Thursday, December 30, 2010


There will be 6 games played on New Year's Day. We might as well call it Big Ten day as 5 Big Ten teams will be in action. Three of them will be playing SEC opponents.

12:00 PM - ESPNU
TicketCity Bowl - Dallas, TX
Northwestern Wildcats vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
This game will be played at the Cotton Bowl, and the Cotton Bowl will be played at Cowboys Stadium. Both these teams went 7-5, and can be happy to be in a New Year's Day bowl game. northwestern limped down the stretch, losing 5 of their last 7, including a 70-23 dismantling at the hands of Wisconsin. Meanwhile, TTU had a 3-5 stretch of their own. They crushed weak opponents, but struggled against the quality. Still, I'll take Texas Tech in this one.

1:00 PM - ABC
Outback Bowl - Tampa, FL
Florida Gators vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Two top-tier programs having off years. Florida was 4-4 in the SEC, but 0-3 against the SEC West. They lost to the only good team in the East (South Carolina), and their most impressive win was over South Florida. The Gators are close to home, but I think PSU wins this one.

1:00 PM - ESPN
Capital One Bowl - Orlando, FL
#16 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. #9 Michigan State Spartans
Bama lost 3 games, to 3 pretty good teams (Auburn, LSU, South Carolina). Michigan State only lost once. To Iowa. They beat eventual champ Wisconsin. However, they never had to face Ohio State. And even though the Big Ten was deep this year, MSU's schedule looks childish compared to Alabama's. I have to go with my heart, and pick the Tide.

1:30 PM - ESPN2
Progressive Gator Bowl - Jacksonville, FL
#21 Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Michigan Wolverines
How deep was the SEC West? 2 BCS berths, and 5 ranked teams. Not too shabby. The Bulldogs 4 losses came against the other 4 ranked teams in their division. They lost to Auburn by 3, and Arkansas needed 2 OTs to finish them off. In other words, they've had a good season. They can run the ball, and they have a solid defense. Michigan can also run the ball, and they can score. They put up 34.3 points per game, but also allowed 33.8 (102nd). My brain says Mississippi State. But my gut says Michigan. I'll pick Michigan.

5:00 PM - ESPN
Rose Bowl Game Presented By VIZIO - Pasadena, CA
#5 Wisconsin Badgers vs. #3 TCU Horned Frogs
Where's the love for TCU? Where are the protests? Where's the outrage? They went 12-0 in a conference that was better than the Big East, a conference that had four 8+ win teams. They're not as cartoonish as Boise State. They actually play football. These two teams tied for 4th in the country, averaging 43.3 points per game. But while Wisconsin was 20th in defense, allowing 20.5 per game, TCU gave up a paltry 11.4 points per game. This is going to be a hell of a game. And TCU will prevail.

8:30 PM - ESPN
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Glendale, AZ
UConn Huskies vs. #7 Oklahoma Sooners
Don't underestimate UConn. They won the Big East by beating West Virginia and Pitt and Syracuse. They did lose to some awful teams, and winning the Big East is only a few steps above winning C-USA these days. But they play close games. They win close games. Oklahoma is going to defeat UConn, but it won't be sheer domination, as everyone expects.

More picks on Monday. Happy New Year!


Tomorrow is New Year's Eve, which means alcohol and football galore. Here are my picks for tomorrow's games:

12:00 PM - ESPN
Meineke Car Care Bowl - Charlotte, NC
South Florida Bulls vs. Clemson Tigers
Clemson squeezed 6 wins out, although they did take Auburn to OT, if you remember. They also got fat off North Texas (who did nothing but help teams like Army attain bowl eligibility) and Presbyterian. Both USF and Clemson have good defenses. Both have awful offenses. Although USF lost to every decent team they played, they took care of the rest of their business. I'm picking the Bulls and the under at 40.5.

2:00 PM - CBS
Hyundai Sun Bowl - El Paso, TX
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Miami Hurricanes
If the USF/Clemson game bores you, you can watch this one and pretend it's 1989. Miami is the more balanced team, but they have their occasional moments of token silliness. I haven't had any respect for Notre Dame this season (or ever), so I'm picking the Canes.

3:30 PM - ESPN
AutoZone Liberty Bowl - Memphis, TN
Georgia Bulldogs vs. Central Florida Knights
UCF have some nice numbers on their side. 10 wins, 18.0 points allowed per game, 33.8 points scored per game, 192.5 rushing yards per game. But an 0-2 record against BCS teams, and a weak C-USA schedule raise some question marks. However, there are no question marks around Georgia. It's a well known fact that they suck. If not for their games against UL-Lafayette and Idaho State, they wouldn't be here. UCF should win this one.

7:30 PM - ESPN
Chick-fil-A Bowl - Atlanta, GA
#20 South Carolina Gamecocks vs. #23 Florida State Seminoles
This is the match of the day. Both teams won 9 games. Both teams played in their conference's title games. Both teams are within driving distance of Atlanta. Neither team floors you with their stats, but both find ways to win. The Cocks lost to Auburn twice, as well as Arkansas. FSU lost to Virginia Tech and Oklahoma. The Cocks also lost to Kentucky. The Noles also lost to UNC and NC State. I really can't wait to see this game. I'm going to pick Jenn Sterger. I mean Florida State.

More picks later today.


The NFL fined Brett Favre $50,000 for not cooperating with their investigation into accusations over misconduct and sexual harassment. Wait a minute. Since when is Roger Goodell a supporter of due process? Since when does he need proof in order to punish?

Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for being accused of rape. Even the most ardent Big Ben fans admitted that the Steelers' QB had been acting dumb, and putting himself into troublesome situations. But there's no rule against going to bars and hitting on girls. If there were, most of the NFL would be suspended.

I'm not defending Roethlisberger, but he was given a very stiff punishment even though he was never convicted of a crime, nor was he even officially indicted.

Yet Brett Favre decides not to cooperate (even though it's blatantly obvious that he's guilty), and he gets a $50,000 fine. He'll make $16 million in salary this year, so this fine is 0.3% of his income. If a normal working person making $50k a year were fined at this rate, it'd be $156.25, or the same penalty as a small speeding ticket. What would happen to any of us if we didn't cooperate with our employer's investigations into sexual misconduct? Would we get 0.3% of our salary docked?

If I'm James Harrison, or any other player fined for illegal hits this season, I'm going to find some young interns, buy a cell phone with a 10 megapixel camera, and go to town.

My favorite part of all this is Goodell publicizing the fact that he told Favre the punishment would be worse if they found he'd acted up. That's like a State Trooper telling a suspected drunk driver "Are you drunk? If you say yes, you'll be in lots of trouble."

Thankfully, in the public's eye at least, Favre's guilty. Innocent people don't cover their asses like this. Favre has been exposed (in more ways than one) as a dirty old man, as a spoiled baby, and on the field this season he's padded both of his turnover records.

One day, Favre will be enshrined in Canton, and that's sad. He's just an awful person, and the only thing I hate more than him are those few but loud Brett Favre supporters that still pester us with their inane love for this overrated player and utter manwhore.


The Bruins will be in Buffalo on New Year's Day. Tyler Seguin should have been there much sooner. The World Junior Championships are underway in Western New York, and the Bruins did not release 18 year old Seguin to play for Team Canada.

Why not? He'd miss 5-6 games. And he's not exactly a key component to the Bruins offense these days. He's in the midst of a 5 game pointless streak, and hasn't scored a goal since December 1st. He's scored twice in his last 25 games. I think the Bruins could survive a few weeks without his contributions.

More importantly, participation in the Juniors tournament could be beneficial to his development as a player. He'd be reminded that he's a great talent. He'd get a chance to play more minutes per game. He'd play alongside other guys at his developmental stage. He'd learn what it's like to play in intense, must-win, pressure-filled games. So when the playoffs come around, he'd already have some vital experience under his belt.

The more intense games, and varied experiences, the better.

And just look at some of the players who have gone through the Juniors tournament. Young up and coming talents like Tyler Myers, and PK Subban. Teammates Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Michael Ryder, Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille, Tuukka Rask, David Krejci, Andrew Ference, Mark Recchi, Blake Wheeler, and Mark Stuart. That's 11 Bruins that played in this competition.

Here's some of the frontline talent in the NHL that have played in the World Juniors: James van Riemsdyk, Jonathan Toews, Carey Price, Kris Letang, Brent Seabrook, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Derek Roy, Brooks Laich, Dany Healey, Mike Cammalleri, Zach Parise, Joe Thornton, Brad Boyes, and Nicklas Backstrom.

Then there are the superstars who have participated in this event. Evgeni Malkin, Steve Stamkos, the Sedin twins, Alex Ovechkin, and Sidney Crosby, who played in the tournament twice.

So everyone who's anyone has gone through this competition. It's like what the Cape Cod League is to baseball.

But I guess the Bruins feel as though having Seguin play 10 minutes a night as a winger, with barely any power-play time, against the Atlanta Thrashers, is a better way to foster his development.

I disagree.