Thursday, March 07, 2024

Just a guess

I can make you do anytheeng I want

 If the donks are committed to jettisoning Joe Biden, tonight will be the night to kick off that effort. I am guessing Biden will be all hopped up but won't have the stamina to mount a full-blown State of the Union address without a meltdown.

Friday, February 09, 2024

Benster and D Pick Your Games----The Super Bowl That Nobody Asked For Edition

So, old dude, remember when a Lions-Bills Super Bowl was likely? That would have been fun. Instead, we are stuck with a boring matchup that nobody outside of Kansas City and the Bay Area asked for. You really do hate to see it. We will discuss Dan Campbell later. 

Kinda tired of both these teams. Not gonna lie. But we do have to finish this out.

And we will! Nevertheless, I am still feeling the HYYYYYYPPPEEEEEEEE! for Sunday, and am ready to pick this game. Watch me work. 

Taylor Swift Private Jet Tracker Kansas City Chiefs (+2) vs. San Francisco 49ers Oh, this game at least should be good. The Chiefs are back despite dealing with a ton of drops, dodging bullets, and an AFC that couldn't dethrone them despite other teams looking good. The Niners have a lot more pressure on them. You see, everyone talks about Kyle Shanahan as this genius, and how the Niners have a ton of talent. Both those things are not hot takes at all, but the thing is they have been denied in cruel ways. Remember, Shanahan was the second biggest culprit behind 28-3, and blew a lead to the Chiefs 4 years ago on the biggest stage, and needs this badly. The Niners also haven't won a Super Bowl since 1994, even though they have been close a number of times. The Niners remind me of the Giants before 2007, where they were often good but unable to close the deal. The Chiefs losing this Super Bowl won't harm Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. Their legacy is secure, and even the greats have lost Super Bowls. I like the Niners to break through and finally get their ring. At the very least, they would be someone who haven't won in a while, and I respect that. Niners 29, Chiefs 19.

Deebo missed the boat that day he left the shack. But that was all he missed, and he is coming back.


A musical interlude:

Oh my goodness, it's 70s poisoning!

I gotta be me, grasshopper.

Well, could you at least pick the game?

Sure, why not? And remember I could have picked this:

Looks like you just did. You're stalling.

I guess I am. Okay, here goes. I think the 49ers are more talented, but they've been scuffling through the playoffs. The Packers should have beaten them and the Lions certainly could have, if not for some questionable decisionmaking from their head coach, which I believe you'll be discussing anon. The Chiefs aren't necessarily the most buttoned-up outfit, either, but they seem to have their act together at this point. And I have learned not to bet against Andy Reid or Patrick Mahomes, even if they have to put faith in Kadarius Toney or Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Somehow it works. Chiefs 28, 49ers 23.

And now, it's time to dunk on Dan Campbell and the LOLions. You thought I was going to glance over that? Oh, you know I wouldn't. I've said that my problem with Dan Campbell isn't in his culture or as a motivator. He did produce the goods this year, and have no problem admitting that. But the constant aggressive playcalling was going to catch up with him. The bottom line is that the Lions had the Niners dead to rights, and thanks to Campbell giving up 6 points by trusting his offense, he ended up costing his team. Part of being a head coach is showing growth. He has been making the same mistakes for a long time, and refuses to change. The worst part is that this might have been the best chance for the LOLions. Da Bearz have a bunch of cap space and picks, the Packers have a bright future and are getting out from under Aaron's contract, and the Vikings will have better injury luck. You might have caused the Same Old Lions to come back. I hope you are happy Dan. If I were the Lions front office or ownership, I would have ordered him to dial back the aggression and hired a situational management coach to protect Campbell from himself. He needs to learn to be smarter as a game manager. 

I can't argue with you.

Arguing with me never works any way. But hey, thanks so much for reading us this year, and enjoy your football this weekend. For the last time this year, Ben out. 

Friday, January 26, 2024

Benster and D Pick Your Games-----Joe Barry Is Finally Gone Edition

 Yes, I'm still here after what happened last weekend in the Bay Area. Bottom line is that there were mistakes made by the entire team, and as long as they don't waste this failure, they will be back. No need to do a Very Special Comment, since that would be unfair. 

This season turned out so much better than I could have expected. Yes, they kinda blew it against the Niners, but I see a path forward, especially because of something that happened later in the week.

The Packers also did the right thing by getting rid of Joe Barry. While the guy had some success down the stretch, the defense needed a new voice. Whoever that new voice is, I hope that he can bring success to the team.

Precisely the event I was referencing. Some of the apparent candidates are promising. Eager to see what happens. Meanwhile, football season continues, right?

That's right, Geritol Fan! I am feeling the HYYYYYYYYYPPPEEEEEEE! and ready to pick some games. Watch me work.

Taylor Swift The Eras Tour Live From Baltimore Kansas City Chiefs (+3.5) vs. Baltimore Ravens So this game is going to be an interesting one. After ripping the soul out of the Bills fans last week in Buffalo, the Chiefs are looking to get back to the Super Bowl. Oddly, we haven't seen a Mahomes/Lamar playoff meeting yet for whatever reason. The Ravens feel like a team that is very hungry for success and Lamar is having the type of run that will shatter all of the narratives about him. What is going to decide this is that the Ravens defense is a very physical one, and will contain the Chiefs. Also, look for Mahomes's weapons to let him down once again. Ravens 26, Chiefs 22.

Like this?

Forget the Boney Moronie, it's the Toney Moron-ey

That would be the appropriate scenario. Ravens have been on a mission all season. Lamar makes me nervous, but I think they get it done this time. Ravens 31, Chiefs 23.

Detroit LOLions (+7) vs. San Francisco 49ers The Niners did ride their luck last week against the Packers, but did make enough plays to win in the end, and it's fair to acknowledge that. Having Deebo Samuel be available for this game is a huge boost, as the Niner offense looked very shaky without him. There is a lot of pressure on the Niners to win this game to avoid not having a ring and for their front office to make some difficult decisions. But there is pressure on the Lions. They have yet to win a road playoff game since 1957, which is a long time ago. It goes without saying that this is the best chance the Lions have had to win a championship in most people's lifetimes, and with the rest of the NFC North getting better, who knows what the future holds. For the loser of this game, this will be one of those games that will be a tough one to lose. When in doubt, go for the desperate team at home. Niners 45, LOLions 23.

My guess is it will be closer than that, but I agree. The Lions have a tendency to do something inexplicable in big moments. They are absolutely stepping up in class as well. The 49ers can be beaten - there's no question of that. Whether the Lions will get it done is another matter. 49ers 28, Lions 24.

Enjoy your football this weekend. Ben out. 

Friday, January 19, 2024

Benster and D Pick Your Games-----LOL Cowboys, Cowboys Fans, And Skip Bayless Edition

I have one simple question to start. How Bout Them Cowboys? Seeing the Packers go into Jerry World and just lay waste to the Cowboys gave me vicarious joy. Oh, we are going to laugh at them later.

Why wait? Let's laugh at them now!

Jerrah and Dak are not happy

I have more to say, but that's a good start, although I'm surprised that Jerry Jones isn't using his giant forehead for advertising space. I also need to offer a sincere apology to the Packers. Earlier this year I called for everyone to be fired. I'm glad that I blew that take, and that's on me for being reactionary to a bad run. 

I don't know why things changed, but things have improved a lot in the ol' 54301.

I am feeling the HYYYYYYYYYYYYYPPPEEEE! and ready to pick some games. Watch me work.

Houston Texans (+9.5) vs. Baltimore Ravens The Texans had an equally impressive performance, and I feel like the DeMeco Ryans deserves to be named Coach of the Year. Houston has gone from being a terribly run organization to an organization that nailed their head coach hire, nailed finding the right quarterback, and seems to be steps ahead of where most thought they would be. But this won't be easy in Baltimore. The Ravens are arguably the most complete team in football, and Lamar really seems like a man on a mission to prove the doubters wrong, and I am not surprised that fellow Knox alum Todd Monken has done a great job in changing the offense to better suit Lamar's strengths. I like the Ravens to win a game that is going to be close into midway through the third quarter into a deceptive score. Ravens 35, Texans 17.

I really like Stroud and I believe he and Love will face each other next season, which should be fun. Baltimore will not be fun for the Texans, however. I think the Ravens are simply better top to bottom and will prevail. Ravens 31, Texans 23.

Glorious Green Bay Packers (+9.5) vs. San Francisco 49ers Last week was the best playoff performance the Packers had since the 2010 blowout against the Falcons. Nobody gave this young Packers team a chance, but they played almost a perfect game to be the first 7 seed to win a playoff game. But this won't be an easy trip to the Bay Area on a short week. The Niners have very good reason to believe that they are going to win the Super Bowl, and are going to be very healthy and rested after their bye. But I have been sensing a little bit of nerves among Niners fans. Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have done a great job the past few years, no question. But they haven't broken through, and if this game gets tight late, there could be some doubts about if another playoff loss is coming. The Packers have nothing to lose. Even if they get blown out, this team has done way more than I could have fairly asked for, and the future is looking bright with more cap space coming. They won't get blown out. Packers 13, 49ers 10.

Oh, they could get blown out, but I don't think they will be, either. Having said that, it's going to take even more to beat the Niners than it did last week. Do they have enough, especially when stopping Christian McCaffrey is the assignment? 49ers 31, Packers 27.

Tampa Bay Bucs (+6) vs. Detroit LOLions Tampa deserves a ton of credit for rebounding after Gisele's ex finally retired. They have a defense that plays, and a win here would really be a strong Ewing Theory case study. I am happy for the Lions and their fans. I've made a lot of jokes about them in the past and am not a big fan of Dan Campbell as an in game coach, but they've validated the hype that they were given. This feels like the type of game that Baker really wants. He would love nothing more than to go to the Motor City and spoil the party. I think that Baker will do just that, with help from a Bucs defense that wants to remind everyone that they want to be remembered as winning a Lombardi trophy as the heart and soul of the team, not Gisele's ex. Bucs 28, LOLions 12.

I'm not sure if Tampa was impressive or if the Eagles were terrible last week, but if I had a guess I would go with the Eagles being terrible. Tampa is a good team but I can see the Lions figuring out how to stop him. This will be a fun game, but I see the Lions moving on. Lions 27, Bucs 20.

Taylor Swift's Football Era Kansas City Chiefs (+2) vs. Buffalo Steakhouse Analogy For the first time, Patrick Mahomes will be playing a true road playoff game. This is the first time that these two teams have played each other in the playoffs since the infamous 13 Seconds sequence two years ago. The Bills need this one, as Mahomes has been the guy who has ruined their playoff dreams in this current era of AFC football. If Buffalo doesn't win, then a lot of questions are going to be asked about the Bills and their core, coaching staff, and front office. When in doubt, pick the desperate team at home. Last time I checked, this game was in Buffalo. Nobody Circles The Wagons Like The Buffalo Bills 50, Too Many Chiefs Commercials 49.

This one will be flat-out hostile. Buffalo's inconsistency really troubles me, but this Chiefs team is not as good as previous editions. The elements will not be a factor, but I think the Bills break through as well. Bills 34, Chiefs 31. 

And now, it's time to dunk on the Cowboys. God, seeing the Cowboys get destroyed after all of the talking they did. All this talk about the Packers being an easy opponent, how they were going to end the curse now that Jimmy Johnson got in the Ring of Honor, all of Skip Brainless talking about how his Cowboys were going to dominate, and they come out like that? It's time to admit that even though the Cowboys may have dominated the Packers in the 1990s, that was against the historical trend. Skip, why don't you just admit that you hate the Packers because the Packers ruined your childhood during the Ice Bowl. Cry more. 

The best part is that Jerry decided to keep Mike McCarthy around. We warned you, Dallas. We told you that he needs high end talent to bail him out of trouble, and that he was a big reason why the Packers didn't get the second ring for Aaron. But you didn't listen, and are doubling down on him. Jerry once again has proven that he learned nothing from March of 1994. 

You want to know what advice I'd give to Jerry? Simple. He won't listen to this, but he has two options. The first one is to get him and Stephen away from football operations and let the professionals do their jobs. You want to know why the Yankees were so good in the 1990s-early 2000s? It's because Gene Michael and Buck Showalter were able to have the time they needed to fix the problems that George Steinbrenner caused with his constant meddling with the front office after he got banned from baseball. The second option I would tell Jerry is one that he would never do, but at this point should be considered. Sell the team. The Cowboys at this point aren't as much a football team but more a vanity brand for Jerry, and he ain't doing a good job as an owner. Even Cowboys fans agree. But Jerry won't sell the team. At this point, he's a liability as an owner, but nobody wants to admit it. I'm dead serious. Coaches and players have changed, but Jerry is the constant since the last time the Cowboys made the NFC title game. 

Enjoy your football this weekend. Also, if you are looking for something to do on Saturday the 20th, go to the Border Battle to watch some high school basketball. It's at Benilde St. Margaret's in St. Louis Park. You'll be glad you did. Ben out. 

Friday, January 12, 2024

Benster and D Pick Your Games-------Packers Haters In Shambles Edition

Remember when everyone said that the Packers were going to be going into the wilderness and that Jordan Love was going to be a massive bust? Pepperidge Farm remembers. 

Certain parts of the Upper Midwest are hotbeds of wishful thinking, especially where football is concerned. 

In other news, I wasn't fired by anyone nor am I announcing my retirement in what will be the craziest offseason of coaching changes that I have ever seen. 

Yeah, it's quite the coaching carousel this year. And the fun is just beginning.

I am feeling the HYYYYYYYYYPPPEEEEE! and ready to pick some games. Watch me work.

Cleveland Browns (-2) vs. Houston Texans Big credit to the Texans for being here. I always liked CJ Stroud at Ohio State, and he was able to help turn around a frankly awful Texans team into division champions. The Browns have been up and down all year, but somehow Joe Flacco was able to come out of the wilderness and take the Browns to January football. Don't forget that Flacco is a Super Bowl winning quarterback, which is something that few other teams have. The Browns have a defense that will play well, and are a sleeper team to watch. Don't be surprised if they make a deep run. Browns 21, Texans 10.

I sure enjoyed watching Stroud this year in the few chances I had to see him. The Texans are in their customary playoff spot - first game of Wild Card Weekend. They are at home. But the Browns are better. That's a sentence I haven't had to type in a long time. Browns 24, Texans 20.

Miami Dolphins (+4.5) vs. Taylor Swift Eras Tour Kansas City Chiefs This game shouldn't be on Peacock. It's not the NFL's fault that Comcast failed at creating a streaming service that nobody asked for, and whoever came up with this idea should be ashamed of themselves. Also, the weather in Kansas City is going to be awfully cold, and I wouldn't attend that game if you paid me. The Chiefs have issues with catching balls, and this is the type of weather that is going to cause drops. So while the Dolphins are going to be wishing that they could go back to South Beach, this is a game that they are going to win. The worst thing is that Mahomie has a contract that is going to be a big hinderance to keeping talent, and the Chiefs front office has to nail every pick in the draft going forward. Dolphins 60, Chiefs 34.

Somewhere a songstress is distressed:

Dammit, Benster!

Keep it up and she might write a song about you, pal. As for the game, I'm not buying what you're selling. Both of these teams are inconsistent, but the Chiefs have a track record of winning in Kansas City at this time of year. I suspect that continues, even though I have my misgivings. Chiefs 27, Dolphins 24.

Pittsburgh Yinzers (+9.5) vs. Buffalo 13 Seconds The Steelers being here amazes me, and can only be described as Mike Tomlin having some sort of luck modifier. The Steelers offense is a mess, no TJ Watt, and they win games thanks to their stars bailing them out after giving the Yinzers heart attacks every other week. But they got in, and that's all you can ask. This game is going to be in awful weather as well, and should be a good old fashioned rock fight. As for the Bills, it's clear that Sean McDermott needs to just let the Bills play. They have all the weapons, but for some reason there is something off about the Bills this year. Josh Allen needs this one, or there are going to be some uncomfortable questions asked about if the Bills core is the right one, or if their steakhouse menu needs to be changed. Never forget the steakhouse metaphor. Bills 7, Steelers 6.

It's more of a wings joint, but that's okay. Bills should win easily. It won't be easy. Bills 24, Steelers 20.

Glorious Green Bay Packers (+7) vs. Dallas How Bout Them Cowboys The Packers being here is the best coaching and management job that this organization has done in my time being a fan of the team. Jordan Love answered every single question asked of him and more, this team is young and only going to get better, and no matter what happens on Sunday this season has been a success by all reasonable metrics. The Cowboys have all of the pressure on them. If they don't make the NFC title game and end that drought, Jerry will make changes. I've sensed a little bit of nerves from Cowboys fans and their media enablers, but regardless this will require the Packers to play their best game of the year. But you know that I am a delusional homer and back the Packers no matter the odds. Packers 33, Cowboys 23.

About two months ago, we were ready to fire everyone. Things have changed pretty substantially and you do have to give credit to the Packers for sticking with their plan. The reward is probably going to be a short visit to the playoffs, but I like the Packers to make the Cowboys nervous. Cowboys 31, Packers 27.

Los Angeles Rams (+3) vs. Detroit LOLions The funny thing about this game is that Matthew Stafford will be playing quarterback at the first playoff game at Ford Field. Little did anyone guess that he will be making his return to Detroit as the visiting quarterback. The Lions are good, and deserved to win the division as they were the most consistent team in the NFC North. However, the next step is that they need to win a playoff game, and that has been a challenge. My issue with Dan Campbell is that while I get why he does things the way he does, his coaching style costs the Lions at times. People want to complain about the Cowboys ending a couple weeks ago, but Campbell left points on the board by being aggressive, and that is going to come back to haunt him against a team in the Rams that have a Super Bowl pedigree and are looking to spoil the Lions getting their moment. Oh well, you at least have Michigan? Rams 21, LOLions Gonna LOLions 0.

It's easy to forget the Rams won the Super Bowl fairly recently. They have done a nice job of retooling and this will be a tough one for the Lions. But I do think they have it in them to win. Lions 35, Rams 28.

Philadelphia Eagles (-3) vs. Tampa Bay Bucs Honestly, the Eagles are looking like the Phillies last fall. If you remember, the Phillies were talking a lot of stuff about how they were going to overcome losing the World Series, and ended up losing to a D-Backs team that was young and hungry after a collapse that looks obvious in hindsight but was ignored by the baseball community. The Eagles collapse is real, and honestly I think that this team can't fight their way out of trouble. The Bucs are hungry, and are a team that I feel is getting overlooked. They have a quarterback in Baker Mayfield who is looking to prove the doubters wrong, a defense that will play well on any stage, and are looking to prove that they didn't win their ring by just getting Gisele's ex and his merry band of football mercenaries who all somehow fit under the salary cap. Bucs 40, Die Eagles Die 0.

The Eagles are talented but dysfunctional. The Bucs are limited but organized. I tend to agree with your assessment, if not your score. Bucs 24, Eagles 19.

Enjoy your football this weekend. Ben out. 

Friday, January 05, 2024

Benster and D Pick Your Games----LOL SEC Edition

After ESPN and the CFP hyped up Alabama for a month like nobody's business, the SEC won't have a team in the title game? You know I am going to enjoy dropping some truths that the SEC won't want you to hear.

You better watch out, you'd better not cry. Bensterman is coming to town!.

Meanwhile, the Packers have a chance to get into the playoffs by beating the Bears.

Always a pleasure when accomplished.

I am feeling the HYYYYYYYYPPPEEEEEE! and ready to pick some games. Watch me work.

Washington Huskies (+4.5) vs. Michigan Sign Stealers, in Houston Ah yes, no SEC in sight for once. The real winner of this game no matter what is going to be the Big Ten, who will get a rematch next season and the ability to claim that the national champion is in their conference next year. Michigan didn't look great, but were able to get past Alabama. Washington is a team that I love. They are well-coached, play very well, and are untainted by scandal. Regardless of what happens, this game is going to be a lot of fun and should be at the level of the 2006 Rose Bowl. Huskies 38, Jim Harbaugh Can't Win On A Level Playing Field 33.

Do we need to hear it again?

Few things are more majestic and yet more annoying. And the off-color version they sing in Madison is pretty amusing, too. As for the game, I think it will be a classic. Michigan is not a big muscle-bound group; they have superior athletes all over the field. But I have to say that Michael Penix is something else. He's going to play on Sundays and play very well. Washington 28, Michigan 27.

Minnesota Vikings (+3.5) vs. Detroit LOLions Oh my, the locals are not happy about what happened to the Vikings. When JJ got shut down by Joe Barry of all defensive coordinators, you know that you have issues. Now the Vikings are going to need an absolute miracle to make the playoffs, and could see the Packers make the playoffs in a rebuilding year. The LOLions need to get over what happened last week. Regardless of what you think about the refs, the Lions made a number of bad coaching decisions and let the Cowboys stick around to win it late. Dan Campbell may have done a great job getting the Lions their division title, but he still makes questionable decisions in games and is using the refs as a scapegoat to cover for his own flaws. He's not a first year coach, and those types of decisions could haunt them down the line. How a tough minded city like Detroit gives him a pass for his excuses is beyond me, but it's not my problem. Even if the Lions rest some starters, the Vikings are going to have a tough time winning in Detroit. Lions 24, Vikings 14.

The Lions won't rest their starters. I don't think the Vikings will phone it in, either, but the team I saw on Sunday was not impressive. Vikings fans can't have nice things after all. Lions 31, Vikings 20.

Bear Down Chicago Da Bearz Still Suck (+3) vs. Glorious Green Bay Packers Last week was a great performance by the Packers. They did a lot of things right, and just need to win one more game against the Bears to win, and are getting healthier for once. But this won't be easy. The Bears have been playing better, are playing for jobs, and they remember getting blown out all the way back in Week 1. Also, the Bears always play the Packers tough given the nature of the rivalry. If the Packers can keep doing what they have been doing, then I like their chances. Even if disaster strikes, the future looks a lot brighter. Packers 28, Bears Still Suck 17.

Jordan Love looks like the real deal. He's played very well down the stretch and the young receivers and tight ends wearing green and gold are varied and impressive. The Bears are getting a lot of, well, hype this week. I think they are improving and with the fortification of a million high draft picks in the spring, I think they'll be a problem. But in the end, rivalry ownership remains closer to the 45th parallel. Packers 27, Bears 20.

And now, it's time to laugh at the SEC. 

Here's a bitter face to begin the festivities:

I'm a very unhappy man with an enormous forehead

Don't post pictures like that, old dude - you're going to scare away the paying audience.

Wait - you're getting paid?

If you keep interrupting, you're gonna pay, all right. Ahem. After all of the hyping up ESPN did about how the SEC is a beast, how they are the greatest conference, and how Oklahoma and Texas are going to be such a great fit, it turns out that you won't have any schools in your 2024 lineup in the national title game being held in SEC country. You really hate to see it. The Big Ten is laughing in their offices in suburban Chicago. It turns out that Alabama didn't deserve to be there, and don't forget that the Big Ten makes more money than you do, even with you adding Texas and Oklahoma. The Big Ten is adding cable subscribers at the in-market rate in California, Washington, and Oregon. You are only adding in market rate subscribers in Oklahoma. The Big Ten makes 9 million dollars more than you do per school, and will get to go to the media rights well before you do thanks to you waiting until 2034 to redo your big shiny ESPN deal. The Big Ten has a minimum of 3 games on network television every single Saturday, and the top 3 games that the conference offers have a defined timeslot. You threw away the SEC on CBS 2:30 timeslot. When is your best game going to air? The Big Ten is a national conference. You are a regional conference in the Southeast. When the Big Ten increases their lead on you in the financial arms race, I'd worry about losing your top brands. The alarm clock is ticking, Greg Sankey. I suggest you answer it. But you won't do that. Instead, you will have ESPN and the SEC fanboys continue to be yes men while you ignore that college sports is changing and your cycle of dominance may be coming to an end. 

Enjoy your football this weekend. Ben out. 

Friday, December 29, 2023

Benster and D Pick Your Games---Who Replaces Joe Barry Edition?

Seriously, I've had enough of Joe Barry. His performance on Sunday was a complete joke, and it's getting to the point that the Packers need to fire every single one of the defensive coaches. The guy has been given plenty of time, resources, and power to mold this defense. It's not working, and you need to pull the plug.

Oh, so we're back to firing again?

Yes, we are.

Well, I'm glad you're being somewhat more selective in your dismissals.

I may be an irrational, shameless homer, but I try to be reasonable about it. Meanwhile, the Vikings are up a creek right now. JJ really came back for this?

It's next man up, ya know.

That's what I'm talkin' about.

I'd ask what the heck you were doing, but it's clearly not contributing anything positive to this feature.

My work is done, then.

No, you still have to pick some games. Meanwhile, I am feeling the HYYYYYYYYYPPPEEEEEEEEE! Watch me work.

Beloved Wisconsin Badgers (+10) vs. LSU Tigers, in Tampa The Badgers have had an up and down season, but the good news is that this team got into a New Years Day game somehow. By the way, the tailgating is going to be an incredible scene. It sucks that there are a ton of opt outs/portal guys in this game. I realize why, but with NIL the money excuse doesn't fly as much. That is a topic for another day, though. The Badgers are going to have to slow down LSU's offense, but the good news is that the Tigers are not a great defensive team. This should be a close one, but the Badgers hopefully can continue their bowl winning streak. Badgers 35, Bayou Bengals 23.

LSU is far more talented. They don't have their Heisman-winning quarterback, though. Not sure who the Badgers will have going, but historically the Badgers play well in bowl games. Is it enough? LSU 27, Wisconsin 20.

Alabama Crimson Tide (+1.5) vs. Michigan Sign Stealers, in Pasadena It's a shame that this wasn't a Michigan-Washington game as an end of an era game, but that's just another thing that the committee screwed up in picking this game. Alabama has gotten a lot better, but Michigan wants to take the next step and play for a national title before the NCAA goes after Harbaugh and he flees to the NFL like Pete Carroll did. With the Big Ten-SEC cold war heating up next year when they start their new look forms, look for Michigan to use their great defense and more experienced quarterback to at least have a championship game that doesn't involve the SEC. Jim Harbaugh Can't Win On A Level Playing Field 28, CFP Committee's Favorite Team 14.

Alabama is getting the hype. Not sure why, though. They haven't won that impressively this year and while the talent level remains stellar, it's not clear they have better talent than The Victors. Michigan 27, Alabama 17.

Texas Longhorns (-4) vs. Washington Huskies, in New Orleans Ah yes, the unofficial other Big Ten-SEC semifinal. Texas might be back, but they are going to go to a tougher neighborhood and a third conference to cause a ton of drama. Washington is a legit team, and I look forward to having them join the Big Ten next year. What makes me like Washington in this game is that they are tough, and won all of their games in the toughest conference in America and beat the Ducks twice. Their defense is very good, and their offense is very explosively deadly. Even though this might be a partisan Longhorn crowd in New Orleans, look for the Huskies to try and get back to the Don James mold in winning big games. Huskies 49, Texas Isn't Back, Folks 48.

Washington has quietly been awesome all year long. They have everything they need to win. And so they shall. Washington 31, Texas 23.

Glorious Green Bay Packers (+1) vs. Minnesota Vikings So in the interest of full disclosure, I ended up  watching the Packers game and missed almost all of the Vikings game last week. When you give up 30 points to Panthers of all teams, you know that the defense is bad, and the Packers were bailed out by the offense and the clock running out in the nick of time. Jaire Alexnder was right to be suspended, as you can't just walk out to the coin toss and almost screw it up. Don't worry, Vikings fans. Jaren Hall will look like an elite quarterback and it wouldn't surprise me if Joe Barry's 5D chess brain will have Preston line up against JJ. But the good news is that the Packers will overcome that to win a game, because the Vikings history tells us that in big games, they don't often win. Sorry, you know it's true. Packers 24, Vikings 17.

I have no idea who wins. I would recommend betting the over, though. Vikings 35, Packers 33.

So, who replaces Joe Barry? This list is who I want to, and is in no particular order.

Jim Knowles: Defensive coordinator at Ohio State. While he has been mostly a college coach, I like how tough minded he is and how he was able to find success at Oklahoma State given that the Cowboys play in an offensive league in the Big 12.

Jim Leonhard: Analyst at Illinois. While he doesn't have any pro coaching experience, he has developed a lot of good defensive players at Wisconsin, and brings a lot of the Rex Ryan scheme with him.

Daniel Bullocks: Safeties coach for the Niners. He is someone who is considered and up and comer and has been a big part of the success that the Niners have had on defense. Would be a good hire.

Chris Hewitt: Secondary coach for the Ravens. Ravens have had a great defense this year, and Hewitt could view this as a promotion given that the Ravens are very stable in terms of coaches leaving. His defensive backs are fundamentally sound. 

Sean Desai: Defensive coordinator for the Eagles. With Desai having been demoted from the defensive playcaller role, it wouldn't surprise me if he might leave the Eagles. Would be a fresh voice and someone who would have learned from his first year being a coordinator. 

Mike Zimmer: Analyst at Colorado. He has a point to prove given how his time with the Vikings ended, and is a great defensive mind. Tough coach, and wants to be in the NFL in 2024. Why not come back to the NFC North?

Bringing Zimmer to Green Bay would be pretty amusing, actually. Don't see it happening. Desai might be a guy to bring in, but I'd suggest waiting until after the season ends. There may be a better option out there that's not on your list. But we'll see. Just don't bring in Uncle Rico.

Oh, I won't. That's the list. Enjoy your football this weekend. Ben out. 

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Benster and D Pick Your Games------Fire Joe Barry Edition

The Packers need to fire Joe Barry yesterday. How is he still with the team after being given multiple chances and plenty of resources/support to do his job?

The Packers are loyal until they aren't. Otherwise, I got nothin'.

The good news is that Florida State isn't suing this blog. 

Why would they sue this blog? Are we channeling Peggy?

You haven't been conducting transactions with some cat emporium?

No, but it's a thought. I do like insulting the Seminoles, but we'll get back to that eventually, too. Meanwhile, I am feeling the HYYYYYYYYYPPPEEEEEEE! and ready to pick some games. Watch me work.

Minnesota Golden Elite Rowers of the Boat (+4) vs. Bowling Green Falcons, in Detroit The Gophers shouldn't be in a bowl game, but thanks to the constant need for the networks to give us bad football, here we are. PJ knows playing Bowling Green well from his time in the MAC, and he has never lost a bowl game as head boat rower for the Gophers. Quite frankly, the Gophers need to figure out their identity on offense and stop with the outdated offense. They should win this game, because Big Ten teams don't lose to MAC teams, right? Row Row Your Boat Elitely 45, MACTION 0.

Well, sometimes they do. Including to Bowling Green fairly recently. But I think the Gophers will win. Gophers 21, Bowling Green 17.

Detroit LOLions (-3) vs. Minnesota Vikings The Vikings last week deserved to lose after throwing away a 14 point lead, combined with some horrific playcalling in overtime. How do you run the same play twice in a row? I thought that KOC was a good coach, but seriously? The LOLions are looking to prove that they aren't the same old Lions, but this is the type of game that they can lose. Remember, the Vikings want to make the playoffs so that they can avoid outright disaster and give the front office the ammo it needs to blow this team up. And if the Packers get in, then all of the locals who mocked the Packers all offseason are going to collectively melt down. Vikings 21, LOLions 14.

We'll get to the Packers shortly, I assume, but that's a separate issue. As for this game, it's going to depend on the Vikings defense. The Lions run hot and cold, but they certainly have weapons. Home game, so I'll go with the locals. Vikings 24, Lions 20.

Glorious Green Bay Packers (-4.5) vs. Carolina Panthers Last week was a complete disaster for the Packers, as they let Baker Freaking Mayfield have the best performance by a visiting quarterback since Mike Vick in 2002. The biggest issue I had with the defense was that there was a refusal to blitz at all. Baker struggles against the blitz, so why not just let him sit back and not get pressured? Thankfully, the Panthers are a complete joke of a football team run by a moron in David Tepper. If the Packers let Carolina look good, then you have issues. Thankfully, the Carolina based Packers fans are going to take over that stadium. Packers 60, Panthers 0.

So a team that plays terrible defense is going to pitch a shutout the next week? I don't see that. I do see the Packers winning, but it won't be easy. Packers 27, Panthers 19.

Enjoy your football this week, and watch some football if the relatives decide to argue about politics or family drama at gatherings this weekend. You'll thank me later. Ben out. 

Friday, December 15, 2023

Benster and D Pick Your Games -- Vikings May Blow It Up Edition

 No, that title isn't inflammatory at all. The Vikings have some big decisions to make involving Kirko and JJ, and quite honestly, their management might want to blow it up. This game against the Bengals is going to go a long way toward answering that question.

Two teams without a quarterback. Two teams that expected better. Two teams that are glad not to be the Chargers.

All true, Geritol Fan! I am feeling the HYYYYYYYYYYYYYPPPEEEEE! and ready to pick some games. Watch me work.

Minnesota Vikings (+3) vs. Cincinnati Bungles So it turns out that the Vikings dodged a bullet last week, where despite playing horrifically awful football, the Raiders somehow made Josh Dobbs and the Vikings offense look like the Greatest Show on Turf at their peak. The Bengals are without Joe Burrow, and are still in playoff contention. To expand on why I think that the Vikings are going to blow it up, consider that Kirko has won 1 playoff game with the Vikings. I'm also going to note that the Vikings have only appeared in one playoff game with JJ, and lost that playoff game. In JJ's case, consider that the other key pieces of the 2019 LSU national title team besides JJ have all gotten to the Super Bowl at a minimum, including Chase, Burrow,  and Edwards-Helaire as of this point. Now, you can call me biased because I am a huge fan of a division rival, but those are objective facts. The Vikings already began the shedding of veteran contracts, and the front office has gotten to see what this team looks like without Kirko and JJ sadly because of injuries. The Vikings need this one badly, and Nick Mullens looked good in relief, and should play well enough to win. Vikings 24, Bengals 7.

Those may be facts, but they may not be relevant. As for this game, I'd suggest paying attention to Vegas. I think the Vikings will make it interesting, but I don't see them prevailing. Bengals 24, Vikings 21.

Tampa Bay Bucs (+3.5) vs. Glorious Green Bay Packers The last time that the Bucs came up to Green Bay, it was one of the worst playoff losses I have seen the Packers take. Thankfully, Gisele's ex is nowhere to be seen. What frustrated me about the Packers on Monday was that while the defensive coaches screwed up the coverage, it never should have come to that. The offense and special teams left a bunch of points out there, and when you lose by 2 that means that you can't blame the defense. The Packers and the Bucs both need this one for playoff status, and the Packers need to finish drives and play a lot better. I am going with the ever popular Desperate Team at Home Theory combined with the fact that I am a homer and make no secret about who my favorite NFL team is. Packers 31, Bucs 14.

It's who you are. It's what you do. Baker Mayfield is okay, Mike Evans remains dangerous, but other than that I'm not sure where the points come from. Bucs can play defense, but this is not the same team that showed up in Green Bay a few years ago. I was actually hoping for something like this, but El Nino is not cooperating.

The worst day of Steve Young's life

Packers 23, Bucs 16.

No rant this week!


I'm all about the Christmas spirit, old dude! Enjoy your football this weekend, and may the Premier League give Everton our 10 points back. Ben out. 

Friday, December 08, 2023

Benster and D Pick Your Games-----The Worst Football Decision I Have Ever Seen Edition

 Oh, you know I have words for what went down with the college football powers that be last weekend. That decision was like seeing Michael Jordan airball a layup on purpose. 

Looks like Mike took it personally, too.

Meanwhile, the Packers are very much in contention after taking out the Chiefs last week. Though it was nice of Taylor Swift to show up at Lambeau to hang out with my Aunt Coco, who was a happy shareholder as the Packers gave her a great birthday present. 

Most people in the know prefer Coco to Taylor (or maybe Koko Taylor), but I'm guessing ol' Taylor will shake it off. Or something like that.

I am feeling the HYYYYYYYYYPPPPEEEE! and ready to pick some games. Watch me work.

Minnesota Vikings (-3) vs. Las Vegas Raiders The Vikings are still in playoff contention and will get a huge lift this week as the Griddy Man has been cleared to return. The thing is, Josh Dobbs has struggled and will get the start again, which has some locals questioning the move. The good news is that the Raiders are a team that is led by morons. Josh McDaniels may have been fired, but Al Davis would have fired everyone about 10 times over if he was still alive. The Vikings should win, but this is the type of game that the Vikings fans love to make uncomfortable. Vikings 24, Raiders 17.

I for one am glad Jefferson is back, because it will certainly help my fantasy football team. The Vikings really needed the bye to reset things. They should be able to beat a highly questionable Raiders team, but as the young fella says, it's going to be uncomfortable, especially if Maxx Crosby gets a head of steam going Vikings pull ahead late to make it look more impressive than it will be. Vikings 28, Raiders 16.

Glorious Green Bay Packers (-6) vs. New York Football Giants Last week was a fantastic performance by everyone. I have been very critical of this team this year, but it's hard to argue with the results. Jordan Love has been great, Matt LaFleur was on fire calling plays last week, the Packers made defensive plays when they had to, and it was the best performance I have seen this year. I'm also really glad that the Chiefs didn't blame the refs, which is a stupid argument to make. Lest we forget, the bad calls went both ways. The Giants are a mess this year, which surprises me. This won't be easy, but the Packers should win given that they are getting healthier. Packers 35, Giants 10.

No Aaron Jones? No Jaire Alexander? No problem! It's been an amazing if weird stretch of games for the Pack, who have really improved as the season goes on. The young receiving corps is growing in front of our eyes and this is the time of year where A.J. Dillon pays off. Giants can rush the passer and they do have offensive talent, but Tommy DeVito is not an NFL quarterback long term. I think this one goes well eventually. Packers 28, Giants 20.

And now, it's time for me to blow a gasket and yell about Florida State getting screwed last weekend. Before I unleash, a quick disclaimer. I am not blaming the Alabama players, coaches, or Nick Saban for being happy or defending their inclusion. They are just doing what they had to do, and the ire belongs somewhere else.

Where is that?

Oh, I'll tell you. What the playoff committee did on Sunday when they explained their reasoning was an utter disgrace and super disrespectful to Florida State. I don't care about how "bad" they looked, they won every single one of their games! That's freaking hard to do. I watched the back end of the ACC title game last week, and what really impressed me about Florida State each time I've seen them this year was that they are a complete football team. This wasn't Jordan Travis and a bunch of scrubs. Their defense played incredibly against a good Louisville team, and they were ranked 4th coming into last weekend. What happened to not dropping a team that didn't lose?

ESPN happened, I think.

What really was disgraceful was what the committee chair said about the Jordan Travis injury. Florida State is a great team with a great defense, and they rallied around their backup quarterbacks to win. Jordan, I know that you probably will never read this or see this, but you have nothing to apologize for about getting injured. It wasn't your fault and I hope that you come back stronger and better than ever for whatever your next challenge is going to be. I'm rooting for you. The other 21 starters, Mike Norvell, and his coaching staff were told that their success was down to one guy, which is a really mean and cruel thing to say. I bet the chairmen wouldn't say that to their faces. You don't win with just one guy in college football. 

Unless the one guy is head of the committee.

In regards to the SEC, nonsense like this is why I have been warning about peddling the narrative that they and ESPN try and sell you. The SEC this year was down. They had a losing record against the ACC in the nonconference, and to be frank the Pac 12 and the Big Ten were just as strong if not stronger than the SEC this year. Despite all of the talking points by Greg Sankey and the ESPN talking heads, their top brands were all shaky. Georgia struggled at times, Alabama needed Auburn to forget how to defend a Hail Mary, South Florida to not do anything offensively, Jimbo to get outcoached, and Ole Miss to melt down in the second half just to stay in playoff contention. Heck, the marquee OOC SEC game involved Alabama getting cooked by Texas at Bryant Freaking Denny. I'm also going to point out despite the SEC having a bunch of success on the field, their leadership is still 10 million dollars short in terms of revenue distribution to their member schools, and that gap will only grow as the Big Ten gets to go to the media rights well before the SEC does, even though the SEC added both Texas and Oklahoma to their conference. I'd love to ask Sankey why that revenue gap exists despite the SEC having better results, but professional SEC cheerleaders like Paul Finebaum and Clay Travis don't want to risk upsetting their beloved conference. Like it or not, money matters in college sports and the Big Ten is winning that race. 

The results on the field would suggest otherwise, but in the long term you're likely to be correct.

So what would I have done? Simple. I would have had the playoff be Washington, Florida State, Michigan, and Texas. What I would have sold is that these are the four teams who won it on the field, and any criticism about leaving out Alabama would have relied on the head to head. In the future with the 12 team playoff, the committee should be former coaches and players, who would be given clear guidelines for seeding and bids. Results on the field are the only thing that matters, and that their job is to simply seed the teams and pick the at larges. I would get rid of them doing rankings, instead having a bracket preview similar to college basketball coming out a week before Thanksgiving. Is this proposed system perfect? Of course not. No system is. But what we saw last week was a load of well, bullshit, and should never be allowed to happen again. 

I would like that, too. 

Enjoy your football this weekend. Ben out.