The DiRT Canon Weekend Update – #Megatron Edition

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1.

Detroit Breakdown:

Word comes down that Calvin Johnson is done.  No more nagging injuries.  No more missed opportunities.  No more chance for the Lions to cut him.  Megatron gets to go out on his terms, with plenty of energon left in the tank.  What is it about Detroit that seems to see franchise icons walk away?

This feels different than Barry Sanders walking away.  It feels different because the game has changed.  Perceptions have changed.  No longer are today’s players willing to risk further destruction for a few extra moments.  It also feels different because we thought Barry was just sick of losing in Detroit and that he was gonna resurrect his career in a new uniform.  Calvin seems at peace and contentment with his decision.  The calendar just struck 30 for Calvin, and what better way to heal a tired warrrior’s body then spending the salad days on a beach, earning 20%.

EXTRA – EXTRA….

+ Megatron drops a mega-bomb

ESPN reported on Sunday that Calvin Johnson has planned since last summer to make 2015 his final season in the NFL. If Johnson sticks to that plan, his total of 1,214 receiving yards will be the highest in NFL history by a player in his final season in the league. Three other players gained at least 1000 receiving yards in their last season: Sterling Sharpe (1,119), Reggie Langhorne (1,038), and Jimmy Smith (1,023).

+ Johnson’s absence would be felt by Stafford

Calvin Johnson accounted for 31 percent of Matthew Stafford’s passing yards since the Lions drafted Stafford in 2009. During those seven seasons, only one other receiver was responsible for a greater percentage of a quarterback’s passing yards than Johnson was for Stafford (minimum: 5000 passing yards). A.J. Green has accounted for 32 percent of Andy Dalton’s total.

2.

MMQB with Peter King…

Before building the Broncos into a winner, John Elway cut his teeth in player personnel by watching his father. Plus, the Joy of Cam, Marvin Harrison vs. T.O. in Hall of Fame voting, Doug Williams recalls the greatest quarter in Super Bowl history and more from San Francisco as Super Bowl week kicks off

+ Read: John Elway, Broncos GM, learned from father Jack Elway | The MMQB with Peter King

+ Watch: Your Pro Bowl Highlight Is Richard Sherman Dropping An RKO On Clay Matthews

3.

SuperSnooze?

While we prepare for Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7, you may have wondered if the game is gonna be any good – we all remember some stinkers.  So when thinking about makes a good Superbowl, The Washington Post has given us the 10 Least watchable Superbowls of all time. They arrived at these conclusions by asking a few questions: Was there exciting drama? A legendary performance? A moment that we still can’t forget? Or were they just all hype and no substance?

So, here are the 10 least watchable Super Bowls.

Agree? Disagree? Tell us in the comments.

+ Read: Ranking the watchability of every Super Bowl ever played – The Washington Post

4.

Put That In Your Pipe…

The smile that flashed across John Scott’s face again and again throughout the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game was the perfect symbol of his adventure at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday.

It also looks like the NHL may have gotten this right. If you actually watched the NHL All Star game, you might have enjoyed it!  As well as, John Scott giving it to Jeremy Roenick. Roenick apologized to It was a good job by both Roenick for the apology and Scott for acknowledging it….with a dig, that made this a true Cinderella story.

+ Read: Scott named MVP of Pacific’s All-Star Game victory

5.

Suns of Anarchy?

You may have never felt like Jeff was that good anyway.  The year they broke out and won 48 games, everybody seemed to be having career years, running around without any perceived strategy. Every game was Dragic+Bledsoe driving to the basket – Frye shooting 3’s off the pick n roll – Green chuckin’ it as soon as he gets it – or the Morris brothers taking and making contested mid range shots. There never appeared to be any real ball movement.

The Phoenix Suns fired Jeff Hornacek on Sunday night, ending his tenure as head coach with a 14-35 start to the 2015-16 NBA season.  How many of those guys above are still with the team and how much of that sliding win% is Hornacek’s fault.  Screams more of #FirstWorldProblems from ownership having unrealistic expectations.  I cold be wrong.

+ Read: Jeff Hornacek Fired by Suns: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction 

6.

Rising Arizona?

The Arizona Diamondbacks have two of the best hitters in baseball, but not much else around them.

Apparently, general manager Dave Stewart feels the acquisition of shortstop Jean Segura from the Milwaukee Brewers in Saturday’s five-player trade will help remedy that shortcoming.

However, except for a stellar first half of 2013, Segura has been an average to below-average major league player. Over the past two years, he’s posted a .252/.285/.331 slash line in hitter-friendly Milwaukee.

+ Read: Jean Segura joins better offense in Arizona, but won’t really help it

A betting trend for every #NFL team heading into the Divisional Round. | National Football Post

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NFL Divisional Round – Situational Trends

The last ten Wild Card teams to win in the first round of the playoffs went 4-6 straight-up and 7-2-1 against-the-spread in the Divisional Round.

  • Games Matching this Criteria: Seahawks (+3) at Panthers, Packers (+7) at Cardinals, Steelers (+7) at Broncos and Chiefs (+3) at Patriots.

The last ten No. 1 seeds in the NFL Playoffs have gone 6-4 straight-up and 2-7-1 against-the-spread in the Divisional Round.

  • Games Matching this Criteria: Panthers (-3) vs. Seahawks and Broncos (-7) vs. Steelers.

All-time in the playoffs, teams that won by three touchdowns or more and then are underdogs the next game went 15-27 straight-up and 16-26 against-the-spread.

  • Games Matching this Criteria: Chiefs (+3) at Patriots.

The last ten favorites of a touchdown or greater in the Divisional Round went 7-3 straight-up but 3-6-1 against-the-spread.

  • Games Matching this Criteria: Broncos (-7) vs. Steelers and Cardinals (-7) vs. Packers.

NFL Trends – Divisional Round
(Note: In our date “All-time” goes back to 1978 or when the team joined the league.)

AZ -7 vs. GB Arizona has never lost at home in the playoffs: 3-0 straight-up and against-the-spread.
The Cardinals have only been a favorite in the postseason once, they won and covered that game (30-24 vs. Atlanta 2008-09).
Carson Palmer at home with the Cardinals is 16-4 straight-up and 12-7-1 against-the-spread.
Palmer has played in just two postseason games, his team went 0-2 straight-up and against-the-spread in both.
CAR -3 vs. SEA Carolina has won 11 straight at home and went 8-3 against-the-spread in those games.
All-time in the playoffs, the Panthers at home are 3-2 straight-up and against-the-spread.
In the postseason as favorites Carolina is 2-1 straight-up and against-the-spread.
In the playoffs vs the NFL West, the Panthers are 2-4 straight-up and against-the-spread.
DEN -7 vs. PIT Peyton Manning with the Broncos in the playoffs is 2-3 straight-up and 1-4 against-the-spread.
In his postseason career, Manning as a touchdown or greater favorite is 3-4 straight-up and 2-5 against-the-spread.
In the last ten years, the Broncos as home favorites in the playoffs are 3-3 straight-up and 2-4 against-the-spread.
All-time, as the top seed in the AFC, Denver is 4-2 straight-up and 2-4 against-the-spread in its first game of the playoffs.
GB +7 @ AZ The last time the Packers won a road playoff game (2010-11) the team went on to win the Super Bowl.
Green Bay is 2-5 straight-up in the postseason when playing on the West Coast (3-3-1 ATS).
Aaron Rodgers is 5-2 against-the-spread away from Lambea in the postseason (4-3 straight-up).
Rodgers and the Packers are also 4-2 against-the-spread as underdogs in the playoffs (3-3 straight-up).
KC +3 @ NE All-time, the Chiefs following a playoff win have gone 1-2 straight-up and against-the-spread in the next game.
Kansas City is 1-9 straight-up and 3-7 against-the-spread all-time as underdogs in the postseason.
KC is 2-8 straight-up and 4-6 against-the-spread on the road in the playoffs.
As road underdogs in the postseason, the Chiefs have lost on average by 10.7 points
NE -3 vs. KC Tom Brady is 21-8 straight-up in the playoffs but 13-15-1 against-the-spread.
Brady has always been a favorite at home in the playoffs, he is 14-3 straight-up and 8-8-1 ATS in those games.
New England, with Brady, is 4-2 straight-up against the AFC West all-time in the postseason and 2-3-1 against-the-spread.
The Patriots haven’t lost to the Chiefs in New England since 1990 and are 6-1 straight-up all time at home vs. Kansas City (3-4 ATS).
PIT +7 @ DEN As an underdog in the playoffs, Ben Roethlisberger has gone 3-2 ATS (2-3 straight-up).
Roethlisberger has been a touchdown or greater underdog once in the postseason and he won that game outright (21-18) vs. the Colts in 2005-06.
The Steelers have covered five straight as touchdown or greater dogs in the playoffs.
Pittsburgh is 4-2 ATS (3-3 straight-up) all-time vs. Denver in the playoffs, though the last they met Tim Tebow beat the Steelers with an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play in overtime.
SEA +3 @ CAR Russell Wilson improved his playoff record to 7-2 straight-up with the win in Minnesota, but 5-3-1 against-the-spread.
In Wilson’s career, the Seahawks a road underdogs are 8-3-2 against-the-spread (6-7 straight-up).
All-time, the Seahawks away from home in the playoffs are 3-11 straight-up and 6-8 against-the-spread
Seattle has never lost to Carolina in the postseason: 2-0 straight-up and against-the-spread.

pablo (7)

Source: National Football Post

What You Need To Know For Wednesday, Dec. 9 2015

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Tombstone – 1993

1.

Tombstone, Arizona

When you have a huge spider bite on your arm that bleeds constantly, you begin to look at your own appendage in a morbid trance of disfigurement.  You cannot wear short sleeves, or at least shouldn’t, as to not arouse the locals.  The inner-voice never seems to quiet itself and causes a kind of internal chaos that makes you think of screeching animals descending all around you and your world is falling apart – like an earthquake in slow-motion – howls and curses, blowing horns and police sirens as a backdrop to something slowly dying.

Or at least that would be my impression of such a thing.  Much like the bombshell trade in name only with the Diamondbacks and Braves yesterday.  I say “in name only” because the mind jumps that Shelby Miller is a great pitcher and the D-backs have an impressive 1-2 punch with the earlier signing of Greinke.

Miller is being sold as an ace – he’s not – he’s a #3 on a team that has championship aspirations.  For Arizona, just because you HAVE aspirations, doesn’t mean you are championship material.  Here’s the problem with the trade Arizona fan should consider:  You traded away Inciarte and Dansby Swanson, the kind of prospect that could be dealt for an actual ace, who will not spend a lot of time in the minors, as an already polished college player from Vanderbilt.

My point is, if this is what they were willing to deal away because of the urgency felt to contend; then why not try for Jose Fernandez who is better and cheaper, or Sonny Gray.  it is reasonable to assume that the pitcher Arizona traded away, (Aaron Blair) could be the same pitcher they just traded with Atlanta for, except he’s cheaper and they would have him longer than the 3yrs they have Miller for.  Yes, prospects do not always pan out, and if the D-bags make the playoffs, or a World Series within the next three years, then maybe this deal ends up a push, is that enough to still be worth it, the future for 3 years?  What has the front-office done to earn that right to believe they have done nothing but get fleeced amongst the sound of something being killed.  Just ask San Diego.

2.

Matt Ryan Leaf

What happenned to this guy?  That’s the question several Falcons fans have been wondering for the last 6 weeks.  ESPN’s Vaughn McClure reported that Matt has been overwhelmed by Kyle Shanahan’s playbook.  There are times that it looks like Ryan Leaf is playing QB for the Falcons – it’s not that far of a stretch, they do look a lot like – Has Matt lost confidence?  Is his recent struggles a trend?  Does Atlanta look for a replacement?

I say we slow the roll and because I think it lies mostly with Kyle Shanahan.  For starters, give me the last QB that was successful under Kyle Shanahan – none and why is that, because he is a QB killer.  His play-calling is the worst – Devonta only has 14 carries for 50yds against Tampa, he fails to consistently get the ball to Julio Jones to let him dominate a game – like the Steelers let Antonio Brown do.  Julio is the only receiver on the team and you waste plays throwing to Roddy White who would still be a third option in Carolina.  Was it Matt Ryan that was supposed to stop Jameis Winston from his 3rd and 19 run for a first down?  Matt has made some mistakes for sure, but it is more than just him – average line, average talent, below-average play-caller with arrogant-entitlement issues.

So the writing is on the wall for Dan Quinn – do you want to be Mike Smith 2.0 or do you really want to bring a championship to the ol’Dirty.  Before Matt Ryan, Atlanta never had back-to-back winning seasons – with Matt Ryan, 5 straight.  For all Saints fans, the best thing for you to do Dan, is keep Kyle and get rid of Matty Ice.

read more here:

3.

Lords of Chaos

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

— Alfred Pennyworth (The Dark Knight)

Indeed and now we have a real and fantastic possibility to root for.  Cheering for the two best teams equates to fascism, hoping for a Jaguars/Eagles football championship is more democratic.  So join me on DJ Gallo’s wild ride of stink-i-tude as he dissects the beauty of such a possibility we all want, deep-deep down in the cockles of our hearts.

4.

West Coast Bias

The NCAA is a Rogue-Nation with its own agenda and has operated without accountability for decades.  Take the matter of USC and a recent court ruling calling into question how the NCAA Cartel enforces the institutions it is mutually charged with overseeing.  The court ruling is just another abusive-self-induced black eye that sheds light on the questionable gestappo tactics and decisions the NCAA has used in other cases like Penn St or Miami.

Someday in our lifetime, the NCAA will be gone and something that will truly represent what college athletics could be.  But not until the pimps, (coaches) are punished for their actual crimes as CEO over a free-labor force that generates them millions of dollars without consequences.  It’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

5.

Spurs of the Moment

The Spurs love the Warriors.  All the attention is on Golden State, as it should be, but while the spotlight blinds, the Spurs are currently 18-4.  As Hunter Felt explains, the Spurs wouldn’t want this flight under the radar any other way – here’s to a healthy Warriors/Spurs Western Conference Finals!

LeBron James has endorsed Nike since signing with the brand in 2003.
6.

“You’re Welcome” – Michael Jordan

LeBron James will be in the Nike stable for the rest of his basketball career — and beyond.

The world’s largest sporting goods company Monday signed the four-time NBA MVP to an unprecedented lifetime contract. Terms of the deal weren’t released, but sports agent David Falk, who represented Michael Jordan for most of his playing career, estimated its value at $400 million to $500 million.……(continue reading)

Source: LeBron James Signs Unprecedented Lifetime Deal With Nike

What No One Tells You About #Winning: College Football Week 8

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No. 22 Temple pulls away late to beat East Carolina 24-14

AP Photo-Karl B DeBlaker

1. Temple of Doom?

Temple is 7-0.  Just let that sink in for a minute……7-0.  Last night, Temple had to rally in the 4th qtr and you could say that ECU gave it to them with horrible QB play, but that’s what a team ranked in the top 25 for the first time does right? Rally?!  The Temple D is good and if they can throw it like they did in the 4th, they could be even more dangerous.  Getting a road-win, while being ranked is another big step for the Owls.  Setting up a huge test against Notre Dame.  Now maybe you aren’t impressed yet with Temple and maybe you have no idea where they are, and that’s ok.  But you will if they beat Notre Dame – Kali-Mah!

  • No. 22 Temple pulls away late to beat East Carolina 24-14 – No. 22 Temple finally cracked the Top 25 because of its defense and its ground game. Some timely passing will help the Owls stay there.  P.J. Walker threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson, and Temple scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to rally past East Carolina 24-14 on Thursday night.  Walker finished 19 of 35 for 250 yards for the Owls (7-0, 4-0 American Athletic Conference).  Anderson caught eight passes for 126 yards, with five of those grabs coming in the fourth quarter……(continue reading)

  • Rosen leads UCLA past No. 20 California, 40-24 – With UCLA’s season seemingly teetering on the brink of collapse, Josh Rosen calmly propped it back up with a passing performance that put the freshman’s name in the Bruins’ record book.  Rosen completed a school-record 34 passes and threw two of his three touchdown passes to Devin Fuller, and UCLA got back on track with a 40-24 victory over No. 20 California on Thursday night.  Rosen passed for 399 yards in another splendid game for the standout rookie, and Thomas Duarte had career highs of 10 catches for 141 yards for the Bruins (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12). UCLA rebounded from consecutive losses to……(continue reading)

nationwide_college map

2. On With The Show This It…

It’s the second-half of the season and pretenders will separate from the contenders in an unappealing Saturday march to the playoff.  You know there aren’t any pivotal games when #GameDay travels to James Madison.  It doesn’t mean there couldn’t be chaos, because there could and we all saw it happen in 2007, in weeks just like this.  So with the Greatest Cyclone ever measured by humans, bears down on Mexico – Let’s brace ourselves and hope it all works out. (h/t Matt Brown)

Early Afternoon

No. 6 Clemson at Miami(+7)
Noon, ABC

Before we get to the Nov. 7 game that everyone has circled on their calendar, when Florida State visits Death Valley, Clemson has two tricky road games to deal with: at Miami and at N.C. State. This is only the second Clemson road trip of the season — the Tigers survived Louisville on a Thursday night in Week 3 — although Sun Life Stadium for an afternoon game isn’t necessarily the most imposing venue. Miami does pose a test for Clemson’s revamped defense, which has played at a high level through the first half of the season. Quarterback Brad Kaaya has thrown just one interception, and Miami averages a solid 6.4 yards per play. However, the Hurricanes do have questions about a rebuild offensive line — even if they’ve allowed just seven sacks — which could spell trouble against Shaq Lawson and a disruptive Clemson front. Saturday can be both a showcase game for them, as well as quarterback Deshaun Watson, who will look to pick apart a struggling Hurricanes defense that ranks 93rd in yards per play allowed. This is by no means a guaranteed win for a Clemson team with playoff aspirations, but the Tigers are quite simply a better all-around team, equipped to exploit Miami’s issues.

Clemson 34.7  –  17.85  83.85%


Iowa State at No. 2 Baylor(-37)
Noon, ESPN

On a Saturday that isn’t looking like the most appealing day of football, you might as well watch Baylor do its Baylor thing and score over 60 points again. The Bears average 63.8 points per game, with wide receiver Corey Coleman’s 16 receiving touchdowns out-pacing the touchdown output of 16 entire teams. Iowa State has nine passing touchdowns in six games and has given up 16, and that trend will surely continue. The last time Iowa State visited Waco, Baylor scored 71. After giving TCU trouble for a quarter with three touchdowns last week, Iowa State went on to get shut out the rest of the game. Baylor will take care of business, get a week off and then move on to its much more difficult November schedule

Baylor 51.35  –  20.35  95.8%


Auburn at Arkansas(-6)
Noon, SEC Network

Part of the reason that this Saturday’s slate doesn’t look great is because games that looked important in the preseason suddenly look depressing. Exhibit A: Auburn at Arkansas, featuring two of the most disappointing teams in the country. Auburn is actually 4-2, but it barely beat Jacksonville State, barely got a hand on Leonard Fournette, switched quarterbacks in September and has dropped from 76th to 83rd in defensive yards per play under Will Muschamp. Arkansas lost to Toledo and Texas Tech in nonconference play, and while it did win at Tennessee, it is 2-4 and is going to need multiple upsets to get to a bowl. It can at least start getting on track here by running the ball at home against a vulnerable Auburn defense.

Arkansas 36.65  –  23.65  78.75%


Kansas State at Texas(-4)
Noon, Fox Sports 1

Both the Wildcats and Longhorns, in seasons expected to be struggles, have now faced embarrassments. Texas got steamrolled by both Notre Dame and TCU, while Kansas State — after two near-upsets of Oklahoma State and TCU — lost 55-0 to Oklahoma. After an off week, this is the first time we’ve seen the Longhorns since their jubilant win over rival Oklahoma. Whether it’s a turning point for Charlie Strong and Texas remains to be seen. The win over Oklahoma was huge, but it’s also a rivalry in which unexpected results have happened in the past. Texas’ offense does, at least, have better big-play capability than Kansas State, who may have been exposed by the Sooners in a clear rebuilding season.

Texas 28.9  –  KState 27.6  59.9%


Northwestern at Nebraska(-7.5)
Noon, ESPN2

Remember what happened the last time Northwestern played in Lincoln?:

Since then, this year, Nebraska has suffered a Hail Mary loss in nearly the exact same spot … in addition to three other horrifying, heartbreaking losses. Nebraska has lost four games by a total of 11 points, while Northwestern — who started 5-0 — has lost two games by 68. The Wildcats defense has struggled two weeks in a row, giving up over 200 yards last week to a backup Iowa running back, while the struggling offense hasn’t made much progress, ranking 126th in yards per play. Nebraska may have the nation’s worst pass defense, but Northwestern isn’t the team to exploit that weakness.

Nebraska 25.1  –  Northwestern 18.8  66.55%


No. 25 Pittsburgh at Syracuse(+7)
Noon, ESPN2

Did you know that Pitt is ranked in the AP poll? Or that Pitt has only one loss, on a 57-yard field goal by Iowa as time expired? Every season has these types of out-of-nowhere records that sneak up on you, but Pat Narduzzi has done a fine job in his first season as a head coach, despite a season-ending injury to star tailback James Conner. This weekend should bring another win to get Pitt to bowl eligibility already after four straight seasons in which it has finished 6-7 or 7-6. It has done this despite playing only two home games so far this season, with four of the last five at home. The bad news is that the last five games feature North Carolina, Notre Dame, Duke, Louisville and Miami, so the run in the top 25 might not last too long after Saturday’s visit to the Carrier Dome.

Pitt 31.7  –  ‘cuse 21.5  71.85%


Late Afternoon

Tennessee at No. 8 Alabama(-15.5)
3:30 p.m., CBS

The rivalry known as the Third Saturday of October will once again taken place on the month’s fourth Saturday, and it hasn’t been much of a rivalry lately either. Alabama has won eight in a row, covering the entire Nick Saban era, with only one game staying within one score. Tennessee was hoping to AltX.Logo.whitefinally turn things around and compete with the Crimson Tide again, but it enters Saturday just 3-3, thanks to three blown leads against Oklahoma, Florida and Tennessee. The Vols have been inconsistent on offense under new coordinator Mike DeBord, and the defense ranks 88th in yards per play allowed. Neither is good news against Alabama, which has possibly the most terrifying defense in the country, and one of the most terrifying offensive players in tailback Derrick Henry. Alabama’s defensive front should dominate the game, and Henry can wear down what has been a beatable Vols defense. There still isn’t a good reason to pick Tennessee to win in this series.

‘Bama 31.5  –  UT 17.3  81.75%


Texas Tech at No. 17 Oklahoma(-14)
3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2

Baker Mayfield walked on and started right away at Texas Tech as a freshman in 2013, and now, in his debut season at Oklahoma, few quarterbacks are playing better. Oklahoma bounced back from its loss to Texas by blowing away Kansas State 55-0, behind a five-touchdown outing from Mayfield. He’s fourth in the nation in passer rating, and he has a solid core of skill players at his disposal, led by receiver Sterling Shepard. We know Oklahoma will be able to score here. The big test is its defense, which ranks ninth in yards per play and is coming off a shutout. The Sooners have yet to be tested by an offense like the Red Raiders’ unit, and this will be an interesting measuring stick before we get to November with their back-to-back games against Baylor and TCU.

OU 43.35  –  TT 24.05  87.35%


Indiana at No. 7 Michigan State(-16.5)
3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2

Every game feels like a trap for Michigan State, who beat Purdue by three and Rutgers by seven. Now, it has to re-focus after one of the most improbable wins in football history, against its archrival, hosting an Indiana team that nearly upset Ohio State. The Hoosiers are still waiting on the return of tailback Jordan Howard from an ankle injury, and on Saturday they’ll surely be relying plenty on the arm of quarterback Nate Sudfeld against a somewhat depleted Michigan State back seven. The Spartans are mediocre defensively, compared with past seasons, and thus Indiana is the type of team that can put a scare into them. The problem, as always, is that Indiana can’t cover anyone. Connor Cook and receiver Aaron Burbridge have formed a fantastic pairing this year, and they’ll keep rolling against the Hoosiers, even if it won’t be surprising if the Spartans get off to a slow start.

MichSt 37.9  –  Indiana 21.5  83.25%


Washington State at Arizona(-7.5)
4 p.m., Pac-12 Network

Washington State has back-to-back Pac-12 wins after sweeping the state of Oregon, as Luke Falk has hit his stride in Mike Leach’s offense. Falk is averaging 395.2 yards per game, leading the Cougars to 45 points against Oregon and 52 against Oregon State. Arizona’s defense is certainly beatable, as the Wildcats continue to play without star linebacker Scooby Wright. Of course, it works both ways. Washington State’s defense has issues, like always, and Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon has yet to throw an interception. While Arizona is at home, injuries could shift this one in Wazzu’s favor. Wright is out, and tailback Nick Wilson, cornerback DaVonte’ Neal and safety Tellas Jones are all questionable.

Wazzu 35.1  –  ‘Zona 29.65  67.25%


No. 23 Duke at Virginia Tech(-2.5)
3:30 p.m., ESPNU

Virginia Tech was supposed to rebound this year and perhaps take control of the ACC Coastal again — it dominated the division most of last decade — but instead the Blue Devils go to Blacksburg with a 5-1 record, while the Hokies are just 3-4, with questions swirling about Frank Beamer’s future. Virginia Tech does at least get back quarterback Michael Brewer, who has been out since his injury in the opener against Ohio State. Duke has been excellent defensively, but the question is whether its passing game can do enough on the road against Virginia Tech’s pass rush. This feels like a game that comes down to whichever team makes a big play on defense or special teams.

Duke 23.3  –  VaTech 17.85  62.5%


Virginia at North Carolina(-17.5)
3:30 p.m., ESPN3

North Carolina joins Duke and Pitt in the ACC Coastal’s surprising one-loss club. The Tar Heels blew their opening game vs. South Carolina with red-zone turnovers, but the offense has started to roll behind a stout offensive line and the running game, led by Elijah Hood. And while Will Muschamp’s presence at Auburn hasn’t made an immediate difference in the Tigers’ defense, North Carolina has improved from 117th to 32nd in yards per play allowed under Gene Chizik. UNC’s best wins right now are Illinois and a struggling Georgia Tech, but this team may be the best in the division.

UNC 41.25  –  18.15  90.75%


Penn State vs. Maryland(+6.5) (at Baltimore)
3:30 p.m., ESPN

Congratulations to Randy Edsall, who at least finished his tenure as Maryland coach with a perfect 1-0 record against Penn State. Every other Maryland coach in history has a combined record of 1-35-1 against the Nittany Lions. This is the debut of offensive coordinator Mike Locksley as interim coach, but we have seen Locksley as a head coach before: He went 2-26 at New Mexico. So, Locksley has two career wins as a head coach, and Maryland has two wins against Penn State in the history of what the Terrapins really want to be a rivalry — see the refusal to shake hands last year. Penn State has plenty of issues, but its defensive line may dominate this game, and the Terps will have to slow down star Nittany Lions freshman Saquon Barkley, who has 389 rushing yards in two games against Big Ten opponents.

PennSt 31.55  –  Maryland 16.2  82.55%


Wisconsin at Illinois(+6.5)
3:30 p.m., BTN

Iowa controls the Big Ten West with a perfect record, while Wisconsin and Illinois are tying to keep pace at one loss each. The Fighting Illini have had a solid season under interim coach Bill Cubit, and they need only two more wins to get to bowl eligibility. There’s a good chance they’ll do it, although Saturday will be a tough challenge to consistently move the ball against the Badgers defense. Wisconsin is still waiting for the return of running back Corey Clement from sports hernia surgery, but here it might be able to keep winning with that defense, led by linebacker Joe Schobert, who has 9 ½ sacks.

Illinois 21.3  – Wiscy 20.05  52.45%


Prime Time

No. 3 Utah at USC(-3.5)
7:30 p.m., Fox

USC began the season ranked eighth in the AP poll. Now it’s 3-3 with an interim coach. And yet… the Trojans are three-point favorites against the undefeated, third-ranked Utes, who have beaten Michigan, California, Oregon and Arizona State. Utah has played better football than USC this year, but it’s not surprising to see the Trojans considered favorites. They’re still talented, especially on offense, where they actually rank fifth in yards per play. They actually averaged over seven yards per play in the losses to Notre Dame and Stanford, which means defense has been the problem — run defense in particular. Utah will attack the Trojans as much as possible with versatile tailback Devontae Booker, who continues to be the overwhelming focal point of the Utes offense. It might be enough, especially if the Utes can continue to force turnovers. But despite the disappointment it has faced this year, this is the type of game where USC might be able to re-group and pull of a much-needed win, because it still has the individual talent to compete with anybody.

Utah 29.75  –  SoCal 26.05  71%


No. 15 Texas A&M at No. 24 Ole Miss(-6)
7 p.m., ESPN

This is Week 8’s only game between ranked opponents, but it lost its luster last week thanks to losses by both teams: Texas A&M to Alabama and Ole Miss to Memphis. Both stand at one loss within the SEC, meaning this might as well be considered an SEC West elimination game. It AltX.Logo.whitewill feature one of the best matchups of the season, as Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett — arguably the nation’s best defensive player — squares off against Ole Miss offensive tackle — arguably the nation’s best offensive lineman — who returns at just the right time after sitting out the first half of the season for improper benefits. While the Rebels get one star back, they might be without defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, who suffered a concussion while playing running back against Memphis. This game will be won on the perimeter, as neither team cares much about establishing the run and both are loaded with weapons at receiver, headlined by Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell and Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk. Ole Miss has the better defense, so it’s tough to pick against the Rebels at home, but last Saturday’s loss to Memphis didn’t look like an accident. Look for a bounce-back game from Texas A&M Kyle Allen.

OleMiss 28.15  –  Texas a+m 27.5  68.5%


No. 9 Florida State at Georgia Tech(+6.5)
7 p.m., ESPN2

This looked like a potential ACC title game preview in the preseason. Now, Georgia Tech is desperately trying to stop the bleeding. The Yellow Jackets won last year’s Orange Bowl and began this season with two blowouts of overmatched opponents, but now they’ve dropped five straight games, plummeting to 2-5. Even with a difficult schedule, this team was hoping for another major bowl bid. Now it’s just trying to get to the postseason, which is an unlikely proposition. Florida State continues to quietly roll along undefeated, with Everett Golson committing zero turnovers and Dalvin Cook averaging 8.7 yards per carry as he tries to make a case for the Heisman. Maybe Georgia Tech can finally turn things around. Maybe it can start converting third downs (it has dropped from first to 114th in that category) and get the option moving against a team it ran well against last year. It is a bit of a trap possibility for Florida State. But as long as Cook stays healthy (he’s battled a hamstring injury), the Seminoles should be fine against a team that has struggled to replicate last year’s offensive efficiency.

FSU 34.4  –  GaTech 23.4  74.5%


No. 1 Ohio State at Rutgers(-21)
8 p.m., ABC

Rutgers finally has something going for itself, as Kyle Flood returned from suspension in time for the Scarlet Knights to beat Indiana 55-52, erasing a 52-27 second-half deficit, tying the game with 6:29 left but having the extra point blocked and the winning on a field goal as time expired. It was a nice comeback for Rutgers, who is now 3-3, but reality is about to hit. Last year, the Buckeyes beat the Knights 56-17, and this starts a tough string of games with Wisconsin, Michigan and Nebraska next for Rutgers. Ohio State is turning to J.T. Barrett as starting quarterback, a wise decision, and Barrett should keep the Buckeyes rolling against one of the nation’s worst defenses. To make matters worse for Rutgers, standout receiver Leonte Carroo is questionable with an ankle injury.

OhSt 38.5  –  Rutgers 18.25  89.05%


Western Kentucky at No. 5 LSU(-17)
7 p.m., ESPNU

There is a high probability that Leonard Fournette trounces the Hilltoppers for 200 yards, and that this isn’t much of a game. Safety Jalen Mills is returning to the LSU secondary after missing the first half of the season, re-joining a talented group led by Tre’Davious White, and while Western Kentucky has a ridiculously prolific passing offense, it was held to 14 points (in a win) at Vanderbilt. Western Kentucky is a fun team, and this matchup does have some intrigue, because the Hilltoppers are capable of scaring anyone. Since the Vandy game, Brandon Doughty has thrown for at least 350 yards every week, completing 74 percent for 2,709 yards and 24 touchdowns overall. So perhaps the Hilltoppers can put a scare into LSU after its tight win vs. Florida last week. But this WKU defense can’t slow down Fournette.

LSU 39.05  –  WKU 26.55  76.7%


Kentucky at Mississippi State(-11.5)
7:30 p.m., SEC Network

Kentucky had not won an SEC road game since 2009, until it won at South Carolina on Sept. 12. This is actually its first road game since then, as the Wildcats continue to push for their first bowl bid since 2010. They’re 4-2, with their only losses coming by a total of eight points to Florida and Auburn. Winning in Starkville is a steep challenge, though. Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott isn’t the national superstar he was a year ago — Mississippi State was No. 1 when these teams met last October — but he has yet to throw an interception and continues to produce for a team that’s flying under the radar because of its two SEC losses. Mississippi State isn’t the team it was last year, but it’s still a competitive squad that will be chasing eight or nine wins.

MissSt 35.55  –  ‘Tucky 19.25  84.3%


Late Night

Washington at No. 10 Stanford(-1)
10:30 p.m., ESPN

Back in Week 1, this would have looked like a possible 6-3 struggle in which both teams struggled to cross midfield. Now, Stanford is playing the best football in the country. The Cardinal offense has looked terrific, with Christian McCaffrey emerging as one of the nation’s top playmakers behind a sturdy line, while Kevin Hogan has made strides at quarterback. The Stanford offense is actually well ahead of the defense, which bucks recent trends. The opposite is true for the Huskies, who have played really well on defense despite losing a ton of talent to the NFL. Freshman quarterback Jake Browning — who may not be 100 percent with a shoulder injury — has struggled against top competition, and the Huskies are going to need the hot streak of freshman running back Myles Gaskin to continue to hang with the Cardinal on the road. Stanford’s playing too well right now for it to happen.

Stanford 31  –  UW 21.6  72.05%

pablo (10)

 

“I usually take a two-hour nap from 1 to 4” – OR – “Pair up in threes” – #RIPYogi

It’s Deja-Vu all over again…

It is inevitable.  The older I get, the more heaven seems to load up on talent – it’s a helluva team up there.  Yogi, went from Northern Italy, to St.Louis, to New York, to one of the best catchers of all time.  For my money, it is him and Roy Campanella for the title, to quote Casey Stengel: “you can look it up.”  Need more proof – how many baseball players have a cartoon character named after them?

With that said, Yogi Berra passed at the age of 90, Tuesday evening. Yogi died 69 years to the day after he had made his major-league debut, on Sept. 22, 1946; against the Philadelphia Athletics, Yogi went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in a 4-3 Yankees win. Yogi won 10 World Series titles as a player.  That is an all-time record, and one more than the great Joe DiMaggio.Logo_alt#2

Berra’s record of 75 World Series games played may never be threatened, much less actually broken. Consider Derek Jeter, who played 20 years for maybe the best team of his era, wound up playing 38 World Series games, barely half of Berra’s total. The only active players who have appeared in more than 15 World Series games are Yadier Molina (21), Matt Holliday (16), Buster Posey (16) and Albert Pujols (16). Furthermore, if the 28-year-old Posey (the only one of them not yet 30 years old) plays in the next eight World Series (through 2022), and all of them extend to seven games, he would still be three games shy of Berra’s record.

Not everyone makes the Hall of Fame, fewer still become icons – Lawrence Peter Berra’s legacy transcends baseball.  He was one of the greatest players, for one of the greatest teams, in all of sports, and for the lucky ones who knew him, they say he was a better person.  Beyond his success on the field, was the quality of the man.  So, when you come to the fork in the road, take it, because if the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.


In memoriam – more Baseball

Here is last night’s #DraftKings Perfect Lineup – 9-22-15…maybe I should have took the other side of the Mets v. Braves game for the #sleeper pick.

92215_perfectlineup

Baseball’s first 20-game winner

Jake Arrieta became baseball’s first 20-game winner and he did it with style, tossing a three-hit, complete-game shutout and striking out 11 in the Cubs’ 4-0 victory over the Brewers. He became the first major-leaguer whose 20th victory of a season was a shutout with double-digit strikeouts since 1993, when Jack McDowell’s 20th win met those parameters.

Arrieta became the first Cubs pitcher to become the majors’ first 20-game winner in a season, with all the victories coming for the Cubs, since Larry Jackson did that back in 1964. (In 1984, Rick Sutcliffnulle was the first big-leaguer to reach 20 wins, and he won his 20th while pitching for the Cubs; but Sut had won his first four games that season while pitching for the Indians.)

Arrieta lowered his season ERA to 1.88, second-lowest in the majors to Zack Greinke’s 1.65. But Arrieta is putting some pressure on the Dodgers’ right-hander: in each of Arrieta’s last five starts, he has thrown at least eight innings and has allowed no more than one run. The last major-league pitcher who strung together five straight games like that was Roger Clemens in 1997; the last to do so this late in a season was Orel Hershiser in 1988, when he tossed five straight shutouts and then a 10-inning scoreless outing in his last six starts of the season, fashioning the major-league -record 59-inning scoreless streak that Greinke had challenged earlier this season.

It’s a Bird in Toronto

Greg Bird’s line-drive three-run homer in the 10th inning cut through the tension at Rogers Centre and lifted the Yankees to a 6-4 victory over the Blue Jays. It was the 10th home run of the season for the Yankees rookie, who replaced the injured Mark Teixeira down the stretch. Bird became the first Yankees rookie to hit an extra-inning home run in a road victory since July 14, 1962, when Tom Tresh belted a two-run homer in the 10th inning off Angels rookie (and future Cy Young Award winner) Dean Chance in New York’s 9-8 win at nullDodger Stadium. (The Angels were the Dodgers tenants for four years in the early 1960s.) Tresh filled in for Tony Kubek that year when Kubek, the Yankees regular shortstop, spent most of the season in military service.

Bird has now hit eight home runs in September, tying Chris Davis for the highest total by any American League player this month. Bryce Harper leads the majors with 10, while Nolan Arenadoand Yoenis Cespedes have smashed nine.

Edwin Encarnacion homered in the bottom of the tenth, his 35th of the season, joining teammates Josh Donaldson (39) and Jose Bautista (36) at that level. Prior to this season, the last big-league team that featured three players with at least 35 home runs was the 2006 White Sox, with Jermaine Dye (44), Jim Thome (42) and Paul Konerko (35). The lone previous season in which a Toronto trio achieved that feat came in 1998; the three players were Jose Canseco(46), Carlos Delgado (38), and Shawn Green (35).

Crazy-ness in Detroit

Fans leaving Comerica Park on Tuesday night must have been thinking of that old adage: there’s a chance at the ballpark you’ll see something that you may not have seen before. Here’s the recap of the Tigers-White Sox game:

Detroit starter Daniel Norris, in his second game since returning from a recent injury, was removed from the game after he retired Chicago’s first 15 batters of the game. His was the first perfect-through-five start by a Tigers rookie since Armando Galarraga did it – no, not in his 8.2-perfect-innings effort against Cleveland in 2010 – but in 2008 against the Royals. The last major-leaguer to be taken out after at least five innings with a potential perfect game still intact was Houston’s Bob Knepper in the final game of the 1986 season, as the Astros readied their starters for that year’s postseason.single logo_small

After four relievers extended the potential no-hitter through one out in the ninth inning, Tyler Saladino ruined the bid with a triple. He became only the second major-leaguer in the last 20 years to spoil a potential no-hitter with a ninth-inning (or extra-inning) triple, the other being Baltimore’s Jerry Hairston, Jr., against the Rangers in 2002. The odd thing: Hairston’s blow leading off the ninth also ruined a potential combination no-hitter in a game in which Texas starter Aaron Myette was ejected after throwing two pitches, Todd Van Poppel pitched two innings, and then Joaquin Benoit threw no-hit ball until Hairston’s triple.

The Tigers won, 2-1, in the 10th inning, on a walkoff triple by Rajai Davis, the second walkoff triple in the majors this season (Pittsburgh’s Pedro Florimon had the other on August 18). The last Tigers player with a walkoff triple was Ramon Santiago in 2011, but prior to him you have to go back to Mickey Stanley in 1968.

Mike and Albert

Mike Trout and Albert Pujols hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning, in a gripping 4-3 victory in Houston. The home runs were the 40th of the season for Trout and the 36th for Pujols – it was the first time that baseball had seen back-to-back homers by a pair of players, each of whom had already belted 35 homers that season, since 2006 – when Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome of the White Sox did it.

Jimenez with the bat

Ubaldo Jimenez lifted his September record to 3-0 (he had previously beaten both the Blue Jays and the Yankees) and added a nice little cherry with an RBI single as the Orioles shut down the Nationals, 4-1, and, coupled with the Astros’ loss, shaved a game off Houston’s Wild Card lead. Jimenez’s single produced the first run of the game, and Baltimore never relinquished the lead. He became the second American League pitcher this season to be credited with both a victory and a game-winning RBI in the same game; back on July 21, Tampa Bay rookie Nathan Karns hit a home run for the game’s only run in his victory over the nullPhillies.

Jimenez became the 25th American League pitcher in 19 years of interleague play to achieve that daily double – but the amazing thing is that of the 25 pitchers who did it, seven of them have at least one Cy Young Award on their mantles: David Cone, CC Sabathia, Johan Santana,Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, Max Scherzer and R.A. Dickey. Even more remarkably, among the other guys who did it was Jon Lester. As we all know, Lester didn’t get his first major-league hit until this season, but in a game at San Francisco in 2010, he was credited with the game-winning RBI in his victory for the Red Sox with a sacrifice fly.

The RBI was the second of the season for Jimenez, who knocked in a run in a game at Philadelphia on June 17. Since the designated-hitter rule was enacted in 1973, severely limiting their opportunities to hit, only eight other American League pitchers have driven in a run in two different games in the same season. But three of those eight others also pitched for the Orioles -Mike Mussina in 1999, Kris Benson in 2006 and Zach Britton in 2011.

Rangers perform sacrifices

Mitch Moreland hit a game-tying two-run homer in the sixth inning, but other than that, it was mostly a rat-a-tat-tat attack of sacrifice bunts (three), sacrifice flies (four) and heads-nullup base-running that allowed the Rangers to beat the A’s, 8-6. Sacrifice flies have been recorded as a category separate from sacrifice bunts since 1954, and over those 62 seasons, there have been only two other major-league games in which a team had at least three sacrifice bunts and at least four sacrifice flies. The Astros used that combination to help beat the Braves, 7-5, in 2009, while the Braves found that four sac flies and three sac bunts weren’t enough to win in a 12-inning contest that was won by the Padres, 11-10, in 1991.

Goldschmidt’s has 30 HRs include 7 vs. Dodgers

A. J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt hit back-to-back home runs off two different Dodgers pitchers in the seventh inning and the Diamondbacks went on to rout the Dodgers, 8-0. Pollock’s home run chased starter Alex Wood, and Goldy’s greeted reliever Chris nullHatcher. It was the 30th boundary belt of the season for Goldschmidt, who also has 21 steals. He became the fourth player in Arizona’s 18-year major-league history to be admitted into that 30/20 club, joining Chris Young(2007), Mark Reynolds (2009) and Justin Upton (2011). It was Goldschmidt’s seventh home run against the Dodgers this season, the most by any Dodgers opponent in a season since 2004, when Barry Bonds and Vinny Castilla each hit eight and Jeromy Burnitz seven. Still some distance away from the record of 13 home runs hit against the Dodgers, then in Brooklyn, by the Milwaukee Braves’ Joe Adcock in 1956.

Iwakuma brings it in K.C.

Hisashi Iwakuma blanked the Royals and struck out 10 batters over seven innings in the nullMariners’ 11-2 win at Kansas City. Iwakuma became the third different Mariners pitcher this season, joining Mike Montgomery and Vidal Nuno, to win a game in which he did not allow a run and had a double-digit strikeout total. Only two other major-league teams have had three different pitchers provide such victories this season-the Indians (Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber) and the Nationals (Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez).

Cardinals win another low-scoring game

The Cardinals took a 3-1 decision from the Reds on Tuesday, marking the 31st time this season that they have won a game in which they scored no more than three runs. Only one other major-league team in the last 20 seasons has won as many games of that type (the Giants won 31 such games four years ago). And in the long history of the Cardinals’ franchise, the only other year in which they won as many as 30 games in which they scored three-or-fewer runs was 1968. In that season – the one in which Bob Gibson fashioned his other-worldly 1.12 ERA – St. Louis won 41 games in which they scored no more than three runs (with Gibson having started 14 of those games).

Mahtook(LSU) blasts Fenway

Rookie Mikie Mahtook belted a two-run homer in the eighth inning to put the icing on the Rays’ 5-2 victory at Fenway Park. Mahtook has now hit five home runs this season; his previous blasts came in games at Toronto, Seattle, Chicago (against the White Sox) and nullDetroit. Mahtook, Washington’s Denard Span and San Francisco’s Gregor Blanco are the only players this season who have hit at least five home runs, all on the road.

By the way, among the players from the past whose first five major-league homers came away from home are Hall-of-Famers Eddie Mathews, Reggie Jackson, George Brett, Frank Thomas, Willie Stargell (first six) and Hank Aaron (nine). But none of those Hall-of-Famers holds a candle to the all-time major-league record-holder for home runs, all on the road, from the start of a career. That would be Johnny Hodapp, an infielder who, while playing with the Indians, hit 22 home runs, all on the road, from 1927 to 1931. The streak ended when, after being traded to the White Sox in 1932, his first home run with his new team was hit at Comiskey Park.

Marte + Ramirez and 75 RBIs

Starling Marte knocked in two runs and Aramis Ramirez one, lifting the season total of nullRBIs for each player to 75, in the Pirates’ 6-3 win over the Rockies in Denver.  Andrew McCutchen leads the Pirates with 95 RBIs, and though Ramirez has not produced all of his RBIs for the Pirates, Pittsburgh is one of the two National League teams that have at their disposal three players who have 75 RBIs this season. The other such team is Cincinnati, with Todd Frazier (88), Jay Bruce (83) and Joey Votto (75).

nullErvin = Johan

Ervin Santana came through again for the Twins on Tuesday night, holding the Indians to one run over seven innings and earning well-deserved credit for Minnesota’s 3-1 victory. Santana is now 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA over his last five starts, with 39 strikeouts in 36 innings.

Old minor-leaguer clocks home run, sends Mets to defeat

Hector Olivera clocked a three-run, go-ahead homer with two outs in the sixth inning and the Braves went on to defeat the Mets, 6-2. Olivera, a 30-year-old rookie, became the second 30-year-old rookie in the last 11 days to smash a home run against the Mets; on September 12, Olivera’s teammate Adonis Garcia connected. Prior to the last two weeks, only four rookies on the far side of 30 have homered against the Mets over their 54-year existence, the oldest being the Phillies’ Chris Coste, at 33, in 2006.

Road to the College Football Playoff – The First 6 Weeks

Today we make it College Football Day! With 2 weeks left before the pageantry and tradition resume, we’re gonna give you the first 6 weeks of a week-to-week glance, at the games that could decide who makes the 2nd College Football Playoff!  The season kicks off on Thursday, September 3rd, with 19 games (all times are EASTERN).

Week 1

Ohio St(-11.5) @ Virginia Tech, 8p (Monday<9-7>) – Anyone know who starts for Ohio State? How will the 4 suspensions of Ohio St players impact the game?  Does VaTech repeat last year’s upset at home? – we’ll see

Wisconsin v Alabama(-10.5), 8p in Arlington – In neutral site openers under Nick Saban, Alabama iscropped-logo_1260147_print-1-e14180934753933.png 5-0 – with an average margin of victory of 19pts.  Does Alabama have a QB?  What does new coach Paul Chryst have prepared for another re-loaded Crimson Tide?

Michigan @ Utah(-6), 8:30p (Thursday) – Jim Harbaugh returns to his Alma-Mater and will be a heavily watched game.  The problem could be that despite all the pre-season pub Harbaugh got, this is still a good Utah team that beat the Wolverines in Ann Arbor last year 26-10.

  • TCU(-14) @ Minnesota, 9p (Thursday)
  • UNC v SCAR(-2.5) in Charlotte (Thursday) 6p
  • Washington @ Boise St(-10.5), 10:15p (Friday)
  • BYU @ Nebraska(-6.5), 3:30p
  • Louisville  v Auburn(-11) in Atlanta, 3:30p
  • ASU v Texas a+m(-3) in Houston, 7p
  • Texas @ Notre Dame(-9.5), 7:30p

Week 2

Oregon @ Michigan St, 8p – Just like last year this will be the first top 10 matchup of the year and it could be cray in East Lansing.  Also like last year the winner could have an inside track to the ‘offs.

LSU @ Mississippi St, 9:15p – Last year the bulldawgs took it to the Tigers in Death Valley.  Look for payback in Stark-Vegas.

Oklahoma @ Tennessee, 6p – Oklahoma is always over-rated and Tennessee has been on the comeback for 10years – someone has to break.  Could it be any different than OU duplicating last year’s 34-10 win?

  • Utah St @ Utah, 9p (Friday)
  • Houston @ Louisville, noon
  • Oregon St @ Michigan, noon
  • Notre Dame @ Virginia, 3:30p
  • Iowa @ Iowa St, 4:30p
  • Kentucky @ SCAR, 7:30p
  • Boise St @ BYU, 10:15p

Week 3

Auburn @ LSU, 3:30p – Another September SEC West battle that could decide the who goes to Atlanta.  LSU got whooped last year 41-7, but Auburn has not won in RED STICK since 1999 – too bad this game is not at night, where it belongs – either way FUQ Auburn!

Stanford @ USC, 8p – If the Trojans are the preseason pick to win the PAC 12 then they have to get by the Cardinal.  The last two meeting have been decided by a Trojan field goal.

Ole Miss @ Alabama, 9:15p – Revenge is a dish served….um….anyway Saban is 9-1 in these types of games since arriving in Tuscaloosa – we’ll know enough about both teams after this game and their prospects of being in Atlanta.

  • Clemson @ Louisville, 7:30p (Thursday)
  • Georgia Tech @ Notre Dame, 3:30p
  • Nebraska @ Miami, 3:30p
  • SCAR @ Georgia, 6p
  • TexasTech @ Arkansas, 7p
  • Cal @ Texas, 7:30p
  • BYU @ UCLA, 10:30p

Week 4

UCLA @ Arizona – If Arizona is the defending PAC 12 South champion then this game could see two undefeated teams meet in week 4 for the inside track.  Under Rich-Rod the ‘cats are 0-3 against the Bruins.

MissSt @ Auburn – Both teams could be licking their wounds after losses to LSU – or it could be an early SEC West triangle of nonsense.  MissSt has won the last two out of three – but at home, Auburn has won the last three.  Either way, so is life in the SEC West meat-grinder.

Tennessee @ Florida – remember when this game meant anything.  There are children who have been born, that have no idea what this meant.  If Tennessee is truly the dark-horse everyone is making them, they have to beat Florida.  For Florida’s Jim McElwain, it is a must win!

  •  Cincy @ Memphis, 7:30p (Thursday)
  • OklahomaSt @ Texas
  • BYU @ Michigan
  • Texas a+m @ Arkansas
  • USC @ ASU
  • Utah @ Oregon
  • GaTech @ Duke

Week 5

Alabama @ Georgia – this game will be a Running Back battle featuring ‘Bama’s Derrick Henry and UGA’s Nick Chubb.  The last time these two played in Athens – it was a funeral for Georgia in their “blackout” game, as Alabama took a 31-0 lead at halftime.  The final score was 41-30 and was never that close.

Notre Dame @ Clemson – Notre Dame has not been to Clemson since 1979, so expect a raucous crowd in Memorial Stadium.  It should provide plenty of fireworks if Deshaun Watson and Malik Zaire put on a show.

Texas @ TCU – the Horned Frogs took the Longhorns behind the woodshed last year, 48-10.  Charlie Strong needs this game or he could be finding himself on the hot seat.

  • Miami @ Cincy, 7:30p (Thursday)
  • Iowa @ Wisconsin
  • Ole Miss @ Florida
  • SCAR @ Mizzou
  • Arkansas @ Tennessee
  • ASU @ UCLA
  • West Virginia @ Oklahoma

Week 6

Oklahoma v Texas – the Red River Rivalry is still a spectacle – for Charlie Strong, many misgivings can be forgiven if the Longhorns take down the Sooners.  These teams have split the last 10 meetings and for Strong, it is a crucial two weeks.

Miami @ FSU – FSU has one of the easiest schedules – get by the ‘Canes and their next toughest opponent in September is @ Boston College.  Al Golden is 0-4 against FSU, but they do have Brad Kaaya.  Jimbo is a nice 5-0 against the Hurricanes.  The biggest question mark is who will be FSU’s QB for this game?

Wisconsin @ Nebraska – this has leader in the clubhouse for the winner, for the BIG (not)10 West Division.  Dominance is spelled B-U-C-K-Y – as the Badgers have won 3-of-the-last-4 meetings by an average of 35pts – but Wisconsin did lose their last trip to Lincoln…

  • Washington @ USC, 9p (Thursday)
  • GaTech @ Clemson
  • Arkansas @ Alabama
  • TCU @ KSTATE
  • Florida @ Mizzou
  • LSU @ SCAR
  • Georgia @ Tennessee

 

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Abstract DiRT

You begin to wonder sometimes, is there any redemption in parlaying your earnings into a bigger pile – there is – but bigger than that is the effort and time that was put in to solve a rubik’s cube of information to create winning lineups for the Daily Fantasy delights.  We’ve done that.  We win.  It’s that simple.  We can show you the analytics, the reports, the lineup combinations and the question becomes – will you play?  No one provides the detail, the information, the exactness of projections like we do – not FanDuel, not Draftkings and defintely not all those other slack-jawed yokels.  Play along with us, use us, we give you the info for free (for now) – you see our results and it’s time for you to build yours.  We are working on baseball next and will have something big before football starts.  But the question is, will you be one of the fore-runners, or sit back with a case of the s’posed-ta’s wondering which membership plan is for you?  Contact us today and join us on the ground floor….Now on to the DiRT


1.

Basketball is a dangerous sport.  These Redwood Gladiators are constantly in peril from the razor-like-bucket.  It could explain why the Center position is fading away along with post-moves.  The hoop is dangerous, as Hassan Whiteside found out last night trying to block one of the Flying Plumlee’s.  Mr. Whiteside needed 10 stitches to close the wound between his middle and ring fingers he described as pretty bad because, “he could see the meat.”  With a handful of games remaining and Miami fighting for their playoff lives, they have to hope he comes back soon – regardless of how many times he #ActaFool.

But that was the smallest event that happened between the Heat and the Bucks.  You see the Bucks were down 11 and stormed back, down two, with eight seconds left.  Chaos ensues, and the Bucks of Milwaukee now hold a 2.5 game lead on the Heat for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.  If Milwaukee lost, their lead would have been just half-a-game.  If you read our NBA DiRTy plays you would have had Khris Middleton and Zaza Pachulia who did this:


2.

We’ve talked alot about karmic responsibility the last couple of days and then that happened.  The Fresno Grizzlies created a promotional campaign around “Back to the Future” and were planning on giving away W.S. rings.  Then someone must have forwarded one of our posts and they pulled the promotion – saying they do not want to be a “jinx“.  It’s out there Jerry, you can not take it back in this modern instagram-world.  You should have thought about that before you got the hopes up in Fresno.  But can you really blame the Astros affiliate – afterall, Sports Illustrated published this last year, in June.

The ‘Stros do have a lot of talent and if you can, watch George Springer, Jose Altuve, Dallas Keuchel or Chris Carter.  They also have two talented prospects waiting to debut like Carlos Correa and Mark Appel.  The Houston Astros will continue to get better and they have the makings of a really talented contender – if they can keep everyone (like the Utah Jazz).  But the Karmic wheel-O-justice spins for thee and you can book it now – the Astros will not win the World Series in 2017 – no one say anything else.


3.

The Oakland Dog – available at Oakland A’s spring training facility in Mesa, AZ – A hot dog topped with mac and cheese, green chiles and bacon. No word yet if they are planning on selling this in Oakland.

Gone are the days of getting just a hot dog and a beer.  The tide shifted years ago when ballparks began offering sushi or upscale dining to go with normal ballpark fare.  Every year it seems we get some place kickin’ it up a notch – here’s what some items are on the menu for 2015 around the country, see if you notice a theme.

  • Texas Rangers“Just Bacon” food stand – They will have an actual stand in the ballpark, dedicated to nothing but bacon.  They’ll sell candied bacon in a mini-helmet, bacon-cotton-candy and even bacon-beer.  Even if you are not riding the ‘everything-bacon’ wave – you’ve got to try a bacon beer right? for science?
  • Texas Rangers – The S’mOreo – A deep fried marshamallow surrounded by two deep fried oreos topped with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.  It’s almost bite-sized, so six of them could get eaten before you know what happened.
  • Texas RangersChicken-Fried-Corn-on-the-Cob – Again in Texas, this time they take corn, slather it with buttermilk batter before dropping it into the fryer.  Sounds like another challenge that must be washed down with a cold Bacon Beer – it just seems wrong, but you must do it for science.
  • Arizona DiamondbacksChurro Dog – Remember when the D’bags gave us the 18″ corn-dog stuffed with cheese, jalapenos and bacon.  This year they want us to finish off the D-Bat dog with a low-cal desert: a churro, nestled in a donut bun, topped with frozen-yogurt, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and caramel.  Low-cal because they used frozen-yogurt – thinking of the extra calories they are saving us by not using the iced-cream – at 1100 calories, it’s a nice gesture.
  • Wilmington Blue RocksDonut Dog – This minor league team got with Krispy Kreme to create a Krispy Kreme glazed donut bun that hugs a hot dog, topped with rasberry jam and bacon.  A modern day Monte Cristo sandwich.  Get your friends to try it first.
  • Wisconsin Timber-RattlersBig Mother Funnel Burger – Placing meat in desert-type-cakes seems to be the new thang and in Wisconsin we have another.  We have a bacon-cheeseburger between two funnel-cakes.  The question for all you gastro-engineers is: how well does the structure of the funnel-cake hold up to the grease of the bacon cheeseburger? #Murica!
  • Wisconsin Timber-RattlersGrilled Cheese Bacon Cheeseburger – Just like it sounds, a bacon cheeseburger with grilled cheese sammiches for buns.  Throw in some onions and a side of ranch for dipping and someone might scream RoadTrip.
  • Lehigh Valley Iron PigsPork Parfait – It’s a meat mirage disguised as a desert – it’s like Thanksgiving in a cup, if Thanksgiving had pork.  This meat-parfait is layered with mashed potatoes, pulled pork, cheese sauce and green onions – all made to look like its a desert.  So confusing…
  • Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs2-foot long hot dog – This needs a real name and might need a NC-17 rating, because no one should be allowed to hold that much meat in your hand without some sort of supervision.  This tube-monster is topped with chili, beer cheese, bacon and onion straws.  You can have it cut into 4, 6″ pieces, to share, or make you feel better about yourself stuffing your face with all that meat at once, alone.
  • Oklahoma City DodgersOreo Churros – it’s a chocolatey churro with a side of oreo cream dipping sauce – that is science right there. (no picture, just imagine…)
  • The West Michigan Whitecaps are holding a contest for fans to vote one of the items to the ballpark menu.  Here are some of the choices:

    #1 – French Fry Pizza #2 – Cotton Candy Curveball (twinkie wrapped in cotton candy) #3 – Kat Dog (Kit-Kat inside a hot dog) #4 – Weenie Panini

    Other items are Crispy Pig Chips (nachos with pork-rinds), Hot-toTot (tater-tots with buffalo chicken and bleu cheese), and a hot dog in a hallowed out pickle, deep fried.


NOT A SAINT…

You can’t spell Sharper without “Rapes”

This week, news broke that Darren Sharper has agreed to sign a new long term deal with Arizona.  Terms are undisclosed but rumors are, it is for at least 9 years.  Darren Sharper still has offers pending in Louisiana, Nevada and California and could become the 1st player in the Federal Penal League to play for several teams.

This is one of those situations that the entitled, priveledged athlete, convicted of barbarism, should be shipped off to Papillon with the other socio and psychopaths in the world, to live their end of days, together.  Prison shows no mercy to child-molesters and rapists – in Hell you will remember the sins of the flesh.