Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Going to Graceland

Out for the weekend at the General's bachelor party.

Day 1: Making Easy Money Pimpin' Hoes In Style

Day 2: Tunica

Day 3: Oxford, avoiding Orgeron's wrath

Day 4: Liver Transplant

Gameday Recap will likely be late. Also, I'm flying back on Pan Am Clipper. Here's hoping we don't get hijacked and taken to Beirut. (joke credit to Tim in China).


All The Shittiest Music You Never Want To Hear - ALL IN ONE PLACE!!!!

Clay Aiken has a new album out and it's all covers. Covers of hilariously, ridiculously, audaciously awful orthodontist chair music. A Track by Track review based on cursory 30 second clips.

1) Right Here Waiting: What could be a better way to start things off than a Richard Marx stalker song? Clay's speeds things up, but still maintains the aura of that "creepy dude who is always standing at the window with a slightly sweaty look on his face as you walk by". Interestingly enough, in the battle of hairstyles between the original Marx and the current Aiken, the ultramullet is actually the less frightening of the two. He should've done "Don't Mean Nuthin" and then stabbed himself.

2) Lonely No More: This is one of the few non-covers on the album. But I swear I've heard it before. Oh, yeah. That's because it's as boring and pathetic as anything else he's done.

3) Without You: The Badfinger/Harry Nillson song that formed the backdrop for countless awkward evenings for 1970s longing misfits. Clay puts his touch on it too. Of course that touch is a velvet glove, gripping a studded dildo. Let the record show that we're three songs in, and two of them already give the vibe of an awkward, possibly gay teenage misfit who just swears you'll get him if you just give him a chance! I WON'T BE IGNORED!

4) Every Time You Go Away: Paul Young sang it, but Darryl Hall wrote it. Clay sings it a little happier than the original. I hear it simply as spin. The "piece" we take from him surely is herpes, or maybe Hep-C.

5) Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word To Say: An Elton John number. And another unrequited love song. "What've I got to do to be heard?" He should've called this album "The Restraining Order".

6) When I See You Smile: Bad English. Whoa! I feel kind of stupid for just realizing that the lead singer of Bad English also sang "Missing You". Wait. No, I do not feel stupid. I feel proud of myself for replacing that kind of knowledge with something not about terrible music. Clay's version is appropriately horrendous. Isn't this song about a father looking at his child? Clay, I just don't but the fatherhood vibe. Unless it's a father figure to a twink thing.

7) A Thousand Days: I think this is a new one, because I've never heard it before. Another song that suggests a stalker. Also suggests slamming my penis in a car door.

8) Everything I Do (I do for you): The song that signifies Bryan Adams's complete emasculation. Mandolins and synthesized celtic flutes evoke the same sort of touch Kevin Costner showed in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - hack, lame, out of place, terrible. This track makes my ears hurt.

9) Because You Loved Me: Good God. I'm quite positive that a stiff earfucking from Big John Studd would be more pleasant than listening to Clay's cover of this Celine Dion bedpan. I imagine this version will be played at the announcement for countless "Teacher of the Year" awards. This song makes me want to go to a suburban Wal-Mart and kick overweight women in the vaginas.

10) I Want To Know What Love Is: Foreigner's shittiest song. And Clay makes it worse. Where's Carl to show this fruit how to rock?

Wait a second... is that from the '83 tour? Yeah, I saw dose guise in da Meadowlands wit Bryan Adams, dat was a kickass show! I totally copped dis feel off dis passed out broad while dey were playin' Urgent. Everytime I hear Urgent on the radio I thinka dat girls boobs and uhhh... covered in vomit.

11) These Open Arms: Another new one. Co-written by Jon Bon Jovi. The worst thing JoBoJo has done since Moonlight and Valentino. Clay makes it worse. This song is the musical equivalent of a terrible Arena Football team's uniforms. Errrr...

I can't believe MJ from the Real World gave up this cash cow for scale on "The Gauntlet II"

12) Here You Come Again: A Dolly Parton song that totally ruled back in the day. Clay takes all the bubbliness, fun, enjoyment and wraps it up in a big shit sandwich. Yes, I know, that's just nitpicking. Nonetheless, Clay's song here encourages me to (a) kill myself and (b) blame his music in the suicide note.

13) Everything I Have: An original, and originally awful. This song might work on a really bad animated movie. No, wait, it wouldn't. Another piece of shit. A song that makes testicular piercing seem like a welcome change.

14) Broken Wings: Mister Mister's 80s hit ate a dick, so appropriately Clay swallows it to close the album. A song that inspires me to listen to static and children screaming. And some kind of spoken word? I think I'll go and rub some of my dog's feces in my ears to wash them out.

Remind me never to write something like this again.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Gameday Recap

Week Four
Columbus, Ohio - Penn State vs. Ohio State
September 23, 2006

A poor week of football is planned, and I'll be stunned if they actually fill 2 hours of programming with information. I'm expecting lots of filler. And Ohio State hype. It seems pretty clear to me that ESPN's horse this year is wearing a sweatervest. This could be the second of possibly 5 (or more) visits to Buckeye games this year. This is the first time Gameday hasn't been at the ABC night game site (though the show is still cross-promoting).

  • No Musberger, so no "YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE!"
  • Corso is excited because of no more cupcakes (again, he's on the record before as saying that he'd load up on cupcakes were he still a coach).
  • Fowler provides facts! Penn State is 0-6 in Columbus since joining the Big 10, Penn State is the biggest underdog they've been since 1988.
  • Fowler: Troy Smith is the Heisman "co-frontrunner" (doesn't say who else - Peterson, I'd guess, but maybe Quinn?)
  • Corso: OSU has a big advantage in the kicking game, especially if the weather is bad.
  • Herbstreit: Penn State's "White-Out" last year was "the best environment I've ever watched a football game [in]". Bold statement.
  • Fowler: conference record for signs and fans behind them. Looks like a big crowd.
  • What to watch for: Michigan intensity, Michigan State D, Texas muscle, Cal O, USC big plays, Auburn to letdown? (For the record, that's 5 of 6 games mentioned featuring teams that play on ABC/ESPN nearly exclusively, and the one negatively discussed plays on CBS primarily. Just so you know...)
  • Fowler: Auburn fans came to Columbus because they want to see a competitive ball game. (Auburn might be playing a weak opponent today, but their overall schedule is pretty tough, and not quite deserving of a snide comment - imagine, if you will, had Gameday gone to Auburn-LSU last weekend, and then the show put an Ohio State fan on camera and badmouthed the fact that the Buckeyes were playing only Cincinnati. I don't see that happening.)
  • Graphic on ranked teams "away from home". (I'm not sure what this means, but it seems misleading. There are probably a few teams that might not be ranked today but might be by the time they play any of these teams. Plus, there might be a team or two that is ranked today, but won't be by the time they play. And finally, the "away" qualifier is stupid. USC and Auburn both have very tough games against top opponents - tough enough to be a serious threat. USC has three ranked opponents in a row late in the year. Auburn has two top 10 teams. But these games aren't threats because they're played at home? That's silly.)
  • Fowler: After Ohio State, which is a given at #1 this week, how do you rank the other unbeatens? (Here's what I hate: why is anything "a given"? Why can no other team have as good a claim to #1? Michigan beat a highly ranked team on the road. USC has pretty much blown out everyone it's played. Florida has beaten a highly ranked team on the road too. Not to dispute that Ohio State has a claim, but why is anything this far into the season perceived as "a given"?). Herbstreit says USC has an advantage at #2.
  • Corso: forget preseason polls. Michigan is #2 because of what he's seen so far. (Seems like the meds are on today).
  • Herbstreit: When you're undefeated and trying to crack the top 2, it's "all about style points". (if you need a single sentence to describe why I get frustrated with awarding titles via polls, look at this quote. Style points? Go judge figure skating.)
  • Fowler points out too that the preseason polls are affecting Michigan. Paraphrasing, "Had we known Michigan would've played well, they'd be in a better spot now." (YES. AND THAT'S WHY THE PRESEASON POLLS ARE STUPID AND POSSIBLY UNFAIR!)
  • Fowler: If Florida runs the table, how can you not have them at #1. Herbstreit: Florida has the "toughest schedule in the history of college football", but only says that if they run the table "they should be up there."
  • Fowler: "The worst week in instant replay officiating". Hints at regional bias. Replaying these Oklahoma-Oregon plays is frustrating, but it's good that Gameday is showing it.
  • This is taking a lot longer than normal. Surprising, not much filler so far.
  • Fowler thinks Oklahoma might not be focusing on the field because of the officiating deal (uhh, not so much. MTSU took a pounding).
  • Corso: thinks we only need instant replay in the MNC game. Gets on soapbox to yell at Stoops, but Herbstreit puts Stoops' statements in perspective (he's answering questions).
  • Herbstreit: The Pac-10 and Big 12 need to get on board with better technology. Replay technology and officials should be universal.
  • Corso: Oklahoma should've still won the game. Compares it to some game he coached 30 years ago where he got screwed.
  • Herbstreit: the field officials suck too - Oklahoma recovered the ball!
  • Fowler uses that joke about Oregon's new uniform being vertical black and white stripes.
  • A third of reviewed plays have been reversed, most in the SEC. (This would've been a nice spot to highlight the controversy of officials making decisions on the field that can be reversed, as opposed to what they think is the correct decision - i.e. allowing possible fumbles to continue because if they rule it down and get reversed the recovering team doesn't get their return yards. )
  • Two teases so far on Tyson Gentry, but that's it because they roll right into the story. Tom Rinaldi reporting. Nice piece, and timely with the Adam Taliaferro aspect.
  • Gillette Game Face: No facepaint. Just an idiotic rasta-wig.
  • Young QBs in the SEC discussed.
  • Extended piece on Chris Leak with Desmond Howard reporting. Throws in some Theismania. Dallas Baker towers over Desmond.
  • Back on set, Howard tells us several things that coaches told him. Then he tells us what he told Chris Leak about what his own former coaches told him. (Some important media critic told me how lame Desmond Howard's analysis is.)
  • Herbstreit and Corso fluff Chris Leak for a while. Lots of hype. (Normally I'd think that this is significant because of the usual lack of SEC hype... but Florida's playing on ESPN tonight.)
  • Gameday flashback: a marriage proposal at Columbus in 1998. This is the second time this year Gameday has focused on couples hooking up via gameday.
  • Corso on WVU: Slaton's good. Mountaineers roll (they didn't really).
  • Herbstreit: Louisville might face a little bit of a test early, but Louisville wins. Fowler thinks K-State is better than people think.
  • Corso: Louisville is better than WVU now, but he's sticking with WVU in the MNC game, but also thinks Louisville will beat WVU. Herbstreit thinks Corso's using reverse psychology, like he tried last week with UT-UF.
  • Fowler: Louisville's win over Miami last week was a low point for Miami. (Hang on here. Louisville was ranked higher, favored, and playing at home. Yes, it was an asswhipping, but it wasn't that surprising a loss. And the LSU Peach Bowl loss was much worse, in my opinion.) Fowler's surprised that Miami's getting any votes in the polls.
  • Joe Schad reports about the feeding frenzy surrounding Larry Coker. They interview Dan LeBatard. One misleading statement: "After winning the MNC, the rankings have gone down each year" - uhh, the next year they finished 2nd and lost the MNC game on a suspect call! It's not like Miami has fallen apart after the 2001 season. They were still right in the mix.
  • Corso: If Coker makes the BCS, he'll be back at Miami.
  • Herbstreit: Miami basically gave up against Louisville and that's a problem. Confidence and desire are needed at Miami.
  • Fowler gives some facts about Cal-ASU. ASU doesn't win in the state of California, ASU has turned the ball over too much.
  • Corso: Cal wins because the game is in Berkeley and that's where scholars are and Cal wins at debating and stuff. (You can't pay for this kind of analysis).
  • Herbstreit: Cal looked terrible against Tennessee on D, so Arizona State will score, but Cal wins.
  • Fowler is concerned about Cal's Offensive line.
  • As we near the second hour, there are now a lot more commercial breaks. Filling time.
  • Graphic tries to jinx Mike Hart into fumbling ("Hasn't fumbled in 500+ carries!")
  • Extended piece on Paul Posluszny. Wendy Nix reporting. This piece is better than normal. Very football-focused. Not as much heart-wrenching stuff. Fits the player too. This piece is how they should do these in-depth bits. Seriously, this one was good. Someone tell Shelley Smith that this is what her product is supposed to look like. Highest praise. Nix had a good piece on Ray-Ray last week too. Rising talent.
  • Fowler again breaks out the Joap-uh.
  • Corso and Herbstreit don't think Posluszny is all the way back. Fowler wants them to be nicer.
  • In a tease, Fowler asks if Colorado will score against Georgia. (Henshould've asked if Georgia would score against Colorado...)
  • Fowler: Stocco has been "aight" so far, PJ Hill out of Brooklyn has been "representin' the 718". (Say word, Chris!)
  • WIRED! with Bret Bielema. Another totally useless minute and a half. "REACH!" "RUN THROUGH!"
  • They bring in Chris Spielman to discuss Michigan. Fowler calls it fair play because Desmond Howard has been talking about OSU. (Aren't there any players from conferences outside the Big 10 that can string 5 words together? Guess not.)
  • Herbstreit talks about how Michigan has learned to fight off mental mistakes late. (Again, it's nice to see two Buckeyes providing everything you need to know about Michigan.)
  • Corso repeats everything we've already heard about Michigan. Then he drops a bomb: Beating Notre Dame in South Bend is tougher than beating Ohio State in Columbus. (Comedy. I take back what I wrote about his meds.)
  • Great comment by Fowler about how Bielema is glad to be coaching against someone he hasn't showered with. Gross.
  • Fowler talks about Colorado sucking on offense. Only Duke and Temple have longer losing streaks than CU.
  • Extended piece on Ralphie traveling to UGA. Chris Connelly reporting. (Seeing the Buffalo run was awesome. This story is kind of lame. He used the pun "They're running late, and hope they can speed up and 'Bison' time".
  • Herbstreit and Fowler call Hairy Dawg the "other Uga". No. There is only one Uga. Hairy Dawg is Hairy Dawg and he'll never ever ever be Uga.
  • Herbstreit thinks Georgia's schedule is OK, the defense is great. Thinks they might be able to win the SEC with better play on O line and at QB.
  • Corso thinks Georgia won't win the SEC because they have to go to Jacksonville and beat the "beloved" Gators. (Beloved?) Also doesn't think a freshman QB can win on the road in the SEC.
  • Both Corso and Herbstreit think Colorado gets shutout today. Corso thinks the Boise State-Georgia game would end up closer than CU-UGA. Herbstreit says it'll get ugly. (Herbstreit's right, but entirely for the wrong reasons.)
  • Fowler thinks the 1966 MSU-ND game was a lemon. My cable feed went out for a while here so I missed what they said about that game.
  • Footage of Charlie Weis's press conference where he doesn't want to talk about the things Gameday wants to mention.
  • Fowler gives Howard props for picking Michigan against ND. (Way to go! Your biases paid off!)
  • Herbstreit: ND has had trouble on 1st and 2nd down, then faces tough blitzes on 3rd.
  • Corso: ND-MSU will be a shootout, great offenses. (correct) Picks MSU, even though he calls himself stupid.
  • Again, they try to jinx Mike Hart about fumbling.
  • Rob Stone on UM-Wisconsin provided some info. I kind of wish they did this for more games. On site reporting is usually a little better than what the three on-set dudes think.
  • Corso likes Michigan's defense. Makes some really obvious comments all in a row. Repeating them here would be picking on the elderly.
  • Howard tells us all about Ron English, DC at Michigan. (keep your sources happy!). Howard also chastises the crowd for booing him.
  • Fowler Facts! Penn State has held OSU to their lowest O output in the last 2 meetings.
  • Extended highlights on Troy Smith. I think this might just be a re-edit of a previous piece from the Texas week.
  • Corso also now calls Ohio State "beloved". Then says nothing of interest about the OSU offense. He does like the player who is from Florida.
  • Howard: If PSU's D can't hang with OSU's O, Penn State doesn't have a chance.
  • Herbstreit AGAIN touts OSU's defense, especially the D line. Again uses the terms "as good as you'll find in college football. (He's really staying on message for his alma mater.)
  • Fowler sarcastically mentions that Michigan-Wisconsin is coming up. They've spent about half the show mentioning that.
  • Corso and Herbstreit think Iowa rolls, Texas rolls. Lots of coverage of these ranked teams.
  • Pontiac Game Changer: Corso: Drew Stanton; Herbstreit: Mike Hart; Fowler: George Stripling (Louisville)
  • Saturday Stupid Selections: Corso: Michigan State, Kansas State, UCLA. Herbstreit: UCLA, Alabama
Not quite as bad a show as I was expecting. Shelley Smith had the week off, which is a good thing. Unlike last year, Herbstreit didn't use his kids as a crutch to say kind of dickish things. More than half of the individuals who were given airtime as "experts" are Big 10 homers (and that doesn't even count Corso, who coached in the Big 10 - if you count him, Fowler is the only person who offered opinions on this show who didn't have a tie to the Big 10). The Posluszny piece was one of the better pieces I've seen this show do in a while.

Next week: Dollars to donuts that they're in Iowa for Ohio State's third appearance as a participant in the Gameday-attended game. Not that there's a better game out there or anything, but it's pretty clear who they're throwing the weight of the mouse behind.




My seven years as a student at the University of Georgia spanned the last year of the Ray Goff era, the complete stretch of the Jim Donnan years, and the first season of Mark Richt's tenure.

Simply stated, not in the last 4 seasons have I felt so much like I was back in school.

Unprepared describes the game some. Unmotivated describes it too. I suppose I fell into the trap too, but I feel pretty stupid for taking lightly Colorado.

And twice in the second half, while trailing, Georgia expended a timeout WITH THE CLOCK STOPPED ALREADY! Once when the penalty would've been merely five yards on an extra point! Coutu might've been injured, but I think he could've hit a 24 yarder just about as well as a 19 yarder. Thankfully Colorado's use of timeouts was about as bad.

But no excuses can or should be made. Colorado played nearly flawlessly for the first 50 minutes of the game. And in a way it took their miscues to swing the game.

The positives? Well, there's a 4 in the win column. And hopefully this gets Georgia's "bad game" out of the way. And I loved the Joe Cox quote when he finally entered the game (so sayeth Kevin Butler on the 5th quarter show): "We're winning this game. If we can't score 14 points, we don't deserve to wear the G on our helmet." Great attitude.

The negatives? Everything else but I'll focus on two things:

1) Apparently Georgia still has trouble defending teams that cannot throw the ball downfield. For the duration of the game, Colorado didn't really attempt a pass longer than 6 yards (though many went for longer than that because of missed coverage and missed tackles in thefirst half). Yet Georgia continued to play both safeties 15-20 yards off the ball, choosing to play 7 on 9. The opponent's rushing attack wasn't as potent (thankfully), but our defensive strategy (for the first half - Georgia made some adjustments after halftime) looked a whole lot like that towards West Virginia.

2) If the Dawgs can't defend 6 yard out passes to the tight end, we'll lose to Florida by 40.

Luckily, we should have a chance to get back on track next weekend against Ole Miss (who got trounced at home by the juggernaut that is Wake Forest). Of course, my head keeps telling me that the hangover from the Colorado game might last a few days (and cost some practice time), and there's also the aspect of looking ahead to Tennessee, and the damn game is scheduled for the middle of the night - all of which don't add up to good things for Georgia. But Mark Richt's Dawgs play well against the West-not-Auburn and especially on the road.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Radio Silence Until Friday

Going to see Sufjan Stevens tomorrow, then heading to God's Country for some work thing Thursday.

In the meantime, ponder the following: When Georgia travels to Eugene, Oregon to play the Ducks, should Damon Evans demand that the game not be officiated by incompetent, drooling, halfblind near-tards, by which I naturally mean that we shouldn't ask that SEC refs travel out there? Wait. Which conference has the shitters? Which one doesn't?

Bonus discussion question: Is there a sporting term in the USA that can make me chuckle like a 10 year old as much as the terms "bunging" and "tapping up"?


You Ruin Everything, Ruiner

Someone thinks this is a good idea. Proof positive that there are morons running things.

The only way this'll work is if every one of those PSAs features dudes getting hit in the nuts.



Spotted the delightfully cherubic Martine McCutcheon on the opening episode of the most recent season of MI-5 on A&E. You might recall her from Love Actually, if you have no penis (like me, evidently). Someone get this girl a better agent so we can see some more of her. Someone get this girl a script!



Real journalism here, dogs.

I heard Orson Swindle of EDSBS on the Chuck Oliver Show on 790 The Zone at about 7:30 PM tonight. He mentioned how awesome Dallas Baker was, how Florida ran the ball more than throwing it, and something about the first season of Mannix.

Chuck Oliver rambled and didn't exactly respond to the points made. Then he had trouble figuring out what 15/25 equals in terms of a percentage. They don't call him "the King" for nothing.


Monday, September 18, 2006

Weak Forest? No.

I left a comment on this at Heismanpundit's site. Here's something to look out for:

Wake Forest. Undefeated in November.


Look at their schedule. The Demon Deacons are 3-0, and have a really manageable schedule ahead of them.

Next weekend they travel to Ole Miss, who just crapped the bed against Kentucky and got blown out by Missouri. The Rebels are reeling.

The next weekend they've got 1-AA Liberty. Yes, the ACC hasn't had much luck against 1-AA opponents this year, but Wake should be able to handle it.

October 7th Wake takes on Clemson in Winston Salem. Yes, Clemson will be a big favorite, but look at the history. Clemson has not played well in recent years against Wake. The last two visits to Wake have ended up as losses for the Tigers. In 2003 Wake pounded Clemson 45-17. Even when the game's in Death Valley, the Deacons have played Clemson close, with the last two final scores within a single possession. Of course Clemson will be favored, heavily. But don't sleep on this one. It is not beyond the realm of possibility for Wake to beat Clemson.

The next two matchups are starting to look very reasonable.

Wake plays NC State on October 14th. Then, after a bye, the Deacons take on North Carolina. Both are on the road, but both NC State and UNC have already played very poorly at home this season (NC State against Akron, UNC against Rutgers, Virginia Tech and Furman).

I would not be surprised to see Wake Forest unbeaten when they play Boston College in Winston Salem on November 4th. Unbeaten on November 4th. Seriously. And even then, don't be surprised if Wake leaves atop the Atlantic Division. Wake has won 2 of the last 3 against BC. Last year, when the Eagles won in Chestnut Hill, Wake blew a 9 point lead in the last 3 minutes. That was a poor Wake team against a good BC team.

Could it be possible that Wake goes to Tallahassee on November 11th with the division title on the line as a 9-0 team ranked in the top 20? Wake Forest in Jacksonville, with a few odd fumbles away from the BCS?



Hi there...

Just when you think you can disappear for a while and nobody'll notice, Deadspin links to you and you get more visits than the previous two months combined.

Hope ya'll liked what you saw and enjoyed it enough to have a look before hightailing it.

Also, the Gameday Recaps are going to be way better from here on out.

Four words: Sunday Morning Crack Omelettes.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

A few random college football thoughts

Quick hit style...


  • The Dawgs' defense is the real deal. Seriously. But the special teams might be even better. The return blocking is as good as I've ever seen, and Ely-Kelso and Coutu are legitimate All-SEC types.
  • Bon Jovi at halftime? Awesome. Here's hoping they do Poison's greatest hits next weekend.
  • 7 and a half minutes to review a catch? Embarrassing. And the officiating was suspect throughout. The illegal procedure foul on the kickoff out of bounds when the UAB player caught it as it was going out of bounds - this had to be an incorrect call.
  • There is a serious problem with instant replay. The end of the Oregon-Oklahoma game was an absolute joke. The ball was clearly touched before 10 yards. Clearly. Obviously.
  • But that wasn't the worst call of the weekend, nor the only one that directly impacted the game. The waved off PI call in the Auburn-LSU game was perhaps the single worst decision I've ever seen. Yes the ball was tipped. But before the ball was tipped, the Auburn DB knocked the legs out of the LSU receiver. If it wasn't PI, it was defensive holding. In any event, the contact occurred before the tipping of the ball. On such a crucial play, the refs completely blew it. Awful call.
  • Chris Leak still doesn't like getting hit. Also, I don't think Leak does a good job of reading defenses. Lots of times the runs go directly into a wall. It's weird, for an offense that has so many possibilities, it seems like more than half the time they run directly into defenders.
  • Is Florida's run D really that good? They looked amazing.
  • Justin Harrell is a man.
Clemson-FSU: Why was Proctor's dad bawling after that TD run? Weird.

A few odd scores, that kind of make me think that really, nobody knows anything.
  • NC State gets whipped by USM (and with Central Michigan knocking off Akron, that loss doesn't quite look so good). UNC gives up 42 to 1-AA Furman. Duke gets waxed. Bad times in the Research Triangle.
  • Mississippi State loses to Tulane. This is a very bad situation. The firing of Sly Croom (which will eventually happen) will draw scrutiny I don't think the SEC wants. MSU may end up winless.
  • Southern Illinois tops Indiana (tough because of the Hoeppner surgery). But that means the Big 10 has two losses to 1-AA opponents. Wow.
  • Thought for a minute that the Wofford Terriers might catch USC sleeping.
  • Anyone remember why Stanford was a favorite over Navy?


Gameday Recap

Week Three
Los Angeles, California - Nebraska at USC
September 16, 2006

I'll try to set aside the meta discussion on Gameday for this recap, unless it's brought up. It's one of the best weekends of college football in memory, so I'll try to focus on the stupid things these dudes say and not the question about why they're in Pasadena LA (I'm an idiot).

  • No "You are Looking LIVE!" (Guess Musberger's sleeping off a tight one.)
  • Looks like a pretty good crowd of fans for 7AM - and not just jetlagged Nebraska fans either. There appear to be plenty of USC fans too.
  • Fowler: focuses on getting wins on the road, singles out the road teams (turns out to be true in a few of the games)
  • Corso: CFB begins today, no more cupcake games. (Corso's playing it up for the cameras here; he's long stated that were he coaching, he'd load up his schedule with cupcakes.)
  • Herbstreit: Yes, today's great, but last week we had 1 vs. 2. (Please don't forget about my precious Buckeyes today!!!!)
  • Fowler: The next few weeks aren't as strong, so enjoy today.
  • I like the sign that says "Eric Crouch: Take My Order"
  • Discussion on Reggie Bush controversy. Corso says IF he's ineligible, he should give up the Heisman. Brings up Jim Thorpe's Olympic Medals. Herbstreit says "clearly there IS evidence", but then says the black cloud of corrpution at USC is the biggest problem, but Bush is a good guy, but it's embarrassing. (confusing, circular). Fowler focuses on "who knew at USC". Corso raises the words "institutional control". (...and Bruins Nation gets erect)
  • Fowler: the last 40 games between LSU and Auburn won by the Tigers. (hilarious!)
  • Corso jumps the gun in what to watch for. It's really early out there, I guess.
  • Graphic on how Lloyd Carr hasn't been so great against the top 10 lately. Fowler mentions how Rivals doesn't think Michigan is recruiting well. Corso says this game isn't as big for UM as it is for ND. (I'd guess that USC is a bigger game for ND than this too though...) Herbstreit: Look at the facts, there is pressure on Lloyd Carr. (I'm not sure that's necessarily a fact, except perhaps in the scientific sense). Michigan remained the all time winningest program by winning today.
  • Louisville vs. Miami: I like it when Gameday finds some bulletin board material. Nate Harris' comments put up, and Fowler agrees with it. Corso likes Miami because they're an underdog. Herbstreit (who picked UM for the MNC game), now seems to pick up on doubt at UM. Herbstreit thinks Coker is in big trouble with a loss today. Corso likes Louisville too, because the QB's dad played for Corso at Louisville. Herbstreit gives him an awkward high five for that.
  • Upcoming tease: "Can anything keep Ohio State from a National Title?" (Narrative formation. They only have 10 more opponents that can keep them from it...)
  • Extended Piece on Ray Ray McElrathbey. Wendy Nix (who we haven't seen before) reports. This was a decent piece. (I know I wasn't going to get meta, but would this story have run had Clemson not been on ESPN last night? Is it sad that I even ask the question?) Wendy doesn't get into the NCAA decision - they tease an episode of Outside the Lines on Tuesday that'll probably cover that side of it.
  • GameFace: The dudes have the word "ICY" on their chests. I suppose "HOT" and "STUNTAZ" overslept.
  • Fowler: Defense has been key in the SEC. 4 shutouts so far. (Pac 10 dudes would say that bad offense might have something to do with it. Just covering all the bases, personally I think the Ds are really good.)
  • WIRED with Charlie Strong. "Stay square!" "Reach Back!" "Wrap it up!" And we don't see what the players were doing. Useless.
  • Graphic: Tennessee's offense is better. Desmond Howard is on the fake field to talk about UT's offense.
  • This is a direct quote from Desmond Howard: "When I watch game, it's probably like Martin Scorsese or Spike Lee watching a movie; I mean I really look at it to break it down." (How very humble of you to say that.)
  • Desmond also occasionally tumbles in to that sports punditry flaw I like to call "Theismania" - the propensity to say "Coach so and so TOLD ME that this would happen." Howard says something like that 5 times in this one segment.
  • Fowler: UT-UF isn't as big as AU-LSU because of Georgia.
  • Herbstreit teases that Tennessee can't get things together (everyone laughs... sarcasm is awesome on this show).
  • Corso uses the same sarcasm to say Florida doesn't have a chance (how about mixing things up a little?). Corso focuses on Tebow and Harvin.
  • Background sign of Borat "US&C - Nice!"
  • Late NSFMF for the Gators by Corso.
  • Closeup graphic on Matthew Stafford. Laying the foundation for future hype.
  • Extended piece on John Vaughn at Auburn. Tom Rinaldi reporting. This piece reminds me that I need to write a post analysing the numbers about missed FGs at Death Valley in LSU. How many missed FGs have happened there? Voodoo.
  • Vaughn is a Groza candidate, says Fowler? Not sure he's even second team All-SEC.
  • Herbstreit: Auburn wins because they're playing at home and defense.
  • Corso: LSU's D is good because a guy on the D is named Chase, which is Herbstreit's new son's name, and the kid was born on Corso's birthday. (You can't pay for that kind of analysis.)
  • They're using the fake field to joke with some Nebraska fan who's going to try to kick a field goal. They ice him. At least now they realize how stupid the fake field is.
  • Some highlights from Nebraska in the mid-90s. Those teams were so damn good. Interestingly, the graphic says "Nebraska by the Numbers" but there aren't any numbers mentioned.
  • Fowler mentions how both Carroll and Callahan were NFL coaches. I hadn't really thought about it. Bill Simmons is probably planning 10 jokes about why college football sucks because of this coaching matchup
  • WIRED with Bill Callahan. He's talking so fast. This is the worst one ever. Might as well have been speaking sanskrit.
  • Musberger, Davie and Herbstreit on the fake field to talk about USC-Nebraska. Big shadow across Herbstreit's face. Some producer is probably yelling about how they'll never have a fake goalpost on set again. Davie says the best way to beat USC is to not schedule them (that's so December 2005).
  • Mark May comes on to talk USC. Says nothing crazy. Luckily Corso is there to fluff Cal. (I suppose we all were supposed to forget how bad Tennessee whipped Cal).
  • The teases before commercial are on how John David Booty has an accent and Oregon's uniforms. Key information about the games. Biggest weekend ever and that's the focus? Wow.
  • Fowler mocks Chuck Amato for bitching about MAC partial qualifiers. Corso and Herbstreit say that wasn't nice. Whatever. Amato should get mocked. Then Herbstreit calls it sarcasm. I'm not sure these guys understand sarcasm.
  • Clemson-FSU. Fowler: FSU has the ACC's best D, Clemson has the ACC's best O. Corso tells FSU to throw the ball 50 times. That was a really awesome highlight catch by FSU's Warren. Corso says FSU can beat everyone on their lousy schedule except Florida just by throwing the ball.
  • Fowler takes the ACC down a peg - tells BC and Wake to stand up for the ACC in OOC games.
  • Flashback to Charles Barkley on the set at an Auburn-Tennessee game. Ahh, memories. Back way back when Gameday used to come to SEC games.
  • Barkley joins the show on the hotline. Fowler tells Barkley to keep his responses "G Rated." (I would love to have heard what he said just before going on the air.) Barkley doesn't think Auburn is overlooked for the MNC chase, thinks the SEC is too tough and that Auburn might lose twice. Barkley: The SEC is too tough, not like cupcake conferences like the Pac 10 and Big XII. (Barkley is as good as it gets for saying things intended to elicit a response.) Herbstreit and Fowler try to play a little game with him, asking if he really thinks Auburn's going to lose, and Barkley says the Alabama and Georgia games could both give trouble, as well as the SEC Title game. A reasonable and sound statement, and one that makes Fowler and Herbstreit kind of surprised - realistic and "who knows" type predictions do not mesh well with Gameday's recent "BEST TEAM EVER WILL NEVER LOSE!!!11~!!" hype.
  • Howard and Corso on the fake field act out how a play gets called and how you do a silent count. I guess this is slightly helpful, at least compared to most of the stuff they do here. I spoke too soon. Howard makes no sense.
  • Extended piece on Oregon's uniforms. Chris Connelly (the king of useless stories) reporting. The Oregon player that looks like Carlton from Fresh Prince was responsible for the reflectible Xs on the shoulders. Oregon has 384 uniform combos. All of these are not important facts. Luckily Fowler is there to provide proper context - why don't we talk football.
  • Corso: Adrian Peterson is the best big back in the nation. (Not that I disagree, I just like to log those kind of unqualified statements.) Oklahoma has never played in Oregon, so Oregon wins. Not one of Corso's best days.
  • Herbstreit: Oklahoma hasn't been very good at tackling. (Absolutely prescient. Oklahoma's tackling was awful late in the game)
  • Fowler: Oregon hasn't allowed a sack so far. That's interesting.
  • They've teased the John David Booty story at least 5 times leading into commercial. Do they really think there are that many people on the edge of their seats waiting for a stupic Shelley Smith story?
  • For an unbiased approach to the Michigan-ND game, they throw to Desmond Howard. More Theismania - this coach told me this. I didn't know Alex Gibbs was working with Michigan, so Howard actually brought up something useful.
  • WIRED with Charlie Weis. This is kind of unintentionally funny. Weis talking about how other teams think they're "soft", and how people need to work harder and get in the weight room. The 5XL sweatshirt barely covers him, but others need to work out.
  • Corso talks about ND throwing screen passes, while the graphic says "ND offense continues to evolve". (They ran screens all last year! One game started with like 9 straight screens!)
  • Herbstreit thinks it's good that Weis is finally sensing that he's got a MNC contender, but Herbstreit also thinks UM will have pride and play hard.
  • Promotion of the noon ESPN game, Iowa vs. Iowa State. Not a bad game, and it probably deserved some more coverage.
  • Another tease of Booty! This is just embarrassing. Who knew Leinart withdrawal symptoms were so hard to get over?
  • Finally, the Booty piece. And shockingly, Shelley Smith is covering it. And the USC guys made fun of his accent. And he had to wait on the bench behind a Heisman Trophy winner. The hardships! Such a struggle! This is a truly terrible piece. Utterly useless. Only redeeming value: Coach Sarkisian says Booty has a "Gunslinger mentality". That, my friend, is not a good thing to have.
  • Fowler: No state has the QB talent that California has. (Texas, Florida? Come on now. There is no way to describe one of those states as having a significant talent advantage over the others. Hell, not too long ago, Western Pennsylvania was known as the place to go for top QBs.)
  • Herbstreit mentions USC's advantage at WR because of size (from what I saw, this was prescient - though I was watching UF-UT mostly).
  • Corso: Nebraska looked good against Dime State, no, Nicholls State! Hilarious! Get the Gameday Medic on Corso. His meds are way way way way way off today.
  • Hype for Ohio State. Herbstreit thinks the tough games for them are at Iowa and at Michigan State. But he also thinks they're heading for the MNC game. Corso calls OSU's D excellently coached.
  • Herbstreit: The Miami-Louisville game is Coker's biggest game ever!!!
  • GameChanger: Corso: Percy Harvin. Herbstreit: Dwayne Jarrett. Fowler: Kenny Irons.
  • Saturday Stupid Selections: Corso: Illinois, Miami (for a very weird reason), FSU, Notre Dame, LSU. Herbstreit: Pittsburgh, Illinois, Texas Tech, Miami, Notre Dame, Tennessee.
I was pretty disappointed by this show. For such a great weekend of football, they focused on bullshit like uniforms and southern accents. Wasted airtime. Corso seemed out of it and moronic throughout. Herbstreit had one of his better days, and I got the feeling like Fowler was frustrated with how the show was becoming focused on things other than football. Perhaps rollover from his column about the location of the show the other day. Obviously, I have no way of knowing, but it really does seem like Fowler is kind of down about how the show isn't about covering football as much as it's about promoting ABC/ESPN games.

It'll be very interesting to see how they cover next week. The night games are ND-Michigan State and USC-Arizona. I have to think that either of those games would be tough for them to travel to, considering ND's annihilation last week. There are only two games between Top 25 opponents (Ohio State-Penn State, Cal-Arizona State). From looking at the schedule, one of the few matchups between undefeated teams is Michigan-Wisconsin, and that game's on ESPN at noon. Maybe they'll use this week to go to an Ivy League game (Harvard-Brown might be a decent game, and close to Bristol) or an HBC matchup (Norfolk State-Bethune Cookman features two undefeated teams, and seeing Alvin Wyatt on Gameday would totally be worth doing these stupid recaps). If nothing else, expect some even worse tearjerker pieces to fill two hours with a bad slate of games like next week.

When USC plays a lemon, ND has shat the bed, and Ohio State is playing a dud, use the Wyattbone.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Easterbrook Update

No long post, since that'd be exhausting. But if you want to know whether to pay attention to Gregg Easterbrook's TMQ column whenever he starts writing about college football, including, I'd argue, when he discusses the NFL Entry Draft, here's what you need to read, from this week's column:

Stats of the Week No. 8: Someone named Rex Grossman significantly outperformed Brett Favre.

Yes. "Someone". Someone who finished second in one of the closest Heisman Trophy races in history. Someone who owns dozens of records passing at the University of Florida. Someone who had one of the highest pass efficiency in the history of the NCAA. Someone who was a consensus first team All-American. Someone who was a first round draft pick in a very deep and talented draft (Palmer, Polamalu, Leftwich, Jordan Gross, Larry Johnson, Willis McGahee, Anquan Boldin, Chris Simms, Domanick Davis, Andre Johnson, and plenty more).

Sure, if you want to keep your NFL columnist union card, you have to keep one of Brett Favre's nuts tucked in like a big chew. But is this stat even the slightest bit surprising? Brett Favre's prime was a decade ago. Grossman is getting to his prime right now.

The "Someone named" bit might've worked had it been, I don't know, Craig Nall at Buffalo (go ahead, look him up... he's third on the depth chart and he's from Northwestern State). But Grossman?

Go back to cherry picking situations that prove your theories.


On the Gameday Controversy

For a primer, there's this post at EDSBS. Basics: Gameday allegedly was heading to Knoxville, but Monday they changed things up and decided to head to LA for the USC-Nebraska game, which just so happens to be airing on ABC (rather than the three games between the highest ranked teams, on CBS and NBC).

Some commentators wondered what the big deal was, since people watch the big games no matter where Gameday broadcasts from. That's true to an extent, but to discount the effect upon polls and national attention that Gameday has is naive. When Gameday appears at a particular location, they generally do two or more extended pieces on the teams playing. This is natural, since mere proximity makes it easier and cheaper for ESPN to do stories on the immediate teams. More interviews and special interest stories directly contribute to how well known a team is. Remember, college football is a regional sport. Voters in polls stationed in one part of the country do not receive the same coverage, which is often consumed via osmosis or saturation. Gameday is one of the few easily available outlets for gaining information about teams across the country. That's why it's important when Gameday makes editorial decisions to avoid particular teams.

But though it's important for college football fans to notice that ESPN might be ignoring particular teams, or at a minimum lowering coverage of particular teams, it must be said that ESPN is not doing anything wrong here.

It is not ESPN's or ABC's job to preserve fairness in college football.

It is not ESPN's job to make certain that every team receives equal coverage.

It is only ESPN's job to ensure that it maximizes profits.

And the way that ESPN does that is by promoting the products that it and its corporate partners have exclusive deals with. And this is not something ESPN can or should be blamed for doing.

If anything, the other networks that show college football aren't doing their part. Freeloaders, all.

The FOX regional networks have tried things with an awful show. But the FSNs have no first rate, top-notch matchups. Yes, they occasionally have a great Pac-10 matchup when ABC prefers to focus on a Big 10 or Big XII matchup mid-day. FSN South frequently shows 1-AA programs in the middle of the day. Simply, it's hard to promote the games if your product isn't first class.

NBC only shows Notre Dame, and only half their games at that. Plus, Notre Dame is going to get covered regardless. Betting on ESPN to cover ND is a safe bet for NBC.

CBS truly has a free rider issue. CBS has top flight matchups in the SEC, but has relied on ESPN to promote it. Why should ESPN make the effort to promote its competitor? Why does CBS think it can rely on that? Journalistic ethics? In this day and age? It's foolish. And it's high time CBS woke up.

When Gameday decided this week to skip the Tennessee-Florida game and the matchup between the two highest ranked teams (when added together), Auburn-LSU, instead traveling to a vacant location at 7AM to cover a team which will almost definitely be covered again later in the season, there couldn't be a louder wake-up call to the other networks. ESPN will not cover games on other channels simply because they are big games. Sure, they'll spend some time on the SEC matchups and ND-Michigan. But expect extended pieces on Nebraska's "return to glory" and I'll bet dollars to donuts that Shelley Smith has a heartbreaking feature on USC.

CBS needs a preview show. Simply said. Over the next few years, I expect OLN/Versus and CSTV, both corporate relatives of CBS, to get into the college football business. I believe the Mountain West Conference already has a relationship with CSTV. The Big East, recently emergent on the field, may have a better bargaining position and could improve their current 4th place position on ABC. The Big XII ought to have their second best game each week on a better network than FSN Regional. There is an opportunity for CBS to grow their portfolio of college football. With some investment, CBS would have plenty to promote - and they'll have to know that Gameday alone won't do the trick.

So SEC fans need not complain about ESPN for promoting their properties. They should complain about CBS conceding the entire market to Gameday, expecting a competitor to promote its product. That's foolish.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Gameday Recap

Week 2
September 9, 2006
Austin, TX - Ohio State vs. Texas

So there's a Biggest Game Ever this weekend, and I was expecting the Gameday Gang to break out the hype machine. Herbstreit couldn't say something bad about OSU if you held a gun to his head. But they weren't as overbearing as I expected.

  • You are looking LIVE!
  • Whoa! In the intro, Fowler actually called Paterno Joe-Pah, rather than Joap-uh.
  • Fowler and others make kind of a big deal about how 1 vs. 2 matchups are rare. (I have a theory about this: 1 vs. 2s are rare because pollsters, when ranking, consider schedules much more than they let on. The reason why there are few 1 vs 2 games is because pollsters consider the schedule of the team they consider lesser - since Team X has to play Team Y, team X will end up losing, and therefore they shouldn't be ranked as high. I might not be clear enough here...)
  • Hebrstreit: Texas without Vince Young gets too conservative and chokes. Watch for it.
  • That was short. Fowler follows up with a Joap-uh.
  • Herbstreit: Watch for South Carolina's athletic defense against the UGA running game.
  • Herbstreit: "Look at this... Pat Hill actually gets a big time program to come to his stadium". (In the past 5 years, Oregon State has played in Fresno twice, Cal once.)
  • Herbstreit: Penn State might win 9, but they have to upset one of the big games to get to the BCS.
  • Corso: Penn State didn't run well against Akron, but then he teases that PSU doesn't have a chance. (Holtz ranted about the PSU Akron game last week too. Akron has a good defense. Very good run defense. Seriously. Ask NC State. It's like it's impossible for these guys to do any research on teams that aren't traditional powers.
  • Fowler: Scheduling 1-AA teams is embarassing, losing to them is worse. The 12th game has been a joke because so many teams have added 1-AA teams. (I wrote about this in my Easterbrook post below). Praises Pac-10 for their 9th conference game.
  • Corso: Don't be surprised if West Virginia beats Eastern Washington really good. (They don't call him the best in the business for nothing).
  • Semi-extended bit on Ted Ginn, which includes Mack Brown praising him to the heights.
  • Corso: Texas has the most and best defensive backs they've ever had. They'll force Ginn inside and hit him, Sweetheart (which affronts Herbstreit, who naturally blows Ginn).
  • Herbstreit: Because of Tarell Brown, watch for OSU's Gonzalez. (Good call).
  • In the tease for the A&M player who was in the Pentagon on 9/11, Texas fans kind of booed. Then when the story starts the fans chant "USA, USA".
  • Extended piece on Mark Dodge, TAMU linebacker and soldier who was in the Pentagon on 9/11/2001. Tom Rinaldi reporting. Pretty good piece. Guy looks like a good player too. The Texas fans cheer some when the piece ends.
  • Game Face: no face paint, Fowler suggests that it was hard finding a painted person in Austin. (Major bonus points to Texas for that, IMO).
  • Fowler: Surprised that the Notre Dame game is pricier than the Texas game.
  • Is Boise State BCS worthy? Herbstreit thinks possibly. The only team that can beat Boise is Boise (not Fresno?). Corso thinks Boise will run the table and play in the Fiesta Bowl.
  • Fowler Fact: with a win, Mike Bellotti becomes the all-time winningest coach in Oregon history (he did it).
  • Fowler Fact: LSU hasn't given up a TD since the SEC Championship last year (and they still haven't).
  • Corso: LSU won't win the SEC West because of a brutal schedule. "It's unfair!" Corso thinks Arizona covers.
  • Herbstreit: Arizona has a chance because of coaching, athletic QB, underrated defense. Also thinks Arizona covers.
  • In tease, Fowler calls Tressel, "Senator". (I'm guessing that's because he's corrupt and takes bribes and stuff)
  • Interesting comparison between Darrell Royal and Woody Hayes on chart. Looks like Royal has better numbers (higher win %, same number of MNCs, nearly as many conference titles in 8 fewer years). Interestingly, I believe, Royal isn't mentioned as frequently among legends of coaching as Hayes is.
  • WIRED with Tressel. So lame. He whistles! "Good!" "Regular!" "Got too high!" "Second Group!" So informative.
  • Fowler Fact: Gene Chizik hasn't lost in 29 games.
  • Corso, Fowler and Howard on the Gameday Field. I just can't understand Desmond during these segments. He says he "gets jiggy with it and gets up the sidelines". Line of the day. They bring out Lance Armstrong. Corso tackles, and apparently buggers, Armstrong.
  • Flashback: First time Corso used a head was 10 years ago at Ohio State.
  • During the mid-show selections, one of the Texas cheerleaders did the backstroke in mid air behind the crew. Looked funny.
  • Corso: Clemson's good, but they don't win the ACC. Herbstreit thinks they can win the ACC - mentions how they simply reshuffle the LBs (which kind of cost them in OT).
  • Extended piece on Colt McCoy the lifesaver. Steve Cyphers reporting.
  • WIRED - Greg Davis. "Sell the fake!" "Good Ball!" These are totally useless segments. If you don't see what he's talking about, what use is it?
  • Musberger, Davie and Herbstreit on the fake field. Herbstreit says you can't root against McCoy. Davie chimes in with the hard hitting analysis about McCoy's name.
  • Holy Crap! They bring on Craig James! Throwback to '92! Did Craig James go through a rough patch a while ago? Seemed like he wasn't that terrible on Gameday way back when (though I was younger and more willing to accept what idiots had to say), but then when Herbstreit took his seat it was almost like he completely fell apart. When James was on the Friday night broadcasts with Rod Gilmore, it was almost like he became retarded. Now he looks like his confidence is a little bit back.
  • Corso throws out a NSFMF! to Craig. (I didn't think either Corso or James said anything too contentious, James thought OSU's D would be OK, Corso thought Texas's D would be good - forced NSFMF).
  • James: Ted Ginn will be great, Colt McCoy won't be nervous.
  • Gameday Love connection? They met last year, now they're on their honeymoon? What show is this? Did TiVo tape some terrible MTV dating show instead?
  • Extended piece on Sidney Rice. Desmond Howard. Rice looks like a badass. I think Howard might start making out with him. Howard says, "You've got excellent hands", and then turns his backside to him. Weird. "He's so big!"
  • Herbstreit: Stafford will play, may have an impact tonight (Prescient).
  • Herbstreit: Look out for Corey Boyd, and South Carolina beats UGA with D and running (he did apologize, literally, on Gameday final).
  • Corso: Georgia's D is really good, but wins tonight because of special teams. Fowler calls that a safe pick. I think he calls Herbstreit cocky here.
  • Corso: Repeats his claim from last year that Spurrier will not win the SEC at South Carolina.
  • Graphic on matching up Texas and Ohio State's golfers. Corso takes Stanford, Herbstreit mentions Georgia Tech.
  • Extended piece on Jeff Samardzjia (I spelled it right the first time!). Tom Rinaldi reporting (two today).
  • Comparison graphic between ND and PSU. Fowler correctly mentions that the bowl wins column is misleading because ND refused bowls for so long.
  • The crowd is laughing at something behind them.
  • Herbstreit wants everyone to relax on ND. Thinks the Irish will look like a completely different team this week.
  • Corso thinks Penn State will throw the ball well against ND. Picks Penn State in a "major upset".
  • Fowler: Tennessee looked good against a "depleted" Cal secondary. Now they need to play assignment football against Air Force.
  • Semi-extended piece on David Cutcliffe and Tennessee getting back to it. Some annoying "WIRED" like sections.
  • Howard's input on Tennessee is actually a little informative.
  • Corso: Tennessee is back with a vengeance, but really on defense (last year Tennessee had one of the best defenses in the country, Lee).
  • The message from Vince Young is ridiculous. Seems like an intro to a weed carrier rap album. "what's up Coach, 'sup Mad Dog and the crew... Get on y'all feet... Let's get it cowgirls." The fans seem to like it though.
  • Extended piece on Troy Smith. Lisa Salters gives up the ND beat to cover Troy Smith instead. It is a tale of redemption... (This reminds me of something during last night's UT-OSU game. I can't remember whether it was Musberger, Davie or Herbstreit, but one of them praised Jim Tressel very strongly for giving Troy Smith a second chance. Really? Tressel took a real chance there! OSU's boosters' payments to players are pretty widely alleged, and Tressel's ties to many of them have been reported before. Seriously, are we to believe that the payments to Troy Smith had nothing to do with Tressel? And that it was "big of him" to let Smith continue to play after he got caught but kept his mouth shut?)
  • Corso: likes Texas's D line. Does the "can they even keep it close" schtick for Texas.
  • Herbstreit: OSU running backs have improved a lot, since Clarett in 2002.
  • Fowler: OSU has problems in the kicking game. Herbstreit smarmily shrugs that off.
  • Corso and Herbstreit think CMU will keep it close with Michigan, it'll be boring.
  • Game Changers: Corso: Limas Sweed. Herbstreit: Will Proctor for Clemson. Fowler: Texas O line.
  • Saturday Stupid Selections: Corso: Colorado, Penn State, Clemson, Texas. Herbstreit: Clemson, South Carolina. (again, it's dumb that Herbstreit can't pick the ABC game - as if there's any doubt that he has a bias involved. And also, if I were a Texas fan, I'd have been a little pissed that the commentators last night were a former A&M coach and a former QB for Ohio State.)
Not as much hype as I was expecting. Shelley Smith had a bye week, just like USC. Two weeks, two ND extended pieces.

Next week: I'm not sure where they'll be going. The ABC night game is Nebraska-USC. But there's also LSU-Auburn, Florida-Tennessee, Michigan-Notre Dame, Miami-Louisville, Oklahoma-Oregon. If I were producing, I'd send them to Auburn or Knoxville, but CBS is covering those games. Michigan-ND is huge, but it's on NBC. A tough choice for Gameday.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

A few thoughts on the NFL

1. The pregame concert was hilariously awful. Diddy... yeah.

2. Ronnie Brown is kind of awesome, once he got going. Culpepper looks a lot better than last year, though I'm not sure how great the Miami receivers are.

3. The tendency of Pittsburgh to allow a running back to carry their offense all the way down the field, only to be taken off right at the goal line so someone else gets the TD is a recipe for disaster. Bad karma. I was kind of happy Batch fumbled the snap in the beginning of the fourth on first and goal. Give it to Parker and let him get in the end zone.

4. The field seemed kind of crappy. Lots of slipping. No excuse for that. They've had all year to get it nice.

5. Welker is exciting to watch.


I might've spoken too soon about Culpepper. The Steelers' D is fantastic.

Something tells me next time Saban throws the red flag, he's going to drill the side judge in the head. Nice job, zebras. Way to follow up from the Super Bowl.

Thanks, NBC, for showing me Ben Roethlisberger every 6 seconds. They should have a camera on the guy who stole his identity too.

After the Joey Porter touchdown, I'm pretty sure Cowher dropped about 6 f-bombs in a row. I love HDTV. NBC may as well have had subtitles.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Gregg Here's A Nurse

When Gregg Easterbrook at starts talking about things other than the NFL in his TMQ column, things typically go south quickly. He discusses college football this week, and the results are unfortunate.

Let's discuss a few stupid things Easterbrook writes:

1. Gregg rants about how soft West Virginia's schedule is, calling it "among the weakest, if not the weakest, of 119 teams in Division I." He does qualify things a little bit by opening up the possibility that someone on the Mountaineers' schedule will turn out to be good. Further, in Easterbrook's email response column today he prints a message explaining why West Virginia's schedule appears weak this year.

Saying a particular school is playing an easy schedule, I believe is a tendentious argument. As Easterbrook concedes, because nobody knows how good teams are going to be, only how good they were (and what they were isn't the same as what they are). For example, before last season Notre Dame's schedule looked like a terrible task. Michigan, Tennessee, Purdue all looked like possible BCS teams. As it turned out, all three were the respective programs' worst teams in over a decade, and two of them didn't even have a winning record. Meanwhile, Oklahoma's nonconference schedule last year appeared manageable. They were scheduled to play a TCU team that had gone 5-6 the previous year, a UCLA team that had gone 6-6, and a Tulsa squad that finished a poor 4-8. Well, it turns out that TCU and Tulsa were both pretty good - both ending up conference champions and bowl game winners. UCLA won 10 games. TCU and UCLA both ended up ranked and Tulsa was right outside the polls. So predicting what teams have tough schedules and what teams don't is in many ways futile. Nobody knows anything until after the games have been played.

2. Within Easterbrook's rant on West Virginia, Gregg writes that his son's high school team plays a "significantly tougher" schedule than West Virginia. Should we give Easterbrook the benefit of the doubt that he didn't mean that the high school teams his son will play are actually better than Louisville, Maryland, Pittsburgh and Rutgers (or any of the other 85-scholarship giving, recruiting-the-best-of-high-school opponents)? It kind of reads that way. I'm willing to say that this falls into one of my pet peeve fallacies: comparing different levels. This is the same kind of argument that idiot writers make when they say that USC last year could've beaten the Browns or something. It's such a lazy, dishonest argument that such writers should have their pens taken away from them. And more specifically, is it even true, even if we assume Easterbrook meant "relatively" or "respectively" tougher? All we know is that Easterbrook's son is playing 4 teams that made the state playoffs. Well, how are the state playoffs run? In Georgia, each division sends the top 4 teams out of 8-10 to the playoffs. Say Easterbrook's kid plays for a bad team (or even a good one that just didn't make the playoffs last year). Is it really that much high praise for his kid's schedule when the tough opponents the kid plays are a result purely of the playoff structure? Had his kid's team made the playoffs last year, would they only be playing 3 playoff teams? Consider: the Big East sent 4 teams to bowls last year, akin to sending teams to the playoffs. West Virginia was one of them. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, is playing 4 conference teams that went to bowls. See how it works? Also, by the end of the year, West Virginia will play at least 4 teams that go to bowls, assuming they play in a bowl game. So WVU's schedule really is pretty comparable to his kid's (relatively), and by no means "significantly tougher".

3. At the beginning of the WVU paragraph, Easterbrook writes of how WVU has been hyped to play in the BCS title game. But Easterbrook fails to draw the causal connection between the hype and the supposedly easy schedule. One of the main reasons why CNNsi and CBS Sportsline (and interesting how he fails to mention Bruce Feldman, Mark Schlabach or Ivan Maisel at did hype WVU is the supposedly favorable schedule. Easterbrook appears to be stunned that such a good team would have a schedule so easy. But the reason why the team is considered good this year is (in the eyes of many pundits) the schedule itself. The hype is because of the schedule, not the schedule is because of the hype.

4. My vote for the dumbest thing he wrote in this column: "But with a 12-game slate and six wins required for bowl eligibility, an orangutan could coach a top 25 school into a bowl." Uhh... Gregg... If a team is in the top 25, they're good. There are 32 bowl games this year. That means some 64 teams will end up in a bowl (whether that's good or bad is definitely debatable). I'm willing to guess that if a school is in the "top 25", they'll end up with a bowl bid. In fact, I'd argue that it'd be an accomplishment for an orangutan, or a Nobel laureate for that matter, NOT to coach a "top 25 school into a bowl". The only scenario where I could see a team ranked but not going to a bowl is when the team is on probation.

5. Easterbrook draws our attention to Virginia Tech's schedule of 8 home games. I've discussed this before with CFR over at College Football Resource. Looking at home/away schedules from a one-year perspective is an incomplete assessment. VT's road scheduling gets significantly better in the coming years. They only play 6 home games next year, and only 6 in '09. The market for top-tier money-making programs (as I discuss below) will be 7 home games. So if one year you only have 6 because of quirks in the schedule, you've got to make it up later. It's market driven. So Easterbrook's indignance at VT's schedule belies a more nuanced, long-term view of scheduling.

6. Finally, and the main reason why I started writing this post, Easterbrook brings up the Pete Thamel article on away-game payments in the NY Times. This is an interesting article and it should be discussed. Easterbrook proffers that the main premise of the article is that "perennial losers" are in a high demand that now the price is going up for schools like Buffalo or Troy to travel. Easterbrook encourages cupcakes to keep raising their prices to punish teams that schedule more home games. This entire series of paragraphs requires significant background that Easterbrook fails to provide.

Easterbrook mentions earlier that the Division I schedule has added a week to get to 12 games and he admits that this makes good financial sense for the sport as a whole. But the sport isn't really as a whole. It's 119 teams. And when 119 teams suddenly (within the last 2 years) have an extra game to schedule, several motivations come into play.

There are two kinds of of programs in Division 1-A. There are moneymaking programs and water-treading programs. The moneymaking programs know that if they were to have a home game on the schedule, the stands would be full and the crowds will bring in significant revenue. The water-treading programs know that if they were to have a home game on the schedule, they would not necessarily have a full stadium, and it isn't clear as to how much revenue they would bring in.

Simply: Georgia has a home game on the opening weekend (no matter who the opponent is), the school knows that 92,000 fans are coming and the school will make approximately $3-4 million off of the game. When Buffalo has a home game on the opening weekend (with a new coach and against a team that they actually had a chance to beat), the announced attendance was less than a third of that. Subtract from the revenues the fact that Buffalo did not have a wide-ranging television coverage (local, not even regional), and the Bulls were probably lucky to break even by hosting the game. Indeed, last year, Buffalo's average home attendance was 8,914 (PDF)- less than one tenth that at Georgia! Buffalo's entire 2005 attendance was less than half of the attendance at just a single game for Georgia. It's easy to see that Buffalo lost money playing at home.

It is in Georgia's financial interest to host home games (there is no way that Georgia could demand an appearance guaranty approaching what they make with a home game). But it is also in Buffalo's financial interest to travel. If Buffalo can get a $600K guaranty to travel, but would barely break even at home, OF COURSE they should take the road game. Then invest the money in upgrading facilities or recruiting budgets - so the team is better against comparable conference opponents. Winning within a conference can grow the fanbase, and maybe 5-10 years down the road it wouldn't be in the school's interest to go on the road so much.

Easterbrook claims that it's a "seller's market" for cupcake teams. I think that's only half true (and maybe even just one/third true).

Indeed, the price of guarantees for traveling teams has gone up recently (and several teams have been breaking contracts because of this), but I believe this is only a short-term increase. Only a year and a half ago the NCAA and conferences approved the 12th game. While normally schedules are set in stone 3-10 years in advance, now 119 schools had really less than 9 months to set up a game. "Moneymaking" programs scrambled to ensure they added another home game (as it's in their best financial interest). This scramble made it a seller's market, but only temporarily. As the ADs begin to plan for the added games in the coming years, expect the demand for these games to cool.

Another reason why the "seller's market" isn't exactly an accurate depiction of what's going on with scheduling is that there are two market forces at play here. Look back at Buffalo's average home attendance for 2005. At only 8,000 fans, there is no possible way that Buffalo can make money scheduling home games. And other teams know it. Yes, their fee lately has jumped to $600K, but that was because there was basically a bidding war for their appearance after the additional game came around. Without a bidding war between multiple "moneymaking" programs, expect the price for Buffalo to come down significantly. The reason: other schools know that Buffalo and similarly situated schools can't "afford" to host a game. They NEED the road guaranty money because they cannot create anything close to that kind of revenue on their own. When you NEED something, you've lost bargaining position.

Finally, the "seller's market" has another troublesome factor at play - the Division 1-AA opponent. Few fans appreciate the appearance of a 1-AA opponent on their favorite team's schedule, but it's getting more and more commonplace. And when things become commonplace, they become more acceptable. 11 of the 12 teams in the Big XII have a 1-AA opponent on the schedule this year. 6 of 8 Big East teams. 8 of 11 Big Ten Teams. 8 of 12 SEC teams. 5 of 10 Pac 10 teams. 7 of 12 ACC teams. That's 45 of the 65 teams in BCS conferences. And the smaller conferences are at it too: 6/12 in C-USA, 6/9 in the MWC, 4/12 in the MAC, 6/9 in the WAC, 3/8 in the Sun Belt, and 2 of the 4 Independents. 72 of the 119 (over 60%) Division I programs have a Division 1-AA team on the schedule this year. This is somewhat abnormal, again, because of the short timeframe to schedule the 12th game, but there are reasons to think that it might become regular. For one thing, there is an imbalance of "moneymaking" programs and "water-treading" programs. Namely, there are more moneymakers in Division 1. If 80 programs are looking to schedule more home games and 40 are looking to schedule more road games (for their financial well-being), then there aren't enough teams to travel. The other thing is that Division 1-AA teams are less expensive. It costs less to run a 1-AA program than a 1-A program, naturally - since there are fewer scholarships and the pressures of competing against other big-time programs aren't exactly there. A 1-AA program's budget is smaller, so a team from 1-AA can survive or prosper on a smaller margin of profit on an away-game guaranty. A $250K guaranty for Western Kentucky is likely more than the profit of several games against intra-division opponents. And that is bad news for the water-treading 1-A teams, like Buffalo. If Buffalo is demanding $600K, but Auburn can get The Citadel for half that, Buffalo's price will come down, again, because they can't afford to stay at home. The only limitation on merging the price market for away-game guarantees between 1-A and 1-AA teams is the perception in the press. But when 60% of the teams are doing it, the shame of scheduling a 1-AA opponent begins to erode and disappear.

So when Easterbrook writes that it's a "seller's market" for cupcakes to travel, I don't think he's exactly right. I think the recent increases and bidding wars are due to the temporary demand caused by the added 12th game. It's not exactly a "seller's market" because the "sellers" are "motivated" by the fact that they cannot afford to schedule home games. Finally, the "sellers" are undercut by 1-AA opponents who do not have the same kind of budgetary and profit demands 1-A programs have.

Staying on this topic, and not merely trying to dispute Easterbrook (as I do think he raises some points that have some merit), I think a discussion on home/away scheduling needs some further development.

Easterbrook compares the NFL's scheduling system to College by saying that it wouldn't be fair if the Broncos played 10 home games. This is true. College Football is not fair. It is also not centrally organized and scheduled. There is a freedom given to individual programs, and in many ways the market determines things. I typically abhor political comparisons, and I think you all can grasp what I'm getting at. Before the Arizona Cardinals got their shiny new stadium, might they have been better off "selling" the rights to stage a game that should've been played in the desert to the Washington Redskins and their 40-year-waiting-list crazed fans? They might've been. But the NFL doesn't allow for the free market. And yes, it is fairer.

But what if the NCAA imposed particular rules on conferences and individual programs? What if the NCAA prohibited all 1-A teams from scheduling 1-AA opponents? What if the NCAA required all 1-A programs to have an equal number of road and away games?

Let me take on the latter question first, and what I think would result. First, we'd have to imagine a college football world without neutral site games - no more Army-Navy in Philadelphia or Baltimore, no more Georgia-Florida in Jacksonville, no more Red River Shootout in Dallas. Some folks might be OK with that (I don't know if I would be). Second, I think the market would eventually force 15-30 teams into discontinuing their programs or dropping down to 1-AA. These are the "water-treaders" and I believe it'd be a quicker death for many programs than you might think. The reason is that many teams rely on away game guarantees in OOC games to make up a majority of the football program budget. Were "moneymaking" teams forced to travel (against financial best interests), the vast majority of matchups would become quid-pro-quo arrangements and away game guarantees would disappear entirely. Overnight, a program like Buffalo would have to replace $2-3 million in revenues. Over a couple of years, the budget necessary to carry 85 scholarship athletes and the related expenses of running a big program would become far too great.

It's possible that college football with 30 fewer teams could be better than it is today. There'd be more big-name matchups outside of conference play. But it would exclude a lot of smaller program's fans. And the gateway to becoming a top program might be tougher to get through (or not, if smaller programs can rise up and beat better teams now that they play more often at home). I have to think that there will always be certain cupcake programs, no matter if 20 were whittled off the 1-A ranks. College football is broader than the NFL. While parity in the NFL serves as the rising tide that lifts all boats, I'm not sure parity would be a good thing in college, or if it's even possible. Limitations on scholarships have had some effect, but traditional powers are usually still pretty good.

I know this was a rambling post (and probably 4 posts in one). Sorry.

So in sum... Gregg Easterbrook should avoid talking about college football. And the economics of college football scheduling is an interesting debate that I don't believe is easily summed up in slogans or soundbites.


Let's not make the Disney Inspirational Movie Just Yet

From today's Bill Simmons column previewing the NFL:

[Thumbs Up] To new NFL commissioner Roger Goodall, who started as an intern in the NFL offices in 1982, then worked as a PR intern for the Jets in 1983 … and now he's running everything. The guy was a former Jets intern!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you think of a more inspiring story for office temps, interns and college grads still living at home and waking up at 1:30 every afternoon? Just 23 years ago, some schmuck with the Jets was telling him, "Yo, Roger, here are the keys to Johnny Lam Jones' Corvette, you need to get this thing washed and bring it back before the end of practice or you're out of a job." Now he's running the league? I find this amazing.

(Seriously, do you think Roger lived at home in the mid-'80s, played Intellivision until the wee hours every night and had his mother busting his chops to find his own apartment? Would he go drinking with the other interns on Friday nights, return to someone's house for some bong hits, then confidently declare to everyone in the room, "Some day, I'm going to run the NFL," before eating about 75 Sour Patch Kids at once? When he got the job, did one of his old intern buddies watch the news coverage on ESPN and say, "Wait a second, that's Rog! Last time I saw him, we were Xeroxing our butt cheeks in the Jets offices!" I demand more info about this. Roger Goodall just replaced Monica Lewinsky as the most successful former intern of all time. This isn't a major story?)
Bill, I hate to piss on your parade. I really do. But Roger Goodell (and would it kill ya' to spell his name right?) wasn't just a lowly, underpaid intern, an inspirational Horatio Alger story.

His father was the United States Senator from New York, and then a highly respected and influential lawyer and lobbyist in DC.

I've got nothing against Roger Goodell, and I'm sure he's supremely intelligent and talented. But he's not some kid from off the streets given a job in the mailroom. People who don't know people don't get jobs as interns in the NFL front office. Senators' sons do.

And that's why it's not a major story.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Salt in wounds

So we're all of one game into the season.

And the two "expert" pundits on the top rated pre-game information show on college football have already missed out on their national champion picks.

Yeah, I know... both Cal and Miami could win out and things can happen.

But ONE game into the season. One Game.

Again. Pay attention to these people at your own peril. Nobody knows nothin'.


One Gameday Item

I'm not doing a full recap, especially since what I saw of the Monday night edition was basically the same stuff they said on Saturday and continuous promotion of the "full circle" gimmick.

But there was one thing that pissed me off.

Lou Holtz, when they were discussing "things they learned from the opening weekend", singled out two teams that need to improve. He singled out Georgia, because the Dawgs didn't even reach 300 total yards in a game against a 1-AA opponent. He also singled out Penn State, because the Nittany Lions didn't rush for many yards against a poor MAC team.

Nevermind the fact that the Penn State game was played in about the worst weather conditions I've ever seen. Or the fact that Akron won the MAC last year and should be pretty good again this year (and they're known for their defensive front).

Nevermind the fact that Georgia nearly set an all-time team record for return yards (meaning that the drives Georgia had were short). Or the fact that Georgia played 50+ players, including three QBs, to avoid injuries and to conceal offensive schemes.

The only thing you need to know to understand Lou Holtz's comments:

Saturday, September 9th:

(19) Penn State at (2) Notre Dame
(15) Georgia at South Carolina

And where were the last two universities where Lou Holtz coached?

These are the custodians of our football discourse. Listen to them at your own peril.



Added a whole bunch of links to the right, mainly in the college football section.

Also, now when you click a hyperlink, it opens in a new box (thanks to Kanu for the tip).

Enjoy the new sites.


Gameday Recap

Week 1
September 2
Atlanta, GA - Notre Dame at Georgia Tech

  • Musberger starts things off! You are looking LIVE!
  • Big N Rich (and Cowboy Troy) are back. Never noticed before, but the top hat wearing one has an LL Cool J-on-Unplugged-sized deodorant nugget under his arm at the end there. Gross.
  • Regular lineup is back. The preview must've been the exception rather than the rule.
  • Corso: Interested in new QBs at Texas, Oklahoma, USC. Because each has enough talent to go for the MNC.
  • Herbstreit: Look for what teams are "prepared".
  • Fowler: "How will Brady Quinn handle all the hype about the Heisman?" (This is a pet peeve of mine - ESPN is the main hyper, so aren't they basically asking whether Quinn will be able to handle the annoyance of ESPN?)
  • Herbstreit: Ohio St. offense is maybe the most electrifying O in the nation.
  • Fowler: whether Tennessee can get back to a decent offense under Cutcliffe is "a big 'if'".
  • Corso: Texas's O line is the #1 in the country
  • Lots of repeat graphics, storylines, even exact repeat comments from the preview special. Texas QBs is one repeat.
  • Herbstreit: Vince Young made Texas play loose, wonders who will make them play that way this year.
  • Corso: Texas won't play for the MNC, but has the #1 O-line, great defense, top talent. But he thinks the loss of Young and the psychological difficulty of repeating will be too much.
  • After Herbstreit says, reasonably, that he'd like to see a few teams with young QBs play before making rash predictions, Fowler says that's what he's paid to do. (And therein lies the great flaw in this show and sports punditry).
  • Gillette GameFace is back. Great.
  • Fowler: GT fight song is the best in the country, even though it references gambling and drinking. Fowler is kind of a dork.
  • Fowler: No ranked team plays a more manageable schedule than WVU.
  • Corso: WVU is going to the MNC game. Toughest game is at Louisville "Yo!".
  • The crowd is really loud. Herbstreit seems a little flustered.
  • Herbstreit: WVU won't make it to MNC game. Louisville too tough, difficulty handling hype.
  • Fowler: "You don't sashay into Papa John's Stadium and smack around Louisville". (might be quote of the day).
  • Highlight on the coaches making a debut today.
  • Extended piece on Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern. (Connelly) Live audience applause.
  • Herbstreit: Top 5 WR are Samardzija, Jarrett, Ginn, Derrick Williams, Calvin Johnson , who is arguably the best.
  • Extended piece on Calvin Johnson. (He's freaking awesome)
  • Desmond Howard is back, on the goofy gameday field. Corso is helping him out, looking spry but kind of creepy. I can't for the life of me figure out if I'm supposed to be learning something from Howard. Corso describes how he'd defend Johnson. Tale of the Tape between Corso and Howard. Corso had as many Int's as Deion??!!??
  • Wired: Tedford at Cal. Brags about his own schedule. (I think the wired segments are as dumb as they come - shots of coaches yelling cliches and grunting, great.)
  • Fowler says Tennessee had a bad offseason: "More arrests, 8 of the 22 recruitsdismissed or failed to qualify". Tennessee had a pretty quiet offseason, if I recall correctly - not anything like the crime waves of past years.
  • Herbstreit: Does Tennessee have any pride left? Talks direcly to the UT players about how much hype has been given [by ESPN] to Cal. Picks Tennessee though.
  • Corso: Marshawn Lynch can play like mumblemumble. NSFMF! Cal beats UT! Corso thinks the swing in the spread in favor of Cal means somebody knows something.
  • Mention of the new game clock rules. Nobody slams it though. (This is a good example of what kinds of problems I have with this show. They toe the network line a little too much. I haven't met a single fan who likes the new clock rules because it shortens the football action. Every single fan says the same thing: if you think the games are too long, cut a few minutes of commercials. But would a pundit paid by a network say something like that? Of course not. Instead we have the TV networks cutting down on the action to increase their profits instead of doing something that the viewers would prefer, and the corporate talking heads say nothing.)
  • Corso: FSU needs to beat Miami more. FSU is in decline (as Fowler starts the warchant). FSU needs to get some pride back.
  • Herbstreit: Miami has lost their swagger the last few years (and he namechecks Mark May). Miami is going to win the MNC this year and show it this year.
  • There's another Gameday on Monday, featuring Michael Irvin sitting down with players. (I don't know if I'll be able to handle the incompetence of doing a recap of that)
  • Another Wired segment with a Florida assistant coach. "Let's go, let's go! Nice shot! That's You!" I just learned so much. That was so great.
  • Corso: Forget about Tebow, Leak is great.
  • Herbstreit: Tebow will play, but Leak will have a great year.
  • Strange comment here: Fowler: Urban Meyer invited the freshmen over to his house, they played in the pool, then he laid out everything they've done wrong in their entire lives. (Does this make Urban seem like kind of a dick to anyone else?)
  • Fowler calls Paterno "Joap-uh" rather than "Joe-Pah". I got so annoyed by this last year.
  • Lisa Salters appears to be on the Notre Dame beat. She picks up the Shelley Smith/USC playbook. This week it's the Zbikowski boxing story.
  • Aside - Charlie Weis speaks in the third person. I'm going to be watching for this.
  • Musberger and Bob Davie join the show. (I don't think I like this)
  • Herbstreit: ND's getting to the MNC game, the defense will be pretty good. ND's early schedule is tough.
  • Davie, enunciating excruciatingly: GT will make it close, the crowd'll be a factor. Also, Davie recalls being afraid of this year's ND schedule back when he was coach (I call BS on that).
  • Holtz joins (Davie and Holtz? Can we dig up the rotting corpse of Knute Rockne for more unbiased perspective?). Holtz does suggest that ND's schedule gets really easy toward the end of the season.
  • Corso fluffs Holtz, then says why he doesn't think ND wins - because of speed on D.
  • Flashback: the first road show bcak in 1993.
  • Extended piece on Rhett Bomar, Paul Thompson and Oklahoma. (Cyphers) Thompson has an AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME mustache.
  • Mark May joins from the studio. May: Oklahoma won't be involved in the MNC picture or go to a BCS bowl because of the loss of Bomar (c/f to his comments about the loss of Vince Young at Texas from the preview schedule and you tell me if he's logically consistent). Herbstreit appears to agree with May, though he thinks OU will be OK. Corso also doesn't think OU can win the MNC, and agrees with May about Thompson.
  • Fowler's hair looks really big and "local news anchor"-y.
  • No longer can you get the ringtone for "Comin' to your City", but now it's Young Dro's "Shoulder Lean". Alright.
  • Herbstreit: Derrick Williams is one of the most electrifying freshmen from last year in all of college football.
  • Herbstreit: OSU's defense by the time it's all done will be one of the best in the country. Again, we should trust him because he's clearly independent.
  • Desmond Howard meets with Garrett Wolfe of NIU. (I'm glad they're spending some of the extra airtime on a smaller school, rather than just another segment on USC or ND - of course they're really only showing this to draw viewers for the Ohio State game).
  • Herbstreit again harps on how good OSU's D is going to be.
  • That's a good ten minutes spent covering Ohio State playing an OOC game against a smaller conference opponent. Hype Hype Hype.
  • Corso: WSU will give Auburn all sorts of fits, but lose. Herbstreit thinks Auburn will look good. Just for those of you keeping count, that was about 45 seconds on this game.
  • Repeat from preview on USC's offseason troubles. Again, Pete Carroll has good media training.
  • Extended Piece on Chauncey Washington at USC. Stunningly, Shelley Smith is doing a piece on USC. Good Lord she must be bored with doing these same pieces over and over again.
  • Corso: USC won't win the MNC because they lost too much and they'll lose at either Arkansas or Arizona.
  • Herbstreit: USC lost 97% of total offense in 2002, and ended up winning the national title.
  • Piece on all the hype devoted to Brady Quinn's Heisman candidacy. (So Meta. ESPN is giving him all the hype. Never forget that.)
  • Corso: GT has a chance if they can keep ND's O off the field.
  • Herbstreit: GT's defense is good and stuff, but if they don't get to Quinn, all hell will break loose.
  • Corso: How can you criticize Lloyd Carr? Then he explains how, but says the bar is too high there that it's "not really fair".
  • Herbstreit doesn't think Carr will get fired, but also thinks Michigan will be good.
  • Game Changer. Corso: Darius Walker. Herbstreit: John David Booty. Fowler: Erik Ainge.
  • Saturday [Stupid] Selections: (instead of cataloging all picks from Herbstreit and Corso, I'll just point out where they were wrong. Corso: NIU to cover, UVA, Arkansas to cover, Cal. Herbstreit: Stanford, NIU to cover.
  • Fowler says that Herbstreit shouldn't pick the ND-GT game because he'll be calling it. I'm not sure why that would be imprudent, while it's fine for him to boost Ohio State all morning or make any insane statement he wants. Why is one OK but the other isn't? He's affecting the coverage of the sport as much in these two hours as he would as a commentator during the game (if not more). That just seems stupid.
Week 1 in the books.

Next week: probably in Austin. Expect a full hour of stories on Ohio State.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Highlight of the night

Toward the very end of the VMAs tonight, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top played with the Raconteurs. Fucking Cheap Sunglasses. Awesome.

Someday I'll post full analysis on why I think ZZ Top rules. Dude. He plays without a pick, but with a Mexican Peso. And Dusty once shot himself in the foot because he keeps a loaded gun on him at all times. And the Eliminator is just badass. And I like spandexy women who do ad hoc makeovers of frumpy Dress Barn employees who turn into smoking hot slue-tays.

ZZ Top, man. Awesome.

UPDATE: HERE'S the link to the performance.