Wednesday, June 5, 2013

2013 NBA Finals Prediction

#Np: Mia Wallace - Wiz Khalifa

Pick: Spurs (+5) over Heat 

Man...it's been a while! Haven't had much time to share my thoughts on the sports world with you all. But tonight's the perfect opportunity to talk about the NBA Finals and the last 2 franchises to win the NBA championship in a lockout season. The Spurs defeated the Knicks in 1999 and obviously the Heat defeated the Thunder last year. After the All Star Break, I picked these two teams to meet in the Finals because I simply thought they were the two best teams. And let's not talk about my preseason pick of the Clippers to win the West. That was...well...regrettable.

This series has the potential to be a top 10 NBA Finals of all time. It's not necessarily a perfect match-up but the way the teams DON'T match-up well with each other makes it an interesting series and a battle of wills. Is Miami going to be able to create turnovers and get out in the open floor? Or is San Antonio going to punish the Heat with their outstanding ball movement? In my opinion, it comes down to one match-up: LeBron James v Tony Parker. Who's gonna guard who? We all assume that Kawhi Leonard is going to spend the majority of the Finals on LeBron but I have a feeling Popovich has something up his sleeve. Don't act like he's not watching the tapes of my Mavs giving LeBron that WERK 2 years ago in the Finals (#NeverForget). I'll be interested to see if the Spurs throw some type of zone at LeBron and see how he responds. But zone or no zone, Bron will be ready.

The even bigger question-mark is who is going to guard Tony Parker? There are a multitude of names that have been thrown out there: LeBron, Wade, Chalmers, Cole. I suspect that Erik Spoelstra will throw different bodies at Parker but when it comes down to crunch time, will LeBron guard him? That's definitely something I'll be paying attention to.

This is how I'll break it down:

PG - Parker v Chalmers
SG - Green v Wade
SF - Leonard v James
PF - Splitter v Bosh
C -  Duncan v Haslem
Bench - Spurs v Heat (PUSH)
Coach - Popovich v Spoelstra

Prediction: Heat in 7

This isn't about 2007. This isn't about revenge. This isn't about redemption. This is about LeBron James capturing his 2nd ring and officially taking the league by storm.

Follow me on Twitter...@KolaAlade

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Super Bowl Satruday: Michigan v Indiana

#Np: O.N.I.F.C. - Wiz Khalifa

Pick: Arizona (-4.5) over Washington

As we all know the Super Bowl is on Sunday and a lot of attention will be on it this weekend. But if you want to see another great game this weekend, turn your TV to ESPN on Saturday night and watch the biggest college basketball game of the year, #1 Michigan v #3 Indiana. You have the two best teams in the best conference in college hoops. For you football fans, this is LSU v Bama...well...maybe not exactly. Neither team has won a national championship since the late '80s. Tom Crean is no Bobby Knight and John Beilein is no Steve Fisher but they've both done great jobs with these programs the past few years.

But that won't be the story of the game...it's a fan's dream to see so much star-power in a college basketball game with a lot of intriguing matchups.

For Michigan, Trey Burke has been the best PG in the country this year hands down...he's a sophomore by the way. He pairs up with Tim Hardaway, Jr. who may not have the same game as his dad but this dude can go. You can't tell me that an NBA team doesn't want a 6'6" guard who's athletic but has such a smooth game. Glenn Robinson III also has a dad who had a great career in the NBA and is very solid, they have solid bigs and guys off the bench that do their jobs, but who I'm really impressed with is Nik Stauskus. The kid from Canada isn't your typical shooter who knocks down 50% of his 3's, but he'll go by you and dunk on your head.

Now to Indiana, Cody Zeller is the best player in the country hands down...and like Trey Burke he's only a sophomore. The sad thing is that IU doesn't get him the ball enough in my opinion...like dude...he's the best player...on any team...in America...do something about that. Christian Watford & Jordan Hulls provide quality experience, Yogi Ferrell is an exciting freshman to watch, Will Sheehey is a beast, but boy let me tell you one thing...Victor Oladipo is my dude. In my opinion, he's the MVP of that team so far this year and should be an All-American. He brings so much to the table and dude has serious bounce...like stupid bounce.

Are these two teams the best two in the country? Not definitively. College hoops are wide open this year with no dominant class of teams. But this could very well be a preview of college basketball's Super Bowl in March.

Follow me on Twitter...@KolaAlade

Thursday, January 10, 2013

128-128: The Definition Of Mediocrity

#Np: The Trip Downtown - Wale

Pick: Oregon (+1.5) over Arizona

I'll start by saying this...I hate Jerry Jones. This is nothing new. I've been a Cowboys fan for 20+ years and have never given Jerry Jones serious credit for our past success. When you're a young kid and see the owner/GM always on the sidelines trying to coach it rubs you the wrong way. So Jerry Jones has just been that one annoying dude that you just deal with because everything else is going good in your life. We were winning back in the day, everything was great. Having our household "Annual Cowboys Super Bowl Party" was something I was getting used to as a young kid. But after winning our 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years in 1995, what ensued for the next 15+ years is something I never imagined: Mediocrity.

Jerry Jones continues to remind us that being the Owner/GM is what got us to the promised land in the early 90s. That's a bold faced lie. Jimmy Johnson took us to the promised land in the early 90s. I'll give Jerry credit for one thing: hiring Jimmy. But that didn't start off all great because Jerry wanted full control of everything. But Jimmy Johnson wasn't the guy you could convince to see Jerry's way. You have to remember that Jimmy Johnson was coming from the University of Miami in which he was a few plays away from winning 3 national championships in a row and undoubtedly building the best college football program in the country at the time. And you know them boys at The U didn't take any crap from anyone. So Jimmy was hired under the conditions that he controlled football decisions. Consequently, he turned the franchise around. The turning point was the Herschel Walker trade, in which we ended up getting Emmitt Smith, Alvin Harper, Darren Woodson, and others. That was ALL Jimmy...not Jerry, your "GM." Then Jimmy wins back-to-back Super Bowls, and Jerry tells him to walk. Now tell me who in their right mind would want to part ways with the brains of a dynasty in the making? Only one guy on the face of this earth: Jerry Jones. And then Jerry hires his buddy Barry Switzer and wins Super Bowl XXX and thinks it's a "Hey Jimmy, I can do this without you" thing. No bro, those were all Jimmy's players.

In the past 16 years, the Cowboys have made the playoffs 6 times. The Cowboys have 1 win to show for it...let me remind you in 16 years. The Cowboys went to 4 straight NFC Championship games from 1992 to 1995, going 3-1, and haven't been back since. But here's the most telling stat of it all: the Dallas Cowboys are 128-128 in the past 16 years. That's the definition of mediocrity. We've had mediocre players, mediocre coaches, and a mediocre owner. Plain and simple. The last 2 years we've finished 8-8...the definition of mediocrity. Jason Garrett is 21-19 as the HC of the Dallas Cowboys...the definition of mediocrity. The Cowboys have finished 3rd in the NFC East the past 3 years...the definition of mediocrity. Tony Romo has the best record in November in NFL history but his worst month by far is December, when you need him the most...the definition of mediocrity.

We just need to accept that.

Follow me on Twitter...@KolaAlade

Saturday, January 5, 2013

NFL Wild Card Weekend Predictions

#Np: Bad - Wale ft. Tiara Thomas

Pick: Packers (-9.5) over Vikings

It's finally here, the NFL playoffs. It's a little rough that my Cowboys choked once again at the end of the season and finished 8-8, losing the NFC East championship game both years. But then again I didn't have the Cowboys as a playoff team this year when I made my preseason picks. I also had the Packers over the Texans in the Super Bowl in the preseason but it's only a matter of time before my pick looks dumb as hell. For the NFL playoffs, I'll give my take and predictions for each game.

NFC 

6Vikings @ 3Packers
The Vikings are definitely a surprise team to make the playoffs all because of the surprise season Adrian Peterson just had. The man came off an ACL injury from last year to becoming only 9 yards short of Eric Dickerson's single-season record. You also can't forget that Percy Harvin has been out for the 2nd half of the season. The just beat the Packers last weekend to get into the playoffs and will now have to tracel to Lambeau this weekend. The Packers should be a different team this week but the Vikings are capable are shocking the Packers 2 weeks in a row. They do have this year's MVP in my opinion. But you give the Packers another week to prepare for a team they just lost to and the QB disrecpancy (Rodgers v Ponder) is too great for me to pick an upset. Discount Double Check.

Prediction: Packers 35, Vikings 20

5Seahawks @ 4Redskins
This will be the most entertaining game of the weekend. Two teams who came into the season with similar expectations from the public. And none of those expectations had either of these teams playing this Sunday afternoon. You have two great rookie QBs (RG3 v Wilson ), two great RBs (Morris v Lynch), and two very opportunistic defenses. Something has to give because these young QBs don't make mistakes but these defenses are very aggressive. I'm going to give the slight edge to the Seahawks because I think they'll do a decent job against the run and force a banged up RG3 to test his hurt knee (a lot more than the Cowboys did at least). Seattle's the most dangerous team in the playoffs and I think they'll set up a very intriguing game with the Falcons next week.

Prediction: Seahawks 21, Redskins 17

AFC

6Bengals @ 3Texans
The Texans are limping into the playoffs after dropping 3 out of their last 4 games. They easily should have been the #1 seed and the road to the Super Bowl should have gone through Houston. But their loss last week against the Colts not only cost them a #1 seed but also cost themselves the #2 seed. So instead of resting their players this weekend, they take on a Bengals squad who is playing well of late. The Bengals will have revenge on their minds as they lost this same exact game in Houston last year. Andy Dalton and AJ Greenhave already proved to be a great tandem but people tend to forget that they're one of the better rushing teams in the league. Expect a dog fight, but Houston wins.

Prediction: Texans 27, Bengals 23

5Colts @ 4Ravens 
There are so many story lines in this game. Ray Lewis calling it quits after this season which I'm sad to see to tell you the truth. So you know Baltimore is going to be insane Sunday afternoon. But the Colts though...CHUCKSTRONG...they've rallied around their coach Chuck Pagano who is recovering from leukemia. Pagano was actually the Defensive Coordinator for the Ravens should win this game, but they could keep Indy around if they don't give Ray Rice the ball, which they have been known to do at times. Andrew Luck has had an awesome rookie season but has been turnover prone, especially on the road. The Ravens may have some problems on defense but they have a reputation of making big plays. Not a good formula for the Colts.

Prediction: Ravens 31, Colts 20

Friday, November 16, 2012

All-Amercian Awards, Valedictorians v Droputs: Week 11

#Np: M.I.A. - Omarion & Wale 

Pick: Washington (-20.5) over Colorado

We definitely saw the best game of the year last week when Johnny Football took the college football world by storm by going up to Tuscaloosa and beating #1 Alabama. I'm actually still shocked. The national championship has changed dramatically and I'm interested to see how everything is going to turn out. Time for Week 11's All-American Awards: Valedictorians v Dropouts.

Valedictorians

1st Team - Texas A&M
Duh! Of course. The Aggies definitely set the tone of that game against Alabama by playing uptempo and more physical. They basically just hit Alabama in the mouth in the 1st half. By the time the 2nd half came around, Alabama was in a position that they're not used to...playing catch-up. I've been a "Collin Klein for Heisman" guy all season. But I'm sorry, how can you not put Johnny Football at the top with that performance?

2nd Team - Oregon
Yes, I've been saying for most of the season that Oregon is the best team in the country. With Alabama losing, I guess everyone else may think so by default. Again, I'll say that they will continue to be a track meet on offense and they actually can play some defense. I definitely expect them to win the national championship now...which probably means they wont.

3rd Team - Texas
I just got to give Texas a shoutout...not only for dominating Iowa State last weekend but for the Wishbone play they pulled on their 1st play in honor of Coach Darrell Royal who died early last week. I'm sure Iowa State thought it was going to be your old-fashioned dive up the middle, but Mack Brown spiced it up and called a trick play out of the Wishbone. I was pretty impressed. For those who aren't familiar with Coach Royal, he was arguably the creator of the Wishbone offense and definitely the pioneer of it. He won 3 national championships in the '60s and never had a losing season. I'm sure that's pretty tough to live up to, even if you're Mack Brown.

Honorable Mention - Georgia, Kansas State

Dropouts

1st Team - North Carolina
UNC gave up 68 points at home to Georgia Tech...the same Georgia Tech team that got blown out at home to Middle Tennessee State...I've move on.

2nd Team - Louisville
I knew this would happen, I finally give props to an undefeated Big East team by putting them in my Honorable Mention list last week and then...they get blown out by Syracuse...again, moving on.

3rd Team - Northwestern
The Wildcats didn't stink it up for a whole game but I did catch the last minute of their game against Michigan. And they did everything you could to lose a football game. They were up by 3 and had to punt the ball away. No problem right? Pin Michigan deep, a team who doesn't have any time-outs. Well, the punter kicked a line drive which allowed for a good return. And then a Hail Mary of a pass that allowed Michigan to get in FG range and send the game to overtime. Michigan scored pretty easily and Northwestern called 4 pretty predictable plays, which in included the failure to get 1 yard in 2 plays. Nightmare of an ending.

Honorable Mention - Alabama, Florida 

Follow me on Twitter...@KolaAlade

Saturday, November 10, 2012

All-American Awards, Valedictorians v Dropouts: Week 10

#Np: Purple Swag Freestyle - Wale

Pick: TCU (+7) over Kansas State

The college football world almost suffered an earthquake last Saturday with a couple of close calls in the top 5. Not much has changed in the top 5 but a lot happened around the country that sets us up for this weekend's game. So here's Week 10's version of my All-American Awards: Valedictorians v Dropouts.

Valedictorians 

1st Team - Alabama
   *Week 9: 1st Team*
   *Week 3: Honorable Mention*
   *Week 1: 1st Team*
How crazy was that game between Bama and LSU? We thought the Tide were done, that the reign was going to be over and LSU was going to get them again (in the regular season, at least). But AJ McCarron took his team down the field in the final minutes of the game, only needing a field goal, and throwing the game winning TD pass to TJ Yeldon. That had to be the best moment of the college football season so far, hands down. Just think about those circumstances...SEC title on the line...national championship on the line...in Death Valley where LSU never loses at home...to come back and hurt the hears of thousands of fans in that stadium...that's big. And for those trying to clown AJ McCarron for getting emotional after that drive...re-evaluate your life because that's exactly what college football is about.

2nd Team - TCU 
   *Week 7: Honorable Mention*
Gary Patterson has some serious balls...but what's new. TCU went up to West Virginia and won on the very last play. TCU was down 7 in OT with the ball, needing a TD to stay alive. Well they scored a TD but instead of taking a tie, Gary Patterson had obviously made the decision to go for 2 and the win. And as I'm watching this highlight, I get a flashback to last year when TCU went to Boise State and did the same exact thing to win the Mounatin West and actually ended Boise State's undefeated season and screwed up their BCS hopes. And guess what...they did it this year with the same exact play. And no it wasn't Casey Pachall who made the big plays...he's threw his football career away and is now in drug and alcohol rehab. But it was QB Trevone Boykin...and oh, the kid is a freshman. I'm not going to lie, I like TCU's momentum going into a big home game against Kansas State with a banged up Collin Klein. So yes...put it on the board...I'm calling the upset in Fort Worth today.

3rd Team - Oregon
   *Week 8: 3rd Team*
   *Week 4: 2nd Team*
   *Week 1: Honorable Mention*
I still think Oregon is the best team in the country right now, even though their defense just gave up 51 points to USC. But to still win by double digits is still impressive. What's even more impressive is that RB Kenjon Barner went nuts with 320 yards rushing and 5 TDs. We all know that the offense puts up points faster than the speed of light but I still want to see them play against a legit SEC defense...and by SEC defense I mean Alabama. I think Oregon's defense could give Alabama's offense some trouble and I think they're very underrated...yes, even after they just gave up 51 points to USC. But let's stop jumping to conclusions, they still have 3 relatively tough games left on their schedule.

Honorable Mention - Texas A&M, Louisville

Dropouts

1st Team - Arizona 
I hate when teams get a big win and then turn around the next week and play like your neighborhood middle school team. That's the Arizona Wildcats for you. Earlier in the season, they smacked Oklahoma State by 3 TDs. Two weeks later, they went to Oregon and lost 49-0. Two weeks ago, they upset #9 USC at home, 39-36. And last weekend, they go up to UCLA and not only lose, but get obliterated 66-10. Huh? Look, I think UCLA has a solid team but cmon...you shouldn't be down 42-3 at halftime to these guys. Remember when Rich Rodriguez was supposed to be the savior at Michigan? And oh, remember when Rich Rodriguez was supposed to bring Arizona to prominence? C'mon bro...let's stop it with this guy. I could have told you this years ago.

2nd Team - Boise State
   *Week 4: 2nd Team*
You may have forgotten about Boise State. Not only because they lost Kellen Moore, who has the most wins for a QB in college football history. Not only because they lost Doug Martin, who absolutely just torched my fantasy team last week. Titus Young caught a game winning TD pass 2 weeks ago...but that game was on Sunday and Titus Young plays for the Lions. But they did lose a tough opener to Michigan State, who has proven to be trash and my preseason pick to win the Big Ten (awesome...). People tend to forget that Boise State won the WAC title 8 out of 10 years before moving to the Mountain West last year. Well, it seems like for the 2nd year in a row that they'll come up empty handed for the conference championship. San Diego State went up to Boise and shocked the Broncos and now have created a crazy 4-way tie for 1st. Fresno State has the inside track somehow, even though Boise State beat them.

3rd Team - West Virginia 
   *Week 8: 1st Team*
   *Week 7: 3rd Team*
Welp...West Virginia just ain't about that life. They lost their 3rd game in a row to TCU's gutsy 2-point play after being ranked #5 in the country about a month ago. And now I have serious questions about the Mountaineers. Not whether Geno Smith is a Heisman candidate or whether Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey are one of the best WR tandems in the country...because I don't really care anymore. But what bowl these guys are going to get in? Or better yet...if they will even make a bowl! Let me explain...they're 5-3 right now and yes I know they only need 1 more win to be bowl eligible. But they aren't winning at Oklahoma State today. I don't think they'll beat Oklahoma. Then they go to Iowa State, which is low key one of the toughest places to play in the Big 12. Which leaves the season finale against...(drumroll please?)...Kansas. Okay, maybe I tricked you because Kansas is very very very bad. But with the way West Virginia plays defense, you can't deny that Kansas couldn't put up a few points against them. But they'll get to a bowl game...6-6...probably in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl or something.

Honorable Mention - Notre Dame, NC State 

Follow me on Twitter...@KolaAlade

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Outlandish Idea After Election Day

#Np: 24K of Gold - Big Sean ft. J. Cole

Pick: Hornets (-1) over Sixers

The election is over, we have our results, and we know who won. I'm not going to get into my thoughts on the elections or politics. This is a sports related blog only. And to tell you the truth, I think it's stupid that people put their political opinions on social media. Not because I don't think it's right to express your own opinion but you're always going to call very negative attention to yourself, especially during this election season.

But now that it's over, I got to thinking. As much as I love and care about my teams, sometimes I'm not satisfied with how things are run in those organizations. So why not have elections for owners and GMs? Crazy, huh? But, seriously. I understand that it's a business and these people are buying these teams with their own money. But I think more power needs to be given to the people, the fans. For example, my Dallas Cowboys are run by a dictatorship...Jerry Jones. He's the owner, the GM, the public relations guy, the team doctor, will walk your dog, and bring you your groceries. But a lot of people are fed up with him in Dallas because of various reasons. Personally, I'm fed up with the culture he's created. If he has all of the power, how can you expect a coach to get through to his players when they know that they can just go cry to Uncle Jerry if they have a problem with the coach.

I'm not going to say that everyone hates Jerry because I'm sure there are people who are impressed with the talent that he's brought in and I actually agree with those people. But talent only get's you so far...like 3-5. That means there are other problems. So we the people, the fans who support their teams through thick and thin, should have more of a say on who runs this thing. And this is how I would do it:

1) Campaigns - I have yet to see an owner or GM make any sort of speech or campaign whatsoever as to the reason why he would be the best fit for the team.

2) Terms - I guess we could keep it American here and say 4 years per term. I think that's enough time to evaluate how ownership has done. But I think we should reward good ownership and allow them to serve unlimited terms.

3) Registration - Yes, you would have to register to vote for your team. So for those of you who like to switch teams every year, your vote counts for the next 4 years. Or you could just not vote, that's OK too.

4) Age - I've been a die-hard fan since I was young but I think 18 is a good age to help make a decision on your team's future.

5) Popular Vote - I actually don't have a problem with the Electoral College but that concept would be nearly impossible here. So it's simple, whoever gets the most votes wins.

Look, I know this would never ever happen. I'm sure there are so many flaws about my proposal. But like I said, election season has me thinking in these weird ways. Or maybe it's just Jerry Jones, but so be it.

Follow me on Twitter...@KolaAlade