Quick Take: Ohio State

I don’t believe this was foreseen, even as late as the JT Barrett injury. Nevertheless, if this teaches us nothing else, it teaches us that a college football playoff is a good thing. As recently as last year, Ohio State would not have made it. In fact, had the same formula as last year been used, Baylor might have gotten the fourth spot.

Unfortunately for those that were not given a chance to prove it on the field, just know that we (as college football experts) know nothing. We said the SEC West was far and away the best division in the history of college football. The bowls told a different story. We thought the Big 10 was down. The bowls tell a different story. This is the very reason that a playoff is necessary. Without a playoff it is all just a bunch of people sitting in a room guessing as to whose better.

The improvement that is necessary is to allow a few more teams a chance. Nothing huge, but it is possible that the best two teams in the country were TCU and Ohio State and every single voter in every single poll left out at least one of those two teams. Let’s tweak the system.

But lest we take away from the greatness that was Ohio State, let’s talk about how awesome they were. If you want to continue to call Jones a third string quarterback, that’s fine. But this Spring could be the best college competition since Jameis Winston, Jacob Coker, and Clint Trickett competed for the starting job. I’m guessing that (similar to that situation) at least one of them transfers before graduation, and my guess is Braxton Miller goes somewhere else next year.

So, no more college football until Labor Day Weekend. Can we wait?

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Quick Take: Stick Your Hands Up

The Police Department wanted an apology. In this case, it appears that the police officer was vindicated, yet their right to disagree and say it in a peaceful way is important. Police Officers should understand that! I simultaneous love it and hate it. If you want to read more about it, read here.

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Quick Take: College Football Rankings

There are many more arguments to be had about college football. Similar to divisions in the pro sports, you cannot equate the gauntlet faced by UCLA or Auburn and the schedule Florida State faced. What we can do is allow conferences that these football teams (well, colleges and universities anyway) joined of their own volition to determine the best from their slate of teams, then

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allow those teams to play it out on the field. Just a Quick Take from The Sport Buffet!

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MLB first half: at a glance

Baseball All-Star Break Review By Sport Buffet MLB writer Andrew Parks With the All-Star break here, I figured it was time to take a look at my pre-season predictions and discuss what has transpired in baseball during the first half of the season. As always, there have been pleasant surprises and the usual fulfilled expectations. AL Divisional Races AL EAST: I had predicted that the AL East would produce three of the five play-off teams with the Orioles winning the division and the Red Sox and Rays grabbing the two A.L. Wild cards. With a late push, the Birds of Charm City have gone up two games on the Jays. They’ve done it with Chris Davis swinging at everything they throw in there (.205 13 HR, 95 Ks), Manny Machado yet to get it going (and throwing bats at opponents), Matt Wieters out, and J.J. Hardy only having hit two long balls all year. With the lurking news that Edwin Encarnacion could be out anywhere from ten days to three months, and with the Yankees in desperate trouble in the pitching area (so desperate that they traded for Brandon McCarthy and his 5.01 ERA, fourth worst in baseball), the Orioles look like they should seal the deal. The Rays and Red Sox have not been very good this year, and I don’t see that changing. The Sox can’t catch a cold (though Stephen Drew has helped), and the Rays will probably deal David Price. AL CENTRAL: I had said that in this division, it’s the Tigers and everyone else, and they haven’t disappointed. Although the Royals have shown flashes of spark and the White Sox have improved their offense with the emergence of Jose Abreu, the Tigers have taken a four game lead in the central. Cleveland, one of last year’s wild card winners, lurks in third place, one game over .500, and the Royals are three games over. However, Detroit clearly is the class of this division. With their pitching and Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler and Victor Martinez hitting everything in sight, the Tigers should continue their pace and win this one pretty easily. AL WEST: My pick here was the LA Angels to win it, but Billy Beane just continues to find players. The A’s have the best record in baseball and just landed not one but two of the best pitchers on the trading block in the Cubs’ Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija for prospects and draft picks. They lead the majors in runs scored and can now trot out five formidable starters every game along with Scott Kazmir, Jesse Chavez and Sonny Gray. But, the Angels would be either first or tied for first in any of Major League baseball’s five other divisions. This division will most likely produce one of the wild card teams or maybe both, but the questions still remain with Oakland’s starters. With the exception of Kazmir none of them has ever put together a season with 30 starts and a sub-3.80 ERA, and Kazmir has come back from arm trouble. Surprisingly, Seattle currently qualifies as the second wild card team in the AL with the Angels. Seattle? My First Half AL Award Winners AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: This race comes down to the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka who has been as good as advertised (12-3, 2.27 ERA, 130 Ks) and the White Sox’s Jose Abreu (.276 27 HR 69 RBI .616 SLG). I had predicted Jose Abreu would win it, but it’ll come down to the voters. Does the hitter or the pitcher deserve it? I say hitter. AL CY YOUNG AWARD: My pick was Yu Darvish, and he’s been awesome: 8-4, 2.63 ERA, 134 K’s. However, Tanaka wins the first half Cy Young Award as he’s first in wins (12), second in ERA (2.27), and sixth in K’s (130). AL MVP AWARD: I had picked Adam Jones to win, and he’s having a great year, starting in the All-Star game, but it’s been all Mike Trout. He leads the AL in OPS, second in SLG, second in OBP, third in runs, fifth in RBI and is even 10-for-10 in steals. Hard to argue with that. NL Divisional Races NL EAST: I really thought the Nationals were the class of the NL but they’ve disappointed me. Bryce Harper has only one home run and has spent considerable time on the DL, Stephen Strasburg has looked very hittable and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman can’t throw a ball 100 feet. With Harper coming back, Matt Williams has no other choice but to play Zimmerman at third and pray. It should be interesting as he tries to juggle Harper, Denard Span, Jason Werth, Adam LaRoche and Zimmerman. With that being said, the Atanta Braves only hold a half game lead over Washington. If Harper can turn it around, Williams plays his cards, uh, players right and Stephen Strasburg pitches like Stephen Strasburg, they’ll win the division. The Braves simply don’t have the fire power to stay with them. Aaron Harang has come back down to earth, Jason Heyward may never be the star they had hoped and what has happened to B.J. Upton? Look for Washington to deal LaRoche. NL CENTRAL: In what I and many called the most pitching rich division in baseball, lookie who seems to be running away with this thing. The Brewers? I had the Cards winning this one and the Reds getting one of the two wild card spots. However, the Brewers have a 4.5 game lead and the second best record in baseball. Who saw this coming? I surely didn’t. But, if you look closer and use one of my favorite stats that Bill James created, Pythagorean W-L, (which takes into consideration runs scored and runs allowed and figures out a team’s expected W-L record), it says the Brewers should have a worse W-L record by four games. I honestly don’t think Lohse, Garza, Gallardo, Peralta and Estrada will keep this team in it, so look for someone to overtake them. Whether it be the Cards, Reds, or Pirates, someone will. I stand by the Cards. NL WEST: I said Dodgers. I like the Dodgers. And it’s the Dodgers. San Francisco got off to a fast start, but the Dodgers have clawed their way to a half game lead. They have probably the best 1-2 punch in the majors in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, but they also have Josh Beckett looking as great as he ever did. I really think they’ll continue this success, and pull away from the Giants. Hudson is pitching outside his mind but he’s 38 years old, and I’m not buying Tim Lincecum yet. The rest of the division is just plain bad so this one’s going to be Dodgers or Giants. I said Dodgers. I like the Dodgers. And it’ll be the Dodgers. NL ROOKIE OF

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THE YEAR: I predicted Billy Hamilton, and it’s Billy Hamilton. Chris Owings has an argument, I guess, but Hamilton’s numbers are every bit as good as Owings, save SLG. However, it’s the 35 steals that jumps out at you, and he’s playing good defense for the Reds. NL CY YOUNG AWARD: I predicted Strasburg, but he’s been very hittable. This award is a race between Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright. Kershaw is first in ERA, though he currently doesn’t qualify, having lost four starts to injury, but he will qualify very soon. He has 10 wins to Wainwright’s 11, a 1.85 ERA to Wainwright’s 1.89, but Kershaw is pitching out of his mind right now and is currently in a 36 consecutive scoreless inning streak. Then there’s the no-hitter of course. NL MVP AWARD: I said this was Bryce’s year, but he’s laid an egg. Troy Tulowitzi is leading the world in just about everything. He leads in BA, OBP, SLG, and runs and is second in HR.

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UFC 174 preview

image The Flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson (19-2-1) is the number 4 pound for found fighter in the UFC. He is coming in on a 5 fight win streak and this Saturday he will be on his fourth title defense. The last fight he lost was in the Bantamweight division, where he was defeated by Donimick Cruz in October of 2011. In his last four fights, Johnson has defeated number 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th fighters in the rankings. This time he faces against the 4th best fighter in the weight class in Ali Bagautinov. (#4) Ali Bagautinov (13-2-0), is 3-0 in the UFC. Two of his wins came by decision and one came by a KO. His last fight was against John Lineker and he won by unanimous decision. The numbers for both of these fighters are very close. Johnson is just a little bit better than Bagautinov in most categories. I do expect a standing battle and this plays into Johnson’s hands with the power he has. Key number: 5, which how many more title fights Johnson has under his belt than Bagautinov. Prediction: Demetrious Johnson by KO. In the co-main event, (#2) Rory McDonald (16-2-0) faces off against (#3) Tyron Woodley (13-2-0) in the Welterweight division. McDonald is 7-2 in the UFC and is 4-1 in his last five. His last fight he beat Demian Maia by unaminious decision back in February, and before that he lost to the number one contender Robbie Lawler. Tyron Woodley is 3-1 in the UFC. His last fight he won against Carlos Condit. Condit tore his ACL and could not continue, even though Woodley was well on his way to winning that fight. Lawler vs Brown is the number one contender fight for this weight class unless one of these fighters can prove to Dana White that they deserve it more than Lawler or Brown. Key number: 91%, which is the average percentage of take-down defense for both fighters, which is remarkable. Prediction: Woodley by KO. (#9) Ryan Bader (17-4-0) fights against (#11) Rafael Cavalcante (12-4-0, 1 NC) in the Light Heavyweight division. This is a huge fight for these fighters, where the winner could get a top 5 opponent in their next bout. Bader is 9-4 in the UFC and is 3-2 in his last five. His last fight he won against Anthony Perish by unaminous decision. Bader was amazing and controlled every second of that fight. Cavalcante is 1-1 in the UFC since coming over from Strikefore. He won his last fight against Igor Pokrajac by submission. Key number: 2.02, which is how many more significiant strikes per minute Calalcante takes more than Bader. Prediction: Bader by KO. Andrei Arlovski (21-10-0, 1 NC) comes back to the UFC after fighting for other promotions. He last fought in the UFC 4 years ago and has a record of 10-4 with the

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organization. He has always been a fan favoirite. His first fight back will be in the Heavyweight divison against (#14) Brendan Schaub (11-3-0). Schaub is 6-3 in the UFC and is 3-2 in this last 5 fights. He won his last fight by D’arce choke against Matt Mitrione last September. Key number: 4, which is how many years it has been since Arlovski has faced top level competition. Prediction: Brendan Schaub by decision. (#12) Ovince Saint Preux (15-5-0) faces off against Ryan Jimmo (19-3-0) in the Light Heavyweight division. Saint Preux is 3-0 in the UFC and won his last fight against Nikita Krylov by a Von Flue choke. Jimmo is 3-2 in the UFC. He won he last fight against Sean O’Connell by a KO. Key number: 8:45, which is the average fight time for both fighters. I do not see how this fight goes to a decision. Prediction: Saint Preux by KO. This main card is on ppv and will be worth watching. It is one of the very few cards where most of the match-ups are really close and could easily go the other way. image

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UFC fight night 42 preview

 Henderson vs. Khabilov Date: June 7, 2014 Venue: Tingley Coliseum Location: Albuquerque, NM

Henderson vs. Khabilov
Date: June 7, 2014
Venue: Tingley Coliseum
Location: Albuquerque, NM

By: Shaun Stephens, lead MMA writer (#2) Ben Henderson (20-3-0) is on his second fight since losing the belt to Anythony Pettis. Henderson has become lackluster when it comes to finishing fights. He would do what it takes to win and it caught up to him against Pettis. Henderson’s last 9 wins has been by decision and is 8-1 in the UFC since coming from the WEC. He needs to show that he can finish fights if he wants another shot at the title. Henderson’s opponent is (#11) Rustam Khabilov (17-1-0). He is 3-0 in the UFC with his last win coming against Jorge Masvidal by decision at Fight Night for the Troops last November. Khabilov has 6.07 take-downs per fifteen minutes and needs to capitalize on them to have a chance against Henderson. Khabilov also absorbs 0.61 more strikes per minute than Henderson. Key number: 0.85, which is the average how how many submissions both fighters attempt per 15 minutes. I see this as a standing fight and that goes to Henderson wheelhouse. Prediction: Henderson by decision. Diego Sanchez (26-7-0) is fighting Ross Pearson (17-6-0, 1 NC) in a lightweight division. This fight has fight of the night potential written all over it. Both fighters like to stand a bang and wants to give the fans a show. Sanchez is 13-7 in the UFC and is 2-3 in his last 5. He lost his last fight by decision to Miles Jury in March. Pearson is 7-3 with 1 No Contest since coming to the UFC. His last fight was a no contest with Melvin Guillard, because Melvin hit Ross with an illegal knee and Ross could not continue. Key number: 6.89, which is how many significant strikes both fighters land per minute. Prediction: Pearson by decision. (#1) John Dodson (16-6-0) faces off against (#5) John Moraga (14-2-0) in a flyweight match. Dodson is 4-1 in the UFC where his only loss came against Demetrious Johnson for the belt. He won his last fight against Darrell Montague by KO in the third round. Moraga is 3-1 in the UFC and his only loss also came against Demetrious Johnson. Moraga won his last fight against Dustin Ortiz by split decision. It is not know weather the winner gets another shot at the title. Dana White already said that when and if Dominick Curz is ready he gets first shot. Key number: 32%, which is how much better Dodson is than Moraga at take-down defense. Prediction: Dodson wins by KO due to punches in the third round. (#5) Rafael dos Anjos (20-7-0) is fighting Jason High (19-4-0) in the lightweight division. Dos Anjos is 9-5 in the UFC and 4-1 in his last five fights. His last fight he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov by unanimous decision. That was a tough loss for dos Anjos, but Khabib just beat him in every way. Jason High is 2-2 in the UFC and has spent time with many organizations. His last fight he beat Anythony Lapsley by unanimous decision. Key number: 2.8, which is how many more submissions Jason High attempts per 15 minutes than dos Anjos. If High wins this fight, it will be by a submission. Dos Anjos is well rounded and can make it a long night for High. Prediction: Rafael dos Anjos by decision. Yves Edwards (42-20-1, 1 NC) is facing off against Piotr Hallmann (14-2-0) in a lightweight match. Edwards is 10-8 with 1 no contest in the UFC and is 0-2 with 1 no contest in his last three fights. The no contest came in his last fight against Yancy Medeiros where Medeiros failed his post fight drug test

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and the fight was overturned. Edwards could be fighting for his job. Hallmann is 1-1 in the UFC. He lost his last fight to Al Iaquinta by unanimous decision. Key number: 1.58, which is how many more significiant strikes Hallmann lands per minute more than Edwards. Prediction: Hallmann by KO. (#12) Erik Perez (14-5-0) fights (#14) Bryan Caraway (18-7-0) in the Bantamweight division. Perez is 4-1 in the UFC where three of those wins came in the first round. He won his last fight by unanimous decision over Edwin Figeroa. Caraway is 3-1 in the UFC where all three wins came by submission. He won his last fight by guillotine choke over Johnny Bedford. This should be a great fight to open the main card with. Key number: 8.10, which is how many take-downs both fighters average per 15 minutes. If one enjoys wrestling then this is the fight to watch. Prediction: Perez by KO. This fight card is tonight on Fox Sports 1 at 10 pm. This is one of the best cards that has ever been on Fox Sports. I highly recommend watching this free fight. Follow Shaun on twitter @Just_shaun_07 And follow The Sport Buffet on twitter @Sportbuffet

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June 5 podcast

Stanley Cup Playoffs World Cup NBA Playoffs

Before you had your morning coffee, The Ice Man and the Phat Man decided to talk about Some interesting things in the world of Sports. While most of the stuff was things that people care about, After the meat of the podcast, they gave their three strikes and Matt even mentioned Horse Racing.

Click here to listen!

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Whom do You Wanna be Like When you Grow Up?

When professional sports playoffs occur, teams play each other between four and seven times to determine who the best team is, and because of that, the teams begin to know each other. The ebb and flow of a series allows for adjustments and then for people to complain about factors that people are against them in an attempt to adjust the outcome in the future. The teams can no longer surprise

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the other and, usually, the best team wins the game. This is one reason I like professional sports. They reward excellence. I get to see teams (particularly teams of approximately equal skill) go head-to-head in different environments with different circumstances as many as seven times, and upsets are usually because we over-estimated or under-estimated a team and not usually because of a lucky play or two. The NBA Playoffs have been fascinating this year, setting many records for close games and close series. And just when you think home court did not play a role, home teams are winning almost every game in the conference finals. At any rate, these series are happening at a time in my personal life when I am bemoaning the wussification of society in general. I’m teaching a children’s Sunday School class and coaching a Bible Quiz team, and I sit in awe at the things that parents complain about and the things that parents allow their children to complain about. I detest it when people are always blame-shifting and not “manning up” and taking accountability for their own junk. Against that backdrop, I come into sports watching them very differently than I did ten years ago. I watch them with my children (well, mostly my son and whichever of my daughters feels she can weasel her way into a later bedtime if she agrees) and hope to find teachable moments. I love it when people take personal accountability for how they perform. David DuPree says, “You have to respect the referees, and can’t blame other people for your actions. If you make mistakes it’s either on me or on you.” So, with apologies to my Pacer fan friends, I must say that I have a new-found appreciation of the Heat. After Game 4 in which Miami led from tip to buzzer and never really felt in danger of not winning the game, Paul George blamed the refs. Roy Hibbert blamed the coach. Several players said Lance Stephenson had put them in a bad position, and overall, they just didn’t take blame. After Game 5, where LeBron James played less than half the game because of foul trouble, when at least four of the fouls look fishy to me, LeBron did not blame the refs. He said he wanted to play more, but praised his teammates for giving him a chance to win. I will not comment on the potential benefits of complaining about the refs at this point. Instead I will say, that I want to keep a copy of that LeBron interview. I want to show it to my son. I want to tell him that this is how you act like a man and take responsibility. This is how you act. This is what I want you to do when you feel like you’ve been wronged. It’s the first step in peace making and it is a huge step in maturity. I personally believe you can learn a lot about a man by whom he blames when things go wrong. LeBron took the blame and did not complain. This is the way to behave in a world of finger pointing and blame shifting.

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UFC 173 preview

image This card has a lot of hype around it for

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many different reasons. Most of these fights have strong implications in their divisions. We could be looking at couple of title contenders on this card the next time they fight. To read Shaun Stephens preview of UFC 173 click the link below UFC 173 preview

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May 18 Podcast

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Major League baseball California Chrome The Phat Man and the Iceman talked about the tremendous Stanley Cup Playoffs and how exciting it will be the rest of the way. They then segued into the

quarter poll look at the Major League Baseball season. Afterward, they gave their three strikes and Matt even mentioned Horse Racing. A tremendous podcast. Click here to listen to it!

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