Thursday, December 29, 2011

Power Rankings Top 10's

Visit - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

All World All Sports Power Rankings has changed gears by trimming our Power Rankings to Top 10 lists. Polls fluently change as does our unique rankings so we're shifting to short and sweet. We invite readers to tout their own rankings in our comments arenas.

Top 10's
1 - Green Bay Packers
2 - New Orleans Saints
3 - San Francisco 49ers
4 - New England Patriots
5 - Baltimore Ravens
6 - Pittsburgh Steelers
7 - Detroit Lions
8 - Cincinnati Bengals
9 - Houston Texans
10- Atlanta Falcons

1 - Oklahoma City Thunder
2 - Miami Heat
3 - Chicago Bulls
4 - San Antonio Spurs
5 - Los Angeles Clippers
6 - Dallas Mavericks
7 - Boston Celtics
8 - Los Angeles Lakers
9 - New York Knicks
10- Atlanta Hawks

1 - Boston Bruins
2 - New York Rangers
3 - Chicago Blackhawks
4 - Detroit Red Wings
5 - Vancouver Canucks
6 - Pittsburgh Penguins
7 - St Louis Blues
8 - Philadelphia Flyers
9 - San Jose Sharks
10- Minnesota Wild

1 - Syracuse
2 - Ohio State
3 - Kentucky
4 - Louisville
5 - Baylor
6 - Missouri
7 - Duke
8 - Connecticut
9 - Indiana
10- North Carolina

NCAA Women's BB
1 - Baylor
2 - Connecticut
3 - Notre Dame
4 - Stanford
5 - Maryland
6 - Kentucky
7 - Ohio State
8 - Texas Tech
9 - Duke
10- Texas A&M

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

NFL 2011 Predictions - Week 17

Visit - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

This is it. The final games of our NFL 2011 season will be played New Year's Day. All eye's focused on teams battling for the final two playoff slots (one each in AFC/NFC). New York Giants will host the Dallas Cowboys in a winner take all for NFC East division honors after Big Blue knocked off stadium sharing rival Gang Green (NY Jets). The Jets loss all but ended their disappointing season - making a liar out of a Super Bowl Championship prediction by their head coach. Dallas is down after losing to Philadelphia. QB Tony Romo's status is uncertain after receiving a right hand contusion. In the AFC, Tebow gets one more chance to secure the AFC West. If Denver wins, they're in. Division winners are playing for first round bye's. Saints and 49ers tied at 12-3 (SF holds tie-break advantage). Pittsburgh (11-4) and Baltimore (11-4) trying to secure the AFC North and pass over New England (12-3) will become top seed.

Take nothing for granted this weekend. Green Bay is one of the few teams able to take advantage of resting starting players in preparation for the post-season.

Week 16 was kind as I nailed 12 of 16 upping the season total to 153-87 (63.8%).

Final regular season games of 2011.

Week 17 (home in CAPS)
NEW ORLEANS 38 Carolina 17
NEW ENGLAND 31 Buffalo 20
MINNESOTA 24 Chicago 20
MIAMI 34 Jets 23
San Francisco 24 ST LOUIS 14
GREEN BAY 28 Detroit 24
PHILADELPHIA 37 Washington 10
JACKSONVILLE 20 Indianapolis 17
HOUSTON 21 Tennessee 20
Seattle 24 ARIZONA 23
DENVER 28 Kansas City 21
ATLANTA 28 Tampa Bay 16
CINCINNATI 23 Baltimore 17
Pittsburgh 20 CLEVELAND 10
San Diego 35 OAKLAND 21
GIANTS 31 Dallas 20

End of regular season

Brees Sets Passing Record vs Whiny Falcons

Visit - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

New Orleans Saints (12-3) star QB Drew Brees bested Dan Marino's NFL record for passing yards in a single season on Monday Night Football. Brees hit halfback Darren Sproles with a 9 yard strike to set the record with 2:51 remaining in a 45-16 romp over Atlanta.

New Orleans fans showered Brees with a long standing ovation as their quarterback celebrated and received congratulations from Saints teammates. Marino passed for 5,084 yards during a magical 1984 season. Brees needed just 15 games, finishing with 5,087. He'll raise the bar further in the final week of regular season action becoming the only player to surpass 5,100 yards.

Not everyone was celebrating. A beaten down Atlanta Falcons team wasn't happy New Orleans continued throwing late in the game. Get over it Falcons!!! What did you expect? A record within reach - during a home game - on Monday Night Football - why shouldn't New Orleans head coach give the green light. This is the NFL - Not For Lightweights. Stop whining and give Brees the respect he deserves - especially after picking apart Atlanta's defense. This wasn't about running up the score against a beaten team. It was all about letting their team leader achieve record status. If Atlanta didn't want him to break the record then their defense should have stepped up. They didn't. Drew Brees did.

Congratulations Drew! The Saints finish up the regular season against a very porous Carolina defense on New Year's Day. Let's predict a final season ending total of 5,415.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

NFL 2011 Predictions - Week 16

Check it out - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

Happy Chanukah & Merry Christmas! 

A few upsets in Week 15 doomed pick selections. Kansas City pulled off the upset of the season handing Green Bay their first loss. Washington bumped off a lethargic Giants club for the 2nd time this year. Indianapolis stunned Tennessee for their first win of the year. San Diego took advantage of a banged up group of Ravens. Before it was over - Digger only nailed 7 of 16 correctly. Season total 141-83 (62.9%).

It's do or die this weekend for teams fighting for playoff positions.

Week 16 (home team in CAPS)
Houston 24 INDIANAPOLIS 13

Oakland 30 KANSAS CITY 23
TENNESSEE 28 Jacksonville 17
NEW ENGLAND 52 Miami 10
CINCINNATI 23 Arizona 21
Denver 25 BUFFALO 17
PITTSBURGH 21 St Louis 3
Giants 34 JETS 24
WASHINGTON 24 Minnesota 20
CAROLINA 28 Tampa Bay 24
BALTIMORE 27 Cleveland 10
San Diego 33 DETROIT 31
Philadelphia 38 DALLAS 21
San Francisco 19 SEATTLE 13

GREEN BAY 44 Chicago 14

NEW ORLEANS 30 Atlanta 24

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Battle for NFL Playoffs

Check it out - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

2011 NFL enters the final two weeks of regular season action. Plenty of great stories. Green Bay's run at perfection ended last weekend. Drew Brees on pace to shatter Dan Marino's single season passing record. Tim Tebow in Denver. Coach of the Year candidate Jim Harbaugh returned San Francisco 49er football to winning ways (and a division title). Houston Texans surviving multiple injuries to post their franchise 2nd winning season and first division title. MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards still up for grabs. Also up for grabs, coveted final playoff slots. Who's going to win and get in?

New England's superior offense camouflages their porous defense. Patriots defense is tough to handicap since opponents play catch-up football - usually large deficits. Tom Brady is masterfully putting together a MVP-type season. No NFL coach is better at game planning and execution than Bill Belichick.

Baltimore Ravens are a Super Bowl caliber team. They're a bit banged up on defense but this team has it all when in synch. Defense is their best offense. Translation - superior defense gives Baltimore offense great field position for short drives.

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger's gimpy ankle needs to heal - quickly. Pittsburgh's playoff survival weakens considerably without a healthy and roaming Big Ben. Defense pounds but susceptible to big plays. Clock management has been surprisingly abysmal most of the year. Never count these guys out.

It's been the much publicized Tebow leading Denver. Defense and late game heroics have become the norm as Tebow's antics place him squarely in bulls-eye's of friends and foes alike. Denver's ground game is the key to success on offense. Red Zone attack needs to step it up a notch, especially when playoff football begins.

Playoff picture:
4 of 6 teams in. New England (11-3), Baltimore (10-4), Houston (10-4) & Pittsburgh (10-4) secured playoff slots.
Denver (8-6) wins the west with a victories at Buffalo and home closer vs Kansas City. Tebow's inspiring play and Broncos tenacious defense hope to rebound after New England showed why their AFC's #1 seed. Two wins (or combination of win/loss by Oak/SD) and the West belongs to Denver.
Oakland (7-7) remains in the hunt but needs help to catch Denver. Winning remaining games is their only option.
Remember when San Diego (7-7) began the season 4-1? Then lost 6 straight? Riding a 3 win streak, Chargers must win their final 2 games and hope for both Denver & Oakland to collapse. Good luck.
New York Jets (8-6) control their Wild Card destiny. Win two and they're in. They also own tie-breaker over Cincinnati. Big game vs stadium sharing playoff seeking New York Giants (7-7).
All sorts of implications/possibilities could trigger tie-breakers kicking in to determine eventual playoff teams. Playoff seeding also at stake. Patriots currently #1 followed by Baltimore. AFC North is still up for grabs (Baltimore owns tie-breaker).

Division winners: (1) Patriots, (2) Ravens, (3) Texans, (4) Broncos. Wild Card: (5) Steelers, (6) Jets.

Can you believe it? For much of the season Green Bay's 13 game winning streak took a backseat to Tebow fever. Packers offense plays nearly flawless football. Aaron Rodgers is one of football's greatest players. He's amassed 4,360 yards - 40 TD's and only 6 interceptions. It doesn't get much better than this folks. 13 wins in 14 games isn't too shabby either. Defending Champs fine tuning to defend their crown.

Has anyone been paying attention to San Francisco football outside of the NFC West? Better take notice. 49ers defense is making a name for themselves. They're getting stronger as confidence grows. This current 49ers teams reminds me of 80's style Giants football. Opportunistic team gains advantage while most focus on NFC's Packers & Saints.

Drew Brees might give himself a Christmas present this weekend - and - possibly giving Hall of Famer Dan Marino a lump of coal. Brees is on the verge of breaking Marino's single season passing record - a remarkable accomplishment. He needs just 305 yards to set a new record.

What is up with the New York Giants (7-7). Stunning losses to weaker teams leaves this group - and head coach - battling for their short and long term futures. Two losses to Washington, one to a Vick-less Eagles squad and Seattle cost them from clinching the NFC East. These were all ugly losses. Coughlin will be gone if Giants get eliminated. Big New York vs New York match-up this weekend. Loser's season in jeopardy.

Playoff picture:
Top seed Green Bay's (13-1, North) run at perfection ended last weekend. San Francisco (11-3, West) & New Orleans (10-4, South) won their division.
Dallas (8-6) currently leads the East over New York (7-7). East is there's if they beat Philly coupled with a Giants loss this weekend. Expect a final game showdown at MetLife to decide who wins. I'm betting Eagles and Giants win this weekend forcing a winner take all final game.
Atlanta (9-5) and Detroit (9-5) appear to have a lock on Wild Card status but it's not said and done until the final gun sounds.

Division winners: (1) Packers, (2) 49ers, (3) Saints, (4) Giants. Wild Card: (5) Lions, (6) Falcons.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

All World All Sports NBA 2011-12 Preview

Check it out - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

Short season on the way. Players still changing teams, negotiating new contracts and shaking off the rust from an extended work stoppage. Many were plenty put off once Commissioner Stern began cancelling games weeks at a time. How will fans react once the new season begins? Will they return in droves - or - driven away? Time will tell.

Crystal ball time. All World All Sports 2011-12 NBA forecast...

Eastern Conference
Boston Celtics
New York Knicks
Philadelphia 76ers
New Jersey Nets
Toronto Raptors
Chicago Bulls
Detroit Pistons
Indiana Pacers
Milwaukee Bucks
Cleveland Cavs
Miami Heat
Orlando Magic
Atlanta Hawks
Charlotte Bobcats
Washington Wizards

Western Conference
Oklahoma City Thunder
Denver Nuggets
Portland Trailblazers
Utah Jazz
Minnesota Timberwolves
LA Lakers
LA Clippers
Phoenix Suns
Golden State Warriors
Sacramento Kings
Dallas Mavericks
San Antonio Spurs
Memphis Grizzlies
Houston Rockets
New Orleans Hornets

Champions: Boston Celtics

Thursday, December 15, 2011

NFL 2011 Predictions - Week 15

Check it out - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

Tick tock. Tick tock. Three regular season NFL weeks remain in the 2011 season. Division winners Green Bay (13-0), San Francisco (10-3) & Houston (10-3) will be fine tuning their games and battling for playoff seeding while somehow trying to remain healthy. Houston's season has been nothing short of remarkable. So many key players banged up - and - they're on quarterback number 3. Green Bay is heading towards history. Who will beat them?

New York Jets and Giants fans roller coaster emotions put to the test all season long. Giants (8-5) breathing new life after edging division rival Dallas. Sanchez finally looking good for Jets - perhaps pre-game boo's from home crowd snapped him to life?

Baltimore (10-3) owns tie-breakers vs AFC North division rival Pittsburgh (10-3) based on sweeping their season series. Roethlisberger banged up for a big game vs San Francisco this weekend.

Tim Tebow magic leading Denver (8-5) to the top of AFC West. Oakland (7-6) was blown out in back to back games needs a big victory this weekend to stay alive.

Digger correctly nails 13 of 16 in Week 14! Season total advances to 134-74 (64.4%).

Week 15 (home in CAPS)
ATLANTA 27 Jacksonville 10

DALLAS 38  Tampa Bay 14

HOUSTON 27 Carolina 23
GIANTS 34 Washington 20
BUFFALO 28 Miami 17
CHICAGO 12 Seattle 10
New Orleans 45 MINNESOTA 21
Cincinnati 28 ST LOUIS 3
Tennessee 30 INDIANAPOLIS 7
GREEN BAY 35 Kansas City 3
OAKLAND 24 Detroit 23
New England 33 DENVER 17
ARIZONA 24 Cleveland 13
Baltimore 24 SAN DIEGO 20

Pittsburgh 16 SAN FRANCISCO 13

Monday, December 12, 2011

Keep the Faith! Tebow Strikes Again!

Check it out - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

Believe in your faith. Tim Tebow's religious beliefs guide his life on and off of football fields. He's been criticized heavily for public displays of deep devotion. Tebow's detractors openly and often criticize his throwing ability as much as Tebowing. Guess what? Denver Broncos starting quarterback Tim Tebow is now 7-1. The 7th victory was another thrilling late game come from behind victory - 4th in a row.

Yesterday's game caught most by surprise - again. Denver's offense wasn't clicking at all before the final three minutes in regulation during Sunday's overtime 13-10 victory against Chicago. The Bears defense shadowed Tebow all game long. Denver receivers dropped passes at key moments throughout. Eight consecutive Broncos drives ended in 5 plays or less until the hurry up offense went into effect.

Trailing 10-0, with just over 4 minutes remaining, Tebow went to work guiding Denver 7 plays for 63 yards culminated by a 10 yard strike to Demaryius Thomas with 2:08 to go. Denver nearly recovered a perfect onside kick almost (2 players collided, Chicago recovered). All the Bears had to do was run the ball and keep the clock moving to secure victory. This would have left approximately 13-15 seconds in regulation. Denver used up all of their timeouts leaving no way to stop the game clock. Trailing 10-7, Denver's 5 game win streak was coming to an end.
"If you believe," Tebow said, "then unbelievable things can sometimes be possible."
On Chicago's first play (2nd down) after the 2:00 minute warning Bears running back Marion Barber bounced a left tackle run to the outside - way outside - and was inexplicably knocked out of bounds stopping the clock at 1:55. All Barber had to do was fall down in bounds. Forty precious seconds would have ticked off the clock. Instead the clock froze at 1:55 with 3rd down on the way.

Television viewers, Broncos fans and anyone within ear shot knew this game was about to change. Change it did. After Chicago punted Tebow had 53 seconds left from his own 20 yard line in regulation to perform another football miracle. One quick strike after another set up a long shot field goal attempt for the tie. Broncos kicker Matt Prater blasted a Denver record 59 yard field goal in front of 76,487 delirious home town fans. Most of America was stunned at the sudden turn of events. 10-10 and headed to overtime.

Chicago won the coin toss and quickly drove down the field. A new sense of determination coming from Chicago coaches who were overly cautious during the 4th quarter. Chicago neared field goal position. On 3rd and 7 from the Denver 38 Barber ran towards a gaping hole. At first quick glance it seemed as though if Barber exploded through the hole he was going for a massive gain - or perhaps and touchdown. Barber hit the hole hard as did Broncos LB Wesley Woodyard. Barber was gone if he was able to avoid the ball jarring hit - FUMBLE! Broncos recover... Tebow time!

Watching events in this game at the end of regulation and overtime was surreal (in football sense). Tebow got the ball back. Seconds earlier most thought Chicago was about to line up for a game winning overtime field goal attempt. This is minutes after most thought Chicago was going to win in regulation. I'd like to read a stat of how many fans switched channels with the score 10-7 at the 2:00 minute warning. Bears fans had to return in stunned disbelief... while Denver fans returned to stunned exuberance.

Now here we are in overtime. Regulation goat Marion Barber became game goat Marion Barber after a devastating overtime fumble. Tebow and the Broncos went to work from his own 34. 8 plays later Denver was set up for a 51 yard field goal attempt... there was never any doubt. Prater nailed a 51 yard game winning kick at the 8:34 mark.

Tebow's antics, game play, come from behind victories, and now division leader (Denver 8-5) has probably been the most discussed in 2011 NFL action. Fans love him for many reasons. Reason #1 is winning. What I'll never understand is players & media attacking his faith. Why? Tebow is a devout faith believer. Good for him. It's his choice and should be respected. Tebow lives his life by a code - faith in his religion. Tebow is of strong moral character. A 5 tool competitor who plays football with belief in his ability, determination, guts, strength and heart. Results: 7-1 propelling Denver (8-5) into first place. Yet, relentless attacks by players and media for courage to show and discuss faith.

Question: how many times does a baseball player make the cross sign before stepping into the batters box? Kiss a cross after a crossing home plate with a winning run? On a home run? How about football players celebrating after touchdowns? Wins? How about when faith and thanks to faith are the first spoken words? Not a peep of discontent - and there shouldn't be - so why Tebow?

I will never understand the clear and present danger of accelerating disrespect displayed towards religion in the United States of America. From educators in schools to elected government officials to influential media outlets. Somehow the Ten Commandments have been eradicated from select public buildings. The Pledge of Allegiance banned. In God We Trust under attack. Public displays of Christmas or Channukah ornaments being outlawed. And now, sports figures public displays of faith scrutinized. Does this mean our national anthem will soon be outlawed? Or, 7th inning stretch God Bless America? Let's hope not.

Standing ovation for Tim Tebow's 7-1 record. He's done it all with people mocking his every move. Keep the faith!

NFL 2011 Predictions - Week 14

Check it out - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

**Apologies to All World All Sports Blog readers - this was originally posted on our main web site but never copied onto eBlogger**

Week 13 treated us to thrilling games. Giants vs Green Bay was one of the years best. Tebow's prayers were answered again in another Denver come from behind victory. Five consecutive late game heroics has Denver tied for first place. Arizona scored a TKO of Dallas in OT after another Cowboys coaching error.

11 of 16 last weekend brings my season total to 121-71 (63%). All remaining games are must wins for teams seeking a shot at post-season play - especially teams on the outside looking in. Not too many must see type games on this weekends schedule. One standout game is Sunday night when the Giants travel to Dallas.

Week 14

PITTSBURGH 31 Cleveland 3

JETS 28 Kansas City 6
Tampa Bay 24 JACKSONVILLE 20
New England 48 WASHINGTON 14
Atlanta 30 CAROLINA 28
BALTIMORE 23 Indianapolis 3
Philadelphia 27  MIAMI 17
DETROIT 27 Minnesota 20
New Orleans 27 TENNESSEE 23
CINCINNATI 23 Houston 21
DENVER 24 Chicago 13
San Francisco 26 ARIZONA 20
SAN DIEGO 33 Buffalo 23
GREEN BAY 42 Oakland 21
Giants 38 DALLAS 27

SEATTLE 23 St Louis 16

Monday, December 5, 2011

Baseball's Winter Heating Up

Check it out - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

Miami Marlins making early waves went out on a limb by signing Jose Reyes. Marlins have a new name - Miami. Soon to be new stadium - Sun Life Stadium. New uniforms. New attitude. New spending spree - a first in recent memory for Marlins teams.
A new generation of baseball is coming to Miami. Their organization is waving long term deals at key franchise-type players in a effort to solidify a solid, competitive Miami future. A generous deal by the City of Miami (now under investigation) affords Miami a long overdue opportunity to keep their star players and attract new ones. Just signed - NL batting champion Jose Reyes for 6 years, $106,000,000.00. Reyes is a great player with one major downside. Reyes has been sidelined extensively throughout his career in New York. If he stays healthy then count Miami as a serious NL East contender for years to come. Hanley Ramirez will shift from SS to 3B giving Miami an outstanding left side of the infield offensively and defensively.
Free agent closer Heath Bell was Miami's second major signing in two days (3 years, $27,000,000.00) and they're hot on Albert Pujols trail. Another name mentioned often is Mark Buerhle. Nobody should expect the Marlins to toss around Red Sox or Yankees kind of money. This is a team grooming very good talent and now adding a few select top veterans. Shrewd long range plans in the works. Marlins baseball will be a must watch when 2012 season begins.

Hall of Fame
It's about time !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ron Santo ( is finally heading into the Hall. I will never understand how Santo wasn't voted in during the 15 year eligibility votes. Then comes the HOF Veterans Committee which basically has the power to elect players who never received enough votes. Here's the real injustice. Veterans Committee had 12 years - 12 - to right a wrong. Is it their inner guilt taking over? Ron Santo died one year ago. Now, he gets in? Why not when he was alive allowing him the feeling of being a Hall of Fame inductee? How utterly miserable. Bittersweet.

Free Agents
Albert Pujols is the big fish on the market. He can pick whichever team he wants. Plenty of speculation as to where he'll end up. Plenty of teams will make offers - unless Pujols seeks ARod money. Then again, one never knows what kind of crazy contract might come from fickle owners in bidding wars? Miami is a great place to live. Will be a great place to play in a brand new hitters friendly stadium. Star studded lineup. Solid pitchers? Theo Epstein's chasing hard after Pujols. Esptein helped remove one curse. Can he work magic for the Cubs? Time will tell. Giants need to step up after losing out on Reyes. Perhaps Albert's just testing the market for leverage in St. Louis?
Big question marks surrounding many teams. The usual characters - Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies and perhaps Braves - will keep throwing big bucks around. What has me wondering is strategy of low budget teams or teams in financial distress? LA Dodgers and NY Mets with cash flow problems. LA secured a new SS signing utility man Jerry Hairston Jr. Mets might be willing to sell off everything possible. David Wright should beg to get out of NY. Angels, Cardinals, Red Sox & White Sox would be great fits if Mets follow a path of quietly severing ties with big salaries to gain useful prospects.
Kansas City & Washington have me curious too. Their once young talent is maturing. They need pitching and veteran leadership. How will front office's respond? It isn't easy attracting star pitchers to KC or Washington just yet?
Believe it or not, I've been reading how the most coveted free agents might be utility type (multi-position) players. Adam Kennedy and Hairston off the board quickly with more to follow soon. Prince Fielder sweepstakes has been rather quiet.

Plenty of rumors and headlines soon to follow. Can't wait to see how the dust settles.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bobby Valentine to Red Sox

Check it out - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

Bobby Valentine has enjoyed celebrity status. ESPN's former baseball commentator's name was often mentioned whenever a managerial vacancy existed. His popularity rose to championship quality praise. Not bad for a fellow never to manage an American team to a division title. High praise to a former manager out of MLB since 2002.

Enter the Boston Red Sox. One of baseball's top organizations committed to winning. A team coming off a rough 2011 season filled with in-fighting, clubhouse drinking during games and a manager who suddenly quit. Terry Francona was at the helm for Boston's two World Series championships. He was the man who beat the Yankees and broke Boston's curse. Somewhere during the '11 season, Francona lost control of the Red Sox. Various injuries and terrible front office decisions (especially with starting pitching) could be largely to blame. Francona's sudden departure stunned many. He took Boston's bad season to heart. Perhaps, he realized Red Sox players didn't play with any? Perhaps he just wanted out at any cost. End of chapter.

A new page in Boston history is about to be written. GM Theo Epstein is gone - off to Chicago Cubs for millions of dollars. Francona out. New GM Ben Cherington is betting Bobby Valentine is the right man for the job. Question is - what kind of job will it become? A championship opportunity or caretaker for a rebuilding club?

Boston isn't necessarily rebuilding. Or, will they be forced to rebuild? Mostly due to over-inflated salaries of underachieving players. Carl Crawford's first stint in Boston was a complete failure ($20M+/year thru 2017). Lackey pitched like a drunk lackey without any consistency ($15.25M/year thru 2014). Daisuke Matsuzaka ($10M in '12) bombed. As of this moment, Boston has only 12 players signed costing $126,000,000.00! What will Boston due? Rebuilding in the mighty AL East will not be easy or cheap.

Bobby V steps right into the thick of things. Is he just a colorful caretaker until Boston finds a way to reclaim glory days of the 2000's? Or, is this team getting set for some serious wheeling and dealing? This team is carrying expensive dead weight which could curtail aggressive free agent maneuvers. Boston fans will soon find out the direction their team will take once baseball's winter meetings conclude.

Free agency is off to a very slow beginning. Maybe due to economic uncertainties? Maybe owners are finally realizing their players are way over paid? (doubt it). The silence of active free agent signings is slowly becoming deafening. Jose Reyes name was tossed about early on. Pujols to Chicago could be in the works. However, to this observer, a game of chicken seems in play. No teams making big offers to the coveted free agent pitchers. Not much discussion beyond scuttlebutt when it comes to position players. Something will give. I'm guess Epstein's Cubs will be the first to make headlines.

Bobby Valentine in Boston to help discipline a clubhouse drinking team is a bit funny. After all, when managing the Mets Valentines players were caught playing poker in the clubhouse during playoff series vs rival Braves. Bobby V was never known - or respected - as a tough taskmaster. Boston is rolling the dice with Valentine's happy go lucky attitude. I don't see it paying off. Valentine proved many times he's no match for bloated ego's of overpriced ballplayers. Red Sox fans will keep their collective fingers crossed hoping and praying a new face at the helm is all that's needed to restore winning ways.

The only good news seems to be Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury & Kevin Youkilis. These players represent the heart and sole of Boston Red Sox baseball. Boston's pitching is in shambles and should be primary focus #1 from rotation to relievers.

Newcomer's Valentine and Cherington have much work to do. 2012 is filled with vital challenges. Decisions made during this off season will have a lasting effect. Hold on Boston fans - turbulence expected.

Monday, November 28, 2011

2011 Football Power Rankings

Check it out - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

LSU remains #1. Look out for Cinderella team of 2011 - Houston (12-0). Cougars slow and steady rise might get a boost against #24 ranked Southern Mississippi December 3rd. This marks Houston's only top 25 opponent. Houston's offense ranks top dog averaging 52.7 points per contest behind a spectacular passing attack.

This weekend will be teams final shot at making a strong bowl bid, run at number one & Heismann push. Good luck teams.

Top 20
1 - LSU
2 - Alabama
3 - Virginia Tech
4 - Stanford
5 - Houston
6 - Arkansas
7 - Oklahoma State
8 - Boise State
9 - Oregon
10- Oklahoma
11- Georgia
12- Wisconsin
13- South Carolina
14- Michigan State
15- Kansas State
16- Michigan
17- Baylor
18- TCU
19- Nebraska
20- Clemson

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NFL 2011 Predictions - Week 12

Check it out - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

I rebounded nicely after a disastrous Week 10. Week 11 produced 11 correct picks out of 14. It would have been 13 if the two New York teams played to their potential. Instead, both the Jets and Giants thoroughly embarrassed themselves. Their season's now in turmoil. To the victor goes the spoils - the losers could become spoiled.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Thursday's turkey day games could be very entertaining (finally). Undefeated Green Bay travels to surging Detroit. Red hot Miami visits equally hot Dallas. NFC West leading 49ers squares off against AFC North leading Baltimore.

11-3 last weekend improves my season record to 97-63 (61%). Time for Week 12... (home in CAPS)

Thanksgiving Thursday
Green Bay 38 DETROIT 17
Miami 26 DALLAS 23
San Fran 21 BALTIMORE 17

Houston 20 JACKSONVILLE 16
JETS 21 Buffalo 20
CINCINNATI 27 Cleveland 10
ATLANTA 27 Minnesota 14
Arizona 24 ST LOUIS 10
Carolina 42 INDIANAPOLIS 3
Tampa Bay 23 TENNESSEE 20
OAKLAND 27 Chicago 7
Washington 24 SEATTLE 20
Denver 31 SAN DIEGO 24
New England 34 PHILADELPHIA 14
Pittsburgh 30 KANSAS CITY 0

NEW ORLEANS 31 Giants 28

How did Verlander win AL MVP?

Check it out - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander was unanimously selected as 2011 American League Cy Young winner. Hands down, the very best "pitching" season helping to lead his Tigers to the AL Central division title.

Verlander caught much of the baseball world by surprise when it was announced earlier this week of another award for his collection. JV also captured the AL Most Valuable Player Award. With all due respect to Verlander - selecting a starting pitcher as MVP is just flat out wrong and an insult to deserving players who played an entire season! Let the debate rage on. There's no way a pitcher appearing in only 34 of 162 games - a mere 21% - gets the nod here. 24-5 record is tremendous. Rightfully selected as Cy Young. Categorically wrong selection as MVP! I'll say it again - the voters messed up picking a man who played in only 21% of his teams games.

Scarier is AL voting wasn't even close. Verlander received 13 first place votes. The next closest was Jose Bautista with 5 (finished 3rd overall). Take your pick, any of these players were hands down more deserving of this esteemed award - Jacoby Ellsbury (finished 2nd), Bautista (3rd), Curtis Granderson (4th), Miguel Cabrera (5th). Look them up, study their statistics, then explain to me how Verlander won?

Nobody claims sportswriters are geniuses. Their lack of fundamental understanding for selecting an MVP is quite stunning. Again, Verlander pitched in only 21% of Detroit's games. 34 games out of 162. Ellsbury was the most dominating leadoff hitter. Bautista won the HR crown. Granderson was clutch all season. And Detroit goes nowhere without Cabrera's big bat.

The sportswriters got it wrong in 2011.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NFL 2011 Predictions - Week 11

Check it out - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

Sorry folks. My crystal ball was turned upside down last weekend. Never before in my history of picking winners and losers did I ever experience anything so dreadful. Green Bay, Houston, New England, Pittsburgh and Jacksonville represent 5 correct picks. Utterly embarrassing. Won/loss record took a big hit - now rests at 86-60 (59%).

Big divisional games slated for this coming weekend in NFC East action. Dallas (5-4) travels to Redskins (3-6) territory. Under performing Philadelphia (3-6) battles the surging Giants (6-3). Every game is big from here on in. One slip up can cost a team an entire season.

Question of the day surrounds Houston Texans (7-3). One of football's best teams lost their starting quarterback - Matt Schaub. New QB Matt Leinart needs to take advantage of this bye week to grasp the Texans offense. A few Super Bowl championship teams have won after overcoming key losses at quarterback. Two quickly come to mind - 1972 Miami Dolphins lost Bob Griese and finished 14-0 (plus 3 playoff wins) - in 1990 Jeff Hostetler took over for an injured Phil Simms and guided the New York Giants to a stunning victory over the Buffalo Bills in one of the greatest Super Bowl games ever played.

Week 11
Jers 27 BRONCOS 17

GREEN BAY 38 Tampa Bay 14
DETROIT 31 Carolina 24
CLEVELAND 14 Jacksonville 13
Oakland 33 MINNESOTA 21
Buffalo 28 MIAMI 21
Dallas 34 WASHINGTON 10
BALTIMORE 20 Cincinnati 17
SAN FRANCISCO 24 Arizona 21
Seattle 27 ST LOUIS 23
ATLANTA 26 Tennessee 24
CHICAGO 27 San Deigo 21
GIANTS 31 Philadelphia 28

NEW ENGLAND 38 Kansas City 14

Sunday, November 13, 2011

2011-12 NCAA Basketball Rankings

Check it out - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

Get ready for another spectacular college basketball season. North Carolina opens the 2011-12 season on top of all major polls. Defending National Champion University of Connecticut will do their very best to retain their crown. Time for "All World All Sports" pre-season rankings.

NCAA Basketball Top 20
1 - North Carolina
2 - Ohio State
3 - Kentucky
4 - Connecticut
5 - Syracuse
6 - Duke
7 - Florida
8 - Vanderbilt
9 - Louisville
10- Pittsburgh
11- Memphis
12- Kansas
13- Baylor
14- Wisconsin
15- Xavier
16- Arizona
17- Michigan
18- Alabama
19- UCLA
20- Texas A&M

Prediction: Final ranking National & Tournament Champs - Kentucky

Thursday, November 10, 2011

2011 Football Power Rankings

Check it out - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

NCAA Football continues to be rocked by a Penn State scandal getting worse by the minute. More to follow in a separate column.

Top 20 (Week 10)
1 - LSU
2 - Oklahoma State
3 - Stanford
4 - Alabama
5 - Boise State
6 - Oklahoma
7 - Arkansas
8 - Oregon
9 - Clemson
10- Virginia Tech
11- Houston
12- Penn State
13- Georgia
14- Wisconsin
15- South Carolina
16- Kansas State
17- Texas
18- Georgia Tech
19- Southern Miss
20- Cincinnati

NFL divisional races heating up. Baltimore knocked off Pittsburgh for the second time this season. Week 10 features Oakland vs San Diego, New England vs New York Jets, New Orleans vs Atlanta, Detroit vs Chicago. Almost playoff-like atmosphere in mid-season. A great weekend for finding your favorite place to watch games.

NFL Top 15 (9 weeks completed)
1 - Green Bay
2 - Baltimore
3 - Giants
4 - Detroit
5 - Pittsburgh
6 - San Francisco
7 - Cincinnati
8 - Houston
9 - New Orleans
10- New England
11- Jets
12- Atlanta
13- Chicago
14- San Diego
15- Tampa Bay

NFL 2011 Predictions - Week 10

Check it out - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

Coming off my worst week of the season, 7-7 (50%). Miami finally won their first game by scalping Kansas City 31-3. The Jets and Dallas won too effectively blowing out my upset selections.

Week 10 kicks off Thursday Night Football (on NFL Network). You don't get NFL Network? Same here. I really have a problem when prime time games are only afforded to subscribers. This just doesn't sit well with those of us left in the dark. And so it goes....

Looking to turn it up a notch. Even money last weekend was disappointing. 81-49 (62.3%). No bye's this week. Week 10 crystal ball says....

CHARGERS 31 Raiders 20

EAGLES 30 Cardinals 17
PANTHERS 28 Titans 24
Texans 28 BUCS 21
Redskins 14 DOLPHINS 13
Jaguars 17 COLTS 10
CHIEFS 31 Broncos 27
Bills 34 COWBOYS 24
FALCONS 31 Saints 30
BROWNS 21 Rams 14
Steelers 27 BENGALS 14
Ravens 20 SEAHAWKS 13
Giants 35 49ERS 21
Lions 24 BEARS 23
Patriots 23 JETS 20

PACKERS 45 Vikings 7

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Scandals, Strikes & Fines

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-Digger's Daily-

It's been a week filled with ugly news coming from the sporting world. Shocking scandals ending a legendary coaching career, sickening NBA negotiating impasse and disgruntled NFL players reacting to another round of fines by Commissioner Goodall. What's next? Hopefully nothing else to shock our systems.

Penn State's football program sent shock waves throughout America. The scoop is Paterno's former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, was charged over the weekend with 40 counts of molesting eight young boys between 1994 and 2009 through his charitable foundation The Second Mile (for at-risk youths). Also charged - in an apparent cover-up from 2002 - Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz for failing to notify authorities.

It's an ugly scandal. Legendary coach Joe Paterno is taking the news hard. Earlier this afternoon, Paterno announced his retirement effective at the end of this season.
"I have come to work every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: To serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care. I have the same goal today," Paterno said in his statement.
"That's why I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season. At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can.
"This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more. My goals now are to keep my commitments to my players and staff and finish the season with dignity and determination. And then I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to help this university."
This is a bitter pill to swallow. Brooklyn born Joe Paterno "JoePa" is one of the most respected men in all of sports. A walking legend and Hall of Fame coach compiling over 400 victories. This is no way for a man of his stature to retire. However, this scandal isn't going away any time soon. Paterno will forever second guess, and be questioned, for not contacting law enforcement when learning of Sandusky's conduct with a 10 year old boy years ago in Penn State football's shower facilities. He did notify Athletic Director Tim Curley the next day. Paterno was cleared of wrong doing. But - On November 7, Pennsylvania state police Commissioner Frank Noonan said that though Paterno and others may have fulfilled their legal obligation to report suspected abuse, "somebody has to question about what I would consider the moral requirements for a human being that knows of sexual things that are taking place with a child," and that, "I think you have the moral responsibility, anyone. Not whether you're a football coach or a university president or the guy sweeping the building. I think you have a moral responsibility to call us" (from

Sandusky's story is certain to get uglier before it gets any better. Many will fall from ranks within Penn State. Stay tuned, more to follow.

What will it take for NBA owners and players to finally settle their differences? Caught in the cross fire are plenty of non-millionaire pay me more money non-players. Street vendors, parking attendants, concession stand employees, ushers, ticket takers, local transportation, restaurants, hotels and right on down the line. Wake up folks! Commissioner Stern has been slammed by pro-union media types. Owners called "Plantation owners" by NBAPA's executive director Billy Hunter (who seems less than honest in media dealings). 133 days of lockouts now threatens the entire NBA season for the first time in league history.

Hey players - when is enough enough? The world is burning. Finances of millions in ruins. The players holding out for more - despicable. Let's face it, next round (season) of tickets from arena to arena will skyrocket. Average families, already snake-bit by rising costs of everything from heat to milk, will now bear the burden of lining pockets of individuals least in need. I, for one, am fed up with sports labor negotiations. Days of owners taking advantage of players are long since over. Nowadays, it's clearly the other way around.

The Steelers have been fined 13 times for more than $182,000 this season for questionable tackles. Their latest fine has one player mighty miffed. NFL leveled a $40K fine against safety Ryan Clark and he's lashing out at Commissioner Goodall. NFL has levied many fines this season with the goal of curtailing head to head tackles which often lead to concussions. Players all know if they intentionally launch helmet first into another players helmet - a heavy fine is coming. However, during the natural course of a game, head to head hits will happen and aren't always intentional. In most cases, it's not intentional but NFL hands out fines nonetheless.
I suspect it's difficult to determine players intentions beyond clearly obvious launching hits. Defensive players around the league have become a bit miffed at Goodall's fines. How is a player to avoid helmet to helmet contact when players on offense often lower their heads a split second before a tackle is made. The original intent of fining players was for protection from clear helmet leading tackles. Not so anymore.

All Pro LB Ray Lewis:
"You can't stop playing defense the way defense has always been created to play," Lewis said. "When the receiver has the ball, your job is to disengage him from the ball. You never want to hurt nobody. I've been in this business too long. I just think once you start getting into these fines I don't know how they come up with the numbers most of the time."

It's time for the NFL to refine their system. Protecting player safety is always of utmost concern. But, let us not lose sight of the fact football is a dangerous game. There's a certain amount of risk on every single play. NFL needs to find a better way of determining avoidable hits from unavoidable hits - something they've yet to figure out.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NFL 2011 Predictions: Week 9

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-Digger's Daily-

Week 8 featured a few major upsets. Saints were caught by surprise by first time winners St. Louis 31-21. Philadelphia bludgeoned division rival Dallas 34-7. Kansas City capitalized on sloppy late game play by San Diego to grab their share of the AFC West lead. NFL has a few hot games on the slate for Week 9.

9-4 last week brings my season total 74-42 (63.8%). Now is the time of year when good teams must rise above early season imperfections on the field and start winning. Struggling teams aren't out of the picture yet and need to find a way to shine. Then we have winners with alligators chomping on their heels attempting to knock off division leaders. Mid-season crunch time.

Here we go. Week 9 picks.... (home team in CAPS)

CHIEFS 34 Dolphins 7
Falcons 28 COLTS 7
SAINTS 30 Bucs 28
BILLS 35 Jets 24
Seahawks 21 COWBOYS 20
TEXANS 48 Browns 10
49ers 24 REDSKINS 20
TITANS 27 Bengals 24
RAIDERS 23 Broncos 17
Giants 31 PATRIOTS 30
CARDINALS 20 Rams 10
Packers 33 CHARGERS 21
STEELERS 17 Ravens 16

EAGLES 38 Bears 14

2011 Football Power Rankings

Visit "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

NCAA (9 weeks completed)
1 - LSU
2 - Alabama
3 - Oklahoma State
4 - Stanford
5 - Boise State
6 - Oklahoma
7 - Arkansas
8 - Oregon
9 - South Carolina
10- Nebraska
11- Clemson
12- Virginia Tech
13- Houston
14- Kansas State
15- Michigan
16- Penn State
17- Michigan State
18- Georgia
19- Arizona State
20- Wisconsin

NFL (8 weeks completed)
1 - Green Bay
2 - Pittsburgh
3 - Baltimore
4 - Detroit
5 - San Francisco
6 - New England
7 - New York Giants
8 - Cincinnati
9 - Buffalo
10- New Orleans
11- Houston
12- Kansas City
13- San Diego
14- Atlanta
15- New York Jets

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Freese Out! Cardinals Stun Rangers for 11th World Series Title!

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-Digger's Daily-

The 2011 St. Louis Cardinals capped a season to remember with a stunning seven game World Series victory over the Texas Rangers. On August 25th, the Cardinals were 10.5 games behind Atlanta in the NL Wild Card race. In World Series Game 6, twice they were one strike from losing the series. St. Louis overcame long odds - now they're World Series champions!

Texas seemed to have the championship well within their grasp. Leading the Series 3 games to 2. Leading Game 6 7-4 through 7 innings - 7-5 after 8 - 7-5 with 2 outs and 2 strikes in the 9th until hometown hero David Freese delivered a season saving game tying 2 out 2 strike 2 run triple. Texas led again 9-7 in the 10th inning after a 2 run homer by 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton. Once again, St. Louis facing elimination with 2 outs and 2 strikes. Then it was Lance Berkman's turn for heroics as his single tied the game at 9. Up stepped David Freese to lead off for the Cardinals in the bottom half of the 11th. He lined a 3-2 meatball over the centerfield wall for a walk off Series tying home run. Cardinal fans went crazy - and analysts slammed Rangers manager Ron Washington for numerous managerial mistakes.

In decisive Game 7, Texas came out hot scoring 2 to begin the game. They would score no more. Cardinals David Freese was the man of the hour once again. His 2 run double knotted the contest. Texas pitchers were terrible the rest of the way. Walks, hit batters and falling behind in counts all game long. When all was said and done - St. Louis won the game 6-2. Local boy David Freese was named World Series MVP in addition to National League Championship Series MVP.

Texas joins the 1986 Boston Red Sox as two teams within 1 strike of a World Series title in Game 6 who then gave it all away. So many memorable moments coming out of the 2011 World Series. Here's a few of my favorites....

Game 1 - Cards David Freese scored game winner on a pinch hit single by Alan Craig. Rangers CJ Wilson became the first pitcher to lose an All Star Game, AL Division Series game, AL Championship Series game and World Series game all in the same season.

Game 2 - Rangers score 2 9th inning runs - win 2-1 - ties Series at 1 each.

Game 3 - The Albert Pujols show. 5 for 6 - 3 monster home runs to tie the record shared by Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson. Cardinals demolish Rangers 16-7.

Game 4 - Derek Holland shut down the Cardinals through 8.1 innings. Rangers win 4-0. Holland would not start again. Many, including myself, still wonder why Washington didn't save Holland for Game 7 after his great Game 4 performance. Certainly to be debated for years to come.

Game 5 - Rubber game. Rangers to be World Series MVP Mike Napoli delivers game winner in bottom of 8th. Rangers win 4-2. One game from franchise first championship (51 years). Alan Craig twice thrown out trying to steal with Albert Pujols batting. LaRussa none too happy. Confusion as LaRussa didn't have closer Motte ready to come in - make shift relievers surrender game. LaRussa criticized and admits communication error between dugout and bullpen. Season on the brink.

Game 6 - Where to begin? Called one of the best games ever despite sloppy defense, poor managerial decisions, bad base running. In a move - or lack thereof - which I believe will haunt manager Washington for years to come - was his indecision in the top 5th. Rangers were leading 4-3, 2 outs, bases loaded. This is where Texas could have blown the Series open. Instead of sending a pinch hitter to bat for starting pitcher Lewis, after much confusion, Washington lets Lewis hit - and strike out. Rally over. Bases loaded stranded. This was a major snafu. Lewis was cooked one inning later.
Holliday getting picked off 3rd by Napoli with bases loaded, score tied at 4, almost sunk the Cards. It was a huge moment of the game. Cards inning ended 1 out later. Holliday might have scored on soon to come wild pitch had he not been picked off. Crucial moment Cards were able to overcome.
One of the Cardinals biggest hits - and most over looked of the entire Series - was Alan Craig's 8th inning solo home run to shave Texas lead to 2 from 7-4. At the time, everyone was ready to hand the trophy to Texas.
Then came the 9th inning. Texas leading 7-5, one out, Albert Pujols steps up to the plate in what could have been (should have been) potentially his final at bat as a St. Louis Cardinal. Pujols started the rally with a line drive double to left center. Berkman followed with a walk vs Rangers flame throwing closer Feliz. Up stepped Freese with 2 outs. Rangers OF playing very deep. It didn't matter. Freese absolutely hammered a fast ball off the right field wall. Texas players who were waiting to celebrate were suddenly stunned. Freese tied the game, 7-7. It looked as though the Cardinals were poised to win right there but Feliz got the final out. Bush Stadium fans going berserk - until - Hamilton's two-run blast put Texas ahead by two 9-7. Rangers dugout jubilant and relieved.
Washington's next mistake was not letting his closer come back out for a second inning of work. Here it is, season on the line, championship glory within reach - and Washington pulls his closer for old man Oliver. Two hitters later, the tying runs were on base after two feeble singles. Rangers blew another 2 run lead - again with 2 outs and 2 strikes.
David Freese homers to win it in the 11th redeeming himself from an earlier error of a dropped pop up to third. Just like that Freese became Series MVP front-runner knocking Napoli off to the side.

Game 7 - Ian Kinsler picked off first. Kinsler's base running was atrocious. He was nearly picked off again by Molina a few innings later. Rangers seemed done for the season after Feldman's bases loaded borderline call walk to Molina made the score 4-2. CJ Wilson then relieved and hit struggling Furcal with his first pitch, 5-2.
Rangers set a record for most walks. They handed out 41 free bases in 62 innings. They hit batters, played poor defense, pitched from behind. One of the worst performances (except for Holland) ever recorded. Sloppy and very "un"-clucth.

Clutch - MVP Freese 21 post-season RBI is a Major League record!
Rangers back to back World Series losers.
Albert Pujols final game as a Cardinal after 11 stellar seasons?
Is LaRussa done in St. Louis?
Arthur Rhodes earns a World Series ring after 20 big league season's (1st World Series).
Tony LaRussa wins 3rd World Series in 33 year managing career. 2nd Cardinals Series title. Funny, only 4 100+ win teams in 33 years.

Much will be written of the 2011 World Series. Most attention will surround Texas twice being within 1 strike of winning. Rangers players all know the Series was lost in Game 6. Nolan Ryan's facial expressions this Series were priceless. Jubilant, angry, stunned disbelief.

Congratulations St. Louis Cardinals!

NFL 2011 Predictions: Week 8

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-Digger's Daily-

Green Bay's dominating game is second to none through 7 weeks. They're playing head and shoulders above all others. New England @ Pittsburgh and Dallas @ Philadelphia represent the featured games for Week 8.

8-5 again last week brings my season W/L total to 65-38 (63.1).

Week 8 (home team in CAPS)
RAVENS 24 Cardinals 10
PANTHERS 33 Vikings 28
TEXANS 35 Jaguars 17
GIANTS 45 Dolphins 10
Saints 41 RAMS 6
TITANS 24 Colts 10
Lions 27 BRONCOS 24
BILLS 38 Redskins 21
Bengals 17 SEAHAWKS 14
49ERS 21 Browns 17
Patriots 34 STEELERS 30
EAGLES 31 Cowboys 24

Chargers 28 CHIEFS 21
(Bye: Atlanta, Chicago, Green Bay, Oakland, NY Jets, Tampa Bay)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2011 Football Power Rankings

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-Digger's Daily-

There's a new sheriff in town. LSU is #1 on every poll - at least for now. Only a few regular season games remain. It's do or die time for teams seeking a crack at playing in the BCS Championship.

NCAA Top 20 (8 weeks completed)
1 - LSU
2 - Alabama
3 - Boise State
4 - Stanford
5 - Oklahoma State
6 - Clemson
7 - Kansas State
8 - Oregon
9 - Oklahoma
10- Arkansas
11- Michigan State
12- Nebraska
13- South Carolina
14- Virginia Tech
15- Wisconsin
16- Houston
17- Michigan
18- Penn State
19- USC
20- Cincinnati

Is Green Bay capable of pulling off a perfect 16-0 season? There's only one game vs a Super caliber team. Packers are off this weekend gearing up for their toughest remaining contest at San Diego November 6th. If Green Bay successfully knocks off the Chargers then this team will sit in prime position. Any guess as to which team tops our NFL rankings?

NFL Rankings(7 weeks completed)
1 - Green Bay Packers
2 - New England Patriots
3 - Pittsburgh Steelers
4 - New Orleans Saints
5 - Baltimore Ravens
6 - San Francisco 49ers
7 - Detroit Lions
8 - San Diego Chargers
9 - New York Giants
10- Buffalo Bills
11- Cincinnati Bengals
12- Houston Texans
13- New York Jets
14- Atlanta Falcons
15- Chicago Bears

Monday, October 24, 2011

Baseball 2011 - Players of the Year

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-Digger's Daily-

The current Major League Baseball season will soon conclude. Texas and St. Louis are currently battling for the World Series championship (tied 2 games each). Award announcements will be made shortly after the Series concludes. All World All Sports has put together our players of the year position by position - our Gold Glove selections - and our picks for the major awards.

Players of the Year (by position - click player name for individual statistics)
1B - Miguel Cabrera (DET)
2B - Robinson Cano (NYY)
3B - Adrian Beltre (TEX)
SS - Derek Jeter (NYY)
LF - Alex Gordon (KC)
CF - Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS)
RF - Jose Bautista (TOR)
C - Alex Avila (DET)
DH - Victor Martinez (DET)
SRHP - Justin Verlander (DET)
SLHP - CC Sabathia (NYY)
MR - David Robertson (NYY)
CL - Jose Valverde (DET)
MGR- Jim Leyland (DET)

AL Awards
AL MVP - Curtis Granderson (NYY)
AL Cy Young - Justin Verlander (DET)
AL Rookie - Jordan Walden (LAA)
AL Comeback - Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS)
AL Manager- Jim Leyland (DET)

AL Gold Gloves
1B - Mark Teixeira (NYY)
2B - Dustin Pedroia (BOS)
3B - Evan Longoria(TB)
SS - Jhonny Peralta (DET)
LF - Alex Gordon (KC)
CF - Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS)
RF - Nick Markakis (BAL)
C - Matt Wieters (BAL)
P - Dan Haren (LAA)

Players of the Year (by position - click player name for individual statistics)
1B - Prince Fielder (MIL)
2B - Brandon Phillips (CIN)
3B - Pablo Sandoval (SF)
SS - Jose Reyes (NYM)
LF - Ryan Braun (MIL)
CF - Matt Kemp (LAD)
RF - Lance Berkman (STL)
C - Yadier Molina(STL)
SRHP - Roy Halladay (PHI)
SLHP - Clayton Kershaw (LAD)
MR - Tyler Clippard (WAS)
CL - John Axford (MIL)
MGR- Kirk Gibson (AZ)

NL Awards
NL MVP - Ryan Braun (MIL)
NL Cy Young - Clayton Kershaw (LAD)
NL Rookie - Freddie Freeman (ATL)
NL Comeback - Lance Berkman (STL)
NL Manager - Kirk Gibson (AZ)

NL Gold Gloves
1B - Joey Votto (CIN)
2B - Neil Walker (PIT)
3B - Placido Polanco (PHI)
SS - Troy Tulowitzki (COL)
LF - Ryan Braun (MIL)
CF - Chris Young (AZ)
RF - Andre Ethier (LAD)
C - Yadier Molina(STL)
P - Hiroki Kuroda (LAD)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October Random Ramblings

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-Digger's Daily-

Random thoughts evolving from recent events in the sports world.

Timing couldn't be worse for millionaire crybabies. Players vs owners remain far apart on negotiations. The blame finger points towards everyone involved. It doesn't matter which side you're rooting for - or against. Bottom line is two weeks of games have been wiped out. As these greedy folks attempt ironing out their differences - or finding common ground - the people losing out most are middle America. How many ticket collectors, food vendors, beer sellers, parking lot attendants, maintenance crews, security personnel, ushers, now find themselves out of work? It effects far more than just stadium/arena folks. How about the pizza shop which loses thousands of dollars without fans? Transportation systems? Parking garages? Local cabs? Bus service? Parking meters? Local corner newsstand? Hotels? Restaurants? Air travel? All are taking a direct hit during economic times when the cost of everything - especially lost wages/revenue - soars. It's become a crippling domino effect.


Did everyone catch the post-game clip of what transpired between 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh & Lions coach Jim Schwartz ? Wow. Harbaugh's rough handshake/shove of Schwartz nearly caused a bench clearing brawl. Surging SF had just beaten previously undefeated Detroit and Harbaugh seemed to shove Schwartz aside. Schwartz then verbally went after Harbaugh. They soon had to be separated. Players and coaches from both teams were involved trying to keep them apart without starting a melee between themselves too. Quite the spectacle. Catch the YouTube video here

New feud brewing? Rex Ryan vs Norv Turner? Ryan's big mouth was at it again. Ryan has since apologized for dissing Turner over comments made to reporters earlier this week claiming - "Well, I think I would have had a couple of rings," Ryan said. "I'm telling you, those teams were loaded."
Turner's response: "I hadn't seen his quote and I was a little bit surprised by the call," Turner said. "And then after I saw the quote, I didn't have a chance to ask him this, but I was wondering if he had those rings with the ones he's guaranteed (New York) the last couple of years."
These two teams go toe to toe this weekend at MetLife Stadium. It should be a bruising game - and San Diego victory.

It's World Series time. One game and one unfortunate distinction/record recorded. Texas Rangers starting pitcher CJ Wilson became the first pitcher in Major League history to lose an All Star Game, American League Divisional Playoff game, American League Championship Series game and World Series game all in the same season! That's got to hurt an ego. Don't forget - the American League All Star Game loss meant the National League representative would have World Series home field advantage. Wilson served up a game winning homer to Milwaukee's Prince Fielder meaning St. Louis hosts 4 of 7 games if needed.

Welcome to the show Arthur Rhodes. Rhodes (StL) appeared in his first ever World Series game last night after 900 regular season games. Manager LaRussa summoned Rhodes from the bullpen to get out Texas slugger Josh Hamilton in the 8th inning. Hamilton's been struggling at the plate nagged by a lingering groin injury. Manager Washington (Tx) plans to shift Josh from CF to LF. Rangers need their slugger who looks out of synch due to the groin issue.

It appears Theo Epstein is soon to officially take over GM duties of the Chicago Cubs. He was a main architect of Boston's jinx breaking 2004 World Series winning squad. Can he reverse another curse? Chicago's gone over 100 years without a World Series title. Cubs will be paying a hefty price tag. It's been reported Epstein is set to earn over $15million! You've got to be kidding me? I guess it's desperation - once again - in the Windy City. Theo's hands will be challenged to systematically transform the Cubs into winners. Good luck. While credited with helping Boston win a World Series - he must also be credited with handicapping Boston's payroll for years to come after several bad contracts (John Lackey, Carl Crawford). Cubs already have contract troubles which questions why they're interested in gambling $15million on a GM?

Potheads busted! #1 ranked LSU Tigers suspended three players for testing positive for a synthetic type of marijuana in a university administered test. Not cool fellas. These 3 players - cornerbacks Tyrann Mathieu and Tharold Simon and tailback Spencer Ware - will not be forgiven anytime soon if LSU loses this weekend vs rival Auburn. They've let down a lot of people from fellow players, coaches and student body. Exactly how long these 3 will be out of action has yet to be determined. Simpleton's weren't thinking or didn't care.
Get ready for regular season NCAA hoops. The first poll of the year was released and North Carolina is the near unanimous #1 pick in the coaches poll (30 of 31 1st place votes). Pretty high praise indeed as experts expect UNC to roll through the regular season after finishing 29-8 a season ago. Defending champion Connecticut and a host of other noteworthy teams set out to prove the pollsters wrong.

Toronto's Phil Kessel is on fire scoring at least one goal in 4 straight games. He's tallied a league best 7 goals in 5 games along with 5 assists topping the NHL with 12 points.
Washington Capitals off to another fine beginning in 2011-12. Eastern Conference leaders undefeated and untied after 5 games (5-0-0). Western Conference sports Detroit perfect after 4 contests surrendering a league low 5 goals against.
Columbus starting out in the opposite direction losers in all 5 games.

NASCAR (In memorandum)
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon was tragically killed Sunday in the IndyCar season finale at Las Vegas. One of racing's good guys leaves this world way too soon. Click link to: In Memory of IZOD IndyCar Series Champion Dan Wheldon. Rest in peace.

NFL 2011 Predictions: Week 7

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-Digger's Daily-

Week 6 produced a few stunners. New Orleans shocked by Tampa. Detroit fell from the unbeaten ranks to surging San Francisco. News of Carson Palmer coming out of retirement to take over QB duties in Oakland. Freak plays, big injuries and coaches nearly brawling.

What's in store for the season's seventh week? It's anyone's guess. Is there a new coaching duel brewing between San Diego and New York Jets? Rey Ryan's flamboyant mouth sounded off again claiming if he'd been selected Chargers coach instead of Turner then San Diego would already have won multiple Super Bowls. Hey - I seem to remember similar statements from Ryan promising Super Bowl victories in New York the past two years. Adding to the mix of Sundays Chargers @ Jets is former Bolts now playing for the Jets wanting revenge against their former team. Expect tempers to be boiling.

It's a good thing World Series games take place this weekend. NFL schedule lacks thrilling match-ups on paper.

Speaking of guesses - 8 correct last week (out of 13). Not impressive unless money was on the winners. Overall, after 6 weeks of picks - the crystal ball has a cumulative season record of 57-33 (63.3%). Here's this weekends winners and losers including two out-on-a-limb shutout predictions.

Week 7 (home in CAPS)
Chargers 31 - JETS 17
BUCS 24 - Bears 20
PANTHERS 30 - Redskins 14
LIONS 28 - Falcons 27
BROWNS 17 - Seahawks 14
Broncos 28 - DOLPHINS 10
TITANS 30 - Texans 27
Chiefs 30 - RAIDERS 21
Steelers 27 - CHIEFS 3
Packers 48 - VIKINGS 6
COWBOYS 24 - Rams 23
SAINTS 44 - Colts 0

Ravens 27 - JAGUARS 0
(Bye:  Buffalo, Cincinnati, New England, NY Giants, Philadelphia, San Francisco)

2011 Football Power Rankings

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-Digger's Daily-

College's top 9 remain unchanged from our last rankings segment. The creme of the crop has a strong grip on the top spots - for now. All World All Sports rankings have no weight on official collegiate rankings. NCAA ranking system continues to be a hot topic of water cooler conversation. Our rankings try to cut through the dust of official ranking systems by incorporation our own added little rankings ingredient.

NCAA Top 20 (6 weeks completed)
1 - Oklahoma
2 - LSU
3 - Alabama
4 - Boise State
5 - Wisconsin
6 - Oklahoma State
7 - Stanford
8 - Clemson
9 - Oregon
10- Arkansas
11- Kansas State
12- Nebraska
13- Michigan State
14- South Carolina
15- Virginia Tech
16- West Virginia
17- Houston
18- Michigan
19- Georgia Tech
20- Washington

NFL rankings keep getting more and more interesting. This past weekend: Detroit finally lost. Tampa stunned New Orleans. Jets won ugly over Miami. Quarterback changes coming in Minnesota, Oakland, Denver and Washington. Jets coach Ryan disses Bolts coach Turner claiming he (Ryan) already would have won a few rings in San Diego. Funny -- hasn't Ryan promised/predicted his Jets would be NFL champs the past 2 years? Go figure. The wacky world known as the NFL continues.

NFL Rankings (5 weeks completed)
1 - Green Bay Packers
2 - New England Patriots
3 - Baltimore Ravens
4 - San Diego Chargers
5 - Detroit Lions
6 - San Francisco 49ers
7 - New Orleans Saints
8 - Pittsburgh Steelers
9 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
10- New York Giants
11- Buffalo Bills
12- Cincinnati Bengals
13- Oakland Raiders
14- Houston Texans
15- New York Jets

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Game On! 2011 World Series Begins Tonight

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It's time. Baseball's Fall Classic begins tonight. 2011 World Series features two teams sporting explosive batting lineups. Back to back American League Champion Texas Rangers hitters are on fire led by ALCS MVP Nelson Cruz. National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals are led by soon to be free agent star slugger Albert Pujols.

All indicators suggest the 107th World Series will be quite different from past classics. We could be treated to a hitters special. Baseball purists love to boast great pitching beats great hitting. This often rings true. 2011 doesn't feature great starting pitching. It does bring us two teams with red hot lineups.

Rangers slugger Cruz set an all time playoff record with six monstrous home runs and 13 RBI. Not bad for a seventh place hitter. Texas lineup is very deep. It all begins with 2B Ian Kinsler who was a 30/30 man this season (32 HR, 30 SB). Rangers hitters erupted for 39 runs in ALCS vs Detroit. Toss in 17 2B, 7 HR, .286 team BA and one can easily overlook how dreadful their starting rotation performed. Starters left too many fat pitches down the middle as Tigers hitters feasted on mistakes. Cardinals hitters will need to continue scoring early and often because the Rangers bullpen has been lights out shutting down opponents all season long.

This is not your typical NL team. Starting rotation is not considered upper echelon. This is a hitting first team. Future Hall of Fame 1B Albert Pujols leads the Cardinals attack. One of the hottest of all playoff hitters is David Freese who seems to be smack in the middle of all Cardinal rallies. Freese (.545, 3 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 7 R) and Pujols combined to score 12 and drive in 18 during Cards 6 game romp over Milwaukee. As a team, Cards hitters finished the NLCS with a .310 BA, scored 43, 16 doubles and 8 big flies. St. Louis starting rotation has been hit too. Same as Texas, it's been relievers saving the day.

Here's a link to's Game 1 statistical breakdown

Game 1 Lineups Rangers @ Cardinals
Texas (projected)
1 - 2B Kinsler
2 - SS Andrus
3 - CF Hamilton
4 - 1B Young
5 - 3B Beltre
6 - LF Cruz
7 - C Napoli
8 - LF Murphy
9 - SP Wilson

St Louis (projected)
1 - SS Furcal
2 - CF Jay
3 - 1B Pujols
4 - RF Berkman
5 - LF Holliday
6 - 3B Freese
7 - C Molina
8 - 2B Punto
9 - SP Carpenter

Keys to the Series:
(1) Both teams need big time performances from starting rotations. Neither rotation has shines thus far minus a solid game or two. If Carpenter and Garcia get hot Texas could be in trouble. Wilson leads the Rangers staff. He'll have to find top form to hold down the Cards. Edge: Cardinals
(2) Defense - giving away outs will kill your chances - especially in World Series action.
(3) Bullpen - recent pitching strength of both clubs must stay hot in WS. Giving away walks vs these lineups sets up big innings.
(4) Can Cards hitters keep up with Rangers sluggers when Series shifts to Arlington?

World Series Predictions
Albert Pujols plays his final game as a St. Louis Cardinal.
CJ Wilsom pitches his final game as a Texas Ranger.
Tony LaRussa manages his final game for St. Louis.
Pujols hits over .400
Freese produces 16 runs/rbi
Berkman bats under .200
Hamilton hits over .400
Both teams: 270+ BA, 4.00+ ERA
Home teams win all games.
Carpenter lone starting pitcher tossing 6 or more innings/game.
Freese or Motte MVP
Cardinals win in 7

Thursday, October 13, 2011

In Case You Missed It...

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Major League Baseball Playoffs have been sensational. Nearly every game beginning in Division Series through current now has been very well played. Spectacular fielding, dramatic walk-off victories, stars living up to their reputations and (drum roll) exceptional umpires! Yes, I said it, exceptional umpires! Umps have made the correct call on all close plays. A ball or strike here and there can be questionable at times - however, rarely have we seen players jawing at umps.

Albert Pujols has put on a hitting clinic for St Louis. Five straight extra base hits earned Prince Albert intentional walks in his final two at-bats during last evening's 4-3 Cardinals victory.

Power - Nelson Cruz is in the zone for Texas. He launched his 4th post-season homer to seal the Rangers 11 inning 7-4 Game 4 victory putting Texas in a 3 games to 1 driver's seat. Cruz is the first player is MLB history to hit 2 extra inning home runs in the same series!

Speaking of intentional walks - how about the gutsy call by Rangers manager Washington intentionally walking Miguel Cabrera with 1 out and no runners on in the 8th inning! It almost blew up had it not been for RF Cruz laser throw from right to nail Miguel at home plate to end the inning.
Theo Epstein - Boston Red Sox Championship General Manager - is out. The Red Sox implosion continues. First, manager Terry Francona quit immediately following the end of the season (after Boston blew a 10 game wild card lead). Now, Epstein is out and headed to the Chicago Cubs. Suddenly, newspapers from ESPN to local Boston writers are wondering if the Red Sox are beginning to resemble the New York Mets? Poor comparison. Quite obviously, people up in Boston are growing concerned. No need. Boston has a great roster. Don't panic. Quite disconcerting is the treatment being dissed at Francona. Boston has a long history of attempting to tarnish their stars from Ted Williams to Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Carl Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk etc. Management never seems to rightfully say "thank you for your valuable contributions".

Detroit Lions football. Is the 2011 team their greatest in franchise history? How's that for a great turnaround? 0-16 in 2008. 5-0 in 2011. Great job by all involved. Front office. Coaches. Players. Fans. Offense clicking. Defense dominating. Key an eye on these guys.

New York football is ugly. New York Jets were the talk of the town before regular season action began. New wide receiver weapons, defensive additions, QB Sanchez maturity, bigger than life coach and terrifying defense. What happened? They're all failing. WR Mason was benched then dumped (traded) after criticizing his offensive coordinator privately (nothing's private in NY) to head coach Ryan. At 2-3, Jets in a precarious situation. Time for concern? You betcha!

When will Eli Manning learn to protect the football? 2010 should have been his reminder. 2011 is no different. Luckily, the Giants are 3-2 but had no business whatsoever losing to Seattle at home last Sunday. It was an embarrassment. Coach Coughlin never gets enough credit. However, his players are soft in 2011. One of two things happens from here on in. Either they wake up or no longer respond to their demanding coach? Mental errors are killing this team. So is offensive line. Very few holes for talented backfield making New York a one dimensional team led by a turnover happy QB. Gasoline on top of fire.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

NFL 2011 Predictions: Week 6

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Roaring Lions undefeated! Detroit, for the first time since 1956, begins the 2011 football season 5-0. Not too long ago Detroit was an 0-16 laughingstock. Now they're one of two remaining unbeaten teams (Green Bay Packers). Yes, Detroit is for real and there's going to be quite a power rankings shake-up announced this week.

9 correct predictions in week 5 ups our season total to 49-28 (63.6%). All World All Sports is getting an early start on next weekend's games. Bye week teams catching their breath - Arizona, Denver, Kansas City, San Diego, Seattle, Tennessee.

Week 6 (home in CAPS)
LIONS 33 49ers 20
PACKERS 42 Rams 20
FALCONS 28 Panthers 24
BENGALS 20 Colts 13
Bills 45 GIANTS 30
STEELERS 21 Jaguars 10
REDSKINS 23 Eagles 20
RAVENS 24 Texans 21
RAIDERS 33 Browns 13
PATRIOTS 38 Cowboys 7
Saints 27 BUCS 17
Vikings 21 BEARS 20

JETS 24 Dolphins 7

Friday, October 7, 2011

NFL 2011 Predictions: Week 5

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Week 5 represents the beginning of bye's. Baltimore, Cleveland, Dallas, Miami, St. Louis & Washington get first crack at regrouping, retooling, re-energizing & fine tuning game plans. Miami's bye couldn't have come at a better time considering their starting QB Henne is done for the year.

There weren't too many shockers last weekend. I nailed 11 of 16 games raising season totals to 40-24 (62.5%). Short schedule this weekend offering a few eye-catchers with big implications. Jets travel to New England. Green Bay heads south to Atlanta. Bears roar into the Lions den. Texans hosting Silver & Black. Potential gunslinger shootout in Carolina when New Orleans comes to town.

Week 5 (home in CAPS)
STEELERS 24 Titans 23
GIANTS 48 Seahawks 10
Bengals 17 JAGS 16
Saints 33 PANTHERS 21
TEXANS 30 Raiders 24
BILLS 40 Eagles 31
Chiefs 20 COLTS 10
Cardinals 21 VIKINGS 20
Bucs 27 49ERS 23
PATRIOTS 36 Jets 20
Chargers 31 BRONCOS 7
Packers 34 FALCONS 17

LIONS 26 Bears 20

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

NHL 2011-12 Predictions

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Get ready to hit the ice. NHL pre-season is in high gear. Final cuts coming soon. Are the Bruins ready to repeat? Can the Islanders pretend to be worthy of a new home? Which star is your top pick for fantasy teams? Many questions. An entire season awaits to answer all questions.

Here's All World All Sports NHL 2011-12 predictions...

Eastern Conference
*NY Rangers
New Jersey
NY Islanders


*Tampa Bay

Western Conference
St. Louis


*San Jose
*Los Angeles

(* = playoff team)
Finals: Boston over Phoenix