This Week in Betting, A to Z
by Trevor Whenham - 10/30/2007
A - A-Rod. The World Series wasn't even over before this guy was right in there making everything all about him again. There is no player I enjoy watching more, and no player that I enjoy hearing about less. To be fair, though, $25 million a year doesn't buy what it used to. Between this mess and Kobe I bet I will be incredibly sick of hearing about the search for new teams pretty soon. Actually, I already am.
B - Boston College. Matt Ryan and company are getting a ton of credit for their late comeback against Virginia Tech on Thursday night which cemented their No. 2 spot in the polls. Though it was unquestionably impressive, the other question that needs to be asked is why did the Eagles suck so badly for the first 55 minutes of the game? Virginia Tech is good, but not that good.
C - Curlin. Wow! As people who read what I write know, I have been very high on this horse (alright, I have had a gigantic, platonic bestial crush on him) since he hit the track in the spring. I was very nervous coming into the Classic, though, because the field was deep. It didn't matter - he crushed the life out of the competition. The track was terrible, but it wouldn't have mattered if it was perfect the way he ran that race. A great champion, though one we sadly will likely not see again.
D - Dawgs. College basketball season hasn't even started yet, and Georgia is already in trouble. Their leading scorer, Takais Brown, had already been suspended for the first nine games of the year, and now he has been kicked off the team for undisclosed violations of team policy. College sports wouldn't be college sports these days without guys doing what they aren't supposed to do.
E - Edwards, Braylon. As I was watching parts of the surprisingly entertaining Cleveland-St. Louis game on Sunday I was struck by something - Braylon Edwards is really, really good. He's quietly and legitimately become a top 10 receiver (and maybe more). Derek Anderson has been a great story, but a lot of his success is owed to the catches Edwards has made, and to the constant distraction he is to opposing defenses. I'm not surprised, of course - he is a Michigan man, after all.
F - Fantastically wealthy. Tony Romo has been playing like he is the real deal, and now he is being paid like he is, too. His new six year, $67 million dollar contract, which will be announced on Tuesday, is two million dollars more than Marc Bulger signed for earlier this year. Here's hoping that he isn't nearly as nearly as bad as Bulger has been now that the money is in the bank.
G - Graham Harrell. The Texas Tech QB was one of the great stories of the first half of the college season, but his light has definitely dimmed in recent weeks. After throwing for 31 touchdowns and three interceptions in his first seven games, he has just three touchdowns in his last two, and he has had four interceptions in each game. Obviously he wasn't ready for the step up in competition to Missouri and Colorado.
H - Hard Spun. One last time this year I feel the need to celebrate this horse. He didn't get the attention of the bigger stars in the Classic like Curlin, Street Sense and Lawyer Ron, but he was arguably (and it's a strong argument) the second best horse in the division this year. He was competitive in all three Triple Crown races, he put together wins over the summer, including the solid beating he laid on Street Sense at the Kentucky Cup, and he held up to a brutal pace at the start of the Classic. Any Given Saturday and Lawyer Ron crumpled under the strain, but only Curlin could catch Hard Spun. I tip my hat.
I - Indianapolis. The Colts pounded Vinny and his kitties, but am I the only one who thought that the Colts left a lot to be desired? Manning was just 14-of-30 passing, nearly 14 percent lower than his previous low completion percentage for the season. The offense was obviously fine, but not what it can be. It became very obvious how much Manning relies on Marvin Harrison (he was out with an injury), and how much trouble they would be in if Joseph Addai were injured.
J - Jimmie Johnson. The Chase just got much more interesting. Johnson won at Atlanta, and Gordon struggled to a seventh place finish, so Johnson is now only nine points behind Gordon in the standings with three races left. They are both far ahead of Clint Bowyer, who stands in third, so it's a two-horse race. It should be interesting, but it would be way more interesting if they weren't teammates for Hendrick Motorsports.
K - Kentucky. Cinderella lost her glass slipper a few weeks ago, but now it has been shattered into a million pieces and driven over by a bulldozer. A loss is one thing, but a loss to Mississippi State is unacceptable when you are trying to be an elite team. What I want to know is where was that Mississippi State team last week when I bet that they would cover against West Virginia?
L - Lahudood. Neither Invasor nor Jazil, two stars from last racing season, were at the Breeders' Cup this year following their retirements, but their owners, Shadwell Stables, had a very good day thanks to this horse, the winner of the Filly and Mare Turf. At $25.40 to win, she was the highest priced winner on the board on a day that was decidedly lacking in the ultra-longshots that we have grown used to in recent years at the BC.
M - Michigan. For a long time I wasn't talking about my team at all, but now they are 7-2, up to No. 15 in the polls and No. 12 in the BCS standings, the loss against Oregon is looking better and better every week, and the Big Ten is completely in their grasp. The world needs to take note that we won by 24 this week without our star quarterback or Heisman-hopeful running back. Just ignore that the win was over Minnesota.
N - Nebraska. Is it possible for a college team to fold? I'm not sure things could get much worse for this proud school after a promising start. They had Texas on the ropes, up 17-3 in the third quarter, but let that slip away. On top of it all, quarterback Sam Keller is now out for the season with a shoulder injury. Good times may be ahead for the Huskers, but they are way, way in the future.
O - Out of control. Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Randy Jones was suspended for two games for trying to send Boston's Patrice Bergeron into next week with a vicious hit. That would barely be notable if weren't for the fact that Jones is the third Flyers' player to have been suspended for viciousness so far this year. The suspensions total 47 games so far. That's impressive work considering that the season is only 10 games old.
P - Perriloux, Ryan. What a total moron. The LSU backup QB is as talented as a guy can be, but his head is shoved firmly somewhere where it should be physically impossible to shove it. He got in a fight with some bouncers on Friday night and has been suspended for the game against Alabama on Saturday. This is just the latest dumb move for a guy who seems determined to piss away every opportunity he gets.
Q - Quite misleading. The Chargers got an emphatic and much needed win, but it shouldn't be taken as a sign that the often-dormant San Diego offense is back in full force despite the 35 points. Two of the touchdowns were scored by cornerback Antonio Cromartie. They only ran for 109 yards as a team, and Phillip Rivers only completed seven passes (three for touchdowns, mind you). Antonio Gates had a great game, and Chris Chambers is paying off already, but the offense still has a long way to go.
R - Road Warriors. The Carolina Panthers are 4-0 on the road, and 0-3 at home. How is that even possible? Actually, the surprising part is that they have four wins at all, given the fact that Vinny Testaverde, the 500-year-old quarterback, is deemed the salvation. Is there anyone that was at all surprised that he couldn't physically hold up under the strains of the game? The only thing more certain than his injury was that his team was going to get waxed by Indy.
S - Slop. The conditions for the Breeders' Cup were three steps past disgusting. Though the day still provided exceptional racing, the mud and the cranberry bog that was the turf course unquestionably affected some of the top runners. Dylan Thomas was never a factor in the turf, Street Sense faltered despite having an open lane along the rail, Smokey Stover quit in the Sprint, and Passage of Time was unhappy in the Filly and Mare Turf. And those were just from among the horses I picked. Still three favorites won, and three other winners were near the lowest odds in their races.
T - Tampa Bay. I like Jeff Garcia a lot, but the Bucs cannot call themselves a legitimate contender, no matter how unimpressive their division is, if they get beat by Quinn Gray. The Jacksonville QB got all sorts of buzz last year, but he has looked as average and uninspiring as a quarterback can possibly look so far this year.
U - USC. What's worse for the Trojans - that they were the underdogs for the first time in six years when they played Oregon on Saturday, or that they clearly deserved to be? I'm guessing that Pete Carroll badly wishes that he had listened to what the Arizona Cardinals were trying to sell him last year. He could have gone out at (or near the top) and left the decline for someone else. It worked well for Bobby Petrino. Except for landing in Atlanta, I guess.
V - Vrabel, Mike. New England linebacker Mike Vrabel had his 10th reception and his 10th touchdown on Sunday against Washington. Now, I'm far from a defensive coordinator, but I suspect that it would make good sense, when Vrabel checks into the game on offense, to cover him in the endzone. He couldn't possibly have been more wide open.
W - War Pass. Meet your early Kentucky Derby favorite. His win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile was impressive, and ensured that he will get the lion's share of the buzz over the winter. He would have got lots of attention anyway, but since Street Sense won the Juvenile and the Derby the curse is dead, and what War Pass has ahead of him is legitimately possible. Get ready to hear a lot about his Dosage, though - at 4.09 it is a bit too high when compared to most Derby winners. If you don't know what that means then you have lots of time to learn - May is months away.
X - eXtremely bad. The NFL's foray to London obviously sold tickets, but it was a disaster on many levels. That field, or pitch, or whatever you want to call it was the worst I have ever seen. It was ridiculous. That's the reason being given for why Eli only threw for 58 yards. I'd be more interested in knowing why he looked so disinterested all day. I was bored because I was watching Miami, but surely it was more interesting being at the game.
Y - Yawn. After a playoff season that was absolutely packed with drama and excitement, I don't think I could possibly feel more let down than I did by that World Series. I knew that Boston was obviously the better team, but I was hoping that it would at least be close. Or interesting. Why is it that an entertaining World Series seems like a modern impossibility?
Z - Zzzzz. It's been a while since a week of NFL games has so badly lacked drama. Four games were decided by three touchdowns or more, two more had 10- or 11-point gaps, and decidedly few had much late drama at all. The dull, one-sided games did have one benefit, though - the favorites covered five of the six blowout games, so handicapping was easy. For once, you just had to go with the public.