Tuesday, November 17, 2015

New NFL Division Format

It's time to reviving my annual crusade to change the NFL playoff format by combining division, Here's the plan: The NFC South and East divisions would be combined. The NFC North and West would be another division. In the AFC, the North and East would come together and so would the AFC South and West.

Teams in the same current divisions would play each other twice while teams would play the other four teams in their new division once. Four games would be played against teams in the opposing conference in the same current four year rotation. The remaining two games would be against teams in the same conference but different division.

Current AFC standings:
1) NE 9-0
2) Cin 8-1
3) Den 7-2
4) Ind 4-5
5) Pit  6-4
6) Buf 5-4

AFC in New Format:
1) NE 9-0
2) Den 7-2
3) Cin 8-1
4) Pit 6-4
5) Buf 5-4
6) NYJ 5-4

Currently, three division races are all but over already. The fourth division is the AFC South where the first place team is 4-5. The new format would currently oust the Bengals from the bye, but it would make the AFC NorthEast division very competitive at the highest level. Eliminating a losing team from having home field advantage in a playoff game makes up for the slight to the Bengals . In the new format, the Colts would be out of the playoffs and the Jets, who have a better record than the Colts, would be in.

Current NFC standings:
1) Car 9-0
2) Ari 7-2
3) Min 7-2
4) NYG 5-5
5) GB 6-3
6) Atl 6-3

NFC in New Format:
1) Car 9-0
2) Ari 7-2
3) Min 7-2
4) GB 6-3
5) Atl 6-3
6) NYG 5-5

The NFC is why I created the new format. Green Bay would get a home playoff game instead of the Giants, who are a game and half worse than the Packers. The NorthWest division race for a bye spot would be very competitive. Let's take a look:

NFC NorthWest division race in new format:
1) Ari 7-2
2) Min 7-2
3) GB 6-3

Also, more teams would be in the playoff hunt. Right now, 4-5 teams are two games back from making the playoffs (unless they're in the NFC East). Under the format, all 4-5 teams (Was, TB, STL, Sea, Phi, and Chi) would be just a game back of the playoffs. NO would be a game back and SF only a game and a half back. It would be a very exciting 10-team race for the last Wild Card spot. Instead it's a 3 team race for the weakest division.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Another Obnoxious Pound-for-Pound List

Here is the updated version of my obnoxiously unnecessary and utterly superfluous list of the top 10 pound-for-pound boxers. The previous list was posted on December 22.

1. Wladimir Klitschko (64-3, 53 KOs) [Previous Rank: 2]
2. Guillermo Rigondeaux (15-0, 10 KOs) [PR: 3]
3. Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs) [PR: 4]
4. Roman Gonzalez (44-0, 38 KOs) [PR: 8]
5. Miguel Cotto (40-4, 33 KOs) [PR: 9]
6. Adonis Stevenson (27-1, 22 KOs) [PR: 6]
7. Sergey Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs) [PR: 7]
8. Gennady Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs) [PR: 10]
9. Saul Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs) [PR: NR]
10. Andre Ward (28-0, 15 KOs) [ PR: NR]

Exiting the list:
Floyd Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) [PR: 1]
Juan Manuel Marquez (56-7-1, 40 KOs) [PR: 5]

Sunday, November 15, 2015

My Rotation

1. Oddisee - A List of Withouts
2. Nicky Jam - El Perdon
3. The Narcicyst - Fly Over Egypt
4. Anita Trijoux - Avaricia
5. Blueprint - Perspective
6. Talib Kweli - Nice Things
7. Sagol 59 - Lech Kadima
8. Talib Kweli - G.U.R.U.
9. J. Alravez - Junto Al Amanecer
10. 360  - Child

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2016 NBA Predictions

1st round: Was, Atl, Cha, Bos
conference semis: Mil, Tor
conference finals: Cle over Chi 4-2

1st round: GS, NO, Mem, Sac
conference semis: Hou, OKC
conference finals: LAC over SA 4-3

NBA Finals
Cle over LAC 4-2

Take a look at this awesome NBA preview for this season!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

American Exceptionalism and the Self-Perceived Victimization of White Christians

In the U.S., when a Muslim extremist commits a terrorist attack, it reflects poorly on all Muslims, but when a white Christian commits a terrorist attack, it doesn't get attached to all white Christians. Only the individual is to blame. Part of it is the majority gets to make the rules, but it also has to do with the idea of American exceptionalism. This has been true since Winthrop's notion that America is a "city on a hill" in the 1600s. Americans can't accept that the fabric of this culture can be linked with violent acts of white supremacy and Christian extremism. It's why Ronald Reagan was so popular with white Christian conservatives. His policies are not much different than John Boehner's, but he was able to feed into our self-perception as a moral nation.

If we blame a group for the act of an individual, we must do it with all acts. Dylann Roof is a symptom of a subculture that encourages the self-perceived victimization of the majority because minority groups are gradually asserting themselves as worthy of value just as Nidal Malik Hasan is a symptom of a subculture that feels marginalized and believes violence is the path to rectify the situation. Yet cultures do not commit violent acts; individuals do. Violence should create a moment for cultural self-reflection and dialogue with others, not hate-filled insularity.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

20 Minutes in the Life

Last week I was teaching at an academic summer camp. I had a 7 year old student who wasn't the strongest speller. I read her essay phonetically and it sounded very funny to the other students. No one was laughing harder than the little author, who giggled so much, she peed in her pants. She demanded that I call her parents and have them pick her up. Of course, there were only five minutes left of class and her grandmother was habitually early.

On my way home from class, I stopped at 7-11. I was waiting in line when a metro bus driver sauntered to the front of the line. "Excuse me, sir. I'm in line," I declared. Most people would apologize sheepishly and get to the back of the line.

"I didn't know what you were doing. Maybe you were playing the lottery," the man said a little too curtly for my liking. "This is where the line starts," I said incredulously. The man got behind me and began muttering, "The line is the line." I wanted say, "yeah, the line is the line. The line isn't where you think the line should be," but instead I just chuckled to myself at his inability to understand societal norms.

I got in my car and and turned out of the 7-11. A middle aged woman decided that she should cut a turn and nearly rammed into me head first even though I was all the way on my side of the road. Then she gave me a dirty look as if I had come out of nowhere. I only appeared like I came out of nowhere because that heifer wasn't looking where she was going!

Today, my wife and I bought a house. At the settlement company- a well renowned settlement company- they offered us beverages. I asked for orange juice. The expiration date on the juice was August 13, 2015!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Top 10 NBA Players

Top 10 NBA Players Now
While this list consists of the top 10 players now, the past is taken to account, but it is not a list of the best players who happen to be active. Previous ranks posted on June 28, 2014.

# David (PR) Mike (Previous Rank)
1 LeBron (1) LeBron (2)
2 Westbrook (6) Curry (5)
3 Curry (10) Harden (6)
4 Paul (3) Westbrook (9)
5 Harden (NR) Paul (3)
6 A. Davis (NR) A. Davis (8)
7 Griffin (8) Lillard (NR)
8 M. Gasol (NR) M. Gasol (NR)
9 Aldridge (NR) J. Butler (NR)
10 J. Butler (NR) Griffin (7)

Top 10 NBA Careers Among Active Players
You're making a list of the ten best players in NBA history, but there's one caveat; you can only include players who played during the 2014-15 season. These are our choices, taking the players' entire careers into account. Previous ranks posted on June 28, 2014.

# David (PR) Mike (Previous Rank)
1 Duncan (1) Duncan (1)
2 Kobe (2) Kobe (2)
3 LeBron (3) LeBron (3)
4 Garnett (4) Garnett (6)
5 Dirk (5) Dirk (6)
6 Wade (6) Wade (4)
7 Durant (8) Paul (NR)
8 Parker (9) Pierce (7)
9 Paul (10) Bosh (8)
10 Carmelo (NR) Parker (10)

Top 10 NBA Franchise Players
This list is about which players you would pick to start a franchise right now. They must have played in an NBA game. Previous ranks posted on June 28, 2014.

# David (PR) Mike (Previous Rank)
1 A. Davis (3) A. Davis (3)
2 LeBron (2) LeBron (2)
3 Durant (1) Durant (1) 
4 Westbrook (9) Curry (6)
5 Curry (6) Harden (7)
6 Harden (NR) Westbrook (9)
7 Irving (8) Paul (4)
8 Griffin (5) Lillard (NR)
9 J. Butler  (NR) J. Butler (7)
10 K. Leonard (10) Griffin (8)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Game 6 - 40 Years in the Making

The Golden State Warriors won their first championship in 40 years with a 105-97 win on the road. Andre Iguodala, who won the Finals MVP award despite only starting half of the games in the series, scored 25 points and Draymond Green added a triple double. League MVP Stephen Curry added 25 points including a superb fourth quarter, which sparked Golden State to grab an insurmountable lead.

Cleveland got off to a fast start, but Golden State stormed back. By the end of the first, the Warriors held a 13 point lead. The Cavs turned the ball over too much. Cleveland had a big advantage getting to the line, but struggled to make them once there.

Cleveland got another terrific from Tristan Thompson who had 15 points and 13 rebounds. Timofey Mozgov got a lot more playing time than he did in Game 5 and took advantage. He had 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks. J.R. Smith added 19 points on 33% shooting.

LeBron was his usual incredible self. He scored 32 points and secured 18 rebounds. He added 9 assists. James averaged 35.8 ppg, 13.3 rpg, and 8.8 apg for the NBA Finals. Though the Cavs won only two games, it's hard to argue against LeBron being the most valuable player of the Finals.

Cleveland, down 15 in the fourth quarter, valiantly stormed back late in the game. The fouled shrewdly and began to make shots. At one point, the lead was cut to four. But that was as close as Cleveland came. The Cavs season must be judged a success. Wallowing at 19-20 nearly halfway through the season, smart trades and adjustment by certain players helps catapult the Cavs into the 2 seed int he East. Despite an injury to Kevin Love, Cleveland kept winning. But when Kyrie Irving fractured his kneecap, all hope seemed loss. And still, the Cavs even managed to take a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals against the best team in the league.

Golden State should be remembered as a team for the ages. Their two guards are not only the best backcourt tandem in the NBA, but both are top players in the league. Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut filled their roles to perfection. Harrison Barnes added athleticism. The Warriors' bench was something from a video game. Steve Kerr always seemed to be in control and have the right perspective. The Warriors won 67 games. Their stars not only had tremendous talent, but they were as deep as team in recent NBA history.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Game 5 - Small Ball Comes Up Big

Golden State got off to the quick start for a change. Andre Iguodala came up huge, despite having the reverse effect on the Warriors' average height. Cleveland came back to tie the game by the end of the first thanks to LeBron James's brilliance. The undermanned Cavs kept it close throughout the first half. J.R. Smith finally shot the ball well and scored 14 points.

With the Cavs able to take the last shot of the first half and potentially extend their lead, James failed to cross halfcourt in the requisite eight seconds. Instead of the Cavs at least going into halftime up one- and possibly up four- Golden State had a one point lead and Cleveland walked into the locker room scratching their heads.

Both teams played their centers for a grand total of 12 minutes- Timofey Mozgov played 9 minutes and the Warriors' Festus Ezeli got in for three minutes. Cleveland's Tristan Thompson, at 6'9", was the tallest player to see major minutes. He had 19 points and 10 rebounds. The Warriors truly went small with Leandro Barbosa and Shaun Livingston used as the primary substitutes.

Cleveland kept it close. James Jones, playing at center at times, took two charges under the basket. The Cavs trailed by six at the end of three. With time dwindling in the fourth, Cleveland began to intentionally foul Iguodala. Igoudala finished with 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists, but he missed nine consecutive free throws at one point. He only made his first and last attempts. It allowed the Cavs some home.

Cleveland's real source of hope centered around LeBron. By the end, James had another incredible performance. He scored 40 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and dished out 11 assists. But the Warriors are a far more balanced team. In addition to Iguodala, Barbosa had his best game of the series with 13 points on 4 of 5 shooting. Draymond Green Contributed 18 points and 9 rebounds. Harrison Barnes had 10 rebounds and a thunderous dunk. Klay Thompson, the All Star guard who has struggled to shoot and has not stopped LeBron when he's been asked to guard him, added 12.

The true hero for Golden State was the MVP, Stephen Curry. His 37 points- including a step back three late in the fourth that effectively sealed the outcome- helped the Warriors take 3-2 series lead with a 104-91 win. The game was closer than the score.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Game 4 - Out of Gas

Cleveland got out to their customary quick lead scoring the first seven points of the game. Golden State raced back and from that point forward, Cleveland was treading water. The Warriors put the clamps on LeBron James, who scored only 20 points on 22 field goals.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr decided to start Andre Iguodala over Andrew Bogut for Game 4. Iguodala had started every game of his All Star career before this season. Before Game 4, he had come of the bench in every game this season. At first, the Cavs bullied the undersized Warriors down low. Timofey Mozgov finished with 28 points. Mozgov was the only true center who saw big minutes for either team. Tristan Thompson finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

But the move to Iguodala turned out to be masterful. AI scored a season-high 22 points and grabbed 8 boards. Draymond Green added 17 points and Harrison Barnes scored 14.  Stephen Curry contributed 22. Though Golden State gave up size, they added quick-strike capabilities on offense, which led to some key runs. The smaller lineup only turned the ball over a total of seven times.

The Warriors used to two guys off the bench to great success. David Lee scored 9 points in 15 minutes and Shaun Livingston was a valuable player. Meanwhile, the Cavs' perimeter players seemed tired. Matthew Dellavedova had spent the night after Game 3 in the hospital due to exhaustion. He gave a great effort, but struggled. Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith didn't add much offensively. James Jones didn't score in 18 minutes.

Cleveland trailed only by 6 after three quarters, but had nothing at home in the fourth. Mozgov's 28 points was only the fourth time in NBA Finals history that an undrafted player scored at least 20 points. Dellavedova had been the third player in Game 3.

Golden State won 103-82 to tie the series. The extra day's rest before Game 5 in Golden State should help Cleveland, who needs the rest more.