Sunday, September 30, 2012

College Football Uniform Watch Week 5

Usually we want to mention winners and losers of the weekly uniform watch.  This week only losers.  From only one game.  Nebraska, Wisconsin and adidas:  Shame on you.  See for yourself.

While we heard some praising the Nebraska black helmet look,  we are not amused.  That is not Nebraska. That is not Wisconsin.  The Scarlet Letter game.

That is all.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Enjoy the Texas Rangers Post Season

Our Texas Rangers are on the verge of their third straight playoff appearance.  We are just as excited this year as we were two years ago.  Or in the late nineties.

Our advice is to never let it get old.  Or taken for granted.  Ask the fans of the Royals.  What would they give for one playoff appearance?

The 2012 is both fun and frustrating.  They never give up, except when they do.  They can come back from a six run deficit or be totally inept in a 1-0 loss.  The pitching can carry for while, the bats can carry for a while.  Ian Kinsler can throw the ball into the stands or turn an amazing double play.  Josh Hamilton can wave helplessly at breaking balls for weeks or can hit 242 homeruns in a homestand.  Derek Holland can be the best pitcher in baseball for a month or can give up 108 runs in a third of an inning.

They lost two fifths of their starting rotation.  They have seen the entire lineup slump for an extended period.  They have won a total of nine games in a month.

But you know what?  Their magic number is three with six games to play.  They hold a four game lead over Oakland.  They will be in the playoffs.

Enjoy this.  It doesn't happen all the time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Great Replacement Ref Controversy of 2012

There are many people outraged by the ending of the Monday Night Football game between Seattle and Green Bay.  Rightly so.  The end of the game was a debacle of epic proportions.  the people opining are passionate about the NFL.  Good for them.

However, much hot air, bandwidth, air time and ink will be wasted this week.  Why?  Because this changes nothing.

The owners have decided what they are going to offer the referees.  End of story.  They are dug in.

This lockout ends one of two ways:  The regular refs cave or someone gets killed because of the replacements' incompetence.  We've written that here before and still believe it to be true.

Meanwhile, the league and network executives are laughing all the way to the bank.  NFL telecasts have now become "must see tv" just to find out what ludicrous thing will happen.  While the ESPN talking heads have to decry this situation, the ad execs have to be loving it.  This latest situation will rule the airwaves for the next week.

Here in the Cheap Seats we are popping popcorn and sitting back to watch the fireworks.  Most fun we've had in a while.  We know the replacements are terrible and in over their heads, but much like a train wreck, we cannot turn away.  That makes us part of the problem, but we're OK with that.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Winners and Losers in the College Football Uniform Watch

Here in the Cheap Seats, we sometimes yell at kids to get off our lawn.  Sometimes we get a little cranky.  We are not fans of most of the "alternate" uniforms spotted in the college football landscape these days.  We will try to have a synopsis here every week, but for those that need more real time info, check out Twitter hashtag #CFBUniWatch on Saturdays.  And sometimes Thursdays and Fridays.

This part of the entry is usually going to be very short - see above.

Oregon - We never now what to expect from the Ducks week-to-week.  This week they went fairly traditional (for Oregon) and it worked.

Rutgers - I don't think their's is an alternate uni, but the sleek silver and scarlet look they now sport on the road (haven't seen them at home yet) is very attractive.

Virginia Tech - The camo look they had going on with the all white unis was a definite upgrade from the atrocious Maroon and Orange combo that is their usual look.  Any combination of that is bad.

Missouri - If this drab gray and mustard combo is what the SEC move has wrought, they have lost even before they step on the field.

West Virginia - See Missouri above, only substitute Big 12 for SEC.

Arkansas - Now, they have much bigger problems than fashion, but still.  For us mostly it was the white helmets with the faint Razorback outline.  This is Woo Pig Soooie.  Red headgear with the distinctive hog outline, please.

Utah - We thought we were watching Cincinnati.  No disrespect to the Bearcats, but the Utes are supposed to feature red.

Open Letter to Rangers Fans

Dear Fans of the Texas Rangers,

Here in the Cheap Seats, we appreciate the overwhelming support of our Rangers by everyone involved, whether you have been a fan for 40 years or 40 minutes.

We have been here for most of the 40 years.  We were here when Tom Grieve (TAG) was a player.  We were here for three managers in two days.  We remember Ferguson Jenkins, Toby Harrah, Buddy Bell, Bump Wills, Jim Sundberg, Jeff Burroughs, Mike Hargrove, Gaylord Perry, Mickey Rivers, Odibe McDowell, Steve Buechele, Gabe Kapler, Charlie Hough, etc., etc.

We suffered through managers such as Frank Lucchesi, Billy Hunter, Pat Corales, Darrell Johnson, Doug Rader, Bobby Valentine, Toby Harrah, Kevin Kennedy and Jerry Narron.  We have seen "names" such as Ted Williams, Whitey Herzog, Billy Martin and Don Zimmer come and go.  We have seen two pretty good managers in Johnny Oates and Buck Showalter come through.

We have seen owners such as Tom Hicks, George Bush, Brad Corbett, and Eddie Chiles.

Right now we have an ownership group headed by Nolan Ryan.  Jon Daniels as general manager and Ron Washington as the field manager.  This group has taken the Rangers to back-to-back world series.  In the 37 years of franchise history before this trifecta, our Rangers had won exactly one playoff game.

Don't become Red Sox Nation or the Evil Empire.  Realize that this is special.  Realize that we could be fans of the Astros, or the Royals, or the Rockies, or the Pirates, or........well, you get the picture.

If the manager decides to call for a bunt in the eighth inning of a game in which the offense has been inept and it fails, it is not the end of the world.  We will take the last two years with the "worst manager in baseball" over the previous 37 any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Just a little perspective.


Long time Rangers fans in the Cheap Seats

NFL Week 3 Snaps

What can we glean from the NFL's third week so far?  Other then we are not doing well in our Survivor/Suicide Pool picks.

In a battle of two surprise 2-0 teams, Arizona is for real, Philadelphia is not.  The Cardinal defense is for real.  Michael Vick is not a winning NFL QB.

New Orleans is Arkansas.  Two teams who lost their head coach amongst off season upheaval are now both floundering.  In opening the season 0-3, the Saints defense has been horrid.  The offense is lacking.  Could be a long season.

The Week 1 matchup between the Jets and the Bills confuses us to no end.  New York dominated Buffalo in that game.  Since, the Bills have crushed Kansas City and beat Cleveland on the road.  The Jets were not close in a game against Pittsburgh (which lost to previously winless Oakland in Week 3) and were taken to ovetime by a Miami squad that many have said is in disarray and beat the aforementioned Raiders in Oakland.

Our Twitterverse centers around Dallas area teams and the consensus was that a not-very-good Cowboys team beat a horrid Tampa Bay outfit.  The majority opinion being that the Week 1 win over the Giants was a fluke.  Perhaps overlooking the facts.  The Cowboys beat the Giants.  The Bucs should have beaten the Giants.  The Cowboys beat the Bucs, should have won easily.  Perspective, people.

Which allows us a nice segue to Tampa and head coach Greg Schiano.  Schiano stuck to his guns in defending playing to final gun.  We're sure you remember the controversy caused by the Week 2 effort by Schiano's team on the final "victory formation" play by the Giants in the game's waning moments.  Well, the  Bucs were at it again against the Cowboys.  This time even calling timeouts to extend the game.  Dallas was prepared for it, so it didn't become an issue.  Here in the Cheap Seats, we have no problem with those tactics.  The offense should not dictate when a game is over.  The rest of the league will adjust.

The games are becoming interminably long due to the replacement refs.  Too many times they have to be corrected by replay.  In one game, five (5), yes five, plays were overturned by replay.  However, as we've opined before, this doesn't get settled until the refs cave.  Roger Goodell and the NFL owners have dug in.  There is no way this ends well.  Either the refs cave or someone gets killed on the field. Helmet to helmet contact is running rampant because none of the players or coaches have any respect for the replacements.

We didn't cover everything here, but it has become too long already.  More later

Friday, September 21, 2012

2012 NFL Week 3 Survivor Pick

Our pick of New England last week turned out to be a big flop.  We were tempted to take the Giants, hindsight being 20/20 and all, should have.  That one was also too close for comfort.

Everything that says you should pick a team aligned with the Patriots/Cardinals game last week.  Double digit home favorite.  Inter-conference opponent.  West Coast (almost) team going east in an early start time.  Every cliche in the book is apropos here.  Any given Sunday.  That's why they play games.  Etc.

Ninety nine times out of 100, we would make the same pick.  These things happen.  So we are officially out (as is close to 50% of the field).  However, this will not stop us from further analysis.  So on to Week 3.

Stay Far, Far Away
Tampa Bay (+8) @ Dallas - After last week's meltdown in the Pacific Northwest by the Cowboys and Tampa's near upset of NYG, we're just not comfortable going with the home favorite here.

Jacksonville (+3) @ Indianapolis - We have absolutely no idea what may happen in this game. Two young QBs on bad teams.  Nuff said.

NYJ (-1.5) @ Miami - Division game.  Favorite on the road.  We don't think the Jets are as good as they think they and the Dolphins are as bad as everyone thinks they are.

Cincinnati (+3) @ Washington - This game is way too evenly matched to risk a pick.  That is all.

Detroit (-3.5) @ Tennessee - Never pick against Detroit.  Never trust Detroit unless you have to.  We think the Lions will pull it out, but would not risk it.  Chris Johnson could figure out how to run at any moment, we would hate for it to be this week if we picked Detroit.

Philadelphia (-3) @ Arizona - The Eagles and Mike Vick have been very, very lucky the past two weeks.  The Cards are a very good defensive team.  Their offense, however, leaves much to be desired.

Atlanta (+3) @ San Diego - This is pretty much a pick 'em.  Nothing to see here.  Move on.

Pittsburgh (-3.5) @ Oakland - James Harrison and Troy Polamalu are out for the Steelers.  Enough of a reason for us to stay away.

Houston (-2) @ Denver - Peyton Manning will not throw three picks again.  The Texans are going from sea level to altitude.  We think the line is too tight and that Houston will prevail, but there are better options.

New England (+2.5) @ Baltimore - Both teams coming off games they could have (should have?) won.  This should be a great game to watch.  Not a great game to pick.

Green Bay (-3) @ Seattle - Strange things happen in the Pacific Northwest.  The Seahawks defense is good. The Packers have not looked like world beaters up to this point.

Looks Good on Paper
Kansas City (+8.5) @ New Orleans - We confess, this should be a walk in the park for the Saints.  Should be.  The Chiefs have been blown out twice.  But the New Orleans defense has been a sieve.  A game between to 0-2 teams is not where we want to put our faith in Week 3.

Worth a Look
St. Louis (+7) @ Chicago - A lot of people are down on the Bears and Jay Cutler.  Sam Bradford and the Rams looked pretty good against the Redskins last week. Chicago has three extra days.  And they're a pretty darn good football team.

Buffalo (-3) @ Cleveland - What is that you say?  You think we're crazy?  Maybe.  Or maybe like a fox.  This is tough week to pick.  We think that debacle against the Jets was an aberration for the Bills. They are better than that.  The Browns are..........well, the Browns.  Brandon Weeden may or may turn out to be a good NFL QB.  Right now he is not.

San Francisco (-7) @ Minnesota - The 'Niners may be the best team in the NFC.  This game screams trap. But Jim Harbaugh is the coach.  Yes, it's a road game.  But are the alternatives any more attractive?

The Pick
This, my friends, is a tough week to call.  We are a bit conflicted.  New Orleans should be the pick, but they have been a hot mess thus far. Jay Cutler is hard to trust with the Bears. Buffalo, really?  That's how tough this week is.  San Francisco on the road.

Wow.  We really want go with the Bills, but in the end, San Fran is the pick.  We just don't see the 'Niners having a meltdown in Minnesota.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Texas Rangers Fans Hatred of CJ Wilson Unfounded

We have been dyed-in-the-wool Texas Rangers fans long before Al Gore invented the internet.  In fact, we've been around for all of the past 40 years of Rangers baseball (though we were too young to remember the first few years).

We were there with Ferguson Jenkins, Mike Hargrove, Jeff Burroughs, Toby Harrah, Buddy Bell, Jim Sundberg.  We remember Bump Wills, Odibe McDowell, Gary Gray*, Tom Grieve (as a player).

*Our first Rangers game attended was a double header against the Evil Empire.  Gary Gray hit a walk-off (not yet a term at that point) homer in the bottom of the ninth of the first game.

While the teams of the Juan Gonzalez, Pudge Rodriguez, Kenny Rogers and Rusty Greer era, the first Rangers teams to make a playoff appearance, will always hold a special place in our hearts, the current cast of characters has spoiled Rangers fans who do not have the franchise's long record of futility to reflect upon.

What, you may be asking yourself, does this lesson in nostalgia have to do with CJ Wilson?  That is a good question.

There has been plenty of vitriol spewed in Wilson's general direction by Ranger fans lately.  Sure, a lot of it has to do with him signing with division rival Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim California.  Another good portion comes from his failures in the playoffs.

Let's get one thing straight:  Without CJ Wilson, the Rangers are probably not two time defending American League Champions.

While Wilson is a bit "out there" and can rub people the wrong way, he was an integral part of the past two Ranger teams.  Good-natured fun is one thing.  Out and out hate is another.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The NFL Referee Lockout Will Not End Until the Refs Cave

For everyone calling for the NFL to end this ludicrous lockout of the referees, we would not hold our collective breaths waiting for this to happen.

This thing ends only one way:  the refs caving.

Or, God forbid, a player getting killed because of the incompetence of the replacements.

The NFL claims to care about the fans.  It doesn't.  If it did, we would have at most two preseason games (with no addition of regular season games) and charged a pittance for admission.  As long as fans will allow themselves to be screwed over in order to obtain season tickets, all the moaning and groaning in the world will not change things.

The NFL responds to one thing:  the size of its collective wallet.  If fans cannot hit the NFL in the pocketbook, nothing else matters.  The NFL will not care about the fans until the fans no longer care about the NFL.  Now, that's a wicked catch 22, is it not?

This referee lockout cannot hurt the NFL. Sure people could stop watching on television.  But the television rights are locked into place.  The refs will cave long before the next negotiating window and all will be long forgotten.  Besides, we don't think the NFL will lose viewers because of this.  It's like a train wreck.  You can't help but look even if it may disgust you.

Until and unless fans can make a dent in the NFL's revenue, we are stuck with whatever the NFL force feeds us every week.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Can Faith Hill Just Let Janis Rest in Peace?

We were watching some country music fest on ABC earlier and caught Faith Hill doing "Piece of My Heart".  This begs the question: Why?  First, here is the music video to document the original hatchet job Hill did on this classic song.

While the live version we saw tonight was not near this bad, it still wasn't good.  The above video caused us never to take any of Ms. Hill's music seriously.  Maybe she has been performing this live for years.  Maybe her fans like it.  But for the love of everything right and good in the world, please stop this atrocity and let Janis Joplin have some peace.

Which reminds us, exactly when was the last time Faith Hill was relevant?  Sure she has the whole Sunday Night Football gig.  With a Joan Jett song.  At least Hank Jr. used his own song.  Watching her tonight trying to do her best Carrie Underwood was sad at best.  Really more pathetic than anything else.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana-Monroe, Auburn and Tyler Wilson

Strange things happen in college football.  We love that.  In our personal lives, we prefer more order, but as far as college football is concerned, the more chaos, the better.

Just consider this scenario.  If Arkansas somehow defeats Alabama Saturday and Louisiana-Monroe beats Auburn, where does that leave the CFB landscape?

OK, we know these are fanciful projections, but stranger things have happened.

In the minds of poll voters, is ULM suddenly a top five team?  Was Alabama vastly overrated?  Did the Razorbacks just have one bad game?

And what if all this happens without Tyler Wilson playing for Arkansas?  The Razorback brass has gone all Fight Club on the Wilson discussions.

Things will probably fall neatly into place with the Crimson Tide handling Arkansas and Auburn bringing ULM back to earth.

But one can dream.  That is what makes CFB so exciting week to week.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

More Chik-Fil-A Madness

OK, I was made aware of this via Twitter.  Apparently there is a professor at Angelo State University (yeah, that's a little close to home, as in the place I live) that would like to get the Chik-Fil-A removed from ASU's University Center.  Because, as her email states, "as Angelo State University’s faculty, we strive to create a campus environment in which GLBT students are welcome. Therefore, I hope that you will join in sending a message to the ASU community that faculty here support their GLBT students by petitioning our president:

“to remove Chick-fil-A’s food service from the Housto
n Harte University Center and thus to encourage a welcoming atmosphere for GLBT students on the Angelo State University campus.”

If you would like to sign the petition form, which will be circulated among faculty this semester, please reply to this email."

This comes from Dr. Linda Kornasky, Professor of English, Chair of Gender Studies Committee, Angelo State University.

I wonder how welcoming an atmosphere abounds in Dr. Kornasky's classroom with people whose view do not line up with hers?

Here is the facebook page for ASU students who wish to support Chik-Fil-A

We thought this whole silliness had passed.  This, however is ludicrous.  

NFL Survivor Pick: 2012 Week Two

This week's pick will come a bit earlier than normal as the Cheap Seats prepare to actually occupy some seats this weekend at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Week 2 in the NFL season is almost as hard to call as Week 1.  The trick is to not get too caught up in what happened in Week 1, either good or  bad.  Too small of a sample size to glean any real knowledge.

Since this is our first foray in providing a weekly analysis, we are still tweaking the format.  Should we continue to provide commentary on each game?  We think, yes.  While it may seem frivolous at this point, it will become much more important as the season progresses and more and more teams come off your board each week.

A bit more on our philosophy:  We scour the web for recommendations from so-called experts.  Take these recommendations into careful consideration.  Use our own personal knowledge.  Then come to a conclusion.  We would be remiss if we did not look for other recommendations before making our own.  There are many opinions out there.  Ours is but one.

Wouldn't Touch with a Ten Foot Pole
Kansas City (+3) @ Buffalo - Both teams miserably under-achieved in the first week.  Which team, if either turns it around?  We don't know.

New Orleans (-2.5) @ Carolina -  Division game with the favorite on the road.  Still don't know what to make of the Saints with all the off-season drama.  Will Cam Newton have a sophomore slump for the Panthers?  Maybe, maybe not..  But the  first week was not kind.

Minnesota (-1.5) @ Indianapolis - Andrew Luck played like a rookie in his first start for the Colts.  Even with Adrian Peterson apparently at full strength, the Vikings are just not that good.

Oakland (-3) @ Miami -  The Raiders are probably better than the Dolphins, but are making a big time zone jump.  Ryan Tannehill may or may not be as bad as he performed last week against Houston.

Baltimore (+2.5) @ Philadelphia - Not real sure why Philly is favored after that atrocious game last week in Cleveland.  And the Ravens looked pretty good against Cincy.

Washington (-3) @ St. Louis -  As good as Robert Griffin III was against New Orleans last week, remember, he is still a rookie.  Not enough trust yet for us.

Dalllas (-3) @ Seattle -  This may look like a good pick, but it's a long trip for the Cowboys and strange things can happen in the Pacific Northwest.

Denver (+3) @ Atlanta -  Still not enough data on either team for us.  Also, it's the Monday nighter, which we try to avoid.

Looks Good on Paper
Cleveland (+7) @ Cincinnati - This may be the best chance to pick the Bengals all year.  But this is a division game and goofy things happen in division games.  Were this game played later in the season with less options available, we may have recommended it. But this being Survivor, it's too early to risk it.

Houston (-7) @ Jacksonville - We avoid picking road teams when possible.  And this could possibly be a trap game for the Texans, who have the Peyton Manning led Broncos next  week.

Tennessee (+6) @ San Diego - Long trip for the Titans.  This almost makes it to one our recommended games, but we still don't trust the Chargers.

NY Jets (+5) @ Pittsburgh - We don't get it.  Some sites are recommending picking the Steelers this week.  We don't know if the Jets are that good or Buffalo is that bad.  Same goes with the Broncos who beat the Steelers. Also Pittsburgh is coming off a short week.  In good conscience, we cannot recommend this game.

Detroit (+7) @ San Francisco - The Niners are good.  The Lions are not as bad (Matthew Stafford) as last week indicated.  San Fran might have a bit of a let down after the Green Bay game last week. Detroit has something to prove.  This is not a bad pick, just not one we would make in Week 2.

Our Recommendations
Arizona (+13.5) @ New England - This is obviously the safest pick of the week.  Also the biggest spread of the week.  The Patriots have much more future value than any other team.  This is obviously the first opportunity to use some strategy in you pool.

Tampa Bay (+7) @ NY Giants - The Giants have had extra time to work out the kinks that caused their season-opening loss to Dallas in the Wednesday nighter.  The Bucs looked better than expected in their win over Carolina.  Josh Freeman looked more like the Josh Freeman of 2010 than 2011, which is a good sign.  But I don't see the defending Super Bowl champs starting 0-2 at home.

The Pick
Houston is off the board for us as that was our Week 1 pick.  While we are awfully tempted to go with the G-Men, New England is our pick.  While we may wish we had the Patriots later in the season, nothing is guaranteed, so we will go with the pick that gives us the best chance to survive.  Besides if, heaven forbid, Brady were to go down sometime in the next few weeks, all that future value goes out the window.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

NFL Survivor Pick: Week 2 Preliminary

If there is anything that comes close to the Week One trepidation in picking NFL Survivor pools, it is Week Two.  The key is not to over react to anything that happened in Week One.  Week Two is still a time to play it safe in our opinion.

We will have full analysis later this week, but with the NFL playing Thursday games most weeks, we want to  give some quick picks before the Thursday games in case your picks are due before the first game of the week.

As for the Thursday night game, Chicago/Green Bay?  Stay away.  The Packers will probably be better than their season-opening loss to San Francisco indicated and are early 5 1/2 point favorites over the Bears.  With the short week, this is one to stay away from this early in the season.

The safest pick this week is New England over Arizona.  Others worth considering are NYG over Tampa, San Francisco over Detroit, Houston over Jacksonville and Cincinnati over Cleveland.

If you want to just survive this week and not worry about any considerations later in the season, then the Patriots are your pick.  Depending the level of risk you're comfortable with, the Giants are a good play.  This may be the only time that the Bengals will be a good play all season, but it is a division game.  The Niners could come down a bit after the big win over Green Bay and the Lions should be better (Matt Stafford we're talking to you) than the squeaker they pulled out in week one.  The Texans should win, but are on the road.

The detailed analysis along with our pick will come later this week.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Two Facebook Pet Peeves

We realize this will mostly fall on deaf ears, but if one person gets the message, then the world will be a better place.

Facebook friends, if all you have to contribute to the political discussion is to post links to websites and/or stories that share your views or political cartoons that you  agree with, then don't bother.  The number of minds that have been changed by this can be counted on zero fingers.  Besides all it gets from me is your posts being hidden.  So, you have effectively accomplished less than nothing.

On anther topic, I don't have my birth date published for a reason.  Stop requesting me to be added to your birthday calendar or whatever.  I don't need a bunch of random acquaintances filling up my timeline with empty birthday wishes.  While it's a nice gesture and all, if you don't know me well enough to have my number to be able to text or call with birthday wishes, then don't bother.

What an Incredible US Open to End the Tennis "Season"

OK, I guess it's official. The "Big Four" that is.

Andy Murray finally won that elusive major.  Each of the Big Four (Murray, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer) won a major title in 2012.  Murray also won the Olympics title.

In the Cheap Seats, we are exhausted, as fans, after a long and exhilarating year.  We cannot even imagine how the players must feel.  But, alas, there is still tennis to be played.  Really, though, tennis should have an offseason  between the end of the US Open and the e start of the Australian Open.  Why not culminate with the last major of the year, then let everyone take a well-deserved break.

Let the players recuperate.  Let the fans catch their breath.  Start back up in late December/early January with Aussie Open tune-up tournaments.  Tennis has never been better world-wide than it is right now.  Let us not run it into the ground.  A true offseason is needed more now than ever before

Personally, we are going to take a break.  We only wish the players could do the same.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

College Football Uniforms: The Good, Bad & Mostly Ugly

Sometimes things just beg to be ridiculed.  Here in the Cheap Seats, we are more than happy to oblige.

With this new found proliferation of hideous-looking uniforms in college football on a weekly basis, this kind of thing cannot be ignored.  We intend to provide you with  a recap of the worst faux pas each week right here in the Cheap Seats.

We were really hoping this wouldn't be necessary.  But, alas, no one knows when to leave well enough alone.

We will start this week with the Missouri Tigers.  Fox Sports columnist Jen Floyd Engel, (twitter @engeljen), a Mizzou alum said it best when she tweeted "Dear Football Watching Peeps, Missourians do not as habit dress this abysmally. Also Mizzou is black-gold not dirt-mustard."

Nothing really hideous about the Stanford look.  Just that it's not.........Stanford.  Stanford has always been scarlet and white.  The all black is actually a good look, it's just not Stanford.  And we really don't care for the flat look on helmets.

Usually looking good and on the cutting edge of stylish unis are the Oregon Ducks.  Today, not so much.  The silver and highlighter look just doesn't do it for us.

Texas A&M did not look bad, but what was with the wide striped on the unis?  And the grey facemasks?  In comparison, those are minor infractions, but we have grown up with A&M and white facemasks.  And none of those silly wide stripes. Just makes no sense.

On the positive side, Virginia looked quite snazzy in the orange headgear.  And we go back a week to give huge props to Georgia Tech and that sweet honeycomb look they broke out against Virginia Tech (who, by the way, need to ditch the orange jerseys).

Granted, we didn't get to see all of the good, bad and ugly this weekend, but we'll try to do better in the future.  We now hereby proclaim #CFBUniWatch as the official twitter hashtag for college football uniforms, both good and bad.

Bad Week for the UTSA and US Open

Bad, no awful, few days for the USTA.  First, in an indefensible move, they suspend the number one junior player in world, Taylor Townsend.  Tom Perrotta does a fantastic job of explaining it here and has a great piece with Lindsay Davenport and Martina Navratilova here.  Therefore,  we won't discuss it any further in the Cheap Seats.

But we will expound on the USTA's second boneheaded move this week, well third if you count stretching the first round of the US Open over three days, but that is not pertinent to this discussion.

The men's final will again be played on Monday in 2012.  This has happened way too often recently.  This year it could have been avoided.  Here we pause to give credit to the USTA for getting one thing rioght - suspending play during a severe weather alert.  That, my friends, was a no-brainer.

However, before play was suspended, both men's semis should have been in the books.  When you have a weather window, you get in as many matches as possible.  Simultaneous semis on Ashe and Armstrong was the play here.  You're probably not going to get in the women's final, but that's not a huge deal.  Really, who among tennis fans would not like to see a men's and women's double header final on the last day of the tournament?

I realize there are ticket issues and TV issues at stake when you start monkeying with the schedule, but now there are even bigger issues because they weren't dealt with initially.  I know of at least one market where the men's Monday final was not shown because the local affiliate, either by contract or a local decision.

There needs to be some changes made before the 2013 US Open.

Does MTV Even Play Videos Anymore?

That's the first thing that came to our minds after accidentally stumbling upon a replay of the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards.  That seems odd programming for a channel that hasn't shown an actual music video in years.

Yeah, we're older and grumpier, more nostalgic and delusional about the past, so you can take all this with a grain of salt.

Seriously, we had no clue that this particular awards show was still in existence.  We suppose, were we in the 15-24 demographic (is that even a real demographic?), we might actually be aware of and maybe even be able to feign some semblance of caring about the VMAs.  However, alas, we are not.  The three minutes that we did see was, well, just asinine.  Alcohol and drugs kill brain cells.  In those three minutes of viewing, our brain cells were attempting suicide.

When MTV plays another video, will someone please alert us.  But if they play them late at night, don't bother.  We are already in bed.  Have to be up early to yell at that the  kids to get off our damned lawn.  In the meantime we'll be watching That Metal Show and MetalMania on VH1 Classic.

Friday, September 7, 2012

NFL Survivor Pool Pick: 2012 Week One

Want our week one pick for our NFL Survivor Pool?   Well, you're going to have to read through some highly informative and mildly entertaining analysis to get to it (or just scroll to the bottom, whichever you prefer).  And it might not even be highly informative.

We hate week one.  The preseason is useless for predicting what will happen in the regular season.  Well, the preseason is actually useless for more reasons than but that's another post.  Nobody knows who will surprise by being better than expected or which team with high expectations will lay an egg.

If at all possible, our strategy is not to pick road teams or games involving teams in the same division.  That is not always possible, but it is a good place to start.

Not Touching with a Ten Foot Pole:
Atlanta (-3) @ Kansas City - Road game for the Falcons.  This one is just doesn't make sense in a survivor setting.  Much better choices.

Jacksonville (+3) @ Minnesota - Both of these have so many issues.  The Viking's Adrian Peterson (off-season surgery) and the Jaguar's Maurice Jones-Drew (holdout), each team's start running back, will not be at full strength.

Pittsburgh (+1.5) @ Denver - The Peyton Manning era begins in Denver.  Who knows what to expect.  Out of either team actually.

Buffalo (+3) @ NY Jets - What a hot mess the NYJ QB situation is.  The Bills spent the offseason getting better (at least on paper).  No thank you.

Seattle (-3) @ Arizona - Rookie QB for the Seahawks.  Never know what to expect in that situation.  Plus the favorite is on the road.

Carolina (-3) @ Tampa Bay - Division game with the favorite on the road.  Nuff said.

San Diego (+1.5) @ Oakland -  We don't even know what to say about this game.  Therefore, we will stay far, far away.

Kinda Looks Good on Paper:
San Francisco (+5) @ Green Bay - The Pack at Lambeau is usually a pretty good choice.  But the 'Niners play tough defense and there are safer picks out there.

New England (-5.5) @ Tennessee - The Tom Brady led Patriots are, well, the Patriots.  They're good.  But they're also on the road.  Tennessee is not horrible.  But still, no need to risk that much in week one.

Cincinnati (+6.5) @ Baltimore - Division game.  Plus, we don't thing the Ravens are as good as last year's record indicated.

More Than a Touchdown Favorites:
Philadelphia (-9.5) @ Cleveland - This should not be close, but..........we don't trust Michael Vick to stay healthy at any point in the season. Who's to say what could happen if he goes down?  Plus, this a road game for the favorite.  It's probably safe enough, but this is week one.

Indianapolis (+9.5) @ Chicago - The Colts without Manning last year were awful.  Now Indy puts their trust in the hands of rookie Andrew Luck.  How good is Luck?  Pretty darn good.  But this is the NFL.  We don't like venturing into the unknown when we can help it.

St. Louis (+8) @ Detroit - This is the first of two games that we really like.  The Rams are better, probably good enough to cover the spread, but we still like Detroit to win.  The only caveat is, these are the Lions.  But they are not your father's Lions.

Miami (+11.5) @ Houston - The only double digit spread of the week.  The Texans' are many people's Super Bowl pick.  The Dolphins seem to be in a state of disarray.  This may be as close to a sure thing as there is this week.

Washington (+8) @ New Orleans - We could have easily put this in another section, but the spread precludes us from doing so.  But do not touch this game.  Don't even think about it.  The Saints are without their head coach and defensive coordinator from last season.  There is the whole bounty situation hanging over their heads.  RGIII will be the starting QB for the Redskins, and who knows what he'll do.  See Cam Newton from last year.  This game just has too many variables for week one.

The Pick:
The name of the of game is Survivor, so the goal is to survive.  For us, it comes down to Houston or Detroit.  Houston seems like the surest thing (as least as much as there can be in the NFL), but we hate using such a good team in week one.  On the other hand, Detroit is still Detroit and that scares us.  So, from the Cheap Seats, we will go with Houston in week one.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Del Potro Handles a Tough Situation With Class

It had to be tough.  Knowing you were about to end someone's career.  Not only that, but on your opponents home turf.

Such was the task for Juan Martin Del Potro defeating Andy Roddick in his last match.

There are going to be many, many recaps of Roddick's fine career littering the web in the next 24 hours.  Here in the Cheap Seats, we will mostly concur with everything written.  While Andy has not been our favorite, we have always been a fan. He carried the American men's tennis torch by himself for many years.

Here we want to give some love to Del Potro.  After he ended Roddick's career, what ensued was one of the classiest demonstrations I have seen in sport.  DelPo did not fist pump, he did not celebrate. He slowly walked to the net and embraced Roddick, had a brief exchange and took a seat.

By this time, Del Potro had won over most of the crowd with his demeanor.  With his on court interview, we think he won many new fans.

Del Potro could easily have been the villain, just by being the guy who ended Roddick's career.  The way he handled himself at the end of the match quashed any of that.  We have always liked Del Potro.  Now he may have become one of our favorites.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

US Open 2012: Roddick survives for another day

Andy Roddick's farewell US Open lives one more day.  With play suspended due to rain with Roddick and Juan Martin Del Potro just starting a first set tie-breaker, the rains came.  Roddick won the first point of the tie-break, so Del Potro will be serving down 0-1 when play resumes.

Who does this favor?  We think both players, to a certain degree.  Roddick alrealy leading the tie-break, has the first set advantage in our opinion.  However, with the urgency with which Del Potro left the grounds at Flushing Meadows, maybe the delay will give him a chance to get himself together.

This match leaves us here in the Cheap Seats somewhat conflicted.  While we are on record as predicting a surprise Del Potro US Open championship, how can we really root against Roddick?  Wouldn't another major title in his final tournament be the ultimate farewell?

Match of the Tournament
Victoria Azarenka's three set victory over defending champion Samantha Stosur in a thrid set tie-break (7-5) was the match of the tournament thus far.  Men or women.  After so many lop-sided matches (especially in prime time) this was a great match.

Rain, rain go away
Where we live, rain and more rain would be a welcome site.  At the US Open, not so much.  And while they  can't control the atmosphere, the UTSA deserves some blame here if the men's final ends up being on a Monday once again.

First and foremost, the idiotic three day first round.  Weather permitting, let's get everyone into the second round by end of play on the first Tuesday.  Give yourselves some leeway for when the almost inevitable weather comes.  I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express at some point in my life.  That makes an expert on pretty much everything.

Monday, September 3, 2012

2012 US Open: A strange first week

The first week (and a little more) of the 2012 US Open is behind us, and, quite frankly, it's been just a little strange.

Not so much the actual tennis, for the most part the usual suspects are still around, but just the whole feel of it.  With this being the last hurrahs of Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters, the entire event has been a kind of nostalgic, feel-good tournament.  The on-court interviews after every match have turned into a tribute to the two retirees.

Not that it has been a bad thing.  Roddick and Clijsters deserve all the good things being said about them.  It has just brought about a different kind of aura to the event.

Serena is Scary Good
Since Serena Williams surprise dismissal in the second round of the French Open, she has been playing frighteningly well.  I don't know that I have ever seen a player that looks like so outclassed the competition before.  Serena was quoted as saying her opponent on Monday played well.  Her opponent failed to win a game.  Imagine if she had not played well.

It would require a complete meltdown by Serena for her to lose a match right now.  But we have seen that happen before.  However, I would not count on that happening at this point in time.

Isner is what he is
John Isner has a huge serve and huge forehand.  Not much defense.  If a set doesn't go to a tiebreak, one break either way usually decides it.  That is Isner.  A top 15 player.  With that huge serve, probably for long time.  We don't see him ever getting to the point where he can win a major.

Isner will play a ton of matches that go the distance (whether that be three or five sets) against good players. He will lose as many as he wins.  Because it all revolves around one service break or the tie breaker.

Georgia Tech wins the Uniform Battle over Virginia Tech

Just before halftime of the Georgia Tech/Virginia Tech game, I have come to this indisputable conclusion:  Georgia Tech has one win already whatever the outcome of the actual game.

Those honeycomb inspired unis are sweet.  Virginia Tech's orange and maroon mashup, not so much.

This is sweet:

Sunday, September 2, 2012

2012 NFL Survivor Pool

Here in the Cheap Seats, we have entered an NFL Survivor Pool for the third year (first time since the blog started) and will be keeping everyone abreast of our picks, reasoning and results.  Let it be know right up front, we have not done well the two previous years, although it wasn't entirely our fault.  Yeah, right.

For those unfamiliar with Survivor games, it's really quite simple.  Everyone in the game puts up an entry fee. Last person still alive wins the whole thing.

How the game works:
Everyone entered person picks one team to win their game that week.  The team you pick wins, you survive.  Your team loses, you're out.  But the catch is that you can only pick a team one time per season.  Sure it would have been real nice to pick New England every week during their 16-0 regular season.  But once you pick a team to win, you can not pick that team again.  Ever.  Until next season.

The first week always scares us.  We don't really know what to expect.  There are always the surprise teams that come out of nowhere and the disappointing teams that fall on their face.  The pre-season is of no help whatsoever.

We are definitely not touching Wednesday night's opener between Dallas and NYG.  We try to stay away from divisional games as much as possible anyway, but this being the season opener on national television in the middle of the week with no precedence to go on?  Staying far, far away.

We have not done well in past seasons, so don't take these posts as advice.  Just another information source to glean a sliver of knowledge from.  We will try to have our picks in by Friday, with how we reached the conclusion.

Alabama and Michigan Thoughts

The Crimson Tide totally dominated the Wolverines on Saturday.  The much anticipated matchup between two top ten teams from different conferences was a big disappointment, right?

Well, not so much.  Yes, it was nice to see a matchup of two highly rated teams, but this game was highly over-hyped.  Michigan was over-rated, without it's top RB, and over-rated.  Sure the Wolverines are coming off of a 10-2 season and an impressive bowl win, but they are nowhere near a top echelon team.

Alabama is coming off of a BCS bowl trophy season and is rebuilding or reloading on defense (whichever term you prefer).  Also their offense is much more experienced in all facets except RB.  And have we mentioned that Michigan was over-rated?

There is way too much football yet to be played to anoint the Tide as the favorites to repeat.  So in the words of ESPN's Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my friend".