Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Last Week of the Regular Season

I've been writing a lot of basketball stuff this week, so here are my brief picks for the NFL's Week 17. The last week of the season is always wacky with different playoff scenarios and draft implications, so I'm going to make this quick and without explanation. It's been an up and down year for my picks with a lot of near misses and some back door covers, but I'd say it's been a pretty successful first year doing them.
Last week: 8-8
Overall: 126-104

Award Picks

Here's the final installment of my 2011-2012 NBA season outlook: the post season awards. I'm proud of my picks last year that did pretty well, but only the Defensive Player of the Year pick turned out correct. I'm expecting more hits this year, of course. (Note: I'm not going to repeat previous choices from any award for MIP since they're no longer under the radar.)
It's no surprise who I have as MVP.

The Rest of the East

The depth of the Eastern Conference is laughable compared to that of the West with a huge drop off to the bottom feeders of the league. Alas, here's the next installment of my NBA outlook: the Eastern lottery teams--many of whom will be involved in some ugly games this season.
(Here's a look back to last year's edition)
We won't see this premiere matchup in the playoffs.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Rest of the West

The Western Conference is a bit crowded in terms of fringe playoff teams that would probably make the post season if they were in the East. Almost all of these teams have a good amount of talent, but not all of them are in the right situation. Allow me to elaborate.
(Here's a look back to last year's edition)
Could the Warriors rise up in the West?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Beasts of the East

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and enjoyed the NBA's opening day. Here's the second part of my NBA outlook: the Eastern Conference playoff teams. And no, the first day of games did not influence these picks, since I wrote part of them before Sunday and had my mind made up already.
(Here's a look-back at last year's edition)
Can LeBron top D.Rose again?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

One-liner Week 16 Lines

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!
Last Week: 8-8
Overall: 118-96

The Best of the West

It's finally here. After the idiotically prolonged lockout, the opening day of the NBA season is about to arrive. How did Christmas sneak up on me like that?
Here's the first part of my NBA outlook: the Western Conference playoff teams.
(Here's a look-back at last year's edition.)
The Thunder are looking to drive past the new-look Mavs.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Week 15 Quick Picks

Niners/Steelers is only the 4th meeting of 10 win teams w/ .750 winning % on MNF. SF has been in all 4.
Boy does time fly. It's Week 15 already! Here are my quick picks.
Overall: 110-98

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Week 14 Picks

Last Week: 10-6
Overall Season: 103-89

Pittsburgh -13.5 vs. Cleveland: I went with the vastly superior team at home, but I should have known the points were too much. Or predicted that the Steelers would drop like flies and get stuff on a goal line stand and thus not cover.

Atlanta -2.5 @ Carolina: Falcons bounce back with a win here for their playoff run since the Panthers defense can't stop anyone. Cam Newton might be able to pull this out for them through the air, but Atlanta's run defense should slow them down enough.

Cincinnati -3.5 vs. Houston: The Leon Hall injury has really hurt Cincy's defense, but they're at home and against an Andre Johnson-less Texans. I actually like T.J. Yates from his UNC days, but he's being thrown into the fire way too soon.

Detroit -7.5 vs. Minnesota: The Lions are starting to fall apart, but remember that their last two games have been against the Packers and Saints. Now they're at home and both Christian Ponder and Adrian Peterson are questionable.

Tennessee +3.5 vs. New Orleans: The Saints have been flying high lately, and I can see them getting complacent this week and falling on the road to a peaking Titans team now that Chris Johnson is red hot.

Indianapolis +16.5 @ Baltimore: It was a fluke that the Colts made the Patriots game as close as it was, but it proves that in these situations the points are just too high. The Ravens should slaughter them with Ray Rice, but you can't count out some garbage time scores closing the gap.

NY Jets -8.5 vs. Kansas City: The Jets weren't great last week against the mere Redskins, but Tyler Palko looked horrible against the Bears. The Chiefs' defense won't go out without a fight, and rookie Justin Houston is finally providing a pass rush threat opposite Tamba Hali, but it likely won't be enough.

Philadelphia +3.5 @ Miami: With the momentum of Michael Vick's return, the rested Eagles bring the Dolphin's back down to earth.

New England -7.5 @ Washington: I like to think Bill Belichick had a nice chuckle when preparing his defensive gameplan for Rex Grossman.

Tampa Bay -1.5 @ Jacksonville: The Jaguars will have a lot of success on the ground against this defense, but I think the Bucs finally stop their losing streak since their the more talented team.

Denver -3.5 vs. Chicago: I do have a feeling the Broncos are due for a letdown, and the Bears defense alone almost won their game last week, but I have to make this pick because these teams are in two different places right now with their QB situations.

San Francisco -3.5 @ Arizona: If the Niners could ever convert in the red zone, they'd be near unbeatable. I think they finally start to do so in a tune up for the Steelers game next week and the playoffs after that.

San Diego -6.5 vs. Buffalo: the injuries to the offensive line is going to really hurt Philip Rivers, and thus, the Chargers, some weeks. This isn't one of those weeks.

Oakland +11.5 @ Green Bay: Could the Raiders really be the team to hand the Packers their first loss and at home, no less? No, but they could make it closer than you think. In the end, though, Aaron Rodgers just has this ability to make drives look easy like he did in the final 58 seconds against the Giants. Sometimes it helps when his receivers make extraordinary catches like Jordy Nelson did on the sidelines, but he is clearly the best in the game right now.

NY Giants +3.5 @ Dallas: The Giants are not losing five in a row. Not in this game that is so pivotal in the division. Their pass rush must get to Tony Romo.

Seatle -6.5 vs. St. Louis: Will anyone really watch this pathetic Monday Night Football game? All the St. Louis fans are still going to be too in shock at the loss of Albert Pujols.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why the OTHER L.A. team is in prime position, but Boston lurks

By now, reports of the Lakers' interest in acquiring BOTH Chris Paul and Dwight Howard have circled the internet and caused a stir. Yeah, there's almost no chance of that happening. As good as they are, the combinations of packages involving Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom are only enough to pry away one of the young superstars, as aptly described here.

So how about the other L.A. team getting involved? Hang with me for a second. The Clippers are flush with salary flexibility, young players, and a GREAT asset--Minnesota's unprotected 2012 draft pick. As it stands, they are around $13 million under the cap at around $45 million. They are planning on re-signing restricted free agent DeAndre Jordan for around 5 years, $40 million, a fair price for the young center. However, he could also be used as a trade-chip in a potential sign-and-trade, and that's where things get interesting.
Could CP3 be caught between the L.A. stars?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Week 13 Picks

My apologies that I can't get a full post up this week as I'm dealing with Finals at the moment. Here are my quick picks for Week 13
Last Week: 7-9

Philadelphia -2.5 @ Seattle
Atlanta -2.5 @ Houston
Buffalo -1.5 vs. Tennessee
Chicago -8.5 vs. Kansas City
Pittsburgh -7.5 vs. Cincinnati
Denver +1.5 @ Minnesota
Indianapolis +20.5 @ New England
Oakland +2.5 @ Miami
NY Jets -3.5 @ Washington
Carolina +1.5 @ Tampa Bay
Baltimore -6.5 @ Cleveland
Arizona +6.5 vs. Dallas
Green Bay -6.5 @ NY Giants
San Francisco -13.5 vs. St. Louis
New Orleans -6.5 vs. Detroit
San Diego -2.5 @ Jacksonville

Saturday, November 26, 2011

About time I finish my 2011-12 College Hoops Outlook

Because the NBA is back baby! I wrote most of this post back on November 14th, but now the college basketball season is officially underway, meaning it's about time I get out my second part of the season outlook. I explained why North Carolina is the team to beat, so now let's take a look at the top pro prospects on each team like I did last year. With the returning sophomores combined with a strong freshman class, the 2012 draft looks stacked.

#2 Kentucky Wildcats-Carolina's main threat due to the sheer amount of pure talent.
-Anthony Davis, Freshman F/C. 6-10, 220. The potential #1 pick, Davis is a very intriguing prospect as a former 6'3 guard who sprouted 7 inches after his junior year of high school. His athleticism, skill, and new found length give him to the potential to be the next Kevin Garnett. This is especially true with his motor on the defensive end that can truly have a huge impact on a game. He still needs to add strength, but his perimeter skills for a big man are for real. You can even compare him to Kevin Durant in some regards.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kentucky have already taken down Thomas Robinson's Kansas squad.
-Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Freshman SF. 6-7, 210: I love MKG's game as he's the consummate team player who only cares about winning. His passing ability and defensive versatility and tenacity make him the ideal Scottie Pippen type of player that could bring a championship to the Big Blue Nation. If he could master an outside shot, he'd be a top 3 pick.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! with Week 12 Picks

I hope everyone has a wonderful Turkey day and appreciates what they're thankful for! I struggled with my picks last week with a couple picks being just a point off, so I'm going to post my Thanksgiving games picks first before fully hashing out the rest of the week. UPDATE: Quick picks added at the end.
Last week: 5-9
Overall: 86-74

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Week 11 Lines

I've been working on the second part of the College Basketball outlook, and it's almost ready. For now, though, here's the NFL picks for this week.
Last week: 10-6
Overall: 81-65

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Week 10 Lines, meaning Thursday Night Games are here

Full disclosure, I quickly made my picks early in the week before putting a lot of thought into them until now. It's been a hectic week, so I took the Raiders +6.5 before the Thursday night game more on a whim. Not-so-funny story, I missed almost the entirety of the game because I was the idiot who booked a 5:42 flight out of Santa Barbara even though my last last didn't get out until 4:45. Of course, I was late and had to be on standby for most of the game before getting the 28th seat in a 28 passenger flight to San Francisco. Here's hoping I'll actually get to watch games after my flight on Sunday.
Last week: 6-8
Overall Season: 71-59

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

2011-12 College Hoops Preview aka North Carolina's Year

This is part one of a two part look at the upcoming college basketball season. has written an excellent look at championship contenders, starting with North Carolina. This is my perspective as a Tar Heels fan who's followed the team pretty closely the last few years.

Yes, the preseason #1 team will win the championship this year. Bold statement, I know. But let me lay it out for you as to why my favorite team is the best in the land.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Week 9 Lines

Week 9 already? I guess that means we have a pretty good idea of each team now, so I was thinking of doing a midseason look in for each team. Bill Barnwell is doing such a kick-ass job at Grantland, though, that it probably  isn't necessary. So here are just my Week 9 picks, which is full of great games:

Last Week: 6-7
Overall Season: 65-51

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Lone Cardinals Fan's World Series Perspective

A lot of people ask me why I'm such a big Cardinals fan. I'm from the San Francisco area, and I go to school at UC Santa Barbara, not exactly Red Bird territory. However, my dad is from the midwest, so he's been a Cards fan since he was a kid. A lot of his friends were fans of the Cubs, but he liked the birds on the bats and some of their players. Thus, I grew up a Cardinals fan my whole life just like my dad.

Still, being from the Bay, the A's were naturally my American League team, and I supported the Giants as a secondary team. That changed in 2002, though, when the Giants faced off against my beloved Cardinals in the NLCS. I became alienated from my friends who naturally supported the Giants, and I ended up rooting for the Angels in the ensuing World Series. The Cards were my team no matter what.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

What a week

I can't get a fully detailed post out right now because I had 3 midterms this week and guests visiting for Halloween weekend, but my goodness, what a week. Cardinals are World Series champs! I'm still amazed how epic of a series it was.
For now, though, I'll just write about my Week 8 picks quickly before celebrating the championship some more. And Halloween, too, I suppose.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Good thing my teams are doing well...

...since I can at least somewhat distract myself from the mess called the NBA lockout, which had a disastrous end of meetings today once the owners refused to negotiated without getting a guaranteed 50-50 on the BRI first. Alas, at least the 49ers are 5-1 and on their bye week, and the Cardinals were up 1-0 in the World Series before blowing it in the 9th tonight to even it at 1-1....Onto Week 7!
Last week: 7-6
Overall Season: 54-36

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Week 6 Lines

Funny story about my cousin asking me to pick parlay cards for her when she was in Vegas: out of 11 picks I made, we got 8 right. The thing was, I thought I was off by one game on each of the three cards and was pretty bummed out. Turns out, my cousin had picked the cards in a different order than I thought and suddenly had came up big on one of the 4 team parlays. Vegas 2012 here I come baby!

In the meantime, I've been picking against the spread on ESPN's Pigskin Pick'em and am 47-30. Here are the lines this week on there and brief explanations for my picks:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

MLB Postseason

I didn't get a chance to write a preview for the MLB Postseason, but it's a good thing since I probably would have picked the Phillies to win it all and not get ousted in the first round. In all honesty, I would have picked the winners of the Cardinals/Phillies and Rays/Rangers series to meet in the World Series. Of course, the Cardinals are my favorite team, so it would have been difficult to keep my bias out of the choice when considering their potential. The Rays, on the other hand, aren't my favorite team, but I've always liked them and wanted to ride their momentum despite not fully believing in their lineup.

Now? I'm going with my Cards all the way after seeing them consistently battle this past month. Simply put, Chris Carpenter is the man, throwing a 3-hit shutout in the deciding Game 5 in Philadelphia after a 2-hit shutout on the last day of the season to claim a playoff berth. The rest of the pitching staff was solidified by the Rasmus trade, as I described here, and the lineup led the league in runs, hits, AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS. Albert Pujols is the anchor of the lineup, of course, and he has been outstanding.

Monday, October 10, 2011

My Not-So-Exclusive Interview with Kobe Bryant

I haven't been able to write posts nearly as much as I would like since school has started, but a special event has warranted this one. On Wednesday, October 5th, I entered my Current Issues in Sports Management class to the news that we, along with a Sports Psychology class, were going to have a special guest speaker for the day. After a delay in his flight arrival due to the weather and class discussions of the NBA lockout, the guest finally appeared 35 minutes into the lesson. Kobe Bryant was at UCSB.

My professor, Jim Romeo, and Jon Spaventa, director of the Rec Department, have known Bryant from his past events here on campus, so they were able to set up this last minute "interview" upon his arrival from labor meetings in New York with the help of his PR guy Jerry, a Santa Barbara native. Spaventa asked Kobe a variety of questions during the period before a student Q and A session, and I took as many notes as possible along with a picture of Bryant with UCSB's own, Big West Player of the Year Orlando Johnson after the class.
I had a couple of questions in mind but made my choice because he had just answered a question saying he was not aware of the Drew League-Goodman League rematch since he was in Italy the previous week. I asked him about the reports that he was "95% done" towards a deal to play professionally in Italy for a period of time. He looked me in the eye with a completely serious look on his face when responding that he does his business behind closed doors, so anything in public is BS. If anything happens, it will be announced, and that is when anything is official. He spoke with such intensity when discussing this that I could only nod my head in understanding and sheepishly thank him for his response.

Overall, he was pretty entertaining with his genuineness, jokes, and willingness to discuss a variety of topics. This is my second time seeing him here in person in the past 3 months, and he seems like a cool guy (although he hasn't stuck around long enough for many autograph or picture opportunities either time). I saw Orlando Johnson by the bike racks afterwards, and he told me that he had met Bryant once before over the summer playing for Team USA. Orlando said that Kobe even joked about talking to Coach Mike Brown to get him a roster spot next year on the Lakers. Here are some other highlights from Bryant's responses:

Friday, September 9, 2011

2011 NFL Season

  • NFC West: Niners(4), Rams, Cardinals, Seahawks
  • NFC North: Packers(1), Lions, Bears, Vikings
  • NFC South: Saints(2), Falcons(5), Buccaneers(6), Panthers
  • NFC East: Eagles(3), Cowboys, Redskins Giants

Wildcard round: 3-Eagles over 6-Bucs, 5-Falcons over 4-Niners
2nd round: 1-Packers over 5-Falcons, 3-Eagles over 2-Saints
NFC Championship: 1-Packers over 3-Eagles
  • AFC West: Chargers(3), Chiefs, Raiders, Broncos
  • AFC North: Ravens(2), Steelers(5), Browns, Bengals
  • AFC South: Texans(4), Titans, Colts, Jaguars
  • AFC East: Patriots(1), Jets(6), Bills, Dolphins
Wildcard round: 3-Chargers over 6-Jets, 4-Texans over 5-Steelers
2nd round: 1-Patriots over 4-Texans, 2-Ravens over 3-Chargers
AFC Championship: 1-Patriots over 2-Ravens
Super Bowl: Patriots over Packers

   I called for a Patriots-Packers Super Bowl last year, with a Brady/Rodgers MVP combo, so why not go with that again. The Packers were more dominant than their 10-6 record indicated last year, having never trailed the entire season by more than 7 points despite being decimated by injuries. After winning the championship, they are now reloaded with a now healthy roster that should be the best in the NFC. However, I think the Patriots take care of business this year after a frustrating playoff upset to the rival Jets, despite their questionable risks during the offseason. This time the script will be flipped as Rodgers rides the momentum to his first MVP, but Tom Terrific claims his 3rd Super Bowl MVP by pressing all the right buttons in the post season. (Interestingly, the last time the regular season MVP went on to win the Super Bowl was Kurt Warner in 1999.)
   I was very close to picking the Packers to repeat against a different AFC team because they are absolutely loaded. On the other hand, the Saints and Eagles also look excellent on paper, or the Patriots’ weaknesses could be exposed by a team like the Ravens, Steelers, or Chargers. None of these scenarios would surprise me, but I’m going with the most likely choice in my mind.

Defensive Player of the Year: Patrick Willis, San Francisco LB- Another repeat pick from last year, Willis turned in his 4th All-Pro season in as many years, and I think he takes his excellence to the next level. New Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio plans on blitzing Willis more often after the team captain had a career high 6 sacks to go with his 128 tackles. Anchoring a newly dominant defense, I say Willis adds some new hardware amongst his accolades.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Julio Jones, Atlanta WR- Rookies are going to have a harder time than usual this season due to the lockout, so receivers’ timing with their quarterbacks will be shaky. Thus, I don’t think Jones is going to great right away, but he is going to produce enough as the #2 option for Atlanta, drawing enough attention away from star receiver Roddy White and providing some highlight reel catches to gain the vote. Not many of the other top rookies are in much better situations.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: J.J. Watt, Houston DE- This draft was stacked with defensive talent, but I’m picking Watt due to the overall impact he will have in improving the Texans’ horrible defense from a year ago. With new coordinator Wade Phillips’ conversion of the unit to a 3-4, Watt will help anchor the front line by drawing double-teams with his relentless pass rush. He has a motor that never stops, reminiscent of the 49ers’ Justin Smith. I could definitely see Arizona’s Patrick Peterson (the best overall player in this draft, in my opinion) or Baltimore’s Jimmy Smith (starting on an elite blitzing defense that may leave him alone on an island) winning this as well. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Welcome to the New Blog!

Hello there. Thanks for checking out my sports blog, formerly from I'll be transferring my older work here shortly. Looking forward to a great year of sports!