Sunday, March 30, 2014

2014 MLB Total Wins: AL

by Steve

Time to break down the total wins for the American League.  Here was a look at the National League total wins:

American League East

NY Yankees 86.5 under
Never count out the Yankees, oh wait.. nevermind they're dead.

Boston Red Sox 88.5 under
 Last year was lightning in a bottle

Baltimore Orioles 81.5 under
Tough division .500 at best.

Tampa Rays 89.5 under
Just barely under.

Toronto Blue Jays 79.5 over
I was wrong about this team last year so doubling down seems to be in order.


Cleveland Indians 82 over
Tito knows how to manage so I'm on board with the Tribe unfortunately.

Chicago White Sox 75.5 under
This team is bad.

Minnesota Twins 70.5 under
How did they give their manager an extension?

Detroit Tigers 90 over
Why not?

Kansas City Royals 82 push
over .500 is commendable.


Houston Astros 63 over
Time to start winning, at least a little.

LA Angels 86.5 over
Last year was an aberration.

Texas Rangers 87 under
This division will be the most competitive in baseball.

Seattle Mariners 81 under
I have a hard time believing this team will finish about .500

Oakland A's 88 under
Too many wins, bang the under,

2014 MLB Total Wins: NL

by Steve

Let's take a look at the over under total wins for each team in the National League.  Oh and my predictions of course:  (AL over /under's)

NL East

Atlanta Braves 88 over
What is going on down there in Atlanta?  Elbow ligaments are poppin off more than the choppas. This division stinks which leads me to believe they can still win 89+

Washington Nationals 89.5 over
Might be the lock of the year albeit I probably thought that last year too.

NY Mets 74.5 under
Still a year away from almost contending.

Philadelphia Phillies 75.5 under
This team is toast.  New manager, old ass players and limited talent.

Miami Marlins 69.5 under
That is a lot of losses then again this team is pathetic.


Chicago Cubs 69.5 over
This franchise is pathetic.

Pittsburgh Pirates 84 over
Last year was no fluke.

Milwaukee Brewers 80 under
Rebuilds typically take more than one year.

St Louis Cardinals 92 under
90 or 91 wins sounds about right

Cincinnati Reds 84 over
No more Dusty, I love it!


LA Dodgers 93.5 under
They're really good but exceptionally good? Nah.

San Diego Padres 79 under
This team is all no names and nobodies. I don't see it

Arizona Diamondbacks
No clue, I'll say push.

SF Giants 85.5 over
This team is loaded with arms and still no bats.  Last year was a fluke

Colorado Rockies 76.5 under
The division is decent but the Rockies aren't.

Monday, March 17, 2014

NCAA Tournament Buffalo Bracket

by Steve

Finally the bracket is official, here are the match ups:

6. Ohio St vs. 11 Dayton 12:15PM
3. Syracuse v 14. Western Michigan 2:45PM

7. UConn v 10 St Joe's 6:55PM
2. Villanova v 15. UW Milwaukee 9:30PM

Ohio St v Dayton is the first game of the tournament pitting two teams separated by about 60 miles. OSU is -6 o/u 130.5.  Big Ten v Atlantic Ten is an intriguing match up.  Ohio St has been up and down all season and is lucky to be a six seed really.  Dayton was one of the last teams into the field.  Expect a lot of Ohio residents in town.

Syracuse v W Michigan also an early game match up is pretty much a snoozer.  Anyone that watched the MAC at all this season knows it was a down year (UB beat WM by 21 points earlier this season in Amherst). and Syracuse is over hyped and over rated because the media loves them and probably graduated from there.  Cuse is -12 o/u 128.  The only joy I will take out of this game is the idea the Orange could get bounced on day one in Buffalo and all their fat orange fans will be crying back down the 90.

Syracuse v Ohio St sounds like a very good Saturday match up though.  So let's go chalk here.

Uconn v St Joe's is the best game of the day.  The Huskies are -4.5 o/u 130.  The A10 has six teams in the field compared to the AAC only getting four teams in.  Uconn's conference was obviously top heavy but from top to bottowm the A10 has the better conference.  I still expect the best back court in the country to prevail even if a lot of prognosticators like the underdog Hawks.  Joe's was a bubble team until they got hot and won the A10 tournament but will their momentum carry over to Thursday?  Doubt it.

Villanova v Milwaukee should be another sleeper. The Wildcats are -16.5 o/u 140.  I don't even know what conference Mil is in, Horizon maybe?  Nova seemed to me to be over hyped all season and fell flat in the Big East tournament.  Are they a true two seed?  Before the tournament they only lost to two teams (Syracuse and twice to Creighton) and have a nice win over Kansas.

UCONN v Villanova may be the game of the tournament pitting two former Big East rivals against each other.  Get your popcorn ready.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Buffalo Bills Sign OLB Keith Rivers

by Steve

Again Tim Graham reporting the Bills signed former Giants outside linebacker Keith Rivers to a two year $5 mil contract of which half is guaranteed.

Damn the Bills love former Bengals linebackers.  He was the 9th overall pick in 2008.  Two years ago the Bengals traded Rivers to the Giants for a 5th round pick according to Wikipedia.  Rivers played in all 16 games for New York last year putting up few notable stats on a horrible defense.

Walterfootball had River, 28, ranked as the 14th best OLB available when free agency started and as the 8th best LB still available at the time of the signing (with all of the top 5 still unsigned).

Walterfootball gave the signing a grade of D
"Maybe Buffalo is like the Twilight Zone. Perhaps it's lucrative to overpay for the worst free agents up there. I don't know; I've never been.

All kidding aside, this signing means one of two things: Either Jim Schwartz is planning to move to the 4-3, or he's completely oblivious to the fact that Buffalo ran a 3-4 last year. I'm not a fan of unnecessary scheme changes, and I'm also not in favor of giving seven figures to injury-prone backup fodder like Keith Rivers."

Ouch.  Pretty harsh for a depth signing but hey  1.8% of the salary is indeed 1.8% of the salary cap.

ProfootballFocus had Rivers ranked the 14th linebacker in their rankings (he played 429 snaps last season) albeit on that same list Arthur Moats was ranked 6th so take that FWIW. Although also according to PFF Reith Rivers was ranked the 11th OLB against the run in 4-3 defenses which is exactly what the Bills were horrendous at.

Buffalo Bills sign CB Corey Graham

by Steve

Per a Tim Graham tweet (he blocked me so I'm not linking it) the Bills inked Buffalo native Corey Graham to a four year $16 million contract.  Graham won a Super Bowl as a cornerback with the Baltimore Ravens two years ago and was mainly their third or fourth option at the position.

This wasn't a huge position of need for the Bills but a team "now a days" can never have too many DBs on the roster.  He will be behind Leodis McKelvin (signed last year for $5 mil per) and first round pick Stephon Gilmore.

In Baltimore Graham's cap number was $2.65 mil last year.  It was reported that Graham was going to visit the Washington Redskins today.  Maybe the blizzard kept Graham in Buffalo and he some how got an escort to OBD for a physical and happened to have a pen in his pocket? Hmm.

Walterfootball had Graham ranked as the 14th best CB available in free agency.  At the time of the signing there were six "better" corners available including Darrelle Revis.  Moreover, Walterfootball graded the signing as thus:

Also PFT had Graham ranked as the 74th ranked free agent available when free agency began.

Granted this could be a money grab by a 29 year old guy in the tail end of his prime going to his hometown team knowing they'd want to sign him because it is something the Bills would do.  But I'm not going to knock the signing.  He is a veteran player who has won in the NFL at a reasonable price so why not.

Buffalo Bills Sign Guard Chris Williams

by Steve

Per Adam Schefter the Bills gave former St Louis Rams guard Chris Williams a four year contract worth $13.5 mil with $5.5 guaranteed.  Basically $3.5 mil a season to be the starting left tackle.

Williams, (turns 29 in August) started all sixteen games for the Rams last season. had him ranked as the 17th best guard available in free agency.  At the the time of the hiring WF had 11 "better" guards still unsigned when the Bills flew C-Dubs in sometime in the last twelve hours or so.

It is a position of glaring need for the Bills and this fills it.  How good the guy actually is to me is difficult to fully quantify.  The Bears clearly saw talent in the guy when they drafted him 14th overall in 2008.  He played mostly at tackle (both right and left tackle) before being moved to guard in his third season.  And the word injury is sprayed all over the dude's wikipedia page although he seems to have stayed healthy last year on a one year $2.75 mil contract extension.

From PFT:
"It may not be the safest of bets given Williams’ history as a first-round washout in Chicago and a player who failed to distinguish himself in Buffalo [sic], but it’s never been easy to get free agents to come to Buffalo without paying a bit of a premium."

Ouch, although not exactly unfair.  Plus he is only a guard and is $3.5 mil for any football player with a $133 million cap all that much of a risk? Ya know 2.6% of the entire cap?

Then again we get this from Walterfootball:
"I just gave the Redskins a "D" for giving $17 million overall and $5 million guaranteed Shawn Lauvao, yet Chris Williams is worse than Lauvao, and he's getting even more guaranteed money from Buffalo. This obviously has to be a worse grade, so you know what that means. Millen time!

Chris Williams is not a good player whatsoever. His best role would be as a backup lineman, and a mediocre one at that. Yet, the Bills are paying him to be their new starting left guard. Maybe they're overcompensating because they never replaced Andy Levitre properly, but they're just making things worse by giving a pedestrian player like Williams this much money."

Evidently the grade of Matt "Millen Yellow King Kielbasa" is not very good and Mr walter is very down on the signing.  Ouch.  I guess at least he isn't Derrick Dockery.  Geez.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament Bracketology: Buffalo

The final bracketology predictions for the NCAA Tournament in Buffalo next Thursday and Saturday:

ESPN Joe Lunardi:

1. Villanova v 16 Coastal Carolina or Stony Brook
8. Oregon v 9. Baylor

6. Ohio St v 11. Xavier
3. Syracuse v 14. Boston U

CBS Sports:

1. Villanova v 16. Utah St
8. Oregon v 9. Iowa

7. VCU v 10. Stanford
2. Syracuse 15 Robert Morris

USA Today:

1. Villanova v 16. Weber St/Wofford
8. Gonzaga v 9. SMU

7. Kentucky v 10. St Joe's
2. Syracuse v 15. Stony Brook

Yet again the most intriguing bracket would be Lunardi's with Nova, OSU, Cuse Oregon xavier Baylor, a lot of interesting teams.  The worst would be USA Today's.

Check back Sunday for a complete breakdown after Selection Sunday 3/16

Monday, March 10, 2014

Buffalo Bills and Free Agency

By Steve
The Bills have needs all over the field from quarterback to third string running to basically every other position. Let's face it the team is nearly devoid of talent.

With about $25 mil in cap space the Bills have options but they will have to either over pay or find players with fewer options later in the free agency process. But who wouldn't want another Manny Lawson esque signing.

Here is my list of the Bills biggest needs:

1. Linebacker
2. Right Tackle
3. Guard
4. Tight End
5. Running Back

I don't have quarterback or wide receiver listed because neither exist in free agency. It is rare for a WR to not be a bust and get way too much money (Robert Meachem, Mike Wallace). The Bills gotta go wr, s, qb, te, and cb in the draft.

There are a bunch of ILBs available assuming the Bills want to move Kiko Alonso to the outside.  Everyone suggests Brandon Spikes, which I don't hate, because he played for the Patriots and he is good against the run (the Bills #1 weakness). Walterfootball has him ranked as the fifth best player available at the position.  I'd have interest in someone like Jon Beason or Erin Henderson too.

There is zero chance the Bills go after an expensive RT in free agency but presumably they'll sign someone to replace Eric Pears.  Guards? I have no clue because most guards are basically the exact same.

Tight End on the other hand is an interesting position.  Brandon Pettigrew has been a bit of a bust since being drafted 20th overall in 2009 but has the intangibles. Obviously Detroit doesn't believe he is worth big money but who's to say how much cash he'll get.  Brandon Myers is available and coming off a bad season with the Giants.  Andrew Quarless?

The Bills will be linked to Michael Vick but won't sign him, they'll over pay a linebacker and generally will do very little of impact.  The Bills are in a lose lose situation.  If they over pay and land a whale ala Mario Williams then everyone questions why a player would take that much money to go to a loser franchise like Buffalo.  And if they don't sign anyone then they are cheap and unwilling to make the moves needed to dramatically improve the roster.  Build the defense in free agency, build the offense in the draft and fire Jeff Littman.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The State of the Sabres

by Steve

Here's hoping no Sabre fan was in a coma the last seven days or they wouldn't believe the chaos that has ensued.  Pat Lafontaine gone and won't be replace, Miller, Ott and Moulson, peaced, and Ted Black is still saying stupid things.  So at least somethings haven't changed.

First a little Theodore Black rant (wait who the hell is this new guy Joe Battista because he seems like another fucktard in Pegula's inner circle).  This guy Ted is either a raving lunatic or a sly genius.  How much does he get paid to do the things he does?  They are part heroic (taking call after call from fucktard Sabre fans on WGR) and part moronic (saying idiotic things like "we could make the playoffs next year if we wanted to")  It is either the hardest or best job in the world but I'm not sure which.

The loser in this whole ordeal besides the fans is Terry Pegula.  He hires and fires (Err forces to resign) Pat Lafontaine in three months?  What kind of vetting/interview process did Terrence run Patty Lala through?

"Oh hey, you're Sabre "legend" Pat Lafontaine, right?" - Pegula

"yeah" - Lafontaine


"Wait, for what job?" - L

"Oh.. UMMMM HOWS, OMGZ, UMM... GM?!" - P

"Oh, well I've never done that before and I don't think I'm quite ready.  How about president of hockey operations?" - L

"How introspective and thoughtful, YOU'RE HIRED!! We'll work out the deets later vis-a-vis power structure etc.!" - P

"Wait, what were we talking about?  What does is it?" - L

"Hehehehe ohhh Patty-bear"- P

Was the conversation even that long?  Either way Pegula looks worse than Lafontaine (who we may never hear from again) and he has lost even more credibility if the fanboy  had any left.

On the trade front, who knows.  At least all of the pending UFAs were moved and the haul seems to be at least market value.  It seems Tim Murray has a clue what he is doing.  It helps that he is a straight talker and his name isn't Darcy Regier so who would even criticize him at this point any way.  Plus this team won't be good for at least another year ( I mean Black did say they don't want to make the playoffs next year, right?) so there isn't even much pressure on Murray which helps.

The franchise surprisngly may not be in as much chaos and turmoil as it might seem.  Yes, they have a buffoon owner, no talent, a bunch of yes men who may or may not yield too much power within the fanboy's inner circle, an interim head coach who may or may not want to still be a head coach in the NHL and no direction (other than hoping to win back to back lotteries [oh and get lucky picking the right players on top of getting lucky with the ping pong balls]).  But they have a decent head coach (for now, and assuming he accepts the contract extension, which he has to) and a seemingly strong general manager that probably has autonomy with the roster.

Basically, just don't become the Edmonton Oilers, stop making news for the wrong reasons for at least 6 months) and maybe this team will be worth watching in 2015.  Have fun idiot season ticket holders, lets just hope I remember we have a team by next June.

Oh and who is worse?  The Buffalo News sports writers who all hate the Sabres and are miffed because Pegula won't kiss their rings or the WGR550 ass clowns who fall all over themselves to buddy up with the organization?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Aaron Williams Signs Extension

By Steve

Per the contract extension for safety Aaron Williams is for  
"Per source, Bills S Aaron Williams' extension is 4 years, $26M (with incentives).  $14.625M guaranteed.  $6.5M signing bonus.  $4.5M option."

What does this mean? Could turn into five years $30 mil. The contract starts after the 2014 season and it would seem to put to a close resigning Jairus Byrd.

Also it seems to be the greatest thing to ever happen to Williams that he was moved to safety.

Williams turns 24 in April and he had the same number of interceptions last season, four, as Byrd fwiw.

I like the signing, it gives stability at the position and he still can become even better especially if you consider how short of a time he has played safety. Then again how often do players get better after getting a huge bump in salary?

Bills Delete Toronto Deal

By Steve

Back to eight games at the Ralph every year? Damn that seems to have happened quickly especially considering Russ Brandon and co. extended the games in Toronto by five years just last season.

First the short term, the Bills get credibility back, they won't have to defend themselves against criticism about being money first, being called the Toronto Bills etc. Furthermore, it helps the team on the field. They no longer have 7 home gamesn 8 away games and a neutral field game.

The players won't have to answer questions about the whole thing, fans won't have to watch a shitty game in a shitty arena and the tax payers get 8 regular season games in a stadium they own and pay for.

Longer term what does this mean? First of all Russ only announced a one year reprieve ( although I couldn't picture a scenario in which they go back to Toronto unless it is once every few years). Second, it means the Bills now have more games to try to sell out in a market that has refused to buy tickets (specifically in cold months) albeit that has a lot to do with losing.

Third, the money. How much money are the Bills giving up by pulling the plug on the whole deal? Tough to determine. The original deal was much more luctrative than the current deal ( of which the deets weren't announced) but lets just assume the Bills are leaving money on the table. This leads me to the big picture.

Russ Brandon exponentially gained credibility and respect from me after pulling this boss move. He lives up to his word, tells the old money white hairs to STFU and gives the fans, GM and coach what they wanted.

PFT speculates this could hurt the long term viability of the franchise in Buffalo. I disagree. The team isn't automatically sold to the highest bidder, a new owner could reopen or start a new series there any way and either way would look at all operations of the org upon purchase any way. To me it is useless speculation to look beyond the next 6 years of the ironclad lease.

Lets just look at the next few seasons: all eight games are back in OP, my guess is Jeff Littmann will be out sooner than later and we have the face of the franchise living up to his word. Sounds good to me.

Monday, March 3, 2014

2014 NCAA Bracketology Buffalo Bracket

by Steve

Here is the latest breakdown of the experts bracketology for the NCAA Tournament in Buffalo:

Joe Lunardi ESPN:

2. Syracuse v 15. Boston U
7. UCONN v 10. St Joe's
(setting up a possible old Big East rematch!!)


2. Villanova v 15 Davidson
7. UMass v 10. California

CBS Sports

1. Syracuse v 16. Robert Morris
8. George Washington v 9. Stanford

5. Texas v 12. (Dayton v Missouri winner)
4. Cincinnati v 13. Belmont

USA Today:

1. Syracuse v 16. Robert Morris/Weber St winner
8. Kansas St v 9. St Joe's

7. VCU v 10. Arkansas
2. Villanova v 15. Boston  U

Again Joe Lunardi's bracket is the most ideal but interestingly doesn't have 'cuse as a one seed yet still in Buffalo which is good.