It has been quite an interesting last two weekends for the Big Ten conference. And by interesting I mean losing big out of conference games and lowering its standing in the so-called “Power 5″ conferences.
Let us count the ways…
Last weekend the B1G’s three brand-name schools Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State all lost BIG (no pun intended). The Spartans ran out of gas and therefore got run out of town in the second half in Oregon. Michigan was shut out in what may be the last regular season meeting vs. Notre Dame. And in what was the biggest shocker of all, Ohio State lost by two touchdowns to Virginia Tech – at home.
The B1G went 3-5 in seven non-conference games, the only three wins being Ohio State’s demolition of Kent State, Michigan getting by Miami (Ohio), and Nebraska’s curb-stomping Fresno State. Minnesota and Illinois were blown out. Purdue fought hard but was ultimately over-matched. A shootout slipped away from Maryland. It’s probably best not to mention what happened to Iowa at all.
And after Saturday the Big Ten finds itself with a 1-10 record against Power 5 opponents. Hell, the B1G also lost three games against Mid American Conference schools this season (Indiana losing to Bowling Green, Central Michigan curb-stomping Purdue, Northwestern losing to No. Illinois).
The B1G has nobody else it can blame for the lack of respect nationally when it keeps coming up short in its biggest opportunities to earn it around the nation. There may still be a College Football Playoff contender or two at the top of the league, but if there’s a logjam for the third and fourth spots in December, the B1G’s best may look back at September games it wasn’t even involved in as the reason it gets left out of the playoff field.
Hell you know it’s bad if fans of the conference of my youth, the Atlantic Coast Conference, are clowning another conference’s perceived weak “little brother” standing among the other “Power 5″ conferences.
Now the B1G could correct this problem next weekend by simply doing the following: win all of its non-conference games. Nebraska needs to beat Miami at home, Maryland needs to win at Syracuse, Iowa needs to win at Pitt, Indiana needs to a Missouri, and Michigan needs to beat Utah at home. It’s daunting, but doable.
Otherwise the Mid American Cnference will be looking to pile on the B1G misery. #MACtion indeed…
Too bad news surrounding the incompetence of NFL commissioner/warden/playa hater/wannabe HNIC Roger Goodell. aka “Fraud-ger Goodevil”, has moved the actual upcoming games to the back-burner. Jesus, be a fence!
Steelers over Ravens
Bills over Dolphins
Panthers over Lions
Bengals over Falcons
Saints over Browns
Vikings over Patriots (as close to an upset special as I could get)
Cardinals over Giants
Titans over Cowboys
Redskins over Jaguars
Seahawks over Chargers
Buccaneers over Rams
Broncos over Chiefs
Packers over Jets
Texans over Raiders
49ers over Bears
Colts over Eagles
Last week’s record: 8-8 (Man, predicting opening week NFL games are tough. Oy!)
I don’t like the man nor his mama.
I have long hated the way Goodell has handled the NFL’s concussion issue. I didn’t like the way he skirted away from the issue by instituting asinine rules where a defender could not breathe on a quarterback and receivers. If defensive linemen and blitzing linebackers come within a stone’s throw of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees they would be penalized and fined the next day.
Goodell is turning the NFL into powder-puff football before our eyes. I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes QBs wear pink jerseys and skirts.
I have also despised the way Goodell levied out disciplinary suspensions/fines. Not only had he set himself up as judge, jury and executioner when it comes to handing out suspensions and fines – he had appointed himself as the mediator in appeal hearings! As far as the punishments themselves, Goodell has been wildly inconsistent. He has gone for harsh punishments for convicted felons (Michael Wick’s dogfighting, Donte Stallworth’s drunk driving), athletes who had NEVER been charged (Ben Roethlisberger), to bonafide wrist slaps (Ray Rice).
Speaking of Rice, Goodell’s bungling of the domestic abuse case makes one thing to me clear: “Fraud-ger Goodevil” should resign or be removed from his role as commissioner of the NFL quick, fast and in a hurry.
Let’s look at how Goodevil handled this.
Everyone saw the first video, released just days after the February incident, when Rice was shown dragging his unconscious fiancee out of the elevator into the lobby. That was damning enough, but in today’s world, you knew there was a video of what happened behind closed doors.
So why didn’t the NFL demand to know those facts? Or did they know and chose to ignore them? What did Goodevil know about the second video, which was really the first video? The end result should really be the same either way, the commissioner’s conduct as the head of the most powerful sports league in the country has been so neglectful, so disrespectful, so reprehensible, that to continue on as commissioner is to spit in the face of common sense.
In lieu of seeing the video, or having a full understanding of what we all now understand to have taken place, the league instead chose to ask for Janay Palmer’s side of the story. Only, in cases of domestic violence, never is it appropriate to have the woman speak in the presence of the attacker (Rice), his employer (team officials) and multiple league executives.
Yet it happened on Goodevil’s watch.
Let’s not stop with the commissioner. The Baltimore Ravens fucked this up from the beginning as well.
Remember when the Ravens publicly had Rice’s back after he was charged?
Remember when head coach John Harbaugh called Rice “a heck of a guy”? Remember when the Ravens’ PR flunkie wrote a glowing piece about Rice?
That shit changed when TMZ showed that elevator video. The Ravens fired Rice, and the NFL called itself suspending Rice indefinitely. And now you have media members like this Ravens homer who sung the Ravens’ praises.
Give me a fucking break.
Since the Ravens fired Rice, where was owner Steve Bisciotti? And since he didn’t post at a night time news conference, where were the other leaders in the organization — president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome? After terminating the contract of running back Ray Rice Monday afternoon, Bisciotti should have appeared before the media to address questions and publicly apologize for the poor judgment made by his franchise.
The decision was made by Bisciotti and he should have talked about the new video and whether the Ravens had seen it. If they had, why did the team support the two-game suspension by the NFL? Bisciotti also needed to explain why the team didn’t punish Rice separately from the league.
Instead he offered this wordy, but lame-ass open letter to personal seat license holders, suite owners and sponsors.
While both the team and commissioner both had some culpability in the Ray Rice cluster-fuck, I believe accountability starts at the top. Goodevil should man up for a change by stepping down as NFL commissioner and get the fuck out of Dodge – quick, fast and in a hurry.
By now y’all know what soon-to-be Atlanta Hawks majority owner Bruce Levenson said in an ill-fated email concerning the financial state of his team.
When I first heard about this, I had a wide range of emotions. At first blush I was angry, upset that another rich white dude insulted black folks yet again a la former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Then I heard some commentary from some black members of the sports media, including Bomani Jones and Stephen A. Smith. I also read commentary from the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
So I quickly re-read – and re-read again – Levenson’s email. I have come to the following conclusion: while what Levenson said was ignorant and frankly stupid, I do not think he was being racist. In fact, I would go a step further and say it was more about increasing the bottom line for the Hawks.
In other words, it was more about business.
Let’s take a closer look at the email itself. I will point out where Levenson was trying to look at the business side of things while tripping over himself with ignorant and ill-founded comments. Then y’all will realize that he did not have the same racist garbage as Sterling.
So without further ado…
“Regarding game ops, i need to start with some background. for the first couple of years we owned the team, i didn’t much focus on game ops. then one day a light bulb went off. when digging into why our season ticket base is so small, i was told it is because we can’t get 35-55 white males and corporations to buy season tixs and they are the primary demo for season tickets around the league. when i pushed further, folks generally shrugged their shoulders. then i start looking around our arena during games and notice the following:
– it’s 70 pct black
– the cheerleaders are black
– the music is hip hop
– at the bars it’s 90 pct black
– there are few fathers and sons at the games
– we are doing after game concerts to attract more fans and the concerts are either hip hop or gospel.
Then i start looking around at other arenas. It is completely different. Even DC with its affluent black community never has more than 15 pct black audience.”
Now if Levenson would have left it there and perhaps tried to offer an intelligent dialog as to how to attract more of that particular demographic, which is factual by the way, then it would have been seen as a legit way to improve business. A bit uncomfortable mind you, but we all know that business is cold and cutthroat. You do what you gotta do to increase that bottom line.
Unfortunately, Levenson decided to go further…
“My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a signficant season ticket base. Please dont get me wrong. There was nothing threatening going on in the arean back then. i never felt uncomfortable, but i think southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority.”
So basically Levenson believes that all southern white are scared to death of black folks. I’m not going to speak for all southern whites, but many of the white dudes I grew up with in Winston-Salem, NC would vehemently disagree with that.
At any rate, here’s more…
“I have been open with our executive team about these concerns. I have told them I want some white cheerleaders and while i don’t care what the color of the artist is, i want the music to be music familiar to a 40 year old white guy if that’s our season tixs demo.”
That would have been okay (I guess), however it was followed by…
“i have also balked when every fan picked out of crowd to shoot shots in some time out contest is black. I have even bitched that the kiss cam is too black.”
The kiss cam is “too black”? Really???
“And many of our black fans don’t have the spendable income which explains why our f&b and merchandise sales are so low. At all white thrasher games sales were nearly triple what they are at hawks games (the extra intermission explains some of that but not all).”
Atlanta is a city with one of the most affluent black populations in the country. And the reason why I think Atlanta Thrasher merchandise, who are ironically now the Winnipeg Jets, may have done better than the Hawks is because Atlanta is a transient city. There are more fans of the Knicks, Lakers, Heat, and now Cavaliers in Atlanta than Hawks fans. And again, the Thrashers are now chilling (pun intended) in Winnipeg.
And the money shot…
“We manufacture a lot of noise but because of the late arriving crowd and the fact that a lot of blacks dont seem to go as crazy cheering (another one of my theories) as whites, it is not great.”
I love how he has his “theories” on how racial groups behave and interact. Hell I know a lot of white folks who are late to EVERYTHING.
Like I said earlier, Levenson’s words were very ignorant and stupid, but they were not racist at all.
Let us remember what the term “racist” means. Webster defines it as “a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another”. Levenson was not going the racist route in this email. Case in point…
“On fan sites i would read comments about how dangerous it is around philips yet in our 9 years, i don’t know of a mugging or even a pick pocket incident. This was just racist garbage. When I hear some people saying the arena is in the wrong place I think it is code for there are too many blacks at the games.”
Doesn’t sound racist to me. In fact, he was attempting to call out such hateful statements on those infamous message boards/chat rooms.
I will say this – if Sterling didn’t show his ass earlier this year, there wouldn’t have been a huge stink over this. If anything, there would have been a press conference called where Levenson would have apologized as he did today, and life would have gone on.
Not now, not in this climate. After Sterling’s comments the NBA is in “ultimate sensitive” mode right now, and Levenson has paid the price.
The ironic thing is Levenson was one of the strongest critics among owners of Sterling. Go figure right?
As with previous seasons, I will keep a running tally of my own win-loss record on my picks starting in Week Two. I will also give y’all my Game of the Week, and “Who Gives a BLEEP?” game of the week starting next week. It’s too damn early to assign any game either of those labels, plus I’m just too damn happy to have the NFL back.
And as always, your input and your own prognostications are more than welcome.
So without further ado, let’s get this party started – shall we?
Seahawks over Packers
Steelers over Browns
Saints over Falcons (VERY underrated rivalry)
Rams over Vikings
Eagles over Jaguars
Jets over Raiders
Ravens over Bengals
Bears over Bills
Redskins over Texans
Chiefs over Titans
Patriots over Dolphins
Buccaneers over Panthers
49ers over Cowboys
Broncos over Colts
Lions over Giants
Cardinals over Chargers
It can’t get any better than that.
Last week I had my own version of NFL “two-a-days”, previewing two divisions a day. Today in addition to predicting division winners, I will also predict wild card teams, conference winners and the 2014 Super Bowl champion. For those who believe that reading is fundamental, I will include links to each of the bi-divisional previews.
I will also give my individual award winners for this season (which I have a 70% chance of screwing up, but we won’t talk about that).
Feel free to make you comments heard below – I know some of you clowns will not agree with me. So, without further ado…
Note: *- denotes wild card team.
NFL Coach of the Year: Sean Payton
NFL MVP: Peyton Manning
NFL Offensive Player of the Year: LeSean McCoy
NFL Defensive Player of the Year: Richard Sherman
AFC Champion: Denver Broncos
NFC Champion: Seattle Seahawks
Super Bowl Champions: Seahawks (the Broncos won’t be punked again, but they aren’t beating Seattle in the rematch)
- Denver Broncos (12-4)
- San Diego Chargers (9-7)
- Kansas City Chiefs (9-7)
- Oakland Raiders (5-11)
Analysis: This should be another easy divisional ride for the defending division champion Broncos. Peyton Manning was embarrassed in last season’s Super Bowl, and you don’t want to embarrass Manning. I feel for the rest of the teams in the division.
Speaking of which, I think the Chargers will put together another solid campaign. As long as Phillip Rivers is still slinging the rock, the San Diego will remain competitive. The Chiefs will still be competitive under Andy Reid. “Big Red” and co. awarded QB Alex Smith with a well-deserved suspension, though I think KC will take a step back this season. As for the Raiders, I like that they FINALLY have a sense of direction, but the talent is simply not there. Having rookie QB Derek Carr start the season is a good way to jump-start the future.
- Seattle Seahawks (12-4)
- San Francisco 49ers (10-6)
- Arizona Cardinals (9-7)
- St. Louis Rams (7-9)
Analysis: Though I think San Fran will give Seattle a fight in this division, I still like the Seahawks to come out on top. There is one thing being fat and happy after a Super Bowl win, but I think Seattle is still motivated to defend its title. Hell they might be even HUNGRIER. The defense remain intact with Richard Sherman and Cam Chancellor leading the way, though I think the key to Seattle being scarier is on offense. If QB Russell Wilson continues to improve his play, look the hell out.
The 49ers will be so depleted defensively via injuries (Navarro Bowman) and suspension (Aldon Smith and probably Ray McDonald), I don’t see them recovering enough to overtake the Seahawks. That’s just too tough to overcome, even with a coach like Jim Harbaugh running the show.
The Cardinals simply do not have the same defensive firepower from last season, especially after losing Darnell Dockett to free agency. Arizona’s secondary will keep the defense rolling a bit, but the Cardinals will not be sneaking up on anyone this season.
Sucks to be the Rams. St. Louis is a well-coached team, and would be a playoff team if it competed in the NFC East and North last season. Hang in there St. Louis, …hang in there.