Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Final Day Of The Season (Maybe)

There is one scenario wherein the SF Giants would play the St Louis Cardinals on Monday to make up a rain out from earlier this season and that is if the Houston Astros and Cards finish the season with the Astros still within a game of the NL Central.


But last night's 3-2 victory over the Brewers put the Cards in the catbird seat on Sunday. A win sees them escape the greatest baseball collapse of the 21st century and a first round playoff against either the Dodgers or the Padres.

In the AL Central, because of their lead in tie-breakers, a Tigers victory on Sunday means they would win the division regardless of what the Twins do. That means avoiding the Yankees but having to play the red-hot Oakland A's instead. The A's have the best record in baseball since July 27th.

A Padres win on Sunday means they would face the Cardinala and the Dodgers would open at Shea.


A Cardinals loss combined with a Houston victory would mean the Cards would play that washed-out game against the Giants on Monday to decide which team would make it to the postseason so they're not in the clear just yet.

Chris Carpenter, RHP (15-8, 3.09) will face Carlos Villanueva, RHP (1-2, 3.97). Villanueva had surrendered one run on five hits in 13 outstanding innings since taking over for an injured Tomo Ohka, but was hit for five runs in five innings at Wrigley Field earlier in the week.

Carpenter is coming off back-to-back games of allowing six runs.

But even if they lose this game, the Astros still have to beat the Braves in Atlanta and pitching for the Braves will be John Smoltz, RHP (15-9, 3.58). Since losing three straight starts from Aug. 31-Sept. 11, Smoltz is 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA. Over the course of his past three starts, he's completed 23 innings and allowed a total of just three runs.

The Astros have the unheralded Chris Sampson, RHP (2-0, 2.10) taking the mound. Sampson, who was closing games for Triple-A prior to his recall in early September, threw 3 2/3 innings in a spot start Monday in Philadelphia and said he was pretty much spent. He then threw 2 2/3 in the Astros' extra-inning game on Wednesday, but he could probably log three or four innings Sunday if he keeps the pitch count low.

The guess here is that both teams will lose and the Cardinals will be spared the Monday game to open the playoffs against either the Padres or Dodgers.

That's the incentive, of course for the Padres and Dodgers - not so much clinching a meaningless NL West title but getting the Cards instead of the Mets in the first round.

The Dodgers would appear to be surrendering first, or preparing best for the post season, it's difficult to tell. They're skipping Derek Lowe's start and starting Eric Stults, LHP (1-0, 6.39) instead. Stults has one start this season, on Sept 10 against the Mets, which also accounts for his sole win this season so maybe they should be saving him for the Mets...

Meanwhile Woody Williams will pitch against potential Cy Young candidate Brandon Webb, RHP (16-7, 2.88). Williams has won five consecutive decisions and eight of his past nine going back to Aug. 13. - Wonder why they wouldn't want him opening the playoffs...

The guess here is the Pods close out the season on top and face the Cardinals in the first round which is perhaps why they won't need Woody WIlliams choking again against his former team

If you support a team who hasn't won a game yet this season, chances are you might as well find some other hobby to distract you for the next three months. Ok, you've got the baseball playoffs that will last to nearly November, then you've got NCAA basketball mixed in with the season's holidays and culimating with the Super Bowl before you can finally get excited about the April draft.

Otherwise, you can cry in your beer and fantasise about scenarios wherein your favourite teams bounces back and makes a miraculous run at the NFL playoffs.

Well, not if your a Raiders (0-2) fan, a Texans (0-3) fan, a Lions (0-3) fan, a Titans (0-3) fan, a Bucaneers (0-3) fan or a Browns fan (0-3).

In fact of the winless teams remaining, only KC (0-3) has a prayer of rejuvinating their season but Herm Edwards is a tried and true failure from his Jets' days so perhaps you'd better start boning up on the Jayhawks' chance at the National Title.

Last week, two tight ends on losing teams spoke their minds. Jeremy Shockey of the Giants and Kellen Winslow of the Browns, probably not coincidentally former members of the Miami Hurricanes and big ego-maniacs, have had enough of losing.

Shockey said the Giants were "outplayed and outcoached" Sunday in a 42-30 loss to the Seahawks, an observation that has been more than once against head coach task master Tom Coughlin.

Meanwhile in Cleveland, Winslow whinged that "Some of the coaches might just be holding us back a little bit. I don't mean to try to go behind their backs or whatever, but let's go, let's air it out, let's run the ball, let's make plays, let's be exciting."

Exciting as in, gimme the ball.

"I think we're being a little too conservative right now and we just need to unleash it," he said. "Why wait? We're 0-2. We've got nothing to lose."

Nothing but another game to lose.

So who has the best chance to break their early winless streaks? Well, either the Browns or Raiders will have to be default since they are playing each other. The Texans, Lions and Titans are all favoured to lose and the Bucs, with no decent QB to replace the injured Simms have a timely bye this week so they aren't even playing and will definately remain without a win.

Indianapolis (-9) At NY Jets - The Colts have won their games by an average of 10.3 points. The line suggests this Pick: Jets

San Diego (-2.5) At Baltimore - The most telling stat in this game is that the Chargers' opponents are a collective 0-5 whilst the collective record of the Ravens is 0-8. Finally, one of these teams is going to beat somebody with a winning record. Pick: Baltimore

At Buffalo (-1) Minnesota - All three of the Vikings' games have been decided by three points. Pick: Buffalo

Dallas (-9.5) At Tennessee - Dallas police have classified Terrell Owens' case as an "accidental overdose," not an attempted suicide,"They can slap the hand; they can do whatever they want to the hand. I will be ready." Pick: Dallas

At Kansas City (-7) San Francisco The Chiefs have a winning percentage of .638 at Arrowhead since the place opened in 1972. But the good news for the 49ers is that the NFL has admitted to the 49ers that the officiating crew made at least three mistakes during their 38-24 loss six days ago to the Philadelphia Eagles. Without those three mistakes the 49ers would be the shock team of the season. Pick: San Francisco

At Carolina (-7) New Orleans - That was quite a coming out party for the Saints at home last Monday Night and with the Panthers beginning their annual rebound, the test will be tough. Pick: New Orleans

At Atlanta (-7.5) Arizona - The Cardinals have lost 14 of 17 on road under coach Dennis Green. Matt Leinart is going to replace the Jesus QB any day now, perhaps by the third quarter of this game. Pick: Atlanta

Miami (-3.5) At Houston- The Dolphins are averaging a whopping 12 points a game but if an ailing offence like the Redskins can look so suddenly competent against Houston, the bet here is that the Dolphins might be able to score a few touchdowns for a change. Pick: Miami

@St. Louis (-5.5) Detroit - Mike Martz, who spent 12 of the last 14 seasons working for the Rams franchise, faces his former team for the first time since he was fired as head coach last year. Pick: Detroit

At Cincinnati (-5.5) New England - New England has been impressive on the ground this season, averaging 126.7 rushing yards per game while controlling the football an average of 30.29 minutes in its first three games. Pick: New England.

Jacksonville (-3) At Washington - After the offensive mirage caused by playing one of the league's worst defences (no wonder they passed up Reggie Bush for a defensive lineman,) the Redskins will look as confused as ever against one of the league's staunchest defences. Not to mention that the Jags have won 8 of their last 11 road games. "Jacksonville is like the stand-up comic who can only use vulgarity and curse words because he lacks intelligence and lacks class." -- Colts punter Hunter Smith... Pick: Jacksonville

Cleveland (-3) At Oakland - Yes, we can make all the jokes we like about this being the bowl for the number one pick in next April's draft but none of those jokes will be as funny or as predictable as Pick: Oakland

At Chicago (-3.5) Seattle - Injured Seahawk back Shawn Alexander showed up at the team's facility without the protective boot on his left foot, invigorated by the "power of prayer" and thinking he could play in Sunday night's nationally televised showdown against the also-unbeaten Bears. Somehow, I think God has other things on his mind, like TO, besides Alexander's cracked fourth metatarsal in his left foot. Meanwhile, Rex Grossman will start a fourth game in a row for the first time in his four-year career. Pick: Chicago

Monday Night Football

At Philadelphia (-11) Green Bay Pick: Philly

Last week: 8-5-1
Season: 23-22-1

Monday, September 25, 2006

By the end of the first quarter of their game in Seattle, the Giants had as many penalties (7) as rushing attempts (5), completions (2), first downs (1) and passing yards (-1) combined.

For all the bluster about artificial noise it was the Giants impotent offence and equally impotent defence that spelled the 42-30 loss that was never really a game to begin with.

Kevin Barlow, Jets newest hero...


Carolina, Washington, Miami and Green Bay all beating a fellow winless squad to save their season. Meanwhile Tampa Bay, Houston, Tennessee and Detroit all remain winless with only the Bucs rapid demise a surprise.

Since 1990, when the playoff field expanded to 12, 204 teams have begun their season 0-3. Just three of them climbed out of that shallow grave to make the playoffs: The 1992 Chargers, 1995 Lions, and 1998 Bills.


The Bears may have clinched a spot in the NFL playoffs the fastest having won at Green Bay, home against Detroit, and at Minnesota, by a combined margin of 79-23.

Not that anyone really imagined the Bears would have a tough time repeating considering the competition but still, winning the games you have to win is what gets you through.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Baseball Nearing The Post Season With A Few Surprises Left

Early celebrations, no AL Central clinched

One of them won't be a miraculous and historic downfall of the Detroit Tigers who, despite bumbling their way through the last month or two still managed to clinch an AL playoff spot since 1987 yesterday with a rousing 11-4 victory over the lowly KC Royals.

The Tigers had been losers of 90 games for five straight seasons until this year and lost 119 lgames as recently as 2003 so even though they haven't clinched the AL Central yet (still 1 1/2 games ahead of the surging Twins,) they have already accomplished something of merit besides being the hottest team of the first half of the season.

AL MVP darkhorse candidate Joe Mauer was at it again yesterday

The 6-3 victory over the equally hapless Baltimore Orioles kept the Twins within 1 1/2 games of the AL Central title but more importantly, Minnesota's magic number is just two, leaving open the possibility to clinch a playoff berth as soon as Monday, if the Twins beat the Royals and the White Sox lose in Cleveland.

And with the Yankees having clinched and the A's (magic number at 2) virtually there, the AL Playoffs seem virtually sealed with the likely matchups being the Yankees playing the Twins and the A's playing the Tigers.

NL Races

The Mets continue to struggle in September after a torrid five month pace that saw them clinch first among all other MLB teams. That the NL East title they won was historic in that it was the first non-strike season in 14 that the Braves weren't on top, will all be meaningless if they don't pick up the pace. Archie Bunker's Army susses out the September swoon.

The rest of the playoff berths are virtually undecided.

Yes, the Cardinals, whom everyone presumed would win the NL Central are still dangling a fragile 3 1/2 game lead over the Astros with 8 games left but they aren't helping themselves.

The four game sweep the Astros just completed against those very Cardinals has created an air of excitement in Houston and an air of panic in St Louis.

The Astros closed out their home schedule with a 7-3 win before 43,704 fans — the third-largest regular-season crowd in the history of Minute Maid Park to complete the improbable sweep.

Roger Clemens, starting on three days of rest for only the 12th time in his career, held the Cardinals to four hits and one run while striking out six batters over five innings but didn't factor into the decision.

Because of a rainout in Philly this month the Astros were forced to play a night game Sunday and now must fly through the night to reach Philadelphia, where they will play a makeup game today against the red-hot Phillies.

But for this brief flicker of excitement in a waning Astros season, the true race is between the Padres, Dodgers and Phillies for the the last two spots available (presuming of course, the Cardinals don't finish an historic collapse worthy of the 1964 Phillies...)

Leading the Phillies charge Sunday in their 10-7 victory over the Marlins was Chase Utley who has an eight-game hitting streak in which he has gone 16-for-36 (.444). Utley hit a pair of homers,

Meanwhile, the other MVP candidate, Ryan Howard saw his 60-homer watch remain stuck at 58. Howard, who contributed a double and a single against Florida on Sunday, has two homers and 19 walks in his last 14 games, and it's now readily apparent that opponents won't give in to him at crunch time.

Since July 26 the Phillies are 38-20, the second-best record in baseball in that span behind Oakland.

They've got Monday's game against the Astros and then it's on to Washington to play the Nationals, who just lost Nick Johnson for the season with a broken leg. And the Phillies will close it out against the Marlins, who are 5-11 against Philadelphia this year.

The Phillies are Sports Amnesia's pick to win the NL Wildcard and perhaps even the pick to go to the World Series.

And in the NL West the Padres and Dodgers continue to hammer it out.

The San Diego Padres' 38-year-old closer Trevor Hoffman pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning in front of a roaring crowd to become baseball's career saves leader in a memorable 2-1 win for the NL West leaders over the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was his NL-best 43rd save in 48 chances.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers had their own hero in Nomar Garciaparra, whose walk-off grand slam with two outs gave the Dodgers a thrilling 5-1 victory over the Diamondbacks.

Hong-Chih Kuo, the Taiwanese rookie who has stepped up in the pressure of a pennant race and has a 2.59 ERA in four starts after struggling as a reliever with a 5.34 ERA that got him demoted to the Minor Leagues twice, pitched well again adding depth to a potential Dodger postseason rotation but the Dodgers still remain 1 1/2 behind the Padres.
NFL Week Two Impressions, Week Three Predictions

How wrong can Sports Amnesia be?

TO breaks his finger and goes pffft against the Redskins. SA said: "I've got an ugly feeling about this game being a massive blowout with TO scoring like 3 TDs."

Rex Grossman has thrown five tds in his first two games. SA said: "Griese will be starting before the end of the month because everyone knows the lifespan of a Rex Grossman season is shorter than the incubation period of Salmonella." If so, this will have to be the week Grossman goes down...

The Unbeatens:

1. SD
2. Indy
3. Baltimore
4. Cincy
5. NE
6. Jacksonville
7. Chicago
8. Seattle
9. Atlanta
10 Minnesota
10. Nawlins

Battle of Unbeatens:

ATLANTA FALCONS (-3 1/2)at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: The Falcons have emerged as a running team (no shock considering their wishbone-style QB, Crazy Legs Vick. Imagine, a MNF game which actually "looks" like a good match. The Falcons were 3-0 in MNF games last season. None of those wins were playing in what is likely to be one of the more emotionally-charged games of the early season with the return to the Superdome after The Hurricane. And as I pointed out last week, I simply DON'T want to find myself in the position of rooting for the Falcons simply to win the office pool. Pick: Saints.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (+7) at INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: The Colts as we all know, are a regular season scoring machine whilst the Jags looked surprisingly tough in a MNF victory over the Steelers in what was the lowest scoring game in "Monday Night Football" history.. Five of these outings over the last few years have been decided by 8 points or fewer, hence the line. Pick: Colts.

CHICAGO BEARS (-4 1/2) at MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Which is more of an illusion, the Vikings unbeaten start or Rex Grossman's sudden domination? The Bears beat sadsacks Packers and Lions by a combined 61-7. The Vikings were a miserable 2-for-15 on third downs against Carolina last week despite their victory and have only two touchdowns in eight red-zone trips this season. Pick: Bears

Brett Favre needs "only" 22 more TD passes to pass Dan Marino for most TD passes.

I don't care about starting the season 0-2. The Panthers were 2-7 in 2004 and won five out of six to at least put themselves to be playing for a playoff spot in Week 17. They were 1-2 last year and still made it to the NFC title game at Seattle.

Chargers 67, Opposition 7.
Opposition 55, Raiders 6.
Denver - Eight quarters, no touchdown passes.

Looks like Kerry Collins has done so well in the Titans' losing beginning to the season with his miserable 40.4 completion rate and 0 to 4 TD to Int ratio that they feel comfortable enough to ship backup QB Billy Volek to the Chargers. At least Young is waiting in the background.

The Bucs on the other hand have struggled to lose their first two games with QB Chris Simms throwing 0 touchdowns and 6 interceptions - could probably blame the fact that they are dead-last in the league in rushing for the miserable start.

Had the chance to watch the Dolphins-Bills game and wow, that Daunte Culpepper looks like last year's version before the mercifully well-timed injury, fumbling, stumbling, giving the ball away at every opportunity. You are only as good as your QB and the Dolphins look like they aren't going far under the current regime, genius coach notwithstanding. But perhaps this is nothing to do with how bad Culpepper is but down to how good the Bills have become? And hey, how about Bills punter Brian Morman's six attempts in the Bills' victory over Miami - five were downed inside the Miami 20-yard line and four were inside the 10! In eight quarters, Buffalo has not allowed a rushing touchdown and has 10 sacks and at least 12 additional quarterback pressures

Carolina has not started a season 0-2 since 1999 and has not dropped it first three games since 1998, when it opened 0-7. Tampa Bay last dropped its first two games in 2004, when it went 0-4. Bucs have scored 3 points all season.

The rest of the games:

Cincinnati (+2) at Pittsburgh: This is the Carson Palmer grudge match and might either launch him and his Bengals into a mad run on the season or terrify him back to the bench because of the reminders. The Steelers scored at least 27 points in their three meetings with Cincinnati last season and they'll be playing at home but their running game isn't what it once was. Bengals WR Chad Johnson, quoted in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on the concussion he received from Browns S Brian Russell: “If I was in his shoes, I would have taken that shot, too. I mean, it's not very often you get a chance to hit me. He has a great story he'll be able to tell his grandkids":Pick: Bengals.

N.Y. Giants (+3½) at Seattle: Alot of worries about "noise" for this game. The Seahawks have won 11 consecutive regular- season games and 23 of 26 since 2002 at home and alot of people believe they are pumping in artificial noise to supplement the sounds of 67,000+ Seahawks supporters sipping Starbucks. Pick: Giants.

Redskins (-4) at Houston: The big news is that Clinton Portis will likely be back for the Skins after missing the first two games of the season and with him will come the running game the otherwise impotent Redskins new fangled offence requires to operate competently. Portis says his shoulder is "about 105 percent and climbing" Pick: Redskins.

Tennessee (+10 1/2) at Miami: I'm happy to say I wasn't one of those jumping on the Dolphins bandwagon before the start of this season. These are two teams in offensive disarray which would make the spread seem daunting if the Dolphins hadn't been underperforming with such emphatic prowess. Time for Duante to, as they say so colourfully in certain places, shit or get off the pot. (no Ricky Williams pun intended...) Pick: Dolphins.

Baltimore (- 7 1/2) at Cleveland: On paper this looks like a double digit route waiting to happen so one wonders what the bookies know that the Average Joe does not. An exploitive, angry defence facing a timid offence. These are the Browns after all. The Ravens will continue their run without giving up a touchdown. I'm not looking into any hidden meanings about the low spread. Pick: Ravens.

Carolina (-3) at Tampa Bay: Who'd have thought both of these teams would be without wins two weeks into the season? Like the Redskins, the Panthers have been without their star offensive player to start the season and the absence has been telling. But like Portis with the Skins, Steve Smith is finally expected back for this do-or-die match this early in the season, hamstrings be damned. The threat should be serious enough even if he's only at half speed. Smith, quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on remarks made earlier in the week by Falcons CB DeAngelo Hall: “I find it real comedy that I guess when you're on the top you have a lot of people trying to knock you down. When you talk, you obviously are insecure about something, and if you talk long enough, you'll hang yourself.” Through two games, Buccaneers QB Chris Simms has a 40.0 QB rating and isn't talking much. Pick: Carolina.

Denver (+7) at New England: Hey, do the Broncos really miss Kubiak that much or has the veil of reality finally been lifted from the idiotic Jake Plummer mystique? Pick: Denver.

Green Bay (+7) at Detroit: Sports Amnesia picked the Pack to make the postseason but time is running out quickly on this fantasy even if Brett Favre almost began to look like his former self last week against the Saints. That the Lions would be giving a way a touchdown, even at home, seems absurd at best especially considering the defence is so impotent it made Rex Grossman look like Brett Favre in his prime. Pick: Green Bay.

Jets (+6) at Buffalo: Be afraid of this Bills defence as they are possibly the most surprising of the season so far, nearly putting down the Pats and crushing the Dolphins on the road. The Jets almost beat the Pats themselves but only after they had been made to look like practiced incompetents early on. This is Kevin Barlow's break out game. Pick: Jets.

Philly (-6 1/2) at San Francisco: The Iggles will be coming off a stunning loss to the Giants and traveling cross country to face a moribound 49ers team. Worse still, DE Jevon Kearse is out for the year with a significant knee sprain. The good news is that TO is still in Dallas. Pick: Philly.

St Louis (+ 4 1/2) at Arizona: Every week, like in Chicago with Rex Grossman, the air is ripe with the smell of Kurt Warner's season-improving injury. The Rams have scored only one touchdown this season and gave up six sacks last week. Pick: Arizona.

Last week, 7-9. Season 15-17.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Picture Says A Thousand Words

How about it? Yankees clinch by LOSING. Good thing he wasn't holding that bottle of Jack Daniels with his LEFT wrist...

Jason Giambi hitched a ride with Joe Torre home to New York early this morning to have his troublesome left wrist looked at by Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Week One's Impressions:

What is the significance of the majority of road teams winning last week? Is this a new trend or a stuttering blip on reality to be redeemed in the coming months? Recent trends indicate that trends like home teams suddenly losing at home and road teams suddenly playing on the road are in fact, nothing but trends, momentary illusions discovered when scientists dig too deep into anamolies or when some one pulls off a butterfly's wings to stop them from flapping in China and makes a soup out of them.

This week's home teams are Miami, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Chicago, Indy, Green Bay, Philly, Baltimore, Atlanta, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Jets, San Diego, Dallas and Jacksonville. At least ten of those are likely to win perhaps temporarily forestalling the sturm und drang the hommies experienced last week.

NOT surprising in Week One were the Iggles and Ravens, both of whom Sports Amnesia touted as surprise division winners. We not know much but when we guess right on that rare occasion, we're sure going to let you know about it.

Not bloody likely to improve on Week One are the Rams (unconvinced that they're victory over the traditionally slow-starting Broncos was anything but a mirage,) the Saints (beating the Browns is no reason to exhale,) and the Vikings (good road win but hey, who was really projecting anything but doom for the Skins after their horrific preseason?)

But when you think about it, what does the first week mean anyway? Think about last season when Jacksonville beat Seattle 26-14 yet the Seahawks ended up in the Super Bowl, New Orleans beat Carolina 23-20 and Carolina nearly made it to the Super Bowl whilst the Saints er, um...and finally, who could forget Miami's 34-10 pasting of Denver in the first week of 2005? Clearly the Broncos begin play a week later than their schedule indicates.

The biggest loss of the weekend was suffered by Randy Gonigam.

Over Labor Day weekend, Gonigam's World Furniture Mall in Plano offered customers free furniture -- up to $10,000 -- if the Chicago Bears shut out the Green Bay Packers in their season opener.

Four quarters, 206 customers and about $300,000 later, Gonigam is still a little shell-shocked.

The biggest win had to be split between Cincy's Carson Palmer and the Jets' Chad Pennington, both of whom had been kindly written off by many and both of whom bounced back brilliantly in leading their teams to perhaps improbable victories. There's still 15 games to go but the money is on Palmer to outlast Pennington if history is any indication.

Honorable mention goes to Jesus-freak Kurt Warner who won Offensive Player of the Week by completing 23 of 37 passes for 301 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, posting an NFC Week 1-best 114.8 passer rating. Have your hurrahs now, Kurt because injury is just a step away and that kid from USC, Matt Leinart is waiting in the wings. (But according to pundits, Tony Romo will get a starting job quicker...Tony Romo - wasn't that Andy Kaufman's alter-ego?)

Good news for drink drivers: Koren Robinson was signed by Green Bay after being cut by the Vikings for being charged with drunken driving. With the paucity of offense demonstrated by the Packers and the fast-waning talents of Brett Favre on display, Robinson's year might have just gotten worse, if that's possible.

Onward to this week's games:

Buffalo at Miami (-6 1/2) - Bills played over their heads and the Dolphins under theirs last week. I think even the rocket scientists are wagering on this one. Pick: Miami

Carolina at Minnesota (+2) - They say the Panthers are worried already with debilitating injuries and drowned expectations but I say it's waaaaay to early to write off everyone's favourite preseason favourite. Pick: Carolina.

Cleveland at Cincinnati (-10 1/2): Now that Carson Palmer has silenced all the skeptics about whether or not he still wants to take a hit and won't collapse in the pocket like a skittish colt at the first sign of pressure, all the poor predictions for the Bengals are thrown out the window. Hell, I might even make them Super Bowl co-favourites. Pick: Cincinnati.

Detroit at Chicago (-8 1/2): The sneaking suspicions I have are that the Bears are nowhere near as good as their 26-0 victory over the Packers indicates and the Griese Kid will be starting before the end of the month because everyone knows the lifespan of a Rex Grossman season is shorter the incubation period of Salmonella. Pick: Detroit.

Houston at Indianapolis (-13 1/2): It's probably already been said a million times by all twenty Texans fans but wow, what a stupid move not picking Reggie Bush. That's one they'll be telling their grand kids, like the time Mike Ditka traded like 20 years worth of draft picks to the Redskins for the rights to Ricky Williams. Pick: Indianapolis.

New Orleans at Green Bay (-2): Things are B.A.D in Green Bay if they give less than a field goal spread at home against the pathetic Saints. I'm giving Brett Favre one more week before he's off to the glue factory. My prediction is that this week at least, he'll throw more touchdowns than interceptions. Pick: Green Bay.

N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia (-3): The Giants are going to have to win at least one of this opening trio of tough games if they are to salvage a losing season before it's barely even started. The question is are the Iggles the more likely team they'll do it against? Keep peaking, Giants fans. Seattle is just around the corner. Pick: Philadephia.

Oakland at Baltimore (-11): What?! The spread isn't twelve touchdonws?! Didn't anyone watch either of these teams last week? The Ravens looking 2001 cocky, the Raiders looking like a board game without any pieces? Pick: Ravens.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-5 1/2): I dunno what it is but I just hate Atlanta. Maybe it's the city, maybe it's the South, maybe it's their wishbone quarterback or their confederate flags. That doesn't mean Phil Simms' kid can't bomb again but I just can't bring myself to pick the Falcons in any game, no matter the spread simply because I don't want to have to root for them some week just to win the weekly office pool. Pick: Tampa Bay, outright.

Arizona at Seattle (-7): This may be the game we've been waiting for. Kurt Warner's TKO. Yes, sportsfans, with both teams 1-0, this is the first Battle of the NFC West. Pick: Arizona.

St. Louis at San Francisco (+3): This excitement in St Louis about an alleged Rams juggernaut is like a teenager kid having his first orgasm. It'll all be over they know it. Pick: San Fransisco.

Kansas City at Denver (-11): In a way, I'm rooting for the collapse of the Broncos simply because it would mean not having to be blinded by Mike Shanahan's pearl white teeth in the playoffs. But the Chiefs are coached by a guy who specialised in disappointing fans in New York. This Kansas City tour is just a pit stop on the way to a future career as an assistant. Pick: Denver.

New England at N.Y. Jets (+6): It's difficult to imagine the protogé outsmarting the professor so early on in his internship, especially since the Patriots didn't seem to answer any questions against Buffalo last week and still have something to prove. I'm still amazed how such a successful guy who can be an NFL head coach before 40 can have the belly of a 60 year old. Charlie Weiss kind of belly. What was Bellichick feeding those assistants over there? A steady diet of syrup and candy? Pick: Jets.

Tennessee at San Diego (-12): You know the season is lost when you're hiring Kerry Collins ten minutes before the season starts to be your starting quarterback. It's that kind of preparation that earns Number One picks in the NFL draft. Pick: San Diego.

Washington at Dallas (-6): I've got an ugly feeling about this game being a massive blowout and the TO Show scoring like, 3 touchdowns. In fact, if I had a fantasy team, I'd have TO on my team this week just because no matter how much I hate him, it's his stats I'm rooting for, not the man. Pick: Dallas.


Pittsburgh at Jacksonville (+1): Don't you sometimes find yourself wishing, in the course of a Monday Night game that LT had smashed Joe Theisman's larynx instead of his leg? Banality at it's finest. Look, the Steelers have had like an extra half week's rest, haven't they? The World Champs on rest? Is this another no-brainer? Pick: Pittsburgh.

Last week: A spectacularly mediocre 10-8.



With the postseason fast approaching speculation swirls about another Subway Series.

Don't look now, but Greg Maddux is looking vintage for a night. Outdueling Boomer in the battle of pitchers aged like cheese. I'll admit it, I don't like the NL West. I don't care how close the race gets or how many teams are involved at the end in the fight. The Dodgers, Padres and Giants are all ghosts in the corridors of the season and rooting for any of them is a painful process. Still, in a season of National League inferiority, perhaps it will be fitting to crown an NL Champ out of the Lagoon of the West.

The races being what they always are, unpredictable and finicky to favourites, Sports Amnesia has endeavoured to see through the muddle and mire to present the favourites to make it to the post season.

Postseason predictions:
AL East- Yankees
AL Central - Tigers
AL West - A's
AL WC - Twins

NL East - Mets
NL Central - Cardinals
NL West - Dodgers
NL WC- Phillies

Of the 11 NL wild-card teams, seven won their Division Series, five won the pennant and two (1997, 2003 Marlins) won the World Series. Quite a legacy to uphold but it would mean knocking down the Mets in the first round, a tall order.

If you wish to project at home, here is the remaining schedule.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Week One

What was more eagerly awaited, the debut of Reggie Bush or the Manning Bowl?

Eli: 247 2 TDs 1 INT, 1 Fumble Lost

Peyton: 276 1 TD, 1 INT, 1 Sack

Bush finished with 141 total yards; 61 yards rushing on 14 attempts, caught eight passes for 58 yards and returned three punts for 22.

Baltimore (1-0) won on the road for the first time since beating the New York Jets 20-17 in overtime on Nov. 14, 2004, ending an 11-game skid that was the longest in the NFL. The Bucs (0-1) were shut out at home for the first time since 1996 after going 77 games without being blanked.

In the nine early games Sunday afternoon, the road team won a staggering seven times, with New England nipping Buffalo by the margin of a safety to narrowly avoid becoming the eighth home team to begin the season 0-1.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Top Five:

1. Andy Johnson's dominating pace against Liverpool's defence combined with a few howlers by Reina lifted Everton to a surprisingly easy 3-0 derby victory to momentarily elevate them to the top of the tables.
2. Watford utterly outplays Bolton only to see a cheap but blatant foul with seconds left in the match that causes the game-losing penalty. Watford have no one but themselves to blame. When you have that many chances in the Premiership and you score nil out of them, you aren't going to do well. Always good to see Sam Allyardyce get the win, especially in Anelka's debut.
3. Three penalty kicks missed in total in one match between Sheffield United and Blackburn preserve a 0-0 draw. The final penalty, called by the linesman for a handball that was clearly a chested clearance was the most blatant of a series of crap calls by referee Mike Dean. Still a good match despite Dean's rubbish decisions. Blackburn keeper Brad Friedel had a match that pretty much saved the point for Rovers.
4. Almost too good to be true yet almost predictable regardless, Sunderland gave three points to new manager Roy Keane at Derby County. According to reports "he was an animated figure on the touchline throughout, haranguing the officials and responding with disbelief when it was announced that five minutes of adding time would be played."
5. Arseholenol's failure to get the win at home in their shiny new stadium. A pretty passing game for naught, you have to observe. Nothing coming into the centre from the sides. They are fourth from the bottom of the tables. I'm rather enjoying this stretch of poor play but doubt it will last all season. Middlesborough's David Woodgate had a spectacular match in defence, probably the best performance of the day and all that's left for him is more hammy problems and a gradual disappearance.

Bottom Five

1. Bloody Geordies going up 1-0 at home and losing 2-1 to a team who suck on the road, Fulham. It's three points they needed and should have had but two Yankees scored for Fulham; McBride and Bocanegra, egged on by piss-poor defending by the back line. Same auld story.
2. Manchester United winning their fourth straight game from the start of the season for the first time in their history. What sucked in particular about this result were the blown chances by Spurs. You don't get that many chances at Old Trafford and when you do, you bloody well take advantage of them. Spurs didn't and they paid the price. That Man U are perfect with Rooney missing three of their first four matches is telling. Amazing that supporters, some of them anyway, want Fergie out.
3. Chelsea got a cheap second and third point when Carvalho's header gave them a 2-1 lead. Hardly an inspirational performance by Chelsea at home which should be worrying. Nice seeing Wayne Bridge get the start over Ashley Cole and making the most of it by playing all over the pitch proving himself. It won't stop him from relegation to the bench but at least he went down fighting. Drogba should have had three goals in the first half alone and this game should never have been as close as it finished.
4. Portsmouth taking the top of the tables lead off Everton with yet another clean sheet, this time against Wigan who didn't make their chances. David James had a spectacular save among other good moves and preserved the victory for the unlikely Portsmouth side. I guess it's nice to see Harry Redknapp do well as well as Sol Campbell and James.
5. Cardiff were not the only Championship team to lose their unbeaten record. It also happened to Southampton who went down 2-1 at Ipswich after being ahead.

NCAA Football

From the Not Bloody Likely To Happen Again Department, Sports Amnesia predictions versus reality:

Calling Mr Heisman...

Notre Dame v Penn State: Sports Amnesia predicted an 8 point victory for the Fighting Irish and they won by 24. If anything under estimating the weakness of the Nittany Lions or the strength of a determined Irish side.

Texas v Ohio State: Sports Amnesia predicted a 6 point victory for the Buckeyes to preserve their Number One ranking and they defeated Texas by a 17 point margin.

El Beisbal

Oh, we don't really care that much but the Mets Continued Making Mincemeat of Potential Playoff Opponents, dropping the Dodgers 3-2 in a classic matchup of El Duque starting against Greg Maddox.

The AL Central continues to fascinate with the second-place finisher, either Detroit, Chicago or Minnesota, taking the AL wildcard.

Yesterday the Twins topped the Tigers again dropping the Tiger lead to a whisper-thin three games and sinking fast. Boof Bonser was the Twins hero yesterday, pitching 7 strong innings in a 2-1 victory.

With Minnesota's 82nd win, manager Gardenhire is guaranteed his fifth straight season above .500. The last manager to start a career with five straight winning seasons was Toronto's Cito Gaston , from 1989-1993.

Jon Garland earned his 17th win of the season in helping lead the White Sox past the Indians 10-8. Garland left with a 10-1 lead but the Indians battled back against the White Sox bullpen with a seven-run seventh inning. In his last six starts, Garland is 5-0 with a 1.44 ERA.

They are only 3 1/2 games behind the Tigers.

In the NL West, the only other "race", in losing yet again to the Giants, the Padres failed to gain any ground on the Dodgers, still 1 1/2 games behind. The Giants meanwhile, have closed to within 3 games of the lead.

Clinging to life, the Phillies lost to the Marlins in 10 innings. MVP candidate Ryan Howard, who homered three times to help Philadelphia win the series' first two games, was 2-for-2 and walked four times. Two of the walks were intentional, both times with first base occupied.

Here's something impossible to escape the eye: whilst trawling through the list of starters for today's MLB games noticed that

Hayden Penn, RHP (0-1, 108.00) pitching for the Orioles today against the Yankees.

Never heard of Hayden Penn and in fairness, it was only two thirds of an innings work but an ERA of 108.00 has got to be the highest recorded, at least this season, no? Who else leaves a pitcher in to give up EIGHT runs before a full inning of work?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Countdown to Kickoff

As we head into the first weekend of real NFL football, an interesting study is on Pre Game Rituals:

Quarterback Tim Hasselbeck said he had a Boston College teammate who wore headphones and once shook uncontrollably, tears on his cheeks. When he got up to use the restroom, he left his headphones behind. Another player was too curious to let the opportunity pass.

“He was like, man, I want to know what the heck he’s listening to, that he’s so excited for this game,” Hasselbeck said. “My buddy goes over and puts them on. ‘He’s listening to John Denver, “Rocky Mountain High.” This guy’s crazy.’ It all depends on the guy and what really gets him going.”

The Steelers surprised no one (or shouldn't have anyway) considering they were home and defending World Champs. Sure Big Ben was out but Charlie Batch shows how over rated these Dolphins are.

100 Things To Expect This Season

#25: Few people will be able to name the only quarterback who has thrown for more than 4,000 yards in each of the last three seasons. (Yeah, I had to look it up too: the Chiefs' Trent Green).

The games play out this week thusly:

ATLANTA(+6) AT CAROLINA - Two potential playoff teams, one the Super Bowl favourite of many. But the spread is deceptively large showing that the Falcons are perceived as over-rated. Week One is usually full of surprises but this one should see the stronger prevail. Pick: Carolina.

NEW ORLEANS AT CLEVELAND(-3) - the inverse of matchups like Pittsburgh-Miami, this game showcases Reggie Bush's debut but little else. Pick: New Orleans

SEATTLE AT DETROIT(+6) - I'd love to see the Seahawks sputter early and never recover so bitter do I remain about their unlikely Super Bowl appearance that gave the Steelers one for the thumb. Pick: Detroit.

PHILADELPHIA(-5.5) AT HOUSTON: The debut of Houston's misguided #1 draft pick and of the new head coach will not be easy for either. As everyone knows, the Iggles are Sports Amnesia's Super Bowl favourites and this should be no setback. Pick: Philadelphia.

CINCINNATI AT KANSAS CITY(-2.5): Can Bengals QB Carson Palmer fully rid of jitters and worries so soon after his post-season ending ugly injury? Does the ex-Jet head coach get a win in his first go as KC's head coach? Homefield advantage prevails. Pick: Kansas City.

BUFFALO(+9.5) AT NEW ENGLAND: A first game look at the Patriots primed for another postseason run. No chance for Buffalo. Pick: New England.

DENVER AT ST. LOUIS(+4): Another snooze of the overmatched. Pick: Denver.

BALTIMORE AT TAMPA BAY(-3): Sports Amnesia have the Ravens winning their division over the Steelers but the Bucs are a team with great potential playing at home. Pick: Tampa Bay.

N.Y. JETS AT TENNESSEE(-2.5): Let the nightmares begin. Will another of Bill Belichek's protogés succeed? The Titans don't even know who will play the full game as QB. Pick: Jets.

SAN FRANCISCO AT ARIZONA(-7.5): Make no mistake, the countdown to a season-ending injury to Cards QB and religious nutter Kurt Warner begins with a USC hero waiting in the wings. Pick: San Francisco.

CHICAGO AT GREEN BAY(+3.5): It's hard to get worked about what typically is a massive Midwest battle in the black and blue division this early in the season. We're happy to see Brett Favre give it another go but the Bears defence might be too much, even at home for the Pack but the scoring won't be high enough to cover the spread. Pick: Packers.

DALLAS(+2.5) AT JACKSONVILLE: Alot of crazy people think this is Parcell's season to shine. Sports Amnesia thinks this is his last hurrah. Pick: Jacksonville.

INDIANAPOLIS AT N.Y. GIANTS(+3.5): Clever, those schedule makers matching the brothers Manning against one another in the first game of the season. There's still miles of distance between these two though and the Giants are still stinging from the humiliating playoff loss last season to Carolina. Pick: Indianapolis.

MINNESOTA(+5)AT WASHINGTON: Two MNF games in one night is two too many given the opponents. The Redskins have sucked in the preseason and whether this is a reflection of worst things to come or not, the Vikings are not going to indicate one way or the other how this season pans out for Joe Gibbs and the only question is whether the spread is high enough. Pick: Minnesota.

SAN DIEGO(-3) AT OAKLAND: Mr Rivers finally gets his turn to prove the Giants were daft for trading him for Manning Junior. The Raiders are simply the best team in the Bay Area which is like being the best bite of a salmonella-laden meal. Pick: San Diego.


NCAA Football
#1 v #2

Colt McCoy gets his chance in the spotlight as the #2 Longhorns take on top-ranked Ohio State in one of this weekend's key clashes.

It is the second No. 1 vs. No. 2 pairing in the last three collegiate calendar weeks — dating to last year's Rose Bowl — and the second top-ranked team Texas has faced in its last three games. Last season, the Longhorns won this matchup at Ohio State 25-22 and the question is, which is stronger, the Buckeye motivation of revenge or Texas' motivation to push back to their rightful Number One ranking?

This is all you're going to need to know:

It's never a good week when the Austin police find you passed out in the back of a car with a gun on your lap, then Taser you prior to making their arrest. But this week was a particularly bad one for it to happen to Tarrel Brown, a stud freshman corner who was supposed to draw the 'Horns' paramount defensive duty: marking Buckeyes burner Ted Ginn Jr. Brown is now suspended, and smaller backups Brandon Foster and Ryan Palmer are being thrust into one hell of an assignment. Did I mention neither of them has ever started a college game

Pick: Ohio State 23 Texas 17.

But the "real" top QB of collegiate football, Brady Quinn, has a challenge of his own as Notre Dame face Penn State in another step towards the National Championship struggle.

Pick: Notre Dame 31 Penn State 23


Taiwanese Night at Shea saw baseball's best Mets lose to a Taiwanese pitcher who earned his first MLB victory.

Nonetheless, this guy thinks the Mets have only the fourth best rotation of the potential NL playoff teams.

Meanwhile, the team with the second best record in baseball continued to confuse when the Tigers lost to the Twins 9-5 to narrow their lead to 4 in the AL Central.

The Twins erased leads of 2-0 and 4-2, then broke the game open with a four-run rally with two outs in the sixth inning. The Twins had allowed their previous 11 opposing starting pitchers to post a 1.60 ERA, but they scored five runs off Ledezma this time and punished the Tigers bullpen. With Justin Morneau going wild, the Twins' 3-4-5-6 hitters combined to go 9-for-16 with four walks. He reached 118 RBI, most by a Twin since Kirby Puckett's 121 in 1988. By the end of the season, Morneau could have the second-highest total in team history behind Harmon Killebrew's 140 in 1969.

Meanwhile, A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-run, walkoff home run to give the Chicago White Sox a 7-6 victory over Cleveland.

And of the White Sox, from Aug. 8 to Sept. 7, Mark Buehrle, Freddy Garcia, Jon Garland, Javier Vazquez and Jose Contreras have made 30 starts. They threw 191 1/3 innings, won 13 and lost 11 with a 4.28 ERA. From Aug. 6 to Sept. 7 in their championship year, also a 30-game stretch, the White Sox's rotation -- swap out Orlando Hernandez for Vazquez and give Brandon McCarthy a start -- was 14-12 with a 3.17 ERA. The starters threw 207 1/3 innings.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Jury's Rigged!

Materazzi said it was mention of Zidane's sister which prompted the butt
from the France midfielder which left Italy's opponents down to 10 men
before its defeat on penalties.

"I did not provoke him, I responded verbally to a provocation,"
Materazzi told the daily Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday.

"We both spoke and I wasn't the first. I held his shirt but don't you
think it is a provocation to say that 'if you want my shirt I will give
it you afterwards'?

"I replied to Zidane that I would prefer his sister, that is true. I
brought up his sister and that wasn't a nice thing, that is true,"

the rest.

Yeah, do it brother:

Zidane Vs Materazzi The Movie! - video powered by Metacafe

Monday, September 04, 2006

Less Git Ready Fo' Some Football!

Well, I guess that's not going to be the theme song anymore now that a band called Pink are doing the honours because they cut across some cross cultural hybrid ultimate marketing nano nonsense mark up and because they are chicks who rock. I still reckon country and western is about the only appopriate music for the NFL, much like rap is the only appropriate music for the NBA. No one, it appears will step up for auld school jazz or perhaps even a klezmer version of MNF.

In any event, without ado and with no explanation other than the predictions are based upon a combination of closing eyes and picking games, throwing dice and simply selecting my favourite colours, here is how it's alleged to pan out.

By the way, * denotes wildcard.

NFC East

Philadelphia 11-5
Giants 9-7
Washington 7-9
Dallas 7-9

NFC North

Chicago 11-5
Green Bay 9-7*
Minnesota 7-9
Detroit 4-12

NFC South

Carolina 13-3
Tampa Bay 10-6*
Atlanta 7-9
New Orleans 4-12

NFC West

Arizona 11-5
Seattle 9-7
St Louis 6-10
San Fran 6-10

That's right folks, no return to the postseason for the Seahawks. They will always remain in my mind one of the least likely and potentially worst teams to make it to the Super Bowl, ever. That's right, Peyton's little brother stays home. Joe Gibbs finally throws up his hands convinced at the futility of a game that's passed him by. So does Parcells. The Bears rumble through on defence alone. Favre gets one last hurrah and the Iggles, everyone is surprised, make up for last season's embarassing distractions. But with Carolina the favourites.


Tampa Bay over Arizona, 30-19
Chicago over Green Bay 9-7

Next Round Playoffs

Carolina over Tampa Bay 13-9
Philadelphia over Chicago 20-0

NFC Championship

Philadelphia over Carolina 23-18


AFC East

New England 12-4
Miami 8-8
Buffalo 7-9
NY Jets 7-9

AFC North

Baltimore 11-5
Pittsburgh 9-7*
Cincinnati 7-9
Cleveland 4-12


Indianapolis 14-2
Houston 7-9
Jacksonville 7-9
Tennessee 7-9

AFC West

San Diego 10-6
Denver 9-7*
KC Chiefs 9-7
Oakland 4-12


Is it surprising that the Steelers only manage to squeak into the playoffs? Why are the Ravens ranked so high when their own defence is on fumes? What happened to the Dolphins, everyone's Cinderella pick? Bah. They've got a tough schedule and a QB who even if he isn't hurt, is clearly not up to snuff. Let's not kid each other. Lou Saban is great but not that great. The Pats pick up where they left off. Indy continues to beat the nobodies and roll up a great record solely for being in the lamest division and the Chargers shock everyone, including themselves by not missing ole whatshisname at QB.


San Diego over Pittsburgh 17-13
Denver over Baltimore 25-8

Next Round Playoffs

New England over San Diego 23-17
Indy over Denver 27-13

AFC Championship

Indianapolis over New England 38-0


Iggles over Colts 37-17

Saturday, September 02, 2006

England Roar Past Tiny Andorra

Ok, not much of a test; a 5-0 pasting in their Euro 2008 qualifier against a tiny little country with near-zero class historically on the football pitch.

But if Sven had managing England for this game no doubt it'd have been a 1-0 nailbiter or even an upset loss.

Andorra, land of the duty free shopping, is no football factory, ranked 132nd in world football.

Under the new McClaren Era, two victories out of two, nine goals scored and none conceded. Hard to beat that.

But hey, not even the England side could outdo the Scots, who poured six goals in against the Faroe Islands in winning 6-0.

Just one of the ten million goals the Scots poured into the Faroes' goal...

And frankly, neither the Faroes nor Andorra belong in the qualifying groups for Euro 2008 - this match was a bigger waste than a friendly, needlessly tiring EPL stars many of whom will also be playing extra European matches in the Uefa Cup and Champions League.

My only question is where is Greenland in the scheme of things? How come places like the bloody Faroe Islands and Andorra even have national football teams and yet Greenland has none? Greenland is neither a member of FIFA, UEFA and therefore is not eligible to enter either the World Cup or European Championship, that's why. And why aren't they a member of any of those groups? What are they trying to say that Andorra and Faroe, can't?

Andorra's home stadium holds like 1500 people so England will play Andorra's "home" match in Spain. And look,

this is the mighty Faroe football stadium.

And this is Nuuk Stadion in Greenland, small wonder:

Horribly derailed about the England victory however - it's difficult to work oneself into much of a lather about such a matchup. The only thing to be proven is that England are playing more like we wished they'd have been playing in the World Cup, slashing dreary opponents and scoring goals in mind.


It's probably still too early to count the Red Sox out of the postseason but the White Sox maintained their fragile hold on the AL wildcard with a victory over the Royals to keep them 1/2 game ahead of the Twins, who knocked down the Yankees. And with the Tigers losing to the Angels, their lead over the White Sox shrunk to 4 1/2 games.

Don't look now but with yet another victory the Dodgers now have a better record than the St Louis Cardinals who hold their grip on the NL Central soley due to a distinct lack of competition.

The Padres still lead the NL Wildcard race over the Reds, Astros and Phillies by one a half games over the Reds.

The Mets have the best record in baseball.