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Straight Cash’s Super Bowl DO’s and DON’Ts

All right, you got your gear, you got a place to watch, so now, here are some do’s and dont’s to prep you for the big game and party.

My ticket to the Big Game

My ticket to the Big Game

If you’re a visitor to the party:

1) Do bring something — anything, a Steinlager 12-pack, wings, dessert, something. Even if you’re broke, you can scarf up for a bottle of Thunderbird or Pabst; just show that you appreciate your host’s sacrifice.

2) Do Not get too drunk before the game starts (applies to host also) — You don’t want to be blacked out if Warner throws a winning Hail Mary or Polamalu seals it with a pick … it’s all about a smooth slip into inebriation. 6 to 8 brews by kickoff is optimal (this applies to a guy around 180 pounds, add one beer per 30 pound level up).

3) Do Not double dip — and that not only applies to the ranch dressing, but to your pal’s spliff stash or his hottie chick.

4) Do Not bring any suckas to the party — No annoying girlfriends or “marks” who have no concept of a first down. SIDE NOTE: Be very prepared to feel the wrath if you go to a Cardinals party and you’re the only one rocking the black and gold (or vice versa)

5) Do have fun — Cheer and yell with gusto! Boldin just scored, stuff that Terrible Towel in that Pitt guys face.

6) Do know when to shut yer trap — during the anthem, commercials (yes, commercials) and when they present the trophy (optional during the Boss’ halftime set).

7) Do prepare for the post-game properly — designate a driver (BEFORE the game) or stash a sleeping bag in your trunk, or stash the designated driver in a sleeping bag in your trunk.

Set channel & volume. Unload battery. Stash.

Instructions: Set channel & volume. Unload battery. Stash.

As a host, not much: You already provided enough eats, drinks, TV and pad. You’re the master of your domain, but just a few things:

1) Do Not channel surf — Once the game starts, put the remote away for the next 4 hours. Yes, it’s your remote control. And yes, it’s your house. But the Super Bowl is bigger than you brother, and you became Obama-esque when you signed up for this (you’re here to serve, protect and deliver).

2) Do provide proper and plenty of trash receptacles — easy clean up, less stink; because these jokers you’re inviting think that they’re tailgating indoors.

3) Do provide for the post-game — ice cold water, fresh coffee, taxi numbers, instant soups, and in some cases, extra sleeping bags (or at least sweep the pick-up truck bed).

Finally, if you’re like me and watching the game with newborn in tow while the Mrs. has a “self-day,” then no rules apply. Do what you want, you’re the king of the castle. Though you might wanna take it easy on the booze, because you don’t want to make any nacho mix-up with the con queso dip and the nearby diaper.

Any other “do’s” and “don’ts” that I forgot?

Enjoy another wonderful American Institution.

Straight Cash … Homey!

January 29, 2009 Posted by | General, NFL, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Straight Cash’s Divisional Playoff Picks

There are some juicy, juicy matchups this weekend. Lots of top defenses showcased, a wild gun show on display in the South, and a good old NFC East hatefest. Let’s get it on.

Do the dance, Ray, do the dance.

Do the dance, Ray, do the dance.

Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans, 01/10/09, 4:30pm EST, CBS
Line/Total: TEN -3, o/u 34

The Pick: BAL +3

Everyone’s saying that a rookie QB like Flacco will fold against Tennessee’s punishing front, but New Guy Joe gets to see this type of “D” everyday in practice. The Titans won back in Week 5 (13-10) in a grind it out, defensive battle, but I think the difference this time is the improved play and confidence of Flacco and the growth of Le’Ron McClain as a legitimate back to pair with Willis McGahee. Kerry Collins, LenDale White and Chris Johnson are stabling forces for the Titans, but the loss of Kevin Mawae under center will play a big role at the line. To me, it just seems like the Ravens D is jacked entering the postseason, led by All-world hawk Ed Reed. No doubt, Tennessee is still one of the top 3 defenses in the league, I just don’t think they have enough weapons offensively to put up points. The Ravens will keep it close and may win outright — lots of penalties, trash talking and clock running in this one.

My name is not pronounced Del-Homey

My name is not pronounced Del-Homey

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers, 01/10/09, 8:15pm EST, FOX
Line/Total: CAR -10, o/u 49

The Pick: Over 49

I’m riding the Arizona “over” train until it falls off the tracks. This team cannot cover anyone and Kurt Warner must try to outgun each opponent they face. And why not? with both NFC Pro Bowl WR starters at his disposal in Boldin and Fitzgerald, could you blame him. Carolina has found gold in their backfield tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. And of course, Steve Smith is a game changer. Need some numbers? The two teams combined for 50 in a 27-23 Panthers win in Week 8. The over is 7-2 in Arizona’s and Carolina’s last 9 games. Carolina has given up an average of 25 points in that span, and Arizona 29.5. It’s Jake Delhomme’s 33rd birthday Saturday and his wish of a Carolina win will come to fruition, just not sure it’s by the 10 points Vegas is projecting them by. So take the over, sit back on the Lazy Boy and watch some fireworks in the Bank of America Dome.

Don't do the dance, Donovan, don't do the dance.

Don't do the dance, Donovan, don't do the dance.

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants, 01/11/09, 1:00pm EST FOX
Line/Total: NYG -4, o/u 38

The Pick: NYG -4

The Eagles are playing excellent ball at the right time. The Donovan McNabb Hall of Fame talk has resurfaced. Philly’s defense has been dynamic with Johnson at the helm. I’m still taking the Giants to win and cover. A few reasons why: 1) They’re at home. 2) Eli has more weapons to pass to than Donovan. 3) Brandon “Frankenstein” Jacobs is at full force. 4) The 3-headed monster that is Jacobs-Ward-Bradshaw is more effective than a nicked up Westbrook and Buckhalter. 5) The Meadowlands field will be slick and there’s a 90% chance of snowfall/rain, which bodes well for the Giants ground attack. 6) The Giants have been there, done that, and coach Coughlin has had an extra week to prep the troops. And finally, 7) Those two “MENSA” candidates Andy Reid and McNabb will find a way to implode on the big stage. ‘Nuff said.

Now if I could just "PLAY like a champion" on Sunday.

Now if I could just "PLAY like a champion" on Sunday.

San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers, 01/11/09, 4:45pm EST, CBS
Line/Total: PIT -6, o/u 37.5

The Pick: PIT -6

I still don’t believe in Philip Rivers. While everyone waxes poetic about his natural ability and competitiveness, I still think he’s just a gunslinger who lacks the leadership quality (charisma) to inspire his team. That said, the Steelers will bring the pressure in waves at the Chargers, and Rivers will have to get rid of the ball quicker than he’s used to. Darren Sproles has to be ready to catch short dinks from the backfield ala LaDainian Tomlinson, while Gates must push hard off the line for SD to be effective. Now, what concerns me for Pittsburgh is the offensive side of the ball. Big Ben is holding on to the ball longer than he should be, resulting in multiple sack games, while the deep threat in Santonio Holmes has been nullified throughout the year. Look for the Steelers to give the Chargers a big dose of Fast Willie Parker and Mewelde Moore. The -6 points from Vegas is pretty steep, but the Steelers have gotten all the breaks of late and it’ll be a game-changing turnover (maybe by the wavy-haired Samoan) that’ll put the Steelers over the top. Also, that same competitiveness that Rivers is lauded for will be his undoing as he’ll attempt some unnecessary deep throws into the Pittsburgh’s secondary. The only thing that worries me is Big Ben’s bell being rung to the tune of another concussion.

Went 3-1 in last weekend’s Wild Card matchups. Let’s keep up the good vibes.

2009 record: 5-2.

Straight Cash … Homey!

January 10, 2009 Posted by | General, NFL, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

BCS Title Game Pick? Florida and the Over

That's a cool lookin' Caimain in a Cashmere

That is one cool lookin' *ss Caiman in a Cashmere

The Florida Gators will roll to another national title in a high-scoring affair over the Oklahoma Sooners in the BCS championship game. Take them to the bank as a 3.5 point favorite, and if you’re feeling lucky, parlay it with the over at 70 total points.

This Chris Brown will be dancing solo

This Chris Brown will be dancing solo

The game showcases two dynamic offenses with the Sooners averaging 54.0 (#1) and the Gators 45.2 (#3), but the difference will be Florida’s 4th ranked defense (allowing 12.8 ppg), which is very fast and loaded with ballhawks and heavy hitters. Both teams will go back and forth, with the Sooners 2008 Heisman QB Sam Bradford leading an aerial assault, but will be sorely missing one of its two 1,000-yard backs in DeMarco Murray, leaving Chris Brown to shoulder the load. The Gators are led by 2007 Heisman QB Tim Tebow, a very balanced attack, and welcome back a healthy game-changer in Percy Harvin. In this close title game, look for Florida’s secondary to force a big turnover or two in the 2nd half, and to pound, pound, pound the ball at the Sooners line. The Gators will take a page out of Texas’ playbook (when Texas held Oklahoma to 48 rush yards in their win) and focus on stopping the run. Couple that with Tebow’s experience and calm in big games, and you can mark up another notch for coach Urban Meyer.

Note that in their last 12 games, the over has been 11-1 for Oklahoma and 8-4 for Florida. Also note that the Big 12 has been terrible this Bowl season, going 2-4 against the spread, bringing into question all that “tough schedule” talk, while the SEC has gone 5-2.

So far, 4-1 in 2009: USC rolling and Wild Card wins with ATL/ARI over, BAL -3, PHI -2, and the lone loss with Indy. Good luck everyone!

Straight Cash … Homey.

January 8, 2009 Posted by | College Football, General, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Straight Cash’s Wild Card Weekend Picks

This NFL Wild Card weekend will have dirty birds, rookie QBs, MVPs, All-Days, Burners, Bolts and Colts. It also features all 4 home teams as underdogs — first time I’ve ever seen that. Let’s get to the picks. Short and sweet.

Dreaming of days with Martz and Faulk

Dreaming of days with Martz and Faulk

Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals, 4:30pm EST, NBC
Line/Total: ATL -2, o/u 51

The pick: Over 51

It’ll be a shootout in the desert. The Falcons will score points because the Cardinals are 0-6 against teams who were in the top 10 in rushing (the Falcons are ranked #2 behind the Giants). Then, after a steady diet of Mike Turner and Jerious Norwood, Matt Ryan will open up the field against Arizona’s 22nd ranked pass D. On the other side, Arizona will take to the air because they are dead last in rushing, and so we’ll see the Kurt Warner show against Atlanta’s very shaky secondary. This game may also get messy with the presence of John Abraham and his 16.5 sacks. Though a lot of things point to an Atlanta win, you cannot count out Captain Kurt at home. He will go down chucking the ball to his talented trio of receivers, and if he misses, well that’s just better field position for the dirty birds. One big stat: the over is 9-1 in Arizona’s last 10 home games.

Will Peyton take it lying down?

Will Peyton take it lying down?

Indianapolis Colts at San Diego Chargers, 8:00pm EST, NBC
Line/Total: IND -1, o/u 50

The pick: IND -1

The Chargers may be on a roll with 4 wins in a row to close the season, but if you look closely they were against the doormat Chiefs, lowly Raiders, and self-destructing Broncos and Bucs teams. The Colts are riding a 9-win wave themselves with quality victories over the Steelers, Patriots and a 23-20 Week 12 win over the Chargers at Qualcomm. In this matchup of two premier QBs, I’ll take Indy’s 6th ranked pass D over the 31st ranked San Diego pass D (only the Seahawks were worse). It will be close throughout, but look for the Colts to slow this game down, and finish with a vintage Peyton Manning, long, drawn-out, antsy, multi-audible, drive.

Will Ed Reed touch the ball more than Ricky Williams?

Will Ed Reed touch the ball more than Ricky Williams?

Baltimore Orioles at Miami Dolphins, 1:00pm EST, CBS
Line/Total: BAL -3, o/u 38

The pick: BAL -3

Baltimore’s D will be too much for Pennington and Miami. In their 27-13 Week 7 win over the Dolphins, the Ravens stopped the vaunted Wildcat offense allowing only 71 rush yards and forcing a pick 6 courtesy of Terrell Suggs. Look for Baltimore to bring the same defensive gameplan and challenge Pennington to go deep (not his strength) where my pick for Defensive Player of the Year, Mr. Ed Reed (and his 9 INTs), will be waiting. All rookie QB Joe Flacco has to do is his best Kerry Collins imitation and take care of the ball and make simple, low risk plays, and leave the rest to Ray Lewis, Bart Scott, Suggs and company. The Dolphins’ and Pennington’s comeback story has been inspiring this year, but it ends this weekend.

A little help on "O" please

A little help on "O" please

Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings, 4:30pm EST, FOX
Line/Total: PHI -2, o/u 41

The pick: PHI -2

If the Eagles were facing any other NFC playoff team, I might think twice about picking them because of their inconsistency and much too frequent brain farts. But against the one-dimensional Vikes, it makes it easy for D-guru Jim Johnson to scheme up ways to stop Adrian Peterson and expose the Vikings passing game. Yes, Minnesota has the top-ranked rush defense, but Philadelphia isn’t too shabby at #5. The difference is that Philly has a very efficient McNabb, who’s making the right reads of late. Also, the Eagles 3rd ranked pass defense will feast on Minny’s 25th ranked pass offense. Nothing else here other than the Eagles secondary has been swarming, and if any bit of the intensity brought against Dallas shows up, it’ll be a long day for Tavaris Jackson. Hopefully, we don’t get any of this on the sidelines.

USC’s KO of Penn State started the year off right. Straight Cash record for 2009: 1-0

Good Luck everyone.

January 3, 2009 Posted by | General, NFL, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Roses are Red, Penn State will be Black and Blue…

Tradition defined

Tradition defined

The Granddaddy of Them All features two traditional powerhouses who missed out on playing in the national title game because of narrow conference losses. Penn State rolls into Pasadena with their high-octane spread offense which averages 452 yards and 40.2 points per game (USC at 452 and 37.5), while the Trojans bring in the nation’s top D allowing 7.8 points a contest (PSU at 12.4). The line dropped from -10 to -9 in the last few days, while the total also dropped from the opening 46.5 to 45. The line movement makes it look like folks expect a tightly contested, defensive struggle.

Another great Samoan Trojan Defender

Another great Samoan Trojan Defender

USC’s defense features several All-Americans and sure 1st rounders led by the talented trio of Brian Cushing, Rey Maualuga and Taylor Mays. Look for them to make it a long day against PSU QB Daryll Clark. The focus intially will be to stuff the run by locking down RB Evan Royster, then follow by heavy blitzing. Penn State faces a USC offense that has not been as dynamic as usual (see O-line) with dinged up QB Mark Sanchez and an RB-by-committee of Joe McKnight, Stafon Johnson and CJ Gable. PSU will focus on locking up the short dumps and dinks and test Sanchez’ deep reads.

This game will be tight early, but I see the Trojans pulling away in the second half, forcing a turnover or two and McKnight busting a Reggie-like big play. What jumps out to me is the following numbers: 0/0/6/0/0/0/7/0/0/6/3/0. Those are the points allowed in the second half of all 12 games for the Trojans this year, that is an astounding 1.83 points average allowed! And that, my friends, will be the difference in this game. This defense is very fast, opportunistic, and most importantly wears down opposing lines.

Watch out Pete, you can't be having anymore of these 1-loss seasons

Watch out Pete, you can't be having anymore of these 1-loss seasons

Joe Pa's been at Penn State since Truman was President ... Truman!!

Joe Pa's been at Penn State since Truman was President ... Truman!!

Even though Cushing and Maualuga will be playing on Sundays, they leave USC without ever tasting national title glory. This is their last time (and Mays too if he declares for the Draft) to wear the cardinal and gold. This is their version of the BCS championship and they’ll lay it all on the line.

The pick: USC -9.

Went a modest 89-74-5 in 2008. Nothing to write home about, but at least up a couple of units. Let’s start the year off right.

Straight Cash … Homey.

January 1, 2009 Posted by | College Football, General, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Fantasy This Holiday Season

The second to last week of December ushers in the Christmas season and prepares us for the New Year, new beginnings, and … the end of Fantasy Football. While most of the world runs around for last minute gifts, stocks up on cartoned nog, or indulges in taboo vices before they make fleeting resolutions, a large segment of the male population closes its doors to Fantasy Football. The 4 month long trudge through two-a-days of Yahoo/Fox updates and second-guessing Steve Slaton’s match-up against Carolina’s run D are over. Ladies, your men are back.

What the world really thinks

What the world really thinks

For 15 to 17 weeks, we are fixated on backup tight ends and whether Nate Kaeding will have more field goal attempts than John Carney. That season long digital trance is what I call the Fantasy Football Funk (FF Funk).

This FF Funk has many a symptom:

  • It causes guys to root against their home team (if indirectly) — “Man, I hope my Giants beat the Cowboys, but Eli throws 3 picks and fumbles twice, because I’m playing Stu this week.”
  • “Hellos” and “What’s ups” are no longer part of exchanges between buds, rather just straight to: “Fool, you’re stupid for starting LT.” or “Hey, you still got a chance on Monday night, IF Seneca Wallace throws for 6 scores against the Steelers.”
  • Guys outright avoid meeting up for drinks or pick-up hoop games for fear of said clowning (see above). Note: Poker night attendance suffers during the FF Funk season.
  • If exchanges are mutual, then we encounter 4-hour long discussions on gap-schemes and ball-hawking fullbacks. FF Funk guys become astrophysicists in these discussions with the eloquence and fervor of Deepak Chopra at a book signing.
  • Scores of bull rushes to nearby laptops and logins (ala those Southwest “ding” commercials) once ESPN News posts a blurb that Darren McFadden has a stinger, and so WE ALL have to get on the Justin Fargas train!! [insert Huggy Bear reference here].
  • The de-evolution of Fantasy League Commissioners (and I ran 2 of the 4 leagues I was in myself) into some hate-spewing control freak, reminding managers twice a week to pay their league fee and regurgitating the rules that are clearly posted.

I know there’s a bunch more FF Funk symptoms and irrational behavior, I just don’t have to time to list them since being free.

Time to refocus priorities

Time to refocus priorities

But there are a few good things that come out of the FF Funk, and that’s if you win your league, you get some straight cash homey. Or in my case, you have to explain to your wife (because Sundays are all booked up), the nuances and rules of football, because she wants to “relate”. This had a great effect though, because of our added “together time” on Sundays, she’s allowed me 20 extra minutes a week of surfing hot sites like this one. But that’s another story.

So we delete those Fantasy bookmarks, wave goodbye to NFL injury lists, say adios to pass defendeds and auf wiedersehen to 3rd string “sleeper” backs. And as we hear the kids sing carols, smell the evergreen wreaths, and wrap the fruitcake for the in-laws, we get back to what’s really important … betting on Bowl Games.

It’s good to have my life back. Peace out FF Funk.

Happy holidays!

December 23, 2008 Posted by | Fantasy Football, NFL | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment