Friday, September 30, 2005

Out for the weekend

Destroying my liver and dignity in Washington DC for a Bachelor party for my friend Lieutenant Douche (and now that I think about it, he may be up to Captain Douche now. In any event, someone's bucking for a promotion, probably that pederast, Hanrahan).

You'll have to get by with my overwordy bullshit from tonight below until Monday or late Sunday at best.

Also, the Gameday update will have to wait until Monday. Apologies. I promise I'll put more snark into it this time to make up for it.

And so I'm off to the Nation's Capital. I think it's the perfect spot for a bachelor party, since no matter how bad the decisions our group makes (and there will be very poor decisions made), we still won't be in the top million for just this weekend in the District.


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Football Wonk: Distance comes in droves

A dollar to the first commenter to recognize the title...

Last week before the Mississippi State-Georgia game, I was talking to someone about how Starkville isn't all that far away, and my mind started racing, as it's prone to. The question running in my mind is this: Does the location of particular schools within a conference provide an advantage or disadvantage as compared to the other schools? Or in another way, do the most central schools, with shorter travel requirements, have an advantage over the schools on the extreme reaches of the conference, due to the natural hassles, expenses and time problems with longer trips?

So first I plotted all the schools in the SEC and compared the travel requirements as compared to each other school (miles between each school via Google Maps driving directions). The results show the following rankings of trips to the 11 other schools (added together, one way), longest to shortest:

1. Arkansas: 7,428 miles, 625 miles average
2. Florida: 6, 159 miles, 560 mile average
3. LSU: 5,936 miles, 540 mile average
4. Kentucky: 5,359 miles, 487 mile average
5. South Carolina: 5,173 miles, 470 mile average
6. Tennessee: 4,233 miles, 385 mile average
7. Mississippi: 4,118 miles, 374 mile average
8. Georgia: 4,067 miles, 370 mile average
9. Vanderbilt: 3,985 miles, 362 mile average
10. Mississippi State: 3,929 miles, 357 mile average
11. Auburn: 3,747 miles, 348 mile average
12. Alabama: 3,541 miles, 322 mile average

Some comments on the raw mileage data:

  • Arkansas is really damn far away from everyone else. I used to use the fact that Fayetteville is halfway to Denver from Atlanta as proof. Another example: Arkansas' closest rival is Ole Miss (7 hours away!), while Ole Miss has 6 closer rivals. Athens is as far from Oxford as Fayetteville. The three longest trips for any SEC team are to Fayetteville (UF, UGA, USC), each over 800 miles.
  • The closest two schools are Mississippi State and Alabama (83 miles). That said, the shortest distance a team has to travel for a "road" game is actually Florida for the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (70 miles). Keep that in mind, Dawg fans who are opposed to leaving Jacksonville for a home/home series (and I'm one of them).
  • One odd quirk: LSU is exactly as far away from Vandy as they are from Florida.
  • The 5 closest rivalries: Alabama-Miss. State, Ole Miss-Miss. State, Tennessee-Kentucky, Georgia-Auburn, Alabama-Ole Miss.
  • The 5 most distant rivalries: Arkansas-Florida, Arkansas-USC, Arkansas-UGA, LSU-Kentucky, LSU-USC.
  • Each SEC team from either division is matched up with an opposing team as an annual rival. Here is how they rate by mileage (and more on this in a minute):
    1) Arkansas-USC (970 mi.)
    2) LSU-Florida (586 mi.)
    3) Miss. State - Kentucky (540 mi.)
    4) Alabama - Tennessee (314 mi.)
    5) Mississippi - Vanderbilt (275 mi.)
    6) Auburn - Georgia (179 mi.)

The next step is to see whether the data shows that the disparity of travel requirements has any effect on the playing field. This is tricky. First off, there's no clear way to quantify travel in terms of wins and losses. And the data is subject to literally tons of external factors affecting any real analysis (i.e., a team could travel thousands of miles to play inferior opponents and a win might not show how the travel affected the team, or a team could travel short distances and play a national title winner and get beat badly - where the travel has nothing to do with it). Also it's difficult to say whether a team "would've been better" had they all played all the games under controlled scenarios. For example, if Arkansas travels 3000 miles for their 4 road SEC games, goes 4-4 in the SEC, it's hard to say they would've gone at least 5-3 if they had a more reasonable travel schedule. It's hard to say, but it's also what the data I looked at hints toward.

There are numerous examples of shorter schedules resulting in somewhat surprisingly successful seasons for particular teams. There are also examples of extended road trips resulting in seasons a little bit worse than usual.

My methodology was to look at each SEC team's schedule and record over the last 10 years, add together the miles traveled for the road games in the SEC, and see if it makes a difference, trend-wise. Breaking every team down would take up the bulk of this page, so I'll look at in individual comments:

  • Alabama: Due to their relative centrality, even years when Alabama travels far for them, they don't travel all that far. No real trends show up in the data, and in fact one of their worst years in recent memory was their shortest traveling year. Range in season travel goes from 721 miles to 1667 miles. This year: 863 miles.
  • Arkansas: naturally, has had the longest trips over the course of a season. Range goes between 2025 miles and 3166 miles. Interestingly, in seasons when they travel less than 2500 miles, they're over .500 in SEC play. In seasons when they travel more than 2500 miles, Arkansas is under .500 in SEC play. Last year's team nearly knocks off Texas, but then goes only 3-5 in the SEC. I think it may have had something to do with their travel schedule, the most miles traveled in any single year by any single team. This year, they travel 2,328 miles, most in the SEC.
  • Auburn: Another relatively central school. Typically either travels about 1000 miles or 1500 miles, depending on whether they have a trip to Arkansas. Trends slightly worse on the longer trip years. Range: 1064 miles to 1749 miles. This year: 1749 miles (something to watch for).
  • Florida: No real trends because they have been strangely consistent, in two year segments (12-1 for two years, 10-2 for 2 years, 8-5 for 2 years), covering both ends of trips. 2003 was a very long year, traveling 2685 miles, and they went 8-5. Range: 1684 miles to 2685 miles. This year: 2144 miles.
  • Georgia: Perhaps the most central of SEC East schools. No real trends because the range isn't very great. Range: 912 miles (only 3 away games) in 1995 to 1574 miles in 2000 (Donnan's last year- strangely, the longest traveling years for several schools coincides with the firing of a coach). This year: 1208 miles.
  • Kentucky: Pretty wide range of mileage, but the trends don't show much because Kentucky's sucked nearly every year anyway. Range: 1477 miles to 2372 miles. Their longest traveling year was also one of their most successful (Outback Bowl year). This year is short: 1504 miles.
  • LSU: Wide range, trend slightly worse in longer traveling years. Shortest traveling year in the last decade was their National Title year (2003). Range: 1730-2347 miles. This year is even shorter: 1562 miles, but their traveling to ASU disrupts that a bit. DiNardo fired after one of their longer traveling seasons.
  • Mississippi: Very narrow range, so nearly impossible to find any trends. Range: 1199-1459. That 1459 is the only one outside of a 150 mile range between 1200 and 1350. Interestingly, that 1459 was also the year Cutcliffe got canned. This year: 1141, shorter than normal.
  • Mississippi State: No real trends, since they've had good and bad years on the field in both longer and shorter traveling years. Sherrill fired after their longest traveling year in the last decade (and way outside their normal range). Range: 806-1702. This year: 1877 (something to watch for as the season wears on).
  • South Carolina: There is a trend here. When USC travels over 1900 miles over a season, they're 15-31-1 in the SEC in those years. When they travel less than that, they're 13-19. Their range isn't that wide, but that 1900 mile threshold seems to make a difference. And it's not just that their 0-11 year was a long traveling year (they went 1-10 the year before and it was a short traveling year). Range: 1543-1983. This year: 1735.
  • Tennessee: No real trends here because they've been pretty consistent over the last decade, having good seasons regardless of travel. The only odd comment is the 2001 season, which was one of their longer ones (Tenn. alternates between 1735 miles and much lower depending on a trip to Arkansas and Florida). That year they had traveled the long distances already, then they had to travel to Gainesville at the end of the year for the rescheduled 9/11 game. They won it, but had no gas in the tank to fend off LSU the next week. Perhaps the travel wore on them? Range: 966-1735. This year: 1504.
  • Vanderbilt: Also no real trends because they're consistently bad. Another school that fires the coach after a long traveling year (Widenhofer in 2001). Range: 1066-1529. This year: 1729 (and naturally, their best year in 60).

And there you have it. I think there might be some trends that say a longer traveling season might lead to more difficulties on the field, but nothing shows it to be a clear rule. It's just something to think about. I know when I travel a lot over the course of a month or so, I get worn down from the hassle and the time it takes away from doing other things. I could see the longer travel being a long-term problem for Arkansas, because they're so much farther away from everyone else. However, LSU and Florida are two of the less central teams, and they've done pretty well for themselves over the last decade. In any event, it's something to consider when making preseason predictions. I'd be interested if other conferences have any trends or quasi-trends in a similar way. Also, I suppose this could be used as a reason for praising the balls (or questioning the brains) of those who schedule the "inter-sectional" road games some pundits seem to be very fired up about. I focused on conference matchups, because I thought it's closer to comparing apples to apples (though I know it really isn't).

Anyway, let me know if I've made any flaws in the math or reasoning, if anyone wants to factcheck me. I ain't sensitive. Have at it, hoss.


Premiership Picks

Like the Breakfast Club, I'm right on track. Like a potato farmer, I carry a big sack.

Last week: 6/10 right result. 2 right scorelines
Season: 31/64 right result. 9 right scorelines.

Blackburn Rovers v. West Bromwich Albion: 1-0. Ugly, but I get the feeling Blackburn are about to go on a run to ensure they stay up but poor.
Charlton Athletic v. Tottenham Hotspur: 2-2. I've been high on both these teams all year. I think Spurs are a little better, but not this weekend.
Fulham v. Manchester United: 0-2. Breaking out of the slump a little bit.
Portsmouth v. Newcastle United: 1-1. Yawn.
Sunderland v. West Ham United: 1-1. Yawn.
Manchester City v. Everton: 3-0. City played bad last week. Everton are the perfect remedy.
Wigan Athletic v. Bolton Wanderers: 0-2. Local interest. I'm liking Bolton more and more.
Arsenal v. Birmingham City: 2-1. Arsenal haven't impressed lately, so this might be a bad pick.
Aston Villa v. Middlesbrough: 2-0. Why aren't Villa better?
Liverpool v. Chelsea: 0-0. Familiarity breeds the opposite of contretemps. Boredom.



Unsure how this one slipped past Hillary and Mez Ecl.

We've got Laguna Beach (cocaine bref), Akon (hillary) and DDP (darkness). Mix, stir, knead, bake.

The episode first season where Talan is in the hot tub with LC and Lo... Hell Yeah. He thought he was Star Jones at the Payless. BOGO, motherfucks!


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Reviews of Bands lots of people think suck

Drivin'-n-cryin'/September 3/Georgia Theater
Oasis/September 27/HiFi Buys Amphitheater

I want to say there's a German term with 45 syllables that means "taking two entities that have nothing at all to do with one another and comparing them as if they're similar to prove a point that really doesn't mean anything." So here's the first attempt at a live review. Keep in mind that I have no musical expertise, I've done zero research on either band (so I don't know if the bassist used a particular string for dramatic effect or some shit), and I'm pretty much talking out of my ass all the time anyway.

I don't know if Drivin'-n-cryin' are in a form anything like the band I think I saw at the Six Flags Southern Star Amphitheater in '91, but I know that I'm not the same dude I was back then. I don't know if I like Oasis as much as I did in 1996, but I know I'm not the same dude I was back then.

Both bands played before smaller crowds than they probably expected, but neither crowd was all that small. In fact, the crowds in each probably deserve more credit than the bands.

When seeing a band one used to like a good amount, but hasn't heard much from lately, one either a) hopes they play the shit one likes and ignores the rest or b) one focuses on the music and takes the opportunity to hear the unfamiliar songs. I like to think of myself as trying to take the latter approach, but I know that I'm no different from the rest of the crowd, which it's easy to see take the former. You can see it in the semi-polite/semi-patronizing applause after a filler song is played and the way the roof explodes when a greatest hit gets played. The crowd at both shows fell into the former category.

And that attitude from the crowd usually affects the performance by the band. Should the band give the crowd what it wants, the hits, rather than the new album's tracks? Should the band play to the great middle or to the die hards?

They both played to the middle (odder for d-n-c, since I think they're at the die hard stage of the band projection). But how they did so is a little odder. Drivin'-n-cryin' teased the crowd, playing to its desires, with long intros to the known songs, extended solos and neverending endings. Oasis sort of mocked the crowd, asking what they'd want to hear.

Strange to say, I kind of respect Oasis' manner more. There's something just more rock about that not-give-a-fuck, here's what we're doing and like it or do something else. Plus, playing up the drama of a lead is about as annoying as it gets when it's from Kevin Kinney. Patronizing theatrics are in fact more grating than patronizing antagonism.

Attitude going in made a difference. Saw drivin'-n-cryin' after a day of drinking and a football game, when a friend bought tickets without asking if the rest of our group was even interested (and he didn't make the show). Wasn't fired up to be there, didn't stay more than an hour of their performance. Oasis: I worked a long day beforehand. Wasn't crazy fired up to be there.

I think I like Oasis' music a little more. I think I liked their performance a little more. I'd go to another Oasis show (probably for less $$$, though). Probably not drivin'-n-cryin'.


Nothing tonight

Went to a show. Full report tomorrow evening. Plus, a new football wonk episode, if I finish the research.

And thanks for the link, Old School Nasty. Crazy how I keep finding more local blogs. That muffin top post is hilarious.

And if one in 50 Irish fans who stopped by today come back, I'll dominate the blogworld. Where do I sign up for Google Ads and where did I leave my yacht brochures? Thanks to all of you and many happy returns.


Monday, September 26, 2005

Champions' League

Last time around: 11/16 correct, 2 right results. Straight cash, homey.

Ajax v. Arsenal: 1-2
Barcelona v. Udinese: 2-0
Bayern Munich v. Club Brugge: 2-0
FC Thun v. Sparta Prague: 1-1
Juventus v. Rapid Wien: 3-0
Lille v. Villareal: 2-0
Manchester United v. Benfica: 0-0
Panathinaikos v. Werder Bremen: 2-1

Anderlecht v. Real Betis: 1-0
Porto v. Artmedia Bratislava: 3-0
Fenerbahce v. PSV Eindhoven: 1-1
Internazionale Milan v. Rangers: 2-0
Liverpool v. Chelsea: 1-2
Real Madrid v. Olympiakos: 2-0
Rosenborg v. Olympique Lyonnais: 0-1
Schalke 04 v. AC Milan: 1-1


Another thought on Gameday

Not ready to go all out corporate conspiracy theorist yet, but the more I think about it, the more it seems they really focus on the Big Ten. The ACC, SEC, Big XII and Pac 10 seem to get a normal amount of coverage. But the Big 10 seems to dominate coverage, mostly because of Big Ten teams in big games early, and the fact that the constant Notre Dame coverage has overlapped with their Big Ten opponents. Every week seems to have three or four segments on the Big Ten, plus the promotions of the noon games on ESPN and ESPN2. Half the talking heads who sit at the main table are Big Ten guys. Perhaps the producers know they have huge ratings in the Midwest and they're just giving the people what they want. Perhaps they know promotion of the teams their parent company shows 4 or 5 games is, well, financially advantageous.

In any event, they talk about the Big Ten a lot. And all those words spilled on the Big Ten take away from any coverage of the smaller conferences at all. The Big East has barely had one word said on its behalf, and while it isn't as good a conference as before, it's still a BCS conference and still covers some major media markets. The MWC deserves much more coverage, as it should have a really good race with maybe 4 teams fighting for the title. Conference USA has some really talented players in it and there are plenty of human interest stories. While none of the mid-major conferences really have a shot at a BCS invitation this year, there are still a lot of fans of those teams watching and conference crowns still mean a lot.

Perhaps the weeknight games that showcase the best of the mid-majors give no reason to cover them on Saturday. But I think the smaller conferences deserve some more coverage, and the Big Ten fluffing has probably gone too far.


Thanks for stopping by!

A few links from EDSBS and Heismanpundit and my daily hits rise eightfold. Hope you enjoy the place and sorry about the grammar problems and illogical stuff. Come for the Herbstreit bashing, stay for the dick and fart jokes.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

National Numbnuts Review

College Gameday is a fantastic television show. No other sport has a preview show that is as much a part of the experience of the sport itself. And no other preview show is as good either. The hosts and pundits are, as much as anyone else, the face of college football (interesting considering the relative...err... success of the pundits). Their in depth stories are typically excellent. Their road trips actually drive up excitement for the sport (and if you ever saw CBS's The NFL Today on the road, you know how good a job Gameday does). The show is actually pretty great. Unfortunately it's so good that no other network can muster a college preview show that can compete with College Gameday. It is absolute hegemony.

And of course, that isn't good. The fact that there are no real competitors to Gameday results in the show being basically Pravda for the college football world. Halftime comments from Aaron Taylor and Craig James just can't hold a candle to the 90 minutes Kirk and Lee have to pontificate. Gameday sets the agenda for the college football world, more than any of the dot coms, more than the weekly magazines, more than local papers, more than talk radio.

And more than just setting the agenda, the characters on Gameday affect the game itself. By promoting some teams more than others. By proffering opinions of which teams would beat others, which teams are the best, which players are "the best in all of college football", the talking heads on Gameday do in fact provide a resource for the sheeplike human beings who serve as pollsters, who in turn decide the champion. Let there be no mistaking what is happening here: the producers, reporters and talking heads on Gameday actually directly affect the game itself. I can think of no other comparable in sports, or really in any other field. I guess there are some people who think the political punditocracy affects elections, but there are plenty of outlets providing political opinions (might've been different when network news was about the sole source, but today the sheer number of outlets blend all noise together).

In college football, if a game isn't covered on Gameday, it may as well not have been played. If Corso and Herbstreit talk about how great a team is for a month straight, you can track that team's rise in the polls. When they talk about how overrated a team is and pick against it week after week, surprisingly enough, that team's poll numbers stay flat (even if they win) or drop precipitously with a loss.

So that's why someone needs to hold them accountable. And nobody asked me, but I'll be glad to do it. I've been tracking the comments made for the first month of the season (here, here, here, here and here), and you can see the shifting positions and the promoted teams. Below are a few examples and comments from the last month:

  • The preview and first two weeks included some pretty clear promoting by Corso and Herbstreit for Ohio State. Partly, I'd figure because they knew they'd be there for the second week and it's really self-promotion. Naturally, Herbstreit's tie to the program is somewhat questionable, but let worry about that. The Herbstreit kids on the laps might be a nice family picture, but in terms of reporting, I think it was a little too far.
  • Losing Trev Alberts after the first weekend hurts the overall coverage. Alberts always had a loud opinion, which makes for good TV, and he occasionally took sides that weren't necessarily the prevailing or easy call (sometimes due to stupidity, sometimes not). His leaving appears to have left ESPN programming in a sort of limbo. It looked pretty clear after the preview show and the first week that there was going to be more involvement by the studio guys on Gameday, partly for cross-promotion and partly because the studio guys made the show better. Holtz, while a ridiculous personality for college football, just doesn't have the pundit personality. He doesn't fill the void left by Trev. And I think ESPN knows it too. It wouldn't surprise me to see someone else replace Holtz before the end of the season (they know they aren't grooming Granny to fill the seat for next year). But Mark May has to be pissed off the most. He's like a wrestler who's pretty good, but needs to be a part of a tag team for a while to get over. Trev was a good tag team partner for May, and without him, he just doesn't have the power or gravity.
  • Notre Dame got more coverage than merited at the beginning, but once they won their first two games, it'll be impossible for them not to get favorable coverage the rest of the year. At first it was a big story because they weren't any good (May and Corso), now it's a big story because they are good (same). Of course, May originally talked trash about the Irish because they were playing Pitt. While Corso's turnaround is way more stark. He's basically completely reversed his predictions before. And subtle digs from Fowler and Herbstreit might be fun to watch for those looking for it (Irish fans), but the casual viewer might miss it. Corso and May were dead wrong about Notre Dame. And now they've just changed their mind.
  • The new members of the program - Howard and Lachey. Obviously Lachey's presence hasn't worked out all that well, since he's disappeared the last two weeks. His stories belonged on ESPN Hollywood, which nobody watches. He definitely is a fan though, and I envy him for the gig. But losing him won't hurt the show. They'll just get West Coast Sally to do stories about Matt Leinhart ballroom dancing instead. Desmond Howard is a lot better, though he's an apple to Lachey's orange. Howard is instead a significant significant significant improvement over Rocket Ismail. A bit of a sycophant, and still a little bit afraid to take an unpopular position, Howard still has some promise. Not a threat to take any of the other chairs, but he's not a drag on the program.
  • Herbstreit is the slickest pundit, because he actually makes tons of pronouncements, never gets called on it when they're too brash or incorrect, and for some reason after listening to him qualify about half of his pronouncements (with "might be" or "if this happens") you gloss over how he's made all these overreaching statements. He's prone to the "bestinallofcollegefootball" statement, which by the end of the year just about every single scholarship athlete at every D-1A program will be the bestinallofcollegefootball in some category. His pronouncements are turning out to have the importance of participation trophies in little league.
  • There is a kind of problem on the show of the pundits ganging up on someone with a somewhat unpopular take. The perfect example is Corso thinking USC's success will hurt them and they'll beat themselves. While I'm the first to say the pundits should be held accountable for the things they say, Corso hasn't picked against them so far. His USC line is a yearlong prediction, which can still prove accurate. Every game USC wins, the next week Fowler and Herbstreit crack jokes at Corso's expense on USC, and to an extent he lets them. Corso hasn't been proved wrong so far, but Herbstreit especially acts as if he has. Meanwhile, Herbstreit has on a few occasions acted pretty defensive when called on a wrong prediction (usually relying on his "mights" and "ifs"). Let's face facts: both Corso and Herbstreit are already wrong about their national title winner (I'd give 100-1 odds OSU wins the BCS, 50-1 they're even in the game). Everyone on the show has been wrong about something at sometime or another. It's odd that the USC take seems to get such a response from the others, especially since it isn't wrong so far.
  • It seems pretty clear that they're trying harder to go to newer locations for the road trips, since Pittsburgh and Boston aren't places they frequent, especially whem they could've gone to Gainesville and Tallahassee those weekends. I've got no problem with that. I like that they show that there are fans in traditional "pro" towns too.
  • I've been sick of the new theme song since about the first half hour of the first show. It's annoying.
  • Just my impression:
    Promoted maybe too much teams: Ohio State, USC, Florida, Notre Dame, Oklahoma (they kept believing, but then dropped them entirely), Iowa, Washington, Pittsburgh, Boston College, Bowling Green.
    Promoted not enough teams: Michigan State, Arizona State, Alabama, Minnesota, West Virginia, Iowa State, Conference USA (other than Tulane), Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Toledo.
  • Things to look for over the next month:
    1) Penn State overpromoted (upcoming ABC prime time game...)
    2) Whether they promote or downplay the Heisman Race, and how they frame the race.
    3) How particular one-loss teams are viewed the week after their loss. This is actually one of the areas where the show's influence can really be seen. When some teams lose one game, they are pretty much treated as dead in the water (like, Texas A&M for example). Other teams are given the "they're still a great team/they played a good opponent/just had an off night/I'd still take them against most teams" treatment (like Ohio State). Teams that get the former treatment face an incredible uphill battle in trying to stay alive in the race for a BCS slot. Teams that get the latter treatment pretty much have the wind at their backs. As more teams get losses, this disparate treatment really will show.
    4) Whether any mid-majors get any coverage at all. Last year it seemed that mid-major respect was an editorial choice. This year they haven't covered the smaller conferences much at all, aside from Hurricane Katrina coverage. This is likely because some of the best mid-major programs have losses early (Boise State, Bowling Green, Fresno State, TCU), but there are other mid-majors with pretty good seasons so far (Toledo, UTEP). In the past they have had in-depth stories on players at smaller schools too, but not this year.
    5) Whether Nick Lachey comes back. If they use the fake field to do walkthrough plays. If Lou Holtz has that seat all year. If Kirk finally admits that Ohio State isn't that good when they lose 3 games. If Corso keeps preemptively using the NSFMF. If Corso decides not to care anymore about decorum and just start explicitly discussing lines and gambling patterns (he'd get more fans if he did).
  • Possible upcoming locations:
    10/1: Morgantown (not likely VT 2 in a row), East Lansing, Tempe (my bet), Tuscaloosa, W. Lafayette, Lincoln (probably not, but could decide Big XII North), Happy Valley.
    10/8: Nashville (I'd love it), Knoxville, Happy Valley, LA (Pasadena), Dallas (probably), Annapolis (they go to a Service Academy every few years).
    10/15: Baton Rouge (Most likely unless one or both lose), Charlottesville, Nashville, Columbus (not again), Morgantown, Ann Arbor, South Bend, Minneapolis
    10/22: Austin, Tuscaloosa, Colorado Springs? (slim pickings this week - they might even go to El Paso or a Div 1-AA school for kicks).
    10/29: Jacksonville, Minneapolis, Happy Valley, Lincoln, College Station, Stillwater.

That's the update. Feel free to post your own comments so far. Remember, these guys set the agenda. Hold them accountable for their statements and coverage decisions.


College Football Notes

1) Georgia vs. Mississippi State: Conditions worsened during the game, and I never once felt like the game was in doubt. Shockley was really good the whole game, but truly exceptional before the rains came. The TD to Ware was really fantastic. Red zone issues are the rage, but this isn't anything new. 2 weeks to get healthy and prepare a gameplan that forces Ainge/Clausen into making mistakes. The good news is that UT plays twice before our game, so there's lots of material to delve into.

2) Minnesota is not good and any talk of them challenging for the Big 10 title is premature. Maroney is good, no doubt. But there is no reason that that school isn't better at football. It's the only D. 1-A program in a pretty big state. I guess they need a stadium all their own, but still. Watching that game made me pretty thankful Glen Mason stayed at Kansas. He never would've made it at UGA.

3) Penn State isn't any good either. I stand by my earlier thought. Also, watching a game called by Pam Ward is akin to having your testicles flattened into a tortilla-thin... err tortilla by Fat Joe, then having that tortilla serve as the wrap to a shit burrito force fed to you.

4) Louisville never should've been in the national title picture anyway.

5) UK-Florida: Looks like Meyer didn't run into that first-road-SEC-game trouble. I like the way Meyer put his starters back in after the successful onside kick, only to see Leak sacked immediately. I figure every Florida fan's thoughts went like this: First, a) Yeah, show these muhfuggers who's boss. That'll learn 'em to think they can come back. Then, b) if Leak gets hurt because of spite in a blowout like this, I'll be furious. and finally c) Aww shit, we aren't covering are we... Spurrier always covered. Damn.

6) Virginia Tech is good, but I bet a lot of their fans wish they'd saved some of that special teams karma for Miami or their bowl game.

7) LSU-Tennessee moved to Monday is pretty good for those fans who would've missed most of it because of the Georgia game. I like Tennessee to win, for some reason. But I don't really know why, and it's a similar feeling to my instinct before the Florida-UT game. So don't listen to me.


Gameday Recap: National Numbnuts Notebook

You know the drill.

VT is overrated, GT won't be intimidated. VT could win with special teams (it's early, but is the dosage right again?)
Iowa needs to score on D to beat OSU.
90% of young men are self-centered and selfish. Lee the sociologist. Awesome quote.
Quotes The Godfather, says ND will win by 4-5 TDs. ND's "that good". cf the last 3 weeks.
NSFMF: Harris Poll and Masters Poll are great!
NSFMF: Nobody has time to watch games, so polls are good. (I don't get it).
Sticks to his guns when Fowler calls him on Michigan's great performance against EMU. "yeah, that's what I said." Nice.
Gives a NSF twenty minutes early in re Michigan.
Penn State wins 6 because of an easy schedule. Goes to a bowl "close to Mexico, a really small bowl."
Shockley is the best run/pass QB in the SEC.
LSU and UF are best in SEC. No, wait, (NSF!) Georgia. Which is it?
Calvin Johnson's the best WR in the nation that nobody's talking about.
Drew Tate won't play the whole game (Kirk calls it a Code Red.)
Picks Minnesota because "they never beat Purdue". That's some class analysis. Then he says the bookies are picking right because Minn is a favorite.
USC wins 90s-40s. Then lowers it to 60s.
Game Changer: Maroney

Keeps calling a possible Purdue win an upset (did it on Sportscenter too). Purdue is ranked. Minnesota isn't. The line's a field goal (home field advantage), but I don't think anyone would really call Minnesota the favorite.
Best Game of the Day is USC-UO. Oregon will score, can't stop USC. Nudges Corso in re USC.
Illinois gaining confidence, believing in Zook's system. Right.
Penn St. will be 5-0 going into OSU game. Penn State wins 8 games.
Florida the team to beat in SEC east but offense isn't working. Alabama is the best in the west, possibly the whole thing. Alabama's D is one of the best in all of college football.
Weasels out of answering Fowler's question on whether Kirk would actually rank Alabama ahead of those other SEC teams. A good question that threw Kirk off-guard. I like that Fowler is willing to push the pundits.
Crowd will be a factor in Oregon-USC game.
Darryl Tapp is one of the best ends of all of college football
Matchup of the day in all of CFB is Calvin Johnson (who is the best WR in all of college football) against Jimmy Williams. 3 "inallofcollegefootball"s in one segment. On pace for a record.
Knock, Knock? Are ya there? Gerald Riggs, come out and play. Is he saying it's Riggs' fault that Fulmer and Sanders only gave him 17 carries? If so, that's a weak ass take. Seriously weak.
L. Maroney is one of the best backs inallofcollegefootball.
By the end of the year USC's offense will be the best of all time.
Game Changer: Ted Ginn
Won't get into talking about lines with Corso. I call that Puzz-wah.

The Harris Poll is going to suck.
Doesn't know the Master's Poll. "Does Tiger have a vote?" heh heh. Mocks the oldsters' vote "Penn State #1..." Heh heh.
Calls Paterno "Joepuh" again. Am I wrong to be annoyed by this?
History says Illinois beats Mich. State.
Northwestern have no confidence after getting "disemboweled" last week.
Says Corso "just kicked [Penn State] in the crotch". Ridiculous diction week on Gameday!
GT and VPI have "weak male/female ratios". From the voice of God.
Abets Herbstreit's weak take on the Tennessee running game by blaming the line. Guys, IT'S THE COACHES WHO CALL THE PLAYS AND DIDN'T GIVE HIM CARRIES!
USC wasn't exactly dominant on the road last year. Crib notes from Alberts' laptop.
Game Changer: Tyrone Prothro.

Polls serve to stimulate discussion (I think this is the dumbest argument in favor).
The biggest criticism of polls is that people don't watch games.

Brought in to talk about Penn State. Why? Because he hates Penn State?
Says "Joepuh" too. Am I wrong about this? Seriously. Someone in comments tell me.
Penn State wins at least 6 games.

Nothing of note

Nothing of note.

Did they cut him free?

That God is Hokie t-shirt: Is calling God a castrated turkey blasphemy?
Fowler says the GameFace winners have too much enthusiasm. I agree.
The walkthrough segment is back. Didn't miss it.
No breakfast with VT. Weak.

Hindsight picks:
Real ballsy, guys, picking Texas Tech. And why did they pick the Hawaii game?
Corso: 15-4, 69-19 overall
Herbstreit: 15-4, 73-14 overall

First month review coming soon.


Kyle Orton - Fantasy Football Revelation

Yahoo!'s Fantasy Football stattracker has a cool function which shows you your team's "optimal score", as in if you had played the best players, what your lineup should have been.

I'm in a league where you have to start 2 QBs and 2 of the 3 QBs on my roster are on bye (Carr and Harrington, so I was screwed anyway). So I had to scramble and pick up what I could from the waiver wire.

I chose Kyle Orton, because I knew he'd start.

5 INTs later, I got a kick out of seeing the optimal scoring show a guy on bye instead of Orton.

Better. Off. Not. Playing. At. All.


Friday, September 23, 2005

In praise of sideline reporters...

Props to Heather Mitts for doing a decent job looking attractive during Cal-NMSU tonight.


Football Wonk - Away Debuts

The other day I posted a comment at Heisman Pundit about how I thought Kentucky might give Florida a closer game than the experts think (the cookie didn't stay, so it shows up as anonymous). One of the things that got me thinking was the fact that it was the first road game for the Gators under Urban Meyer. Point: head coaches have routines, and when a team travels the team is actually under the head coach's control more than home games. When a team gets a new coach, that team hasn't experienced the routine and control of the new head coach before. So it's a new experience. I don't think it means Florida loses, but it might mean Florida ahs more to think about or experience before the game than they would at home, or if they'd been making rad trips under a particular coach several times before.

So I took a look at how other coaches have done in their road debuts. I looked at road debuts and road SEC debuts for the last 4 coaches at each school (to get a big enough sample). I took the last 4 at each school in the SEC because obviously some schools have better traditions than others, and the schools with coaches who lose a lot tend to replace the coach with more frequency. I.E., going back 4 coaches at Kentucky doesn't take too long, but Tennessee will go back to the 60's.

The results:

In road debuts (whether playing SEC foes or not) for the 48 selected coaches, they went 16-29.
In road SEC debuts, they went 17-26.

The number discrepancy is due to the fact that Arkansas and USC weren't SEC members for a few of the coaches.

I think this might say something. The SEC teams have a pretty good history out of conference, so a winning percentage that low might say something. I think the sample is big enough to get beyond the possibility that some coaches opened with cupcakes, while others opened with pretty strong opponents. And some great coaches lost their openers (Saban, Stallings, Dye), while less renowned coaches have won openers (DuBose, Zook, Brad Scott).

It looks from the numbers that road openers are a little more of a problem for SEC teams than might be expected. So look out for Meyer's Gators tomorrow and Les Miles's Tigers.

Also, some interesting facts on road SEC debuts for coaches:
Mark Richt's debut was the Tennessee game won on the last play (P-44 Haynes) after UT scored on a long screen.
Houston Nutt didn't lose on the road until Clint Stoerner's unfortunate fumble.
I counted Danny Ford's Arkansas SEC road opener as a loss (43-3 against Alabama), though it's technically a win due to forfeit.
I counted Fulmer's SEC road debut as a win, though that win against UGA was as an interim coach. He actually lost his road debut as a permanent coach (against UF). Galen Hall had a similar circumstance at Florida, but won both road debuts as interim and permanent coach.
I didn't count this year's Arizona State game as a road debut for Les Miles, due to circumstances and the fact that it was supposed to be a home game.
SEC schools typically do a good job of breaking in the coach at home before throwing him into the fire on the road. Most schools have scheduled 2 or 3 (sometimes even 4) home games before travelling, like Meyer and Miles.


Premiership Picks

Lots of news in the English world. Woodgate's hilarious debut at Real Madrid is a perfect example of the British press eating their own. Or is it? Perhaps the negative press is the result of Woodgate going abroad? I really can't give a proper example in American terms, but I could see the local press fired up at someone who decided the domestic game wasn't enough. But regardless, an own goal and a red card is about as bad as it comes for a defender.

On to the picks, which I'm doing drunk for the first time in a month, so they ought be decent...

Last week: 2/10, 1 right result
Season:25/54, 7 right results.

Birmingham City v. Liverpool: 0-1. Liverpool are better. Period.
Chelsea v. Aston Villa: 3-0. Streak continues.
Manchester United v. Blackburn Rovers: 0-0. Ugly as hell.
West Bromwich Albion v. Charlton Athletic: 1-2. I smell a Baggie slump.
West Ham United v. Arsenal: 2-2. I think this ought to be interesting.
Newcastle United v. Manchester City: 1-1. I want to pick City, but feel I shouldn't.
Everton v. Wigan Athletic: 0-1. I've picked against Wigan every week, so Everton are probably a lock.
Bolton Wanderers v. Portsmouth: 2-0. Bolton are good at home.
Middlesbrough v. Sunderland: 2-0. Sunderland might have relegation locked up by Valentine's Day.
Tottenham Hotspur v. Fulham: 2-0. 2-0 is the popular number for me this week.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Links Updated

A bunch of new ones added and a near total reorganization. Over to your right.

Take a look at a few of them, and you might learn something for once ya' miserable wreck.


Random football thoughts

1) Tennessee vs. Florida: I think this result is actually best for Georgia. I thought Tennessee was probably the better team, but their mistakes and coaching cost them. Before any Florida fans jump on me, I think Florida is very good, but the injuries suffered by Florida might cost them down the road. So a weakened team comes away with the win, and what I think is the better team has a blemish on their record. Why do I think Tennessee was better? Defense is as good as I've seen all year. Seriously fast and strong. Good up front and in the secondary. Kept Florida in check, especially running the ball. Plus, Tennessee was successful running the ball early. The stats don't show it because they were forced to throw the ball late. But Florida had trouble stopping Riggs. Tennessee didn't stick with the run as much as I'd have, and Florida made lots of big 3rd down stops (give them credit). Errors on special teams really came at the worst possible times for Tennessee. The other issue, and the one the pundits jump on, is the QB rotation. Unlike many, I don't really have a problem with having 2 quarterbacks. How you use them is a big deal, though. I think that it's OK to play both, but if it's clear that one guy has it and the other doesn't, you let the guy having the good game stay in. In UT's opener, it was obvious that Clausen was having a better game than Ainge. In this game, it was obvious that Ainge was having the better game. When you've made it clear who's better, you leave him in. Fulmer didn't and I think it cost them. Both these teams look better than UGA right now, but with injuries and a tougher schedule than Georgia has, I think the East is still wide open.

2) I think Virginia Tech is the class of the ACC, and probably by a decent distance.

3) I'm thinking Oklahoma pulls it all together just in time to beat Texas. Good win for UCLA though.

4) Michigan State will play in the Capital One Bowl at worst. Notre Dame's offense is really good, so don't worry about giving up the points. The key is that Michigan State will be able to outscore most Big Ten teams.

5) Southern Cal is very good.

6) It's funny how most SEC fans like Vanderbilt, or at least nobody hates them. Most people like that they're having a good year. I'm already worried about Georgia-Vandy. They usually play us close (we play down to their level). I do hope they make a bowl game.

7) Frank Solich's antediluvian coaching strategies outscored (sort of) Bill Callahan's new-fangled attack against a common opponent. What does that say? Pittsburgh sucks.

8) Penn State will be a big story by the middle of next month, then forgotten about by the middle of the next month.

9) Probably my biggest annoyance of scoring update announcers, specifically Brando and Rece Davis, is their tendency to call a particular team the "Fighting [name of coach]s". Yesterday I heard one of them call Illinois the Fighting Zooks, Kansas is the Fighting Manginos, and Ohio the Fighting Frank Soliches. We know who the coaches are. You get paid to know who they are, so you don't need to show off. Just show the highlights and quit acting cute. Generally I like Davis but I'm annoyed by Brando all the time, but that Fighting Frank Soliches line was just bush league, Rece.

ADDED: 10) Anyone else notice that on the Florida-Tennessee broadcast yesterday Verne Lundquist was ragging on (some might say "busting his balls") Dallas Baker for the penalty at the end of last year's game at the exact moment that he gets hit right in the dick and starts holding his crotch and wailing in pain. Voodoo Verne!


Thoughts on Georgia or The Chapter in Which our Hero Becomes an Obnoxious Message Board Asshole

I think it's probably common knowledge that a team learns more about itself when it plays a first-rate opponent than it does when it plays a bottom feeder. When you're pushed to the brink, you learn what you're capable of. But in another way, when you're pushed to the brink, you learn what you're capable of when you're pushed to the brink, and that doesn't happen all the time. In some ways, watching your team play a weaker opponent is a better gauge of how well they play under normal circumstances - when the pressure isn't constant, like in most situations. How will your team play when it just lines up and plays its game? That's what, ideally, you'll see when your team plays a bottom feeder.

And shortly, I wasn't all that impressed. Yes, it's hard to get too down on a team that just won by 37, but the score didn't really reflect the game.

I. The Opponent

I understand why we schedule teams like this, but I don't necessarily have to like it. It's good to get basically a guaranteed victory, and ideally, play lots of players to see what kind of depth we have. And, I've said before the trouble with our Florida game in Jacksonville, forcing us to schedule OOC games only at home, which limits the possible opponents. I would prefer to schedule better opponents, but getting a good team to come to Athens is pretty difficult since most schools want a return visit. The Boise State game is unfortunately about as good as it gets.

Still, I think this was a weak choice, even among bottom feeders. There's no tie to the region, like, say Georgia Southern. There's not much of a local recruiting angle, like, say Central Florida or UAB. And, while there's no real way to predict this because bottom feeders replace coaches and offensive schemes all the time, there's not much that this team does that prepares for other games, like, say Boise State did for Florida (sort of).

And to look at Louisiana-Monroe in a specific (this game) manner, I thought they were a boring opponent. Their two main plays were the inside hand-off wide (around the tackles)/QB keeper and the 2 yard pass that hopes the corner misses the tackle. They threw the ball deep once or twice, and ran up the middle only when linebackers cut off the outside (and they were spectacularly unsuccessful inside). They were pretty much painful to watch, especially when the defense is playing soft and not-to-get-hurt (more on that in a second).

II. Georgia Offense

On La-Monroe's very first drive, when they were throwing the ball short and doing those inside handoffs that kick the ball wide, The General turned to me and said the following (which I thought was kind of a rant at first, but then the rest of the game pretty much proved him right):
This is pathetic/bullshit. They are running our offense. They're running it wide because they aren't as good. They're trying to lengthen the game, they know they aren't as good, so they're doing this. This is what shitty teams do to try to level the playing field. If you're better, you line it up and run it down their throats. We run most of these plays. We don't need to. Against this team, against USC, against anyone. We're better. We shouldn't run this shit.

I thought he was a little over the top, but then I started watching for those plays, and sure enough we did run wide all the damn time. And usually after a misdirection or fake. This is pretty much a terrible way to run our personnel. First off, our line could easily push around La-Monroe. Why we didn't run inside the tackles all day is beyond my comprehension, especially when we were getting around 8 yards each time we did that. When DJ fakes and then hands off, the direction the tailback runs matters greatly. The fake/hesitation move DJ runs is OK in theory, and the first touchdown was a perfect example of how doing this several times a game can open up a big play. But when DJ hesitates/fakes and hands off to the tailback who runs wide, that hesitation and the time it takes to get outside gives a second or two to the defense to reset itself and recover in order to stop the play for little or no gain. If after the fake/hesitation, the tailback runs straight up the middle, then the defensive line will either get blocked or will have overpursued, opening up space to run. The combination of hesitation and the time to get outside is what costs us, especially when playing against a team with nothing to lose and who is playing with reckless abandon on defense (more in a second). And we ran that play probably a dozen times. Look, I know we have speed at tailback, and the idea of getting them outside so they can work in more space is a good idea. But dicking around and wasting time doesn't open things up outside. If you want to allow our tailbacks to work in space, use their speed to get them out there faster. Toss the ball to them while the backs are moving in the outside direction already. We're a better team talent-wise than most, so the need to conceal our intents is less necessary, and not at all necessary against Louisiana-Monroe. Also, I think the holding penalties tended to have something to do with the fact that it took 5 seconds for the tailback to get the ball and move toward the line of scrimmage. The longer it takes for a play to develop, the longer the OL has to hold off the D line, and the more opportunities for holding penalties there are.

The passing game didn't bother me as much as the running game. There were grumblings in my section about DJ not having a good game, but I didn't see that as much. I think he probably could have more confidence in the receivers and not be afraid to throw to them when they're in single coverage, and I think he sometimes forces passes to the tight ends even when double or triple covered. But his game really wasn't all that bad.

III. Georgia Defense

No inside information, but from watching the game it looked pretty clear that the pre-game speech from the coaches was something along the lines of: "Don't get hurt out there." The starting D looked like they were playing at about 75% speed, and reacting to La.-Monroe's offense, rather than disrupting what they were doing. I don't think the game was ever in doubt, and I surely don't want our best players to get hurt against a team like this. But when players are not going at full speed, their performance suffers greatly (and I tend to think they have just as much a chance of getting hurt).

I said this during the game and I still think it. We should have played only second and third stringers this entire game on Defense. Our substitutes are probably significantly better than their starters. Our substitutes are hungry to make big plays, to prove they deserve more playing time. If we had only played substitutes, I think our performance on D would've been better than playing our starters. And if there is an injury, we are still OK. I'm serious about this. And as you can seen in this game, the D in the second half after we started substituting liberally was more aggressive and eager to make stops than we were in the first half.

IV. The Good News

I have to think the coaching staff will watch this tape over and over again. They'll see that misdirections and hesitations rarely worked against this team, and that those plays surely won't work against superior opponents, like UT and Florida.

The Georgia special teams is, for the most part, getting better each week. The kicking game is impressive. I probably won't see another 58 yard field goal, even with the wind. The kickoffs were very good, especially the multiple times they were pinned into the corner and the kick was into the wind. The coverage was pretty good too. We could improve a little on our punt returns.

Here's the thing: Georgia wins big, but I think we learned a lot about the team this weekend. We still haven't figured out how to use the strength and speed of the running game. Our defense showed a tendency to get hesitant against an inferior team. Playing down to the level of opponents is not something championship teams do. And for 2 and a half quarters, we really did play down to their level. Our depth looks good, and there were still highlight reel hits and plays. National reputation wasn't hurt by this game (since pollsters and pundits only saw the final score), but I can see a lot of Georgia fans left unsatisfied.


Gameday Recap

Later today or this week I'll review the performances over the first few weeks, pointing out who's been right and wrong and how attitudes have shifted. As always, I do this because no other program sets the table as to what teams are publicized and how teams are viewed, which affects poll voters and in turn bowl selections.

"I say nothing" about the line in the FSU-BC game. Whatever.
Compares Fred Rouse to Deion Sanders.
OU hasn't recovered from the USC loss.
UCLA wins, Drew Olson is the key.
Adrian Peterson is all OU has.
ND has beaten 2 overrated football teams. (got a good chuckle from me - stick to the guns, Lee!)
MSU is ND's second toughest opponent (after USC). If ND wins today, they'll go 5-0 into the USC game (and yes, he said they'd go 0-6).
After May and Herbstreit yell at each other, Corso chimes in with "Where's Stephen Smith? Bring him out! We got guys to get a little louder!" Line of the month.
Totally mocking Herbstreit - Kirk hints at ND in the BCS, Lee chimes in with "National Title" in the same voice and imitation. Corso is killing it today. They definitely got his dosage right.
Vandy wins 6 games and goes to a bowl if Cutler stays healthy.
When he was a coach, he didn't believe in 2 QBs. Wasn't that before the forward pass though?
Oregon wins close, but they are looking ahead.
USC is still distracted by the glitz and all. (On Final, the others mock him mercilessly).
Nobody's as good as USC - only distractions will beat them.
FSU needs to trow deep, blitz, block punts. They need to get up 14-0 before the crowd gets in the way (again, dosage correct).

Miami's really good at payback. Urgency and redemption are his favorite words.
Florida's D is really good for their size. Aggressive pressure is the key.
Rotation of Florida D is key for winning in the 4th quarter.
ND sarcasm in full force. Charlie Weis "invented football". MSU shouldn't even show up. More Herbstreit imitations. NSFMF! MSU wins.
Just a banner day for Corso. Best performance in years.
Game Changer: Drew Stanton.
Oregon State's Pac-10 athletes sneak around the chicken coop and beat Louisville. I have no idea what that meant, but I like it.
Delayed NSF for the OU-UCLA game.
"Arkansas" beats South Carolina.

The Swamp is the loudest stadium in all of college football.
Vols need Clausen to have a big game to have a chance at an upset (framed in Florida's favor)
Alabama has to win today to win the west.
Corso and Howard aren't right about OU, because it's just the players they've lost.
OU rallies around their troubles, wins at UCLA.
ND wins against MSU, Purdue. Will be 5-0.
Vandy's on their way to a bowl, NFL scouts love Cutler.
Kansas is an upset away from a bowl bid, but watch them.
Agrees with everyone on UT and 2 QB system. Bad idea and stuff. Clausen should be the QB.
Makes an excellent point on USC Distractions thing that Corso's pushing - basically if USC gets beat, it might not be because of "distractions", it might be because the other team is good. Calls Corso's comment unfair. Then he says distractions aren't a problem - because of Pete Carroll.
Kiwanuka the key in BC-FSU. "Intelligence" of BC vs. speed of FSU. Regionalist.
Miami front 4 pressure as good as anyone in the country (aside: this sentence means nothing - does it mean that Miami's as good as Louisiana-Monroe or BFE State up front? It should say they're as good as the best in the country).
DeShawn Wynn is the biggest factor (mark it down) in the UT-UF game.
MSU offense will give ND trouble, but not enought defense to win.
Game Changer: Kyle Wright
The Swamp is the toughest place to play in all of college football.

Ala-USC: Swing game for a bowl bid for USC.
Some interesting insight on the betting lines as relating to Oklahoma. Talks about how the experts in the desert have totally turned on OU. "Stunning thing"
MSU doesn't buy into the ND mystique.
Points out the obvious: that all 2 QB situations are different. But can't get a word in. Also plays devil's advocate that Ainge can do things Clausen can't.
Oregon isn't looking ahead to USC.
Leinart is "foaming at the mouth". Comments on the line. Fowler must've figured out his audience and their gambling habits.
Whitehurst is good for Clemson in big games.
Game Changer: Maurice Drew.
Pulls a NSF against both Lee and Kirk, picks Fresno St.
Points out that Lee's 0-2 with the headgear.
Picks BC.

Corso's right about OU, but they also lost a lot of players. Discipline is a big issue.
Needs to stop complimenting the other talking heads.
Couldn't agree with May more. Sycophant pledge.
Clemson wins.
Thinks ND will lose to MSU and Purdue. "There isn't any way in the world they beat Purdue."
Pitt was terrible!
Lots of exclamation points. Yell!
Clausen should be the starter and Fulmer's screwing up by rotating.

Sporting the 3 piece 1930's outfit. Looks like an anorexic Spencer Tracy.
Picks Miami over Clemson. Shocking. It's almost as if he pathologically cannot pick teams that were his rivals when he coached.

May and Holtz "never agree on anything." Sell it! Sell it!

Conspicuously missing.

Sign of the day: George Bush doesn't care about Florida State
Nice effort on the dude who shaved BC into his chest hair sweater.
It's an important story, but do they need to use the same footage in their Tulane story that they've been using for a month now on Gameday and SportsCenter?
Game Face winners are weak.
BC team breakfast includes omlettes and yogurt. My favorite segment.
BC fans really hate ND. I mean, really.

Selection hindsight (and it's pretty easy to pick without lines):
Corso: 19-4 this weekend, 54-14 season
Herbstreit: 22-2 this weekend, 59-10 season


Friday, September 16, 2005


I get this feeling that Bill Simmons and the intern have a relationship akin to an abusive father-weakling son. Because I see no other reason for Simmons' hatin' on the ATL.

Check this:

Conversely, we think that these three teams could end up being worse than we thought ...


3. Atlanta To recap: They're playing a revenge game at home, on a Monday night, no less ... there's a pregame fight that results in the other team's only run-stopping linebacker's getting thrown out ... the best player on the other team (McNabb) gets walloped on the first series, leading to a D-plus performance (as it turns out, he was injured seriously enough that he's questionable for Week 2) ... the opposing kicker missed two sub 50-yard field goals ... Vick connected on a touchdown bomb and evaded trouble about 10-12 other times (amazing game from him) ... T.O. looked like he was only intermittently interested in the proceedings ... and the crowd was so loud down the stretch that McNabb couldn't even call audibles. And yet, with all of that going for them, here was the final score: 14-10.
(Translation: I wasn't impressed.)

So if I read this correctly, Simmons is listing the reasons why Atlanta should've blown out Philly last week. Fired up team and stadium, defense that causes injuries, TO issues, etc. Then he says that because they didn't blow out Philly, Atlanta isn't any good.



Most of the reasons you list above you knew before hand, and you still picked against them! If you picked against a team, despite all sorts of reasons to bet on them, and then they win outright, how can you say you weren't impressed? I guess he could've written this:

Even though I was dead wrong about the Falcons last week, I still don't think they're all that good. Trotter's ejection really hurt the Eagles. [omit everything else]

But then he wouldn't look like a knowitall, which is really all this column is good for. I remember last year, when his picks were shit, but he kept saying how he was making tons of money because he was only betting on winning teams and parlaying the right mix. Whatever, dude. If your picks suck, your picks suck.

These pick columns are too smarmy, not funny enough.


Premiership Picks

Last week: 3/10, 0 right results, but I should give myself credit for predicting that I'd suck.
Season: 23/44, 6 right results.

Charlton Athletic v. Chelsea: 1-1. I like Charlton so far, but I don't see Chelsea losing.
Fulham v. West Ham United: 1-2. Fulham start a quick decline.
Portsmouth v. Birmingham City: 0-1. Neither team worth a shit.
Sunderland v. West Bromwich Albion: 0-2. See above.
Aston Villa v. Tottenham Hotspur: 1-2. For some reason I like the road teams this weekend.
Liverpool v. Manchester United: 2-0. Man U have trouble in the defense.
Blackburn Rovers v. Newcastle United: 2-0. Souness looking for a job by Monday.
Wigan Athletic v. Middlesbrough: 0-1 Confidence from midweek UEFA match.
Manchester City v. Bolton Wanderers: 2-0 City are legit.
Arsenal v. Everton: 3-0. Everton suck bad.


Found Art

Sign at Athens Pizza Express on Clairmont:

GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Pickin' a fight, again.

Heismanpundit writes about how awesome it is that LA has two good football games this weekend. It's great to be excited about good games, and I can understand that he's a bit defensive about others saying there aren't lots of college football fans in LA.

However, this comment I think overstates the case:

No other city will have that many fans attending college football games on this or any Saturday.

Factually, I guess that's right. But what does it really say? Considering that no single stadium seats more than 110,000, you need to have two or more major programs in the same city to approach that number. So really LA is only comparable to the following cities or metropolitan areas which have more than one Division I-A programs:

San Francisco Bay Area (Stanford, Cal, San Jose State)
Houston (Houston, Rice)
Dallas/Fort Worth (SMU, TCU and North Texas - HT - Kevin)
Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill (UNC, NC State, Duke)
ADDED: Miami/West Palm Beach (Miami, FIU, FAU)

I think the Bay Area is even pushing it, since it probably takes longer to drive from Palo Alto to Berkeley than it would to go from Clemson to Georgia Tech. And just to be an annoying fact nerd, I'd bet Dallas would top 150,000 fans on a day when UT-OU is at the Cotton Bowl and SMU and TCU both play home games (it'd be close, at least).

The point is that USC and UCLA have more fans in their city than a bunch of mid-majors and basketball schools. Not saying all that much, I'd say.

Most major college football programs aren't in major urban areas, and if they are, they rarely have a crosstown rival. In that instance, LA is unique, not necessarily football-mad.

And, as Heismanpundit says in his comments, it's pathetic that a 2-0 UCLA team playing at home in the second largest metropolitan area in the US and favored over a team that's played for the BCS Title 3 times in the last 5 years can't fill 2/3rds of their seats, let alone sell out their stadium. Weak. Cf: Athens, GA will double in size Saturday for the arrival of juggernaut Louisiana-Monroe. Some might even say, QED, MFer.

And I'd also say that more than 150,000 Atlantans watch a college football game in person each weekend. They just so happen to travel to Athens, Knoxville, Clemson, Auburn, Tuscaloosa and even Atlanta to watch those games rather than stay at home.


Clap your hands say yeah.

It's high times for sarcastic or slow claps. Here in the USA we've got Bill Simmons devoting precious space in his column towards it:

Q: Can we all agree that the slow-clap in "Lucas" was the best executed slow-clap in cinematic history?-- David Snipes, Seoul, Korea

SG: Obviously you haven't seen "Brubaker" with Robert Redford -- that movie put the slow-clap on the map (one of the most underrated movies of the '80s). And while we're here, the funniest slow-clap ever happened when Phil Hartman returned to host "SNL" in 1996, then he wouldn't come out of his dressing room for the monologue before Tim Meadows finally convinced him to come out ... and when he finally emerged, Will Ferrell was standing there, made an emotional face, waited two beats, then started the slow-clap. Not only was it a great moment, but it carried a little extra weight because Ferrell and Hartman were on the screen together, almost like the torch was being passed. All right, I put way too much thought into this.

Then we have his readers follow up in the More Cowbell:

For "best slow clap," I feel somewhat betrayed by the fact that a self-confessed "Can't Buy Me Love" fan would neglect to mention Big John's inspired slow clap following Ronnie Miller's passionate lunchtime speech to Quint. I imagine I feel somewhat like Kenneth did after he caught Ronnie in the net on Halloween. I'm going to the arcade now to play a motorbike racing game. -- Mike, Chicago

You missed a big moment in your discussion of the slow-clap. There was an entire SNL skit built on it -- it was a fake soap opera called "The Sarcastic Clapping Family of Southhampton."
Here's the link to the transcript.-- John M., St. Louis

But there was no mention on perhaps the best sports related slow clap in history, or at least since every single call that goes against Gregg Popovich (and that's probably the last NBA reference I ever drop).

Wayne Rooney.


Monday, September 12, 2005

Dear Peter King's Editors:

Please stop making him write about things he doesn't want to write about:

Terrell Owens tells Mike Irvin he's going to give "181 percent'' in every game this year. I can't wait until a.) Owens shuts up; b.) we stop giving him forums for his silliness.

It's pretty obvious that Venti McStarfucker has no control over what he writes about, and that's a shame. He obviously would never write about some of these things unless someone put a gun to his head. For example: the dorms at Colgate, Montclair Softball (after his daughter had already graduated), the inner workings of his fantasy baseball team, and the price of a 12 pack of Poland Spring Water.

Pedro: If you don't want to give this guy a forum, don't put him in just about every column you write (and here and here and here). Next week's column will be all about how overexposed the Patriots are, and how sportswriters shouldn't hero-worship Brett Favre.


Champions' League

A little different here. I'll pick them, but won't get into it much more than that. Feel free to talk about teams in comments and I'll be glad to elaborate. Later on, in the knockout stage, I'll go in depth.


AC Milan v. Fenerbahce: 2-0
PSV Eindhoven v. Schalke 04: 1-1
Olympique Lyonnais v. Real Madrid: 2-1
Olympiakos v. Rosenborg: 1-0
Real Betis v. Liverpool: 2-1
Chelsea v. Anderlecht: 3-0
Artmedia Bratislava v. Internazionale Milan: 0-3
Rangers v. Porto: 0-1


Club Brugge v. Juventus: 0-2
Rapid Wien v. Bayern Munchen: 0-1
Arsenal v. Thun: 3-0
Sparta Praha v. Ajax: 1-1
Werder Bremen v. Barcelona: 1-3
Udinesse v. Panathinaikos: 0-0
Benfica v. Lille: 2-1
Villareal v. Manchester United: 1-1


Sunday, September 11, 2005

Amarkmayican Idol: Who will take over for Trev? That and more with College Gameday Recap

Recapping the predictive abilities of morons talking about football. 20/20 goggles on and ready to go.

Hints that Ohio State might lose because the game will end at night. "I say nothing!!!" Old coot.
One loss team with biggest concerns: Oklahoma
Miami can "win 'em all" if they have a snapper and a holder; compares them to 1983 team tha lost opener and won them all. "I say nothing!!!" Weirdo.
TCU could be Utah of 2005
Would start Zwick. "I would not change quarterbacks for quarterback change [unintelligible] trails off... Odd.
Blames QB rotation for Georgia losses. Fowler says Corso's still mad about that. Doesn't he realize that it wasn't the QB rotation, but rather the curse that him wearing the mascot head that caused UGA to lose? Accountability, Lee. Take it.
Iowa is elite, and overrated. We'll find out how good when they play "our" buckeyes.
Michigan hasn't played defense since 1997
Richt, Fulmer and Tuberville are classy.
Shockley is for real. Georgia's D wins for them. UGA wins big.
Admits he was wrong about ND. Calls Pitt "mighty" three times! They're just killing May today (see below).
Vince Young is your game changer.
NSFMotherfucker (even though Kirk hadn't said anything yet): Maryland wins over Clemson.
Picks Iowa close (half credit?)
NSFMF: (again, before Kirk had said anything) Nebraska beats Wake (and why are they talking about that?)
Plays to the crowd on ND-Mich pick.

Secretaries in the UT athletic department are infected by Vince Young's confidence.
Oklahoma: needs a passing game, defense had no emotion, heart, desire; no leadership. Bigger concerns than Auburn, Miami, others.
Likes GT.
Zwick should start, Smith should get in early. Herbstreit talks out of both sides of his mouth in saying the opposite, but then agreeing with May. "I just said that" (he said something completely different).
Iowa is elite. Was with marginal athletes, now even better.
Georgia wins close.
Rubs in Pitt sucking to May.
Notre Dame within 2-3 years is back to a power in college football. ABOUT TO BUILD A DYNASTY ("mark it down", he says, and so I do).
Ohio State D is one of the most athletic and agressive in college football.
Chizik is one of the best D coordinators in college football (he broke out the superlative twice in a minute after not saying a thing all day).
Brady Quinn is your game changer.
Admits he was wrong about Clemson - last week's dumbest statement. Good on ye.
Says he'll pick against Washington no matter what, cause they suck.
Upset special - Wake over Nebraska.
Plays to the crowd on ND-Mich pick.
Brings out his kids to make his OSU pick. His kids look like the twins who played Frankenstein in Big Daddy and Ross's kid on Friends.

OSU-UT won't define the season (really? 'cuz it sure seems like the hype suggests that).
OSU-UT isn't armageddon, just fun. (WTF? Dude, it's a big game. Just call it that.)
Nick LaChey is "our resident rock star". Rock star. Yeah. He said it. Dumbest statement of the day.
Iowa might be overrated, not as good as Herbstreit thinks. Trap game for Iowa.
Incidental hilarity or intentional?: when talking to Mark May, Fowler (with a huge shit eating grin) worked in the phrase "take it on the chin". Clearly referring to Mark's facepussy (which I will hear no argument against the fact he grew it to distinguish him from Carlton of the Fresh Prince)
What's that shit about Michigan's AD telling the students to sit down? What a fucking moron.
Chad Greenway is your game changer (whiff).
Says Kirk's kid's heartbeat is pounding while sitting on Fowler's lap. I'm a little creeped out by this scene.

Zwick should start for OSU and shouldn't get a quick hook.
Notre Dame isn't that good because Pitt sucks.

Holtz (vomiting in my mouth):
Maryland lost last year to the "University of Clemson" - intentional? I'd say so, even though normally I'd chalk it up to the oatmeal between his ears.

Very loud boos. I like it.
Mouthpieces slow you down. Never heard that before. Interesting, sort of.
Troy Smith should start for OSU.
Agrees with Herbstreit about ND becoming a dynasty.

More boos. Kind of surprising. Probably because he's fair weather.
I honestly think his Hail to the Victors piece was absolutely tongue in cheek.
Howard and Lachey singing Hail to the Victors in the Shoe - probably will cause death threats.

even the Lovely Wife thinks the Bubba Sparxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx song was better. If you've lost Cronkite... And the actual lyrics are "Yeah, this song is... purdy Shit-tay".
The Gillette "Game Face" bit is equally hilarious and tragic. Freaking terrible.
First I've seen the Takeshi "This is Sportscenter" commercial. How does Anderson keep a straight face?
I'm not sure what Gameday thing makes me laugh/pisses me off the most. Options: Game Face, Big&Rich, the bullshit walkthrough bit on the turf (which they thankfully didn't do this week). Maybe one thing that always cracks me up is the footage of the team breakfast. Always comedy. Is there any reason for a camera there? Vince Young uses ketchup on his eggs - a clear advantage for Ohio State! Oh look, Mack Brown burned his toast! He clearly doesn't have his mind in the right place!
And is that Audi commercial where the car drives up a ski jump for real? For skreel?


Corso: 18-5, 35-10 on the year
Herbstreit: 19-4, 37-8 on the year.

Recap thoughts:
Holtz is a terrible choice to replace Trev.
The pundits really went overboard in catering to OSU, as they have for the last few weeks.
Cutting the walkthrough segment is a good move.
Only two NSFs, and both of them were premature ejaculations. Nice, now go back to your pudding.
Howard improved a bit this week, but he's still pretty weak.


Ohio State - Texas

I only saw the end of it, so I'll focus on one thing. After Zwick's fumble (with 2 minutes to go), if I remember the series correctly, Texas got a quick first down (down to about the 4). My immediate thought was for Ohio State to let Young walk in for a touchdown. Texas was up one, and there's no way Texas goes for 2 after the touchdown. Ohio State needed the ball with the most amount of time left. Give the touchdown up quickly, then use the minute and a half or so to put together a drive to go downfield and tie the game with a touchdown and 2 point conversion. Seems like at that point in the game it was like a high school game in overtime when the team on offense has the lead in penetration. Just give up the score so you get the ball back.

What did happen was exactly the best case scenario for Ohio State after that first down. And they got the ball back on the 1 yard line with about 25 seconds left needing to go about 70 yards for the winning field goal. Had they given up the score immediately, they'd have had a chance to return a kickoff (probably a squib) and go about 75 yards for the tying touchdown, but with just under two minutes and a timeout. Again, this is all from memory, so I might not have the timing exactly right. But I thought of it immediately at the time. Wondering if anyone else thought of this... And by the way, someone this week mentioned (unsure who) that Tressel is the best game day coach in the nation. Hmmm...


Review of UGA-Shitburg State

I thought we'd roll, and we didn't.

As I watched from Section 325, I kept having flashbacks. Not to other USC games, though I'm sure in many minds the "they always play us tough" line of thinking is common. It reminded me first and foremost of the Tennessee game from last year, and then just about every Georgia-Florida game during the Donnan years (except that the relative talent on the teams was about reversed.

Yes, the amorphous idea that "players were told they were so good all week because of last week's blowout and they started to believe their own hype" will get airplay. But I see a connection to the UT game from last year because of the coaching mistakes (or ill-advised strategies, and yes, I have the benefit of hindsight - so this isn't a rant on Richt), the opponent making big plays at the best possible times, while we do not make big plays (or just not often enough), and yes, some suspect officiating (I haven't seen the tape, just how I saw it from my seat).

As to reminding me of late-90s Florida games, the offense really is that familiar. Spurrier is still really good at getting receivers into open seams (and they use picks really well). Mitchell, who might be a little better than I thought but still not great, found the right guy a lot of the time. Their running game sucks, but if it hadn't, then Georgia would've been in trouble.

The overall take: Georgia is the better team. USC still is not that good. Georgia was lucky to win.

A few specific things:

1) Anyone know why Spurrier declined that penalty in order to punt sooner? I know he's been known to punt on 3rd down when he's frustrated with the offense, but they weren't playing terribly. The only thing I could think of was that personnel needed a breather (Mitchell was winded).

2) The talk after the game was about why we blitzed on 3rd and 22. I see the concerns, but I'm not sure it was the wrong thing to do. I just think it wasn't executed. When Georgia got pressure on Mitchell, 9 times out of 10 he made a poor decision or the pass wasn't accurate. On that play the USC line held up and we didn't get the pressure we should have. In hindsight, you don't blitz there because it didn't work. But that's the case with everything. I'm not convinced it wouldn't have worked with the right execution.

3) The coaching mistakes/strategies I wrote of above: basically, not committing to the run 100% until the second half. Running up the middle was open most of the day (USC's defensive guards are not very good). This was pretty plainly evident even in the first quarter. USC's defensive backs are pretty good and defended the pass very well. Of course you need to continue to throw to keep them honest, but I think running the ball a little more would've been better.

4) The playaction on 4th and 1: This might've worked if we hadn't called timeout and given their coaches a chance to remind them to watch for this, but I think it was a bad idea anyway. The General was furious - thought we should've punted - but I think going for it was OK as long as we just lined up and pushed them off the line, which we did all day long.

5) One referee call - that unsportsmanlike penalty for throwing the ball after what looked like a fumble. I thought at worst this should've been a delay of game penalty for 5 yards. It wasn't showing up the other team. All it did was make the referee crew trot a little farther. Laziness penalty. Weak.

So yeah, Georgia could've played better (and USC probably could've too). But Georgia was the better team. And lucky to get out with a win. This game should be reviewed again and again for the Tennessee game, since they'll be as talented in the secondary (though UT should be much better up front).


Friday, September 09, 2005

Premiership Picks

Dear punters,

I know grouchy blue collar dudes from Leeds with plenty of hair in their ears and who smell like cheap smuggled Turkish cigarettes and fried fish have little interest in what a 28 year old Atlantan who actually cares more about college football has to say about their national game (no, not cricket, the one with the overpaid primadonnas). But in this instance you should wise up and pay attention. Put aside the fact that I clearly don't know my elbow from my asshole. Put aside the fact that I could name maybe 3 keepers in the entire premiership. Put aside the fact that I haven't even been able to watch highlights of the premiership this year since Comcast took away FSC. Suspend your belief in critical thinking and reasoned analysis and look at one thing:

Two weeks ago: 6/9 right result. 2 right scorelines.
Season so far: 20/34 right result. 6 right scorelines.

Fifty Fucking Nine percent correct. If I were choosing between 2 options, I'd be making cash hand over fist. Among three options? Are you kidding? If I had balls, I'd be making J.K. Rowling money. Without the whole exploitation of kids who don't know that the plotlines are all rehashed Saved by the Bell episodes on acid. 59%!!!!! Even I didn't realize it was going so well.

And on that note, the inevitable downfall...

Birmingham City v. Charlton Athletic: 1-2. Charlton continue on up the table.
Chelsea v. Sunderland: 4-0. Should be bigger than that. Asswhipping of the year. (and yes, I've considered going against the grain here).
Everton v. Portsmouth: 0-0. I really don't like Everton this year, though Pompey blow. Least confident of this pick.
Manchester United v. Manchester City: 1-2. Yeah, they're going to be pissed. And I laugh.
Tottenham Hotspur v. Liverpool: 1-0. First instinct pick, but upon reasoned analysis, I'd pick a draw. I do think Liverpool will be bothered more by international commitments over the last couple weeks.
West Bromwich Albion v. Wigan Athletic: 2-0. And nothing to add.
Newcastle United v. Fulham: 3-0. I'm not really crazy... I'd guess they blow up here and then go scoreless for the next 5 matches. Reason? Fulham suck and a big win here would make the Toon Army even sillier, if only for a few days.
Middlesbrough v. Arsenal: 0-2. Not my first instinct, but then I remembered that I don't think Boro're any good.
Bolton Wanderers v. Blackburn Rovers: 1-0. I think this will be an ugly game. Will the rumors about Big Sam bother them?
West Ham United v. Aston Villa: 1-0. West Ham aren't as bad as I thought. I do think Villa will go on a decent run this year sometime, though.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Chapter in which our hero, LD, pretends he's Peter King

Normally, I'd give these hard pipe-hittin opinions for free, but since Sid-Bream-with-a-better-stache lookalike John Stossel told me that price gouging is good, it'll cost you big time. Give to the link above.

1) Droopy Dog dedicated an entire column to the plight of Mike Morse (guy admits taking steroids after an injury, is punished in the Minors, gets to the bigs and tests positive for alleged residue left over from 3 years ago). I think it sucks for this guy to get punished twice, and I also wonder why he couldn't find a doctor to prescribe something for the injury (story doesn't pass the BS test). However, the policy as is is meant to deter people from using steroids as a performance enhancer, as in to get people to the big leagues. Why shouldn't they punish people whose use helped them do exactly that? It's harsh, but it should be.

2) Lance Armstrong's possible return to Le Tour de France? You can't return a jacket for spite, but perhaps a yellow jersey.

3) A Scoop Jackson article about the WNBA? I tried to come up with a joke of something else I'd never want to read, but the article itself is the best punchline I could come up with.

4) Kick ass, Robby Ginepri. But Wheeler still sucks. Cocaine Bref and I pissed on you, bitch.

5) Watching the Pats/Raiders game tonight after a hard weekend of college football last weekend, I'm reminded that I need to recreate a separate compartment for watching the Pro game. I tend to take a more analytical (go ahead and laugh, motherfucker) approach to the NFL than college football. Here's why it's so different: coverage is way too serious, fans are way too serious, everything about it is way too serious. Even the entertaining things, like Randy Moss mooning and Joe Horn making a cell phone call, are all about commercializing the players. It's altogether boring, but also good football. So I just have to watch it more dispassionately. That said, the ABC coverage sucks. It's like they took the worst parts of Gameday, watered them down for mass consumption, and threw them at us. Tim McGraw is singing the highlights. Tim, you're no Bubba Sparxxxxxxxxx.

6) From Jim Donnan's Weekly Viewer's Guide in re Shitburg State vs. UGA: "However, anything can happen in this game." Like 5 INTs (4 of them on the exact same called play), snuggling with but not benching a QB who is obviously coked up and/or wagering on the game, and losing to a team whose goalposts had to be replaced the week before because of the historic upset of NEW MEXICO MOTHERFUCKING STATE. Yeah, anything can happen. I hate that my donations to the UGA Athletic Association still go to paying this mouthbreather.

7) Meanwhile, a sentient coach knows what to watch for: "Hurl insults, just don't hurl bottles and I'll be fine." Evidently he knows the weapons we bring to the stadium. Luckily, those bottles lose a lot of their mass because we wouldn't dare throw them full.

8) I was also going to write about Bill Simmons using the respect card for the Patriots for the 18 billionth time, but M. Elkon got to it first. With adorable pictures!

9) A few notes on college football blogs. (a) Heisman Pundit sounds like an accountant using tems like "wack" and "phat" when he uses the G at the end of "Straight Banging". And I'm going to add Straight Bangin' to the blogroll when I get around to it, if for no other reason than the Ed Orgeron photo. (b) In re the MGOBlog/Heismanpundit/CFR slapfight today, I see a schism in the football blog world. Some writers want to elevate the game, take the writing seriously (and though I use the plural "writers," has there been any actual proof that HP and Resource Admin are in fact different people, or is it common knowledge and I'm just late to the game?). Others want to have fun with the game and mock the stuffedshirts. It makes me want to make people know that I sit firmly on the latter side, though I'm just not funny enough for anyone to realize it. From here on out I shall make more dick and fart jokes and quote Super Troopers liberally. In fact, I'm going to call this next guy a chickenfucker.


Where our good friend LD shows his rampant bias

A word on the Georgia Bulldogs. I thought for a long time on whether I should write a post on the Dawgs and therefore ruin my reputation as an unbiased arbiter of what's right and wrong. Then I remembered that I don't give a shit about my being unbiased, only others, since the inane and ungrammatical rantings of an idiot have no effect on actual events.

So let me make things clear: no college football team made a better impression last weekend than UGA. And I say this mostly because the only other teams that made a good showing this weekend (Notre Dame, Clemson, GT) I do not consider national title contenders and I think they suck. USC and Texas played nobody. Georgia actually played a good opponent (one I think will end up with 9 or 10 wins) and blew them out. Was Boise overrated? Probably, but I still think they'll end up in the Top 25. Their offense is dangerous - on numerous occasions Zabransky missed wide open receivers - and I think this game is more of a credit to UGA than against Boise. Back on Zabransky - he rarely looked past the initial receiver and threw to him even when covered (which was every time). Yes, Zabransky sucked. But the Georgia defense forced it too. Zabransky wasn't under pressure all that much, believe it or not. I thought the Georgia LBs were spectacular and they definitely duped Zabransky into throwing ill-advised passes.

And this bodes well for the Dawgs. Defensively, I think they've shown they can shut down the passing game, and that's without overly agressively attacking the opposing with the front 4. If they choose to (which I suspect they will this weekend), we could see even more turnovers, something sorely lacking from last year's campaign. Offensively, the Dawgs are incredibly dangerous. The quick strike capabilities they showed last weekend can only get better. And the strength of the offense - the running game - wasn't on display. Opposing defenses will have to pick their poison. Boise brought the linebackers up and gave up several big plays. Cover the receivers and tight ends, and you'll see the Dawgs grunt out 4 or 5 yards at a time, with the occasional 18 yard DJ scamper. I don't see many other teams being able to stop Georgia. This team is dangerous. Mistakes might be the only thing that slows the Dawgs down.

So yes, I'm on the bandwagon. I had a good feeling about this year, thinking the Ewing Theory applies. Compared to last year, when expectations made watching Georgia as fun as [here's where I wanted to say fucking a BYU coed missionary style while wearing 5 condoms, but alas, I am not funny], this year seemed like it could be fun. Of course, after a game like last weekend, the expectations are back and bad. So the inevitable fall from grace will again feel like I've been kicking it with a visegrip attached to my sack [see?].

But not this weekend. Here's what I see for the USC (that's in LA) Carolina (that's in Chapel Hill)Shitburg State game this weekend: Blake Mitchell is benched or is injured before the second quarter. The Georgia D gets to the QB a lot, causing a fumble or two and a jumpball INT or two. Georgia runs the ball really well. Georgia doesn't score quite as quickly, but the game is never in doubt. 35-10. Joe T and Blake Barnes play the 4th quarter again. Shockley plays solidly, but the RBs are the story.

Oh, and Spurrier is gracious afterward. That I have no doubt about. I think Spurrier has an interesting ethos of being nice and sportsmanlike after he loses to even out the dickishness he shows when he wins (which I hate when my team is on the short end, but I like generally). We'll have trouble with him when/if he gets some linemen and a real QB. I also see him talking more shit towards Tennessee than us.