December 31, 2011

The Seventeen Days of Bowl Week

PUSHMASTER PICKS '011: WEEK SEVENTEEN

By ROBB WITMER FULL    

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, KYLE ORTON.


The first seven or eight days of Bowl Week are pretty okay, but the last four this year are totally balls-to-the-wall with non-stop College Football action from dawn to dusk. Even having spent most of yesterday half-asleep and completely non-lucid with some mysterious illness, there’s still plenty of time to indulge myself in the giant hornswoggle that is the College Football post season.

Don’t worry about me, dear readers. I heal at about the same rate as James “Logan” Howlet, so I’m already as good as new and better than most. All it takes is a lot of sleep and a few herbs, and I’m A-OK.

Well, it was actually just one herb. The picks this week? These are piping-hot pushes if I’ve ever seen them. And I have. (I’ve been to R.J.’s house a bunch of times.)

Bills v. Patriots OVER (50)
Jeez, this number should be closer to 100 than to 50. Prediction: 48-35.

49ers v. Rams UNDER (35)
...and this should be a lot closer to 1 than to 35. Prediction: 13-0.

CHIEFS (+3) v. Broncos
Supposedly Tebow is an alternate to the Pro Bowl, which is a supremely high honor considering he’s about the tenth or eleventh best quarterback in the conference, not counting injured players, naturally... Talk about a hornswaggle. Has a player this mediocre ever been pushed so forcefully down our throats? Even if the Broncos manage to back into the playoffs, it will have been against a last-place schedule in the worst division in the league.

Wisconsin v. OREGON (-6)
I was thinking I’d be giving up a few less points, but this is still a solid pick.

Stanford v. OKLAHOMA ST. (-4)
As much as I would love to ride Andrew “Horsebeef” Luck all the way to the end, Oklahoma State is the tits this year.

BetOnline.com, 10:51 AM MST, Saturday


Robb Witmer Full spends most of Bowl Week in a bunker he calls the PushMaster Command Center, with Twitter as his only contact with the outside world.

December 22, 2011

The Spirit of the Holiday

PUSHMASTER PICKS '011: WEEK SIXTEEN

By ROBB WITMER FULL    



I’m a pretty smart guy. I read books, and often understand what I’m reading. I can think my way out of a jam, build things without instructions, and run a world-class football pool with only a dozen well-trained monkeys to help me.

When it comes to wrapping Christmas presents, however, I’m a complete hack. The three ten-packs of socks that I got for myself look like I took some perfectly-wrapped presents and ran them through the dishwasher. The square stuff looks better, but still not good.

In the Spirit of the Holiday, I’m keeping it short this week. So, dear readers, the hours upon hours you normally use to comb through my weekly essays looking for golden nuggets on the American Dream or the next trend in fashionable word-play, how’s about spending that time with your goddamn families.

These picks just ooze with Pushiness. I expect at least two this week.

NEVADA (+8) v. Southern Miss
Tebow v. YINZSTACHIO (+3)
Dolphins v. PATRIOTS (-10)
BROWNS (+13) v. Ravens
EAGLES (+3) v. Cowboys

Lines from BOVADA.lv, which is definitely NOT Bodog, and thus should not be held accountable for any laws Bodog may or may not have broken. 7:27 PM MST, Thursday.


Robb Witmer Full is the Christmas Spirit correspondent for SPORTS-THRUST!! For up-to-the-second wit, follow his Twitter account.

December 15, 2011

Where Have You Gone, Ol' Yinzstachio?

PUSHMASTER PICKS '011: WEEK FIFTEEN

By ROBB WITMER FULL    

"THIS IS A REAL HONOR, BUT DOES ANYONE KNOW THE FASTEST WAY OUT OF HERE?"


“Yinzstachio had many faults as a coach, but Pitt will probably get an even bigger dumb-fuck this time around.” —Me, December 7, 2011
Two dumb-fucks later, the best you could say about the post-Yinzstachio era at Pitt is that it has been eventful. Next thing you know, Walt Harris is going to sell his chipped-horsebeef cart that he wheels around downtown Bozeman, MT, and set forth to try to restore the Panthers to glory.

The rumor swirling around the PushMaster Command Center is that in the next few days Johnny Majors will be driving his whiskeymobile up to Heinz Field to be introduced as the next head coach at Pitt. Whiskey will be named defensive coordinator. Walt Harris is the second choice.

Oh, Todd Graham, Pitt hardly knew ye. What looked like a decent hire after the Mike Haywood debacle has turned out to be a total waste of a year for the Pitt football program. Not that most of them aren’t.

Even this season’s highlights turned out to be rather low-octane for Pitt, such as a 44-17 drubbing of top-20 South Florida. The Bulls, of course, finished with a 5-7 record, 1-6 (!) in the Big East, the worst major college football conference of the last 50 years.

If Graham had left for a big-time job this would be less of a slap in the face to Pitt. But his destination is Arizona State, which has been a Pac-10/12 also-ran since Jake Plummer left. The word that he was poking around about the Kansas and Texas A&M jobs goes to show what Graham’s prime directive really was: get the hell out.

Pitt will now be on their fourth head coach in about a year, a glowing reminder that they’ve been a second-rate football program for over three decades. Graham surely realized this. I’m guessing he never bothered to unpack his suitcase. He was probably on his cell phone, working on getting his next job, while he was waiting for his introductory press conference to start.

By almost every measure, ASU is a major upgrade for Graham, and not just for the sunshine. That doesn’t mean this isn’t a dick move. A dick move Pitt should have seen coming from the coach with the sweatiest face in Football.

It is understandable why Steve Pederson and company are a little butt-hurt, but Pitt was desperate when they hired Graham. They needed a warm body to fill the head coach position, and that’s what they got. A warm, sweaty body.

By the end of the season, it was obvious he didn’t want to be there. The fans hated him, the media hated him, the team sucked. Where exactly was the Todd Graham era headed anyway?

I’m probably not the only one wishing for a Yinzstachio-ride right now.

Panthers v. TEXANS (-6.5)
Man, it’s a lot harder to get a complete set of whole-numbered spreads that I actually like with only NFL games to chose from. Oh well, if anyone can pull a push out of his ass with a six-and-a-half point spread it’s T.J. Yates. It’s hard to put into words how magical Yates is. The game is never over when he’s behind center. His teams never stop believing, even when it looks hopeless. And don’t be fooled by his ability to throw the ball down the field, it’s only masking his one true skill: Winning.

Lions v. Raiders OVER (48)
This is shaping up to be a game between two teams that kind of don’t care anymore. I look for a lot of touchdowns to be scored while the defenses aren’t paying attention, or by interception return (Carson Palmer: minimum of 3 pick-sixes in this game), or maybe a whole bunch of safeties.

JETS (+3) v. Eagles
Look, I’m no fan of the Jets, and I certainly don’t think they’re an elite team this year, but how are they underdogs? Do the Eagles have some sort of magic Dream Team beans? This is what we call Free Points.

Broncos v. PATRIOTS (-6) UNDER (46)
Last week the Broncos went to overtime against a team with a bus driver at quarterback; that stopped calling plays in the fourth quarter; that played a 30-yard prevent defense against an opposing quarterback who can only throw it 25; and with a running back who had two different chances to basically win the game by falling on his ass, and did it neither time. (Taking the extra half-point cost me a push, be damned!) The Patriots don’t seem to have much of a defense, but it probably won’t matter. At the very least, they’re less likely to give away the game like Chicago did.

This week’s spreads come to you courtesy of the wonderful folks over at BetOnline.com at 3:25 PM MST on Wednesday. Head on over there to pick up some great Christmas gifts for your family, like that Over on the Cowboys game that Dad’s always wanted, or the Colt’s-Browns teaser that Grandma pretends like she doesn’t need.


Robb Witmer Full is the Yinzstachio-ride operator at the SPORTS-THRUST theme park, THRUST-WORLD!! You can hear how he denies short people entry on Twitter.

December 9, 2011

Brilliant Like a Horse

PUSHMASTER PICKS '011: WEEK FOURTEEN

By ROBB WITMER FULL    

T.J. YATES? SURE, WHATEVER.


I’m just now managing to collect myself from what was quite the bender, spending nearly four days celebrating my glorious 3-2 record of last week, thus hanging onto my last shred of dignity for at least seven more days.

The only way to commemorate such a momentous occasion was, naturally, a tour of Horsebeef Country, USA, now that horse meat is once again legal for human consumption.

Yes, that trip was as crazy as it sounds. My shirtless friend Beef (irony!) and I plowed through at least two horses apiece during our three-day excursion, and the appropriate amount of cheap American lager to wash it down. If you’ve never had deep-fried horse legs, I suggest — no, I demand that you go immediately to the Deep Plains of Nebraska and get yourself a bucket of those mouth-watering meat sticks.

Well, enough about horsebeef. For now anyways. We have an honest-to-god Sports Disaster taking place before our very eyes! The current BCS system AS WE KNOW IT may well be coming apart at the seams. Brace yourselves, America.

The BCS falls several notches below horsebeef on my personal list of likes, so if it collapses once and for all, we should all be better for it. But what are we getting in its place? Playoffs? The old bowl system? Horse-leg eating-competitions between head coaches (my preference)?

We all know the current system is fucked. It’s like a 10-team playoff with only one round. It’s completely pointless and does a somehow-lamer job of giving us what we’re told is a National Champion.

The old bowl system may have been pointless, but at least it was pointless with a purpose. It had style, tradition, a certain elegance in its clumsiness. The games themselves were as senseless as the bowls are now, but at least there were less of them.

It’s not hard to see what trick they’re up to. The big dogs in the fight for all the College Football money are tired of a Boise State or TCU sneaking in and getting what is rightfully theirs. And, even more offensively, the Big East is GUARANTEED a spot in a big-time, big money game. That shit can’t last.

Who wants to take bets as to whether San Diego State or Boise State ever play a game in the Big East? Or whether the Big East will even exist as a football conference beyond 2014? The way it’s looking now, it’s likely to be broken up using domestic terrorism laws in order to protect all Sports Fans from lifelong trauma.

Thanks to various lawsuits and congressional inquiries, the BCS can’t just kick the Big East out on their asses where they belong without adding another shit-ball conference, so now they’re looking to fake their own death in order to collect the TV money all for themselves.

It’s brilliant. Brilliant like a horse.

COLT’S BAR & DANCE-HALL (+17) v. Ravens
Speaking of horses, is it crazy to think that the Colt’s will win this one? Kind of, but we know the Ravens are capable of losing it. With the seventeen points, and with Dan Orlovsky, this is money in the bank. As for what kind of money, ask Cochran. He’s the one who drew it for me.

Falcons v. PANTHERS (+3)
You don’t just waltz into Carolina and get a victory. Not today. Not ever.

PATRIOTS (-9) v. Redskins
This is usually the point in the season where the ‘Skins have given up on life, and thus, the season. My prediction of Charlie Weis being the 2012 Redskins coach won’t pan out thanks to recent events, so it looks like it’s Art Shell’s job to lose.

TEXANS (+3) v. Bengals
The aforementioned Mr. Beef has recently sent me mail that was properly postaged, correctly addressed, expertly mailed, but still never arrived, and was inexplicably returned to him. This made me think about the mailman situation around the neighborhood, and I realized that it wasn’t too long ago that we got a new mailman. This new guy is clearly still learning the ropes, and I hold out hope that he’s going to be the best goddamned mailman I’ve ever had, but it finally hit me today what happened to the last guy: He’s playing quarterback for the Texans.

BEARS (+3.5) v. Broncos
“There’s no way in hell that no matter how [Tebow] plays, or how successful his teams are, he won't be overrated and overexposed.” —Me, October 21, 2011

“Tebow might be a true revelation” —Headline on FoxSports.com, December 5, 2011
On another note, the Bears are turning into a joke, and a hilarious one at that. The rumors around here are that Brett Favre AND Bo Jackson are staging comebacks in order to lead Chicago to a Wild Card playoff loss. This is the week, however, that I think the Broncos learn that luck is not a skill.

Maybe Tebow’s real miracle is that every team he plays against is a complete disaster in one way or another. Look for a major injury to Tom Brady this week, in other words. Q: If the Broncos lose their last four games, will the Tebow narrative become that he “finds ways to lose?” A: No, it’s probably Willis McGahee’s fault.

Locally-grown lines hand-picked from bodog.eu at 2:14 PM MST on Thursday afternoon.


Robb Witmer Full does not often have problems with his mail delivery, but when he does, you can be sure he'll Tweet about it like it's the end of the world.

December 3, 2011

Murder Coin!!

PUSHMASTER PICKS '011: WEEK THIRTEEN

By ROBB WITMER FULL    

BETTING ON DAN ORLOVSKY IS A SURE SIGN OF GAMBLING INSANITY.


Going 0-5-0 in Week Twelve of the PushMaster Invitational not only completely ended the author’s chances of finishing in the money in the Internet’s most exclusive Football picks league, but also sent his winning percentage for the season to depths hardly seen in the Invitational’s long and exquisite history.


Ugh. What a season, eh? I can’t say for sure what’s happened to me and my Football pickery this year. I’m not this horrible, I swear. I have a lifetime record over fifty percent! That’s winning!

But this season’s 38.6% is rather deflating, for both my picking confidence and my swagger... Forget any and all goals I’ve set for myself this season — first place, finishing in the money, surpassing R.J.’s lifetime winning percentage, even the PushMaster crown — now I’m just trying to salvage a smidge of dignity.

Sitting below 39% after sixty picks, for a player who’s made all five picks every single week, that has to be a record for PushMaster futility, no? I’m putting it to R.J., the official PushMaster statistician, to find out for sure.

To be honest, my strategy for this year has been a hodgepodge of pure bull-shit, hog-wash and lunaticery, so I only have myself to blame. I truly thought I could get by simply on good looks and charm, with a dash of wit thrown in as a garnish.

Instead, I got a harsh reminder that the PushMaster Invitational is the gruffest bitch around.

New Mexico v. BOISE STATE (-49)
...because this is really the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. Laying seven touchdowns, while being the clear sign of a madman, is also an overt cry for help. But knowing you bastards, we’re more likely to get a commemorative coin in honor of a murder before that help ever comes... Oh, wait, that's already happened.

Virginia Tech v. CLEMSON (+7)
Taking Clemson plus seven against Virginia Tech was one of my few victories this year, so I’m going with the exact same pick in the rematch. These teams are on opposite trajectories, so at first glance this seems like a stupid pick, but methinks Clemson will hang in and at least keep it close.

COLT’S BAR & DANCE-HALL (+20) v. Patriots
It’s always a goal of mine to pick more NFL games than College, mostly because I hate watching any Professional Football that doesn’t involve the Pittsburgh Steelers. That way I won’t let my emotions (read: rage) get in the way of my point-spread opinions. The problem is that I, like most Serious Sports Fans, thrive on rage and am addicted to it like it’s some sort of emotional adrenaline shot to the heart, so I can’t help myself from picking College games that might be fun to watch. Consider this week a step in the right direction on that front...

Speaking of rage, I haven’t been able to direct much toward the Colts — er, Colt’s — this season, what with their general lameness in seemingly every aspect of the game. I still think they’re going to win a game or two — it’s the NFL damnit. This isn’t likely to be the one, but in the name of Professionality the boys of everyone’s favorite gay bar and dance-hall will manage to only be slightly embarrassed by the Pats, who will probably start nodding off at halftime from sheer boredom.

Broncos v. VIKINGS (-1)
The Broncos have managed to have some success the past few weeks, despite playing without a quarterback, thanks to some great play by their offensive line and defense. The Vikes cut McNabb earlier this week, which is worth three points on its own, plus the two points playing against Tebow is worth. This is what we call VALUE, people! Pay attention! [Author’s note: If you know what’s good for you, you won’t pay attention to this claptrap.] I was going to look up who the quarterback for the Vikings is before I realized that I don’t give a shit.

Lions v. SAINTS (-9)
The Saints are getting into a groove just as the Lions start to implode. In other news, I predict the Giants will beat the Packers this week. I was going to pick them, but I completely forgot about that game until right now. (read: bet your house on the Packers)

Spreads courtesy of MGM-Mirage-Exxon-Mobil, 11:29 PM MST, Thursday


Robb Witmer Full is about two 1-4 weeks away from being locked up for good in either the William J. Lepetomaine Hospital for the Gamblingly Insane or the Dr. Clayton Forrester Shock Therapy Institute. Get up-to-the-second updates of his mental health on Twitter.