SPORTS

The Infallible NFL Week 12 Straight Picks

Each week I miss filling you in on my picks for the upcoming week I end up having a terrible record. I’ve been late on Thursday games before and have gotten them right, so let’s not delve into my wrong choices last night. Last week was a very underwhelming 8-6, and while I’ve been trying to pick upsets rather than just picking who I really think will win it’s been tough. So he we are with Week 12 picks.

Pre-Thursday Night record 112-48.

Cleveland at Atlanta. Who are the Browns? Not sure this game will tell us much, but it might give us a good idea as to whether they are serious about the playoffs this year. Josh Gordon will look be to a huge impact player. The Falcons are very good at home. After last week, I think anything is possible. Falcons 28, Browns 27

Mike Evans has been on a tear of late. Will it continue?

Mike Evans has been on a tear of late. Will it continue?

Tampa Bay at Chicago. These former division rivals match up in what will likely be a high-scoring affair of offenses that have been revived (sort of). Both teams have stud tandem WRs. Who will have the better game? Bears 34, Buccaneers 24

Cincinnati at Houston. The Bengals are an odd team. They start out hot, then get really cold, then decide they don’t want to suck again. Injuries play a big part. So does consistent QB play. The Texans have a solid defense and will have a running game when Arian Foster can go or not. Not sure I believe in Ryan Mallet just yet. Oh well. Texans 21, Bengals 17

Detroit at New England. Tom Brady and the annoying Patriots are on some kind of run right now. They’ve beaten all three other division leaders and are improving with each game, but who else is doing the same? Megatron. And Suh. And Ansah. And Fairley. And an entire Detroit Lion defense. Should be interesting. Patriots 17, Lions 14

Green Bay at Minnesota. Adrian Peterson isn’t coming back this year and Ben Tate wouldn’t be the answer if he had time to learn the system. There’s not much on offense and while special teams and a home crowd may help, Aaron Rodgers, a potent offensive cast, and a defense figuring out its role. Packers 31, Vikings 21

Tennessee at Philadelphia. The Titans have another tough test this week and don’t appear to be getting much better. Zach Mettenberger is playing well and Sankey has done alright in his limited reps. LeSean McCoy will continue his resurgence with Sanchez continuing to play better than many expected (despite the loss last week). Eagles 38, Titans 17

With Ahmad Bradshaw out, Trent Richardson needs to come through for once in his career.

With Ahmad Bradshaw out, Trent Richardson needs to come through for once in his career.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis. Andrew Luck didn’t have his best game last week, but the offense is still very hot. TY Hilton basically got shut out but Reggie Wayne is back and healthier than he’s been in a while. With Ahmad Bradshaw out, the Colts may be airing it out a lot. Denard Robinson has been the lone bright spot in Jacksonville this year. Look for another strong outing from the former Michigan quarterback. Colts 35, Jaguars 20

St. Louis at San Diego. It’s tough to figure out who these teams are. This will be a close game either way. The Charger defense needs to limit the big play and get the pass game going again. Philip Rivers has been a mini-rut for a few weeks now. Chargers 24, Rams 21

Arizona at Seattle. After losing to Kansas City, the Seahawks look to rebound in a big way again division rival Arizona. The Cardinals seem stagnant without Carson Palmer and a once-potent run game isn’t making as many plays. Andre Ellington needs to get more involved this week. Marshawn Lynch may very well be the difference. Seahawks 27, Cardinals 21

Miami at Denver. Did that just happen? Did they really lose to the Rams? Well, Sanders and Thomas were out at the end and the run was abandoned. But how did that happen? The Dolphins are no slouch either, but they haven’t exactly been on fire either. Broncos 41, Dolphins 28

Washington at San Francisco. The Redskins can’t get any worse can they? Does anyone have any faith in RG III? Well, it wouldn’t matter this week anyways because they visit a 49er team on the road that has been playing well after escaping New Orleans with such a big win. 49ers 31, Redskins 27

Dallas at New York Giants. The Cowboys surprised us with a loss to the Redskins a few weeks ago so anything is possible in this division. The Giants continue to lose but have been playing better. Rashad Jennings will help the run game. But who’s going to help that defense? If Dez Bryant brings the wood it will be tough to see a loss here. Cowboys 23, Giants 13

New York Jets at Buffalo. Why couldn’t this game have been played in Miami? I’m sure Detroit was the closest city with a stadium available but this is an in-state game for both teams anyways, why not just play it somewhere not miserable? I’m curious to see how Percy Harvin does this week and if Mike Vick can keep up the solid play. Hopefully Fred Jackson can provide a spark to an anemic offense and provide some relief to a prolific defense. Bills 28, Jets 20

Baltimore at New Orleans. I keep betting on the Saints and they keep losing. I want to believe that this week will be different, but I know my Ravens. Unless Justin Forsett literally carries this offense to a win, it will be tough to keep up with Drew Brees and the monster that is Jimmy Graham. Not having a reputable secondary is just the tip of the iceberg. Saints 38, Ravens 28

 

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SPORTS

Seeing is Believing

Love 'em or hate 'em (but mostly hate 'em), the Harrison twins are back and better than ever.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em (but mostly hate ‘em), the Harrison twins are back and better than ever.

At the end of last season not many people knew what to make of how the college basketball season ended. UConn was hoisting another trophy after a surprising run and many of the favorites were stuck wondering what happened. And then something else unexpected happened involving one of the most storied programs, Kentucky. No, it wasn’t Julius Randle going pro. It wasn’t James Young deciding to take his talents to the NBA (for a near future of riding the pine on a horrible team in Boston – a la Archie Goodwin sort of). The one-and-dones (and others) decided to stay (aside from the two aforementioned players).

The twin backcourt pairing of Andrew and Aaron Harrison announced they were staying for another year. After a less than impressive season you might not think that was too much of a surprise. Andrew needed to sure up his jump-shot, along with his decision-making and motor on the defensive end. And brother Aaron needed to prove that his magical tourney run of big shot after big shot wasn’t just a fluke. But these two were rated within the top-two at their respected positions and both were top 6 overall in countless publications. Prior to their arrival in Lexington, the Harrisons were almost expected to be lottery picks when considering their NBA size, quickness, and poise. So what happened to all that athleticism in between high school and college? And why weren’t they as disruptive on the defensive end (a staple of John Calipari’s coaching methods)?

Another big name from the unprecedented recruiting class was 7-footer Dakari Johnson. A guy that reclassified up a grade to join the class of 2013, Johnson showed great skill and potential in the low-post while stealing minutes at the 5-spot from Willie Cauley-Stein before any injury was an issue. Sure, there’s plenty of things he still needs to learn and hone before he goes to the next level. But how many athletic, legit 7-footers with this kind of potential  that play the true center position are there in the NBA right now? Maybe 5 or 6. That might even be a little generous.

Then there’s Marcus Lee, a guy with seemingly unlimited potential that didn’t have a chance to do much of anything until the Final Four because of all the depth in the Kentucky front LAST YEAR. He’s long, slender, and ultra-athletic. He can jump out of the gym and rebounds with great productivity. He, like Johnson, would have been a lottery pick in all likelihood had he made the decision to jump to the pros. So why come back to play behind a loaded team of guys that have NBA potential?

Willie Cauley-Stein is back for a third year starting for perhaps the deepest group of front-court players in the history of college basketball.

Willie Cauley-Stein is back for a third year starting for perhaps the deepest group of front-court players in the history of college basketball.

Moving on, we have Willie Cauley-Stein. A talented 7-1 glue-guy with potential for more that really hasn’t had the opportunity to show his full arsenal on such a deep roster. This guy was a highly-rated wide receiver on the football field, much like Lebron James, but still doesn’t have the kind of body that might have been helpful for such a sport (not that his height has left it as a realistic option). But Willie is now back as a junior. We know what he can do, and unless he adds another 30 pounds or so then it’s safe to say he won’t be developing the back-to-the-basket game of a Julius Randle. Still, he’s got the ability of a Tyson Chandler (with less natural range). So why didn’t he go pro?

And then there’s Alex Poythress. This guy was a top-10 player out of high school that was listed as a small forward with the mind of a power forward. His athleticism is off the charts, but his motor had been a question in the first two years and he hadn’t etched out a specific position yet. With all that said, Poythress is still an NBA prospect. He wouldn’t have been a first round pick and was really no threat to leaving early, but it’s not out of the question for Poythress to have been chosen as a project-pick in the second round.

So after a year when the draft was supposed to be perhaps the best ever (which is a joke because 2003 and 1984 were so far ahead), the draft of 2015 could possibly be better than 2014. And the talent from the new crop of freshmen has a little something to do with that. Kentucky might be a reason for that as well. It all starts with Karl Anthony-Towns who is a 7-foot tall athletic dynamo with three-point range. He’s projected as more of a 4-spot player with the skill-set of a LaMarcus Aldridge with a slightly higher ceiling. The kid can get up. And he’s unselfish, which is a pretty surprising theme thus far in this young season. Tyler Ulis is the smallest guy on the team and it’s not even close, but his game is plenty big. Ulis has great handles and can get into the paint well for a guy his size. Then there’s Devin Booker who could play the 3 but sets up as more of 2-guard for such a large team. He’s got great range and fluid shooting stroke. For this particular team, he doesn’t need to do much else. Trey Lyles is a guy that can guard the 3-spot but is naturally a more comfortable fit at the 4. He’s got a mature inside-outside game as well as a mature demeanor.

We aren’t even mentioning the other two guys on the bench, Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins, who have very real ability. There’s the argument that they could be starting for a large percentage of D-1 teams, but that’s just BBN (Big Blue Nation) supporters talking out of their asses. Willis is the better of the two and might be a better fit than Marcus Lee on the second platoon, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a high-major star (or at least not yet). Willis is more of a Darius Miller kind of guy in terms of his maturation. He will be very good by year 4, but he’s not amazing now and doesn’t need to be. Hawkins has the grit and confidence of a saavy vet, but his diminutive stature and athleticism (by comparison to other UK players) make it tough to find minutes. Last year, he found playing time as the backup combo guard taking away time from the Harrisons in various situations. Playing in Europe might be a real option for the kid.

With all the talent on this team you’d think they would be a shoe-in for a National Championship run, but there’s so much else that goes into things. Connecticut wouldn’t have made it past the round of 32 if it were all about talent last year. Intangibles play a big role in what makes a team really good. Maturity and intelligence on and off the court really define a group going forward. Kentucky had a tough first 30 minutes in their opener against Buffalo and many were quick to pass judgment. After watching the Wildcats beat a legit Kansas team by 32, it’s tough to argue with the D-2 coach that said they could beat an NBA team (or be a playoff team or some bullshit like that). But these are young kids. Granted, the 76ers are too and they technically field an NBA-caliber team.

The important thing to remember here is that the college basketball season is long. Lots can happen. Kids can get in trouble for running their teammates over in the parking lot (Indiana) or countless other crazy team violations. Injuries can and likely will happen. Yes, there’s an unprecedented amount of depth, but who knows how that can be affected. Other teams will get better too. Duke is strong. Wisconsin is strong. VCU and Wichita State won’t have a tough road to the NCAA Tournament. There’s just so much that could happen and teams that we can’t even begin to discuss. But after watching this last game, Kentucky is for real.

I hate Kentucky fans. They are the worst in college basketball. Duke fans are close second, but that’s about it. Even while acknowledging that, I can’t help but go on about how impressive the Wildcats looked in this young season. With a season gearing up and getting going, the only thing left to do is sit back and take it all in.

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SPORTS

Parental Supervision

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a child abuser!

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a child abuser!

Let’s be clear, anyone that brings up the fact that both Adrian Peterson and Dwight Howard happen to be black as a reason for why they are currently in the shitter for child abuse. But for as much as race, money , education, or any other determining factor really has no bearing on their individual circumstances, you really can’t go blaming your parents.

It’s almost (but not quite) like the age-old question: if this person jumped off a bridge would you too? You can make the argument that it’s a learned action or even that it’s hereditary, but at least take some ownership for your decision-making. You chose to have however many kids that you have. Deal with the consequences of making that million-dollar decision (literally, if you want them to go to college too).

It’d be really easy to play devil’s advocate and let them believe that they hadn’t done anything wrong, but in this hyper-sensitive age that we are living in you just don’t have that option. On top of that, you have to deal with being a celebrity. Your decisions just happen to be magnified a few thousand times. But if you have the trade-off of making millions of dollars for playing a sport for making good decisions then it doesn’t sound that tough to me.

Better cancel that order for "Best Dad in the World" mugs.

Better cancel that order for “Best Dad in the World” mugs.

Unfortunately, there are tons of athletes (black and white alike) that have illegitimate kids (Larry Bird! what?!?what?!?) and if you so choose to put yourself in a position where having kids is a possibility, then you have to live with the sad likelihood that in your lifetime you will have some evil bitch trying to extort you for money in one way shape or form. The absolute worst thing that you can do is GIVE them a reason to do something, rather than sit and wait for them to make up some big lie. But the sadder truth is that as unplanned pregnancy rates rise, the quality of parenting lowers. There’s worse parenting habits running rampant out there, just hasn’t been a famous person to put much of it in the news just yet.

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ETIQUETTE

That Guy: Who Is Always Hitting On Your Ex

Dudes will just never learn.

Dudes will just never learn.

For those of you that grew up in a small town, sharing females isn’t crazy. But for those of you that didn’t grow up with few options for optimal romance (assuming you use that word), you don’t really know much about having two share multiple hookups. Sure, everyone has eskimo brothers in college but that’s not real life. This is about the guys that know better.

Whether they are referred to as junk-yard dogs or the guy that likes the leftovers, everyone has a friend who can’t help up hit on/try to hook up with your ex-girlfriend. It’s not bro code to avoid a guy’s ex. That shit’s for chicks. It’s more about knowing that the kid is going to try shit if there’s ever a chance. And we all know a few guys that we’d never want to think about ex’s being with. It’s also the same guy that you think is good dude who you’d totally help out in any situation necessary, but if your sister ever asked whether she should date him you would respond with a resounding, “FUCK NO!”.

In smaller towns, or tight groups of friends, or even fraternities/athletic squads people share partners. But it’s always the funniest thing when you see a guy hook up with girls after everyone else. It’s not like the girl had any more options. And it’s not like the guy didn’t have plenty of time to find someone else. This is especially alarming with the way social media has affected to ease with which finding dating options should be. Yet for some reason this guy continues the mop-up duty in every situation.

In reality, that guy never actually gets laid. He’s just the guy that swoops in to say that everyone before him was an asshole. Unfortunately, he will say whatever he needs to for success and friendships have no real importance. Girls usually do this kind of shit to get back at bros, but it only looks bad for them. Either that or they are just losing their appeal and know it.

 

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