I have been remiss in covering football for you, the loyal CIT reader (all 4 of you, God bless you each and every one). My only excuse is the Cowboys' resurgence drained my life force. Now that they're reeling again, my energy and sarcasm are back in top form.
Sorry, no interest this year.
Pittsburgh (+6) @ Cincinnati - The end of a miserable season for the Steelers. I'm trying to stay on the Bengal bandwagon. I think I'm going to regret this one, but give me the guys in stripes.
Miami (+9) @ Colts - What the HELL is wrong with the Colts all of a sudden? I mean, other than their defense is awful, Dallas Clark has been hurt, and Peyton Manning is the most overrated QB since Phil Simms. The Dolphins have no idea who their QB is right now, and the Colts have GOT to get the wheels back on. Nine points is a lot to lay, but I'll take a deep breath and go with Indianapolis.
Carolina @ New Orleans (+3) - This game means nothing for the Saints, and it's obvious Vegas thinks the entire first team is going to sit. I hate games like this. I guess I'll go with the conventional wisdom and take Carolina. I will change my tune next week, though. I'm on the Saints bandwagon big-time!
Atlanta (+9) @ Philadelphia - The Eagles looked All-World while humiliating the Cowboys last week. They seem to be peaking at the right time. This game does mean something for both teams, but I really liked what I saw from Philly last week. Again, its a huge spread, but give me the boys from the City of Brotherly Shove.
Pats (+3) @ Titans - Another one where the better team has nothing to play for. Is Vince Young proving me wrong? Can he be a great NFL QB? He's got the physical tools, there's no doubt about it. Can he handle it mentally? We shall see. He's been impressive so far. I'm gonna go with Tennessee here, just because I think they've got more to prove.
Detroit (+13) @ Dallas - The Cowboys have failed to show up for two critical home games in the past three weeks. I think this team is doubting itself in a big way. I'm gonna take all those points, and it's not going to surprise me one bit if the Lions win outright.
Comedic Value Game of the Week - Browns (+4) @ Houston - Wow, what a stinker. Find me 15 people on this planet who give a crap about this one, and I'll give you a pick. Ready, set, go...
Sports-Related Quick Hits
Baseball Free Agency Goes Completely Insane
The Rangers lost out on free-agent pitcher Barry Zito yesterday, as the newly-crowned Dumbest Team in Sports, the SF Giants, gave him a $126 million, seven-year contract.
I am SO glad the Rangers got beat out, as they has reportedly offered Zito a six-year deal (for a lot less, but still INSANE numbers).
How many times do we need the object lesson: Long-term contracts for pitchers are complete madness. Let's tick off a few examples: Kevin Brown (a kendo-stick to the shins), Mike Hampton (brass knuckles to the gut), and, the grand-daddy of 'em all, Chan Ho Park (a 2X4 to the gresticles).
At this point, with the way pitchers get hurt and the speed with which they deteriorate (and the deterioration has already started for Zito), I wouldn't sign Walter Johnson or Cy Young himself to a six-year deal.
Well, this will be a boat anchor around the necks of the Giants for years to come. Good luck with all that.
Stars - Most Schizo Team in the NHL?
Your Dallas Stars can't figure out if they're a good team or not yet. Granted, injuries have ravaged this bunch, and even die-hard fans are looking at the roster and going, "Who?" Even with that, though, Marty Turco has been a bit shaky lately. You can have your Modanos, your Morrows, your Lindroses, this is Martin Turco's team and it will only go as far as he takes it. Its too early to panic or even predict, but Stars fans, who are few and far between lately, are getting antsy.
Mavs - Kickin' Ace and Takin' Names
The Mavs are rolling, beating good team after good team, playing exceptionally well, and getting contributions from the guys they really need to contribute. Last night's Dirk buzzer-beater to win by 2 over the Suns was, by all accounts, as good a battle as we've seen between these two new rivals.
I have no idea how Avery Johnson gets these guys psyched up night in and night out. After that epic playoff run last year, the thought of 82 regular season games must seem pretty unattractive to the team. Yet not so - they're playing their rears off every night. God bless em. It's getting to the time of year to really start paying attention.