Thank you, Milwaukee

Post-season baseball is an enigma of excitement, heartbreak, stress, glory, and nerves all rolled into one emotional ball.  Game seven of the NLCS was not any different for the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers. The ultimate elimination game held the fate of one team going to the World Series and the other’s season coming to a close.

The crowd provided their cheers of confidence at Miller Park for their home team to finally obtain a berth to the World Series under the National League, but the cheers had to fade one last time for the 2018 season as the L.A. Dodgers came out victorious on a 5-1 win. The Dodgers are better equipped to take on the Boston Red Sox for the World Series, but a lot of credit has to go out towards the Brewers for going as far as they did in the post-season this year.

On Tuesday the focus will be completely on the World Series to see which contender will be able to win another championship for their franchise. Until then, I’d like to give a sincere thank you to the Milwaukee Brewers for providing one of the most fun seasons to watch this year. Milwaukee has been pitted as the underdog since day one, sharing the NL Central with big market giants such as the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. The Brew Crew has proven that they have the talent, passion, and determination to push a team deep into the playoffs.

What a fun ride all season long, watching the newly acquired Lorenzo Cain and Christain Yelich emerge as huge playmakers both in the outfield and on the plate. Witnessing Josh Hader make a name for himself, even with his controversial Twitter posts from years past, as the team and fans supported his growth as a person from his naive youth. The votes to bring Jesus Aguilar to his first All-Star Game with the #IBelieveinJesus campaign, and watching his enjoyment of participating in the home run derby. Laughing with Brent Suter as he mimics Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumber on a video that gained the appreciation of Jim Carrey. Chanting with the crowd as Christain Yelich emerges as the top candidate for this year’s National League MVP category. Hearing the crack of all the bats as the Brewers tied a franchise-best of 97 wins this season, placing them as the top seed in the NL for this year’s post-season.

The deep admiration for the game can only be matched with the voice that Bob Uecker provides each game on the radio waves. Listening to Uecker’s excitement for every home run and double play is a melody that no one else can match when it comes to broadcasting. Although the Milwaukee Brewers won’t be playing for a Commissioner’s Trophy in 2018, there is no doubt that Bob Uecker is still proud of his team.

We all should be. Everything that Craig Counsell and David Stearns has provided has given confidence to Milwaukee for the future. Milwaukee isn’t just a one-hit wonder — they will be back with a bigger goal in mind for next year. Until next year’s spring training, I want to express a sincere thank you towards the Brewers organization. Thank you for a great season, for the fun that was shown, and the memories we had along the way. The Brewers are a type of team that is easy to enjoy. Although being eliminated from the post-season can feel disappointing, the team should know that the fans are not disappointed by their efforts.

Instead of sulking of what could have been, or grieving the thought of being cut short of such a long journey, there is solace in knowing that the season provided to the fans was overall enjoyable. So from one fan to the Milwaukee Brewers, I say thank you for the great season, and more importantly: thanks for the fun.

Larry Fitzgerald will break Terrell Owen’s record this season

It took a lot of controversy, hard feelings, and smack talk but Terrell Owens was finally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year. Creating himself quite the stir once again, T.O. still receives his gold jacket regardless. The prestigious award of being selected for the Hall of Fame is definitely well-deserved for Owens. Right under Jerry Rice, his statistics speak for himself.

Trying to say “There will never be another T.O.” is only partially correct. Granted there may never be someone with the personality or ego as Terrell Owens, but there is one player currently in the NFL that statistically matches up with T.O.

Larry Fitzgerald has quietly created himself a first-ballot Hall of Fame kind of career. Entering the 2018 season at 34 years old, Fitzgerald has accumulated 1,234 total catches, 110 receiving touchdowns, and holds 15,545 total career yards. Yup, you read that right. Larry Fitzgerald is only 389 yards shy of breaking Terrell Owens’ career record of second-most receiving yards of all time — and he’s going to do it this year.

Normally the creative minds who come up with the NFL schedule each season have these types of statistics on lock-down on when the probability that athletes will be able to break a career record of this magnitude. Taking a quick peek at the Arizona Cardinal’s schedule, fans get three opportunities to watch Fitzgerald overtake T.O.’s record in primetime.

He could accumulate 400 receiving yards by week three against the Chicago Bears as the Game of the Week. Just in case Fitzgerald has a slow start to the season, history could be changed in week five versus the San Francisco 49ers on another Game of the Week slot. Just to add to security, the Cardinals have one more shot against the Denver Broncos in week seven on Sunday Night Football.

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Larry Fitzgerald will most likely never be able to break Terrell Owens’ touchdown record. He has already accomplished more receptions and about to take the seat right under Jerry Rice’s wing for most receiving yards. By the time Fitzgerald retires, there will be no question he is a first-ballot hall of famer. His statistics can’t lie, and he has already won the appreciation of fans and judges by his humble personality and shining work performance. Fitzgerald will never brag about his numbers or accolades for his career, but a gold jacket will never fit a better candidate.

Best Super Bowls that NFL fans should see

Every season the media and fans make their personal bets on who will make the big championship game for the glory of a Lombardi Trophy. Watching and hoping that your favorite team makes it to the Super Bowl every year is half the fun of watching football. Some years give us legendary championships such as Super Bowl LII having the Philadelphia Eagles winning the prized trophy with their backup quarterback. Other years leave us with very forgetful games that leave us wondering how either of those two teams even made it to a Super Bowl. I’ve comprised a list of a top five Super Bowl games that every fan needs to see in the near future, whether you know you want it or not.

Green Bay Packers vs. New England Patriots

This Super Bowl should be very self-explanatory. A Rodgers versus Brady Super Bowl would be the biggest Clash of the Titans quarterback battle since Dan Marino faced Joe Montana. The biggest disappointment in the past eight years is the fact that Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady haven’t created their own Bradshaw/Staubach rivalry against each other. Fortunately for football fans, Green Bay and New England play this year during the regular season. It may be the last time the two future Hall of Fame QB’s play each other ever again. It may not be a Super Bowl, but it still should be an interesting game.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Houston Texans

Hopefully, if this game ever takes place it will happen on a year that FOX is hosting the Super Bowl just to call in Mike Judge and make a special King of the Hill promotional episode. What should forever be deemed as the Hank Hill Bowl, the people behind the scenes will need to go all out in order to keep an everything-is-bigger-in-Texas theme. If fans were lucky, they should hope this Super Bowl ends up happening within the next five years in order to see DeShaun Watson and Ezekiel Elliot go toe-to-toe. Imagine how much quarterback pressure can be in place between JJ Watt and DeMarcus Lawrence. Hank Hill is already shuddering at the thought.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Buffalo Bills

Minnesota has been locked as a fan-favorite to make the Super Bowl this upcoming season. Buffalo, maybe not so much. The Bills have finally ended their playoff drought last year, but they look to be miles away from obtaining a Super Bowl berth. The reason this Super Bowl would have major hype lingering around it is that these two franchises have made the most Super Bowl appearances without ever winning a Lombardi Trophy. There have been nine Super Bowl losses between these two teams combined. Having Minnesota and Buffalo duking it out in the ultimate championship game would be for the highest of stakes on both ends. One team will finally end its streak of bad luck, while the other team becomes the official laughing stock of the NFL for most losses in a Super Bowl.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Los Angeles Chargers

The Super Bowl that should be deemed as The Battle For Los Angeles. There are a lot of layers that can make this game great. It’s two franchises who very recently moved to the L.A. area, two franchises who are scrambling to establish their new fan base, and two teams who are actually building for success simultaneously. Fans may grumble that having two teams from the same city will appear to tarnish the Super Bowl. That may be the case if this Super Bowl occurs twenty years from now, but if the NFL fans are lucky enough to see this game happen within the next five years — it can be historic. The only thing that can truly put the cherry on top of this championship game is if the stadium that hosts the Super Bowl is the new Los Angeles stadium being built in Inglewood.

Detroit Lions vs. Cleveland Browns

Ever see a trainwreck so bad that you can’t look away no matter how horrible you know it can be? That could be this Super Bowl. The only two franchises that have never made an appearance in any championship games during the Super Bowl era, they can finally clear their name of that disrespect at the same time. As much as people may want to complain about how bad the game would be, sometimes it’s great to cheer for mediocrity on pure irony. Remember the terrible Seahawks vs. Cardinals game that went into overtime on Sunday Night Football only for two missed field goals to end the game in a tie? Detroit vs. Cleveland could be that same vein of terribly amazing football. Imagine a Super Bowl that goes into overtime and the final play being a safety making the final score 2-0. People will forever talk about the worst Super Bowl they ever saw and remembered for being the best Super Bowl in history.

Four best MLB rivalries to watch this season

The competition is hot in baseball this season! New teams are rising up to the task of taking over their division. It’s not an easy task to dethrone the former divisional winners and find a seat to the post-season. Thankfully the fans have 19 games to watch their favorite teams battle it out in their respective division. There are a few franchises who have given us such intense match-ups that baseball fans shouldn’t miss the action whenever their games are in session. Here are the top four rivals who you should be watching this season:

 

4. Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals have been unattested among their division for a number of years. This season the winds have finally shifted as the Phillies are on the rise, and the Atlanta Braves are driving in runs like it’s going out of the style. The Braves already have a great hitter with Freddie Freeman. Now tack on the young Ozzie Albies who has hit not one, but two grand slams in his rookie season. Any matchup between the Braves’ hitters going against Max Scherzer on the mound is definitely worth watching.

 

3. Seattle Mariners vs. Houston Astros

It’s never easy being in the same division as the reigning world champions Houston Astros. The Mariners have impressed everyone in baseball by making it look like a piece of cake. A healthy James Paxton has helped tremendously for Seattle by having a Cy Young caliber season. Meanwhile, Justin Verlander continues to prove his worth to the Astros by having the lowest earned run average in the MLB. Between Jean Segura and Jose Altuve, there is a lot of fun games to watch with these teams. Although Seattle currently holds the top place in the AL West, the Houston Astros will fight to take their crown back.

 

2. Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago Cubs

For the past few years, the Brewers and Cubs have been climbing for the top of the NL Central. The Cubs usually get the spoils by the end of the season, but this year things are different. Chicago has dominated the Brewers so far the first half of the season. The Brewers continue to bounce back and still hang on to the top of the division. The Cubbies may have the best roster in the central division, but Milwaukee has the best depth. The Brewers have the best record the NL being the first team to 40 wins. Chicago is not far behind them, and will constantly be reaching to pull the Brew Crew down to second place. If things are this intense between the ball clubs now, imagine how insane the games will be in September down the stretch.

 

New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox

Is this really a surprise for anyone? It might be one of the greatest rivalries in sports history. This season both franchises are proving why that statement is true. Both teams are above 40 wins, are incredible to watch, and have stacked rosters. Didi Gregorius is achieving what we thought was impossible by living up to Derek Jeter’s standards. Boston acquired one of the best players in the free agency market with JD Martinez. Going from Aaron Judge to Mookie Betts the dingers keep on coming between these two teams. It’s extremely difficult to predict which club will win the AL East this year, but it should be a safe bet that both will make the post-season. It should be a wild ride all the way to October, and baseball fans should watch out for the overwhelming talent coming out of Boston and New York.

Early season predictions on the worst teams in the NFL

For a good portion of the decade, there has been lousy football coming from the same three teams. The Cleveland Browns (0-16) had their last win in the 2016 season with Johnny Manziel as their quarterback. That feels like a lifetime ago already. The Chicago Bears (5-11) have notoriously been a two or three win team ever since losing the NFC Championship in 2010. Then comes the San Francisco 49ers (6-10) who has had a roller coaster ride all decade. Ever since losing head coach Jim Harbaugh the 49ers’ wins have been lacking.

The Bears and 49ers have already reached out of bottom feeder status as of last season. It’s no coincidence that acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo and Mitch Trubisky have helped tremendously. All three of these teams are currently heading in the right direction. The biggest question mark lies on the Cleveland Browns, coming from zero wins last year. Cleveland possibly has the most impressive roster we’ve seen in a very long time. Even four wins from the Browns would be considered a successful season at this point. With these teams currently on the rise to success, there can only be three new teams to take their place. What new franchise will take the dishonor of being the new bottom feeder?

1. Cincinnati Bengals

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Only one thing prevented the Cincinnati Bengals from being the worst team in their division last year: the luxury of sharing the division with Cleveland. Last season definitely exposed some holes in Cincinnati’s arsenal. The Bengals missed every opportunity to pick up any top rated free agents to patch any of those holes. Most teams are becoming a running back by committee, and the Bengals have the same mentality. Between Jeremy Hill, Giovanni Bernard, and Joe Mixon they’re not sure which RB to use. The answer seems obvious: go with Mixon. There should be no doubt that Joe Mixon will eventually become a great running back. It will take longer to see results when he’s only allowed eight carries a game.

 

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Tampa Bay has some pretty great weapons on their team. Mike Evans has always been a top wide receiver each year. Gerald McCoy and Kwon Alexander have been crucial pieces that can provide help on any team in the NFL. Jameis Winston has proven himself as a good franchise quarterback. He has the unfortunate circumstance of sharing the same division with Drew Brees, Cam Newton, and Matt Ryan. Winston is young and has plenty of time to hone in his talents. Despite all the pro-bowlers on the roster, the Bucs still have not been able to click into gear. Perhaps the blame should fall on the coaching staff. Tampa Bay is high on their first-round pick Vita Vey, a defensive tackle from Washington. Vey has high regards but still doesn’t fix their running back problem after releasing Doug Martin.

3. Miami Dolphins

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The Miami Dolphins have lingered on the border of bottom feeders for quite some time. Ryan Tannehill will be returning from his ACL injury this upcoming season. The Dolphins continue to believe in Tannehill being their starting QB, despite Adam Gase not achieving much success with him. Tannehill has fewer weapons to work with since Jay Ajayi and Jarvis Landry are no longer on the team. Minkah Fitzpatrick was a great first-round choice in the draft. Even the DB from Alabama won’t be able the save the problems Miami will face in the near future. Miami has a window of opportunity to build once Tom Brady retires from the Patriots. The competition will be severe as the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets are doing the exact same thing. With the Dolphins allowing their best players to be traded, there is a high probability that they could be the worst team in the NFL this coming season.

Kevin Durant’s performance brings the series one game closer to a sweep

Everything was set in order for the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Coming off two losses from the Bay area is nothing new for LeBron James and the Cavs. Their mentality was to ignore the media, shake off the pressure, and bring in a big W at home. Things were looking in the Cavaliers’ favor all the way to halftime. Steph Curry was having a very uncharacteristic off night. A completely different look from a record-breaking Game 2 for Steph. The Warriors’ struggles meant nothing for Kevin Durant, as he scored 43 points to help achieve the win on the road.

Cleveland looks dead in the water at the moment. No matter how much LeBron flexes his athletic ability, the Cavs continue to fall short. Go back to Game 1 when King James scored an incredible 51 points and still came up with a loss. Nobody can say that LeBron didn’t put up an effort in front of his home crowd. Even after scoring a triple-double on the Warriors, it still wasn’t enough to secure the win. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, LeBron’s numbers weren’t a match for the destruction that Kevin Durant left behind at the Quicken Loan Arena.

Golden State has a strange problem on their hands at the moment. Do they go for the four-game sweep for the extra accolade towards their legacy? Would it be wise to allow the Cavs one win in the series to give the Warriors a rest? At least they would be able to win the championship in front of their fans at The Town. The safest bet would to just win it all right away. With LeBron James as an opponent, he has the capability to tie the series quickly. We’ve all witnessed it happen once before when the Cavs were down 3-1. LeBron receives quite a lot of criticism during his career, but one thing that people can not deny is the man never gives up. The coffin may be closing on Cleveland for this year’s Finals, but make no mistake they will be fighting to stay alive in Game 4.

Max Scherzer’s immaculate inning solidifies incredible career

Tuesday night Max Scherzer threw nine perfect pitches to strike out the sides against the Tampa Bay Rays giving him his second immaculate inning of his career. Scherzer is the fifth pitcher in MLB history to have the talent to pull it off twice. What’s more impressive about the National’s ace pitcher is the first time he pitched immaculately was just last season. Scherzer continues to prove why he’s a back-to-back Cy Young winner in the NL, and already on pace to win his third in a row this year.

Max Scherzer’s value with the Washington Nationals is significant. It has been the elephant in the clubhouse that Bryce Harper wants to be traded after the 2018 season. The best way to keep Harper on the Nats is by paying him the contract he would feel is worth staying for. That would cause an issue down the road when it’s time to pay Scherzer’s contract extension. At this point, Scherzer is pitching better than anybody in the NL — possibly in all of MLB. That includes monumental names like Kershaw and Kluber. Depending on where Harper goes might also change the outlook of the Nationals’ future.

The Nationals have dominated the NL East for a few years now. There hasn’t been much competition among the division until recently. The Nats would easily glide into the post-season only to be knocked out immediately every year. Towards the end of last season Bryce Harper expressed the outlook of his career of possibly heading towards the Chicago Cubs. The frustration with the club is understandable, but with Max Scherzer pitching as great as he is, there has to be a little faith left in there.

Losing Harper would leave an open gap in their slugging department for a while. Already with 18 homeruns this year, it’s hard to replace such a dominant hitter. Washington still has talent in its lineup to still give pitchers like Scherzer run support. Players such as Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, and young Juan Soto. With the Atlanta Braves currently leading the NL East, and a talented Phillies team on the rise, would it possibly be better to try and trade Harper before the deadline? It’s a high-risk move that almost asks to throw away the rest of the season and put it in a wash. The Washington Nationals doesn’t seem like a team that will want to lie on its back and accepts defeat.

This year will be the most competitive season the Nationals have faced in a long time. Despite the slumps and struggles they may go through, the team can always rally behind Max Scherzer — the best pitcher in baseball.

Who Shot JR?

The NBA Finals will always give us consistency. LeBron James seems to always be there, the crowd noise will always be loud, and the memes will always be golden. Last week Game 1 ended with LeBron James’ frustration towards JR Smith. Can’t blame the guy when putting up a career-high 51 points and still losing in overtime. Now with the Cavaliers down 0-2 in the series, a video has surfaced to catch a glimpse of Cleveland’s bench.

A quick recap of what is shown in this video: absolutely nothing. The game was in commercial break before overtime, and the faces reveal more focus than frustration. There isn’t a viral video of what the Warriors bench looked like after JR Smith’s folly play. Rest assured it most likely wasn’t full of high fives and celebratory hugs. The game wasn’t over, and that’s what was on every player’s mind during that moment.

 

The crucifixion of JR Smith is a little over-embellished. Don’t be mistaken, he made a terrible decision; there’s no doubt about that. Smith claims that he thought the Cavaliers were going to call a timeout. Even if that were true, Golden State still could have forced a turnover. Hypothetically, if LeBron or JR took a game-winning shot there’s always the possibility the ball misses. If Warriors get the rebound, they still had four seconds to make a play. Simply chuck the ball to Steph Curry and let him work his magic. Nothing was guaranteed for Cleveland to win that game. The irony is how JR Smith becomes the martyr, but no one blames Hill for missing the last free throw.

 

The grumbles of JR Smith lingered into Game 2 of the Finals. Golden State fans used it as fuel as they mocked JR with their MVP chants at the free throw line. Nobody on the Cavaliers roster can take the blame for losing Game 2, however. It’s hard to win when Steph Curry is on the court making history with 10 three-point shots in a single NBA Finals game. Tack on the fact that it’s almost impossible to beat the Warriors at Oracle Arena. Only the Houston Rockets have been able to put that accomplishment in their resume in recent years.

 

Now the Cavaliers get a chance to try to dig themselves out of the hole they’re buried in. Shake off the critical backlash that has been hovering over JR Smith and allow LeBron to play some of the best basketball we’ve seen him play. Being back in front of the home crowd of Cleveland should help ease the tension that’s built around them. It might be a wise choice for the Cavaliers to avoid social media for a while. Otherwise, they’ll have to face the constant reminder of the picture which has blessed us with one of the best meme formats of the summer:

For What It’s Worth

The economy is booming and financial investments aren’t as high risk as before. The NFL is no exception, but replace literal dollars with raw player talent. New stars keep emerging every year across the league. While some of these players help contribute toward a successful franchise, other teams seem to fall short. Here is a following list of teams to either buy in the hype, or sell out your shares from the bandwagon.

 

Buying: Los Angeles Rams

The Rams don’t need a hard sell in order to want to invest in their franchise. Jared Goff is going to be in his third year and continues to look more confident under center. Todd Gurley is a strong contender for being the best running back in the NFL. What separates this team apart from everyone else is how much talent they brought in during this past off-season. Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters in the secondary. Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald up front bringing the pressure. Match that with Wade Philips as defensive coordinator and the young established Sean McVay. It’s hard to find a weakness on this team right now.

 

Selling: Seattle Seahawks

Until Jimmy Garappolo wins either a Super Bowl or the MVP, it’s safe to say that Russell Wilson is still the best quarterback in the NFC West. Unfortunately for Wilson, there isn’t much support for him at the moment. The off-season was pretty vacant for Seattle as we watched the monumental Legion of Boom finally crumble. Shaquem Griffin getting drafted to the same team as his twin brother was a heart-warming story to watch unfold. The rest of the draft, however, felt very lackluster. Wilson has a lot of weight to carry on his back for the next few years. They are definitely heading into rebuild mode, but with the 49ers and Rams on the rise, don’t expect much from Seattle for the rest of this decade.

 

Buying: Green Bay Packers

I know, how biased of me. A blog that has Cheesehead in the name and wants to pick the Packers. Although there are plenty of reasons why the Packers are a good investment. The number one person to bet on is Aaron Rodgers, who will be hungry for a shot at the title once again. Take a short hop down memory lane and Rodgers has brought this team to the NFC Championship game three times in the past eight years. Green Bay did the smart thing and finally cut ties with Dom Capers to bring in Mike Pettine, a guy who has never had a defense ranked below tenth place. Packers also had one of the better drafts in the NFL, especially in the first three rounds. Green Bay continues to look better on paper this year, even after losing fan-favorite Jordy Nelson. Although the Minnesota Vikings are a worthy adversary, it is always safe to bet on the King of the North.

 

Selling: Detroit Lions

Every day more analysts are hyping up the Detroit Lions. People should pump the brakes a little on Matt Patricia taking over head coaching duties. He has all the potential in the world to be able to turn Detroit into a deadly team. But between the competition of the Packers and Vikings, it won’t be happening soon. Let’s also not forget that as a defensive coordinator Patricia had absolutely no answers for Philadelphia in the Super Bowl. It’s more realistic to allow him a few years to build a team before jumping the gun and claiming that he’s going to steal the division. Matthew Stafford will go down statistically as the Lion’s best QB ever to be on their roster. Unfortunately, if he couldn’t make a deep run with Calvin Johnson, chances are it won’t be happening this year either.

 

Buying: Los Angeles Chargers

It’s bizarre how two mediocre franchises seemed to flourish as soon as they moved to the City of Angels. The Chargers are almost a twin copy of their NFC counterpart when it comes to depth. Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen, and Melvin Gordon make a great triplet to get the offense moving. Casey Hayward one of the best shut-down corners in the NFL, only to be complemented by drafting Derwin James on the other side. They still have huge weapons such as Joey Bosa and Marvin Ingram which helped bring their defense to be ranked third last year in the NFL. Their biggest weakness right now is being forced to share the StubHub Center, which feels like being an away team for sixteen games. The rest of the AFC West has been rebuilding and essentially don’t have an identity. Now is the time for the Chargers to strike and flaunt their identity to the rest of the AFC.

 

Selling: Oakland Raiders

There are so many potholes with this team that Jon Gruden feels more like a construction worker than a coach. So many questions are left unanswered for Oakland right now. Did Jack Del Rio really deserve to lose his job just because his last name isn’t ‘Gruden’? Did Derek Carr have a fluke year, or did he show his true colors? Is Amari Cooper overrated? Can the Raiders get a good running game with Marshawn Lynch, or is he past his prime? Will Jordy Nelson be a good replacement for Michael Crabtree? Oakland didn’t have an impressive draft to bring any of these questions at ease. Gruden brought in free agency talent but also has made his roster the oldest in the NFL. It’s hard to look too far into the future with the towering fact that they are moving to Las Vegas soon. Maybe by then they can mimic the Golden Knights and try to reach a championship.

Buying: Houston Texans

DeShaun Watson had the most impressive rookie start we’ve ever seen before getting hurt last year. It’s been easy to find a seat on the hype train for this young QB ever since he beat Nick Saban’s Alabama team. Now he has DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller as lethal weapons. Watson isn’t the only player anticipated to return, however. JJ Watt will be back and ready to throw some linemen and quarterbacks to the ground. Watt’s attitude and work ethic prove contagious for the entire team. That should be motivation for their talented new safety, Tyrann Mathieu. Houston has a tough road ahead of them as the south is by far the strongest division in the AFC. Between Jaguars’ defense, Titans’ roster depth, and Andrew Luck returning with the Colts, the road to the playoffs will be brutal. The Texans show no fear as they look toward their rivals to win the division. That courage is worthy enough to invest in this team.

Selling: Carolina Panthers

Make no mistake about this sell: Carolina is not a bad team by any means. Former MVP Cam Newton will always pose a threat to any opponent he faces. Luke Kuechly may go down as this generation’s Brian Urlacher. The Panthers’ downfall doesn’t come within bad coaching or a bad roster. It’s simply the terrible luck of how competitive the NFC South is lately. Three teams made the post-season last year and the chances of that happening again are slim to none. Somebody is going to have to fall off the wild card spot. Compare Carolina’s roster to the Saints and the Falcons and it appears they’ve drawn the short end of the stick. We may see the same scenario that the AFC West had a few years ago where the Panthers can have a 10-6 record and still miss the playoffs.

Why We Need an Eight Team Playoff

I feel like an undefeated UCF this year not making the postseason as well as the lack of a Big Ten champ should be reason enough for expansion. Maybe PAC-12 too, if you’re not into defense (zing!) I am aware that this isn’t enough for some people though so I have just a little bit more to say than that.

One of the biggest reasons I hear against expansion seems to come from old school fans, who just shrug expansion talk off as whining and think drama and controversy are just part of the game. If this is your opinion and you happen to be reading this then with I don’t really think you enjoy the product on the field so much as the atmosphere surrounding it. That’s fine I guess but thats what I thought the WWE was for ever since it went PG, but that’s another article. I prefer my drama to occur on the field like oh I don’t know the Double Overtime Rose Bowl we just witnessed. I also prefer my controversy to only be over the occasional close call, and that’s only because I don’t think we’ll ever fully be able to eliminate human error from officiating in football. I get sometimes players behavior will be in the discussion, but I’d much rather the discussion be about the actual product on the field than about “who is the real champion?” or “who’s a better person?” If you would prefer that debate maybe you actually would enjoy professional wrestling more (I kid, I kid, but not really.)

Another reason I hear against expansion is that it should be hard to get into the postseason, an argument I actually am sympathetic to. Here’s the thing though, an 8 team playoff would still be literally THE smallest playoff out of any sport today. Not having a quarterfinal round in any other sport would just seem weird wouldn’t it? Even the NFL allows 12 teams into its playoff and there’s no perception about that being a cake walk to get into.

So here’s my proposal. The playoff should have every Power Five Conference champion getting an automatic bid, making conference championships more meaningful as Alabama got in this year and Ohio State last year without even winning their conference. If you can’t get in the post season by winning your conference then what’s even the point? It’s essentially a meaningless award if it doesn’t result in at least a shot at the next level. Could you imagine a division winner in the NFL not getting a chance to be in the big game? What’s even the point in divisions in that case? I understand this is college so it’s a little different, but the NFL’s post season model has been undeniably successful. I suspect the ratings will be as high as ever despite record lows during the regular season due to largely to, surprise surprise, off the field controversy. Hell the NCAA already produces a ratings bonanza every March with a basketball tournament. College football should take notice, especially considering the powers that be seem to at least be mildly aware their post season is in the winter months when everyone is stuck inside otherwise they wouldn’t subject us to an “Insert Sponsor and Random Object Bowl Game” every day in December.

So aside from Power Five champions getting an automatic bid and my little tangent about ratings, what to do with the other three spots you may ask? Well, give it to the next highest three ranked teams, with one exception. Any Group of Five school that wins their conference with an undefeated record (ala UCF) gets an automatic bid, but only if they’re ranked. This way the GoF can’t intentionally schedule cupcake schools and will have to play a few better teams to at least earn respect. This system would also minimize the impact of the subjective ranking system without doing away with it entirely.

The only question after answering the who would be the how, as in how does seeding work? While I do think power five champions should get automatic bids I don’t think they should automatically be the top five seeds. The rankings could be sorted with the already existing playoff committees ranking system. Again, it seems like to me at least, a great compromise giving a nod to the history of reliance on polling while also taking steps toward a more objective and less disputable national champion.

Now I am against any further expansion and think 8 is the perfect number, at least for now. Jumping from 4 to 16 seems excessive and I doubt the Conferences are remotely prepared to organize that successfully. Also, as much as I mocked the excessive amount of bowl games it is nice to be able to watch random games throughout the month rather than the alternative, which is trying to catch eight games all in one wild weekend. Maybe one day we can have the discussion of twelve teams copying the NFL system of giving the top ranked teams a much deserved bye week as well as keep the number of meaningful games going on to a small enough number people actually have time to watch but today is not that day. I’d both settle for and demand at least eight, and so should you.