Posted Friday, June 15, 2012 01:27 PM
Every year, those of us who live in Pittsburgh get a visit from the national Furry convention. http://www.anthrocon.org/ I had literally never heard of these people until a guy dressed as an otter plopped himself down next to me at a bar one day 6-7 years ago. To his credit, the guy I was with asked him, without flinching, whether he was a :fresh-water' or "salt-water" otter. He hadn't seemed to have consider the issue before.
I saw several poeple yesterday wearing tails aroudn town. It always makes me smile, as it's good to know that I'm better-adjusted than somebody in this world. [true story: the first year they were here, they stayed at the Westin, and I used to smoke with some of the cleaning staff who worked there. They basically all walked-out on Saturday morning, after finding room after room with used litter boxes in them - mind you, these had been "used" by humans. ]
I may be boring, but I think I'm fairly open-minded. I understand (sort of) how someone might wind up invovled in things like cross-dressing, sado-masachism, quilting, barn dancing, bird watching, and the like. This one, however, leaves me utterly bewildered. How is it that 1,000 pasty, white Canadians (and they do appear to be disproportionally Canadian - no idea why) feel the urge to dress up like wolves, beavers and chipmunks in Pittsburgh for a few days every year. Most look like they'... [More]
Posted Thursday, May 10, 2012 10:13 AM
They generally have no idea how to set these lines, and I generally do pretty well on them.
Duke -2.5 vs. Syracuse - please; Duke wins this by 5-6. Worst Orange team in decades. Would lean under the 20.5.
Colgate +3.5 at UMass - Colgate can score with anyone. Haven't seen UMass. 24.5 is a big number, but I'd lean over that. Winner should get 14+.
Canisius +9.5 at Loyola - Griffs played one team near this level (Cornell), and lost by 15. Also lost by 12 at Siena. Still, top-seeded Greyhounds don't score that much, so damn near anything out of the visitors should get the cover. Not a game I love. Lean under 19.5.
UNC - 1.5 vs. Denver - two teams who are a little hard to figure, but UNC has been better of late and Denver hasn't been so great away from home. Better play here is probably over the 22.5, as nobody is going to look to slow this down, and DU doesn't play much defense.
Posted Friday, March 09, 2012 03:07 PM
The ACC Tourney (which was either the first of its kind, or the first with any staying power; I can’t recall) was born of a different age. There was one bid up for grabs, and 3-4 of the top teams in the country would collide over a three-day period to see how effectively the officials could steer the title to appropriate school from North Carolina. This was generally done in some smoke- and hillbilly-filled dump, and it was all good. The ACC had the added benefit of the regional drivability factor (or “RDF”). Although the tournament tended to be located in the Triangle, more or less, fans of teams that were not permitted to win were also within fairly easy driving distance; and, when a Maryland, South Carolina or Virginia was in the mix, there was real demand for their ticket allocations – generally behind pillars, or in the concession areas, when they were located within the building at all. It was all good. Also, before the Heels had 21,000 seats, and TV broadcast all of the games, the Tournament gave toothless rubes from Wilmington to Asheville a chance to come see UNC in person. It remained all good. Then it all went sideways.
After the NCAA’s expanded, every team not named Clemson or Wake Forest (Wake being a team that was permitted to win every fourth season, which sometimes caused confusion among the offici... [More]
Posted Thursday, March 08, 2012 03:25 PM
The ACC Tourney (which was either the first of its kind, or the first with any staying power; I can't recall) was born of a different age. There was one bid up for grabs, and 3-4 of the top teams in the country would collide over a three-day period to see how effectively the officials could steer the title to appropriate school from North Carolina. This was generally done in some smoke- and hillbilly-filled dump, and it was all good. The ACC had the added benefit of the regional drivability factor (or "RDF"). Although the tournament tended to be located in the Triangle, more or less, fans of teams that were not permitted to win were also within fairly easy driving distance; and, when a Maryland, South Carolina or Virginia was in the mix, there was real demand for their ticket allocations - generally behind pillars, or in the concession areas, when they were located within the building at all. It was all good. Also, before the Heels had 21,000 seats, and TV broadcast all of the games, the Tournament gave toothless rubes from Wilmington to Asheville a chance to come see UNC in person. It remained all good. Then it all went sideways.
After the NCAA's expanded, every team not named Clemson or Wake Forest (Wake being a team that was permitted to win every f... [More]
Posted Tuesday, March 08, 2011 11:52 AM
Isn't college basketball fun when teams are actually playing for something? I had to laugh this weekend when announcers were trying to give us reasons to care about games that essentially meant nothing: "Bragging rights;" "A first-round bye in the conference tournament;" "Making a statement to the Committee" ".49 tacos at Taco Bell;" whatever. You CFB playoff types, take note. The Big East just completed it's three-month exhibition season. And here comes it's month-long tournament.
How long has it been that every posession ends in a foul? Has the athleticism just reached a point where there's just contact on every play - at least every drive? I wonder if they need to take a look at having more no-calls where the only thing the defender did was play basketball. Getting rid of the Fake Duke Charge would be a nice step in the right direction too. You never see kids from Iona, Utah State or UAB trying to draw fake charges.
They sure picked a great year to expand the Tournament. I think Toledo is still on a few "last four out" lists. I mean, seriously, are there really people who aren't alums of these schools who want to see Michigan State, Illinois, BC, and OK State in the Tourney? Really. I know the Valley was way down this year, but give me a 23-7 mid-major conference champ over a 17-13 major conference chump any ... [More]
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2011 04:13 PM
If so, can someone explain to me why SJU spent millions to turn it's old high school gym into a new high school gym with a nicer scoreboard? Why not just move the major games to the Palestra? I would ask the same two questions of LaSalle fans, except there aren't any.
Temple likes to play in the Hood. I get that. Nova fans are a bunch of collars-up queers who are better off out in that crypt of theirs on the Main Line anyway. But LaSalle and St. Joe's have no excuse.
It's worth your life to try and get to LaSalle (don't get lost ), and Gola Arena might be the most ridiculous gym that any team in a conference anyone has ever heard of plays in. [true story: my first time in the place, which was then called Hayman Hall, I peed right next to a first-team all-american (Michael Brooks) because the men's room was also LaSalle's locker room]. My high school gym seat about 700 fewer than the Hawks new (old) gym; and, the last time I checked, my high school was not in the A-10 (lots of whte guys; we wouldn't stand a chance ).
Anyway, thet Palestra is the best place on Earth to watch a college basetball game. Is there some reason why we can't get a few more teams to play games in there? There's only so much Penn/Yale you can take.
End of rant.
Posted Friday, September 17, 2010 01:35 PM
14-6 main picks
10-3 in Goofy Games
Boy, off of this nice start, I wish I felt better about this card. All sorts of game where I just don't understand the lines and/or the movement thereof. Even the lines for the Goofy Games seem about right. Anyway, let's see what we can make of this mess:
California -2.5 at Nevada - I think I've seen this movie before. There's a scene in one of the Indiana Jones films (I think) where a guy does all sorts of martial arts crap and generally looks menacing, and then Indy just shoots him. That's sort of how Nevada works. They have this really fun offense with all sorts of misdirection and weird formations, and it all works just great until the run into somebody with size and speed. Air Wolf meet California. 41-23.
Houston -3 at UCLA - There might be five defenses in the country that would shut down this offense , and the Bruins don't own one of them. Cougs actually play a little defense these days, and a little is generally all you need against what's left of this program.
Mississippi State +7.5 at Louisiana State - Halley's Comet shows up more often than Tiger home conference covers. Dogs get a couple of extra days to prepare for the Tiger's one-two punch of terrible quarterbacking and confusion in the defensive secondary . Bulldogs get this outright.
Florida State -10 vs. Brigham Young - A better BYU team fac... [More]
Posted Friday, September 10, 2010 12:36 PM
7-3 on the main picks thread.
2-2 on totals.
7-4 on the Goofy Games, including a nice call on Jacksonville State.
Frankly, I don't like this card much. I had a bad Week Two last year, so maybe it's not in the cards. Anyway, I like:
Mississippi -20 at Tulane - Ole Miss actually looked pretty good for much of the Jax State game, and that loss isn't as bad as it seems. I think the Cocks (light) will be pretty formidable this year. Gotta love that freshman QB. Tulane is a train-wreck, as the impact of Katrina is really being felt now. They might have 20 legit D-1 players, and they catch the Rebs at a bad time. Rebs fans, always in the mood for a party, might well outnumber the alleged Wave fans. This has disaster written all over it. 45-10.
Houston -20 vs. Texas-El Paso - I'm not sure the Cougs are going to punt in convference until November. 51-20.
Southern California -19.5 vs. Virginia - Hoos looked "good" against Richmond, but the Spiders aren't nearly as good as they've been in the recent past. UVa's offense doesn't do the sorts of things the Rainbows do, so I don't think Virginia gets north of about 13 against a Trojan defense that will be looking to make a statement in front of the beautiful people in the Coliseum. 41-10.
Eastern Michigan +17 (hook) at Miami University - Florida looked so bad last week, I kept waiting... [More]
Posted Thursday, September 09, 2010 10:15 AM
First, let me start with some musings on Week One:
Can we all agree that the ridiculous Lucy Van Pelt Rule has to go. This Rule, for those of you unaware, is the one that allows a coach to call time from the sideline approximately on millisecond before the kicker attempts a field goal. It was named for Linus Van Pelt's older sister, who did pretty much the same thing for years. Ridiculous and . Any coach who pulls this crap goes down about 10 notches in my book. Just because you're allowed to do something, doesn't mean you should. In my world, this would be flagged for unsportmanlike conduct, but notions of "sportsmanship" have long since disappeared from American playing fields.
Either of the two college games played Monday will be better than ANY professional game played this year.
A tip of the cap to UNC's T. J. Yates, who was my early pick for the Xavier Lee Award this season. He looked great on Saturday, and, I think he leads the nation in passing. Not bad for a kid who has spent the better part of his career looking like a deer in the headlights.
A note to certain of my Covers Bretheren: Teams that play in 1-AA (FCS) are 1) not "Division 2 teams," and 2) and, more importantly, they are not all the same team. I will confess that even I sometimes have trouble remembering whether Sam Houston State or Steven F. Austin is "the good one" (it's the ... [More]
Posted Thursday, August 26, 2010 09:43 AM
How about a few picks:
Northwestern -4 at Vanderbilt - About a month ago in Nashville, Bobby Johnson walked into practice and said “This is my goddamn football team!? Really, these guys? Are you aware we play in the f-ing SEC?! Is that an Asian kid a tight-end? I’m outta here!” He was a wise man. The Mildcats are pretty decent. I liked what a saw from the new QB when he got time last year. Vandy should spend most of the day punting. NU will spend most of it converting 3rd-and-2’s. Should be quick and dull. 23-9, Cats.
BYU -3 vs. Washington - I like Washington, and heart Jake Locker. That said, I’m not sure I’m ready to buy into the Pups wandering into the bastion of polygamy and walking out with a “w.” Should be close and entertaining. 34-24 Cougs.
East Carolina +8 vs. Tulsa - ECU lost everybody. I think even the Pirate left town. Still, Tulsa didn’t beat anyone with a pulse last year, and I’m going to cross my fingers and hope there’s enough talent in the pipeline to keep this ugly a... [More]
Posted Wednesday, August 25, 2010 06:00 PM
And so it begins, the most wonderful time of the year. Known coast-to-coast as college football season, except in and around Ann Arbor, Michigan, where it is now simply known as “Fall.”
So what can we look for this college football season?
First, congratulations are in order for Cal QB Kevin Riley, who joins Dan LeFevour and Carlos Huerta, as the only Division 1 players to appear for their teams in there different decades. Way to go Kevin! Cal has pretty much everyone back, a solid replacement for the offensive stud they lost, and a great schedule. They will, of course, still find a way to lose four games and wind up in a crappy bowl.
Three thousand miles away, Clemson returns veteran illiterates at nearly every position, including coach. Of course, Tiger High will still find a way to lose four games and wind up in a somewhat less crappy bowl. They will do so, however, with way hotter cheerleaders.
This is also the first year of Vir... [More]
Posted Friday, December 11, 2009 10:05 AM
As someone who voted for the Heisman for years, I can assure you that most people who vote for the Heisman are idiots who see very little college football outside of whichever team they cover. There are exceptions, but not many.
Frist up, Toby: There's also no real "west coast block" of votes, and god knows nobody who went to Stanford is covering college football games. So, toss out the entierly deserving Gerhart, who only about 40% have even seen play.
You can toss out Suh, too, though he or Gerhart would be my pick. He plays defense, so he's done before he starts. (I voted for Hugh Green, by the way). Impossible to remember, foreign-sounding, first name doesn't help either.
Tebow? Well, most voters will have heard of him, but two-time winners are not allowed (the "Archie Griffin Sucked in the Pros" rule), and lots of people don't like him (not sure why) or the Gators (no mystery there). Not happening. So, the three guys I would have voted 1-2-3, will finish 3-4-5.
Who wins? Well, Ingram is a good back who gets to run behind a line that I would gain 1,200 yards with. He's on the #1 team, which is definately a plus for the small-minded voters, which, again, is most of them. Still, 20% of the voters don't know who he is, and 15% more know Bama has a really good back, but can't remember his name. Lack of jaw-dropping overall numbers or true s... [More]
Posted Thursday, November 05, 2009 02:09 PM
November 5 actually is the Feast of St. Dominator. I'm not making that up. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2921 Now, you would think with a name like St. Dominator, he'd be a pretty famous saint. St. Boneventure got a whole A-10 school named for him. St. Dominator didn't get squat. Life is fickle.
This year has been fickle too. Lots of unlikely late covers, and lots of public plays hitting.
5-5 last week brings it to 43-37-2 for the year. I'm probably lucky to be there. This year has been a slog. Slogging along:
Northwestern +16.5 at Iowa - should be an emotional day in Iowa City, as the Hawks retire the numbers of the officiating crew who worked last week's Indiana game.
Southern California -10 at Arizona State - Oregon exposed some of the weaknesses in the Trojan defense; Devils' "offense" should do a nice job of covering them up again.
Houston +1.5 at Tulsa - hats of to the Hurricane for becoming the first team ever to lose to UTEP and SMU in successive weeks; the latter came with some guy the Ponies found in a Chemistry lab playing QB, and throwing for damn near 350; ridiculous reverse line movement public plays usually spell death; this year they spell cash.
Duke +10 at North Carolina - nutty line of the week; I'm not even sure Duke isn't the better team; lord knows it has the better QB; Devils play these guys tough even when they... [More]
Posted Thursday, October 15, 2009 02:04 PM
Week 6 thoughts:
I turned down Stadium Club seats in Baton Rouge, and was actually at a Southern Culture on the Skids concert during most of the Gator game. That's how much faith I had in my Tigers. I believe the LSU game actually ended while there were still 8 minutes left IN THE THIRD QUARTER in Tallahassee. The games started at the same time.
Rice might not be the best football team at Rice.
If you didn't see it, Vandy tied the game at Army with a few seconds to go on a FG that ricocheted off the upright; Army won the game in OT on a FG that not only ricocheted off the same upright, but hit nearly the same spot.
Illinois offensive line blocks like they've never heard of the concept. Perhaps they just hate both their QB's.
Is there a more bewildering team year in and year out than Maryland? They could probably beat Florida, but might lose to FAMU the next week.
If you look at the Wisconsin/Ohio State stats, it is surprising that that the Badgers didn't win, and t's incomprehensible that they also managed not to cover.
If I were a good looking QB at Ole Miss, I wouldn't pay an attention to football either.
7-4 last week, brings it to 29-25-1 for the year. Here we go:
Southern Methodist +8 vs. Navy - USNA grads have to complete 5-years in the armed services, while SMU grads typically have to complete 6-months of substance-... [More]
Posted Wednesday, September 30, 2009 10:10 AM
A year ago, I was, to quote Mr. Happy Kane, a "five star general" around these parts. Of course, those stars were all red. This year, not so much, as the inexorable march toward five-black ignominy continues.
The hail mary touchdown in the AFA/SDSU game almost made me consider gambling and drinking less. I fought those urges, though, and return for more back-door pain.
Anyway, 3-6 last week brings it to 14-17-1 on this crappy year.
Arkansas +1 vs. Texas A&M - handicapping is relatively easy when all you have to do is pick the better team getting points.
Ohio +3 (hook) at Bowling Green - see above, although this one is one the road, or as "on the road" as it gets playing in that pasture BGSU calls home.
Florida Atlantic -3 vs. Wyoming - Cowboys are worse on the road than Robert E. Lee; nice 7,000 foot drop to sea level won't help; who in the hell scheduled this game?
Washington +14 (hook) at Notre Dame - Irish are missing more weapons than the Republican Guard; I heart Jake Locker.
Northwestern +7.5 at Purdue - so you go from a prime-time, nationally televised heartbreaker in a packed stadium against your most hated rival to a noon kick against the Mildcats in front of 25,000 empty seats; let's just say I'm not sure the Boilers come out firing all the pistons.
California +5 vs. Southern California - Trojans will have the sam... [More]
Posted Monday, September 21, 2009 03:01 PM
6-3-1 brings it to a stellar 11-11-1 for the year. Hitting the Washington ML (small; I'm a wuss) got me back to down one unit overall on the season. Given how things have gone, though, I'll have to be happy with that.
I generally try and post ten plays, but that's really going to be a struggle this week. Lines looked sharp at open, and I can't say many plays have jumped out in the ensuing 18 hours. Maybe it will be a week to play a bunch of totals, as there are several games that seem to scream OVER, if we can get manageable numbers. Let's see if we can't crawl over .500:
New Mexico -9.5 vs. New Mexico State - it would take a court order to keep me from betting against the Aggies; and, yes, I know New Mexico is horrendous. Will look at the under here too.
Texas Tech +1.5 at Houston - boy, UH is sure getting a lot of credit for beating a profoundly disappointing OKST team; probably a split crowd game, and Tech is better at chucking it all over the place than Houston is.
Miami University of Ohio +9 at Kent - Kent can't be 10 points better than anyone.
Memphis -3 vs. Marshall - Memphis should be better than the Herd, and these CUSU middle-of-the-roaders typically take care of other CUSU middle-of-the-roaders at home.
Auburn -31 vs. Ball State - just looks like they're having fun down on the Plains this year; saw both teams on Saturday, and Ball doesn't seem likely either ... [More]
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 03:03 PM
While tossing back a couple before the start of the South Carolina/NC State game with The Mugg and JimmyMo in Seattle, I mentioned that I basically caught every break last year. Maybe I shouldn't have said that. I don't think I've had a single lucky cover, and a slew of bad beats. I've lost on line moves (Texas and SDSU in Week One). I've lost through the back door (too many to count, but Wisky week one, and UDub in week two come leaping to mind; then there's PSU and Texas ). I've lost in impossible ways (UVa scores two td's in a minute after not sniffing the end zone all day to wreck my under). Somehow, I've emerged from this mess down only $62.
Anyway, as Nietzsche said, that what does not kill us will only make us stronger. With that in mind, on to Week Three (all lines BM):
Texas -16.5 vs. Texas Tech - Tech is usually good fade material on the road; UT not exactly firing on all cylinders yet, but last year's loss in scenic Lubock should get their attention.
Virginia Polytech -4 (played at -3) vs. Nebraska - I had this at -8, and probably would have played it there too.
Mississippi State +8 at Vanderbilt - I'll bet Lindsay Lohan was just a little girl in kneepads the last time Vandy beat an SEC team by 9 points.
Army -8 (played at -7) vs. Testicle Tech - it would be impossible to have looked worse than Ball has looked thus far; ... [More]
Posted Monday, August 17, 2009 01:41 PM
I know this is what every college football fan waits for each year. Indeed, some say the season hasn't really started until the Tulane preview come out. Well, wait no longer.
I'm not sure I've ever seen a conferece that was as up in the air as CUSA seems to be (unless, of course, it's this year's MAC, or maybe his year's Big East ). I follow it fairly closely, as I've had some decent success here recently. If you go back and look at my posts from last year (no; I don't recommend that you do), you will see I was practially pleading with people on here to fade Tulane down the stretch, as they had like 10 healthy players left, none at the skill positions. Their game at Memphis was my second GOY, if I recall.
Anyway, they are an intersting story. They do get back three very skilled players from injury, including the best RB in the league and one of the league's best receivers. That's the good news. The bad news is that they lose something like 8 starters, and, thanks to post-Katrina recruiting (or lack thereof), there is virtually no talent depth in the program. As we saw last year, when TU loses front-line talent, they don't reload, they disintegrate. More than half of the team this year will be sophomores (eligibility-wise) or lower, and I don't think they've picked up a recruit rated higher than 2-stars in three years. I don't live and die by recruiting,"stars,"  ... [More]
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 07:42 PM
Predicting spreads pre-season is never easy, and I will admit to be surprised by several.
Illinois - 6.5
I don't see anything as preposterously easy as "Nevada -17 vs. Grambling" or "Houston -19 vs. Southern" was last year in Week One (5Dimes should simply have credited my account the instant I placed those wagers ) , but perhaps we'll get a goofy game or two like that yet. Mississippi State/Jackson, USM/Alcorn, Southern/UL-L, and MVSU/Arky State are possibilities, though none of them are guaranteed to score 38+ like Nevada and UH were last year. Anyway, on to the spreads that actually exist at the moment:
Baylor +1 at Wake - I think we'll look back at this on in October and laugh that the Bears were catching points here. (Like Ok. State only laying 7.5 at Wazzou last year ). Robert Griffin is basically "Tyrelle Pryor," except with better numbers and a worse press agent.
North Texas State +19.5 at Ball State - two teams that should be heading in decidedly different directions this year. Might take a glance at the ML.
Tulsa -14 at Tulane - was planning on taking the Wave in this one, but then the line came out a TD light, and I took another look at Tulane's returning team. No way the Wave slows down that video game offense in the Dome, and no way they score enough to keep up.
Eastern ... [More]
Posted Wednesday, July 08, 2009 11:31 AM
the Toronto Blue Jays? You live in a division with two payrolls which regularly exceed the gross domestic products of most sub-Saharan countries, the most useless franichise in recent MLB history decides to get good overwnight, and now even the Angelos- (mis)led Orioles appear to have enough young talent to make a serious run over the next few years. Unless MLB creates an American League - Canadian Division, where the hell does that leave the Jays for, oh, the next decade or so?