Friday, October 21, 2011

Big 12 Picks: Week 8 Betting Edition

A little variation to my picking style but here's your betting guide to this week's Big 12 games. If you win any money off my pick's, I think I'm entitled to at least 25% of your winnings so I'll accept cash, check or beer as payment. 

  1. Oklahoma State @ Missouri
    1. Straight-up: Straight up I'm taking Oklahoma State, Missouri hasn't proven they can play consistently enough to beat a team like Oklahoma State. They have the talent and the offense to challenge Ok. State but it depends on which Missouri team shows up.
    2. Line: Oklahoma State is a 7-point favorite and I believe they will cover that. I don't think this game will be a blowout but Oklahoma State will win by at least 10 points.
    3. Over/under: 69.5 points is the over/under, I would take the under in this game. Just a gut feeling/guess. 
    4. Score prediction: Oklahoma State 37, Missouri 27. 
  2. Kansas State @ Kansas
    1. Straight-up: Bias or no bias, I'm taking the Cats. Bill Snyder has taken this team too far to have a let down against his most hated opponent. 
    2. Line: Kansas State is favored by 10.5 points, once again I'm taking the favorite to cover the spread. If K-State's offense is on top of its game from the get go, Kansas will not stand a chance. 
    3. Over/under: 59.5 points is the over/under, I'm taking the over in this one. KU's offense is no joke and will score some points to keep the game somewhat close. 
    4. Score prediction: Kansas State 37, KU 24. 
  3. Texas A&M  @ Iowa State
    1. Straight-up: Texas A& explanation needed, they are playing Iowa State!
    2. Line: Texas A&M is favored by 20.5 points. I'm changing my streak of picking the favorite to cover and taking Iowa State to keep this within 3 scores at home. 
    3. Over/under: 66.5 points, I'm taking the under in this one. I think Iowa State will try to control the ball to keep A&M's offense off the field. It will work for the most part, but not enough to get the win.
    4. Score prediction: Texas A&M 35, Iowa State 17. 
  4. Texas Tech @ Oklahoma
    1. Straight-up: Oklahoma, Sooners will get off to a better start than last week at home to win by a more convincing score. 
    2. Line: Oklahoma is favored by 28.5. I'm taking the under in this one. I think Texas Tech will move the ball enough to keep Oklahoma from putting up too many points. 
    3. Over/under: 71 points, I'm taking the over in this game, these offenses are going to continue to do what they do best, score. 
    4. Score prediction: Oklahoma 52, Texas Tech 35. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

What I Learned From This Weekend

I have many things to talk about and not enough motivation to give them each their own post. So I'm going to give you the shortened version of all the things I learned from this weekend. Just keep in mind that the shortened version of what I learned over the weekend is probably longer than what I learn during the week. That's because I spend all of my weekend studying, not watching sports and laying around (sarcasm). But in all seriousness, sports can teach you a thing or two you'll never read in a book. Here's my report:

  • I learned that the K-State football team is having a special type of year: I had the feeling after the Baylor game but wasn't completely sold until this last week's game against Texas Tech. Snyder has pulled off more magic in this season than all the Harry Potter movies combined. In the game vs. Tech, K-State had under 100 yards total offense while giving up over 300 in the first half. Despite that, K-State "Snydered" their way to a close score at half. Two blocked kicks and a kick return for a touchdown kept K-State in the game in the first half. K-State found a way to make the game intense from beginning to end, keeping their fans on the edge of their seats throughout the game (particularly me!) The Wildcats are now ranked 11th in BCS, 12th in the AP Poll and 16th in the Coaches Poll, the highest they've been in most, if not all, of those polls since 2003. The roughest part of their schedule has yet to come but I think Snyder will find a way to keep surprising people until the day he's done coaching football, so stay tuned.
  • I learned that Tony La Russa is the best manager in the MLB right now and maybe ever: The St. Louis Cardinals clinched their birth in to World Series tonight with another explosive offensive performance and bullpen led pitching staff. The Cardinals were down almost 10 game on the 1st of September and got hot late to steal the Wild Card spot from the Atlanta Braves on the last day of the regular season. La Russa is trying for his 3rd world series and his 2nd as a Cardinals manager. His ability to manage and use his bullpen affectively stood out especially in this series as the Cardinal's bullpen pitched more innings than their actual pitchers did. It was unorthodox but still a typical La Russa managed series as the Cardinals were sound on defense (especially compared to the Brewers), had timely hitting and were discipline hitters at the plate. The Cardinals will play the Nolan Ryan run Texas Rangers, I will hopefully have a preview of the World Series by today but no later than Tuesday. 
  • I learned Jim Harbaugh needs to take hand-shaking classes: If you have not seen the post-game-power handshake Jim Harbaugh gave Jim Schwartz, I have the video of it posted. I understand he is a first-year NFL coach and is used to the college atmosphere and excitement of things, but there comes a time and place for celebration as a coach. The middle of an opponents field in week 6 is not the time or place. Now I am not saying that Jim Schwartz was right in any way or form, he is no better than Harbaugh in that coaches always preach "Be the bigger man, we'll get em next time" and "the second guy always gets caught." Well he followed neither of these philosophies and made himself look like a fool on national television. I don't find this as a huge deal in my mind so long as some sort of apology comes from both coaches comes out for their organization, players and the NFL. We'll see how Roger Goodell feels about this rare type of incident soon if any fines  come out this week. 
  • I learned that sometimes, people need to remember that sports' figures are people too: No matter how much you hate an opposing player because of the team he/she plays on, the trouble they got into, the celebrations they do, the smack they talk or any other reason really, you should keep in mind that tomorrow is not promised for anyone. The Racing World lost a great driver in Dan Wheldon today in a disastrous crash at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I'm not even a racing fan and this made me think a little. Don't be afraid to root against opposing teams/players, just keep in mind the ways you do it, don't take it farther than it needs to be. Most of the time, fans' outlook on player's is wrong anyway but yell blatantly beer-influenced ignorance none the less. 
  • I learned that NCAA football needs a playoff: Oh wait, I learned that 5 years ago. Seriously though, there are so many teams this year that I believe could legitimately win the championship: Alabama, LSU, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Oregon (maybe stretching it with injuries but I'm trying to make a point!) Only 2 of these teams will play for the National Championship, I'm guessing Oklahoma and LSU, while the other 3 have no shot to redeem themselves in the post-season.
That's what I learned this week, if you feel I missed anything, the comment section is straight down. If not, I'll try to get that World Series breakdown done today 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

NFL Week 6 Predictions

My first week of predicting Big 12 football games went so well (4-1) that I decided to test my luck on the NFL. I've had 5 weeks to watch the NFL so I should have no excuses (not that I can't come up with some) for a bad week of picks. I thought about not giving a points prediction since my college predictions for points was as close to the real thing as Bill Self's hair. Now that I've put my one required KU shot in my post, lets get to the games.

Detroit 24, San Francisco 23: This one was a coin-flip for me, I feel like the dynamic-duo of Suh and Fairley will give the Lions the pressure they need to keep Frank Gore and Alex Smith in check. Lions remain undefeated for another week.

Green Bay 31, St. Louis 10: Aaron Rodgers is building his MVP resume as each week goes by. I doubt the winless Rams will be able to do enough on either side of the ball on the road to give the Packers their first loss. Packers win easy to go 6-0.

Atlanta 27, Carolina 17: Look for Michael Turner to have a breakout game against the Panthers. Cam Newton and Steve Smith will have a good day but I think turnovers will keep them from finishing long drives like they have for most of the year. Atlanta pulls away late for the win.

Indianapolis 31, Cincinnati 28: Look for Curtis Painter to end the losing streak and finish a game strong on the road after the fall-apart game last week against KC. Painter makes key passes late to get the first win of the season and hurt the Colts quest for Andrew Luck.

NY Giants 33, Buffalo 21: The stout defensive line of the Giants will disrupt Fitzpatrick's passing game for the Bills and limit their running game enough to get a bounce-back victory.

Pittsburg 30, Jacksonville 10: Pittsburg's defense dominates Jacksonville throughout the game. Big Ben will make enough plays to keep game from being close.

Washington 21, Philadelphia 19: The "Dream Team" continues to crumble as the fundamental football of the Redskins keeps Vick and company from breaking any big plays off.

Baltimore 28, Houston 17: Ray Rice has a big day against the weakened Texan D-Line after they lost star defensive end Mario Williams last week to a pectoral injury.

Oakland 34, Cleveland 10: Oakland continues its miraculous season on the back of Darren McFadden against a suspect Cleveland team.

New England 27, Dallas 24: A large, early lead by New England keeps a late Dallas comeback from stealing a win at home.

New Orleans 34, Tampa Bay 24: After a blow-out loss, Tampa Bay plays better but has major weaknesses in the secondary exposed against a high-powered Saints' offense, led by Drew Brees.

Minnesota 24, Chicago 20: Adrian Peterson has a field day against the struggling Bears' defense and Jay Cutler is under constant pressure as the Vikings take one on the road against a division rival.

NY Jets 27, Miami 10: Mark Sanchez plays his best game of the season to silence doubters (for now) and Miami's quarterback issues continue against the improving Jets' defense.

Let's see if I have any psychic abilities or am just plain lucky, but most likely I'll just wish I wouldn't have picked the games after missing most of them. Only time will tell.

Oh yeah and K-State is 6-0. EMAW

Friday, October 14, 2011

College Football Predictions: Big 12 Edition

Since I've got the blog back up and running, I'm going to try and throw in some more sports-related topics since sports writing is my passion. So here's my predictions for tomorrow's Big 12 games, I was not sure whether to include Missouri in my conference picks since they are like the nerd trying to get into the jocks inner circle, only to get a wedgie and stuffed into a locker but they think the jocks are just playing hard to get. Get the message Missouri, no one wants you, the Mountain West might have taken you until they merged with Conference USA. So stick with what your good at, being mediocre at every sport and never winning any conference championships. It could be worse though, just ask Nebraska, Colorado and Texas A&M in a year.

Now that I'm done ranting about that, here's my picks.

Baylor 35, Texas A&M 27: I haven't got to see a lot of Texas A&M but have seen enough RG3 to know that he is a straight-up stud. A little Big 12 bias comes into play on this pick as I have more love for Missouri that I do for Texas A&M. I think A&M will play like the cow shit that Texas Tech filled their bus with last week and only keep close because of the great home crowd they always draw. Baylor 35, Texas A&M 27.

Missouri 37, Iowa State 21: As much as it hurts me to put this, coming off a loss, I think Missouri will get the high-powered offense it saw early in the season back on track against a so-so Iowa State team.

Oklahoma State 45, Texas 28: I'm not sure how Texas is ranked after Oklahoma gave them what looked like the shower scene from American History X. As good as Oklahoma's offense may be, the poke's offense may be better. Texas plays better at home but inevitably can't match up with the hemi-powered offense of Oklahoma State, Ok-State 45, Texas 28.

Oklahoma 63, Kansas 10: I don't think Turner Gill is a great coach, but I think he'll get his players motivated enough to stop the embarrassing play his team calls a defense. Even though their on pace to break defensive records that get more coaches fired than a ponzi scheme (cough Miami), I think they keep the sooners from matching what Oklahoma State put up last week.

Kansas State 24, Texas Tech 21: In what I believe will be the best Big 12 game of the week, I think K-State's ability to control the clock, ball and the conference (Kirk Schulz/2-0 in Big 12) will give the narrow victory. I look for Tech to attack the Wildcats safeties and secondary since they've lost their starting running back for the season. Anthony Cantele takes his clutch kicking shoes on the road and gives the Wildcats a late field goal late in the game for the win.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Catch Up Remix

I think I finally realized I can't blog as much as I want to. That being said, I will continue to blog, just not everyday. So to get the fingers used to the keyboard again, I'm just going to give you all a recap of what's happened since my last post.

  1. K-State football is back. My last post was about not making the SportsCenter not-top 10. After 4 impressive wins against 3 solid teams, its looking more like the team will be making the Top 10 rankings before a Friday Sportscenter special. Despite losing highly touted Bryce Brown, there was very minimal noise about it, which shouldn't surprise fans who know Bill Snyder. The team has gotten better every week and the defense is the shining achievement of another miraculous turnaround. They are currently ranked 17th and 18th in the AP and Coaches polls respectively, yet go into this week's game against Texas Tech as underdogs. This teams has thrived as underdogs so far and I won't expect any different this week. 
  2. I am currently writing sports for the K-State sponsored newspaper, The Collegian. I have only written two Volleyball stories so far but will probably start to get more articles soon. The volleyball team has been a blast to watch and a fun experience to cover. The head coach Susie Fritz is easy to talk to and all the girls are as well. I will continue to cover some volleyball games the rest of the season. 
  3. The Packers are 5-0 (so are the Lions?) and the Cardinals are in the NLCS after making the playoffs on the last day of the regular season. 
  4. My fantasy football team is 1-4. No wonder I didn't do a league last year. I suck! 
  5. School is in full swing. Tests, tests, essays, tests, papers, am I forgetting something? Oh yeah, more tests! Counting down the days to Thanksgiving! 
  6. I am also working for the Athletic Operations Department, more specifically I am working for the baseball maintenance crew. It's an easy-going and enjoyable job with good guys and flexible hours, what more is there to ask for? Plus they pay me for it, SCORE. 

That's all I can think of right now, I'll try to be more consistent on my blogging schedule but am making no promises people, I'm a busy man if you can't tell! Til next time, stay tuned people. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Catch Up

With every season comes a shift (big or small) in our lives. People start preparing for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. No grace period or halftime in between Americans' holidays. We are all just on to the next biggest event. Football season changes people's weekend agendas for a solid 6 months. That's half a year for you mathematicians. Just like summer brings bikinis, winter brings Uggs, spring brings baseball, and the fourth of july brings the words idiots and severed fingers to coexist, September brings happiness to millions of Americans. And I'm not just talking about football.

September brings back the people we love, hate and record each week on our DVR's (greatest invention ever). The end of september is when most of the major networks (CBS, NBC, KAKE) start their new seasons for their respective shows. I, being a TV show fanatic, love this time of the year. It's a time to see shows (happens to most shows) you once loved start to fade away (Two and a Half Men, The Office, Weeds). September is also a time for new found shows.

Normally, a newfound show would be one that is having its 1st season air this fall. However, thanks to Netflix, I come across a few shows that are fairly new (within their first 3-4 seasons) that catch my eye and then eventually hook me into the story. A few shows I still am currently watching that I got started watching from Netflix include Weeds, Sons of Anarchy, and most recently Breaking Bad. Of these three, Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad are still in my opinion on the rise in the quality of shows they are producing. Not anything against Weeds but they have just ran out of great plot ideas to go to but they are in their 7th season which is an impressive statistic in today's TV age.

The TV shows I'm most looking forward for their new seasons (spoiler alert, all of the ones I watch) include the following.

Two and a Half Men: Although I feel very twisted and saddened to see the path Charlie Sheen took in the last year, this show was a personal favorite of mine during the first 5-6 seasons. I have no real expectations for Ashton Kutcher coming onto the show but I will give it a change nonetheless. Nothing against Ashton personally but I liked in That 70's Show and that is about it. I just don't expect the fan base for the show to respond to the replacement and more importantly the loss of Charlie Sheen. Hopefully I am wrong and the show continues to be great.

How I Met Your Mother: I just got into this show within the last 2 months but have seen nearly every episode already (thank you syndicated television). Neil Patrick Harris does an awesome job in this show in about every episode. A great storyline that may seem to drag on is covered up by the bonding group of friends and the sometimes separate and sometimes shared plot.
New boss, James Spader, known from shows such as Boston Legal
The Office: Probably the show I'm least interested in. The loss of Steve Carrell would be like if Seinfeld Jerry Seinfeld. No one else can play the character like Steve Carrell played his or fill the void that the show has without him. Like Two and a Half Men, I do not have high hopes for the future of this show but I have been wrong before.

Tosh.O: Nothing new here, just great videos of why you can't stop people from being stupid. If you've never watched this show, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Comedy Central. Watching this show will make your "shitty day" seem like you got a free weeks paid vacation.

Sons of Anarchy: This show has already begun its new season and I'm currently watching the previous season that just recently was released to Netflix on DVD. Thus the blog title "Catch Up", I am trying to get caught up on the shows that are currently or are starting their new season soon. The show centers around a biker gang that has chapters all across the country and in foreign countries as well (Ireland). They work the black market and the local law enforcement to make a living, a modern day group of outlaws.

Weeds: A Showtime production. Netflix hooked me on this show last year. The seasons are starting to lost the need for more after each episode but a good show for anyone looking for a drama-filled and climatic TV show. The show is based around a suburban mom who loses her husband and is left with bills to the ceiling. She finds that she has a 6th sense for the sales trade. Her sales trade is specifically strongest in selling marijuana. Thus the title of the show.

Modern Family: This show has been great in its first few seasons. A great play off modern-day society with it's characters: a gay couple raising an adopted baby, a wealthy and elderly man married to a young and beautiful woman, and a "traditional" family that is far from perfect. All these characters in the show are related and make for great family fun.

The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon Cooper and "Bazzinga" are all that really needs to be said about this show. This show has nearly had me crying laughing multiple times. The basic premise of the show is 4 super intelligent and very nerdy friends that hang out constantly but interact with the polar opposite type of person that is an extremely more good-looking girl that can't help but like being around these four guys.

Breaking Bad: Another Netflix fire-starter, Breaking Bad is a show I've just started to watch. I'm about halfway through season 2 and can officially say I'm hooked. The show is about an overly-qualified high school Chemistry teacher that finds out he has lung cancer. His brother-in-law, a DEA agent, takes the main character on a bust of a meth-lab. Once the chemistry teacher sees how much money is in the meth business and understands that he has the knowledge, tools and ability to cook meth to near perfection. His main objective for this is not leave his family with a ton of debt from his cancer bills. He learns early that his is in over his head in the drug game but uses his smarts to get him out of many tight situations.

These are all the shows I currently am watching but I will be looking for completely new shows to start watching and will fill you in with what I find. Until then, stay tuned.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Carter IV

It's been a while since I've given a music update. This is because of two reasons: 1) sometimes I become a little lazy (sometimes) and 2) because I've been waiting for the Carter IV for almost a year and wanted to give it a good listen, aka 2 weeks of listening, before I gave my opinion on the much anticipated album. For those who don't know what I'm talking about, Lil Wayne, a polarizing rapper, came out with the fourth edition of The Carter series. Not short of controversy, Lil Wayne (aka Dwayne Carter), had his long-awaited album pushed back numerous times as his time to prepare the album was limited by his stint in prison last year. 

I had mixed feelings about my expectations for this new album. I had been a huge fan of his previous album, The Carter III, and wasn't sure if he could match the quality of that album. To my surprise, he didn't disappoint. The album didn't disappoint many other fans as well, as he almost made history as the first rap act to open with back-to-back million-selling albums. Thanks to record-setting iTunes sales of 300,000, plus the push provided by a post-VMA on-sale stunt, Weezy's eagerly anticipated Tha Carter IV will debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart next week on sales of 964,000, according to figures provided by Nielsen SoundScan.

I'll warn you now, Lil Wayne's music is very vulgar but yet deep at the same time. If you can get past his vulgarity and listen to what he is trying to actually get across, you'll most likely be able to enjoy his music. A great website I have used to study rap music is, it will walk you through each stanza with a translation into a more literal meaning. I highly suggest using this website if you get the chance. But again, The Carter IV is very vulgar in some songs, so prepare yourself if you decide to listen. 

I'm going to give you my top 5 songs off the album and a brief description of why I liked them. So here we go. 

1.President Carter
This song really intrigued me because of the pure creation of the song. It uses the presidential inauguration of former president Jimmy Carter in the song as well as a voice modifier at the end of the song to reflect a presidential speech. 

2. Mirror (feat. Bruno Mars)
This self-aimed song is Wayne's way of showing his intellectual independence and do-or-die attitude. As great as the actual lyrics are in this song, Bruno Mars' singing may have been even better. Overall this song is a great listen for most anyone. 

3. It's Good (feat. Drake and Jadakiss)
Just a cool song setup. An old-school rap legend, Jadakiss, starts the song out. The new school artist and member of Wayne's label Young Money, Drake, follows up Jadakiss and sets up Lil Wayne to bridge the gap between the old and the new. The song is meant to assure all doubters that Lil Wayne is far from done in the rap game. 

4. She Will (feat. Drake)
Very vulgar song, the metaphors and personified lyrics are what makes this song great. Probably a song you'll need to listen to more than once to get a solid feeling for, I know I had to. 

5. Blunt Blowin'

Tried to leave this song off the top 5 but couldn't convince myself, if your offended by the title, try to remember that the song is not actually about blowing blunts. Give it a try with as little bias as possible and see how you like it. 

Some things to leave you with. These youtube videos, due to copywriting laws, are not of the best quality so if you like the songs but would like to listen to the real-album versions, I would definitely suggest buying the album or if you can't afford a $14 CD, I'll give you a copy of mine. So no excuses! Also, studies show that people typically don't know for sure whether they like a CD after the first time but typically can make a better judgement after 2 or 3 times through the CD. If you hate it the first time, give it a day to soak in, and try it again. If the second time isn't any better, don't worry, not everyone likes rap and even less like Lil Wayne. For those who end up not liking the above songs, don't give up on me yet, I'll bring country back to the music posts very soon.