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Petro's AP College Basketball Ballot, Nov. 24

Nov 24, 2014 -- 7:16am

By Soren Petro

Here is a look at my AP Top 25 Ballot for this week…
1.  Wisconsin
2.  Kentucky
3.  Arizona
4.  Duke
5.  North Carolina
6.  Texas
7.  Wichita St.
8.  Virginia
9.  Louisville
10  Iowa St.
11. Villanova
12.  Ohio St.
13.  Gonzaga
14.  Kansas
15.  Michigan
16.  San Diego St.
17.  VCU
18.  Miami
19.  Florida
20.  Arkansas
21.  Michigan St.
22.  UCLA
23.  Creighton
24.  Oklahoma
25.  West Virginia

Petro's AP College Basketball Ballot, Nov. 17

Nov 17, 2014 -- 7:13am
By Soren Petro
Here is a look at my AP Top 25 Ballot for this week…
1.  Wisconsin
2.  Kentucky
3.  Arizona
4.  Duke
5.  Kansas
6.  North Carolina
7.  Texas
8.  Wichita St.
9.  Virginia
10.  Louisville
11.  Florida
12.  Iowa St.
13.  Villanova
14.  Ohio St.
15.  Oklahoma
16.  Michigan
17.  Gonzaga
18.  San Diego St.
19.  VCU
20.  Connecticut
21.  Michigan St.
22.  SMU
23.  Iowa
24.  Kansas St.
25.  Nebraska

Weekend Nuggets: Oct 11-12

Oct 13, 2014 -- 9:08am



Here is a quick review of the Bovada odds for the Royals and Orioles from before the series began, as well as a look back at the NFL weekend that was.




Odds to win the 2014 World Series

Baltimore Orioles                       11/5

St. Louis Cardinals                    13/5

San Francisco Giants                13/5

Kansas City Royals                   13/4


2014 World Series Exact Matchup

Baltimore Orioles vs St. Louis Cardinals             9/5

Baltimore Orioles vs San Francisco Giants         9/4

Kansas City Royals vs St. Louis Cardinals          11/4

Kansas City Royals vs San Francisco Giants      13/4


Royals vs. Orioles

Series Price

Baltimore Orioles                       -140     (5/7)

Kansas City Royals                   +120     (6/5)


Exact Series Result     

Kansas City Royals 4-0              15/1     

Kansas City Royals 4-1              6/1       

Kansas City Royals 4-2              5/1       

Kansas City Royals 4-3              5/1       

Baltimore Orioles 4-0                 10/1     

Baltimore Orioles 4-1                 11/2     

Baltimore Orioles 4-2                 15/4     

Baltimore Orioles 4-3                 15/4     


Total Games in Series 

4                      6/1       

5                      12/5     

6                      7/4       

7                      9/5       


How many games will go to extra innings?     

Over                 ½         2/3

Under               ½         11/10


How many calls will get overturned after replay?        

Over                 1          4/7

Under               1          7/5


Total Home Runs - Kansas City Royals

Over/Under                   3½


Total Home Runs - Baltimore Orioles  

Over/Under                   6½


Will any game end on a Walkoff hit?   

Yes                  7/5                   

No                    4/7       


How many steals will the Kansas City Royals Record?

Over/Under                   6






Flacco threw his fifth touchdown pass at the 13:57 mark of the the second quarter (16:03 into the game), becoming the fastest player to record five TD passes in a game since at least 1970.

Flacco also became the first player since 1986 with four touchdown passes in the first quarter of a game (Minnesota quarterback TOMMY KRAMER vs. Green Bay on 9/28/86) and the first player with five touchdown passes in the first half since TOM BRADY (October 18, 2009 vs. Tennessee).


Dallas running back DE MARCO MURRAY rushed for 115 yards and one touchdown in the Cowboys’ 30-23 win at Seattle and became the second player in NFL history to rush for at least 100 yards in each of his team’s first six games to start a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer JIM BROWN (six games in 1958).


Jason Witten and TONY GONZALEZ (1,325) are the only tight ends with at least 900 career receptions, and Witten is the youngest to reach the milestone.


San Diego quarterback PHILIP RIVERS completed 22 of 34 passes (64.7 percent) for 313 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 123.8 passer rating in the Chargers’ 31-28 win at Oakland. 

Rivers has posted a passer rating of 120 or better in five consecutive games, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHNNY UNITAS (four in 1965) and KURT WARNER (four in 2009) for the longest such streak in NFL history (minimum 15 pass attempts in each game).


Denver tight end JULIUS THOMAS had four catches for 51 yards and two touchdowns in the Broncos’ 31-17 win at the New York Jets. Thomas leads the NFL with nine touchdown catches, tied for the most of any player in NFL history through his team’s first five games of a season (CALVIN JOHNSON, 2011).


Adam Vinatieri moved into 4th place on the NFL’s career scoring list.  With his nine points on Thursday he moved ahead of John Carney by one point.  Vinatieri now has 2,063 points.  Morten Anderson is at the top of the list with 2,544 points.


Tonight’s Monday Night Football game features the winningest team in MNF history, the San Francisco 49’ers.  The Niners will look to add to their 45-25 MNF record.


Stats courtesy of the NFL.


Best Path To Postseason

Aug 05, 2014 -- 11:04pm

By Soren Petro

The Royals do have one big advantage over the rest of the teams fighting for a playoff spot in the American League… at least the teams not names the Athletics and Angels. 


I’ve taken the liberty to assume the A’s and Halos are not going to be caught by any team in the American League.  Oakland sits at 68-43, the Angels at 67-44.  One will win the AL West, the other is going to be the top Wild Card.  That leaves three races to be won… the AL East, AL Central, and the final Wild Card.


What advantage do the Royals have over the Tigers, Indians, Orioles, Blue Jays, Yankees, and Mariners?  Schedule. 


The Royals have the most games against sub-.500 teams, and by a wide margin in most cases.  Here is the breakdown of each team’s remaining schedule.



Teams                                    vs. Sub .500 Teams               vs .500 or Better Teams

Royals                                                 29                                            23

Indians                                               27                                            23

Orioles                                                23                                            28

Mariners                                            23                                            28

Tigers                                                 22                                            31

Blue Jays                                            21                                            28

Yankees                                              21                                            30



The Royals are 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race as I write this.  The only two teams they are chasing, the Blue Jays and Yankees, have eight more games apiece against winning teams.


It should be pointed out that the Cincinnati Reds are a .500 club right now and could slip to the other side of the table giving the Orioles and Indians three more games each versus losing teams.


The White Sox are just three games under .500 and the Rays four.  In a week they could be above .500 and skew the numbers the other way.  However with the Rays trade of David Price that would seem unlikely for Tampa and the White Sox look to me like an overachiever right now.

Alex Smith vs Super Bowl Winners

Jul 10, 2014 -- 7:06am

Alex Smith vs. The Super Bowl Winners


How does Alex Smith compare to the Super Bowl winning quarterbacks?  Better than you might think.


As the Chiefs work on a contract extension for Smith it is important to know exactly what the Chiefs are getting as well as what it takes from your quarterback to win a championship.  Here is a look at the Super Bowl seasons of the last 12 Super Bowl winning QB’s.



Super Bowl Winning Season for QB’s 2002-2013

Year   Quarterback                                    %        Yards             TD       INT

2013   Russell Wilson                       63.1     3,357              26        9

2012   Joe Flacco                               59.7     3,817              22        10

2011   Eli Manning                            61.0     4,933              29        16

2010   Aaron Rodgers                      65.7     3,922              28        11

2009   Drew Brees                            70.6     4,388              34        11

2008   Ben Roethlisberger               59.9     3,301              17        15

2007   Eli Manning                            56.1     3,336              23        20

2006   Peyton Manning                    65.0     4,397              31        9

2005   Ben Roethlisberger               62.7     2,385              17        9

2004   Tom Brady                             60.8     3,692              28        14

2003   Tom Brady                             60.2     3,620              23        12

2002   Brad Johnson                                    62.3     3,049              22        6


Average Super Bowl Winner        62.1     3,683              25        12


2013   Alex Smith                              60.6     3,313              23        7

Alex Smith   2013 + Playoff Game   61.0     3,691              27        7



It is clear that Smith’s season last year was good enough to win a championship, especially when you throw in his playoff game.  The start in Indianapolis was actually his 16th start of the season, making for a perfect 16 game total.  There is no doubt the 378 yards and four TD’s with no INT’s pumped up his stats, but there is also no doubt coming up big in the playoffs is what counts most and Smith certainly did.


Only three of the 12 QB’s topped four thousand yards passing and only two topped 30 TD’s.  For all of the records that have been set by the big name QB’s over the last 10 years, they have been exclusively set during seasons that did not end in a championship. 


To be fair, Brady’s 50 touchdown, 2007 season ended with a Super Bowl loss, as did Manning’s 5,500 and 55 touchdown season last year.  But the fact that no team has won the Super Bowl with a QB posting a monster season can’t be discounted.


Smith is clearly good enough to win a Super Bowl if the Chief can put a good enough team around him the way the Seahawks and Ravens have the last two years.  The bigger question becomes whether the Chiefs can build a strong enough team if Smith signs a contract so big that it handcuffs the team under the salary cap.  See the Ravens in 2013 as they cut up the roster to make room for Joe Flacco’s mega deal.


I tackle the issue of how much Smith is going to get and why he is going to get it in this year’s 810 Football Preview magazine which will hit the newsstands soon.  Look for it.

Houston ... We Have a Problem

Jun 04, 2014 -- 8:05am

By Soren Petro

Houston… We Have a Problem


It’s tough to talk about the Chiefs right now and not mention Alex Smith and his contract.  No doubt it’s the biggest issue the Chiefs have to deal with this offseason, but close behind it is the contract of Justin Houston. 


Like Smith, Houston has just one year left on his deal, but unlike Smith ($8-million in salary and bonuses), Houston is set to earn only $1.4-million in 2014.  While there has been a lot of conversation on what the deal for Smith should look like, very little has been said about what Houston’s contract needs to be.  Well… let’s begin.


First, let’s take a look at where Houston ranks in sacks over the last three seasons, and what the contracts for those players look like.







Total Salary

Yr. Signed



Jared Allen


32 M (4 YR)


15.5 M

Aldon Smith


14,383,996 (4 YR)



Robert Mathis


36 M (4 YR)


17 M

Demarcus Ware


30 M (3 YR)


23 M

JJ Watt


11, 237,498 (4 YR)



Von Miller


21,000,380 (4 YR)



Robert Quinn


9,436,053 (4 YR)



Chris Long


48,200,000 (4 YR)



Tamba Hali


57,500,000 (5 YR)


35 M

Cameron Wake


33,200,000 (5 YR)


17 M

John Abraham


4,600,000 (2 YR)


1 M

Elvis Dumervil


26 M (5 YR)



Julius Peppers


26 M (3 YR)



Mario Williams


96 M (6 YR)



Chris Clemons


17,500,000 (4 YR)



Clay Matthews


66 M (5 YR)



Justin Houston


2,786,248 (4 YR)



Terrell Suggs


28,500,000 (5 YR)


16 M

Jason Pierre-Paul


16,084,000 (5 YR)



Justin Tuck


10 M (2 YR)





From the list above, the other outside linebackers (at least at the time they signed their contract) are Aldon Smith, DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller, Tamba Hali, Cameron Wake, Elvis Dumervil and Clay Mathews.  Only three of those players are playing on their second contract… Hali, Wake, and Mathews.  Miller is still on his rookie deal, and the rest are older veterans that have been around the contract block a few times.


While you can draw the closest comparisons to the three OLB’s identified above, it certainly doesn’t mean they are the only three contracts that apply to Houston.  They are simply the three closest comparisons to be made.


Scott Pioli signed Hali to a five year $57.5-million deal, the Dolphins locked up Wake for 5 years and $33.2-million, and the Packers broke the bank by giving Mathews $66-million over 5 years.


Let’s take a look at the accomplishments of each player leading up to signing their current deal. 


Hali was five years in, had 41.5 career sacks, missed only one game, and was coming off his best season with 14.5 sacks.  Houston has played only 3 seasons but has averaged slightly more sacks per year… 8.8 for Houston to 8.3 for Hali.  You can make a case that because Houston missed 5 games last year his numbers would be even better, which they probably would.  However missing 5 games is certainly not a positive.  Teams want players that they know they can count on each week.


Like Houston is looking to do now, Wake signed his deal after three NFL seasons.  The difference was after being undrafted and cut by the Giants, Wake went to Canada, recorded 39 sacks in two seasons, while being named “Most Outstanding Defensive Player” both years.  Wake posted 28 sacks his first three years (an average of 9.3/year) in Miami, just 1.5 more sacks than Houston.


Finally there is Mathews.  After four seasons Mathews had 39.5 sacks, good for an average of 9.9 per season.  In addition to putting up the best stats in his first deal, Mathews did it with a flowing mane of hair and impressive “Predator” sack celebration that made him a multi-media star right out of the gate… not to mention the Packers went to the playoffs all four seasons and won Super Bowl XLV.


Mathews had the most production among the three and with it the biggest total dollar figure, however don’t think that means Houston will begin his contract demands South of Mathews.  With the new TV money coming into the league, the cap takes a major step forward this year and will continue to grow steadily for the foreseeable future.  This means the price for top shelf players will only go up.


Wake’s deal is the one the Chiefs will use to try and bring down the demands.  Hali’s contract is probably a pretty good landing spot, except for the $35-million in guaranteed money.  That is by far the biggest number of the three, trumping the $17-million guaranteed for Wake and $20-million for Mathews.  It will be difficult for Houston to get to the Hali guaranteed dollars, but I’m sure he’ll try.


At the end of the day the Wake deal looks like a bad one for him, and should probably cost his agent his job.  Hali’s contract looks a little bloated on guaranteed money.  Mathews simply looks like a superior player that has been a big part of team that has done nothing but win.


I’m sure Houston will look to top the deal of Hali, but he would probably be wise to settle for the same total deal with less guaranteed money.  The fact that he tested positive for marijuana coming out of college and missed five games last year makes him appear to be a slightly larger risk (I’m aware of Hali’s suspension) at the time of negotiations.


A five year $55-million deal with $25-million would probably get it done, but we’ve seen John Dorsey go to the wire on Dwayne Bowe’s contract negotiation and slap the franchise tag on Brandon Albert.  I don’t think there is any reason to think the negotiations with Houston will go any differently.


I look forward to the contract questions flying around St. Joe in a couple months.



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