Wednesday, November 26, 2008

NCAA Football: Rivalries and Crucial Final Games

Turkey weekend marks the transition from football to basketball on most college campuses as the regular season ends and playoffs and bowls await the lucky few. For fans loyal to a particular conference, when has there been a season like the battles in the Big 12, Southern Division, where Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State have played each other as if it were for the BCS trophy, and in many ways, there’s truth to that, because the team that prevails will surely face the champs of the SEC for the honors.

Speaking of the SEC, Alabama stands alone at number one, undefeated, ready to go, but first, assuming they beat Auburn, must face Florida, the champ of the SEC East for the honors.

This weekend features a curious mixture of games along with the grand finale rival games that have grandfathers and grandsons swapping stories of gridiron greats and campus capers.

Here’s our games this week:

Georgia Tech #22 at Georgia #11 (-8 ½)
In the battle for the Big Peach, this has been a strong year for Georgia versus a decent year for Georgia Tech. Clearly the Yellow Jackets are outmatched by their SEC counterpart from down state.

Florida #4 (16 ½) at Florida State #20
In recent years, Bobby Bowden’s Seminoles can go to the Swamp and get their butts kicked or stay home and get swamped. This year will be no exception. The whispers are getting louder wondering will Florida State ever been a major power before the Bowden era ends.

South Carolina at Clemson (-1)
Here’s hoping that a troublesome season for Clemson ends on a positive note thumping Steve Spurrier allowing him a quick dispatch to the golf course.

Virginia at Virginia Tech (-8)
Both teams have had their moments this year with the Virginia Cavaliers playing spoiler for many of their ACC rivals while on the other side of the mountains, Beamer Ball, is not quite up to full strength. Regardless the Hokies should prevail in this state rivalry.

Oklahoma #5 (-7) at Oklahoma State #12
Oh yeah, here’s some of that Big 12 action at its finest. Should State pull the upset, they would take credit for ruining their rivals’ shot at a national championship. They’d both stand at 6-2 looking at a team from Texas most likely go for the glory.

Kansas at Missouri #13 (-16)
“Somewhere over the rainbow….. “ Kansas beats the spread but loses the game, right Dorothy?

Notre Dame at USC #5 (-32)
In most years, this would be one of the most hyped games of the year, but alas, there’s not much to cheer for in South Bend these days. While talk about buying out the insane long-term multimillion dollar contract of Charlie Weis persists, the Fighting Irish are on a historically poor run over the last two years. The Notre Dame aura has faded tremendously since Lou Holtz left town. Meanwhile, Pete Carroll’s Trojans will do all they can to make a case they should play in the Championship Bowl not the Rose Bowl.

Auburn at Alabama #1 (-14)
Here’s a chance for Alabama to run a victory lap before things get serious when they have their showdown with Florida to advance to the National Championship game. ‘Bama was not in anyone’s picture at the beginning of the season, but they have played hard, persistent football in a touch conference rewarding them with an undefeated record so far.

Get your thoughts together on the merits of the BCS approach or some kind of playoffs. Regardless, New Years Day is not the same without the traditional Orange, Cotton, Sugar, and Rose Bowls and debates that ensued.

NFL Week 13: Let the Feast Begin!

NFL Week 13

What a week we just completed! Never before has offense dominated the story the way it did in Week 12 where high scoring affairs and blow-outs ruled. Case in point, the Buffalo Bills who started the season brilliantly but have been equally mediocre lately took out their frustrations on the lowly Kansas City Chiefs 54 to 31. For a game that was supposed to be closely matched where much was riding on two 5-5 teams, the New Orleans Saints obliterated the Green Bay Packers 59 to 29 for Monday Night action. Meanwhile up in Boston, folks might be starting to say “Brady who?” as the Patriots knocked off the Miami Dolphins 48 to 28. There was one more “over 40” affair showing just how far the Atlanta Falcons have come beating the Carolina Panthers, perhaps the leading choice in the NFC South, 45 to 28.

Though it wasn’t a blowout on the scale of the games above, what happened here in Baltimore was perhaps the nastiest blowout of all as the Ravens pounded the Philadelphia Eagles 36 to 7 throwing the entire Philadelphia organization into total upheaval. The Ravens defense shutout their NFC rivals with the only touchdown for the Eagles coming on a kickoff return. While the score stood at the Raven ahead by 3, 10 to 7 at halftime, Coach Andy Reid was so rattled by his team’s first half show on offense, long time starter, Donovan McNabb, was benched for the second half. Hoping to find new energy from understudy, Kevin Kolb, who was every bit as ineffective. Meanwhile, through the first three quarters, the Ravens offense with rookie Quarterback, Matt Flacco, definitely looked like a work in progress until the 4th quarter when they absolutely poured it on scoring 24 points, but the most dramatic score was a 107 interception return by Ed Reeves, his second clutch interception of the day.

The slaughter on the Patapsco was of such magnitude that after the game not only were the switchboards jammed for Philadelphia sports talk stations politely calling the Baltimore defeat and benching of McNabb, the end of an era, fans and talk show hosts alike were demanding the removal of Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb. “Blow it up, blow the whole thing up, start this thing over!” was the consensus of opinion echoing up and down the Delaware Valley. The Eagles’ meltdown was so severe that as triumphant as the Ravens’ victory was and bold Ed Reeves and the rest of the Ray Lewis/Rex Ryan defense was, even in Baltimore, most of the talk focused on the Eagles’ debacle.

For earthshaking stories, could it be Brett Favre, castoff in the preseason soap opera drama with Packers’ management has helped lead the New York Jets to the strongest team in the AFC? After dominating the undefeated, Tennessee Titans, 34 to 13 tying them for the second best first place record with Pittsburgh.

Also of note, while somebody’s going to represent the AFC West in the playoffs as the first place team, neither Denver nor San Diego look like post season material. The chaotic silver and black Raiders smashed the Denver Broncos on their home field 31 to 10. San Diego did flash good defense against the Colts in the Sunday night conflict but Payton Manning and the Colts still prevailed. At 4 – 7, it would be easy to count San Diego out but given Denver stands at 6 – 5 and is struggling horribly with no discernable defense, who knows?

As such, the Titans have the top record dominating for home field advantage in the AFC while Pittsburgh and the New York Jets, sit at 9 – 3 battling for the other first round bye. If the season ended right now, the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens would go in as wild cards with Indy getting the #5 seed having beaten Baltimore in head-to-head action.

The races aren’t quite as clearly defined in the NFC other than the New York Giants clearly are in the drivers seat looking to have home field advantage all the way while the Arizona Cardinals (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?) are on the verge of clinching the NFC West. This is a year of historical significance for a team that has defined futility since it was the Second City’s second team when they played in Chicago in the 1950’s. The NFC North has three teams locked in a tight race for their top seed and to top that, all four NFC South teams have a shot with the New Orleans Saints two games back but possibly with the best talent to make a run. Take all that into consideration, the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, however, from the NFC East, appear to be the best bets right now for the Wild Card berths while both teams face some tough competition before the end of the season.

Let them eat Turkey and let the games begin.

We need football on Thanksgiving. Nothing could destroy the male gender more convincingly than not having NFL football on Thanksgiving where often neighbors and relatives who wouldn’t have much to talk about can rally ‘round the TV catching some pigskin action while the ladies rule the kitchen scolding each fellow who sneaks into the kitchen on a beer run if the host isn’t smart enough to have the cold ones located somewhere else.

Whatever story lines there could be for the Detroit Lions hosting the Tennessee Titans was pretty much put to rest with the Titans losing to the Jets Sunday. It would be the battle of the lossless versus the winless. Oh well, one can look at what will play out in Fords Field as being pretty much like the butchers against the fowl in the early game. Seattle at Dallas is not too exciting either, but the night game, necessitated by the NFL Networks’ emergence which only a select few football fans have matches the Cardinals ready to clinch their division against Donovan McNabb and the Eagles. To the extent that the football fans can lobby the kitchen for serving time, an early feast might be in order for those who have enough alertness left after all the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, veggies, fresh baked rolls, pecan, apple, and pumpkin pie, all served with some fine wine noting that stuffing in some parts of the country is enhanced with oysters, sausage, or other delights and here in Baltimore, sauerkraut is another Thanksgiving staple. Who can be alert enough to watch football while the digestive system takes about as much pounding as an offensive skills player against the Ravens defense?

Tennessee (-11) at Detroit
Forget about it! Things are so bad in Detroit that Detroit Free Press writer, Mitch Albom, noted fans wearing bags over their heads at the Lions last home shellacking as over-dressed. The Titans will tear apart the Lions the way drumsticks easily pull off a properly prepared Turkey. After one of these blowouts, perhaps Ford Field will be renamed Toyota Turf.

Seattle at Dallas (-13)
Forget about it! The Dallas soap opera will be only a whisper as surely those not too engaged in conversation will surely hear, “Romo to T.O…TOUCHDOWN” and other such exclamations of Cowboy dominance in this one.

Arizona at Philadelphia (-3)
After the slaughter a few exits down I-95 last Sunday in Baltimore, there’s no telling how many Eagles are playing for their future the rest of the season. The Eagles are still in striking distance of the playoffs. Only reaching that threshold could get Reid and McNabb off the hot seat. Meanwhile, Curt Warner and gang will stand to clinch their division with a win. The way Philadelphia folded in Baltimore, it’s hard to believe the odds makers giving them three points. Arizona should march into Philly and bag the turkey.

Baltimore (-7) at Cincinnati
All systems are go for the Ravens as long as there’s not a letdown facing a seemingly easy foe. the Bengals do have some talent. It’s just not focused.

New York Giants at Washington (-3)
The Giants will probably lose another game before the playoffs and the Redskins at home are a tough opponent. Still, the edge goes to New York.

San Francisco at Buffalo (-7)
Buffalo should feel fired up after their performance clobbering Kansas City, but on the flip side they did give up 31 points. Still, west coast teams seldom win one o’clock games in the east and San Francisco stinks.

Indianapolis (-5) at Cleveland
So it’s not Brady Quinn, huh? Entering the year, the future looked so bright for Cleveland, but now, the Browns are one of the NFL’s most troubled franchises. So Derek Anderson is back in for now, then what? At 4-7 and Cincinnati beneath them, the Browns might not look as miserable as some of the really bad teams in the NFL, but after 10-6 last year and so many pieces appearing to come together, it’s another defeat for fans who have known frustration for years.

Carolina at Green Bay (-3)
Carolina is not strong on the road and Lambeau field gets tougher and the Tundra gets colder, as such, Green Bay looks to be the favorite as long as their complete self-destruction in New Orleans is a thing of the past. Green Bay’s season is on the line and with the home crowd’s support should keep hope alive for at least another week.

Denver at New York Jets (-7 ½)
It’s party time in the New Jersey swamp on Sunday. With Denver’s miserable defense and New York offense pulling together behind Brett Favre, this could be a fun game for Jets fans to celebrate.

Miami (-8) at St. Louis
Miami continues to become a respectable team as they start to amass wins on the road. Barring an offensive resurgence from the St. Louis air attack. That Miami is an 8 point favorite on the road in November shows the progress they have made in 2008.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay (-3 ½)
New Orleans faces a real defense this time around but have to win this game on the road to stay in the hunt for a shot at the NFC South lead. Only two teams have given up fewer points than the Buccaneers while New Orleans is among the worst teams on defense. This game looks like Coach Chucky will prevail with room to spare.

Atlanta at San Diego (-5)
Atlanta continues to grow together as a solid team as San Diego seems to disappoint when it is most embarrassing to them. It might be a stretch to call for Atlanta to go west and get the job done, but these appear to be two teams heading in opposite directions.

Pittsburgh at New England (-1)
Tom Brady’s out and they’re playing Pittsburgh?? Pittsburgh wins, right? Hardly, the New England Patriots function like the “Borg” in Star Trek, one unit out, uninstall, plug in new unit, no problem. Has anyone noticed Matt Cassel’s performance lately? He pumps the ball reliably to Randy Moss and New England wins. If the Colts or Ravens falnter, boom, New England’s right back in the playoff seedings not that they’ve given up hopes being just one game down from the Jets. Pittsburgh has been just good enough to win many of its contests and can be exploited. They were not expecting to have the Baltimore Ravens nipping at their heels the way they are right now and they still face Baltimore in Crab Town later on. Their trip to New England will hurt while this is just one of several tough teams remaining on the schedule.

Kansas City at Oakland (-3)
Urgh!!! Here’s a “Toilet Bowl” if we’ve ever seen one. Both teams have terrible offenses but at least Oakland has a slightly better than average defense. Both teams are also ones that will lie down and quit when the going gets rough. This is one to avoid.

Chicago at Minnesota (-3)
Does anybody really want to win the NFC North? All four teams are in contention. These are two pretty evenly matched team but Minnesota stands out as having a distinct home field advantage.

Jacksonville at Houston (-3)
Both teams were expected to do better this year. At this time last year, Jacksonville got on a roll making Pittsburgh look silly and rode their way into the post season. This year has been a disaster. That Jacksonville has such a dreadful offensive showing in 2008 offsets how poor Houston is on defense. Houston should win by a nose.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

NCAA Football: Campus Capers, Tradition, and Key Match-ups

Week 13 is when the college football season used to wind down before the super conferences, conference playoffs, and demands for more television saturation. For ACC fans, well Maryland fans, who’d ever think the Terps would be favored, albeit it slightly, against Florida State?

It seems like every Big 12 matchup this year is something big. This weekend’s top matchup, features the upstart, Texas Tech travelling to Oklahoma. In years past, few games in all of sports have the rivalry power of the annual Michigan/Ohio State matchup which marks the end of the Big 10 season, but this year, given Michigan being in full rebuilding mode under new coach Rich Rodriguez, Michigan is a miserable -10 ½ underdog. Sadly, Rodriguez is the subject of many irate Wolverine fans’ wrath, but aside from the Freshmen and walk-on’s, the Wolverines are the team he inherited. Regardless, 2008 will be one of Michigan’s worst seasons ever while they were still smarting from the season opening embarrassment losing to Appalachian State in 2007.

Finally, we can’t help but note our sorrow over Penn State’s upset loss to Iowa last weekend. How special it would have been to have “Joe Pops” in the mix again for a National Championship as his historical career is truly in its twilight years. Few have given more to the sport or raised more NFL stars the Nittany Lions’ head coach since the flower power sixties.

Miami #23 at Georgia Tech (-3 ½)
Miami has just broken into the BCS rankings but that won’t give them enough to win against the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta.

Florida State at Maryland #25 (-1)
Maryland has been in and out of the top 25 for most of the second half of the season and will beat Florida State.

Michigan at Ohio State #10 (-20 ½)
Ohio State will take out its frustration for fading from Championship contention early in the season on their arch-rival from the north, Michigan. This game could be ugly.T

Texas Tech #2 at Oklahoma #5 (-7)
Everyone’s wondering when Tech’s run will finally whimper, but one of this year’s great stories will continue loud and strong against the Sooners. These guys are on a mission!

Michigan State #15 at Penn State #8 (-14)
Penn State will rally around Coach Joe Paterno as a matter of pride after last week’s heart breaking loss.

Brigham Young at Utah #7 (-6)
This one belongs to Utah all the way. Utah is one of the best stories this year further west than Big 12 country.

Tennessee at Vanderbilt (-3)
Vanderbilt has surely played better than expected having broken into the Top 25 at times this year. They will surely bring out their best to beat in-state rival Tennessee as Tennessee starts to look toward the future under a new coach next year.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

NFL Week 12: Unfinished Business From Last Week; Is the Playoff Picture Emerging?

Philadelphia QB Donovan McNabb comes to Baltimore trying to earn a little respect after a week of harsh criticism with ugly overtones.

First, let’s talk about an issue leftover from last week, Pittsburgh’s 11 to 10 victory over San Diego. This game will go in the history books as the first time there has ever been an 11 to 10 score in an NFL game, go figure, but as they say, “You do the math!” Figure out what combinations would lead to eleven points…three field goals and a safety, a touchdown with a two point conversion and a field goal…BIG DEAL. The real hoopla is about something else that has become a real big deal, another significant blown call by an official, but this time, the officials conferred to reach their decision. Upon further review of further review, referee, Scott Green, reversed a touchdown call after San Diego’s game ending play attempting a game winning miracle, San Diego QB Phillip Rivers threw a three yard pass to LaDamian Tomlinson who tossed a lateral to WR Chris Chambers who tossed a lateral intercepted by Troy Polamalu who scurried the turnover in for a touchdown. After the game, Green admitted “we should have let the play go through in the end…”

The result really meant nothing. Pittsburgh still won the game and it did not affect the standings at all. The only damage was that with an 11-10 win, Pittsburgh failed to cover the four point spread for the game. Had the touchdown counted, they would have covered the spread. As such, this raised quite an uproar as those having wagers on the game got shafted, and there is a legal betting industry in Nevada and elsewhere. It’s incredible how much of the sports commentators included this betting angle as a big part of their outrage on why this blown call was so serious.

Now hold everything! Betters gamble at their own risk and blown calls are as much a part of the game as touchdowns and field goals. Much has been made of blown calls this year, but while perfection in officiating is impossible, at least the NFL officials behave professionally. Much is made of their part time status, but unlike baseball, basketball, ice hockey, and NASCAR, the NFL plays only one game a week. The NFL game crews behave themselves like gentlemen never getting in arguments with players or coaches. They generally give them a chance to vent and when it gets out-of-hand, out comes the yellow hanky. Compare this to baseball, where umpires have been openly confrontational with players often trying to bait them into arguments so they can be given the heave-ho. In the NBA given their recent history, conspicuously blown calls raise suspicions of officials possibly having ulterior motives.

The NFL should continue to work with their officials to manage the best game possible using all the technology they have available to get accurate calls as promptly and seamlessly as possible. The NFL does take this matter very seriously. Such cannot be said of all sports.

Another gripe, the reaction to Philadelphia playing to a tie versus Cincinnati is way out of line. The NFL adopted a sudden death playoff format which provides for one extra period where the first team to score wins. If after one period during the regular season, no team scores, the game ends in a tie. This is probably, in part, to keep games from running too long to keep the television networks happy. This was the first tie in just over four years, when the Steelers tied the Falcons. Before that, there were two ties within one week in 1997 including the Philadelphia Eagles playing to a 10-10 tie against the Baltimore Ravens in good old Memorial Stadium. Players admitted to some confusion understanding the rule including Donovan McNabb who wondered aloud how this would affect the playoffs or Super Bowl. Post Season has its own rules for overtime, but horrors of horrors, how could Donovan McNabb not know the rules!!!

Characteristically, the same old element in the sports talk scene with many Eagles fans denouncing McNabb screamed their outrage asserting how shameful his apparent lack of intelligence is for an NFL Quarterback. Translation, McNabb is all physique and no brains.

If Payton or Eli Manning were likewise confused, would there have been much outrage? Of course not. Yes, some cities have tougher fans and more egotistical negative sports pundits, however, it is this writer’s opinion that so much of the criticism aimed at Donovan McNabb is racism, pure and simple.

Sadly on any given Sunday, the mixture of testosterone, alcohol and old timey racism and sexism is on display in the stands, at sports bars, and on talk radio way too much. Nowhere is the racial double standard more pronounced than attitudes toward black quarterbacks which should have been put the rest when Doug Williams convincingly led the Redskins to a powerful Super Bowl win. One doesn’t have to dig too deep to see postings and blogs that are obscenely sexist toward female sports journalists too. If they take their job seriously and don’t willingly submit to the “eye candy” roll, they are ridiculed and taunted beyond any acceptable standard of behavior. Sadly, white trash have identified sports as their last refuge. Why does this behavior stir up the image of some beer gutted moron dressed up in a dawg costume throwing dog biscuits on the field and calling himself a good “blue collar” fan?

Now for Week 12, the last week before an NFL team is given the honors to slaughter live turkeys on network television as the Detroit Lions play turkey for the visiting team for which Jeff Fisher’s Titans will be given the honors to start the 13th week. Before we get there, lots is going on this weekend.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (-10 ½)
The new tradition of NFL network, Thursday night football has Cincinnati visiting Pittsburgh where the Steelers as a 10 ½ point favorite will silence Mr. Cinco-Stinko. Still, give the Bengals a little credit for tying the Philadelphia Eagles, no easy task.

Philadelphia at Baltimore (-1 ½)
The Ravens host the Eagles as a slight favorite. To accomplish this, the Ravens must be on top of their game and shut down Michael Westbrook. Take him out of the game, and the Ravens win.

Houston at Cleveland (-3)
Houston visits Cleveland as a three point underdog. Both teams fell apart against the Ravens recently, but Houston has a little more discipline than the Browns who seem to always find the right way to choke. Give this one to the Texans.

San Francisco at Dallas (-10 ½)
One of the most entertaining games this week should be the San Francisco 49er’s visit to Dallas. Remember when these games were the hottest of the hot the NFL had to offer when it was Steve Young versus Troy Aikman? During that reign, this matchup was for supremacy in the NFC, two model dominant teams built on different models. Since then, both teams have fallen from glory with the Cowboys transforming into a pathetic soap opera for jocks while the 49er’s have turned into a model for pitiful incompetence. The most exciting part of this game will be Mike Singletary’s comments at the end of the game. However, mark this down, the Cowboys with Jessica’s boy back under center in control could easily become overconfident too soon. The Cowboys have as many holes as a slice of Swiss cheese. Yes, it would be foolish to pick an upset here, but this will be the kind of game that will have ‘Boys’ fans throwing projectiles at their televisions on Sunday.

Tampa Bay (-8 ½) at Detroit
Tampa Bay visits Detroit as an 8 ½ point favorite. Any questions? Maybe the Lions will ask for some of the bailout money going to Detroit, eh?

Minnesota at Jacksonville (-2)
Minnesota visits Jacksonville down two points. These are two erratic teams, but both teams playing at their usual strength this year gives Jacksonville the slight edge.

Buffalo (-3) at Kansas City
Here’s a tough one, Buffalo goes to Kansas City as a three point favorite. Buffalo started the season at 5-1 but have now lost four straight, first three divisional losses then a two point loss against Cleveland last weekend. Kansas City is one of those toilet bowl contestants to rival the Detroit Lions for the NFL’s most miserable franchise. While Buffalo needs a good chance to get happy against a struggling foe, things are lining up for Kansas City to pull the upset. It’s been the tale of two seasons, the Cinderella team of the early season and hapless chumps more recently. The Bills collapse seems to be more systemic than circumstantial so a turnaround to glory will be difficult.

New England at Miami (-2)
New England visits Miami as a two point underdog. This game is a toss up, but let’s cheer for the upstart not the old bullies to win this one.

Chicago (-7 ½) at St. Louis
Chicago visits St. Louis as a 7 ½ point favorite to get the goats. Their trip across Illinois should result in a sure victory.

New York Jets at Tennessee (-7 ½)
Ouch! Just as Brett Favre and the Jets could celebrate propelling themselves into sole possession of first place in the AFC East, they must evacuate their lofty perch in the Big Apple for Hee Haw country and do battle with the undefeated Tennessee Titans. How many fans remember the Jets joined the early AFL as the New York Titans? The Jets should be taking a good look at the Tennessee/Baltimore tapes to see what the Ravens did to control the Titans in a game they could have won were it not for a couple of penalties. Granted, it would be hard for the Jets defense to emulate Ray Lewis and team on defense, but in reality the best the Jets can hope for is a game they can spin as a moral victory when they return home after a loss in Nashville.

Washington (-3 ½) at Seattle
Gee whiz, Danny’s boys have to go all the way across the continent for a cup of overpriced coffee whereby they will toss one more shovel of dirt on burying the Seattle Seahawks’ embarrassing 2008 season. Somebody would have to put something really bad in their Lahti’s for the Skins not to enjoy this Danny Snyder priced cup of coffee.

Carolina at Atlanta (-1 ½)
While Atlanta installed as a slight favorite largely as a home field advantage, it’s still hard to imagine them beating their divisional rival from Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers are a decidedly better team at home but two losses is nothing to sneeze at. While the Falcon’s rebirth is one of the happy stories of this year, Carolina has the edge in this one.

Oakland at Denver (-9 ½)
This should be a no brainer and an easy win for the Broncos to smack down the Raiders unfortunately, Denver has been mysteriously absent in effort way too often this year. Denver needs a convincing win to reassert themselves as a possible playoff contender who won’t win the division by default given how terrible the NFC West has been this year with their two top teams, Denver and San Diego looking so pathetic at times.

New York Giants (-3) at Arizona
Here’s a game that could be a preview of future conflicts in January though the next round would likely be in the New Jersey swamp instead of the Arizona desert. Right now, the Giants look like the best team in the NFL.

Indianapolis (-3) at San Diego
While most of the attention of how the mighty have fallen in the AFC focuses on the fate of New England with Tom Brady’s injury, the Colts and the Chargers were both figured on being the leaders of their division who’d be tuning up for January and fighting to secure home field advantage by now. While Indianapolis at four games back is virtually eliminated from winning their division, at 6-4, they are tied with Miami, New England, and Baltimore in the Wild Card fight. San Diego sits at 4-6 two games behind the Broncos who lead the wild and wacky west at 6-4. The Colts are beginning to look more and more like the perennial contender while the Chargers seldom play a full sixty minutes with focus and intensity becoming more and more the kind of team Norv Turner was roundly criticized for producing in his previous two coaching assignments where underachievement prevailed. The Colts should dominate this game.

Green Bay at New Orleans (-2 ½)
Green Bay and New Orleans are two teams that look brilliant at times but have also failed to live up to expectations this year. How’s this for irony, at 5-5, Green Bay sits a top their Northern Division tied with Chicago while New Orleans sits in last place three games behind the Panthers. Playoff prospects are looking unlikely for New Orleans as Tampa Bay has the best Wild Card record at 7-3 while Washington, Dallas, and Atlanta carry 6-4 records. That puts the Saints in a pool with Green Bay, Chicago, Minnesota at 5-5 and Philadelphia at 5-4-1. Monday night’s game will make it clear to the nation that New Orleans will not run the table to win their last six games, what might be their post season threshold.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sprint Cup: The Chase - Race 10: Move Over Cale, Here Comes Company

The long season’s end is finally in sight. What a journey it’s been since Ryan Newman won the Daytona 500 last February. Last February, Barack Obama was just beginning to become a household word. That he could be our next President seemed what it should have been, impossible. The Tampa Bay Rays were hardly seen as a team capable of knocking out the Red Sox for the American League championship. No one could have seen the financial meltdown but gas prices were almost double what they are now. One thing that was very foreseeable, Jimmie Johnson could surely pull off the “three-peat” but the road to Homestead would hardly be anything like what developed. It’s been a very strange year for the Sprint Cup series, but Sunday’s race has little left to decide unless Johnson finishes below 36th and Carl Edwards wins. The real action is in the Craftsman Truck Series and to a lesser extent the Nationwide Series.

Tonight the truck series will be decided by which driver finishes ahead of the other. It’s that simple. Johnny Benson leads Ron Hornaday by three points. Hornaday runs for Kevin Harvick’s operation who celebrated Ryan Newman’s debut with a victory in Atlanta last month. Wouldn’t be ironic if that victory cost Hornaday his championship?

While 36 points is a much broader margin, the margin by which Clint Bowyer leads Carl Edwards in the Nationwide series, it’s close enough that both drivers will have to race the fenders off to win the series championship tomorrow.

Irony of irony, wasn’t the purpose of “The Chase” in part to make the final races of the year more meaningful? What an incredible Chase was lined up after Richmond with Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, and Jimmie Johnson atop the field for what should have been a madly fought shootout. Quickly Busch ran into trouble with wrecks and mechanical failure pushing him to the bottom of the twelve car field. Edwards would dodge the bullet until October hit and wrecking his own teammate, Greg Biffle didn’t help much at all. Since then, it’s been all Mr. Ho-Hum out in front. Johnson is one of the most talented driver ever and will secure his name among the sport’s elite with Sunday’s championship, but the dude’s about as exciting as oatmeal.

Here comes the “Silly Season” as teams shuffle chasing for tight resources. The DEI-Gannasi merger shows just how tight things are right now while Petty’s operation and the Wood Brothers fight for survival. Bobby Labonte is a talented driver, but clearly the King can’t decree a winning formula without the technology and money. Kyle Petty’s future is not as a race driver as he has been all but invisible since heading to the booth for his six week gig with TNT.

NCAA Football: Let the Talk Show Hosts Scream about BCS

Mid-November, the college season starts to wind down as there will be nasty weather along the East coast as a cold front brings rain and wind. Great rivalry games start to close out conference schedules, and the debate on who’s number one and why the BCS stinks gets louder. We’re going upset crazy this weekend largely in support of our Mid-Atlantic teams.

Virginia Tech at Miami (-4 1/2)
We’re pulling for Beamer ball to prevail against the ‘Canes. In the old days, this would be insane, but tomorrow it’s possible.

North Carolina (-2 ½) at Maryland
Both teams have flirted with national rankings and should be bowl bound. The state in between has mess up the cause for both as Virginia has been the ultimate spoiler this year. Maryland will prevail on their home field.

Texas #3 (-13) at Kansas
The cornfields will be burning as Texas comes to town for a tune up for bigger games to come.

Notre Dame (3 ½) at Navy
Navy pulled the upset last year, and this year, the Mackerel Snappers come to downtown Baltimore, M&T Bank Stadium to compete. The Fighting Irish will be poised for revenge from last year’s upset, but it’s anchors away and Notre Dame go away.

South Carolina at Florida #4 (-22)
Can Florida score more than the 22 point spread to smear their former coach, Steve Spurrier in the swamp, you bet they can!!! For whatever admiration we had for Mr. Spurrier as the Gators coach, that all evaporated when he was cashing in Daniel Snyder’s millions giving the impression his golf game was more important than that of the Redskins. Let’s scream for the rout and then listen to Spurrier in his whiney high-pitched slightly southern voice make excuses. THUMP!!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

NFL Week 11: Let the Good Times Roll

The byes are completed and everybody’s playing a full schedule including the latest attempt to pull a little extra coin out of the fans’ pockets with the NFL Network broadcasting its Thursday night games which means fans are SOL unless they have a special sports premium service at extra cost which isn’t even offered by some cable system providers. The games are broadcast over-the-air in the immediate markets of the competing teams, but many fans in New England will not have access to tonight’s game. It’s a good marketing vehicle for Direct-TV which provides all kinds of NFL coverage, but so much for the so called “blue collar” fans.

Meanwhile, Ravens fans, enjoy the teams’ success and stop whining about how the team doesn’t get any respect in the national media. Fox isn’t going to have much to say about the Ravens since they cover the NFC. CBS keeps them in perspective. It’s a waste of time to watch anything but the game on NBC Sunday nights. So this puts the focus on ESPN, and yes, if that matters, they don’t show the Ravens much respect. Chris “Blowhard” Berman often picks the Ravens as one of his Swami picks always on the losing end, but does anyone take this buffoon seriously?

Are these fans whining because they’re around too many Redskins fans? Yeah, both teams have identical marks and the Washington fans are quick to point out Washington has faced a tougher schedule. Since when to teams choose their schedule unless there’s evidence crappy teams like Detroit would sandbag it to get the #1 draft seed, but Detroit wouldn’t know what to do with the number one pick regardless. If Redskins fans are getting on Ravens fans nerves, here’s all the Ravens fans need to do, just keep repeating, “Daniel Snyder, Daniel Snyder, Daniel Snyder, Daniel Snyder.” Sure boy wonder loves to write the big checks but it doesn’t matter than much in the NFL with the hard salary cap. He lured Joe Gibbs, one of the most saintly figures away from his championship NASCAR operation, to be a baby sitter. See how long that lasted. RMF is not a Redskins basher, but all fans need to be armed against fans of other teams who get a little too full of themselves.

If the Ravens beat the Giants on Sunday putting the best run defense, Baltimore’s, against the best run offense, New York’s, this could be one hell of a game. New York has one of the toughest defenses the Ravens have seen so far this year, but looking at how close the Ravens played against Pittsburgh and Tennessee, two teams they could have and maybe should have beaten were it not for third quarter defensive penalties that seemed to take the momentum out of the team, the Ravens do have a good chance against ANY team in the NFL. Those losses to those AFC leaders were before Joe Flacco was unleashed on offense. Going into Sunday’s conflict, yes, the Giants are rated a better team, rated about a touchdown favorite by the odds maker’s three points of which is generally always awarded the home team. If the Ravens win on Sunday, they will be the talk of the NFL regardless of what predispositions some media hacks might have. If Chris Berman doesn’t subject the highlights to some of his obnoxious shtick, don’t feel slighted. Nothing the “Boomer” (nickname ripped off from the stellar Cincinnati and University of Maryland superstar former QB, Boomer Esiason) has to say amounts to more than obnoxious jibber-jabber anyway. Regardless, if the Ravens bust one loose and Berman does his “He could go all the way….” bit, you have the right to smile and give the television the “you’re #1 salute” with the appropriate digit just for good measure.

Here’s our picks for this week’s games. We’ve been 11-3 the last two weeks so watch out!

New York Jets at New England (-3 ½)
Brett Favre loves the big stage and New England is a little more banged up. Jets fly high and win this one.

Baltimore at New York Giants (-6 ½)
New York fans will have to deal with the joys of the Swamp Thing winning the AFC game for them as the Ravens will pull the shocking upset making fans remember their Super Bowl win over the Giants all those years ago.

Denver at Atlanta (-5 ½)
Who would ever have believed Atlanta could have been favored to beat Denver this year? Denver has done everything possible to kick their own butts while Atlanta has found new life with rookie QB Matt Ryan. The dreadful Michael Vick saga is quickly fading into a closed chapter in Falcons’ history.

Detroit at Carolina (-14)
About the only thing of value to travel from Detroit to Charlotte is technological support for NASCAR. The Lions might as well be sweeping the floors at the numerous NASCAR shops located on the north side of town as the good old boys race their last race down in Miami. The Panthers are going to obliterate the Lions in this one sided cat fight.

Philadelphia (-9) at Cincinnati
About the only thing that could make this more interesting that how much Philadelphia could run up the score would be to see an Eagles’ defender pile drive Mojo Stinko or whatever that Chad Johnson fellow wants to be called now.

Chicago at Green Bay (-4)
This is a tough call as Chicago’s a little banged up and Green Bay is erratic. Still, this looks like a game that belongs to defense and “Da Bears” will pull the mild upset.

Houston at Indianapolis (-9)
Visiting the Indianapolis Colts will not give Houston the chance to take out their frustrations for being manhandled by Baltimore last week. How well the Colts play will determine whether they’re regrouping for a stretch run or this is a season to be written off.

Tennessee (-3) at Jacksonville
There’s not much talk about the Titans running the table yet, but a win on Sunday against the Jags will bring them one step closer. Jacksonville is more talented than they show. This could be a “trap” game if the Titans aren’t on top of their game.

New Orleans (-4.5) at Kansas City
The Saints need a good solid victory to correct their topsy-turvy results so far this year. A good conservative strategy and well-fought game should help them if they are to rescue their season.

Oakland at Miami (-10.5)
What a waste of jet fuel shipping the Al Davis circus from San Francisco Bay to South Florida. Remember when an Oakland/Miami matchup was about the best the AFC could offer? It looks like the Dolphins are back on the road to respect while the Raiders are becoming the new pooh-pooh platter standard for the NFL.

Minnesota at Tampa Bay (-4)
Nothing flashy here. “Chuckie’s” boys will punch the clock, take care of business, and go home with a win.

St. Louis at San Francisco (-6)
This could be Mike Singletary’s first win, but egads, picking either one of these teams hurts. We’ll go with the odds makers and pick the “Niners” to see what kind of show the old grumpy Bear will put on with a win!

Arizona (-3) at Seattle
It’s hard to believe Arizona is not favored by more. It’s hard to believe a Bidwell team is going to win its division. Still, this year’s version of the Seahawks has no spark in them at all. The Desert Birds beat the Starbucks Birds by a bigger margin than the forecast field goal.

San Diego at Pittsburgh (-4)
After the Steelers obliterate the Bolts on Sunday, the screams for Norv Turner’s throat for ruining the Chargers will be deafening in San Diego. Sure, it’s not all his fault with some of the key injuries they’ve sustained, but the Chargers seldom look fired up for a game anymore. That’s seldom a problem for the Steelers. The Steelers have their holes, but they’re probably counting on regaining sole possession of first place with the Ravens facing New England. Don’t count on it, Heinz. Be assured though, Heinz will pickle his Charger opponents.

Dallas (-1.5) at Washington
Oh wow, the circus comes to the Nation’s Capitol (or at least the northeast Maryland suburbs) Sunday night. Tony Romo’s pinky is supposed to be better and Jessica will give it a kiss for good luck before the game. The Redskins are a team that can thrive on chaos and calling the ‘Boys chaotic is the understatement of the season. The Redskins have a lot of pent up rage to take out on their rivals and the huge FEDEX field crowd will be rocking. We’ll pick DC to win, but give this a couple stars for a potential severe blowout possibility. If the Cowboys fall behind early, watch out.

Cleveland at Buffalo (-5.5)
After a great start, the Bills have fallen back down to earth recently, but Cleveland is not a solid team right now. They had a brief surge that was completely dumped in Lake “Eerie” during the second half of their defeat to the hated Ravens. Buffalo’s playing for a chance to regain top honors in the East while Cleveland is anything but the sexy pick they represented at the start of the season.

Now’s the time the real contenders are starting to emerge. The 2008 is still a season looking for what defines the season. Much attention has been devoted to the futility at the bottom of the pack more than whose kicking butt aloft. If the Ravens and Falcons continue to thrive, it could be the tale of rookie coaches with rookie quarterbacks.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

HEIDI-HO!!! Mad as Hell about the ABC's of NASCAR!!!

Sunday night, the Sprint Cup race from Phoenix ran a little late because of two red flags during the race. These weren't long delays, maybe less than an hour, but holy smokes, with the big money deals that sought to make NASCAR big time by putting most of the CUP races on over-the-air television with all the races from Daytona to Dover on Fox and then from Richmond through the end on ABC, NASCAR was now stepping up to the highest level though it seems a little curious that from June through August when racing fever would be the hottest, all races are on cable with six on TNT then the rest including the Brickyard on ESPN.

For decades, television viewers watching Fox or CBS from September to December might have to wait a while before they can watch their precious "Simpsons" or "Sixty Minutes" because an NFL game was running late -- even if it's one in a remote market that just happens to be one of the late games. However, given a similar reality for NASCAR, ABC elected to bump the next to last NASCAR race of the season in the East and Central time zones for their most important prime time program material, "America's Funniest Home Videos!" "America's Funniest Home Videos" bumped for THAT?!?!?

Okay, for yours truly, it was no big deal to punch the remote control and let the race continue, but still, it's a real slap in the face. What about the fans who only have access to over-the-air television. Not all communities are wired for cable including lots of southeastern rural locations the heartland of NASCAR's fan base. Some people just can't afford the $50 a month for cable or Direct TV. This was the big reason for moving from ESPN and the other cable networks in the first place, more fan access, no pay TV for Cup racing. Somehow, that "America's Funniest Home Videos" which has always seemed like low budget filler for the big network would be the all important prime time show makes this most insulting.

The NFL had its day of reckoning, well actually it was the old AFL before it became completely integrated with the big boys, when NBC cut the end of a thrilling game with 65 seconds left on the clock, the New York Jets lead the Oakland Raiders 32-29. The network brass wanted their prime time show to start on time thus football fans missed Oakland score two touchdowns in the final seconds to win 42-32. What was the important program that bumped this instant NFL classic, "Heidi." Yes, the sappy, drippy movie "Heidi" had to start on time.

That game would forever go down in football history as the "Heidi Bowl" and has become part of the folklore vocabulary of all sports when television coverage compromises a sports broadcast to where Heidi could even become a verb as to say "NASCAR got "Heidied" by ABC.

Well, Heidi-HO!!!! Here we go. As if fast cutaways with no post race winner's circle interviews isn't bad enough. It's the price you pay for big media these days.

Lots of NASCAR fans believe coverage has not been the same since the good old days with Bob Jenkins, the late Benny Parsons, and Ned Jarrett in the booth and Dr. Jerry Punch as the lead pit reporter. ESPN had it right back then. Do we really need all the gimmicks and extra layers of manpower? Ironically, some of the most insightful coverage of all comes from ex UNC Tarheel and NBA star, Brad Dougherty, the one broadcast team member many fans question for his purpose in the line-up. This fan appreciates his contributions as he goes from the nuts and bolts to the big picture level with more insight than even some of the most seasoned and entertaining veterans of NASCAR coverage.

NASCAR has some work to do with the networks before old DW gives his "boggity-boggity-boggity" for the 2009 Daytona 500. For starters, Fox could get rid of that god awful "Let's Go Racing Boys" theme music while "Last Man Standing" deserves the scrap heap too -- more pitiful products of "big" media.
One more race to go, the Jimmie Johnson coronation in Homestead. Heido-HO!!!!

Some People Just Want Others to Hate Them: Athiests Post Ads in DC

Surely no one you know will
want his new movie on DVD!

Have you met Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens? Well, they seem very learned and intellectual, but they're not very happy people. They're very quick to find fault and don't have much nice to say about other people. They don't seem to have much fun yet they claim to be against any kind of laws that restrict morality.

For those who don't know, they are two of the world's most outspoken athiests who frequently make the talk show rounds to talk down people of faith and their silly little religions. To them, believers are the little people, hopelessly lost in primative thinking, tsk, tsk, tsk, as they speak in their nasal toned delivery looking down their noses at those poor folks with such antiquated customs. They have a bigger friend who has a talk show on HBO. He used to be on the big network ABC but said some very stupid things that offended just about everyone. Ah, and what of pseudo-intellectual comedian, Bill Maher and his film that trashes religion? Wonder how that's playing in Topeka?

Well, their gang wants to piss us off this time of year given an advertising campaign they've established to post ads on buses and elsewhere around Washington, DC. Most of us little people could care less. Why pay the cost of a movie ticket just to hear somebody sneer at just about everyone else. Check this out.... (Article about Athiest ads in DC.),3566,450445,00.html

Meanwhile, as the Christmas season approaches, fight the fight against all those phony generic holiday messages and retailers who go out of their way to mention the big event that unites us all, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Why do these miserable God haters seem so unhappy all the time? As if the answer is hard to figure out for any of us with a spiriual appreciation for life. We live in a free society. They're free to be miserable, and the Declaration of Independence only assures the right to the pursuit of happiness. It does not mandate it.

Being nice to those who live to be miserable might be a futile pursuit, but Athiests are such a small minority of the population, at best 10%. Then why is it they are so anxious to make the rest of us so miserable. I wonder when it comes right down to it, while the Athiest boo-hoo boys are deeply offended by all intrusions of godliness in our society and want to find some way to get the legal system to remove "In God we trust" from our money, it's curious I've never heard any of them object to having Christmas off as a holiday. Do they all-of-a-sudden understand the secular significance of our Judeo-Christian history as well? They also seldom turn down invites to all the Christmas parties, the food, the drink, and maybe some gifts, not that any of that is truly reflective of the spiritual value of Christmas, but it sure is part of the cultural rituals they deplore.

Maybe one positive of the ugly economy this year is lets hope folks approach the Holidays more with anticipation of being with loved ones, sharing the spirit, and less about rushing to the malls, big box retailers, and discount stores to get the latest what-cha-ma-call-it to place under the tree. Trust us, your kid will survive just fine without the latest X-box doo-dad and mama really is just as sweet without that $100 bottle of purfume just as daddy doesn't really need that demolition tool from Home Depot just to complete his workshop. Some less expensive gifts straight from the heart and a good meal might be the right recipe for one of the best holidays ever.

Somehow, Christmas with Charlie Brown even if it's just to hear Vince Guaraldi's fine piano playing will fit the bill just fine. Try to explain any of that to an Athiest. Though they think they're so far ahead of everyone else, does anyone want to tell them that philosophically they're lost in the 19th Century?

God bless 'em all anyway. We'll have some more thoughts as Christmas approaches. Any town or enterprise that messes with the traditional celebration of Christmas will surely draw our attention.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The New York Times Are God-Damned Traitors, Period!

Enemy of the American People. The elitist radical left
scum, the decision makers of The New York Times.
How low can they go? Is there any issue of National Security the New York Times won't stoop to reveal regardless of what's at stake, who might get hurt, or lives could be lost? They have zero regard for their country especially those who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. As if revealing the money trail our intelligence services have constructed following how the thugs move their money around the world, now the New York Times reveals a "secret" order to let U.S. forces raid Al Qaeda around the world.

The article also published by the Times Herald their international news service on the Internet details several specific plans where top terrorist operatives were targetted.

See link for article:

The scope and specificity of this article is alarming since they are not revealing one event in isolation but a series of plans conducted by both the military and intelligence services.

The First Amendment is a wonderful thing, but honestly, does this not cross the line? How many of us would love to see these holier-than-thou elites who set themselves up as the ultimate authority on what is righteous thrown in jail and locked away for a long, long time.

However, the New York Times is the messenger. Who is supplying them this information with in the government? These wretched souls who passed security clearances and have sworn their service to our country would reveal the inner workings of our government's confidential business for what? Because they had a different way of wanting to do something than those they work for? Because they are actually turncoats within our government? Surely, each hateful stool pigeon has his or her own story to tell.

It's time for the public to rise up and put the old gray lady out of her misery before she hurts any one else. Looking at their status on the stock market, maybe the New York Times on death watch is not that far away!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Reflections on John McCain's Defeat: One Last "Dear John" Letter

Dear John,

Well, we tried as best we could to help you, but you lost the election anyway. Needless to say, lots of us are left heartbroken, but more so, scared and worried about what an Obama presidency with substantial gains for Democrats in both houses will do to us.

There’s no denying this was going to be a very difficult election for Republicans. A year ago it was a foregone conclusion, Hilary Clinton was going to be our next President unless Rudy Giuliani had some special magic to beat her. What happened the next few months resulted in something no one would ever have imagined: Barack Obama versus John McCain. If someone suggested that would have been the matchup a year ago, surely everyone would have thought , John, you would have won easily. With your background as an American hero and fellow who had tremendous appeal to Democrats and Indepent Voters, no upstart could upset you. However, as the days to Iowa approached, Obama’s talent was clearly evident, and just weeks later, his victory in South Carolina made Hilary Clinton the challenger forevermore. Meanwhile, it almost seemed like nobody wanted to be the Republican nominee except for you and Mike Huckabee.

On September 12, you appeared to have a darned good chance of winning the election. You led or had drawn even in all the major polls. Then the economy tanked as did your numbers, but it’s not that simple, not that simple at all.

John, let’s be honest, you ran a HORRIBLE campaign. This was one for the ages to go down with Michael Dukakis and Bob Dole for badly managed, poorly conceived efforts. We aired our concerns frequently about the direction your efforts were headed since July, yet the campagin never grew its teeth. If we need evidence what a horrible team was supporting you, we need only look atwhat’s developed surrounding your running mate after the election. Who knows or should really care about the "bath towel" episode other than what kind of man would talk publicly (as a cowardly "unnamed source") about something that if it happened was nothing more than an awkward mistake. Now we know who really ran your show, General Disarray and Major Disaster.

Let’s get one thing out of the way, did you get screwed by the Press. Of course you did. Still you never saw it coming because they once cheered you when it served their purposes because you were so good at irritating your party's establishment. You gave George W. Bush and Richard Chaney fits. However, once you became the likely leader of the party they hate, you should have known what was in store for you. Not since Eisenhower, has the media ever had good feelings about a Republican presidential candidate. Your efforts to talk over, above, and around the press was as big of a failure as was your effort to take them head-on. Your attempt to criticize the press even when the New York Times defamed your wife amounted to little more than a sobbing whimper.

What the hell is the story about Sarah Palin? Seldom has anyone burst on the scene overnight the way she did. After her feisty, fired up address at the Republican convention, she created an excitement that gave you a huge bounce to build upon. But the press, the Democrats allies like who would have been nothing were it not for being empowered by the McCain/Feingold bill, and the Obama campaign were more than ready sending thousands of lawyers, private investigators, and investigative reporters to dig up every last grain of dirt on her. Though their charges were superficial, they took up a lot of press space and diversion from the issues you and she needed to drive home to win the election. Again, couldn't you see this coming? Were you surprised that she took the pounding in the media and by the celebrity world she did? You shouldn’t have been. If you looked at how they treated Hilary Clinton, who was once their gal, did you think she’d get a fair hearing as a staunchly independent, genuinely conservative Governor of Alaska?

The truth is, after the convention, most of Sarah Palin’s public exposure that got national attention even on Fox News Network was a miserable failure. She showed not a hint of gravitas in her interview with Charles Gibson and then looked hopelessly overmatched with Katie Couric. Did you, she, or your staff think that was going to be easy? Couric was the one national anchor who held Barack Obama’s hand to the flame when she interviewed him on his European victory tour and she was going to play nice with Sarah? To Ms. Palin’s credit, she came across as intelligent, thoughtful, and politically mature in her interviews with Sean Hannity, but surely you know what the media thinks of Mr. Hannity. They can’t wait for the Democrats and Obama to push through the Fairness Doctrine that will likely push Hannity of the radio airwaves. We have no doubts that Ms. Palin had experience worth Vice Presidential consideration and that she was certainly more qualified than Barack Obama, but she never sounded like a mature intelligent adult on the air. Ms. Palin's public persona was so one dimensional seldomdly transcending beyond witty zingers aimed at the Democrats, she failed to seem like a future leader. Because she seemed so green, all of a sudden, the charges of inexperience in this campaign went from Obama to her. Her inability to speak the English language as an intellectually formed adult was almost as dreadful as that of our current President’s. College educated executives don’t say, “woncha”, “didja,” “gonna,” and “wudja.” They also realize the “g” in words ending in “ing” is not a silent letter. Frankly, in serious situations, such speech is not acceptable of high school grads in the workplace. Ask yourself how much of her speaking would get criticism if she were a 7th grade student giving a report in her English or Social Studies class. While it might have seemed “folksy” and genuine to some of the targeted voters, it also was subject to the northeastern intellectual conservatives such as Peggy Noonan, George Will, and David Brooks. The end result of the Palin candidacy is that whether someone admires her or dislikes her, the whole Sarah Palin affair reflects horribly on you, John McCain. If she’s a fool, you were a fool for appointing her. If she’s brilliant and has the intellectual qualities she is accused of lacking, you are the fool for mishandling and misguiding her.

Here's something else that really hurts: you ran as a Republican. Where was your support for Republican candidates running for the House and the Senate? You needed to attack the party of Reid and Pelosi and the extreme excesses they represent and make the public scared as hell of having both the executive and legislative branches horrified of the possibility of their rule. Through your inattention to the other Republicans running for office, you hung them out to dry. They were clobbered in this election, some in states that you won. North Carolina and Virginia are now BLUE states. While it’s understandable you had to put your distance between yourself and George W. Bush, you could have been a little more discreet about it and still got your message across. He is the standard bearer of the Republican party whose successes benefitted the party too. How could the Republican party win with so little teamwork.? It was every man for himself. Further, given the Sarah Palin bashing and the stories surfacing about people who wanted to engage in activities to support you but no one was available to help them suggests that within your campaign itself, again your campaign looks foolish. The Republican side of the election was a sorry display of every man for himself.

Much will be said about the inevitability of history, that Barack Obama was riding a certain wave of history that came ashore in November, 2008. Still, your campaign had so many chances never taken, so many opportunities missed, and so many plays botched.

It’s back to the Senate for two more years. Serve with pride. You deserve it. Show leadership by example and work to bring idealistic young people into service with the Republican Party. Stay away from too much handshaking across the aisle. Given their majority, if they need your help to get something passed, it’s almost certainly something wise legislators should step away from.

Yes, John McCain, I am honestly unhappy and frankly ashamed of the campaign you ran for President, and some of your efforts “crossing the aisle” has brought about very dangerous legislation such as the infamous “McCain/Feingold” bill have really put the hurts on your party and the Conservative movement. This does not distract from my recognition of the brilliant career you have served and the sacrifices you have made to our country. As a person who was once healthy and has been severely disabled by injuries, I can appreciate just how much you gave while serving in that hell hole of a prison in North Vietnam, and as much as I was abhorrently against the Vietnam as the most horrendous mistake my country has made in my lifetime, what they did to you reinforces my hatred of communism and socialist ideals.

Hold your head high. I know you will be man enough to sustain the “ass whoopin’” you’re taking now.


Right Minded Fellow (and probably millions of other Americans)

PS: Say “Hi” to your incredible mom. What a lady. We can sure see where you get a lot of your toughness. She was always a bright spot when on television!!!

Sprint Cup: The Chase - Race 9: Not Much Can Stop #48 Now

Current champion and points leader, Jimmie Johnson, is well-positioned to win his third consecutive cup in Homestead, Florida in just one week as he sits on the pole for tomorrow’s Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 Presented by Penzoil in Phoenix, Tomorrow. (Is this race’s name a sure sign of having a hard time getting title sponsors for events these days? How many announcers will give the full name of the event covering what we’ll simply call “The Phoenix Race?”)

What more could Carl Edwards do to put him in a position to contend than his performances at Atlanta and Texas the last two weeks? However, simply reality check indicates, for Edwards (or anyone else) to win the championship, he is as much dependent on Johnson’s failures as his own success since as long as Johnson maintains a successful pace, time has run out on the competition. Depending on the Hendricks organization with Chad Knauss leading the technology and pit crew efforts supporting Johnson’s talent as a driver, failure is not likely with a driver who is smart enough to steer clear of danger as effectively as anyone else on the track. Carl Edwards starts in 15th which puts him a pit-stop away from settling into a good groove but from the opposite standpoint, he’s down fifteen positions to begin with to contend with the leader.

Other notes on today’s qualifying order: It has not been kind to Chase contenders as they are spread out over the entire field. After Johnson, the next Chase racer is Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 5th who is struggling to finish in the top 10 to get his invitation to the end of the year ceremonies in New York in December. Jeff Gordon, 7th, and Denny Hamlin, 8th, are the only other “Chasers” in the top ten. Jamie McMurray, who has largely been the odd man out in the five car Roush team continues his late season surge sitting on the outside pole. David Reutimann qualifying in 4th is showing that his talent and Michael Waltrip’s Toyota operations have become solid competitors in the Sprint Cup series. They are definite contenders to win any weekend now. With Kurt Busch starting in 3rd and Ryan Newman in 6th, this is surely a major highlight in a rather dismal year for the Penske operations aside from Newman winning the Daytona 500 and Busch sneaking in a victory at Michigan thanks largely to the weatherman. Robbie Gordon’s miserable race at Atlanta made the chase for #35 a little more competitive. Still, for another driver to move into the safety zone, that driver and team are as much dependent on a Robbie Gordon failure as they are on their own success. At this point of the year, the silly season jibber-jabber is almost as hot as talk about the event itself.

Jimmie Johnson fans are sitting pretty while the rest of us are looking for those magic words, “Johnson’s cut down a tire!" KABOOM!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

NFL Week 10: Surprises at the Halfway Point

The second half of the NFL season is underway with a new reality, Thursday night football as the latest move by the NFL to achieve media domination. Outside the participants’ TV markets, these games will be available only on the NFL network which many cable systems do not carry or provide as part of a “premium” sports package. In 2009, Major League Baseball starts its own network. So how much is the NFL suffering during these economic dark ages?

Happiness is being an NFL franchise owner!

Denver at Cleveland (-3)
We were going with Cleveland on this one, but given the decision to change quarterbacks without a full week’s practice shows a panic struck Browns organization after taking a pounding giving up a two touchdown lead to lose to the hated Ravens by ten points. Slight edge to (gulp Denver.

This Weekend:
Baltimore (-1) at Houston

The Ravens are doing a much better job of showing up and playing hard for games they might have taken not seriously enough in the past as witnessed by their comeback win in Cleveland. This one goes to the Ravens.

New Orleans at Atlanta (-1)
The feel good story of the year has to be the rebirth of the Atlanta Falcons who looked like a team in for the dark ages as the team fell apart in the wake of the Michael Vick mess. Matt Ryan as a rookie quarterback is making that saga a bygone era. New Orleans is pretty banged up right now. Slight edge gives win to Atlanta.

Tennessee (-3) at Cincinnati
The only way to save the Bengals from destruction would be to blow up all the bridges across the Ohio River to keep Tennessee out of Paul Brown Stadium.

Jacksonville (-7) at Detroit
This game could be Detroit’s best shot at winning given Jacksonville’s horrible inconsistency this year, but against a team bringing a Daunte Culpepper out of retirement as QB, the Jags will prevail.

Seattle at Miami (-8)
How fortunes have changed. Who would have expected Seattle to have fallen to one of the worst teams in the NFL while Miami is putting together a pretty competitive season after going 1-15 in 2007. Miami wins.

Green Bay at Minnesota (-2 ½)
It’s do or die for Minnesota, the team favored by many to win the NFC North. While Green Bay could have had their old fellah, Brett Favre on the team, speaking of old, what can anybody make of Minnesota having to turn to Gus Ferrotte, the fellow who is famous for head-butting the stadium wall as a victory celebration in his younger days in Washington? Green Bay seems to be able to play more serious football than the Viings so far this year. Slice the cheese. Green Bay wins.

Buffalo at New England (-4)
Would anybody have seen this game as the battle for first place in the AFC East at this stage in the season? Buffalo has perhaps been the most consistent of the three teams currently tied for first – the New York Jets also share the lead with Miami just one game back. New England should be just good enough to win this game at home.

St. Louis at New York Jets (-8 ½)
One thing’s for sure, regardless of who wins in New England, the Jets will enjoy a share of first place Sunday night.

Carolina (-8 ½) at Oakland
Al Davis is on the warpath purging players mid-year. Carolina’s tough defense and steady offense will obliterate the Raiders. To think they used to boast, “commitment to excellence.”

Indianapolis at Pittsburgh (-3)
If the Colts are going to make a second half run, they must prove they can stop tough opponents. A Colts loss to any opponent right now makes a Wild Card berth look unlikely. Even so, Pittsburgh should be ready. Despite injuries and lose ends, the Steelers might be the AFC’s second best team in ’08.

Kansas City at San Diego (-15)
All of the Chargers’ problems in 2008 should look far away as they will enjoy a feeding frenzy against the Kansas City Chiefs surely one of the league’s most certain finalist for toilet bowl honors. This could be a blowout.

New York Giants at Philadelphia (-3)
Perhaps the hottest game of the week, New York will attempt to prove it is the NFC’s best team while Philadelphia is anxious to show they are right in the hunt in the game’s strongest division. New York looks just tough enough to frustrate the Eagles who’d love to stuff Dallas in last place.

San Francisco at Arizona (-9 ½)
The other freak show on the San Francisco Bay will struggle to keep its head coach’s trousers on for this game against the former doormat of the division. Mike Singletary has a tough job to try to mold the once great “Niners” into winners once again. In the past decade the franchise has gone from one of the elite in all of sports to one of the weakest. Meanwhile, Arizona could be headed for a historical season for the Cardinals organization.

NCAA Football: The Underdogs Bark

For the eleventh week of the 2008 college football season, we feature four teams that have truly exceeded expectations so far this year, Maryland, North Carolina, and down among the oil wells and armadillos, Oklahoma faces Texas Tech.

The big game this weekend brings Nick Saban back to face the team he led to a National Championship at LSU with Alabama ranked number one and the LSU fans aren't happy.

Meanwhile, look at all the ACC teams on this week's slate. See which two teams aren't nationally ranked? Virginia Tech and Clemson, while of the other ACC teams in the top 25, Florida State and possibly VA Tech were expected to be ranked. Still, while it shows the ACC football universe is getting brighter, they still have a ways to go before an ACC is ready to compete for a championship.

Maryland #23 at Virginia Tech (-3)
We'll look for Maryland to pull the mild upset here though Blacksburg has never been a happy spot for sea turtles, this is the kind of game Maryland has prided itself on winning this year.
Clemson at Florida State #22 (-5 1/2)
Being played in Tallahassee, the Seminoles should prevail over an underachieving Tiger nation.
Georgia Tech #20 at North Carolina #19 (-4)
Carolina's season of renewal will continue with another sweet victory over a program that used to use them as doormats not long ago.
Ohio State #11 (-11) at Northwestern #24
The Big Ten hasn't drawn much attention recently so lets see how a couple of their top 25 teams. Ohio will look pretty darned top notch in this sure victory.
Alabama #1 (-3) at LSU #16
Nick Saban returns to his old roost with his new boys at the number one team in the country. There's been all kinds of pregame hype about potential violence as LSU is clearly not the toast of the SEC anymore and to see their former coach lead their arch rival Alabama as the nation's #1 team will be enough to drive the meek to madness. Alabama, though, will be prepared!
Oklahoma State #9 at Texas Tech #2 (-3)
Here's two teams used to be second fiddle to their instate conference rivals. Oklahoma State under Oklahoma's shadow and who rules supreme in Texas now? Texas Tech, enjoying their new notoriety, will dominate as they seek to prove themselves not just the biggest team in Texas but how about the biggest team in the whole USA? A Texas Tech victory will help secure their shot at the Nation's top spot. If the Cowboys prevail, Texas Tech is Cinderella and the carriages turned back into pumpkins.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Day Of Reckoning Has Arrived


The future is at hand. One road leads to stability and measured reform. The other road leads to the destruction of the American economic system that has given the United States the highest standard of living in the world and greater opportunity to achieve unbelievable wealth and success by the virtues of free enterprise, hard work, and respect for the rule of law envisioned in the Declaration of Independence and spelled out in the Constitution which of course includes the Bill of Rights. One road leads to judicial appointments for justices who hold The Constitution as the decisive authority guiding all judicial action. The other road leads to an activist judiciary that defines its own judical values and rules accordingly often in stark defiance to the Constitution.

Travel one road, success and wealth are virtues when obtained through hard work and creating goods and services of value. Innovation for the good of society can come from anywhere and the opportunities are immense. Jobs are created out of geniune need for talent and service. Travel the other road, and wealth is seen as ill-begotten. The government should determine what the population's income needs are and the tax system, in turn, would be used to seize the assets of the wealthy and be reallocated to those the government considers worthy.

Barack Obama is the most liberal Senator of all 100 members even figuring in his dreadful attendance record. Only Senator Chris Dodd, the chairman of the committee overseeing the housing mortgage industry has received more contributions than Barack Obama, sums of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

From the days of Obama's adolescence, he has sought out radical and Marxist influences. The first was outspoken African American Marxist writer, Frank Marshall Davis, who Obama cited in his memoirs as helping him develop his sense of identify as a young black man coming of age.

In college, both at Occidental and Columbia University, Barack Obama acknowledged seeking out Marxist and Socialist professors. Reflecting on his time at Occidental, Obama stated in his memoir, Dreams From My Father: "To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully," .... "The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists."

His love affair with extreme radicalism continued as he transferred to Columbia University where he participated in "the socialist conferences I sometimes attended at Cooper Union."

Additionally at Columbia, Obama noted in his memoir, "In search of some inspiration, I went to hear Kwame Toure, formerly Stokely Carmichael of Black Panther fame, speak at Columbia."

Upon moving to Chicago, Barack Obama quickly sought out the hotbeds of radical activism as championed by some of its most radical figures, notably William Ayers, who as recently as 2002 affirmed "I am a Marxist." Ayers has never denounced his terrorist behavior nor has his wife Bernadine Dohrn who has written and spoken on numerous essentially communist ideas.

Unlike many young people who embraced some aspects of radical philosophies while in college only to return to mainstream American values after maturing or being influenced by the Reagan Revolution, Obama remained steadfastly committed to his radical roots. For a young man starting to become politically ambitious, appropriate spirituality would be a plus, thus he strongly embraced the Church of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, an outspoken racist and anti-American who served as the inspitration for another Obama publication, The Audacity of Hope.

In pursuit of political fortune on Chicago's south side, Barack Obama worked through the corrupt Richard Daley machine to work toward elected office.

All these pursuits would require financing, enter Tony Resko, a convicted felon, slum lord, and influence peddler who has been cited for numerous illegal and corrupt property deals including quite a sweetheart deal on the Obama Chicago mansion.

Given Obama's record of accomplishments are so thin having arrived on the National scene just four years ago not sinking into his responsibilities as Senator to focus on his Presidential run almost immediately, we have to look at his background, the choices he has made, and the kind of people he has indicated or shown are his influences to assess his worthiness as President. He had one golden opportunity handed to him, the chairmanship of a subcommittee that deals with NATO and defense issues, but rather than seizing that moment, he never called a single meeting.

From his college days to the present, Barack Obama has dedicated his life to following the most unsavory of characters a politician could embrace, extreme radical influences: explicit Marxist radicals like William Ayers and racial demogogues like Jeremiah Wright. His ascent into politics was financed largely by dirty money -- funding from Tony Rezko. The environment from where he emerged politically was the corrupt and heavy-handed Richard Daley machine in Chicago.

With influences such as Ayers and Wright who have made no secret of their vile hatred of America and its institutions, what can we infer about Obama's intentions when his campaign rhetoric so heavy relies on trashing success and wealth, stirring up class resentment, and seeking to "spread the wealth around."

For all the greatness America has contributed to its citizens and the world, we have elected some absolutely terrible Presidents in the last half of the 20th Century. Lyndon Johnson escalated the Vietnam War into a blood bath which between his administration and Richard Nixon's lead to close to 60,000 American soldiers being slaughtered many of whom who were draftees plucked from productive lives or college and rushed off to Vietnam to die. Richard Nixon carried on the war and engaged in some of the most corrupt abuses of power revealed by the Watergate break-in. Then there was Jimmy Carter, a fellow who was into something way over his head, who let an American ally, the Shah of Iran, hang out to dry, and the Islamic Revolution seized control in Iran holding American embassy staff hostage for long over a year until Ronald Reagan was sworn in. Meanwhile, inflation and unemployment were running out of control as a rapidly shrinking industrial base and skyrocketing fuel costs helped provide mortgage rates as high as 20% while inflation continued to destroy the average citizen's buying power.

Johnson, Nixon, and Carter were far more qualified to be President with Barack Obama who enters the race with more baggage than all of them combined.

America, you must vote for John McCain. There is no wiggle room here. Yes, we have concerns about McCain's campaign, but McCain is an honorable man with tremendous experience including some personal experiences that make him uniquely qualified to deal with crisis.

Voting isn't always a matter of voting for a candidate as much as it is a matter of voting against one who is totally unacceptable. The case couldn't be clearer, you must, you absolutely must, vote against Barack Obama. Don't waste your vote on a 3rd party candidate. Though it's understandible to want to chose one of them to send the big guys a message, every vote for one of them is one that won't succeed in providing an alternative to Obama-Nation.

The choice is clear. If you love you country and believe in its future, you must cast your vote for John McCain. If you don't, you will be responsible in part for the hell that awaits our Republic should this socialist extremist be elected.