Sunday, January 25, 2009

Aussie Open Predictions

The Aussie Open is about to switch into overdrive, with some of the dankest matchups ever seen by man bound to take place. GDB's resident tennis experts Young Swole and Young Knucklers took time out of one of there battles at Cascade Courts to predict the winners of the remaining round of 16 matches and also 2 quarterfinals. Here are our predictions complete with cutting insight and brutally honest analysis.

Sweet 16 Matchups

Rafael Nadal (1) -vs- Fernando Gonzalez (13)

Swole - Nadal. "Gonzo makes errors, Nadal does not."
Knasty - Nadal. "Too much Peezy"

Gilles Simon (6) -vs- Gael Monfils (12)

Swole -Monfils. " Monfils has too much speed and youthful exuberance"
Knasty - Simon. "He is the happier frenchman"

Andy Murray (4) -vs- Fernando Verdasco (14)

Swole - Murray. "Murray is well-rested and is hungry for spanish blood"
Knasty - Murray. "I dont knowwwwwww"

James Blake (9) -vs- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (5)

Swole - Blake. "Blake is hongry and Tsonga's back condition will hurt him"
Knasty - Blake. "Bigger and Blacker"

Monday's Quarterfinals

Roger Federer (2) -vs- Juan Del Potro (8)

Swole - Federer. "Potro is going to clam up on such a big stage."
Knasty - Federer "Del Potro loves the sticky too much"

Andy Roddick (7) -vs- Novak Djokovic (3)

Swole - Djokovic. "Djokovic advances in an epic 5 set brew battle, then throws a chair"
Knasty - Roddick. "Roddick has the hotter bitch and pleasures him in the sweet spot aka diggity deez nuts"

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mid - January Observations

Busy times in sports lately, so its only natural that Young Swole makes some of his famous observations

- Congrats to the Steelers and Cardinals first off. All these announcers saying the Cardinals are a fluke need to get off of it. They have proven to have the best team in the NFC and are no doubt a worthy adversary to the Steelers. They have the best receiver in the NFC in Larry Fitz, and one of the most clutch quarterbacks in league history in Kurt Warner. Its funny how he is forgotten and everybody hypes up guys like Romo, Favre and the Mannings, while it can be argued that Warner has had a better career than all of them. If he wins the Super Bowl there is no doubt he is a hall of famer and will have passed all of the aforementioned in every important way.

- People need to lay off of Anquan Boldin. All of these clowns eager to sacrifice another black guy for his actions probably do not realize the course of events that even led up to Sunday's game. Boldin got a low-ball offer from the Cards this past offseason, reported anyway, nearly got decapitated but balled out all season anyway, then got injured and courageously came back to play last Sunday. Now, because he has one argument with his offensive coordinator ( an event that happens ALL THE DAMN TIME) he is perceived as yet another selfish black receiver who thinks about himself more than the team. Fuck that. Do your homework before you crucify another man. Boldin has always been a team player and has sacrificed his own health for the betterment of the team. He was only mad because he wanted to help the team, not because he was wanting to "get his".

- Onto basketball. It pains me to say this but the Oklahoma Thunder are going to be very good in the near future. They already have the best 2nd year player in Kevin Durant, and now have the best rookie in Russell Westbrook. Their record is still terrible, but this may let them luck into getting a Blake Griffin type player this fall. If the Thunder get a top 5 pick, they are going to be battling the Blazers at the top of the West in no time. It sure would have been nice to have Seattle and Portland in a heated rivalry, and as a Sonics fan i can say that no one deserves the future success of the Thunder (wtf) less than Clay Bennet and his city of dust lovers. I hope Durant and Westbrook leave town the first chance they get and that franchise folds.

- Aussie Open is the crunkness. Nothing beats watching tennis every night during the middle of January. If you can't appreciate the athleticism of these players than go kill yourself. It appears that the 2nd week of the tournament could go down as one of the best ever. 5 sick players are alive on the men's side (Fed, Nadal, Djok, Murray, Tsonga) and their quarterfinal/semifinal matchups are going to be incredible. Plus, darkhorses Marcos Baghdatis and Mardy Fish meet tonight in a crucial 3rd round matchup, and Federer still has to face the talented Marat Safin before he can even think of the other dudes out there. Incredible. The women's side may not be as exciting or aesthetically pleasing as last year (No Vaidisova or Kirilenko) but watch our for Caroline Wozniacki to make a big run. The top seeds have looked OK but not unbeatable, and young Weezy may be ready to go on a huge run. She has the talent, and Swole approves of her looks as well. Church.

- What an awesome start to conference play in college basketball. Every night seems to feature a slugfest between ACC and Big East teams. These two conferences are so far ahead of the others its laughable. Depending on how the brackets are divided up, i think its entirely possible that these 2 conferences could make up the entire Elite 8. With that said, here is Swole's 1st team all-americans to this point so far.

G - Jonny Flynn, Syracuse
G - Jeff Teague, Wake Forest
F - Gerald Henderson, Duke
F - Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
C - DeJuan Blair, Pitt

(Hansbrough lovers go fall off a cliff. He can't pass at all, has no post moves besides a flailing half hook shot, and travels nearly every time he has the ball. He gets by on effort and physicality, but he is not half the player Blair is, and i hope they match up at some point so that Hansbrough's soul gets taken from him in front of a nationwide audience)

There's a lot more going on that i will get to soon including: Football recruiting, the long wait to baseball season, the gayness of Winter X and more NBA analysis. Until then, peace out little clams.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

BCS Championship Predictions

I hate both these teams. I hate Tim Tebow. I hate that stupid song that Oklahoma plays after every 3 yard run they make. With that said, its still important to list some key factors to watch for tomorow night:


- The biggest reason that Oklahoma put up such ridiculous offensive numbers is because Sam Bradford barely got touched all season. For Florida to slow down the Sooners offense, it will be imperative to create some pressure. Remember that Texas had a premier edge rusher in Brian Orakpo, Florida is going to need a Jermaine Cunningham or Carlos Dunlap to provide a similar dynamic on the defensive side.

- Florida also has to be careful to not become one dimensional on offense. Of course we all know Tebow is god and all, but the pattern has been to give him the ball too much when the game is on the line which makes the Gator offense highly predictable. This is why they lost to Ole Miss earlier this year. Even if Percy Harvin's inflamed pussy keeps him out of this game, Urban Meyer has to understand that Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey must get touches. It probably won't be too hard to score on Oklahoma, but Florida will be much likely to make big plays if they let other people than Tebow get the ball.


- The first thing they have to do is set a physical tone. Florida has a reputation for being soft in big games. All those pretty boy recievers love to run around and look nice, but they shell up when they get hit in the mouth. If the Sooners can play some smash mouth offense and knock Tebow's weapons off their game, then they've got a shot.

- The Sooners better have learned how to tackle better in practice too. Florida's skill guys are too damn dangerous if you don't wrap up on them. The only defenses that can slow down the Gators have to be fundamentally sound and not make mistakes. This means no yards after the catch, and no stupid penalties.


Florida is going to lay the wood to Oklahoma for two major reasons. The first is obvious, Oklahoma's defense sucks. They haven't faced an offense with as many playmakers as Florida's to date, and the Gators team speed is going to leave the Sooners' inept defense constantly out of position. The second reason is that Oklahoma is not going to find things as easy on offense as it has lately. Sam Bradford got fat on facing awful defenses all year, but it is going to take him a while to adjust to Florida. Those easy throws are not going to be as wide open as they usually are, and i think this could lead to early turnovers. Combine these two reasons with Oklahoma's propensity to play like ass in big games and the fact that this is basically a home game for the Gators leads to an inevitable rout. Florida wins 55-27

Saturday, January 3, 2009

LaDainian Tomlinson, We Hardly Know Ye

Earlier today, I was watching the ESPN NFL Countdown tools talking about the Colts-Chargers game this evening, specifically, about LaDainian Tomlinson's injury, when Tom Jackson stated "Well, LT is right now a first-ballot Hall of Famer". I turned to a roomate and said I didn't agree with that, that he may be a HOFer right now, but he still has some work to do before he is a first-ballot guy. He disagreed, and the argument ensued.

(Let me preface this by saying that while I am a Colts fan, I am not a homer. I have an appreciation for sports in general and you can usually tell when I am intentionally showing my bias.)

I will not argue that LT is one of the most explosive and talented players that has ever played the game. For the past 8 years, he has consistently been the "best back in the game, today" (apologies to Adrian Peterson, the next big thing). He has an MVP and an impressive single season TD record that he seemed to achieve with frightening ease. But does this really qualify him as a first-ballot Hall of Fame guy? I would argue no.

For you to consider Tomlinson a first-ballot player, then that opens the door for two other current players who would have to be considered first-ballot worthy. First, Kurt Warner.

The problem with Warner is that he has been so hit or miss over the course of his career. He started off his career hot out of the gate, but injuries and politics have shadowed what has otherwise been a great 10 year career:

4-time Pro Bowler
2-time NFL MVP
1-time Super Bowl MVP
1-time Super Bowl Champion

How does that stack up with Tomlinson? Tomlinson has 1 MVP and 5 Pro Bowl invitations, along with the aforementioned TD record. If Tomlinson is a first-ballot HOFer, then certainly Warner is as well?

Ok, it can be tough to compare a RB to a QB with ease, so how about another back? How about Shaun Alexander?

3-time Pro Bowler
1-time NFL MVP

So Alexander doesn't necessarily match up stat for stat with Tomlinson, but (unfortunately for all of us) statistics aren't always the main factor in HOF voting. Voters do take stats into account, but they also include things like MVPs, Pro Bowl appearences, and, for better or worse, Super Bowls. Before Indianpolis won the Super Bowl, and Peyton had his 2 MVPs and his single season TD record, it didn't matter who you asked, Tom Brady the better Hall of Fame candidate. I will not argue that, but the underlying theme here is that although Pey-Pey had the stats, Brady had the the greater glory. That's important in Hall of Fame discussion. Coming back to the subject at hand here, Alexander has the same amount of MVPs as Tomlinson, held that same TD record one year prior to LT breaking it, and (gasp!) played in one more Super Bowl than LT. Is that fair criteria to judge with? Maybe yes, maybe no. But the fact still remains that at this point, there are players who are just as, if not more deserving the be a first-ballot Hall of Famer than LT.

As stated earlier, I will not deny that LDT is a charismatic and phenominal NFL player. He has achieved great success in his first 8 seasons that compare favorably with just about anyone you compare him with. He hasn't played in a Super Bowl (yet) and seems to be slowing down, but he is definitely Hall of Fame material down the road.

But does this make him a first-ballot material at this point in time? I would argue no.

Wild Card Weekend Part Deux

Wildcard weekend is upon us tomorrow, closes out Sunday with two more great games:

Ravens @ Dolphins (Sun 1:00) - Enough has been said about the turnarounds both of these teams experienced this year. Both rookie head coaches are tops in the Coach of the Year balloting. Both teams have stifling defenses that can shut down anyone. Both have efficient, game managing QBs and solid RB tandems as well. Homefield advantage won't matter much here, though, as Baltimore already showed in Week 7 this year. More of the same tomorrow: Ravens 21, Dolphins 14

Iggles @ Vikings (Sun 4:30) - The two most bipolar teams in the playoffs. Everyone in their mother claims that this is the worst case scenerio match-up for the Vikings: a team that can shut down the run, can spread out the field offensively with the pass, and a far better QB. But if there is one player in this league who can single-handidly change the direction of a game, it's Adrian Peterson (just ask the Packers). The Vikes will live and die by the tempo AP sets in this game, but the Eagles might be the most dangerous team in the playoffs. Eagles 31, Vikings 28

Friday, January 2, 2009

NFL WIld Card Weekend - Where I'll take Terrance Newman's "Most Talented Team in the NFL" Won't Be for $500!

Wildcard weekend is upon us tomorrow, where we're getting treated to a double header of some ill games Saturday and Sunday. We'll get it started with the Saturday games:

Falcons @ Cardinals (Sat 4:30 pm) - Question: Are the Cardinals an actual playoff team? Answer: Fact, at 8-8 they are a playoff team (thanks Seattle, San Francisco, and St. Louis for remembering the season started). They deserve to be in the playoffs? False! Where has Kurt Warner been since, oh, November? This team is collapsing worse than the Mets in September (snap!).Oh, I'm sorry, am I not paying enough attention to the courageous and outstanding Atlanta Dirty Birds? Sorry, I just figured I had had enough of the media gushing about quaterback wunderkind Matt Ryan and essentially crowning him the next "Golden Boy" of the Media (Sorry Tommy, we're not talking about the Tabloids. Move over Favre). Anyways, I actually do like the Falcons and from every angle, I just can't see Michael Turner not running at will on the Cardinals shoddy run defense. Jonathan Abraham is going to eat Warner alive this Saturday. Falcons 34, Red Birds 21

Indy @ Chargers (Sat 8:00) - It's world renown the love we have for the Colts and their almighty leader, Peyton Manning. The Chargers always bring the heat when they play the Colts (ahem 6 picks, anyone?), and the Colts play to their competition in the playoffs. Which LT is going to show up, if he does show up? Can the Colts offense keep the Colts defense from spending too much time on the field? Will Phillip Rivers a.) cry b.) bitch c.) break his helmet in a Colts victory? These are the questions that I can't wait to get answers to. While the Chargers are have won 4 straight, capped off by an epic dismantling of conference rival, the Mike Shanahan-less, but Shannon Sharpe still representing Denver Broncos, a 9 game winning streak with a win already at San Diego and a return of the buzzsaw that is Demond "Bob" Sanders gives the Colts the edge. Indy 27, San Diego 24

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Solution to College Football's Annual BS Fest

Over the years we've all been subjected to the debate about whether college football should stick with the bowl system or finally have a playoff to decide its national champion.  There are pretty good reasons for both, yet all the dumb solutions we have heard so far conveniently ignore some of not all of them.  So as i sit back to watch the likely USC-Penn State train wreck, i thought what better time to unleash a playoff system that can make everyone in college football happy.  Read ahead if you have ever been frustrated by stupid bowl matchups, rolled your eyes at retarded playoff plans, or have ever been  a pissed off football fan.


The basic plan that i am endorsing is an 8-team playoff that combines the winners of the major conferences, while leaving space for excellent at-large teams and accomplished mid-majors to be included if they so deserve.  This way, the 6 major conferences would all be represented as they are today and there would also be a realistic chance for teams that fall victim to BCS's formulas to shut up and prove it on the field.  The tournament would take 3 weeks, with the championship played the January 8th, the week after New Years Day.

The Participants

Here is how the 8 teams would be decided:

- The ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Pac-10 and SEC champions would automatically be in the field of 8 *IF* they finish the season in the Top 10 of the coaches and AP polls.  Therefore, if you are a shitty team that won a wack conference, you can go get ghost.  Virginia Tech was an OK team this year, but they in no way belong in a BCS game based on their accomplishment.  Same with Cincinnati.
- Mid-Major champions would automatically be included in the field of 8 *if* they win their conference, go undefeated, and finish the season in the top 10 of the AP and Coaches polls.  Therefore Utah and Boise State would make the field of 8 this season.  
- If there are more than 8 combined big conference and undefeated mid-major teams, the top 8 seeds would be determined based on cumulative AP and coaches poll ranking.
- At-large teams would be selected by highest cumulative AP and Coaches poll rankings.  This would reward excellent teams from deep conferences, such as the Big 12 and SEC, while still leaving a great importance on winning your conference and earning the automatic bid and not taking a chance on being an at-large.  

This selection process would guarantee that the 8 greatest teams are in the playoffs every single year.  If you think there's a better way to choose 8 teams, then tell me how.


Bowl advocates have bitched about how a playoff system would add too many additional games to the crowded college schedule.  Under my system, only two teams would play more than the 14 games that bowl teams play under the current rules, therefore eliminating this lame excuse while still keeping the bowl system under its current form.  Here's how it works:

- 2 years ago the NCAA decided to extend the college season from 12 to 13 regular season games.  It was basically a way to make more TV revenue.  The problem is that most big college teams have filled this game with a worthless cupcake oppenent, making it the equivalent of an NFL preseason game.  Under my formula, this 13th game would be eliminated from the schedule.  Instead, the quarterfinal of the 8-team playoff would serve as the 13th game for the teams involved.  This way, TV ratings would become even higher than they are now.

- Additionally, these quarterfinal matchups *Would be played in the home stadiums* of the 4 highest seeds in the tournament to reward regular season accomplishments and also to preserve revenues that a 13th game could bring into the universities and conferences.

- Both the quarterfinal winner and loser matchups would take place at the existing 4 BCS bowl games (Orange, Rose, Sugar, Fiesta).  The locations of the national semifinals, and the consolation games would be rotated similarly to how they are now.  That way the big bowl games still get the best matchups, the fans see the best games, and the teams determine who makes the championship in the most pure form.  Now the Rose Bowl has been a big bitch in the bowl system for a long time.  Their desire to have the Big 10 play the Pac 10 every year has led to decades of shitty matchups.  Frankly the time for this is over.  Tradition is great and all, as long as the tradition isn't worthless.  If the Rose Bowl won't take the matchup its given, then it can peace out to the BCS.  Its spot could easily be given to the Cotton Bowl at the new Texas Stadium or the Capital One Bowl at the refurbished Citrus Bowl.  Either the Rose Bowl can play the same as the other BCS bowls, or it can enjoy the matchup of the best Big 10 and Pac 10 team outside of the top 8.  We'll see how its precious tradition matters at that point.

- The remaining bowl games would be filled as they are now, based on conference rank below the BCS games participants.  Under my system, all of these games would be completed by the end of January 1st, so no attention is taken away from the semifinals and championship.  It makes no sense that the International Bowl is played on January 6th.  Get that shit done with quick.

- Quarterfinals would be played the week after conference championships, which would be moved up a week with the elimination of the 13th game.  Therefore, players would still have a break for finals and bowl preparation.  The two semifinals would be played on January 1st, at 430pm and 8pm after the completion of all other bowl games.

- The Championship would be played a week from New Years, at a rotating BCS location just as it is now.

After all this, there would be 1 additional game played, the bowl hierarchy would be maintained, EVERYONE makes more money, and the fans see the best games.  How can this be a bad thing?


Based on the results of the 2008 regular season, and the system described above,  this is how the 8 team field would be determined:

1 seed - Oklahoma Sooners, Big 12 Champ
2 seed - Florida Gators, SEC Champ
3 seed - Texas Longhorns, Big 12 at large
4 seed - Alabama Crimson Tide, SEC at large
5 seed - USC Trojans, Pac 10 Champ
6 seed - Penn State Nittany Lions, Big 10 Champs
7 seed - Utah Utes, Mountain West Champ, undefeated mid-major
8 seed - Boise State Broncos, WAC Champ, undefeated mid-major

Here are the quarterfinal matchups, if these don't make you pitch a tent then go watch golf.

Boise State (8) @ Oklahoma (1), Norman, OK
Utah (7) @ Florida (2), Gainesville, FL
Penn State (6) @ Texas (3), Austin, TX
USC (5) @ Alabama (4), Tuscaloosa, AL

From here the semifinals would be played on New Years day, and out of the bracket a champion would be determined on January 8th, fully earned and justified by regular season and post-season success.

This whole system probably will never work, because its too right and the people in charge are too dumb and greedy to realize a good thing, but it would ensure a rightful champion is crowned, all while keeping the remaining system fully intact and eliminating the ridiculous controversies that have recently plagued college football.  If you think you can do better, please let me know, i'll be busy watching a meaningless bowl game.