Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Writing for 10/31/2012

http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/31/jeremy-hill-the-lsu-tigers-accidental-secret-weapon/

My profile of the season of Jeremy Hill so far. Hill has come off the bench to become a big part of LSU's running game and he will be needed this weekend when Alabama comes to Baton Rouge for what is basically the SEC West title game.

http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/31/can-zach-mettenberger-survive-against-the-alabama-crimson-tides-defense/

Another part of my preparations for LSU/Alabama. This focuses on Zach Mettenberger, LSU quarterback. He hasn't met the standard of recent LSU starting quarterbacks and that could be a real problem against Bama. Of course he hasn't done that bad, just not meeting a tough standard set by a team routinely in the national title hunt.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Writing for 10/30/2012

http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/30/denard-robinsons-hand-the-key-to-michigan-wolverines-success-or-failure-in-final-four-games/

Denard Robinson's importance to the Michigan Wolverines football team can't be understated, especially at this point in the season. Robinson missed the second half of the Wolverines' 23-9 loss to Nebraska this past weekend due to an aggravated nerve in his throwing elbow. Since that made him unable to get a good grip on the ball he didn't play for half of the game. With four games to go and all of them must win if the Wolverines want to play for the Big Ten title, Robinson is that vital to them.

http://www.worldboxing101.com/2012/10/30/emmanuel-steward-death-of-a-boxing-legend/

My eulogy/remembrance of Emanuel Steward who died last week. One of the best trainers of all-time, Steward is best remembered by me for his work at the announcer's table for HBO. He will be missed by all that he knew and oh so many that he never will know. A tough loss for boxing and one that bummed me out quite a bit last week when I first learned of Steward's death.

Monday, October 29, 2012

My Writing for 10/29/2012

http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/29/mark-richt-will-muschamp-coaching-todays-game-through-anger/

This is my take on how Mark Richt and Will Muschamp worked the sidelines during this past Saturday's Florida/Georgia game. Maybe it was because I paid attention to this from early in the game, but it is rare in a big game that both teams will embody their coach's emotion on the field the way these two did.

http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/29/should-marcus-lattimore-play-football-again-even-if-hes-able-to/

Me pondering of whether or not Marcus Lattimore should play football again after his most recent knee injury this past Saturday. For those of you who haven't seen it, it's pretty gruesome and I posted a link of it on Saturday.

http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/30/braxton-miller-irreplaceable-to-the-ohio-st-buckeyes-offense/

Braxton Miller's worth to the Buckeyes' offense is examined by me. Quick spoiler alert: he's worth a ton to this team.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

San Francisco Giants Win World Series in a Four-Game Sweep

Game 4: Giants 4, Tigers 3 (F/10 innings).

Congrats are well deserved for the San Francisco Giants who went from being one game from elimination against the Reds in the divisional series to world champions. Truly a credit to this team's fantastic pitching staff as both starters and relievers came through big for Frisco in this championship run. Tonight the Tigers' bats finally got going a little with Cabrera's third-inning homer giving the Tigers their first lead of the series. It would be short-lived as the Giants quickly regained the lead before the Tigers tied the game up in the half inning following the Giants' taking of the lead. The game stayed tied into extra innings until a two-out RBI by NLCS MVP Scutaro in the tenth provided what turned out to be the winning run before Sergio Romo once again finished off an important game for the Giants. And fittingly, it came down to Romo Vs. Cabrera at the plate, though it was an unfitting climax with Cabrera struck out looking to give the Giants their second title in three years. Two titles in three years does initiate the dynasty talk and with these team it seems as deserved as any other. So are the Giants going to be a dynasty team in MLB this decade? Giants fans will be asking this question in about a week once the celebration has finally concluded.

My Writing for 10/28/2012

http://www.worldboxing101.com/2012/10/28/miguel-vazquez-karim-mayfield-luis-carlos-abregu-victorious-on-hbo-boxing-tripleheader/?doing_wp_cron

My recap for last night's HBO tripleheader. Not the best night of boxing, but the fights were very competitive and none of the three were dull, so I consider it a good night of boxing, but not great. Many of HBO and NBC Sports Network's boxing broadcasts this year have been up-and-down entertaining and/or great nights of boxing.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Notre Dame Stays Undefeated With Win Over Oklahoma

The Irish continue to remain undefeated. Tonight's 30-13 win at Oklahoma is the win that will kick off Irish fever and make them even more susceptible to an upset because in this day when a team gets even a little too much hype to them, they get upset. The Irish racked up 20 points in the fourth quarter (though their final touchdown was handed to them after a turnover on downs deep in Sooners territory) to turn a close, defensive struggle into a runaway win on the road. Manti Te'o had the kind of game that justified his Heisman hype, gathering double digit tackles to go with a sack and a late interception that sealed the win. The Irish have Pitt, Boston College, Wake Forest, and USC remaining on their schedule. The first three should be easy enough, but don't doubt the magic of upsets in college football in November. And a quick history lesson: the last time the Irish were this close to an undefeated season and/or national championship was 1993 and they lost to BC in late-November on their way to finishing #2; they've had one or two seasons since that have started out almost as well as this year, but neither of those seasons ended as well as '93. This leaves the Irish's trip to L.A. and the Coliseum to play USC. Until today, I would've said it was practically a guarantee that the Trojans would end the Irish's undefeated season, should they go into that game undefeated. After today I'm not so sure. The Trojans were caught looking ahead while the Irish won the biggest game of their season in a way that was nothing short of a statement to their doubters. The NCAA and BCS both want to see an Alabama/Notre Dame national championship game and they are getting closer and closer to getting it. However, there is still plenty that could happen to either team that could ruin it.

World Series Game 3

Giants 2, Tigers 0. Giants lead World Series 3-0.

And a sweep is upon us. The Giants' pitching continues to be too much for the Tigers. Because of this, the Giants' hitters haven't even had to do that much since their overachieving performance in Game 1. Tonight, both runs came from some good hits in the second hitting, and that was it. Both teams' pitching got into a groove after they settled in and the game, much like Game 2, turned into a pitcher's duel for the majority of the game. Right now, I'd almost consider Sandoval a cinch for Series MVP despite the fact that Sandoval hasn't scored or had an RBI since his three home run performance in Game 1. That alone is worthy of Series MVP in this Series, especially since the Giants' tremendous team pitching performance has been spread out without any one pitcher shining over all the others in the rotation and bullpen.

Arizona Shocks #9 USC 39-36

Those who thought Georgia would be the day's big upset didn't have to wait long until a game's result eclipsed the Bulldog's win as the big upset of the day. Don't get me wrong, the Bulldogs got the day's big win, but unranked and 4-3 (1-3 in the Pac-12) Arizona caught ninth-ranked USC looking ahead to their big game next week against Oregon and scored a 39-36 upset. The Wildcats lead early then went into a hole on both sides of the ball before regrouping and eventually overtaking the Trojans in the fourth quarter. Once they got the lead, the pressure became too much for USC as they had to do too much too quick at the end of the game, a common trait in any major college football upset. Congrats to Rich Rod for his first major win at Arizona, but Oregon may still have to watch out next week when they go to the L.A. Coliseum to take on the Trojans.

Georgia Upsets Florida 17-9

This was a weird one to say the least. There was a ton of bad blood, hard hits, and overall physical play, and it was all of that that created the feeling of a good, close game. The reality was that this was an incredibly sloppy game built on mistakes and turnovers from both teams. The Gators committed six turnovers in the loss while the Bulldogs had nearly 15 penalties, many of them stupid. Aaron Murray threw three interceptions in the first half for the Bulldogs, including one inside the Florida 15 yard-line, and the Bulldogs had to deal with a missed field-goal in the Gator red-zone in the second half as well. It was a tremendous catch and run by Malcolm Mitchell on a Georgia 3rd down that resulted in a 45-yard touchdown play that created the winning margin. The Gators fought until the end, and that end came when Jordan Reed had an Earnest Byner moment. Reed caught a pass from Driskel around the Georgia 15 and made a beeline to the end-zone. But when he jumped into the air attempting to go over a low-diving Georgia defender, Reed was stripped of the ball and the Bulldogs recovered in the end-zone. That play ended up sealing the win for the Bulldogs who now control their own destiny and can win the SEC East by winning out in conference play.

My Writing for 10/27/2012

http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/27/alabama-crimson-tide-must-avoid-looking-ahead-against-mississippi-st-bulldogs/

A preview of tonight's Alabama/Mississippi St. game with emphasis on how this is a potential look-ahead game for Bama with LSU next week for the Tide. If they look ahead, they could lose as the Bulldogs aren't that bad (still undefeated, just outside of the top ten). Not to mention that just about every major upset that happens in college football is one that nobody believed had a chance of happening. I'm guessing everybody (including me) believes that the Bulldogs have no chance whatsoever of shocking the Tide and the college football world tonight.

Marcus Lattimore Carted Off the Field in 2nd Qtr. Against Tennessee

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8558189/marcus-lattimore-south-carolina-gamecocks-rb-carted-suffering-apparent-serious-leg-injury

Poor guy. Just like last year, what could have been a great year is cut short by an injury. That may be a premature thought by me, but as you can see by the video clip, this looked BAD. The Gamecocks are out of the SEC title and national title running, but can still play on January 1st. Of course, if they do lose Lattimore for the rest of the year, it will be back up in the air whether or not the Gamecocks will be able to pull it together and continue to win. One other thing to point out: Lattimore's pro aspirations took a big hit because of this. It's one thing to have an injury in college, but it's another when you are having an injury problem in college, and this is the second straight year that Lattimore has suffered a bad leg injury. Last year it was torn ligaments in Lattimore's left knee that cost him half of the season. Pro teams generally don't like to risk a draft pick on an injury case, so Lattimore's draft stock and predicted position to get drafted both went down, down, down with this latest development. I feel bad for the guy. He's a good, solid running back who could help a pro team in need of that kind of running back. But the injuries he suffered during these last two seasons are going to make teams think more than they would otherwise have to about drafting him.

Friday, October 26, 2012

My writing for 10/26/2012

http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/26/the-worlds-largest-outdoor-cocktail-party-an-october-tradition/

A preview of Saturday's Florida/Georgia game. The SEC is once again going to be the center of college football for a while with this game and Bama/LSU next week, let alone the final games for Florida and Georgia if the Bulldogs upset the Gators and make the SEC East race even more interesting.

Bellator 78 Results

http://www.worldwidemma101.com/2012/10/26/quick-results-bellator-fighting-championships-78/

The card features Dream welterweight champ Marius Zaromskis in the Bellator season 7 welterweight semifinals as well as female fighter Zoila Frausto Gurgel once again fighting in Bellator. The promotion debuts on Spike TV next year, so this would be a good opportunity to start getting to know some of the names in the promotion. 

Results will be updated throughout the card.

No 82-Game Season for NHL This Year

http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/8554366/nhl-cancels-november-games-talks-impasse

And it begins. Any thoughts and prayers that there might be a full NHL season are now dead. And any hopes and prayers for any season at all could be next. The owners won't hear what the players have to say since they're not taking the owners' 50/50 offer, and if both sides aren't willing to compromise from this point and talk it out, this season is over. So who's being more unreasonable at this juncture of the negotiations? It's tough to tell. Anyone who follows hockey and was aware of the previous CBA knows that the owners were waiting for this moment to balance the revenue sharing back towards an even split. And the players obviously don't want to give up the majority amount of the revenue shared. So that's where we stand. The owners want 50/50 or better for them and the players want anything above 50/50 in their favor. Translation: it REALLY looks like there isn't going to be a season. Of course NHL fans can take solace in the fact that the recent pro football and basketball lockouts were pretty bad too, and those lockouts got settled and play resumed with the NFL preserving a full season and the NBA having to settle for basically 2/3 of one. Hang on to whatever hope you have left hockey fans, because that's all you have at the moment.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

World Series Game 2

Giants 2, Tigers 0. Giants lead World Series 2-0.

A pitcher's duel for six innings turns into a quiet, dignified win for the Giants. With a run in the seventh and eighth inning, they gave themselves insurance and let Casilla and Romo finish things on the mound. Romo got the save with his three outs being the final outs of the game. Doug Fister pitched six good innings for the Tigers, but was finally cracked in the seventh and exited. Fister ended up being responsible for the Giants' run in the inning and earned himself the eventual loss because of that. Cabrerra and Fielder combined to go 0-4 with a walk. Considering these are the two hitters that need to come up big for the Tigers, they are in big trouble unless these two can get it together when the series heads back to Detroit this weekend. The Giants have looked solid to stellar through these two home games and are on track to make this series all but over. I'm still rooting for Detroit and do believe that a Game 3 win could turn the entire series around. My thoughts aside, Game 3 is a must-must-must-win for the Tigers as 3-0 down in the series is a death sentence.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

World Series Game 1

Giants 8, Tigers 3. Giants lead series 1-0.

It was Pablo Sandoval who joined an elite group of hitters in the World Series tonight. Sandoval hit three home runs in his first three at-bats, becoming only the fourth person to do so in the Series. He joins Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols in that department. Verlander fought, but struggled and only made it through four innings, and by then this game was over anyway. Zito and Lincecum were great in completely holding the Tigers in check at the plate and the two combined for eight innings of really good pitching. For Zito, it was about redemption as he was left off the Giants' post-season roster two years ago when the Giants won it all and tonight he started Game 1 and got the win. It really doesn't make the Tigers look good when their best pitcher gets lit up like this, and it wasn't even Scutaro doing most of the work for the Giants like he did in the NLCS. The layoff really appears to have hurt the Tigers, as it did in 2006 when they last appeared in the Series. Hopefully for them this series doesn't turn out the same way that one did as Detroit is in no way out of this series. They can prove that by pulling themselves together and heading home with a tied series.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Viva Las Vegas!

I'll be out of town until Wednesday, so no updates until then. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and be safe. You'll hear from me again when I get back.

My writing for 10/20/12 & 10/21/12

http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/20/johnny-football-finally-gets-his-freshman-humbling/

My look at the season of Johnny "Johnny Football" Manziel for Texas A&M. Being a freshman starting QB at a Texas college can't be an easy task, nor one without massive pressure. Before today, Manziel's season was turning into a phenomenal one for a freshman. Then a little dose of necessary reality kicked in for Manziel and the Aggies.

http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/20/the-axe-is-what-makes-wisconsin-badgers-vs-minnesota-golden-gophers-important-every-year/

This is just me explaining the importance that the The Paul Bunyan Axe has to football fans in Wisconsin and Minnesota. If you're not from the Midwest, or even if you are, just substitute your local major college football rivalry & trophy, and then you'll understand what I'm getting at.

http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/21/the-power-of-turnovers-florida-gators-use-several-to-fuel-a-big-win/

Turnovers were the key to Florida's win against South Carolina today. This is me going over specifically what the Gators turned the Gamecocks' turnovers into and how it changed the game in the Gators' favor. It may be getting to the time to believe that the Gators are going to go undefeated into the SEC title game. If it isn't time to think that yet, it'll be this time next week if they can take care of business against Georgia.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Kansas St. Gives West Virginia a Second Straight Big 12 Whipping

It was the Collin Klein show replacing Geno Smith's usual performance as the Wildcats gave West Virginia their second throttling in as many weeks. Last week it was at the hands of Texas Tech, this week it was Bill Snyder's Kansas St. Wildcats beating up one of the new members of the Big 12. This week it was a 55-14 loss for the Mountaineers and it was worse than last week. This was West Virginia looking like they had no business in the Big 12 as the Wildcats' defense shut down the Mountaineers while Klein went wild, being responsible for all seven of the Wildcats touchdowns, rushing for four of them. Like last week, the Mountaineers had no chance at halftime and now have to do a little soul-searching to see how much of this season can be salvaged with over a month remaining. As for the Wildcats, a national championship game spot doesn't seem all that weird anymore.

Notre Dame Sneaks by Again

For the second straight week, the still-undefeated Notre Dame Fighting Irish win a close game at home. This week it was 17-14 against BYU. I can't say I'm surprised in any way with how this game went. Both of these teams possess great defenses and neither team's offense has been impressive. The real surprise to this game was that BYU got two offensive touchdowns on Notre Dame in the first half. If you know about Notre Dame's defense and BYU's offensive issues this year (see their game against Boise St.), that should come as a surprise. But BYU getting shut out in the second half shouldn't. The Irish also didn't surprise in how they slowly, but surely came back and won because that's how they've won their games this year that have been close and low-scoring.

They'll have to play a hell of a lot better than that if they want to stay undefeated and in the top five when they go to Norman next week to take on the Oklahoma Sooners. Just a little preview for what lies ahead.

Braxton Miller Injured, Ohio St. Still Wins

UPDATE 6:43 PM CT: Miller has been to the hospital and is now out of the hospital. OSU's associate A.D. Dan Wallenberg tweeted this afternoon that Miller is "symptom free" after being examined by doctors.


The Buckeyes may have lost their biggest weapon for a long time as quarterback Braxton Miller was helped off the field and to an ambulance after a rough tackle in the third quarter of their game this afternoon against Purdue. From the look of the play, a long run by Miller, it would appear that Miller's injury was shoulder related as he was slammed hard onto his left shoulder at the end of the run. I've heard that it could be his ACL, and that would make more sense considering how Buckeye personnel was helping him to the ambulance afterward. This post will be updated when information is learned about what Miller's injury is and the extent of it.


Purdue used the injury to take the lead and held it right until the final seconds. In a last big to tie the game, backup quarterback Kenny Guiton lead a drive down the field in the final minute that culminated with a short TD pass that was low to the ground. Receiver Carlos Hyde deserves a good amount of credit for scooping the ball in and maintaining his grip until the scoring play was completed. The Buckeyes went on to dominate the Boilermakers in overtime and escape with the win 29-22.

The Buckeyes remain undefeated overall and in the Big Ten with the win, moving to 8-0 overall and 4-0 in the Big Ten. They are not ranked in the coach's and BCS polls because of their post-season ineligibility.

Friday, October 19, 2012

NLCS Game 5

Giants 5, Cardinals 0. Cardinals lead series 3-2.

If the Cardinals are going to do it, they are going to have to do it on the road. In their only opportunity to close out this series at home, the Cardinals did everything except take advantage. A four-run fourth inning blew the game wide open for the Giants as the fourth seems to be the most common inning for scoring in this series. Barry Zito pitched tremendously well with almost eight scoreless innings in a start that a lot of analysts and sportswriters were almost seeing as a last resort by the Giants. No such thing as Zito struck out six, only gave up six hits, and even brought in a run in the fourth with a bunt he reached base on. Sandoval homered later. Despite the Cardinals outhitting them, the Giants' hits turned out to be bigger because they lead to runs while all the Cardinals could do was leave men on base.

My Writing for 10/18/12

http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/18/defense-wins-games-getting-ready-for-south-carolina-gamecocks-vs-florida-gators/

My look at the defenses in this weekend's big Florida/South Carolina game. Marcus Lattimore is mentioned as whether or not he'll play on Saturday is a big deal to this one.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

NLCS Game 4

Cardinals 8, Giants 3. Cardinals lead series 3-1.

The Cards can finish it up at home tomorrow night. The Cardinals hitting just continued to pour on after Lincecum's rough start for the Giants. It took a little bit, but better late than never as the Cards scored six of their eight in the sixth through eighth innings to make what was a close game only on the scoreboard into a blowout. The Giants got a homer in the ninth to add a few runs to their tally, but it wasn't enough to make this one look close. A Tigers/Cardinals World Series appears very likely.

ALCS Game 4

Tigers 8, Yankees 1. Tigers win series 4-0.

From the brink of elimination to the World Series. A tremendous manning up by the Tigers as two collapses by Valverde turned out to be mere bumps in the road. The Tiger hitters wore down Sabathia with long innings and ended up scoring six off of him before he was done for the day. Cabrerra and Peralta came up big, both clubbing two-run homers in the fourth to break the game open. Scherzer didn't have an awesome day, but he only surrendered one run and overall did well given the pressure of being able to sweep and win a pennant. The Tigers relievers kept the Yankees from adding anything while shutting them down at the same time. The Yankees were held to just two hits in the game.

Jones Vs. Sonnen Degrades MMA?

http://www.411mania.com/MMA/news/259364/Dan-Henderson-Says-Chael-Sonnen-Getting-LHW-Title-Shot-Degrades-The-Sport.htm

I am in agreement partially with Hendo on this one. Yes, a Jones/Sonnen fight for the UFC light heavyweight title does degrade the sport of MMA. Sonnen hasn't fought at light heavyweight for almost a decade and this would be his first fight back. This does seem like something out of boxing's playbook since weight classes are a lot closer together in that sport. In MMA, it really should be an unwritten rule that you have to win at least one fight in a weight division to get a title shot.

But we're not talking about sport with this fight, we're talking about business. And that's what this fight is going to do: a whole lot of business. That's the biggest difference between Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson: Sonnen makes people want to see him fight with his mouth. And in a culture that still may stupidly claim to believe that talk is cheap, there is no better selling tool than talk. And that's what Sonnen has: an incredible ability to talk. I mean did you read or see some of the things he's said just this week?

http://www.411mania.com/MMA/news/259301/%5BVIDEO%5D-Chael-Sonnen-Says-the-Man-has-Arrived.htm


As a pro wrestling fan, this stuff is great. CM Punk walking out with Sonnen in Chicago back in January would've made too much sense. Sigh. For the first time, I have a reason outside of the fights to watch The Ultimate Fighter. I've never really cared for the reality TV element to the show, I just tune in for the fights and then change the channel. Now, I'll watch the full episodes to see if this is going to be as entertaining (for me) as I think it could be.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Writing for 10/17/12


http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/17/wild-weekends-rivalries-big-games-and-a-surprise-twist/

This week's installment of my college football column. I go over Oklahoma/Texas, the Notre Dame/Stanford ending, the beating West Virginia took, the first BCS standings, the death of Beano Cook, and more.


http://www.worldwidemma101.com/2012/10/17/antonio-rodrigo-nogueiras-second-return-from-injury-in-brazil-in-the-last-fourteen-months-goes-same-as-first/

My recap of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's win this past Saturday night at UFC 153. I also look at where one of the best MMA fighters ever can go in UFC's heavyweight division with the time he has left in his career.

http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/17/mike-gillislee-vs-marcus-lattimore-getting-ready-for-south-carolina-gamecocks-vs-florida-gators/

My running back comparison for this weekend's Florida/South Carolina game. If Lattimore doesn't end up playing, the game will lose a lot of its luster. It will also give the Gators an edge going into what is an otherwise even looking game.

NLCS Game 3

Cardinals 3, Giants 1. Cardinals lead series 2-1.

This series seems to be following a familiar tune as the pitchers came to play, the hitters couldn't do much about it, and the bulk of the offense was clustered into one inning. In today's case it was the third when the Giants scored their run and Matt Carpenter slammed a two-run homer for the Cardinals after replacing Carlos Beltran. Beltran strained his left knee while running out a double play in the first and is day to day according to the Cardinals. That is a big loss for St. Louis if Beltran's post-season is over, but I guess it's lucky for them that they are so deep with good hitters that it shouldn't be a fatal blow if Beltran is done until next season. The Cards added a run in the seventh before a 3 1/2 hour rain delay came around. Rain also hit Detroit and delayed Game 4 of the ALCS until tomorrow. When play resumed in St. Louis, the Cards shut down the Giants for the remaining six outs and gained the series lead with two more games at home.

TNA Bound for Glory 2012

TNA had its Wrestlemania this past Sunday with their Bound for Glory pay-per-view. It was a rare PPV outside of Orlando for the promotion and from what I've read and seen (through pics and a few clips), the show appeared to be very entertaining. Unfortunately, the booking for the most part left a bad taste in people's mouths. I know, big surprise right? Considering this is TNA's equivalent to Wrestlemania, it is generally expected that a promotion should veer as far away from danger as possible when it comes to booking for a show of this magnitude to the promotion. But this is TNA and I've learned enough about this promotion's booking tendencies (no matter who's in charge of the book) not to be surprised by this. And this is from a guy who believes that Impact Wrestling has been a better show than any of The E's T.V. shows for months now.

What a dumb move it is to have Jeff Hardy as TNA world champion. From every angle it is a dumb call: his past history, including showing up to a TNA pay-per-view he was in the main-event of in no condition to perform (i.e. messed up pretty bad), is not pretty, he has already shown not to be the kind of draw that Hulk Hogan and Ditzie Carter believe that he is or is going to be outside of merchandise sales, and in the ring he's still good, but needs to be carried more and more in recent time than in his best years as a single's worker, 2008-2010.

Aries, on the other hand, has been on fire since returning to TNA and hasn't stopped since he got the belt. And I don't like the heel turn that they had Aries do right before Bound for Glory. First of all, it's the show right before the PPV, so why pull the trigger on a turn then instead of earlier when you could actually use it as a promoting tool for the PPV? Next, with the whole Aces & Eights angle, any turn at the top is going to seem secondary in comparison and in T.V. time, thus it won't get the attention or support that it could get had it happened later. And finally: why are wrestling promotions this sensitive about face versus face main-events? For real, it isn't impossible or dangerous to book a face/face main-event of a pay-per-view. If anything, Hardy turning would've made more sense with Aries being the new champ, the new, young guy at the top that Hardy used to be. That is a heel turn that you could've sprung on everybody days before the biggest show of the year because it would've put the focus on the challenger's turn and created even more support for the first time champion.

The Robert Roode/James Storm street fight sounds like an instant classic from what the initial impressions have been. It wouldn't surprise considering Storm has always had a thing for performing really, really well in bloody matches like this, and the fact that these two have plenty of chemistry together. Roode taking two thumbtack bumps deserves your approval, even if you don't like him.

It didn't seem like King Mo was involved a whole lot in the Roode/Storm match despite being put in as a special enforcer. Usually in pro wrestling if you're a special enforcer for a match that means you are not only going to get involved, but you're probably going to be involved in the finish. Didn't quite happen here. Makes you think they should've positioned his debut amongst a different feud. Maybe they could have had him be the enforcer for Hardy/Aries.

So the big reveal for the Aces & Eights storyline at TNA's biggest show of the year is....Devon. Yeah, that was worse than what I thought we were getting. I figured it would be Bischoff or Jarrett, as was rumored, that would be behind the group, but Devon? I don't even care if it made sense with how much the group was going after Bully Ray, it wasn't destined to ever be the kind of payoff you would want for an angle that you put that much time into and on a show that important. I figured this would end up being a dud and I was proven right. Too bad, I was kind of wanting to see if they would actually come through and do something with this that would make it able to thrive as a storyline for a little longer. Oh well.

Also of note on the card: Samoa Joe retained the TV title against Magnus and Chavo Guerrero Jr. & Hernandez won the tag belts.

I have no problem with either of these developments. Joe deserves to have a belt around his waist and though he has the wrong one right now, that doesn't mean the push he has been getting as of late has to let up anytime soon. Hopefully it won't let up for a long time as Joe is still easily able to be a main-event guy for TNA, and should be. Magnus is a good talent and the whole thing with him & Joe as a team and then breaking up could've been done better than it was, but it's over and done with, so now it's about what to do with him next. Maybe something in the X-division. RVD did win that belt on this show and Magnus & RVD did have a quick little backstage brawl segment not that long ago, so they could run off of that if they wanted.


Chavo & Hernandez make a great team in a way very, very similar to why Hernandez & Homicide made a great team. They have a good big/little dynamic going with Chavo taking care of most of the wrestling while Hernandez gets to show off his big moves. And to be fair, Hernandez has become a pretty good worker, but it is better in a tag format for him to look as beastly as possible, and that is best accomplished with hot tags and big moves. I see no problem having these guys get a lengthy title reign as TNA needs to do something with their tag division. They've shown a willingness to re-create the tag division, so how about going through with it all the way?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

ALCS Game 3

Tigers 2, Yankees 1. Tigers lead series 3-0.

One win away for the Tigers. Hughes had to leave the game with a stiff back after three innings for the Yankees while Verlander gave the Tigers 8 1/3 innings of good pitching. Not his best outing, but enough. He couldn't quite finish things as he finally gave up a run to the Yanks in the ninth and Jim Leyland had to bring in Phil Coke to finish things. There was a little suspense, but Coke did finish things. The Yankees did bench A-Rod for this one, but that didn't help their hitting woes any. Simply put: they lost Jeter so they've lost their leader. Without him, they seem lost and when they lost him is a big part of why they are lost.

Monday, October 15, 2012

My writing for 10/15/12

http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/15/penn-st-nittany-lions-better-than-expected-through-first-half-of-this-season/

My look at Penn St.'s first half of the 2012 season. Hey, at 4-2 they are already doing better than a lot of people probably thought they would. They likely won't finish as well, but it would make their story that much better if they did.

http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/15/death-valley-a-very-tough-place-to-play-at/

My look at the LSU Tigers and their 22-game home winning streak. It's the longest active home win streak in college football and stretches back three years. Even before that, Tiger Stadium was tough to play in, but that has been kicked up a notch with this streak. This was inspired by the Tigers' 23-21 upset of former #3 South Carolina this past Saturday at Tiger Stadium.

http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/15/jeff-driskel-vs-connor-shaw-getting-ready-for-south-carolina-gamecocks-vs-florida-gators/

This is my quarterback comparison for this weekend's South Carolina/Florida game. With both in the top ten of the BCS, this game has SEC and national title implications. It's gonna be big when the 'ol ball coach heads back to his old stomping grounds in Gainesville.

NLCS Game 2

Giants 7, Cardinals 1. Series tied 1-1.


No comebacks, no late-inning heroics from the Cardinals. Vogelsong puts in a gem from the mound for SF as they head to St. Louis tied and very much alive. The Cardinals will likely get it together at home, and they will have to. Remember they've only scored in three innings during their two games in Frisco. The Giants also have issues scoring past the fourth inning in this series, but were able to tack on a couple of runs late to add to the beating. Coming into this series I perceived it as the Giants' pitching versus the Cardinals' hitting. After two games I feel the exact same way, but for different reasons. Instead of being its best asset, the Cardinals' hitting is now what they have to fix to survive in this series while the Giants' pitching, outside of the fourth inning last night, has done a fine job of keeping the Cardinals' productivity to a minimum.

Football on Sunday (10/14/12)

The Giants return to the scene of the crime and lay a whipping on the 49ers. For the first time this season it's hard for me to say that the Niners are the best in pro football. They couldn't defend against the Giants' run like they do to other teams, they didn't get to Eli Manning, and they completely folded in the second half of what was still a close game at halftime. Great win for the G-Men, but it won't be the last we hear of Frisco.

My Packers got a win that they really needed and they got it BIG. Without Cedric Benson, the Packer offense is going to look exactly like it did last year, and last night was the beginning. All six of the Pack's scores came on passes from Aaron Rodgers. The Packers' D finally had a game full of forced turnovers, big plays, and all around good defense. I will give kudos to the Texans' punt return team for that painfully easy blocked punt touchdown near the end of the game. Thankfully a Packer win had already been long secured.

The Falcons once again edge an opponent to stay unbeaten in an ugly performance. Matt Ryan may be close to breaking through as an elite NFL quarterback, but that team as a whole has some problems that, if not fixed, will once again provide them with an early playoff exit.

The Cowboys and Ravens put on a lot more offense in this one than most would've expected. With two good defenses on the field and a Cowboy offensive line that is useless at best, it did surprise me that the teams ended up putting 60 points on the board. What was less surprising was the fact that Cowboy confusion helped cost them the game late. A missed field-goal was the official reason as a miss in the final seconds secured the 31-29 Ravens victory.

But the Ravens didn't get away unscathed as Ladarius Webb, Jimmy Smith, Ray Lewis, and Haloti Ngata all suffered injuries and left the game. For Lewis, it was a torn triceps injury and his season is now over.

The Eagles/Lions game turned from dull to exciting in the fourth quarter. A combined 27 points from the teams turned a dull game that the Eagles were leading into an exciting game that Jason Hansen won for the Lions in overtime.

Whoever told Andy Reid that it's a good idea for Vick to be throwing almost 50 times a game needs to be fired. And if Reid himself believed that this was good strategy, maybe it's getting to the time where he needs to go. And considering you have a capable running back in LeSean McCoy, it would've been better, especially while trying to hold onto a ten-point lead with just over five minutes to go, to try and use the running game to help run down the clock. Vick is not that kind of quarterback, he was RG3 before RG3, minus the passing efficiency. He's designed to throw about 30 times max. per game and get rushes along the way.

And how about New England blowing it in Seattle? Russell Wilson made his big welcome to the nation with a last-minute bomb touchdown pass to beat the Patriots by 1. And the Pats only have themselves to blame. Twice in the second half they had to settle for field-goals inside the Seahawks' red-zone, something that usually comes back to bite a team, and were intercepted once inside the Seahawks' 30. And despite all of that, they still had a thirteen-point lead with nine minutes to play and couldn't hold on. The Seahawks' defense not only proved themselves to be one of the best, if not the best, defense in pro football not only with their fourth quarter stonewalling of the Pats, but with holding the Pats' running game to around half of what they've been averaging in recent games. Now THAT'S good work from the defense.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

NLCS Game 1

Cardinals 6, Giants 4. Cardinals lead series 1-0.

All of the action in this game was jammed into the fourth inning where both teams scored four runs. The difference was that when the Cardinals did it, they were building onto a lead they already had and when the Giants did it, they were doing it to survive. The rest of the game went scoreless as the Giants simply couldn't get past the Cardinals pitching while the Giants' pitching had to work against not allowing the Cardinals to pile on. Both pitching staffs did their job other than that one inning and the Cardinals take away home field advantage.

My Writing for Today (10/13/12)

http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/13/sorting-out-the-big-ten-leaders-division/


My look at the current Big Ten Legends (not leaders, that was my mistake) division where all six teams are within two games of the lead. Not only that, but all of these teams are going to be playing each other from here on out, so it's destined that things are going to get very interesting for college football in the Midwest.


ALCS Game 2

Tigers 3, Yankees 0. Tigers lead series 2-0.

Another pitcher's duel most of the way at Yankee Stadium in this series. Same result though, as the Tigers get some late run production again and take a commanding series lead back home. Derek Jeter being out for the playoffs with a broken left ankle also could spell the end for baseball this season in the Bronx.

The Yankees did get dicked by a bad call in the 8th. Omar Infante was caught coming back to 2nd, but was called safe. Replays clearly showed that Robinson Cano tagged Infante on his chest well before Infante got his hand on second base. The very next at-bat, Avisail Garcia was pinch hitting for Quintin Berry. He got a nice hit into left field that ended in a single and an RBI to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. The hit was very nice for this situation as it got enough distance to get out of the infield, but not get caught by an outfielder, nice and clean and simple. The Tigers got fed a big break in this instance, and they followed through and benefited from it while forcing the Yankees to make several pitching changes looking for a way to get out of the inning. But by the time they did get out of the inning, the damage was done.

Football on Saturday

In the Red River Shootout, the Oklahoma Sooners put a beating on the Texas Longhorns that takes me back to the 2000 whipping the Sooners put on the Horns. But yesterday was not just a beating, but something that bordered on torture. The Sooners jumped out in front and never looked back, partially thanks to a 95-yard touchdown run by Damien Williams. And the run wasn't even a very fast run, think the run by Marshawn Lynch in the playoffs against the Saints a few years ago, except the play went the whole field. The man who will take over for Landry Jones as Sooners' quarterback when he's gone, Blake Bell, made his presence known in this one too. Bell stands at 6'6" and weighs over 250 pounds, so the Sooners have used him in a Tim Tebow-like role as a man in the backfield when the Sooners are inside their opponent's five yard-line. Against Texas, Bell ended up running in four touchdowns, coming on runs of 8, 1, 1, and 1 yards.

Iowa's upset of Michigan St. in double overtime may come as a shocker because it was at East Lansing, Michigan, but other than that, it wasn't as big of an upset as people may think. Yes, Iowa didn't look good in non-conference play, but once they got into Big Ten play, they morphed into what they have been for almost the last two decades: a team that will be under the radar while in the hunt for a conference title, or a team that will play spoiler to those with a better chance. Yesterday was an example of both being mixed together from the Hawkeyes.

Stanford got jobbed against Notre Dame. It's that simple. After a tough, defensive game played in pouring rain, it came down to overtime. The Irish scored on their first possession and so did Stanford, but their touchdown didn't stand and the Irish got the win. What happened was Cardinal running back Stepfan Taylor tried to go up the middle on fourth and goal from the one yard-line and was stopped, but not taken down. Taylor made a spin and dove over a couple of bodies toward the end-zone. Taylor seemed to get the ball over the plain before his knee or elbow touched the ground. It was initially ruled that Taylor was stopped short. They went to replay and the call stood despite evidence that seemed clear to me that Taylor scored the touchdown after the second effort.

And to Lou Holtz: Taylor was not stopped enough where the play should have been ruled dead. Be a damn analyst and quit playing favorites just because you coached a team almost twenty years ago. I'm surprised he hasn't been making excuses for Arkansas this year, though he did make them for South Carolina yesterday as well.


LSU's home win against South Carolina was the defensive struggle everyone knew it would be, though the offenses did get going a bit in the second half. The loss doesn't totally kill the Gamecocks' chances at a national title, though the win certainly puts the Tigers back in the mix. Plenty of big defensive plays and the usual rabid crowd in Baton Rouge helped keep the longest active home winning streak in college football alive and well, standing currently at 22 wins in a row.


And it was nice to see West Virginia proving themselves to be exactly what I always knew they were: a painfully one-dimensional team that would eventually get bit because of it; think the Green Bay Packers from last season. And yesterday, they met the fate that any team Dana Holgorson coaches deserves to meet: embarrassing defeat against a team more complete than they are. I just never figured it would be Texas Tech that would be that more complete team that would expose West Virginia. But that's what happened in a 49-14 beating by the Red Raiders in Lubbock that saw them lead 35-7 at half. This has to be demoralizing for a team that was in the national title hunt, apparently only until kickoff yesterday.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

ALCS Game 1

Tigers 6, Yankees 4 in 12 innings. Tigers lead series 1-0.

Well wasn't that something. A pitcher's duel turned into an offensive explosion after five scoreless innings. The Tigers looked like they had it with a 4-0 lead, but if these playoffs have taught me anything it's that thinking a 4-0 lead is wishful thinking, even if it was in the 8th like it was for the Tigers tonight. And it was. More Yankee magic took the game to extra innings after they scored four runs in the ninth. It was Raul Ibanez with another bottom of the 9th homer, and before that Ichiro Suzuki got clutch with a homer of his own to start the Yankee charge. After a few scoreless extras, the Tigers finally broke through and reclaimed the game they nearly lost with some good hits in the twelfth. Prince got off to a slow start in this ALCS, going 2/6 with two strikeouts and an RBI. He contributed, but I'm still waiting for a Yankee Stadium home run out of him. Maybe tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, October 12, 2012

My Writing for Today (10/12/12)

http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2012/10/12/should-the-mississippi-st-bulldogs-be-taken-seriously/

A preview of today's Tennessee/Mississippi St. game along with my analysis of the Bulldogs' season so far. They are 5-0 with wins in the SEC, but they still feel like a team that needs to prove something to me. They're in the top-20, but again, it feels flat. I'm not downgrading them in anyway, but it is one of those cases I believe.

It will be Giants Vs. Cardinals in the NLCS

What a collapse by the Nationals. Incredible. Inexcusable. Pathetic. The Nationals built a 6-0 lead through three innings thanks to multiple home runs and an offense that was working like no other time in the series. There's a reason for that and that reason is that the Nationals haven't been much of a hitting team at any point this year. They have relied on the best pitching staff in baseball to do most of the work and up until this series, that is exactly what happened. But this game was a perfect example of what the series was like for them as the final six innings saw the Cardinals pitchers dominate the Nationals all the while this Cardinals team that hits so well slowly chipped away at their deficit before blowing it away with a four-run ninth.

These Cardinals really are unbelievable. When you lose crucial pieces to your team and are still able to play like the world champion team of last year and share almost every characteristic of that team from last year (including how you win in the post-season), you are doing something right and this team is doing something right to still be alive.

As for the Nationals, I don't want to hear a damn thing about how Strasburg could've been brought in and this or that. I am one of those who believed Strasburg should have been on the playoff roster and should've been on call for duty because they could've used him in this series, but him not being there had nothing to do with the team's loss in this series or what happened tonight. What this series was about for the Nationals was them being exposed as a team that relied on great pitching in an unhealthy way and they finally paid for it.

An absolutely fantastic year for the Nationals ends prematurely and in a way that will leave no fan, player or coach of the Nationals happy. But remember: division title, best record in baseball, and the first post-season baseball in Washington D.C. in almost 80 years. There was still plenty of good for the Nationals in 2012.

It will Be Tigers Vs. Yankees in ALCS

Damn Yankees! A fabulous outing by C.C. Sabathia guaranteed that the Orioles were going to have to work for it. In the end, the Yankees got the late runs that gave them a lead they wouldn't lose, despite the Orioles' attempts to fight until the end. The pitching will continue to impress with the upcoming Yankees/Tigers series and a Verlander/Sabathia pairing is likely for some point in the series. GO TIGERS!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Tigers Will Wait for Yankees/Orioles Game 5 Winner in the ALCS

Thankfully I was wrong about the Tigers. Not only did they get on the board early again, but tonight they didn't even wait until the ninth to finish the A's off. A four-run seventh inning provided the distance for the Tigers in a game they entered looking on the edge after Valverde's meltdown around twenty-four hours ago. And of course they had Verlander, doing his thing without much resistance.

A pitching fan would've been in ecstasy during the Orioles' 2-1 win in thirteen innings. It was all-pitching, all the time, all the way. Both teams got on base, but couldn't do anything as their collective batting when they had runners in scoring position was so bad that it became one of those games where at one point you stopped caring when a man got to second or third base, it was just inevitable that whoever had that opportunity was going to get shut down. And that's what happened all the way through the first nine, into extra innings, and right up until the end. J.J. Hardy brought in what became the game-winning run in the 13th on a very nice hit, one that nearly went out of the park.

The tough part is that Game 5 for the Yankees & Orioles is scheduled for just over 4PM Friday, or around 16 1/2 hours away. And these are two teams that have went to extra innings two nights in a row.

Nationals Take Cardinals to Game 5

Jayson Werth showing his worth to the Nationals with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth of what had been an incredible pitching duel all the way up to the very end. Fantastic pitching from the two starters, Ross Detwiler and Kyle Lohse, as both teams had their pitching so on point today that it was not going to be about which team's bats got the big hits late, but which pitcher would finally make a mistake. After so many strikeouts (16 combined) in this one, it ended with Lance Lynn going down the middle with a 3-2 count on the thirteenth pitch of that at-bat against Werth. And Werth made him pay. And now the Cardinals pay as well with the Nationals at home for the deciding game of the series with the momentum of a climactic post-season win in a tight game.

Giants Move on to NLCS

http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=321011117

So Buster Posey is the hero in game one of another quadruple-header of playoff baseball. Posey's  fifth-inning grand slam gave the Giants a lead they would not lose. The Reds fought for the rest of the game and chipped away at the 6-0 lead, but eventually fell by two. I guess the lesson is that if you are down three and get the tying run to the plat in each of the final four innings and you can't tie the game, you deserve to lose. This was a very weird series with no home team winning a game and the Reds blowing a 2-0 lead. Makes you wonder how big Cueto going down ended up being, doesn't it?

Finding a Middle Ground

I'm sort of going back on something I posted at the very beginning of the blog. I don't want to be completely shameless with my self-promoting, but it is something you have to do, especially when you have a blog. So, instead of posting each link separately, I'm just going to put up a post with all the links to the writing I had posted during the day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

MLB Playoffs Quadruple-Header

I'm going to go in order as baseball began yesterday around noon and finished up around ten minutes ago.

So the Nationals' pitching fails them now?! Well, it's not the first time a dominant pitching staff has been humbled in the playoffs. Done in by what got them to the party? Maybe. Tomorrow will tell if St. Louis will be moving on. Of course, it would help if the Nats' bats stayed going in crucial situations as I can recall at least twice that they left the bases loaded in yesterday's loss.

As a guy who lives in Wisconsin and cheers for the Brewers, I'm kind of not allowed to like the Cardinals. And to be truthful, I don't particularly like the team, especially since they've lost Pujols. But I respect the hell out of them. I think you have to. They win the World Series, but then lose their best player, their long-time manager, and then Chris Carpenter (their best pitcher) for basically the whole season, and yet they are still able to get a wild-card spot and win the wild-card game on the road. Yes the fashion in which they won against Atlanta was highly controversial and confusing, but the consistency with both pitching and hitting that this team had the entire season with what they had on their plate before the season even got going was damn impressive and deserving of praise.

The Giants ran away with Game 4 after the game had been close for around six innings. The Reds' pitching has been hurting since Cueto's injury just one batter into his start this past Saturday. The Giants have stolen the one thing that has provided victory to both teams in this series: the ability to score runs late. Whether it's breaking up a close game or running away with a game you already had a decent lead in, the team that has been able to score late has won. The Giants have it, and the Reds' only hope is to snatch it back in Game 5 this afternoon.

Another tough, close game between Baltimore and New York with the Yankees sadly ending up triumphant. And the hero would be Raul Ibanez, who the Yankees brought in to bat in place of A-Rod, who has been incredibly bad during this series. So they bring in Ibanez for A-Rod in the bottom of the ninth, and he homers to tie the game at two. Then in the twelfth, Ibanez hits a homer on the first pitch he gets for the win. Wild end to what was otherwise a good example of pitching and defense guiding the action.

Fucking Tigers. It's crazy. You have a two-run lead in the ninth with Valverde on the mound, and THEN you implode! Again, crazy. Kudos to the A's, who got hot at the right time. They got some really big hits in the inning and made it look easy to come back from two and down to their last three outs.

And after Prince got a nice golf shot to finally get a post-season home run this year. That was nice for me at least. Even with Verlander on the mound, it seems almost inevitable at this point that the A's will move on after sweeping at home a team from last year's ALCS. I've seen this kind of thing so many times in every team sport where a team will totally crumble after blowing a good opportunity to clinch a victory or division or conference or series or championship. It's the collective physique of the team taking a plunge, and the Tigers are looking like the latest victim of this.

Politicians Really Are Good for Comedy

http://news.yahoo.com/whoops-florida-governor-gives-phone-sex-number-meningitis-003025979.html

And I thought Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comment would be the funniest thing a politician did during the election season. If the explanation about Governor Scott misreading the number is actually true, then that is some horribly bad luck when you think about what he was attempting to give out a number for and what he actually did give out a number for. Wouldn't surprise me if the Governor had some prior experience with the phone sex line that people got directed to. But to be honest, that would be kind of tame compared to other scandals involving politicians or other public figures.

Alex Karras Dead at 77

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/8485773/alex-karras-detroit-lions-defensive-great-dies-age-77

Woke up to this story. I've mentioned before my love of NFL Films, and combined with my love of sports history, I got to know Alex Karras the player decently well. I was aware of his acting, but they weren't shows that I watched, so that became an example for me that a player can experience a second career after the game. There are others, but his is a good one for sure.

I will say that I absolutely love "Blazing Saddles." So Mongo, you will be missed.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

MLB Playoffs So Far


Rooting for the Reds against the Giants. The Giants already have a recent title and the Reds' revival over the last few seasons has been officially not a fluke since they won their second NL Central division title in three seasons. Giants live to fight another day with late inning win during a pitcher's duel between the two teams as nobody's bats seemed to be working.

I'm a Prince Fielder fan, I'm a Jim Leyland fan, and I believe 1000% that Miguel Cabrerra should be the MVP, so yes I am happy that the Tigers are ahead in their ALDS series against the A's. The A's pitching dominated tonight to give their team plenty of hope going forward in the series.

The A's run since the end of June has been nothing short of phenomenal. Behind fabulous pitching, the A's erased a 13 game deficit and took the AL West from the Rangers, sweeping them to finish the season as division champs and avoiding the AL's Wild Card game. Tremendous, tremendous play from this team over the last three months. Hoping it doesn't continue.

Oh, and I still don't believe that Stephen Strasburg won't pitch during the playoffs. Until proven wrong, I'm going to hold onto my belief that the Nationals will put him in if he is needed, i.e. they're backs are firmly against the wall. As of now, the Nationals are tied 1-1 in their series with the Cardinals, a team that has been magical this year in a more toned down kind of way.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Football on Sunday

Can't say I'm surprised about the Packers loss in Indy yesterday. All week I was telling people that this felt like a trap game. I mean, Luck was doing good in his previous starts and the Packers' D is the Packers' D so I figured it might get unpleasant. What I didn't expect was that the Pack would play great for the first half and then totally tank in the second half. On offense and defense there was next to nothing out of anybody for almost the entire final thirty minutes of play while the Colts made their comeback.

I tip my hat to Reggie Wayne for doing his part to guide Andrew Luck through the process of making a big comeback. Never did he gain as many yards in a game with Manning than he did yesterday with Luck.

I don't want to hate it, but I do hate that the win has morphed somehow into the Colts being guided by their love of Chuck Pagano, their head coach who was diagnosed with Leukemia this week. Because if they were playing because of their love for Chuck, then that love either wasn't enough for half of the game or it just didn't kick in until they were down by 18 points. They should be supportive of their coach during this time in his life and I have no doubt that many love the man, but it was simply a good comeback.

RG3 finally got a real taste of what the NFL is going to offer him when he had to leave his game against the Falcons yesterday in the third quarter after suffering a concussion at the end of a run. Instead of simply running out of bounds, RG3 tried to get an extra yard or two with a slide and ended up with a forearm shot by Sean Witherspoon to his helmet. The hit was legal and RG3 didn't return to the game.

Do the Eagles play in anything other than close games? It seems that way as the Eagles were able to sneak by the Ravens and Giants in big games by a combined total of three points. Yesterday, they finally got bit as the Steelers edged them by two with a last-second field-goal. This team is not going to be able to win every game in a slaughter, so they're going to have to figured out how to beat a team without the need for last-minute heroics. Otherwise they're not going anywhere again.

Yesterday afternoon I got Brady versus Manning for possibly the final time. And while the game resembled last season's playoff game between the two teams most of the way, Manning's late surge and the two going down the field back-to-back early in the game was great stuff. I'll say this about the Pats: if that running attack of theirs can continue to put up the kinds of combined yards they've been putting up in recent weeks, they are going to begin to beat teams up.

Drew Brees broke Johnny Unitas' consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass record in fitting style with a long touchdown in the Superdome. The rest of the game was about Brees bailing out the Saints' god awful defense and finally getting the team its first win of the season. Oh and Sean Payton was there too.

I can't believe the Bears and the Vikings are tied for the NFC North lead. Wild stuff, but they've both earned it. I doubt these two will be at the top come season's end, but it will hopefully light a fire under the Packers ass to get a winning streak going. Oh and if the Lions suddenly improve, that'd be cool too.



And the 49ers slaughtered another AFC East team, with the Bills being the victims this week. Against the Jets, the Niners showed off their impressive defense; against the Bills, the Niners showed off that their offense can be impressive. Not only did they gain over 600 yards on offense (600!), but even the second-string offense scored two touchdowns in their near-quarter of playing time. Been saying it, but I'll continue to: best team in pro football.

I have to agree with Chiefs tackle Eric Winston on their fans cheering Matt Cassell's head injury during their 9-6 loss to the Ravens. It's one thing for bullshit like that to have been happening way, way, way back when, but in today's world, it really is uncalled for. At no time in the history of the sport have we known as much about what head injuries and/or trauma really does to football players. And to cheer a head injury, and on a player that's on the team you cheer for? I understand frustration at a team doing shitty, but this is over the line. Cheer the team if they lose, cheer when they play bad, cheer when they taken out of the game, but don't cheer an injury. It's sadistic going beyond that sadism needed to play or obsess about pro football.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It's Always Good to Have Some Kind of Proof

http://deadspin.com/5948667/you-cant-talk-enough-tebow-espns-instructions-to-on+air-talent?utm_campaign=socialflow_deadspin_twitter&utm_source=deadspin_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

This isn't exactly unknown to people, but I love the fact that testimony from employees (former and current) is vindicating what I've been saying in conversations for the last few years: that Tim Tebow is ESPN's greatest creation. He doesn't even have to play near the standard for an NFL quarterback, or even play  much at all like right now with the Jets, and he's still a star. It's mostly the religion thing that makes people love Tebow because if it's what he's done on the football field post-Florida, then either people in Denver really were that desperate for the next John Elway, or a whole lot more people think that the first fifty or so minutes of the game no longer matter.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Well Hockey Fans, Your Season is Creeping Away

http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/8452874/latest-meeting-not-overly-encouraging

Can't say I'm too surprised by this. But I must say, with the NHL's revenue sharing in the recently expired agreement giving the players 57% to the owners' 43%, it's kind of amazing that the players couldn't throw the owners a bone and get that number closer to 50% without the players losing the majority. I know the owners want 50/50 or less for the players, but at this point they might take that just so it would save them from losing a second season over the last ten years. If that's been tried, I'm out of ideas at this point. A lost season would be a very bad sign for the future of the NHL. Remember, a lot of those foreign-born superstars can (and in some cases already have) just go home and get paid to play pro hockey there; the options aren't similar in this country with its hockey players if this season goes under. And the popularity of hockey isn't going to increase in this country with it not being played. I know people who hate hockey will insert their own punchline to that last comment.

I Wonder Where This Would Place on "1,000 Ways to Die"

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/01/14173510-70-year-old-oregon-farmer-eaten-by-his-hogs?lite

That family friend sure nailed it on the head. It'll be interesting to see if we ever do find out a cause of death because it seems highly unlikely that something didn't happen before the hogs this man was feeding got to him.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Seth MacFarlane Hosting Next Year's Oscars

http://entertainment.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/01/14170643-seth-macfarlane-named-next-oscars-host?lite

Very interesting choice. Considering how political the Oscars can be (Michael Moore anyone?) it'll get me to watch just to see what kind of material Seth decides to use. I am a movie buff, but haven't watched The Oscars in years. Weird I know. I'll be watching this year though.

Thoughts About Football on Sunday

-Can't say it was hard to call, but the honeymoon didn't seem to last long this week with the real NFL referees back on the field. This was especially true in Green Bay where they were just as weird as the replacements at times.

-The Pats really sucked up the joint in the first half, but put out 45 points in the second half. So the world was able to correct itself pretty quickly.

-It was hilarious to watch the Panthers give away the game against the Falcons after Cam Newton had kept them in the game and lead them to the lead

-A couple of big bounceback performances after losses from San Diego, San Francisco, and Peyton Manning.

-San Francisco simply brutalized the Jets. Beat them up like they stole something, and in their home to boot. My friend put it best later on when he said, "Who only throws for 103 yards?" Fair point. But to everyone who thinks this will bring about Tebow as the starter, slow down. Especially if you are Jets fans. I don't think that is something that is going to make things better. Upping the amount of times they run wildcat plays with Tebow might be an idea though.

-The Cardinals are still undefeated by the skin of their teeth (ditto for the Falcons) while the Texans are still undefeated through dominance and the AFC South is going to be theirs by a wide margin this year.

-I still believe the the Niners are the best in the NFC right now as every other team that is 3-1 is shaky. And yes I do believe they are better right now than both undefeated teams left in the NFC. Those teams have their negatives that the Niners could exploit fairly easily.

-Packers/Saints was a great, back-and-forth game with Rodgers and Brees dueling each other, but it was some big plays on defense that were the catalysts for suspense in the Pack Attack's one-point win. Good, suspenseful game, though Graham Harrell's one snap was pretty embarrassing.


-And the day is capped off by another mostly-boring Giants/Eagles game that had some late suspense. Too bad Andy Reid didn't get bit by calling time-out on Lawrence Tymes' first unsuccessful attempt at the game-winning field-goal.

Thoughts About Saturday's Football

-West Virginia/Baylor lived up to the "video game" billing the game had even before it started. West Virginia wins 70-63 in a game that was as close as the score indicates. This indicates to me that this team will lose to at least one of their three toughest Big-12 opponents this year: Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas St. Geno's numbers were phenomenal and will continue in the Big-12, even if the Mountaineers don't stay unbeaten so I would say that his Heisman candidacy is legit now.

-Equally no defense with Georgia and Tennessee. The Bulldogs' running backs ran all over Tennessee and Aaron Murray found his groove in the second half. But Tennessee stayed in the game and the Bulldog defense had to force a couple of late turnovers when the Volunteers just wouldn't go away.

-The Wisconsin Badgers demonstrate a characteristic of their recent history: blowing it in big games. With a 27-10 lead in the second half, they manage to blow it. And then some miscommunication on their final fourth down attempt of the game adds a tragically comedic end to what should have been a victory.

-Texas dodged a big bullet when they got into a shootout in Stillwater with Oklahoma State. Their game-winning TD was under scrutiny and to be honest, I'm not sure that Joe Bergeron made it into the end-zone for the Longhorns.

-A lot of near upsets this weekend. A lot of ranked teams getting tested or pushed to the brink by unranked opponents. Names that come to mind are Florida St., South Carolina, TCU, Clemson, Oregon St., and Boise St.