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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.

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)

Different Year, Same Story for USC Football

September 21, 2009 under College Football

By Eddie Mayrose

Pac Ten Football Turned Upside Down

Despite a 65-5 record over their last 70 games, the USC Trojans have all but taken huskies 2
themselves out of the BCS National Championship picture in each of the last four seasons with an early, in-conference stumble.  Over the last three seasons, California, UCLA and Oregon State have each proven too high a hurdle for the Men of Troy but, even with their track record, no one could have expected the Trojans to be upset by a Washington team that went 0-12 last year.  However, in what proved to be a perfect storm for the Huskies, injuries forced USC to go with a third string, freshman QB against their former Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkisian, Washington’s new head man.  His familiarity with his former charges proved fatal for USC as Sarkisian grabbed his first big win, 16-13… While USC garnered much of the pre-season hype in the PAC Ten, it was California that caught our attention.  Saturday, RB Jahvid Best ran for five touchdowns as the high scoring Golden Bears beat Minnesota 35-21 and held on to their #2 ranking.

South Florida Dealt Bad Break in Big East

Tough blow for South Florida, #24 in last week’s CSV rankings and our pick to win the Big East, as QB Matt Grothe went down for the year with a knee injury… Cincinnati, the most likely candidate to step into that void, went into Corvallis and dominated Oregon State to move up to #16… Pittsburgh is off to a 3-0 start and looks like a serious contender for the Big East title.

Charlie Weis Still Has Notre Dame Football Fans On Edge

Even when he wins, there’s no rest for Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis.  A narrow 33-30 victory against a less than impressive Michigan State squad; especially since it came gift wrapped by Spartans’ QB Kirk Cousins.  Despite engineering a late drive that put his team into position for at least a game tying FG, Cousins missed a wide open Nick Holt in the end zone before launching a dying quail that was picked off on the 5 yard line.   The Irish, led by QB Jimmy Claussen, have an offensive unit that can compete with anyone in the nation but their defense leaves a lot to be desired.

Big Weekend for Miami Football Faithful

Don’t look now, but “The U” appears to be back.  Miami dominated Georgia Tech, the CSV’s #15 team, on Thursday.  After an impressive win over Florida State, the ‘Canes appear headed back to the top of the league.. Speaking of the Seminoles, who saw that beating of #7 BYU coming?  Combine that victory with Virginia Tech knocking off #23 Nebraska and its easy to see why ACC Football fans are thinking big. It’s not all good news, however as it looks like a very long year ahead for the Maryland Terrapins, who lost at home to Middle Tennessee.

Florida Lets Tennessee Off With A Slap On The Wrist In the SEC

Could’ve been a lot worse for Lane Kiffin and his Tennessee Vols on their visit to The Swamp.  Despite Kiffin’s off-season promise to sing Rocky Top all night after beating Florida and his unfounded accusations toward head coach Urban Meyer regarding recruiting violations, the Gators surprised many by not running up the score in their 23-13 victory… Great start for the SEC as it heads into its conference schedule with four teams, (Florida, Alabama, LSU and Mississippi),  in the CSV top seven and two others, (Auburn and Kentucky), undefeated.

Big 12 Football Losing Luster

First Oklahoma loses to BYU, then Houston dominates Oklahoma State on its own field and, finally, Baylor takes a beating at home from an unimpressive UConn Huskies squad. Its starting to look more and more like  Texas Football fans will be making the trip to Kansas City for the conference title game.

Boise State Continues To Rise In BCS

Last week we mentioned the potential mess in the BCS Standings should more than one Non-BCS member be ranked in the Top Ten.  Well, BYU and Utah solved that problem by losing, leaving just Boise State and TCU as possible candidates. The Broncos won a shootout at Fresno State while TCU heads to Clemson this week.  A win in Death Valley and another over BYU would lead to a Mountain West Conference title and an almost certain BCS berth.  That is, as long as Boise isn’t ranked higher.

CollegeSportsView Top 25

1)  Florida
2)  California
3)  Texas
4)  Alabama
5)  LSU
6)  Boise State
7)  Mississippi
8)  Penn State
9)  USC
10)Ohio State
11)Virginia Tech
19)Oklahoma State
21)North Carolina
24)Florida State
25)South Florida

Five Teams to Watch


SI Cover Jinx Alive and Well

September 13, 2009 under College Football, Uncategorized

Well, that didn’t take long.  No sooner did Oklahoma State appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated than they got their jocks knocked off by Houston.  Fresh off a big, season opening win vs. Georgia, the Cowboys found themselvessi cover down 24-6, at home, to the Cougars.  They stormed back to take a 28-24 third quarter lead and then, amazingly, allowed Houston three more TD’s; dropping them all the way to # 20 in the CSV weekly poll… Just when it looked like Notre Dame might be turning the corner, up pops a fourth quarter like Saturday’s at Michigan.  Wonder if Wolverine coach Rich Rodriguez took the 800 lb gorilla off of his back and presented it to Charlie Weis when the two shook hands after the game… Texas Tech didn’t seem to miss Michael Crabtree and Graham Harrell too much as QB Taylor Potts threw seven TD passes vs. Rice… In what has become an annual, early season ritual, the Mid America Conference had another weekend that proved the big boys aren’t the only ones who can play football.  Missouri needed a fourth quarter rally to beat Bowling Green, (just as Gil Lock had predicted), Toledo beat Colorado like they stole something and Central Michigan walked into East Lansing and hung a loss on Michigan State… Even at this early stage of the season, it’s fun to speculate how the BCS bozos will handle the possible situation of FOUR non-BCS schools ranked in the Top Ten at the end of the season.  Though it’s unlikely they’ll finish that way, BYU and Boise State are currently in the CSV Top Ten while TCU and Utah are # 13 and #16… Not a great time for college grid fans in the Northwest.  Washington was winless last year, a feat that might be equaled by Washington State in ’09.  Saturday, Hawaii, a team that always struggles on the road,  blew the Cougars off of their own field in Pullman… One peripheral item you can take away from the closely contested USC-Ohio State matchup is that Navy, who pushed the Buckeyes to the brink in last week’s opener at The Horseshoe,  must be a pretty good team… Tough loss in Knoxville for new head coach Lane Kiffin. Despite all of the tough talk that followed his arrival at Tennessee, his Vols couldn’t hold off a UCLA team that will almost certainly finish no better than the middle of the PAC Ten.

CollegeSportsView Top 25

1       Florida     2-0
2       California    2-0
3       USC            2-0
4       Texas        2-0
5       Alabama     2-0
6       Ohio State    1-1
7       Brigham Young    2-0
8       LSU         2-0
9       Boise State    2-0
10    Oklahoma    1-1
11    Mississippi    2-0
12    Penn State    2-0
13    TCU        1-0
14    Virginia Tech   1-1
15    Georgia Tech    2-0
16    Utah        2-0
17    Kansas        2-0
18    Georgia        1-1
19    Houston        2-0
20    Oklahoma State  1-1
21    North Carolina    2-0
22    Miami (FL)    1-0
23    Nebraska    1-0
24    South Florida   2-0
25    Cincinnati    2-0

Five to Watch:
Missouri        2-0
Oregon State    2-0
Michigan    2-0
Texas Tech     2-0
Florida State    0-1

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