Archive for January, 2009

Take the Double Extra Points: Super Bowl Extravaganza

January 30, 2009

College Bowl Season: 17-13 ATS (57%)
Double Extra Lock: 13-4 ATS (76%)

First off, sorry we haven’t been around for the past week. Starting next week, we will be back with more of the same. That will include a survey of what you want more of. It’s a tough life being a Nebraska blogger and it’s tougher knowing what the readers that pass by here want.

However, I feel like I owe it to everyone that has been taking our advice this year on our ‘Double Extra Locks‘ to make a few Super Bowl picks for you at the last minute. When I get the time, I will dissect that 13-4 record vs. the spread that we had this year. Feel free to go back to the DXP archives and check for yourself. It was a good year.

pittsburghlogo-6.5

2009 Super Bowl 43 Betting Over/Under 46.5

Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin’s best move as a head coach was retaining the great Dick LeBeau as defensive coordinator. Ken Whisenhunt’s – who was the offensive coordinator for the Steelers for 3 years – best move as a head coach – because of this game – was the hiring of OL Russ Grimm, who makes up a total of 8 assistant coaches that once coached at Pittsburgh under Bill Cowher or Mike Tomlin. Grimm knows Lebeau’s hectic defensive scheme and will have Kurt Warner prepared.

Super Bowl XLII could come down to the Steelers shutting down the Cardinals’ offense dynamo in Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerlad is the ressurection of Jerry Rice as he has defeated his record for post-season receiving yards (419), while having 1,431 yards and 12 TD’s this season.

Steeler’s WR Nate Washington and WR Santonio Holmes might be the receivers you need to remember after this. Washington is the #4 receiver for the Steelers, he did have 46 receptions this season with a 14.8 yard/average while Holmes had 59 receptions and a 15.5 yard/average. And althougy ou shouldn’t sleep on former Texas WR Limas Sweed either, don’t forget Heinz Ward and Heath Miller – the two most underrated players at their position in the NFL.

Remember the question about how big of hands college quarterbacks have? Check this one out. “Super Bowl footballs are different than regular-season and playoff footballs because they have more paint on them from decals and logos. Equipment men also aren’t given the extra time during the week to break in all the balls that will be used in the game. It‘s not the easiest thing to grip in the world and [quarterbacks] are the only position that has to deal with it on a constant basis,” Roethlisberger said.

And with the same article – this time referring to referees, “Referee Terry McCauley will be calling the game, leading an all-star group of officials that rated as the best in 2008. His presence could dictate a lower-scoring game. McCauley is a very good official and has Super Bowl experience. His regular-season games averaged a total of 41.93 points, the sixth lowest among the 17 referees and a little more than two points per game below the league average. Over the past three years, though, his games averaged 39.36 points, the lowest average among the 17 referees. The Cardinals win shootouts. The Steelers win lower-scoring games.


DOUBLE EXTRA LOCK

Pittsburgh (-6.5) over Arizona: Big Ben has been there and done that. Remember what the Eagles did to the Cardinals in the second half of the NFC Championship? Remember that. The Steelers are better coached and have more talent.

UNDER 46.5:
No way this is under 40. Not even close. Don’t think for a second that Kurt Warner has more than 2 touchdowns and Ben Roethlisberger has more than 2 touchdowns. Not going to happen. Combine the two touchdowns and take a few field goals and you are still breathing easy.

Who are you betting on Super Bowl XLIII?
( polls)

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The Illustrious Nebraska Football Program

January 23, 2009

The ESPN.com research team has put together their very own ‘Prestige Rankings,’ which as the name implies determines the most prestigious college football program in America.

Although not quite as elaborate as the DXP judges used for the Poon-per Bowl‘ rankings, the ESPN critics used their own complex point system that basically covers everything from points for National Championships all the way down to minus points for losing seasons and recruiting penalties. They started with the year 1936, which is the year the AP poll began and recognized a true national champion. The contest began on Monday with #21-#119 and finished today with #1-#5. As they rolled into Friday’s big finale, two Big 12 teams – Nebraska and Oklahoma – were still left standing.

The point system was as follows:

  • National title: 25 points (AP, UPI, or Coaches Poll)
  • Berth in one of the major bowls : 10 (major bowls are every Rose, Orange, and Sugar Bowl from ’36, every Cotton Bowl from 1940-’94, and every Fiesta Bowl since ’86)
  • Major bowl win: 10
  • Best win/loss record in conference regular season: 10
  • Final AP top-5 finish: 10
  • Heisman winner: 8
  • Final AP top 6-10 finish: 6
  • Conference title championship-game bonus: 5 (only given to a team if not already given points for the conference’s best record)
  • Final AP top 11-25 finish: 4
  • Bowl appearance: 3
  • Bowl win: 3
  • 10-win season: 2
  • Week as AP No. 1: 2
  • Win over AP No. 1: 1
  • Each consensus All-American: 1
  • First-round NFL draft pick (since ’70): 1
  • Losing season: minus-2
  • Each year of television ban: minus-1
  • Each year of postseason ban: minus-2
  • Each year of overall probation: minus-1
  • Each year of financial-aid penalty: minus-1
  • Each year of recruiting penalties: minus-1
  • Each penalty of “show cause action:” minus-2

The Top 5:

1. Oklahoma Sooners
Total points: 1,968

2. USC Trojans
Total points: 1,897

3. Ohio State Buckeyes
Total points: 1,655

4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Total points: 1,579

5. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Total points: 1,553

For an overview of the Top 5, click here.

The rest of the Big 12 teams rank as follows:

7thTexas (1,494 points)
20thTexas A&M (584 points)
22nd (T) – Colorado (486 points)
36thMissouri (314 points)
42ndTexas Tech (267 points)
63rdBaylor (129 points)
65thOklahoma State (115 points)
69thKansas (86 points)
76thKansas State (66 points)
114thIowa State (minus 53 points)

Amazingly, Nebraska was in 35th place when the 1950s began according to the authors. It was the run of Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne that clearly catapulted us to the Top 5. Nebraska’ big score came from being ranked in the top five in numerous categories such as major bowl appearances (30, T-2nd), 10-win seasons (23, 3rd), bowl appearances (45, 4th), conference titles (26, T-4th), weeks at AP No. 1 (70, 5th) and major bowl wins (14, 5th).

And like many of the other schools in the Top 5, we certainly had our problem years. The Huskers had 17 losing seasons in a 21-season span between 1941 and 1961. More recently, Nebraska has produced only two first-round picks this decade, while finishing the season unranked in four of its last five seasons.

Like any arbitrary ranking system, this one certainly has its flaws. For one example, starting in the year 1936 skews the rankings significantly for some programs. Sure, the Associated Press Poll has been going strong since 1936. However, the AP took their final poll prior to bowl games from 1936 – 1964 and in 1966 and 1967. They took their final poll after the bowl games in 1965 and from 1968 – Current.

With that in mind, I believe that defining the ‘modern-era’ of college football and using that year instead of 1936 would prove a more accurate assessment of this ranking system. However, the ‘modern-era’ of college is a heated debate for most fans. I’ll argue that it began as late as the 1967 game between Notre Dame and Michigan State that brought about unprecedented television ratings and future television/bowl contracts, and as I just mentioned, the first year the polls were completed after the postseason.

Now, if only the authors at ESPN.com would follow-up these rankings with this more accurate/fair timetable, then I would be satisfied.

Even with that being said, Oklahoma still deserves that #1 spot.

At #5 on ESPN’s Prestige Rankings, Nebraska is:
( polls)

More Tebow? I’m Not Sure If I Can

January 21, 2009

In case you had enough after the National Championship game and were living in a no-Tebow-zone for the past few weeks, here is Tebow’s sermon on giving college football fans one more glorious year of his eternal presence.

Then, at last Saturday’s Florida-Arkansas basketball game, Tim Tebow walked out with several other Gator players and coaches during halftime so they could be honored for their National Championship. Tebow initially walked out with a sling around his right arm because of arthroscopic surgery he had on his shoulder the previous Monday. By the time Tebow was done talking, the sling was torn off and thrown into the crowd. It was truly a miracle.

I’m not going to sit here and slam Tebow for his faith and his family’s continuing mission work worldwide. That’s great he devotes time to help others. However, there are plenty of collegiate athletes that do great things for others that rarely get mentioned in the same way as the great Tebow.

Take for example Florida State’s Myron Rolle. It absolutely baffles me as to why Tebow continues to dominate the college football media frenzy with his goodwill for humanity when you have someone like Rolle who deserves more admiration. Rolle recently won a Rhodes Scholarship and will be passing up millions of dollars as a Top 50 NFL pick so he can study medical anthropology for a year at Oxford University. Whether he eventually decides to return to the NFL is still up in the air, but Rolle has made it clear that when he is done with medical school – where he wants to become a neurosurgeon – he is going back home to the Bahamas to open up free medical clinics for people who can’t afford medical care. Rolle founded a program called ‘Our Way To Health’ for Seminole Indian children to help educate them about the importance of physical fitness, he studied comparative politics and holistic medicine for six weeks in London, and he was awarded a $4,000 grant for cancer research. In fact, Rolle is so unconcerned about the accolades that football brings him that Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews once actually complained that Myron was spending too much time concerning himself with school and research and not enough time preparing as a Florida State football player.

Sure, Rolle’s accomplishments were mentioned for a few weeks on most of the major sports networks. However, they weren’t even close to being covered as much as Tebow’s announcement on his return for his senior season, his National Championship, or his slinging of his arm sling.

Take the following video of Tebow at the recent National Championship game for an example of how the media has always and will always worship the ground he walks on. According to Michael Smith at Fanhouse,

“Thom Brennaman said, That might be the first thing he’s ever done wrong in his life.’ Brennaman’s partner, Charles Davis, was even worse: He tried to excuse Tebow’s behavior by saying, he was backing away, which is good.’ Uh, no. Tebow had purposefully walked several yards downfield to get right into Harris’ face before he did the Gator Chomp. He only started backing away when he was sure Harris had seen what he was doing. Last time I checked, getting in someone’s face to taunt him, only to back away before he has a chance to respond, isn’t “good.”

Enough is enough. I can’t believe that for another entire year we will have to watch Tebow and the Gators and be told that this is the best player to ever play college football and the best human to ever walk the earth. I’m literally getting nauseous thinking about it.

Are you looking forward to another year of college football with Tim Tebow?
( surveys)

Pete Carroll and Benedict Arnold Mark Sanchez

January 16, 2009

With Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, and Colt McCoy all deciding to return to school for the 2009 college football season, USC QB Mark Sanchez took a leap of a faith (no disrespect Tim Tebow) and decided to declare for the 2009 NFL draft without Pete Carroll’s endorsement. Sanchez has 16 games and one full year as a starter on his resume, which evidently doesn’t meet Carroll’s criteria for the NFL.

Said Sanchez: “It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to this university.”

Said Carroll: “We didn’t see this decision the same.”

Said Sanchez: “I will always fight on.”

Said Carroll: “Mark is going against the grain in this decision, we know that, he knows that.”

Pete Carroll was so upset that he refused to sit by Sanchez during the press conference and then proceeded to walk by Sanchez without looking him in the eye after his statement.

I’m a little perplexed as to why Pete Carroll is doing this. For starters, Sanchez has the opportunity to be taken first overall and clearly has the physical tools to play immediately in the NFL. Secondly, if a player that has put in 4 years of hard work for your team and program makes a decision that he feels at peace with, then why wouldn’t you do everything to support him? Bashing his decision and readiness for the next level is certainly going to plant a seed of doubt to a few NFL general managers, especially when it comes from a former NFL head coach.

I’m not sure if I can ever remember a coach this infuriated about a player deciding to leave early for the NFL. It’s one thing to not to agree with your player’s decision, but it is a whole different ball game when you put your discontent out there for everyone to hear.

On the other hand, if I was Pete Carroll, I wouldn’t be real excited about the upcoming battle about to take place between Mitch Mustain’s mom and the rest of the quarterbacks either. While Mustain’s mom – Beck Campbell – usually balances her delicate offseason schedule between the football and the men’s basketball programs, she will have to refocus most of her energy back to football with the departure of Sanchez. Be careful, Pete.

Which QB will have the best NFL career?
( polls)

The Myth of Not Being Able to Beat a Team Three Times in One Season

January 15, 2009


This weekend we get two of the final three football games of the year in the NFC and AFC Championship match-ups. Although both look like good games, hardcore fans should be praying to the football gods for a Steelers-Eagles Super Bowl. A Ravens-Cardinals game would be like pitting the Devil Rays and the Phillies in the World Series. The watchability factor might be worse than hitting the Glitter Gulch on Fremont Street on a Monday morning.

But prior to almost being robbed at gunpoint, former Cowboy receiver Michael Irvin noted on ESPN that “it’s hard to beat a team 3 times in one season” in reference to the Steelers and Ravens meeting for the third time this season, with the Steelers winning the previous two.

Apparently it’s easier to go 3-0 than getting arrested in a hotel room with an 8-ball of crack and two hookers. According to NFL Fanhouse, there have been 18 instances in the NFL where two teams met in the playoffs, after one team won both regular season meetings. The team with the 2-0 advantage won 11 of the 18 re-matches in the playoffs, a 61% winning percentage (not against the spread.)

Of those 18 playoff re-matches, the Steelers were involved in three of them, in 1989, 1994, and 2002. In both 1994 and 2002, the Steelers were 2-0 against the Browns and won the playoff game. In 1989 they were 0-2 against the Oilers and also won the playoff game.

For my gambling dollars, I’ll take the Steelers and the moneyline in this one and hope the same Cardinals team that showed up for a 47-7 thrashing in New England shows up this weekend against the Eagles.

Do Fox Announcers Make Your Ears Bleed?

January 13, 2009

And the answer to that question is “yes.” After watching last week’s national title game on Fox, I think it’s safe to say that every college football fan on the planet should be sending ESPN a “thank you” card for coming out on top of the bidding war for the rights to broadcast the BCS games starting in 2011. If you didn’t believe in religion before, this is proof that a God does, in fact, exist. But that still means you will need to utilize the “mute” button on your remote for one more year, assuming Fox sends its dynamic duo of Thom Brennaman and Charles Davis to the booth for next year’s BCS title game broadcast.

In case you muted the broadcast after the first of 37 “Tim Tebow is the greatest human being on earth” comments, here are some snippets of what you missed courtesy of Awful Announcing:

“Super Sam beat out Superman for the Heisman.” – Davis

“These thoroughbreds, these Secretariats, it could tighten up at halftime.” – Davis

“Our camera hovering above the field like a humming bird.” – Brennaman

“Tebow steps out of major trouble to gain a yard..erm add 5 on top of that for a gain of 6.” – Brennaman after a 5 yard penalty

“He comes right across the face of number ten.” – Davis

“I got so excited, I thought they were going on 4th down twice!” – Brennaman
“I should have been there to help you partner.”Davis

“They had 4 games that hit the 500 yd rushing mark, Tebow was one of them.”Brennaman

“That was Louis Murphy, the son of a Baptist Miner…Minerster….stirring it up.”Brennaman

“Oklahoma won the turnover.”Brennaman

“Architectural like precision from Bradford.” Brennaman

“He lost his shoe after losing a defender!”Brennaman

“If you’re fortunate enough to spend 5 or 20 minutes around Tim Tebow, you’re better for it.” – Brennaman (at least once)

“When Major Wright hits you, you feel it in a major wrong way.” – Brennaman

“If this is a tennis match, those are two unforced errors.” – Davis

“These two teams have run everyone out of the gym.” – Brennaman

“Big decision time here…do you go for it on 4th down?”Brennaman
“Go, go, go ,go go”Davis on 3rd and goal. The video of the call is here.

“The field goal is almost conceded where they are on the field of play.”Davis the play before Florida scores a TD to go up 10 from the 15 yard line

I thought Fox could have at least issued a disclaimer for the kids listening. I’m not sure it was appropriate to let them hear Davis and Brennaman make love to Tebow through the microphone for 3 1/2 hours. Listening to Charles Davis televise any college football game is like sending out Lucas at wide receiver in the Super Bowl. Someone in the Fox production team needs to be fired for assigning these two talentless announcers for the biggest game of the college football season. When you are begging for Craig James and Todd Blackledge in the 2nd quarter, you know there’s a problem.
Even Google agrees. Searching for “Charles Davis” and “terrible” pulls up 398,000 hits. (Disclosure: googling “double extra point” and “terrible” pulls up 203,000 hits.) And how does the only Fox announcer with any credible experience, Chris Myers, get sideline duty for the title game? It’s kind of like having LeBron as the 6th man on the Cavs bench. Makes less sense than OJ’s pre-sentencing rant in a Las Vegas courtroom last month.
The gold standard of painful moments in broadcasting came from Frank Hamlin in season one of ‘South Park.’ And I think it goes without saying that Thom Brennaman has reached that gold standard.

More About A Boy Named Suh

January 13, 2009

Bo Pelini had this to say about Ndamukong Suh’s decision to return to Nebraska for his senior season:

The most important thing I said to him is, if you’re coming back, you need to come back for the right reasons. And the right reasons are not NFL-oriented. The right reasons are to get his degree, to play tremendous football, to help this program in the future, and it’s about team, it’s about Nebraska, it’s about what we have going on here. And he was totally on the same page as I was. He’s an unselfish football player, a great person, the kind of person you want to be the focal point of our football team.”

I still say it’s a wise investment. Now that Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy is returning to school as well, the Big 12 will feature the two best defensive tackles in college football in 2009.

How will Ndamukong Suh’s draft status change with one more year in college?
( surveys)

Girls of the Pac-10

January 12, 2009

Here we go with the final installment of the Poon-per Bowl Championship Series

Although the SEC and Pac-10 advanced throughout our single-elimination tournament to the finals, I decided to pull a BCS and have a vote on the PBCS. To view any of the conferences that were previously posted, click on the links below. Be sure to study up as we definitely don’t need you making any erratic decisions on such an important vote. (voting is at the end of this post)

Big 12 – for Round 1 click here and for Round 2 click here
Big Eastclick here
Big Tenclick here
SEC – for Round 1 click here, for Round 2 click here, and for Round 3 click here
Conference USAclick here
Pac-10 – for Round 1 click here and for Round 2 click here
ACC – for Round 1 click here and for Round 2 click here
The Fieldclick here

ARIZONA

ARIZONA STATE

Can’t get enough of the Arizona State women on here? Feel free to hire one then. For $25-$50 hour, you can bring one to a party near you. Check out Jenny’s facebook page for more info.

CALIFORNIA


OREGON

OREGON STATE

STANFORD

UCLA

USC

WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON STATE

The Poon-per Bowl Champion is:
( surveys)

The All-PBCS squad and a special tribute to the winner coming soon…

Vote for Deadspin’s 2008 SHOTY

January 10, 2009

This is the last weekend to vote for Deadspin’s ‘SHOTY’ (Sportshuman Of The Year) contest. The finals match the #1 seed Buzz Bissinger vs. the #11 seed Baby Mangino and voting is open until this Sunday.

Buzz Bissinger and Deadspin editor Will Leitch sparred on HBO’s ‘Costas Now’ last April. Bissinger is an established sports writer best known for his book, “Friday Night Lights.” And by watching this segment of ‘Costas Now’ that explored the world of sports blogging, it’s not very difficult to recognize Bissinger’s opinion for Leitch and the rest of the sports blogosphere.

Part of the segment is below but you can watch it in its entirety here. Great television. For Leitch’s reaction to the show, read here.

Baby Mangino was a costume fabricated by unknown parents presumably from somewhere in Jayhawk Land. Outstanding.

Both are excellent choices and both are deserving in their own right. To vote, click here.

Rid the Broken BCS

January 9, 2009

Glad that’s over.

Is it just me or does the end to the college football season seem anticlimactic now? Another end to the season marred by the BCS because yet another team or two has a legitimate argument that they should be champions. The current BCS system is failing and failing bad.

Stewart Mandel at CnnSI.com recently pointed out exactly how bad things have gotten for the BCS since the induction of the fifth game. Some interesting things he pointed out before the Fiesta Bowl and last night’s BCS Championship:

  • “The Cincinnati-Virginia Tech Orange Bowl played on New Year’s night drew a paltry 6.1 overnight rating for FOX, shattering the previous low of 6.98 set by the 2007 Wake Forest-Louisville Orange Bowl. By point of comparison, the Dec. 27 Florida State-Wisconsin Champs Sports Bowl drew nearly the same-sized audience.”
  • “The Utah-Alabama Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2 garnered a 7.8 rating, an 11 percent increase from last year’s Georgia-Hawaii game. Even so, the game ranked seventh-lowest among the 45 BCS games played to date.”
  • “Only the USC-Penn State Rose Bowl on ABC garnered its typically high rating of 12.6, up from 12.0 for last year’s USC-Illinois game. But even that number marked the third-lowest of the 11 Rose Bowls played during the BCS era.”

The 2009 Fiesta Bowl did draw an increase of 39% from 2008 and 29% from 2007. Then again, you had West Virginia and Boise State playing against Oklahoma in those two years. Last night’s 2009 BCS Championship game drew 24 million viewers from 8 pm to 10 pm. Meanwhile, ABC, NBC, and CBS drew a combined 25 million viewers in that same time slot with mostly repeat episodes.

In comparison, Super Bowl XLII (2008) drew 97 million viewers – more than 4 times as many as last night’s game. Although the Super Bowl is on a much grander stage, the BCS Championship should bring in more viewers. It would be hard to estimate what a championship game in college football would draw if it was the culmination of a playoff system, but I can almost guarantee it would be higher than 24 million.

Besides the abysmal television ratings, the current BCS Championship game is far from a championship under any sensible interpretation. In no way whatsoever can a true champion be determined from computer systems and polls voted on by biased coaches and ESPN’s talking heads. In no other sport besides NCAA Division I football, college or professional, do you see a format this unjust with a result this controversial after every game has been played.

Whether you like him or not, this guy has a pretty good point: