Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Pre-Christmas Half-Off Blow-Out Spectac-Ular

Here we are friends, one day before another December 25th. Maybe that's significant to you, maybe not. If not, please stop reading, because this blog is meant exclusively for Christians. It's the blog equivalent of the defiant dude on the street who's still pissed off from last night's Bill O'Reilly episode about the town in New Mexico where the mayor wouldn't allow a tree to be put up in the city square, and keeps going up to people with a challenging look in his eyes and saying "Merry Christmas" like he's picking a fight.

That's who this blog is. Except it isn't; I like Christmas well enough, but right now all I can think about is the moment this afternoon when I'll exit daylight with my heavy bag in tow to make the horrible Grand Central-->Times Square-->Penn Station subway journey, and then possibly have to sit on the linoleum and listen to babies cry and girls whine on their cells and businessmen make that tight face that says 'this is unacceptable' because every Amtrak train is delayed. After that, though...yeah, man, Christmas. Gifts and trees and church. Kids singing in a choir. There's a nun who directs the singing kids, and she gesticulates like she's giving a fiery halftime speech to a football team. That's always a big hit with me.

Anyway, I'll be back Monday, so you'll only miss one post. Let's get started with:


(I've decided to give this a new name every day to keep things fresh.)

Goals which can be considered "ambitious":

25-9 Straight Up
20-14 Against the Spread

Currently: 2-3 both ways. I finally took my head out of my ass last night and realized that the Pac-10 stinks and that the Mountain West is pretty damn good. It made it easier that Utah-Cal was basically a carbon copy of the BYU-Oregon State game the night before, but hey, at least I learn the simple lessons, right? Let's hope I can carry this momentum into the weekend and emerge with a winning record.

Tonight's Game: Nevada (-13) vs. Southern Methodist, 8pm

Conference trends: C-USA is 0-2 in bowls. The WAC is 0-1. Maybe I should have learned my lesson from Fresno State, the other WAC club who was a huge favorite and lost in OT to Wyoming. On the other hand, Nevada killed Fresno, 52-14, about a month ago. And unlike Fresno, they pass all the time. Almost every game SMU won was close, and they were blown out a few times along the way. Am I still scared of the underdog after what's happened so far? Yes. Absolutely. But the miserable showing by C-USA is enough for me, as is Nevada's strong end-of-year showing against Boise State.

I Like: Nevada straight up and (gulp) with the spread.

Saturday: Ohio (-4) vs. Marshall, 1pm

Here we are again; mid-level C-USA team (they lost to UCF and Southern Miss, who were both blown out in earlier bowl games) with a .500 record against a strong team from the MAC who lost 20-10 against a very good Central Michigan club in the title game. No-brainer here, the spread should be much higher.

I Like: Ohio straight and with the spread.

#17 Pittsburgh (-3) vs. North Carolina, 4:30pm

Three points, really? Pitt team came a missed extra point from taking Cincy to overtime in their final game. But looking more closely, the spread does make some sense. UNC is a tough team, and this should be a really fun game. But can they stop Dion Lewis? Can they put up enough points to keep pace? I'm not sure, but I doubt it. It'd be crazy, in my mind, to take a team that lost to Florida State and NC State semi-recently over one of the strongest teams in the Big East. I think that conference has a lot to prove, and they're going to. I don't hate UNC at all, but this is still an easy pick.

I Like: Pitt straight and with points.

#24 USC (-7.5) vs. Boston College, 8pm

The Pac-10 looks miserable, USC is without Joe McKnight and 3 others, they're probably disappointed by a down year and no Rose Bowl, and it's probably not the biggest deal to them if they lose. On the other hand, BC lost big this year to UNC and Virginia Tech, and barely squeaked by Maryland in their last game. Plus, the game is being played in San Francisco, and Pete Carroll is pretty great in bowl games. I'm really torn here; I think it could go either way, but I have to ride this Pac-10 trend at least one more game.

I Like: USC straight up, barely, and Boston College against the spread.

Sunday: Clemson (-7.5) vs. Kentucky, 8:30pm

This one is so friggin' tricky. Kentucky ended their year with an OT loss to Tennessee, and they beat Auburn and Georgia along the way. The only games they lost decisively were Florida and Alabama, and, well, so what? Also, there were two games late in the year that gave a good hint about the relative strength of the ACC and SEC. Georgia over Georgia Tech, and South Carolina over Clemson. Neither was expected, both were fairly decisive. I have to roll with the SEC and the underdog on this one, especially with a spread this high. Hopefully CJ Spiller doesn't make a fool of me.

I Like: Kentucky straight up and against the spread.

Wow, that's a lot of games. Moving on to the big boys, I have a small correction from a couple days ago; the Giants own the tiebreaker with both Green Bay and Dallas. All that has to happen is for us to finish with the same record as either team, and we're in. Currently, the Giants are 8-6 with Carolina and Minnesota (road) on the docket. Green Bay is 9-5 with Seattle and Arizona (road). Dallas is 9-5 with Washington (road) and Philly (road).

If we can win out, things should fall in our favor. Carolina should be a safe win, so the big question mark is Minnesota, which is why you can imagine how much I'm loving the latest Brett Favre implosion saga. Keep being pissed off at your coach, Brett! You should be able to audible just like Peyton! It's not like you're prone to stupid passes under pressure anyway...nope, they oughta give you the playcalling reins too!

Man, I really wish we were playing them at the Meadowlands on a freezing day. I'd get giddy watching Favre shiver on the sidelines, and I'd probably be able to pinpoint the exact moment when he emotionally checked out. You can tell by when he gets that little annoyed half-smile, half-grimace, shakes his head, and looks up at the scoreboard. That's when ole Brett has shifted all blame and responsibility elsewhere, and switched into go-through-the-motions mode.

No Duke basketball this weekend, so that should about cover things. Have a great weekend, and good luck giving and receiving gifts to all my Christian brothers and sisters. This is our moment!

Here's a picture of Lawrence Tynes dancing with the Rockettes and a Santa Claus. It's Christmas the city!

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