December 30th, 2005
Broncos @ San Diego(11)
Hunh? The Chargers are out no matter what, and Denver has the #2 seed no matter what. I don’t see why the spread should be 11. Broncos.
Giants(9) @ Oakland
The G-Men need to win to clinch the division and could actually entirely miss the playoffs if they lose. And since when does a Turner-coached team step it up late in the season? Giants.
Cardinals @ Indy(6.5)
Game over by halftime. Indy.
Ravens(3) @ Cleveland
Baltimore is just better.
Bills(1) @ New Jersey Jest
The Bills looked really good last week in beating the Bengals–they may be playing for their coach’s job, so I say they’ll take the Jest.
Panthers(4) @ Atlanta
The Panthers need it, I’ll give the points.
Lions @ Pittsburgh(13.5)
No picking the Lions for me.
Dolphins @ New England(5.5)
In New England in crappy weather? I’ll take the champs.
Saints @ Tampa Bay(13.5)
The Saints mailed in the season a long time ago and the Bucs need to win to get in. Yeah, lots of points, but the Saints are horrible.
Seahawks @ Green Bay(4.5)
Come on, the Seabags second team is better than the Packers, plus Alexander wants the TD record. Seabags.
Texans(1.5) @ San Francisco
The Reggie-bowl! The Niners blew it last week by winning, but the problem is that they need Bush a lot more than the Texans do–what Houston needs is an o-line, not a running back. Niners will be more motivated to lose, so I’ll take Houston.
Titans @ Jacksonville(3.5)
Jags are the #5 seed no matter what happens in this game. Nobody of consequence will play for Jax. However, the Titans are so bad that the #2 Jax squad still covers this.
Bears @ Minnesota(4)
The Vikings are out no matter what. The Bears are the #2 seed no matter what. Since the Bears have a bye, they’ll play some of their guys just to keep the rust off. The Vikings will mail it in as Tice is done no matter what happens here; Chicago.
Redskins(7.5) @ Philly
Washington is fighting for their playoff lives but the Iggles want to salvage some dignity. Still, the Iggles suck and the Redskins have been beating people up lately. I’ll take the Skins.
Rams @ Dallas(12.5)
Damn that’s a lot of points, and the Rams have no reason to care. Still, the Cowboys are so inconsistent; I’ll take the huge number.
December 30th, 2005
Ack, I’m sure the Music City Bowl has started, but I haven’t seen anything yet, I promise!
12/30 Music City: Virginia vs. Minnesota(6.5)
My inclination is to not trust the Gophers based on their performance in bowls the last couple years, so there you go.
12/30 Sun: Northwestern vs. UCLA(3)
This game will be a shootout, and I’ll take UCLA.
12/30 Independence: South Carolina(4) vs. Missouri
Spurrier with time? Also, ack to the Big XII North. I’ll take the Gamecocks.
12/30 Peach: Miami(6.5) vs. LSU
Can’t like a backup QB in a bowl game–Miami.
12/31 Car Care: South Florida vs. NC State(4)
The Car Care Bowl? Seriously? Ugh. Anyway, I like the ACC this year in the bowls, so I’m with the Wolfpack.
12/31 Houston: TCU(3) vs. Iowa State
I will be at this game. TCU by a mile, they’re actually good, while ISU backed in–another pick against the Big XII North.
1/2 Cotton: Texas Tech(3.5) vs. Alabama
The Red Raiders have a gaudy record, but a bunch of those games were 1AA teams and teams from the Big XII North. I’m taking the points and Bama.
1/2 Outback: Iowa vs. Florida(1.5)
Seems like this was a bowl matchup recently, doesn’t it? Dunno. Anyway, nice small spread, I’ll take the Gators.
1/2 Gator: Louisville vs. Virginia Tech(8)
I’ve seen Louisville on TV this year, and I have not been impressed at all. I see no reason why Tech won’t steamroll.
1/2 Capital One: Wisconsin vs. Auburn(11)
Wow, that’s a lot of points. Auburn is certainly the better team, but Wisconsin will keep it closer than that.
1/2 Sugar: West Virginia vs. Georgia(6.5)
Bulldogs. Stadium will be packed with UGA fans, easy victory.
1/2 Fiesta: Ohio State(4.5) vs. Notre Dame
A game I can miss between two teams I hate. OSU has played pretty well in bowls with Tressel at the helm, and I think ND is overrated. Thus, I will give the points.
1/3 Orange: Penn State(10) vs. Florida State
What a crappy matchup, Penn State was jobbed of a good opponent when VT faltered. JoePa wants to make a statement and FSU will be outmanned, but the spread is pretty big. I say the Lions win by less than ten.
1/4 Rose: USC(7.5) vs. Texas
Southern Cal is certainly getting a lot of hype on this, but Texas is pretty good. I don’t see USC’s defense having an answer for Vince Young. On the other hand, I don’t see anybody on Texas with answers for Leinart and Bush. Pac10 looked shaky with Cal only over BYU by a little and the Ducks losing the Holiday Bowl. Still, I think the Longhorns go down, and USC covers.
December 22nd, 2005
In a hurry, so quickly…
Steelers(7) @ Cleveland
Bills @ Cincy(14)
Too rich, take the points.
Cowboys @ Carolina(5)
Giants @ Washington(3)
Falcons @ Tampa Bay(3)
Niners @ St. Louis(9)
Lions @ Saints, wherever this is(3)
Titans @ Miami(5.5)
Chargers @ Kansas City, pick
Jags(6.5) @ Houston
Eagles @ Arizona(1)
Colts @ Seattle(7.5)
Poor Dungy. Seabags still playing for home field, too.
Raiders @ Denver(13.5)
Bears(6.5) @ Green Bay
Chicago easily. Favre sacked 6 times, picked 4.
Vikings @ Baltimore(3)
Despite the blip, Brad Johnson
Patriots(5) @ New Jersey Jest
Brady and the D
December 19th, 2005
Holy cow, the bowls start tomorrow! Gotta get those picks up there…
12/20, New Orleans: Southern Miss(16.5) vs. Arkansas State
You wouldn’t think two 6-5 teams could actually be that far apart, but Arkansas State plays who, exactly? I think I’ll give the huge number. Yikes.
12/21, GMAC: UTEP vs. Toledo(3)
I think the WAC, now that Rice is gone, is not as bad as people think. I also think the MAC is down a little this year, so I’ll take the Miners.
12/22, Pioneer Las Vegas: BYU vs. Cal(7.5)
I’m going to need to pick some upsets, so here’s one I’ll pick. Seems like a couple too many points.
12/22, Poinsetta: Colorado State vs. Navy(2.5)
Navy actually looked OK this year, I think. Since I know nothing about CSU this year, that’ll have to be enough.
12/23, Fort Worth: Kansas(3) vs. Houston
The Cougars have no business being in a bowl game. Then again, neither do the Jayhawks. Bleah. I think Kansas is better, and enough so to cover.
12/24, Hawaii: Nevada(2) vs. UCF
I will once again take the WAC team. Go Wolfpack!
12/26, Motor City: Memphis(5.5) vs. Akron
I don’t see Akron with a chance in this game. First, Akron isn’t very good, and second, that hotshot RB for Memphis will be healthy. They should steamroll.
12/27, Champs Sports: Clemson vs. Colorado, no line
Will Colorado rally around the new coach? Which Clemson team shows up? So many questions… and I have no answers. Clemson on a hunch.
12/27, Insight: Arizona State(11) vs. Rutgers
Rutgers hasn’t been to a bowl in like a zillion years, so they’ll just be happy to be there, and this is a home game for the Sun Devils. I say they cover the big number!
12/28, MPC: Boise State vs. BC(1.5)
Ahh, that blue Boise turf. How do they always end up playing in their own bowl? I think BC wins this one (and covers), though, especially since the Broncos will be coach-less.
12/28, Alamo: Michigan(11.5) vs. Nebraska
I have no idea how good or bad Nebraska is–they must be bad to be 7-4 in the Big XII North– but one thing I know about Michigan this year: they never made it look easy. I have to take the points.
12/29, Emerald: Georgia Tech(8.5) vs. Utah
Remember that Tech vs. Miami game? If that Tech team shows up, it won’t be close at all. I actually though Tech acquitted themselves OK vs. UGA, which is a hell of a lot better team than Utah. Hard to give that many for Tech, though. OK, I’m gritting my teeth and picking the Jackets.
12/29, Holiday: Oregon(3) vs. Oklahoma
Wow, that’s harsh. The Ducks should be in a serious BCS bowl, playing somebody really good–their only loss was to USC! And Oklahoma just isn’t that good this year. Ducks all the way!
December 17th, 2005
Bucs @ New England(4.5)
Seems like too much. Tampa still has some life, methinks.
Chefs @ New Jersey Giants(3)
The Giants haven’t looked good lately, but I think they’ll get it done at home.
Broncos(9) @ Buffalo
Well, the Bills are indeed awful, but I’m sticking with my theory that the Broncos are falling apart. I mean, they’ll still win, but only just.
Niners @ Jacksonville(16)
Mmm, San Fran on the road. Gotta give the points.
Eagles @ St. Louis(3)
That was a nice showing by the Iggles last week, but they can’t sustain it.
Chargers @ Indy(7.5)
Week to week, what do the Chargers do? Confound. Week to week, the Colts cover big spreads. I’m going with Indy here, as usual.
Cardinals(1.5) @ Houston
Look at how thin the Texans spread is! They know they’ll keep it close. But they’ll still lose, because they have to stay “ahead” of the Niners for Reggie. Cardinals.
Panthers(9.5) @ New Rouge Antonio
I see that the bookies have completely given up on the Aints. I have to concur.
Seahawks(7.5) @ Tennessee
Seattle shouldn’t have trouble running it up against the sorry Titans.
Steelers(3) @ Minnesota
I’m not getting off the Brad Johnson bandwagon! You can’t make me!
Jest @ Miami(9)
Ugh. Yeah, sure, the Dolphins should be favored, but by nine? Too rich for my blood.
Browns @ Oakland(3)
Another coin flip. Well, Cleveland has been especially awful on the road, so I have to go with the Raiders.
Bengals(8.5) @ Detroit
Whatever. I’m not picking the Lions.
Cowboys @ Washington(2.5)
This seems weird to me. I know it’s a home game for the Redskins, but how are they favored? I’m so taking the points.
Falcons @ Chicago(3)
Atlanta can beat bad teams, but I’m not convinced they can really stand up to teams with winning records. The Bears D is fast and not afraid of Vick. Da Bears, who amazingly actually need the win to keep their division lead!
Packers @ Baltimore(3.5)
Green Bay really showed me something last week. They showed me that they suck, barely edging the Lions at home. Ravens.
December 10th, 2005
Raiders(3) @ New Jersey Jest
The Jest have to lose to stay in the Reggie hunt, and I think they’ll oblige. Raiders.
Rams @ Minnesota(7)
That’s a slightly bigger number than I expected, but right now I’m definitely on the Vikings bandwagon since Culpepper went down. Plus, Harvard-boy didn’t look quite so hot against a real defense last week.
Colts(9) @ Jacksonville
You see that bit last week where Manning wanted to run another play at the end of the half? He seems like he’s ticked and wants to run it up on people. I’ve heard all this talk about the Jags play them tough and all, but this is a backup QB and backup RB. Colts all the way.
Browns @ Cincinnati(13)
Another one of those “how high would the spread have to be for me to pick the other way?” games. I think it’d have to be about 18.
Bucs @ Carolina(6)
There’s a “living on borrowed time” feeling to the Bucs this year, I think. I like the Panthers at home in this one.
Patriots(4) @ Buffalo
Hooray for the small spread. Pats.
Bears @ Pittsburgh(6.5)
I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but the Steelers look a little out of sync lately. That’s a bad thing against the Chicago D. I don’t see Pittsburgh covering this.
Texans @ Tennessee(6.5)
The Texans will lose, tightening their grip on the Reggie pick, this we know. But will they keep it close, like they did against the Ravens? I think so.
Giants(9) @ Philadelphia
Why is this spread not double digits? I see no reason to think the Eagles won’t take another huge beating this week. Maybe not 42-0, but they won’t be in this game.
Niners @ Seattle(16)
Their last game was actually close, but that was in SF. Seattle blows them out this time.
Redskins(4) @ Arizona
The Cardinals suck and the Redskins, while not especially good, don’t. Thus, I’m taking Washington.
Chiefs @ Dallas(3)
Toughest pick on the board for me, as I can see this going either way. I guess that means I should take the points, right? <shrug> OK, I will.
Ravens @ Denver(14.5)
Some chinks in the armor showing in Denver. They’ll win, but not by more than two TDs. Ten would have been a better spread here.
Dolphins @ San Diego(13.5)
On the theory that the Chargers are horribly inconsistent, I’m looking for this game to be close after last week’s blowout. Take the points.
Lions @ Green Bay(6)
I’m waiting for the Lions to just literally start finger-pointing right in the middle of a game. Packers.
Saints @ Atlanta(10.5)
The Falcons will win, but they never play well against the Saints, so I don’t think they’ll cover this spread. Too rich for my blood.
December 7th, 2005
OK, so I recently drove the Acura TL. It’s a very nice car, luxurious, well-thouhght-out, and pretty fast. I can see why Consumer Reports likes it so much, as there’s little to criticize. But I don’t think it’s for me. First, it’s big. It didn’t feel quite as big from the driver’s seat as the Infiniti G35 did, but it’s truly a mid-sized car. Second, it’s too… isolating, I guess. The car seems designed to make sure everything is very smooth and controlled. To luxo. I also really hated the clutch. The car is powered by a Honda VTEC (of course), which doesn’t make much torque until you get the RPMs up. That’s OK, the throws are nice and short and the gears nice and close-ratioed. The problem is the hydraulic-assisted clutch is very soft and doesn’t give any engagement at all until right at the very tip-top of the travel. I unintentionally red-lined the car a couple times (the car shuts off fuel to protect the engine when you do this–why not just rev-limit it?) by accident because I’m used to some engagement as the clutch lets out. There’s just none, and no feedback at all as the clutch pedal comes up. I’m sure some people like that, but I like to interact a little more with the shifting process. I’ll note I had no issues with the G35 or RX-8 clutch–and nothing needs to be kept at high RPMs like a rotary. The shifter, on the other hand, is terrific. Nice quick, certain snaps through the gates, no notchy-ness at all. Very nice feel to it. Comfortable seats, too, no doubt about it. The turning radius is a bit wide for my taste, too.
I think, however, that even if I liked the clutch, I wouldn’t be that inclined to go for the TL. It also felt big to me, and I think that’s what I didn’t like about the G35, either. I think my options are starting to become clearer. I think it goes like this:
• I still need to drive the MazdaSPEED6. Based on what I’ve read, I’m sure it’ll be wicked fast but I suspect that I won’t like the nose-heavy (and just plain heavy) feel of it. And what’d odd is that despite the small back seat, the 6 is actually a pretty big car: 186.8 inches by 70.1 inches. It’s both longer and wider than the Infiniti, and a smidge longer than the Acura (though narrower). It is at least not as tall as either, so that’s something. I most certainly won’t rule it out until I drive it, but my expectations are moderated a little. Driving one is going to be a trick, though, as even my buddy the Mazda sales guy only has one (they got three on Saturday and sold two already), and they’re currently only letting serious immediate buyers drive it, which makes sense. Still, grr.
• If I go with the RX-8, I’ll lease it. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to take the small trunk and shuffling the boys in and out, and while they’re small now, if I were to keep the car for say, seven years, then my older boy will be 12. I can’t see living with a car that non-functional up to that age. And there’s the oil issue, and the flooding issue, and I’m not 100% sure the A/C is really up to the challenge of Houston in the summer, etc. Seems like a lot of hassle, though it is a joy to drive, more so than anything else I’ve driven (and I don’t expect the other Mazda or the Pontiac to beat it there). Maybe I could put up with the hassle for a three-year lease term, though, that seems more reasonable.
• I do still need to drive the S40 with a stick. Maybe I’ll hate their manual (Road and Track certainly did). If I don’t, though, and I go this route, I’m thinking very seriously about their overseas delivery program. They fly you to Sweden (yes, they pick up the plane tickets), put you up in a hotel, give you a factory tour, etc. You drive the car at least off the lot, or bum around Europe for a while, whatever, and they ship it back to you (at no charge). They take about 3 grand off the sticker so it’s a reasonable price for the car, as well. Not a bad way to beat the August in Houston heat, I’d say. But I still need to drive a stick.
• There is, of course, also the Pontiac. I guess I should drive it before I rule it out, but somehow I’m just not enthusiastic about the idea. Part of it is that it’s also big (by my thinking) being both longer and wider than the MazdaSPEED6. It meets the official criterion, but it’s not the best on any measure, and is the only one without at least a 4 year, 50k mile warranty. Not exactly confidence-inspiring.
We’ll just have to see how the drives go.
December 3rd, 2005
Titans @ Indianapolis(15.5)
If there’s a reason to think the Colts won’t cover this, I can’t think of it.
Vikings(2.5) @ Detroit
I’m typing this pick before I even look at the spread. I don’t care what it is, there is no way I’m picking the Lions right now.
Packers @ Chicago(7)
The Bears could cover this without their offense even taking the field. They’ll return at least one INT for a TD as Favre heaves into coverage while being pulled down. I’m starting one of the Bears’ DBs in fantasy football and I’m expecting at least two picks.
Jaguars(3) @ Cleveland
Even without Leftwich, the Jags are more than a FG better than the hapless Browns, right?
Falcons @ Carolina(3)
I think the Panthers are the better team but I’m taking the points. Carolina’s fastest LB is out, and they have enough trouble with Vick without being slow on the edges.
Texans @ Baltimore(8)
Houston is going to lose all the rest of their games to guarantee them the first draft pick, but they have to look like they’re trying. I say they lose by only six.
Bengals @ Pittsburgh(3.5)
Even with Big Ben nicked up, the Steelers are an above-.500 team. The Bengals do not beat good teams, particularly not on the road. Steelers.
Cowboys @ New Jersey Giants(3)
Call me crazy, but the Giants have been money at home this year, I’m sticking with ‘em..
Bucs(3.5) @ New Orl, San Ant, Baton… the friggin’ Saints
So, when the Saints mail it in, what’s the originating postmark?
Bills @ Miami(5)
Buffalo has been horrific on the road, so I’ll give the points.
Cardinals(3) @ San Francisco
Arizona is 3-8 against the spread this year and is a road favorite. Yeah, I know, against the horrible Niners, but still, I have to take the points.
Redskins(3) @ St. Louis
Let’s see how Harvard boy looks against a real defense, not the Division II squad he lit up last week. I’m going with the Redskins.
Jest @ New England(10)
Ten? Ten! Are they serious? If the Pats get up by ten they’ll let guys from the stands come in at DB. They will not cover this.
Broncos(1) @ Kansas City
As bizarre as it seems, I think the Broncos are the second best team in the NFL right now, so why’s the spread only 1? Whatever, I’m taking the Denver running game and defense to win by more than a measly point.
Raiders @ San Diego(11.5)
Hmm, apparently Vegas misplaced some of the points in the Broncos game and mistakenly gave them to the Chargers. I have no doubt that if the Chargers bring their A game, they can cover this. But they’re rather prone to not always bringing their A game. On the other hand, they hate the Raiders so they probably will. Bolts!
Seahawks(4) @ Philadelphia
Here’s a couple more points from the Chargers game. The Eagles are a train wreck, Seattle easily covers this.