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! :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blake Griffin Out At Least 6 Weeks w/Fractured Kneecap

It seems like every other day, I am writing a story centered around an injured Sooner. I'd like to know what voodoo witch is conjuring up the bad karma.

#1 draft pick Blake Griffin is out at least 6 weeks and possibly more with a hairline fracture in his kneecap. He suffered the injury in the last LA Clippers preseason game after going up for a signature dunk.

Griffin relies on being explosive around the glass, so don't be surprised if the initial diagnosis of 6 weeks is too optimistic. ESPN's Tim Legler said this morning on Mike & Mike that he'd be surprised if Griffin makes a big impact before the All-Star break.

This is a big blow to the Clippers, who had playoff aspirations, and to the NBA, who lose a #1 draft pick to injury prior to the season for the second time in three years. Only two #1 draft picks missed a season completely: Greg Oden in 2007 and David Robinson in 1988, who missed his first year due to a committment to the Navy.

Get well Blake!

Monday, October 26, 2009

ESPN Presents: The DeSean Jackson Show

Quick update on the night games from Sunday and tonight...

In Monday Night Football, the Eagles cruise 27-17 behind the DeSean Jackson show, who scored on two long, electric plays (one run and one pass). Redskins look terrible on both sides of the ball and have been devestated by injury. Also hurts that they can't catch the human zip arrow DeSean Jackson! The guy is playing in a different gear than everyone else right now.

The Super Bowl version of the Arizona Cardinals showed up at the Meadowlands last night and ruined my NFC pick for the second straight win. Cards win 24-17 and prove they can run the ball and play defense. Only silver lining here is the long awaited emergence of Chris Wells as a viable fantasy player; he gets 14 carries for 68 yards, 10 more carries than Tim Hightower.

My two main NFL fantasy leagues are looking good. I'll move to 5-2 and a tie for first in my trophy league. I was up 9 going into tonight before DeSean went off and sealed the deal; also helped that Westbrook got hurt and missed the rest of the game. Three weeks ago, I needed 12 in my cash league Tony Romo and Steve Smith on MNF and got screwed, so I was nervous I'd lose this one too.

Speaking of, in my cash league I move to 4-3 and I am still the leading scorer, ready for the push in the 2nd half of the season.

I go 1-1 in my lead pipe locks; results come in tomorrow. I am guessing a lot of folks had to pick the Giants and may share a loss with me.

In my college spread picks, I go 12-10 for the week to move to 68-69-2, just one game under .500.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Week 8 NFL Sunday in Review

Week 7 in the NFL featured more beatdowns than thrilling matchups, but the good games out there were pretty darn good. Each week, I'll post my take on the NFL action with a special fantasy spin.

In the early games...

Houston 24 San Francisco 21: The Texans hold off a late charge by the 49ers who bench Shaun Hill in favor of Alex Smith. Owen Daniels has another monster game, hauling in 123 receiving yards and a TD.

Pittsburgh 27 Minnesota 17: A great defensive performance by Pittsburgh, who get two defensive TDs in the 4th quarter to thwart late attempts by the Vikings to regain the lead. Favre has a fumble returned for a TD and a INT (that should have been caught by Chester Taylor) go back for a TD. Good fantasy days for Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin.

New England 35 Tampa Bay 7: Don't look now, but Tom Brady is returning to post ACL tear form. He threw two picks, but otherwise had easy throws all day against a weak Bucs secondary. This game was played in London and it appeared packed on TV.

San Diego 37 Kansas City 7: My AFC lock pans out as the Chargers dominate in Kansas City. LT had 71 yards rushing and the Chargers D held KC in check all day. "Somewhere over" Dwayne Bowe had the only KC TD and remains the only viable Chiefs fantasy player. Darren Sproles returned a kick for a TD...that dude defines elusive.

Indianapolis 42 St. Louis 6: Another day, another big passing performance by Peyton Manning (235 yards, 3 TDs). He has finally settled in with his new skill personnel and the Colts are the team to beat in the AFC South.

Green Bay 31 Cleveland 3: The Browns are embarrasingly bad and the Packers pushed Cleveland around at Lambeau. Ryan Grant goes for 148 yards and a TD and Aaron Rodgers adds 3 TD passes. Big showdown next weekend as Brett Favre returns in purple.

In the late games...

New Orleans 46 Miami 34: The Dolphins had a 21 point lead just before the half prior to the Saints first TD drive which ended with the above Drew Brees dive as time expired. In the second half, Drew Brees and the Saints roared back to remain perfect. The Saints didn't abondon the run as Mike Bell, Pierre Thomas, and Reggie Bush kept Miami's D on its toes.

Cincinnati 45 Chicago 10: The Bengals and Cedric Benson took it to the Bears. The Bengals are the surprise team of 2009 and appear to be a legit contender. Benson looks like a different back in the black and orange, carrying the rock 35 times for over 150 yards and a TD. Devin Hester scored the lone TD for the Bears who appear to have gotten the wrong end of the trade with Denver (Cutler threw some ducks again today).

NY Jets 38, Oakland 0: Now that's more like it. The Jets lay it to the Raiders who again looked like a high school team. Jamarcus Russell is proving to not be an NFL QB and was benched in favor of Bruce Gradkoswski. Only bad news for the Jets: Leon Washington breaks his leg and it probably out for the year. Not to worry, rookie Shonn Greene from Iowa steps in and goes for 120 yards and two TDs spelling Thomas Jones. Pick him up now!

Buffalo 20 Carolina 9: The Panthers continue to look terrible as the Bills, with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB, beat Carolina at home. The Panthers muffed a punt late when they had a chance to drive down the field and get back in the game. DeAngelo Williams scored, but is a shell of his former self after a huge 2008.

Dallas 37 Atlanta 24: Tony Romo gets in a groove at home and he has a new favorite target: Miles Austin. Austin sets a franchise record for receiving yards in back to back games and found the end zone a couple of times. The Falcons are a team on the verge of being good but have not played well the last few weeks.

Rush to the waiver wire to grab: Shonn Greene, RB Jets
Do you have another option than playing: Matt Forte, RB Bears
Biggest injury to watch: Andre Johnson, WR Texans

Peterson's latest victim of road kill

I'll have a NFL week in review post a little later, but I had to share a very special Adrian Peterson moment from Sunday.

Late in the game on 3rd and 5 late, Farve hits AD on a little swing pass. Peterson meets Steelers DB William Gay head on. Take a guess at who wins?

He was doing this to linebackers and DBs in college, I never would have guessed he'd do it at the next level.

Bradford shuts it down and declares for NFL draft

Sam Bradford has officially decided to undergo season ending surgery on his shoulder, call it a year and a career at Oklahoma, and declare for the NFL draft.

I was surprised when Bradford returned this year, and sadly, the events of 2009 have hurt his draft stock. NFL GMs will question his durability playing behind a subpar OL this year, as he would likely do if picked in the top 10 of the draft.

McShay and Kiper Jr. have Sam anywhere from the #1 to the #3 QB available, shuffling around with Jake Locker and Jimmy Clausen (assuming he declares).

I personally think Sam will have a shot at being a solid NFL starting QB, something an Oklahoma QB hasn't done before.

Good luck on Sundays Sam. You are a true winner and leader and you've made us proud to have your name on the back of the crimson and cream jersey.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

After Further Review: College Football Week 8

Swoosh Swoosh! The Cyclones force 8 turnovers, 4 in the red zone, and shock Nebraska in Lincoln.

My intial takes on another wild Saturday in College Football:

In the Big XII:

  • --Iowa State rocks the Big XII North by shocking Nebraska in Lincoln for the first time since Jimmy Carter was president. ISU forced 8 turnovers, yes 8, and 4 of them inside their 5 yard line! OU's trip in a few weeks doesn't look as daunting.
  • --Speaking of Oklahoma, a dominant win outside of Norman this afternoon in Lawrence. The defense played superb and the offense got enough done in the second half to salt it away.
  • --OU's other road trip to Lubbock doesn't appear to be as scary anymore after Tech lays a giant egg at home to A&M. They give up 52 points? Wow!
  • --Texas made a statement win against Mizzou in Columbia. Now they are set for a huge Halloween night game in Stillwater.

In the SEC:

  • --Alabama gets a 2nd blocked kick from future NFL star Sean Cody to beat Tennessee at the wire. Terrible clock management by Lane Kiffin; he could have ran another play to get UT in field goal position and maybe the kick wouldn't have come out so low.
  • --Florida plays decent and puts Mississippi State away late. The Gators are in cruise control and can afford to lose a game down the stretch. Win the SEC title and play for the crystal football.
  • --Ole Miss played like the Ole Miss that was ranked so high early in the season by dominating Arkansas at home.

In the Big 10:

  • --Game of the day was in East Lansing where Iowa escapes to remain unbeaten. The Hawkeyes gave up a late TD to Michigan State after MSU converted a hook and lateral to perfection on a long 3rd down. Iowa had enough time to drive down the field and score the game winning TD as time expired.
  • --Ohio State took Minnesota to the woodshed and Terrell Pryor looked like the playbook was opened up in a dominanting home win.
  • --Penn State wins in Ann Arbor for the first time in more than a decade.


  • --TCU gets a huge win in Provo as they stuff BYU. Right now, the Horned Frogs are the most impressive non-BCS team and only have a home date with Utah away from a potential perfect season and a BCS berth.
  • --USC gets revenge on the Beav of Oregon State as the D holds Jaquizz Rodgers in check.
  • --Miami and Clemson play a thriller at Land Shark and the Tigers get a huge OT TD catch on 3rd and long to win. Don't look now but Clemson is now in the ACC title hunt.
  • --Cincinnati doesn't miss a beat when Heisman trophy candidate Tony Pike misses the game against Louisville.

And now the ruling on the field.

  • --Florida, Alabama, and Texas continue to see-saw at the top, and each team has up and down weeks. A 1-loss SEC champ will play for the crystal.
  • --The Alabama and Tennessee rivalry will just heat up after this close call in Tuscaloosa. Did you hear that Alabama denied UT's request to wear their home orange unis? Ouch!
  • --TCU will probably gain more ground on Boise State after a huge statement win in Provo.
  • --The Big XII North is terribly pathetic and the entire Big XII is way down after a banner 2008.
  • --How good is Cincinnati? I'm not sure we'll really find out but they played huge today without their QB.
  • --And finally, player of the week is Colin Kaepernick of Nevada. 200 yards passing with 2 TDs, 250 yards rushing with 4 TDs in a 70-45 win. I think I may have finally beaten Patrick in college fantasy thanks to this breakout performance!

Friday, October 23, 2009

NFL Lead Pipe Locks Week 7

They got traded on draft day, and now I have to depend on these guys to pull out wins in my lock league this week.

To say I got fooled in my lead pipe locks last week would be an understatement. I chose two teams that were double digit favorites straight up, the Jets at home against Buffalo and Philly on the road at Oakland. Buffalo loses it's starting QB in the 2nd quarter and the Eagles are coming off a bye playing against a team that didn't look like it could beat a high school team the week prior. Easy pickens, right?

Not so much. The Eagles laid an egg and the Jets and Mark Sanchez were left twisting in the Meadowlands wind. Thankfully everyone else chose those games and we were left with a 27% success rate. That leaves me in 2nd place one point out, but now looking up at a 5-way tie for first.

My ineligibles this week are Indianapolis, Denver, Green Bay, Minnesota, New Orleans, New England, Philadelphia, and the NY Jets. I have to choose one team in each conference, I can't choose the top two teams in each conference, the teams playing the bottom two teams in each conference, or the teams I chose last week. Ugh. So I am left with very few eligible games.

For the NFC, I'll take the NY Giants at home against Arizona. The Giants took a licking last week in New Orleans and a healthier Eli Manning should be ready for some retribution. The Cardinals have to travel cross country and are a shell of the Super Bowl team from last year. The Giants are 7 point favorites and represent the biggest eligible line I can take.

For the AFC, I am forced to take the Chargers on the road in Kansas City. I don't know what to make of the Chargers this year. I think LT is on the decline and their defense hasn't played as well as advertised. I don't like taking teams I don't trust let alone on the road. The Chargers are 5 point favorites.

Let me know what you think!

Week 8 College Against The Spread (56-59-2)

Bradford walks off with his teammates after another dissapointing injury in the Red River Shootout. Good luck in the NFL Sam, you are a winner in every sense of the word.

Another year, another letdown in the Red River Shootout. I miss the early part of this decade. It turned out like an old familiar horror movie. I had seen the script before; the defense played just about as well as it could and the offense let them down. I really truly feel OU would have won that football game had Bradford been the QB in the 4th quarter. Landry Jones just made a mistake on the final drive that hopefully he won't make in the future.

Both myself and Oklahoma seem to like the .500 mark after another mixed bag of performances. A push in the RRS (had Texas -3). Several underdogs came through as Purdue won outright against Ohio State, Notre Dame nearly pulled off a big upset against USC; and Arkansas nearly nipped Florida. So much for KU, Va Tech, and BYU. I finish 8-7-1.As for Week 8, a lackluster weekend in terms of marquee matchups. I'll declare OU/KU as the game of the week for no particular reason as it at least features two ranked teams.

Georgia Tech -5 @ Virginia
Pittsburgh -6.5 vs. South Florida
West Virginia -7.5 vs. UConn
Minnesota +16.5 @ Ohio State
Oklahoma State -9.5 @ Baylor
Miami -4.5 vs. Clemson
Penn State -4.5 @ Michigan
Washington +10 vs. Oregon
Alabama -14.5 vs. Tennesee
Cincy -18 vs. Louisville
Utah -9.5 vs. Air Force
South Carolina -12.5 vs. Vandy
Texas Tech -21.5 vs. Texas A&M
Iowa +/-0 @ Michigan State
LSU -7.5 vs. Auburn
Mississippi State +23 vs. Florida
Houston -16.5 vs. SMU
TCU -2.5 @ BYU
Mizzou +13 vs. Texas
Oregon St. +20.5 @ USC
Boise State -25 @ Hawaii

Underdog picks this week:

How can Ohio State be favored by so much after losing to Purdue? I'll take the points;
Oregon is the model of inconsistency, I'll take Jake Locker and the points at home;
I'm taking big points against Florida until they prove they can score;
Texas is the most overrated team in the country, they'll struggle on the road @ Mizzou;
Wonder if USC remembers Jaquizz Rodgers? He alone is worth 20.5;

For the favorites:
Pitt/USF is an interesting matchup that could go either way;
I trust the best team in America really lights up the Vols;
Is Cincy really #5 good?
TCU/BYU is probably the true game of the week;

Now, onto OU for Week 8. Can we move one step closer to bowl eligibility?

Kansas +7.5 vs. Oklahoma

KU is coming off a worse-than-it-appears loss @ Colorado. Great teams have struggled to win in Boulder, including OU (2003 and 2007, which the latter was a loss). OU has more injuries than after the running of the bulls, as it appears they'll go without DeMarco Murray tomorrow. The Sooners looked horrible on offense save one individual play by Broyles against Texas. I don't think KU is going to score a lot of points, but neither is Oklahoma. OU will win this game, but close, as in 2005, which was a 2 point game if I remember correctly.

The Sooners really need to buckle down and win this game and get bowl eligbility at the forefront after the dissapointment to Texas. A loss would put us at 4 wiht 5 to play, with road trips still to Nebraska and Texas Tech, plus a tough offense in Oklahoma State at home.

Welcome to The Ruling on the Field!

My lovely wife said to me at dinner tonight..."You know, you'd make a good sports blogger." I had a weather and a sports blog in undergrad and let them go as time passed. I had been using Facebook as a means of posting thoughts about sports, and I thought, hey, maybe it's time to blog again!

So, with that in mind, welcome to my new blog, The Ruling on the Field! Here, I'll give you my view on sports after further review, from pro and college football to the Olympics...there won't be a sport out of bounds here (except maybe curling, I don't know much about that).

I'll start by posting my weekly college spread picks that I have been doing on Facebook. Hope you enjoy!