in for homecoming mentioned the blog, and I didn't even know that he was following it.  Also, for those readers who I have picked up from Yahoo Answers, if you have any sports questions or fantasy football questions that you want to ask here directly, you're more than welcome to...
 



 



Friday, October 28, 2011

Unbelievable...

"Unbelievable" is the word that came from my lips after David Freese led off the bottom of the 11th inning by hitting a homerun over the centerfield wall, giving the St. Louis Cardinals an improbable 10-9 come from behind victory against the Texas Rangers, sending the World Series to a deciding Game 7 on Friday night.  The Cardinals were down to their last strike in both the 9th and 10th innings, but managed to tie the game each time, setting up Freese's heroics in the 11th.  It was actually Freese who saved the day for the Cards in the 9th also, hitting a two-strike triple to right field, which tied the game 7-7.  This is the first time that I thought the Rangers should have had the game.  Nelson Cruz seemed to coast back toward the right field wall after his first few steps, and I am not sure if he was fooled by the ball (because line drives hit right at you are among the hardest balls to judge for outfielders), or if he thought that he was closer to the wall, but I do know that I expected him to jump (to where he didn't land on his feet), dive, crash into the wall...  it's the game-winning catch of the WORLD SERIES!  Anyway, I thought that Cruz played the ball awkwardly, and I am not taking anything away from what he has done in the playoffs - the Rangers probably aren't in the spot they are now if not for all of his homeruns in October.  The second thing that surprised me was the Rangers not bringing Neftali Feliz back out for the 10th inning.  I have no idea if he was spent physically, if he has any arm problems, or something of that nature, but the Rangers were facing the weaker batters in the Cardinals lineup in the 10th, and I thought that they would have been better served by leaving Feliz in the game.  Well, what we are left with is the first 7th game of a World Series since 2002.

Now back to the football field for my usual Friday predictions, where I am still running surprisingly well for the season.  Overall, I am now 12-7 picking college games (straight up), and 9-3 picking NFL wagers (against the spread).  Last week I was 2-1 with both the college and the NFL picks.  For a quick recap, my college winners were Michigan State over Wisconsin (the Spartans won on a last second Hail Mary pass which I still haven't seen), and Stanford beating Washington.  My loss was picking Notre Dame against USC.  On the NFL picks, the Steelers did beat Arizona by more than 3 1/2 (32-20) and the Bears/Bucs game did stay under 43 1/2 points (24-18).  My loss was the Raiders beating the Chiefs by more than five (28-0 CHIEFS)...  :P

This week in the college ranks, we'll start off with #9 Oklahoma @ #8 Kansas State (Hey Kathryn!)...  ;)  I have managed to mess up the Wildcats pick every time I've included their game in these predictions by picking against them, and I hope it doesn't jinx them when I pick them to WIN the game against the Sooners in Manhattan.  This is the best that the Wildcats have looked in a long time, maybe since they had Darren Sproles in the backfield (now he's in my fantasy football backfield)...  I'm thinking that a rowdy, hungry crowd at home may be enough to help propel this talented team over a Sooners team that was upset at home by Texas Tech last Saturday.  #11 Michigan State @ #14 Nebraska is another tough game to call.  I am again going to take the home team, and pick the Cornhuskers to defeat Michigan State.  It's a cruel thing to do after the Spartans made me look good on my upset pick last week, but Nebraska at home is going to be a tough order for the guys in green I believe.  #6 Stanford @ #20 USC also has the potential of being an intriguing game based on how the Trojans handled Notre Dame last weekend, but I am going to go with the favored Cardinal, who are the PAC 12's hope of having an undefeated team play in the national championship game (we still haven't seen this team misstep since they lost Coach Harbaugh to the 6-1 49ers).  Continuing to pick Notre Dame games for one of my loyal readers, I have to go with the Irish over a Navy team which has gone downhill since their overtime loss to the Air Force Academy in the first week that I did this blog.  The game is in South Bend, the Irish have been the stronger team, and they should be more than ready to get the taste of last week's game out of their mouth.  Nothing else that I saw involving Big 12 teams is projected to be closer than a 10-point game, so I won't officially forecast any of them.  Baylor could play the role of spoiler against #3 Oklahoma State, but if that happens, the Bedlam matchup featuring the Cowboys and Sooners will lose a lot of its luster.

For my NFL picks, I'll lead off with the Arizona/Baltimore game, taking the under 43 1/2 points.  The game is in Baltimore, and between the Ravens solid defense and their lack of offense against Jacksonville, I'm thinking that less than 43 1/2 points is a very real possibility.  Going to Sunday night's game, I am also going to take the under 51 points in the Cowboys/Eagles game.  Dallas has had a decent defense this year, and I am thinking that the Philly defense will look better after the bye week.  Just a few forced field goal attempts in this game and I'll feel good.  I definitely won't be rooting for this one, but since I'm not in Las Vegas, I am going to make my 3rd pick the New England Patriots covering the -2 1/2 against the Steelers.  The two times that my Steelers have played decent teams this year, we were embarassed by the Ravens, and we lost by 7 to a Texans team who I thought should have won by more.  I am going to be rooting for my Steelers, but if they do lose the game, I probably get this pick right. 

I want to thank all of you who continue to find my little blog.  It's been viewed over 250 times now, and I still plan on posting at least 4 times per week, just as I did this week.  I hope that all of you enjoy the 7th and final game of the World Series, and that you have a great football weekend! 
         







 

    

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Boise State & Melted Cheese

Good morning everyone - it's shaping up to be a great day in San Marcos, America.  The forecast highs are expected to be in the 70's, while the forecast lows are expected to be in the 40's for the NEXT WEEK on Bikini Hill...  Anyone who was in the great state of Texas this summer will appreciate this...  Game 6 of the World Series was postponed until tonight, and the Texas Rangers will have a chance to win their first championship, unless it gets postponed again. 

Now that the BCS rankings have been out for a few weeks, the chirping has started again, so I decided to address the topic today.  It's time to blog about that villain, that monkey in the wrench, the college football faux powerhouse that is the Boise State University Broncos...  Take away their smurfy blue football field and even the fact that they have the lowest admission standards of the three major universities in the state of Idaho (a fact I learned when playing free online poker at MSN, and if you can't trust an online poker player in a setting where the stakes are nothing, who can you trust?), and I still have my issues with Boise.  As far as I'm concerned, they can be in any conference they want, and they can play any schedule that they choose, but they shouldn't be rewarded for it.  This is a conversation that I had with a co-worker a few nights ago, one that I have had with Boise State supporters on many occasions, if you substitute a few words here and there (this is as close as I recall, but still pretty close).  Co-worker:  "Boise State is ranked number 5 in the BCS."  Me:  (calmly responding)  "But they don't play anybody."  Co-worker:  "They are going to go undefeated this year."  Me:  (raising my voice a little)  "But they don't PLAY ANYBODY."  Co-worker:  "Kellen Moore ...some statistic about how many games he's won... blah, blah, blah..."  Me:  (now almost screaming, with my arms raised in exasperation)  "BUT THEY DON'T PLAY ANYBODY!!!"  At this point in the intellectual exchange of thoughts that we were having, the police pulled up, so our conversation was put on hold until Boise beats the next cupcake on their schedule...  As I was saying, I really don't care who Boise State plays, AS LONG AS they aren't ranked among the elite teams in college football for beating these teams.  As you probably know, the top division of college football does not currently have a playoff system, so this BCS ranking system determines who plays for the national championship.  If you compare Boise State's record with that of the other highly rated schools who are either undefeated or even have one loss, you'll discover that Boise State DOESN'T PLAY ANYBODY!  I repeatedly hear that on any given day, Boise State can beat any of the elite football programs, and that is EXACTLY the problem that I have with them getting so much credit for beating the schedule that they play.  They don't deserve the shot to play for a national championship compared to a team that has to play an SEC schedule, or a Big 12 schedule, or a Pac 12 schedule, etc, etc...  This leaves us with the need for a playoff system (like EVERY OTHER SPORT at the top level of intercollegiate athletics has), a topic that I will address fully in another post.  For the record, I wouldn't have a problem with Boise even if we had an eight-team playoff system, because then they would have to beat three elite programs to win the national championship, and I wouldn't have any problems with them if they could accomplish that.  I'll revisit this need for a playoff system in a blog in the near future, when we get closer to the end of this college football season.  In the meantime, someone PLEASE be this year's Nevada, and jump up and knock them off!  ;) 

So, I get home from work last night, I make myself some spaghetti, and I put some shredded cheddar cheese on it.  As I started feasting on this culinary masterpiece, I started wondering about that age-old question, "what is your favorite food?"  I wondered if anyone has ever answered that inquiry with the words "melted cheese."  Then I started thinking about some of the foods that I like...  Pizza (melted cheese), Quesadillas (melted cheese), Cheese Omelettes (melted cheese), Nachos (melted cheese), Cheeseburgers (melted cheese), Lasagna (melted cheese), Cheese Enchiladas (melted cheese), Macaroni and Cheese (melted cheese), melted cheese, melted cheese, MELTED CHEESE!  These are the things that I think about while I'm eating my spaghetti at 3:00 in the morning, and why I need to start working out again...  ;) 

Please come back again tomorrow when I make my weekly football picks.  I'm still managing not to be horrible on that front this season...  Have a good one!
   

    

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tim Tebow & Other Stuff

The content of this blog contains words that I would have never dreamed that I would ever be speaking or typing.  As you probably know by now, I am a pretty avid football follower.  That being said, when Tim Tebow was the starting quarterback for the Gators at the University of Florida, I could not stand the guy.  I have never met him, and haven't really heard anyone say anything bad about him that wasn't football related.  It just seemed that when he was playing for the Gators, the media kept shoving their darling quarterback down our throats.  Tim Tebow this, Tim Tebow that, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow...  Like many other college quarterbacks who like to run the ball, I suspected that he wouldn't be successful in the NFL at that position because the defenders who hit you on Sundays are a lot bigger and stronger and faster than those college kids (with all due respect to the SEC).  He may still prove to be a failure in the NFL at that position, but there is something about Tebow...  He has those qualities that you wish everyone you coach, or play with, or even know in your personal life would have.  Tebow is a leader, he works hard, and he just does not quit.  After the Texans destroyed the Titans on Sunday in Tennessee, CBS switched their coverage to the Broncos/Dolphins game, and Denver was down eight points, and driving with time running out.  The Broncos in reality needed to score the touchdown and the two-point conversion on that drive, because they were very unlikely to see the ball again.  I couldn't help but root for him to tie the game.  After sitting on the bench for the Broncos until the very end of last year, when he got to start and won some games for Denver, he was the victim of bad circumstances during the offseason.  The new coach who was hired did not want him to be the starting quarterback, although anything you read or hear professes that Tebow was the overwhelming choice of the Broncos fanbase, so not only is he sitting on the bench, but hearing about it in the news all the time.  Well, as you probably know by now, Tebow did lead on the Broncos on the game-tying drive, and Denver won the game in overtime.  It seems that he's becoming one of those players that you either love or hate, and I'm just surprised that I actually flipped my opinion of him, because that's rare for me.  I will be very interested to see how this season and his football career play out.

Other stuff...  There is a story on Yahoo about a pair of 12 year-olds that were switched at birth, and both girls want to stay and live with the families that have raised them, and not with their actual parents.  On my facebook page I very regularly make fun of a lot of the Yahoo headlines, but this was a story that I actually clicked on and read.  I cannot even imagine how difficult that situation would be.  The article also says that there are some other documented cases of children being switched at birth in the hospital, and just came online today if you want to read it.

For those of you who are fantasy football players, you'll understand my joy...  72.18 - 50.78 and 72.54 - 58.94 were the scores in my 2 wins this weekend that put my teams at 6-1 and 5-2, respectively, this season.  I had most of my better players sitting in their living rooms with byes this week, but my opponents ran into the same hurdles, and I survived some very ugly games.  I obviously haven't won anything yet, but it sure feels nice to be off to fast starts in both leagues.

The Texas Rangers went up 3-2 tonight in the World Series with a 4-2 victory, and are making me wish already that I would be quicker to post my thoughts here since I do like making predictions so much.  For what it's worth, I was one of those telling my friends that I thought this series would go at least six games, and I've also been saying to anyone who would listen to me that I thought the Oklahoma Sooners were going to get beat this year, although I honestly didn't think that Texas Tech was going to be the team to do that, in Norman.  This season has the opportunity for the 'perfect storm' of controversy to be created in the BCS if these powerhouses keep getting knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten, and Boise State continues along unscathed with its schedule.  More on that later...  ;) 

I do have a list of future topics for the blog planned, but there are a number of those that I don't want to post until there is a bigger following here, so again, if you have any suggestions for topics that you want covered, or questions that you have, feel free to comment.  That includes questions with what you would do with your fantasy football team on a weekly basis (I saw some of these online tonight), but just don't ask for this advice if you are in a league with me...  :)  My next planned entry is for Thursday, but if I have the time, I'll post again tomorrow.  Thank you for following along, and have a great day!


 



       

Monday, October 24, 2011

Picking Up The Pace

Good morning from San Marcos, America everyone.  It's just after 5:00 a.m. here, and I've finished a run of working 11 straight days...  I'm very happy to say that I don't feel like I've worked that many days in a row, and I'm still wide awake, so I thought that I'd enter my first post of the week.  When I started this blog almost a month ago, my goal was to post at least twice a week, and I have achieved that.  My new goal is to put up a post at least 4 times a week, all on weekdays, when football is not pulling me away from the computer.  I will still do what are now my normal football posts with predictions on Fridays, but I will mix up the topics between sports and other subjects the rest of the week.  I think it's only fair to those of you who are following this blog to have some consistency in when you can expect it to be here.  For those readers who may be seeing the blog for the first time, I had been concentrating strictly on sports posts in an attempt to get this blog listed on a website with other blogs (needing 10 entries which fell into a specific category), but I have researched alternate ways of promoting the blog since that site rejected me.  I think that I'll be better served blogging about whatever suits me on any particular day, and with my history of hustling, I'm sure that I'll put in enough time and effort to expand the following of this blog to a number that suits me.  I have entered 11 posts to this point, and I wouldn't be adding to that if only 4 people had stopped by to read what I had to say, but I am happy to say that this blog has been viewed over 200 times with me doing NOTHING other than letting my facebook friends know about it, so I'll continue to type away in my little piece of cyberspace.  To everyone that has stopped by, thank you! 

Time flies...  All of those old adages that you hear, and before you know it, you figure them out.  As my worknight was kicking off, I saw a group of girls walking in front of the Texas Music Theater (my workplace) on the Square in San Marcos, and I thought that I recognized one of them.  I opened the door and called out her name, and sure enough, it was her.  The girl is a high school senior, and I think that I have known her for over 10 years now.  She is the daughter of a teacher who I worked with, and her sister was in a class that I co-sponsored at the high school.  Now she is a HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR...  She's got to be too young to start college next year...  :)  Anyway, I gave her and her friends a "tour"of TMT (the word tour is giving me WAY TOO MUCH credit), but seeing her was just another reminder of how precious time is and that it shouldn't be wasted. 

One person can make a difference...  I did miss the Texas Rangers tying the World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals at 2-2 tonight (the Rangers won 4-0), but the one thing that I didn't miss seeing was the Indianapolis Colts getting beat 62-7 (yes, SIXTY-TWO) by the New Orleans Saints.  I would have been watching the game because it did have fantasy football implications for me, and now my teams have a very good chance of being 6-1 and 5-2 after this week (shameless plug), but is it not AMAZING how different that Indiana football team is without Peyton Manning playing quarterback?!  One person, one player, COMPLETELY DIFFERENT football team.  In the football games that I did see a bit of today, a couple of commentators made me laugh.  I was watching parts of the Seahawks/Browns game today, which was carried by the local FOX station because Cleveland's quarterback Colt McCoy played his college football just up the street in Austin.  Anyway, I had already complained about the FOX coverage on facebook when later in the game I hear the commentator say, "this looks like a high school football game."  I just laughed to myself and said, "well, yeah..."  After waking up from an afternoon nap before work, I'm eating a sandwich, for a moment not looking at the television, when I hear Dick Stockton say, "the Rams are going to kick this one away from Dez Bryant....  no, the kick goes to him."  At this point I look up, and the ball is caught right in the middle of the field...  :)  I think that someone needs to give me a microphone...  ;)

I hope that today kicks off what will be a good week for all of you.  I heard somebody talking about Thanksgiving the other day, thought about it, and it occurred to me that it really isn't too soon to be talking about Thanksgiving and making plans for it.  Halloween is one week from today, with Thanksgiving about a month from now.  Again, that time flying thing...  Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions for topics, become a follower of the blog, etc...  Wyatt Earp has been carrying the load as the lone follower of the blog since the 1st entry, and he could use some company.  Have a good one!






    

Friday, October 21, 2011

Almost Hit By A Car

Hey there, I've got a lot in store for you today.  To open, I will be addressing my blog's rejection at BlogCatalog.com, followed by the true story of how I was almost hit BY A CAR while walking to work last night, with my usual weekend football picks closing the blog.

I am not going to spend too much time on why my blog was rejected at BlogCatalog.com (because I don't actually know), but the story is just too stupid not to share...  This is part of the rejection e-mail that I received from BlogCatalog.com last night: "Unfortunately upon reviewing your blog we are unable to grant it access to the directory.  The most common reasons for not getting into Blog Catalog are:"  I am DEAD SERIOUS - they sent me a FORM REJECTION LETTER, and did not tell me why my blog was rejected.  The e-mail went on to list reasons why blogs may be rejected, and told me that I may re-submit my blog if I wish at a later date.  Yeah, that WON'T be happening...  This seems like a great time to say thank you again to my facebook friends who have read my blog, and to those of you who have found it through some other outlet.  I have done NOTHING to promote this blog other than let my facebook friends know that it's here, and the blog should officially push into having hundreds of views with this entry - I appreciate ya!

Sooooo, I'm walking to work last night, and I'm crossing the street between the university and Jack In The Box (if you don't live in San Marcos, America, I'm crossing a street)...  :)  I have the 'little while stick figure go ahead and cross the crosswalk guy' working in my favor, but I'm not at the crosswalk yet, and the first car takes its left turn in front of me.  I am at the street after it passes, and I start crossing.  GENIUS girl on her cellphone driving her silver sports car does not stop, making her left turn, and she SURELY would have hit me if I did not quickly take two 'shuffle steps' to my right...  At this point, she hits her brakes, and I instinctively throw my arms up in the air, yelling "DO YOU KNOW WHAT THESE MEAN?!" (my palms are pointing to stick figure guy on each side of the street).  BRILLIANT girl has her windows rolled up, and hits the gas again, taking off, not only not apologizing, but continuing to talk on her cellphone.  She probably works for BlogCatalog.com I'm guessing (and that's the last time they'll be mentioned in any blog of mine).  ;)

Football, football, football...  It's seeming more and more like I should have moved to Vegas for football season (so far).  Last week I was 3-2 on my college picks and 3-0 on my NFL picks.  To recap, my college winners were Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and Auburn, while my losers were Texas Tech and Michigan.  My NFL winners were ALL 1/2 point winners (I'm rolling my eyes and whistling right now)...  ;)  I took the Bills + 3 1/2 (they lost by 3), I took over 50 1/2 points (the Bills and Giants combined for 51), and I took Oakland - 6 1/2 (they won by 7).  For the season, I am now 10-6 on my college picks, and 7-2 on my NFL picks.

This week's college games...  This is a bad weekend if you're a college football fan, in respect to the fact that there aren't as many marquee matchups as there have been in the past few weeks.  I am going to take my shot on the 2 games where Top 25 teams are meeting, and on one other (because a friend and blog reader wants me to, and because it is also a good matchup), but the best matchups don't involve any Big 12 teams this weekend - sorry...  #6 Wisconsin is traveling to #16 Michigan State this weekend, and I am going to pick the 5-1 Spartans over the 6-0 Badgers in this one.  I was impressed that the Spartans defeated Michigan by two touchdowns, and I don't like that the Badgers have been playing so often at home this year.  I think that a solid effort at home by a good Michigan State team can win this one.  In the second matchup of Top 25 teams this weekend (barely), I will go with the favorite this time, and take #8 Stanford over #25 Washington.  I don't think that this matchup should be near as close as the Wisconsin/Michigan State game, but Washington is much better than they were a few years back, so why not throw them a bone and include their game.  USC at Notre Dame - both unranked, but very likely to be the most watched game this weekend, given the teams' collective following and the prime-time kickoff.  I am going to take the Irish at home.  I think that their early schedule has been more solid than USC's, I like the fact that they're playing at home, and this is the best Notre Dame has played in the past few years I think, in a game that they will definitely want to take.  For Kathryn, I DO think that the Wildcats beat the Jayhawks this weekend, but I can't count that game...  SHOULD be an easy one - EMAW!!  ;)

In this week's NFL slate, I would take the Raiders (-5) against the Kansas City.  Oakland is again at home, and they now have Carson Palmer at the helm, who I think will be worth the draft picks that they gave up if he stays healthy.  There just are not that many proven quarterbacks in the NFL.  I like the Steelers (-3 1/2) at Arizona.  With the offensive line woes that Pittsburgh has, it seems like the team should be doing worse (I am a Steelers fan, for those of you who may not know), but the team has been finding a way to win games.  I thought that the Cardinals would be playing better than they have so far this year with Kevin Kolb landing there, but it hasn't materialized yet.  I also expect that the Chicago/Tampa Bay game will stay under 43 1/2 points.  Both of these teams have decent defenses, and that Bears effort in Detroit is still fresh in my head.  Devin Hester returning 3 kicks for touchdowns could hurt this pick, but I think the game stays under.

My intention at this point is to now start doing this blog 4 days during the week, while still taking the weekend off.  Again, I appreciate you stopping by to read it.  Have a great weekend! 


    

   

 



 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The SEC vs. the Big 12

Hey there - I hope that you're enjoying your day.  Here at Bikini Hill, we're going to be experiencing the coolest temperatures that we've seen in a long, LONG, time...  A low of 46 degrees is expected tonight here in San Marcos, America, so I'm in a PRETTY GOOD mood today!  I got into a pretty interesting conversation last night with a friend of mine who is an Arkansas fan, and of course being mid-October, it's football that we're talking about.  He told me that the Razorbacks are 9th in the first BCS rankings that came out this week (I am 100% in favor of a playoff system, and think that the current system is a total joke, but we'll talk about that on another day, and another, and another...), and I responded that their only loss was to Alabama.  The conversation continued, bringing various other teams into it, and my friend made the comment that the Big 12 can't be compared/can't compete (something along those lines...)  :) with the SEC.  THAT'S when I compared them, and started naming names.  ;)  Last year the SEC was a more dominant conference than it is this year when compared to the Big 12.  In the first BCS rankings, we have #1 LSU, #2 Alabama, #9 Arkansas, #14 South Carolina, and #20 Auburn representing the SEC.  BUT, we also have #3 Oklahoma, #4 Oklahoma State, #11 Kansas State, #17 Texas A&M, and #24 Texas leading the Big 12.  By the way, my conversation never got this far with my friend, because he walked away after my continued verbal onslaught of Big 12 teams.  :)  Before he did walk away, he said that Texas shouldn't be ranked.  I responded that their only two losses are to the 3rd and 4th-ranked teams IN THE NATION.  We had earlier discussed the Razorbacks comeback victory against Texas A&M, but if you're going to call that an impressive win, you can't turn around a minute later and say that A&M isn't a good team, right?  ;)  I think that any combination of matchups that you choose for games among LSU, Bama, OU, and OSU would make for GREAT games.  We are guaranteed to see at least two of these games, as LSU will play Alabama, and the Sooners will meet the Cowboys.  I also believe that the SEC has gotten significantly weaker with injuries, with Florida having to deal with John Brantley's leg injury at the QB position, and with South Carolina losing both starting QB Stephen Garica (off-field issues) and superstar RB Marcus Lattimore (season-ending knee injury).  I think that the Lattimore injury will be devastating to the Gamecocks, and the Gators have already been knocked out of the Top 25.  In addition to that, the teams in the Big 12 have to worry about Missouri, Baylor, and Texas Tech squads that are VERY CAPABLE of jumping up and beating you on any given Saturday.  Don't talk to me about how dominant the SEC is against the Big 12, not this year anyway...  ;)  I will be posting my footbal picks again this weekend, and I went 3-2 with my college picks and 3-0 on my NFL selections last weekend, so I'll be feeling pretty confident...  :)  Have a good one!


                 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Good Week

Happy Friday everyone - let me start off by saying that before I did not realize that you had to be a registered user to leave comments on my blog, but I think that I have fixed that now.  For those of you following the blog, I appreciate your interest - after this weekend I should be able to say that 'The View From Bikini Hill' has had hundreds of viewers.  Based on last weekend's football picks, I should have moved back to Las Vegas, well, for one weekend at least...  I was 4-1 on my college picks and 2-1 on my NFL picks.  For those of you keeping score at home (I really hope that you're not), we're 7-4 on the college games after 2 weeks, and 4-2 on the NFL.  Bill Snyder and Kathryn's karma did jump up and bite me again, as the Wildcats were able to hold off Missouri - yeah, EMAW Kathryn...  :)  Aside from that game though, the other four picks came through.  Notre Dame (easy win), Texas A&M (exciting game), Nebraska (nice comeback), and Oklahoma (OUCH!!) all won last week.  On the NFL picks, the Saints and Panthers covered the over, the Lions covered agaisnt the Bears (although the Bears were about 2 yards from blowing that on the final play of the game), and my loss came in the Pats/Jets game with just over a minute remaining when a field goal sent that game over. 

On to this week's college games...  I am going to go to the well again (the one that I am stuck at the bottom of), and I will take Texas Tech at home over Kansas State.  The Wildcats now have to leave Manhattan to play in Lubbock, and if I am wrong, I may just end up picking against K-State all the way to their national championship this season (no need to thank me Kathryn).  :)  The Red Raiders almost had the Aggies, and I think they'll get the Wildcats.  Baylor at Texas A&M - another tough game.  I am going to take the Aggies simply because they are the home team.  I think that these two squads are about as evenly matched-up as a pair of teams can be.  In Austin, I am going to have to pick Oklahoma State against the Longhorns.  The Cowboys have a scary offense, and I don't know if they will have to force as many turnovers as the Sooners did to pile up a bunch of points.  I do think that Texas will score more than 10 points this week on the OSU defense, but I don't think they will be able to match scores with the Orange and Black.  I will pick two ESPN games for the 4th and 5th picks, since they look to be pretty good games.  I will take 11th-ranked Michigan against 23rd-ranked Michigan State (11:00 am CST kickoff) and I will take the Auburn Tigers at home against Florida (6:00 pm CST kickoff).  Taking Michigan is just pretty much going with the hot hand in this rivalry - the Wolverines are 6-0, and I'll take them against a one-loss Spartans team.  I like the Tigers at home against the Gators because I think that Florida suffered a huge loss when their quarterback went down in the Alabama game.

Three NFL picks...  I like the one-loss Bills getting 3 1/2 points at the Giants.  The Bills have been throwing the ball all over the field this year, and the Giants are struggling this season with a decimated secondary.  I am going to stay with this game and take the over - over 50 1/2 points.  I think that the Giants will be able to score enough on Buffalo that the Bills won't have to carry an unfair share of the load in getting this game to 51.  I also like the Raiders to cover the -6 1/2 points against the Browns.  The game is in Oakland, and Raider Nation ought to make the Black Hole a madhouse after the quick start Oakland has got off to.  The Browns have had issues of some sort with Peyton Hillis (contract squabble, strep throat, whatever), and this will be Oakland's first home game since Al Davis passed away a week ago.  I think the Raiders will cover a touchdown.  Good luck to everyone with their fantasy football teams (4-1 and 3-2 here), and enjoy your football this weekend!

              

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Snowman

Those of you familiar with poker hands probably know what number 'the snowman' refers to, or, more accurately, which hand you hold if you hold snowmen...  This is my eighth post so far, an average of one every other day since I started, and I will be two posts away from having the blog reviewed for inclusion in the Blogcatalog.com search engine after I have published this.  So what's going on in the world of sports today...?  The Texas Rangers are one win away from punching a return ticket to the World Series after a 7-3 win over the Detroit Tigers tonight, while the St. Louis Cardinals took a 2-1 lead in their series against the Milwaukee Brewers with a 4-3 victory.  When the four teams had been decided for the AL and NL Championship Series, I made the comment to a friend of mine about Major League Baseball surely being thrilled that no teams from the east coast NOR the west coast were being represented any longer.  I also mentioned that I was positive that MLB must be pulling for the Rangers now, so the World Series would at least have the Dallas/Fort Worth television market and the state of Texas watching some baseball games in late October.  A Tigers/Brewers matchup would be interesting because we might get to see some snow in the Fall Classic, but it's going to be Rangers/Cardinals unless something changes fast... 

Now we'll explore that job opportunity that I missed about a year ago, you know, the job of Big 12 Commissioner.  I have been telling everyone I know when the subject of the Big 12 Conference came up in conversation during the past year that the conference should invite TCU to be a member.  TCU was an obvious choice to me after Colorado left for what is now the PAC 12, and Nebraska left for the Big 10.  TCU is a solid football and baseball school and comes with the Dallas/Fort Worth television market (is a theme developing here?).  Texas A&M University did TCU a HUGE favor by leaving for the SEC, cutting the Big 12 down to 9 teams, while selling the other conference members on inviting a school that did not want another team from Texas in the conference.  I have never understood the so-called logic of not wanting to include another school from the Lone Star State, but now TCU has been saved from the massive amounts of travel that being a member of the Big East Conference would have required, plus they slide right into the great spot that the Aggies vacated, which is inclusion in a conference with in-state schools Texas, Baylor, and Texas Tech.  I think that Texas A&M made a mistake by leaving for the SEC, and only time will tell if that is correct.  I think that the leadership in College Station is basically jealous of the Longhorn Network that the University of Texas set up with ESPN, and that their departure from the Big 12 was ill-advised.  The ability of Texas A&M to compete in the SEC is not the problem that I have with the move.  Looking at the Top 25 teams in the football polls right now, you find the Aggies, along with many other members of the Big 12 and the SEC.  The Aggies also won a national championship in women's basketball during the past year, and have many other successful athletic programs.  What I think the Aggies will lose in-state are their rivalries and their relevance, added to the fact that their student-athletes and fans are going to find it more difficult to travel to away games.  I find it hard to believe that a school so passionate about tradition found it so easy to end their in-state rivalries, and when they are playing in the SEC, there won't be any reason for sports followers around the state to care about what the Aggies are doing, because they won't be competing for conference titles against the other schools in the state.  I hope that the administration at A&M really thought this move through, because I know a lot of sports fans in the state that LOVED this rivalry, and now it will be next to impossible for an Aggie fan to EVER say anything to a Longhorn fan, because the response will simply be, "hey, YOU left..."  Have a great day everyone...

           



     

Friday, October 7, 2011

All I Do Is Win...

"All I do is win, win, win no matter what, got money on my mind, I can never get enough, and every time I step up in the building, everybody hands go up..." -DJ Khaled-

Welcome to the eve of another football weekend everyone.  Just poking a little fun at my not so perfect record last weekend with the lyrics above, although we got a couple of games right.  Looking back to last weekend, my overall record was 3-3 in the college games and 2-1 on the NFL picks.  In the college matchups of top 15 teams, I was right about Wisconsin and Clemson, and I missed on Florida, although none of these games ended up being the coinflips that I envisioned (Wisconsin 48 Nebraska 14, Clemson 23 Virginia Tech 3, Alabama 38 Florida 10).  In the games involving Texas teams, I was right about the Longhorns, and whiffed on the other two (Texas 37 Iowa State 14, Arkansas 42 Texas A&M 38, Kansas State 36 Baylor 35).  First off, tough weekend to be an A&M fan and a Cowboys fan I imagine...  I thought A&M had the Hogs, the way that the game started.  Second, I need to give a SHOUTOUT to Kathryn, one of my former kiddos who is up in Manhattan, and got to experience the atmosphere of the underdog Wildcats knocking off the Bears from Baylor.  EMAW!!! (Every Man A Wildcat).  ;)  On my NFL picks last Sunday, I lost my favorite play of the week, the over in the Pats/Raiders game (Pats 30 Raiders 19 - failing to get to 57 by about a touchdown).  However, Detroit (+3.5) and the Giants (-1.5) did cover (Lions 34 Cowboys 30, Giants 31 Cardinals 27), but both had to make bizarre comebacks for me to take those.  I will spare you Dallas fans reliving it, except to say that one of my friends who was preparing to go out after the game said that he was singing in the shower at halftime after watching the Cowboys sprint out to that huge lead... 

On to this weekend's games...  One of my co-workers told me that he is a loyal follower of the blog, and since I may have four of you at this point, I told him that I would take my chances on the Notre Dame games each week.  If anyone else has a team that they want me to handicap each week, let me know.  I am going to continue picking the college games straight up and giving you my top NFL plays of the week with the spread-over/under since that is the way that I started doing it last week,   The Irish are hosting the Air Force Academy this weekend, and I am taking the Irish at home.  Notre Dame had a nice road win at Purdue last weekend, and I think that the Falcons may have a little hangover from their overtime win at the Naval Academy last Saturday.  The other matchups I'm looking at come from games featured in a college pick 'em contest that I'm in, most of which are intended to be difficult to pick.  I will pick the 24th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies in Lubbock against Texas Tech tomorrow, mainly on the strength of the competition that the Aggies have faced so far, but A&M better be careful out there.  I don't know if they'll be able to withstand another disappointment after their near misses against Oklahoma State and Arkansas.  I'm going to take Nebraska at home against Ohio State, in a spot similar to A&M's.  The Cornhuskers do not want to come out of the Big 10 gate with another loss after all of the hoopla of entering the conference, and Ohio State is down right now.  Bill Snyder may get me again, but I'm going to pick Missouri at 20th-ranked Kansas State.  Missouri played Oklahoma to 10 points, and K-State HAS to lose one of these close ones SOMETIME, right?...  Oklahoma vs. Texas - the little game up in the Metroplex that will jam up I-35 North later this afternoon...  I have worked for the University of Texas, I will be rooting for the Longhorns, but I have to take Oklahoma to win this one.  The Sooners have played a few tough teams this year already, and they have a proven, experienced quarterback.  Although Texas has bounced back nicely after last year, they have been rotating inexperienced quarterbacks this year, and they are playing a lot of young kids in key positions.  In NFL contests, I like the New Orleans/Carolina game to go over 51 points.  Both of these teams have been playing a lot of offense and not so much defense so far this season.  I also like the Jets/Patriots game to go under 49 points.  I think that the hard-hitting nature of the renewal of this rivalry, plus my perceived perception that the Jets won't want Mark Sanchez gift-wrapping turnovers like he did against the Ravens can keep this score under.  I'm also going to pick the Lions (-5) against the Bears.  I just have a hunch that the atmosphere at Ford Field with a 4-0 Lions team on Monday night is going to be very similar to the post Katrina Superdome home-opener on a Monday night a few years back when the Saints crushed the Falcons.  Have a great weekend football fans!
       

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Blogging

Posting my sixth blog entry, I thought that some of you might be interested in blogging itself - how to start a blog, how much money it takes, is it easy or difficult to do, etc...  You can start a blog for as little as FREE, which is what I have done, using www.blogger.com as my host site (www.blogspot.com is essentially the same site).  I myself have really only followed one blog, http://pkrdlr.blogspot.com, which is titled, 'Life as a Las Vegas Poker Dealer'.  The blog is written by a friend of mine that I met while I lived in Las Vegas, and as you can see looking at the link, it's at blogspot.com - when I decided to use the same site for my blog, it linked me to blogger.com, so what I'm saying again is that they are basically the same host.  The site gives you templates to choose from for your background and your page layout (for those of you that know me well, I am NOT an artist), it allows you the option of featuring advertisements (with the possibility of making money from them), and you get to make decisions in many other areas.  It really is simple to set up the blog - you just need to complete a simple registration, which includes having a title for your blog, so be prepared to provide one, because I had to think one up while I was sitting at my computer registering.  With my blog still being in its infancy, I am sure that most of you following it at this point clicked on a link from your facebook page.  If you do get into blogging, there are many websites out there which can be used to promote your blog.  Some of them do not charge you to register, and the one that I am going to sign up with is www.blogcatalog.com.  Their site is free, but to submit your blog to be included in their database, you have to have done at least 10 posts, so after I hit the 'publish' button in a little while, I will be more than halfway there.  Blogcatalog.com also asks you which category you want your blog to be listed under (for their search engine), and mine seems to be a combination of sports and humor (the best matches that I can make from the choice of categories that they offer).

Back to the advertising that you may choose to be allowed space on your blogpage, the ads are placed there, in part, by the content in your blog postings.  I have enjoyed following the different ads placed by and below my postings as I have started this.  When I did my first true sports post this weekend, including my football predictions, those types of ads showed up on the site, where you can get football picks.  I have also had ad placements by ITT, Marriott, and Ramada, among others.  When you are in your account at the site, you can click on the number of pageviews that you have had (I am officially over 100 now, thank you), and a lot of information becomes available to you.  You can click on a 'traffic sources' button, and it shows you how your visitors found you.  I now have visitors from three sites that are not facebook.  For those of you who are not one of my facebook friends, they are the ones who have helped to get this blog off the ground, because to this point I have done nothing to get the word out other than posting the blog link on my facebook page.  The information is anonymous, so I cannot tell who is reading the blog, only how they were directed here.  Clicking on the 'audience' button gives me three interesting pieces of information.  First, I know which countries the readers are connecting from.  At this time, I have had 6 hits from Russia, and 1 hit from Germany.  The second piece of information provided is the type of browser that the user is viewing my page with - in order of most hits to least, you are viewing my posts on Internet Explorer, Mobile Safari, Mobile, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera.  The third type of pageview information provided relates to the viewer's operating system - again, in order of most hits, you are using Windows, Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Macintosh, and Samsung.  You can click on an 'overview' button to see how many hits your blog has had each day. 

I know that this little blog entry really didn't have anything to do with sports and that it wasn't very funny, but I wanted to get out some information in case any of you were interested in started your own blog at some point. Of course, this does get me one post closer to having my blog reviewed for approval at Blogcatalog.com...  ;)  Have a great day everyone!
 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fantasy Football

I am sitting here at home on a lazy Monday afternoon, my Saturday as this work week has played out, currently watching the Rangers/Rays baseball game as I wait for tonight's THRILLER between the Indianapolis Colts and the Tampa Bay Bucs.  When I talk to people who are not very familiar with fantasy football, tonight's matchup is one of the textbook examples of a reason that I give endorsing the popular pastime.  For those of you who are not very familiar with fantasy football, it is actually a pretty simple game to play.  I will admit, the first time that I ever heard the term 'FANTASY fooball', I reacted with a roll of my eyes and a "huh?"  How the game works is that you build a team by selecting players from any of the 32 NFL rosters.  In standard leagues, you will select 16 players total - each week you will start 9 of those 16 players, having a 7-player bench.  Your team scores points based on how your players perform in the ACTUAL NFL games, accumulating points for positive plays (gaining yardage, scoring touchdowns, kicking field goals, etc...), while losing points for negative plays (fumbles, thrown interceptions, etc...).  Each league has its own specific scoring system, determining how many points you will receive or have deducted for these outcomes.  Each week, your team is matched up against the team of someone else in your league, and the person whose players score the most points wins.  One of my favorite things about fantasy football is that it makes normally uninteresting games worth watching, because during most games each week, you will either be rooting for one of your players who is playing in a game, or you will be rooting against one of your opponent's players.  When the NFL made tonight's schedule, a Week 4 matchup between the Colts and Bucs looked pretty attractive (the 'Dungy Bowl', if you will, both teams having been coached by Tony Dungy).  The Bucs played very well last year, and are a team that is on the rise.  The Colts have been one of the most interesting teams to watch in the league for a while now, scoring tons of points each year, with superstar Peyton Manning at the helm.  Fast forward to today, and Peyton Manning has not taken a single snap this year due to injury, and the Colts are winless.  HOWEVER, the game has a huge impact to me personally in fantasy football, as most Monday night games seem to.  Monday night games are set to feature meetings between the better teams, who have the good players that fantasy football owners want on their own teams.  My 9 players have finished playing for the week, and I hold a 16-point lead over my opponent, but she has Colts' running-back Joseph Addai on her roster, so I will be watching an otherwise meaningless game with A LOT of interest tonight.  I am playing in two leagues this year, and I will have two teams with 3-1 records if Addai scores less than 16 points tonight.  One of my teams is just like the Houston Texans right now, sitting at 3-1 but with an injured Andre Johnson on the roster...  That team is in a random online league that I joined, a league in which I got the Baltimore Ravens defense in the 9th or 10th round.  In this league, points ARE NOT deducted from a team's score when the defense allows their opposition to score, and the Ravens have scored more than 20 points for me in all 3 of my wins.  In the league that I'm playing in with a bunch of friends (where I'm facing Addai tonight), my 1st 2 picks were Tom Brady and LeSean McCoy, and they have been leading the way.  Being a Boston Red Sox fan, I cannot wait until this Rangers/Rays game, this..., filler, is finished, so that I can watch a game that actually means something.  :)  Have a good one everybody!
 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

If I Was In Las Vegas....

I always wanted to be a major league baseball player when I was growing up.  I LOVED playing the outfield, chasing down fly balls, making diving and sliding catches, throwing out baserunners - LOVED IT.  As I have grown older, the time of year that I look forward to the most is football season.  I moved to Texas after I graduated from high school, and I am sure that is part of the reason, as popular as the sport is here.  The event that football has become, where parties are planned around games, the huge explosion of fantasy football, the ease of betting and watching multiple games at once when I lived in Las Vegas for a couple of years - all are factors I am sure.

The timing of my blog starting this week blends well with the menu of great matchups that are taking place this weekend in college football.  Three huge battles of 4-0 teams taking place today, with #3 Alabama @ #12 Florida, #8 Nebraska @ #7 Wisconsin, and #13 Clemson @ #11 Virginia Tech - a few of MANY interesting games today.    As I do these weekend sports posts during the infancy of this blog, I will make predictions for each weekend's games (I LOVE making predictions) just to keep things interesting.  I can already see that there is a possibility that at some point this blog may morph into a 2nd solely sports-related blog, but I want to see how writing one goes, so I'll stick mainly to the weekend with the sports for now.  With as many 'coinflips' as there are in college football this weekend, I'm not going to include betting lines or spreads with these picks, but I'll just pick my projected winners.

 If I was in Las Vegas this week, and had to bet these games...  I would take Florida in the Bama/Florida game - I like that the Gators are playing at home, and I like that it is Will Muschamp's first really big game.  I think that the Swamp will be a tough road spot today.  I would take the Badgers in the Nebraska/Wisconsin game.  Again, the home-field could be big in this one (if I'm not mistaken, Wisconsin hasn't played a road game yet this year, but since I'm not betting it, I'm not looking it up...).  ;)  I like Clemson at Virginia Tech.  The Tigers have played some tough opponents this year, and until they lose, I think that I am going to stick with them (while not betting any games, I have been picking the Tigers in all of my ESPN contests).  Again, all three of these games are flips, and nothing would surprise me.  Closer to home, I look for Texas to win today at Iowa State.  The Longhorns are playing much better this year - it's amazing what a few new coordinators and a few new recruits can do.  The Cyclones beat Texas last year, and I'm positive that the Horns remember that.  I like Texas A&M against Arkansas.  This is a spot where you have to be careful if you are making bets.  ESPN lists the game as being at Arkansas, but the game is actually being played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, NOT the same thing.  This is a #14 vs. #18 matchup (another flip), but the Aggies loss is a one-point loss to Oklahoma State, so I'm going with them.  I'm picking Baylor at Kansas State, but I don't think that the Bears will win by as much as some people think (ESPN's Gameday did a feature story on Robert Griffin earlier this morning) - both of these teams are 3-0, and K-State isn't a pushover at home. 

The NFL...  Kinda wishing that I had started this blog earlier now.  On facebook a week or two before the regular season started, I predicted that the Kansas City Chiefs would not make the playoffs this year (0-3 right now), and I also predicted that the Houston Texans would not only make their first playoff appearance, but that they would win the AFC South outright (2-1 right now).  Trust me, I would not lie to you (well, I might, but I'm not lying about this)...  ;)  My favorite play in the NFL this week is the over in the Patriots/Raiders game.  Depending on when you bet the game, the number is in the upper 50's, but the total in both the Oakland/Buffalo game and the New England/Buffalo game was well over that range, so that's the play I'd make.  In the spirt of the Clemson Tigers and sticking with a team until they prove me wrong, I would take the Lions with the points at Dallas.  Romo is still hurting, Austin is still out, Jones is still dinged up, the Cowboys still have the same offensive line...  Dallas has played admirably considering the injury troubles they've had, and are close to being undefeated also, but I'd take the Lions.  I also like the way that the Giants looked last week against Philly, and would take them against the Cardinals.  It looks like Brandon Jacobs is out of the doghouse that he's been in, and the game that keeps sticking in my mind for Arizona is a 16-10 game with the Seahawks - Seattle has been thoroughly unimpressive in my eyes this year....  The blog will still be here Monday so that you can ridicule my picks in hindsight...  :)  I have 2 fantasy teams this year that are both 2-1, but I'll talk more about fantasy football later on.  I definitely won't be making a blog entry tomorrow, so I hope that everyone enjoys their football and has a great weekend!

Cruel, Cruel Summer...

This post is not about the song recorded by the group Bananarama, for those of you old enough to remember that tune.  The Summer of 2011 has easily been the most difficult, frustrating, and exhausting summer of my life.  The months of June and July are the focal point of my discontent.  I can without hesitation relay that I am ecstatic that the calendar has now turned to the month of October. 

During the 13 months preceding June 2011, I was working with good people at the University of Texas, and lived so close to campus that I actually walked to work and took the campus shuttle buses home.  My job started too early in the morning each day to take the bus to work, but considering that I was spending ZERO on gasoline when the cost of gas was near $4.00 a gallon, I didn't complain at all about my morning commute.  I saved enough money during this time to leave my job at the end of May, having enough in the bank to pay my bills for June and July, when my lease ended.  There was also enough money to invest in the job search that would result in my return to teaching and coaching, with enough left over for moving expenses and my first 2 months of rent, at which point the checks from my new school district would kick in.  Not so fast....  After paying coaching association membership fees (which allow you to use access job postings online), driving to interviews all over the state (eleven I believe), and spending money on coaching clinic fees (allowing me to interview in person with multiple districts for jobs that were still vacant), I was shut out.  I completely understand the state of our economy, and am fully aware that I was not the only person who was unable to find a job in the education field this summer.  My problems are with the school districts that had me driving across the state during the summer, in my vehicle with no AC, getting 20 miles per gallon, in situations that: (1)  They called me in to interview just because they have a minimum number of candidates to interview before making a hire;  (2)  They focused on the fact that I had not taught a cetain subject or subjects for a while, when they clearly knew that BEFORE making me drive 3 or 4 hours, having already received my resume';  and (3)  They told me that they would call me and inform me of their hiring decision when it had been made, which did not happen in more than half of these cases.  Number 3 is the one that really burns me, although they all do.  Knowing the state of this economy, and then just having someone spend in the neighborhood of 100 dollars round-trip, and then... just... blowing them off...  Yeah.....
I reached the end of July scrambling for a place to stay, and scrambling to find some type of work.  It is very nice to have good friends and family, let me tell you.  My sister had agreed to let me stay with her and her kids if the need arose, which I gratefully did for close to three weeks.  A good friend of mine, learning of my summer, hired me to work at a job that he told me "wouldn't make me rich", but I was working within a week of speaking to him.  In the near future I will do a full blog post on my workplace, but for now I will just say that I work at a great venue with a lot of great people, and that the Texas Music Theater deserves a full post.  My heart goes out to everyone who is struggling financially, and I hope that this stagnant economy soon passes, just as this summer has...