Maybe Some Other Hits After a Big Miss

Did you turn off the Royals game and go to bed early? Yeah, I did. I was too upset with Manager Ned Yost’s pitching-change decisions and the situation appeared lost.

So, I certainly was surprised when I was scanning stories on the Huffington Post and came across this:

“At long last, there will be October baseball in Kansas City.

“With one swing of his bat, Salvador Perez gave the long-suffering Royals fans at Kauffman Stadium something they hadn’t been able to celebrate since 1985: A win in the MLB playoffs. Having waited 29 years since the team’s last postseason appearance, those fans had to wait into the 12th inning on Tuesday night before Perez sealed a thrilling 9-8 win over the Oakland Athletics in the American League Wild Card Game with an RBI single down the left-field line to score teammate Christian Colon from second base.”

The Royals trailed 8-7 in the 12th but tied it with a one-out triple by Eric Hosmer and an RBI single by Christian Colon, who then stole second base — the Royals’ record-tying seventh steal of the game.

The Post story continued: The rally let Yost off the hook for his decision to pull starting pitcher James Shields from the game in the sixth inning. With the Royals leading 3-2, rookie Yordano Ventura relieved Shield after the first two A’s hitters reached base. Brandon Moss drove Ventura’s third pitch over the center-field fence for a three-run home run — he hit a 2-run shot in the first inning.

Yost just can’t handle game pitching situations, making poor decisions all season long. But the Royals won in spite of his mistakes.

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The Republicans have done a masterful job in their war against President Obama. From the very first of his presidency, he has taken the slings and arrows of the GOP propaganda machine.

No one can stand the onslaught of what the Republicans have thrown at him. No one. A well-financed propaganda machine can obfuscate and manipulate the focus of campaign policies and send poll numbers down.

Have I liked everything Obama has done? Of course not. The worst? He has tried to be all things to all people. He too often abandoned his progressive ideals. He didn’t fight with a progressive agenda as his most trusted ally.

Just look at his wonderful family and you can see that this man wants goodness in life.

Yet many Republicans want to impeach him.

I got this in a recent email: If Obama came out for oxygen, the Republicans would suffocate themselves.

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Most folks can recall the extreme fins of many cars back in the ’50s, either by memory or seeing old photos. But do they recall fender skirts and curb feelers? Oh yeah, the curb feelers — the little antennae extending from the right fenders that “telegraphed” when you were close to the curbs when parking. Ugly.

Oh, and what happened to emergency brakes? Put it in “park” and you’re done with it.

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While talking “about when” you gotta chuckle with all the euphemisms concerning sex.

Have you heard recently the term “in a family way.” Yeah, it’s okay to say pregnant now. Oh, crudely, there was “she’s got one in the hangar.”

Bad gender double standards were many “back when.” Pregnant girls didn’t walk the halls of the high schools. They “mysteriously disappeared” from class. The guys? Oh, they still put on their penny loafers, argyle socks, beltless Levis and t-shirt and smugly strolled from class to class.

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Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos represents what is wrong with journalism today. The bean counters have taken over.

Without strong family-owned newspapers, journalism suffers. Corporate mentality squeezes the life out of a news room that wants to follow the tenets of the five “Ws” and the “H.”

Bezos’ plans call for making significant cuts to the newspaper’s retirement funds for both union and nonunion employees. The changes will hit hardest at employees hired before 2009 who could plan on receiving pension payments based on their income and years of service. Each of those employees could see scores — or hundreds — of thousands of dollars less over the course of a retirement. More recent hires do not have traditional pension plans.

The Post will create a new cash balance plan to replace the pensions for nonunion employees and a separate but similar plan for those covered by the union. Those plans provide employees with a lump sum or annuity when they retire. But they do not guarantee a particular level of retirement payments, thus reducing the risk that Bezos would have to add money to the pension if financial markets plunged.

Bezos, who bought the Post in August 2013 for $250 million, instituted similar plans at Amazon. In 2013, the New York Times reported that Bezos had cut company costs at Amazon in 1999 by taking away employees’ aspirin. “Just about the only thing that workers received free was aspirin,” the Times wrote. “So the aspirin went.”

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As has become quite evident, the wealthiest Americans are playing a larger role in politics these days, thanks to campaign finance laws loosened by the Supreme Court’s conservative majority. Billionaires can now make unlimited contributions to super PACs, or, if they prefer discretion, to nonprofit groups that don’t disclose their donors.

Look at these conservatives and what they have already given this year:

  • Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas casino magnate: $814,300 (100 percent to Republicans) with a fortune estimated at $28.5 billion.
  • Richard DeVos, Holland, Michigan, Amway co-founder: $692,450 (100 percent to Republicans), worth a reported $6.8 billion.
  • Brothers Charles Koch, Wichita, Kansas, and David Koch, New York, heirs and operators of the nation’s largest private company, Koch Industries: $682,100 (100 percent to Republicans) worth $36 billion each.
  • Charles Schwab, San Francisco, discount brokerage service: $487,100 (100 percent to Republicans), worth $6.6 billion.
  • Steve Wynn, Las Vegas casino magnate: $481,200 (100 percent to Republicans) with an estimated fortune of $3.5 billion.

Wynn went into tirades against Obama during earnings calls with investors. Wynn said that Obama held a “weird political philosophy,” and made “speeches about redistribution” using language not heard, “except from pure socialists.”

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Jon Stewart has a message for Fox News on the Latte Salute:: “Shut up!”

Fox’s pundits have been attacking Obama for saluting two U.S Marines with a coffee cup in his hand. But on a recent “The Daily Show,” Stewart wasted no time pointing out the hypocrisy. “You don’t really care about this,” he said. “You have no principle about this. You’re just trying to score points in a game no one else is playing — and here’s how we know.” And with that, he played a series of clips showing commentators on the one hand demanding respect for those in uniform putting their lives on the line while on the other hand insulting a female fighter pilot leading the attack on ISIS militants.

“F… you, and all your false patriotism,” Stewart said.

Democrats Have Plenty of Ammunition — They Just Need to Fire

The Democrats need to go into attack mode to withstand all the flak fired at will from the Republican political machine.

Wild charges, misleading ads, smears and distortions, distortions, distortions need constant vigilance by Democratic candidates.

The Republicans have piles of money and they’re pouring it into the campaigns with gusto. Kansas is a microcosm of that national scene with the Democrats needing a strong push to retain control in the Senate and make inroads among governorships.

Governor Sam Brownback is down in the polls to Democrat challenger Paul Davis. Senator Pat Roberts is proud that he has been to Dodge City seven times, three more than his independent challenger, Greg Orman — and wonders why he’s in a heated battle.

The Kansas City Star continues to pelt Brownback with facts, offsetting the campaign’s lack of ethics in producing disingenuous ads. The people of Kansas need to pay attention to what the Star says.

Grover Norquist, the anti-government and anti-tax guru, jumped on a 16-year-ago incident to smear Davis. In a Meet the Press segment on September 21, Norquist said, “The Democrat running for governor, Paul Davis, a week ago thought might win, now because Politico did an expose on his lap dance with a naked lady in a strip club is not the kind of person you can ask your sister to vote for anymore — or your mother or your daughter or any self respecting male.”

First of all, he simply just threw out words and hoped they would stick. “Naked” has a way of catching a person’s attention. And Norquist has no proof whatsoever that there was a naked woman. But don’t let a few facts stand in the way of a juicy slur.

So what’s the deal on this? The Coffeyville Journal reported recently that Davis was found in a strip club during a drug raid in 1998. He was never charged with a crime. According to police reports, Davis was “in a somewhat compromising position” with a stripper “in a back room of the club.”

Davis responded to the allegation: “When I was 26 years old, I was taken to a club by my boss — the club owner was one of our legal clients. While we were in the building, the police showed up. I was never accused of having done anything wrong, but rather I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

This would be devastating news for a married Christian conservative politician for obvious reasons, but what if you’re a single, political moderate 26-year-old man? Davis was an unmarried lawyer at the time.

Apparently the incident disqualifies Davis from running for office 16 years later in Grover’s mind.

In 2007, Senator David Vitter, Republican-Louisiana, was linked to a high-priced brothel in his hometown of New Orleans, one day after he publicly apologized for his connection to an alleged prostitution ring in Washington, D.C. Vitter acknowledged being involved with the so-called D.C. Madam. A day later, new revelations linked him to a former madam in New Orleans and old allegations that he frequented a former prostitute resurfaced. C’mon Grover, get on your high horse about that one.

Davis’ campaign officials released a statement from Harry Smith, the police officer who conducted the raid and is now the police chief in Independence, Kansas. Smith said Davis was cooperative and one of “20 or more people present in the club when the raid was conducted. Paul was not involved in our investigation that night, therefore he was simply questioned briefly and released.”

The police made the raid to check for drugs. As noted, Davis was not the objective.

The Davis campaign needs to fire back. Put Brownback on the defensive if you want to sling allegations. In 1996, Brownback ran for the Senate and his wife’s parents, John and Ruth Stauffer, were charged with violating the contribution limits by giving $37,500 to seven conservative political action committees that then sent $36,000 to the Brownback for Senate campaign. The Federal Election Commission found probable cause for wrong-doing but took no further action.

Hell, bring that up. At least it would focus on the massive amounts of money the Koch Brothers and others are giving to the Brownback campaign.

In that 1996 election, Brownback defeated Democrat Jill Docking in the race for Bob Dole’s vacated seat. Docking is on the Davis ticket, running for lieutenant governor.

Brownback had won a bitterly fought special primary over interim Senator Sheila Frahm, who had been appointed by Republican Governor Bill Graves to replace Dole.

Brownback’s primary campaign exposed an ideological rift within the Kansas Republican Party. A member of the conservative activist wing, Brownback unseated the more moderate Frahm. Then, he had to woo her supporters to keep them from drifting into Docking’s camp, while at the same time maintaining the fervor of his conservative base.

The party remains divided and Davis needs to step up in pointing out those differences.

He could focus, for example, on the misleading information in Brownback ads produced by The Political Action Committee Alliance for Freedom. One ad draws a picture of education in Kansas from the Republican perspective. It says if you don’t prepare for the future, it’s likely to disappoint you. Then it says: “That’s why Governor Brownback hasn’t stopped at increasing education funding and adding more teachers to Kansas classrooms.”

That is misleading.

Since Brownback took office, there are 753 more teachers working in Kansas schools. But in that same time, the number of students increased by more than 9,000, which means the teacher-student ratio stayed about the same. In 2012, schools received $3,780 per student. That was a $157 cut per student Governor Brownback made from the previous year. He also forced an additional cut of $75 per student at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.

In 2010, schools sued the state and the Kansas Supreme Court agreed education needed more money. It ordered the state to restore some of the previous cuts.

Schools currently get $3,852. That’s about $10 fewer per student than when Brownback started.

In 2008, base state aid per pupil was at $4,374. The drop in funds should be evident.

Outside-the-state Republicans are flocking in to aid the floundering Roberts.

A letter to the editor in a recent KC Star issue was superb with humor as an artful dig: I don’t really know what U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts has to gain by bringing former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin to stump for him. They have so little in common. She says she can see Russia from her home, and from Roberts’ home, he can see Maryland.

Money is pouring in for Roberts’ ads that are full of mendacious exhortations — like declaring a vote for Orman is one more vote for Barack Obama. The ad is the first of a reported $500,000 campaign in the state from Freedom Partners Action Fund, a new group affiliated with the Koch Brothers.

The ad says “liberal Democrats across America” support Orman, because “they know he’ll support President Obama,” pointing to the candidate’s contributions to Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as evidence. Orman has contributed to Republicans and registered as a member of the GOP in the past.

The ads mention Orman is for Obamacare. Hey, that should be a good thing and Orman should say so.

The silliness of the Roberts campaign was framed during a recent debate where steadfastly noted that he had been to Dodge City more times than Orman — 7 to 4. How about that! Questions abound that Roberts lives in Virginia and really doesn’t have a home in Kansas. He’s been to Dodge 7 times. Wow!

Orman should attack with all fervor. He has a ready-made issue. Roberts was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee when George W. Bush was president. Roberts was nothing more than an ad hoc point man to cover up the Bush administration’s corrupt use of the intelligence community, especially in lying about the reasons to invade Iraq.

The Kansas Democrats must utilize the many ways to get after the distortion and ineptness of the Republicans candidates.

In Busy Sports Weekend, Jeter the Tops in Class

Derek Jeter accomplished what so many successful people crave, going out in style.

He’s a can-do, successful, heroic, clutch, magnetic figure. Oh, the envy of so many.

Jeter jumped on a first-pitch fastball and with that instantly recognizable inside-out swing slapped the ball hard on the ground into right field to drive in the winning run in the Yankees dramatic 6-5 victory over  Baltimore last Thursday. It was his last game in Yankee Stadium. No strikeout to end the game. No error to allow the other team to win. Nope. He provided the game-winning hit. He has the magic.

Only those blessed can perform such ethereal feats.

Jeter conceded to his fans, “I wouldn’t have believed it myself.”

The power of success continued on the road . He hit a run-scoring infield single in the final at-bat of his 20-year major league career, leaving to a standing ovation Sunday at Fenway Park. The final hit, his 3,465th, raised his career batting average to .310.

The weekend sports menu provided a profound contrast. Not in the category of Jeter’s allure, nonetheless, the Royals got a taste of champagne. Kansas State simply won a football game and while that wasn’t quite so fascinating it sure pleased the Cats. Kansas and the U.S. Ryder Cup team traveled in another direction, down the road of ignominy

The Royals will play Oakland Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium in the first game of the American League Playoffs. They had a chance to win the Central Division title but lacked the clutch hitting that has left them in misery so often.

Kansas City clinched the wildcard spot Friday night by beating the Chicago White Sox 3-1 behind pitcher Jeremy Guthrie’s seven scoreless innings. Guthrie has posted a  0.44 ERA in his last three games. Oh the pitching for the Royals. Woe the clutch hitting for the Royals

No matter, they ended the longest active postseason drought among the major North American sports leagues. The last time the Royals made it to the playoffs, George Brett led them to a World Series victory over St. Louis in 1985. Ironically, as the Friday scene exploded into celebration, Brett stood nearby with a bottle in one hand and a cup in the other, doing his best not to get drenched, according to news reports from the scene.

“I got tired of the people criticizing the players on this team because they hadn’t won a World Series since 1985,” he said.

Greg Holland worked the ninth for his 46th save in 48 chances. Alcides Escobar had two hits, including a leadoff single in their three-run first and the Royals won for the fifth time in six games.

With the 6-4 victory over Chicago Sunday, the Royals finished the regular season 89-73, a game behind Detroit.

The Royals dropped a 5-4 decision Saturday to Chicago — missing late-inning opportunities to take the lead. The final game of the regular season simply put an exclamation point on their lack of clutch hitting — they needed 12 hits to score the 6 runs, plus, they stranded 11.

As for Kansas State, well, the Cats  showed what a good team does to squash a lesser foe — get on top early and suffocate anything that team does. Saturday before another sellout crowd in Manhattan, the Wildcats forced UTEP into three-and-outs on its first five possessions.

There was little to complain about as they won 58-28. They were coming off a 20-14 loss to then fifth-ranked Auburn.

Charles Jones ran for three touchdowns, Tyler Lockett returned a punt for another score. DeMarcus Robinson and Jake waters also had touchdown runs and Waters threw for 209 yards and another score.

Domination. It was a terrific how-to session. The Miners managed one first down and 23 yards of offense in the first half, when Kansas State took a 31-0 lead. UTEP running back Aaron Jones, the nation’s second-leading rusher, was held to 47 yards — all but nine of them after halftime. A Snyder-coached team has a knack of shutting down premier runners.

“Kansas State’s run defense was one of the best defenses I’ve seen in a long time,” UTEP Coach Sean Kugler told reporters.

More about domination. The Wildcats blocked a punt on the game’s first series to set up a field goal, then had another block wiped out by a referee’s inadvertent whistle. Later in the half, Lockett returned a punt 58 yards for a score, and had a 51-yard return set up another TD just before halftime.

The Cats finished with 451 yards of total offense while UTEP had 260.

Now the downside. KU Coach Charlie Weis is gone. After just four games this season — the Jayhawks winning just one of them — Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger announced Weis’ firing.

No surprise. And deservedly so. His idea of recruiting was showing prospects his four Super Bowl rings, not mentioning he was an assistant when he won them — at New England and New York Giants.

He’s out, with just one win against a Power 5 school, a 6-22 overall record and 1-18 in Big 12 games. His only conference victory came last year against West Virginia. He is the second coach in a row to be dismissed at Kansas before reaching the end of his contract. Weis replaced Turner Gill, who was let go after the 2011 season.

The Jayhawks’ lost 23-0 to Texas on Saturday.

Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes passed for one touchdown and ran for another and the Longhorns  picked off four Kansas passes, a reflection of just how inept the KU offense is.

KU is paying out lots of money to the two ousted coaches. According to the Lawrence Journal-World, Weis was making $2.5 million a year, and will still receive the full $7 million-plus still owed him. Weis can live a life of luxury without any work — he’s getting paid by Notre Dame, too, after he was fired there.

Defensive coordinator Clint Bowen will take over as interim head coach at KU.

Now, who will KU hire? Good question. Who will want to come? Better question. This is a basketball school with football facilities not up to big-time standards. Yes, you can win at KU. Recently, Mark  Mangino showed that you could. But it’s difficult to be a consistent football winner at KU. However, a good young assistant coach will want to prove he can get the job done.

Now to golf. How is it that the Europeans can overshadow the U.S. in Ryder Cup competition? Is it a case of knowing the intricacies, the values, the cohesiveness of team play? Whatever. The Europeans routed the U.S. 16½ to 11½ in Scotland.

Rory McIlroy’s big start, two big rallies and a rookie who hit the shot of his life gave the European performance a finish it deserved.

Jamie Donaldson, unaware he already had done enough to retain the Ryder Cup, hit a 9-iron that settled 2 feet from the cup on the 15th hole. Keegan Bradley walked onto the green, saw Donaldson’s ball next to the hole, removed his cap and conceded the birdie.

Europe won for the third straight time, and now has won eight of the last 10.

That is in Jeter style.

From Tall Tales to Texas Talk

There’s a report going around that a tall underclassman with Sudanese lineage is walking around the halls of Bishop Miege.

Yes, and he can play basketball. He’s the son of Manute Bol, a towering Dinka tribesman who left Sudan to become one of the best shot blockers in the history of the NBA. He died in 2010 at age 47 of severe kidney trouble and complications from a rare skin disease. He had returned from his homeland where he tried to heal the wounds of a long, bloody civil war.

Manute’s survived by 10 children, including four with his second wife, Ajok, of Olathe, Kansas.

Bol Bol is the young man with basketball potential. He’s considered one of the top recruits in the Class of 2018 by at least one scouting service. Manute was 7-feet-6 and his son has been estimated at already 6-7 to 6-9.

It was first thought he was headed to Blue Valley Northwest but there were reported problems with enrollment. He may work out the hitch and wind up back at Northwest.

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Josh Heupel, Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator for Oklahoma, is a top candidate for the SMU head coaching job.

June Jones resigned after just two games, both of them blowout losses. Tom Mason is acting interim coach for the Mustangs.

Heupel was named co-offensive coordinator with Jay Norvell after the 2010 regular season when Kevin Wilson left to take the head coaching job at Indiana.

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The irony of it all.

Fifty years ago H.B. Bebe Lee spent considerable time in Arizona and New Mexico studying the earth-fill stadiums at the two universities. The late Kansas State athletic director developed the idea to move the football stadium venue from campus to a northwest site. The new stadium was built for $1.6 million and seated 35,000. Now the structure is something to behold. Additions and more additions have produced a stadium that can hold more than 53,000 fans.

Now, the switch is on. Arizona Athletic Director Greg Byrne visited Manhattan and stayed for the Auburn game. He was there to examine K-State’s third-stage plan for a north end zone addition. The west addition cost at least $75 million and the new improvements are estimated at $65 million. Arizona plans to spend $70 million for its new end zone structure.

The study becomes the studier.

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Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder believes some of Auburn’s first-half success on defense happened because the Tigers knew what was coming. At least that’s the way it’s coming out after he told ESPN sideline reporter Sam Ponder that the Wildcats had to disguise some of their signals at the break.

“He said, ‘They’re getting our signals,'” Ponder reported at halftime.

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher also thought Auburn had some of the Seminoles’ signs in the National Championship in January.

Asked about the possibility that Auburn had some of the Wildcats’ signals after the game, Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn denied that the Tigers had any advantage in the first half. “No, no,” he said.

There’s nothing illegal about stealing another team’s signs. In baseball, that’s certainly part of the game.

All they simply need to do is a better job of disguising them.

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Northwest Missouri State and Pittsburg State appear to be the best of the MIAA and that means they are among the best in the country.

Northwest has hammered Kearney 31-7, Missouri Southern 40-14 and Central Missouri 37-15. Pittsburg has routed Northeastern State 37-0, Lindenwood 38-7 and Washburn 42-0.

The two will meet at 2 p.m. October 18 in Maryville. They had been playing at Arrowhead. This season, Northwest will still play a game there, meeting Washburn in the last game of the regular season.

A lot of Kansas City ties with the two teams. The numbered roster for Northwest shows 18 players from the Kansas City Metro high school area. Pittsburg lists 27 from the area.

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Kansas State and Kansas are hosting Texas schools this week in football.

At UTEP’s weekly fan luncheon, Coach Sean Kugler said, according to the school’s football website, “Offensively, the thing we’re doing well is rushing the football. We’re averaging 6.1 yards per carry and 314 yards per game. We have had 11 rushing touchdowns so we have had good production scoring from our rushing game.”

He said Kansas State would be the best football team “we have played this year. I have no doubt about that.”

He called quarterback Jake Waters outstanding, singling out the way he manages the game with his run/pass checks. “This guy is dangerous, not only throwing but running the ball as well,” he said. “He has 236 yards rushing, 707 yards passing and he accounts for six touchdowns. This guy is a leader. He can extend plays with his legs and he does a good job of doing that.”

He praised receiver Tyler Lockett as an All-American receiver, noting, “He will be one of the most explosive receivers we will face all year and he is also one of the best punt returners in the country. This is a guy that poses some matchup problems and we’re going to have to be at our best to contain him.”

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Kansas fans enjoy mentioning that the Jayhawks play Texas tough in Lawrence, pointing to the 21-17 loss a couple of years ago.

With this year’s team, it’s surely difficult to have much optimism. And Texas should be more than ready to play.

The Longhorns are coming off a bye week and sportswriters who cover them note that this is arguably the weakest team left on the Longhorn schedule. However, they’re even calling it a must-win game. How about that!

Charlie Strong has had a tough start in his first season as the Texas coach. The Longhorns are 1-2 and humiliated 41-7 at home against BYU. They led UCLA before losing 20-17.

In less than two weeks, Texas faces one of the toughest back-to-backs any college team will face all season against No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 7 Baylor.

Strong is kicking players off the team faster than you can say it’s my way or the highway. It makes you wonder what kind of discipline Mack Brown had as coach of the Longhorns.

If You Like the Pats Then You Like the Spread

So, you really think the New England Patriots will put it to the Chiefs, huh. Well, if that’s your belief, you can put a bundle on how you feel and lay just 3½ points.

The Patriots are a good football team that seems to be having a difficult time putting it all together. The Chiefs are bruised and battered but went down to Miami and put on a good show, winning 34-15.

Plus, you need to factor in the home field advantage. My biggest concern, if I were to back the Pats, would be the possibility they may be looking ahead to next week when they play hot Cincinnati at home.

The Pats are 1-1 as a road favorite while the Chiefs lost as a home favorite in the season opener. New England is averaging 22 points on offense and 16.3 on defense. KC is 20.3 and 21.7, respectively.

How am I going? I’ll take the 3½ points for $11.

Carolina at Baltimore. The Panthers are coming off an embarrassing loss to Pittsburgh. Carolina is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry and has yet to have a runner top 100 rushing yards. The lack of a running game is putting a lot of pressure on Cam Newton, who is completing 67 percent of his passes but has been sacked seven times in two games. Luke Kuechly, the best linebacker in the NFL, leads the Panthers in tackles with 34. The Ravens beat Cleveland in the final seconds and seem to be playing solid football despite being dragged through the Ray Rice scandal. Joe Flacco has completed 62 percent of his passes for four touchdowns and two picks. Big game. I like the Ravens but just a little — give the 3 and bet $11.

New Orleans at Dallas. The Saints are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games vs. Dallas. However, they are 0-6 ATS in their last six games as road favorites. The Odds Shark computer picks the Saints as a 26-22 winner. This should be an interesting quarterback matchup with Drew Brees and Tony Romo. I like the dog, but I’m a little concerned about the Cowboys mental makeup. I’ll pass on the 3 points.

Philadelphia at San Fran. The 49ers got their season started with a convincing win over Dallas but since then it has been two losses. In each of their games the 49ers led in the first half but allowed the leads to slip away and failed to score a touchdown in the second half. The Eagles are one of the last unbeaten teams in the NFL and each week they have put together a furious rally after being down. The Eagles offense is second in the NFL in points per game and sixth in yards per game. Defenses are keying on the Eagles ground attack and LeSean McCoy is averaging just 2.9 yards per carry while Darren Sproles is averaging 6.9 yards per carry on 17 carries and he also has 14 receptions out of the backfield. Jeremy Maclin is the deep threat for Philadelphia, leading the team with 16 receptions and three touchdowns. The Eagles are 26th in points allowed and 26th in yards allowed. San Francisco is 24-8-3 ATS following a game that they didn’t cover the spread, 1-4 ATS in their last five home games, and 12-5 ATS following a loss. The Eagles are 5-2 ATS against a team with a losing record, 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games, and 1-4 ATS against the NFC. Philadelphia has covered the spread in five of their last six games against San Francisco. I really like the Eagles in this one. Take the 5½ points for $33.

NFL $33 Bet. Indy -7½ vs. Tennessee.

NFL $22 Bet. Pittsburgh -7½ vs. Tampa.

NFL $11 Bets. Oakland +4 vs. Miami, San Diego -13 vs. Jacksonville, Atlanta -3 at Minnesota.

NFL Picks But No Bets. Buffalo +3 at Houston, Detroit +1½ at NY Jets, Washington -3½ vs. NY Giants, Chicago -1½ vs. Green Bay.

The Big 12 has five games lined up this week, beginning with the Texas Tech at Oklahoma State matchup Thursday night. Kansas State is home to UTEP, Kansas to Texas, Baylor is at Iowa State and TCU at SMU.

Kansas State fell five spots in the rankings despite playing No. 5 Auburn well last Thursday in a 20-14 loss. The 25th ranked Wildcats will look to get back in their winning ways against a UTEP (2-1) team that is adept so far at running the ball, ranking No. 9 in the nation with 314 yards per game. The Cats are solid against the run, however.

The Miners are led by Aaron Jones, a sophomore running back who has 549 rushing yards. If Jones can’t get loose, their hopes of overcoming the four-touchdown underdog label are likely dashed. Quarterback Jameill Showers hasn’t recorded more than 130 yards passing in a game yet this season.

K-State isn’t running the ball well either. Did Auburn provide the blueprint for shutting down the vaunted Kansas State option attack or do they simply have superior athletes that made it possible? That’s a question UTEP and their rush defense that ranks 12th worst in the country will check out.

UTEP is 3-0-0 ATS. Kansas State is 1-2-0 ATS. The Cats are giving 26½ points. Yikes. I’ll reluctantly take the dog for $11.

Picks and Parlays says don’t let the records fool you — even a banged-up Texas team is much better than this bad Kansas squad.

Kansas has little to no home field advantage; in fact, the Longhorns traveling fans might out-number the Jayhawks. Texas’ run game and superior defense will allow the Longhorns to roll. Picks and Parlays says the final score will be 34-14.

I so like the Longhorns in this one that I will lay the 13½ for $55.

Oklahoma State should be able to take full advantage of Texas Tech’s poor defense. I’ll lay the 13½ for $22. Baylor usually crushes Iowa State and I think the Bears want to make a statement here. So I’ll bet $33 while giving the 21. TCU and SMU have been long-time rivals. The Horned Frogs own the upper hand now and will continue to keep the Mustangs down. But giving 32 points tempers my enthusiasm. I’ll go with TCU for $11.

College $33 Bets. South Carolina -5½ vs. Missouri, Nebraska -20 vs. Illinois.

College $22 Bets. Virginia -27 vs. Kent State, Penn State -10½ vs. Northwestern, Clemson -14½ vs. North Carolina, Florida State -19 at North Carolina State, Washington State +12½ at Utah.

College $11 Bets. UCLA -4 at Arizona State, Iowa -10 at Purdue, Kentucky -17 vs. Vanderbilt, Boston College -7 vs. Colorado State, Notre Dame -12 at Syracuse, Arkansas +8½ at Texas A&M.

The Stats

  • Big 12. Last week, +$50. To date, +$19.
  • National College. Last week, +$25. To date, +$18.
  • All Colleges. Last week, +$75. To date, +$37.
  • Last week, +$129. To date -$14
  • NFL Picks. Last week, 11-5-0. To date, 25-22-1.
  • Grand Total Bets. Last week, +$204. To date, +$23.

Poverty Will Bring Upheaval But When?

The evil in this world fills the mind with such repulsive images. Unfiltered, a caring person cringes at the extremes that one human being will do to another. Good vs. evil ranks as the main event in most any venue. And it’s a helluva fight.

I’ve come to the conclusion that until the world fully understands that poverty provides the foundation for upheaval, unrest and revolution and sows seeds of sin we will continue to wallow, wrestle and weep in a them vs. us atmosphere.

So how do we create a culture of winning, one that will sustain a population that continues to explode in areas that need no more people? How do we provide for those who don’t have the education to know how to develop habits of well-being?

By various government means? No, that will not work. My government is different that your government. Too many differences. For example, fundamentalist religions skew the diplomatic means that could bring different countries together to help one another.

Americans are becoming more and more people in poverty. How long will they allow the rich to dominate and subjugate?

Richard Eskow, a senior fellow  with the Campaign for America’s Future, said the net result of wealth transfer from working people to the already-rich had made it difficult for most Americans to maintain or increase their standard of living.

The working poor and the lower-middle-class continue to slip into a cycle of debt. Lower-income families are now more deeply in debt, in fact, than any other income level, Eskow said.

“The decline in union strength has left working people less able to negotiate with the increasingly profitable corporate class, and has therefore rendered them less capable of guiding their own destiny,” he said.

“The result? Millions of Americans have been robbed of their freedom and autonomy by an economic system which, whether by accident or design, robs them of the belief that they can act independently to seize their own futures. That system is an elegant machine, one in which indebtedness preserves the illusion of social mobility for young people and of an affordable lifestyle for many working adults. Those illusions relieve the social pressure for change — and generate massive profits at the same time.”

How long will those who toil in unsafe areas take the pain without revolting? For example, coal miners suffering from an advanced form of black lung disease are increasing at a rapid rate. They need the money so they work longer hours and that, of course, exposes them to more coal dust. Yet, they vote for the very people who allow these maladies to persist.

“Each of these cases is a tragedy and represents a failure among all those responsible for preventing this severe disease,” wrote David J. Blackley and Cara N. Halldin, officials with NIOSH, a branch of the Centers for Disease Control.

Of course, you must know Kentucky and West Virginia lead the country in coal production. An example of political chicanery is the way Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell obfuscates his role in the management of coal mines. He sides with management, not the workers. Yet, he no doubt will win the Senate seat again. Money talks.

Where is the outrage among the miners?

For that matter, where is the outrage among all workers? Look at the way House Speaker John Boehner looks at the high jobless rate. The Ohio Republican complained that the unemployed would rather just sit around than work.

He generally backs the Ayn Rand philosophy of Paul Ryan, the ultra conservative congressman from Wisconsin who appears to want a shot at the presidency in 2016. Earlier this year, during a talk-radio interview, he spoke of a “tailspin of culture in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value of work.”

Representative Barbara Lee, D-California, said at the time that Ryan’s remarks were a “thinly veiled racial attack” in which “inner-city” was a code word for “black.”

Yet the blacks appear docile in their fight to escape the shackles of poverty.

Meanwhile, the Republicans continue to go after labor. Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, recently unveiled a bill that would make sweeping changes at the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that enforces labor law on unions and employers. The proposal would permanently change the board’s makeup from five members — three of whom. by tradition, are from the sitting president’s party — to six members, divided evenly at three Democrats and three Republicans.

As Alexander claimed on the floor, the change would “require both sides to find a middle ground.”

Yeah, right. A permanent, even split along partisan lines could ensure that the most contentious labor cases would go unresolved for years, with conservative and liberal board members at loggerheads. The reform would be akin to establishing a 10-member Supreme Court, permanently comprised of five liberals and five conservatives.

“This is the destruction of the NLRB, and they know it,” said Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America, which represents 700,000 workers. “It is a disgrace. Lamar Alexander is a disgrace.”

Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Senate committee that handles labor issues, told HuffPost that he believed the bill was “intended to undermine and debilitate the agency, rather than improve its functioning.

“I would welcome the opportunity to work with any of my colleagues on legislation that would actually improve the Board’s ability to serve its important mission, but I fear that this legislation is a step in the wrong direction.”

Wilma Liebman, a past chair of the board under President Barack Obama, agreed that the Alexander proposal could paralyze the board when it came to the thorniest of cases.

The downward thrust on labor and the poor continues at a dizzying pace. The haves are so strong now.

But trace the history of so many countries and you will find that sooner or later suppressed people ultimately respond. Mexico is a prime example of poverty and unrest. Benito Juarez, Pancho Villa, José Venustiano Carranza and Emiliano Zapata are among many who fought to free their people from the despotic nature of so many leaders. Throughout the world the poor have risen and bloody war has followed.

It seems revolution is the only way that the poor can be heard. Will America undergo such a violent change?

The Frustration of Wondering Why People Vote Against Their Own Best Interests

No matter how many times you throw the tennis ball against the wall, it keeps coming back. It’s how I feel about voters. Every time I wonder why so many vote against their own best interests, the questions keep bouncing back. Why, why, why?

The Republicans are wiping out the middle class, yet the victims keep voting for them.

Why would a woman vote for Republicans when they clearly have a war on women? Why do men support Republicans when they are against increasing the minimum wage and extending unemployment benefits? Why do red states slam government when they receive a huge percentage of their income derives from federal funds? Why would red states vote for Republicans when they kill bills for building the roads they drive on daily? Why do red states back Republicans but accept help from FEMA after a disaster?

Oh many more questions. And I wonder about the answers. Is it still the old Republican platform in relation to God, Guns and Gays with a full helping of the Southern Strategy? Racism remains a strong force, whether out front or closeted. Of course President Obama is black and the denigration I hear too often reeks of racism.

Sound logic can’t be the reason so many people vote the way they do.

The specter of Ronald Reagan fits well into my rationale of voters. Reagan railed against the Welfare Queen. The image apparently has stayed on through the years. After a recent golf game, I asked a friend why he continued to slam those on welfare but overlooked the corporate government benefactors. His screed boiled down to that he believed so many were gaming the system. Is that it? Is that why so many vote against their own best interests? Because some people game the system? Because some people are taking government funds that you paid for in taxes?

So that’s a big part of it, huh. The person on food stamps goes to the grocery store and buys a six-pack of beer and pays out of pocket then gets some groceries and pays with food stamps. That’s the reason you vote Republican. Weak. Very weak.

Yep, the Republicans want to cut $39 billion in food stamps. That’ll show ‘em.

Maybe you would rather not have a few facts stand in the way of your gossipy anecdotal story. Well, here are some about the food stamp program:

  • A vulnerable 76 percent of food stamp households include a child, an elderly person or a disabled person — and that group receives 83 percent of the food stamp benefits.
  • Food stamp eligibility is limited to households with gross income of no more than 130 percent of the federal poverty guideline — 83 percent of food stamp households have gross incomes at or below 100 percent of the poverty guideline ($19,530 for a family of 3 in 2013), and these households receive about 91 percent of all benefits.
  • The average food stamp household has a gross monthly income of $744.

Eh, get off your butts and make more money, huh. Yeah. That’s it. Do Republicans simply not realize that there are real problems out there in obtaining a good job.

Instead of a war on poverty, the Republicans have a war on those in poverty.

More than 70 percent of Americans say they are unhappy with Republicans in Congress, according to a Washington Post and ABC poll. The Republicans’ approval rating has been terrible for years but you still vote for them. Yes you do. For the mid-term elections coming in 50 days, polls show the Republicans have an edge in both the Senate and the House.

Look, the Senate Republicans recently blocked for the fourth time a bill that would strengthen federal equal pay laws for women. The Paycheck Fairness Act would ban employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with each other, impose harsher penalties for pay discrimination and require employers to be able to show that wage gaps between men and women are based on factors other than gender.

Once again the 60-vote threshold killed the bill.

Now, let’s look at the Affordable Care Act. The Republicans want to repeal it. That’s right, it would mean a loss of pre-existing conditions, coverage for college children at home and 50 million people would lose their insurance.

Tom Bell, president and CEO of the Kansas Hospital Association, said in a recent press release that evidence continued to mount that supported the importance of each state developing a plan that took advantage of expanded federal funding to provide health insurance for low income individuals.

Keep in mind that the KHA membership includes 217 member facilities, of which 128 are full-service community hospitals.

The press release noted that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute published a study in August titled: What Is the Result of States Not Expanding Medicaid? The study examined the 24 states that refused to consider Medicaid expansion. The study showed, “These states are foregoing $423.6 billion in federal Medicaid funds from 2013 to 2022, which will lessen economic activity and job growth. Hospitals in these 24 states are also slated to lose a $167.8 billion (31 percent) boost in Medicaid funding that was originally intended to offset major cuts to their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.” In short, for every $1 a state invests in Medicaid expansion, $13.41 in federal funds will flow into the state.

That contradicts what Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has espoused. He has refused the federal funding.

The study also points out that “every comprehensive state-level budget analysis of which we know, found that expansion helps state budgets because it generates state savings and additional revenues that exceed increased Medicaid costs,” a conclusion that is consistent with a study earlier commissioned by the KHA. The report estimates it would cost Kansas $525 million over the next decade to expand KanCare, the state’s Medicaid program. Without expansion, the state will lose $5.3 billion in federal funds, with hospitals losing $2.6 billion in the next decade.

Bell noted that anecdotal evidence could make the point more forcefully. Recently, Paul Taylor, the CEO of the Ozarks Community Hospital, a health system with hospitals and clinics in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas, wrote to the Missouri Dislocated Worker Program to announce that his hospital was laying off as many as 60 people in Missouri. In his letter, Taylor said: “The reason we are hiring in Arkansas and laying off in Missouri is that Arkansas chose to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and Missouri did not.”

Kansas leaders, Bell said, need to be open to a Kansas-based plan to increase coverage for this group of low-income uninsured.

Why do people vote against their own best interests?

Royals and Chiefs Battle Adversity and Win

Adversity, oh we learn so much from it. How we react says so much about us. The Royals and the Chiefs made bold statements Sunday while facing so many problems. The Royals have trouble hitting, especially in the clutch, and the Chiefs have so many injuries they need a doctor almost as much as they do a coach.

But no matter. The Royals, behind Nori Aoki’s ground ball two-run triple to right, beat Detroit 5-2 to avoid a sweep in the weekend series between the American League Central’s two top teams. Just when you thought the Chiefs would have a difficult time winning any games they came up with a sometimes shaky but always charging 35-19 win at Miami.

Oh those Royals. They certainly befuddle me. They got to have some internal problems. Something isn’t right.

I finished reading Francona, the Red Sox Years, a book authored by Boston Globe writer Dan Shaughnessy with input from Terry Francona, the Boston manager and now the manager at Cleveland. I touched on this sense I had of something going wrong with the Royals in a previous blog while reading the book. Francona and Shaughnessy dug deeply into the problems of the Red Sox organization, from the owners on down. The revelations were of a team with back-biting a constant event.

I can’t help think that Royals Manager Ned Yost has conflicts with some players and maybe management.

After the Boston championships of 2004 and 2007, Shaughnessy wrote, the players stopped taking care of each other and abused their freedom. The Red Sox started losing. Francona said he was disturbed by the lack of unity. After gaining his trust, he said, they took advantage of it in the end.

After the 2011 season, he was fired. He said, “They needed a new voice.”

Do the Royals need a new voice?

Have Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer been coddled? Do they get favored status because General Manager Dayton Moore wants credit for a strong farm system based on his decisions.?

Something sure is missing. Yes, yes, they’re fighting for a playoff spot. Why should I be so negative? Well, with the pitching staff the Royals have, they should have a place already sewed up. The hitting is inconsistent and lacks someone who can do the job in the clutch — consistently.

Just look at the last couple of games. Salvador Perez is going to be a terrific catcher but the lack-of-concentration on a play he made Saturday really cost the Royals. He didn’t tag up after a ball was caught. That is a fundamental that every baseball person knows. You know what happened. The Royals lost by a run.

Sunday, Moustakas’ error in the fourth inning enabled the Tigers to score an unearned run. Folks say you can overlook his .212 batting average because he does a good job in the field. He hasn’t done the job there in the last few weeks.

Then there’s Alcides Escobar — he and Alex Gordon are my favorite players — is fielding virtuoso at shortstop but he has committed 16 errors this season. He’s batting .281 and if he can settle down once again in the field, he can draw attention as the best in the bigs. But he can’t make errors like he did Sunday on a routine grounder in the fifth inning. Miguel Cabrera grounded into a double play to save more damage, however.

Bless Billy Butler but doggone if he doesn’t create visions of what are we going to do with him. I certainly think he and Yost are at odds. Yost certainly has less patience with Butler than he does with others on the team who may suffer at the plate. You don’t bench an $8 million a year designated hitter without some animosity. Sure, Butler has been in a slump — he’s hitting just .145 in the last 30 games. But who isn’t doing poorly at the plate overall?

Look at these averages over the last 30 games: Omar Infante .242, Perez .241, Jarrod Dyson .217 and Gordon .184, for crying out loud.

Butler will be a free agent next season and despite the I’ll-be-back words after the game, I doubt if he will — at least if Yost is here.

Sunday was the last home game of the season and the great KC fans showed up for the last hurrah — attendance for the season was the highest since 1991. The Royals pulled within 1½ games of Detroit for the top spot in the division. The Royals, looking for their first playoff appearance since they won the World Series in 1985, also stayed in position for a wild card.

The Tigers will finish the season at home with seven games against Chicago and Minnesota.

The Royals’ victory once again belonged to the pitchers. The Royals needed 11 hits to get the five runs — and the output included three doubles — Eric Hosmer, Escobar and Gordon — plus Aoki’s triple. They always require a bunch of hits to score a few runs.

Anyway, Jeremy Guthrie, now 12-11, escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second inning but left in the sixth inning after 81 pitches, yielding just one earned run. The dominant bullpen came through again with Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland holding the Tigers scoreless. Davis struck out two, bringing his total to 103, tying a Royals record for a reliever. Holland threw a perfect ninth for his 43rd save in 45 chances, and his first since September 3.

The Royals will start the road trip Monday in Cleveland.

And how about those Chiefs! Quarterback Alex Smith threw three touchdown passes, shaking off five sacks, and Knile Davis, subbing for the injured Jamaal Charles, ran for a career-high 132 yards as the beat the Miami Dolphins 34-15.

The Chiefs are 1-2 and won for only the third time in their past 11 games, including the postseason.

The Chiefs outgained the Dolphins by just 10 yards, 342 to 332. They also turned the ball over twice. Yet they won big.

Besides Davis’ effort, Joe McKnight, who was out of football last year, got a chance in the backfield and caught six passes for 64 yards — he scored two TDs.

The defense remained aggressive and made the key plays when needed, including four quarterback sacks. Interestingly, Coach Andy Reid used a three tight-end setup that produced yards.

Seven Chiefs made receptions as Smith threw for 186 yards without an interception.

Next up, the Chiefs will be in the limelight with a Monday Night Football game against New England.

Mistakes Cost Cats as “SEC, SEC” Chant Continues On

My gosh, all those mistakes. You hate to go negative but for the life of me I don’t understand how Kansas State could make so many errors in a big-time football game. But the Wildcats did and they suffered in many ways, mainly a loss.

Before a full house of mostly purple Thursday night in Manhattan, the Cats dropped a 20-14 decision to the hyped Auburn Tigers. The nationally televised game offered the nation a look at an SEC-Big 12 matchup and once again the Big 12 team lost on the field and in the war of words. You gotta win to stop the “SEC, SEC” chant.

All that buildup of the Auburn offense. Well, the Cat defense played hard, really hard, yielding just 20 points, but 359 yards running and passing. However, when the offense makes as many mistakes as K-State’s did, the pressure builds for the defense to make stops. And the Cats couldn’t stop the Tigers all the time.

Quarterback Jake Waters needed a big game for the Cats. He didn’t have it — losing two fumbles and throwing two interceptions. Jack Cantele missed three field goals, one a chip shot.

Take a look at the first quarter for the Cats:

  • The opening kickoff went out of bounds, giving Auburn field position at its 35.
  • Waters lost a fumble at the Cat 21 that set up an Auburn field goal.
  • Tyler Lockett, the guy who always makes the plays, didn’t, allowing a pass in the end zone to skip away and Auburn’s Jonathon Jones grabbed the deflection to stop the drive.
  • Cantele missed on his first field goal try, this one from 41 yards out.

And yet the Cats trailed just 3-0.

Look, this shouldn’t be a sob sister story. But when you watch the game on TV from the comfort of your home and you keep seeing play after play go up in smoke, it’s a little difficult to hold in your angst.

Bear with me. Check out these items:

  • After K-State went up 7-3 in the second quarter, Auburn came right back on a nine-play, 75-yard drive, capped by a Nick Marshall to Ricardo Louis 40-yard TD pass play — as the K-State defender fell down.
  • Cantele missed a chance for the Cats to tie as the half ended when his 42-yard field goal attempt wasn’t even close.
  • After Cantele missed a 22-yarder at 5:54 of the third quarter, Auburn drove 80 yards in 15 plays to take a 17-7 lead.
  • Trovon Reed intercepted Waters early in the fourth quarter and that set up another scoring drive. On the first play Louis fumbled and it appeared cornerback Darrell Evans had the ball all wrapped up. He didn’t and the Tigers continued on offense, winding up with a field goal for a 20-7 lead.

You just can’t have those things happen and expect to win a game, especially against the caliber of a team like Auburn.

A flaw, perhaps, in the defense was the soft secondary on third down  plays — the Tigers converted 10 of 18.

Waters was trying to do everything — the Cats were having trouble running the ball. They rushed only 30 times for 40 yards, a 1.3 per carry average. Waters wound up with 24 of 40 passes for 245 yards. He was minus-7 rushing. The Tigers scouted his tendencies very well, obviously.

Lockett was okay but the Tigers double-teamed him on almost every offensive play. The defenders went on a search-and-destroy mission — they were all over Lockett, who ended with 45 yards on just 6 catches.  Curry Sexton took advantage of all the attention paid Lockett and caught 11 balls for 121 yards.

“Tyler deserves so much attention,” Sexton said in post-game quotes. “Other guys are going to have to step up. They put two guys on him most of the night. Having him out there helps the rest of us, but at the same time you have to make plays. We did not make enough tonight.”

Lockett noted, “It hurts a lot. We left a lot out there on the field. One of the plays that I remember the most is that I dropped a touchdown that turned into an interception. We missed field goals and fumbled the ball. We just made a lot of mistakes.”

Lockett showed his mettle as a special teams performer, returning 3 punts for a 23.7 average and a kickoff for 23 yards.

How was touted Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall? Okay. He had 231 yards passing and 45 yards rushing. But this day belonged to the Auburn defense. Big, strong, fast. They can force mistakes. Yet, if Waters had been just a little more precise, oh well, what if, forget it.

K-State Coach Bill Snyder said the Cats didn’t throw the ball effectively, noting the Tigers put a ton of people up in the box. “It put you in a position where you really had to throw the ball,” he said.

He certainly was fully aware of the mistakes, saying, “We beat ourselves, for sure. They will probably say they did not play their best game, but that is just credit to the way we played defensively. Offensively, we just could not finish in the red zone and that is what we are usually best at. To leave that many points on the field is just frustrating.”

Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn said in the post-game, “They were everything that we thought they would be. I am very proud of our defense. Forcing some turnovers in the red zone I thought that was huge. I told them after the game that this was a game that will help us in the future. We faced some major adversity tonight and our guys responded well.”

The win was the Tigers’ first on the road against a nonconference opponent since Virginia in 1997, and the first over a ranked nonconference foe on the road since Florida State in 1984. Auburn was the highest-ranked team to play in Manhattan since second-ranked Penn State in 1969.Auburn running back Cameron Artis-Payne said, “A win is a win. You come on the road into hostile territory, and they are a top 20 team, and they have a legendary coach. So we knew what it was going to be. We knew they were going to be prepared. We knew it was going to be a dog fight, and they did not disappoint.”

Auburn has developed a winning program. What happened late makes that point. K-State had cut the lead to 20-14  with 3:49 to go. The Tigers had to hold on to the ball, right? Sure. Hmmm. With third and 9 at their 37, would they run the clock to give K-State little time? Nah. Marshall stepped back, spotted receiver D’haquille Williams behind the secondary and hit him for a 39-yard gain. They then ran out the clock. What would have happened if the pass fell incomplete? The clock would have stopped and the Tigers would have had to punt to Lockett. Maybe it wasn’t such a gamble. Whatever, they made the play and it was a winner.

Will Expectations Meet Anticipation?

Like the lilting voice of Carly Simon singing Anticipation with the sound of the word drawn out, Kansas State fans have been crooning the merits of this game for some time. When it is all over, wonder if the expectations will be off-key?

After a pair of big home wins, No. 5 Auburn looks at No. 20 Kansas State as its first major test of the season Thursday night in Manhattan. In looking at the poll right now, Auburn could face seven ranked teams in the next 10 games.

Much bally-hooed Nick Marshall of Auburn and improving Jake Waters of K-State offer a study in quarterbacks. Marshall is the runner and Waters the passer. However, Waters leads the Big 12 in rushing as the Wildcats are utilizing his abilities to read defenses in a hurry. Marshall is improving on his passing game.

Marshall wound up at Auburn after playing at Garden City, Kansas, Community College. Last season, he averaged 234 yards total offense per game — 1,976 passing and 1,068 rushing for the season.

The K-State defense will be tested to contain Auburn’s speed. However, Auburn respects K-State’s defense and expects strong resistance. Rhett Lashlee, Auburn’s offensive coordinator, said in Bleacher Report that K-State’s defense didn’t do a lot but what it did it did really well. “They’re very gap-sound,” he said. “They’re rarely going to give you something cheap. They’re going to make you earn everything in the run and the pass game.”

K-State Coach Bill Snyder countered that Auburn’s offense was so fast with big and physical receivers and running backs. They are quick and change direction extremely well, Snyder said, adding that the offensive line is physical and tough to defend. “You’re not playing just Nick Marshall, you got to defend the gamut of offensive football,” Snyder said.

So many things to consider in this game. Is it a SEC vs. Big 12 showcase? Can the Cats run the ball effectively? Will Auburn’s speed kill? Will K-State be in awe or determined? Can Auburn handle the pressure of leaving the Deep South?

The key just may be how the Cat defense handles the pressure on the corners. Marshall can do a lot of damage and the Tigers have a stable of running backs.

So, how will you bet this? The line opened Auburn -6½ and has climbed to -9. That’s pretty good movement. Auburn beat Arkansas in its home opener 45-21, giving 17 points as a home favorite. The Tigers followed that with a 59-13 victory as a 34-point home favorite. K-State beat Stephen F. Austin 55-16 in its home opener then escaped at Iowa State 32-28 as a 12-point road favorite.

The Tigers are 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS over their last four road games. They’re off to a 2-0 SU and ATS start to the 2014 season. Here’s a stat you need to know: They are 13-0 against the spread in the last 13 games. Odds Shark ranks Auburn at No. 6 in its power rating with K-State at No. 33. Using various scoring formulas, Odds Shark noted, the score is forecast at 46-34, Auburn.

Hey, you knew I would do this. I’m taking the home dog for $22. Snyder has had time to prepare, they’re at home and you can recall what happened to touted USC in Manhattan.

Kansas is home to Central Michigan Saturday as a 3½-point favorite. The Jayhawks just can’t lose to the Chippewas, can they! Whew. The Chippewas — don’t you just love saying that — beat Tennessee-Chattanooga 20-10 and Purdue 38-17 but lost 40-3 last week to Syracuse. Okay, put an arrow through my heart — I’m laying the points for $11.

Oklahoma at West Virginia is the only other Big 12 game this week. The Mountaineers have been scoring and the two teams had a wild one the last time they met in Morgantown, OU pulling it out 50-49. Can they top a hundred this week. Eh, probably not. Take OU for $22 and lay the 7½.

  • National College $22 Bets. Missouri -13½ vs. Indiana, Minnesota -8½ vs. San Jose, Arkansas -13½ vs. Northern Illinois.
  • National College $11 Bets. Pittsburgh -4½ vs. Iowa, Georgia -41 vs. Troy, Wisconsin -27 vs. Bowling Green, Duke -17 vs. Tulane, Colorado -7½ vs. Hawaii, Alabama -14½ vs. Florida, Oregon -24 at Washington State, Utah State +2½ at Arkansas State.

So, will the KC Chiefs show up in Miami with energy like they showed in Denver or struggle as they did in the opener against Tennessee? They have lots of injuries, including a high ankle sprain for Jamaal Charles. The offense needs to gear up, especially in the red zone and there’s no reason it can’t against Miami’s defense, which is giving up 24.5 points a game.

A victory over New England in Week 1 had Miami Dolphins fans confident in the team’s performance, but a loss to the Buffalo Bills now make them wonder. Handicappers expect Miami to bounce back against the Chiefs. I’m passing on Miami -4. I think the Chiefs will cover but lose outright.

Well, well, Denver at Seattle. Did the two teams play so poorly last week because they were thinking about this one? Possibly. The Bronco offense is not meshing and the Seahawk defense isn’t mashing. The Bronco offense suffered in last season’s Super Bowl against Seattle and there’s a good chance it won’t get going against Seattle. I’ll take the Seahawks for $11 and lay the 5.

I was just horrible last week but I think I got some bad beats, too — like Indy losing a 14-point lead and then falling by 3. Tennessee proved its offense isn’t quite like it showed against the Chiefs, losing to Dallas 26-10. The Titans will travel to Cincy and I don’t think they will cover the 7. Take the touted Bengals for $22. Arizona and San Francisco will play to determine possibly the best of the West. The 49ers didn’t show much last week in the loss to Chicago and I don’t think they will cover the 3 so take the points for $11.

  • NFL $33 Bets. Dallas -1 at St. Louis, Baltimore -1½ at Cleveland, Indy -7½ at Jacksonville.
  • NFL $11 Bets. Houston -2 at NY Giants, Pittsburgh +3 at Carolina.
  • NFL Picks But No Bets. Atlanta -6½ vs. Tampa, Buffalo -2 vs. San Diego, Philadelphia -7 vs. Washington, Detroit -1½ vs. Green Bay, New Orleans -10½ vs. Minnesota, New England -14 vs. Oakland, NY Jets -2½ vs. Chicago.

The Stats

  • Big 12. Last week, -$36. To date, -$31.
  • National College. Last week, -$37. To date, -$7.
  • All Colleges. Last week, -$73. To date, -$38.
  • Last week, -$103.
  • NFL Picks. Last week, 6-10-0. To date, 14-17-1.
  • Grand Total Bets. Last week, -$176. To date, -$181.