Sunday, December 14, 2008

Formula for Heisman Solved

If X = the Heisman Trophy Winner and the formula for solving X is = to the (No. 1 ranked team in BCS + QB on No. 1 Ranked Team) then Sam Bradford, the quarterback of the No. 1-ranked Oklahoma Sooners must be this year's Heisman Trophy winner.

This seems to be the most recent trend in picking the Heisman Trophy winner. It is usually the QB on either the nation's "hottest" team or the QB of the nation's no. 1-ranked team. This year, that was Oklahoma in both cases. However, I don't really have a problem with them picking the winner this way.

When all of the candidates are fairly equal, as was the case this year, you have to pick something that separates them and pushes someone to the forefront. Guiding your team to a 12-1 record, a NCAA record 6-game streak of scoring 60+ points and finishing as the no. 1-ranked team did that for Bradford.

What I don't like about the process is not giving the trophy to the candidate that receives the most first place votes. Using another formula that is even worse than the BCS computer polls, a candidate receives 3 points for every first place vote, 2 points for every second place vote and 1 point for every third place vote. Huh?!? If we are choosing the Heisman Trophy winner, why do we even vote for second and third place? Can't we just determine second place by the candidate that receives the 2nd most votes?

Tim Teebow, last year's winner, received 92 first place votes this year, the most by any candidate. Case closed. Why are we even allowing people to vote for 2nd and 3rd place? Bradford won the Heisman because he received more second place votes than Teebow but less first place votes? It's just another thing about college football that doesn't make sense to me.

Could you imagine if we selected the two teams to play for the national championship based upon 2nd and 3rd place votes and computer formula scenarios? Wait ... we do!

Nevertheless, college football on Saturdays in the fall is still something very special. With that said, the bowl season is about to begin and when it does, I'll be watching the controversy unfold.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Championship Weekend

BCS No. 1 Alabama vs. BCS No. 4 Florida (-10.5)

It's not often that the no. 1-ranked team in the ntion, enters a conference championship game on a neutral field, against a lower ranked opponent, as an underdog. It is even rarer, when the same no. 1-ranked team enters the game as a double digit underdog.

However, that is exactly the case in this year's SEC Championship game. The no. 1-ranked and undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide squares off against, undoubtedly the nation's "hottest" team, the No. 4 ranked Florida Gators Saturday afternoon in the Atlanta's Georgia Dome, as a 10.5 point underdog.

Since losing their only game of the season at home on September 27 to Ole Miss 36-35, the Gators have won eight straight games by at least 28 points and have outscored their opponents by an average score of 51-12.

However, don't expect the Gators to score 51 points against Alabama on Saturday. In their last five games, Alabama's defense has surrendered only 37 points, with 21 of those points coming to LSU in a 27-21 OT victory in Tiger Stadium. Outside that one close victory, Alabama outscored the other four opponents in this streak by an average score of 33-4. If any team in the conference, or for that matter the nation, has a shot of slowing down the Gator offense, it is Nick Saban's boys.

Key to the Game:

- Alabama has to play to their strengths: running the ball, field position & defense. John Parker Wilson has attempted 30 passes in a game just twice this season and is only averaging 22 pass attempts a game. Alabama has only trailed in three of their games this season, for a grand total of 28 minutes and 53 seconds. If the Tide gets behind in the game early and feels as though they have to abandon their game plan and put the game on JPW's shoulders to lead them back, they are in trouble.


- The Gators are so explosive and can score so quickly, they are never out of a game. Alabama, on the other hand, has played the majority of the season with the lead and relying on the defense to finish the game. That formula, could lead to a snowball effect for Alabama, if the Gators jump out a quick lead.

Alabama's defense will slow the Gators down a bit and may even give them some fits but as I've already mentioned, their quick-strike ability will be too much for the Tide. This game should be close in the first half but a long a run in the second half will finally break the game open as the Gators will finally be able to pull away. Florida 31 Alabama 16.

BCS No. 2 Oklahoma (-16.5) vs. BCS No. 20 Missouri

Did I say Florida was the hottest team in the nation? Perhaps. However, I believe you may hear from a few fans in Norman that believe their Oklahoma Sooners have become that team.

The Sooners have averaged a little over 62 points per game in their last five contests and with the need to prove that they belong in the conference championship game over Texas, cold temperatures and a little bad weather, shouldn't be enough to slow them down in this game either.

Sam Bradford will be taking his final exam for the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night and outside of a very poor performance and an upset loss to Missouri, he should pass with flying colors.

Prediction: I can't see a scenario where Missouri can outscore Oklahoma. Look for the Sooners offense to get things rolling early and not let their foot off the gas until the game is well in hand.
Oklahoma 55 Missouri 27.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hey Fighting Tigers

The LSU football team was honored by President Bush for winning the 2008 BCS Championship Monday at the White House.
Picture by Ron Edmonds/AP

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A few quick thoughts

  1. Houston Astros - Despite a 2-5 start to the season, I feel good about the Astros chances this season in the NL Central. While the division is not the best in baseball, it may be the most balanced from top to bottom which gives every team a chance to stay in it. The starting pitching staff, which is supposed to be the weakness of the Astros, has been surprisingly good this season. I think the offense is going to wake up pretty soon and with some home games on the schedule, they can get this thing turned around soon.
  2. Houston Rockets – With just 5 games left in the regular season after tonight for the Houston Rockets, it looks like they could be heading to another No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup with the Utah Jazz. While I don’t feel the Rockets matchup well with the Jazz, they have become one of the most heated rivals of the Rockets and a frequent playoff opponent. With the agony of last year’s game 7 home court loss to the Jazz still lingering, I would really love to see the Rockets get another chance against the Jazz in the playoffs.
  3. Miami – I get an opportunity to fly to Miami tomorrow for work. While, I’ll only be there for one night and will mostly be there for all work and no play, I will get a chance to go out tomorrow evening for dinner. I’m looking very forward to the short getaway.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Great Weekend

Friday I took off work and got to do something I've been looking forward to doing for a long time. For many years, my dad has wanted me to be able to go with him to the Houston Shell Open and this weekend I was finally able to go thanks to our good friends Gary & Patti Brooks.

For half of the morning , we stood on the fringe of the 18th green and watched as group after group hit their approach shots onto the 18th green. As they came to the green, we were literally just yards away from some of the best golfers in the world. The highlight of the morning was getting to watch Phil Mickelson and his entourage that followed. As he got up to the green, the crowd that had been following him around for the previous 9 holes followed him to the green. However, because we had already been staked out there, we were in the front of that crowd as he stepped over his ball and began to put. While it was only Friday morning of the Houston Shell Open, it kind of felt like we were in Augusta, Georgia on the 18th green of the Masters on a Sunday afternoon. Mickelson missed his putt for par and settled for a bogy.

Later, after enjoying lunch in the Champions Pavilion, we set out to the 10th tee to watch one of the great long drivers of all time, John Daly, tee off his afternoon round. He can still hit em off the tee like no one else as evidence by him driving the green on a short par 4, but his game has far deteriorated from when he once won the British Open. We decided to follow Daly for several holes though and marvel at the power in which he hit a ball. They all made it look so easy that for a moment, you believe you could actually be out there hitting balls with them.

I really enjoyed my first PGA golf tournament and have Gary & Patti to thank for that. I also really enjoyed spending the time with good friends and especially my dad. Also, as dad pointed out, I really look forward to someday taking my own son to a tournament such as this one. It was a great day that I will remember for a long time.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Sweet Sixteen

Well it’s down to just 16 teams now and for most of us, we can throw our brackets out and finally just sit back and enjoy the games. Fortunately, I still have all four (4) of my Final Four teams remaining in my office pool and six-of-eight Elite Eight teams left. While I trail a couple people in the standings after the first two rounds, my Final Four is a little different than most people are predicting and I am the only one in my office pool to pick the team that I picked to win the national championship. Which team might that be? Before I reveal the team, let’s break down tonight’s matchups.

East (Thursday Night) – This bracket is pure chalk. All four of the favorites have advanced with North Carolina looking a few notches better than their competition.

However, with that said, they may face their most difficult matchup tonight against Washington State. Notice I didn’t say that this is the best team in the tournament but it could be the most difficult match-up for them. In just two tournament games, the Tarheels are averaging 110.5 points per game while the pesky Cougar defense is only allowing 40.5 points per game. I believe the Cougars will hold the Tarheels to a season-low in points scored but will pull away late for the victory.

Prediction: North Carolina (-9) 62 Washington State 48

This may be the most fun game to watch of all of the Sweet Sixteen matchups. Hot on the heels of their 30 point win over Oklahoma in the second round, Louisville actually comes into this game as a 3 point favorite. My guess is that Vegas is throwing this number out there based on the Cardinals big win on Sunday compared to Tennessee’s two close wins. However, in predicting this game I will think back to an interview with Bruce Pearl done after the brackets were released on Selection Sunday. "It is a series of three tournaments," he said to ESPN when asked about his road to the title game. Tennessee has done what it has taken to win the first tournament and now it must do what it takes to win the second four-team tournament (North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisville, Washington State.) I think Tennessee is the better team and will find a way to win. Survive and advance.

Prediction: Tennessee (+3) 78 Louisville 74

West (Thursday Night) – Sometimes close wins are representative of the fact that a team is not very good and maybe should have lost. Other times it is just an example that a team may not have played their best game but found a way to win anyway. As for UCLA, I believe the Texas A&M game was one of those games where A&M matched UCLA’s defensive intensity ounce for ounce but in the end, UCLA was just the better team. Western Kentucky is a nice story and I would love to see them knock off the #1 seeded Bruins, but I don’t think it is in the cards. The Hilltoppers have knocked off two mid-major teams at best (Drake & San Diego) in getting to the Sweet Sixteen and were 0-1 vs. Top 25 teams during the regular season. They may be able to play one really great half but the Bruin defense will be too much for Western Kentucky to handle.

Prediction: UCLA 70 (-11.5) Western Kentucky 48

Despite successfully picking both Xavier and West Virginia to meet in the Sweet Sixteen, I do not feel comfortable with the team I picked to win this game, Xavier. West Virginia seems to be on a roll and should be able to get by Xavier in this one. If I could re-do my bracket, I would definitely have them winning this game and might even take them over the Bruins in the Regional Final.

Prediction: West Virginia (-1) 73 Xavier 63

Here are my predictions for Friday night's games.

Midwest (Friday Night)
Prediction: Kansas 85 Villanova 70
Prediction: Davidson 65 Wisconsin 63

South (Friday Night)
Prediction: Michigan State 67 Memphis 62
Prediction: Texas 79 Stanford 71

East Regional Final
Prediction: Tennessee 92 North Carolina 89

West Regional Final
Prediction: UCLA 70 West Virginia 67

Midwest Final
Prediction: Kansas 75 Davidson 58

South Final
Prediction: Texas 77 Michigan State 70

Semifinal Game One
Prediction: Tennessee 80 Kansas 77

Semifinal Game Two
Prediction: Texas 74 UCLA 72

National Championship Game
Prediction: Tennessee 82 Texas 77

While I did change a few picks from my original bracket, this is the same Final Four I submitted before the tournament began. With that said, I am the only one in my office pool that picked Tennessee to win it all which gives me a shot to still win. Go Vols!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

She's finally here

Kallie Grace was born yesterday afternoon (3/25/08) at 12:47 P.M. weighing in at 7 pounds, 11 ounces and 19.5 inches long. Sports will have to take a back seat for a little while ... besides the Sweet Sixteen doesn't start until Thursday night and she sure does sleep a lot. I'll have to have something to do while she is sleeping.

Tiffany and Kallie are both doing great and I of course am doing wonderfull as well. I am so proud of my wife, Tiffany, for giving me two wonderful, healthy, beautiful children!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Houston Rockets - First Round Losers?

Wow! A 22-game NBA winning streak is unheard of these days and is truly an amazing streak. Despite their overachieving success as of late, I am still quite concerned with the way the Rockets have played in their last two games. Not to say that the Rockets were playing a weak schedule over their 22 game winning streak but they played very few teams that presented an inside challenge to them during the streak. After watching Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce dominate the paint last Tuesday, I have identified some teams that the Rockets should have problems with if they are to match up with these teams in the playoffs.

1. San Antonio Spurs - With Yao Ming in the lineup, the Rockets match up very well with San Antonio and have had some regular season success with the Spurs over the past few years. Without Yao though, this is the team that I would fear the most of having to meet in the playoffs. Tim Duncan would dominate the paint and the Spurs playoff experience and defensive intensity would ultimately prove to be too much for the Rockets.

2. Phoenix Suns – The Rockets have never matched up well with the Phoenix Suns and why should this season be any different? Even with the addition of Shaq, the Suns are still a run-and-gun team. For some reason, the Rockets do not match up well with teams that like to run the fast break and this may be the best fast break team since the L.A. Lakers’ “Showtime” of the 1980’s.

3. Utah Jazz – Two words. Carlos Boozer. Boozer dominated the Rockets in last year’s 7-game first round series and without Yao’s defensive presence inside, it is scary to think what Boozer could do to the Rockets this year.

4. Dallas Mavericks – While some would argue that the Rockets do match up well with the Mavericks and would be favored in a series against them, remember that the Rockets have only beaten the Mavericks once this season in four tries. The win came during the 22-game winning streak and oh yeah, Dirk Nowitzki just happened to be sidelined due to a 1-game suspension during this game as well.

5. Golden State Warriors – See Phoenix Suns. Over the last 2 seasons, the Warriors have become nemesis number 1 for the Houston Rockets. While the Warriors average 110 points a game, they do allow 108 points per game defensively. Unfortunately for the Rockets, they have only scored 108 points or more this season on 12 occasions.

So after eliminating the teams that the Rockets do not match up well against, who does that leave? Well it leaves two teams: the New Orleans Hornets and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers own the best record in the Western Conference at 47-21 while the Hornets own the best record in the Southwest Division at 46-21, one half game behind the Lakers.

These are the two teams the Rockets match-up best with you ask. Yes! Look at the numbers. With that said and despite owning the 2nd best NBA winning streak of all time, I don’t see this team getting out of the first round of the playoffs … again ... regardless of their opponent.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Slimming Down

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently began working out at 24 Hour Fitness. The company I work for closed down our office in League City, Texas and moved operations about 50 miles north to The Woodlands, Texas on Feb. 15. For me that meant an additional 50 miles of commuting per day and the hassle of having to deal with Houston traffic. Therefore, I decided to do something about it.

Every Monday, Wednesday & Friday, I wake up at 4:45 A.M. and head to the gym. Instead of waking up, getting ready at home and then heading out to the parking lot also known as I-45, I get ahead of the traffic and use the time that I could be sitting on the freeway, to work out. I started my workouts and my quote-unquote "diet" on Wednesday, Feb. 20 and have continued every Monday, Wednesday & Friday since. As hard as it is for some of you who know me to believe that I actually wake up at 4:45 A.M., I really do. I have not missed one work out yet and even come back to the gym on Wednesday evenings for a little full-court basketball.

In the mornings, I walk/run for a total of 2.0 miles. It's been a combination of walking and running but this past week, I have been walking 0.35 miles as a warm-up, jogging 0.65, walking 0.25 miles, running 0.65 miles, and walking out the final 0.10 of a mile.

After hitting the treadmill, I make my way down to the weights where I work my pectorals, biceps, triceps, calves and abs. I can do this entire workout in about 45 minutes before heading to the locker room to get ready for work. After I get ready, I make the short 2-minute drive to my office building.

On my first weigh in after the first week of workouts, I had only lost 1.5 pounds. It was kind of disappointing but a sign to me to keep working hard & the results would come. The next week at weigh in, I was shocked to find I had lost 6 pounds in one week. These are not typical results but I will take them. Finally on Wednesday, I weighed in again and to my surprise I had lost another 1.5 pounds. That is a total of 9 pounds in only 3 weeks!! Look out "Subway" Jared.

My goal is to trim off a total of 35 pounds but also to tone my body into a lean-mean-fighting-machine. So far ... so good!

Let the Madness Begin

Technically it starts next week, but today is the day that I have always considered the beginning of the madness. It's the time of the year when I, along with hundreds of thousands of other fans, suddenly become ill, are unable to go to work and find that the only cure is to stretch out on the sofa in front of the HD Plasma.

Today is the day that all of the major conferences tipped off their conference tournament. Unfortunately for me, today is also the day the season ended for my LSU Tigers. Outside of four straight wins in four days, the Tigers season had ended long before today. However, there is always the hope that your team can find that magical formula and play their way into the Big Dance. The Tigers never found that formula.

I had hoped to give my SEC Basketball Tournament predictions last night before the tournament began today but my workouts at 24 Hour Fitness have left me very tired in the evenings. Fortunately, I didn't post any of these predictions to my blog as I have already missed on two of the first three games however, we won't count that against me as I didn't "officially" make my picks.

As soon as the brackets come out on Sunday, I am going to fill out my brackets and post my predictions to the world. Perhaps I should go against my gut feeling next time and pick all opposites. It usually works out better that way.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Rank Your Fanhood

I saw a commercial on ESPN today that made me chuckle a little and also made me evaluate my sports fanhood. The commercial begins in a guy’s locker room at a local gym with one man bragging to another about how much sports he watched the weekend before.

Another man in the locker room who has overheard the conversation questions whether or not the guy really watched that much sports the previous weekend. The man that had been bragging about how much sports he watched asks the man if he is questioning his "fanhood."

While watching the commercial, I told myself that these men are obviously single. While my wife Tiffany would argue that sports has never taken a back seat in my life, it truly has. Before I got married if I wasn't playing or watching sports then I was working day and night, 7 days a week, covering them for my job.

So if I were to rate my own fanhood on a scale of 1-10, how would I rank? Basically, I look at sports fans in three categories.

1) Joe "Super" Fan - This used to be me. On a scale of 1-10, this type of fan definitely ranks as a 10. You eat, drink and breathe sports. You know the batting average of the Detroit Tigers' short stop, the assist-to-turnover ratio of the New York Knicks' point guard & which hot, "sleeper" team is going to make a run in this year's NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament. You do not have a television series such as Grey's Anatomy or The Office that you follow because that would interfere with a live sporting event. Going out for dinner involves finding a sports bar with the NFL Sunday Ticket and $0.25 wings and a typical evening (more than likely alone) consists of you sitting in front of the computer watching a live gamecast of a game not televised, checking all of three of your fantasy teams, while flipping back-and-forth on the television between the two games on ESPN and ESPN 2. Again, this used to be me.

2) Joe “Casual” Fan - Most people reading this website fall into this category. On a scale of 1-10, depending on how passionate you are, you rate between 5-7. As a casual fan, you can name all 32 NFL football teams, you know all 5 of the major BCS Bowl Games (Sugar, Orange, Rose, Fiesta, BCS National Championship Game) and you always watch those "can’t-miss-games" while sacrificing the Tuesday night TNT NBA game between the Sacramento Kings & Memphis Grizzlies to spend some quality time with the wife.

3) Joe “Super Bowl” Fan – Depending on how hard he tries, Joe “Super Bowl” Fan rates between a 1 & 3 on a scale from 1-10. You usually only hear from Joe “Super Bowl” at certain times of the year, the Super Bowl being one of those. This type of fan hears an obscure stat on the radio two days before the big game and then goes around repeating it to the casual and super fan for two straight days leading up to the game. He pretends to have watched the entire NFL season and out of nowhere mysteriously has some incite to the game. Joe “Super Bowl” Fan also applies to the office secretary who wins the office pool by picking the teams that she “knows” and “likes.”

After evaluating all three types of fans, I have to say that I fall somewhere in between Joe “Super” Fan and Joe “Casual” Sports Fan. On a scale of 1-10, I probably come in at about a 7. I no longer have the time or energy to memorize the RPI of this year’s “bubble” teams but you can bet I’ll be one of the 37% of sports fans that call in sick to work on the first day of March Madness.

P.S. – 76% of all stats are made up on the spot.