Tuesday Teabag, March 26, 2013 – Seth Davis

seth-davisFor our legion of SU basketball fans, this week’s Tuesday Teabag is extra special, just like you.  As SU prepares for the Sweet 16, let’s recap:  It seems like ages ago, but remember the Big East Championship game (which was only a mere 10 days ago)?  Cuse was playing Louisville, up 16 in the second half, and then all hell broke loose.  They had no answer for Pitino’s pressure trap, couldn’t buy a bucket, and completely fell apart.  They ended up losing by 17, a 31 point swing in about 15 minutes (read:  50 minutes real time).

That collapse was fresh in the minds of the Selection Committee, as they handed Syracuse a 4 seed…matching them up against the Montana Grizzlies.  On top of that, there are rumors that the NCAA is close to handing down major sanctions against the program for multiple violations (let me guess:  players actually weren’t going to class). 

Anyway, all of this turmoil led our friend Seth Davis, a writer from Sports Illustrated and CBS analyst during the NCAA tournament (who, by the way, we are big fans of), to boldly claim that Syracuse would lose to Montana in the first round.  The result:  Syracuse won by 47, absolutely smoking Montana.  How lopsided was it?  If Syracuse didn’t score a single point in the second half, they still would’ve won by 4. 

Look, we’re not mad at Seth for going out on a limb and (attempting to) pick an upset.  If you recall, we ragged on Seth Greenberg last week for picking all #1 seeds to get to the Final Four (FYI, we told you Gonzaga sucked).  Upsets happen all the time…it’s what makes the NCAA Tournament so special (are you listening college football?).  And we certainly don’t want to discourage the “experts” picking the underdog.  But when you pick an upset, and not only do they not upset, but suffer the largest measure of defeat in the NCAA tournament in more than 25 years…then you just look silly. 

Now, in Seth’s defense, he was a good sport about it.  After making his pick, he made a bet with Syracuse radio DJs Gomez and Dave (sidebar:  who knew there were radio DJs in Syracuse besides Ted and Amy?) to wear an orange wig if Syracuse won…and true to his word, he did.  Smart move on his part…take the focus off the fact that you made the Worst.  Prediction.  Ever.  and instead turn it into something funny.

Point is:  if you’re going to pick an upset, do your homework, which must consist of more than what happened in their last game.  And you know what’s really ironic?  What if Syracuse didn’t blow that lead against Louisville in the Big East Championship?  Likely, they would’ve been seeded higher than 4, possibly a 2, perhaps switching spots with Georgetown.  What happened to the Hoyas this week?

Anyway, we’re not saying the Cuse is going to win it all.  They got a tough match up against Indiana on Thursday (oh Keith Smart, we have not forgotten about you).  But when you predict a blizzard, and instead it’s sunny and 72, you need to be put in your place.  And that’s where The Machine comes in. 

Enjoy your teabag.

UPDATE:  Syracuse 61, Indiana 50.  Break out that wig again Seth!

2013 NCAA Bracket (Busted) Preview

It’s tournement time!  Tip-off starts in in about 3 hours, which is just enough time to come down with the “stomach bug” and find your way to the “doctor’s office” (read: neighborhood bar)!  Be mindful, the last game tips off at 9:57 PM (EST), so pace yourself!

Before our brackets get completely busted, let’s review The Machine’s Final Four Picks:

Roid Rage (full bracket here: NCAA RR 2013)

Midwest/West Matchup: I’ve got Louisville (1) v. Ohio State (2).  I’m buying Louisville stock going into this tournement.  They are a tough group that excel in all facits of the game.  Pitino gets it done this year.  After a breeze in the first two rounds (Missouri, St. Louis), they get a couple of tough match-ups in Michigan State and Ohio State.  However, I’ve got the Cardinals advancing to the Championship game.

South/East Matchup: Florida (3) v. Indiana (1). This Indiana team is dangerously good; I’ve got them cruising to this matchup with Florida.  It’s hard to call a 3-seed a darkhorse, but I like Florida’s chances of upsetting Georgetown and Kansas on their way to face Indiana.  I have to give the nod to Indiana due to their balance and defense. This sets up a championship featuring…

Championship: Louisville (1) v. Indiana (1).  I’m not typically a 1-seed/1-seed kind of guy, but I have too much respect of what both of these teams have done this year.  They were built for this tournement.  Take it to the bank: Rick Pitino will be climbing the ladder, scissors in hand!

First-Round Upsets: Oregon (12), Cincinnati (10), Belmont (11), Iowa State (10), Minnesota (11)

Ginger King (full bracket here: BRSM – 2013 NCAA Bracket)

Midwest/West Matchup: I’ve got Louisville (1) v. Ohio St. (2), but the comparisons stop there.  Ginger King is high on the Buckeyes, so high, in fact, that we’re picking them to be crowned National Champions.  The Buckeyes are the most tournment ready team in the country, and played in the toughest conference in basketball.  They should breeze through the first couple rounds, and really won’t be tested until they meet up with Wisconsin.  Louisville is hard to pick against (their pressure trap is the best in the NCAA) but Thad Matta will have them ready.  Book your plane tickets to Atlanta Ohioans, just leave that stupid O-H-I-O chant home.

South/East Matchup:  VCU (5) v. Indiana (1).  The South is by far the most volatile bracket in the tourney, so it’s really a crap shoot there.  I really like Georgetown, but I also love Cinderellas, especially when Cinderella can shoot the 3.  People are soft on VCU for losing the A-10 Championship to St. Louis, but don’t fret.  This VCU team is better, yes better, than the team that shocked the world and made it to the final four in 2011.  This sets up the championship game between…

Championship:  Ohio St. (2) v. Indiana (1).  Yes, an all Big 10 final.  This is really the way it should be.  The Big 10 is head and shoulders above the rest of the NCAA…they are the equivalent of the SEC in football.  Lock it in:  Thad Matta and crew will be cutting down the nets and bringing a National Championship back to Columbus. 

First-Round Upsets:  Iowa St. (10), Bucknell (11), Minnesota (11), Ole Miss (12), Montana (13),

Tuesday Teabag, March 19, 2013 – March Madness

Yes sir.  It’s time for the greatest two weeks in sports.  How good is March Madness?  So good, in fact, that there’s an increase in male vasectomies just so guys can spend a weekend on the couch and not be bothered.  #geniusmarketing.  So many games, so little time.  But with the good comes the bad.  Like the annoying guy in your IT Dept. who all of a sudden becomes a Bracketologist.  And how about the real sports analysts that actually call themselves Bracketologists.  Note to self, if you have to make up your own nickname, it’s not cool (notable exception to Black Mamba). 

Anyway, as awesome as March Madness is—don’t worry, The Machine will be here for you to help fill out your brackets with our Final Four picks and upset specials—it’s not free from a teabag.  So here are a few teabagable March Madness moments.

Gonzaga a 1 Seed?

On the surface, there’s an argument that the Zags are worthy of a #1 seed.  For starters, they’re the only team in the NCAA with more than 30 wins…amassing an impressive 31-2 record, and went undefeated (16-0) in conference play.  However, The Machine and its hard hitting research department is anything but surface level.  Our bullshit radar (like our gaydar) is impeccable, and we’re here to say the Selection Committee got it wrong.

Sure, Gonzaga deserves a high seed…perhaps as high as 2.  But a number 1 seed?  Sorry, but The Machine’s not buying it.  Of their 33 games this season, the Zags played 3, yes 3, against teams ranked in the Top 25:  Illinois, Butler, and Oklahoma State.  Their record?  1-2 (with the one win a one point victory over Oklahoma State).  All three of those teams made the tourney, Oklahoma State as a 5 seed, Butler a 6, and Illinois a 7.  So, when they actually had to play real teams, they struggled.

But what about that 16-0 conference record?  Shouldn’t that count for something?  Not really.  Not when that conference is the West Coast Conference [insert east coast bias here].  Seriously, you think games against Loyola Marymount, Santa Clara (sans Steve Nash), Pepperdine, and the Portland Pilots really prepared the Zags for the tourney?  Who knew Portland had another college team besides the Trailblazers? (zing!)  Sorry, but a 16-0 record should be expected, not rewarded.

We’re not saying Gonzaga isn’t good…but a number 1 seed is clearly a stretch.  Who then, is worthy?  Easy.  How about Miami or Ohio State [east coast bias in full swing].  The Canes won the regular season and conference tournament in the ACC…a/k/a a real basketball conference.  Miami was also 3-2 against the Top 25, with one of those wins coming against then number 1 ranked Duke.  And Ohio State?  Sure, they were 5-7 against the Top 25, but more than a third of their games were against ranked teams.  They also play in unquestionably the toughest conference in basketball, the Big 10.  The only knock against the Big 10 is that there are 12 teams (note: do not hire anyone from Ohio St. as your accountant).  Ohio State’s display of dominance in the Big 10 tourney is incredibly more impressive than Gonzaga’s WCC trophy (which is probably just a ribbon).

Perhaps the best argument for Miami or Ohio State.  Would you take Gonzaga over any of those teams right now?  Didn’t think so.

ESPN Bracketologists

As a general rule, all Bracketologists are annoying…mainly because they found a way to get paid to talk about college basketball and make predictions that no one will remember.  Talking about sports with no accountability is The Machine’s dream, and we’re jealous of them.

But something else irked The Machine.  During ESPN’s non-stop Selection Sunday coverage, after the brackets were announced, the “expert” Bracketologists went to work.  ESPN spared no expense in its coverage…there were projection screens, touch screens, and a full panel of Bracketologists.  The only thing they cut corners on was worthwhile analysis.

Seth Greenberg, in dramatically making his final four selections, picked the following teams:  Louisville, Gonzaga, Kansas, and Indiana.  Really?  All the #1 seeds?  I sat through 12 hours on nonstop college basketball to watch you pick all the favorites?  Forget the fact that it’s only happened once (2008) since the tournament expanded to the 64 team format in 1985, but come on man.  Get creative Seth.  I’m not saying you have to pick the South Dakota St. Jackrabbits to reach the Final Four, but certainly you can do better than picking all the favorites.  I’m guessing Seth’s combination to his luggage is this.

Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish are included solely on the basis of their hideous uniforms.  Now, The Machine’s not exactly fashion forward (we wear hoodies year round) but holy shit those uniforms are God awful.  The only good thing is that we’ll only have to look at those uniforms for one more game.  #gocyclones.

There you have it.  Check back tomorrow for our Bracket busting tips, upsets, and Final Four predictions.

Tuesday Teabag, March 12, 2013 – Baseball Injuries

What is it about baseball players that make them susceptible to the strangest, oddest, and downright weirdest injuries of any athletes?  Seriously, year in and year out, the dumbest injuries happen to baseball players.  Whether it’s sneezing too hard (Sammy Sosa), burning your face by falling asleep in a tanning bed (Marty Cordova), or stabbing yourself in the stomach while using a knife to take off a DVD wrapper (Adam Eaton), baseball players are cursed.  Or just stupid and unable to perform simple tasks off the field.

The 2013 season hasn’t even started yet, and already we have a slew of worthy contenders.

Michael Taylor (Oakland)

Injured himself throwing away a piece of gum.  Seriously, he lacerated his pinkie (in two places) while attempting to throw out gum, and had missed a week of spring training.  This one’s odd, I mean, who throws out gum pinkie out. 

Elvis Andrus (Texas)

Sat out a game due to soreness in his arm…from getting a tattoo.  This injury isn’t as weird as it is stupid.  Elvis, your last game was October 5, you had between then and the start of spring training (roughly 5 months) to get tatted up.  Instead, you wait until spring training starts (i.e. you’re back working) to get some ink.  Tattoos by nature are pretty badass, unless you’re this guy, but taking a day off work because it hurt too much instantly takes away any street cred. 

Gio Gonzalez (Washington)

Not sure what to make of Gio…but he sported a sweet looking scar on his forehead.  Bar fight, perhaps?  Catch a line drive off your face?  Not quite.  Gio sustained the injury (later confirmed to be a rug burn) by wrestling with his dog, Hollywood…a French Bulldog.  Fortunately for Gio, he didn’t miss any playing time.  Also, he’s got a good sense of humor (which The Machine appreciates) and when describing his “fight” with Hollywood said:  “She gave me a rug burn. I hate her. And then I love her.  And then I look in her face and then I love her again.”

Jordany Valdespin (Mets)

Jordany takes the cake with the dumbest injury thus far.  It seems innocent enough:  while squaring around to bunt, he takes a Verlander fastball to the junk.  Not good under any circumstances.  However, Jordany raised the bar of stupidity when it was revealed that he wasn’t wearing a cup.  That’s right….a 94 mph heater right to the babymaker.  What could possibly possess you to not wear a cup, especially someone that bunts with an open stance?  Obviously, even with a cup (or full body armor) a Justin Verlander fastball is going to hurt…but as stupid as it is to stand in there with no helmet on, it’s equally as dumb to step in the box without a cup.  The Machine has broken out in a cold sweat just thinking about this.

There you have it…proving once again that real men play [insert any sport besides baseball].  Enjoy the teabags fellas, and Jordany…the next time you’re at the plate make sure to bubble wrap the boys!

2013 NFL Mock Draft (v2.0)

Free Agency Eve Edition! As teams are putting the finishing touches on player evaluations and GM’s are gearing up for Tuesdays free agent frenzy, The Machine decided now would be a great time to post a mock draft!  Sure, “team needs” will be drastically different 24-hours from now, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Now, onto the madness……….(by Roid Rage)……


Kansas City Chiefs: Dee Milliner CB  
Analysis: QB…check; WR…check; LT…check.  I like the idea of pairing Dee with Brandon Flowers to allow Eric Berry to roam in the box.  Plus, the Chiefs can still bolster their O-line as the draft is deep with quality interior  linemen that should be available in R2 and beyond.


Jacksonville Jaguars: Luke Joeckel LT  
Analysis: Players of Joeckel’s caliber don’t come along every year.  A better prospect than Kalil last year; Joeckel will be a rock for whomever is the Jaguars long-term QB.


Oakland Raiders Geno Smith QB  
Analysis: Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen inherited a mess.  Carson Palmer (didn’t have a bad year) isn’t going to be around much longer.  Smith gives the team a QB to build around.


Philadelphia Eagles Dion Jordan OLB/DE  
Analysis: Super-Freak, Super-Freak.


Detroit Lions Eric Fisher LT  
Analysis: Team-need meet Value-pick, Value-pick meet Team-need.


Cleveland Browns Barkevious Mingo OLB  
Analysis: Disruptive edge rusher = defensive coordinators dream


Arizona Cardinals Sharrif Floyd DT  
Analysis: Dynamic interior defender.  Could go first overall to KC; this is about his floor.


Buffalo Bills Ryan Nassib QB  
Analysis: The Bills have a terrible poker face and QB’s ALWAYS go way too high.  See: Jake Locker, Mark Sanchez, Christian Ponder, Ryan Tannehill.


NY Jets Ezekiel Ansah DE  
Analysis:  Rex Ryan will probably break the table to see this pick through.


Tennessee Titans Sheldon Richardson DT  
Analysis:  Value for sure.  A great addition to their defense.


San Diego Chargers Lane Johnson LT  
Analysis:  SD needs about 5 offensive linemen.  They get an ultra athletic one in Johnson here.


Miami Dolphins Bjoern Werner DE  
Analysis:  Relentless motor to play opposite Cameron Wake.  Winning the AFC East boils down to one thing: pressuring Brady.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Xavier Rhodes CB  
Analysis:  NEED & VALUE!  It’s already a successful draft for the Bucs.


Carolina Panthers Star Lotulelei DT  
Analysis:  Slips a bit due to the heart concerns.  Carolina willing to gamble on his upside as they got run all over last year.


New Orleans Saints Jarvis Jones OLB  
Analysis: Rob Ryan will probably break the table to see this pick through.  The Ryan boys enjoy breaking tables apparently.


St. Louis Rams Cordarrelle Patterson WR  
Analysis:  Hard to see a player of Pattersons caliber getting past Buffalo, Miami and Carolina.  Quick, name the WR’s the Rams have under contract…..


Pittsburgh Steelers Chance Warmack OG  
Analysis:  Is there a better player/team fit than Chance to the Steelers?


Dallas Cowboys Kenny Vaccaro S  
Analysis:  Jerrah loves making the splash pick.  That’s why he’ll probably move into the top-12 to pick Vaccaro.


NY Giants Desmond Trufant CB  
Analysis:  Patiently wait their turn and make a solid selection.  Just another day at the office.


Chicago Bears Damontre Moore DE  
Analysis:  Lands in the perfect situation to fine tune his game.


Cincinnati Bengals Alec Ogletree OLB  
Analysis:  Off-the-field trouble?!  Welcome to Cincinnati!


St. Louis Rams Matt Elam S  
Analysis:  As if the NFC West needed another big-hitter!


Minnesota Vikings Tavon Austin WR  
Analysis:  Well, if anyone has a chance to fill Percy Harvin’s shoes it’s the dynamic Austin.


Indianapolis Colts Jonathan Cooper OG  
Analysis:  Priority No. 1 – Protect Andrew Luck.  Priority No. 2 – See Priority No. 1.


Minnesota Vikings Jesse Williams DT  
Analysis:  The youth movement continues.


Green Bay Packers Jonathan Cyprien S  
Analysis:  Quietly, Green Bay has a lot of holes in their defense.  Need to address the secondary in this draft.


Houston Texans Cornellius Carradine DE  
Analysis:  High risk, high reward!  Could be the best pass-rusher of this class.  (Could)


Denver Broncos Eddie Lacy RB  
Analysis:  Seems like a good fit.


New England Patriots DeAndre Hopkins WR  
Analysis:  I’m much more comfortable mocking “trades down” to NE than I am with actually picking a player.  Hopkins makes a ton of sense though.


Atlanta Falcons Arthur Brown OLB  
Analysis:  We all know what the offense is capable of.  Now they need to add speed and play-making ability to the defense.


Baltimore Ravens Kevin Minter ILB  
Analysis:  Not exactly Ray Lewis (who is?!), but Minter should do fine in that defense.


San Francisco 49ers Kawann Short DT  
Analysis:  SF will be looking to add defensive linemen and wide receivers (and in that order).

Tuesday Teabag, March 5, 2013 – Franchise Tag Edition!

Yesterday was the deadline for NFL teams to utilize the Franchise Tag.  The Franchise Tag basically allows teams to retain the exclusive rights to one (1) unrestricted free agent (UFA) every off-season;  in return for losing the ability to become a free agent, the player will receive the average of the top five (5) salaries for their position.  You can bang it here for more information regarding the nuances of the tag designations.

The important thing to remember is that the Franchise Tag has been collectively bargained as part of the labor agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA.  It gives teams the ability to retain young, up-and-coming talent or fan-favorite veterans.  From the union’s point of view, it compensates tagged players with the top earners at a given postion, while allowing a majority of UFA’s the ability to hit the open market.  Further, a Franchise Contract, albeit for one-year, is fully guaranteed!

However, if you were to believe the players and media, the Franchise Tag is an evil instrument that the good ‘ol boy owners/GMs use to repress the players.  Every offseason, a majority of “tagged” players take to the media/interviews/twitter to lament the franchise tag.  For instances, when The Machine took a break today from image searching Kate Upton, we stumbled upon an article by Alex Marvez on Fox Sports website titled: Let’s Meet the NFL’s Unlucky Eight.  Marvez takes up the players (read: agents) argument that the eight (8) tagged players “aren’t getting the financial security that comes with long-term contracts”, and are therefore “unlucky”.  Huh.  Isn’t Top-Five NFL money financial security in and of its own right?!  In a league without guaranteed contracts, isn’t signing the dotted line knowing that you’re getting every single penny worth something?!

Here are the “Unlucky Eight” with their projected 2013 salary, in millions of dollars (2012 salary in parenthesis):

  1. Randy Starks, DT $8.45 ($5.0)… 69% raise
  2. Jarius Bryd, S $6.92 ($1.07)… 547% raise
  3. Henry Melton, DT $8.45 ($0.69)…1,125% raise
  4. Pat McAfee, P $2.98 ($1.32)… 126% raise
  5. Ryan Clady, OL $9.83 ($5.83)… 69% raise
  6. Anthony Spencer, LB $10.6* ($8.86)… *20% automatic raise from second consecutive tag.
  7. Michael Johnson, DE $11.2 ($1.62)…617% raise
  8. Branden Albert, OL $9.83 ($4.19)…  135% raise

That is a nice group of players, no doubt.  It is easy to see why teams choose to lock these guys up for at least another year in hopes of working out a long-term deal.  However, outside of Jarius Bryd, you could make a strong argument that none of these guys are Top-5 at their respective position.  Henry Melton is a good young player that really came on for the Bears defense last year.  He is a reliable starter for sure, with potential to turn into a star.  That said, he only had 6 sacks last year and has never had more than 7 in a year (2011).  Not exactly the type of player you “game plan” for.  Yet, he’ll be making $8.45 million (fully guaranteed) this year.  That’s more money than his entire rookie contract paid him.  Seems like “fair” and “financially securing” type of money for one years work.  Further, if Micheal Johnson tears a peck five games into the 2013 season, while registering a handful of sacks and playing up to his typical level of play do you mean to tell us an NFL franchise isn’t going to throw a ton of money his way as a 2014 free agent?!  How did that (exact scenario) work out for Mario Williams last year (sidenote: Micheal Johnson is nowhere near the player Williams is, yet.  But the point is still valid)?  Teams (the smart ones anyways) sign players for their remaining production/potential, not for what they’ve previously accomplished.

Listen, The Machine is all about athlete’s cashing in and getting as much money as they can.  Their careers are ridiculously short, we get it.  But no matter how you slice it, the Franchise Tag isn’t a bad deal.  In every case it represents a (significant) pay raise and establishes a players  “floor value” for future negotiations;  because any good agent is going to use the “franchise type player” line when they get a chance.  Oh, which reminds us of this tiny little did you know: agents of players that receive the franchise tag are not allowed the full 3% commission on the contract.  They are only allowed to charge 2%, and in a second consecutive tag situation (like Anthony Spencer above) the agent is only allowed 1.5%.  Which begs the question, is the root of the hatred for the tag bore at the sports agent level and publicly reflected through the players?  Regardless, the franchise tag should be embraced by the players as a means of getting paid like one of the top players in the league!  Until that day, we offer a nice warm Tuesday Teabag to all of you Franchise Tag haters!  Enjoy!