Wednesday, December 12, 2012

College Football Bowl Games

The college football regular season has ended, which means it is time for the postseason. Of course, in FBS football, this does not mean a playoff, which is what everyone wants.

It means College Football Bowl Games. There are a lot of good ones out there, but other than the national title game, the best one looks like the Fiesta Bowl, which has Oregon taking on Kansas State.

Both teams will enter the game with one loss. Oregon fell to Stanford, while Kansas State lost to Baylor. They are both 11-1, 8-1 in their respective conferences. Oregon is coached by Chip Kelly, who is expected to become an NFL head coach next season. They play a fast-paced, run-oriented offense that has been the darling of college football the past few years. They are the most explosive offense in college football and can score from anywhere on the field.

Kansas State's head coach is Bill Snyder, who is in his 70s and already retired once. If they win, they will need a big game from Collin Klein, who was a Heisman finalist. He is a dual threat QB in the mold of Tim Tebow. He is a power runner, and can throw just well enough to keep defenses honest.

It should be a fascinating by two teams that employ a spread offense, but they will look a lot different than each other. I think Oregon will win a high scoring game, but it will be one of the most exciting college football games of the season.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Miami Heat Are the NBA Title Favorites

For years, NBA fans have been asking the question, “When will LeBron James win an NBA championship.” He had clearly made himself into the best basketball player in the world, and had MVP trophies to back that up. However, the one glaring thing missing from his resume was that he did not have an NBA title to his name. That all changed last June, when the Miami Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games to capture the championship.

That brings us to the current year, where there are no shortage of contenders for the NBA title, which brings up interesting decisions if you are doing online betting (click here) at TopBet. If you look at last year’s NBA standings, you see that three teams – the Miami Heat, OKC Thunder, and San Antonio Spurs looked like the main contenders. This year, you can add the Los Angeles Lakers to the mix as well.

The Heat have to be considered the favorite because they still have LeBron. He is the best and most talented player in the league, and makes everyone around him better. In addition to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat also picked up Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen, which should make their offense even more dangerous. Now that they have embraced some small ball with James playing the four, they are tough to beat.

The Thunder will be the top challenger, as they were a threat to win it last year, and should be even better with another year of experience. Kevin Durant is the second best player in the NBA, and he has some talented guys alongside him. The Lakers look to be their main competitors, after the addition of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. They may have the most talented starting lineup in the league, but it will be interesting to see if they can fit all of the pieces together, and whether they will have enough depth to win it all. The Spurs are another team that people always want to count out, but they always seem to be in the thick of the race.

It will be an exciting NBA season, with more legitimate contenders and elite teams that I can remember heading into a year. The Heat are the favorites, but it will be a great year in the NBA.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Who Will Win The Super Bowl?

The Super Bowl has become the biggest event in American sports, as good is the new American past time. As a result, everybody has a prediction about who is going to win the Super Bowl. But who do the oddsmakers project as most likely to win the Super Bowl? You can find some odds here.

The Green Bay Packers are the Super Bowl favorites, and it is easy to understand why. They had the best record in the NFL last year, and looked like the team that was going to win the Super Bowl before their shocking defeat to the New York Giants. They have the MVP of the NFL and its best player in quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is playing at an extremely high level. With some great receivers, the offense is explosive. The defense struggled last year, but they took steps to make that better heading into this season. That makes them the favorites.

The New York Giants also have to be considered one of the favorites, simply because they have shown they can do it. They made a surprise run to win the Super Bowl last year, and that was the second time it had happened in the last five years. The core of their team remains, including quarterback Eli Manning and perhaps the best pass rush in the NFL. Nobody will be taking these guys lightly in the playoffs.

New England seems to be a mainstay in the Tom Brady and Bill Belicheck Era, and this year will be no exception. They have even more weapons offensively, as they added deep threat Brandon Lloyd. Along with tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, they can hurt you in a lot of ways in the passing game. Defensively, they have invested some high draft picks, and it looks like it may pay dividends. They will be hungry after losing a close game in the Super Bowl last season.

A popular pick this year is the Baltimore Ravens, who were so close to making it to the big game last season. Joe Flacco is a year older, and if he takes the next step and becomes an elite quarterback, the Ravens might be the most complete team in the NFL. Ray Rice is the best running back in the NFL, and the defense should again be very good. They will be an interesting team to watch.

As always, we are in store for a great NFL season. Who do you think is going to win the Super Bowl?

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

"Stillpower" by Garret Kramer Review

This Stillpower book review is also posted over at Reed Reads

I got the chance to get an early copy of the book Stillpower: Excellence with Ease in Sports and Life by Garret Kramer, and I have to say that I enjoyed it. It was not my favorite book, but I think it is worth reading for athletes and coaches on the chance that they are able to glean one or two insights from the book that will really help them out.

The book talks all about recognizing that motivation is internal, whether it is in sports or in life, and we cannot seek external motivations. If we do that, it will be fleeting, and we will soon find ourselves performing worse. If we look to things happening to us as getting us down or up, we are not relying enough on the internal factors of performance. One story that I enjoyed from the book which talks about being motivated and satisfied by the right things was a story about former Argentinian golfer Robert De Vicenzo. The story from the book goes:
Robert De Vicenzo, the renowned Argentinian professional golfer, once won a tournament with a substantial cash prize. After receiving his check and smiling through interviews and photos, he went to the clubhouse and was prepared to leave. Sometime later, as he walked to his car in the parking lot, he was approached by a young woman. She offered well wishes on the victory and then told him that her baby was seriously ill and near death, but she had no money to pay the doctors' bills and hospital expenses De Vicenzo was so moved by her story that right on the spot, he took out a pen and endorsed the winning check over to the woman. "Make some good days for the child," he said as he pressed the check into her hand.
The following week, De Vicenzo was having lunch at the next tour stop when a PGA official approached him. "Several members of the parking lot crew told me you met a young woman after the tournament last week."
De Vicenzo nodded. "Well," said the official, "I hate to tell you, she's a phony. She has no sick kid. I'm sorry, my friend, but that girl fleeced you."
De Vixenzo responded, "You mean there's no dying baby?"
"That's right."
"That's the best news I've heard all week," De Vicenzo responded.