bobby the gook, week 1

i'm so freakin' excited for football season i can hardly stand it. week 1 offers quite a delicious slate of games to think about and dissect. anyways, for those of you who are new to the blog, every week, i will present my weekly picks against the line that vegas puts forth. fredo will then post his picks in the comments section. we'll keep track of both of our records and then at the end of the season, we'll crown a football genius. you may remember last year, that i sucked gigantic donkey balls in the last four weeks and fredo came out of nowhere to beat me by one single effin' game. so i've got a little pride on the line here. last year, we kept the tally just strictly in terms of win loss record. i'm going to trick it up this year using a point system. 1 point for each correct game, -1 point for each incorrect game. i'm also going to require both me and fredo to make one selection that will be our 50 dollar bet, which will be double points if we get it right, and minus double points if we get it wrong. lastly, i'll include a couple of props each week to provide for a few extra points here and there. obviously, the more difficult the prop, the more points made available, but at the same time, the more points that will be risked if they miss on the prop. perhaps, fredo and i will rotate coming up with props. anyways, these side props will be optional. sound like fun to you? i don't give a rat's ass. this is what i live for. but if you want to get in on the fun, i'll be happy to solicit your opinions in the comments section. so without further ado, on with the countdown. point spreads provided by betonsports.com, home team in CAPS.

NE (-7.5) over oak
i'm actually a little surprised at the size of this line this early. there are just so many unanswered questions for both of these teams this year. can the pats repeat? is oakland's offense really going to be that good with the additions of moss and jordan? will the pats miss U of A alum teddi brusci that much? will al davis ever die? i really think that this one is a tossup. my very poor memory seems to be telling me that the first game of the season is never that good. and the smartest man on earth, bill belichick has had 6 months to think up a way to stop this offense. i think that the oakland defense fails and corey dillon runs for 130 yds and 2 tds. i'll reluctantly take the pats.

den (-5) over MIA
this one's a no brainer. miami is one of the worst teams in the league this year. in the competition for the worlds worst qb, jay fiedler barely ekes out the nod over jake plummer. do you think the suspended ricky williams will get high while watching the game?

cin (-4) over CLE
another no brainer. i'd put down 50 bucks on this one if i could, but there's another game that i feel better about. no matter, pencil in the johnson brothers for 3 tds.

hou (+5.5) over BUF
i know, i know, magahee, but i just don't know about that losman kid at qb for the bills. i really think that david carr is good, but he's approaching joey harrington territory if the texans don't show any signs of life. and since i think he's better than harrington, i'll take the texans here.

PIT (-7) over ten
i do think that the titans will be ok this year. but the thing is, that they need to get their running back situation squared away which will require some kind of breakout performance by henry or brown. well, that's not going to happen against the steelers. the only thing that bugs me about this pick is that there's a pretty good chance this will be a low scoring game.

chi (+5.5) over WAS
no i'm not sold on that orton kid. but i do like a healthy bears defense against an incredibly shoddy skins offense.

CAR (-7) over no
i think that it would be funny if the panthers in a gesture of goodwill gave all of the saints carolina hurricanes hockey jerseys. no telling what the effects of katrina will be, but the saints almost always lose to teams with superior talent.

MIN (-6) over tb
how do you not like daunte on turf at home against an old defense. gruden continues to show everyone that he is the most overrated coach in the history of ever. let's see him try to scowl brian griese into throwing less ints.

sea (+3) over JAX
the jags are overrated. big time.

KC (-3) over nyj
a lot of fantasy folks had priest holmes ranked behind shaun alexander. i know you never can tell with injuries, but why would you rank him behind alexander when he was on his way to another historic season when he went down. that and almost everything that i've read says that pennington can't go deep because of his injury, which should make life a little easier for the semi-decent linebackers to bottle up c-mart, who is getting old anyways. this one seems easy to me.

ari (+3) over NYG
is there something i'm missing here in regards to the giants? aren't the cards supposed to be markedly better? isn't eli manning still the younger of the sorriest sonuvabitch in the league? the more i think about the cards, the more and more i like em this year. but that's relatively speaking cuz i actually hate this franchise.

stl (-6.5) over SFO
heh heh....this line is going to be 8 by sunday morning. get in on the action while you can. let's not get fancy early, and make this the 50 dollar bet.

gb (+3) over DET
there's really nothing to like about the packers this year except javon walker. although i guess it really doesn't make sense to think that ahman green won't rebound like priest will, and you do have the harrington factor, who no longer has any pressure to perform with garcia injured....dammit, i had the lions at first, but now i change my mind, i'm going with the packers here. sorry erik.

dal (+4.5) over SD
super bowl #6, here we come....

BAL (+3) over ind
i know, i know...look, the colts are going to be fine, but i'm high on the ravens this year. will the ravens be able to pound jamal lewis? even with the addition of cory simon to the indy defense, i say yes. will manning be able to throw bombs all day to marvin and reggie with an improved ravens secondary, and when i say improved, i mean improved from one of the best last year? i say no. call me crazy, but i'll take the home dogs here. whatever happens, here's to what will be a great game.

ATL (+1) over phi
speaking of great games, the battle of black quarterbacked teams with bird mascots. recently, t.o. said he wanted to make nice with donavan mcnabb. here's how i envision the exchange going:

D-Mac: Why you been acting so messed up towards me?

T.O.: Why you been acting so messed up towards me?

D-Mac: Well, you go first

T.O.: I don't know. Maybe I felt a little threatened or something because your career is just kind of blossoming and mine is kind of winding down or whatever.

D-Mac: And I felt like this guy is really hurting me. And it hurt.

T.O.: And I felt like when you told me to, "Dere-lick my balls" that really hurt.

D-Mac: Maybe I was scared man. You're T.O. Yeah, you're T.O. Do you know what it's like to be another football player and be in T.O.'s shadow? You want to hear something crazy? Your work in the '95 International Male catalog made me want to be a football player. I freaking worship you man!

T.O.: I'm sorry I was whack.

D-Mac: I was whack

T.O.: I was whack.

just kidding, t.o. is going to ruin, and i mean just ruin the eagles this year. falcons all the way.

p.s. i aped the entire T.O./D-Mac skit from here. sue me.

bonus props!
this week, we're just going to do parlays. a lot of chance for points available here. 3 points for a 3 team parly, 4 points for a 4 team parlay and so on. to encourage betting, only minus one point for missing them. maximum 2 parlays. i'll take a 3 team parlay with CIN, STL, and DEN.

and so it begins. just like kanye west, i'm ready for some football. and yes, kanye sold out here.


Nicki Cole, proud Pats fan said...

Dude, did your blog get spammed?! That is some motherfucking fucked up shit.

Anyway, I will whole-heartedly, happily, and with much glee take the Pats over Oakland, biatch. Of course my boys will miss Bruschi, how could they not? But the success of the Pats lies in their ability to function like a machine as a team. We do not have superstars who carry us, and thus we do not fold when a man goes down.

Bob said...

your sentiment is indicative of your loyalty and that should be applauded. however, it is also indicative of a central myth in sports in that success in sports derives from some kum-ba-yah shit. success comes from individual physical skills of key players.

sure the pats have gotten by with injuries before, but they've never lost their leading tackler and the best defensive back in the league at the same time. sure they're a good team, but i don't think you'd find anyone who would say that they were as good as they were last year. so this game in terms of whether or not the pats win by 7.5 points is not as easy as you think nicki.

f spammers. the spam comments are gone.

Erik said...

You're an idiot, Bob.

The Lions are good for at least 5 TDs against the shoddy GB defense. Give K Jones at least two, and one each to Williams, Rogers, and Johnson. Harrington might even run for another. I don't care if Farrv and Walkoff somehow manage to connect all night over Dre Bly -- the Lions are winning by at least 7.

Oh, and kum-"ba-yah shit" served the Pistons just fine against the individual effort of your boy Shaq and his deviant friend Kobe last year. You're an idiot.

I like your little game with Fredo, though, so I'm hooked to your semi-important blog all season. Shit.

alfredo said...

oak over NE(-7.5) - damn i don't like this. this line was at 7 when i was in vegas last week. i wish this were the nba where you know a marquee nationally-televised game will be kept close by the zebras. wait, no i don't; why do you think we love betting on it?

also, that new england has no superstars is a complete misconception held by the casual fans who want to by into the national media's bullshit. tom brady is the second coming of troy aikman. he's got the stats (3 rings, 90+ qb ratings), cold-blooded efficieny and gq cover just like captain america. wasn't he a superstar? if tom brady were in dallas, he'd be at least as big.

throw out his injured 2003 and corey dillon averaged around 1200 yards/yr for the rotten-ass bengals. that's pretty fucking good. richard seymour is one of the two or three best d-linemen in football. bruschi was an easily above-average linebacker. the patriots have been stacked at most key positions.

the myth that they owe their success to some greater "teamness" is a result of two things: one, a local media that favors the red sox and thus doesn't prop up any single player (except maybe brady) for the national media to latch onto; and two, a veritable lockdown by belichick on what comes out of their locker room. this helps create a sense that coaching and game-planning are the main reason for the pats success when it is, in fact, secondary to talent and depth.

(people don't like to admit that talent trumps all because they want to believe that character has something to do with the outcomes of sporting events and that their own hard work may make up the difference between themselves and the truly talented. fucking communists.)

den (-5) over MIA - i worry about this one, but i think that people overrate miami's defense. i'm not sure saban has the personnel to run the defense that he favors.

cin (-4) over CLE - put me down for 50.

BUF (-5.5) over hou - let's see what the bills are all about. if they lose, then i'm flying off that bandwagon.

PIT (-7) over ten - fuck. i hate this one.

chi (+5.5) over WAS - again, fuck.

CAR (-7) over no - hurricane julius. rock me.

MIN(-6) over tam - culpepper for mvp. although i think tampa bay will be pretty good by the end of the year and just miss the playoffs.

JAX(-3) over sea - holmgren impales himself at halftime.

nyj over KC(-3) - upset special. just a feeling.

NYG(-3) over ari - i'm hoping i lose this one for the reverse-jinx.

stl(-6.5) over SF - this one should get ugly. i would go 50 along with you, but i want to mix it up.

DET(-3) over gb - here you go, eric. harrington silences the critics with three touchdowns and the lions maim favre. the packers will struggle this year, by the way.

cowboys(+4.5) over sd - give me a tuna sandwich with a side of demarcus ware, a julius jones and the fucking points, please.

ind(-3) over BAL - shit. you know what sucks? artificial turf does, that's what. the colts would probably be favored by 8 at home. i say they cover the spread with a final in the 17-13 range. i just don't think baltimore can score enough points to cover even if their defense does kick manning in the crotch all night long.

phi(-1) over ATL - dammit i really hope atlanta wins this game, but i think that the eagles defend vick better than anyone, so i have to go with them.

BONUS 4 (that's right f-o-u-r) team parlay - hey, las vegas - why don't you shove CIN, DAL, DET, and STL up your ass?

Nicki said...

Of course individual talent matters. A team of losers that is well coached is really not going to get anywhere. But attidute also matters, and yes, like the Sox, the Pats embody/embrace an ethic of teamwork that is crucial to success. Maybe you guys who think coaching and teamwork doesn't matter have never played any contact team sports... It does matter, and not promoting certain players as superstars is important in maintaining team unity and success.

alfredo said...

assuming nicki is female, i would have to guess that i played more contact sports, including football, than she has. i know that when i played football, our success was due to key "imported" talent, maybe the team she played on was different. the point here, though, is to always take talent over attitude. to suggest that attitude really matters (especially on a professional level) is pretty naive. attitude/team chemistry and its value falls in with "clutchness" and "intangibles" on the list of sports myths and chimeras. the promotion of individuals really has jack shit to do with whether or not tom brady performs well or not. there have been plenty of championship teams in all sports that didn't get along with each other. that the patriots seem to be great comrades and get along famously really has nothing to do with how many games they win.

to put it extreme terms: put kevin garnett on a wnba team (or a bad boys high school team), and say he skips all team practices and meetings, and say his only interaction with his teammates is to demand the ball in games and say he gets all of the adulation and media hype. wouldn't that team have piss-poor chemistry? and wouldn't that team destroy its competition? damn straight.

Nicki the scrumhalf said...

Wow, I guess Alfredo has never heard of Title IX. Girls do in fact play contact sports, and I'd say my experience as a rugby player is similar to yours as a football player.

Anyhow, the hypothestical team you put together really does not prove your point because the "team" consists of athletes with such vast differences in abilities and a superstar with abilities far superior to that which any opponent could offer. This analogy really does not apply to the NFL.

CIH said...

I have to agree with Nicki. As a former, softball, basketball and Rugby player (a cheer for all the Hookers out there), I have been on enough sports teams (and won enough titles) to know the difference team unity makes. In a crunch situation, having confidence and trust propels a team to dig deeper and find new ways to tackle challenges.
For instance: on our rugby team we had two locks that were an incredible team on the field and great friends off the field. They instictively knew the route the other would take and were able to pull off some incredible plays.
On a more current note, I am friends with several professional atheletes and have had Many discussions with them about the effect a negative player or "superstar" has in the lockeroom and on the field. There are pro's and con's but if the "star" is negative and does not support the rest of the team he/she will bring the team down. They may have short term glory but they will not become a dynasty and create a legacy (like the Pats - btw - I'm a Charger's fan - but those Pats are rockin).
Oh yeah - and thanks for assuming that girls don't play contact sports... I love breaking down sterotypes.

Cristin said...

Hi, this is Cristin, bitches. If you don't know, now you know. Of course I will side with the ladies. What, you guys played football in high school? Played, past tense. I am still a rugger and up to date on contact sports. Football is inarguably a contact sport. . . but it's not a continuity sport like rugby and most sports in general. You make your tackle, the play is over. 4 downs and you switch the rotation and get to sit on your ass for a hot minute. It's got more stop and start than DC rush hour. For that reason, football can perhaps get away with winning on star power alone b/c you don't really need chemistry or only chemistry in small doses. Star players in pretty much all other sports play the whole game, not half of it. They have roles that are less specific but require more uncharted thinking, which involves making individual decisions to which your teammates must respond differently every time. Football is much less finesse and more choppy. Much less thinking and more memorization. Who needs chemistry for that?
In my opinion football is inherently a much different animal than any other sport. BUT you take football, ONE contact sport, to be indicative of all contact sports. That's pretty brave of you to make a generalization like that.

Bob said...

greetings rugby community of the USA! i thank nicki for drawing her fellow teammates' attention to this humble little blog.

that being said, i have to make a few comments of my own. the insinuation that rugby amongst college athletes is somehow comparable to professional football is quite frankly laughable. it's not even close. it's actually not even close to any college level football team. there's no doubt in my mind that you all play hard and hit hard and everything else, but with football being played by people who have basically trained their whole lives for the single purpose of ripping someone else's head off. sure i've seen the video highlights of rugby hits, and it is certainly a violent game, but you wanna know why rugby isn't as big in the US as it is everywhere else. it's because all of the great athletes end up playing football here in these united states. which leads me to my second point...

teamwork and all that b.s. may work when we're dealing with amateur athletes, but as alfredo says, at the professional level, it's more myth than reality. that's not to say that teamwork and attitude aren't beneficial to a team, but to suggest that it is more important than physical talent just doesn't make sense. let's take last night's pro-football game as an example.

tom brady's talent > kerry collin's talent

corey dillon's talent > lamont jordan's talent

randy moss's talent > all of the new england reciever's put together talent

new england's d >>>>>>>> raider's d

so you see, the patriot's victory had little to nothing to do with teamwork as much as it did with the fact that the patriots were simply a more talented team at almost every position. as fredo referenced, there is this aura of team unity because belichick makes it so, but there have been enough defections from the patriots to suggest it's not as hippie communal as you want to think. and like i said, this is the year i think it catches up with the pats and the loss of talent causes them not to win the super bowl.

sure athletes buy into this system, but not really. the greatest players, the truly transcendant athletes were always me first guys. michael jordan, barry sanders, emmitt smith, pete rose, barry bonds, ted williams, wilt chamberlin, allen iverson, terry bradshaw, and even joe montana, all prima donnas in their own right. their ability to put their talents above the interests of that of their individual teammates is what truly made them as great as they were.

i've never played rugby, so i can't say for sure, but if chemistry and teamwork are more important than physical talent in rugby, it is the only sport that i know of where this is true.

lastly, if you need proof, look back over the course of the last thirty years in most pro team sports. the team that almost always wins is the one with more talent. sure there are exceptions to the rule here and there, but i'll take my talent wins ninety percent of the time against your "heart" wins ten percent of the time anyday.