Archive for September, 2006

My Predictions Stink
September 29, 2006

I’m not ashamed to admit it. My history of sports predictions is about as impressive as Shelley Long’s movie career. Now that we’re closing in on the end of baseball’s regular season, let’s see how lousy I did at guessing which teams would be spending October playing baseball and which teams would be spending October catching up on their Gilmore Girls DVDs.

Well, I said that the Brewers would finish below .500. Sadly, that turned out to be true. I also said that the Cubs would be worse. That also turned out to be true. But — and here’s the funny one — I said the Cardinals would be “unstoppable.” Yes, those Cardinals. The team that just dropped eight of their last ten games and find themselves in danger of being knocked from first place in the NL Central to out of the playoffs entirely. Fortunately for them, they do play the Brewers this weekend. I look for the Cards to hang on and win the division. (And hey, Brewers fans, as much as it’s nice to have a series this weekend that actually means something, aren’t we sick of playing spoiler? Wouldn’t it be decent to be the team with a snowball’s chance in hell of actually making the postseason for a change?)

I predicted good things for the New York teams, saying the Mets would take the NL East and the Yankees would win the AL East. Although predicting the Yankees will win their division is a bit like predicting eating radishes will give me gas, all of a sudden I feel like my predictions maybe weren’t that bad.

Oops. I said Detroit would finish last in the AL Central. Yep, I suck. Oh, and I said the LA Angels would win the West. Wrong again, although the Angels did make it somewhat interesting.

Hey, I said that the Dodgers and Twins would win the Wild Cards. That was pretty good.

[On a sidenote, does anyone buy the tired injury excuses from the Brewers? One of the keys separating the good teams from the lousy teams is their ability to persevere through injuries, which seem to be more and more inevitable every year. Sure, the Brewers lost for considerable periods of time Ben Sheets, Rickie Weeks, Corey Koskie, and JJ Hardy, but the Twins lost Shannon Stewart, Francisco Liriano, Brad Radke, and Torii Hunter. You tell me which is a more impactful group of players and which team, with their respective injuries, should have gone in the tank faster. Hint: It ain’t the Brewers.]

Oh, and I picked the White Sox to beat the Cardinals. Not only was that a wussy pick back in April, it also proves to be a lousy pick in late September. The Sox are out, and the Cardinals look to be bounced early, if they make it at all.

Well, just because I stink at predictions, don’t mean I can’t keep making ’em:

World Series: Yankees over Mets. Yawn. New York loves it, the rest of the country turns off FOX to watch Grey’s Anatomy and Howie Mandel’s game show.

This weekend’s NFL:
NFC North:
Minnesota 20, Buffalo 10
St. Louis 35, Detroit 24
Chicago 17, Seattle 7
Philadelphia 38, Green Bay 27
Upset Special: San Francisco 27, Kansas City 20. The Chiefs stink. But not as bad as my predictions do.
Oh, and the Badgers will beat Indiana in a cakewalk. But you knew that already.

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Get The Dish
September 22, 2006

It’s not normally my place to pimp products in this blog, but since I care about you, the NFL football fan, I think it’s time I make an exception.

This is the season to get the dish. No, I’m not talking about the Elvis Presley commemorative plate marking 30 years since The King took his Vegas Revue up to that big Tropicana Hotel in the sky.

I’m talking about the DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket.

You see, fans in the Madison viewing area who are hoping to see the best NFL football this season are largely going to be screwed.

Now, if you’re a Packer fan and you would watch Green Bay take on the WISC News team in a game for charity (a game that would be more competitive than you might think; Toni Morrissey and Linda Eggert aren’t nicknamed “Flea” and “Flicker” for nothing) over any other NFL action, then you’re fine. You have nothing to worry about. The local football schedule is made for you. Enjoy it.

But if you feel the Packers have no shot this year to win more than say five games (and that seems to be the majority opinion, even among the most optimistic Packer fans I know), and you’d like to check out NFL games featuring legitimate playoff contenders, then you’re largely out of luck with the Sunday afternoon games offered up by WISC and WMSN.

You see, no matter how bad the Packers get, WMSN will never NOT air one of their scheduled FOX Sunday games. There is too much money to be made from local advertisers, and chances are FOX wouldn’t allow a local station not to take a local team anyway. So local viewers this week are stuck with Packers/Lions (two 0-2 teams) instead of Vikings/Bears, a game that pits the two co-leaders of the NFC North against each other. (My pick: Bears in a game not that close.)

The situation is maybe even worse at WISC. This week the local CBS affiliate is forced to pass up on great 12 noon games like Colts/Jaguars and Bengals/Steelers to take . . . a 3 PM game featuring the 0-2 Browns against the Ravens? Why would WISC do that? Because the Packers play at 12 noon on FOX and CBS doesn’t believe that anyone would watch a NFL game against the Packers, no matter how infinitely better the matchup is.

But if you have the Dish — like yours truly — you get the Vikings/Bears. You get Colts/Jaguars. And you get Steelers/Bengals. Then the problem becomes — you guessed it — which to watch. Thank God for TiVo, something I can’t believe I ever lived without. But of course I’m not here to pimp products.

Quick picks: Lions over Packers. Sorry. Jaguars over Colts. (Yes, I know the game is in Indy.) And Bengals over Steelers.

Enjoy the football this weekend. I’ll see you Monday morning on C3K Live.

Where Have I Been And Why Haven’t You Missed Me?
September 15, 2006

Wow. That was a long layoff between posts.

Not to bore you, my faithful reader, with the details too much, but apart from my role as sports blogger here on Channel 3000, I have many other duties at Television Wisconsin, Inc. Because of the startup of the new programming season, the late summer/early fall tends to be a busy time for me, and this year, with the switchover from UPN14 to My Madison TV14, it was/is busier than usual. Hence this blog, one of my favorite things to do here, tended to get pushed back as I tended to other matters. I apologize to you, my faithful reader, and I won’t let it happen again! You mean too much to me for me to disappoint.

But of course the real reason I came back stronger than ever is I wanted to give myself props for my excellent pick for the winner of Big Brother All-Stars, which recently closed house. Sure, the very annoying, sexist, and all-around descipable Mike “Boogie” Malin actually won, but readers of this blog will note that I picked the darkhorse Erika to win the day after the premiere and she ended up doing me proud by coming in second place. In my mind, she should have beaten Boogie because she played more or less on her own and Boogie mainly rode Will Kirby’s coattails. But I digress . . . But man, Big Brother is so good. CBS should do it year-round on Saturday nights. Saturday nights is such a wasteland for non-sports TV.

Wait, did someone mention sports? That’s what I’m supposed to be writing about, isn’t it? With that in mind, here’s five things to watch for this weekend in the featuring the Packers and the other NFC north teams:

1. Facing the Packers in week two, Reggie Bush’s productivity will be off from his week one NFL debut due to the distractions of reports that he and his family accepted gifts and money totaling over $100,000 from two marketing agents while Bush was still playing at USC. Bush is obviously a young — though amazingly talented — player, and he can help but be bothered by these accusations — especially since they involve his family. Personally, I don’t care if Bush took the swag or not: We are living in times when college punters are stabbing each other and youth football coaches are assaulting opposing players and t-ball coaches are paying 8-year-olds to injure autistic and mildly retarded teammates so that they can’t play and supposedly dilute what would otherwise be the t-ball equivalent of the ’69 Mets. College football is a business, folks, and if Bush accepted airfare or lodging, big deal. Especially since he Bush is responsible for bringing some much-needed positivity, excitement and pride back to The Big Easy.

2. Partially due to #1, look for the Packers to bounce back from an embarrassing week one and beat the Saints, thereby evening their season at 1-1. The Packers are bad, folks, but they do seem to have the Saints’ number: It was just last year when Green Bay torched New Orleans 52-3. I don’t look for a rout like that in this or any other game this year, but the Packers will do enough to win a close game.

3. Carolina will defeat Minnesota in another close game: Sports writers everywhere want to write off the Panthers after a surprising home loss in week one, but they will improve against a Viking team that they typically dominate. The Vikings’ week one victory wasn’t so much about them being impressive as it was about the Redskins underachieving. But it was fun to see Daniel Snyder and Tom Cruise pout on Monday night over the defeat. And I like Tony Kornhiser. Just don’t like Joe Theismann.

4. Detroit at Chicago: Chicago will be tested more against the improved Lions, but they will continue to impress as the class of the NFC North and take a 2-0 record into week 3’s game against Minnesota. Roy Williams’s career as a sports prognosticator will prove to be as short-lived as CBS’s Jericho.

5. Not that it has anything to do specifically with the NFC North, but the wretched Joe Buck will continue to drive down Fox’s NFL pregame ratings. Here’s hoping he’ll be announcing WNBA games next year.