Beating Vegas: “ACC On Fleek”

Welcome back to Beating Vegas!  This is the weekly column on that helps you gives you the edge over Vegas during the football season!  Last season we went just below sixty percent against the spread and this season we’re only looking to help you out even more!

Tulane +17 at Wake Forest


The Green Wave of Tulane are looking at a new head coach in Willie Fritz.  There are questions at quarterback and in their defensive secondary but this is a game that will be won and lost at the point of attack.  Fritz is a coach that loves smash mouth football and came out of practices raving about all four of his running backs.  On the other side of things the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest looked better than their record shows but when watching the tape it’s not as much their effort that kept them in some games, but their opponents lack of effort.  Wake Forest is a doormat in the ACC and it’s opponents treat them that way, usually day dreaming their way to a victory.  Wake had three wins last year: a three point win over Army, a three point win over Boston College and a 41-3 win over ELON (whoever they are) so seeing them beat a good coach by 17 points is a ridiculous notion.  — Last year Tulane covered against Navy, Memphis and Army as  road underdogs – this should be no problem.


The Pick: Tulane +17


Georgia Tech -3 at Boston College


This match up features the Yellow Jackets against the Eagles in Dublin, Ireland.  Boston College was one of the three college sleepers I wrote about earlier this Summer on
and folks should expect to see A LOT of them in “Beating Vegas” this year. . .  Paul Johnson has been at Georgia Tech for 19 years now and his time may be coming to an end.  Last year they pulled off only three wins, although somehow managing a  win against Florida State in there but they could never shut the door on close games.  Boston College had the same issue but the reason was a lot more clear.  The Boston College defense is a top ten group, but the offense might’ve been the absolute worst.  This year they have Kentucky transfer Patrick Towles, who isn’t breaking any records, but should have the ability to stretch the field and add some other dimension to the Eagles’ attack.  The Eagles will win about 8 games this year and this will be one of the them.

The Pick: Boston College +3


North Carolina +2.5 at Georgia


Sure, Georgia is loaded with NFL talent and sure Georgia is expected to make some kind of noise.  And yes, we all understand this is a new regime, this isn’t the Mark Richt era where “choking” had become tradition.  BUT – We’ve heard this story before.  Things to expect?  Georgia will win.  Things not to expect? Georgia’s QB (Grayson Lambert) to all of a sudden look like a possible first-round draft pick.  Lambert is limited, the offensive line has been juggled around and this team’s offense is predicated on running back Nick Chubb being 100% at the start of the season.  Georgia’s strength is in it’s defense which will be going up against a Tar Heel squad that is no stranger in putting up points.  New quarterback Mitch Trubisky has been waiting for his turn and it’s now.   He’s got weapons at his disposal and the Tar Heels will not go quietly in this one.  This one will be a second half where the Tar Heels get some garbage time touchdowns and make the OVER happen.  It’s okay to feel confident in saying the Tar Heels will put up 28 points in a loss to Georgia.

The Pick: The Over at 56


Ole Miss +4.5 at Florida State


Why couldn’t this game be LAST season?  It would’ve had better match ups all down the line ups, but this year we get an Ole Miss team that is missing some first round talent and missing a lot of key talent from last year’s squad.  Quarterback Chad Kelly has some promise, but he’ll be going up against a Florida State defense that is quick and nasty.  The Seminoles are like Alabama in how they recruit now.  It doesn’t matter who they lose, they are able to reload quickly.  This game is on Monday Night which will be fun, but the Seminoles will be the ones having all the fun.  Expect Florida State to ROLL in the second half.

The Pick: Florida State -4.5

If You Must: Kansas State versus Stanford – the Under at 48.5 is the way to go here “if you must.”  Two good defenses, Stanford will keep it on the ground, especially with a new quarterback under center, while Kansas State might hang around with tough nose play for at least the first half.  Pretty uneventful to watch, so yeah – the under seems legit

4 Game Teaser: Louisville -26.5, Alabama +.5, Florida State +7.5 and UCLA +15


Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

2016 NFC East Preview

  1. Washington Redskins – The “Washington Football Team” surprised some folks last  year, but if you look at their roster – it’s pretty legit.  Kirk Cousins is playing for a mega-contract this year, last year he showed the composure needed to run head-coach Jay Gruden’s offense.  Cousins isn’t great but the truth is, if you’re a quarterback that can master the system you’re in, that’s all that matters.  Cousins may not have much in the backfield this year, but the Redskins will probably work their offense in reverse.  What that means is, while most set up the pass with the running game, the Skins can open up the run game with the pass – get it?  The receiving core is a fantastic group.  Jordan Reed proved to be the the second best tight end in the league last year (behind New England’s Rob Gronkowski) when healthy and the receiving core goes four-deep with Desean Jackson, Jamison Crowder, Pierre Garcon and rookie Josh Doctson. This is a group that supplies a nice blend of size and speed that can and will wreck havoc on NFL secondaries.  Defensively, while everyone is high on the Josh Norman signing, the truth is, he isn’t even the best corner on his team.  Seriously.  Bashaud Breeland proved last year he can be a number one corner and now moving him to number two just means, the oppositions number two receiver becomes non-existent.   Second rounder Su’a Cravens out of USC is a defensive Swiss army-knife who can morph from safety to linebacker in a second and the Skins have already talked about exploiting his versatility.  Games against Dallas will determine this division – as they should.Prediction: 10-6


  2. Dallas Cowboys –  This piece was originally written predicting Dallas to finish in first place.   Naturally, I jinxed things and Romo will miss a chunk to the start of the season.  It may be over for Romo as he just can’t take a hit anymore.  This makes way for rookie QB, Dak Prescott.   In front of him is arguably the best offensive line in football, although last year their pass-protection seemed a bit too relaxed, the unit still provided holes for the run game.   The additions of former Redskins running back Alfred Morris and first round rookie Ezekiel Elliot will make this a very aggressive and versatile back-field.  Dez Bryant is still one of the league’s premier playmakers at the wide receiver position and it’s because of his presence, things open up for the very average Terrence Williams on the other side of the field.  Cole Beasley is actually a better wide out but he can’t be moved out of the slot because of his miniature stature.  .  . The Cowboys didn’t do much to help themselves out on defense, but the fourth round pick out of Oklahoma, Charles Tapper is an interesting piece to keep an eye on.  He needs to get over his lower back issues in this pre-season though because the Cowboys need all the help they can get.  When you’re defense enters the season with three of it’s players serving a suspension, every little bit helps.   With Romo, the points come a bit easier – Prescott will have a leash on him but they should be able to control the line of scrimmage with their rush attack.


Prediction: 9-7


3. New York Giants – The Giants offensive line will hamper a lot of what this team can do.  There is not much of a rushing threat in the form of Rashard Jennings, and although Giants fans are excited about Odell Beckham Jr being joined in the receiving core by rookie Sterling Shepard – Eli may not have time to deliver the deep ball much.   General manager Jerry Reese is on the hot seat and the way he threw money around this off-season proves it.  Reese shelled out a five year eighty-five million dollar contract to ensure the services of defensive end Olivier Vernon.  Reese also tried to shore up the secondary by signing Janoris Jenkins to a five year, sixty-two million dollar contract.  The issue with Jenkins is that he is not as good as advertised and already has shown struggle in training camps.   The Giants always seem to have Lady-Luck on their side although last year she seemed to stray away a little.   The Giants need to do what they can to court that dame back into their lives if they want to compete for the NFC East.

Prediction: 8-8

4.  Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles wanted to rid themselves of anything having to do with the Chip Kelly era after ONE bad year and now they are primed to be a bottom feeder in the league.  The Eagles had a below average draft this year in which they selected quarterback Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State.  They hope that Wentz’ raw talents will carry him to become the franchise player this team needs at quarterback.  Hard to imagine a guy who’s toughest opponent in college was either Jacksonville State or Northern Iowa – to become some great quarterback in the NFL, but . . .whatever. . .  Jordan Matthews is the team’s best receiver option, but he isn’t the type of number-one option that secondary’s lose sleep over.   The tight end tandem of Zach Ertz and Brent Celek is pretty impressive but this isn’t exactly Rob Gronkowski and “he who shall not be named. . .”    Ryan Matthews was been a disappointment in San Diego, probably a disappointment to his parents and will continue this pattern here in Philly.


Prediction: 3-13


G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

2016 NFC South Preview

1. Carolina Panthers – It almost seems to easy to pick the Panthers to win this division.  How can you bet against a team that’s the reigning NFC Champs and return with the reigning MVP?  Cam Newton made the leap many of us have been waiting for and was a force all on his own last year.  Cam finished the season with 45 total touchdowns and he will need to continue this dominance for the Panthers to repeat as division champs this year.  Last year Cam was without wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and it was a blessing in disguise.  Cam was able to spread the ball around and make decent players out of dumpster fires like Ted Ginn Jr.  Expect former Michigan Wolverine, Devin Funchess to take over as the number one wide-out.  Tight-end Greg Olson, when it’s all said and done, is the most consistent and reliable target. . . Jonathan Stewart was eleven yards short of a thousand and was better than expected.  To expect anything more than eight-hundred yards out of Stewart would be lofty.  Head coach Ron Rivera’s bread and butter is the defense.   The Panthers could not agree on a contract with corner-back Josh Norman so he’ll be gone and there is a definite lack of support in that secondary.  Roman Harper took his leadership and salt and pepper hair back to New Orleans but it’s the front seven that is still the most athletic and dominant in football.  Teams will still struggle to run the ball against them, as they did last year as this defense yielded less than four yards a carry.  It will be a tougher road, but this is literally a black and blue team, who can take it as well as they can dish it out.


Prediction: 10-6

2. Atlanta Falcons – The story here is that Atlanta actually has better talent on their roster than most of the teams they play this season.  Matt Ryan wasn’t as sharp as we’re used to seeing him, but let’s just put it on learning a new system.  Ryan is a bright and dedicated player, he will only get better a year into this system.  The Falcons were able to run the ball last year with Davonta Freeman and the funny thing about that is he wasn’t even supposed to be the starter.  Tevin Coleman had beat him out as the starter but got hurt.  The running game and offensive line as a whole should get a lot better with the free agent acquisition of center Alex Mack who decided to not waste away his talents in Cleveland anymore. . .Defensively the Falcons should see some improvements.  Vic Beasley struggled during the year, but that’s mostly because the defense around him was pretty shaky.  Courtney Upshaw and Sean Witherspoon are some nice additions to the squad.  Ra’Shede Hageman was  dominant player in 2013 playing in the Big 10 conference and he needs to be more consistent with his play.  Hageman plays with a chip on his shoulder and fits the mold of a Dan Quinn defense.  The Falcons drafted Keanu Neal, the safety out of Florida, in the first round and that will turn out to be a nice pick for them as he plays behind one of the leagues best corners in Desmond Trufant.   Atlanta has the tools to become more dominant in this division than Carolina – but their time is not now.


Prediction: 9-7

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Okay everyone, you no longer need to hold your breath.  Jameis Winston seems to have taken life at the NFL seriously and is washing away the troubled image that followed him in college (somebody tell Johnny Manziel that it is possible to shape up . . .).  Tampa decided to part ways with head coach Lovie Smith, but didn’t want to shake things up too much and they promoted offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to the position.  The Bucs must have all the faith in the world in Winston because they did little  in the off season to upgrade this offense.  Although the “little” they did was add J.R. Sweezy to an offensive line that is young and on the come up thanks to the likes of Hastings, New York product Ali Marpet who was taken in the second round of last year’s draft as a Division Three standout at guard.  Doug Martin proved that when healthy he is a top five back in the league as he finished last year with over 1400 rushing yards.  Vincent Jackson is still the veteran wide out on the team that generally goes un-noticed and forgotten in the league and if Mike Evans can stay healthy and produce, it may be Jackson’s last year in Tampa.  The Bucs drafted corner Vernon Hargreaves in the first round and he is a cover guy, always looking to force turnovers – he should show immediate impact from week one as he’s paired up with Brent Grimes in the secondary.  As long as Grimes keeps his wife off of twitter things should be okay.  Hard to have a lot of faith in the back end of that secondary when the horrible Chris Conte is there and amazingly still finds himself employed in the league.  The Bucs will have a losing record but fight until the final possession in a hand full of these games.


Prediction: 6-10

4. New Orleans Saints – Expect a lot of 35-32 losses by this team.  They can sling it with the best of them, but they’re defense is just horrendous.  The Saints are the NFL’s version of what a Big 12 conference team is.  Sheldin Rankins, the defensive tackle out of Louisville, was a smart pick in the first round of the draft but outside of him and defensive end Cameron Jenkins, there really isn’t much to see in this front seven.  Dannell Ellerbee keeps tricking people into paying him for his “athleticism” and Nick Fairley has a good motor but zero in-game focus. Drew Brees has lost a little bit of the zip on his passes but he’ll have some nice young targets to fling the rock to.  Rookie Micheal Thomas and the game-breaker Brandin Cooks figure to be the one and two – but Willie Snead had a nice breakout season last year and gelled well with the veteran QB.   The Saints are a great team to collect guys for your fantasy football team but to see them as a contender is just a “fantasy.”


Prediction: 5-11

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

2016 AFC West Preview

  1. Kansas City Chiefs  – Yeah, something doesn’t look right in a division when a team led by Alex Smith at quarterback and the Kool-Aid-Man as head coach are the favorites to win it.  But the Kool-Aid-Man a.k.a Andy Reid has been a model of consistency in his coaching career and has made quarterbacks play above their potential.  Alex Smith is in a comfortable spot with the Chiefs and he’s a decent enough “dual-threat” quarterback that he keeps defenses honest – although they know the deep ball is a rare occurrence.  Outside of Jeremy Maclin, the only real receiving threat is tight end Travis Kelce, but the Chiefs’ offense will circle around their backfield depth.  When star running-back Jamaal Charles went down last year the Chiefs saw what they had in Charcadrick West and Spencer Ware.  Expect Andy Reid to find ways to get all of three of these backs involved in the offense often.  In the draft, the Chiefs didn’t really do much, but look out for their fourth round pick Eric Murray out of Minnesota to add some punch to a defense that allowed less than 18 points a game last season.  Chiefs have a middle of the road schedule in terms of difficulty, but this is a team that has most of the same pieces that reeled off an 11 game win streak last year and a division that is win-able with eight or nine wins this year.


Prediction: 10-6

2. Oakland Raiders – Yeah, that’s right.  Eight or nine wins will win this division and Oakland won’t get the division crown.  Do the math.  Folks are high on the Raiders this year.  Maybe because of the young talent; or maybe because folks are tired of this once proud franchise being a laughing stock. Last season they showed promise and showed they have the centerpieces for their offense and defense: Derek Carr and Khalil Mack, respectively.   Mack will have free agent signees Bruce Irvin and (in November) Aldon Smith to help not just with the edge rush but also help to form a very athletic trio up front.  Rookie Karl Joseph has all the tools to be a starter for this franchise for the next ten years.  Joseph will be playing alongside safety Reggie Nelson who had an NFL leading eight interceptions last year.  Amari Cooper is the real deal at wide receiver; and Michael Crabtree looked the best he’s looked in years, but it may be reaching to think he’ll duplicate last year’s performance.  The pieces are there for this team to  make the next step, but because EVERYONE is saying that, it definitely won’t happen.  This is a team that looks better on paper then they will on the field.  They are still one year away, and if they can put it together, this division can be theirs for the next three to four years – easily.


Prediction: 9-7

3. Denver Broncos – What did we expect?  A team wins a Super Bowl, and all the players who were up for new contracts – left for ridiculous pay days.  That’s the business of the sport.  The Broncos biggest attraction, Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, was set to sit out for the season if he and Broncos didn’t agree on terms – but cooler heads prevailed.  Miller will be set to lead a defense that is still formidable even after the losses of Danny Trevathan and Malik Jackson.  The defense will have to be key because that’s how they won games last year.  The Broncos re-instilled the notion that “defenses win championships” because in this “quarterback league” they basically played without one for most of last year.  Although Peyton Manning was trashy last year, his poise and leadership kept this offense motivated and focused all season long – even when times were tough.  Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas are top notch receivers but expect their numbers to plummet this season.  The Broncos signed Mark Sanchez who once upon a time was the savior to the New York Jets.  Now he’s a journey man, who’s forever haunted by the epic “butt-fumble.” The Broncos also went and drafted Paxton Lynch who has a creepy mustache and a stupid hair cut.  Also the general manager John Elway is pretty smug.  Nobody with teeth like that should be that smug.


Prediction: 7-9

4. San Diego Chargers – The Chargers are basically, sorta, kinda. . . irrelevant?  Ugh, you hate to hear the word “irrelevant” associated with a team that has the coolest alternate jersey and a team that is led by Philip Rivers, who has been quiet as kept – this generation’s Dan Marino to some degree.  Does he have the records like Marino and is he as good – no.  BUT, Rivers has put together quite the career and done so with little to no help for the most part.  The organization makes the wrong signings, drafts the wrong people and — oh wait – who’d they draft this year?  Ha. . .  as of now (August 17th, 2016) the Chargers first round pick Joey Bosa is holding out, and it seems that both sides are not budging.  Bosa comes in with a lot of hype, too much hype if you ask me – he’s a piece that would be nice in building a defense, but he is not a piece to build around.   Free agent Travis Benjamin signed on to the Chargers from the Browns and he joins a pretty talented receiving group that include Keenan Allen and tight-end Antonio Gates who is still a top five tight end at thirty-six years of age.  The Chargers lost eight games by seven or less points and just couldn’t close the deal when they needed to.  There is just nothing flashy or exciting about the Chargers anymore.  Sick jerseys though. . .


Prediction: 6-10

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Yankees Never Deserved A-Rod

When Alex Rodriguez was in front of the media on a Sunday morning, the world took notice.  Hero or villain; love him or hate him – the world wanted to see what A-Rod’s announcement was about.  In the end of it all, viewers came away with an “awkward goodbye” from Alex.  The whole situation had the feeling of an “ultimatum” instead of an “agreement.”   Seriously though, if a player was able to stand upright and be only four home-runs short of the seven-hundred mark, he shouldn’t be retiring.  A lot of the language was cryptic from A-Rod and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, and it was obvious. . .


New York radio and social media as a whole were taking their own stabs at the situation.  The end of a career, although some may say tainted – Alex Rodriguez was as polarizing as a sports super star could ever be.   A good looking, talented guy, getting paid ridiculous amounts of dollars to play baseball – the target has been on his back since 2000.  That was when he decided to chase the money and sign with the lowly Texas Rangers franchise because they signed him to a ten year, two-hundred and two million dollar contract.  Hey, lowly or not, that’s a ridiculous amount of paper.

As Alex Rodriguez continued to hammer his numbers into the record books, the hatred for him grew.  People saw him as a player who could hamstring an organization and a player who would put up gaudy numbers in a losing career.

When the Yankees traded for Alex and his price-tag, he saw it as a road to redemption.  He could continue to put up numbers with a franchise thats known for it’s “Championship or bust” mantra.  Alex Rodriguez, who already netted two Gold Glove awards while in Texas was bound to go down in history as the greatest short stop of all-time, but to satisfy his (at the time) good friend Derek Jeter, Alex took up the task of learning to play third base, although he was clearly the better short stop of the two. . . Never the less, A-Rod picked up the technique to play the “hot corner” for the betterment of the organization and to satisfy the hands that were already at the table. . .

Again A-Rod continued to pound out numbers at a Hall of Fame rate.  He gave them an MVP season in 2007, in which he put up his best numbers and was signed to another lucrative ten year contract in this time.

In 2009, rumors started circulating about Alex not being a “clean” player – but New Yorkers quickly stopped dissecting those rumors because they won the World Series in 2009.  Not only did they win the World Series, they won it mostly because of Alex Rodriguez.  Alex’s on-base-percentage was .500, slugging percentage was .808 (those two stats combined gave him a ridiculous OPS of 1.308, 19 hits, 18 rbis and six homeruns. . . For a guy who was infamously known for “disappearing” in the playoffs, he gave the Yankees one of the best playoff performances of all time in 2009.


In 2011, the City That Never Sleeps, started getting colder towards A-Rod.  His home run totals were decreasing, bat speed had slowed down and whenever things went wrong for the Bronx Bombers it was always the fault of Rodriguez.  The Yankees built a team of “Super-Men” but it seemingly would always fall on A-Rod.

Sure, the years followed with his admittance of using performance enhancing drugs and his one year suspension.  The Yankees organization and many of it’s fans were out-casting Rodriguez.  Corny people would say “its not the Yankee way,” “he’s a cheater” or even degrade his character with profanities – this was odd.  Odd because this is a fan base that still favors admitted P.E.D user Andy Petitte, and still holds a torch up high for the beer chugging womanizer that was Babe Ruth and even the alcoholic, narcissist Mickey Mantle (who wasn’t even liked by his own son).

Fans are insane.  We forget our own flaws while judging the flaws of others.  But fans are so insane that they NEVER forget the GOOD that a player has done for his or her franchise.  Except this time.  Yankees fans found it more to their liking to gang-up on a player who was already hated by the masses.  Keep in mind, he only added to that hatred when he joined your team (the MOST hated franchise in baseball – next to Philadelphia), gave up playing short stop and all the accolades that would’ve come with finishing his career at that position, gave you his greatest season in 2007 and a remarkable run in 2009 which gave you the last post season success the franchise has seen.

Alex could’ve put these numbers up and been loved anywhere else.  Bonds was and is still adored in San Francisco and even Ryan Braun (who was truly the biggest piece of scum when it comes to P.E.D scandals) still gets an applause when he bats for the Brewers.


Hopefully someone will take on Rodriguez just long enough so that he can get his home-run total to 700.   That would mean the world to Alex – and oddly enough it would mean just the same to feel appreciated in New York.

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

T.O.C.T.M – August ’16

The Only Column That Matters: August 2016. . .


Suicide Squad was released into theaters this week and critics killed it.  My favorite had to be Mick Laselle of the San Francisco Chronicle who said: “it’s like watching other people play video games — except they’re not really playing them, and there’s not much suspense about who will win. And you can’t escape. And the music is terrible. And you barely know what’s going on. And you’re stuck there for two hours.”  Those are harsh words from somebody named Mick who’s last name isn’t Mantle, or Mouse – regardless this just shows how DC Comics can’t manipulate a single decent story line to the big screen.  They crapped their pants with “Batman vs Superman” and we’re depending on a bunch of B-list characters from the comic universe (and the Joker) to bring life to their movie franchise.  Meanwhile, Marvel releases “Ant Man” where Paul Rudd is the super hero and people loved it.  Something just isn’t right here.


The Olympics are underway and about 5% of the American population is really intrigued.  Let’s be honest, it’s all about America’s favorite pot-head Mike Phelps and it’s all about us cheating in basketball.  And while most athletes have complained about the conditions in Rio, the U.S.A Men’s Basketball team is living it up on a docked cruise ship.  I mean, it’s smart and one can’t really blame them but one can also argue that it’s a bit much.  If it wasn’t enough that our basketball teams are mega stars with millions of dollars – they further isolated themselves from the bunch by “flossing” on a cruise ship.  Although, after the opening ceremonies the players on the team “accidentally” found themselves in a local brothel so they weren’t totally isolated themselves from the people of Brazil. . .


The NFL is on it’s pre-season kick right now and everyone with an opinion (including myself) thinks they can predict everything that will happen in the upcoming season.  One hot topic has been the budding rivalry between N.Y. Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr and Washington Redskins corner back Josh Norman.  The two were infamously caught up in a constant slap battle which turned into a head-butting clinic last season and they will face each other twice during this season.  So who has the edge?  Easily, Odell.  Beckham is just a better athlete while Norman doesn’t have the loosest hips as a defensive back; and also reports from Redskins camps is that Norman is getting beat deep a lot.  History has also shown that when the Redskins pay big bucks for someone, they usually forget how to play the game of football.

Can anybody explain to me why DJ Khaled is so famous?   I just saw this guy on a commercial for f’n soy milk.  As one who drinks soy milk, I found it offensive that I drink the same thing as this beast of a human being.  People tell me he’s a “great follow on snapchat.”  First off, I don’t have and never will have a snapchat account and how does one attain “greatness” in snapchattery?  He just released a new album “Major Keys” which is no doubt another album which finds Khaled playing “Fantasy Hip Hop” by putting various artists together on multiple tracks.  Eh, that’s actually not a bad thing, and I actually respect the fact that it’s his album and he can get away with making compilations – it’s a hustle to be respected, but not a hustle to sponsor soy milk.


On Sunday, Alex Rodriguez announced his retirement.  Well, sorta.  As a huge, huge fan of A-Rod, I was going to write a very romantic piece about the greatest player I’ve seen in recent history but then after re-analyzing what was said on Sunday – I paused.  The Yankees are conditionally releasing him, paying him the full amount of his contract BUT he is staying on as an advisor throughout that contract.  Also, general manager Brian Cashman was very shady in answering the question of “would you let A-Rod play anywhere else?”  The whole situation looks questionable and it’s hard to believe that Rodriguez would just stop chasing 700 home runs at this point.  Many folks will say “he’s a cheater” or “his numbers are tainted” and I truly believe those people should take heed to the Jay-Z line “You should be happy to be in my presence.”

Anyhow, that’s the mess I’m talking for this month in The Only Column That Matters.  Check out the podcast TheOnlyShowThatMatters hosted by myself and Nick Celio on the NGSCRadio Network and follow our page on Facebook


G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio


Outlaws in Dallas

The Dallas Cowboys are without a doubt, one of the more important teams in the NFL.  “Important” in terms of the massive fan support, which in turn hikes up television ratings and merchandise sales.   Whether they are having a great season or a bad season, the Cowboys are always brought into a football conversation – kind of like the New York Yankees in baseball. . .  With the attention the “star on the helmet” brings, comes a microscope.  A microscope which lures above AT&T Stadium and owner, Jerry Jones.  Within this petri-dish are players, personalities and unfortunate for the Cowboys – problems.

The NFL has suspended three Dallas Cowboys players for failed substance abuse tests and with that have fined the Cowboys $250,000.


Linebacker Rolando McClain, was suspended last year for four games, and with this being his second offense, he is now set to sit out the first ten games of the season.  McClain was a non-motivated, first round bust for the Oakland Raiders.  The Raiders waived him a year after they drafted him leaving the Ravens to sign him – McClain in turn, announced his retirement from football a month after being in Baltimore. . .  McClain is an “odd-cat” to put it lightly but people loved the potential he showed when playing for the Alabama Crimson Tide.  Because of that potential, the Dallas Cowboys took a chance on him and even after the previously mentioned suspension from last year, the Cowboys gave McClain a one-year contract for the upcoming season.  Unfortunately for them, he’ll miss more than half the season. . .

Demarcus Lawrence, is a little different from McClain in that – his track record was fine, until this current suspension.  After failing the substance abuse test, Lawrence has owned up to his mistakes and has apologized to his teammates and the Cowboys organization.  Head coach, Jason Garrett even showed his support for him: “He’s a good person. He’s a good teammate. He works hard and he wants to be the best he can, and he wants this team to be the best it can be.” 

Randy Gregory is the third player the Cowboys have that is facing a suspension.  Gregory is a more terrible version of Rolando McClain because, he the naturally athlete and he is unfortunately a lot dumber.   Gregory infamously failed a drug test at the rookie-combine, which should have hoisted red-flags from everyone in the league – but not the Cowboys.  Jerry Jones took Gregory in the second round – knowing that Gregory is a first round talent but also first class buffoon.  It was the ultimate gamble for Jones and the Cowboys and so far it looks like they rolled the dice and came up with snake-eyes.  In February, Gregory was suspended four games for violating the leagues substance abuse policy and now rumors are running rampant that he will face a longer suspension because of another violation. . .


The Cowboys, deserve to be fined for the acts of these three players.  AND NOT because they are the Cowboys and in some crazy football fanatic logic – “they deserve it.”   No, they deserve the fine because they have to learn the hard way of how one who keeps playing with fire will eventually get burned.  The Cowboys have shown they will forego a player’s character for the betterment of the team and this sets a bad precedent for the rest of the league.

If a team keeps signing low-character players, who turn out being exactly who they are – they shouldn’t be surprised by the suspensions and they should have something coming to them, other than embarrassment.

Being “America’s Team” is a gift and a curse.  It’s great when the spot light is on you and you’re doing great things, but the flip side of that is your organization is looked upon as a laughing stock when things go bad.  For a man like Jerry Jones, and you can say what you want about the man – he loves his team – he’s got to be smarter.  Having an “edge” in the game today doesn’t work like it did in the 70’s and 80’s.  The smart players, who study game film and don’t let their teammates down with off-the-field nonsense are the ones teams value more than not.


Jerry has got to stop with this shenanigans.  Or before he knows it, he’ll be running a  telethon to pay off fines because of these kids.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio