Thursday, October 30, 2008

Gambling 2K8: XXX (Minus Vin Diesel)

If I wasn't a lunatic, I could find humor in the situation with my computer machine.

I'm fairly certain I'm incapable (not capable) of murder, but every man has that one thing that pushes them over the edge. With me, it's Dell customer support folks. If you want to see a madman in action, come visit me when I call these idiots to tell them that my computator still isn't fixed. (I can neither confirm nor deny rumors of threats being made.) Anyway, the second I post my college picks I'm packing up this rectangular piece of technology and waiting for its return. Until then, it's more infrequent posting from mommy and daddy's basement.

The picks (with brief explanations)...

Old Mississippi (-6.5) vs. War Eagle

Explanation: It's awfully early in the Houston Nutt era to be seven point favorites against Auburn.

****Texas A & M (-3.5)**** vs. Colorado

Explanation: At no point during this season have the 3-5 Aggies been impressive. The good teams pummel them and they struggle to beat the bad teams (4-point win vs. Army; 6-point win vs. New Mex.). Colroado is nothing special, but - excluding the mouth-raping they received from Mizzou - they at least try to play defense. This spread should be a pick 'em.

(Note: A & M/Colorado line could drop to three. Stay tuned.)

La. Tech (+5) vs. Fresno

Explanation: Fresno is two 3-point losses from being undefeated. The Techsters scored 7 points in a losing "effort" to Army last week. Why, Vegas? Why?

Pitt (+4.5) vs. Notre Dame

Explanation: The Irish have a good passing offense; Rutgers QB Mike Teel (aka The Worst QB Since Austin Moherman) carved up Pitt last week. You tell me.

Florida (-6) vs. Georgia (neutral field)

Explanation: I see very little difference between these teams. Matt Stafford's finally realizing his potential, and Knowshon Moreno and AJ Green might end up being the best RB and WR in their draft classes. This game features high end talent on both sides, and I just can't wrap my head around No. 8 Florida needing to beat No. 6 Georgia by a touchdown in order to cover. Whatever.

Texas Tech (+4) vs. Longhorns of Austin, Texas

Explanation: FOUR POINTS! REALLY? Excuse me...have the Red Raiders proved anything yet? Why is Vegas giving them so much respect against the best team in the land? Vickers must know something I don't.

Stanford (-30) vs. Washington State

Explanation: The Fighting Drew Bledsoes might be the worst team in America - okay, they are the worst team in America, but Stanford's no slouch, either. Listen, the Cardinal's widest margin of victory this season is a 23-10, um, beatdown of a poor San Jose State squad. Laying thirty is preposterous, but Vickers made us do it.

San Jose State (-16.5) at Idaho

Explanation: I've actually watched Sparty play, and they should never be favored on the road, and definitely not by more than two touchdowns. Question: If you can't score two touchdowns, how are you going to win by two touchdowns?

New Mexico State (+21.5) vs. Boise Broncos of Idaho

Explanation: Boise murders everyone, and it simply isn't fair to the Brian Vickers System. The Broncos have a great QB in Kellen Moore and maybe the best non-BCS defense I've ever seen. I hate betting against them, but Vegas keeps posting these asinine lines.

I saved this for last...

Arkansas State (+23.5) 2 Alabama of the mighty SEC.

Explanation: I'll give you nine American dollars if you can explain to me why the Tide aren't favored by five touchdowns. This line makes less sense than last Sunday's Tulsa/Central Florida total (which we somehow won).

Last week: 7-7
Season record: 42-35-1

NFL picks coming Sunday (the day they play NFL games).

Brad Spieser (

Peter Edward Rose Was Underrated

Craig and Jim Bowden have the same problem when evaluating players: They think talent is better than production, somehow. They see jaw-dropping ability, disregard obvious flaws and lose sight of the big picture. This is the type of knowledge you might acquire if you listen to "Peter Edward Rose Was Underrated," a podcast coming in at three minutes and twenty-one seconds.

Also, I say the F word twice. Sounds like a good time, no?

-Brad Spieser (

Jamie Moyer (And Other Old Guy Moments)

Jamie Moyer just finished off one of the best "Old Guy" seasons in recent memory. And maybe ever (hell, what do I know?). The guy turns 45 next month and posted a 16-7, 3.71 ERA, and then, you know, contributed to a World Series champion. He also was responsible for one of my favorite "Old Guy" plays - his diving flip to Ryan Howard in Game 3 (sorry, video can't be embedded). Sure, Crawford was called safe, but he was definitely out. Besides, Moyer made a great play on the biggest stage, and that's all that matters. (Plus, I'm trying to be interesting here.)

Anyway, it got me thinking about other great moments in "Old Guy" history (from guys who are old and whatnot).

First up: 36-year-old Reggie Miller, 2002 NBA playoffs at New Jersey (round 1, 5th and final game). Reggie Miller's history of clutchness was always tied to his long-range shooting, and rightfully so. But in 2002, on the brink of elimination - down two with under ten seconds remaining in overtime, and on the road against the top seed in the East - Reggie Miller drove past his man, and did this to shot blockers Kenyon Martin and Aaron Williams:

Oh yeah, kinda forgot to mention: Before there was an overtime, or a double overtime, Miller pulled this off at the end of regulation:

As for football, I'll always be astonished at what Curtis Martin did in 2004. Look, he was only 31, so it's hard to call him a senior citizen, but we know what 31 means for running backs. Especially a guy like Martin, who was a feature back from year one. Which is why it's unfathomable to think that Martin - in his tenth year, and with almost 3,000 carries on his odometer - would unleash his personal bests in attempts (371), yards (1697!) and yards per carry (4.6). Adding to all of this is that Martin didn't have a single run in 2004 that went for longer than 25 yards. How is that even possible?

Including current players, there have been maybe 50 RBs I've enjoyed watching more than the semi-boring Curtis Martin, but that doesn't mean his 2004 wasn't the best "Old Guy" year in NFL history.

That is all.

Email me you favorite "Old Guy" moments/seasons, so long as they're not stupid. (Translation: Don't send me a link to Jimmy "Fat Fingers" Peterson of the 1901 Nashville Pipers.)

-Brad Spieser (

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Breaking Down SWAC Football

If you're reading this you've undoubtedly recognized the new media player at the top of the page. This is because I'm a jerk. Before I embedded that sucker I set it to auto-play, and now you hear our dumb words every time you visit this very fine website. Deal with it (but don't stop visiting the site).

In related news, my brother recently told me that he "isn't a fan of all the black stuff on the podcasts." Despite the fact that our black references are (a.) completely harmless (b.) never to be taken seriously and (c.) often used to point out the absurdity of racism, my brother still thinks Craig and I should cease all references to blacks, black body parts and black stereotypes in general. His advice is typically sound, but I gots to disagree with him, and our short podcast, "Breaking Down SWAC football," is proof that I'm right.


Should I marry a beautiful girl who understands the irony of my Grambling Alumni shirt - or should I put a bullet in my brain? What if she knew all about Jackson State's coverage schemes? Wouldn't that be similar to dating Paris Hilton?

This probably isn't making sense, which is why you need to listen to the podcast before eating supper. Trust me, this is one of our five funniest podcast to date. Enjoy.

-Brad Spieser (

Another Unrealistic Movie Scene (Rocky III)

I'm not positive, but I'm guessing this is the only site in the world with two separate Rocky III posts in the last three days. Which is exciting news for everyone involved, I think.

Today's focus: Mickey's death.

Mickey's death in Rocky III has always driven me nuts. Let's break down a couple of things you won't see on the video below:

Before either fighter entered the ring, a heated exchange broke out between the Clubber Lang camp and the Rocky Balboa camp. In the middle of the chaos was Rocky's trainer, Mickey, who was shoved into a pole by the Lang. No big deal, right? I mean, yeah, he was really old, but being shoved into a pole shouldn't have put his life at risk.

Except it did. Thus begins my biggest problem with Rocky III.

From the time Mickey was pushed until the time he took his final breath, the following things took place:

1. Pre-fight introductions.

2. National anthem (maybe).

3. Ten rounds of boxing (three minutes each, plus a minute between rounds).

4. End-of-fight stuff (I'm not a big boxing fan - forgive me for not knowing everything that happens)

That's probably 45-60 minutes. And the whole time the trainer of the most popular fighter in the world was dying on a bench in the locker room. Again...THEY WERE AT A FREAKING HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE BOUT! That place had to be crawling with paramedics, and yet Mickey received no medical attention whatsoever. None! Ridiculous.

Even more ridiculous, Rocky returned from a ten-round bloodbath at the hands of Mr. T only to be told by some dickhead in the locker room that Mickey needs to get to a hospital. You think so, fella? Thanks for the tip. How much do I owe ya?

(What did Mickey die from, anyway? Back pain? Being old?)

Also: How about the fact that Balboa even went through with the fight? That would never happen. Maybe if Mickey had died two weeks before the fight - okay, I can see that. It still woulda had the same effect on him (and us). But ten minutes before the fight? Really?

Detractors of the Rocky films always point out the over-the-top (pun me) fight scenes. But nobody ever mentions Mickey's death, which is far crazier than Balboa taking 385 direct hits to the skull from Ivan Drago...and winning. See for yourself:

-Brad Spieser (

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gambling 2K8: XXIX (Basketball Tips Off Tonight)

The NBA season starts tonight, which means...(a.) the return of EJ, Kenny and Chuck (videos below), (b.) uninteresting blog posts written by the person who is writing this sentence and (c.) NBA futures bets:

Grizzlies OVER 22.5 wins (-135) - Call me crazy, but I think they sniff 35 wins.
Cavs OVER 47.5 wins (-135) - Easily the most talented team of the LeBron era; pencil them in for 55 wins
Blazers OVER 44.5 wins (-145) - Additions of Greg Oden and Rudy Fernandez to 41-win team make this a virtual lock.

Player Props:

Al Horford OVER 11 ppg (-140)
Michael Beasley OVER 15.5 ppg (-120)
Kevin Durant OVER 21.5 ppg (-110)

As you can see, I have a problem with taking overs. Oh well. Aside from '08 MLB futures I've never lost with this style of betting.

Quick NBA thoughts...

Nice job by the Cincinnati Enquirer today...aside from a two-sentence sidebar on the front of the sports page, the opening of the NBA season was completely ignored. You mean to tell me they couldn't have scooped up an Associated Press season preview? Or how about a Kenyon Martin article from the Denver Post? A David West article from the New Orleans Times-Picayune? I know those pieces were out there, and it's embarrassing that a top 30 media market like Cincinnati doesn't just push NBA to the back burner, but completely ignores it. (Unrelated yet related note: Tyler Hansbrough is a terrible basketball player.)

The Lakers might win 70 games. Let me be clear: Nobody can match their talent. They are loaded with size, depth, shooters and (of course) the game's best player. That being my opinion, you might be wondering why I didn't wager on the Fighting Phil Jackson's's's. This is stupid, and it will cost me American dollars, but I hate watching Kobe Bryant play. And since I'll be viewing a ton of games on NBA League Pass, I don't want to watch the 60-70 Lakers games. I am an idiot. But an honest idiot.

Dwyane Wade might be your league MVP. My prediction is Chris Paul, but Wade has a ton to prove this year. He's healthy, Shaq's gone, and people aren't talking about him nearly as much as they did 12-18 months ago. MVP or not, I think Wade is looking at a career year.

The Suns will drift into irrelevance (and maybe beyond). Can't you just see Nash missing forty games while Shaq goes half speed for his 25 minutes a game? I can. I've had more fun watching the Nash-era Suns than any non-Nick Van Exel squad, but it's over. And I'm sad. With a break here or there, they could've won two championships.

What's going to happen in Philly? They were an exciting young team last year and added a hungry Elton Brand to the mix. They should threaten 50 wins, but I don't have a good vibe on them.

This might be an odd thing to include, but I'm interested to see the development of second-year players who have yet to prove themselves. My list of guys who I see making big leaps in year two: Pistons PG Rodney Stuckey (okay, I cheated a little here, but his numbers will still go way up this year), Grizz PG Mike Conley (darkhorse to lead the league in assists...and better shooter than you might remember), Warriors F Brandan Wright (started putting it together down the stretch last year, but minutes were tough to come by as G-State was fighting for a playoff spot), Warriors G Marco Belinelli (minutes are available on the perimeter, and dude has serious range), Rockets PG Aaron Brooks (could steal more than a handful of Rafer Alston's minutes), Knicks F Wilson Chandler (big and athletic - I'm curious to see how he fits in D'Antoni's system), Hornets F Julian Wright (buried early, contributed in playoffs - good passer, good finisher, great athlete, willing defender...the Hornets can play him at the two with Peja at the three, while Mo Pete's minutes dwindle), Bucks PG Ramon Sessions (my buddy Cam has been a big fan of his for a few years...and then Sessions threw up a 24-assist game at the end of last season - that boy got talent).

That was fun, right?

East prediction: Cavs over Celtics in 7
West prediction: Hornets over Lakers in 7
Finals prediction: Hornets over Cavs in 5

Inside the NBA videos:

Classic Barkley screw-ups...

Making fun of Sam Cassell's lack of handsomeness...

Keep the change, you filthy animals!

-Brad Spieser (

Monday, October 27, 2008

Terrelle Pryor = Clubber Lang

I do not have Terrelle Pryor's home telephone number in my Rolodex, nor do I do not know anybody who knows anybody who knows the guy. I guess what I'm trying to say is I have no inside sources from within the Terrelle Pryor camp. That said, I am 100 percent certain Terrelle Pryor hasn't slept since the fumble.

A lot was on the line Saturday, and my night is always ruined on the rare occasion Ohio State loses, so it was a huge upset that I went to the bar Saturday night feeling encouraged about the future of the college football team I support. And it's all because of that picture up there.

It would be easy to call Pryor a disrespectful baby for his actions while his teammates belted out (or partially hummed) the Alma Mater. Me? I see a young Clubber Lang, motivated and hungry.

Terrelle Pryor will never get over the fumble. Ever. He could win 13 Heismans and 62 Super Bowl rings and it won't be enough, for he let his seniors down. Of course, it's not true, but you'll never convince him otherwise...and that's the only thing that matters.

Pryor has no aspirations of being really good, or even great. He wants to be the best who ever lived. Which is why, come offseason, he's going to stare at that picture up there and watch the video of what was almost the greatest quarterback sneak in the history of quarterback sneaks, and it will set him off. He'll be Clubber Lang Mad.

If you don't believe me, you didn't watch the same game I did. You didn't watch Pryor's body language after his desperation heave was intercepted in the final seconds of the game. He couldn't believe the suddenness of it all. One second his eyes were on the endzone, the next Penn State remained undefeated. He was sick to his stomach. They lost a huge game on the national stage because he blew it. Pryor's reaction reminded me of Ricky's mom after he was murdered toward the end of Boyz N The Hood - complete and utter shock. Tell me this isn't happening.

Of course, a fumble is not as dramatic as Morris Chestnut getting shot up by gang members, but try telling Terrelle Pryor that. I have no idea if Pryor will ever be great, or even really good, but I know it will eat him alive if he doesn't bring a championship to Columbus.

What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

Heard it a million times, right? Let me tell you, it's crap. It sounds nice and all, but it's crap. That tired old saying only applies to a special few, and the rest of us just become a little more depressed.

Let's see how Terrelle Pryor responds. My guess? It ain't long before he's the new heavyweight champion of the world.

-Brad Spieser (

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Gambling 2K8: XXVIII

Technically, there's no such thing as a lock with the Vickers System...BUT...the idea is to place money on something you absolutely hate. Tonight, we gots our bucks on something we absolutely hate. In fact, in the 75-plus bets we've made, I haven't hated anything as much as...Jesus, this is difficult to type...

Tulsa/Central Florida UNDER 68.5

Explanation: Do you know anything about Tulsa? Have you checked out their schedule/results page lately? It's absurd. More absurd than 2001 BYU or 2003 Texas Tech, somehow. But this Tulsa team...I just can't imagine needing them (and their opponent) to combine for fewer than 70 points. This line is bullshit. Tulsa's games have averaged 84 points - EIGHTY GODDAMN FOUR! - plus, I read an interview somewhere with Tulsa coach Todd Graham and he seems to share Mike Martz's arrogance/philosophy - and I fully expect the Golden Hurricane to pull out all the stops on their debut performance on the national stage. Tulsa might score 80 tonight.

At this moment, I am terrified. Long live Vickers.

-Brad Spieser (

gambling 2k8 xxvii

purple shots with white girls = face hurt = no explanation for nfl picks = disregard for grammar/puncuation = deal with it

jets -14 vs chiefs

dolphins pick vs. bills

eagles - 9.5 vs. falcons

cards + 5.5 at panthers

lions + 7.5 vs. offensive nicknamed team from our nation's capital

bradley alan spieser wrote this

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gambling 2K8: XXVI (Chicken Salad On Rye Edition)

Posting our picks for the world to see is a tricky thing. Sometimes Craig and I lock in a point-spread on Monday, only to watch it change as much as three points come gameday. The tricky part is whether to post the line we locked in or the current line. To this point, we've mostly used the current line, but it's almost burned us a couple times. And when we've used the line we locked in early in the week I get emails saying that we're not using accurate lines for the sake of the Vickers System. Well, I gots me a compromise.

Every spread posted from here on out will be the actual line Craig and I used on (an Internet gambling website). Sound good? And if you don't believe us, email me ( and I will gladly take a screen shot and email it to you. The reason I'm finally bringing this up is because we grabbed a couple of favorable lines earlier in the week that don't match the current spread. I'll point them out below. Anyway, the picks...

San Jose State (+7.5) vs. Boise State

(Note: This is the first favorable line Craig and I nailed down; Boise State is currently an even 7-point favorite and I can't imagine the line moving just a few hours before the game.)

Explanation: Boise State is a good collegiate football know that, right? The Broncos have given up 7,7,3,7 and 7 points in their five games against mid-level competition, which is precisely what San Jose State is. As for Boise's only dance on the big stage, they hung 37 on Oregon at Autzen Stadium in a game they were leading 37-13 in the 4th quarter before hanging on for a 37-32 victory. So...their defense is great for a non-BCS school, their offense is always good (and getting better each game with star freshman QB Kellen Moore), and I don't see any reason why the spread isn't two touchdowns. Oh well. That Vickers ain't no dummy now.

Armal Academy (-2.5) vs. Louisiana Tech

Explanation: The Techsters have a really good RB on their team - I can't recall his name at the moment, but he's good...that's all that's important. The Armal Academy? Ha. Those idiots haven't had a good player since former Heisman winner Doc Blanchard, and he hasn't played in about 600 years. Listen, Army stinkss (extra s for emphasis). They should never be favored. Ever. Against anyone.

Tennessee (+7) vs. Alabama

(Note: Depending on where you look, this line has dropped to 5, but Craig and I secured this sucker early on, just in case. Again, I'll email you the screen shot if you need proof.)

Explanation: Alabama Good. Tennessee bad. Is that enough for you? The Vols have one elite player, safety Eric Berry; The Tide have several, and they play really hard. And let's the not forget the sizable coaching advantage of Nick Saban over Philbert Fulmer, who's been asleep at the wheel for the majority of this decade. I hate betting on Tennessee. Hate it. It's unbearable. Watching them play is like watching a porno starring your sister.

Georgia Tech (-14) vs. Virginia

(Note: This line opened at 12, and we didn't bother locking it in - we just assumed it would stay in that safe little 10.5-13.5 range. It didn't. Now it's an even 14 and we're going to wait it out and see if it drops to 13.5. Probably a dumb way to operate, considering a 14.5 line would lead us to suicide, but we're doing it anyway. Regardless, we're backing the Yellow Jackets...but keep checking back to the site on Saturday for line moves.)

Explanation: It was only thirteen days ago when Georgia Tech gutted out a 10-7 victory over the I-AA Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs. A Gardner-Webb team, by the way, with losses to juggernauts Sam Houston State, Charleston Southern and Tennessee Tech. So forgive me for not completely buying into the Rambling Wreck hype just yet. And Virginia? I can't believe I'm writing this, but they're not bad. In consecutive weeks they thumped Maryland 31-0, beat East Carolina 35-20 and upset the Tar Heels 16-13. So tell me again: Why are the Cavs a two-touchdown underdog to a team that has only scored over 30 points once against Division I opponents? Beats the hell out of me. Hooray for Tech!

(****UPDATE****It happened...the line moved to 14.5. Related note: I hate evrything about my life.)

Texas (-11.5) vs. Oklahoma State

Explanation: Plain and simple, George Costanza's "chicken salad...on rye...untoasted..." influenced this pick. Any other year I'd be thinking to myself, "You know, I haven't picked an underdog in three weeks...Oklahoma State is pretty good...maybe they can keep it within ten..." Not this year. Thirteen seems like a lot of points to be giving the Cowboys, which is exactly why we're doing it. It has nothing to do with faith in Texas, it has to do with faith in Brian Vickers.

(****UPDATE****This one moved a little in our favor, from 13 to 11.5)

Missouri (-24.5) vs. Colorado

Explanation: Of every line Vegas posted this week, none are crazier than this one. Considering Colorado is decent enough to become bowl eligible in the Big 12, and that Missouri is good, but not great (and with a lousy defense)'s impossible for me to understand why I have to lay so many points to get a cover. But the spread is inflated for a reason...Vegas is begging you to wager on the Buffs. Not us. Lord Vickers is much too smart for that.

Ohio State (+2.5) vs. Penn State

My buddy Matt, an Ohio State grad, texted me last night from Wyoming (or North Dakota, or some dumb state a million miles away) and asked me what I thought was going to happen Saturday night at the Shoe. My LOL-free response: I think PSU is two TDs better, but the system is telling us to bet on the Bucks.

Good luck this week! NFL picks (and we have five of 'em) coming Sunday morning.

Season record: 36-28-1

-Brad Spieser (

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cashmere Wright Injured; Dark Cloud Refusing To Leave Clifton

Possible understatement: It's not easy rooting for Cincinnati area teams at the moment.

Admission: I screamed the 'F' word multiple times upon hearing the devastating (yes, devastating) news that UC freshman point guard Cashmere Wright had torn his left ACL.

It's been nothing but crap luck for the UC basketball program since Kenyon Martin snapped his leg in the 2000 Conference USA tournament. Let's briefly examine a few examples, starting with said injury, which was a punch to the gut I'll likely never recover from (so how do you think Bob Huggins feels?):

1. Kenyon Martin breaks leg. Let's not forget, UC wasn't a good team in 2000, they were the best team in the country, and no sane-minded individual can say otherwise. They were loaded with guard play, depth, experience, and of course, Kenyon Martin - the national player of the year and one of 100 best college players of all time, according to TSN's Mike Decourcey. Trust me, that team rolls into the Final Four, where the talent level was borderline pathetic (including Wisconsin, the worst Final Four team of the past twenty years). Only the Tom Izzo-led Michigan State squad, with Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson and Charlie Bell on the perimeter, could've given the Cats some trouble. But their interior was garbage, and I just don't see anyone who would've kept Kenyon Martin from tossing up a 26/14/6 game on the biggest stage.

2. 2002, second round loss in double overtime to UCLA. I'll sound whiny here, but it was bad luck that UC, an overachieving No. 1 seed, had to tangle with the shockingly talented No. 8 seed Bruins. UCLA, who had a habit of going through the motions and playing hard come tourney time under Steve Lavin, did it again in 2002. That particular team sent six guys to the NBA (Jason Kapono, Matt Barnes, Dan Gadzuric, Ced Bozeman, Andrae Patterson and Dijon Thompson) - a huge number for even the most accomplished teams - while the Bearcats only had one guy who ever played a minute in the league...freshman Jason Maxiell, who wasn't even a starter in '02. And I'd like to add another thing: Bob Huggins gets labeled a "choke artist" quite a bit, and that game contributes to that title, but was it his fault his inferior unit almost took down the supremely talented Bruins?

3. The Huggs fallout, and everything that came with it. Including...

a. Devan Downey's eventual transfer. If you've forgotten how he good he was, consider that he nearly led the SEC in scoring and steals last a sophomore. It's a shame he was only a Bearcat for one season.

b. The giant red stop sign Nancy Zimpher threw up in regards to recruiting - which was the main contributor to Downey's departure. At the time Zimpher decided to ruin the program, it just so happened that the current team was led by seniors James White, Eric Hicks, Jihad Muhammad and Armein Kirkland, as well as junior Cedric McGowan. After that, no players were left. Nothing in the pipeline. Had UC-caliber players been brought in, and had Downey stayed, the program wouldn't have dropped off much at all.

c. I'm not sure why I'm listing this third, as it's far more important than anything listed above, and it's directly related to point B...but the Huggs fallout officially ended the chase for Bill Walker and Todd's brother - not to mention, considering the way it played out, the recruitment (thievery) of Michael Beasley. Somehow I think a roster of Downey, Todd's brother, Walker, Beasley and an assortment of typical Huggins bruisers would've been firmly planted in the top ten all last season.

4. With rock bottom waiting for them at the end of the '06 season, interim coach Andy Kennedy plays the "Us Against The World" card to perfection, only to be kicked in the groin by a cheating Irishman and a group of grizzled men who either (a.) didn't watch the college hoops season, (b.) overvalued Armein Kirkland's injury or (c.) hated Bob Huggins and took it out on undeserving mammals like Eric Hicks and Devan Downey. Explain.

Gerry McNamara traveled before sinking his desperation 30-footer in the '06 Big East Tournament. He did. If the violation is called, or if he misses the shot, the Cats probably punch their ticket. But that shouldn't have mattered, as UC was one of the top 30-35 teams in the country. Anyway, it mattered, somehow. Despite Bracketologist Joe Lunardi having UC safely in as a freaking 9 seed (by far his biggest miss to date - remember, he's paid to be bloody accurate), the selection committee disagreed and left 'em on the outside looking in. I threw chairs and screamed like a maniac. I complained day and night with Mo Egger, who might be the only person on the planet who takes that slight harder than I do. It never did any good, and I'm still not over it. If I ever find out that Kirkland's injury kept the Bearcats out of the NCAA tournament, I swear to Christ I will lose it. He was the fifth best player on the team and someone who was a disappointment from the word GO...not someone who should give the high and mighty selection committee a reason to penalize a gutsy team like the '06 Cats. Whatever. That was crappy luck.

5. In walks Mick Cronin, which was (and remains) a great thing. But it's been no picnic for the pint-sized redhead. Let's continue with the alphabet game...

a. Top recruit, and much-needed big man Hernol Hall sees his eligibility washed away prior to the 06-07 season. Any hope for a good season was thrown out the window.

b. Mike Williams, a former McDonald's All American who transferred from Texas about twenty years ago, blew out his Achilles' tendon on the eve of the 07-08 season. Cronin didn't hide the fact that Williams was the team's second best player (behind Deonta Vaughn), and the only guy who could provide solid interior play. And since recent history isn't on UC's side, let me just go ahead and predict that Williams will not be granted a sixth year of eligibility.

c. Cashmere Wright blows out his ACL less than a month before the season opener.

If you've been with me long enough, you undoubtedly know that I rarely steer you wrong with player projections. I take great pride in my ability to assess talent, and I can tell you - based on only three trips to the Deveroe's Summer League - that Cashmere Wright was a player. He's a pass-first point guard with high-end athleticism and oh, by the way, the ability to score from deep. He's not perfect by any means - he needs to gain about twenty lbs. and he's a bit careless with the ball (it was summer league, though) - but that's about it. Vaughn is clearly the best player on the team, but Wright would've been the most important, if that makes any sense. For the team to reach it's potential this season (which ultimately might be the last for Mike Williams), Wright's ability to play 30 minutes per game in the Big East was mandatory. The only thing nearly as important is the progress of superfreak Darnell Wilkes (which still might be a year away) or someone grabbing a wing spot and running with it. But none of it matters. Not Vaughn moving to the two, Williams' health or Wilkes growing up...none of it. They might be decent, but they won't be dynamic - not without a jet-quick point guard. The Cats had that guy ready to run the show for the next four years and complete the Bearcat transformation from lifeless to relevant. But now we have to wait a year to watch the kid play. That's twelve months. Well, twelve months, assuming nothing else goes wrong.

-Brad Spieser (

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Joe Buck Needs To Be Stopped

Rays reliever J.P. Howell came out of the pen to pitch the 7th inning of game 1 of the 2008 World Series. Joe Buck, and I'm paraphrasing, had this to say:

'...and in comes J.P. Howell, who has been as valuable as any member of this Rays team.'

Let me stop you right there, Mr. Buck...NO! Not even close.

J.P. Howell had nice numbers and all - 2.22 ERA, 92 K's - but he only participated in 89 of roughly 1,500 innings. Eighty-Nine! 1,500! Let's do some math...

Evan Longoria played in 1,055 innings, hitting 27 HRs and playing Gold Glove third base - slightly more valuable than Howell.

B.J. Upton (1,248 innings) had a .383 OBP and was second in the American League in outfield assists - slightly more valuable than Howell.

Carlos Pena (1,186 innings) jacked 31 dingers and drove in over 100 runs - slightly more valuable than Howell.

And that's not to mention the Rays' starters, all of whom were more valuable than Howell.

Want more proof? After recording two outs in the 7th, Howell was lifted when Shane Victorino (and his 34 career HRs) came to the plate.

Ladies and gentlemen...Joe Buck...just another high-priced broadcaster who runs his mouth and treats his audience like a bunch of idiots.

-Brad Spieser (

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gambling 2K8: XXV (Praise Brian Vickers!)

If you want to know how lucky we were to get a Temple cover last night, take a look at what play-by-play extraordinaire Todd Harris said immediately after a Temple RB carried the ball down to the Ohio eleven yard line late in the 4th quarter, trailing 10-7:

"James Dixon on a pick up of nine...well it certainly gets 'em into field goal range..."

Into field goal range?

The play started at the 20 yard line, chip-shot territory for every kicker on the planet, or so I thought. Of course, the dickhead missed a 25-yard field goal a few plays later - validating Todd Harris in the process - and forced me to throw my New Balance sneakers across the room.

And yet, we won. Somehow. Lord Vickers = Will Hunting x John Nash + Jimmy the Greek.

Season Record: 36-28-1

-Brad Spieser (

I Can Make Wikipedia A Gooder Product

This idea started back in January, when Craig and I were discussing the Najeh Davenport incident. Oddly, Craig had a buddy who knew quite a bit about the situation, and passed along the following information: It took place at something called Barry University, and it's even mentioned on the Barry University Wikipedia page. This got me thinking.

In reality, Barry University is mostly known for the Najeh Davenport incident - besides that, nobody's ever heard of the place. So, even though the story about Davenport dumping in a girl's dorm room laundry basket was mentioned on Barry University's Wikipedia page, it isn't the opening line - which has something to do with unimportant crap like enrollment and alumni.

Anyway, there are a ton of people who are only known for one thing, but the opening line on their Wikipedia page doesn't acknowledge it. Five examples:

1. Chip Beck - Look, the guy once shot a 59, and that's the only thing casual sports fans have ever known about him. But the opening line mentions, among other things, how many runner-ups he had on the PGA Tour. Hogwash! The dude shot a 59, and that's the only thing that makes him relevant.

2. Dale Long - Not a year goes by when, after some slugger hits HRs in five consecutive games, I'm reminded ad nauseum that Dale Long, Ken Griffey Jr and Don Mattingly share the all-time record with eight. But no, his opening line says something about batting left-handed.

(Note: Dale Long also played some catcher, which isn't necessarily weird until you consider he threw with his left hand. My hero. All in all, for a guy with a nondescript playing career, that boy got some uniqueness)

(Note No. 2: Some genius still needs to explain to me why left-handed catchers are obsolete.)

3. Cap Boso - Okay, this one makes me want to blow up the Internet. Quick...what do you think of when I say Cap Boso? Unstoppable force in the original Tecmo Bowl, right? Well, not according to Wikipedia, which doesn't even mention Boso's video game prowess. Apparently the author of Boso's Wikipedia page thought we wanted to know that he was born in Kansas City, Missouri.

4. Addyston, Ohio - Ask any Cincinnatian about Addyston, and they'll tell you the same thing: That's the neighborhood where - in the late 90's - Jeff Blake got pulled over for erratic driving, offered up a fishy story and supposedly passed field sobriety tests...followed by an escort home by a cop who broke a bunch of rules to do so (and was subsequently fired). That's why we know Addyston...not because of their population.

5. Sean Brewer - Sean Brewer might be the only 3rd round NFL draft pick of the 21st century not to have a Wikipedia page. While I can agree his playing career in Cincinnati wasn't particularly noteworthy (one season, three games, ZERO receptions), he's been the topic of conversation in countless Cincinnati watering holes. Consider: (a.) He was a known cigarette smoker, (b.) he wasn't even a distinguished pass catcher at San Jose State, where he should have dominated, (c.) he was coveted by Mike Brown, even though he wasn't on many team's draft boards and (e.) he was out of football after his second year. Akili Smith will always be considered the worst draft pick in franchise history, but Sean Brewer is in serious contention for the No. 2 spot - at least in the Mike Brown era.

-Brad Spieser (

Gambling 2K8: XXIV (Cliff Huxtable Edition)

After consecutive weeks of a .500 winning percentage, the Brian Vickers System has lost a smidge of momentum. But it hasn't crashed and burned, either. Which is important. I started thinking Sunday night how our system might not always deliver 7-1 weekends, but it sure as hell seems like a safe way to keep from getting your head kicked in. I've never had an eight-week stretch in my previous thirteen years of gambling where I didn't have an awful weekend or two -it's inevitable. Sure, I've had hotter three-and-four week stretches, but never a two-month period of disaster-free wagering. It could be dumb luck, but I tend to doubt it; 64 games in fewer than two months is quite a bit of action. Anyway, our dumb Tuesday night pick...

Temple (-3) vs. Ohio

Explanation: Sure, we're betting Shit against Shit (why else would it be played on a Tuesday?), but at least the Bobs stayed within two touchdowns of Ohio State, and held Northwestern to one touchdown. They ain't the '85 Bears, but they've done something, which is more than I can say about the Owls. Plus, Lord Vickers has a rule that Craig and I must follow, otherwise we'd be frauds: Throw money on Temple any time they're favored, because there's a good chance it'll never happen again.

Where's Paul Palmer when you need him?

Season Record: 35-28-1

-Brad Spieser (

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Return Of Unrealistic Movie Scenes

I had so much fun posting the ridiculousness (or perhaps, the ridiculosity) of the first five minutes of Lean on Me that I'd like to make this a running gimmick (suggestions welcomed).

Today's slightly unrealistic movie moment: The opening scene from 1991's The Last Boy Scout, a football movie featuring a five-minute stretch that includes (a.) players with gigantic shoulder pads, (b.) a guy on a stretcher, (c.) horses, (d.) the star player taking phone calls at halftime on "line 3," and knowing exactly what it means, (e.) the star player apparently fixing games by promising a bunch of TDs as opposed to taking a dive, (f.) Lynn Swann interviewing a greedy owner in a driving rainstorm and asking about the death of professional football, (g.) I don't want to spoil the rest if you haven't seen it...

-Brad Spieser (

Proof That Nobody Cares About Boxing

I barely pay attention to the sport of professional boxing, but Bernard Hopkins dominated Kelly Pavlik this weekend, and it was kind of a big deal. Anyway, Craig called me the next day to tell me about a quote that caught my eye, but didn't necessarily shock me. What did shock me, however, was the lack of attention said quote received. Take a gander at what Hopkins, a black, said post-fight to Pavlik, a white (from

"Don't let this fight destroy you," Hopkins told him. "You're a great
middleweight champion. You have a great heart. Keep your head up. Keep fighting.
You have to learn one thing. You have to learn that
slickness that black
fighters have
and then you'll really be a great champion. I don't want
you to quit. If I have to go to your house and take you to the gym, I will."
Slickness that black fighters have? Really? Do all black fighters share a slickness gene?

I often bring up race, and I think it's an important topic (unless I'm obviously joking). I usually mention the always touchy subject when broadcasters (a.) assume a black dude is athletic because of his skin color or (b.) refer to a white guy as "deceptively fast." Both are unacceptable, but this is something different. I hate to sound like a junior Klan member, and I rarely have this viewpoint, but what if a prominent white athlete said something similar? Anything less than chaos would be an upset.

-Brad Spieser (

Apology-Free Unoriginal Blogging

I don't care if every goddamn blog in North America already posted this disgusting photo of Tara Reid - and honestly, I couldn't tell you if they have - but I had no choice but to post it in this space.

I mean, it was less than a decade ago when she and Vern Tessio contributed a fairly horny sex scene in the unwatchable Body Shots (video not included - find it yourself, pervert)...and now you're telling me my 51-year-old Aunt Debbie has hotter legs than her? This is an outrage.

(More pictures can be found at Egotastic)

-Brad Spieser (

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hines Ward Is One Tough Mammal

All I want to do is close my eyes in a dark room for the next six hours, but my friend Kevin wanted me to post the video of Hines Ward breaking the jaw belonging to Keith Rivers (the reincarnation of Landon Johnson.) Apparently Kevin didn't see the hit and I'm guessing he's never heard of, an Internet website that offers a plethora of videos featuring young girls in their underpants and, of course, Hines Ward being stronger than me or you.

Anyway, enjoy:

-Brad Spieser (

Gambling 2K8: XXIII (XXIII Brings Back Bad Memories)

Bills (pick) vs. Chargers

Explanation: didn't the Chargers finally get their act together last week with a Sunday night thumping of the Foxboro Patriots? I hate to keep bringing up this "man-for-man" thing," but the Chargers are more talented at almost every position - including a massive advantage at quarterback. This line is crap...San Diego should be laying three.

Redskins (-7) vs. Browns

Explanation: This is either the third or fourth time Vickers has told us to bet against the Browns, and I'm not really happy about it. You can't tell me the Skins should be a touchdown favorite over the talented Browns. The talented Browns, I might add, who (a.) murdered the Giants on MNF and (b.) are getting Kellen Winslow back. Washington is good, but they're nothing special.

Season Record: 34-27-1

-Brad Spieser (

Friday, October 17, 2008

Gambling 2K8: XXII (College Picks Only)*******UPDATE*******

Rutgers (-1) vs. UConn

Explanation: If you're anything like me, you think UCONN is a pretty good team, and one that might be in line for a BCS game. If you have eyeballs, you undoubtedly know that Rutgers is trash. UCONN should be favored by a field goal, not getting a point. Of course, we're backing the Garden State Community College Fighting Scarlet Knights.

Iowa (-4) vs. Wisconsin

Explanation: Sure, the Badgers have had a rough couple of weeks, but are we really to believe they're all of the sudden four points (or more) worse than Iowa? Man for man, Wisconsin has superior talent, but this spread is more than a field goal for a reason: Vegas wants you to take 'Sconsin. Not me. I gots the Hawkeyes.

Western Michigan (-2) at Central Michigan

Explanation: Allow me to plead ignorance before going any further...I had no idea Western Michigan was 6-1 and undefeated in MAC play. But that's not the way the Brian Vickers System works. When Craig and I see a line that seems a little off - like Dan LeFevour getting points at home - the world stops (possible exaggeration). Either way, before Lord Vickers showed us the path to freedom we'd chase the Chippewas in this contest nine times out of nine. Now? We're staying true to our Savior. Let's Go Broncos (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap!)

(UPDATE: Western Michigan is no longer a Vickers selection; Dan LeFevour is out with an injury. I'm guessing that's why the line was so fishy.)

Baylor (+17) at Oklahoma State

Explanation: Forget the fact that Okie State just took Missouri, and focus on how they did holding Chase Daniel to 23 points. When I say nobody saw this coming, I mean nobody saw this coming (italics for emphasis). What's that old saying, "defense doesn't slump?" Well, if Okie State held Mizzouri to just 23 points, then why am I to assume they won't hold the Baylor Fighting Bears to negative-18? Beats the hell out of me. Regardless, we're sticking with Baylor, would be getting anywhere between 21-24 points. Oh well.

Buffalo (-11) vs. the Armal Academy

Explanation: Buffalo should never ever ever ever EEEEEEEEEVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRR be favored by this many points - not even against Army. Thought we all knew this. I know it seems like Buffalo is getting better, but they have a 2-4 record and haven't won a game in over a month. And now you're telling me they need to win by two touchdowns to win me cash? Whatever. This system is dumb.

South Carolina (+2.5) vs. LSU

Explanation (I'm letting Craig take over for this one): "Let's see...LSU has a bunch of fast blacks projected to go in the 1st round of next year's draft, and South Carolina has guys who, despite their own blackness, will be undrafted free agents. LSU should kill them, so we're taking the Gamecocks." Sounds good to me. I'm a big Darius Rucker fan anyway.

*************Duke (+3) vs. Miami************

Explanation: The annoying use of stars doesn't - IN ANY WAY - indicate a Lock of the no no. The stars indicate that I haven't yet placed money on this game yet, as I'm waiting for the line to move up a half-point or more. If it doesn't, we'll take the Blue Devils getting three; if not, I'll let you guys know well in advance of the 3:30 kickoff. Anyway, our reasoning for taking this one is simple: Duke has Duke players and Miami has Miami players, plain and simple. Duke may be improving and Miami might be down, but it's still Duke vs. Miami, and frankly, it's a load of crap that I'm only getting a field goal with Durham's finest.

(UPDATE No.2: This has nothing to do with the Miami-Duke line; it's still parked at a very unreasonable three. But Craig and I found another play...Northern Illionois (-8.5) vs. Toledo. Didn't Toledo beat Michigan last week? Somehow I think they can hold it to a touchdown in DeKalb. Doctor Vickers, however, says otherwise.)

(Don't forget to check back before the Duke-Miami game fires up.)

Season Record: 31-23-1

Brian Vickers is a genius.

-Brad Spieser (

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Girl Wants To Party All The Time...

Sports Illustrated's Signs of the Apocalypse is always worth six seconds of my time. It's rarely hilarious (or mind-blowing, or whatever SI is going for), but it's worth it.

Which brings me to Howard Stern's revealing interview with Maureen McCormick this morning. And by "revealing," I mean McCormick, the gal who played Marcia Brady, admitted to being a coke whore back in the mid-to-late 70's. Not someone who occasionally messed around with cocaine or someone who gradually developed a habit...but a coke whore. Jan's big sister, the most wholesome girl in the world, claimed to have sex at least four times in exchange for yeyo.

If I could trade places with anyone, at any time (aside from Nick Van Exel in the first half of the '93 Elite Eight game against North Carolina), I would be the guy who first played bang-bang with Maureen McCormick because she needed another line of cocaine. That might seem despicable, and I don't necessarily disagree, but very few people have a claim to fame as impressive as, "I gave Marcia Brady drugs in exchange for unprotected intercourse."

Am I crazy or is that the best possible icebreaker one could have at a cocktail party?

-Brad Spieser (

Italian Composers + Young Blacks = A World Of Perfect Harmony

I've always known three things about "The Ecstasy of Gold"...

1. It's the best song off The Good, the Bad and the Ugly soundtrack.

2. Metallica plays a version of it to open up all their shows.

3. It forces me to drive faster than any other song (a fact that surprises everyone who knows that about me).

So, if you couple the above information with the fact that LaDainian Tomlinson will always be my favorite non-Bengal (he carried two of my keeper-league teams for the majority of this decade), it's probably not difficult to imagine my knees buckling the first time I saw this wonderful commercial (try to ignore the hip hop injection):

Now, the Metallica version (which is sporadically awesome, but not nearly as good as Ennio Morricone's soundtrack version):

-Brad Spieser (

Strange Things Are Afoot In Charlotte, North Carolina

I'm pretty sure you don't care, but Carolina Panthers WR Mushin Muhammad is in the middle of a very strange career - one that has angered, frustrated and annoyed fantasy owners for a solid decade. At the age of 35, Muhammad is on pace for 77 receptions and 1,136 yards. That, by itself, is not all that strange, as receivers can stay productive for a long time. But that usually applies to guys who were consistently good (or great) throughout their careers (like Cris Carter, Isaac Bruce, Marvin Harrison and Jerry Rice)...that is not the case with Muhammad.

Muhammad was a second round pick in '96 and didn't have his first 1,000-yard season until his fourth year, when he also had 96 catches. The following year he led the league with 102 receptions, and at age 27, appeared to be entering his prime. Think again. Over the next three years Muhammad redefined average, never topping 850 yards in any one season. His name continued to carry some weight in fantasy leagues, but he was always dropped in week four, picked up by someone else in week six and left for dead by mid-season; 3 grabs and 47 yards a week just wasn't cutting it.

Then came 2004, when, at age 31 and thought to be past his prime, Muhammad threw up one of the better seasons I can remember...93 receptions, 1,405 yards, 16 TDs. Where had this dude been for the last three years? Nobody had an answer, but it wasn't a reach to call him one of the best WRs in the NFL.

Then, of course, he went to Chicago to catch passes from a young Kyle Orton and a fat-faced Rex Grossman. While it obviously didn't help his production, it didn't change the fact that he was once again just another guy with mediocre statistics. He didn't top 900 yards or 5 TDs in any of his three seasons with the Bears. Once again, he was a forgotten man.

Until, of course, his third rebirth.

I don't know a single mammal who drafted Muhammad this season, and while he hasn't been spectacular, he's certainly been well above league average, and worthy of a No. 3 WR spot on almost any fantasy roster.

Can you think of anyone, in any sport, who has had a career as odd as Muhammad's? Send an email my way if you can.

The one guy I think of is former Cards and Rockies pitcher Jose Jimenez. As a member of the '99 Cardinals he threw a no-hitter in the 15th start of his rookie season, outdueling Randy Johnson and the 100-win D'Backs, 1-0. Two starts later he threw a 2-hit shutout against the very same team. The rest of his rookie campaign was hit-and-miss. But mostly miss. Regardless, dude had talent.

He was traded to Colorado that offseason where he was converted into a reliever. And a pretty good one, actually. He became a full-time closer in 2002 and saved 41 games with a spectacular (for a guy pitching half his games in a humidore-less Coors Field) 1.18 WHIP.

Jimenez was out of baseball only two years later. Strange. He finished his career with a 24-44 record, and an ERA pushing 5.00. That, to me, sounds like an awful pitcher. But how many guys do you know with a no-hitter and a 40-save season on the back of their baseball card? I can only think of a few: Dennis Eckersley, Derek Lowe and Dave Righetti.

And Jose Jimenez.

-Brad Spieser (

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gambling 2K8: XXI (Roman Numerals Make An Appearance)

I just want to start this off with something that has nothing to do with betting on collegiate athletics: Ryan Howard's nostrils are the biggest nostrils in the history of nostrils.

So there.

Anyway, the Brian Vickers System now sports an outstanding record of 30-23-1, and I'm thinking this is the week it's taken to another level. We get it going with a Thursday nighter...

TCU (pick) vs. Byu

Explanation: No. 9 BYU has a legitimate shot to be the best non-BCS team since the flawed system went into effect ten years ago. The Cougs have a great offense, a good defense, and unlike most teams outside of the big six conferences, don't rely on gimmicks. They're a team without a single visible hole, and appear to be on a crash course with the Rose or Fiesta Bowl. And now you're telling me they face an unranked TCU team and the point-spread is pick 'em? Huh? The Horned Frogs are a nice team and all, and they get to play host Thursday night, but they should be four-point underdogs against BYU. They're not. TCU isn't even a slight underdog, somehow. I know what this means: Vegas is dying for you to take BYU. In the words of the great Seg Dennison, "Nah, baby, nah." Trust me, the play is TCU. I think.

-Brad Spieser (

"They Wanna Murder You In A Well"

"Hell is hot. That's never been disputed by anybody."

-Paulie Walnuts

From the funniest line in Sopranos history to maybe the funniest thing I've ever seen on cable television: Norm MacDonald roasting Bob Saget.

Problem is, hardly anyone thought it was funny, and I'm afraid that even after watching this you'll not be laughing either. (My comments are below)

While the rest of the roasters were busy one-upping each other with vicious Olsen-twin cracks, MacDonald busted out a batch of originality we've never seen before (at least I haven't). I take pride in making other humans laugh, and I can say with absolute certainty that I've never been half as funny as MacDonald was on that stage.

Anyway, how about the people genuinely laughing, not because they got what Norm MacDonald was doing, but because they either (a.) actually thought it was funny, (b.) didn't get it, but laughed anyway, or (c.) ????????

Norm MacDonald's jokes weren't funny, which is why they were hilarious. It was quite possibly the ballsiest move in roast history - it worked perfectly - and yet the great majority of the audience didn't get it. And it's likely those same people still think MacDonald bombed at the Saget Roast. How anyone thought a brilliant comedian like Norm McDonald would honestly produce a "full of baloney" joke at a roast is beyond me. But it happened. You saw the video.

Listen, I've had dozens of people tell me Two and a Half Men is the funniest show on television. This always enraged me, but in all fairness I'd never seen the show; I just assumed it was awful, which is generally a safe assumption when it comes to comedy. Well, recently I gave Charlie Sheen's program five minutes, you know, just to make sure, and I now want to hang myself.

Someone needs to explain why this formula works: Endless, predictable one-liners + manly men + blatant sexism + hot chicks = successful network sitcom.

There is very little hope for the future of this country.

-Brad Spieser (

Magic Johnson Makes Me Want To Punch People (Like Magic Johnson)

Bill Simmons once wrote that having Magic Johnson join the cast of Inside the NBA would be like having Jon Lovitz join the cast of Seinfeld.

Truer words have never been spoken.

So, as you can imagine, I was thrilled when I read the following words: Magic Johnson joins ESPN, ABC as NBA studio analyst.

! (exclamation point)

!! (double exclamation point)

As I've written many times in this space, Inside the NBA is the best studio show of my lifetime. Better than College Gameday (which is still great, but far too gimmicky to have my undivided attention for two hours), and better than the early days of Fox NFL Sunday. (Note: The current version of Inside the NFL could make an appearance on my short list, but they need to produce a few more weeks like the last couple. I'm optimistic.)

Anyway, Magic Johnson will no longer be making untimely guest appearnces with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley. He'll also never (a.) over-laugh at one of EJ's cheesy jokes, or (b.) bring the momentum of an otherwise perfect show to a screeching halt because he's off limits when it comes to being the butt of jokes (which is what makes a superstar like Barkley so unique, that he's not above receiving jabs from a square like EJ).

Sing it with me one more time: Magic Johnson will never again be on Inside the NBA, at least not in the foreseeable future!

That, boys and girls, is cause for exclamation points!

-Brad Spieser (

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tim McCarver, Billy Packer, Alan Cutler And Other Dopes

Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus recently called out Tim McCarver, and it was about the smartest damn thing I've read in weeks. It's also short, so if you hate McCarver there's really no reason not to read it. In fact, I'm begging you...PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK IF YOU CAN'T STAND KNOW-IT-ALLS LIKE MCCARVER AND BILLY PACKER.

I wasn't watching Wednesday's Dodgers-Phillies game, but McCarver got on his high horse and blasted Manny Ramirez for "refusing to play" in his final Boston days, when evidence pointed to the contrary. Which is where Sheehan comes in. You see, anymore, broadcasters can't just run their mouths without fact-checking. This is a good thing.

This came out of McCarver's mouth Wednesday:

"Manny's doing things that even Manny doesn't do, [like] scoring on a double to right field from first base."

If you're Joe-Schmoe baseball fan sitting at home you probably think, Yeah, Manny never hustled like that in Boston. Except it's simply untrue. And Baseball Prospectus has the data to support it. In fact, it's not difficult to find on your own, although it can take a while.

Sheehan killed McCarver in the last couple hundred words of his piece:

"Of course, Tim McCarver doesn't care, and that's why this is important. See, come Thursday night, Tim McCarver is going to look into a camera and tell tens of millions of people what he thinks about Manny Ramirez. He's probably going to revisit this theme any number of times over the following couple of weeks, especially if the Dodgers reach the World Series. When he does, there isn't going to be a graphic showing Ramirez's stats during the timeframe when he was supposedly being such a detriment to his team. There won't be a cutaway to Joe Sheehan in the studio pointing out that Ramirez outplayed most of his teammates and carried two or three of their carcasses while not getting the three-day paid vacation they got. We won't hear Joe Buck come over the top of McCarver and point out that Ramirez played nearly every day in July.

It will just be McCarver making fact-free assertions, and America listening. That's wrong.

It's time that this stops, and all I can do to make it stop is put facts out there and hope that they get to baseball fans, to television executives, and maybe, just maybe, to a TV booth in St. Petersburg. Facts matter. Data matters. Facts and data don't have agendas, don't like or dislike individuals, aren't invested in a particular storyline or protecting their friends and sources. Facts just sit there on the page and dare you to ignore them. There are links all over this article. Click them and verify the claims I make in this piece. That's what Baseball Prospectus is about: backing up your opinions with facts.

Manny Ramirez played in 90% of his team's games in July and hit like a beast, coming up huge in a critical division matchup late in the month to help the Red Sox avoid a sweep and sustain their place in the standings. Those are, those are the facts.

What do you have, Tim?"
There's a reason I posted this, and I think you know where I'm going. I'm sick of writing this sentence, but I care more about broadcasting than I care about anything else. When I hear Billy Packer go nuts because he saw Player X travel, followed by video evidence of Player X not traveling, followed by Packer still claiming that Player X did indeed travel and his team got away with one, well, I lose it. How self-important do you have to be to tell the country something that is obviously wrong - or in McCarver's case, with no data to support a claim?

The problem, and Sheehan implied this, is that people are naive by nature. That list includes me - just not when it comes down to stuff like this. Anyway, McCarver will tell tens of millions people about Manny Ramirez quitting in Boston, and a good percentage of the viewers will swallow every ounce of crap McCarver throws out there. They just assume the guy on TV is right. Why else would he have the job, you know?

Quick story before hitting "Publish Post": When I went to broadcasting school, one of the first things I was told was that being on the air gives you instant credibility, even though you've done nothing to warrant it. I think I was the only one of my classmates who already knew this (I mean, how else could people convince themselves that Jeff Piecoro, Alan Cutler, Tim Lewis, etc., were actually knowledgeable and entertaining? It was simply because they were the guys on the radio, which means they must have earned their position...), and it enraged me, even though it had the potential to benefit me in the future. Anyway, think about that the next time you listen to your radio. I pick on Alan Cutler a lot, and I actually have a reason beyond "He's terrible at his job." He runs his mouth every day on topics he has no knowledge of, and his format is set up so that listeners will call in and ask him his expert advice. I ask you...what makes him an expert?

I'm glad Deion Sanders dumped champagne on Tim McCarver.

-Brad Spieser (

Monday, October 13, 2008

Funniest Video In The History Of Videos

The following things have something very special in common:

1. "Nigga go to hell!"

2. Guns N' Roses.

3. Black on black crime.

4. A toilet thrown out the window.

5. A principal or some authority figure being cornered by thugs.

6. A harmless girl's shirt being ripped off, apparently because she was applying make-up (the height of comedy, as far as I'm concerned).

7. Cracked windows and graffiti everywhere.

8. Not so subtle drug dealings.

9. A teacher being the victim of an old-fashioned wrestling move.

10. A young black boy getting stuffed in the locker because he wasn't "black enough."

Any guesses? If your answer was the first five minutes of Lean on Me you are the big winner of various prizes. (Note: I would've also accepted "something infinitely more intriguing than watching Ryan Fitzpatrick suck.")

Listen, Road House is often mentioned as an example of a ridiculous yet watchable movie, and I can't argue that. How could you? But I think it's about time another film takes its turn at the top of that list. I don't know if you've ever seen the first five minutes of Lean on Me, but it's easily the most over-the-top directing of the last 100 years of cinema.

Remember, we are led to believe this is just an average day at this high school:

-Brad Spieser (

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sixteen Things About The Bengals (Hardcore And Whatnot)

I get emails every day from readers asking me when (or if) I'm going to start writing more about the Bengals, and I just scratch my head. Why would anyone want to read about that crap? For those who don't know, I got my blogging start two years ago writing a weekly Bengals column for Which better explains the requests for Bengals material. The core of my audience - the group who's been with me the longest - discovered me when I wrote only about the Bengals, and I think they miss the old me. And I'm sorry, but I gots to be selfish here...time is limited, and I can't waste time breaking down Leon Hall's coverage technique, or whatever (plus, I'm sure Alan Cutler wlll be all over that!). It's borderline depressing, and I'm already depressed enough. Come to think of it, part of the reason I'm depressed is the goddamn Bengals!

Anyway, here's my analysis through six weeks:

1. Ryan Fitzpatrick is terrible.

2. Chris Perry is terrible.

3. Chinedum Ndukwe is pretty good.

4. Life on Mars is a promising television program.

5. Smashing Pumpkins might not have a better song than Mayonaise.

6. Although Thirty-Three certainly has the right to exist without being the butt of jokes.

7. Allow me to clear something up, as I don't want to offend William Corgan: In no way am I considering Muzzle to be chopped liver!

8. I'm on a bit of a Pumpkins kick, obviously.

9. Nobody says "chopped liver" anymore, which is a good thing.

10. It's mid-October and the
Brian Vickers System has only produced one losing week. One!

11. My arm itches (I have an itchy arm).

12. I recently scratched the itch for 65 glorious seconds.

13. Live from the Blasphemy Department: Larry Fitzgerald might be as good as late-90's Randy Moss on jumpballs.

14. Phil Simms redefines "bland" as a color commentator, but fires opinions left and right on the suddenly watchable Inside the NFL.

15. Shane Victorino is the Hawaiin Ryan Freel. Well, maybe not, but I'd really appreciate if someone could pass along the following piece of information to the Phillies' annoying center fielder: Some low-rent blogger in Southwest Ohio just compared you to Ryan Freel.

16. Ryan Fitzpatrick is terrible.

End of words.

-Brad Spieser (

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gambling 2K8: Part Twenty (Betting on Central Florida?)


Memphis (+6.5) at Louisville

Explanation: Forget the fact that Memphis is terrible and Louisville is kind of okay. Also, forget where the game is being played. Forget all of it. When one of the teams involved lost to Marshall, and they're getting less than a touchdown on the road, well, we have to throw money on them. Can someone explain to me why the spread isn't doubled in this sucker?

Minnesota (+12) at Illinois

Explanation: Just because Minnesota is much improved from last year doesn't mean they're any good. Plus, this just seems like one of those games where Illinois gets healthy. Remember, Illinois swapped touchdowns with Missouri for four quarters...I really doubt Minnesota will offer much resistance. Another thing: Any time you wager on a team getting less than two touchdowns you have to feel like they have a shot of winning the game outright. With the Gophers, we know that's an impossibility. Hooray!

Mississippi State (+2) vs. Vandy

Explanation: The Fighting Sylvester Crooms have two things to be proud of: (1.) They gave up three points in a game, scored points themselves, and somehow managed to lose, and (2.) they only lost to LSU by ten points (34-24) after scoring a garbage TD with 00:38 left on the clock. Really, that's it. Mississippi State also lost to a crappy Louisiana Tech team (more on them in a minute). No matter how you slice it, MSU stinks. And Vandy...did you watch 'em last week? They lost their starting QB - the heart and soul of the team (or whatever) - early in the game and actually got better. Who woulda thought Vandy has two good QBs? Not me. Anyway, the 'Dores are good, and they have a feisty defense. Why they're favored by less than a field goal is beyond me. Goddamn Vegas.

Tennessee (+12.5) at Georgia

Explanation: The Vols have scored 6, 12 and 13 points in their last three, and they also have a loss to UCLA on their resume. Georgia, on the other hand is (a.) good, (b.) pissed off about the first-half egg they laid against Bama, and (c.) rested - the Alabama disaster was TWO WEEKS AGO! This is a blowout from the word GO. Naturally, we're backing a comatose Phil Fulmer.

Arkansas (+17) a Auburn

Explanation: I keep telling myself that Arkansas is too shitty to apply to the Brian Vickers System, and I keep coming back for more. Auburn isn't great, but they just fired their offensive coordinator, which means redneck extraordinaire Tommy Tuberville will try to justify the move with flea-flickers and triple reverses. Once again, backing the Hogs = we're screwed.

Northwestern (+1) vs. Michigan State

Explanation: Michigan State still has Michigan State players...and Northwestern still has Northwestern players, right? Right?

UC (-7) vs. Rutgers

Explanation: This is now the fourth consecutive week we've bet on a match involving the Bearcats, and we've only won once. Rutgers has been a recruiting force (relatively speaking) for three or four years now, and they have many of the same guys from last year's semi-decent team. Plus, they're a desperate squad with a competent coach. In my former life, my money is on them. This ain't my former life - I'm taking the Bearcats. Reluctantly. I mean fearlessly.

Central Florida (+17) at Miami

Explanation: What year is it? Is Daunte Culpepper leading the Golden Knights into battle? Or is this the same crappy team that lost just twelve days ago to UTEP, 58-13? Look, Miami isn't Miami, but they're most certainly on their way back. They weren't embarrassed at Florida, rolled A & M, blew it against a good North Carolina team and hung 39 points on a stingy Seminole defense. They have a 2-3 record, but they deserve a better fate. The Canes have a good young QB, and the players seem to have bought in to coach Shannon. I hate Vivkers. I love Vickers.

Southern Miss (+10.5) vs. Boise State

Explanation: I've seen no evidence suggesting that Boise State isn't one of the fifteen best teams in the country. None. They've pummeled every schmuck who came through Idaho and hung 37 on Oregon at Autzen Stadium. So, even though Hattiesburg, Mississippi may be a tough place to play - as a home loss to Marshall indicates - I can't imagine it being more difficult than Autzen Freaking Stadium. Sometimes I feel like we're just throwing money away.

Loisiana Tech (+7.5) at Hawaii

Explanation: Well, maybe I'm overreacting here. La. Tech did beat I-AA powerhouse SE Louisiana 41-26, and Hawaii had to go to overtime to win in the valley against No. 25 Fresno just last week... It's a good thing Hawaii doesn't have a .991 winning percentage on the island! This system is dumb.

(Note: Western Kentucky may get added to the list, but I need Craig's blessing. At the moment he's terrorizing an old man on a public golf course for no good reason. Regardless, I'll let you know before the game starts if we've added it to the list or not.)

Season record: 25-18

-Brad Spieser (

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Big Happenings At The Library And Whatnot

I don't know if you know this or not, and I hesitate to let the rest of the world in on my little secret, but they're just giving shit away at the library. Story time.

I was forced to surf the Net at the dumb library today - Lord knows I couldn't go a day without reading Rob Neyer and/or Bucknuts - and after taking a ride on the Information Superhighway (or whatever the kids are calling it these days), I wound up *renting* season four of Entourage for *free*. Think about that. Renting. For free!

I've only stolen one thing in my life - a Cadbury Egg from the Westwood Walgreens in the summer of '89 - and I remember being scared like never before. Well, I felt the same way today as I left the dumb library. I walked out of that dumb place half expecting to get swarmed by the fuzz like one of those creeps on To Catch a Predator (video below). Anyway...

Has this been going on forever? Because right now - this very second - I feel luckier than a dying Lou Gehrig (who, when you think about it, was either a big liar or a complete moron).

-Brad Spieser (

Mr. Spike Lee... Paging Mr. Spike Lee...

Blacks + basketball + hanging bananas = monkey thoughts = egregious racism.

Have you seen the NBA Live '09 commercial? The guy who ok'd this must love the first 45 minutes of American History X.

Is it possible the head marketing fellow at EA Sports knows nothing about subtlety?

-Brad Spieser (

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Hottest Girl Ever Breaks Up With Me

Those kids in the picture look really sad, don't they? Let me tell you, those idiots know nothing about sadness. Explain.

Think of the hottest girl you've ever met...I know someone hotter - and I've seen her naked on multiple occasions (she even ate Smarties in my bed after she smoked some weed!). This person is so perfect that if her goal was to sleep with Ben Affleck by the end of the week, she'd have no problem.

More importantly, she's listened to several TwinKilling podcasts. For a brief moment she was crazy about me. But it's over now. She told me so via text message, which was only the most heartbreaking news since Nick Van Exel's retirement.

For more details you can listen to the hottest girl ever breaks up with me, the most painful podcast I've ever had to post.

Now if you don't mind I'm going to watch some Chris Isaak videos and drink a bottle of wine.

-Brad Spieser (

Fact: It's Impossible To Get AIDS

Is there a noise worse than a crying baby? How about the constant dinging your car makes if you're not wearing your seat belt?

How do you make a microwave?

Did Matt Millen deserve to be fired?

Wanna know what I do when I lock my keys in my 1998 Dodge Intrepid? Wanna know what I'd do if my 1998 Dodge Intrepid had a flat tire? (Hint: The answers are related.)

If you tried hard enough, could you get AIDS? Could you get raped?

Does friendliness lead to shirt removal?

Craig and I don't necessarily answer all of these questions in our thought-provoking podcast, its impossible to get aids, but we give it our best effort. Which should be good enough for you.

-Brad Spieser (

Kurt Cobain Was Smart Enough To Kill Himself

Knowing when to kill yourself is important. It's also a skill. The following three people should have taken a lesson from Kurt Cobain:

1. Kurt Warner - If he kills himself the night before the '01 Super Bowl, a game the Rams lost to double-digit underdog New England, there's a wing at the Hall of Fame named after Kurt Warner.

2. Terrell Davis - He'd be considered one of the ten best RBs in history had he blown his brains out before the '99 season.

3. Tom Brady - Brady will always be considered one of the game's great players - so his legacy is safe to a certain extent - but a bullet in his head on the eve of the Super Bowl loss to the Giants and the "Top QB of all time" debate is moot.

It's an odd thing to talk about, and maybe Kurt Warner has friends and relatives who would like to see him take a few thousand more breaths, but it doesn't mean I'm wrong. Which is why you should listen to our latest podcast, kurt cobain was smart enough to kill himself, and thank me later.

(Help: Email me if you have good examples of famous people who should have killed themselves.)

-Brad Spieser (