Week 17 picks.

I know I just said I was done with football posts, but I went out on a limb this week, so I want documented proof when it turns out I picked a perfect sheet.

Giants in the playoffs? Seriously?!

NEW ORLEANS over Carolina
Saints want a first-round bye. Panthers have nothing left to play for.

HOUSTON over Cleveland
Um, do I have to pick this one? Texans are coming together lately.

DALLAS over Detroit
Could I be more upset that this is the game my market gets on Sunday? I submit to you that I could not.

Jacksonville over KANSAS CITY
Frankly, the Jags have a better run defense, and that's all the difference in this game.

TENNESSEE over New England
Titans are going to fight to the death to make the playoffs.

NY JETS over Oakland
This game I'm not really all that sure of. It could be the choke of the year.

CINCINNATI over Pittsburgh
Did you know that Jerome Bettis is from Detroit? It's true. I just heard about it.

Seattle over TAMPA BAY
Giants in the playoffs? Seriously?!

MINNESOTA over St. Louis
Brad Childress should just let the offensive coordinator do playcalling for this game. Seriously, give him some practice. It couldn't be worse.

Arizona over SAN DIEGO
Only because San Diego is going to phone this one in.

When are people going to learn that quarterbacks (Garcia) are much better when they have good receivers to throw to (Brown)?

BALTIMORE over Buffalo
I want to pick the Bills, but I just can't make myself do it.

T minus one week until the collapse. I hear Vanderjagt is available.

San Francisco over DENVER
This is my stone cold lock of the year. Bet your house on this. Seriously.

CHICAGO over Green Bay
Think Favre will get a standing O at Soldier Field?

Another storm.

Last week there was a blizzard that slammed into town on Wednesday morning and didn't leave until Thursday afternoon. It wasn't a very long storm, but it had a lot of force to it. I was sent home from work just after lunch on Wednesday and by that time it had already become the worst weather I've ever driven in. (And that's really saying something.) I spent the next 20-some hours cooped up inside, and the resulting snow piles still haven't been completely cleared away or melted.

There was virtually nonstop coverage of the storm on at least three channels. It was infuriating. I can see giving a quick, 3-minute update every half hour, but this was ridiculous. The people already inside generally don't want to keep being reminded of how cold and blustery it is outside, and the people outside don't need to be told how bad it is, not to mention the fact that they aren't in front of a TV anyway.

Now there's another storm about to roll in. There are conflicting reports over how much snow it will bring, but it's following essentially the same path as the storm that shut down the city last week. The local news last night said 10 to 16 inches, the National Weather Service says 5 to 10. It definitely looks like it will take longer to get through here than its predecessor though. My plan is to avoid television altogether. I may watch some movies, I may dip into the second season of 24 on DVD, I may play guitar. But I will not be bombarded by yet another mind-numbing slew of interruptions.

Great, even as I'm typing it just started to snow. It looks so innocent right now, we'll see how innocent it is when it goes away on Saturday (or Sunday?).


Ah, graveyard week.

It's that heady time of year that makes you believe anything is possible. That one magical week between Christmas and New Year's where leftover cookies are flowing, deadlines seem less pressing, and formal attire (along with work ethic, for that matter) is entirely optional. To tell you the truth, I went a little stir crazy in the last week. First a "legendary" blizzard makes me stay inside for two days, then one day of work, then four days off for Christmas. No wonder I shaved my head last night. This always happens when cabin fever sets in.

Yes, I'm really happy to be back at work today. I'm the only one in my department this week, so the music is up and spirit is high. This happens to coincide with a light patch in my workload. It's a party all up in here. A mellow, kinda boring, but welcome party.

I'd just like to update everyone to the fact that I don't give a crap about football for the rest of this season. I'm burnt out on fantasy football, weekly pick 'em and my inevitable inferiority to technology, but most of all I'm burnt out on the Vikings. After that Thursday night game I really can't think of much to be happy about in relation to my favorite team. I'm optimistic about next year, but not as much as I should be. Ironically, the biggest thing that I see needing changing is the coaching. Namely, the playcalling. But yeah, I'm mostly done with football posts for the year.

One more time, I've redone the look. But you noticed that already. This is due to my jumping over to the new version of Blogger and the fact that I didn't really like the last look. Maybe this one will stick. Holla!


Wednesday thoughts.

1. AI needs to send a huge gift basket to Isaiah Thomas. Thomas, the Knicks coach, instigates a brawl on Saturday night. The Nuggets' top scorer, the NBA's top scorer, Carmelo Anthony, sucker punches a guy and gets a 15-game suspension. (If you haven't seen the footage yet, watch how much of a little beeoch Anthony is.) So without its leading scorer, Denver is forced to pull the trigger on a trade for Iverson. Now he's on a legitimate contender instead of the worst team in the NBA. Like I said, somebody deserves a really big thank you.

2. Picture this: Your spouse gets a call in the morning saying she doesn't have to go to work due to near-blizzard conditions. You, however, have to go to work. So you pile into your car before dawn and start the slow, agonizing trek over windswept streets toward the office. What do you listen to? I submit to you that Interpol is the best music for this opportunity. I know this is Christmas music season, but I'm pushing Interpol today. Hard.

3. It's about fricken time the Vikings put in Tarvaris Jackson. You're gonna see some fireworks Thursday night, I'm telling you. It's poetic that he's making his first start at Lambeau Field. And I'm refusing to call him T-Jack. I'm sick of these Initial-First Syllable names. Let's start getting a little creativity back in nicknames, people. For instance, I will be referring to Tarvaris Jackson as "Grabthar's Hammer" from now on. Nod in agreement if you get the reference.

4. Gregg Easterbrook joins my starting lineup of sports columnists. His column, Tuesday Morning Quarterback, is always spot on, even if it deviates into unknown realms.

5. Oh man, too funny.



In a recent post an "anonymous" commenter said that the new art is in architecture. And to some degree I concur. Architecture is a much easier and holistic way to connect with an artist's vision than, say, a painting. But it too has been swayed by the elitist, "I don't need to explain my art to you" kind of view to some degree. I came across this quote from Ned Cramer, founder of the recently-launched Architect magazine:

"My primary position is that I'm sick of professional infighting. I think it probably does more damage than the most aggressive ideologically driven development by any camp. As I wrote in my first editorial, I look at the profession as trying to recover from the collapse of urban renewal, the modern movement, and divorce from the day-to-day lives of end users. By blinding itself to the needs of the marketplace, it limits its capacity to be socially, politically, and environmentally relevant. I would venture that every architect in his or her way is trying to seek a way back to relevance and a greater sense of professional responsibility, and we really want to be a part of that."

If architecture as a whole, and architects in particular, can find a way back to responsibility and a drive to reach the end user, then I totally agree that architecture could be the new art. It will be a while before we really see the fruits of this kind of thinking, but I would urge other mediums to take notice.

As for graphic design, I think we're still at the point where we are connecting with audiences, even with the recent design boom. I expect this to change sometime. I expect that we'll become drunk with power, overly fragment our industry, lose our audience, and that we'll eventually (hopefully sooner than later) have to find our way back as well. Yikes.


Week 15 picks.

I just don't have it in my to write an engaging football column today. So on with some really shallow pick 'em info:

SEATTLE over San Francisco
Yeah, I really blew that one, didn't I?

Dallas over ATLANTA
I think we all saw this Atlanta show last year, didn't we?

BALTIMORE over Cleveland
I wouldn't feel safe about the -11 1/2 on Baltimore. Cleveland shows up for one out of three games.

GREEN BAY over Detroit
Conceivably, Millen must be fired sometime, right? Right???

NEW ENGLAND over Houston
I don't care.

TENNESSEE over Jacksonville
Jaguars love laying eggs after they take a step forward.

Miami over BUFFALO
Remember when games between these two meant something?

Come on Chester, carry me just two more weeks.

Pittsburgh over CAROLINA
I don't care.

CHICAGO over Tampa Bay
Another week for Rex Grossman to fool people into thinking he's over his troubles. Playoff embarrasment coming soon.

NEW ORLEANS over Washington
Chasing a Reggie Bush box score worked last week, I can only hope it happens again.

Denver over ARIZONA
The perfect learning curve for both quarterbacks.

NY GIANTS over Philadelphia
Eventually I'd love the NFC East hype to die down, but I know it won't. Poo.

OAKLAND over St. Louis
I really really really don't care.

SAN DIEGO over Kansas City
What KC team is showing up? Does it matter?

Cincinnati over INDIANAPOLIS
Never before have so many fantasy football playoff games rested on one reality football game.


When my alarm goes off at 6 a.m., I'm greeted by the station ID for a Colorado Public Radio station. It's followed by a daily feature called Space Crap or Space Quest or something like that. It's one to two minutes (I can never tell on account of my undeniable grogginess) of virtually useless astronomical information.

Today's Space Crap was about how we're finally going to figure out if Einstein was right in saying that gravity worked in the same way throughout the universe. Some scientists in New Mexico are going to do this by shooting laser beams at the moon. This will somehow enable them to measure the distance between the Earth and the moon to the millimeter.

First, that's crazy go nuts. A distance that takes astronauts days at very high speeds is going to be measured to the millimeter? Is that really possible? Are we sure that this is a measurement that doesn't constantly change with, say, the elevation of the measurer on Earth, or season, or the fact that the moon will kill us all someday?

Second, I have absolutely no idea how this is supposed to test the universality of gravity. They didn't really explain that in great detail, probably because 1. it's a short program and they just don't have the time, and 2. we're all idiots who wouldn't get it anyway. Just trust them. But they did say this: "If [they find that Einstein was wrong], scientists will spend the next few years coming up with a better theory of gravity." Ah, science. Is there anything you can't solve, given a few years? Truly perfection will be achieved in my lifetime.

Third, I strongly feel that it's about time people started shooting lasers at the moon. It's one step closer to blowing that blasted sun out of the sky.


Artistic musings.

I just finished listening to a track made by Graham Coxon in response to Franz Kline's Meryon. I wish I could say it was a great experience. I ended up feeling like I just wasted fifteen minutes. I could dink around in a studio for a while and call it art too you know. I just get so irritated with modern art (anything after about 1960) and its insistence on being so dense that it's completely inaccessible. They stand behind the excuse that you need to make your own conclusions, so they won't actually tell you what their art is about. Or give you a definite foothold, for that matter. But art needs to hit you where you're at and take you someplace you're not. That's art. Standing in front of an eight-foot canvas for ten seconds before you say, "I don't get it," and move on isn't art. But the people at the Tate actually came up with a good idea, to let contemporary musicians make a soundtrack to a work of art. Then Graham Coxon comes in and just adds to the titanium veil over an otherwise unmemorable painting. I want to like art so bad, why do they make it so hard?

It's been a long time since I've been all about an album. I've been dabbling and drifting in music for a few months. Well a coworker introduced me to Melpo Mene and I've been all about them for a few days now. Their album, Holes, is really good stuff. Mellow, playful, distinct, catchy. In the great pantheon of Swedish music, they're up there with ABBA, Europe, and Ace of Base. They have my recommendation fo' sho'.


Let's hand out some awards.

2006 Gamutless Best Peanuts-related Blog Post Award:
Good grief/bad moves by Ken Jennings
Until this post, I always thought the dancing was worth emulating. I admit, I've done it from time to time. Moulzolf knows. But now I guess I know just how white I am.

2006 Gamutless Funniest Commercial Award:
Singing Bunny by Skittles
Absurdist comedy is hilarious. The more random, the better. Starburst really started a nice uptick of weird, non-make-sensical commercials, and for that they really deserve some kind of award. But Skittles took them just one extra step, and for not actually doing most of the risk-taking I'm proud to give this award to Skittles.

Guinea Pig by Midnight Spank
Man was this a close call. So close that I thought you really had to see this one too. There's a series of them, but this was the only one of the three I saw that made me LOL in the office. This one is also the runner up for...

2006 Gamutless Creepiest Commerical Award:
Long Beard by Skittles
Weird isn't always good. Sometimes it can just plain scare the poop out of you. Do you think anyone came to the writer of this commercial and gave him the ol', "WTF?!"

2006 Gamutless Next Pixar Voiceover Candidate Award:
Charlie Murphy
This cat has gone from obscure celebrity family member to top three people I want to hang out with in a matter of three years. Not bad. Seriously though, if they did a movie of my life, Charlie Murphy absolutely must be in it somehow. On a side note, feel free to quote lines from this in any professional or social situation. It's good times.

2006 Gamutless Most Recent Song Posted by Me Award:
The Armory
G-Money needed a track for his media player (link coming soon hopefully), so I busted it out. Respect.


Me vs. ESPN braintrust, week 14.

Man, this is getting ugly. I don't remember another year when it was so tough to get a handle on so many teams. Parity might be great for the NFL, but it's doing nothing for my ego. Guess I'll have to fall back on my fantasy football playoff win. And what's with Allen? Has he been on a tear lately or what?

Accuscore 134-74 (9-7)
Golic 128-80 (10-6)
Allen 127-81 (10-6)
Schlereth 126-82 (9-7)
Jaworski 124-84 (7-9)
Salisbury 123-85 (7-9)
Me 122-86 (7-9)
Hoge 121-87 (8-8)
Mortensen 114-94 (9-7)


Week 14 rundown.

Zwounds! What a Sunday! Let's run this down propa.

Vikings 30, Lions 20
It would've been the absolute worst loss of the season if the Vikes had blown this, as they've owned Detroit for the past five years. Don't go picking up Artose Pinner for next week in fantasy though. Or at least, watch the reports out of Minny if you absolutely need to.

Bengals 27, Raiders 10
I kept seeing the stat line on Palmer and his INT total kept going up. I was afraid my fantasy team's playoff hopes were shot. Somehow he ended up with decent points. I really need to figure out the scoring system.

Ravens 20, Chiefs 10
This one was ugly. It really was. Paul gets my sympathy after this utterly deflating loss.

Dolphins 21, Patriots 0
With all due respect to the Jaguars, this was the eye-opening score of the week. Not because Miami won, which in itself is a surprise, but because they absolutely SHUT OUT New England. Wasn't it just a couple weeks ago that we were touting the Pats as the AFC frontrunners? Looks like it's a race from the playoffs for more than a couple teams.

Falcons 17, Bucs 6
Yawn. Wake me up when Atlanta loses in the wild card weekend again.

Eagles 21, Redskins 19
Yawn. Wake me up when Philly loses the other wild card game. Dang, I need some coffee.

Giants 27, Panthers 13
I was flipping over to this game a lot, not because I like either of these teams, but because I love feeling like I'm fourteen years old again every time the announcers say, "Weinke."

Jags 44, Colts 17
J'uh?! This was a surprise. I think we all expected at least four more weeks out of the Colts before they completely fell apart. And please, let's not all get in a tizzy about how great Jacksonville is. Remember, they've lost twice to Houston.

Titans 26, Texans 20 (OT)
This one scores a 7.8 on the vindication scale for Vince Young. I think he and Travis Henry are going places, as long as they're together.

Packers 30, 49ers 19
Wow. Looks like they put a little extra juice on Favre's defibrulator before the game. Keep it up Brett, you'll need this mojo if you're going to hold your team hostage again this offseason. As for the rest of us, let's remember these days well. Someday we'll say to our grandchildren, "I remember seeing Brett Favre take a young but talented squad and lead them to a glorious 7-9 record."

Bills 31, Jets 13
Yawn. Wake me when the Jets are shredded in the wild card too. And where's my fricken latte already?!

Chargers 48, Broncos 20
I really can't say much about this one, I think it's enough to bask in the glow of Bronco fans' dashed playoff hopes. Big ups to LDT.

Cards 27, Seahawks 21
Man, is there anyone in the NFC that even wants it anymore?

Saints 42, Cowboys 17
Ah, here we go. What a great breath of fresh air this is. New Orleans has my official fanship now. I'd love them to make the Super Bowl, mostly because the two weeks of hype could actually find some decent stories in a city like the Big Easy. Sean Payton, I'm convinced, is a genius. He game plans so well, and not just against Dallas. He deconstructed a hot Atlanta team in week 3, a hot Philly team not too long after that. I'm telling you, he's a great coach. Conversely, when I listened to Grammatica shank a field goal right before halftime, here's what I said to myself, "Oh heavens, how unfortunate for that poor fellow. I suppose his coach must be a mite perturbed by this. Alas, I fear it cannot be helped. Pity though." Really. That's what I said. There was no gloating, mean-spirited, profanity-laced tirade involved. Honest.


A couple things.

While I have a moment or two:

1. Remember the name Andreas Nodl. For those following college hockey (all eight of you), he's a freshman at St. Cloud State. He tallied three points this weekend as the Huskies extended their unbeaten streak to a best-ever eleven games. It took until after the holidays last year for the Huskies to find their stride. Being a top ten team this early in the year, it bodes well. Of course, this all means nothing if they can't win an NCAA tourney game come April.

2. I know that I'm completely riding the coattails of Bill Simmons on this one, but I heard a color comment during the Ravens/Chiefs game that just got stuck in my craw. Greg Gumbel (I think, I can't tell with announcers these days) was plugging tonight's 60 Minutes feature on Ultimate Fighting Championship. Fair enough. But then Dan Dierdorf (I think, I can't tell with colormen these days) chimes in with something about what it says about our society that something so barbaric can be so popular.

Now, I'm not really a huge UFC guy. I've seen a couple, it's entertaining enough. But Dan, don't you think that your audience might just have some UFC fans thrown in? Is it at all possible that the audience for the most violent mainstream sport in America might overlap a little with the audience for the most violent non-mainstream sport in America? Do you really want to piss them off?

I'm serious, I've had it with these color commentators. Oh really? UFC is barbaric? Well Dan, then why don't you just tell us what's happening on the effing football field already!!! Temper check, ok. I don't know what it is that makes television announcers feel obligated to give moral opinion, but isn't it time that we as the viewing audience started fighting back?


Week 14 picks.

Two things I love, graphic design and football picks, together at last.


Me vs. ESPN braintrust, week 13.

It might look like I'm slipping, but I'm actually closer to the lead than I was four weeks ago. Is anybody else not impressed by the way the computerized Accuscore really isn't any step up from human intelligence? I mean really, what are the societal ramifications of this experiment? And the heck with it, we'll throw Theismann back in there, just for holiday kicks.

Accuscore 125-67 (8-8)
Golic 117-75 (11-5)
Jaworski 116-76 (9-7)
Schlereth 116-76 (8-8)
Allen 116-76 (8-8)
Me 115-77 (9-7)
Salisbury 115-77 (9-7)
Theismann 107-72 (8-7)
Hoge 112-80 (9-7)
Mortensen 104-88 (9-7)

NOTE: AccuScore has been updated. As it turns out, human intelligence has nothing on superior computer programming. Just one more form of humility, it seems. Thank you, anonymous commenter!


Random Monday Thoughts

1. It's always sad to say goodbye to Brad Johnson. Stop by Winter Park to sign his retirement card.

2. New Mexico has made it to the New Mexico Bowl. Also, Hawaii will once again be in the Hawaii Bowl. Phew, that was close. Sadly, Texas has declined invitation to the Texas Bowl in favor of the Alamo Bowl. Sellouts.

3. Tonight's the final episode of "Heroes" until 2007. For the unitiated, that means that tonight is the final episode of "Heroes" until "24" starts up in January and nobody could give a crap anymore. They had their shot. I'll pass.

4. Number of times I wanted to punch Jeremy Shockey yesterday: 18. Number of times I wanted the commentators and camerapeople to forget that Jeremy Shockey was even alive: 18. Number of times I had to tell my wife that the crybaby's name was Jeremy Shockey: 1. Coincidence?

5. An acrylic praying hands napkin holder is, without a doubt, the worst white elephant gift I have ever seen. Ever. If you hate your family or coworkers, this is the way to go.

12.4.06 - 29/365

6. Teachers love to drink. Ain't no way around it.


Week 13 picks.

It's almost playoff time in my fantasy league. I'm getting nervous. The bright spot is that anything better than a last-place finish is a step up from last year. Rejoice!

CINCINNATI (-2 1/2) over Baltimore
Yeah, this already happened. But I did call it, Paul is my witness. I just wanted to point out that these weekly Thursday night games could be such a good thing if they weren't on the NFL Network, where almost nobody sees them. It reminds me of the Victory Sports experiment with the Twins a couple years ago. Nobody wins here. Do the NFL Network people realize how much money they stand to make on these games if they get them on cable? Just give in already. I halfway expect that chain sports bars and restaurants are behind this one.

New York Jets (+1 1/2) over GREEN BAY
The main Packer fan from the office left, so I'm back to being downright nasty about the Pack. Brett Favre cost his team another game last week, which was awesome. But I keep hearing people say that he's looking good enough to come back for another year. My head starts to spin with giddiness if I give this too much thought. In a related story, only twenty more days to go until the MIN/GB showdown at Lambeau.

Dallas (-3 1/2) over NEW YORK GIANTS
I really don't care about this game. I don't. All the off-field hullabaloo doesn't matter to me. They're all idiots. I'm just picking this game so I can officially document something I said earlier this week:

If the Cowboys make the Super Bowl, I'm swearing off pro football (except for the Vikings) next year. No fantasy football, no pick 'em pool, no weekly blog posts, nothing. I'm serious.

Seattle (+3 1/2) over DENVER
The Seahawks are sitting pretty right now. In perfect position to run away with the division, they saved a few miles on their offensive stars, and this cake game against the Broncos. I'm really actually happy that the Jay Cutler era has started. I was tired of hearing Broncos fans complain about Jake Plummer (it's been going on since last year's draft). It'll be a nice change to hear them start making excuses for Cutler. It's going to be a wonderfully Bronco-free January, folks. Let's all give thanks to the Lord above.

Minnesota (+9 1/2) over CHICAGO
My resolve to always pick my team is leading me into delusional territory. I actually think the Vikings could pull this off if everything goes right. If the offensive line plays up to their potential, if Brad Johnson doesn't feel any heat, if the defensive backfield comes up with two or three big plays, if special teams plays a shut-down game, and if Brad Childress decides that he'd like to call a proper game instead of his trademark thumb-twiddling, then I can totally see this game going to the Vikings. Any of those things going wrong spells the end of not only the game, but probably the season. And I'm okay with that. I'm almost cheering for the Purple to blow it, so they can start putting in some fresh faces to see what they got.

If you need me, I'll be boiling my hands.


Somebody shoot me.

Is today the perfect day to go insane? I submit to you that it is.

Here's the scene: It's another boring Tuesday afternoon here at work. I'm doing a lot of staring out the window at a snowstorm that is threatening to make this afternoon's commute home unbearable, and wondering why they haven't let us go yet. My wife's at home because of this storm, but not even a delay here. I just read Bill Simmons' latest article, and now I'm in the mood to make some witty observations about sports. But here's the thing--

There's absolutely nothing interesting going on with any of my teams right now.

1. The Vikings
After an astounding losing streak that saw the Vikes fall to such mighty foes as San Francisco and Green Bay, they somehow manage to avoid giving another game away against the lowly Arizona Cardinals. (Believe me, though, they tried.) Now it looks like my team is destined for an 8-8 season at best, hanging around the fringes of the NFC playoff picture and holding onto the delusion that they can make the postseason. Now I've got to wait until next September to see Tarvaris Jackson play in a game that actually means anything, and I have to keep cheering for a team that at any moment could implode around the uber-mediocre Brad Johnson. Yippee.

1b. Fantasy Football
Who am I kidding? I'm not good enough to be an elite team (or even break 100 points), not crummy enough to be in the basement. Is it a bad sign that I'm spending half-hour chunks thinking about which players to keep for next year? Yes? Perfect.

2. The Wild
They started hot, that was great. Now it's just a matter of waiting until the playoffs start in... well, when is that? April? Regular season NHL just doesn't do it for me. Maybe in a year or two, but not yet.

3. The Huskies
After pro football, college hockey is what sustains me through the winter. And St. Cloud State, my alma mater, is putting together a pretty good year. It's been a while since they've been a top ten team. They've played great for the past three weeks, hanging two ties on the Gophers and blowing away all other comers. They're entering the soft, chewy middle of their schedule, featuring Michigan Tech, Colgate, and Alaska-Anchorage. Things should be pretty smooth until their grueling gauntlet for the last month and a half of the regular season. And yet, they aren't coming to play CC, I can't see them on TV, and there's only one website that has any information on them. It's just not that easy to get jacked up about it.

4. The Timberwolves
Just kidding. I don't pay attention to them. Just trade KG already and be done with it.

So I'd like to be a huge sports fan today, but let's be honest. It ain't happening.


Me vs. ESPN braintrust, week 12.

Hey all, back from my extended Turkey Day vacation. It's been a mixed couple of weeks. I lost the office pool for week 11, going 7-9, but made it up by winning week 12.

Allen 109-67 (14-2)
Schlereth 109-67 (11-5)
Accuscore 109-67 (9-7)
Jaworski 108-68 (11-5)
Golic 107-69 (12-4)
Salisbury 107-69 (11-5)
Me 106-70 (13-3)
Hoge 104-72 (11-5)
Mortensen 96-80 (10-6)

This is getting a bit on the frustrating side, what with only five games separating first from next to last. Good thing Mortensen blows, he's bringing down the curve.


Me vs. ESPN braintrust, week 10.

Sometimes I just hate football, and would rather just skip a couple days of talking about it.

Accuscore 89-55 (10-6)
Jaworski 89-55 (8-8)
Schlereth 88-56 (10-6)
Golic 87-57 (9-7)
Me 86-58 (8-8)
Hoge 85-59 (8-8)
Allen 84-60 (9-7)
Salisbury 84-60 (8-8)
Mortensen 77-67 (9-7)

I need a big week. This is getting ridiculous.



This is why I can't yet make the leap to the big time. I completely missed an obvious point about a big game, one that dominates the matchup and is impossible to argue against. (And in this crazy season, there aren't many of those.) As noted by Bill Simmons:

Rex Grossman on the road.

That being said, I'd like to revise that line of my post yesterday to read:

NEW YORK GIANTS (-2 1/2) over Chicago

EminemsRevenge sleeps a little better tonight. Forgive me.


Week 10 picks.

Are the Pittsburgh Steelers the most overrated team in the NFL? I submit to you that they are.

MINNESOTA (-5 1/2) over Green Bay
They say to throw out the record books when these two teams get together. I will leave them in. Favre sucks in a dome, Vikings have beat the Pack three straight times (including twice last year when they sucked even more). But even though I'm predicting a runaway victory for purple and gold, I'm going to make the bold prediction that this is the week we see Tarvaris Jackson take some snaps. It probably won't actually happpen, but if I really hope hard enough and believe with all my heart, there might be enough magic in the air in the North Star State to muster this "National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day" miracle.

I have to say, though, that I'm not nearly as worked up about this game as I should be. Packers in the Dome is usually the biggest non-playoff game of the year for Vikings fans. I just can't get excited coming off such an embarrasing loss.

Kansas City (-1 1/2) over MIAMI
There are a lot of snoozers this week, so many that picking five interesting games becomes a chore. Enter this one. Let's all admit to ourselves that the Dolphins played way beyond themselves last week against a team that finally got bit phoning it in. Their record still stinks, the still have Joey Harrington at the helm, and they're still facing (arguably) the most dominant running back in the game this week. No choice.

CINCINNATI (+1 1/2) over San Diego
I wouldn't care about this game at all except it's my fantasy starting quarterback (Palmer) versus my fantasy backup quarterback (Rivers). Here's some rationale for you: 1. San Diego is not nearly as good on the road. 2. Merriman is out, so look for a lot of touches for Rudi Johnson. 3. The pressure is on for a team that suddenly has expectations on it. 4. There's been news of Carson Palmer's mechanics problems. This means he's definitely going to have a big game. I don't know if this one will be close or not, but it should be fun to watch at the very least.

Denver (-8 1/2) over OAKLAND
Last week I joked to DJam, "You should pick Miami over Chicago, you'd look like a genius if they win." I, however, didn't pull the trigger on that call and can't actually make the claim that I'm a genius. But I have the same feeling this week. I won't actually pick Oakland over Denver, just keep in mind that the Broncos are coming off two big weeks, and they might be too tired to get worked up for the Raiders (odd as that sounds). And despite what happened last Monday night, Oakland is better than what they let on. They're capable of putting together a big game, especially against a division rival at home. So while it can't be said that I'm a football genius, it can at least be said that I don't have the cajones to own up to an upset pick.

New Orleans (+4 1/2) over PITTSBURGH
There are three teams with 2-6 records who are hosting teams with 6-2 records this week. Tennessee is hosting Baltimore, Oakland is hosting Denver, and Pittsburgh is hosting New Orleans. Only one of these 2-6 teams is favored, however. I really can't, for the life of me, understand why the line on this game is the way it is. Let me make this perfectly clear:


Watching last year's Super Bowl, I sat there saying to myself, "The bias towards this team is ridiculous." I chocked it up to a "somebody's gotta get the hype, and it sure won't be Seattle" theory. But this whole stinkin' year, Pittsburgh has had overly kind lines. Bet against them with everything you have. I mean it. The bias has reached surreal proportions.

Other games:
Baltimore (-7 1/2) over TENNESSEE
JACKSONVILLE (-10 1/2) over Houston
NEW ENGLAND (-10 1/2) over New York Jets
San Francisco (+6 1/2) over DETROIT
PHILADELPHIA (-6 1/2) over Washington
INDIANAPOLIS (-12 1/2) over Buffalo
ATLANTA (-7 1/2) over Cleveland
SEATTLE (-4 1/2) over St. Louis
Dallas (-6 1/2) over ARIZONA
Chicago (+2 1/2) over NEW YORK GIANTS
CAROLINA (-9 1/2) over Tampa Bay


I'll smack you in the mouth!

Slow sports day. In memorial to the Republican party, let's throw in a hilarious sketch.

I can remember busting a gut with Joe back in college over this sketch. There are so many quotable lines, it's best to learn them all. Football picks tomorrow!


Me vs. ESPN braintrust, week 9.

Accuscore makes its glorious appearance. I have no idea what it is or how it's calculated, but it scored 6-8 this weekend. Chumps. I, however, had a relatively good week.

Jaworski 81-47 (9-5)
Accuscore 79-49 (6-8)
Me 78-50 (8-6)
Schlereth 78-50 (6-8)
Golic 78-50 (6-8)
Hoge 77-51 (5-9)
Salisbury 76-52 (6-8)
Allen 75-53 (5-9)
Mortensen 68-60 (7-7)

I'm thinking that with the advent of Accuscore, Mortensen is now on official notice. He's seven games out of second to last place. He has three weeks to get that down to five games, or I'll toss him. I'll do it.


On Ted Haggard.

Nothing more needs to be added to what has been incessantly reported and opined upon by everyone with an internet connection. But because I'm a self-proclaimed born again Christian, it only feels appropriate that I throw one more opinion on the pile.

As usual, the cover up is just as bad as the sin. And it's sad that mild surprise and disappointment were the strongest emotions I felt at any point in this scandal. I guess it goes to show that the world and everyone in it--and me in particular--knows that nobody is safe from slipping up. I feel really bad for Ted and his family. Sins don't let go very easy, and they can easily ensare any of us. I'm glad that he stepped down and is dedicated to working past this.

The thing is, this didn't catch God by surprise. He didn't wake up one morning last week and go, "oh, SNAP!" (Because God definitely keeps up with his street lingo.) When Ted Haggard started New Life Church in his basement twenty years ago, God saw this coming. God already knows the absolute worst sin any of us will ever commit. Yet he chose to bless Ted's church anyway. For twenty years he saw fit to allow Ted's church to grow by leaps and bounds, knowing the day would come when he would have to resign in disgrace. It should give us hope that God still chooses to bless and guide us, even in light of our worst evil lurking just around the corner.

New Life Church has rallied around their former leader, I've seen countless clips and quotes of congregants going on about foregiveness and redemption, love and compassion. This is all really great. But let's, just for a moment, try to think of the number of people who aren't pastors in a church that have had their own fall from grace even since this story dropped. How many people in your life need just as much support and compassion from you? Foregiveness isn't only for the high-profile. We can all learn something from this.


Week 9 picks.

Last week hit us all hard, so let's try to put that behind us and move ahead. (Hard to do with some of the matchups on the docket this weekend.)

Minnesota (-6 1/2) over SAN FRANCISCO
This is an easy one, unless Minny is hung over. The short week shouldn't affect things too much, and look for Chester Taylor to get a lot of touches in a ball-control type of a game. From the Niners' side, they'll definitely try to pick apart the Vikings through the air, but let's face it, Alex Smith is no Tom Brady.

Kansas City (+2 1/2) over ST. LOUIS
I initially took the Rams on this one, I figured they're at home and underrated. Then I remembered that they're awful against the run. And I think I heard that the Chiefs have a decent running back...

SEATTLE (-8 1/2) over Oakland
Ok, I'm past saying "duh" to every Raiders game. This isn't as much of a gimme as it should be for Seattle, but Seneca Wallace did fill in adequately last weekend in a hostile Arrowhead Stadium. At home he should be able to do enough for the W, even against a stout Oakland defense. But if you bet, take the silver and black on the points.

Denver (+2 1/2) over PITTSBURGH
You don't think the Broncos are a little fired up for this game, do you? Name me the last time a 5-2 team was two point dogs against a 2-5 team. I've been taking a lot of enjoyment from the sports radio talk shows in Colorado this week. Everyone seems to be cheerful about only losing by three to the Colts. And while I can certainly understand this sentiment (the Vikes only lost by three to Chicago ealier in the year and I was happy), it's always funny when someone's criteria for happiness is "we didn't lose by as much!"

NEW ENGLAND (-2 1/2) over Indianapolis
As much as I didn't enjoy last Monday night's game, the Patriots really looked good. For more insight on this game, Google the phrase "hype machine."

atl (-5 1/2) over DET
cin (+3 1/2) over BAL
dallas (-3 1/2) over WAS
BUF (-3 1/2) over gb
NYG (-13 1/2) over hou
CHI (-13 1/2) over mia
no (-1 1/2) over TB
JAC (-9 1/2) over ten
SD (-12 1/2) over cle

In your face, Widefield!

First, let's discuss Ted Haggard. He's the head pastor of New Life Church, which sits just across the way from where I work. This is a monster church, boasting 14,000 members. Not only that, but he is (or at least was) the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals. Very high profile.

Then on Wednesday a male escort accused Ted of paying him for sex over the last three years. Gulp.

The interesting part of this story to me isn't another Christian leader under fire. It's actually about time all the sexual misdeed allegations started landing on Protestants too. No, the thing that gets me is the timing. Next Tuesday, Colorado will be voting on an amendment to the state constitution that denotes marriage as being between one man and one woman. There has been a lot of hulabaloo over this recently.

Don't you think it's odd that these accusations come out now?

One week is not enough time to seek out the truth of this matter. Call me sinister, but I think somebody pulled the trigger on this right now because they know that it'll still be hanging over peoples' heads come voting time. It's like that book, Tempting Faith, it was supposed to come out early next year. But oh, woops, let's push that up to come out mid-October. Political schemers, I tell you...

If these allegations are true, then this will obviously be a big scandal and really I don't know what will happen then. But if these allegations are completely baseless, it marks a new low for American politics.

Second, I went and saw Coronado High School take on Widefield High School last night. One of the guys in the high school Bible study I co-lead plays for Coronado.

11.2.06 Coronado v. Widefield

The Cougars dug deep and came up with a gutsy performance to edge Widefield 17-9. It was pretty fun. I enjoy high school football much more when I know I'm not running into anybody I know and I can just bring my iPod and camera. There's something about freezing your nips off on some metal bleachers that just feels nice. I can't explain it. Go Cougars!


Random Thursday Thoughts

1. You never realize how much you love technology until it craps out on you, much like my iPod. Yesterday on the drive home it stopped playing and I freaked out!!! I nearly crashed twice trying to figure it out. Well, I restored it this morning and everything is fine. Nobody needs to die today. And I'm not worried that I'm so attached to my little white, music-playing friend. It's actually encouraging a little.

2. Is YouTube the best thing ever? I submit to you that it is. Another example: Sifl & Olly. I looked for clips for so long, and there's a plethora on YouTube. This takes me back to freshman year of college, but in a very good way. Indulge yourself.

3. Well this backfired. I was planning on buying a case of this calendar I designed to give to everyone one of them when I went home for Thanksgiving. It's pretty much (and I'm not exaggerating) the best thing I've ever done. Only, we sold out of them. All 37,000. And they won't be in stock again until after I get back. Woops.

4. Ya like the new template? I totally didn't make this myself!


Me vs. ESPN braintrust, week 8.

Wow. I took it in the shorts this time. How bad was week 8? I tied with Mortensen. I guess it's true what they say, pride comes before a fall. Time to bounce back.

Golic 72-42 (5-9)
Hoge 72-42 (8-6)
Schlereth 72-42 (7-7)
Jaworski 71-43 (7-7)
Me 70-44 (5-9)
Allen 70-44 (8-6)
Salisbury 70-44 (7-7)
Mortensen 61-53 (5-9)


Yeah, about last night...

Mark it on your calendars, October 30, 2006 is the day I officially jumped off the instant replay bandwagon. I just can't believe that indisputable visual evidence of tucking the ball, turning upfield, taking three steps, and fumbling on your way down isn't enough to overturn an erroneous incomplete pass call. I don't know what kind of dirt Bill Belichick has on Larry Nemmers, but it's gotta be good. Matt Millen good.

Not like that would've saved the Vikings anyway.

Did you know Tom Brady was the youngest quarterback to ever win the Super Bowl? It's true. At age 9, Brady passed for 884 yards and nine touchdowns in one game, completing passes to 26 different receivers. Amazingly, he finished with more completions than attempts. One of his touchdowns was caught simultaneously by two receivers, and everyone thought it was such a nice pass that it counted for two completions.

Did you know Tom Brady once chopped down a tree with his bare hands? It's true. Apparently he used his perfect teeth on the felled oak to whittle a cute little dinette set.

Did you know Tom Brady invented the cure for cancer? It's true. He's only allowing the pink merchandise for "breast cancer research" to continue because he knows a couple orphanages that could use the money. Isn't he great?

Yes, I'm fulling embracing the bitterness.

If Brad Childress knew anything, he'd start Tarvaris Jackson from here on out.


Some thoughts...

...on the football weekend.

1. The FOX go-bot had a jack-o-lantern head yesterday. Amazingly, this brought the ridiculousness level down a little bit.

I think my major beef with the go-bot (besides the fact that he has absolutely no reason to be there) is that they obviously spent so much time and money to mimic the actual motions of a football player warming up. It brings to mind the existentialist meaning of the word "absurd." The general idea is that when you consider the fervor with which we carry out life, coupled with the groundlessness of our existence (their thoughts, not mine), life seems absurd. When you consider the fervor with which the go-bot animators carried out their work, coupled with the utter pointlessness of their task, the go-bot is profoundly absurd.

But it does open the door for other holiday heads. A turkey head, Santa Claus, baby Jesus, a menorah, Marin Luther King Jr., the possibilities are wide open.

2. Allow me to be the 81,000th to say it. Stick a fork in Pittsburgh.

3. The field goal gone bad in the Chiefs/Seahawks game has to go down as the funniest play of the year so far. You could almost hear Dustin Colquitt screaming, "Not the face! Dear Lord, not the face!" The ruling is questionable, sure. But if that was a pass, it was the ugliest pass in the last ten years, and that includes all levels of football, including little pee-wee football. They should've just not overturned it and cited the "worst pass in football" rule. That and, let's be honest, he should've fallen on it right away. Why can't they teach this in training camp? Can I be an advisor and make lots of money to teach punters and kickers how to fall on footballs? Please?

4. I saw a lot of commercials yesterday for KFC's Famous Bowls. I know they've been around for a little while now, but let me give my take on them. This seems like such a bad idea that I can't help but be fascinated by it. This is a brilliant idea because it's so out there that many, many people will want to try one, even if they're horrified by it. Count me as one of them.

5. Where can I get a shiny acoustic guitar with a big Ford logo on it? Do I have to get up early and have to be on time?

6. So Jay-Z is now hocking Budweiser Select. Does anyone remember that he did a Heineken commercial a few years back? Is this the new front of rap violence? Are the Anheuser-Busch people gonna mix it up with the Heineken people? How many up-and-coming beer execs will become victims of gang feuds? Will this claim Jay-Z's life? He could single-handedly revive the rapper retrospective TV special industry. Stay tuned...

Skol Vikings!!!!


Star Trek

I have to admit, I haven't seen an episode of the original Star Trek in many years. I certainly haven't seen one on non-cable channels. But tonight one showed up on TV, and baffled, the wife and I watched.

Turns out it was the Halloween episode. I don't know if they made more than one, but this one is so incredibly cheesy. I don't actually know if every episode was this bad (as it's been so long, as noted above), but it's hardly even watchable. I love it.

Unrelated note: I, along with Gordon (one of my three confirmed readers), have come up with The 365 Project on flickr. It's an attempt to take and upload one picture a day for all of 2007. I've started already, just to get in the habit. I also have my own personal page of photos, if you care.

Just eat the sandwich!


Week 8 picks.

Again, more random thoughts before I dive in:

1. PhilTube. Funniness. It's my stated purpose to use the word "blog" in at least six conversations over the next week. Moreover, I want to start ending my phone calls with, "You should be blogging."

2. It blizzarded here yesterday. There were words like "legendary" being thrown around on the news last night. Weathercasters, newspersons, can we just cut it with the hyperbole? It was a foot of snow. It's already halfway melted. We had one snow day out of it, let's not lose our heads over it. Ironically, Academy Blvd. was in much better shape this time around.

3. If you like college hockey (and you really need to punched in the head if you don't), you have to like this weekend's matchup between St. Cloud State and North Dakota. Fireworks galore. And whoodathunkit that professional hockey would be the hot topic in Minny this time around?

4. It has been a strange week. Some friends of ours had twins on Monday. When we visited them on Tuesday, the babies were in ICU because their lungs hadn't fully formed. I can't imagine how hard that must be, but we got to see them and they were so tiny and I instantly realized how a parent can love their child so much. I'm kind of psyched to have kids of my own someday. Then on Wednesday, an aunt of mine died unexpectedly. I've only met her a couple times because she lives across the country, but it's still hard to have to deal with death. I guess this was just one of those weeks that make you think more big picture than normal.

Ok, now let's get down to the nitty gritty. I'm particularly pumped to be laying out another slate of genius upset picks:

MINNESOTA (+2 1/2) over New England
I can't even tell you how much I'm looking forward to Monday night. I really don't understand how the Patriots are road favorites against a 4-2 team that just dismantled the reigning NFC champs. Chock it up to the East Coast Media Bias I guess. Maybe after this game the Vikings will get some respect. Maybe. The Vikes had a chance to arrive on the scene against the Bears earlier this year and choked that away. It will say a lot about this team in how they respond to another high-pressure situation. If they win, they have San Fran, Green Bay, Miami, and Arizona next. They could be 9-2 going up against the Bears on December 3rd. I smell a flex game! I'll leave this prediction with one more tidbit: The Broncos offense picked apart the Pats defense. I'll say that again.

The Broncos offense picked apart the Pats defense.

Arizona (+3 1/2) over GREEN BAY
People are piling on the Cards as the worst team in the NFL simply because they lost to Oakland. Granted, that is about as bad as it gets. But Arizona was coming off a stomach-punch loss. They still have a remarkably poised quarterback, talented skill players, and a coach that doesn't quit until the postseason. I really don't think Arizona's as bad as what people make them out to be. A low-profile game like this is just what they need to get back on track.

Seattle (+5 1/2) over KANSAS CITY
This is an exercise in functioning in the surreal netherworld. Seneca Wallace is starting for the Seahawks. And I'm picking them. That's weird enough. But I'm picking them because he's going against rookie quarterback (and Chiefs third-stringer) Brodie Croyle. That's getting weirder. The real kicker is that if Damon Huard was starting, I'd pick the Chiefs. Damon Huard. Did anybody outside of KC even remember that this guy was still in football at the beginning of the season? When did he become a difference maker? What the heck is going on here?!

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

Indianapolis (+2 1/2) over DENVER
Last time I checked, Indy was still undefeated, and Denver was not. Last time I checked, Indy still owned the Broncos. Last time I checked, Jake Plummer was still quarterbacking one of the most anemic offenses in football. Last time I checked, the forecast for Denver on Sunday is 69 degrees and sunny. Oddsmakers have this one ALL wrong.

Pittsburgh (-8 1/2) over OAKLAND
I was wrong about this last week, but I'm going to keep with it--




Some thoughts on my new "Show of the Season," Heroes.

1. Stop plugging the Nissan Versa already. Yes we get it, they paid a bundle to be mentioned every possible time they can. But even Joe Yoekel in Bumlovin, Tennessee can see through your charade by now. Let it go.

2. Ali Larter's character is easily the weakest link of the show. It's obvious they tried to concoct more intriguing plotlines around her because her character is too weak. For instance: she doesn't actually have a superpower. She's schizophrenic. Last time I checked, that's more of a mental illness thing.

3. What am I supposed to do in January when 24 is on at the EXACT same time? I don't have two TV's, and I'm not sure the built-in VCR can record one thing while I watch another. I may have to make a major electronics purchase to avert this disaster.

4. There is some level of debate in my household over which Hiro Nakamura is better. My wife leans towards "Fun Japanese Office Worker" Hiro and I prefer "Two Seconds Away From Chopping Your Head Off" Hiro.

5. Never before have I seen a series chock full of so many anti-heroes. The heroin junkie, the sleazy politician, the internet whore, what is this? Are they just trying to make Peter and Hiro look better? Are they trying to break our stereotypes of the perfect superhero?

6. "Save the cheerleader, save the world" is not only a good tagline for a TV show, but it works remarkably well in all sorts of common social situations.

"Hey, do you have roughs of the football inserts?"

"Save the cheerleader, save the world."

"Ok. I gotta go."

See? Brilliant.

7. (Unrelated to Heroes) I've discovered the best way to annoy your fellow workers. Go to iTunes, download "The Final Countdown" by Europe, and play it loud once. Someone will probably try to stop you before the song is over, but the damage will already be done. Is there a better way to create enemies where you once had friends? I submit to you that there is not.

Me vs. ESPN braintrust, week 7.

It was a brutal week! Well, for everyone else. At ESPN, three of their experts went 4-9 (Salisbury, Jaworski, and the dreadful Mortensen) while only one broke the .500 barrier (Golic, 7-6). Me? I went 8-5. Stupid Dallas. See if I ever pick you again. All this adds up to me leapfrogging into a tie for second place. A couple more weeks like this and it's all mine.

Golic 67-33
Me 65-35
Schlereth 65-35
Hoge 64-36
Jaworski 64-36
Salisbury 63-37
Allen 62-38
Mortensen 56-44?!


How now, Denver?

Allow me to give a little discourse on the city of Denver, Colorado.

First off, it is the worst American city I have ever been to. Keep in mind that I've visited such places as Sacramento, Houston, and Miami. This beats them all. Some people will half-heartedly defend the city by saying, "It's really not so bad once you get away from the ghetto areas." My response is always, "Where in Denver isn't a ghetto?!"

It's outbursts like this that are going to cost me my job someday.

Denver Broncos fans are terribly fairweather. Last year when they made the AFC championship game, I swear there were four to five times as many Broncos fans as the rest of the season. The nice thing about Colorado Springs is that everyone is from somewhere else (I think I've met a grand total of five natives so far), and they all bring their football teams with them. The result is that in my office there are only maybe a half-dozen actual Broncos fans, until they do well, in which case the number can go up to about 40.

Here's an illustration. A certain woman in the office (I won't mention her name because I'm so busy ripping her apart, like a good Christian, the rest of each day) was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan last year in the week before the AFC championship game. This was a bold move, considering the number of Broncos Bandwagon Jumpers around. A couple weeks ago, when they threw a party because the Broncos were going to be on Monday Night Football, you know who showed up in a Jake Plummer jersey? This very same woman. FOR SHAME.

Come to think of it, the office parties for the Broncos and no other team is probably the factor that makes me despise Broncos fans the most. Almost everyone in the office cheers for another team. Stop it with the football parties already.

Anyway, I picked Cleveland to upset them yesterday, which they didn't. Despite picking four other upsets, this one went unmet. And I'm good with that. I now know that I was picking with my heart instead of my head, and I'll correct the problem in subsequent weeks. I just know in my heart of hearts that all of this winning that Denver is doing is only going to lead to a precipitous fall come January.

So rock on, Broncos! Pull those fans out of the woodwork. All the more people to stab in the chest in three months.


Week 7 picks.

A couple of fun items first:

Fun Item #1: Back in July, I posted an open inquiry for new, cooler job titles for a graphic designer. Nobody suggested even one. Luckily, I kept working on this and I came up with an answer. I am no longer a graphic designer, I am a visilogian (viz-uh-LOW-jen). I am a student of visilogy (viz-IL-uh-jee), the study and thorough knowledge of visual communication. Sounds a lot better right? There is no such word at dictionary.com, Google, or Wikipedia. So there then. Any time you ever hear or use that word, know that I made it up.

Fun Item #2: Who else loves those Subway commercials? I wrote about my sudden, surprising love of Jon Lovitz in June, and this latest round of commercials is even better. I can't decide which is a better line, when he yells "Holla!" at Lil' Jon, or when he yells "Just eat the sandwich!" at Reggie Bush.

Okay, on with the picks:

Minnesota (+6 1/2) over SEATTLE
Yeah, this is a homer pick. But I will say that not only is Sean Alexander still out, but Steve Hutchinson will have a HUGE game. Put Chester Taylor in if he's on your fantasy team, I smell a lot of points coming from him.

Green Bay (+4 1/2) over MIAMI
Yes, every time I need to prove that I came up with the word "visilogian", I'm going to have to point to a blog post where I picked the Pack to win. But I must go with what I know, and what I know is that Miami stinks haaaaaaaard. People are coming down on Brett Favre, so it's time for him to step up with a big game to allow him to suck for a few more weeks before they pull him out.

KANSAS CITY (+5 1/2) over San Diego
I'm not sure at all about this one, but I'm a big believer in what I'm now going to term the Office Space Corollary. "That's my only real motivation is not to be hassled. That and the fear of losing my job, but you know what Bob? That'll only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired." There are, in every sport and every season, a handful of teams that work just hard enough not to get blown apart (read "Washington in any sport"). They'll almost always win when their fan base will start rioting if they lose. I feel like Kansas City is close to this point after that humiliating loss to Pittsburgh. And even though San Diego is clearly the superior team, it's a division game at Kansas City. I got a hunch.

ATLANTA (+1 1/2) over Pittsburgh
Boy, that didn't take long to diffuse the panic over the Steelers, did it? Remember a week ago, when everyone thought their goose was cooked? Now they're making Atlanta, a very decent team, into a home dog. I agree that it's difficult to get a bearing on the Steelers so far this year, but let's call it both ways. I'm thinking they're WAY overrated here.

CLEVELAND (+5 1/2) over Denver
The upsets just keep on rolling. I was not impressed AT ALL by Denver last week. Their 4-1 record is not indicitive of the level of this team. Fun fact provided by Gregg Easterbrook: Denver has only scored 12 more points than Oakland so far this year. It's pathetic.

Arizona (-3 1/2) over OAKLAND
Duh. No upset is big enough for Oakland to win.

The rest of my picks:
NEW YORK JETS (-3 1/2) over Detroit
Philadelphia (-5 1/2) over TAMPA BAY
CINCINNATI (-3 1/2) over Carolina
New England (-5 1/2) over BUFFALO
Jacksonville (-9 1/2) over HOUSTON
INDIANAPOLIS (-9 1/2) over Washington
DALLAS (-3 1/2) over New York Giants


"Academy" must be Latin for "undriveable".

Yesterday morning, the forecasts here in Colorado Springs called for snow to begin about 8 pm and continue to the wee hours of the morning. A grand total of about an inch of accumulation was to happen. Naturally, none of this was correct. The snow started about 2 pm, and the grand total was more in the 4 to 6 inch range. This kind of inaccuracy happens all the time here. I've never seen such incompotent weatherpersons in my entire life. In their defense, I've also never seen such unpredictable and dramatically shifting weather in my life. But they have technology, experience, and schooling on their side. And they still don't get in the ballpark. Even as I was watching the news last night, the meteorologist was saying the snow was tapering off. But it was still coming down as hard as ever! Put a window in your studio!!!

Temper check, ok...

That's not even my real beef. I've been complaining about the weatherpeople in this town for two years now. My problem this morning is with the City of Colorado Springs. They completely don't understand how to take care of roads (which is symptomatic of the entire state of Colorado not knowing how to take care of roads). As I mentioned, the snow started around 2. When I went home at 4, the roads were only wet, and yet the masses of cars felt the need to go 20 mph the whole way. This is nothing new, I expected this. The first snow of any year is met with sheer panic, no matter where you are. It gave me a chance to listen to some Christmas music on the drive home. Awesome.

Last night on the news they had a story on when the city calls the plows into action. The thing is, it's much much later than you'd think. They don't get that you can't wait for a base of ice to build up under the cars before you start plowing. It was obvious the snow was going to amount to something, so pull the trigger already with the plows! Apparently the snow finally tapered off about midnight or so. And when I went to work at 7 am, you know what they had accomplished by then? Nothing.

Academy Boulevard is the second busiest street in the city, behind only I-25. Thousands of cars drive on it every commute. And yet they hadn't dropped a single piece of salt or sand on the entire road. It literally could've been used for a hockey rink. There were several occassions where I couldn't get going from a stoplight on account of all the sliding my brand new tires were doing. A couple times I nearly wrecked my car not being able to stop in time. This isn't some back street, it's Academy Freakin Boulevard!

Closed circuit to the City of Colorado Springs: I don't care if this snow will melt by tomorrow. I don't care if you're underfunded and understaffed. The second busiest road in a city with 400,000 people needs some salt when it snows. You can't commute on a frozen pond. Here's an idea: send three people to Minneapolis. Wait until a snowstorm. Then, have your three people drive around for a few hours. That's it. I guarantee they'll learn a lot. They'll be amazed by how many plows they see, how accessible most of the roads are, how they don't have to fear for their lives. Who knows, they might even bring back an idea or two.

Please, let's get some people on this right away. I don't have enough clean underwear for this.


That's the thing about pants.

Me vs. ESPN braintrust, week 6.

This one was a toughie. I'm sure there were a lot of people who didn't pick Detoit, Tennessee, New Orleans, or Tampa Bay to win. But here it is, Tuesday, and somehow I lost ground again. I was a solid 7-6, which I'll gladly take this week.

I'm not listing Theismann anymore. His status as "expert" is revoked.

Jaworski 60-27
Golic 60-27
Salisbury 59-28
Schlereth 59-28
Hoge 58-29
Me 57-30
Allen 56-31
Mortensen 52-35

Wow. I'm really starting to fade here, aren't I? Well, it's a marathon really. I'm still only three back of the lead, and we're only through week 6, folks. In the words of the Get Up Kids, "Don't worry, I'll catch you. Don't ever worry."


After a long absence...

You're right, anonymous patron. I've been gone too long. I could go on about my laziness, but instead I'll give you some excuses. The Twins lost and I was sulking. The Vikings were on a bye week. I actually have a job, you know. There. Three excuses, on with the show.

1. The Yankees get tossed by the Tigers, followed by the A's. Delicious. It should seem odd that I'm happy an AL Central team is making the World Series, but really my rivalry/jealousy only applies to Chicago or Cleveland. KC and Detroit are both such lovable losers that any success they get is met with my happiness. All that talk of Joe Torre getting fired made me giggle. Best lineup ever? I'm going out on a limb here, but no. It really is tragic about Lidle too. It robbed us all of our Yankee hatred for at least a couple critical days.

2. My fooball picking is going okay, I'll update how I'm doing vs. ESPN Braintrust tomorrow. In week 5 I had a dynamite time, going 13-1. Only thing is, my office pool had six people going 14-0 that week. I hate my coworkers sometimes. This week I actually didn't watch a minute of football and didn't even check scores until this morning. I don't know how I did. Paul says I picked 6 or 7 right. Okay, whatever. I did pick Detroit to win though. Genius status firmly intact.

3. Hockey season is back! How about them Wild? Granted, they've only played five home games so far, but they've won all five and are off to the best start in franchise history. I'm officially on the bandwagon. Plenty of room, folks. Also, St. Cloud State fired things up this last weekend, splitting a home series with #11 Denver. I would've been happier if they had pulled out a tie on Friday night, but considering how they started so slow last year, this is still a happy outcome. They should have an easy time with the home-and-home against Minnesota State this weekend.

Happy now?!


The Tim McCarver Anger Scale.

It's October again, which means one thing: Yankees baseball on FOX. And I really, really, really hate the Yankees. I don't think anyone outside of Boston can totally understand this. Well, I tuned in a couple nights ago to see if the Tigers could pull a game in New York. I lasted all of a half-inning before I had to turn it off. (It was the inning where the Yankees went up 5-0. As it turns out, I'm the guy who pushed that train wreck off a cliff. Sorry.)

I'm a good Christian guy. Seriously. I go to church, read my Bible, try to practice what I believe, work at a Christian organization. And yet not even I can keep my cool watching FOX's coverage of postseason baseball. It wasn't more than five minutes before I started dropping f-bombs. And as I stewed over this, trying to work up the nerve not to watch anything more than what the Twins were involved in, I tried at--and I believe succeeded in--getting to the bottom of what makes me so angry about the Yankees.

These are some of the reasons: I've endured so freaking many Yankees playoff victories. They buy their championships. FOX makes a point of showing celebrities in the stands, second only to the coke-huffing gaggle that shows up to Lakers games. The celebrities in the stands don't care nearly as much as you care about your team. But I've boiled my anger down to one main reason, and if you read the title you're already hip to this:

Tim McCarver.

[One moment, please... overcoming urge to flip a table...]

The guy makes me unspeakably angry, like an old-school video game that you were sure was rigged. He is about as impartial as Joe McCarthy. I can't stand hearing the man speak, and if you haven't had the pleasure, allow me to summarize: "Mkddkfp ksldhqw lkdg wlkheep dkwh." [See, he can't talk because he's too busy sucking the Yankees' collective... well... you know...] And in an effort to quantify my anger, I've decided to invent the Tim McCarver Anger Scale (or TMAS). On this scale, an average postseason game that McCarver announces rates a 10, and other angering experiences are rated in relation to that. Here are some examples:

1. Your favorite sports columnist picks the Buffalo Bills over the Minnesota Vikings. You are a die-hard (stress on the die part) Vikes fan. TMAS Score: 4.1. Of course, when it turns out he's right, you score a 3.8 on the Brett Favre Regret Scale.

2. A center fielder you've been cheering for for years finally hits the 30 HR plateau, and seems poised to lead your team to the World Series. Then, in the playoffs, he misplays a line drive which leads to an in-the-park home run. Initial TMAS Score: 7.7. Once you've settled down and realized that this same guy has single-handedly won many games with his defense, your TMAS Score evens out at about 2.0.

And 10 isn't necessarily the top end of the scale.

3. After game seven of the 2003 ALCS (Boone's walk-off machete job), somehow Tim McCarver magically shows up at your front door. Upon answering the door, he promptly kicks you in the nuts, and as you're doubled over in pain, he points at you and yells, "Yankees, b&#ch!" and runs away giggling. TMAS Score: 12-28. (The high end of the scale is largely unquantifiable by any standard.)

But zero isn't necessarily the bottom end of the scale either.

4. In the 2004 ALCS when A-Rod sissily hits the ball out of Arroyo's glove, MLB has enacted some of my new rules to baseball and Arroyo is allowed to go mano a mano against Rodriguez right then and there. The concurrent melee is so one-sided that it's not enough to knock A-Rod out of the game, but his face is so disfigured that he looks more like Sloth from the Goonies than an actual person. He loses his endorsements and whatever chance of sleeping with impossibly hot women he ever had. But later in the game, in his next at-bat, Pedro is called in for the sole purpose of enacting another new baseball rule, pitching at the new Target Crotch Shot Zone. And Pedro won't miss his spot when he's aiming for A-Rod's crotch. As he's doubled over in pain, an avid fan rushes out of the stands, dragging McCarver with him, and spits on the both of them. TMAS Score: -380000.

This is very helpful on a practical level. For instance, if you come home from a poker game for the inevitable fight with the Mrs., and she says the inevitable, "You just make me so angry sometimes," you can ask, "How angry?" And she actually can say, "9.2." Then you know you're in trouble.

Go ahead, you now have permission to thank me.


Me vs. ESPN braintrust, week 4.

I lost a game this week, going 9-5. It was unavoidable though. Lots of difficult games. Jaworski also leaped above me. But here's a question: why does anyone let Joe Theismann pick? He seems to know less about picking winners than most girls. Not to mention he mucks up the percentages by not picking the Monday night game. I'm beginning to loathe that guy.

Schlereth 40-20
Jaworski 39-21
Hoge 38-22
Me 37-23
Salisbury 37-23
Golic 37-23
Allen 35-25
Mortensen 35-25
Theismann 32-24


October is crazy.

Some thoughts about:


1. If the Vikings won't run, then I won't watch. Unbelievable.

2. I'm torn about tonight's game. Do I want Philly to dismantle the Packers in an "even our rivals are feeling sorry for us" kind of way? Or do I root for the game to be close, which gives the Packers and their fans hope, thus prolonging their misery?

3. Chicago looked good last night. I guarantee they're phoning in one of their next two games.

4. Going 7-6 is unacceptable. Sometimes I just hate Sundays.


1. Twins win the Central. Sometimes I just love Sundays.

2. How improbably was the KC sweep of Detroit? You bet I was keeping an eye on that one.

3. Nobody's picking the Tigers to beat the Yankees. Since this is the most delightful thing that could happen, I'll go ahead and call it. Tigers beat Yankees.

4. Twins beat Tigers, beat Los Angeles in the World Series.


Week 4 and I'm ticked.

I just read Bill Simmons' power rankings and I'm just livid. He's on some hardcore crack. Still funny, though. I may have a man-crush on him, but I don't have to like him right now...

Time to drown my sorrows in a big bottle of picks. (A note: I'm not writing something about every game. I just don't have it in me right now. Look for this to continue.)

Minnesota (+1 1/2) over BUFFALO
This is one that I really don't understand. Who has Buffalo beaten? Miami? Honestly, I don't remember. But the Vikings play three playoff teams from last year and go 2-1. They gave one of the top five teams in the NFL (Chicago) all they can handle, and now they're underdogs?! Seriously?! It's time for everyone to stop slamming the Vikings. They're better than they get credit for. They're the Mark-Paul Gosselaar of the NFL. When he was on Saved by the Bell, nobody took him as a serious actor. But when he hit NYPD Blue (and even before that in "Dead Man on Campus"), he showed he had some chops. Same thing here. This is the Vikes' "Dead Man on Campus". Two touchdown margin at least.

KANSAS CITY (-7 1/2) over San Francisco
Let's keep in mind that KC has only scored 16 points this season. To beat the spread they need their margin of victory to be half that? Pass. Hey, is [I forget which brother] Huard starting this week?


No, I guess it doesn't matter.

Miami (-4 1/2) over HOUSTON
It seems odd, but I'm getting excited over this game. I'm fairly sure that the defenses shouldn't even bother gearing up this week. I'm going to love watching the scores roll in on this game. I wonder what the over/under is on "unchanged score with each successive turn through the ticker" is. Four? Five? With three big players in this game, my fantasy team (Minnesota Blue Steel) is looking for a big week.

Indianapolis (-9 1/2) over NY JETS
Here's what I would love: The Jets somehow beat the Colts. I don't know, maybe the Colts really mail this one in. We endure a week of "The Jets Have Arrived" stories, and it skews every line on them for the next two months. I would love to watch how long it took everyone to realize, "Oh wait, they still suck." This would be a fun storyline that wouldn't go away for a while, owing to the East Coast Media Bias. (Yes, it gets caps.)

CAROLINA (-6 1/2) over New Orleans
Remember last week when I said that the Saints would win and I'd look like a genius? Just making sure.

ST LOUIS (-5 1/2) over Detroit
I wonder how big the "Fire Millen" campaign will get this year. It was at cacaphony level last year, could it get worse than that? What will it take to fire him? Nobody's denying he's the worst football executive of the past twenty years at least. I don't even think Millen would disagree. But after losing at home to the loathesome Packers, is there any on-the-field humiliation they could endure that might cost Millen his job? Or does this have to boil down to an off-the-field scandal? I bet Matt Millen is really glad he secretly tailed the ownership on their Philipino boy-love trip. That's the only explanation I can come up with.

Cleveland (-2 1/2) over OAKLAND

PHILADELPHIA (-10 1/2) over Green Bay
As baffled as I am that the Packers somehow weaseled their way into a Monday night game, I love that they get to be dismantled on national television. Give up hope, Packers fans.

The Year.

I've been waiting for an appropriate time to write my "Why I Think The Twins Have It This Year" post, and I feel that time has come. Why? Because of last night.

Playing the lowly Royals, and knowing that Detoit has already lost, Brad Radke makes his comeback from a stress fracture in his shoulder. It's his last year (he's already said he's retiring), and a first-place position is on the line. The Tigers have had a lock on sole possession of first place in the AL Central since May 21st. In early August, the Twins were over 10 games back.

Radke throws 57 pitches over five innings, allowing only one unearned run on three hits. He's back. He provides the Twins with a solid, veteran presence as the third starter in their post-season rotation. Still, the bats were cold, as inning after inning rolled by with the Royals clinging to a 1-0 lead.

Bottom of the ninth, two outs, and Joe Mauer comes to the plate. How storybook is this? The first catcher to win a batting title since the 1950s (at this point I don't know if it's even mathematically possible for him not to win it). The drama was high. What does he do? Why, he belts one out of the park to tie it up and send it to extra innings. I only watched the highlight this morning, and it was tough to keep it down to a dull roar. It was that exciting. Of course, the Twins pull it out in the bottom of the 10th inning and claim a tie with the Tigers for first place.

It's these kind of games that make me think the Twins have it this year.

I've been very blessed to see my team win two World Series in my lifetime, to grow up idolizing Kirby Puckett. And yes, I believe I can tell when a year is special. I felt it in 1987 and 1991, and I feel it this year. Games where the Twins come back in improbable fashion make that feeling stronger. When a whole season is considered an improbable comeback, that feeling goes off the charts.

Player for player, I think these Twins are more stacked than either World Series champion team from their past. We have Johan Santana, the most dominant and fearsome pitcher in baseball today, a shoe-in for Cy Young. We have the aforementioned Joe Mauer, AL batting champ. We have Justin Morneau, top two in MVP voting easy. Cuddyer has over 100 RBIs. There hasn't been a 30 HR hitter in a Twins uniform since 1987, and now we have two, Morneau and Torii Hunter. We have a bullpen that is simply sick. We have at least three solid starters for the rotation. The only team that compete with the Twins is the Yankees.

I really like this team, because they never fold. Losing streaks are abruptly stopped, games are salvaged, they persevere. I think it's their consistency since early June that has impressed me the most. They've had their hot streaks, but they really have stayed very competitive for a long period of time.

I'll call it right now, championship!


Bye bye Saturn.

Did you ever have an emotional attachment to a car? Whenever a television commercial comes on with the whole "We Americans Love Our Cars" theme--for auto insurance, oil filters, what have you--I get a little cynical, like a political commercial telling us to elect this guy to protect our children, only with cars.

Well, the reason I bring this up is because I finally sold my Saturn SW1 today. It's been sitting around since we bought a ZX2 in June, but I finally posted it on craigslist and it flew away. (Sidenote: craigslist is the best way to sell a car EVER. I cannot stress this enough.) It's now in the possession of a very nice young missionary couple from Sweden. And last night, after I accepted the offer they gave me (too little in my opinion, but it's more than nothing), I sat in bed and thought about all the good times I've had in that car.

There was a time in my life when I drove 180 miles a day between home and college. Some people ogle at that number, but I wouldn't trade those days for the world. How many songs did I sing at the top of my lungs speeding down a pitch black interstate in central Minnesota? How many days did that thing lug my golf clubs around? I fell in love with sports talk radio in that car. We went to seven states, me and the Saturn. We took the Mrs. to the drive-in. It was the getaway car at my wedding, for crying out loud.

I guess I don't really have a point here but I just wanted to say that it's not silly to have a sentimental connection with your car. And even though I'll be sad for a couple hours, I hope that in a few years I have just as many happy memories with my ZX2.

Me vs. ESPN braintrust, week 3.

I had another shaky week, but it looks like everyone else did as well. Big ups for the Saints, who saved me from pastry purgatory in the office. I went 8-6, which for the week tied Salisbury and Jaworski, and beat Theismann, Hoge, Mortensen (5-9?!), and Golic. Only Schlereth and Allen had me this time. For the season:

Hoge 30-16
Schlereth 30-16
Me 28-18
Allen 28-18
Jaworski 28-18
Salisbury 28-18
Theismann 26-17
Golic 27-19
Mortensen 26-20

And looking ahead to week four, I'm worried. Too many visiting teams to pick, too many games too close to call.


I blame myself.

Around 2 p.m. mountain time yesterday, I felt elated. I was watching the Vikings own Rex Grossman. I was watching Mewelde Moore battle--no, juke, jive, spin, claw--for an impossible first down against the vaunted Bears defense, then do one of the more entertaining celebrations in recent memory, crawling for more yardage after the play. And then, in a move of utter stupidity, I said to myself, "I don't believe it, the Vikings are gonna win this thing." I then spent the next hour reenacting Chris Farley in an old SNL sketch, constantly repeating,

"I blame myself."

Now, I'm not a superstitious man. Far from it. I do happen to believe that God is not a Vikings fan, but beyond that, all bets are off. But lets look back at some of the more memorable highlights of the last few years of my football fandom:

January 1999. The Purple handed a shellacking to the entire NFL that year, going 15-1 and cruising to the NFC championship game. In the last week of the regular season, they beat the division-leading Jaguars by a score of 50-3. 50-3! Then Atlanta rolls into the Metrodome. Gary Anderson misses the only field goal of the year. Denny Green, who has the most potent offense in NFL history up to that point, inexplicably kneels with over a minute remaining to send the game to overtime. Duh. Falcons win, they go to the Super Bowl.

January 2001. I don't really know how it happened, but the Vikes found themselves in the NFC championship again, this time facing the Giants. This one, in a perverse sort of mercy, never got off the ground. The beatdown we received was so bad that the only conceivable explanation was that they were stealing our play calls. 48-0, the Giants go to the Super Bowl.

January 2004. The Vikes start the season 6-0, then stumble to 9-6 with one game remaining. Win, and we make the playoffs. Luckily, our opponent was the lowly Arizona Cardinals, led by the dreadful Josh McCown. With time dwindling in the fourth quarter, McCown leads the worst team in football that year down the field and scores a miraculous touchdown on fourth and 20-something with no time remaining. The Vikings go home.

I blame myself for thinking that my team could ever have a game in the bag with time remaining on the clock. What happens? Fumble, Bears recover, suddenly Grossman looks unstoppable (of course he does), chucks the game-winning touchdown. Vikings lose.

After the game, as I was pouting, my wife said, "Honey, this is the Vikings." This coming from a woman who just last year had to have the concept of a first down explained to her. And even she knew better than I did that the Vikings will always choke in big situations. I spent the next ten minutes trying to lay out all the points of why I think that this Vikings team is different. New coaches, new attitude, new ownership, whatever. It didn't matter for jack when the game was on the line. This is still the same franchise whose biggest favor to me as a fan was losing their four Super Bowl appearances before I was born. Thanks a lot guys. If you need me I'll be slamming my head in a car door.

But will I learn? Heck no.

I'll be cheering for my Purple just as loud next week when they go to Buffalo. Even now I'm searching for signs of hope, and there are plenty. This game had no direct playoff implications. We took one of the elite teams in the NFL down to the wire. The defense looked fantastic for 57 minutes. We're still 2-1 through a brutal first three weeks of the season. I guess this is the life of a fan. We'll gladly take innumerable stabs to the chest just to hold onto the hope that someday the joy of seeing our team win it all will be worth it.

Just make it quick boys.


NFL week 3.

In week one, I was giddy like Christmas morning. In week two, I was eager like the first day of school. Now that it's week three, I'm shaking like I've had a pot of coffee. I think my love of football is becoming unhealthy. SWEET! On to the picks (home team in caps):

MINNESOTA (+3 1/2) over Chicago
We'll call this one Upset Special of the Week #1. And no, I'm not being delusional. Chicago hasn't faced anyone nearly the caliber of the Vikings, on either side of the ball. Everyone's talking about how Rex Grossman is coming alive at quarterback, and oooh, the Bears offense looks dynamite. They've played the Packers and Lions, for crying out loud. Coronado High School could light them up. The fact is that Grossman hasn't seen ANY pressure yet this year. If the Vikings defense (ranked 7th in the NFL, thank you very much) can put any pressure on Rex at all, he'll get his happy feet and could be very prone to mistakes. The Bears defense is a formidable foe, that's true. But they're a cover two just like Minny, and they've been built for speed, not power. If the Vikings O-line lives up to expectations, and we've seen glimpses of that in the fourth quarters of the past two games, the Vikes could end up punching the Bears' D right in the mouth for the whole game. Tony Richardson needs to have a huge game taking Urlacher out on running plays. In the end, this will be the week the Vikings start to be taken seriously. You heard it here first.

Washington (-3 1/2) over HOUSTON
This one was a toss-up for me. Houston put 24 on Indianapolis. That's pretty good. Basically my feeling here is that if the Reskins lose, then all hell breaks loose in Washington. They won't do that. They'll win just enough games to keep a riot down, just enough for people not to get fired before the season ends. Enjoy your 7-9 season, Skins fans.

BUFFALO (-5 1/2) over NY Jets
I don't know. Why does this game even matter?

DETROIT (-6 1/2) over Green Bay
Closed circuit to all the Sconnies that read this blog: give up hope. Your team is 6 point dogs to the LIONS!

INDIANAPOLIS (-8 1/2) over Jacksonville
This is amazing. A team beats the defending Super Bowl champs--absolutely shuts them down--and they're still this much of an underdog?! Who makes this line? I do think the Colts will win (I'll pick them every week until they let me down), but if you're a better, take the Jags on the points.

MIAMI (-10 1/2) over Tennessee
Ok, that whole Culpepper thing was totally off base. Sorry. But if they keep statistics like "best fantasy player who plays for the suckiest team", then I had the steal of the draft with Ronnie Brown. If you're from Miami, thank the good Lord above that he dropped this creampuff in your collective lap.

PITTSBURGH (-2 1/2) over Cincinnati
This one's getting WAY too much hype. There's the east coast bias for you. I suppose technically these are both midwest teams, but... you know what, no it's not east coast bias. People just get way to interested in the Steelers. I really don't know what to make of this game, I guess I just think Cincy has too many injuries and jailbirds.

Carolina (-3 1/2) over TAMPA BAY
I'm still lobbying for the Bucs to go back to their orange and white uniforms, so we can easily identify their suckiness. Remember the good old days of two weeks ago when people thought this would be a huge game?

Baltimore (-6 1/2) over CLEVELAND
Poor Browns. Ain't no way they're winning a division title in the next five years. They could rebuild twice before they could have a shot at the postseason. Oh well, they named their team after poop. They get what they get.

SEATTLE (-3 1/2) over NY Giants
Closed circuit to Mike Holmgren: Don't sit on a lead. Heel to the throat, that's what you should be shooting for. We don't need anyone else putting delusions of grandeur into Eli Manning's head. It's gone on far too long.

ARIZONA (-4 1/2) over St. Louis
Three words: Take. The. Over.

Philadelphia (-6 1/2) over SAN FRANCISCO
I'd hate to be any 49er right now. Philly is looking to take out some frustration this week. Is there any chance that the margin of victory in this game will be less than 21 points? Any?

NEW ENGLAND (-6 1/2) over Denver
It's just really hilarious to hear people calling for Plummer's head. There's no way Cutler will start a game this year unless the Broncos give up on their season (read "until they play San Diego"). New England doesn't really inspire confidence in me--I'd put their Super Bowl chances at about 200 to 1 right now--but they'll beat the Broncos on the revenge factor alone.

NEW ORLEANS (+3 1/2) over Atlanta
Let's call this one the Upset Special of the Week #2. Yes, the Falcons look unstoppable. Yes, New Orleans has gotten good off of weak teams the last couple weeks. But my theory here is that the Saints pull off one emotional win every year. This is the one. Call it a fool's theory if you must, but if women can make picks based on which city they'd like to live in more, then I can do this. When I'm right on Tuesday you can start believing in my genius. It's okay. I'll wait.