Wednesday, November 26, 2014

College Football - The System is Still Broken

Hello loyal readers! Almost 3 months ago I gave all of you my rundown on the upcoming college football season. I was excited and energized by the crumbling of the BCS and the arrival of a playoff system. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, college football found new life and all would be well in the world!

Now, here we are, only 3 days before the final Saturday of the regular season ... and the damn thing is still broken. How in the world could a group of independent, sometimes insignificant, men and women possibly make this many mistakes? It would be like fumbling the snap on the first play of the Super Bowl to force a safety and go down 2-0. Oh wait ...

So here's the deal, I'm pissed. Why am I pissed you ask? Thanks for asking. I'm pissed because this whole 4 team playoff seems like a no-brainer and yet it's getting mucked up as bad as the BCS. For those of you living under a rock, the Playoff Committee has been releasing their rankings each of the last several weeks to project where teams will stand at the end of the season. As of this week, here are their top 4 (who would make the playoff bracket):

1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. Florida State
4. Mississippi State

Now on the surface, I guess you could argue that this isn't horrible. All of these teams have had decent seasons in and big time schedules. However, the committee is clearly omitting one big piece of the puzzle when making their rankings ... WHO WINS THE STINKING GAMES!!! If you didn't know, 3 of the 4 teams above have one loss (the only undefeated being Florida State) yet there's another undefeated team in the country and they are ranked 24th! Yes, that's right, with a 2 in front of it! How can this possibly be? The committee is making a statement that goes as follows:

"If you aren't from a Power 5 Conference, you are not eligible to play for the National Championship."

What makes this statement completely ridiculous/unfair/stupid is that the whole point of this committee and playoff system was to give the little guy a chance in the fight! You can't have David vs. Goliath if every game is Goliath vs. Goliath. So, what would be different if I ran the world? I'm glad you'd like to know ...

#1 - Florida State. They are the defending National Champion from a Power 5 Conference and they are undefeated. Enough said. But I'll keep talking anyway. One of the biggest criticisms against FSU this season is that they haven't looked great and they're only winning close games. The difference between them and the other teams? They ARE winning the close games. No slip ups, no 4th quarters crushing fumbles ... they just win.

#2 - Oregon. Honestly, it's a coin flip between the Ducks and the Tide. You can make an argument here for either team and you really wouldn't be wrong. I'm picking Oregon because their uniforms are pretty. Yeah, I said it, whatcha gonna do about it?

#3 - Alabama. See #2.

#4 - Marshall. Yes, I'm aware half of you don't know who Marshall is except for the movie where they all die in a plane crash. Well guess what ... they still have a football team, Randy Moss went there a bunch of years ago, and they are the only other undefeated team in the country. Just like FSU, they've won all the games they've played and you can't ask them to do any more than that. I'm giving them a slight penalty for not being in a Power 5 Conference (that's why they are at 4 and not 2) BUT at least I'm giving them a shot in the fight.

This weekend there are going to be several big games that will undoubtedly shake up what the final playoff picture looks like. While we don't know yet what will happen, I can tell you what I want to happen and what I think will happen ...

My dream scenario:

Alabama loses to Auburn in the Iron Bowl, thus knocking them to #4 at best. Mississippi State loses to Mississippi in the Egg Bowl (what the hell is an Egg Bowl?) knocking them completely out of the running. Alabama goes on to lose to Missouri in the SEC Championship Game giving them 3 losses and ensuring that there is no SEC team of significance. Final rankings for the playoffs:

1. Not an SEC Team
2. Not an SEC Team
3. Not an SEC Team
4. Not an SEC Team

The SEC is shut out and the world rejoices! Don't care who fills the top 4, as long as it's not the SEC. For what it's worth, Florida State, Oregon, TCU, and Ohio State would make for a very entertaining January.

Here's how I think it will play out:

Alabama wins the Iron Bowl. Auburn isn't very good. I said it to start the season, and I'm sticking with it. Mississippi beats Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. Ole Miss is at home, so I'm taking them. Florida beats Florida State and the luck of the Seminoles finally runs out. In the biggest upset of the weekend, TCU loses at Texas in a stunner. Yes, I know I'm creating craziness here, but stick with it because it's not that far-fetched. Final rankings for the playoffs:

1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. Ohio State
4. Baylor

There you have it. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

- Fishy

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Pro Football - 2014 Season Preview

Can you feel it? Can you feel that warm fuzzy feeling, the beautiful smell in the air, the twinkling lights, the merriment, the cheer?! No, I'm not talking about Christmas. Well, in a way I am, because tomorrow is kinda like my Christmas. It's the first Sunday of the NFL Season!!! Even though we already watched the Packers get waxed at the hands of the Seahawks on Thursday night, Sunday is the REAL start to the season.
So, it's time to put on our pads, lace up our cleats, and get ready for 17+ weeks of action, emotion, mayhem, and the greatest sport known to man that doesn't rhyme with hurling! Here is my official predictions for the 2014-15 NFL Season ...

AFC East - Believe me when I say, this division is bad. And I mean "The Buffalo Bills just signed a retired quarterback to take over for the first round draft pick from last year" kind of bad. If I had to take a guess, and that's what I do, 3 of the 4 teams in this division will have a losing record. In fact, I'll even go so far to say that the division winner will have more wins than all of the other 3 teams in the division COMBINED! Division Winner - New England Patriots

AFC North - The AFC North is like that annoying family member that you know is going to do 1 good thing all year but you have no idea where and when it will take place. This is a group of mediocre teams who are all good enough to stay in football games but weak enough to potentially lose to a team in the AFC East on a freaky Sunday afternoon. While I think there are 3 squads here that could potentially put together a run (sorry Browns) I'm expecting a clear winner at the end of the season. Division Winner - Cincinnati Bengals

AFC West - There's a lot of talent in this group of 4 teams that not-too-long-ago was the laughing stock of the AFC. However, bring in a healthy Peyton Manning and rejuvenated Andy Reid and all of a sudden this is actually the class of the conference. Despite the suspensions, the Broncos are easily the face of the AFC right now and deserve to keep that podium as long as Peyton's neck isn't removed from the rest of his body. What might surprise you is that I have BOTH of the conference Wild Card births coming from this division. Division Winner - Denver Broncos; Wild Cards - Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers

AFC South - One horse race, no pun intended. Ok, I lie, pun COMPLETELY intended. The only way this division becomes competitive is if the Texans bench Ryan Fitzpatrick and give a much deserved chance to the best backup quarterback in the NFL, Ryan Mallett. Division Winner - Indianapolis Colts

AFC Playoffs - Based on the predictions above, I'm going with the following seedings:

1 - Broncos
2 - Patriots
3 - Colts
4 - Bengals
5 - Chargers
6 - Chiefs

How do I see it playing out? In the Wild Card round I think the Colts take out the Chiefs and the Chargers upset the Bengals. In the Divisional round the Broncos will have a hard fought win over their division rival Chargers and the Colts will upset the Patriots in Foxboro. That will setup yet another Peyton-versus-his-former-team game in the AFC Championship with the Broncos heading back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year.

NFC East - As a lifelong fan of the NY Giants, I really want to brag about our division this season. I want to tell you all of the reasons why we're the dominant force in the NFL and we're going to steamroll the competition this year. Unfortunately, my Mom taught me that the worst thing I can do in life is lie. Stupid life lessons. In reality, the NFC East is kind of like the NFC Least in the NFL. The Deadskins are run by a quarterback who will be lucky to stay out of the hospital, the Cowboys have the most under-rated pass tosser in the league but only one legitimate WR to throw it to, and the Giants are the worst team in the history of football to go 5-0 in the pre-season. In fact, I would bet money that the Giants win more pre-season games this year than regular season. On second thought, my G-men will likely win 8 games again ... just enough to miss the playoffs and still get the crappiest draft pick possible. Division Winner - Philadelphia Eagles

NFC North - Now HERE is a division with some talented football players. I'm going to pretend I didn't see the Packers lay an egg on Thursday night (well, maybe partially pretend) and give credit to the Vikings simply for having the best Running Back in the world right now. As much as I absolutely hate his guts, I think Jay Cutler will lead the Bears to their best season in years and Matthew Stafford has more weapons in Detroit than President "W" thought Iraq had about 10 years ago. Watch out for my boy Eric Ebron (Go Heels!) to climb up the depth chart and make a real impact this season alongside Megatron and the Golden One. Division Winner - Chicago Bears; Wild Card - Detroit Lions

NFC West - If I thought the North was talented, that would have to make the West exceptional. Remember a couple of years ago when the winner of the NFC West had a losing record? That seems like generations away right now. Top to bottom, this is easily the best division in all of football and I think 3 of the 4 teams in this group could win any other division this season if they were in them. Ironically, the worst team in the NFL lives in the basement here and could easily find themselves 0-16 come January. This is easily the toughest division to pick and the only thing I'm confident in is that 2 teams from the West will make the playoffs. I'm making this pick with my pre-Thursday night mindset to remain fair for my loyal reading audience. Division Winner - San Francisco 49ers; Wild Card - Arizona Cardinals (Yup, no Seahawks)

NFC South - This division race could potentially be interesting if the Falcons are willing to invest in a fleet of Hummers to replace their offense line and protect Matt Ryan. Between Julio, Roddy, and Harry, Matty Ice has a plethora (you like that SAT word don't you?) of receivers to choose from. He should throw for a lot of yards as long as he stays off his back and doesn't get hurt. He better do that too because his running game will be a joke. Outside of Atlanta, the Bucs would struggle in the SEC and Cam Newton is the most overrated big-shot in the league. Which leaves me one team to win the division by default. Division Winner - New Orleans Saints

NFC Playoffs - This is a tougher puzzle than the AFC, but I see the breakdown as follows:

1 - 49ers
2 - Saints
3 - Bears
4 - Eagles
5 - Lions
6 - Cardinals

So who's going to the Super Bowl? Again, I'm playing this out as if I never saw the Seahawks blow up the Pack earlier in the week. In the Wild Card, I like Jay Cutler to finally crumble (as he does and will be traded because of) to the incredible Cardinals defense (beware the Honey Badger) with the Lions overpowering my coach-crush Chip Kelly and his Eagles. That would leave me a rematch between the Niners and Cardinals with the Saints hosting the Lions. I think San Fran will be just a little too powerful for the Cardinals once their offense comes together and I there's something special about this year's Lions team. However, the run for Detroit will end in the Bay when "Kaep" takes the Niners to the Super Bowl after a high scoring NFC Championship game.

Super Bowl - If this thing actually ends up being Denver versus San Fran like I projected above, it could be one of the greatest games ever played. You would have Peyton Manning, likely in his final season with a HUGE chip on his shoulder, taking on a Niners team that is aggressive and hungry to avenge two straight heart breaking playoff losses. When you get to the big game, I truly believe talent wins out, which means my Super Bowl Champion is the San Francisco 49ers. Barely. By a point. Maybe a half a point.

League MVP - It doesn't matter how bad his team is, Adrian Peterson is going to have the best statistical year of any running back in the history of the NFL. Look for him to break the single season rush record by at least 100 yards and prove that he truly is the top guy in the game. There's a couple of guys who can stay in the conversation early (expect Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Matthew Stafford to get consideration) but ultimately none of them will touch "All Day."

Comeback Player of the Year - Tim Tebow. As if anyone else was even an option.

Let's get this thing started ...

- Fishy

Saturday, August 30, 2014

College Football - 2014 Season Preview

Congratulations Sports Fans! After a 5 and a half month hiatus,  I'm back on my blog and sharing my insights. You're welcome.

It's time once again for my annual College Football preview. Yeah, I know I'm cheating just a little bit because technically the season started a few days ago. But let's be realistic ... until opening Saturday it's not REALLY football season. The last few nights have been more like the potato skins appetizer to our upcoming prime rib entree. And for dessert? Well that comes in about 5 months when we FINALLY get a playoff system in Division 1 of College Football (yes, I said Division 1 ... real fans don't use the letter FBS).

So, this is what you've all been waiting for ... my top 10 predictions for the upcoming College Football season. Whether you think these previews are right on, a little off, or totally loopy, there's no doubt they are all ... brilliant.

10. Big 12 Preview: There's a reason I'm starting this list with the Big 12 ... you save the best for last and this conference is NOT the best. Easily the weakest of the power conferences, I see the Big 12 with only one serious threat to compete for a national championship: the Oklahoma Sooners. Even though the Bell-dozer is being moved to tight end in 2014, I still think Oklahoma is the class of the conference and has an outside shot to make the Final Four. Keep an eye on Texas though as I think they will start rebuilding this season under Charlie Strong after a couple of weak final years with Mack Brown. And yes, I know that people are loving them some Baylor and Kansas State but I'm not one of them. Bryce Petty can score 300 points a game if he likes but it doesn't matter as long as they keep giving up 301.

9. Big 10 Preview: There must be something with the word "Big" this year ... I think the College Football definition of "Big" should be changed to "Crappy." Now, I'll admit, if you asked me a month ago how I felt about this conference I would have had a slightly different story. I had Ohio State cruising into the playoffs before Braxton Miller managed to blow up his arm again. Now that he's gone, I think the door is open for several sub-par teams to make a run at the roses and a trip to Pasadena later this year. It will likely still be Ohio State coming out alive, but this is definitely not the big scary conference that Maryland and Rutgers thought they were going in to. When I found out Maryland was leaving the ACC I was convinced they would go 0-12 this season. Now that we're about to kick off the games, I bet they can go at least 3-9! Of course one of those is James Madison this afternoon ...

8. ACC Preview: I really, really, really, really, really, really, really wish I could say my beloved ACC would be an elite group of football squads this season. If I did, I'd be lying. Coming in to Week 1, we (yes I can say we) have only 3 teams in the Top 25 and probably just a couple more who will be competitive in non-conference settings. I mean come on, Wake Forest lost their season opener on Thursday to Louisiana-Monroe! The bright side is that we return the defending National Champion and Heisman favorite. The bad part is they won't even win the conference title thanks to my North Carolina Tar Heels. Ok ... even I don't believe that. BUT, if Larry Fedora gets smart and benches Marqise Williams in favor of any other QB on the team, don't be surprised if this bold prediction becomes a bold reality. Miami is the only team in our division that I see standing in the way but they're starting a true freshman QB which could be a tough hurdle to overcome.

7. While starting his new career as an analyst on the SEC Network, Tim Tebow is going to come across a little known rule while studying for the upcoming season. According to the Official College Football Rule Book, rule UF-15 reads: "Any former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback who is not given at least 5 years to prove himself in the NFL will be entitled to 1 additional year of eligibility at the University of his choice. There will be no waiting period necessary and the player can be activated immediately." Given this information, Tebow will call up his buddy and former coach Urban Meyer at Ohio State. Knowing he has no other talented signal caller on his team, Meyer will  immediately bring Tebow in to Columbus where he will lead the Buckeyes to an undefeated season, National Championship, and 2nd Heisman Trophy. The state of Ohio will instantly forget that Archie Griffin, Lebron James, or sweater vests ever existed.

6. SEC Preview: I'm going to be the first one to say it ... the SEC as a whole is not going to be very good this year. While they will somehow sneak a team who doesn't deserve it into the Final Four, the SEC will NOT win the National Championship this year. About a month ago I thought it was a coin flip between LSU and Bama to come out of the SEC West with 2 losses and a conference title. After watching TAMU beat up on the Gamecocks this week though, there could be a few more ponies in this race than I originally thought. As far as the East ... they are terrible. And no, I don't mean "down year" terrible ... I mean 2 week old meatloaf that's starting to grow that green stuff kind of terrible. Sure, the Bulldawgs are the favorites to take the division but don't be stunned if all of a sudden the Gators aren't as terrible as they've been the last couple of seasons. Oh, and how's this for a prediction: Auburn will finish the season OUTSIDE the Top 25. Boom, mind blown.

5. PAC Whatever Preview: First, an explanation. When the PAC-10 decided to expand a couple of years ago, my brother and I agreed that the number in the conference name no longer mattered. So, that's why they are officially the PAC Whatever. With that said, the conference from out west actually looks really strong this year. Call it my West Coast bias, but I think there's a couple of teams in this group that could embarrass some of the other power conferences if they just took a big crane and moved their schools east of the Mississippi. The head of the class though is the Oregon Ducks led by QB Marcus Mariota. More on them in just a bit. Between the Ducks, UCLA, USC, ASU, U of A, and Stanford, this group could provide a lot of very fun football games to watch in 2014 (and 2015?).

4. The country will quickly forget about the recent antics of a certain USC defensive player (seriously, jumping off a balcony to save a kid in the pool is the story you're gonna go with as a lie?) when they hear the tale of Richie Baskets, a little known freshman out of the University of Southern Utah - Cape King (better known as USUCK). Baskets, a 4'5" 385 pound place kicker has a huge heart but a bit of a mischievous side. Earlier this week while walking his pet weasel, Coach K, Richie walked by what appeared to be an abandoned mansion. While attempting to catch his breath after the long 37 foot walk, Baskets watched in horror as Coach K broke off his leash and daintily skipped into the home formerly owned by JJ Redick. In an act of true heroism, Richie summoned all of his strength to leap over the tennis ball standing between him and the house so that he could pursue his furry little sidekick. While the number of witnesses were minimal, on-lookers state that when Richie made his away into the home he was immediately love struck at the sight of a gorgeous woman. Nobody knows for sure what happened inside the mansion, but we do know that Richie has not been seen since entering the home while Coach K was discovered drinking Avian in a ski lodge outside Salt Lake City. Rumor has it that the beautiful woman was Manti Teo''s ex-girlfriend.

3. Heisman Trophy Preview: I will be stunned if the Heisman Trophy winner this season is NOT a quarterback, and likely one from a championship contending school. Coming in to 2014 many have the defending champion Jameis Winston as the favorite but recent history has suggested that repeating as Heisman winner is a nearly impossible task. Winston can play just as well this year as he did in 2013, and I think he will, but it won't be enough in the voters' minds to give him the award for a second time. My Heisman winner is the guy who I thought was going to win it last year, Marcus Mariota from the University of Oregon. Besides being a dynamite athlete, Mariota is a true field general and knows how to get the most out of the other 10 guys he's playing with. Oregon doesn't have a history of recruiting top players like some other schools (come on, would you want to live in Oregon) yet they always have guys like Mariota who are stars under the radar. I'll take Winston as my runner up with Bryce Petty (Baylor) coming in 3rd.

2. Playoff Preview: This is the first year of the College Football Playoffs so I think there is a lot of mystery in how the "Committee" will make their picks for the 4 most deserving teams to compete for the championship. This could be a year where quite a few different schools have a legitimate claim that they're one of the top 4 in the country. While I think there is a clear #1 and #2 (see more below) the rest of the water gets to be a little murky. With that said, it's my job to tell you what's going to happen so that's exactly what I'll do! I believe the Final Four this year will be the Oregon Ducks, Florida State Seminoles, Oklahoma Sooners, and whatever comes out of the SEC. I refuse to actually pick a team from the SEC though because I don't believe any of those teams will be worthy of this spot. They are going to end up stealing the position from a squad that actually deserves it, likely an undefeated team from outside the power conferences. Which team will get "screwed" only time will tell.

1. National Championship Preview: I'm going to start this off by saying anything can happen in College Football. One injury can completely change the landscape of the entire country and you never know where the surprises will come from. With that said, I'm making my prediction under the assumption that injuries will be relatively equal across all teams and the most talented units will actually prevail. So ... drum roll please ... this year's National Championship in Dallas will feature the Oregon Ducks defeating the Florida State Seminoles by a score of 34-28. I believe both of these schools will have unbelievable years but the Ducks get the edge in Jerry's House because they will be better battle tested heading in to January. There's very little resistance for FSU on their march to perfection and that's going to bite them when they play a team who had to navigate through some of the best talent in the country. Oregon may not go undefeated, but these PAC Whatever Champions will be your first ever winner of the College Football Playoffs.

Oh, as a little bonus ... remember how the Dookies had that amazing story-book season last year? Well enough of that crap ... 2014 will see the Blue Devils return to the ACC basement where they belong as the Victory Bell makes its way back to its true home in Chapel Hill. Have a great season and most importantly, Go Heels!

- Fishy

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

College Basketball - March Madness About to Begin!

Alrighty Sports Fans! It's March, the Big Dance is starting in less than 20 hours, and my Dad requested a new blog post because it's been awhile.

But, I also worked late, I'm hungry for dinner, and I just finished working out. Soooooo, we're going to make this short, sweet, and to the point. Kinda like a night on the town with Justin Bieber.

Here we go with my predictions for this year's NCAA tournament (just to clarify, these are my predictions for the MEN'S bracket ... if you're into the women's bracket then you probably live in Connecticut ...)

Biggest Upsets of the First Round

South Region: Stephen F Austin over VCU. Even though VCU has been a very trendy pick over the last few years, the guys on CBS convinced me during the Selection Show that there's something to this 31-2 SFA team. Plus, it's a 5-12 game so you never know what could happen.

East Region: Harvard over Cincinnati. See the exact same explanation as the South Region. Plus, those Harvard people are smart, so that's something.

Midwest Region: NC State over Saint Louis. Are we seeing a trend here? Another 5-12 matchup. This time I feel like I actually know something though. TJ Warren is the 3rd highest scorer in the country (NC State) and Saint Louis has had a shaky couple of weeks. I like the Pack in the upset.

West Region: New Mexico St over San Diego St. I'll be honest, I don't know anything about either of these teams. But I know that usually there are upsets somewhere in the bracket so I might as well go here and try out my luck. It's only for a billion dollars you know ...

Final Four

South Region: Florida Gators. They are the number 1 team in the country for a reason and I think their senior leadership guides them through a VERY difficult region. Watch out for the Buckeyes in the Elite 8 though ...

East Region: North Carolina Tar Heels. Yeah, I'm not going to lie, their is a little alumni bias in this pick. The Heels have been up and down all season and I don't feel good about the 1st round matchup against Providence coming off a two game losing streak. But, we seemed to find our groove a little bit in the last few minutes of our ACC tournament game and there's no doubt we have the talent to get us there ... if we play up to our potential. Look for a second round upset in this region with Memphis taking out Virginia.

Midwest Region: Louisville Cardinals. If my billion dollar bracket pans out, the best game you'll see in this year's tournament is Dook vs. Michigan in the Sweet 16. Unfortunately for those two teams, Louisville should be waiting for the winner and right now they're the best team in the country. Rick Pitino has his boys clicking at the right time of the season. Just ask Rutgers who lost to this team 91-32 only a week ago.

West Region: Oklahoma State Cowboys. Everyone and their mother has either Arizona or Wisconsin coming out of this bracket. Wisconsin is one of the trendiest picks among all television sportscasters right now. Well I have bad news for everyone ... BOTH of these teams get bounced in the Round of 32. Marcus Smart is the best player in the country and he's going to show everyone why as he takes the Pokes to the Final Four.

Final Four ... err ... Again

Florida over North Carolina. Yeah, it pains me to say that, but I don't think we get past Billy D and his Gators.

Louisville over Oklahoma State. Best team in the country beats the best player in the country.

National Championship Game

Florida Gators over Louisville Cardinals. But Matthew, you just said Louisville is the best team in the country?! In fact, you said it twice!!! Yeah, you're right. BUT, I picked Florida to win it all before the season even started and I'm superstitious like that. I wouldn't put money on Florida to win this game but I would put a billion dollars on the line because I had a hunch several months ago. After all, I did pick Louisville pre-season last year ...

As my best friend said to me in a text today: Let the Games Begin!

- Fishy

Thursday, February 13, 2014

2014 Winter Olympics - What Americans?

My friends, those of you who loyally follow my blog know how much I love sports. You know I adore athletic competition the same way a 500 pound man looks at a cheesecake. Generally, my posts are positive, upbeat, and optimistic. So, you’ll forgive me if today is … shall we say … a little different.

Why so blue you ask? Well it’s pretty simple really: the American delegation at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Yes, I realize we’re only halfway through the games. Yes, I realize we’re still second in the medal count with plenty of events to go. Yes, I realize that the female athletes from Norway are RIDICULOUSLY hot this year. However, all of this cannot overshadow the disappointment I have in our “top” stars and how they’ve absolutely flopped in Sochi. Let’s begin with the biggest name:

Snowboarding – Shaun White? Shaun White? Has anyone seen Shaun White? Let me answer that for you: the only one who has seen Shaun White is the wall of the half pipe that still has his a$$ imprint in it! Easily the biggest American name in the Winter Games, Mr. White failed to impress on almost every level you can think of. First, the greatest snowboarder in the world pulls out of a brand new event because “it looks scary” and “my wrist got an ouchy when I fell.” Give me a break. Then in his signature discipline, the event where he won back to back gold medals, he absolutely choked on pretty much every run he had. The only clean run he put down the entire competition was when he did a whole lot of nothing and the judges gave him a 95 because they remembered he used to have really cool hair. If you ask me, the Flying Tomato is starting to look a lot more like the Falling Potato. Stick a fork in this spud, he’s done.

Oh, and don’t think I forgot about the women. The “pioneer of women’s snowboarding” Kelly Clark and the former World Champion Hannah Teter, they’ll get it done! Right? Right? What do you mean only one of them medaled? What do you mean it was a bronze? What do you mean that the hot chick from Australia who’s participating in every event in the Olympics and admitted before her final run that she’s super tired beat them both? Seriously? Good thing that other American girl who nobody has ever heard of decided to show up and save the day. What was her name again? Exactly.

Skiing – Bode Miller. I literally shudder when I hear the name. You want to talk about choking … I can’t even eat a bagel while this guy is on TV for fear that the choke will penetrate through my screen, into my bagel, and down my throat. What’s worse is, I actually fooled myself into thinking he could win this time. “Oh, Bode destroyed the competition in pretty much every day of training?! Maybe this is finally his year to step up and not disappoint!!!” Yeah … about that …

And how about Lindsey Vonn? I don’t care that she’s injured, she still should have won!

Speed Skating – Ever since Apollo retired, I’ve felt a sense of loss when it came to Speed Skating. How were we going to compete on the world’s biggest stage without the only speed skater to ever perform on Dancing With the Stars? But then, I was reminded that Shani Davis is a two time defending gold medalist in the long track 1000 meters. And JR Celski as a 4 year old took Bronze in the short track event in Vancouver. This is going to be great!!! But wait … we’re Americans … and this year that means we suck. What did Davis do in his shining moment? He finished 8th. EIGHTH PLACE!!! A 74 year old midget gardener from the Netherlands who entered when his cousin got a splinter making wooden shoes beat Davis! Ok, not really, but they probably could have. What if I told you that Davis lost to a guy from South Korea who used to be a stud but then started to get old, slow, and injured so he was shunned by the Koreans and ended up moving to Russia who paid him a lot of money to get back in shape and change his name just so he could pretend to skate well under their flag on their home turf? Sound far-fetched? Like the midget? Ok, you got me, that guy didn’t beat Davis. HE BEAT CELSKI!!! Our youngest up-and-coming hero to be! Where’s Apollo when you need him? Oh wait … he’s too busy dancing with a cute little 20 year old Russian ballroom dancer who’s half naked and grinding up on him to the sounds of “Shake You Bon Bon” by Ricky Martin. Ok, not gonna lie, I’d probably do the same thing.

To summarize: if you had to list out the big names in American winter sports coming in to the Olympics, they’ve all lost. Not only lost, but many of them have lost in epic fashion and without any hope of even competing for a gold medal. There is still over a week left in the games and some of our most impressive athletes have yet to take the court/ice/fronton. Unfortunately, the pattern suggests that they’re just going to fall into the abyss with a choke performance like the rest of them. So, as Bill Goldberg might ask: “Who’s Next?”

-          Fishy

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Pro Football - Playoff Predictions

So, I just received a voicemail from my best friend/"wife" and she wanted to know my Super Bowl predictions since I hadn't posted them in my blog. She thought she was being funny by teasing me for the lack of blogging, but sometimes you get what you ask for. This one is for you Jenny!

NFC Wild Card

Philly defeats New Orleans - There are two main reasons I'm going with the Eagles in this matchup: 1. Drew Brees just doesn't seem to play well on the road and in the cold. 2. The Eagles, right now, are the best team in football. It took a few weeks (and a Michael Vick injury) for the Cheesesteak Crew to understand Chip Kelly's schemes, but once they did the Eagles took flight (haha) and are clicking on all cylinders. Eagles win 31-17.

San Francisco defeats Green Bay - As some of you may recall, the 49ers were my pre-season pick to win the whole thing. They brought the best team back from 2012-2013 and looked good enough to conquer the mountain. I'm not thrilled that they'll be playing this game in temperatures suitable for an 800 pound Eskimo, but I still like them to come out on top of the Frozen Tundra. San Fran wins 24-13.

NFC Divisional

Philly defeats Carolina - Sorry wifey, I hate to tell you this, but the Panthers suck. Ok, not as bad as they've sucked the last few years, but still enough that they are nowhere near as good as their record indicates. Cam and company have been hot the last couple of months but I don't give them much of a chance against some real competition. I won't be surprised if Philly wins this game by 3-4 ... touchdowns that is. Give me the Eagles by a final of 34-10.

San Francisco defeats Seattle - Up until a couple of weeks ago, I was trying to figure out how in the world to keep my pre-season prediction intact and have the Niners get past the Seahawks in Seattle. But then, the Cardinals happened. Not only does Seattle now know they can get beat at home, but so does Coach Harbaugh. With a brilliant defensive effort and a low scoring game, "Kap" leads his team to the NFC Championship. Niners take this one 17-16 on a 4th quarter field goal.

NFC Championship

Philly defeats San Francisco - I want to say that this will be the greatest NFC Championship Game of all time. I want to say that my pre-season pick will prove me right and defeat the Eagles to advance to the Super Bowl. I want to say that I won the $600+ million Mega Millions jackpot a few weeks ago. But none of these are true. Philly is going to show up with their best performance of the year and embarrass the kids from California. Eagles - 41, Niners - 6.

AFC Wild Card

Kansas City defeats Indy - This is a really tough game to pick. So tough that earlier this week I had Indy in the winner's spot and just erased it to flip the order and give the Chiefs the win. I've been wrong on the Chiefs most of this season, and I'm putting my trust in Andy Reid to get the job done. At the end of the day, I just can't bet on a Colts team with no rushing attack and suspect Wide Receivers. Kansas City in a game that's closer than the final score, 34-21.

Cincy defeats San Diego - If the game above is hard to choose, this one is even harder! If they were playing in San Diego I would hands down choose the Chargers (once again I had them penciled in earlier this week). Unfortunately they're playing in Ohio which complicates things because they're undefeated at home this season. Since I'm a Tar Heel born and bred, I'm looking to my boy Gio to persevere in the cold and bring home the W. Another incredibly close finish, but I'll take the Bengals by a field goal, 27-24.

AFC Divisional

Denver defeats Kansas City - This one is a little easier for me since the two teams at the top of the AFC are clearly leaps and bounds better than 3-6. A lot of people are expecting the Broncos to win it all this year and Peyton is going to continue that illusion in the divisional matchup (foreshadowing!). The Chiefs will put up a solid showing because they've seen the Broncos twice already this season, but it won't be enough to overcome the AFC's most explosive offensive. Broncos 45-31.

New England defeats Cincy - Don't bet against Tom Brady and Bill Belichek in the playoffs. Patriots win 31-20.

AFC Championship

New England defeats Denver - Don't bet against Tom Brady and Bill Belichek in the playoffs. But wait ... there's more!!! All season I've been telling my brother, a HUGE Peyton Manning fan, that the Broncos can't win the Super Bowl. He doesn't believe me when I tell him the BRONCOS CAN'T CATCH. Sure they've managed to all season, but there have been a lot of hidden drops that people are forgetting about since #18 has been that damn good all year. But, just like last year, it's going to catch up to them at the worst possible time. I'll take the Patriots to go to the Super Bowl, 27-24. Don't be surprised if this one ends in a Peyton Manning interception either ...

Super Bowl 

Philly defeats New England - Yes, I know, I said twice "Don't bet against Tom Brady and Bill Belichek in the playoffs." But this time it's different. I don't care if it's his first year, Chip Kelly is the best coach in football. Period. He was the best coach in football when he was at Oregon and he's now the best coach in football while in Philly. The difference between college and the pros ... now he has talent. The Eagles are the most physically gifted squad in the NFL and it's going to show when it counts most. Eagles are your Champions with the final score of 37-27.
Game on ...
- Fishy