Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Have a great extended holiday weekend!

Well, I really need to get going, start packing, and try to get some decent shut-eye to hopefully beat this cold before heading out of town tomorrow for the extended holiday weekend. I hope all of my readers have a great extended holiday weekend, that you're able to enjoy a lot of good food, good company, good drinks, that you're able to refrain from getting into heated debates with crazy conspiracy theory-oriented uncles, manage to have a great time, and arrive back home safely!

Why Mississippi State shouldn't be ranked #4

Remember what vaulted Mississippi State to the top of the rankings? It was their three week run in games 4, 5, and 6 of the season, where they defeated three consecutive top 10 teams in LSU, Texas A&M, and Auburn. Sure, those wins looked mighty impressive when they occurred, however, in hindsight, they don't look nearly as impressive as they did at the time. The only one of those three teams that remains ranked is Auburn, and they've dropped to #15. The three teams are now a combined 10-11 in conference play. Mississippi State's non-conference schedule consisted of games against Southern Mississippi (3-8), UAB (5-6), South Alabama (6-5), and UT-Martin (FCS, 6-6). In other words, the only current top 25 they've defeated is Auburn. The only game left on their schedule is against Ole Miss, who at one time was ranked in the top 5, has dropped to #19, and could be out of the top 25 if they lose to their in-state rival.

TCU is ranked 5th in the poll. The Horned Frogs have defeated three top 25 teams this year: #12 Kansas State, #18 Minnesota, and #20 Oklahoma.

Ohio State is ranked 6th and has defeated two top 25 teams: #10 Michigan State and #18 Minnesota.

Baylor is ranked 7th and has beaten two top 25 teams as well: #5 TCU and #20 Oklahoma, with #12 Kansas State still on the slate.

So, of these four one-loss teams, how can Mississippi State be ranked at the top? To this point in the season, they've defeated fewer top 25 teams than the other three and had a weaker non-conference schedule than both TCU and Ohio State. For as great of a story as the Bulldogs have been this year, at this current time, they're undeserving of being in the top 4, and the main reason they're ranked ahead of TCU, Ohio State, and Baylor, is the SEC bias.

In my opinion, here's how the rankings should read:

1) Florida State: I don't care how many close games they've won, they're the only unbeaten team in the Power 5, and last I checked, that counted for something.

2) Alabama: Even though I have Florida State ranked #1 due to their unblemished record, if I had to bet on a team to win the 4-team playoff right now, it'd be Alabama.

3) Oregon: Their defense worries me at times, but based on their resume, they definitely belong in the top 4.

4) TCU: With wins against Kansas State and Oklahoma in conference play and a convincing win against the surging Minnesota Golden Gophers in non-conference play, at this very moment, the Horned Frogs belong at #4.

5) Baylor: If Baylor defeats Kansas State, I would likely jump them over Baylor due to their head-to-head victory. However, until that happens, I'd still rank the Bears one spot below the Horned Frogs.

6) Mississippi State: If Baylor falls to Kansas State and Alabama loses to Auburn, then with a win against Ole Miss, Mississippi State would deserve to be in the 4-team playoff.

7) Ohio State: Ohio State has played some of the best football of anyone in the past few weeks, but that 14-point loss at home to 5-6 Virginia Tech stands out like a naked man giving a sermon on a street corner in New York City.

My NFL Power Rankings (through Week 12)

Well, I'll be heading out of town tomorrow to be with family for Thanksgiving weekend, so I won't be able to include long reasons why I ranked teams where I did due to that. I still have plenty to do before the trip, including pack, so I'll have to slack off a bit with the rankings this week, unfortunately.

1. New England Patriots (9-2)

2. Arizona Cardinals (9-2)

3. Denver Broncos (8-3)

4. Green Bay Packers (8-3)

5. Philadelphia Eagles (8-3)

6. Dallas Cowboys (8-3)

7. Cincinnati Bengals (7-3-1)

8. Seattle Seahawks (7-4)

9. San Francisco 49ers (7-4)

10. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)

11. Indianapolis Colts (7-4)

12. Baltimore Ravens (7-4)

13. Detroit Lions (7-4)

14. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4)

15. San Diego Chargers (7-4)

16. Miami Dolphins (6-5)

17. Buffalo Bills (6-5)

18. Cleveland Browns (7-4)

19. Houston Texans (6-5)

20. St. Louis Rams (4-7)

21. New Orleans Saints (4-7)

22. Chicago Bears (5-6)

23. Minnesota Vikings (4-7)

24. Atlanta Falcons (4-7)

25. Carolina Panthers (3-7-1)

26. New York Giants (3-8)

27. Washington Redskins (3-8)

28. New York Jets (2-9)

29. Tennessee Titans (2-9)

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-9)

31. Oakland Raiders (1-10)

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10)

Some people shouldn't drink...

Most people I know, so long as they're not driving under the influence, are rather harmless when they drink. Yes, many will get to be a bit louder and perhaps more social with complete strangers. Some will garner something known as "liquid courage" and either sing karaoke or ask a person for their phone number. There are even others that will get quiet and have a goofy smile on their faces. Even though it's a depressant, alcohol does affect people's personalities differently. However, for as harmless as the before-mentioned alterations are to someone's personality, there are other people whom suffer far more detrimental and potentially dangerous effects. Unfortunately, it seems that more times than not, these individuals don't see how alcohol negatively affects them and continue drinking.

When it comes to me drinking, I've been told I can get slightly more social and animated. However, there have been times when people have walked up to me and said, "Are you not drinking or something? You're too tame." Yes, when I drink, I'm just a slightly more animated version of my typical self, it seems.

Like I said at the outset, while most of the people I know are fairly harmless when they drink, there are exceptions. There are those that appear to get incredibly horny and seem to want to engage in intercourse with any and everyone within five feet of them. Yes, I back away so I'm at least six feet away when this happens. Then there are others that get angry when they consume alcohol. Unfortunately, I got to experience a hybrid of this on Saturday night when I went to see a band perform with someone I thought I knew, but found out I didn't - not the drunk version of them anyway. I've talked to the guy on several occasions and he was always very kind to me, as was his mother, whom I also met. On Saturday night, though, I don't know how much alcohol he consumed, but he started misbehaving himself, embarrassing me in the process, and getting himself kicked out. Of course, I was the driver, so when he got kicked out, I had to follow. Sure, I could have called him a taxi, but for as much trouble as he was having walking at the time, I would have felt guilty not helping him out the door.

Alcohol, like most things, is okay to consume, but in moderation. Sure, we may all slip up a time or two when it comes to moderation as far as consuming alcohol, food, etc. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I can safely say it happens now and again. However, when it becomes a regular habit and the negative effects the lack of moderation imposes on a person appear quite evident to most outsiders, that's when it can become a serious problem and needs to be dealt with. So, for anyone whom suffers from a continual lack of moderation when it comes to alcohol consumption (or another substance) and is cognizant of that fact, please try to alter the trend, cut back, and gradually form a new, better habit of moderation, for your health and safety and those around you. Also, for anyone who knows another that suffers from similar bad habits, for as difficult as it might be, please talk to them about matters

Why Mike Greenberg and company are wrong about the Odell Beckham, Jr. catch not being the greatest ever

If you're a football fan, chances are you saw the incredible catch New York Giants rookie wideout Odell Beckham, Jr. made on Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys.

If not, you can watch it here (again and again and again): http://www.businessinsider.com/odell-beckham-jr-giants-greatest-catch-ever-2014-11

Right after the catch took place, NBC announcer and former NFL wide receiver Chris Collinsworth said, "That may be the greatest catch I've ever seen."

So, of course, over the past 36 hours, ESPN talking heads have debated, "Is it the greatest catch ever?" and some, including Mike Greenberg, appear to be off in their analysis.

Co-host of Mike & Mike, Mike Greenberg, said the Beckham catch didn't even belong in the top 5 of best catches ever. His top 5 were comprised of big catches in Super Bowls.

There's a difference between greatest catch and biggest catch. Odell Beckham, Jr.'s three-fingered catch can never be classified as one of the biggest catches in NFL history, like those listed by Mr. Greenberg, for the catch was made in a regular season game where Beckham's Giants lost to the Dallas Cowboys by the final score of 31-28. However, when it comes to its degree of difficulty, I will still say that Beckham's play was the greatest catch I've personally ever seen.

So, was it the biggest catch ever? No, not by a long shot. However, I still think it's the greatest catch ever.

Info on my Facebook business, Twitter, and Tumblr pages

Here's the URL to my Facebook business page. I update it fairly regularly, but still haven't put forth a great deal of effort yet in researching matters and attempting to make the most out of it. In any case, it can be perused here:


Up next is my Twitter page. I'm still not 100% certain what I'm doing on there yet, but feel I'm gradually getting the hang of it and am up to 13,907 followers. I update it daily with many of my own tweets, but also by retweeting some others'. It can be found here:


Lastly, here's my Tumblr page, which I've neglected quite a bit recently, but if you're at all curious, you can find it at the following link:


Weekly update of my book information

For new readers (and regular ones, I suppose), here's some information pertaining to my books.

All twelve of my books can be purchased in paperback form at the following site (and others):


The ten books I've written and released in the past 3 years (yes, I've been on a roll) can be purchased for much cheaper in Kindle form at the following link:


Week 13 NFL Predictions

Game: Chicago at Detroit

Pick: Detroit - Detroit has gone two whole games without scoring a touchdown, being outscored by their opponents 48-15 in that span. What's the best recipe for a struggling offense? Playing at home against the Chicago Bears defense in a shortened week. I look for the Lions to win at home on Thanksgiving by 4.



Game: Philadelphia at Dallas

Pick: Philadelphia - This was an extremely difficult game for me to pick. While Philadelphia doesn't have the greatest defense in the league, I think I give the Eagles the slight edge in this game because I feel their offense is much more difficult to prepare for in a shortened week than the Cowboys offense. While I remain tentative, I'll go with the Eagles by a field goal.



Game: Seattle at San Francisco

Pick: Seattle - If either team wants to have a legitimate shot at the NFC West title, they'll likely have to win this game. With Seattle getting some key players back on defense and the 49ers offense struggling to put points up on the likes of the New York Giants and Washington the past couple of weeks, I'll give the slight edge to the Seahawks. I'm going with Seattle by 3.



Game: Tennessee at Houston

Pick: Houston - Houston is fighting for their playoff lives and need this win to have any shot at playing in the post-season. With the game at home and J.J. Watt loving to knock Zach Mettenberger around, I'm going to go with the Texans by a touchdown.



Game: Oakland at St. Louis

Pick: St. Louis - It's crazy enough Oakland won their first game last week at home against then 7-3 Kansas City. It'd be a little too crazy to see them win in back-to-back weeks, this time on the road against the pesky St. Louis Rams. I'll take the Rams by 10.



Game: San Diego at Baltimore

Pick: Baltimore - This is a big game for both teams, as it seems like half of the AFC is either 7-4 or 6-5 right now. With the game at home, however, and the history of West Coast teams not faring well when playing on the East Coast, I'm going to give the slight edge to the Ravens. I'm taking Baltimore by 4.



Game: Cleveland at Buffalo

Pick: Buffalo - Buffalo features one of the better defense in the AFC and should be able to frustrate Brian Hoyer and limit the Browns ground attack. So long as Kyle Orton isn't careless with the football, I think he and the rest of Bills offense should be able to generate enough points to win this game. I'll take Buffalo by 3.



Game: Cincinnati at Tampa Bay

Pick: Cincinnati - I'm not fully on board with Cincinnati yet, but their tough road win against Houston this past week makes me think they might finally be getting on track to being a more consistent football team. With that in mind, they should be able to beat a 2-9 Tampa Bay team on the road. I'll take the Bengals by 10.



Game: Washington at Indianapolis

Pick: Indianapolis - The Washington Redskins seem to have little faith in their offense, especially since Robert Griffin III returned from injury, and while their defense is improved from a year ago, it's not nearly good enough for the team to expect to win on the road against a solid Indianapolis Colts team. I'll take the Colts by two touchdowns.



Game: NY Giants at Jacksonville

Pick: NY Giants - For as bad as they are, not even Tom Coughlin's Giants should lose on the road against Jacksonville. Expect Odell Beckham to have another great game for the G-Men. I'm going with the Giants by 10.



Game: Carolina at Minnesota

Pick: Minnesota - Carolina is coming off a bye week, which was sadly their best week in a long time. The Panthers offensive line has been awful, and playing on the road against a good and aggressive Minnesota Vikings defense won't be a good recipe for the team. I'm going to take Minnesota at home by 4.



Game: New Orleans at Pittsburgh

Pick: Pittsburgh - The Saints and Steelers have something in common - both tend to be great at home and mediocre on the road (being kind there). Given that, I'm going to give the edge to the home team, Pittsburgh. I'll take the Steelers by a touchdown.



Game; Arizona at Atlanta

Pick: Arizona - What's the Atlanta Falcons worst enemy? A good and aggressive defense. That's exactly what Arizona features, and the Cardinals should give Matt Ryan fits. Arizona's offense has struggled in recent weeks, but then again, they played two of the best defenses in football, in Detroit and Seattle. Atlanta's defense is nowhere near as good as those two teams'. I'm going with the Cardinals by a touchdown.



Game: New England at Green Bay

Pick: New England - While one can't help but admire how well Aaron Rodgers has played for the Green Bay Packers, I've been more impressed by the Patriots as a team in recent weeks. Also, given Bill Belichick's history of taking away opponents' top weapon, I look for Jordy Nelson to be limited in this game, enough so for the Patriots to continue their winning ways and win at Lambeau by a field goal.



Game: Denver at Kansas City

Pick: Kansas City - After playing so well through Week 10 of the season, both the Broncos and Chiefs have been struggling over the past couple weeks, with Denver losing to St. Louis 22-7 and beating Miami 39-36. Kansas City, meanwhile, was the first team to lose to Oakland, falling to the Raiders on Thursday night last week. With the game at Arrowhead and the Broncos defense struggling so much, I think I'm going to go with the Chiefs at home by a field goal.



Game: Miami at NY Jets

Pick: Miami - Ryan Tannehill is playing great football right now, and going against the New York Jets horrendous secondary should be a good match-up for he and the Miami Dolphins offense. I'll take the Dolphins on the road by 10.



Week 13 Record:

Overall Record: 108-67-1 (.617)

Monday, November 24, 2014

What I learned in Week 12 of the NFL season...

In Week 12 of the NFL season, I learned that...

- ...while the Kansas City Chiefs have beaten the defending Super Bowl champs, the Seattle Seahawks, two of their four losses have come against Tennessee and Oakland, whom have a combined record of 3-19. When head coach Andy Reid was asked who he'd prefer to play if his team makes the playoffs, he said, "So long as they have a winning record, I think we'll be okay."

- ...after throwing his first pick in the 3rd quarter against the Buffalo Bills and getting pulled, New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick looked at coach Rex Ryan and said, "What the hell, man? You pulled Geno in our last game against them after throwing three picks in our first three drives! Come on, man!"

- ..., with their 34-9 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is now 0-17 against teams on the road that finished the season above .500. When asked about this incredible stat, Stafford said, "Yeah, man... I'm due... I'm like due, man."

- ..., following another example of poor clock management in their 26-24 loss to Cleveland on Sunday, Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith said, "How many minutes are there in the 4th quarter again? There are only four quarters, right?"

- ...Johnny Manziel will likely star in a reality television show called, Johnny Entourage.

- ..., during their bye week, Carolina Panthers coaches and players threw a "We Didn't Lose" party. Yes, a couple of fans were there too.

- ..., after getting 6 feet of snow and with little chance of making the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl, when asked where they were headed, most Buffalo Bills players yelled, "I'm going to Disneyworld!"

- ...Washington Redksins head coach Jay Cruden and quarterback Robert Griffin III won't be starring together in a bromance film anytime soon.

- ..., at 8-3, Dallas Cowboys fans, coaches, and players are still wondering if they'll finish 8-8.

- ...Spiderman isn't a fictional character. His real name is Odell Beckham, Jr.

A funny Washington "Redskins" poll

In a poll released last week by ORC International for the Change The Mascot campaign and goodness Mfg., there were some interesting, ironically humorous results with regard to the public's perception on the Washington Redskins nickname.

When asked whether they'd ever call a Native American a "redskin" to their face, 82% of respondents said no.

Even so, just 39% found the name offensive and 25% said the name should be changed.

So, how does that logic work? Over 4 in 5 people find the term offensive enough that they'd never refer to a Native American as such, yet less than 2 in 5 claim to find it offensive, and just 1 in 4 think the name should be changed. I can just imagine such an individual engaging in the following conversation with an actual Native American:

Native American: "Do you think the Washington Redskins should change their nickname?"

Joe Schmo: "No"

Native American: "Do you find the term 'redskin' to be at all offensive?"

Mr. Schmo: "No"

Native American: "I happen to be a Native American. Would you ever call me a 'redskin' to my face?"

Schmo: "No"

Native American: "Why is that?"

Schmo: "I'm not sure. It doesn't seem right, I guess."

Native American: "But it's not offensive?"

Schmo: "No"

Native American: "Then why do you have issues with calling me a 'redskin'?"

Schmo: "It makes me feel funny."

Native American: "Is that because you think it's offensive?"

Schmo: "This conversation is starting to make me feel weird."

Native American: "Why is that? Are you saying the term is offensive, but not really when you don't actually think about it?"

Schmo: "Yes, exactly. Finally, someone understands..."

Native American: "Uh, yeah, if you say so..."


Thursday, November 20, 2014

A response to ESPN's article, "Ohio State deserves to be in top four"

After the latest playoff committee top 25 rankings were announced on Tuesday night and having seen that Ohio State was ranked 6th in the latest poll, ESPN's David M. Hale decided to write an article, entitled, "Ohio State deserves to be in top four." Immediately after I read this article, I felt the need to respond.

First off, let me highlight a few of Hale's "points":

- "The cases for both Oregon and Ohio State are similar. Both teams have Heisman candidates at quarterback. Both have prolific offenses. Both are en route to a conference title. The signature win for both teams came against Michigan State. And both have a glaring loss on their record that came, in large part, because of injuries."

- (Comparing the two teams losses) "Arizona is 8-2 and ranked 15th in the committee's latest poll. Virginia Tech is 5-5 and narrowly kept its bowl chances alive with a win over Duke last week.

Look a little deeper, though, and the differences aren't nearly so stark. Aside from the win over Oregon, Arizona hasn't beaten a Power 5 team with a winning record. Its two remaining games (at Utah and vs. Arizona State) will tell us more about the Wildcats' true worth, but they needed a late turnover from Texas-San Antonio to win on Sept. 4, escaped Nevada by just a touchdown a week later, and toppled Cal a week after that thanks to a last-second Hail Mary. Virginia Tech has played essentially as well as Arizona, but while the Wildcats have four one-score wins, the Hokies have four one-score losses.."

- "If the goal is to put the best teams into the playoff, Ohio State's case is sound. In fact, there may not be a team in the country playing better football right now than the Buckeyes. Barrett has gone from a deer in headlights to a Heisman candidate. The offensive line has allowed just 10 sacks in the last eight games. The defense is light-years ahead of Oregon by virtually every metric."

Hale is correct in saying that Ohio State is playing very good football right now, and if they get some help from the teams ahead of them in the poll, they may be able to sneak into the playoff at season's end. However, based on their resume and the resume of their conference, Ohio State would have no business being in the playoff if it started today, and honestly, they'd still need a great deal of help by season's end in order to convince me that they deserve to be in the playoff at all.

How else do we fairly compare the top five conferences in the country than by measuring how they perform against one another? On that note, let's do just that...

Record (against other four major conferences and Notre Dame)

1) SEC: 5-2 (.714)

2) Pac-12: 7-3 (.700)

3) ACC: 5-7 (.417)

4) Big XII: 4-6 (.400)

5) Big Ten: 6-11 (.353)

The Big Ten has the worst record of any major conference against the Power 5 (and Notre Dame). In other words, the conference has done anything but convince unbiased fans and pollsters that they're worth of having a team in the playoff.

Opponents record in wins (against the other four major conferences and Notre Dame)

1) SEC: 31-18 (.633)

2) Big XII: 25-15 (.625)

3) ACC: 31-19 (.620)

4) Pac-12: 38-33 (.535)

5) Big Ten: 31-29 (.517)

Not only does the Big Ten have the worst record of any major conference against the Power 5, but in the games they've won, their opponents are just two games over .500, which is the worst winning percentage of the Power 5 conferences.

Point differential in wins (against the other four major conferences and Notre Dame)

1) Pac-12: +102/7 (+14.6)

2) ACC: +68/5 (+13.6)

3) Big XII: +53/4 (+13.3)

4) SEC: +65/5 (+13.0)

5) Big Ten: +38/6 (+6.3)

In these six Power 5 victories for the Big Ten conference, they've averaged to win the games by slightly over 6 points per, which is less than half of the next major conference.

Opponents record in losses (against the other four major conferences and Notre Dame)

1) Big XII: 47-13 (.783)

2) ACC: 51-19 (.729)

3) Pac-12: 19-11 (.633)

4) Big Ten: 70-41 (.631)

5) SEC: 10-10 (.500)

Even in the eleven defeats the Big Ten suffered at the hands of the Power 5, their opponents rank 4th (out of 5) in winning percentage.

Point differential in losses (against the other four major conferences and Notre Dame)

1) Pac-12: -12/3 (-4.0)

2) ACC: -83/7 (-11.9)

3) Big XII: -84/6 (-14.0)

3) SEC: -28/2 (-14.0)

5) Big Ten: -155/11 (-14.1)

Lastly, in these eleven losses, the Big Ten has a worse margin of defeat than any other major conference.

So, in these five categories where I compare the Power 5 conferences, the Big Ten finishes last in four of them and next to last in one of them. No, this may not be all Ohio State's fault, but it can't help their cause any. Due to the Big Ten's poor performance this year, the other four major conferences can look at the playoff committee and reasonably state, "Our 2-loss team belongs more than their 1-loss team."

Let's now look directly at Ohio State, and since the author of the before-mentioned piece compared the Buckeyes to Oregon, I'll look at them as well.

Given how poor the Big Ten conference has played this year, Ohio State would likely need a solid non-conference resume to make up for it. Unfortunately for them, they don't have that. Ohio State's three out-of-conference wins have come against: Navy (5-5), Kent State (1-9), and Cincinnati (6-3), whom have a combined record of 12-17. Their 14-point loss came at home against Virginia Tech, who's 5-5. Their two wins against top 25 competition have come against Michigan State (by 12) and Minnesota (by 7). Michigan State's only non-conference Power 5 match-up came against Oregon, where they lost 46-27. Minnesota's lone non-conference Power 5 game was against TCU, and the Gophers lost that one 30-7. In other words, Ohio State and the two top 25 teams they beat are a combined 0-3 against the other four major conferences, where the teams were outscored 111-55 (average of 37.0 - 18.3 = 18.7).

Since the author insinuated that, despite their record, Virginia Tech is just as good as Arizona, let's look at those close Hokie losses. These four one-score losses were to: East Carolina (6-3), Georgia Tech (9-2), Pittsburgh (4-6), and Boston College (6-4), whom have a combined record of 25-15. That's not bad, but one of the losses was to 4-6 Pittsburgh. The Hokies were also shellacked by 6-4 Miami (Florida) by the final score of 30-6. Yes, no matter how the author wants to cut it, Virginia Tech is 5-5 and will be lucky to make a bowl game.

Oregon, meanwhile, has defeated three top 25 teams: Michigan State (by 19), UCLA (by 12), and Utah (by 24). Also, unlike Ohio State, whose conference is 6-11 against the other Power 5, Oregon has had to face Pac-12 competition, and the Pac-12 is 7-3 against the Power 5. Yes, the Pac-12 has more wins against the Power 5 than the Big Ten, even though they've played in seven fewer games. Also, unlike Ohio State, Oregon has a big non-conference win against the Power 5 (Michigan State).

Looking at Oregon's lone loss, Arizona, the Wildcats are 8-2 and ranked 15th in the nation. Their five close wins have come against teams with a 29-22 record (UTSA, Nevada, California, Oregon, and Washington). Their two losses were by a combined 12 points to USC and UCLA, whom have a combined record of 15-5. The author should ask Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, "If you could switch records and resumes with Arizona, would you?" I can just imagine Beamer's expression when being asked this question - the classic, "Are you f'ing serious/stupid?" look.

No matter what ESPN's David M. Hale would like to believe, at this point in time, Ohio State has no business being in the top four, and unless they receive some serious help, won't deserve to be in the playoff at season's end. Their non-conference resume is weak, the Big Ten has the worst resume of any Power 5 conference, and regardless of how warped one's mind is, that 14-point loss at home to a 5-5 Virginia Tech team is far worse than a 7-point loss to the 15th ranked team in the country, in 8-2 Arizona. When coaches start receiving more praises, raises, and extensions for close losses than for close wins, Hale will be able to say, "See? I told you so!" Until then, we'll have to go by the crazy notion that more wins likely means a better record and a better argument for making the playoff.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bobby Jindal's government shutdown argument fails on all levels

Yes, the Republican Party is talking about another government shutdown (since it worked so well that last time...), and yes, even though House Republicans prompted the first shutdown and the GOP is talking about it being a possibility yet again, they claim, like the first go-round, it will be President Obama's fault.

Let's review the first shutdown, shall we?

Step 1: President Obama got elected as President of the United States

Step 2: The Affordable Care Act got passed by both the House and the Senate

Step 3: The president signed the bill

Step 4: The bill gradually got implemented

Step 5: The Supreme Court ruled that the bill was Constitutional

Step 6: House Republicans threatened a government shutdown if the Affordable Care Act wasn't repealed

Step 7: The Affordable Care Act wasn't repealed

Step 8: The government shutdown began

Yes, through a democratic process, a president was elected, a bill passed, was signed, got implemented, and even survived the conservative Supreme Court justices in being ruled as Constitutional, yet it was President Obama's fault for the government shutdown because the bill didn't get repealed as Republicans had insisted. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense...

So, what's the story this time? Sunday on Meet the Press, Republican Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal attempted to explain the potential second government shutdown scenario and why it would be President Obama's fault yet again when he engaged in the following back-and-forth with Chuck Todd:

Chuck Todd: "Very quickly on immigration. If the president goes through with his executive action, do you think Republicans and Capitol Hill ought to use even the power of shutting down the government to stop him from doing it?"

Bobby Jindal: "Two things. I don't think the president should shut down the government to try to break the Constitution. The reality is this. I do think the --"

Todd: "You think the president would be shutting down the government?"

Jindal: "Oh, absolutely"

Todd: "So you do want Republicans to fight him on this to the point that it could shut down the government?"

Jindal: "Absolute -- I don't think the president should shut down the government."

Todd: "But you're twisting my question."

Jindal: "But wait, wait."

Todd: "That means you want that kind of showdown?"

Jindal: "Let's step back and understand what we're talking about. So the president said, 'I want to break the law.' He purposely said I'm going to wait till after the election, because I know it's not going to be popular to grant amnesty to millions of folks here that are here illegally. We had an election. He said his policies were on the ballot.

He lost in red states, purple states, blue states. The American people overwhelmingly rejected and rejected his policies. Now he's saying, 'I'm still going to break the law.' Talk about arrogance. The president used to say, 'Elections have consequences.' We're talking about how the Congress force the president to follow the law?

I would expect even Democrats who may agree with him on substance, to say the right way to do this is to follow the Constitution, follow the law. No, we shouldn't shut down the government, but absolutely Republicans should do everything they can to force the president to follow the law. Let's secure the border. No, the president shouldn't shut down the government so he can break the law."

Oh, Bobby, Bobby, Bobby... Governor Jindal is wrong on so many different levels, my head is about to implode.

First off, only 36.4% of registered voters voted in the midterms this year - that's the lowest turnout since 1942! So, even if 60% of these voters voted Republican, that would mean that just 21.8% of eligible voters in this country voted to give Republicans added power in both the federal and state governments. So, according to Bobby Jindal, 21.8% is greater than 78.2%.

Secondly, President Obama never said he was going to break the law, and according to conservative scholars and Supreme Court justices, his pending executive order(s) with regard to immigration isn't (aren't) illegal.

During their annual Federalist Society national convention at the Mayflower Hotel, conservative Professor of Law and Public Policy Studies at Duke Law School, Christopher Schroeder, had this to say about the president's pending actions on immigration:

"I think the roots of prosecutorial discretion are extremely deep. The practice is long and robust. The case is robust. Let me put it this way: Suppose some president came to me and asked me in the office of legal counsel, 'Is it okay for me to go ahead and defer the deportation proceedings of childhood arrival?' Under the present state of the law, I think that would be an easy opinion to write. Yes."

Schroeder added:

"I don't know where in the Constitution there is a rule that if the president's enactments affects too many people, he's violating the Constitution. There is a difference between executing the law and making the law. But in the world in which we operate, that distinction is a lot more probelmatic than you would think. If the Congress has enacted a statute that grants discretionary authority for the administrative agency or the president to fill in the gaps, to write the regulations that actually make the statute operative, those regulations to all intents and purposes make the law.

I agree this can make us very uncomfortable. I just don't see the argument for unconstitutionality at this juncture."

Third, from the start of President Obama's first term, Republicans have been crying out that he's been breaking the law and shredding the Constitution. This has typically been in response to the president making an executive order. However, President Obama has averaged fewer executive orders per year (33.57) than every president since Grover Cleveland, whom was president from 1893 to 1897 (and averaged 28.25 executive orders per year). Ronald Reagan, whom is often times hailed by Republicans as the greatest president in U.S. history, averaged approximately fourteen more executive orders per year than President Obama (47.63 in an average year).

President Obama's 193 executive orders

The GOP's reaction: "He's breaking the law and shredding the Constitution!"

President Reagan's 381 executive orders

The GOP's reaction: "He's the greatest president ever!"

So, there goes Governor Jindal's election argument and his breaking the law argument. What's left? Oh yes, his timing and logic argument...

So, let me get this straight, Governor Jindal, another government shutdown will be President Obama's fault for making an executive order prior to the shutdown? Is that correct? Governor Jindal made it sound like the president would shut down the government in order to make the executive order. No, he'd make the executive order, which would then somehow shut down the government. Sure, the Louisiana Governor is likely saying that the president's executive order will anger the Republican Party so much, it will lead to a government shutdown, and since the president made the executive order unlawfully, the shutdown will be his fault. The problem with that logic is the fact his executive order won't be illegal, so then what would actually prompt the government shutdown, since the president's actions came before it and weren't illegal? The Republican Party's anger. In other words, yet again, the shutdown would be the fault of the Republican Party.

So, congratulations, Governor Jindal! Your argument failed by the numbers, by the rule of law, and by logic! That's a triple whammy and is quite difficult to accomplish! Congrats yet again!





Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The media blows RGIII's comments out of proportion

The sports media cracks me up sometimes (not literally, thank goodness). Often times it seems that many members of the sports media are about as fickle as politicians during election season when it comes to how coaches and players interact with them. When players and coaches read directly from the book, entitled, "Sports Cliches 101," media personalities seem to yawn and not talk about these seemingly over-rehearsed comments. Then when some sports personalities, like San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich gets rather blunt with his responses, many in the media will almost say in unison, "It's nice to finally talk to someone who just tells it like it is." However, there are still other tell-it-like-it-is comments which seem to receive a great deal of backlash, where these same media talking heads simultaneously utter, "Whoa! He did not just say that! Can you believe that?"

The latest such case revolves around Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III's post-game comments after his team fell to Tampa Bay 27-7 on Sunday. He's taken a great deal of heat from many in the media, whom have claimed that he threw his teammates under the bus, that he wasn't taking responsibility for his own mistakes, and should never have uttered such commentary. For the record, Washington is 3-7, tied for last place in the NFC East with the New York Giants, and has about as good of a chance to get the first pick in the upcoming NFL Draft as they have of making the playoffs. Given that bit of information, here were some of Griffin's post-game quotes:

- "It doesn't take one guy. That's proven. If you want to look at the good teams in this league, or the great quarterbacks - the Peytons, the Aaron Rodgers - those guys don't play well if their guys don't play well. They don't. We need everybody."

- "I need every one of those guys in that locker room. And I know they're looking at me saying the same thing. I'm gonna be there for them. I promise that. I'll give it to them every day. I'll never quit on them. I need them to do the same. And I know they will. I believe they will. I mean, what else am I supposed to believe? I believe in my teammates. We'll get it done."

- "All the sacks are on me. Period. You have to, as players, we're 3-7. Everybody in this room knows that. Everybody in that locker room knows that. We can't do what 3-7 football teams do; we can't throw knives and stab each other in the back."

- "And I think we have good people in our locker room, men of God that are gonna stick together and stay strong. So when you ask me that question, and I say 'All the sacks are on me,' it's because I'm looking myself in the mirror and saying, 'I can do better. I have to do better.'"

- "And I need every man in that locker room - player, coach, everyone - to look themself in the mirror and say, 'What can I do better?' So if one of my offensive linemen were up here, or a back or a receiver and you asked them that question, I would expect them to do the same. Take responsibility for it."

- "Try to find a way to get it out. Try to find a way to change the protection to pick it up. Even if everyone in here, or everyone watching, says there's no way you could have done that, I could have done better. Much better. And I will."

- "We didn't play well. I didn't see the field as well as I would have liked. We had turnovers. I can't throw interceptions. We had false-start penalties, holding penalties. It was bad ball out there today. It's not that we looked past Tampa Bay, because we can't afford to look past anybody."

- "Fact of the matter is we're not a very good football team right now, and we've got a long way to go. And every guy's gotta look himself in the mirror and say that to himself."

- "You can't sit at your locker or be out on the field and say, 'Well it's not my fault. I'm a baller. I'm an All-Pro. I'm a Pro Bowl player.' Because right now, we have no Pro Bowl players. We don't. We're not playing that way. I'm not playing that way, the line's not playing that way, our receivers aren't playing that way, the backs aren't playing that way, our defense isn't playing that way, our special teams isn't playing that way. And we all know that."

- "Coach has reiterated that to us many times. And guys have to accept that. Accept that we have a long way to go. Accept that we have to get better. And it starts in practice - walk-throughs, film - you gotta do more. You gotta do more, and you gotta get better."

Following these comments, many in the media decided to cherry-pick certain remarks and lay claim that Griffin threw his teammates under the bus while not taking any responsibility of his own.

Washington head coach Jay Gruden then decided to respond by saying this:

"First of all, Robert needs to understand he needs to worry about himself. No. 1, and not everybody else. It's his job to worry about his position, his footwork, his fundamentals, his reads, his progressions, his job at the quarterback position. It's my job to worry about everybody else.

And yes, everybody else needs to improve. There's no question about it. But it's not his place. His place is to talk about himself, and he knows that. He just elaborated a little bit too much, and he'll learn from it. He's 24 years old, he wants everything to be perfect around him, and [Sunday] was far from perfect.

If we start pointing fingers and throwing stones, we have no chance. So we're going to squash all this stuff now and continue to get better and beat San Francisco."

Griffin, seeing many in the media taking some of his comments out-of-context, responded with the following tweet on his Twitter account:

"It's unfortunate that anyone would take a piece of my press conference and say I threw my teammates under the bus. I would never throw my teammates under the bus! I take responsibility for my play and will play better."

First of all, while Jay Gruden may have been at least partially accurate in saying that Griffin elaborated a bit too much, he was also being honest. It's not like any of Griffin's statements were earth-shattering revelations. To this point in the season, Washington is 3-7, in last place in the NFC East, and two of their three wins have come against teams with a combined record of 3-17 (Jacksonville and Tennessee). Looking at their schedule ahead, they could very well finish 3-13 or 4-12 (depending on if they beat the 3-7 Giants on the road). Washington ranks 22nd in the league in scoring offense and 24th in the league in scoring defense (out of 32 teams).

Secondly, I find it kind of comical that Gruden would criticize Griffin's comments and say, "You worry about yourself and I'll worry about everyone else," considering the fact this has resulted in a 3-7 record.

Perhaps Griffin shouldn't have been so brutally honest with the media on Sunday, but to take his comments out-of-context and overblow them as being the central point of Washington's problems is a joke, and not a very funny one. The least of Washington's worries should be about a quarterback saying that their 3-7 team isn't very good and they need to improve in all areas (including his). The real concern for the team should be that his critical comments were actually truthful. Just because a 3-7 team believes they're better than their record indicates, that doesn't make it true. They're still 3-7.


My NFL Power Rankings (through Week 11)

1. Arizona Cardinals (9-1): So long as Arizona is the only one-loss team in football, they'll remain atop my rankings. They may not win pretty often times, but so long as they're winning, that's all that matters. Through 10 games, the Coach of the Year award has already been decided - Bruce Arians.

2. New England Patriots (8-2): Since starting the year a disappointing 2-2, the Patriots have won six straight, and as of now, are the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Also, who's this Jonas Gray character again? The only ones that seem to know play on the Indianapolis Colts defense...

3. Denver Broncos (7-3): Even after their disappointing loss to St. Louis over the weekend, I still think, as of this moment, Denver is the best amongst the 3-loss teams. Two possible areas of concern moving forward, however, will be the injury situation at receiver and finding a consistent ground attack, which they've lacked all year.

4. Green Bay Packers (7-3): Like the Patriots, while the Packers defense worries me at times, if their offense continues to play like they've been playing, they won't need to worry a great deal about having a mediocre defensive unit.

5. Philadelphia Eagles (7-3): Through two games, it's still up in the air how Mark Sanchez will fare as starting quarterback for the Eagles. However, for as up and down as his game was on Sunday and for as much worry as that's seemed to generate around certain circles, the bigger story is the fact the Eagles defense allowed 53 points. If the defense can't play better, it won't matter who's behind center.

6. Kansas City Chiefs (7-3): Kansas City out Seahawk-ed Seattle at home on Sunday, and as of now, are tied atop the AFC West alongside Denver (whom currently holds the head-to-head tie-breaker). Like Arizona, KC may not be flashy, but week in and week out, they typically do enough to come out on top.

7. Detroit Lions (7-3): One of the biggest surprises this year has been Detroit's stellar defense. I keep waiting for them to fall back into their old bad habits, but to this point, that hasn't happened. On the other hand, however, one of the biggest disappointments this year has been Detroit's underachieving offense. When healthy, the Lions showcase top pick Matthew Stafford behind center, tailbacks Joique Bell and Reggie Bush, as well as receiving targets Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, and Brandon Pettigrew. The Lions may be a pesky team to beat, but if they don't start clicking more on offense, they're also going to have a tough time making the playoffs.

8. Dallas Cowboys (7-3): After a week off, we'll again get to see whether or not Dallas is bound to slump and finish at 8-8 without a playoff bid, or if they're truly a different team this year. Luckily for them, that test will come against the 3-7 New York Giants.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (6-3-1): This year, at least, this team's new name should be the Befuddling Bengals. Over the past two weeks, Cincinnati got embarrassed on Thursday night football by the Cleveland Browns 24-3, where Andy Dalton had one of the worst passing efforts I can remember. Then they beat up on the New Orleans Saints on the road by the final score of 27-10. They'll take on a pesky Houston team on the road this week. What to expect? Who in the hell knows?

10. Seattle Seahawks (6-4): Seattle isn't in desperation mode quite yet, as at 6-4, they're right in the thick of the NFC Wild Card race. However, if they want to have any chance at winning the NFC West again, they'll need to beat Arizona at home this coming weekend. If Seattle loses that game, they'll be four back of Arizona with five games left. If they win, they'll be just two back, with five left, and one of them being against the Cardinals. At this point, for as much as some people are questioning why they traded Percy Harvin, I'm questioning why they let Golden Tate get away. If they want to have any chance at repeating, they'll need to find some more play-making ability in the passing game.

11. San Francisco 49ers (6-4): The 49ers just don't look to be a very focused team right now. They have plenty of play-making ability on offense, with the likes of Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde, Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Stevie Johnson, Vernon Davis, etc. However, they just can't seem to find consistency on that side of the ball this year. On Sunday, they only beat the New York Giants 16-10, even though Eli Manning threw five interceptions. When an offense can only generate 16 points after the defense picks the opposing quarterback off five times, chances are, some issues need to be sorted. Up next is a must-win game against lowly 3-7 Washington.

12. Indianapolis Colts (6-4): There are games when the Colts passing game, defense, and special teams play to a level where most observers say, "They're ready to take that next step and contend for an AFC championship." Then the defense falters, the lack of a ground game becomes more noticeable, and onlookers then have to say, "Okay, so maybe not yet..." Until the Colts can find more consistency in both their defense and run game, I have a hard time seeing them beating New England, Denver, Kansas City, or even Cincinnati (if it's on the road and Andy Dalton decides to show up) come playoff time.

13. Miami Dolphins (6-4): With their underrated defense and an evolving offense, while Miami may still be a year away from making the playoffs, they will be a pain in the backside for all their opponents moving forward. They'll take on a hungry, angry Denver team on the road this coming weekend. It'll be interesting to see how the Broncos adjust on offense, since Miami plays a similar style of defense as St. Louis, which shut down the usually high-powered Broncos offense on Sunday.

14. Baltimore Ravens (6-4): Like every other AFC North team, Baltimore is a tough one to figure out. On paper, they should be able to score plenty of points against the sub-par New Orleans Saints defense on Monday night, yet while they got off to a great start this year, the Ravens offense hasn't been as efficient in recent weeks. On the other side of things, with Baltimore's secondary as beat up as it is, the chances are good New Orleans will be able to put up a few points on them as well, but then again, they only scored 10 at home against Cincinnati this past Sunday. In other words, if you're a gambler, it'd be wise to hold on to your money for this game.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4): When they're clicking, the Pittsburgh Steelers offense is about as good as anybody's in the league. However, their defense has been extremely disappointing and the team has had some issues on the road. Due to this, I have a hard time seeing them doing much come playoff time.

16. San Diego Chargers (6-4): At one time, San Diego was 5-1 and one of the hottest teams in all of football. Then came three straight losses and a 7-point victory against the winless Raiders. With Philip Rivers hurting, the last thing the Chargers want to do is take on the hard-hitting St. Louis Rams on Sunday. If San Diego can find a way to win that game, they could turn the corner and make a serious run at the playoffs. However, if they continue to struggle and fall to St. Louis, it may be difficult to turn things around in time to make a playoff run.

17. Houston Texans (5-5): Even without Arian Foster in the lineup, Houston dominated the then 6-3 Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Now, at 5-5, while it will be difficult, the Texans could make a playoff run. Up next on the slate is another AFC North foe - the Cincinnati Bengals.

18. Buffalo Bills (5-5): The Bills are moving in the right direction. They have a very underrated defensive unit, one of the best young receivers in the game in Sammy Watkins. Also, when healthy, they have a formidable backfield with veteran Fred Jackson and speedster C.J. Spiller. The question going forward will be do they want to give E.J. Manuel another shot at leading the team at quarterback or should they go another direction?

19. Cleveland Browns (6-4): The good news for the Browns is, at 6-4 and right in the thick of the AFC North race, they'll be getting standout receiver Josh Gordon back this week. The bad news might be that the team had been overachieving to this point, got a rude wake-up call against Houston on Sunday, and that reality will continue for the rest of the season. Their offense should be able to generate more against the sub-par Atlanta Falcons defense on Sunday than they did against Houston, but it will be interesting to see how long it takes for Brian Hoyer and Josh Gordon to get in sync with one another. If that happens on Sunday, Atlanta may have a tough time winning that game. However, if it's still a week or two away, Atlanta should be able to generate enough offense to win at home.

20. St. Louis Rams (4-6): One has to give credit to Jeff Fisher and his coaching staff. The Rams lost a number of key players early in the season to injury, including quarterback Sam Bradford. They've started three different quarterbacks this year, have beaten Denver (7-3), Seattle (6-4), and San Francisco (6-4) - three of the final four teams in the playoffs a year ago, including the two which made the Super Bowl. The Rams also played things close against Dallas (7-3) and Philadelphia (7-3). While it will be nearly impossible for the Rams to make the playoffs this year, they could pose as a serious spoiler, and that could start this coming week against the struggling 6-4 San Diego Chargers.

21. New Orleans Saints (4-6): Can we all just finally admit that we were wrong about this team? Before their win in Carolina three weeks ago against the 3-7-1 Panthers, New Orleans had lost seven consecutive road games. They've now lost two straight home games. They've remained mediocre and inconsistent on defense. They've underachieved and been careless at times on offense. They're just not as good as most of us thought they were to start the season. However, even in saying all of that, they're right in the thick of the NFC South race, and if they beat Baltimore at home on Monday night, could find themselves atop the division.

22. Chicago Bears (4-6): Well, that's one win for the Bears at Soldier Field, and one game where they didn't allow 50 points on defense. So, yeah, that's something...

23. Minnesota Vikings (4-6): Aside from the Adrian Peterson situation, Minnesota appears to be moving in the right direction, with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback and a rather underrated defense. They likely won't make the playoffs this year, but should be in the thick of that discussion in a year or two.

24. Atlanta Falcons (4-6): In two consecutive weeks, the Atlanta Falcons won road games and scored points in the 4th quarter. Yes, I'm shocked as well. What's even more shocking is the fact the once 2-6 Falcons, with a win at home against Cleveland on Sunday, could sit atop the NFC South all by themselves at 5-6.

25. Carolina Panthers (3-7-1): Cam Newton hasn't been playing very well and will likely receive most of the blame for the team's woes. However, most of the blame should be placed on the offensive line and defense. The reason Carolina was so good last year was because their defense was one of the very best in all of football, and their offensive line allowed for them to be one of the best rushing offenses in the league, and that, in turn, opened up the passing game at times. Now, without being able to rely on the defense to shut down opponents and being forced to pass the ball behind a line which doesn't give Newton much time to throw it, that has spelled disaster for this team.

26. New York Giants (3-7): The Giants continue to be one of the most careless teams in football. It doesn't matter how much talent a team has on the field, if they turn the ball over like the Giants do, they're not going to win many games. We'll see if that trend continues at home against Dallas this week.

27. Washington Redskins (3-7): It's at this point when first-year head coach Jay Gruden is calling his brother during halftime of Monday Night Football games and asking, "So, do you want to trade places?"

28. New York Jets (2-8): Since they had a bye this past weekend, the Jets have gone without losing a game for two straight weeks! Up next will be a road game against Buffalo. It'll be interesting to see if Michael Vick, Percy Harvin, and the new-look New York Jets offense can do to Buffalo's stout defense what they did against the mediocre Steelers defense.

29. Tennessee Titans (2-8): To their credit, the Titans played the Steelers tough at home on Monday night, but at the end of the day, they'll still just see it as another loss. Expect another one as they go into Philadelphia to take on an angry Eagles team this coming weekend.

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8): First-year head coach Lovie Smith has to be quite flummoxed at the moment, as he thinks to himself, "Okay, so we won on Sunday to improve to 2-8, which is awful. At this point, we'd have a top five draft pick. Yet, we're still only two games back of the division lead? Wait, that can't be right, can it?" Indeed, it can...

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9): During this time of the year, most Jags fans, coaches, and players are simply saying, "We're thankful for the Oakland Raiders."

32. Oakland Raiders (0-10): Once again, Oakland played a pretty hard fought game on Sunday, when they fell to San Diego by a touchdown. At 0-10, though, they have to be thinking, "Will we ever win a game?" The chances aren't good this week when they take on the hot Kansas City Chiefs at home on Thursday night.

Info on my Facebook business, Twitter, and Tumblr pages

Here's the URL to my Facebook business page. I update it fairly regularly, but still haven't put forth a great deal of effort yet in researching matters and attempting to make the most out of it. In any case, it can be perused here:


Up next is my Twitter page. I'm still not 100% certain what I'm doing on there yet, but feel I'm gradually getting the hang of it and am up to 13.7 K followers. I update it daily with many of my own tweets, but also by retweeting some others'. It can be found here:


Lastly, here's my Tumblr page, which I've neglected quite a bit recently, but if you're at all curious, you can find it at the following link:


Weekly update of my book information

For new readers (and regular ones, I suppose), here's some information pertaining to my books.

All twelve of my books can be purchased in paperback form at the following site (and others):


The ten books I've written and released in the past 3 years (yes, I've been on a roll) can be purchased for much cheaper in Kindle form at the following link:


Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 12 NFL Predictions

Game: Kansas City at Oakland

Pick: Kansas City - Oakland's 0-10. That's all. I'll take the hot Kansas Chiefs by 10.

Result: Oakland 24 Kansas City 20

Record: 0-1

Game: Cleveland at Atlanta

Pick: Atlanta - Sadly, even at 4-6, Atlanta is fighting for an NFC South title. Cleveland, at 6-4, is a very difficult team to figure out. They've beaten 6-4 Pittsburgh 31-10. They've lost to 1-win Jacksonville. They got dominated by 5-5 Houston this past weekend. Like every AFC North team, they can't seem to make up their minds on who they are and how good they are. They will be getting wideout Josh Gordon this week, which should help down the stretch. In his first game back, however, there will likely be some rust between he and quarterback Brian Hoyer. Atlanta, meanwhile, has won two straight road games and Matt Ryan and company have always played much better at home than on the road. I'd call this game a toss-up, but will give the home team Falcons a slight edge. I'll take Atlanta by 3.

Result: Cleveland 26 Atlanta 24

Record: 0-2

Game: Tennessee at Philadelphia

Pick: Philadelphia - Philly seems to beat up on all the poor and mediocre teams, but have yet to rise above that and be considered an elite football team. Their three losses this year were all road games, against the likes of San Francisco, Arizona, and Green Bay (combined record of 22-8). With the game at home against the sub-par Tennessee Titans, expect those trends to continue and for Philly to win by at least two touchdowns.

Result: Philadelphia 43 Tennessee 24

Record: 1-2

Game: Detroit at New England

Pick: New England - Detroit's defense should keep things close for 2.5-3 quarters. However, I have a hard time not seeing the red-hot Patriots offense pulling away late in the 3rd, early in the 4th quarter. Tom Brady is basically unbeatable at home, especially in November and December. Matthew Stafford, meanwhile, is 0-15 on the road against teams with winning records. Make that 0-16. I'll take New England by 10.

Result: New England 34 Detroit 9

Record: 2-2

Game: Green Bay at Minnesota

Pick: Green Bay - I'll make one bet right now. Green Bay will not score 50+ points for the third straight game. They should win, though. Aaron Rodgers is as hot as anyone in the league right now and should play well yet again. I'll go with the Packers by 10.

Result: Green Bay 24 Minnesota 21

Record: 3-2

Game: Jacksonville at Indianapolis

Pick: Indianapolis - Indy will be playing angry after getting handled at home against New England on Sunday night. Since Andrew Luck became the starting quarterback for the Colts, back-to-back losses is about as rare as winning the lottery. That should again be the case when the Colts square off against the one-win Jaguars. I'll take Indy at home by 17.

Result: Indianapolis 23 Jacksonville 3

Record: 4-2

Game: Cincinnati at Houston

Pick: Cincinnati - Which Bengals team will show up this week? The one that got embarrassed by Cleveland two Thursday nights ago or the one that dominated New Orleans on the road this past Sunday? Who knows? So long as Andy Dalton doesn't turn the ball over much, however, I think Cincinnati should be able to score enough points to come out with the victory. I'll take Cincy by 4.

Result: Cincinnati 22 Houston 13

Record: 5-2

Game: Tampa Bay at Chicago 

Pick: Chicago - I honestly don't want to pick either team. However, in seeing that they can finally win again, with the game being at home, and their talented group of skill position players going up against one of the worst secondaries in all of football, I'll give the Bears another chance. I'll take Chicago by a touchdown.

Result: Chicago 21 Tampa Bay 13

Record: 6-2

Game: Arizona at Seattle

Pick: Seattle - Arizona is 9-1 and, no matter how ugly they may play on offense at times, they always seem to find a way to win the game. However, at 6-4, Seattle needs to start winning some games, especially those at home. Given their great home record these past couple of years, the wild crowd, and a sense of desperation for the team to stay in the NFC West race, I'm going to take Seattle by a field goal.

Result: Seattle 19 Arizona 3

Record: 7-2

Game: St. Louis at San Diego

Pick: St. Louis - Over the past few weeks, it's appeared as if these teams' records should be reversed. San Diego, at 6-4, just snapped a 3-game losing streak when they beat 0-10 Oakland by a touchdown. St. Louis, meanwhile, at 4-6, beat Denver 22-7. Three of St. Louis' wins have come against teams that made conference championship games a year ago, two teams that made the Super Bowl (Seattle, Denver, and San Francisco). They've also played tight contests against Dallas and Philadelphia. For as much as San Diego has struggled of late and Philip Rivers' health in question, I'm going to take the Rams in the upset. I'm going with St. Louis by a field goal.

Result: San Diego 27 St. Louis 24

Record: 7-3

Game: Miami at Denver

Pick: Denver - For as awful as they played on Sunday against St. Louis on the road, I have a very difficult time seeing Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos stinking it up yet again, especially at home. I'll go with Denver by 10.

Result: Denver 39 Miami 36

Record: 8-3

Game: Washington at San Francisco

Pick: San Francisco - Both teams seem to lack focus right now. However, even so, I'm going to give the edge to the 6-4 San Francisco 49ers. So long as their offense doesn't play sloppy, they should be able to improve to 7-4 with a 10-point win at home.

Result: San Francisco 17 Washington 13

Record: 9-3

Game: Dallas at NY Giants

Pick: Dallas - It's pretty amazing that, even though Eli Manning threw 5 interceptions on Sunday against San Francisco, the Giants still had a chance to win the game, in their 16-10 loss to the 49ers. The Giants just can't seem to get a solid performance in all three phases of the game, and going up against the well-rested Dallas Cowboys, I don't think that will start in this game. I'll take Dallas by a touchdown.

Result: Dallas 31 NY Giants 28

Record: 10-3

Game: NY Jets at Buffalo

Pick: NY Jets - I've changed my pick in this one. Initially, I went with Buffalo, because they were playing at home and I like how their passing game matched up with the Jets' secondary. However, in light of the crazy amount of snowfall in Buffalo, the fact the Bills haven't been able to practice due to it, and the game will be played in Pittsburgh, Detroit, or Washington, D.C., I'm going to give the edge to the well-rested Jets. I'll take New York by 3.

Result: Buffalo 38 NY Jets 3

Record: 10-4

Game: Baltimore at New Orleans

Pick: New Orleans - Remember when it seemed New Orleans couldn't win on the road and couldn't lose at home? Over their past three games, they're 1-0 on the road and 0-2 at home. Well, lucky for them, the Saints have appeared to be almost unbeatable at home on primetime national television. Also, with Baltimore's secondary being as beat up as it is, look for the Saints offense to score much more than they did in their 27-10 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday. I'll go with the Saints by 4.

Result: Baltimore 34 New Orleans 27

Record: 10-5

Week 12 Record: 10-5 (.667)

Overall Record: 108-67-1 (.617)

What I learned in Week 11 of the NFL season...

In Week 11 of the NFL season, I learned that...

- ...if Peyton Manning ever plays a sub-par game, most analysts feel Armageddon may soon be upon us.

- ..., as everyone expected in the pre-season, Tampa Bay would be 2-8 and still in playoff contention at this point in the season.

- ...Oakland upper management is likely inquiring commissioner Roger Goodell if they can be rewarded with the first five picks in the draft if they finish the year 0-16.

- ...if I played quarterback for Arizona, we'd probably still find ways to win, in spite of my poor play.

- ...I would never order a Roethlisberger or a Mettenberger if I saw them on a menu.

- ...Dennis Green would never say, "They are who we thought they were!" when referring to any team in the AFC North.

- ...Aaron Rodgers may start playing blindfolded to give himself a bit of a challenge. Even with the blindfold on, however, he'll still complete 60% of his passes and have a 2 : 1 touchdown to interception ratio.

- ..., after falling to the Arizona Cardinals 14-6 on Sunday, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is now 0-15 against teams with above .500 records on the road. Given my luck, that streak will continue until I bet against him.

- ..., after losing to the then 1-win Tampa Bay Buccaneers by 20 points, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder mumbled to himself, "You see? Our nickname isn't the most offensive thing about this team! Just look at how we play!"

- ...every NFL team is going to start investing more in cloning research and then try to clone as many J.J. Watts as possible.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Religion - making smart people sound crazy since the dawn of time

While I don't follow any religion, the concept of it has always fascinated me. It's always amazed me how so many have such strong faith in the unknowable. It's almost inspiring in a way. However, at the same time, my mind just doesn't function like that, so I can't be certain about the unknowable one way or the other, which is why, if I had to, I'd label myself as a humanist or agnostic. 

Also, while I personally have nothing against religion, so long as people don't harm themselves or others in the name of it, I find it interesting yet humorous to hear extremely bright people fervently believe in the unproven stories religions present. When juxtaposing their typically astute and factually accurate commentary with that of their religious beliefs, it makes them come across as a tad off kilter, so to speak... It reminds me of the following dialogue I'm about to pull out of my rear (figuratively speaking, of course):

George Curious (son): "Dad, what's quantum physics?"

Professor Benjamin Curious (father): "Son, quantum physics 'is the study of the behavior of matter and energy at the molecular, atomic, nuclear, and even smaller microscopic levels. In the early 20th century, it was discovered that the laws that govern macroscopic objects do not function the same in such small realms.'"

George Curious: "Huh, that's interesting..."

Prof. Benjamin Curious: "Indeed it is. But do you want to know what's even more interesting? The story of Jesus. You remember that 'birds and the bees' talk your mother and I had with you that one time? Well, Jesus' mother, Mary, never did that, and she got pregnant with him. He then lived a perfect life, hung on the cross as a sacrifice for our mistakes, so that we can live with him in heaven after we die, and then, speaking of death, after he died, he rose from the dead three days later!"

Yes, interesting indeed... 


Kirk Cameron is saving Saturnalia, I mean, Christmas, or something...

Former Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron may have officially lost it. Whether he had "it" to begin with is highly questionable. The former actor and atheist found religion (Jesus) when he was 17 and has been a fundamentalist ever since. His latest venture to spread the word of the Bible as he sees it is through his limited-release film Saving Christmas.

He recently made the following comments about the film to the Christian Post:

- "I'm making 'Saving Christmas' because I love Christmas, I love everything about it. I'm a sucker for all of it, and of course the nativity, and there's a lot of people who really want to put a big wet blanket on the celebration."

- "It starts this time of year. You have people who want to pull down nativity scenes, you have lawsuits showing up in schools that can't have Christmas performances. It has to be winter break or holiday break or sparkle season ... they want to take that out of Christmas so they don't offend people who hate Christmas. And then we have a new group who are telling us, convincingly, that Christmas is actually a celebration of paganism."

- "We don't know this stuff, we kinda drink the Kool-Aid and believe pagans when they tell us they have ownership of these things."

- "I want people to walk out of the theater, and first of all, have heard the Gospel, the Good News that God came to remove our sins, died, was buried and overcame the grave. I hope people will walk out of here and throw both arms around their Christmas tree, and both arms around their gifts and their children and the feasting and say, 'Christmas is about Christ. We want to dive headfirst in telling the whole world this story of God and his kingdom and how they have been invited to join it."

- He also believes Jesus was born on December 25th.

Yeah, speaking of drinking the Kool-Aid... Most scholars believe that Jesus was born in either the spring or the fall. The Bible never specifies on the matter, unless Cameron wrote an updated version himself.

Also, I hate to break it to Crazy Cameron, but Christmas was derived from a Pagan celebration. Even Pope Gregory I wrote this to his missionary in England:

"[Don't block traditional pagan festivals, but instead] adapt them to the rites of the Church, only changing the reason of them from a heathen to a Christian impulse."

Not only that, but uber-conservative Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver told the Christian Post the following in 2011:

"A lot of things we do today have pagan and pre-Christian roots," and added, that it's "important to know your roots."

Outside of the "Kool-Aid" line, I think I found Mr. Cameron's final quote to be the most humorous. He tells people to throw both arms around their Christmas trees, yet the "Christmas tree" was first started by Roman pagans on the holiday of Saturnalia. Then Cameron says for people to throw both arms around their gifts, even though some view this as contradictory to Christians' belief that the goal of the holiday is to celebrate Jesus' birth - yes, even though most scholars don't believe he was born on that actual day.

According to Cameron, and many other like-minded individuals, it appears as if they feel the Bible explicitly states Jesus was born on December 25th, that he would actively speak out against the LGBT community, and would love the thought of his birthday celebration revolving around excessive spending in the name of capitalism, even though it doesn't say any of this. As usual, it appears as if Kirk Cameron simply interprets the Bible to coincide with his own beliefs. Who's drinking the Kool-Aid again?



The foreshadowing of "Idiocracy": Part Deux

I earlier wrote about how, based on the public's rather moderate to liberal standing on many specific issues, it made absolutely no sense to vote for these issues alongside ultra-conservative candidates on election day. I then wondered aloud if the Mike Judge film "Idiocracy" was actually coming to fruition. Well, based on some other recent polls, that off-the-wall theory of mine appears to be garnering even more traction.

Just prior to the election, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed that, next to the economy, the most important issue for voters was ending the partisan gridlock in Washington.

So, let's think about that for just a second here. Congressional Republicans have often times been referred to as the party of no under President Obama. Let's not forget what they said when he initially got elected - they wanted to make him a one-term president. But, let's look at the specific issues...

Healthcare reform? No.

Immigration reform? No.

Equal pay for equal work? No.

Closing loopholes on gun control laws? No.

Closing loopholes on tax breaks for the wealthy? No.

Anything pertaining to gays' rights? No.

Anything that might make President Obama look like a good leader? No.

So, to sum up, the #1 reason for this gridlock has been the Congressional Republicans.

A new Pew Research Center poll backs this notion.

When Democrats were asked if they'd rather their representatives work with Republicans to get things done in Washington or to stand up to them, which would limit any kind of production, 52% said they'd rather Democrats work with Republicans and 43% said they'd rather their party stand up to the GOP (net +9%). On the flip-side, when Republicans were asked this very question, just 32% said they want to see their party work with Democrats, while 66% said they'd rather the GOP stand up to the Democrats (net -34%).

So let me get this straight... The second most important issue to voters was the partisan gridlock in Washington, yet they decided to make the gridlock even worse by voting in more Republicans. Is that right? What, did such voters engage in the following discussion?

Charles Blockhead: "I'm so sick and tired of the gridlock in Washington! Do what we voted you in to do, work together, and get something done!"

Martina Likeyah: "I know! Isn't it frustrating? So, what do you think we should do? Who should we vote for?"

Charles: "I'm going straight-ticket Republican! With Democrats in control of the Senate, this will be just the change we need to get more done in Washington!"

Martina: "But, aren't the Republicans in Congress the main reason for the gridlock? Haven't they been blocking any and everything the president has tried to put forth, even if most Americans agree with him on the matter?"

Charles: "So what? Democrats have been in charge of the Senate. They can't get anything done, so even if Republicans are the reason for the gridlock, if they have control of both the House and the Senate, as opposed to just the House, that will end the gridlock!"

Martina: "How?"

Charles: "I don't know. All I know is you can't spell g-r-i-d-l-o-c-k without 'Democrat.'"

Martina: "Wait, what?"

Charles: "Come on, Martina! Stop the Republican gridlock and vote in more Republicans to end the gridlock! It's as simple as that."

Martina: "I don't know why, but I think you may be on to something! Let's end the Republican gridlock by voting in more Republicans!"

Charles: "That's what I like to hear! Now you're catching on!"



Voters did NOT give the GOP a mandate

Congressional Republicans can say all they want that the voters gave them a mandate. The fact of the matter is, though, that's simply not true.

It'd be one thing if the public approved of Congressional Republicans over President Obama and 50-60%+ of voters actually voted (even that number is sad). However, when just 37% of voters voted, and of those voters, President Obama held a 44% approval rating while Congress held an approval rating of just 16%, I'm sorry, but voters didn't give the GOP a mandate.

The public was largely angry and/or indifferent, so those that were angry tended to vote for the party that wasn't in control, so some semblance of change could occur (or the illusion of it), and since Democrats held the majority in the Senate, voters decided it was time to give the Republicans a turn at the Senate wheel.

Delving deeper into the numbers, even if I generously give Republicans 60% of the overall vote on election day, that's 60% of the 37% of people whom actually voted, which would be representative of just 22% of eligible voters. In other words, Congressional Republicans are saying since roughly 20% of eligible voters voted to place them in charge of both chambers of Congress, this gives them a mandate over these next 2+ years. How ridiculous does that sound?

The GOP: "What? About 1 in 5 people voted for us? Well, then, I think those numbers speak for themselves. People obviously love us and are giving us full permission to do everything we want to do!"

Well, I suppose representing 20% of people is about 19% more than the GOP typically represents, so I suppose that's, eh, something...