Behind the Mic: Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (LAST WEEK – 12-4; OVERALL – 155-84 – 65%)
 
Week Seventeen
 
BALTIMORE
DETROIT
BUFFALO
CAROLINA
NEW ORLEANS
TENNESSEE
NEW ENGLAND
INDIANAPOLIS
PITTSBURGH
WASHINGTON
MINNESOTA
PHILADELPHIA
CHARGERS
SEATTLE
KANSAS CITY
RAMS

Behind the Mic: NFL Mid-Season Report Card

As many of you know, I used to make weekly NFL predictions on WZZO. Based on some recent encounters, a number of people took my guesses as gospel. That may have been wise at times and not so wise on other occasions. Thus far, this season is a good example of “win some-lose some”. I have been right 64% of the time this year predicting the winners of all the individual games.

At this point in the season, 18 of the 32 NFL teams have played half of their games and that leaves 14 who still have their bye week remaining. So, even though we are not technically half way through the season for everybody, it seems like a good time to check on my seasonal picks from last August.

 

My Picks

Current Standings

AFC SOUTH Indianapolis
Houston
Jacksonville
Tennessee
Indianapolis (5-3)
Houston (4-4)
Tennessee (2-6)
Jacksonville (1-7) 
AFC EAST New England
Miami
Buffalo
Jets 
New England (6-2)
Buffalo (5-3)
Miami (4-3)
Jets (1-7)
AFC WEST Denver
Kansas City
San Diego
Oakland 
Denver (6-1)
San Diego (5-3)
Kansas City (4-3)
Oakland (0-7)
AFC NORTH Cincinnati
Baltimore
Cleveland
Pittsburgh 
Cincinnati (4-2-1)
Baltimore (5-3)
Pittsburgh (5-3)
Cleveland (4-3)

Overall, this is not so bad so far. Every division predicted winner is correct. There is just nothing eye-opening going on in the AFC. In every instance where my ranking is wrong at the moment, only one game separates some and, for others, a bye keeps a team from possibly being tied with my predicted spot in the standings.

AFC Grade – B+

  My Picks Current Standings
NFC SOUTH New Orleans
Atlanta
Carolina
Tampa Bay
Carolina (3-4-1)
New Orleans (3-4)
Atlanta (2-6)
Tampa Bay (1-6)
NFC NORTH Green Bay
Chicago
Detroit
Minnesota
Detroit (6-2)
Green Bay (5-3)
Chicago (3-5)
Minnesota (3-5)
NFC WEST Seattle
San Francisco
Arizona
St. Louis
Arizona (6-1)
San Francisco (4-3)
Seattle (4-3)
St. Louis (2-5)
NFC EAST Philadelphia
Giants
Dallas
Washington
Dallas (6-2)
Philadelphia (5-2)
Giants (3-4)
Washington (3-5)

My NFC predictions look rather bleak right now. None of my divisional winners is currently in first place. There are plenty of disappointments at the moment led by Seattle, the Giants, Chicago, and Atlanta. Arizona and Detroit seem to be the biggest success stories.

NFC Grade – C-

I still have confidence that, as the second half of the season unfolds, things will change for the better. And please don’t take my predictions as gospel. Stay tuned.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)
1. Anyone who watched the Penn State game on Saturday night had to be amazed at the ineptness of the officiating and replay crews. Ohio State’s crucial first-quarter “interception” was not caught. ABC on every camera angle showed conclusively that the ball was dropped. Yet the replay crew said there was not sufficient evidence to overrule the interception call on the field. Ohio State scored shortly thereafter. The replay is supposed to come from the television production. The equipment supposedly did not work. Add to that, the absence of a “delay of game” penalty on a successful 49-yard field goal. Again replays showed the play clock had expired for about four seconds before the ball was snapped. Does Ohio State even attempt a 54- yard field goal if the flag is thrown? The officials were again inept late in the game with their own clock management that forced Penn State to use their final timeout. The game went overtime and Ohio State won. It was an awful night for the zebras.

2. I’m sure the Lafayette-Lehigh people were hoping that the 150th matchup to be played at Yankee Stadium would have major implications for a Patriot League championship. That will certainly not be the case. Lafayette is 3-5, 1-2 in the league and Lehigh is even worse at 1-6, 0-2 in the League. I have been around the game enough times to realize it does not need much added hype, but it would have been nice for it to have added significance.

3. Congratulations to Easton for winning the first Eastern Pennsylvania Conference South Division championship. The Rovers have all the ingredients (except maybe a kicking game) to do well in Districts and States (if they get there). I, for one, would have liked to see a true EPC champion. Stroudsburg in the North is also undefeated and that would have been an interesting matchup.

4. Speaking of District football playoffs, here are the local teams that have clinched a spot: AAAA – Easton, Whitehall, Freedom, Parkland; AAA – Bethlehem Catholic, Southern Lehigh (and almost certainly Saucon Valley); AA- Northwestern, Palisades (and Palmerton or Northern Lehigh); A- Pius X. Good luck to all of them.

5. On the flip side, #8 Pleasant Valley, #10 Liberty, and #11 Emmaus are all trying to garner the eighth and final spot available in AAAA District playoffs. All, ironically, are underdogs in their games – PV vs Stroudsburg; Liberty vs Freedom; Emmaus vs Parkland. If they all lose, Pleasant Valley is in.

Gary's Picks

(Last Week – 9-6; Seasonal Record – 77-43-1: 64%)
NEW ORLEANS
SAN DIEGO
CINCINNATI
CLEVELAND
WASHINGTON
HOUSTON
KANSAS CITY
ARIZONA
SAN FRANCISCO
DENVER
SEATTLE
BALTIMORE
INDIANAPOLIS

Behind the Mic – December 5th

I love my job.  Make no mistake about it.  In the past few weeks, I have been able to watch our local high school football teams compete for a conference championship, a District title, and make a run for a state championship.

In addition, I was able to broadcast the 148th edition of the Lafayette-Lehigh football game and begin the college basketball season with two upset victories by the Lafayette men’s team.  Right around the corner is another season of high school and college basketball which will quickly take me through the winter and into March Madness.  It’s the best.

There is one night a year, however, that is even better.  It is the night that I co-host the Dream Come True Telethon.  On Monday, December 10, we will do the Telethon for the 27th year.  I have not hosted all of them, but in the early years, I made sure I was a guest on the show.  The Dream Come True organization, in case you did not know, was founded in 1984 by Kostas Kalogeropoulous, a local businessman.  The goal of the organization is simple – fulfill the dreams of children who are seriously, chronically, and terminally ill and reside in the greater Lehigh Valley area.  Children are referred by family, friends, clergy, doctors, social workers, etc. and the dreams usually fall into three categories – trips, contact with celebrities, and special gifts (computers, shopping sprees, for example).

Scott Barr and I have been hosting together for many, many years.  He handles the auction area and, boy, is he terrific!  If you watch HSN or any of the other television all-day shopping channels, just watch Scott do his thing during the four-hour night.  He is as good as, if not better, than the professionals.

There is always a variety of unique items donated by local businesses as well as our friends in the cable TV world like ESPN, WWE, Comcast SportsNet, NHL Network, and others.  If you want something really unique and not found in any store, tune in and bid on the items.  You’ll make Scott’s night.

Perla Lopez Baray of WFMZ brings some much-needed youth, beauty, and professionalism to the set doing many interviews with the children who have had their dreams fulfilled.  She is a pleasure to have as part of the team.

We have moved the venue this year to the Outlets at Sands.  It is an exciting location and we welcome the new “digs” after a great run at the Westgate Mall.  We anticipate much more foot traffic which hopefully will mean much more direct giving from people doing some holiday shopping or stopping by to see us.

The important facts are:

The Date:                     Monday, December 10

The Time:                     6:00 – 10:00 PM

The Location:             The Outlets at Sands

On The Television:    Channels 4 and 1004 in HD

The Purpose:               To fulfill as many hopes, dreams and fantasies for seriously, chronically, and terminally ill children as possible

The Phone Number to Bid or Make a Donation:        1-800-749-8099

Phone line is only active during the live television program

 


 

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. Tiger Woods and Maria Sharapova were the two most searched athletes on Yahoo! in 2012.  I am wondering if interest in either centered around golf or tennis!
  2. The Dallas Cowboys beat out the Yankees as the top searched Sports Teams.  Maybe the Cowboys really are America’s team – they are not mine; and neither are the Yankees!!  Does that make me anti-American?
  3. You are an NFL GM and could pick one player for your franchise QB from these two – Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III.  Who would you pick?
  4. Doesn’t it seem like 50% of all major college football teams play a bowl game?
  5. Can you admit that you really love the song, Gangnam Style?  Listen to it and try to stay still and not smile.  Bet you can’t!!

 


 

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK

(Last week – 11-5)  (64-36 for the season – 64%)

  • DENVER
  • WASHINGTON
  • CLEVELAND
  • PITTSBURGH
  • INDIANAPOLIS
  • JACKSONVILLE
  • CHICAGO
  • ATLANTA
  • TAMPA BAY
  • BUFFALO
  • CINCINNATI
  • SAN FRANCISCO
  • GIANTS
  • SEATTLE
  • GREEN BAY
  • NEW ENGLAND

Behind the Mic – November 29th

I am not a die-hard hockey fan.  But, I miss the NHL!  More than two months of the season have already been lost due to the labor dispute and the lockout.  Hockey, to me, although it does not have the stature of NFL football, major league baseball, or NBA basketball, is still one of the major professional sports in America.  It did bring in $3.3 billion last year.  In addition, take away the NFL and I think hockey has the most rabid fans in all of professional sports.

I do not watch or attend hockey on a regular basis, but there is something about the sport that always intrigues me when going around the dial.  It is one of the few sporting events that causes me to pause and watch, no matter which teams are playing.  There is the anticipation of the potential for violence and an almost surreal curiosity in the skills that the players exhibit.    It is an excellent television event.

And yet, if you go to a hockey game, the sport becomes, for me, at least one of the few competitions that is better to view LIVE than watching on TV.  A great deal of action takes place away from the puck that a viewer at home might miss.  There is a unique “silence” as the players skate around the rink to an almost inaudible “shooshing”.  Throw a big bang into the boards and the intensity of the action has you enthralled.  And the fans!!  The decibel level is incredible; the intensity shocking; and the involvement without compare.

So why are we left with no hockey?  The issues are division of revenue, salary arbitration, and free-agency.  These terms are not new to professional sports.  The NFL, NBA, and MLB have all dealt with the same issues.  And they have resolved them!  It seems that the NHL is very, very close to not having a season at all.  The New Year’s Day Winter Classic is gone, over 450 games gone, and there is no resolution in sight.  Still, January hockey would be better than no hockey.  Owners and players need to return to the table.  They owe it to the fans!

As the famous philosopher, Larry the Cable Guy, says – “Get ‘er done!”

 


 

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. Parkland, Central Catholic, and Pen Argyl all won their first round state football games this past weekend.  Two of the three (Parkland and Pen Argyl) now take on the dreaded Philadelphia Catholic schools out of District
  2. History shows that this is the end of the line for our AAAA and AA football.  Central would face Archbishop Wood next week if they win.  They put up 70 points on the Vikings last year in a similar scenario.  Can we finally reverse the trend?  Tune in.
  3. Did we watch Andy Reid’s last game as an Eagles coach this past week?  An awful team beat an awful team.
  4. I was going around the dial the other night and a Joan Rivers stand-up comedy special was on Showtime.  It was hilarious, irreverent, and, at times, filthy.  I was just amazed by her energy, her ability to deliver the lines, and her captivating style.  How old is she?  Really, how old??  It did not matter.
  5. Notre Dame vs either Alabama or Georgia for the national championship in college football.  The ratings will be record-breaking for this one as far as college football is concerned.  The games got it right this year – no computer, no old men in a room, and no playoff needed.
  6. Is there anyone right now who thinks they have a good handle on not only the Super Bowl champion, but which two teams will even get to the game?  With injuries, upsets, and poor coaching decisions, it is anybody’s guess unless, of course, you just know it will be YOUR team.

 

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK

(Last week – 7-9)  (53-31 for the season – 63%)

  •  ATLANTA
  • CHICAGO
  • GREEN BAY
  • SAN FRANCISCO
  • JETS
  • CAROLINA
  • DETROIT
  • BUFFALO
  • NEW ENGLAND
  • HOUSTON
  • DENVER
  • BALTIMORE
  • CLEVELAND
  • CINCINNATI
  • DALLAS
  • WASHINGTON