NFL Week Five Wrap-Up
This week illustrates both the fun and frustration of trying to make weekly picks. I was just a few points away in five games from going 13-3 instead of my pedestrian 8-8; three of those games—Seattle at St. Louis, Cincinnati at Jacksonville and Miami at Buffalo—ended with turnovers that prevented my picks from possibly scoring win-clinching points at the end of the game. The other two games, Tampa at NY Jets and Pittsburgh at San Diego, were decided by only two points. It's a good thing I make picks just for pride rather than cash money. At this point in the season, the only sure bet is Indianapolis. Every other team is an absolute mystery week to week.
Let's look at last night's game, for example. Three weeks ago, New England beat Pittsburgh at the Big Ketchup, even though the Steelers had all the momentum on their side. Then last week, San Diego goes to Gillette Field and puts the worst beatdown on the Pats since their dynastic run began. So this week, the Chargers should have won easily at home, right? Wrong! Not in today's NFL, baby. There's no such thing as a sure thing. It makes it fun, for sure, but I'm not spending my own money betting on anything related to it.
League Championships Preview
NL: St. Louis vs. Houston
This is the matchup Cardinals Nation has been dreading. Houston seems to have a bit of momentum, but that doubleheader Sunday has also thrown their rotation out of whack, while the Cardinals have been able to rest up. The key for the Cards is to score early, keep building on their lead, and keep the starters out there as long as we can. We don't want to go to our bullpen unless we have to, and we can't play come-from-behind against their bullpen. I think the only way to beat them is to outhit them, because their bullpen is better than ours. The best scenario is two wins each from Carpenter and Mulder, so I'm picking the Cardinals in six games.
AL: Chicago White Sox vs. L.A. Angels
The Sox keep getting no respect, but they'll keep their underdog attitude as they use superior pitching and hitting to beat the Angels in seven games. The Yankees were not a very good team, and it took everything the Angels had to win three mostly low-scoring games. Like the NL series, I think this one will be more about hitting than pitching. I'm predicting a St. Louis-Chicago World Series, which will be soundly derided and ignored by the "experts" at the Eastern Sports Programming Network.
This year only serves to illustrate once again the absolute need for an eight-team playoff for the national championship in Division I. Let's take a look at the top of the polls as they stand today. Here are the teams currently undefeated: USC, Texas, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Georgia, Alabama, Penn State and Texas Tech. Texas and Tech are both in the Big 12, while Georgia and Bama are both in the SEC, so they all couldn't emerge at the end of the season undefeated, but who wouldn't want to see those teams in a three-round playoff? The only sporting event that approaches the Superbowl in interest and popularity is the NCAA basketball Final Four. Why can't the NCAA realize that an eight-team football playoff would be just as big? The participating bowls could rotate every year, and the lesser bowls could still feature the lower-tiered teams. This is a no-brainer, so I guess the powers-that-be at the NCAA have less than no brains.
Will the Blues EVER have a goalie who can stop a puck? Ever? Whoever ends up owning this team should make that his first priority. This is just a dismal team to watch. This is the year that the Blues record playoff-entry streak ends. I would like to see the new owner just dismantle the whole team and start from scratch with prospects and a new coach.