My NCAA Football Top 25 – Preseason

Okay, here’s my Top 25 for the 2008 NCAA Football season.

  1. Georgia

  2. Southern California

  3. Oklahoma

  4. Ohio St.

  5. Missouri

  6. florida

  7. Clemson

  8. Louisiana St.

  9. Texas

  10. West Virginia

  11. Tennessee

  12. Wisconsin

  13. Auburn

  14. Texas Tech

  15. Arizona St.

  16. BYU

  17. Illinois

  18. Pennsylvania St.

  19. Kansas

  20. Virginia Tech

  21. Pittsburgh

  22. Oregon

  23. Fresno St.

  24. Wake Forest

  25. Alabama

Others to note: South florida, Virginia, South Carolina, Oregon St., Cincinnati, florida st., California, Michigan, Miami, Colorado

Euro 2008 Final

Well, I have been gone since last Tuesday and my soccer viewing has been minimized. I was able to see Germany’s 3-2 victory over a very game Turkey side, but I did not see Spain’s easy 3-0 win over an annoying Russian team.

Those games set up quite a final this afternoon between Spain and my pick, Germany. Unfortunately, I can’t give any sort of thought or analysis on Spain’s 1-0 win, since I was driving for the duration of the game.

Spain was missing the tournament’s golden boot winner David Villa because of a hamstring injury. I didn’t think they’d miss him too much with Cesc Fabregas and Dani Guiza ready to step in and pick up the slack. I was a little concerned with Fernando Torres form in the tournament, but he proved me wrong with his game winner in the 33rd minute. All in all, it was a great tournament and Spain were very deserving winners. Now we turn our attention to Word Cup 2010.

2008 NFL Prediction

Yes, I’m finally making my own predictions for the way the 2008 NFL season will turn out. No more of this ‘simulation‘ stuff, which a lot of people seemed to think were my actual prediction anyhow. Now you finally get my prediction as to what the standings will look like at the end of the season. I did go through every game for this season at least twice, and sometimes three times, insuring that I made the pick I wanted to and so that there isn’t any “well, this team could win this many games.” No, I went through every team’s schedule and picked which games I thought they would win and lose, this way if there was a game that was basically a toss up in my mind, I would pick each team to win that game on their own schedule. I then went to see where I picked game similarly. So if I picked the Chargers to win their game against the Dolphins on their schedule and then I picked the Dolphins to lose that same game on their schedule, then I knew that I should definitely have the Chargers winning and the Dolphins losing. However, if their was discrepancy, and had both team winning a game, I went back through and picked all of those games again.

Before we get to the actual predictions I have a few disclaimers. Keep in mind that it’s hard to pick upsets when we’re still almost a month away from training camp. So the some of the teams at the top will probably have a win or two more than you’d expect and some of the teams at the bottom will have win or two less. Also, note that there are some teams that I have absolutely no idea what to expect from them this year, a couple examples that jump to mind, the Packers and the Bengals, because we don’t know how long it will take Aaron Rodgers to get comfortable, if at all and because Chad Johnson could come back and be his dominating self, or he could not show up and be a distraction to the team. For me, it’s hard to pick teams to win when they have big question marks at key positions.

So without further ado…

North South East West
Steelers (13-3) Colts (14-2) *pats (13-3) Chargers (14-2)
Browns (10-6) Jaguars (13-3) Jets (10-6) Broncos (5-11)
Ravens (5-11) Texans (8-8) Bills (9-7) Raiders (5-11)
Bengals (3-13) Titans (5-11) Dolphins (2-14) Chiefs (3-13)

North South East West
Vikings (11-5) Saints (11-5) Giants (14-2) Cardinals (9-7)
Packers (7-9) Buccaneers (9-7) Cowboys (14-2) Seahawks (6-10)
Lions (5-11) Panthers (8-8) Redskins (8-8) Rams (5-11)
Bears (3-13) Falcons (2-14) Eagles (8-8) 49ers (3-13)

So then I used the NFL’s standard tie-breaking procedures to come up with the seedings for the playoffs…

AFC 1. Colts NFC 1. Giants

2. Chargers
2. Vikings

3. *pats
3. Saints

4. Steelers
4. Cardinals

5. Jaguars
5. Cowboys

6. Browns
6. Buccaneers

And then I picked who I thought would win in the playoffs…

Wild Card Round Divisional Round
Matchup Winner Matchup Winner
Browns @ *pats *pats Jaguars @ Colts Colts
Jaguars @ Steelers Jaguars *pats @ Chargers Chargers
Buccaneers @ Saints Saints Cowboys @ Giants Cowboys
Cardinals @ Cowboys Cowboys Saints @ Vikings Vikings

AFC Championship NFC Championship
Matchup Winner Matchup Winner
Chargers @ Colts Colts Cowboys @ Vikings Cowboys

Super Bowl XLIII Matchup Super Bowl XLIII Champions
Colts vs Cowboys Indianapolis Colts

The “Kiss-Cam” Experience

Last night I went to the Royals game in Kansas City, where they hosted the Colorado Rockies. It was a fun game to watch, the Royals won, we got to see a couple of home runs, a guy picked off at first, a pitcher throw 4 straight balls that looked like he had a blind fold on, and an injury. The injury was actually to the home plate umpire who got hit by a bat, but before you laugh, you should know that it actually seemed pretty serious, the game was delayed for quite a while and I believe they took him to the hospital because they went with three umpires for the rest of the game rather than the usual four. However, even with all of this excitement, none of this really came close to living up to the best part of the night.

I think it was between the second and third inning when the famous “kiss-cam” went up onto the gigantic Jumbotron, as it does every game. I was sitting in the second to last row of the entire stadium, not expecting to be framed by the giant red heart that encircles the loving couples who are then prompted to kiss by the cheering crowd. Well, as you can probably guess by now, I was indeed put up onto the Jumbotron at this time. I can’t say that I’ve ever sat at home and imagined what it would be like to be put onto the “kiss-cam” but I think it’s safe to say that if I had, it wouldn’t have played out quite like this.

See, I have intentionally withheld some information from you until now, and what I have failed to mention is that I was at this game with my cousin, Bryan, and his lovely girlfriend, Jen… and nobody else. So here’s the picture I’m going to paint for you. We were sitting there with Jen, who was wearing a distinctly bright blue shirt, sitting between Bryan and myself. We were all watching the screen go around to different couples and watching them kiss while we were talking. Then I look at the screen, and see that exact shade of blue that Jen was wearing, and just assuming it was Bryan that was in the picture I tried to let them know that they were on the “kiss-cam” when half way through my sentence I realized that it wasn’t Bryan that was up there with Jen, but it was me. I believe my exact sentence was something like, “Hey! That’s… me!”

Jen, realizing this as well, quickly turned to Bryan, who was out of the picture at this point, and kissed him. Conveniently the phantom camera man (we couldn’t figure out where he was shooting us from) caught on and moved the camera in time to catch their kiss. We, along with everyone else in the stadium, found this all very funny and had a good laugh. For the rest of the game we joked about the different ways that situation could have played out, and what people would have thought about the whole thing; Bryan assuming that most people would think that he had just stolen my “kiss-cam” moment. We talked about how confusing the whole situation was but I think Bryan summed it all up rather nicely with a funny quote when he said, “You look up there. You see who it is. You realize it’s you. And then your brain just stops.”

Toward the end of the game after we had spent a large majority of the time continuing to joke about the kiss-cam, Bryan noticed something that is arguably the second most exciting thing to happen that night. We were all talking when Bryan looks back behind him (remember we’re in the second to last row with nobody sitting behind us) and then turns back to me and just says, “Turn around and look up. Trust me, you’ll appreciate it.” So of course, I look back in the same direction as Bryan, and up on top of a huge crane, there was an orange and white checkered flag, that was unmistakably a University of Tennessee flag, as it looked exactly like Neyland Stadium‘s famous end zones. We tried to get pictures of this flag but it was too dark and none of them turned out very well, so instead I’m posting an end zone view picture of Neyland Stadium.

If you took note to the fact that I mentioned the Tennessee flag sighting as “arguably” the second most exciting thing to have happened and are wondering why it’s not a more definite second, it’s because between the eighth and ninth innings of each Royals game they put up the game’s highlights onto the Jumbotron. We weren’t really paying too much attention to this seeing how we hadn’t moved from out seats and saw the entire game, but at one point I look out toward the screen and there I am again, and because they frequently put random fans up on the screen in between innings, my instinctive reaction was to show the other two that we had been put back up on the screen again. Well, I quickly realized that we weren’t being put up on the screen in that moment, we were actually part of the highlights! There were awesome defensive plays, great hits, home runs, runners being picked off, wild pitches, rogue bats, and a number of other awesome things that happened through out the game, but WE made the highlights!

It’s safe to say that the June 24 matchup between the Royals and Rockies is by far the best baseball game I have ever been to. As we were leaving Bryan wondered how many people walking by us looked at us and said “hey, those are the people from the kiss-cam” and after this he decided that we should just go ahead and deem ourselves famous. All in all it was a great night at the ball park. And to those of you flabbergasted by the fact that I actually wrote a post somewhat relating to baseball, I say have no fear, I’m sure there will be an NFL one in the near future.

Out of Town Again

I’m headed out of town again until Sunday.  Weller will be taking care of you (yes, he’s still alive).  He hasn’t been around much lately and last night the government finally listened to my letters and cut the power to Lawrence.  Enjoy the rest of your weeks.

NHL Draft

Well the 1st round of the NHL Draft is 3 hours in and the few names I recognized are off the board. I’m sort of checking back in occasionally to see if any trades have gone down since the last time I looked. Steven Stamkos went 1st to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was the best player in the draft and the Lightning had done absolutely nothing to hide the fact that they were taking him.

My Blues took Alex Pietrangelo, a big, puck-moving defenseman. I’m pretty excited about the pick, hopefully he and Erik Johnson can become a force on the blueline for many, many years. Anyway, past that all I know is that the Blackhawks took a kid named Kyle Beach who was compared to Sean Avery, so the NHL immediately suspended him for 3 games.

The Coyotes traded for Panthers’ forward Olli Jokinen and gave up next to nothing to get him. Also, the Canadiens picked up Alex Tanguay for some draft picks.

Great Feuds and Overrated Players

There’s nothing I love more in sports than a bizarre feud that no one really understands.  There was Raul Mondesi and an agent who wanted all his money, Jose Mesa and Omar Vizquel, Jay Mariotti and anyone who would listen, and Orlando Cabrera and Edgar Renteria who just hate each other.  All of these were great to follow.  There’s a new one, however, that seems to make even less sense:  Toronto Blue Jays GM J.P. Riccardi and Reds outfielder Adam Dunn.

On Wednesday, Riccardi ripped Dunn in his weekly radio show for no apparent reason saying:

Adam Dunn is a lifetime .230, .240 hitter who strikes out a ton and hits home runs. Do you know the guy does not really like baseball? Do you know the guy does not have a passion to play the game that much?  We have done our homework on guys like Adam Dunn, and there is a reason that we don’t want Adam Dunn.

What?  Mr. Riccardi, this is an outfielder who, as far as I know, has never started any trouble or controversy or been subject to harsh sort of harsh criticism.  Yes, he strikes out a ton, but questioning his motivation?  How does that make sense?  Adam Dunn seemed to agree with me when he came back with this gem:

I know nothing about this clown. I have no idea who he is. I don’t really care what one guy thinks, to be honest with you. If I’m a GM, I don’t know if I would go out of my way to kind of discredit a player.  It [ticks] me off, to be honest with you.  He doesn’t even know me. If he knew me, fine, say what you want. This guy doesn’t know anything about me, other than what he sees on whatever ‘SportsCentre’ they have up there.

Now it comes out that J.P. Riccardi has never met or talked to Adam Dunn.  As far as I know, the only time Dunn has played Riccardi’s Blue Jays, he went 3/9 with 2 homers and 5 walks in a 3 games series.  It’s pretty funny that Dunn calls Riccardi a clown, also.  He may have gone a little too far when he took the “Sportscentre” shot at all Canadians.  This may make the upcoming interleague series between the Reds and Jays on June 25-27 a little more interesting. Not that interesting, but it’s worth watching.

Riccardi has since apologized for his comments.  I think it’s just because he realized that Adam Dunn is 6’6″ 275 pounds.  I wouldn’t be questioning someone of that stature either.

In other news, Derek Jeter was voted the most overrated player in baseball in an anonymous survey done by Sports Illustrated.  I have no problem with this, actually, though I’d have voted for Barry Zito, who finished right behind Jeter.  The Yankee shortstop is a great player, but everything but his 2500 hits is fairly subjective.  8-time All-Star?  That’s a terrible way to quantify a player.  World Series MVP?  Great, he played well for 4 games.  His defense isn’t that good.  You see three certain plays all the time and it gives a pretty false illusion about the shortstop’s D.  Anyway, I know Jeter brings about some strong feelings, so feel free to disagree with me in the comments.

I would like to know how JD Drew isn’t higher and why Alex Rodriguez’s name was even considered.

In other news, the NHL Draft is tonight.  I think I’ve settled on Nikita Filatov or Zach Bogosian for my Blues.  I’d be happy with Alex Piertrangelo or Drew Doughty as well, so we’ll see who we end up with at the fourth pick.

Turkey and Croatia just started their Quarterfinal tie at the Euros.  The winner gets Germany in the semis.

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