CFP Predictions

It is finally here, the purpose of breathing is officially back today

Granted, we had games this past weekend but I consider that the “soft opening” to college football.

Unless, you are a degenerate gambler like myself, no one really cares about Colorado State vs Oregon State or Rice vs Stanford.

Today is the official kick off to college football and I know all of you can not wait.

With college football starting along comes the College Football Playoff Predictions.

Rarely is anyone ever 100% right when it comes to these.  It is all just guessing and you throw in a team or two no one is talking about just to make your prediction different from everyone else.

So, today I will give you my four teams that I believe will be playing in the  fourth College Football Playoff and the National Champion.

To be honest I only know a lot about one team, and if you know me you can guess which team that is.

So, today I am going to fake it and bull shit you about how much I know about these teams.

ENJOY!

4. Oklahoma State

I have mentioned this team to multiple people and I get a lot of weird looks.  I say Oklahoma State for many of reasons but one of the reasons has to do with issues off the field.

The College Football Playoff consists of only four teams, even though we have five major conferences ( Pac 12, Big 12, Big 10, SEC, and ACC).

Out of the first three years the Playoff has existed the Big 12 has been left out of the playoff for two of them.

In the first playoff, the BIG 12 even got jumped by Big 10 champion Ohio State who eventually won the National Title.

It is hard to believe that the BIG 12 will be left out for the third time in four years, and I think this Oklahoma State team is the team to put the Big 12 in the playoffs

Oklahoma State returns its star Quarterback in Mason Rudolph.  Rudolph threw for 4091 yards and 28 touchdowns and only 4 ints just a year ago.  Rudolph is just 546 yards away from being the all-time school leader in passing yards.  Former first round draft pick Brandon Weeden currently holds that record with 9,260 yards.

Along with Rudolph the Cowboys return another star on offense in Wide Receiver James Washington.

Washington is coming off a season where he recorded 71 receptions for 1380 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The Cowboys have a run game to compliment their high powered passing attack in Justice Hill, who is returning off a strong freshman campaign with 1142 yards rushing and 6 rushing touchdowns.

What benefits Oklahoma State the most is their schedule.  Oklahoma States toughest games are Pittsburgh and Texas, which are both on the road, and in state rival Oklahoma in Stillwater.

Oklahoma State plays in a conference that lacks any threatening defense, you combine that with the Cowboys high powered offense, and mediocre schedule don’t be shocked to see Oklahoma State in the playoffs come New Years Day.

3. Southern California

It seems like for the past five years since USC came off probation we have been waiting for them to jump back on the national scene and compete for a national title.

Well, this year is finally the year we see that from the Trojans.

So, if you hate USC, like myself, I hope you enjoyed the years of USC being mediocre because those days are officially over.

USC returns the nations top quarterback and possibly next years number one draft pick in Sam Darnold.

Darnold, the Orange County native, is looking to return the Trojans to the prominence of the Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush days.

USC arguably finished as the nations hottest team in 2016, winning its final 9 games after starting the season losing three of its first four.

In that nine game win streak USC beat eventual PAC 12 champion Washington on the road, and BIG 10 champion Penn State in the Rose Bowl.

After taking over in the fourth game of the season Darnold jumped on the national scene by throwing for 3086 yards and 31 touchdowns with just 9 interceptions.

Darnold played his best when the lights shined the brightest in last years Rose Bowl, when he threw for 453 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Darnold will have his work cut out for him, with USC losing both starting Offensive Tackles in Zach Banner and Chad Wheeler.  Not to mention last years leader in receiving yards in JuJu Smith-Schuster left and is now in the NFL.

Darnold will have the run game to lean on as Ronald Jones II will hope to build off his 1,000 yard rushing campaign to push the Trojans into the playoff.

USCs defense has six returning starters on defense which is headlined by a very experienced Linebacker unit.

Despite losing Adoree Jackson to the NFL draft, the secondary will still be a force to be reckoned with.

USCs defense may not be the best in the country but combine that with Darnold leading a high powered offense, it will be no surprise when watching USC winning the PAC 12 and playing in its first ever College football Playoff.

2. Ohio State

Big shocker here I know.  Of course I am picking Ohio State to go to the College Football Playoff.

Ohio State is coming off one of the worst losses in program history, losing 31-0 in the Fiesta Bowl vs Clemson.

Despite the embarrassing loss, that happened right in front of my face with me in the stands that night, Ohio State has plans to return to the College Football Playoff and hopefully take a trip to the National Championship.

Ohio State fired both Offensive Coordinators Tim Beck and Ed Warinner.  Beck is now the Offensive Coordinator at Texas and Warinner is now the Offensive line Coach at Minnesota.

Meyer hired, arguably the best coordinator available, in former Indiana Head Coach Kevin Wilson.

While at Indiana, Wilson lead Indiana to two consecutive bowl games for the first time since the 1990 and 91 seasons.

Indiana was also second in passing in the Big Ten last year just behind Penn State.

If Wilson can help Indiana be one of the most proficient passing offenses in the conference imagine what he can do with the talent pool at Ohio State.

The man leading Wilson’s offense is 5th year senior JT Barrett.  Barrett will be entering his fourth season as the starting QB for the Buckeyes, which in college sports now a days it seems like 20 years.

If you remember Barrett started the 2014 campaign but suffered an injury against Michigan at the end of the year, which lead to backup Cardale Jones taking over and leading the Buckeyes to the National Championship.

Jones started the 2015 season as the starter but Barrett took over and finished the 2015 campaign for the Buckeyes which ended with a Fiesta Bowl victory over Notre Dame.

Despite winning sharing the Big Tens MVP honors with Saquon Barkley, Barretts 2016 campaign is not looked at very highly by the fans and media.

It is no secret that Ohio State has struggled to move the ball since Tom Herman left the staff two years ago.

With Kevin Wilson and his success as an Offensive Coordinator, you have to believe things will change for the Buckeyes.

If the passing game doesn’t improve they will have a backfield full of athletes to lean on.

Running Back Mike Weber is coming off a 1,000 yard season in just his first year of taking over the workload from Ezekiel Elliot.

Many people are raving about youngsters like Demario McCall and true Freshman J.K. Dobbins.  Don’t be shocked to see Meyer roll with a Running Back by committee, especially at the start of the season with Weber recovering from a hamstring injury.

Ohio State is absolutely loaded on the other side of the ball.

Co Defensive Coordinator Luke Fickell is now gone as he took the Head Coaching job at Cincinatti.

Now, former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach, Greg Schiano takes over the defense full time and he believes this Buckeyes defense is something special.

Schiano told Big Ten Network at Big Ten media days that “Probably — not probably — the most talented group I’ve ever been around.”

That is high praise from a guy who has coached a lot of football in his time.

Ohio State lost three key players from their secondary in last years draft.  Marshon Lattimore, Gareon Conley, and Malik Hooker all went inside the first round.

Ohio State is not lacking talent to replace them and people are noticing.

Matt Miller, who covers the NFL draft for Bleacher report, has high expectations for this young secondary.

The secondary will contribute to Ohio State having one of the best defenses in the country this year.

Combine that with their stellar D line play headlined by Nick Bosa and Tyquan Lewis.

Not to mention their Linebacking corps lead by potential first round pick Jerome Baker who Miller also had high praise for.

The defense is not the question that needs to be answered.  The question we all are waiting to be answered is if the passing game that has fallen off the past two years can be resurrected with new OC Kevin Wilson.

If Ohio State can not develop a consistent passing game it will make the run through the Big Ten that much harder for the Buckeyes.

1. Alabama

As I start talking about Alabama I think it should be mentioned I am a few glasses of Bulleit Whiskey in.  So, if I show any bias you know why.

As long as Nick Saban is at running the show for the Crimson Tide it is hard to argue who the favorite is.

Alabama lost a bulk of guys last year, most notably OJ Howard, Reuben Foster, and Jonathon Allen who were all first round draft picks in April.

Alabama returns Jalen Hurts, but has a brand new Offensive Coordinator in Brian Daboll.

The past two years we have seen this weird thing called passing from Alabama or what some football gurus call it “opening up the offense.”

Now that Joey Freshwater is gone, aka Lane Kiffin, to Florida Atlantic hitting on young college girls.  You should see Alabama go back to its boring ass offense.

So, when Alabama plays in a big game you will see their Running Back get 50 carries a game as oppose to the 40 when they had when Kiffin was the OC.

On a serious note, I think Alabama is going to be really good again a long with Jalen Hurts.

I don’t think Hurts gets enough credit for what he did last year as a true freshman. The idea that he can’t move the ball through the air is insane.

He threw for 2,780 yards last season, while moving the ball through the air he was able to rush for 954 yards.

I don’t think their is an argument against saying that Hurts is the most dynamic Quarterback Saban has ever had.

I think Hurts is going to be even better this year and lead the Tide to an undefeated season.

My only concern is, last year Alabamas defense scored 15 touchdowns.  If you don’t watch a lot of football just know that scoring 15 touchdowns on defense is really fucking good.

 

You can agree or disagree with me on who is in and who is not.

But, I know we can all agree that it is great to have football back.

Because the preseason predictions won’t be the last thing we argue about, which makes football season so great.

 

 

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Matthew Stafford $$$$

I am sure you have heard by now that Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford is now the highest paid player in NFL history.

The exact numbers of the contract have yet to be officially announced, but ESPNs Michael Rothstein wrote this morning on ESPN.com

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Matthew Stafford will become the highest-paid player in NFL history with the five-year deal he has agreed to with the Detroit Lions, sources told ESPN on Monday night.

The deal will have an average annual value of $27 million, a source said, putting Stafford ahead of the five-year contract that pays $25 million annually to Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, which Carr signed last month.

A source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Stafford’s deal is expected to guarantee him a record $92 million, including a $50 million signing bonus. The previous record for guaranteed money issued to an NFL player was $87 million for Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts.

Under the deal, Stafford will be guaranteed $60.5 million at signing and $86 million by the start of Year 2 of the contract, which starts next March, a league source told Schefter. The full $92 million is guaranteed upon Year 3, the source told Schefter.

Stafford, who was the number one pick in the 2009 NFL draft, has put up good numbers throughout his career but some still believe he is not worth the money.

FS1s, and soon to be co host of FS1s new show First things First with Chris Carter, Nick Wright does not agree with the Stafford deal.

Of course, ESPNs Stephen A. Smith expressed his opinion on the new deal this morning on First Take.

Dan Le Batard, host of ESPNs The Dan Le Batard Show, was quick to point out Staffords record against teams over .500.

A lot of football fans seem to be questioning why Matthew Stafford a guy who has a losing record against teams over .500, has only played in three playoff games, and has lost all three is the highest paid Quarterback in NFL history.

It is a very fair question, while I like Stafford and believe he is a good Quarterback I wouldn’t label him as a top 10 Quarterback.

But, it is important to remember a few things when talking about these contracts these Quarterbacks have been getting lately.

Contracts like Derek Carrs five-year, $125 million deal, with $70 million guaranteed that was signed this offseason.

Andrew Lucks six-year, $140 million deal, with $47 guaranteed that was signed last offseason.

First important thing is to not look at the total amount, Carr’s $125 or Luck’s $140, but to look at the guaranteed money.

If you look at the deal you will notice Carr received $70 million guaranteed and Luck received $47 million guaranteed.

While it seems like Luck received a bigger deal than Carr Luck is actually getting more money.

The rest of these contracts are filled with incentives like; playoff wins, Super Bowl wins, TDs per season, passing yards per season etc.

I think it is important to distinguish the difference between the total amount of the contract and the guaranteed money when evaluating future contracts.

Now, according the Adam Schefter in the article above it seems that Stafford will receive $92 million guaranteed.

Stafford’s deal is only going to make these contracts for future Quarterbacks even higher for years to come.

When you see these high contracts for Quarterbacks that you don’t think deserve them you need to remember something.

You aren’t paying for that one Quarterback, you are paying for the position.

There is such a premium on Quarterbacks, because there are so little that are worth a damn.

Lets just say that the Lions decided against resigning Stafford and took the risk of him entering the offseason as a free agent and signing with another team.

Then what?  If you are the Lions what do you do? Who are you bringing in to replace Stafford and who is topping his production?

Odds are no one.

Lets take a look at what teams will most likely be shopping for a Quarterback next offseason.

San Francisco 49ers

Brian Hoyer is currently the starter for first year Head Coach Kyle Shannahan.  While there is no bigger Brian Hoyer fan than myself, Hoyer is not the future in San Francisco.

You have to believe San Francisco will be willing to spend some money on a Quarterback next offseason if they are not in position to select a Quarterback in next years draft.

Los Angeles Rams

Depending how 2016 first overall pick Jared Goff does you have to believe LA will be in the market for a Quarterback.

The Rams are fighting for attention in a big sports market that is mostly dominated by basketball.  Not to mention they have a brand new stadium that will open in a few years.

Arizona Cardinals

Carson Palmer is 37 years old and after a strong 2015 campaign where he led the Cardinals to the NFC Championship.  He came back down to earth in 2016.

If Palmer struggles again this year it would make sense that Arizona will be shopping for a QB next offseason.

Hypothetically speaking if Stafford was going to be a free agent, Stafford would have fit great with Head Coach Bruce Arians who loves to push the ball down the field like Stafford.

Denver Broncos

Two years removed from its Super Bowl win over Carolina and sending Peyton Manning off into the sunset.  The Denver Broncos still do not have a QB.

Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian have shown flashes of being a viable starting QB in the NFL, but unless that comes with some consistency John Elway may have a hard time going into a third consecutive season with QB questions.

Minnesota Vikings

Sam Bradford is in the final year of his contract and will be an Unrestricted Free Agent this offseason.

With the unknown of Teddy Bridgewaters injury Minnesota has a tough decision to make this offseason.

Do we give Bradford another deal even though we know we aren’t going to win a Super Bowl with him? Or, do we take a chance on signing a Free Agent or hope we can get a better Quarterback in the draft?

It is hard to believe Bradford is up to get another big contract.  I don’t think there is any QB in the history of the NFL who has gotten more money by doing less like Bradford.

Cleveland Browns

Rookie DeShone Kizer will be the opening day starter for the Browns vs Pittsburgh.  While Kizer has progressed from third string on the depth chart to the opening day starter that doesn’t mean Clevelands QB situation is solved.

As we all know, Cleveland has been looking for their franchise QB since 1999 and have been very unlucky in their search.

if Kizer struggles and doesn’t look like he can be the guy for years to come, the Browns will be back on the Quarterback market again.  This time it will have tons of draft picks and cap space to use in their search.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles struggled last season and has struggled this preseason.  He even lost his job to Chad Henne for a total of five minutes.

Bortles may be the QB you rely on to hit the over late in blowout games to satisfy your gambling habit, but I think it is safe to say he isn’t the guy you want to build your franchise around.

You have to think under, new VP of football operations, Tom Coughlin the Jaguars will be in the market for a QB yet again.

Washington Redskins

The Redskins have Kirk Cousins, who was placed with the Franchise Tag this offseason, but the team is not sold that he is the guy to build the franchise around.

Washington has a very similar decision Detroit had to make.  Cousins might not be a top 10 QB, but he is better than a lot of other options.

If you let Cousins go you are back to square one looking for a QB and you don’t know how long it will be until you find one.

Miami Dolphins

Ryan Tannehill is out for the 2017 season with a knee injury, which means Jay Cutler will be the starting QB for the season.

Cutler is only signed until the end of the 2017 season and Tannehill has no guaranteed money owed to him after this season.

If Cutler disappoints and Tannehill’s rehab doesn’t go as planned you could see Miami move on from both QBs and head in a different direction.

New York Jets

The Jets have by far the worst roster in the NFL and all their QBs are a joke.  The Jets will most likely have the first pick in next years draft.

Along with the Browns, the Jets have been looking for their franchise QB for years.

There is no doubt in my mind, unless Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg turn into Tom Brady over night, that New York will be doing everything they can to find their next QB next offseason.

I listed all of these teams and their situation, because while Stafford may never be Aaron Rodgers, signing Stafford to a long-term deal is better than the alternative.

That alternative is not having a QB at all.  Stafford is a top 15 QB and you at least have an opportunity to build a team around him and hopefully make a deep playoff run.

A lot of fan bases alternative may be drafting Southern Cal prospect Sam Darnold.

Every year we get a top QB prospect out of college and every fan thinks their team can solve all of their problems by just drafting the guy.

The problem is there is only one Sam Darnold, not every team in the NFL can rely on drafting Sam Darnold and him turning out to be the next top 5 QB.

We don’t even know how Sam Darnold is going to be.  Remember, Stafford was the number one overall pick and I am sure a lot of people thought he was going to be a top 5 QB.

My final point is that the Lions had to do this, if they didn’t they would end up like all of the teams mentioned above looking for a QB.

You can criticize the amount of money, but if the Lions didn’t pay him someone else would have.

Until you can give me a realistic oppurtunity the Lions could have capitilized on, I think it is safe to say the Lions made a great move.

Why We Love Conor McGregor

Today, is the day we have been waiting for months.  Possibly the biggest fight of the Century.

We have sat through the media tours, we have followed the drama between the two.  But, tonight we finally get to watch one of the biggest sporting events ever.

Or, it could be the biggest waste of our time, and money.

Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather.  Some say the greatest boxer of all time vs the guy who took the martial arts world by storm shortly after collecting welfare checks to capture his dream.

I will tell you now, I don’t know shit about boxing.  The only experience I have of boxing is the Rocky movies and that one boxing movie with Mark Whalberg and Christian Bale.

I would say most people who are watching this fight do not know a lot about boxing. Which is why a lot of Boxing experts are mocking everyone thinking Conor has a chance.

According to Bovada, Mayweather is going into tonight’s fight as a huge favorite at -375.  As McGregor goes into tonight as the underdog at +285.

Even though these odds have come down over the past few months, and depending on how much money gets bet today the line may move even more.

What is interesting about this whole spectacle is, why is there so much hype for a guy who people say have no chance?

Why is half of Ireland in Las Vegas, when everyone is saying this fight will be a joke and a rip off?

There is obviously an MMA vs Boxing angle that can’t be ignored.

But, there is more to it than that.

We live in a world of sports where things have become fairly predictable.  We have watched the same teams in the NBA finals for the past three seasons, you can always guarantee the Patriots will be in the Super Bowl hunt, and we have watched College Football be dominated by blue bloods (mostly Alabama) for years.

One of the great things about sports is how unpredictable it is supposed to be.  Whether it is the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team or Joe Namaths guaranteed win in Super Bowl III.

We love upsets, we crave them, we want that moment to tell our kids and grandkids where we watched it.  We want to cheer with our friends and talk about it for years to come.

This fight has a Rocky type feel to it.  It has that feel good story that we are all craving.

A guy who just a few years ago was collecting welfare checks, is now on the verge of being on top of the sports world.

We love these stories, because we wish it could be us.  We love sports because it takes us away from reality.

At some point our dreams of becoming a professional athlete, or musician go away.  And for some people, the thought of having dreams go away at a whole.

Sure, most have goals of getting promoted, getting married, or having kids.

But it isn’t the same as the innocent dreams we used to have.  At some point in our lives we dreamed of being famous, we dreamed of people asking for our autograph, being on a poster in some kids room, and having thousands of people cheering for us.

At some point life got in the way and we lost or were unable to fulfill those dreams.

McGregor at one point in his life was all of us.  He gave up on his dreams and decided to become a plumber in Dublin, Ireland.  He chose the job over his dream in order to put food on the table.  Just like most of us.

Until, one day he decided against that.  He did something we all wish we could do.  He put life aside and went after his dream of becoming a professional fighter.

He gambled on himself and that bet is going to pay off more than anyone ever thought.

Well, except for McGregor himself.

The best part about McGregor is his confidence.  McGregor is full of Irish swagger with his high-priced suits, and clever trash talk.

We all wish we had that confidence of McGregor.  We wish we could use it at school, work, or even talking to someone of the opposite sex.

We all believe he can win this fight, because he believes he can win this fight.  You might think the things he is saying leading up to this fight is all for promotion.

Normally, I would agree with you.  McGregor seems different, his team seems different.  McGregor and his team actually believe he can win, and if you have followed McGregor’s rise to stardom that should be enough to believe he can win tonight.

McGregor and his team seem to be taking the attitude of this is nothing we haven’t seen before.  To them this fight may be nothing.  They are taking it as just another step or obstacle they have taken before.

McGregor’s irrational confidence may be the one thing that he has over Mayweather. A fighting expert can give you the ins and outs on why this fight is going to be boring and a joke.

But, never count out the guy who is desperate and has nothing to lose.

McGregor is desperate.  McGregor wants to be the face of the UFC and Boxing.  Floyd is currently the face of boxing and Mcgregor wants that to change.

McGregor also has nothing to lose, people are expecting him to lose and if he does he can just go back to the UFC and dominate.

I think McGregor has a shot at winning and it may sound crazy, but it was also crazy for him to put life aside and pursue a career in fighting.

 

McGregor once famously said ” We’re not here to take part, we’re here to take over.”

Well, McGregor is possibly one punch away from officially taking over.

 

Team Russillo

For those of you who don’t know by know ESPNS Ryen Russillo and host of the Ryen Russillo Show was arrested in Wyoming Wednesday morning for a harmless breaking and entering into some random persons condo.

Here is the report from the Teton County Sheriffs office (based in Jackson Hole, Wy.) that was posted in the article from Awful Announcing above.

Officers were called around 3:30 a.m. to a condo in the 500 block of Snow King Loop for a report of a “highly intoxicated male who was refusing to leave.”

Two people were asleep in the condo when they heard someone come in. They didn’t know the man and asked him to leave because he was drunk, according to reports. Police arrived a few minutes later. 

“Occupants pointed the suspect out who was found in a bedroom,” Jackson Police Lt. Roger Schultz said.

Russillo, of West Hartford, Connecticut, reportedly had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech.

“He couldn’t coherently answer any questions,” Schultz said.

Russillo didn’t know where he was and thought maybe he was staying in the condo, police said.

It gets worse or better depending how you look at it.

For those of you who don’t know, Ryen Russillo is my guy.  I don’t know Russillo, I have never met Russillo, and I have never seen Russillo in person.

But, he is still my guy.

I grew up watching ESPN, watching everything that was on starting with Mike and Mike at the ass crack of dawn to the late night Sportscenter.

As of late I haven’t watched much ESPN because I can’t stand a lot of the shows and the talking heads who run them.

Russillo keeps things real, keeps it honest, and makes himself super relatable to guys who love sports, workout, and spend Friday and Saturday nights alone on the couch.

Russillo is 42 and single, and at the rate I am going that will probably be me too.

I like Russillo also because of his path to radio.  He always talks about how he did construction with his dad, or managed a bar after college trying to find his path in sports.

He tells stories of his failed marriage proposal (which is absolutely brutal, I cringe thinking about it) and his time living in a hotel for months at a time when he first got to ESPN in 2006.

He has dedicated his life to sports radio, and even acknowledges how hard it has been and how his life is different from the average person because of it.

So what he got a little too drunk big whoop.  Like we all haven’t gotten a little too drunk from time to time.  I mean, who hasn’t passed out drunk with their pants around their ankles?

Although, I can honestly say I have never gone into a condo that wasn’t mine and passed out.  Yet… I got a big trip to Iowa City come November, so I don’t want to speak too early.

Another thing, Ryen was just helping the economy when you think about it.

Who the hell goes to Wyoming for vacation?  Who the hell even lives in Wyoming?

Ryen out of the good of his heart took his personal time to travel to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and probably spent a hefty amount at the bar so that bar could stay in business.

Is that what we have come to in 2017?  We tear someone down for helping a bar get through tough times?  Maybe we should all look ourselves in the mirror.

Lets talk about that mug shot real quick.  I don’t think I have ever seen a more confident mug shot in my entire life.

The confidence in that mugshot makes me think Russillo is innocent.  Maybe the uber driver dropped him off at the wrong place.  Maybe his buddy told him the wrong place.

Or maybe the condo was actually his and the people who were in their are big fans of Colin Cowherd and wanted Russillo in jail.

On a serious note, I do hope this blows over and he doesn’t lose his job.  From the sounds of it this guy worked his ass off to get to where he is, and the show is very successful because of the effort he puts into it.  It would be a shame for a guy to lose it all because he had a little too much to drink.

Also, if you are the people saying he deserves to fired or you need to be “better than that” I am going to go out on a limb and say you are a hypocrite.  Don’t put on an act that you are above making mistakes.

How would you like it if your biggest mistake was highlighted all through social media?  It would suck to be defined for one mistake when you worked your ass off to get where you are.

Anyway, I hope you all join me on Team Russillo.  #Russillo2020

Kyrie Irving

For those of you who are living under a rock you may have missed the news about the trade that shook the NBA world.

Yesterday, The Cleveland Cavaliers dealt All Star Point Guard Kyrie Irving for the Celtics for All Star Point Guard Isiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the 2018 Brooklyn Nets pick that the Celtics received in return for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in 2013.

You could argue that this is the biggest trade of a wild NBA offseason.  You can argue Paul George to Oklahoma City, or Chris Paul to the Rockets.  But, it is hard to argue that the defending Eastern Conference Champions traded a guy who was such a crucial part of its championship run in 2016 to the Celtics who were the one seed in the East just a year ago.

When the season ended in June with the Cavs falling to the Warriors in just five games, no one would have imagined Kyrie Irving in a Celtics uniform just a few months later.

Irving averaged 29.4 points per game in these past finals, most notably scoring 40 in game 2 and 38 in game 3.  You also can’t forget Irvings 40 point game 5 performance in Golden State in 2016.

And of course you can not forget this shot to finally give Cleveland its first title in 52 years and the shot that gave me hope that good things do happen in life.

It is safe to say things in Cleveland didn’t end the way we all thought it would for Irving.

The guy who made the biggest play in Cleveland sports history was supposed to be loved forever.  He was supposed to never buy a drink or meal in Cleveland again.

When we tell our kids or our grandkids about Cavaliers basketball his name was supposed to be mentioned with a smile and all the great moments he brought to the Cavaliers franchise and that’s it.

Irvings name was not supposed to be linked to anything bad.  Although, I am sure even if Irvings career did end in Cleveland people will always make jokes how he thinks the earth is flat, or that one day he wanted to start a self-sustained economy on a farm. Lets also not forget the time he threw a boat party in Miami and only said white girls could come on the boat and party.  Last but not least we will talk about how he was boys with Bieber and his new hunk of a man pastor.

Correction.  If Kyrie stayed in Cleveland forever I would have told my kids something a long the lines “Kyrie Irving was a great exciting player who was the centerpiece to Clevelands first Championship in 52 years but was a very very weird.”

Now, when we talk about Kyrie Irving we will say something along the lines of “Kyrie Irving was a great exciting player who was the centerpiece to Clevelands first Championship in 52 years, but asked for a trade out of the blue with two years left on his contract even though we had a team that was set to go back to the finals.  Oh yeah he was very weird as well.”

Who knows what actually happened in the last few months to spark this trade.

Earlier this month ESPN’s Dave McMenamin said on the BBall Breakdown podcast that Irving was not talking to his teammates for days during the Cavs recent playoff run.

“He saw Kyrie Irving in the playoffs this year—in between the first round when they beat Indiana and the second round when they played Toronto—go consecutive days without speaking to a teammate at practice,” McMenamin said.

According to TMZ sports Irving seaked advice from Hillsong Church Pastor Carl Lentz about the situation.

Cavaliers superstar Kyrie Irving arrived at his reported decision to ask out of Cleveland the same way Justin Bieber chose to end his tour — through long chats with pastor Carl Lentz of Hillsong Church … TMZ Sports has learned.

Church sources tell us Kyrie, who’s been an active member for a long time, met with Lentz earlier this month about his desires to step out of LeBron James’ shadow. We’re told Lentz didn’t tell Kyrie to “leave Cleveland” — instead he listened to Kyrie’s concerns, and encouraged him to make the decision he felt was best.

If this story is true, which I believe it is because I can see Kyrie Irving falling into this bull shit, I will forever hate this pastor no matter how jealous I am of his good looks.

Then there is the main reason Kyrie wanted out.  Kyrie wanted to be THE guy, and was sick of living in Lebrons shadow.  Kyrie felt that he deserved more credit than he was getting.

Kyrie may not be a top 10 player in the NBA, but he is a top 10 brand.

According to Forbes.com Lebron and Kyrie teamed up to sell more shoes than any other NBA player.

“Nike sold more of James’ and Irving’s signature sneakers in the U.S. than those of any other active NBA player during the 12 months ending in March 2017, as measured by dollar volume, according to Matt Powell, an analyst at market research firm NPD Group.”

Kyrie also looks up to Kobe, he loves Kobe, he fucking worships Kobe, and he wants to be Kobe.  He even face timed Kobe after the Cavs won the  2016 Finals.

Kyrie is definitely following Kobes footsteps in trying to be someone he really isn’t and whether it is on or off the court doing everything exactly like his role model.

For those of you who don’t get it Kobe did everything he could to be EXACTLY like Michael Jordan.

If you don’t remember the Kobe and Shaq feud in LA, where things got so bad between the two, the Lakers were forced to decide between Kobe and Shaq.

Shaq was later traded to Miami where he won one more ring alongside Dwayne Wade and Kobe took the reigns of the franchise.

After Shaq left Kobe had nine consecutive season of averaging 25 points or more, and two of those seasons he averaged over 30 ppg.

Kobe also went on to win two titles himself in 2009 and 2010 with the Lakers.

I think what it came down too is Kyrie wanted to be THE guy.  He wanted to average 28-29 ppg and try to take his team to the Finals by himself.

I personally think Kyrie is wrong in this situation, I think he is forgetting how big of a piece Lebron is to his career.

Kyrie never scores 40 points in a finals game without Lebron, and his shoe probably isn’t a top-selling shoe because not too many people want to buy a shoe of a guy who can’t even get over .500 in the East.

The legend of Kyrie Irving will be a weird one for Cavalier fans.  I believe Cavs fans have the right to be upset what Irving has pulled these past few months.

Why did he ask for a trade now? Why not wait? Or why not do this before the draft where the Cavaliers could have gotten Paul George?

The timing and reasoning will be something NBA fans will talk and question for years.

What you can’t question is Irvings role since he was drafted by the Cavaliers in 2011.

Irving was the first star after Lebron, he won rookie of the year and was an All-Star game MVP.

People still wonder what the outcome would have been in the 2015 Finals if he didn’t get hurt in Game 1.

You could argue he is in the Top 5 when it comes to best Cleveland athletes.

On October 17th the Cavs will face the Celtics as Kyrie Irving will return the Q for the first time.

I only hope Kyrie gets a standing ovation, because all the good things he has done for the Cavs organization trumps all the drama he has caused this offseason.

One day Irving will have his number retired at the Q and we won’t remember this past month.  We will only remember his 57 points against the Spurs, the way he embarrassed defenders with his handles, his playoff performances, and of course his game winning shot to win the NBA Finals.

I for one will be giving Kyrie a standing ovation in my living room watching on October 17th when he returns to the Q.

I know for a fact that I will spend so many Friday, and Saturday nights home alone watching old Kyrie Irving highlights with a glass of Bourbon and David Bowie playing in the background.

I also know that when the Cavs beat the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals again I am going to laugh so hard and talk so much shit to Kyrie through the TV screen that if he heard me he would want me dead.

So, Thanks the memories Kyrie even if they all weren’t so great but I can not wait to watch you lose.

 

Has Urban Meyer Won Enough?

http://www.espn.com/core/video/iframe?id=20361508&endcard=false

On todays Paul Finebaum show Finebaum asked a question no one else is asking.  Is Urban Meyer winning enough?

You can watch the whole 2 minutes and 54 second video above.

While I disagree with Finebaum on Meyer I don’t think it is the worst thing that has been asked.

Finebaum makes the point of how Ohio State has only one Big Ten Championship and one National Championship in his five years at Ohio State.  Those two titles were one in the same year (2014-15).  I will start off by saying I think it is very fair to criticize only one conference title in five years at a school at Ohio State.  Especially, how they lost some of them.

The 2015 home loss against Michigan State against their backup quarterbacks (Plural because they rotated two guys throughout the game) is probably the worst loss for Meyer while at Ohio State if not in his career.

With the exception of a few guys it was almost the same team from the year prior where they won the National Championship.  The part that stands out the most about this game was Ezekiel Elliot, arguably the best player on the team, only getting 12 carries for 33 yards.  If you also remember Elliot had an emotional meeting with the media after the loss.

You can blame whoever you want for this loss, a lot of the blame went to the two Co Offensive Coordinators Tim Beck and Ed Warriner who both are no longer at the program.  Point being this was a bad loss for Meyer, because this loss ultimately cost Ohio State a shot at the Big Ten title and the National Title.

The 2013 loss vs Michigan State in the Big Ten title game was a black eye for Meyer as well.

Ohio State gave up 438 total yards of offense, 304 of those yards came through the air via Connor Cook.  Ohio State struggled to stop the pass throughout the year, if you remember Michigans Devin Gardner threw for 451 yards against Ohio State just the week prior.  This loss also cost Ohio State a Big Ten Championship and a trip to the National Title game.  In defense of Meyer for this loss I would say this was before he got a lot of his guys in.  That defense was primarily made of Tressel recruits, if you don’t think thats a worthy excuse take a look at this past NFL draft where three defensive backs from the 2016 team were taken in the first round.

In the video Finebaum brings up 2012.  Ohio State went 12-0 and would have had a trip to the Big Ten title game and possibly a trip to the National Championship to play Notre Dame.  You can’t just dismiss 2012 and act like it didn’t happen.  Meyer took a team that went 6-7 the year prior and made them 12-0 and would have likely won the Big Ten Championship.

Wisconsin steam rolled Nebraska in the Big Ten title game and eventually went on to the Rose Bowl.  Ohio State beat Nebraska handily earlier in the year and its hard to believe they would have not done the same if they met again.

Assuming Ohio State gets past Nebraska in the Big Ten championship they would have faced undefeated Notre Dame.  Im sure we all remember how one loss Alabama steam rolled that Irish team in the National Championship that year.  I don’t know how that game would have gone, but regardless this would have been Meyers first title game at Ohio State and possibly his first National Championship with the school.

I know that is all hypothetical and a lot of “what ifs” but my point being it is unfair to criticize Meyer for not winning enough titles when in 2012 he was not allowed to win a title because of the regime before him.

My final comments about Finebaums comments on Meyer can go to towards almost any school who is not “winning enough”.

Do you expect to win a National Championship literally every year?

It is laughable about how many schools expect to win a title every year and when they don’t the Coach gets criticized.

Meyer is 61-6 in five years while at Ohio State.  With the exception of Nick Saban and Alabama I can not think of anyone who has a better record in five years while at one school.  Meyer has had some tough breaks.  The 2012 season mentioned above, last years blocked field goal against Penn State was a tough loss as well.

Point being, it is unfair to expect a National Championship every year when only one team can win a the National Title.  Plenty of other schools would kill for a Coach who is 61-6 and has a National Championship in the five years he’s coached at their school.

While he hasn’t won National titles at the rapid rate like some expect.  Meyer has created an NFL prospect factory while at Ohio State.  In the past two NFL drafts Ohio State has had 8 first round picks, which is more than any other school including Alabama.  Meyer is still bringing in top recruits from all over the Country, which will continue to make them National Championship contenders for years to come.  The Championships will come and one may even come as soon as this year.

Biggest Sports Bar Pet Peeves

Arizona Sports own Bickley and Marotta tweeted out a question that really gets the juices flowing.

I am sure all sports fans can answer this question because there are many things about a sports bar that can turn a nice Saturday afternoon with your friends into just a terrible time.

Here are some of my pet peeves when I go to watch a game at a sports bar.

1. Waiting For Your Drink

It’s Saturday, it has also been the first time you have put pants on for a Saturday afternoon in months.  You and your friends decide you are going to meet up and go to your local sports bar and watch the game together.  You are all excited, you have your favorite shirt on and maybe you and your friends haven’t hung out in a few weeks.

You get to the bar about 30-45 minutes prior to the start of the game.  When you go to watch a game at a sports bar you need to give yourself time to get settled in.  You don’t want to be rushing in right at kick off and scramble for a table while the game is going on.

So you get there with plenty of time to spare, and lets not forget this big factor.  It is Saturday, and Saturdays are for the boys so you NEED that first beer.  That first beer is the equivalent of a football player buckling his chin strap before he heads on to the field.  Just like how that player doesn’t know how these next three hours are going to go, you don’t know as well but you know you need that beer to find out.

One problem, the waitress or waiter (its 2017 let’s be equal here) is taking their sweet time getting your drink order.  It’s not hard you are serving a table with 4-6 guys, odds are they are going to be ordering Coors Light anyway.  It’s not like you are waiting on a table with sorority chicks that want their gluten-free strawberry daiquiri, sugar-free margaritas, and vodka sodas with 2 ice cubes but with half a lime and half a lemon.  Oh and while they are taking this order 2 girls can’t decide what they want.  My point is, it isn’t hard!

We came to your establishment early for a reason, we wanted to get our drink and food orders in and now it is kick off and our table is empty.  It is too late to go to another bar because the game is about to start.

It’s a sports bar, sport and alcohol go together like peanut butter and jelly.  This is America guys just want their alcohol.

2. Bartender Doesn’t know the Channel

Listen, you work at a sports bar.  A SPORTS bar!  It should be a requirement that you know the channels by heart, you should know what game is on what channel.  If I roll in on a Thursday in February and I ask to turn it on the NBA game don’t turn the TV on CBS!  Everyone knows that on Thursday TNT has the game of the week.

If I ask to turn on the game and I say it’s on ABC don’t ask me what channel its on.  You work here and you should know the cable channels.  As a fan I am going through a lot at this moment.  I am worried about how my team’s Defense is going to hold up, how my fantasy lineup will do this week, or how I am going to pay my bills if my team doesn’t cover, the last thing I need to worry about is trying to help you find ABC.

To work at a sports bar you should have to take a test about the TV channels. In my opinion you should know which games are on which channels to begin with, but some would say those are unreasonable expectations.

Same scenario as above, you give yourself plenty of time to get settled in so you can see kickoff and now the bartender doesn’t know the channel.  Instead of watching your team go down and score for a crucial opening drive touchdown, you are now channel surfing with the hot bartender who recently became a lot less attractive.

3.Obnoxious Fans

I have been on the side of obnoxious fans at sports bar and I regret it everyday.  It is a burden I will have to live with for the rest of my life and it is something I don’t think I will truly get over.  Everyone hates the obnoxious fan.

Yeah, get up and cheer when your team scores or makes a great play, maybe even high-five the guy next to you.  I am not here to say you can’t have a good time, I want you to have a good time because that is the whole point of going to the bar.

The problem is there is always one guy who wants to be a jack ass.  He wants to cheer after every play, yell at the TV because of a bad call, he takes harmless trash talking to a whole other level, and he may even try to fight you.

One guy at a bar can ruin your whole afternoon, all you wanted to do was go and sling a few back with your friends and now you got this jackass trying to talk non stop shit to you because you are wearing a different colored t-shirt than he is.

Don’t be that guy, just chill and just because you see a Browns fan doesn’t mean you have to make the same old original joke you heard in elementary school.  Because, odds are he has probably heard it before.

4. Stupid Fans

Maybe it is just me, but I can not stand sitting next to someone who just has no idea what he is talking about.

Sitting near the guy who thinks he is smarter than the coach, or the guy spitting out stupid hot takes faster than Skip Bayless can put a damper on your afternoon.

I once sat near a guy for a Browns game at Buffalo Wild Wings, and he would not stop saying how the Browns need to put Johnny Manziel in.

The Browns at the time were in playoff contention, but started being the Browns again at the end of the season.  It was a game against Buffalo and the Browns looked terrible and Brian Hoyers magic had run out.

Well this jackass thought that Johnny Manziel was going to lead us into the playoffs and he was yelling at the TV to put Johnny in.  His girlfriend was so embarrassed and she should be, it must suck to have a boyfriend so fucking stupid to think that jackass could lead the Browns to the playoffs.

Anyways, for the first time in my life I didn’t want the Browns to score and I wanted that fucking idiot to look like a fucking idiot.  Of course the Browns go right down and score and makes this guy look like a genius.

My point is fuck that guy and fuck the idiot at the bar who thinks he is smarter than the coach.  Remember, while you are slinging back Bud Lights for the fifth day in a row that guy actually sees the team play everyday.

5. Paying the Bill

This is the worst, because your original plan was to only stay for the afternoon games, but you changed your plans and decided to stay for the night games as well.

The smart and responsible thing to do would have been to keep track of what you have ordered and maybe just put a cap on your spending.  But you didn’t, you forget what number beer you were on and all you know is that you drank enough to know you shouldn’t drive home.

You sit their waiting in panic on how much you spent and hoping you have enough money to pay for the bill.  The last thing you want to do is put the afternoon on your credit card because you have actually been responsible with it lately.

Also, the worst part about the bill is the fun is over.  You can try for a night-cap but odds are you are probably going to head home and sit on your couch and watch the late night Pac 12 game or a Bruce Willis Movie.

When you get the actual bill you are reminded why this is the first time you put pants on, on a Saturday in months.  Regardless of how much you make for a living odds are you are going to be disappointed in yourself on how much you spent on the afternoon.

 

DBACKS VS MARICOPA COUNTY

For the past year almost year and a half the Arizona Diamondbacks and Maricopa County have been battling over who should pay for the damages that Chase Field has suffered over the years.

Dating back to last spring the Diamondbacks were told that Chase field required $187 million in repairs in an inspection that Maricopa County itself put on.  The Diamondbacks refused to pay for the repairs and are even attempting to sue the County over who pays for the repairs.

Well things have gotten so out of hand that Major League Baseball has gotten involved.  Per Rebekah L. Sanders of the Arizona Republic. The MLB has threatened to move the team from Phoenix.

Major League Baseball officials are so alarmed by recent equipment breakdowns at Chase Field that they might require the Arizona Diamondbacks to leave Phoenix unless the county government pays for millions of dollars in stadium repairs, an attorney for the team warned Tuesday.

It’s the first time the team has indicated that MLB is directly involved in the dispute, ramping up pressure in its long-running lawsuit against Maricopa County.

This is in response to the recent pipe burst in multiple suits and conference rooms at Chase Field.  Sanders goes on to explain the pipe burst incident.

Beus cited two incidents in June: a sanitation pipe that burst in an office, and an air-conditioning system that failed after a downtown-wide power surge.

The air-conditioning pipes flooded suites, restaurants, an office and a gym hours before a game, drawing complaints from fans who got wet or had to sit in warm indoor temperatures, he said.

Because of the breakdowns, MLB engineers will visit in a few days to evaluate Chase Field, Beus said.

League spokesman Matt Bourne declined comment on Beus’ claims.

However, Cameron Artigue, a private attorney representing Maricopa County, called the Diamondbacks argument a red herring.

“This (lawsuit) has nothing to do with the water leaks and the merits of Chase Field,” he said. “The Diamondbacks are the facility manager. When a pipe breaks, that is a Diamondbacks problem. And that is, in fact, what happened. They got out the mops and they mopped it up, and life goes on. It’s a big facility and sometimes pipes break. So what?”

County spokesman Fields Moseley said the team is publicizing the incidents “to try to bolster the point that, ‘Oh we’re horrible landlords.’ “

Moseley pointed to contracts outlining the team’s responsibility for the chiller system and questioned why Diamondbacks officials did not notify the county about the flooding, bring the issue up at a facilities meeting, or request payment for repairs if the team believes the county is on the hook.

Before we go on I love how the private attorney for Maricopa County tries to downplay the pipes breaking and flooding the suite.  Could you imagine if you were a season ticket holder and you go to a suite and it was flooded and someone said: “So what its just a pipe burst and a little water no one is going to die here.”  That has to be an all time downplay of a shitty situation.

To end the article Sanders explains how the court situation could go between the two sides.

Tuesday’s court hearing was supposed to determine whether the team’s grievances would be decided in court or through arbitration, which typically is a faster and less expensive process to resolve disputes.

If the Diamondbacks and county go to arbitration, the main sticking point is timing.

Grady Gammage Jr., also representing the county, said depositions could take months, leading to a start date for arbitration in February or beyond.

That’s too long for the Diamondbacks and MLB to wait, Beus argued.

Should the parties go to arbitration, another question is whether it will be private, as is usual, or open to the public, since it is a matter of taxpayer concern.

The Diamondbacks are “crystal clear” about wanting to conduct the negotiations in the open, Beus said.

“The owner of the Diamondbacks (Ken Kendrick) wants the public to have access to everything. That’s been an important piece of all of our negotiations,” he told The Arizona Republic.

The county has not yet fully committed to the idea.

“We have no objection to transparency,” Gammage said, but “frankly, that will slow it down” because attorneys won’t be as open with each other if news reporters are listening.

Even if the proceedings are private, he said, the county Board of Supervisors will not be able to sign a deal with the team without discussing it at a public meeting.

Superior Court Judge Karen Mullins said she would decide within two weeks whether to hold a trial or send the case to arbitration.

This whole situation is a mess but I am 100% on the Diamondbacks side in this situation.  Normally I hate it when teams make the fans pay for stadiums, I think its dumb to make fans pay for a stadium that they do not have easy access to.  It is dumb that the peoples tax dollars go to build a stadium that you have to pay $40 for a ticket, $20 to park, $7 for a hot dog, and $10 for a beer.  Especially here in Arizona where the schools and highways are shit.

Arizona is growing at a rapid rate and I am all for not putting our money into stadiums that billionaires can pay for.  We need better schools, better highways, and better public transportation.

I am on the Diamondbacks side because Maricopa County owns the stadium!  When Kenny Chesney plays at Chase field the County gets the profit.  Maricopa County is the reason you can’t drink on the plaza.  Maricopa County should have to pay for the repairs.

This is a tenant vs landlord battle.  When you rent a home or an apartment and your AC goes out, or your plumbing breaks, you call your landlord and they send out a guy to fix it and no money comes out of your pocket.

If Maricopa County can not pay for these repairs or flat out doesn’t want to thats fine.  They should sell the stadium to the team or a group of investors who can.