ESPN's Bottom Line - Version 2.0

Thursday, November 25, 2010

SKOHRboard's Weekend Picks


Could the Iron Bowl be any bigger this year?  #2 Auburn goes into Tuscaloosa, Alabama this afternoon at 2:30 to face #11 Alabama.  If that weren't already a big enough game but there are so many great storylines to this it's almost too intimidating to write about it.  This game will pit last year's Heisman winner, Alabama's Mark Ingram, against the frontrunner for this year's Heisman winner, Auburn's Cam Newton.  As of right now Auburn is going to play in the National Championship game, but if they lose to Alabama they're out.  How much do you think last year's National Champ, Alabama, would like to knock their biggest rival out of that game?  

If 'Bama does actually pull off this upset it will most likely mean that we'll see one of those spunky "non-AQ" teams playing in the National Championship game.  Which would also mean that more people would be angry with the BCS and start pushing for a College Football Playoff which would force those non-AQ teams to prove they can play at a high level before they end up they actually get to the games biggest stage.  

Again I'd like to urge all of you to read Death to the BCS, then tell your friends to read it.  They came up with a great plan for a 16 team playoff that is made up of the 11 D-1 conference champs plus 5 at large teams voted in by a smaller group of qualified voters.  At that point the teams would be re-ranked 1-16 by that same group of voters, which would ensure that teams don't cede the final game or two of the regular season just to rest up starters.  I would like to say that even the idea of Auburn resting their starters against Alabama to get ready for the playoffs is complete lunacy.  Could you imagine the upheaval from the players, fans, alumns, donors and so on if a team as proud as Auburn (or any team for that matter) gave up on any game especially one against their biggest rival in the last week of the regular season?  

On to some awesome games that you should watch this weekend.

Noon
-Michigan @ #8 Ohio State
Denard Robinson will take his talents to Ohio for the first time as the starter.  Along with the rest of America outside Ohio, we'll all be hoping that he runs circles around the Buckeyes and their slim chances for a BCS bid.

2:30PM
-#2 Auburn @ #11 Alabama
CBS
Please see above for why you should be watching this game.

3:30PM
-#5 LSU @ #12 Arkansas
CBS
LSU will be playing against a very hot Arkansas team who finally found a running game over the past three weeks.  It seems to have taken the loss of Ryan Mallett's top WR Greg Childs for them to realize they had a stud RB in Knile Davis.  Look for this Razorback squad to head into Death Valley with a big time SEC upset in mind.

7:00PM
-#21 Arizona @ #1 Oregon
ESPN
Oregon has to survive this one final conference game before making it to their first ever BCS National Championship game.  Win and they're in.  It's that simple.  

8:00PM
-#13 Oklahoma @ #9 Oklahoma St.  "Bedlam"
ABC
A classic Big 12 matchup between these bitter in-state rivals.  This is one of the first times that I can remember the Cowboys being ranked better than the Sooner and I'm sure that Stoops and friends at OU would really like to change that as they head into bowl season.

-Notre Dame @ USC
ESPN
Yes both teams are having down years but these are great programs and the games are always fun to watch.  If watching the Oklahomas battle it out isn't your thing switch over to this one. 

10:15PM
#4 Boise St. @ #19 Nevada
The Broncos have their final matchup of the season and if they remain undefeated it will be very hard once again for the BCS committee to keep them out of the championship game.  To make it even harder they'll have to convincingly shut down the Wolfpack's multi-talented QB, Colin Kaepernick. 

As always, enjoy the games!!


Happy Thanksgiving!!


It's Thanksgiving!  Hopefully you are enjoying some Turducken and Football with your loved ones right now. However, because you are here reading this, I'd like to say thanks.  I am thankful for you guys who think enough of what I'm doing here to take a few minutes out of your day to come by again and again and again, then tell your friends, then harass each of them to tell their friends etc.  That's what I'm thankful for.  Now go enjoy the remaining 2 games today with what's left of your family's Turducken.


SKOHRboard's Fantasy Notes 11-25-10


Welcome to the Thanksgiving edition of SKOHRboard's Fantasy Notes.  The 3 Thanksgiving Day games will call for some early decision making and hopefully you've already gotten your lineups set.  Just in case you haven't I'll list a few sleeper picks for you.



QB
-Sam Bradford, St. Louis @ Denver
Bradford has been a great rookie Quarterback this season and seems to have really started to turn around the Rams franchise.  They already have more wins than most people expected them to get all year.  They face one of the worst pass defenses in the league this week in Denver.  Last week The Broncos gave up 4 TDs to Philip Rivers and the Chargers.
-Brett Favre, Minnesota @ Washington
The Vikings will be running the same offense that they've run all season so they shouldn't have any problems transitioning to a new coach.  Actually if they improve their play as well as the Cowboys did with a new coach we can expect Brett to finally start playing as we expected him to this Summer.  Oh and his top WR from last year, Sidney Rice is finally back.  



RB
-Donald Brown, Indianapolis at home against San Diego
San Diego has had a good defense statistically this year but now they have to face the Colts instead of other AFC West opponents.  Donald Brown seems to be the only healthy running back the Colts will have this week and that is always a good guy to have on your team.  
-Keiland Williams, Washington at home against Minnesota
The Redskins are down to their 3rd string RB with Portis just placed on IR and Torrain banged up.  However, this 3rd string running back is the guy who beat out Larry Johnson and "Fast" Willie Parker in camp this year.  Given how much McNabb likes to throw to his RBs this guy is almost a must have at this point.  
-Mike Goodson, Carolina @ Cleveland
Goodson has taken over as the lead back with Williams and Stewart both unable to go.  He has run for over 100 yards in each of the last 2 weeks and despite a tough Cleveland D, we can expect to see him continue to improve as he gets more playing time.  



WR
-Mario Manningham, New York at home against Jacksonville
I'm pretty sure that he is the only WR left on the Giants.  Fortunately for him they are also playing against a terrible pass D this week in the Jaguars.  Seriously the Giants are missing Nicks, Smith, Moss, Barden...well those are the only guys I can think of, but you get the point.  
-Lee Evans, Buffalo @ Pittsburgh
Fitzpatrick and Steve Johnson have been a revelation this year but expect Pittsburgh to be all over that match-up this week.  I also expect the Bills to be playing from behind which means lots of passing and lots of passing underneath given the Steelers pass rush.  That means Fitzpatrick won't have much time to get the ball deep and Evans will generally win a lot of those underneath match-ups where he can use his quickness.
-Danny Amendola, St. Louis @ Denver
Danny has had 6, 7, and 8 catches in each of the last 3 weeks.  As I said up top with Bradford, I think the Rams will have a good day in Denver and Amendola will be a big part of that.



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SKOHRboard Book Club: The Book Championship Series


If Oprah can have a book club, SKOHRboard can have a book club.  I've always been a big fan of books because reading is so FUNdamental!  This is a book club that will be dedicated to awesome books.  Why?  Well because I don't like to read boring or lame books.  Generally I'll keep my book selections to suspenseful thrillers, classics, and some more interesting non-fiction.  In order to keep track of past books I'll include a fancy gadget over on the right side of the page which will keep a list of all the books that I've read in chronological order with the book I'm currently reading at the top.  As a good way to get this rolling I'll begin the list by back filling the gadget with books I've read from the beginning of this year along with a few SKOHRboard instant classics.

At the moment I'm reading Thomas Pynchon's latest book, "Inherent Vice."  I've only just started this book so I really have no idea where it's going but having read "Gravity's Rainbow," I am excited to see what Pynchon is up to these days.  Now I say that I've only just started because I finished the book "Death to the BCS" just the other day.  It was fantastic.  I mean seriously good stuff.  Sure it is very very one-sided but what do you expect out of a book that calls for the death of something in the title?  The authors do a fantastic job of exposing the corruption of the conference commissioners and the bowl executives who team up to steal potential playoff profits (alliteration!) from the government, schools, fans, and players.  The corruption is really unsettling and if enough people realize how much they are personally benefiting by purposefully denying the playoff benefits from everyone, well it just may defeat the BCS and give rise to an actual 16 team playoff.  Keep your fingers crossed!  Then use those fingers to read some books.



NFL Parity

Every team has beaten every team.

Every team has beaten every team.  What a great graphic.  I'm sure the schedule guys at the NFL headquarters are pretty happy with how things have turned out so far.  This has to be one of the most exciting NFL seasons, in terms of week to week action and unpredictability, that I can remember in a long time.

Thanks to Jason B at Bleeding Green Nation for posting this on BGN. 



Warm Afternoon in Minnesota


The Minnesota Vikings fired their Head Coach Brad Childress yesterday afternoon.  This move would have been surprising if it had happened as recently as this Summer.  The Vikings made it to the NFC Championship game last year but have had such a calamitous season already in 2010 that this move seemed inevitable.  Minnesota is off to a 3-7 start and just lost 31-3 to their bitter division rival the Green Bay Packers.

This dysfunction of this season began as soon as the last one ended, when Brett Favre gave his usual uncertainty about playing.  At this point ESPN put Rachel Nichols up in a tent outside whatever building he was in to give us minute to minute updates about what his clothing choices might mean with regard to his future with the Vikings.  EVERYONE thought this was annoying.  However, it took a visit from 3 teammates just before the last week of training camp to convince him to come back.  Almost immediately after that his favorite receiver from 2009, Sidney Rice, announced that he needed hip surgery which would sideline him for half the season.

As the Vikings offense sputtered and the trade deadline approached rumors swirled that Brad Childress was interested in bringing Randy Moss back to where he started his NFL career.  Chilly sent a 3rd Round draft pick to the Patroits (who really don't need any more draft picks, thank you very much) in exchange for Moss, the future Hall of Famer.  Approximately 30 days, 13 catches, 174 yards, and 2 touchdowns later, Childress waived Moss.  He was waived for a number of reasons including performance but the most damning was his poor "locker-room" demeanor.  Although this was not the first clue that Childress was no longer in control of the team, it is really the one that stands out the most.

After that we had heard reports that Brett Favre doesn't get along with Chilly.  Then we heard that he and their young WR Percy Harvin actually had to be separated during a practice.  After this past week's game it was obvious that this team just wasn't interested in playing football for Brad Childress anymore.  After the game players were asked if Favre will continue to start despite throwing 17 interceptions through the first 10 games and their response was, "we're not even sure who would make that call."


Well now they have their former Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier to make the call.  Frazier is a guy whose name has come up several times for Head Coaching openings over the last two years and it looks like he finally has his shot.  Despite being named the "Interim" Head Coach a report by ESPN's Chris Mortensen yesterday leads me to believe that the interim titles we'll see with in-house being promoted mid-season will turn into full time positions by next year.  Due to the CBA negotiations coming up and the likelihood of a lockout, it is going to be very difficult to get a new head coach in with enough time to properly prepare his team for an NFL season even if it is 18 games long.  Watch for Frazier and Jason Garrett of the Cowboys to be the full time Head Coaches of their teams next season.

Monday, November 22, 2010

SKOHRboard Top 25 11-22-10


Both Auburn and Oregon were idle this weekend which means there isn't much shakeup at the top, however there was plenty of action behind them.  Andrew Luck ran over the Cal Bears and helped Stanford jump to #4 in the SKOHRboard rankings.  The big loser over the weeked was definitely LSU, which is funny because they actually won.  Maybe that is a long fall for a win, but this is their 6th win by a TD or less.  At some point, we have to take "style points" into consideration right?  Well LSU has almost no style points.

Texas A&M had a huge win for their program in a hard fought 9-6 victory over Nebraska.  Wisconsin held Denard Robinson and the rest of the Wolverines at bay and holds on to their lead in the Big Ten because of it.  Ohio State helped itself quite a bit in terms of BCS standings by beating Iowa.  Virginia Tech beat Miami to prove that they have officially overcome their early season funk.  Utah pulled out a squeaker over last week's 20th ranked team San Diego St.



Eli Manning: Stoppable


Not exactly Eli Manning's best game last night with 3 interceptions and a hope crushing last minute fumble. The fumble came as he attempted to slide head first after scrambling for a fist down.  Even though there was still 3:00 left in the game when it happened, the Giants weren't able to recover.  The Eagles took the ball down the field and capped their drive with a field goal which brought the final score to 27-17 Eagles.

Every time I see Eli mess something up all I can think of is the marketing team at Citizen slapping themselves in the forehead.  It doesn't seem like they could have chosen a worse spokesperson for a product tagged, "unstoppable."  There isn't a more stoppable looking face in the NFL.  Seriously, nobody in the NFL can quite pull off the, "I was just awkwardly stopped and I'm not sure how I feel but I kinda want to sulk by myself for a bit" face, like Eli Manning can.  How long until we can get a .gif of the self-imposed fumble with the unstoppable tag line?



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