2016 Baseball Preview

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Today is my favorite day of the year: the day I’m done with all my work on my annual baseball preview.

I’ve written these baseball previews every year going back to seventh grade, and after 10 years, this will be my last preview as I head off into the real world (yikes).

This season’s preview is 35 pages with all the usual analysis, scouting reports, and advanced stats along with breathtaking design from Microsoft Word. As always, the preview is 100 percent free, so feel free to pass it along to a friend or two or twelve.

It’s been a pleasure writing the past 10 years, and I’ll really miss writing these, although I won’t miss the sleepless nights.

Ten years ago, my first preview had David Ortiz on the cover, and I correctly picked the Red Sox to win the World Series. Fitting, then, that my final preview also features David Ortiz on the cover.

Did I pick the Red Sox to win the World Series again? Go find out for yourself.

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Week 4 NFL Picks – Donald Trump

I took two weeks off from writing about my picks because I’ve been lazy busy, but I’m back with another week of picks. Enjoy the picks, or just scroll down to the Donald Trump part.

As always, home teams are in CAPS.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Game – 5 apples:

Giants (+5.5) over BILLS
I find it pretty funny that Kiko Alonso and LeSean McCoy are both already hurt. Pretty reminiscent of the Michael Pineda-Jesus Montero trade from yesteryear for you baseball nerds.

Vikings (+6.5) over BRONCOS
Adrian Peterson’s newest son is named Axyl, which is not okay. I will, however, stick by him if I’m getting nearly a touchdown against an aging Peyton Manning.

SEAHAWKS (-10) over Lions
This Jimmy Graham-Max Unger deal seems like a real loser for everyone. A depleted offensive in Seattle has slowed down Marshawn Lynch, and Russell Wilson hasn’t used Graham nearly as much as Drew Brees went to him. Meanwhile Unger is wasting away on a bad Saints team.

CHARGERS (-7.5) over Browns
What is Mike Pettine’s end game playing Josh McCown over Johnny Manziel? McCown has proven over and over that he’s just not a good quarterback, and we’ve seen flashes of how great Johnny Football can be. At least have fun while you’re stuck in Cleveland, Mike.

COLTS (-9) over Jaguars
Here is a running list of things better than the Jaguars:
1. Arizona State sorority girls’ attention spans
2. Joey Galloway’s perception of women
3. The Raiders’ owner’s haircut
4. Josh Donaldson’s interviewing skills (GO JAYS!)
5. Chris Stewart’s awareness of where he hit a ball
6. Donald Trump’s ability to keep a straight face
7. Donald Trump’s conspicuousness
8. Donald Trump’s ability to not gun for attention
9. Donald Trump’s ability to create jobs
10. Donald Trump’s image after getting absolutely slaughtered by South Park

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games – 10 apples:

STEELERS (+3) over Ravens
Personally, I’m very excited to see Michael Vick play on this Steelers’ offense. Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Martavis Bryant are pretty similar weapons to LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin that he had in 2010 across the state in Philadelphia.

FALCONS (-6.5) over Texans
Between Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer, don’t you think the Patriots would have held on to one of them if they thought either had potential to be a starter down the road?

BENGALS (-4) over Chiefs
When your fantasy teams are going poorly, the only solace you can take is players you thought were overrated doing poorly. I did not think C.J. Anderson and Jeremy Hill belonged in the first two rounds, and they’re proving me right so far. Also my two teams are a combined 1-5.

SAINTS (-4) over Cowboys
The NFL’s flex schedule late in the season is made so, for instance, two potentially interesting teams lose their Pro Bowl quarterbacks and you get stuck with a bad game. Enjoy Luke McCown and Brandon Weeden, NBC!

KFC Double Down Games – 20 apples:

Dolphins (+1.5) over JETS
Thank God we sent our Who Cares? Game of the Week overseas to London.

Can we stop pretending that Kirk Cousins has potential to be a good quarterback? Dude is already 27 and has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns.

Can we stop pretending that Kirk Cousins has potential to be a good quarterback? Dude is already 27 and has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns.

Eagles (-3) over INJUNS
For anyone who wants to rain on the (really sad) Kirk Cousins parade, Hurricane Joaquin may hit the East Coast right around game time Sunday. That should be fun.

Panthers (-3) over BUCCANEERS
The Panthers are going to start 4-0 and get two weeks to prepare for Seattle on the road. I thought their schedule was a joke until I looked at Atlanta’s, and man, their hardest game of the season may be at Carolina. Wow.

Raiders (-3) over BEARS
I don’t know if this is more of a statement about how bad (Jimmy Clausen and) the Bears are or how much improved the Raiders are.

CARDINALS (-7) over Rams
It still blows my mind that Tyrann Mathieu fell to the third round of the NFL draft. Sure, he’s had drug problems, but the man is a playmaker and should’ve been swiped up in the second round at least by someone. I was personally shocked the Patriots didn’t draft him with one of their two second rounders, since they have a knack for taking players whose stock has fallen because of drugs (Brandon Spikes and Aaron Hernandez).

Texas Pete ain’t from Texas Lock o’ the Week – 50 apples:

Packers (-8.5) over NINERS
How this line is not double digits is beyond me. People must still be stuck on how good this game would have been a year or two ago.

Overall record: 26-21-1

Last week: 11-5

Apple total: 185

Apple total last week: 85

Categories: NFL | 1 Comment

Week 1 NFL Picks – Is Joe Flacco a ELITE quaterback?

I was thinking for a while about what I would write in the intro to my first NFL picks of the year, and then I remembered that no one reads the intro. So I won’t bother.

Here we go again, with home teams in CAPS and wagers in apples because gambling is “illegal.”

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Game – 5 apples:

Packers (-7) over BEARS
We’re still waiting to find out if Jay Cutler will work out in Chicago, which has been hard to tell because he’s had great receivers but no offensive line. The Bears tried to fix that this off-season by trading Brandon Marshall and not addressing the offensive line at all.

CHARGERS (-3) over Lions
Every once in a while, we get a player whose head shot is just hilarious. Go do yourself a favor and check out Orlando Franklin‘s picture.

Jordan Matthews

With Riley Cooper and Josh Huff as his biggest competition, Jordan Matthews is going to shoot for 1,500 yards this season.

Eagles (-3) over FALCONS

Titans (+3) over BUCCANEERS
I love the narrative that Marcus Mariota wasn’t throwing any interceptions at the start of camp. That’s probably got a little to do with the fact that he was going up against the Titans’ secondary.

COWBOYS (-6) over Giants
Dallas’ offensive line is so good that almost any halfway decent running back could turn into a 1,000 yard rusher. Which makes me really hopeful that Darren McFadden comes back to relevancy because boy was he fun in 2010.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games – 10 apples:

Browns (+3) over JETS
This season’s first Who Cares? Game of the Week is a doozy.

Dolphins (-3.5) over INJUNS
I’m not sure which is more offensive, Washington’s team name or how they’ve handled RG3.

PATRIOTS (-7) over Steelers
I’m slightly sad we didn’t get to see Jimmy Garoppolo win four games and pull a Tom Brady by taking Tom Brady’s job, but no suspension for TB12 will just have to do.

Saints (+2.5) over CARDINALS
Larry Fitzgerald signed deal with the Cardinals, I guess putting faith in a team that has given him the following quarterbacks to work with: Josh McCown, Shaun King, John Navarre (who?), Kurt Warner, Tim Hasselbeck, Tim Rattay, Matt Leinart, Brian St. Pierre, Derek Anderson, Kevin Kolb, Max Hall, John Skelton, Richard Bartel (who??), Brian Hoyer, Ryan Lindley, Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, and Logan Thomas. It says a lot about an organization when Carson Palmer is by far the second-best quarterback they’ve been able to pair with Fitzgerald over the past 12 seasons.

Vikings (-2.5) over NINERS
Remember how laughable the Niners were back before Jim Harbaugh when Mike Singletary pulled down his pants during a halftime speech? Yeah, we’re going back to those days this season.

KFC Double Down Games – 20 apples:

Colts (-2.5) over BILLS
The Colts would kick some serious ass four years ago with Frank Gore and Andre Johnson. Too bad those two only got to play on five playoff teams in 22 seasons before meeting up on the Colts.

Seahawks (-4) over RAMS
I sat through an entire Rams-Titans preseason game and wanted to gauge my eyes out, so I’m definitely picking the Seahawks here as punishment.

Chiefs (+1) over TEXANS
I find it hard to believe that a team led by Brian Hoyer could be favored over a team that finished a half game out of the playoffs last season. And, you know, because they drafted Jadeveon Clowney, a.k.a. THE BIGGEST BUST EVER.

Bengals (-3.5) over RAIDERS
One of the funniest moments I can remember from the NFL draft is when the Raiders took Darrius Hayward-Bey as the first wide receiver ahead of surefire NFL superstar Michael Crabtree. Luckily they’ve corrected their mistake by signing him well after it was established that he is not very good.

BRONCOS (-4.5) over Ravens
Why would we need to make America great again when we have “Is Joe Flacco a ELITE quaterback” sign show up at the first GOP debate?

Texas Pete ain’t from Texas Lock o’ the Week – 50 apples:

Panthers (-3) over JAGUARS
Here is a running list of things better than the Jaguars:
1. Reggie Bush’s hurdling technique
2. Randal Grichuk’s throwing arm
3. Matt Williams’ popularity
4. Kansas State’s marching band’s ability to form a spaceship
5. Curt Schilling’s memes
6. Jeff Francoeur’s outfield defense
7. Jeff Francoeur’s ability to make contact
8. Jeff Francoeur’s plate discipline
9. Jeff Francoeur’s baserunning
10. Jeff Francoeur’s ability to tell that a teammate isn’t deaf for over a month

Overall record: 0-0

Last week: 0-0

Apple total: 0

Apple total last week: 0

Categories: NFL | Leave a comment

Top 25 Songs (feat. T-Pain)

As you may (or may not) have noticed, I haven’t done a ton of writing on this website this year. Between my 2015 Baseball Preview and coverage of Vanderbilt baseball, I’ve had plenty to keep me busy, but I wanted to bring back an old favorite this summer.

In my seven years of blogging, I’ve pretty much always stuck to sports. That changed two years ago when I ranked my Top 20 Kanye West songs and followed it up with my Top 20 Usher songs last summer.

They’ve been fun to write, got good conversations going, and more than anything, I’ve enjoyed thinking a lot about my favorite songs of the past decade.

Each of the three artists I’ve ranked so far have been important to me. Kanye West is the greatest artist of this generation, Usher was the first artist I ever saw live in concert, and T-Pain made more iconic anthems than anyone during my early years of listening to pop music (2007-08).

There’s a great article in the New York times that notes how 14 is a formative age for musical tastes. T-Pain was dominating the Billboard when I was that age, and his songs are among my favorite. The number one song on this list is more or less my favorite song ever.

One of the reasons T-Pain was able to dominate the Billboard in the mid-to-late-200s was because he would admittedly work with anyone. Yes, he got to work with great artists such as Kanye West, R. Kelly, and Lil Wayne, but he also helped create plenty of one-hit wonders by singing iconic hooks for no-name artists like Maino, 2 Pistols, and Baby Bash.

We even got such gems as T-Pain collaborating with Adult Swim and Cartoon Network to create hilarious animated shorts like “Auburn Sucks” and a 90-minute movie entitled “Freaknik: The Musical,” and used his (in)famous Auto-Tune on President Obama.

I was lucky enough to see T-Pain live at Vanderbilt’s Rites of Spring this year, and it was pretty much the greatest moment of my life. He sang all his best songs for well over an hour and even free-styled over Royals by Lorde. I cried a little.

Anyway, I digress. This is a list of my favorite songs by one of my favorite artists ever. I don’t expect you to agree with all the rankings (although I won’t argue about the top four songs), but I hope this starts a conversation about a top-hat wearing, (formerly) dreadlocked, Auto-Tuned rapper (ternt sanga) who is somehow only 29.

25. I’m Sprung

T-Pain (2005)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 8

We’ll kick off this list with T-Pain’s first top-10 Billboard song. Despite bringing Auto-Tune into the mainstream, this song isn’t very heavy on Auto-Tune, which is a rare find on this list. T-Pain’s debut album was titled “Rappa Ternt Sanga,” and he really shows off his voice in this song. He sang the song complete sans auto-tune for Larry King late last year, and it turns out he’s actually a really good singer without Auto-Tune. He showed off his voice for NPR a month before that as well. This song falls lower on my list because it’s somewhat repetitive and a little slow for me, but it’s still a classic.

Best T-Pain Part:

“She got me doin’ the dishes
Anything she want for some kisses
I’m cookin’ for her when she gets hungry
All she doin’ is actin’ like she want me”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:

Doo doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo-doo doo doo-doo doo doo

24. Hey Baby

Pitbull (feat. T-Pain) (2010)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 7

This was a last minute call for me over Go Hard by DJ Khaled with Kanye’s great “George Bush hates black people” reference. I really hesitated putting a Pitbull song on this list, but this hook is too infectious for me to ignore. T-Pain was so good that he helped give Pitbull his third ever top-10 single. Top-10 was old hat for T-Pain at this point, though, since he had already been a part of 13 other songs to chart that high. The duo would later collaborate with Sean Paul to create Shake Señora, which topped out at 69 on the Billboard Hot 100. I feel like that’s a really Pitbull thing to do.

Best T-Pain Part:

“Hey, baby girl, whatcha doin’ tonight?
I wanna see what you got in store
Givin’ it your all when you’re dancin’ on me
I wanna see if you give me some more”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

None – it’s Pitbull

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:


23. Shawty Get Loose

Lil Mama (feat. Chris Brown and T-Pain) (2008)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 10

Lil Mama is best known for her (banger of a) song Lip Gloss, but T-Pain saved her from being a one-hit-wonder, elevating her to a two-hit-wonder with her second (and likely final) top-10 Billboard song. T-Pain collaborates with Chris Brown, who will appear a few more times on this list, and is able to keep up with her high-speed, high-energy beat with a rare 16 bars of rap with impressive speed. This is one of the few times T-Pain is featured on a song but doesn’t sing the hook, but it’s just fun, infectious, and brings me way back to 2008.

Best T-Pain Part:

“What it do, Teddy to the Piz-ain
You already know, tell ’em I’m the miz-ayne
Shawty, yee ain’t messin wit a lizz-ame
Imma have you loose on the floor, you gon’ be steppin wit a cizz-ane”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“The way we get loose, we move our shoulders
Forward, heads back
Get it in Control like Janet Jack”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:

Nappy Boy!!!

22. Drankin’ Patna

T-Pain (2014)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: N/A

This song hasn’t charted well because it’s not on an album yet and hasn’t been marketed well as a single. I hadn’t even heard of it before I went back through T-Pain’s discography and stumbled upon it, but it’s great. Believe it or not, T-Pain said it’s his favorite song right now, adding that “Drankin’ Patna’s one of them songs that you go around the country and just look for people to drink with, and I think I’ve found a few. But nobody can beat my wife. That’s not even a question.” The song is very solid, but I’m not too surprised he picked it as his favorite considering when Snoop Dogg asked him what his favorite drink is, he took a long pause and said, “I’m alcoholic, man, that’s a very tough question.”

Best T-Pain Part:

“Oh I think I need her to drink a drink with me
I found the girl of my dreams and I got you
I done found me a drinking partner
Everybody want her
She be sipping that Corona
And we ain’t turnin’ up in the club with out her
I done found me a drankin’ patna”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:


21. I’m Dancing

T-Pain (feat. Flo Rida) (2011)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: N/A

I remember waiting years for T-Pain’s fourth album to come out, and RevolveR took seemingly forever because it was delayed over a year. I’m Dancing was supposed to be on the album after it was leaked to the Internet with Dance With Me, but neither song ended up making the final cut nor even got released as a single like Rap Song, Take Your Shirt Off, Reverse Cowgirl, and Booty Wurk eventually were. It doesn’t even exist on iTunes, although you can find it on Spotify. Still, this is one of those songs that I get instantly excited for as soon as it comes on. It checks off most of the boxes of a great T-Pain song: a catchy hook, high energy, a couple “shawties,” and a strong guest appearance by a big name.

Best T-Pain Part:

“Do you wanna party?
Do you wanna go home?
Lets get this party started
We can do it all night long
And I, I’m dancing
And I, I’m dancing
Lets get this party started”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“Yeah I got a grand I’m the man
I don’t take it out the rubber band
Girl it’s the courtesy of T-Pain”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:

Hey hey … hey!

20. Good Life

Kanye West (feat. T-Pain) (2007)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 7

From my #20 to #14 songs, we’ve got seven great songs from the years 2007 and 2008 on which T-Pain is featured. They’re all really closely bunched together, and I could easily be convinced that they belong a couple spots differently than I have them ranked right now. Good Life is obviously a great song because it’s by Kanye (and off one of his best albums), but it falls at the bottom of this group because I didn’t have the same connection to the song as I did to the next six songs when it originally came out. My list, my rules.

Best T-Pain Part:

“The good life, better than the life I lived
When I thought that I was gonna go crazy
And now my grandmama
Ain’t the only girl callin’ me ‘baby'”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“Have you ever popped champagne on a plane, while gettin’ some brain
Whipped it out, she said, ‘I never seen Snakes on a Plane'”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:

Hey… heyy… oooh!

19. She Got It

2 Pistols (feat. T-Pain and Tay Dizm) (2008)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 24

Not only has T-Pain dramatically changed my life by making some of the best music known to man, he also made 2 Pistols boatloads of money by singing the hook to She Got it. Sure, he largely ends up just saying “She got it” (66 times to be exact, and yes, I counted them all), but as always, T-Pain manages to make the hook sound great. I’ll admit to owning two other 2 Pistols songs (You Know Me and That’s My Word), but I can assure you that none of his other music is good, especially when he’s not featuring T-Pain, Ray J, or Trey Songz. Also did you know that 2 Pistols came out with his second album just last year? Good for him.

Best T-Pain Part:

“I know she got it cause she lookin’ at me like she want it
She drop it low, make me wanna throw some D’s on it
Whatever it is you can’t stop it
Cause she get low, when she on that pole, and that lets me know”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“Excuse moi, let me talk to you for a second
Lil mama so fine she got the whole squad sweatin’
Damn, how you fit all that in them jeans?
Was the question that I asked followed by lemme Buy U a Drank”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:

Yeah-eah… Yeah-eah-eah… Hey!

18. One More Drink

Ludacris (feat. T-Pain) (2008)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 24

This is irrationally one of my favorite Ludacris songs (up there with Get Back, Runaway Love, Pimpin’ All Over the World, and Money Maker), and it has been for a long time. I even did a project my senior year of high school where I made a commercial for Coca-Cola using this song (I’ll sell the rights to it for cheap, and I think the Atlanta connection with Luda is a surefire win). I was very upset when he didn’t sing it at Commodore Quake last fall, and I can’t remember if T-Pain sang it at Rites this year, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t sing it. It’s a real shame because this song has a great message that Luda gives at the end: “You hear what I’m sayin’? People too picky these days, dammit. Too tall, too short, too fat, too skinny. Have a couple of drinks and quit discriminatin’.” The music video is hilarious too.

Best T-Pain Part:

“If I take one more drink, I’m gon’ end up fuckin’ you
Is that what you wanna do, shawty?”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“Surrendered to the woman end up bringin me home
Cause she started lookin’ better every shot of Patron, yup!
I jumped up with a devilish grin
Cause tonight, damn right I might do it again”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:


17. Shawty

Plies (feat. T-Pain) (2007)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 9

How can you not love a song featuring T-Pain that is called “Shawty?” I don’t think there could be a more classic T-Pain song with the sheer amount of Auto-Tune and “shawties.” People like to make fun of Lil Jon for only saying “okay,” “yeah,” and “what?” in his songs, but T-Pain has his own version of the only three words he uses. That’s “shawty” (pronounced “shaw-tay”), “woah” (pronounced “woah-ooh”), and “yeah” (pronounced “yea-yea-yeah”). Look out for them in all his songs. For some reason, I just love the part right after the hook when Pain just sings “woah” over and over for 24 seconds before sprinkling in a couple “shawties.”

Best T-Pain Part:

“Now, even though I’m not your man, you’re not my girl imma call you my shawty
Cause I can’t stand to see you treated bad, I beat his ass for my shawty
And we ain’t did nothin’ that we ain’t supposed to do cause you my shawty
Baby girl you know I be home, keep me on the ringtone
Shawty sang it to me girl!”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“I exposed her to real and now she hate lame
Remember she used to run from me, now she like pain
She call me sometimes just to ask is it her thang
Ever since I ran up in shawty, she ain’t been the same”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:

“Woah oh-oh woah woah woah oh-oh woah woah woah oh-oh woah
Woah oh-oh woah woah woah woah woah woah woah oh-oh woah

16. I’m a Flirt

R. Kelly (feat. T.I. and T-Pain) (2007)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 12

I’m not going to pretend like T-Pain alone made this songs how great it is because he only sings one verse (and doesn’t even sing the hook), but he just adds the icing on top of the cake. The only thing holding this song on my list is its general lack of T-Pain; he sings less than a minute of the five-plus minute song. On the other hand, it would have had a totally different feel with him singing the hook instead of R. Kelly. There’s another version of this song out there with Bow Wow singing instead of T.I. and T-Pain, but I can’t imagine what madman would prefer that version.

Best T-Pain Part:

“I be like como se llama, lil mama me llamo Pain
What is your name?
I’m feeling your vibe and I’m hoping you feel the same
Imma wink my eye and let you know I got the game
When I pass by I know exactly what you say
He’s so fly, yes he’s so cool”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“She looking at you, and I walk by
You turn your head, she wink her eye
I can’t help it if she checkin’ for a platinum type of guy
She be calling my daddy, and I be calling her mommy
She be calling you Kelly when your name is Tommy”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:

When I uh, when I uh, when I uh, when I…

15. The Boss

Rick Ross (feat. T-Pain) (2008)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 17

The Boss is the quintessential Rick Ross song in my book, and T-Pain absolutely delivers on the hook and his short interlude. T-Pain also happens to continue the trend of repeating the name of the song a ton, just like She Got It and Shawty. This time he says “boss” 24 times in a 10 second span. Just great stuff. Man I love T-Pain. You also get to enjoy a good deal of shirtless Rick Ross and seeing just how big of a boss he is in the music video that was shot well before Ricky Rozay became skinny.

Best T-Pain Part:

“And shawty straight diggin’ me, and I ain’t even rich
I know you niggas on the sideline like, “Ain’t that a bitch?”
I’m on my job and I ain’t gettin’ off
Cause it’s just another day in the life of the goddamn boss”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“I don’t smoke twenties, eight hundred for the izzerds
I’m the biggest boss that you seen thus far
You can tell by the strongs that’s standin’ by the car”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:

The boss, boss-boss the boss
Boss-boss the boss, boss-boss the boss
The boss, boss-boss the boss
Boss-boss the boss, boss-boob the boss

14. Cyclone

Baby Bash (feat. T-Pain) (2007)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 7

This is another song that people just get hype for as soon as it the song starts. Everybody recognizes it, and Lil Jon did a great job incorporating synths. It’s pretty amazing considering how great this song is that Baby Bash has done quite literally nothing since this song came out. But did you know that Baby Bash came out with five whole albums before Cyclone came out? Only two of those even cracked the Billboard Top 200. Just think about that. Him making Cyclone is like a blind squirrel finding a nut, except it’s more like a tone deaf squirrel writing a hit song (but only because he was working with T-Pain). Even though he doesn’t sing to the hook to the song, T-Pain puts the magic touch on this song by making car engine/cat noises at the end.

Best T-Pain Part:

“Shawty got looks (and)
Shawty got class
Shawty got hips (and)
Shawty got ass”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“She moves her body like a cyclone
And she makes me wanna do it all night long
Going hard, when they turn the spotlights on
Because she moves her body like a cyclone”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:


13. Up Down

T-Pain (feat. B.o.B) (2013)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 62

Despite working on his new album Stoicville: The Phoenix, T-Pain has barely come out with any songs since RevolveR came on in late 2011. Up Down has been the highlight of the small bunch; Drankin’ Patna and Make That Shit Work are his only songs along with some featured parts on random artists like Sergey Lazarev, DJ Kay Slay, and Wisin & Yandel. Did I make up those names? Maybe. Anyway, the beat of Up Down is infectious, and B.o.B does a great job on the third verse. Just a very good song overall.

Best T-Pain Part:

“Go do a show then
Bring some more in
Pockets bigger than a Samoan
I’m at the stage every time shorty go in”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“Let them bands go, let them bands go
Watch a nigga throw a grand or so on that camel toe
And be like ‘Damn boy, why you cuffing that ho?’
The whole team smashed her and you ain’t even know”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:

Ahh… ahh… ahh!

12. Turn All The Lights On

T-Pain (feat. Ne-Yo) (2011)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 113

I honestly have no idea how this song didn’t chart well. This is yet another song that gets me instantly hyped and is one of the first times T-Pain really experiments with EDM. The hook just sounds like the anthem to somebody’s Friday at 5 p.m. This is easily T-Pain’s best song off RevolveR; some people prefer 5 O’Clock or Drowning Again, but those are way too sad and slow for my taste. All the best T-Pain songs are about going to the club, drinking, girls, and having a good time. That’s a pretty common theme through all his songs really.

Best T-Pain Part:

“Take off your shoes (shoes shoes)
Ain’t nobody gon’ see nothin’
Bring out the booze (booze booze)
Baby girl stop frontin’
Ain’t nothin’ to lose (lose lose)
And I ain’t gotta work no more
Fuck that place, fuck my boss
Imma buy the bar, don’t care what it costs”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“Shawty is a perfect ten
This angelic body made for sin
I love the way you get it in
Come over here and shake it for a gentleman”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:


11. All I Do Is Win

DJ Khaled (feat. T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, and Rick Ross) (2011)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 24

Nobody pumps out songs with A-List rappers quite like DJ Khaled. He’s due for his eighth album in ten years in a few months and already has 112 songs released during that span. I may or may not own 37 of them. Although I’m So Hood and I’m On One charted better, All I Do Is Win is undoubtedly his most famous song for no other reason than every single sports stadium in America (and likely abroad as well) owns this song and plays it after they win a game. Just like after they win a championship, they will play We Are The Champions by Queen. Not but a minute after the US Women’s Soccer Team defeated Japan (wooooo!!!!), the sports bar I was at started playing the song. But I don’t mind because it’s great, and T-Pain kills the hook.

Best T-Pain Part:

“All I do is win win win no matter what
Got money on my mind I can’t never get enough
And every time I step up in the building
Everybody hands go up
And they stay there, and they stay there
And they stay there, up down up down up down”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“Time and time again while I’m sipping on this gin
Al Davis said it best, ‘Just win baby, win!'”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:


10. Got Money

Lil Wayne (feat. T-Pain) (2008)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 10

Lollipop will always be Lil Wayne’s best song (and was atop the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks), but Got Money is right there with it. T-Pain gets Lil Wayne to use Auto-Tune for pretty much the first time of his career, and the song is a jammer. The hook is unforgettable, and it brings me straight back to middle school dances. Those were the best times.

Best T-Pain Part:

“If you got money
And you know it
Take it out your pocket and show it, then throw it like
This-a-way, that-a-way, this-a-way, that-a-way”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“Okay we go one for the money
Two for the show
Now clap your hands if you got a bank roll
Like some clap on lights in this bitch
Imma be clappin’ all night in this bitch”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:

Yeah-eah… ooh-ooh… ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh

9. I’m N Luv (Wit a Stripper)

T-Pain (feat. Mike Jones) (2005)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 5

Although it falls at the back of my top 10, this song is potentially the most classic one by T-Pain, his top charting song for the first album and three years of his musical career. For one thing, he finally answers the age old question of a nice way to describe a girl’s brown eyes (butter pecan brown). According to the song’s Wikipedia page, he produced the song using GarageBand in about two hours. I find that very hard to believe but worth sharing. And if that’s true, that should be the commercial for GarageBand right there: throw together some Auto-Tune, synths, and sexually-charged lyrics and get a top-10 Billboard song in two hours!

Best T-Pain Part:

“Droppin’ low
She comin’ down from the ceiling to the floor
Yeah she know what she doin’ (yeah yeah yeah)
She doin’ that right thang (yeah yeah yeah yeah)
I need to get her over to my crib and do that night thang
Cause I’m in love with a stripper”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“But I can’t even lie, the girls are here so fly
She slidin’ up and down that pole got me mesmerized
Mike Jones don’t ever trick, but goddamn she thick
I can’t lie, I must admit”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:


8. I’m On A Boat

Lonely Island (feat. T-Pain) (2010)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 56

At number 8, I love absolutely everything about this song, which should tell you how great T-Pain is/how much I love T-Pain. As with most Lonely Island videos (shouts out to I Just Had Sex and Jack Sparrow), the choreography is incredible with so many little Easter Eggs around the video. As for T-Pain’s part, his constant background singing is perfect for the absurd lyrics, and he hits on all three of his key words (woah, yeah, and shawty) in the last 14 seconds of the song in the best way possible. The song is parodying many rap cliches and was actually nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the Grammy’s, an honor T-Pain rarely earned (unfortunately).

Best T-Pain Part:

“Never thought I’d see the day
When a big boat coming my way
Believe me when I say, I fucked a mermaid”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“Hey ma, if you could see me now
Arms spread wide on the starboard bow
Gonna fly this boat to the moon somehow
Like Kevin Garnett, anything is possible”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:

Yeahhhhh yeahh-yeahhh yeahh-yeahh.. woahhh-ooooh sh-sh-shaw sh-sh-shaw sh-shaw-shaw sh-shaw-tay shaw-tay yeahh-yeah-yeahhh

7. Freeze

T-Pain (feat. Chris Brown) (2008)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 38

Easily the best song on Thr33 Ringz (apologies to Can’t Believe It), Freeze is a hard song to dislike. The song was originally supposed to be featuring Omarion, but it was eventually changed to Chris Brown. That’s a good thing because as it turns out, Chris Brown and T-Pain working together seems to work well. They’ve collaborated on six songs, netting four songs that cracked this list (including three in the top ten) along with Look At Her Go and (the admittedly catchy) Algo Me Gusta de Ti. I’m pretty disappointed this song never charted well because I love it, and more people need to.

Best T-Pain Part:

“You know what I do if you can do it too
Then that’s just somethin’ that makes me more attracted to you
And I, and I wanna see you break it down, for me
Yes, we in this private party girl I like your body
But can you tic, tic, tic, tic, tic, tic, pop, lock, and drop it?”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“Girl lets get it poppin’ (crackin’) tell me how you feel
Lets get up on this floor and do this thing for real
Cause we you and me can really break it down, together”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:

Woahh-ooh ah-ahhhh-ahhhh-ahhh woahh

6. Best Love Song

T-Pain (feat. Chris Brown) (2011)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 33

I’m not sure I like Chris Brown and T-Pain trying to harmonize (or rather, I know I don’t like it), but that doesn’t stop Best Love Song from being one of T-Pain’s best. When a bunch of singles leaked off of RevolveR, this was the only one that really charted well and ended up being the only leaked single to make it onto the album. The up-tempo beat and nice lyrics work together well, and the song is hard not to like. If T-Pain and Chris Brown collaborated on an album like Watch The Thrones or Face Off, I wouldn’t complain at all.

Best T-Pain Part:

“Turn up the bass, turn up the treble
I’m ’bout to take it to a whole other level
DJ turn up what you’re playing
I want the whole club to hear what I’m saying”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“You know it’s right, just do the wave
Girl just move your body like a snake
And if you wanna get with me
Put your hands in the air, show me that energy”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:

Hey hey hey hey-hey-hey hey hey hey heyyy hey hey hey-hey-hey hey hey hey

5. All the Above

Maino (feat. T-Pain) (2009)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 39

Give me synths, drums, and violins in the background of a song, and I’m all about it. Add in a T-Pain hook, and it’s an all-timer. I’m honestly shocked that this song didn’t chart well considering how widespread this song is. It’s been used by so many (college) sports teams, and nearly everyone knows the hook. That’s probably because the hook is simple, catchy, and includes “all the above” 28 times throughout the song. But still. I find it amazing how many people (especially girls) know this song, and pretty much everyone loves it. Even more amazing because Maino is the biggest one-hit wonder T-Pain has ever made a hit song with; dude only has two other songs that charted in the Billboard Top 200 (Hi Hater at 108 and Let It Fly at 106).

Best T-Pain Part:

“Tell me what do you see, when you’re looking at me?
On a mission to be, what I’m destined to be
I done been through the pain and the sorrow
The struggle it’s nothing but love
I’m a soldier a rider a ghetto survivor and all the above”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“The new Benz is all white, call it John McCain”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:


4. Bartender

T-Pain (feat. Akon) (2007)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 5

Now we enter the pantheon of T-Pain songs: four songs from 2007 that can all make a case to be T-Pain’s best single. Bartender is a little slower than the other three atop the list which bumps it down a bit, but it’s every bit as good as the rest of the group. Like any great T-Pain song, this one is about drinks and has a killer verse by a featured artist. Also like any great (T-Pain) song, people immediately lose their mind when it comes on because the beginning is instantly recognizable. Number four is no insult, it’s just a testament to how great T-Pain was, especially in 2007.

Best T-Pain Part:

“Broke up with my girl last night so I went to the club
Put on a fresh white suit and the Mini Coop’ sittin’ on dubs
I’m just lookin’ for somebody to talk to and show me some love
If you know what I mean… uh huh”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“Got a passenger side that’s empty wantin’ it to be yo’ spot
Put you on my Billboard we can act like the charts I can end up on top”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:


3. Kiss Kiss

Chris Brown (feat. T-Pain) (2007)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 1

I was really tempted to make this the number two song, but this song gets a very respectable bronze medal. By far T-Pain’s best work with Chris Brown, this is an unforgettable song that was built to be sung along with because of its call and response nature. Brown originally wanted the hook to be “She’s chunky, chunky (chunky, chunky) / She’s thick, thick (thick, thick),” but thankfully someone had him change it. The beat is just so iconic, which is a main reason why this song peaked atop the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks, knocking Crank That off the top of the chart. I’m still waiting on Nappy Boy Radio to go live, though, because I would buy a subscription in a heartbeat.

Best T-Pain Part:

“She want that lovey dovey (lovey dovey)
That kiss, kiss (kiss, kiss)
In her mind she fantasize ’bout gettin’ with me
They hatin’ on me (hatin’ on me)
They wanna diss, diss (kiss, kiss)
Because she mine and so fine, thick as can be”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“I’m the epitome of this demonstration, I got the remedy
You feelin’ me, so why is you hatin’ on my anatomy?
It’s bird-like, yeah, you heard right
Girl I’m the king, so that means I’m fly”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:


2. Buy U a Drank

T-Pain (feat. Yung Joc) (2007)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 1

No song brings me back to leanin’ and rockin’ at middle school dances (with the exception of Lean wit It, Rock wit It) quite like Buy U a Drank. It’s just such a classic, and I absolutely love T-Pain backing himself up in the hook with a few signature “woahs,” straight out of Ne-Yo’s So Sick. This was T-Pain’s first ever number one Billboard single, and it’s also the only song to ever chart in each of the top 12 positions, the second to ever chart every top 10 position. It would be the greatest T-Pain song if not for his third number one hit…

Best T-Pain Part:

“Baby girl, what’s your name?
Let me talk to you, let me buy you a drink
I’m T-Pain, you know me
Konvict Muzic, Nappy Boy, ooh wee”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“Won’t you meet me at the bar, respect big pimpin’
Tell me how you feel, mama tell me what you sippin’
A certified dime piece, deserve Louis 13
150 a shot, 3 for you and 3 for me”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:

Yeahh-yeah-yeahhh… ahhooooh-oooohh-oooohh

1. Low

Flo Rida (feat. T-Pain) (2007)

Billboard Hot 100 Peak: 1

The was most iconic song of 2007 and my time at middle school (just edging out Crank That), and T-Pain sings the most iconic part. It was the most downloaded song of the 2000s as well because it’s that amazing. You know how Metta World Peace wore #37 because MJ’s Thriller was atop the charts for 37 weeks? If I were in professional sports, I would wear #10 for the number of weeks Low was atop the Billboard Hot 100. This song is so great, I can’t even put words to it. This was the first major hit song when I started listening to pop music, and it will always have a special place in my heart. I will audibly freak out if it ever comes on the radio. That’s why it ends up atop my list. I’m also waiting to go to a dynamic duos date party, in which case I need someone to wear apple bottom jeans and boots with the fur to go with my baggy sweatpants and Reeboks with the straps.

Best T-Pain Part:

“Shawty had them Apple Bottom jeans
Boots wit the fur (wit the fur)
The whole club was lookin at her
She hit the flo’ (she hit the flo’), next thang you know
Shawty got low-low-low-low-low-low-low-low”

Best Non-T-Pain Part:

“That’s what I told her, her legs on my shoulder
I knew it was over, that Henny and Cola
Got me like a solider, she ready for Rover
I couldn’t control her, so lucky oh me
I was just like a clover”

Funny T-Pain sound of the song:


Categories: Other | Leave a comment

Vanderbilt Baseball Coverage

I spent eight weeks this summer covering Vanderbilt baseball’s season as the Vanderbilt Hustler’s beat reporter, which was an incredible experience. I’ve collected all of my stories on this page as an archive of sorts..

I’ve listed my 24 game stories, six features, and various articles I’ve written below, organized by their publishing date. I hope you enjoyed the extra coverage of of the Vandy Boys this summer.

Bryan Reynolds

Bryan Reynolds steals an extra base hit from Florida’s Harrison Bader


7/1: Dansby Swanson’s rise to become Vanderbilt’s best player (Dansby Swanson)

6/16: Zander Wiel: From redshirt to ‘self-made player’ (Zander Wiel)

6/4: The future is bright for college baseball’s top pitcher (Carson Fulmer)

5/26: Toffey continues a tradition of Massachusetts excellence (Will Toffey)

5/17: New swing sets up Wiseman for historic season (Rhett Wiseman)

5/13: A star outside the spotlight (Walker Buehler)

Game Stories:

6/24: Virgina tops Vanderbilt to win national championship

6/23: Virginia shuts out Vandy 3-0, sends CWS to pivotal Game 3

6/22: Fulmer sends Dores within a win of national championship

6/19: Dores beat TCU 7-1, advance back to CWS Championship Series

6/16: Pfeifer’s dominance, Wiel’s home run send Dores to CWS semifinals

6/15: Vanderbilt beats Fullerton 4-3 on Kendall’s walk-off home run

6/7: Vandy sweeps Illinois, advances to College World Series

6/6: Commodores win 13-0, now a win from College World Series

6/1: Vanderbilt eviscerates Radford 21-0, advances to Super Regionals

5/30: Swanson’s home run propels Dores to 6-4 win

5/29: Vanderbilt tops Lipscomb 9-1 in regional opener

5/24: Commodores lose in SEC Tournament final once again

5/22: Vandy mercy rules Alabama, advances to SEC Tournament semifinals

5/21: Dores fall to Texas A&M, face SEC Tournament elimination

5/20: Vanderbilt tops to Missouri on Wiseman’s walk-off homer

5/16: Buehler’s gem spoiled in Vanderbilt’s shutout loss

5/15: Vanderbilt tops Alabama 7-5, wins SEC East

5/14: Fulmer continues to dominate, Dores lock up SEC Tournament bye

5/12: Johnson shines in 5-2 win at No. 2 Louisville

5/9: Emotions fly high as No. 9 Florida comes back to beat Vandy 9-7

5/7: Fulmer dominates, shuts out Florida 2-0

5/3: Vanderbilt wins 7-3 in Buehler’s Kentucky homecoming

5/2: Sloppy defense sinks Commodores as they fall 11-5

5/1: Fulmer’s start, late rally lead Dores past Kentucky 13-3


6/24: Vanderbilt shakes up Game 3 CWS lineup

6/23: Benintendi wins Golden Spikes Award over Swanson, Fulmer

6/23: Carson Fulmer was sick the night before impressive start

6/22: The Idiot’s Guide to the College World Series

6/22: Buehler’s new delivery shows immediate results

6/15: Vanderbilt-TCU College World Series preview

6/14: Vanderbilt-Fullerton game suspended midway through game

6/14: James Franklin visits Vandy at the College World Series

6/9: More Commodores selected on Day 2 of MLB Draft

6/8: Dansby Swanson selected first overall in MLB Draft

6/8: David Price visits Vandy at the Super Regionals

6/7: Super Regional Game 2 postponed until Monday

6/3: ESPN’s Keith Law comments on Vanderbilt players’ draft stock

5/31: Vanderbilt-Radford game to be played Monday

5/25: Vanderbilt to host Radford, Indiana and Lipscomb in regional

5/24: Rain delays SEC Tournament final

5/15: What seed will the Commodores be in the SEC Tournament?

Categories: College Baseball | Leave a comment

2015 Baseball Preview

Click here to download/view

My 2015 Baseball Preview is finally here just in time for the season to start. The Cubs host the Cardinals tomorrow night, so this is your chance to read up on the season ahead before the first pitch is thrown.

This year’s edition comes in at 67 pages with all the usual analysis, advanced stats, and scouting reports you’ve seen in past years. And as always, the preview is absolutely free, although I do accept Venmo payments and free food.

This preview has a focus for each team on how to build a championship team. In each team’s section, I look at how they were built, why they made the decisions they’ve made, and how they will move forward.

Finally, thank you so much for reading my preview (or at least giving me a page click). It took a lot of sleepless nights, but I’ve truly enjoyed working on this for the past five months.

I hope you enjoy perusing it, and I hope your team does well this year.

Categories: MLB | 1 Comment

NFL Divisional Round Picks – The Panthers Are Really Really Going To The Super Bowl

How exciting is it that the Panthers are going to win eight games in a row in consecutive seasons for the first time ever?

Almost as exciting as the Panthers getting revenge on every team to wrong them along the way to their first Super Bowl title. Let me explain.

On January 10, 2009, the Arizona Cardinals beat the Panthers 33-13 in the Divisional Round in Charlotte after the Panthers went 8-0 at home and earned a first-round bye. On January 3, 2015, the Panthers avenged their loss with a dominating 27-16 victory in Charlotte.

Sometimes I yearn for the days of Nick Goings...

Sometimes I yearn for the days of Nick Goings…

On January 22, 2005, the Seattle Seahawks beat the Panthers 34-14 in the NFC Championship Game in Seattle when the Panthers were just down to Nick Goings at running back. On January 10, 2015, the Panthers will avenge that loss in Seattle to move on to the NFC Championship game.

On January 12, 1996, the Green Bay Packers beat the Panthers 30-13 at Lambeau Field in the NFC Championship Game in just the Panthers’ second year of existence. One week from now, the Panthers will avenge that loss in Green Bay to go back to the Super Bowl.

On February 1, 2004, the New England Patriots beat the Panthers 32-29 in Super Bowl XXXVIII on an Adam Vinateiri 41-yard field goal with four seconds left. On February 1, 2015, the Panthers will avenge that loss 11 years later with their first Super Bowl title.

The stars are aligning. It’s meant to be. I mean I’ve been saying it for the past two weeks.

Furthermore, Madden 15 predicted the Panthers would win back in August. Their intro to the video game shows the Panthers making an improbably fourth quarter comeback in the playoffs with the Super Bowl on the line. The gods have already decided the outcome!

Somehow, though, people don’t tend to see the light as I do. Vegas opened the line on this game at 11.5 points. Eleven and a half points! Mischievous and deceitful. Chicanerous and deplorable.

The Seahawks and Panthers have played each of the last three years and the final scores have been 13-9, 12-7, and 16-12 in favor of Seattle. For those non-math majors out there, that’s a combined 13 points or just a tad over the line for this game alone.

It’s just too hard to see the Panthers giving up enough points for the Seahawks to cover a nearly two-touchdown spread. If it were not for a muffed punt and interception on a miscommunication, the Cardinals wouldn’t have even scored last week.

This line is insulting. It’s ridiculous. The Seahawks beating the Panthers by 12 points and stopping their Super Bowl run is so improbable and ridiculous that I’m going so far as to call this game the Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week o’ the Year o’ the Eon.

As always, home teams are in CAPS, and here’s a run through of each section:

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games are worth 5 apples.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games are worth 10 apples.

KFC Double Down Games are worth 20 apples.

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week is worth 50 apples.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Game:

BRONCOS (-7) over Colts

Peyton Manning versus Peyton Manning’s old team. I don’t know if I can muster up enough hate for this game.

All biases aside, the Colts haven’t been particularly good for a 12-5 team in any facet of the team aside from the passing game, which is admittedly first in the league. The running game is a disaster (their leading rusher last week was somebody named Daniel Herron), and they’ve played just two winning teams in the past seven weeks.

While I do worry about Peyton Manning at this point in the season, I don’t see the Colts as a huge obstacle, especially on the road, where the Broncos are 8-0 with an average margin of victory of 14.6 points.

I’ll save the Peyton Manning bashing for later in the playoffs when he’s in a more competitive game.

Prediction: Broncos 30 Colts 17

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Game:

Cowboys (+6) over PACKERS

Let’s try and think of all the things Tony Romo could do and still be called a choker:

– Save a dozen paraplegic kittens from a burning building

– Lead the NFL in completion percentage and yards per attempt

– Bring the Double Down back to KFC

– Beat the Packers on a game-winning 90 yard scramble

– Heal Jose Fernandez’s torn UCL with voodoo

– Wear his hat forwards at a press conference so Colin Cowherd will shut up

I think the Cowboys will still lose this game, but a 6-point line is just a bit too high for me.

Prediction: Packers 30 Cowboys 27

KFC Double Down Game:

PATRIOTS (-7) over Ravens

Yes, I’m aware the Patriots are 1-2 against the Ravens in the playoffs since 2009. Yes, I’m aware that Joe Flacco has 20 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in the playoffs since 2010. I really don’t care.

There’s all this hubbub about Joe Flacco flipping on a switch in the playoffs, but I don’t really buy it. For starters, his career completion percentage is worse in the playoffs (56.0% versus 65.0%). Also, I’ve got 112 games of evidence to show that Flacco is an incredibly average quarterback, and 14 playoff games isn’t enough of a sample size to make me think otherwise.

The Ravens beat the Steelers last week by forcing three turnovers, but that’s not very likely for a team run by Tom Brady that will also feature a heavy dose of LeGarrette Blount.

Give me Touchdown Tom and another Super Bowl run.

Prediction: Patriots 24 Ravens 13

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week o’ the Year o’ the Eon:

Panthers (+11.5) over SEAHAWKS

Go read the intro.

Panthers 13 Union Seahawks 12

Overall Record: 123-131-5

Last Week: 2-2

Apple Total: 0

Apple Total Last Week: 55

Categories: NFL | Leave a comment

NFL Wild Card Round Picks – The Panthers Are Really Going To The Super Bowl

Last week you might have thought that I was joking when I said the Panthers are going to the Super Bowl. Little did you know I meant the Panthers are really going to the Super Bowl.

Exactly as I predicted last week, Carolina manhandled the Falcons and advanced to the postseason for the second season in a row. And just like I predicted, the Panthers will continue on their Super Bowl march by hosting the Cardinals for the worst playoff matchup (according to DVOA) since 2004.

But it’s not like “worst playoff matchup” is some suggestion that this Panthers team is bad. Au contraire! It’s a suggestion that the Cardinals are the biggest piece of crap playoff team ever.

Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 2.00.30 PM

I like this GIF a lot, so I’ll leave it right here.

Ryan Lindley? Are you kidding me? Who’s going to put their faith in a quarterback on the road on short rest who started his career with an NFL record for 228 pass attempts in a row without a touchdown? And that’s a record for quarterbacks at any time of their career.

That this game’s line started at 4.5 points is a downright abomination. Over the past seven weeks, the Cardinals are averaging 11.3 points, including just 9 points per game when Lindley plays. The Panthers have a larger margin of victory the past four weeks (17 points) than the Cardinals are even scoring.

This game is beyond a lock. The Panthers have never lost in the Wild Card Round, and Bruce Arians has never won a playoff game (FACTS!!). I’d wager Nick Vitucci’s 1995-96 Riley Cup MVP on this game. I’d wager the Bojangles franchsie on this game. Hell I’d wager selling Cheerwine to the North. I’d go there.

But alas, all of this would be illegal, since sport gambling is not allowed in the United States and most definitely not encouraged by The Knuckle Blog. So instead I’ll just wager 50 apples on his game, making it my HICKORY SMOKED PULLED PORK LOCK O’ THE WEEK O’ THE YEAR O’ THE MILLENNIUM.

Also Ohio State sucks.

As always, home teams are in CAPS, and here’s a run through of each section:

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games are worth 5 apples.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games are worth 10 apples.

KFC Double Down Games are worth 20 apples.

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week is worth 50 apples.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Game:

STEELERS (-3) over Ravens

Gather round, children, and listen to Old Ben tell you a story.

Not so long ago, Steelers-Ravens was an incredible fun rivalry. Now, don’t be so quick to laugh.

This was a rivalry between two smashmouth teams led by heavy running games. I know that can be hard to believe with Ben Tate facing off against Justin Forsett, but it was true! Jamal Lewis versus Jerome Bettis. Ray Rice (when he didn’t beat women and did average more than 3.1 yards per carry) versus Willie Parker.

Jimmy. Quit playing with that fancy schmancy iPhone 6 Plus. Back in my day, we didn’t have those fancy gadgets; we were happy playing Angry Birds on our iPhone 5, and we listened when people told each other stories.

If you can believe it, once upon a time the Ravens-Steelers games were almost always close and competitive. From late 2007-2013 10 of the 15 matchups were determined by a field goal or less. Don’t get dismayed by the 20-point games this season: these games used to be fun.

Maybe you kids will get to see a good Ravens-Steelers game. Those were the good ol’ days. Back when Mariano Rivera wasn’t retired and Chip Kelly was still in college.

Prediction: Steelers 17 Ravens 13

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Game:

COWBOYS (-6.5) over Lions

It’s fun and all to rip on Tony Romo, but he was actually really good this year with the highest completion percentage in the NFL  and yards per attempt while he had a broken rib. Not only that, but his running back led the league in rushing by 484 yards while he had a broken hand.

Like it or not, the Cowboys are really good on offense this year. Then again, the Lions’ defense is really good, and something’s got to given with the #1 rush attack going up against the #1 rush defense.

What I worry about for the Lions is that they haven’t been battle tested much this season. They’ve played just one competitive team the past five weeks (Green Bay after beating Chicago twice, Tampa Bay, and Minnesota) with just a 2-4 record against teams with winning records.

One last note: Romo faces a disproportionate amount of criticism compared to Matthew Stafford, who has consistently done less with more over the past six seasons. Hopefully this game puts a stop to the discussion over which quarterback is better.

Prediction: Cowboys 26 Lions 16

KFC Double Down Game:

COLTS (-3.5) over Bengals

I hate to boil playoff games down to which team has the better quarterback, but I’m going to do just that here. The Colts get a major plus here for having Andrew Luck (and not Andy Dalton).

But of course, there’s more than that. A.J. Green is doubtful with a concussion, so even if he does play, he isn’t expected to do much. Green has already missed three games this season with an injured toe, including the Bengals’ 27-0 drubbing… in Indianapolis.

Now, I’m not going to call for another shutout, but it’s hard to see much in the favor of Cincy. They have plenty of big names in their secondary (Leon Hall, Terence Newman, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Pacman Jones), but they’ve largely been ineffective, which doesn’t bode well against then NFL’s top passing attack.

Cincinnati was able to handle a big passing attack in Denver by picking off Peyton Manning 4 times and rushing for over 200 yards. That seems unlikely to happen in Indy, though, because the Colts have allowed more than 142 rushing yards just once all year (allowing 32 yards to the Bengals), and Luck hasn’t thrown more than 2 interceptions in any game this season.

Prediction: Colts 24 Bengals 10

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week o’ the Year o’ the Millennium:

PANTHERS (-4.5) over Cardinals

Go read the intro.

Panthers 56 Cardinals 0

Overall Record: 121-129-5

Last Week: 8-8

Apple Total: -55

Apple Total Last Week: 55

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Week 17 NFL Picks – The Panthers Are Going To The Super Bowl

I probably got you to click on this link with that title, right? Classic.

Do I actually think Carolina, a sub-.500 team without an offensive line, is going to the Super Bowl? Maybe. But I’ve never been more confident in a single game than I am in the Panthers winning beating the Falcons today.

With a win against the Dirty Birds, the Panthers will head to the to the playoffs for the sixth time in playoff history. They have never been eliminated in the Wild Card round before and have a 6-5 all-time record.

The Falcons, on the other hand? They have the fourth-worst winning percentage in NFL history. Fourth-worst! Only the listless Lions, the only team to go 0-16, the 13-year old Texans, and creamsicle Buccaneers are worst.

I want YOU

I want YOU to bet all your life’s savings on the Panthers today. I can feel it.

Never before have I been more confident in an NFL pick. Never, I say. I would bet the Charlotte Hornets franchise, Cam Newton’s healthy vertebrae, and the Charlotte Checkers’ 1994-95 Calder Cup on it. Plus the Cats are 3-point underdogs? Please.

Am I riding a high off reading Scott Fowler’s Tales from the Carolina Panthers Sideline (buy it on Amazon here)? Maybe. Am I worried that the Falcons’ 32nd-ranked pass defense may be underrated? No (ha!).

The Panthers are perfectly set up for another Super Bowl run. They’ll be gifteed the gimpy Cardinals in the first round (redeeming the worst playoff game I’ve ever seen), take down the Lions in the Division round (who they easily dispensed of in Week 2), and then easily beat Dallas when they go full Romo (you never go full Romo).

This isn’t my Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week. This is my Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week o’ the Year o’ the Century.

Oh, and Matt Ryan can’t win big games.

As always, home teams are in CAPS, and here’s a run through of each section:

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games are worth 5 apples.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games are worth 10 apples.

KFC Double Down Games are worth 20 apples.

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week is worth 50 apples.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games:

Lions (+7.5) over PACKERS
For a game with so much on the line (a bye and potentially home field advantage in the playoffs), I am incredibly uninterested in this game. Take that, Midwest!

Browns (+13.5) over RAVENS
Which was more unlikely 12 months ago: Justin Forsett being the 6th-leading rusher in the league or Connor Shaw being a starting NFL quarterback?

Jets (+6.5) over DOLPHINS
Weird stuff happens in Week 17, especially in games with nothing on the line. Just take the points.

Rams (+11.5) over SEAHAWKS
I’m not giving double digit points in Week 17.

Raiders (+14) over BRONCOS
I’m not giving double digit points in Week 17, part II.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games:

Colts (-7.5) over TITANS
It’s almost time to switch the weekly “things still better than the Jaguars” feature to “things still better than the Titans,” but it’s just too much fun making fun of Jacksonville.

PATRIOTS (-6) over Bills
What do you think Bill Belichick would enjoy more than making sure the Bills don’t have their first winning season in a decade?

Bears (+7) over VIKINGS
I know there’s a usual rule of never betting on Jimmy Clausen, but I’m not giving up a touchdown for a team that allowed Ryan Tannehill to throw for nearly 400 yards.

Saints (-4.5) over BUCCANEERS
Hey, remember when pundits thought the Bucs would be a .500 team?

NINERS (-6.5) over Cardinals
I’m not sure who is going to be sadder: The Niners without Jim Harbaugh or Harbaugh stuck at Michigan.

KFC Double Down Games:

TEXANS (-7.5) over Jaguars
Here is a running list of things better than the Jaguars:
1. The NBA’s Christmas Day jerseys
2. Kansas City’s wide receivers
3. Mitch Albom columns
4. Shaq’s weird Christmas tradition
5. Josh Smith’s shooting
6. Kevin Garnett’s blowing
7. Kevin Garnett’s trash talking
8. Kevin Garnett’s biting
9. Kevin Garnett’s grace
10. Kevin Garnett’s acceptance of how others choose to dress themselves

Chargers (+2) over CHIEFS
Did you know that Philip Rivers is 8-0 in Week 17? #math

STEELERS (-3.5) over Bengals
Did you know that Ben Roethlisberger is also 8-0 in Week 17? #math

Cowboys (-5.5) over INJUNS
Washington is just an unmitigated disaster. This Washington Post article is just illuminating.

Eagles (+1) over GIANTS
I still pick Jordan Matthews over Odell Beckham Jr.  Always go with your gut over your brain.

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week o’ the Year o’ the Century:

Panthers (+3) over FALCONS
Go read the intro.

Overall Record: 113-121-5

Last 5 Weeks: 34-44-1

Apple Total: -110

Apple Total Last 5 Weeks: -115

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Becoming Champions: giving Vanderbilt Football a national title-worthy roster


Vanderbilt has a history of baseball players playing football.

Vanderbilt’s football season has come to a close, and baseball season is still a few months away, but fear not, there’s still a good reason to write about the two. Jackson Martin of The Dirty South Sports Report and friend of the program and fellow baseball nut Andrew King (Vanderbilt, Class of 2013) have come together with me to draft the Vanderbilt baseball team to play football, giving Vanderbilt football the national title-worthy roster it deserves, but maybe not the one it needs.

The rules are simple: draft a team of nine players: 1 quarterback, 5 skill position players, 1 linebacker, 1 defensive back, and 1 kicker (baseball players aren’t really built like linemen). Draft order was determined by a random number generator.

(Hat tip to Andrew King for coming up with this idea by saying Ro Coleman should be Vanderbilt’s third running back after Jerron Seymour was kicked off the team.)

Round 1:

Jackson: Dansby Swanson – ATH

  • Jackson Notes: Started off my draft the right way, by taking a player from Georgia. Dansby is the best all-around athlete available, and I’m going to use him in a multitude of roles. My offensive scheme is built around getting the ball into the best player’s hands, so Dansby will be catching passes, taking handoffs and throwing passes to make sure he gets as many opportunities to put points on the board as possible. Think of him as my Kentucky-era Randall Cobb.
  • Andrew Notes: With Adam Ravenelle and Jared Miller in the pros, Dansby has the best lettuce on the team by far. That could get him picked in the top 3 rounds by itself, but the all-around tools push him over the top. Good pick.
  • Ben Notes: He’s pretty clearly the best player on the baseball team, and he’s athletic enough to be a very good receiver.

Andrew: Jeren Kendall – RB

  • Andrew Notes: The NFL isn’t a running back league anymore, but we aren’t in the NFL so screw it, I’m going with Jeren at RB. He’s fast enough to be a home run threat on every snap, can catch passes out of the backfield, and his hockey background suggests he can handle being hit with regularity. I’ll build my team around that.
  • Jackson Notes: Fastest player on the team. Excellent pick, though I might have used him at wideout instead of running back.
  • Ben Notes: I was going to take him with one of my two picks. Fastest guy on the team, and he played hockey in high school, so I’d guess he’s pretty tough. He’d be great at either receiver or running back.

Ben: Jordan Sheffield – WR

  • Ben Notes: Sheffield should have been the first pick in the draft easy. Have you seen his high school highlight reel? Plus with his arm, I’m sure we could run a ton of Antwaan Randle El-esque gadget plays to get him involved in the passing game. I’m pretty sure most plays are going to start with Sheffield swinging around on a reverse. Also he won the Omaha Challenge this year, so that’s something.
  • Jackson Notes: The player who I initially assessed as the first overall pick. He’s actually played football, and has a strong highlight tape already. Was very hard to pass on him.
  • Andrew Notes: Ah, good Vanderbilt memories…a wide receiver named Jordan as the cornerstone of a team. Hint: not referring to Mr. Cunningham.

Round 2:

Ben: Xavier Turner – RB

  • Ben Notes: I’m getting a 6’2” 220 running back who runs a 6.75 60 time (sixth on the baseball team among times I could find), and apparently he was recruited by Ohio State to play running back before he blew out his knee in high school. Most of my offense will be pounding the ball with X.
  • Jackson Notes: I do not envy anyone who has to tackle X. He will, in fact, give it to ya.
  • Andrew Notes: ^ Well said.

Andrew: Rhett Wiseman – WR

  • Andrew Notes: Watch his running catch against Texas to lead off the 10th inning of the CWS semifinals. Or his diving catch to lead off the 9th inning against Virginia in Game 3 of the CWS Finals. He’s fast, has good hands, and has pretty good size at 6’1” 205; can’t pass up players like that.
  • Ben Notes: Rhett’s shockingly fast (6.51 60) and has good size, but he’ll probably need to bulk up if he’s taking many shots over the middle. I don’t know how many players are better qualified to make crazy catches, though.
  • Jackson Notes: You know how we use the phrase “deceptively fast” to describe white guys who can burn people dowfield? Rhett’s not deceptively fast, he’s just fast.

Jackson: Ro Coleman – RB

  • Jackson Notes: Shifty back, he’s quicker than he is fast. Getting him the ball in space will be absolutely key for my offense, so expect to see him utilized much like Darren Sproles was for Kansas State. Also planning on using this play at least once.
  • Andrew Notes: I wonder if you only picked him because Tony Kemp wasn’t on the board. He’s quick, but I worry about his durability, so I wouldn’t have taken him as the primary back on a team.
  • Ben Notes: You might just be able to hide Ro behind the line on every play. Then again, he’s not going to be able to hits like X will at running back.

Round 3:

Jackson: Zander Wiel – LB

  • Jackson Notes: I need a quarterback for my defense. Zander is built like a linebacker, and fits into this role as well as anyone else in this draft does. Would have gone higher if linebacker was a more valued position.
  • Andrew Notes: Probably would have picked him as a TE, but he’d be a scary good linebacker too.
  • Ben Notes: Going defense this early? Bold.

Andrew: Will Toffey – DB

  • Andrew Notes: I sure as hell wouldn’t want a fast, 6’2” hockey player bearing down on me in the open field. It’s a no brainer plugging him in at DB to solidify the back end of my defense. Disclaimer: I’m by far the biggest hockey fan of the three of us, so it’s no surprise I’ve picked 2 former hockey standouts in the first 3 rounds.
  • Jackson Notes: Is there any reason so many of these guys played hockey in addition to baseball? Is that just a thing people do in the north? I always thought Tom Glavine was unique for being drafted in both MLB and the NHL.
  • Jackson note #2: You’re only the biggest hockey fan because my beloved Thrashers were taken from me. #RIPThrashers
  • Ben Notes: Toffey won two New England Prep National Championships in hockey, I’ll assume he’s a tough guy too. I could see him as a hard-hitting safety too probably because he’s got some of the best power on the baseball team.

Ben: Joey Mundy – LB

  • Ben Notes: Since we’re on a run of defensive players, I’ll take someone who actually played defense in high school. Mundy was an outside linebacker for a Huntington High School team that went 13-1 and only gave up 10.2 points per game his senior year. At 6’3” 215, he’s also one of the bigger guys on roster.
  • Andrew Notes: I don’t know anything about Joey Mundy, but choosing a linebacker to play linebacker seems reasonable.
  • Jackson Notes: Ben’s on a run of taking guys who actually played football in high school. It’s times like this where I feel like a little more research could have done wonders for my team.

Round 4:

Ben: Tyler Ferguson – TE

  • Ben Notes: Tight ends are going to be a big part of my offense, and Ferguson is a big dude at 6’3” 225. I assume I won’t need to do this, but I could use him as an emergency quarterback or even use him on trick plays.
  • Andrew Notes: You have 3 players on offense alone who could reasonably lay claim to being your starting quarterback (Buehler, Sheffield, Ferguson). If there’s anything we’ve learned from former Vanderbilt Offensive Coordinator Karl Dorrell, it’s that you can never play too many quarterbacks, right? Now if only you had a redshirt to burn…
  • Jackson Notes: I mean, these are baseball players we’re talking about. They throw balls as their job (you know, a job where a shadowy organization won’t allow you to be paid for doing your job). I kind of assume all of them would make for at least passable quarterbacks.

Andrew: Drake Parker – ATH

  • Andrew Notes: I’m building my offense around speed in the open field, and I just found my Dexter McCluster. Woohoo!
  • Jackson Notes: Got the second smallest guy on the team. I’m thinking you were jealous of my Ro Coleman pick after all?
  • Ben Notes: Parker could be really useful if you can get him free in open field. I’m personally a bigger fan of players with size, but Parker’s speed is definitely exciting.

Jackson: Tyler Green – TE

  • Jackson Notes: Absolutely cannot believe Green lasted this long. He’s the tallest guy on the team, and was drafted to play hockey — so he seems like a perfect fit at tight end.
  • Andrew Notes: I’m just excited that he and Ro are on the same team. Wouldn’t you love to see the biggest guy block for the smallest guy? Me too. And he’d be a beast in the red zone.
  • Ben Notes: I’m actually really upset you took Green here. I really wanted him and was going to use him with Ferguson in my twin tight end sets. Dude is a mountain of a man, although my only concern is his 7.25 60 time.

Round 5:

Jackson: Bryan Reynolds – WR

  • Jackson Notes: Bryan has some wheels, and he’s prototypical receiver size at 6’2, 195 pounds. He’s a guy who I trust to catch the ball and make plays in space, so this is an exciting player to get in the fifth round.
  • Andrew Notes: Probably would’ve been drafted sooner, but his moustache tool graded out as a 30 on the 20 to 80 scale and scouts were concerned it would keep him from reaching his full potential.
  • Ben Notes: How did Bryan last this long in the draft? He’s got size and speed and actually catches balls in baseball.

Andrew: Kyle Smith – LB

  • Andrew Notes: Serious size at 6’3” 220lbs, solid speed, and he’s strong like bull. Sure, I’ll slot him in at LB.
  • Ben Notes: Kyle would’ve been great for tight end or linebacker. I hope is defense in football is better than his defense in baseball, though.
  • Jackson Notes: Big dude, seems like a fit at linebacker.

Ben: Walker Buehler – QB

  • Ben Notes: Walker gets the edge over Carson Fulmer at quarterback for me because he has a couple inches on Carson, and I feel like as he fills out his 160-pound frame, he may gain a little more arm strength. He’s definitely going to be a pocket passer with a 7.65 60 time (!!!!), but I’m not too worried with his arm and my first couple picks on offense.
  • Jackson Notes: I’m surprised Walker lasted this long. Has a huge arm and his favorite TV shows are The League and Blue Mountain State, so you know he can ball.
  • Andrew Notes: His big arm and thin frame reminds me a lot of Wade Freebeck, who you may recognize as a recurring contestant on Karl Dorrell’s Musical Quarterbacks. The show got terrible ratings and has since been canceled. Can you tell I’m still bitter?

Round 6:

Ben: Penn Murfee – WR

  • Ben Notes: Penn hasn’t gotten to see much of the field yet in baseball, but he’s got a great size-speed combination at 6’2” and a 6.74 60 time (fourth fastest on the team among those listed). That’s about all I know about Penn to be honest.
  • Jackson Notes: Apparently everyone in his family is a competitive swimmer. I don’t know how well that’s going to translate to football, considering it’s played on land.
  • Andrew Notes: What is a Penn Murfee?

Andrew: Ben Bowden – TE

  • Andrew Notes: He has good size for a TE, and he played PF for his high school basketball team so I presume he’s got a halfway-decent vertical and can go up and make plays in traffic.
  • Ben Notes: Great size at 6’4” 220, which should play well at tight end. He was also the Gatorade Player of the Year in Massachusetts for Baseball, so that’s cool.
  • Jackson Notes: Ben Bowden is a rock-solid name for a tight end. Not quite Heath Miller good, but definitely up there.

Jackson: Aubrey McCarty – QB

  • Jackson Notes: My insane offensive plan has finally played out to perfection. McCarty is notable for being ambidextrous, a skill I will use to full effect as my quarterback. He’s going to be rolling out to both sides, adding a great wrinkle to our hurry-up spread scheme. He also went to Colquitt County High School in south Georgia, which is coached by Rush Probst (of Two-A-Days fame) and is currently the No. 3 high school team in the country. Go Packers.
  • Andrew Notes: Damn, I wanted McCarty. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an ambidextrous QB, and I would be so interested to see how it would work in the right scheme.
  • Ben Notes: No surprise Jackson, a fellow ambidextrous athlete*, takes McCarty.
  • Jackson Note #2: Not sure I like your tone there, Ben.

Round 7:

Jackson: Tyler Campbell – DB

  • Jackson Notes: Great size, great speed, dad is a professional wrestler. Tyler is basically the ideal free safety.
  • Andrew Notes: I honestly thought someone was going to pick him as their kicker. Not a knock on his athleticism, but he claims that riding a unicycle is his most unique talent, and that just strikes me as something a kicker would do.
  • Ben Notes: I have nothing bad to say about the College World Series hero.

Andrew: Nolan Rogers – WR

  • Andrew Notes: Wes Welker, welcome aboard.
  • Jackson Notes: There’s only ever been one NFL wide receiver ever with Nolan as a first name, and he caught just one pass in his career. What a terrible pick, Andrew.
  • Ben Notes: I debated for a long time between Rogers (to play either DB or wide receiver) and Murfee. I think I got the better athlete, but I could also see Rogers as a great slot receiver. Also, let it be known that Andrew took Kyle Wright first before switching his pick before I could swipe up Rogers.

Ben: Carson Fulmer – DB

  • Ben Notes: I don’t know if Carson fits well at any one position, since he’s a little short for quarterback at 5’11”, but he’s a high-energy guy, which makes me see him as a great safety.
  • Andrew Notes: Thank you for saving him from being a kicker, where he could’ve probably made field goals from 70 yards but would’ve lasted one made extra point or field goal before vigorously celebrating and pulling a Bill Gramatica.
  • Jackson Notes: I was definitely going to draft him as a kicker.

Round 8:

Ben: Kyle Wright – TE

  • Ben Notes: I couldn’t land Tyler Green, so I’ll settle for Kyle Wright as my second tight end. X will enjoy the extra blocking with the two-tight end sets, and Kyle may actually be a very good receiver with his size (6’4” 200) and speed (he ran track in high school). Plus even though he didn’t play football in high school, the fact that he’s from Alabama must help in some way.
  • Andrew Notes: In case you didn’t hear it enough during the CWS run last year: *Aaron Boone says something about Tim Corbin’s affinity for recruiting ultra-athletic guys*
  • Jackson Notes: Two tight ends? Looks like Ben is setting up a nasty-big power run game.

Andrew: Hayden Stone – K

  • Andrew Notes: Special teams are hugely important, and I probably gave more thought to this pick than any other, so bear with me. Relievers are like kickers: they’re an afterthought until late in the game, at which point they need to have nerves of steel because they know that “holy crap the outcome of this game and our season comes down to this.” Relievers also have a lot of time on their hands to develop eccentricities and amuse themselves by becoming good at random things…perhaps like kicking field goals. Don’t believe me? Last year, Adam Ravenelle excelled as Vanderbilt’s closer late in the season. He was also nearly perfect in mid-inning shenanigans field goal attempts, including this clutch kick at the CWS. Hayden is a prime candidate to take over in the 9th inning from the Ravenelle/Brian Miller duo, so he’s the clear choice at kicker.
  • Jackson Notes: Again, I was going to draft him at kicker. Relief pitchers are the specials teams players of baseball.
  • Ben Notes: Maybe Andrew figured out the new market inefficiency: drafting kickers before the last round.

Jackson: Liam Sabino – K

  • Jackson Notes: Y’all took both my kickers, so I resorted to Sabino — whose mom is from Brazil. I understand that I’m stereotyping here, but that seems like a safe bet for an average at worst kicker.
  • Andrew Notes: As long as you have a reason, who am I to judge?
  • Ben Notes: I’m very glad we’re breaking stereotypes here and drafting a non-white kicker.

Round 9:

Jackson: Karl Ellison – ATH

  • Jackson Notes: From the same city in Florida as Tim Tebow. Can you say intangibles? Much like Tebow, he’s probably best-suited to play tight end. HEYYYYYOOOOOOOOOOOO.
  • Andrew Notes: Are those similar to Lunchables?
  • Ben Notes: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Andrew: Jason Delay – QB

  • Andrew Notes: Catchers have good arms, are tough as nails, and they’re basically an extension of the coaching staff on the field, which is precisely why I want a catcher to be my quarterback. Plus, Jason claims to be good at solving Rubix Cubes. If there’s anybody on this team I’d trust to decipher a defense, make good adjustments at the line of scrimmage, and quickly get the ball to my speedy playmakers in space, it’s him.
  • Ben Notes: I was kind of hoping to get Delay with my final pick since all the pitchers love him, and somehow my team is made up of mostly pitchers.
  • Jackson Notes: I’d laugh at you for drafting a catcher, but I just took one as an Athlete. So, uh, shit…

Ben: John Kilichowski – K

  • Ben Notes: Look, he’s lefty, and his name sounds close enough to Sebastian Janikowski that I think I might have just gotten the steal of the draft.
  • Andrew Notes: I wonder what John would look like sporting the signature Janikowski goatee-and-shaved-head look to complete the resemblance…probably equally terrifying.
  • Jackson Notes: Sure.

Team Rosters

Ben Andrew Jackson
QB: Walker Buehler QB: Jason Delay QB: Aubrey McCarty
RB: Xavier Turner RB: Jeren Kendall RB: Ro Coleman
WR: Jordan Sheffield RB/WR: Drake Parker WR: Dansby Swanson
WR: Penn Murfee WR: Rhett Wiseman WR: Bryan Reynolds
TE: Tyler Ferguson WR: Nolan Rogers TE: Tyler Green
TE: Kyle Wright TE: Ben Bowden TE: Karl Ellison
LB: Joey Mundy LB: Kyle Smith LB: Zander Wiel
DB: Carson Fulmer DB: Will Toffey DB: Tyler Campbell
K: John Kilichowski K: Hayden Stone K: Liam Sabino

Team Writeups:


At first, I was torn between a John Donovan-style offense and a Karl Dorrell-style offense, but after heavy consideration, I think I’ll choose a different path. I know this is college, but I’m going to base my offense off an improved 2003/04 Panthers squad. Much of my offense will revolve around giving the rock to Xavier Turner, who is built like an absolute workhorse (think Stephen Davis). Although pistol was little used back in the day, I could also see Jordan Sheffield (Steve Smith) set up in the backfield for a little pistol formation, which could get really creative since he’s a more-than-capable passer.

My main strategy in drafting was to take the best athletes who played football (Sheffield and Turner) and then grabbed a lot of size. Penn Murfee (Muhsin Muhammad) isn’t a burner, but he’s fast enough to cause matchup problems against defensive backs. Where this team gets fun is with the tight ends, who come in at 6’3” and 6’4”. The Panthers didn’t really have any good tight ends on their Super Bowl run, but Walker Buehler (good Jake Delhomme) may have his own Wesley Walls and Greg Olsen to work with in Tyler Ferguson and Kyle Wright.

Defensively, I’ve always been a proponent of a modified 3-4, which will play into my hands, since I’ll have as many Joey Mundy’s on defense as possible.

Much like the mid-2000s Steelers, there will be plenty of room in the playbook for gadget plays. The more times we get the ball in Sheffield’s hands the better. But we’ve also got a workhorse back, size, and very good athletes. I’m more than happy to just run it down your throat with Jerome Bettis.


I normally have a strong distaste for Pac 12 football, but there’s something captivating about watching Oregon boat-race people every week. My team is built with similar ideologies and boy will they put points on the board as games turn into a track meet. Speed is a killer, and that’s our biggest weapon. The 2011 Oregon team with LaMichael James at Halfback (Jeren Kendall), Kenjon Barner as the Slotback (Drake Parker), and De’Anthony Thomas at WR1 (Rhett Wiseman) is probably a good comparison for my squad, but I ended up with a QB in Delay who is not as fleet of foot as Darron Thomas was (update: as of 2013 Delay was clocked at 6.99s in the 60, which isn’t bad). That being said, I bet Delay would add a tough, physical element as a ball-carrier, perhaps closer to the Dak Prescott mold in that regard.

Sorry to disappoint, but you won’t find many wildcat formations, multiple QB sets, or exotic gadget plays here. We’re going to push the pace, force opponents to cover the entire width of the field, and test the stretched-out defense’s ability to make solo tackles in space. The offense will be slightly pass-heavy, so you can expect a lot of mid-range throws to generate yards after the catch, a healthy amount of pre-snap motion, a moving launch point to keep defenses guessing, and a variety of creative screens. Our personnel will make it tough to pound the ball up the middle consistently, so in the run game you’ll see a lot of zone-blocking, misdirection, and backs who are very active catching balls on both swing passes and wheel routes.

On a random note, I like Oregon’s option plays with a flared-out slotback, so we’ll do that a bunch. Why? Because this is my baseball-turned-football team dammit. Just like this.

On defense, we’ll play a base 4-2-5 like Gary Patterson’s TCU team to take advantage of our athletic, physical secondary which consists of 5 Will Toffey clones. We only drafted two players on defense, so that’s plenty of defensive scheming.


I come from the (gag) Urban Meyer school of thought when it comes to offenses — get the ball in your playmakers hands and give them a chance to make plays. That means I took a bunch of athletes who can line up in multiple positions and get the ball in different ways. We’ll utilize spread formations to get one-on-one matchups in space and terrorize the defense by mixing the run and the pass effectively. The closest current college offense to my ideal philosophy is probably Baylor — a team that uses the run to open up deep passes and especially leans on read-options and playaction passes to force the defense into leaving open space. We’ll definitely play an up-tempo style because I don’t think anyone else has the athletes to match up with my team.

Expect multiple guys to throw the ball on this team. We’re going to creatively use our ambidextrous quarterback to create extra separation and maximize the effectiveness of pop passes (a read-option that has the quarterback throw a pass instead of running if the receiver is uncovered). Dansby will also be taking snaps at quarterback — calling this the Wildcat is disingenuous because he has just as good an arm as our quarterback.

Deception is key in keeping a defense off-balance. Between the option plays, pop passes, playaction, six trick plays per game and our (listed height) 5’5” running back, I want the defense to not know where the ball is half the time. You can’t stop what you can’t see.

As for the defense, well, much like Bill Murray: I don’t play defense.

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