Archive for the Sports category

Mike

College Football Undefeated/Winless – Week 8

Sports No Comment

Last weekend 5 unbeatens fell and one of the winless got a win. Here is what happened to the teams who won’t be joining us on the list this week:

Connecticut lost at Virginia 17-16.
LSU lost at Kentucky 43-37 in OT.
Missouri lost @ Oklahoma 41-31.
California lost vs Oregon State 31-28.
Cincinnati lost vs Louisville 28-24.

North Texas beat Louisiana-Monroe 31-21.

As for this week a few of the unbeatens have off weeks. I not used to midseason off weeks anymore since the Big Ten has stopped scheduling them. All of the winless teams are in action. We have left 6 unbeatens and 4 winless teams in 1A.

Will Remain Unbeaten (off): Arizona State, Boston College, Hawaii
Toughest Games for Undefeated Teams: Kansas (@ Colorado), Ohio State (vs Michigan State), South Florida (@ Rutgers)
Best Chance to Stay Undefeated: No cupcakes this week.
Best Chance at a Win: Florida International (@ Louisiana-Monroe)

Undefeated

Arizona State (7-0, 4-0)
Last Week: W 44-20 vs Washington
This Week: Off
Look out for: California (5-1, 10/27), @ Oregon (5-1, 11/3), @ UCLA (4-2, 11/10), USC (5-1, 11/22)

Boston College (7-0, 3-0)
Last Week: W 27-14 @ Notre Dame
This Week: Off
Look out for: @ Virginia Tech (6-1, 10/25), Florida State (4-2, 11/3), @ Maryland (4-2, 11/3), @ Clemson (4-2, 11/17)

Hawaii (7-0, 4-0)
Last Week: W 42-35 (OT) @ San Jose State
This Week: Off
Look out for: Fresno State (4-2, 11/10), Boise State (5-1, 11/23)

Kansas (6-0, 2-0)
Last Week: W 58-10 vs Baylor
This Week: @ Colorado (4-3)
Look out for: @ Texas A&M (5-2, 10/27), Missouri (5-1, 11/24)

Ohio State (7-0, 3-0)
Last Week: W 48-3 vs Kent State
This Week: Michigan State (5-2)
Look out for: @ Penn State (5-2, 10/27), Wisconsin (5-2, 11/3), Illinois (5-2, 11/10), @ Michigan (5-2, 11/17)

South Florida (6-0, 1-0)
Last Week: W 64-12 vs UCF
This Week: @ Rutgers (4-2) on Thursday
Look out for: @ Connecticut (4-2, 10/18), Cincinnati (6-1, 11/3)

Winless

Colorado State (0-6, 0-3)
Last Week: L 45-21 vs Air Force
This Week: @ UNLV (2-5)
Best Chance: Georgia Southern (1AA, 11/17)

Florida International (0-6, 0-2)
Last Week: Off
This Week: @ Louisiana-Monroe (1-5)
Best Chance: Louisiana-Lafayette (1-6, 11/17), North Texas (1-5, 12/1)

Marshall (0-6, 0-2)
Last Week: L @ Tulsa 38-31
This Week: Southern Miss (3-3) on Sunday
Best Chance: Rice (1-5, 10/27), UAB (2-4, 11/24)

Utah State (0-6, 0-2)
Last Week: Off
This Week: Nevada (2-4)
Best Chance: Louisiana Tech (2-4, 10/27), @ Idaho (1-6, 11/24)

This week’s full schedule.

Mike

College Football Undefeated/Winless – Week 7

Sports No Comment

Six weeks into the season and 11 undefeated teams remain. On the flip side, 5 teams remain winless. Time to start keeping track of these teams.

A look at all the teams follows, but first, some of the highlights.
Toughest Games for Undefeated Teams: Missouri (@ Oklahoma), Connecticut (@ Virginia), LSU (@ Kentucky)
Best Chance to Stay Undefeated: Boston College (@ Notre Dame), Ohio State (vs Kent State)
Will Remain Winless: Florida International and Utah State. Both teams off this week.
Best Chance at a Win: North Texas (vs Louisiana-Monroe)
(more…)

Mike

Bandwagon Jumping

Sports 1 Comment

The past few years I have jumped on a team’s bandwagon for the MLB playoffs. For whatever reason I find myself liking the way a team plays the game so I root for them all the way through. The past few years I’ve supported Detroit, Chicago, and Boston. This doesn’t violate any rules since the Phillies hadn’t been in the playoffs since 1993.

This year was different. The Phillies managed to get hot at the end of the year and the Mets went ice cold. The perfect situation. I could root for the Phillies in October. Unfortunately the bats weren’t prepared for October baseball and now I’m back to my usual position in October.

After the Phillies lost I didn’t just go and search out a team. One of them has to be interesting to me. There has been such a team and that team is the Cleveland Indians. The fact that they are up 2-0 on the Yankees somewhat helped the situation. At least because I’m not going to start pulling for a team on the verge of elimination. The shortest explanation of ‘Why the Indians?’ includes the names Sizemore, Sabathia, and Carmona. The slightly longer answer includes Martinez, Peralta, and Hafner. The rest of the AL teams have been doing this for a few years. I like young upstarts. If you are allowed to call a team young when Kenny Lofton is on the roster. The Indians last made the playoffs in 01, and they were led by Charlie Manuel. I fell that also puts us in the same boat. I don’t remember hearing a lot of complaining about Manuel from his Cleveland days. So either he’s lost it or the Cleveland fans were just in too much pain to yell loud enough for me to hear.

Things are slowly coming in to focus in college football. A few underdogs have emerged with a shot. South Florida being the most obvious. Although they made the FAU game a little interesting. Now it looks like the Big East might be decided in the USF/Cincy game on Nov 3rd. I’m shocked South Carolina is in the Top 10, but that SEC is rough.

One team that I’m pulling for is Arizona State. Their 6-0 start has moved them up to #14. Of course they haven’t played any of the big guns in the Pac10. Their 3-0 conference record come courtesy of wins against Oregon St., Stanford, and Washington St. However, today, their 41-3 win at Stanford seems a lot more impressive. Their upcoming schedule includes Washington, California, Oregon, UCLA, and USC. Make it through that only losing 2 then people will start talking. Its been a few years since I’ve heard much excitement about ASU. Really, I wasn’t aware they’ve had a program since The Snake left. I’d like to see them compete, I’m a fan of any non-Cali team competing for the Pac10 Championship. I’d be almost as excited for Arizona, but they have basketball. Looking into the history books, ASU needs some good years. The school has had only 3 bowl wins (in 8 games) in the past 20 years. Just maybe they can survive this schedule. Or just maybe they’ll lose to UDub this weekend and we’ll forget I ever said any of this.

Mike

Regional Coverage

Sports No Comment

Usually when discussing college football coverage my first complaint is about the announcers. I don’t do enough complaining about the games they select to put on TV for my region.

Today the Penn State/Iowa game is on ESPN2. At least that’s what I thought. After the Miami/UNC game ended it came on. I saw all of two plays when the picture suddenly froze. I quickly switched to the SD version of ESPN2 only to find NC St/FSU. I haven’t had Verizon long enough to trust that they aren’t going to screw up this sort of thing. I called up and the guy was very helpful. He had all the coverage maps and blackout lists handy. When he reset my box I flipped through the channels and found the game on ABC. I had never thought to check there since all I’d seen advertised was ESPN2 and I saw the game on ESPN2 before it vanished.

I found the game, but I still wasn’t happy. It wasn’t in HD! I know it was produced in HD somewhere, I saw it on ESPN2HD. This is what I don’t understand. There is no reason that this game wasn’t in HD on ABC. If they can’t handle it then don’t move it from ESPN2. If you are that excited to watch PSU/Iowa, you likely are someone who gets ESPN and ESPN2. Are there a lot of OTA people clamoring for this game?

This also took the Texas/Okalhoma game off of my schedule. A game that I would certainly like the option of watching. The game that was showing on ESPN2, NC St/FSU I couldn’t watch in HD because ESPN2HD was blacked out for no particular reason.

I don’t have ESPN Gameplan. There aren’t enough games that I need to watch to justify the price. I’d like to be able to see some of those games. If it only cost $50, then I’d be on board. On occasion one of these games might be picked up by one of our local channels. This week the selection was CMU/Ball St. I didn’t spend much time watching that matchup.

I am a big fan of the Fox College Sports channels that I get part of the Verizon Sports Pack. They are really the only channels worth mentioning in that package. These channels give me the good Pac10 and Big 12 games that aren’t picked up by ABC/ESPN. Last week I was able to watch Colorado beat Oklahoma. Today included Kansas/Kansas State (which Comcast Sportsnet was showing) and Arizona State/Washington State.

As far as college football is concerned the biggest difference between Comcast and Verizon is having CSTV on Comcast and ESPNU and ESPN Classic on Verizon. There would occasionally be a good game on CSTV, usually from a mid-major. I’d much rather have the ESPNU/ESPN Classic combination. ESPNU always has some major conference teams and Classic has good matchups on occasion. This week Classic went with an American Gladiators marathon instead of any games. You can’t argue too much with that decision.

What’s missing from all this is the Big Ten Network. I’d love to have this channel. Of course that means the main channel plus the extra channels when there are multiple games on. There have already been three PSU games on BTN this season. I still have to side with the providers in not carrying this channel. There is no reason for the vast majority of subscribers to have to pay for this channel. I’d gladly pay extra, so BTN should let me have that option.

See, I’m laying off the announcers today. You could say I’m growing as a person. You could also say I am saving my announcer rage for tonight when I have to endure another game with Joe Simpson doing the color for the Phillies/Rockies game. Other than him, and a few other issues, TBS’s coverage has been way better than ESPN or Fox have been for the playoffs over the past few years. Now if I only had TBS in HD.

Mike

200 Daily Picks

Sports No Comment

Today marks the 200th Daily Pick. Somehow I have managed to not forget to put up a Daily Pick for this long. Its very easy to compete in the Daily Pick. Each day, log on to Ice Cream Helmet, the pick is right there on the front page. Pick who you will think will with the game or event. You get points for picking, more points for picking correctly, and even more if you pick the less popular choice and they wind up winning. Points roll off after a certain period of time, so you can quickly climb the rankings. Plus, the Daily Pick counts toward your ICH rank.

My record: 107-85, there have been a few cancellations and I might have missed a few days while away.

Mike

College Football is Back

Sports No Comment

I don’t know what I do with my Saturdays the rest of the year. They are pretty much worthless. At least they must be since devoting every Saturday for the next 3+ months to College Football has no adverse affects on my life. I guess that might depend on who you are.

Penn State was in action against Florida International. Thanks to the new people at the Big Ten Network I had to head out to a bar to watch the game. Penn State won easily 59-0. It could have easily been much worse. PSU forced 6 fumbles, had 7 sacks, a blocked field goal, and a blocked punt.

My favorite PSU post game items each week:
Notes
JoPa Quotes
PSU Player Quotes

Let’s straighten out this whole division thing. Everyone had issues with it on TV. The old 1-AA was referred to as ‘what used to be called 1-AA but is now called something else’ division. When you say that every time, it eats up a lot of TV time. Here is what the official changes were: 1-A is now the Bowl Subdivision and 1-AA is now the Championship Subdivision. Why they needed to change, I’m not entirely sure. Was moral down in 1-AA that they were lesser? You know what, they are the second tier. I don’t think anyone feels any different now that they are the Championship Subdivision. Does this mean that the Bowl Subdivision cannot have a championship? Are we stuck with bowls forever now. What if a Championship Subdivision team is good enough for a bowl bid? Do they not get a shot? Then you complicate things more with the Subdivision part. I guess you can’t just go with Division because there is already the separation between D1, D2, and D3. I’m sticking with 1-A and 1-AA. I have no problem with change, I just like my changes to be for the better.

Baseball was overshadowed by all this football. Saturday night Clay Buchholtz threw a no-hitter for the Red Sox. Standard procedure is to show the entire 9th Inning of a no-hitter on ESPN. Instead they broke in to show the first 2 outs of the 9th after they happened, then switched to the game. The KSU/Auburn game was close, but it wasn’t near the end. At the very least split-screen it. ESPN2 could have shown it too. I don’t even remember what they were showing at the time. mlb.com likely had the coverage, they are usually solid on these type of things. I really can’t wait for the MLB Channel.

Mike

The Sports Pack

Sports No Comment

I finally ordered the Sports Pack from Comcast this weekend. It includes: Fox College Sports (Atlantic, Central, and Pacific), Fox Soccer Channel, Gol TV, NBA TV, CSTV, The Tennis Channel, and NFL Network. I know, quite a lineup.

I ordered it now because there was a special: $1.99/month for a year. I had planned on getting it for the start of the college football season. Last year there were quite a few times that I’d see a close score of a west coast game only to find that it was only on Fox College Sports Pacific. Leaving me out of luck. With the move of NFL Network to the Sports Pack a few months ago, getting the Sports Pack wasn’t even a doubt.

Now really isn’t the prime season for the Sports Pack. There aren’t any college sports going on. So the FCS channels and CSTV are running games from the past season, or ‘classic’ games. Unfortunately CSTV has most of its deals with non-BCS conferences and it seems that only the Pac10 likes to show games on Fox Sports.

I’m not much of a soccer fan. I catch World Cup Fever every four years but I usually recover from it rather quickly. I have always been intrigued by the European leagues but it seems like quite a commitment to really get into it. With two new channels full of soccer to watch I may learn something by accident. Oh, and David Beckham’s Soccer USA premieres tonight. That will make it to the DVR with an over/under of 8 minutes of watch time before the delete button is pressed.

The highlights of the Sports Pack will be the College Football on FCS, and games/highlights/shows on NBA TV and NFL Network. Plus who know what other college sports goodness awaits me: basketball, hockey, lacrosse. I could easily get hooked on any of those.

What’s keeping the Sports Pack from greatness? ESPN Classic and ESPNU. I blame ESPN for them not being available. They absolutely should be only in the Sports Pack. I’ll pay for them but people who don’t care about sports should not have to chip in. ESPN Classic is actually sent to my house, they just don’t have it in the lineup. I found out when I got my TV with an HDTV tuner. It scanned all the digital channels and found ESPN Classic. I can’t access it through my cable box. Some day soon I’m going to have such a desire to watch American Gladiators I’ll have to run another cable.

The Big Ten Network launches in a few weeks and I have a bad feeling that won’t be added to the Sports Pack in time. Apparently the Big Ten thinks its better than ESPN Classic and ESPNU and that Comcast will cave. I want to hang out with these Big Ten Network executives, they sound hilarious.

So far the Sports Pack doesn’t get high marks. But I hadn’t expected it to be anything special. It should be an entertaining month laughing at what they decide to put on all these channels until football gets started. Then I will have sports overload once again.

Mike

College Football Pickem

Sports No Comment

The season is a little while away, but I’ve got my College Football Pickem game up and running. You can join the Borderline Fantastic group by going to http://icecreamhelmet.com/college/football/g2/ and signing up. This group doesn’t require a password to join. Its open to anyone who would like to join. The picks will be Top 25 games (no 1AA) against the spread. There are all sorts of other options if you’d like to create your own group. You can pick which conferences or teams you’d like to include.

Mike

Daily Pick #100

Sports No Comment

Wednesday marked the 100th Daily Pick on Ice Cream Helmet. Quite a momentous event, at least in my mind. I’m just impressed that I was able to keep up and do it for 100 days in a row.

My record thus far is 60-36. There were 4 games that were canceled for rain or snow, which is why my record doesn’t add up to 100.

The standings on reflect each person’s performance over the past few weeks. This was designed so that people could easily start picking and have a chance of competing with people who had been picking from the beginning. Instead it has made it so that it is clearly visible that only a handful of people have made a pick recently.

Post a comment with any suggestions that might make you want to make the Daily Pick and keep coming back.

Go to Ice Cream Helmet’s Daily Pick.

Mike

2nd Half Baseball Pickem

Sports No Comment

Group Page – If you are logged in you can join the group right on that page. If not, login or create an account then go back to join.

I started Baseball Picks on Ice Cream Helmet this year. Its been great so far. To let me people get in on it I’ve created a group for the 2nd half of the year. The scoring will start right after the All-Star Break, on July 12th.

Its pretty simple to play. Just pick who will win each series each week. To win a series a team just has to win a majority of the games.

In my group from the start of the season I’m leading so far. Even though its my site I did forget to finish making picks one week. I was able to bounce back and retake the lead.

Feel free to invite anyone to join this group and if you want to have one with your friends, create your own group. There are additional options to customize your group when you create your own.

Group Page – If you are logged in you can join the group right on that page. If not, login or create an account then go back to join.

Mike

Moneyball

Books, Sports No Comment

I finished a book! Always a big deal around these parts. As you know, I’m not a reader. I’m going to try and keep pace with finishing a book around the same time as each no-hitter this season.

I read Moneyball by Michael Lewis. Took less than a month. That should be an indication of how much I liked it.

I know the book has been out for a few years. Its been on my self for almost that long. After I finished my last book the next one I had planned to read, Can I Keep My Jersey? had not yet arrived. So I decided to pick up Moneyball. As soon as I started it I was hooked.

I’ve been a fan of the A’s because of the way they run their team. Not spending a lot but winning every year. I follow a team that spends quite a bit and hasn’t been to the playoffs in 14 years. The A’s always seem to be able to restock with talent they’ve grown themselves. It isn’t all that complicated to see how they’ve done it.

I’m also a fan of statistical analysis. I’ve always kept a close eye on stats. When I was little I would beg for any stat book I saw, especially Bill James. I was always behind on them because I had to wait until the next year when they only cost $1.

The book does a great job of giving you an in-depth look at Billy Beane (the A’s GM) and a couple of the key players. He takes a look at each part of the game and how they are judged completely wrong. It doesn’t take a genius to realize there is more than batting average and that RBIs are a meaningless stat.

The amazing thing is how this all makes complete sense, yet its still so over looked in baseball. If you are running a baseball team everything that is in this book should have already been figured out on your own. Apparently even after reading it people still haven’t been convinced.

This all goes a long way to explain why the Phillies are run so poorly. Our drafting is pretty terrible, we make bad signings, and make poor decisions during games. Its not surprising that Pat Gillick is even mentioned at the end of the book because he said he refused to ever read it. Not really a surprise.

If you haven’t read Moneyball yet and are a baseball fan then I’m guessing you are like me. You heard about the book but you didn’t bother to read it. You heard the general concept and figured that was all you needed to know. You were going to read it but then realized it was a book and you don’t read books. I say go ahead and read it. It didn’t hurt me one bit. In fact, I wanted to keep reading it.

Now its on to Can I Keep My Jersey? I actually already started it, Paul Shirley is pretty great.