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36 posts from November 2007

November 30, 2007

Sean Taylor conspiracy theory (with The Daily Poll)

     Miami-Dade police thought the death this week of Redskins and former UM star Sean Taylor resulted from a random crime, a burglary at his home during which he was shot. Did you believe that?  Some did not, including the Arizona Cardinals' Antrel Rolle, Taylor's lifelong friend and former Hurricane teammate, who thought Taylor was "targeted" by former friends-turned-enemies.

     The arrest of four young men in connection with the terrible crime seems to provide an answer somewhere in between but closer to Rolle's theory. This was not random. Taylor's home was targeted, and one of those charged in his death had attended a party there. Click here to read Friday's column by me on Taylor's death and what Rolle said. Then let us know what you think.

     Postscript: The police work in solving Taylor's murder appears to have been quick and efficient. Very impressive. Is it fair to ask or wonder if the same manpower and tenacity was given -- and continues to be given -- to the still-unsolved murder of Bryan Pata?

NFL Week 13 picks and Jet Hater contest

Aaapigsfly      Pigs do fly, as you can see here, and so the Dolphins will win a football game on Sunday. They'll beat the Jets, 20-10, to erase forever the hovering burden of 0-16.

     The joy will be in seeing all of those obnoxious Jets fan wilt, their chant of "J-E-T-S!" withering to a lament of holy "C-R-A-P!" Are there any fans in any sport you dislike more than Jets fans? (I particularly dislike the ubiquitous fat guy stretching the life out of a Gastineau jersey). Make fun of Jets fans here and and I may include anything particularly good in my Sunday Random Evidence notes column, accredited.

     Click on Week 13 Gems for all of this week's NFL picks. Upset of the Week: Niners over Panthers. Other outright upsets: Seahawks over Eagles, Bears over Giants.

November 27, 2007

Sean Taylor, 1983-2007

Aaasean      Taken by violence at age 24, a true tragedy. Our condolences to Taylor's loved ones and to his Miami Hurricanes and Washington Redskins extended families. Rest in peace.

Picks 'n Fantasy: Week 12 results

      Our every-Tuesday update on how we're doing with our NFL Friday Page predictions, in our fantasy leaAaafripage_2gue, in the newspaper's Pigskin Challenge contest, and on The Herald's experts panel...

     The Friday Page: Not much good. Finished a mediocre 10-6 on what should have been an easier week than that. Went 8-8 vs. the spread, hitting on Raiders and Vikings with points but tanking yet Upset of the Week pick on Texans-Browns. The week kept our overall winning percentage at .631 and shaved a few points down to .533 vs. the line.

Aaafennel          Bad Newz Fennelz: Yet more wonderfulness! The BNF won an eighth straight game, 74-48, to run our record to 10-2 -- now alone in first place in our 12-team fantasy league. Got 20 points from Wes Welker, 19 from Tom Brady and 13 from Hines Ward in a low-scoring week.

Aaapig2        Pigskin Challenge: Our overall 111-65 mark keeps us a disappointing tie for third on our seven-man panel with five other writers and last year's reader champ. We inch up to 47th overall among some 500 players.

Aaaherald      Herald Experts: Hit another Dolphin game right to make us 9-2 picking Miami games each Sunday vs. five fellow writers. That's still good for second place, one game behind Sir Edwin Pope.

November 26, 2007

G11: Pittsburgh 3, Dolphins 0 (Final)

Aaaad Aaap      Steelers 24-yard FG -- good, with 17 seconds left. Steelers win, 3-0. The heartache continues: 0-11.

     Dolphins miss a 38-yard FG but get another chance after a delay of game. This time they go for it on 4th and 11 from the Pittsburgh 25 -- bypassing a 42-yard FG try -- and fail, with Beck sacked.

     Steelers miss 44-yard FG try. Still 0-0. Will somebody please score already! Trying to make a deadline here!!

     I'm all for daring at 0-10. But why not try a 48-yard field goal at 0-0, on 4th and 15 from the Pittsburgh 31? I like the chances of making that kick more than making that play. Sack. Steelers ball.

     Are we optimistic or fretful over a scoreeless first half?

     Ricky Williams fumble loss; Steelers ball at 50. Soon after: Ricky out with a shoulder injury.

     Dolphins' D stops Pittsburgh on 4th and 1. Encouraging start for the defense, but not much sign of life yet on offense. Is a Dolfan too beaten down by 0-10 to dare feel an upset in the making?

     Ricky Williams 3 carries for 6 yards in 1Q.

     Joey Porter intercepts his former team on first series, then stands and glares at the Steelers sideline. After the season Porter and Miami are having ... that's nerve.

     Game on!

     Pregame chatter:

     Teams on the field warming up. Stadium filling up. Rain suddenly has abated. Roger Goodell must have made a phone call.

     Kickoff has been delayed 25 minutes, they now are saying, until 8:55 p.m., because of the weather. This may set a new standard for Loyal Fan: Abiding a delay of game, and sitting through heavy rain, to see the winless Dolphins.

     Jesse Chatman supposedly is starting at running back, not Ricky Williams. By the way.

     Barely a half-hour 'til kickoff now and rain falling harder. Fans sparse among a sea of empty seats. Looks like an August Marlins crowd. Thunder just boomed. Wondering if the extreme weather will serve to nuetralize some of the Steelers advantage.

     About one hour 'til kickoff. Rain still falling in sheets. Tarp being rolled off what will be a bath of a field. On the bright side, the pregame press box fare -- grand-marshaled by Chinese barbecue chicken and meat loaf -- was decidedly above average.

     Rain falling hard in the 'Burgh. Field covered in tarp, after it was strewn with cat-litterish absorbent matter. Field seems to be in terrible shape. Ricky Williams activated, as expected. Could be a big game for Run Ricky Run if Cam Cameron turns him loose.

     First, thoughts and best wishes to Sean Taylor and his loved ones as the Redskins defensive back and ex-Hurricane fights to survive being shot and seriously wounded during a burglary at his Miami-area home early this morning.

     Chilly and misting rain in Pittsburgh. Sloppy-football weather. Adding another layer to John Beck's monumental challenge tonight. Heading to the stadium soon, in conditions that remind me why I am ever-grateful to reside in South Florida.

     Original post:

     The education of John Beck continues. The latest comeback of Ricky Williams begins. Alas, these are diversions to occupy us as we watch, most likely, Miami fall to 0-11.

     Can you fathom a Dolphin win tonight at Pittsburgh? Tell me how. What do you expect of Beck and Williams in particular?

     Thoughts welcome before, during and of course after tonight's prime-time test. Deadline responsibilities will hinder my blogging live during the game, but I shall try nonetheless. Join us for the ride, won't you?

November 25, 2007

The Daily Poll: Pats' 19-0? Dolphs' 0-16?

     You know if you read my Sunday column on the topic (found here) that I much doubt the Dolphins will stay winless, but that I do think the Patriots will finish unbeaten.

     Inviting you to vote in our two related polls, and then to say why, in either case.

November 24, 2007

G12: Boston College 28, Hurricanes 14 (Final)

Aaaum Aaabc       Nothing would have surprised from the wildly inconsistent 'Canes this afternoon at BC. Not a cave-in such as we've seen in the past two losses by a combined 92-14 score. And not an upset over the 15th-ranked Eagles, either. Instead we got a 28-14 defeat that ends UM's season at a very disappointing 5-7.

     Call it very disappointing because it began 4-1 and then crumbled badly. And because it marks The U's first no-bowl season since 1997. We expected more from coach Randy Shannon's first season.

     Welcoming comments on today's game and why it was lost, but mostly on the season just ended. Who or what disappointed you most about the 2007 'Canes? How did the year affect (if at all) your feeling about Shannon? And how encouraged are you for a better '08?

     Also inviting chatter on the day's other college football action, especially...

     No. 12 Gators 45, Seminoles 12: Tim Tebow: 5 more TDs, two running and three passing. The Swamp was rocking. I was there covering. My ears hurt. Look for my column backing Tebow for the Heisman Trophy.

     FAU 55, FIU 23: OK, so it's not Michigan-Ohio State. But it's a neat little South Florida rivalry. Howard Schnellenberger's Owls are better, much, and proved it, and now face Troy for the Sun Belt title. FIU: 0-11, now 23 straight losses. Ouch.

     South Florida 48, Pittsburgh 37: Bulls won to go 9-3, but, dammit, Dave Wannstedt still has the best mustache on any sideline!

     Arkansas 50, No. 1 LSU 48 (3OT): Dear Arkansas: Many thanks! We owe you one, big-time. Love, the Mountaineers.

     No. 4 Missouri 36, No. 2 Kansas 28: Mizzou QB Chase Daniel may have pulled ahead of Tebow in the Heisman race.

November 23, 2007

NFL Week 12 picks (with disturbing photo)

Aaafat2       Happy Thanksgiving Weekend, all. Sorry I haven't blogged in a couple of days; had people in for the holiday and was too busy eating. I now weigh 640 pounds. Am pictured at left updating my blog. Would have worn pants, but I didn't know there was a Herald photographer there. I apologized to her.

      Wish I could say the Dolphins have a shot in Pittsburgh Monday night. Can't see it. Like the Steelers, 31-7. Do you give Miami any chance and if so how?

     Went 3-0 on my Thanksgiving Day picks (2-1 vs. spread). You'd find all of my other picks by clicking on Week 12 Gems. Upset of the Week: Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson's Texans surprise the Browns in da Dawg Pound.

     My Friday page column (click here) is on the Patriots' dominance and whether it's good or bad for the NFL. Some say good because of the drama over whether we're looking at 19-0 history in the making. I said bad because the Super Bowl outcome has never seemed so foregone. You?

November 20, 2007

Finding the hope in 0-10

     I did the nearly impossible. I wrote a column about the Dolphins with an optimistic tone, mostly in praise of the way Cam Cameron is handling this toughest of seasons, and also noting the potential of John Beck and the improvement of Ted Ginn Jr.

     You'd find today's column by clicking here. Iknew it would be unpopular when I wrote it. I know frustrated Dolfans don't want to hear anything but easy outrage. And that's fine. Scream and vent if it makes you feel better. The nature of my job is that sometimes I champion a popular notion (Start Beck!) and other times I might write what nobody wants to hear.

     Use this post to excoriate me if you'd like. I have thicker skin than most crocodiles.

     I have a challenge for you, though. The outrage is the easy part. This is tougher. This question doesn't ask for your angry emotion, it seeks your thoughtful foresight:

     What gives you hope, Dolfan? When you sift through the rubble that is 0-10, who or what do you see that makes you believe in better days ahead?

Picks 'n Fantasy: Week 11 results

      Our every-Tuesday update on how we're doing with our NFL Friday Page predictions, in our fantasy leaAaafripage_2gue, in the newspaper's Pigskin Challenge contest, and on The Herald's experts panel...

     The Friday Page: Finished 11-5 straight-up last week but a season-worst 5-10-1 (Oy!) vs. the spread, including another crap-bomb on our Upset of the Week pick. Hit an outright upset with Texans over N'Awlins and had 'Zona with points. Otherwise not much good. The week raises us to .631 overall but sinks us to .536 vs. the line.

Aaafennel          Bad Newz Fennelz: More wonderfulness! The BNF won a seventh straight game, 117-100, to run our record to 9-2, tied for first in our 12-team fantasy league. Tom Brady returned from a bye with 43 huge points for me and Andre Johnson bounced back from his long injury absence with 20.

Aaapig2        Pigskin Challenge: Our overall 101-59 mark drops us to a disappointing tie for third on our seven-man panel with five other writers and last year's reader champ. And to 48th overall among some 500 players.

Aaaherald      Herald Experts: Hit another Dolphin game right to make us 8-2 picking Miami games each Sunday vs. five fellow writers. That's still good for second place, one game behind Sir Edwin Pope.