All posts filed under: Sports

ncaa-football-playoff

That College Football Playoff Solved Everything, Right?

Is college football a championship sport or a technocracy with cheerleaders? In the first year of a four-team playoff that alleges to give every deserving team a shot at a national championship, it still looks like the latter. Ohio State, convincingly beaten early in the season at home by Virginia Tech, managed to shove its way into the playoffs by running up the score in its final game. What a great lesson for the youth of America! At least Ohio State’s ascension silenced one of the perennial arguments in college football: “But Team A beat Team B head-to-head!” That was the argument ESPN’s Mike and Mike, among others, made in the last couple of weeks when it appeared TCU was ahead of Baylor despite losing in overtime at Baylor. Funny how they didn’t make the same argument for West Virginia, which beat Baylor by two touchdowns. Why not? Because you judge college football by the whole season. Or maybe not. When you get down to it, college football voting is often little more than a …

alex_rodriguez

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Rodriguez?

In what came as a surprise to no one, Baseball commissioner Bud Selig threw the book (some would argue it was more of a paperback novella given how effective it would ultimately be) at the Yankees’ embattled Alex Rodriguez for his role in the Biogenesis doping scandal. Rodriguez along with twelve other players, from across both the major and minor league spectrum, were all given hefty suspensions and all chose to accept and serve their time…except for A-Rod. There are reasons for Rodriguez’s fight, with many of them being about the multi-million dollars he would lose out on from his contract, one of the largest the Yankees, known for their big-spending ways, have ever doled out. Ar least A-Rod could still count on his money during his medical abesnces of 2013, but the suspension would be unpaid, and so that overwhelming desire to get back to the team is rekindled. And why not? By appealing the decision, Rodriguez gets to continue to play, likely throughout the 2013 season as these procedures tend to drag on. …

jan

An Open Letter to Manti Te’o, from Jan Brady

Hi, Manti Te’o. It’s me, Jan Brady! I’m a sophomore at Westdale High School in California. I live with my three brothers, two sisters, and parents. Oh, and Alice! Don’t forget Alice! (She’s our maid, but she’s more like one of the family.) We’re a real bunch. A “Brady bunch!” Ha-ha-ha-ha! I think it’s really neato that you play sports. My favorite sports people are Don Drysdale and Joe Namath, and it’s too bad that you didn’t win the big championship game, but I bet you’ll still be the Big Man on Campus until you graduate. But that doesn’t mean that you can go around and tell people that you have a girlfriend who isn’t real, and that she died. Lying is wrong, Manti. And you shouldn’t lie to people to try to get them to like you. If you have to pretend for them, do you really want them to be your friends? But we Bradys don’t judge, Manti. Also, I understand. Even me, the great Jan Brady, lied about having a boyfriend! I …

popdose-2012spts

The Year In Moderately Popular Sports: Are You Impressed?

For those of us who look beyond American football, basketball and baseball, even-numbered years are usually our time to shine. We get Olympics and/or World Cups. This year, we had a few issues. MMA: It was a rough year for people who hit, kick and choke each other. Too many of them were getting hurt before the fights. So many fights were canceled, the UFC almost wound up with Axl Rose fighting Dave Lifton. (OK, I’m exaggerating. A little.) That’s been a trend for a couple of years now — in the last six U.S. seasons of The Ultimate Fighter, the big coach-vs.-coach matchup has happened only twice, thanks to various ailments striking down Tito Ortiz, Brock Lesnar, Dominick Cruz and Shane Carwin. But this year, the unthinkable happened for the UFC: An entire fight card was canceled. This being the UFC, nothing about the cancellation happened quietly. UFC president Dana White blamed light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who refused to switch opponents on eight days’ notice. Others blamed the UFC for spreading its talent …

NedStark

Gamblor’s Last Stand: Week 13 NFL Picks

It is with great regret that I must announce Gamblor’s imminent demise.  I simply don’t have time to keep it up anymore.  While Gamblor has ultimately lost money over its career, it’s not much more than a few weekends in Vegas would cost – and has certainly provided a great deal more entertainment value for me.  Gamblor is dormant during the playoffs, and I’ll be gone for much of the month of December, so this seemed like an appropriate time to make a last stand.  Apparently Gamblor isn’t interested in sending me off gracefully, as it is plunking down a pair of huge bets on a pair of terrible teams, the Jets and the Dolphins.  Don’t worry, I’ll still be active elsewhere on Popdose, you just won’t be subjected to my terrible gambling advice on a weekly basis anymore! Thanks to everyone who have been tuning in since Gamblor’s inception in 2009!  Best of luck. (If you need a fix for your weekly NFL gambling addiction, I recommend heading over to walterfootball.com – his picks …

eyrie

Rebirth of Gamblor: Week 12 NFL Picks

Last week was an awful one for the computer, as it threw its winnings from Week 10 back into the mix and lost most of them.  The models hit weighted win percentages of 18.3% and 21.2%.  I shouldn’t have messed with superstition and done the write-ups – this week I’m going to stick with what apparently works, and just post the computer’s picks only. I can’t resist another Game of Thrones comparison, though.  This week it’s the Denver Broncos as House Arryn.  Both reside in a mile-high, impregnable fortress, and both have recently received new leaders, men whose craftiness and savvy enabled them to remain in positions of power where less clever men would have fallen aside. Good luck, and have a happy Thanksgiving!   Away Home Spread Gamblor’s Pick Bet Amount Son of Gamblor’s Pick Bet Amount Overall Pick Overall Bet HOU at DET 3 DET $8.84 — — DET $8.84 WAS at DAL -3 DAL $57.46 DAL $89.80 DAL $147.27 NEP at NYJ 7 NYJ $131.80 NYJ $153.34 NYJ $285.14 OAK at CIN …

Merman

Rebirth of Gamblor: Week 11 NFL Picks

Last week was as close to perfect as I’ve ever seen the computer get. It came at a great time, too, because it had a lot of money on the line, with huge bets on the Colts and Bills both paying off and shooting the computer into the black again for the season.  Of course, that’s all on the line (and more) this week, so we’ll see what happens.  Gamblor hit 97.8% of its picks last week, with an overall record of 10-3, and Son of Gamblor was right on 3038 of its 3039 simulations, which rounds up to 100.0%.  That’s good stuff.  Coincidentally, both of the computer’s best performances this year have come after weeks when I didn’t have time to write up my thoughts on the games.  But I’m going to tempt fate and keep sharing my (typically wrong) opinions. This week’s Game of Thrones representative is the Indianapolis Colts as House Manderly.  As explained in A Wiki of Ice and Fire, “A thousand years before the conquest the Manderlys lived at the …

Salladhor

Rebirth of Gamblor: Week 10 NFL Picks

For the second week in a row, the computer came within an eyelash of hitting a two hundred dollar bet as Dallas fell to the Atlanta Falcons by a six-point margin.  This week wasn’t quite as close as Dez Bryant’s fingertips coming down one inch out of bounds, but hurt much worse because the final field goal kicked by the Falcons was so much more meaningless.  Overall it could have been a much worse week; the computer hit its biggest bet on Baltimre but ended up losing $99 for the week.  Of course, it could easily win it all back this week with a huge bet on the surging Indianapolis Colts and a potentially risky shot at the Buffalo Bills. Again, I must apologize for not having time to write up capsules this week; my other project (a keyboard replacement called ASETNIOP) has been getting quite a bit of press this week so I’ve been happily busy focusing on that. In the interest of keeping the Game of Thrones thread moving, though, this week’s connection …

Crow

Rebirth of Gamblor: Week 9 NFL Picks

Last week was an absolute disaster for the computer.  Although I wasn’t as nervous about it as I usually am, the Eagles continued to suck, and Vegas continued to overvalue them (seriously, making them three point favorites against an undefeated team?  What the hell is up with that?).  And then, to make matters worse, the computer’s second-biggest bet was ruined by Dez Bryant’s instinct to put a hand down first.  Tough break.  All told, Gamblor’s weighted win percentage was just 7.1%, and Son of Gamblor’s was even worse at 2.6%.  Total losses for the week: $952. This week’s Game of Thrones representative is the Cincinnati Bengals as the Night’s Watch.  Both are composed primarily of criminals and outcasts, both reside in a frozen wasteland with nothing but savages to the north, and both are generally divorced from the power struggles that takes place throughout the rest of the kingdom/league. A hot week by Gamblor could get it back to the breakeven point this season – I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed. Away Home Spread Gamblor’s …

goldrose

Rebirth of Gamblor: Week 8 NFL Picks

Last week featured a disappointing, if unsurprising, performance for the computer.  With its biggest bet coming in on Oakland to cover as four point favorites, the computer was starting out in a hole, and a surprisingly tough game from the Jets wasn’t enough for it to claw its way out.  Overall, Gamblor went 3-9 with a weighted win percentage of 37.2%, and Son of Gamblor went 4-1 which sounds a lot better than it actually was, because the weighted win percentage was just 38.8%.  Overall, the computer only lost a total of $70, which leaves it with a profit of $314 so far this season. This week’s Game of Thrones comparison?  The Philadelphia Eagles as House Tyrell.  Much like the Tyrell family, the Eagles are a venerable franchise, tracing their lineage back to the early days of the NFL, and having occupied the same city for their entire history.  Historically, the Tyrell family has been powerful, but has never ascended to the throne of Westeros, and similarly, the Philadelphia Eagles have been a strong franchise, …

kraken

Rebirth of Gamblor: Week 7 NFL Picks

After having its worst week of the season two weeks ago, Gamblor fought back admirably and had, statistically, its best week of the season last week.  Driven primarily by Denver’s incredible comeback (or Philip Rivers’ incredible meltdown, depending on how you want to look at it), the computer managed a total proft of $420.  Both models performed brilliantly, with Gamblor making the right call in 9 of the 12 games it picked and hitting a weighted win percentage of 90.9%, and Son of Gamblor doing even better with a 6-1 record and a weighted win percentage of 97.9%.  The computer is spreading its money around a little bit more this week. This weeks Game of Thrones/NFL crossover is the Baltimore Ravens and House Greyjoy.  As those of us who watched The Wire learned, the ports of Baltimore are known much more for their corruption and thievery than as a bustling center of commerce, and the same holds true for the Iron Islands of Pyke – there is no safe harbor to be found in the …

Thrones

Rebirth of Gamblor: Week 6 NFL Picks

Last week was an absolute disaster for the computer.  It basically took all of the money it had made this season and threw it out the window, going 0-4 in its four big bets.  I’m not even going to list the percentages; they’re summarized on the table at the bottom of the page. I won’t be doing a Game of Thrones parallel this week, because I’m really pressed for time.  The regular capsules and analysis will be back next week.  I apologize for the brevity of this post, but as you can see, Gamblor is doubling down on Denver this week to avenge what was the roughest beat it suffered last week, as a pair of Willis MacGahee bumbles (one dropped pass, one fumble) kept Denver from at least salvaging a push and cost the computer a pretty penny.  Otherwise, it’s a pretty quiet week, with the only other significant bet being the computer’s decision to flambe a bit of cash against the Falcons.   Away Home Spread Gamblor’s Pick Bet Amount Son of Gamblor’s …

bastardsword

Rebirth of Gamblor: Week 5 NFL Picks

Last week was another solid (albeit rather lucky) week for the computer.  With the gift of a push in the Eagles game, Gamblor went an impressive 9-4-1 with a weighted win percentage of 72.5%, and Son of Gamblor was 4-5-1 with a weighted win percentage of 62.6%.  This week, the computer is significantly more aggressive with its betting, having four bets of over a hundred dollars. This week’s Game of Thrones comparison is the San Diego Chargers as House Tarly.  Tarly is actually one of the lesser-known houses in Westeros, having a lengthy existence but not having achieved particularly significant fame within the realm.  Similarly, the Chargers have been a fixture in football since their inception in 1961, and have had various eras of success, but have only reached the Superbowl once (losing to the San Francisco 49ers).  The greatest parallel between the two, of course, comes from Randyll Tarly’s exile of his oldest son in favor of the younger, and the Chargers’ dismissal of Drew Brees in favor of Philip Rivers.  In A Game …

Bloody Mummers

Rebirth of Gamblor: Week 4 NFL Picks

Last week was a fantastic, if not quite perfect week for the computer.  It nailed its big bet on Buffalo, winning over $1300 in a single swoop.  Unfortunately, it gave a lot of that back when it lost bets with Denver and Washington, and pushed with its bet on the Jets.  Overall, Gamblor was 9-5-1 with a weighted win percentage of 73.7%, and Son of Gamblor was not nearly as strong, going 3-6-1 for 55.5%.  The total take for the week was $623, which brings the computer’s profit this season up to $937.  I have to blow my own horn a little bit here too – I called the Minnesota game correctly, and accurately forecast a push on the Jets-Miami game.  My other calls…not too great.  But that’s why I let the computer do the heavy lifting. This week’s Game of Thrones comparison is the Oakland Raiders as the Brave Companions, aka The Bloody Mummers.  As described in A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the Bloody Mummers are “are a sellsword company of considerably ill repute. It …

stag

Rebirth of Gamblor: Week 3 NFL Picks

Last week was another very fine week for the computer, with both models delivering solid performances.  Gamblor was 7-6 with a weighted win percentage of 66.6%, and Son of Gamblor was 4-4 with a weighted win percentage of 62.7%.  Given the low bet total, the computer’s profit was relatively slim at $58, but this week it sees a few games it has strong feelings about and is going to be more aggressive.  A lot more aggressive. This week’s Game of Thrones pairing is the New York Jets and the House Baratheon.  It’s a very easy parallel to make; House Baratheon was led by its eldest son, a loud, brash, overbearing bear of a man who eventually was undone by his love of feasts, wine, and wenches.  The Jets, of course, have been under the stewardship of a similar character, the larger-than-life Rex Ryan.  The youngest Baratheon son, Renly, had substantial support to ascend to the throne upon Robert’s death, but this was primarily due to his skill at socializing, rather than any particular talent for …

Lannister

Rebirth of Gamblor – Week 2 NFL Picks

Gamblor started out quite well last week, laying out $704 and winning it all back, plus a tidy profit of $255.  Both models had Houston as their biggest bet of the week, and it paid off nicely.  Overall, Gamblor went 7-9 with a weighted win percentage of 71.6%, and Son of Gamblor was even better, going 6-5 with a weighted win percentage of 72.6%.  The computer isn’t nearly as aggressive this week, with less than $200 on the line and its biggest bet on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This week’s football/Game of Thrones pairing is the New England Patriots and House Lannister.  For years, the Patriots were one of the laughingstocks of the league, much like House Lannister when it was led by the weak-willed Tytos Lannister.  Upon the ascendancy of the humorless and driven Bill Belichick – whose demeanor and undeniable effectiveness likens him to Tywin, the Patriots have made a return to glory.  Taking the place of Jamie Lanniester at Belichick’s side, Tom Brady has become known for his phenomenal prowess on the …

Drogon-Game-of-Thrones

Rebirth of Gamblor – Week 1 NFL Picks

A few months ago in a conversation with Sports Illustrated, “Game of Thrones” creator George R.R. Martin compared a few football teams to the major houses in his ongoing masterpiece.  For this year’s picks, I thought I’d extend this and match each NFL team with their Westeros equivalent.  To open things off, I’ll begin with one of the most powerful dynasties to ever rule the league (realm) – the Dallas Cowboys as House Targaryen.  They first came to power in the early nineties, winning three crowns through the offensive triumvirate of Troy Aikman (Vhagar), Emmitt Smith (Meraxes), and Michael Irvin (Balerion).  Despite having complete dominance over the kingdom, their power eventually waned due to the madness of their leader, Jerry Jones (Aerys II).  Jones feud with his most capable minion, coach Jimmy Johnson (Tywin Lannister) led to the latter’s departure, and the lack of a capable hand managing the franchise led to the Cowboys fall from dominance shortly thereafter.  Since then they have been living in exile, hoping for a return to glory. By the …

Credit: luckyshot70 (Flickr)

Why We Can’t Quit The Tour de France

Cycling fans aren’t naive. Not after seeing the mysterious deaths of several cyclists at the height of the EPO craze. Not after seeing hero after hero tarnished. Tyler Hamilton, who broke away to win a stage of the 2003 Tour with a broken collarbone? Confessed to a career riddled with doping violations. Floyd Landis, who stormed back to leave everyone in his dust in a 2006 Tour breakaway ranked among the top feats in the sport’s history? Nailed in the drug test, mounted a massive defense with fans’ help but finally gave it up. Worst of all, the man whose legs built a cycling and cancer advocacy empire, Lance Armstrong, is squaring off against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in the biggest heavyweight clash since Brock Lesnar avenged his loss to Frank Mir. And yet, every summer, we tune in. The TV numbers now might not be Armstrong numbers, but they’re not bad at all. As Armstrong has given way to Tejay van Garderen and Outdoor Life Network has given way to NBC Sports Network (with …