Da Blog in LA Recap (what prodigious output!)

For the most part, my week in LA consisted of little more than hanging out around my dad’s house. I had some enlightening conversations with him about heavy topics and briefly caught up with some family, but not much happened.

Some catchup from the week that was:

  • NFL Lineal Title news: Carolina picked up the core Lineal Title off the Rams. They face Houston next week. The Colts will be defending against the Titans next week. If Houston and the Colts win unification would come Week 3. Atlanta and New Orleans are rooting for Carolina and Tennessee to win respectively.
  • After a week of no CFB lineal changes we get changes galore this week. Florida held on to the Princeton title against Troy, while LSU demolished Virginia Tech to retain the 2004 Auburn title. But Boise State falls to Washington while BYU loses to UCLA, making unification between the 2006 Boise State and 2004 Utah titles likely. UCLA plays Utah next while Washington plays Ohio State; the latter has a very high risk of averting unification. Unification is certain, however, if both teams retain.
  • SuperPower Rankings will start being hosted on the web site tommorow. They are currently delayed; Sporting News is joining the race but SI appears to be dropping out and if USA Today has any power rankings ongoing they don’t have this week’s up yet. My Week 2 picks are partly dependent on the SuperPower Rankings and are similarly delayed.
  • The voting-method-for-100-greatest-movies poll received no votes whatsoever in almost two months. I’m ashamed of you.

The web site picks’ mock fantasy football league

(We’re still working on the title.)

The idea is simple: simulate a fantasy football season based on the draft boards of many of the leading sports sites. I don’t know if you trust the same sites that give you the stats and scores to give you the best picks in fantasy, but we’ll do this anyway. I’ll hold a draft involving the boards for the following sites.

During the season, we’ll use ESPN.com standard scoring and rosters but use total points, not H2H. All picks will be based on the best available player on each service’s draft board until late in the draft, when any positional deficiecies will be taken care of in the following order: RB, QB, WR, TE, DEF, K. After each week, any player not in the top 200 overall, and also not in the top for their position (16 for kickers, 24 for defenses, TEs, and QBs, 40 for WRs, 50 for RBs), will be autocut and new selections will be made to replace them; worst team gets the free agent with the most points, unless they need to make up positional deficiencies for any reason next week, or unless their rankings are dynamically updated. For the first week, starters are determined based on the draft board, and thereafter by most points among contending players on a team, unless rankings are dynamically updated.

Teams are listed by first-round draft order and with their first round picks, Week 1 starters in bold:

  1. NFL.com: LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers
  2. ESPN.com: Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
  3. CBS Sports.com: Shaun Alexander, RB, Seahawks
  4. Fox Sports.com: Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs
  5. SI.com: Frank Gore, RB, 49ers
  6. Yahoo: Joseph Addai, RB, Colts
  7. USA Today: Rudi Johnson, RB, Bengals (ends a streak of four straight picks ranked 3rd or 4th on their respective boards)
  8. Sporting News: Brian Westbrook, RB, Eagles

Here’s the rest of the draft:

  1. SN: Willie Parker, RB, Steelers
  2. USAT: Peyton Manning, QB, Colts
  3. YAH: Laurence Maroney, RB, Patriots
  4. SI: Travis Henry, RB, Broncos
  5. FOX: Willis McGahee, RB, Ravens
  6. CBS: Reggie Bush, RB, Saints
  7. ESPN: Steve Smith, WR, Panthers (ooh, slow start…)
  8. NFL: Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins
  9. NFL: Drew Brees, QB, Saints (huh? why not Palmer?)
  10. ESPN: Marvin Harrison, WR, Colts (but what about a QB?)
  11. CBS: Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals
  12. FOX: Terrell Owens, WR, Cowboys (where to start…)
  13. SI: Edgerrin James, RB, Cardinals (talk about controversy)
  14. YAH: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars (ditto)
  15. USAT: Torry Holt, WR, Rams (both ESPN and USAT have not selected second RBs, worrying me)
  16. SN: Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins (another RB controversy)
  17. SN: Chad Johnson, WR, Bengals (note: no QB selected yet)
  18. USAT: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
  19. YAH: Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants (four! four RBs selected already!)
  20. SI: Thomas Jones, RB, Jets (ditto)
  21. FOX: Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts (still no QB selected, like YAH and SI)
  22. CBS: Cedric Benson, RB, Bears
  23. ESPN: Deuce McAllister, RB, Saints (finally select a second RB but still no QB)
  24. NFL: Marshawn Lynch, RB, Bills
  25. NFL: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots (I smell QB controversy; 26th on its board, and next would be #32 Ahman Green)
  26. ESPN: Carnell Williams, RB, Buccaneers (NFL robbed ESPN of Brady for no reason)
  27. CBS: Roy Williams, WR, Lions (first WR picked by CBS in this draft)
  28. FOX: Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers (Fox has him ranked 26th! It is the fifth round, but shouldn’t they at least take a QB first?)
  29. SI: Randy Moss, WR, Patriots (finally ending the RB streak, but where’s the QB?)
  30. YAH: TJ Houshmandzadeh, WR, Bengals (ditto)
  31. USAT: Marion Barber III, RB, Cowboys (last team to take a second RB)
  32. SN: Javon Walker, WR, Broncos
  33. SN: Donald Driver, WR, Packers (when will they take a QB?)
  34. USAT: Plaxico Burress, WR, Giants (third WR taken, suggesting a WR-centric strategy)
  35. YAH: Marques Colston, WR, Saints (still need a QB)
  36. SI: Andre Johnson, WR, Texans (ditto, and Bulger is next on SI board… where will he go after 5 1/2?)
  37. FOX: Ahman Green, RB, Texans (also still need a QB)
  38. CBS: Marc Bulger, QB, Rams (as with NFL, a QB controversy)
  39. ESPN: Jamal Lewis, RB, Browns (ranked ahead of Bulger on ESPN board)
  40. NFL: Anquan Boldin, WR, Cardinals (last team to take a WR, after 3 RBs and 2 QBs)
  41. NFL: Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
  42. ESPN: Chester Taylor, RB, Vikings (ahead of Peterson on ESPN board)
  43. CBS: Donovan McNabb, QB, Eagles (ESPN rules allow a max 4 QBs, so CBS can only take one more!)
  44. FOX: Julius Jones, RB, Cowboys (thru 7 rounds, Fox has 4 RBs, 2 WRs, and a TE, but is one of five with no QBs when CBS has three! There should be only two no-QB teams! I need to add a trade rule)
  45. SI: Lee Evans, WR, Bills (three straight WRs after four straight RBs)
  46. YAH: Jerious Norwood, RB, Cardinals (five! five RBs in just seven rounds!)
  47. USAT: Kellen Winslow II, TE, Browns (USAT has had a very balanced draft, with a third WR instead of RB the only shortcoming, including being one of only three with a QB)
  48. SN: Tony Gonzalez, TE, Chiefs
  49. SN: Darrell Jackson, WR, 49ers (Through 8: 3 RB, 4 WR, 1 TE. Shortcomings: QB, DEF, K.)
  50. USAT: Jeremy Shockey, TE, Giants (Through 8: 2 RB, 1 QB, 3 WR, 2 TE. Shortcomings: DEF, K.)
  51. YAH: Hines Ward, WR, Steelers (Through 8: 5 RB, 3 WR. Shortcomings: QB, TE, DEF, K.)
  52. SI: Lavernaues Coles, WR, Jets (Through 8: 4 RB, 4 WR. Shortcomings: QB, TE, DEF, K. Very streaky with streaks of 4 straight RBs and WRs.)
  53. FOX: Brandon Jackson, RB, Packers (Through 8: 5 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE. Shortcomings: QB, DEF, K.)
  54. CBS: Jon Kitna, QB, Lions (Through 8: 4 QB, 3 RB, 1 WR. Shortcomings: WR, TE, DEF, K. That’s it, CBS can’t take any more QBs. Now there should only be one QB-less team.)
  55. ESPN: Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seahawks (ESPN should have picked up a QB a long time ago, but now at least half the teams have QBs. Through 8: 1 QB, 5 RB, 2 WR. Shortcomings: TE, DEF, K. After three rounds with only one RB, ESPN went on a four straight RB tear.)
  56. NFL: Tatum Bell, RB, Lions (Through 8: 2 QB, 5 RB, 1 WR. Shortcomings: WR, TE, DEF, K.)

  1. NFL: DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers (to think I thought the 8 RB limit wouldn’t be a factor!)
  2. ESPN: Ladell Betts, RB, Redskins (ditto)
  3. CBS: Reggie Brown, WR, Eagles (both Vince Young and Philip Rivers are ranked ahead of him, making this the first intervention; can they not be far on the other lists? Corrects WR shortcoming.)
  4. FOX: Deion Branch, WR, Seahawks
  5. SI: Santana Moss, WR, Redskins
  6. YAH: Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
  7. USAT: Todd Heap, TE, Ravens (After following very good strategy for most of the first half, USAT falls apart with three straight TEs. That’s the maximum.)
  8. SN: Chris Chambers, WR, Dolphins
  9. SN: Braylon Edwards, WR, Browns
  10. USAT: DeShawn Foster, RB, Panthers
  11. YAH: Fred Taylor, RB, Jaguars
  12. SI: Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys (Corrects QB shortcoming. But this seems a little risky, even if he is next on CBS after Young and Rivers.)
  13. FOX: Terry Glenn, WR, Cowboys
  14. CBS: Mark Clayton, WR, Ravens
  15. ESPN: Joey Galloway, WR, Buccaneers
  16. NFL: Vince Young, QB, Titans
  17. NFL: Phillp Rivers, QB, Chargers (NFL.com takes both QBs passed up by CBS and hits the four-QB limit itself)
  18. ESPN: Alge Crumpler, TE, Falcons (Corrects TE shortcoming.)
  19. CBS: Vincent Jackson, WR, Chargers
  20. FOX: Bears Defense (69th on FOX board. First D off the board in 11th round.)
  21. SI: Lamont Jordan, RB, Raiders
  22. YAH: Warrick Dunn, RB, Falcons (7th RB taken by YAH)
  23. USAT: Eli Manning, QB, Giants (Enforced pass-up of Redskins TE Chris Cooley. Second QB taken by USAT when four teams still go without.)
  24. SN: Donte Stallworth, WR, Patriots (7th WR taken by SN and 4th straight.)
  25. SN: Bernard Berrian, WR, Bears (SN becomes first team to hit 8 WR limit with its 5th straight WR. Shortcomings: QB, DEF, K. May have to start enforced position selection Round 14.)
  26. USAT: Brett Favre, QB, Packers (Enforced pass-up of L.J. Smith and Randy McMichael. What is Favre doing here in the 12th round? 3rd USAT QB. Shortcomings: DEF, K. Potential EPS starting Round 15.)
  27. YAH: Chris Cooley, TE, Redskins (Takes care of TE need. Shortcomings: QB, DEF, K. Potential EPS starting Round 14.)
  28. SI: LenDale White, RB, Titans (6 RB, 5 WR, 1 QB. Shortcomings: TE, DEF, K. Potential EPS starting Round 14.)
  29. FOX: Kevin Jones, RB, Lions (Shortcomings: QB, K. Potential EPS starting Round 15.)
  30. CBS: Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Jets (Shortcomings: TE, DEF, K. Potential EPS starting Round 14.)
  31. ESPN: Joe Horn, WR, Falcons (Shortcomings: DEF, K. Potential EPS starting Round 15.)
  32. NFL: Ravens Defense (Enforced pass-up of Matt Leinart. This is everything that’s right about caps because this actually takes care of a need. Shortcomings: WR, TE, K. Potential EPS starting Round 14.)

  1. NFL: Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers (Corrects TE shortcoming, delays EPS to Round 15.)
  2. ESPN: Isaac Bruce, WR, Rams
  3. CBS: Benjamin Watson, TE, Patriots (Also passes up Matt Leinart, but delays EPS to Round 15.)
  4. FOX: Patriots Defense (How greedy to take a second defense you’ll practically never use when you really need a QB!)
  5. SI: Matt Leinart, QB, Cardinals (Will engage in EPS Round 14.)
  6. YAH: Kevin Curtis, WR, Eagles (Will engage in EPS Round 14.)
  7. USAT: Devery Henderson, WR, Saints
  8. SN: Vernand Morency, RB, Packers
  9. SN: Ben Roethlsiberger, QB, Steelers (Forced selection due to positional deficiency.)
  10. USAT: Adam Vinatieri, K, Patriots (USAT has him 91st on its board! This is only an 8-team draft and it’s still only the 14th round of 16! But that means the only EPS would be DEF in Round 16 if one isn’t taken in the 15th.)
  11. YAH: Jay Cutler, QB, Broncos (Forced selection due to positional deficiency.)
  12. SI: Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys (Forced selection due to positional deficiency.)
  13. FOX: Chargers Defense (WTF? That’s the third defense, that’s the limit! Now we have to wait for the 15th for an EPS QB!
  14. CBS: Leon Washington, RB, Jets (Will engage in EPS Round 15.)
  15. ESPN: L.J. Smith, TE, Eagles (Will engage in EPS Round 15.)
  16. NFL: Chris Brown, RB, Titans
  17. NFL: D.J. Hackett, WR, Seahawks (EPS kicked in just in time, because the next player available on the board, Ben Roethlisberger, had enforced pass-up on him, and was 100th out of 100.)
  18. ESPN: Jaguars Defense (Forced selection due to positional deficiency.)
  19. CBS: Steelers Defense (Forced selection due to positional deficiency.)
  20. FOX: Alex Smith, QB, 49ers (Forced selection due to positional deficiency.)
  21. SI: Broncos Defense (Forced selection due to positional deficiency.)
  22. YAH: Dolphins Defense (Forced selection due to positional deficiency.)
  23. USAT: JP Losman, QB, Bills
  24. SN: Panthers Defense (Forced selection due to positional deficiency. Amazingly, this is the first 15th round defense to be ranked behind another 15th round defense.)
  25. SN: Nate Kaeding, K, Chargers (All Round 16 selections are forced.)
  26. USAT: Cowboys Defense
  27. YAH: Jeff Wilkins, K, Rams (Ranked ahead of Kaeding.)
  28. SI: Robbie Gould, K, Bears
  29. FOX: Matt Stover, K, Ravens (Ranked ahead of Gould.)
  30. CBS: Jason Elam, K, Broncos (Placed third among kickers behind Wilkins and Vinaitieri.)
  31. ESPN: Shayne Graham, K, Bengals (Ditto.)
  32. NFL: Neil Rackers, K, Cardinals (Ranked ahead of Stover, Elam, and Graham. “Mr. Irrelavent” himself.)

Da Blog in LA

Tomorrow, I’ll be flying to Los Angeles for a week and a half with my dad. I hope to post regular blog posts about my experience there under the label “Da Blog in LA”. I’ll probably be bored out of my skull there, but what the hey.

Meanwhile, if you want my NFL picks every week, they should be available here every early Tuesday morning. Please keep in mind at all times that I know nothing about football.

All the college football lineal titleholders have retained so far, with only BYU still playing.

Wild and Crazy Speculation on the Future of the Olympics on TV in the US

ESPN may be gunning for NBC’s Olympics rights starting in 2014.

The sports blogosphere generally hates ESPN and so what reaction I’ve seen has been negative. But on the plus side, between ABC Sp… er, ESPN on ABC, ESPN1, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, and maybe ABC Family and ESPNU (not to mention ESPN Deportes), they have no lack of platforms to put events on (which I’m not as certain of with CBS or Fox), and they might have more by 2014. And you know they’ll stream lots of events on ESPN360.

If they do get it, though… well, you see what happened when NBC overextended for Olympics rights – it led to the NFL and NBA leaving and killed NBC Sports until last year. If ESPN isn’t careful getting the Olympics would be the peak – and would start a long march downhill that could really help places like Versus. (Hear that, NBA on ESPN/ABC bashers? There might be a pretty good chance you’ll get what you want in 2016!)

The Around the Horn Drinking Game!

As some people who read Da Blog already know, one of my pasttimes is watching ESPN’s “show of competitive banter” Around the Horn. As entertaining and informative as it is, it does have a tendency to rely on certain jokes and other repetitive elements… so much so that it seems to just beg for a drinking game.

Note: I know this has been tried at least once before, but to my knowledge, it’s no longer available on the Internet. This attempt was done independently. Also, I do not support impulse drinking; remember, this is Just For Fun.

NFL Preseason SuperPower Rankings

In the same vein as my 100 Greatest Movies Project, here’s my NFL Power Rankings based on the Power Rankings of most of the leading sports sites. I include ratings from the following sports sites: ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, USA Today. I’m willing to take in NBC Sports, Yahoo, and Sporting News if they choose to take part in this excersize. One point per rank; #1=1, #2=2, so on. Lower scores score higher. The asterisk indicates a Lineal Title holder.

Note: The Fox Sports rankings occured at the start of this month; the others, right after the draft. Among other things, it explains why they rank the Falcons near the bottom when the others put them in the middle of the pack.

Team Name TW (LW) ESPN CBS Fox SI.com USAT Comments
Patriots 1-T 1 2 2 2 1 Should be a lot scarier with Randy Moss.
Colts 1-T 2 1 1 1 3 Don’t sleep on SB champs, or overstate impact of losses.
Chargers 3 3 3 3 3 2 Maybe the most talented team in the NFL.
Saints 4 6 7 4 4 4 One of the NFC’s best teams only improved. The D is still an issue.
Ravens 5 4 6 5 7 5 Expect McGahee to be an immediate help on offense.
Bears 6 5 5 7 5 6 A lot of question marks but the SB defense is still there.
Broncos 7 7 4 6 6 7 Made some impact additions in offseason. Will Cutler be enough?
Eagles 8 8 8 12 8 9 If McNabb’s healthy, they could be a powerhouse.
Seahawks 9 11 15 8 9 10 They need a healthy Alexander to remain top dog in a tougher division.
Bengals 10 10 10 9 17 8 Bengals underperformed last year, but D still an issue.
Cowboys 11 9 9 13 14 11 The good news is they dumped Parcells. The bad news is they dumped Parcells. All eyes on Romo.
Jets 12 12 16 10 11 12 Revis, Harris, Jones are impact additions, but still not enough D.
Steelers 13 13 11 15 12 13 Will Tomlin get the ’05 Steelers or the ’06 Steelers?
Jaguars 14 14 12 11 18 14.5 All eyes are on the QB position after a mediocre ’06.
*Rams 15 18 17 18 10 18 The Rams made sure to get better in the offseason. Will it be enough?
Panthers 16 16 21 16 16 14.5 Good draft, not much else. All eyes on Delhomme with Carr looking over shoulder.
49ers 17 15 19 14 22 16.5 With improving young players, could contend in West and win in ’08.
Giants 18 17 14 19 21 20 All eyes on Manning and Brandon Jacobs.
Falcons 19 19 18 30 20 16.5 Will probably stink without Vick, but they still have strong pieces.
Titans 20 21 29 22 15 19 Young will have a lot of weight on his shoulders without more offensive help.
Cardinals 21 22 13 20 30 22 “No, this really is the Cardinals’ year, really!”
Chiefs 22-T 20 26 17 26 21 The QB question still looms, especially with good but not SB-carrying D.
Bills 22-T 23 20 21 23 23 Went with youth by dumping vets and hoping Losman improves.
Vikings 24 25 23 29 31 25.5 Good defense and Peterson is good RB, but weak WRs and is Jackson ready?
Packers 25 24 22 23 25 24 Favre may be getting an absolutely awful offense. Retire already!
Dolphins 26 26 24 27 19 28 Will Green provide the pick-me-up the team needs?
Lions 27 30 27 26 13 29 The WRs are meeting their potential and Kitna can carry the team, so they could surprise.
Buccaneers 28 27 25 24 29 25.5 A boatload of QBs with other questions going ignored.
Redskins 29 28 28 25 24 27 Campbell must perform or Gibbs could be running back to NASCAR.
Texans 30 29 30 28 27 31 Schaub and Green will help but the OL is still nonexistent.
Raiders 31 32 31 31 28 32 D is good, but even with Russell they were likely to struggle.
Browns 32 31 32 32 32 30 Young team with two top draft picks that could be a big contender… in ’08.

Some sports musings

Couple of things:

*I’m seeing an international pool-play game in the Little League World Series on ESPN while Major League Baseball, a game between two playoff contenders, is on ESPN2. Please don’t tell me the former outdraws the latter.

*The NFL Network is going to put its “Total Access” program on “My Network TV” Saturday nights starting in September. Which means it will now be on a “network” that as many people watch as the NFL Network reaches.

Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Preseason

(In case you haven’t noticed, it’s the dog days of summer. Normally, I would hold off on this until closer to the actual start of the season, but college football is still several weeks away from being useful, if I were to do TV ratings reports I would want to hold off on them until mid-September, and no one’s voting on any of my polls. Basically, there’s nothing to do, but I haven’t had any hits all day, so…)

NBC’s Sunday Night Football package gives it flexible scheduling. For the last seven weeks of the season, the games are determined on 12-day notice, 6-day notice for Week 17.

Last year, no game was listed in the Sunday Night slot, only a notation that one game could move there. CBS and Fox were able to protect one game every week each but had to leave one week each unprotected and had to submit their protections after only four weeks.

Now, NBC lists the game it “tentatively” schedules for each night, and by all appearances, CBS and Fox can’t protect anything. However, the NFL is in charge of moving games to prime time.

Here are the rules from the NFL web site:

  • Begins Sunday of Week 11
  • In effect during Weeks 11-17
  • Only Sunday afternoon games are subject to being moved into the Sunday night window.
  • The game that has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday night during flex weeks will be listed at 8:15 p.m. ET.
  • The majority of games on Sundays will be listed at 1:00 p.m. ET during flex weeks except for games played in Pacific or Mountain Time zones which will be listed at 4:05 or 4:15 p.m. ET.
  • No impact on Thursday, Saturday or Monday night games.
  • The NFL will decide (after consultation with CBS, FOX, NBC) and announce as early as possible the game being played at 8:15 p.m. ET. The announcement will come no later than 12 days prior to the game. The NFL may also announce games moving to 4:05 p.m. ET and 4:15 p.m. ET.
  • Week 17 start time changes could be decided on 6 days notice to ensure a game with playoff implications.
  • The NBC Sunday night time slot in “flex” weeks will list the game that has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday night.
  • Fans and ticket holders must be aware that NFL games in flex weeks are subject to change 12 days in advance (6 days in Week 17) and should plan accordingly.
  • NFL schedules all games.
  • Teams will be informed as soon as they are no longer under consideration or eligible for a move to Sunday night.

Throughout the season, I’m going to make predictions on what the NFL will do each week in the flexible scheduling scheme. Here are the current tentatively-scheduled games:

Week 11 (November 18): Chicago @ Seattle
Week 12 (November 25): Philadelphia @ New England
Week 13 (December 2): Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh
Week 14 (December 9): Indianapolis @ Baltimore
Week 15 (December 16): Washington @ NY Giants
Week 16 (December 23): Tampa Bay @ San Francisco
Week 17 (December 30): Kansas City @ NY Jets

I will start putting up watches every week starting after Week 3 or 4. The Week 17 spot will double as a playoff watch. I will be paying close attention to what you think; I could extend the playoff watch concept to other pro sports if you do.