Don't look now but the Pacers are starting to play some really solid basketball. I had high expectations for them at the start of the year but they really struggled out of the gates. They had a lot of new faces on the roster and they never seemed to find a rhythm. There was no consistency, it looked almost like the front office threw together a bunch of quality pieces but there was no way to get those pieces to mesh together to form any type of picture.
Seems like they may be starting to figure it out a little bit as we approach the All-Star break though. They are currently on a nice little 7-game win streak and have also won 14 of their last 18. A nice test tomorrow night as LeBron and the Cavs come to town.
After a slow first half of the season, Indiana could easily be a team that makes a move up the standings post-All-Star break. Currently they are sitting in 6th but only 2 games back of 3rd. Assuming they fall somewhere into that 3-6 range in the East, they'll be a tough out in the playoffs. Once you get into a basketball series I think there's always a big advantage to the team that has the best player on the floor. I'm biased but in my eyes, outside of Cleveland there isn't another team in the East with a better player on their roster than Paul George. If the rest of the supporting cast can continue to grow and carry their weight, Indiana could be a threat.
Seems like everyday we get some new, disturbing information out of Baylor University. Yesterday's news break was they were firing their Strength and Conditioning coach because he had been arrested on a prostitution charge. Things have gotten so bad in Waco that after reading the headline to this article I literally thought to myself "Oh, well that's not too bad".
Longtime readers of this blog know I'm not great at writing per se, but it's really hard to put into words what is coming out of Baylor right now. To be blunt, it's not good. And it doesn't appear to be getting much better. We have to be near the point, if not past it, where the Big 12 informs Baylor they are no longer welcome in the conference right? If you don't draw a line in the sand at accepting and covering up rape, where do you draw that line? Especially at a college university where literally thousands of young adults are on campus everyday.
I don't believe a common "death penalty" of losing scholarships and putting the team on probation is enough. It's not like Penn State football is having a hard time recovering from their "death penalty", they won the best conference in college football this year and played in the Rose Bowl. It took a couple years but nothing they weren't able to overcome. Not exactly a "death penalty" in my eyes. The NCAA giving them that penalty and the Big 12 kicking them out of the conference? Now that's a sentence. The Big 12 can replace them fairly easily and I'm not sure what conference picks Baylor up immediately. Surely someone will in time but not in the first couple years. That's the penalties I would at least start with in Waco.
Now that Super Bowl 51 is over it's never too early to start looking ahead to Super Bowl 52. Futures odds came out yesterday for the upcoming season. Wanted to give everyone a couple longshots to take a look at if you are hoping to cash in big next year. I think the NFL is the best league to make a longshot future bet the prior season and hope it hits. Atlanta was a 4th quarter collapse from being a great example this year. I'm not sure how many people had the Falcons in the playoffs at the beginning of the season, let alone the Super Bowl. I, for one, had them missing the playoffs this year. So with the NFL's parity, you have a great opportunity to pick a team that is in the middle of the pack one year to compete for a title the following year. Not doing that in the NBA. Most likely not in the MLB. I think I have some options for the NFL for next year. For the record, I'm considering a "long-shot" at anyone 30/1 or higher.
Colts (30/1) - The NFL is all about quarterback play, you have to have a great one to have a shot at hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the year. Last 4 QBs alive this year were Rodgers, Brady, Roethlisberger, and Ryan. The Colts have one in Andrew Luck, the question is just whether they can get enough parts around him. Any parts around him actually. It's amazing how the Colts can be set at the QB position and floundering almost everywhere else. But if I can get an elite QB at 30/1, I'll take it.
Redskins (60/1) - Washington struck me as a team this year that was a year away from competing but still overachieved this year. So if you are a team that should be hitting your stride and are already a little ahead of schedule I like that combination. I'm not sure if Kirk Cousins is ready to make "the leap" yet but at 60/1 that's enough for me to take a chance on him.
49ers (400/1) - I'm taking this bet solely on the odds. FOUR HUNDRED to one?!?!! That's a little steep in my book. You're telling me it's not worth throwing down $20 one day in Vegas for the chance that you could pull $8000 back with a San Francisco Super Bowl win? I know they aren't good but let me throw this theory out at you. What if they get Tony Romo?
I was trying to find teams with semi-decent odds that could possibly be in play for Romo but really couldn't find any. I would have liked Romo on the Titans, Eagles, or Bengals since they are all in that 40/1 to 70/1 range but I just can't see those teams ditching their current quarterbacks. I know Romo would prefer going to a contender but what if the market isn't there? San Francisco isn't a terrible location. If they can solidify the QB position with him under center, they could ride their easy schedule to the playoffs next year.
It's a shot in the dark, but at 400/1?? I'll shoot that shot.