Friday, September 18, 2009

Football Friday!



Ok, last week was bad. 2-5. Overall record: 7-7. Time for a rebound this week.

*Note: I lost last week, but it was by only one game. Both opponents went 3-4.

UNLV (-7.5) vs. Hawaii
Hawaii is not the same team that went to the Sugar Bowl 2 years ago. They don't play well on land. UNLV is not bad. I also kind of group UNLV and Fresno St (same colors and approximate location) in the same boat and Fresno totally covered last week against a pretty bad Wisconsin team.

BYU (-7.5) vs. Florida State
BYU has overacheived so far this year and FSU has underachieved. Its in Utah. And FSU is coming off a tough loss and won't have the mental fortitude (good word, eh!?!) to rebound against a TOP 15 team.

Nevada (-3) @ Colorado State
I don't really want to do this because of all the teams that are local to the Denver area, the Rams are my favorite. They play hard, which is something really really cool coming from a bad team (for the opposite see Colorado). Colorado State barely beat Weber State last week. I mean by the hair on their chiny chin chin. Ouch.

San Diego State (-3.5) @ Idaho
Idaho's mascot is the Vandals. What is that? How do you represent that? A guy with a cowboy hat and a bandana over his face? SDSU is the Aztecs and have voodoo ancient magic. And they have a decent coach.

(Yes, most of the argument was based off of mascots. I know you what you are thinking, "Weak". While I can not argue with you, when was the last time you heard anything about Idaho? The last thing I heard was how last week Idaho ended Washington's 10+ game losing streak. Not a good sign.

And their mascot still stinks)

Virginia Tech (-5) vs. Nebraska
Nebraska is getting tons of pub. Tons. It makes me sick. Preseason, they were picked to win the North, now they are getting BCS pub because they beat perenial powerhouses Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State. Virginia Tech actually played someone (although a Loss to Alabama) and is a little bit more seasoned. Va Tech plays better defense. They have better athletes and they have a coach that has been there more than 2 years.

Wyoming (+6.5) @ Colorado
I don't think I can tell you how bad Colorado is. They got smoked at home by the Rams, then they got smoked on the road by the Toledo Rockets. I think this will be a very close game (two days ago I had +7, and liked that better) and I actually hope that Wyoming wins.

The pick of the week courtesy of Mrs. DDSF!

Kansas (-23.5) vs. Duke
After a huge win on the road against UTEP (a road win is a road win, but 30 points is a good deal) Kansas is going to unload on a team with a quarterback controversy at home. Todd Reesing has yet to reach his potential this year (just ask him) and the receivers are improving. The 'Hawks can run the ball with the emergence of Toben Ophrum. They destroy Duke and will just have the backups come in with some desire to score points and show off their talent.

Finally a new addition to the post.

Football Friday Fantasy Football pickup of the week!

This week:

Chester Taylor

Guarnateed 13 points. He will play the entire 4th quarter against a sorry Detroit team and will get in the end zone at least once. BOOM!

Until next time,


Friday, September 11, 2009

Football Friday

So last week I went 5-2 against the spread and won the pool. This week, I'm feeling good.

I will try to get to some NFL stuff later, but it may not happen with visitors.

One of the wrinkles I am putting into my picks now is that my 7th and final pick will be from Mrs. DDSF. She and I have been doing college pick 'em on Yahoo for quite some time, so she gets the spread and enjoys betting on "her" teams when we take trips to Vegas.

This week's College picks:

Tennessee (-10) vs. UCLA
Time for Lane Kiffin to stop talking and start acting. I think UT makes a big statement led by their defense (and Lane's dad Monte, the leader of the great Tampa Bay Buccanneers defense) and get on the map.

Wake Forest (-3) vs. Stanford
The ACC was terrible last week, not just against the spread, but overall. Two teams lost to 1-AA schools (FCS schools). But, Wake at home against a not very good Stanford team (9-15 the last 2 years under Jim Harbaugh)... enticing! By the way, Stanford has a freshman quaterback.

Oklahoma St. (-14.5) vs. Houston
Okie State handed Georgia a taste of their own medicine in Stillwater last week winning 24-10. That was against an SEC powerhouse. You think they can't do better against Conference USA? Really?

Utah (-13.5) @ San Jose St.
The Utes beat their in-state rivals Utah St. 35-17 last week and will continue that domination this week against a weak team in the Spartans.

Nebraska (-21) vs. Arkansas St.
The Huskers love love love to run up the score and if you think they won't against a much weaker opponent, you are sadly mistaken. I think this team will continue to look a lot better than it is by blowing out weak teams at home.

Georgia (-7) vs. South Carolina
The Bulldogs are coming off a previously discussed tough loss to OK State and will take care of business at home. They have to. And they know it. An 0-2 start with a loss to South Carolina, would look awful bad for a team that was supposed to compete for the SEC crown.

Finally, what you have all been waiting for...

The pick of the week by Mrs. DDSF

Penn State (-28.5) vs. Syracuse
Don't question, just do it. I like the fact that the game is in Happy Valley and Joe Pa's Lions need to make a statement.

As far as the NFL this week:

I love that Pittsburgh won @ home in OT against a good Tennessee Titans team. I think this takes the matchup to a rivalry level, and as long as both teams stay good the next 5 years, I think epic matchups will come out of it.

The storylines that I will be following this weekend are:

- How will Tom Brady respond to regular season play? The Pats are at home against Buffalo, so it should go well, but will we see nerves, poise, another injury, or a mix? Check it out Monday night.

- How bad will Matthew Stafford for the Lions play? Number 1 overall pick, starting the first game of the year against a soft defense, but on the road in New Orleans. I say 2 INT's, 2 TD's (he still has Calvin Johnson to throw to) and a fumble.

- Brett Favre in Minnesota. He will do well because he is playing Cleveland. The Browns are bad by the way.

- Who will make themselves the favorite in the NFC North? Chicago and Jay Cutler travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers, who are my favorites in the NFC period.

- How many punts will hit the video board in Dallas? Over/Under = 1.5. I am taking the Over. The biggest blunder in sports right now. I hope Jerry Jones blames the punters again.

Have a great football filled weekend.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Football Friday

Some real quick college football for you today.

I don't like the idea of ranking teams this early in the season because all too often there is at least one team in the Top 10 that falls out of the rankings all together by the 4th week.

I will talk more about the college football experience later, but today I am short on time. The reason for this post is because this year I am actively gambling. Kind of.

I have a pool with a couple other guys at work (at the request of the new overnight pharmacist) to pick 7 games (any 7 you want) against the spread and whoever can get the most right each week wins the pool. Its a good way for me to be a little extra interested in college football while also potentially making some money.

This week is the first week and I thought I would put my picks up for all to see and a short explaination.

Clemson (-18.5) vs. Middle Tenn St.
Clemson has a pretty good running game and has always had a decent defense. Three TD victory seems likely to me.

BYU (+21.5) vs. Oklahoma
BYU had a good year last year with a good defense. Oklahoma has: a new O Line, new wideouts, an injured Tight end, and they are playing on a neutral site.

Minnesota (-7) @ Syracuse
Greg Paulus at QB scares me. But Duke never made it past the sweet sixteen with him as their point guard. Plus, the 'Cuse has been awful upon awful for years.

Wake Forest (-2.5) vs. Baylor
Baylor has an awesome sophmore QB, but I dont think they can win on the road against another BCS conference team. Home field all the way for this one.

Notre Dame (-14.5) vs. Nevada
I don't really like ND as a team this year (at least not like Lou Holtz does, who thinks they will be playing for the national championship), but a team that lost by 60 to Mizzou last year will get beat in South Bend by quite a few.

Central Michigan (+13.5) @ Arizona
'Zona may not be a bad team, but the Chippewas have one of the nation's best dual threat QBs in Lefevre (or whatever his name is). I think it will be a pretty close battle.

Colorado St. (+10) vs. Colorado
Always a great battle between these two teams and I think that the Rams have enough to take on the QB controversy (even with one being older and the coaches' son) that is the Buffaloes. At least within 10 points that is.

Feel free to laugh, mock, make fun and call me names. I can take it.

Have a great labor day.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

As promised.... The Royals!

This will be an ode to the Royals. Both good and bad.

I will say that this is the first full year I have been away from the KC area, so I have not followed the Royals as closely as I would have liked. I am by no means an expert. But I do have an educated opinion from being a fan for a long time (not as long as others) and there are plenty of the players that have stayed the same.

So let's begin.

An Ode to Zach Greinke...
Probably the best pitcher in baseball today. He is regarded by many experts (Buster Olney of ESPN being the most prominent at this time) as the leader for the AL Cy Young award. Despite the fact that he has only a 13-8 record.

The last 2 outings he has had include an 8 inning demolition of the Cleveland Indians in which he recorded a franchise record (a franchise that has had some decent pitchers including a former Cy Young winner David Cone) 15K's, as well as a complete game 1 hitter (and only 1 walk to boot) on the road in Seattle.

As of today, the Greink leads the AL (only using AL for comparison for the Cy Young purposes) in ERA, Walks and Hits per inning, Complete games (6), Shutouts (3), Home runs per 9 IP, and Adjusted ERA + (an overall stat for ERA compared to league averages, which Greinke leads Felix Hernandez of Seattle 189 - 157, or 32 points, which is the difference between 2 and 10th!). He is second in innings pitched, second in hits per 9 IP, second in Hits: Walks ratio and is on the worst team in baseball.

He has taken a loss in 3 games in which he has pitched 6 innings or more and given up 2 earned runs or less. He has got a no decision in 6 games in which he has had a quality start (6+ innings with 3 ER or less). If the G-man were to get W's in the games in which he gave up 1 ER or less, his record would be 16-6, because he has 2 losses while giving up only 1 ER.

As long as he stays with the Royals through the end of his current contract, I anticipate him being the best pitcher to wear a Royals uniform. He has the ability to win 2 Cy Youngs, and if he gets an offense, could win 20 games easily.

Moving on...

An Ode to John Bale...
Why an ode to John Bale? Because he is the worst relief pitcher in baseball in my estimation.

Last night he allowed 1 of 2 inherited runners to score. And that dropped his percentage of inherited runners scoring from 64% to 62%. What is worse is that he did not even record an out. The Royals maybe looked at this stat after it happened and decided they should remove the person who has allowed the most inherited runners to score (21) and has the worst percentage of runners to score of pitchers who have faced 30 inherited runners. Of pitchers facing 20 or more inherited runners, he only has the fourth worst percentage, narrowly edged out by former Royals reliever Ron Mahay.

He has done this with an ERA of 5.93. And just to emphasize how bad that is, he allows 1 run to score every 1.5 innings (rounding of course) he pitches. Of the batters he faces.

He has pitched 27.1 innings on the year and allowed 18 earned runs. He has faced situations with 34 inherited runners and allowed 21 of them to score. In the 27.1 innings that John Bale has pitched this year, there have been 39 runs scored! Every inning John Bale has pitched, there have been almost 1.5 runs scored for the other team!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Royals just released Ron Mahay, who would be the closest competition to John Bale in the futility department, but he only gave up 22 ER in 41 1/3 IP. Throw in the 18 inherited runners to score and his total is up to 40 runners scoring total. Only 1 more than Bale. Except he pitched half again as many innings as Bale! And he was released!

The Royals bullpen on the whole has been awful. It may not be fair to pick on Bale (yes it is) because of how awful the entire 'pen has been. As a whole they have allowed 46% of inherited runners to score. They have the top 3 in number of inherited runners scoring with Bale, Mahay (18) and Jamey Wright (19) in the entire major leagues. The next team to get 3 pitchers in the lead of such a stat is the San Fransisco Giants, who have 4 in the Top 30 (numbers 3 and 4 are right next to each other). One of those pitchers is former Royals "great" Jeremy Affeldt (DJ Carrasco also is in the Top 30).

The 46% as a team is the second worst in the decade ( The only team worse is the 2003 Royals who allowed 49% of runners to score, but they allowed 93 to score that year and this year's team has already allowed 102. The next closest team this year is Washington who have allowed 90 inherited runners to score (but only allow a league average of 33% to score).

Did I mention Bale has had 5 save chances and blown 4?

An Ode to Billy Butler...
The only fairly consistent offensive player in the Royals lineup. Butler leads the team in batting average (.295), on base percentage (.349 and by no means something to brag about), doubles (41), hits (146), RBI (67), Total bases (234), AB's (495), Games played (130) and is second on the team in walks (42 to Dejesus's 45), and slugging percentage (0.473 to Bryan Pena's 0.487). He was even named AL offensive player of the week once!

I will be the first to admit the Royals are terrible. And as bad as they have pitched, their offense has been even worse. But Billy has done all this at the age of 23. For the longest time, he was on pace to break the team record in doubles of 54 set by Hal "I will throw my phone at you in a violent rage" McRae. The fact that he continues to produce is a great sign for things to come. He has even been a better first baseman than Mike Jacobs. That's not saying much, but he was supposed to be AWFUL and the fact that he is better than someone speaks volumes.

An Ode to Management...
Dayton Moore just got a contract extension. He did have one year left on his contract (through the end of 2010), but got his contract extended by 4 years to 2014. When Dayton Moore was hired, the Royals thought they were saved. I remember the days of Allan Baird and the draft picks (other than Greinke) during his reign and the entire decade of the 90's (Jeff Granger, Dee Brown, and Kyle Snyder anyone?). I remember the acquisitions of Neifi Perez and Chuck "way passed his prime" Knoblach. Chili Davis. Emil Brown leading the team in RBI's two consecutive years! Jose Lima! (may have happened with Moore, but it was bad and I think its a good example so live with it). This was supposed to be different.

While I will say the draft has potentially been different (we have not been scared off by the asking price of prospects), the rest of the moves have yet to come to fruition. I know that we have expanded the scouting department and started scouting in other countries. I know they have beefed up coaching and development in the minor league system. But what have we gotten out of it?

The signing of Jose Guillen, Mike Jacobs, Kyle Farnsworth and Horacio Ramirez? The worst bullpen in the major leagues? The worst offense in the major leagues (the Nationals have multiple players hitting .300. Look it up!)? No real replacements ready to make the jump, even for September call ups (they activate Guillen off the DL with the opening of the 40 man roster, but can't bring up anyone else?)?

While I did not think that Moore needed to go just yet (one more year to see if ANYONE progressed to major league ready), I'm not sure they needed to extend his contract. Too many bad moves, too many holes in a team and a fan base that had high hopes.

I think that is enough of an ode for one day. Check back later for some college football, starting tomorrow!