Monday, January 28, 2013

Harbaugh Bowl I

Harbaugh Bowl I
by Dan Salem and Todd Salem (1-28-13)

In their highly contested, supremely exciting NFC Championship game victory, the 49ers did more than earn themselves a trip to the Super Bowl. They also made me 4 for 4 on my January predictions. Boo ya!

1 - Alabama will win the National Championship by more than one score - blam!

2 - Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will both fall short of Hall induction - wham!

3 - The NHL lockout will end and the regular season will begin before the month is out - slam!

4 - The 49ers will win the National Football Conference - squajam!

That is all.

Yes, yes, pour salt on the wound. Since January is winding down it’s fair to recap all your predictive glory, but my predictions were really just poorly chosen outcomes that didn’t happen, so let’s focus on what we both got right and embrace Super Bowl week. I bring you Harbaugh Bowl I. I went with Roman numerals to keep with tradition and make things unnecessarily confusing in an age where we count with numbers.

Brotherly competition holds a special place in my heart, as it does for you as well considering your 'kind' reminder of predictive glory. I was rooting for Tom Brady and I picked the Patriots to win, but I'm happy to see Jim and John in the big game facing off as only brothers can. Since you’re the stat guy, have two coaching brothers ever faced off in the Super Bowl? How about in the championship of the other major sports?

I was having a conversation last week about brothers in sports and there are tons in football. Family in general goes generational in the sport. We also see this in baseball, but not nearly to the same extent. And I know of at least one example in hockey with the Bourques. So we see sport families in football, baseball and hockey. But what about the NBA? I’m drawing a blank here. I know Doc Rivers' son is now playing, but that's a weak example at best. I can't think of a major family in basketball. I would attribute this to smaller rosters, less players on the court, and the overall athleticism required to play basketball. And now you tell me why I'm wrong.

The Super Bowl should have a bevy of great story lines with Ray Lewis retiring, the 49ers quarterback switch, two hard-nosed defenses and the emergence of Joe Flacco. However, I agree with you that the Harbaughs facing each other is insane and should be the definitive story going into New Orleans.

Two brothers have most certainly never coached against each other in the Super Bowl and I am almost positive two brothers have never even played against each other in such a big game either. The only example of siblings facing each other in championships in sports that comes to mind is Venus and Serena Williams playing each other in tennis majors (which happened a lot and does not get the fanfare it deserves for how amazing it was).

As for simply playing the same sport as your brother, it does happen an awful lot more than I would expect considering the accomplishment. Basketball had the Barry brothers in the late 90's and early aughts. And the Morris twins are both in the NBA, coming out of Kansas just a few seasons ago. How could you have forgotten about the Gasols? Pau and Marc are probably the best pair of brothers in any sport (talent-wise) in a long time. They are both all-stars. And next year, Tyler Zeller's brother Cody will be in the NBA. So, yes indeed, you are wrong. It does not appear as though there are fewer examples of this happening in basketball than in the other sports. Fascinating that it happens so often, though.

Oh man, the Gasols! And I forgot about the Lopez brothers, Robin and Brook. The NBA has no fewer examples of brothers, so the theory holds true. This theory is really just how DNA works, athleticism runs in the family.

Let's chalk that up to a point well made and head back to talking Harbaugh Bowl I, aka Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans where the 49ers face the Ravens. If I were Jim or John, with two full weeks to prepare for the big game, I would devote at least one full day of preparation to breaking down my sibling's tendencies, faults, habits and insecurities. Speaking from experience, Toddy, only Jim and John's parents know them better than they know one another. They are only fifteen months apart in age. That's practically twins! They built snow forts together, presumably, were on the same high school sports teams (pretend this is true for sake of argument) and may have even stolen a girlfriend or two at some point. How can you not exploit this in the biggest game of your coaching career?

My 'Brother Breakdown Day' would go something like this:

[Part two of 'Harbaugh Bowl I' on Friday]

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Future of Fantasy Continued

The Future of Fantasy Continued
by Dan Salem and Todd Salem (1-25-13)

[Part One from Monday]

I think FCS (Fantasy Championship Series) is already taken but I am a huge fan of unnecessary acronyms. How about FYF, pronounced like fife, the flute-like instrument.  Full-Year Fantasy.

In answer to your FYF question, you would not have to choose between starting Adrian Peterson and LeBron James. My version of FYF works like this:
- Each sport has a starting lineup and the weeks themselves are irrelevant
- Scoring isn't points based so whatever each player accumulates goes towards a team's total

Do it any other way and owners could skew their rosters depending on the month to win the most weeks, without ever having the best teams. So in your example, if Peterson was starting at running back and LeBron was starting at power forward, you would gain points for whatever stats they gathered. The problems begin when trying to decide how many points each action is worth. Whats the basketball equivalent of rushing for 100 yards and a touchdown or vice versa?

I can see why you think FYF is too big of a hurdle to climb. It would be a huge undertaking to work out all the bugs and problems associated with it, too big for us to do this week.  But SOMEONE will eventually figure it out.  After years of failure, Full-Year Fantasy will be THE. NEXT. BIG. THING.

Your addendum to fantasy football is interesting and it already exists in a way. There are leagues that play fantasy football through the real-life playoffs. Teams can protect some of their players and the rest go in a pool to be redrafted. The key is to select players who not only will perform well, but who also have the best chance of sticking around for multiple rounds of the playoffs. For example, even though Adrian Peterson is a stud, he only lasted one game this post season and his team was the underdog going in. Peterson might not have even been worthy of a top three running back pick because of those parameters.

The week eight injury supplemental draft sounds like a similar plan, only more infuriating. I actually kind of hate it. So someone who drafts amazingly and ends up with the deepest team in the league through sheer will and commitment ends up getting punished in week eight? Am I understanding this correctly?  I'm not quite on board with this idea. Read: this idea is stupid.

You completely missed the point of a supplemental draft and its really nothing like a redraft for the playoffs. The injury draft isn't intended to punish the top team who drafted great and through sheer will has the deepest team in the league. That WOULD be stupid. It's intent is to combat the major issue I see with fantasy sports in general. No one wants to trade!

Every person wants to give up their crappy players for someone's good ones. Its taken me a long time to 'figure out' what level of quality is necessary to garner interest from an opposing team for a trade. I'm proud to say I've gotten trades approved in every fantasy sport. However, many have been with you because you actually understand this level of quality and enjoy trading. Most people are boring and think if they stand pat then their roster will eventually come through. Those people lose.

The idea here is to create a midseason. Perhaps its even a buy week so everyone can dial in and reassess their team to see if they have dead weight and what their needs are. Instead of just putting two players into a draft pool, every player is weighed on a one to ten scale of performance. You have to put seven points into the draft for example. And if you select a six or seven in the midseason draft, it comes with caveats assuming no other team got anyone higher than five. If you're in last place, I think you sacrifice five points the following week to grab a top tier player. This allows for a potential mulligan for those teams that go unlucky drafting. Trying to put some skill back into the game is a good thing.

As for FYF, naming a sports competition after a girly musical instrument is dangerous ground. And I completely disagree with the notion of NOT deciding between All Day Adrian Peterson and The King Lebron James. That's the fun part!

FYF works because you HAVE to make that call. And stacking your team wouldn't be possible with the proper position slot restrictions. I love the idea of weighing a 100 yard game versus a 10 assist game. The fact that you are smashing all sports into one is the appeal to me. I'm not saying it will be easy, we agree on that, but its the whole point.

There is definitely tons of room for improvement in the fantasy sports landscape. We haven't solved anything here, but perhaps we got the ball rolling. FYF needs a lot of work and since neither of us are the man to do it, we'll play the waiting game.

I have to poke further at this mid season injury draft in fantasy football.  I understand your reasoning; I'm just not sure it is worthy of a game tweak. Part of the fun of fantasy sports is finding out the personalities of the other owners: who will wheel and deal, who is overly attached to certain players; who is an idiot. This goes right along with finding a trade partner. Forcing the dealing with a convoluted mid-season system seems shortsighted.

The same goes for overcoming injuries. It's almost all luck with injuries in fantasy football and finding replacements and jumbling rosters with a mid season draft because a handful of stars get hurt every season does not fix that problem. If your first round pick gets put on IR, I'm not sure an unprotected, middle tier fill-in during week nine is going to make much of a difference.

You didn't completely waste your time though. The point ranking system has real potential. I feel like it might be perfect for the off-season of a keeper league: you get to keep a certain amount of "player points" in whatever combination you want. Knock yourself out and keep one twenty-five point guy (or whatever) or keep three solid starters at eight points a piece. I like that; that has major potential. Of course, it would be hell trying to get everyone to agree on each player's point value. Once that's done, by a governing body or what not, this system has a slight edge over keeping players based on auction pricing alone.  A player evaluation would be more in line with their past season performance rather than their dollar amounts from the previous March, which is often arbitrary a year later.


Monday, January 21, 2013

The Future of Fantasy

The Future of Fantasy
by Dan Salem and Todd Salem (1-21-13)

Bill Simmons has a huge love/hate relationship with fantasy football, but really he's just addicted to the game and hates to lose. We've both agreed that there is a ton of luck involved in fantasy football as opposed to fantasy baseball, but fantasy sports are fantasy sports. You have to get lucky in your draft to do well and you have to hope other people are stupid.

This being said, where do you see fantasy sports going in the next five to ten years? If Simmons had his way, the entire sport of football would revolve around fantasy alone to improve his gambling opportunities. He would probably require Vegas to be involved too. For me, I love the small advancements over the last decade, like free up to the minute stats rather than having to pay for the feature, and projections, analysis, etc. It makes the game more interactive and fun.  Where do we go from here?

I agree that the small advancements to fantasy sports have been superb. Step by step, fantasy sports are becoming more popular, more mainstream and, overall, just better. Other than a few more, small improvements, there is really only one place for this to go: Full-Year Fantasy.

I have written about this before and tried to come up with a system myself once upon a time, to no avail, but the product is coming, somehow, someway. Full-year fantasy would be one fantasy league that combines multiple sports and runs through multiple seasons. Depending on which sports you and your friends follow and want to play would determine which to include.

All the players from all those sports would be drafted and accumulate stats in their respective seasons. As the calendar year progressed, each subsequent season would run into the next and only at the very end of the year would a champion be crowned. It is really a fantastic bit of fake management; just imagine being able to trade Adrian Peterson for LeBron James. The possibilities are endless.

Of course, the reason this has not been widely available yet is because there are many problems.  I'll just quickly name four:
(1) when to start the scoring season
(2) when to hold the draft
(3) what scoring system to use
(4) how to distinguish between high count stats (like rushing yards in football) and low count stats (like stolen bases in baseball).

It may take years of awkward failures and unhappy participants but, I think, eventually, full-year fantasy will be the next, big thing.

The "idea" of full year fantasy is better than the actual participation in such an endeavor, in my humble opinion. It solves one major issue I have with the current fantasy sports landscape, the overlapping seasons. It's a good thing I'm not a huge basketball fan, because the first several months of fantasy basketball basically don't exist for me since fantasy football is still happening. And come Christmas I feel like I need a break. I play fantasy basketball and enjoy it, but from Christmas until mid March is a fantasy sports breath of freedom that is much needed. Fantasy baseball is just too dynamic.

Year round fantasy, full-year fantasy, or as I like to call it the "FCS" or Fantasy Championship Series, would be amazing and yet completely overwhelming to participate in as fantasy sports currently stands. I propose we hash out something which would actually be fun to play and not just a headache to set a lineup for. Do we have to choose between starting Adrian Peterson in week fifteen or LeBron James for five games in that same week? How do we even divvy up the sports? The one thing that is very, very clear to me are which sports make the cut. Sorry hockey, auto racing and golf, but baseball, football, and basketball are our winners here.

As for fantasy football itself, I think something big is coming. Something that removes arbitrary luck of injury from the game. We all draft bench guys and some leagues let you play with an injured reserve (IR) spot on your roster, but what about an injury draft at the half way point of the season?

Fantasy Football Addendum:
In week eight, the half way point of the season, an injury draft is held. It would have to be on a Wednesday night (mid week) and along the lines of a real life expansion draft. Every team must place at least one player into the draft and nominate one other player from someone else's team. Each team can also mark six guys as safe, untouchable.

The draft lasts two rounds.  It now gives everyone a chance to steal players from a team that got lucky with a super deep bench, or snatch up a guy who was an injury replacement, or grab someone that got hurt early and is coming back. I love this for two reasons:
(1) More auction draft time!
(2) When everyone gangs up on the team in last place to nominate his best player for the draft, said person isn't participating and keeps no one safe, and now we can all bid again to draft the one and only 'All Day' Adrian Peterson.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The NY Yankees Black hole at Third- Wrap up Time!

The NY Yankees Black hole at Third - Wrap up Time!
by Dan Salem and Todd Salem (1-18-13)

The Yankees' corner man situation won't be pretty. As I tweeted the other day, @sportspinata, the Yankees have turned into an owner in a fantasy auction draft. They had a plan and didn't want to go over budget on certain guys, rightfully so. But, instead of waiting out the other players for a bargain, they waited too long and are left with nothing but scrub options. Sometimes, in these auction drafts, you look back and wish you had gone four to five dollars more on that guy who can actually walk and chew gum.

As for Youkilis, why the vitriol? Why do you care who he used to play for? I never understood this argument from other fans or even analysts. I have never met any of these MLB players, know nothing about who they are and really couldn't care. If they are wearing a Yankees uniform, I will root for them to succeed! Fans get all bent out of shape about the lack of loyalty in professional sports. Here's an idea, stop being so loyal to people you don't know, have never met, will never meet and will never be friends with! You root for a team; that should be enough.

If Youkilis the Yankee bats over .280 I will welcome him with open arms. If he is confirmed as washed up, I will root for his exit, which has nothing to do with who he used to play for.

Completely love the auction draft guy analogy. I've been that guy. I've also been the guy who pays the extra five bucks only to see said player hit IR within a week. Fantasy!!

You've opened a can of worms with the fan debate. I whole heartily agree that as a fan of a team you root for your team and the guys on it to succeed. I don't think I'd care much for Santonio Holmes if he wasn't a Jet, considering he's a demon in the locker room.  But here's where you've got it all wrong.  We root for a team as a fan, but we love our teams because of the guys on it. And we love it even more because of our team's enemies. As a Jets fan I'm grateful to hold the Patriots as an enemy, and as a Yankees fan we have the Red Sox to some extent. Considering the Red Sox have been a vastly inferior product for much of my life, I never really 'hated' them, but as a fan I did come to hate some of their players over the years. Particularly my years living in Boston.

Back to third base and Kevin Youkilis.  It’s not that I hate having him on my team; I’m thrilled to root for whoever is playing third for the Yankees, but I despise him a little. I hold some vitriol for the Red Sox and their players from the successful seasons of 2003 through 2008, a five year stretch in which I spent the first three living in Boston. I do not care for those players, except maybe Johnny Damon who I was thrilled to have as a Yankee. He seemed anti Red Sox by the end of things. Loved it.

As fans we love and hate irrationally and that's what makes it fun! To not hold loyalty to any player is to hold loyalty to a logo which is just color and design on fabric. I'm human and I like to connect with other humans. I want another Derek Jeter!

This is where my irrational love of statistics and my ice cold heart come into play. I could not care less if Derek Jeter played for the Minnesota Twins tomorrow as long as the Yankees had someone to take his place (Hey there Eduardo!). I really have no loyalty to any players of any kind in any sport. I don't know how this developed really. When I was a little kid my favorite players (Ken Griffey Jr. in baseball) were never on my favorite teams. And now that I have no favorite players, I strictly root for fantasy success and the Yankees, end of story.

Columnists always wax poetic about how sports are a business and fans need to see that in the decisions teams make. I actually don't think teams go far enough sometimes. Let's use Jeter as another example. Everyone was fine with this past contract the Yankees gave him because he had earned it with everything he did previously. How idiotic is that!? Would an owner of Home Depot pay an old man who cannot mix paint anymore just because he used to be the best paint mixer in town? Sports seem to show MORE loyalty than regular jobs, not less; and it is because no one roots for or pays to watch that old man mix paint. Teams would be much better off in most situations if they took their hearts out of decisions.

Just know that my heart is cold and black when it comes to professional athletes. Most people think they care about certain players, but they're just too stubborn to admit otherwise. How many of those Yankees fans rooted for Jeter's head when he got off to a terrible start a few seasons back; and how many diehards will yell and scream in favor of Kevin freakin' Youkilis the first time he goes four for five in a game?

Even though I root for players, I'd fire the elderly paint mixer.  I'm forced to agree as both a realist and a big picture guy. I love having players to root for and I've loved rooting for Derek Jeter over the years. But the Yankees should have given him a one year deal and seen how it went. He played great, so give him another year. But signing any old guy long term is dumb. Good franchises don't fall into this trap more often than not, and bad franchises never have this trap to worry about in the first place.

Speaking of a bad team, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I've actually enjoyed rooting for Mark Sanchez over the three seasons prior to this current one as a Jet. Living in Los Angeles I got to see him kick ass on the USC Trojans and then get drafted by my favorite team. Win, win! However, I'm not blind. He has to go. So it doesn’t have to be as cut and dry as you make it. You can root, root, root for your guys until they are no longer valuable to your team. As for the Yankees and Youkilis, he is an excellent one year stop gap at 3B, 1B, DH etc. Great pick up. At least that's what I keep telling myself.  I'll find it in my heart to root for him. It’s not cold and black like yours.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The NY Yankees Black hole at Third

The NY Yankees Black hole at Third
by Dan Salem and Todd Salem (1-14-13)

Alex Rodriguez is once again getting surgery and the Yankees are left with a hole in their team for at least the first third of the 2013 season. Some might say the hole was there whether he was healthy or not, but I'm not one of those haters.

How do the Yankees, our team, fix this? I really like Eduardo Nunez, but he was Jeter's backup and not a consistent enough hitter as of yet to be relied upon every day. Does he convert to a shortstop / third base hybrid? They signed Youkilis, but can we really rely on him at this point in his career? I don't know farm systems enough to propose a trade, but something needs to happen now!

So many directions to go here; I'll tackle each one like they were shot with a bullet... but something less dangerous and foreboding. This deserves tranquilizer points!

--> Alex Rodriguez is out for six months, give or take 65 days on either end. This creates a huge hole in the Yankees' lineup. I am with you up to this point. However, I am one of those "haters" of the belief that A-Rod is on his last legs. I feel like a mandatory benching for surgery is actually beneficial here. The Yankees will be able to sit him without the backlash and story surrounding. A man more skeptical than myself may even suggest Yankees brass "encouraged" A-Rod to get another surgery.

--> I too like Eduardo Nunez. He runs, puts the bat on the ball and adds some energy to a sluggish lineup. He is not a third baseman though. He struggled with the glove during his time at third last season, and had a very hard time sliding around the diamond defensively. I think his best use will be to DH when added speed is needed, spell Jeter at short and to play sparingly elsewhere. Unless the glove progresses, Nunez won't be effective as an everyday third baseman.

--> There was no hope at all in the free agent pool and we signed the top available corner infielder in Kevin Youkilis. Down the road, moving around a current Yankee to open up a different spot seems like a long shot. Could Cano move to third with his arm strength? Yeah, probably, but that does not seem like something Girardi or Brian Cashman would want to do.

--> The Yankees farm system is worse than it was a year ago. Many of the top pitching prospects had poor or injury-riddled seasons in 2012. The young catchers are not quite ready and things are shallow everywhere else. It also seems against corporate policy for the Yankees to ever make a trade FOR a young prospect, although being able to deal for a young 3B here would be rather intriguing.

--> What does that leave New York with? The answer is simple and discouraging. Kevin Youkilis is a stop gap player for at least six weeks as the season begins. If he is competent, he’ll remain until A-Rod's return. If he is gruesome, other options will be explored. Welcome to a world where Ryan Roberts is the starting third baseman of the New York Yankees!

I don't care for the 'options' you mentioned and who is this Ryan Roberts you speak of? I don't want to know! Back to players I know of and most notably A-Rod and the Youk. Your idea that the Yankees brass encouraged A-Rod to get surgery is intriguing and I'd even consider it if we had even one good option to fill in. Seeing as there's none, even with Youkilis, I respectfully disagree.

As for the Youk, I'm all for irony and poetic justice and that crap, but if Kevin Youkilis fills in for Alex Rodriguez and plays really well then I may just cry. We won’t want A-Rod back at all and Youkilis might actually replace Alex entirely. I enjoyed when Johnny Damon joined the Yankees. Loved it actually as a haha moment. But I don't like Youkilis. I actually dislike him. He is the quintessential image of the chicken and beer fiasco in my mind. And now he is a Yankee? Our guy! No way. Keep out! Do not enter. I'd rather field "insert name of random Marlins player here" than him. Unfortunately that isn’t happening. Give me a few weeks in April and I’m sure I’ll come around.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Spitfire and Summary - Sports Predictions 2013

Spitfire and Summary - Sports Predictions 2013
by Dan Salem and Todd Salem (1-11-13)

Before the summary of all our amazing predictions, any last words?  I know, I know, you already got some right and I already got a lot wrong.

Nail on the head.  After thirteen predictions, some ridiculous, mostly the ones said by you, we've reached the end of 2013 and some of my January predictions have already come true.  In the words of my favorite TV personality, Homer Simpson, "I am so smart. S.M.R.T!"

Not to brag but... bragging rules.  Alabama did in fact beat Notre Dame by at least two scores, as I said would happen.  Point for Todd.  Maybe I got carried away with saying some folks would want to put Ohio State number one. That was just the rebel in me.

I also nailed the end of the NHL lockout.  Two points for Todd.  I said the season would start back up before the month was out and it appears as though games will begin on January 19th. "Coincidentally" that is just in time for the nationally televised slate of NBC games to commence. Go figure.  Cue cynicism.

As for the baseball Hall of Fame prediction, we both might have been a little off. Based on the percentages of votes received, it will be a long ass time before either Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens sniffs the Hall. I expected both to fall short for two major factors: voters hate putting people in on the first ballot and voters love punishing steroid era guys. The former probably took place. The latter was seen in spades, even more severely than I was expecting to be honest. It might take a decade or so before enough new blood enters the baseball writers association and guys will begin to treat performance enhancing drugs as just another way to cheat, rather than something seemingly worse. I mean, we already have admitted cheaters in the Hall. It is just a matter of degree at this point.

Yeah so I got some wrong and one really, really wrong.  We'll just see who comes out on top when Christmas roles around.  Bring it!

Summary Time! 

(1) BCS Championship Game
TODD:  Alabama handles Notre Damn (Correct!)
DAN:  Notre Dame squeaks out a victory (Wrong...)

(2) MLB Hall of Fame vote
TODD & DAN:  Neither Bonds or Clemens get in (Both Correct!)

(3) NHL Lockout
TODD:  Lockout over and games resume by February (Correct again!)
DAN:  Lockout over by late February with games resuming in March (Wrong...)

(4) NFL Playoffs
TODD:  The 49ers make the Super Bowl
DAN:  The 49ers over the Seahawks in the NFC Championship
           The Patriots over the Colts in the AFC Championship
           The Patriots over the 49ers in the Super Bowl

(5) NCAA Basketball Tournament
TODD:  Zero ACC teams reach the round of 32
DAN:  The Final Four includes Duke, Syracuse, Texas, and NC State with Syracuse over Texas in the finals and Boeheim retires on top

(6) MLB Pre Season
TODD:  Dan is wrong
DAN:  Yankees trade for Evan Longoria and sign a relief pitcher from the Cardinals

(7) NFL Draft
TODD:  Mike Glennen is the first QB selected and none go in the first round
DAN:  Matt Barkley is the first QB drafted with the 12th pick in the first round by the Dallas Cowboys who trade Tony Romo to move up for the pick

(8) MLB Mid Season
TODD:  Curtis Granderson is in the Home Run Derby, representing a team other than the Yankees
DAN:  Unfortunately agrees

(9) NY Jets 2013
TODD: The Jets starting QB in 2013 is not currently on their roster and won't be a rookie
DAN:  Tim Tebow is the starting QB for the Jets in 2013

(10) Golf
TODD:  Zach Johnson wins the green jacket
DAN:  Phil Michelson retires after winning a second green jacket

(11) MLB World Series
TODD:  The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim defeat the Cincinnati Reds
DAN:  The Atlanta Braves defeat the Tampa Bay Rays, only because I couldn't pick the Yankees

(12) NFL 2013 Season
TODD:  The Carolina Panthers have the best record heading into December and make the playoffs
DAN:  The NY Jets bounce back to finish 10-6 and make the playoffs

(13) College Football Season 2013 and the Final BCS Championship
TODD:  Ohio State will face LSU in the BCS Championship
DAN:  Johnny Manziel wins back to back Heisman trophies

Monday, January 7, 2013

Thirteen Predictions for 2013 - Part Three

Thirteen Predictions for 2013 - Part Three
by Dan Salem and Todd Salem (1-7-13)

I think Tony Romo getting traded is a distinct possibility but, come on, Matt Barkley going 12th overall?? He had a down year, then got hurt. Unless he has a magical combine, teams noticed his lack of superior arm strength this season and should be wary of his decision making after the Trojans' season fell apart. If Barkley couldn't win in college with that much talent, how can NFL scouts expect him to excel at the next level when the talent is much more evenly dispersed?

The only reason your Barkley comment isn't so bad is because your next predictions overshadow it with stupidity. Why would the Yankees sign Michael Bourn? He is a Scott Boras client so we know NY won't be able to get him cheap or get a one year deal there, which would be in direct competition with their 2014-get-under-the-tax plan. Also, they already have two starting outfielders who do nearly the exact same thing as Michael Bourn. Ichiro and Brett Gardner are both no power, high speed and contact outfielders. Bourn is better than either of them but brings no new skills to the Yankees outfield. 

(10) Speaking of stupid predictions, we can all tell you are not a golf fan by the way you ordered your Phil Mickelson guess. The Masters takes place in April, so if Phil were to win the green jacket and retire, shouldn't that have been number six or seven on this list? To make matters worse, it ain't happening! Phil, although only 42, has too many younger and more talented guys ahead of him in the chase for the green jacket. Give it to Zach Johnson instead. 

(11) With all the spending going on in MLB these days, the deeper pocketed teams extend their advantage over everyone else. The World Series matchup will be indicative of this. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will be back in the series on the backs of their loaded lineup and sterling pitching to face the Cincinnati Reds. With Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and highly paid, highly skilled players all through their 25-man roster, the Angels take the series in six games even though Joey Votto comes out of October looking like the best player in the league. 

(12) As December rolls around, the Carolina Panthers will have the best record in the NFL. Behind MVP-candidate Cam Newton and the best rushing attack in the league, Carolina continues the trend of teams making huge leaps from one season to another. The lack of an elite pass rush will thwart the Panthers' chances to make it to the Super Bowl but, by this time, every football fan in the country realizes the best team in the regular season in no way correlates to the Super Bowl champ come February.

(13) In college football, for the final BCS Championship game before the playoff system is instituted, the Ohio State Buckeyes will face LSU in a rematch of the 2007 title game contest. Urban Meyer proved this past season how much better of a coach he is than everyone else in America. Give him a year to recruit where OSU is not on probation and the Buckeyes will be fearsome. 
As for who will win this game, you'll have to wait for next year's predictions because that game will not take place until January 2014.

Hey!  I'm a fan of the idea of a golf outing.  And don't discount the ineptitude of NFL scouting.  Matt Barkley is getting his shot.  Furthermore, the Yankees better sign someone new in the outfield as injury insurance if not batting lineup improvement, otherwise this is going to be a very, very long season.  Where's our new blood!

(11)  If I had to pick one team I'd want in the World Series, and the Yankees were out, then it would be the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  This would at least provide me the opportunity to attend a game, if my wallet was big enough.  Sorry Dodgers, but your stadium falls way short in the fun to attend department.  Otherwise, your prediction appears well thought out, based in fact, and not entirely off the mark.  I see both the Angels and Reds as playoff teams, but neither is making the World Series.

With my hand to the fire and removing the Yankees from the equation, since I can't honestly pick against my team unless forced to, I'd say the Braves face the Rays in the World Series.  The team with the healthiest pitching wins... Atlanta.

(12)  Predicting Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams will both stay healthy all year is a huge leap of faith! As for my pick of the team to make a huge leap next season, its the one dearest to my heart.  The NY Jets bounce back to finish 10-6 and make the playoffs.  The defense really gelled this past year and is a standout group again in 2013.  The running game finally takes hold with Joe McKnight splitting the load with Bilal Powell.  As for QB, I already touched on this in a somewhat wishful thinking manner, but I'm not concerned.  There are plenty of QBs out there who can do better than 50 turnovers in two seasons.

(13)  I'm heading in a different direction for next year's college football season, as I can probably rattle off the top five teams, but isolating the top two is arbitrary at best.  I'm jumping on the "Johnny Football" bandwagon and predicting that Johnny Manziel wins back to back Heisman trophies for Texas A&M. 

Prediction Summary and Wrap up on Friday

Friday, January 4, 2013

Thirteen Sports Predictions for 2013 - Part Two

Thirteen Sports Predictions for 2013 - Part Two
by Dan Salem and Todd Salem (1-4-13) 
[Part One]  [Part Three]

That was a bitch move, stealing my NFL pick.  And I could not disagree more with your Yankees "predictions." They seemed more like a wish and a prayer than actual predictions. Bush league.

Evan Longoria is not getting traded.  Not getting traded!  He is signed to a pretty reasonable contract and the Rays have done well in controlling their assets in recent years.

As for your college basketball Final Four 'predictions', I agree it is madness to predict March Madness. Hell, it's hard to guess the Final Four even after the bracket comes out, let alone at the beginning of the calendar year.  So... I will just destroy your predictions instead!

(5) Zero ACC schools will make it to the round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament. 

This conference is way down; other than Duke, the rest of the ACC schools have disappointed thus far on the year. Heading into conference play, I have no confidence in either North Carolina or your NC State Wolfpack. Florida State is nowhere near the team they were last year and no one else has the talent to win a game in the Big Dance, let alone advance past round two. All it will take for this to come to fruition, and it will, is a bad match-up or bad shooting game by Duke and we've seen that happen before in the tournament.
(6) I'll repeat this just to rub the wound.  Evan Longoria is not joining the Yankees. We aren't that desperate a team are we to shoot in the dark?

(7) The rein of rookie quarterbacks in the NFL is over, at least for one year. 

No one in the upcoming draft in April is worthy of a first round pick and even if a couple get selected in round one, no rookie quarterback will be what could be considered a solid starter next year. To make this a littler juicer, I'll even tell you who the first QB off the board will be and you tell me if you can conceive of a scenario where he is leading a team to the playoffs in year one. The man is NC State quarterback Mike Glennon.

(8) Curtis Granderson will be a representative in this year's Home Run Derby for someone other than the New York Yankees. I double dipped on that prediction; call it a two-for-one.  Like those delicious cookie ice-cream sandwiches.

(9) Your beloved New York Jets' starting quarterback for week one of the 2013 NFL season is NOT currently on their roster but he will NOT be a rookie either.

Excellent and bold NCAA prediction, albeit dead wrong.  And you got me, my Yankees prediction was definitely a bit out there and a wish list of sorts.  But hey, what good is a prediction if it doesn't benefit your favorite team?  Am I right?

(7)  Mike 'no one outside the ACC has heard of me' Glennon is not leading an NFL team anywhere next season.  But again, you're dead wrong here!  
Glennon won't be the first QB taken in the draft.  That honor goes to Matt Barkley from USC, whose poor season in 2012 will be overshadowed by a tremendous combine and the desperate Dallas Cowboys trade Tony Romo to move up in the draft and grab Barkley with the 12th pick.

-- Side Note -- 
I like how you tried to jump right into the heart of the baseball season without picking an NBA champion.  The NHL I can understand, its in a coma, but the National Basketball Association does not get overlooked.  Too bad you're right to skip this stupid prediction.

(8)  Granderson on a different MLB team other than the Yankees, I wish I could argue with your logic but the Yankees won't sign him long term and should definitely trade him to get value prior to his contract being up.  As a Yankees homer, I only care what we get in return.  What about someone like Micheal Bourne?  I can see them going two years on him and trading Grandy for pitching help.  Anything to make the playoffs this year without crapping the bed.

(9)  Like you know anything about the Jets.  
The Jets practice brute strength negotiations and avoid logic in their decisions at all cost.  If you're wrong about the Jets, which you are, then the only other answer is that Tim Tebow will be the starting QB for the NY Jets in 2013.  He gets the nod before the Super Bowl, they mold the offense around him and hire a OC accordingly, drafting specifically to run his game.  Its the only logical reason both coach and owner have been silent all week... oh wait...they don't use logic.
-- Ugh --
You got me all riled up over the damn Jets! I can barely muster up new predictions.  Damn it.  
(10)  Phil Michelson retires from golf after winning a second green jacket. 
Where am I wrong?  Give me more 'predictions' to destroy!