Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The San Antonio Spurs & LeBron James

Good morning everyone.  I think that I'm finally coming out on the other side of my cold.  It seems nowadays that anytime that I get sick, it starts off with a sore throat, and it ends with me waking up or laying around watching t.v. and thinking, "hey, I should be doing something..."  When I am sick, I am perfectly content to sleep or do absolutely nothing because I'm convinced that rest is one of the best things for me.  Long story short, I decided to take a nap during the 2nd quarter of the Giants/Saints game last night, even though I had two fantasy football games riding on it.  That 'nap' ended up lasting for about three hours, and I ended up losing both fantasy matchups, playing against Saints in a game that New Orleans ended up beating New York 49-24. My fantasy teams are now 8-4 are 5-7, this being the 2nd straight week that I was 0 for 2.  For the 5-7 team, it was my 5th straight loss, so let's talk some basketball...

I hope that during the NBA Lockout you either adopted my attitude or were already inclined not to worry about things that you cannot control.  As I guessed, the owners and players agreed how to split up the millions of dollars sooner rather than later, as there were no 'Occupy Arena Parking Lot' protests filling up the concrete surrounding NBA venues, bemoaning the fact that professional basketball players would soon be going hungry...  I won't be writing a ton about basketball here in the near future because of the nature of my blog, with Mondays being dedicated to 'rambles', and Fridays being dedicated to football predictions, so I wanted to take the opportunity to touch on the sport today, and then when they start playing I'll integrate hoops into more of my writing.  For those of you who haven't heard (which I am guessing is probably a number hovering near zero), games will tipoff on Christmas Day, the start of a 66 game season for each team, with playoffs starting at the end of April, and the NBA Finals ending no later than the end of June.  I just wanted to forewarn you that living not too far north of the Alamo City, and having lived in San Antonio for a significant portion of my life, I am a Spurs fan.  I was privileged enough to have a ticket to every home game during the conference finals and the finals when the Spurs were crowned NBA Champions in both 1999 and 2003.  In 2005 I was living in Las Vegas and in 2007 I had just moved back from Vegas and decided that it was someone else's turn to go.  I should mention that in any season that I have attended a Spurs playoff game before the start of the conference finals, San Antonio has not won the trophy.  The memory that stands out above all others from attending those playoff games (and there have been many great ones), a moment which I am sure many of you will recall, was Sean Elliott's 3-pointer from the corner which beat the Portland Trail-Blazers in Game 2 of the 1999 Western Conference Finals.  After seeing the 'Memorial Day Miracle' fall, I was jumping up and down for about 30 seconds before I even realized that I was jumping up and down (at which point I continued jumping up and down).  If you have never been to a major sporting event, but you have heard sports announcers describe a stadium atmosphere as being 'electric', that was it.  The Spurs were trailing by double-digits very early, and that shot capped off what was a slow and steady comeback throughout the course of the game.  I have always enjoyed being a Spurs fan because the players don't have a history of throwing 'look at me' poses after every single bucket that they score (if you see emotion from Tim Duncan, you KNOW it's genuine), and you also don't see Spurs players in the news for being idiots on a regular basis.

I guess that brings us to LeBron James...  Here you have a guy who has been blessed with size, athleticism, and pure basketball skill.  What I can't stomach is that he feels the need to make it all about him.  Before the start of last season, when he agreed to be on an hour-long show to reveal where he was going to 'take his talents', and then when he participated in that smoke-machine filled, 'look at us' coming out party to introduce the new Miami Heat...  Well, let's just say that after rooting for the Spurs to win, I am cheering for any team who plays against the Heat.  He has always done the thing with the powder before tipoff, but he brought self-importance to another level last year.  It is also my personal belief that you might want to WIN SOMETHING before you start showboating...  Just as I am a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and you don't see me flooding my posts with Steeler-related material, you won't see my writing dominated by Spurs articles either (or anti-LeBron crusades for that matter), but I thought that you might like to know where my heart is since we will be having a basketball season.

For those of you who follow my blog regularly, or even for any first-time visitors, I am satisfied with the way that things are currently playing out, and I will continue on the path that I began about a month ago.  You can expect to read new entries on Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays, and Fridays.  Mondays are comprised of 'rambles', which are basically one-paragraph observations and rants and vents about everything.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays you will find articles here on various topics, sports and non-sports related.  Fridays are reserved for football predictions, and when the football season ends, those predictions will find other sporting events, like the NCAA basketball tournament.  During that 'downtime' for football season, I may start doing an all-sports 'ramble' on some Fridays, leaving the Monday 'rambles' for non-sports topics (knowing that I have at least two readers who would really appreciate that)...  :)  I do want to thank you for supporting this little venture - the relatively new 'Feedjit' ticker that I added shows that visitors from all around the United States (all around the world for that matter) have been stopping by, and I appreciate your interest.  There wouldn't be any reason to do this if someone wasn't being entertained or informed.  I hope that these next two days go smoothly for you and I'll see you again on Thursday.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Two Months

Well, it's Monday again (almost), so here we go...  Dress warm, eat right, wash your hands regularly, and if someone near you sneezes, RUN!!!  I have been sick since late Thanksgiving night, and it has not been fun...  I had been contemplating writing here about the overuse of the word 'epic', and then I saw it today - the in-game spot where the FOX football announcer had to read the card for the upcoming first ever Pac 12 and Big 10 conference championship games, where he referred to the matchup of 6-6 UCLA against Oregon as being 1 of 2 "epic title games"...  Umm hmm...  Isn't it funny how accusing someone of being "perfect" is the best insult ever?  Am I the only one who just doesn't get Ashton Kutcher's popularity?  (Throw in Justin Bieber while you're at it)...  Is there any chance that Norv Turner will be coaching the Chargers next year, or that Andy Reid will be coaching the Eagles?  Thank you for stopping by to read my blog.  The blog has been viewed 109 times since my last post on Friday (too bad I was only 4-2 on my college picks and 1-2 on my NFL picks this weekend), and the 2nd person to read this post will send the view total to 800...  My first blog post was two months ago, on September 28th.  After watching the game on Thursday night, I have to state again how much of a shame it is that Texas and Texas A&M appear to be finished meeting each other on the football field every Thanksgiving.  After Josh Scobee missed a field goal attempt for Jacksonville today, the announcer actually said, "that was a scoring opportunity missed by Jacksonville and Scobee"...  Please tell us that water is wet also, okay?...  I read online about the lady who pepper-sprayed other shoppers during 'Black Friday', and one of my facebook friends posted about how she had been pinched and grabbed while shopping on the same day - some people are CRA ZEE...  Is anyone else in favor of Cris Collinsworth being replaced on Sunday Night Football?...  Thirty-four days until 2012 boys and girls...  Is there anything sexier than a pretty girl who can talk sports with you???  I am sitting here doing this ramble, and trying to remember back to the time before smartphones, and computers, and....  how did we ever survive back then?  I just read on the sports ticker that Ron Zook was fired - Illinois started the season at 6-0, but not so much lately...  I posted this link during the infancy of my blog, but since I have many more followers now I am going to revisit the subject - if you enjoy poker and want to read some very interesting stories from a poker dealer, please visit pkrdlr.blogspot.com  This is a blog written by a friend of mine who lives in Las Vegas, and he is an excellent poker dealer and writer.  You cannot imagine how good the hot tub commercial that they just showed looks to the sick guy right about now...  When I watch t.v. sitcoms, I often wonder if there is a greater chance that Leah Remini would go after Kevin James in real life (King Of Queens), or if Jim Belushi would have a better chance with Courtney Thorne Smith (According To Jim).  I am going to go ahead and throw in the towel until tomorrow, when I will write about some topic that hits me between now and then...  ;)  Thank you again for stopping by Bikini Hill, and have a great day! 


Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Welcome back everybody - I hope that you had a very enjoyable Thanksgiving, and if you're brave enough to go out and shop today, well, bless you...  :)  I don't even like driving BY the local outlet malls on 'Black Friday'...  I have a little bit of housekeeping before we get started today.  First, I have to apologize for omitting last weekend's Texas vs. Kansas State game from my picks.  Both teams were indeed in the top 25 at the time, but they were not listed in the ESPN pick 'em contest that I play (which features ESPN-affiliated and ABC games), and I simply forgot about them.  The game was shown on FX I believe, and I was kicking myself for my mistake as I watched it (I really have no idea who I would have picked to win the game either).  Second, I want to go on record predicting that the Green Bay Packers won't go undefeated during the regular season.  I am doing this as they only have five games left to play, but I don't think that the Packers have a dominant running game, and I think that when they get into one of the cold, windy games that they are bound to run into, a team with a solid defense will be able to beat them.  The Packers remaining schedule is:  @ Giants, vs. Oakland, @ Kansas City, vs. Chicago, and vs. Detroit.  Lastly, in my 'hindsight is 20/20 segment', I really liked the Ravens - 3 1/2 yesterday, and should have probably posted predictions here on Wednesday since they won 16-6.  :P

Last week's results were a lot closer to my personal norm than my blog results have been lately, as I split the college games and won 2 out of 3 of my NFL picks.  On the college front I went 2-2, calling the Notre Dame win and the Michigan victory (which didn't turn out to be extremely close, as I evidently underestimated how much trouble Denard Robinson would give the Huskers), while I missed on the Oklahoma pick over Baylor (GREAT FINISH) and the Oregon pick over USC.  It's funny how I thought the Trojans might normally jump up and grab that one, IF they had Robert Woods, who actually DID end up playing...  Oh well, that puts me at 25-10 on the college games this season.  The two NFL picks that I made correctly were the under 44 in the Falcons/Titans game (Atl 23  Ten 17) and the under 41 in the Cardinals/49ers game (SF 23  AZ 7) while I missed the under 41 in the Ravens/Bengals contest (Bal 31  Cin 24).  My record on the NFL picks this season is now 14-10.  Now for this week's games...

I am seeing five matchups featuring top 25 teams in the ole ESPN pick 'em contest this week, plus the big game that is not listed there.  I'll start with #13 Georgia beating #23 Georgia Tech.  The thing that I find ironic about this game is how close Boise State was this year to getting their wish.  Georgia has been playing great since a slow early season start, which bolstered the Broncos in the BCS, right up until that missed field goal against TCU...  I will pick #6 Stanford at home over #22 Notre Dame.  The Cardinal are still in line for a top-notch BCS ranking if they can win out, and I think that the Irish better pack every defender that they can find into their team plane.  I will take #16 Wisconsin at home against #19 Penn State.  This game is really close on paper, and I'm backing the Badgers because they are at home and because the Nittany Lions are still dealing with the fallout of the Sandusky Case.  I am going to pick the underdog in two of the in-state rivalry games, starting with #24 Virginia at home against #5 Virginia Tech.  This is the most impressive that the Cavaliers have been in a while, and based on their respective rankings, this is obviously just a gut feeling.  The same can be said for my selection of #17 Clemson at #12 South Carolina.  The Gamecocks are still missing a lot of pieces, and the Tigers have just had an incredible turnaround this year.  For the big game, which doesn't start too long from now, I am going with #1 LSU over #3 Arkansas.  I have said before that I think the Razorbacks are overrated this year, lucky to survive some close scares, and I like the Tigers to win this game by double-digits.  With that being said, I won't mind one bit if LSU loses, just to throw a monkey-wrench into this silly BCS system...

Since no one seems to be willing to let me select the Ravens to win yesterday's game, let me see what I can find on the NFL front.  Although I hesitate to select games involving my Steelers, and I also shy away from double-digit lines normally, I have to take Pittsburgh -10 against the Chiefs.  I just don't see how the Chiefs are going to score in this game with their backup quarterback.  I also have to pick Carolina -3 at Indianapolis, although I hope that I'm wrong about this (isn't it nice how I can use these picks to hedge against what I want to really happen?)...  :)  I'm playing against a lot of Panthers in fantasy football this week, and the Colts are still winless as we all know.  Carolina actually only has two more wins than Indy, but it seems like they have so much more offense.  I'm also going to take the over 37 1/2 in the Houston/Jacksonville game.  The number is just so low, and I think that the defenses may be able to create some turnovers which will set up their offenses with great field position.  Add to that the fact that Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, and Maurice Jones-Drew will still be on the field, plus the quality of each team's kicking game, and I have to take this shot.  I will be back on Monday with my ramble, which I'm sure I could liven up if I did go shopping today, but somehow I'll manage to come up with material...  I hope that you enjoy your football this weekend (remember, Arkansas @ LSU is TODAY), and we'll see you Monday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

College Football Playoffs Please...

Good evening.  I'd like to apologize to those of you who follow this blog regularly.  My posts are usually up much earlier in the day, but I worked a rare day shift today, and that lasted longer than planned.  It seems just a little ironic that the need for a college playoff system was my planned topic for today, given the crazy happenings of this past weekend.  With the losses by Oklahoma State, Oregon, and Oklahoma, the BCS standings just became even sillier.  My favorite team to pick on, Boise State, is now ranked ahead of both Oklahoma and Oregon.  For those of you who would tell me that the Sooners and Ducks both have two losses while the Broncos have one, I would respond by asking why Boise is ranked ahead of the unbeaten Houston Cougars.  While I am sure that the one thing that all of us would agree on is that no system would be perfect, I would much rather have an eight-team playoff at the end of the season than the popularity pageant that we are currently stuck with.  If we did have eight teams playing for the championship at the end of the season, I am pretty sure that the new debate would be focused around someone's opinion that the 9th-ranked team should be in the playoffs, or the 10th-ranked team, etc...  I personally think that is a much better situation to have to deal with than what we are stuck with now.  Suppose that LSU does lose before their bowl game - HOW do you justify picking ANY of the teams as being #1 or #2?  The only undefeated team would be Houston - do they deserve going over everybody else?  If not, which two teams do deserve to go.  If so, then you have the Boise argument - the Cougars just don't play a very tough schedule.  If we drew the line between number 8 and number 9, at least the national champion would have to win 3 playoff games to earn that title.  I think that the current system is laughable, so bad in fact, that people in the future will probably look back on it after it has changed someday, and they'll be saying, "how could they ever have decided the champion like that?"  Believe it or not, it actually used to be worse than it is now before the BCS (for you younger readers).  There was no championship game, but there were two polls.  If the two polls didn't agree as to who the number 1 team was, we had co-national champions.  I am pretty much rooting for both LSU and Houston to lose now.  I think that the only hope for change is for such a big mess to exist at the end of a season that the presidents of the universities will be forced to change the current system.  If at least LSU loses, then I believe that there will be a lot of heated debate at the end of this season, and I am dying to see how the proponents of the BCS try to justify the current system that is in place.  I am going to give the blog the day off for Thanksgiving on Thursday, but I will be back on Friday with my weekly football predictions.  I hope that you have a tremendous holiday and enjoy all of the football games that go with it! 


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pickles & Torpedoes

Good morning everyone.  It's Monday again (almost), but I'm ready to write my ramble now, and since I made you wait an extra day last week, here we go...  When the parents of the current starting quarterback at Kansas State named their child, I think that they should have just gone ahead and named him Calvin, because whenever you hear Collin Klein, don't you think of 'Calvin Klein' anyway???  There is a local flower shop here in San Marcos, America whose readerboard in front of their establishment says something to the effect of, "getting guys out of trouble for 40 years" - yeah, that just makes me not want to buy flowers from you...  Does AOL (America Online) exist anymore?  If so, does anyone still use it?  I noticed that it was installed on my computer as a factory setting when I nuked my computer back to 2007 last week...  I missed College Gameday yesterday, but I heard that Lee Corso dropped an 'F-Bomb' on air when he was making his selection for the winner of the game that the ESPN crew was onsite for (Houston I think).  When I was teaching and coaching high school, I tried to make sure that I kept my language clean in my personal life for that very reason, so that I wouldn't let any profanity slip out around the kids.  With that being said, I am still a big Corso fan...  In the past month or so, I've gotten into the habit of eating pickles with my sandwiches (I make MANY sandwiches)...  Anyway, I buy kosher dill pickles, usually in the 46 ounce jar, but on my last trip to the grocery store, I noticed that there is an 80 ounce jar of the same pickles that is cheaper than the 46 ounce jar.  Upon further investigation, I discovered that the pickles in the 80 ounce jar are HUGE!!!  I'm talking about if you were on a submarine having to sink a ship and you were out of torpedoes, you could just launch one of these suckers...  Yeah, of course I went ahead and bought the 80 ounce jar...  ;)  Are NFL coaches EVER going to figure out that they shouldn't kick to Devin Hester or DeSean Jackson?  I find it baffling that Internet Explorer 7 runs more smoothly than Internet Explorer 9...  On that note, I was unsuccessful in downloading Firefox, so I'm running Google Chrome and Internet Explorer for the moment...  I think that people who live their lives and then say, "If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't change a thing" are complete idiots (okay, maybe they just didn't think before they spoke, and aren't COMPLETE idiots)...  I think that saying that is basically the same as uttering, "I lived my life, and I didn't learn anything..."  Recently I saw one of the younger siblings of one of the kids whose class I co-sponsored while I worked at the local high school.  She was parked on the town square, sitting with a friend, and she flagged me down as I walked by.  I asked her what the two of them were doing (staring at the courthouse, guarding the courthouse, etc...), and she said that after they had parked there, they had noticed a 'live possum' up in one of the trees.  She made it clear that the possum wasn't dead, or playing dead.  I replied that they probably wouldn't see a DEAD possum up in the tree and we laughed.  Sometimes I really miss high school students...  :)  As I watch my plethora of football games (plethora means 'many', or 'a lot', just in case you have never seen 'The Three Amigos'), I get tired of commentators droning on and on about teams "wasting" timeouts.  It is as if these geniuses do not realize that the timeouts can be utilized at any time during each half, and that by calling the timeout the team may be averting a big disaster.  What is the sense of  trying to save all of your timeouts to stop the clock at the end of the half or game when you have an IMMEDIATE problem?  I love how there are many times that there is nothing on t.v. that you are interested in watching, and then at other times there will be ten things on AT ONCE that you wish you could see...  You have to give Vince Young and Tim Tebow credit - they don't put up huge numbers, but they sure do WIN a lot of football games...  Let me take this opportunity to thank you for stopping by - my little blog has now been viewed more than 600 times, with people checking in from the United States, Russia, Canada, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Greece, Cameroon, and Colombia.  I hope to see you again tomorrow, when I will be venting about our need for a college playoff system.  Have a great day!


Friday, November 18, 2011

T... C U Later Boise

Good morning everyone.  As I prepare to make my predictions for this weekend's football contests, I think that it is only fair to warn you that I might not be fully awake yet...  I was just waited on by the most beautiful bank teller, and this blog came up during our conversation (she asked me if I was out running errands, and I mentioned that making my deposit was the only one, and that afterward I was heading home to make a post in my blog).  She responded by saying that she had thought about doing a blog, but that she didn't know if she was very interesting, and I had..... nothing......  :(  Anyway, I gave her the name of my blog and the website address before leaving, in case she did want to stop by here or ask me any questions about starting a blog.  So Gabrielle, if you are reading this, I think that you are interesting and I would definitely read your blog.  :)

While we're on the subject of looking completely foolish, let's talk about the Boise State Broncos...  I wrote an article here a little while back, documenting my belief that Boise State might be a little overrated.  Last Saturday they managed to lose a home game to a two-loss team that they were favored to beat by 15 points.  TCU, I LOVE YOU...  ;)  The worst part of this for Boise is that the Georgia Bulldogs keep winning football games, and they were making the thin resume' of the Broncos look better every time they took the field.  For those of you who don't know me very well, this isn't a matter of hating Boise State.  I have often been the underdog and rooted for the underdog, with one of my favorite quotes about myself being, "people have underestimated me my whole life."  The problem I have would be putting an undefeated team who plays a weak schedule in the national championship game over other teams who had to face much tougher competition.  This is why I believe we need a playoff system, which will be the topic of my post here on Tuesday.  Once again, thank you Horned Frogs!

Tim Tebow has gone 4-1 since taking over as the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos, and I picked all four college football games correctly for the second week in a row - what is going on here?!  Yeah, do you remember last week when I said that I didn't like any of the matchups in the College Pick 'Em contest at ESPN?  Of course, a perfect 10 for 10...  :P  Picking the college games straight up, I am now 23-8 on the season after Oregon, Georgia, Nebraska, and Notre Dame all won last week.  As pleased as I am with those results, I am equally frustrated that I was once again 1-2 on my NFL selections, bringing my record for picking against the spread to 12-9 this year.  The Steelers beat the Bengals by a touchdown, covering the - 3 1/2, but the Patriots/Jets game went over 47 (53), and not only did the Ravens not cover the - 6 1/2, but they lost OUTRIGHT, to the SEAHAWKS?!...  On to this week's games...

Notre Dame is hosting Boston College this weekend in a matchup which features a 7-3 team facing a 3-7 team.  I pick the Irish to win this game, but I will be interested to see if they will win by more than the 24 1/2 points that they are favored to win by, just because they are playing the Eagles, one of their old rivals.  The first game that we're looking at pitting two Top 25 teams against each other looks so tough to pick on paper that the home team is a 3 1/2 point favorite (Las Vegas generally gives the home team credit for three points just for playing at home).  With that being said (and remember that I am picking the college games straight up), I am taking #18 Michigan to win at home against #16 Nebraska.  I think that the Wolverines will win because the Cornhuskers have not seen many players like Denard Robinson, but this should be an extremely close game.  I also like #5 Oklahoma to win on the road at #22 Baylor.  The Bears have lost some of the spark that they had early in the season, and Oklahoma still has a lot to play for, possibly a national championship if they can win out and get some help.  I am also going to take #4 Oregon at home against #18 USC.  This is a spot where you wouldn't be shocked if USC jumped up and gave the Ducks a fight, but the appears that star wide receiver Robert Woods will be missing this game for the Trojans.

Now it is time to take a look at the NFL.  I honestly make these picks while I am sitting at the computer typing my posts, so I normally don't look at the lines for the Thursday games before they are played.  Last night while I was watching the Jets and the Broncos, one of my friends told me that the over/under on the game was 39 1/2.  I instantly thought that the under looked attractive, but I guess that I am not allowed to claim that game, so let's see what else is out there...  As I peruse these games, it seems that I will be taking a lot of unders this week.  Let's start with the Titans at the Falcons - I will go with under 44 points.  Both of these teams are hovering around the .500 mark, have decent defenses, are in the hunt for a playoff spot.  I think that each team will play this game cautiously in an attempt to avoid making mistakes, so I believe that it will stay under.  I also like the under 41 points in Baltimore, where the Ravens are hosting the Bengals.  This will give us an opportunity to see if both of these teams are among the best defensively in the league.  ;)  For my final pick, I will take the under 41 in the Arizona/San Francisco game.  The 49ers have a solid defense, a banged-up Frank Gore, and always try to give Alex Smith a gameplan where he doesn't have to do too much.  We'll soon find out if this reasoning can get me over the 1-2 mark this week...

On Monday I'll be back with my ramble, which is quickly overtaking these Friday football predictions as my most popular weekly post, although part of that may have to be attributed to the fact that I added the 'Live Traffic Feed' from Feedjit to the blog right after posting the ramble on Tuesday this week.  I hope that you enjoy your football games and have a great weekend!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cowboys & Texans

Good morning everyone.  I hope that you like the new addition to 'Bikini Hill' - I found the Live Traffic Feed from Feedjit since I made my last post on Tuesday, and I was able to add it at the right price - FREE.  ;)  As you can see, the feed allows you to see where the last 10 visitors to my blog are located, and it shows when they stopped by to visit.  Thank you Feedjit - I think that your addition to 'Bikini Hill' will be well received.  For those of you who read the title to today's entry and are under the impression that I am going to educate you about the 'Old West' and the history of the Lone Star State, ummm, not quite...  :)  However, if you're interested in reading about the two NFL franchises who call Texas their home, and what their prospects are for the rest of this season, then you're in the right place.  I have my fantasy football magazine out, complete with remaining schedules, and I am ready to type...

I'll give the credit to my facebook account for being the inspiration for today's blog entry.  Very early in the season, when Dallas quarterback Tony Romo went down with his rib injury, and consequently has played games with special protection for his ribs, some Houston Texans fans were very happy to needle Cowboys fans about Romo's misfortune.  Heading into last week, the Cowboys had played .500 ball for the season, with a record of 4-4, giving them no chance to make the playoffs in a division with the vaunted Philadelphia Eagles and the NFC East-leading New York Giants, right?  We'll get back to that in a minute.  When it was announced early this week that Matt Schaub will apparently be out for the remainder of the season after suffering a foot injury during Sunday's victory against Tampa Bay, I noticed that more than one Cowboys fan was posting on facebook, with statuses that basically said, "Do you Texans fans remember when you gave us a hard time about Romo getting injured?....  BA HA HA..."  It seems that year after year, this rivalry between the Cowboys and Texans has been getting stirred up more and more.  The Cowboys have 'Jerryworld' and a long history filled with Super Bowl appearances and Lombardi Trophies to go with their moniker of being 'America's Team.'  The Houston Texans have yet to make a playoff appearance, and even going back to the Houston Oilers, the city of Houston has not had a team reach the Super Bowl.  If these two franchises ever do reach the Super Bowl in the same season, I just hope that I am around to see it...  :)  Today we will look at what these teams face down the stretch in their hunt for a playoff spot.

In addition to the facebook chatter about Schaub last weekend, my inspiration for writing about this topic today was the Cowboys victory last week, combined with the losses of the Eagles and the Giants.  The Cowboys, who have had to overcome injuries to Romo, Miles Austin, and Felix Jones (among others), are now sitting at 5-4, just ONE GAME out of first place in the NFC East.  The Giants are in first place with a 6-3 record, while the Eagles and the Washington Redskins are sharing the division's cellar with records of 3-6.  The Eagles not only lost to the Arizona Cardinals and their backup quarterback John Skelton last week, but Michael Vick was also injured during that game.  Dallas is also only one game out of a wildcard spot behind the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears.  Down the stretch, Dallas has the following schedule:  @ Washington, vs. Miami, @ Arizona, vs. Giants, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Philadelphia, and @ Giants.  The Giants (I know you're wondering) have this schedule remaining:  vs. Philadelphia, @ New Orleans, vs. Green Bay, @ Dallas, vs. Washington, @ Jets, and  vs. Dallas.  It's obvious that the two games with the Giants are going to be huge for the Cowboys, but when you look at the games that the teams don't have in common, I'd much rather face Miami, Arizona, and Tampa Bay than facing the Giants group of  New Orleans, Green Bay, and the Jets.  Considering this and the fact that the Lions are still without Jahvid Best and have to face the Packers twice, in addition to remaining games with the Saints, Raiders, and the Chargers, I like the Cowboys chances of reaching the playoffs at this point.

Before the season started, I picked the Houston Texans to reach the playoffs for the first time ever, and I predicted that they would do this by winning the AFC South.  The Texans have started 7-3, which I think is admirable considering that they have had to deal with injuries to Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, and a season-ending injury to Mario Williams (among others).  They are two games ahead of the Tennessee Titans, and won the first meeting between the teams this year.  And now Schaub appears to be out for the season, leaving Matt Leinart at the controls...  I have personally never been a Leinart fan, attributing most of his success at USC to the players that surronded him.  His stint with the Arizona Cardinals after coming into the league as a 10th overall pick seemed to justify my convictions.  Now Leinart will get a second chance to prove himself.  I think there is hope that Leinart won't blow the division title for the Texans.  The first thing that Houston has in its favor is that Schaub's injury occurred going into the bye week, giving Leinart two full weeks a reps before taking over the team.  The second plus for the Texans is that Johnson is expected to return to the lineup after the bye week.  The third thing in Houston's favor is their remaining schedule compared to that of the Titans.  The Texans remaining schedule is as follows:  @ Jacksonville, vs. Atlanta, @ Cincinnati, vs. Carolina, @ Indianapolis, vs. Tennessee.  The Titans close out with this schedule:  @ Atlanta, vs. Tampa Bay, @ Buffalo, vs. New Orleans, @ Indianapolis, vs. Jacksonville, @ Houston.  I think that the Texans will run into a lot of defenders in the box to stop Foster with Leinart at the helm, but barring any more serious injuries, I believe that the Texans will hold off the Titans to win the division.  The other wildcard in this equation would be Chris Johnson suddenly finding his legs and carrying the Titans on his back, but barring that, I like Houston.

If nothing else, I hope that today's entry at least has you looking forward to the home-stretch of the season.  I will be back here tomorrow with my weekly college and pro football picks.  I hope that you have a great day, and thanks again for stopping by.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Ramble...

Good morning everyone.  Today's post will be representative of the style that I intend for all of my future Monday posts.  My computer problems yesterday delayed this for a day, but at the moment everything is running smoothly on 'Bikini Hill'...  Due to events in the sports world during the past week, I have already determined that Thursday's post here will be about the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans, whose fans make up a good portion of my followers here.  Under the radar, this is quickly becoming one of the more interesting rivalries in the NFL, with neither team's fans really wanting to see the other franchise succeed  (more about that topic tomorrow).  And Friday's football predictions MAY just have a lead-in with me saying a little bit about the Boise State/TCU game that took place last Saturday...  ;)  Okay, enough with the sneak previews, it's time for today's ramble...

While I was re-downloading many of the things that used to be on my computer before yesterday, when I had to re-configure it to its original settings due to problems, I was flipping through the channels last night.  At one point I found Snooki on a talk-show, discussing the Jersey Shore in Italy (I believe) season, talking about her new book, her future plans, etc...  About 10 minutes later, I found Miss Piggy on a different talk-show.  When I saw Miss Piggy, I INSTANTLY thought... well... all I'm saying is just get a photo of each of them...  Is there any football player in the NFL that John Gruden doesn't like???  I saw something in San Marcos, America driving home the other night that I had never seen here before - deer were crossing the street FROM campus toward Grins - be very careful when driving around San Marcos, America...  I have some good news for those of you in San Marcos - I JUST HEARD thunder, and we have an 80% chance of rain today!  In case you haven't been paying attention to your calendar, Thanksgiving is only 9 days away, and Christmas is only 40 days away...  Say what you want about Tim Tebow, but the Denver Broncos are 3-1 since he took over as their starting quarterback.  If you like college basketball, flip your television to the ESPN family of networks today - they will be showing games ALL DAY LONG...  For all of the computer issues that I had to deal with yesterday, on a related note, I received GREAT customer service from McAfee and Google yesterday - thank you!  :)  Good luck finding twelve people in Pennsylvania to serve on a jury who haven't heard about the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State...  Will somebody PLEASE make some more stupid car insurance commercials - we really don't have enough of them...  They just described one of the murder victims on 'Law & Order' as looking like a "dead turkey wrapped in latex" - yeah, I won't be thinking about that on Thanksgiving...  Congratulations to Pius Heinz on winning the Main Event at the World Series of Poker last week in an epic 5-hour plus heads-up battle over Martin Staszko (Heinz - 22 years old - 8.72 million dollars --- Staszko - 35 years old - 5.43 million dollars).  How freakin bored do you have to be to become a computer hacker?  Hackers are just like people who talk about you behind your back, but who wouldn't dare tell you anything to your face - GUTLESS...  I just heard a San Antonio weatherman speaking about the rain in the Alamo City, saying that all of the 'typical places' are flooding - there's some useful reporting???  The Philadelphia Eagles fell to 3-6 this weekend after to falling to the Arizona Cardinals and John Skelton - WHO??!!  By the way, this rain is BEAUTIFUL!  As much as I love the ocean, I wonder why I have never lived one...  Matt Leinart will get another chance to prove me wrong about him being one of the most overrated draft picks ever coming out of USC, where he was surrounded by a bunch of talented players (oh, that's part of Thursday's post)...  If you go to a 'Dubstep' show at the Texas Music Theater, DO NOT launch a hula hoop from the upper level to the main floor...  Seeing Chicken McNuggets selling 20 for $ 4.99 at McDonald's, I wonder if the price of 'McNugget feed' has fallen over the years - didn't they use to sell 6 for like $ 2.99 or something?...  Are the NBA owners and players REALLY THIS STUPID?!  I hate to tell you this, but the college basketball season is in FULL SWING now guys...  If you are driving in front of me in San Marcos, America (or anywhere), please don't wait for the signal light in front of you to turn a different shade of green before proceeding through it...

Okay, that's enough for today.  Actually, I'd keep going, but that's all I've got.  My 'mental list' seems to be missing a few things after yesterday's battle with my computer, but it's humming along now, so I'll take it.  I hope that you have a great day, and I'll see ya again on Thursday.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Internet Explorer vs. Google Chrome???

Good morning everyone.  This Monday post is coming to you a lot later than planned, and the title of this post is not my declaration of an actual winner, and no, I don't have the answer to the question for you.  It is an actual question, and if anyone has any feedback, I would appreciate it.  I have always used Internet Explorer as my browser, and a few days back, I got an update which was making my computer run very, VERY slow.  For a couple of days I was able to remedy this by going into my computer's 'control panel' and undoing the update (restoring my computer to the previous configuration when it last operated without any problems).  The 'monkey in the wrench' that I kept running into was that the computer would automatically download the update again, and when I didn't shut off my computer (which is required for the update to be configured), it did this automatically after about 24 hours.  After playing this game for the 3rd time, my computer reached 'Stage 3' of the updating cycle,  and it hit an endless loop, never leaving 'Stage 3', but instead rebooted each time, then hopelessly tried to complete 'Stage 3', etc, etc...  Being unable to access the internet, or do anything on my computer, I took the drastic (???) step of having the computer download the original settings back to when I first purchased the computer.  Having knocked myself back to 2007, at 5:00 a.m. (this ordeal began at about midnight, by the way) I had the computer download the ONE HUNDRED Windows Vista updates that were available - this took 6 hours and 6 minutes for anyone who is curious... :(  Yes, I did sleep for 4 hours while the first 60-something updates downloaded...  After this was completed, the updates DID successfully configure this time, and I tried to download Windows 9, which is what I my computer was operating on previously (I believe).  I am positive that my computer wasn't operating on Windows 7, because about an hour ago, the first website that I tried to access was this one (for my loyal blog readers, because I'm a team player), and blogger.com let me know that it no longer recognized the Windows 7 browser (being at least 4 years old, I understand that)...  Long story just a little longer, I was unable to download Windows 9 because it said that I didn't have the necessary prerequisite downloads, EVEN AFTER I had downloaded the ONE HUNDRED updates.  Soooo, I am now using Google Chrome (at least to access my blog)...  ;)  So, if anyone has any feedback, I would appreciate it.  If you've been a Chrome user, let me know what you think of it.

As I continue to welcome new users to Bikini Hill, I would like to let everyone know that the normal posting days for my blog are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.  During the football season, the Friday post will always be dedicated to football topics and my predictions for that weekend's games.  I am thinking that on Mondays I will start doing a weekly 'rambling' post, similar to the one that I did once last week (that was the original plan for today).  The rambling post will include any random thoughts, rants, recap of weekend events, etc... that are running through my head after not having posted an entry from early Friday morning until Monday (I have PLENTY running through my mind after a full Friday, Saturday, and Sunday that has included work, sports, and my personal life over each 3-day weekend).  For this week, I intend to do that rambling post tomorrow now.  Normal Tuesdays and Thursdays will include entries with more dedicated topics on a variety of subjects, sports and non-sports related (sometimes both).  If you like what you read in the blog, please feel free to share the link with friends.  The blog has now been viewed almost 440 times for the 23 entries that I have posted, and I appreciate you stopping by.  I should be able to share something with you that you did not already know or make you smile at least once every time you click here (full money-back guarantee it not)...  ;)  I apologize for not having my planned entry here for you today, but it means that I will just have that much more for you tomorrow.  As always, if you have any topics that you want me to write about, I'm always open to suggestions, and again, if you have been a Google Chrome user for a while, PLEASE feel free to give me some feedback.  Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day & Baffling Games

Good morning and Happy Veterans Day to everyone.  My dad, my mom, and my brother all served in the Air Force, and I would like to wish them and all of our country's veterans a great day today.  I would also like to wish a great day to my sister-in-law, who is currently serving in the Air Force, and I'm doing this in spite of the fact that her Ravens beat my Steelers on a touchdown pass with eight seconds left in last Sunday's game...  :P  I failed to mention this in yesterday's post, but my little blog has been viewed more than 400 times now, so thanks again to everyone who has clicked in.  For those of you who may be new followers, I am posting entries on Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays, and Fridays.  Fridays will always include football predictions up through and including the Super Bowl, while during the rest of the week I will post about other sports topics and random things.  Also, when it comes time for the bowl games next month, I intend to make picks on all of them.  I will pick the bowl games against the spread as I have been doing for my NFL selections.  When I lived in Las Vegas, I usually did better on my NFL picks than on my college picks, but when it came down to bowl time, I usually did very well in December and January.  

For the second straight week I had an unusual personal outcome predicting football games here, as I was again more successful on the college games than on the pros.  I went 4-0 on last week's college picks, and 1-2 on the NFL props.  I am now 19-8 on the college games this year (straight up) and 11-7 on my NFL selections (against the spread).  I called these winners in the college contests:  LSU, Oklahoma State (I FINALLY picked a Kansas State game right, to the dismay of Wildcats fans everywhere...), Arkansas, and Notre Dame.  I was right about the Giants/Patriots game being under 51 (44), although I went to sleep at halftime when it was scoreless, thus never seeing how it ended up 24-20...  :)  I did see that the Chiefs got slaughtered by the Dophins, blowing my Chiefs -4.  This is just the type of game that Vegas cleans up on - who expects a winless Miami team to beat Kansas City 31-3 AT ARROWHEAD?!  The Bears scored much more than I thought they would, and their field goal with just under four minutes to play got the game off of being a push as the total went to 54 (I picked under 51).

This week has my brother going to South Bend evidently, so I'll have to take the Irish over the Maryland Terapins (for that reason, and the fact that Notre Dame is favored by almost three touchdowns...).  The Irish only won by a touchdown at Wake Forest last week, but the Terps have just disappeared (maybe all of those possible uniform combinations are just too confusing), as they now sit at 2-7 after a 31-13 loss to Virginia last week.  Before I get into the 3 matchups involving Top 25 teams this week, let me just say that I don't like ANY of the 10 games that ESPN is dishing out in their College Pick 'Em contest this week - very tough week...  #20 Auburn @ # 15 Georgia - I am honestly going to go with Georgia in this game just because they are at home.  When I looked at this game, I kept wavering from one side to the other, and I am simply picking the home team.  #19 Nebraska @ #12 Penn State - Like the previous game, if I was living in Las Vegas right now, I wouldn't bet this game.  This was a tough game to pick anyway, and this was before all of the happenings in Happy Valley this week.  It's obviously a very sad situation for those children who were involved, and I'm curious to see what the situation at the stadium will be like on Saturday, given that some students were rioting around the Penn State campus on Wednesday night.  I will take the Cornhuskers in this game, if for no other reason than it has to be extremely difficult for the players in the Penn State program to focus this week.  #7 Oregon @ #4 Stanford - Intriguing game to say the least.  For the second week in a row, I am going to go with the lower-ranked team in the big game of the week.  USC proved that Stanford can be scored on, and I think that the Ducks defense is a little better than that of the Trojans.  What I like about this game is that it should provide a real test for Andrew Luck.  People have been talking about him being a lock as the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.  I am very curious to see how he performs on Saturdary, and obviously rooting against him just enough to lose, since I'm picking the Ducks.

If I had to predict a score for last night's game, I would say Oakland 24 San Diego 17...  ;)  I'm seeing that the Raiders were actually a 7-point underdog...  Watch out for the Raiders - they have the easiest schedule on paper down the stretch in the AFC West, and the next 10 days off now...  For my first pick, I will take the Steelers -3 against the Bengals.  Andy Dalton has had a nice rookie year so far, but if he can keep Cincinnati within 3 points of the Black and Gold, then so be it...  I also like the Ravens -6 1/2 against the Seahawks.  Anytime that I can be on the other side of this year's Seahawks staying within a touchdown of any good team, I'm going to think about it very seriously.  Just picturing Seattle's offense on the field against Baltimore's defense, I can't see how they are going to move the ball at all...  I will take the under 47 in the Patriots/Jets game for my final pick.  The Jets have a pretty salty defense, and this season Mark Sanchez has lived down to the opinion that I had of him entering the league.  I think that Rex Ryan will try to run the ball as much as possible to keep it away from Brady, thus shortening the game.

I hope that all of you have a great Veterans Day and an outstanding football weekend, and I'll see ya again on Monday.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

2011 NFC Midseason Recap

Good morning.  On Wednesday we looked at the AFC, and now we will look at the NFC at the halfway point of the season.  In the NFC, there are no ties for first place in any division, and the playoff picture is a lot more clear than in the AFC (the New Orleans Saints are the only team who has not had their bye week in the NFC, so keep that in mind for this breakdown)...  If the season were to end today, the NFC division winners would be the New York Giants, the Green Bay Packers, the Saints, and the San Francisco 49ers.  The Wild Card teams would be the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears (the Bears and the Atlanta Falcons both have 5-3 records, but the Bears beat the Falcons in the season-opener, giving them the head-to-head tiebreaker). 

In the NFC East, the Giants have a two-game lead on the Dallas Cowboys, and a three-game lead on both the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles.  This is impressive by the 6-2 Giants, considering that they lost their opener to the Redskins, and that they have to deal with a depleted secondary and recent injuries to Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw.  The Cowboys have been in most every game they have played and could easily be 7-1.  As a friend of mine might point out, the Cowboys could be 1-7 by the same token (this is the same Cowboys supporter who was singing in the shower at halftime during the Cowboys/Lions game)...  The Redskins started the season at 3-1, but currently hold the longest losing-streak in the NFC at 4 games.  The Philadelphia Eagles are a huge mystery, especially with their 1-3 record at home.  The Eagles lone home victory was a decisive decision over the Cowboys, the only game that Dallas hasn't been in to date.

The Packers are 8-0 in the NFC North and have outscored their opponents by almost 100 points.  This is a far cry from the team that entered the playoffs last year as the #6 seed in the NFC before getting hot and winning the Lombardi Trophy.  The thing that would concern me as a Packers fan is the lack of a dominant running game and the bad weather that they will face in the second half of the season.  If the playing conditions are too nasty to throw, I will be very interested in seeing how this offense performs.  The Lions are behind the Pack at 6-2, and they still play Green Bay twice.  The Lions have been the Bills of the NFC, exceeding most people's expectations.  I thought that Detroit would be good this year, but even I didn't expect them to be this good.  I think that they will need to get Jahvid Best back in the lineup if they hope to have a chance at repeating their performance in the first half of the season, but with a healthy Matthew Stafford they have been impressive.  The Bears have been a tough team to read, falling by 10 or more points in all of their losses (Saints, Packers, Lions), but they defeated the Falcons and the under-achieving Eagles.  The Minnesota Vikings are 2-6, and after it soon became evident that Donovan McNabb was not going to be their savior, they have kept themselves in the hunt for the first overall pick in next year's draft.

The Saints are leading the NFC South with a 6-3 record, and they will have their bye in Week 11 (I am mystified that no teams have a bye this week, but that the final four NFL teams to have byes get them next week - I'm sure that there is a good reason???).  The Saints have been led by Drew Brees, who is on a record-setting pace for passing yards in a season, and Darren Sproles seems to have been one of the best pickups of the offseason (Brees, Sproles...  can the San Diego Chargers find some more talented players to send to New Orleans???).  The Saints hold a half-game lead over the Falcons, who stumbled out of the gate, losing 2 of their first 3 games before having to mount a 2-point comeback victory over the Seattle Seahawks to avoid a 1-3 start.  Since that start, the Falcons only defeat is to the Packers.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 4-4, impressive considering that they have allowed almost 50 more points than they have scored.  The Carolina Panthers are 2-6, led by quarterback Cam Newton, who has surprised me by being a much more effective player than I thought possible in his rookie year.

The 7-1 NFC West leaders, the 49ers, could be argued as being the most surprising team in the NFC this year, but due to their weak divison and my belief that they were going to win the division all the way up until the end last year, when the Seahawks finally took it at 7-9, I would vote the Lions just ahead of them.  I have always liked Jim Harbaugh, and he is close to having his team in the playoffs already, holding a FIVE-GAME lead in the West after eight games in a very weak group.  The Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals both have 2-6 records, and the St. Louis Rams are sitting in the cellar with a 1-7 mark.

Well, that's the end of your midseason recap, and I will be back tomorrow with my usual assortment of Friday football predictions.  I hope that you have a great day and I will see you then.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

2011 AFC Midseason Recap

Week 9 of the 2011 NFL season has come and gone, but most of the league has played 8 games, so I thought that I would do a little midseason AFC recap post for you this morning.  There is a lot of parity in the AFC, with the top 3 teams in 3 of the 4 divisions being either tied or separated by a half-game.

I am going to begin with the AFC South, the one division that has a true leader.  The Houston Texans are in the lead with a 6-3 record, and their only likely competition will be from the 4-4 Tennessee Titans.  The Jacksonville Jaguars have a 2-6 record, and the Indianapolis Colts are sitting at 0-9.  As I've mentioned here before, I took the Texans to make the playoffs for the first time ever this year, picking them to win this division before the season began.  At that time, Peyton Manning had yet to practice with the Colts, and after Week 9 he still hasn't.  Houston has not been as dominant as I expected due to injuries to Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, and a season-ending injury to Mario Williams, but they beat the Titans handily in their first meeting, and if they can avoid further injuries, they look to be in the clear.  Speaking of the Titans, isn't it amazing what a holdout will do after a lockout.  Chris Johnson still hasn't looked anything like he did his first few years in the league.  The two-win Jaguars have played commendably on defense, but have generated next to nothing on offense, having scored a league-low 98 points through 8 games this year.  

The 3 teams leading the AFC East with 5-3 records are the New England Patriots, the New York Jets, and the Buffalo Bills (yes, the BUFFALO BILLS).  The Miami Dolphins are 1-7, and will at best play the role of spoiler in this division.  The Patriots and Bills are very similar teams, having explosive offenses and porous defenses.  The difference between these two teams is experience.  The Jets have a solid defense, but have sputtered on offense.  I really have no feel for who will win this division, because the Patriots have been stumbling of late, barely beating the Cowboys before suffering consecutive losses to the Steelers and the Giants.  I would normally lean toward the team wearing the Super Bowl rings, but this is going to be a great race to watch.

The AFC North is led by the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals at 6-2, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are a half-game back at 6-3.  The Ravens have swept the season series with the Steelers, after scoring a game-winning touchdown with eight seconds left on Sunday night, but they have also suffered losses to the four-win Titans and the Jaguars.  The Bengals have the longest current winning streak in the AFC at five games, but they still have to play twice against both the Ravens and the Steelers, and they also get the Texans down the road.  Welcome to the NFL Andy Dalton...  :)  The Steelers third loss was to the Texans, but Pittsburgh looked solid in beating the Patriots, and has performed admirably after being depleted at the O-Line position in the first few weeks.  The Cleveland Browns have a 3-5 record, and will likely be no more than a spoiler in this race.  The San Francisco 49ers will get to play a role in this race, and to find out how good they really are at 7-1, as they face the Ravens on Thanksgiving, and the Steelers in a Monday night game on December 19th.  On paper I would pick the Ravens, followed by the Steelers (due to the tiebreaker that the Ravens own), and then the Bengals, but injuries and the Bengals 4 games involving these 3 teams will be huge.

The AFC West also has 3 leaders, and they are all sitting at 4-4, with the 4th place team just 1 game behind.  The Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, and Oakland Raiders are tied for first, while the Denver Broncos are nipping at their heels.  Before the season started, I predicted that the Chiefs would not return to the playoffs this year, and I am sticking with that pick.  Two of Kansas City's best players went down for the season very early, as the team lost RB Jamaal Charles and S Eric Berry.  Despite losing their first 3 games, the Chiefs roared back by winning their next 4.  San Diego would be in first right now if Philip Rivers could have handled a snap before what would have been a Chargers game-winning field-goal attempt two weeks back, but let me tell you why I think the Chiefs are doomed.  The Chiefs Week 11-15 schedule is as follows:  @ New England, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Chicago, @ NY Jets, vs. Green Bay.  Should Kansas City make the playoffs after that stretch, more power to them...  The Raiders actually have the most appealing schedule of these three teams, but I think that it is imperative that Darren McFadden and Carson Palmer stay healthy.  Say what you want about Tim Tebow (and I used to loathe hearing about him myself), but the Broncos have won 3 of 8 games this year, 2 of the last 3 when Tebow was the starter...

My next post for you will be an NFC midseason recap on Thursday, which will precede the Raiders/Chargers game on Thursday night.  That's right fantasy football players, you will have to account for the Thursday night games which will be taking place for the next eight weeks.  Enjoy the World Series of Poker tonight as a new champion is crowned at the Main Event, and I will see you in two days.




Monday, November 7, 2011

Everything And Nothing At All

As I begin this post, I'm thinking to myself that I'm about to type the biggest run-on sentence in the history of mankind, well, except for the fact that it is going to have periods, and actually be more than one sentence.  I have no intention of starting a new paragraph every time that I change the subject, and there isn't really one subject that is on my mind this morning, so make sure that your seatbelts are fastened (or more appropriately maybe, that you have some aspirin nearby)...  :)  We went through the time-change this weekend, where we gained an hour, and I adjusted to it by sleeping for an extra four hours at least, instead of just taking my extra hour.  For some reason I was just extremely tired yesterday.  I had the opportunity to pick up an extra shift at work, with the chance to sleep for five more hours after I received the phone call, but I turned it down because I felt sluggish.  At that moment I was wondering how I ever worked seventeen days in a row...  Most of my waking hours yesterday were spent watching NFL games, mixed in with doing some chores, reading more of '1984', and watching the taped broadcast of this year's final table at the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event.  I was flipping through the channels not too long after the Ravens scored with eight seconds remaining in the game to beat my Steelers for the 2nd time this season (which accounts for 2 of our 3 losses), and that's when I found the poker coverage.  For any of you who like watching poker, or just like piles of money in general, the play from the final table will continue on Tuesday night at 8:00 CST, with the final 3 players trying to win the first prize of almost 9 million dollars during the LIVE telecast.  During the fourth quarter of the Steelers/Ravens game, I saw one of the most gutless plays that I can ever recall seeing on a football field.  The Steelers were rushing the Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, when a hard-charging James Harrison leapt into the air in an attempt to jump over running back Ray Rice of the Ravens, who was back in "pass protection."  I use the two words 'pass protection' very loosely, because Rice DUCKED OUT OF THE WAY when he saw Harrison catapult himself into the air, just leaving his teammate Flacco completely free to be blindsided.  Flacco, as it turned out, got rid of the ball, throwing an incomplete pass.  Rice is one of the faces of the Ravens franchise, arguably the most known player that they have on the offensive side of the ball, which is appropriate, because I thought that jumping out of the path of an oncoming rusher and hanging his quarterback out to dry was totally offensive...  It just made me happy that I'm not a Ravens fan...  I saw another brilliant commercial yesterday.  Usually I take out my disbelief with all of the stupid commercials shown on t.v. on my facebook account, but let me share this one with you.  Ziplock Bags:  the lady is at the meat-counter, and she asks the butcher for 4 pounds of meat, but requests that he just wrap half of it, because she'll just end up throwing the other half away (referencing the lack of quality of her food storage bags).  Putting the poor-quality storage bags aside, I'm just talking to my t.v., saying, "why don't you just order TWO pounds of meat then?!"...  Ridiculous...  I am about 3/5 of the way through the book '1984', and am really glad that I made the choice to re-read it.  It is a book that really makes you think, and Orwell (the author) really seems to have a great grasp of how certain governments operate.  I'm sitting here typing this with the trusted Law & Order on beside me, and a test of the emergency broadcasting system just came on the screen.  It says that it's a required weekly test, and I'm thinking that it's funny that I don't see it every week...  LSU ending up beating Alabama in a very low-scoring 9-6 overtime game on Saturday, and the latest BCS rankings came out yesterday.  In the new rankings, the top-three teams are LSU, Oklahoma State, and Alabama.  It seems that the combination of voters and computers finally realize that Boise State doesn't play anybody, as the Broncos stayed behind a one-loss Bama squad.  Now the emergency alert system is showing a required monthly test...  :P  Can anyone else believe that we are only SEVENTEEN days away from Thanksgiving?!  The weather is starting to turn that way, getting cooler, although San Marcos, America could still use a lot more rain...  Very late last night, when I was watching the World Series of Poker coverage, I checked the weather on my cellphone, and found out that it was 70 degrees outside.  The good part of this story is that the little weather icon shown consisted of a black cloud with a lightning-bolt and rain falling from it, BUT the icon had a big question mark imposed on top of the image...  "There might be a thunderstorm and there might not..., but we're not really sure, so..."  Well, I have to do some errands on this beautiful Monday morning (it's completely overcast, but I want rain, so yes, it is beautiful), so have a great day, and I'll see ya tomorrow...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Outstanding Football Weekend

Good morning everybody - it's just after 9:00 a.m. in San Marcos, America as I go out on a limb for the sixth straight week.  The NFL limb broke under the weight of my bad predictions last week as I had a losing record on my professional props for the first time this year.  I'm not all that upset about it though, since I was rooting against one of my picks anyway...  ;)  To do a quick recap, I was 3-1 on my college selections and 1-2 on my NFL attempts last week.  Let's start with my college loss, where I was doomed to lose my Kansas State pick if you've been following this blog regularly.  I came through with flying colors, jinxing the 8th-ranked Wildcats, who got crushed by the 9th-ranked Sooners in Manhattan (my most sincere apologies Kathryn...).  Two of my three victories were decisive, as #14 Nebraska turned in an impressive 24-3 victory over #11 Michigan State at home, while Notre Dame had a resounding 56-14 win over Navy in South Bend.  For the record, I don't think that I've been wrong on a Nebraska game this season (hopefully that helps make up for missing every single K-State game...).  My third victory in the college arena last week came in the game that I most regret missing so far this year, as Stanford downed USC 56-48 in triple-overtime.  My college record currently stands at 15-8 this season, my NFL record at 10-5.  The NFL pick that I managed to get right was the Dallas/Philly game under 51, as the Eagles won 34-7.  The game that I was happy to lose was the Patriots - 2 1/2 against the Steelers, as Pittsburgh won the game 25-17 (YES!!!).  The game that I got slaughtered in was the Cardinals and Ravens staying under 43 1/2 points, as Baltimore had a 30-27 comeback victory. 

When I titled this post 'Outstanding Football Weekend', I was referring to the potentially great games that we have ahead of us this weekend, and not my picks last weekend.  I am going to start with my NFL selections this week, teasing you until the very end so that you have to read through my whole post to get to the LSU/Alabama prediction.  We both know that you have the ability to thwart this strategy by simply scrolling down the screen, but you're on the honor system here...  ;)  Perusing the lines, I have to say that my strongest play would be the under in the Bears/Eagles game at 47 1/2.  The Bears have looked horrible at times on offense this season, but their defense is decent.  The Eagles defense looked good after the bye week, and a little nasty weather in Philly on Monday night wouldn't hurt here either...  I would also take the under 51 in the Giants/Patriots game.  Nicks is supposed to be out for New York, and while Bradshaw is expected to play, he has a broken bone in his foot.  The Giants themselves have a pretty good defense, enough with a potentially anemic offense to keep this under I'm thinking.  This pick is going to be against a preseason prediction that I made this year, but I am going to take the Chiefs to cover the -4 at home against the Dolphins.  I predicted that Kansas City wouldn't make the playoffs before the season started (which I'm still sticking with, by the way, as their Week 11-15 schedule is brutal), and now they're in a 3-way tie atop their division with San Diego and Oakland.  Way to handle the snap Rivers.....  Anyway, hapless Miami coming into Arrowhead... Chiefs! 

And now a menu of enticing college games this weekend.  I'll start with my friend's Notre Dame pick, and I will take the Irish at Wake Forest.  Very decisive victory against the Naval Academy last Saturday, which I didn't see a single snap of, but the 42-point win seems to indicate that they are over the loss to the Trojans...  #14 Kansas State @ #3 Oklahoma State:  To get back in the good graces of Wildcats fans everywhere, I will pick against the Purple.  I think that the Cowboys simply have too much firepower for K-State, but if I do miss this Wildcats pick as I've been prone to, it will be major news and there will be much celebration in Idaho from the Boise fans...  #9 South Carolina @ #7 Arkansas:  Let me say right here that I think the Razorbacks are very lucky to be in the Top 10 still.  They were very fortunate to come from behind in both the Texas A&M game earlier this year and in the Vanderbilt game last week.  There is no way that they should just barely be winning against Vandy.  With that being said, the Gamecocks team that is coming to town is without the starting quarterback and the superstar tailback that they began the season with.  The Razorbacks are at home against a short-handed Gamecocks squad, so I'm picking Arkansas.  #1 LSU @ #2 Alabama:  Not much at stake here, eh?...  :)  Both teams are 8-0 and each program has been dominant in recent memory.  I was truly impressed by the Tigers victory against Oregon earlier in the season, and I was practically stunned that Tennessee went to halftime tied 6-6 with Bama a few weeks ago.  I know that the game is in Tuscaloosa, but if LSU is able to slow down Trent Richardson, I don't know what else Bama can bring on offense against the Tigers defense.  In Las Vegas I could get 5 points with the Tigers, but even straight-up, I'm still going to go with LSU...

I hope that all of you enjoy what should be a great football weekend - see ya again on Monday!


Thursday, November 3, 2011


The temperature is down to 48 degrees here on Bikini Hill as the latest cold front makes its way into San Marcos, America (not that I'm complaining one bit after this brutal summer).  I only mention it because the winds that have been intermittently rattling my window tonight prompted me to look up the temperature.  Isn't the advent of technology, computers specifically (for the purpose of this example), amazing?  I just opened another window on my desktop and started typing 'intermit....' into a search engine so I could make sure that I spelled intermittenly correctly.  Earlier today I typed the name of one of the local cleaners into a search engine so that I could find their phone number and ask them how long they were open.  Does anyone even have a phonebook anymore?  The cleaners who were stitching my blue jeans happened to be open until 6:00 yesterday, so I decided to take a nice little walk through town.  I was going to get some exercise while picking up the jeans, renewing my public library card, and getting what's called a 'Tex Share' card, which allows a non-student holder of a public library card to check out books from the local university.  The book which I have been telling my friends that I needed to make a point of reading for a few months now is George Orwell's '1984'.  By the way, for someone who is pretty close to writing his 20th blog entry in five weeks, you'd probably be surprised by how little I actually do read, in terms of other blogs and books anyway...  '1984' was one of the books that I read in high school.  I can't remember what year it was assigned to me, but I am sure that '1984' was a reading assignment, because in high school the only books that I do remember reading were ones that we were required to.  I do remember reading a bunch of the 'Hardy Boys' mystery series when I was in elementary school, but in high school the only reading that I did on my own usually involved flipping through the pages of Sports Illustrated.  I have been wanting to re-read '1984' for a while now, because I have heard about how eerie it is that many of the things that Orwell wrote about in his book have actually happened.  For those of you unfamiliar with the book, it was actually published in 1949, and has been called prophetic (at the very least by the person who wrote the little preview on the back cover of the copy that I have)...  I have read about the first twenty pages of the book, and so far the biggest parallel that I can see between his book and our society is the power of the media.  In '1984', the media is government-controlled, acting as a propaganda machine for its own purposes.  What I am talking about by the power of our media is the ability to put a story out there, and make it a topic of mainstream conversation, regardless of how trivial it is (or at least how unimportant I believe it is)...  ;)  Yesterday one of my facebook friends passed along this great quote:  "Kim Kardashian is filing for divorce.  During this difficult time, the Kardashian family requests as much attention as possible."  I reposted it for laughs, because divorces are not usually handled in such a manner, with the mother of the grieving bride showing up on 'The View' for example (and I only know that because it came up on my homepage, by the way)...  :)  My point is, do that many people really care this much about Kim Kardashian?  Is this the best use of our media's time?  Okay, back on topic, I am sure that I will get much more from reading '1984' now than I did as a high school student, because there are words and references in it that I cannot imagine I understood when I was younger.  For those of you who have never read it, pick up a copy and keep in mind that it was written in 1949 when reading it.

Tomorrow I will be back with my usual Friday football-driven blog, which promises to be an interesting one since last week was the first time since the blog began that I actually would have lost more of my NFL bets than I would have won.  If you ask me to predict a Nebraska or Kansas State game though, I will be completely, 100% dead-on (or completely, 100% on the wrong side of it, respectively)...  Yes, that is me that you hear whistling as I roll my eyes aimlessly...  Seriously, there are lots of great college and NFL games coming up this weekend, so I hope to see ya tomorrow.  Have a good one!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Ends & The NBA Lockout Continues...

Welcome to November everyone.  Almost a full week of Halloween celebration has ended in San Marcos, America, but not without its share of amusing stories here and through my facebook friends.  My twin niece and nephew went trick-or-treating last night, and on a posted photo of their successful outing, I commented that I was going to start going out again if people are giving out money and popcorn...  Does anyone remember when people used to give out candy corn?  Yuck...  The mother of the twins happens to be a teacher, and she received her formal teaching evalulation yesterday while dressed as a whoopie cushion...  I have another friend who told her little one that Reese's Cups are made with black beans, since the girl does not like beans and my friend likes the peanut butter filled treats...  :)  The military was well-represented throughout the week in San Marcos by the guys taking part in the Halloween festivities, while I saw more girls wearing princess and butterfly and angel and other costumes with obtrusive wings than I care to see again for at least another year...  ;)

SPORTS ALERT:  Well, we have reached the month of November, and the NBA has yet to have a single tipoff.  Since they would normally be playing real games by now, I decided that it's time for this post.  I want to make it clear that I am not making this post because I am concerned for the welfare of the players and owners who cannot come to an agreement on how to divide a huge pile of money.  The last time that I was concerned about a strike in one of the major sports was during the 1981 strike in Major League Baseball.  I was playing Little League Baseball during the year that strike took place, completely destined in my own mind to become a future professional baseball player myself.  It feels like the world is going to come to an end when you're younger.  "They're not playing baseball!!!"  Ever since that strike occurred, when a stoppage in play has taken place in a major sport, I have had the attitude that I'll find something else to do while you're gone, and when you come back, I'll watch.  During the NFL Lockout this summer, I made a post on my facebook account (the closest thing that I had done to a blog entry before Bikini Hill opened for business here at the end of September).  In that entry, I expressed my belief that the fanbase was not going to be very concerned about a group of players and owners who could not agree on how to divide 9 BILLION dollars (I also e-mailed the same sentiments to the NFL at www.nfl.com, to which I received a form-letter response, giving me another e-mail address to which I could send my views ...).  I think that the NBA is in the same bind that the NFL was this summer.  The economy has been HORRIBLE over the past few years, resulting in many people losing their jobs, and these geniuses cannot agree on how to disperse their stack of money.  I have a friend at work who is a big basketball fan (he is not a football fan at all), and a few weeks ago HE SAID that he now hopes that this issue isn't resolved so that the players and owners will be punished by not receiving ANY money this year.  One of the issues that the two sides are at odds about is what percentage of profits each side should receive.  I have a quick math lesson for those involved:  47%, 50%, or 53% of something is greater than 100% of nothing...  I believe that the lockout will be resolved sooner than later, just as I believed that the NFL Lockout would be, because it's very hard to fathom that people can be THAT STUPID.  But don't worry guys, while you're bickering over money, we will continue watching the NFL, and college football, and the NHL, and the rapidly approaching college basketball season.  I hope that all of you have a great start to the month of November, and I will see you again on Thursday.