Friday, January 31, 2014

NBA All Stars: Should fans decide - part two

NBA All Stars: Should fans decide - part two
by Dan Salem and Todd Salem (1-31-14)

[Part one - All Star teams collide]

I have to address the more important issue now, Kobe Bryant. His inclusion in the starting lineup of the NBA All-Star game bothers me for myriad of reasons. This is a fan vote of course, but that doesn't mean the fans deserve it.

What is happening here is the NBA is turning into the MLB. Either the game counts or it doesn't. And what I mean is not literally whether who wins the All-Star game matters in basketball like in baseball. But the game acknowledgement does. A player making an All-Star game is historic. It matters for the legacy of a player, as well as the story of the league.

As you pointed out, Kobe's run of All-Star invites will continue. This will mark his 16th selection in his 18-year career. When it comes time to determine Hall of Fame resumes and where a player stands in the pantheon of his sport, All-Star games are often referenced. When next generation's Bill Simmons releases The Book of Basketball Part Two and tries to determine who is the better Laker between Kobe and Magic Johnson, the All-Star game appearances will come up. And you know what? In forty years, no one is going to remember that Kobe's 2014 selection was a joke and a debacle. It will just be an appearance like any of the others.

I guess my problem with the fan vote is that they are too stupid to be given this kind of power. There are only three solutions. Here they are, in order of practicality from "impossible" to "why is this not already the case?!?":

1. Lessen the historical value of a player making an All-Star game. Value All-NBA team selections instead and phase out the worth of the All-Star game appearance itself.

2. Don't let fans vote. Fans are, by definition, biased and crazy.

3. Give the fans a crop of players to vote from for the starting lineups. A player such as Kobe Bryant would not be eligible since he's barely played this season.

Tell me why number three wouldn't work.

I'm glad you acknowledged the ridiculousness of options one and two. There are very few benchmarks to compare players between generations. All Star game appearances is one of the best, disregarding the obvious caveat where a player past his prime continues to get voted in. And we have to let the fans vote. The All Star game is just a show. There is little to no defense played, so it is literally (spoken a la Rob Lowe's character from Parks and Recreation) a fun event for the fans to enjoy. They should get to see who they want, with one caveat that you very nicely addressed in option three.

I really like the idea of giving the fans a specific ballot, but leaving Kobe Bryant off entirely would be a HUGE mistake by the NBA. The All Star voting is international. The NBA wants to grow the sport internationally. Kobe Bryant is the most popular and most famous NBA player internationally. See the problem? He got voted in because the world still loves him and probably doesn't even realize he's been injured, or doesn't care. I know this speaks to a different issue, but the NBA has to market its most popular players and Kobe Bryant is up there in the top three, if not number one.

It would however be easy for the NBA to get the final All Star voting results, look at them and rule that a player must have played in at least 50% of his team's games this season to be a starter. The player can still be on the All Star team, but they can't be considered a starter if they've played less than half of his team's games. This is not a particularly unfair rule and still leaves voting in the hands of the fans. Let them vote in all the hurt guys they want, but they won't be named a starter because they've been injured or suspended.

Did I solve your problem?

That fails to solve the problem of a player's career resume being bumped up by faulty selections. The fact that a player is actually "starting" the game is irrelevant to me. Kobe Bryant did not deserve to be named an All-Star this season. Thus, he should not have been on the ballot if we can't trust fans to actually make that distinction.

This event is not supposed to be a popularity contest. It is supposed to reward the players who are having the best season. Otherwise, Jeremy Lin should just be starting point guard for both teams. Let him switch sides at halftime.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

NBA All Star teams collide - part one

NBA All Star teams collide - part one
by Dan Salem and Todd Salem (1-27-14)

The lineups for the NBA All Star teams got announced and there are a few obvious points of contention and one major question. Obviously Kobe Bryant starting for the West is a classic case of fan intervention. He's barely played this season, but his streak of All Star games will remain intact.

I want to know, who do you like in a straight up match of five on five? The East starters or those from the West?

Eastern Conference

LeBron James, MIA
Paul George, IND
Carmelo Anthony, NYK
Dwyane Wade, MIA
Kyrie Irving, CLE

Western Conference

Kevin Durant, OKC
Stephen Curry, GS
Kobe Bryant, LAL
Blake Griffin, LAC
Kevin Love, MIN

I'm thinking complete package for my team of five and not getting caught up on the LeBron James bandwagon. Right now, during the 2014 season Kevin Durant is rivaling LeBron for greatest player in the league. Blake Griffin and Kevin Love can take Paul George and I'll take hobbled Kobe over hobbled Dwyane Wade thank you very much.

That brings us to our final players for each starting squad. Kyrie Irving and Carmelo Anthony to match up with Stephen Curry. I'll take Curry over either one of those men individually. Yes, yes the Paul George double team could hold us back, leaving either Melo or Irving alone on the perimeter. But it won't matter; we'll be raining so many three pointers your squad will crying to their mamas.

I want to talk about Kobe Bean Bryant, but let me first address these "lineups" you referenced.

Everyone, including me, was all for the removal of the mandatory center position on the All-Star starting lineup. It was instead replaced by a declaration of simply "front court player." However, it is clear that this generalization was taken too far. The East does not even have a feasible team to trot out. Hopefully, for their sake, Dwyane Wade is not able to play and they can replace him with an actual front court player. Right now, the East is comprised on two guards, two small forwards and whatever you want to categorize LeBron James as.

Fortunately, the West isn't much better in terms of mismatches. Kevin Durant is a stretch four. Kevin Love and Blake Griffin are legitimate power forwards except neither one of them can protect the rim on defense. The best shot-blocker in the starting lineups is probably Durant. As of 1/26, not a single one of these 10 men was in the top 40 in the NBA in blocks. It's a bit ridiculous.

Because of this, it seems arbitrary to even field your question on which side would win a five on five matchup. Not only are all 10 of these guys not going to be healthy enough to play, but these 10 men hardly resemble two workable starting lineups.

If they were going to suit up, the game would really come down to one matchup though.

Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry could match each other even if Curry is a better shooter; neither is a very good defensive player and both would probably score at will (in what will become a theme here).

Kobe and Wade, as you mentioned, could also hold each other down, or at least match each other offensively with their old men games of semi-post-ups and half fades.

Paul George could guard Durant as well as any human can. George is one of the most physically gifted wings in the NBA. Durant does look like the league MVP at the halfway mark of the season, but PG was the MVP at the quarter mark, so he's nothing to sniff at.

Carmelo would then slot onto Blake Griffin. Neither could really stop the other in the post, so it would just be a scoring barrage. But this is the All-Star game after all.

That leaves just two men to check each other: the Akron Hammer and poor, poor Kevin Love. Love is probably the best combination of rebounding and outside shooting we have in the league right now, but he cannot hope to contain LeBron in any facet of the game. The West would have to employ some sort of rotation zone and force the East to beat them from the outside. This is a plausible tactic as the East does not have anywhere near the shooters the West does. However, athletically and fundamentally, the East has a huge edge just because they are playing with the skill sets of five smalls.

If the West had been given an actual center who could block shots or someone more imposing than either Griffin or Love, I would like its chances. However, as it stands, the East has the edge simply because there is no spot on the court where the West can take advantage of them.

Friday, January 24, 2014

NFL Pro Bowl Draft Recap - part two

NFL Pro Bowl Draft Recap - part two
by Dan Salem and Todd Salem (1-24-14)

[Part one - The fake Pro Bowl Draft]

The actual Pro Bowl draft took place Wednesday night, although it was taped in Hawaii so it wasn't night time. Instead, the players were nestled in a beach getaway, lounging underneath tents, waiting to be called. It was...kind of ridiculous.

When Jerry Rice or Deion Sanders made a selection, that player would make their way to the stage, receive a lei garland and get interviewed. I was surprised when I found out the actual picking process was going to be televised. I had assumed they would televise some sort of studio show where they announced all the selections and then discussed them. No sir. This was a three-hour barrage of uncomfortable interviews, awkward moments and boredom. Fortunately I suppose, there was a mini-draft held Tuesday where special teams players and interior linemen were peddled away to each side. So at least we were spared the punter interviews.

Of course, the draft itself is still a fascinating premise and, I suppose, that is only intensified by the players being there in person to feel slighted.

According to ESPN, Robert Mathis was in the "green room" for a long while and witnessed other players growing increasingly upset at not having been picked. We can only hope this will make for an actual good game on Sunday.

The other interesting wrinkle was the order players were selected. Apparently Team Deion selected Andrew Luck with its first pick on Wednesday. Then, it took Cam Newton with its second pick! Why, you ask? Well because the two coaching staffs of the teams are the Indianapolis staff and the Carolina staff respectively. Deion took Luck to work with his own people and then snatched Cam so he would be going against the Panthers coaches.

Overall though, the process seemed pretty innocuous. Each team grabbed some defensive guys early, as was my strategy. Although, because of injuries and Super Bowl commitments, a number of the top skill players are not playing in the Pro Bowl, so that may have steered the captains away from those positions at first.

Checking out the rosters, it seems that Team Rice is a bit better on paper. Of course, they don't play games on paper!! Although, it is the Pro Bowl, so maybe they should.

I'm kind of disappointed in this whole draft charade. It had so much potential on paper! But like the actual Pro Bowl, this draft was nothing short of lack luster and drawn out.You know what needed to happen for the Pro Bowl Draft to be fun and interesting? The NFL needed to televise our version of a draft. We got it right!

First off, let them pick teams regardless of who is going to participate. Not having Peyton Manning or Tom Brady in the draft ruins half the fun. And how awesome would it have been for Jerry Rice to draft Tom Brady and then find out a day later, or at the end of the draft even, that he'd been replaced by Alex Smith? That is television gold. A complete missed opportunity.

Second, don't pick your full rosters on TV. They did do a pre-draft of the positions most fans don't care about. That's kind of alienating and unnecessary. Just draft a starting roster on camera and do your backups in rapid fire mode during a commercial break. Also, I know that the players are spending the week in Hawaii, but don't make them sit there. Most went through that hell once already, during the actual NFL Draft before their rookie seasons. The honor is in being selected to the Pro Bowl, but now you take that away by making them squirm on national TV because Deion Sanders snubbed you. No one likes to be last picked. Come on man!

The Pro Bowl Draft could be a perfect 90 minute television event. Show film of each guy as he's selected. Let the captains debate on camera who they are taking and then reveal the name like on 'Wheel of Fortune' or something. But making it like the actual NFL Draft? Seriously? Someone is getting fired over this. I'm calling it now.

Monday, January 20, 2014

NFL Pro Bowl Draft - part one

NFL Pro Bowl Draft - part one
by Dan Salem and Todd Salem (1-20-14)

The first ever NFL Pro Bowl Draft is taking place this Wednesday, January 22nd. There are no conference affiliations anymore. Two captains, Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice, will be selecting players, draft-style. We at Seesaw Sports wanted in on the fun and drafted our own teams. After flipping a fake coin to see who would pick first, Dan won. So without further ado...

Note: Our draft does not take into consideration who may or may not opt out of the actual Pro Bowl game. We're just trying to make the best teams for this game; that's all.


1) With the first pick in the 2014 fake Pro Bowl draft, Dan selects quarterback Tom Brady.

TODD: Whoa! Upset City!

2) Todd selects Defensive End J.J. Watt.

DAN: Well, now you can wait on a quarterback I guess.
TODD: Yeah, that may be the flaw in this draft system.

3) Dan selects Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson.

TODD: Damn, I was hoping Megatron was going to be there at four.
DAN: That was a long shot at best.

4) Todd selects Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall.

5) Dan selects Tight End Jimmy Graham.

DAN: And that's how you know it's a passing league.
TODD: Which is why I am going to need to rush the passer.

6) Todd selects Defensive End Robert Quinn.

DAN: You are loading up on defense. Did you forget that this is the Pro Bowl?

7) Dan selects Wide Receiver A.J. Green.

8) Todd selects Running Back LeSean McCoy.

9) Dan selects Defensive Tackle Ndamukong Suh.

DAN: Since you jumped all over the outside pressure, I'm going mean and angry in the middle.
TODD: I want some more pass rushing. Brady is going to be on his back all day.

10) Todd selects Outside Linebacker Robert Mathis.

DAN: Good luck getting by my next pick.

11) Dan selects Center Ryan Kalil.

TODD: Interesting.

12) Todd selects Cornerback Patrick Peterson.

13) Dan selects Linebacker Patrick Willis.

DAN: I almost thought you stole my pick.
TODD: Now you're coming over to the defensive side.

14) Todd selects Tackle Joe Staley.

15) Dan selects Defensive Tackle Haloti Ngata.

DAN: Whoever your quarterback is will have fits all day now.
TODD: It's hard to pressure the QB up the middle. I'm not feeling great about Shady McCoy going crazy now though.

16) Todd selects Cornerback Richard Sherman.

17) Dan selects Outside Linebacker John Abraham.

TODD: John Abraham made the Pro Bowl? What year is this?
DAN: Ex-Jet still a Jet in my mind.

18) Todd selects Safety Earl Thomas.

TODD: I want an outside backer to run with Jimmy Graham and there just isn't one. I'll have to take a safety to do it instead.

19) Dan selects Fullback Mike Tolbert.

DAN: There are only two fullbacks to pick from, so I'm striking first.
TODD: By all means.

20) Todd selects Guard Logan Mankins.

21) Dan selects Cornerback Brandon Flowers.

TODD: VT Hokie in the house!
DAN: Woot!

22) Todd selects Quarterback Drew Brees.

TODD: Is this allowed, can I actually leave Peyton Manning on the board?
DAN: Where is this game being played; if it's not New Orleans...
TODD: Hawaii has nice weather.
DAN: If you don't take Manning, can I select him as my punter?
TODD: Sure, but then he'd have to punt.

23) Dan selects Defensive End Cameron Jordan.

24) Todd selects Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy.

25) Dan selects Safety Eric Berry.

TODD: Damn, I waited too long for my strong safety.

26) Todd selects Outside Linebacker Justin Houston.

27) Dan selects Outside Linebacker Ahmad Brooks.

28) Todd selects Tackle Tyron Smith.

29) Dan selects Tackle Jason Peters.

TODD: You finally got Kalil some help up front.

30) Todd selects Kick Returner Dexter McCluster.

31) Dan selects Tackle Joe Thomas.

32) Todd selects Tight End Julius Thomas.

33) Dan selects Cornerback Darrelle Revis.

TODD: Another former Jet past his prime.
DAN: Agreed.

34) Todd selects Kicker Justin Tucker.

DAN: Haha

35) Dan selects Running Back Adrian Peterson.

TODD: It seems funny to get him so late. It also seems foolish to take him over Jamaal Charles.
DAN: Only if Peterson isn't healthy. Otherwise, no way.

36) Todd selects Wide Receiver Josh Gordon.

TODD: Fantasy MVP! Hey, what would have happened if I took Antonio Brown right there at wide receiver? You'd be left without a return man option.
DAN: I would have gotten a free pick!
TODD: But you wouldn't have been able to return any kicks or punts. Special teams edge Team Todd!
DAN: I can throw Peyton Manning back there.

37) Dan selects Defensive End Greg Hardy.

38) Todd selects Defensive Tackle Dontari Poe.

39) Dan selects Safety Eric Weddle.

40) Todd selects Linebacker Luke Kuechly.

41) Dan selects Guard Jahri Evans.

42) Todd selects Safety Kam Chancellor.

TODD: Another Hokie in the Pro Bowl. Hey, I just realized I took three Seattle Seahawk defensive backs.
DAN: They must be good or something.

43) Dan selects Guard Mike Iupati.

44) Todd selects Guard Louis Vasquez.

45) Dan selects Punter Brandon Fields.

TODD: Damn, now I'm left with the punter no one had ever heard of.

46) Todd selects Center Mike Pouncey.

TODD: Not many options left.

47) Dan selects Kicker Matt Prater.

48) Todd selects Fullback Marcel Reece.

49) Dan selects Kick Returner Antonio Brown.

50) Todd selects Punter Johnny Hekker.


POSITION               TODD'S TEAM           DAN'S TEAM

Quarterback                      Drew Brees                    Tom Brady
Running Back                   LeSean McCoy               Adrian Peterson
Tight End                          Julius Thomas                 Jimmy Graham
Wide Receiver                  Brandon Marshall            Calvin Johnson
Wide Receiver                  Josh Gordon                    AJ Green
Full Back                           Marcel Reece                  Mike Tolbert
Center                               Mike Pouncey                 Ryan Kalil
O-Guard                            Logan Mankins               Jahri Evans
O-Guard                            Mike Iupati                      Louis Vasquez
O-Tackle                           Joe Staley                       Jason Peters
O-Tackle                           Tyron Smith                    Joe Thomas

Def End                             JJ Watt                            Cameron Jordan
Def End                              Robert Quinn                  Greg Hardy
D-Tackle                            Gerald McCoy                 Ndamukong Suh
D-Tackle                            Dontari Poe                     Haloti Ngata
Linebacker                          Luke Kuechly                 Patrick Willis
Outside Linebacker            Robert Mathis                 John Abraham
Outside Linebacker            Justin Houston                Ahmad Brooks
Cornerback                         Patrick Peterson             Brandon Flowers
Cornerback                         Richard Sherman            Darrelle Revis
Safety                                  Earl Thomas                   Eric Berry
Safety                                  Kam Chancellor              Eric Weddle

Kick Returner                      Dexter McCluster            Antonio Brown
Kicker                                  Justin Tucker                  Matt Prater
Punter                                 Johnny Hekker                Brandon Fields

That about wraps it up for us. Unfortunately we can't put our rosters on the field against each other, but that's probably for the best. My team would crush Dan's.

Now let's see what Deion and Jerry come up with, and what strategies they take in filling out the official NFL Pro Bowl rosters.

Friday, January 17, 2014

"They said what?" - Sports quotes game (Round two)

"They said what?" - Sports quotes game (Round two)
by Dan Salem and Todd Salem (1-17-14)

[Round one]

Its time for Round two of They said what?

The Rules:
Player one presents player two with a sports quote.

- The quote can be about sports
- The quote can be said by a famous sportsman
- The quote can be both about sports and said by a famous sportsman, but NEVER neither one

The quote is given, along with three hints as to who said it. These hints can be anything from when the quote was uttered to facts about the speaker.

Player two then responds with their guess as to who said it and a brief explanation surrounding their conclusion. A correct guess is worth one point for player two. An incorrect guess is worth one point for player one.

I'm kicking up the difficulty level for round two.

"A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be."

Hint One - This man played professional hockey.
Hint Two - After his playing career, he became part-owner of a franchise for a time.
Hint Three - He is number five all-time in career shots taken in the NHL.

Hockey feels like a low blow, but anything about hockey immediately leads me to The Great One, Mr. Wayne Gretzky. Hint one and Hint two don't invalidate that, however, Hint three gives me pause. Gretzky is THE Great One, surely he's higher than five all-time in shots taken. Also, this stat is only cool if we are talking about a defensive player, not a man who is best known for scoring goals.

My answer is Bobby Orr. Damn I hope he owned a team for a while.

Nailed you! My plan worked perfectly! My third hint was to throw you off the scent of Wayne Gretzky because he is indeed the correct answer.

"A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be." (by Wayne Gretzky)

Damn it! Here's your quote.

"The fewer rules a coach has, the fewer rules there are for players to break."

Hint One: This man won a Super Bowl.
Hint Two: This man is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Hint Three: This man is a legend both on and off the field.

I don't know if this was payback or what, but yours seems especially tricky. It was said by a successful NFL head coach, so successful he's in the Hall of Fame. But the quote itself implies it was someone who wasn't a hard-ass or huge disciplinarian. I originally wanted to say Bill Parcells just because he's a good quote. But he was notoriously hard on his players I thought.

That leads me to go elsewhere for a guess, but who is a legend off the field as well? That makes me want to say Mike Ditka. That's who I'm going to go with; the coach of Daa Bears.

Oh snap! That is an excellent guess, but fortunately for me its wrong. There are so many other hints that would have led you to our correct answer. Like this one: He has a well documented fear of flying.

Know it now? I'm sure you do. This quote was uttered by the one, the only, often imitated (mainly by Frank Caliendo) John Madden.

"The fewer rules a coach has, the fewer rules there are for players to break." (by John Madden)

That evens up the score at 2 points a piece, each of us getting one correct answer and one wrong. January is a tie, but let's carry the score into our next match in February/March and keep the competition going.

Monday, January 13, 2014

"They said what?" - Sports quotes game (Round one)

"They said what?" - Sports quotes game (Round one)
by Dan Salem and Todd Salem (1-13-14)

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the wonderfully crafted game of They said what?

For those new to the game or in need of a refresher, we'll quickly run through the rules here at Seesaw Sports. Player one presents player two with a sports quote.

- The quote can be about sports
- The quote can be said by a famous sportsman
- The quote can be both about sports and said by a famous sportsman, but NEVER neither one

The quote is given, along with three hints as to who said it. These hints can be anything from when the quote was uttered to facts about the speaker.

Player two then responds with their guess as to who said it and a brief explanation surrounding their conclusion. A correct guess is worth one point for player two. An incorrect guess is worth one point for player one.

Okay, let's get ready to play round one of... They said what?


As player one I'll kick things off with what I consider to be a medium difficulty quote.

"Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser."

Hint One - Uttered by a famous head coach.
Hint Two - He was notoriously hard and expected perfection.
Hint Three - He coached in the NFL.

Well, well, well. For our inaugural game of They said what? you picked an excellent quote, but unfortunately for you, this game is too easy for me.

Hint one pretty much gave it away. Vince Lombardi. Hint two solidified my answer. Vince Lombardi. And hint three tied a pretty pink bow on your gift wrapped point. Vince Lombardi.

"Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser." (by Vince Lombardi)

Yeah, Vince Lombardi is correct. That was too easy. I started off soft; don't get too cocky.

My turn. Let's see how you like this quote.

"It's good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling."

Hint One - He did not play golf.
Hint Two - He is famous for his writing.
Hint Three - His famed name is not his given name.

Challenging, but I think I know it. The fact that he talked about sports but did not play the sport in question gave me pause at first. I thought it might be a comedian. Once you said he was a writer, I was pretty sure I knew it. The existence of an alternate name sealed the deal.

"It's good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling," has to have been said by Mark Twain.

Damn, thought I may have stumped you there. We're all tied up at one.

SCORE (after one round):
Player one (Todd) - 1 point
Player two (Dan) - 1 point

Friday, January 10, 2014

Hello college football Playoffs - Part two

Hello college football Playoffs - Part two
by Dan Salem and Todd Salem (1-10-14)

[Part one - Goodbye BCS]

The BCS rankings are based on numbers, statistics and lots of other substantial information that has its basis in real life. Contrast that to the Coach's poll which is merely the opinion of the coaches or their assistants or brother-in-law. I did not sign up for the loss of these rankings, simply a four team playoff to replace the one game BCS title game.

Using mathematics is usually a good idea and I can't disagree with you on this one. My gripe with the BCS system was that nearly every season the top five teams were basically equal. It felt arbitrary to let the computer rank a one loss team from a stronger conference over an undefeated team from a weaker conference. They should play each other instead! That's what was missing and that's what excites me about this playoff. The top four teams get to play for the title. Great! A group of randomly selected individuals deciding the top four teams instead of the BCS computers... sucky!

Well that was almost a prophetic response by you. The first half of the BCS Championship game went exactly as you described. Auburn's defense was holding down FSU and confusing the young quarterback with blitzes and faking pressure...Then they decided to play thirty more minutes. Auburn struggled to produce points and Famous Jameis drove the Seminoles down for all the points they needed, taking the lead on their final drive with just seconds remaining. It was really a great game and fitting end to the BCS.

But enough pleasantries, because discussing the upcoming playoff is anything but pleasant. Yes, the BCS rankings will be done away with. So if you thought it was arbitrary for a computer system to rank a certain team second overall over another, get ready! We will see a panel of humans try to decipher the validity of teams ranked four through ten or so. How many teams this season would have had a claim to that fourth playoff spot? At least three teams: Michigan State, Stanford and Baylor. You could even have talked me into Missouri and South Carolina or Ohio State. The final decisions of the playoff committee are going to be so arbitrary it's ridiculous.

As far as I know, there will be no voting released, just a final four (Or, technically, a final four plus eight I suppose, since they are still playing other "top" bowl games that literally no one is going to care about now). Also, apparently the group will release rankings just a couple times throughout the year, so we may not have a feeling about where they stand from their final ranking all the way to the bowl announcements.

I wouldn't have minded if they left the BCS intact and simply expanded the final from two to four as you said. That would have been ideal. Now, I think we're in store for a shit show. Mythbusters once did an episode on shit hitting the fan; whether it actually splatters and covers EVERYTHING in its wake. The results weren't perfect, but they decided it was a plausible figure of speech. So if the BCS was shit hitting the fan, this new playoff committee is going to be like shit-covered fans being dropped from the sky, into the jet stream of an airplane.


I love your poop analogy and I definitely was spot on with my BCS prediction, as far as the first half was concerned. I missed the boat entirely with the whole come back, kick return for a touchdown and then miracle victory thing. Moving on...

There are two very simple things that make the college football regular season easy to follow and fun as hell. The first is the knowledge that these teams are competing for a top tier bowl game, not just any old bowl game since everyone gets that. The second is the weekly top twenty five rankings of the best teams in the nation. We lose our first thing instantly by adding a four team playoff. No one cares about the Rose Bowl game now, they just want to be in the playoff. Before, if you weren't one of the top two teams then you wanted to win your conference to make the nationally televised bowl game. In the case of the Big Ten and Pac-12, its the Rose Bowl. The conference title is now very much diminished, as its highly likely the top team in both the Big Ten and Pac-12 will make the playoff in the upcoming season. Ok, so we have to lose something to gain something else. That's fine.

I was on board with the playoff up until the loss of the weekly BCS rankings. Every college football season begins with a pre-season top twenty five ranking, but the true rankings were never fully realized until the BCS rankings came out. This was when we as fans could look at the teams ranked one to twenty five and feel confident in the order. It was updated every Sunday night on ESPN, debated endlessly on Monday and Tuesday and then updated again week after week after week. The buzz around college football was huge from this. Huge! Now its all gone...

If the "group of super smart college football geniuses who will pick the playoff teams" don't rank the top twenty five every week of the season, then what are we following as fans? Are they hoping we go back to caring about the conference rankings and positioning? That's just stupid. The conferences only mean something to those teams in them. The playoffs will be national.

I don't think your poop covered fans being dropped through airplane turbines analogy was strong enough. I'm picturing a delicious wedding cake with a giant fat guy picking his nose and then grabbing pieces of the cake and eating them. He continues to do this for a good thirty to forty minutes until the cake is destroyed and full of boogers. Then he farts on it and hands his wife a piece. That piece of cake is our college football product.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Goodbye BCS - Part one

Goodbye BCS - Part one
by Dan Salem and Todd Salem (1-6-14)


Monday night's game between the Florida State Seminoles and the Auburn Tigers is for the college football BCS National Championship. It also marks the end of the entire Bowl Championship Series system.

I suppose let's first get the logistics out of the way. Who do you think is going to do you feel about Jameis Winston..what about this spectacular Auburn story of them going from unranked to number two in the nation? cetera et cetera.

We can address those arbitrary concerns, but the more pressing matter is of course the abolishment of the BCS.

I am interested in your feelings on the system in general. I feel as though I was routinely in the minority in defending it. I thought the BCS was great. It removed the need for a playoff system technically. But what it actually did was turn the entire regular season into playoffs. Every game mattered.

This will still be the case, for the most part, with the new four-team playoff that is being instituted in 2014. It seems like a second loss during a season will forever bar a team from reaching the playoffs, although multiple one-loss teams will probably be battling for more than just the final spot each season. It is rare to have two or three-plus teams finish undefeated the same year.

So really where we're going in college football is from having a computer formula determine the top two teams to having a panel of random people determine the top four teams. Now I'm no big city lawyer, but it seems to me that using mathematics is a better form of determination. Am I crazy?

With the SABRmetric revolutions going on in basketball and hockey, and baseball being firmly entrenched in complex statistical measures, why is college football going the other way? Wasn't it simply ahead of the curve with the BCS?

If everyone wants to expand the final from two teams to four, by all means. But why replace math with bias and opinion?

I want to like Florida State in the championship game, I really do. I think Winston has put up some gaudy numbers, a bit over hyped for my liking. The Seminoles had a great season, but its not the second coming of their greatness and Winston needs to show me a lot more before I can see him in the NFL. But the Seminoles were dominant this year... in the ACC.

The ACC is better known for basketball, but does play some damn good football. However, its not the SEC in terms of caliber of team. Just like how in baseball the American League Central teams as a whole don't stack up to those in the American League East, ACC vs SEC is not a competition. Auburn wins this game on the back of their defense. I hope its not a blowout.

And thus the BCS ends... but are we doing away with the BCS rankings as well? I realize that the rankings have been used to determine the top two teams to play in the championship game, but are they actually going to do away with the mathematical ranking system entirely?

I'm no fan of the BCS system for the National Championship, however, I LOVE the BCS rankings. I think they are infinitely better than the USA today poll or the Coach's poll...

Friday, January 3, 2014

NFL Final Rankings: Its over now - Part two

NFL Final Rankings: Its over now - Part two
by Dan Salem and Todd Salem (1-3-14)

[Part one - Final NFL Power Rankings]

I still think Miami was the sixth best team in the AFC. I hated Baltimore's offense all year. I hated San Diego's defense all year. I hated Pittsburgh all year. There was nothing about Miami that screamed hatred...other than their epic, late-season collapse I suppose. You could have talked me into putting the Dallas Cowboys ahead of them maybe, but I wasn't going to drop them below any of those other AFC wild card contenders.

But, oddly enough, the Dolphins actually stayed pretty consistent for us all year. The first set of power rankings we did, after week four, we both had them ranked in the teens. (You had them 12th, which technically isn't in the teens, but you get the point.) There were many other teams that took giants leaps from the first week of October until now.

Pittsburgh and Philadelphia were very, very low on our original rankings. They both took weeks, even months in the case of Pittsburgh, to get their acts together. Arizona jumped especially high as well. We both had them in the bottom ten of the league after four games.

Meanwhile, Detroit and Atlanta were a couple of the teams near the top that dropped dramatically through the final three fourths of the season. I loved Detroit for much of the season, and was still confident in Atlanta turning things around early on. What is it that makes this league so hard to predict, even mid-season? It is unfathomable in any other sport to have standings flip after a quarter of the season has already been played. Is it strictly the case of small sample size and nothing else? After all, four games is just four games, no matter how short the regular season is. Anyone can look amazing (or dreadful) in a string of four games. Cough cough... Geno Smith... cough.

At least Geno Smith was a rookie... cough cough... Eli Manning his entire career... cough. Rookies often play up and down as they first surprise defenses, then get bombarded as everyone has "figured them out." The key barometer in my opinion is how they finish off the season. Does the rookie cave and continue to make mistakes, or does he right the ship, slow down and play solid football? Geno had zero turnovers in his final two games and led the league (along with Cam Newton) in rushing touchdowns. I see a lot more Cam Newton in him than I see Jay Cutler. As for the league at large, it was as up and down as Geno Smith was this season.

The Detroit Lions are probably my biggest surprise and disappointment of the season. I had them ranked 11th at the four game mark, then 10th after eight games, still at 15th after twelve games, and finally all the way down to 21st after the season's final weekend. Woah. Counter that with Arizona's rise from 30th up to 9th in my rankings and its no wonder the NFL is so damn popular every week of the season.

The four game mark is an obvious trap and no team is truly known after only a quarter of the season. With the exception of our elite quarterbacks, every other team is still getting its proverbial house in order. But at the halfway point? I was so wrong on the Eagles at 29th and the Titans at 14th its not even funny. But you know what is funny?

I had the top two teams in the league (both finishing at 13-3) in my top three power rankings the entire season! Both Denver and Seattle have been at the top of my rankings from week one through week seventeen. And both the Broncos and Seahawks sit atop their respective conferences. This league may surprise us, it may have parity, but the top was the top this season. It was actually straight forward. I'm leaning towards an outlier in regards to this season's top five predictability. Fact or Fiction?

It will all depend on how they perform in the playoffs. That's the ultimate test of a power rank.

By the way, you should get that cough checked out.