What You Need To Know For Wednesday, Dec. 30 2015

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1.

Degenerate Me

Last weekend was a monster for us junkies, despite what looked like insane violence on many football fields – or is it because of it? (shrugs shoulders)  Only the wetheads worry about blood on the grass during times like these, when the football gets better each week and the money you pillage from suckers, lines your pockets like fine silk.  The best being yet to come, except for maybe place like Cleveland and San Francisco who are more like bloated dead bodies floating along the ethereal abyss.

Playing with House-Money has always been risky – however, last week was swimming with sharks.  Many high-altitude rollers got eaten alive on Sunday – those that survived were clubbed like baby seals, causing an eruption of fear and grief in homesteads from coast to coast.  Strong men wept, and women hurled themselves savagely down dirty stairwells in filthy towns like Boston and Cleveland – Cripes, even in the frozen snow out here in the Rockies.

But me?  My own luck was splendid, as the Marquis used to say, as I repeatedly fleeced and humiliated two of the cruelest and most depraved degenerates in America, the infamous McCutcheon brothers from Pittsburgh.  T’was wonderful.  The arrogant swine got exactly what they deserved – a massive public beating they will never forget.  They came out here with huge wads of ca$h and revenge in their hearts for the losses they suffered last year in the very same bunker – where their doom is a constant companion.  It’s even worse during bowl-season.

2.

C’Ya Chipster

Good luck Chipster – your 1st lesson as a professional was a hard one.  You found out that going 10-6, 10-6 and 6-9 don’t mean much in Philly.  Never you mind that the Eagles have no idea how to win, because they haven’t since…….ummm, hold on, it’s right here in my notes….oh yeah, 1960.  It was 20 years later since they returned to play for a title, and another 24 until the next one – losing both – so it’s likely not until 2024 that they contend anyway.

Besides looking for another job in the #NFL – Tennessee, maybe? – you have to deal with Screamin’A dustin’ off an old narrative; as he did appearing on Mike and Mike this morning telling a classic Screamin’A story about a time he was “stopped on the street” by some Eagles players who came up to him and started talking about Chip Kelly.  Sensationalism!

The point is – you had all the control Chip and made some shaky decisions and never quite won enough to earn the cache you need.  Just remember, Bill was run out of Cleveland and it also took awhile in Foxboro before he became the man he is today – You just keep it 100 Chipster and if it doesn’t work out here, you’ll have your pick of places in college – like Baton Rouge if Les doesn’t change.

+ GOODBYE, MR. CHIP: PHILLY FIRES KELLY – Read More

LF=212yds 5TD’s

3.

(Can’t) Hold That Tiger

The Tigers wrapped up a very memorable, drama-filled football season with a record-setting 56-27 win over Texas Tech in the Advocare Texas Bowl, and it sure does feel good. One could argue that last night’s game doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot, but after losing three of the previous four bowl games, and enduring a three-game losing streak in the month of November, it’s nice to head into the offseason on a high note. With last night’s win, the Tigers ended the season 9-3, and let’s not forget that this would have almost certainly been a 10-win season had the season-opener against McNeese State been played.

Source: Dandy Don’s LSU Recruiting and Sports News – LSU Football and More!

4.

Today in History

On December 30, 1978, Ohio State University (OSU) makes the decision to fire its 65-year-old football coach, Woody Hayes, one day after Hayes punched a player on the opposing team near the end of the Gator Bowl.

Source: OSU fires coach Woody Hayes for attacking an opposing player – Dec 30, 1978

5.

Out of Chaos Comes Order

Social issues are a minefield for athletes.  Michael Jordan was never going to be confused for Kareem when it came to social justice and attitudes.  No one is, and athletes that came after never wanted to jeopardize their image to their corporate masters – just as players today are more conscious of their “brand” then they are at times with their play.

Yet, Lebron speaks out after advocates ask him to strike games to honor Tamir Rice – is this what we want our athletes to do when every social crisis occurs?  Read more here.

Source: LeBron Speaks Out After Advocates Ask Him To Strike Games To Honor Tamir Rice

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6.

The More You Know

Week 17 – Situational Trends

By Week 17 Vegas knows which teams are truly bad. In the last five years, home underdogs of a touchdown or greater in the last week of the regular season have gone 1-33 SU and 14-20 (41%) ATS.

  • Games Matching this Criteria: Browns (+10) vs. Steelers and Dolphins (+9) vs. Patriots.

The Cardinals and Chiefs are on fire each having won nine straight games. The last 30 teams to win that many games in a row went 22-8 straight-up in their next matchup but 12-17-1 (41%) against-the-spread.

  • Games Matching this Criteria: Chiefs (-6.5) vs. Raiders and Cardinals (-4.5) vs. Seahawks.

Tom Brady and the Patriots don’t lose often but when they do, New England typically wins (40-10 straight-up) and covers (34-16 against-the-spread – 68%) the next week.

  • Games Matching this Criteria: Patriots (-9) at Dolphins.

  • ATL -4 vs. NO The Falcons are 7-3 against-the-spread in their last ten games as home favorites against the Saints.
  • AZ -4.5 vs. SEA Carson Palmer is 7-1-1 against-the-spread at home with Arizona against non-divisional opponents but 3-3 ATS vs. the NFC West.
  • BAL +7 @ CIN In the last five years, AFC North teams that have been underdogs of a touchdown or greater to the Bengals are 0-5 straight-up and 1-3-1 ATS.
  • BUF +3 vs. NYJ The Bills are 8-2 against-the-spread in their last ten home games against the AFC East.
  • CAR -10.5 vs. TB Cam Newton has never lost as a touchdown or greater favorite, he is 11-0 straight-up and 6-5 ATS.
  • CHI -1 vs. DET The Bears are 2-7-1 against-the-spread in their last ten games against the Lions.
  • CIN -7 vs. BAL The Bengals are playing for a bye in the AFC. All-time, teams that have been favored by a touchdown over the Ravens are 5-1 straight-up.
  • CLE +10 vs. PIT Cleveland has lost eight straight as double-digit underdogs against AFC North rivals but the Browns went 5-3 ATS in those games.
  • DAL -3 vs. WAS The Cowboys are 1-5 against-the-spread at home this year and are now 3-11 ATS the last three years when Tony Romo doesn’t start.
  • DEN -7.5 vs. SD Denver is 3-6-1 against-the-spread in its last ten home games as touchdown or greater favorites.
  • DET +1 @ CHI Detroit is 2-18 straight-up in its last 20 games as road dogs against the NFC North, the Lions went 9-10-1 ATS in those games.
  • GB -3 vs. MIN The Packers can clinch the NFC North with a win, Aaron Rodgers is 18-4 straight-up (14-7-1 ATS) vs. the division as a home favorite.
  • HOU -6.5 vs. JAX The Texans clinch the AFC South with a win, Houston is 15-7 straight-up all-time as a home favorite against the division.
  • IND -6 vs. TEN Indy needs a win (plus a lot of help) to make the playoffs. The Colts are just 3-4 straight-up (3-4 ATS) in home games this year.
  • JAX +6.5 @ HOU The Jags have been road dogs in 13 straight games vs. division opponents. Jacksonville went 8-4 ATS in its previous 12 games.
  • KC -6.5 vs. OAK KC has won nine straight (including four in a row vs. the AFC West) and is 7-2 against-the-spread during the winning streak.
  • MIA +9 vs. NE The Dolphins have been underdogs to the Patriots in 25 straight games, Miami went 11-13 ATS in the previous 24 contests.
  • MIN +3 @ GB The Vikings can clinch the NFC North with a win but Minnesota hasn’t won in Green Bay since 2010 and is 1-4-1 ATS in its last six games in Lambeau.
  • NE -9 @ MIA New England clinches home-field advantage with a win, the Pats have won 18 straight as touchdown favorites vs. the AFC East ( but are only 6-10-2 ATS)
  • NO +7 @ ATL This is the fifth straight division game in which the Saints have been underdogs, New Orleans covered the previous four.
  • NYG -3 vs. PHI The Giants are 2-8 ATS in the team’s last ten home games against the Eagles.
  • NYJ -3 @ BUF The Jets can clinch a playoff berth with a win against the Bills but New York has lost and failed to cover in four straight vs. Buffalo.
  • OAK +6.5 @ KC The Raiders are 14-6 against-the-spread in the team’s last 20 road games against division rivals.
  • PHI +3 @ NYG Philly is 8-2 against-the-spread in its last ten road games as underdogs against division opponents.
  • PIT -10 @ CLE Big Ben has been a double-digit road favorite seven times in his career and failed to cover in each game (including losing outright last week).
  • SD +7.5 @ DEN Philip Rivers has won six of his last ten trips to Denver and the Chargers went 7-1-2 against-the-spread in those games.
  • SEA +4.5 @ AZ In Russell Wilson’s career, the Seahawks following a loss in the regular season are 11-6 against-the-spread the next week.
  • SF +3.5 vs. STL The 49ers have been home dogs to the Rams 11 times. San Francisco is 3-8 straight-up and 5-5-1 ATS.
  • STL -3.5 @ SF The Rams aren’t favored on the road often (just 10 times in the last ten years), but when they are St. Louis covers (7-3 ATS).
  • TB +10.5 @ CAR The Bucs have lost six straight as double-digit dogs to divisional rivals but Tampa Bay went 3-3 against-the-spread in those games.
  • TEN +6 @ IND The Titans have failed to cover in seven straight road games against division rivals (1-6 straight-up as well).
  • WAS +3 @ DAL The Washington professional football team is 8-2 ATS in its last ten trips to Dallas.

6 Things You Should Know For Wednesday

 

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1.

Just a Fantasy

Among several things to consider before you sip on your preferred method of liquid distribution, is how far sports has come.  Think of how different and strange it would look like to any grown person from the 80’s on back – this current and cultural-testament to games of skill and barbarism, created to satiate above the simple pleasure of watching sport.  E.B. White once wrote an apocalyptic essay in the New Yorker about the decline of sports and the day it got too big.  It was a wild and ridiculously futuristic vision of a world overburdened with crazy gambling and blind addictions to every point spread on every game, contest, fight, horse race, etc…

It was written a long time ago and well before I was born, but spooky to read it and see it arrive in all its truth.  All before cell phones, credit cards, TV’s – its crazy to think that a generation of people grew up in a time before electric lightbulbs, automobiles, planes, radios, TV’s, ever existed…

Now just think back to just a decade ago and how far removed sports has become today from what you knew then, and the explosion of Fantasy Gaming.  This article by Ben McGrath, also from the New Yorker, writes an excellent piece all the way back from April of this year – talking about how much Fantasy Sports has evolved beyond a dismissed, lesser-breed of sports fan to prove its strength by millions, that includes over 8 million women – You could say we all have seen way too much, and it’s all way beyond what we are talking about.  It’s like bringing String Theory of Quantum Mechanics into a football conversation – for some of us, that’s exactly what we are doing.

2.

Hockey Will Go Hockey On You

A good hockey player plays where the puck is.  A great hockey player plays where the puck will be.”  Wayne Gretzky said that, and he should know – he was/is a GREAT ‘Ockey player.  So, for Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune, he weaves a tapistry of America’s greatest “Ockey triumph to #Murica’s greatest ‘Ockey movie.  It’s a trip down memory lane that quilts together hockey rivalries, to gold medals and comedy gold.

3.

NBA and The Big Short

It’s always interesting to read about the possible breakdowns of sports leagues and their shortcomings.  For the #NBA their league could be in an underlying financial crisis of free-agency, poor incentives, networks, roster construction, and players more concerned with brand building than team-building.  It might be why watching the outliers of the Spurs and Warriors is so fun.  It’s good-team basketball that values playing hard on defense too.

4.

West Coast Bias

There is a genuine bias being pushed out thru the Worldwide-Leader Car Wash and the statement is clear.  Baker Mayfield is the most important player in college football for a one loss Oklahoma.  He even has a sophisticated Heisman website.  Is he good? Sure.  But compared to other QB’s?  What about Brandon Doughty who is 5th in passing-yardage-game, with 42 TD’s and 6 picks – nobody who has more than 30TD’s has a better TD:INT ratio?  Neither Connor Cook, nor Baker Mayfield have as much passing yardage, total offense or TD passes as Doughty – just saying – where’s his heisman chatter?  Same thing for Dalvin Cook of FSU – his numbers are way better than Derrick Henry, who is an overrated dump truck with the same steering capability.  Yet, the greatest injustice is saved for the player that is the most dynamic, dangerous and leads the nation in total yards – compare his numbers to Heisman darling Reggie Bush, there’s no comparison.  Read all about him and get back to me with your thoughts on the most under-appreciated player in the country, and who should actually win the Heisman Trophy, but won’t.

  • My Heisman Finalists
    • Christian McCaffrey
    • Dalvin Cook
    • CJ Beatherd
    • Brandon Doughty
    • Leonard Fournette

5.

Out Of Chaos Comes Order

Being a referee is never easy.  The job description is not for those who suffer from low self-esteem, but what we are witnessing is stupefying.  Currently when you watch #NFL games you wonder if the replacement refs ever left?  The perception seems to be that it has never been this bad.  Maybe it has and we never had so many ways to express our outrage, or have so many more people listen and join in.  Not sure, but clearly it’s enough to have articles written about the problem.  Maybe it’s time the #NFL spends some money on making the position Full-Time, so there could be more accountability to those that regulate league rules.

What’s the best sports record ever? Researchers offer their top 106.

Top 10

What are the greatest sports records in history? Which ones will never be broken? Is it possible to compare records across eras, or, for that matter, across sports?

A quartet of analytics professors, all of them sports fans, have attempted to answer these daunting questions, and some of their answers will surprise you, and, quite possibly, infuriate you……(continue reading)

Source: Researchers compose list of best sports records of all time – More Sports – SI.com

What You Need to Know to #WIN this Weekend

Not sure who started it, but thanks a lot guy.  All week we had to hear the nonsense of “should Leonard Fournette sit out”, etc., and blah blah blah.  Seriously, it’s stupid, and all so the needle can move.  This isn’t Golf, and he isn’t Clarett or Clowney.  According to my sources, here are the facts:  Leonard wants to win a Heisman, and Leonard wants to win a National Championship.  He does not have any interest in sitting out, he wants to play.  However…..

It got me thinking and you all know how dangerous that can be, so keep reading.  I do not want to see it happen, nor believe it will, but what if…After this year, Leonard Fournette left LSU, and went to play in the Canadian Football League?  He would be paid, a lot.  It would be a needle-mover, similar to Herschel Walker joining the USFL, instead of the NFL, but with more Karmic Justice.

The Canadian team that signed him would receive a huge boost in notoriety and revenue.  The Canadian league itself would see a boost in ratings.  The story would be colossal!  Finally, a young man, with that kind of talent, doing things on his own terms, and the best of all of it – after that one year up north – he becomes a free-agent.  Not a draft pick.  A Free Agent. Leonard could then sign with any NFL team he wanted – the slurping of jock-strap tea from NFL teams would be insane.  He would be in charge, not the league.  It’s the kind of revolutionary possibility that could set the example for future college athletes – without ever having to worry about playing for Cleveland – they decide where to work, just like every other person in America.  Take that Goodell, Viva La Revolucion!


I have not had a lot of time recently, to go into great detail, the picks for this weekend – all because of a now sentient and mouthy A.I. calling itself DC*3PO – so I’m just gonna give you its picks and go from there while we make some more improvements that you should check out:

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They said it could never happen.  They said in this day and age, the obstacle was too high.  Yet, here we are.  The NFL has gone an entire month without an arrest.  Not since 2009 has the league gone thru such a period of tranquility.  Never before have women and children felt more at peace.  In a landmark poll – women and children said they feel 33% safer than last month.  Truly a monumental accomplishment.

Hooray! It’s decorative-gourd season and now everything will have the delicate flavor of pumpkin jammed into anything consumable for 2 months, all while we prepare ourselves for the festive onslaught, known as Kwanza – Anyone want to give Josh Scobee a hug?  How about Mike Tomlin?

In last nights overtime loss to the Ravens, (23-20) Tomlin faced 4 important 4th downs and he blew them all – like an addict needing a sandwich.  The Ravens overcame a 13-point deficit to defeat the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Did you know, the Steelers came into the game having won 57 consecutive home games when leading by more than 10 points, (during the regular season) – it was the second longest current streak of its kind behind New England’s 68 straight.  It’s also the 13th time that the Ravens and Steelers have played a game that has been decided by three-or-fewer points since the 2005 season. That’s by far the most games between any two teams over the last 11 seasons.

Also, a well-deserved and late shout-out to the Raiders who refuse to paint the 50, in the middle of the field, gold.  Now, some have said it was out of respect to the A’s and baseball.  I think it is an old-fashioned middle finger salute in honor of the Head-Raider, Al Davis.  Take that NFL, and here’s one for you 49ers and your fancy new stadium that will host Superbowl 50 – it’s all out of order.


DiRTCanon A.I.DC*3PO’s NFL Bonanza

Last Sunday our A.I. became self-aware and recently it gave itself a name: DC*3PO.  So what was previously an exercise in fun, has now become serious business – DC*3PO has been talking a lot of smack.  I guess we need to start playing some action music, because IT. IS. ON!

First off, we’ll give DC*3PO’s picks along with any trends for those teams – as a starter here are 2 interesting trends for 0-3 and 3-0 teams:  all teams that start 0-3 AND are Home Favorites the next week are 8-20-1 ATS, and that might spell trouble for the Saints.  Conversely, all time, teams that start 3-0 and are Home Favorites the next week are 39-25 ATS – that means Bengals, Broncos, Cardinals, and Falcons should be in your teaser…Now on to the games.



TRENDS (pk): This is the Dolphins third trip across the pond to play at Wembley Stadium, Miami is 2-0 against-the-spread in London.  In all London games, the designated away team has been favored in 9 of 11 games and are 6-5 (55% ATS).

DC*3PO Sez: Miami wins the game 21 – 16.  



TRENDS (IND -9):  In the last two years, following a loss by three or more touchdowns, the Jags are 1-5 against-the-spread the next week.  In the Andrew Luck era, the Colts as home favorites against the AFC South are 6-2 ATS.

DC*3PO Sez:  Jacksonville beats Indy 24 – 23. 



TRENDS (BUF -5):  In the Eli Manning era, the Giants following a Thursday night game are 4-0-1 against-the-spread.  The Bills are 7-3 against-the-spread in their last ten games as home favorites of less than a touchdown.

DC*3PO Sez:  New York 26 – New Jersey 25


TRENDS (TAM +3):  The Panthers, in the Cam Newton era, are 7-5 ATS on the road against divisional rivals.  The Buccaneers are 6-14 ATS in their last twenty games as a home dog following a loss.

DC*3PO Sez:  Tampa Bay wins by 3, 22 – 19.


TRENDS (CHI +2):  Oakland hasn’t been favored on the road since 2012. The Raiders are 0-3-1 ATS all-time in Chicago as a favorite.  The Bears have covered just two of their last ten games as home underdogs.

DC*3PO Sez:  Chicago wins 27 – 26.8.


TRENDS (WAS +3):  All-time, the Eagles as road favorites against the NFC East are 20-12-2 (63% ATS).  All-time, the Redskins as home dogs to the Eagles are 5-9-1 against-the-spread.

DC*3PO Sez:  Philly wins a close game 20 – 18.6


TRENDS (CIN -3):  All-time, following a loss and as a road underdog the Chiefs are 58-39-1 (60% ATS).  This is the sixth time Cincinnati has started the season 3-0, the Bengals went 1-4 ATS in the next game the previous five years.

DC*3PO Sez:  Kansas City wins the game 27.8 – 22


TRENDS (ATL -5):  In the JJ Watt era, the Texans as road underdogs are 4-14 straight-up.  This is the fifth time Atlanta has started the season 3-0, the previous four occasions the Falcons were 1-3 ATS in the next game.

DC*3PO Sez:  Houston loses, 19.2 – 26.


TRENDS (SD -7):  The Browns are 7-3 ATS in their last ten road games against the AFC West.  In the Philip Rivers era, the Chargers as home favorites of a touchdown or more are 24-16 (60% ATS).

DC*3PO Sez:  closer than the experts think, SD 25 – CLE 22


TRENDS (SF +9):  Aaron Rodgers as a road favorite of a touchdown or more is 4-8 ATS.  The 49ers haven’t been home dogs of 7 or more points since 2007, San Francisco covered that game.  The 49ers didn’t just cover, San Francisco won outright 21-19 as 7 point dogs in Week 16 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

DC*3PO Sez:  Green Bay wins but does not cover – GB 26 – SF 24.6


TRENDS (DEN -7):  The Vikings are 10-5-1 against-the-spread with Teddy Bridgewater as the starter (equivalent of a full season).  Peyton Manning has started 3-0 six other times in his career, he was 5-1 ATS in the next game.

DC*3PO Sez:  Denver 19.2, Minnesota 17.6


TRENDS (AZ -6):  All-time, the Rams as underdogs against division opponents are 39-54 (42% ATS). With Carson Palmer, the Cardinals are favorites of three or more points are 6-1-1 against-the-spread.

DC*3PO Sez:  Arizona covers, 26.4 – 19.6


TRENDS (NO -4):  Brandon Weeden has lost his last nine starts and is 0-9 ATS in those games.  The Saints once-dominant home field advantage is gone, New Orleans has lost six straight inside the Superdome.

DC*3PO Sez:  Dallas 25 – Saints 24.8


TRENDS (SEA -9):  Matthew Stafford as a road dog of a touchdown or more is 0-12 straight-up and 2-9-1 ATS.  The Seahawks, in the Russell Wilson era, are 16-7-2 against-the-spread as home favorites.

DC*3PO Sez:  Detroit wins 23.4 – 21.6


Let us know where you lean and what games you think DC*3PO has right or wrong – as for the upcoming Daily Fantasy contests – be sure to check out our Lineup Analyzer and if you think you are better than us, then prove it – let us know your Player-I.D. and we will send you an invite.  Need help, let us know – Fantasy Sports is evolving, let us Teach you how to #win!

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Weekend Update: #SadFansAreSad

#1 with a Bullet…

 

Oh the humanity…Bert, you got waxed again – remember when you opened your mouth at a Texas football camp and said; if you didnt have a fullback you would get your ass kicked?  Well Pepperidge Farms remembers and apparently so did Kingsbury.  All the offseason hype, all the faux-swagger and next week is Texas A&M – you’ve got Hawg-Town losing their minds.  Bert, you know it’s bad when the people of Hawg-nation are calling for Greg Schiano, Lame Kitten, or just outright cheating.  It’s gotta sting the nostrils a bit.  Sure, fans will get over ranking 118th in 3rd-down conversion-defense, or ranking 84th in penalty yards and even 119th in RedZone efficiency – but having Kliff Kingsbury put you in your place?  These are Dark Days Bert, dark days…


Dark Days ahead for Auburn too.  This is who Auburn is.  They just don’t go quietly into the night, they fall off the cliff.  It’s in their DNA.  Their history proves it, and when a defensive back spouts off about how easy it will be to stop Leonard Fournette…well we all saw what happened.  Fournette had Auburn quitting before halftime, especially Mr. Ford – the mouthee.   But, to me, the issue is Jeremy Johnson.  He had a lot of hype coming in and the expectation was that he would do and be everything we’ve come to expect from the field-general of Auburn’s offense.  He has the talent, just not the heart or more importantly the head to get it done, because it is not translating to the field in real time.  Seriously though, it’s Auburn and it was a great weekend for those who dislike the entire state of Alabama.


More sad fans were found in SoCal.  Beyond Sark’s pre-game holla-ba-looza earlier in the year, the only thing people really had to say about him was – He’s a nice guy.  I’m sure he is a nice guy and that is honorable, but when it is attached to a football coach that is getting treatment for a drinking problem, he says he doesn’t have and then Stanford happens, you get flashbacks.  The kind of flashbacks that take you back to Seattle where Sark was 34-29 and the thought was, “it was hard to breakthrough in Washington, and wait and see what he can do with national-elite talent.”  Well we did. Talent is important, but it’s what you do with it, and so far and far too often, Sarkisian is outmatched by the other guy on the other side-line.  It’s going to get harder for “the Fans of Troy” to believe this is going to work as envisioned, because, as of right now –  it’s not the symbol of victory that fans are giving, it’s the number of losses every year.


But what about Ole Miss and Alabama? The Rebels caused five turnovers Saturday and also benefited from a once-in-a-lifetime—see Auburn in bamasad2013—miracle touchdown in a six-point win in Tuscaloosa.  Alabama is going too have to, again, win out.  But is it the same as last year? Last year, Alabama had a defined starting quarterback. Saturday, Nick Saban went with sophomore Cooper Bateman (who got blown up) before he was replaced by Jake Coker – who had started Alabama’s first two games. Coker almost led Alabama to it’s best come-from-behind victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium since the one Cam Newton led in 2010.  This is a fluke they say, the dynasty is still intact, the emperor’s new clothes are still made from the finest invisible silks…To quote our friend Lee Corso – NOT SO FAST…Alabama is 4-5 against top 15 teams since 2013.  That’s a trend, not a fluke, and what I’m saying is – gone are the days that Alabama beats teams with comparable talent more often than not.  Back in the day, Alabama fans would be upset if you beat someone by 10pts instead of 20 and after they’d come back down to earth, they’d be on to the next week.  Now the freakouts seem longer and that might cause Saban to see the writing on the wall and pack up.

For week 3 we were 72% SU and 64% ATS – that still crushes, but it is not what we are used to around here – our upsets did pretty well, but the ones we thought would be E-Z, hmmm not so much as we’d like.  If you haven’t seen it, take a look at how Memphis tied the game at 41 in the 4th qtr against Bowling Green – yeah a full-on double-reverse-flea flicker!!!

Other thoughts I cannot put anywhere else:

  • Notre Dame has lost a starting defensive tackle, a starting tailback, a starting tight end and a starting quarterback to season-ending injuries. Saturday, it may have lost a starting safety to a chest-bump-celebration
  • TCU lost their cornerback to a knee injury against SMU and also had 5 other defensive players sit out with injuries
  • Doing his best Johnny Manziel impression – OU quarterback Baker Mayfield, accounted for a school-record 572 yards of total offense and six touchdowns in the Sooners’ 52-38 win over Tulsa
  • Al Golden escaped with a much needed victory over Nebraska, but it still does not seem to haved cooled off his seat any.  During the game you could see a plane pulling a banner that read: C’MON #FIREGOLDEN. THESE BANNERS ARE EXPENSIVE – nevermind the Hurricanes were up 17 by halftime.  Maybe he felt vindicated after watching Miami choke away a 23pt lead, yet still won 36-33 in OT
  • For Nebraska, it could have been one of the great comebacks in their history – then Tommy Armstrong threw an interception on the 1st play of OT, and then a player gets flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct when he shoved the Miami guy who intercepted it – Miami, short field goal – ball game.  It’s a heart-breaking way to lose a game, and yet it has happened to Nebraska twice in three weeks.

It’s all about the Benjamin

Some headlines will highlight Johnny Manziel‘s role in the Browns’ 28-14 win over the Titans. But the star of the show was Travis Benjamin, who caught touchdown passes of 60 and 50 yards from Manziel and returned a punt 78 yards for a TD. The only other active players to have scored three TDs of 50 yards or longer in one game were Chris Johnson (2009) and Tavon Austin (2013). Benjamin was the first Browns player ever to do so – ever.

Benjamin also caught a 54-yard touchdown pass from Manziel in the Browns’ season opener. The only other player in NFL history with four touchdowns of 50 yards or longer in his team’s first two games of a season was Jim Brown for Cleveland in 1963 – 1963!

Manziel may have completed just 8-of-15 passes, but he was able to limit the turnovers and make plays when the Browns needed him the most.  In reality, there is absolutely no reason for Mike Pettine to go back to a lower-ceiling quarterback in Josh McCown.  As a result of Manziel replacing McCown, Cleveland extended its streak to 14 consecutive seasons in which at least two different players started a game at QB. That tied the longest such streak in the NFL since 1950, set by New England from 1980 to 1993. The Patriots drafted Drew Bledsoe with the first pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, and Bledsoe ended New England’s streak in 1994.


Are the Cardinals early Favorites?

Fresh off a solid win against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, Bruce Arians and the Cardinals laid the smack down against an inferior Bears team in Chicago. While the game was relatively close about halfway through, anyone watching it knew full well that Arizona was going to end up pulling away.

For Carson Palmer, it was a continuation of what has been a stellar run for a USC quarterback. The veteran has posted a 15-2 record with 34 touchdowns compared to 12 interceptions. His four touchdowns on Sunday – including three to Larry Fitzgerald – represents the first time Palmer has matched that total since he was with the Oakland Raiders back in November of 2012.  That was the first regular-season game of Fitzgerald’s NFL career in which he scored more than two touchdowns; he came into the game with 89 TDs.

Only one player in league history with that many touchdowns never scored three in a game: Charley Taylor (90 TDs) – (Note that Fitzgerald caught three touchdowns in the NFC Championship Game following the 2008 season, but never before in a regular-season game.)


New Rams, same as the old Rams

All the good feelings the St. Louis Rams may have felt following their Week 1 win over the Seattle Seahawks came crashing down in D.C. on Sunday. Never really in control of the game against Washington, St. Louis dropped an ugly game by the score of 24-10. At this point, we have come to expect Fisher-led squads to lay eggs following good performances.

It happened in all three of the Rams big wins last year — against Seattle, San Francisco and Denver. In fact, the Rams lost the following week after beating those favored teams. This is one of the primary reasons I avoided to pick St. Louis on Sunday.

Kirk Cousins completed 23 of 27 passes (85%) and Matt Jones gained 123 yards on 19 carries in the Redskins’ 24-10 win over the Rams. Jones and Alfred Morris, who gained 121 yards on Week 1, are the first Redskins teammates to rush for at least 100 yards in the team’s first and second game of a season (one in each game, that is). The only other running backs to do that in this century were LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Turner for San Diego in 2006.

For his part, Cousins posted the fourth-highest completion percentage in team history (minimum: 20 passes). The three higher marks were by Mark Brunell, 89 percent against Houston in 2006; Patrick Ramsey (Tulane), 86 percent against the Giants in 2004; and Sammy Baugh, 86 percent against the Steelers in 1945.


New England is putting the league on notice

Tom Brady passed for 466 yards and three touchdowns in the Patriots’ 40-32 win at Buffalo. Brady’s totals after two games-754 yards and 7 TDs without an INT-are rare even for a quarterback of his elite status. This is the second time he has passed for at least 700 yards and seven touchdowns in his first two games of season, the first being 2011. Only four other players did that even once: Jim Kelly (1991), Drew Bledsoe for the Patriots (1994), Peyton Manning (2013), and Aaron Rodgers (2013). Of those players, only Manning and Brady did so without throwing an interception.

Incidentally, Brady set a record for passing yards in one game against the Bills, breaking a mark that was set the same month that Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single-season home-run record. On October 29, 1961, George Blanda of the Houston Oilers passed for 464 yards at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo, and that mark remained the highest against the Bills until Sunday.

At some point, the Patriots will have to find a run/pass balance on offense – right?. They won’t be able to dominate like this through the air on a consistent basis – can they? The interesting dynamic here is that New England did average nearly four yards per rush. It’s not like the running game was completely ineffective.  Instead, Bill Belichick and Co. decided to make a statement, again, that the big boys of the East don’t reside in Western New York and play under Rex Ryan.  It could be a long year for anyone who gets in their way.


The Eagles are mess

About halfway through three quarters on Sunday against Dallas, the Eagles had racked up more penalty yards than total yards. Heck, the Cowboys domination could be summed up by the fact that they had run more plays (44) – at about the nine-minute mark in the third quarter – than the Eagles had total yards (34). It was that ugly.

The Cowboys defeated the Eagles, 20-10, in a game in which the story was Tony Romo‘s broken collarbone.  But storyline 1-A was the continued ineffectiveness of DeMarco Murray, who netted two yards on 13 carries one week after gaining nine yards on eight carries in Philadelphia’s season opener.  Over the last 30 seasons, there are only four games in which a defending rushing champion gained less than 10 yards on at least five carries. Christian Okoye did it in 1990, Chris Johnson in 2010, and Murray in each of his first two games with the Eagles.

Murray’s net of 2 yards was the third lowest in NFL history by a defending rushing champion in a game of at least 10 carries. Steve Van Buren of the Eagles was held to negative-2 yards on 10 carries by the Browns in 1950; and Clem Daniels, the 1963 AFL rushing leader, carried 14 times for negative-1 yard against the Boston Patriots in the Raiders’ opening game of the 1964 season.  But Murray’s performance on Sunday was extraordinary for any player, not just for a rushing champion. Over the last 37 seasons, only one other player finished a game with at least as many carries and as few rushing yards as Murray. Jonathan Wells of the Texans carried 13 times for 1 yard on Dec. 29, 2002 against the Titans.

It’s this type of offensive performance that will have many questioning Chip Kelly’s scheme moving forward. More than that, it will have skeptics on full alert when it comes to criticizing the team’s off-season moves. And now at 0-2 on the season, Philadelphia finds itself in a must-win situation against the New York Jets next week.


6 straight home losses?!

At 0-2 on the season (2nd straight year), Drew Brees and Co. are in a terrible position. Only 10 percent of teams that have started 0-2 since the 2007 season have earned a playoff spot. And while playing in the NFC South helps New Orleans early in the year, they just lost a home game against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad that won just two games last season.  Costing many people their survivor pool!!!

Jameis Winston led the Buccaneers to a 26-19 win at New Orleans. Winston became the first quarterback chosen first in the NFL Draft to get a September road win in his rookie season since John Elway did so in 1983.  Of course, Elway’s two road wins in September 1983 have a big fat asterisk, since Steve DeBerg was the QB who rallied the Broncos to both of those victories.

Since that time, #1 picks had lost 16 straight September starts in their rookie season, and it’s an impressive list of QBs: two losses each by Troy Aikman, Jeff George, Drew Bledsoe, Peyton Manning, Tim Couch, and David Carr, followed by single losses by Matthew Stafford, Sam Bradford, Cam Newton, and Andrew Luck.

There isn’t much left up for interpretation here. New Orleans appears to be terrible.

Looking well past his prime, Brees was outplayed by Jameis.  Drew completed 24-of-38 passes for 255 yards with one touchdown and one interception. This came on the heels of Tampa Bay’s defense yielding FOUR touchdown passes to Marcus Mariota last week.

If the Saints can’t win a home game against a bottom-feeder, it pretty much tells us what we need to know about this team. Unfortunately for Brees, the twilight of his career is likely going to be spent with fans watching him thru paper-bags.

 

Nose in the DiRT

Merry New Year

Quick and DiRTy – The Armed Forces Bowl – Houston is down 21pts with 6 minutes left in the 4th quarter to Pittsburgh – they begin on their own 17 yard-line – Houston scores a touchdown with 3:41 left to play – Onside kick is recovered by Houston – Houston then scores another touchdown with 1:58 to play – Houston, down by 7, successfully recovers their SECOND onside kick – scores a touchdown and converts for 2pts to take the lead 35-34 over Pitt with 54 seconds left.  Houston scores 29pts and racks up over 290 yards in the 4th quarter to beat Pitt 35-34.  Another amazing finish for this terrific bowl-season.  If you followed our bowl picks you would see that we are 69.6% of the 33 bowl games played with 5 remaining.  No other site – that we have seen – is over 60% accuracy.  Of the 8 games we provided, that had a probability of 80% or more – we are currently 5-of-7 with Washington left to play, for 71.4% accuracy overall.


after this bowl season it looks like the SEC West has cable

SEC West – After being called the most dominant division in all of college football – they ended up being a joke this bowl season, (while we are telling jokes, someone tell Les Miles that he supposed to let Leonard Fournette touch the ball more than 11 times against Notre Dame – seriously?!! – and develop a damn QB!!!).  The entire Gulf Coast got embarrassed and for most of 2015 everyone can tell SEC-fan to shut it.  Does it mean the end of an era?  Maybe not, but instead lets applaud the selection committee and applaud the brilliance of a 4 team playoff – because the beauty of it all is what we witnessed yesterday.  Think about it, the BCS would have given us Alabama v FSU and likely another title in a flawed system.  It is possible to conceive that if we would have done the right thing at the start of this millennium the southern dominance would not have been so dramatic, or maybe this is just a hiccup.


Congratulations to…

Everbody Duck!

Oregon – started slow and then ran away with it, thanks to FSU who turned the ball over 5 times in 20 minutes and then did their best impression of a flight-less bird that likes its head in the sand.  After the game, some “student-athletes” chanted and gesticulated their immaturity when they chanted “no-means-no” to the tune of the Seminole-War-chant making fun of Jameis and his rape-allegation.  The move comes off as idiotic as the Preacher that spews fire and brimstone about the evils of homosexuality and drugs – only to be found in a gay massage parlor soliciting sexual favors for meth.  The irony would be, however, that these players are punished more for this than Jameis was.  On a lighter note, the sagacity of college football fans is on full display here: (click for more)

Memes1

Ohio State – the last time two coaches met in a bowl game with multiple National Championships was in 1977, also in the Sugar Bowl and also Ohio State v Alabama.  However, this time it was Ohio State with the victory.  It also means that Nick Saban is terrible with Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and his overall record is 8-8 in bowl games (he is perfect however in the Sugar Bowl when LSU is involved).  Meanwhile, Urban Meyer is 8-2 in bowl games and has yet to lose a conference game in the BIG (not)10.  If Urban wins against Oregon, who do you say is the better coach – you would have to say it goes to Urban with what he did at Utah, Florida and now THE Ohio State, 3rd string QB, etc.., right?!  You could tell that when Ohio State finally scored a touchdown – also an amazing catch – that the (low)tide had changed, and every SC fan was all-to-familiar with that offense from Lane Kiffin, #DejaVu.  No SEC or ‘bama apologists can take away what happened – a third-string QB made Alabama look slow and proved to be better than any QB the Tide have.  The BIG (not)10 made a statement yesterday – now it’s on to Dallas and it is gonna come down to which team plays better D.

Doug Marrone – for having a phenomenal contract.  Doug left the Bills because of a clause in his contract that gave him a 3-day period to opt out at the end of the regular season if the Bills were sold while he was the coach.  Even better was the absence of another clause that no matter what happens, the Bills still have to pay him $4 million for 2015.  Who knows what the reasons exactly are or what he may have said to Bill Polian to keep him from taking over the GM duties in Buffalo – but I will go with his contract and the rumor that he asked for an extension for his assistants and himself, and on both counts, he was told no.  That makes it a no brainer for me when you consider further that the Bills do not have a 1st round draft pick and no QB – at least one that was not benched for Uncle Rico – and a love for all things New York.


My knees and my back…

Being 30 is hard, especially when you have to carry so many people.  Maybe now Cleveland can figure out how to get Kevin Love going and play up to expectations – or maybe this team already is playing to its realistic potential and Lebron just needs a break to see where his talents are going geaux next year.  Anyway, when I heard about his two-week stay-cation because of his knees and his back – I went straight to this classic:


NFL Playoffs

It never gets old…

with the playoffs approaching, here are some things to consider:

Cardinals Arizona_whitetail_ntc120 @ Carolina_6n_120 Panthers 01/03 04:35 PM ESPN Rain 50f Drizzle 3m ENE

CAR -6.5 (38)

This seems like a classic trap scenario – The public is all over the Panthers and why not?  Arizona has not scored a rushing TD in their last 7 games and averages only 1 TD/game offensively.  Factoring in that the Carolina D has returned to being excellent the last few games and you wonder how Arizona is going to score.  But, you should never question the power of TEAM and the belief that it is US against THEM and regardless of Ryan Lindley or Logan Thomas, it is still (s)Cam Newton and Ron Rivera without a playoff victory.  The numbers say this game is close and the Panthers win by 2.5, but I’m gonna take the Fightin’ Bruce Arians and the points.

FanDuel considerations: Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Olsen, J.Stewart, Cam Newton

Vegas consideration: tease the OVER and Arizona plus 6.5

Numbers say: CAR 21  AZ 18


Ravens Baltimore_ntc120 @ Pittsburg_ntc120 Steelers 01/03 08:15 PM NBC Nrain 44f Light Rain 9m SSE

PIT -3 (45)

This game comes down to each teams Passing Defense and their ability to limit aerial touchdowns.  9 of the last 13 games these two teams have played have been decided by 3pts or less.  So this is likely to be another came that is close and comes down to field goals.  It is expected that Leveon Bell will not play and so that makes it more important for BigBen to throw that pig-bladder all over the yard.  I trust Ben more than Flacco, but I trust Harbaugh and the rest of the Ravens, (who have more recent success) more than I trust Tomlin and the rest of the Steelers.  The numbers say Ravens win and that’s where I will side.

FanDuel considerations: Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, J.Forsett, Torrey Smith, Flacco

Vegas consideration: BAL plus 3 and tease the OVER

Number say: BAL 23  PIT 20


Bengals Cinncinnati_6n_120 @ Indianapolis_6n_120 Colts 01/04 01:05 PM CBS Dome DOME 20m WSW

IND -3 (49)

Jeremy Hill is trucking 6.5 YPC the last 3 weeks and seems to have given the Bengals greater toughness on the offensive side of the ball – when motivated.  Andrew Luck is 31-19 against the spread and Indy smoked them the last time they played.  But, teams playing again in the playoffs after beating the other by more than 2 TD’s, are 10 games below .500 the next time.  So do you trust Dalton enough with that running game to beat the Colts?  This time around expect the game to be closer but the Colts still win.

FanDuel consideration: Andrew Luck, TY Hilton, Jeremy Hill, Sanu, Dwayne Allen

Vegas consideration: tease INDY and tease the OVER

Numbers say: IND 25  CIN 21


Lions Detroit_6n_120 @ Dallas_6n120 Cowboys 01/04 04:40 PM FOX Clear-day 40f Clear 10m NNW

DAL -6.5 (48)

You could say that if this was a road game for Dallas it would be a gimme, considering they were 8-0 on the road this year.  The public is all over Dallas but look who they have played to finish the year and it’s a bit of fool’s gold.  Not to say that Dallas is not good, because they are, (they might be the best overall team) but Detroit has an excellent D that could take advantage of Dallas’ home struggles.  But it still comes down to who do you trust at QB – Stafford or Romo – and although you might say it is a toss-up, the numbers validate Romo.  This should be close but Dallas wins the game and Detroit is the right play with getting 6.5.

FanDuel consideration: DeMarco Murray, E.Ebron, Dez Bryant, Golden Tate

Vegas consideration: Detroit plus 6.5 and tease the OVER

Numbers say: DAL 24  DET 21


Possible lineup combinations for FanDuel

#1

Big Ben

Demarco

J.Hill

Golden Tate

Steve Smith

Sanu

Olsen

Bailey

Bengals


#2

Flacco

j.Hill

j.Stew

Ant.Brown

Mi.Floyd

Steve Smith

Olsen

Nugent

Bengals


#3

Cam

Herron

Bush

Ant.Brown

Calvin Johnson

Torrey Smith

Witten

Bailey

Lions