Thursday, September 30, 2010

Felix "Cy Young" Hernandez

In his last 10 starts Felix Hernandez has been nothing short of brilliant giving up no earned runs in 5 outings and 1 earned run in 4 other games during that stretch. He's gone 8 innings in 5 of those starts and if the Mariners didn't hit like the Bad News Bears Felix Hernandez would win the AL Cy Young award this year by a landslide. Call it bad luck, mismanagement by the front office, or unfortunate timing, but Felix deserves better. He is the best pitcher in baseball right now and all the attention has been focused on CC Sabathia and David Price. Perhaps this is because the Yankees and the Rays are in a slug fest for the best record in baseball. Perhaps this is because Felix pitches for a miserable Mariners team. In my opinion this is another case of the East coast bias rearing its ugly head. Felix plays in Seattle which is geographically isolated. There are no major markets between Seattle and San Francisco (these cities are 800 miles apart) so the Mariners get very little exposure and media coverage. CC Sabathia pitches for the most storied franchise in professional sports and the media capital of the world while David Price pitches for a team that is considered a fly in the ointment and a source of irritation for the Bronx Bombers. Seattle will never compare to New York in the amount of attention it receives nor should it. New York is 18 times bigger with transplants all over the country and an unrivaled fan base, but those facts shouldn't overshadow the season Felix has put together. He should be acknowledged for his pitching dominance without prejudice or bias. In the end I think his body of work speaks for itself and he's made a stronger case for the Cy Young award than anyone else, but he does pitch in Seattle, WA. We'll see if the sports writers overlook that fact and do the right thing. Good luck Felix.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is John Calipari The Devil?

Tony Wroten Jr., a high school basketball prospect announced yesterday that Kentucky didn't make the short list of schools he would consider attending next year. This gives me hope that some players are immune to the Calipari rhetoric and see past the UK facade. The Kentucky basketball program is an AAU all star team on steroids. The 2009-2010 team included 5 first round picks, 2 lottery picks, and the #1 overall pick John Wall. They all left as freshmen. The incoming freshmen class has 4 of the top 30 players in the country. As we speak Kentucky already has commitments from the top point guard, power forward, and small forward in the country (the top shooting guard and center have yet to commit) for 2011. I know coach Cal is charming, but damn!Does this sound even remotely possible? The last school to to do something this spectacular was the Fab 5 at Michigan and they only did it once. We later found out the booster paid the players. Kentucky has recruited a Fab 5 caliber class 3 years in a row. Something is not right here. Until the NCAA sanctions hit early next year it's all speculation. I'm just glad somebody stood up to coach Cal. Good for you Tony!

Here is an excerpt from my previous blog:

The UK program is in the process of taking the student out of the student athlete equation. John Calipari sees no reason to sugar coat the truth. If you're coming to Kentucky you're coming to play basketball and for no other reason. Not academics, not quality of life, and not for the college experience. His recruiting pitch goes something like this, "If you can keep your eligibility for 1 semester I'll send you to the pros. Nobody's gonna ask you to stay or make you feel guilty about leaving. We all know the deal, 1 and done. That's what I can do for you. Here's the number for the guy that will take the exams for you. Be careful, if you get caught I don't know anything about it". We all know Kentucky will be on probation by the end of next season, but is Calipari's approach really that off base? Is he the realist while we are the hypocrites? I agree he's doing what the players want and if the end result is an NBA career then everybody wins. The problem is most players won't play professional basketball very long (if at all) and left with no other no other skills to offer the world when it's done. The UK model leaves kids hollow, one dimensional, and under developed. Not everyone is going to be the next John Wall. Doesn't he owe those kids an apology?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kickers Will Ruin Your Life

First off, congrats to all my friends, fans, and followers who took the advice of Young Sam Rothstein over the weekend. I was a flawless 4-0 going into the Monday night game and if it hadn't been for Aaron Rodgers forgetting he is an elite quarterback I would have been perfect. Nevertheless Ken Roye from Cleveland came up $1800 and earned some extra spending cash for his trip to Hawaii. Lois Jacobson from Denver made a cool $1150 and Eddie Carlson from Las Vegas made a respectable $875. Like my man Jay-Z says, you'll get a return on your investment if attention you pay. I'll have more tips for you guys in a few weeks to put you on the road to riches and diamond rings. I never liked placekickers. I never felt comfortable with the outcome of a football game coming down to a field goal. I've been on both sides of the heartbreak. I still remember Scott Norwood going wide right in the Super Bowl against the Giants. I remember being the recipient of Florida St's charity 2 years in a row when their kicker went wide right and wide left against Miami. I remember Mike Vanderjagt costing me money in a playoff game against Pittsburgh with his inexplicable miss. he was the most accurate kicker in the history of football at the time. It's too much to ask of one man to clear all of his thoughts, block out all the distractions, and execute a kick of 100 feet or more to win a game. Their psyche is fragile. If you give a kicker too much time to think about the magnitude of what they are trying to accomplish they will fold like a bad poker hand. On the flip side if they nail the kick they are heroes for a day. It seems unfair to put that kind of pressure on an athlete for one play. Why would you put the fate of a billion dollar entity in the hands of someone you can't really trust? New Orleans and Oakland found out the hard way on Sunday that if your fortunes rest on the leg of a pseudo football player you may die a painful death. I'm not saying kickers aren't important because they are. It's better to score some points than no points and if you have a good one they are a valuable weapon. What I am saying is use the kicker as a last resort because they are not a sure thing. Red zone touchdowns will solve this problem. Go for it!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekend Observations

It was a good weekend in 2 of my 3 fantasy football leagues. Tony Romo and Malcolm Floyd came through in my trash talking league and I'm 27 points ahead going into the Monday night game. My opponent has Aaron Rodgers at quarterback so I'm a little concerned, but I have Jermichael Finley and Robbie Gould so I think I can hold on. Once again Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson anchored my auction league. You get what you pay for and for my money Peyton and AP are the best 1-2 combination in fantasy football right now. My last league McNabb and Jamal Charles completely let me down. I'll have a word with them later this afternoon. Here are some observations from the weekend.

The NFL:

Someone could win the NFC West with a losing record. The preseason favorite San Francisco 49ers are a miserable 0-3 while the Seahawks and Cardinals sit atop the division at 2-1. The schedule only gets tougher for both teams so don't be surprised to see a 7-9 record make the playoffs.

New England Midwest is working out very nicely in Kansas City. Since hiring former Patriot coordinators Charlie Weiss and Romeo Crennel the Chiefs are 3-0 and will look to take advantage of a weak AFC West division. The playoffs may be in their future this year.

Garrett Hartley and Sebastian Janikowski are the epitome of why fans don't like kickers. They both missed game winning field goals shorter than an extra point yesterday. If New Orleans or Oakland misses the playoffs by one game send Tony Soprano's people to pay them a visit.

Carson Palmer may be done in Cincinnati. There is no excuse for his poor performance to start the season. The Bengals have arguably the best receiving corp in the NFL yet the have only scored 1 passing touchdown in the last 2 games. It's time to panic.

College Football:

The Pac 10 continues to roll and has established itself as a solid #2 conference behind the SEC. UCLA's dismantling of Texas at Texas served as a warning to the rest of the teams with BCS aspirations. Even Oregon St. hung in there on the blue turf of Boise St.

Mark Ingram and Tony Richardson at Alabama remind me of Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams at Auburn a few years back. Both of them will start in the NFL very soon. If I had to choose which one will have the better pro career I'm leaning towards Richardson. He's more elusive and plays with a chip on his shoulder.

Cam Newton will decide who wins the SEC Championship this year. I don't think Auburn will win the title, but I think they will play spoiler to Alabama and/or LSU. Cam's size, speed, and strong arm will be difficult for those teams to stop. I'm positive Auburn will beat LSU, not so sure about Alabama. Their running game may be too good.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

HTB Statements

It's time for another installment of HTB statements. For those of you not familiar with what HTB means HTB refers to statements that are hard to believe. Here's a few for your reading pleasure.

1. Michael Redd will make $18,300,000 to play basketball for the Milwaukee Bucks this season.

2. Ichiro has 200 hits for 10 seasons straight and still gets criticized.

3. Other than Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. boxing doesn't have a single fight fans really want to see.

4. Kevin Durant hasn't reached his potential yet and he's already capable of averaging 30 points per game.

5. The transcripts for Eric Bledsoe have mysteriously vanished.

6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 2162 points behind the Sprint Cup leader and has $3,793,528 in prize money.

7. Antonio Cromartie has 4 children 3 years old.

8. Braylon Edwards got pulled over for having too dark of a tint on his windows.

9. Tiger Woods has not won a golf tournament all year.

10. Greg McElroy (the starting quarterback for Alabama) hasn't lost a game he's started since the 8th grade.

11. The Washington Huskies have only been to one bowl game this decade.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wanna Make Some Money?

If you've ever seen the movie Casino you know that Robert Deniro's character Sam Rothstein was a sportsbook genius. In the mid to late 90's I was every bit as good as him. The pit bosses in Vegas affectionately referred to me as Young Sam Rothstein because I had my finger squarely on the pulse of sports wagering. I made a ton of money and if it wasn't for the Mrs. fearing I'd lose control and gamble away all of our worldly possessions I'd still be doing it. Fortunately for you guys I still have the knowledge and I'm more than happy to share it with you. Here are my picks for the weekend.

Indy -5 over Denver. After a slight speed bump in week one Peyton Manning's got his groove back. Joseph Addai is running the ball better and their offense has more balance. Denver was fortunate last week and capitalized on turnovers. They won't have Matt Hasslebeck throwing the ball to them this Sunday. Colts by at least a touchdown.

Green Bay -3 over Chicago. Clay Matthews is becoming a dominant linebacker before our very eyes and Green Bay has Super Bowl aspirations. Aaron Rodgers wants to make Packer fans forget Brett Favre ever played there. Chicago benefited from a blown call in week one and an underachieving Dallas team in week 2. They will not be so lucky this week.

Cincinnati -3 over Carolina. Always bet against a rookie quarterback in his NFL debut. Jimmy Clausen is not ready for prime time and the Bengals defense is tenacious. Carson Palmer, T.O. and Ocho Cinco will take advantage of a short field all day.

Arkansas +7 over Alabama. Ryan Mallett is a Heisman candidate playing at home and won't look as bad as Jake Locker did at home last week. This is an opportunity for the Razorbacks to shock the world. If Alabama has any thoughts of winning back to back national championships this is a must win game. It will be closer than 7 points either way.

Oregon St +17.5 over Boise St. Some people have referred to me as a Boise St. hater and maybe they're right. I just don't believe they are as talented as everyone thinks. The Rodgers brothers will bring their "A" game and show those Broncos what Pac 10 football is all about. 17.5 points is an insult.

My advice to my fans, friends, and followers is use this information to get rich! I suggest using the conservative 2 team parlay method for the majority of your wagering and the sexy 3 team parlay for a small percentage. 6 to 1 odds sounds real nice, but only in small doses. Good luck everybody!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hasslebeck Will Be Benched By Week 5

Don't get me wrong, I like Matt Hasslebeck. He led the Seattle Seahawks to their only Super Bowl appearance and is a pillar of the community, but his time is up. Years of punishment and a change in the organizations philosophy have taken their toll on him. Without Mike Holmgren in his ear calling all the plays and telling him what to do he's not the same quarterback. After the San Francisco game Hasslebeck looked rejuvenated. It appeared he would flourish in the new system and carry the Seahawks to a respectable record this season. After the Denver game he looked like a lost kid at a country fair. His throws were miserably short and his recognition of coverages simply wasn't there. At a time when EVERYONE on the team is auditioning for a starting role and held accountable for their mistakes Matt Hasslebeck can't survive. There's a reason Pete Carroll traded for Charlie Whitehurst and it appears he will get his chance to prove himself sooner than later. For now coach Carroll is telling everyone that Hasslebeck is the starter, but he is on a short leash. The Seahawks have too many play makers to allow Hasslebeck to impede the progress of the team. It's been a good run, but it's come to an end. Sorry Matt.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

5 Players To Watch For The 2010 NBA Season

The upcoming NBA season has several entertaining story lines and subplots. What will the Big 3 in Miami look like? Will Kobe get his 6th ring and tie Michael Jordan? Will Shaq and the Celtics stand in his way? Will Lebron's return to Cleveland get violent? Where will Carmelo end up? In the middle of all this there are 5 players looking to have a breakout season and take their game to the next level. I'm not saying these are players on the brink of winning an MVP, but they are players on the brink of becoming perennial all stars. Here are 5 players to look out for this NBA season.

1. Russell Westbrook. Projected as a defensive specialist coming out of college Westbrook has shown there are other aspects to his game. His athleticism was on display during the World Championships and his point guard skills have improved. He had an impressive playoff series against the Lakers last year and could form a dynamic duo with Kevin Durant for years to come. He still needs to work on his shooting percentage, but look for Westbrook to hover around 20 points per game. It may be tough for him to make the all star team in the point guard heavy Western Conference (Nash, Paul, Williams, Kidd) but he's not far off.

2. Rudy Gay. I was surprised when he re-upped in Memphis for a max deal and even more surprised by his play for Team USA this summer. Before the World Championships I didn't consider him a franchise player, but after watching his game evolve he's definitely a 2nd tier small forward behind Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Paul Pierce. With his confidence soaring and his Grizzlies being touted as a legitimate playoff contender look for Gay to up his scoring average to 23-24 points per game.

3. Brook Lopez. When I watched Brook Lopez play last year it was almost as if he couldn't believe how easy the transition has been from the college game to the pro game. In his 2nd season he was already going for 18 and 8 on a team that barely avoided the record for most losses in a season. With the addition of Derrick Favors in the draft and the emergence of Terrance Williams Brook has a chance to increase his productivity. I look for Brook to average 21 and 10 next season and earn a spot on the all star team as Dwight Howard's back up.

4. Blake Griffin. It seems like ages ago this talented 21 year old was the most heralded #1 draft pick since Lebron James. After sitting out an entire season with a broken knee cap Blake "The Barbarian" Griffin is anxious to get back on the court and prove he's one of the top 5 power forwards in the league. The upside for this guy is limitless. It won't take long before teams realize he's a physical mismatch every time he steps on the court. 18 points per game this season and 24+ every year after that.

5. Brandon Jennings. Brandon Jennings was able to put the controversies of his past behind him and lead the Bucks to the playoff where Milwaukee scared the Atlanta Hawks half to death. The outspoken and confident guard even went for 55 in his rookie season . I look for Brandon to continue with his development and put the Bucks franchise on his back. They have already started to take on his personality (which is very much like his coach Scott Skiles) and the addition of Corey Maggette and a healthy Andrew Bogut should take some of the pressure off the talented 2nd year man. Look for Jennings to average 21 points per game with an outside shot at becoming an all star.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Does NASCAR Need Color?

Ludacris has a reality show called Changing Lanes where Asian, Latino, and African American contestants compete for an opportunity to drive on the NASCAR circuit. Although I applaud Ludacris in his efforts to integrate the sport I had to ask myself does NASCAR really need to add minority drivers? From a business standpoint it's hard to imagine that sponsors wouldn't want to take advantage of a previously untapped demographic, but isn't there a reason the sport has no minorities to this point? The NASCAR governing body says it would like more minority participation, but it does not have a fan base that demands it. At a time when 1/3 of the country's population claims minority isn't it strange no one (other than Luda) has stepped up and shown any initiative? It's 2010 and I don't believe people should have to force themselves upon anyone. If the sport wants to remain "pure" that's their business. The ball is in their court. Change is a choice.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekend Observations

It was a good weekend for 2 of my 3 fantasy football squads. In my first league Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, and Lesean McCoy all had big games for me. In my 2nd league McNabb, the Dolphins defense, and Reggie Wayne carried me to victory. In my trash talking league I am anchored by Ryan Mathews, the running back for the San Diego Chargers. I lost my match up by 2 points and Ryan Mathews scored exactly 2 points before getting injured in the first quarter. It's safe to say the 2 of us are no longer on speaking terms. Here are some observations from the weekend.

The NFL:

Brett Favre looks every bit of 40 years old and the continuity the Minnesota Vikings played with last year is missing. Unless Favre finds the fountain of youth again the Vikings will miss the playoffs.

Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weiss are making a big difference in Kansas City. In a weak AFC West (although I originally picked the Raiders) the Chiefs have an opportunity to sneak in and take the division.

The Seattle Seahawks are having a season long try out. Even though they lost by 17 points and Hasslebeck threw 3 ridiculous interceptions the team never quit. Everyone continued to play as if their job was on the line. I'm still drinking the Kool-Aid, but it's a little bitter right now compared to last week.

The Buffalo Bills should take a quarterback with the #1 pick in the draft next year. That quarterback shouldn't be Jake Locker. Not sure the Bills will win 3 games this year.

College Football:

The Pac 10 (with the exception of UW and Cal) proved they can play with anyone in the country. I'm not sure Oregon will lose a game all season.

There haven't been very many fantastic individual performances this year and there's no Heisman trophy front runner to speak of.

If you need a quarterback at the next level this is the season to draft one. Ryan Mallett and Andrew Luck looked especially impressive.

Jake Locker is one bad game away from falling out of the first round. The Washington Huskies will not have a winning record this year.


The Minnesota Twins are a legitimate threat to beat the Yankees in post season.

If Troy Tulowitzki stays hot the Colorado Rockies will leap frog the Atlanta Braves for the last wild card spot

The New York Yankees are putting too much pressure on themselves to win the AL East. If they're not careful they will burn themselves out before the playoffs begin.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Jack Nicholson Was Right

Clinton Portis was reprimanded by the Washington Redskins and the NFL for his inappropriate remarks about sports reporter Ines Sainz this week. The star running back has been labeled as a sexist and vilified by the media for suggesting the presence of a beautiful woman in a football locker room may give some players the urge to engage in personal conversation. Charles Barkley was criticized for the admission he took money from sports agents while at Auburn in the early 80's and his defense of Reggie Bush for doing the same. It is clear that public perception is far from the truth. As Jack Nicholson so eloquently put it in A Few Good Men, "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!" Ines Sainz, Erin Andrews, or Lisa Guerrero walking around in a football locker room is a problem waiting to happen. Football players aren't mature enough to to treat these women like they're one of the guys. Most amateur athletes take money from boosters and agents because they're on scholarship and many times come from a life of poverty. That's the reality of the situation. Is that ok? It's unfortunate that in this society people confuse the way things should be with the way things really are. Money and morals aren't always enough to change a person's behavior. If you're starving and someone offers you $1,000 chances are you'll take it. Just because you make $12,000,000 a season doesn't turn off your hormones. The question isn't whether these things will continue to happen, but rather what will be the response of the American public the next time it does. Can we handle the truth?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cleavie The Greek Predicts Nebraska Over Washington

After the first 2 weeks of the college football season I've learned my lesson about going with my heart instead of my head. I will no longer pick teams based on sentimental attachments and scenarios I hope will come to pass. It's once bitten 5 times shy for me. My credibility is on the line and I'm not about to let these college kids ruin my reputation. That being said I have to go against my alma mater this weekend. If I put my emotional ties aside I don't have a lot of confidence in the way the Huskies defense or special teams is playing right now. Nebraska has a massive offensive line and a powerful running game that will take advantage of poor schemes and poor tackling. Jake Locker has looked indecisive about whether he wants to run or pass and his accuracy hasn't improved as much as the coaching staff predicted. If Locker's not able to take advantage of his talented receivers it will be a long day. The forecast calls for rain (what a surprise) so maybe turnovers will factor into the outcome, but otherwise it will be a pretty lopsided game. Nebraska 38 Washington 20. Here's a few bonus picks from Cleavie The Greek:

Packer over Bills. This may be the biggest blowout of the weekend. Even without Ryan Grant running the ball, the Packers will roll at home. If Aaron Rodgers could throw a few touchdowns to Jermichael Finley for my fantasy team that would be great too.

Seahawks over Broncos. I'm still drinking the Kool-Aid. The Broncos pass rush is anemic and Hasslebeck will have plenty of time to throw to his big play receivers. The Bronco's best receiver Eddie Royal is out with an injury and their running game is still a work in progress. Hawks roll.

Eagle over Lions. This game will be closer than people think. Conventional wisdom says Shaun Hill won't be able to replace the injured Matt Stafford at quarterback for the Lions, but I saw Michael Vick last week go 12 straight plays without ever throwing a pass. If the Eagles don't open it up down the field and they let Detroit hang around this game could be an upset.

Next Friday marks the return of Young Sam Rothstein, the master of the sportsbook. I will give you tips and strategies that will help you win thousands if not millions. Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Players Vs. Owners

After only one week of NFL football the Jets lost their starting defensive tackle, the Seahwaks lost their starting guard, the Eagles lost their starting fullback, the Colts lost their starting safety, and the Packers lost their starting running back for the entire season. That's not even including the season ending injuries that happened in training camp around the league. Injuries are a big part of the game and the main reason players hold out. In a sport where every play could be your last and contracts can be voided by ownership at any time why wouldn't you lobby for a higher salary and guaranteed money? On the flip side if you were an owner why would you risk guaranteed money or a long term contract on a player who could have a season ending injury on any given play? The argument is compelling from both sides and sports fans are caught in the middle. Before you go criticizing the greedy, ego maniacal athlete or the penny pinching, overzealous owner remember every case should be reviewed on an individual basis. There is no rule of thumb for negotiations and every situation is different. Whether it's the shut down cornerback or the work horse running back looking for more money there are 2 sides to the story. Building a Super Bowl contender is as much about luck as it is about talent and strategy. The teams that get to the Super Bowl are generally the ones that were able to avoid major injuries during the regular season and not necessarily the ones with the best players. In the end you need a healthy blend of both. The players vs. owners issue is not as black and white as most people make it out to be, but in the end we all have our opinions about who's right and who's wrong don't we?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Reggie Bush Never Existed

It was bad enough when USC gave back the replica of the 2005 Heisman Trophy and removed every piece of memorabilia associated with Reggie Bush from the university, but now Reggie himself has returned the genuine article. No more Heisman for Reggie. No one player is above the rules and regulations governed by the NCAA, however it's hard to turn your back on one of the greatest college football players ever. How can you erase the memory of the Fresno St. game? How can you forget that Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as the sportsmen of the year? Is it possible to talk about USC football without mentioning The Reg? We've witnessed this before. At Michigan in the early 90's the Fab 5 were a national phenomenon. Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson changed the culture of college basketball with their black socks, long shorts, and tremendous play as freshmen and sophomores. It was later discovered that the Fab 5 took money in excess of $1,000,000. The scandal and embarrassment led to Michigan taking down all of their championship banners obtained during the Fab 5 era and all of the key players were banished from the program. It's been almost 20 years and the association between the players and the school is still there. You can't take back the memories. You can't undo what's already been done. Reggie Bush will have the same outcome. The scandal will blow over in a few years and USC will move on. True sports fans will remember the accomplishments of Reggie Bush even if USC pretends it never happened. There's no one to blame but Reggie Bush. That tradition and history is gone for now. Sad.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Seahawks Win Super Bowl XLVIII

I made a comment on my blog in April that Pete Carroll could be the next Jimmy Johnson. My hunch was confirmed on Sunday when Jimmy himself compared his experience with the Cowboys to what Pete Carroll is going through with the Seahawks. The comparison is easy to make. The Miami Hurricanes dominated the college football landscape in the early 80's and when Jimmy made the transition to the NFL he rebuilt the Cowboys using the Miami blueprint and Miami players he acquired through the draft or in free agency. The Cowboys were built on Miami speed and talent with such players as Michael Irvin, and Russell Maryland. Within 5 years the team won back to back Super Bowls. Pete Carroll is doing the same thing in Seattle. USC has dominated the college landscape over the last decade and he has started the rebuilding process by adding Mike Williams and revitalizing Lofa Tatupu. There will be more Trojans to come and the Seahawks will profit from Carroll's relationship with USC and their players Pete Carroll established the pipeline that has flooded the NFL with talent for years and now he gets a chance to reap the benefits himself. For the next 2 years Pete Carroll will have an advantage over other coaches in the fact that he's seen all the best players in the country first hand. Whether it's a player that didn't get along with his coach, or a player who's had injuries, or a player that just didn't fit the scheme of the team they played for, Pete Carroll knows about them. His strength will be assessing talent and putting players in a position to succeed. The draft and unsigned free agents will be the key to getting the Seahawks back on top. Eventually the roster will be stocked with players that can execute his system. I know it's just one game, but after the way the Seahawks dismantled the 49ers on Sunday I'm taking a big swig of the Carroll Kool-Aid. He has changed the culture around Seattle in a few short months and his vision is becoming clearer everyday. Build a team with talented players that buy into your system and good things will happen. We won't see the results overnight, but after 2 more drafts the Seahawks will have enough talent to contend for a Super Bowl. Mark my words.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Weekend Observations

The start of the NFL season proved to be quite interesting. I had to have my head on a swivel because for some unexplained reason I joined 3 different fantasy football leagues this year. I recommend joining no more than 2. Every time anyone made a play it helped me in one league and hurt me in another. Tonight's game will decide the outcome for me. Go Ryan Mathews! Here are some observations from the weekend.


The reports of the Patriots demise were greatly exaggerated. Their defense looked faster and more physical than in years past and they held Chad Ocho Cinco and T.O. in check. As long as Brady has Welker to throw to the Patriots will be ok. Brady needs Welker like Linus needs his blanket.

The Seahawks have a legitimate chance to win the NFC West. The Seahawk receivers looked great and the defensive line looked much better than expected. It's always a good sign when you beat the favorite to win the division by 25 points to start the season.

Chris Johnson is still a handful. I had to face Chris Johnson in 2 of my fantasy leagues this week. All he did was run for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is still the most explosive player in football.

Indy needs to buckle down on defense. There's still no stopping Peyton Manning on offense, but the defense let some nobody rush for 231 yards. Arian Foster is not exactly a household name. If they don't correct this, they will not reach the Super Bowl.

College Football

Oregon is serious. The #7 team in the country showed no signs of slowing down as they throttled Tennessee over the weekend. Duck fans should make their reservations for Pasadena early.

Florida schools are in trouble. Miami and Florida St. both looked sluggish in their losses and Florida didn't turn it on until the 2nd half. The national championship will not be won by any of these schools.

Boise St. is losing credibility. After Virginia Tech lost to James Madison at home you have to wonder how much credit you can give Boise St. for their victory last week.

UW is in jeopardy of missing a bowl game. If you struggle against Syracuse at home it's highly unlikely you will be able to survive Pac 10 play. I'm sensing another 5-7 season.


Getting Oswalt was the right move. It looks like a win-win for the Phillies acquiring Roy Oswalt. He's pitching lights out and they are currently in first place. What more can you ask for?

Padres are running out of steam. As I predicted, eventually the Giants pitching staff would wear down San Diego. In the end talent always prevails. It was a great season for the Padres, but stick a fork in them. They're done.

Chicago is hot, but Minnesota is hotter. The Chicago White Sox won 7 games in a row on the road last week and didn't make up a single game in the standings. It doesn't matter how well you play if the team in front of you doesn't lose any games. Chicago won't catch Minnesota.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Real Life Crash Davis

I remember watching Bull Durham back in the day wondering who the hell would play minor league baseball for 15 years without ever getting called up to the bigs for any extensive period of time. Low and behold there is someone out there. John Lindsey has been in the Dodgers farm system for 16 years and never got called up until this week. I admire his perseverance and determination to continue to follow his dream and do what he loves despite all the adversity. Most people are not mentally or emotionally strong enough to endure the minors for that long. I wonder if he's been afraid to try something else because baseball is all he knows or if he was committed to see this thing through to the end. In either case his story is an inspiration to all of us to stay positive and eventually your opportunity will come. Ironically he got into a game as a pinch hitter last week. As he stood in the on deck circle the opposing team made a pitching change and decided to go with a rightie. Joe Torre called him back to the dug out before he ever got a chance to stand in a major league batters box. Somehow I think he has the patience to wait until the next time he gets a chance. Good luck John.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cleavie The Greek Predicts Miami Over Ohio St.

First off, let me say I'm a huge Miami Hurricane fan and have been since the Jimmy Johnson/Michael Irvin days. I grew up admiring the brash, trash talking program that has turned out more NFL players in the last 25 years than any other school. The U has been down for the past 6 years and let fellow sunshine state schools Florida and Florida St. pass them by. 2009 was supposed to be the year Miami turned the corner and returned to dominance. They started out strong, but ended up fading down the stretch. 2010 will be different. They are loaded at the skill positions and the defense is grooming the next Warren Sapp, Ray Lewis, Corez Kennedy, and Ed Reed as we speak. There's too much at stake for Miami to come up short. The game is more important to them and truth be told Ohio St. is a little overrated at #2. I understand the rationale, they smashed Oregon in the Rose Bowl last year and they return starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor. It won't be enough however and the Canes will prevail 31-26. Here's a few bonus picks from Cleavie the Greek:

Washington over Syracuse. I know I sound like a homer, but if the Dawgs don't beat the Orangemen in the shadow of Lake Washington on Saturday I may never watch them again.

Alabama over Penn St. Penn St. starts a true freshmen at quarterback and they're not playing Youngstown St. this week. The game is at Tuscaloosa and Alabama smells another national championship. They can't afford the loss.

Packers over the Eagles. Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. All the McNabb detractors in Philly that wanted Kevin Kolb to start will get to see what an NFL quarterback starting his first game looks like. Packers roll.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How Superbowls and National Championships Are Won

The NFL season kicks off tonight with a rematch of last year's NFC championship and college football is in full swing. Congrats to Boise St. for taking care of business against Virginia Tech in a hostile environment. Although I'm not a believer in Boise St. their win is a perfect example of how the BCS operates. In college football it's not about if you lose a game but when you lose. It's better to lose a game early in the season so you have time to regain your ranking. All indications point to the SEC champion playing for the title (Florida or Alabama). The SEC is the power conference right now and the voters put a heavy emphasis on those teams. Any team that loses after week 8 has no shot of playing for the national championship against the SEC winner. Conversely the NFL season is broken down into 4 quarters. Every year some upstart team starts out 3-1 or 4-0 only to finish the season 6-10 while other teams start out 1-3 or 2-2 and sneak into the playoffs. This is because the NFL is all about adjustments and injuries. As the season wears on teams get more of an opportunity to study film and dissect a teams weaknesses. That's why we see teams that are 8-4 end up at 9-7 and miss the playoffs. You shouldn't read too much into into early wins in the NFL or early losses in college football. Strength of schedule in college football is the great equalizer and the 16 game season helps to balance the NFL. Let the games begin.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fat Albert Should Go Home

I've heard rumors recently that talks are under way for The Tennessee Titans to acquire Albert Haynesworth. This is a fantastic idea. Albert Haynesworth is not the first or the last NFL player to find out the grass is not always greener on the money side of the fence. The experiment in Washington has been a disaster and the distractions during the preseason have taken their toll on the franchise. Dan Snyder should follow the trend set by Cincinnati, Seattle, and Arizona and cut his losses. The situation has gone from bad to worse. There can be no happy compromise. Mike Shanahan has taken the typical no nonsense approach to personnel issues and is making an example of Albert. Mike Shanahan thinks it's his system that wins games rather than the players that execute it. He feels Albert is no more important than any other player. On the other hand Albert is acting like a spoiled brat who's ungrateful for the opportunity to earn a $21,000,000 bonus to play a child's game. Money aside (these are billionaire owners after all) the big question is what to do with this valuable yet moody commodity. When he's happy (preferably playing in a 4-3 defense) Albert Haynesworth is one of the top 3 defensive linemen in football. When he's unhappy he's a 320 pound headache. He should return to a team that can utilize his talents and get the most out of him. Clearly that is not Washington. WIth a trade the Tennessee Titans instantly become a playoff contender and the Redskins get to turn the page and start the Shanahan era fresh. 2 2nd rounders and a 3rd rounder should get it done.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Return Of Revis Island

The biggest story of the NFL preseason has been put to rest. Darelle Revis will be starting at cornerback against the Baltimore Ravens in week 1. Jets fans everywhere can rejoice the return of the team's best player. It's hard to say who won the battle. Darelle didn't get nearly the money he was asking for, but he will be a free agent again in 4 years while still in his prime. The Jets had to pony up $32,000,000 in guaranteed money, but they now have a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl. No one player is more important than the team in theory, but every rule has an exception. Darelle Revis is the heart and soul of the New York Jets and without him the team would have been flat the whole season. Their confidence has returned and everyone within the organization is breathing a collective sigh of relief. Give the Jets credit for making the effort to fly down to Florida to negotiate with Darelle Revis face to face. Mike Shanahan wouldn't have done that, Mike Holmgren wouldn't have done that and certainly the czar of San Diego (AJ Smith) wouldn't have done that. The reality of the situation is that Darelle's market value is not the same as his value to the Jets. He is the most integral piece of the puzzle for this team to be successful. It was not easy for ownership to admit that fact, but once they did they put the wheels in motion to make the deal happen. It's too bad the Jets didn't get a chance to go through an entire training camp with the confidence they now possess. Better late than never of course. The New York Jets now have no excuses. If we don't see them in Dallas in February the season is a failure. Super Bowl or bust.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Weekend Observations

This weekend gave me some insight into college football, the WNBA, the NFL, and major league baseball. Here are a few of my observations.

1. College kids don't handle distractions well. As predicted the suspensions and questions about future eligibility were too much for UNC to overcome as they fell to LSU 30-24. That being said the Tarheels looked much better than expected and had a chance to win on the game's last play. This does not bode well for the LSU Tigers. They took their foot off the gas in the 2nd half and it almost cost them. If they can barely beat an under maned UNC squad they will struggle mightily in SEC play this season. Staying on the subject of SEC schools, Ole Miss couldn't handle the distractions of Jerimaiah Masoli's reinstatement and ended up losing in double overtime to Jacksonville St. (of Alabama). They should be ok once the 3 ring circus dies down and Masoli takes the reigns permanently.

2. Oregon has arrived. One of my first blogs was about how Oregon could now officially consider themselves a major college football program. They proved the point emphatically by beating the wholly hell out of New Mexico 72-0. I can't tell if Oregon is that good or if New Mexico is that bad. It's probably a combination of the 2, but at any rate it's obvious Oregon has re-tooled.

3. Felix Hernandez has Cy Young stuff. After pitching 8 scoreless innings on Sunday it is apparent Felix Hernandez has Cy Young stuff. He won't win the award however because the Mariners can't hit and subsequently Felix has a mediocre record. Perhaps the voters will over look the fact he plays for a terrible team but I doubt it.

4. Owners are willing to admit their mistakes. With the releasing of Matt Leinart, TJ Houshmandzadeh, and Antonio Bryant NFL owners have made a statement. They have decided they are willing to spend the money to cut their losses and move on. It's a trend I feel is motivated by the uncertainty of the upcoming CBA.

5. Sue Bird is clutch. Sue Bird looked more like Larry Bird when she hit the game winning jumper to power the Seattle Storm past the Phoenix Mercury and into the WNBA finals. They will undoubtedly win the WNBA title.

6. Jake Locker Heisman talk is over. Jake Locker had his chance to lead the Huskies to a come from behind victory and save their chances of going to a bowl game this season. Instead Jake showed all of the inconsistencies that have plagued him his whole career. He may still end up being the #1 pick in the draft, but the Heisman is out of the question after his disappointing week 1 performance.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

US Men's Tennis Sucks

US men's tennis is at a crossroads. The torch past down from Ashe and Conners to McEnroe to the California kids (Sampras, Agassi, Chang, and Courier) has run into a speed bump. Andy Roddick has his moments, but they are few and far between. The 2010 US Open is left with Mardy Fish, James Blake, Sam Querry, and John Isner. I don't have a lot of confidence any of those players will advance past the round of 16. It's unfortunate the USTA hasn't kept the pipeline full of promising young stars. As I stated in Thursday's blog tennis players age in dog years and if you don't replenish the supply you'll end up with a void of talent. I'm not saying the problem can't be fixed, but we must recognize that American men's tennis is at a crisis point. The USA's poor performance in grand slams and Davis cup play is indicative of the problem. Do we need a better junior circuit? Do we need more international coaches and tennis academies? Do we need more tennis courts in the inner city? Are we resigned to being inferior to the world's level of competition? I'm not sure what the solution is, but if America doesn't implement a system to get men's tennis back on track we will continue to see this trend. Where's the next John McEnroe going to come from?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cleavie The Greek's College Football Picks

The college football season is upon us and right out of the gate some teams have fallen flat on their faces (Pittsburgh). As we get prepared for the weekend there are 3 games I want you to pay close attention to.

1. LSU vs. North Carolina. Before the massive suspensions imposed by Butch Davis this looked like a very evenly matched game. North Carolina has 6 players projected to go in the top 50 in next years draft while LSU is looking for redemption after an embarrassing season last year. North Carolina is facing too many distractions to go down to Death Valley and expect to come out with a win. LSU has too much to prove and can't afford any losses going into a tough SEC schedule.

My Prediction: LSU

2. Boise St. vs. Virginia Tech. I'm not a big Hokies fan, but I'm really not a big Boise St. fan. Boise St. is America's Cinderella team because people like to root for the underdog and the overachievers. They have had success in the past against BCS caliber teams (most notably Oregon and Oklahoma) but those victories were either on a neutral site or that ridiculous blue turf they play on at home. This game is on the road on the other side of the country. Virginia Tech will slow down that high powered offense and send them spiraling out of the top 10.

My Prediction: Virginia Tech

3. BYU vs. Washington. The hardest game of the weekend for me by far. I am torn between my head and my heart. My heart tells me Heisman hopeful Jake Locker won't let the Husky alumni down with a loss in Provo. The Dawgs have great receivers and return a 1,000 yard rusher. My head tells me the Huskies are still young, this game is on the road, and the defense isn't where it needs to be right now to win big games. If the Huskies want to go to a bowl game this year this is a must win game. The schedule only gets more difficult. Call me a romantic, but I'm going with my heart.

My Prediction: UW

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Nadal is Federer Kryptonite

It wasn't that long ago people were asking the question is Roger Federer the greatest tennis player of all time. He finished the year with a staggering 81-4 record, surpassed Pete Sampras for the most Wimbledon titles, and was on his way to smashing the overall grand slam titles record. The only thing standing in his way was Roger Federer himself. Then along came Rafael Nadal, a player who wasn't intimidated by the Federer mystique with a game that could battle Roger on any surface. The rivalry ensued and after a couple of grand slam final victories Nadal became a legitimate threat to Roger's legacy. Injuries and old age (tennis player age in dog years) have caught up with Federer and what was once seen as a foregone conclusion has now become a huge question mark. Will Roger Federer ever return to his dominant ways? The answer is no. Rafael Nadal will win this year's US Open and become the new face of men's tennis. Roger will give it a valiant effort to hold on to his crown, but the writing is on the wall. Nadal is younger, faster, and is the one player who believes he can beat Federer anytime he walks on the court, It was a great run, but Mr. Federer's days are numbered. Sorry Rog.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Marcus Jordan Show Us Progress

The son of basketball icon Michael Jordan got himself into a bit of trouble last weekend. While in Las Vegas Marcus Jordan was allowed access to casinos and nightclubs even though he was underage. He then later bragged on twitter the he had the time of his life and blew $35,000 doing it. While most people would find this activity an insulting waste of money and an obvious violation of the law I see a silver lining in all this controversy. This is a sign that Michael Jordan's children have achieved celebrity status and are in the same category as child stars, socialites, and the children of politicians. That's a long way from poverty on a farm in North Carolina. Michael Jordan doesn't have to apologize for the actions of his children. The situation is simply an example of what comes with fortune and fame. Certainly Marcus displayed immaturity by telling the world about his escapades, but how mature do you expect a 20 year old to be that has the world in the palm of his hands? Hopefully we will continue to see this trend. Hopefully we will hear about the children of Tiger Woods, Lebron James, Magic Johnson, and Shaquille O'Neal getting into similar predicaments. It would symbolize a rite of passage embarked on by the privileged and the fortunate. If you brand yourself well, make sound investments, and accomplish your athletic goals your children will be spoiled and have more money than they know what to do with. If you play your cards right you can go from poor to rich in one generation. That's the moral of this story.