The Plot Has Thickened

November 10, 2009

Well, the ranks have been tightened after a strong week by Jimmy and Pat.  Mike and Dan are now dead even as the playoffs hit both the college and high school ranks.  Stay tuned to see who can triumph this week!

 

TheSportshole.com Pigskin Prediction Standings
  W L GB Pct. Last Week
Dan Boyce 166 75 0.689 15-8
Mike Strazinsky 166 75 0.689 16-7
Pat Langdon 164 77 2 0.680 18-5
Jimmy Cecconi 163 78 3 0.676 18-5
Brian Ponn 163 78 3 0.676 14-9

 

Thinking With Numbers

November 9, 2009

Some stats to sum up the Mangini Express (And by the way, in my opinion, NFL.com sucks for stats; you’re better off with Football Outsiders or ESPN.com than the NFL’s official site.  Just sad):

 

They have scored 78 points in eight games, one point ahead of the Rams.

 

Derek Anderson has failed to throw for 100 yards in three of his last four starts.

 

The best single game QB rating either putz has had is Quinn’s 74.1 in week one – not the kind of number that has people clamoring for playoff tickets.

 

The offense has converted a robust 24.8% of their third downs.

 

They average a lofty 3.77 yards per rush.

 

They average 221.1 yards of total offense.

 

They give up 409.1 yards per game on defense.

 

They are -11 in turnover differential.

 

The defense has intercepted four passes; Brodney Pool has three of them.

 

Dave Zastudil has averaged 6.13 punts per game this season.

 

Their kickers have attempted seven extra points.

 

Six offensive drives have started in opponents’ territory and have netted 18 points (4 FG, 1 TD, 1 INT).

 

Looking at all of that, I’m going out on a limb and saying that this is Eric Mangini’s last coaching job in the NFL. . .

 

Dan Boyce is the Sports Editor for TheSportsHole.com.  Along with his “Lord of the Stats” blog, Dan does frequent front page columns and his podcast, “The Boyce of the People”.  Anyone with any thoughts or comments can reach Dan here.

Weekend Thoughts

November 9, 2009

By Dan Boyce

 

Some thoughts while seeing if the Browns can build off of the momentum of this week’s non-loss. . .

 

Let’s start with this:  If you turn the ball over nine times in two games, you’re probably not going to be 2-0 in those games.  Just ask Iowa.

 

While it was the right thing to do by the University of New Mexico to suspend Elizabeth Lambert indefinitely, two major questions remain.  Why hasn’t the NCAA or the Mountain West Conference levied any suspensions?  Also, why was she only issued a yellow card for her antics throughout the match?

 

Personally, I feel that there are too many teams in the high school football playoffs.  Do you realize that the state finalists will have played 15 games, one less than the Browns will play?  How is this good for the student athletes?

 

Credit to my friend Jay Kron, who said on “The Boyce of the People” that Euclid was going to make it a tough game for Solon.  Well done, Jay.

 

It was a very good weekend for my alma mater, as Lake Catholic’s boys’ soccer team and girls’ volleyball team qualified for the state tournament to go along with the football team’s first round victory over Ravenna.

 

Checking everything out, I want to take a few moments to congratulate all of the high school athletes competing out there in the regional and state tournaments.  We tend to get caught up in football and basketball while forgetting that there are student athletes in many different sports:  cross country, volleyball, soccer, tennis, etc.  These kids deserve just as much credit for the time and effort they put into their competitions as the ones who play in the bigger sports.  Well done, all of you.  You make a lot of friends and family proud.

 

Quick look at the numbers in Ohio State’s upset at Happy Valley:

 

241.6 – Terrell Pryor’s efficiency rating in the second half.  Compare that to the 64.1 in the first.

 

2.53 – Penn State’s yards per rushing attempt.  The Buckeye defense has been one of the elite one’s since their Week One scare vs. Navy.

 

3.47 – Penn State’s total yards per play on Saturday.  Again, the defense is the biggest reason Ohio State will be playing for another Big Ten title this week.

 

3 – Number of drives Ohio State started in Penn State territory, compared to 0 for the Nittany Lions.  Special teams and defense were bigger on Saturday than anything Terrell Pryor did.

 

Considering Cincinnati decided not to play defense against UConn, Boise State struggling against Terry Bradshaw’s alma mater, and Oregon taking UC’s approach against Stanford, I don’t think those the Broncos or Bearcats will have too much to say about the BCS Title game.  By the way, remember that the NCAA does not acknowledge a sanctioned National Champion in FBS/Division I-A college football, so the BCS Title game is really just their own game.

 

How nice was it to watch good football for a change instead of watching the anemic Browns?  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

The Bengals have established themselves as a legitimate playoff contender.  Being 4-0 within the division certainly helps, and they are just one fluke play away from being 7-1.

 

Am I the only one who is happy when I watch teams play ultra conservative and then lose when a team comes back?  Tom Coughlin, you deserve to lose that game.  You had the Chargers by the throats, and you played for the field goal.  You gutless wuss!  At least try to get the touchdown.  Instead, you curled up with your safety blanket and then allowed the Chargers to march down the field through a prevent defense, and now you’ve gone from undefeated and being in the conversation of Super Bowl contender to being 5-4 and questionable for even making the playoffs.  Nice job, Tom!  This Bud’s for you!

 

Indy remains unbeaten despite injuries at what seems like every position.  New Orleans remained unbeaten despite falling behind early again.  Both teams are vulnerable and I highly doubt that either one will run the table.   That being said, I want that to happen, just to see two 18-0 teams playing in the Super Bowl, just to watch the remaining 1972 Dolphins choke down that last glass of champaign.  Arrogant pricks.

 

Finally, the biggest game of the day actually took place across the pond, where Chelsea defeated Manchester United 1-0 to take a five point lead in the Premier League standings.  They will get another match on April 10, and possibly another meeting in the Champions league, but for now, Chelsea has taken control of the Premier League.

 

Dan Boyce is the Sports Editor for TheSportsHole.com.  Along with his “Lord of the Stats” blog, Dan does frequent front page columns and his podcast, “The Boyce of the People”.  Anyone with any thoughts or comments can reach Dan here.

Technical Links

November 9, 2009

Some links as we deal with technical difficulties. . .

 

Here’s how baseball survived the season.

 

I think we all love to question managerial decision making.

 

Joe Posnanski reviews one of my new favorite commercials.

 

Joe also has his opinion on Jeter’s bunt attempt in Game Two.  My thought?  A completely asinine play.

 

Rob Neyer has a vote for the Fielding Bible Awards.  These awards aren’t nearly as known as the Gold Glove, nor are winning these awards noted in anyone’s contract provisions (at least as far as I know).  I like them, though because of what Rob brings up in his post, though they do have some limitations.  First off, there is only a ten-man panel, which is even less than who votes for the Gold Gloves.  Fortunately, these guys have more time and data at their disposal than the managers do, which gives does give them better results (Palmiero with 19 games at first, anyone?).

 

The week in quotes, from Football Outsiders.

 

Gene Collier hates useless, trivial stats.  Being the site’s stat geek, I have this to say in their defense:  If it keeps Tim McCarver’s mouth shut for more than .8 seconds, I’m all for it.  Have Joe Buck call out the first 100 players alphabetically to play in the World Series if it keeps McCarver’s mike on mute for 10 minutes.

 

Sorry, Ann Killion, but you’re only half right about why Tom Cable should be gone.  You’re missing one of the most obvious reasons why, like the fact that he’s a bad coach.  I’m not trying to make light of a scary situation; too many of these guys take their job home with them, and a vast majority of them never realize that they don’t need that intensity and fire in every aspect of their lives.  But it drives me crazy when people want to look at every outside thing to get rid of someone instead of looking at the obvious reasons tied directly to their jobs.

 

Don Banks writes about the debacle that is the Cleveland Browns.

 

Peter King gives us Randy Lerner’s side of the story.

 

If I could spend a day with any professional sports owner, it would be Mark Cuban.  Yes, Roman Abramovich is richer, but I would run the risk of getting shot by a rival.  Besides, I have this hunch that I would learn more in one day from Cuban that I would in a month with any other owner in sports.

 

Would you really want to win this contest?

 

This is discouraging for Mangini haters.

 

Jack Bechta has his thoughts on the debacle in Berea.

 

Mike Lombardi has his thoughts, too.

 

Lombardi has some thoughts from others, too.

 

Art Spander has some negative thoughts on Urban Meyer and his disciplinary actions

 

Quiz time!  I nailed all 10 of them.

 

Here’s another quiz!  I nailed all of them in 2:26, though, spelling matters, so I should have been quicker, and here’s a freebie, since I couldn’t get his name right:  Brosius.

 

This is just plain funny.

 

Is there any good to say about Donald Sterling.

 

These seldom turn out good.

 

This sounds about right.

 

Time has an interesting piece on Manny Pacquiao.

 

Say what you want, but Straz is right:  He does have a cool website.

 

The Sports Guy gives us his memories of his book signing.  This is another book I highly recommend, and I’m not even close to finished with all 700 pages yet.

 

And finally, David Schoenfield has 27 tidbits about the World Series.

 

Dan Boyce is the Sports Editor for TheSportsHole.com.  Along with his “Lord of the Stats” blog, Dan does frequent front page columns and his podcast, “The Boyce of the People”.  Anyone with any thoughts or comments can reach Dan here.

Mangini’s fate most likely won’t be decided by Lerner

November 8, 2009

 

Yes, Browns owner Randy Lerner is committed to keeping Eric Mangini until seasons end. After that it’s believed someone else will control his fate. That someone is now believed to be former Green Bay/ Seattle HC Mike Holmgren. It’s no secret that Lerner holds  Holmgren‘s former boss Ron Wolf’s opinions in high regard who is pushing for his former HC to land in Cleveland.

 

Why would Holmgren want to come to Cleveland? Well for starters they  have as of now 11 draft picks in April and have quietly climbed out of salary cap hell. Heading into next season the Browns will have the second highest cap space in the league. This is one of the few reasons Lerner has been sticking with Mangini. But you can bet your house if Holmgren does come here, he will have the final say on the head coach. As much as Lerner doesn’t want to go down this road again,he feels if he hires the right experienced man combined with the drafts picks and cap space that he can right the ship.

 

It  now seems perfectly clear what everyone’s known all along, Mangini is wearing every hat possible in this organization. This is why Kosar has been hired as a consultant only to Lerner. He has heard enough and been burnt too many times to put all his eggs in Mangini‘s basket.

 

The sudden dismisal of GM George Kokinis only sent shock waves outside of the walls in Berea. A strained relationship from week one developed into Kokinis becoming so distant from the day-to-day operations he learned of the Braylon Edwards trade via ESPN.  In fact he became so distant Browns exec’s including Lerner urged him to seek counseling and even had to be strongly encouraged to do an interview with Sports Illustrated. These are believed to be the reasons for the clubs “just cause” firing.  Many believe Kokinis will land back in Baltimore where he still owns a home and is held in high regard. How ever Kokinis has hired a top notch lawyer who has past experience with going against the NFL before.

 

Count me in for those that don’t subscribe to the theory there was an affair between Erin O’brien and Kokinis. Anytime you have a female and male fired from a job there’s sure to be this type of speculation. However this seems to be more a a “media driven” rumor than anything else. The only thing it shows to me is Lerner isn’t married to everything Mangini is trying to sell him on. Theres some who have said that league insiders warned Mangini about the baggage O’brien brought with her and you can bet this topic has been discussed between league consultants Ron Wolf and Ernie Accorsi who have also been privately consulting with Lerner.

 

brianponn@thesportshole.com

Pigskin Predictions Week 11

November 6, 2009

Will anyone or everyone topple The Lord of the Stats?  Can Jimmy and Pat make up ground?  Will Straz or Brian move closer?

 

TheSportshole.com Pigskin Prediction Standings
  W L GB Pct. Last Week
Dan Boyce 151 67 0.693 16-7
Mike Strazinsky 150 68 1 0.688 16-7
Brian Ponn 149 69 2 0.683 18-5
Pat Langdon 146 72 5 0.670 15-8
Jimmy Cecconi 145 73 6 0.665 15-8

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week’s Picks
Game Langdon Ponn Boyce Strazinsky Cecconi
Washington at Atlanta Falcons Falcons Falcons Falcons Falcons
Arizona at Chicago Cards Cards Cards Cards Cards
Baltimore at Cincinnati Cincy Ravens Ravens Ravens Cincy
Houston at Indianapolis Indy Indy Indy Indy Indy
Miami at New England Pats Pats Pats Pats Pats
Green Bay at Tampa Bay Pack Pack Pack Pack Pack
Kansas City at Jacksonville Jags Jags Chiefs Jags Jags
Detroit at Seattle Hawks Hawks Lions Hawks Hawks
Carolina at New Orleans Saints Saints Saints Saints Saints
San Diego at NY Giants Chargers Giants Giants Giants Chargers
Tennessee at San Francisco Titans Titans Niners Niners Titans
Dallas at Philadelphia Philly Boys Philly Philly Philly
Pittsburgh at Denver Broncos Steelers Steelers Steelers Broncos
Ohio State at Penn State PSU PSU OSU PSU PSU
LSU at Alabama Bama LSU Bama Bama Bama
Virginia at Miami Miami Miami Miami Miami Miami
Utica at Mount Ida Mt Ida Mt Ida Mt Ida Mt Ida Mt Ida
Sam Houston St at McNeese St McNeese NcNeese McNeese McNeese McNeese
Euclid at Solon Solon Solon Solon Solon Solon
Parma at Mayfield Mayfield Mayfield Mayfield Mayfield Mayfield
Ravenna at Lake Catholic Lake Lake Lake Lake Lake
West Geauga at Ashland West G West G West G West G West G
Memorial at Chagrin Falls Chagrin Chagrin Chagrin Chagrin Chagrin

 

A Lack of Maturity

November 4, 2009

By Dan Boyce (The Lord of the Stats)

 

(We’ve had some technical difficulties on the site and for that we all apologize.  This is a way of getting you the valuable information that you would not get from just any idiot, just this one.)

 

Well, this promises to be the most successful week for the Cleveland Browns this season.  Yes, I know, they have a win this year, and I’m a firm believer that I would rather win ugly than lose looking good, but the Browns have zero chance of playing poorly this week, which you can’t say about anything else they’ve done.

 

Don’t let the shake up in Berea fool you.  Kokinis’ roll with the club was as important as that guy four cubes over from you that comes in at 9:30, checks out his fantasy leagues until lunch, disappears for an hour and a half, then surfs porn all afternoon until he leaves at 4:00.  If nothing else, he’ll be lucky to be forgotten in the long list of failures in Cleveland – his tenure was shorter than that of Doug Pederson’s or Spergeon Wynn’s.  This shake up helps keep them in the media for a week while they are off.  As the saying goes, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”  The one encouraging thing for anyone who did not like Mangenius/Boywonder is that both that were canned were his personal choices, which usually means that the line at the chopping block is shorter for him than for most. 

 

Randy had to look concerned.  When Dawg Pound Mike threatened a Brown out* it was an opportunity for Randy to show a couple of fans that really does care, that this matters to him.  I wish I was a fly on the wall for that conversation:

 

Lerner’s Secretary:  “Mr. Lerner, there’s someone named Mike here to see you.  He’s got a dog bone on his head and I’m not sure why.”

 

Lerner:  “GOAL!!  What?!  Oh, that guy, one minute!”

 

(Throws on a shirt to cover up his Aston Villa jersey)

 

Lerner:  “Send him in.”

 

And cut!

 

*-On the list of idiotic ideas, where does this one rank?  Think about the logic here:  OK, don’t go in right away, miss the kickoff, and we’ll roll in now because we already bought the damn tickets and PSL’s, so they still have us by the balls!  That’ll show ‘em!!!

 

From there, Randall Pink Floyd could have stepped in and talked about the top priorities of the offseason and DPM, Big Dawg, Little Dawg, Atta Dawg, etc. all would have bought it; I guarantee you at least one of them is an Aerosmith fan.  At that point it’s about what they want to hear, and Randy knows that.  He knows the right things to say and do, which is why he’s one of the few American owners in the Premier League that is actually liked by his fans.

 

Across the pond, he has to be successful in the W-D-L (Won-Draw-Loss; that’s how they do it Europe) categories because that’s how he has to make money.  In the NFL (As Terry Pluto once elegantly put it), he could put an empty football helmet on the fifty and would still get 20-30 Thousand to show up.  Even if they didn’t, the television money alone would make a profit.*

 

*-BTW, something totally unrelated to this, the most profitable team in the history of basketball has got to be the Spirits of St. Louis.  When the ABA merged with the NBA in 1976, part of the deal was that the Spirits folded, and for that they receive 1/7 of a share of the television revenue from each of the four ABA teams (Denver, San Antonio, Indiana, and New Jersey) FOREVER.  Think about this for a moment:  They also got paid $2.2 million to fold their franchise, and now they get paid to sit around and play bingo at the local church.  That cut is worth approximately $150 million!  I’ve read this in two different books (“Loose Balls” by Terry Pluto and “The Book of Basketball” by Bill Simmons) and I’m still baffled by this.

 

Anyway, Randy vowed to do something, so he emptied a vacant office, and fired another of Mangini’s recommendations (who was his babysitter in New York), once again, cosmetic things that have as much to do with winning football games as the NFL Network’s series on the San Diego Chargers’ Cheerleader Calendar.  The bigger things will happen from here on out.

 

Like in 1985 when he was picked up in the Supplemental Draft, Browns fans were happy to see local boy Bernie Kosar added to the mix.  I’m skeptical for one main reason:  If his knowledge is so vast about player personnel, how come no one has been knocking at his door throughout the league?

 

My major problem is that as usual, Browns fans are in a rut and trying to reminisce towards the past, with the idea of bringing in Marty, Ernie, and Bernie in order to recreate the almost magic that was some 20 years ago.

 

Hey, I enjoy sports history more than many people.  I have several books at home describing old players and teams, and I constantly use them as a reference.  That doesn’t mean I want a part of my past to be the key in building the future.

 

To be honest, I don’t care if the next GM can find Cleveland on a map; the plane will land in Hopkins and Randy will have someone drive him to Berea.  I really don’t care if he cares about the tradition; that will exist regardless.  The past is too far behind and the future of the franchise is far more important.  So far the tradition of the Cleveland Browns has netted this expansion team a 55-113 record while being outscored by 16.4 points per game this season (the previous worse was 16.1 in 2000; I worded this wrong in a previous blog where I was trying to describe how bad the defense was.  Sorry about that.).  This team needs above all else direction.  They remind me of that younger brother who never seems to mature as quickly as he should (or as my buddy, Mike, described it, “Oh!  Canada!”).  The Browns as a franchise have not matured.  They rely on a fan base that is almost loyal to a fault, but those days are numbered and they have to grow up fast. . .

 

Dan Boyce is the Sports Editor for TheSportsHole.com.  Along with his “Lord of the Stats” blog, Dan does frequent front page columns and his podcast, “The Boyce of the People”.  Anyone with any thoughts or comments can reach Dan here.