Sunday, September 30, 2007

This is NOT an X-Rated Video

-Brad Spieser

Friday, September 28, 2007

5 Star Locks of the Millennium

I'm trying to win y'all some cash, I really am. Thus far, my W/L record is nowhere near where I'd like, but at 3-3 I'm only a 2-0 week from being Capt. Betting Advice. We'll see.

This week's gems...

NCAA: Cal/Oregon OVER 73 (too many fast people)

NFL: Chargers -11.5 vs. Chiefs (Tomlinson breaks loose, but doesn't go crazy. Damon Huard + Gates = Chargers 41, Chiefs 3.)

If I'm wrong about these, I'll likely kill myself before the Bengals/Pats MNF match.

Either way, you win!

-Brad Spieser

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Student Athletes Smoke Drugs and Eat Lobster

(Note before reading about a troubled youth: listen to the podcast titled "the smartest kids are still stupid." If you have kids, you'll be offended. If you don't, you'll nod your head. Regardless, it should make you laugh.)

Linebacker Willie Williams got kicked off the Louisville football team Thursday for having a bag of weed on him. He's been in trouble before.

What that story didn't mention, however, is the reason for this blog post. In a million years, when I hear the name Willie Williams, I will not think about his short careers at both Miami and Louisville. And I won't be thinking about his possible contributions to society between now and 2078, even if those contributions include the words CURE and CANCER (which is unlikely but not impossible).

Anyway, what I'll always remember about Willie Williams is his ridiculous recruiting diaries in (I believe) the Miami Herald, from 2004, when he was a highly coveted high school senior. I can't recall how I first got my hands on those diaries, but I knew I'd always view the world of recruiting differently. I always half expected coaches to be sleazeballs, and elite prospects to be prima donnas, but the Williams diaries showed that I (somehow) underestimated the seediness of recruiting.

So after I heard about Williams' expulsion from Louisville, I searched high and low for the original diaries. No dice. I really don't know why it was so difficult to locate these gems, but that's another story for another day. What I did find, though (on some message board), were solid excerpts from Williams' diaries at Florida State, Miami, Auburn and Florida. Not mentioned are the tales of private jets that some teams (or maybe it was just Florida State) supplied while wooing Williams.


Florida State University

''When Coach Bowden picked me up, he had a box of chicken wings for me... there was only like two wings. I told him `Coach, we're still going to dinner right?"

``Coach Haggins told us to order as much as we wanted. I ordered a steak and a lobster tail. The lobster tail was like $49.99. I couldn't believe something so little could cost so much. The steak didn't even have a price."

"But, then I saw what the other guys were ordering, I was like, `Forget this.' I called the waiter back and told him to bring me four lobster tails, two steaks and a Shrimp Scampi. It was good. I took two boxes back with me to the hotel.''

''Coach Bowden was cool, but Ms. Bowden was the bomb. I swear, she must be related to Betty Crocker or something. When we walked into that house, it was like walking into a Publix Bakery -- banana pudding, chocolate cake, cheesecake. I had one of everything. I didn't want to leave.''


''I really wanted to go to Red Lobster for some more lobster and steak (per the FSU visit, no doubt), but they told me the wait was two hours. So I got me some baby back ribs, buffalo wings and shrimp. Even though I ordered first, somehow, I was still the last one to get my food."

''You know how it is, those girls are supposed to be there to cheer you up. But I told them, `I ain't no animal, and I ain't going to eat no plant. I'm from Miami. I don't eat that. You farm people are used to it, but not me.'' (After several female hosts, nicknamed the 'Tigerettes,' offered him some of their spinach dip)

''One guy decided it was enough for him to commit. They tried to get me to join him. The girls were shouting, `We want you Willie. We want you.' I couldn't do it. So I just waved good-bye and got on the bus.''


"When I saw Coach Coker was driving the Escalade, I was like, `Dang, coach got some taste.' ''

''We'd get to a red light and I would hold on because the bus driver would just take it. Coach Coker was like, `Willie, we've got police escorts.' I told him, 'Thank God. I thought the police were trying to pull us over and give us a ticket.'"

''I was running like a blind man. I had my eyes closed cause I didn't want none of that smoke to get in my eyes. Coach was like, `It's OK, Willie. It isn't going to hurt you.' Now, I know." (Running out of a tunnel through a giant-sized UM helmet and the infamous smoke)

''J.R. and I figured we would stuff the Miami Hurricane jerseys under our clothes. Bobby hid his in his stomach, but he looked pregnant.''


''I ate so many meatballs, the people there started looking like meatballs. Some guy kept trying to get me to eat these alligator tails, but I wasn't having it. I told him `I'm not the Crocodile Hunter.' I don't touch reptiles.''

''There was Gatorade all over the place.'' I was like `I get it. Gatorade was made at Florida.' ''

''The first night I was OK with eating at the stadium. But when they told me we're going to eat there again, I was a little disappointed. I was like, `Take us to Red Lobster or something.'

``That's when I pretty much made up my mind. I can't live in a place that don't have any restaurants. What am I going to do -- fly home to eat shrimp?''

I'm hungry.

-Brad Spieser

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Newport Harbor: Don't Believe the Hype

Goddamn never know what to expect from them.

Last week on MTV's Newport Harbor, the word "like" was incorrectly used a staggering 108 times in 22 minutes. This time around, the number only reached 72.

Even worse than the number falling 36 "likes" short of the world record, was the blistering pace it set at the beginning of the episode. Only six minutes into the show, and well before its first commercial break, the characters (thanks mainly to a teenaged kook named Allie) had already used my new favorite might want to brace yourself...I mean, sit down if you're standing up...




TIMES! (exclamation point)

In six minutes! (exclamation point)

I was disappointed when my brother ruined the secret regarding Santa Claus (after all, I was just seven), but nothing will ever top this. I talked it up to the point where I needed a record. I needed these dopes to go for the glory, a five-homer game, but they settled for a 2-4, 2 RBI performance. The season finale for NH is next Wednesday, and I need to let these privelaged idiots know...good isn't good enough. Go for the gold, dammit!

-Brad Spieser

You're an Idiot If...

a. you prefer pancakes to waffles

b. you don't think Armageddon is a great film.

c. you've ever said these words: "Nick Van Exel is overrated."

d. you haven't been listening to my podcasts.

Also, Newport Harbor update to be posted shortly after 11:00 tonight. Anything less than 110 "likes" would be an incredible disappointment.

-Brad Spieser

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Newport Harbor = Evel Knieval

Just one week ago, I "reported" that MTV's Newport Harbor made television history by incorrectly using the word "like" 108 times in 22 minutes.

No shit...108 times in 22 minutes. I even kept score with a No. 2 pencil and a sheet of looseleaf paper.

Tonight (10:30pm ET), these idiots will try to break their own record. Do yourself a favor and tune in. Either way, I'll post the results shortly after 11:00.

I haven't been this excited since 1987, when Paul Molitor was in the middle of a 39-game hitting streak.

(And go listen to the most recent podcasts, dammit. They are good. Believe me, I know. My Mom told me so.)

-Brad Spieser

Taking Short Cuts = I Hate Myself

I don't care what message was being sent in Forrest Gump, determination will never overcome STUPID.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I'm about to make fun of hillbillies. (Cue Lee Corso) Not so fast, my friend.

In this case I'm the one who is extremely determined, yet overwhelmingly dumb. I spent the last three hours trying to accomplish four easy tasks. I needed to (a.) get my hair did, (b.) go to the bank, (c.) buy pants and (d.) go to the post office.

Long story short...after getting lost in my own neighborhood for thirty minutes, I drove off in a rage and only accomplished two of my tasks. I didn't get my hair did and I forgot about the post office.

I've been accused in the past of being lazy, and mostly it's been warranted. But this was just a matter of stupidity.

Translation: if I don't win the lottery I'll never see the age of forty.

New podcasts are on the page. More to be posted throughout the week.

-Brad Spieser

Monday, September 24, 2007

Podcasts So Hot Your Face Will Melt

Maybe you knew this, maybe you didn't, but I'm a podcasting superstar. Does that make you jealous? Perhaps we can talk about our problems over a pickle loaf sandwich.

Anyway, Craig and I recorded a whole bunch of crap Monday, and I'll be posting different segments of said crap throughout the week. This information should make you horny.

The first segment is on the topic of the Bengals-Seahawks game, and of course, gay stuff. I swear we don't plan this stuff. Regardless, I highly recommend the conversation towards the end about seeing professional athletes in the buff (all true stories, by the way).

Also, I still need to answer the "what does it all mean" question that pertains to the Bengals heading into week 4. This will appear on the screen Tuesday afternoon.

-Brad Spieser

Be Patient, Jerks

The football blogging is temporarily on hold, but it will be posted later.

Craig and I are recording at the moment. Keep checking back for the latest podcasts. In the meantime, enjoy a 52 second clip from "Sifl and Olly," one of the ten best tv shows of all time.

-Brad Spieser

Naked People on TwinKilling?

If you're scoring at home, is blocked from Fifth-Third computers. And now, just two seconds ago, this is what was sitting in my inbox, courtesy of a teacher-friend of mine:

"Hello Bradley Allen,

I just wanted you to know that I tried to view your website today at work and it wouldn't let me. It said it was blocked because it was pornography:)


Damn the man.

Bengals stuff to be posted later today.

-Brad Spieser

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Seahawks 24 Points, Bengals 21 Points

The biggest complaint about fantasy football is that people no longer care for their favorite NFL team. I always hated that argument. I mean, why does anyone care if I don't root as hard for my childhood team?

Either way, fantasy football interest never interfered with my psychotic passion for the Bengals. Sure, it's approached a fine line before, but it's never surpassed it. I only bring this up because Sunday has left me pondering suicide, and it's only partially due to the Bengals' most recent loss.

Here's why:

Saturday night, as I was drinking college football and watching cheap vodka, I decided to give a final look to the starting lineup of my fantasy football team, the Florida Marlins. My WR corps is shaky because I drafted Kitna in the 5th (even though I already had Peyton Manning), and also because I wanted an elite TE, so I drafted Vernon Davis when other capable No. 3 WRs were out there. You could argue that the Kitna move was brilliant, but Vernon Davis...not so much. Or at least not yet.

As it stands, my WRs are Houshmandzadeh, Santonio Holmes, Brandon Jones, Devery Henderson and...

Kevin freaking Curtis.

Do I even need to tell you the rest of the story?

As I drunkenly looked over my lineup and pondered player matchups, I decided to take Curtis--who had been plugged in since Tuesday--out of the lineup in favor of Brandon Jones. I thought they had similar matchups (Curtis vs. Detroit; Jones vs. New Orleans) so I gave Jones the edge because of the "I want to watch my player on Monday night" factor, which is almost always a bad idea. Regardless, I never would have thought that Curtis vs. Jones would cost me a win. I am now trailing my brother's team by 24 points, meaning that if Brandon Jones posts career bests of 8 catches for 140 yards and a TD...I'll still lose by a point.

Now that's rage, my friend.

If there was no such thing as fantasy football, I would direct 100 percent of my anger at Glenn Holt. Now, thanks to Kevin Curtis (or I guess, me), my anger towards the fumbling moron is only 50.1 percent--approaching but not crossing the line.

You see, fantasy football is a good thing. And it's the reason Glenn Holt will live to see another day. If, back in 1994, there was a leisure activity known as Fantasy World Cup Soccer, Andres' Escobar would still be alive.

Jesus, I'm rambling.

The game...

I somehow forgot about the Bengals game as I watched the ending of Arizona-Baltimore (did Kurt Warner just start a QB controversy?) and San Diego-Green Bay (I told you Favre would play his best ball in five years). Luckily, at about 4:18, my buddy shouted "HOLY SHIT! THE BENGALS GAME STARTED!" Actually, he just said "Spice, the Bengals game is underway." but it's more expressive to use capital letters and exclamation points and whatnot. Either way, the second I turned on the game I saw Matt Hasselbeck drop back and loft a TD to Robert Q. Engram. 7-0 Seahawks, and I hadn't even blinked. This was a bad sign. Or so I thought.

What followed was the Bengals taking control of the game. It wasn't always pretty (four false starts, two INTs and two lost fumbles), and it wasn't necessarily dominant (nonexistent running game), but the Bengals had control. Even when they were losing, it felt like they were in control. Until Holt pissed away a shot at victory, I was sure that Palmer would engineer a game-winning drive. At the very worst I thought the game was headed for a fifth quarter. Never did I imagine a scenario where the Bengals wouldn't even get to fire their weapon.

This isn't a good trend.

Last week, I complained that a lousy spot by the officials--and Marvin's mindless choice against challenging the play--stripped Palmer of an opportunity to lead a comeback. This week, it was a Glenn Holt fumble.

(Don't the football gods know that Carson Palmer can't become John Elway until he has a few miraculous comebacks in the vault? He needs moments, dammit. Do you realize that, as great as Palmer is, his most memorable moment as a professional was when he blew out his knee? I'm not sure why this matters at the moment, but it does matter. At least to me it does.)

Back to issues that don't involve my man crush for Carson Edward Palmer VI...

It's safe to say that Marvin Lewis has never dealt with as much scrutiny as he has this season. And although it's mostly warranted, the criticism has kept him from receiving the occasional compliment, even when he deserves it. I guess this is because nobody wants to kind of hate someone, they want to hate to the fullest. For some reason, the latter disposition makes sense to me, but it certainly isn't right. Take Sunday's loss to Seattle, for instance. Do you realize that Lemar Marshall (picked up in mid-August, after training camp), Anthony Schlegel (picked up a few weeks ago) and Dhani Jones (picked up this week) were on the field all day Sunday?

And how does this come back to Marvin Lewis?

If things were going well this season, the head coach would draw praise for "coaching up" the new linebackers and putting them in a position to help the team win. As it stands now, the bang-up job by the LB corps is just a blip on the radar. Seems unfair, don't it?

Even though it needed to be mentioned, I didn't bring that up to shed positive light on Marvin (I'm typically a 'hate to the fullest' guy). I really just brought it up as a way to talk about the truly amazing (yes, amazing) work of the aforementioned vagabond LBs. Actually, that's a lie. I didn't so much want to write about Anthony Schlegel (who every OSU fan knows is terrible) as much as I wanted to write about the wasted performance of these mammals.

A lot of Bengals fans will spend their week talking themselves into the Lemar Marshall or Dhani Jones era. And I appreciate their optimism, I really do, but it doesn't change the fact that they're stupid. I mean, there's a reason the Bengals were able to pick these guys up off the street, you know? And it wasn't because they're talented playmakers in the middle of their respective primes--it's because they were either washed-up (Jones), old (Marshall) and crappy (Schlegel). And somehow they weren't exposed by a perennial playoff team! I could praise the coaching staff for this, or I could be optimistic...but I'd rather just be bummed. Because if you think Anthony Schlegel won't be exposed by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, you obviously have your Bengals blinders on a little too tight. And you probably sleep in your Anthony Munoz jersey.

Game thoughts in no particular order (and the ban on bullet points is still in effect)...

1. Carson was great Sunday, but not great enough. Not to imply that he didn't do his part, but he was careless at times Sunday. The last time I remember him throwing that many long-balls into double coverage was 2004, his first season as a starter.

2. Well before Rudi injured his hamstring, he looked like me out there, and I was a pretty terrible NFL RB. Now, this obviously reflects on the O-Line, and the holes they didn't open, but Rudi's ability to make something out of nothing, not one of his strengths. And since he doesn't possess any speed, meaning he's ineffective on sweeps and stretch plays, he's often quite screwed. Think about it, when was the last time Rudi made a positive play after moving laterally? I have your answer: when he was playing Pop Warner ball.

Really though, I know the Bengals have had horrible luck with injuries to Chris Perry and Kenny Irons, but they need to keep drafting speed backs until they have a guy to steal carries and eventually become Rudi's replacement. Because you're lying to yourself if you think he's one of the top twenty backs in the NFL. I can't shout this loud enough...RUDI JOHNSON IS PREVENTING THIS OFFENSE FROM REACHING ITS POTENTIAL!

That said, the team can't afford a serious (or even nagging) injury to Rudi. Kenny Watson played his finest game as a Bengal Sunday, and yet he's just another guy. The offensive equivalent to Dhani Jones, if you will.

3. TJ's fumble and Chad's drops were inexcusable. I realize how crazy it is to criticize guys who combined for 21 receptions, 279 yards and 1 TD, but, similar to Palmer, they needed to be perfect. And that doesn't just apply for the Seattle needs to be that way all season.

If the offense is going to reach its full potential (and that's the only way this team can go 9-7), then TJ can't fumble the ball away, and Chad can't drop consecutive balls in the two-minute offense. Those plays kill drives...and keep points off the board...and allow the other team to hang around...and greatly contribute to losses.

4. As dumb as Bratkowski was with his persistence in trying to run Rudi on toss sweeps, he deserves some love for a few things. The mid-2nd quarter screen pass to Rudi, against an all-out blitz, when they were buried in their own territory, was a thing of beauty. Had it been Irons or Perry back there it might have gone the distance (94 yards), but still, it netted 33 yards. Also, the 4th quarter quick-hitters to Kenny Watson (including his TD) were surprisingly effective.

5. I was going to write something nice about Daniel Coats, but who gives a shit? He's Daniel Coats, you know?

6. I was happy to see Levi at LT, and I was happy to see Whitworth at LG. If I had a nickel for every time Dave Lapham has expressed his feelings for putting the best five available lineman on the field, regardless of position, I'd have a shitload of nickels. And the best five available lineman Sunday were Levi, Whitworth, Stepanovich, Andrews and Big Willie. Which reminds me...

7. I have a bad feeling about Willie's feet/foot/knee/leg/body issues. It was encouraging to see him walk off, but, as stated in previous columns, he appears to be fatter than Freddie Childress. Freddie Childress with a bum wheel, that is. Regardless of his similarities to Fat Fred (and/or Big Pun), the thought of him blocking Adalius Thomas next Monday is terrifying. The bye week can't come soon enough for employee No. 71.

8. I think Madeiu Williams is a pretty good player. Not great, but pretty good. The kind of guy who might be a Pro Bowl alternate someday. (Did you like my best Peter King impersonation?)

9. I spent the majority of time between 8p-10p arguing with Craig (of podcasting fame) about the possibility that there's ever been a legitimate putt for double eagle. I say yes, and he disagrees. We're still looking for definitive proof either way.

10. Jonathan Joseph has been awful this season. And awful isn't good. Seriously, when did he become the guy that every QB picks on? Remember how good he was last year? For the sake of the team's potential to win football contests, I hope he isn't hurt. For the sake of him avoiding being called a gigantic suckbag (and other mean things that kids say), I hope he's still recovering.

(By the way, it always makes me laugh when I write a word like "suckbag," and the spell check reminds me that it's not an actual word.)

11. Did I jinx Glenn Holt? The answer is quite possibly YES. Not only did I slurp him during the week, but I freaking picked him up in one of my fantasy leagues. Jesus, I hate myself.

12. Cigarettes taste terrible. Or perhaps more accurately, cigarettes are the shittiest tasting thing in the history of taste and/or things. But I can at least understand how someone would try them and get hooked. They're cool, you know?

As for smokeless tobacco, somebody needs to explain this one to me. With cigs, you can go through the motions (i.e., not inhaling) and gradually build up a tolerance. Even though you would hate every puff along the way, you could at least pretend to enjoy each three-minute session. With smokeless tobacco, there's no such thing as faking enjoyment. You have to stick a wad of horrible brown shit in your mouth and leave it there for a long time. Everything about the process makes you want to die, and you need to repeat the "wanting to die" process for awhile before it starts to taste good. Plus, and this is a big's not cool. Nothing about dipping or chewing smokeless tobacco is cool. And I don't mean this in a "say no to drugs" kind of way, I mean it in a "girls won't want to have sex with you because your dipping or chewing tobacco" kind of way. It makes you look like a hillbilly, and hillbillies aren't remotely cool. Why else do you think Hannah Montana doesn't use her real last name?

(Note: I only brought up the tobacco topic because I've been watching and rewatching Thank You For Smoking every night for the last 1.3 weeks, and it's quite possibly the most underrated moving since The Life Aquatic. Plus, I feel like you need to know these things about me.)

12. I wonder how the desperate Bengals would fair against the Browns if they played them this week. Three TD victory...easy. Which is why you it's usually a bad idea to overlook your opponent.

13. I doesn't know why I've neglected mentioning one of the game's most critical plays to this point, but better late than never, right? And that play is...Hasselbeck's obvious completion to himself, which somehow was ruled an incomplete pass and thus, unreviewable, effectively screwing the Bengals out of 8 yards and a running clock (which would have run down to the two minute warning). Similar to Justin Smith's bullshit roughing the passer penalty against Tampa last season, this didn't cost the Bengals the victory, regardless of how fans choose to remember it. But it did hinder their chances of winning, and every little bit counts.

But some things about this ruling still don't make sense--perhaps a reader can help me out.

Let's go through this, one step at a time...

Hasselbeck caught the ball and took a few steps before being tackled. As he was taken to the turf, the ball squirted out, and it was recovered by a large human wearing a Bengals uniform...but the fumble was clearly caused by the ground. This is where things get tricky. After a good three seconds (although it felt like an eternity), two referees convened and determined that it was an incomplete pass, giving the Seahawks a 2nd & 10 with 2:02 on the clock (as opposed to a 2nd & 18 and 2:00). Wait, what?

Hasselbeck wasn't in traffic--the play was out in the open. And he's the goddamn QB, dammit, he has more eyes on him than anyone. To me, only one ruling was possible: the receiver was down by contact, and the ground caused the fumble. Regardless, Marvin correctly challenged the play, and as it went to a commercial break, we all assumed our friend, Mr. Instant Replay, would straighten things out. However...

When it came time for the official to enhance the Bengals' chances of winning, he announced this to the world (try to forgive his incomplete sentences): "By rule, we stay with the ruling on the field of the incomplete pass. It is not a play that can be challenged, because the defense recovered the ball after the ruling of incomplete. Therefore it's second down, the ruling of incomplete stands."

Let me get this straight...the Bengals weren't allowed to challenge the play because they recovered a fumble that wasn't even a fumble? What if the Seahawks would have recovered the fumble that wasn't a fumble? Could the Bengals have challenged in that scenario? I don't quite understand this. Regardless of who recovered the fumble that wasn't a fumble, that replay clearly showed Hasselbeck catching his own pass and getting tackled. Since that was the end of the play, how does it matter who recovered the fumble that wasn't a fumble?

Seriously, somebody get back to me with a better explanation of the rule.

That's all for now, boys and girls...more Bengal goodness to be posted sometime Monday. In fact, from this point forward, I plan to post a 'game reaction' blog Sunday night/early Monday morning, followed by a 'what does it all mean' blog sometime Monday. Besides that...

I'll also take a look around the NFL, discuss gambling and country music, and I promise to write several words about Ohio State football.

And unless Craig is a lying liar, new podcasts will be on the site before MNF kicks off.

One other thing: I'm trying to compile a list of the best fantasy football team names you've ever heard. Whether they're R rated or PG, send them my way. And if they warrant a quick back story to help me better understand the meaning, have at it. (I'm having problems linking my email address. Deal with it.)

-Brad Spieser

Glenn Holt Must Die

You probably don't know this, but I've punched men before. Now, I haven't done this to a high number of men, and my success was marginal, but it has happened. I only bring this up because--if presented with the opportunity--I would throw haymakers on Glenn Holt.



I don't know about a lot of things, but I know that Carson Palmer would have easily marched the Bengals into FG range if it weren't for Holt's fumble. One minute remaining, three timeouts...puh-lease. This is a crushing defeat. Crushing. The Bengals outplayed Seattle, at their deafening death trap, and it doesn't mean a damn thing. The Bengals still have a 1-2 record. Silver linings are for assholes.

I tell you what's a weird thing: trying to decide which loss (Cleveland or Seattle) hurt more. It's kind of like deciding if it hurt more when your girlfriend (if I had one) cheated on you with your brother, or when she did the same thing with your best friend; either way, it sucks. In both cases, you have to ask yourself one question: "Why do I stay with her (or them)?" Sometimes it's hard coming up with a good answer.

But anyway, back to deciding which loss hurt more...I say this one. The Bengals were forced to play a LB corps of Anthony Schlegel, Dhani Jones and Lemar Marshall for more than a few snaps. And Kenny Watson...was he clutch or what? What about Bob Bratkowski's outstanding play-calling? Christ.

I'm not a smart man, but I know this...

The better team lost. Also...

My hypothetical girlfriend is a spectacular whore.

Lengthy blog to be posted before bedtime. I'll give my thoughts on Chad and TJ, and the obvious need for Chris Perry. And hopefully I'll have injury updates for Big Willie and Rudi. Oh yeah, why is Johnny Joseph so bad this year? And I'll probably complain about the refs again.

And I also want to give my opinion of dangerous Olympic sports and smokeless tobacco. Keep checking back, peoples.

-Brad Spieser

The Bengals Will Win...Maybe


Seattle is a good team. Seattle is even gooder at home. Typing with shaky hands is less than awesome (how did John Daly ever make a putt?). Shaun Alexander is a really good RB, albeit overrated. Shaun Alexander doesn't tip. Seattle's WRs are nothing special. In case you forgot, Joe Nash is a bastard. Mark Curnutte picked the Bengals to win. Again. I might just do the same thing.

(Note: I wont write about anything mentioned above, but it had to be mentioned.)


Lee Corso acts like an idiot. Even when he's not trying to act like an idiot he acts like an idiot. BUT...he's the guy who says "not so fast, my friend." Which is why Lee Corso is NOT an idiot. Does that make sense?

And the reason I insulted Mrs. Corso's husband?

Because the Bengals have a legitimate shot today. And not just in an "any given Sunday" sort of way. Riddle me this...

Why is Seattle, a perennial playoff team, only favored by 3.5 points? I mean, their home field advantage is off the charts, plus the Bengals just gave up 51 points to the freaking Browns, which means they obviously stink, right? RIGHT?

To that I would say...don't you think Vegas knows what they're doing (aka 'not so fast, my friend')? The line is 3.5 for a reason, peoples.

The Seahawks have been terrible against the pass thus far, and they haven't exactly faced the '98 Vikings in the first two weeks. Seattle's first two opposing QBs (Garcia and Leinart, guys I really like) can't even dream of stretching a defense the way Palmer can. It's an obvious statement, I realize, but it warrants mentioning.

Palmer is poised to have his greatest season ever, and that means pulling wins out of his ass even when it seems unlikely. And in this case, a win doesn't even seem that unlikely. Think about it...which roster would you rather have: the Bengals or the Seahawks?

To me, the answer seems obvious: the team with the star QB.

As for my prediction, I think the Bengals will toss up 30+ points. And lose.

(Was this a waste of your time?)

-Brad Spieser

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Drunken Blog

Would I rather...

a. make passionate love to this person, or

b. swap calves with her

The answer seems obvious, right?

I will try to write about stuff tomorrow before the Bengals play American football against the Washington Seabirds. Let's fist fight. I'll kill you in the face. Your mother's an idiot. She's also a stupid person. Comma is a thing that helps sentences, and it's also a word. You're a word. Idiot. (Note: For some reason, I'm having trouble with placing a bigger picture on the page. The problem will be fixed soon.)

-Brad Spieser

Intelligent Pre-Game Words About Ohio State Football

Todd Boeckman is a suck.

Antonio Henton is a good.

You've been warned.

-Brad Spieser

Cam Wagers on Collegiate Athletics

Cam lost a bunch of American dollars last weekend. As a result, he hasn't shaved his face in quite awhile. I'm not sure if that's a good sign or not, but it's the truth. I feel like you need to know these things when Cam gives out his locks of the millennium.

They is...

Colorado - 13 vs. Miami Redhawkskins

Georgia + 3.5 @ Alabama

Indiana/Illinois (61) OVER

-Brad Spieser

Friday, September 21, 2007

Christ, I Hate Making Promises

I told you I'd deliver fantasy football advice, and that's precisely what your about to read! (exclamation point)

Here's my advice to anyone who owns Shaun McDonald, Antwaan Randle El or Jason Avant...

Please end your life, and do so quietly.

Or at least pick another hobby.

-Brad Spieser

P.S. Ohio State thoughts coming sometime before Saturday's game at Northwestern (3:30 ET). Cam's 5 star locks of the millenium will be posted sometime beofre that.

Fantasy Football is a Serious Issue

The most recent podcast is an angry fantasy football voice mail left by my friend Frank. Just last night, myself and my co-commissioner, Al, were forced to veto a shady trade involving Ladainian Tomlinson. The voice mail was left within five minutes of the ruling.

Upon wakeup (almost 1pm), I checked my email and found that Frank took his feelings public (relatively speaking). Below is what he sent to the rest of the league. Before taking it in, here are a couple of details that will help you:

1. The trade details: Frank was sending McGahee, Harrison and Bulger to receive Tomlinson, Hasselbeck and Reggie Brown. This was not a joke.

2. When he continually says "Cool Dudes," he does so for a reason: our league is called the Cool Dude Fantasy Football League.

3. Jeff R*** is the guy who sent him Tomlinson.

4. Al and I tried to get them to modify the trade last night (which he referenced on the voice mail, but I failed to explain), with Frank declining. This morning, Frank had a change of heart and he's decided to throw Steven Jackson in the trade, replacing McGahee. I guess Tomlinson is worth it after all.

5. The sentence that begins "When you Losers are home in bed..." was an attempted shot at the way the rest of the league makes a living. When he says "playing golf with Marty," it's because one of our guys works for Fox Sports and routinely plays golf with Marty Brennamnen. Frank apparently resents that. Who knew?

6. I decided against fixing Frank's awful grammar. He didn't deserve it, you know?

7. Listen to the podcast before reading this.

Anyway, enjoy Frank's angry rant, which was titled "Veto Power."

I would like to take this time to explain my side of the story. Everyone in this league knew Jeff R*** would trade LTat some point in the yr. So I'm the bad guy for offering a trade-right. Cool Dudes trust me I know its LT- but honestlyI think the trade was good for R***. With that said I do notwant to be known as a thief or a shady gm- so me and R*** will modify this trade and Stephen Jackson will be involved.It was never my intention to screw anybody. I liked R***'s team better after he made the trade. Bulger to Holt, Harrison, Gates, Barber, Mcgahee. The point was made to me today you don't trade LT- well if thats the case you should never trade Payton Manning either-right? He's been traded about a 100 times in this league-also its not a keeper league anymore-its all about what have you done for me lately-right? So I got the message and Like I said I'll takecare of it. Also don't hate on me for my passion of Fantasy Football. When you Losers are home in bed, kissing your wives, placing bets, making music, selling cars, selling trash bins, routing truckers, blogging, and playing golf with Marty-- I'm trying to do anything I can to win a 4th- yeah I said 4th Title. So I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm sorry for making what you people out there think is a SHADY move- and R*** and I will modify this trade to includeStephen Jackson. Cool Dudes thanks for your time and remember even at 0-2 I'll be there in the end! Peace,


-Brad Spieser

5 Star Locks of the Millennium

Answer: Yes

Question: Did I just wake up from a 13 hour nap?

Being that I promised an all day football blogging spectacular, it appears as if I'm a bit behind on schedule. Here's to hoping I can make it up to you over the next 3.73 hours...

My NCAA and NFL locks for this weekend are as follows:

NCAA: Air Force (+11.5) @ BYU

NFL: Arizona (+9) @ Baltimore

My suggestion: Call your bookie right now and tell him you want $80 trillion on each. If you win, you can say "pay me, dickface?" If you lose, you can tell him you were "just joking." If he doesn't think it was funny, you'll then have to pack up your clothes and move 5-7 states over. And you'll probably have to change your name, grow a mustache and never return home. Either way, you win!

(Note: fantasy advice coming in the next 25-164 minutes.)

-Brad Spieser

Thursday, September 20, 2007

High School Girls are Like, Really Smart

Except for the times I had my fingers crossed, I have never lied to you. Which is why you should know that what you're about to read is probably true.

My roommate, a female, is a very smart person. BUT...she watches some stupid shit on our 25" Panasonic color television. Such as MTV's Newport Harbor (pictured above), a "reality" program that follows a bunch of rich idiots during their senior year of high school.

And before you think it's unfair of me to say such meanspirited things about teenagers, I need you to continue reading for another eight (to twelve) seconds, as it will undoubtedly justify my strong feelings...

What would you think if I told you that--in the most recent episode of Newport Harbor--the word "like" was said 108 times in 22 minutes?

(Note: I have no idea why Sean Penn hates America, but if this is the reason, I don't blame him.)



Trust me, I counted.

I weren't no good in math class, but that's nearly five times per minute. Like, I don't even know what else I can like, add to this.

Update that has nothing to do with the Newport Harbor morons: I will be posting football-related mini-blogs all day Friday. I plan to (a.) wake up early, (b.) eat an Adderall, (c.) read stuff, (d.) watch stuff and (e.) write about the stuff. Have a nice work day, idiots!

-Brad Spieser

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A little break from football

Gilbert Arenas is not only one of my all-time favorite athletes, but he's also an absolute genius. The man is clearly insane, but since he averages almost 30ppg and doesn't commit felonies, people (like myself) find his lunacy endearing. Thankfully for us, he writes a blog for that never fails to deliver the goods. Gil may be one of the five best offensive players alive, but he still finds time to share his thoughts on topics ranging from how hot Beyonce is in person to relationship advice for the fellas.

Here is a recent entry form his blog:

Relationships 101

"I know everybody thinks life is perfect for an NBA player, but people get in arguments and I do too. Here's the real story guys, of why I missed the EA Sports event in Canada.
It started out real simple. My girlfriend had to drive me to practice in the morning to go work out and I was looking in the car and I guess my daughter dragged sticks and rocks from outside and there was yogurt and stuff all on the floor in the backseat. So I'm thinking to myself, "Man, this car is filthy!" But instead of thinking it to myself, it slipped out and I said it out loud.

So now the cat was out of the bag and I was like, "Are you ever going to clean the car?" And just like a woman with kids is going to do, she hit me with, "I take care of the kids all day, and I don’t have time to do this, and do that, and do this and do that." So I'm like, "OK, but this is my dad's car and my dad keeps his car clean…"

It was about her registering her car, because she didn't register her car. It's been sitting in the garage for two months with no tags. So I'm like, "If you register your car, then I can get my dad's car back and my dad's car would be spotless and there would be no problem because you could have a party in your car if you want to. If you want to have a party, you and the kids, and y'all want to have a party and throw drinks around, hey, be my guest. That's your car, you have to live with that mess, I don’t go in there.'

And then she got so frustrated with that, because she came back with, "I take care of the kids and if you want the car cleaned, you have to clean it." So we was on 16th and Constitution and she kicked me out of the car and I had to walk all the way to the gym. It was probably a mile, but I had on smaller shoes. You know, I wear 13s, but I had on 12s because they matched the outfit I was wearing so my feet were hurting and I didn’t have any cab money to take a cab and that all played a part.

So I went on a strike.

I think all men should do this when they have a disagreement. This is Relationship 101. When you have a fight with "the other," don't answer their calls and don't answer their pages. That usually gets the point across that you're not talking to them. So, I held out for seven days. I went on strike for seven days and stayed at the gym for seven days. I slept in the gym. They got nice couches in there and it just kept me in the gym working on my knee and stuff.

So, back to the EA event, I didn't have a passport or driver's license to actually go to Canada because I was on strike and I didn't want to go back to the house because she kicked me out. She kicked me out of the car on a Sunday, I had to wait till the following Sunday to talk to her again. Now we're good. She just got her car registered two days ago, we're waiting on that to be finalized but my dad's car still looks like trash day.

You know, it's "the life." Everybody thinks we have easy lives, but hey, if you don't want to argue and you dont want to fight, take the high road and sleep in a gym."

I'm pretty sure that when Arenas decides to hang up his sneakers he has a career waiting for him as the next Dr. Phil.

Cam Carey (9/19/07)

Tho Who Concert All Over Again

A bunch of years ago the Who played in Cincinnati and people were trampled to death. I'm pretty sure that was scary or something. So...

I just wanted to alert you to something that will cause roughly the same amount of chaos. Hopefully, you can behave yourselves and avoid another disaster.

Did you know that on Tuesday, October 9, Alex Stepanovich and Anthony Schlegel are signing autographs at the Bengals Pro Shop?

Stay in a single-file line, boys and girls!

And remember, line jumping is not a sport at Paramount's Kings Island.

-Brad Spieser

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Browns 51 Points, Bengals 45 Points-Leftover Crap

As we speak, I'm sitting down. I'm in a room that is approximately eight degrees warmer than what I'd consider ideal. Which is why I'm the blogging equivalent to Clubber Lang. Now that we got that out of the way...

I've been writing for 13 months now, and I've probably written two sentences more than any other: (1) I hate myself, and (2) I'm an idiot.

Neither of those sentiments are ever untrue, but No. 2 is rearing its ugly head at the moment. You see, I've written 3,000 words about Sunday's 51-45 loss to the Browns, and hardly any of it was game reaction, which I'm pretty sure I promised.

And now it's Tuesday afternoon (which is also the name of a gay song by the Moody Blues that my Dad used to make me listen to when he drove me to the batting cages), and I still haven't delivered the "goods." For that I'm sorrier than I've ever been about anything in my entire life (or maybe not). So how about a compromise? How about if I briefly touch on the things I still feel are relevant from the Deal.

My postgame blog on Sunday asked a handful of questions--a few of those I answered, but most of them I didn't. Of the questions I didn't answer, one of them still needs to be. And that be...

Q: Does Chuck Bresnahan need to be fired?

A: Obviously. Just not right now. Throwing him on the street two weeks into the season wouldn't solve a single problem. In fact, it might make things worse to panic so early.

Regardless of the poor performance of the defense, is it really Chuck B's fault? My answer to that is...maybe. Then again, maybe not. The expression "you can't make chicken salad out of chicken crap" annoys the hell out of me, but in this case, it clearly describes the Bengals' defensive woes.

Here's what Justin Smith had to say after the game:

"It was mental errors. It's ridiculous. At this level of football, you can not have mental errors and let guys run down the field like that. That's what killed us. We missed a few tackles, but the big plays were mental errors. ... Guys are too good, too fast, too strong for you not to be where you need to be and then not to exploit it. That's what we did all day. You're going to get your butt beat if you do that. And we did, defensively."

and John Thornton shared his $0.02:

"I'm not trying to be (a jerk)," said defensive tackle John Thornton of Lewis' 66-yarder. "Any time somebody gets a run like that, somebody made a mistake. It's not a physical thing. That's when it hurts, when one guy or a couple of guys mess up, that affects the whole defense. We all have to have ownership of that. When they started out three-and-out, I thought it was going to be like that all day. Then they got a turnover, a short field, and kicked a field goal and they got into a rhythm. We didn't put them out early like we were supposed to do."

Here's my response to these large mammals: Guys, listen, I have no reason to believe you didn't miss assignments. In fact, I would bet $600-$675 saying that you absolutely missed you're assignments, BUT...that doesn't explain the whole story.

The whole story is this: the Bengals' defense stinks, and it's not because of a lack of execution. It's because the players who are failing to execute are pedestrian at best. The reason the Ravens, Bears, Pats, et al. have strong defenses isn't just because they have good coaches, although I'm sure it helps. The reason they excel is because they are loaded with supremely gifted's as simple as that. I'm sure Brian Urlacher occasionally misses an assignment, but I'm also sure he's athletic enough to make an adjustment on the fly to prevent serious damage from taking place.

The point being that the Bengals don't have players like this on defense. But they do on offense, and look at the results of that unit. Are you going to tell me the success of Palmer and Chad and Daniel Coats is due to Bob freaking Bratkowski? Please. That guy was your whipping boy for years until Palmer shuffled into town. Now, you barely hear his name.

But back to the Bengals not having any guys like Urlacher (or Shawne Merriman, Ed Reed or whoever). We've been here before, but the only truly disruptive force that played on a Marvin Lewis team is/was Odell Thurman. And you know how I feel about Mr. Thurman. I believe that his rookie season in 2005 was the best by a defensive player in my twenty years as a Bengals fan, and I would argue that to the death with anybody stupid enough to engage me. What's funny about my strong feelings towards Odell is that Marvin and Bresnahan loved telling us how he was always missing assignments.

Irony's ironic sometimes.

One final thought on the "Should Bresnahan be fired?" question: As a Reds fan, how many times have you heard somebody call in to sports talk radio to demand that a Reds pitching coach be fired? We heard it with Don Gullett, we're hearing it now with Dick Pole, and we heard it with every guy in between. Coincidence? I think not. I blame Phil Dumatrait.

Two of the questions I kind of answered in the postgame blog should probably be posted again, just so you know my stance on playing scared during shootouts. Here's the brief Q & A with myself:

8. Why did Marvin Lewis choose to kick the 19 yard FG on 4th & 1 on the opening drive of the 3rd quarter? It was after a turnover, they're on the road, they were trailing I need to continue? You have to go for a touchdown in a shootout; FGs aren't good enough.

9. Why did Marvin Lewis choose to punt on 4th & 2 near midfield (and maybe in Browns' territory) with 13:00 remaining and trailing 41-38? If you learned anything from question No. 8, it's that you don't punt in shootouts unless you have no other choice.

I could expound upon my answers, but you get the point: you don't bring a knife to a gun fight. Plus, I'm getting tired of typing.

Here are the leftover things that I haven't touched on (and again, I'm continuing the ban on bullet points. Fuck 'em, you know?):

a. Chad Johnson is waaaay better that TJ Houshmandzadeh. I only bring this up because some "experts" act as if the gap is close, or that Houshmandzadeh is as good or better. For those of us smart people, Chad's superiority over TJ has always been evident. But for those who listen to uninformed people, or people who are simply annoyed by Chad's act...well, what's the matter with you? Does your face even have eyeballs? Listen, TJ Houshmandzadeh is a fantastic football player, but he has so many limitations (deep speed, mainly) that hold him back. but Chad Johnson is the best WR this organization has ever seen. By a lot. And this is coming from a guy who thinks Carl Pickens might be the NFL's most underrated player of the 90's. Either way, I hope last week's outburst has settled this once and for all.

(And to those aforementioned smart people: I'm sorry to waste your time on something so stupid)

b. I received a text during the game wondering if the Bengals are shopping Levi Jones. My short answer was "Hell no," and I still believe that; star LTs--in the middle of their prime--don't get dealt. Ever. Plus, midseason football trades never go down the way they do in baseball or basketball. The last high profile midseason trade I remember was Mike McKenzie being shipped from Green Bay to New Orleans, but that was in the middle of a contract holdout. So no, Levi isn't going anywhere, but the situation seems odd. The fact that he plays on some special teams tells me so. Now, there's no doubt that Levi is still less than 100 percent physically, but I'd venture to guess that he's more game-ready than Willie is. Did you see that elephant out there Sunday? He looked like he ate Sam Adams. And he still did a solid job!

The Levi situation reminds me of the Lavar Arrington situation from a few years back. If you don't remember, Lavar Arrington, a multiple time Pro Bowler in his absolute prime, was benched by Joe Gibbs. Well sort of. Instead of deactivating Arrington, he chose to embarrass him. Gibbs decided to only play Arrington on certain blitz packages, with the message being "You're not good enough to start, but you can help us as a backup OLB." I don't know much, but I know professional athletes, especially those with Arrington's credentials, hate being disrespected publicly more than anything else.

So I might be looking too far into Levi's minimal activity, but something definitely smells funny.

c. I'm gonna go ahead and say it...Glenn Holt is good. We've seen one week wonders before (James Hundon late in '97, anyone?), but something about this dude seems different. His performance blew me away. He made big catch after big catch, big return after big return, and he kept coming back after getting his bell rung.

I have no idea why he wasn't drafted out of college. Perhaps he's an idiot. Maybe he's a punk. Maybe he was just an injury prone underachiever while playing for the lowly UK Wildcats. Who knows? What I do know, though, is that he can play.

(Blog interruption: I thought I just deleted everything you've just read and that caused me to scream really bad things, like the F-word, over and over. And over. I screamed so loud, in fact, that a neighbor just knocked on my door to see if everything was okay. This is a true story.)

d. Aside from anything that happened when the Bengals were on defense, the most crushing sequence took place with just under nine minutes remaining in the game. Trailing 48-38, and staring at a 1st & 10 from midfield, here's what happened on the next three plays: (1st & 10) drop by TJ--it would have been an 8 yard gain, (2nd &10) another drop by TJ--it would have gained at least 6 yards, and after an inexcusable Delay of Game penalty...(3rd & 15) Chad dropped a perfectly thrown, 20 yard laser that would have gained at least 10 more yards after the catch.

That was a goddamn killer. And with the down and distance being 4th & 15, Marvin had no choice but to send out Kyle Larson.

(By the way, give Chad a break for not getting out of bounds on the last play of the first half. It wasn't an easy play like many are saying. And he wasn't trying to make a play with the ball. He was sitting down in an awkward position and the DB came flying up on him before he could really react. Sure, I wish he would have touched his hand out of bounds but it was a difficult play.)

e. Here's exhibit A as to why I'd still rather be a Bengals fan than a Browns fan at the moment: Did anyone else hear the music being played over the loudspeakers at Cleveland's stadium (forgive me, I can't remember the name) after Leigh Bodden's INT officially slammed the door on the Bengals? How hard would you laugh if I told you it was Tom Petty's "Even the Losers?" If you're unfamiliar with that song, the hook goes something like this: "Even the losers...get lucky sometimes."

Translation: Even if we beat the Bengals, we still suck.

And you thought Bengals fans were apathetic.

Finally, I leave you with this, courtesy of the high class folks inhabiting the Dawg Pound...

More football goodness tonight! (exclamation point)

-Brad Spieser

Monday, September 17, 2007

Browns 51 Points, Bengals 45 Points-Part Threux

I will do my best to make sense of the following post, but no promises.

In Sunday's postgame blog I questioned Marvin Lewis for not challenging the spot on the Braylon Edwards 4th quarter reception that essentially clinched a Cleveland victory.

And then...

In Monday's blog titled "Browns 51 Points, Bengals 45 Points-Part Deux," I opened with these words:

"I was planning on blasting Marvin Lewis in this space for not challenging the spot on Braylon Edwards' 7 yard reception on 3rd & 8, with 3:11 remaining in the 4th quarter, which somehow--thanks to them cheatin' refs--resulted in a first down. That gift spot essentially sealed the victory for Cleveland, and it made me want to punch several people, namely the refs and Marvin Lewis.

But then something happened--I went back and watched the game, and it revealed that I'm an idiot. In my head, the Bengals still had one challenge remaining. I thought Marvin's previous challenge, a failed effort, came late in the 2nd quarter and not early in the 3rd. And since you can't challenge two plays in the same half, Marvin was up shit creek.

I apologize, Marvin."

And after some friendly banter (scroll to the top after clicking the link) with message board peoples, we finally got to the bottom of it.

(Note: I have no idea why I ever thought that coaches are only allowed one replay challenge per half.)

Essentially we discovered that you can challenge two plays in one half, even if you lost the first challenge--all you need in order to challenge a second time in one half is a timeout to potentially lose.

When I found that out, I blew a fuse. In related news, I think my face exploded (I'm not even sure what that means but I'm not taking it out). But listen, the Bengals had one timeout remaining when Edwards was given the generous spot. And instead of challenging the spot, which was the only way to keep alive a realistic shot at winning, Marvin decided to use the final timeout.

Let's take a closer look at Marvin's two options after the Browns were handed a first down:

1. He could call timeout with hopes of forcing a three-and-out and maybe getting the ball back with one minute left, buried in their own territory. Or...

2. He could challenge the shaky spot, and if the play was overturned (which was plausible) his superstar QB (during his record-setting day) would be handed the ball with nearly three minutes remaining. And, okay, I realize a failed challenge would have officially ended the game, but it was easily worth the risk.

Here's where it becomes a million times worser than the worstest thing ever.

Did you hear Marvin's press conference Monday afternoon? I would suggest skipping ahead to the 4:05 mark, right before Chick Ludwig asks the following question: "Marvin, did you consider challenging the spot on Braylon Edwards...?"

Warning...if you root for the Cincinnati Bengals, Marvin's answer will make you want to blow up your neighbor's house with dynamite, followed by an assassination of their cat, who's name may or may not be Mittens.

If you don't want to bother listening to his pathetic answer, here's exactly what he had to say: "He ruled forward progress, and that's the ball spot, and that's where he put it. So at that point it's kind of a dead issue."

Even if you had trouble interpreting Marvin's mumbling nonsense, one thing was loud and clear: Marvin thinks that forward progress is unreviewable.

Wait, what? Has he not watched football games before? Has he not read the rules regarding instant replay? They're not that long, really. Take a look for yourself...

The NFL replay system currently only covers the following situations:

1. Scoring plays
2. Pass complete/incomplete/intercepted
3. Runner/receiver out of bounds
4. Recovery of a loose ball in or out of bounds
5. Touching of a forward pass, either by an ineligible receiver or a defensive player
6. Quarterback pass or fumble
7. Illegal forward pass
8. Forward or backward pass
9. Runner ruled not down by contact
10. Forward progress in regard to a first down
11. Touching of a kick
12. Other plays involving placement of the football
13. Whether a legal number of players are on the field at the time of the snap

Jesus, that took forever to read. I'm fucking exhausted. Pass me the Sunny D before I start cramping up.

All joking aside, Marvin's answer is unacceptable. And I'm wondering how all the media-types failed to ask a follow up question. I mean, we're not talking about an obscure rule in golf; this is instant replay in the NFL...even casual fans know those rules. Does he think we were born last Tuesday?

Look, I routinely ripped Marvin last season for his piss-poor (not good) clock management, which warranted far more attention than it received. But this year I had a clean slate waiting for him. I thought maybe he'd learn from his mistakes and lead this team to the promised land (or something gay like that). Regardless, his reasoning for not challenging the spot is absurd, even though it's hard to believe he doesn't know the rule.

My gut feeling is that he panicked, called timeout and was forced to live with his decision. But if he really didn't think that he could challenge the play, well, I just don't know what to do with that information. Is that grounds for suspension? Termination? Corporal punishment? I don't know, it's tough to say. What I do know is this: it's hard supporting a guy who likely struggled on the Iowa tests?

And like Pete Mackanin's handling of Josh Hamilton's playing time, this will barely get mentioned on talk radio.

-Brad Spieser


I could write something about this, but it would only take away from the greatness of this photo.

Cam Carey (9/17/07)

Browns 51 Points, Bengals 45 Points-Part Deux

I was planning on blasting Marvin Lewis in this space for not challenging the spot on Braylon Edwards' 7 yard reception on 3rd & 8, with 3:11 remaining in the 4th quarter, which somehow--thanks to them cheatin' (or maybe just old, stupid, fat and blind) refs--resulted in a first down. That gift spot essentially sealed the victory for Cleveland, and it made me want to punch several people, namely the refs and Marvin Lewis.

But then something happened--I went back and watched the game, and it revealed that I'm an idiot. In my head, the Bengals still had one challenge remaining. I thought Marvin's previous challenge, a failed effort, came late in the 2nd quarter and not early in the 3rd. And since you can't challenge two plays in the same half, Marvin was up shit creek.

I apologize, Marvin.

Either way, the play in question, the gift spot on Edwards' "first down" reception, absolutely killed the Bengals' chances of slapping together a legitimate two-minute drill. Instead of getting the ball back with 3:00 left (plus the two-minute warning), the drive didn't begin until the 1:03 mark, and it started at their own 8 yard line--a near impossible feat.

And before you think this is just after-the-fact whining about a few inches, let me assure you I have a legitimate gripe. Even on first viewing it seemed pretty obvious that Edwards was stonewalled by Caleb Miller and Dexter Jackson a half yard before he even approached CBS' accurate yellow line. And then I watched the play on Tivo, and I only needed to see it once to confirm what I already knew...Edwards wasn't even close to the first down marker.

And to make matters worse, the refs spotted the ball a good 18 inches past the yellow line, making it approximately a full yard difference between the actual spot and where the ball should have been placed. And to make matters even worser, the Browns got the first down by less than the length of the ball. An accurate spot, or even one close to accurate, means Carson is given another shot at the porous Browns secondary, and a shot at a history-making seventh touchdown pass. I ask you, would you bet against Carson and the Bengals under those circumstances? I have your two word answer: HELL FREAKING NO!

One other thing about the lousy spot by two different officials: I understand it's not easy to have the perfect mark on every play, but this play was easier than most. It's not as if Edwards was right at the stick when he caught it, only to get drilled backwards--I imagine forward progress calls like that are always the most difficult for the zebras. But this play was different. Edwards caught a 2 yard dump pass and ran straight ahead until he was met by Miller and Jackson, two feet in front of the first down marker. And Edwards didn't move the pile an inch, and he didn't reach the ball forward in an attempt to achieve a new set of downs...nope, he simply tucked the ball away in his belly and went to the turf after a good fight.

The Bengals lost the game, sure, and the defense was pitiful, but that doesn't mean they didn't get screwed at the end of the game. Just think, had the Bengals gotten the ball back with 3 minutes to go, and if Palmer connects on his seventh TD (a game winner) we are talking about different things today. It wouldn't have masked the troubles on the defensive side of the ball, but it certainly would have taken some of the sting away.

Now the Bengals are looking at an away game against Seattle (an impossible place to win--the new Arrowhead) and a Monday tilt with the Pats, who appear to be a combination of the '85 Bears, the '94 49ers and the '99 West Canaan Coyotes. But better.

There was a time (like, two days ago) when a 2-2 record at the bye was the worst case scenario; now it might be the best.

Part Threux (sometimes I make up words) is on its way. I'll probably gush about Glenn Holt, my new favorite mammal. I also tell you why TJ Houshmandzadeh was a semi-goat in Sunday's loss.

Stay tuned, jerks. And keep the faith, dammit!

-Brad Spieser

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Browns 51 Points, Bengals 45 Points-Part 1

As I write these words, the Patriots are beating the Chargers 24-0, and it looks as if the final score will be in the neighborhood of 371-0.

Look, I didn't think that would be the opening line to this potential semi-masterpiece, but I believe Bengals fans should find relief in it. Well, sort of. Here's why: One game doesn't make a season (cliche...check). I grant you it looks pretty effing bad right now, giving up 51 to Derek Anderson and the Browns and all, but it's not the end of the world. Yet.

(By the way, everyone, including myself, keeps calling the Browns "lowly," and yet they count among their skill players two top ten draft picks in Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards, and Jamal Lewis, a former top ten pick who clearly has something left in the tank. Plus, Derek Anderson isn't exactly a retread who has bounced around from team to team; nobody has a freaking clue as to how his career will unfold.)

What today's shootout loss does mean, though, is that the Bengals have a zero percent chance of winning the Super Bowl. None. Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "No shit, guy, they just gave up half-a-hundy to the asspots from Cleveland!" And I don't blame you for feeling that way, but I'm going to do my best to keep you off the ledge (unless you really want to jump).

The reason I even mentioned the words "Super" and "Bowl" in the previous paragraph is because I still think this Bengals team has a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. (Hang with me now, stunned Bengals fans.) What's lost in all of this mess is that they scored 45 freaking points. Regardless of the opposition, that's a buttload of scoring, and they did it without their star LT, without their superfreak WR and without their ace-in-the-hole 3rd down back. Plus, their Pro Bowl RT was quite obviously playing at less than 100 percent. The point I'm trying to make is that it takes a ton of talent to put up the numbers that Carson and company put up Sunday. And it's realistic to assume that the talent pool will deepen (by the return of Levi Jones, Chris Henry and Chris Perry, and the physically improving Willie Anderson). But even if it stays the same (which it almost certainly won't), the offense should be good enough to generate more W's than L's.

But Brad, what about the defense?

In case you didn't know, Sunday's performance wasn't a lack of execution or missed assignments (more on that later)...they're just an awful group, and that's not going to change in the next three months. But that doesn't mean the Bengals will be sitting home in January, either. Case in point: the 2000 St. Louis Rams.

The St. Louis Rams played in the Super Bowl in '99 and '01, but the team in between barely squeaked into the playoffs before losing in the Wild Card round to New Orleans. This is mostly because they decided against playing defense for the entirety of the season. They allowed a staggering 29.4 ppg to easily come in last place in that category. As for the offense, they were precisely the opposite, averaging 33.7 per game, by far the best in the league. Hell, they even have their version of the Browns' 51-45 win on Sunday: a 54-34 week 8 drubbing at the hands of the below average 7-9 Kansas City Chiefs. By below average, I mean that for the 2000 season, KC's QB was Elvis Grbac, their leading receiver was Derrick Alexander and the leading rusher, Tony Richardson, a freaking FB, lead the way with less than 700 yards. Not exactly a who's who, you know? And they put up 54 points against a playoff team!

But Brad, did you just compare a team with Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt in their respective primes to the 2007 Cincinnati Bengals?

Actually, yes. Kind of. The Bengals are nowhere near as versatile (at least not until Henry and Perry return), but I'll take this Carson Palmer over that Kurt Warner, and that makes both offenses similar, at least in terms of explosiveness. (Palmer, by the way, is going to shatter every team record this season. Lock it).

Here comes another strong point from yours truly...

As much as you think teams can't win without a strong defense, that simply isn't the case. Defenses take you to the next level in the playoffs, no question, but offenses are clearly more valuable in the regular season. Before you think I'm making shit up for the sake of argument, you should consider the '98 Chargers. Did you know that that Juggernaut went 5-11 despite giving up the fewest yards in the NFL? If you didn't, I bet you can guess why. Fine, I'll just tell you. Because their offense was garbage--they averaged 15 ppg that season.

Lets play some regular season math with Professor Smart Person (aka me)...

Elite offense + lousy defense = possible Wild Card team.

Elite defense + lousy offense = top five pick.

So as you can see, this season is not a lost cause, but lowering expectations isn't such a bad idea. They'll have to score a lot of points, and hang on for dear life at the conclusion of most games, but 9-7 or 10-6 isn't an impossibility.

Part Deux to be continued Monday afternoon. It will be chock-full of game reaction, such as extended complaints about Marvin Lewis' ongoing absentmindedness. And yes, I realize I should have posted that column before this one. I'm stupid. Deal with it.

-Brad Spieser

Panic Mode Starts...RIGHT NOW!

I'm almost comatose, and no disrespect to the BLT dip, but I'm blaming Dexter Jackson. And Marvin Lewis. And Chris Henry. And probably God.

Questions that need to be answered before bedtime:

1. Does Chuck Bresnahan need to be fired?

2. Why in the hell didn't Marvin Lewis challenge the spot on the Braylon Edwards 3rd down reception at the 3:11 mark of the 4th quarter? (For the record, it wasn't a fumble. But Edwards was clearly a half yard short of the marker.)

3. Did Palmer just play the second greatest game of his young career (behind the 2004 comeback win at Baltimore)? I say yes. Remember it wasn't his fault they lost.

4. Should Steve Beurlein be allowed back in the booth after today?

5. Should I buy a Glenn Holt jersey?

6. Chad Johnson is fucking incredible. Not a question, I realize, but Christ, that dude is an animal.

7. Did you ever think that--in a game where they scored 45 points--that the two players who were missed the most would be Chris Henry and Chris Perry? Palmer needed those two desperately when they were in two-minute mode.

8. Why did Marvin Lewis choose to kick the 19 yard FG on 4th & 1 on the opening drive of the 3rd quarter? It was after a turnover, they're on the road, they were trailing I need to continue? You have to go for a touchdown in a shootout; FGs aren't good enough.

9. Why did Marvin Lewis choose to punt on 4th & 2 near midfield (and maybe in Browns' territory) with 13:00 remaining and trailing 41-38. If you learned anything from question No. 8, it's that you don't punt in shootouts unless you have no other choice.

10. The defense is slightly worse than terrible.


-Brad Spieser

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saturday Winners

(Note: The following is Cam's first post in eons)

Cincinnati / Miami UNDER 48

Auburn -12

Washington + 3.5

Florida - 7.5

***Remember, the number one rule of gambling is to ALWAYS RESPECT YOUR BANKROLL!!! Don't chase your lost money if you tank the noon games. I will come up with a rankings system soon for my plays. Happy Wagering!

-Cam Carey (has been doing this shit for years)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Drunken Link

skeet dome

Mom, I'm sorry


Football Picks and Andre' Woodson is Good

My podcast titled "dumb broadcasters-black college qbs-gambling" revealed my all-important NCAA Five Star Lock of the Week. If you listened, you're smart. If not, you're a stupid idiot. See how that works? Anyway, for those of you who aren't able to listen at work, I'll give you a hint: It was the OVER (77) of Kentucky-Louisville.

As for the NFL, I'm taking the Houston Texans (+6.5) at Carolina.

My record was 1-1 last week, and I'm pretty sure I might just do the same thing this week (now that's confidence). Either way, bet everything you can on both of these contests. If you win, you can take all the credit. If you lose, you can blame me, as opposed to your ballooning gambling habit.

Back to the Kentucky-Louisville game: All locks aside, please watch this game (7:30 ET, ESPN Classic). I never steer you wrong with these recommendations, and that's because I only pass along the ones I feel strongly about ("The Wire," Martina Hingis at the 2006 Australian Open, The Fratellis, et al). Sometimes I have no choice but to alert you to greatness, even if you already kinda knew.

In this case of greatness, you might be familiar with UK QB Andre' Woodson, but it's likely not familiar enough. If you're not familiar at all, here's what I can tell you: He's incredible. Like, top 5 pick incredible. Not to go Alan Cutler on you, but I've been watching this guy since he was a Freshman and he's gotten nothing but better since then (and he was fairly polished back then). I'm not a scout but he appears to be fundamentally perfect in the way Carson Palmer is fundamentally perfect. He's a big guy with a strong arm. He throws a great ball and is accurate when throwing long. Oh yeah, don't let his blackness fool you into thinking he's a running QB; he can move a little bit, but he's a traditional pocket passer.

(Apologies for failing to mention Louisville QB Brian Brohm, who is equally fantastic. I suppose I did this because you already know about him. Anyway...)

Please watch this game.

And then kill yourself.

-Brad Spieser

This Website is Becoming Semi-Awesome

For those of you who haven't been to this site in 48 hours...I've posted four new podcasts that covered various topics, such as black people, white people, gay people and gambling (basically the four main food groups). And we probably called a few men handsome. Either way, go listen.

Also, I have to go break the law real quick, but upon return I will post my NCAA and NFL locks of the week and possibly my thoughts on menthol cigarettes, Egg McMuffins and Erik Wilhelm.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

I Love Chris Henry THIS MUCH

Check out the podcast titled "chris henry is nice and awesome," where Craig and I discuss the future of our hero, Employee No. 15. (Note: the first voice you hear is Craig)

More podcasts to be posted soon.

Now if you don't mind, I have to go beat up the neighbor kid for playing with insects.


Guess Who's Back...Back Again?

It's been a minute, but I'm once again a podacsting podcaster. This information should make you hornier than my bisexual cousin Victor. If that's not the case, please go jump in a tank full of hungry sharks. Either way, in my first game back, Craig and I discussed Britney Spears and her stomach, how Princess Diana's death was more tragic than 9/11 and Katrina combined, and the attractiveness of the Full House cast.

Go listen!

And keep coming back all day because I have a buttload of new podcasts to post.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Help Answer the Important Question

Reader Jonathan B. emailed me a question Tuesday that I simply cannot answer, which is why I'm sharing it with you. Hopefully you can get me off the fence. It's unedited so forgive the lousy grammar. Enjoy...

"which act do you consider gayer:

a grown man riding a ten speed with no hands (with purpose, mind you), or two men actually having sex together?

because i saw the first this weekend, and the guy couldnt have looked any gayer if he was doing the second."

Please Help!


Prioritizing and Whatnot

I drank seven bottles of domestic beer instead of posting this last night:

My favorite song of all time is not CeCe Peniston's "Finally," although it probably cracks the top 950. I bring this up because it's the only song running through my head at the moment, and I have Pete Mackanin to blame.

You see, as I was watching the Reds-Cards tilt earlier, I heard something that made me want to punch a guy's head (and/or neck), and stop me if you've heard this before...his name was Pete Mackanin. Chris Welsh and his mustache just said Pete Mackanin was now going to play Josh Hamilton against lefties. "It's time to find out if Josh can be an everyday player for us," said the Reds dopey Field General, who is about a month late with his decision.

An everyday player? Wasn't Pete Mackanin a goddamn scout?

Question: How is it possible for everyone with eyesight to know that Josh Hamilton is a blend of Willie Mays, Roy Hobbs, God, Superman and Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez, and yet Pete Mackanin was platooning him with Dennis Hopper until yesterday?


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bengals 27 Points, Ravens 20 Points

Don't do it. Don't you dare complain about how ugly they looked in victory. Really, I don't want to hear it. I don't care if the Bengals only won by seven points despite turning Baltimore over six times. Sure, the Bengals need to patch up a bunch of holes, and they're quite obviously a tier (or two) below San Diego, Indianapolis and New England, but...Jesus, they're 1-0, with a head start in the brutal AFC North. How spoiled have we gotten around here? Remember when Neil O'Donnell would drop back on 3rd & 9 and complete a 6 yard swing pass to Brian Milne? How about Gus Frerotte and Jon Kitna being positively careless with the ball in their hands? What about Akili Smith being one of the ten worst players of the modern era? Do I even have to mention Bruce Coslet or Dick LeBeau? All of these things happened in the last decade! How soon we forget.

Arrests notwithstanding, these are the good times, Bengals fans.

Now, I'm not accusing every Bengals fan of possessing this disposition, but it sure as hell seems like it. And even though I'm only using my friends as proof, I believe my gauging of Joe Q. Fan's mood is spot-on. Here's why: I talk to the same eleven people after every Bengals game, and their opinions range anywhere from informed and critical, to uninformed and blatantly biased. And they're almost always drunk. Basically, they make up the typical talk show caller in Cincinnati, which is why I feel qualified to accurately measure the temperature of the average Bengals fan. So last night, when the obligatory "what did you think?" questions began filtering in, I noticed that every one of them--even the people who should know better--had a tone that reeked of "yeah we won, but..." And this was before they even gave their opinion; this was in the first five seconds of our coversation, when they were simply asking me a question!

Is this an alternate universe?

I'm not saying the bar shouldn't be raised for the Carson Palmer era, because it absolutely should. And I don't subscribe to Jim Tressel's "There's no such thing as an ugly win" nonsense. But Monday night was different. They won a game that prominently involved Scott Kooistra. Scott freaking Kooistra! And Andrew Whitworth seems like a nice fellow and a fundamentally sound blocker and all--and he undoubtedly would destroy me in a best three-out-of-five arm-wrestling duel--but he ain't exactly the ideal mammal to play LT versus Baltimore, know what I'm saying?

When ownership decided to extend Willie and Levi for big dollars, while letting Steinbach walk, one point became abundantly clear: Offensive tackles are even more important than geniuses like me previously believed. Eric Steinbach is young, athletic, versatile and polished, yet he was viewed to be less valuable than a 32 year-old RT with a zillion miles and microfracture surgery in his rear-view. Says a lot, no? Keeping Willie around wasn't about loyalty, it was about winning a Super Bowl.

Look, Carson Palmer is indisputably the best player on the Bengals, and I would give Chad the edge for No. 2, but beyond that...I'm putting Levi and Willie tied for 3rd, with TJ on their heels in 5th place. Scott Kooistra? Before Monday, I would have ranked him between 40-53, someone you'd never want lining up against Terrell Suggs. Which is why nary a complaint should be filed from Bengals fans about the lack of style points in the season opener.

I hate baseball, but here's a baseball analogy for Whitworth and especially Kooistra...

This would be like Tom Shearn--in the heat of a pennant race--getting a spot start, going six innings and allowing three earned runs against a division rival...and getting the win. This was huge. It would be impossible for me to overstate this.

Have I rambled long enough?

Quick observations from Monday night:

(Note: I'm boycotting bullet points. I'm crazy like that)...

1. Herana-Daze Joes might have been my whipping boy last year (or at least his parents were for naming him Herana-Daze and pronouncing it "Hernandez"), but he's an animal on special teams. He might be the best player covering kicks for the Bengals since Ron Dugans.

2. I really like Ron Jaworski's analysis, but he needs to learn how to say Houshmandzadeh.

3. Did anyone else notice Chad Johnson forming an OC (for Ocho Cinco) with his hands after his 33 yard 2nd quarter reception? I hope this catches on.

(By the way, why did he ever drop the "Oprah, call me!" line? He would have been on the show by now had he been persistent.)

4. Leon Hall is going to make a lot of plays this year. In fact, I might even start calling him a playmaker. He's like Keiwan Ratliff, but good.

5. I don't remember the last time the Bengals delivered that many knockout blows to an opponent. Off the top of my head I can remember Caleb Miller, Dexter Jackson and Leon Hall separating man from ball.

6. Someone besides Marvin Lewis should be in charge of challenging. He continues to throw away timeouts in big games, and it's going to bite him in the ass before too long.

7. Here's what should most concern Ravens fans for the 2007 season: Ravens OT Adam Terry (2) had more tackles than Ed Reed (1). Statistical aberration? OK yeah, but that's a bad offense. And Kyle Boller is the backup QB!

8. The ESPN-Verizon commercial, where a guy was interviewed outside of a funeral, was brilliant. When you add that spot to the Fantasy Football Hall of Fame ads with Maurice Jones-Drew and Mike Alstott, sports commercials might be an all-time high.

(Note: I spent ten minutes looking for the ESPN-Verizon commercial on YouTube, only to come away empty handed.)

9. Why are Steve McNair and Brett Favre the only QBs that ever get credited for being tough? Is Peyton Manning not tough? The dude has started every game of his career! Am I supposed to believe he's never played with pain?

10. Robert Geathers...Holy Potatoes, Batman! And I really don't care about his sack or forced fumble; I'm only concerned with his athleticism on his diving interception. From his impressive catch, to his quickness getting up, to his speed down the sideline, I couldn't believe it was him. In fact, until he was tackled I couldn't tell who it was. I thought it was an OLB or safety, but definitely not a DE.

11. Landon Johnson played his best game as a member of the Southwest Ohio Bengals.

12. Moonlight Graham's bum hip doesn't concern me, although it probably should.

13. This team is really going to miss Ken Irons this year. I truly believe that was a bigger blow than we realize.

14. The only way I'm wrong about No. 13 is if Chris Perry returns to something approaching his 2005 form. And if he does, he will only add to what is already one of the strangest careers in recent memory.

(By the way, the coaching staff made the right decision to keep Perry on the PUP to start the season. The last thing Perry needs is to be rushed back from another injury. His role will be far more important in December than it would've been in September.)

15. From the prediction department: Skyler Green will mishandle several punts this year. I only say this because my time down at training camp revealed that Green has awful hands. I know catching a punt and catching a Doug Johnson special aren't the same thing, but still.

16. Where in the hell was Tab Perry? I thought any No. 3 WR would flourish playing alongside Chad and TJ. Translation: Chris Henry is good.

17. Marvin Lewis uses futuristic-looking crutches, and somehow that makes me jealous.

18. Chad's non-effort to make a tackle after Rudi's fumble was downright laughable. I'm not sure if it's true but I heard a rumor about the Ryan Freel Fan Club (aka Price Hill and Cheviot) protesting outside of PBS at this very moment.

19. Carson Palmer is good at playing the sport of American football. I'd write more about him but I already slurped him enough in my season preview. And.........if you didn't read the season preview, you can do so by scrolling down approximately seven inches to fulfill your reading desires.

It may be a bit strange of me to wait this long to mention the most important play of the game, but that's how I roll, playa. Anyway...

20. The Ravens got screwed when Todd Heap was called for P.I. Capital S, Capital CREWED. I'd add more but there's nothing else to add. I like eating tacos.

Finally, and this is important...

21. My status as a J-list celebrity was bumped to G-list status Monday afternoon. And why? Because as I was successfully slinging "Free Chris Henry" shirts in the parking lot during the pre-game tailgate, a guy who I've never seen before was screaming things like "TwinKilling...Brad Spieser...YEAH!" and "Are you going to have a diary posted for tomorrow, man?" In my world, that's big news.

That's all for now, stupid idiots. More Bengals goodness is on the way.


Bengals Beat Baltimore; Sandwiches are Good


Bengals wrap-up to be posted soon. I hate your mother's face. Cinnamon Toast Crunch is overrated. Ditto for Orange Starburst. You are quite dumb for reading these words. My arm hurts. Six years ago today terrorists drove airplanes into New York office buildings. I will not write about this. I will stick to the basics, like cereal, hillbillies, football, gambling and oceanography.


Monday, September 10, 2007

2007 Bengals Season Preview

Here's an excerpt from my 2006 Bengals season preview:

"The Bengals have the best offense in the NFL. The more I think about it, who else could it be? The Colts lost Edge. The Cards have a crappy line. The Seahawks don't have a #1 WR, plus they lost Hutchinson. The Chiefs have lousy WRs and an O-line that isn't the force it used to be. Admit it, I'm right. The Bengals have an elite O-line, a 1,400 yard rusher, probably the best WRs 1-3 in the league (quick, who is Arizona's 3rd WR? Exactly) and most importantly, they have Carson. Carson is everything to the Bengals. Without him, they're a 6-10 team; 8-8 at best. Marvin's importance to this team pales in comparison to Carson's. Carson would flourish without Marvin. As for Marvin, I don't know. I wouldn't trade him for many coaches but ask him what it's like to have Jon Kitna as your QB.

Other than Carson's health, the reason I most often hear as to why the Bengals won't make the playoffs is the schedule. There is no question that, on the surface, the Bengals have a tough road to hoe. You know what, I don't care about that. The Bengals could play the '85 Bears every week and still make the playoffs. Please, somebody...anybody, give me one example of a team that missed the playoffs with an offense this good. It's not potential, either. They proved it last season and with 11 starters back, only a fool would think that the offense won't improve. Do I have to remind the naysayers about the 38 points they scored in Pittsburgh (in November) that essentially wrapped up the division? Weren't the Steelers a good team with a good defense?

Here's the thing, I'd expect big things even if Carson was surrounded by average talent. Great QBs find a way to win games. Sounds like something Joe Theisman would say, I know, but it's true. Think back to the late 80's/early-mid 90' many times did Elway and Marino have their teams in the playoffs despite having no RBs (apologies to Bernie Parmalee and Bobby Humphrey) and average playmakers on the outside (remember, Clayton and Duper were finished after '91)? A star QB can get his team to a 8-8 record. With talent surrounding him, sky's the limit. Cue the Biggie music...

I am fully aware that it's premature to place Carson in the discussion with Marino and Elway historically. But right now? Carson is undeniably great and has a chance to be considered one of the all time-all timers at QB. I'm talking about sittin' at the head table with Graham, Unitas, Montana, Elway, Marino and Falco. I really hope that Bengals fans understand how lucky they are. There is only the slightest chance that, before death (in my case, a likely suicide after seeing another frat boy throw up the "shocker" symbol), we'll ever root for a QB as special as Carson. Great QBs are like (lack of witty pop culture reference), well they're rare. Just ask Chicago Bears fans. That franchise has been around since 1920 and who's their best ever QB? Jim McMahon? Really, I don't know. But I do know that they'll continue to draft guys like Cade McNown and Rex Grossman in search of the next Carson.

And all of that means...what, exactly?

I believe the Bengals will win at least 10 games and repeat as AFC North champs. I also believe that the Bengals will be the most feared team in the AFC come playoff time. Super Bowl? Why not. I'll always remember Dick Vermeil saying, "When a talented young team starts believing in themselves, anything is possible." He said that after his Rams won the Super Bowl in '99. I couldn't get those words out of my head last season as the Bengals won week after week. If not for Kimo-gate, who knows what happens? The Bengals were, after all, a talented young team that was believing in themselves. I'll hold off on any grand predictions but this team has a realistic chance to finish what they started last season."

That was exactly one year ago, on the eve of the 2006 season. My outlook has changed for sure, but not as drastically as you might expect.

I keep hearing from pessimistic Bengals fans that they don't think this team is any good. It's the the usual stuff, too. I hear that the D stinks. I hear that the lack of depth at WR is going to kill them. I hear that the health of Willie and Levi is worse than Marvin Lewis is letting on, and without are star tackles, Palmer is going to take a beating.

And, in many cases, I'm with you. All of the concerns mentioned above scare the bejesus out of me. BUT, have you ever heard of focusing on the positives? Has it really been that long since LeBeau and Akili were the men leading us into battle? Good God, we would have killed for a grouping of Carson-Rudi-Chad-TJ at the skill positions. Ditto for a 10.5-sack DE (Geathers) and a second-year CB (Joseph) who was fantastic as a rookie. Plus, the O-Line depth could be at an all-time high.

But again, just like in last year's preview, the focus should be Palmer, who is light years ahead of where he was at this point last season, both mentally and physically. And I hate to sound like a broken record, but for whatever reason the following point isn't getting through to a lot of you...Great QBs routinely take their teams to the playoffs, and Carson Palmer is undeniably great.

Really, it's that simple. And if the 2006 Bengals hadn't taken Murphy's Law (more on that in a second) to new heights, Palmer would've had them in the playoffs for the second time in his third season as a starter. Sure, somebody like New England would've pounded them, but that's besides the point.

The Murphy's Law thing: Let's list the crap that went wrong in 2006...

1. The Bengals basically played the entire 2006 without Tab Perry, Chris Perry, Odell Thurman and Rich Braham, all of whom were key contributors to the 2005 AFC North Championship team.

2. The suspensions of Henry and Odell (and the subsequent "character issues" stories by the national media that never went away) always hung over the team's collective head.

3. The uncertainty of Palmer's return, and his failure to consistently prove to us that he was 100 percent mentally.

4. Palmer's obvious shoulder injury toward the end of the season, which Marvin Lewis correctly kept quiet about.

5. Deltha O'Neal taking a year off because his contract wasn't renegotiated.

6. Tory James turning into an 85 year-old man right before our eyes.

7. The phantom roughing-the-passer penalty on Justin Smith that kept Tampa's game-winning drive alive.

8. Michael Vick completing 113% of his passes in a 29-27 Bengals loss.

9. Chris Henry's drop--which could've forced overtime--at the end of the 49-41 loss to the Chargers.

10. The botched XP (thanks, Brad St. Louis) that would've tied the Broncos game with under a minute remaining.

11. Moonlight's missed FG that would have won the Steelers game.

That extraordinary stretch of bad luck/unfortunate occurrences has never--and will never--be duplicated in my next hundred years as a Bengals fan. And you know what? All of that crap happened and the Bengals still went 8-8 against a murderous schedule.

So I don't care if Levi and Willie aren't 100 percent, and ditto for Henry's suspension and Chris Perry's injury. Sure, it seems like this is going to be 2006 all over again but please, please...never ever ever forget that we have Carson Palmer on our side. It's plain math, really: If he plays 16 games this team makes the playoffs; it's as simple as that.

Still don't believe me? Take a look at the best QBs from my twenty years as a football fan: Montana; Elway; Marino; Kelly; Moon; Aikman; Young; Favre; Manning; McNabb; Brady; Palmer.

If it seems like the list above is comprised of guys who were in the playoffs every year, it's because they basically were. I went to and did some research on this topic, and here's what I found out: I'm absolutely right about this. Follow me...

Here are the season-by-season won-loss records--for every season of their careers--of the aforementioned superstar QBs (Note: Some seasons weren't complete ones for all of the QBs listed below. For instance, McNabb is given credit for a 10-6 record last year but Garcia started crucial games down the stretch...either way, McNabb started the majority of the games and the Eagles won the AFC East):

Montana: 13-3; 3-6; 10-6; 15-1; 10-6; 10-5-1; 13-2; 10-6; 14-2; 14-2 with SF. 11-5; 9-7 with KC

Elway: 9-7; 13-3; 11-5; 11-5; 10-4-1; 8-8; 11-5; 5-11; 12-4; 8-8; 9-7; 7-9; 8-8; 13-3; 12-4; 14-2.

Marino: 12-4; 14-2; 12-4; 8-8; 8-7; 6-10; 8-8; 12-4; 8-8; 11-5; 10-6; 9-7; 8-8; 9-7; 10-6; 9-7.

Kelly: 4-12; 7-8; 12-4; 9-7; 13-3; 13-3; 11-5; 12-4; 7-9; 10-6; 10-6;

Moon: 3-13; 5-11; 5-11; 9-6; 10-6; 9-7; 9-7; 11-5; 10-6; 12-4

Aikman: 1-15; 11-5; 13-3; 12-4; 12-4; 12-4; 10-6; 6-10; 10-6; 8-8; 5-11.

Young: 10-6; 14-2; 10-6; 13-3; 11-5; 12-4; 13-3; 12-4.

Favre: 9-7; 9-7; 9-7; 11-5; 13-3; 13-3; 11-5; 8-8; 9-7; 12-4; 12-4; 10-6; 10-6; 4-12; 8-8. (By the way, doesn't it seem like Favre has been much worse in the last five years?)

Manning: 3-13; 13-3; 10-6; 6-10; 10-6; 12-4; 12-4; 14-2; 12-4

McNabb: 11-5; 11-5; 12-4; 12-4; 13-3; 6-10; 10-6.

Brady: 11-5; 9-7; 14-2; 14-2; 10-6; 14-2

Palmer: ???????????????????????????????????????????????

Have I proved my point yet? You can't tell me that each and every one of those 10-6 teams above were more talented than the 2007 Bengals. I'm sure some of those teams dealt with injuries, bad luck, crappy officiating, lousy coaching, team drama, tough schedules and everything else. But they always had a star QB at the helm; a guy who can find a way--regardless of the situation--to lead his team to a 9-7 record. Carson Palmer is one of those guys.

It should be noted that Palmer's ability to keep the team afloat in the regular season says nothing about his ability to lead his team to a championship...we might not find out that answer for years (Elway in '97, anyone?). Of the guys on the list above, only Moon never made an appearance in the Super Bowl, and Palmer--in terms of ability--is quite comparable to Moon. So titles are never guaranteed, but regular season success almost always is. At least with the great ones.

And Carson Palmer is great.