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Cheddar Bay 2013.


Louisville +13.5 seems obvious now, not so much then.
2012 Cheddar playoffs weren’t settled until this game.

Welcome to Cheddar Bay Reality Football, 2013.

Entering its fifth year, Cheddar Bay is now well-established as the pre-eminent football game on the internet.  For this year Frowns has handed the operations to me and my goal is to maintain the excellence and fun from the past years.

The Cheddar Bay Concept:  a study in elegance.


Word to the wise: load up on USF now.

The game was devised by Frowns in 2009 with the idea that since so many people wager on football in some form or otherwise pay so much attention to the game anyway, why not pool their thoughts regarding the best football bet every week and why.  Then that community could all profit from tribal knowledge and at that same time have friendly competition among respected peers.  The corollary benefit is its superiority to fantasy football:  you’re never in the insane position of rooting for a Roethlisberger TD against the Browns because he’s your fantasy QB.  Instead you’ll wind up finding and adopting a new pet inevitably culminating in your joining me in touting Willie Taggart for any future Browns head coaching vacancy.

Frowns captures the essence perfectly:

Reality football in its most basic form is what some folks would call a pool or a pick-em league.  When done correctly, reality football is all the fun of fantasy football plus much more, with none of fantasy’s meaningless restrictions and useless distractions.  Reality football means never having to worry about where a team’s playbook happened to end up at the end of a scoring drive, or whose number was called for a score.  In reality football, any player can be yours, or not, every week. Injuries can’t wreck reality football seasons, nor can the vagaries of a randomly determined draft order.  And reality football means only watching the games you want to watch.


Cheddar Bay: saving the world from Roy Helu anxiety.

Reality football is a chess match every week.  Fantasy football is spinning a roulette wheel once at the beginning of the season, with a few even more meaningless roulette spins as the season wears on, depending on how crappy your first spin went (“Do I start Roy Helu or Deion Branch at flex this week?” /chews own face off).  One is no more “wagering” than the other, yet the NFL itself relentlessly promotes fantasy — which requires exponentially less skill and analytical ability than the alternative — because the NFL wants you to be stupid so it can control you.

And of course, there’s also the fact that no one should wager a dime on a football game if he can’t come up with at least 100 words to explain why.



Registration. (more…)

The year of the college coaching change.


Who will be this year’s Hugh Freeze?

I can’t remember more a year with more coaching changes in college football.  Several are Cheddar* favorites from last year.

History shows that Cheddar favorites often make an immediate difference at their new teams.  It pays to be up on who has moved where.  Hello-old-friend-from-Arky-St-and-now-at-Ole-Miss Hugh Freeze.  You-were-quite-awesome-at-Houston-I-bet-you’ll-do-well-at-TAMU Kevin Sumlin.  Oh you too Urbz.

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Chow and Weis haven’t been terrific for Hawaii and Kansas.



Of course they’re not all homeruns. >>>



Hugh Freeze’s Ole Miss was 10-3 ATS last year and the Rebels figure to be harder to get value with in Vegas this year; although I intend to try.  Meanwhile Chow and Weis were both 4-8 ATS and that seems high.

Anyway, as part of my Cheddar pre-season prep, I like to take a look at this year’s coaching changes, identify the Warlocks and the Shurmurs, and make sure I know who is coaching where.  This year there look to be quite a few warlocks and potential warlocks in new places.

The biggest coaching trade-ups.

1.  Wisconsin.  Gary Andersen from Utah State.
This here is the best coaching hire of the year and Wisconsin figures to take a big step up.  You made money if you rode USU last year, 11-1-1 ATS.  If you watched their games you came away impressed at how hard USU worked and their sense of team.  Andersen’s teams had been doing that for years.

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If Andersen brings USU’s guts to Wiscy, look out.

2.  Purdue.  Darrell Hazell from Kent State.
I learned a hard lesson in coaching evaluations last year when I took UBuffalo -3.5 over Kent and cited Jeff Quinn’s experience as OC for Brian Kelly as a reason.  Whoo boy was that stupid on its own.  When you layer on that Darrell Hazell has six years as a Jim Tressel assistant plus a couple stints at Oberlin and it all adds up to the worst essay pick of the year in a season full of bad essay picks.  (Minus three.. and a half???  Cripes.)  Kent wound up 11-3 ATS.  I didn’t hate Danny Hope at Purdue but I didn’t love him and I can’t imagine I’d choose to play for him if I had options.  Hazell on the other hand… he could be a star.  Definitely keep an eye on Purdue’s early games before jumping on-board.

3.  South Florida.  Willie Taggart from WKU.
Taggart’s just my favorite moving-on-up college coach and I’ve beat that drum enough on comment boards that even I’m tired of the subject.

Honorable mention, Colorado.  Mike MacIntyre from San Jose.
All I know is SJSU made me money the last two years.  He took over a 2-10 team and last year they’re 11-2 ATS.  I’m not sure the Buffs will see a big improvement this year though.  Just too much stank on that program to wash it off in one year.  But next year I’d expect Colorado to be where Arizona State is this year:  on the rise.

Which segues neatly to….

Addition by subtraction:  The Todd Graham Trophy
As well as Sumlin and Freeze turned out for TAMU and Ole Miss, they weren’t replacing zombies.  Contrast that to Todd Graham who inherited a Dennis Erickson team that had quit the year before and now has Arizona State (8-4-1 ATS) playing sparkly ball.  Here’s this year’s list of train wrecks being cleared.  These teams figure to show the most improvement year-over-year. (more…)