Monday, December 7, 2009


Unless if you have been living under a rock over the past week or so, then you know that Tiger Woods's life has essentially turned upside-down. Of what started of as a minor thing (him getting into an accident by running over a fire hydrant) turned out to be this firestorm that everyone seems to be dumping kerosene into to make it even more devastating. We can thank the TMZ world that we live in for this, because if not for their paparazzi style of journalism, then maybe we would not be talking about this as much today. However, aside from Kobe Bryant, I can think of some people who the media did not really scrutinize for creeping around.

Case in point, Shaquille O'Neal is in the process of being divorced for the second time from his wife Shaunie during their seven-year marriage. The interesting thing is that O'Neal has not been known to be faithful throughout that tenure, with the latest alleged incident stemming from him having a possible affair with Gilbert Arenas' fiance, who is friends with Shaunie, in a crazy "love square".

Sadly it seems like Woods shares a similar comparison to the guy who possibly brought O'Neal's exploits to the forefront, Kobe Bryant. In 2003, a woman claimed that Bryant sexually assaulted her, and Kobe's life became a living hell for a short time. Bryant lost sponsors and some of the media piled on, including questioning his innocence when he bought his wife a $4 million ring while the situation went on. The situation died down after the case was settled out of court and Bryant gained back sponsors but it still left a blemish on his image.

Maybe the reason why Woods and Bryant are scrutinized more is because they seem to have had the label of being "too good to be true", you know, the seemingly "perfect" guy who is a model citizen for adults and children all alike. However, Shaq is still marketable with his Icy-Hot and Comcast commercials, his line of tennis shoes, and his shows "Shaq's Big Challenge" (about getting obese kids in shape) and "Shaq Vs." (about O'Neal challenging sports stars to their own games). Whatever the case may be, it is truly not right, most importantly, we will realize the whole truth soon.

Friday, November 13, 2009


If you watched the Miami Heat play the Cleveland Cavaliers last night on TNT, you certainly heard an enthusiastic expression heard and felt around the world. No, I am not talking about that baptism of a dunk that Dwyane Wade put on Anderson Varejao, but I am talking about what LeBron James said. With Michael Jordan in the audience, James said that he would love to change his number from 23 to 6, to give respect to Jordan and to wear the number of Julius Erving, and he said that he would like for everyone to stop wearing 23, in the hopes that the NBA would retire it. Now if you are like me, there are two things wrong with that statement. First of all, Dr. J only wore 6 when he played for the Philadelphia 76ers (he wore 32 with UMass in college and the Virginia Squires and the New York Nets of the ABA), but the most glaring thing is the assumption that Jordan's 23 should be retired league-wide, much like the MLB did with Jackie Robinson's 42.

Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player of all-time, but the NBA was doing pretty good without him too. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were deemed saviors to the league and they marketed it well in the 80s, Jordan picked up where they left off and the NBA went into higher heights with him. Also, if you look at it from the social point of view, MJ was not scrutinized during his years in the league like Robinson was.

Jordan did not have to carry his whole race on his back every time he played, much like Robinson did. MJ did not have to sit on a raggedy "coloreds only" bench or even eat outside of a restaurant with Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman while Steve Kerr, Toni Kukoc, and Luc Longley sat on new benches and ate inside. Jordan did not have find a bus to get to another destination while his white teammates rode planes. Michael was not spat on while at the stadium, and did not have to worry about the possibility of someone killing him when he left the stadium or even during a game. MJ was not even called a "nigger" during interviews or press conferences, or even berated by his coach because of his complexion.

Robinson played ten years with the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1947 to 1956 enduring all of this, so that players like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Roy Campenella, Roberto Clemente, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Gary Sheffield, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr., and countless others could fulfill their dreams of playing baseball.

So, Mr. James, until you make another comment like that, read your facts and get them straight. There are many other basketball players who made a FAR greater impact than Jordan in the social realm, and chances are that maybe Mike would not even want to see his number retired too.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


WORLD SERIES: New York Yankees vs. Philadelphia Phillies
NYY's ROAD TO THE WORLD SERIES: After a not-so impressive first half to the season, the Yankees caught fire after the All-Star break, winning eight straight games en route to regaining their elusive American League East Division crown, a feat they have not done since 2006. New York did not lose a season series against any American League team. Their new found domination continued into the American League Division Series as they swept the Minnesota Twins in three games, thanks to Alex Rodriguez finally finding his postseason swing. Rodriguez would be even better in the American League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Angels as the Yankees won in six games.
PHI's ROAD TO THE WORLD SERIES: The Phillies also did decent during the first half of the season, but caught fire later in the second half, largely due to their mid-season acquisitions of Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez. Although Philadelphia was the only winner of their Divisional Series to not sweep their opponent (they beat the Colorado Rockies in five games), the Phillies dispatched the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games.
ANALYSIS: If you love the long ball, then this is your series, as the top two home run hitting teams in a season square off for just the third time in a World Series. Rodriguez and Ryan Howard are two of the more prolific home run hitters in baseball, and will be getting a lot of help from their supporting casts. The 2009 Yankees may not be the "Murderers Row" of the 1927 squad, but with Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Hideki Matsui, this team can mash a bit. The Phillies remain intact with their three MVP candidates of Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Howard, but the all-out effort of Shane Victorino, the acquisition of Raul Ibenez, and the emergence of Jayson Werth makes the defending champions that much stronger. Two former Cy Young teammates with the Cleveland Indians, Sabathia and Lee, will be the marquee pitching matchup, with Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Cole Hamels, and Pedro Martinez being the undercards whenever they pitch. Also, two of the more dominating closers in the MLB and in postseason history face off in Mariano Rivera and Brad Lidge.
SEASON SERIES: Phillies won, 2-1
PREDICTION: Yankees in 7
MATCH-UP: Pedro returns to New York (Game 2...sure Yankee and Met fans hate him now)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 7 (don't be surprised if it comes down to the last at-bat)

Thursday, October 15, 2009


ALCS: New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Angels
ROAD TO THE ALCS: Both teams looked impressive in the Divisional Playoffs, with both teams earning sweeps in order to get to this point. New York beat Minnesota with pitching and timely hitting as, for the meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez seems to have exercised his postseason demons, with his two home runs coming in the seventh inning or later and with the Yankees in a close game to go along with his .455 batting average and 6 RBIs. Los Angeles flipped the script on Boston and swept them, but not before clinching the sweep and the series in a huge comeback in Game 3.
ANALYSIS: If you love offense, this is your series, as both teams ranked in the top two in the American League in runs scored and batting average, but that is where the comparisons stop. The Yankees love to mash the ball with relentless aggression, as evidenced with their 244 home runs in 2009. The Angels love to use small-ball tactics in order to manufacture runs, thus relying on speed and timing. The key in this series is pitching though. The Angels will use four starting pitchers, and the Yankees will use three, but could it help or harm the Yankees by possibly having CC Sabathia pitch Games 1, 4, and 7? Only time will tell...
SEASON SERIES: tied, 5-5
PREDICTION: Yankees in 6
MATCH-UP: Joe Girardi vs. Mike Scioscia (both managers were World Series winning catchers)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 6 (especially if the Yankees are leading 3-2)

NLCS: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies
ROAD TO THE NLCS: The Los Angeles Dodgers flipped the light switch back to the on position after a commanding sweep over St. Louis. The hitting was good but the pitching was a little bit better, despite that the Dodgers did have trouble early in Games 1 and 2, but rebounded late. The Philadelphia Phillies were the only team to not win their series in a sweep, having to fend off the pesky Colorado Rockies in four games. The last three games of the NLDS were too close for the Phillies' comfort, especially in the bottom of the eighth inning in Game 4, when Colorado took the lead, 4-2. However, the Phillies scored three of their own in the ninth, and closed the door on the Rockies.
ANALYSIS: The rematch of the 2008 NLCS is set, but this time it is the Dodgers with home-field advantage. On paper, Philadelphia is tough on offense and Los Angeles has good pitching to get the job done, but the game can ultimately come down between Ryan Howard and Manny Ramirez, two of the more dominating hitters in baseball today. Another incentive is the supporting casts where the Phillies have a more veteran group, and the Dodgers' group are young, but grew up throughout the season.
SEASON SERIES: Dodgers won, 4-3
PREDICTION: Dodgers in 7
MATCH-UP: Pedro Martinez vs. Manny Ramirez (two of the players who won the 2004 World Series)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 1 (to see if L.A. can shake off what happened against the Phillies last year)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


1. New York Yankees
2. St. Louis Cardinals
3. Philadelphia Phillies
4. Los Angeles Angels
5. Los Angeles Dodgers
6. Boston Red Sox
7. Colorado Rockies
8. Minnesota Twins

ALDS: New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins
ANALYSIS: The Twins played a hell of a game to defeat the Detroit Tigers last night for the right to play the New York...the next day. Combine that with the fact that the Yankees swept the 7-game season series over Minnesota, the Twins seriously do not have a chance, right? Well, the Twins are a team that can slap the ball, get base hits, and do the little things right, but New York is a more complete team with the pitching and the hitting to do well in a 5-game series. We shall see!
SEASON SERIES: Yankees won, 7-0
PREDICTION: Yankees in 3
MATCH-UP: Carl Pavano v. Yankees in Game 3 (in Minnesota)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 1 (We'll see if the Twins can hang with the Yankees)

ALDS: Los Angeles Angels vs. Boston Red Sox
ANALYSIS: This is the third straight year the Angels and Red Sox will meet in the ALDS, and the previous two saw Boston come out on top. In matter of fact, since the Angels took a 3-1 lead in Game 4 the 1986 ALCS vs. Boston, the Angels are 1-12 in postseason play vs. the Red Sox. This year, both teams are quite even, as they both can score and can pitch, but for Angel fans, one can only hope that there will be a reversal of fortune as they play for Nick Adenhart's memory.
SEASON SERIES: Angels won, 5-4
PREDICTION: Angels in 5
MATCH-UP: Angel relievers vs. Red Sox batters (LAA has blown games late in the last 2 series)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 2 (Weaver vs. Beckett)

NLDS: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals
ANALYSIS: Two of the more complete players square off in this match-up with Manny Ramirez facing Albert Pujols. These two can do it all as far as getting on base, driving in runs, and hitting home runs and are near the top of MVP talks for the NL. So the keys will be who plays the best supporting role, and since getting Matt Holliday, the Cardinals have been on fire, while having two Cy Young caliber pitchers (Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright) does not hurt. However, the Dodgers did hold tight during Manny's 50-game suspension and have been on cruise control during the season...but could cruising too much, to the point of clinching the NL West late, mean a possible bruising?
SEASON SERIES: Cardinals won, 5-2
PREDICTION: Cardinals in 5
MATCH-UP: Tony La Russa vs. Joe Torre (two of the best managers in the MLB)
PIVOTAL GAME: Games 1 or 2 (if the Dodgers can take one of those games, the series will go 5)

NLDS: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Colorado Rockies
ANALYSIS: Tell me if you have heard this before...the NL East Champion Phillies are facing against a hot, scrappy Rockies team. It happened in 2007, when Colorado swept Philadelphia en route to the World Series. This year, this happens again, but this Philadelphia team is fresh off of a World Series title, and actually are better now than they were then. If you take away the first two months of the season, the Rockies are very unstoppable as they manned up after the firing of Clint Hurdle. The Phillies have been steady despite Cole Hamels' struggles due to an injury, thanks to them picking up Cliff Lee. Also their offense of Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Raul Ibenez is potent.
SEASON SERIES: Phillies won, 4-2
PREDICTION: Phillies in 4
MATCH-UP: the 2007 NL Champs vs. the 2008 NL Champs
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 2 (the Rockies have to stay in momentum)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


On August 20, 2009, Plaxico Burress was given a two-year jail sentence that began on September 22, 2009. Let's think about that for one minute. A man goes to jail for two years for accidently shooting himself? Again, the keywords in statement are accidently and himself, and that warrants someone to get the same jail time as Michael Vick and far less than Donte Stallworth? God forbid if he tried to shoot someone else in that nightclub, he might would have gotten much, much more.

First of all, setting all personal feelings aside, but Michael Vick's 18-month sentence was fair. He took part in an illegal activity where he bred dogs with the intent to kill other dogs, and if they did not perform well to expectations, the dogs were tortured to death. The legal process seemed to do good for him, however, as he is trying to rebuild his image to pre-2005 status (before Ron Mexico, the water bottle incident, and giving Falcon fans the new meaning of "Dirty Bird" by flipping two middle fingers to them), again, one can only hope that he recovers fully from this.

Next, the Plaxico Burress case was unfair from right off the bat. He was going to actually get three years of jail time, because he was going to be made an "example" out of? Seriously, be do you make an example of someone who shoots himself? That's basically adding insult to injury (sorry for the pun). Granted, he had an unlicensed gun in New York, but no one would have known about it if it go off. Also, I do not think that he was going hunt someone down in the club either, he was using it for protection from himself. Come on, he caught the game-winning catch in Super Bowl XLII and is one of the more famous athletes in New York City. Obviously, he was being smart because anyone could have robbed him.

Last but not least, is the Donte Stallworth ordeal. People instantly knew that he was going to get major jail time after having alcohol in his system and striking a pedestrian in the streets of Miami. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and only served 24? What a joke of the legal system! Killing dogs gets you 24 months, but not paying attention and killing someone gets you 24 days? Granted, the pedestrian did not cross the street at the assigned spot and essientially jaywalked, but Stallworth was clearly drunk (0.12 BAC), speeding (doing 50 in a 40), and was not paying attention. At least, he claimed to warn the man, or it could have been much worse.

Friday, September 18, 2009


First of all, I'd like to start off with this...sorry for not writing a note in a while, including finishing up with my NFL predictions (if you must know...Philadelphia, Arizona, Atlanta, and Green Bay will win the NFC divisons, Dallas and Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl, and Dallas winning). I am a student first, a worker second, and pretty much a freelance writer third, so I have been settling down with this, without an idea in the world! Here's a GREAT story!

April 25, 2009 would mark the birth of one of the biggest cases of spoiled behavior that the NFL has ever seen. The Oakland Raiders had the seventh pick of the draft and they selected...Darrius Heyward-Bey? Three picks later, their neighbors on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay, the San Francisco 49ers, would select the highly touted Michael Crabtree from Texas Tech. The 49ers did not know the headache that they would get themselves in.

Now before going on, is Al Davis insane for not taking Crabtree? Yes, absolutely. Think about it...JaMarcus Russell at QB, Darren McFadden/Michael Bush/Justin Fargas forcing a tandem at RB, and Crabtree equals dominating in a weak division. The Raiders would actually live up to their slogan in the 2010s of "Commitment to Excellence"! At least they are not a BAD team.

But I digress, and this is about Crabtree solely...

"Ego": Perhaps the Raiders knew about Crabtree all along... At Texas Tech, Crabtree was amazing. With the pass-happy offense, he had 231 catches, 3127 yards, and 41 touchdowns in two years with the Red Raiders. For his efforts, he won the Blietnikoff Award twice (the only college football player to win that honor multiple times). However, allegedly...he has as big an ego as the state he played for. There where reports that he got his own way at times like a petulant little child, such making people get his lunch. Come on, man...Tim Tebow does not even do that at Florida...

"Diva": I could actually picture Crabtree saying this if there was a time machine going back to the Draft..."Yo Darrius, I'm really for you, and I'm gonna let you finish your moment of being drafted, but I had one the best collegiate career for a receiver of all-time!" Hell, even Texas Tech coach Mike Leach would have protected Crabtree like that, he did it for Graham Harrell! Crabtree wanted to actually be paid the money that the seventh pick of the draft would normally get. He wanted to be paid the average money of the first draft drafted wide receiver in a draft. Basically, he wanted his contract to be equal to (if not more than) the $38.25 million for five years that Heyward-Bey received, including his $23.5 million signing bonus. As negotiations continued to stall and became more stale, and continued to say the universal statement of what all athletes say during holdouts..."It's not about the money". Well, if it's not about the money, you would be on the first bus/train/plane to San Francisco! The slight hint of the fact that his cousin even has a say in the negotiations means that things cannot be good. Now basically Crabtree will not start this year and may not even see the field at all, and you know that 49ers head coach Mike Singletary will be looking to make an good example out of him (see Vernon Davis).

As this thing is baffling think about this: Michael Vick is back, Brett Favre actually MADE a decision, and fifth-round pick Johnny Knox of the Chicago Bears has more more catches and yards this season (two catches for 82 yards) than Crabtree (zero catches, zero yards). Also, he's making the lengthy holdouts of Reggie Bush, JaMarcus Russell, and Bo Jackson seem tame (Jackson sat out the entire 1986 season after being drafted first by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because Bo knew he didn't wanna play on a poorly ran franchise like the Bucs back then). But something tells me that this thing is far from over, and it's not even by a long shot.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009



Last year, in Week 1, the AFC East became wide open for the first time since 2002 after New England Patriots QB Tom Brady tore ligaments in his ACL and MCL following a Bernard Pollard hit. At that instant fans in New York, Miami, and Buffalo realized that they could not have had a better chance to win the division. The Buffalo Bills started off hot winning their first four games en route to a 5-1 start, but a very cold finish relegated them to last place at 7-9. The New York Jets would assume the lead after that, and after beating the previously unbeaten Tennessee Titans to improve to 8-3, they could do no wrong and were heralded as a contender in the AFC. However, the weather got colder, Brett Favre's shoulder acted up and they limped to a 9-7 finish, costing Eric Mangini his job. Now the Patriots did emerge by going 11-5, but they missed the playoffs in a LOADED AFC, but the actual champion were the Miami Dolphins who finished 1-15 the year before. At 0-2 the season looked like a bust, until Wildcat mania struck and gave Miami an added dimension that enabled them to win nine out of their last ten games. This year, there are many changes to the division such as Miami having the bulls-eye on their back for the first time in a while, the Jets operating with a new QB and coach, the Bills having T.O., and the Patriots getting Brady back, but as always it should be entertaining.

1. New England Patriots
-Amazing that they went 11-5 WITHOUT Brady, huh? Amazing that Randy Moss had another 1000 yard and double-digit touchdown season WITHOUT Brady, huh? They get him back this year, along with a plethora of running backs, and you can expect the same offense that they had in 2007.

2. Miami Dolphins
-I do believe that the Dolphins can withstand the pressure of being the hunter. Sure average receivers and Chad Pennington's inability to throw the ball deep hinder them, but they do have Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown, and the return of Jason Taylor can really help their defense. Oh, and did I mention the Wildcat?

3. New York Jets
-Rex Ryan said it best: "...if you take a swipe at one of ours, we'll take a swipe at two of yours", and instantly the Jets had a new identity that was different than Herm Edwards' or Eric Mangini's. Matt Sanchez will start but experience growing pains in a tough division, but newly acquired LB Bart Scott and his familiarity to Ryan will be beneficial to the Jets.

4. Buffalo Bills
-T.O. is great, but he's the only bright spot of a mediocre team. The key here is will Trent Edwards stay healthy? Marshawn Lynch's early three-game suspension can also spell doom for the Bills, but they do have nice throwbacks, lol!

Tom Brady (QB - Patriots)
-After dealing Matt Cassel to Kansas City, the Pats are going all in with Brady. Will the old Brady return or sadly will it be like the story of a former QB from of of their division rivals?

Matt Sanchez (QB - Jets)
-Eventually, Sanchez will get the keys to this team, but as long as he plays smart and utilize the defense and running game well, the Jets can be a darkhorse like last year's Baltimore Ravens.

Terrell Owens (WR - Bills)
-You know what you are going to get with T.O., a lot of catches, a lot of yards, a lot of touchdowns, a lot of celebrations, and a lot of drops, but will it translate to a lot of wins?

New England @ Indianapolis (Week 10 - November 15, the mid-autumn rivalry)
Miami @ Atlanta (Week 1 - September 13, the two surprises of last year)
Miami @ New England (Week 9 - November 8, Miami's first big challenge)
Buffalo @ New England (Week 1 - September 14, the return of Brady)
N.Y. Jets @ Tampa Bay (Week 14 - December 13, battle of the rookies [possibly], Sanchez v. Freeman)


The AFC North was extremely proud last season when it sent not only one but two teams to the AFC Championship Game last season ensuring that the division would have a representative in the Super Bowl. In what proved to be a very physical and hard-hitting game, the favored Pittsburgh Steelers outlasted the upstart Baltimore Ravens, 23-14, en route to winning their record-breaking sixth Super Bowl in Super Bowl XLIII. For Pittsburgh, it was the typical season as they defended their division title as all four losses came against playoff teams, but with a smart offense and an aggressive defense they were able to stay focused, never losing more than twice. Baltimore, led by rookie QB Joe Flacco, jumped out to a 2-0 start, but after losing their next three games things looked bleak and the fact that they had to play in 15 consecutive weeks in the regular season did not make the situation any better. However, "Joe Cool" made the Ravens keep theirs, and the Ravens won nine of their last 11 to edge the New England Patriots for the final playoff spot. As for the two teams from the Buckeye State...well, the Cleveland Browns were expected to challenge for a divisional title but they never could recover from an 0-3 start, and they lost their last six games, including being shut out in their last two and not scoring no more than ten points in the others. Their neighbors from the south, the Cincinnati Bengals, fared no better after starting 0-8, despite winning their last three games. This year, the Steelers are the only ones who really stayed intact, after the other three teams lost important keys from last season, but the question is: will the Steelers be too full from their title or will they come out swinging hungry for more?

1. Pittsburgh Steelers
-While they did not make any key moves during the offseason like normal, they retained their key players. It will be hard to realize that Pittsburgh cannot win this division again for the third year in a row, and better yet, they do not play either the Colts or the Patriots for the first time since 2003.

2. Baltimore Ravens
-Sure the losses of Rex Ryan, Bart Scott, and Marques Douglas to the Ravens will sting, but the Ravens still have Ray Lewis, Derrick Mason, young RB's (Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, and Le'Ron McClain), and Flacco. The schedule will not hurt either as the Ravens have the fifth-easiest schedule despite matchups with the Colts and Patriots.

3. Cincinnati Bengals
-The next two positions are a crap-shoot, but the nod here goes to Cincinnati due to an existing coach and a stable QB position. It's clear that this team with so much promise five years ago just flattened out due to Marvin Lewis losing control of his players, and his job could be next.

4. Cleveland Browns
-Same first sentence as above. Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson are battling...again, and Eric Mangini is out to prove that he was wrongfully fired in New York. Both teams could have some growing pains however this year.

Ben Roethlisberger (QB - Steelers)
-Sure you can say his running backs deserve it, or his receivers, or his line, or his defense, but in 2006 when Big Ben was still suffering the lingering effects of his motorcycle accident, he struggled and the team struggled.

Rey Maualuga (LB - Bengals)
-This was tough and it even could have went to Michael Oher of the Ravens, but Maualuga is out to prove that he should have been a first-round pick. The Bengals will just hope that he is like Odell Thurman without the off-field issues.

Laveranues Coles (WR - Bengals)
-If you went on name then Chad Ochocinco would be on the list, but since we are not, Coles tops this list. 2008 was an injury-plauged year for Coles, and with Chad on the team drawing attention, Coles could bounce back. However, to expect him to replace T.J. Houshmandzadeh will be a tall task.

Tennessee @ Pittsburgh (Week 1 - September 10, the 1st game of the NFL season)
Indianapolis @ Baltimore (Week 11 - November 22, the Colts return to Baltimore...)
Baltimore @ Cleveland (Week 10 - November 16, ...but not until the Ravens return to Cleveland)
Pittsburgh @ Detroit (Week 5 - October 11, Champs vs. Chumps)
Bengals v. Browns (Week 4 - October 4 in Cleveland, Week 12 - November 29 in Cincinnati, well..I had to give the Ohio teams some love)


In 2008, unbelievable things happened in the AFC South, but none was more shocking than seeing the Indianapolis Colts lose the division for the first time in six years. The division did, however, go to the unlikeliest of teams, the Tennessee Titans, who were led by the unlikeliest of quarterbacks, Kerry Collins. After former first-round draft pick Vince Young got hurt against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1, along with questionable behavior afterward, Collins led the Titans to wins in their first games and a 13-3 record. Despite a loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round, the Titans look poised to improve even more with a young lineup. The Colts JUST won 12 games last year, but they finished the year on a nine-game winning streak before losing to the San Diego Chargers in the Wild Card round. The Colts big challenge will be replacing their head coach (Tony Dungy), their offensive and defensive coordinators, and their all-time great wide receiver (Marvin Harrison), but their franchise QB Peyton Manning will be ready to lead again like always. The Houston Texans started off at 0-4 but stormed to break even at .500 for the second year in a row, behind arguably the best WR people have never heard of, Andre Johnson. The Jacksonville Jaguars took a huge step back after a 5-11 seasons while playing with heavy hearts after Richard Collier was shot and killed days before the first game of the season.

1. Indianapolis Colts
-"Old Reliable" Manning is still there, and despite losing Harrison and Dungy, he still has Reggie Wayne, a good offensive line, and Bob Sanders on the defensive end. Oh yeah, and Dwight Freeney's back along with new coach Jim Caldwell being a disciple of Tony Dungy, expect the Colts to return to form this year.

2. Houston Texans
-This one is a VERY gutsy pick, but the Texans are a young team on the rise as evidenced from their two straight 8-8 seasons. The key here is for QB Matt Schaub to not get injured (again), but hate to say it but Rex Grossman is better than Sage Rosenfels and is more capable to lead this team of young talent like Steve Slaton, Amobi Okoye, Mario Williams, and Johnson.

3. Tennessee Titans
-They won't sneak up on anyone this year, and plus Collins is a year older, and Albert Haynesworth is gone. The Titans will be good however with a little "smash-and-dash", or the RB tandem of LenDale White and Chris Johnson.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars
-This team has lost it's pop on defense and does not have many good receivers execpt Torry Holt. David Garrard will try to well, and Maurice Jones-Drew will assume lead RB status, but will the "Mojo" be good there in Jacksonville?

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER (other than Manning)
Andre Johnson (WR - Texans)
-The MVP would have been an obvious no-brainer, so this is a good challenge for #2. He had 115 catches for 1500+ yards with two different QB's, and if he was anywhere else, he'd be recognized. 2008 was Larry Fitzgerald's coming-out part, will 2009 be Johnson's?

Donald Brown (RB - Colts)
-Joseph Addai is an oft-injured RB, but Brown can do a lot for the Colts. Although UConn ran a run-first offense, he can catch the ball well, and getting 2000 rushing yards in a season is very impressive and a testament to will and determination.

Torry Holt (WR - Jaguars)
-He can make Garrard's life very well, just do not expect the same numbers from St. Louis. Holt jumps from an deep, vertical team in the Rams to a ball-control team in the Jaguars.

New England @ Indianapolis (November 15 - Week 10, the mid-season rivalry renewed)
Indianapolis @ Tennessee (October 11 - Week 5, statement game for the Titans)
Tennessee @ Houston (November 23 - Week 11, statement game for the Texans)
Indianapolis @ Jacksonville (September 13 - Week 1, the Colts-Jaguars rivalry has been the fiercest)
St. Louis @ Jacksonville (October 18 - Week 6, Holt welcomes his old buddies)


The AFC West provided great competition in 2008...too bad that the playing field was watered down much throughout the season. The Kansas City Chiefs floundered in 2008, going 2-14 with a very young team that could not score or even defend very well, while the Oakland Raiders continued to be the mess of a franchise that they had been since their appearance in Super Bowl XXXVII after the messy firing of Lane Kiffin and Al Davis continuing to be senile at his old age. The San Diego Chargers struggled after losing LB Shawne Merriman after the first game for the rest of the season and with RB LaDanian Tomlinson's nagging injuries things looked bleak at 5-8 and being three games with three games to go behind a good Denver Broncos squad that had Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall but a leaky secondary. Then the unthinkable happened when Denver lost games to the Buffalo Bills and the Carolina Panthers, and the Chargers beat the Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to force a one-game, winner-take-all bout for the AFC West crown. The other notable thing was that referee Ed Hochuli was completely absolved of his controversial call between the two teams in Week 2, which gave Denver the win. However, San Diego routed Denver to complete the comeback and to finalize the Broncos' collapse in order to go to the playoffs. San Diego would defeat the Indianapolis Colts but lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs, but given the offseasons that these teams have had and a healthy Merriman, there's no reason that the Chargers cannot win this division this year.

1. San Diego Chargers
-Basically I just said it, but Philip Rivers has done more with some no-name receivers after going to the playoffs in all three years as a starter. The combination of LT and Darren Sproles will be lethal, and with Merriman back, the Chargers can go back to being aggressive on defense.

2. Kansas City Chiefs
-Oh, the wonders of a weak division! There are a lot of question marks here like: Is Matt Cassel any good now with an average team? Can Larry Johnson stop being injury prone? Can the young Chiefs gel this year?

3. Oakland Raiders
-The Darrius Heyward-Bey draft pick still baffles me, but every thing about the Raiders always baffles me. They have the talent in place but without a great leader, the talent cannot go in the right direction except far, far away.

4. Denver Broncos
-Who the hell does Josh McDaniels think he is? First, he alienates his young franchise QB (Cutler) and trades him, then he's alienating his young franchise WR (Marshall) and he's asking for trade demands. Where's Mike Shanahan when you need him?

Shawne Merriman (LB - Chargers)
-The defense lost its power and tenacity last year without him, but in the last two years with him they won 14 and 11 games.

Tyson Jackson (DE - Chiefs)
-He can help out this young D-Line, and he's reunited with fellow LSU alum, Glenn Dorsey.

Kyle Orton (QB - Broncos)
-Every eye is on him...EVERY one. However, he does have a better receiving tandem now even WITHOUT Brandon Marshall (if they trade him)

New England @ Denver (October 11 - Week 5, Mentor vs. Student)
Philadelphia @ San Diego (November 15 - Week 10, aggressive D's square off!)
Oakland @ Dallas (November 26 - Week 12, two historical franchises, owners square off on Thanksgiving)
Dallas @ Kansas City (October 11 - Week 5, K.C.'s throwbacks of Dallas...Cowboys v. Texans)
San Diego @ Denver (November 22 - Week 11, Chargers return to the scene of the crime)

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Non-BCS teams that have crashed the BCS party have been very successful. In 2004, the Utah thrashed the Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl, 35-7, following a decent schedule that included Texas A&M (who went to the Cotton Bowl) and an opening ranking of #19. In 2006, Boise State played in arguably one of the best college football games EVER after beating Oklahoma, 43-42, in an overtime thriller in the Fiesta Bowl, but not before beating Oregon State and Utah earlier in the season. After Hawaii made a mockery of the BCS by fattening themselves up with a cupcake schedule before being exposed by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl in 2007, Utah made it back in the BCS picture in 2008 by beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, 31-17, and scheduling Michigan and Oregon State. There's a good handful of teams who can actually turn the trick this year, provided that everything goes well.


The Conference USA might have lost its firepower when Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida, and TCU all left during the great realignment of 2005, but it gained a title game and great teams such as UCF, Tulsa, and UTEP to name a few. Last year, East Carolina captured the hearts of everyone as an early BCS buster after beating Virginia Tech and West Virginia to shoot up in the rankings. Even though they couldn't finish that dream, they did win the C-USA title and went to the Liberty Bowl. This year, look for the Pirates to be competitive but Memphis could wind up winning the Eastern Division.

Conference Rank: 9th out of 11

1. Memphis Tigers
2. East Carolina Pirates
3. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles
4. UAB Blazers
5. Marshall Thundering Herd
6. Central Florida Knights

1. Houston Cougars
2. Rice Owls
3. Tulsa Golden Hurricane
4. SMU Mustangs
5. Tulane Green Wave
6. UTEP Miners

Houston d. Memphis


Southern Mississippi

Case Keenum (QB from Houston)
-Last year he had over 5000 yards and 44 touchdowns, sure call it the system but if he can duplicate those numbers...

1. ECU @ West Virginia (September 12)
2. Virginia Tech @ ECU (November 5)
3. Rice @ Houston (November 28)
4. ECU @ Memphis (October 27)
5. Texas Tech @ Houston (September 26)


This is not the Mid-American Conference of ten years ago. Back then, Marshall was dominating the conference with players like Randy Moss, Chad Pennington, and Byron Leftwich while the other teams were in awe at this juggernaut. Now, the conference has gone through different shades of parity, making it hard to predict a winner each year. Who would have thought that Ball State would go undefeated in all 12 games of the regular season? Who would have thought that Buffalo would emerge out of the doldrums to not only receive a bowl bid, but win the MAC title game against Ball State? Who would've thought that Buffalo would have one of the most sought after coaching candidates (and I'm not talking about the Bills)? This year, the best QB not named McCoy, Bradford, or Tebow is Dan LeFevour and if that holds true, expect Central Michigan to win the MAC.

Conference Rank: 10th out of 11

1. Miami (Ohio) Redhawks
2. Buffalo Bulls
3. Ohio Bobcats
4. Bowling Green Falcons
5. Akron Zips
6. Temple Owls
7. Kent State Golden Flashes

1. Central Michigan Chippewas
2. Ball State Cardinals
3. Toledo Rockets
4. Western Michigan Broncos
5. Northern Illinois Huskies
6. Eastern Michigan Eagles

Central Michigan d. Miami (OH)

Ball State
Central Michigan
Miami (OH)

Dan LeFevour (QB from CMU)
-An injury derailed any chance for the Chips to win the MAC last year, but if he's healthy he can be one of the best pure QB's heading to the draft.


The Mountain West last year was dynamic to say the least. BYU, TCU, and Utah all got ten wins or more last year while serious talks of breaking up the BCS were very rampant. This year, expect more of the same, as all three teams are dangerous and the games between them will not be anything short of a knockdown, drag-out fight.

Conference Rank: 6th out of 11

1. Brigham Young Cougars
2. TCU Horned Frogs
3. Utah Utes
4. UNLV Rebels
5. Colorado State Rams
6. Air Force Falcons
7. San Diego State Aztecs
8. New Mexico Lobos
9. Wyoming Cowboys



Austin Collie (WR from BYU)
-Last year, he had 100+ catches and 1500+ yards all with the experienced team they have, expect more of the same

Oklahoma v. BYU (September 5th in Arlington, TX)
Utah @ Oregon (September 19th)
TCU @ BYU (October 24th)
Utah @ TCU (November 14th)
Utah @ BYU (November 28th)


Ever since its inception in 2001, the Sun Belt has been the conference that one forgets about but makes a lot of noise anyway. Despite nearly sacrificing good seasons for mediocre ones by playing numerous money games, it shows that it some times works to the advantage. North Texas won the first four Sun Belt titles and got to the first four New Orleans Bowls from 2001 to 2004. In 2004, Troy defeated Missouri in front of a national television audience and got to the Silicon Valley Classic, the first time the Sun Belt sent two teams bowling. In 2007, who would've thought that Alabama would have lost to TWO Louisiana teams, as ULM defeated one of the most storied collegiate football programs of all-time. In 2008, Arkansas State gave Texas A&M a scare while ULM nearly beat Arkansas, while the conference reached argeements with the Independence, St. Petersburg, Motor City, and Bowls in order to take an additional good team. The message has been simple...the Sun Belt may still be the "littlest brother" but is still making noise and great strides, nevertheless.

Conference Rank: 11th out of 11

1. Arkansas State Red Wolves
2. Florida Atlantic Owls
3. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
4. Troy Trojans
5. Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks
6. Florida International Golden Panthers
7. North Texas Mean Green
8. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns
9. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Arkansas St.

Cardia Jackson (LB) and Greg James (S) (from ULM)
-Ok, maybe I'm biased, but check these stats...Jackson recorded 127 tackles last year, and James is the NCAA's active leader in interceptions with 13.


The Western Athletic Conference has been one of those strong conferences that love passing games and to put up points, but they have also had good teams to compete for the BCS. Boise State has always been a threat in years past until finally cracking the code in 2006, and coming close in 2008, while Hawaii got in in 2007. Heck, Fresno State is a good team that normally plays a tough schedule and nearly snapped USC epic winning streak in 2005, if not for Reggie Bush having a career game and a behind-the-back fakeout play. There's no deny this though, Boise State will be ready to defend their conference crown on the coolest turf of all...the blue turf!

Conference Rank: 8th out of 11

1. Boise State Broncos
2. Fresno State Bulldogs
3. Nevada Wolf Pack
4. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
5. Hawaii Warriors
6. Utah State Aggies
7. San Jose State Spartans
8. Idaho Vandals
9. New Mexico State Aggies

Boise St.

Boise St.
Fresno St.

Kellen Moore (QB from Boise)
-As a freshman, he threw for nearly 3500 yards, and had an undefeated regular season...what more can you ask for?


Boise State (v. Oregon)
-Pros: not in the Mountain West and one BCS opponent, Cons: will playing a 13th game tire them out?

BYU (v. Oklahoma [in Arlington, TX], Florida St.)
-Pros: experience and at home v. TCU and Utah, Cons: tough schedule including Oklahoma

East Carolina(@ West Virginia, @ North Carolina, v. Virginia Tech)
-Pros: beat WVU and VT last year, Cons: a grueling schedule

TCU (@ Virginia, @ Clemson)
-Pros: a great defense and the BCS opponents are winnable, Cons: BYU is out for revenge

Utah (@ Oregon, v. Louisville)
-Pros: decent schedule, Cons: the experienced starters are gone and on the road @ BYU and TCU

Monday, August 10, 2009


Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the five part series of the football previews! Each week, I'm going to break down an aspect of the NCAA and NFL by giving my predictions on the outcomes of the season. This week, we will take a look at the BCS conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Pac-10, and SEC) on the players to watch for, teams to watch for, and the games to watch. So without further ado...


The Atlantic Coast Conference has struggled with trying to find a National Championship contender since Florida State's dominance in the 1990's, but ever since adding in Miami and Virginia Tech in 2004, and Boston College the following year, the conference has struggled in mediocrity ever since. Last year, the Atlantic Division was a mess as all six teams finished a game within each other, and I'll expect the same this year, just don't count on two-time defending division champ Boston College to retain their crown due to a new coach and QB. Florida State looks like the team to beat in the division due to their experience. The Coastal Division was a bit more tame as Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech fought for the crown, with the Hokies winning, and I'll expect the same for the third year in a row. Both teams have running QB's, but VT QB Tyrod Taylor can actually throw better than GT QB Josh Nesbitt, if need be. If Virginia Tech stays focused, they can reach their third straight Orange Bowl in a not-so-impressive conference.

Conference Ranking: 5th out of 11

1. Florida State Seminoles
2. North Carolina State Wolfpack
3. Clemson Tigers
4. Wake Forest
5. Maryland Terrapins
6. Boston College Eagles

1. Virginia Tech Hokies
2. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
3. North Carolina Tar Heels
4. Miami Hurricanes
5. Virginia Cavaliers
6. Duke Blue Devils

Virginia Tech d. Florida State

Virginia Tech

Florida State
Georgia Tech
North Carolina
North Carolina St.
Virginia Tech
Wake Forest

Jonathan Dwyer (HB from Georgia Tech)
He had nearly 1400 yards in Paul Johnson's triple option offense as a sophomore and there's no reason on why he cannot improve upon that.

1. ACC Title Game (December 5th in Tampa)
2. Virginia Tech v. Alabama (September 5th in Atlanta)
3. Virginia Tech @ Georgia Tech (October 17th)
4. Miami @ Florida St. (September 7th)
5. Georgia @ Georgia Tech (November 28th)


Say what you want about the Big Ten (slow-paced conference, cannot win the big game, hard to adapt to change, etc...) but they have put two teams in BCS games over the last three years while Ohio State was the only constant from all three years and the other three teams (Michigan in 2006, Illinois in 2007, and Penn State in 2008) got their butts handed by USC in the Rose Bowl. I believe that Ohio State will finally make the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1997, but that might not stop another team from possibly traveling to Pasadena, as Penn State has a good team and favorable schedule to possibly go the National Championship Game held there. Now, if that is not the case, then the Rose Bowl will do. However, wouldn't we like to see an 83-year old Joe Paterno win a national title, in this day and age where the norms of tweeting on Twitter, updating Facebook statuses, or sending messages on Myspace don't apply to him?

Conference Ranking: 4th out of 11

1. Penn State Nittany Lions
2. Ohio State Buckeyes
3. Minnesota Golden Gophers
4. Illinois Fighting Illini
5. Michigan State Spartans
6. Iowa Hawkeyes
7. Michigan Wolverines
8. Wisconsin Badgers
9. Northwestern Wildcats
10. Indiana Hoosiers
11. Purdue Boilermakers

Ohio St.
Penn St.

Michigan St.
Ohio St.
Penn St.

Eric Decker (WR from Minnesota)
Who says that the Big Ten is only "three yards and a cloud of dust"? He had over 80 receptions and 1000 receiving yards last year, and he can do it again if the switch from the indoor Metrodome to the outdoor TCF Bank Stadium doesn't affect him during those cold Minnesota days.

1. USC @ Ohio St. (September 12th)
2. Ohio St. @ Penn St. (November 7th)
3. Illinois v. Missouri (September 5th in St. Louis)
4. Ohio St. @ Michigan (November 21st)
5. Notre Dame @ Michigan (September 12th)

BIG 12

If you love high-scoring affairs with also a style of play that can only be duplicated in a game of NCAA Football, then this is the conference for you! Over the past couple of years, the Big 12 has seen an offensive explosion that made players like Vince Young, Roy Williams (Texas), any Texas Tech QB, Vernand Morency, Adrian Peterson, Brad Smith flourish into stardom but all of that was eclipsed in 2008. If not for Tim Tebow, the Heisman race could have consisted of only Big 12 QB's as Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford, Graham Harrell, Chase Daniel, and Todd Reesing were all worthy of recognition along with Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin. The motto was simple last year: "First to hang half-a-hundred on your opponent wins the game", and Oklahoma took that heart by hanging 60 points five games in a row against Nebraska, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and Missouri, while scoring ONLY 58 against Kansas State in the game before the streak. Oklahoma will be the team to beat again in the South Division and the whole conference as they will be looking for their fourth straight Big 12 title, but Texas still looms despite losing some key targets and Oklahoma State will most definitely be a darkhorse. The departure of Daniel and Maclin means that Missouri's days of ruling the North might be over meaning Kansas could be the favorite after stumbling a little in 2008, and Nebraska has an outside shot with mentality to make the defense like the "Blackshirts" of old.

Conference Rank: 2nd out of 11

1. Kansas Jayhawks
2. Nebraska Cornhuskers
3. Missouri Tigers
4. Colorado Buffaloes
5. Kansas State Wildcats
6. Iowa State Cyclones

1. Oklahoma Sooners
2. Oklahoma State Cowboys
3. Texas Longhorns
4. Texas Tech Red Raiders
5. Texas A&M Aggies
6. Baylor Bears

Oklahoma d. Kansas

Oklahoma St.

Oklahoma St.
Texas Tech

PLAYER OF THE YEAR (other than Bradford or McCoy)
Todd Reesing (QB from Kansas)
You like how I threw in that disclaimer, don't you? Reesing was great in 2007, but without the heavy press coverage like his counterparts in the other division, he won't have a lot of pressure to succeed like them along with an easier time.

1. Oklahoma v. Texas (October 17 in Dallas)
2. Big 12 Title Game (December 5th in Arlington)
3. Oklahoma State @ Oklahoma (November 28th)
4. Missouri v. Kansas (November 28th in Kansas City)
5. Georgia @ Oklahoma State (September 5th)


If you ask anyone that knows the Big East about the national appeal that it has now as compared to five years ago, you can figure out on why it actually shouldn't be a BCS conference (or at least one that can be taken off the board if a non-BCS conference champ does better than theirs). Miami and Virginia Tech left in 2004, Connecticut arrived in 2004 just shortly after joining the 1-A, Boston College left in 2005, Temple was booted that year in favor to keep Rutgers, while the conference extended invites to Louisville (a great non-BCS team), Cincinnati (a decent one), and South Florida (an upstart). The result was that there's been only one consistent and respectable team that can beat anyone from any conference, which is West Virginia. The Mountaineers are poised to win the Big East for the third time in five years, thanks to Noel Devine and Jarrett Brown. Look for South Florida to also make noise to behind Matt Groethe and George Selvie, as their willingness to play with the big boys and their meteoric rise over the last 15 years from no team to good contender is amazing.

Conference Rank: 7th out of 11

1. West Virginia Mountaineers
2. South Florida Bulls
3. Cincinnati Bearcats
4. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
5. Pittsburgh Panthers
6. Louisville Cardinals
7. Connecticut Huskies
8. Syracuse Orange

West Virginia

South Florida
West Virginia

George Selvie (DE from USF)
The NCAA's most feared defender lies here in USF, and he looks poised to terrorize offensive linemen, running backs, and quarterbacks.

1. West Virginia @ South Florida (October 30)
2. West Virginia @ Auburn (September 19)
3. South Florida @ Florida State (September 26)
4. Miami @ South Florida (November 28)
5. Cincinnati @ Oregon St. (September 19)


When the vote was passed to add in a 12th game to the NCAA schedule in 2006, teams either went the extra mile to schedule a hard opponent and national power OR they scheduled a cupcake team from some directional school that you may have never heard of. That was not the case in the Pacific 10 Conference, where they added an extra conference game, therefore allowing every team to play everyone every year. You also gotta like the different regional rivalries that the conference has so that the regions of Washington, Oregon, Northern California, Southern California, and Arizona can have bragging rights at the last week of the year. However, the conference's bragging rights have gone to USC for this decade as they are the favorites to win again this year too. For those of you that think that USC will dominate, think again, because the margin of error will be closer this year than in previous years, so expect Oregon, California, and Oregon State to challenge just in case the inevitable may happen, but at the end of the day, expect USC to be at the Rose Bowl, possibly beating the hell out of an unsuspecting Big Ten team.

Conference Rank: 3rd out of 11

1. USC Trojans
2. Oregon Ducks
3. California Golden Bears
4. Oregon State Beavers
5. Arizona Wildcats
6. Stanford Cardinal
7. UCLA Bruins
8. Arizona State Sun Devils
9. Washington Huskies
10. Washington State Cougars


Oregon St.

Jahvid Best (RB from Cal)
People are comparing him to Reggie Bush, and after running for nearly 1600 yards while averaging over eight yards a carry, you can see why he's the front-runner for this honor (another was running for 311 against Washington)

USC @ Ohio St. (September 12)
Oregon @ Boise St. (September 3)
Oregon St. @ USC (October 24)
USC @ Notre Dame (October 17)
Washington St. @ Washington (November 28...don't laugh, both teams can be winless by then, lol)


The Southeastern Conference has been very consistent this decade as the toughest conference to win in. No games are actually gimmes (just ask Florida when they lost to Ole Miss last year), every team is tough (yes, even Vanderbilt who was ranked and won a bowl game last year), and the fan bases are just phenomenal. The past three national champions reside here thanks to the 2006 & 2008 Florida Gators, and the 2007 LSU Tigers. This year, Florida should cakewalk to the Eastern Division title as Georgia's rebuilding and they are really, really irate at Tennessee and South Carolina (well, just only "The 'Ol Ballcoach"). The Western Division will be tough as always as LSU, Ole Miss, and Alabama will battle for the crown, but watch out for Arkansas as a darkhorse team.

Conference Rank: 1st out of 11

1. Florida Gators
2. South Carolina Gamecocks
3. Georgia Bulldogs
4. Kentucky Wildcats
5. Vanderbilt Commodores
6. Tennessee Volunteers

1. Mississippi Rebels
2. Alabama Crimson Tide
3. LSU Tigers
4. Arkansas Razorbacks
5. Auburn Tigers
6. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Ole Miss d. Florida

Ole Miss

Ole Miss
South Carolina

PLAYER OF THE YEAR (other than Tebow)
Jevan Snead (QB from Ole Miss)
This guy is the best PURE QB in the SEC, and you can understand why South Carolina voted for him as best QB (well maybe), Ole Miss better be counting their blessings after he was passed over at his last university for another Heisman caliber QB...Colt McCoy of Texas.

SEC Championship Game (December 5 in Atlanta)
Florida @ LSU (October 10)
Tennessee @ Florida (September 19)
Virginia Tech v. Alabama (September 5 in Atlanta)
LSU @ Ole Miss (November 21)

Friday, July 24, 2009


In April 2007, Michael Vick's football career was in jeopardy after allegations surfaced about his role in a dogfighting ring. What would follow would be a guilty plea in August 2007 and the beginning of his 23-month jail sentence in December 2007, and the knockout blow in his fall from grace after being an icon from 2001 to 2004.

Even before the trials, Vick's questionable moves have ranged from receiving a civil lawsuit in 2005 after a female contracted an STD from him to flipping off the Atlanta Falcon faithful after a 2006 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Those moves, including a paltry completion percentage and a "look at the tight end, and he's not open, then run like hell" mentality, questioned many sportswriters on will Vick ever be a "prototypical" quarterback like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. This was two years after the Falcons went all the way to the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles, and four years after he became the first visiting quarterback to defeat the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field in a playoff game.

However after his guilty plea, Vick lost EVERYTHING. Endorsements from corporations such as Nike and EA Sports were dropped, he was ordered to pay back some of his signing bonus money to the Falcons, and he was suspended indefinitely by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. He even lost fan support as Atlanta became a city divided, and eventually after the Falcons selected Matt Ryan third in the 2008 NFL Draft, that support became further suppressed as slowly but surely Ryan won the hearts of Atlanta fans.

With that being said, Vick became the MC Hammer of this decade by essentially dropping from millionaire to bankruptcy, but yet he could face another four-game suspension from the league? This man deserves to play again and deserves to make enough money in order to get out of debt. Plus, I believe that even the HINT of a possible suspension would be unfair. When former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue gave Ricky Williams a four-game suspension in 2004 for violating the substance abuse policy, Williams retired and missed the 2004 season. However, when he came back in 2005, the suspension was upheld. The difference between Williams and Vick though, was that Williams ran away from the punishment and Vick met his crime head-on from the law. Besides, don't you think two years is enough for someone to think about what he has done? One thing will be true though, some team will pick him up amidst the negative fan reactions, work him into the system, and try to pick up the pieces of a broken Vick as he heals his wounds.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Note: This was posted by me on November 10th, 2008 from Facebook

*DISCLAIMER: I am not a racist, nor do I promote racism...I just wanted bring to light events that's happened since Tuesday. I am best friends with many whites and blacks and others, and basically I wanted y'alls on to our regularly scheduled programming, lol*

Do you know where you were on Tuesday, November 4th at 10:00 p.m. Central Time? I know where I was. I was with three of my friends in my dorm room, when we switched the TV over to CNN to watch the results of some of the other states, until the following statement was announced..."Barack Obama has clinched the election to become the 44th President of the United States". As we all walked out the door to take in the atmosphere, nothing could prepare us for what was about happen next.

We all stepped outside to cheer and to yell "Obama!", when five to ten seconds after we stepped outside, a lot of black people who heard the word as well had opened their door and cheered, jumped, ran, screamed, and anything else to show their jubilance. Now don't get me wrong, I loved every bit of the exuberance, and it showed that we as black people can band together for something positive, but I thought though, "Was this TOO excessive?" The only reason why I thought that was because, the majority of white people have never given us nothing for 400 years, when they give us a chance (reluctantly), sometimes our actions are what causes us to be shut out or to get further in a position. However, there were even more bizarre things to come in the next day.

Right as many black people were putting Obama-related statuses on Facebook and Myspace, some white people put down ones like "I want to move to (fill-in-the-blank: such as Canada, Denmark, or Australia)". What those people fail to realize is that if they move from what fear (which what they fear won't happen), they will be moving TO what they fear (in actuallity...yes, to my knowledge Canada is socialist). However those were tame as compared to the stuff that Lindsay Boggs and Buck Burnette said. Boggs and Burnette used the dreaded "n-word (with the er)", which caused a firestorm at Louisiana Tech and the University of Texas. Burnette was even kicked off of the Texas Longhorns football team for his comments, while Boggs' comments have been posted all over Facebook.

All in all, you can compare this plight to the O.J. Simpson trail from 1995, where the split was greatly defined. However, this was a lot worse, instead of a fine line a wide gash was opened. But despite of all of this, why can't we all get along after 400 years of us sharing America, 150 years after the abolishment of slavery, and 40 years after the civil rights movement? Some states don't have to worry about race (the Northeast, Florida, and the Pacific Corridor, for examples) but it's the backwards South that constantly makes you think, there's still racism? Hopefully, our 44th President can unite the nation, prove doubters wrong (again), and continue to make people believe with three words..."YES WE CAN!"

Monday, July 6, 2009


Last Thursday, I posted up this statement on my Facebook status, "LaMar 'Primetime' Gafford is saying this...the Williams sisters and Tiger Woods have done more in non-major sports for Blacks than anyone else, hands down!", and the comments were pretty good. One guy agreed with me, but another girl disagreed with me. However, she brought up a good point. She said, "Arthur Ashe paved the way for African-Americans in tennis", which was also very true and it actually made me modify my statement to include the pioneers of the two sports as well. Also, seeing that we were captivated with a Serena/Venus Wimbeldon final, along with Tiger winning the AT&T National tournament over the weekend, this would be the absolute best time to delve into that topic.

First, I want to say that my status was actually true in someways. Tiger, Venus, and Serena give many blacks (and many others) a reason to follow, watch, and play tennis, and that comes with them winning different tournaments.

Woods has won 68 PGA tournaments, including 14 major tournaments, since he started playing professionally in 1996. His winning performance and his emotional hug to his father Earl after in the 1997 Masters in Augusta, Ga. captivated a new, fresh, and young audience that which in turn generated more revenue for the sport. Now granted, there are still not any blacks on the PGA Tour except for Woods, but it takes time. According to NBC Sports, since the PGA Tour started its First Tee program to target minorities and other inner city youth, Blacks have made up 27 percent of the 450,000 participants in the program, a sign that change is coming as long as there is positive development and growth.

Combined, the Williams sisters have won 75 tournaments and 18 Grand Slam events in singles play since their debuts (Venus in 1994 and Serena in 1995). They have constantly been a beacon of light for not just other blacks, but many women and Americans during their dominance during this decade. However, like Woods, since their debuts there has been little black participation on the grandest stage as James Blake is the only other regular on either the ATP or WTA Tours. I don't know if any one of the two tours are actively targeting the inner city youth about tennis like what the PGA is doing with golf, but at my school, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, we have one black tennis player that is great, and also I see some black students and youth play at one of our nearby tennis courts on campus, meaning again that change will come soon as long as the interests are there.

That can be said with their pioneers 25-50 years ago. In golf, there were not many blacks that set firsts like Lee Elder. Elder won 4 PGA Tour events in his career and was the first black to participate in the Masters when he did so in 1975. There were also Pete Brown (the first black PGA Tour winner), Charlie Sifford (the first black to receive a PGA Tour card), Calvin Peete, Jim Dent, and Jim Thorpe, all of who paved the way just so that Woods would not have to encounter death treats like they all had to encounter. On the tennis side, there was no greater black player than Arthur Ashe, who won 33 titles and won three Grand Slam events (the Australian, Wimbeldon, and the U.S. Opens), and was also a civil rights icon after his playing days. Althea Gibson was another standout as a tennis icon as she won five Grand Slam events despite having to go through discrimination as well. Both success stories inspired players like Yannick Noah (1983 French Open champion, and the 2nd black to win a Grand Slam), Lori McNeil, Zina Garrison, Chanda Rubin, and MailVai Washington (just to name a few), and that enabled the Williams sisters to take the game into new heights.

All in all, the pioneers of the game had someone to follow them along in order to get the ball rolling, and while Woods and the Williams sisters are winning at a pace not experienced by many blacks before in their respective sports, we must remember the ones who put them in that position and gave them that inspiration. Also, with the both of them doing well, it may inspire the next generation of black golfers and/or tennis player to do even better or to prove that the sport that they play can indeed be a game that they can play and that the stereotypes will not even matter anymore.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


John Elway.
Michael Jordan.
Ernest Byner.
Art Modell.
Jose Mesa.
Craig Ehlo.

If you say any of those words and names to a Cleveland native, you will understand the angst of what a Clevelander has been going through for the last 45 years.

If you thought Boston was going through a hard time during the Red Sox's 86-year drought of always finishing close but not winning a World Series, try telling that to Cleveland fans who have not celebrated a championship in a major sport (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) since the 1964 Browns shutout the then Baltimore Colts 27-0 in an upset in the NFL Championship game. That is the longest drought of any kind for a city with at least one team in a major sport.

Try these for size....

In 1965, the Browns returned to the NFL Championship Game, but only to lose to the Green Bay Packers. After the season, Jim Brown retired prematurely, and the Browns have seen perfect opportunities slip by like...

In 1980, "Red Right 88" was the infamous play that ended the Browns' season in the AFC Division Playoffs against the Oakland Raiders. Fittingly the Kardiac Kids, who had played in many heart-wrenching games in the 1980 NFL season, finally broke the hearts of Cleveland fans thanks to a Brian Sipe pass being intercepted in the end zone and securing the narrow 14-12 win for the Raiders en route to winning Super Bowl XV.

In 1986, the Browns had the Denver Broncos right where they wanted them in the AFC Championship Game: at the two-yard line with 5:32 left in the game and up 20-13. John Elway would lead his greatest comeback, "The Drive", by not panicking, chewing up the clock, and convert all three of his third-down conversions. With 37 seconds left in the game, he would tie up the game at 20, the Browns were emotionally dead in overtime at home, and Rich Karlis made the game-winning field goal.

The very next year, in 1987, the Browns and the Broncos squared off again in the AFC Championship Game, this time in Denver. Up 38-31, Ernest Byner was close to scoring the game-tying touchdown until...he fumbled the football at the three-yard line and Denver won 38-33. Elway would also victimize the Browns in the 1989 AFC Championship game, and the irony is, that Elway would lose the in the Super Bowls that he beat the Browns in the three AFC Championship Games!

In 1995, owner Art Modell left many Cleveland fans sad and bitter after announcing that the Browns would move to Baltimore in the 1996 season. Clevelanders did not make it easy, keeping the name, logo, the "Dawg Pound", etc...and got the team back in 1999 as an expansion team. Sadly, the "old Browns", the Baltimore Ravens, would win Super Bowl XXXV in the 2000 season, as the "new Browns", only made the playoffs one since their reincarnation.

The heartbreaks would also affect the Indians and the Cavaliers, starting with the fact that the Indians own the dubious distinction by being the only MLB team to NEVER play in an LCS when there were two divisions in each league (1969-1993).

Also in 1995, the Indians made the playoffs for the first time since 1954 after winning 100 games in a 144-game season, but would lose to the Atlanta Braves in the World Series.

Then in 1997, Jose Mesa, one of the more dominating closers in the 1990s and arguably the most dominating closer from 1995-1997, had a chance to close the door on the upstart Florida Marlins with a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the ninth in Game 7. The "high topped" Mesa then did what real mesas do in geology...flatten out. He blew the save by allowing the Marlins to tie the game at 2, and eventually winning the game 3-2 in the 11th inning.

In 1999 and 2007, the Indians saw leads of 2-0 (the 1999 American League Divisional Series and a best-of-five) and 3-1 (the 2007 American League Championship Series a best-of seven) evaporate thanks to the Red Sox winning three straight games to win both series.

Then the Cavaliers were victimized by Jordan's series-winning shot over Craig Ehlo in game five in the first round of the 1989 NBA playoffs, and a sweep-clincher in the second round of the 1993 NBA playoffs. Plus, Jordan and the Bulls also won the 1992 NBA Eastern Conference Finals over the Cavaliers in six games en route to Jordan's second NBA title.

Last but not least, the scene just a night ago, as the heavily favored Cavaliers lost to the Orlando Magic in the 2009 NBA Eastern Conference Finlas in six games, following a 66-win season, the most in Cavs history, and after sweeping the Detroit Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks en route to the conference finals.

In what was supposed to be a coronation for LeBron James, turned out to be an embarrassment as his supporting cast did not show up in the series, and by the fact that the Magic just were hungrier than Cleveland and wanted it more. Now as "King James" goes into a contract year with the Cavaliers, the ever-growing question pops up again...Will LeBron go to New York in 2010? If you ask me, I don't think he is going to join CC Sabathia there, but only time will tell. Until then, Cleveland fan is twisting and turning in his or her bed (whether under Indian, Brown, Cavalier, or regular covers) wondering what could have been and when will the heartbreak end?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


The 2009 NFL Draft has now come and gone, but there is one thing that disheartens me. That thing is the amount of money that is given to a player that has not even stepped on an NFL surface.

Now granted, I have nothing against Matthew Stafford, the number one pick who went to the Detroit Lions in the 2009 NFL Draft, but let's be real for a minute. He is going to get paid $72 million over six years, or basically $12 million a year, and $41.7 million of that will be in a guaranteed signing bonus. Are you serious?

According to The Redzone, Stafford's $12 million a year average is more than the 2008 salaries of: Peyton Manning ($11.5 million), Eli Manning ($10 million), Kurt Warner ($8 million), and Tom Brady ($8 million). The significance of those four quarterbacks? They not only won the Super Bowl, but all were Super Bowl MVPs!

Granted, NFL contracts are back-loaded, or basically the salary increases throughout the life of a contract, and Stafford won't get $12 million each year, however the signing bonus is split evenly, and he's looking at nearly a $7 million bonus (minus incentives) each year, which falls under Alex Smith and Drew Brees, who both made $8 million due to their bonuses.

Here's another thing, 2004's number one pick, Eli Manning, had a rookie deal worth $54 million over six years with $20 million guaranteed. 1999's number one, Tim Couch, received $48 million over seven years with $12.25 million in signing bonuses. Troy Aikman went number one in 1989, and the Cowboys gave him $11.2 million over six years with a signing bonus around $2 million.

How do you think the NFL should solve this? Maybe adopting a rookie salary cap much like the NBA has could be a good idea.

The NBA allocates an amount or a scale for each pick, calls for their rookies to sign a two-year deal, and the team has an option to pick up for the third and fourth years, and then the player is free to sign a major deal after that fourth year. If the NFL can adopt that, the big contracts will be given to their rightful owners...the one's who have performed on the field.

However, until then, one can only hope that Stafford's deal will not be a bad investment for the Lions much like seven years ago with Joey Harrington, or even Smith or Couch, who floundered in the NFL. Hopefully it is a good investment, much like Eli Manning's or Peyton's rookie deal ($48 million over six years, $11.6 million guaranteed).

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Now I know the Major League Baseball season is a week old, but I still wanted to give out my predictions for the upcoming season, so here goes!


AL East: Tampa Bay Rays Last season, Tampa Bay shocked the baseball world by not only going to the playoffs and winning the American League East, but they shocked the Boston Red Sox in seven games en route to American League crown. What's scary is...all five of their starting pitchers are heading into their primes, along with a great farm system, so despite not having the Red Sox's and the New York Yankees' money, they can still compete as a small market, with all the right decisions. The Red Sox and Yankees will battle for second, with Boston edging New York for that spot. The Toronto Blue Jays might be one of the best teams that you've never heard of, and
with their Cy Young candidate of an ace, Roy Halladay, but since they are in a very tough division, they can't seem to get over the hump, and that will hold true this year as well, while the Baltimore Orioles will be in a rebuilding mode and finish in last place.

AL Central: Cleveland Indians
This division is possibly the toughest to decide upon, given that all five can either finish in first if everything goes right or last if everything goes wrong, but Cleveland can win this division thanks to two good starters (Fausto Carmona and Cliff Lee), a good line-up, and now a good closer in Kerry Wood. The Minnesota Twins will be a close second, as they can match what Cleveland can do, but their starting pitching is suspect. The Kansas City Royals will be the surprise decision to finish third, because of this team's young talent and finally a clubhouse leader in Coco Crisp that has the World Series experience to guide them in the straight and narrow. The bottom two teams will be the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox, with Detroit slightly having the edge. Losing Gary Sheffield hurts, but they have the defense to do well, while the White Sox are a decent team, but nothing jumps out at you when you look at the lineup, rotation, and bullpen.

AL West: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
They have been a constant as the kings of this division in this decade, and it really shows that owner Arte Moreno, really has his finger on this franchise, building a harmonic clubhouse along the way. The loss of closer Francisco Rodriguez will sting, but newly acquired Brian Fuentes is capable of filling the task, along with a veteran squad around him. Call me crazy, but the Texas Rangers are good enough to finish in second thanks to the reencarnation of "Roy Hobbs", Josh Hamilton. However, every it's the same thing with the Rangers...they have a ton of offense, but it's their pitching that makes them inconsistent. The Oakland Athletics will be in third as basically a dull team, and the Seattle Mariners will be in last, despite the fact that Ken Griffey, Jr. is back.

AL Wildcard: Boston Red Sox
Give me one good reason on why they can't make the playoffs...I don't have one either. Boston still has the clubhouse to do well when it matters the most, David Oritz is still Mr. Clutch, and Josh Beckett is still a big game pitcher. The Yankees and the Twins can challenge for the spot but they neither have the rotation or the lineup to come away with it at the end.


NL East: Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies are finally are a champion for the first time since 1980, but it still hasn't quenched the average Philadelphia fan's thirst. They will win this division for the third year in a row thanks to their three MVP candidates (Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley). The New York Mets have a new stadium and a new closer, but if they might would be better off if the season ended in September, instead of October, in large part of their two momumental collapses over the last two years. However, with K-Rod (along with J.J. Putz for 8th inning insurance), David Wright, and Jose Reyes, they have the talent to win now, but can they make diamonds out of pressure, without allowing it to bust their pipes? The Florida Marlins and the Atlanta Braves will vy for the third spot, with the Marlins having the edge. Florida appears to be a team on the rise with Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, but they need to surround him with more talent as well. Atlanta is not the team that ruled the 90's and the first half of the 2000's, but with young pitching and ace Derek Lowe, they can do well in the future. The Washington Nationals will be the celler dweller in this division, as Adam Dunn will mash homeruns but will strike out a lot.

NL Central: Chicago Cubs
The hands-down favorite in the Central are the lovable Cubbies, who should be able to breathe a lot easier with the Milwaukee Brewers losing CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets. Getting to the postseason isn't the problem with solid pitching and hitting, but it's winning in the second season that counts and the Cubs haven't done that since Game 4 of the 2003 NLCS, in other words, nine straight playoff losses. The St. Louis Cardinals will be first in line for second place, and the comeback of Chris Carpenter should really boost the rotation, along with perennial MVP candidate Albert Pujols to help out the lineup and to bring fears to it. The Cincinnati Reds are a young team, but could be really special in the future. Right now, a third place finish is great for the youthful team of Jay Bruce, Edison Volquez, and Brandon Phillips, but watch out for a team that will be flying around the basepaths. The Houston Astros will finish fourth, but Wandy Rodridguez and Roy Oswalt can provide a nice 1-2 punch in pitching, with Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee still crushing the ball into the built-in railroad in Minute Maid Park. The Brewers will be a disappointment this year, without their pair of aces in order to slip to fifth, and the Pittsburgh Pirates will have another last place finish, possibly reaching 17 seasons under .500.

NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers
March 4, 2009, sealed the fate for the Dodgers and the NL West as Manny Ramirez signed back with Los Angeles, and practically gave them the legs up on the other four teams of the West. In recent time (except 2007), the West has been anemic as far as offense and wins, but signing a guy who can hit .300, with 30 homeruns, and 100 RBIs certainly makes things easier. The Arizona Diamondbacks can be the closest to challenge L.A., seeing as Brandon Webb still is an elite pitcher, but Orlando Hudson helped create offense for them, and seeing as that he's with the Dodgers now, good luck. The Colorado Rockies don't have the magic anymore from their memorable 2007 World Series run, but they'll finish in a strong third, while the San Francisco Giants are a fourth place team at best with great pitching but horrible offense. The San Diego Padres, on the other hand, could be on a fire sale, and if that happens, look for the Jake Peavy sweepstakes to officially begin, which will equal to a last place finish.

NL Wildcard: New York Mets
This team can't choke in three straight years, can they? A National League playoff bid is theirs for the taking, seeing as the Brewers aren't a factor, and the Cardinals and Marlins don't have the firepower to stop them. So basically the Mets only competition is themselves...again.

World Series: Cubs beat Red Sox
If you were saying this before 2004, you would be predicting for hell to freeze over...especially on a 3-2 game in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7, and with bases loaded on a full count and two outs. Now, it can beat a Cubs dream or nightmare. Anyways, the addition of Milton Bradley gives the Cubs a much needed lefty bat, and especially if the Cubs win the Peavy sweepstakes, they would be the favorites in the NL and the MLB. The Red Sox are stinging from their Game 7 loss to the Rays last year, but they return a good lineup and pitching staff...however the Cubs will win and snap their 100 year drought.