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Thursday, January 11, 2007

 

Wild Card Musings - 2007

I don't watch as much sports as I used to, but I have to admit that last weekend I pretty much O D'd on football. It was wild card weekend, and I picked the Colts, Cowboys, Jets (with the spread) and Eagles.

The Colts much maligned defense is clearly misunderstood. The stats said they were horrible against the run, making the Chiefs a problem for them because of their great running game. But I had seen the Colts stuff the run against good opponents this year, and you can't start 9-0 if you don't occasionally stop the other team. On a day when the Colts vaunted offense sputtered, their defense easily dominated the game. I look for the Colts to surprise the pundits again this week in Baltimore, a team that visits the end zone only infrequently.

The Dallas game in Seattle was a classic ending right out of the movie North Dallas Forty. Even after blowing the hold, I thought Romo would get the first down, but he did hesitate, and he didn't leap when he could have and roll into the end zone. For those betting on Dallas, they covered anyway, so there was more justice for the bettors than for the Cowboys. Seattle can't possily handle the Bears on the road this week.

That justice evaded Jets bettors, who saw almost three full quarters of solid effort spoiled by a silly backward pass play. At that point, the Jets, down 7, were pounding the Pats on the ground. Then they ignored the most basic rule in football: Run until they show they can stop you. If the Jets keep that drive going, they cover with the eight and a half points even if the Pats come back and win the game on their next drive. Instead, it all fell apart after that turnover. I don't like the Pats at all against the Chargers this week.

The Eagles were on their way to a cover with a 7 point lead and the self destructing Giants facing a first and 30 after more of their undisciplined penalties. Somehow the Giants got the game tied, and though the Eagles won routinely on their next drive, that didn't do Eagle bettors any good, giving 7. That's why it's dumb to bet on football, since the object of the game for the teams is not aligned with the bettors' interests. It's not like horse racing where the win is all that matters. The Eagles are playing great and are a threat to win on the road in New Orleans, a game that I rate as unbetable since you don't have any idea how the Saints will play.

There were also two interesting college games with the same theme. To me, it's too hard to really know college matchups, since there are so many good teams. But you can know conferences and in college football, the conference that dominates is the SEC (like the ACC in college basketball). No matter what the Notre Dame players said going into their game with LSU, you had to know there was no way they could win that game, or even be competitive. ND is always grossly overrated, since they have legions of fans but play a weak schedule. LSU could have been the best team in the country by season's end.

The match up was similar between Florida and Ohio State. OSU had a really good team, but playing almost all of their games in the Big Ten, there was no way their schedule was anything like Florida's SEC schedule plus Miami and Florida State. Sure enough, the game was no contest.

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This is something like my 45th blog post, and some of them have been OK. Then you read a column like Peggy Noonan's in last weekend's WSJ and you realize you're just another blogger hack. Some of her thoughts on Gerry Ford's funeral:

"Praising these things reminds the old of what it is we should be aiming for each day, and instructs the young on the elements of a life well lived.
"We do it to make the picture broader for a moment, and free ouselves of cynicism. And we do it finally to enact what so many feel and rarely say, not only because it's corny but because if you mean it, it's beyond words...

"...Jimmy Carter's remarks were wonderful. He and Gerald Ford spent 1976 beating each other's brains in. It was a sharp and personal campaign. And here he was speaking of 'the intense personal friendship that bound us together,' as Rosalyn Carter wept in her pew...
"Good for all of them. Such affection and dignity isn't only about them, it continues the long and very human line of old political enemies who came to see each other's humanity, and then see beyond that. 'Jefferson still survives.'"

And on Nancy Pelosi becoming speaker:

"...and the House has erupted in cheers...And now the first woman to lead the House of Representatives is being handed the gavel by John Boehner, the leader of the opposition. He kisses her. She holds it high...

"And so again we remind ourselves who we are. We 'show an affirming flame.' We are a great republic and a great democracy. We are a great nation and a great people. We peacefully - gracefully - pass power from one group to another. And we start this new time on the right foot, with a cheer."

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On 1/3, I bought 100 shares of NEM for the IRA at 45.37 and sold 300 shares of HAUP out of the taxable account for 7.30 (purchased in August of 2001 at 1.66). Then on 1/8, I bought 50 shares of UIC for the taxable account at 49.65.

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