Dec. 29, 2016
"The Stack" 12-28-16
Wednesday is here and during college bowl season The Stack takes no days off. We’re not getting fired like Swansea City head coach Bob Bradley. We don’t have much to talk about, but there is enough to get to so let’s get right to it and see what is in “the stack” for today, Wednesday, December 28th:
Bills fire Rex Ryan
The Buffalo Bills haven’t made the playoffs this century. Rex Ryan won’t be the head coach to break that awful streak. The Bills fired Ryan on Tuesday with just one game remaining in the season. Rex’s brother Rob was also let go. I guess kudos are in order to the Bills for not firing Ryan over Christmas, but the timing is still curious. Rex was 15-16 in just under two seasons with the Bills. He has had to deal with suspensions to guys along the offensive and defensive line, an injury riddled Sammy Watkins and inconsistent quarterback play from Tyrod Taylor. Why not give him one more season? Teams that make coaching changes so consistently and don’t give coaches time to do their job are consistently struggling. Look at Cleveland. Then look at Pittsburgh who has had three coaches since the 1970s with Chuck Knoll, Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin. They have had plenty of success. I question this move by the Bills and wonder who they are going to get.
Blue Jackets, Wild continue to win
Believe it or not, we are talking hockey in today’s blog before the playoffs begin. No, please continue to read. We’re talking about the two hottest teams in the NHL in the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild. The Blue Jackets had a 3-0 lead against the Boston Bruins in the first ten minutes of the game only to see the Bruins storm back and answer with the next three goals over the rest of the first and second periods. The third period saw the Blue Jackets ride one of their best players (I think, in my opinion) in Nick Foligno who scored on the power play halfway through the period to give the Blue Jackets a 4-3 lead and they would win by that score. That’s now 13 in a row for the Blue Jackets. And who says 13 is unlucky?
The Minnesota Wild meanwhile won their franchise record eleventh in a row with a 3-2 overtime win over the Nashville Predators. Zach Parise came after an illness that kept him out of two games and scored the game’s first goal on the power play to give the Wild a 1-0 lead. The Predators and Wild would exchange goals in the second period and we went to the third period where each team had some wonderful opportunities, but couldn’t cash in and we went to overtime. The Wild would score in the extra frame when Jordan Schroeder hustled to get a puck along the boards and sent a nice pass to Jared Spurgeon who scored the game-winning goal to lift the Wild to a 3-2 win. Oh by the way, these two teams meet New Year’s Eve in St. Paul. Hopefully both teams are still on a win streak on Saturday.
College bowl games (Wednesday)
First off, The Stack is extremely bad at Capitol One Bowl Mania. That is what I have learned. Army barely squeaked by North Texas, 38-31 in overtime. Then I put a great deal of confidence points on Temple and they lost 34-26 to Wake Forest. No Tommy Elrod giving away secrets really hurt Temple. Minnesota somehow held Washington State to 12 points. 12! What the hell Mike Leach? Then Baylor blew out Boise State and we had 30 plus confidence points on that game. Not good. May Wednesday be better to our picks.
Pittsburgh vs. Northwestern (New Era Pinstripe Bowl) 2 PM ET ESPN
Northwestern has trouble scoring points, but after Pittsburgh’s game against Syracuse I’m thinking anyone can score against them. Still, they have the best back in the game and the better offense and they will win.
Pick and confidence points: Pittsburgh, mid 30s (33-37)
West Virginia vs. Miami (FL) (Russell Athletic Bowl) 5:30 PM ET ESPN
Apparently there has been some trash talk between these two teams. The Hurricanes have been good this season and quarterback Brad Kaaya is a big reason why, but I like the Mountaineers to do just enough to get the win.
Pick and confidence points: West Virginia, high teens (17-19)
Indiana vs. Utah (Foster Farms Bowl) 8:30 PM ET FOX
If Utah shows up, they will crush Indiana. They are that much better than the Hoosiers and should win this game.
Pick & confidence points: Utah, low 40s (40-42)
Texas A&M vs. Kansas State (AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl) 9 PM ET ESPN
I shouldn’t doubt the great coach Bill Snyder, but something tells me that Texas A&M will give them all they can handle and more. A&M will score plenty of points. Give me them in this one.
Pick & confidence points: Texas A&M, high single digits (8-9)
Coming up Thursday: Bowl game picks and more