Tuesday, August 25, 2009

2009 NFC North Preview

The news for the NFC North division this preseason was supposed to be about the Bears finally getting a quarterback to replace Sid Luckman and the QB battle between Dante Culpepper and number one overall draft pick Matt Stafford in Detroit.

Instead we have to go through another season of journalists and reporters (ESPN) having a hard-on for Brett Favre and his tired act of not wanting to go to training camp, but wanting to be given special treatment to come in and "lead" a team to the playoffs and perhaps a Super Bowl.

I'll go ahead and start with the Minnesota Vikings, who won the division last year and are now the popular pick to go all the way after Favre finally signed on. I don't think they'll win the division though, because Favre won't be able to allow Adrian Peterson to be the man. And eventually Favre will want to do things his way, which means changing run plays to passes and throwing interceptions.

The Vikings do have a terrific defense to go along with the best running back in the NFL right now. However, they do not have a number one wide receiver because Bernard Berrian is just a burner who can't run routes. They'll have to rely on Favre at some point in the season to win games and he won't be able to deliver, though they may still make the playoffs.

The Chicago Bears are an improved team on offense with the trade for Jay Cutler, which tells me Lovie Smith and company know they need more offense to help out an aging defense.

Though it's still a top ten defense guys like Brian Urlacher aren't quite as young as they once were and the best way to combat this is by having the D on the field less by controlling the ball offensively. I think the Bears can win 10 or 11 games this year and sneak in and win the division as Minnesota and Green Bay beat up on each other.

The Green Bay Packers are another difficult team to pin down because the defense is so much of a question mark and they are switching to a 3-4 scheme this season. The offense, on the other hand, should be very good again as Aaron Rogers looks poised for another big season.

We know that the Packers will be ready for at least two games on the schedule this year against Favre and the Vikings, but it's unclear if they'll show up for the rest. Losing a lot of close games last season should have helped the Pack mature from last season to now, and I think they can win the division if they are able to get something from the defense that is, at best, a work in progress.

The Detroit Lions have done the most improving from a 2008 season that saw them go 0-16. What's best for the Lions is they have nowhere to go but up, and with the addition of guys like Julian Peterson, Grady Jackson and Phillip Buchanon to the defense, the front office has shown it wants to get better.

On the offensive side of the ball Detroit took Matt Stafford with the number one overall pick in the draft, but they also snatched tight end Brandon Pettigrew with the 20th overall pick in the first round. Pettigrew, a 6'5" target, along with wide receiver Calvin Johnson, should provide a nice security blanket for the young Stafford. Even with all of this, though, six or seven wins is tops for the Lions in '09.

Monday, August 24, 2009

2009 NFC East Preview

The Philadelphia Eagles (9-6-1 in '08) are my favorite to win the division and not because of the addition of Michael Vick, rather because they are the most complete team. Let's not forget the Eagles were in the NFC Championship game last season.

The biggest problem for Andy Reid will be the same that it's always been: Can he use the playbook evenly and not force Donovan McNabb to throw the ball 40 or 50 times every game? When he falls in love with the passing game it always seems to get Donovan injured.

Plus there are more three-and-outs forcing the defense to spend more time on the field. The defense is very good again, though they'll have to overcome the death of longtime Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson.

The New York Giants (12-4 in '08) are the defending NFC East champions and are just two years removed from winning the Super Bowl. Though they do lose some key pieces, especially on offense, they are glad to have Brandon Jacobs, the bruising tailback, and Osi Umenyiora, who missed all of last season, back and 100% for 2009.

Eli Manning should continue to progress into an elite, Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback this year, even without Plaxico Burress and one of his favorite targets, Amani Toomer, who is now with Kansas City.

In what was supposed to be a Super Bowl season in 2008, the Dallas Cowboys failed to reach the playoffs going (9-7) and sorely disappointing fans of "America's Team" all over Dallas. Owner and GM, and overall Poonhound, Jerry Jones did begin the 2009 season in the best way he could have done, which is by releasing Terrell Owens. The Cowboys also have that huge new monstrosity of a stadium to open, too.

With the addition-by-subtraction method or releasing T.O. this may very well be the year Tony Romo and company take control in the NFC and finally win a playoff game for the first time since 1996. Yes, that's correct, 1996. They are loaded (Romo, Barber, Witten, Ware, Spears) and the fans are starving and they open a new stadium. This could be a magical year in Big D.

The Washington Redskins (8-8) were the cellar dwellers in the tough NFC East last season and this year may very well be a repeat. Not that they're not good, but the 'Skins face a tough inter-divisional schedule and are still searching for an elite quarterback to lead them.

If Jason Campbell busts out this season and has a Pro Bowl type of season I won't be surprised, though. He has had a few years to learn as a starter in the NFL and he may have finally caught up to the speed of the game.

He has in the past few seasons made lots of mistakes and must cut down on the fumbles and interceptions if the Redskins are to compete in the East and make the playoffs this season. They still have a good defense and can rely on Clinton Portis, assuming he's healthy, to carry them most of the way.

Friday, August 21, 2009

John Calipari=Scum of the Earth

For a long time I was a big fan of coach John Calipari, going back to the mid-90's when he was the coach at the University of Massachusetts. He had players like Marcus Camby and even got UMass to a Final Four.

Then, a few years ago, my brother Michael told me about how Calipari was a cheater and how the NCAA stripped UMass of the Final Four appearance. Calipari went on to greener pastures in the NBA and finally Memphis without ever being punished, even though his hands were clearly dirty.

What I don't understand is how the school can get fined or placed on probaion, but the coach is allowed to move on without any restrictions or punishment. This is what Calipari did as he went from cheating at UMass, to the NBA for a while, to cheating at his job at Memphis.

The NCAA yesterday announced that it is stripping the University of Memphis of its NCAA record 38 victories, and a Final Four appearance from the 2007-2008 season that saw Memphis make it to the championship game. Memphis will also be placed on three years probation.

This all stems from an investigation that found major infractions at Memphis under coach John Calipari. The school allowed a fraudulent SAT score by a player who was later found out to be star point guard Derrick Rose, who only stayed at Memphis for one season before going to the NBA. The school also provided close to $1700 in free travel to Rose's brother, Reggie.

The worst part of all of this is the fact that it was John Calipari absolutely knew what was going on, but he is allowed to go to Kentucky with no penalties or punishment at all. It's only a matter of time before he does the same thing with the Wildcats and moves on again before the NCAA can come down on him.

The NCAA rules don't seem to fit the crime because it should be Calipari who is in trouble, not the University of Memphis. Just look at UMass, they haven't been the same since all that trouble and soon Memphis will be the same way.

John Calipari, aside from being the biggest type of scumbag, also holds another dubious distinction: He is the first head coach to have been forced to vacate two Final Four appearances with two different schools. Do you see a pattern here, University of Kentucky? If I were the AD at UK I would nip this thing in the bud and go ahead and fire John Calipari, because it's only a matter of time before he is caught cheating again and disgraces the tradition of UK basketball.

So parents, don't let your kids play for John Calipari, no matter what school he is at, because he is a cheater and will always be one. A leopard can't change its spots and John Calipari will always be a cheating snake in the grass.

I would rather my child play for Satan himself than for "Coach" Calipari. At least with Satan you know what he's doing and don't have to worry about your coach leaving to avoid a scandal, unlike with Calipari.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Florida Gators 2009 Preview

It's hard to imagine a college team or player being better than the Florida Gators and Tim Tebow have been over the last three years, but the 2009 college football season may very well prove me wrong.

Urban Meyer, Tim Tebow and the Gators are going for three national championships in four years, something that has never been accomplished by a quarterback, as far as I know. Anything less than another crystal ball will be considered a let down in Gainesville. Tebow also has a legitimate shot at a second Heisman trophy, which only the great Archie Griffin has done.

Florida will lose offensive threat Percy Harvin, but he is basically the only player missing from last year's championship team and, as a WR, is the easiest skill position to replace.

Their running backs, mainly Demps and Moody, should be more experienced and ready for the big time and Tebow still has tight end Aaron Hernandez, who could have a huge season for the Gators. Brandon Spikes also returns with Tebow to anchor a ferocious defensive attack that should dominate teams again this season.

With teams like Florida International, Troy, and Charleston Southern on the schedule, their only real out of conference challenge will be home versus Florida State, which may or may not be a tough one. As long as they take care of business in conference, though, Florida should be there come December 5th at the Georgia Dome.

It's going to be fun to watch the Gators again this year. Even if you're not a fan of the team you've got to admit it's one hell of a talented bunch, led by the second coming of Jesus himself, Tim Tebow.

I predict that Florida will lose one game, not sure to which team, but probably within the SEC, and go on to win the SEC championship game as well as their third national title in four years. And Tim Tebow, whether or not he wins another Heisman, will go down as the greatest college quarterback, and possibly the greatest college player, ever to lace 'em up.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

University of Georgia 2009 Preview

While the 2008 season began with the highest of aspirations for the Bulldog nation, it ended with a let down, even though they did win 10 games. The Dawgs were preseason number one and had a lot to live up to and unfortunately they were unable to do so.

While a 10-3 record in '08 was very acceptable, it was considered a disappointing season becasue of the preseason ranking plus the fact that the Bulldogs lost to Alabama at home, then lost to hated rivals Florida and Georgia Tech. You can bet that coach Mark Richt will have something ready for that Yellow Jackets' option game this time around, though.

Being ranked preseason number one gives a team little margin for error if it wants to go all the way to a national title, and UGA wasn't able to measure up last season. This year, however, coach Richt is probably right where he wants to be in the preseason: in the top 15, but without a lot of hype like last season. Richt-coached teams always do better flying under the radar and this year they are poised to do some damage.

The Dawgs, as usual, have a tough schedule in the SEC and also face a difficult out of conference schedule in 2009. They open the season at Oklahoma State as they christen the Cowboys' new stadium in Stillwater. Then, they play host to Arizona State, which should be a tougher opponent than they were last year under coach Dennis Erickson.

Next they will also host Tennessee Tech, which is the one team on their schedule that I would label as a cupcake game this season (take that Penn St., USC, Ohio St., etc., basically any team not in the SEC). Finally, they finish the year at Georgia Tech in Atlanta in the game known as "Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate," and I know they have this game circled after last year's debacle in Athens.

Georgia loses some key players including number one overall pick Matt Stafford and "All Everything" running back Knowshon Moreno, also a first round pick, but the Dawgs should be able to reload and, with a strong defense, be ready to compete again in the SEC and on the national scene.

The offense should focus around true sophomore wide receiver A.J. Green who is poised to have a monster season after last year's production as a true freshman. The offensive line, which was banged up and had to rely heavily on underclassmen last year, should be healthier and deeper this year as well.

The defense should also be very good with Geno Atkins returning for his senior season and linemen Jeff Owens and Kade Weston anchoring the D-line. And, of course, I can't forget to mention maybe the best player on the whole squad, linebacker Rennie Curran, who is the SEC's leading returning tackler (115 tackles, 3 sacks) from last season.

Even with the very tough schedule, easily one of the toughest in the nation, Mark Richt will find a way to win at least nine games this year and, if senior QB Joe Cox can have a terrific year, the Dawgs may very well find themselves at least in a BCS game. It will be difficult to beat Florida and LSU, but the Dawgs can go 10-2 and make another BCS game, which is a successful season in my book.

The key game for me is the opener at Oklahoma St. in Stillwater. Winning this game will give the Bulldogs a load of confidence heading into their SEC schedule, which could mean a world of difference.

When it comes to SEC games like LSU, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Florida, anything can happen so they need as much confidence early on in the season as possible. 10-2 and another BCS game is totally do-able in my book and, if things go right, who knows, maybe they'll knock off Florida and win the SEC. I'm not saying they will, but you never know.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Why Brett? Nobody Wants You Back

I can't believe that after all of the shit that he put not only Packers and Vikings fans through, but also NFL fans who had to listen to all the B.S., that Brett Favre is now going to sign with the Minnesota Vikings. He told Ed Werder not six months ago that there was absolutely "no way" that he would return.

And to top it all off, ESPN is reporting that the one year deal is worth $10-$12 million. Who the hell is in charge of the Vikings that they would offer Favre that much money at this point in his career.

Brad (The Pedophile Look-A-Like) Childress and Ziggy Wilf are morons if they think Favre will lead them to a championship. Favre has apparently already told the Vikings that he has a tear in his rotator cuff, so Minnesota is paying top dollar for damaged goods: smart.

What's he gonna do to improve your team, unless you call throwing 20 interceptions improving your team. I wish Favre would have come back with the Raiders, that's the only way this could have been any better.

No wonder the Vikings have never won a Super Bowl. With morons like Childress and Wilf running things they will never win it. Hopefully they will never win it with Favre because he is all hype to me. He did not deserve two of the three MVP awards he won back in the 90's.

With all of those great Packers teams they should have won more than one Super Bowl, and it's because of Favre that I believe they did not. Go back to the '96 season with the Packers and Patriots in the Super Bowl. Who won that game for the Pack? It was Desmond Howard, not Brett Favre that won them that game.

In 22 career playoff games Favre has thrown 39 touchdowns and 28 interceptions, with a completion percentage of 60.7% and a passer rating of 85.2. Those are not numbers that a three time NFL MVP should have, which tells me that Favre is totally overhyped.

People like John Madden and pretty much everybody at ESPN have a hard-on for Favre so they've made him the next Johnny Unitas. Screw Favre. Give me John Elway or Joe Montana.

I really hope that Favre falls flat on his ass and throws 30 interceptions this year and drags down the Vikings with him. He is only out for himself so he can get revenge on Green Bay and I truly hope it all blows up in his face.

No one deserves to fail more than him after the way he's jerked people around for so long. He's always been about himself and no one else and it's only a matter of time before he lets down Minnesota, too.

I don't know how, but I hope he screws it all up and all the veterans on the Vikings team who think he will help them will be calling for his head. That would be sweet. Can't wait to see Favre fail and everyone at ESPN will have to eat crow.

With any luck, this will be the last season we have to put up with Favre-watch. It makes me sick. Retire already Brett, nobody wants to see another season of this crap.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tiger Tamed?

Now that Tiger Woods has finally lost a major championship after having the 54-hole lead maybe people will stop making excuses for him every time he hits a bad shot or has a bad round. The man is only human and we don't have to find a reason for everything he does wrong, which usually isn't much.

It was so sorry on Sunday to hear the announcer, not sure who, say that Tiger hit a perfect shot on the last par 3, and the ball didn't even stay on the green. If he had hit a perfect shot the ball would have stayed on the green and he would have had a putt of less than ten feet. That is a perfect shot.

Just becasue Woods hits it and starts staring it down doesn't mean you have to guess that he has hit a perfect shot. And then you have the ESPN and SportsCenter people who all night and morning have been saying that he choked in the final round and that he got too conservative.

Can't you people just say that Tiger finally had a bad final round in a major when leading after the third round, and that Y.E. Yang was the better golfer on Sunday. Of course, though, we have today's headline on ESPN.com that asks, "Did Y.E. Yang win the PGA or did Tiger lose it?" Give me a freaking break!

Tiger simply had a bad round and was beaten by a golfer who was better than him, at least, on Sunday. That's it. Tiger wasn't hitting great shots and getting unlucky. Y.E. Yang was hitting great shots and Tiger was not. Period.

But the way I see it, Tiger will only use this season for motivation in the future. This marks the first year since 2004 that Tiger has failed to win a major in a season. He'll be ready for next year and he will be even better after Sunday's disappointment.

So stop making excuses for Tiger because he's not making them. He knows that he didn't putt very well at all and that he was too inconsistent off of the tee. Y.E. Yang, on the other hand, was hitting fairways and greens and making putts all day. Not to mention that eagle chip on the 14th hole. But don't worry too much about Tiger, I'm sure he'll be back next season and win the Grand Slam.