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Sunday, October 2, 2011

NEW FEATURE! Monkey and Sports!

Okay...I'm tired of just talking about poker on this blog. Yeah yeah, I know, I really don't even talk that much about poker, right? Well...I have got quite a long history of picking winners in football, and have virtually NAILED the final score in the past two Super Bowls, thus earning me the affectionate title of 'Monkey the Greek.'



So...I'm going to try doing something fun. I'm going to try, for the rest of the football season, to make my weekly picks for  both NCAA (the top ten games) and all the NFL games. I also feel that last week's victory in the NCAA/NFL Confidence Pool...where I put up 24 wins against 7 losses, gives me mucho credibility!

Today is in the books, so obviously I will NOT be making any College predictions right now. Instead, what I'm going to do is give you my TOP TEN after one month of the season. Feel free to blast me with comments if you think I am either (a) a genius, or (b) obviously been sniffing glue!!!!

MONKEY's TOP TEN NCAA FOOTBALL TEAMS Thru OCT 1st



Yes. I am a big Alabama fan. So is there some bias here? Maybe. I also happen to think the Crimson Tide have the best defense, hands down, of any team in the country...especially against the run. And defense wins championships. They get LSU at home this year, which is a huge advantage, and at 5-0 and really just LSU, Auburn and maybe Tennessee standing between them and an SEC Championship, I think 'Bama has all the tools to go all the way again. With two All-American caliber RB's and a QB that continues to improve each week, there is just nowhere for this team to go other than UP. Is a letdown possible? Sure...but not as likely with a coach like Saban. Nick is obsessed with winning Championships...and I don't see a letdown for this team.


Yeah, I know...you think I'm crazy! Where is LSU??? Monkey, you are such a fool! Whatever. Wisconsin is a powerhouse...with great QB and RB play and a solid defense. Their o-line is phenomenal. And they win big games. They are head and shoulders above the rest of the Big Ten this year...and destroyed the one team that probably posed the biggest threat to them by crushing Nebraska today. I see this team coasting to an undefeated record.
 

The Oklahoma Sooners. This is one of the most baffling teams every year, is it not? They are always ranked in the Top 5 in the rankings to start out every year. They always seem to have 3 or 4 All-Americans. But don't they always seem to lose that one game they aren't supposed to lose? Or they lose a major player or two to injury? Now their conference is being weakened by the defection of Texas A&M and possibly others later to come. Some weeks they look unbeatable, while other weeks they look very ordinary. Regardless, I think this team has way too much talent, and are too well-coached to lose more than 1 game. And if your name is Oklahoma, and you lose one game,  guess what? You're playing in a BCS Bowl Game!                                                                                  

Okay Tiger fans...here you go. I have you as my 4th best team right now. Sure...you have plenty of time to rise to #1, and I will give you you're just due if you can crush Florida next week, and then meet up with Bama as an undefeated team and beat them on their home field. Absolutely. I am just not that impressed with them. I think their offense is very average. They have been the beneficiaries of a lot of turnovers from their opponents. That game with Oregon...and the one with West                    Virginia...were it not for a couple of big turnovers in the red zone...those are two different games. And Les Miles is someone you can never trust at crunch time to make the right decision. I am very impressed with the team's overall speed and athletic ability, and their defense closes on the ball      nearly as well as Alabama's. That should be one hell of a game in November. But they still have      Auburn, Arkansas and Tennessee as well as 'Bama, so things could get rocky fast for the Bayou     Tigers. We'll see.                                                                                                      

This team is without a doubt the biggest surprise of 2011 so far. I had to sit on my couch last weekend and listen to Gabe Costner, who was at my house with Claudia watching the Bama game with us, talk about how great he thinks Clemson is. Then today, after they smashed an over-rated Va.Tech team...I get his text message, reaffirming his claim. They are 5-0...and have just Ga Tech and S.Carolina as major foes remaining on their schedule. It will be fun to watch this team to see how far they can go. And they might just really screw up the BCS picture as well. There aren't a lot of questions about their offense. They can score like a guido at a Jersey Shore reunion, their biggest challenge is stopping people. But right now, I don't think anyone wants to face these guys.

The class of the Pac-10....errrr...sorry, Pac-12. Still can't get used to that, as a longtime Pac-10 guy from Seattle. They have, without any doubt whatsoever, the #1 pick in this coming spring's NFL Draft. Even in his postgame interviews he sounds like he's been doing this for ten years. Was concerned that after losing Coach Harbaugh to the 49'ers up the Interstate, that they would have some negative fallout. Wrong. They just continue to pummel everyone they play. Another Rose Bowl appearance for Stanford looks automatic, unless they can run the table, and get a little help from a couple other teams. I mean...either 'Bama or LSU have to lose at least once, right? So they aren't too far off the radar.


I really thought this team was going to be the real McCoy, no pun intended, yeah I know, McCoy played at Texas....but it seems like for the past five years it was always a great game between those two. Sure, they are 4-0. Yeah, they made a beautiful comeback against Texas A&M last week before taking this week off. But if you look at the rest of their schedule? Ouch...brutal. There really aren't any cakewalks at all. They could actually finish 6-5 if things go terribly awry. On the other hand...Coach Gundy might just have one of those seasons where everything goes right, they win the Big 12...and who knows, maybe ends up in a big BCS game. I know one thing...these guys are fun to watch, and their cheerleaders are smokin hot!!

 Good 'ol Boise State. You can't argue with their record over the past 5-7 years. And their non-conference schedule is always impressive. They go out of their way to play good teams...and I think that helps them destroy their conference every year. They have a Heisman contender in QB Kellen Moore and their running game is explosive as always. I think the AP poll has the Broncos too high at #4. I just don't think these guys could compete at a Top 5 level every week if they were playing in a conference like the SEC. So you say "Yeah, but remember in the Fiesta Bowl when they beat double digit favorite Oklahoma?" Sure I do. I think if you take a brilliant coach, give him 30 days to prepare for one team...that a team with lesser talent can always find a way to win. That's the beauty of football, college especially. Coaching really is a huge advantage, and I think Boise State has one of the best in Chris Petersen. BSU probably goes unbeaten again this season...and ends up in the Fiesta Bowl.

Okay, as a Washington Husky....and yes...we are FOUR and ONE! Really didn't see us going on the road and beating Utah, but we did! Four and one? Wow! I pegged my Dawgs to win 6 maaaaybe 7 games this year. They might shock me. One team I do NOT see us beating...are these Ducks. Now when I was young, Oregon was always an automatic 'W' when you saw them on the schedule. No longer. The one good thing? We have them in Husky Stadium. That's the only good news. This team runs, runs, and runs some more. Chip Kelly has one of the most original and unique offensive schemes in college football, and if you can get around some of Mr. Nike's heinous outfits that he designs for them...they are damn entertaining to watch. But I hate the Ducks...so I must force myself to root against them. Always. The game of the year in the Pac-12 probably happens on Nov. 12th in Palo Alto, when the Ducks travel to meet what could be unbeaten Stanford. And if the Ducks win that game...there is a possible 'trap' game the following weekend at home against always tough USC.

Okay, I will admit it. I drank the Kool-Aid last season. Michigan came out of the gates on fire. Denard Robinson came out of nowhere and was the talk of college football. Wow, I thought...Rich Rod finally has this team out of the doldrums. And then...they crashed. Like an airliner missing it's left wing. The defense looked like a high school team. It was brutal. Rich Rod got shown the door, and it looked like Michigan was right back to where they were two years ago. Rock bottom. They found Brady Hoke from San Diego State. Well, Big Blue is unbeaten. They are scoring a lot of points. And the team is actually stopping people. One problem...they haven't played anyone yet that is very good. They played Notre Dame when the Irish were still trying to figure out who and what they are...and should have lost that game. In their last three games of the season, Michigan has to play Illinois, Nebraska and Ohio State. Good luck!!!

1.   Alabama   (5-0)  next victim: Vanderbilt.  Prediction:  Bama 35-7  ACTUAL SCORE:  Bama 34-0

2.   Wisconsin  (5-0)  bye next week. Lots of cheese shall be consumed.

3.   Oklahoma (4-0) next suspect:  Texas.  Prediction:  Sooners 34-20
ACTUAL SCORE:  Oklahoma 55-17
4.   Louisiana State  (5-0) next victim: QB-less Florida.  Prediction. Tigers. Big! Call it LSU 42-21.
ACTUAL SCORE:  LSU 41-11
5.    Clemson (5-0) next victim: Maryland. Prediction. C-Tigs 44-24
ACTUAL SCORE:  Clemson 36-14
6.    Stanford (4-0) next blowout: Colorado.  Prediction.  Cardinal 48-17
ACTUAL SCORE:  Stanford 48-7
7.    Oklahoma State (4-0) next challenge:  Kansas. Prediction. Pokes 38-24
ACTUAL SCORE:  Okla State 70-28
8.   Boise State (4-0) next up: UPSET possibility, Fresno St.  Prediction: BSU by less than two touchdowns
ACTUAL SCORE:  Boise State 57-7
9.    Oregon (3-1) next mercy killing: Cal. Prediction. Ducks 55-10
ACTUAL SCORE:  Oregon 43-15
10.  Michigan (5-0) next up: UPSET possibility #2. Northwestern. On the road. Prediction: Wolverines eek it out 28-24.
ACTUAL SCORE:  Michigan 42-24

Okay....here we go with my fearless NFL predictions for tomorrow and Monday Night. If you happen to use my picks, and succeed, I will accept tips. If you should happen to use my advice, only to lose your car, house, wife and job...I don't want to hear anything!

Game 1.  Carolina Newtons vs. Chicago Barely Care's. On paper, the Bears should win this one going away. But Cam Newton cannot be trusted to just lose when him and his team are 7 point dogs or more. And that offensive line of Chicago's is still a joke. But Chicago HAS to win this game...or their fans might not let them out of Soldier Field alive.  Bears: 20-17    FINAL SCORE: CHICAGO 34-29

Game 2.  Da Bills at Cincinnatti.  Pffft. What are the Bengals anyway? In preseason they looked like they might not even show up for the regular season. Then they look pretty okay twice this season, but then shit the bed at home vs. SF last week. I don't see this game going any other way except Buffalo improving to 4-0 with a win where they score a ton of points, and my Fantasy QB Fitzpatrick throws about 5 TD's for me!!!  Bills in a blowout:  35-17   FINAL SCORE: CINCINNATI  23-20

Game 3.  Titans at Cleveland.  How pissed are you that you didn't win that radio contest, where you won airfare, hotel and game tickets to this awesome matchup? Don't sweat it...pretty sure there is a cooking show on TV tomorrow night to brighten your spirits.  The only thing I care about in this game is will Nate Washington collect 10-15 recpts now that Kenny Britt is toast? If the answer is yes, I should have a good fantasy outcome!  I like the Titans 24-17.  Cleveland scores 10 of their points off safeties.   FINAL SCORE:  TENNESSEE: 33-13

Game 4.  Winless Vikings vs. Winless Chiefs.  Good news! Someone is going to come out of this game with a victory. Who is that good news for? Not the team who is hoping to get Andrew Luck in the NFL draft! Minnesota is definitely the better team...and you know they will be leading by about 20 pts at the half. But can they stop the inevitable second half comeback from the Chiefs? I say they finally do. Vikings go to 1-3 with a 28-18 win.    FINAL SCORE:   KC 22-17

Game 5.  Lions at Cowboys. The Lions cannot continue winning like this. The nation, and the planet are just not ready for it. They should have lost last week, but they were playing Minnesota. Dallas doesn't like to lose at home. And I don't think they will lose this game...but it will be close. Dallas 21-20.   FINAL SCORE, as Dallas loses the biggest lead in franchise history: DETROIT 34-30

Game 6.  49'ers at the Eagles.  I think this could be the biggest blowout of the day. Why? I think the Eagles are PISSSSSED that they are 1-2. Vick is sick of people trashing him. The Dream Team has become the Underachieving Team...and I have a bad feeling the 49'ers might pay the price. Birds win 36-14.   FINAL SCORE: SAN FRAN 24-23.

Game 7.  Saints on the road vs. Jacksonville.  J'ville appeared headed to a solid win over Carolina last week when they were playing in a virtual swamp...rain, fog, it was sick. But they got 'Cammed' instead. They have a defense that matches up pretty well with New Orleans and could create some issues for Drew Brees. Naw...I'm just kidding! Saints win....32-14.   FINAL SCORE:  SAINTS 23-10

Game 8.  Washington at St.Louis.  Very compelling matchup. This might be the biggest toss-up of the week. This game probably comes down to who creates the most turnovers. I like Washington to rebound from a tough loss at Dallas Monday night.  Skins 21-17.    FINAL SCORE:  REDSKINS 17-10

Game 9.  Pittsburgh at Houston.  This has to be one of the best games on the schedule. I expect there to be some fights at this game. Why? Pittsburgh fans travel well, and Houston really thinks they have a good team this year...so I expect a lot of jawing at this one. Over/Under on tailgating arrests? 12. Over/under on Arian Foster TD's for my fantasy team? 3. Running on Pitt's D though will be tough...so it might be more of an arial show for the Texans. Should be a great game...going with the home team in this one. Texans 35-24.   FINAL SCORE: HOUSTON 17-10.

Game 10.  NYGiants at Arizona.  The Giants are inconsistent and boring. Arizona is a team who either plays decent or shitty. They never just go out and play great. Partially because since Kurt Warner retired they have been scrambling to find his replacement. Is Kevin Kolb the answer? Remains to be seen. I think Arizona might win this game...but don't bet more than $1.25 on this one. Cards 21-14. FINAL SCORE:   NYG 31-27.

Game 11.  ATL at Seattle. I used to live in Atlanta. I am from Seattle. Ten years ago I would have a dilemma on who to root for here. No longer. Now I pull for the Saints and hate the Falcons. So I will root for my Hawks to kill their fellow birds. Here is the thing...when I predict my Seahawks will lose...they always seem to win. So I will predict Atlanta to win.....30-17.    FINAL SCORE: ATLANTA 30-28.

Game 12.  Winless Dolphins at SD Chargers. The Dolphins are in trouble. They are 0-3...should have probably won two of their games so far, and are in the toughest division in football. Sporano might be fired before Thanksgiving...and its not even his fault. I don't care. He's a millionaire, and I'm not. I feel like this week...his team is going to get slaughtered. SD is tired of screwing around with close games. Time for a blowout. And uh, Ryan Matthews...if wouldn't mind? A nice little 150 yard, 3-td effort wouldn't suck!  SD wins 42-16.     FINAL SCORE: CHARGERS 26-16.

Game 13.   Denver at Green Bay.  Lets see, the Broncos get to go to Lambeau Field, are 2-TD underdogs, and get to play the defending Super Bowl Champs. Hmmm...who do you think will win? The only question here is, 'Does GB cover the spread?' Right? Denver has managed to stick around in most of their matchups when they have been big underdogs. I like GB to win, Denver to cover.  Packers win the game 32-24.     FINAL SCORE:   GREEN BAY 49-23

Game 14.   Patriots at the Raiders.  This could be a really fun, exciting game. I think the Bay Area closets might be opening this weekend, unveiling some old-school Raider freaks at this meeting. The Raiders actually are resembling a decent team. They can run....they are starting to pass...and they stop people. But they are playing 'The Bradys' this week...and Tom has got to be PISSED about losing last week. I'm so glad he's my fantasy QB on one of my teams. I don't know...I got a feeling Oakland hangs tough for three quarters, then NE pulls away. Pats 34-20.     FINAL SCORE:   NEW ENGLAND 31-19

Game 15.  NYJets at Baltimore. Sunday Night game...I have a hard time explaining how sick I am of hearing how great the Jets are. And 'Slappy' Ryan's face is something I could go the rest of my life without ever seeing again and it would be a beautiful life. I like the Ravens...partially because I loved the movie 'The Blind Side' and partially because I just love the passion they bring to every game. Also...I used to be a huge Baltimore Colts fan when I was a kid...and when Irsay moved them in the middle of the night to Indy...well, I felt like Baltimore deserved to win every game they ever played once they got another team. Ravens 28-20.  FINAL SCORE:   BALTIMORE 34-17

Current record going into Monday Night..... 10 wins, 5 losses.

Game 16.  MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL.  The Colts? Again? Jeez...this whole Peyton Manning neck injury situation is really screwing up ESPN's Primetime schedule, isn't it? At least they went out and didn't embarrass themselves vs. Pittsburgh last Sunday night. Tampa Bay is the setting this week. And fans down there are fired up about the Ray's playoff run already...let alone the Bucc's hot start. The Colts could be in for a bloodbath. Or not. Tampa Bay hasn't ever really  been a team renown for blowing people away...and I think the Colts defense is still good, and also very proud...as we saw on Sunday Night. That in mind.....TB wins a close one 17-10.   Final Score:  Tampa Bay 24-17



Baseball predictions anyone? Sure, why the hell not! Then I'm off to bed, to get my game face on for a long day of surfing the couch tomorrow monitoring all of my various fantasy studs!!!

AMERICAN LEAGUE PLAYOFFS:

The Rays and Rangers are now tied at a game apiece. In a 5-game best of, that 3rd game is always the turning point. What sucks for the D-Rays is that they really don't have a home field edge. They draw so bad its crazy. How they manage to keep that team I have no idea. But they are on fire right now...have great pitching...and have been there before. But so has Texas...just last year, falling to the SF Giants in the World Series. You have to think they are very hungry to get back. I like the Rangers to win the series in a decisive 5th game in Arlington.

The Yankees are playing the Tigers...and now lead it 1-0 after a bizarre rain delay that resumed today...and saw the Yankees blow Detroit out. Now that Verlander has been screwed out of his Game 1 start, and pushed back...this could really be what impacts this series. If Detroit doesn't win Game 2 they are probably done. The Yankees have been playing great lately, and their pitching has gotten better later in the season. I want Detroit to win...I just don't see it happening. NYY in 4.

NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAYOFFS:

The Phillies looked like the best team in March...and they look like the best team in October. Pitching wins...and they have LOTS of it. And on top of that...they mash the ball. Not quite as much as STL, who somehow miraculously squeaked their way into the playoffs, courtesy of the choking Braves...who coughed away a 9-game lead in 30 days. Well done Bravos. [And while I'm at it, kudos to the idiots in Boston. Great reaction by Theo firing Francona. Oh, sorry...not fired, its the new age firing....they didn't 'renew' his contract. What a joke.] The Cards grabbed a 3-0 lead in the 1st inning today...and I was like "Whoa....really?" But then reality set in...Doc Halladay settled down....and the Phillies clubbed them 11-6. Phillies win this series in 4.

My sister lives in Milwaukee...and for that reason alone...I have to root for the Brewers. They are kind of hidden in Chicago's shadow up the shore on Lake Michigan and doesn't get a whole lot of attention. But they have a helluva team. Good pitching and good hitting. And they are fun. They are playing Arizona...who probably has the Manager of the Year in Kirk Gibson...and went from last place to first place this season. The Brewers captured Game 1 today. Means nothing. The D-Backs are very resilient. I think this one goes 5 games...with the Brewers advancing to meet the Phillies.

Okay...there ya go!!! Hope you enjoyed this new feature. 

GOOD NIGHT and have a great rest of the weekend!!!

Monkey the Greek

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Like your poker comments much better. Leave the pro sports to the pros like Herby, Jesse Palmer, etc.