Today's NFL games represent my favorite weekend of games each year. The Super Bowl always seems to be more about guacamole, your friends' annoying girlfriends, and commercials. This weekend seems more about football. Plus, with two games, there is a better chance of one being an all-time great game.
So which teams will be in Super Bowl XLVII? I'll tell you what I'd do, if I were going to pick straight up or against the spread.
G1 would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our Gator Olympians for kicking ass in London this year! There are a lot of countries striving with a full national effort to compete with Gainesville, so cheers to them for trying.
Spain is approaching dynasty status with this win over Italy. Ball possession time was nearly 50%-50% this game. Which was surprising because Spain looked to be in control most of the game. Spains touches were clean and precise, and Italy seemed a bit rushed with the ball. Both squads had strong defense. Iniesta for Spain and Pirlo for Italy both ran very strong mid field play. Spain did not dominate the offensive zone, but they were able to score early on a through ball. Italy went a man down after Spain's second goal, when Motta came off injured. Spain continued their well rounded team play, and fatigue and injuries sealed the game for the Azzurri, ending 4-0.
A the 14-minute mark, Iniesta's through ball set up Fàbregas, who put a laser beam from the back line to Silva's head for Spain's opening goal. Alba blazed by the defense with a quick touch firing Spain's 2nd goal at 41min. Casillas was a fortress in the goal for Spain in the first half.
Italy is in the Euro Cup final. I am going to wear my Manne Guitars (awesome italian guitars) shirt out to watch the game! No score shootout win vs England. Italy held Germany's crazy offense to one goal, 2-1. Spain is in trouble. I still think it's strange Italy is blue; should be Orange and Blue.
The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association named three Gator baseball players All-Americans: Brian Johnson (junior left-hander/designated hitter), Austin Maddox (junior right-hander), and Mike Zunino (junior catcher). This is the first time NCBWA has recognized three UF players in a season. Though people into sports betting would not have been against their odds betting this would happen. All three players have been standout. Johnson got the first-team nod in the utility spot. Zunino was chosen as first-team catcher. Maddox was a third-team recipient at pitcher.
Johnson is pictured at the top, Zunino middle, and Maddox's awesome chin strip bottom.
Johnson was also named as an All-American by Louisville Slugger on the second-team, and is contending for the 2012 John Olerud Award presented as a top two-way standout in the nation. The lefty earned first-team All-SEC for the past two seasons. Johnson 's record is...
We at G1 love reshuffling and realigning the current structure of all sports leagues, college and pro. Previously, we've taken stabs at realigning college football conferences, and we eagerly covered last year's expansion of the Big Ten and Pac-10 (now, Pac-12). I even think more expansion and change is on the horizon there. That's a topic to revisit this summer.
With this record of following and thinking about realignment, you can imagine my reaction to the news that the Houston Astros may be bound for the American League. This would create two 15-team leagues, so the impact is less on realignment and more on scheduling. Without significantly expanding interleague play, it's impossible to schedule two 15-team leagues (14 teams play each other, and if the 15th team isn't playing the 15th team from the other league, it's not playing).
Former GM Jim Bowden took a stab at geographic realignment, but his attempt was a little weak in my opinion. After all, I'm sure there are about 900 options as good or better than his.
Let's look at some of the issues surrounding the small realignment that's been proposed, but I'll also give you a more complete realignment, as well.
Now that the NFL has locked out its players, we won’t be getting many news stories or blog articles outside of player arrests, deaths, something dumb someone said, and NFL Mock Drafts. That’s right fans, there is one and only one thing that is officially going to happen in the NFL for the rest of 2011: The NFL College Draft.
Any draft predictions before the Bowl games, Senior Bowl, NFL Combine and pro days are basically aimless speculation. Since those are over, actual projections are beginning to take shape.
The last couple of seasons, I've been naming my fantasy baseball team (in the Official Gatorsfirst.com League) after whatever awful contract the Red Sox (my favorite team) are getting rid of at the end of the season. [Insert snarky comment about the ridiculous way this is an annual occurance with said team here]. Following the way that NBA trades (at least by Bill Simmons) usually involve someone's ''expiring contract'', my (championship-winning!) team last season: Lugo's Expiring Contract. This season: Drew's Expiring Contract. Daisuke Matsuzaka, you're officially on notice for 2012.
Anyway, to do this I use the fantastic MLB resource of Cot's Baseball Contracts. The site has way more detail than most casual fans would need. However, I could not easily find a straight-up ranking of the 2011 MLB payrolls by team. So I went team-by-team and put them into the table below. Enjoy.
ESPN has reported that according to multiple league sources the NFLPA has already contacted 17 top prospects who ordinarily would have received an invitation to attend the draft and informed them not to go. From ESPN.com:
Tim Tebow just capped off his first season in the NFL. Let's take a look at what he showed he's capable of and also where he needs to improve for his sophomore season.
Most Gator fans know the story by now: Tim Tebow just completed his rookie season in the NFL. He played incredibly efficiently in the handful of plays he took as backup for the first 13 games of the season, and is now 1-2 as a starter on the post Josh McDaniels era Denver Broncos. Considering all the distractions and instability with the coaching staff, Tebow was a breath of fresh air and provided a glimmer of hope to the disgruntled Denver fans. Here’s a breakdown of his first 3 NFL starts.
Viva España!!! Spain wins 1:0 over Netherlands in the World Cup. What a wild game. Outstanding displays of skill; crazy fast pace; amazing amount of heart; overtime battle; diving goalie saves; 14 yellow cards; and a flying dragon kick to the chest. You could not ask for any more from the World Cup final, unless you were pulling for the Oranje.
Arjen ROBBEN played an outstanding game for Holland, but Andres INIESTA came away the hero. At the 116-minute mark, in the second overtime period, INIESTA fired it across the goal through STEKELENBURG's fingers into the back of the net. Cesc FABREGAS was the one to set him up with shot. This victory makes Spain the 18th name on the FIFA World Cup. Spain won each elimination game by one goal. They are now the only European team to win the cup outside of Europe.
Spain beat Germany 1:0 today. So the FIFA World Cup 2010 final will be Spain versus Netherlands on Sunday. Not so much to report for today's game. It was largely a midfield game, quick defense and very little offense. Germany had somewhere close to zero lightning strikes today. They did have a few fast breaks but nothing developed. Spain controlled the ball for most of the game, but weren't able to set up their famous 7 touch and score zone offense. They surprisingly scored on a corner kick flying header at 73'. This was the first time in the tourney that Germany had been scored on in the second half.
This will lead to an interesting final, both in style of play and history. Neither Spain nor Netherlands has ever made it to a final. And both teams have a unique style of play, very different from their past years. I have no idea who should be favored for the final. It is going to be a great game. I like Germany for the Match for 3rd.
FIFA World Cup 2010 Final Games:
Germany vs. Uruguay Match for 3rd - Sat, July 10 at 1:30 EST on ABC
Spain vs. Netherlands World Cup Final - Sun, July 11 at 1:30 EST on ABC
It's going to be an all Euro final; pretty big surprise with the four powerhouse South American teams in the semi-finals. Netherlands knocked off Uruguay 3:2 today. The Spain vs. Germany game is tomorrow at 1:30 EST.
Netherlands stuck strickly to their game plan today: dive; stay down; grab a leg; give ref puppy dog eyes. If it ends up being Germany and Holland, it is going to be a fun mix of explosive attacks and dive-and-whine soccer. Unfortunately the refs weren't going along with the dive plan today. Holland however was able to generate some offense to make up for it. This was two separate games. Heavy defense for the first 60 minutes was creating 3-on-7 situations halting both teams' attacks. Somehow it still ended up being 1:1 at half. Each goal was scored from outside by the respective team captain with little support. After 60 minutes it became a game of strong offensive zones and wild attacks. At the 70-minute mark Holland got a borderline offsides goal, followed 3 minutes later by powerful header making it 3:1. At 90'+2 Uruguay grounded one in. The final two minutes was an impressive showing of heart and offense by Uruguay, but with no luck, leaving it 3:2 Netherlands.
Final FIFA World Cup 2010 Games:
Spain vs. Germany - Semi final - Wed, July 7 at 1:30 EST
? vs. Uruguay - Match for 3rd - Sat, July 10 at 1:30 EST
? vs. Netherlands - World Cup Final - Sun, July 11 at 1:30 EST
Only one South American team made it out of the FIFA World Cup 2010 quarter-finals, barely, in a shootout. Uraguay sneaks by Ghana in a 1 (4):1 (2) shootout. Neder powered 2:1 over Brazil. Germany went blitzkrieg and destroyed Argentina 4:0. Spain ended up winning 1:0 over Paraguay in a bizarre game.
The upcoming semi-final games are:
Uruguay vs. Netherlands - Jul 6 2:30am (EST) on ESPN
The South Carolina Gamecocks only needed one more win to take down the CWS. They had a tough time finding it against the UCLA Bruins last night. The Gamecocks were able to generate a score in the bottom of the 8th to tie it at one. UCLA was just five outs away from reaching the final game. Then in the 11th, Whit Merrifield poked an RBI putting the cocks up 2-1 to end the series.
Sadly, this was the last CWS for Rosenblatt Stadium, the long running home of the NCAA tourney. Blatt has hosted the the CWS every season for the past 61 years. The CWS is moving to a shiny new stadium in downtown Omaha next year priced around $130 million. They are not going to start tearing the Blatt down just yet. Minor league baseball and the United Football League need to first finish up their schedules there this summer and fall.
Not such an exciting weekend for USA soccer. And not a very surprising Round of 16 with only one upset. Every 1st round group winner in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, except USA, won their Round of 16 game to advance to the quarter-finals. Ghana knocked off USA 2:1 in overtime, in what was a well played and well reffed game. The seven group winners to advance were: Uruguay (Group A), Argentina (Group B), Germany (Group D), Netherlands (Group E), Paraguay (Group F), Brazil (Group G), Spain (Group H). Ghana advanced from Group D. Unfortunately for USA and England, Group C was left unrepresented in the quarter-finals.
The upcoming quarter-final games are:
Netherlands vs. Brazil - July 2, 10:00am (EST) on ESPN
Uruguay vs. Ghana - July 2, 2:30pm (EST) on ESPN
Argentina vs. Germany - July 3, 10:00am (EST) on ABC
What a big morning for USA soccer. USA scored at the 91 minute-mark to take down Algeria to win Group C and advance in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Both games from Group C were played simultaneously this morning. Slovenia was knocked off by England 0:1, giving England 5 tourney points, and putting USA in a must-win situation. USA's win today during injury-time gave them 5 tourney points as well. USA won the group on total goals.
The Gators pulled it out in extra innings against Miami to advance to the College World Series in Omaha. UF ended up on top 4-3. This followed their 7-2 win over the Canes in Game 1 on Friday, giving the Gators a double-elimination sweep in the Super Regional round.
Back by absolutely no demand, Krutch is back with Mock Draft 2010. This represents Version 1.5 because 1.0 should’ve been up a month ago, and I’m trying to keep up with the versions of other draftniks. Obviously, I’m not a scout and don’t get to check out college pro days, but there are agreed-upon top rated players. This is my take on where each player will land.
With apologies to Bill Simmons: I have a rule in life. Anytime the Florida Gators have their first 2 NBA All-Stars in history, and the game is taking place less than 45 miles from my house, in the most ridiculous sports venue conceived by man, I'm going to attend, and bring you the details.
This happened. Sunday night, Feb. 14, while the rest of you pansies were celebrating Valentine's Day, I was at the Boss Hog Bowl (as Randy Galloway calls it) celebrating the NBA's opulence, as it generally heads toward losing $400 million. That's an interesting juxtaposition with the tab for the hosting venue (open only since May 2009) at $1.15 billion.
David Lee and Al Horford became the first Florida Gators to ever appear in an NBA All-Star Game. I was there.
I'll also run down the experience of going to a basketball game at Jerry Jones' shrine to himself, in case you want to head back for the 2011 Super Bowl or for the Florida Gators' 2014 Final Four appearance in the same building.
Happy Super Bowl week everyone! Take a break from being upset over failed New Years resolutions and holiday weight gain and be happy; after all, tis the season for funny multi-million dollar commercials, the Super Bowl shuffle and nip-slips (Googling any of those should put a smile on your face).
This is the one time of year everyone is a football fan, die-hard college football devotees try their hand at NFL football betting, and the effeminate guy in the cube across from me actually knows the names of the teams (he’s going for the Colts; Black and Gold was so last year).
The National Football League. It’s hard not to be a fan.
(Don’t forget to take 3 drinks for every word of the spelled out acronym that announcers say to fill space or sound dramatic.)
In one of the best playoff years for storylines in a long time, the NFL divisional round is in the books. The two top-seeded teams from the NFC are meeting next week in the Louisiana Superdome while the top-seeded AFC squad will take on “The Little Team That Could” at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The NFL teams still in contention have great characters. I’m starting to see why some people actually enjoy the fake character storylines in “pro” wrestling. But these NFL guys aren’t faking. This is real stuff. No producers, no writers, no editing and as we’ll see: no apologies.
Let’s take a look at this week’s action through the storylines….
The other day, some of us at gatorsfirst.com got to talking about the NFL- and I mentioned how many current NFL starting QBs are from the SEC.
Now, I abhor using NFL performance to argue the greatness of individual college teams and/or players. For instance, I take ’95 Nebraska as the greatest college team of all time, while many take ’01 Miami based on the NFL talent on the roster. So I’m not trying to make the conference argument for the SEC based on this data. In fact, if you think I have to make the argument for the SEC at all, I guffaw in your direction. The SEC is #1. That’s a separate debate, that's not really debatable.
Let’s get back to looking at the curious case of the NFL QB.
The 2009 NFL draft is in the books. It's not always about accuracy in Mock Drafts, but after crunching the numbers of everyone's last revision, Kiper had a match percentage of 29.7%, McShay had 21.9% and I was 15.6%. I've coded correct picks below with M, T, or K (M= Mel Kiper, T=Todd McShay, K=Krutch, yours truly). Here's a recap with analysis of each team's new talent.
This is the sixth in a series of six Major League Baseball divisional previews. Check them all out right here. Todayís featured division, the AL West, has the fewest number of teams of any division in baseballÖ
Our friend Adam is a big Yankees fan and he has a well thought out preview for us. James already wrote an AL East preview here, so compare the two viewpoints. Adam also has his own Gators website in development, and for the time being, you can follow his thoughts here: http://twitter.com/onlygators...
The 2009 Major League Baseball season is upon us and teams are ready to embark on their 162 game journey towards the playoffs, and eventually the World Series. This is the fifth in a series of six divisional previews. Our next division is was the most fickle division last year, the NL West...
This is the fourth in a series of six Major League Baseball divisional previews. Check them all out right here. Todayís featured division, the AL Central, had the most parity of any division in baseball last year...
The 2009 Major League Baseball season is upon us and teams are ready to embark on their 162 game journey towards the playoffs, and eventually the World Series. This is the third in a series of six divisional previews. Our next division has the most team in one division, the NL Central.
This is the second in a series of six Major League Baseball divisional previews. Check them all out right here. Todayís featured division is the toughest in sports. While Boston and New York have consistently fought for division supremacy, the upstart Rays went on to win the division and the American League before running out of gas in the World Series.
The 2009 Major League Baseball season is upon us and teams are ready to embark on their 162 game journey towards the playoffs, and eventually the World Series. This is the first in a series of six divisional previews. Our first division is where the defending World Series champion resides, the NL East.
We at gatorsfirst.com are Gators, first. The University of Florida, and our love for it (Gator sports included) brought us together. After all, our #1 goal is to provide your boss a reason to fire you, and entertain you all through your work day. That’s why we occasionally touch on the MLB, NFL, NBA, music, and life in general.
It just so happens our two biggest contributors are also huge Major League Baseball fans. 5 years ago (before Boston won its first World Series in 86 years) you could have debated the ethics behind my dad inducting me to Red Sox Nation, before there were major league teams in Florida. Fellow contributor Chris has been a diehard Marlins fan since day one. We’re also huge fantasy baseball nerds. Feel free to follow along with the gatorsfirst.com fantasy league here. We’re trying to get to 12 teams, and would not be opposed to having one or two reader-managed teams to fill out the league, so let us know in the comments below why you should be included and I’ll get back to you.
Enough administrative BS, let’s get to some hardcore seamhead predictions…
Having been a Bucs fan for 14 years now, itís been rare to see a coaching change. It wouldnít be right to be pessimistic about it though. In 1996, they hired a first time head coach by the name of Dungy and they were rewarded a year later with their first winning season since 1982. In 2002, they traded 4 high draft picks and $8 million for Jon Gruden and immediately got a return on their investment with a Super Bowl win. Now in 2009, the Buccaneers have taken a new risk: Raheem Morris. Next year could be surprisingly good if history has any indication.
As a born and raised diehard Miami Dolphins fan, I have had my fair share of disappointments. Whether it be the painful playoff losses of the early 1990ís (particularly against Buffalo!), or not making the playoffs since 2001, nothing was as painful as watching the 2007 addition of the team. The ineptitude was wide spread. We were trotting out Cleo Lemon & John Beck at QB for godís sake! The only other thing that we led the league in, besides losses of course, was the # of Cams. (Cameron Worrell, Greg Camarillo, and head coach Cameron Cameron). However, for all of last yearís pain, this year has been a blessing. Here are my thoughts on a wonderful turnaround...
Let me start off by saying I think Boston is becoming the dominant team year-in and year-out in MLB. But several factors caught up to them this year, and if you read Bill Simmons even semi-regularly you'll know this team doesn't seem to have the heart and hunger of teams from prior years... so I'm not expecting an ALCS comeback of 04, or even 07, proportions. These are in no particular order.
Moneyball is easily the most misunderstood sports book I can think of. It's very title has become like a catch phrase, and many people who talk about it have probably never even flipped through a copy (don't bother looking for pictures, there aren't many).
If you'd like to participate in the GatorsFirst NFL pick'em, I made it a public group... just sign up for ESPN Pigskin pick'em, choose the 'use spread' option (picks are against the spread!) and then pick 'join group' and find GatorsFirst.com
The 49ers were everyone's 'sleeper pick' before the season, which may just have been a clue to avoid any high preseason hopes for them. But I had high hopes for them anyways, if only because Alex Smith, I thought, would be a prehistoric Tim Tebow, and I happened to like what Frank Gore did for my fantasy team last year. So when the Patriots got the 49ers 1st round pick for this season (via draft day trade), no one really thought it'd be a great pick, it was just the Patriots stockpiling picks again. Turns out, maybe Belichick and company are even smarter than we think (or terribly, terribly lucky) as right now the pick looks to be #2 overall...
I thought I was picking on the Browns with their QB change in week 2, putting in a 6'6" guy from Oregon State (not the Chad Johnson,Steven Jackson, #4 in the country years, the losing to Pitt in the Sun Bowl years). I picked up Cincinnati's Defense for a one-week play (I am morally opposed to drafting D/ST, K, TE except in the last 3-4 rounds- if you ask why, I ask how the Bears and Ravens are treating you, relative to Big Ben, who I drafted later). Anyways, the point is I got -8 from the Bengals, who were quickly in a shootout game...
I'm stunned that I'm sitting here knowing that the Pats are still undefeated. I watched the entire game last night. They were physically manhandled and handily beaten by the Ravens for most of that game...