30 September 2008

Two Link Tuesday

Hey y'all -

I figured I'd inaugurate a new tradition here at 90% Mental - because if I can't (as the founder, editor in chief, and head writer), who can?

So here's what's gonna happen: every Tuesday, I'm going to put up two YouTube videos that I find amusing. They might be familiar to you, they'll definitely be sports-related (though the strength of that connection might vary), and hopefully you'll like them. I'll try to keep them G or PG-rated for those of you (you know who you are... I'd say I know where you live, but that'd be creepy) who are reading at work.

So, for the first inaugural Two Link Tuesday, we'll go with two classics:

1. "Boom Goes the Dynamite"



2. "That's Kinda Gay"

27 September 2008

NCAA Football PIcks - 9.27.08

Look out for the SEC! The conference has six teams in the AP Top 25 - and of those six, three (LSU, Georgia, and Florida) are in the top 5. The conference is both top-heavy and deep, a rare and frighteningly imposing combination.

Picks for this week? Odds are from USA Today.

Florida -23 against Ole Miss
Tim Tebow is going to have his first really big game of the season; look for him to throw for about 280 yards and four touchdowns; look for UF to win by close to 40.
Prediction: Florida 52, Ole Miss 14

Tennessee +6.5 against Auburn
The Vols are a solid team, their blowout loss to Florida aside, and will keep this game close. Auburn has had offensive troubles all year.
Prediction: Auburn 14, Tennessee 12

Arkansas +27.5 against Texas
Texas is a good team, and will be amped up to play against the Razorbacks. But 27.5 is a big number against a SEC team.
Prediction: Texas 41, Arkansas 24

LSU -24.5 against Mississippi State
Upset alert! OK, not really.
Prediction: LSU 38, Mississippi State 10

Alabama +6.5 against Georgia
Georgia will try to run the ball up the middle with Knowshon Moreno; Alabama DT Terrence Cody is going to collapse in on himself and form a black hole, sucking Moreno past his event horizon and into a void from which he may never return. To rephrase: the Crimson Tide have a very, very good rushing defense, and will shut down the Bulldogs' ground game. Matt Stafford has a great arm, but isn't good enough yet to carry Georgia on his own. Look for the Bulldogs to try a two-point conversion to tie with under a minute left, but be stopped.
Prediction: Alabama 23, Georgia 21

South Carolina -24.5 against UAB
If there's one thing Steve Spurrier knows how to do, it's run up the score on an inferior opponent - and, make no mistake, UAB is an inferior opponent.
Prediction: South Carolina 48, UAB 21

Western Kentucky +22 against Kentucky
The Wildcats aren't up to the standards of the rest of the SEC. They'll still win, but the Hilltoppers will keep it close-ish.
Prediction: Kentucky 31, Western Kentucky 17

Special Picks:
TCU +17.5 against Okahoma
I'm going to go out on a limb here: this upset will be one that will overshadow USC's loss to Oregon State. Oklahoma has a top-notch offense, but a defense that, sans injured DT DeMarcus Granger, will be a little bit weak in the middle; MWC powerhouse TCU has the top statistical defense in the country and a high-quality, Cerberus-esque rushing attack that features Ryan Christian, Joseph Turner, and Aaron Brown. Look for the Horned Frogs to top the Sooners and keep on rolling all the way to a BCS game.
Prediction: TCU 24, Oklahoma 19

Last Week: 6-1 (Ahh, that's more like it)
Season: 15-15 (Back to .500 - movin' on up!)

21 September 2008

E.J. Manuel: running through the ringer

...according to this post by SportsIllustrated.com's Stewart Mandel. Writing about how FSU's offense has continued to degenerate, Mandel notes that Jimbo Fisher "does have his own hand-picked QB, E.J. Manuel, waiting in the wings, but he's hardly the first savior-in-waiting to run through this ringer."

To which I reply: Yes, I'm quite sure that it's difficult for Manuel to charge through what may be (depending on the definition used) either a person who enters a competition under false representation, a device that sounds a bell-like tone, or a successful horseshoes toss - but wouldn't it be far more apt to say that he's running (or, better, going) through a wringer, which Merriam-Webster Online defines as "something that causes pain, hardship, or exertion"?

Just wondering.

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20 September 2008

NCAA Football Picks - 9.20.08

There's a terrific selection of games on tap today, as SEC teams begin playing major opponents both in and out of conference. Hopefully, my picks can measure up. Odds from USA Today.

Mississippi State +8 against Georgia Tech
I like Paul Johnson, and am a big proponent of the triple option. But Tech hasn't had long enough to really install and become familiar with Johnson's offense.
Prediction: Mississippi State 17, Georgia Tech 16

Alabama -9 against Arkansas
The Crimson Tide sport a quality defense (giving up 7.7 points per game thus far this year). The Razorbacks sport an offense that lost two first-round picks at running back.
Prediction: Alabama 24, Arkansas 3

Florida -7.5 against Tennessee
Tim Tebow apparently made a bet with Kenny Chesney: if the Gators win, Chesney must sing "It's Great to be a Florida Gator," while if the Vols win, Tebow has to sing Rocky Top. The faint strains of what is perhaps the most annoying fight song in the country shouldn't be echoing around the interwebs any time soon.
Prediction: Florida 31, Tennessee 17

Vanderbilt +5.5 against Ole Miss
Look out for Vandy! Well - not really - but the Commodores have a decent-enough squad to keep it close.
Prediction: Ole Miss 20, Vanderbilt 17

LSU -2 against Auburn
This game is pretty much a toss-up to me; both teams are terrific on defense, but somewhat lacking on offense. Auburn, though, has debuted a new offense that, without being much more effective, manages to take a lot more chances. Taking chances against very good defenses results in turnovers.
Prediction: LSU 17, Auburn 9

Georgia -6.5 against Arizona State
Look for the Bulldogs to line up and run the ball down the Sun Devils' throat, and for - when Arizona State tries to throw the ball to catch up - Georgia's pass rush to absolutely crush ASU quarterback Rudy Carpenter. This is a big game between quality teams. It could still get ugly.
Prediction: Georgia 38, Arizona State 24

Out-of-Conference Pick:
Michigan State -8.5 against Notre Dame
The Irish have looked like quality thus far in the season; still, they'll struggle to stop, or even slow down, MSU halfback Javon Ringer, who last week rushed for a ridiculous 282 yards.
Prediction: Michigan State 31, Notre Dame 21

Last week: 5-3 (still not ideal, but better)
Season: 9-14 (OUCH, but not as much ouch)

13 September 2008

NCAAF Picks: 9.13.08

I'm going to have to pick quickly today... analysis may be at a minimum. Thinking games through hasn't worked thus far, so I'm going to try going with my gut.

Tennessee -29.5 against UAB
The Vols looked bad against UCLA. UAB has the same first initial, but not the same defense.

Georgia -7.5 against South Carolina
Spurrier has always had Georgia's number - but he hasn't always had the dearth of talent he's faced with at USC.

Middle Tennessee State +16 against Kentucky
I just don't trust the Wildcats.

Alabama -27.5 against Western Kentucky
Saban! Saban! Saban! Now let's chant the name of Western Kentucky's biggest star... or mascot... (they're the Hilltoppers, btw - props if you knew that)

Mississippi State +10 against Auburn
In Croom we trust.

Louisiana State -41.5 against North Texas
Cupcake alert!

Southern Cal -10.5 against Ohio State
Without Beanie Wells, the Buckeyes will struggle to break 20. With Beanie Wells, the Buckeyes will struggle to break 20.

Michigan straight up against Notre Dame
RichRod's boys haven't looked good so far this year. The Touchdown Jesuits have looked worse.

Last week: 2-5 (THE PAIN!!!!!)
Season: 4-11 (THE PAIN!!!!!)

Are will

Special thanks go to reader Laura from Jupiter (I'm guessing she means the city, not the planet) for finding this error.

Are the Atlanta Braves spoilers? They will be, if you ask SportsIllustrated.com writer John Donovan.

"The Phillies and Mets, the front-runners in the National League East are will find the road to the division title goes through Atlanta."

It are has for the past two decades; why should this year be any different?

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09 September 2008

Brilliant!

ESPN.com columnist Gregg Easterbrook is an outspoken proponent of aggressive football - playing to win, rather than not to lose. One of the most obvious outgrowths of his philosophy is the idea that teams do not go for it enough on fourth downs.

So why, in his latest column, is Easterbrook applauding the Cleveland Browns for making what seems a really boneheaded move in kicking a field goal when down three touchdowns and faced with fourth-and-three from inside their opponents' twenty?

(In case you're unfamiliar with chess notation: ! indicates a good move; !! indicates a brilliant move.)

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DeAngleo!

According to SportsIllustrated.com's Jim Trotter, the Raiders have a new CB opposite Nnamdi Asomugha - and he isn't who you might think.

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06 September 2008

The way of the fist

Certainly, Rich Rodriguez has made a significant impact with the nearly militaristic way he has begun running the Wolverines' practices. But don't you think this is, perhaps, a bit excessive?

From a SportsIllustrated headline: "RichRod gets fist victory at UM."

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NCAAF Picks 9/6/07

Hi all...

So. Last week's results were somewhat less than spectacular, as a number of teams under- or over- performed in their season openers. I'd like to single out Tennessee and Alabama for special recognition; the Vols trod incautiously upon my dreams with their loss against UCLA (HOW can you allow a third-string quarterback to do that to you? HOW?), while the Crimson Tide proved incapable of the failure I had predicted for them.

Here we go with this week's picks, then; odds, as always, from USA Today.

Auburn -17 over Southern Miss
Last week, the Tigers' new offense proved quite impressive in a 34-0 thrashing of Louisiana-Monroe. This week, Auburn takes on an improved opponent, but they bring a bit more experience to the field.
Prediction: Auburn 38, Southern Miss 13

Central Michigan +23.5 against Georgia
The Chippewas, featuring Heisman candidate Dan LeFevour, can score with anybody in the country - at the same time, though, they will struggle to stop (or even slow down) the talented Bulldogs.
Prediction: Georgia 45, Central Michigan 28

Ole Miss +8.5 against Wake Forest
Look for the Rebels to pull an upset here against a team that was supposed to be one of the best in the ACC - a conference that, thus far, has been much less than impressive.
Prediction: Ole Miss 24, Wake Forest 20

Arkansas -14.5 against UL Monroe
I find that I somewhat pity UL Monroe - they open their season with consecutive games against SEC teams. After a 34-point shutout loss against Auburn last week, look for more of the same this Saturday.
Prediction: Arkansas 28, UL Monroe 10

Alabama -28 against Tulane
Beware the aftereffects of Alabama's big win against Clemson last week- or, wait... don't. Because they're playing Tulane.
Prediction: Alabama 41, Tulane 7

Florida -21 against Miami
Miami's a quality team - not the typical UF early-season cupcake. At the same time, though, the Gators have one of the most explosive offenses in the country. Look for Florida to score early and often.
Prediction: Florida 48, Miami 20

Out-of-Conference Special:
South Florida -14 against Central Florida
Last season, South Florida won this game 64-12, embarrassing the Knights en route to a 9-4 season. This season, UCF doesn't have record-setting running back Kevin Smith. So what happens? The line is set at 14. I don't understand.
Prediction: South Florida 31, Central Florida 13

Last Week: 2-6 (THE PAIN!!!!)
Season: 2-6