Friday, October 30, 2009

Keep It Real Friday

We're back with a new edition of Keep It Real Friday. We're talking the electric performance of Pedro Martinez, (and ignoring that of A.J. Burnett), we're taking aim at the NCAA and their treatment of the college games most feared offensive player, finally we wrap up with some Boston Celtics/Cleveland Cavaliers combined with a tribute to coach Bobby Knight.

Get After It!

I've got to Keep It Real, I just miss it Pedro. Last night was the first time since Pedro Martinez left Boston that I remembered how magical he was over seven seasons. When the cocky brash ace of the Boston Red Sox would take the mound at Fenway Park, nothing compared. A chill went through your bones when "Petey" would dazzle hitters with poise and guile, as I said before, nothing compared. However, now with the Phills and the Mets before that, something didn't seem the same when he wasn't wearing the jersey of your hometown Red Sox. The hop gone from your step and we've moved on from Pedro Martinez. That was until, that same cocky, brash right-hander we know and love returned to the Bronx. Excited all day, ignoring people who assumed Martinez would fall victim to the short fence in the NEW Bronx Zoo, I couldn't wait to watch this play out. He was back, if you didn't know before, you knew after he spoke to the New York media. Egging on Yankee fans every way possible, then he did what I so desperately wanted a 38-year old former Red Sox to do, pitch his a** off. Don't box score this one up folks, Pedro fanned eight over seven innings before exiting down 3-1. The Yankee fans jeered him with "Who's your daddy?" ringing out all evening, and while he was walking off the field for possibly his final time in New York, he lowered his brim and grinned from ear to ear: That was Pedro Martinez. I've got to Keep It Real, I miss that.

Whomever is responsible for suspending Oklahoma State receiver, Dez Bryant, for the remainder of the '09 season is flat out foolish. Quickly for those of you who don't know, Bryant visited and worked out with former NFL player turned pseudo-mentor, Deion Sanders, which isn't against any NCAA rule. However, when questioned by the NCAA, Bryant, a college junior, didn't tell the truth about his interaction with Primetime. For not telling the truth, about an interaction he should never have been questioned about, Dez Bryant is on the sidelines for his junior season in Stillwater. The 6'2" wideout has 9 career games with over 100 yards receiving, 20+ career receiving TD's, and on pace to sew up his first Biletnikoff Award (giving to the nation's top receiver). Did I mention he was downright prolific in his first three games of this season? 17 catches for 323 yards and four touchdowns. That is a distant memory today. The NCAA has ruled to keep Bryant out and in doing so will most likely call it a wrap on the college career of the most NFL ready wideout since Calvin Johnson. The NCAA has robbed us all long enough, time to Keep It Real! During a season in which no college football player has clearly stated they are the Heisman Memorial Trophy recipient, Dez Bryant could have been. During a season which could have seen the Oklahoma State Cowboys become the 3rd team of the Big 12, they won't. We wanted to see Dez Bryant at the Downtown Athletic Club, and unfortunately we'll be seated alongside three men who clearly don't deserve it as much. NCAA, Keep It Real.

NBA "Insider" continue to pick the Orlando Magic & Cleveland Cavaliers. I'll Keep It Real, and take those underdog 17-time World Champion Celtics. We get it, you desperately want to see Kobe v. LeBron in the NBA Finals, just come out and say it already. The truth is, you don't think it will happen and your trying to convince us otherwise. Allow me to break this down for you, let's look at overall talent. The Celtics are running out Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Ray Allen. Off the bench, they break out specialty players like Eddie House, Marquis Daniels, Glen Davis, and oh yea, Rasheed F'n Wallace! Boston's answer in crunch time is Paul Pierce, and yes at 32-years old, he's still one of the games premier closers. I'm tired of hearing about Shaq, he's overweight and just NOT THAT GOOD anymore. That was what the Cavs thought would bring a ring to LeBron James? The first game of the season was the most telling time, the Cavaliers sat King James for a brief rest, and the Celtics took control of the game for good. By the time LeBron got going again, the rest of his team decided to sit around and watch him play basketball. The Celtics are very deep, have championship pedigree, and more importantly, they have better talent! Look up and down the Cavaliers roster, the only player you'd want on Boston is LeBron. Give it a rest with the Kobe v. LeBron, it didn't happen last year and it won't happen this year. Keep It Real, C's returning to The Finals!

Bobby Knight is The General, no bones. Next week, the University of Indiana will induct seven distinguished people into their athletic hall of fame. One of those seven is the man who brought basketball championships to the school and in the process became one of the best college basketball coaches we've ever seen. However, he won't be at the induction into the hall of famer, his choice not theirs. Declining to attend the ceremony because it will "cause too much of a distraction to the other people being honored", and that my friend is what I've been saying for years. Okay, so maybe I haven't been talking about the University of Indiana's athletic hall of fame, but I have been saying special people deserve the stage to themselves. For instance, is it necessary to induct Michael Jordan the same weekend you induct Jerry Sloan, David Robinson, John Stockton, and C. Vivian Stringer into the basketball of hall of fame? Exactly what Knight is trying to avoid happened on that night, Jordan is the center of attention and he's who everyone came to see, which isn't fair for anyone else on the ticket. For years people say how awful Knight is, and any bad thing you can attack the guy for. Lay off him for this one, this is a true standup move and I applaud you. Keep It Real, The General is aces in my book!

That's all for this week's edition of Keep It Real Friday! However, we have a special treat for the readers who'd like to lay some money down this weekend. I'm releasing my upsets of the week:

Southern California will lose in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday.
Brett Favre will be upstaged by Aaron Rodgers on Sunday.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

LRN Power Rankings: Week 8

Week 7 in the books. The Vikings are the latest team to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten, downed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. New Orleans made a their argument in Miami, a 21-point road deficit was no sweat for Drew Brees. Just when we thought the Bengals had been brought back to Earth, they slapped around Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears.

With much more, the POWER RANKINGS ARE OUT!

1. New Orleans Saints (1) These aren't your fathers Saints. Drew Brees & Co. are 3-0 at home and 3-0 on the road, they can run it, they can pass it, and more importantly they can defend it. Down by 21, or up by 21, these Saints are flat out front runners.

2. Indianapolis Colts (2) Peyton Manning has been very, very good. Which is the primary reason these Colts are one of only three remaining undefeated teams and are 4-0 on the road, good for an NFL best.

3. Denver Broncos (4) Believe it or not, the '09 Broncos are built on defense. Top ranked in fewest points per game allowed. 2Nd ranked in fewest yards allowed per game. A top ten ranked defense in fewest rushing and passing yards allowed. The team with the highest powered offense a year ago has now become the class of the AFC West, on the other side of the ball.

4. Minnesota Vikings (3) The previously undefeated Vikings watched the Steelers score two defensive touchdowns in the final quarter to secure a victory. On a positive note, Brett Favre didn't throw typical FavreESQUE interceptions, we're still waiting.

5. New England Patriots (4) We get it, you can prepare and execute against terrible teams. (Tampa Bay & Tennessee) Now can you pop off against a team of your own ilk on the road in a tough atmosphere?

6. Cincinnati Bengals (9) Now that is a win! A 45-10 beatdown of the Chicago Bears pushes the Bengals up three slots. 37 carries for 189 yards, Cedric Benson, welcome back to the NFL.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (10) Remember us? The Steelers have rebounded from their less than stellar start and now sit at 5-2 after handing the Vikings their first loss of the season. The defense playing better is the first sign, the real Pittsburgh Steelers have stood up.

8. Baltimore Ravens (7) I may have reached with this one, but Joe Flacco won't make a fool out of me. You heard it here first: the Ravens hand Josh McDaniels his first loss of his young head coaching career this week in Baltimore.

9. Green Bay Packers (11) With revenge on the mind, the Packers look to knock off Brett Favre and the Vikings while handing them their second loss this coming weekend. Packers running back, Ryan Grant, has turned it on as of late, averaging 120 yards per game over his last two.

10. New York Giants (8) Brandon Jacobs isn't being Brandon Jacobs. The defense has lost its teeth. Those young wideouts are starting to look the part of young wideouts. Furthermore, losing to Arizona and the way they lost to New Orleans doesn't make Giant fans confident.

11. Atlanta Falcons (6) Michael Turner is the issue. The Falcon ground game seems to have stumbled out of the gate. Through six weeks, Michael Turner has looked very average, only one 100+ yard rushing game. Be weary heading to New Orleans, after Romo & Co. made your secondary look pathetic.

12. Miami Dolphins (14) The Dolphins can score in a variety of ways, however there is a reason they couldn't hold a three touchdown lead against New Orleans. Ted Ginn Jr. can't hang onto the football and the defense plays a bit timid. Unfortunately, Will Allen won't be coming back this season due to a knee injury which makes that questionable secondary somewhat depleted. Positive side, Ricky Williams looked great this week.

13. Arizona Cardinals (17) I like what the Cardinals are turning into. When beating the Giants this weekend, rookie running back Beanie Wells scampered for 67 yards on 14 carries. This team is 4-2, won three straight, and has Carolina coming up.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (16) The loss to Oakland wasn't for real, they just out thought themselves. Monday night in D.C. the Eagles rebounded with a 10-point victory over a division opponent. Philly rushed for over 100 yards as a team and flashed some of their speed guys through the air, DeSean Jackson & Jeremy Maclin combined for 7 catches and 122 yards. This Brian Westbrook concussion could loom for a team that really needs him.

15. Dallas Cowboys (18) Miles Austin, Miles Austin, Miles Austin. I can't think of anything or anyone that has had this big of an impact, this rapidly, since the Tickle-Me Elmo doll several holidays back. For the Tony Romo haters (of which I may be one) that third down play in which he eluded three Falcon tackles to find Austin in the back of the endzone, well that's why he's Tony Romo.

16. Houston Texans (19) I may regret hyping the Houston Texans in the pre-season. Hell, I may even regret moving them three spots this week after blowing a 21-point halftime lead only to survive on a field goal. However, the Texans have put together two wins in a row and head to Buffalo this week. Call this a temporary move, because Steve Slaton has yet to hit the century mark in any week.

17. New York Jets (15) Leon Washington's broken leg is a monster blow to a team who needed weapons like that. Braylon Edwards is about to have a slew of legal problems, another bad sign. With both Miami and New England on the horizon, I worry for Mark Sanchez and is shrinking list of offensive fire power.

18. Chicago Bears (12) The Bears aren't good right now. It goes deeper than allowing Cedric Benson to rush for 190 yards on Sunday. The Bears throw to much, and don't get it. Yes, they got down early against Cincy and had to pass to try and get back in it, however they've been doing this all year. Their 1,000 yard rusher, Matt Forte, needs to get more touches, bottom line.

19. San Francisco 49ers (13) Too much, too soon. The 49ers are a great team in the NFC West, a streaky division with no consistency. With that being said, it should come as a shock to no one that the 49ers are 0-3 outside of that division. They are streaky, and have no consistency.

20. San Diego Chargers (21) San Diego has yet to put it all together, I suspect they won't anytime soon. Destroying the Chiefs isn't an accomplishment, it's what better teams should do.

21. Jacksonville Jaguars (22) If the Jaguars expect to move forward anytime soon, they need to put a few good games together. Both the Texans and Colts are playing very well and the division is becoming decided very quickly.

22. Buffalo Bills (26) Okay, hear me out. The Buffalo Bills are 3-3. They played terrible against Cleveland in a disgusting 6-3 game. They lost an amazing comeback game on opening weekend against New England. Could this team be 5-1? I'm just putting it out there, maybe Ryan Fitzpatrick is the answer. Maybe.

23. Seattle Seahawks (20) Maybe you could say the 2-4 Seahawks are out of it at this point. However, in the NFC West, no one is out of it. With half of their division games remaining, the Seahawks could still make noise.

24. Carolina Panthers (23) After another loss, Panthers head coach Jon Fox, is now unsure of the quarterback position. It only took Delhomme throwing 2+ interceptions in four of his first 6 games to realize this. Or maybe that he's projected to throw 35 on the season, either way, he's out!

25. Kansas City Chiefs (24) Hey, Larry Johnson! Your garbage and were good for a cup of coffee in the league. Todd Haley was a coordinator for a NFC Championship winning team, and he's been to a Super Bowl, something you won't ever sniff.

26. Detroit Lions (25) You already won 1 game, more than you won all last season. If Stafford can't go, don't risk it. In turn, I'll never call you the worst team in the league all season long, promise.

27. Oakland Raiders (27) By far the most dysfunctional team, as long as the Raiders are in Oakland and Al Davis is in charge, no one will take that title away from them. They got blown out by the Jets, however head coach Tom Cable was cleared of assault charges, all in all a good week in Raiderville.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (30) The Bucs are bad, but they are young. Unlike the veteran Redskins, Browns, and Titans, this group at least has youth on their side.

29. Cleveland Browns (28) If I could do one thing to help the Browns this season, I'd rewind the clock and never pay Derek Anderson. Once Brady Quinn was drafted, he was your guy no matter what. Unfortunately, the Browns don't think so.

30. Washington Redskins (29) Quarterback Jason Campbell may be one of the problems, but I'm going to stick with the micro-managed offense as the primary problem. Any time you believe it is necessary that your play be re-layed to the quarterback by a middle man, I'm guessing that doesn't lead to W's.

31. Tennessee Titans (32) I've had a week to think about that Titans in Foxborough debacle. Also, another week to watch the Rams get destroyed.

32. St. Louis Rams (31) It's bad, and if you had your eye on drafting Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, it gets worse. Back to the bottom, the Rams are the NFL's worst.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lazy Sunday

11:00 on Sunday night and yes, I've done absolutely nothing productive with my day off. Like Jesus, today was my day of rest. However, I did hold my girlfriend captive while watching 13 straight hours of NFL pre-game shows, NFL games, and wrap-up NFL highlights, needless to say she was thrilled. After all that football, I've taken away a few things from this NFL season. . .

(1) The New England Patriots are very good, against bad teams. Losses to the division rival Jets and those pesky Broncos in the early weeks of the season apparently woke up a Patriot team that had yet to look the part of the well oiled Patriot machine. However, nothing cures the early season blues quite like the winless Titans and Bucs. In back-to-back games the Patriots have thumped two teams that have looked terrible at this point. Through 5 previous games, Tom Brady had thrown just six interceptions. In the last two, he's gone for nine TD passes. The high powered Patriots had scored just 13 more points than their opponents, in the last two they've outscored the opposition 94-7, increasing that gap to plus +100. Returning from London the Patriots won't play again till they welcome Miami north on November 8th, then they hit the road again. In five of their final nine games the Patriots will be on the road and won't be facing teams like Tennessee and Tampa Bay. Road matchups in Indianapolis and New Orleans shall be a real litmus test, those are the games Patriot fans are used to winning. Jury is still out.

(2) The New Orleans Saints are playing the best, period. No argument or debate. The Saints weathered whatever the Dolphins could put on them Sunday afternoon. Drew Brees' three interceptions. Terrible starting field position in the first half. A 21-point deficit early, on the road! Nothing could stop the 39.6 point per game New Orleans Saints. By outscoring the Dolphins 36-10 in the second half, the Saints improved to 6-0 on the season. Over the past three weeks Drew Brees and Co. have made several statements. October 4th, the Saints welcome an undefeated Jets team to The Superdome, a 24-10 victory put the league on notice, these Saints also has a very good defense. October 18th, another New York team flies south, this time the undefeated Giants and their touted defense. The Saints hung 48 points on another NFC East team for the second time this year and made that Giant defense look very bad. Today, the Saints went on the road against a Miami team coming off two straight wins and seemingly hitting their stride. The conclusion? The Saints overcome everything imaginable and fly home with another victory remaining undefeated. These Saints can score with anyone and it seems as if they will.

(3) Can Chicago get their money back? Remember how crazy it was for Josh McDaniels to want Matt Cassel over Jay Cutler? I'm guessing it was performances like the one he had on Sunday which McDaniels wasn't in love with. Well McDaniels and those Broncos have yet to lose a game this season and the Bears are a pedestrian 3-3, and a Steeler missed field goal away from starting 2-4. I don't know if people reading this in Chicago are people who can get this done, but someone needs to inform Bears ownership that Jay Cutler just isn't that great. Sure, Cutler has thrown 10 touchdown passes this season, however he's also thrown 10 balls to the other team. In Atlanta last week, Cutler throws an interception in the red zone, a turnover that proved costly. This week, Cutler added three more interceptions to his total and I'm guessing that relates to his Bears team being embarrassed 45-10. When the Bears traded their quarterback, Kyle Orton, to the Broncos this past offseason, I'm sure they didn't expect this. Orton has thrown 9 TD's and just 1 interception, which was on a hail mary at the end of the half. While the Bears offense has become punch-drunk with Jay Cutler, last seasons breakout rookie, Matt Forte, is suffering most. Through six games this season, Forte is averaging just 50 yards per carry, last year at this point he was already near 78 yards per game. Through the last three games, Forte has rushed just 33 times, while Cutler has thrown it 108 times. Anyone else wonder why the Bears haven't been as good as expected?

(4) Fact, the Giants are overrated. As the schedule has played out thus far, the G-Men have already played and beat Tampa, Oakland, Washington, and Kansas City, not exactly the class of the NFL. They have played three teams with playoff aspirationsh, Arizona, New Orleans, and Dallas. Playing spoiler against the 'Boys in their home opener and ribbon cutting on Jerry's World, the Giants allowed 251 yards on the ground, and nearly allowed not one but two 100 yard rushers. Last week, the Giants gave up 369 yards passing and 4 touchdowns from Saints quarterback Drew Brees. The Saints also ran for over 120 yards on the Giant defense. On Sunday, it was the offense who struggled. In a loss to Arizona, Eli Manning threw three interceptions and the Giant offense put the ball on the ground twice. Is it so shocking to say the Giants at (5-2) have beaten up with on bad teams and played very poor against good ones? If the Giants are just not getting up for games that is going to develop into a problem. Looking at their schedule, the supposed class of the NFC East travel to Philadelphia and Denver in the next four weeks, with home games against a good Phil Rivers and Matt Ryan sandwiched in the middle. No more JaMarcus Russell's and Josh Freeman's left on your schedule.

As in recent weeks, the LynchyRightNow Power Rankings will be out after tonights Monday Night showdown between Washington and Philadelphia. . . Check out the newest podcast from LynchyRightNow.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

LRN Power Rankings: Week 7

The week 7 Power Rankings are out.

After the New York Giants fall from the ranks of the unbeaten, the top five has a newcomer, the Patriots. After a 59-0 blowout of the Titans it looks as if the Patriots have a small piece of their swagger back.

Two of the biggest tumbles of the week are given to the previously ranked (8) New York Jets and previously ranked (11) Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams had winnable games against Buffalo and Oakland, yet both teams came out flat and out thought even themselves. For Rex Ryan & Andy Reid, I love the forward pass it is a great invention but the NFL is still about running the ball and playing defense. Go ahead, try it.

Enough is enough, to the Power Rankings:

1. New Orleans Saints (1) Drew Brees; 23 of 30, 369 yards passing, 4 touchdowns against those previously undefeated New York Giants. Abusing the secondary, who wants some?

2. Indianapolis Colts (3) I don't care that they didn't play this week, Peyton Manning has looked that good.

3. Minnesota Vikings (2) Sure, they did let the Baltimore Ravens back in the game on Sunday, but like most things Brett Favre, they found a way to hold on. Is the dome the deciding factor for these Vikings? The thing that puts them over the top? Your call.

4. Denver Broncos (5) Winning on the road is good, convincingly winning on the road against a division rival, well it doesn't get much better than that. The Broncos are on an emotional high that can't be stopped. Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson, meet Kyle Orton.

5. New England Patriots (10) They had to be reminded of who they were. After the bully got punched in the mouth, he had to deliver a blow to remember who he was. Making the Titans look like a peewee football team did just that. Tom Brady may not be 100%, but don't give him a reason to prove you wrong.

6. Atlanta Falcons (6) I'm going to gush for a moment, forgive me. Matt Ryan is a top five quarterback in this league, try to argue, I'll give you time to think . . . . nothing?!? That's because no second year quarterback has ever looked as calm and poised as Ryan does. I'll take Tony Gonzalez for his word, this kid is as good as it gets.

7. Baltimore Ravens (9) Jump two in a loss? I'll credit my co-host on TheRightNowPodcast, Joe Flacco is very impressive. 28 of 43 for 385 yards passing in a 33-31 loss, Joe Flacco did his part, and believe it or not, the Ravens defense didn't. Losing three straight, they've hit a speed bump but don't be alarmed, they are still very dangerous.

8. New York Giants (4) Listen, please! The Giants have played six games, two against good offenses, Dallas and New Orleans. The Cowboys ran for 251 yards in their game, good for eight yards per carry. The Saints threw all over the Giant defense, 369 yards through the air from MVP candidate Drew Brees. Maybe their vaunted defense just isn't that good, maybe.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (7) Back to Earth. After allowing Andre Johnson to exploit their secondary (8 catches, 135 yards), in a 28-17 loss to Houston, the Bengals won't have any rest. Chicago, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh coming up.

10. Pittsburgh (14) After stumbling out of the gate, (1-2) the Steelers have rebounded to win three straight putting up 27 points or more in each game. 2nd year back Rashard Mendenhall is the piece that will put this together for Pittsburgh. Statements can be made against Minnesota this week.

11. Green Bay Packers (15) The only reason I'm jumping the Packers this high after a win over Detroit is because Philadelphia lost to Oakland, the Jets lost to Buffalo, and San Francisco was on a bye. However I like Aaron Rodgers, expect some good things from him.

12. Chicago Bears (13) I really don't like this team. Whoever is calling plays in Chicago is punch drunk with Jay Cutler. In their Sunday night loss to Atlanta, last seasons 1,000 yard rusher, Matt Forte, touched the ball just 15 times. All while Jay Cutler was asked to throw the ball 43 times. RUN THE BALL!

13. San Francisco 49ers(12) Welcome to the NFL Michael Crabtree, pick up your notebook and pencil, when Andre Johnson is sprinting by DB's and wrestling the ball from safeties this weekend. That's where you want to be.

14. Miami Dolphins (16) Alright, now after a bye the Dolphins have some serious work to do. Miami will travel to The Meadowlands and Foxborough for divisional games, AFTER they play the unstoppable Saints. It is very likely that the Dolphins could be 2-6 by mid-November, whoops.

15. New York Jets (8) The unraveling has begun. After three wins, the Jets have lost three straight. In games 1 through 3, Sanchez had thrown 4 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. In games 4 through 6, Sanchez is at just 5 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. OUCH!

16. Philadelphia Eagles (11) That's the Eagles we know and love. Too smart for their own good. Against the leagues 28th best rush defense, the Eagles run the ball just 14 times and pass the ball 46 times. Good call Andy Reid.

17. Arizona Cardinals (17) The Super Bowl hangover is in full motion. However, the 3-2 Cardinals got a division win this week in Seattle and travel cross country to New York this weekend, it'll be interesting to see if they can throw on the Giants.

18. Dallas Cowboys (18) The Falcons present some problems for the Cowboys this weekend. A balanced offense that will force the Cowboys to put pressure on the quarterback if they plan on winning. Based on what we've seen thus far, this is a .500 ballclub.

19. Houston Texans (22) When I picked Houston as a sleeper this year I forgot about one thing: THEY'VE NEVER BEEN OVER .500! Through six weeks the Texans season has gone like this, loss, win, loss, win, loss, and win. Notice a pattern?

20. Seattle Seahawks (19) Tough team to figure out, Jim Mora Jr. is experiencing some coaching pains in his first year as head man in Seattle. Kind of like when he was in Atlanta, no?

21. San Diego Chargers (20) I may be a card carryng member of the Phil Rivers fan club, but I know a team with no identity when I see one. The Chargers have played three playoff bound teams, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Denver, and they've let up 30 plus points in each loss.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars (21) 3-3, the Jaguars are unpredictable and lose points this week for allowing St. Louis to hang around and push them to overtime.

23. Carolina Panthers (23) After an 0-3 start, the Panthers took the bye week and came back with two straight wins against terrible teams, Tampa Bay and Washington. Next up, the Bills. See Jon Fox, things do have a way of working themselves out.

24. Kansas City Chiefs (24) If I didn't have an insane amount of disrespect for the teams below them, the Chiefs would be lower. The fact is when you partcipate in a game that gives the fans six field goals and a safety, no touchdowns, it disgusts me.

25. Detroit Lions (25) Things were just beginning to look so good. Then Drew Stanton and Daunte Culpepper replaced the injured Matthew Stafford. That's what happens in Detroit.

26. Buffalo Bills (29) I just don't buy you made Mark Sanchez look bad, I think alot of that was on him. However, I like Ryan Fitzpatrick more than Trent Edwards so you move up three spots this week.

27. Oakland Raiders (31) The Raiders are out of my dog house. If JaMarcus Russell can string together two or three weeks where he completes some passes and manages the game, I won't totally hate this team.

28. Cleveland Browns (27) The Browns will go 1-7 through their first eight games. They've traded the majority of weapons they had on offense, and Brady Quinn sits on the bench. I don't know if Derek Anderson is the guy, but you should have stuck with Quinn.

29. Washington Redskins (28) It's awful what is going on in Washington. Fire Jim Zorn, end it for him. The type of decisions which are made in Washington make it seem like Lindsay Lohan is in charge, not billionaire Daniel Snyder.

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (30) As if things couldn't get worse for the winless Buccaneers, here are your plane tickets to England now go face the Patriots.

31. St. Louis Rams (32) Clapping, off the terrible seat! For the first time this season the Rams aren't the worst team in the LynchyRightNow Power Rankings. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with how you've played. See below.

32. Tennessee Titans (26) Whatever you want to say about how dominant New England was on Sunday, say it. However, in 26 years of watching NFL football, I've never seen a team quit like the Titans just did. Veteran linebacker, Keith Bullock and 2nd year back Chris Johnson were the only two players on that team who wanted to be there, who wanted to win a game. The rest of them? Who knows? I like Jeff Fisher very much as a head coach, but at some point you have to ask yourself where your going with this?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Making Sense Of The BCS: Week 1

Allow me to now ignore the AP Top 25, The USA Today, and any other poll in college football, the BCS poll is IN! Naturally, I want to help you clarify some things, and in the process get on my soapbox!

Getting after it . . .

Maybe the Gators aren't #1? I've been the biggest supporter of Florida since the preseason hype, but doubt is now starting to filter in. While the first BCS poll of the season has the Gators at the top, you have to raise an eyebrow after their performance on Saturday. An unranked Arkansas team took the Gators to the wire (23-20), for all intents and purposes the Razorbacks had their chances to drop Florida at Ben Hill Griffin. While there is little doubt the Gators have a signature win or two on their resume, that same Arkansas team was handled by the BCS #2 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, 35-7. The BCS is showing a ton of love for Tebow & Co. right now, however, a few more close calls like this past weekend and it won't be long before Nick Saban has Alabama at the top of the mountain. Final thought: If Alabama lays the wood to Tennessee this weekend, a team which lost by only 10 to Florida, it'll be hard for any poll to not make Alabama the top ranked team.

Boise State could slip in the back door. At first glance, why not? The teams in front of them at this point go like this: Florida, Alabama, and Texas. Florida and Alabama are on a crash course for the SEC championship game, like it or not one of those teams will finish the season with 1 loss. Texas still has a trip to Stillwater, and a home game against a tough Kansas Jayhawks team. A recent lackluster performance against a Sam BradfordLESS Sooner squad and a bad first half against Colorado a week ago, show chinks in the Longhorn armour. If the Boise State Broncos are BCS championship game bound, they've got to win out and do it impressively, the only way they slip in is if they remain undefeated, no doubt. I like Boise State and their chances, the way this college football season has gone this would fit right in. Final thought: (1) Oregon, who lost to Boise St., has to beat Southern California in Eugene on Halloween. (2) An undefeated Big 10 champ has a stronger case. (3) Can Tony Pike & Cinncinati win out? That is the question.

The BCS will solve the three-way tie in the ACC Coastal. Tiebreaker #7, The tied team with the highest ranking in the Bowl Championship Series Standings following the conclusion of regular season games shall be the divisional representative in the ACC Championship Game, (unless the second of the tied teams is ranked within five-or-fewer places of the highest
ranked tied team. In this case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked tied teams shall determine the representative in the ACC Championship Game)
If the season ended today, the Hokies of Virginia Tech would be out, and the Hurricanes they beat, in! Not only did the Hokies get beat on Saturday, they may have cost themselves a shot at both the ACC crown and another trip to the Orange Bowl. Fear not Hokie faithful, the road in front of Georgia Tech & Miami isn't an easy one. The Hurricanes will welcome Clemson to Miami this week, feisty Duke and Virginia in later weeks, no napping for Randy Shannon. That fast Georgia Tech team has three conference games remaining on their schedule, but would anyone be shocked if they were knocked off by Virginia next week, that's ACC circa 2009? Final thought: While I believe Georgia Tech is the best team in the ACC, right now, I have no doubt their 33-17 loss to Miami will haunt them more than they ever imagined. Thank the BCS for that.

Should we now root against Iowa? Does anyone really want to see Iowa in the National Championship game? I'll go one step further, who really wants to see ANY Big 10 team in the title game? With Ohio State being upset by Purdue this past weekend, and Penn State having a Hawkeye loss on their resume, we've got no choice left but to hope someone knocks off that Iowa team which is currently undefeated, right? Wrong. Breath easy Big 10 haters, we've got a Bearcat in our back pocket. Lead by their tough as nails Heisman candidate, Tony Pike, the #6th ranked, 6-0, Cincinnati Bearcats can help us with this one. While Iowa has just 1 remaining game against a ranked opponent, Ohio State (#19), the Bearcats have two against #23 West Virginia and #20 Pittsburgh. Pair two victories in those games with their wins in Corvallis and South Florida, and you've got a resume better than any of the Big 10's best, even Iowa. Final thought: I've seen Big 10 opponents, mostly Ohio State, in big games against other conferences, it isn't impressive, it's big, slow, and boring, much like every week in the Big 10. I have alot of respect in 2009 for the Big East, and so does the BCS.

Be prepared for the BCS to be shook after this week, Clemson heads to Miami. Boise State flies South Pacific. The Big East takes center stage. Aside from your usual weekends of SEC fun, this weekend should shake things up! What else is new?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The LCS Is Here

With the League Championship Series (Yanks v. Angels & Dodgers v. Phillies) upon us, some questions have fallen into my lap. With 3 of the 4 teams eliminated by brooms in the first round of the MLB playoffs, hopefully things are about to get a tad more interesting . . .

Leading Off:

Question 1: Which remaining team has the starting pitching advantage?

It's tough to argue against the Angels starters after their divisional series performance. In game 1, John Lackey went seven and a third allowing just four hits, no runs, and walking only one batter. In game 2, Jered Weaver turns in a brilliant performance, seven and a third, seven strikeouts, two hits, and only one run. Despite that, I'm going to have to go with the New York Yankees and the combination of C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and the veteran Andy Pettitte. As much as it pains me to do say it, the Yanks are playing very, very, good. The veteran Pettitte had to make it through just six innings before turning it over to a quality bullpen, in those six, he was fantastic (7 K's, 3 hits). Ignore A.J. Burnett for now, he can get through innings and strikeout hitters, but he puts far to many men on base, I would contemplate Pettitte as the game 2 starter. The real reason I like the Yanks' starters, C.C. Sabathia. The Twins came into the ALDS on the biggest of emotional high a team could be on, coming off the best win they've had since the days of Kirby Puckett. What does Sabathia do? Pitches six and two thirds, fans eight batters, and allows just one earned run. Despite a rough first inning, Sabathia settled down and pinned up the Yanks first win of the post season. At this point, Sabathia is playing with as much confidence as anyone, the offense behind him protects him by putting runs on the board and that gives C.C. what he needs to shut down teams. (I may be placing a reverse jinx on the Yanks, beware.)

Question 2: Is there any validity to the 'team of destiny' label on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim?

How can I, a devoted Red Sox fan, not believe in teams of destiny? 2004 anyone? Yes! Yes! Yes! I believe in teams of destiny, and the Angels are one of those teams. They are getting brilliant starting pitching, they are getting timely hitting, and best of all, they just beat the Sox in Fenway, in the ninth! Need anymore proof? The unfortunate death of rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart could have derailed the Angels and 2009, it's doing the opposite! The fans, the franchise, the players, everyone is in it with a huge amount of heart. This is the story that is meant for the silver screen, the way these guys are playing and what they are playing for, it's mythical. The most impressive thing they've done thus far, prove they can play with the American Leagues top teams. Beating the Red Sox as they did is impressive and should send shock waves all the way to the Bronx. Their bullpen didn't look bad, the players were moving on the basepaths as they always do, and all that included, they are playing for something bigger. If the Angels aren't a 'team of destiny', I don't know who is.

Question 3: Will last years World Series MVP, Cole Hamels, return to his 2008 playoff form?

If your a Phillies fan, which I'm not, then you have to hope so. The Philadelphia lefty had one of the best postseasons of any pitcher over the past fifteen years in 2008. Over (5) starts, Hamels dominated hitters with a mind boggling 1.80 era and helped bring a World Series Championship back to The City of Brotherly Love. However, in his last start of the regular season and first start of the postseason, he's looked very average. Two starts, two Phillies losses, only eight innings pitched, and seven earned runs allowed. What do I think? I think Cole Hamels is made of the same fabric as Josh Beckett, when it's on the line you can give him the ball. Hamels laid down a history book performance in 2008, there is no reason to think he'll drop off the map in this years playoffs. One more bite for you, in his two starts against the Dodgers this season, Hamels has been flat out dominate to the tune of a 0.56 era over 16 innings pitched and only a single earned run allowed. With that being said, the Phillies acquired Cliff Lee, last years A.L. Cy Young, as insurance. Lee & Hamels are a dangerous pair if they are both on.

Question 4: Dodgers in Chavez Ravine or Yanks in The Bronx, who has the greater home field advantage?

Both teams with homefield advantage in the league championship series pose very, very different atmospheres. As cold weather moves its way into the northeast, southern California is still shining bright. Both teams, the Yankees & Dodgers, dominated opponents at their home digs. In their first year in Yankee Stadium II, the 'Bronx Bombers' posted the most home wins (57) among major league ballclubs. As for Joe Torre's Dodgers, they gave Dodger fans (50) home wins, good for second most in the National League. I could stretch this out a little longer and tell you playing in warm weather is a huge advantage for the Dodgers, and by the time they get to Philly, it'll be icy. However, none of that compares to the advantage the Yanks have acquired. In more than 130 less at bats in The Bronx, the Yankees offense hit 28 more homers. Eight hitters had more than 15 homers on the season, attest that to the home field advantage they have. The best example would be that of 35-year old outfielder, Johnny Damon. 17 homers within his own confines, and only 7 outside. While Chavez Ravine has a better crowd who demands less, warmer weather, and in Southern California, no advantage is like that of the Yanks.

Question 5: Which one player will have the single biggest impact on his team?

No hesitation. Angels center fielder, Torii Hunter. It would be all to easy to pick the most dominant pitcher remaining, maybe even look for a lock down closer like Mariano. However, I firmly believe Torii Hunter is the one thing recent Angel teams have been missing. Humour me for a moment, please. Hunter is in the midst of a career year. In 100 less at bats than a year ago, Hunter has driven in 12 more runs. More so, he's the heart and soul of this Angel team. The moment for me? When Hunter slammed his game 1 homer off Jon Lester to send a message to the American League, these aren't the same Angels. Hunter gives the Angels more energy, an edge, and a whole lot of heart they've been missing. A near .300 hitter in the regular season, 20+ dingers, and 90 RBI, Hunter is the tough veteran they've been missing. Stick him in a lineup that includes veterans Vladimir Guerrero, Bobby Abreau, and of course the 26-year old sensation that is Kendry Morales (34 HR's, 108 RBI, and a .306 BA) these Angels are as good as they've ever been. Torii Hunter brings this team exactly what Nick Swisher brings the Yankees, but he does it with far more production, that's why Torii Hunter is the single biggest impact player remaining in the postseason.

Catch me on TWITTER! Catch us on the PODCAST! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

LRN Power Rankings: Week 6

While the Chargers, Packers, Bears, and Saints were on a bye, the NFL was busy. The Denver Broncos make another huge jump in the ranks this week after their monster win vs. New England. The Falcons, Giants, and Seahawks posted 40-point games on the board, all making strides in week 5. On the downside, the Jaguars couldn't get out of their own way after a good win a week ago. The Bills continued their slide, that close game against New England seems like it happened decades ago. Without further adieu . . .

Get after it. The week 6 LynchyRightNow Power Rankings:

1. New Orleans Saints (1) Two weeks to prepare for the Giants, expect big things from Drew Brees this week.

2. Minnesota Vikings (3) Took care of business in St. Louis. No rest for the Vikings as they greet a reeling Ravens team in Minnesota when they return, can Favre maneuver Ed Reed & Co.?

3. Indianapolis Colts (4) Another week, another 300 yards in the passing game, another new target for Peyton Manning. Leading the Colts in receiving this week is Austin Collie, the 23-year old Canadian wideout. Five weeks, five wins.

4. New York Giants (5) Do you get credit for pasting the Raiders after they fly across the country? You do when Eli Manning only plays one half of football and you still put 40 points on the board. Giants remain unbeaten heading to New Orleans.

5. Denver Broncos (10) Wow. I didn't buy it for a few weeks but after seeing that defense shut down Dallas & New England in back-to-back weeks, I'm all in. They deserve jumping every team they did this week.

6. Atlanta Falcons (11) After a bad loss to New England and a bye week, there were some questions about the Falcons traveling across the country to San Francisco. After putting 35 points on the board before the half, questions answered. San Francisco isn't the '08 Falcons, the '09 Falcons are the '08 Falcons.

7. Cincinnati Bengals (9) They may not being doing it pretty, but they sure are doing it. The Bengals have beaten three division opponents in consecutive weeks, when it happens this often it isn't luck.

8. New York Jets (6) A couple disappointing losses on the road shoudln't distract them from what they are. The addition of Braylon Edwards seems to have good early results.

9. Baltimore Ravens (2) We hadn't seen the Ravens self destruct in a long time. It should come as to no surprise when they gave up their first 100-yard rusher of the Obama administration, the self destruction began. Blame it on the refs last week, blame it on yourselves this week.

10. New England Patriots (7) 0-2 on the road. Tom Brady may not look like the Tom Brady we remember, overthrowing receivers certainly aren't a staple of his championship career. On the plus side, linebacker Jerod Mayo is back in the middle of that Patriot defense.

11. Philadelphia Eagles (15) Completing passes to six different receivers in his return from injury, Donovan looked very good. Albeit against the Buccaneers, but the Eagles have looked strong.

12. San Francisco 49ers(8) A bye week to regroup after their 10-45 home loss to the Falcons this past weekend. When the 49ers return, Michael Crabtree and Frank Gore could be added to their offense.

13. Chicago Bears (12) Jay Cutler and the Bears will be tested in the coming weeks. Road games against Atlanta (3-1) and Cincinnati (4-1) loom for the Bears coming off a bye week.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers (13) At some point you've got to start putting teams away. Allowing both the Chargers and Lions to hang around till late in the game is a bad sign, those type of games swing the other way from time to time. I trust Rashard Mendenhall is the answer to this problem.

15. Green Bay Packers (14) Green Bay has a couple soft ones on their schedule coming up, v. Detroit and v. Cleveland. This should lead the Packers into their re-match with Minnesota, looking very strong.

16. Miami Dolphins (21) I loved what the Dolphins did on Monday. Final drive of the game and not (1), not (2), but (3) different players went under center, IN THE WINNING DRIVE! I'll say it, this offense is the toughest offense to gameplan for, just ask Rex Ryan.

17. Arizona Cardinals (19) At some point one of these conference defending champions need to act like it. It took a goal line stand for Arizona to hang on to a game they had well in hand this past weekend. Don't expect that when you travel to Seattle.

18. Dallas Cowboys (18) I can't move the Cowboys up or down. Yes they should have beaten a winless Chiefs team by more, but they didn't. Miles Austin really does look like the playmaker the Cowboys that Roy Williams would be, and i hope they use that to their advantage.

19. Seattle Seahawks (23) Hasselbeck turned in a strong performance after returning from injury. 241 yards passing, 18 completions, and four touchdowns. Maybe the Seahawks have more left in the tank than we thought.

20. San Diego Chargers (16) Dropping four spots in a bye week? A readers specifically called me out on ranking the Chargers as high as I have. Maybe they just aren't that good, maybe the Chargers are just waiting to be blown up and start with Tomlinson. I love Phil Rivers, but it's just not enough.

21. Jacksonville Jaguars (17) What's the best solution for a team coming off a 41-0 loss? Playing the leagues worst team in your backyard. Hello, St. Louis!

22. Houston Texans (19) The Texans are just underperforming. Their offense can't put four quarters together, their defense is letting up way to many big plays. A win in Cincy would solve some problems, but I doubt they can put that together.

23. Carolina Panthers (22) What?!? You thought I was going to move you foward for beating the Redskins on your own turf? You had to comeback to take that one, you get no love.

24. Kansas City Chiefs (29) Sometimes you gain more in a loss, this week was one of those times for the winless Chiefs. Hopefully they can build on this loss and move forward. Matt Cassel didn't look bad, not bad at all.

25. Detroit Lions (27) You hang with the defending champs for as long as they did, you earn some respect. The Detroit defense looked better, things are getting there in Detroit.

26. Tennessee Titans (24) The Titans just aren't that good this season. Older in the tooth, the loss of Haynesworth, it's tough to put your finger on exactly one thing.

27. Cleveland Browns (30) Eeeek, I choose to ignore that 6-3 victory against Buffalo. Someone needs to apologize to all the fans who watched that game, refunds should be issued.

28. Washington Redskins (26) The Redskins have given both the Lions & Panthers their first win this season. This week they welcome the winless Chiefs, notice a pattern?

29. Buffalo Bills (25) Have the Bills given up? Regressed? I'm of the mind their season is going the opposite way. Biggest moment a close loss in week 1, now this? Good luck in The Meadowlands this week, you'll need it.

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31) I honestly don't see a win on their entire schedule, and I'm being nice about it. Does anyone think this would have happened if Jon Gruden was still at the helm?

31. Oakland Raiders (28) And your sure that there is no way to force Al Davis to sell this franchise? Really? It's hard to believe that this isn't the worst team in the NFL.

32. St. Louis Rams (32) B.A.K.B. Bet Against Kyle

Some swings this week and some reshuffling will take place in the coming week with the Giants @ New Orleans. Check back (hopefully) every Tuesday for the LRN Power Rankings.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Statement Made: To The Polls

Statement: [noun] a message that is stated or declared; a communication setting forth particulars or facts etc;

Away from Eugene, the 13th Oregon Ducks made a statement. In their first road game since their opening week loss to Boise State, the Ducks came out and put a 24-10 beating on UCLA in Pasadena. Another road test from Husky Stadium next week, while a Halloween matchup with the Trojans looms, Oregon has big steps to make very soon. Quarterback questions aside, the Ducks freshman back, LaMichael James, has shown how capable he is in the early going. Over the last four games, victories over Utah, Cal, and UCLA included, James has rushed for nearly 125 yards per game. In that same time span, the Ducks offense has soared. Outscoring three PAC-10 opponents, 118-19. Impressed yet? Their thumping of Cal, 42-3, is the most shocking, that Cal team was averaging 48 points per game before they flew to Eugene, since then they've scored 6 points. Ouch! This should serve notice to all of the PAC-10, these Ducks aren't flying south for the winter. Statement made.

The ACC is a one-team conference, statement made. That team is 4th ranked Virginia Tech. No?!? In two of the last three weeks the Hokies welcomed the ACC's best, Miami & Boston College. The result? Combined score of Hokes 79, Hurricanes & Eagles 21. Satisfied now? Freshman running back, Ryan Williams, has burst into Blacksburg. In his first six starts, Williams has rushed for over 700 yards and recorded 9 rushing touchdowns. Frank Beamer's Virginia Tech machine continues to march on. Since 2005 Virginia Tech has the best record in the ACC, a statistic that is bound to continue. After a 10-point loss to a now ranked #2 Alabama team to open the season, the Hokies have knocked off two ranked teams, pushing themselves all the way to #4 in the AP poll. While an Orange Bowl bid may be the best thing their 2009 season will bring, Beamer's squad can send another impressive message to the ACC, no way is anyone supplanting them in the Atlantic Coast Conference anytime soon. Statement made.

The Big Ten is shook. The Hawkeyes of Iowa are scary. After a 21-10 beatdown of Penn State in Happy Valley two weeks ago, the Hawkeyes dropped the surprising Wolverines on Saturday night. Believe it or not, the Hawkeyes are ranked #11 and call their own shots in the Big Ten. The success of the Hawkeyes can be directly linked to one thing, their defense. In their two big victories, at Penn State and Saturday against Michigan, the Hawkeye defense was dominant. Holding Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark to under 15 completions and forcing three interceptions. Stopping freshman sensation Tate Forcier and allowing him only eight completions for under 100 yards passing. An unbeaten Iowa team can control their own destiny but it won't be easy. Starting next week, road trips to Madison and Lansing will pose real tests for a team that has looked as tough as any in the Big Ten. Survive and the Hawkeyes will be staring into a November 14th matchup with Ohio State to play for the Big Ten championship, something we didn't expect a month ago, but they did. Statement made.

So much for the SEC having an off year. (1) Florida, (2) 'Bama. While the Longhorns went into the half trailing an unranked Colorado team in Austin, Nick Saban and Urban Meyer were making statements of their own on the road. To the fans of the PAC-10, Big XII, and Big Ten, not so fast. After watching both the Gators in The Bayou and Crimson Tide 'Roll in Oxford, I'm impressed. Even more so impressed that the AP got it right and bumped the Longhorns while elevating 'Bama to #2. On Monday morning one thing is for sure, you want to see the real National Championship, tune into the SEC Championship two months from now, 'Bama v. Florida. Bank it. Things are just much tougher and much better in the South Eastern Conference. Statement made.

First up, Alabama. Did anyone really think that 'Ole Miss had a shot, even on their own turf? No. The undefeated Crimson Tide have been destroying teams as of late. Their first two SEC opponents, Kentucky & Arkansas, got shredded to the tune of 73-27. So when Alabama flew to Oxford, Mississippi was there really any doubt? A 22-3 beatdown, forcing Jevan Snead into a four interception performance, leaves no doubt. Statement made.

Next up, Florida. The top ranked team in the country had some questions heading into Louisiana. Would Tim Tebow play? If he did, how effective could he be? Florida 13 LSU 3, questions answered. Tim Tebow managed the Gator offense and Jeffery Demps put his fourth 80-yard rushing game on the board. The real tip of the cap goes to the Gator defense, who allowed LSU to convert on just 1 of 9 third downs. Any questions which remain about the Florida Gators attempts to repeart should be answered at this point. Period. Statement made.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Keep It Real Friday!

Let's bang out Keep It Real Friday! It's going to help you at the water cooler. It's going to get you through a friday 8:00 AM class, for any of you collegiate type that is crazy enough to do that. Click on the link to the right and this one, to direct you to the podcast page!

Let's Get After It!

I stand corrected, Derek Jeter is NOT the American League M.V.P. We're all so quick to recognize the Yankee shortstop for what he is, an iconic, legendary player. In a year where Jeter has been both game changing and consistent, everyone, including myself, was ready to hand him the A.L. Most Valuable Player, and we were wrong. Last week, when I laid claim to Jeter as the newest Yankee to win the award on TheRightNowPodcast I had yet to view the mind blowing stats which Twins catcher, Joe Mauer, put on the board this season. In 2009, Joe Mauer missed 24 games, and still recorded a career season in RBI(96), homers(28), and batting average (.365). While I'll try not to take anything away from the 35-year old Derek Jeter, this season was not his best in any of those categories. Mauer hits in a lineup with significantly less protection than Jeter's Yanks offer. I can't stress the importance of that .365 batting average, an average .013 better than the second place Ichiro, an average .031 better than the third place Jeter. After missing the entire first month of this season due to injury, Joe Mauer came back to have a career year. If we're talking valuable, no player was more valuable to the success of his team than Twins catcher, Joe Mauer. I wanted to give this to the veteran Jeter, but it's just not him, not him at all. Hats off to Joe Mauer and the Minnesota Twins. KEEP IT REAL!

Urban, just do the right thing. We don't need doctors to clear Tim Tebow to play on Saturday night in Baton Rouge, the kid obviously needs a little more time. Holding Tim Tebow out is the clear way to go here, (1) The Heisman Trophy winning quarterback shouldn't even have been in the game when he got knocked out, the Gators were up big and he was dropping back to pass, that's on you Urban. (2) The game doesn't mean as much to the Gators, they can lose and still reach the national championship by winning the SEC and that's all you need to worry about, staying undefeated isn't worth it at this expense. And (3) If you let those Tigers get at him, I'll feel about as bad for you as I felt for Roy Horn (Siegfried & Roy) If there is anything we've learned from the Les Miles' Bayou Bengals, they come to play, they are fast, they hit hard, and you can bet they won't "take it easy on Tebow." If Tim Tebow were to suffer another concussion, it'd be very bad for everyone and most of all Tim. Nearly two weeks later and no doctor has given him the "O.K." so clearly something is wrong here. Tebow never remembered the hit, still doesn't. He looked more dazed than me after a chemistry test in high school. Keep him on the sideline and take this one slowly, do the right thing Urban. KEEP IT REAL!

Ooops, Sorry Los Angeles. Maybe we should have had a little more respect for the Dodgers, they did have the best record in Quadruple A, (National League). After two playoff victories, on their home turf, the Dodgers are headed to St. Louis with a commanding lead. With the Cardinals sending Chris Carpenter (17 Wins) & Adam Wainwright (19 Wins), everyone put the Cardinals in the drivers seat in the NL Playoffs. Two aces pitching on the road against a team which limped into the postseason after a less than honorable second half of the season. After a 5-3 loss in game 1, highlighted by a Matt Kemp homerun, the Dodgers had a 1 game lead on everyones favorite playoff pick. Up 2-1 heading into the final half of the 9th, closer Ryan Franklin on the hill, and the Cardinals let up a lead and the win, oops. The Cards are in trouble. With that being said, let's go DODGERS! If the Phillies can hold off the Wild Card Rockies, another Dodgers v. Phillies NLCS would be filled with stars. Former Red Sox mates, Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez would square off. Joe Torre welcoming the Phillies and their World Series MVP, Cole Hamels. 2-0 isn't something the Cardinals can't comeback from, but my money is on the Dodgers to close this out in St. Louis, if that means anything. Dodgers are better than expected, KEEP IT REAL!

I defend The Brady Rule, so Baltimore, calm down. After the season ending injury to Tom Brady last season, the NFL made an effort to protect superstars of Brady's caliber. In other words, no lunging at the knees of quarterbacks. As a fan, I respect that. Do I want to watch 17 weeks of Jim Sorgi rather than Peyton Manning? NO! Do I want to watch 17 weeks of Mark Brunell rather than Drew Brees? NO! How about Chris Redman rather than Matt Ryan? Finally, NO! So yes, they'll be protected a little bit more and yes that will result in some phantom calls from time to time, deal with it. In every sport the stars are protected, and that benefits everyone involved in the game. The NHL protects Kid Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, ask any hockey expert, there is a reason. For years we watched Michael Jordan get phantom calls and he was allowed to do more without getting called, why? He was the greatest athlete on the planet. Star treatment is a phrase for a reason, it's different than what the "other guys" get. Yes the rule is named after Tom Brady, because the NFL doesn't get anything out of 17 weeks of Matt Cassel, the Patriots didn't make the playoffs and ratings were most likely down. If Ray Lewis and the Baltimore defense wants to cry about it, we'll talk when Joe Flacco has the same injury, see what you REALLY think. Protect the stars, give me what I want to watch, KEEP IT REAL!

Did I really just make it through that with no Brett Favre talk? I did. Thank you for reading Keep It Real Friday! Make sure to check out the newest podcast from TheRightNowPodcast! Available on iTunes, search RightNowPodcast.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

LRN Power Rankings: Week 5

A more than exciting NFL week 4 in the books. Brett Favre squared off against the Packers. The Patriots showed up the previously undefeated Ravens. Finally, the Saints put their defense on display and showed up Rex Ryan. In the books, let's get after the LynchyRightNow Power Rankings:

1. New Orleans Saints (3) Mark Sanchez looked like a rookie should look this weekend (0 TD's, 3 INT's), we have Saints defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, to thank for that.

2. Baltimore Ravens (1) The Ravens made countless offensive mistakes in Foxborough, still they had an opportunity to escape with a win in the final seconds.

3. Minnesota Vikings (4) I've come to the conclusion that The Metrodome may present one of the biggest home field advantages in all of Football. Just ask Aaron Rodgers if you don't believe me.

4. Indianapolis Colts (6) Quietly 4-0 with Peyton Manning throwing over 300 yards in each of the first four games. No Marvin Harrison, no Anthony Gonzalez, clearly no problem.

5. New York Giants (5) Ho hum, another victory. The Giants four victories have come against teams with a combined record of 4-12 and they welcome Oakland to The Meadowlands this weekend.

6. New York Jets (2) I'm not sure where to go with the acquisition of Braylon Edwards, I'll sleep on it. Back-2-back division games on the horizon should test the J-E-T-S.

7. New England Patriots (9) For two consecutive weeks the Patriot defense made superstars in waiting, Matt Ryan & Joe Flacco look extremely average. Now can they do it on the road.

8. San Francisco 49ers (8) You don't move up the charts by pasting 35 on the board against the lowly Rams. Beat Atlanta convincingly, and we'll talk.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (7) Any questions remaining about the 3-1 Bengals should be answered this week as they travel to Baltimore.

10. Denver Broncos (16) The most surprising 4-0 start, hands down. Expect the road to get real tough with New England, San Diego, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh over the next five weeks.

11. Atlanta Falcons (10) The Falcons had a very tough time stopping Fred Taylor in New England, things don't let up in San Francisco.

12. Chicago Bears (13) 12 carries for 121 yards, for all of you counting at home that's 10+ yards a carry. If the Bears get this Matt Forte it won't matter what Jay Cutler is doing under center.

13. Pittsburgh Steelers (14) Like the Bears, the Steelers may have found their ground game this week. Rashard Mendenhall's 29 carries for 165 yards, now that's Steeler football.

14. Green Bay Packers (15) Circle it Aaron Rodgers, November 1st. When the Vikes and Brett come to Wisconsin, you get take two.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (11) Donovan will be back this week, Mike Vick is eligible. Now let the games begin.

16. San Diego Chargers (14) Norv & Phil better be keeping an eye on those Broncos, they'll be no miracle comeback against that defense this season. Don't get too far back.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars (24) You got me world, I have no idea what I'm talking about. Two convincing must wins against Houston & Tennessee, that's how you turn around a slow jump.

18. Dallas Cowboys (12) Fire Wade Phillips, dismiss Jason Garrett, and put TR on warning. Think I'm overreacting? You try cheering for the Cowboys in a 17-10 loss to Josh McDaniels and the Denver Broncos.

19. Houston Texans (19) I don't get excited over victories against the Oakland Raiders, no seriously not excited one bit. Win in the desert and we'll talk.

20. Arizona Cardinals (20) I'm pulling it together. Better it get it done this week, on the road in Seattle and The Meadowlands over the next two weeks is no easy task.

21. Miami Dolphins (25) Impressive rebound (38-10 v. Buffalo). Jets this week, then a bye. However, the Saints, Jets, and Patriots after the bye, not good.

22. Carolina Panthers (22) Nothing cures an 0-3 start like the Redskins, Bucs, and Bills after a bye. Expect Carolina to get something back over the next month.

23. Seattle Seahawks (23) Seneca Wallace has to be a bright spot with Seattle. In relief of an injured Hasselbeck, the Seahawks backup 33 of 45 with 257 yards passing and zero interceptions.

24. Tennessee Titans (18) Nothing cures an 0-4 start like the Colts and Patriots, before a bye week. (sarcasm) Hello 0-6.

25. Buffalo Bills (20) Just so we're clear, the seven teams after the Bills are just really, really bad.

26. Washington Redskins (27) I won't carry on with their schedule, I'll just let you go look it up. If I called for the firing of Wade Phillips, Jim Zorn your next.

27. Detroit Lions (26) If Daunte Culpepper is running an offense in the NFL, expect more of 2008 Lions fans. Matthew Stafford was the brightest light in Detroit. (That wasn't attached to a siren)

28. Oakland Raiders (28) Their head coach could be arrested within a week. Welcome to Oakland.

29. Kansas City Chiefs (29) Oh, the genius of Scott Pioli.

30. Cleveland Browns (31) I hope this works out for Cleveland, if not Eric Mangini has already traded Kellen Winslow, Braylon Edwards, passed on Mark Sanchez, and benched Brady Quinn. However, their four losses have come against 4 of my top 10 teams.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (30) I'm not kidding, who is this team going to beat?

32. St. Louis Rams (32) Outscored 108-24 in four games. It wont' get any better, trust me.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sunshine State All Shook Up

In Tallahassee, the rumblings to oust the legendary Bobby Bowden have become much louder. In Gainesville, Gator Nation patiently waits the status of Tim Tebow as the Tigers of Baton Rouge await them. In Miami, a 3-1 start is sounding the alarm to the ACC, the Hurricanes are back!

As architects go, not many have built what Bobby Bowden has. Building a football program from the ground up, the Florida State head coach has raised national championships, coached up Heisman Trophy winners, and in the words of the late Frank Sinatra, done it his way. However, in his thirty-third year at the helm of the Florida State Seminoles, Bobby Bowden is under pressure to call it quits after this season. A program in decline for several seasons, Florida State has ran into rough times. Lack of premier speed at the skill positions, a slew of average college quarterbacks, the Seminoles have become just that; average. Long gone are days of fourteen straight top five finishes in the AP poll from 1987-2000. Long gone are the days of Peter Warrick, Warrick Dunn and Charlie Ward. Now the Seminoles march out the likes of Christian Ponder (14 TD's & 13 INT's in 2008). As trustees and fans wish for a return to glory at Florida State and having the school gone so far as to name current offensive coordinator, Jimbo Fisher, the head coach in waiting, Bowden's days are numbered. For a coach who once ruled football in the state of Florida and currently roams the sidelines of a field named after him, this is not the way he wishes to go out. Amidst clouds of academic scandal, being called out by school officials, and having his worst coaching start since his first season at Florida State, Bobby Bowden may have lost the option. One way or another, and it seems so evident, Bowden & Florida State will be calling quits sooner than anticipated.

How vulnerable can the #1 team in the country be? We're about to find out. A 4-0 record, outscoring opponents 182-29, what could go wrong? If this was jeopardy I'd answer it like this: What is a bone crushing, night over, hit to Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Tim Tebow? I'd be right on the money. With Tim Tebow's status unknown, the Gators could be walking into a real life buzz saw in the form of the Bayou Bengals. The undefeated, ranked 4th in the country, LSU Tigers, would be going a long way if they were to knock off Florida on Saturday night. Like the two losses Oklahoma has suffered after watching their Heisman winning quarterback go down, they still stick. While the decision to play Tebow will be left up to medical professionals, the Gators have much at stake this week. A possible shot at their third National Championship in four years. Tim Tebow's shot at another Heisman Trophy, placing him alongside only Archie Griffin. An undefeated record which would help to assure them championship game invite. If anyone is going to convince doctors and Urban Meyer alike that they are indeed ready to go, it's Tim Tebow. The Gators most difficult game remaining on their schedule will sure be interesting. If Tebow sits, LSU will be sure to rattle his rookie understudy, if Tebow returns I'm sure the Tigers will be looking to put a lick on the Heisman winning quarterback. My call? Tebow sits. A concussion is nothing to be taken lightly. John Brantley, tred lightly, keys are in your hand.

The "U" is relevant, again. The 11th ranked Miami Hurricanes are making noise. A 3-1 start with victories against Georgia Tech, Florida State, and Oklahoma has put Miami right back on the map. While the 'Canes will need some help to win the ACC (last weeks loss to Virginia Tech was huge), they've certainly turned things around. In the coming months Miami will play out the remainder of the their ACC schedule and make a push toward the top ten and a big time bowl game. Sophomore quarterback Jacory Harris has had his growing pains in the last two weeks, however his 19-28 for 202 yards and three touchdown performance against the Sooners put his Hurricanes in prefect position to steal a huge win against a ranked opponent. The dual rushing attack from Javarris James and Greg Cooper (5.4 yards per carry) has kept defenses on their toes and added even more weapons to an offense averaging 30 points a game through four. While opening witht he likes of FSU, Ga. Tech, Va. Tech, and Oklahoma, now comes the tough part. Each of the last three seasons, Miami has rounded out the season in terrible fashion. In 2006, the Hurricanes finished the season winning just 1 of their final 5 games. In 2007, (after a similar 4-1 start) Miami fell short losing 6 of their final seven outings. Last season, 2008, the 'Canes dropped their final three games including their bowl game against California. If Miami is going to make the next step, head coach Randy Shannon needs to get these guys to play up for everyone not just the ranked opponents. For Miami fans, things are about to get way more exciting, the question will remain, how excting can they get?

Forget California and Texas, football in The Sunshine State has more drama than an episode of The Real World. For the remainder of this season I'll have my eyes on one state; Florida.