Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Dave's LOCKS of the Week: December 26th

I grant you that I'm posting this on Christmas Day but we're going to assign this week's entry, and our final entry of the season, to December 26th.   For the BIG FINISH on

Dave's (blam!)
LOCKS (conk)
of the Week (beep)

Final entry of the season.  Currently we're just a shade over .500 at 32-30-2.   Every year we've done LOTW, we've been well under .500 for the season.   This is a chance at *history.*   In our six years doing the blog, we've never been more excited than now.

An abysmal week last week, couldn't ask for less... 0-3.  Today, we rebound with two Bowl picks which we already made a few days ago plus one other from this week's NFL schedule.  So aw-aaaaaaay we go.

We'll start with our NFL pick... December 29th.  Last day of the NFL regular season, and in this pivotal week with many playoff matchups to be decided we go TO... Jags/Colts!!   The Colts have a legitimate opportunity to get as high as a 2 seed in the NFL Playoffs, which means a coveted bye week.    I know it might have been more sensible to go after one of the bigger matchups but you know what?  I think you're going to get a classic overreaction to the Colts dominant performance in Kansas City.  Let's be honest here... the Colts haven't been playing good football lately and as far as the reason for destroying KC last week?  I couldn't tell you, but it does seem clear that the offensive line is picking up the pace for Indy QB Andrew Luck.   You know who else is playing better lately?  The Jaguars.  In the last month-plus, they've covered in 4 of their last 5 games, and they've won three of those four outright. Adding to this, the Jaguars play much better on the road, indicated by their 3-4 road record.    The way the Colts won seemed like a sheer fluke... especially when considering that Jamaal Charles had a great game for Kansas City.   Now, suddenly, after struggling most of the second half this year, the Colts are 11 point favorites?   It doesn't make sense.   We're going with the Jags to keep this interesting.  I like Indy to win it, but Jacksonville will be within striking range most of the day.  Jaguars +11 at Indy.

In this game, I think the key is to see what Jacksonville can bring w/ the underneath routes... Maurice Jones-Drew, Mike Brown, and Marcedes Lewis will be the key players in this game.  MJD as a passing option is usually the best bet for Chat Henne.   Let's see how it happens!

Now to the two College Bowl Picks...

We made these picks quite a while ago, but since the games are finally coming up next week, the time has come to reveal them.  First we stop deep in the heart of Texas... it's the Alamo Bowl between the Texas Longhorns and the Oregon Ducks.

The Ducks must feel like jilted lovers, coming up short in a long season AND despite a good finish, getting snubbed a BCS bid in the process.  What would the Ducks really have for motivation at this point?   Their spread offense, with Marcus Mariotta and company, could potentially be playing out the string in a bowl they might feel is beneath them.  In the meanwhile, after a very slow, disastrous start for Texas, the Longhorns, coming off the news that Mack Brown will coach his last game here in the Alamo, then retire, must be ready to send off Brown on a high note.

Texas brings some talent defensive players, albeit not necessarily a great defense in total.  I do think they have talent of their own and coupled with the virtual home field advantage in their home state of Texas, the Longhorns appear to be ready to go!   Now, with all this said, Mack Brown has let us down before, but in all honesty we're getting great value with Texas as a 14.5 point UNDERDOG.    We're going to hook 'em horns and select Texas +14.5 vs Oregon in the Alamo Bowl.

Lastly, we'll go to the grandaddy of the grandaddy of them all: the final BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl.   This year, the matchup features Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles vs Tre Mason, Nick Marshall, and the Auburn Tigers.   I know that Auburn's got the better coach w/ Gus Malzahn.  I also know that Auburn has been more battle tested, but you know what?   Their defense really isn't that good.   Often I've found the best teams in College Football, ULTIMATELY, happen to have the best defenses and it really doesn't get much better than Florida State.  So many NFL Ready talents on one team, it's hard to imagine a triple-option, thrilled to be there team like Auburn who's already been through so many emotions, to put up a grand fight against a more athletic and quicker Florida State team.

The two teams will start off slowly, similar to what FSU did against Duke in the ACC Championship game, but the better quarterback and defense are clearly with the 'Noles.  I *love* Jameis Winston... even with all the swirling adversity around him he played some great football, rifling some impressive passes downfield and putting away all of their opponents, even ranked opponents like Clemson and Miami.  Consider this... Clemson doesn't do too well against the best of the best, but they've literally beaten everyone else.  Using that metric, I think FSU has something special.  Perhaps a tougher schedule would have been better for the Noles, and perhaps there's the chance of being blindsided by Auburn, but the paper advantages are overwhelming.   To put it simply:  Florida State has WAY MORE NFL Caliber talent.  That's going to win it, and I think they'll win it by considerably more than the initial 7.5 point spread, but we jumped on that quickly, sensing the line would go up.  Florida State -7.5 vs Auburn in the BCS Championship Game.

That's our final set of picks for LOCKS of the Week.   It's been a pleasure offering your our favorites football picks of the season and we hope to finish strongly.  We'll find out if our season finishes over .500 come January 6th.  Thanks again for being such a loyal audience!

Now all we have to do to complete our first ever winning season is get *one* of these picks correct.  Here we go!  To recap: Jaguars +11 at Indy, Texas +14.5 vs Oregon, FSU -7.5 vs Auburn.

Merry Christmas Everybody!

For those who celebrate it, Merry Christmas to you!   We really appreciate your readership of the blog, and we hope to provide more silly stories, LOCKS of the Week, and other good stuff to you for next year in 2014.  May it be a joyous holiday for you and yours.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

LOCKS Season Total: 32-30-2

I took it on the chin this week.

Saints +3.5 -- NOPE.
Dolphins -2.3 -- NOPE.
Seahawks -10.5 -- NOPE.

Nothing makes you feel more like an idiot with gambling than an 0-3 week.  I haven't had a week like this all year, but I feel so deflated I don't even want to make any more picks.  HOWEVER, we have one more week remaining on LOCKS of the week, and, as it turns out, two selections that already were made weeks in advance which we will use for our Final Edition of 2013 LOCKS.  The two games in question are bowl games, and we'll select one final showdown take-it-to-the-bank NFL pick for the regular season.  Two games over .500...   We will need to get just ONE of three picks right in order to finish the season above .500 for the first time in the history of LOCKS of the Week.  It's right in front of us.

We got this!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dave's LOCKS of the Week: December 19th

Back at it for a Christmas Edition of

Dave's (ring!)
LOCKS (ding!)
of the Week (donnng)

We were trying to figure out our LOCKS all week long.   As we enter Christmastime, it didn't seem like Vegas wanted to give an inch.  What Scrooges are they?  Fortunately it loosened up and some point spreads moved towards the end of the week.  Now we can fire with three sure NFL picks.

Here we go!  We start with Saints/Panthers.  I've got Saints +3.5.  We got a HUGE break for gamblers seeing the line go up an extra half point.   HUGE BREAK.  I was going to go w/ New Orleans anyway, but now you have a good chance to see them lose by a field goal and still pay out the ones taking points.  Saints +3.5 at Carolina.

Miami -3 at Buffalo.  Maybe the Bills do have a good defense, but my goodness, do those dopes suck at closing out a game or what?   Granted, they tend to play well at home, but I should mention that Stevie Johnson will not play this week due to a death in the family.  I worry a bit about the Dolphins in a late season situation because I just get the feeling that when you expect them to win a game they *don't*, but hopefully they get it done defensively.  The Dolphins are, if I remember it correctly, 5 for their last 5 against the spread.  However, all five of those games were as an underdog.  This time they're a favorite.   Generally speaking they don't deliver as much as a favorite.  Their last game as a favorite was the game at TB but TO BE FAIR, they only lost by two points and that was at the peak of all the drama with Richie Incognito.  I like EJ Manuel and the Bills, I like what Mario Williams and co. bring defensively, but I simply like the way the Dolphins are going right now.   It's tremendous value for a Vegas favorite, and we're staying with consistency, Tannehill, and the Dolphins.   Dolphins -3 at Buffalo.

Lastly I have Seahawks -10.5 vs Arizona.  I want to use all the cliches about it being a divisional game, about Arizona being a hungry team, and how the Seahawks have all but locked up home field so they won't put their best effort, but guys guys guys… don't overthink this one.  The Cardinals just aren't as good on the road except in games against extremely lousy teams.  Furthermore, the Seahawks won by 12 *in* Arizona.  To have the same matchup at home implies a win by at least that many points.  Remember, Vegas *wants* you to bet on the Cardinals… it's an Ackbar Special!  Take the Hawks -10.5 at home.

Merry Christmas to you all and to all a good week!  To recap, we selected Saints +3.5 at CAR, Dolphins -3 at BUF, and Seahawks -10.5 at home.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tyler's BOWL Investments: December 17th

Here they are!  Our final Investments feature of the regular year.   Here they are, Bowl Picks from our Investors.   We start with our leader in the contest, John in CT.

John in CT (14-12-2)

Oregon State -3 vs Boise St (Hawaii Bowl)
Texas +14 vs Oregon (Alamo Bowl)
UCLA -7 vs Va. Tech (Sun Bowl)
Clemson +2.5 vs Ohio State (Orange Bowl)

Andy in Seattle (10-9-1)

Oregon State -3 vs Boise State (Hawaii Bowl)
South Carolina even vs Wisconsin (Capital One Bowl)
North Texas -6.5 vs UNLV (Heart of Dallas Bowl)
Texas +14 vs Oregon (Alamo Bowl)

Ron in NJ (10-9-1)

Cincinnati +3 vs North Carolina (Belk Bowl)
UCLA -7 vs Va. Tech (Sun Bowl)
Texas A&M -11.5 vs Duke (Chick-Fil-A Bowl)
'Bama -16 vs Oklahoma (Sugar Bowl)

Say Hello to Ottis (10-10)

Bowling Green -5 vs Pitt (Little Caesars Bowl)
Kansas State -3.5 vs Michigan (Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl)
'Bama -16 vs Oklahoma (Sugar Bowl)
Michigan +4.5 vs Stanford (Rose Bowl)

Tyler in Moorpark (13-15)

Iowa +7.5 vs LSU (Outback Bowl)
Ohio State -2.5 vs Clemson (Orange Bowl)
Stanford -4.5 vs Michigan State (Rose Bowl)
Florida State -8.5 vs Auburn (National Championship Game)

Tyler also added one pro pick which will not be counted for the contest: 49ers -13 vs ATL in the final game ever at Candlestick Park.

One last shot for our investors to take the lead, it's now or never!  Good luck to all the investors!

Tyler's Investment Results: Ron 4-0, Ottis 3-1, John 2-2, Andy 1-3, Tyler 1-3, Dr. Tole 2-3

Busy week it was on "Investments," here are the results.

Ron has the best week between Investors.  With a whopping 4-0 week, he catapulted himself right back into the race!

Ron in NJ (4-0): Hits - Cards -3, Seahawks -7, Dolphins +2.5, Chiefs -4.  Misses - None.
Say Hello to Ottis (3-1): Hits - Chargers +10.5, Bears -1, Colts -6.  Misses - Eagles -5.
John in CT (2-2): Hits - Dolphins +2.5, Ravens +6.  Misses - Falcons -7, Jags +1.
Andy in Seattle (1-3): Hits - Chiefs -4.  Misses - Pats -2.5, Eagles -5, Panthers -11.
Tyler in Moorpark (1-3): Hits - Steelers +3.  Misses - Lions -6.5, Panthers -11, Bucs +5.5.

and Dr. Craig Tole's Picks which won't count for the season-long contest went 2-3.   He hit with Dolphins +2.5 and Bills -1.  He missed with the Army/Navy over 51, Giants +7, and Texans +6.

I should add that the Panthers -11 pick was REALLY close to hitting, which would have given a large percentage of the group a non-losing week.  It was a late field touchdown by the Jets which took away this otherwise solid investment.

Now to our last week of "Investments": the Bowl Game edition!  That's coming up later this week.

Edit:  Forgot to post the updated standings!  Here you go...

John: 14-12-2
Andy: 10-9-1
Ron: 10-9-1
Ottis: 10-10
Tyler: 13-15

The best thing about these standings is that it's close enough where, I believe, any one person could take the lead in our last week of investments.  Good luck to all!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: December 16th

Well here it is!  Only a few more days until winter break for those of us at the workplace!!

I'm happy fellas... do the dance!  This weekend I went on a pub crawl down Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica.  It didn't go as well as we hoped.  All the bars were overcrowded and most of them had long lines to get in.  The ones we got into were still overrun with patrons.   We actually spent a good amount of time at "Earth Wind and Flour," a pizza restaurant.  It was listed as one of the spots on the pub crawl, and it had a bar, but it was definitely not anyone's first choice, but we made the most of it.  We seemed to get the most beverages there.  The lady with the glasses was kind enough to get us all our snacks and drinks in quick order.

They would always tell you about beer farts, but even with that in mind I was mesmerized how gassy I was the next morning.  I felt like a charged up hot air balloon most of the day.   Farts everywhere... thankfully for Coach he was out of town for the midday.  I took care of most of the release in the bathroom.

The next night, our swim club had a holiday party at the Pauley Pavilion club underneath the floor at the arena.   It's a VIP lounge but we were all there kibitzing for the end of year festivities.   Really good time.   A neat little quick about the place, there's a replica scoreboard just above the bar at the Pavilion club and it is accurate to the letter with the scoreboard up above center court above it.  It showed the final score of last night's UCLA game:  UCLA 95, Prarie View A&M 71.  It was really good to chat w/ everyone once again, although I definitely missed talking to some familiar faces.  There were a whole lot of people there and a limited amount of time so I realized I was going to miss saying hi to everybody.

It was also last night that I could sense the people who enjoyed my company and the ones who, hahahahaah, let's say "tolerated it."  Now the former greatly outweighs the latter, and thank goodness for that.  But I think we've all run into those people.  Guys and girls who you say hello to and they say hello back and just move somewhere else.  Usually at that point you're like "I can take a hint" and you don't bother the rest of the way.  I was actually surprised how many people overall were engaged in a conversation with me.  I never realized I captured peoples interest like that.

In fact, I was at a table with some of my buddies and I went into the story of how my friend went on "Jeopardy!" and won on the show, and everybody was on the edge of my seat.  When I saw that I was like "WHOAH BABY" on the inside, but that moment was very cool.  It's exceedingly rare to weave a tale and have everyone hang on your every word and I just wanted to make sure I delivered a good finish!  I thought the conversation went well... those were good times.

Speaking of "kibitzing" I went to Canter's Deli in Hollywood on Friday night, after an eventful drive there, and I finally went to the place they called the "Kibitz Room."  I thought it was some incredible show room like they'd have in Vegas or something, but all it really was was a dive bar that was housed within the dining room of the existing Canter's Deli.  It wasn't terribly big.... think of it like your typical, dimly lit, depressing dive bar built into an old deli.  It had a tiny stage within there too... you go into the Kibitz room and you get taken back to every small town in America, including that one dive bar we went to in Banning a while ago.

Guns 'n Roses got their start there at the Kibitz room... who would have guessed they'd go from that to international fame and fortune?   Everybody's gotta start somewhere.   Presumably other bands play at the Kibitz room today, but nobody terribly famous, and for good reason.  It's a small place, so you really only would ever get some lower end acts in there.   I suppose GNR was the rare fluke gem that hit the rough?

I was about to check out, pay the bill, and all, and saw a pile of these books about Guns 'n Roses at the Kibitz Room.. boy somebody's really milking that detail isn't he?  The real star of the show, in my opinion, was the corned beef sandwich.  It was such an amazing sandwich!  Once again, the meat just came apart and melted with juice.   Worthy every penny.

Christmas shopping is done, do the dance again!!   With that now completed, I can focus on prepping for trips and other goodies, plus finishing out my work for the year at my day job.  It's a great time ahead, time to have some fun!

Catch you all on Tuesday.

LOCKS Season Total: 32-27-2

Not much to report this week... VERY tough week to select games.. I only had two LOCKS of the Week, and we went 1-1.   With all the wildness *today,* I'll take it!  I didn't seem like any lead or any team was safe today.  The Bengals missed a golden opportunity.  The Cowboys missed a golden opportunity.  The Patriots missed a golden opportunity.

Overall, we're now 32-27-2 with two weeks remaining.   Here's what we hit and missed on.

The hit was on Seahawks -7... now that seemed like one we felt pretty comfortable with all week.   The Giants really had no answers and the Seahawk defense was extremely good this week.  Eli Manning had numerous interceptions.   It felt like a good play from beginning to end.

The miss was Broncos -10.5.   The Chargers staged a very surprising road win at Denver, and I think I underestimated the value of the divisional game.  The Chargers certainly have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball.   I didn't regret taking Broncos -10.5, but it didn't work out so well this time.

That's all for now.  More LOCKS coming up this week!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tyler's Investments: December 12th

Here they are!  This week's edition of "Tyler's Investments."  First, the challenger picks.

Andy in Seattle

Patriots -1 (-2.5) at MIA
Eagles -5 at MIN
Panthers -11 vs NYJ
Chiefs -4 at OAK

John in CT

Falcons -7 vs WSH
Jags +1 vs BUF
Dolphins +1 (+2.5) vs NE
Ravens +6 vs DET

Say Hello to Ottis

Chargers +10.5 at DEN
Bears -1 at CLE
Colts -6 vs HOU
Eagles -6 (-5) at MIN

Ron in NJ

Cardinals -3 at TEN
Seahawks -7 at NYG
Dolphins +2.5 vs NE
Chiefs -5.5 (-4) at OAK

Now to the namesake of the "Investments."

Tyler in Moorpark

Lions -6.5 vs BAL
Steelers +3 vs CIN
Panthers -11 vs NYJ
Bucs +5.5 vs SF

This week, Tyler brought in a guest picker, Dr. Craig Tole.  His picks will not be put into the season standings for the contest, but he *will* have a chance to return to the podcast IF he goes above .500 with these picks:

*Guest Picks* from Dr. Craig Tole

Army/Navy over 51 points.

Texans +6 at IND
Bills -2 (-1) at JAX
Giants +7 vs SEA
Dolphins +2.5 vs NE

Good luck to all investors and may the best picks win!

Dave's LOCKS of the Week: December 12th

An abbreviated

Dave's (jingle)
LOCKS (ho ho ho)
of the Week (ding!)

Unfortunately, there are some weeks where I just don't feel that confident about many games.   As a result, we can only select two games for LOCKS this weeks.  One of them is tonight.  In exchange for this lack of material, I'd also like to play a game we call "CONTRARIAN SUNDAY" where we take NFL teams getting odds for their respective Money Lines.   In other words, we'll select underdog teams to win straight up.  First, the official LOCKS of the week.

We'll start tonight in Denver.  I love the Broncos giving 10.5.  That seems like a lot against a divisional opponent, but the Broncos are at home, Peyton Manning is still throwing the ball extremely will despite the colder temperatures, and while the Chargers came off an huge blowout victory against the Giants, I think they'd be equally as vulnerable at Mile High.  It's really tough for anyone to win in Denver, and this year, no one has beaten the Broncos at home.  Adding to that, the Broncos have covered every home game except for one:  the outrageous 27 point spread they gave to the Jaguars.   We'll play the percentages and lay the 10.5.  Broncos -10.5 at home.

Lastly, our LOCKS go to the Meadowlands where the upcoming home of Super Bowl XLVIII features a team that won't be anywhere *near* the Super Bowl against a team that is "most likely to make the Super Bowl."  That would be the Giants at home against the Seahawks.   I don't have much to say except "don't overthink it."   I grant you the Seahawks usually don't score as much on the road, but Seahawks giving a touchdown, it seems like an easy play.   Seahawks -7 at NYG.

And that concludes our LOCKS.  To recap, we have the Broncos -10.5 at home and Seahawks -7 at NYG.


Let's get into this edition of CONTRARIAN SUNDAY.   I figure we could do this like the game of "Craps" in Las Vegas and go all out.  I have also played the Chargers money line at +420 (hohohohohhhohohohhhhhhh yeahhh mannn far ouuuuut).  That's actually a hedge on the aforementioned Broncos pick but we'll have some fun with it.

Here are our other Money Line underdog selections for this very hard to predict CONTRARIAN SUNDAY:

Bucs +220
Vikings +200
Redskins +265
Giants +260
Texans +210
Jets +480
Raiders +200
Titans +125
Rams +225
Steelers +120
Ravens +210

To break even on Contrarian Sunday, assuming a 100 dollar bet on each of these teams, you would need to see a return of at least 1200.   Bear in mind that the odds listed will return to you in *addition* to your 100 dollars per, so if Bucs +220 hits, for instance, you'd get back 320 bones.

More than usual, there are a lot of teams with +200 and greater odds.  It'd be possible to hit on less than half of these selections to break even.  We'll determine how it goes and report the results next week.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: December 11th

I promised it and here it is!  Back to back blog entries.

Now there are some people who don't think I'm funny.   I think that's all right with me.  I know that there are lots of different styles of humor out there, and speaking of "out there", I recognize that my style of writing isn't for everybody.  I respect anyone's opinion about my work, whether it's negative or positive.

I went to the grocery store yesterday and found these Nathan's Franks which were sized "longer than the bun."  Did you guys know about this??  Extra long hot dogs?  I went to look at the price and a pack of 8 was on special for just $1.50.  Unbelievable!!  Oh I went after 'em.  Then I went after the matching buns.

So I took all this home, along with some grapes and a roll of paper towels.   I had a decision to make.. do I eat some hot dogs now or do I make some soup from the cans in my cupboard?   It's a tough call because I had a Six Dollar Thickburger with Bacon from Carl's for lunch.   I wasn't *that* hungry.    Tough tough call... and THEN I opened the fridge and noticed a loaf of bread I bought about two weeks ago was still in there.  I tasted it and it was still good.   So I punted on BOTH options and made a peanut butter sandwich.  That was a great choice.. it opened up room for snacks at the end, and I got to eat some of the red grapes I bought that night.  Those grapes were amazing!!   Peanut Butter Sandwich, Grapes, and some red and green peanut M&M's.

You'll have some nights, like last night, where you feel like busting it out from home and driving to a 24 hour deli for some corned beef.   I thought about it last night... the week before I sampled a slice of corned beef from Canter's Deli in Hollywood and I completely forgot how *good* it was.  It was really really GOOD.   It would have been really intrepid and quite a shock to the system to make a Canter's run on a late Tuesday night.

More importantly, I was thinking of the lady from the lounge back at my day job.    I hadn't seen her in weeks, and I don't know, I wanted to just ask if she wanted to do something.  Last time I spoke with her we were talking about places she hasn't tried yet as a newcomer to LA.   You can bet I'd be up to offer a tour.  I spoke of Pasadena's good praises but I should have emphasized the Norton Simon Museum... terrific museum.. lots of history behind it.  I'd like to check it out!  Maybe she would too?

One day the jokers who run TV Networks will bring back "Supermarket Sweep," and it will be glorious!

Know one thing to watch out for when writing daily blog entries?  Redundancy.

Kings scored 6 goals... and won an NHL game.  You score 6 goals in the NHL, you're supposed to win the game.  And they did!!  YEAH BUDDY.

Did you know that when you go to Popeyes to order chicken that the chicken automatically comes with a biscuit?   I remember this fact but somehow forgot it the last time I was there.  I usually go about 2-3 years between visits to Popeyes HAHA.   Most of the time it's the same seedy location I grew up on in Oxnard... North Oxnard, near my parents' house.  At any rate, I was there on Saturday... nice day, slight improvements to the building, but still, overall, a run-down facility.  The sound system wasnt working at ALL.. it could only deliver the music in incomprehensible fragments.   The people at Popeyes were very nice though.  The only thing was, they were out of chicken, so they asked me to wait 8 minutes for it.

All right, so the place is called Popeyes and the only thing they do is *chicken.*  How do they not have enough chicken available at like 12:20 in the afternoon?   It just doesn't make sense!   The place barely opened at 11, and they were out of chicken in an hour?!  I laughed in my head about that one, but as I had no impending plans I was comfortable with the wait.  When I got the chicken, whoo, it was hot.  Very good though!   So, to round out the story, I asked for a biscuit as well but the guy explained that if I ordered a biscuit I'll actually get two biscuits since a piece of chicken comes with a biscuit already.   Good stuff indeed!  I scaled back the extra biscuit and, officially, ordered just one fried chicken breast which comes with the biscuit.  ...and it was good my friends!

That's all from here.  Enjoy your Wednesday everyone!

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: December 10th

I gotta be honest, there hasn't been much to write about lately.

It's not all bad, but I suppose it reduced the entertainment value of this blog space.   Our division will have a "company party" this week, and there's also one for the Masters Swim Club on Sunday.   It's too bad they did it on Sunday.  There is *nothing* going on in sports on Saturday, but it still should be fun on Sunday.

This is one of the coldest weeks I've experienced in Los Angeles.   I've enjoyed it!  I know, I'm a pansy etc. etc., but for those of us out West it's pretty cold weather, especially compared to what we're used to.  I know it will warm up about 12 degrees by Friday, but this morning was even *colder* than the day before.   Can you believe that?

I really enjoy swimming outside on a very cold morning.   I think it's the difference of it, the challenge of swimming against a near-freezing climate.  The pool is heated, so the actual swim is just fine... it's the before and after that's a challenge.  And yet, I'm such a goober I couldn't get up early enough on either of these two mornings to make it out there.  Lame.  I succeeded on Thursday morning, however, last week.

Some random thoughts...

Oreos...  are they desserts or snacks?  I think the beauty of Oreos is that they can be either one.   Oreos would be the swingman of foods.

Speaking of swingmen, Wes Johnson.  For the Lakers, off the bench (sometimes he starts).  WES BRINGING THE GOODS.   Hops, quicks... he's fun to watch.

You ever see the lady who stands on a corner w/ a sign "Free Hugs?"   I'd always wondered what would happen if someone went up there and wrote "Free Dates" or "Free Sex?"  Who would be so bold as to do this?  Oh ho!

I remember the joke that Mitch Hedberg said about writing jokes, and he said "if I was too lazy to get the pen I'd have to convince myself that my joke was not funny."  HAHA.   I was thinking of this too: the best jokes come naturally... the more thinking you have to put INTO a joke the less funny it is.

I usually switch the station when Herd does his "two for the road" closing spot.  That's funny isn't it?  It would seem like two inane news stories (akin to Mike Golic's "News of the Weird") would be right up my alley.  Yet, I find it kinda droll and unmemorable.  It's almost ironic that I'd feel this way in light of what I write myself.  I'm not sure why I don't give "Two for the Road" more of a chance.

I think that's all for today.  My apologies for not having more content, but hopefully more to come tomorrow.  Take care, all.

Monday, December 9, 2013

LOCKS Season Total: 31-26-2

It was an interesting week in LOCKS.  Once again, the NFL picks outperformed the college picks, but in a twist, I was close to not using *any* NFL games in my LOCKS of the Week.  It's a good thing I changed my mind, because College picks only went 1-2.  Here are the hits and misses for the weekend of 12/7:

Hits: Auburn -2.5, Jaguars +3.5, Seahawks +2

Misses: Ohio State -5.5, Arizona State -3.5, Panthers +3.5

The latter two misses really disappointed me.  If anything, it felt like neither team really showed up.   How'd the Panthers wind up being so bad at New Orleans?   I didn't necessarily think they'd win outright, but to get blown out so quickly was a surprise, but maybe it shouldn't have been.  ASU was a complete joke.   Finally people start to buy into them (literally) and this is their reward?

ASU was, in my book, the biggest whiff.   I was fully blindsided by their lack of performance, in a HOME game no less!  Ohio State, I wouldn't take back.  If it became an intentional mush that worked out, I'll take that, worth the investment, so to speak.

I find it peculiar that I struggled so much with College Games and did so well with NFL games this year, yet, I can't bring myself to pick more NFL games.   Fortunately, this week presents only NFL games to wager on so I *can't* pick a college game even if I wanted to (Army/Navy doesn't really apply).  It *would* be a tough week to pick NFL games, though, so we'll analyze the point spreads carefully.   Only about 3 weeks left in the regular season to round out a winning year on LOCKS for the first time ever.  I'm very excited at the prospects!!

More to come in next week's LOCKS of the Week.

Investment Results: Andy 4-0, Tyler 2-2, John 1-3, Ottis 1-3, Ron 1-3

This week was a tough one to pick!   Through the excitement, one challenger emerged, and it was Andy in Seattle.   We did not post his MSU pick correctly but he had Michigan State getting 5.5 the whole way.  The updated standings could be interesting; we'll check on those in a moment.  First, this week's results…

Andy in Seattle (4-0):  Hits - MSU +5.5, Saints -3, Chargers -3, Cardinals -6.5.  Misses - None.

Tyler in Moorpark (2-2): Hits - Saints -3.5, Falcons +[whateveritwas/lostbyjustone].  Misses - OSU -5.5, Redskins +3.5.

John (1-3): Hits - Bengals -6.5.   Misses - Ok. State -10, Ravens -7, Raiders +2.5.

Ottis (1-3): Hits - Louisville -3.5.  Misses - Steelers -3.5, Colts +6, Rams +6.

Ron (1-3): Hits - Chargers -3.  Misses - NIU -4.5, Raiders +2.5, Ravens -7.

Now to the updated standings, this is going to get interesting…

Investment Standings

Andy: 9-6-1
John: 12-10-2
Tyler: 12-12
Ottis: 7-9
Ron: 6-9-1

It's a tight race.   We could be in for an exciting finish here on Tyler's Investments.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: December 6th

I've been fighting it recently...  I got up at 5am the day before and went for the 5:45 am swim.  It was a great swim but it was really cold.   I am paying the price for it now as I write this.  I feel like only 1/3 of my brain cells are turned on and functional.  Rather than scrap the writing session, I thought "hey!  I wonder how whimsical I.3333222222222225555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333

Geez, look at that long keyboard typo... its so beautiful I think I'll leave it.

There are those moments where you're so tired you just don't want to think... but sometimes for me it gets so bad that my motor skills go to mush.  I attempted to unplug my laptop from the surge suppressor last night and I struggled to grab the plug and remove it.  Oi.

Yesterday was a pretty bad loss of concentration.  One of our very nice professors went up the stairs as I was going down the stairs and said hi... and I said hi back and we talked about the cold but I forgot to look *back* at her as I was going down the stairs... it was as if i just stared off into space but kept talking to her like she was next to me.   What a mess.  She just said goodbye at the end and I said goodbye back.  I feel really bad for doing that.  I would like to send an email with an apology.

One of my friends, I won't say who but the name ends in an "oach" was more than a little intrigued by the "Sound of Music" special on NBC.  Apparently it aired live on the East Coast?  That wasn't the case here out west... but on *twitter* the special got ripped so badly that we may never see it hit the air again.  Or DVD even... it will become as obscure as the Star Wars Holiday special.  But get this!   Now we have youtube!  Carrie Underwood's project will not escape our eyeballs ahahahahhahahahahahahahah..

I had a podcast last night, and my mind wasn't all there for that either.  A terrible job out of me not remembering that Oklahoma State had the lead and the tiebreaker in the Big 12 Standings.   I kept thinking Oklahoma State had two losses this year but they really didn't!  Only one.  

You know that people in the area call the Oklahoma State Cowboys the "pokes?"   My friend, from Missouri, who by the way is VERY excited about his Tigers making the SEC Championship game, told me about Ok. State when they played Baylor.  He said "whatcha think about the Pokes?"   Then I saw the game on TV and other people called them the "Pokes."  It's a dopey name that brings a smile to my face.  Go Pokes!

Man.. the Fairfax district kills it with bakeries.  It's a divey sort of street, but the bakeries are stellar.  There's a good bakery every two doors along Fairfax Blvd.   Friends and I went out there for a work lunch... but we got there a good half hour early!   One of my buddies and I went to one of the bakeries to kill time.  We got some cookies from there and these little potato things.  Those potato things killed it!   They were great!!

Now why were we out there in the first place?  To check out a restaurant called "The Golden State."  It's bohemian, a cozy place to get burgers.   Their burger is called "the burger."   Pretty good, but I gotta admit, it didn't blow me away.  It had all the ingredients in place, and the quality was fresh... but sometimes you get the right ingredients but somehow don't turn it into a perfect hamburger.  It's a common problem with sports teams too... great players but not a great team.  Perhaps it wasnt the right "fit" of guys?  

I can't really say why the burger didn't jump out at me.    I was thinking of others that hit me instantly, burgers that rocked my emotions:  The Pie n' Burger, Father's Office, the Apple Pan, heck In-N-Out and Tommy's.  All of them had that "it" factor.   I think "The Golden State" was quite good... but it didn't have that "it".  I think I'm being unfair to this burger... but at any rate, I may need to give it another chance.

Now, if you recall, I'm still not sure if my brain was at full capacity even then.. sleep depravation is a bitch!  I think I need to give "The Golden State" another chance.

Before we went to "Golden State" I got two slices of hot corned beef at Canter's across the street.  OH BABY!!!!!!!  That corned beef melted right in my mouth, it was so good.  I shared some pieces of it with other friends of mine.  It was a hit. 

I nearly wrote this on twitter:  Sometimes you forget just how good Canter's Corned Beef is! 

Well, now I gotta go back and try IT again.. a corned beef sandwich.  Or forget the sandwich, just ask for a sandwich with no bread.. I can eat the corned beef on its own.. maybe ask for some of those potato pastry things to go with it.  Ever have potato pancakes?   I don't think I've tried that, but it must be a scene.

Know what?  Let's do the dance!  It's a Friday!   Have a great weekend all.  I'll catch you later.

Tyler's Investments: December 5th

Here they are!  Tyler's Investments for the week of December 5th.  Challenger picks first.

John in CT (11-7-2)

Ok. St. -10 vs OU

Ravens -7 vs MIN
Bengals -6.5 vs IND
Raiders +2.5 vs NYJ

Say Hello to Ottis (6-6)

Louisville -3.5 vs Cincinnati (this was sent to me days before the game kicked off via private message,  we will honor the point spread as written).

Steelers -3.5 vs MIA
Colts +6 at CIN (normalized to +6.5)
Rams +6 at ARI (normalized to +6.5)

Andy in Seattle (5-6-1)

Mich. St. +5.5

Saints -3 vs CAR
Chargers -3 vs NYG
Cardinals -6.5 vs STL

Ron in NJ (5-6-1)

Northern Illinois -4.5 vs Bowling Green

Raiders +2.5 at NYJ
Ravens -7 vs MIN
Chargers -3 vs NYG

Now for the namesake of "Investments"

Tyler in Moorpark (10-10)

Ohio State -5.5

Saints -3.5
Redskins +3.5
Falcons +7.5

Good luck to all.  All of our Investors will have an opportunity to go or stay above .500 with this week of picks.

Dave's LOCKS of the Week: December 5th

Season's Greetings from

Dave's (ring)
LOCKS (ding)
of the Week (bling!)

This week, we're covering NCAA Conference Championship Week.   Three games from College, and three from the pro's.   I was so excited to jump on Conference Weekend that these college selections were made on MONDAY.  So here we go!

First, we go to Hotlanta, where despite the cold climates this time of year, we have a blazing hot game ready to go for the SEC Championship.  Can you believe that Auburn and Missouri represent this game?   We all had our visions of Alabamas and Carolinas dancing in our head, but no!   Instead two teams in the shadows emerge as possible *national championship* contenders.  What a place to be, the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.   What we're looking at is two pretty good defenses, and spread offenses on both sides of the field.   Passing is not a strength for either team, but either Auburn or Georgia can get the job done.   It's nearly an impossible game to pick, but we want to go chalk and here's why.

I select Auburn to win the game and cover -2.5 because unlike Missouri, still new to the SEC and new to the SEC championship game, I think their coaching is a little suspect.  One of my friends, a Missouri Alum, has no confidence in coach Gary Pinkel's in-game strategy.  We'll heed the advice, and the letdown they had against South Carolina, and go with a more experienced program.   Auburn has had it's own lucky breaks and HOW.  Two games decided by final plays in miracle fashion.  One would think their luck runs out, but I don't see it that way.   For the program, who saw a BCS Championship in 2009, I think experience counts.  Technically this is Gus Malzahn's First year as head coach of Auburn, but he was *on* that Championship Auburn team as an Offensive Coordinator.   He'll take all of his fine athletes and enact a spread that should work toe to toe with an athletic series of Missouri linebackers and safeties.  Nick Marshall can make plays too, and despite the limited passing game, he makes passes in key moments.  QB James Franklin isn't too bad either for Mizzou, but nonetheless, I'm going with Auburn.   If there's one thing I can say about Auburn it's that their players are bigger and taller than what I perceive of Missouri's players.   and when you say "Go Tigers!"  you could be rooting for *either* team, but we will select the team in blue.  Auburn -2.5.

It took a while to explain Game #1 because the matchup is just that close.  It's also defenses that play similarly and styles of offense that are almost the same!  Now to a game that will need no explanation, the Big Ten Championship between Ohio State and Michigan State.   The MSU Spartans had a great year.  They really enjoyed a great year and locked down almost every team they played.  but you know what?  They're just not that good.  That team *still*, even after last year or the year before when they had Le'Veon Bell, has a brutal offense.  You'll see a game where they win 17-6 and that's considered "steamrolling the competition."   They can be easily exploited.  Ohio State, their defense isn't all that great, but they certainly have a way of spreading the ball.  Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller are playing at a very high level and quite honestly, how is Michigan State going to keep pace with Ohio State's scoring.   I don't fashion Michigan State as a team that can handle great team speed.   Nebraska, I don't know if they'd represent a speedy team, and the same applies to Northwestern.   One might think "Oh I have Michigan State taking *out* Ohio State," but I feel like that's overthinking it.  I like Ohio State to dominate in the Big Ten Championship.  Ohio State -6.

Game #3 is the Pac 12 Championship game and ohhhhh am I waiting for this one!  Everyone out there just loves Stanford don't they?   Check this out though.   Arizona State played UCLA and really dominated them physically.   Arizona State went out to Utah and beat them on the road -- Stanford didn't.  Arizona State destroyed SC.  Stanford didn't.   The only blemish with Arizona State is Stanford itself, but here's the kicker -- the game will be hosted at Tempe, AZ.    I'd give Arizona State more than a fair shot to win this game and win by numerous points.   ASU -3.5.

Now to the pros... this week's article is getting extremely long so we'll keep it simple.

First we start with the Jaguars at home.  They won three games this year, after a BRUTAL start.   Would you believe, all of those were on the road?   The Jags look pretty good.  Fill-in QB Chad Henne is getting his timing down and making some pretty sick passes to guys like Cecil Shorts and RB Maurice Jones-Drew.  I'm not sure what sparked the renaissance, but we'll go to the well again, giving the Jaguars a shot at an unprecedented THREE wins in a row!   Believe it!!  The Jags, who already defeated Houston two weeks ago at Reliant Stadium, will try it again in front of whatever home fans they have left.  I like their chances:  Jaguars +3.5.

Next, to the 'stick where the Niners close out their final month at Candlestick Park (barring playoff games at home).   This week, a familiar foe, the Seattle Seahawks.  It's hard to imagine a letdown by the Hawks after a big game on Monday Night BECAUSE this is a chance to really put away the division in SF.  The 49ers, let's face it, have looked shaky in recent weeks, and really haven't beaten a playoff caliber team this season.  There's a chance for things to change, but I'll go with the odds.  I probably SHOULD just play the Seahawks Money Line at +120, but in the spirit of consistency, I'm going w/ the line... Seahawks +2.5.   Who knows?  Maybe they'll win the game on a walk-off safety or something.

Finally, our long journey ends at the Superdome.  The New Orleans Saints host the Carolina Panthers.  The Saints are licking their wounds after a beat-down in Seattle just a few days earlier.   The Panthers are riding quite a streak with wins in their last 8 games.  It would seem that the streak ends HERE, on the road, in New Orleans, and with New Orleans livid after a woeful effort the week before, but no!!!!   What do almost all of New Orleans' losses have in common?  They were all to physical teams.  Even the Jets!  The JETS beat them in the Meadowlands some weeks ago.   Any team with a knack for running the ball and bringing pressure defensively is going to cause problems.   Would you believe, the Panthers are *defined* by their physicality and their defense?   It's true... their defense has been stupendous all year, and despite the statistical odds pointing to "no," it's time to say a resounding "yes" for Carolina.   New Orleans hasn't lost a home game since December 30 2012... against (wait for it) the Carolina Panthers.  This is their time.  We like the Panthers, provided Cam Newton doesn't make too many bad throws up the middle and provided the Panthers emphasize the run.  We believe DeAngelo Williams can be back for duty this week, adding to the contributions of Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert.  It doesn't seem sensible but we LOVE the Panthers to bring the pain.  Panthers +3.5.

Enjoy all the games as we enter "put up or shut up" time.  Here's the recap:   Auburn -2.5, Ohio State -6, ASU -3.5, Jags +3.5 at home, Seahawks +2.5 at SF, Panthers +3.5 at New Orleans.

Dad Does the Pick'em! Week 14

My Dad is also a fan of predicting NFL games.  Check out  his picks for this week.  All of these are "teams to win, straight up."

Jaguars at home (Texans)
Ravens at home (Vikings)
Bengals at home (Colts)
Packers at home (Falcons)
Patriots at home (Browns)
Raiders at Jets
Eagles at home (Lions)
Steelers at home (Dolphins)
Bucs at home (Bills)
Chiefs at Redskins
Broncos at home (Titans)
Cardinals at home (Rams)
Chargers at home (Giants)
Seahawks at 49ers
Panthers at Saints
Cowboys at Bears

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tyler's Investments: Tyler 2-2, Andy 2-2, John 1-2-1, Ron 1-2-1, Ottis 1-3

It was a tough week all around for Investments, as no investors finished better than 2-2.  Or, you could look at this positively and say that despite a really brutal wild series of games, most of our investors weathered the storm very well.   Most of the damage was done in College Football.  Hard to really fault anyone there -- wild upsets, wild outcomes, and a totally unpredictable Saturday in the NCAA.

Let's break down how they did:

Tyler (2-2):  Hits -- Broncos -4.5, Seahawks -4.5.   Misses -- Alabama -10.5, USC -3.5.
Andy (2-2): Hits -- ASU -12, Seahawks -4.5.  Misses -- Texas A&M +4.5, Cowboys -9.5.
John (1-2-1): Hits -- Seahawks -4.5.  Misses -- Rams +9.5, UNC -5.5.  Push -- Hawaii -7.
Ron (1-2-1): Hits -- UConn +3.  Misses -- Cowboys -9.5, Nebraska -3.  Push -- Cardinals +3
Ottis (1-3): Hits -- Steelers +3.  Misses -- Baylor -13.5, Clemson +4, Pats -9.

Now for the updated results...

Season Standings

John: 11-7-2
Tyler: 10-10
Ottis: 6-6
Andy: 5-6-1
Ron: 5-6-1

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: December 3rd

Today our friend Nick goes at it in "Jeopardy!".  Wishing him the best of luck.  This is just the taping date so the show won't go on TV for quite a while.

Not many thoughts to share today, but I wanted to bring the story of the peanut M&M's.   It was halftime of the Monday Night Football game last night, and I wanted to fill the "Santa" dish with green and red peanut M&M's.   I left the apartment to go to the grocery store and find some M&Ms, but the Holiday Themed Red and Green M&M's weren't at the store!   What is the holdup here, Mars?   Get out those red and green colored M&M packages... the time is upon us!   So, what I did was I got a pretty big package of regular M&M's and took it home.   I decided to put all the M&Ms into a tupperware container, then I got a teaspoon and scooped out each of the green and red M&M's from the tupperware and into the Santa dish.   I was just about done when I noticed an inordinate amount of blue and yellow M&M's were left over.  What subversive means to remind me of UCLA's football dominance!  Well played, candy factory.  I was excited to take a picture of the both containers of M&M's, then I reached into the tupperware with the spoon and tipped over the whole container by mitake!  M&M's spilled *all over* the coffee table and a couple hit the rug.  It was like a crowd of M&M's stormed the field after a big football win.  I had to scoop up the rest of the M&Ms and put them onto a plate.   Then, I was forcing myself to eat them all, not thinking that I could just take the plate of spilled candies and save them in the fridge.  OI.   Now I had roughly 6-8 oz of M&M's in my system and still a few left, so I took the plate and just put it in the fridge.   The Santa Dish with just the green and red M&M's stayed where it was and I carried on.

The Seahawks were unbelievable last night.  Great win on their part.  Now we get to see them beat the 49ers next week.   The M&M Santa Dish looks pretty good.   Green and red M&M's always look so appetizing.

A word of advice:  The sirracha sauce at Subway is no joke.   It is HOT!  It was so hot I could feel the spiciness in my ears.  I just sampled it at the store and ordered a subway sandwich with regular sauces.   I know most people I know hate subway, but it was the only convenient sandwich shop available within walking distance at that hour.   They happen to have good sirracha sauce too.

That's all from here.  Be careful with those M&M's!  They can spill out all over the place.  Onward to tomorrow....

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: December 2nd

I missed you guys!!

Been a while since I blogged about life, but good to be back.   I've been away from a computer for roughly 5 days, so to see this keyboard again is a dream.   In my time I went to my home town of Oxnard and reacquainted with my parents and my sisters.   It was a great weekend, even if most of it was spent back home.

I thought it would be good to break down my weekend recap into several mini chapters.  Each one will go into that particular day.


It began with a long drive from my workplace to Oxnard.   Traffic on the day before Thanksgiving is usually brutal, so I was fortunate to get a head start.   Instead of the usual 405/101 route, I took the Pacific Coast Highway, by way of San Vicente and Ocean Blvds.  Then I took the California Incline down to the PCH.   It was slow to start but generally pretty good traffic.

I knew there was a big feast the next day, but I *had* to make a stop at my favorite sandwich shop of my youth:  Just BBQ in nearby Ventura.   It's been around for well over 15 years now, and in all those years, I wondered if their quality would fall off or the prices would spike up.  Thankfully neither happened when I went last week.  Just like always, I got the Tri-Tip Sandwich on Garlic Toast, and I added a hot link.   I got the sandwich and toast, paid the money, left a tip, and went to a nearby table to enjoy.  Just BBQ is part of a detached food court that operates on its own, without a mall attached to it.  The food court is indoors, flanked by some regular shops i.e. Dominos, Coldstone, etc.   Anayway, on a brisk Wednesday evening I looked at my sandwich, about 4-5 inches long and roughly four inches high.   You always look at it, and I did it again, and say "damn, this looks like a small sandwich", but every time, as I'd do for nearly 20 years, I'd bite into it and go "man!  There's a lot of meat in here!!"  The sandwich is shaped very deceptively.  The roll of garlic toast always looks like just an end piece so you get the illusion that you're just getting a 1/4 of a sandwich but it's truly a full sized 'wich.

Man, it was good!  I enjoyed every second of it, and it was especially enjoyable to think of this sandwich, eating it while the Heat were demolishing the Cavs on a nearby TV, then thinking of the Whole Foods Brisket I had the week before.  It was like beef had come around full circle.  The newest kind that I tried almost back to back w/ a tried and true cut of meat I grew up on.

There's no doubt that, had the weekend stopped there, I'd be very happy.  But no!  The fun was just beginning...

After the quick meal, I drove down to my parents house, said hi and we talked for a while.  Just talking is something I enjoy a lot more today than I used to.  Conversations, when you're a kid, always feel tedious and dry, but as you get older, you appreciate the banter you have with your loved ones and friends.   It was true last night.   I had a good time catching up with the family.


I had a good night's sleep in my sister's bedroom and I woke up to feel the excitement of Thanksgiving, already here.  Any one will have adventures with Thanksgiving Day, and in my case, it started from the get-go.   Each year, we get the basic conflict of the Thanksgiving Parade on tape delay vs the Detroit Lions football game.  It's a problem unique to the West Coast, but this time around, I wanted to do my Mom a solid.  So she was asking about what channel it was on, and I put NBC on for her on the Big TV, then I went upstairs to watch the Lions in the bedroom.

Those Lions FINALLY got it done!   You know, a lot of things happened between their last two wins.   2003, their Thanksgiving win previous to this year, was a really long time ago.  I digress.

My Dad gets home from a special round of Thanksgiving Golf.  I bet he was giving thanks to the golf course for being open that day!  We change, get our food dishes ready and then go to our Grandmother's house.  We're joined by my other sister and my younger sister who drove in from Northridge for the weekend.

Food -- spectacular.  Interestingly, as the Lions were pummeling the Packers, my youngest sister said she had an idea: bacon.   It was her idea, but she took it upon herself to convince me to buy it and make it.  It was no bother... I enjoy bacon as much as anyone else, and boy was it good.  Now my family was huddling around me asking if I could turn up the heat or cook it faster and I said "patience!  Good things take time."   All I do is use a flat pan and a fork to make bacon happen.   The heat is set to medium-low (level 2 out of 6 on the stove's dial).   After a while you really start to smell the bacon.   Then we put each of the cooked strips onto a plate lined with paper towels.   JUST phenomenal.   We took the bacon, some pies, and other sides to my grandmothers, and all of the above was an instant hit!

Also on the table for Thanksgiving:  shrimp, a pork roast my Mom made, mini chicken pot pie snackers, a Filipino appetizer called "Lumpia," salad, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, baked salmon, home made chili, cookies, a birthday cake, and the star of our show: the turkey.   Even as our Thanksgiving spreads go, it was one of my all time favorites.  The turkey in particular was *spectacular.*  How'd my grandmother make the turkey so juicy?!  Usually it's dry here and there, but this year, not at all!  The skin was crisp and golden.   Everything came together so wonderfully.   All of us gathered for the dedication, then we ate.   It was roughly a dozen of us gathered at my Grandmother's modest house.   We had a great time, and boy were we full.

While we ate everything, we took in the Dallas game against the Raiders, and later, the Steelers/Ravens game.  The Steelers were so close to winning it!  THAT close, but a gutty effort by PIT.   In between, my Aunt showed some videos of my cousin's high band competition.  For my Aunt's family, the show "Glee" is close to real life -- I would think.   I can't speak to the sexual overtones, but the band and cheerleaders part is pretty accurate.

Not surprisingly, Fox took the liberty of entertaining my Mom's family with a new episode of "Glee" around 9pm.  Hahahahahahahahaa... well played!


This day was spent with my older sister and her daughter.   I was at her apartment for most of the day, and I'd really like to express my sincere gratitude for her putting up with me watching 102 hours of college football that day, or what felt like it.  I played with my niece during the day, and the three of us had lunch.  Then we went back to her apartment and talked while these games were going on.   The game in particular that had my attention was Oregon State vs Oregon.  What a game that was!   The Beavers really had Oregon on the ropes, wow.   At any rate, we laughed, enjoyed some snacks, and just kicked it.

Day turned to night, and between the football and the Lakers incredible comeback at Detroit, we got word that the rest of our family was coming to visit my sister's apartment ALONG with my Aunt and her two daughters, and a friend of theirs.   My sister's apartment got busy in a hurry!   By the time the rest of the family came I switched it to Food Network.  It was a marathon of "Diner's, Drive-In's and Dives".   Everyone was saying how much Guy Fieri grosses people out with the way he eats.  I don't know... I think he's just really excited about food so I wasn't really in agreement there.  We were checking out some of the foods though, and they looked pretty good!   As all this happened, we're shooting the breeze and eventually we left and said goodbye to my sis and my niece.  Back to my parents' house...


This was a more unusual day of the weekend.   My parents spent quite a lot of it attending a friend's wedding.  It was their LONG and I mean LONG time friend's daughter's wedding.  Man... I remember this lady when we were little kids... hard to believe a day like this could come.   I never really saw her that much.  IIRC, the last time I even met her was a good 15 years earlier, at a tennis tournament at UCLA that my Dad and his friend and the combined kids went to.  Anyway, Saturday was her wedding w/ a Military Man (I'm afraid the branch of service escapes me), so they left me alone for a good while.  My two sisters left to do some work leaving me alone for about 90 minutes.  During those 90 minutes I saw the Alabama/Auburn game among other things.   My parents came back from the wedding ceremony as there was a two HOUR window between it and the reception at Spanish Hills Country Club.   So, they're back, they change into casual clothes for the moment, and my Dad sees me watching the "Iron Bowl" on TV.   He's asking me about the teams and all and I explain that this is a battle between the #1 ranked team and the #4 ranked team and how Alabama is undefeated, it's a game to decide who goes to the SEC Championship Game, etc.   THEN, he watches with me as Auburn comes back with that unbelievable missed FG-return for a touchdown.   One of the greatest College Football games I've seen in my lifetime.

Remarkably, we go through all that, and there's still time for my parents to change back to their fancy wear and leave for the wedding reception.  At that point it's just me and the TV in Oxnard, so I'm bouncing around between a whole lot of college games, and my sisters come back.   My sister had plans, my other sister had plans too, and so before they all did their thing I ordered them a delivery pizza from Topper's.   Half the pizza had pepperoni, and the other half had what they call "Spicy Sliced Sausage."   I was mesmerized how much my sisters enjoyed the Sliced Sausage slices.   I truly didn't expect them to care, but each of them tried a slice and LOVED it!  I got the sliced sausage just for me! Haha, but there was plenty for us all.

After a while, my parents come back from the wedding and tell me all about it.  It was posh!  It was grand, and it was like a scene out of "Beauty and the Beast."  The ballroom used for their reception looked almost EXACTLY like the movie.  It was too funny!  I posted a picture of it on facebook.

Yes -- UCLA torched USC that night.  I am not pleased per se, but I also got the feeling that SC might have "overachieved" toward the end of the season.  UCLA's win felt like course correction, and I could accept that.  The Bruins have a pretty darn good football team.

If I may interject, I'm going to take this Pac 12 thought further.   You might think Stanford is an odds on favorite, but I really think Arizona State is going to destroy the Cardinal.  If you followed the Pac 12 most of the year, it was clear that the Sun Devils were the best team in the conference, improved throughout the year, and also beat all the best teams in the conference!  The *exception* was Stanford, but let's face it, Stanford on the road is a totally different ball game.   The Pac 12 championship will take place in Sun Devil Stadium.  MAJOR advantage: ASU.

On to Sunday...


This was a Buffalo Wild Wings day.  I didn't have much of a gameplan here, just wanted a reason to use some of the free BWW money I got from "College Gameday" (see the November Daveblog entries).   I went on a lazy Sunday morning and sampled all the NFL action.  My Dad and a friend of his both joined me towards the "Witching Hour" aka final hour of the Early NFL games.  It was a wild one!  Chicago and Minnesota nearly going to a stalemate... Jacksonville and Cleveland in a shootout... Tennessee nearly beating Indy on the road...  It was fun!  We stayed until about 1 quarter into the Denver/KC game.   My friend left to go home, and my Dad and I joined the rest of my family who was............. at the nearby TGI Fridays!

The Friday's in Oxnard has been around since about 1995, and I was going through all the memories of evenings there with friends or siblings.   Meals there back in high school, I think there was another moment, about the time I was 21, roughly a decade ago, where at the same Fridays, I was blitzed myself, and my friends at the time said "wow, we like drunk Dave!  You're funny!"  If you can believe this, I was an even greater lightweight then than I am now.  Rest assured, I've toned it down quite a bit, but those loopy moments are still out there.  but on Sunday, it as a mundane lunch with my Mom, my three total sisters, my niece, my Dad, and me.   My pop and I already had a bunch of wings from B-Dubs, so we just got a soft drink and chatted together.   I really had some nostalgia hit me as I looked around the ole Fridays.   I was saddened to see there was not much traffic there... I wonder if the Fridays is hitting hard times?  It was a late Sunday afternoon, between 3pm and 4pm.  I hope it was just a slow hour.

Lunch was done, and we went home, and we got out the Christmas decorations and our artificial tree, which looks pretty nice, if I may say so myself..   Then, towards the end of the day I said good bye to my family, got my things, and went home (to be accurate, I packed my stuff in the morning).  I drove the PCH back to SM and I was fully unprepared for the complete Xmas makeover Coach did to our apartment.  When I left it, I had an apartment, when I returned, entered the Macy's on 34th St. in Manhattan.  The decorations are rather impressive!

My friend and I spoke about football for a few minutes, then I set to the computer to write this blog entry, and that's how the long, eventful, Thanksgiving weekend ended.  I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was great too!  We're back at it, and I hope to see you back here soon.

Before I go:  I want to let everyone know that Coach's friend Nick, my friend too, is going to be a contestant on "Jeopardy!"  I can't get into too much detail for fear of undermining the production or breaking any code of secrecy, but his episode will tape on Tuesday.  I'm wishing him the best of luck -- but the good news here is that a worst-case scenario still yields a $1000 consolation payout for 3rd place.   1-2-3 let's do this, Nick!

LOCKS Season Total: 28-23-2

Quite honestly, the best week in LOCKS of the year!

Our NFL picks went 3-0, and we cleaned up, baby!!  It started with Pittsburgh surviving a toughly fought game with the Ravens to salvage a cover.  We had them +3 and they lost by only 2.

Then, a pick where we "dared to go there," despite a hot streak in Tampa and a little shakiness on the Panthers' part, we went with Carolina -8 at home and they hammered the Bucs.

Finally, in my most confident pick, I took the Bengals +2 at San Diego, and Vegas had most of America right where it wanted them... feeling good about the Chargers.  I was not so keen on the Bolts.   After all, the Bengals came off a bye and they looked great defensively.    What a win!  

All told, the first undefeated week of the year and a MAJOR save for our season.  Going into December, LOCKS was in a tailspin... losing games left and right.  A week ago we finally righted the ship with a winning week.  This week, we took it further with 3 winning picks and no losses.  An incredible, and necessary, boost for our picks.  Now to keep it going with, potentially, some NCAA Conference Title game selections and a few NFL picks.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tyler's Investments: TURKEY EDITION - November 28th

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  From all of us at LOCKS of the Week, and those of us with Tyler's Investments, we wish you a happy, wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  May it be full of good tidings and great food.

Now, let's get to our investments of the week.   We won't have a Wednesday podcast this week, so instead we offer you each of the Challengers' and Tyler's Investments here on the blog.  We start with our challengers.  Up first, our season standings leader...

John in CT (10-5-1)

North Carolina -5.5 vs Duke
Hawaii -7 vs Army

Rams +9.5 at San Francisco

Seahawks -6 (normalized to -4.5) vs New Orleans

Say Hello to Ottis (5-3)

Baylah -13.5 ovah TCU  - we will go back to da well heah aftah the loss last week
Clemson +4 @ South Carolina

Steelers +3 at Baltimore...the road to the 'offs continues
Pats -9 at Houston

Ron in NJ (4-4)

Nebraska -3 vs Iowa
UCONN +3 vs Rutgers

Cowboys -9.5 vs Oakland

Cardinals +3 at Philadelphia

Andy in Seattle (3-4-1)

Texas A&M +4.5 at Missouri
Arizona State -12 vs Arizona

Cowboys -9.5 vs Raiders
Seahawks -4.5 vs New Orleans*

*For investment purposes, I'll normalize the spread to the most advantageous number, in this case -4.5.  This means John in CT will also be awarded a win if Seattle covers -4.5.

Now to Tyler for his Thanksgiving Weekend Investments...

Tyler (8-8)

Alabama -10.5 at Auburn
Southern Cal USC -3.5 vs UCLA

Broncos -4.5 at KC
Seahawks -6.5 (-4.5) vs New Orleans

The collaboration of picks yields some very unique advantages this week.   We will normalize the Seahawks line to -4.5, as mentioned, so that all persons get optimal ability to cover.  Unlike last week, with few common picks, we have two very common games for investments:  Cowboys -9.5 and Seahawks -4.5.

Three people picked the Seahawks to cover this week on Monday Night Football.   Two picked Dallas to cover against the Raiders.   This indicates great confidence in both teams.  Good luck to all of the investors and here's to another good week.

Dave's LOCKS of the Week: November 27th

Gobble up for a Turkey Edition of

Dave's (womp!)
LOCKS (crash!)
of the Week (screech)

This week, we're going to go back to our roots.  When it all started, our LOCKS of the Week feature showcased exactly three NFL games and no college picks.  We also were more verbose and added some entertainment and catchy puns into our individual picks.  Check out our very first LOCKS of the Week on this blog:

Dolphins +3 vs Jets
Falcons +3 vs Lions
Texans +6.5 at Steelers  plus the over of 43 pts
posted September 3, 2008

and how'd they do??

Jets 20, Dolphins 14 (loss)
Falcons 34, Lions 21 (win)
Steelers 38, Texans 17 (loss); over of 43 DID hit.

We've come a long way since then, and we've featured a multitude of picks from all over football - some weeks up to 7 games at a time, and others only two, but this week, we're back to three NFL picks so let's see how we do in 2013!

To the picks...!

We begin with an addendum:  All week long we hoped to see the Cowboys go up to a ten point favorite, but it didn't happen, so we're going to leave that game alone.  I definitely think the Raiders will at least stay in the game for a while, but it's *just* small enough of a point spread to back off.

Now to the Turkey game we WILL pick, in the Crab City, we're taking the Steelers to cover +3 against the Ravens.  Steelers are on the road, but they've looked a lot better of late.  Pit is able to run the ball much better with Le'Veon Bell, and Roethlisberger has completed some nice passes to the likes of Emmanuel Sanders, Antonio Brown, and Jerhicho Cotchery.  It's not always the same guy who stands out every week, but offensively, the Steelers look much better.

By contrast, the Ravens, still strong defensively, look really miserable on the other side of the ball.  Joe Flacco has been a complete joke this season, throwing 14 interceptions against this 14 touchdown passes, and this is including a run of four games where he's thrown at least one INT.  The last game without an interception?  Would you believe, their last game against the Steelers?

Nonetheless, we feel like the better Quarterback, Offense, and potentially defense, will win out.  Steelers +3 at Baltimore

Next, we're looking at the Carolina Panthers at home against the Bucs.  One might think the Bucs are on a roll and ready to make things very interesting for Carolina.  You'd think correctly, but bear in mind, the Panthers destroyed the Bucs every which way in their previous matchup.  At home, having already avoided the potential trap game with Miami, we feel like the Panthers should go back to covering the spread as they've managed to do for a large part of the year.  It's rare this year to see the Panthers lose out "against the spread."  As a matter of fact, the Bucs' three game winning streak would lead a lot of bettors to take them on the strength of momentum.  Be careful my friends!  Vegas has you right where they want you.  Instead, we'll go with the more complete team, a pretty good offense with Cam Newton and Steve Smith among others, plus a healthier starting RB tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.  Defensively, the Panthers will rough it up against Tampa Bay and unlike the previous three weeks, the Panthers would be smart enough, we would think, to limit giveaways which Tampa used for each of their last two wins.  The Panthers are giving 8 and that went down from 8.5: we'll take the adjustment.  Panthers -8 vs Tampa Bay.

Finally, we roll to the California Coast, and take a game I absolutely *love*.  The Bengals are returning to the field off of a bye week AND they're going to play a Chargers team that just won a dramatic game at Kansas City.  The Bengals have great offensive personnel -- and Andy Dalton, but their defense is what's really going to shine through.  An assortment of pass rushers and reasonable coverage down field will take apart Philip Rivers.  Bear in mind, Rivers' receiver options are as good as they've been with a re-born Antonio Gates among others.  Nonetheless, I think A.J. Green of Cincinnati is going to present a whole lot of matchup problems for a suspect San Diego secondary.  As long as the Bungles can run the ball effectively they're going to take this one in San Diego.  It's a close game, but we have Cincinnati.   Bengals +2 at San Diego.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the games, and the meals.   We'll also post "Tyler's Investments" tomorrow morning along w/ challenger picks.  Enjoy the weekend!

Recap:  Steelers +3 at BAL; Panthers -8 vs TB; Bengals +2 at SD

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tyler's Investments: Tyler 3-1, John 3-1, Andy 1-3, Ottis 2-2, Ron 2-2

This week was very competitive on "Tyler's Investments."   Tyler had a good week, capped by the Niners' domination of the Redskins.  Overall, he went 3-1:

Hits:  Ok. St. +10.1, Chargers +4.5, 49ers -5.5
Misses: Texas A&M +4.5

John in CT (3-1)

John had the best week of the challengers.  Really, I think we've arrived where I think JOHN is the one everyone is challenging.  He's been great!   John retains first place in the overall standings after a 3-1 weekend.

Hits: Duke -6, Jaguars +10, Rams -1
Misses: K-State -4.5

Andy in Seattle (1-3)

Andy had a near wipeout week, but salvaged the week with a gutty Patriots win on Sunday night football.  To be honest, it was a very tough week to bet college football across the board.  Lots of very strange outcomes in the NCAA, onward.

Hits: Pats +2.5
Misses: Saints -9.5, Oregon -20.5, UCLA +2.5

Say Hello to Ottis (2-2)

The Oat Man also had a rough week with college picks, but rebounded nicely with his two NFL picks… he implemented a little contrarian logic to select the Cardinals, and that made all the difference.

Hits: Steelers +1, Cardinals -1
Misses: Houston -4, Baylor -10.5

Ron in NJ (2-2)

Ron had the only winning record in college picks between our investors, but unfortunately, the G-Men did not come through for him in the NFL.

Hits: Vandy +3, Min. +16
Misses: Giants -2.5, Lions -9.5

Now, let's bring up the season totals for our investors…

Season Standings

John: 10-5-1
Ottis: 5-3
Tyler: 8-8
Ron: 4-4
Andy: 3-4-1

As mentioned, John and Tyler have been doing games throughout the contest, but the others joined in  two weeks later so we go by percentage points to compute placement in the standings.

Monday, November 25, 2013

LOCKS of the Week Season Total: 25-23-2

At last!!  A winning week on LOCKS.  The NFL was the real star of the show.  In a week where many underdogs ruled the day, we fired on two high profile 'dogs and nailed them:  Cowboys +2.5 at NYG and Patriots +2.5 vs Denver.

In an interesting development, both teams only won by three points, but it was enough.  Big wins for us on LOCKS of the Week.  The sole loss was UCLA +1.5, and for that game, it wasn't that surprising to see them lose.  They had a shot to take the game even near the very end.

Overall, LOCKS went 2-1, bringing the season total to 25-23-2.   LOCKS of the Week were going down in flames, and it was great to see this weekend restore order.   We'll go back at it again for Thanksgiving, probably on Wednesday we will post our Turkey Weekend LOCKS of the Week.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: November 25th

I haven't had the chance to blog as much lately -- time to make up for lost time.

I've felt pretty gluttonous with Coca Colas.  Would you ever take the daring step of drinking 3 cokes in a row?   Something about the Coca Cola cans in my fridge makes them extra dense feeling.. I mean, they taste GREAT!

As we go along the evening, I'm going to type other things that pop into my head, rather than write the entire blog at once.

I'd like to denote that Wes Johnson has incredible hops... great speed too.  He might be a dark horse candidate for the NBA Slam Dunk contest this year.   Who knew??

Remember Windows Phone? What happened to that thing... I wonder if anyone still has one.

I still hold out hope for a Pat Benatar Super Bowl Halftime show... but that is never going to happen.  Sigh.

Superstitions are overrated... except for hockey.

What makes a bus "double dutch?"  And why is a dutch oven disgusting whereas a flying dutchman is just a burger with cheese and no bun?

The other day I read about Whole Foods Market brisket.   Everyone raved about it, so I checked it out for myself... you know what?  It is fantastic.  It's not "rare" or even "medium rare"... I think they are forced to cook it medium well to well, but despite that, it's tremendous.  Succulent and tasty.  Really good.

I think that's all for now!   Catch you all soon.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Contrarian Sunday: NFL Week 12

Last week, I looked at the money lines for underdog teams in the NFL and fired on most of them who were getting odds, i.e. at least +100 for every 100 dollars wagered... that usually equates to a one to one return.   100 dollars wagered equals a 100 dollar win.  A money line is a bet on a team to win outright.

At any rate, here are the current money line odds for underdog teams this week - NFL Week 12:

Bucs +320 at Detroit
Jaguars +380 at Houston
Vikings +190 at Green Bay
Chargers +170 at Kansas City
Dolphins +185 vs Carolina
Steelers +105 at Cleveland
Jets +160 at Baltimore
Raiders +105 vs Tennessee
Colts +135 at Arizona
Cowboys +115 at NY Giants
Patriots +105 vs Denver
Redskins +210 vs San Francisco

You don't have to try them all, but based on the return for some of the more unlikely picks and the parit in the NFL, there's a good chance that if you bet on most of these ML's at once, you'll come out ahead.  Try it out!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tyler's Investments vs Ron, John, Andy, and Ottis: November 20th

Four Challengers this week.  One written, and two on air (at  Let's break down who everyone picked one by one.

Ron in NJ

First to Ron in NJ, who wrote in the picks this week.

Vandy +3 vs Tenn.
Min. +16 vs Wisc.

Next he presents "The Stone Cold Lead Pipe Lock of the Millennium:" Giants -2.5 vs Dallas
and Lions -9.5 vs TB

John in CT

First, his "Get Out of Debt Play of the Year:" Kansas State -4.5 vs Oklahoma
Duke -6 at Wake Forest

Jaguars +10 at Houston
Rams -1 vs Chicago
and for S&G's he offered Dolphins +4.5 vs Carolina, but this will not be used for investment purposes.

Andy in Seattle

Andy didn't come up with a descriptive title for his strongest lock of the week but he did use some very entertaining mock voices on the air for it!  He has Oregon -20.5 at Arizona, plus...

UCLA +2.5 vs ASU

Patriots +2.5 vs Denver
Saints -9.5 at Atlanta

Say Hello to Ottis

Houston -4 vs Cincy
Baylor -10.1*  vs Ok. State (*We normalize the point spread so that any duplicate picks can use the same line across the board, and we opted to take Tyler's 10.1 spread as the line of record)

Steelers +1 at Cleveland
Cardinals -1 vs Indy

Tyler's Investments

Now we come to the namesake of the Investments Feature, Tyler himself.  Here are his medium to bold investments:

"The Royal Embossed FDIC Insured Triple Platinum Diamond... [I forgot the rest of the words] LOCK OF THE WEEK," is Oklahoma State +10.5
Texas A&M +4.5 at LSU

Chargers +4.5 at KC
49ers -5.5 at Washington

Good luck to all, and may the investments bring good fortune!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dave's LOCKS of the Week: November 20th

Here we go!  Rebound week on

Dave's (blam)
LOCKS (snap)
of the Week (swat)

Three picks this week -- only ONE in college due to the increasingly frustrating incompetence I've had of late with NCAA Games.   I considered Texas A&M +4 at LSU, but that fire was too hot to cook in, so instead we'll go with a local team.

I *love* UCLA +1.5 at home against Arizona State for several reasons.  Number one, a home dog is a great play in most situations, especially if the oddsmakers say the matchup is close.  This matchup definitely is -- it's the top two teams in the Pac 12's South division.  Number two, UCLA is rolling since their brutal two-step at Stanford and Oregon, and their defense looks great.  Brett Hundley is back on a roll and looking pretty sharp throwing the ball.  Number three and most importantly, I *can't lose!!!!!!*  With a point spread of just a point and a half, there are only two logical outcomes from this game -- UCLA wins and I win the pick OR UCLA loses.  Quite frankly, I am pretty darn happy with either outcome.  We love the Bruins +1.5 at home.

Next, to the NFL, along the same lines, I am selecting Dallas +2.5 at the Giants in the Meadowlands.  It follows the same logic.  With that small a point spread, and the Cowboys coming off a bye, it either means a) the Cowboys most likely win outright or b) the Giants beat the Cowboys.  I've had just about enough of the Cowboys -- they've been such a circus quite frankly that they don't deserve to win a game the rest of the season.  I will quite happily trade one LOCK of the Week for a Cowboys loss that ends their season.  Once again, this pick presents a Dave "can't lose!" special.   Besides all of the above, the Cowboys are simply a better roster than the Giants with or without Sean Lee.   The QB matchup favors Tony Romo, and I think the Giants have had one lucky break too many facing depleted rosters and backup quarterbacks.  Something has to give, logic has to set in, and we believe, barring some untold tomfoolery, the Cowboys will finally get it done and win.  Bear in mind, Dallas already beat the Giants to open the year back in AT&T Stadium.  Between winning the pick or the Cowboys losing, I can't really go wrong.  Cowboys +2.5 at NYG.

Finally, if you thought I had win-win's in the previous two picks, you ain't seen nothing yet!  I am BIG on the Patriots at home to rebound greatly from their loss at Carolina.   It helps that the Pats play the weakest defense they've played in some time and a familiar foe: Peyton Manning.  It would be incomprehensible to forsee the Patriots losing two games in a row even as beat up as they've looked lately.   Not to mention -- Ron Gronkowski looks great off the Injured Reserve.  Even if the Pats can't come through and cover as a 3 point home dog... the Patriots lose!  I think we're all winners here.   Patriots +3 at home.

On a can't lose weekend, here's our LOCKS recap:  UCLA +1.5 at home, Cowboys +2.5 at NYG, Patriots +3 at home.

Tyler's Investments: Tyler 1-3, Andy 2-1-1, Ron 2-2, John 2-1-1

Here's how Tyler and the Challengers did last week on "Tyler's Investments"…

Tyler was not so hot as he was a week ago, he went 1-3.

Andy in Seattle went 2-1-1, hitting both college picks and pushing one NFL game and losing the other.  

Ron in NJ went 2-2, splitting his college and NFL games.

John in CT went 2-1-1, split the two college games, won with TB, and pushed with the Bears.

Head to Head

Tyler and Andy went head to head with Houston vs Louisville with Tyler giving -15.5 and Andy taking the 15.5 with Houston.  Houston covered the spread giving Andy the head to head win.

Tyler also went head to head with Ron in NJ w/ Packers/Giants.   Tyler took GB as the underdog and Ron went with the Giants, laying the -6.5.  The Giants won convincingly, giving Ron the head to head win.

Checker on Checkers

As for Checkers on Checkers, i.e. common picks between our investors, both Andy and John took Duke +3.5, and they won outright.  Also, Ron and John took K-State -10.5 but they only beat TCU by two points, so both persons lost the pick.

Season Standings

John: 7-4-1
Ottis: 3-1
Andy: 2-1-1
Ron: 2-2
Tyler: 5-7

As we rotate persons into the challenger spots, some of our investors will have a few "games in hand." Generally speaking, I will go with percentage points to compute placement in the standings.

LOCKS of the Week Season Total: 23-22-2

Man, there was no way around it.   We had a BAD week on LOCKS of the week, the worst week of the year.  The most frustrating thing about it is that most of the damage was preventable.  I have been positively hideous with College Games this month, to the point where I have one win in College picks in the last *two weeks.*   When I picked games last week, my original plan was to stay with Ball State and only do the two NFL LOCKS.  But no!  Instead, I felt a little cocky and elected to take two top 5 teams to cover their respective point spreads:  Ohio State and Alabama.  Neither one did.   One of the biggest problems with my move is that both teams were on the road and it was late in the season.  It was not a high leverage move.

That, more than anything, is what put me in a huge hole for LOCKS of the Week.   I was having the best season of the year, and because of it, a 1-4 week turns a pretty serious season record into a .500 record.  The season total is now 23-22-2

This is the most disappointed I've been with LOCKS of the Week all year.  I just can't do it anymore -- the college picks have been so bad that I considered taking a week off.  I almost considered taking a week off of picks altogether but we will not give up.  AND, we're going to go back to the well with College and I *promise* you, we will have a winning week in College picks before the season is over. The selections get less obvious with each week, knowing how important the games are, but there are those diamonds in the rough.  Now, let's break down last week's picks.

The Hits:

Carolina -1.5

I felt pretty good about this one all week, and having the line at only 1.5 for a home team on Monday Night was, if nothing else, a pretty good decision.  Even if it didn't hit, I would feel pretty good about going that way.  It was close!  It took a tight game and a questionable officiating call to seal the deal, but the Panthers are hot.   It's tempting to take them *again* but you always want to be careful about overdoing it with the same team.

The Misses:

Ball State +9.5
Ohio State -33
Alabama -25
Saints -3.5

The Saints had numerous chances to win more convincingly, and as we always say with gambling: the two things you can't account for are turnovers and injuries.   You can't bet on either one taking place even if a particular team is known for giveaways, like the Giants.  As it was, the Saints pick lost by half a point… seeing the half point was ominous from the get-go.  I wanted that at 3… I considered buying it down to 3 or using the point spread from another source, but as this was one of my "personal wagers", it was not ethically feasible to opt for a more favorable point spread on a source I didn't use.


As to the three college misses, Ball State was still a great play and I don't regret using them at all -- it just didn't work out.  The other two however were just a desperation move I could have avoided.  It was simply a bad idea.  Now with that said, next week, Ohio State is at home to play Indiana, and that might actually be worth taking.  We'll see.  'Bama -- they were due.  They'd gone nearly two months covering the spread and it figured they were bound to lose one, but I thought maybe there was a chance they'd run it up as they did with Kentucky on the road.  No dice.

One other disconcerting fact is that LOCKS have not had a 3-0 (or 4-0) week to date.  Usually LOCKS of the Week get one of those turkey weeks, but we will accept the consistency (this week aside) over the rare 3-0 week.   We'll try to turn it around this time with some new picks here on LOCKS of the Week.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: November 18th

I have some thoughts to share about my experience going to ESPN's College Gameday on location at USC, but first there was one thing I want to get off my chest.

I picked up Brandon Knight and Brandon Jennings for a fantasy basketball team this year.  These two point guards switched places over the offseason.  Jennings used to play for the Bucks.  Knight was point guard for the Pistons.   So I had them going.  Jennings, who I would call "Golden Boy", was hurt to start the season, but he came back about two weeks ago and had a pretty productive two weeks.

MEANWHILE, Knight does absolutely NOTHING, can't score a basket to save his life and then jacks up his hamstring and hits the shelf.   This was after he was already hurt earlier in the season.  Then I read an article from a few months ago that said "Knight blames Pistons for low production."  You know what?  Brandon Knight, you can get lawst!    I saw both Jennings and Rodney Stuckey produce very well for the Pistons, Stuckey going back a few years, and Jennings over the last two weeks.  The Pistons are not the reason for your low production.  The reason for Brandon Knight's low production is because he @*$%@% sucks!!!  This weekend, I had enough:  I cut Brandon Knight and told him to take a hike!   Last night, I saw Jennings collect 7 assists in the first *half* against the Lakers, including a phenomenal alley oop off the backboard to Andre Drummond.  That's all the evidence I need. 

Thanks for letting me get that out..  on to the good stuff from our blog.

So you want to be on ESPN College Gameday?  The key is to get there early.  It all started at 4am.  I probably didn't have to wake up at 4am on a Saturday morning, but you know?  I didn't want to take any chances.   Gameday was at USC this week, on campus no less as opposed to the Coliseum Site (grody). 

Here's a few tips I learned from reading an article about the show from the Upper Deck Blog, which had a piece about attending "Gameday", and from my own experience:

Parking on campus is not happening before 6am... SC has a reputation of being a bunch of captain "no-funs" in many respects.  Coach used to work there and he tells me they have a stuffy attitude in certain areas.   At any rate, I go over to the Figueroa gate, which is open 24 hours.  What they DON'T tell you is that none of the parking structures on campus will allow parking before 6am unless you're faculty/staff/student.  Now, how lame is that?   I asked if there are any convenient local parking options near there and they weren't aware of one.

So, I was on my own.  4:30 am in the morning and still looking for parking.  Usually I'd park at Culver station and take the train, but there was no way I'd make it without getting hosed out of a good seat completely.  The first train to SC left at 5:08 and arrived at the Campus at 5:28... I really needed to be on-site at McCarthy Quad, where they set up the studio, around 4:45.  So I drove around, checked for meters, even tried to park at the hotel across the street which didn't work, and went back to Figueroa Blvd.  I turned at this one street behind the Shrine Auditorium in order to circle back to Hoover and try Jefferson Blvd for meters.  Then I checked for meters on the "little street" as I went along, and BEHOLD... there was a block worth of unmetered public street parking next to an apartment building, right on that street!  It was barely around the corner and a block away from SC.   I mean, what fantastic luck!   I wouldn't park on this street regularly but early on a Saturday morning, it was worth the risk, so I parked the car.

Next tip... don't even bother with costumes.   I didn't realize the extent to which they screen prospective fans on the show.  They really don't want any shenanigans, and the same applies to the signs people use on TV.  Actually ONE sign slipped through the cracks (a highly inappropriate Jonathan Martin related sign, see Deadspin for details on the elaborate plot they had to use to get it displayed), but normally they get kiboshed.  So I go in, with my Gorilla costume, ready to get to a spot where they can catch me on camera.   However, the producers, and some sponsors run through each of the guys individually, and even give you forms to sign to authorize your likeness on television.  This is required in order to enter one of two "pits" where the majority of fans are caught on camera.  I went for the side-pit behind the auxiliary stage on the right (it has a football field for a floor).   The production crew was unsure of how to assess my gorilla costume.  They asked me "what's the gorilla costume for?" and I said "no reason."  So they did not allow me to go all the way to the front of the side pit, but they did let me take a spot on the Coke Zero grandstand, a small section of bleachers behind the side pit where you can, actually, get a very nice view of the set.  However they told me to stand by to see how they rule on the gorilla suit.

So I'm at the bleachers, but first row, far left side facing the set because it would line me up with the side set.  Little did I know, it would line me up perfectly with the MAIN set too, more on this later.  I was ready to go... some frat guys and coeds were joining me in the section trying to set up this "lumberjack" getup with fake plastic Axes to "cut down Stanford's Tree" so to speak.  Then, just before air time, the producer guy comes up and asks me to step aside... I thought "uh oh, this isn't good news."

Two producers (or maybe sponsors I'm not keeping track), two cops, and the USC Director of Campus Security all have me in front of them and they give me the bad news:  I am not allowed to use my Gorilla Costume on the air.  I couldn't use any part of it, even the robe, and they asked me to take it all off.  They said they'd keep it safe and give it back to me at the end of the show.  Fortunately for them, I had a shirt on underneath so, although very disappointed, I agreed to take it off.   I was so distraught that I considered just leaving the set entirely and going home, but at the end of the conversation, the producers said "we feel bad about this, we're going to give you something at the end of the show, we'll set you up."

Slightly dejected, but understanding, I returned to my spot in the grandstand.   I think one important consideration to make about the grandstand is that they also do NOT allow signs in either this area or the side pit... however, it's a smaller area and actually just as great a frequency of getting on camera as the main pit, and possibly more exposure.  Costumes they don't allow either -- I think the sticking point was the mask... the mask was just not going to fly w/ the crew.  It's possible they want to prevent the scene from turning into a circus a la "Let's Make a Deal."  I think I could have gotten away with using a Dodgers wig, but not a full blown monkey costume.  With all that decided, I went through with the show and looked around.

Well folks, it was a very festive scene.  Gameday is an experience I highly recommend for anyone who loves college football.  The grandstand is a great new addition to the set... you get a seat, first of all, you're elevated such that you can really see everything from every angle, the little path between main pit and side pit both sets, you're right in front of the jumbotron which presents the live feed of the show, it's  tremendous spot.  THEN, it hit me that, once they pointed a camera at Desmond Howard, stage right, it positioned him on a direct line of sight from where I was!   So I looked over to the jumbotron, and it showed I was right over his shoulder!!!  Hahahahahahahahahaha, can you believe that???   So, I took my plastic axe and started to do really silly things with it.  First I did the chopping motion like everyone else in the grandstand did.  Then I bit into it.  Then I was doing the swimming motion with my arms.  Then I was fistpumping.  Then I Kapernicked a few times.  Then I started pointing back and forth.   Towards the end of the show I was doing some bizarre combination of all of these and then broke out into a "robot dance" out of the blue.  Here's how it looked (courtesy of my friend "Tims" from the message boards):

That was fun... I was only able to go to Gameday myself, due to the impossibly early hour on the West Coast, but I still had a great time... I'm glad a lot of my friends were able to see me on TV.  That angle was money.

That left the matter of the "consolation prize."   As the show wrapped up, the producer came over and awarded me two Buffalo Wild Wings gift cards and he thanked me for being so cooperative.  I told him that it was very generous and kind of him to offer these and thanked him for the privilege.  After hanging around campus for a few minutes after the program (you should have seen the whole campus erupt when Lee Corso picked the Trojans to win the game), I walked back to my car and drove home.  THEN, once I got back, I looked up the value on each card.  The cards were worth 50 dollars each for a total of 100 bones!  How great is that??  

A few other comments about the production:  It's a very well done show.   I am happy to report that the people you see on the air, Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, and Desmond Howard, are the same upbeat personalities on the air that they are off the air.  During commercial breaks, all of them would have fun chatting with each other, the chemistry is as bold as a marker.  I had no idea that random fans from other schools also would go to Gameday, just to soak in the ESPN Gameday signage experience.   Gameday has just become a phenomenon of its own.  I'd be intrigued to see what a Gameday Episode was like in the late 90's when it was just getting started.  I grew up forever seeing this show, and really, most of the same guys have been hosting it as long as I can remember.

The most comical of these "random fans" were a bunch of Auburn fans who came all the way to Gameday and into the side pit just so they could catch Gameday's *remote* interview with Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn who was at Auburn preparing for the game that afternoon.  I actually thought that was pretty wild!  Good job on their part supporting their coach.  They even had another random joker who represented Florida, complete with the Gators hat and a Tim Tebow Jersey.

The place was just packed... an excellent move by USC and ESPN to move the Gameday site to McCarthy Quad within USC over the Coliseum... the Coliseum is great for the game, but the peristyle and the site itself is a little dry and industrial -- it's not an ideal location for TV.   McCarthy Quad was a much better representation of SC itself, and hopefully Gameday will return there the next time around.

Did you guys know there was a burrito truck on site that was doling out free burritos?  Boy I missed that one!!!!  However, Gameday also passed around free donuts during the show and I took one for my enjoyment.  Anyway, after Gameday, and going home, I ate sandwich I bought from Ralphs on the way back.  It's called a Bayou Bomber: a roast beef sandwich with jack cheese with a chipotle dressing, a mild jalapeno pepper, served on foccacia bread.  It was absolutely amazing.   Truly the best thing I ate all day.

Later that afternoon I took a one hour nap, then watched the end of some wild college action, including an unbelievable miracle catch at Auburn to win the game vs Georgia.  THEN I saw the USC game against Stanford and could not *believe* how awesome it was.  I had a feeling the whole afternoon that SC could compete with Stanford... I really thought our o line and d line were at least as good as theirs, but while true, I have to admit, Stanford was getting the better of SC in the second half.   SC held through and somehow, SOME WAY, they won the game!   What an incredible, HUGE victory for USC!  I was so pumped, but eventually I was tired.  By then I had been up a while.  Overall, I was awake for 18 of the last 19 hours.  An exhausting day came to an end after I did some online holiday shopping.

Time for some other thoughts, if you won't mind indulging me...

I don't care *what* the fox says!  What is the big deal?

It was a huge weekend for the entire LA area... we can go back to Thursday when UCLA had their own huge victory against Washington.  That was a big, BIG win for the Bruins.   Then the Kings swept all three NY area teams on the road.  Then, SC's win, and you can even include the Lakers' win over Detroit on Sunday Night and the Clippers beating the Nets the night before.

I really took it on the chin with hypothetical wagers.   It was easily the worst weekend of the year for LOCKS of the Week.   I just had a bad feeling the whole time.   My brain was nagging me not to take the two enormous point spreads for Ohio State and Alabama, but I did it anyway.  As a result, I'm going to go 0 for my first 4 and potentially 0-5 if the Patriots beat the Panthers tomorrow night.

Saturday night, I had a really weird feeling as I went to bed... I felt like I was really shutting down but I couldn't lie still either.  That was, I think, the direct result of drinking a Venti Cafe Latte from Starbucks only hours before going to sleep.

If you try to drive into a chicken restaurant, and a ragged guy with beads starts walking to your car, keep on driving.   He probably just wanted to sell me some beads but I didn't want to take any chances.  Hopefully I didn't hurt his feelings.

I think that's all for now.  Hope you all have a good Monday!