Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chiefs/Raiders Rivalry Video Breakdown

First, the Oakland Raiders pull off a rarely seen midseason blockbuster trade for QB Carson Palmer, then the news that he is projected to start this Sunday against the Chiefs, and I think we have ourselves the top billing game of the NFL weekend.

There's also the celebratory fact that the Kansas City Chiefs are playing a meaningful game in 2011. A win on Sunday and the Halloween Monday Nighter against the San Diego Chargers becomes the hottest ticket in town (I'm gonna go as 13-year old Andy Reid).

To get in the spirit of Raider Week, I began watching videos on YouTube and came across this beauty entitled "Chiefs vs. Raiders: The History of the Rivalry" which seems to have aired last year on NFL Network (not sure how I missed this). I've decided to give this video the Sports Guy style breakdown that it truly deserves.

Here's the vid...

0:00 - The song for this video is super awesome. Does anything beat the music for NFL Films videos? Similar to any video being funny to the Benny Hill Theme Song, I think you could put any football video to this music and it becomes unequivocally riveting. I think I'll make this song my alarm for Sunday morning afternoon.

0:13 - Of all the hits in this video that would be declared illegal in today's NFL, this completely unnecessary flying clothesline off the top turnbuckle may have been the most illegal.

0:23 - This is the result of adults played the children's game Red Rover.

0:36 - "The Kansas City Chiefs: They were a team that projected the image that Hank Stram wanted to project - A dapper outfit." This is a pretty cool reputation.

0:42 - John Madden smoking a cigarette on the sideline of an NFL game. Has anybody else dominated three aspects of the sporting world as well as Jaaaaahn? His winning percentage as a head coach ranks 2nd all time. He popularized such words as "Boom!", "Whap!", "Bang!" and "Doink!" as an announcer (thanks Wiki). And yet everybody born after 1990 will remember him as The Godfather of sports video games. WAIT A that a hooter he's smoking? I'm becoming a bigger Madden fan by the minute.

0:50 - 0:57 - This series of hits on former Chiefs QB Lenny Dawson is in dire need of a few Wilhelm screams.

1:00 - Is that an interview with an active Kenny Stabler? He's a damn drunken bumpkin. I imagine him wearing Hillbilly Jim overalls during that interview with a pint of Old Crow in the breast pocket.

1:08 - And clearly Stabler is racist...

1:10 - What's with all the clothesline hits? Did those get outlawed at some point and time or just go out of style?

1:20 - Calm down...PHIL

1:28 - I distinctly remember my dad owning that same hat that sits upon Marty Schottenheimer's head. I guess the NFL didn't charge $40 for anything players or coaches wore back then because my dad wouldn't have paid that.

1:47 - "And the Raiders would make up their own rules" as we see Al Davis sporting an all white jumpsuit.

1:55 - What's the context of "the bastards got 3 points"? Was Marty encouraging the defense because they held them to a field goal? Was he pissed that his defense allowed them to even score 3 points? Or was he referring to his own offense as the bastards and thought that 3 points was enough for his defense?

2:02 - 2:24 - My love for obscure 90's Chiefs players is in sensory overload. Bill Maas, Dave Kreig, JJ Birden, Todd McNair, Leslie O'Neal, Chester McGlockton, Bam Morris (I demand to know where Donnell Bennett and Dino Hackett are). I almost cried right along with Marty.

2:17 - The Oakland QB right there is Donald Hollas. I thought I knew of every starting NFL QB of that era, especially within the division, but I have never heard of this dude. He went to Rice. And he led the Raiders to four straight wins in 1998! However, he threw 6 INT's in his final start. Three months later, the Raiders signed Rich Gannon.

2:29 - Greg Hill sighting!!!

2:51 - Documented proof that Thomas Jones can gain more than 5 yards in a single run.

2:57 - Darren McFadden leads the best rushing attack in the NFL against Kansas City this week. The Chiefs run defense has been secretly awesome this season (especially in the past three games). Shut down Oakland this week and they are officially for real. I feel you need to be dominant in one aspect of the game to be a real contender and the Chiefs lost that when Jamaal Charles went down. In other words, you'll learn everything you need to know about this team on Sunday. But first, one last brawl...

3:03 - Who knew Lenny D was so wily on the move like that? He's got wheels.

3:14 - Definitive punch to the groin.

3:18 - Look at Raider #84. I can't make out his name but I'm sure it rhymes with a part of the female anatomy. Perhaps he needs to have a sit down with overstimulated Phil from the 1:20 mark.

3:24 - Clearly the Chiefs won that fight.

Go Chiefs,
His Dirkness

Friday, October 14, 2011

Picking 25 College Football Games (ATS)

By my count, I need to go 14-11 to finish in the black.

1. North Carolina (+3) over Miami, Fla - Jacory Harris seems overdue for a four interception game. - LOSS

2. Penn St. (-12) over Purdue - Tough to score on the Nittanies, and I think they'll score over 13. - LOSS

3. Indiana (+39.5) over Wisconsin - I believe!!!! - LOSS

4. Florida St. (-12) over Duke - Blue Devils not bad this year, Seminoles not good. Easy money right? Right... - WIN

5. Clemson (-7.5) over Maryland - Tigers aren't just winning games this year, they're blowing teams out. - WIN

6. Virginia Tech (-6) over Wake Forest - Demon Deacons (best nickname in College) been slipping by, it won't last. - WIN

7. South Carolina (-3) over Mississippi St. - Bulldogs haven't recovered from losing to Auburn in their opener. - LOSS

8. Iowa St. (-16) over Missouri - By a Gary Pinkel 2 point conversion chart. - LOSS

9. Utah (+6.5) over Pittsburgh - Panthas lost by 24 to Rutgers last week. 'Nuff said. - WIN

*10. Baylor (+8) over Texas A&M - These two teams are even, no? - LOSS

11. Tennessee (+17) over LSU - Tigers will regret their impending QB controversy. - LOSS

12. Michigan St. (-3) over Michigan - My most eagerly anticipated game of Saturday. - WIN

*13. Illinois (-3) over Ohio St. - The Buckeyes are bad. Real bad. Trust me. - LOSS

14. Louisville (+15) over Cincinnati - Cardinals defense actually pretty good. Charlie Strong. - WIN

15. Alabama (-27.5) over Ole Miss - Ol' Dirty won't score, which means Bamarama has to reach 28 to cover. - WIN

16. Auburn (+2.5) over Florida - Gators' QB probably won't play. - WIN

*17. Oklahoma (-35.5) over Kansas - The worst defense in BCS conference history?

18. Boise St. (-32.5) over Colorado St. - Broncos always seem to cover in these kinds of games. - WIN

19. Stanford (-21) over Washington St. - I am now anti-Andrew Luck. Fuck a Luck. - WIN

20. Vanderbilt (+11) over Georgia - The Commodores put up a fight against 'Bama last week. - LOSS

21. Oklahoma St. (-7) over Texas - The Longhorns were exposed last week. Cowboys are comparable to Sooners. - WIN

22. Kansas St. (+3.5) over Texas Tech - They keep making the Wildcats underdogs and they keep winning. - WIN

23. Northwestern (+6) over Iowa - Wanted to go against the Wildcats for screwing me last week (up 10, couldn't finish within 10), but this line seems off. - LOSS

24. Arizona St. (+14) over Oregon - Sun Devils underrated, LaMichael James done broke his arm.

25. Washington (-16) over Colorado - Huskies should be ranked, Buffaloes are turrible. - WIN

* = Dirkensheed

His Dirkness

Friday, October 7, 2011

Nebraska/Ohio St - This One's On Bo

Last week's 48-17 defeat at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers was the worst loss in Bo Pelini's career with the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

It wasn't just the defense's inability to stop the Badgers offense. It was that the team basically quit after T-Mart's interception to begin the second half. After limiting the Badgers running game to mild success in the first half (Wisconsin's plays were all coming off Russell Wilson's improvisational skills), the Blackshirts laid down in the second half. They rolled over. They quit.

The key to the defense's success under Bo Pelini has been the defensive line. Well, last Saturday night, the defensive line was useless. They generated no pressure on plays that they didn't blitz. They offered little resistance in the running game. Cameron Meredith's name hasn't been heard since Week 1. I'm told Jason Ankrah starts opposite him - news to me. Jared Crick either can't get the job done by himself, or is failing to live up to his Ndoversized expectations. And don't get me started on Sean Fisher, who might be the worst starter in the entire Big Ten conference. (Yes, I realize he is not on the defensive line, but I just couldn't wait any longer.)

I realize there is a good chance that the Wisconsin Badgers are simply the best team in all of College Football (I'd put them right there with Alabama), which would make everything that occurred semi-tolerable. However, that's dependent on seeing some improvement out of the defense, and the team as a whole. Which means...

It's time for Bo Pelini to do some coaching.

There certainly can't be any excuses flying around after this week. THEE Ohio State's offense is anemic. They scored 7 points on Michigan State last week, and they were to lucky to even get that (33 yard TD with 10 seconds left in the game). They scored 6 points on the Miami Hurricanes two weeks Pryor (see what I did there?). They scored 37 points on Colorado in between, which is counterproductive to my argument, but I'm limited in ways to make fun of the Buffaloes these days. You suck Colorado.

If Ohio St. is able to move the ball on the Blackshirts, it might be time to start asking some serious questions about Bo Pelini...

  • Why was Alfonzo Dennard not on Wisconsin WR Al Toon the entire game? They had one good receiver. Nebraska has one good cornerback. And yet, Toon was repeatedly beating Ciante Evans in coverage (whodathunkit?).
  • How has the defense suffered so much? The Blackshirts lost Prince Amukamara, Dejon Gomes, Eric Hagg, and Pierre Allen from last year. Is that enough lost talent to warrant the slip in play we've seen? Where is the (Bo Pelini recruited) talent behind them?
  • How are the linebackers so bad? Lavonte David has been good, but not great. Will Compton makes a play here and there. Sean Fisher was so bad last week that my buddy John's head nearly exploded trying to explain how bad he was. Is this the best they've got?
  • How can they keep Taylor Martinez's pants dry? T-Mart has not handled the big situations he's been thrown into very well. He seems fine until one thing goes wrong, and then all bets are off. This isn't Bo's wheelhouse, but if these problems persist, Bo might have to address the QB position. Or just run the ball...
  • Why does Nebraska never seem to run the ball enough? The Huskers ran the ball down Wisconsin's throat their first two drives of the game and then became obsessed with throwing the ball. In a big game, on the road, stick with whatever's working please.

I'm still a Bo Pelini guy. He has this program headed in the right direction. All he needs now is to lead his team to victory in a big time game. He might get his chance in a rematch with Wisconsin this year. (Remember the upset in the inaugural Big 12 Championship.)

As far as this week's game goes, I see a big bounce back from the Cornhuskers. This smells like a game where Nebraska races out to an early lead and spends most of the game holding Ohio St at an arm's length. I'll say a decisive 24-10 triumph for Nebraska.

His Dirkness

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Wisconsin Badgers Preview

The current national perception of the Nebraska Cornhuskers is that they can't win the big game. There's little doubt that Bo Pelini's resume is lacking that signature win (partly because Missouri always falls apart after Nebraska beats them). Tonight is a great opportunity for Bo and the 'Skers to make a statement to the rest of the Big Ten. "We may be new, but make no mistake, this is OUR conference."

That being said, I feel good about this game. It feels like the pressure is off of Nebraska (Wisconsin now a 10 point favorite). Almost nobody (and their mother) has the Huskers winning tonight (although Lee Corso just did). Pelini may have learned his lesson from putting too much pressure on his own team against Texas last season, so he has been downplaying everything about this historic game for the Huskers (read about it here). Good move, Bo.

My biggest fear about the game is the Wisconsin running game. The Blackshirts' run defense has been rather un-stout (more like a Belgian White) so far this year. The Badgers will attack you with run, run, run, and then hit you with a playaction over the top. I trust the discipline of the Husker defense, I'm just skeptical of their ability to stop the run. However, the Blackshirts haven't been at full health yet this year. Tonight should be the first game that both CB Alfonzo Dennard and DT Jared Crick will both be on the field (Fonz missed first three, Crick last week). It could make a huge difference to have all three leaders of the defense (combined with LB Lavonte David) on the field at once.

How bout some stats...

~~Stats you need to know~~

  • Taylor Martinez is 12-4 as a starter. He has averaged 113 rushing yards per game in his 12 career victories. In his 4 losses, he's averaged 7.25 yards per game.
  • T-Mart's 2011 numbers running the option: 19 attempts, 175 yards, 3 touchdowns.
  • Nebraska's 2nd half rushing totals the last two weeks: 217 (vs. Washington), 220 (vs. Wyoming).
  • Wisconsin is 1 of 3 teams in the nation to average 240 yards both passing and rushing (Baylor, Missouri).
  • Since the start of 2010, Russell Wilson leads all quarterbacks with 16 first down runs on 3rd and 5+.

Key Matchup: Wisconsin WR Nick Toon vs. Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard - A favorable matchup (if the Fonz is 100% - he looked good last week) for the Huskers, as they can match strength vs. strength on the Badgers' biggest weapon. I expect Dennard to follow Toon (son of Tecmo Bowl star Al Toon!) all over the field. This is a matchup you could see on future Sundays.

X-Factor: The Nebraska specialty teams - The Huskers might need a big play out of the kicking game tonight. They definitely have the tools. Returner Ameer Abdullah is explosive (averaging 42.5 yards per kick return). K Brett Maher is 8 of 9 on the year, and his only miss was from 50+ and it even looked good to me (but you couldn't tell because of those damn short goalposts in Wyoming).

Keep Your Eye On: Nebraska WR Jamal Turner - Recruited to play QB, this dynamic freshman is like butter when he gets the ball in the open field. He will be one of the most exciting players in College Football over the next four years of his career.

Everybody is on Wisconsin because they've dominated all of their games up to this point, but might that actually be a condemnation? First off, the Badgers' best opponent (Northern Illinois) was beaten by Kansas. Second off, they haven't played a meaningful snap in the second half. Meanwhile, Nebraska has broken open two close games after the intermission, and then dealt with an undefeated Wyoming team last week. This is why...

If the game is close, I'm taking Nebraska.


I don't think the game will be close enough. I'm afraid the Blackshirts have been faulty up to this point, but not bad enough to make any defiant changes. It's best to know your weaknesses and I'm not sure if Nebraska views anything as a problem yet. It all comes down to whether the Huskers can stop the Badgers ground game tonight. If they can, I expect a close game and a Nebraska victory. But if they can't...

Prediction: Wisconsin over Nebraska 30-17*

*However, if the Huskers come out in the much-rumored black uniforms ("oops" photo preview can be seen here in the top left corner), to match the expected 30,000 Nebraska fans in Madison tonight, I'll take the Huskers in a landslide.

Go Big Red,
his Dirkness