It's crazy how little I've slept in the last few days, as tired as I was last night I went to sleep and still woke up around 5:00 am local time here in Prague. We left our hotel at about 8:30 am to go get some breakfast before it was time to meet with Jan again. We found a spot and sat down. There is a reason why The United State is heavier than most European countries, and I found that out first hand at breakfast this morning. I don't know the name of what I ordered but it was basically a ham and cheese melt that was toasted, and it was fantastic. The problem was that it was tiny. I could have eaten at least three times what I ate. That is why Europeans are so much skinnier, they eat way smaller portions. In the US we are so concerned with how many grams of fat the meal has, and how many carbs and complex carbs, I don't see any of that over here in the short time that I have been here. It seems that, in general, Europeans don't care so much what they eat as far as health goes, but they just eat much less of it that Americans do. Also here in Europe, if you order a coke, you get a coke. Only one coke though. There is no refills, and even the drink that you get is maybe 10 ounces. In America you can order a medium coke at a fast food place and it comes out 32 ounces or something crazy, and even then if you sit in the restaurant you can get refills. Its a different world over here. After half a breakfast we went to meet Jan. Jan showed up with a big Czech smile on his face and off we went to walk around the city of Praha to the natives, but we call it Prague. The first place we went was to the Prague Castle, which is the residence of the Czech President, and yes it is called a president according to Jan. We were being guided by a local so we had a tip, you see for a long time this gorgeous Gothic style Cathedral building was open to the public, but a few years ago I guess they decided to charge to get into the building. Some religious people apparently made a stink about it because they simply wanted to go in and pray inside this beautiful church. So here we are, three Americans walking up to this guard with our Czech speaking tour guide, Jan, and he starts talking to Czech to this guy and after a minute or two, my sister and my dad and I are escorted into this building and then escorted inside the roped off area to sit in the pews where we were supposed to be praying, I guess. It was crazy that of the 500 people maybe, all of which were paying customers except us, here we were sitting in a roped off area as everybody else walked around us. Then after we left the Cathedral, we head over to the Tower. It cost 9 bucks a piece for us to go up there, and once you got up there the view was spectacular....once you got up there. We walked up 287 stairs in a spiral staircase that was maybe 8 feet in diameter, so you couldn't see more than six stairs in front of you at any given time. 287 stairs doesn't sound like a ton, but it was plenty of stairs for us Americans. It was enough stairs that about half way up I was thinking to myself that the Czech government should invest in a lift. It wasn't only us that were tired, I asked a guy that was coming down as we were walking up if we were close once and he said, "not really. you better pace yourself." Whew, we finally made it up the stairs and to my dismay there was no bed to take turns laying in when we got up there, but luckily I managed to make it up just fine. After the tower we headed out of the castle area, and found something to eat and drink as us Americans were tuckered out at this point. On our way back to our apartment we walked across the Charles Bridge which was very interesting. It was a bridge in which cars were not allowed and there were all sorts of interesting people selling stuff from drawings to dream catcher looking things. There was also a guy on the bridge who was apparently pretty famous because Jan had seen him before. This guy was playing literally at least 6 instruments and one time, and he was good too. He had 4 or 5 instruments attached to his hands and then another one each attached to his feet. Every time he tapped his feet it would make an instrument make a noise. It was very interesting and he drew quite a large crowd. From there it was time to start heading back to our apartment because we were tired and Jan had to meet his family somewhere. We took a subway back for about a mile and a half or so, and on the Subway I got to stand next to a beautiful Czech girl with long blonde hair and a great set of....I digress, anyway we were finally getting back to the area where I could kind of recognize and I knew we needed to take a left at this certain point of or journey to get back home. Us Americans were dragging from walking so much as we approached the point. When we got there Jan said, "I think we should go straight here," not because he didn't know where we were but because he wanted to take us to an island in the middle of the river, which ended up being pretty cool, but after so much walking me and my sister and my dad were ready to be back in our apartment and resting. We did finally make it back and after Jan came up to check out our place and chat for another ten minutes or so, it was time to say our goodbyes to Jan, as we are leaving the next morning for another town in the Czech Republic. As soon as Jan walked out the door you would've thought that the third atomic bomb had been dropped in our room because we all hit the pillows so fast. That is another thing about Europe is that there is so many less cars there, and everybody is always walking. Jan seemed very fresh as my family was stumbling down the stretch. Another reason why Europeans are skinnier maybe is because they walk so much. Anyway, this is getting long. I will catch up tomorrow when we reach our next destination in the Czech Republic.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Wow, what a long day to Prague. First a 4 hour flight from Seattle to Detroit. Next a 7 hour flight from Detroit to Paris, and lastly an hour and a half flight from there to Prague. Whew, that was a long one, and like I said yesterday, I intended to sleep on the flights but I didn't do much of that. Instead, I watched a couple movies from Detroit to Paris, including Rain Man, which was a great movie and made Alan's comments and actions on The Hangover even funnier. After that movie, I did the dumbest thing that I have done in.....maybe a week or so. I got up to go use the bathroom about 12 seconds before the drink cart passed my row so that when I got out of the bathroom I wasn't able to get back to my seat because the drink cart was in the way. I ended up chatting with a different flight attendant for about 20 minutes, and she was married and has two kids and lives in Detroit in case anybody wanted to know. But eventually we made it to Prague and a guy named Thomas picked us up and took us to our apartment that a guy was renting out to us for two nights. We(actually not me at all, but my dad) gave Thomas 500 Czech Koruna for taking us. A dollar equals about 17 Czech Koruna so I will let you do that math because I am tired. We arrived at our apartment at about 4:00 pm local time on Saturday evening, and we had two hours before we were going to meet a friend of my dads that he had met on a different trip. We met at the Hard rock Cafe in Prague, mostly because that was one of the few signs that we could read and recognize. A 27-year old man, who was fluent in Czech, English, German and Chinese, walked up named Jan. Jan was dad's buddy, a local guy, and he took us around Prague for the remaining few hours that we had left for that night. "Jan" is pronounced Yawn, which ironically enough was what me and my sister were doing all night long. We were tired, so we were indeed "yawning." Anyway, after walking around the streets of Prague for many hours we sat down at a restaurant. I was starving, and Jan recommended the Roasted Duck and Dumplings, so that is what I ate with my local Pilsner Beer that I really didn't enjoy all that much, but it was cool to say that I had a local Czech beer. The Duck on the other hand was stupendous. Jan said to never ever leave The Czech Republic without learning the most important saying in Czech, "Budo mit jeste jendo pivo." which means, "I'll have one more beer." I will leave all(and I use the word "all" lightly) of you with a question that Jan asked as we were walking away from an ice cream stand. You see the lady running the ice cream shop had a quite visible tattoo on her cleavage. As we were walking away eating our ice cream Jan asked me a question that was something to the effect of this, "If I make a compliment about her tattoo, is that a nice thing to say, or does it look bad that I am even looking down there at all??" Its a no win situation I guess, Hmmm the thoughts to ponder in Prague Czech Republic. I will catch up with you all tomorrow hopefully.
Posted by usumatty at 5/21/2011 03:42:00 PM
Friday, May 20, 2011
So here I sit in my house at 4:00 AM Pacific time in the Great Northwest. I am about to fall asleep on the couch because if I sleep in my bed, I will have to remake it, and I don't want to do that. I am goofing around on facebook and youtube trying to stay awake as long as possible, so that I can sleep tomorrow on the plane. Where am I going you ask? Well that is a good question, and I don't know the full answer, but I'll tell you what I do know. I am positive that my flight leaves Seattle at 1:15 in the afternoon(Day 1 of my trip) and I am positive that we stop in Detroit and then get on an Air France flight that will take us to Paris, France. Then its a short hour and a half flight to Prague Czech Republic, our destination. When I say we I mean my Dad and sister. My dad is the brains of the operation, and while I was trying to graduate college he was making plans through Europe. Anyway, its Prague for about a week I think, and then some other places for awhile too, including Vienna Austria, and Hungary. That might be it, but I'm not sure. That is kind of the fun of it for me, I don't exactly know where I am going or how long I'll be in a place until I am there. I am going to do my best to write a little something in this blog each and every day of my 18 days in Europe, and maybe one of you brave souls can read about and follow my journey to wherever it is that I go. Day 1 begins tomorrow and I look forward to updating everybody on the busy day in the airports.
Posted by usumatty at 5/20/2011 04:59:00 AM
Monday, March 28, 2011
On Sunday, March 13th the Virginia Commonwealth University(VCU) Rams were sitting in front of the TV watching the Selection Show on ESPN, hoping and praying that they would just get into the tournament. And when they got that call, they didn’t take it for granted. Two weeks later to the day the VCU Rams punched their ticket to the Final Four in Houston next weekend. What a ride they have had, so far.
All of the critics on Selection Sunday have everything negative to say about them. “They had a sub-par year, they lost to South Florida, who was awful this year. When you look at their resume, its just not right that they are in over Colorado or Virginia Tech.” Well ol’ Shaka thought otherwise, and wasn’t going to be satisfied with just getting there. They were clearly one of the last teams in, as they had to play in the “opening round game” against USC the Tuesday before the main tournament even started. If you win that game then you get to be the 11 seed, and face a Big East team, Georgetown in the second round(what used to be called the first round.)
The Rams were not huge underdogs against USC, so it wasn’t a huge surprise to see them knock off the Trojans in an opening round game, 59-46. Yah that was a good win, a good way to say F you to the critics who thought they shouldn’t be in, but everybody in the world thought that that was as far as they are going. Well almost everybody. Shake Smart and the rest of the team in that locker room before the Georgetown game thought otherwise. VCU came out and shocked the country and ruined a lot of brackets in the meantime and beat Georgetown, badly. VCU looked much like a 3 seed as they rolled to an 18 point win over Georgetown, 74-56. “Yah they beat Georgetown, but the Hoyas were on a 5 game losing streak going into that game, and has injury issues. No way they get by Purdue, who had a 14-4 record in the Big 12.” Said all of the critics. All of the sudden VCU beats a very good defensive Purdue team by a score of 94-76, and all of the sudden the country starts to watch.
An eleven seed in the sweet 16 in not all that uncommon, it seems like every year there is one double digit team that gets to the sweet 16, but typically get beat right away when their opponent has all week to study them. They usually just flat out get beaten by a better team. It seemed no different this year when VCU went to the sweet 16 to play another favored team in Florida State. Florida State was a 10 seed, but just got done beating a great team in Notre Dame out of the Big East. Yet again, VCU upsets a team and this time advances to the Elite 8 by beating Florida State 72-71 in overtime. After the game, Shaka Smart said one of my favorite quotes in sports, “It’s amazing what a team can do when nobody cares who gets the credit.” That quote rings true for the Rams as that teams scoring is spread around so well. “Great, you beat Florida State to get to the Elite 8, this is a great story for the VCU players and fans, but they are not going to get past Kansas.” Everybody in the sports world, including myself, was saying this about VCU’s chances against Kansas who was the far superior team on paper. In fact, at tip-off of the game Kansas was favored by 11.5 points in Vegas.
It was a chance to get the Final Four for both teams, and both would come out strong, so we thought. In fact Kansas came out strong and started the game on a 6-0 run. But it wasn’t the score that seemed overwhelming for the Rams, but mostly how Kansas’ D gave them no real good chances on the offensive side of the court. But all of the sudden VCU started to play, they got great shots, made most of those shots and shot especially well from 3 point land. VCU went on a run and ended the first half up by 14 points on the heavily favored Kansas team. At halftime Shaka Smart said, “Kansas will make a run in the second half, they are good. We have to be ready and try to protect the lead when the run comes.” Shaka was a prophet, Kansas did make a run and got it all the way down to three points, but the Rams of VCU proved their prominence in this tournament and held off the Jayhawks, eventually winning the game 71-61. VCU was underdogs in every single one of their wins in the tourney, all of which were to opponents from different conferences. USC is from the Pac-10, Georgetown from the Big East, Purdue from the Big 10, Florida State from the ACC, and then Kansas from the Big 12. Ironically enough the Rams play another team from a different conference on Saturday, the Butler Bulldogs from the Horizon League, who are there on their own Cinderella run as they were last year as well. Now if VCU can win on Saturday followed by a Kentucky win on Saturday night over UConn, the Rams would play their 7th team from 7 different conferences(Kentucky from the SEC). That would be quite the story on the way to the National Title. I for one am cheering for Shaka Smart and the VCU Rams to make a run the whole way. Win or lose this weekend, it is safe to say that Shaka Smart could be a very very rich man in a few months when potentially some big school start to chase him and pay him the big bucks. But for now, go VCU, good luck in the final four in Houston this weekend.
Posted by usumatty at 3/28/2011 11:31:00 PM
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
On the day after Thanksgiving, the BCS could take a major shake up, as the #2 Auburn Tigers travels to the #11 Alabama Crimson Tide. Then the #21 Arizona Wildcats go on the road to Autzen Stadium to take on the #1 Oregon Ducks. But not to be outdone, the #4 Boise State Broncos go to #19 Nevada Wolf Pack, in a game that the Broncos need to dominate in order to stay alive in the BCS race.
#21 Arizona @ #1 Oregon:
Of the three big games, I expect that this one is the biggest Laugh-er. The Oregon Ducks are the top ranked team in the nation for a reason, they are the best. Their offense is among the best in the country scoring an average of 50.7 points per game to go along with 291 rushing yards per game. To put it bluntly, the Oregon Ducks are hard to stop. Arizona is a good team, but have lost two games in a row to Stanford and then USC, and have looked bad in both of those games. I don't expect it to get any better as they travel to Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. The Ducks will roll in this one, and retain their #1 spot atop the BCS standings.
The spread in this one is Oregon by 19.5. Oregon stunk it up in their last game and barely survived California 15-13. I think that the Ducks get back on track here and dominate Arizona. I'll take the Ducks(-19.5) as they will beat up on the Wildcats at home, 44-14.
#2 Auburn @ #11 Alabama:
The Iron Bowl is set for this Friday, and it will be a dandy. This match-up features the 5th ranked offense of Auburn against the 3rd ranked defense of Alabama. Alabama has given up only an average of just 12.8 points per game, which makes you wonder how they have lost two games this year? Ohh yah, that because they are the SEC and have to play a tough team every single week. But wait, so is Auburn, and they are a perfect 11-0 for the year. Auburn averages 42.8 points a game, good enough for 5th best in the country, but this is a tough task to go to Alabama in the Iron Bowl. With the controversy surrounding Cameron Newton I don't know if Auburn can go to Tuscaloosa and win. Alabama is not where they expected to be right now, but that leaves them with no pressure in the Iron Bowl. You can bet that Alabama wants nothing more than to prevent their arch rivals from the chance at the BCS National Championship game. Auburn, on the other hand, has everything to lose, and that could lead to some tightness early in this, the biggest game of their season to date. This game will be a battle to the very end, and it could go either way in the Iron Bowl this year.
The spread here is Alabama by 4.5 points, which surprised me a little bit because Auburn is undefeated, but Alabama is the more experienced team in big games, having won the National Championship last year, and they deserve to be the favorites. They wont take Auburn lightly, and I think Alabama will "upset" a higher seeded Auburn team in Tuscaloosa on Friday. I do think that Auburn will cover the spread, but that Alabama will win the game. Ill take Auburn(+4.5). But Alabama wins the most competitive game of the day, 26-24.
#4 Boise State @ #19 Nevada:
This might be the biggest game that nobody is talking about on Friday, especially if Alabama handles Auburn. Boise State is the Cinderella team in college football, and the team that everybody wants to get their shot at the BCS National Championship game. Due to a weak strength of schedule, Boise has not gotten that opportunity. Is this this year? Maybe it's not fair, but I'll just say it. If Auburn and Oregon win out, then they will be the two teams playing for the National Championship, and again Boise State will be snubbed. BUT if one of those teams lose(most likely Auburn), and Boise can jump TCU then Boise could get that shot that everybody wants them to get. This is the game that Boise State wants on their schedule, a late season game against a ranked opponent on the road. This is that kind of game that they have been missing in the past. The interesting thing is that if Auburn can beat Alabama this game loses some of its luster because it doesn't matter as much for the BCS National Title game. Right now Boise State has a .8860 in the BCS, and TCU is only at .8995. TCU struggled in their last game against a mediocre San Diego State team, only beating them 40-35. If Auburn loses, and Boise keeps beating teams bad while TCU struggles against okay team, Boise could barely bump up enough to get that shot. Chris Petersen will have his troops ready to go into Reno and win a big game. "But wait, what about us?" says Nevada? And they have a point, Nevada is very good too, going 10-1 on the year so far with the only loss being to a good team at Hawaii. Colin Kaepernick can lead his team down the field and score, averaging 44.1 points per game, good enough for 4th in the country. But Boise prides themselves on defense and are ranked 2nd in the country for points against with 11.5 per game. I think that the home crown and very good offense will keep the Wolf Pack in this thing for a quarter or so, but Boise is too good on both sides of the ball and will run away with it late.
The spread is Boise State by 14. Here is how I see this one going down. Nevada will be great in the first quarter and a half but Boise State will stay with them and hang around and where them down by halftime, and come out and crush them in the second half once the crowd has been taken out of it. So bettors, don't be alarmed when Nevada comes out strong, and stays with the Broncos. If the score is 10-7 Boise or even Nevada after the first quarter that wouldn't scare me if I bet Boise. I would bet the farm on Boise(-14) in this game. Once the excitement of the game dies down a little, and the crowd has calmed down and it comes down to just the teams on the field, Boise will roll. After a 7-7 first quarter, Boise will come alive and win the game 35-13 in Reno.
Oregon rolls at home against a average Arizona squad 44-14. Auburn comes close, but misses their chance at the National Title with a 26-24 loss to the Crimson Tide. This leaves a opening for Boise State to jump to #2 in the BCS. TCU will win this week against a bad New Mexico team, but a big win for Boise will bump them to #2 because of the strength of their win versus TCU's win against a bad team. Boise State beats a good Nevada team on the road, 35-13, and come Sunday look for those pesky Broncos to be up to #2 in the BCS standings, for now at least.
Posted by usumatty at 11/24/2010 12:20:00 AM
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
The AFC South seems to always belong to the Indianapolis Colts, will this be the year that changes? Houston, Tennessee, and even Jacksonville think so.
Houston has one of the best teams in the league on paper it seems, but never seem to get it done. The Texans have one of, if not, the best wide receivers in the league in Andre Johnson and a great quarterback in Matt Schaub but somehow Houston just falls short every year. Part of that problem is the tough division that the AFC South has become over the years. The Texans famously took Mario Williams as the number one pick a few years ago in the draft over Reggie Bush, and that has proved to be a pretty solid choice as Williams has solidified the Texans defense. Texans took highly sought after runningback Steve Slaton but were not satisfied there yet. Texans selected Auburn runningback Ben Tate to add to their runningback core, but just half way through camp he has already came down with a bum ankle, so it looks like Slaton might get the majority of the carries early in the season. The Texans start out with a huge game at home against Indy, and then go on the road to the rejuvenated Washington Redskins team. If they can split those they might be off to a promising season, but to start at 0-2 could be the start of a tailspin. I'm not counting the Texans out, but it just seems like they are not ready to have that huge year yet.
What is there to say about the Colts? They have, arguably, the leagues best quarterback in Peyton Manning. They have a great receiver in Reggie Wayne, and some pretty good up in comers with Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie. Dallas Clark is one of the best tight ends in the league, so where are the holes in the Colts? Ohh yah, and this year they will get back a healthy Bob Sanders, which will most definitely help out an already pretty good defense. The Colts went to the Superbowl last year, and it will be tough for anybody in this division to stop them from getting to the playoffs again this year. Nothing bad to say about the Colts. Injuries can always play a part though, and the Colts are not known for their youth, but you can never predict that and the Colts will again have a great season in front of the fans at Lucas Oil Stadium.
MJD, MJD, MJD. That is by far the most important play on the Jaguars. Maurice Jones-Drew is a stud of a runningback and will be the focal point of the Jaguars offense again this year. The Jaguars finished last in their division last year, but the division is so competitive that there record was only 7-9, the best record for a team that was in the cellar of their division last year. Jacksonville's quarterback is good enough to be a part of a solid team. David Garrard doesn't throw the ball super deep, and likely is not a pro bowl quarterback, but usually has a good TD to interception ratio(although it was only 15-10 last season). The Jaguars also have a decent defense that will keep them in games if they can get some points. One of the biggest problems with the Jaguars is the lack of support in the local area. I mean don't get me wrong its not like there is no fans, but the buzz is not there that there is around the rest of the league. Jacksonville is often blacked out from TV in their local area because they do no sell out games at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. Jacksonville is always about the same team. They are pretty mediocre and hang in for a wild card spot the whole season long. I don't expect any of that to change this season, their division is so tough that it is hard to pick a mediocre team like them to do anything. They might compete in other divisions, but this one is just too good.
The Tennessee Titans lost their first 6 games last season including a 59-0 loss at New England in week six. The Titans then decided to bring in Vince Young and everything turned around, as they won 8 of their last 10 games, and with one week left in the season they actually had a mathematical chance to make the playoffs. They did their part in beating the Seahawks but didn't get in the playoffs. The Titans have a lot to be excited about though as they enter the 2010 season. Vince Young is not a guy you would want on your fantasy team, but he just seems to be a winner. He was a winner in college, and the end of last season showed that he can be a winner in the NFL too. Aside from the quarterback position, the Titans have the most explosive runningback in the league in Chris Johnson. Chris Johnson has set a personal goal to break Eric Dickerson's single season rushing record, which is at 2105 yards. Chris Johnson ended the season last year with eleven straight games of 100+ yards, and if that continues then he could very well break the record. The Titans are fun to watch, and if they were in a different division, they might be a favorite, but they are just another team trying to chase down the Colts here in the AFC South.
I feel bad for teams like Houston and Tennessee, as the players there are losing year after year just waiting for Peyton Manning to retire or something, but that doesn't seem like it will happen for awhile. I love Tennessee's leadership, and I love Houston's talent as they seem to be prime for a division championship eventually. But its hard to pick against the Colts in this one. Peyton Manning is just too good, and the weapons around him will prove, once again, to be too much for the competition in this league. I'll again take the easy pick in this league, Colts will win it again.
1. Indianapolis Colts
2. Tennessee Titans (Wild Card Birth)
3. Houston Texans
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Posted by usumatty at 8/25/2010 11:10:00 PM
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
The AFC West seems to be the one division in the NFL this year that looks like a runaway. Anything can happen though, lets have a look at the teams trying to get that AFC West crown.
There is lots of hype surrounding Tim Tebow as a Bronco, but to me it doesn't really matter a whole lot. He is not going to start for this season at least. Kyle Orton is the starting quarterback in Denver, and last year he actually had a pretty solid season considering who he had to work with. Last season the Broncos came out of the gates flying and started 6-0, but stumbled down the stretch to miss the playoffs, finishing at 8-8, including losses at home to Oakland in week 15, 20-19, and to the Chiefs in week 17, 44-24, in a game they had to win to have a shot at the playoffs. To me, they overachieved when the season started, and then everybody expected a lot, and they came back to reality at the end of the season. As far as the 2010 season, I don't expect a lot from the Broncos. They have an aging quarterback who was an afterthought when he went to the Broncos a couple years ago, and they lost one of the best wide receivers in the league in Brandon Marshall going to Miami. Denver has a decent Defense on paper, but giving up 44 points at home in a must win game against Kansas City isn't exactly promising for the upcoming season. Denver has a proud football tradition, but I don't expect anything to happen this year. If I'm a Denver fan, I'm hoping for them to lose some games and get some good draft picks to help Tebow in the future. I like Tebow because he seems to do things the right way, and seems to be a winner, but that will be in the future. not this year. 8-8 would be a best case scenario record for the Broncos this season.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS-
The Kansas City Chiefs were 4-12 last season after signing the highly sought after Matt Cassel from the New England Patriots. I thought Cassel was way over-rated when the Chiefs signed him because he benefited from a good system in New England. But nevertheless, Matt Cassel is the quarterback in Kansas City that fans are pinning their hopes of a turnaround season on. Matt Cassel has the help on offense though, with young runningback Jamaal Charles seeming to come into his own, and receiver Dwayne Bowe doing the same. The problem with the Chiefs is not the offense, its the defense. I mean, don't get me wrong, I don't expect the Chiefs to light up the scoreboard or anything but with a decent defense they might be able to compete in most games. I don't see the Chiefs competing this year, but they are a team on the upswing for sure. I'll pick them to finish second in the division, ahead of the Broncos. I'll say Kansas City finishes the season at 8-8 this year, and will be a much more competitive team then they have been in the past few seasons.
The Oakland Raiders have been the model of a bad franchise for the last few years. They have had bad draft picks, problems with coaches punching coaches, allegedly, and mostly have an owner that wants it his way or no way. Al Davies has been the owner of the Raiders for a long long time, and lots of people believe that it is time for him to go. The Oakland Raiders, as far as defense goes, are pretty solid. The offense is pretty bad though. Who is the Raiders quarterback? Russell? Gradkowski? Brennan? Boller? Well Russell had too much "purple drank" and wasn't good anyway. It looks like Al Davies and Head Coach Tom Cable have decided to go with Jason Campbell, who the Washington Redskins gave to the Raiders for six old water bottles. The Raiders think that the ex first round draft pick can make them competitive. This team is the opposite of Kansas City, as they have a solid enough defense but cannot score any points, and the quarterback position in the past has been a disaster. The Raiders were only 5-11 last year, so there is a lot of room to improve, but they were outscored in the season by 181 points. I don't see the season turning around too much for the Raiders. This franchise is just not ready to succeed. Raiders will be the last place team in the division, I'm guessing with a record of 5-11 again.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS-
The San Diego Chargers are by far the class of the division in the AFC West, they have won the division the last four years, and I don't suspect that will change this year. The Chargers have the best offense in the AFC West with Philip Rivers leading the way at quarterback. The only real difference this year is that longtime runningback Ladainian Tomlinson has gone to the New York Jets. I think this will be a blessing for the Chargers because Tomlinson was a celebrity in San Diego, and he played a lot more than maybe he should have. He was great for the Chargers organization, but there is a time to leave, and that time was now for the Chargers. Taking over his spot will be rookie runningback Ryan Matthews from Fresno State University. This will be a big story to follow this year around the Chargers, but even if it doesn't go well, the Chargers have enough offensive and defensive firepower to handle this division. Philip Rivers is in the top five quarterbacks in the league, and certainly is the best quarterback in this division. With Rivers leading the way, and one of the best tight ends in the league in Antonio Gates, it should be the Chargers division to win. I predict that the Chargers will be 10-6 at worst, but will run away with the AFC West.
When I think about division winners for any sport, it is fun to find a team to upset the favorite. It would be fun to pick the Chiefs to win the division, or the Raiders, or ride the hot start that the Broncos had last year and take them, but the truth is that this division is already over. The Chargers are the heavy favorites in this division, and I cannot find and reason to pick against them. I'll take the team that everybody expects, the San Diego Chargers, to win the AFC West. This is my prediction for the division:
1. San Diego Chargers
2. Kansas City Chiefs
3. Denver Broncos
4. Oakland Raiders
Posted by usumatty at 8/24/2010 11:40:00 AM