Saturday, August 1, 2009

Big 12 Preview: South

The South will rise again....and again, and again. With three possible candidates for a bid to the BCS Championship, the Big XII South division has once again proven that it is possibly the most difficult division to win in college football. Here are my predictions (including rivalry games!) on which team will take down the South this year and possibly be playing in Pasadena come January. For the others, I will predict their records and which bowl they will go to.

6. Texas A&M- Mike Sherman has quite a bit of rebuilding to do. This once proud program has been struggling to find something for the 12th man to cheer about. Record: 4-8, No Bowl.

5. Texas Tech- Mike Leach is a brilliant football coach, but the losses of Harrell and Crabtree cannot be replaced in just one year. They will yet be a good football team, but nowhere near enough to win the South. Record 8-4, Sun Bowl.

4. Baylor- Now before you all write me off, just wait a minute. Robert Griffin is the next big thing in the Big 12. He's a beast, Brad Smith 2.0. Plus with a pretty good O-Line protecting him, I expect big things from this reeling program. Record 8-4, Texas Bowl

3. Oklahoma St.- Mike Gundy is going to lead this team to a BCS bowl bid this year. They are definitely my sleeper pick to take it all down, and no, I don't mean the Big 12, I mean the National Championship. Record 10-2, Holiday Bowl.

2. Oklahoma- A great team, but if they want to return to the National Championship game, they'll have to beat Texas. Record 11-1, Fiesta Bowl

1. Texas- Colt McCoy will be unstoppable this year. Texas is undoubtedly a team of destiny this year. The only team that can stop Texas is Texas. Record 13-0, BCS Championship

Oklahoma beats Okla St., 40-37

Red River Shootout
Texas Beats OU, 45-35

Texas/Texas Tech
Texas beats Tech, 54-35

Texas/Texas A&M
Texas beats A&M, 55-24

Top 10 Moments of FAIL This Year for the Royals: No. 7

Royals give up 2nd round draft pick for reliever Juan Cruz

After Dayton Moore completely destroys a pretty darn good 2008 bullpen, he realizes his mistake and signs Juan Cruz to a 2 year deal worth over $6 million dollars. Cruz was considered a "Type B" free agent, meaning if a team decides to sign him, the forfeit their 2nd round pick to said player's former team.

Cruz was coming off of a year in which he posted his lowest ERA in his career, 2.61. The ERA looked good, but he had a below average WHIP for a reliever at 1.258. Plus, he had been pitching in the soft hitting NL West. Also left out in the Royals research of Cruz was a 7.44 ERA he had posted in the American League in 28 games with Oakland.

Now we are seeing that his stats in the National League do not necessarily transfer to the American League. Cruz was slated as the Royals main setup man out of Spring Training, but has posted a 6.41 ERA since then.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

O-Royals, O-Royals, Where For Art Thou, O-Royals?

Lets face facts:

-The season is lost.
-Trey Hillman can't manage.
-Zack Greinke likely won't get 20 wins this year.

Ok. Now we have to ask. What can Dayton Moore do to fix this in the short term? All season, players have not been held accountable. And if they have been held accountable, they have been held accountable about 2 weeks too late. It's time to blow it up. The Royals need a make over, because it has been obvious for too long that this team does not have what it takes to compete. Now this isnt a few years ago, where the only guys we could call up were Justin Huisman and Shane Costa. We actually have guys in AAA Omaha who are having very good seasons and can make an impact RIGHT NOW and replace guys up here who are not getting it done.

The following is my suggestion to Dayton Moore/the 10 people who read this blog, on what the Royals can do IMMEDIATELY to fix this team in the short term, because if something isn't done, this team is on the verge of losing a good chunk of its fanbase.

DFA Mike Jacobs>>>Call up 1B/DH Kila Kaaihue- The OBP machine is hitting a respectable .260/.402/.459. The average at the Major League level will drop obviously, but the walks will likely remain and KK will create more runs and be a more versatile player than Jacobs.

Mitch Maier back to AAA>>>Call up LF Scott Thorman- Hitting .280/.351/.527 with 17 hr and 50 RBI. Maier is an ok defensive CF, but he's just not cutting it up here. This lineup needs an injection of power. Thorman is 27, and has never gotten a real shot at the ML level.

Trade Olivo/Buck>>>Call up UTIL Tug Hulett. Tug has been mashing at AAA this year, .316/.403/.506. Once again, another guy who hasn't gotten a real shot in the show. This team cannot afford to carry 3 catchers, and with Trey Hillman saying B. Pena will be getting more reps at catcher, Buck and Olivo are both dispensable. I love Miggy, but he will likely field the most return in a trade.

DFA John Bale>>>Call up Lenny DiNardo- Hillman's mancrush has folded like a bad tent in the 8th inning this year, yet Trey keeps running him out there, thinking that he is a good option in those situations. Meanwhile, DiNardo is putting together a nice little season on the bluff, the 3.26 ERA doesnt blow my mind, but the 93 K/23 BB ratio and 1.12 WHIP does....

Trade Juan Cruz>>>Call up Chris "Disco" Hayes- Juan Cruz has lost most of his value, but some teams are still supposedly inquiring about him. Chris Hayes has become an internet sensation and gained a cult following due to his popular blog. But what really is impressive about the righty submariner is that he has only allowed TWO walks and one HR in 27 IP.

And last but not least, TRY to trade Yuniesky Betancourt. I know the Royals just traded for him, but this guy does not have any upside whatsoever. This isn't a "must" move for the Royals, as he would be an "ok" stop gap if SS Jeff Bianchi continues his current tear.

There. This team has pieces in the minor leagues that deserve a shot. The guys we have are not, and will not get the job done. It's time for an overhaul at The K. I'm on my last nerve with this franchise. Your mission, Dayton Moore, if you choose to accept it, is to fix this problem.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Top 10 Moments of FAIL for the Royals This Year: No. 8

Sidney Ponson Pitches the Home Opener

A week before the season started, the Royals finally announced their starting rotation. Gil Meche would once again be the Opening Day starter followed by Zack Greinke and Kyle Davies. Most people were wondering who would start the Home Opener and be the face of the first game at the New Kauffman Stadium of the New Kansas City Royals. Would it be Brian Bannister? Spring Training surprise Lenny DiNardo? Former first overall draft pick Luke Hochevar?

Nope. It was a bumbly, alcoholic, portly guy from Aruba, journeyman Sidney Ponson.

"Welcome to a new era in Royals baseball, Kansas City! We've got a new stadium, a chance at a division title, a Cy Young candidate in our rotation, and now your starting pitcher: Sidney Ponson!"

*Cue The Price is Right FAIL sound.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Chiefs season preview: Part 2

In part one, I visited on the Chiefs defense and what improvements they made. Obviously a complete makeover in the linebacker positions, with the additions of Mike Vrabel and Zach Thomas, and the switch of Tamba Hali from DE to OLB. All of these moves, I believe will do wonders for the Chiefs defense, mainly Derrick Johnson.

Now, on to the offense. The biggest story in the past few weeks was Matt Cassel signing a 6 year deal. But there is another story that most people have failed to pay attention to: Larry Johnson.

Let's face it, LJ has been awful the past two seasons. Sure you can give him the benefit of the doubt, as he isn't running behind the likes of Willie Roaf and Will Shields anymore. But Larry seemed to have lost his edge. He wasn't "running angry", he bought a $300,000 car and didn't show up to games when he was placed on the injured reserve.

But guess what folks? LJ is now playing for essentially the league minimum. He lost over $3 million on his contract, due to behavioral and criminal issues in the offseason. He isn't a self proclaimed superstar anymore. He's got something to prove finally. I would pick LJ as a sleeper for comeback player of the year. Plus, with Haley and Gailey's pass heavy offensive plan, the pressure will be off of LJ's shoulders. But he might be looking over his shoulder pads at Jamaal Charles at some point in the season.

The receivers aren't that great. Yeah, Dwayne Bowe had an off year last year, but you could attribute that to Tyler Thigpen only having eyes for Tony Gonzalez in the second half of the season. Bobby Engram has lost a step, but he's a guy who will go over the middle and fight for those precious yards after catches (the most underrated stat in the game of football). Mark Bradley should be a nice fit in the 3rd receiver role, but I wouldn't expect much from him. Brad Cottam will make us miss Tony G...Antonio Gates would make us miss Tony G.

As far as QB goes, what can I say about Matt Cassel that already hasn't been said? Can he be as good with the Chiefs as he was when he was throwing to Randy Moss and Wes Welker? Maybe. Or is he the guy who took an 18-1 team and turned them into an 11-5 team? Doubtful. Remember how awful the AFC East was in 2007? The Dolphins won one game. The Jets were 4-12 and the Bills were 7-9. The Pats went undefeated in their division that year. Turn the clock ahead to 2008, the Dolphins are completely remodeled, the Jets have Brett Favre, and the Bills stayed idle at 7-9. What I'm saying is that the Patriots were a morally depleted team in 2008. Their captain, Tom Brady was hurt. The division was better, Matt Cassel performed magnificently for a guy who had been riding the bench since high school.

The point is, Chiefs fans, that Matt Cassel will be a good, maybe great quarterback. Plus, with the weak defense in this division, I would go as far to say that Matt Cassel could throw for over 3500 yards this year. I expect good things from him this year, and great things in 2010 and beyond.

So, what do I think the Chiefs record will be? My head says 6-10, but my heart says 9-7. Look at what the Dolphins did last year. They completely stripped down everything, added All-Pro veterans on defense, and boom boom pow, they won their division. What did the Chiefs do this offseason? Got rid of the crap they had at linebacker, and added Pro Bowl talent to the linebacking corps and secondary. I think the Chiefs go 4-2 in the division and FINALLY win their first game at new Mile High Stadium, with yours, truly in attendance, freezing my buns off on January 3rd watching the Chiefs break the Donks for the AFC West title!

Top 10 Moments of FAIL This season for the Roilets: No. 9


Only at Kauffman Stadium, right? After numerous questionable injuries to stars like Alex Gordon, Coco Crisp and Joakim Soria, renowned blogger Rany Jazayerli calls for head trainer Nick Swartz to be fired. The Roilets go on a tyrannous rage and ban Rany from the Royals clubhouse (even though he lives in Chicago). They also go as far to say that media outlet that speaks to Rany shalt be banished from speaking to any Royals players indefinitely.

The incredible part is that the fans revolted against the Royals. You know things are bad when the fans stick up for a blogger rather than an organization. Soon after the organization realized they made a boo-boo, they accepted Rany's apology and went their seperate ways.

One fan even staged a William Wallace-esque battle cry after being on Crownvision during an in between innings gameshow, bellowing: "Rany rules!"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

AFC West/Chiefs Season Preview

You could make an argument that the Chiefs had the biggest offseason of any team in the AFC. Acquiring Matt Cassel from the Patriots for a 2nd round pick.

Other than Cassel, the Chiefs have more holes on offense than most teams in the NFL. But as we head in to Training Camp, we can allow ourselves to dream (hell, it worked with the Royals in March). In my mind, the AFC West can be won with a 9-7 record this year. A .500 team won it last year...

The Chargers are definitely better than 8-8, I could see them going 9-7, but with the West playing the NFC East this year, I doubt it. LT is likely to continue breaking down. If he has a repeat performance of his 2007 season, then he is officially a freak of nature.

The Broncos are without a quarterback. Yes, Kyle Orton is a decent QB, but I doubt he can help the Broncos defense, which is almost as bad as the Chiefs.

The Raiders. Ha, oh the Raiders. Al Davis continues his "commitment to excellence" by drafting Darius Heyward-Bey, a guy who was predicted to go in the 2nd round, but drafted because he ran a 4.3 40 yd dash. Jamarcus Russel has one season to prove that he isn't a bust, but I think we already know the answer to that question. Tom Cable as head coach? Yikes. Just when you think things have gotten as bad as they can be, just remember, at least we're not the Raiders.

On to the Chiefs. If Matt Cassel can lead this offense like Tyler Thigpen did in some games last year, then I think the Chiefs have a winning 5 games. If this team is going to win more than 5 games this year, the defense has to have a complete turnaround. Heres the good news, we only have to worry about three down-linemen instead of four this year! The combo of Jackson, Dorsey, Boone doesn't sound scary, but lets not forget that Dorsey and Jackson wreaked havoc on the SEC two years ago. Maybe Jackson's prescence is what could bring out the beast in Glenn Dorsey. Tamba Hali's move to outside linebacker is a smart move. I think the move to the 3-4 also takes pressure off of Derrick Johnson. Look folks, just because his first name is Derrick, does not mean this guy will ever be like Derrick Thomas. Mike Vrabel and Zach Thomas give this linebacking corps an All-Pro look rather than a journeyman look.

On to the secondary. The cornerbacks were ok last year, Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr are future stars in this league, no doubt, but the problem lies in our safeties. Bernard Pollard and Jarrad Page looked lost last year and more concerned with de-cleating people than breaking up passes and disrupting routes. The addition of Mike Brown is a perfect move. I know a few Chicago Bears fans, and when I asked them about Mike Brown, they ranted and raved about this guy. In fact, they went as far to say as Brown was the anchor of that Super Bowl defense, not Brian Urlacher. I see Brown as the 3rd safety and a special teamer. But if Page or Pollard continues playing like last year, we could see him switch roles with one of those two. Of course, this is all contingent on Mike Brown staying healthy.

The offensive side of the football raises just as many questions as the denfense. I'll get to that tomorrow along with my prediction of the Chiefs' record and whether or not this is FINALLY the year that we win at Mile High.