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Jerry Brewer explains the thinking behind his columns and invites readers to express their views on the sports world.

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December 28, 2008 9:31 AM

Crystal Helmet, season finale

Posted by Jerry Brewer

It's Week 17 in the NFL (and Week 18 for the Crystal Helmet because the college season started a week earlier), so I'm down to my final regular-season picks of the year. I need to go a perfect 10 for 10 to reach my goal of 70 percent. If you think that's going to happen, you probably think the Mariners will go to the World Series in 2009.

(Speaking of wacky predictions, be sure to check out today's column, a quirky yet optimistic look at 2009.)

OK, let's play the game one last time.

Seahawks 24, Arizona 19
Why:
In the past five games, the Cardinals are 1-4. As talented as they are, their NFC West reign may not last beyond this season. In Mike Holmgren's Seahawks finale, his team will want to send him out with a three-game winning streak. Look for the Hawks to win a close one and leave Arizona wondering if next season will be different.

Minnesota 20, New York Giants 13
Baltimore 23, Jacksonville 14
Green Bay 31, Detroit 20
Miami 24, New York Jets 22
Dallas 27, Philadelphia 24
San Diego 35, Denver 29
New England 28, Buffalo 14
Atlanta 21, St. Louis 10
Tampa Bay 27, Oakland 14

Last week's record: 7-3
Season to date: 116-54 (68.2 percent)

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December 23, 2008 8:41 AM

A reason to watch the NBA?

Posted by Jerry Brewer

Today's column is about how many Seattle-bred NBA players are thriving, led by Brandon Roy. It's an interesting situation because even though the NBA has turned its back on this city, Seattle continues to supply the league with some of its most promising talent.

This column isn't an attempt to woo you back to the league. If you're still upset with Czar Stern and others about what happened with the Sonics, believe me, I'm with you. I still watch portions of NBA games because I love basketball, but it's difficult to truly invest in the league since I'm no longer able to cover the Sonics. Nevertheless, there are some locals worth following.

Usually, during a televised NBA game this season, I peek at a quarter here and there. But last Thursday, I was fully engaged in Brandon Roy's 52-point outburst against the Phoenix Suns. He's a remarkable talent who continues to improve. When you think he's gotten as good as he will get, he adds another dimension to his game. The biggest criticism of Roy used to be that he'll never be a scorer on the level of Kobe Bryant or LeBron James. Well, this season Roy has shown that, when needed, he can put up 30 points. In addition, he's so versatile that he can make an 18-point performance seem like so much more because of his ability to pass, defend and even rebound. He's quickly becoming my favorite basketball player.

(Of course, as my luck would have it, I praised Roy on a day when he had his worst game of the season, a 3-for-11 performance in a loss to Denver. Oh well.)

So, here's the dilemma: Do you continue to ignore the NBA? Or do you support Seattle's finest?

Or do you just need more time?

There's no wrong answer. People grieve differently.

But it's good to know that even though the NBA has taken away the Sonics, it can't stop depending on Seattle basketball players. It just goes to show that the city is -- and always will be -- more important that a single sports league.

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December 21, 2008 9:39 AM

Crystal Helmet, Week 17

Posted by Jerry Brewer

I've been away on vacation, visiting my family in Kentucky and Tennessee. My column resumes Tuesday, but here are the weekly football picks. It's the second-to-last week, and my goal is to be at 70 percent. I have to be near perfect (17-3) to do that. Here's how I'm calling it this week.

Seahawks 21, New York Jets 17
Why:
It's Mike Holmgren's home finale, and the Jets have been awful on the West Coast this season. The Seahawks have been playing with tremendous pride of late, and they will leave their fans with a positive Qwest Field memory during a disappointing season.

Pittsburgh 17, Tennessee 13
Miami 31, Kansas City 14
New England 35, Arizona 21
Denver 24, Buffalo 20
Atlanta 21, Minnesota 19
Philadelphia 27, Washington 23
New York Giants 20, Carolina 17
Chicago 28, Green Bay 27
San Francisco 29, St. Louis 17

Last week's record: 6-4
Season to date: 109-51 (68.1 percent)

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December 14, 2008 9:37 AM

Crystal Helmet, Week 16

Posted by Jerry Brewer

With the college football regular season over, we're down to picking only NFL games. I'll pick 10 this week to stay consistent with what I've done all season. Let's start with the NFL version of the Apple Cup (only they're not in-state rivals), Seahawks versus Rams.

Seahawks 24, Rams 17
Why:
The Seahawks are bad and battered, but they're not beyond redemption. The Rams are. Therefore, expect the Seahawks to control this game on the road even with their makeshift lineup. I see Deion Branch having another big game as he tries to prove he can still be productive.

New York Giants 28, Dallas 16
Atlanta 27, Tampa Bay 14
Green Bay 31, Jacksonville 19
New York Jets 24, Buffalo 9
Arizona 20, Minnesota 14
Pittsburgh 17, Baltimore 13
Carolina 27, Denver 23
Philadelphia 35, Cleveland 10
Kansas City 14, San Diego 13

Last week's record: 7-3
Season to date: 103-47 (68.7 percent)

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December 10, 2008 12:35 PM

Powerless Rankings: Knives, lies and bribes

Posted by Jerry Brewer

Our weekly tracking of the 10 most hapless stories in sports:

10. Oscar De La Hoya
Comment:
Went down in weight to get pounded by Manny Pacquiao, who practically had to jump into the air to hit him. Here's guessing De La Hoya retires and becomes the next athlete on "Dancing With The Stars."

9. Kevin McHale
Comment:
The terrible GM is now the coach. Sounds a lot like the Isiah Thomas route to getting fired.

8. Derrick Rose
Comment:
The star rookie point guard has finally done something wrong. He claims he sliced his forearm by -- get this! -- rolling onto a knife while eating an apple in bed. Somewhere, Plaxico Burress is smiling.

7. Dominic Raiola
Comment:
He wants to fight Lions fans who have the audacity to ridicule their 0-13 team. The nerve of those fans, eh? Perhaps Raiola, a center, should focus his anger on someone else, like the opposing nose tackle.

6. Tyrone Willingham
Comment:
He's currently soliciting job offers from downtrodden programs.

5. Jim Zorn
Comment:
His wonderful start is yielding to a nightmarish finish. And now his best player, Clinton Portis, is mocking his "genius." Can you see irrational owner Daniel Snyder inching his finger closer to the eject button?

4. Auburn officials
Comment:
A contingent of the fan base is upset that they forced coach Tommy Tuberville out and lied about it, claiming he quit. Surprised? Sounds like typical Auburn business to me.

3. NFL layoffs
Comment:
When the NFL cuts 14 percent of its staff, you know we're in an economic crisis.

2. O.J. Simpson
Comment:
What's worse: That he went to jail for being so stupid? Or that ESPN televised his sentencing? May we never hear about Orenthal James Simpson again.

1. Gov. Rob Blagojevich
Comment:
In addition to trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat, the Illinois governor wanted to use the Cubs sale as leverage for better editorial treatment from the Chicago Tribune. A candidate for the "Powerless" Hall of Shame, for certain.

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December 8, 2008 10:04 PM

Steve Sarkisian: Not as big a gamble as advertised

Posted by Jerry Brewer

When the Mariners hired Don Wakamatsu as their rookie manager, GM Jack Zduriencik interrupted talk about his lack of seasoning to offer a different view.

"He's a new manager, but he's not inexperienced," Jack Z said, citing his yeoman's work in various coaching jobs throughout baseball. "Don't discredit what he's accomplished just because he hasn't had the top job."

The words were appropriate coming from a man who waited until age 57 to get his GM gig. And those words can be applied to the new Husky football coach, Steve Sarkisian.

I know he's only been around for one press conference, but I think he's going to be a hit.

For certain, Sarkisian will have an adjustment period as a first-time head coach. It's a different world being in charge of everything, instead of just the offense. We will see his weaknesses, especially early on, but ultimately I believe he will grow into an incredible success here.

Continue reading this post ...


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December 6, 2008 7:39 PM

Husky recap: Happy Holidays, from Ty Willingham

Posted by Jerry Brewer

Husky-Cal pics 002.jpg

My picture is just about all that needs to be said.

Oh and 12.

Never thought I'd see this when I moved to Seattle.

Tyrone Willingham moonwalked with the program in his four years. When he was hired, the biggest fear was supposed to be that he'd only make the Huskies mediocre. Well, surprise, surprise: Turns out he could do a lot worse than mediocre.

To recap some of the lows of this season, which closed Willingham's four-year Husky record at 11-36:

-- The Huskies achieved a Triple Crown of bad defense: Most yards per game allowed, most points per game allowed and most total points allowed in school history.

--They averaged 263.2 yards on offense, the lowest in 41 years.

-- First 0-12 team in Pac-10 team history.

-- Lost nine of 12 games by 20 points or more.

-- Average score this season: 39-13.

After a year like this, after being booted from two straight jobs, you'd think Willingham would want to sit out a season, but he seems adamant about finding another head-coaching gig.

Good luck, bud.

The resume is not looking so hot these days.

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December 6, 2008 10:48 AM

Crystal Helmet, Week 15

Posted by Jerry Brewer

College picks

California 38, Washington 13
Why:
It's not so much a game as it is a goodbye. Or rather, a tossing overboard. Tyrone Willingham is off the ship after this one, and Steve Sarkisian has already been tagged his replacement. At least the hope for a better day will obstruct the humiliation of going 0-12.

Florida 27, Alabama 21
Oklahoma 49, Missouri 35
USC 45, UCLA 17
Arizona State 37, Arizona 35

NFL picks

New England 24, Seahawks 3
Why:
The injuries just won't stop, but the schedule continues. The Seahawks display their worst offensive showing of the season -- which is saying something -- and the Patriots win a game in which they're never threatened.

Dallas 24, Pittsburgh 19
Baltimore 21, Washington 17
Miami 24, Buffalo 13
New York Giants 21, Philadelphia 20

Last week's record: 8-2
Season to date: 96-44 (68.7 percent)

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More from this blog

Recent entries

Dec 28, 08 - 09:31 AM
Crystal Helmet, season finale

Dec 23, 08 - 08:41 AM
A reason to watch the NBA?

Dec 21, 08 - 09:39 AM
Crystal Helmet, Week 17

Dec 14, 08 - 09:37 AM
Crystal Helmet, Week 16

Dec 10, 08 - 12:35 PM
Powerless Rankings: Knives, lies and bribes

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