Football

Weary Cubs look to pull postseason magic to stay alive

If you’re a fan of baseball… then the NLCS has been great if you’re a Dodgers fan or just hate the Cubs. The Dodgers bullpen has been pristine and their lineup has been dynamite.

But here’s the thing about this series: the Cubs aren’t hitting. And I don’t mean just a few players in the lineup. I’m talking the entire lineup.  Now what do I mean by this? I mean in three games, the Cubs have scored a combined 4 runs to the Dodgers 15. Yes. Cubbies have been outscored 15-3. Another thing to consider: Jose Quintana has the second highest batting average on the team. The man is a pitcher. I’m all for #pitcherswhorake but that’s not what you want during the NLCS.

Here’s another example you know the batting situation is bad for the Cubs. When with the bases loaded, Yu Darvish was allowed to bat. The Dodgers had a 2 run lead and were confident enough that the Cubs wouldn’t produce another run the rest of the night, so they let their pitcher bat.

Then, the other issue with the Cubs in this postseason has reared its ugly head: the bullpen. I really can’t wrap my head around it. Carl Edwards Jr, who appeared 73 times during the regular season for the Cubs.. has been less than stellar in this postseason. And that’s putting it mildly. The most recent debacle to add to Cubs’ fans list of grievances is when he walked Darvish with the bases loaded. To illustrate how off the mark he’s gotten, his 2017 postseason ERA is 11.97.

The Dodgers bullpen as a whole against the Cubs? They haven’t allowed a run and have only allowed 2 hits. And they’ve struck out 13.

Some may ask, but the Cubs have almost the same team as last years, While correct, the pitching is not as dominant as it was last year. And the Dodgers are not the same team they were in 2016’s NLCS. Gone are the bullpen woes and the spotty hitting. Instead, you have a team that lives and breathes each other. Kind of like what the Cubs had last year.

Do I think the Cubs are done for? The Dodgers are up 3-0. It doesn’t seem like their pitching or bats are going to let up. Alex Wood is a good pitcher. I will point out that after the All Star break he posted a 3.89 ERA with 13 home runs allowed in 12 starts. But his last three starts in the regular season, he allowed 4 runs over 18 innings, striking out 15 and walking 2.

But its October. That’s the magic of postseason baseball. Jake Arrieta is on the mound for what could be his last start in a Cubs uniform (he’s a free agent at the end of this year.) The Cubs are hanging on by their last straw. It’s about to strike midnight. The defending champs need to either find more magic or Cinderella will turn back into a pumpkin. I would recommend someone’s bats getting hot. Or this is the last game at Wrigley til 2018.

The one where Larks reclaims the lead, #upsetcity and Florida is complete trash

Hey, what’s up, hello. Sorry I’ve been missing in action for a few weeks. Life got a little crazy but I’m here to catch you all up on where the standings are.

Last we saw, my mother was in first place, with my dog Malarky and my uncle Larry close behind. I was in dead last, having been complete trash and had 3 straight weeks of 3-7 picks. I’m still debating on whether I need an analyst, who will be referred to by a code name, to protect respective parties, in case they have trash picks as well.

Back to the matter at hand. The standings:

1. Sarah and Larks 41-33
2. Larry 39-35
3. Joe 37-37
4. Mimi 36-38
5. Ro and MK 35-39
6. Molly and Jess 34-40
7. Granny 33-41
Live look at my mom upon realizing she had dropped out of first and is still losing to a dog:
ari gold
But back to more important things. The games this weekend. First, we have to talk about Syracuse and Clemson.
This was not a game we picked, but it was a game to take note of. Obviously because Syracuse upset Clemson but for other reasons as well.
I’m not going to take away what the Orange pulled off. Home field, roaring crowd, and with Clemson’s Kelly Bryant already nursing a sore ankle… everything seemed to align for the Orange.
There’s also the little fact that the Syracuse defense limited Clemson to 113 total yards rushing… and only 39 in the first half. This is a Tigers team that has been averaging AT LEAST 230 yards rushing this season. You add in the fact that Bryant left the game after the first half with a concussion and you have a recipe for a great upset. And I love a good upset. Unless it’s against one of my teams. Then I’m just annoyed and grumpy. But we’ll get to the dumpster fire that is the Florida Gators in a little bit.
Moving over to the other upset, the game we did pick, (8) Washington State at California.
If you haven’t seen this touchdown run, you are missing out or are not on social media, don’t watch tv/are Patrick Star and live under a rock.
ross bowers flip .gif
For more context, Ross Bowers mother is a gymnastics coach. Regardless, this is still awesome and we should just all be in awe of it.
Back to the point at hand: THERE WERE 7 TURNOVERS BY THE COUGARS. I want to know where the Washington State team that beat USC was last week, because they were nowhere to be found against Cal. Every time they seemed to put a drive together, the Bears’ defense was there to get an impressive stop, with the aforementioned 7 turnovers and, in case you weren’t aware, 9 sacks.
If y’all haven’t figured out that I picked Washington State in this matchup, you should be aware by now.
Cal’s defense was the star of this game, absolutely smothering the Cougars and limiting them to just 3 points. Mike Leach put it perfectly when he told ESPN that they were “pathetic.”
In a word? Woof.
Looking for another team that was pathetic, but more so on offense? Let me turn your attention to the Florida Gators.
After a horrendous loss to LSU at home last weekend on a missed extra point, which is made even more embarrassing since LSU had just lost to Troy…. the Gators were needing a comeback of sorts.
Enter the Aggies.. who played well against the number one team in the country, Alabama.
I’ll be blunt. This game did not end well for the Gators.
Here’s what you saw: Felipe Franks is still a few years away from being the good quarterback he could be. The guy missed open receivers down the field all night, and except for a great play he made with his legs in the fourth quarter, which was a broken play, was completely mediocre. The offensive line is still in total disarray, which is evident by the fact that Franks was sacked 5 times. Then, Johnny Townsend sends a punt directly to the Aggies top playmaker, Christian Kirk, who returns it 43 yards to set up a game winning field goal.
Florida is trash. And they aren’t even fun to watch. It’s painfully agonizing every game and a nailbiter, but not in the good way.
Thankfully, Florida has a bye week this week before gearing up to most likely get beaten by double digits by Georgia.
I’ll be back next week with the blog as well as a preview on a game of the week later this week. Slowly climbing my way back into the rankings in CFB picks. Our trash talk has died down some but I’m sure I’ll have plenty of material next week now that Larks has reclaimed the top spot.
I should mention that Sarah also is tied for first, but as Larry put it, that doesn’t really count.

 

 

 

Game of the Week: (14) Miami at Duke

So, after a look at how I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks, I needed to do something different. Shake things up, get my mojo back, whatever it is, trying to shake the bad karma out and bring in better vibes. So, let’s take a look at one of the games we picked this week: (14) Miami at Duke

Looking at Miami and Duke, everyone should remember the last time the Hurricanes were in Durham. That would be 2015. Where the most insane 8 lateral, last play in a football game occurred. This is also the play that later the league said shouldn’t have counted and got two officials suspended as a result.

Duke is looking at its best start in more than 10 years. This is only the sixth time the Blue Devils have won their first four games since 1960. Quarterback Daniel Jones has looked good for the Blue Devils so far, leading his team to a beatdown of Northwestern, and then taking down Baylor and rival North Carolina.

Miami has had a topsy turvy season so far. With Hurricane Irma causing games to be cancelled or postponed, the Hurricanes did not look so great against Toledo last week til the back end of the game.  It’s hard to say how good Miami is, without really having a lot of evidence to go off of. Miami does have Malik Rosier at the helm at QB, who started in that 2015 matchup between these two teams when Brad Kaaya was out with a concussion.

Here’s what I think is going to need to happen for each team: Duke is going to have to stop Miami’s run game. Mark Walton rushed for 204 yards against Toledo last week and played a big part in the 2015 last play. The Hurricanes could also potentially be getting back Ahmmon Richards, who’s been out with a hamstring injury. He set a Miami freshman receiving record last year.

For Miami, it’s going to be a long game if Daniel Jones can wreck havoc on their secondary. That was what Toledo exploited early in the game last week. This is already a secondary that is young and it was up in the air how good they would be. The other thing to worry about with Jones is his ability to extend plays with his legs. The Blue Devils’ receivers are a talented bunch, and if Jones can get to them easily, then I’m just a hot take away from saying this is going to be a bad night for Miami.

As for my prediction? And hopefully my family doesn’t read this and try to copy my picks, but I’m taking Duke and the points. I think the experience of Jones at the helm, the need to avenge what happened in Durham two years ago, and the fact that Duke football is looking at its best start in a few years, I’m going with the Blue Devils. Miami will make this a game, but I think Jones exploits the secondary and wins a close one.

 

But hey, if you don’t like my analysis, go with Lark’s route: which mascot would he rather be friends with? He’s in third in our standings for a reason.

Burgess family CFB picks: The one with dumpster fire picks for 3 weeks straight

So, after last week, it was looking pretty rough for me. 2 straight weeks of going 3-7. Tied for last with my grandmother and my Aunt Molly. Basically in the running for the golden toilet trophy, awarded to last place (We still have not named said trophy, taking suggestions now). To make matters worse, my dad, otherwise referred to as Joe or JJ, decided to rub salt in the wound.

Joe: MK I need your picks this week.

Me: Why?

Joe: Because I want to pick opposite you. So when you go 2-8, I’ll go 8-2.

Live look at me:

eye roll

So, while I’m being slowly roasted over the coals for being the sports anchor but having an awful start to my season, my Uncle Larry was making a charge at Larks’ top spot in the standings.

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 12.08.15 PM

For those wondering, here’s how Larks prepares each week for his picks. He puts a lot of time and preparation into each week:

IMG_1390

Moving on to this week’s games: after the improbable ending to Florida-Tennessee last week, I felt that I had to go back to picking my beloved Gators. But we’ll get into how that worked out for me in a minute.

  1. NC State at (12) FSU (-12.5)
  2. Texas A&M (-2.5) at Arkansas
  3. WVU (-21.5) at Kansas
  4. (1) Alabama (-18.5) at Vanderbilt
  5. (5) USC (-17) at California
  6. (16) TCU at (6) Oklahoma State (-13)
  7. (8) Michigan (-10) at Purdue
  8. (17) Mississippi State at (11) Georgia (-5.5)
  9. (20) Florida (-2) at Kentucky
  10. Notre Dame (-4) at Michigan State

So, the first 3 games? I went 2-1. Of course, Larry decides to toot his own horn before the noon games even reach halftime:

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 12.23.24 PM

Savage, Joe. Savage.

Here’s why Larry was so confident, and why I was feeling good after the first 3 games.

Larry:

NC state
Arkansas
West Virginia
Bama
Cal
TCU
Michigan
UGA
Kentucky
ND

Sarah:

NC STATE +12.5

ARKANSAS +2.5

WVU -21.5

BAMA -18.5

CAL+17

TCU +13

PURDUE+10

MISS ST+5.5

KY +2

MICH ST +4

MK:

  1. NC State
  2. Arkansas
  3. WVU
  4. Vanderbilt
  5.  California
  6. Oklahoma State
  7. Purdue
  8. Mississippi State
  9. Florida
  10.  Sparty
Joe:
Free Shoes U
Aggies
Couch Burners
Satan
Antifa (CAL)
Cowpokes
Khakis
UGA
31
Leprechauns
Mimi:
FSU
Arkanas
WVU
Alabama
USC
TCU
Michigan
Georgia
Florida
Notre Dame
Molly:

1. FSU

2. Arkansas
3.WVU
4. Alabama
5. USC
6.Oklahoma State
7.Michigan
8. Georgia
9. Florida
10. Michigan State
Rosemary:
NC State
Ark
KU
Vandy
Cal
Ok St
Michigan
Georgia
Florida
Michigan State
Larks:

NC State

Aggies
Kansas
Vanderbilt
California
TCU
Purdue
Georgia
Gators
Notre Dame
Jess:
Noles
Ark
WVU
Vandy
Cal
OSU
Mich
Dawgs
Gators
State
Granny:
FSU
Arkansas
WVU
Alabama
USC
Ok State
Michigan
Florida
Georgia
Notre Dame
So, after a pretty good start… I then proceeded to turn into this after winning three games:
dumpster fire
Let’s also visit this: Florida, somehow, after looking like a complete and utter disaster the entire game against Kentucky, puts in Luke Del Rio and then takes a 1 point lead with 40 seconds left. They then WIN THE GAME BUT DON’T COVER. Heartbreak for me. That team should be 0-3, but is somehow 2-1. Devil magic is going on for that team.
Another game that hurt a lot of people? Thinking Vandy would cover against the Tide.
Mood if you’re a Bama fan (Thanks to Saturday down South for this amazing photo, I can’t stop laughing, TBH)
Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 12.38.54 PM
59-0. The spread was 18. Florida plays Vandy this weekend, so I have no idea how to even pick that game. Tune in next week to find out about that.
So, here’s a look at the standings:
  1. Larry (26 -14)
  2. Rosemary (25-15)

  3. Larks (24-16)

  4. Sarah, Mimi and Joe (23-17)

  5. Jess (20-20)

  6. Mert (17-23)

  7. Molly (16-24)

  8. MK (15-25)
  9. John (14-16)

BASICALLY DEAD.LAST. And only because my cousin forgot to send in picks this week. This is just not acceptable. I don’t know what I’m going to do. Maybe bring in an analyst, or something. But the fact that I’m losing to a dog who’s picking based off which mascot he’d want to be friends with and my grandmother is downright embarrassing.

Burgess family CFB picks: The one where #Irma shakes the region but not Larks’ place in the standings

We’re back, after a quick hiatus. For those of you who don’t know, I live in Florida. Tampa to be exact. And just a little over 2 weeks ago, Hurricane Irma came through here. While it completely devastated the Florida Keys and parts of Naples, Tampa escaped somewhat unscathed. We did lose power for a day and a half, but we were very lucky.

Now, week two came and went and while Irma had more people packed in my house than a sardine can, what didn’t change were the standings. Well, for the most part. After week 2, in which you saw Baker Mayfield completely disrespect the OSU fanbase by trying to plant the OU flag in the middle of the field (and if you aren’t a fan of that, you need to stop being a bitter OSU fan), Mizzou have no defense whatsoever and lose to South Carolina and the rest of my picks just go completely down the drain, we end up with this:

  1. Rosemary and Larks (13-7)
  2. Larry, Mimi, Sarah and Jess  (12-8)
  3. Joe (11-9)
  4. John and Molly (10-10)
  5. MK (9-11)
  6. Mert (7-13)

There is only one word to describe my fall from grace:

WOOF

Taking a quick look at week three, I was sure I would be able to bounce back. I mean, I couldn’t do that badly two weeks in a row?

Week three brought us finally a Florida football game, although one I was very nervous about. Why? Because it was against Tennessee. This is the game Florida blew an 18 point lead in the second half. I picked against the Gators.

After 3 quarters of awful football, which included no touchdowns, interceptions that turned into nothing, and a lot of bad coaching decisions by Butch Jones (I’m still confused why he went into the shotgun formation on the goal line in the first quarter), we got a defensive touchdown by the Gators. And then… Florida somehow gets an offensive touchdown. And then proceeds to blow the game and it’s all tied up with 9 seconds left to go.

Then, in one of the most poorly defended final plays I’ve seen in a while, Felipe Franks chucks the ball downfield… the Gators catch it… and win the game.

Live look at me as that play is happening:

200

It was AWESOME.

But moving on to the standings after week 3… I didn’t feel so awesome anymore.

  1. Rosemary (19-11)
  2. Larks (18-12)
  3. Larry and Sarah (17-13)
  4. Mimi, Joe, and Jess (16-14)
  5. John (14-16)
  6. MK, Molly and Mert (12-18)

A live look at me after Week 3:

this is fine

Immediately, my dad, who shows me all the affection, texted me something along this lines of this:

figure it out

So there you have it. We’re all still getting beaten by a dog, who made his picks based off choices seen here.

Here’s to next week and hoping I climb my way out of the bottom of the standings. I really don’t want the golden toilet trophy that’s awarded to last place.

 

 

Burgess Family CFB picks: The one where we all lose to a dog

I’ll start off by saying this: when I started this challenge with my family last year, I fell off writing about it halfway through. Work, life, me just being lazy, whatever the reason, I didn’t keep up with it, and for that I’m sorry.

For those wondering, my sister Anne finished first, while I was tied for third with my mom, my cousin Sarah got second and my dad, grandfather, and sister Molly finished fourth, fifth and last.

Now, this year, we opened it up to more family members. Anne becomes commissioner, due to claims of cheating made by other participants (looking right at you, Sarah), which were unfounded, but Anne is now commissioner. She was quick to let us all know.

captain gif

Now, here are the games we picked for last week.

  • Maryland at (23) Texas (-18.5)
  • Temple at Notre Dame (-18.5)
  • Kentucky (-10.5) at Southern Miss
  •  NC State (-5) vs. South Carolina
  •  (3) FSU vs. (1) Alabama (-7)
  • BYU vs. (13) LSU (14.5)
  • (22) WVU vs (21) Virginia Tech (-4)
  • (11) Michigan (-5) vs. (17) Florida
  • Texas A&M at UCLA (-3.5)
  • (25) Tennessee (-3) vs. Georgia Tech

Of course, there was much trash talk, especially as the new members, which include my aunts, uncles, cousins and my grandmother, felt they had to claim this year it would be better.

Here were everyone’s picks.

Sarah:  Texas, Notre Dame, Southern Miss, South Carolina, Alabama, LSU, WVU, Michigan, UCLA, Ga Tech

Molly: Texas, Temple, Southern Miss, NC State, FSU, LSU, Virginia Tech, Michigan, UCLA, Tennessee

John: Maryland, Temple, Kentucky, South Carolina, Alabama, BYU, WVU, Florida, Aggies, Tennessee

Rosemary: Maryland, Temple, Southern Miss, South Carolina, Alabama, BYU, WVU, Florida, Aggies, Georgia Tech

Joe: Turtles, Owls, Calipari, Fighting Muschamp’s, Satan (Saban), The No Les Miles, The Burnt Couches, Gators, Aggies, Ramblin’ Wreck

MK: Maryland, Temple, Kentucky, South Carolina, FSU, LSU, WVU, Florida, Aggies, Georgia Tech

Mert: Texas, Notre Dame, Southern Miss, NC State, FSU, BYU, WVU, Florida, Aggies, Tennessee

Mimi: Texas, Notre Dame, Kentucky, South Carolina, FSU, LSU, WVU, Florida, Aggies, Ga Tech

Larks: Maryland, Notre Dame, Kentucky, South Carolina, Alabama, LSU, Virginia Tech, Florida, Aggies, Tennessee

Larry: Maryland, Temple, Southern Miss, South Carolina, FSU, LSU, WVU, Michigan, UCLA, Tennessee

Jess: Texas, Notre Dame, Kentucky, South Carolina, Alabama, BYU, Virginia Tech, Florida, UCLA, GT

But in the end, it all amounted to one, simple fact: WE ALL LOST TO A DOG.

laughter

 

For those who don’t know, I’m very much obsessed with my dogs. But to be fair, Malarky, or Larks, is pretty much the most beautiful dog I’ve ever seen, so it’s hard not to be obsessed. Which is why he was included in this year’s pick challenge.

21077619_1595072680567770_6434125325915591375_n

I’ll get to the standings in a bit. As for how Larks picks his games, that can be found here. The games this weekend were interesting. One thing is certain: Florida’s offense is just as much of a dumpster fire as it was last year. The offensive line we’ve heard was going to be the focal point of the team? They couldn’t stop my 11 year old arthritic dog. The only reason the Gators didn’t score solely field goals is because the defense made extraordinary back to back pick sixes.

Moving over to the Texas-A&M UCLA game. Appropriately coined as the “Losing coach gets fired bowl” by my father, it did not look good for Jim Mora. But then… I don’t know what happened. Somehow, an incredible comeback for the Bruins, complete with a last minute winning play. Was one of the more exciting games last weekend.

Now, it usually fills me with glee when something bad happens to FSU. But I feel for Deondre Francois. That young man is a damn good quarterback and my heart goes out for him with that knee injury.  However, it does make the FSU-Florida game slightly more interesting in late November.

Now, to the standings.

  1. Sarah and Larks: 7-3
  2. MK, Rosemary and Joe: 6-4
  3. Larry, Mimi and Jess: 5-5
  4. John and Molly: 4-6
  5. Mert: 3-7

Here’s who’s in the contest: myself (MK), my mother and father (Joe and Rosemary), my cousins Sarah, John and Jess, my Uncle Larry, my aunts Molly and Mimi and my grandma Mert. And Larks.

I will make one thing clear: A tie with a dog still means you LOST TO A DOG.

My dad felt the need to voice how much Larks wanted to troll us all after the standings came out:

image1

So here’s to Larks. 11 years old, arthritic, and always working to get a cookie. Trying to keep the CFB belt in the family.

Tune in next week to find out how the standings get shaken up and if we all continue to get school by a fluffy dog with an amazing bark.

 

 

 

 

 

Burgess family CFB picks: How Larks picks his teams

As mentioned in the previous post, my dog Malarky, or as we affectionately nicknamed him, Larks, is a part of our family’s college football picks challenge. Each week we pick 10 games against the spread. The person with the most games picked right this week, wins.

Well, seeing as Larks is a dog, there’s no way he would understand what a spread is, we had to come up with a different way for him to pick the games.

So we decided if Larks was picking teams.. he would pick based off which mascot he would want to be friends with… bark at.. or just chase around a yard.

So, without further ado, here’s how he picked.

Maryland: Larks loves turtles

Notre Dame: his name is Malarky… he can’t go against the Irish

Kentucky: He’d rather play with a wildcat than a golden eagle

South Carolina: Larks has chased an oversized turkey back in his day… and that’s kind of what a Gamecock looks like

Alabama: who wouldn’t want to play with an elephant?

LSU: A tiger is more fun to bark at than a Cougar (Sorry BYU)

Florida: he loves to chase lizards

Aggies: because an agricultural man would just give millions of belly rubs and their sheltie/Lassie looking dog Larks would love.

Tennessee: Because Smokey is amazing and he and Larks would be fast friends.

There you have it. Check in next week to see if Larks stays on top.