Saturday, December 21, 2013

Why do people think the Baltimore Ravens are a contender? They're going to struggle just to make the playoffs...

I've heard a lot of talk this week about the 8-6 Baltimore Ravens, how they can win their division and be a serious threat in the postseason.  The other day CSNNE's Gary Tanguay even said he thinks they are one of two favorites in the AFC (with Denver).  I'm not buying this at all, not for one second.

All of the hype is coming because of what they did last season -- getting hot down the stretch and winning the Super Bowl as a Wild Card team.  If anything I think that makes them less likely to go on another playoff run.  They already had their luck a year ago; it's called "regression to the mean."  It's also funny to me that the Ravens bandwagon is gaining so much momentum the week after they failed to score a touchdown.  Kicking a whole bunch of field goals isn't going to get them very far.

But the main reason I don't think anybody has to worry about Baltimore is because the odds of them making the postseason just aren't very good.  In order to take the AFC North they have to beat 10-4 New England tomorrow, and then win at 9-5 Cincinnati next week.  That is no easy task.  If they lose one (or two) they still have a shot at a Wild Card, but the 8-6 Dolphins finish against Buffalo and the Jets, and could easily win them both.

Regardless, I like the Patriots' chances tomorrow in Baltimore, even though the Ravens are hot (4 wins in a row culminating in that ridiculous 61 yard field goal "buzzer beater" pictured above) and the Pats are coming off a tough loss.  The NFL is a week to week league, full of ups and downs, highs and lows.  The pendulum is due to swing back in New England's favor.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Barney screws up spectacular video game reference on "How I Met Your Mother"

One of my all-time favorite original Nintendo games (along with Baseball Stars) was Super Off Road.  So when Barney fantasized about it on a recent episode of "How I Met Your Mother" I was pretty psyched (I recorded it crap-ily on purpose, the first time I tried to upload the clip to youtube it got banned for copyright infringement):

"Surprise!  Beautiful dinner, family and friends, free game tokens, and an 'Off Road' arcade game that's rigged for unlimited turbos!"

Unfortunately, Barney got his terminology wrong; it's "nitros," not "turbos."

Ah, memories...

Mallrats, flavored scotch, and How I Met Your Mother
Things that suck about being lefty (It really is related, I promise!)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

"Brian Boitano announces he's gay." No, that's not a headline from 1993

This is going to be short blog, because the title really says it all.  I just saw this story on Yahoo Sports; apparently 1988 figure skating gold medalist Brian Boitano has come out of the closet, shortly after being named to the U.S. delegation for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics next February.  Honestly my only reaction to this is that if you told me that was a twenty-year-old headline, I wouldn't have doubted you for a second.  I guess I'm glad he feels comfortable enough to do this now, but it's too bad he didn't a long long time ago.

But really the best part of this story is that it gives me an excuse to post this South Park clip:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

So in the new NHL format, the Western Conference only gets 7 playoff teams, right?

I've never really been a hockey guy, and with my increased NBA writing of late I have paid a particular lack of attention to the NHL this season.  While looking at the standings today something caught my eye that I wasn't previously aware of (no, not the fact that there is actually a division that goes by the name "Metropolitan"):

There are now 16 teams in the Eastern Conference, and just 14 in the West.  When 8 of them make the playoffs in the East, 50% get in.  However, out West every club has a 57% chance (8/14) of reaching the postseason.  How unfair is that?  I know other major sports have had similar discrepancies in the past, but at the moment they're all fixed.  Maybe the NHL offices (who were ahead of the times on instant replay) are working on some sort of complex 7 team round robin tournament for the Western Conference playoffs in order to even things out.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Facebook's photo recognition software is just plain creepy

Recently I posted a picture on facebook from my family's Thanksgiving.  Immediately afterwards it said the photo was taken "with" both myself and my sister, and tagged each of us in it.

What the hell facebook?!  Do you think you're the CIA or something?  I'm fairly certain neither of us is any sort of terrorist threat that needs to be immediately identified.

If I want to tag myself in my photo that I upload, I'm fairly certain I can do that on my own.  And the same goes for other people in it as well.  I don't understand why this is a service someone would want; is anyone actually worried about not being able to tag people in their pictures because they don't know who they are?  Or is it a time/speed thing?  If anything I think it takes longer when you have to un-tag people because you aren't sure if they want to be tagged or not.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Another Patriots game decided by randomness, which now accounts for 79% of their season

NOT a game winner... this time.
Watching Tom Brady try five times (an offside penalty gave them an extra chance) unsuccessfully to get the ball in the end zone in the final seconds yesterday, it was painfully obvious how much he could have used Rob Gronkowski.  But, if Danny Amendola makes that grab the Patriots still win anyway (off topic, Amendola had 10 catches for 131 yards this week, how did Wes Welker do?).  Or if they get a pass interference penalty on that throw to Michael Hoomanawanui (that could just as easily have been called as the one last week vs Cleveland) they win as well.

New England's last 5 games have been decided by 4 points or less, as have 9 of the 14 they've played all season.  Two more were within a touchdown, meaning 11 of 14 have been one score games; 79% of their outcomes could have changed had one play per contest happened/been officiated differently.  

The Pats (10-4) have had three relatively easy victories this year (23-3 vs Tampa, 27-17 vs Miami, and 55-31 vs Pittsburgh), with all of them coming at home.  For the season they are 7-4 in close games, 4-0 at home, and 3-4 on the road.  But the good news is that in each of their four losses, they've had a chance to win on their final possession.

If the Patriots keep taking care of business at home and giving themselves an opportunity at the end on the road, maybe they'll make the play/get the call or maybe they won't, but can you really ask for anything more?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Walking on Broken Glass" by Annie Lennox

I'm not exactly sure why I picked this song.  Honestly I can't even remember if I really liked it that much back in 1992 when it came out.  And without a doubt "Walking on Broken Glass" is not going to be very a popular choice with most of my readers.  But there's something about that instrumental background in the chorus that has stuck with me for the last couple decades; it's just sort of uplifting I guess?

Anyway, I'm going with Annie Lennox today, and that's all there is too it.  She also has a cover of Bob Marley's "Waiting in Vain" that I like way more than I probably should.

Back to homepage