Nit Picks: Half Speed

I’m busy this week and I spent a lot of time on the hockey column, so I only had a chance to get mad five times this week.  Actually I got mad a lot more than that but most of the time it was at my house mates or something like that, and I didn’t write it down, which is fine because it wouldn’t have had the same kind of mass appeal as pointing out that Wade Phillips isn’t qualified to coach my 1-4 intramural flag football team.  Anyways, here are 5 rants for yah, picks at the end as always.


1.BRETFAVREBRETFAVREBRETFAVRESTREAKBRETFAVREBRETFAVREBRETFAVREBRETFAVRESTREAKSTREAKSTREAKENDMAYBEOHMYGODWHATWILLWEDOBRETFAVREBRETFAVREBRETFAVREBRETFAVRESTREAKBRETFAVREBRETFAVREBRETFAVREBRETFAVREBRETTFUCKING FAVRE!
Just kill me now.

2. So the Niners and the Raiders continue to tarnish and viewing pleasure that I might be able to gain from the NFL.  I swear, if there is one more afternoon where 49ers-Panthers or Raiders-Broncos or some other gawd awful game involving those two teams is my only option, I would really appreciate it if the a-holes who vandalized my yard a few weeks ago would come back and rip the GD satellite dish down.  Anything would be better than another masochistic afternoon of watching those teams attempt to play offense.  If my TV got taken out again, I might at least try to get a bootleg broadcast of a watchable game online (Goodell and his $70 a month Sunday Ticket can suck it). 

3. Music Rant of the Week
I want to put a positive spin on the music rant this week, so I am going to do one thing that always pisses me off, and one thing that makes me happy when it happens.  Both will be completely arbitrary.
On the down side, you have songs that have badass intros, and maybe sick choruses, but with half assed shitty verses.  That sucks.  I always get pissed when I hear a song for the first time and the intro is awesome, and then the verse changes up the rhythm and kills, or at least hinders, the entire thing.  A lot of Anberlin songs are like this. 
On the up, you have the phenomenon when you are listening to iTunes or an iPod, and you accidentally skip a song that you wanted to listen to while on random, but before you go back you see that the song coming up is awesome.  This happens to me all the time at the gym.  ‘Wait, I am going to get to listen to Re-Education through Labor now, and then I get to hear Wherever I May Roam ALSO!  THIS IS LIKE FUCKING CHRISTMAS!  I am going to kill these next three sets with this music.’  It is a truly great feeling.


4.  Hey, Rick Reiley, there is no room for you and your massively inflated ego on the Boise State bandwagon.  Sorry.  You are going to have to get off so that you can go write another unfunny story that rips off something that you wrote and wasn’t that good in 2002. 
So, uh, yeah.  Fuck off.
(Also, the show homecoming is the worst thing on television that doesnt involve the letters ‘V,’ ‘H,’ or the number 1.  Watching you do the worlds worst stand up routine with that crappy Kanye song as the theme made me want to root against Josh Hamilton, the single most root forable player in baseball.  It was that bad.)

5. I have two questions regarding the Cowboys, and I am new to this sort of thing so bear with me.  One, is at what point do I openly start rooting against them for the high draft pick.  With Romo out, and the team, you know, being shit and all, I know that I will be happier if I start now, but it is only week se’ven.  That seems like it is a bit premature.  Not because they still have a chance to contend, but because they aren’t really in a number one pick race or anything.  Anyways, it is definitely coming, so much so that I was actually pissed that Romo might be able to come back this year.  So when is the best time to start.  My second question is, in the draft, can we take a coach?  We are pretty solid at the skill positions, so can we just take Nick Saban or something with the number 5 pick in June?

GAMBLING

(just 10 picks, again…time)
Cowboys (-6) over Jagaurs
Titans (+4) over Chargers
Jets (+4) over Packers
Panthers vs. Rams over 37
USC (+210) over Oregon
UNLV (+35) over TCU
Ohio State vs. Minnesota over 55
Utah (-6.5) over Air Force
Michigan (3.5) over Penn St.
Patriots (-5.5) over Vikings
Drew Magary Link of the Week

“I was watching DeMarcus Ware play on Monday and I was thinking that black people have added a lot of prefixes to the name Marcus: DeMarcus, LaMarcus, JaMarcus. I feel like there’s a new Marcus prefix they’re waiting to roll out, and I’m hoping I can predict it correctly. I went through the whole alphabet trying to figure out which ones would sound best, and which ones would sound uncommonly silly: BaMarcus, MaMarcus, NeMarcus (short for NeimanMarcus), RaMarcusable, etc. I think it’ll be Q’Marcus. It has to be. I can’t imagine HaMarcus beating it out.

All Thing Hockey 2010-2011; Edition 1

(Wait, is that…)
(Oh damn, I think it might be)
(Yeah it definitely is)
(That must be…)
THAT’S THE SOUND OF ALL THINGS HOCKEY, BABY!  Damn, it feels good to be back.
I have to be honest, this offseason didn’t seem to drag on quite like some have in the past, in fact it felt like it went by fairly quickly, but that is for the best.  Hockey is in full swing, and, luckily, it is still freaking awesome (good news!).  There is a lot to get to, and my dad thinks that these were always too long last year anyways, so let’s get right into it. 


BACK IN THE USSR (and Germany, Sweden, the UK, and the Czech Republic)


(First things first:  No I will not stop using the same Beatles reference every time that Russia is involved.  Glad we cleared that up.)
Hockey is truly a global game.  With increasing numbers of players and fans coming from overseas, the season openers in Europe are an ample opportunity for the NHL to reach out to this fan base.  It is great to see the league tapping this resource in the age of globalization and ensuing a worldwide fan base going forward, because after all, the days as America as the end all be all of major sports will not go on forever.  Look at the premier league or the champions league in soccer.  They are based out of…
Yeah.  I can’t do this.  Sorry.
I hate the NHL opening on the old continent.  There are so many things I hate about it.  I hate that it means that the teams traveling have 40 home games rather than 41.  I hate that the Sharks opener started at like 12:30 PM on a weekday.  I really hate that it means that the Sharks home opener is 13 days, an entire Cuban missile crisis, after the opening day of the season.  I hate that it is impossible to tell if the games overseas are exhibitions or regular season games.  I hate that it means that I only get to see the Blue Jackets come to San Jose one time (just seeing if you are still paying attention).  I hate that the teams have to ‘defend the honor of the NHL’ or whatever, against DEL and KHL teams, just days before they start an 82 game schedule.  I just hate the whole thing.  Did I mention that I hate it?  Because I hate it. 
The whole thing is pointless, too.  Are we really going to hook a generation of Swedes or Czechs because there was a single regular season game in Stockholm or Prague?  Of course not.  And the stadiums (at least in Sweden) were half full at best.  (THIS IS WHY OBAMA MUST BE STOPPED!  SOCIALISM CANNOT SUPPORT PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY! )  God, it just makes no sense to go this far out of our way to play games in front of foreign ECHL crowds. 
Really, the only games that were somewhat interesting were the SKA-Carolina game, and the San Jose-Manheim game.  Even though it wasn’t quite full speed, it was interesting to see the NHL teams go up against the Euros.  Fine.  Keep them, and if you want, send multiple teams, and you can even have games over there between NHL teams.  But do it in September, and make them exhibitions.  This is dumb.


Jersey Short, A Situation


Best. Title. Ever.


Anyways, the Devils went into a couple of games already this year with just 15 players dressed.  The most important thing to take away from this is that it is freaking hilarious.  The Devils messed up their cap so badly (while losing their best defenseman), that they couldn’t afford to call someone up for league minimum for a couple of games.  Ha and ha. 
The part where people lose me, though, is when they suggest that somehow New Jersey has broken the rules, or that they should be punished.  This is ridiculous, first and foremost because it is not a rule.  18 skaters is a limit, not a quota, so there is no way the league could actually take action.  As for if they should, playing with 15 players is a penalty in itself.  Is it cap circumvention?  Sort of, but it punishes itself, so there is no need to take action. 
Worst (or best, depending on your perspective) of all, is that the cap and roster issues may not even be the biggest problem in New Jersey.  The team is a mess.  After watching them in San Jose on Tuesday night, I remarked that I had never seen a team that looked better when you saw the names in warmups, and worse when you watched them on the ice.  They really are as bad as their record right now.  They have no chemistry, questionable team defense, and absolutely zero idea how they should use Kovalchuk.  My reaction was naturally that their new coach, John McLean is in over his head, and is lost with this team.  When I told this to people who might know about the situation, I was told that McLean isn’t the problem.  Jersey has a weak blueline, an aging goaltender and forwards who can’t get along (all things I should have seen).  That might be worse.  It is way easier to fix a coaching problem than a disfunctional roster.  
Before the season, I loved this Devils team, since they seemed to be extremely entertaining with a lot of skill, but without the backend to be a serious threat to win it all.  It turns out that they might not even be that. 


Solicitation


Obviously, if you ever have a hockey question or topic that you want me to address, you should email the blog at ovsports@gmail.com.  I’m not sure why exactly you would direct a question at me, but nonetheless, I like responding to people, so please feel free.  More to the point, though, I am changing the way that I am doing Sharks games this year.  The last two seasons, I had 10 game ‘Shark Packs.’ This year, I’m going on a game by game basis.  My buddy picked up tickets to the second home game of the year, because when the Carolina Hurricanes come to town, you drop what you’re doing.  Then, we went to see the Kovalch- er, Devils last night. 
Anyways, moving forward, I am trying to figure out which games are worth throwing down for.  The Oilers and their awesome CHL team are a must.  The Penguins with Crosby and Malkin are an obvious one, and the Caps are another no brainer.  Beyond that, who else should I be looking for.  Send me teams that are worth seeing, and why.  Let’s get our democracy on.
Homer Note of the Weeks


What 4 Random People Would Say If They Cared About the Sharks (and agreed with me)


Drew Magary


Scott Nichol is terrible.  He is less equipped to play on an NHL team than I am to be a parent, which is not at all.  Seriously.  He is FUCKING TERRIBLE.  Watching him play makes me want to burn down planet fucking earth.  Goals?  No.  Assists?  No.  Dumb penalties?  Fuck and yes.  He is the Sharks version of superaids.

Upcoming Games


Sharks vs. Devils
Is there anything better than a shitty Devils team?  I say no.  Can you imagine if the Devils missed the playoffs in Marty McCheatonwifewithwifessister’s  last season and he had to retire in April?  That would be awesome and my HEAD WOULD FUCKING EXPLODE.


Sharks vs. Ducks
I went to the cafe where I buy coffee while I’m at work today and I saw that they had a basket of cliff bars at the counter.  I’m in a big cliff bar guy, so without looking at what kinds they were I ordered one in addition to my coffee.  Imagine my dismay when I looked down and saw that my options were black cherry almond, raisin walnut and pecan pie.  PECAN FUCKING PIE!  What the fuck?  WHAT EXACTLY WOULD HAVE BEEN WRONG WITH CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER?  I have no use for your shitty nut/fruit combinations.


Sharks vs. Oilers
Reader Hambone:


Was Eve good looking?


That’s a solid fucking question.  Was Eve hot?  I bet Eve was hot.  And Adam totally hit that.  Nice.  Solid work by him.  That’s great hustle.


Bill Simmons


I was talking to my dad the other night about the Sharks playoff demons and he said that he had fallen asleep during all of the west coast games, which makes it absolutely obvious and self evident that the games need to be shorter.  Anyways, my buddy J-Bug and I agreed, that as Red Sox fans, we know everything that there is to know about losing and tortured franchises.  Usually, according to the VP of common sense, it takes a cosmic shift in the luck of a city for things to turn around.  Maybe the Giants and their awesome fan base, which keeps me interested in the baseball games even though they are too long becuase I’m 42 which is totally old and I fall asleep watching them at the same time as classic Larry ‘basketball jesus’ Bird games on NBA TV and St. Elmo’s fire after TMZ wraps up on VH1, can bring the Sharks some momentum in the playoffs this year.


Peter King


Sitting on the set of Football Night in America on Sunday, I put down my venti Half-caf mochachino turned to my friend Tony Dungy, and asked him what he thought about Joe Thornton’s captaincy so far.  Dungy thought (something self-righteous and blowhardy that no one really cares about, edited for space).  Once I was done being in awe of the fact that I know the great Tony Dungy, I thought about it myself while I was texting Keith Brooking, perhaps the best inside linebacker in the league, although he is old and slow and probably not as good as Brian Urlacher, Ray Lewis, Demeco Ryans and John Beasons, all of whom I am also friends with.  Here’s what I think that I might think that I may have thought about possibly considering thinking about Joe Thornton.
The captain has
1. The letter on the sweater which is
2. At this point mostly a token responsibility
a. because it is assigned by the coaches and
- not given from a vote by players, but
b. leadership is a more organic process
i. stemming from the room itself
ii. regardless of has the C.
3. And Joe has been a leader in the room for a while so I don’t think that a. it is going to be a problem, or b. it is that much of a change.


Don Cherry


Look at this good ol’ boy, Logan Couture.  That’s a Canadian for ya.  None of that dipsy doodle crap you see from a lot of the younger players in the game these days.  It isn’t becuase he doesn’t have the skill.  This is a blue collar guy.  And I tell ya what, HIS FATHER CHET IS A FIREFIGHTER BACK IN GUELF.  Boy, I tell yah, Ron, he must be a proud guy right about now.  (McLean opens his mouth and tries to say something, but is immediately cut off)  Look at Logan go to the net here.  Watch this here.  Where is the video?  I thought we had the video.  Oh, there it is.  Bam!  You think he plays like that because he doesn’t have the skill to dangle around the edges?  Of course not.  That’s how they taught em back in the London Knights.  Junior in the Ottawa 67s.  He knows that you have to go to the nitty-gritty to be a REAL hockey player.  If you want to score, you go to the net.  ATTA BOY LOGAN!

/(that was ridiculously fun and needs to become a running feature…)


Goal of the Week


Did I mention it is good to be back?  Because goal of the week reminds me that it is good to be back.  Ladies and gentlemen Jordan Eberle.





‘The guy scores a couple of lucky goals in world juniors a couple of years ago, and first game he is looking off our captain on a 2-1.  It’s pretty disappointing actually.
What else could it have been?
Pass of the Week
I thought that this was Zach Parise the first five times I saw it.  It is actually Danis Zubrus.  I blame the Devils jerseys for having 8 and 9 look the same with tucks.
http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/embed.swf

New Feature; Quintessential Goal
I’m going to do something different this year, where I count down some of the best scorers in the league, and demonstrate how sick they are (scientific term used), by showing what I would consider their most typical awesome goal.  Is it because I feel like we need a definitive list of the best scorers?  No.  Because you need to know which of Ilya Kovalchuk’s 341 goals best exemplify him?  No.  It’s because when I put more videos of sick goals on here, nobody loses.  Except for goalies.  Goalies lose.  But that’s how we like it.


Top Tier


Stamkos


This exemplifies the Lightning star’s rocket shot, and ability to make plays in traffic, serving as a good representation of his skill set.  


Kovalchuk


Ilya brings great speed, can make a move or two with his hands, but his shot is what makes him special.  While a quintessential goal would have been from the top of the circle, top glove with a wrister, this one is more fun.  It also is appropriate that rather than deak the goaltender or go low like 90% of the league would have, Ilya acts like a badass, which he is, and snipes to glove.  Sick. 


http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/embed.swf
Ovechkin


Ovechkin is about a combination of finishing creativity, and speed, all of which were on display here. 




Crosby


Dude has the skill.  He has the hands.  He has the speed.  He knows when to go.  And he will never freaking quit.  You can’t sum all of that up better than this play does.  It’s why he is the best in the game.  


New Feature: Player Montage


Self explainitory…same logic as above.
Goals, hits, hardcore/punk music?  Yes please.


We’ll start with the Cros.



Top 8 / Bottom Eight


This is a balancing act at the moment.  It is hard to determine to what extent results, and to what extent potential should be weighed.  Ultimately, this is leaning towards prediction, but certainly is influenced by what has happened so far.


1. Pittsburgh Penguins- They have the scariest roster, and 12 points through Wednesday morning, tied for second in the league. 
2. Vancouver Canucks- The results don’t quite bear this out with their 4-3-2 record, but Vancouver looks like a team that could put it together.
3. Detroit Red Wings-  God, I thought this might be the year that they were going to just go away.  I guess not.
4. Nashville Predators- Still unbeaten in regulation.
5.  Washington Capitals- They’ll figure it out…
6. San Jose Sharks- I defy anyone to claim that they aren’t a top 6 NHL team.
7. Montreal Canadians- Cary Price?  Really?  Ok.
8. Calgary Flames- 12 points, without an OT decision


23. Anaheim Ducks- 9 points, sure, but they have played a league high 10 games.
24. Buffalo Sabers- Just 7 points, also in 10 games.
25. New Jersey Devils- -18 goal differential can’t be ignored.
26. Phoenix Coyotes- If for no other reason than because I still don’t approve of Arizona.
27. Carolina Hurricanes- What do you mean they handled the #6 team at home?  They still totally suck.
28. Edmonton Oilers- Making me look bad, thus far.
29. Florida Panthers- Just…brutal.
30. Minnesota Wild- Woke up after a bag skate, but they don’t have the talent to hang.


Award Watch


This entire column is an exercise in futility, but even I won’t go as far as to pick the awards after about 9 games per team.


Shorter Hockey Thoughts


This has to be one of the dumbest things I have ever seen.  Either there is no point doing power rankings after 2 games, or they should be influenced fairly strongly by how you think teams are going to finish.  The Leafs at 4?  Really?  The Stars jumped 17 spots based on 2 games?  The Penguins down 20?  This is the very definition of pointless.


Who among us has not wanted to tell Sean Avery exactly what James Wizniewski did?  Ironically, I think that Colin Campbell has probably wanted to do that more than anyone.  (Wait, why am I defending Wizniewski?  God, why couldn’t they have just fought to the death or something?)


‘The Key to controlling the puck is to posses the puck.’  Kevin Weeks said that.  He actually had that thought, then decided that it would be a good idea, and a worthwhile practice, to look into a camera, and say that to America.  God, I’m glad he is here.


HE JUST DESCRIBED THE ANDY SUTTON INJURY AS ‘A HUGE HOLE IN THEIR BACK END!’ HE REALLY SAID THAT!  Was it intentional?  It had to have been intentional.  God, I hope he has no idea how funny that is, though.  That would make it ever better, if he had no idea.  I really am glad he is here now.


Me: (sees kid wearing a HILL shirt) did you go to Hill School in PA?
Him: Yeah
Me: (excited) Patty Riss!
Him:  What?
Me: (walks away, pissed that he doesn’t know who Patrick Rissmiller is)
Tyler Myers doesn’t look the same has he did last year.  Watching the Sabers, this is somewhat apparent.  He is getting beat more.  He is out of position more.  He is relying on his size and reach, not playing like a smaller player which is what made him so effective last year.  I wondered aloud about this to my buddy Austin, and wanting to see if I was imagining things, I looked his numbers up.  Don’t let the 3 point blasts fool you, Myers is a -9 on the season, just a brutal number.  Size is such a huge advantage on the point, and Myers has the skill set of a puck moving defenseman, something that you almost never see in a guy who is 6 foot 8.  For that reason, I thought he could control the Norris for the next few years. Something hasn’t clicked yet this season, though, and the Sabers need him to figure it out. 
While I’m not sure how they settled on lavender for breast cancer awareness (shouldn’t it have been pink, or are we just arbitrarily throwing out feminine colors now), but I liked what the Blue Jackets did by wearing them in warm-ups rather than just practices, as the Sharks have done (and other teams I’m sure, although those are the ones that I have seen).  Wouldn’t the whole point of wearing the special practice jerseys be to get them seen?  Wearing them on gameday is way more effective to that end.
Looking Forward
I’m more intrigued by the teams at the bottom of the league right now than I am by the top.  I know that Toronto and Nashville aren’t two of the premier units.  But is New Jersey the worst?  Will Edmonton STOP MAKING ME LOOK BAD DAMMIT!  So, yeah, those are the two teams I’m going to keep an eye on.  And the Sharks, obviously.

Nit Picks: On time for Once

I’m actually going to get this up on Friday for once!  And at all!  Hooray me.  God, I’m mediocre.
1. I’m officially over the whole concussion thing.  Congratulations, ESPN, the NFL, and the NFLPA.  You have managed to make it so I could completely care less about the fact that these guys’ brains are being turned to ground beef on a weekly basis.  And I am an empathetic person.  It isn’t like this is the sort of thing I would usually just want to look the other way on.  The fact is, though, that I have had enough of hearing about it, and would like to announce that I officially can’t care anymore.  The worst part about the whole thing is that the solution has to be simple.  Violent, aggressive, possibly roided up 6-4 260 pound dudes are going to be, well, violent and super aggressive.  And if they weren’t I wouldn’t watch.  There is only one way to fix this.  Change the helmets.  Make them bigger.  Pad the outside (how has this not gained steam yet?).  It won’t eliminate concussions, but it is the only way to cut down on them.  So do it.  Until then, I don’t want to hear about it.
2.
 

Let’s break this down, point-counter point style. 
Point:
AAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  BAAAAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Counter Point:
(searching)
Point:
(out of breath) AHAHAHAHHAH (gasping) hahahah…AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHA
Counter point: 
Well, he, um..they could have…uh…
Point:
Jesus t*********g Christ!  What could they possibly have been expecting?  Was a giant gust of wind going to blow the ball three yards so that they could recover it?  Would the ref decide to waive the rule where the ball had to travel 10 yards if they waited long enough?  Dear god.  Get Mike Leach back here to lock those kids in a closet.  That is why you didn’t get in to UT. 
Also,
AAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA,BAAAAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Counter Point:
It was a pretty heads up and ballsy play by the dude who ran it back.  I mean they probably didn’t expect that.
Point:
Except for the little detail that IT WAS A LIVE BALL!  THE PLAY COULD NOT POSSIBLY END UNTIL HE PICKED IT UP!  IT WAS STOPPED AND GOING BACKWARDS!
Counter-Point:
Could you please stop yelling?
Point:
I mean he is just a college kid, and we shouldn’t even really point out his name, because it wouldn’t be fair to humiliate him, but CORNELIUS DOUGLAS.  #2, the MORON in that video is named Cornelius Douglas.  He is a wide receiver from Oklahoma.  He is also the dumbest football player in division one.  He started to pick it up, then STOPPED!  HE FREAKING STOPPED!  WHY THE HELL WOULD HE DO THAT?  And he looked foolish getting stiff armed as the dude scored.  Wow. Just wow.
Counter Point:
Yeah, you’re probably right.  He sucks.                                                                                            
3.  Great Moments in American Badassary (also known as ‘Reason America Kicks Ass of the Week)
I’m in a Political Science class (for reasons that I myself don’t fully understand), where we are reading Utopia, by Thomas Moore.  For those of you that don’t know, Thomas Moore is a giant pansy (note- not the word that I used when thinking about this).  He thought that we could all just live in a world free from excess and frivolity.  But that makes him an idiot.  And that is why America is badass.  Excess and frivolity. 
Here in America, we don’t need most of the stuff that we have.  But we want it.  And we like it.  We create incentives to create stuff that we don’t need, and then let people cash in those incentives for more stuff that they don’t need.  That’s why we’re badass, and for wanting to get rid of that, you, Thomas Moore, suck.
4. My Top-25
We are now about 7 weeks into the college football season.  That means that it is no longer ridiculous to rank the top 25 division one college football teams.  Any time earlier than now, it is ridiculous to put out rankings.  Don’t tell the AP, USA Today, Coaches, Harris or whatever else, because then we couldn’t get rankings that are based upon changes in initial rankings that are semi-arbitrary and based off of stuff that happened in different seasons, with teams that had approximately 25% turnover in their rosters.  That would suck.
1. Boise State Broncos
2. Oregon Ducks
3. Oklahoma Sooners
4. Texas Christian University Horned Frogs
5. Auburn Tigers
6. Missouri Tigers
7. Oklahoma State Cowboys
8. Alabama Crimson Tide
9. Michigan State Spartans
10. Louisiana State Tigers
11. Utah Utes
12. Florida State Seminoles
13. Wisconsin Badgers
14. Stanford Cardinal
15. West Virginia Mountaineers
16. Ohio State Buckeyes
17. Iowa Hawkeyes
18. Arizona Wildcats
19. Nebraska Cornhuskers
20. Nevada Wolf Pack
21. Arkansas Razorbacks
22. Northwestern Wildcats
23. Miami (FL) Hurricanes
24. Baylor Bears
25. Virginia Tech Hokies
5. A few words in defense of the above 25:
Virginia Tech looks high (no, not like Tim Lincecum looks high), but there is almost no way, as far as I can see, that they don’t run the tables and win the ACC.  They are the best team in that conference.  That conference sucks, but that still has to be worth something. 
Boise State is the best team in the nation without a loss.  That isn’t a homer pick.  It is a fact.
Ohio State and Nebraska dropped a lot based on one loss, but I just don’t think that they are two of the best 3 or 4 one loss teams in the nation.  They don’t need to be around the top 10 just because they were before they went down.
I use the standings more than the AP, BCS, or any of the other polls.  Why?  Because that is literally the only accurate rating of how good teams are.  Sure, you can look at quality wins, who they lost to etcetera, and that is all well and good.  As I said above, though, the point where the other polls get arbitrary is when they base themselves off of the polls from the weeks before.  These rankings were based upon, essentially, guesswork, and should be ignored as much as possible now that we are actually learning about these teams. 
6. Can we just make a nationwide announcement that Brett Favre sent pictures of his uh…genitals, let’s say, to that chick that used to wear the cowboy hat at Florida State games?  I know this, and most of my friends know this, but it seems like there is still a significant portion of society that doesn’t realize this, and it is making my life awkward.  You see, I, like anyone who knows the story, thinks that it a, makes Favre a douche, and b, is freaking high-larious.  Unfortunately, there are some people who still seem to be unaware that Favre is a giant prick, which is annoying.  More importantly, I need people to understand the references I make to the story.  Firstly, because they are hilarious, like I said, and the story is hilarious, but there are plenty of references that I make that people don’t get, but that aren’t nearly as large as a problem.  The problem here is the nature of the jokes.  If I make a Slapshot reference in front of a bunch of sorority girls (note- this happens a lot, actually), they have no idea what the hell I am talking about and get a little bit confused, I briefly hate the female gender for not appreciating hockey related humor, and it might even be awkward for a second, but the whole thing is forgotten within a couple of minutes.  It is more of a problem for me, though, when a reference is missed, if my buddy says that we should talk trash to our mutual friend who is a Vikings fan before the Cowboys-Vikings game, and I respond by yelling across our house that we should just text him pictures of our dicks.  Out of proper context, that one needs some explaining.  So please, let’s all just get on board with this situation.
7. God the SEC is effing sweet.  I mean they BRING IT.  Constantly.  Every single week, it seems like there are at least one, usually 2 or 3 games that should only be missed if you actually have something to take care of, and something that can’t wait.  Two weeks ago, it was LSU-Florida and South Carolina-Alabama.  Last week they threw down with Auburn and Arkansas.  Next week?  LSU-Auburn.  Two undefeateds.  God, we should all just pack up and move to the deep south.  Except that it is like 94 with 96% humidity every day, and it rains all winter.  And there is little to no hockey.  But the SEC is awesome.
8. (Wrote this last week, didn’t post in time):
It is hardly a rare occurrence for columns that I promise not to appear, and usually this isn’t cause for concern, since when it comes to putting aside hours to write stuff that I get zero money and very little recognition for, I am extraordinarily flakey and inconsistent.  This week, though, if you don’t see anything here, call 9-1-1.  Immediately.  That is because I am going to the Boise State-San Jose State game at Spartan Stadium on Saturday evening.  I will be wearing my Jared Zabransky (actually, now my Jason Robinson) jersey, and I will be acting as if I am in Bronco Stadium in Boise, which is to say cheering for Boise State.  This would be all well and good, except that San Jose State may well be the worst accredited four year university in the United States (or anywhere else, for that matter).  This creates two problems.  First of all, this is a school that will let more or less anyone in, something that makes itself abundantly clear at Santa Clara University on a week to week basis, when police are looking for ‘San Jose State kids’ that may be causing trouble, or when they are responsible for break ins, fights and thefts.  This actually happens, and I am going to them.  The second problem is that at some point, I will almost inevitably feel compelled to point this out.  The combination of this revelation and the fact that I will be celebrating their team getting their ass kicked is sure to incite the rage of these thugs.  So please, do me a favor, and be very concerned if the activity on this blog ceases in the coming days.  (Note- I would be concerned that someone at San Jose State would read this and be offended, but most San Jose State kids can’t read.  /Crap, it’s already starting..I’m screwed.)
Update:
That was last week.  The good news? I’m still here.  Other good news?  Boise took care of their business.  And by took care of their business, I mean that they scored touchdowns on 6 of their 7 first half possessions (that is including a pick 6 as a possession, but whatever). 
Unfortunately, it turns out that San Jose State really doesn’t give a crap about football, and the stadium was at least 60% orange and blue.  It was general admission and we sat near a bunch of the players families, and with other Boise State fans, which was easy, since the entire stadium was Boise State fans save the season tickets (not general admission) and the student section.  Anyways, so much for my dreams of getting in a fight and getting shanked by a dude who had taken his 1.9 high school GPA to San Jose State because I got a little too excited about a Doug Martin run or something.  Oh well. Anyways, I have two quick thoughts/comments about the game on Saturday.
1- San Jose State was..surprise…completely incompetent when It comes to everything, although in this case it was basic foodservice.  My brother, who bought the tickets, paid $5 extra to have a hot dog, popcorn and a drink included in the ticket.  Great,  Good deal.  The problem, though was that when we went to the one place where this could be redeemed, which was the one place in the stadium that was selling food at halftime, there was a huge line.  Fine.  That’s to be expected.  What wasn’t to be expected, though, was that when half time was over, we were in pretty much the same place.  We ended up missing pretty much the entire third quarter, waiting in line for crappy stadium popcorn and a crappy hot dog.  It wasn’t even like there were thousands of people waiting, either.  There might have been 30 people, at the most, that were in front of us in line.  Big surprise, that SJ State managed to screw something up, but I’m still bitter I missed almost a quarter of the game.
2- The best part of the game, and probably the most telling moment, actually happened before the opening kickoff.  At Spartan Stadium, both teams come out of a ramp at the northeast corner of the field.  As most teams do, San Jose State had lined up their band and cheerleaders for the team to take the field through, in a line across the field from the tunnel, to their sideline, which was on the west side.  They had left an opening for Boise, coming down the same ramp first, to go to their sideline on the east side, and so when the Broncos came down to the end of the ramp, they were walking as if they were going to head to their own sideline.  All of a sudden, though, as they were about to go through the opening, the player leading them onto the field (unfortunately, I didn’t catch the number), veered to the right, raised the hammer that leads the Broncos out every week, and led the blue (well, the white, I guess) sprinting through the surprised looking San Jose State pep squad (I’m told they also took out a cheerleader, although I missed it if that is true). 
The message was clear: we are here right now, therefore this is our field.  Unfortunately, this inspired San Jose State, and made them pissed off, having been disrespected on their own field.  They came out with a fire after that, although it turned out that Boise State was much better at football, rendering that fire useless, and the Broncos were up 7 just two and a half minutes in, despite having kicked off to start the game.
9. This is the map for the broadcast of the Cowboys and Vikings game, and it makes me want to commit a homicide.  As it pertains to football, I hate the bay area.  ALEX SMITH! BRUCE GRADKOWSKI!  KILL ME NOW!
That game was absolutely unwatchable.  Granted, it may not have been all that much more enjoyable to watch the Cowboys piss away their season to Cocky McPicturepants, but at least that would have had the basic qualities that you have come to expect from a football game.  I’m pretty sure that there was a 10 year old calling plays for the 49ers on an Xbox.  And the 10 year old was a soccer player.  If I wasn’t so busy throwing up at the fact that I see as many Giants hats every day this month as I did in the first two plus years that I lived in California (from the d-bags who called me a bandwagon jumper, along with every other Red Sox fan, when I went to a game-NOT SOLD OUT AND HALF SOX FANS BY THE WAY, in June…while we’re here, this makes me hates humanity), I would feel sorry for the people who have to watch this every weekend.  I think if I were a 49er fan, I would have to watch a movie or a hockey game or something every weekend and check the games on Yahoo or ESPN.com or NFL.com or something.  That shit was putrid
10. I would like the following people to do me a favor, and die slow painful deaths, please:  Brad Edwards, the Oregon State football team, the entirety of the Harris poll voting demographic, Brad Edwards, James Madison University, the people at Intel, Apple, or whatever company built the BCS computers, Brad Edwards, the editor and chief of USA Today (even though he has little to nothing to do with their rankings…his name is on them), the ESPN news wire, Brad Edwards and Brad Edwards. 
The reason, in case you haven’t figured it out, is that the BCS rankings came out this week, and a promise that was made to me personally (that’s how I took this anyways), was broken.  Obviously, the worst think that happened was that Boise fell behind Oklahoma and Oregon in the BCS rankings so why, you may ask yourself, does Brad Edwards take most of the hate in the above paragraph.  The fact is, I have no problem with Brad Edwards.  I like his work.  I appreciate what he does.  But last week, he told me Boise was going to be number 1 when the BCS came out.  I, in turn, told anyone that would listen that Boise was going to be number 1 when the rankings came out.  Then Oregon State lost. And Texas beat Nebraska.  And the Harris poll continued to suck.  And Boise was number three.  You made a liar out of me, Edwards.  Damn you.
GAMBLING!
It is getting a bit harder by this point in the season.  It is easier to be ahead of the game earlier in the year, when Vegas and alike are still trying to figure out the league, but these guys are professionals, and by this point in the season, they have started to figure their stuff out, and lines are starting to get tougher.  Still, here are 10 which I think the better of which can be had.
1. Steelers (-3) over Dolphins
Assuming James Harrison doesn’t quit because he can’t hurt people anymore.  (Actually, even if he does.  Are the Dolphins even good?  Aren’t the Steelers pretty much looking like a juggernaut?)
2.  Baltimore + Buffalo Under 40
I wanted to make this pick Eagles over Titans, on basic ‘holy crap, I get +140 against Kerry Collins’ instinct, but that was overridden on, ‘wait, I’m picking Kevin Kolb to win strait up on the road’ instinct.  Instead, I will take the Ravens not to put up more than 30 against Buffalo, because there is no way that Ryan Fitzpatrick is throwing up more than 10 in Maryland.
3. New England (+125) over San Diego
Here is the Chargers dirty little secret: They just aren’t that good.  That, a positive money line, and the fact that Norv Turner appears to be actively trying to lose his job, make me want to absolutely crush the Pats on the money line.
4. Packers (-2.5) over Vikings
The Packers desperately need a bounce back after a couple of flat showings lately.  2.5 is essentially a pick em, and I think that Green Bay comes out strong.  If I were betting this game (you know, theoretically), I would even try to get that spread up to 5 or 6 and try to get a +125/+130 out of it.  I that the Packers roll here.
5. Panthers (+125) over 49ers
Dear lord I’m picking the Panthers to win…oh well.  The niners are a mess.
6. Penn St. (-9.5) over Minn.
Bad team + new coach = blowout
7. Wisconsin (+190) over Iowa
Almost 2/1 for Wisconsin?  Is this a joke?  Yes and please.  Am I supposed to be impressed by the win over Penn State (now unranked), or the one over Michigan without Denard Robinson.
8. Air Force (+18) over TCU
Air Force is the best rushing team in the nation, statistically.  TCU has put up some numbers a couple of times (although against Baylor was the only really impressive one), but their strength is still their defense.  It is a little bit scary, since the Horned Frogs are 5-2 minus 18 points, but the ground game for Air Force should be good enough to control the clock enough to keep this one close and to slow the game down, making 18 feel like 35.
9. LSU (+5.5) over Auburn
Time to pick the big boy games.  Auburn is undefeated, but they have had their hands full with the likes of unranked Clemson, Mississippi State and Kentucky.  All of those games were decided by a field goal.  This seems like a 3-4 point game, and I think LSU pulls out the cover and the game, before getting wiped out by Alabama in their next game.
10. Missouri (+125) over Oklahoma
You want a stat of the week?  Here is your stat of the week.  207-65. That is the points for to points against for the Missouri Tigers, who might just be the most dominant team in football so far this year, something that is obscured by the fact that you can’t name one player on their team.  The one smudge on that is a 3 point win, squeaked out against San Diego State, which pales in comparison to Oklahoma’s handling of Florida State, and Texas, both solid teams.  Still, I’m not overly impressed with the Horns, so in what is essentially a tossup, I’ll take the odds, and go out on a limb with the Tigers.

Class/work isn’t over yet, so screw it, let’s keep going.
Drew Magary Link of The Week
  
I read this junior year of high school.  It changed my life.  Four years later, I realized that the man who had written it, Mr. Magary, was now my favorite writer, who I had only began to read religiously this summer.  Life is funny sometimes (I will now kill myself for saying that, but I cant think of a better way…).  Now, an excerpt:
(please skip if you have..uh, delicate sensibilities)
“(as Rex Grossman) What’s that? I should throw a quick slant? Fuck that. That’s gay. Button hook? Gay. Flare out? Gay. Screen pass? Kevin Spacey gay. This is fucking football. You can’t just expect wins to come to you. You can’t massage that shit. You gotta grab that game by the throat and rape the ever-loving shit out of it. You think a 5-yard out is gonna win you a game? You’re a pussy. This ain’t John Shoop running this offense. Sexy Rexy’s got the arm. The dragon. You gotta unleash the dragon.”
Nice.
It’s today’s mailbag!  Creative!  Let’s give the man credit for not writing a freaking NBA column to go along with his NFL picks, though.  What the hell was that? 
Half Assed Professor Quote of the Week
I go to a college that is, frankly, seems at times to be more concerned with its gardening than its professors (disclaimer- our gardening if unfreakingmatched).  It is a good school, because it is able to attract smart people, and I have had some professors that are as good as I can imagine that I would find at any school on the east coast, but I have also had some that are…less than impressive.  I can’t complain, since it is like 83 degrees every day and the average girl is like an 8, but it gets annoying.  The best way to deal with it: make fun of it.
“The great depression was tough, and it took its toll on all aspects of society, but especially the musicians.”
That’s right, professor who shall remain nameless because I actually think you are generally pretty good.  Especially the musicians.  Sure, people lost millions of dollars.  Their homes were taken away.  The banking system was blown up overnight and public finance was forever changed, but GOD DAMMIT RAGTIME WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN!  Forget the bankers who are ruined, or the portfolios that were blown up, think of the string bass players!  Homeless failed musicians are going to be even more homelessier!

The NHL’s Most Intriguing Teams- Part 2 of 10; The Tampa Bay Lightning

Hey remember that NHL preview I was going to do?  Yeah, about that…the season starts in 4 days and I have done one of the promised 10 teams.  Let’s just copy and paste an intro in here and get right to it.  Time is short.
September is barely upon us, but it is never too early to start looking towards the NHL season. For the preview this year, a single column would feel incomplete, and to go through all 30 teams could get a bit tedious (Today, the New York Islanders. They sucked last year. They are going to suck again. Tomorrow the Carolina Hurricanes). Instead, let’s narrow it down. For the 2010 NHL preview, we will take a look at 10 teams that could be interesting in the coming season, working in reverse order of how they did last year.
That should do.
Intriguing Teams of 2010
9. The Tampa Bay Lightning

With Steven Stamkos haven taken the forefront from fellow top overall selection Vinnie Lecavalier in Tampa, can the Lightning compete in 2010-2011?

The hater in me wants to tear this team apart.  They don’t have much in the way of a D core.  Mats Ohlund is like 35 years old and wasn’t exactly a superstar in his prime. Viktor Hedman looks more like the Niklas Lidstrom of getting his freaking head taken off than the actual next Nick Lidstrom that he was billed as coming into their league.  You can’t even tell me who their third most notable defenseman is (it is Pavel Kubina, but that is boring.  I mean really boring.  Kubina isn’t a bad player, shit…I would take him in San Jose in a second, but I defy you to say one interesting thing about him.  Also they have no one else). 
At forward, they are top heavy, and that is probably putting it lightly.  They have about two, maybe two and a half lines that could play on more than 15 teams in the NHL.  The problem is, that as many problems as there are with actually thinking that this team could contend, and there are a ton, you can’t help but look at them and think…
I mean that top six…
It is good…
Really good.
Here it is, in case you don’t know:
Stamkos
St. Louis
Lecavalier
Downie
Gagne
Malone
There are not 5 teams in the league that wouldn’t trade their top six forwards for that.  Not a chance.  So can they carry the Bolts to the playoffs?
The simple answer is actually, very, disappointingly simple.  Probably not.  They just don’t have the depth.  But they will still be an interesting team to watch. 
Lecavalier and Stankos are the two guys that I will be looking out for this season. The reasons on Stamkos are simple and predictable.  He is clearly a budding superstar, who could go either way .  Last year, he stepped up big time in his sophomore year, and going into year three of his NHL career, the question becomes whether 2009-2010 was Stamkos’s ceiling, or if he will be the elite scorer in the league in the coming years.
Lecavalier is at a different crossroads.  Just a few years removed from being one of the top players in the game, and still within his prime window at 30, Lecavalier will have to show that he is still an elite player.  The skill set is still there, but the production has slipped the past couple of years.  I, for one, see Lecavalier bouncing back to elite status, and he will need to for this Lightning team to contend in 2010-2011.
Even with huge years from their three franchise players (the two above and St. Louis), even the playoffs seem like a stretch.  There just isn’t that much there beyond the marquee names, and eventually that will show.  You never know, though, if a super talented top end can be enough for the Lightning to surprise people this year.

Nit Picks II

Everyone seems to have their little football preview pointless pot-pouris that runs before each week, and since I have a blogger account and a job where I have to sit at a desk and do next to nothing, I figured I would get in on the action.  For no reason whatsoever, here are 10 mini-rants about football, followed by 10 bets for the upcoming weekend.  I will offer little or no evidence, do my best not to look anything up, and definitely won’t respond if you attempt to refute anything I say.  Because my word is gospel.  And I’m a busy guy.  Wait, no, I work less than 20 hours a week, and don’t even have class 4 days a week.  I’m not busy.  What is that other thing…the one that I am…lazy.  That’s it.  I’m lazy.  Deal with it. 
(As for the bets, if you haven’t heard, and don’t like it, gambling is legal now.  It can be done, in a way that isn’t punishable, criminally or otherwise, through sites that are registered with the national government.  Sure, it is the national government of Costa Rica, but let’s not get hung up on semantics.  Because gambling is awesome.  I’m watching a football game.  I shouldn’t care.  But I have money on it.  Now I care.  Gambling is like a ‘make-me-give-a-s*** pill.  Which is awesome.  Unless I lose, then gambling sucks.)
1. Wade Phillips and crew came up with the big win that they needed against Houston.  Thank god.  I wasn’t ready to quit on the Cowboys season yet.  I had to quit on the Red Sox in mid July (even with the late season run, it was apparent that they didn’t have it a while ago).  I can’t be an agnostic for most of the MLB and NFL season.  Having said that, I still want his ass canned.  Now.  Seriously.  When Lance Armstrong is advocating that someone give Jerry Jones another coach’s number (Bill Cowher, he really did this…gotta love twitter), you know you suck.  If you need more evidence for this (or anything else related to the Jets, Bengals, Cowboys or Cheifs, really), go back and watch Hard Knocks.  Phillips seems like a good guy, and one who knows about football, but the dude couldn’t inspire Lawrence Taylor to do a line off of an underaged girl (what, that isn’t the first thing that comes to your mind when you need an uninspiring football analogy?).  It shows on the field too.  Even against the Texans, the Cowboys have looked flat for most of the year.  The season lives on, but I’m still mad.
2. Would anyone in their right mind say that if you took the best teams in the Big East and the ACC, put them into one conference, then put that conference next to the best teams from the WAC, MWC, and C-USA, the big conferences would be better?  Yes.  Some people would.  But they would be big conference fanboys like Mark May and Lee Corso. Just for fun, let’s do it with 10 team conferences
BigCC
Virginia Tech – Lost to a WAC team and a 1-AA
NC State – The only remaining undefeated, but no one is sure that hey are any good
Syracuse- Don’t have a quarterback that was better than a dude who played 4 years of D-1 basketball last year
West Virginia- One trick pony (Noel Devine)
South Florida- Somehow a major conference school
Rutgers- I literally cannot think of one thing to say, positive or negative, about this team
Florida State- Their coach’s name is Jimbo.
Miami- Miami Northwestern three years later, unfortunately they are now playing much more selective teams
Maryland- They must protect this house
Boston College- (I guess…)
C-WMC
Houston- One loss to UCLA, who destroyed Texas
Southern Miss- Only loss was to the SEC, quality V over Kansas
Boise State- Self Explanatory
Nevada- Took it to Cal.  Hard.
Fresno State- Actually, kind of uninspiring, but no worse than Maryland or BC or USF
San Diego State- Ditto
Utah – A quiet 4-0.
TCU- Also self explanatory
ECU- Had the most dramatic win of the year, but not necessarily that inspiring
Air Force- One loss, and it was by 3 to Oklahoma, in a game they should have won.  Third in the nation on the ground.  An underrated team.
Two disclaimers:  1. I’m not saying that the C-WMC conference is so spectacular, and 2. I’m not saying that they are clearly head and shoulders better.  But it is close.  The point is simple.  North of Georgia, eastern college football is BRUTAL this year.  Already, only NC State is undefeated in the ACC, and they are going to be a dog this weekend to a team that lost to a 1-AA and a WAC team (Boise State, but still).  No one is saying that the WAC can be considered to be even close to the same playing field as the Big-12 or the SEC, but the mid-majors, for this year, anyways, may well be just as good as the weaker big ones.  And this is in a year when a perennial mid major contender, BYU, is brutal.
(Also, count undefeated on the last 2 lists- it is 4-0, for what it’s worth)
Ten football rants every week is, frankly, too many, and frankly, a pain in the ass to come up with, so I am going to start mixing in some other stuff here that isn’t football related in order to get to that magical ten spot.  If you are wondering why, read the intro again. 
3. Reason America Kicks Ass of the Week
The Blue Effing Angels.
When you sign up to be a fighter pilot, there is obviously a minimum level of aptitude that you need to engage in combat.  The Air Force trains a bunch of people to become really good at kicking ass with million dollar jets, then sends them to places like Iraq and Libya and Finland (the less publicized operation night moose) to take out high security fortresses filled with bond-villain like bad guys planning nuclear strikes, and then to have 4 on 4 dogfights (insert Vick joke here) over the Indian ocean on the way home.  This is warfare as I understand it anyways. 
Obviously, it takes a high level of skill and training to get to the point where you can take place in such a mission, and not just anyone can get behind the wings of an F-15 fighter jet.  You have to be really effin’ good at blowing stuff up and then flying away in order to fight in combat, and America has a lot of guys like that.  And that kicks ass, but that isn’t the reason that America kicks ass. 
If you are a standard, run of the mill country (let’s say Argentina), and you had someone who was super good at flying combat planes, and they wanted to serve their country, you would be like ‘sick, sign em up’ (if you were kind of a bro, but also in charge of the Argentinean military…just go with it).  Not America.  We put our good and very good pilots in positions to take out bad guys, preserve freedom, make the world a better place and just generally eradicate people we don’t like.  Our great fighters, though?  Do we put them into battle?  Make their planes super stealth and use them for our missions?
Of course not.  We paint their planes bright freaking blue and have them fly over places like Wichita, Kansas and Twin Falls, Idaho doing tricks and not really fighting anyone.  That’s right, al Qaeda.  Those dudes taking you out and generally running your show?  That’s our B team.  We are the Miami Heat,  except that we are scheduled for a road game against the Hornets, and we kept LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh in Miami to put on an And-1 mixtape.  And we sent Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and Eddie House to New Orleans And we won by 20. (Ironically, we also sent America’s version of Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and Eddie House to New Orleans after Katrina, but that is neither here nor there). 
You want to know how freaking badass America is.  That badass.  We are exactly that badass.
4. Music Rant of the Week
I need to bring something to the attention of as many people as possible, and a column full of rants is, frankly, the perfect place to do so.  The song Dynamite by Taio Cruz SUCKS.  I’m not saying that it is played out, that I don’t care for it, that it is a little bit annoying or that it is overproduced or any of the other things that you typically mean when you say a song sucks.  I mean it is freaking horrible.  It is completely devoid of any merit.  If a three year old could operate a synthesizer and had developed language skills, they could have made that song.  But only if the three year old had no musical talent whatsoever.
Every time that god-awful song comes on, I feel compelled to point out that it sucks.  I mean every time, and usually to people who have heard me point out that it sucks multiple times.  That doesn’t sound that bad, except that I hang out mostly with drunken college kids, and drunken college kids are basically functioning retards, which means that they have terrible taste in music, and as a result, I hear that song a lot, like 9 or 10 times a week, because like I said, college kids (at least ones at Santa Clara) have putrid taste in music, and that song is on twice at every single GD party.  As a result, I point out that Dynamite sucks a lot, but that’s ok.  It has become something of a mission to let as many people as possible know how bad it is. 
While we’re here, pop in general has been terrible for the past year or so.  There have been a few songs that have been legitimately good (like Slave by Silver Medallion or Got Your Back by T.I.), a few more that have been okay (Club Can’t Handle Me by FloRida or Airplanes by B.o.B), but they were buried by an avalanche of vapid bullcrap, and as a result, of the songs above, only Airplanes got significant time towards the top of the charts.  Instead, we had savants like Katy Perry, Taio Cruz, Will.I.Am (YOU DON’T HAVE ONE REDEEMABLE SONG, LET ALONE A GOOD ONE, AND YOU HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR LIKE 5 YEARS!  GO AWAY.  SERIOUSLY.  NOW!  GO!), or Far East Experiment (the musical terrorists responsible for the song G6, which like Dynamite, manages not to be about anything, not to have a melody, or even a catchy beat, and to be sung by someone with little or no talent, all at the same time). 
Maybe you think these songs are catchy.  Fine.  You are forfeiting your right to ever say that you have discerning taste ever again, but personal preference is personal preference.  Whatever.  Lyrically, though, these songs are indefensible.  I’ll prove it. 
Show love
even though them chicks be hating on us
still I’m gonna keep her by my side
In whatever situation we gon ride
make all my fantasies come alive
that’s no lie now
I’ll be alright as long as your gon be beside me
10 million dollar mansions won’t suffice
if you aint gon be in there with me at night
the pieces to my puzzle’s in my life
with all of my good days and all of my bad
you stood by your man and you know you got my back
worth every car every bag with me they wanna be that
I know what I got at home
I aint never gon leave that
them b-tches best believe that
That is Got Your Back by T.I.  I’m not saying that we should make him the national poet or anything, but it isn’t bad.  It is intelligible, it has an actual cadence, a narrative of sorts, and even if the song is materialistic, it is sweet.  If you were to recite it to someone, it would probably come off as sweet.  It holds up as a verse, in the traditional sense, not just as a mindless track over a beat.  Now consider the following:
Poppin bottles in the ice, like a blizzard
When we drink we do it right gettin slizzard
Sippin sizzurp in my ride, like Three 6
Now I’m feelin so fly like a G6
Like a G6, Like a G6
Now I’m feelin so fly like a G6
That means…nothing.  It is gibberish.  If you said that to someone, well, actually, chances are they would recognize the song, because it is so damn overplayed, but if they didn’t, they would look at you like you had three heads.  And they would be right to.  They are worthless.  Let’s try that one more time.
Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now (wish right now, wish right now)
Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now (wish right now, wish right now)
I could use a dream or a genie or a wish
To go back to a place much simpler than this
Cause after all the partyin’ and smashin’ and crashin’
And all the glitz and the glam and the fashion
And all the pandemonium and all the madness
There comes a time where you fade to the blackness
And when you’re staring at that phone in your lap
And you hoping but them people never call you back
But that’s just how the story unfolds
You get another hand soon after you fold
And when your plans unravel
And they sayin’ what would you wish for
If you had one chance
That one is pretty recognizable, as Airplanes by B.o.B.  Once again, I’m not trying to crown him, because Dylan it isn’t, but it is a comparable, contemporary song to the crap that I wish to destroy.  Again, it means something, has a narrative that you can follow, and is even a little bit interesting/inspiring (admittedly a stretch, but not absurd).  Can you say that for this? 
I throw my hands up in the air sometimes
Saying ay-oh, gotta let go.
I wanna celebrate and live my life
Saying ay-oh, baby let’s go.
Cause we gon rock this club
We gon’ go all night
We gon’ light it up
Like it’s dynamite.
Cause I told you once
Now I told you twice
We gon light it up
Like it’s dynamite
That is a juvenile rhyme scheme, with a hook that literally doesn’t make any sense.  I am getting angry just reading them.  It isn’t even the worst offender.  That is this:
Baby let me love you downnn
There’s so many ways to love ya
Baby I can break you downnn
There’s so many ways to love ya
Got me like, ooh myy gosh I’m soo in love
I found you finallyy, you make me want to say
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh,
Ohh myy gosh
THAT IS 45 SECONDS OF “MUSIC.”  MY HEAD IS ABOUT TO EXPLODE.
Anyways, I really hope that Taio Cruz, Usher, Will.I.Am, and all the other people responsible for these monstrosities are riding in a G6 with Dynamite strapped to the wings, and if that happens, I will write a simple, unintelligible song that will go to the top of the charts called ‘Die a Slow Painful Death After Crashing into a Mountain and No One Will be Sad Because You Were Making the World Dumber,’ just so that I can make this whole sentence with song titles.
5. Last week, I successfully called Garrett Gilbert (who I keep referring to as mellow alt-country singer Brantley Gilbert in my head) not being as good as Colt McCoy.  I’m awesome.  This week, I’m looking at you, John Brantley (who I keep referring to in my head as….oh, this all makes sense now).  Tebow, you are not.  Not that anyone thought you were.  Don’t bother picking up a bible and getting a military haircut, either.  It won’t help you avoid getting your s*** absolutely ROCKED against Bama this week.
6. The Oregon-Stanford game is going to be an absolute beauty.  I really don’t know what to make of either team right now.  Stanford has proven that it would have been stupid to give Toby Gerhardt the Heisman, but that is about it.  Oregon, on the other hand, is doing this with a quarterback whose name I would have to look up, and a year after they were supposed to have been a national contender. 
7. Would someone please, for the love of God, beat USC?  Look, I’m a little bitter, I admit that.  But this has nothing to do with my bitterness.  It has nothing to do even with the fact that I have rooted against USC for most of the night.  The fact is, that I just can’t take the story line that you can see coming from a mile away.  USC is undefeated.  The title race is bungled.  IS IT RIGHT TO KEEP THEM OUT?  DISCUSS!  God kill me now.  I really just want that program to go away for a few years.  Pete Carroll seemed a little too happy with himself.  Lane Kiffin is clearly a huge douche.  That was the great thing about the sanctions.  They could just leave us alone for a bit, and then by the time they were back in the picture, we would have forgotten how insufferable they were.  But no.  Here they are at 4-0, and (somehow) a number 18 ranking,  Sure the Pac-10 is as strong as it has been in years, and they haven’t really proved much with the teams they have beaten, but this needs to end now.  I’m not doing it.  I’m just not.
8.  Overall, I have a pretty good relationship with food.  I know a fair amount about it, and its nutritional value, and what that means.  I’m not making any appearances on Top Chef, but I’m a decent cook, certainly better than your typical frat guy.  My real strong suit though is eating it.  God, I crush eating it.  I am sick at eating.  Like the Alex Ovechkin of eating.  I’ll throw down 4000 calories a day and not think twice.  After I finish a meal, my number one feeling is usually describable as ‘still hungry.’  I gain weight every time I go shopping, because there is food around.  If I ever quit working out, I’ll hit 300 pounds in like 3 months.  There is one area that food and I don’t get along, though. 
I am the world’s worst grocery shopper.  I mean I am freaking terrible.  I take forever.  I will check every aisle, pass all the stuff I need so that I end up finishing and then just having to go back through the same aisles to get all the stuff I missed.  I go to the same Safeway every time, and yet I can never remember where anything is.  I stare at a shelf for 5 minutes before deciding that it is too expensive and not getting anything.  That’s because everything seems too expensive.  I will have spent $8 on a couple of powerbars and a drink that I crushed before I got home from 7 Eleven the same day, BUT I WILL BE GODDAMNED IF I AM PAYING $3.50 FOR A LOAF OF BREAD that would have lasted me the better part of a week.  Then when I check out, I am always completely off.  I will think I stocked up, and it will be under $60, forcing me to come back less than a week later.  I will try to keep it light and drop $100.  I am an economics major.  The whole thing is a debacle, embarrassing even.  By the time I get back to my car, I feel like I should just take up the Jared diet and eat at Subway every day. 
Watching the 49ers offense is like watching me go grocery shopping.  This team looks freaking lost out there.  I don’t know if it we need to blame Alex Smith, Mike Singletary, the recently departed “coordinator” (that title is generous), if they have line problems, or if it is a combination of all of the above.  Either way, the result is a bumbling mess that seems to have no idea how they want to move the ball.  The stats don’t completely bear this out, with 10 teams having less total yardage, but when they do get yards, it is more of a result of some of their athletes making a play than any sort of scheming.  A 3 against Seattle and a 10 against KC are way more telling than any yardage stats. 
Normally, that would be well and good.  The 49ers are well within their right to have an utter gongshow of an offense.  I’m not even a 49ers fan, so I shouldn’t even care.  The problem is, I live in the bay area, so I have to watch this garbage.  Sunday Ticket is out of the question ($70 a month…are you kidding me?), so local coverage it is.  With due respect to the university of Toledo, the Raiders are led by a guy who couldn’t distinguish himself against JaMarcus Russell.  That means that 2 of the 6 teams playing on Sunday afternoon are nearly impossible to watch.  Please, for me, Niners, figure this out. 
9. Obviously, this is coming in late, but that is going to allow me to make a comment about something that is currently happening with college football.  My DirecTV is currently being fixed, so I’m watching on my laptop.  This sounds bad, except that thanks to the magic that is ESPN3, I am watching 4 games at once.  Words cannot describe the majesty that is my screen right now.  There are 6 ranked teams playing on my 16 inch monitor.  Unbelievable.  What an age in which we live. 
Now it is hooked up to our retardedly large, 72 inch television.  I am watching four games next to each other, each of which aree on completely reasonably sized screens.  My head is spinning.
10.  Here are my thoughts on the week three NFL games:  I have none.  Now, you are probably wondering why I don’t have a single thing to say about the third weekend of the season.  I have already made it perfectly clear that my life is not exactly a flurry of activity that would preclude me from having watched the games, and yet I didn’t see a single game this past Sunday.  That is because on Saturday night, someone broke into my yard, busted up a couple of tables and a few fence posts, and tore the cable out of our DirecTV dish.  Mere hours before the Cowboys and Texans kicked off.  So I don’t really know what to say about the past week of football.  Instead, I am going to use my constitutionally guaranteed first amendment rights to berate the living s*** out of the people who did this.  (Brace yourself, this is about to make the Dynamite rant look like reasoned analysis)
You are the most worthless people in the world.  You suck.  Seriously.  I wish that you had climbed up there and fallen and broken your damn necks.  You messed up my day of football (and the rest of the week for tv) for…what..exactly?  You didn’t even take anything.  At least if you had stolen something, it would have been a justification.  You would have had something for your trouble.  You would still be a scumbag who deserves to burn in hell, but there would be a point to what you did.  You heard me right.  I would respect you more if you had robbed me.  I would hate you just as much, and I would probably be even more pissed, but I would respect you more.  You went to someone’s house and destroyed something for no reason whatsoever.  DIE.
Picks
Patriots (-1) over Dolphins
Chad Henne and Tom Brady are getting together, and we are essentially given a pick ‘em?  Yes please. 
Virginia Tech (-3.5) over NC State
Tech seems like they are at least starting to get it back after their disastrous start, and they have to be the favorite in the ACC if they do.  This will lead to the world exploding, when a BCS bowl team will have had a loss to a 1-AA school, but it is what it is.
Jets/Bills Under 37
WHERE?  WHERE I ASK YOU?  37 POINTS?  WHERE ARE 37 POINTS COMING FROM?  That is INSANE.  Is there any way that this game isn’t like 17-10?  21-14 would be an offensive explosion.  It would still be the under.  Please bet this.  While we’re here…
Jets (-6.5) over Bills
Now, I am fully aware that in a game with offenses like this one, six points is huge.  Still, the Jets are surging, with no reason (other than possibly Mark Sanchez) to think that they aren’t for real.  Buffalo, on the other hand, might be the worst team in the league.  Seriously, name seven Bills.  Ready, set, go (Lee Evans, Trent Edwards, Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson…and you’re done).
Stanford (+230) over Oregon
This is a pick ‘em.  Better than 2/1 odds is a steal. 
Alabama (-8.5) over Florida
Florida seems depleted to me.  This is their first real test, and Bama looks to be rolling, having pulled it out against Arkansas (a better team than the Gators).  Lay the points.
Houston Texans (-3) over Oakland Raiders
This Raiders team has a decent running game and defense, but if the Texans have any legitimacy, they will take care of business after they dropped one to Dallas.

Hitting the Links; 10/1/10


I haven’t done links in three weeks, having been hit pretty hard by something that I believe the scientific term for is clusterfuckshitstorm (previous word NSFW if you happen to be reading this aloud in the workplace, which you should be, although this little digression is more to call attention to the fact that I am once again swearing in my posts after almost three years of trying to keep it clean, because if you are reading out loud, which, once again, you should be, you already said clusterfuckshitstorm.  And now you said it again) of stuff that I actually get paid for.  Or graded on.  Or gives me a place to live.  Or else that I just care about more than this.  Sorry.  Anyways, since it turns out that doing homework is really, really boring, here are 10 that I enjoyed over the past (three) week(s).
Recently I was told that I was going to have the opportunity to become the next Mark Titus.  I was ecstatic, and immediately started watching extensive game tape on Mark Madson, Brian Scalabrine and Titus himself.  I practices the enthusiastic towel wave, the awkward white guy half hug, even the classic intense stare at the court with the towel around the shoulders.  Truth be told, I have warn nothing but jogging pants and a windbreaker for the past week, because I took that comment to mean that I was being transferred from the Santa Clara Hockey team to the Santa Clara basketball team to be the token overenthusiastic white guy who never plays.  Turns out they actually meant that they wanted me to do a player blog on the Santa Clara hockey website, so now I have a bunch of useless knowledge about 5 step handshakes and standing behind the starters during timeouts, and another writing obligation that I don’t get paid for.  Oh well.
Even though none of that actually happened, I am doing the blog for www.SCUhockey.com, and while the subject matter will be different, I assure you it will be just as juvenile, irrelevant and hacky as this website, so please, check it out.

2. Fire Joe Morgan Reunion

If you know me, and are my friend (the real kind, on facebook), then you probably saw this posted with the label ‘Read Deadspin today.  Do it.  Thank me later.’  Anyways, if you aren’t, or if you ignored me last week, read this now and, again, thank me later. 
This is pertinent to almost nothing, except that I just finished reading Chuck Klosterman’s Eating the Dinosaur, in which he refers to this song (or at least mentions that it has been referred to) as ‘(Cobain’s) real suicide note).  True or not, it certainly makes the song, which is good, but fairly boring, a little bit more interesting, and gives it another level.
Funny dude, died yesterday…damn.
5. This Week in the  Youthsoccerization of America (Part 1Part 2)
Here are quite possibly the two best High School football touchdowns that you will see all year.  Neither of them counted, because the people running every level of amateur sports with the exception of junior hockey and maybe summer league baseball are idiots.  And pansies.  As is clear from the title above, I blame soccer. 
The next best thing, now that FJM is gone.  It is probably the easiest place to go for good, humorous sports writing that focuses mainly on making fun of stuff. 
As I made clear last week, betting is awesome.  Naturally, I don’t need anything to make me interested in the NHL season, but this doesn’t hurt, either. 
For Sharks fans, mostly, Big Joe sat down with Greg Wyshynski this past week.  He was pretty interesting, although much of that credit goes to Wyshynski for leading him on.  Either way, a good read for Sharks fans.
I have nothing to add.  Just look at the pictures.
Unfortunately, because the aforementioned storm of non-BS related activities, I am going to have to cut it short this week.  I’m already a day late.  Column coming tomorrow morning afternoon.