Friday, August 30, 2013

College Football Preview

Well, here were are, another college football season is upon us.  What on earth could happen this year?  Will it be chalk again, or will some longshot emerge?  Will a favorite win the Heisman, or will someone step up and steal it, a la Manziel?  I polled 50 friends and came up with some interesting results.  I'll give you my thoughts on the poll results, along with some big games for the year, and a few bold predictions.  So without further ado, here is your college football season preview...


BRAXTON MILLER          23
AJ MCCARRON                  6
JOHNNY MANZIEL            4
AARON MURRAY              2
TAJH BOYD                        1
TJ YELDON                         1


Well, you can tell that me, and most of my friends live in Ohio.  Braxton Miller is the choice to win the Heisman according to this poll.  And, I hate to say it, but this is very possible.  The guy is shiftier than Shifty Shellshock himself.  He has an above average arm and he has a great offensive line.  When I think about Miller winning the Heisman, I think about how my buddy Nagel told me a few years ago that Miller didn't look good in the spring game and that he thought Braxton would be a bust.  Even the best scouts can't get them all correct, right Johnny?  Clowney has a chance just because of his hype.  All you hear is how the Heisman isn't fair because a defensive player can't win it.  Well, you know how the media works, if they have a chance to rally against something, they will.  If Clowney has a good year and carries the Cocks to a title, he'll win it.  McCarron and Yeldon have a chance if the Tide make it to the title game.  Are too many people sleeping on Manziel?  I mean he won last year, and has to be better, right?  Tyler Tettleton is probably the worst pick on here.  Aaron Schmitmeyer made that gem of a pick.  My pick is D'Anthony Thomas.  A receiver hasn't won since Desmond Howard in 1991, but this dude is about as fast and as quick as any player I have seen in a long time.  He'll get the ball a lot, and get it in space a lot.  If he rips off five to ten sensational plays and the Ducks make a run, he'll be on the top of the list at the end of the year.  I'm rolling with him and I think I have a good shot. 


ALABAMA               22
OHIO STATE            13
STANFORD                4
OREGON                     4
LOUISVILLE              1 
GEORGIA                   1
NEBRASKA               1
SYRACUSE                1
LSU                             1


The results show that the two hottest picks are the team that won last year, and the only team that went undefeated last year.  You guys have no imagination.  Alabama is the unsexy pick, but I understand why everyone is taking them, they never rebuild, they just continue to reload.  The Tide will always have a tough schedule because they play in the SEC, but even if they lose, the SEC is the only conference where you can lose and still make the title game.  Alabama is definitely the favorite this year.  Oh the Buckeyes, of course.  Will they go undefeated again?  With that schedule, they might.  At Michigan and at Northwestern are probably their toughest games.  They pulled enough out of their ass last year that they might get some bad luck to even it out this year, but I doubt it.  Oregon and Stanford received 16% of the votes.  Take a look at Oregon's schedule once, other than Stanford, they have a pretty easy walk to an undefeated season.  Stanford has five ranked teams on the schedule, but the three toughest games are all at home.  I picked Stanford for that reason, they have the home games, and a tough enough schedule to get up top in the BCS.  Georgia, LSU, South Carolina, and Florida State aren't bad longshots.  Louisville doesn't have a chance.  My wife took Nebraska, she must have caught the homerdom virus from you Buckeye fans.  Syracuse?  A good friend of mine named Bradley made that brilliant pick. 


1. Ohio at Louisville - I'll be there.  Tettleton back for his senior year.  Can they pull off another upset?
2. South Carolina at Georgia - Winner will be on the fast track to a BCS game, loser won't.
3. Alabama at Texas A&M - Can that no good, bad seed, Manziel, do it again?
4. Wisconsin at Ohio State - Will the Bucks get enough homer calls to pull it out?  We'll see.
5. Florida at LSU - Lots of punts, lots of college chics, lots of hopes go down in flames for one side.
6. Georgia at Florida - If either team is still undefeated, this will be crazy.  And ditto about coeds.
7. Oregon at Stanford - Could be the biggest Thursday night game in a decade.  No USF at Rutgers 2007 doesn't count.
8. LSU at Alabama - Of course everyone will be watching this one, right?
9. Nebraska at Michigan - Look at Nebraska's schedule, good chance they are undefeated going into this one.
10. Ohio State at Michigan - If I don't put this on here, people will get mad at me, and I'm not trying to make uneducated, ignorant fans mad.  Ooooh.


1. There will be no undefeated teams.  With a season like this, with so many teams with a chance to win it, I see total chaos in the BCS.  And why not, it's the last season for the BCS, so might as well go out with a bang.

2. There won't be enough bowl eligible teams for all the bowls.  I've always wanted this to happen, this is the year.  And I know that they would just let an under .500 team in, but it would still be funny.

3. A ridiculous individual record will be broken.  I'm thinking some running back runs for 400 yards, or a DB gets six interceptions in one game.  Something that will be remembered by all for a long time.

4. A team puts up 100 points in a game.  We've seen the games where a team has 30 or so in the first quarter and dials it down.  This year, the breaks fall the right way, and someone reaches the century mark.

5. Some analyst from ESPN will get in trouble for having a sex tape leaked.  My wife thinks it will be Herbstreit.  This is a ridiculous prediction, but one that I had to get in writing in case it happens.

There you have it, my college football preview.  Let's hear your bold predictions and thoughts on the upcoming season.  Thanks for reading.


PS This video is pretty legit, give it a watch. (And yes, about 35 seconds in, there's a sweet move by Braxton.)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Magic Numbers

Some important magic numbers in the NL with 30 games or less to go for all teams...

Cardinals  (29)
With 29 wins the team from St. Louis can clinch the NL Central.  Oddly, that would be their first Central title since 2009.  They won't win 29, but odds are, they'll win the division.

Reds  (24)
Cincinnati needs 24 wins from here on out to guarantee a Wild Card spot.  That is not the goal this season, but getting to the playoffs is the only way you can win the World Series.  If the Reds go .500 the rest of the way (14-14), the Diamondbacks would have to go 21-9 to tie them.  The odds of the Reds making it are really good.

Braves (27)
27 wins for the Braves to clinch home field throughout the NL playoffs.  They have been hot, but injuries are starting to mount, it'll be interesting to see if they get to that one spot.

Dodgers (21)
Only 21 wins are needed by the Dodgers to win the NL West.  If they only went 14-15 in their last 29 games, the Diamondbacks would still have to go 24-6 just to catch them.  That's not happening.

Pirates (5)
The pathetic team from Pittsburgh still needs five wins to avoid their 22nd losing season in a row.  Can they do it?  Or will we see the most epic collapse of all time?  If any team can do it, they can.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Temple Owls Basketball 1992-2013 Player Rankings

With it only being August, the 2013-14 Temple Owls basketball season is still three months away.  I could write a breakdown of what we are going to see in the upcoming season, but there is still plenty of time for that.  This young roster is leaving soon for a trip to Europe that can only help the development.  It will be interesting to see the kind of stories that come from this excursion.  So for this post, I say we dig into some Owls history.  I've been a fan of this team since 1992 when I was 11 years old.  I have seen a lot of players come through this school, some were unforgettable, some I wish I could forget.  I chose my favorite seven in each of six categories.  These are just my opinions on who I thought was the best in each category, along with my favorite players of my time as a fan.  So without further ado, here is a trip down memory lane.

(Players are listed in chronological order.)

Quincy Wadley
Lynn Greer
Alex Wesby
Brian Polk
Dionte Christmas
Juan Fernandez
Jake O'Brien

Three of these guys were part of one of my favorite Temple teams, the 2000-2001 squad.  Wadley, Greer, and Wesby were unstoppable when they were hot.  And boy did they get hot in the tourney.  Had a realistic shot of knocking off Michigan State to get to the Final Four, just fell a little short.  Brian Polk was a heck of a shooter.  Only got to play two years, but when he spotted up in the corner, I always thought it was going in.  Do I need to even say anything about Christmas?  Sometimes I don't even think he was looking at the basket when he let it fly.  Juan had his moments, but when he had a good look, he was money.  Jake O'Buckets, pure shooter, only wish he would have been an Owl for his whole career.  My favorite shooter in this time frame?  Have to go with Greer.  His step back was about as pure a shot I have seen in my lifetime.

Aaron McKie 
Rasheed Brokenborough
Lynn Greer
David Hawkins
Dionte Christmas
Ramone Moore
Khalif Wyatt

Brokenborough was one of my favorite players growing up.  He had the ugliest shot, it was literally "broken", but he could score.  His first couple of years he was counted on to put up points, and he did it pretty well.  Lynn could shoot the three, shoot mid range, get to the rack, and was automatic from the line.  Hawkins was fun to watch, but I don't know how good he really was.  He was the only player on those teams that could score, so he did what he could.  He shot almost every time down the floor, but he had to, so it was good for the team.  Dionte put up over 2,000 points in basically three years, he never saw a shot he didn't like.  We all know what Wyatt could do.  How many games did he just take over last year?  Too many to count.  He'll find a gig in the NBA just because he knows how to put the ball in the basket.  My favorite scorer in this time frame?  I have to go with Wyatt.  I never felt like the Owls were totally out of the game as long as Wyatt was on the floor, and most of the time, he came through.

Eddie Jones
Lynard Stewart
Mardy Collins
Dustin Salisbery
Mark Tyndale
Semaj Inge
Rhalir Jefferson

Temple isn't known for having the best athletes that can get to the rim and throw the ball down.  This was a much harder category than you would think.  I just had to think of the guys that have made me jump out of my chair at one time or another due to a slam.  These guys were all high risers.  Eddie had some of the longest arms I've ever seen on a basketball player.  Collins once threw one down against Miami that I think I rewound 30 times.  Tyndale had a few that had the Liacouras Center rocking.  I remember Inge going over a couple dudes during a game at Duquesne his senior year.  My favorite dunker during that era?  Not even a question, Eddie Jones.

Rick Brunson
Pepe Sanchez
Lynn Greer
Mardy Collins
Mark Tyndale
Ryan Brooks
Scootie Randall

All of these guys were leaders of their respective classes and teams.  And yes, it's just a coincidence that the first three were all lefty point guards, ha.  It's not a coincidence however, that each of these guys was the best perimeter defender on the team.  These guys not only played offense, but they did the dirty work on the defensive end to help their team.  Hell, Pepe was the A10 Player of the Year and he only took about 5 shots a game.  My favorite leader during this era?  Pepe for sure, he was the leader on the best team of that era, the 1999-200 squad.  It just always looked like Pepe was in control of the whole entire court at all times.

Marc Jackson 
Lamont Barnes
Kevin Lyde
Mark Tyndale
Lavoy Allen
Michael Eric
Rhalir Jefferson

Rebounding isn't a very fun stat, but I had to find a category to mention some of these guys.  I was always a huge fan of Lamont Barnes.  He always played under control and was in the right place at the right time.  Lyde was one of the biggest dudes out there, you just didn't think so because Rollerson was on the court at the same time.  Lavoy Allen was probably the best rebounder I have seen in a Temple jersey.  He could snatch a ball out of the air like he was wearing stick'em.  My favorite rebounder of the era?  Lavoy Allen, no doubt.  I sometimes found myself just watching him work down low without even caring where the ball was at the time.

FAVORITES (Not chronological order for this one)

7. Mardy Collins
I will always wonder what Collins could have done if he had better players around him.  He could shoot, he could get to the rim, he could rebound, and he could D it up.  Every team they played keyed on him the whole game.  I'm glad he made it to the NBA because he definitely had the game.  Where would the Owls have been during those down years if it wasn't for him?  I don't even want to know.

6. Pepe Sanchez
Too bad someone already had the Glove as a nickname because if it was available, they would have given it to Pepe.  Nobody could have been a better player at the top of the Temple zone.  He made the guards on the opposing teams so uncomfortable.  He couldn't shoot but he was an unbelievable passer.  One of my favorite memories is when the Owls came back from a ten point deficit against Michigan State in the last minute.  Pepe made two free throws with no time on the clock to win and he just fell backwards when the last one swished threw the net. 

5. Lavoy Allen
I remember the summer before Lavoy's first year.  I wanted to find some information about him, so I went to myspace and found his account.  Yeah, you can laugh, I am.  Anyway, he had a quote that said something like, if it wasn't for the rule, I'd be going to the league.  I thought, ok bud, you better show me something.  And it took about a month for me to think, this dude's the real deal.  He was never out of control, he always got better as a shooter.  His rebounding was immaculate.  He could block shots.  When Lavoy held up three fingers when the Owls won their third straight A10 Tourney Championship I thought to myself, Boy am I glad he chose Temple.

4. Khalif Wyatt
Like I mentioned before, I never once thought the Owls were out of a game as long as Khalif Wyatt was on the floor.  He pissed me off a lot at times, I couldn't stand the trying to draw fouls on wide open three point attempts and such.  But as much as he irked me, I respected him so much because of how hard he played.  I also respected him because he always got better.  You could tell he worked on it.  Clutch doesn't even begin to describe his game.  I hope I get to watch him play in the NBA someday.

3. Dionte Christmas
To me, Dionte Christmas will always be remembered as the guy that brought the Temple Owls back from the lowest of lows.  His freshman year was the lowest this school has been since I knew what Temple University was.  The energy he brought back to the team and the school cannot be measured.  When he got hot, he was scorching.  The Tennessee game is etched in my memory forever.  But, the game that I will remember the most is the A10 Championship game against St. Joe's.  When he got hot in the second half of that game, I was just thanking God that the Owls were back, and I will always credit Dionte for that.

2. Lynn Greer
Lynn Greer had it all, he could do anything on the court.  I remember telling my dad and his friends, just watch the Owls, and watch Lynn Greer.  They didn't care about Temple, but I had them watching Greer because he was so good.  One of my favorite memories of his was his freshman year when he drained five threes in the first half at #1 Cincinnati.  He broke his orbital bone later that year.  That was bad, but if it wouldn't have happened he wouldn't have been around for a fifth year.  That fifth year was the year they made the run to the Elite 8.  The Owls have had some big time scorers, but no one had the game to put up 47 at Wisconsin like Lynn did.

1. Eddie Jones
Eddie Jones is the reason I am a Temple Owls fan.  He was a top notch defender, a good shooter, a fantastic dunker, and just generally seemed like a good dude and teammate.  I have two of his Lakers jerseys, #6 and #25.  When you are in middle school and high school, you always have a favorite player and you try to emulate them.  Most were emulating Jordan, Iverson, Kemp, etc.  For me, it was Eddie Jones.  When I played high school basketball, the crowd actually chanted "Eddie, Eddie, Eddie" when I made a three, ha.  He's not only my favorite Owl, but probably my favorite basketball player of all time. 

So there it is, just a little trot down memory lane for me and probably some of you.  Let me know who some of your favorite Owls were, would love to hear it.  Hope you all enjoyed the post.  Thanks for reading.


Follow me on twitter @CurtOU

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Reds Myths Debunked

Last night was a debacle, end of story, let's move on.  Still a chance to win the series with two good games.  As in every walk of life, there are some things that people just believe because everyone talks about it and no one takes a minute to think if it's true or not. We call these myths.  Here are a few myths about this Reds team that to me, just aren't true at all.  I've probably wrote about these before, but here they are again.

You hear it all the time, "Very tough play by the infielder, especially with a fast runner like Phillips getting down the line", and every time it makes me cringe.  Phillips has to be the slowest black guy in Reds history.  If Mesoraco was starting and the starting eight position players had a race, I am very confident that Phillips would finish last.  He hits some of those weak hoppers that a guy like Stubbs would beat out by three steps, yet he is out by three steps, it's comical.  So yeah, next time you hear an announcer say he's fast, it's ok to laugh and point it out to your friends.

We keep hearing that the Reds can't keep Choo.  They can't afford him.  Well, that's not entirely true, there is definitely a way they can keep him.  Phillips and Votto will be getting a lot of money for a while, but guys like Marshall, Broxton, Chapman, Ludwick, and Cueto will be free agents in the next 2 to 3 years.  If you give Choo a long term contract, say 6 years, you can move that money to the end of the deal to make it easier the next few years.  You say, what about Bailey and Latos then?  Look, Bailey and Latos are in the top five of my favorite players on the team, but I really feel that one of them will be moved.  We just won't be able to afford them, especially if they sign Choo.  If the Reds wanted to trade Bailey for some prospects, they could get some good pieces.  They could put in Cingrani for almost nothing for three years, and then you have Stephenson that won't need to be paid for another five years.  Plus, you could go with Robinson or Paul in left, they won't demand high dollars, and maybe you get a good LF in the trade for Bailey.  I want to keep all of our studs, but a team like Cincinnati doesn't have that luxury.  Oh, and obviously signing Choo would mean the end of Hamilton, but you could trade him for a few prospects, maybe reload the bullpen and not pay Marshall and Broxton type money.  In the end, there is definitely a way to keep Choo, so saying he is gone for sure, is totally a myth.

You hear people say the Reds might keep Arroyo.  I like the guy, but sorry, that's not happening.  He already said he wants a three year deal, and as I mentioned before, with having to pay Latos and/or Bailey they won't be able to give him 12 million a year for three years.  Plus, you can stick Cingrani in there nothing, or try out Chapman who is already on the books.  Just don't see a way at all that Arroyo will be a Red next year.

The Cozart is Awful group is killing me this year.  Is he having a low productive year?  Yeah.  But he is not awful.  Back in the day, guys like Ozzie Smith, Walt Weiss, Jeff Blauser, etc., weren't great hitters, they were good defensive players up the middle that hit a little bit.  Cozart is on pace for a .240 average, 12 homers, and 50 RBI's.  There is nothing wrong with that when you have Choo, Phillips, Bruce, and Votto on your team.  Was he more exposed in the two hole?  Absolutely, but that's not his fault.  Cozart is still the future, don't let people tell you he's not.  He'll be fine.

Todd Frazier is the Reds third baseman of the future.  Man, I sure hope not.  Unless he just needs some new contacts or something.  He's 27 and has zero clue how to hit a curveball.  He knows this now so he is just lunging to make contact and as a result is an automatic double play with a runner on first.  He can hit the fastball, and can hit it deep.  But sooner or later, he won't ever see a fastball, what would be the point if you are an opposing pitcher?  If Latos or Bailey is traded, we better get a third baseman in the deal, because right now, the Reds future at that position isn't on the team.

The myth that seems like the biggest lightning rod these days is the one and only, pitch count.  Personally, I wish they would just take that stat off of the tv, it drives me crazy.  How on earth did pitchers survive the first 100 years without ever working on a pitch count?  You don't need to lose your mind when Dusty runs a pitcher back out there with 105 pitches in the 8th when he's struck out 10, it's going to be ok.  Would you rather have Simon come in and take out Bailey who is dominating?  Really, just because he has thrown 100 pitches?  If Dusty asks Homer, or anyone, if they still feel strong, then that's good enough for me.  How do people at home or in the stands know how the pitcher feels?  I understand that you can waste a guys arm by throwing him nine innings every start, I'm not an idiot.  But if a guy is at 109, I'm pretty sure number 110 isn't going to tear his elbow and end his career.  Calm down, it's going to be ok, these guys are pitchers, they do it for a living, they can handle ten more pitches.

Ok, had to get those off my chest.  I know everyone watches games with other people and you discuss these things, so tell me if you agree or not, or what the general vibe is in your group of friends.  I'll be at the game tonight, hopefully it's a win.  Thanks for reading.



Thursday, August 1, 2013

Reds 2/3rds Poll

The Reds have only 53 games remaining in this roller coaster of a season.  This is pretty much the 2/3rds poll of the campaign.  Sitting at 60-49, Reds fans are torn between feeling positive and absolutely losing their minds with disgust.  I just don't see the losing their minds part, but hey, whatever.  Here is where they currently sit in the standings going into this big weekend series against the whiny birds.

5.5 Games out of first place in the NL Central
4 Games behind the Cardinals
4.5 Games ahead in the race for the final Wild Card

Here is quick breakdown of what lies ahead for the three teams in the NL Central race...

26 Home Games/28 Away Games
21 Games against teams winning records/37 Games against teams with losing records
6 Games against the Reds/9 Games against the Cardinals

St. Louis
32 Home Games/23 Away Games
27 Games against teams with winning records/28 Games against teams with losing records
9 Games against the Pirates/10 Games against the Reds

31 Home Games/22 Road Games
25 Games against teams with winning records/28 Games against teams with losing records
10 Games against the Cardinals/6 Games against the Pirates

Pirates have the most road games, but they play the easiest schedule.  All three teams play more games against teams with losing records then teams with winning records.  But obviously that is the case when there are only 6 teams with winning records in the NL.  Cardinals and Reds have about the same schedule left when it comes to home, away, and opponents winning percentage.  As you can see, there is a whole heck of a lot of games left between the three teams, so this will sort itself out quickly. 

I noticed some Walt bashers showing up in blogs and on twitter the last few days.  Saying things about Walt not making trades which means he doesn't care and they should be embarrassed.  This is wrong in so many ways.  The Reds have injuries, they'll be getting back five guys from the original 25 man roster before the season is over.  So that is like making trades.  Also, you can't say the Reds need a big bat because they can't hit.  It's baseball, every team has up and downs.  The Reds scored 36 runs in five games to start the road trip.  Then they had a stretch where they scored five runs in five games.  You can't just choose the bad games to make your conclusion, the good games count too.  Currently they have the fourth most runs in the NL.  Yeah, that's not great, but it's definitely not bad. 

I am reading that Ludwick might be back in the next week or so.  Here are my lineup suggestions when he returns.

Against a lefty....

When a righty is in, I think you go with Paul and Robinson until Ludwick shows he is ready to play everyday, which might not be until the playoffs.  Frazier clearly can't hit the curveball, he looks like he can't see the spin on the ball.  At least I hope that is the case, don't know what the other explanation would be for his awful swings at the curve.  Hitting in front of Votto would get him a few more fastballs and could help him get on base more.  I don't like putting Ludwick in the cleanup spot right off the bat.  If he struggles, that will get Votto walked even more than usual.  And no, I am not on board with moving Votto to the two spot.  You don't move your best hitter because the whole team is struggling, doesn't make sense.

I have more topics I want to hit but I'll wait to use them in a later post.  As I mentioned earlier, we have a huge series starting Friday night.  With the Cardinals struggling right now, the Reds have a chance to get it turned around.  Shelby Miller takes the mound, the Reds are better at hitting righties, it's no secret.  Bronson has been pitching well lately and seems to do better against teams in the division, I look for him to have a nice night.  We all want the sweep, but winning the series is the goal.  If you win every series the rest of the way, the division should be theirs.  We will be at the game Saturday night, looking forward to talking trash to some whiny bird fans.  Hope you enjoyed the read.  Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions.  Thanks.