Sunday, January 29, 2006

Flick the Button - I told you I was watching good ones...

1. Shaolin Soccer: I saw a dubbed version, so I feel like that cost me the full experience. It is very funny, and extremely clever. One of the best things about the two Chow movies I've seen is the quirkiness of the smaller roles. I liked Kung Fu Hustle a lot better. While that might be because I saw it first (and a better print), I also think it's a more complete film. I also think this movie was hacked up a little too much. It could've used another 20 minutes. Steak knives.

2. Spirited Away: I liked this significantly more than Princess Mononoke, though I think I understood it a little less. One of the problems I saw in Mononoke was that I didn't think there was anything in it that made the animation special. In this, the world created by Miyazaki definitely could only have been created this way, and for some reason that makes a difference. This movie seemed just so completely creative and original, unlike anything else I'd seen, including Mononoke. I can't get many of the scenes out of my head. All that adds up to a Cadillac.

3. The Motorcycle Diaries: On a purely technical level, this is an exceptional film. The acting is very good, the scenery is breathtaking, and the photography singes the mind's eye. The plot breaks no new ground, but in a way that makes it a better film. I think the movie deconstructs the politics of Guevara - the focus is on the decency in all humanity, I think - in a way that doesn't play to the middle, but also shouldn't turn off viewers. The scenes at the leper colony are especially outstanding. I can't put my finger on what was a flaw, but it didn't hit every high note. Perhaps I think it was a better film because of it's simplicity (I think a comprehensive and complicated character study might be impossible to film), but the simplicity also left me wanting more, I guess. Steak knives.

4. Roger & Me: Having seen Fahrenheit 9-11 and Bowling for Columbine, I always felt kind of dumb for never having seen this. I'm so torn on Moore. When he stays focused on the center of his argument, his films can be powerful and concise. This is the case in all three. There are simply heartbreaking vignettes, even considering that it's agitprop. But then again, Moore tends to travel down the most tendentious of loose strings, which truly hurt his central argument. In Fahrenheit and Columbine, the dead ends and four-degrees-away scenes are more annoying though. Here, they're a little more entertaining, and less annoying. The Amway saleslady and the Bob Eubanks portions especially (and did Eubanks get into a ton of trouble when this first came out for that joke? I can't see how he didn't). I'm really unsure on how to rate this. On one hand I want to call it you're fired, because it just doesn't feel as powerful as I thought it should, but on the other, I think it's at least a set of steak knives, for the one question that this movie really raised to me: what is the connection between cowardice and wealth. Steak knives.

5. The Ipcress File: This one really surprised me. Moody, dark, extremely smart, and very well acted. The score was absolutely fantastic. Caine was classy, brilliant, and badass all at once. A personal aside: my favorite genre of fiction when reading for purely pleasure is spy thrillers. This reminded me of the better thrillers I've read. Just really good. Call it a cadillac, but mostly because I like this kind of movie.

UPDATE: Added because for some reason I forgot to post this in one of the last few and realized it when reviewing for a year-end post...

The Ladykillers (2004): Hanks' character overwhelms him. The supporting characters are annoyingly and uselessly quirky (come on, a GI tract problem?), very unusual for the Coens. Unlike the Ealing version (which I also saw this year), more seems to be focused on the heist itself, and this actually isn't good. It's odd, because when I saw the original, I thought not enough time was devoted to the heist. Here, they give more time, but it still doesn't work. This version made me like the original more (and I'm considering upgrading it to a steak knife). Have the Coens lost their fastball (though I thought Intolerable Cruelty was decent), or was that run of Fargo-Lebowski-O Brother-Man Who Wasn't There just too amazing to keep up? I lean toward the latter (I consider all 4 to be cadillacs). Here's hoping they get back to it. You're fired.

and not a movie, but it took so much time...

Lost (Season 1): I won't get into it too much, beyond saying that this show makes me think just about every other show I watch (or the Lady makes us watch) look like shit (except Arrested Development). The main idea I want to get across though is the way TV shows on DVD make the show seem that much better. The program looks better because of the digital quality, the sound is better, and the ability to maintain continuity in plot (because you don't have to wait two damn months to get to the next episode). The Lady and I considered downloading this season's episodes to catch up, but we decided we'd rather wait for season 2 on DVD and catch up to start season 3. So don't mention anything in comments about this year! We'll get there soon enough. But yeah, I think it's awesome.


There's officiating, and then there's the SEC's officials

Yesterday's Georgia-Auburn game reminded me that for as bad as I think the SEC's football referees are, the basketball refs might be even worse. Now, I could rely solely on the fact that Auburn shot 26 more free throws than Georgia, and on the biggest single possession of the entire game a full 4 ridiculously obvious fouls went uncalled (Gaines drive to the basket when the Dawgs were down 2). But that's just the Georgia fan in me. The thing is that the refs were bad to both teams. It's called consistency, and the stripes lacked it throughout. Countless handchecks that were nothing more than a slight graze went called, while multiple times where players were shoved to the ground the whistles were silent. The opening 5 minutes of the second half were some of the closest called basketball I've ever seen. Auburn was in the double bonus by 13:30 remaining. Just madness. Then, as the game moved along, and got increasingly physical, the calls disappeared. Offensive fouls and over-the-back calls varied wildly in what the refs would allow. On two consecutive times down the court in the second half, Korvotney Barber and Rasheem Barrett got easy putbacks off of offensive rebounds. On both plays Barber and Barrett shoved the Georgia player who had boxed them out clear into the stands. No call on either.

The officiating was so bad I was seriously yelling at the TV for Felton TO get a technical, just to get the refs to focus a little more.

But that is about par for the course in the SEC. Since I've followed SEC basketball, I cannot remember a game without at least 10 terrible calls or missed calls. Just a shame.

[I take no position on whether the officials' ineptitude cost Georgia the game - there were a good number of other things contributing to the loss. This post solely serves to draw attention to how bad the zebras were.]


Tuesday, January 24, 2006


1. Apparently losing to the Hawks is the straw that breaks the camel's back. Artest to Sac-town. Win-win situation. I think both teams improve. Artest, if he stays sane for a a year and a half, instead of the typical 1 year expiration, could make the Kings serious contenders this year and next.

UPDATE: Well, looks like this deal ain't happening now. It went from a win-win to a big big big big lose-lose. Peja is pissed, the Pacers now are going to be 5 times as pissed at Artest, forcing them to take even less for him. Just a big old mess. Meanwhile, the Pacers got annihilated yet again.

2. English soccer is beset by allegations of corruption (link via Coke Bref) in the transfer market, called Bunging. I haven't been as up to date on this as I'd like, but for those not following soccer, bunging is an illegal practice of kickbacks to managers or chairmen for allowing transfers to go through. For example (and this is a hypothetical - no allegations here), Arsenal wants to obtain the services of Theo Walcott from Southampton. Walcott's agent wants the deal to go through, so that Walcott can get the portion of the transfer fee entitled to him (a portion of which goes to the agent) and higher wages from one of the world's biggest clubs (as compared to a recently relegated, smaller market club). Southampton is stalling, waiting for a better offer or an influx of cash to be able to hang on to him or something. So Walcott's agent offers cash (a "bung") to the decisionmakers at Southampton in order to have them "change their mind". If the allegations, made by Luton's Mike Newell and somewhat corroborated by Sven Goran Eriksson, are true, it'd be a serious blow to the sport. It'd be like if the Spurs slipped cash under the table to the Knicks GM in order for him to allow Nazr Mohammed to go to San Antonio for virtually nothing. Personal payoffs to individuals in exchange for the individual acting against the best wishes of his employer. This is shady business. And I truly hope it doesn't happen here. But would you put it past Isiah Thomas or Rob Babcock, considering some of the outrageous moves they've made in the last few years?

3. I think this is kind of odd. I read Peter King and Bill Simmons pretty regularly, and I'm not sure I've ever seen them, or any other national writers (other than contrived ESPN yell sessions) as far apart on an issue as this. Herman Edwards, with two years left on his contract, wants out to be able to go coach the Chiefs. Peter King thinks it's completely unbelieveable that the Jets only obtained a 4th round pick in exchange (questions the Jets' management's manhood, compares it to the Vermeil, Gruden and Belichick deals), thinking the Jets should've got much much much more for him. Simmons thinks it's completely unbelieveable that the Chiefs gave up anything to get him and that the Jets have to be elated that they don't have to fire him and pay him the rest of his contract. I think Edwards is a decent coach (the kind that can get to the playoffs every other year or so), but not in the Vermeil, Belichick or Gruden strata. So a 4th rounder seems about right to me. But I can't remember two national columnists taking such disparate views on the same deal.

4. Dan Shanoff... dude, just... I don't know. Yesterday's Quickie was all about how he's so over the Super Bowl because there aren't any compelling storylines, like loudmouth wide receivers or movie star-dating quarterbacks. Further proof that he looks for copy, not a good game. Mighty MJD has a stellar closer to his criticism:

"Maybe you jones for outsize drama. I jones to see who's the best. I want to see who's going to be the World Champion. That's enough for me, because I like sports. If you need outlandish characters and plot twists, give up sports and go watch Desperate Housewives or something."

That pretty much sums up my annoyance with Shanoff, but today he took it (link here today) to a completely new level. He brings us his new recurring feature "My Bad", where he allows readers of the Quickie to point out how moronic, insular and "WFAN-wouldn't-let-you-on-the-air-with-these-weak-takes" his opinions are. His readers pointed out, reasonably, that uhhh, you care because it's the championship of the most followed sport. And then they did point out several interesting storylines (Bettis, Alexander, first title shot for Seattle, good young QBs). Now, instead of actually giving credit to the reader responses, or even just posting them without snark, he has to get in the last word with a snide comment rebutting (poorly) the readers' submissions. Here's the thing: if you want credit for offering your space to the readers for their ideas, you can't point out how wrong they are. As a New Year's Resolution, Shanoff spoke exaltedly about how interactive he was going to make the Quickie this year, and how he was going to offer corrections and whatnot. If it's called "My Bad", you can't then point out how you weren't wrong in the first place. It kind of goes against the point. It seems like Shanoff wants the credit of offering feedback without the responsibility of actually having it mean anything. Straight from the Dennis Dodd or Matt Hayes playbook. Look, Shanoff doesn't have to offer any space to his readers, and in fact, I think he'd be better off not. But if he does and wants the credit for doing so, this isn't the way to do it.

Another moronic Shanoff take today: whining that nobody gave a 25th place college basketball poll vote to North Dakota State. Great win for the Bison. But they're 10-9. Polls mean something in college hoops (they do affect, if even slightly tourney selections). Shanoff here is encouraging voters not to treat their ballots with the same level of importance that those same ballots are then treated by others. This is, at best, silly; at worst, affecting the propriety of the game.

Also, dude, nobody with a brain thinks Earl Boykins is more "must-see" than KG, Amare, Carmelo, Duncan, Shaq, Dwight Howard, Arenas, Nash, The Wallace boys, Chauncey Billups, Vince Carter, Kidd, Chris Paul, Ginobili, Kirilenko, Jermaine O'Neal, Pierce, Bibby, Allen, Redd (and I think I could go on quite a ways). Yes, he's short. You are too. But you won't be an NBA player just because Boykins is. That mention just furthers my theory on the guy: that his ideal sporting world is a place where every team is made up of only small, nerdy guys like him. Seems like he never matured past that stage where he was throwing a football to himself, pretending to be both Montana and Rice.

5. This story was on CNN's main page, near the top. A few questions: a) Undressed was on the air for 6 seasons? Seriously? Is it still on the air? I haven't seen anything about it for about 6 years - and I only remember the show at all because there was a particular plotline where there were twins and one was a lesbian (google hits here I come!) and it was intriguing to frustrated first year law students like my roommates and me (when we weren't watching scrambled episodes of Night Calls). b) It was an ensemble cast, and a cast that changed week to week. Nobody ever had more than a few days on camera. Why on earth is this top of the fold news? This story, and the "dude who may have inspired Turtle from Entourage dies" story just keep hammering away at that key question: why do we care about people nominally more famous than ourselves? The widely linked-to "50 Most Loathsome People in America" article has a particularly cutting insight in it's entry for #4: You:

"Silently enabling and contributing to the irreversible destruction of your planet. Absolving yourself of your responsibility to do anything about it that your immediate neighbors don’t. Assuming that it’s normal behavior to spend several hours each day totally inert and staring into a cathode ray tube. Substituting antidepressants for physical motion. Caring more about the personal relationships of people you will never meet than your own."

It's the harshest criticism in an article filled with machete cuts and lemon juice. And the Undressed actor article just feeds it. I've been writing for almost a year now, and probably the bulk of it has been criticism of people I don't know and I probably never will: sports writers, coaches, players, filmmakers, etc. I'm part of the problem here, and I kind of realize it, but I don't know what to do about it. This minutiae for some reason means something to me, and a lot of other people. I care about things that, by all reasonable accounts, I shouldn't. I might go into this a little more later.

6. Back off the high horse... Did you all see that Hollywood (more specifically, the maker of Dodgeball) is making a movie version of Magnum PI? I wrote this to Lt. Gunnyhighway, a Magnum-o-phile (big fan of short shorts):

"I fully expect them to cast Nelly as TC, Nathan Lane as Higgins, and the dude who humps a pie in American Pie as Magnum. After your childhood TV memories have been completely micturated-upon by Yankee Stiffler in the Dukes of Hazzard, Colin Farrell in Miami Vice and the mess that'll be made out of this, I expect you to go Unabomber on Hollywood producers pretty soon. I'll be happy to proofread the manifesto, if you'd like."

7. Beating a dead horse... How painful must it have been for Peter King to watch last weekend's NFL Conference Championship games getting played in front of half-empty stadia and disinterested fans in places that aren't along the Atlantic seaboard? Just a shame that nobody cares out in Whereverthefuckyouare, NotalongtheAcelaline.

8. The whining coming out of Heismanpundit (and here) about how USC really is a dynasty and LSU fans are dumb and stuff is seriously like fingers on a chalkboard. Here's the deal. [UPDATE: After much discussion with Heismanpundit, it's clear that he hasn't taken the position that USC is a dynasty, and in his view that is tangential to the debate in the posts above. It deserves mention that the whining from the people is pretty bad and I don't personally agree with their position either. This post speaks for itself, and I stand by the rest of it, and for further discussion look in the comments to this post.] We pick one hard and fast rule and stick with it - no complaints. Either the BCS champion is the "National Champion" or we allow split titles. If the former option is what we use, then if you don't hold that crystal trophy, tough shit; if you get screwed out of playing in the title game even though you should've, tough shit. If the latter option is the one we're going to use, then the definition of "title" cannot be limited to the BCS title winner, the AP poll, or the coaches' poll, or any particular poll just because you think it's more valid than someone else. If there can be split titles, any group with a reasonable argument can claim to crown a title. So that means under the former option, USC is the undisputed champion for 2004-5, but isn't anything for 2003-4. If we use the latter option, USC can claim half of a split title in 2003-4, but that also means USC can only claim a split title in 2004-5, because Auburn has as much a claim to a title. So let's pick a rule and go by it. Either you call USC a one time BCS champion, or you can say they were back to back split champs. Undisputed once or Disputed twice. My personal view is for the latter. I say if you have a team that has as good or better a record as anyone else and hasn't lost to a team with an identical record, that team can claim a "title".

In either event, while USC has been very dominant over the last three years (and it's possible that their 2002 team might've been their best, by the end of the season), I don't think they're a dynasty. Being involved in the national title picture in three (or 4) years in a row is a tremendous accomplishment. But let's leave it at that. I think any talk about a dynasty in this era, where everyone has the same number of scholarships and there are 50+ schools that play big time college football (with huge budgets, firing caches after 9 win seasons, etc), is just silly. I could accept that Oklahoma in the 50s was a dynasty, but the system then was totally different. These days, a dynasty is not possible. And a dynasty over 3 and a half years doesn't cut it in my book. To me a dynasty means at least 5-6 years where nobody else really had a chance to win against them. UCLA hoops in the 60s-70s. The Celtics with Russell. College football today is different. Talent is too spread out. On the one hand, there aren't enough games in a season to have the matchups between top teams and ensure one team stands alone. On the other hand, there are enough serious programs to where multiple programs can play comparatively difficult schedules without playing one another, or even common opponents. There isn't a playoff to determine that only one team stands alone. So it comes down to this: Is USC a great team, possibly the best program of the decade so far? Probably so. But they're in the same class as Miami was from 2000-2002. And Nebraska from 1993-1997. And Alabama from 1977-1979. Tremendous, dominant teams. Not dynasties. There's no such thing as a dynasty in college football's modern era.

There. That oughta tide y'all over for a while. Possibly garner a few comments too.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Because I can only dream of attaining the EDSBS heights

So Fred Rouse and Cornelius Lewis were kicked off the FSU team last weekend, and the only reason the program is giving is the amorphous "conduct detrimental to the team". Look, Rouse was one of the most highly recruited players in the country a year ago. Lewis started several games this year. We all know that Saint Bobby doesn't kick off a kid from the team for just a couple of possible felonies (ahh screw it, here's the full list). It takes real effort to get this kind of treatment.

So I pose a question... What was it that caused this sort of punishment? And no, I'm not looking for an actual "dude, I know a guy who knows a guy who is really connected to the program through Warchant and he totally said it was grades..." kind of answer. No.

Here are my guesses:

Shooting a woman and her two sons in the head and burning their bodies in a car.
Cocaine trafficking, conspiracy, RICO, leading the North Valley Cartel.
Burning, beating, torturing 4 year old son; human trafficking.
Robbing a security company, injecting guards with "unknown substance" to incapacitate them.
Exploitation of children; lewd acts upon a child. (Nah... that'd be Virginia Tech)
Beating a police chief in the head with a blunt object and then murdering him.
Drug trafficking, murdering a fellow inmate, escaping from Folsom State Prison.

(Glen Godwin: looks less like Fred Rouse; more like Chris Rix in 20 years)

Killing wife and children; blowing up his house.
18 counts of murder, RICO, narcotics trafficking, extortion, running Boston's rackets.
Blowing up the US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Sallam; a few other things too.

And how about these options:

Crimes committed under the cover of religion or equally noble motives.
100 cigarette burns on a 16-year-old daughter of carnies, stoning to death, burning into the skin the words "I'M A PROSTITUTE AND PROUD OF IT". (I have to think this would be bad enough for Bobby to drop the hammer)
Hijacking a plane, extortion, robbery of 21 pounds of $20 bills.

(D. B. Cooper: Tremendous leaper; key on fade patterns, known to disappear in coverage; 'Noles penciling him in at flanker)

Asstons of cyanide in the nation's supply of Extra Strength Tylenol.
Murder of seven johns. (Hey, it was in Florida)
Kidnapping child of world famous anti-semite aviator.
Robbery of $50 Million in Northern Ireland Bank notes.
Lewd behavior in Tampa nightclub, inciting a riot.
Genocide of 1.5 million Armenians.
Causing hundreds of millions of ears to bleed.
Crimes against fashion, child abuse (by means of bringing the child into the world).

And that's about enough conflating flippancy with actual horrible things for one day.

But the point remains, what did Rouse and Lewis do to deserve this?


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Where have I been?

His name is Murphy, but I assure you that you wouldn't drink milk endorsed by him. He is the result of an illicit and unspoken love between a male golden retriever and a female bassett hound. His baby teeth bother him, and bother me as well; to the tune of a destroyed pair of trousers, a coffee table and a computer a/c adapter. Not bad for just one week in the house. He is basically a midget golden retriever. Short legs, and he'll probably end up about 30 pounds. Basically adorable. Basically rambunctious. He's been pretty good about evacuating outside, but he looks like he's about to have an accident like 85% of the time. So it's hard to pay attention to anything else. And the CHQ has been slipping. And I apologise for such. Missed the premiership picks. I've had the final Lebowski rankings done for two weeks but just haven't posted them.

I hope to be able to post more frequently, and get back into some things that are not solely college football related, though I have a few football related posts to work up. I guess this is sort of an apology for the slack posting, and an apology for lighter posting ahead (which I hope never occurs). So... umm... sorry.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Lesson

Two examples, one lesson:

1) Seahawks up 17-10, 5:17 left in the 4th quarter. Third and 6 from their own 48. A Washington stop here gets them the ball back with a ton of time on the clock. MVP Shaun Alexander is out because of a concussion. Backup running back Maurice Morris had been stopped for minimal yards on first and second down this drive. The Seahawks send the receivers wide, showing the importance of this first down. Instead, they hand the ball off to 34 year old, 13 year veteran fullback Mack Strong. Strong beats a blitzing safety and gets loose in the secondary, cracking off a 32 yard run down to the Washington 20. The run turns out to be the longest in Strong's career, and the longest in Seattle Seahawks postseason history. After a few rushing plays (including another tough 5 yarder from Strong), the Seahawks' Josh Brown drills a gimme 31 yarder to go up 20-10, a two score lead with just 2:58 to play. If not for Strong's big run, there's no telling if the Seahawks hold on.

2) Denver up 10-6, 4:39 left in the 3rd quarter. Brady starts humming, driving the Pats from their own 22 to Denver's 10 in just three passes. After a penalty and a couple of 5 yard plays, it's third and virtually goal from the 5. Brady looks for Troy Brown in the corner, but Champ Bailey makes a ridiculous play on the ball, picking off the three time Super Bowl champ and (as Bill Simmons never fails to remind us) a guy who has never lost a playoff game in his life. Bailey streaks down the field 100 yards, nearly scoring, but he's caught from behind at the one yard line by a 253 yard tight end - Ben Watson. After an unsuccessful New England challenge, Mike Anderson gets in the end zone for a touchdown. What could've been a 13-10 lead for the Patriots going into the fourth quarter immediately became a 17-6 two possession game heading into the fourth quarter, on the road against a run-first team. Bailey's pick makes an enormous difference in the game, changing the complexion entirely.

Of course, the readers know what I'm getting at. What do Strong and Bailey have in common (and Ben Watson for that matter)? Do. Not. Fuck. With. The. Dawgs. (unless you're another Dawg).

In fact, suiting up yesterday were 11 Bulldogs. Strong, Bailey, Watson, George Foster, Nic Clemons, Chris Clemons, Phillip Daniels (who had a decent game for the Redskins, knocking down a pass on a big play early), Demetric Evans, David Greene, Patrick Pass, and Richard Seymour (a beast, as always). Mere quantity doesn't seem to make the difference, since both losing sides had more Dawgs. It's purely playmaking qualities.

Today's games, if one were wise, one would watch for big plays from Carolina's Thomas Davis or Will Witherspoon on defense, with maybe a John Kasay 50 yarder to win it. Or in the event of a Steelers upset, watch for a big play from Verron Haynes or a huge game from Hines Ward. The Bears and Colts have no Dawgs, and in fact the Bears rely on Florida Gators at several key positions (Grossman, Alex Brown, Ian Scott) and also we all know whose band the Colts' most important player used to direct.

If the home teams suffer defeats today, you'll know why.

UPDATE: I rule for suggesting it. DO. NOT. FUCK. WITH. THE. DAWGS. Also, I like the Steelers and the Seahawks nest week. And the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Go ahead and load up on it for that mortgage payment, bitches.


Friday, January 13, 2006

No more hiding my flask in the girlfriend's purse under her tampons.

Congrats to Damon Evans for inking a home-and-home with the U of L for 2011 and 2012.

T. Kyle King and Paul Westerdawg are worried about Dawg fans traveling to the 'Ville, seeing as how we'll also play at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington that year, and the Cardinals have a propensity to play in the dreaded ESPN Thursday night games. But soft! What intoxicating aroma through yonder stadium tunnel breaks?

The Pizza Palace legally serves alcohol! That's right. And not just beer, either. You can get Col. James B. Beam's Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey right from the concession stand. Or, better yet, from wandering vendors with ready-mixed cocktails!

As long as we get the word out, there's no need to worry about the Dawg Nation's numbers. If they serve it, we will come.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Annual Bitching about Dale Murphy

Baseball Hall of Fame selections were announced today and Bruce Sutter was elected. The election wasn't much of a surprise, especially on down the line. I guess I was a little surprised that Doc Gooden didn't get enough votes to be on the ballot next year. Also a little suprised that Albert Belle got enough to return next year (and yes, I've seen the argument in favor, I just don't buy it). And Walt Weiss got a vote! My money is on Furman Bisher for that one.

But as every year, I'm most frustrated with the failure of Dale Murphy to receive more than a pittance of votes. I'm not one to just yell about Northeastern bias (though I think that has a little something to do with it), and I do recognize that there are flaws in his case (batting average). But I think he was the face of a franchise for about a 20 year period. Between Hank's 715th and the worst to first year, the only thing worth remembering on the Braves was Dale Murphy. And he was tremendous during his peak, winning two MVP awards and hitting for power as much as anyone in the National League over the 1980s.

There are flaws in the system of baseball voting: guys who don't cover the sport anymore still have votes, the voting membership is not geographically spread out, guys like Furman Bisher are voting, etc. But regardless of the selectors, the thing is that selection is subjective. And one guy's idea of a "Hall of Fame" player isn't another guy's.

I'm certain that I could find a number of elected players whose objective numbers compare well to Murphy, but there's the problem with comparing eras. And the 1980s are, as has been written before, a relatively underrepresented era for Hall of Fame membership. Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, and Don Mattingly probably compare pretty well, though I think Murphy might have a slightly better case than the others. Gary Carter plays a very very underrepresented position (though many would say his case, even at Catcher, isn't as good as Murphy or the 3 above). Schmidt, Brett and Murray probably have better cases.

But there is one guy who played in the same relative era and who was elected on the first ballot. And I believe his case is no better than Murphy's. NB: I think they both should be elected. The point of this is not to degrade the other player's career. The point is that with relatively strong arguments both ways, one guy is a first ballot inductee, and the other likely won't get in at all.

The comparable player: Kirby Puckett.

First, let's look at the numbers:

Murphy: 18 Seasons 2180 Games
.265 BA
398 HR
1266 RBI
2111 Hits
1197 Runs
350 Doubles
161 Stolen bases
5 Gold Gloves
2 National League MVP Awards

Puckett: 12 Seasons 1783 Games
.318 BA
207 HR
1085 RBI
2304 Hits
1071 Runs
414 Doubles
134 Stolen bases
6 Gold Gloves
O American League MVP Awards (ALCS MVP and All Star Game MVP once each though)

Looking at the two objectively, you can easily say that both had excellent ability on defense. Murphy was significantly better with power, Puckett was better at getting on base and hitting for average. Neither were known for their speed. Both had tremendous followings in each respective area.

Subjectively, both players had extremely large followings in their hometowns, Puckett probably was slightly more widely known because of World Series appearances. Both were tremendously popular while players, and known for being "nice guys" (though Puckett's legal troubles since inductions may have tarnished that image).

Puckett won two World Series. But he also played for significantly better teams. And considering the weak Braves teams Murphy captained, it's probable that Murphy's numbers should be held in higher esteem. Puckett had Gaetti and Hrbek protecting him in the lineup. Murphy was protected by an injury-prone Bob Horner and not much else (nobody as good as Puckett had).

Then there's the argument that Puckett's career was cut short because of the Glaucoma. Note: I do not want to seem insensitive, and I'm sure Puckett would've loved to have continued playing. But in the factual scenario presented, I believe Puckett's HOF case was actually helped by his short career. Consider: Puckett's best number, for the stat-driven voters, is his batting average. Batting average for every player drops at the end of a career. Puckett's career numbers do not show that decline. Then consider his cumulative numbers (HR, RBI). Puckett gets the benefit of the doubt for those stats because "his career was cut short". He's benefitting both ways for the objective facts.

Let's run Puckett's numbers out to 18 seasons, to match Murphy:

18 Seasons, 2180 games:
.318 BA; 253 HR; 1327 RBI; 2817 Hits; 1309 Runs; 506 2B; 163 SB.

If we account for some slight decline in production at the end of his career, RBI and runs are about even, same with stolen bases. Still Puckett has the advantage at Batting average, Murphy still far ahead in home runs.

Interestingly enough, when you look at what hurts Murphy the most, his Batting Average, I think it is important to note that Murph's BA declined precipitously over his last 6 seasons (the exact difference between Puckett and Murphy). Over those 6 seasons, Murphy batted .233. This is interesting because in only one season of his first 12 (his Rookie year) did Murphy bat under .245. In 5 of his last 6 years he batted .245 or lower, with the only exception his final full season when he batted a meager .252. Through his first 12 seasons, Murphy batted .279 with 1555 hits, 310 HR, 927 RBI. Since Murphy's BA dropped to a rate at about 83.5% of what is was in his first 12 seasons over his last 6, if we assume Puckett played 6 more years and his batting average declined at the same rate Murphy's did, his BA over that period would look more like .266, and would make his career BA a less gaunt .301. It might've been enough to gain election anyway, but maybe not.

The point is that Puckett was an obvious first ballot guy. And Murphy isn't going to get in ever. Their objective cases I believe are relatively similar (and yes, this is where opinion comes in). Is it fair that Puckett's career was cut short? No, I don't think Puckett would think so. But it also isn't fair that HOF voters would consider Puckett's career to be a little better than it really is because it was cut short.

And yes, this isn't the best argument for Murphy's enshrinement. That argument has been made before by others, and better. For anyone who watched the pre-1991 Braves closely, his merit requires no explanation. I hope one day the Veterans' Committee can right the wrong and induct him. And I hope that I can make the trek to Cooperstown when he does get elected.


Monday, January 09, 2006


Please make sure you scroll down and check out The Wrangler's post on illegal contact and unsportsmanlike penalties. There's great discussion to be mined here.


Sunday, January 08, 2006

Flick the Button


Team America:World Police: This was a while ago, so these aren't exactly instant thoughts. I remember laughing very hard a whole lot of the time, especially at the songs. Some of the jokes are "too easy" dick and fart jokes, but I'm not one to knock someone for that. I never really liked the puppet shows when I was a kid, so in some ways I merely respect the effort the filmmakers put into it, rather than that blowing me away. Steak knife, but has gotten duller over time.

War of the Worlds: Eh. It held my interest and was exciting at times, but the end was seriously unsatisfying. Really just straightforward action, which is OK, but nothing amazing to me. Could've been much much better. Also, anyone that tries to read into this movie some form of commentary on terrorism or modern age fears I think is probing too much. You're fired.

The 40 Year Old Virgin: I love movies that are both nice and hilarious, so I liked this. A few scenes had me hyperventilating, and it's definitely repeatable. The one thing I liked best about it is the way the supporting actors were funny and in some ways "made" the movie, but they weren't one dimensional cartoons, like the supporting actors in most recent comedies. Barely a cadillac.

Dawn of the Dead (2004): Heh. Entertaining and funny. And I like Sarah Polley. This is the one movie of this group that I kept forgetting that I saw, but once I remember it, I liked it. Steak knife, sort of.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith: Yes, it was fun, and the people were pretty and had nice gadgets. But it was again, straightforward and not clever enough, especially since Liman normally brings a lot more to the table. Just seemed like the supposed summer blockbusters this year weren't as challenging as they could be, or maybe that's just because Batman Begins set the bar kind of high. You're fired.

Black Narcissus: Now this is a movie that doesn't get made today. Beautiful sets. The plot is not one that most people would immediately related to, say through a preview, but in fact it's a universal, and almost timeless story. Romance, drama, suspense, some action, some comedy. Really, there isn't much that this movie didn't have. I think this was a great movie, and not something I expected to like as much. Cadillac.

Rope: Torn here. I thought it was very very funny. Just black as night. But I also think it'd work much better on stage. There wasn't much of a reason for this to be filmed. The last act stumbles a bit. 40 minutes in I was thinking it was one of the best Hitchcocks, but it definitely lost steam. Steak knives.

Riding Giants: Interesting, and definitely made you feel like part of the subculture. It's not just a movie with pretty surfing scenes - and that's the strange thing. In some ways, I wanted to see more actual surfing footage, but then at other times I wanted more of the backstory of the people. I guess it just left me wanting more of what it gave me, which I suppose is a good thing. The dude at Mavericks who surfed by himself for several years is a total badass. Steak knives.

Princess Mononoke: Here's the flaw in seeing movies several years late. Had I seen this when it came out, I would've been blown away by the creativity and beauty. But today it's hard to watch without thinking of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, considering the world created. And now I was left thinking how much better it would've been with live action. I know that isn't fair to the movie itself. And it is very creative. Also, the pacing was not as rushed as I thought it'd be, with good results. I'm no expert on Miyazaki's films (this is the first one), so I'm not sure how this compares. I'll probably see one or two more, eventually. I'll call it a set of steak knives, with the benefit of the doubt. But I was really leaning towards firing it.

Crash (2005): I liked it, though it's not perfect. Nearly every actor and actress was better than I'd normally seen. The closed circle plot is pretty good outlining for the writer. The problems were some of the subtlety in filmmaking (slow motion and closeups... seemed like a jackhammer approach instead of an archaelogist's tools). Yes, it's a little preachy at times too, and at times falls into the "West Wing" style of speech, citing statistics and studies - people don't talk that way. But it's worth seeing and definitely will spark some discussions. I'm not prepared to call it great - the direction was just a little too unrefined - but I'll call it very good. Steak knives.

And it might be another while until I have another movie post like this. Just started the first season of Lost. This may mean I won't have time for movies for a while, or it may mean I'll be watching this for the next three days pretty much straight.


Friday, January 06, 2006

Football needs to learn some lessons from Futbol

The 2005 NCAA Football Rules(pdf) contained Points of Emphasis focusing on sideline control, protecting defenseless players, and unsportsmanlike conduct among others. Not sure where they emphasized sideline control (Michigan-Nebraska), but the real problem I see is how they define what constitutes unsportsmanlike conduct and who is a defenseless player.

For starters, officials seem to have confounded the concepts of "celebration" and "taunting". I for one think that a flag should NEVER be thrown for celebration (completed promptly). But, I would consider a touchdown dance to be taunting.

The Rules Committee makes a strange note about the progression of the unsportsmanlike conduct rule in adding specific unsportsmanlike violations: "[it] has been the result of changing attitudes of players and their negative actions on the field." Also, "the Committee has no intent to discourage spontaneous celebrations with teammates or fans when done in good taste. Enthusiasm is one of football's great assets". Umm...I'm not sure the 'Dores in the Swamp would agree.

The failure to make the distinction between taunting and celebration has led to some horribly inconsistent officiating after scores, turnovers, big hits, or sacks. LenDale White managed to hand the ball directly to the official in a taunting manner during the NCG. He also highstepped into the endzone - no call even though there is a specific rule relating to this:

Rule 9, Sec. 2, Art. 1 covers Unsportsmanlike Acts - (e) Obviously altering stride as an unopposed runner approaches the opponent's goal line... [score is good, 15 yard penalty]

A good way to enforce this rule would be to focus more on penalizing taunting and keeping celebrations as short as possible. If it were up to me to shorten celebrations (which would help at the NFL level as well), I would have a rule where the play clock for the extra point starts when whistle blows awarding the TD. Then, the player who scored the TD must participate in the conversion as either the kicker or holder (or play for a 2-pt.), and the ball that scored the TD must be used for the conversion. That way there would be no flag for "excessive celebration", just the team would forfeit the chance at the extra point(s). Then, after the conversion, the team should have 10 seconds to be off the field (excepting injury), or merit a taunting penalty.

The other unsportsmanlike act that has become a problem ties in with the definition of who is a defenseless player. By the literal meaning of a defenseless player, he cannot be one who intentionally made himself defenseless (the ability not to make yourself defenseless is essentially a defense). Therefore, players who turn their back into a blocker on a punt return are not defenseless. Additionally, players who slow down to entice a hit out of bounds are not defenseless. (I would suggest a 1 yard buffer zone on the sidelines where "late hit out of bounds" cannot be called - if you don't want to get hit, keep moving past the buffer zone).

Punt returns are the most egregious examples. I am more surprised when there is not a flag thrown for "illegal block in the back" than when there is. It totally ruins one of the most exciting plays in football to scan the field for a little yellow hanky on the far side of the field from where the returner shot through to the end zone. I would put a Point of Emphasis on this part of the rule for next year:

Rule 9, Sec. 1, Art. 2(d) "There shall be no clipping."

BUT - Exception 2: When a player turns his back to a potential blocker who has committed himself in intent and direction or movement.

This is where Futbol comes in - FIFA Rules(pdf) account for this situation by getting players halfway to kicked out of the game for it.

Law 12: Fouls and Misconduct: Decision (of the International F.A. Board) 5 (p. 40): Any simulating action anywhere on the field, which is intended to deceive the referee, must be sanctioned as unsporting behaviour. [yellow card]

When a player intentionally tries to make the referee throw a flag, it is literally unsportsmanlike. Be sure to see the contrast between deceiving the other team (a hard count) and deceiving the referee (flailing out of bounds or turning your back into a block).

All in all, next year I hope there is more clarity in the celebration officiating and I hope to see some 15 yarders go the opposite direction next year when this utterly unsportsmanlike conduct happens (and gamesmanship is just a bullshit euphemism).


Thursday, January 05, 2006

General Football Thoughts: Afterglow Edition

Man what a game! And not just because it vaulted me to victory in my friendly bowl pool. Amazing plays by so many different players, barbarian hits, highs, lows, and a spectacular comeback for one side and long-awaited comeuppance for the other. Most of this post will be in response to LD's fine recap below, but because I had so much to say, it wouldn't fit in the comments. First some General comments on the bowl season.

The system's still broke. Sure, it was great for the BCS to have the ultimate matchup of probably the nation's best two teams in Texas v. USC. The only reason I say probably is that just as this game could have gone either way, so could have the other games that both UT and USC played against top-tier teams this year (i.e., tOSU and ND). Any of the other BCS games could have had opposite outcomes, as well. Thus, at the highest level of college football, there is little separation among the elite teams, and the "Any Given Saturday" cliche is actually a truism.

While last night pushed any playoff hopes even further over the horizon, the entire bowl season only further steeled my desire for an elimination tournament. Other than the NCG, just about every bowl was influenced by lack of motivation, usually on the part of the favorite, giving way to numerous upsets and blowouts of supposedly tough opponents. Do you think teams like Miami, Auburn, and (yes, sadly) Georgia might have been more prepared/focused/determined if they could win their way to the next round of a playoff? Maybe the best argument for a playoff is it would reduce the postseason opportunities for gatorade showers to a minimum. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Mack Brown got out of there without one. Maybe when it really counts, you don't need the infantile ice bath.

Now back to the Rose Bowl. Totally agree with LD that it was talent on talent. Extremely close and hardfought. Pick any of about a dozen close plays going the other way, and USC probably wins. But by the same token, if a few close plays go the other way in favor of Texas (i.e., fumbles), it might not have been so tight at the end.

No bitching allowed about the Young lateral for TD, although it was kind of weird for both of the Heisman #1 and #2 to make such a risky decision at the end of a run. I actually think the play should have stood even if it was reviewed. On the replay, when Vince's knee goes down, his hands are a blur, and since his skin is the same color as the ball, you can't tell if it had left his hands yet. At the very least it's disputable. I'm not saying it's fifty-fifty, but the standard is if there could be any dispute, the call on the field stands. Ergo, touchdown. Plus, as LD pointed out, it doesn't matter, because it still would have been first and goal from the 5. The Trojans never kept the Horns out of the endzone from a first and goal. Also, the rush to get the snap off may have caused the missed PAT, so USC probably came out on the better end of that deal. They led by one at several points of the game, and the missed UT FG later was probably a consequence of hurt confidence from the missed extra point.

The coaches didn't decide this one, though both had bonehead moments. It was idiotic of Brown to let the clock ice his own kicker. As soon as they got stopped on third down with 33 seconds and the clock running, it was clear that it would run out. And all the pundits say you can't argue with Carroll going for it on 4th and 2, but I will. I said it was foolish of him to go for it against ND, and I'll say it was foolish in the big one. Coach One-Pete gambled and won so many times during their streak, the percentages had to catch up to him. And as for the terrible timeout usage, 2 you can pin on Carroll, but one is on Leinart, when they burned one to save him from his second numbnuts delay penalty. Nevertheless, they probably would have only used one of the wasted timesout, and maybe not even that many. When Texas was on their final drive, USC had one TO at that point and they didn't call it, apparently hoping Texas would run out of time, instead of calling timeouts assuming Texas would score. I guess they could have used them in the 16 seconds they had after the final kickoff, but realistically they weren't going to run down the middle of the field at that point, maybe with Bush, but even if they did, it would maybe save them one play.

Totally agree that Leinart will suck in the pros. I said it before, he's the next Ryan Leaf. And in the postgame interview he actually said, "This was a great win for us" before catching himself to say, ", loss, I guess." Your canned cliches for postgame don't work when you lose, douchebag. He has Leaf's tragic flaw of good looks and adequate talent in a system that makes you look better than you are, engendering an unfounded conceit. He's been stroked so much in every aspect of his life that he doesn't know how to deal with things not going his way. He came off very whiny, saying "I thought we had the better team, and...we had the game won." Wrong on both counts. Those kind of thoughts are cancer in the NFL where last minute comebacks are commonplace. Plus, for the only time in his life, Leinart took an NFL-caliber hit last night, and he came up looking like Peter McNeely. As for his "better team" comment, USC may have more players with name recognition, but Texas certainly has the better ensemble cast, led by a star who turned in the most clutch performance in recent memory.

As for the winning quarterback's chances at the next level, VY is like a bigger, stronger Vick or a faster, shiftier Culpepper. His NFL impact will be nuclear compared to Leinart's.

As for ABC's coverage and Taylor's "Grape Ape Transfiguration" Costume, NSFMF. We won't have to suffer through it again for quite some time. Not sure about Fox's CFB coverage, as I had the Cotton Bowl on split-screen without audio. As long as they keep Terry Bradshaw away, it'll be an improvement over ABC. Couldn't take their analysis anymore. Best thing I did was flip over at halftime to UFC 52 to see Matt Hughes retain the Welterweight Belt by overcoming a vicious groin kick and escaping this outrageous hold to make a bloodspring out of Frank Trigg's eyesocket, then dropping into the naked rear to force the tapout, all in glorious hi-definition. Best Halftime Show Ever.

Finally, Vince was spectacular, but runner-up for Badass of the Night goes to Texas TE David Thomas. Dude's got magnet hands, and would step on his mother's face if it got his team an extra yard. Kudos to Mayhem in the AM for getting him on the air this morning so I could listen to his take on my ride in at 9:30 (yeah, I was a little late). That was 6:30am local time for Thomas. I'm sure he hadn't slept and you could just barely hear LC riding him reverse cowgirl in the background. Wish I could have been there to see those Horns light up the LaLa Land bars after the game, proving to the throngs in thongs that, indeed, everything is big in Texas.



I can't shake this image...

Shelley Smith in bed, curled up against the headboard. Hair messed up and makeup in streams down her face. The sheets all around her, she's shaking uncontrolably.

Matt Leinart walks in from the bathroom.

Shelley: You won't even hold me afterwards...

Matt: Come on now, we both knew what we were doing.

Shelley: But you don't have to be anywhere... just... stay with me...

Matt: Yeah... See, I've got this thing.

Shelley: Don't leave me! Was this not important to you?

Matt: Relax! You'll be in and out of Troy Smith and Ted Ginn's beds in a few months. You might even get a crack at Brady Quinn if you can get him out of Steve Cyphers' view for more than one damn second.

Shelley: I just didn't think it'd end this way... (sobbing)

Matt: Don't worry. None of your bosses did either.


National Champs - Texas

Congratulations Burnt Orange. This time, don't add the comma after 2006. It pisses off the football Gods. Maybe you'll get another one before 2043.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Rose Bowl

1. Announcers: seemed enormously pro-USC. Fouts has about a pound of Leinart's kids in his stomach. A lucky play in favor of the Trojans was always considered "heads up". And yes, Vince Young's knee was down on that lateral TD (it should've been first and goal from the 5), but you don't need to tell us eighty times. Also, he used the term "mistake" to describe a Texas play about 30 times (once on an "incidental" facemask). Just ingratiatingly biased. Jackson, when coherent, wasn't much better. It is time to put him out to pasture. Seriously. He's no more than a cartoon. Ron Franklin should be calling the top game.

2. Leinart: I wouldn't draft him. Seems extremely slow, and his best quality is his uncanny ability to draw penalties for late hits. Reminds me (in this game) of a bigger, slightly more accurate Chris Leak. And I don't mean that as a compliment. He cost himself a lot of money by staying this year. I wouldn't be surprised if he slips to the middle of the first round.

3. Mack Brown: way to go on icing your kicker at the end of the 3rd quarter. When I saw the down and distance, and time on the clock, I thought, bring the team over to the side and "decide" on whether to go for it or not. Instead he sends out the kicker, lets him stand around for 5 minutes with the commercial break, and then he promptly misses. Error of the coach (and that changed the complexion of the game too).

4. If I were the Houston Texans, I wouldn't draft Bush either. I'd trade the pick for more picks. I do not think he's a franchise player unless he has a good line in front of him. He's a fantastic player, and on the right team he's a stud. But with the line the Texans have, I think he'll be injured pretty quickly and he won't have the impact they need.

5. It just boggles the mind how teams have not figured out that after a questionable call it behooves them to get up to the line of scrimmage and run a play quickly. This should be mandatory for all teams in spring and August practices.

6. Vince Young is pretty much holyshitmutherfuckfucking incredible (I'd written most of this as the game progressed, changed at the last drive). I'd definitely draft him. I see him giving the Falcons trouble twice a year (bad delivery and all) with the Aints.

7. USC's O line is really really good. Really, really good. I'm more impressed with this unit than anything else in this game.

8. Any attempt by sports pundits to lay the results in this game at the feet of the coaches I feel is misguided. Neither team "outschemed" the other. So Keyboard Koordinators, hang on to your egos. It was pure talent against talent, and I think we had a damn good game from it. A freaking classic.


9. ABC: INTERVIEW THE FUCKING WINNERS AFTER THE GAME! Holly Rowe and the Billy Bush lookalike interviewing Carroll and Leinart? ABC/ESPN "just can't quit" USC. Also, celebs in the crowd and on the sidelines... WE DON'T GIVE A SHIT.

10. Speaking of such, I expect a 11 part Sportscenter series on Texas' place in history to begin shortly.

11. And just a reminder of those who mock the goofy bastard. Corso has been picking Texas for a few months. Watching that show as closely as I've felt forced to, I'm starting to think Corso, when sentient and lucid, might have the sharpest insight. Herbie's all image, May's terrible, Holtz is incoherent and not lucid. Corso knows he's an entertainer (and he plays it up), but he also has some sharp, and not always "easy-way-out", analysis.


Who knew Walter Sobchak was a C-USA ref?

Some interesting 10th grade math coming from Gatorland. (Via EDSBS) My comments here.

What I don't understand is why aren't penalties (e.g., offsides, running into kicker, helmet-to-helmet unnecessary roughness, facemask, etc.) reviewable just like other calls (e.g., spot of ball, whether foot was inbounds, whether ball caught or trapped). All of these involve humans judging inches or less at breakneck speeds. And all of above-enumerated penalties were wrongly called against Iowa in the Outback Bowl. The big eye in the sky don't lie. Why not use it?

And that reminds me. Why the eff did the head ref in the Sugar Bowl have glasses on? That totally eliminates his peripheral vision. Call Linda Carter and get some damn contacts, or better yet, get some Eric Dickerson goggles. Damn, I hate referees.

I wish we could eliminate referees entirely, but with Bobby Bowden still coaching and getting his thugs back into their old, late '90s flag-hoarding form, I don't think the honor system for enforcing infractions will work in college football.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Kneejerk Sugar Bowl reaction

West Virginia is making the Georgia defense look like amateurs. And this is even further embarassing since this offense is remarkably similar to that of Louisiana-Monroe (who I thought played us way way better than the score). We clearly learned nothing from that game, and since West VA has actual D-1 athletes, the result isn't good.

And I'm writing this in the 4th quarter. Much props to the offense for getting back in it (and the defense gets a little credit for a couple of decent series in the second half). But putting the ball on the carpet as much as we did and allowing several 50 yard runs won't lead to a win. Early in the game I thought this felt like a Madden game where the computer just won't let you win. Mostly because of the fumbles, ill timed personal foul calls, and just crazy long runs where seemingly easy tackles turn into matador training. Now, I'm not so sure. I think we have trouble with this kind of offense. And the mistakes are our own. Credit to the Mountaineers, sure. But damn, we didn't come out well at all. Expectations of an easy game aren't a good thing.

On the positive, the young receivers look OK. And we're playing a ridiculously large number of underclassmen on defense (experience).

But it sure looks like the second loss of the Richt era when we've scored 21 points. The other one is this year's Auburn game, which also featured bad turnovers by the Dawgs, well capitalized upon by the opponent.

ADDED: And yet another late-game situation riddled with coaching errors. 90 seconds burn off (the two downs before the punt) without a thought of using a time out and then just a fucking ridiculous return strategy on that punt. Why does clock management continue to be an achilles heel? I'm not prepared to write more about that punt return now. Utterly moronic.


Monday, January 02, 2006

Been a while

A few quick Bowl takes...

1) I'll do a complete wrapup of this morning's Gameday, but let me make a few quick takes on it. First off, whoever thought it'd be a good idea to do a show in the dark in front of exactly nobody is an idiot. Do it in the studio, or go to the Fiesta Bowl and maybe they'd have a few more hours of daylight and some tailgating fans. Second, it was just genius that they had live reports from Shelley Smith and Steve Cyphers. 6:30 AM in the pouring rain two days before the game. Just bush league local news bullshit. Third, in the words of Pesci in Raging Bull, where'd Herbstreit and Fowler get the balls big enough to bitch about the hype USC's been getting? Seriously, these two guys are the two most high profile churglers of Trojan cock nationwide. Don't like all the hype? Think it's too much? DON'T PROMOTE THEM! Fourth, just an incredible line by Fowler calling the Cotton Bowl (which happens to be televised on a network outside of the ABC/ESPN family) a meaningless "exhibition" game. Readers, you know what I think about a comment like this. Unacceptable for anyone who could once consider himself a journalist. Corporate shill. Also, there was one moment where the crew was just talking up the SEC big time and railing against the Big Ten. While normally I'd say that this is "about time", in this instance, I thought they were just stupidly wrong. A) they didn't mention the South Carolina bedshitting in Shreveport. Their complete comment was based on the LSU-Miami Peach Bowl. One damn game. The rest of the SEC hadn't played yet. Yes, LSU looked great, but one damn game doesn't mean the conference has been great. B) The Big Ten has two BCS teams. That means their 3rd place team plays where their 2nd place team would normally. Their 4th place team plays where the 3rd would normally. And so on. So in every single matchup, they are playing a more difficult matchup than they normally would. Shockingly, the crew of Gameday failed to grasp this concept, and instead railed how bad the Big Ten has looked. Just weak. My first pass on the show was that this was probably the worst outing of the year. Like... Miami at the Peach Bowl-level failing to show up.

2) Dude. Iowa got screwed. First off, that helmet to helmet call at the end of the first half was just total crap, and directly led to 7 points. They might not have gotten any points but for that flag. Then the offside call on the onside kick was about the level of quality as a bought and paid for Brazillian soccer linesman. Who knows if the Hawkeyes would've won, but I wouldn't crow too loudly about that win if I were a Gator. Also, Chris Leak is slow and afraid to take a hit.

3) Whoever is playing cornerback for Auburn on the right side of the field is not good. Wisconsin has had that 5-15 yard out open all day long.

4) NBC. You cover one (ONE!!!!) bowl game. Send your HD cameras. You look like public television compared to everyone else. Makes me worried about the Winter Olympics coming up. They f'd up the HD in Athens by not showing live events in HD and having screwed up schedules. They'd show something in HD like 4 days after the event happened, and also they'd show the lamest shit in HD (like weightlifting) and then not use HD for sports that would be much better with it (like Basketball, soccer, any team sport really). Whoever is running NBC sports is an amateur.

Maybe more thoughts later.


5) OK, here's the meanest thing I've written on here: Brady Quinn's sister. You knew that the TV people would put you on camera a million times. You hired a freemason to cake on your makeup. You used hair tips from Darth Helmet Jeanne Zelasko to ensure no movement. But did you really look at yourself in the mirror before putting on that ridiculously terrible jersey? Did it come from the Ann Bowden collection? And really do you want to give your own flesh and blood only as much credit as your current boyfriend, who looks a lot like Triple H with worse grooming? The second AJ fails an NFL drug test (nobody has a furrowed brow that... uhh... furrowed without chemistry, unless Cirroc is his father), he'll be letting John Cena use "clever" turns of phrase with the word "Buckeye" at untelevised WWE events in Akron. And let's not get into the testicular issues. Anyway, do you want to be watching the tape of this game with your family 20 years from now only to be reminded of how you used to date one half of the tag team title holders?

6) Jerry Rice: nice shirt.