Wednesday, March 20, 2013

march madness predictions

   I am going to share my picks on this years tourney.  If you are looking for an expert opinion stop reading.  I spend most of my sports attention on the Brown's, Indians, and Cav's plus OSU football.  Every March though I enjoy filling out the bracket and while I don't see many games I usually do pretty good with the brackets.  Last year I only had 2 of the final four but still picked Kentucky to win it all, I know that was a tough one to call.  I did miss Uconn two years ago but after that I would have to go back to  07 for the last time I missed picking the champ and that was one where I picked more with my heart then my head.  I still had an incredibly tough time this year and probably would have been better off throwing darts or letting my wife pick the favorite uniform but here we go.  By the way I still count the Tuesday/Wednesday games as play ins and round one starts on Thursday.

  In the south region I have compete chalk for round one, which if that happens I guess would be an upset of it's own.  The MAC usually causes trouble but I could not have Akron beating their old coach without their starting point guard.  I did have VCU knocking off Michigan to get to the sweet 16 and UCLA knocking off Florida but that is where the "upsets" end.  I have Kansas and Georgetown in the elite 8 with Kansas winning the region.  There was a small part of me almost picking UNC to upset Kansas, but I don't think Roy Williams will be able to pull off that feat with an inferior team.

  In the East region is where nearly all my upsets lie. I have the 9,10,12, and 13 seed all pulling off upsets in the first round.  When picking brackets you almost always have to pick two 12 seeds to win and here is the first of my two. No doubt Syracuse is the better then Montana but is there a team that has to travel farther?  I picked Cal and Butler to join Indiana and Miami in the sweet 16.  I have the streaky Miami going down to Butler who is going to upset the Hoosiers to punch their ticket to yet another final four. I have become a huge fan of Brad Stevens over the last few years and if Thad ever left the Buckeyes he would be number one on my wishlist.

  The Midwest region has the overall number 1 seed in Louisville and much like my Buckeyes a few years ago seem to be punished for that by being in the toughest region. In my opinion they have the strongest 2 seed, 3 seed, and I have seen quite a few predictions of St Louis winning the region.  Well I do have Mizzou winning one game before bowing out to Louisville.  I went back and forth on the Oregon game before selecting my second 12 seed to advance although I really see that game going either way.  The next upset in this bracket will be Creighton knocking off Duke, we all know illogical reasons are sometimes right and history shows Duke seems to really struggle as a 2 seed.  By the way two weeks ago Duke was who I was leaning towards winning the whole thing , I know completely illogical.  I do have another double digit seed in the sweet 16 with Oregon knocking off St Louis.  All said and done thought I have Michigan State coming out of the region outlasting Louisville in the regional final.

  Lastly my Buckeyes region, the west.  I really did not anticipate being a homer pick, even last week I was thinking elite 8 at best for OSU.  Until they knocked off Indiana a few weeks ago I would not have been surprised to see them miss the sweet 16.  They have a great coach though and have been playing well with 8 straight wins.  In the first round the only upset I have is Belmont winning, actually I have them beating New Mexico as well and I think  they will give OSU all they can handle, if Thomas has an off game the buckeyes can be in trouble.  but I do have OSU winning not just against Belmont but also getting past the 4 seed Kansas St who will provide the only other upset in the West when they knock off Gonzaga.

  The Final four is Kansas, Michigan State, Butler and Ohio State. In this year where no team really separated itself as a clear cut favorite to win it all I think the experience of these teams head coaches will make the difference.  I would love to pick my Buckeyes to advance to the title game and while I think it will go down to the wire I don't see them knocking off Tom Izzo's team for a third time this season.  On the other side I would love to see Brad Stevens get his team back to the championship game, but I do think Kansas will end the Bull dogs run this year.  So in this year of unpredictability who do I have cutting down the nets April 8th?  That would be Kansas, a team that lost it's regular season finale, and had a horrible week to start February. Other then that they were nearly flawless, as a matter of fact their only other loss to tarnish their resume was back in November on a neutral site, the Georgia Dome, their opponent, yep you guessed it, Michigan State. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The 2013 Brown's Quarterback is...

   The Brown's quarterback situation seems to be all you can hear about on Cleveland sports radio right now.  We  have the Cav's playing at a .500 clip the last few months, the Tribe starting it's most promising spring training in over a decade and all everyone wants to talk about is something that we won't know who's right or wrong for years to come. So let me get in on the fun.

   Tell me what the following list of QB's has in common.  Weeden, Christian Ponder, Colt McCoy, Pat White, Chad Henne, John Beck, Kellen Clemens, Charlie Frye, JP Losman, Rex Grossman, David Garrard, Marques Tuiasosops, Tee Martin,and Dante Culpepper.  There are a plethora of correct answers this group has in common, but I am looking at two common themes.  Zero Superbowl appearances, in fact this group has produced a combined 4-4 postseason record.  The second common theme, these were all the QB's drafted 4th in their respective class since the Brown's have come back. Fourteen signal callers and only Culpepper and Grossman have started postseason games, each going 2-2.  Look farther back you won't find a better track record, in fact the only QB selected 4th in his draft class to wear rings is Joe Montana, my friends that is called the exception to the rule.

    Is Brandon Weeden a better NFL QB then McCoy?  It comes down to a matter of opinion and mine is yes, Weeden is the better of the two.  Was he that much better though to warrant a 1st round pick, NO.  Colt had a decent rookie campaign,  his second season, well unimpressive is a kind way to describe it.  Still it felt if we traded in a Ford Focus for a Fusion, we needed to wait to get the Mustang.  I am pretty confident that with the better surrounding talent on the field last season the Brown's would have still won 5 games with Colt behind center. How nice would Decastro or Fleener looked in the orange helmet instead of Weeden. I will never be able to wrap my head around the thinking that picking the 4th best QB last year was a better option then rolling one more season with Colt, and if he failed, would put us in position to get one of the better QB's in this class.  There are plenty of Russell/Leaf size busts, I know, but the probability of succeeding with the best QB in his class is much higher then getting the 4th best guy.

     Franchise QB's do not come along very often.  Count me as one who was more relieved then disappointed though  when the Redskins swung the trade instead of the Browns last season that landed Griffin. I did not see him as a can't miss and still worry if he will have a Manning type impact when his career is done. That type of impact is what I define as a can't miss.  Hindsight is 20/20 and RGIII thoroughly impressed me last season, he genuinely seems like a great guy, I am rooting for him to be successful, the only part of me that does not want to see him become one of the greats is the Brown's fan in me, knowing how close we where and what could have been if he has a long successful career.

   So the old regime has left us in quite a predicament.  History shows us that QB's do not have a successful track record when picked as low as Weeden was.  That list above has QB's picked from number 11 in round one to pick 163 in round five.  The eye test makes it look like Weeden, Smith and Barkley are on pretty equal footing.  Can Norv and Chud turn Weeden into the next Montana? Doubtful, but these guys are talking a good game at least and seem like they will tailor their calls to their players strengths.  So are they going to do that with the guy they inherited or are they going to pick their own?   I personally don't care if he's on the roster, gets drafted, signed, traded for, or is stocking shelves at a grocery store, they just need to get it right this time, twenty years between playoff is just plain unacceptable and they need to end it now.

   I know we can't go back in time and change things no matter how much we wish we can.  I know your thinking if that was possible I would be taking back the Weeden pick but you are wrong.  If we could change the past I would make the trade for Luck.  I would have spread out four 1st round picks and two 3rd round picks to earn that right.  I know a lot of you must think I am crazy, six picks for one player, especially when I was on the fence about the Griffin trade.  However if we draft Smith or Barkley as I suspect we will in April that means we have spent four 1st round picks and two 3rd round picks on trying to find the right quarterback since we have been back.  The most important pick the Brown's have made hasn't been in a draft, it was when Haslam tapped Banner to run this franchise.  Baltimore can have the Ravens but oh I wish we still had Ozzie.