Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Peter King Likes to Hear He's Right

As my tour of annoying online columnists continues (and I really do want to write about other things, but this week has just been aggravating)...

A few weeks ago Peter King wrote how sports fans just don't know the intensity of a big time sports event unless they live in along the Eastern Seaboard. It was a deeply arrogant and foolish statement, as I wrote about here, and others have also stated. While that statement alone was ridiculous, what he wrote the next day I thought was even worse.

First, a step back... About online mailbags. They're a staple of the online columnist. They're incredibly easy to write. Someone else comes up with your stories, all you have to do is offer some short responses after (hopefully) a minimal amount of research and effort. Plus, these mailbags offer some form of interactivity for the columnist. It could be used as an ideal place for corrections, or for reasonable debate over something written in a regular column. Or it could be a place for jokes, as Bill Simmons has nearly perfected. The interesting thing is that not two of these mailbags are alike. Simmons goes for laughs. Dr. Z has lots of inside jokes (maybe not the right word to use here) and doesn't reprint letters. Dennis Dodd thinks the mailbag is there just to mock people and offer no insight whatsoever. John Donovan and Rob Neyer raise interesting debates and are surprisingly respectful toward writers. Stewart Mandel reverts to ad hominem attacks and misdirection when his writers call him on something wrong. Matt Hayes is just a dick.

But then there's Peter King, who usually offers some insight in his mailbags, though perhaps that is just in comparison to his increasingly vacuous MMQB. Or at least so I thought for a while.

Like I said, after his easily disputable, remarkably off-the-mark comment about intensity among sports fans, I figured King would immediately wish to retract it and include the next day an email from some wild Packers or Chiefs fan or maybe someone from the Black Hole in Oakland. The email would say "Hey we're pretty intense here too!" and King would get to write something like, "That's true. I didn't mean to slight anyone else. In fact the intensity I wrote about is palpable most places, which is what makes the game great!" and we could all feel good about ourselves and feel satisfied over our lattes.

But instead he selected the following letter:

LOVE THE EAST COAST, BABY. From Doug of Columbus, Ohio: "Your East Coast sports comment is dead on. My brother, who lives in Boston, was home for a reunion this summer. I mentioned that I was going to go to the opening night for the NHL in Columbus. I was just going down and buying a ticket. He said that was something he missed about the Midwest -- just going up to the window or a scalper at gametime to purchase a ticket. He said finding a ticket to a Patriots/Celtics/Bruins/Red Sox game is just about impossible. Whether you can afford it or not is another story.''
Your brother is a wise man.

I'm not sure whether this is technically self-fellatio, since there's another person involved. But it sure seems pretty close.

But it got me wondering how often King did something like this, and by "this" I mean use a letter that backs him up on something foolish he'd written. Well, I've waited a few weeks, and there appears to be a pattern. The last email of the Tuesday mailbag three times in the last month has been an oddly inserted email that says how right Peter is about something, and that something is usually insignificant in the broad scheme of things. So it's basically a way to end the column with a "Gosh, Peter, you sure are right." and Peter gets to respond with "Hey, thanks! I guess I am!".

Three weeks ago, in reference to Peter's near-death experience with a drunken degenerate gambler at the racetrack:

THANKS FOR PUTTING MY MEADOWLANDS ENCOUNTER IN PERSPECTIVE. From Todd Prins of Salt Lake City: "You asked if you made the right choice headed to your car. Well, did you come home? Then you made the right choice. I'm not saying anything would have happened if you would have taken the other half-step toward the drunk aggressor, but you start thinking about Ken Hamlin and Jerome McDougle, then you take your Magic Eight Ball and imagine the story we would have read today if things had gone all wrong in the parking lot. All of your fans who appreciate your work, talent and candor, and your family and friends who appreciate all of that and more, let me just say -- yeah, you made the right decision.''
Wow. That is an incredibly nice e-mail. Thanks for writing it.

And this week:

COFFEE SNOBS AFTER MY OWN HEART. From Ron and Joyce Galvin of Ashland, Ore.: "Re the poor quality of egg nog lattes at Starbucks. We've been thinking the same thing about the metallic taste, so, as an experiment, we ordered straight espressos (which we never do) and found the same tinny taste. We think the problem is in the pods and not the nog.''
You are beautiful human beings. This e-mail will be shared with my New Jersey baristas this week and we'll try to get to the bottom of it.

It just seems like this is almost his formula. Finish with a flourish and let the crowd applaud you. And I think it's kind of silly. But hey, it's his column, and he can do whatever he wants. And with Mailbags, who knows? I'm sure a lot of the emails aren't even picked by the writer himself. If that's the case, Peter's editor seems to trying to bolster his writer's ego. And while silly, I still guess it's better than Dodd and Mandel publishing the most mouthbreathingest letters of the week so we can all see what they have to suffer through (the horror of having to write about sports and get paid for it!).

So to those of you who have lofty dreams of having your name in an interent mailbag, try complimenting Peter's diet and how it accentuates his nuggetpouch. Or some bullshit about how he's right that old House is just so crotchety.


Georgia Tech over Miami: A Costly Win?

With all the national talk about the Irish and the Buckeyes going to Tempe because the bowls are only about money, here's a peripheral story about bowls and money, and also about how sometimes when you win, you really lose.

While I had to hand it to the Jerky Jackets for going into the city where the heat is on and throwing a wet blanket on the Canes' ACC Title and BCS hopes (and also stifling much of the talk about their own NCAA violations), it actually turns out that the win over Miami will cost Georgia Tech about $310,000.

Before Jon Tenuta's D shut down Da U, Miami was the odds-on favorite to win the ACC Championship Game. Their season would have been bookended by games against in-state foe Florida State. And in classic [little thang in your] yin-yang style, the Canes likely would have avenged their season-opening loss, as Miami's steady improvement over the season was in proportion to the Noles' steady decline.

But that climax to the story squirted away prematurely when the Canes got fucked by a Johnson with one Ball.

The Jackets aren't quite used to this newfangled conference championship game gobbledygook, so they may not have contemplated the full ramifications of the win. If Miami had gone to Jacksonville for the title game, Virginia Tech (10-1) would almost certainly have gotten the second at-large BCS bid after bespooged Notre Dame gets the first. But as Georgia Tech's win boosted Virginia Tech to the ACC Coastal Division Championship, it also sunk the conference's chances of having two teams in the BCS. Now, the Canes (9-2, BCS #9) are not realistically in the discussion about the at-large bids, and if VT loses the championship game, their two losses would push them out of the at-large hunt as well.

Thus, no matter the outcome this weekend, the ACC will only put one team into the BCS. The fiscal consequences of that are quite severe.

The ACC is rich with bowl-eligible teams this year, and this Sunday we'll see them poach bowl slots from other conferences who do not have enough eligible teams to fill their tie-ins. The SEC, for example, is short two teams from its total of eight bowl tie-ins.

The ACC (and interestingly, it looks like GT specifically) will likely take the SEC's spot in the Gaylord Focker Music City Bowl in Nashville. [Yes, I know my beloved Dawgs lost there, before my very eyes, to Boston College four years ago.] The ACC probably would not have taken this slot if they had put two teams in the BCS. That is, if UM and VT are in the Orange and Fiesta, all other ACC teams would slide up in the pecking order for ACC tie-in bowls, and they would not need to fill the void left by the top-heavy/bottom-empty SEC.

Thus, because of GT's win over Miami, the total bowl payout received by the ACC this year will be reduced by the difference between what it would have gotten with two teams in the BCS, and what it will get with a team in the Music Shitty Bowl.

The bonus for a conference having a second team in the BCS is $4.5 million. The payout for going to Nashville is about $780,000. Therefore, the ACC lost about $3.72 million when the Jackets beat the Canes. Split evenly, Tech's share of that would have been around $310,000. That was money they dearly need to help pay their hefty NCAA fines and 7-year TV revenue remittance.

Just like Tech. Can't win for winning.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Lebowski Rankings: Week 8

One more weekend, and I might do this again after the bowls. Next week I'll post all 119 teams for a final season ranking. Then after the bowls, I'll post the top 64/65 (depends on Connecticut), which would be the teams affected by the bowl games.

As you can probably tell, the system seems to give an unfair advantage to smaller conference teams that have had good seasons. While I realize that there's probably little chance that Nevada can come close to Michigan (although you never know), this system only ranks how well a team has performed relative to one goal: winning the games in front of them. And with that, I think this system actually does a pretty good job of ranking the teams by how good their seasons are. For example, I'd think Central Florida fans are more pleased with their season than Oklahoma fans. I'd say TCU fans are extremely excited about their season, while Louisville fans are probably a little let down. And the rankings seem to show that.

Asterisk indicates head to head win.

25. Central Florida 8-3 (100)
24. Toledo 8-3 (99)
23. Fresno State 8-3 (89)
22. Nevada 8-3 (117*)
21. Florida 8-3 (41)
20. Boston College 8-3 (34)
19. Boise State 9-3 (106)
18. Wisconsin 9-3 (40)
17. Louisville 8-2 (79)
16. Alabama 9-2 (67)
15. Notre Dame 9-2 (58)
14. Georgia 9-2 (57)
13. Auburn 9-2 (43)
12. Miami (FL) 9-2 (42)
11. Texas Tech 9-2 (38)
10. Ohio State 9-2 (2)
9. UCLA 9-1 (72)
8. West Virginia 9-1 (69)
7. TCU 10-1 (81)
6. LSU 10-1 (68)
5. Oregon 10-1 (53)
4. Virginia Tech 10-1 (37)
3. Penn State 10-1 (13)
2. Southern Cal 11-0 (51)
1. Texas 11-0 (35)

Biggest riser: +14 Oklahoma; +13 Kansas
Biggest dropper: -15: Bowling Green; -14 Western Michigan, Louisiana Tech


Monday, November 28, 2005

John Walters: almost... but just a smidge too biased

John Walters, CNNsi's resident Irish defender, writes about the BCS selection, specifically the Fiesta. Seems like he's just yearning to write a critical study of the BCS, but he just can't help himself and reluctantly embraces the BCS because of their love of the Irish.

First, he uses a statistical ranking system to try to come up with an objectively fair method of selecting teams. An admirable effort, though there's a pretty easy to spot flaw in his method. Without getting into it too much, he uses rankings instead of raw numbers, which is a flawed way of looking at things. If the difference between 3rd place and 20th place is 2.5 points per game, using the rankings overaccentuates the difference. But at least he's trying to get away from the subjective opinion based faux insight so many writers rely on.

He then says Auburn and Penn State should play in the Fiesta, but doesn't really provide rationale for it. At least he admits he doesn't have a way to prove it (though in this instance, I suspect he's qualifying with the "no proof" out of respect for his beloved Irish).

But then the train goes off the rails:

The Irish and Buckeyes will travel to Tempe not because they have the most storied programs. No, it's because they have the most marquee players.
Players create storylines. Storylines create ratings. Do you think the people in Pasadena mind that the likely top three Heisman finalists will all be playing in the same game on Jan. 4?

John, John, John. You were so close. Yes, storylines are one of the main reasons why Notre Dame and Ohio State will likely play in the Fiesta Bowl. But "Players" don't create storylines. Writers and Editors do. If CBS had spent the entire year showing Auburn games and talking about the emergence of Brandon Cox or the dominance of Marcus McNeill, perhaps those names would be more marquee? Can you say with a straight face that Darius Walker is a marquee player and Irons isn't? Guess what... Irons has more yards, a better yard per carry average, and more than twice as many TDs. And you're right that you probably don't know about Irons unless you live near a Waffle House. And that's the problem with the system!

He is right that the storylines which have emerged will affect the bowl selections. But this is just what is so wrong about this sport. All that should matter is the game itself. And it is a fact that one or two teams has received more hype from the TV producers, national writers, and other assorted supposed knowitalls and then it just so happens to lead to their selection and millions more dollars toward those particular schools... To suggest that Ohio State and Notre Dame are deserving because of their own hype, just boggles the mind.

And since John's beloved Irish happen to benefit from this, he covers for the broken system.

Just sad. You were almost there.


Dan Shanoff: Pleased with his own poop

I've written before that if I were a to hit the lottery and be able to quit my job and blog full-time, I'd probably write a daily post about how Dan Shanoff's Daily Quickie is a steaming pile. Yes, I understand that he writes about a wide variety of topics, and his output is large. But at the same time, because he has to capture all the topics of the day, I feel he way too often writes about things he knows nothing about. And he also tends to harp on the same stupid pet ideas. And take stupid positions on things for whatever quasi-liberal/contrarian/intellectual snob reasons. And he never seems to mention how terrible his predictive abilities are. And I can go on.

Today's edition (link dead tomorrow, archives arent working well today or I'd link to them) is a particular crapfest.

First, he leads off with the story of Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Harvard kid playing for the Rams. Here's the thing: Shanoff has been on this kid's dick like Hatian herpes since before the draft. Fitzpatrick apparently tallied a perfect score on the Wonderlic test (even though it wasn't his first try and the test is able to be improved upon, but the identification qualities of the test relies on the initial attempt), and in Shanoff's brain that automatically meant he was the best QB evah. See if you can see what I'm getting at: Shanoff, a small, brainy man without all the physical talents at sports not played on an X-Box graduates from an elite/elitist private school with dreams of a sports meritocracy based on the mind. Along comes Ryan Fitzpatrick with a Haaaaa-vaaaad degree and this wonderful piece of paper that says he's smart. Shanoff writes before the draft how vaunted personnel genius Bill Belichick will probably draft him (see, he's really smart, and he'll want really smart people). Belichick instead drafts a USC backup quarterback. So yesterday, when I saw Fitzpatrick played relatively well against the worst team in the NFL for several years, I presumed that Shanoff woke up this morning to write with his 4AM coffee and added the cream from his pants.

Here's everything you need to know about Ryan Fitzpatrick: he's a backup quarterback who had a pretty good game playing in an offense that generates nice numbers against a terrible terrible terrible terrible terrible team.

Here's what the media world, especially Shanoff want you to know: He went to Harvard! He's smart! See what supposedly smart people can do!

Here's what the media world need to know: The rest of us don't give two shits about where you got your degree. The rest of us know that smart people come from all walks of life. The guy who finished first in my law school class went to undergrad at a commuter school a half step above community college. He's a damn genius. I personally have lived with two people who have turned down the opportunity to go to Harvard. A degree from Harvard doesn't make you automatically a genius. And every person I've known who has gone to Harvard will tell you the same thing. So why do people like Peter King, Dan Shanoff and other national media numbnuts feel it's important to bring up this? I'd guess most of their readership has a college degree. I'd guess most of their readership sides more with Will Hunting that the limpwrist dipshit in the Harvard bar. I got her number, how ya like them apples? Harvard isn't that big a deal. And it seems strange to me that the people who do make it out to be a big deal usually went to other private colleges (like Northwestern). Seems like a small way for them to feel better about their wasted tuition (since they now know they could've gotten just as good an education at a public school). Where you went to school is so... prissy. It just doesn't matter.

And for the record, I'd bet that Fitzpatrick would rather people talk about his ability on the field than the sheepskin he got.

Second, Shanoff continues to show his ass when talking about college football. Here's his ignant ass take:

The BCS' biggest imminent threat isn't runaway PCs, biased human pollsters or even more (or less) than two unbeaten teams. It's the agreement that forces the four BCS bowls to potentially choke down multi-loss duds like Colorado, Florida State or Georgia if they win their conference "title" games over worthier Texas, VA Tech and LSU.

OK dipshit. If Colorado beats Texas, chances are the Horns won't fall below 4th place in the BCS and would still get an at large berth. But more importantly, how would a team that blows it's conference title game on national TV against a supposedly inferior opponent "worthier" than the team that actually gave two shits enough to show up and play? And to me this was pretty blatantly obvious, but does anyone know why Georgia, with a win over LSU, would be less worthy than the LSU team who would have the same exact record and which would have lost to the Dawgs on a neutral field? I can see you knocking Colorado or FSU since neither team has played well in a month. But Georgia isn't anywhere near as bad.

Of course, mocking Georgia is par for the course for Shanoff (whose wife is a Florida grad and has semi-admitted biases there before). Picked Boise State to beat them, then said nothing after the shellacking. After Auburn beat Georgia, he proclaimedAuburn to be the best in the SEC, while at the same time saying Georgia is terrible. Logic, dude. If one team is really good, and they just barely beat another team, the team that barely lost isn't terrible.

Then there's this: In re Fresno State: "Enjoy that long slide back to obscurity." Nice of you to admit that you don't give a shit about a particular team.

Finally, his take on Notre Dame makes little sense:

Meanwhile, Notre Dame is a lock for the BCS, and despite being only the 6th- or 7th-best team, it's a lock to be the first overall "pick" by the Fiesta Bowl after the Rose automatically gets USC and Texas.

Is he saying that ND is the 6th or 7th best team out of the at-large possibilities? Because that would be a strange statement (Maybe Oregon, Ohio State, and then reaching for Auburn... who else?). If he just means 6th or 7th overall, well, so what? If he's suggesting that ND doesn't deserve a BCS berth, he should say why not, and who is more deserving and why. Oh, and as for consistency's sake, Shanoff is the guy who thought ND deserved to be ranked 10th in the country after the Pitt win, 5th after the second week. Now is he dogging the Irish? Someone make sense of this, please.

Shanoff's writing is frequent, and that should cut him some slack when it comes to quality. But his quality is usually poor. He's just another typical elitist who thinks his worldview is the only one that means anything. Having opinions is fine. Everyone has them. But when the most viewed website about sports in the country offers you a full page every day, unchecked by comments or published feedback, you should have an obligation to back up your opinions with facts. And beyond that, he should offer something interesting, rather than just more tired corporate Atlantic Seabord WFAN conventional wisdom.

Yes, too much of a rant, and I shouldn't give two shits about him.


Sunday, November 27, 2005

College Football Thoughts

1) Another pretty memorable finish to a game in the UGA-GT series. Tech, and specifically Ball, is starting to show a problem with wilting at the end of these games. Respect is due to Tech's D, but UGA played pretty sketchy on O too. They'll need to improve on offense to have a chance against LSU's D (or we'll need LSU to turn the ball over). One major bone to pick, and this is directed at ABC's announcers and production crew, who would've been more in their league covering the high school games at the Dome. When Georgia picks off a pass at the end of the game to seal the win, an incredibly hard-fought victory, how about focusing on the teams on the field instead of yakking it up about Tulane's season. Here's a tip: NOBODY WATCHING THAT GAME AT THAT PRECISE MOMENT WANTED TO HEAR THAT! Yes, Tulane has had a tough year. Their story is good. BUT TALK ABOUT IT AT HALFTIME, NOT IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE BIGGEST MOMENT IN THE GAME! Just bush league.

2) What I said last week about Fresno State is no longer operable. Their loss now gives every reason for them to be ranked below ND. However, it also questions the relative strength of Fresno State, Notre Dame and USC. Nevada is one of the weaker teams with winning records in the country. Perhaps yesterday's game proves that on any night, any team can outplay another, and matchups make a major difference. I'd say that is the case more than that ND, USC, FSU, etc aren't all that good. But I'd also say that there are questions about each of those teams - mostly on how all of them have played very vew teams with strong defenses. It will be interesting to see in the bowls how USC and ND fare if they face strong defenses, as the current predictions show they would (Texas and Ohio State, respectively). In a single game that turns out to be a defensive struggle, who knows how they'd react. Something to look for. Of course, who knows if a defensive struggle will happen (an early score by one team could change the complection entirely).

3) No widespread coverage on the Sun Belt title, which has an interesting situation developing. Louisiana Lafayette beat Louisiana Monroe Saturday, which created a three way tie for the conference title (also with Arkansas State) with all teams at 5-2. Lafayette and Arkansas State are at 6-5, while Monroe is at 5-6. To me the natural way to look at it would be to remove Monroe from consideration, since they don't have a winning record, and then go with the head-to-head winner between Lafayette and Arkansas State, sending Arkansas State to the New Orleans Bowl. However, I have read elsewhere that the three way tie will force the athletic directors in the conference to vote on the winner, and that suggestions had been made that Lafayette would play in the bowl since it is being played at their home stadium due to the damage from Hurricane Katrina. I read today that Arkansas State won a tiebreaker, but I'm still a little confused. Imagine if a major conference had this kind of a situation.

4) Division 1-AA playoffs are in full swing, and I am glad that several of these games are televised by ESPN. I found myself watching the New Hampshire-Colgate game more than the other early games yesterday, even though it was a blowout. It was fun to watch and the style of play (strange option formations, oddly developing plays) was enjoyable simply because it was different from that same boring spread offense 80% of division 1-A plays, with 3 yard passes hoping for missed tackles.

5) Arkansas will be a very tough opponent next year. One of the most improved teams over the course of the year, and their youth getting such great experience in games this year will definitely payoff. No team has changed more since their opener.


Gameday Recap: The beginning of the end?

I think it's nice that they're at the Bayou Classic, but it also has kind of a tokenish feel too. Maybe if they covered HBC football at any other time, it wouldn't feel that way. Also, the focus on the bands has more of an "attraction" quality rather than actually covering the game. Just my take.

Also, this week I spent a while watching the Davis-Holtz-May show on ESPN2. While the two knowitalls on that show are significantly less insightful than, well... any random drunks at a sports bar, the show itself offers much more information and much less goofball antics than its big brother on the regular ESPN. It'll be interesting to see if that show has any success in drawing away viewers sick of forced arguments and inane ravings.

Also, today I had the feeling Herbstreit had his head up his ass much more than usual, so this recap may seem more acrid than usual.

There's no real difference between Ohio State-Michigan and Grambling-Southern. Let's not overdo it now. Can he really say that when they never cover these games?
In re Fulmer: hints that he shook up the staff to take pressure of himself because they all do it. I like it when Lee lets out coaching fraternity secrets, even if they make him and others look like egotistical idiots.
You win with character, not characters in football. There are so many examples why this isn't a hard and fast rule it doesn't deserve a response.
Thinks GT wins because Georgia has another game to play.
Likes LSU against UGA because their D is mean.
Right about ND-Stanford being a good game, shootout.
Lee defends the BCS hard-f'ing-core. His at-large selection criteria: TV ratings, travel well, sell tickets (same thing?) and conference pressure. Oddly missing: whether the team is actually pretty good and, y'know, wins games. And he thinks that's a good thing.
Picks the Southern Band because of the director's masters degree from a University in Peru. This is precisely why I think more people might watch another football preview show.
Opposes a playoff because 1 year in 5 the BCS gets things right. Perhaps that was an unfair paraphrasing, but I just don't think he makes any sense at all on this point. Thinking the BCS system is perfect is just asinine.
Bowden is the captain of the Titanic and FSU just hit an iceberg by losing 3 of their last 4.
Meanwhile Urban Meyer never once trailing 4-6 Tennessee and DJ Shockley-less UGA is just "amazing". OK.
Likes Young because of leadership and his numbers and long runs. Makes a good argument on this, actually. Naturally, Herbstreit mocks him.
Amato is terriffic at NC State, compares him to Frank Beamer at VT.
Game Changer: Calvin Johnson (nope)

Calls Corso "Scooter". Has he done that before?
Rags on the SEC for playing 7 1-AA teams OOC. Surprisingly fails to mention how the Big XII played 8 1-AA teams, or how Sacramento State, Portland State and UC-Davis were on Pac 10 schedules. This is such a tired and lazy debate. Every good conference has some teams that play weak opponents, and painting the SEC (while not mentioning other conferences) is not an accurate or fair criticism. And we can also mention here how the network and parent company of this television show does not have a primary contract with the SEC like it does with the other BCS conferences.
The SEC "better do something today; it's their last chance!" We'll await next week's episode debate on how down the ACC is because of FSU and GT's losses this week (NB, I don't think this is true, but it just shows how lame the insight is on this program).
David Cutcliffe is a great hire schematically at UT. But they need to figure out "character". Thinks intangibles and chemistry are the most important things affecting Tennessee.
Lists all the "good people" that were at Tennessee when they were winning, but fails to mention drunken murderer Leonard Little and drug dealer Jamal Lewis.
Offers decent prediction on UGA-GT (Shockley makes just enough plays to win).
Jamarcus Russell has improved the most out of QBs on top teams.
Think ND has played better over the course of the year than Oregon, even taking out the TV ratings and ticket sales they deserve to go. ND beats Oregon on a neutral field.
Assumes Oregon should be out, because you just can't take out Ohio State or ND. That'd be ridiculous! I'm a gettin' the vapors again!
He'd take Auburn ahead of Oregon. "and that's nothing against Oregon". Uhh, yes, it is against Oregon. You've just railed against them for five minutes. He's like the sweet southern lady who talks shit behind another woman's back and thinks it's OK because he ended with "oh, bless her heart." Really, kind of a dickheaded debate here. Oh, and did anyone notice that Kirk went to Ohio State and lives in Columbus?
Ohio State is so deserving because their only losses are to #2 and #3 in the BCS. But Oregon isn't since they lost to #1? Way too much bias here.
Likes the BCS system, but wants some tweaking. Likes the bowl system because of the smaller bowls for the kids. Doesn't think the playoff is the answer. Plus one, dammit!
Comes off like an asshole when talking about the logistics of filling stadiums with 3 rounds of playoff games. Really pretentious today.
Meyer's problem at Florida is the unrealistic expectations of their fans. And how much did these guys hype Florida at the beginning of the year?
Knocks Corso's pick of Vince young for the Heisman because Corso picked him at the beginning of the year. If we're going to attack people for sticking to their preseason predictions, we probably could use the sentence "Do you say that because you picked Ohio State to win the BCS title back in August?" about 100 times each episode. Herbstreit is acting like a total jackass today.
Bush is the Heisman winner because he's electrifying. Nothing new there.
NC State fans need to lay off Amato, but the Pack needs to be more consistent.
Game Changer: Bruce Eugene at Grambling (OK).

SEC is 2-6 vs other BCS conferences. This is such a misleading number. The 9th best team in the SEC loses to the best team in another conference, and that's supposed to prove that the SEC is no good? Lazy statistical analysis + shortened and oversimplified soundbites = no pertinent knowledge offered.
Salutes Tulane for their difficult season.
First SEC game discussed: Tennessee-Kentucky. The story at the beginning was how good they were (overhype) and now it's how bad they were (gosh, they sure were overhyped). Guess who deserves some of the blame?
Suggests that LSU sucks because of the close game against Arkansas. Arkansas has improved significantly (mostly because they're one of the youngest teams in the country) since the beginning of the year, grinding close games out of LSU, Georgia and South Carolina, and winning against their weaker opponents (Miss, MSU) over the last month or so. Strangely, that hasn't been the coverage.
Calls GT's fight song underrated (who rates them?) and compliments Lee's voice.
Says Iowa State would "return the favor to Colorado" by losing at Kansas today and letting Colorado back into the Big XII title game. Chris, they wouldn't be returning any favors. They'd be doing the exact same thing they did last year. "Returning the favor" would be if Colorado lost to let ISU "back into" the title game.
Also, ISU is the best team in the Big XII North and their kicking game has been good. Yeah, not so much.
The debate over ND's worthiness in the BCS feels a little odd, forced. They don't get into whether Ohio State is truly worthy, just ND. Maybe corporate? NBC has a big contract...
Actually, a good point about how Oregon's ratings in bowl games are pretty high and how they actually travel pretty well compared to ND. Reasonable and fact based statement, and I'm left wondering why they haven't said more like that, instead of relying on Herbstreit's impressions on how well ND has played all season (against mediocre teams).
Everyone agrees ND-Ohio State is a glamorous matchup. (because you numbnuts keep saying it is)
Back to his point on how Oregon travels pretty well and gets good ratings, he says why does the Fiesta need to make a business decision, since it'll sell out anyway. A smart take, unfortunately he only challenges Corso, and not Herbstreit, who was really making the bold statements. Corso was just telling the situation, not really infusing his opinion.
I think Fowler wanted to call Kirk a dick when he was talking about filling stadiums in a playoff.
Fowler is making plenty of sense today, could be a little more pointed at correcting foolish statements from the other three.
Chimes in with some realism on Florida and Meyer by pointing out that there's a good chance they bowl in Shreveport. He's been the voice of reason today, sort of.
Sharp take on Nevada and Fresno on letdown alert.
More fact-based counter-intuitive analysis on the Heisman race. Fowler is having his best day of the year.
Amato's flamboyance hurts him, makes him a target in tough times.
Game Changer: GT Defense (close, but no cigar).

Another episode where he's upfront from the beginning. I'm thinking next year he'll be one of the main guys.
Admits this is his first time around the Bayou Classic and that he doesn't know much about it, but still offers his opinions. Love that transrectal oration.
Disappears when they talk about the SEC games.
Doesn't like a playoff because it just pushes the controversy back to #8. That's better than an undefeated team at #3 because of some computers or coaches who've never seen them play not playing for a title, isn't it? Illogical and poorly informed.
By comparing Reggie Bush's numbers to Vince Young's, without commenting on how they played different teams, with different defenses, in different stadiums, and all... Why bother? Desmond really is out of his league in trying to provide intelligent, reasoned analysis. He's really worse than Granny Holtz and Elephantitis Alphonso Ribeiro in the studio.
Vince Young's long runs aren't as impressive because they were broken plays. Makes very little sense.

Oregon and Ohio State deserve BCS spots over ND. This feels corporate. (personally, I think Oregon deserves a spot, and I'm not sold on ND's merit, but this debate seems just a little strange).
Says Lee didn't answer the question on the BCS, thinks the question is "who should go?". Actually, Lee did answer the question, but his rationale for "should" is just so foolish and money driven that May didn't realize it.

I think the interview with Mack Brown was a little soft. Also, I'd guess there are a few Cal fans who would take issue with Brown's statement that he was outspoken that Cal needed to be inthe BCS. That isn't really how I remembered his statements.
On the BCS debate thing, I know it may seem a little convoluted, but here's what I didn't like: Each individual has a personal point of view and makes assumptions about the relative worthiness of teams deserving a BCS at-large slot. The way they presented this appears to me like this: Ohio State is unquestioned as a deserving team. Nobody questioned them. They did, however question Notre Dame, quite forcefully by Fowler and May, even using the graphic lining them up against Auburn (which is kind of a shot at Auburn, since they didn't really suggest Auburn was deserving, just that ND was undeserving since they were objectively on paper worse). Everyone on that set knows Notre Dame is getting a bid, so by knocking the Irish they can take the piss out of a network rival. Next, by knocking Oregon, which Herbstreit did, for the most part unchallenged, for a full segment, it strengthens the argument for Ohio State, which just so happens to be the personal team of one of the hosts, and who plays in the one conference whose games are exclusively shown on ABC/ESPN networks. See what I'm getting at? It's triangulation. ND is a given, so feel free to knock them, but be careful to also knock Oregon so our baby the Buckeyes get in.
Picking the battle of the bands? Like I said above, this feels token-y. And they give almost a full 30 seconds on actually previewing the game, before going into a walleye lens perspective piece on Grambling's QB. Not that it was necessarily a bad piece, it was just not really info about the game itself. Then the Eddie Robinson bit... Really, they didn't cover the game as if there was a game going on.

Surprisingly enough, yet another Shelley Smith piece on USC. She has to be bored out of her mind. Feels like she's done the same thing for 12 straight weeks. Well, actually the Sayers-Bush footage thing was easily the best thing she's done all year. I wouldn't mind if they did something like this every week. Very useful and interesting. This is how they should've done that "Prep to Pros" segment last year with Rocket Ismail (which sucked as bad as anything they've ever done).

No Gillette Game Face? And I missed it so...

Not one of their best shows. No fans in the background hurts the show. Herbstreit was an ass. Corso was all over the place. Fowler seemed to have to control the show more, and did a good job at it. Howard was poor. I'd give it a C-.


Friday, November 25, 2005

Clean, Old Fashioned Hate

I said that with all that the North Avenue Trade School had to deal with last week, I would feel bad pointing out their traditional flaws of capital nerdliness and aesthetically challenged co-eds, but with Tech's win over the Seventh Flo' Crew, my pity has found an abrupt end. That said, I'm pretty sure this is Tech's Homecoming Queen.


Premiership Picks

RIP, George Best.

Last week: 4/9, 0 right scorelines
Season: 58/113, 15 right scores

This week (no time for blurbs):

Arsenal v. Blackburn: 1-0
Aston Villa v. Charlton Athletic: 1-1
Sunderland v. Birmingham City: 0-1
Wigan Athletic v. Tottenham Hotspur: 2-1
Portsmouth v. Chelsea: 0-2
Manchester City v. Liverpool: 1-1
Fulham v. Bolton Wanderers: 0-0
Middlesbrough v. West Bromwich Albion: 2-1
West Ham United v. Manchester United: 2-2
Everton v. Newcastle United: 1-2


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Hooters Stock Plunges

Yes, that was an easy joke, and probably made by Jeff Schultz in a column somewhere, but I don't read him very much.

But anyway, I'm a little surprised I missed this, but it looks like Chipper's taking one for the team and restructuring his contract so the Braves can save about $15m over the next three years.

The AJC suggests that the $$$ will be used to try to re-sign Furcal. But with Betemit looking so good this Winter, the Braves trying to find PT for Marte, and the Mets and Cubs possibly bidding up the price of Furcal, perhaps other options are available.

Commenters at Braves Beat have brainstormed that if the price isn't right for Furcal, the Chipper savings could be used to sign Brian Giles (discount to play with Marcus?), sign/trade for Adam Dunn, or perhaps a trade for Javier Vazquez.

Furcal is the lead domino. Depending on him, this could be a very busy off-season.

Also, I didn't think the Marlins were going to be as bad next year as conventional wisdom would suggest, but now that they've unloaded Delgado, they'll be really bad. Cabrera might take 250 walks. Question: when the Marlins move to Las Vegas or Portland, will MLB realign and move the Marlins to the West and the Pirates into the East (5E-5C-6W)? That's how I'd do it.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Champions' League MADNESS!

As a result of the response to my Roy Keane post, I've recommited myself to this...

Things are still shaking out a bit, and it'll be interesting to see what, if any, moves over the winter transfer period make a difference. The better teams seem to be separating themselves, and I don't think we'll see any real surprises until the knockout stages.

Last time: 4/8, 1 right score
Season: 29/48, 9 right scores

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

Fenerbahce v. AC Milan: 1-2
Schalke 04 v. PSV: 2-1
Real Madrid v. Olympique Lyonnais: 1-2
Rosenborg v. Olympiakos: 1-1
Anderlecht v. Chelsea: 1-3
Liverpool v. Real Betis: 2-1
Porto v. Rangers: 1-0
Internazionale v. Artmedia: 4-0


I thought white men were only that fast in bed

Title probably stolen from a Richard Pryor bit somehow embedded in my brain.

Chances are, the Intern stole this item from someone else without attribution, so he gets no link...

Anyway, how awesome must Matt Bruno be?

Take a look at the two All-American Tailbacks who ate his dust, including one Heisman-elect.

Where is he now? Apparentely at UCLA running track. The guy who finished second is a track athlete at Tennessee, not the boxer (though that would be pretty cool too).

UPDATE: I just noticed that Bush and Drew were only Juniors in this race, while Bruno was a Senior. Still pretty awesome. Also, Curlee Bishop, who finished way back, is supposed to be a top JuCo prospect at DB.


Lebowski Rankings Week 7

Introduction here.
No opinion involved here.
I don't vote in the Blog Poll, so this has no effect on anything.
Just serves the purpose stated.

So no whining that TCU is ahead of your boys, deranged Irish fans.

25. Iowa State 7-3 (47* ahead of Colorado)
24. Georgia Tech 7-3 (24)
23. Boise State 8-3 (109)
22. Central Florida 8-3 (103)
21. Boston College 8-3 (34)
20. Wisconsin 8-3 (30)
19. Louisville 7-2 (69)
18. UTEP 8-2 (116)
17. Fresno State 8-2 (90)
16. Georgia 8-2 (65)
15. Notre Dame 8-2 (57)
14. Miami (FL) 8-2 (35)
13. Alabama 9-2 (71)
12. Texas Tech 9-2 (48)
11. Auburn 9-2 (46)
10. Ohio State 9-2 (3)
9. West Virginia 8-1 (67)
8. UCLA 9-1 (73)
7. LSU 9-1 (68)
6. Virginia Tech 9-1 (33)
5. TCU 10-1 (87)
4. Oregon 10-1 (43)
3. Penn State 10-1 (9)
2. Texas 10-0 (38)
1. Southern Cal 11-0 (44)

Biggest risers: +11: Georgia Tech, Central Michigan, Utah, Akron
Biggest droppers: -15: Minnesota; -14: Oregon State, Michigan State


Sunday, November 20, 2005

Flick the Button

Backlog. Not too many great movies, but a few good ones.

Osama: Unsure if I'm the right person to say whether it's good or not. Part of the quality in it is the information presented. But I knew that the Taliban were repressive and women were treated like shit in Afghanistan, etc. I guess it's just nothing new to me. The acting was fine. The pace was strangely slow, especially for an 80 minute movie. It probably could've had 45 minutes cut. Just didn't blow me away. You're fired.

The Butterfly Effect: OK, expectations are key here. Starting this movie, I was expecting to watch about 5 minutes, think it sucked and turn it off. I honestly was expecting the worst movie of the year, so when it wasn't all that terrible, I feel like almost rating it higher. Kutcher is terrible. The plot has been done before, and it could've gone in a more interesting direction, but I still didn't think it was all that bad. I was entertained, and I wasn't exactly sure where things were going - I guess it wasn't as predictable as I thought. Plus, the eventual moral of the story - that sometimes people are better off not knowing you - is a pessimist's delight. Objectively, yes, it's still kind of sucky, but I don't give a shit. Steak knives.

Spanglish: Not funny. Not emotionally affecting. Feels like a shitty NBC sitcom that focuses on relationships and leaves out the, y'know, jokes. Plus, I kept wondering why the admissions committee at Princeton gives a shit about any of this. Or how the girl writing the personal statement would have any knowledge or interest in her mother's boss's affair. But all these thoughts are after the fact. While watching it, I could only think of one thing: how excruciatingly boring it was. This is the worst movie I've seen all year. You're Fired.

Dirty Pretty Things: Aha! Clever, well paced (as the other Frears films I've seen) and just interesting. Of course there were some problems (Juan, mainly), but those were outweight significantly. Ejiofor was pretty great. Tatou, as usual, is impossibly cute. Just a good movie. Sharp steak knives, the best of the movies this time around.

Maria Full of Grace: Simple and decent. Sandino Moreno is pretty good, but not stellar. I guess, considering the filmmakers, it shouldn't surprise me that it had the feel of an American film and not a Latin American film. Nothing surprising, and in fact it's quite predictable. But still good. Dull steak knife.

Spellbound: The last couple of Hitchcock films I've seen have bothered me with their overwrought exposition. This movie didn't catch it's fire until 90 minutes in, with the awesome dream sequence. I liked it, but I kept having the feeling of "come on, already!" and then "FINALLY!" Bergman, hot. Peck, great. But at the same time, they're better in other things. Not one of my favorite Hitchcocks, but still good. Steak Knife, if just for the dream.

Hidalgo: Good and bad things, I guess. The casting (except J.K. Simmons) was hilariously terrible, with apparently it being more difficult than one might think to cast Arabs. Some nice scenery, and it's an interesting story. Strangely, the character development of Hidalgo could've used more work. I'm a fan of good family films (the movies you're not afraid to watch with your parents), but this fell just short of being good. You're fired.


Football thoughts

1. Congratulations to Georgia. East champs. Can't complain about yesterday. Linebacker play was 100 times better than the last two weeks, and the results of that definitely showed. Of course some of that is due to Kentucky's terrible downfield blocking, but give credit to the LBs as well. Huge break on a pretty bad block in the back call on Georgia's first punt. Game could've gone a completely different way. On the replay I saw, it looked like a bad call to me. Ely-Kelso's fake punt was awesome. I'll let the General say how he disagreed with that call. I didn't like the entire series of playcalling down at the goal line on that same drive (or the other 4th down call), but no use arguing with results. Two big games left.

2. And at that, I'm actually pretty glad about Tech's win over Miami last night. First off, I have to give all sorts of credit to Gailey, his staff and the players. The number of times you actually see a team circle the wagons and respond well to off-field distractions is much lower than you might think. Tech's performance was just solid all around. Which I think should keep the Dawgs on their toes. No overlooking this team. But at the same time, Tech has been known to suffer letdowns. For as psychologically strong the Jackets were last night, they could be just as fragile. Their history shows this. I hope the NC State/UVA Tech shows up instead of the Miami/Auburn Tech.

3. A comment sure to piss off people. I offer this: there is no reason why Notre Dame should be ranked ahead of Fresno State. The Bulldogs played USC just as tough, and at USC instead of at home (on a waterbed to slow down the Trojans). Fresno State's other loss was by 3 at Top 10 Oregon, not a 5-6 team at home. Fresno State hasn't had a single other close game. Other than Michigan, the rest of ND's schedule isn't that great. If ND gets ranked high because of their loss to USC, Fresno State deserves the same. Of course, ND is assumed to be in the BCS, while Fresno State will be lucky to stay in the Top 25.

UPDATE: Matt Zemek is thinking along the same lines (Part II).

4. I think Auburn is playing as well as anyone in the SEC. That is an accurate statement. I cannot say that "Auburn is the best team in the SEC", like half of the crew of Gameday and several online writers are wont to. Until LSU loses again, you cannot say that LSU is worse than Auburn. However, if LSU were to lose to Georgia in the SEC title game, Auburn fans could probably have a good argument that they are SEC champs (best record, beat the title winner on the field). And I wouldn't really have a problem with that. On field records matter most.

5. The state of Tennessee: MTSU ruins Vandy's bowl chances, Vandy ruins UT's bowl chances, UT may have ruined Memphis' bowl chances (if they lose to Marshall). If Marshall beats the schizo Tigers, the state has 0 bowl eligible teams. Crazy.

6. I'll go on record saying the At-large BCS berths should go to Oregon and Virginia Tech (if they beat UNC). Update: In my morning grogginess, I failed to put 2 and 2 together and realize VT is now headed to the ACC Title Game (with a win over UNC), and therefore will either be in the BCS or have too many losses to definitively deserve an at-large berth. I still think Oregon deserves a berth, but I'll decide between Ohio State, Notre Dame, and the other 2 loss teams after we know a little more.


Gameday Recap: Why are they in East Lansing again?

Seriously, Auburn, Ann Arbor, Charlottesville, Los Angeles all would be better choices. I just don't understand why they're here.

Breaston is the key for UM over OSU.
Throwaway qoute that Syracuse was better back in the day because Paul Pasqualoni was coach. Apparently Corso has not been watching football the last 3 years.
Bill Snyder was great and he won the right way, with no NCAA violations. "Tremendous man."
Top candidates for COY: Karl Dorrell, Steve Spurrier, Charlie Weis
Also, says no minority coach has ever won coach of the year from the AFCA or the FWAA. I'm surprised at this. Willingham's first year at ND I could've sworn won him some awards, but not these two. Also, he shouldn't really suggest racism, since the FWAA Award is named after Eddie Robinson.
Also says Miami's a different program. See below.
Miami exposed VT's weaknesses, likes a UVA upset.
Posluszny is the best Defensive player in the country, any position.
Alabama wins, goes to the Fiesta Bowl.
Fresno State "rejects" scare the heck out of USC.
Kentucky scares UGA with that good RB.
Michigan upsets OSU because they play the spread offense well.
GO BIG BLUE! Pointing at Howard. Seems a little off today.
Stanton has to have a good game to beat PSU. Remember MSU is mad, hungry and it's cold. Everything seems to come down to intangibles on this show.
Game Changer: Michael Robinson, Big 10 player of the year "by far". Posluszny? Basanez?

OSU fans would rather go 7-4 with a win over UM than 10-1 with a loss. I think there are probably a few schools who think this way (Auburn, Alabama, Army, Navy, maybe Clemson and South Carolina)
Alabama-Auburn is one of his favorite games of the year.
Snyder didn't have one Top 20 recruiting class. (because they don't usually rank JuCo player recruits).
Phil Bennett might be a good candidate at KSU. (Solely for the staches he'd bring). (Corso says they won't win as much no matter who coaches there).
COY choices: Weis, Spurrier, Paterno and Pete Carroll. (no O'Leary, no Mike Shula?) Also talks about the good job he's done to keep the D together after attrition. Problem: USC's D isn't that great.
After Fowler talks of the 7th Floor Crew "going back to the days of Luther Campbell", Herbstreit says that Miami's a totally different program than they were back then. I don't know. Coker picks up recruits in an Escalade sittin' on 20's, Willie Williams'... They're not that different, even if the narrative of the coverage is to say they are.
Marcus Vick hasn't started many games. But just two weeks ago you were raving about how advanced he is... Note how things change.
Sweeps in to protect the Buckeye namebrand, AJ Hawk is the best LB.
Al Borges is having a better year than last year, without question the Broyles Award winner.
Auburn's the best team in the SEC. Apparently LSU beating them and having a better record doesn't mean anything.
Praises Fresno State, says they stay close for a half. USC wins big, though.
Turnovers make the difference for OSU. If Troy Smith turns it over, they'll lose.
Game Changer: Kenny Irons. The "best back in the SEC"
I'm not tallying them up, but Herbstreit seemed to pick many more correct this week than Lee (Vandy, VT, Auburn, OSU, even Harvard).

Says they're in East Lansing because the Big 10 title is on the line here. Well, the SEC East title was on the line in Athens, but they never would've thought of going there.
In re rivalries and teams preferring a worse record while beating their rival: "You just gotta throw logic out the window." Not sure I agree with this. If it's a preference, logic has little to do with it. I see logic in wanting to beat a rival more than other teams.
Biggest game in Fresno State history.
Ohio State, Alabama, VT must win to stay in the hunt for a BCS at-large spot. Why is Ohio State always mentioned ahead of other one loss team, and no other 2 loss teams are ever mentioned? Just asking...
The bit on big upsets at East Lansing seems a little odd. None since 1998? Some of these kids were in 5th or 6th grade back then.
Yells at Corso for excluding Paterno. "They'll take away your AARP card." Are we back to that?
Good topic of conversation on GT, but no comments from Lee and Kirk. I guess they didn't follow the stories much.
7th Floor Crew is an embarassment to the school.
UVA-VT is an underrated rivalry. Underrated because you don't cover it as much.
Comes up with DeMeco Ryans as a great LB.
Alabama is using the Mike Leach tennis ball machine. THE INFLUENCE OF GAMEDAY IS BROAD!
Good coverage of the Pac 10 and Big Ten rivalries between unranked teams. I like when they cover more games instead of spending 45 minutes on one game.
Not one Fresno State player was an invited recruit at USC. Can that be true?
Michigan State will throw the kitchen sink at PSU.
Game Changer: Sidney Rice.

At the table from the beginning today as well. I can't tell if this is him elbowing in or if it's to hype the Big 10 more. Probably won't know until next year.
"What makes today so exciting is the rivalries." Wow. They pay for this kind of insight! Why not just sit there and drool while repeating "football good... football good."
Gone for a segment?
Now he's back, semi-defending Miami for the 7th Floor Crew.
He's getting booed every time he opens his mouth. Having trouble hearing him.
After the whistle at UM-OSU, everyone has so much respect for the other team. For some reason, that doesn't seem to translate to the fans.

Nowhere to be seen. Punishment for his vocal Alabama support last week.

The Bill Snyder press conference was pretty powerful. Nice bit.
The eight millionth segment on Paterno: losin' it or still got it? Been there, done that.'
Someone needs to kill off the Game Face bit before next year.
Goal Post story: fisheye camera shots of stadiums with clouds passing... Actually, I thought this a decent story. At least it's not another "Look, USC goes to the movies, AND THEY GET POPCORN!" Shelley Smith story.
Posluszny: teased several times that he "might even be better than AJ Hawk." Why is that presumed that he isn't? This kind of story should have been shown weeks ago. They just don't cover players that show up on field as much as the pre-season hype guys.
Wired with the best mustache in college football, Pat Hill.
Can't see any signs very well because of the screen and sun. The Paterno Depends sign was pretty good.
108 decibels.
Spurrier interview, as always, is very interesting. Cyphers was all over the place this week.
I'm a little surprised that it wasn't until minute 74 of the show that they go in depth on Michigan-Ohio State. Also, the horserace thing... I didn't like it 6 weeks ago, and I think it's even dumber a second time around. The Big Ten's race isn't any mroe compelling than any other conference.
Not much to cheer about this show for MSU fans. It was pretty much a love fest for PSU, lots of coverage of Michigan, and everyone picks against them. Well, I think they should feel lucky the show came at all.
OK episode all together.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Premiership Picks and Roy Keane

A while since my last substantive soccer post, so I've got a little bit built up in me.

The big news of the day is Roy Keane's departure from the club everyone associates him with, Manchester United. I have some mixed emotions about this somewhat suprising development.

Before I go further, let me say that I am not a fan of Man U. In the developmental stages of my English soccer knowledge, the Red Devils were incredibly dominant and used free spending to secure their place at the top of the tables. Yes, I realize that longtime MUFC fans went through decades of near-misses and that they weren't known for dominance before Cantona and Ferguson. And I also realize that relative newcomers think if I don't like teams because they dominate and ruin the marketplace by signing all the good players, I should direct anger toward Chelsea and not Man U. Or both.

The point, anyway, is that despite my own personal animosity toward Man U, I always liked Keane (and Schmeichel and Giggs too, but never really Beckham, Cantona, or the Nevilles). Part was because he's an angry, mean Irishman. Partly because we was just damn good. Keane was a great player on the field, and a hilarious personality too. He usually made things more interesting out there. And while I understand a lot of fans disliking him because he's kind of a dick, I liked him for those same reasons. Plus, he was a drunken, angry Irishman. If nothing else, on the field he demanded and received respect. And not the "wow, look how he dribbles the ball... he's good" respect, the "I do not want to fuck with him... he's nuts" respect. I'm not sure there are too many other players who got that kind of respect in the last decade.

Of course, Keane isn't perfect (or even close). I thought his behavior before World Cup 2002 was pretty much terrible (no matter how much of a jackoff Mick McCarthy was). And his tendency to get into trouble off the pitch and in pubs and clubs was kind of annoying. (For the record, I like his on-field lunacy, not so much his off-field lunacy).

For the non-soccer readers, I've been trying to think of an American comparable to Keane. He'd have to be an elite player, close with the coach or manager, won several titles, served as Captain, had tumultuous off-field issues, be brash, harken back to an earlier time in sport. The closest I can get is maybe if Derek Jeter were more of a badass and less of a playboy. And then he and Torre get into a huge argument, Jeter goes on TV and just rips A-Rod and all the bad pitching signings. Then the Yankees and Jeter just let him go and sign with anyone else. But it's still not a perfect comparison, mostly because Jeter just isn't the kind of guy who would say anything outside the realm of cliche. Keane would never hold back. And Jeter's not a lunatic who people are kind of afraid of.

And today he and the club that he took to the highest heights and that gave him a luxurious life and wealth and recognition beyond imagination have separated. And while not shocking, it's definitely odd. The way this ended at Man U seems to change things around a bit. First off, his comments about overpaid players dogging it probably endeared him to fans even more than he already was. While of course the team can't just let the Captain run off at the mouth about other players, in this instance he was somewhat right. Ferdinand deserved to be smacked around. He's pissed on the badge for about two years now. Kieran Richardson's form at West Brom was significantly better. Man U has spent millions of pounds on players that haven't panned out (Diego Forlan, Kleberson, Veron), and throwing more money at the problem won't solve anything. Under their current financial situation, the Glazers cannot out-spend Chelsea, Real, Barca, Milan, or even Bayern. Arsenal opens their new stadium next year and should have a sizable influx of cash with that. Keane was absolutely right to say they don't need more overpriced primadonnas, but rather get rid of the ones they have and bring in hustlers and hard workers.

So what's next for Keane? Most thought he'd leave at the end of the year when his contract ran out, with a tearful scene leaving the pitch and an emotional embrace with Sir Alex Ferguson. Then he'd finish his career as maybe even a player-coach (read: disciplinarian) somewhere else, possibly Celtic. Now, anything is possible. I could see him joining another major Premiership club just for the purpose of facing Manchester United on the field. There are probably 5 or 6 clubs who could use him. Think Wigan might want someone with that much top-flight and title-stretch-run experience in the midfield? Bolton is a home for plenty of experienced players, the kind of throwbacks that Keane would probably get along pretty well with (aside from Diouf, but there's comedy to be mined there). Newcastle could complete their makeover and could use a stentorian in the middle. Portsmouth have shown interest (no chance). Sunderland... just kidding. There's also Scotland. Keane once said he'd like to finish his career at Celtic. I'm sure they'd find room for him. I'd doubt he'd head to the continent, but stranger things have happened. I do have a feeling that Keane will end up managing someday. He'll be an ideal manager for teams that need someone to come in, clean house, yell, light a fire under the asses of the players, and then leave when it gets old.

Sir Alex Ferguson recently called him "the best midfielder of his generation". His generation includes Zidane, Figo, Ballack, Nedved... It's an impressive list. I'd say Keane was right there among the giants of the sport. I hope he lands on his feet. And who knows? Maybe this is a good thing, since now I can root for Keane without feeling conflicted about rooting for the team he plays for.

On to the picks...

Last time around: 6/10 right result, 2 right scores
Season: 54/104 right results, 15 right scores

This Weekend:

Wigan Athletic v. Arsenal: 2-1. Riding Wigan has been kind of fun. I actually don't think this pick is a winner, but Arsenal have had some recent trouble.
Chelsea v. Newcastle United: 2-0. Momentary blip, not a trend. Chelsea back in business.
Charlton Athletic v. Manchester United: 1-0. Too much turmoil, and Roy Keane would be just the guy to circle the wagons.
Liverpool v. Portsmouth: 1-0. Liverpool have not impressed this year, but I think Pompey are due for the drop.
Sunderland v. Aston Villa: 0-2. I keep thinking Villa will go on a good run. Why not now?
Manchester City v. Blackburn Rovers: 2-1. Rovers have been a little better of late, but I like City's lineup at home.
West Bromwich Albion v. Everton: 1-1. Everton might spring a win on the road, but neither team is that good.
Tottenham Hostpur v. West Ham United: 2-1. Got a feeling like this would be a fun one to watch.
Middlesbrough v. Fulham: 1-0. This one, not that fun to watch.
Birmingham City v. Bolton Wanderers: 0-1. I just don't think this is Brimingham's year.


Better late than never.

You know how when the refs in basketball make a bad foul call on what actually is a great defensive play, the guy usually misses the foul shots, and fans chime in, "The ball don't lie."

Georgia fans have a similar feeling today as Donnan era losses to hated Georgia Tech in 1998, 1999, and 2000 are magically erased from history.

Though alcohol has dimmed our memories, few have forgotten Jasper Sanks' phantom fumble after he was already down near the goal line in the final seconds of the 1999 edition of Clean Old Fashioned Hate. The game was tied, and we only needed a FG to win it. Not only did the refs blow the fumble call, they also blew the aftermath. The Tech player recovered the ball on the 1-yard line, then ran backwards into the endzone and was tackled. Safety, right? Dawgs up by 2 with 7 seconds left and Tech has to kick to us, right? Wrong. They call it a touchback, and Tech kneels on it. The hits just kept on coming from the refs in overtime. After some hardfought exchanges, Tech lined up for the winning field goal on 3rd down. WE BLOCK IT!!! But alas, the refs rule that since the ball never crossed the line of scrimmage, and Tech recovered, they get another chance on 4th down. They got the call right under Rule 6, Sec. 3, Art. 1 (a) & (b), but it's a bad rule. The only reason to kick on 3rd down is in case there is a bad snap; once your foot hits the ball, your possession should end no matter by whom or where the blocked ball is recovered. After that game, the entire crew of [WTF! SEC] referees were suspended, and we not-so-coincidentally now enjoy instant replay. But Tech could still claim the victory...until now.

The 1998 "loss" that now never happened was also controversial. The Dogs scored late, going up one, and went for the 2-point conversion to make it a 3 point lead. Quinthy Carter appeared to cross the goal line, but the refs said no. Later, Tech's Heisman runner-up Joe Hamilton lost the handle on the ball and the Dawgs recovered! Nope, the refs ruled that he had not fumbled, when replay showed that he had. Tech retained possession and moved the ball, and kicked the winning field goal. 21-19 Tech? NSFMF.

In 2000, the Jackets just whupped us 27-15 (it was 27-3 at half), for which we should thank them because it justified the axe-job of Coach Sleepy Head. Now they can't claim that victory either.

Karma's a bitch.

FN1. In addition to vacating the games, the almighty NCAA dealt Tech a number of hammer blows including remitting to the NCAA all TV revenues over 7 seasons. That's no small potatoes.

FN2. Tech might be having the worst week in college football history. Heaped on to the above sanctions:
(1) Their inaptly named AD gave Chan Gailey a lengthy contract extension, conceding that GT is just always going to suck;
(2) They can't even cut their thugs. A judge sticking his proverbial camel nose under the tent ordered them to reinstate a player who is under felony indictment for conspiracy to sell $60,000 worth of dope, alleging also that he took his two-year-old daughter to the deal; and oh yeah
(3) They're gonna get #3 Miami's man-train run all up in 'em on Saturday.
When we play them next week, I might actually feel bad mentioning the student body is made up of nerds and ugly women.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Gameday Recap - I heard old Neil put us down

Better late than never...

The General last weekend asked me if I thought they really sang "Do you want my little thing in yer poontang?" Awesome.

And yes, I'm kind of drunk doing this.

Great defense in the SEC. Forget about D in the Pac 10. Predicts USC and Cal to outscore all the SEC teams.
Leinart will take over the USC-Cal game. "Love this guy"
Tyrone Nix is making a big difference on defense for South Carolina. By the way, they showed a highlight of the USC lineman picking off the screen pass. Just an awesome play. Deserves big time credit.
If Spurrier goes 8-3, he's SEC coach of the year. At first I thought this was obvious, but then think about Shula going possibly 10-1, Bobby Johnson at Vandy beating UT, even Richt and Tuberville with the attrition at each school, it might not be that clean-cut.
Price and O'Leary: good coach, good person. Really proud of both. "Good human beings." Where were you when they were in trouble?
Tennessee will make a bowl.
Nebraska makes a bowl.
Vince Young is his Heisman pick.
"Public perception is that they don't want to give [the Heisman] to the same guy two years in a row". Thanks for providing us all with what we think, Lee.
Lee, like Kirk and May agree that home team Alabama deserve to be in Pasadena if they win out, but they won't. Gosh, how else to play to the crowd, while still promoting your own teams.
Texas is the best team in the nation. Gives real, factual analysis for that too (offense, defense, scoring, allowed scoring). His meds are about right today, he hasn't said anything completely ass-backwards.
Barry Alvarez "shouldn't quit". "He'll be sorry." This was kind of an aside, but one of the more interesting, and revealing, comments of the day.
Corso is all about the facts today - in just about every take, he quotes national rankings. I think this is a good move for him. He sounds less loopy.
Picks Clemson, because of urgency. FSU could lose their last 4 games.
Hilarious NSFMF "Bulldog Style". He barked and growled. Take back what I said about his meds.
Game Changer: Jerome Harrison (not bad)

Goes further than Lee on SEC offenses - thinks USC will outscore the SEC teams.
Also "loves" being back in SEC country because of the excitement
Best defenses in the country are in the SEC.
Gives a shout for Kenny Irons.
Spurrier is getting better week by week, Meyer is not getting enough credit.
Corso and Kirk know the "character" of Price and O'Leary. This is such crap. Praise when doing well, desert when they hit rough times.
Tennessee will lose to Vandy AND Kentucky.
Nebraska makes a bowl, but it's sad.
Reggie Bush gets his vote, but needs more touches. But also look at the numbers for Matt Leinart - better than last year, penalized for last year.
Bush was better than Leinart last year.
Miami needs to watch the let down in "spring game atmosphere". Dude, Miami doesn't draw at home. Not a big deal.
Good point, and important point about Alabama playing more elite teams than Texas or USC. But he doesn't think they'll win the table.
Texas doesn't let up. Dominates. Proves that they have "leadership"
Alabama finds players that fit their system.
Cal doesn't have as good a QB as the past years. Right on.
DJ Shockley's "Leadership" is as important as his abilty. Vague, ambiguous terminology is the crutch of the lazy pundit.
Brandon Cox will show composure in front of tough crowds.
Alabama's D is great. Pressure, causing turnovers, short fields... that's the key.
Game Changer: Brian Calhoun (nope)
"Seems every time GameDay comes to Tuscaloosa, Alabama loses. Not this time." Weird. If I were a Tide fan, I'd probably not want them to come.

South Cackalacka-Florida is a storyline that's "just too tasty".
Nice comments on the strange bedfellows in the SEC (UGA rooting for Spurrier, Auburn rooting for Alabama)
South Carolina is kind of winning with smoke and mirrors.
Conference USA: Conference redemption with O'Leary and Price.
DeAngelo Williams is getting stacked up against, will make his mark in the NFL.
Notre Dame is three wins from the BCS... World population has doubled since Navy last beat them.
Nice little bit on "Close Call" one loss teams.
Knocks Alabama's OOC schedule, compared to USC and Texas. Kirk has to explain that they play 11 games, not 3 and that Alabama has a tougher schedule.
Did they really give away tickets to Iowa State's game? Because of the weather?
Hints at a close Texas game because of Kansas' D.
Alabama coaches up players, rather than relying on pure talent.
Comes correct with a "Joe PAH PAH". Not perfect, but better than the joapUHs of days past.
For Corso's NSFMF he asks "Is that supposed to be a dog?"
Knocks Auburn and the SEC's offense. "If AU is the best, not such a ringing endorsement." They looked OK later that night though...
Makes sure to mention that Alabama isn't the only team to lose players to injury. C'mon, there isn't another injury in the country that is has that much of an effect. They have 78 scholarships. He stretched the field, was the biggest playmaker. There isn't a comparable injury in college football this year.
Game Changer: Alabama's D (OK, but no win)

Is there a reason why he's on the set from the get-go? Can't let the SEC (and CBS) get too much coverage?
AHA! First thing he says is how we can't forget about the Big 10. Purposeful? Conspiracy?
Mr. Versatility: Ted Ginn. Big pump up for OSU. Had to hurt, you damn corporate shill.
Heisman: leaning toward Reggie Bush. Marcus Allen likes him too. Shocking! Dude likes the player at his alma mater! And Marcus likes him because he's had "so few opportunities". Hang on, the guy is a highlight standard, constantly on ESPN. We're not talking about the RB at Wazzoo or, I don't know, that good tailback at New Mexico. He plays for one of the most hyped teams in the country. Not enough opportunities?
Leinart is not the best player on his team. Reggie Bush has no weaknesses in his game (I'd say he hasn't been hit really hard so far... we'll see when he gets to the NFL).
Cal's ball-control offense keeps USC games close.

Evidently they let him sleep in, or his stool softener keeps him in the head all morning.

WHOA! Totally out of character, May praises Alabama, says they deserve to play in the Rose Bowl if they win out. Very weird. Bizarro May is in the house. Perhaps he drew the short straw and had to play... err... strawman to the others?Nice diction at the end though... "The bottom line is, at the end of the game, all that counts..."

I'm sure I'm not the only one who chuckled at the tease for the story on the Alabama kicker holding the wad of cash. Logan Young pays a grand per 50 yarder?
Yet again, Gillette Game Face finds the biggest dorm nerds on earth.
Mike Price gets a solid boo. I'm not sure I get this all that much. Who gives a shit? It's not like he paid a bunch of players and put Alabama in bad shape for 8 years.
Franchione gets a big boo too, and yes, I understand this.
Close call on Sign of the week: TIGERS BLEAUX or "Egomaniacal Nardsacks (pictures of Corso and Herbstreit) Love Emerald Nuts"
Lots of long commercial breaks this week. Or maybe I'm just drunk. Or both.
Stunning, I know... Another Shelley Smith USC piece on things that have nothing to do with football. Gosh, they have such fun.
110 decibels. They say 113 is the record. I don't remember that one. Where was it?
The short little interview with Brodie Croyle was hilarious if you watched it thinking he was putting on his "sensitive" mask in order to slay some Phi Mu.

All in all, kind of a short show. Decent fact-based analysis. Poor to quite poor in-depth stories. Solid B+ show.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The O.C.

Most Dawg fans believe that Coach Richt is the right man to captain the ship. He's a great recruiter, he's a developer of souls, and unlike his immediate predecessor, he actually appears awake when he speaks. A growing faction of the Dawg Nation, however, are fed up with Richt's inability to remedy his own in-game problems of clock management and asinine playcalling. "Hire an Offensive Coordinator!" they've screamed ever-louder over the past few seasons, but few offer suggestions as to whom. I have one: Rick Neuheisel.

And how fitting is the position's abbreviated moniker? Richt is the perfect Sandy Cohen to Neuheisel's Ryan Atwood. A wish-he-was-my-dad do-gooder takes in a bright, promising kid with checkered past, and both make each other better in the long run.

Sure, Georgia has had problems with hiring coaches who have sketchy backgrounds, but Slick Rick wouldn't be in charge of things, and surely he has served his penance for his sins. He's been out of college coaching since 2002, was awarded a sizable settlement in his suit against his last college employer (which should count for some vindication), and this year he has demeaned himself as babysitter for Kyle Boller (until he got hurt) and gets blamed for the fact that Anthony Wright is the poor man's Aaron Brooks.

Neuheisel was once widely regarded as a brilliant young HC, leading both Colorado and Washington in returns to success. With a 10-win season in his 1995 head coaching debut in Boulder, and another 10 wins in his sophomore effort, he was on the fast track to Himalayan heights of college coaching greatness. He slipped slightly thereafter, and left for U-Dub in 1999. He was subsequently penalized for recruiting violations (not payments, just contacts) that occurred while he was Head Buff.

From 1999 to 2002, Neuheisel led the Huskies to four straight bowls, including a BCS victory in the Rose Bowl after the 2000 season. He got canned for developing a mild case of March Madness. It was a friendly neighborhood pool, for cryin' out loud.

He's a smart guy [even if he did go to law school] whose early tutelage produced the likes of future Hall of Famer Troy Aikman. He clearly wants to get back into the college game, says this article [which looks like I plagiarized it, but I found it after I'd written most of this post], but I don't think any Div. I school would take a chance on him as HC.

Neuheisel would be the perfect counterbalance to Richt's conservatism. Hell, he's literally a Gunslinger, and this forum can't resist getting behind one of its own. Certainly Richt knows that the Christian thing to do is to forgive Neuheisel's sins and forsake his own prideful grasp on the offensive controls. My only request is a clause in his contract requiring him to grow back the feathered mullet.


Renovation at the CHQ

A big change is afoot around here. After about six months of the offer sitting on the table, The General has decided he'll take me up and start posting his own brand of commentary. Please welcome him with open arms. I anticipate this should be good news for our readers, since more posting means more... well, more of a reason to check back occasionally. Hopefully there will be fewer days without a new post up.

You can tell who wrote what by the signature at the bottom, and probably the amount of expletives in the text. He's the reasonable, intelligent one. I'm the foul mouthed one. Also, I wouldn't expect a single soccer post from him.

We'll also be updating links and sidebar items to reflect his choices as well.

Perhaps we'll have another poster soon as well.

Until then, a laurel and hearty handshake to the General...


Monday, November 14, 2005

Georgia-Auburn Bitching

I had plans to write a long post about how I get annoyed by Auburn fans (it's really the pom-poms), but after the game Saturday, when I was in "I wish a muthafugga would" mode, I was actually amazingly impressed by the Auburn fans around me walking out. Nobody gloating, conciliatory words, admissions that they got lucky, all without irony or shiteating grins. It kind of made me pissed off that I couldn't unload the bile stored up during the game out onto them. And then I had more bile.

Anyway, the game itself left me with a few complaints, but none of them would have necessarily changed the outcome. The fact is that Auburn took advantage of every opportunity and played very well on the offensive line. That is the only way I can look at the game. Auburn won. But I still have to pick at a few nits. None of this stuff really would've changed the outcome in my mind, though.

Coaching: See Braves and Birds about the last 90 seconds. All the fans around me thought we should've let them score. I know that a lot of the people around me and I think of it like a high school overtime game (under the old system) when the other team has the advantage in penetration and they have the ball. There's not as much shame in laying down coming from that mindset, perhaps. I thought the decision to go for two originally was a close call, and in my mind I probably would've kicked it the first time around (60% chance at 2, 100% chance at 1 point... with the way DJ was moving the ball I'd take the sure thing). That said, the delay penalties after that score were just inexcusable. A coach didn't do his job there.

Referees: Only seen it live, so I don't know how it all looked on tape. But in the stadium it sure seemed like after every close call going Georgia's way they waited a while to set the ball (perhaps waiting for replay), while the big plays going Auburn's way seemed to get set pretty quickly, especially the punt return fumble - when Georgia's defense was barely off the field from the previous series. No conspiracy theory, it just seemed odd. Also, on that same punt fumble, that would've been a perfect time for a timeout. Regroup the defense, give the refs another chance to take a look at the play (again, I haven't seen the replay - it might've been the most obvious fumble ever, but it seemed like a long time after he was down). It really wasn't a surprise to me that Auburn scored on the very next play though. Put that one on the coaches too. Also, the very first play in the game shows the importance of TV time for our wonderful SEC refs. Someone should enter them in the Balboa and Sons Lawn Mowers Prettiest Pretty Princess Pageant for all the attention they demand.

One thing on the players: I really think Georgia needs to improve at outside linbacker. Way too much space once Irons got past the line of scrimmage. Those 3 yard out patterns that Florida, Auburn, Arkansas, and even Louisiana-Monroe ran on us need to get covered by an OLB at least some of the time. Taylor played pretty well, but Miller and Verdun-Wheeler are just not as good in space as I suppose we're accustomed to over the past few years. Injuries and discipline have hurt here. Also, the fact that Greg Blue and the other safeties have to fill that void left by the OLBs I think definitely hurts us later in games. It clearly did at the end of the Arkansas game, where Blue looked exhausted. And there was a blown safety coverage at the end of the Auburn game that may have had something to do with this...

Again, I'm not complaining because we "woulda coulda shoulda", but rather looking to improve in areas where we should - coaching, LB coverage. I actually thought there was a lot to be happy about in this game for a Georgia fan. I thought the no huddle looked great at times (it could've run a little faster though). Thomas Brown looked good as usual (should get more carries than the other backs). Jeff Owens looks like a future star. And Shockley to Pope is pretty much unstoppable. We win next week, and I like our chances against a Les Miles coached team (even though I think they have more talent).

And now, I really want to direct my bile at two groups of people, and I am very serious about this.

1) To the jerkasses in section 325 that sold or gave their tickets to Auburn fans. While the Auburn fans near me didn't necessarily bother me all that much, I think it is just incomprehensible that any season ticket holder in that section would give or sell their tickets to the opposing team - in this game especially. People in that section are approximately 5 or 6 years out of school, most of them anyway. I know this because I'm one of them and I've asked a whole bunch of people who sit there and they all started getting tickets about the same time. Most of the fans are relatively recent alumni, so we're spending a large portion of our discretionary incomes to buy season tickets. And with the recently increased donation required, each season ticket package is around $500. When everyone received their tickets and looked at the home schedule this year, one game stood out: Auburn. If you got season tickets, this was the biggest date on the calendar to circle. So I expected a packed section, filled with noisy Dawg fans. So when Irons took in that first touchdown and literally dozens of Auburn fans stood up, I couldn't believe it. The entire section is season ticket holders, with approximately 5 years of accumulated points. I doubt there are any Auburn fans who have been accumulating points and buying season tickets for Georgia games. These people bought them from supposed Dawg fans. And I think that's just weak. If you can't get fired up for the biggest damn game of the year and actually make it to the stadium, don't get tickets and let some other Georgia fan get a better seat. We've returned season ticket applications. If you don't want to be there, let someone who does be there. And while I can't understand missing this game, I'm sure some people had extenuating circumstances. If that's the case, and you're a real Dawg fan, SELL OR GIVE YOUR TICKETS TO OTHER GEORGIA FANS! If I couldn't go to a game (which hasn't happened since I've gotten season tickets), I would never give or sell to opposing fans, especially for a huge night game with so much on the line. We needed Sanford to be really loud, and it was. But it could've been louder. There were far more opposing fans at this game than any game I've seen for the past 2 years - since the upper north deck was built.

2. To the Athletic Department, specifically the absolute drooling moron who operates the videoscreen. The Athletic Department should have one goal in how they operate the stadium sound and video system: whatever benefits the team on the field the most. Period. Sadly, they just do not get it in this area. Commercialization has gone way too far in the stadium. The wraparound screens are a clear distraction. Advertisements are intrusive. Sound from commercials disrupts the crowd noise and the marching band's songs. This was an annoyance for most of the year, but on Saturday it went beyond that. Saturday, whoever was operating the screen and sound worked against the interests of the team. The crowd forced one timeout early in the game for Auburn. It was probably the noisiest moment of the night. So what does the screen operator do? Kick in that "Noise Meter" and coordinate with the band and cheerleaders to keep the noise up? Nope. They go to an Alfa Insurance commercial with the sound cranked up and a nice but utterly boring insurance official talking slowly and clearly about the merits of life insurance. Way to keep us all fired up. It's as if they had no idea that there was a game going on in between the ads they had to show. On another timeout right before a huge play (and this was even a short timeout, not a 4 minute CBS special), they kicked into the McDonald's "Find UGA VII" shell game, distracting a large portion of the crowd. It's just so strange to me that they don't seem to realize that the crowd at an SEC game doesn't need to be entertained like at a Braves game. The game is the entertainment, WORK WITH IT! The band, screen, soundsystem and PA announcer should be working as one to create a more hostile environment for the opposing team to play in and to fire up the crowd and get them more involved in the game, not distract them from the game.

The intrusive commercials and funtime distractions are just one of the problems. Secondly, the out of town scoreboard should be more than once a quarter. I assure you there are thousands of fans extremely interested in other games' scores. But more importantly, on Saturday there was a specific reason to give the scores. Because of LSU's win, Auburn was virtually eliminated from competition for the SEC title. If there was a single player for Auburn who didn't know that score, it should've been the announcer and the scoreboard operator's jobs to make sure they knew. Had I been operating it, I would've announced that score on every break in the action. I would've had the LSU score up on the screen the entire game. It might've broken the spirits of the players (maybe not... it certainly looked like Auburn was playing with a ton of pride whether they knew the LSU score or not). But it also could've affected the Auburn fans. And that's the point - marginalize their noise, especially when we're having to march to the endzone with their greatest congregation of fans in the 4th quarter. The Florida-USC score should've been announced plenty too - to fire up our fans. I'm sure most Geogia fans knew that score, but crowds take on a life of their own, and I'm sure that's a good way to fire up the fans just to hear that Florida lost. Give the Tech score too! Do whatever you can to excite the home fans and weaken the spirits of the other fans.

And on that note, the final screen operator problem: showing instant replays. There should be a few simple rules, and following them should not be hard. (1) Any time there is a big play for the home team, show the replay as many times as possible. Find the best angle, and replay it. Big catch for a first down, show it. Sack, show it. You cannot believe how many big plays do not get shown as a replay. (2) Anytime there is a terrible, or even close call that goes against the home team, show the replay as many times as possible. It fires up the home crowd. Referees may catch a glimpse of the replay and not make the same mistake again (or subconsciously "correct the call"). There is no downside to this. Yet for some reason, we got a cut off view of the phantom Leonard Pope call and no replay at all of the 53 yard pass to Aromashodu - which looked from the stands like a pretty clear pushoff. (3) If there is a terrible, or even close call against the visiting team, do not show a replay. This happened twice Saturday, and both times the Auburn fans went ballistic, once it seemed they demanded a review (which they got - and I have no problem with the fans acting that way - just don't give them the opportunity). And finally (4) If the referees announce that a play is under review, go ahead and show us in the stands the replay. We can't see perfectly, so if the call goes against us, we'll get mad and fired up. If the call goes for us, we'll get even more fired up. Showing the replay won't have an effect on the refs (ideally), but it will have an effect on the crowd.

Basically, the athletic department did a terrible job at coordinating the stadium with the fans. The Dawg fans were fired up, ready for the game. A full day of lubrication made us ready for blood, but every opportunity to get us fired up was missed. It was as if they were spending the whole game trying to calm the crowd down. LSU doesn't do that. Tennessee doesn't do that. Auburn doesn't do that. Hell, I watched a Kentucky game where they clearly were inciting the crowd with instant replays. If Kentucky (an athletic department that couldn't figure out they need to get rid of Rich Brooks) knows how to do this, the fact that Georgia doesn't is a complete embarassment.

OK. I feel much better. Except for the cold I've picked up.

Anyway, we need to destroy Kentucky and get back our mojo. Win big, so we have some momentum going into what I'm pretty sure will be a tough game in Atlanta, 2 weeks in a row.


Lebowski Rankings - Week 6

Got a bad cold. Gameday might take a while to do - probably by Wednesday, maybe tonight if I can get through it all.

Rank, Team, Record, (Colley Ratings SOS), [shift from last week] Asterisk indicates head-to-head win.

25. Colorado 7-3 (29) [-7]
24. Iowa State 7-3 (52*) [+8]
23. Michigan 7-3 (4) [+5]
22. Minnesota 7-3 (16*) [+5]
21. Wisconsin 8-3 (28) [-5]
20. Toledo 7-2 (104) [+2]
19. Louisville 7-2 (71) [+7]
18. Georgia 7-2 (53) [-5]
17. Notre Dame 7-2 (31) [+7]
16. Texas Tech 8-2 (60) [-8]
15. Auburn 8-2 (54) [+6]
14. Ohio State 8-2 (8) [+3]
13. UTEP 8-1 (117) [+1]
12. Fresno State 8-1 (111) [+3]
11. West Virginia 8-1 (69) [+1]
10. LSU 8-1 (47) [+1]
9. Virginia Tech 8-1 (30) [-3]
8. Miami (FL) 8-1 (45) [+2]
7. UCLA 9-1 (75) [+2]
6. Alabama 9-1 (73) [-3]
5. Oregon 9-1 (39) [+2]
4. Penn State 9-1 (9) [NC]
3. TCU 10-1 (90) [+2]
2. Southern Cal 10-0 (49) [NC]
1. Texas 10-0 (32) [NC]

Biggest Rises: (+17) : Houston; (+15) : Arkansas State, Pittsburgh
Biggest Drops: (-14) : California, Rutgers, Colorado State