Friday, September 3, 2010

Week 1: College Football Against The Spread (0-0-0)

All your potatoes are belong to me.

It feels right, doesn't it? It's September 3rd, the first rush of cool (or if you are in Houston, dry) air is spilling over most of the country, and the football has begun. College Football. America's new past time. Tradition. Rivarly. I'll save you any more short sentances.

Like last year, it's time to put up and shut up. Let's pick the most intriguing games of the week against the spread. Pick your game of the week. And in a new twist this year for the first post, give me your BCS matchups.

Let's get it started!!!!!!!!

Missouri -12 vs. Illinois
Colorado State +11.5 vs. Colorado
Kansas State -1.5 vs. UCLA
UConn +2.5 @ Michigan
5 Texas -30.5 vs. Rice (Reliant)
Kentucky -3 @ Louisville
Purdue +11 @ Notre Dame
Akron +8.5 vs. Syracuse

8 Nebraska -37.5 vs. Western Kentucky
7 Oklahoma -33.5 vs. Utah State
Oklahoma State -16 vs. Washington State
Memphis +21 vs. Mississippi State
Washington +2.5 @ BYU
Vanderbilt +4.5 vs. Northwestern

Oregon State +13.5 @ TCU
LSU -6.5 vs. North Carolina (Atlanta)
Fresno State -2.5 vs. Cincinnati
UNLV +20.5 vs. Wisconsin
East Carolina +7.5 vs. Tulsa
Texas Tech -13.5 vs. SMU
Navy -6 @ Maryland

Whoa! 10 underdogs in 25 picks...some notes....

--UConn straight up at Michigan. Called it in my first post..the end of the RichRod area is nigh.
--CU/CSU is usually a close game.
--Purdue plays the Irish a little closer than expected...
--Jake Locker leads Washington to a win @ BYU...
--Oregon State plays well in Dallas thanks to the Rodgers brothers
--20.5 is a lot of points for a Big 10 team on the road, Wisconsin by 17

Game of the Week

(10) Virginia Tech +2 vs. (3) Boise State (Landover)

Boise State hasn't play a team this talented since OU in the Fiesta in 2007. They executed three perfect trick plays that would NEVER work in succession if you play that game 100 times over. Now they have some starters back and are way overhyped for playing in the Sisters of the Poor conference. They beat another non-AQ in a BCS bowl, child please, color me unimpressed. They beat Oregon at home? Whoopde-do. That's in that blue Boise Triangle of theirs.

Stat you need to know: Boise is 1-8 against BCS opponents on the road. This is a road game.

Va Tech can run the ball. Va Tech can play D. Va Tech will CRUSH the posers from Idaho in Landover, MD. Hokies by 17. It must be to keep everything right in the world.

And now, my BCS bowl picks for the year...

BCS MNC: Big 12 Champion Oklahoma vs. Big 10 Champion Ohio State (OU over tOSU)

Rose Bowl: Pac 10 Champion Oregon vs. At-Large Iowa (Iowa over Oregon)

Fiesta Bowl: At-Large Florida vs. At-Large Virginia Tech (Florida over TCU)

Orange Bowl: Big East Champion Pitt vs. ACC Champion Miami (Miami over Pitt)

Sugar Bowl: SEC Champion Alabama vs. At-Large TCU (Alabama over TCU)

Enjoy! And post your comments and predictions!

Friday, August 20, 2010

10 Semi-Bold Predictions for College Football 2010 *WITH ONE EDIT*

One week away from the start of the new college football season. Going to do against the spread picks this year as I did last year and they'll be concurrent against Facebook. This year, I thought I'd kick the season off with 10 (semi) bold predictions for upcoming season.

1. North Carolina (would have) went to Atlanta and beat LSU in the opener (if half the startes aren't suspended).

North Carolina has the defense to make noise in the ACC this year, loaded with pro-prospects such as Marvin Austin. LSU and Les Miles (not my fav) has struggled since Nick Saban's recruits left Baton Rouge, I don't see a major turnaround with Jordan Jefferson this year. Whatever the point total is in this, take the under. *EDIT* If UNC has to suspend multiple starters like Greg Little and Marvin Austin for this game, I have to scratch it. Extenuating circumstances. So, another ACC like prediction....
1b. The Return of Tha U...Miami plays for an ACC Championship in 2010.
With UNC reeling from multiple possible infractions, the door opens for the Canes to ascend to the top of the ACC Coastal. Miami has a tough schedule..including tough non-conference roadtrips to the Horeshoe to play Ohio State and to Pitt to play the Panthers. But in conference, they get Florida State, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech at home and Georgia Tech as their toughest conferenfce road game. If Miami can win those 3 home ACC premier matchups, they'll have a chance to return to a BCS bowl behind Jacory Harris.

2. Virginia Tech will take care of business week 1 and stop this Boise State national championship madness.
Another semi-bold first week prediction; I am not buying what Boise is selling. Sure, they have lots of seniors. Sure, they played in and won a BCS bowl last year (but against TCU?!?). And they have managed an astromonical #3 preseason ranking. Forget about it. Boise hasn't played a team as talented as the Hokies since the 2006 Fiesta, and they needed every trick in the book to win that night. Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Williams and company dominate in Landover. Virginia Tech by three scores.

3. Texas loses three times this year.

Does everyone forget that Garrett Gilbert looked AWFUL in the first half against Alabama? Suddenly, he's the second coming of John Elway? Texas still doesn't have a tailback, and they are a year away from having 5-star recruit Malcolm Brown on the squad (YouTube search him, scary). Gilbert and the Horns will be back; just not in 2010. They lost players on D. Offensive line isn't full of juniors and seniors.

L @ Texas Tech
L at the Red River Shootout (the Sooners are due)
and L @ Nebraska

4. Goodbye and thanks for all the losses...Rich Rodriguez is fired by season's end. Michigan is on the verge of falling completely off the radar. After the 2006 resergence, the Wolverines have had dissapointment after dissapointment, starting with the insane loss to App State in 2007. No wins over Ohio State in, well, forever. They start off with UConn. Then a road game against Notre Dame (see below) If Michigan loses to the Irish and god forbid, lose to the Huskies, RichRod will need to get his resume ready and prepare for a sendoff to the WAC. I see at least 5 losses on their schedule.

5. At least two sophomores make it to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

In 2007, Tim Tebow won the Heisman as a sophomore. In 2008, Sam Bradford won the Heisman as a sophomore. In 2009, Mark Ingram won the Heisman as a sophmore. 2010? Four names you might see in New York: Dion Lewis, Andrew Luck, and Ryan Williams, and Landry Jones.

6. Stanford either wins at least a share of the Pac-10 championship.
People are going to find out that Stanford wasn't all Toby Gerhart. Andrew Luck may find a plane ticket to New York in December. Stanford needs to survive a three game stretch of
@ Notre Dame, @ Oregon, and home against USC. Go 2-1 in that stretch, and the tree may compete for a run for the roses.

7. Dayne Crist will be a household name by years-end as the Irish find their offensive groove under Brian Kelly.

College football is cyclical. Look at the fall and rise of Oklahoma, Florida, and Alabama. Is the next team to rise from the ashes the Irish? Everyone seems to think Dayne Crist is for real. He certainly has an offensive minded coach in Brian Kelly calling the shots. I can see the Irish only losing 3 or 4 games on their schedule, and setting themselves up for a return to national prominence in 2011.

8. Two more non-automatic qualifiers make BCS bowls. And by 2012, the teams that get these bids probably won't be non-AQs. Boise State and TCU certainly stand the best chance, but don't sleep on Fresno State or Houston.

9. Oklahoma and Missouri will play for the Big XII Championship for the third time in four years.

OU and Mizzou won't meet in the regular season, but they'll square off in JerryWorld for the last Big XII championship. The Sooners look strong enough to win all but one or two contests, enough to win the South. Mizzou may only lose to OU in conference play, and don't be surprised if Blaine Gabbert and the Tigers outscore the Huskers in Lincoln. Why is everyone SO in love with Nebraska? OU won the last two Big XII title matchups with the Tigers, and they'll win the third too.

And finally...

10. An SEC school will not win the BCS National Championship.
For the first time since 2005, an SEC school won't receive an invitation to play in the mythical national championship (MNC). Alabama will find a road loss at Arkansas and a home loss to Florida. Florida, on the other hand, will find losses to Georgia and Florida State. Basically, we're looking at a 2-loss SEC champ. And since Ohio State and Oklahoma won't lose more than 1, I'm predicting the Buckeyes and Sooners to meet in Glendale for the crystal.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Whistling Straits As Much To Blame as Dustin Johnson

Ahh, welcome back in 2010! The Ruling on the Field blog is back in action after a long hiatus, ready and pumped for football season! As we wait, a side note about this weekend's travesty at the PGA Championship.

Wanna know who has had as bad a year as Tiger Woods? Try Dustin Johnson. Dominating the US Open at Pebble Beach, Dustin proceeds to go into epic fail mode and blow up on the first three holes in the final round. Then, the ridiculousness at Whistling Straits.

Leading the golf tournament on the 18th hole, Dustin predictably hits a terrible drive. Into a patch of sand with FANS standing in it. READ AGAIN, with FANS STANDING IN IT. There are weeds growing in this thing. It looks like my front yard.

Johnson, a player who often plays too fast and is trying to focus on getting back on track, walks up to the ball and grounds his club and takes a practice swing.

On any other day, at any other normal major championship, this would be ok. Because, it's not like he was in a bunker.......

But according to Whistling Straits local rules...any piece of sand is a bunker. Doesn't matter if there is grass growing in it. Doesn't matter if there are fans standing in it with empty beer cans around. Doesn't matter if Shooter McGavin has a crony there heckling you. It's a bunker.

Come on Whistling Straits. Seriously? Get over yourself. The course designer, Pete Dye, is known for trillions of bunkers. That's fine. MAINTAIN THEM. If you are going to make them PLAY as bunkers, MAINTAIN then like bunkers.

Guarantee Dustin doesn't take a practice swing in a NORMAL bunker. Sure, he should have read the rule sheet and known. But Whistling Straits should have done better for him. This would NEVER happen at Augusta, or Pebble, or Torrey Pines, or Pinehurst #9.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Week 10 College Against The Spread (74-81-2) & The Game of the Week (LSU @ Alabama)

Last week's spread picks were down right scary, Halloween style. It marked my lowest record of the season, sucking it up with a 6-12 record. Very dissapointed by Oklahoma State's big choke job at home against Texas and a litany of other favorites stumbling and underdogs choking. Even my Sooners played more trick than treat, having to struggle to hold off Kansas State at home.

With all the scares of Halloween past, can we look forward to Thanksgiving and hope my picks are more thankful? Does that even make sense?

Miami -13.5 vs. Virginia
Pitt -21.5 vs. Syracuse
Indiana +10.5 vs. Wisconsin
Iowa -16 vs. Northwestern
UCF +36 @ Texas
Wyoming +13 vs. BYU
Notre Dame -11 vs. Navy
Ga Tech -16 vs. Wake Forest
Iowa St. +7.5 vs. Oklahoma State
Penn St. -3.5 vs. Ohio St.
Washington St. +32 vs. Arizona
Oregon -7 @ Stanford
TCU -24.5 @ San Diego State
Utah -27.5 vs. New Mexico
Cal -7 vs. Oregon St.
Vandy +35 @ Florida
Houston +1 @ Tulsa
Oklahoma -5.5 @ Nebraska
USC -10 @ Arizona State
Cincinnati -17 vs. UConn

Some notes here...

--I just can't stand Texas and Florida and I truly hate these lines. Both of these teams are as hot and cold ad the faucets in your shower, which way will the dial turn? I think Vandy and UCF are bad opponents, but those are tons of points.
--Indiana showed some grit despite falling short against Iowa. I expect them to keep it up this week at home against a much weaker Wisconsin squad.
--Speaking of emerging schools, Iowa State is just a few weeks removed from a huge upset of Nebraska. They get 7.5 at home against a struggling Okie State team; look for the Cyclones to really put a fight. OU stuggled to win up there a few years ago.
--Speaking of OU, I must believe the Sooners can go into Lincoln and win Saturday night. If Iowa State can...

And the game of the week, Saban Bowl for all the marbles in the SEC West...

Alabama -7.5 vs. LSU

Listen, ok, I need something to believe in. I believe Sean Cody can block kicks. I believe Mark Ingram is the frontrunner, or should be, for the Heisman. And I must believe Alabama can eventually end the madness of the reign of the chosen, the evil one, the one they call Tebow. In order to do that, Bama must get by LSU. Despite a lackluster performance last week, I expect (and truthfully hope) the Tide roll at home.

Are The Stars Aligning (Fading) For The Texans (Colts)?

Per ESPN's NFL Rumors, the Colts have lost S Bob Sanders for the season with a torn biceps muscle after meeting with Dr. James Andrews.

Sanders is the difference maker on Indy's D and has been critical to their success over the years. In fact, Indy's D has been statistically more poruous by gaping amounts when Sanders is out.

Add this to the news that Marlin Jackson is out for the season and Kelvin Hayden is still questionable/doubtful for Sunday's HUGE AFC South showdown with the Houston Texans, Matt Schuab has to be smiling somewhere.

The biggest game in Texans franchise history seems to have all of the stars aligning. And for the perfect Colts, can Peyton Manning and the offense, who struggled mightly last week against the 49ers, make up for the defensive losses?

If you have Texans skill players on the outside or have Schaub as your starter, get them in your lineup.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Yankees draw closer to #27 as A-Rod Delivers

Game 4 of the World Series tonight was to cap a huge sports day in Philadelphia. After the Eagles ripped the Giants, hope was that the Phillies would claw back into the hunt and even the Fall Classic at 2.

After a Pedro Feliz solo home run tied the game at 4 in the bottom of the 8th, the Yankees came up in the top of the 9th against Brad Lidge. And uh-oh, the bad Brad Lidge showed up. Despite retiring the first two batters, Johnny Damon fought through a tough at bat and singled. Damon then stole TWO bases, and Lidge then hit Mark Teixeira to put runners at the corners.

Alex Rodriguez and his gigantic paycheck delivered with a huge two-out RBI double to put the Yankees up 5-4. Jorge Posada singled in Teixeira and Rodriguez and Posada got thrown out going for 2nd.

Mariano Riveria quickly retired the side in the bottom of the 9th to put the Yankees up three games to one with a 7-4 win.

The Phils will need another lights out pitching performance from Cliff Lee to take the series back to New York and keep the Yankees from winning their 27th world championship. The Yankees have had a 3-1 series lead in the World Series 8 times and have never lost. Ugh.

NFL Week 8

For the early games:

Philadelphia 40, NY Giants 17: Looks like the Giants were a tad overrated as the Eagles smash them at home. Big passing plays to Maclin and DeSean Jackson again; it's nice to McNabb throwing to decent receivers on the outside.

Houston 31, Buffalo 10: Biggest win in Texans franchise history? First time at 5-3, and they did it with Steve "I fumbled again" Slaton on the bench. Ryan Moats goes off in Slaton's absence, 120+ yards and 3 TDs.

Chicago 30, Cleveland 6: Bears dominate the overmatched Browns. Most interesting part of this game was Cutler's exchange with the Brown's defensive coordinator, which drew a "F-You" from the coach, first time I've seen that live in TV.

Dallas 38, Seattle 17: Tony Romo has another huge day at home as the Cowboys take care of business against the Squeehawks. Miles Austin continues to impress, and Marion Barber scores twice.

St. Louis 17, Detroit 10: The Rams snap a 17-game losing streak and the Lions hit another low. Stafford looked horrible, while Steven Jackson has a big day against the porus Lions D.

Indianapolis 18, San Francisco 14: Colts win a closer than expected game at home, and score the game winning TD on a Peyt...wait, a Joseph Addai touchdown PASS?!? Manning still goes for 350 yards despite not getting in the end zone. Reggie Wayne catches a career high 12 passes.

Miami 30, NY Jets 25: A see-saw game in the Meadowlands goes the Fins way thanks to huge TD returns from Ted Ginn. Sanchez faded back on a 4th down play at the end instead of stepping up in the pocket which cost the Jets the game.

Baltimore 30, Denver 7: The Ravens D dominates the Broncos and spoils Denver's perfect start. Orton looked like, well, Kyle Orton while the Ravens churned it on the ground and got another good passing performance from Joe Flacco.

In the late games...

Tennessee 30, Jacksonville 13: The return of Fumbles McScamble, aka Vince Young, turns out to be the Titans first victory of the year. Young actually played well, making plays with his feet and delivering a serviceable passing game. Doesn't hurt when you can hand the ball off to Chris Johnson, who goes for 220+ yards and a pair of TDs.

Carolina 34, Arizona 21: Surprise of the day as the Cards regress after a huge Sunday night win last week against the Giants. Warner turns the ball over 5 times while the Panthers find their running game with DeAngelo Williams (100+ yards) and Jonathan Stewart (2 TDs).

San Diego 24, Oakland 16: Chargers play the Raiders closer than they should at home. No one was really scared when Oakland took the field down 8 with four minutes to play with JaMarcus Russell under center. It's a two team race in the AFC West as the Chargers gain some ground on Denver.

and finally, did you hear about this little game in Wisconsin?

Minnesota 38, Green Bay 26: Favre's return to Lambeau goes the Vikes way thanks to big returns from Percy Harvin and a great day passing from Brett. Despite the chrous of boos, the Vikings improve to 7-1 while the Packers slip back toward .500. Aaron Rodgers doesn't have a terrible day, but the Packers find themselves staring up in the division at a familiar #4.

Rush to the wavier wire to pick up: Ryan Moats, RB Houston
Do you have another option other than: Kurt Warner, QB Arizona
Injury to watch: Calvin Johnson, WR Detroit

and sadly,

Goodbye, and thanks for all the points: Owen Daniels, TE Houston, who is likely lost for the year with a torn ACL. I've already dropped him.

Fantasy league status:

Trophy league (T-1st out of 14): Tied at 56. Tomorrow, I'll have Curtis Lofton (MLB, Atlanta) up against Tony Gonzalez (TE, ATL). Could go either way.

Cash league(4th out of 10): Up 1 with Pierre Thomas (RB, NO) going tomorrow night. I'll bench him to avoid the costly fumble.

Locks: 1 win (Houston), 1 loss (Arizona, who was a 10 point favorite at home to Carolina).

Friday, October 30, 2009

Week 9 College Against The Spread (68-69-2) & The Game of the Week (Texas @ Oklahoma State)

It's college football on Halloween baby, trick or treat!A better week for me last week as I go 12-10 and creep closer back to .500. Big win last week for the Sooners, Iowa State shocked the Big XII North by beating Nebraska, Iowa held on at the last second, and Alabama got a great kick block to perserve perfection.
This week, it appears the underdogs will be doing the tricking and there will be no treats for the favorites!

Cincinnati -15 @ Syracuse
Iowa -17.5 vs. Indiana
New Mexico State +44 @ Ohio State
Ole Miss -4.5 @ Auburn
Houston -6.5 vs. Southern Miss
San Jose State +35 @ Boise State
Miami -7 @ Wake Forest
Georgia +15 @ Florida
UNLV +15 @ TCU
Northwestern +15 vs. Penn State
Kansas State +28 @ Oklahoma
Georgia Tech -15 @ Vanderbilt
Washington State +28 @ Notre Dame
South Carolina +6 @ Tennessee
USC -3 @ Oregon
Tulane +36 @ LSU
Utah -17 vs. Wyoming

Wow, yes, that's 9 underdogs out of 17 picks. Truth is there are just some scary big lines out there!

San Jose State and 35 @ Boise? This is the same Spartans team that covered a big line @ USC;
New Mexico State and 44 @ Ohio State? Can the Buckeyes score 44 points?
I like Florida in a closer than expected game in the largest outdoor cocktail party;
I like TCU in a closer than expected game against UNLV;
Northwestern keeps it close at home against Penn State;
OU struggles to score 28 against KSU at home;
Washington State shows their improvement in South Bend as a 28 point dog;
I see a FG game in Knoxville with the Gamecocks;
And Tulane keeps it closer than 36 in Death Valley
Let's add another underdog pick to the mix, shall we?
Oklahoma State +9 vs. Texas

OSU's young receivers are starting to mature after Dez Bryant was suspended for the season. Oklahoma State can run the ball as good if not better than any team in the Big XII. Their liability is defense, and truthfully, does Texas scare anyone? Yes, they looked better last week @ Mizzou, but it's Mizzou. The Big XII North is PITIFUL. I like the Cowboys to deliver the big trick to the Shorthorns at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Phillies Show Swagger in Game 1 Domination of Yankees

Make no mistake...the Phillies showed why they were the defending World Series champions and completely dominated the Yankees tonight.

Cliff Lee, the former Cleveland Indian ace, made it look easy...literally. Love the comedy in the non-chalant catch of a simple pop up and the tricky behind the back stab of a chopper up the middle. Lee ended up throwing 122 pitches in his complete game, 10 strikeout performance where he gave up no earned runs.

Meanwhile, Chase Utley connected on two solo shots off of CC Sabathia through the 6th and the Phillies tacked on several insurance runs in the top of the 8th and 9th.

The Yankees have been shut out for two consecutive World Series games, dating back to a Josh Beckett shutout in Game 6 of the 2003 Wrold Series. Pedro Martinez (yes, that's not a typo) goes to the mound in Game 2 tomorrow night against A.J. Burnett.

NBA Season Tips Off; Game 1 of World Series Tonight

The opening night of the NBA came and went last night, and for me, it was the start of what looks to be a bleak 2009-2010 for my hometown Houston Rockets.

With Yao Ming out for the season with a foot injury and T-Mac still on the sidelines following last year's trade deadline microfracture surgery, the Rockets opened play with a band of role players. Aaron Brooks was the leading scorer and played 42 minutes; neither are good signs.

The Rockets debuted Trevor Ariza, who played 33 minutes and scored only 12 points. Ariza, who got free agency cash after a strong postseason, appears to be a downgrade from Ron Artest, who started his '09-10 campaign with a good performance in LA.

Don't forget that Game 1 of the World Series is tonight as two former Cleveland Indians aces (Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia) face off for the Yankees and Phillies. Weather shouldn't be a factor, and it's good to have some postseason baseball and basketball to fill the gaps between football weekends! :)