Wednesday, August 24, 2016

2010 NFL Power Rankings: Week 4 (Commentary for All 32 Teams)

Week three saw several top teams fall – the Saints, Packers, and Texans were among many teams who enter week four with redemption in mind. In light of those losses, the Colts and Steelers have moved up to assume the top two spots on our power rankings board, while the Jets have made their way into the top five after two impressive wins over their division rivals. These power rankings consider teams as they head into week four of the 2010 NFL season, which also happens to be the first bye week. The Cowboys and Vikings, both of whom earned much-needed wins, are among four teams who have the chance to rest up. With that said, here are my 2010 NFL week 4 power rankings. [ ] denote last week’s ranking. For week 4 NFL picks, click here.

2010 NFL Power Rankings Week 4
1. Indianapolis Colts (2-1) [3] – The Colts have taken over the top spot, and their upcoming match-ups could keep them here for a while. Peyton Manning may have found a new go-to receiver in Austin Collie or Peyton Manning may just be Peyton Manning; he knows how to distribute the football, and he has the weapons. Manning and Co. have to be excited about their week four meeting with the lowly Jaguars.

2010 NFL Power Rankings Week 4
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0) [5] – Long-time third-stringer Charlie Batch played through a full game, and even he looked great. Now the Steelers are 3-0, and they’re looking to welcome back quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a flawless 4-0. Do they miss him? I’m sure they do, but their defense, and apparently now their offense, looks like they can accumulate wins without him. A tough divisional game against the Ravens will be a big test, but Pittsburgh is for real.

2010 NFL Power Rankings Week 4
3. New Orleans Saints (2-1) [1] – Everyone will remember Jeff Hartley’s missed overtime field goal, but it wasn’t his fault that the Saints let the surging Falcons hang around. There doesn’t appear to be too much that separates the Saints and the Falcons these days, but New Orleans should rebound in a big way against the dismal Panthers.

2010 NFL Power Rankings Week 4
4. New York Jets (2-1) [6] – If Mark Sanchez keeps playing like he has the last two weeks, the Jets will continue to look like the contenders that they proclaimed they were before the start of the season. If they win against the Bills, which they should, the Jets will have successfully completed an early AFC East sweep.

2010 NFL Power Rankings Week 4
5. Atlanta Falcons (2-1) [7] – Excuse me New Orleans, but the Falcons are here, and it looks like they’re here to stay. Michael Turner finally showed up, and Matt Ryan continued to play with poise and precision. The Falcons are preparing for a home game against the underachieving 49ers, but there’s no need for them to be overtly confident – not yet at least.

2010 NFL Power Rankings Week 4
6. Chicago Bears (3-0) [13] – What an invigorating win for the Chicago Bears, one that rightfully launches them into the top-ten. Monday night’s primetime win didn’t necessarily showcase the Bears at their best, but no one can refute the fact that this team has been rejuvenated. Their growing swagger and confidence should help them as they travel this week to play the struggling New York Giants.

2010 NFL Power Rankings Week 4
7. Green Bay Packers (2-1) [2] – The number one overall spot on week four editions of NFL power rankings was up for Green Bay’s taking after the Saints loss, but the Packers had their own divisional shortcoming against the revived Bears. Similarly to the Saints, luckily they have an upcoming match-up against the Lions.

2010 NFL Power Rankings Week 4
8. Baltimore Ravens (2-1) [9] – Wow, what a week for Joe Flacco and Anquan Boldin. The two finally had their coming out party, connecting for 142 yards and 3 touchdowns together. If the Ravens carry this over to Pittsburgh, they can tarnish the perfect Steelers’ record. Maybe T.J. Housmandzadeh will decide he wants to play football sometime soon, too.

2010 NFL Power Rankings Week 4
9. Houston Texans (2-1) [4] – It was their chance to signal a shifting of powers in the Lone Star state, but the Texans crumbled under the lights. Matt Shaub and Andre Johnson face another tough secondary in the upcoming Raiders game, but their team should come away with the needed win.

2010 NFL Power Rankings Week 4
10. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) [14] – Michael Vick is playing as good or arguably better than any quarterback in the league right now. He has become more patient in the pocket, but he still possesses the uncanny ability to break a big run when his weak Eagles’ o-line fails him. The Eagles are building momentum behind Vick, and an upcoming meeting with Donovan McNabb, their former quarterback, creates the biggest storyline of the week.

2010 NFL Power Rankings Week 4
11. New England Patriots (2-1) [11] – Who would have thought that the Bills would put up 30 points and lose by only eight to the Patriots? I surely didn’t. If their defense doesn’t figure it out, the Dolphins are going to put the Pats in third place of the AFC East.

2010 NFL Power Rankings Week 4
12. Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) [12] – Their offense still hasn’t seem to figure it out, and the Browns defense has done a pretty solid job limiting opposing teams. The Bengals are a better team, but are they about to give the Browns their first win of the season?

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
13. Miami Dolphins (2-1) [10] – The Dolphins lost a disappointing game to the Jets, but at least Chad Henne and Brandon Marshall finally looked like they were on the same page. The Dolphins face another tough divisional game against the New England Patriots, but I actually think they can win this one.

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
14. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) [15] – The Chiefs are one of the biggest surprises of the season. No one saw this 3-0 start coming, and this bye week gives them a chance to rest up and extra time to prepare for their week five match-up against the Colts. Whether or not Kansas City can maintain their strong push out of the gates is unknown for now, but they certainly look much better than anyone could have expected.

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
15. Tennessee Titans (2-1) [18] – When Vince Young hands off the ball to Chris Johnson, good things typically happen for Tennessee. If Young can keep posting games like last week, in which he took care of the ball and made throws when needed, the Titans can expect more wins. A game in Denver this week looks promising.

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
16. Seattle Seahawks (2-1) [24] – Their win over the Chargers was far from flawless, but it was an important win. Leon Washington’s electric kickoff returns for touchdowns (he had two of them) remind the Seahawks that their special teams are, in fact, special. What’s most encouraging for Seattle, however? Qwest is finally a fun, rowdy place to play again.

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
17. San Diego Chargers (1-2)[8] – We all know the Chargers love to heckle their fans and begin their seasons ridiculously slow, but was that week three loss to the Seahawks necessary. Philip Rivers did everything he could to deliver a fourth-quarter, comeback victory, but the Chargers gave the win away. Five turnovers, over 80 yards of penalties, and allowing two kick-off returns for touchdowns equals a deserved loss. The Cardinals look like a good match-up on paper, but should San Diegans really get excited?

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
18. Dallas Cowboys (1-2) [20] – Jerry Jones and the entire Cowboys organization can finally breathe a big sigh of relief. No, the Cowboys don’t head into the bye week with their season exactly where they want it, but at least Sunday’s crucial and imposing win over the Texans proved that they can still be contenders. Something to note: Roy E. Williams will have more big games.

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
19. TampaBay Buccaneers (2-1) [19] – The Buccaneers were bound to lose one, and they lost a tough one to Pittsburg. They’ll take advantage of their bye week and look forward to a winnable game against the Bengals in week five.

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
20. Minnesota Vikings (1-2) [21] – We got to see a vintage Adrian Peterson rumble for 160 yards and two touchdowns. We also go to see a vintage Farve throw two interceptions. The Vikings got a win, but the aforementioned formula won’t produce similar results against teams not named the Lions. They have a bye week and then a tough Monday night showdown in week five against the Jets.

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
21. Arizona Cardinals (2-1) [26] – The Cardinals’ new favorite kicker: Raider Sebastian Janikowski. His three missed field goals are largely responsible for their win, but they got the win and that’s all that matters. The Chargers will be a tough match-up, but there is upset potential in this game

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
22. Washington Redskins (1-2) [17] – One of the worst teams in the league (St. Louis) humbled the Redskins last week. Now Washington has to travel to Philadelphia in a game that will receive more than enough attention this week

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
23. New York Giants (1-2)[16] – The Giants have lost two in a row and face a Bears team that is hungry. If Eli Manning continues to throw more interceptions than touchdowns, the Giants can expect to keep losing.

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
24. Denver Broncos (1-2) [23] – Kyle Orton has been putting up the numbers, but he has to miss Brandon Marshall.

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
25. St. Louis Rams (1-2) [30] – They got their first win! But is Steven Jackson okay?

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
26. Oakland Raiders (1-2) [27] – Poor Jason Campbell. Poor Oakland.

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) [22] – They just keep getting worse and worse. Their week four meeting with the Colts won’t make things any better.

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
28. Detroit Lions (0-3) [28] – The Lions looked like they were on to something with their offense the last couple weeks, but Sunday’s outing against the Vikings was just pitiful. They got into the red zone four times, twice more than the Vikings, but they failed to capitalize. Traveling home from Green Bay won’t be fun.

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
29. San Francisco 49ers (0-3) [25] – Could there be a more disappointing team in the NFL? They have so much potential and yet no wins to show for. Once again, Alex Smith and everyone on the offense not named Frank Gore looked lost, and the defense – well, can you even call that defense?

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
30. Buffalo Bills (0-3) [32] – The sudden quarterback switch to Ryan Fitzpatrick nearly netted Buffalo a win that would have made their season interesting. Fitzpatrick sparked the offense and rookie C.J. Spiller demonstrated why he was a top-ten pick. Now if only the Bills can find a way to utilize the two and put a one in the victory column.

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
31. Cleveland Browns (0-3) [31] – Peyton Hillis arguably gives the Browns something to smile about, but can anyone smile after another loss that puts Cleveland at 0-3?

2010 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings
32. Carolina Panthers (0-3) [29] – Rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen had one completion and 0.0 passer rating at halftime this past weekend. The Panthers are just awful, and now they visit the Saints.

Source (for stats)

Espn.go.com

Tags:2010 NFL Power Rankings: Week 4 (Commentary for All 32 Teams)

2010 NFL Power Rankings: Week 4

Three weeks into the season and we’re down to only three undefeated teams (Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Chicago Bears). At the rate things are going, there won’t be any undefeated teams left after the next couple of weeks.

For my Week 3 Power Rankings, click here.

Here are my 2010 NFL Power Rankings going into Week 4 of the NFL season (last week’s Power Ranking in parentheses):

Biggest Gainers: Chicago Bears (+9), Pittsburgh Steelers (+6), Atlanta Falcons (+5)

Biggest Losers: Washington Redskins (-7), San Diego Chargers (-6), Houston Texans (-5), San Francisco 49ers (-5)

1 (7) Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0)

The Steelers’ outstanding defense has been even better than expected, and they were even able to get the offense rolling against the Buccaneers. If Ben Roethlisberger is able to play even half as good as he’s capable of when he comes back, the Steelers will be one of the teams to beat in the AFC.

2 (4) Indianapolis Colts (2-1)

Peyton Manning now has nine touchdowns and zero interceptions on the season while completing 69% of his passes. Their defense is still shaky at best, but when your quarterback is playing as well as Manning, you’re still going to win a lot of games.

3 (8) Atlanta Falcons (2-1)

It took a missed New Orleans field goal in overtime for the Falcons to come up with the victory, but knocking off the defending champs has to feel good. Atlanta gets to take on a dysfunctional 49ers team in Week 4.

4 (1) New Orleans Saints (2-1)

The defending champs lost their first game of the season. The offense still only looks like a shade of the bulldozer that it was last season, but their defense has actually played slightly better than expected. We’ll see how the Saints bounce back from their first meaningful loss since the 2008 season.

5 (2) Green Bay Packers(2-1)

The Packers outplayed the Bears, but were ultimately done in by an untimely fumble and an obscene 17 penalties for 152 yards. You’re not going to win a lot of close games with that level of undisciplined play.

6 (5) Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

Baltimore’s offense finally had a good game against Cleveland, but their defense allowed two touchdowns to Seneca Wallace and company after not allowing any TDs the first two weeks of the season. It’s still not clear whether this Baltimore squad is the real deal or simply a mirage.

7 (16) Chicago Bears (3-0)

The Bears showed amazing grit pulling out the win against the Packers. At 3-0, Chicago is now the only undefeated team left in the NFC, and one of only three undefeated teams left in the entire NFL.

8 (3) Houston Texans (2-1)

Houston’s offense has looked great, but their passing defense is last in the league, giving up an average of 368 yards per game. It hasn’t helped that they’ve had to face Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, and Tony Romo to start the year, but the Texans’ pass defense has been abysmal.

9 (9) New York Jets (2-1)

Mark Sanchez is finally looking like a real NFL quarterback with back-to-back three touchdown games, but will the Jets be able to survive all of their off-field distractions?

10 (6) New England Patriots (2-1)

The Patriots defense got torched by the Bills a week after getting lit up by the Jets. Tom Brady looks fine (as does the New England running game, even without Kevin Faulk), but the defensive ineptitude is a major red flag that this Patriots team isn’t going to dominate like in the past.

11 (13) Tennessee Titans (2-1)

Great bounce back game from Tennessee. A week after committing seven turnovers against Pittsburgh, the Titans didn’t turn the ball over at all against the Giants. Chris Johnson once again looked dominant, rushing for 125 yards and two touchdowns.

12 (14) Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)

Not only are the Chiefs already one win away from tying last season’s win total, they also have a two game lead in a weak division (the AFC West). They’ve now allowed 14 or less points in all three of their games this season.

13 (11) Miami Dolphins (2-1)

The Dolphins held their own against the Jets, but came out short in the end. Miami hasn’t wowed anyone with their play, but they’re still 2-1 and tied for the AFC East lead with the Jets and Patriots.

14 (15) Cincinnati Bengals (2-1)

Have all the injuries and disheartening losses finally gotten to Carson Palmer? The only time when he’s looked good this season was in garbage time against New England. Despite Palmer’s poor play, the Bengals still have two wins and have an easy game against the Browns coming up.

15 (18) Dallas Cowboys (1-2)

The Cowboys put the skids on their downward slide, but are they for real? They played well against the Texans, but we’ll have to wait until Week 5 against Tennessee to see whether this was a one-time occurrence or a sign that Dallas has turned things around.

16 (10) San Diego Chargers (1-2)

It’s never good when you have almost twice as many yards as your opponent and still lose, but five turnovers will do that. It’s also never good when you allow two kickoffs to be returned for touchdowns.

17 (21) Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)

Michael Vick had 4 total TDs (3 passing, 1 rushing) against the Jaguars. Looks like Kevin Kolb won’t be getting his job back anytime soon unless he’s traded or Vick gets injured.

18 (17) Minnesota Vikings (1-2)

Adrian Peterson has been terrific so far this season (392 yards, 3 TD, no fumbles), but Brett Favre has already thrown six interceptions after throwing seven all of last season.

19 (12) Washington Redskins (1-2)

The Redskins have lost the time of possession battle in each of their three games so far this season. The good feelings from the Week 1 win versus Dallas and McNabb’s huge game in Week 2 are all but erased after Week 3’s demoralizing loss to the lowly Rams.

20 (22) Seattle Seahawks (2-1)

The Seahawks pulled out a close win against San Diego, relying on forced turnovers and their special teams squad to overcome their anemic offense and somewhat poor overall defense.

21 (19) New York Giants (1-2)

Eli Manning has a 65% completion rate, but also has six interceptions and a pair of lost fumbles on the season. The Giants are going to need to stop turning the ball over as much if they hope to make it back to the playoffs.

22 (20) Denver Broncos (1-2)

Following the death of Kenny McKinley, it’s understandable that the Broncos might lose focus, especially against a team as good as the Colts. Not scoring a touchdown on five trips to the red zone isn’t a good sign for any team, though.

23 (26) Arizona Cardinals (2-1)

Arizona muffed two punts and only managed to escape with a win against the Raiders after Oakland failed to convert a last second field goal. The Cardinals may be able to win close games against poor opponents, but their 41-7 dismantling at the hands of Atlanta shows us that Arizona is no longer able to hang with the big boys.

24 (23) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)

Things couldn’t have gone worse for Tampa Bay against the Steelers. The Buccaneers have a Bye Week to fix what went wrong before taking on Cincinnati in Week 5.

25 (28) St. Louis Rams (1-2)

It wasn’t the prettiest game, but in the end Sam Bradford got his first NFL win and the St. Louis Rams won fairly handily against the Washington Redskins. A huge conference game against Seattle looms ahead in Week 4.

26 (24) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)

David Garrard has gotten progressively worse with each start this season. The Jaguars defense hasn’t fared much better in the losses to San Diego and Philadelphia.

27 (27) Oakland Raiders (1-2)

Sebastian Janikowski has attempted 13 field goals through three games. Oakland is going to have to get a more efficient offense going if they want to seriously compete, even in a division as weak as the AFC West.

28 (30) Buffalo Bills

We’ll see what the Bills do if Ryan Fitzpatrick gets injured after releasing former starter Trent Edwards on Monday. Fitzpatrick is not a long-term solution in Buffalo, but the Bills managed to rack up 30 points against the Pats after managing only 17 points through the first two weeks combined.

29 (29) Detroit Lions (0-3)

The Lions have been within striking distance into the fourth quarter of every game this season, but haven’t been able to pull out a win.

30 (25) San Francisco 49ers (0-3)

Any momentum the 49ers had from their close game against the Saints was halted when they lost 31-10 to the Chiefs. San Francisco was completely outplayed by Kansas City, and things won’t get any easier in Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons.

31 (32) Cleveland Browns (0-3)

The Browns have been awful, but their not-as-awful performance against the Ravens was good enough to dig themselves out of the Power Rankings basement. Their next six games are against Cincinnati, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, New England, and the New York Jets. Chances are they’re entering their Week 11 matchup with Jacksonville at 0-9.

32 (31) Carolina Panthers (0-3)

Jimmy Clausen played like a rookie against the Bengals, throwing an interception, dropping the ball a couple of times, and winding up with a 0.0 passer rating in the first half before actually connecting with a few passes in the second half. Clausen has potential to be good, but this Panthers team isn’t good enough to do much of anything right now, no matter who the quarterback is.

Source(s):

All stats and records from ESPN.com

Tags:2010 NFL Power Rankings: Week 4

2010 NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship Games Predictions

The push for Super Bowl XLIV continues this Sunday when the 2010 NFL Conference Championship games take place. The Jets, Colts, Vikings, and Saints are one game away from a chance to play for the Lombardi trophy. Which team will advance and who will fall back into obscurity with the other 28 NFL teams.

New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts

The Jets will continue to ride the underdog role and rely upon their stout defense and running game for a victory. The Colts have been one of the best in the NFL all season and will be ready to show it again this Sunday.

When it comes to the AFC Conference Championship game, toss out what happened when these two teams met during the regular season. The only thing to remember is it started the momentum swing that helped push the Jets into the playoffs.

The Jets defense will need to step up again this week when they take on an offense that averages 26 points per game, 7th best in the NFL. Cornerback Darrelle Revis should be able to contain and limit the production of Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne.

The Jets defense has the potential to be hurt by the Colts Dallas Clark, who has been having a career year carving up the middle of the field.

Last week the Colts’ defense did a solid job of keeping the Raven’s power running game in check. They held the Ravens to 87 yards on 19 carries. The unit will be tested again when they face off against the No. 1 ranked running team in the NFL.

The Jets, led by rookie Shonn Green have averaged 170 rushing yards per game in the playoffs. In two games, Green has powered his way to 263 yards on 44 carries while scoring two touchdowns.

The Colts will be aggressive against the run and will try to force quarterback Mark Sanchez into making mistakes. The Colts’ Dwight Freeney will need to find a way around the Jets stellar offensive line and put the pressure on the rookie.

Fans should expect a low scoring game between these teams, where the winner could ultimately be decided by the kicker. If this happens, the edge has to go to the Colts’ Matt Stover, who has not missed a field goal in 14 career playoff attempts.

While the upstart Jets have the defense to keep this game close, their inexperience is going to be the downfall. The Colts will come away with a win and advance to their second Super Bowl in four years.

Prediction Indianapolis 21 New York 17

Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints

The Vikings silenced one of the hottest teams in the playoffs last week and will be ready to showcase their explosive offense powered by Brett Favre. The Saints stepped up last week and showed us they are more than just an offensive threat when they shut down the Arizona Cardinals.

The Vikings’ offense has continued where they left off the regular season by putting up 30 plus points for the third game in a row. Their ability to score is going to be key against a Saint defense that held the Cardinals to 14 points.

Favre will look for his favorite target, wide receiver Sidney Rice who exploded last week when he hauled in six receptions for 141 yards and three touchdowns. The Saints will game plan to keep the Vikings offense off the field.

The Vikings will need to be more successful converting third downs than the Cardinals who only managed 1 of 8. If the Vikings can not find their passing rhythm, the Saints defense will be able to win the battle.

The Saints offense will be tested by a Vikings defense that has allowed only ten points during the last two games. Last week the Vikings front seven harassed Tony Romo, sacking him six times and gave him little time to process through his reads.

Reggie Bush will need another outstanding week, running and catching the ball to help keep the pressure off of quarterback Drew Brees. Expect tight end Jeremy Shockey to break through the middle of the Vikings safeties and score at least one touchdown this week.

The Saints defense will need to find away to force turnovers if they are going to come away with a win. On the season, the Saints have forced 12 fumbles and recorded 26 interceptions during the season.

Safety Darren Sharper is going to be ready to remind the Vikings that he did have something left in the tank. He leads the Saints with nine interceptions and will be ready to help take away the deep ball on Sunday.

The Saints home crowd is going to be raucous and rowdy from the opening minutes of the game. The Vikings will need to get out to a fast start to take away the home field advantage.

Favre will do everything in his power to keep the Vikings in this game and that will eventually be their downfall. The Saints will earn the hard fought win and punch their ticket to Super Bowl XLIV.

Prediction New Orleans 31 Minnesota 27

Resources

http://www.nfl.com

Tags:2010 NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship Games Predictions

2010 Ohio Governor's Race: Ted Strickland and John Kasich Go Down to the Wire

Most pollsters, including Rasmussen Reports, agree this race is a toss-up. Incumbent Ted Strickland, a Democrat, is under fire for Ohio’s high unemployment rate. Challenger John Kasich isn’t faring much better, as questions pertaining to his involvement in bankrupt Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers are in the mix. This race leaned heavily in Kasich’s favor early on, but now Strickland may have closed the gap. Both candidates need to sway an estimated 4 percent of Ohioans who remain undecided.

In late September, Kasich led Stickland 50 percent to 42 percent.

Candidates for Ohio Governor (four-year term)

Candidate: Ted Strickland

Party: Democrat

Political experience: Strickland was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 1995, and from 1997 to 2007, serving Ohio’s 6th District. He has been governor of Ohio since 2007.

Professional experience: Strickland is an ordained minister and has two master’s degrees and a PhD. He has worked as a psychologist at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility and a psychology professor at Shawnee State University.

Key issues: According to his website, Strickland is focused on keeping Ohio’s economy on pace through continued incentives to businesses to keep or create jobs in the state. He is a proponent of Ohio’s state job-training program, which gives Ohioans training in higher-demand occupations. Strickland is also focused on closing the achievement gap and increasing state funding for public schools without increasing the state’s debt burden. He favors the reduction of energy costs through green jobs and initiatives.

Endorsements: Gov. Strickland is endorsed by the NRA, the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police and the Ohio Education Association, among others.

Chances of maintaining his seat: It will go down to the wire. This race is a toss-up. Absentee voting started in Ohio on Sept. 28, and Rasmussen Reports places Strickland still trailing slightly behind his opponent. Ohio leans Republican, so Strickland has an uphill battle to keep his seat. He’s been hammering on Kasich’s time spent with Lehman Brothers to convince Ohioans that his opponent is not trustworthy. According to late September polls, the approach may be working for him. He has to bridge the gap with the 4 percent of undecided Ohioans.

Candidate: John Kasich

Party: Republican

Political experience: Kasich served a term in the Ohio state senate from 1979 to 1982, representing the 15th District. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 2001, representing Ohio’s 12th District.

Professional experience: Kasich took a position as managing director for Lehman Brothers’ investment banking division in 2001, a position he retained until 2008. He also hosted a television show for the Fox News Channel, entitled “Heartland with John Kasich.” He is the author of three political books.

Key issues: According to his website, Kasich believes his first job as governor would be to revive the state’s economy by replacing government-run development programs with JobsOhio, a not-for-profit organization run by CEOs that will report to the governor on job-creation initiatives. He wants to reform education by setting higher standards and holding teachers accountable for students’ learning. He is also a believer in school choice options, including private and charter schools.

Endorsements: Kasich is endorsed by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Right to Life and NFIB-OH, among others.

Chances of unseating Ted Strickland:The New York Times rates this race a toss-up because Kasich’s lead is so small and 4 percent of Ohioans still list themselves as undecided, according to Rasmussen. Economic woes, however, are working against Strickland, and Kasich’s approach is looking more attractive to hard-hit Midwesterners. If he can convince voters he has better answers to their money problems, he’ll win.

Key Differences between John Kasich and Ted Strickland

Jobs: Strickland wants to see business tax cuts and incentive packages to grow and entice business in Ohio. Kasich wants to replace government-run departments with a CEO-led non-profit named JobsOhio that would report to him to oversee Ohio’s business interests.

Education: Strickland wants to invest money in Ohio’s public education and bridge the achievement gap. Kasich wants to commit to higher standards, and he would like to see more teacher accountability for student achievement.

Sportsmen and gun rights: Strickland supported concealed-carry gun laws and is in favor of opening up more public lands for hunting and fishing, with an eye on conservation aimed at protecting sportsmen’s pursuits. Kasich is focused on increased personal responsibility when it comes to owning a gun and enforcing existing gun laws.

2006 results: Strickland defeated Republican Ken Blackwell 61 percent to 37 percent.

Demographics: According to the U.S. Census, 82.6 percent of the state is white, 11.6 percent black, 2.5 percent Hispanic, 1.5 percent Asian and 0.2 percent American Indian and Alaska Native.

Tags:2010 Ohio Governor’s Race: Ted Strickland and John Kasich Go Down to the Wire

2010 Oscars Double Nominees for Best Picture Nominees

The 2010 Oscars will make history by increasing the number of movie nominees considered this year.

According to a June 24, 2009 article titled “Oscar Expands Best Picture Race to 10 Nominees,” on the TV Guide website, the Oscars have not nominated so many movies in one year since the ’30s and ’40s, when eight to 12 movies were nominated annually.

In fact, 1943 was the last year in which 10 films competed for the coveted statue, according to the article, with 1944 heralding in the five nominee list. Now, in 2010, that pattern is reversing. But will 10 nominees present too many complications for the industry?

We will just have to wait and see.

2010 Oscar Best Motion Picture Nominees

The ten movies nominated for an Oscar this year include, “A Serious Man (2 nominations total), An Education (3),
Avatar–with nine total Oscar nominations, Blind Side (2), District 9 (4), Inglourious Basterds (8), Precious (8), The Hurt Locker–also boasting nine total Oscar nominations, Up (5) and Up in the Air,” with 6 total Oscar nominations.

Category Increase: Is it Effective?

So much money, time, and talent go into the making of a movie, sometimes spanning more than a year to create. Therefore, it would seem that only nominating five movies per year does a disservice to the men and women who work tirelessly to produce entertainment for the masses.

So, the increase in Oscar movie nominations will serve to make the entire process more participant-friendly. It will effectively boost morale of competing actors, actresses, directors, and producers who joined together to produce a finished product that they are proud of and desire to have recognized publicly.

But Are All Ten Oscar Movie Nominations Deserving?

Given the tremendous amount of time, money, and effort expended to produce each movie, it goes without saying that any nomination is deserving, even if the viewer did not enjoy or agree with the movie produced. All efforts in making movies, or any other activity pursued in life is ‘deserving’ if it requires hard work and financing on the part of anyone.

Favorites to Win

Boasting a female leading lady that has already captured the attention of Americans everywhere this year and last, as well as snagged some honors already in 2010, “Blind Side” is a favorite to win. Sandra Bullock and “Blind Side” are seemingly joined at the hip and as she goes, so shall it: taking home the honors, we presume.

Another favorite, and with nine total nominations no less, is Avatar. Definitely a contender for the big prizes too.

Source
TV Guide.com: Oscar Expands Best Picture Race to 10 Nominees
http://ift.tt/2bQTJCZ
Oscar.go.com: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – Nominations by Category – 82nd Awards
http://ift.tt/2c9fXDH

Tags:2010 Oscars Double Nominees for Best Picture Nominees

2010 Ryder Cup Wrap Up

By now, its old news Europe regained the Ryder Cup, defeating the United States 14 ½ to 13 ½, overcoming leaking skies, and a relentless comeback by the Americans that just fell short.

The final day of Ryder Cup play was heralded in by thick fog rolling in from the Usk River that quickly spread across the Usk River Valley onto the Celtic Resort Manor golf course. The fog that delayed tee times could not hide the determination on the faces of the Europeans as they held on tenaciously to a diminishing lead.

The Americans lost the valiant fight to retain the Ryder Cup at the 17th hole during the final match of the day between Graeme McDowell and Hunter Mahan. Mahan, down two strokes chunked a birdie attempt just off the green surface then missed his putt for par finishing the hole, and the day with a bogey. Now, three strokes down, Mahan conceded McDowell his par putt securing the Ryder Cup for the Europeans.

Then the jubilant celebration began for the triumphant European team, who were joined on the green by their wives, girlfriends, and fellow countrymen. But, there intermingled with celebratory hugs, cheers, and popping champagne corks memories of the signature four day golfing event whirled in the Welsh air.

Tiger Woods

Memories of Tiger Woods holing a fairway eagle on the 12th hole in his singles match with Francesco Molinari, and with all signs indicating he is well underway to mastering his new swing he easily won his match. Woods new single marital status trumpeted a solitary note as he walked single file among couples at the opening Ryder Cup ceremony, which was a small price to pay for the pain he inflicted on his wife, and children.

Ryder Cup Fashions

At the Ryder Cup opening ceremony the U.S. and European Ryder Cup teams were resplendently attired as were their wives and girlfriends. The U.S. Ryder Cup team uniforms were picks from both Hickey Freeman and Peter Millar collections. The Ryder Cup fashions worn by U. S. team member WAGS (wives and girlfriends) were from Peter Millar collections.

The European Ryder Cup team opening day ceremony suits and team uniforms were chosen from the Canali collection, and their wives and girlfriends were outfitted by Paul Costelloe.

The only team uniform sour note occurred on the first day of competition when the rain suits worn by the American Ryder Cup team members apparently became more porous than cheesecloth in the wind, and rain downpours that Wales is known for during fall months. Sun Mountain, the rain gear manufacturer is investigating the unfortunate incident. Not to be deterred, the U.S. team purchased ProQuip rain gear from the merchandise tent, and played on.

Amy Mickelson in attendance

One of the most pleasant surprises outside the links during the Ryder Cup competition was the presence of Amy Mickelson, who is the wife of Phil Mickelson, the worlds No. 2 golfer. Amy and Phil’s mother were both diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. The Ryder Cup competition was Amy’s first golf event appearance since Phil Mickelson won The Masters in April, 2010.

Closing ceremony and the passing of the baton

The 2010 Ryder Cup competition ended at the closing ceremony with Ryder Cup representative, Phil Weaver presenting a silver engraved putter to Jim Remy, PGA President of America, symbolically passing the Ryder Cup from The Celtic Manor Resort to Medinah Country Club in Medinah, IL, the host site for the 2012 Ryder Cup competition.

Sources

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Tags:2010 Ryder Cup Wrap Up

2010 Orange County Auto Show: Hits and Misses from European and Asian Automakers

Although the Orange County Auto Show perennially lives in the shadow of the much larger and more prestigious LA Auto show in late November, it is a terrific opportunity to check out the upcoming 2011 models in the metal before everyone else in the country. After all, Orange County is the epicenter of car culture as evidenced by the number of automakers that have their headquarters here.

Since I am sure you have no interest in hearing about a car that boasts 3 all new exterior colors for model year 2011 (or 2012), I am only going to talk about vehicles that are all new or extensively redesigned. But the question is, are these new models future sales hits or will they crash and burn like so many ill advised automotive concepts before them?

Also realize that this is a critique of interior and exterior design and does not intend to impugn the way these automobiles drive. I realize as a car reviewer that it takes a bit of time behind the wheel of a vehicle to really get a sense of how good it is. But if it’s ugly, cramped or just plain stupid looking I will be sure to give you my two cents. Feel free to fire back yours and tell me I am an idiot.

Kia

For me, the 2011 Kia Optima really stole the show for me. I absolutely love both the exterior and interior design and it amazes me that this is just a mainstream family sedan. It looks vaguely like the new Saab 9-5 but is infinitely better looking in the metal (and cheaper too). I quite honestly don’t see how anyone could buy a 2011 Sonata after seeing the new 2011 Optima.

Also on hand was the 2011 Sportage which deftly mixes masculine exterior design cues in a segment (compact SUVs) that favors organic and flowing lines. The interior may not be swathed in soft touch plastic but at prices in the low $20,000 range for a well equipped model can you complain?

Honda/Acura

The big news here is the launch of the 2011 Honda Odyssey. While some claim the exterior design is controversial, I like it because it is unique. What no one can deny, however, is that the 2011 Odyssey has the best interior of any minivan ever built.

Not only is it stylish and well built but it also boasts many clever first in class features. For instance, there are child safety latches (and enough width) for five full size car seats, there is a trash bag ring for rear passengers (so when your kids are done with their juice boxes they can dispose of them there) and the 3rd row “magic seat” now qualifies as the easiest to fold third row in the history of mankind.

There are also countless other family friendly safety features that Chris Martin from Honda personally demonstrated for me but I quite frankly can’t remember them all. The Odyssey has a very, very impressive interior and that will guarantee this minivan’s sales supremacy.

Over at Acura, the main focus was on the very stylish Acura TSX Wagon being released later this year. Although I am in the minority, I love the look of wagons and the TSX actually has the Audi A4 Avant beaten for style. And it should cost a lot less. (Note: if you were wondering, the cargo hold of the TSX wagon is just as large as most similarly sized crossovers. The only difference being you might actually have fun driving the TSX.)

Toyota/Lexus

At Toyota they had a plug-in Prius on display which is essentially a Prius with an extension cord attached to it. So that’s not very exciting. At Lexus, however, they had the all new Lexus CT 200h hybrid hatchback on display. Yes, it may share its electric/gas powertrain with the Prius but the similarities end there.

I have never had a visceral response to a Lexus product ever. I don’t think they are intended to excite and titillate. But I am afraid that this CT200h got my pulse racing a bit. The exterior styling is bold and aggressive and the interior is inventive. Dare I say it but the Lexus CT200h is seriously youthful! Young people might buy it! Sorry, I got a bit too excited there.

Hyundai

Hyundai is on a serious roll lately and this has moved them forward with their goal of becoming a truly multifaceted global powerhouse. And then came the $50,000 plus Equus. Now, the Genesis sedan may have been accused of being derivative but it is undeniably a handsome luxury sedan.

The Equus, however, looks like a Genesis sedan that got severely depressed and only ate cupcakes for six months. It looks flabby, the grille is overwrought and why no Hyundai logos yet? Either launch a luxury brand or don’t. Quit using obscure symbols on these models as that kind of attitude will never build the value of Hyundai as a luxury brand. Plus, who wants to bring a $50,000 luxury car to a dealer that is used to Accent owners?

Also, the interior of the Equus is just not up to par when compared to its very accomplished competition. The leather literally feels like rubber, the wood trim is no better than you can get in vehicles costing much less, it feels cramped inside for six footers and the steering wheel design is simply grotesque. (Note: the steering wheel is covered in a material that looks like walrus skin, it is ridiculously oversize and there is an odd logo in the center that looks vaguely Satanic.)

Mazda

The Mazda2 is adorable, the interior is minimalistic design at its best and I would pick one over a Fiesta any day. No, I don’t care that it’s less powerful and has fewer options. It’s also cheaper.

Nissan/Infiniti

I have a lot to say about the new Nissan Leaf so I will leave that for a later time. First off, let’s talk about the 2011 Juke. You can call it hideous but I say it is brilliantly daring and that once you see it for yourself you will agree that there is an oddly cohesive symmetry to it all. Or not.

There was much ado over at Infiniti thanks to the gloriously sensual new M-sedan. I love both the interior and exterior styling of this hugely capable sport sedan and would buy one in a heartbeat over the boring as stale toast 2011 BMW 5-series.

Things got ugly, however, when I gazed upon the grazing water buffalo known as the 2011 QX56 SUV. It is obscenely long and wide but has these flowing stylistic creases down the side that are obvious attempts to mask its oppressive corpulence. The front grille is ridiculously small in comparison and no one will be able to park this anywhere unless they live on a ranch in Texas.

The inside, however, is a huge improvement over the last generation QX56. Squishy soft leather covers everything, the dashboard looks and feels luxurious, controls are easy to figure out and it all feels solidly built. There is also enough passenger room for a sect of unnaturally tall and obese polygamists.

Subaru

The all new “wide track” Impreza WRX and Impreza STI models were on hand, ample hips and all. Excuse me Subaru, JLo called and she said she never authorized the use of her likeness on any of your vehicle designs. Yikes!

VW

As a VW fanatic who has tested a lot of their 2010 models, I noticed some minor changes with the Golf, GTI and Sportwagen like redesigned audio face plates and navigation system controls. Somebody stop the presses! Rumor has it that at the LA Auto Show VW will unveil restyled versions of the Tiguan and EOS so the models on hand at the OC show were from 2010.

The real focus at the VW stand, however, was the launch of the 2011 Jetta sedan. On hand were basic models with the 2.0 liter 115 horsepower 4-cylinder that dates back to the early 1990’s and some very nicely equipped models with the 2.5 liter 5-cylinder engine.

First off, I agree that the Jetta does not blow your mind from a style perspective but it is angular, Germanic and very traditionally Jetta. Jettas are supposed to be kind of boxy and this shape gives the 2011 model enough trunk space to please a Mafia hit man and enough rear legroom for Kareem Abdul Jamar. Or Shaq. Someone very tall.

I also do recall when the 5th generation Jetta was launched everyone screamed that it looked like a Corolla and that the chrome lip was hideous. But people got used to it. The only problem was VW priced it too high and they lost market share.

As the base model is meant to compete with Corolla buyers it is definitely a winner. It is more stylish and has a much nicer interior than a Corolla. Pretty much any Corolla ever made. Even in the more expensive trims there is less soft touch plastic than in the 2010 Golf but if that’s what you are after you should just deal with having to own a hatchback.

Audi

Not only did Audi have a red R8 Spyder that everyone was drooling over but they also had the new 2011 A8 which is much more attractive and finely detailed up close than it appears in photos. Then there is the interior which is such a delight to all of your senses that it borders on the orgasmic.

The A8 that was at the show had an interior that was a perfect shade of cocoa brown with sumptuous leather covering the seats and dashboard to terrific effect. Alcantara trim accented the doors and this model was even equipped with a “smoker’s package” which affords back seat passengers two ashtrays built into the rear doors. You don’t get much more European that.

BMW

Oh, wait. Did I fall asleep? Yeah, they had the new 2011 5-series there. God, I can’t believe I miss Chris Bangle’s design ingenuity. I honestly can’t tell the difference between a 5 or 7-series anymore. They even have the same dash for crying out loud!

Saab

I really, really wanted to like the 2011 Saab 9-5 but when I realized it looked like a bland version of the 2011 Kia Optima I lost hope that this brand is going to stick around much longer. The interior is charmless and filled with cheap plastic which is unacceptable in a $50,000 luxury car.

Volvo

This was my big surprise of the day. I had seen the new 2011 Volvo S60 in photos and hadn’t thought much of it since, well, it is a Volvo. But this is one brilliantly proportioned, elegant and nicely detailed luxury sedan. I am now obsessed with getting one to test. I will keep you posted on that little quest.

I was also impressed with the material and leather quality in the Volvo. I could see, thanks to the many models on hand, that Volvo is really branching out into Audi territory with its experimentation with interior colors and contrasts. Very well done and hopefully a deserved success. A great antidote to the legions of 3-series and C-class sedans in South Orange County.

Jaguar

The 2011 Jaguar XJ-a simply stunning piece of avant-garde automotive artwork that challenges the luxury car norm and screams from the rooftops that Jaguar is leaving its Old English design roots in the past. The front end is a bit jarring but the side and rear views are just breathtaking. An A+ that is true automotive art because it won’t appeal to everyone.

(Note: Mercedes must have been on their lunch break because as of press time they had not arrived to set up their stand. The show was set to open four hours later.)

Tags:2010 Orange County Auto Show: Hits and Misses from European and Asian Automakers

2010 River Cruising with Uniworld, Avalon Waterways and Viking River Cruises

The year 2010’s river cruising itineraries are promising to be a great mix of value and fun. At this moment the world’s best river cruise experts are tweaking their itineraries to ensure that cruisers will continue to be enthralled.

Uniworld understands that river cruising is a great voyage of discovery that involves comfort and convenience. With this in mind Uniworld will be adding another itinerary to its 26 strong European roster. Springtime Along the Rhine will be launched in 2010 and will provide the perfect balance between history, art and nature.

Springtime Along the Rhine is going to be a 9-day program taking travelers from Amsterdam to Frankfurt. Traveling along the intricate system of canals that criss cross the Netherlands on the way to the romantic UNESCO World Heritage Rhine.

Four guided tours will be included in the program. You will get to visit Germany’s and the Netherlands top museums and also visit the Keukenhof Gardens which are home to over seven million flowers and is only open for a few weeks out of the year.

When choosing a river cruise it must be remembered that all cruise companies are not equal and Uniworld offers world class food and beverage selections with a wine program that has been designed by an award-winning sommelier.

Uniworld isn’t the only river cruising company that offers good deals and wonderful service amongst these can be counted Avalon Waterways. 2010 will see two new ships in Europe that Avalon Waterways will have launched and 30 more European itineraries.

Avalon Waterways offer 3 and 4 night cruises along the Danube for under $1000.

This river cruising company has also added music, new wine and holiday themed cruises to its programs. For the wine lover an ideal Avalon Waterway cruise would be the Windmills, Vineyards and Paris cruise that starts from $3,889.

2010 will see Viking River Cruises offering cruises in Europe, Russia, China and Egypt. Viking River Cruises offer all-inclusive cruising which during these volatile economic times is proving to be a popular option for would be travelers. Once the cruise has been paid for in full there are no more worries about currency fluctuations, fuel costs, taxes or price increases plus all accommodations, meals, most shore excursions and cultural activities are covered.

During 2010 Viking River Cruises will be introducing a new itinerary called the Danube Waltz. This cruise takes travelers to Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Germany An 8-day cruise that starts at $1356pp.

Source: Recommend

Tags:2010 River Cruising with Uniworld, Avalon Waterways and Viking River Cruises

2010 Pro Bowl Voting Has MIchael Vick as Most Popular Player

The 2010 Pro Bowl voting numbers have Michael Vick leading all players, a shocking revelation in the first totals. The 2010 Pro Bowl voting will continue though Dec. 20, and fans can vote to cover their part of the decision-making process. The debate about whether Vick deserves to be the starting quarterback of the Pro Bowl is certainly going to be a hotly debated topic, even with how much success he has brought the Eagles on their quest to win the NFC East this year.

According to ESPN, the latest vote totals have Vick ahead by more than 39,000 votes, with 729,838 to his credit at this point. That is quite an accomplishment for a player who is starting games for the first time in years. Manning has 691,146 to his credit so far, placing the two quarterbacks from opposing conferences far ahead of everyone else.

Just because Vick is this far ahead in the voting does not guarantee that he will be the 2011 Pro Bowl starting quarterback. The fan voting is basically one-third of the selection process, with the players and coaches also getting a say in which players make the team. The potential exists that they could favor someone like Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers at the position, but it sure looks like Vick will make the team.

In addition to Vick and Manning at the top of the voting are Tom Brady (623,074), Adrian Peterson (591,598), and Aaron Rodgers (547,340). Peterson is the only one in the top five who isn’t a quarterback, and he leads all running backs by a very clear margin. All five players could potentially make the Pro Bowl roster, but there is still a lot of time between now and when the final announcements are made.

So far in the 2010 season, Vick has thrown for 2,243 yards and 15 touchdowns. He has also rushed for another 467 yards and six touchdowns, setting himself up to possibly be in the MVP race on the offensive side of the ball. That would be quite an accomplishment for a player who not only hasn’t played in all of his team’s games this season, but wasn’t even the intended starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles when the season got started.

The Pro Bowl voting is open for basically two more weeks, giving fans plenty of time to try to dictate who some of the players are going to be. The 2011 Pro Bowl will be on Jan. 30 this year, taking place in Hawaii again. Get out there and vote, because it’s the only way you can try to make sure that your favorite players are recognized by the NFL this year.

Sources:

Pro_Bowl_Voting_Page

Michael_Vick_Player_Card

ESPN_Report_On_Voting

Tags:2010 Pro Bowl Voting Has MIchael Vick as Most Popular Player

2010 Pro Bowl Rosters Announced: Who Made it and Who Got Snuffed?

The 2010 Pro Bowl rosters have been announced. Unlike all previous Pro Bowl games, the 2010 Pro Bowl will not take place in Hawaii. Instead, this year’s NFL all-star exhibition will take place in Miami, Florida, which also happens to be the site of Super Bowl XLIV. Fans in South Florida will be seeing a lot of the same NFL team helmets on the field, as nearly one-third of the entire 2010 Pro Bowl rosters feature players from four teams alone – the Vikings, Colts, Cowboys, and Eagles. (Here is the link for the complete 2010 Pro Bowl rosters with commentary and analysis.)

The Vikings lead the way with 8 players representing their team on the 2010 Pro Bowl rosters. While several other teams have 5 players, six teams in the NFL have no players on the 2010 Pro Bowl rosters. Perhaps the most noteworthy teams without Pro Bowl representatives are Cincinnati and Atlanta.

The AFC’s 2010 Pro Bowl Roster

The AFC’s 2010 Pro Bowl roster features considerable offensive firepower, lead by Pro Bowl regular Peyton Manning, and the league’s leading rusher, Chris Johnson. Manning is being backed by Tom Brady and Philip Rivers, but one can argue that Matt Shaub deserves a spot on the 2010 Pro Bowl roster more than Brady does. Among the talented wide receivers in the AFC that made the 2010 Pro Bowl roster include Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne. Also joining Wayne and Manning from Indianapolis is first-time Pro Bowler Dallas Clark, who will start at tight end.

On the defensive side of the AFC’s 2010 Pro Bowl roster, it is nice to see less known players like defensive tackle Haloti Ngati of the Ravens, Denver linebacker Elvis Dumervil, and rookie Jairus Byrd of Buffalo (he is hurt, however, and will most likely miss the Pro Bowl). Byrd is actually one of two rookies (the other is linebacker Brian Orakpo of Washington) to make it on the 2010 Pro Bowl Roster. The AFC’s side of the 2010 Pro Bowl roster also includes fixtures like Ray Lewis, Brian Dawkins, and Ed Reed, along with easily the top three cornerbacks in the game: Nnamdi Asomugha, Darrelle Revis, and Champ Bailey.

The NFC’s 2010 Pro Bowl Roster

The NFC’s 2010 Pro Bowl roster does not seem as formidable, but it does include Minnesota’s Brett Farve, who will be making his 11th Pro Bowl appearance, along with Aaron Rogers, the quarterback who replaced him in Green Bay. Nevertheless, both will be backing New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees. Running back Adrian Peterson has the starting running back spot on the NFC’s 2010 Pro Bowl roster. It will be the first opportunity for fans to watch Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson in the same game all season. The receivers on the NFC’s 2010 Pro Bowl roster include the brilliant Larry Fitzgerald and explosive Desean Jackson, but it is also good to see newcomers in the dangerous Miles Austin and Sidney Rice.

Defensive players on the NFC’s 2010 Pro Bowl roster include standout Patrick Willis, the continually impressive Charles Woodson, and the resurgent Darren Sharper among many others. Franchise-tagged Julian Peppers also made the 2010 Pro Bowl roster. Overall, I believe the AFC has the more stocked 2010 Pro Bowl roster.

Players Left Out of the 2010 Pro Bowl Rosters

Notable players left out of the 2010 Pro Bowl rosters in the AFC include the aforementioned Matt Shaub, Thomas Jones, Vincent Jackson, Hines Ward, and Mike Scifres. Deserving players in the NFC who were not voted onto the 2010 Pro Bowl rosters include Donovan McNabb, Brent Celek, Steve Smith, Marques Colston, Ryan Grant, and Percy Harvin. Regardless, the 2010 Pro Bowl rosters have been decided, and I’m looking forward to a great Pro Bowl.

Again, click here for the complete 2010 Pro Bowl rosters with commentary and analysis.

Source

www.espn.go.com

Tags:2010 Pro Bowl Rosters Announced: Who Made it and Who Got Snuffed?

2010 Primetime Television Night Games for the San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers look to be in great shape for the 2010 NFL football season. After narrowly missing the playoffs in 2009, the Niners could make a great run in 2010. They have four primetime evening games in which to show their talents.

The 2010 NFL season is coming up fast. In fact, the preseason games will be done before you know it. If you are a big fan of the San Francisco 49ers and want to know all about their 2010 schedule, go straight to espn.com for the 49ers 2010 schedule and results. One exciting part of the 2010 schedule for the 49ers is that they play their cross-bay rivals, the Oakland Raiders, during preseason in Oakland on Saturday, Aug. 28, and then again during the regular season in San Francisco on Sunday, Oct. 17.

The NFL schedule makers must believe that the 49ers will be an entertaining team to watch in 2010 because the Niners are scheduled for a total of four night primetime games, which is unexpected given their 8-8 subpar season in 2009. Here are the four primetime games and the importance of the matchups.

Mon., Sept. 20, 2010: New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers, ESPN

The 49ers will have a real tough home opener on September 20 when they face the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. The Niners will certainly need home-field advantage in every way. Plus, the home crowd better be excited enough to help the Niners to victory. Home games are supposed to be won so the 49ers need to get a win in this game. The matchup is scheduled to start at 8:30 pm ET (5:30pm PT).

Sun., Oct. 10, 2010: Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers, NBC

The Philadelphia Eagles have been one of the best NFC teams in the past 10 years and 2010 is unlikely to be any different. This will be a tough test for the Niners because the Eagles had a great year in 2009 when they finished 11-5 in the regular season and made it to the playoffs. The game is scheduled to start at 8:20 pm ET (5:20 pm PT).

Mon., Nov. 29, 2010: San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals, ESPN

The Arizona Cardinals made it to the Super Bowl back in February of 2009 so they are still a very strong team. The 49ers will have to be sharp for this road game to the desert. This NFC West divisional game is likely to be a very important game in the race for the division title in 2010. The matchup is scheduled to start at 8:30 pm ET (5:30pm PT).

Thurs., Dec. 16, 2010: San Francisco 49ers at San Diego Chargers, NFL Network

The San Diego Chargers just missed making it to the AFC Championship game last year when they lost by just three points to the New York Jets in a divisional playoff game. You can bet the Chargers will still be an excellent team in December when the 49ers head down to Southern California for a road game to play the Bolts. The game is scheduled to start at 8:20 pm ET (5:20 pm PT).

References

San Francisco 49ers Schedule 2010, espn.com

NFL Team Standings 2010, nfl.com

Tags:2010 Primetime Television Night Games for the San Francisco 49ers

2010 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament: Final - Recap and Review

Kentucky 75 – Mississippi State 74 (OT)
I wrote in my preview of this game that it would be a repeat of the regular season meeting between these two teams, in which Kentucky won 81-75, in overtime, well I was right; in fact, this game was probably better than that one, with Mississippi State sitting on the NCAA tournament selection bubble, hoping to impress selection officials. However, I picked Kentucky to win the game, as they did, because this team has matured to the point that it can play under extreme pressure and expectations; the Wildcats reached that level when they first played Mississippi State and after losing to Tennessee in Knoxville during the regular season.

Although Mississippi State won the first half by the score of 35-31, ten lead changes and six ties punctuated the first 20 minutes of the game. Seven lead changes belonged to the Bulldogs, who jumped to a five point lead over the Wildcats, 27-22, with 5:39 left in the half, after a two point jump shot by Jarvis Varnado. Nevertheless, Kentucky tied the score at 31-31, following a two pointer by Eric Bledsoe, with 2:29 left in the half. Within the last two minutes, Varnado scored two, as did Ravern Johnson, to end the half.

Kentucky won the second half, outscoring Mississippi State 33-29, to tie the score at 64-64 at the end of regulation. During the second half, the Bulldogs and the Wildcats tied the score five times and exchanged the lead 13 times. With 2:29 left to play, Ravern Johnson put the Bulldogs ahead by five points, 62-57, with a two point shot. The Wildcats responded with two two pointers by Patrick Patterson and John Wall, to bring Kentucky within one point, 62-61, before Barry Stewart made two free throws to put Mississippi State ahead by three points, 64-61 with eight seconds left to play.

In perhaps the most thrilling final five seconds of the SEC tournament, Barry Stewart fouled out of the game for Mississippi State, sending Eric Bledsoe to the line to shoot two. He made one of the free throws, to bring Kentucky within two points of Mississippi State, by the score 64-62, but purposely missed the second free throw, in hope that a teammate would rebound, which John Wall accomplished, after which he missed a three pointer that would have given Kentucky the win. Instead DeMarcus Cousins grabbed the rebound and laid it up with less than a second to play, to tie the score at 64-64, and send the game into overtime.

Kentucky dominated the five minute overtime, immediately taking the lead at 65-64, before Mississippi State tied it at 69-69, with 1:46 left to play. The Wildcats responded with a lay-up for two by Bledsoe, followed by a three-pointer by Wall to go ahead 74-69 with 26 seconds left to play. With eight second left, Dee Bost scored two points to bring the Bulldogs to within three points at 71-74. Bost then fouled Cousins, who went to the free throw line, making one of two shots, but giving Kentucky a sold four point lead at 71-75. With one second left, Riley Benock scored three points, resulting in the final score of 74-75.

Kentucky shot nearly 46% from the floor, made 25% from the three-point range, and scored over 62% from the foul line. The Wildcats grabbed 34 rebounds, including seven offensive rebounds, stole the ball 11 times, blocked six shots, turned the ball over nine times, and committed 14 personal fouls.

Mississippi State shot 42% from the floor, made 37% from the three-point range, and scored over 54% from the foul line. The Bulldogs grabbed 38 rebounds, including 12 offensive rebounds, stole the ball seven times, blocked seven shots, turned the ball over 13 times, and committed 18 personal fouls.

Eric Bledsoe led Kentucky in scoring with 18 points, followed by John Wall with 17, then Patrick Patterson with 15, and DeMarcus Cousins with 10. Cousins, however, led the Wildcats in rebounding with 10, for another double-double game. Wall had six rebounds, nine assists, and five steals.

Ravern Johnson led Mississippi State in scoring with 20 points, followed by Jarvis Varnado with 18, then Dee Bost with 16, and Barry Stewart with 11. Stewart led in rebounding with 10, followed by Varnado with nine, then Bost with six. Bost made five assists and Varnado blocked five shots.

References:

Adam Hornbuckle, 2010 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament: Final – Preview and Prediction, Associated Content Website

ESPN, Mississippi State 74 – Kentucky 75, ESPN Men’s Basketball Website

Tags:2010 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament: Final - Recap and Review

2010 Players Championship Third Round Wakes Phil Mickelson

2010 Players Championship fans saw the real Phil Mickelson arrive on Saturday. Mickelson shot a 6-under-par third round score at the 2010 Players Championship, moving him to 9-under-par for the tournament, and right into the thick of the competition. After finishing the first two rounds of The Players with a combined 3-under-par, Mickelson pounced on the course Saturday morning, and showed he wasn’t going down without a fight. With seven birdies through the first 16 holes, he had a 7-under-par score for the day heading into a rough 18th hole. He bogeyed the final hole, knocking him back to a 6-under-par 66 for the third round of the tournament.

This round three showing was exactly what Phil Mickelson needed, and it couldn’t have come at a more important time. Quite a few golfers struggled on the course Saturday, and Mickelson shined in the early tee times. There were still a lot of golfers taking to the course when Mickelson had finished, and the leaders hadn’t even made their way on the course yet, but Mickelson did everything he could to get back into the mix. Mickelson also saw fellow American Zach Johnson impress the fans with his own 5-under-par 67 to get to 9-under-par for The Players, and set up a possible pairing with Mickelson on Sunday. They are both several shots behind the leaders, but now they are at least in contention.

For Phil Mickelson, having a strong showing in round three was more important than just going up in The Players standings. What Mickelson needed to make sure he did on Saturday was to distance himself from Tiger Woods in the standings. Woods it the current No. 1 ranked played on the PGA Tour, and Mickelson has a chance to catch him during The Players. As for Tiger Woods, he again posted a human 1-under-par score for the day, taking his overall score at The Players to 4-under-par after three rounds. That gives Mickelson a five shot lead over him, but also places around 35 golfers between the two in the standings. A strong fourth round could help Mickelson even more on Sunday, but we will have to wait on several other scores (especially from Lee Westwood) to see if Mickelson has a chance to win the 2010 Players Championship.

Phil Mickelson Round Three Stats:

*Birdies on two, three, five, seven, nine, 11, and 16
*Bogies on just 18.

RD1 Score: (-2)
RD2 Score: (-1)
RD3 Score: (-6)

Combined Players Score: (-9)

Reference:

Lee_Westwood_Leads_Players

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2010 People's Choice Awards, Why Winners Win

Entertainers are genuinely grateful to be chosen by the voting public when they win a People’s Choice Award. It has to be a gratifying and humbling moment to realize that enough people care enough about your work to take the time to vote.

The same was true of last night’s 2010 People’s Choice Award winners, which proclaimed to honor fan favorites. It was an entertaining show and 1000 times better than the MTV awards. The producers and writers did a marvelous job incorporating class and humor.

Yet, I’m somewhat bothered by the notion of the People’s Choice, because the results are a measure of the favorites of the most dedicated fans, and some genres have more avid fans than others. I also question whether the general public has much insight into acting, how media influences voting for People’s Choice, and how the voting system works.

I suppose that regardless of these concerns, the key term is “fans.” The People’s Choice awards are not as much about what the general public likes as they are about what true fans like, because it is the fans who go to the extra effort of voting.

I’m part of the general media’s audience, a viewer, and favor some shows more than others, but I didn’t vote in the 2010 People’s Choice awards and if I had, would my vote have even counted amongst the thousands of votes cast by individual fans of a specific genre? I doubt it.

I think, for example, of the vampire genre. It showed some teeth in the 2010 People’s Choice awards. The Vampire Diaries won Favorite New TV Drama, True Blood took home the Favorite TV Obsession Award, and Taylor Lautner from TheTwilight Saga won Favorite Breakout Actor of the Year.Why? Is it because the actor and television show that won are favorites of television viewers or was it because people attracted to vampire books, movies, and actors are part of an active subculture of society? I think that the later came to play in the 2010 People’s Choice Awards. A subculture like vampires, vampire lovers, and vampire wannabes is notoriously active on behalf of their cause.

So follow me, the vampire shows are not a reflection of the 2010 People’s Choice, but the vampire sub-culture choice. Noting that American teenagers and young people are more likely to log on and vote for the vampire culture because it enthralls them, but that still doesn’t mean it is a reflection of television and movie fan favorites.

There were other examples of inexplicable winners this year in light of their competition.

Who didn’t know that Steve Carrell, despite his inability to act, wouldn’t win Favorite TV Comedy Actor? Carrell has been riding a huge publicity wave since he starred in 40 Year Old Virgin.How can Steve Carrell win best comedy actor, but Big Bang Theory win Favorite TV Comedy? Carrell is more likeable than any of the other contenders (I cringe when I think of Alec Baldwin). The Office is funny, but that is to the credit of the writers and producers for working outside of the box. Steve Carrell doesn’t even act on the show. He shows up on the set. And this is a People’s Choice?

In a new category, Favorite Web Celeb, Ashton Kutcher’s win was a given. Why, because fans adore him? No, because he beat CNN in the race to one million followers, he is married to Demi Moore, and he still has a cult following of young women who have followed him as he has grown into a young man. He also raised millions of dollars to provide mosquito nets to protect children from malaria. These are all admirable qualities, but his Tweets were not that intriguing nor was his web presence. In my opinion Ashton Kutcher attempted to be a philosophical and religious guru through the vehicle, primarily, of Twitter.

Kutcher didn’t have the website and video coverage that Miley Cyrus put on the web. I don’t think she should have won. Miley had some embarrassing web moments. It was P. Diddy who started the first live streaming broadcast from the web. The fans probably didn’t know about all of this, so the easiest choice, the one they heard about in the news, Ashton Kutcher, wins. That is not the People’s Choice. It is the media’s choice.

I don’t know that there is an equitable way to figure out the real People’s Choice. Some of the winners deserved the win. We knew Hugh Laurie would take Favorite TV Actor in a Drama. House is one of the highest rated shows. It rightly received the 2010 People’s Choice for Favorite Television Drama. That was a well-deserved win based on ratings.

So how should the People’s Choice awards be decided: Soon the Golden Globes will be presented based on the choices of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Then there will be the Emmy’s hosted by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. For whom do they speak?

How do we really hear from the people who are buying movie tickets, turning on the TV, and buying CDs and mp3s? Sales could be a good indicator, minus the amount of pirating going on. Nielsen Entertainment ratings? Is their scope to limited?

As with most measurements and awards I suppose the best thing that can be done for People’s Choice awards is to let the people vote. The passionate will win. Hmmm, maybe that is the way things are supposed to be.

Sources:
Emmy’s
Golden Globes
People’s Choice
People’s Choice: About Us
2010 People’s Choice Awards, CBS, Monday, Wed, Jan6, 2010.

Tags:2010 People’s Choice Awards, Why Winners Win

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