Capital Punishment

The Capitals are Looking for Answers.  Boudreau Knows where to look.



The Capitals have lost 8 in a row. That’s messed up. They are way too good to have lost 8 in a row. Look at their roster, and at the teams that have beat them. What could possibly cause them to lose 8 in a row? I MUST KNOW.

With that in mind, I sat down last night to break down the battle of nation’s capitals, as the Senators played host to the Caps, and looked to send their slide to 9 games.  Here’s what went down:

Nit Picks: Way Late

The Above Image is WAY better than actually caring about real life.



1. Usually, I try to get this up by Thursday night.  That is because both the college and NFL weekend schedules, for TV reasons, will start on Thursday night, and I want to have the opportunity to include those games in the picks, and in the preview stud, just so the whole week kind of gets grouped together.  This week, though, there is no college football game and I WILL BE GODDAMED IF I AM GOING TO BE BEHOLDEN TO NFL NETWORK.  They don’t run my life.  Really, I just didn’t have time to get it up in time, but still, it sounds way better to say that it is because I run my business and NO ONE ELSE.


2. I’m mixing in a baseball note here, because I don’t feel like churning out an entire baseball column in mid-December, and IT IS MY BLOG SO I WILL DO WHAT I DAMN WELL PLEASE (sorry).  You may be wondering what I am, as a Red Sox fan, thinking about the trade-and-sign of Adrian Gonzalez for a reported (although unannounced) 7 years and $ 154 million, and then the signing Carl Crawford for 7 years and $ 142 million.  I am against it.  Sure, they are good players, but to throw around that much money was irresponsible.  How are we going to re-sign guys like Josh Bard, John Lester and Clay Buchholz when the times come now?  Those contracts will completely mess up our salary cap situation.

Wait, what’s that?  There is no salary cap in baseball?  That’s right!  THERE IS NO CAP IN BASEBALL!


Allow me, then, to revise my thoughts on these signings, now that I have this bit of information:  


WOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOO! NOT MY FUCKING MONEY!  FUCK IT, GIVE ‘EM $200 MILLION!  And to the rest of baseball, I say this: don’t hate the player, hate the game.  No cap means that if the Red Sox want to throw the GDP of a small African nation at a first baseman, they can do that, and I’ll be damned if I am going to have misgivings about it.  Enjoy you’re revenue sharing checks, Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Oakland that will go directly into your owners’ pockets (and by pockets I mean offshore bank accounts).  That should be a huge comfort while you’re watching bad baseball all summer.


God, the Red Sox are good now.  We have middle of the order quality guys at what, 7 positions?  Ortiz can take his typical 4 month spring training and it won’t even matter this year, since he should be hitting in like the 8 hole anyways.  Unbelievable.


And to those of you saying that the Red Sox are what we have always hated, I say this.  No we aren’t.  We hated losing to that.  Now we are winning 125 games with it, which I, for one, am completely okay with.


3. Like videos that confirm every single stereotype that you have ever heard about a place?  Me too.  his one does just that for Alabama. 


(Deadspin dug this gem up on Saturday, and as a dude with a functioning Blogger.com account, it is my solemn obligation to pass it along)

(Our friend here lets you know in the beginning, but if you’nt lak cussin an vulgarity, click a HELL UP OFF THIS CHANNEL, BOYS.  Just so you know.)



YEW MUFUCKERS AIN’T SUPERIOR T’US YEW FUCKIN LOWER’DN US!  I’m just sayin sumin hap’nd whin yew fuckin Tigers come up inerr.  Iunow if one a yew bastards dunin gawt swane flew, wunna you fucknuts dun brawt wunnayur damn cra—Iunow what the FUCK happin.


Iunnow what the fuck happin, indeed.


And yes, this makes me like Alabama less by exactly ZERO.  In fact, that video makes me want to transfer RIGHT FUCKING NOW. 


Also, if you don’t want to watch that video, you may as well stop reading this now.  Mainly because if you don’t find that funny, than I will never seen eye to eye with you on anything, but also because you can expect a non-stop cavalcade of me throwing in random YEW MUFUCKERS KAYUN KISS A ROWL TAD FUCKIN ASS, and alike for the next few weeks.  It probably won’t help with my upcoming exams.  Oh well.


4. Do we really need a Heisman trophy, a Maxwell Award and a Walter Camp award?  I say no.  In fact, I say ‘of course not, and if you think differently, you are dead wrong because all three awards are the exact same thing.’  At least in Hockey, where there are two MVPs, at least one is voted on by the players.  All these are voted on by writers.  Is college football trying to solve debates about the English language (the difference between ‘most outstanding’-the Heisman, ‘player of the year’- WC, and ‘best’-Maxwell)?  I’m confused.  This is fucking stupid.


5.  This is the one week of the year that I would like to invite ESPN to talk about Brett Favre as much as they want.  Is the story any less abrasive and repetitive?  Of course not.  Did anything new happen?  Not as far as I know.  Am I finally warming up to Favre?  Fuck and no.  But like I said, they can talk about him as much as they want this week.  Why is that, you may ask?


Because I FUCKING LOVE watching him get lit up.  Hold on, I’m going to watch it right now.  BAM.  Blind side…didn’t see it coming.  You thought you stepped out of the rush, didn’t you, then POP.  Decleated.  That is beautiful. 
Sure, it probably makes me a bad person that I get so much pleasure out of his pain.  Sure, pretty much all of America probably felt pretty much the same way when Tony Romo was lying on the ground, looking like one of those silhouettes that gets outlined at a murder scene, but that was totally different, because (lip quivering, tears forming) that’s my fraternity brother.  That’s my quarterback.  Like I said, this was totally different.  I love it.  One more time.


(Steps back…CRACK.  He is off his feet.  God I am enjoying this.  Way too much.  One more time.  52 just SLAMs him to the ground.  And it was a pick.  Best.  Play.  Ever.)


6. The SEC Championship game, which was last Saturday, should bring me great joy.  After all it is a one game playoff to determine the winner of the best conference in college football.  But all it did was make me sad. 


Sure, the Auburn-South Carolina matchup was well below the level of excitement brought by the back to back Alabama-Florida ‘TimTebowMightCryIfWe’reLucky-athons.’  Yeah, it sucked that the game was pretty much over after USC couldn’t JUST KNOCK THE GD BALL DOWN on the hail mary before half, and yeah, it was a bummer that Drew Magary summed it up perfectly tweeting that “Watching Auburn win that game was like watching a kickoff return TD with a FLAG graphic up for the last 80 yards.”  But none of that was what made me sad.


The thing that made me sad was that now the SEC is gone.  CBS is going to show basketball games and crap like that on Saturday Afternoons, but WHAT AM I GOING TO DO!?!?!  Watch a movie?  Study?  Actually pay attention to real life?  That sounds FUCKING TERRIBLE.  The SEC is so much better than real life.  And now it is gone.  What the fuck, it feels like it just got here.


7. Since I didn’t get this up in time for the Thursday night game, I figured that I may as well talk about the action from Thursday night.  The problem is, the game was pretty boring.  The Titans came back and made it a game, sure, but really, I was just disappointed that Manning was able to avoid continuing his people-pleasing streak of being terrible at football.  Damn him.  Also, ‘Cop Speed’ is the second best nickname in sports, just behind ‘Shatty Ice’ for Kevin Shattenkirk, which I made up.


8. Same idea as the SEC Championship game bit, but FUCK SATURDAYS WITH NO MAJOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL.  THIS IS HORSE SHIT.  I DEMAND A REFUND.  The Army-Navy game is fine, but it is mostly about the pageantry of the midshipmen and cadets in their coats and all of that stuff, with the snow and all.  Great theater, but let’s be honest, the football sucks.  And don’t try to tell me anything along the lines of ‘at least we have the Heisman presentation.’  The Heisman presentation is the tony awards with football players.  Gay.  The only thing worth watching for is when the kid (Newton this year) makes his speech, and all of the middle-aged-to-old black dudes like Earl Campbell and Marcus Allan and shit are standing behind him going ‘it’s okay.  Take your time baby.  Take your time.’  High comedy.  That’s totally what she said.


And it is a sign of the time of year.  This isn’t a one week hiatus.  It is really gone.  God, it is like a void has been opened.  Bowl week is fine, but I am actually having a personal crisis right now.  I can’t just waste time with shit like ‘friends,’ ‘family,’ ‘work,’ or ‘school,’ on Saturday.  And don’t even try to step in, NFL.  It’s just not the same.  I NEED MY COLLEGE FOOTBALL!  Now I am going to wake up every Saturday, and have nothing to do.  I mean that is the case anyways, but at least now I can not get anything done while I watch Troy play Southern Miss on Thursday night, or be worthless while I hang on every play of Rutgers and UVA on Saturdays.  That’s WAY better.


9. One more from the ‘Yeah I probably should have posted this before it even came up but I may as well talk about it since I didn’t file:


If you haven’t, you need to see the video of the Metrodome collapsing.  Holy dayaftertomorrow.  That looked like a bad special effect.  God that is going to be a nightmare to clean up.  And the logistics of moving home games are a nightmare.  Refunds, redoing seating charts…that takes months.  Well, ladies and gentlemen, your 2010-2011 University of Minnesota Vikings.  Enjoy playing games outside in a Minnesota January, Brett.  Serves you right, prick. 


(For what it’s worth, they are moving today’s game to Detroit and they say that they can have it fixed for the Vikings next home game.  The problem is, their next home game is next Monday night, not oh, say, four months from now, so yeah…I’m not buying it.)


10.  At the gym yesterday, I walked up to the bike that I usually ride to warm up, and saw that the TV in front of it was on TNT.  Usually, this would have meant that we were watching an NBA game that I wasn’t interested in, or some crappy Law and Order rerun (or whatever it is that TNT shows.  Suffice to say I wouldn’t be interested.  Then it came back from commercials, and I saw what was on.

300.

Fuck.  And.  Yes.

Dude I am so down to watch some Spartans FUCK SHIT UP right now.  This is totally conducive to the attitude that I want this workout to take on.  I am going to bench press 350 pounds.  Fuck that.  350 pound dumbbells.  I love that movie.  Gets me totally amped.  When we played San Jose State, they played the dude yelling THIS IS SPAAAAARRRRTTTAAAAAA, right before the game.  It was badass.  First and only time I have ever been jealous of anything related to San Jose State.  Watch a trailer, and then try not to be overcome with adrenaline.  I don’t think you can do it. 


Tell me you don’t want to go find some Persians and fuck shit up right now. 


Anyways, I was there for like 30 seconds before some ass comes over and changes it to a college basketball game that I could not possibly give a shit about, and that was on the other TV, maybe 20 feet away.  I wanted to lunge 30 feet through the air and drive a spear through his skull, and I’m pretty sure that it would have been considered ‘justifiable homicide.’

Anyways, 300 is badass.

LINKS

Since I’m there are no more college games to pick, I’m not going to bother trying to get 10 anymore.  To make up for it, I’ll throw in some links at the end (in addition to the Drew Magary, Bill Simmons and whatever else that I have been doing.).





Real Quick, Gambling:
Cowboys (+3) over Eagles
Pats (-3) over Bears
Giants (-3) over Vikings
Ravens (-3) over Texans
Chargers (-7) over Cheifs


(UPDATE:  Adding the ‘angry white guys’ label.  How could I not give our friend megaskeet420 up there the Angry White Guys tag.  That one’s on me.)

u20 Days and Ready to Go

The USA should be favored to repeat in the 2011 WJCs

The month of December is about waiting.  It is about counting down.  That’s because, at the end of the month, we get the most festive day of the year, one where people celebrate and appreciate the greatest gift of all, while seeing new gifts that they will enjoy for years to come for the first time. 


And Christmas.  Christmas is at the end of December too.  I’m not talking about that, though.  I’m talking about the best sporting event of the year.  The World Junior Hockey Championships.

God, just typing that gets me excited.  I really can’t wait.  That’s because, with due respect to the Olympics, Super Bowl, college football season, world cup, Tour de France and Stanley Cup Playoffs, which, among others, are events to circle on the sporting calendar, the WJCs are the event that is brining the most anticipation in 2010.  Well, for me, anyways. 

I tried to explain how much I loved World Juniors, as they’re known in the hockey world, last winter, and found it difficult.  There are tangible aspects of the tournament, which I described, and while it fails to capture the whole thing, the best I could come up with was this:

So this tournament was great, but I knew it was appointment viewing, one of my favorite events of the year, long before I knew that the United States would pull it out in dramatic fashion. What is it, then, about the World Juniors that is so appealing? There is a lot, but two things stick out.

First of all, this is the only tournament in any of the major American sports that features the best available players, representing their country, in the most important event of their season. The level of talent in the Olympic hockey tournament is staggering. The “Dream Team” in the basketball tournament is great. The problem is, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, despite what some have insinuated, would trade their gold medals in Beijing for NBA championships in an instant. Conversely, none of the players for Canada would have accepted silver had they been given CHL Memorial Cup championships instead, like the USA players wouldn’t trade their Gold’s for NCAA Frozen Four titles (or, if we’re honest, Memorial Cups).

There really is only one tournament that can say this, apart from World Juniors. The soccer World Cup is likely the defining moment of the player’s seasons, but it is neither annual, nor a major sport in America. While it is growing in popularity, soccer still just isn’t up there in terms of interest for Americans.

Add the passion of having a season defined by a tournament, like the playoffs for professionals, with the eyes of the entire NHL on these young players looking to break into the league, and the inherent rush anyone would get playing with for their country, and the result is a brand of hockey the intensity and passion of which is nearly unmatched, even in the NHL playoffs.

There is another thing that is great about the World Juniors, though. Like no other event in the world, the World Juniors give hockey fans a glimpse into the future of a league. Canada’s team was made up almost exclusively first and second rounders. Most guys on the Swedish Russian and continental teams will play in the NHL. Most of the USA team projects to be top 6 forwards. The talent level is insane. You could watch the CHL and college hockey for months, but you wouldn’t match the level of insight gained when you see when the best come together, not for nothing, to face the best.

There is a telling commercial that played during the games. It was of NHL stars, including Ovechkin, Nash, Crosby and Getzlaf, among others, raising their arms after goals. The punch line: “Raise your hand if you got your start in the World Juniors.” Truth in advertizing.


The greatness of the tournament goes beyond what I described, though.  Those are the things that I can enumerate, but in order to appreciate the tournament, you have to take my word for it, and tune in.  Last year, the crux of that column was that America had largely failed to take notice of the tournament, thus far (as evidenced by the fact that the games were on NHL Network in the US).  There is good news, though, America.  This is the year that you can check it out!

You know how everyone kind of concedes that the world cup is an awesome event, but no one really feels like getting too into it, since we know that a good tournament for the Americans would be to not get knocked out before the championship round even begins (also, as much as we build it up, the tournament is actually just a bunch of soccer games, which either end in zero-zero ties or own goals)?  The World Juniors were a little bit like that before.  USA Hockey was much more of a contender than US Soccer, but Canada had more or less owned the decade, winning five in a row.  The United States had just one win, in 2004.  This year, though, that has all changed.  Last year, the USA pulled off a huge upset, knocking off a historically good Canada team and taking gold.

Now, perhaps for the first time, the United States comes into the tournament as the favorite.  Winning last year certainly helped to that end, but that isn’t really why they get the nod over the Canadians. One of the things that is unique about the World Juniors is just how much rosters turn over from year to year.  The tournament is open to players under 20.  For teenagers, a lot of development takes place year to year, so guys in their last year of eligibility usually take up most of the roster spots.  On top of that, a lot of the guys who are good enough to play at a younger age are in the NHL by the time they are in their last year of eligibility, and don’t get released from their teams to play (Taylor Hall, the Oilers’ rookie being an example). 
This year, the USA returns 8 from their 22 man roster.  That is a ton.  The United States holds their camp during the summer, whereas Canada has a training/tryout camp right before the tournament, so it is unofficial, but the most Canada can return, by contrast, is 3 (Jared Cowan, Ryan Ellis and Calvin de Haan).  In addition to the experience that the Americans bring back, they have an incoming class of ‘92s (I feel old) that contains more high draft picks than any before.  It should lead to the most talented USA squad that we have seen (and for what it is worth, the most geographically diverse.  The team has kids from California, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Texas, Nevada, Missouri and Colorado mixed in with the traditional New York, New England, Michigan and Minnesota boys). 

Of course, that cursory explanation won’t do, so let’s take a look at the team that will wear Red White and Blue, and defend the gold on home ice in Buffalo (that advantage should be huge.  I’m sure no Canadians will make the grueling 2 hour drive from Toronto).

Returning Players

Jack Campbell is the big one here.  Perhaps the top goaltending prospect not playing pro yet, the Windsor Spitfires (OHL) backstop is going to take the reins once again for the USA.  He will likely give the USA the strongest goaltending in the tournament. 

On defense, the United States has the most turnover.  Losing guys like John Carlson (thriving this year the Washington Capitals), John Carlson (who scored the game winner in last year’s championship), and John Carlson (perhaps the strongest player in the tournament last year), in addition to Cam Fowler, Cam Fowler and Cam Fowler (equally deserving of superlatives), leaves a big hole to fill on the blueline.  The lone returner is University of Wisconsin defenseman John Ramage, who played with Carlson on the number 1 pair for most of the tournament last year. 

Up front, the United States brings two things in spades; speed, and experience.  Maple Leafs prospect (and current farmhand for the Marlies) Jerry D’Amigo is the biggest impact forward that the US brings back.  He trailed only New York Rangers rookie Derek Stepan with 12 points last year.  Chris Kreider, of Boston College  and Kyle Palmieri, who saw time in Anaheim before being demoted to the Duck’s AHL squad this season, were both top 6 guys last year, and will be impact players for the States this year.  My dad got mad at Jason Zucker for playing like it was a tryout last year (over-stickhandeling), but really the kid just has silky mitts, and he has the potential to step up this year.  Ryan Bourque and Jeremy Morin round out the group of 6 forwards returning, all of whom had substantial impacts on last year’s gold medal win.

Rookies

Andy Iles, a Salisbury product who is a frosh at Cornell got the invite as America’s second goaltender.  Coach Keith Allain elected not to take a third goaltender for this year’s team.  I don’t know much about Iles, other than that he was really, really good in prep school (started for Salisbury as a sophomore), and that I keep thinking he was a returner, because I know the name.

On defense, the US adds one AHLer and 6 college players to round out a core that won’t have a single junior hockey player on it.  Nick Leddy, left off of the team last year, highlights the incoming class, having already garnered some NHL experience this season in Chicago.  Derek Forbert also has a chance to be the number one defenseman for the USA.  A student at North Dakota, Forbert was the 15th pick in the 2010 draft, going to Los Angeles. 

Up front, the US brings in a ton of early round talent.  Emerson Etem, a Ducks draft pick and California native playing for Medicine Hat (WHL) may be the fastest player in the tournament.  Brock Nelson of the Islanders and UBD, Nick Bjugstad of Minnesota and the Panthers, and Charlie Coyle of BU and the Sharks are the first round picks from 2010 that are new to the roster. 

If none of that meant anything to you, I’m sorry.  Take my word for it, though, we are STACKED.  Last year, I wrote that “Canada was stacked. Not, ‘every player is pretty good’ stacked, more like ‘every player has a chance to be a star in the NHL’ stacked. In fact, 15 of the 22 players on the Canada roster have been taken in the first two rounds of the NHL draft, and two of the seven that haven’t will be first round picks in 2010, their first year of draft eligibility.”  They were.  This year, that is us.  If you know nothing else about the United States roster, know this: Beau Bennett (20th overall), Austin Watson (18th), Jarred Tinordi (22nd), and Kevin Hayes (24th) were all Americans that were drafted in the first round last year, who DIDN’T make the team.  AND THEY HAVEN’T EVEN MADE FINAL CUTS YET. 

GOD we are loaded.  I’m fired up, because USA HOCKEY IS DO OR DIE!

No One Worthy

So, Oregon and Auburn took care of business.  Actually, let’s be fair.  What they did was more like take care of BUSINESS.  The italics and caps are more than warranted, after both of the nation’s active undefeated teams beat down on their opponents.  So now, we have chaos.  As usual.  The BCS is charged with choosing which teams are somehow ‘more worthy’ than others to play in the big payout bowls.  There is a problem, though.  Not just that there are three teams who are undefeated, and to somehow squeeze in a playoff or even a plus one between now and the January 6th National Championship would be impossible.  Sure, it is a nice idea, but the logistics of playing two games in just 34 days would be a nightmare.  The main problem isn’t that there are too many teams that are qualified for the championship game.  It’s that there are in fact no teams that are worthy, either for the championship, or for the BCS at all.  Allow me to explain.

Of course, any team with 3 or more losses can be counted out.  That is obvious.  But it turns out none of the two, one are zero loss teams are up to the haughty standards of the BCS.  It’’s too bad, but it looks like they are just going to have to cancel them this year.  Here’s why:

Two Loss Teams:

(ACC)

Virginia Tech Hokies

They lost to a 1-AA team, for crying out loud.  They also lost to a WAC team, which, in terms of BCS implications, is actually worse.

(Big 12)

Missouri Tigers (9-2)

Be honest, for a second.  If you had to guess Missouri’s record, you would have gone in the 7-5 to 8-4 range.  Of course you would have been wrong.  Missouri, somehow, managed to pull out 9 Ws this year in the Big 12, despite the fact that you have no idea who is on their team unless you are Mel Kiper or Todd McShay, and maybe not even then.  I don’t want to watch a bunch of nobodies in the BCS.  That would suck.

Oklahoma Sooners (9-2)

Sure, they just won the Big 12 title game, which sounds impressive and all, until you consider that the Big 12 North is the NCAA big conference equivalent of the UFL.  An SEC team would go like 16-0 in the Big-12 North (they would be so dominant, wins would start counting for 2).  Besides, Oklahoma lost to Missouri, and we just proved that they don’t deserve to make it, so how could we take Oklahoma?

Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-2)

Same logic applies, with the Cowboys having fallen to the Sooners.  More importantly, though it would make T. Boone Pickens really, really happy if the program he spent approximately $4.5 Trillion on at least parlayed that into a BCS team.  For comedy sake, though, it is way funnier if the team with the most modern stadium in the nation plays in the Alamo bowl every year.  Also, Mike Gundy is 42.  He forgot to update us this year.

(The Big East doesn’t have any teams with less than three losses.  No joke is needed here.)

(Mountain West)

Utah Utes (10-2)

The Utes are from a non-BCS conference, which should automatically disqualify them.  Since it doesn’t (YET!) an ass-kicking at the hands of Notre Dame (Notre freaking Dame) got the job done. 

(SEC)

LSU Tigers (10-2)

Everyone seems to agree that Les Miles is the worst football coach in the world, this despite the fact that he has won a national championship, and LSU is a contender almost every year.  Still, who wants to see shitty coaching in the BCS?  That would be ugly.  As for the team itself, they couldn’t crack the top 100 in passing yardage.  Running football?  BOORING.

Arkansas Razorbacks (9-2)

The Razorbacks, as it happens, are actually going to the Sugar Bowl to play Ohio State.  This is, of course a travesty.  Arkansas was beaten by Alabama, who is not good enough to be in a BCS bowl, and in college football every game has to matter, otherwise the INTEGRITY OF THE BESTEST REGULAR SEASON IN THE UNIVERSE gets totally bunged up.

ONE LOSS TEAMS

(Big 10)

Wisconsin Badgers (11-1)

The Badgers beat an AQ conference team with a record around .500 by 63 points, despite giving up 20.  Now, that sounds impressive, but please remember: margin of victory DOES NOT MATTER.  That just wouldn’t make sense.  So that win counts exactly the same as Michigan’s beating Indiana by 7 does for the BCS, which it should.  Also, hanging 83 on  team is totally running up the score.  You know who runs up the score?  Assholes.  That’s who. (editors note:  a better answer would be ‘teams that  can run up the score’)  Do we want to reward assholes?  I don’t.

Ohio State Buckeyes(11-1)

LeBron James is totally boys with Terell Pryor, at least according to James’s tweets.  Everyone in Ohio seems to think that James is an asshole, and if Pryor likes him, that probably makes Pryor a douche too (guilt by association is like the 50021st lowest item on the BCS’s veracity scale).  Speaking of douches, Gordon Gee. ‘Nuff Said. 

Michigan State Spartans(11-1)

Michigan State lost to Iowa, who lost to Minnesota, who lost to South Dakota State.  A 1-AA TEAM!  Therefore, by the standards of the BCS, as I understand them, Michigan State lost to a 1-AA team.  There is no way you could let a team that lost to a 1-AA team in the BCS. 

(Pac-10)

Stanford Cardinal (11-1)

NERDS! NERDS!  FUCKING NERDS!

(The BCS is a party.  Stanford is the nerds.  Anyone who has seen a college movie- and it is college football no less- knows that nerds don’t get invited to parties.  That’s just good science.  So Andrew Luck has to play beer pong in his dorm room with water because they don’t want to drink the dirt that gets on the ball and it is way easier to hide if the RA comes by when you just have side beers- I think this is what nerds do anyways, but I wouldn’t know since I am totally in a fraternity and go to parties and am awesome like that, just like everyone with a blog-, by which I mean go to the Emerald Nuts Why the Fuck are we Playing Football in AT&T; Park Bowl)

(WAC)

Nevada Wolfpack(12-1)

I essentially said as much in the Utah blurb, but it is fucking ridiculous that I have to even acknowledge these Mickey Mouse conferences.  Mark May totally sees the light.  There is no way these second rate hacks could play with the likes of the big conferences.  Anyways, Nevada lost to Hawai’i , and they aren’t even a part of the contingent 48 United States.  Some of you may not think that is a legitimate reason to knock them as a football team, but to you I say this:  TOTALLY FUCKIN IS.

Boise State Broncos (12-1)

Boise State had their chance, but they blew it.  All they had to do was make a lousy field goal, and they didn’t do it.  Clearly they don’t want to be there very badly.  There are only 10 BCS spots.  May as well at least give them to someone who wants them.  It is just the system that Coach Pete won’t STOP SAYING HE HAS FAITH IN, somehow, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.


UNDEFEATEDS

TCU Horned Frogs (12-0)

For a third time, I will remind you that the people who play football in small conferences should be considered sub-human.  Apart from that, TCU wears purple, and their quarterback is a ginger, or a ‘daywalker’ if you want to use the scientific term (I get most of my scientific terms from South Park). 

On the field, TCU’s resume appears strong, but the fact is they only played one big boy school, and that was Oregon State.  They always lose to those shitty small schools, and therefore don’t count.  That makes TCU’s best win, if I am not mistaken, an overtime decision over a Plano East High School team with 3 kids who have made D-1 (real D-1, not pussy Mountain West shit) commitments.

Auburn Tigers (13-0)

Why shouldn’t Auburn get to play in a BCS Bowl?  You mean other than the fact that their quarterback may or may not make NFL league minimum?  I mean that seems like a pretty good reason, but okay, we can do one more.
Auburn squeaked by pretty much every team that they played.  The ‘Bama game should have been a loss.  Clemson should have been a loss.  Kentucky should have been a loss.  Mississippi State should have been a loss.  South Carolina should have been a loss.  So that makes them, what, like 8-5?  You are really going to put a 9-5 team in the BCS?  That would be ridiculous.

Oregon Ducks (12-0)

This one is the hardest to disprove, but dig this:  Phil Knight, of Nike wealth, gave the Oregon program millions of dollars this year, and each of the last few years.  Most of it, presumably, went towards facilities, but what if it didn’t?  What if they used it to pay LaMarcus James a lucrative salary?  What then?  THAT WOULD TOTALLY MAKE THEM INELIGABLE!  Just sayin’.  No smoke without fire.

As for this Oregon team, they played New Mexico, a weak Tennessee team, and Portland State out of conference.  On top of that, the Pac-10 was pretty weak this year.  So Oregon’s schedule clearly didn’t have the integrity needed to go to a BCS bowl. 
So there you go.  No one deserves the honor of playing in the extremely lucrative, but ultimately meaningless BCS bowls.  I don’t like it any more than you do, but that is just the way it is.  Cancelling the bowls entirely is the only fair thing to do.  You need to be deserving to play in a BCS bowl, and this year, no one is. 

Except for UConn.  They totally earned it.

Nit Picks: Fighting Through

Busy this week…let’s get right after it.  I am typing this before I really get going, and I’m just going to kind of roll with it, but I don’t feel any obligation to get to 10 this week, so I probably won’t.  Shorter? Yes.  Sweeter?  You be the judge.


1. This is going to come as a surprise to regular readers of this blog, but there is something that the football media has latched on to that I think is absolutely moronic. 

Shocking.  I know. 


Anyways, this week it is the whole Derek Anderson ‘smilegate’ that is insane.  For those of you lucky enough to be unfamiliar with the ‘scandal,’ essentially, Anderson was seen by the MNF cameras, laughing at something on the sideline while the Cards were getting crushed by the Niners on Monday night.  A couple of people latched on to this, and Anderson was asked about it in the post game press conference, leading to an absolutely fantastic meltdown at the podium. 


Now, first things first:  I am absolutely in favor of anything, anything, that could lead to a potential ‘PLAYOFFS!?’, ‘THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE,’ or ‘PRACTICTE?’ moment.  These things are, as far as I am concerned, the height of comedy.  THOSE COORS LIGHT ADS AND DJ STEVE PORTER CLIPS AREN’T GOING TO MAKE THEMSELVES DAMMIT.  That aspect of the whole situation, I am in full support of.  (And for the record, I don’t think less of Anderson for it.  I would have a meltdown like that every two weeks if I was in the NFL.  Reporters, I’m sure, would openly try to bate me into it, and they would be right to.  I throw a temper tantrum and go on a 5 minute monologue when my housemates get the kitchen dirty for fuck sakes, which is ridiculous, but on the other hand THERE WAS NO NEED TO LEAVE THAT BOWL IN THE SINK, MATT.  THE FUCKING DISHWASHER IS RIGHT THERE.  AND CLEAN THE GODDAMN SKILLET.  WERE YOU RAISED IN A FUCKING BARN?  I DO EVERYTHING AROUND HERE.  THIS IS INSANE.  THIS HAS TO BE THE WORST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ANYONE EVER.  HAS TO BE.  NOT EVEN JOKING.)


The criticism, though, both from John Gruden during the telecast and from those in the press conference after the game is downright nonsensical.  It represents a lack of understanding of basic human psychology, oblivion towards the nature of competitive spirit, and a general shortage of anything to say or ask about that may have value. 


Obviously, playing college and high school hockey haven’t taught me absolutely everything that there is to know about being an NFL quarterback.  Still, I know what it is like to play competitive sports.  I also happen to be that guy, a little bit when it comes to competing.


There are plenty of things I could be accused of as an athlete (including but not limited to undersized, inconsistent, and white), but uninterested, or not competitive enough are not among them.  When things aren’t going my way, when the team is losing, it fucks up my day.  I can become a dick.  I get pissed.  I want to punish myself, if I think that I could have been better.  I don’t want to talk to people if it isn’t about how we can turn it around.  Nothing else matters, and it pisses me off when others don’t share my anger.  Sometimes, I take it too far.  I have throw things, punched things, and yelled at teammates (the team as a whole, I would never single a guy out).  I hate losing at anything, and when it is something that I care about, like hockey for me, or like football for Derek Anderson, it will absolutely destroy your mood.


Having said that, I can’t count the number of times that I have laughed during times like these even though I was pissed off.  Believe me it isn’t because you don’t care, or because you don’t take it seriously.  Losing and anger, not so much on the field, but definitely in the locker room and on the sidelines, creates tension.  Even if you have never played a sport in your life, you can relate to the fact that tension usually leads to tension being broken.  What breaks tension?  Funny shit.  What do you do when you see funny shit?  You laugh. 


It comes down to one thing.  These guys had nothing to say, so they decided to go with this.  I actually blame Gruden more than the guy who incited the press conference rant.  The issue had been raised by the post game, and the guy needed something to talk about.  The reason Gruden is in the booth, on the other hand, is because he was an NFL head coach, and presumably can think of something insightful to say about the game, and he doesn’t have to bang on about unrelated or in this case, untrue crap.  Of course, that is exactly what they do 99% of the time, but that doesn’t make it any more forgivable. 


Then again, John Gruden wouldn’t understand because he doesn’t have human emotions, and the dudes asking at the presser were probably jaded douches looking for anything to make a guy that they are jealous of look bad, so I guess it is kind of understandable.  Still, though, fucking stupid.

Random Stuff  OF THE WEEK

2. Drew Magary link of the Week- The Haters Guide to Taylor Swift


Magary is awesome; I am clearly on record about that, but COUNTERPOINT MOTHERFUCKER:

How could you, Drew?  How could you.  Attack America’s sweetheart like that?  Why Taylor?  Sure, you feel like you have had her shoved down your throat the last few months, or perhaps years, but think about it.  


It could be so much worse. 


It could be Katy Perry.  Or Lady Gaga.  Or Beyonce (it kind of is).  Or just about anyone else.  At least Tay-Swizz, as my teenage sister calls her (shit…that probably isn’t helping my point), has some level of musical virtuosity.  Her producers do, anyways. 


And frankly, I don’t care if that is the case, or if it is actually her.  I’m not trying to hire her as a fucking minstrel or anything.  I download her shit off of iTunes and it sounds sick.  That’s good enough.  I could give a fuck if it was made by the cute girl on the cover or by a 200 hour editing session in some studio.  I’m perfectly happy living with the illusion if need be. 


You also referred to it as ‘training bra music,’ to which I say…shit, you probably have a point there.  Let’s move on. 


Lyrically, you broke down the implausibility of the song You Belong With Me. You said that “This woman is a fucking ROCK STAR and a millionaire. She’s, like, ninety stages above the cheer captain. Cheer captains are fucking special ed students compared to her. And she never wears fucking t-shirts. She wears $10,000 Halston gowns and all kinds of other sparkly shit.”  Hat off.  That was hilarious.  I laughed out loud, no joke.  But there are a couple of problems.  The notion that the songs might (GASP!) not be based in reality is something that I just might be able to get over.  Again, I am pretty fucking happy to live with the illusion, thanks.  And how many songs actually are true stories?  1 in 100?  1 in 1000?  Fucking none?  I’m leaning towards the third option.  You mean that Kenny Rodgers didn’t actually sit next to a gambler on a train?  What CAN I believe in?


There is another problem with that.  That song SUCKS.  It may actually be one of her worst songs.  Blame the demented masses for shoving that B-side piece of shit down our throats.  Have you ever heard Love Story?  It is AWESOME.  I’m not saying that Whit Horse changed the way I thought about love, but I wouldn’t deny it if someone else suggested it.  The Way I Loved You is 5000 times better than You Belong With Me.  The first time I heard Enchanted I fucking CRIED (not really, but still).  When my buddy said that Dear John made him angry at John Mayer I laughed and called him a pussy.  Then I listened to the song.  I wanted to go to Fairfield, CT and KICK HIS FUCKING ASS (HOW COULD YOU DO THAT!? HOW COULD YOU HURT HER?  SHE WAS JUST A GIRL YOU EVIL FUCK!).  Saying that Swift sucks because you don’t like You Belong With Me is like saying the SEC sucks because you saw a Vanderbilt game and were unimpressed. 


3. TEACHER QUOTE OF THE WEEK:


‘so the ghetto blaster was a very important technological innovation.’


She really said that.  I have nothing to add.


4. BILL SIMMONS LINK OF THE WEEK

The Color Purple



I have to admit, I really enjoyed this column about Bill Simmons’s 5 year old daughter and the NBA.  Shut up.


5. REASON AMERICA KICKS ASS OF THE WEEK


We hunt on full stomachs.  ‘Nuff said.


6. On Sunday, I gave what I considered to be a pretty reasoned recap of where I stood with College Football and the Boise State Broncos.  I tried to keep the anger and bitterness that could easily have found their way into the account out of it, and I think that I was largely able to do that.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t there. 


Anyways, here is all of the hate filled, angry and mean diatribe that I really wanted to post immediately, but held off on in favor of actually writing something that didn’t prominently involve the Caps Lock button.
First of all, and most importantly, I need to get something off of my chest that has been bothering me since Friday. 


(clearing throat.)  (brace yourselves)


THE KICK WAS GOOD!  IT WAS FUCKING GOOD.  I SWEAR TO GOD.  IT WENT IN.  LOOK AT THE VIDEO.  I’LL EVEN EMBED IT.  IM WAITING, JUST WATCH.






FUCKINGDAMNITI’MGOINGTOKILLEVERYONEBECUASEITWASFUCKINGINHOWCOULDYOUPOSSIBLYMISSTHATWHATTHEFUCKWHATTHEFUCKWHATTHEFUCK! (breaks something)  There is even scientific proof!  Here! 








Sure, it actually isn’t all that scientific and relies entirely on where he decided to say it hit, knowing if that would make it good or not, BUT HE TOTALLY GOT IT RIGHT!  This isn’t play anger, like I usually spew here.  This is actual, we got screwed the fuck over, vindictive rage.  Seriously, go fuck yourself you fucking blind shit back judge who called it no good.  I have no idea what the fuck you were looking at.  Also, go fuck yourself, University of Nevada-Reno for being a cheap, second rate, Mickey Mouse BS program that can’t even afford REAL FUCKING GOALPOSTS THAT WOULD HAVE FUCKING SOLVED THIS PROBLEM (you assholes totally knew that it would come into play and seal the biggest win in your programs history).  And finally, what the fuck, college football, for not making this a reviewable play.  Even baseball can review similar plays, with home runs, and they both act like it is and would prefer that it was fucking 1884. 


That was, obviously, the most egregious mistake, but there were others.  With a couple of minutes left, I even told the room at large that I didn’t even care if we won anymore.  The game had been rendered completely meaningless, in my opinion, because the officiating had been so bad. It was, at that point, a crapshoot.  Losing was worthless.  Winning was equally meaningless.


Sure, I was just pissed off and being childish, but the refs did suck the whole game.  The most obvious example was the phantom kick catch interference call where the Nevada returner heard Doug Martin coming to LIGHT HIM THE EFF UP, realized he was an imbecile for not calling fair catch with a former linebacker turned beast running back bearing down on him, and made up for it by not catching the ball, about a half second before Martin lit him up anyways.  This was somehow ‘before or simultaneous to’ his catching of the ball, which, again, never really took place because he is a pansy. 


That changed the whole game.  It went from being Boise’s ball in Nevada territory, to being Nevada’s at midfield.  Our defense had needed the rest badly.  It was also followed by a few phantom 15 yard penalties, including two PIs, even though I’m pretty sure Nevada’s secondary actually wrestled Titus Young to the ground, duct taped his mouth and tied his hands to his feet behind his back while he tried to catch a 15 yard crossing pattern at one point with no flag.


Not that I’m bitter.


(For the record, that was me trying to control myself.  Really, I would have been happy with a long string of profanities and mean spirited jokes about how shitty Reno is and how bad a school UNRcc is.)


7. Now I’m pissed off.  This would be a good time to mention that I can’t even give a shit about the Cowboys anymore.  It was nice that they almost mounted a comeback on Thanksgiving, but I couldn’t bring myself to be mad when they fell short.  God, this has been an awesome sports year.  Sox were done by mid-July.  Cowboys were done by the start of November.  Boise State broke my GD heart.  I swear, the Sharks are probably going to miss the playoffs, and the Warriors are…just kidding I don’t give a shit about the NBA.

8.  MUSIC RANT OF THE WEEK (Now with 100% more football!)


Hey, University of Alabama,


We have a pretty good relationship.  You are fratty and preppy as hell.  I like that.  You care way too much about football.  I like that.  Nick Saban is the highest paid state employee.  I acknowledge this is kind of fucked up but HOW MANY NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS HAS GOVERNER RILEY WON?  ZERO.  THAT’S HOW MANY.  So I like that.  My sister wants to look at you.  I’m for it.  Law school in Tuscaloosa?  I could see it.


But you fucked up.  You fired the kid who played the songs taunting Cam Newton in warm-ups of the Iron Bowl.  You meant to promote him.  Promote.  Not fire.  Not sure how you crossed those two up. 


I mean come on.  It is the Iron Bowl for christsake.  It is like half a step behind full on international warfare.  I have been to Bama for Thanksgiving.  This shit divides families.  You can’t talk a little trash over the loud speakers before the game?  I, for one, think that you earned that right when you got 80,000 fucking people to come to a spring scrimmage. 


Then there are the songs themselves.  One of them was Son of a Preacher Man, by Dusty Springfield (because Newton’s father, the accused, is a minister).  That song is fucking awesome.  I’m listening to it right now.  Hear that beat?  Then he’d look into my eyes.  Lord Knows to my surprise…My head is bobbing.  Involuntarily.  Only one who could ever reach me… I am in the library.  People are staring at me.  I don’t care.  The only one, who could ever teach me… I might start singing. This is a great song.  How can you punish him for playing that? WAS THE SON OF A PREACHER MAN!




(and no, stoners, and most people under about 40, that isn’t the intro from Hits from the Bong.  Cypress Hill stole that shit.)


The other one was Take the Money and Run by Steve Miller Band (for obvious reasons)Again, a good song.  Not as good as Preacher Man (LOVE that song), but still, pretty solid.  Besides, that is FUCKING HILARIOUS. 


So, yeah, I won’t stay mad long Alabama, but you really should have promoted that guy.



The dude is the program’s leading scorer.  He won the Fiesta Bowl last year.  The team never should have been in that position. 
GAMBLING? Gambling.


I am at like 2500 words…making this short and sweet:
Philadelphia Eagles (-8) over Houston Texans
Minnesota Vikings (-5.5) over Buffalo Bills
New Orleans Saints (-6.5) over Cincinnati Bengals
Atlanta Falcons (-3) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Indianapolis Colts (-5) over Dallas Cowboys
Pittsburgh Steelers (+3) over Baltimore Ravens
USC (-6) over UCLA
Nevada (-8) over LA Tech
Boise State (-37.5) over Utah State
South Carolina (+5.5) over Auburn