Sunday, October 13, 2013

Teams Left After Week 7

Season is halfway over.  We have lost 105 teams in the title hunt.  21 teams still have at least a 0.1% chance at taking home the trophy.  Here are the teams that I still think have that chance...

Rankings from Sunday's AP Poll...

1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. Clemson
4. Ohio State
5. Florida State
6. LSU
7. Texas A&M
8. Louisville
10. Miami
11. South Carolina
12. Baylor
13. Stanford
14. Missouri
16. Texas Tech
17. Fresno State
19. Virginia Tech
24. Auburn
27. Nebraska
28. Michigan State
31. Oregon State

14 undefeated teams remain.  12 are above.  Northern Illinois and Houston are also undefeated but they don't have a prayer.

How are my National Title Hopefuls doing?

Oklahoma State (4-1) (21)
Off week in Week 7.  Home vs. TCU in Week 8.  Still have three ranked teams to play on the schedule.  If every team in front of them completely collapses, they have a shot.  So basically, they don't have a shot.

Stanford (5-1)
Horrible loss on Saturday to the Utes.  Kills their chances.  They aren't totally out of it however.  They still have UCLA, Oregon State, and Oregon in their next three games.  If they win all three of those, they'll be back in the Top 5 for sure.  So is it a longshot now?  Of course.  But they are definitely not out of it.

South Carolina (5-1)
Pasted Arkansas on Saturday.  The Cocks look really good.  At Tennessee this week which should be a beatdown.  The loss by Georgia really helps out SC.  If the Cocks win out and Georgia loses another game, the Cocks will win the SEC East and will probably see the Tide in the SEC Championship Game.  If that all happens and they beat the Tide, they would be in the title game.  So again, longshot?  Ya.  But definitely still a shot.

Clemson (6-0)
Trap game on Saturday and they almost fell into the trap.  But they survived and advanced.  Now it's the game of the week next week, home against #5 Florida State.  If the Tigers can take that game, they will solidify their spot as the number three team in the nation. 

Week 8 Big Games
#5 Florida State at #3 Clemson
Biggest ACC game in a long time.  Winner sets themselves up as a legit National Title contender.
#24 Auburn at #7 Texas A&M
Winner still has a shot at the title.  Auburn hasn't lost in conference yet.  If they were to run the table, you better believe they'd be in it.  A&M with a loss already to Bama is kind of in trouble.
#9 UCLA at #13 Stanford
Lost a little luster with Stanfords loss.  Winner still has a shot, loser is done.
#22 Florida at #14 Missouri
If Mizzou can take this game they will be a Top 10 team.  Going to be tough without their starting QB.

Any thoughts on the list of contenders?  Or do you want to tell me that my four teams have zero shots?  Let's hear it.  Thanks for reading.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

National Title Hopefuls after Week 6

Six weeks in the books.  By my calculations, out of the 126 teams in Division I football, we have 26 teams left with at least a 0.1% chance of hoisting the trophy at the end of the season.  Here are the teams...

In order based on today's AP Poll Rankings...

1 Alabama
2 Oregon
3 Clemson
4 Ohio State
5 Stanford
6 Florida State
7 Georgia
8 Louisville
9 Texas A&M
10 LSU
12 Oklahoma
13 Miami
14 South Carolina
15 Baylor
17 Florida
18 Michigan
20 Texas Tech
21 Fresno State
24 Virginia Tech
25 Missouri
26 Auburn
28 Nebraska
30 Michigan State
NR Houston
NR Oregon State

How did my four title hopefuls make out in Week 6?

Held off a weak Kansas State team.  They are still ranked 22nd but I don't even have them in my list above.  I can probably tear that ticket apart.  Home vs. TCU next week.

Handled a pretty bad Kentucky team until a garbage time comeback made it a close score at the end.  Still ranked 14th in the AP.  Three straight roadies coming up against Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri.  Should be able to win those.  One slip up will lead to a thrown away ticket.

Big win over #15 Washington.  At Utah next week and then a big one at home against #11 UCLA.  Really liking this pick.

Beat the snot out of Syracuse in the Carrier Dome.  Boston College next week and then a huge one at home against Florida State.  Liking this pick also.

Week 7 Big Games
#2 Oregon at #16 Washington - Huge National Title implications.
#25 Missouri at #7 Georgia - Loser is out of the National Title picture.
#17 Florida a #10 LSU - Same here, loser is out of the race.

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Dusty: The Scapegoat

So Dusty Baker has been fired as manager of the Cincinnati Reds.  How do you feel about it?  Are you pumped?  Are you upset?  Are you indifferent?  Seems like I've seen a lot of different reactions.  I have my own thoughts on this whole debacle.  Not sure where to start so I'll just ramble off some thoughts on Baker, the Reds, and the future.  Here we go...

First off, I'm fine with the firing.  This team had high expectations and they weren't met, so if there is a change, that is fine with me. 

I remember the day Dusty got hired.  I called Schmitmeyer and we both were angry, we were NOT fans of Dusty Baker.  I still wouldn't say I like him, but it's not his fault this team underachieved. 

Managers don't play, players do.  The manager puts the players in positions to succeed.  Dusty can only do so much.  He didn't make errors, hit into double plays, give up gopher balls, or make braindead plays on the base paths.  You can say, that's coaching.  I disagree.  When it comes to professionals, they know what to do, if they don't do it, that's on them.

On the same point, managers get too much credit when the team wins, and they get way too much blame when the team fails.  The reason why managers are fired so fast is because you can't fire the players.  I would love to get rid of some players on this team, but you just can't do it because of their contracts, or because they are an asset if you wanted to trade them.

That being said, I think for once the fans actually got the manager fired.  Jocketty said he thought Dusty would be back and he had one year left on his contract.  Walt said he would talk to the Castellini's when they got back to Cincy.  You wouldn't think the Reds, being a small market club, would fire a coach with a contract and have to pay two managers for 2014.  So when all of a sudden he was fired, it pretty much means that the ownership said they needed to get rid of Dusty.  I understand why they wanted to move on.  The fans don't want him there and in the end, they are the ones buying tickets.  I think Mr. Castellini could see this, and he made the call, with the help of the fans.

Speaking of fans.  When I see people tweeting and posting on facebook about how they are so happy and using exclamation points and crap, it makes me sick.  It's not like if they had a new coach they would have won in the playoffs.  If you think just changing the manager means you automatically would have won, that's laughable.  So are you happy they made a change?  Ok.  Are you happy because now the Reds will win for sure?  Wrong.

One more thing about Dusty.  If he had a twitter or facebook account I would tell him, Thanks.  Before he was with the Reds, the Reds were a mess.  We all know the history, they haven't had a good year since the 90's.  He came in and took them to the playoffs three out of four years and won two division titles.  You can hate the guy, whatever, but you need to appreciate what he did for your favorite team.

Now for the next topic regarding the firing.  Who do they hire next?  I have my thoughts on that topic...

First off, NO LARUSSA!  The end, let's not bring that up again.

I have been reading people mentioning Barry Larkin.  Look, I like Barry Larkin, I named my dog after him.  But if you hated Dusty because he was too easy on the players and was a player manager, then you don't want Barry Larkin.  He would be worse than Dusty in that department, he just wants to be everyone's friend, which is fine for a man, but not as a manager.

Another Reds great that is being tossed around is Joe Morgan.  If you hated Dusty because he is too old school and won't adjust to the new school, then you don't want Joe Morgan.  He's as old school as it gets.  Plus, I've read multiple times that there are a few players that don't care for Morgan, so I don't see that happening, and I hope it doesn't.

Some people like the idea of bringing in a "buttkicker".  I think this is an awful idea.  Look at the players the Reds have, do you really think they are going to respond to a buttkicker?  I doubt it.  If you ask me, those kind of guys don't do any good in pro sports.  The players make more money than them in most cases, they aren't going to listen to a guy that screams and throws fits.  Everyone acted like Dusty needed to throw a chair or call someone a pussy.  Really?  You think Frazier was going to say, "Damn, Dusty is pissed, I guess I better not swing at that curveball in the dirt."?  Hell no.  Look around the league, find a manager that is known for being a hard ass.  There aren't many, if any.  Ozzie Guillen tried it, that didn't work out.  Some say Girardi is like that.  He's not. 

Speaking of Girardi.  The Reds aren't going to pay him 8 million dollars when they already owe over 3 million to Dusty.  It's just not going to happen.  Speaking of paying two managers, this might kill the idea of signing Choo even more.  If they weren't sure if they would have enough money, now they are screwed even more. 

One more thing about the hard ass manager discussion.  How fast do you think Phillips would ask for a trade if they hired a manager that yelled at him and told him to knock off his antics?  One, maybe two weeks?  Phillips isn't going to change, he is what he is.  If those hard ass managers work, it's when you have young players that haven't been there.  The Reds have some young guys but they have all played multiple years in the majors, they are basically all veterans.

So who do you want then Curt?  Well, I think they should stay inside the organization.  This team has a good nucleus of players that have been together for a few years.  Most of the best players have at least two, if not more years left on their contract.  Some would say the Reds have a two to four year window left to win it all.  If that is the case, then why bring in someone new that doesn't know the team?  Because of this, I say they go with Brian Price.  He knows the team, the pitching staff loves him.  I've read that he has been known to get on the players and hold them accountable, which is what they need.  Some say they should go outside the organization to get a change in there.  I think they say that because they think everyone thinks like Dusty that is on the staff.  That isn't true.  It's not like Price is a disciple of Dusty.  Price coached at a few other franchises before coming to Cincy, four years ago.  He doesn't coach just like Dusty, he would be a new voice that the players are familiar with and will want to win for. 

So do you agree?  Do you disagree?  Who do you want to be the new manager?  Love to hear your thoughts.  Thanks for reading.