Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
NFL Power Ranks: Week 17
- The rankings are the result of a weighted mathematical formula that takes record, recent success, strengths of schedule and division, and offensive, defensive, and turnover success into account.
- Since its a purely objective formula, mailing in a week 17 performance will hurt a team's standing.
- The rankings are slightly more of a measure of who is the best rest now instead of all season, and I can't disagree with the teams at the top of the list being able to beat just about anybody right now.
Thanks to the #2 Colts thrashing of the #1 Titans in a completely meaningless game, the Colts, who have won 9 in a row, enter into the playoffs at #1 in the power rankings. The Titans, who have lost 2 of the last 3 to end the season and have shown some offensive difficulties as of late, dropped out of the top 5 for the first time since week 2 to #6. The Giants, who also haven't played their best down the stretch, fell all the way to #9 as a lot of teams got hot to grab the last playoff spots. Carolina remains at #4 after clinching the NFC South and 2 of this year's biggest surprises, the Dolphins and Ravens, finish the regular season at #3 and #5 respectively.
Somehow, someway, the non-playoff bound 11-5 New England Patriots wound up #2 on the list to end the regular season. How did this happen? Well, they made a nice run down the stretch blowing away many of their opponents all while the entire AFC East continued to shine. Also, they are only 2 games back of the best record in the NFL yet somehow missed the playoffs. As much as I dislike them, I'd have to admit they probably are the 2nd best team in the NFL at this moment, but thankfully for the rest of the league, they won't get a chance to prove it in the playoffs.
The 12 playoff teams fill 12 out of the top 15 spots in the ranks from #1, #3-#11, #13, and #15. The 3 non playoff teams mixed in are #2 New England, #12 Chicago, and #14 New Orleans. The Vikings are Cardinals, 2 of the lesser division champs are #13 and #15. The Bears actually finished ahead of the Vikings in the ranks thanks mostly to turnover ratio, which is often a good indication of success on the field, but couldn't get the Bears past the Vikings in the standings. The 8-8 Chargers, who looked more like their old selves down the stretch, enter the playoffs ranked #10, while the other 8-8 team they ousted, the Broncos, finished all the way down at #27 after having a very deceiving season. The Broncos finished .500 despite having the 3rd worst offense and tied for the worst turnover ratio. They also played in a pretty horrible division and had the 3rd easiest schedule in the league this year, which hurts their ranking even more. Despite leading the division all season, they have always been ranked pretty low in these rankings for those reasons.
On the flip side, the Eagles snuck into the last playoff spot after getting a ton of help. The Eagles have always been ranked pretty high all season despite their so-so 9-6-1 record. Their high offensive, defensive, divisional strength, and schedule strength all season made up for their record.
So now we head into the playoffs, and I will continue to update the rankings each week. Even though many teams aren't playing, we will still see some slight changes among the non-playoff teams each week thanks to a few of the things factoring into the rankings being affected by the playoff teams. Let's take a look at this week's games and use the rankings to pick the winners:
#1 Colts over #10 Chargers
#3 Dolphins over #5 Ravens
#11 Falcons over #15 Cardinals
#8 Eagles over #13 Vikings
#4 Panthers, #6 Titans, #7 Steelers, and #9 Giants have byes
Here are the full ranks:
1. Colts - 77.21 - +1
2. Patriots - 72.90 - +5
3. Dolphins - 72.70 - +2
4. Panthers - 71.96 - Even
5. Ravens - 71.20 - +1
6. Titans - 70.63 - -5
7. Steelers - 68.27 - +2
8. Eagles - 67.80 - +2
9. Giants - 66.24 - -6
10. Chargers - 64.84 - +3
11. Falcons - 64.63 - -3
12. Bears - 58.58 - -1
13. Vikings - 57.20 - -1
14. Saints - 52.12 - +1
15. Cardinals - 49.72 - +5
16. Jets - 49.21 - Even
17. Texans - 49.10 - +2
18. Buccaneers - 46.74 - -4
19. Redskins - 45.93 - -1
20. Packers - 44.86 - +4
21. Cowboys - 42.51 - -4
22. Bengals - 41.90 - +4
23. 49ers - 41.55 - -1
24. Bills - 39.48 - -3
25. Raiders - 36.35 - +4
26. Jaguars - 34.63 - -1
27. Broncos - 33.45 - -4
28. Seahawks - 31.75 - Even
29. Browns - 31.65 - -2
30. Chiefs - 22.52 - Even
31. Rams - 15.45 - Even
32. Lions - 11.74 - Even
Links of the Day 12/30/08
Mike Shanahan got fired. My wife is from Colorado, and is devastated. She said doesn't remember Denver football without him. Luckily, she doesn't remember Wade Phillips.
Danica Patrick is a menace to the neighborhoods I live in. When I lived in Indianapolis, she runs over her crew members, and in Phoenix, she terrorizes the public streets.
Labels: Links of the Day
Monday, December 29, 2008
I would hate the Patriots less if they still wore this
Labels: New England Patriots
Links of the Day 12/29/08
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Is Philadelphia the new Boston?
Going into today's games, There were convoluted scenarios out there, but for the most part, it was easy for a lot of teams to get into the playoffs if they just won. Vikings win and are in. Cowboys win and are in. Bears win and Vikings/Cowboys and Bucs lose, they are in. Bucs win, Cowboys lose, they are in. Where do we stand? The Vikings are in the playoffs with their win. The Bears and Buccaneers have already lost today, and as of the time I am writing this, the Cowboys are getting throttled.
Assuming Dallas doesn't score 38 points in the last quarter, that means that, improbably, the Coboys, Buccaneers AND Bears all lost. It was a scenario so ridiculous that nobody mentioned it. In the end, the Eagles are going to make the playoffs, where they will play the terrible Cardinals. Astounding.
After about 250 years of misery for Philadelphia, the city is now catching all the sports breaks. The Phillies win the World Series and now the Eagles are going to sneak into the playoffs. It's just a matter of time until the 76ers acquire Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony and go off and win the NBA Championship, really.
Links of the Day 12/28/08
Saturday, December 27, 2008
What's with all the fat faced QB's?
Jay Cutler. Diabetic? No way!
Jamarcus Russell. At least his head is big enough that it detracts from the crooked tie.
Kyle Orton. Boiler Up!
Phillip Rivers. Clearly, he just saw a cupcake.
Ben Roethlisberger. With a head that big, why would you need a helmet? Even when motorcycling?
If double chins are now the requirement for professional athletes, sign me up.
Links of the Day 12/27/08
Friday, December 26, 2008
Jason Kubel is eminently tradeable
I've been sitting on this lately. I didn't want to mention it because with the Christmas holiday, it was a time for togetherness and love. Now that Christmas is over, I'm going to bitch about it.
From LENIII at the Star Trib:
Haven’t heard anything new about their interest in the Cubs’ Mark DeRosa. For the Twins to land DeRosa, they probably would need a third team involved because the Cubs need a left-handed hitting outfielder and the Twins’ aren’t moving Jason KubelNow, I understand not wanting to trade Kubel for DeRosa. DeRosa wouldn't seem to be much return for a young slugger like Kubel. The problem I have is the insinuation that the Twins aren't willing to trade Kubel period. In my opinion, Kubel should be the MIST tradeable asset the Twins have.
Left handed slugger on a team that, if the roster stands as is, will have 5 other players that can bat from the left side. And those are the starters.
Mediocre fielding outfielder in a line up that has no intention of playing Denard Span every day, and one of the few righties, Delmon Young, in left when the manager doesn't want him in the field.
A still manageable contract.
In summary, as spare parts go, Kubel is the sparest. Not to mention that, he has talents that could be enticing to prospective trade partners, as well as the youth and contract that are often valuable commodities these days. It astounds me, really, that Kubel isn't involved in more rumors.
Links of the Day 12/26/08
The Twins signed R.A. Dickey on Christmas Eve. La Velle E. Neal is perplexed.
College football recruiting and its deepest darkest secrets.
Big game this week for the Vikings. Also, the Colts are still in the playoffs.
Labels: Links of the Day
Thursday, December 25, 2008
There are times to get yourself in a tizzy. There are times that are right to argue your point without surrender.
Christmas is not those times. Take time to relax and enjoy the time you spend with family/friends/yourself. Don't worry about your favorite teams' faults. You may amuse yourself discussing them with those surrounding you, but not to the point of starting a Capulet/Montague fight. Or even just being irked. If things start going that way, start talking about your favorite childhood toys or current gadgets.
At any rate, next week I'll be back to talking sports. Right now, I'm enjoying the holiday.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Even though there is an angry rant festering down deep in my soul, I'm going to keep it to myself. It's Christmas! Here's wishing the best to you and yours this Christmas.
(I'll be back tomorrow night, I'm sure)
Labels: Merry Christmas
Links of the Day 12/24/08
Someone else seems to think the Gophers aren't so good. FYI, NDSU is a tournament team this year. Mark my words.
One more link on Teixeira... The signing may even have been morally wrong. I can agree with that.
Labels: Links of the Day
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
NFL Power Ranks: Week 16
The Steelers, who never were ranked all that high in these ranks until last week, experienced a devastating drop, falling 8 spots all the way back to #9. The main reason behind why they have been held back this season is pretty anemic (and overrated) offense that their defense has hidden well. They are also in the middle of the pack in turnover ratio, which can hurt you in the playoffs. The Panthers only dropped to 4th with their loss. The Dolphins moved up to 5th and they are only a win away from clinching the East.
The biggest gainer this week was the Chargers, who stormed all the way back to #13 and have a chance to win the AFC West with an 8-8 record next week. The Bears, who stayed in the hunt for the NFC North moved up 4 spots to #11, and the 49ers, who all of the sudden would be tied for first if only they would have punched in that winning touchdown against the Cardinals a few weeks ago, also moved up 4 spots to #22.
If the rankings determined the playoff seeds, this is what they would be:
First Round Byes: #1 Titans, #5 Dolphins
#7 Patriots @ #6 Ravens
#2 Colts @ #13 Chargers
Top 3 Out: #9 Steelers, #16 Jets, #19 Texans
First Round Byes: #3 Giants, #4 Panthers
#10 Eagles @ #11 Bears
#8 Falcons @ #20 Cardinals
Top 3 Out: #12 Vikings, #14 Buccaneers, #15 Saints
Here are the full ranks:
1. Titans - 79.33 - +3
2. Colts - 75.85 - Even
3. Giants - 72.98 - +2
4. Panthers - 71.57 - -1
5. Dolphins - 71.31 - +3
6. Ravens - 69.76 - Even
7. Patriots - 67.27 - +3
8. Falcons - 66.60 - +3
9. Steelers - 66.36 - -8
10. Eagles - 63.83 - -3
11. Bears - 59.23 - +4
12. Vikings - 56.21 - -3
13. Chargers - 55.82 - +5
14. Buccaneers - 54.72 - -2
15. Saints - 53.67 - +2
16. Jets - 53.04 - -2
17. Cowboys - 52.81 - -4
18. Redskins - 48.32 - +2
19. Texans - 46.80 - -3
20. Cardinals - 42.61 - -1
21. Bills - 40.50 - +3
22. 49ers - 40.33 - +4
23. Broncos - 39.62 - -2
24. Packers - 38.30 - -2
25. Jaguars - 36.52 - -2
26. Bengals - 33.95 - +3
27. Browns - 33.39 - -2
28. Seahawks - 32.74 - +2
29. Raiders - 29.17 - -1
30. Chiefs - 28.48 - -3
31. Rams - 13.57 - Even
32. Lions - 11.79 - Even
Links of the Day 12/23/08
Do you know anyone on this list? I think panthers_24 is related to half of them, right?
The Red Sox are interested in Joe Mauer when he becomes a free agent. Of course, this means he would sign with the Yankees.
A good look at the beginning of this post at how Tubby Smith has turned the Gophers around.
Labels: Links of the Day
Monday, December 22, 2008
The 5 saddest people after this NFL season
Sure, the Lions and their fans are hurting this year. So too are Bengals, Chiefs and Rams fans and players. But no, this is about individual disappointment. Perhaps someone was given a dose of bad news, perhaps suggesting they aren't as good as they thought. Maybe someone was dealt an unlucky card. These five guys are right to be bummed out by this season.
5. LaDanian Tomlinson: LT has long been regarded as the top running back in the league, and his gaudy statistics back up those assertions. He's a one man wrecking machine! Well, maybe not. With Michael Turner and Shawne Merriman out of the picture, the Chargers may be out of the playoff picture. Apparently LT can't do it alone. Perhaps he could use a back larger than a Keebler elf to lighten his load, because his numbers are way off this year.
4. Brian Billick: Billick was the coach of the Ravens for eight long years. Over that time, he won the Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer. As an offensive minded coach, he built a Super Bowl winning team on TRENT DILFER. Why Dilfer? Because Billick never had anyone better. For whatever reason, that was his fault, and now he's been fired. Turns out, the year after he's cut loose, some rookie coach lucks into Joe Flacco. He wasn't even the planned starter, Flacco, but new coach John Harbaugh saw Kyle Boller and Troy Smith go down early, then the unflappable Flacco steps in, and the Ravens are in the playoffs. Imagine what an offensive genius like Billick could do with a guy like Flacco.
3. Tom Brady: Everyone has been lauding Tom Brady as among the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Why not? Three rings. Great. At the beginning of the year, he went down to a catastrophic knee injury and everyone thought the Pats were done. Matt Cassel, who hadn't started a game since high school stepped in and, well, has lead the team to a 10-5 record. Not bad. It only took a little while to get acclimated to the offense, but now Cassel is putting up 47 points in the snow. Without a running game. Maybe it wasn't Brady after all.
2. Mike Nolan: Ever since Nolan got fired this season, in October, he now gets to watch a legitimately crazy Mike Singletary lead the 49ers. How are they doing? A respectable 4-4. Singletary will probably be back next season.
1. Vince Young: Young was supposed to be the premier quarterback for the Titans this year and for years to come. Then he got hurt and Kerry Collins was thrown into the starters role. The Titans then played a ridiculously easy schedule, right up until the Jets game, which they lost. Make no mistake, this was a defense/running game based team. Kerry Collins was just lucky enough to be the quarterback, and is now being lauded as resurgent. If it had been Young leading this team, then people would be saying he was living up to his potential. When he comes back, it will be against a more difficult schedule, and the Titans collapse will be blamed on him too.
Links of the Day 12/22/08
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Oh no! Snow!
Before we get into the day's football, let's make one thing clear: Just because Arizona is in, well, Arizona, doesn't mean that they are going to be completely unaccustomed to winter climate. Larry Fitzgerald is from Minnesota and played at Pitt. Kurt Warner spent formative years in Iowa. Has Matt Cassel ever led a team through a snow storm? (No). Let's make this one thing clear then. The Patriots are going to beat the Cardinals today because tehy are a much better team. No excuses Cardinals.
Links of the Day 12/21/08
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Minnesota's 10-0 record doesn't mean anything, because they play in the Big 10
Big deal. The Golden Gophers are 10-0. This should be promptly ignored because the Big Ten is a slow, boring conference, that never seems to produce quality teams. Oh sure, people may point to Michigan State, Illinois, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Purdue or Indiana and say that the Big Ten historically has a strong conference. But really, who are you fooling? That's barely half the conference.
This conference also has crap like Iowa, who lost to Drake today. They aren't even the best team in Iowa! And Northwestern, perennial crap, has already dropped a game to Brown. Ironic, yes? Let's not forget Penn State and their loss to Rhode Island. With such terrible teams in conference, how can you even begin to say that Minnesota is deserving of accolades for their 10-0 record?
Links of the Day 12/20/08
Friday, December 19, 2008
Going up north
Sad news, everyone. I have to go to Fargo this afternoon for my brother's graduation tomorrow. Good that I'm graduating, sad that I'm going to Fargo. I may be back tomorrow evening, in which case, great. But there is over a half a foot of snow in the forecast along my route between now and then, so maybe not.
Some things to discuss between now and then:
- The Twins may be interested in a couple Japanese pitchers.
- 4 Bowl Games tomorrow. How did magicJack already earn enough to sponsor a bowl?
- Dave Letterman's sneezing monkey. Does it fart at the end?
Links of the Day 12/19/08
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Links of the Day 12/18/08
The Winter Meetings’ and the Lost Potential
Ryan pointed out that the meetings were held in Vegas, a place not known for integrity. We had such high expectations (I was looking for the first 50-player trade, myself), but nothing too exciting happened. Jake Peavy wasn’t traded. Manny Ramirez didn’t sign anywhere and cause some controversy. Greg Maddux retired, which apparently was classy, but not exciting.
So here’s what could’ve been, but didn’t happen:
- The San Diego Padres trade Kevin Kouzmanoff to the New York Islanders for Richard Park, on the basis that Kouzmanoff sounds like the name of a hockey player, and Park sounds like the name of a baseball player.
- Royals trade General Manager Dayton Moore and infielder Kila Ka'aihue to the Tampa Bay [Devil] Rays Executive vice president Andrew Friedman.
- California doesn’t need five baseball teams and Canada deserves more than one team. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will now play in Calgary, and be known as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Calgary. As this seems a mockery of a name, MLB decides the official name will be Calgary’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
- The New York Yankees pay $200 billion for the rights to Cy Young’s DNA, and scientists to begin work on human cloning.
- Chicago White Sox General Manager Ken Williams reveals a long-held secret that he did not mean to sign AJ Pierzynski. He wasn’t paying attention and thought the deal was for AJ Brunett.
- The Florida Marlins announces that half of their home games in 2008 were actually played using MLB Y2K8 on the XBox in the clubhouses, because it was too hot and humid to play--and there were no fans to notice, anyway.
- The Philadelphia Phillies announce they won the 2008 World Series. Investigations begin when everyone there admitted they had not actually watched the series.
- Pete Rose presented on why gambling should be allowed in baseball. A vote upheld the no-gambling rule, although Rose claims it was unfair with only 15% attendance because so many were on the floor playing poker at the time of the vote.
The Winter Meetings this year could’ve been so much fun, but alas, even holding them in Vegas meant much of the same from previous years. (Really, that’s a good thing. I would hate to see my favorite sport be made into a laughingstock.)
Timberwolves update: 4-21 (0-4 since last week, 0-6 since McHale)
I still promise to attend a Timberwolves game if they’re under 20% in the win % category in January. Oklahoma City still has a worse record than the Timberwolves.
Marian Gaborik Injury Status: To spite me, M. Gaborik made a miraculous recovery, and played again in 2008. And scored a goal and an assist in his first game back, including a game-tying game in the waning minutes of the game.
My favorite Brock Spack moment
We had a nice retrospective on Joe Tiller from Steve when Tiller retired. Now that former defensive coordinator Brock Spack has retired, I think I should share my favorite Brock Spack memory.
Last year, versus Ohio State, the Buckeyes were already asserting their dominant rushing game in the first quarter. What few passes they had been throwing (they didn't really need to) were short. Quarterback Todd Boeckman wasn't a big play QB by any stretch of the imagination. So anyways, it's already 14-0 Ohio State, and the Boilers have slowed them down for the first time all game. Third and four, first quarter, OSU is already up by 14, relying on a running game that was picking up about 6 yards a carry. Ohio State was going to be running. No doubt about it. So, naturally, Spack trotted out the dime package. Five in the box. Beanie Wells ran for a 15 yard gain.
Now, clearly he was an excellent recruiter (and why not, with a moustach like that). One look at NFL rosters and the Purdue names they contain on defense will tell you that he was able to snag some high end talent. The problem was that the Purdue defenses were bad. So folks at Illinois State, look forward to extremely talented, but extremely frustrating teams.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Links of the Day 12/17/08
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
NFL Power Ranks: Week 15
With their losses, the Titans and Giants dropped to #4 and #5, respectively. Everyone else moved up 2 spots, which now puts Indianapolis in 2nd and Carolina in 3rd. Even though the Titans have clinched the division title and a first round bye, one of their division rivals is now ranked ahead of them in the ranks....interesting. We'll see what happens if they meet in the playoffs (because their week 17 game could be backupfest). The top 5 are extremely tight right now, with only 2 points seperating 1st from 5th.
The biggest gainer this week was New England, who jumped 6 spots to #10 after destroying the Raiders and staying in the hunt for the AFC East. The biggest losers were the Saints, who dropped 6 spots to #17 and whose loss to the Bears effectively eliminated them from the playoffs.
If the Power Ranks were used to set the playoff matchups, this is what they would be (I can't call it a playoff projection anymore since the Colts can't win the division, but power ranks are all about who is the best right now, not all season....so think about it as a bracket of who is the best now):
Byes: #1 Steelers, #2 Colts
#6 Ravens @ #8 Dolphins
#4 Titans @ #18 Chargers
Top 3 Out: #10 Patriots, #14 Jets, #16 Texans
Byes: #3 Panthers, #5 Giants
#11 Falcons @ #9 Vikings
#7 Eagles @ #19 Cardinals
Top 3 Out: #12 Buccaneers, #13 Cowboys, #15 Bears
Here are the ranks:
1. Steelers - 74.52 - +2
2. Colts - 73.88 - +2
3. Panthers - 73.52 - +2
4. Titans - 73.04 - -3
5. Giants - 72.52 - -3
6. Ravens - 67.65 - Even
7. Eagles - 66.34 - +2
8. Dolphins - 65.91 - Even
9. Vikings - 65.21 - +4
10. Patriots - 62.79 - +6
11. Falcons - 62.59 - -1
12. Buccaneers - 62.28 - -5
13. Cowboys - 61.33 - -1
14. Jets - 59.49 - Even
15. Bears - 58.79 - +2
16. Texans - 55.33 - +3
17. Saints - 52.94 - -6
18. Chargers - 48.33 - +4
19. Cardinals - 46.39 - -4
20. Redskins - 45.80 - -2
21. Broncos - 40.76 - -1
22. Packers - 38.91 - -1
23. Jaguars - 38.20 - +3
24. Bills - 38.16 - Even
25. Browns - 34.51 - -2
26. 49ers - 34.11 - -1
27. Chiefs - 28.66 - +1
28. Raiders - 27.97 - -1
29. Bengals - 25.38 - Even
30. Seahawks - 25.30 - Even
31. Rams - 13.08 - Even
32. Lions - 12.38 - Even
Photo: AP/Rob Carr
Links of the Day 12/16/08
Monday, December 15, 2008
Gambling with the Victoria Times
But this is about the pitchers. They signed Sabathia, who the Brewers absolutely drove into the ground in the last few months of the year last season. Then there is A.J. Burnett, who went 18-10, but with an ERA in the 4's. And oh yeah, this was only his third healthy season in a 8 year career.
The question for our little wager? How many games, combined, will Burnett and Sabathia appear in this season (I say 22)? Second, who get's the blame if this happens? I say Sabathia and Burnett themselves.
If I ever create a t-shirt, winner gets a free t-shirt.
Labels: New York Yankees
Links of the Day 12/15/008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Not included: a soundtrack with a harp
Inevitably, one of the characters will fall in love. Even more inevitable, the two lovers will share a romantic kiss on a bridge. After this kiss, it will go one of two ways. If it is someone who met some French girl (or guy), after their kiss, they will part ways, their love no more than a wonderful memory. Which begs the question, if they were going to split up just then, why go to the middle of the bridge? If one goes the other way, that means one has to backtrack. Why would person B make Person A walk halfway across the damn bridge only to turn around again? Or if Person A chose to go half way across the bridge, why not escort person all the way across the bridge? It could be the last you see of her!
The other way it could go, of course, is that the two people (usually the parents in a family comedy) realize how much they love each other or something. So, after they have made it halfway across the bridge, stopped, enjoyed the view and smooched, then what? "Well, we kissed on a bridge. Let's get dinner. I'm dying for crepes!"
This deranged nonsense is a direct result of a little cabin fever. But I have learned that nothing says love like kissing on a bridge.
Of course, we can't show the real play because of copyright laws, but you get the idea
Links of the Day 12/14/08
Saturday, December 13, 2008
The coming blizzard
Bad news, everyone. Well, everyone in Minnesota. Everyone in Northern Minnesota, anyways. And skittish people in southern Minnesota. What bad news has me writing so many sentence fragments? Well, it turns out that there is a fairly massive winter storm headed our way, which means that some of you could be stuck in your houses for the next couple of days. You can only watch so much Game Show Network before you lose your mind. You know what that means? Internet. You're coming to me, baby. Of course, at this point, you must be wondering what the devil I might have to say, right? Well, let's see... The college football season is over, I've already unloaded on the Twins, I'm completely ambivalent towards the Timberwolves and the Wild are just out to not score goals ever, it seems. The big news of the day was that Sam Bradford won the Heisman. I have nothing to say to this, unfortunately. You see, I think he deserved to win it. He's a good player, and I think it's safe to say he was the best this year.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm not going to be able to help you with the snow in. I would do a live blog or something, but you are probably going to be stuck watching the same thing I am too. Help me out. Leave me hilarious comments.
Links of the Day 12/13/08
Apparently Nevada and Maryland don't travel well. Their ticket sales for the Humanitarian Bowl have been... lackluster.
With a fairly massive snowstorm on it's way, here is a timely reminder about snowblower safety. Too late for Joe Sakic.
Labels: Links of the Day
Friday, December 12, 2008
In the back of my mind, I knew the Twins were going to resign Nick Punto. I think we all knew the Twins were going to resign Nick Punto. I was anticipating no small degree of frustration out of the inevitable signing, because I figured the roster spot could be used better, especially given the presence of Matt Tolbert, essentially a younger, smarter version of the same player.
On that same note, I knew there were plenty of Twins fans that love Nick Punto. He hustles, he's good in the field and he's an all around likable guy. Even then, people that like Nick Punto have to agree with me; his resigning yesterday was absolutely absurd. Let's reflect on a few things:
As it stands right now, Nick Punto will be making more than everyone except Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer. He'll be making more than the entire starting rotation. He'll be making more than 4 times what another free agent infielder will be making this year. Mark Loretta signed with the Dodgers for about a million dollars, and as it happened, put up much better numbers than Punto last year. And the previous 5 years.
Let me illustrate exactly what it is that frustrates me so much about the deal. On the one hand, the Twins felt Nick Punto was worth 4 million plus a year, despite all evidence to the contrary. They over paid for this specific player after so many years of letting free agents who play positions we are not strong at simply walk away. Or, of course, they use that as a reason behind trades. Naturally, the money isn't the same, but I'm mostly concerned with why we went so hard after Punto. I can't help but think that Ron Gardenhire influenced Bill Smith's decision making. After an offseason in which the team tried to remake themselves into a younger, more traditionally talented team with strong hitters and a talented young pitching staff, the team appears to be reverting back into a team that just hopes it can luck its way into the playoffs again. It's not going to work. Make no mistake, the Twins were in contention this year only because the rest of the division was bad.
The second problem I have with this is that people are going to allege that Nick Punto showed some sort of loyalty. He met, reportedly, with 16 teams! He's making 4 times what a similar (if better) player is making, which indicates that meeting with these teams actually drove his price up. If he was loyal, he would have signed with the Twins a month ago at a similar, maybe slightly greater salary. Geting a 3 million dollar raise despite 2 more seasons mediocre (generous) seasons indicates that this offseason, he was out for the money. If he even tries to say that he stayed with the Twins out of loyalty, bullshit. I say bullshit. He was saying it would be hard too leave the Twins this offseason, but not that hard, if it took 4 million dollars a year (in a RECESSION!) to keep him here. Of course, I've long thought Punto wasn't that smart, so maybe he does think that this is loyalty, fleecing his team like this.
So, in short, the Twins made a terrible error, both in baaseball terms and financial terms, and Nick Punto is jsut plain terrible, as a player and now as a teammate, inasmuch as he will prevent the team from spending extra money on someone who might help. Oh, and this indicates that the Twins intend on his starting at short next year, which will mean abysmal offensive production, until someone steps on his face sliding into first base. Of course, then he'll just be a waste of money, instead of a waste of space.
Links of the Day 11/12/08
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Links of the Day 12/11/08
Nonetheless, the head coach was fired. I don’t know if it was deserving or not. I don’t know if the players were better, and he was a poor coach, or if he was just doing what he could with what he had. We’ll have to see as Kevin McHale takes over the helm. Even then, if the new general manager makes a move on the team, it will be hard to tell who was to blame all along. I’m willing to give McHale a two-week grace period. He needs time to clear away the old regime’s ideas and start his own. (Thus, I can’t give any opinion on the team being 0-2 since getting the new coach.)
However, when a team is 22-60 one year, and manages to start the next year at 4-15, it’s clear something has to change if a team wants to keep fans. Poor records don’t create fans, and turn off casual fans--and that “turn-off” can last for years, pending a major title win. Just doing “really well” will still keep the casual fan away from the arenas/fields/courts/parks/stadiums in any sport, after years of very poor play. The fans don’t trust the team really has turned it around.
Anyway, it’s too early to judge whether it was a new head coach, general manager, or new players that the Timberwolves need. The one thing is clear: they need to find a way to make new fans (and keep the old), and their current model isn’t doing it. If they turn it around in the next month, they have a shot at keeping the current fan base, and gaining a few of the more loyal casual fans back (and losing the “train wreck” fans, like me, but that’s probably a good thing).
Nonetheless, we’ll be keeping track of Kevin McHale’s record as head coach for the rest of the year. Will these changes be enough? Keep watching!
Timberwolves update: 4-17 (0-4 since last week, 0-2 since McHale)
I still promise to attend a Timberwolves game if they’re under 20% in the win % category in January. There is currently one team with a worse record than them, and one team with an identical record.
Marian Gaborik Injury Status: Just because I said he wouldn’t play again in 2008, he suddenly decided to start practicing with the team, and is on the road trip with them. He seems to think he’ll play this road trip; Coach Jacques Lemaire isn’t quite so sure.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I can't tell whether to panic or not
Last year at this time, there was much gnashing of teeth in the Minnesota Twins camp, as the squad knew that Johan Santana had to be traded, but we didn't really know to who or for what. Adding to the intrigue, Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett had just been sent to Tampa for Delmon Young, Jason Pridie and Brendan Harris. At the time, I thought that trade was a good one. We moved one of our pitching prospects for a hitting prospect, need for need. Additionally, many of the trade offers for Santana involved a top pitching prospect, so it looked like things would sort of work themselves out.
In the end, I still like the trade the Twins made just before the meeting. I don't think Garza would have developed in Minnesota as he did in Tampa. And like it or not, Delmon Young put up eerily similar numbers in 08 as he did in 07, and this after a poor start. He's coming around, and I would hate to see him go now, especially for some crappy third baseman.
But thats the thing. The Twins acknowledge the need for someone to play the hot corner, and that's great. But then, there are rumors swirling around Delmon as well, which isn't great. I understand that Ron Gardenhire said his preferred outfield doesn't include Young, however, Young wasn't brought in to play the field. Jason Kubel, if anyone wants a young bat in a trade, should be a much more worthy trade candidate from the Twins perspective. Moving one of the redundant lefthanded sluggers in a trade for relief or left infield help seems like a better idea to me.
With the rumors as they are, the Twins looking for a third baseman (as I mentioned in the links earlier, they were connected to Mark DeRosa earlier today) rather aggressively, I can't help but be a little excited. I'm just worried about the deals being floated, that they may actually serve to weaken the Twins over the long and short term. I'm not sure, overall, whether or not I should be concerned that the Twins haven't made a splash yet at the winter meetings.
Labels: Minnesota Twins
Links of the Day 12/10/08
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Links of the Day 12/9/08
NFL Power Ranks: Week 14
The Colts dominated the Bengals to win their 6th in a row, moving them to #4, leapfrogging the Panthers who dropped to #5 despite getting a big win over Tampa Bay, who fell from #3 to #7. The Giants upset loss to the Eagles barely pulled the Titans back into #1 spot, and they could very well trade that spot back in forth over the next few weeks and into the playoffs. The Eagles benefited from that win by moving back into the top 10.
The Bottom 5 stayed the same and they still suck. The only thing to note is that if the Lions keep playing close games and the Rams keep getting blown out, there is a slim chance the Lions could finish #31 even if they go 0-16. I would have loved to see them play the Rams this year....
There wasn't a ton of movement in the ranks this week. Pittsburgh, who I already mentioned, and New Orleans jumped 4 spots after they stayed alive in the NFC playoff race. The biggest losers were the Jets, who dropped 5 spots after losing to San Francisco and behind the Dolphins in the ranks, who are now my top AFC East team (who woulda thunk it?)
Projected Playoff Matchups:
Byes: #1 Titans, #3 Steelers
#4 Colts @ #20 Broncos
#6 Ravens @ #8 Dolphins
Top 3 Out: #14 Jets, #16 Patriots, #19 Texans
Byes: #2 Giants, #5 Panthers
#7 Buccaneers @ #15 Cardinals
#9 Eagles @ #13 Vikings
Top 3 Out: #10 Falcons, #11 Saints, #12 Cowboys
The Full Ranks:
1. Titans - 80.58 - +1
2. Giants - 80.30 - -1
3. Steelers - 74.39 - +4
4. Colts - 73.59 - +2
5. Panthers - 71.86 - -1
6. Ravens - 70.49 - -1
7. Buccaneers - 68.44 - -4
8. Dolphins - 64.64 - +3
9. Eagles - 63.60 - +3
10. Falcons - 59.11 - -2
11. Saints - 58.96 - +4
12. Cowboys - 57.92 - -2
13. Vikings - 57.19 - Even
14. Jets - 56.58 - -5
15. Cardinals - 54.67 - +1
16. Patriots - 53.95 - -2
17. Bears - 51.90 - +2
18. Redskins - 48.70 - -1
19. Texans - 48.64 - +2
20. Broncos - 48.55 - -2
21. Packers - 45.55 - -1
22. Chargers - 42.43 - +2
23. Browns - 41.83 - -1
24. Bills - 40.92 - -1
25. 49ers - 39.28 - +2
26. Jaguars - 30.67 - -1
27. Raiders - 29.51 - -1
28. Chiefs - 27.74 - Even
29. Bengals - 19.46 - Even
30. Seahawks - 18.72 - Even
31. Rams - 14.11 - Even
32. Lions - 12.35 - Even
Monday, December 08, 2008
Today was the beginning of the winter meetings at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and while there was much hemming and hawing through day 1, there wasn't a whole lot that got accomplished. Casey Blake is probably returning to the Dodgers, Adam Everett is going to the Tigers and the Twins, as always, are being tied to several players they probably won't acquire. Its a typical case of the winter meetings
That said, how awesome is it that the meetings are in Vegas? Here's hoping that, at some point, a copious amound of alcohol is consumed and a few absolutely ludicrous moves are made. Perhaps the Braves can add Rick Ankiel. As a pitcher. Maybe the Twins will get the Cubs to send Aramis Ramirez up to Minnesota in exchange for the 87 World Series banner. The Dodgers could end up playing in Aneheim this year, while the Angels move to Chavez Ravine. Maybe, just maybe, we could see our first 50 player trade, with all of the Mariners going to Pittsburgh for all of the Pirates.
Yes, the winter meetings will be exciting.
Links of the Day 12/8/08
Bugs and Cranks with an interesting look at how things may have turned out if baseball used a BCS type system.
Naturally, British teams are the best at elephant polo. Because of all the elephants, of course.
Labels: Links of the Day
Sunday, December 07, 2008
My new favorite basketball player
Last night, Purdue hosted a mediocre Arkansas-Pine Bluff team. The Golden Lions (rarr!) pretty much seemed happy to be there. I was happy to see them too, if only to see one player in particular. Can you figure out which one, judging from the team photo above? How about the guy with the shock of bright red hair? Wow. Dude really stuck out.
It get's better. The young man with the hair has a name that will make Beth swoon. Yes, that guy is named "Antonio Ootesey". Sadly, I don't know a whole lot about Ootesey, other than that he is a sophomore who only averages 1.9 points a game, and is from Little Rock. If anyone has more information on Mr. Ootesey, I would love to hear it.
Links of the Day 12/07/08
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Why Not Virginia Tech/Cincinnati For the National Title?
The ACC had a ton of parity this year, and in a sport where 1 loss could put you out of the title hunt, it was seen as mediocrity. The ACC actually played the most aggressive non-conference schedule of anyone, playing 23 games against BCS opponents and finishing an impressive 15-8. The national title game is going to be SEC Champ Florida vs. Big 12 Champ Oklahoma, but the ACC was 6-4 vs. the SEC and a perfect 4-0 vs. the Big 12. Granted, Florida beat 2 ACC teams and none of the big 3 played an ACC team, but that's still pretty impressive. Conference Champ Virginia Tech beat a Big 12 team, Nebraska, on the road in their only game against a BCS team.
The Big East was 9-7, thanks to 2 wins over Notre Dame. They also played pretty respectably against the Big 12 and SEC, finishing 3-2 and 1-1, respectively. Conference Champ Cincinnati's adventure against a Big 12 team, at Oklahoma, didn't go so well....A 52-26 loss.
The other conferences had narrow losing records, with the Big 12 finishing 7-8, Big Ten 6-7, Pac-10 6-8, and what everyone seems to think is the toughest conference, the SEC, finishing 6-9. Outside of Florida, the ACC had their way with the SEC this year which led to that poor record. Some other things to note is the Big Ten didn't play the SEC and the Big East didn't play the PAC-10. USC was 3-0 against non-conference BCS teams, which makes the Pac-10 only 3-8 without them (and I was at one of those wins, when Purdue choked away a game to Oregon). The 2 atrocious Washington schools didn't help the Pac-10 out very much. I'll paste the complete grid below (clicking on it enlarges it if its hard to see).
So, it seems like Florida and Oklahoma are the 2 best teams in the country, and should be playing for the national title. Even though their conferences didn't do as well against BCS teams as the ACC and Big East, they took care of business against those conferences with Florida getting those 2 wins over the ACC and Oklahoma beating Big East Champ Cincinnati soundly (and Washington....big surprise?). But could you imagine if the national title game was chosen by having the champions of the 2 "strongest" conferences based on record outside of their conference play each other? Maybe the BCS and the polls aren't such a bad thing after all.
Links of the Day 12/6/08
Friday, December 05, 2008
Enough with the horn
I was talking to my friend the other day, expressing annoyance with the Viking horn that plays for every first down, completed pass, kick off, gain of three, etc. It's not that the Viking horn isn't cool, it's just overplayed. He lamented the growling panther that plays every time Carolina gets a first down as well, again because it is played to often.
Of course, this led to some ideas for other teams who we thought should explore the idea of a post first down sound effect. Here are three. More ideas are appreciated in the comments
Links of the Day 12/5/08
Blake Griffin was the victim of a low blow against USC.
So, the Twins are looking to add a right handed bat, right? So why would they trade a 23 year old hitting prospect for someone who has never really hit outside of Colorado?
Labels: Links of the Day
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Links of the Day 12/4/08
Who won the World Series?
I decided it was time for the truth to be told. I tallied how many times each team was mentioned, including in the two advertisements (the concept of advertisements in a catalog just seems like it’s mocking itself, doesn’t it?). There were three items that had unidentifiable logos in my opinion. I was generous enough that when the items were the baseball card sets, I didn’t include those teams, because clearly MLB.com didn’t choose the teams/players represented on those. However, the Cubs got one tally for the team box set, because MLB could choose which team’s box set it used. I did not double-check my figures, so these numbers could be off by a few. If you’re double-checking my facts, you have WAY more time than I do and should wash my dishes for me. Thanks!
It turned out, the Brooklyn Dodgers have the most to complain about, warranting only two showings. The Nationals only had three, but that includes that one page shows at least one t-shirt from every team, and the advertisement for the team-logoed credit cards. Wait. The Nationals had only one more mention than a team that doesn’t even exist anymore!? Whoa. The Toronto Blue Jays come in third to last, with four showings. The Texas Rangers and the Colorado Rockies came in with five. With six items, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Baltimore Orioles, the Florida Marlins, the San Diego Padres, and the San Francisco Giants were the next grouping.
So, where did the teams who played in the World Series rank? The Phillies are actually tied for fourth with their divisional rival, the Mets. They’re shown 29 times. Their popularity no doubt has something to do with their World Series win this year, as six of the items are directly related to the World Series. Tampa Bay only had two items related to the World Series, but their ten mentions were good enough to place them in 14th, so at least they were still in the top half.
Who came in first, with 12.67% (56) of the items representing their team? Remember: Yankee Stadium closed its doors this year, and there were a number of items to tribute that event. Of course, you’re thinking the Yankees. It’s always the Yankees, isn’t it? Not this time, my friends. The Yankees only had 43 items--9.73% of the total items. The winner was the Red Sox. That means over 20% of the catalog was representing the AL-East. Now, they have the largest fan base, so it’s not completely outrageous, but it is completely annoying to non-Yankee/non-Red Sox fans. (In third place is the Chicago Cubs.)
Because I’m AL-Central centric, I was amused that the largest number of items belonged to the team that came in last in 2008: 16 items for the Detroit Tigers. The Chicago White Sox had 14, and the Cleveland Indians had nine. The Kansas City Royals and the Twins had eight. (I feel obliged to comment that I almost missed one Twins logo because it was so small, and not one commonly used, as shown below.)
I know it’s not a huge deal, but it was very interesting to see exactly whom MLB.com is marketing to. If you’re a fan of the Washington Nationals, it’s definitely not you. If you’re a fan of the Red Sox, I’m restraining myself from making an insulting joke here, because it’s childish, over-used, and stupid. You can thank me.
(I know I have too much time on my hands. But I do not have enough extra time to figure out how much room each team took in actual space. I’m not going to measure each and every item. I really don’t have time for that.)
Timberwolves update: 4-13 (1-3 since last week)
I still promise to attend a Timberwolves game if they’re under 20% in the win % category in January. The lengths they’ll go through to spare me from a professional basketball game is gratifying.
Marian Gaborik Injury Status: I’m glad I labeled this "injury status" and not "health status", because the lad is a delicate little flower.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Corey Brewer out for the season
NCAA's handsomest men on display in West Lafayette
Rarely in sports, college or professional, do you get a matchup like you got in West Lafayette yesterday. Purdue versus Duke, a match up of elite academic institutions with talented basketball squads. They each play one solid aspect of the game. The Blue Devils are excellent shooters while the Boilermakers are known for the quality team defense. But that's not why people came.
Kyle Singler and Robbie Hummel, pictured above, were each in the arena yesterday. Tall, gangly, white guys with sloppy blonde hair cuts. You're lucky to only have one of those on the court on any given day, but two?! I'll just finish talking, because I'm sure the ladies are already done reading and have gone to print that picture.
(BEARD WATCH: With Purdue losing to Duke yesterday, the beard is already one step closer to it's demise)
(Photo: AP/Michael Conroy)
Links of the Day 12/3/08
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
NFL Power Ranks: Week 13
In case you were curious, this is what happens when the #2 team plays the #32 team (listen closely). It's pretty hard to disagree with LenDale though...
Unlucky Week 13 was the end of the Jets' 2 week run in the top 5 in the soaking wet Meadowlands. Favre and the boys gave up the #3 spot to Tampa, who rose 1 spot as they improved to 9-3. Relatively impressive wins by Carolina and Baltimore caused them over to leap over the relatively unimpressive Colts, who won this week despite not scoring an offensive TD. Maybe this is a good sign for the Colts though, since their fall from the top 5 wasn't a violent drop like the rest of the their crazy ride through the ranks has been this year. The Giants and Titans remain the dominant forces in the NFL, keeping their strangelhold on the top 2 spots.
Congratulations to the San Francisco Bay Area. This is the first time since Week 5 that neither the 49ers or Raiders are in the bottom 5. The 49ers surprising win at Buffalo (the first win by a pacific time zone team in the eastern time zone) moved them up to #27 while the Raiders remained in #26 despite an awful loss to the Cheifs. The Chiefs did manage to rise 2 spots to #28 while the Bengals fell to #29 and the Seahawks to #30. The Rams and Lions.....wow.....horrible
The biggest gainers this week were Philadelphia, who got a nice win over Arizona to stay in the playoff hunt, Minnesota, who surged into 1st place in the NFC North, and Houston, who is playing pretty well a little too late. The biggest losers were the Jets, who came back to reality, and lost to a team that is only in first by default. Speaking of teams in first by default, the Cardinals dropped 4 spots.
Here are the projected playoff matchups:
1st Round Byes: #1 Giants, #3 Buccaneers
#4 Panthers @ #16 Cardinals
#8 Falcons @ #13 Vikings
Top 3 out of playoffs: #10 Cowboys, #12 Eagles, #15 Saints
1st Round Byes: #2 Titans, #5 Ravens
#6 Colts @ #18 Broncos
#7 Steelers @ #9 Jets
Top 3 out of playoffs: #11 Dolphins, #14 Patriots, #21 Texans
The Full Ranks:
1. Giants - 88.13 - Even
2. Titans - 80.64 - Even
3. Buccaneers - 74.58 - +1
4. Panthers - 71.45 - +2
5. Ravens - 69.95 - +3
6. Colts - 69.61 - -1
7. Steelers - 67.66 - +2
8. Falcons - 66.80 - -1
9. Jets - 64.44 - -6
10. Cowboys - 63.37 - +3
11. Dolphins - 62.04 - -1
12. Eagles - 57.48 - +5
13. Vikings - 57.41 - +5
14. Patriots - 53.27 - -3
15. Saints - 52.48 - Even
16. Cardinals - 50.99 - -4
17. Redskins - 50.81 - -3
18. Broncos - 47.90 - +4
19. Bears - 46.42 - -3
20. Packers - 45.16 - -1
21. Texans - 43.15 - +5
22. Browns - 42.97 - -1
23. Bills - 42.90 - -3
24. Chargers - 36.93 - Even
25. Jaguars - 36.51 - -2
26. Raiders - 32.72 - -1
27. 49ers - 31.83 - +1
28. Cheifs - 29.09 - +2
29. Bengals - 27.59 - -2
30. Seahawks - 19.60 - -1
31. Rams - 14.32 - Even
32. Lions - 10.56 - Even
Links of the Day 12/2/08
Monday, December 01, 2008
The bar is low for football intelligence
I was watching the Packers-Panthers game yesterday during commercial breaks of the
Seriously? That's all it takes? You need to know, as a football player, who has played football since they were young, and now play football professionally, how far you need to go for a first down? That's all you need to do before you are considered a "smart player"?
Well, I guess he didn't accidentally shoot himself.