Friday, November 30, 2012

My Writing for 11/30/2012

My look at the Georgia Bulldogs' offensive line. While the focus is on Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray and his play, I decided to look at the least profiled and least focused on part of the Bulldogs' offense. And maybe any offense other than the Wisconsin Badgers, and that's just because the Badgers have created a history of recruiting great O-lines.

Stanford Wins the Pac-12 and Will Play in the Rose Bowl

Stanford 27, UCLA 24.

The Cardinal will now do what they couldn't do when Andrew Luck was quarterback: make it to the Rose Bowl. To be fair, Luck did help lay the foundation, but this team deserves a ton of credit for their season. In particular, their big run in November beating Oregon and now the Bruins twice in as many weeks. And there was the defensive domination they put on display against USC earlier in the year. And there's the fact that both of their losses were not only close, but were lost either late in the game (against Washington) or on the final play (against Notre Dame).

This game was a great one, and different from the MAC title game. That game was a high-scoring shootout where the scoring mainly came at the beginning and end of the game, it also had overtime. This game was settled in regulation, but was just as close. It was different as this game was a more heart-pounding, suspenseful and close game. On the other hand, the MAC title game was one that turned out to be one that was suspenseful because you were wondering who would score last and win.

The Cardinal again came up with big defensive plays, including a very long interception return in the second quarter. Credit should be given to UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin, who did more than his part with over 200 yards rushing and two touchdowns, both rarities against the Cardinal rush defense. Franklin started his night big with a 51-yard touchdown run that got the Bruins on the board.

Oh and by the way, for anyone stupid enough to believe that the Bruins tanked last week's game against Stanford just so they could play them again instead of Oregon, this is a chance for your deluded self to say, "serves them right." In the real world, Oregon would've been a better opponent for the Bruins because their defense doesn't come close to the Cardinal's, and the Bruins' offense is capable of keeping up with the Ducks. Combine this with the assistance of a few turnovers and the Bruins could beat Oregon.

Northern Illinois Wins MAC, Kent. St. Not Going to BCS Bowl Game

Northern Illinois 44, Kent St. 37 (2OT).

And there you have it. A great, great conference title game from a conference that has been great through this season. Had Kent St. won and been able to move up one spot in the BCS rankings to #16, they would've gotten an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game. Unfortunately, now they are going to have to settle for being an 11-2 team in a lesser bowl game. And the same goes for Northern Illinois who are now 12-1, but because they won't be able to get up to #16 (they were 21st coming into the game), they will have to settle for a bowl game at the same venue as this conference title game, Ford Field. Nevertheless, the MAC has shown this season, with six of their teams having eight wins or more, that they have truly arrived as a conference worthy of attention and respect. Now all they have to do is collectively schedule harder out-of-conference games, compete and/or win those tougher games, and continue to pump out teams that can win eight or more games in a season.

Last weekend when Louisville and Rutgers, the top two teams in the Big East, were upset by far lesser teams, I immediately thought, "The MAC should probably get the Big East's automatic qualifier status in college football." A couple more years like this year for both conferences and that may become a reality. This fan and writer wouldn't mind seeing that as long as the MAC can continue doing what they did this season.

Alex Smith Pissed About Being Benched

I'm not really sure what way to think about this whole thing. Alex Smith has done a great job for the 49ers over the last season and a half and probably silenced most of his doubters by showing that he can in fact become a productive NFL quarterback. On the other hand, it's plain as day that Colin Kaepernick is the future of the 49ers at quarterback. They drafted him with that in mind and it seems Jim Harbaugh is attempting to find out if Kaepernick is the real thing by keeping him in there.

My problem is this: Kaepernick has done nothing in his two starts and relief appearance to be taken off the field. The man has played like a seasoned veteran and has been superb all along the way. But, as Alex Smith said in an interview this week, "the only thing I did wrong was get a concussion." Smith did nothing on the field to lose his job other than getting concussed; his numbers aren't way off from last year's, the team was still winning with him in the lineup and Smith seemed to be guiding the 49ers to another easy division title before the hit that knocked him out against the Rams a few weeks back. And that's where my issue with this whole thing comes in: nobody is in the wrong, but Alex Smith seems to have been wronged in this situation.

The other thing that gets me worried is that now players that are either on the fence about hiding concussions or do hide that they've been concussed in a game now have a solid example to say, "That's why I don't tell anyone I have gotten a concussion: because I'll lose my job if I do." And the sad truth is that line of thinking isn't that wrong. It's short-term thinking to be sure, but pro athletes have to think in the short-term because playing careers on average aren't that long, and money following pro sports doesn't flow for regular players or less famous players the way it still does for guys like Strahan or any football player in an announce booth or on CBS, FOX, or ESPN on Sundays and Mondays. So if these guys now know that their job and livelihood is going to be threatened if they talk about being concussed, they probably won't. That's not a good thing and it's unfortunate because it's nothing malicious or intentional on anyone's part, it's just the way this particular situation has played itself out so far.

Sadly, this is the ugly irony of a safety-conscious NFL: they are going to try to protect your body long-term, but you might lose your starting job or job period if you do get hurt.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Some Cool pics of Andre The Giant

This I couldn't help but share. I love pro wrestling, I love Andre, I love cool photos, so how could I not love this? Number 4 is my favorite and really helps the myth that his record of beers in one night was over 100 make sense. Number 10 is pretty wild just to imagine that Andre was that young once. Number 2 is a mind-blowing pic for me considering how much of a fan of Japanese pro wrestling I have become and how much of a fan I am of the two wrestlers in the photo with Andre.

Writing for 11/29/2012

My list of the top 5 SEC championship games ever. It's in chronological order, not in descending order. Though I do give a few indications as to what my picks for the best would be.

Montee Ball needing to repeat his performance from last year's Big Ten title game.

Glory Sports International and One Fighting Championship Join Forces

For those of you unfamiliar with the names of these promotions, I will now provide the necessary background info:

One Fighting Championship (One FC) is a mixed martial arts promotion that began running cards this year mainly in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Glory Sports International (GSI) is the parent company of the kickboxing promotion GLORY. This promotion also ran their version of K-1's World Grand Prix, the Glory World Series, in 2011 with tournaments in MMA and kickboxing.

The deal appears to be a talent exchange where One FC MMA fighters are eligible to participate in MMA fights only on GLORY cards that are co-promoted with Dream while any MMA fighters contracted to GLORY can participate in MMA fights on One FC cards only in Asia.

And pay attention to these promotions as GSI is co-promoting a New Year's Eve show with Dream that will feature a one-night, 16-man kickboxing tournament from GLORY and MMA fights from Dream. One FC has also been looking at either partnering up with a promotion in Japan like Dream or simply planting their own flag in Japan. They've already used fighters on cards that held titles in Dream at the time of their last show (last December 31); those fighters were Shinya Aoki (lightweight champion) and Bibiano Fernandes (Bantamweight champion and former featherweight champion). And both of those title holders are rumored to be fighting on December 31.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Writing for 11/28/2012

The return of my MMA column, Let the Debate Begin. It's been a while, but it's back and I'm taking a look at World Series of Fighting. This new MMA promotion debuted on November 3 and has cards scheduled for next year starting in March.

This week in my "Wild Weekends" college football column: Notre Dame going to the national title game, Florida winning late over FSU, the Pac-12's drama, and of course...The Game.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Marvin Miller Dead at Age 95

This is a major loss for baseball and it's also a travesty that this man isn't in the hall-of-fame. He's next eligible in 2013 and hopefully will be posthumously inducted. Still, he was a man who was deeply instrumental in guiding baseball to the money-making machine that it has become while becoming a very historical figure in the game along the way.

Miller served as MLB Player's Association executive director from 1966-1982. During this time, Miller negotiated the first collective bargaining agreement in pro sports history in 1968, helped get players the right to arbitration in 1970 and during his time as executive VP there were three strikes and two lockouts. One of the most telling stats that can be attributed to Miller's works with the MLBPA in a pretty big way is that the minimum salary for a MLB player in 1968 was just $6,000, by the time Miller left his position it was $33,500 and today the minimum salary for an MLB player is $480,000.

Possibly the biggest reason for the increases in player salary, and the thing Miller will always be remembered for, is free-agency. Miller, first in the Cliff Floyd case and then successfully in 1975 with Andy Messersmith & Dave McNally, helped players earn the right to decide where they play after their contract to a team fully expires. This alone changed the game of baseball immeasurably off and on the field.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Writing for 11/25/2012

My take on how Notre Dame's defense once again bailed the team out, this time against USC. In particular is a look at that awesome goal-line stand that sealed the win for the Fighting Irish.

My recap of the stupendous Andre Berto/Robert Guerrero. A lot of heart, a lot of determination, and a lot of intestinal fortitude on display in this one. Just find a pic of Berto after this fight and you'll understand the kind of punching and violence that was on display when you realize that Berto gave back what he received pretty good.

New BCS Standings

So it is official that the Fighting Irish will face the winner of the SEC Championship for the BCS national title:

1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
2. Alabama Crimson Tide
3. Georgia Bulldogs
4. Florida Gators
5. Oregon Ducks
6. Kansas St. Wildcats
7. LSU Tigers
8. Stanford Cardinal
9. Texas A&M Aggies
10. South Carolina Gamecocks

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Writing for 11/24/2012

I already got my summary comments for Michigan/Ohio St. out of the way in an earlier blog post, so this is my more analytical look at how the Buckeyes won this game with their defense. The offense contributed with six points and a missed field-goal during the second half.

My list of the top 10 Notre Dame/USC games ever. This one was a particularly tough one for me because this is a rivalry that's never really had much of a down period. And any period considered a down period has given us at least one classic to think about.

Notre Dame Going to National Championship Game

Notre Dame 22, USC 13.

The Fighting Irish have made it through the gauntlet and are destined for Miami to play for the national championship. I was only a little kid the last time this was true in college football. The Fighting Irish have made several attempts to get back into the national spotlight and become a national power again, but they finally came through this year.

There was plenty of luck along the way, but plenty of national championships have been built on luck. And though it was a lot of luck for just one team, the Fighting Irish still won those games, and that's what it's all about at the end of the day.

The Trojans gave ND a real fight, staying with them for the entire game. The Fighting Irish offense didn't play that good (again), but their defense did play great (again). A big goal-line stand where the Fighting Irish stopped five plays (thanks to penalties) inside their own 2 yard-line sealed the game. It sealed the win because poor use of the clock by the Trojans left less than three minutes to play after the stand.

So now it's Alabama or Georgia for the Fighting Irish. Most people, myself included, would like to see 'Bama as it would give the Fighting Irish the ultimate opportunity to show if they truly are the best. This is the case because of 'Bama's aura, their efficiency, their similarities to the Fighting Irish and the fact that they are the defending national champions. Though Georgia would provide a more interesting test for the Fighting Irish defense.

Ohio St. Beats Michigan 26-21 to Complete 12-0 Season

They earned it and they deserve it. The comparisons for this year's team to the 2002 Ohio St. team that won a national championship are very appropriate with in two particular ways: both teams won a lot of their games close and late, and both teams had a tough time with Michigan.

Today it was a battle of halves as both offenses seemed to work smoothly during the first half, with the Wolverines benefiting more from their opponent's mistakes than vice versa. Nevertheless, the Wolverines held a one-point lead at halftime thanks to a Buckeyes field-goal on the final play of the half.

The second half was a defensive stalemate. Neither offense (especially Michigan's) played particularly well in the second half, but the difference was that the Buckeyes could get into Wolverines territory. And though they couldn't punch the ball into the end-zone, even late in the fourth when they had a great opportunity off of a turnover to do so, they still converted two trips into enemy territory with field-goals. This turned out to be the only points the Buckeyes needed to beat their hated rival.

So congratulations Ohio St. Buckeyes, you are the 1993 Auburn Tigers. That year the Tigers had a first-year head coach (Tommy Bowden) who had to deal with NCAA sanctions preventing his team from post-season play. That team went 11-0, beat Florida & Alabama (their big rivals), but couldn't play for the SEC title or have a shot at the Sugar Bowl the same way the Buckeyes don't have a shot to play for the Big Ten title and a possible Rose Bowl or national title game berth. But that really doesn't matter in Columbus, Ohio right now does it?

The Wolverines still should play on January 1. An 8-4 year isn't what anyone in Ann Arbor wanted, but considering that two of their losses are to the current BCS #1 and #2, another is against one of the teams (Nebraska) playing for the Big Ten title, and their latest loss was against an undefeated team that would be playing for a national title game spot if they were eligible for it, it seems to me that these aren't bad losses. Though the Wolverines did play bad in the first three losses.

Even with another week of football to play I will predict right now that Michigan, Northwestern, and the Big Ten title game loser are guaranteed to play on January 1 along with the Big Ten champion.

Friday, November 23, 2012

My Writing for 11/23/2012

With Nebraska's win today, the Big Ten Title game is officially Wisconsin Vs. Nebraska...again. For the second straight year the Badgers will meet a team in the conference title game that they lost to during the regular season. Crazy game sometimes.

My list of the top 10 Florida/Florida St. games ever. This year's meeting is the most important meeting between the teams in years and the first time in a while where the game is unpredictable with people being fairly split about who's going to win. That's when rivalries are good.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

My Writing for 11/22/2012

My list of the Top 10 Michigan/Ohio St. games ever. With "The Game" just a few days away, this was not only appropriate, but something I felt a need to do, being the fan of the Wolverines & this rivalry that I am.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Writing for 11/21/2012

The latest installment of my Wild Weekends college football column. Kansas St. losing, Oregon losing, UCLA in the Pac-12 title game, Les Miles stealing the show at a post-game press conference, and more.

Monday, November 19, 2012

My Writing for 11/18/2012 & 11/19/2012

My recap of the UFC 154 prelims. Hopefully Cote/Sakara II will be quickly made.

My recap of the UFC 154 main card/PPV broadcast. GSP/Condit, man, what a fight!

My recap of this weekend's HBO doubleheader featuring Adrien Broner moving up in weight and Seth Mitchell taking on a protégé of Emmanuel Steward.

A dissection of how the Nebraska Cornhuskers' offense has done without running back Rex Burkhead, who has been out a total of five games this season thanks to injuries.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The New BCS Standings (Making Sense of All the Madness)

Here are the new BCS Standings after yesterday's losses from No. 1 Kansas St. and No. 2 Oregon. It was the first time in just under five years that both of the top two BCS teams lost on the same day. The last time it happened was December 1, 2007 when No. 1 Missouri lost in the Big 12 title game to Oklahoma and No. 2 West Virginia was upset by Pitt in what was their annual meeting, dubbed "The Backyard Brawl."

1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-0)

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (10-1)
3. Georgia Bulldogs (10-1)
4. Florida Gators (10-1)
5. Oregon Ducks (10-1)
6. Kansas St. Wildcats (10-1)
7. LSU Tigers (9-2)
8. Stanford Cardinal (9-2)
9. Texas A&M Aggies (9-2)
10. Florida St. Seminoles (10-1)

Packers Edge Lions 24-20

Mason Crosby should spent this whole week working on the straightness of his kicks as his three field-goal attempts today all had a noticeable hook to them. And that's what caused two of them to miss and one right at the end of the game to appear like it was going to miss (it ended up being good though).

Once again, the Packers didn't play exceptionally well in Detroit, something that is pretty historic no matter who is playing for Green Bay or how good the Lions are doing. The Packers' offense only scored once in each half with Randall Cobb's TD catch with just over a minute to play being the game winner. It ended a good day receiving for Cobb, but also a day that included a few poor decisions on bringing the ball out of the end-zone on kickoffs. Jermichael Finley had a great day with some great catches, and Jordy Nelson did play and played good while contributing with three catches.

Magatron (Calvin Johnson) was his usual self with almost 150 yards receiving and a nice touchdown catch that put the Lions up in the third quarter. The game was back-and-forth throughout, but four turnovers by the Lions was an x-factor in the Packers' win.

For Green Bay, that's five straight wins and a Bears loss to San Francisco tomorrow night will create a tie at the top of the NFC North between the Pack and Chicago. Detroit slips to 4-6 and so does their dreams of a division title. They remain in the NFC North cellar and it's looking more and more impossible that they will even compete for the division title this season.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

UFC 154 Results

You can follow the results for UFC 154: St. Pierre Vs. Condit, featuring UFC Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre defending against interim champ Carlos Condit in GSP's first fight in 18 months.

Results can be followed here.

My Writing for 11/17/2012

The first of several previews for my favorite college football game every year: Michigan Vs. Ohio St. This preview focuses on the quarterbacks: Devin Gardner of Michigan and Braxton Miller of Ohio St.

My Writing for 11/16/2012

The Mississippi St. Bulldogs have had some big losing woes in recent weeks. With consecutive losses to Alabama, Texas A&M, and LSU, a storybook season has turned into a nightmare. However, the nightmare can have a happy ending for them if they get their shit together.

As amazing as it sounds, the Michigan St. Spartans are in danger of missing the bowls this season. Coming into the year, a Michigan St./Wisconsin rematch in the Big Ten title game was the prediction of many, many, many writers and analysts. That's not going to happen now, obviously, but the Spartans can still salvage a season plagued by heartbreak, heartbreaking losses that is.

The Florida Gators have been having some real trouble with teams they shouldn't in their last two games. Against Missouri and UL-Lafayette, Gator Nation's heartbeat has gone through the roof after an otherwise dominant season (minus the Georgia game).

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Writing for 11/15/2012

A look at LSU Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger and his play over the last couple of games. The Tigers are one of six SEC teams in the BCS top-10 and need to win their final two games to have any shot at getting a BCS at-large bowl bid.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Writing for 11/14/2012

The return of my Wild Weekends college football column. I go over the doings from this past weekend that included Johnny Football leading Texas A&M to an upset of Alabama, Notre Dame having another underwhelming performance, and a long mini-rant at the end about how the Oregon Ducks are still vulnerable and not the unstoppable force that many people believe they are.

A look at this weekend's Wisconsin/Ohio St. game. I go over the events of the final minute of last year's game between the two. And that's mainly because, as someone who lives in Wisconsin, I heard and had to do a lot of talking about that final minute for almost two weeks after the game. True story. Maybe it's different elsewhere, but Wisconsin sports fans take climactic losses (or any big loss for that matter) pretty hard.

Monday, November 12, 2012

NASCAR Craziness Yesterday

Now wasn't that some crazy shit in Arizona yesterday for NASCAR?

In case you missed it (and I wouldn't really blame you if you did), all the action an average sports fan could want out of NASCAR took place during the last seven laps of yesterday's race.

I'm going out of order, but the finish was pretty wild as after a restart (I'll get to why in a sec) with three laps to go, Danica Patrick's car got somewhat wrecked, but it still slowly got past the finish line only to be part of an even bigger crash as multiple cars wrecked going across the finish line, one with the back on fire somewhat. And Danica? Her car was hit by two crashing cars and went halfway into the air. No caution was called after Danica's initial wreck, though there should have been. My guess: after what had just transpired and with only a lap to go at the time, they probably decided just to finish the race.

Now to the big story: the ongoing drama between Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer reaching its boiling point. And that's exactly what happened with about seven laps to go when Bowyer's car made some contact with Gordon's. I don't believe it was anything intentional, but with the history that these two have this season, whether it was intentional or not is irrelevant. The contact caused #24 to wreck and be given a black flag to go to the pits. Instead, Gordon kept his car on the track and got some payback. He did this by causing Bowyer and another car (collateral damage) to wreck along with Gordon in a three-car pileup. Once Gordon got back to the pit area, all hell broke loose.

Moments after Gordon got out of his car, he was jumped by members of Bowyer's pit crew. This was followed by Gordon's pit crew fighting back for their driver and a giant brawl erupting with little police presence in the pit area. Bowyer made a nice long run to the scene of the action, but was held back before he could get to Gordon.

Gordon admitted freely that he did it on purpose saying that he's "sick of it," referring to what transpired between him and Bowyer that caused him to wreck and have to exit the race. Gordon's retaliation ended up costing Bowyer even an outside chance at the Sprint Cup Series Title as the points Bowyer lost because of how he ended up finishing thanks to the wreck that Gordon caused put him out of the running.

Gordon was fined $100K and stripped of 25 points, but the points are irrelevant for Gordon with only one race to go.

Quite a scene and something that perfectly illustrated what my dad has been telling me for years about NASCAR races: "the best times to watch them are the first five laps and the last twenty laps." I never really understood this until yesterday. Now I get it, and I won't forget it.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

HBO Boxing This Past Saturday Night

My recap of Saturday night's boxing doubleheader. Two interesting technical bouts, one with a definitive (and I mean definitive) finish, the other not so much. But never fear boxing fans as I am 99.99999% positive there will be a rematch in that case.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

More of My Writing for 11/10/2012

Tommy Tuberville and his slap to one of his assistant coaches on the sidelines today. I don't think there's that much to it, but others may overreact and make more of it than there is. Check out the vid online, I'm sure you won't have a problem finding it.

No. 1 Alabama Falls to Texas A&M 29-24

So if the Crimson Tide are going to repeat, they're going to have to do it with one loss like last year. I say if because they are not out of the national title race with this loss. They can still clinch their division and a berth in the SEC title game with a win over Auburn in two weeks. A win in the SEC title game and certain teams losing (Oregon, Notre Dame) means Bama is right back in the race.

Johnny Football really came to play for the Aggies today, leading them to a 20-0 lead after the first quarter while incompleting only one pass in the first half. More impressive than his throwing was Manziel's scrambling ability as the Tide simply couldn't bring this man down no matter how many sacks they should've had only for Manziel to stay on his feet and get away.

However, after the first quarter it was Alabama's mistakes and turnovers that fueled the Aggies as their offense sputtered to a stop and didn't really get going again unless a Crimson Tide turnover was able to act as a catalyst. But most of those turnovers happened in the fourth quarter and it allowed the Aggies to build back their lead after the Tide had nearly come back.

A.J. McCarron was outplayed by Johnny Football today and threw his first two interceptions of the season in the loss. The first wasn't his fault as the pass was perfect, but the receiver got hit and lost the ball, only for it to be pulled in by an Aggie defender. The second interception was all on McCarron as he threw behind his receiver, maybe trying to make something happen too quick, on a fourth & goal from the Aggie 2 yard-line with a minute and a half to go.

That should've been it, but an offsides penalty (motion trying to trick the offensive line to jump) was the final blow as it was also on a fourth down and prevented the Tide from getting one last chance with around 30 seconds to play.

Writing for 11/10/2012

A preview of tonight's Georgia/Auburn game. The emphasis is on Georgia not messing up on the road considering a division title, SEC title game berth, and still being in contention for the national title game is on the line. Granted, Auburn is god-awful this year, but I do make note of Auburn's great performance in nearly upsetting LSU back in September.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Writing for 11/8/2012

While Texas A&M could make this game noteworthy by pulling off a monumental upset, I'm mainly looking forward to this game for the play of the two quarterbacks involved. Hence the article.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


With Romney's concession speech, this election is over with Barack Obama winning another four years as our President.

Overall today was a pretty good election day for me as Linda McMahon lost her Senate bid in Connecticut, Tammy Baldwin won hers in Wisconsin, and weed for recreational use appears to be legalized in Colorado and Washington (state).

Also, my predictions on the presidential election were right as the popular vote was with Romney for most of the night, but eventually Obama overtook it. On the other hand, the electoral college would paint the picture that it was another decisive win for Obama. That's politics for you.

To Romney's credit, his speech was good and said some things that need not only to be said, but to be executed. To sum it up: it's time to stop bitching at each other about what's going wrong and whose fault it is, and come together as a country. This has to be done otherwise the next four years will just see more bickering and bitching with nothing accomplished. That can't happen. If we're really the greatest country on Earth, it's time to act like it and make things happen that will allow this country to reassert itself as the greatest country on Earth.

My Writing for 11/6/2012

A preview of LSU/Mississippi St. this weekend. Both teams have plenty to play for despite a spot in the conference title game not being at stake.

It will be Michael Bisping Vs. Vitor Belfort in the main-event of a UFC on FX show in Brazil on January 19. I'm not horribly excited for this fight, though it could end up being a good standing battle. The main point here is to point out that for as much as UFC has tried to make Michael Bisping a star, they have yet to give him a shot at either the middleweight or light heavyweight titles. And he's been in the promotion for over six years with a 12-4 record in the promotion. His losses: Rashad Evans (split decision), Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva (unanimous decision), and Chael Sonnen (unanimous decision).

Just Got Done Voting

So I just got back from voting and thankfully it wasn't as long an experience as it tends to be. By the time my brother & I got to the church where we needed to vote at there weren't a shit-ton of people there. However, the fact that I had to register despite registering in 2004 was quite annoying. Let me explain: I registered and voted for the first time in the 2004 presidential election (one month after my 18th birthday). I didn't vote in the 2008 election, and when I came in this past summer to vote in my state's recall election for governor, somehow I wasn't registered anymore. Weird stuff. And I didn't end up voting in the recall election because after waiting nearly an hour to register and seeing the same people at the table getting registered, it just wasn't worth it anymore. In that case especially because I knew who was going to win weeks in advance (not that I was happy about that).

Anyway, here's how I voted:

President: Barack Obama

Senate: Tammy Baldwin
State Senator District 28: Jim Ward
Representative to the Assembly for District 83: James Brownlow (knew him and his son back in middle school, good guy)
County Clerk: Jessie Read

And yes those are all votes for Democrats. However, that was only because there were no Independents that I could get behind, otherwise I tend to vote that way. And with Obama, I was fairly disappointed with his first term, but I still believe (like in '04) that voting for the Democrat in this particular presidential election is the better choice. Otherwise, neither party is really that different and neither party is that much more deserving of your vote or confidence or loyalty at the end of the day.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pre-Election Predictions

With around a day left in the long torment known as the presidential election, time for me to make my picks as I would for a sporting event.

By the way, I say torment for those who, like me, have been bombarded through all of 2012 with calls from both campaigns, both parties, and plenty of independent groups & research groups asking about who you like or who you are going to vote for. I've known my vote for a long, long, long, long, long time and it's really, really gotten annoying over the last month or so as the number of calls has skyrocketed.

Anyway, down to the business at hand...

I think that Obama is going to win the election in both the popular vote and the electoral college, though both are going to look different. I do believe that the popular vote is going to be as close as people have been forecasting over the past two months or so. My pick with the popular vote is Obama with 49.5-50% of the vote, and Romney with 49-49.5% of the vote. However, I think that most of the swing states are going to go to Obama and that will give him a more decisive looking win in the electoral college, since that's the one that really counts; my thoughts on the electoral college are another post for another day, and that other day might be tomorrow or Wednesday. No specific prediction for the score in the electoral college, but I firmly believe that Barack Obama will end up with the 270 necessary points in the electoral college to win a second term as President of the United States of America.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Writing for 11/4/2012

My look at last night's LSU/Alabama game. Quite a game, a showcase kind of game for the SEC in my humble opinion. Les Miles became the losing gambler a number of times (which I describe) and Alabama finally had to overcome some adversity late in a game.

Bama/Kansas St. seems like the best choice for a national title game this year, unless Collin Klein's injury turns out to be something real. I know many will still scream loudly for Oregon, but I strongly believe if they got to the title game it would be the a little worse than two years ago when the Ducks lost to Auburn in the title game. The pregame hype for Oregon would be the same now as it was two years ago: they score so much, they're too quick, [insert SEC team] hasn't played against anyone this quick or this offensive or this high-scoring. And all I hear is "blah, blah, blah" because the truth is the Ducks would have the greater problems. This is a team playing in a conference built on offense with no real semblance of defense (like the Big 12). The problem there, bigger than anything Bama would need to prepare for, is what happens to that successful of an offense, both in strategy and their collective psyche if they are forced to a 3 & out or two or three in a row, or can't move the ball for a whole quarter? Well, two years ago the Ducks' offense responded by playing arguably their worst game of that season while their defense shouldered the responsibility of keeping the game close. If the Ducks get Bama, it would likely turn out the same way, except I doubt it would come down to a last-second field-goal like it did with Auburn.

Packers Go into Their Bye at 6-3 with a Win

Good to see my Packers continuing to play solid football as they go into their bye. It's good to see because it doesn't get any easier from here on out for Green Bay. They dive right into a two-game road trip at Detroit and the New York Giants right out of the bye. Then they still have both games against Minnesota, one game against Chicago, and one game against Detroit. This means that the Packers can swoop in and take the NFC North with this final group of games, but each road game (four of their final seven games are on the road) is going to be difficult and losses become more and more costly as November becomes December.

Rogers looked sharp as usual today, and that's without Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings. The Packers' running game did some good work today against a good defense. All around it was a good win and hopefully something that will keep the Packers focused, but not overconfident going into the bye.

The Packers' last three games have been against two average teams and one horrible one. And the thing that both worries and reassures me is something a friend of mine told me, encompassing the Packers' whole season into one sentence: "They play to the level of their competition." If you look at the Packers' schedule and how each game has gone, there's plenty of truth to my friend's theory. This reassures me because so many of the Packers' final seven games are against good to great opponents and that should mean they'll be bringing their A-game because they'll need it. It also worries me because of two things: if playing against so many good opponents this late in the season with the kind of pressure each game is going to to hold will eventually overwhelm them, and their game against the Tennessee Titans in mid-December just screams "TRAP GAME!!!"


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Alabama Over LSU 21-17 to stay No. 1

What a game. I know people will bash the SEC for not being point-a-minute kind of football the way the Pac-12 is (see tonight's USC/Oregon shootout), but this was a very, very exciting and tense football game between two of the best teams in the country. The biggest problem for LSU was that all of Les Miles' gambles came back to bite him tonight: he went for a fake field-goal on a 4th & 12 that made no sense, went for a 54-yard field-goal (seven yards more than the kick he went for the fake on) soon after and missed, Miles pulled a Sean Payton and went for an onside kick following their first TD of the second half only for their kicker to touch the ball less than a yard from the necessary ten-yard mark on onside kicks, and then LSU went for a 4th & 1 inside the Crimson Tide 30 only to get stuffed when they went for a rush up the middle out of the wildcat formation (the wrong play for this particular situation) and Tigers' fullback J.C. Copeland missed his block. And there was also a 45-yard missed field-goal that was followed by the Crimson Tide's game-winning drive. After a night of poor passing and overall poor play compared to the rest of his season, A.J. McCarron made up for all of it by going 4/5 through the air on the drive to get the Tide down the field quickly with less than two minutes to go when the drive started. McCarron hooked up to freshman running back T.J. Yeldon on a screen pass, and then Yeldon did the rest by turning the pass into a 28-yard touchdown play that put the stake through the Tigers' hearts. Any chance of LSU making it to the SEC title game or national title game are now dead and as long as 'Bama wins out they will be waiting in Atlanta (site of the SEC title game) for Georgia or Florida.

World Series of Fighting 1 Results

A new MMA promotion is having its first card tonight. The preliminary card has already begun, but the main card doesn't start until 9:30 central on NBC Sports Network. The main card will feature former UFC fighters Miguel Torres and Andrei Arlovski in the top fights.

You can follow the results of the card on MMA 101.

Notre Dame Lucks Out Against Pitt 29-26 in 3 Overtimes

Luck of the Irish once again. For the third or fourth time this season, the Irish end up winning a game they didn't deserve to win (BYU and Stanford come to mind). The Irish's freshman QB Everett Golson was the one player who played well today as even the Notre Dame defense seemed to be on a hangover from their big win over Oklahoma last week, for three quarters at least. The Irish scored twice in the final quarter to overcome a 20-6 deficit and take the game to overtime while demolishing the Pitt offense along the way. In overtime they got a HUGE lucky break as an Irish turnover at the goal line should have sunk them, but a missed 33-yard field-goal by Pitt kept them alive. After that, it was only a matter of ND actually winning the game as teams like Pitt in this kind of a situation only get so many chances to pull off an upset before they eventually lose. The Irish did finally win the game with a short QB sneak by Golsen from the yard-line where the Irish lost the ball in the previous overtime. The Irish are 9-0, but play like that won't do them any favors in a month where the highest ranked have a target on their back every time they step on the field. And let's not forget that many of those highly-ranked teams with the target on their back lose their national title and sometimes BCS hopes in the month of November. The Irish have Boston College, Wake Forest, and USC between them and an undefeated season. If today was any indication, Golson and the Irish offense will need to kick it up a notch as that defense might be getting tired after carrying the load for basically the entire season. Pitt gave a great effort, but that's only a modest consolation after blowing a two-touchdown lead on the road with a chance to pull off a monumental upset. The only Pitt player I actually feel bad for is Ray Graham, who shredded the Irish's otherwise fantastic rush defense for 172 yards and a touchdown, only the second rushing score of the year allowed by the Irish.

My Writing for 11/3/2012

In actuality these were my final two preview articles for tonight's big Alabama/LSU college football game.

The first is my profile of Crimson Tide kickers Cade Foster and Jeremy Shelley, both of whom played a part in last year's result. Kicking is the one area of the Crimson Tide's game that hasn't looked near-perfect this year and because of that, it could make tonight's game really interesting.

The second is my look at Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron. He has yet to throw an interception this season and a lot of people consider him a real Heisman candidate. I'm still on the fence there as his numbers aren't quite up to those of other desirable candidates like Braxton Miller, Collin Klein, and Matt Barkley. Still, McCarron's efficiency in throwing the ball and leading the offense is one of the main reasons the Crimson Tide has looked more like a fully functioning machine than a group of young men playing football together.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bellator 79 Results

With Bellator Fighting Championships holding another card this Friday night, you can follow the results on MMA 101 right here:

Kobe Tells Lakers' Critics to Shut Up

Gotta go with Kobe on this one. We're only two games into the NBA season and people are already getting on this team about lack of results. Two games?! I know there are a lot of analysts and writers out there looking to justify their salary and thus have to create something for their T.V. time or newspaper/online columns, but looking for problems in a team with 79 games to go is stretching things a bit far. I understand why Kobe would be angry. They're 0-2, so what? Call me when they're 0-10 or 0-15 and then I'll personally start panicking. After over 15 years with the team, I'm sure it's gotten under Kobe's skin a little that fans and followers are already panicking. They know this guy's leadership skills and what he can do on the floor, so why not just wait it out until the Black Mamba can rally the troops and get things going the right way?. They do still have a pretty new team and Mike Brown even predicted on Pardon The Interruption a little over a week ago that the Lakers would have issues at the start of the year. This team will improve, they'll probably win their division again, and they definitely will still be playing when April and May rolls around. So to all my fellow Lakers fans, CALM THE HELL DOWN! We're two games in and a long way away from needing to be in panic mode. Take a deep breath Laker fans and just be happy that basketball is back.

Oh and the quote from Kobe in the article pretty much explains how a sensible person would be dealing with this start to the season.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Writing for 11/1/2012

So there will be MMA on New Year's Eve this year. Ever since I first began watching and following MMA, there has been a show in Japan on NYE. In that sense I'm glad to see it. On the other hand, this show isn't going to do a thing to change the current state of the sport in Japan. It'll be a nice treat and all that, but nothing more. I'm excited to see what kind of a card Dream and GSI put together, but my focus will be on the card itself and not any speculation about after the card and future bouts that could be made and all that stuff.

My look at the Alabama Crimson Tide on the road so far this season. This weekend's road game with LSU is a huge test for both, and yet not even the last hurdle on either team's road to the national title game. Yes the SEC is tough, and that's why that conference has the last six national champions. Anyway, the Tigers 22-game home winning streak combined with the Tide's less than stellar road competition should add up to another close, low-scoring meeting just like the two had last year in the regular season. Except this year I expect more scoring from both.

Aquib Talib to Patriots

This is an interesting one for me. I figured the Patriots had learned their lesson that the days where they could reform any problem player were done when they failed to resurrect the careers of Albert Haynesworth and Chad Johnson. Talib is a talented player, but one with so much baggage off of the field that it's a bit of a surprise that New England is taking a chance on him. Granted, the Pats do need help defending the pass and this is an indication as to where they are willing to go as far as the players they bring in and give a chance.

Presidential Race Gets Back to Normal

It would be silly to think that someone like a monstrous natural storm would slow down the mudslinging in any political campaign, let alone the race for the presidency. Frankly, if you're still undecided with a week to go, either you haven't been paying attention to the race at all this year or you are a total fucking moron. Sorry, I can't be kind about undecided voters at this point in a presidential race. Seriously, what more does either candidate need to or what more can they do in a week to convince you to vote one way or the other with less than a week to go? I am assuming that I am like the majority of people in this country and have known who I'm going to vote for for months now. It just seems impossible for me to see how anyone could still be on the fence.