Wet the Beak Part II, Salad and the Main Course.

Yesterday was just a little College Football appetizer. Today’s games are the salad course. Then on Saturday, we get the meal we’ve been waiting to feast on since January.

Let’s start with some salad games:

Utah State at Michigan State: this is not an expert opinion, just that of bad gambler…but when a very good college team plays a very bad college team they win by a lot. The Spartans are good, the Aggies? I think Utah State is the Aggies. They Stink. The Spread is -23.5 in favor of State. Sparty wins this game like 38-10 and that’s almost keeping it close for Utah State. Bonus play is the under: the total is 52.5 and a 38-10 final only gets them to 48 points.

more salad:

Colorado State at Colorado: I think that the Buffs are better than they get credit for, while I expect a regression year for the Rams. The line opened with the Buffs as a 6 point favorite, that’s now up to a seven and a hook (-7.5) I loved it at -6 and I still am ok with it at -7.5. I just think the Buffs are at least ten points better. This line would have to be -12 before I would even think about the Rams side of it.

 

The Main Course:

Michigan at Notre Dame: The Wolverines are +1.5 in South Bend. Look I expect Michigan to win, even without their star WR. So if you want to give me a point and a half, I’ll take that. In Harbaugh we trust. The over/under of 46.5 seems just about where it should be, both teams play defense, but sometimes you get a couple pick 6’s and the defense turns the under-game into an over-game. I’m not saying we see that here….it just makes me stay away from the total. Still, it feels very 24-17 to me.

Auburn vs Washington in Atlanta: Hard to call this a neutral site game when Auburn’s campus is a stone’s throw from Atlanta and the Huskies are coming from Seattle. Nonetheless, it’s considered neutral.

I want to break this one down real quick.

Auburn has a front 7 as good as just about anyone in the country. The last time Jake Browning saw a front seven like that was vs Alabama in the CFP. It did not go well for Jake in that game. That worries me if I want to play Washington.

Auburn probably has the edge at QB, I do think Jarett Stidham is probably a little better than Browning. Also worries me if I want to play the Huskies.

Here’s where the Huskies have the advantage:

They have the more experienced OL and STUD Running back running behind him. It’s rare that the Auburn Tigers play a game outside the SEC where they don’t have the advantage at RB but there isn’t a running back on Auburn’s roster with the skill level of a MIles Gaskin.

Gus Malzhan is a good coach, but Chris Peterson is a great coach and he’s had all offseason to prepare for this game. These things worry me if I want to play Auburn. I’m also worried that the UW defense is also very good. They might have the best secondary in the country. Good enough to cause problems for the Auburn offense. Which like I said before has an inexperienced OL.

The Huskies are getting two points. So what’s the play? It’s probably a stay away, my gut says Auburn because this is going to be a pro-Auburn crowd, while my head says the Huskies because of those two points and Peterson.

I’m going with the Huskies because that’s who I want to root for. I don’t feel great about it.

 

I’m gonna post this right now b/c the Salad Games have time-sensitive info. I’ll be back later with more picks for the games on 9/1, 9/2 and 9/3.

ATrain Out.

 

Wet the Beak: 2018. Part I (Thursday 8/30 games)

College Football is back, I stayed away from week zero but the A-Train Corp. Syndicate is ready for week one, and as per usual we won’t shy away from the big games.

Thursday Night (Tonight)

Usually, I write WTB on Friday, but we have games all through the weekend so I’m posting a day earlier. The Biggest Game of the evening is a conference matchup in the Big Ten West Division when Northwestern travels to West Layafette Indiana to take on Purdue.

I’m approaching this game as if Clayton Thorson will play for Northwestern. Purdue opened at -3 and the line has dropped to -1. That is honestly fine by me. We made money last year betting on the Boilermakers early in the season. While I like both coaches, I really believe in Jeff Brohm. Our lean is on the Boilermakers to cover and a slight lean on the over (52.5). The Boilermaker offense is listed as returning 13 starters a feat that I didn’t know was possible since you can only start 11.  If you want to bet real money on Purdue vs Northwestern my advice is Boiler-Over.

Wake Forest (-6.5) at Tulane (O/U – 57)

I have a gut instinct on the over in this game. I feel like I watched a lot of Wake Forest games go over last year. I’m not worried that Tulane does nothing but run it. I think they should be able to run if for a few scores at home in a night game in New Orleans.

Central Florida (-23.5) at Connecticut  (O/U – 72)

I don’t give a shit about this game except to gauge Central Florida in the post-Scott Frost era. Josh Heupel comes from Mizzou and is expected to run plays at an even faster pace than Frost.  I have no play here. I think Unconn stinks, a lot of people like the over. I’m not so sure about that because of how bad Uconn is. I don’t know if they can hold up their end of an over-bargain.

New Mexico State at Minnesota: This line went from -18 to -22 probably based solely on the fact that New Mexico State looked like a dog-shit football team on national television week zero. I have no doubt that Minnesota wins this game, but they are starting a true freshman walk-on in Zack Annexstad. Annexstad spurned a couple other D-1 offers including one from the University of Illinois, to walk on as a Golden Gopher. It paid off and he won the job, but how effective will he be in his first ever start? An even better question is how will I refrain from calling this guy Zack Amistad by mistake. You guys remember Amistad right? The movie about all the slaves who take over the slave ship and then get put on trial. Probably not what I should be calling the whitest QB in existence.

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He looks like a poster child for the Hitler youth.

 

Soooo do you trust this guy to cover 22 points? It’s a home opener at night on national television and NMSU just played on Saturday….now they go to a hostile environment in Minnesota. I’m scared by the line but gun to my head….I roll with Amistad and the Golden Gopher…not because of how bad NMSU looked but because they looked that bad at home….and now play a night road game on short rest. Did I just talk myself into a go-go-gopher bet?

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Gopher Everett? I expect the Gophers to eat and not be eaten tonight.

I’m going to post this as a part one now so it has some time on the interwebs before these games kick-off…part 2 to come A-Train Out.

NFL Storylines Peaking Our Interests.

As we roll into another NFL season, we here at the ATrain Sports Corporation have gotten together to discuss the upcoming NFL Storylines. What we are excited about, what to watch for, and what unknown players could be household names by the end of the year.

Hard Knocks Effect and the Cleveland Browns:

The Browns would be a major storyline even if they were not the subject of HBO’s Hard Knocks. Which is somehow in its 13th season? I’ll admit I haven’t watched Hard Knocks in a long time. It’s the same thing every year. Not this season, this season the Browns have me enthralled.

This Brown’s team is unique/exciting to me for several reasons.

  1. The improvement at QB. When a team makes a huge leap from one season to the next, it’s almost always because of elevated play at the QB position. Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield are both capable NFL QB’s and they unlike most other NFL teams could lose the starting QB to injury and not fall off at all production wise. I think this factor alone makes them a candidate for the over. Six wins seem not at all out of the question for this team.
  2.  Gregg Williams and Todd Haley coordinating under Hue Jackson. This is the most hilarious three’s company of Head Coach and Coordinators of ALL TIME. It’s not even up for debate. If the Browns totally implode and go under their win total it will be because these three could not co-exist. Just the fact that a team that went 0-16 is returning the head coach is bananas, Hue is still in Cleveland by some great miracle and for the first time has a team with the talent to go on a run.
  3. New WR Core: There are so many questions revolving around Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway…on paper this group has the talent to be top tier but we haven’t seen Josh Gordon in YEARS and Callaway is almost as big of a concern. Tight End David Njoku is solid. The Rumor is Clevland is also a potential landing spot for Dez Bryant. Honestly if the sign Dez, it worries me for Josh Gordon. You only need Dez if you are very worried that Gordon won’t be able to play.

I kinda wish this team wasn’t on Hard Knocks because now they won’t be flying under the radar. All the focus and attention worries me but Tyrod and Baker are such professional’s that the spotlight might not matter.

Rookie QBs/QBs in new situations.

The QB turnover in the offseason was tumultuous as the position becomes even more important.

Alex Smith in Washington: Fan’s of middling QB’s will finally get to answer the age-old question of who is better Kirk Cousins or Alex Smith? If you listen to the whispers out of Redskins training camp the answer is Alex Smith. Take that info with a grain of salt, but I do think I agree.

Case Keenum in Denver: Denver is another team that should go from trash Quarterback play to halfway decent with the addition of Case Keenum. Keenum is still limited in his ability to go deep, that’s not gonna change but with a good defense and decent weapons, he’s shown he can win. He should have that in Denver.

Teddy Bridgewater/Sam Darnold in New York: ATrain predicts: Darnold is the best player and he should win the job, if he doesn’t, he will by the end of the season. The Jets like the Browns have multiple QB’s and should one guy get hurt, they can survive it. I like the Jets over this year. #WettheBeak

Tyrod Taylor/Baker Mayfield in Cleveland: Already talked about these guys, Tyrod is the present, Mayfield the future.

Jimmy Garopolo in San Fransisco: He did play 6 games in San Fran already but he’s on this list because there was no pressure in those games. Now he’s the guy, the pressure is on and the expectations are real, how will Jimmy perform.

Pat Mahomes in Kansas City: Andy Reid QB Guru says Mahomes is his guy, who am I to doubt the Red Walrus?

Josh Rosen in Arizona: Sam Bradford is made of paper, the odds he plays more than 4 games are less than 1% in my mind. This was a guy who couldn’t handle a pass rush at all last season. I expect Rosen to play and play a lot, I have not seen any Arizona preseason so I have no gauge on Rosen yet at all.

Josh Allen in Buffalo: Huge Hands, Big Arm must fight off the AJ McCarrion Crows for the starting job first.

Kirk Cousins in Minnesota: He’s got a team full of weapons, a great defense, fully guaranteed contract, and no excuses. It’s Super Bowl or bust for this Vikings team.


Second Year QB’s: Watson and Trubisky:

It’s no secret I was mad when the Bears took Trubisky over Watson, I’ve since changed my tune and I believe in Trubisky…but I still worry sometimes we took the wrong guy. Both these guys come into 2018 with a lot to prove. For Watson, he wants to prove his one abbreviated season was just a flash of things to come.  For Trubisky he needs to show that his pedestrian Rookie season was due to a lack of weapons and coaching…and not because he lacks the ability.

 

 

4 Years Ago Today: The Pirated Pirate Porn Saga Began.

Honestly one of my favorite things on the internet ever was when pirate Simon pirated pirate porn. I was just rewatching the video and laughing my ass off when I looked up and saw it all began exactly 4 years ago today on The Rundown.

Just a few points to make on this Masterpiece with the hindsight of 2108.

  1. Hank, you came a long way. You went from a prime suspect in the pirate porn fiasco to kinda a big deal on PMT. Congrats Bro.
  2. Big Cat was fit in 2014. Did we catch him on a diet? He looks about 15 years older now.
  3. Dave was not so fit and his money hadn’t come in, so he’s not looking like Davey 2018. Proof once again money will make you better looking.
  4. Feits and KFC pretty much look the exact same, maybe a few pounds heavier but pretty much no change.
  5. Dave is so spot on calling Simon a “The Most Obvious Porn Guy” it’s factually correct and played out that way. “I downloaded it and didn’t watch it” is an all-time line.
  6. If you ever want to learn how to spot a liar just rewatch the part where Dave interrogates Simon. Every single look, shrug, eye movement, is the tell-tale sign of a liar. I think he goes through all 17 pantomimes possible for a human male lair.

Shoutout to Big Cat, who literally took the Good Cop, Bad Cop, routine that you see on TV and broke Simon within minutes.

 

A Far-Side Cartoon led to the naming of the Stegosaurus’s tail.

If I was someone who actually posted on Reddit.com as opposed to just skimming the front page every so often, I may have posted this under the TIL section and I dare say it would get a few upvotes. Hell for all I know this has already been discussed there, whatever…it’s new to me.

I grew up reading and laughing at Gary Larson’s The Far Side comic. I didn’t know until yesterday just how influential a joke can be.

According to Wikipedia:

thagomizer is the distinctive arrangement of four to ten spikes on the tails of stegosaurid dinosaurs. These spikes are believed to have been a defensive measure against predators.[1]

The arrangement of spikes originally had no distinct name; the term Thagomizer was coined in 1982 by cartoonist Gary Larson in his comic The Far Side, and thereafter became gradually adopted as an informal term within scientific circles, research, and education.

 

The term “thagomizer” was coined by Gary Larson in jest, in a 1982 The Far Side comic in which a group of cavemen in a faux-modern lecture hall are taught by their caveman professor that the spikes on a stegosaur’s tail are so named “after the late Thag Simmons”.

The term was picked up initially by Ken Carpenter, a paleontologist at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, who used the term when describing a fossil at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Meeting in 1993.[9] Thagomizer has since been adopted as an informal anatomical term,[10] and is used by the Smithsonian Institution,[9][dead link][11] the Dinosaur National Monument, the book The Complete Dinosaur[12] and the BBC documentary series Planet Dinosaur.[13]

The cartoon fate of Thag Simmons notwithstanding, stegosaurs and humans did not exist in the same era; humans evolved around 60 million years after the event that killed all non-avian dinosaurs, and some 120 million years after stegosaurids went extinct. In The Prehistory of the Far Side, Gary Larson suggests that “there should be cartoon confessionals where we could go and say things like, ‘Father, I have sinned – I have drawn dinosaurs and hominids together in the same cartoon.'”[14]

Thag Simmons might be the most METAL name I’ve ever heard, and this is one of the better “word-origin” stories I’ve heard in a long while. Are there anymore unnamed dinosaur parts?

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I’d like to give a dino part a name, how about those things that flair out from the Dilophosaurus before it spits it’s venom and eats Dennis Nedry? I want to name those Dodgsons. After this Classic Scene….

Hope you enjoyed today’s TIL – ATRAIN OUT!

I can’t really explain what’s going on in this Ad.

Every time I visit barstoolsports.com I see this ad of late.

Is that supposed to be this guy’s dead daughter? What the fuck is going on here? Is this another one of his daughters? The advertisement mention no other children. Is this just a random that was saved by his product? I need clarification. The implication is that the girl pictured is his child. If true that’s in really poor taste. I mean who just posts dead daughter pics like that?

Obviously, this is a stock photo that has nothing to do with the inventor of “safe personal alarm” but still what a weird photo to choose considering what the copy says.

 

I’m Already Triggered By The NFL’s New Helmet Rules.

Training Camp has just started and zero preseason games have been played,  but I’m already loathing the NFL’s approach to “safety” in regard to the new helmet rules. The first trigger was when the reason for Roquan Smith’s holdout became public. I have no idea what the Chicago Bears are thinking at all. I don’t know why you want to nickel and dime the player you think is going to be the cornerstone of this defense. Especially in regard to this cockamamy new rule.

Hey! A-Train, Why don’t you explain the new rule before blogging all about it? You need to give your readers context.

I want to explain the new rules; except the league imposing said rules seems unable to explain them to the teams to whom the rules will apply. That’s the second trigger.

Here is the “Letter of the Law”

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Routine tackles are now 15-yard penalties. FUN!

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The NFL failed when it came to showing the Eagles per a report via ESPN.

It’s all done in the name of safety, but it doesn’t make the game any safer, because there is nothing the players can do most of the time unless they want to NOT TACKLE an opponent. For an NFL defender, NOT TACKLING isn’t an option. So they are still going to make hits like that just all the while taking penalties.

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It’s funny I was originally going to reference a CBS related article on the matter but when I went back I saw this:

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Just over 6 hours it took Goodell’s PR machine to bully CBS into taking down an article. Not Bad Roger.

 

Saturday Sounds of Summer.

It’s been a while since I posted a music related blog on this site but it’s about time for a Summer Edition of A-Train Listens, this is what’s been pumping through the headphones of late. Mostly Hip-Hop because that’s mostly what I’ve had on.

I’m starting us off with a track I’ve been looking for on the internet and finally found. I couldn’t remember who it was by or the name of it, just that the beat was similar to Return of the “G” by Outkast. Without further ado: Jay Electronica – Dimethyltryptamine.

Ever have a song that you just associate with the Summer? It’s just got a summerish sound? That’s how I feel about this next track: AZ – The Come Up.

Shoutout to PBM who has been sending me tracks all summer here are some of his picks:

Chris Matic – Calories. Whenever you sample an all-time beat and wreck it you have my attention. Chris Matic takes the “losin’ weight” instrumental and gives us “Calories” which honestly dummies KillaCam’s original flow and rival’s Prodigy’s. You can be the judge, I’ll post the original as well.

I’m loving some of the other tracks this cat just dropped. Look at the release dates of these. Tension is a day old. Hip-Hop is not dead.

That’s the most current of a music recommend I’ll probably ever give. Back to older stuff with a track off of “The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs” Mixtape.

One of my favorite aspects of hip-hop has always been listening to classic beats get treatment from different lyricists, that a theme in this blog if you couldn’t figure that out. ’93 to Infinity by Souls of Mischief (which is about to turn 25) gets the Freddie Gibbs treatment.

Speaking of turning 25, Siamese Dream turned 25 yesterday. I’m realizing that I’m about to hit a stretch where all the music I grew up on turns 25. Does that make it technically oldies? Jesus, I hope not. I already have some grey hairs.

Admit it, you thought I would post “Today” as my Pumpkins track or at the very least “Disarm” fuck no, Cherub Rock!

Remember my alternate artwork for the Siamese Dream that featured myself and Mitch Trubisky?

Mitch&Me2 siamese dream
Billy Corgan is from Chicago so he probably loves Mitch almost as much as I do.

Bonus Track because I can’t get enough of this beat right now:

ENJOY DEEZ BEATS …. A-TRAIN OUT!

In today’s NFL, what does it mean to be a contender?

I just read an article on CBS Sports that said: “Dez Bryant reportedly only interested in signing with a contender next season.” The headline alone got me wondering: “How the fuck does Dez Bryant know who the contenders are?”

Think about last season, and who was considered a contender in the preseason. Do you see a Blake Bortles led Jaguars team? That team was a contender last season. Did you predict a Jared Goff led Rams team would host a playoff game? The parody of the NFL has proven that lots of teams have the talent to be a contender given the right breaks.

The flipside of that coin is just how quickly you can go from contender to a non-combatant with an injury, just ask the Houston Texans who looked poised for a playoff run until DeSean Watson tore his ACL. The Eagles fans thought a dream season was over when Carson Wentz went down, lucky for them Big Dick Nick Foles was their backup.

The Browns went 0-16 last season but guess what? I can’t write them off as a contender as much as I may want to. They have a veteran QB and a #1 overall draft pick. One of those guys could lead this team to the playoffs, it’s not out of the question.

The Bears were trash last season but they absolutely have a roster to compete with anyone going into 2018. The 49ers have been a joke, but are you telling me they can’t compete this season with Jimmy G? Teams go from worst to first all the time in the NFL.

Every season some so-called expert pick the Packers to go to the Super Bowl, but if Aaron Rodgers gets hurt like he tends to do, that pick becomes trash. The Patriots seem to be the only team that is bad luck proof. They contend every single year. Tom Brady misses an entire season and they go 11-5 with Matt Cassell. Unless the only team on Dez’s list is New England, I just don’t get what he’s doing.

If I am Dez, I don’t worry about who I think is a “competitor” I do worry about going to a team with a decent QB. But in this day and age, most teams have a decent QB going into the season. Nobody has had the chance to get hurt. Pick a team Dez.

This isn’t the NBA, it’s easy to pick out the “competitors” in the NBA, right now that’s about two teams. In the NFL it’s easier to pick out the non-competitors, but even that can be tricky. I’m sure a lot of people had the Jaguars on their list of non-competitors going into last year.

I’m going to attempt to give 8 teams that I don’t think will compete, but I bet I’m wrong about at least one.

  1. Tampa Bay. I see this team as the obvious worst team in the NFC South.
  2. Miami Dolphins. Another Florida team that I have very little faith in.
  3. Arizona Cardinals. This pick is based on Sam Bradford being the QB, if Rosen takes the job, then I may reconsider but this is probably the last place team in the NFC West this year.
  4. Buffalo Bills. This team was in the playoffs last season, I don’t see them coming back.
  5. Dallas Cowboys. I think Dallas is trash. They have a great O-Line and Running Back, but their fucking coach is a moron who wants to throw it all the time. I can’t believe I’m saying this but John Fox should be coaching this team, he could get them to the playoffs just by handing it off. This team needs a change in leadership bad.
  6.  Cincinnati Bengals. Another team with a coach who has been there too long. Dalton is now probably the worst starting QB in the AFC North, this team needs a rebuild. This season will prove that.
  7. Washington Redskins. I have this team missing the playoffs, I think the Giants will be better and the Eagles will stay the class of the division.
  8. Oakland Raiders. Nothing Gruden does make sense to me. I have this team finishing last in the division. Carr could stay healthy and maybe this team is ok, but I see glaring deficiencies on defense. Khalil Mack can’t do it all.

Is LeBron’s plan after the Lakers to play with his kid?

LeBron to the Lakers didn’t surprise anybody, LA was the odds-on favorite for weeks to sign LBJ. What was shocking to some people was the length of the deal (3 years, with a 4th-year player option.) Everyone is saying “He’s in it for the long haul!” and that may be true but I think the fact the length of his deal is the same amount of time his son Bronny will likely spend in High School is not exactly a coincidence.

LeBron James is more calculating now than he’s ever been before. I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying that the man knows what he wants. I think what he wants to play with his son in the NBA. So right around the time, this Laker Deal is up, Bronny will be graduating high school.

This is where we might have a never before seen situation where a father can directly impact the place his kid gets drafted. Let me put forth a scenario: After 4 years LeBron James Jr. aka Bronny declares that he is not going to college but directly to the NBA. (In this scenario players can go from HS directly to the pros, hey it might be this way in 4 years.) If LeBron declares that he is going to sign with the team that drafts his son it could shoot Bronny up in the rankings regardless of his talent. Even in a one and done situation, LeBron will still probably be young enough to play a couple seasons with his kid.

LeBron to the Lakers is going to be a fun four years in the NBA. The Warriors are going to have real competition now, it’s going to be a wild season. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed for LeBron’s epilogue to his career being one of mentorship to his kid in the NBA.