Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vick The Viking

Michael Vick will not be a Philadelphia Eagle next season. It is always a good for a football team to have an adequate back up, but if the back up is good enough to start in the league eventually they will move on (Matt Cassel, Matt Schaub). The conservative options for Michael Vick are Jacksonville and Carolina. Both teams are in desperate need of an upgrade at the quarterback position and both cities have a demographic that would be more forgiving of his dog fighting past.
The sexy, glamorous pick is the Minnesota Vikings. Brett Favre is on his last legs (literally) and Tavaris Jackson isn't ready to take the reins of an NFL franchise. Can you imagine an offense with Michael Vick, Randy Moss, Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice, and Adrian Peterson? Explosive would be an understatement. It's an easy transition considering head coach Brad Childress is the former offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles. The play calling and the terminology is virtually the same.

Minnesota knows their window of opportunity to win a Super Bowl is only open for 2 more years which is the reason they keep begging Brett Favre to come back. Michael Vick has shown he's put his off the field issues behind him and can still play football at a high level. I know the fans of Minnesota are dog loving folk and may not embrace Vick right away, but winning cures all things. Michael Vick gives the Minnesota Vikings the best chance to win a Super Bowl. With Vick at the helm the odds are 2-1. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cleavie The Greek Predicts Detroit Over Washington

Their wins and losses may not reflect it, but the Detroit Lions are one of the up and coming teams in the NFL. They've suffered some heartbreak defeats this season otherwise the Lions would have a pretty respectable record. In addition, starting quarterback Matt Stafford has missed significant playing time which has also contributed to Detroit's slow start. He comes back this week and the Redskins starter Donovan McNabb is nursing a myriad of nagging injuries. Coupled with Washington's lack of explosive players on offense this game looks like an upset special. The Lions won't make the playoffs or anything, but this game will show how much they've improved and the Redskins are beat up in desperate need of a bye week. Here are some bonus picks form Cleavie The Greek:

Oregon over USC. USC has a lot of pride and tradition, but this season is the beginning of the end in Trojan land. Look for Oregon to put up 40 (if not 50) and serve notice as to who's the dominant team in the Pac 10.

Steelers over Saints. The Saints simply aren't healthy in the running game and Drew Brees has struggled with the pass rush as of late. Big Ben is getting more comfortable starting after his 4 game suspension. The Steelers defense will be the key to this game.

Jaguars over Cowboys. You can stick a fork in the Cowboys. Jon Kitna is not the guy to rely on in a must win game. His skills are too limited to run the Cowboys offense for an extended period of time. Tony Romo's injury sealed the Cowboys fate this season.

Sounders over Galaxy. The Sounders have momentum from the regular season and the advantage of playing the first game at home in front of a roaring crowd on Halloween. A big game from Freddie Montero will put Landon Donovan and David Beckham on their heels.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jerramy Stevens: Over And Out

My love/hate relationship with Jerramy Stevens dates all the way back to his days as a Washington Husky. He had the size of a giraffe with hands as soft as a baby's bottom. Jerramy was the quarterback's favorite target and a fan favorite. When his off the field issues surfaced everyone did the right thing and swept it under the rug. After all, who wanted to ruin a man's career for the sake of adolescent mischief? The Huskies were winning and Jerramy Stevens was a big part of that success.

After his college career Jerramy was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks and continued his impressive tight end play. At 6'7 he was a big target that was always open. He soon became quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's security blanket. Again there were off the field issues, but again who cared? The Seahawks were on their way to the Super Bowl and Jerramy Stevens was a big part of that success.

The Super Bowl game was the turning point in his career. Although he caught a touchdown he dropped THREE key passes (after agitating Joey Porter during Super Bowl media day) and cost the Seahawks a victory. A lot of people blamed the refs for the loss, but a fair share of fans (yours included) pointed the finger at Jerramy. Without the success he had always enjoyed the rope was getting shorter. In subsequent seasons Jerramy once again had off the field issues but this time the public wasn't so forgiving. He had worn out his welcome in Seattle and some people wondered if his playing days were over. Tampa Bay offered him one last chance to salvage his career and turn his life around. Earlier this week the Bucs pulled the plug on that experiment after Jerramy was arrested on possession of marijuana. Jerramy Stevens was ultimately his own worst enemy, but it could be argued that his turbulent career was the result of teams and fans ignoring the truth. Jerramy Stevens was never a good guy but everyone overlooked that fact because of his god given talent. We all wanted him to be something he wasn't, mature and responsible.

We will hear this story again. This is just the latest installment of an athlete squandering his chance at greatness. He's a Husky so I won't completely turn my back on him (so long as I don't think about Super Bowl XL) but his football days are done. On to the next one Jerramy. Good luck.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kevin Durant Makes Me Sick To My Stomach

The best thing that can happen to a sports fan is that the team he or she roots for ends up with a player that could potentially become the best in the sport. Such was the case in 2007 when the Portland Trailblazers followed conventional wisdom and selected big man Greg Oden with the 1st pick in the NBA draft instead of Kevin Durant AKA KD, AKA The Durantula, AKA George Gervin Jr. It was a foregone conclusion the Seattle Supersonics would take Durant with the 2nd pick, but I had to watch the draft anyway just to make sure nothing stupid or funny happened. Sure enough the Sonics did the right thing and picked the player who could save basketball in the Emerald City. At the time Seattle was mired in a bureaucratic stand off between an idiot mayor, a slimy Oklahoma oilman, and the czar of the NBA David Stern. The Sonics were sold by coffee mogul Howard Schultz to Clay Bennett in 2006 and Clay promised to keep the team in Seattle so long as the city built a new arena. After 3 months it was apparent new ownership had ulterior motives. As if it wasn't bad enough Clay planned to pick up the Sonics and move them to OKLAHOMA CITY he was going to take the future of the NBA with him. In the back of my mind I felt Kevin Durant would show the fans of Seattle and city officials that he was the real deal worth fighting for.

Kevin didn't disappoint earning rookie of the year honors averaging 20 points per game. City officials didn't do their part however and the worst case scenario became reality. Seattle Supersonic Kevin Durant would become Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant. I knew Seattle was losing a great player, but I had no idea he would get to be so good so fast.

Kevin Durant's 2nd season was difficult to watch. He was coming into his own quietly averaging 25 points while ownership sold out every game and put together a nice young nucleus around him. I couldn't bring myself to be happy for Kevin because I felt cheated. I felt like his maturation into a basketball god should be witnessed in Seattle. OKC couldn't possibly appreciate him the way Seattle would. There was jealousy, envy, and disgust running through my veins. Not only was Kevin Durant putting up big numbers on the court, he was establishing himself as a leader and a pillar in the community off the court. He even attended summer league games to support his team mates and give them encouragement. What superstar does that?

Midway through Kevin's 3rd season I started to feel ill. I watched an interview with Kevin and Magic Johnson where he proclaimed his love for OKC and that he wanted to play his entire career there. The Bennett's had brainwashed him into thinking OKC was the place to be. If he loved OKC imagine the dedication and devotion he would've shown for Seattle? He would eventually end the season winning his first scoring title (averaging 30 points a game) and signing a 5 year extension to stay with the Thunder. If he wasn't going to be a Seattle Supersonic the least he could do was play in New York, Chicago, or LA where everyone could see how great he was. Playing in OKC for 5 more years was a slap in the face.

Then came USA Basketball and the World Championships. Without Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, D Wade, Chris Bosh, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, or Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant single handedly put the USA team on his back and carried them to a gold medal. He simply annihilated the competition winning the FIBA World Championship MVP setting all time records for scoring in the process. It was at that point I got sick to my stomach. Kevin Durant had become unbearable to watch. His skills were other worldly and at 22 his potential was limitless. Soring titles? MVP's? Championships? There's nothing Kevin Durant couldn't accomplish and he would be doing it all in Nowereville, OK.

Kevin Durant's exit from Seattle to OKC is like no other occurrence in the history of sports. There's no other comparison. It is the equivalent of the Colts drafting Peyton Manning and then moving the team to Des Moines, Iowa. It is the equivalent of drafting Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, or Lebron James and then moving the team to Cheyenne, Wyoming. He didn't get traded or leave in free agency, they UP AND MOVED THE TEAM! The better Kevin Durant gets, the more it hurts to watch and he's getting better everyday. I know I sound like sour grapes, but I have good reason. It's not everyday a city gets robbed of their basketball team with the potential MVP of the league on the roster. There's no possible way to make up for this injustice. For now I'll have to watch in amazement and wonder what could have been. Life is not always fair.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kobe Will Join Mike In The 6 Chip Club

The summer of 2010 was the most dramatic off season in the history of the NBA. Lebron James took his talents down to South Beach (along with free agent Chris Bosh), Kevin Durant showed the world he's ready for league domination, Joe Johnson and Amar'e Stoudemire got embarrassing overpaid, and Carmelo Anthony asked to be traded. With so many newsworthy stories and subplots it's easy to see how some things were overlooked. Lost in the shuffle is the quest for immortality by one Kobe Bryant. This is the year Kobe Bryant takes his rightful place alongside Michael Jordan as the greatest player of the modern era. 6 titles and 2 three peats is the bar set by his Airness. Kobe Bryant is one chip away from standing on equal ground.

Don't think for one minute Kobe isn't completely aware of the magnitude of this accomplishment. He's heard all summer how the Miami Heat are the new darlings of the NBA, but I guarantee he will not let them stand in his way. You think a guy like that comes this close to realizing all his hopes and dreams just to let some upstart crew steal his glory at the last second? Kobe's an angry, bitter, unforgiving, arrogant man who fancies himself basketball royalty. The concept drives and motivates him to greatness like no other player since.... Kobe's concentration and focus won't allow him to get distracted by outside forces. It's all about him and this is his time to shine. Awards and accolades don't mean anything to him anymore, it's all about joining Mike in the 6 chip club. Once he's accomplished that the conversation really begins.

Basketball purists will never say Kobe Bryant is equal to Michael Jordan because they live in the past. Kobe Bryant is the here and now and is every bit the champion Michael was (after he wins the sixth). It's time for fans to acknowledge the fact that Michael will have company atop Mt. Olympus when this season is over. You don't have to pay tribute with a bronze statue in front of the Staples Center, but 6 chips is 6 chips no matter how you slice it. Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan in the same breath. King Kobe and his Airness. Get used to it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekend Observations

If you followed the advice of Young Sam Rothstein over the weekend you didn't get your knee caps broken, but you didn't break the bank either. Nebraska handled their business on the road and the Dolphins survived the spread with a controversial call against the Steelers. Not my best weekend, but not a total loss. At least Auburn, New England, and the Seahawks all covered. Fantasy football proved to be a little more favorable as I cruised to victory in one of my leagues and I'm up 14 points in another league going into tonight's game (I have Steve Smith and my opponent has New York's defense). My trash talking league didn't go so well. As I faced off against my arch nemesis my team laid a big smelly egg. I had Washington's defense which managed to get 4 interceptions (nice work DeAngelo Hall) and score 26 points but Ryan Mathews, John Carlson, Golden Tate, Brandon Tate, and Robbie Gould scored a combined 3 points for me. Needless to say the playoffs may not be in the cards this year. Here are some observations from the weekend.

The NFL:

The AFC West is the Chiefs division to lose. Even though the Raiders beat the snot piss out of Denver, Oakland is not a team you can depend on week in and week out. San Diego relies too much on Phillip Rivers and he can't do it all by himself. The Midwest version of the Patriots will make the playoffs.

The Ravens are serious about making a run to the Super Bowl. In years past Baltimore has turned to Ray Lewis and Ed Reed to keep them in ball games, but now they have the ability to win games with their offense. 30+ points is no big deal anymore. Watch out.

New Orleans has chemistry issues. The absence of Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush has taken its toll on the Super Bowl champs. It's never acceptable to lose to the Cleveland Browns (especially at home) and if the Saints don't get healthy in a hurry they won't get an opportunity to repeat as champs.

College Football:

The only thing we know for sure is that Oregon is an offensive machine. They won't be stopped this year. Wisconsin is a fly in the ointment, but I just don't trust them to win the Big Ten title. They are due for a major reality check. Notre Dame's lack of relevance (the topic of my Aug 26th blog) hit an all time low with their loss to Navy. Clearly they don't deserve their own network. It's time to pull the plug on this experiment. The Heisman trophy goes to Cam Newton. End of discussion.


San Francisco and Texas shocked the world by making it to the World Series and dispelling the myth that the Yankees and Phillies were unbeatable. the $20,000,000 guys (Ryan Howard and Alex Rodriguez) both struck out to end the final game. Sometimes money can't buy a championship. Go figure. I hope this World Series doesn't ruin baseball. With viewership down across the board I don't for see this match up getting very good ratings. We already know Taco Bell and Subway are upset they don't get to run their commercials anymore. For what it's worth I'm taking the San Francisco Giants to win the World Series. Cliff Lee can't pitch every game.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Magic Has A Trick Up His Sleeve

Earvin "Magic" Johnson recently sold his interest in the Los Angeles Lakers to a prominent doctor for an undisclosed amount. A few days later he turned around and sold his interest in Starbucks back to the company. These moves are particularly curious considering Magic is not strapped for cash and both investments have proved to be very lucrative over the years. NBA rules dictate that a person can't have ownership in two separate basketball franchises because of the conflict of interest. Could this be a clue as to what Magic's future plans are? He has become very liquid with his assets which also poses the question, what is his next move?

It is no secret Magic Johnson has always wanted a bigger percentage of ownership and the ability to have more control over basketball decisions. What better way to accomplish those goals than to put together an investment group to buy a basketball team and build it from the ground up? Seattle is a city that claims to want an NBA franchise and fans are still reeling over the Kevin Durant debacle. It seems like the perfect atmosphere to pull a Pete Carroll type move starting from scratch and assembling talent for a solid foundation. This may all be a pipe dream. Maybe these are just the thoughts of a frustrated former Sonics fan looking for a ray of hope and a silver lining. You have to admit though Magic's actions definitely give the impression he has something big planned for his next endeavor. Let's hope Magic Johnson's next trick is resurrecting the Seattle Supersonics. Wouldn't that be nice?

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Return Of Young Sam Rothstein

Ladies and gentlemen, family, friends, and followers it is the return of Young Sam Rothstein. The last time I shared my wisdom, knowledge, and sportsbook expertise with you several people walked away with thousands of dollars in their pocket. In all fairness I was able to single handedly change the lives of those that listened to me and wagered on my picks. Since we last spoke I've been banned from betting at Caesars Palace for fear they might not have enough cash on hand to cover all my bets and that I could temporarily bankrupt the casino. I don't know why they're so scared, that's only happened one other time and that was a smaller hotel off the strip. That place opened right back up for business the following day so no harm no foul right? At any rate FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT ARE PAYING ATTENTION I AM ABOUT TO GIVE YOU THE PROVERBIAL LOCKS FOR THE WEEKEND. THIS IS THE EQUIVALENT OF TELLING YOU THE WINNING LOTTERY NUMBERS BEFORE THE DRAWING! USE THIS INFORMATION HOW YOU SEE FIT TO OBTAIN WEALTH!

Oklahoma St. +6 over Nebraska. Nebraska got exposed last week against Texas and Taylor Martinez showed a lot of weaknesses in his game. The rushing attack is still there for Nebraska, but Oklahoma St. is at home and the Cowboy fans will be ready to cheer their team to victory.

Auburn -5 1/2 over LSU. LSU has won a lot of close games in the final minutes of the 4th quarter, but their luck runs out this weekend. Cam Newton simply can't be stopped by college kids. He's too big, too fast, and too strong. The DB's cringe everytime they see him in the secondary. Lets just hope the Auburn defense can hold LSU under 40 points.

Seattle -6 over Arizona. The addition of Marshawn Lynch gives Seattle the downhill runner they've been missing and a nice compliment to the running style of Justin Forsett. The defensive line is playing much better and should give Max Hall a tough time all afternoon. The 12th man will be in full effect.

Pittsburgh -3 over Miami. Miami stole one last Sunday because Green Bay doesn't know how to finish. Pittsburgh doesn't have that same problem. The return of Big Ben can't be overstated. The Steelers are brimming with confidence and see themselves playing in Cowboy Stadium in February. Miami doesn't have enough weapons to hold them off.

New England +2 1/2 over San Diego. The Chargers have several key players nursing nagging injuries including all world tight end Antonio Gates and wide receiver Malcolm Floyd. Deion Branch has stepped right back into his role as play maker for the Patriots and they seem to be past the Randy Moss drama in record time. Patriots roll.

There it is my friends. I recommend using most of your money on 2 team parlays this weekend. As we get deeper into the season error on the side of caution. Straight bets are fine, but the return on investment isn't that high. The sexy 3 team parlay should only be attempted in small doses. Good luck everyone!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Has The NFL Turned Into Touch Football?

The NFL cracked down on violent hits last Sunday levying fines against James Harrison and Brandon Meriweather for their play. James Harrison was so distraught over the implication he's a dirty player he contemplated retirement. He was uncertain if he could continue to play football at a high level under the current rules and regulations regarding legal and illegal hits. In my opinion the league has become a little soft in response to violent contact.

I'm not saying the league should return to the days of Jack Tatum paralyzing people or horse collar tackles that result in torn knee ligaments, but there has to be a compromise. As it stands right now quarterbacks and receivers are barely allowed to be touched anyway. It's not good business for star players to watch from the sidelines. The quarterback is the most important position and big play receivers make them look good. You can't have one without the other.

I'm speaking from a fans perspective of course, but when I break this whole situation down I can't help but think of Lawrence Taylor's character Shark from the movie On Any Given Sunday. Left to their own definition of right and wrong players will beat each others brains out and risk permanent damage to their bodies in the process.

The league may be turning soft, but isn't that because the NFL is thinking about the player's well being after football? Is it me or is Ray Lewis starting to slur his words a little bit? In the end the NFL is protecting the players from themselves and the players (and fans alike) will have to realize it's for their own good. In addition, there's more money to be made. How else would the the league make it through a proposed 18 game season? The NFL has to protect its investment somehow right? Ultimately the NFL is doing the right thing for purely selfish reasons. Go figure.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Is Gilbert Arenas Bad For The NBA?

For the sake of argument I have phrased the title of this blog in the form of a question, but make no mistake about it Gilbert Arenas is bad for basketball. If you don't believe me ask Ted Leonsis (Washington Wizards owner) Billy Hunter (President of the NBAPA) or the marketing director for Adidas (if he still has his job). Gilbert Arenas is exactly the type of player NOBODY wants to be associated with.

Ownership can't stand Gilbert Arenas because talent wise he's worth $111,000,000 over 6 years, but if you factor in injuries and off the court distractions he's worth about $111,000 over that same period of time. At this point his shenanigans have rendered him virtually impossible to trade. Who wants to pay $17,730,694 a season for a player that doesn't know better than to tweet at halftime, bring guns into a locker room, or fake an injury.

The NBAPA can't stand Gilbert Arenas because he's jeopardizes the status of the guaranteed contract. If you're sitting across from David Stern during negotiations how do you defend your position when the question comes up, "How do we avoid having another Gilbert Arenas situation?" The answer is so obvious a 7 year old could tell you. DON'T GUARANTEE THE CONTRACTS! I don't think the players association is willing to rescind the status quo for the actions of one player. A lock out is almost inevitable.

Fans and merchandising companies can't stand Gilbert Arenas because he's fickle and aloof with a personality that's difficult to grasp. You never know what to expect from the guy. Sometimes you wonder if he cares about anything and sometimes you wonder by his actions if he truly understands the difference between right and wrong. At any rate he's not somebody you can whole heartedly endorse without a great deal of reservation.

All of this doesn't make Gilbert Arenas a bad person. I'm sure he takes care of his family, donates to charity, and helps out countless individuals in need. Ultimately his talent has cursed him because with great talent comes great expectation. Gilbert the person is excelling in that aspect. Gilbert the basketball persona is failing miserably. I hope he turns it around. It would be better for everyone.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Seattle Sounders Will Win The MLS Cup

With the United States coming off of a thrilling World Cup run the thought was the MLS would increase their fan base and embrace the world's sport. There has been an increase in popularity, but nothing like MLS officials had anticipated. Seattle continues to pack Qwest Field, but the rest of the league hasn't experienced the same kind of support. I still believe the great soccer revolution in this country is about 10 years away. Futbol will never be as popular as football or basketball, but it will become a viable commodity that can flourish in select markets.

The MLS playoffs start in a couple of weeks and the MLS Cup is up for grabs. Defending champs Real Salt Lake have their eyes set on repeating, but there are several teams that stand in their way. New York and Los Angeles are getting healthier and the impact of Thierry Henry (New York) and David Beckham (Los Angeles) can't be over looked. Although these international stars are past their primes they are still dangerous and have a ton of experience in big games. Columbus looked like a contender early, but they have struggled in the 2nd half of the season with consistency and don't appear to be a factor. FC Dallas remains a threat having enjoyed a 19 game unbeaten streak during the season (a league record) but I question whether they are ready for prime time. That leaves the Seattle Sounders. The Sounders have had a spectacular 2nd half of the season and managed to win their 2nd consecutive Open cup. If they stay healthy and get past Los Angeles I think this could be the year the Sounders bring the cup back to the Emerald city and establish Seattle as the soccer capital of the country. The Sounders have talent, depth, and a rabid fan base so now all they need is the hardware to put them on the map. Good luck.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend Observations

Not my best week on the fantasy football front. All the players on every team I manage had a lack luster Sunday. Dwayne Bowe decided to have a break out day the same week I put his ass on the bench. Go figure. Peyton Manning and Tony Romo both had good days, but everyone else is running extra wind sprints after practice for their pitiful performance. I have an outside chance of winning one of my leagues if Nate Washington has a big game for the Titans tonight. I'm not holding my breath though. Here are some observations from the weekend:

The NFL:

The Packers play down to the level of their competition and if they're not careful they will find themselves on the wrong side of the playoff picture. Injuries to Jermichael Finley, Clay Matthews , and Ryan Grant are taking their toll.

The Patriots are doing that Patriot thing again. Contrary to my prediction Deion Branch stepped into the offense and looked as if he'd never left. The Jets are up by a half game in the division, but they better not blink.

The Eagles have themselves a full fledge quarterback controversy. Kevin Kolb looked like he wasn't ready to relinquish the starting job on Sunday. What do the Eagles do when Vick is cleared to play? Quarterback is not the position for uncertainty.

College Football:

Auburn will not win the SEC. Although Cam Newton is probably the Heisman front runner at this point in the season Auburn's defense is Swiss cheese. I look for them to struggle on the road and drop at least 2 games.

Boise St. might play in the BCS championship game after all. Oklahoma will not run the table, but Oregon and Boise St. will. We might have to sit through a repeat of the LeGarrette Blount Bowl for the national championship.

2011 will be the draft for receivers and quarterbacks. The value is at the skill positions. Andrew Luck, Ryan Mallett, Julio Jones, A.J. Greene, and Greg Childs could all go in the first 15 picks. The running back crop (aside from the Alabama duo) hasn't impressed me to this point.


The Yankees and Phils are still on a collision course for the World Series. The Rangers scratched out a victory and Tim Lincecum stepped up for the Giants, but the Yankees and Phils have too much talent. It is only a matter of time.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Are The Yankees Bad For Sports?

When I saw the Texas Ranges up 5-0 in the 7th inning last night I turned the channel and assumed the outcome was inevitable. Several minutes later a friend of mine sent me a text saying, "We got ourselves a game son!" I flipped back to TBS just in time to see the New York Yankees take the lead 6-5 and Mariano Rivera close the door in the 9th. The scene was all too familiar. The Yankees were high fiving and chest bumping as they once again sucked the life out of their opponent. They are too stacked not to win the World Series again this year. Is it unfair the Yankees get to stockpile talent while smaller markets suffer under the weight of economic pressures? Clearly the playing field is un level, but is that a bad thing? In my opinion the Yankees are an example of capitalism at its finest. If you have the money why not spend it? You can't feel sorry for using an unfair advantage (that's perfectly within the rules) to get what you want. Sports needs Goliaths. Sports fans tune in to see if somebody, anybody can stop the bullies in pinstripes. This is a good thing. It fosters an environment of optimism that the little guy can overcome insurmountable odds and achieve their goals. Even if the thought is unrealistic fans need to believe it is possible otherwise they will give up hope and surrender to the feeling of inferiority. America respects dominance and greatness and the Yankees have both. When the season starts everyone else is playing for 2nd place. I think the Phillies will end up with that distinction this year. Go Yanks! Do your thing!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cleavie The Greek Predicts Texas Over Nebraska

Texas is the flagship program of the Big 12. They are the anchor and the face of the conference. Armed with a huge TV contract and a satchel full of money Texas has looked like anything but a perennial powerhouse. Embarrassing losses to UCLA at home and Oklahoma has people wondering whether or not Texas is in over their heads. A win against Nebraska would go a long way towards righting the ship and restoring credibility to the program. Nebraska has looked impressive in their wins this season and they have a potent running game, but I question how their freshmen quarterback will perform against a desperate Texas squad. My guess is that Taylor Martinez shows flashes of brilliance, but eventually succumbs to the pressure and fails to execute when it really counts. College kids have a mind of their own and are easily distracted so this game will be close. In the end the Longhorns pull it out, save face, and save the season. Here are a few bonus picks from Cleavie The Greek:

49ers over Raiders. I said on Monday how entertaining it was to watch the 49ers find unique and creative ways to lose football games, but the Raiders are almost as bad. Penalties and special teams will decide the outcome, but the 49ers are at home and if they have any pride at all they will win the battle of the bay.

Ravens over Patriots. There are too many moving parts in New England to expect them to beat a potential Super Bowl contender like the Ravens. The subtraction of Randy Moss coupled with the addition of Deion Branch leaves the Patriots offense without any cohesion and timing. The Ravens defense and their strong running game will keep the contest low scoring. Ravens by a field goal.

Vikings over Cowboys. Now that Randy Moss has had a full week of practice he can be the impact player everyone expects him to be. Between tendinitis in his elbow and the ongoing investigation into personal conduct violations no one knows how long Brett Favre will remain at quarterback so this is a must win for Minnesota. Both of these teams are desperate, but Minnesota is more desperate. Vikings in a blow out.

Get your note pads out next Friday. It's the return of Young Sam Rothstein. $$$$$$$$!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Is The UFC Better Than Boxing?

When Randy "The Natural" Couture beat James "Lights Out" Toney into submission it made a statement that MMA Fighters are more well rounded and effective than the one dimensional boxer. In an alley fight Tito Ortiz is beating up Mike Tyson (if he doesn't land a lucky punch). That being said is the UFC really better than boxing?

If depends on your definition of better. MMA purists will argue that when you come to see a fight, you come to see a fight. No dancing around the ring landing pity pat punches, you come to see someone get their ass kicked. Boxing purists suggest that the sweet science is much more refined and displays the mastery of a skill barbaric cage fighters can't fully appreciate.

I'll be the first to admit that on average a UFC fight is more action packed than a boxing match, but I can't tell you who won UFC 84. Tyson vs. Holyfield? Leonard vs. Hearns? De La Hoya vs. Trinidad? Roy Jones Jr, vs. Bernard Hopkins? Those fights are truly memorable. UFC fights somewhat run together for me. No one match up really stands out in my mind.

In terms of fan popularity boxing has a 100 year head start on the UFC. Gracie, Smith, Shamrock, and Liddell doesn't roll of the tongue the same way Ali, Frazier, Foreman, and Tyson does. Boxing is on life support however while the UFC is gaining in popularity and acceptance. The gap is still rather wide though and the UFC has a long way to go before the fighters make as much money as boxers. Georges St Pierre and Josh Koscheck will make 40 times less than Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao would if they decide to fight. In the end boxing still has more drama, intrigue, and anticipation than the UFC, but if both sports continue at their current pace the UFC will surpass boxing in the next decade. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yes, Even Brett Favre

Brett Favre is under investigation for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. It appears even Brett Favre is not immune to the power of technology. Now we know why Brett had such a hard time deciding if he wanted to return for one final season. He probably anticipated this media scandal and wondered if it was worth the risk. Is his legacy in jeopardy? Will he be remembered as the 3 time league MVP who won a Super Bowl and passed for 70,000 yards and 500 touchdowns or will he be remembered for sending pictures of his penis and lewd text messages to reporters and massage therapists?

In my opinion he will be remembered for the latter because the American public craves drama. We build people up just to tear them down and pass judgement when they don't meet our unrealistic expectations. It is always more painful and disappointing for fans when athletes they don't expect to get in trouble show their human side. This is reminiscent of Mark McGwire pleading the 5th when asked about his steroid use. We all thought he was one of the good guys until the curtain was pulled back and Mark was exposed as a cheater and a liar. In the upcoming weeks Brett will be exposed as a typical jock who got caught up in his own ego and fame. There will be a public apology and a cry for help and forgiveness. Brett may actually have to go to the sex addict clinic in Mississippi just to prove he's taking the necessary steps on the road to recovery.

This incident is neither sad or shocking. It's just another example of what can happen to powerful men that succumb to the weaknesses of ego and curiosity. We can no longer be surprised when these incidents happen. We should be more surprised when they don't. It will be interesting to see how Brett Favre handles adversity when his private life becomes public knowledge. I'm pulling for him to get out of this mess, but history has shown us that once the media machine is in motion it's hard to turn it off. My feelings about the golden Brett won't change. Will yours?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Oracle Will See You Now

It's that time of the year when the sports worlds collide and overlap with one another. My friends, fans, and followers have burning questions that they desperately need answers to. It's my pleasure to provide you with a glimpse into the future.

The NBA:

Kobe Bryant will win his 6th NBA title and the Lakers will three peat as champions. The Miami Heat will be must see TV, but Kobe is on a mission for basketball immortality and won't let the Miami "novelty" stand in his way.

Rookie of the year: John Wall
League MVP: Kevin Durant
Most improved player: Blake "The Barbarian" Griffin

College Basketball:

Kentucky will spend most of the weeks during the season at the top of the rankings, but when the post season begins they will have trouble executing in the half court and lose in the regional finals. Duke will cut down the nets once again and repeat as national champions. The UConn women will lose 2 games (a disappointing season by their standards) but they will beat Brittney Griner and Baylor in the championship.


This is the year the Vancouver Canucks put it all together and hoist Lords Stanley's trophy in victory. Roberto Luongo and the Sedin brothers will step up in the playoffs and take their games to the next level. Alexander Ovechkin is still the leagues best player, but until the Capitals get another goal scorer they will not advance out of the Eastern conference.


Jimmy Johnson will hold off team mate Jeff Gordon to win his 5th Sprint Cup Series title. Too bad his name is Jimmy Johnson. The first thing that comes to mind when you hear that name is the hall of fame coach and not the NASCAR driver making history.

College Football:

Oregon will win the national championship over Ohio St. Although the SEC is the power conference their brutal schedule won't allow for a representative in the big game. The losses will cancel each other out.


The New York Yankees will repeat as World Series champions. Money, power, and respect will continue to reign supreme in the Bronx. Philadelphia will be a brides maid once again.


The impending suspension of Brett Favre leaves the NFC wide open. Atlanta will run the gauntlet and end up in the Super Bowl against the New York Jets. You guys know how I feel about the Jets. This will be their first Super Bowl win since Broadway Joe guaranteed victory over the colts in Super Bowl III. Long time coming.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekend Observations

I made a rookie mistake in one of my fantasy leagues this weekend. I didn't follow the injury report all the way to Friday. LeSean McCoy ended up playing on Sunday and did quite well. I'm 27 points down going into tonight's Monday night game, but I have Adrian Peterson and New York's defense going. Let's hope Revis Island has returned for real. In my trash talking league I'm on a 3 game winning streak and yes I've been talking quite a bit of trash. Malcolm Floyd and Tony Romo both put up monster numbers for me. They both lost their game, but that's not my concern. It's all about the fantasy! In my last league the team I played started Matt Forte, Ray Rice, Miles Austin, Chris Cooley, and Robbie Gould. I got the snot piss kicked out of me. Snot piss is the new phrase for when a team gets beat down beyond belief. Tell all your friends. Here are some observations from the weekend:

The NFL:

Carson Palmer will be the reason the Cincinnati Bengals won't make the playoffs. Losing to Tampa Bay at home is inexcusable and Carson hasn't looked like himself all season. With a receiving corp that talented someone has to take the blame for their lack of production.

Dallas will host the Super Bowl, but the Cowboys won't be playing. Their offensive line is way too shaky and the Cowboys play as if they expect teams to roll over for them because they are a high profile team. If they don't stop reading their own press clippings pretty soon they might not make the playoffs.

Mike Singletary will not be the coach of the 49ers next season. I have to give the 49ers credit though. They find more entertaining and unique ways to lose a game than any team I've seen in quite a long while. All they need is a botched hold on an extra point to complete the cycle.

Special teams is the new secret weapon. At least 3 games this season have been decided by dramatic punt returns, kick off returns, or blocked kicks. One coach has already lost his job in Miami over special teams blunders and it looks as if the San Diego coach isn't far behind him.

College Football:

To say the SEC is the power conference right now would be an incredible understatement. 5 teams in the top 12 is kind of ridiculous. The Pac 10 will win the national championship however. Does that trump the 5 team thing?

Andrew Luck is the front runner to be the #1 draft pick next year. His game against USC proved he's the best quarter back in the country right now. I hope Jake Locker can hold on to 1st round draft pick status. It's 50-50 right now.

Boise St. is still a fly in the ointment. Alabama's loss to South Carolina gave Boise St. some life and if Oregon slips up (which is quites possible) and Ohio St. runs the table we could see a horrible match up in the national championship game. For the record Ohio St. would beat the snot piss out of Boise St.


Major league baseball needs the steroids back. Either that or the pitchers are taking something we don't know about. Not to take anything away from Lincecum, Halladay, and Hamels but if they keep it up ratings will suffer greatly. Chicks dig the long ball and only baseball purists trully enjoy perfect games and shut outs. Did I mention Cliff Lee and David Price are dueling on Tuesday? We'll prbably see more of the same. I think Cliff will pull it out.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

MLB Umpires Suck

I thought when we saw Jim Joyce rob the Detroit Tigers pitcher of a perfect game and baseball immortality umpires would come together and get their act straight. Instead we enter the post season and the umpires are making more mistakes than ever. Check swings are being missed, strikes are called balls, catches are ruled as hits, and tagged players are being ruled safe. We've already seen 2 very mild mannered managers completely lose their temper over these botched calls and I'm sure we'll see more in the future. What is the cause of all this nonsense you ask? It's major league baseball's refusal to use modern day technology as a tool to identify and change bad calls. Every other major sport (with the exception of soccer) uses instant replay to reverse calls that were missed. Humans are imperfect and mistakes are a part of life. There's no shame in taking an extra look at a play in super slow motion that could ultimately decide the outcome of a game. Baseball seems to think instant replay is a personal attack on the integrity and skill level of its umpires. In a billion dollar industry where human error can change the course of history it's time MLB stopped being so proud. Since when did a clear perspective ever hurt anyone?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Cleavie The Greek Predicts Jets Over Vikings

This game was going to be entertaining before the Randy Moss trade, but now it's must see TV. There are so many subplots it's ridiculous. Brett Favre's return to New York, the return of Revis Island, and a rejuvenated LT versus the best back in football (yes Adrian Peterson is the best back in football) is enough to peak the interest of a casual fan let alone a die hard fan like myself. Everything is bigger when it happens in New York and this game has as much drama as a week 5 match up can provide. It will be a high scoring close game, but in the end the Vikings will lose for 2 reasons, Randy Moss and Brett Favre. It's too much to ask of a player (even one of Randy Moss's stature) to come in on a Thursday and be able to significantly contribute to the outcome of a game 4 days later. Randy Moss doesn't know the offense, he isn't settled into his new/old surroundings, and it's a Monday night game on the road. Brett Favre is about as mobile as a 40 year old quarterback with bad ankles and he's going to face a blitz happy Jets team. Don't be surprised to see him throw 3 or 4 picks in this game. Mark Sanchez will have a short field all night and the Jets will prevail. Here are a few bonus picks from Cleavie the Greek:

Michigan over Michigan st. Denard Robinson is impossible to stop right now and the big house is rocking like Desmond Howard is still on campus. In addition, coach Dantonio isn't healthy enough to call plays from the sidelines. The Spartans are good, but they won't win this one.

Florida over LSU. The Gators need a bounce back game after the embarrassing loss to Alabama last week and an overrated LSU team is just what the doctor ordered. LSU has been on borrowed time since the North Carolina game. No more fluke wins.

Stanford over USC. The beginning of the end has begun in Trojan land. The Huskies exposed USC last week and the Stanford Cardinal will have no problem kicking them while they're down. Andrew Luck will have a monster game and solidify his claim as the best quarterback in the Pac 10 (if not the nation).

Detroit over St. Louis. We could call this the battle for the ROY award, but instead we'll call it the "gotta happen sometime" game. Detroit has had several heart breaking losses to start the season, but facing a rookie quarterback at home will help to change their fortunes.

Dallas over Tennessee. It looks like teams have figured out the key to stopping Chris Johnson and without him the Titans have to rely on Vince Young to win games. I repeat, without an effective Chris Johnson the Titans have to rely on Vince Young to win games. The Cowboys will roll.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How Kevin Garnett Changed The NBA

Loyalty is something that hurts you at times because you can't get youth back. I can honestly say that if I could go back and do my situation over knowing what I know now with this organization I'd have done it a little sooner. I don't know where Lebron's head is at but the world is his.

- Kevin Garnett after game 6 versus Cleveland

A wise man learns from observing the mistakes of others and avoids falling victim to the same fate. He listens to the wisdom of men who have experienced the same set of circumstances they are currently facing. Kevin Garnett gave Lebron James a hint about how to handle his future when he expressed his regret for not leaving his situation in Minnesota sooner.

The subliminal message was simple, don't be like me. Get out while you're still young before they lock you in and you waste all of your prime years trying to please everyone. It's a message Lebron James heard loud and clear. Kevin Garnett's words had a profound impact on Lebron's decision to take his talents down to South Beach. Kevin Garnett's words also had a profound impact on Carmelo Anthony's request for a trade this off season.

The NBA Landscape and the mentality of franchise basketball players is forever different because of the Big Ticket. No longer will elite players sign their lives away in the hopes that an organization will make the right moves to provide the talent necessary to win an NBA championship. No longer will elite players end up like Mitch Richmond, Reggie Miller, and Dirk Nowitzki playing their whole careers for the same team and not accomplishing their goals. The NBA is a business and like Kevin Garnett said, loyalty is something that hurts you at times.

It isn't a personal decision to move on and cut your losses. I'm sure if Carmelo and Lebron had their way they would rather win a championship in the cities that drafted them, but the reality is those organizations won't be in a position to do that anytime soon. Why should Carmelo and Lebron sacrifice their youth and abilities only to end up like Karl Malone, John Stockton, and Patrick Ewing?

As these players move on from organizations they've been a part of since they were teenagers and fan bases that have embraced them as if they were family they may feel a slight sting. That's loyalty messing with them. Forget Loyalty! Loyalty only hurts, it never helps. A few years from now when they're kicking it with their Larry O'Brien trophies and their 29 karat championship rings they're going to say Kevin Garnett was right. Trust the man, he's speaking from experience.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What If Athletes Were Like Horses?

Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 horse of the year retired from horse racing last week as one of the most successful phillys of all time. She is scheduled to sire offspring with Curlin, the 2008 horse of the year. Horse breeders don't waste any time getting to the next superstar thoroughbred and they don't take any chances. They pair champions with champions to insure the bloodline will yield the desired results. A horse breeders philosophy is it's all in the genes. What if professional athletes shared the same philosophy? We already have a few examples of this with Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra, Candace Parker and Sheldon Williams, and Andre Agassi and Stefi Graf, but if I was a mad scientist these are the athletes I'd put together to create "super athletes."

Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal. The city of Compton meets the mean streets of Madrid. This is a no brainer. These two would produce a child with amazingly quick hands, incredible strength and endurance, and a killer instinct. The Nadal offspring would not be overwhelmed by the big stage. Lets hope the child came out of the womb with their father's disposition.

Shaq and Lauren Jackson. Size, size, and more size. We're talking about a kid with huge hands and tremendous balance for a post player around the hoop. This kid would be able to extend the range out to 18 feet and slam dunk on opponents at will. With a little training we could witness Wilt Chamberlin with a jump shot. Scary. Let's hope it would be a boy.

Jenny Finch and Stephen Strasburg. I'm sensing a fastball in the range of 110 to 115 mph. They would have to move the softball mound back 10 feet and develop body armor for MBL batters. Dare I say this child's arm would be bionic. Announcers would ask the questions, "Do you think the hitters even see the ball?" "Does the catcher have to carry special insurance to call Strasburg games?"

Amanda Beard and Michael Phelps. It's quite possible this child would come out of the womb with gill slits like a salmon. The child would probably be able to hold their breath under water longer than David Blaine. The breaststroke, the backstroke, the butterfly, it wouldn't matter. The child would be like aquaman or aquagirl just without the telepathic ability to talk to marine animals.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Layla Ali. Again, lets hope it would be a boy. This child would not be the quiet and shy type. Little Ali Mayweather probably would have hands almost as fast as his mouth. With unbelievable footwork, a pin point jab, and a master of the bob and weave little Mayweather might not get hit 5 times in a fight. Something tells me we wouldn't have to tell him how good he was, he'd do that for us.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Yankees, Rays, Phils, and Giants

I know what you're thinking to yourself, way to go out on a limb there Cleavie. You picked all the favorites, good job. I wish I could say that any one of the LCS match ups could provide some drama, but that simply isn't the case. There have been some upsets in the past few years with Florida and Colorado making surprise runs to the world series, but both of those teams were white hot coming into the post season. Texas, Minnesota, and Cincinnati all had it on cruise control for the last 2 weeks. Here are my thoughts on the match ups.

New York vs. Minnesota. The absence of Justin Morneau in the Twins line up will be too much to overcome. New York has owned Minnesota in the past and this year will be no different. The Yankees pay for the right to be in this position and their investment is about to pay dividends.

Tampa Bay vs. Texas. Tampa Bay has its goals set on the world series while Texas is happy to finally see the organization have some success. You can never count out Cliff Lee in a big game and he might come out of the series with 2 wins, but the Rays are fundamentally sound plus they have some unfinished business with New York.

Cincinnati vs. Philadelphia. The Reds are another team that overachieved this season and are just happy to be in the playoffs. Halliday, Oswalt, and Hamels have too much pitching dominance for a young Cincinnati ball club. This experience is something to grow on and nothing more. The Phils will cruise.

Atlanta vs. San Francisco. This is the feel good story of the season. Wouldn't it be nice to send Bobby Cox out a winner and validate his managerial genius? It would be, but the Braves expended all of their emotion and energy getting into the post season. The 2 time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum has something in store for them.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weekend Observations

For the first time all season I won my match up in all 3 of my fantasy football leagues. Carson Palmer anchored my trash talking league and Robbie Gould came through with a late field goal to lead my team to victory. In my 2nd league I was fortunate Jay Cutler got knocked out of the game and Brandon Jacobs scored a touchdown that rightfully belonged to Ahmad Bradshaw. I barely escaped with the W. My 3rd league was just an overall steady performance by my entire team with an extra shout out to Reggie Wayne. Nice game Reg. Here are some observations from the weekend.

The NFL:

Matt Bryant and Josh Scobee must have heard me talking smack about kickers last week because they came through for Atlanta and Jacksonville respectively. The fraternity of kickers can hold their head high for a day. I still don't trust kickers though.

The Detroit Lions are much improved even if their record doesn't indicate it. 3 of the 4 Detroit losses this season have been decided by 5 points or less and without their starting quarterback. This may be the best 0-4 team Detroit has ever had.

Sam Bradford is the truth. I was hard on Sam during his contract negotiations this summer and labeled him as overrated. After watching him dismantle the Seahawks on Sunday I will humbly eat my words. If Bradford stays healthy he will resurrect the Rams franchise.

Oakland will be Oakland. Until we see a changing of the guard at the top of the Raiders organization they will never see success on the field. All the talent in the world will not help this dysfunctional franchise. Forget I ever told you the Raiders will win the AFC West.

College Football:

The Boise St. bubble has just burst. With Oregon leap frogging the Cowboys in the rankings and looking virtually unstoppable there is no chance Boise will play for a national championship. Reality has set in.

Florida and Texas are human. Both programs re-tooled very nicely this season, but both teams are missing senior quarterback leadership more than they anticipated. You know you have an elite program when one or two losses in a season is considered a disappointment.

Andrew Luck is better than Jake Locker. Although Jake had a fantastic game against USC and bounced back from his miserable performance against Nebraska Andrew Luck is a better quarterback. Even in a loss he showed he can make all the throws with accuracy and touch. He'll go ahead of Jake Locker in next years NFL draft.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cleavie The Greek Predicts McNabb Over Vick

The Philadelphia Eagles have the better team with an explosive offense led by the electrifying Michael Vick. The Philly fans are going to be rabid and they will boo Donovan McNabb mercilessly. That being said the Washington Redskins will win a nail biter.

This is a statement game for Donovan McNabb. It is his chance to prove the Eagles organization wrong for trading him and making him the scapegoat for the Eagles not winning a Super Bowl. No one likes to feel unappreciated and after 11 years of hard work and sacrifice the city of Philadelphia threw Donovan McNabb out with the bath water.

This game is his opportunity for redemption and although Donovan carries himself with class and dignity, deep down you know the circumstances of his departure has left a bitter taste in his mouth. His hall of fame resume goes virtually unnoticed and his accomplishments while in Philadelphia don't receive the acknowledgement they deserve. McNabb will have a Stonehenge size chip on his shoulder going into this game and the Redskins will win this contest 31-29. Here are some bonus picks from Cleavie the Greek:

Oregon over Stanford. Even without Masoli Oregon looks poised and ready to play for a national championship. Stanford is a formidable opponent, but they're a little overrated. Beating Notre Dame isn't that special these days.

New York over Chicago. The Giants are in crisis mode and this is a must win game. The emotions will run high as Tiki Barber will be inducted into the Giants ring of honor. Chicago is undefeated, but this is a tough game on the road and Cutler is due for a bad game.

Oakland over Houston. It's hard to pick a team as dysfunctional as the Raiders, but Andre Johnson is a little banged up and the Texans are still licking their wounds from the beating Dallas put on them last week. As long as it doesn't come down to a game winning field goal the Raiders will come out victorious.