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Ahead of the Point Spread: Rife With Opinions Week 13

November 27, 2009 under College Football

Gil Lock Shown The Door At Thanksgiving Dinner

The turkey wasn’t the only casualty at the table this week when the Lock family sat down for their holiday ryno rifemeal.  Jill and Pad decided that it was finally time to show the door to their beloved husband and uncle, Gil.  Apparently taking their cue from the administration at Notre Dame, they decided to let Gil know a little of what Charlie Weis has been going through in South Bend.  The clincher was his third consecutive 1-2 weekend that continued to drag down the family record; one that featured Jill’s perfect 4-0 a week ago.  It wasn’t pleasant; Gil was in a cold sweat through most of the meal, but it was necessary.  After all, 1-2 is not what the Locks expected. 

Locks of the Week

Jill Locks (20-8)

Nevada-Boise State over 72.5-

These are two offensive machines that have been very good to me all year.  Boise needs to keep winning in order to secure a BCS bid and Nevada is on an eight game win streak. 

North Carolina -5 over North Carolina State

– The Tar Heels may be playing better than anyone in the ACC right now as Butch Davis has his team clicking on all cylinders headed into the bowl season. 

Clemson +2 1/2 over South Carolina

– I’m thinking Clemson is a dog because the games at South Carolina and they might be caught looking ahead to the ACC title game.  However, the wheels have come off of the Gamecock’s wagon over the last month and they won’t have enough to stem Clemson’s momentum.

Pad Locks (6-4)

Arkansas State-North Texas over 53.5

  My weekly dose of “Arifemetic” as a tribute to my fallen uncle.  Both teams stink and neither has a good defense.

Arizona -2 1/2 over Arizona State-

  Arizona has got to be pretty pissed at blowing their shot at the Rose Bowl last week.  They’ll take it out on an Arizona State squad that is clearly overmatched.

Texas Tech – 22 1/2 over Baylor

–  Since losing QB Robert Griffin, Baylor has lost 6 of 7 and hasn’t even competed over the last two weeks; being outscored by Texas and Texas A&M by a combined 85-17.  Things won’t be easier this week as Texas Tech looks to pad its Bowl resume.

Season Record (37-28-1)

The View from the Cheap Seats

November 25, 2009 under Cheap Seats

New York Giants Owner Mara Upset About Travel

Came out this week that Giants’ owner John Mara is upset that his squad must make the two thousand mile cheap_seats_3_owumtrek to Denver for its Thanksgiving clash with the Broncos.  “I don’t mind playing on Thanksgiving,” Mara said. “My complaint is sending us all the way to Denver on a short week.”  In fact, he was so irked by the scheduling that he filed a complaint with the NFL; which made me wonder.  Is that complaint hotline for the exclusive use of petty, carpetbagging owners that were born on third and thought they hit a triple? Or can it be used by life long season ticket holders being screwed out of their seats by Mara’s Personal Seat Licensing extortion?  Sorry, Johnny, if you’re looking for sympathy, you came to the wrong place.

NFL Football Serves Its Biggest Turkeys On Thanksgiving

Football and Thanksgiving are synonymous in the minds of many sports fans.  Can’t see that continuing into the next generation with an annual NFL slate featuring terrible matchups.  This year, Bruce Goodell’s boys serve up two of their worst;  The Raiders and Lions. Thanks, guys. If you need me, I’ll be watching the Godfather marathon on AMC.

Nets Basketball Fans Don’t Grow In Brooklyn

So, now Nets’ owner Bruce Ratner wins his eminent domain battle to evict homeowners and build his Atlantic Yards empire in Brooklyn.  Got news for you, Brucie.  Brooklynites aren’t dummies and won’t soon be drawn to that mess you call a basketball team.  If you build it, they won’t come unless you can play.

New York Jets Get Defensive With QB Sanchez

If you’re scoring at home, now that Derek Anderson and JaMarcus Russell have been benched, Jets’ QB Mark Sanchez is, officially, the worst starter in the league.  And how does Gang Green plan to address this?  With Head Coach Rex Ryan, hired on the strength of his defensive expertise, taking a more active role in the rookie’s development.  Who knows, maybe Sanchez will be more receptive to a defensive guy seeing as how receptive defenders have been of his passes.  However it works out, it’s another example of the Jets not getting it right.  Last off season, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was a candidate for the head job that eventually went to Ryan.  Amazingly, they decided to retain Schottenheimer.   No team but the Jets would then force an offensive coordinator on a new coach; he’d hire his own guy.  That Sanchez has gotten worse as the season has progressed is an indictment of both the Jets and Schottenheimer but, at least, an indication that they got one right in not hiring him to lead the team.  Hey, when you’re a Jets fan, you have to take your victories where you can find them.

Notre Dame Football Coach On Way Out

After last week’s loss to Connecticut, it’s a foregone conclusion that Notre Dame will pull the plug on the Charlie Weis era.  As they start their search for a replacement, one criterion is more important than any other.  They must sign their first choice for the spot.  The Notre Dame job was once thought of as the greatest in sports.  So much so that Lou Holtz, who coached at a number of schools, always had a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave if the Irish came calling.  But, in recent years, that perception has been diminished; much to Notre Dame’s detriment.  Bob Davie got the job back in 1996 after Gary Barnett thumbed his nose and headed to Colorado.  Before Ty Willingham was brought in, George O’Leary was hired then dismissed due to inaccuracies on his resume.  Then, when Willingham flopped, Urban Meyer was thought to be on his way, only to take the job at Florida and leave Notre Dame with second prize once again.  Given the fact that Weis is due $18 million on his way out the door, I’m wondering if it isn’t a better idea to keep him on until that Dream Coach is available.  It’d certainly be a more productive solution than settling once again.

“Christopher is Well”

About nine years ago, I first met a young man named Chris; at the time, all of eleven years old.  He was a quiet, private kid and remains so to this day which is why I’m only using his first name.  His dad and I worked together on Wall Street and I convinced John to send Chris to the week-long basketball camp upstate where I was a coach.  Every day, during each meal and then again before lights out, I’d check on the kid to make sure things were going well.   Always got the same answer.  “Yeah, fine.”  Nothing more.   By the end of the week, one that saw him take home an All Star trophy, I told John that I wasn’t sure Chris had enjoyed the camp.  “Of course he did”, John said, “he’s just quiet.”

Chris went on to become a classmate of my son in high school.   They were very much alike in many ways and became friends and teammates.   They bonded while playing for a JV coach who worked them hard and challenged them every day and they both responded.   Each came out of his shell and emerged as a productive player; feeding off the confidence of their coach and their faith in all of their teammates.  It was one of those seasons where the record didn’t matter much as all of the young men improved as players and people.   They were each given a nickname as well, and one look at Christopher’s winter-white, freckled face instantly gave him away as the one they called, “Irish.”

About a year after Chris left high school as the captain of the varsity basketball team, we learned that doctors had found a mass in his chest.   Chris would undergo chemotherapy treatment with an uncertain prognosis.   His incredible physical condition, one that had actually masked some symptoms, would allow doctors to aggressively attack the tumor and they started almost immediately.   I remember being terrified for Chris, my friend John, their family and even of telling my own son what had happened.   I’ll always remember the night we went to visit.  Chris was wiped out from a treatment and was actually too weak to even speak.   When I entered the room shortly after my son, I was struck to see these two strong, young men, silently holding each other’s hand.  I won’t ever forget that image.

Six months later, Chris finished his last treatment and was told there were no longer any signs of the tumor.  He showed up at a basketball game at his old school and was mobbed by the many coaches and former classmates so happy that their good friend was doing better.  Given his quiet demeanor, it had to be one of the worst moments of his journey.   But he tolerated it very well.

It’s been a tough five years or so for a lot of us.  I’ve been struggling over the last few weeks to find the spirit of the season and avoid being dragged down emotionally by the difficult times in which I find myself while drawing very little consolation from the fact that I am but one of many going through the same thing.  Then I saw the envelope on the table.  It was big, like a wedding invitation and my first reaction was dread as an expensive gift is certainly not in the budget.   When I opened it, however, my heart was suddenly filled with the happiness of the holiday.  It was a  note from Chris and his family; updating his condition and thanking all for their support.  I had a hard time reading it, however, as my eyes instantly filled up after seeing the first three words:  “Christopher is well.”   Happy Thanksgiving.

The View From The Cheap Seats

November 20, 2009 under Cheap Seats

By Eddie Mayrose

New York Jets In Familiar Position

It’s Groundhog Day for the Jets as the promise of a 3-0 start has been crushed under the weight of a skid that has seen them lose five of cheap_seats_3_their last six and landed them in their annual, mid-season playoff position; outside looking in. This year’s version of  “Same Old Jets” could be a little more interesting than its predecessors, though, as the characters are far more compelling.  Trash talking defenders forced to eat their words because of fourth quarter ineptitude, a color blind quarterback preparing post-game cheat notes for the media and the world’s largest crybaby as the leading man. While the swoon is something all too familiar to their fans, it’s a nice gesture by the Jets to, at least, put a new spin on an old, old story.

Does Punishment Fit The Crime?

Cheap Seats regular and Jets’ season ticket holder, Lou Ricciardi, took his son, Bobby, to Sunday’s Jacksonville debacle and I’m wondering how bad young Bob’s transgression had to be that it required such severe punishment.

CBS Sports Puts Stamp of Approval on Bonehead Play

Was amazed that the play that saw Jaguars’ running back Maurice Jones-Drew take a knee on the one yard line instead of scoring the go-ahead touchdown nthat the Jets were conceding with a minute left in the contest was so well received.  Jags’ coach Jack Del Rio had instructed his star to, essentially, take a dive in order to run down the clock.  As if a field goal was a sure thing and the possibility of a fumble didn’t exist.  This would have been a smart play had Jacksonville been up by a point instead of down.  But, to pass up a certain score that would put you ahead is as ludicrous as the endorsement the play received from CBS analyst Dan Fouts. Had Jacksonville somehow failed to score, Del Rio would’ve had a long week.

New England Patriots’ Bellichick Still A Little Green

While on the subject of coaching blunders, you’d have to look long and hard to find one with results as disastrous as Bill Bellichick’s Sunday night.  Not only did his fourth down gamble hand Peyton Manning the ball just twenty eight yards from a winning score, Belichick also informed his defenders that he has no faith in them. The loss could have serious repercussions come playoff time, especially if it costs New England a home game. When you see a brain cramp like that, you have to wonder if Bellichick stiill suffers some minor effects from his one afternoon as HC of the NYJ.

New York Knicks Mull Signing of Allen Iverson

So now the Knicks are mulling the signing of Allen Iverson which, after ten losses in the first eleven games, seems like a logical, next step  as the season becomes the most disastrous in franchise history.  Selfish, divisive and not nearly as talented as he once was, Iverson is on the verge of becoming the latest act in Donnie Walsh’s expiring-contract sideshow.  Can’t wait for the first time each of Mike D’Antoni’s starters walks on to the court carrying his own ball.

Kelly Tripucka Still An All-Star

Although the Knicks may be completely unwatchable, they’re at least a good listen when Kelly Tripucka is behind the microphone.  His expert analysis and delivery are as smooth as the feathery jumper he displayed during his long NBA career; a career still unjustly snubbed by The Basketball Hall of Fame.

New York Mets Hire Wally Backman to Manage Brooklyn Cyclones

I don’t know much about what caused Wally Backman to step down after just three days as Diamondbacks’ manager in 2004 and even less about what he’s done to address those issues since.  But I’m positive I don’t get to decide that he doesn’t deserve the second chance given him by the Mets as manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones.  I’m also sure that, if Backman does have his life in order, he’s exactly the kind of fiery personality so sorely lacking within the organization.

Ahead of the Point Spread: Rife With Opinions Week 12

November 20, 2009 under College Football


By Eddie Mayrose

Lock Family Continues Winning Ways Despite Gil’s Bungling

It was another 5-4 week for the Locks as they continue to produce winning Saturdays; albeit by the closest of margins.  Once again, ryno-rife5however, it was the vaunted Gil Lock of Ryno Rife Sports Handicappers who dragged down the rest of the team.  But for his season long ineptitude, the Lock team would be clipping along at a success rate of sixty-seven percent.

“I just haven’t been a good judge of pace”, said Gil in a hapless attempt to exp[lain his miserable record.  “I can’t put a finger on the hot team or player.  It’s affecting my whole life. I can’t even shop anymore.”  Asked to explain, Gil started to ramble.  “The other day at the supermarket, I bought enough groceries for a month.  At the checkout, I noticed an enormous bag with a big handle, put everything in it and left the store. Turns out it was the manager’s hat.  He was so pissed, he banned me from the store; even after I tried to smooth him over with some cash I’d won in Atlantic City.  It’s been an ugly year.”

Ugly, maybe.  But at least his family has been there to prop him up.  There’s still a few weeks left for Gil to straighten things out.  Here’s how he plans to start.

Locks of the Week

Gil Locks (10-13-1)

Iowa -10 over Minnesota

– In just two short weeks, Iowa football fans have seen their boys blow a shot at the BCS title game as well as the Rose Bowl.  They’ll take out their anger on a Minnesota football team that struggled last week with South Dakota State.

Notre Dame -6 over Connecticut

–  Haven’t backed Notre Dame football all year but something’s got to give for poor Charlie Weis. The much maligned defense of the Irish actually looked a little better last week and UConn football isn’t exactly run and shoot.

Rutgers -8 over Syracuse

– Say this for Rutgers football: They may play a high school schedule to start the year but they always finish strong.  Bad news for Syracuse, one of the worst teams in the nation.

Jill Locks (16-8)
LSU +3 over Mississippi

LSU’s two losses came in close games against the nation’s #1 and #3 teams.  Ole Miss, on the other hand, has failed to deliver on its pre-season promise.  LSU big.

Nevada – 31 1/2 over New Mexico

–  Here’s some “Arifemetic” for you. Became a believer in Nevada after they cruched Fresno, a very good team.  They’re playing great right now; averaging 50 PG over their seven game winning streak while New Mex  has scored just 16 TOTAL over their last four.

TCU – 31 1/2 over Wyoming

– Every week I look at the TCU line and think it’s too big.  Last week I even went against them as they destroyed a good Utah team.  I won’t be fooled again.

South Florida – 11 1/2 over Louisville

– Ever heard of “The Ville”?  Neither had I until I saw the ridiculous moniker across the chests of the Louisville players last week.  The only thing more ridiculous is the notion of Louisville as a Division I football team.  South Florida has had a tough season but has managed to work its way through injuries to post a very good record.

Pad Locks (6-3)

UTEP – 6 1/2 over Rice

– While UTEP has lost three straight, they’ve scored more than 30 points in each game; led by the nation’s second leading rusher, Donald Buckram. Rice comes in at 1-9 averaging just 17 PPG while allowing 41. “Arifemetic” strikes again.

Ohio – Northern Illinois over 43.5

– Uncle Gil has always been a MAC football fan and it’s rubbed off on me.  Both teams come into the game with 7-3 records averaging better than 24 PPG.  Simple “Arifemetic”  says this one’s going over.

Oregon -5 over Arizona

–  Can’t believe that Oregon will let this one slip away.  Arizona spit the bit last week as far as a Pac Ten title is concerned and will have to rally to get ready for a Ducks’ team that should be welcoming back LeGarrette Blount.

Season Record (31-24-1)

Harbaugh Cheats Stanford Football Fans Out Of Real Victory

November 20, 2009 under College Football


By Eddie Mayrose

Two Point Try A Shot At USC Football Coach

November 23, 1968.  Ohio State, on its way to a National Championship, squares off with arch rival Michigan at Ohio Stadium.  Late in the woody hayesgame, Buckeye fullback Jim Otis blasts over the goal line to put the home team up 48-14.  Yet, instead of opting to kick the extra point, Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes decides instead to attempt a two point conversion in order to hang the half century mark on his bitter enemy.  Asked after the game why he went for two, Hayes famously responded, “Because they wouldn’t let us go for three.”

Thought of that last Saturday when Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh left his offense on the field to go for two after a touchdown gave the Cardinal a 55-21 lead over USC in the fourth quarter.  Now, I have no idea what may have been Harbaugh’s motivation; for all we know, he may have a beef with Pete Carroll dating back to their days in the NFL.  But what Harbaugh actually accomplished was pushing his team’s incredible performance over the last two weeks out of the spotlight.  Instead of talking about the fact that Stanford rang up more than 100 points on two Top Ten teams in successive games, or trumpeting the Heisman candidacy of RB Toby Gerhart, who scored three times while running all over the Trojans or Stanford’s incredible, out-of-nowhere run that has them talking about a trip to the Rose Bowl, we’re scratching our heads trying to find a reason for the feud between the two coaches.  And that’s sad.


Games of the Week


Oregon at Arizona

–  Arizona is still alive in the Rose Bowl hunt but they’ll have to win out and get some help.  Oregon may have the services of RB LeGarrette Blount for the first time since the season opener.  Can’t see Oregon blowing this opportunity, especially considering they’ve already had their stumble vs. Stanford.  Still, the Pac Ten is a tough place to win on the road.  The pick here is Oregon 38-27.


St. Joseph’s Dallas Carter vs. Philadelphia City Six

– It’s Tournament time in the land of the cheese steaks for the Intramural Football Champions of Philly’s five major universities and Villanova.  St. Joe’s Dallas Carter heads into the title round at Drexel carrying the favorite tag based on a roster chock full of New York guys.  QB Danny Mayrose and WR James Lopez look to add a football crown to the victory list they’ve compiled since kindergarten and will turn to Joe Mreczko and rookie sensation Marc Strange for some much needed help along the way.  Asked for a prediction, the four concurred, “The Hawk Will Never Die.”  We’ll agree, especially if Mayrose and Lopez have their hands on the ball in crunch time.


CollegeSportsView.com Top 25


1. Texas 10-0
2. Florida 10-0
3. TCU 10-0
4. Alabama 10-0
5. Boise State 10-0
6. Cincinnati 10-0
7. Pittsburgh 9-1
8. Georgia Tech 10-1
9. LSU 8-2
10.Oregon 8-2
11.Ohio State 9-2
12.Oklahoma State 8-2
13.Stanford 7-3
14.BYU 8-2
15.Clemson 7-3
16.Iowa 9-2
17.USC 7-3
18.Wisconsin 8-2
19.Oregon State 7-3
20.Houston 8-2
21.Virginia Tech 7-3
22.Nebraska 7-3
23.North Carolina 7-3
24.Nevada 7-3
25.Navy 7-3

Five to Watch
Miami 7-3
Utah 8-2
Rutgers 8-2
Arizona 7-3
West Virginia 7-3


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