Water Cooler Talk wasn’t sure whether to solely go all-out crazy on the NFL this week, but thanks to certain events it’s got to happen. There’s a shake-up in the Heisman candidacy and of course in the College Playoff Rankings.  Oh, and did I mention some things regarding the NFL?  Water Cooler Talk has plenty for you to get caught up on from this past weekend and the week ahead so you can be the sports guru of the office.  As always, Water Cooler Talk highly encourages you to share your experiences of spreading your sports knowledge in the office, by contacting me on Twitter.


NFL-logoLet’s backtrack to Friday, shall we? Photos were released by Deadspin showing Nicole Holder’s bruises from when Greg Hardy assaulted her last spring.  The ex-girlfriend of the Cowboys defensive end was a lot more roughed up than I think most people expected, including myself.  If you haven’t been able to see the photos, check them out here.

My problem with this, is that Greg Hardy is playing. The NFL has done what they could, but that doesn’t mean the Cowboys shouldn’t at least consider releasing Hardy.  Ray Rice has been sitting out of the NFL since the video of him knocking out his wife became public, because teams are smart enough not to touch him…including the Raiders.  I’m all for second chances, but Rice and Hardy, or anyone else who assaults a woman are one of the exceptions.

We’ve already seen Hardy have a spat with his teammates on the sidelines, which should be a red flag in itself. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wants Hardy to sign for the long-term with his team and be a leader moving forward, but how can anyone follow the leader of a woman-beater?  Here’s the message I’m getting from the NFL:  We’ll punish you for everything except domestic violence.

Let’s move onto the field. Another unbeaten is unbeaten no more as the Denver Broncos were defeated by the sub-.500 Indianapolis Colts.  While the Broncos defense wasn’t able to carry the team to yet another victory, it was what happened towards the end of the game that really shocked me.  Aqib Talib eye-gouged TE Dwayne Allen that resulted in a personal foul, which ultimately led to the Colts win.  I had to do a double-check to make sure I wasn’t watching ‘The Waterboy’…”Captain Insano shows no mercy!”

The Bengals and the Patriots got by their week nine opponents without much difficulty. Obviously they’re the class of the AFC and no one is arguing that.

The Panthers are now 8-0 after defeating the Packers 37-29 on Sunday…a game in which myself and my fellow Panthers fans had another near cardiac arrest. Carolina now has a two-game lead in the NFC, but there is still doubt on whether the Panthers can close out the season because of the lack of offensive weapons.  I’ll say this, if Devin Funchess can build on what he did on Sunday, then they’ll be fine.  I worry about them closing out games as they nearly blew a double-digit 4th quarter lead for the second straight game.  Head coach Ron ‘Riverboat’ Rivera has been in this situation before as he was a member of the 1985 Chicago Bears team that started 12-0 before losing to the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football.  How did they do after that?  Oh that’s right…they won the Super Bowl.

One more thing on the week nine action, and that’s what happened between the Vikings and the Rams. Teddy Bridgewater got knocked out on Sunday…literally…after taking a hit to the head from LaMarcus Joyner.  Everyone immediately screamed ‘dirty play’ when it initially happened except for me.  Joyner reacted before Bridgewater began to slide, and the angle he took was proper.  Bridgewater just slid late, and that’s no fault to Joyner.  Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was fuming about the play and even went as far as to hint Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams perpetrated the hit.  Ridiculous is the only word I say to that.  It was a bang-bang play, that’s what happens in football.  There will be no Bountygate II investigation.

Looking ahead to this week’s games, I’m eyeballing a few matchups. I have to start with TNF as the Bills take on the Jets, a game in which Rex Ryan returns to New York.  I’m more intrigued about the uniforms than the game itself because let’s be honest…Thursday football is hard to watch.  I’ll take the Jets to move to 6-3 with a 20-12 win.  Keep an eye on the uniforms and you’ll see why I say this game should be closer to Christmas than Thanksgiving.

I like the Vikings-Raiders game if Bridgewater can play. If he can it’ll be a good game, if he can’t then the Raiders will get an easy one.  With Bridgewater, I say Vikings win 24-20, if he doesn’t play then I’ll take the Raiders to win 27-9.

We’re supposed to get excited for New England and the New York Giants, but it’ll be an easy one for the Patriots as they’ll win 30-13.

Finally, we finish with SNF where the Cardinals travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks. Both teams are coming off their bye week, so it might be a little ugly.  The Cardinals are the better team, and they’ll win 21-13.


1000px-NCAA_logo.svgOh Clemson, you didn’t disappoint. It was scary for a bit, but the Tigers ultimately prevailed over the Seminoles to clinch a spot in the ACC title game and hold onto their #1 ranking (or at least should still be #1).  What’s scary about this team, is that they have 40 freshman on their squad…40!  Clemson will be good for quite some time.

It wasn’t the usual game we’re used to seeing from Alabama and LSU. No last-minute drive to win the game or low scoring game, but still a good game nonetheless.  Bama solidifies their stance in the CFB Playoff Ranking, and they didn’t do it alone thanks to Arkansas beating Ole Miss.  Expect to see the Crimson Tide stomp a mud hole in the Gators in the SEC Championship game.

Because TCU and LSU lost this past weekend, we have to wonder about the Heisman balloting. TCU QB Trevone Boykin and LSU RB Leonard Fournette were running away from the field, but both were stymied on Saturday.  Both of these players need their teams to either win out or lose a close game to a good team to distance themselves from the rest of the pack.  I got in an argument on Saturday night with a friend over me snubbing Florida State RB Talvin Cook from the race.  My argument is this…the voters won’t vote for a player with a team that has 3+ losses (I think FSU loses to Florida) and isn’t contending in a major bowl.  That’s why TCU and LSU need to finish strong for Boykin and Fournette to stay in the running.

As for the CFB Playoff Rankings that will be released tonight, this is my top four this week: 1) Clemson 2) Alabama 3) Ohio State 4) Oklahoma State.  Yes…I know Baylor will be a popular snub, but the OK State victory over TCU was more impressive than Baylor’s seven-point defeat of Kansas State.  And yes, Notre Dame could be in that 4th spot as well, but I’ll keep them at #6 behind Baylor because of the crooked number.  I will admit this, OK State jumping to #4 might be a stretch considering they were #14 last week, but if they vote correctly then this shouldn’t be a shock.

For the games this weekend, there are a few that stand out:

Let’s begin with Alabama (8-1) at Mississippi State (7-2).  I’ve already said Alabama reaches the SEC title game, which means they have to win-out in the conference.  So I’m obviously taking the Crimson Tide to win in a hostile environment, 31-17.

Here’s one in which no love is given…Memphis (8-1) at Houston (9-0).  These teams are a lot better than people think, because they just see what conference they play in and give no credit.  This is a battle for American Athletic Conference (AAC) supremacy.  If the current system was an eight-team playoff rather than four, Memphis would be in the discussion.  The Tigers come away with a win this weekend, with a score of 37-31.

Finally, we have Oklahoma (8-1) at Baylor (8-0).  If Texas hadn’t defeated Oklahoma, the Big 12 would be even more jumbled to see who will come out on top.  The Sooners are still in it, but they absolutely need to win this game.  Baylor is screaming “snub” in the CFB Playoff Ranking…but not after this week.  Oklahoma wins easily, 35-22.

The third installment of Water Cooler Talk is upon us, and I for one am excited for this edition because I get to talk World Series! The New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals will undoubtedly give us one hell of a treat which will hopefully go the distance. Then there’s the headlines of the NFL we’ll get you ready for as Week 8 officially begins. If you’re an NBA fan you’re excited for the season opener, and if you’re not, then Water Cooler Talk is there with you. Sit back, hide the monitor from the bosses view, and let Water Cooler Talk help you to be this week’s office sports guru.


1280px-Major_League_Baseball.svgThe Mets have had six days off after their sweep against the Cubs, which is a lifetime for baseball players, especially after being as hot as they were. Yoenis Cespedes has said he’s not 100% healthy for the series after a shoulder injury in the NLCS, but he assures us that he’ll be in the Mets outfield and will most likely wreak havoc on the Royals pitching staff. Can Daniel Murphy continue the hot streak and extend his postseason homerun streak, which currently stands at six and is already a MLB record? Then there’s the starting rotation for the Mets, which doesn’t need to be questioned. The Dark Knight gets the start tonight, followed by Jacob DeGrom for game two, Thor starts game three, and Steven Matz takes the hill for game four. Before this series is over, maybe we’ll get DeGrom and Matz nicknames as well.

The Royals have had three days of rest after their six-game defeat of the Blue Jays in the ALCS, which ended Friday night. This team has depth and without a doubt the best bullpen in baseball. The starters for the Royals only need to go five innings a game to get to that bullpen, and they may need that for games 1, 3, and 4 when Edinson Volquez, Yordano Ventura, and Chris Young take the hill respectively. Johnny Cueto gets the game two start, a game in which he should be able to go 6+ innings if he’s on his game. The home field advantage belongs to the Royals, with the first two games at Kaufmann Stadium, and games six and seven as well if needed.

I do think this series goes the distance, and the bullpens of both squads will be the deciding factor for at least four of those games. Royals closer Wade Davis will shut down any possibilities for the Mets in the 9th inning. The Royals will win this series 4-3, and I predict Lorenzo Cain will be the World Series MVP.


NFL-logoIs Sexy Rexy the right guy in Buffalo? I think not, and I haven’t since he was announced as the head coach in January. The Bills have lost two straight and are now 3-4 on the season heading into their bye. Questionable coaching decisions against the Bengals raised one eyebrow, and a bad loss versus the Jaguars in London should raise both. He says the right things and gets fan bases excited, but that hasn’t resulted in the kind of season Bills Mafia was expecting. The same thing happened in New York, and look how that ended. “Lookie lookie, here comes Cookie,” that’s what got the fans excited about Rex, a reference that’s 50 years old. Way to hold on to the past.

We know one undefeated will lose this week, because the Packers travel to Denver to face the Broncos on Sunday Night Football. Both will enter the game 6-0, but only one leaves 7-0 (duh)! The Bengals, Panthers, and Patriots will look to go 7-0 this week as well and the action begins with the Patriots as they host the rejuvenated Dolphins on Thursday Night Football. If I was a gambling man (and I am), I’d say every team except the Broncos stay undefeated after this week.

The Detroit Lions are a mess, there’s no other way to put it. They’re 1-6 and are in last place in the NFC North. It was confirmed yesterday that offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi was fired, along with two offensive line coaches. If anything, we can all get a chuckle when Jim Bob Cooter’s name comes up on the screen as the new offensive coordinator (c’mon Jason, let’s be mature about this). The Lions have a bad offensive line, a bad defense, and with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson taking a lot of salary cap space, it may take a while for this team to turn things around. The Lions face the Chiefs this week in London.

I have another gripe against officiating this week…can you believe it?  I was going to go on a rant about spotting the ball this week, but Chris Johnson’s 62-yard run last night took that away from me.  Just like last week I will again say that officiating is harder these days because of the pace of play, but everyone in attendance of that game and all the fans watching at home knew that Johnson’s forward momentum was stopped.  Heck, even Johnson knew it because he squatted on the play.  Now he did the right thing because the whistle hadn’t blown, but WHY WASN’T THE WHISTLE BLOWN?  If you faced Chris Johnson in fantasy and lost by six points…I’m sorry for your loss.


The season starts today.  Will Bron Bron take the Cavs to promise land?  Is this the last shootout for “Old Man Duncan” in San Antonio?  Can Golden State and Steph Curry find the magic…again?


1000px-NCAA_logo.svgI am not shocked that Utah lost on Saturday to USC. That was a trap game and the Utes fell into it.

I am surprised however that Clemson clobbered Miami 58-0, which led to the firing of Al Golden as the Hurricanes head coach. Not that I didn’t think Clemson was going to win, it was just the way they won. The Miami locker room quit on Golden, there’s no question about it. The program can come back, but like Penn State, I don’t think it’ll happen for a long time. There’s not enough money to get a big name coach, so they’ll have to look for someone who can recruit like no other. Perhaps Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham gets the first call?

#2 ranked Baylor suffered a huge loss, as Junior QB Seth Russell will miss the remainder of the season after requiring neck surgery. This may ultimately open the door for TCU to win the Big 12.

Florida State went from #9 to #17 this week after losing to Georgia Tech in the final seconds. The Seminoles had this coming, as they seemingly won every close game last season. The ACC has some tough teams this season with Clemson, Florida State, UNC, Pitt, and Duke. Not an easy road to climb for the Noles, but there’s plenty of time to gain ground.

Two games stand out for me this week. UNC travels to #23 Pitt and #9 Notre Dame takes on #21 Temple. A good matchup should be had between the Tar Heels and Panthers, and I think the Heels eke out a win. Temple is a good team that no one has seen, and I am calling for the upset, Temple wins 23-21 to stay undefeated.

I need to get away from the national spectrum and congratulate the Port Allegany Gators on being the 2015 AML North champions. The Gators started the season 1-3 and have ripped off four straight wins, with last week’s win at Smethport being the most impressive. They finish the regular season on Friday at home versus a winless Sheffield team, then face the AML South champion Kane Wolves for the AML title. I’ve broadcast this team the last three seasons and I’ve seen improvement each and every year. I’m happy to have watched this team accomplish what they have this season, in what is my last season covering the team. Keep it going boys!

Share your comments on this week’s edition of Water Cooler Talk by following @jasonsaulter on Twitter.

So how did the Water Cooler Talk go last week with your work colleagues, or with your friends and family away from the workplace?  For your sake, I hope it went well and for my sake, I hope to give you great material every week to continue to sound like and be the “sports guru” wherever it is you may be.  Share your talks with me on Twitter by following me and commenting on @JasonSaulter.  Don’t be alarmed by all the smack talk about the Seahawks on my page, those fans and I have a history that dates back to my time being stationed in Washington state.  Now, let’s move onto to this week’s edition of Water Cooler Talk!


NFL-logoOh what a fun week it was in the NFL! One undefeated was knocked off the throne, Dolphins head coach Dan Campbell earned his first win, Peyton Manning got booed, the Colts tried the most ridiculous play…possibly ever, the Seahawks can’t close out games, and we still don’t know what classifies a catch.

If you missed the play, check it out here.  Now I’ll be reasonable, the game is at a very high pace and it’s tough to get calls right, but there is no definitive rule on what is a catch.  Also, there’s instant replay, which was used for Tate’s catch, but even then the officials couldn’t get it right with technology.  I don’t want to hear the NFL will wait until the season concludes to get this figured out…I want them to fix this now and I think I speak for numerous NFL fans and players.

On a side note…I have Golden Tate on a fantasy team and I was happy he got the points, but my reality NFL far outweighs my fantasy football, and even though Tate got me points (in a matchup where I lost by 5 anyway) I was still furious.

I mentioned last week that I’d put teams in the playoffs after week six…and I didn’t lie:

The Broncos, Packers, Panthers, and Patriots escaped this week to remain undefeated. All are good teams, but all probably should’ve lost their week six matchups.  The Broncos and Packers have the weakest divisions to get through, so I’ll put them in now.  The Panthers and Patriots have to face the Falcons and Jets twice respectively, but despite possibly not winning their divisions (though not likely) I have to put them in as well.

The Bengals are for real. I’ve got them in the playoffs and I’ll even say Andy Dalton finally wins a playoff game.  I won’t say they’ll win the division just yet though, because I think the Steelers are going to be tough.

Speaking of the Steelers…4-2?…really? I don’t know how they’re doing it, and I’m wondering if it’s something they’re doing right or if their opposition is doing something terribly wrong in the second half of games.  The Cardinals should’ve destroyed the Steelers at Heinz Field, but they couldn’t score despite Carson Palmer throwing for 421 yards with John Brown on the receiving end of 196 of those yards.  Turnovers hurt the Cards, and so did Landry Jones.  If Jones doesn’t get the start this week over the ineffective Mike Vick…Steeler Nation may have a collective aneurism.  If Pittsburgh can win this week and get Big Ben back for Cincinnati in two weeks, things may get very interesting.

Overall, it was an exciting week for the NFL and the storylines are coming fast and furious each week which keeps guys and gals like me busy on Sunday and Monday nights. Week 7 begins at 9:30 ET, which means 14 hours of NFL football!


1280px-Major_League_Baseball.svgDaniel Murphy’s postseason to this point must mean he’s a $150-200 million player at season’s end. Seriously, his postseason numbers prove it, and guys with similar stats have gotten fat-stacks for doing it.  He is a free agent after this season, and I’m more than willing to bet he’ll ask for more than the $8 million he made for 2015.

Murphy, along with The Dark Knight and Thor, have helped their team to a 2-0 series lead over the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS. The Mets are absolutely riding on their young starting staff, but if it gets them to the World Series they won’t complain.  It’s going to be tough for Joe Maddon and the Cubs to bounce back from their 2-0 hole, but crazy things happen in the postseason, so never say never.

Unfortunately for me, the crazy series finale between the Blue Jays and Rangers in the ALDS is old news, or I’d talk about it for the next four or five paragraphs.  Luckily for you, three games have been played in the ALCS so I’ll stick with what’s current.

The Blue Jays are finally in the win column after a crazy Game 3 last night where they won 11-8.  The Toronto crowd was absolutely insane last night, and it helped when Tulo hit a three-run bomb off Johnny Cueto to put the Jays up 6-2 in the 3rd inning.  I literally got goose bumps when the crowd erupted.  It’s like they haven’t seen their team in the playoffs in the last 22 seasons…oh, right.

All in all, the postseason hasn’t disappointed and if it wasn’t for the NFL coinciding with the schedule, there would be tons of baseball talk. It just goes to show that unfortunately baseball is less and less becoming America’s favorite pastime.


1000px-NCAA_logo.svgYeah, yeah, Ohio State won.  I’m still waiting for them to face a good opponent before I acknowledge they’re the #1 team in the nation.  In back-to-back weeks they face Michigan State and Michigan on November 21st and 28th, until then, it’s the usual cruise control.

Do you like how I tied in Michigan State and Michigan there? My English professors should give me extra credit for that!  Anyways, there was a reason for that.  I don’t need to tell you about it, you just need to see it for yourself.  This isn’t the first special teams blunder by the Wolverines this season, it happened opening week at Utah as well.  To be fair, special teams helped them win against Oregon State, so it’s not all bad.  However, we could possibly be talking about Michigan being undefeated had it not been for the two “oops” this season.