January 31, 2012
Here we go again. Looking into the future isn’t as easy as one might think. My Magic 8 Ball is worn out and I don’t think I can stomach another fortune cookie. So let’s not waste anymore time. Here’s what I see happening in the NCAA in 2012.
Urban Meyer takes over at Ohio State and leads the Buckeyes to a 10-2 finish and a No. 1 ranking in a new poll that consists only of teams who are not eligible for postseason action.
Matt Barkley and USC build on the momentum of the 2011 season and make a run at the BCS championship. However, the Trojans come up short in the final BCS standings. As usual, the standings become controversial when Wikileaks publishes documents that reveal “distance from SEC country” is part of the computer formulas. When a one-loss SEC team gets into the national championship game over two undefeated teams, it is the final straw for the BCS system. The NCAA will finally adopt some sort of system that allows for a champion to be determined on the field.
Brittney Griner leads No. 1 Baylor to an undefeated regular season. The Bears suffer their first loss in the Big 12 tournament, but Baylor will be cutting down the nets in Denver.
On the men’s side, a mid-major team will make a run to the Final Four. This not only takes me out of the running in my office pool, but it also ignites more talks of adding teams to the tournament. Officials say they have several scenarios under consideration with the most likely option expanding the field to 70 teams and changing the championship game to a best-of-three series.
In an attempt to keep up with the Big 10, Pac 12 and SEC, the Big 12 and ACC reach an agreement to have all Big 12 teams face off with a team from the ACC on the second Saturday of the season. It seems like a good idea but cannot begin until 2014 and nobody knows what schools will be in what conferences in 2014.
Speaking of realignment, plenty more moves will be made as conferences scramble to survive in a landscape that continues to change. The Big 12 reels in BYU but needs another school for an even 12 teams. They can’t talk Notre Dame into joining, so the conference goes with plan B and brings in a Canadian school, the Manitoba Bisons.
(To read Part 4 of this series, click here.)
January 30, 2012
With Super Bowl week here, prep yourself for nonsensical questions from non-sports media regarding players’ favorite foods, that oh-so-important boxers or briefs inquiry, or even faux marriage proposals. Every media member in the world will seemingly be there and mindless drivel will be front and center. And don’t even get me started on the takeover of sports talk shows this week by former players pitching every promotion and gadget under the sun.
Eli Vs. Peyton – Ask anyone about the siblings and the consensus is generally that Peyton Manning is the better quarterback. But with each having one Lombardi trophy under their belts, Eli could gain some more consideration for the title of best in the family. Personally, I’d still lean towards Peyton since I considered him the best quarterback in the league in many seasons over his career. I’m not sure you can say that about Eli. But either way, both are extremely talented and if Eli surpasses his brother in championships, the school of thought that he’s the better signal caller will grow.
Ascent of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick – Already considered one of the elite coaches in pro football, Belichick can reach another level with a win over the Giants on Sunday. With three Super Bowl titles already, a fourth would tie him with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Chuck Noll for the most all time.
In that same vein, Tom Brady’s three championships as the Patriots’ quarterback leave him one behind Joe Montana. Even though both are behind Terry Bradshaw when it comes to quarterbacks winning Super Bowls, the Brady > Montana talk will increase if Brady is able to tie him.
Revenge, Revenge, Revenge – Another story you’re sure to hear about this week is the fact that the Patriots will be seeking to avenge their 2008 loss to the G-Men. Please. That game was four years ago and while some of the same players are still around, both rosters have seen plenty of changes since then. Key players from those 2008 squads that won’t be suiting up this time around include Randy Moss, Michael Strahan, Plaxico Burress, Asante Samuel, Tedy Bruschi, Donte Stallworth, Amani Toomer, and Jeremy Shockey among others. These are largely two different teams made up of new players.
Madonna at Halftime – Chances that Madonna will do something wildly controversial during the halftime show? Slim to none. Madonna’s act has been severely toned down since her 80s and 90s days and with the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake fiasco still fresh in the minds of the fans, you can bet the NFL is doing its best to ensure a family-friendly act. But her performance will nonetheless get people to stay tuned in on Sunday.
The ‘Underdog’ Giants vs. the Big Bad Patriots – This theme will undoubtedly be beaten like a drum this week despite the fact that it’s simply not true. The Giants won two road games against the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers. While they had a bit of, let’s say, help, in that game against the Niners, beating two of the league’s best teams on the road means they’re not lucky – they’re good. Behind Eli Manning, New York boasts the fifth best passing offense in the league and with more than 2,700 receiving yards from Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks alone, the Giants have the ability to put points on the board. New York has won six of their past seven games and is just now hitting their stride.
January 27, 2012
With the Super Bowl taking place in Indianapolis, many people thought Peyton Manning would be being discussed at this time. However, no one thought it would be because we were trying to figure out which NFL team he would be on next year! Nonetheless, it appears more and more likely with each passing day that his time with the Colts is nearing an end.
Who wouldn’t want Peyton Manning on their team? One of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, teams would gladly lineup to get whatever football Manning has left in the tank. Which teams make the most sense? We take a look at some of the teams who may be interested and may not fit.
A team that rose from the ashes when it signed Kurt Warner, the Cardinals might look to Manning to deliver a similar resurgence. The Cardinals haven’t had a winning season since Warner left the team, and they have had multiple quarterbacks in that time. While they have lost some talented receivers as well, (Anquan Boldin, Steve Breaston) many feel that Manning and Larry Fitzgerald could lead this team back to the playoffs. This might be the best fit out there for Peyton Manning.
New York Jets
Rex Ryan’s first draft pick as head coach of the New York Jets was quarterback Mark Sanchez. After taking them to back to back AFC Championship games his first two years in the NFL, you wouldn’t think the Jets would be in the market for a new quarterback. After going 8-8 in a season where many were thinking Super Bowl, many want the Jets to find a more consistent quarterback to push Sanchez. I personally think the Jets need to grow with Sanchez, but the reports have gone as far as an “unnamed source from the Jets saying they would trade Sanchez to get Peyton Manning. While the move would certainly make the Jets a contender in the AFC, I think they are even without Manning. This would be the next best place for Manning, but it still isn’t as good as Arizona.
A team that is in complete rebuilding mode, the Dolphins have had a lot of trouble trying to find a quarterback to make them competitive. Miami just hired a new head coach in Joe Philbin, who was the offensive coordinator in Green Bay last year. Philbin would love to get his hands on a quarterback as good as Aaron Rodgers was last year to help turn this team around, but I would look for Philbin to find a young, 1st round pick to grow with this inexperienced team. While Manning could help bridge the gap, I just don’t see the Dolphins offering wins that Manning could find in New York or Arizona.
Another team that is rebuilding and needs a quarterback, the Washington Redskins hold a lot of intriguing possibilities. First and foremost, how cool would it be for Peyton and Eli Manning to play in the same division? The NFC East is already stacked at quarterback with Tony Romo, Michael Vick and Eli, adding Peyton would make that a fun division to watch. Add to that head coach Mike Shanahan, who has a proven NFL track record, and the fact that Washington swept the New York Giants last year and only lost to New England by a touchdown, and there could be some major storylines if this move was made. However, just like Miami, I think Shanahan wants to get younger, but if I could pick a team for Peyton to go to for my own selfish reasons, it would be here.
January 26, 2012
While the Super Bowl is the brightest stage of the NFL season, there are two non-sports aspects I enjoy every year: the commercials and outrageous prop bets. While I don’t have any commercials to reveal for you, the prop bets are out already and are offering some interesting action. So I have compiled my favorite prop bets for this year’s Super Bowl.
Super Bowl Prop Bets:
What Color Gatorade Is Dumped on the Winning Head Coach?
The most well known bet outside of the coin-toss, the Gatorade bath is one of the more unpredictable bets you can make. I have heard of people going back to see what color Gatorade teams have dumped before, but guessing is half the fun, right? Water and Yellow are the favorites at 2/1, with Orange following at 9/4. Then Green (6/1), Red (11/2) and Blue (10/1). For some reason, I see the New York Giants having Yellow Gatorade in their cooler. Just for fun (and the good odds), I think the Patriots will be bringing Red to the game.
Will Offensive or Defensive players be holding the bucket?
This is a new bet to me and it seems rather hard to predict. One would think that most celebrations happen when the offense is kneeling on the ball, which is why defense is the favorite (-200). However, what if the game is a blowout or one of the skill position players is on the sideline towards the end of the game? Offense is +150 and the unconventional bet. I think New York would have a defensive player do it, New England an offensive player.
Will Kelly Clarkson forget or leave out a word during the National Anthem?
You can’t bet no on this prop bet, but a yes is worth +250. With the rash of National Anthem screw ups lately, many people might be thinking the yes is worth it. Kelly has to know the scrutiny over these mistakes though, right? I’m leaving this bet alone, banking that Kelly has been memorizing the words. The same goes for the 3-1 prop that Kelly will show some belly when she sings. I don’t see that happening either.
How many times will Peyton Manning be shown: Over (-150)/Under (-110) = 3.5
Who could have predicted how terrible of a year this would be for Peyton Manning? What better way to top it off than having his brother and arch-nemesis play the Super Bowl in his city and the stadium that came from his success? Nonetheless, Peyton will be in attendance and talked about a great deal. The money isn’t great, but you have to imagine that he will be shown more than 3.5 times.
How many times is Andrew Luck mentioned? Over (-110)/under(-130) = 1
The discussion of Andrew Luck seems to follow every conversation involving Peyton Manning. The obvious #1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, he seems to be a lock to replace Manning in Indianapolis. However, I don’t see his name coming up during the Super Bowl. Even if it did, the payoff isn’t worth the risk. I’m not going for it.
Super Bowl MVP
Since this is still a football game, I figured I have to include at least one bet about the game. While picking a Kicker to win the MVP is tempting (100/1), if Adam Vinateri hasn’t won one yet for his multiple late game wins, I don’t see how a kicker can unless they fake a field goal and he throws a touchdown to win it.
This award, barring an amazing performance, will go to either Tom Brady or Eli Manning. Basically, whichever team you like to win the game, you pick the quarterback for the MVP. Of course, Brady (13/10) is favored over Eli (9/4) but what is surprising is Gronkowski isn’t far behind (15/2). I am all about longshots though, so give me Vince Wilfork at 100/1.
January 25, 2012
The 2012 NHL All-Star Game promises can’t miss action January 26-29 in Ottawa. The capital of Canada will put on an unforgettable event as the NHL’s best take center stage. Sports fans are in for a treat, beginning with the All-Star Fantasy Draft on January 26.
The NHL has the best All-Star Celebration in all of sports. The All-Star Game’s teams are decided by their honorary captains, who happen to be Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins and Daniel Alfredsson of the hometown Ottawa Senators. These men were selected by their fellow All-Star comrades, which is a sign of ultimate respect.
The rules are simple—each player selects a teammate until every player is selected, similar to how kids would do it on your local pond. East vs. West no more, this is a straight-up pick-up game.
The All-Star Celebration continues on January 28 with the skills competition. This is uber fun for fans and players alike as everyone gets to see just how good these athletes truly are.
These invents include:
On January 29, the main event takes place as the puck drops on the 2012 NHL All-Star Game.
This year’s game will feature a youth movement across the NHL. Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux, Boston Bruins center Tyler Seguin and Edmonton Oilers winger Jordan Eberle are all prime examples of the NHL’s up-and-coming stars. Expect to see these faces in this game for years to come.
The game will have no shortage of action, as the combined goal count will be 15-plus. Regular season play will continue on January 31, as teams compete for a chance to hoist the coveted Stanley Cup.