Wednesday, 20 February 2008
-i'm watching women's curling right now on TSN via the magic that is the interwebs and for some reason i'm bizarrely fascinated. you can tell curling teams aren't used to being televised because they are all wearing glasses. except for bowling, i can't think of a televised sport in the states where the athletes regularly wear glasses. or maybe this is just a Canada thing.
-first pick in the NFL draft better be Glen Dorsey. he's a sure thing. remember when the Texans took Mario Williams first two years ago and were ridiculed for not taking Vince Young or Reggie Bush? well, now they look smart. the same will apply for whoever is smart enough to pass up Mcfadden and Matt Ryan this year in order to pick up Dorsey, as evidenced by the following comparisons: Mcfadden > Bush; Ryan > Young; Dorsey > Williams. now all Miami has to do is fuck it up.
-the only Western Conference team in the NBA that actually got better thru these midseason trades is the Lakers. which is funny, because they probably needed it most. Shaq's not going to provide a whole lot of help before the playoffs, and with how tight the battles are in the West it might be too late for the Suns by then. if they've slipped into the bottom four of the playoff cut, they could be in trouble. Kidd's lost a step in the last couple of years too, and Devin Harris was a great young player. it's going to take time for things to congeal in Dallas, and they had a delicate chemistry that may have just been upset. i think Dallas is still acting out of desperation in reply to the disappointment of last season, and it's going to really cost them. i wish the Nuggets had been able to make a trade for someone, but i'm glad they passed on Artest and Zach Randolph, since both trades likely would've involved giving up Linas Kleiza. if we can move Nene and/or JR Smith, then great, but i'd like to see Kleiza and Najera stay with the team. their energy off the bench is crucial. and they really can't disrupt the core of Camby, Iverson, Anthony, K-Mart. the whole team's going to get better when Chucky Atkins gets healthy, but alas, it might be too late. this could be one of the best teams to ever miss the playoffs, the way things are going.
Tuesday, 25 September 2007
Those of you who haven't seen the press conference following Oklahoma State's shootout win over Texas Tech this past weekend are really missing out:
Is it as funny as this press conference?:
No, but it's probably almost as ridiculous. But neither Gundy's actual press conference or the Coors Light commercial parody brings me as much satisfaction as this tirade by Dan Hawkins, head coach at CU.
Anyhow, back to main topic at hand: Mike Gundy's rant was either...
A) Well-intentioned or
...and I'll let the folks playing along at home be the judge of that, but one way or another, he clearly didn't go about this the best way possible. I, as much as anyone, am happy to see a coach sticking up for his players and not hanging them out to dry. But what was Gundy hoping to accomplish here by flying off the handle? He's drawn more attention to Bobby Reid than he possibly could have deflected. Last week at this time, my Grandmother had no clue who Bobby Reid was, and now she's telling me not to get any ideas about being fed chicken. This didn't do anything to help Gundy's credibility, and it gave a ton of publicity to Jenni Carlson, the author of the article in the Oklahoman. And in Gundy's defense, the article did kind've suck, although I'm not sure it was 75% inaccurate as he claimed.
Regardless, he could've handled things in a way that didn't make him and his team look like a jackass.
If this was all contrived to deflect attention from the fact that OSU hasn't exactly lived up to expectations coming into this season, why blow up like that after a win?
If I was Gundy or the OSU Athletic Director, I would've yanked Carlson's press pass and let her write her columns from the comfort of her home without the benefit of the press box on game days.
Some people are saying that it was important Gundy called her out publicly the way she called out Reid, but that still doesn't excuse hysterics or spittle flying onto the poor columnists in the front row. One calm, snide remark would've done wonders to counter her gossip column and not made the coach the punchline instead of the reporter.
Monday, 24 September 2007
5. West Virginia
8. Ohio State
12. Boston College
15. Penn St.
17. Virginia Tech
20. South Florida
22. Arizona State
25. Michigan St.
Friday, 21 September 2007
Last week, I went 2-1 against the spread on college games, and 1-2 in the NFL. This week, we'll try to do a little bit better.
~I think ARKANSAS (-7) got jobbed last weekend against Alabama, and if I'm a bit mad about it even though I don't care about Razorbacks football anymore than I do Czechoslovakia's women's gymnastics team, I can onlky imagine how pissed they are. Darren McFadden might set an SEC record for defenders ran over. Kentucky is coming off of a huge win over Louisville, and might have a hard time getting focussed in time to go into Arkansas.
~Even though Georgia is getting 3.5, I think they are going to have a hard time going in to ALABAMA and getting a win, so I'm taking the Tide. Despite a little home field help from the refs, Nick Saban really did have a good gameplan, and I expect he'll have a good one again this weekend so that Bad Stafford shows up for the Bulldogs.
~It's an all-SEC extravaganza! I'm taking LSU to cover 16 points at home against South Carolina. The Gamecocks got a nice win last weekend, just like Kentucky, and I expect they're going to lose, just like Kentucky, and lose big, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty points. If this one was in SC, it might be a slightly different story, but LSU's defense isn't just the best defense in the conference, it's the best in the country, and by a wide margin.
And in the NFL... picks tomorrow!
Monday, 17 September 2007
Stop fucking melting down.
You overreact like a hysteric teenage girl every time we get beat. Every other program in the country somehow manages to cope with not winning a national championship without wanting to fire everyone in sight. Except Michigan, but they're justified at this point. You, my friends, have been spoiled. And not just by our world-beater dynasty of the mid-nineties, but by our three-decade period of dominance and superiority. These past seven years have been a wake-up call, and even in that woeful period, we played for the national championship.
I almost wish Callahan and Co. would do even WORSE, just to help lower the expectations to a realistic level. Sometimes, even great teams get blown out. Runaways happen. USC's current dynasty is an aberration, a phenomenon, something that happens once in the history of a handful of programs and not at all for the rest of them, something that happens twice to only a few select members of the handful.
Look, people. I'm only 23. I've been a fan of this team for my entire life, as far back as I can remember. I recall sitting in the living room with my assembled family when i was nine years old and watching Nebraska lose to Florida State in the Orange Bowl. I remember watching us win the national championship the following year all by myself in the living room of my mom's house in Westminster, CO because I was the only one who cared, and I remember being so excited I thought I would burst. Those were easy times to be fan.
But my childhood is over, my friends, and our collective youthful fandom is done now too. These are somewhat challenging times to be a fan. I was in middle school the last time we won a conference championship. I've sat in Memorial Stadium and watched Big XII North teams spank us on our own field. But that's nothing.
For almost as long as I've been cheering the Big Red, I've been cheering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And for most of the past fifteen years, they've been terrible. We had a pretty good run for a few years, capped by a Super Bowl, but we have since returned to mediocrity. And Tampa isn't even a rebuilding team. They're a declining team. The defense is old, the QB is a vet on the back end of his career, and the O-line is a shambles and has been for a long time.
Being a fan of a team that suffers builds character. Builds class. Nebraska gets called "the classiest fans in college football", but it's easy to applaud the opposing team as they leave your field after beating the 'skers when you only have to do it once every five years, or even once a year. Try doing it twice in a row, like we would've had to do if we were Michigan fans.
I've been thinking about fans enduring hard times and still loving their team and cheering enthusiastically, and I've been thinking: what if it got really bad? What if Nebraska were Baylor? What if we had to endure back-to-back 2-or-3 win seasons? Would the consecutive home sellout streak continue? How about in the event of a third such losing season? A fourth? Would everyone in the state still tune in every week if they anticipated a loss more than win, game after game?
Lately, I'm beginning to think there'd be very few of us left in the stands. I think I'd find myself in a cold and lonely place.
I'm not saying we shouldn't value excellence and greatness and performance. We should, and we do. But we also shouldn't be throwing coaches and players and staff under the bus in the name of these ideals. We're supposed to be a family here in the heartland. Whenever a family member does something foolish or makes a mistake, we don't say we should disown them. If so, my family would've kicked me out long ago. My family supports me, and I support them, and I get better, and they get better.
Maybe we jumped the gun on Frank Solich. There. It's out there. Still high on the nineties euphoria, we were like football addicts doing anything to get our winning fix, and we may have put that before tradition and family. But what's done is done, and we can't go back and change things. We've welcomed new members into our family in Callahan and Co. Tossing him out the way we tossed out Solich is just repeating the mistake we've already made.
Cornheads, we lost to the #1 team in college football, or so say the polls. That's nothing to be embarrassed of. It was a tough loss, and impossible to put a pretty face on, but that's OK. Sometimes, your team's going to lose. Get used to it. Revise your expectations.
I think a good program to use as a jumping off point is Virginia Tech. There's a team with a long-tenured coach with a solid football philosophy, a stout defense that plays with pride and heart, and passionate fans. We're like a bigger VT, bigger because college football's the only game in the state and NU is the only program, and because we've got a long and rich tradition as vaunted and epic as anyone's. But our expectations should be the same: we should be able to get to the conference championship game most years, and win it half of the time we get there. And if we've done these things, we should be in a big time bowl game. And if we have done these things AND run the table, we should be in the national championship picture and have a shot at playing to win it.
If we play in the Big XII title game, say, three out of every five years... and win that game every other time we play in it (3 out of every ten years) and one of those times we run the table (once every ten years) and get a shot at the national title.... well, I get the impression a lot of you would still be unsatisfied.
Given the regime and philosophy change, I'm willing to count last year as Callahan's Year One. He's got four years left on his contract. He's been to the CCG once already, so he needs to get us there twice more, and maybe even once more again if the North division doesn't improve. And he needs to win this conference at least once. If he can do those things, then I think he meets the "winning" requirements to be the head coach of the team I love.
But what I'm trying to get across, I guess, is that there are more important things than the "winning" requirements. I like being thought of as a classy, knowledgeable fan. Not a whiny, bitchy, pubescent, know-it-all brat child. I want to revel in our victories, and mourn our losses... and then get the fuck over them.
And I want you to, as well.
5. Penn St.
6. West Virginia
10. Ohio State
13. South Carolina
14. Boston College
19. Texas A&M
20. South Florida
22. Virginia Tech
Not a ton of movement here aside from Louisville plummeting significantly, UCLA dropping out, and Kentucky and Alabama joining the fray. Here's why my top five looks the way it does: most impressive wins. LSU beating up on Virginia Tech was the most dominant performance so far in my opinion, followed by Oklahoma-Miami, Florida-Tennessee, and then USC-Nebraska. I'm excited to see LSU play South Carolina this weekend to see if I'm right about the Tigers.
Friday, 14 September 2007
College football is a tough nut to crack this weekend. Most of the big games are hairier than Robin Williams, and a lot of the top teams haven't even had a nationally televised games yet. My strategy in college football is to take the home team whenever possible, don't bet on games you are emotionally invested in, and crack is only a weekend drug. Remember that, Miami Hurricanes.
That being said:
~SEC conference openers are always tough, but I'm taking FLORIDA (-7) to cover over Tennessee this weekend at home. It looks like Tebow is for real from what I've seen so far, and I could use the Tenneesse defense to strain my spaghetti. I don't think Cal is as special as everyone else does yet, and the Vols looked like the Cleveland Browns bench against the Golden Bears. I have Florida pulling away late and making everyone think "Huh, maybe last year's champions should be in this year's title talk, huh?"
~I'm going to go out on a limb so far from the tree that it will even blow Stanford's collective mind: Michigan. Notre Dame is starting the 108th boyscout troop at QB, and no matter how much I have enjoyed the suffering of the Wolverines so far, I can't imagine them losing a third straight game at home to open a season. That has never happened, and for the sake of the Great Lakes Area Suicide Hotline, I hope it never does. I'm taking MICHIGAN, even (-8) to beat the Cryin' Irish this weekend in the Big House.
~I know Oregon looked good trouncing Big Blue, but (-16) this weekend over a Fresno State team that hung 40+ points on Texas A&M? Uh, no. I'll take FRESNO STATE, a team that can handle the Ducks' spread if they can manage to shield their eyes from the glare reflecting off of their god-awful uniforms.
And in the NFL...
~Speaking of the Browns, I can't believe they're only laying 7 to the Bengals. I'll take CINCINNATI to hang 30 plus on Cleveland. This is a game where I'd happily take the OVER, too, at 41.
~Even if the Giants weren't starting Andre the Giant at QB, and missing him at RB, I'd take the Packers (+1) to go into New Yawk and pull out the win. The Green Bay defense is for real, the Giants' secondary is so suspect even Brett Favre could find a hole in it, and... well, that's pretty much the story of this game.
~Lastly, I'm taking the CHARGERS (+3.5) against the Pats in New England. I don't buy into the notion that all the drama this week is going to be a distraction for New England, but I don't think it's going to matter. San Diego looked solid against the Bears. I think this is going to be a high-scoring game, even though the San Diego rushing defense is pretty solid.
Monday, 10 September 2007
Another beautiful weekend where Nebraska won, Michigan lost, and Notre Dame lost. God bless America. Notice that my poll has a lot of movement. That's because there's been two games, preseason polls are about as useful to measuring success as mittens are to Helen Keller, and there have been so many upsets that ESPN doesn't have time to cover them all in between fellating Charlie Weis and Pete Carroll. And with that uncomfortable imagery, I give you my top 25.
4. West Virginia
5. Penn St.
11. Ohio State
14. Georgia Tech
16. South Carolina
17. Boston College
21. Texas A&M
24. South Florida
My predictions below didn't pan out so well, but you shouldn't be gambling anyway, you degenerate bastards. And I'm still taking the over in the Niners-Cards game.
Thursday, 06 September 2007
Glory! Hallelujah! Hosanna! Etcetera!
Man, i am pumped for the game tonight. I've got the night off from work, and I'm sitting down with an old friend from high school to watch the game. Best bet tonight is to take the over. Last line I saw is 52.5. If you want to bet a team, put it on the Saints and six. I just don't think the Indy D is going to be pretty tonight.
The Broncos -3 against the Bills this weekend seems like a pretty solid bet, too.
I'd take the Lions and 2 against the Raiders, too. How did Oakland end up favored? They don't even know who their starting QB is yet. I know it's Detroit, but come on, people.
The Cardinals vs. Niners game has an over/under of 45, and I'd take that over too. Both of those offenses are going to be improved from last year. Alex Smith showed a lot of improvement through the course of last year, and I think the Cardinals line is going to be looking a little better this year, which will give Matt Leinart enough to time to find his brutal fleet of receivers. I'm sold enough on him that he's backing up Philip Rivers on my fantasy squad.
Sit down tonight and enjoy yourselves, people. It's Football Day.
Wednesday, 05 September 2007
There's an article here this morning by John Delong in which the Wake Forest Demon Deacons columnist predicts less than four thousand Nebraska fans are going to show up in Winston-Salem come Saturday afternoon. That's just silly. I'm not really sure what to make about the Husker team that's going to show up this weekend, but if less than 4,000 fans in that stadium are wearing red, I'll eat my damn hat. In fact, if it's less than 6,000 I'll eat it with a knife and fork. Here's why I'm confident.
Nebraska fans have earned this almost legendary respect in regard to how well they travel, and they do. But that's only half of the story. There's going to be 3,000 fans from Lincoln and Omaha and further west that pack up the wagons and head east on Friday, but what pundits and opponents and the John Delongs of the world don't count on is the dispersement of Husker fans. Aside from the football team, there's not a lot happening in Omaha and Lincoln, and a lot of our graduates and citizens flock to other climes to live, but they never forget the Huskers in their hearts, and all those loyal little Herbies up and down the east coast are going to revel in their opportunity to go to a Husker game like in the days of their youth. That's where the other 3,000 are coming from.
In fact, I think less fans than usual will travel to North Carolina. It's not that great of a destination, and everyone broke the bank to buy USC tix. I even know a few fans who already got their conference championship tix. But I think there's a lot of transplanted cornheads frothing at the mouth for a chance to watch the 'skers play, and the red sea will be out in full force come Saturday. Even if you're not a Nebraska fan, just turn on the tube real quick Saturday morning, 11:00 central, just to see if I was right and a quarter of the stadium is painted red.
The new depth chart just came out, and it's a joke.
Nate Swift is listed as the starting "X" receiver ahead of Maurice Purify, but if Swift has a bigger impact in that game than Mo, and I have any hats left, I'll eat them.
I also don't understand why Mike McNeill isn't on the chart, and why Major Culbert is so low. McNeill had the best catch of the game last weekend against Nevada, and the depth in front of him isn't exactly riddled with stars. And even though we're currently plenty deep at safety, I don't understand why we pulled a perfectly good defender who started a game last year just to play caboose on the RB depth chart. If Culbert isn't getting carries, get him back to the position he prefers. Bryan Wilson and Tierre Green are going to be gone next year, and things are looking thin behind Larry Asante and Rickey Thenarse.
Given Mo Purify's return to the field this weekend, I'm putting the over/under on the number of times the ESPN announcers refer to his tragic, emotional, troubled offseason at 4.5.
Wait, who are the announcers? It's not Paul Maguire, is it!? God help us if it is.
I just checked, and I think it's Sean McDonough and Chris Spielman, and those cats usually do a pretty decent job. So no need to panic, yet. Don't let me down, boys.
I, unfortunately, am not one of the aforementioned travelling Husker fans. I will be at the Embassy Suites in Lincoln this weekend watching the game in their big atrium, and then going to a wedding reception just down the hall. So if you want to swing by and B.S. with me, you're welcome to. But we only talk during commercials.
Lowballing has no pulse!...