Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Anti-Gym

Yes, this is an actual commercial that runs in the Denver Area. Enjoy. USA!

Vikings + Jeff George? Please, Please, Please

I say this as no particular fan of the Vikings (boo!) or Jeff George (meh). But the two of them together would be several awesome things rolled up into one more awesome thing. Like when you put chocolate chips into a crepe, dig?

You've got your reunion factor, as George had a pretty decent/OK run for the Vikings several years back. You've also got the inevitable trainwreck factor, which we all know would be coming. And then you've got Jeff George just being Jeff George, which means just leaning back and firing bombs nowhere in particular, and hoping someone runs underneath one in time (better learn to catch, Troy Williamson!).

Now clearly, there would have to be some sort of perfect storm for something like this to happen. Luckily, the Vikings braintrust seeded the clouds, and pissed off Poseidon too, when they entered the season with these QB's: Tavaris Jackson, Kelly Holcombe, and Brooks Bollinger. It's like asking for a scenario in which Jeff George makes sense. Add to that an offensive line that isn't brilliant at protecting the quarterback (yet fantastic at blocking for runs) and you have what we have now. Holcombe is out for a few weeks, Jackson is banged up, and Bollinger is healthy, but he is still Brooks Bollinger.

Which means it is time to sign Jeff George! According to Jeff George, at least. George is sending out feelers, because he has sensed his moment of redemption is near. And even though he is 40, a clubhouse cancer, and even in his best days, a bit inconsistent--he may not be wrong.

Oh, and by sending out feelers, I meant that he called the Vikings play-by-play guy and asked him if he thought the Vikings would want him. Which isn't the saddest part. I think that's here:

"I follow the teams that I think need quarterbacks," George said. "I look around the league at the quarterbacks, and I wonder why I'm still not playing."

What do you say, Vikings fans? Make Jeff George happy? Make yourselves happy? It would be good for some laughs, at least. Let's make this happen! Don't you remember how good he looked in the Purple? Do it!


I have a new challenge - and the weekly winner should get one night of room and board at Big Blue Monkey's house. The room - BBM's bedroom of course, and the board.... I digress. Anyway, I think we should guess who the next "surprise visitor who just happens to be at the football game and coincidentally enough has a movie coming out! Holy shit! What a surprise!" The game is Balt. at Pit. Guess away my friends, who is next to receive the Monday Night Tea-bagging?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Alex Rodriguez is a Douchebag

The beautiful thing about Arod is that there is no other term for him than douchebag. Now, I say this with no particular malice towards the man, or at least no more loathing than we all felt towards Bill Gramatica every time he jumped in the air and celebrated like a dork when converting a 19 yard field goal with 5:46 left in the 1st quarter. God it was great to watch him tear his knee to shreds doing that stupid celebration.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!Ha! Ha!Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! What was a laughing about again? Oh yes, that crippled irishman. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!Ha!

But I digress. Before Arod signs with the Cubs for 10 years/ $500 million and quickly proceeds to Bo Jackson his hip, let me be the 1st member of this blog to congratulate the mealy-mouthed corporate whore on yet another masterful piece of douchebaggery. By leaking the fact that he is declining the option on his contract during the deciding game of the World Series, he has succeeded in accomplishing the unimaginable. Namely, he has forced the corporate house-slaves at ESPN to recoil in shocked amazement and horror at the true extent of his banality and greed. Even the likes of Mike Tirico and Skip Bayless must take a break from interviewing Deanna Favre about her book of monosyllabic musings on whether Brett also loves doing things around the house or whether his childlike enthusiasms are merely relegated to the gridiron; or tea-bagging Vince Vaughn during the middle of Monday Night football, in order to issue brief commentary on whether such blatant commercialism detracts from how much we should all be appreciating the heroism of Pat Tillman. An intriguing question indeed, and provided to us free of charge by the biggest douchebag in sports.

Kevin McHale's Big Plan

A few days ago when the T-Wolves sent away Ricky Davis & Mark Blount to get Antoine Walker, Wayne Simien, and Michael Doleac this blog noted with some alarm that Kevin McHale said,

"We have some other stuff that we're probably going to do inside this deal."

That other stuff has at once proven to be anti-climatic and somewhat angrifying. The Wolves are going to be buying out Juwan Howard's contact, who apparently thought when he came to Minnesota, he was doing it to finish his career alongside Kevin Garnett. Howard would not have been happy here, and the best thing to do for him would be to buy out his contact. However, a little long term planning may have saved the Wolves a good chunk of change--why did they bring here in the first place? Just to give him a few million dollars and send him on his way?

Wayne Simien is also on his way out, according to the Star-Tribune. This gets the roster down to 15 players, and certainly establishes a youth movement in Minnesota. We can agree that's a good thing as last year's team, even with Garnett, was mediocre at best. But one does not get the feeling that a whole lot of this was planned in advance.

Especially since of the 15 players on the roster, only 10 were able to finish practice on Saturday, with a couple of important players sitting with nagging injuries. Coach Wittman said, "We started running out of bodies, which sounds funny." Yeah, that's fucking hilarious.

Star-Trib blogger/reporter Jerry Zgoda has been watching the team, and the single best news from him was probably this observation:

Al Jefferson, if he stays healthy and the Wolves can sign him to a long-term contract extension by Wednesday or next summer, will make the Kevin Garnett deal look lopsided within five years. He proved during the preseason — with a 17.9 point, 13.4 rebound, 31 minute average — that he’s the foundation of the team’s rebuilding.

Let's hope the Braintrust gets that contract done sooner than later.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Awesome. I watched the whole thing - that's how much I dislike your favorite team. On the plus side, the Skins did defeat Pats linebacker Vrabel 7-6, unless you consider the fumble Vrabel forced that was run back for a TD, then they still lost 7-12. And hey, if you only count Gostkowski's extra points, tie game 7-7! Oh wait, he did have a field goal, so skins loose 7-10.

Pre-Season NCAA Basketball Rankings, pt 4

Last time through, we stated the following: Up until now, we've had only the Rivals rankings, which were fun, but what we were hoping for was a second source to compare and contrast the Rivals rankings with. And now, today, we have the USA Today/ESPN/Coaches Poll. And a coaches poll is a powerful thing. For now on, we will pit these two lists against each other. And so we begin, with the 11-15 rankings.

#11--Rivals: Kansas State. Coaches: Duke.
This is by far the widest disparity yet. The coaches poll doesn't have Kansas City in the Top 25, much less hovering near Top 10. Rivals has Duke at #16. So why the huge divergence? It is apparently due to a differences in philosophy. Duke is all about returning players, returning Coach, and a track record. Kansas State has a new coach (Frank Martin, who is in his first Head Coaching gig), and several young players that Rivals think will be badass. They are particularly excited by Bill Walker and Michael Beasley, who they call the #1 prospect of the freshman class.

I dislike Duke with a smoldering passion, but the idea that a team led by a New Head Coach, with freshman recruits will be in the Top 15 at the end of the year sounds kind of crazy to me. Kansas State may be scary, but they probably won't be in the Sweet Sixteen. Which means Rivals is a little infatuated with Freshman talent.

#12: Rivals: Arizona. Coaches: Marquette.
They aren't far from each other here. I'd say the Coaches are giving a little too much credit to a severely compromised Dominic James. Arizona sounds about right to me. They are in a tough position, playing in an insanely competitive conference. But they've got great new talent, and an underrated do-it-all player in Chase Budinger.

#13: Rivals: Stanford. Coaches: Oregon.
You will see difference, but at this point, if you've been paying attention, you have noticed just how many PAC-10 teams are showing up in just the Top 15. They will get 6 teams into the March Clinically Insanity. Maybe 7. I'm guessing Rivals made this pick before Brook Lopez's troubles with academia were known. He is missing at least nine games. Oregon is a guard heavy team that will be as good as their shooting percentage, and no better. Their shooting percentage should be quite good.

#14: Rivals: Washington State. Coaches: Gonzaga
The Coaches are often slow to love, and slow to unlove. Gonzaga will be the class of their conference, to be sure, but I don't know about Heyveldt and Pargo and Matty Boldin. They will be good, to be sure. Top 15 good? I don't think so. Washington State is part of the dogpile that will be the PAC-10. They would probably beat Gonzaga 8 out of 10 times.

#15: Rivals: Marquette. Coaches (actually a tie for 14): Texas A&M
The Big East and the Big-12 aren't getting much love 15 picks in. They show up here. For the Rivals, Marquette is just the second team from the pretty badass Big East conference, after Georgetown. Sure, a lot of teams graduated a lot of talent from the Big East, but still--is Boston College or Pittsburgh or Villanova or Syracuse that depowered? In the Coaches Poll, Texas A&M is the second team from the Big-12 to make an appearance after Kansas. Of course, Rivals is loving Kansas State, but that simply means that so far, we've seen a total of three teams from the Big-12. And so far, no mention of Texas (yeah, Kevin Durant is gone, but they still have one of the best point guards in the country in Augustin.)

Oh, and I think there are a couple of mid-major teams who should have been mentioned by now. Maybe not Gonzaga (who was mentioned) but SIU, Butler, and Creighton will probably all crack the top 15 at some point this year. Sleep on ODU at your peril.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pre-Season NCAA Basketball Rankings, pt 3

Up until now, we've had only the Rivals rankings, which were fun, but what we were hoping for was a second source to compare and contrast the Rivals rankings with. And now, today, we have the USA Today/ESPN/Coaches Poll. And a coaches poll is a powerful thing. For now on, we will pit these two lists against each other. But first, let's see if there is any big difference in the previously covered 1-5 and 6-10 teams.

Rivals #1: UNC. Coaches' Poll #1: UNC.
Rivals #2: Memphis. Coaches' Poll #2: UCLA. Oh my God! A huge swing here!
Rivals #3: UCLA. Coaches' Poll #3: Memphis. OK, not so much.
Rivals #4: Kansas. Coaches' Poll #4: Kansas. Like we said, agreement at the top.
Rivals #5: Louisville. Coaches' Poll #5: Georgetown

This is actually a pretty big departure. Rivals has Georgetown as a #10. Of course, this all preseason, and it doesn't matter for shit. But I thought Rivals had overvalued Louisville (so do the Coaches) and had undervalued Georgetown. Jeff Green was a hell of a basketball player, no doubt, but the Hoyas are returning the best Center left in the college game (No Fazekas, No Oden, No Aaron Gray). The Coaches are probably giving Georgetown's system more credit than Rivals is, and also, they know that DaJuan Summers is going to be Badass. It should be noted that our friend, Anonymous Commentor, sung the praises of Memphis freshman recruit Derrick Rose. So Did Rivals. Here's hoping Memphis plays a real schedule this year.

Rivals #6: Tennessee. Coaches' Poll #6: Louisville. (I think Tenn wins the SEC easy)
Rivals #7: Indiana. Coaches' Poll #7: Tennesseein' is Tennebelievin'
Rivals #8: Michigan St. Coaches Poll #8: Michigan State
Rivals #9: USC Coaches Poll #9: Indiana
Rivals 10: Georgetown Coaches Poll 10: Washington State

Out of 10 teams, the two polls have the same nine teams. The only difference are PAC-10 Rivals USC and Washington State. In both polls, the other team is ranked significantly lower. The coaches have USC way down at 18, and Rivals has Washington State barely clinging to the top 15. The difference seems to be the willingness to believe in OJ Mayo. I'm going to side with the Coaches on this one for now. OJ Mayo may be a fantastic talent, but he seems to have inherited a similar psyche as another famous OJ. Also, Washington State is returning a lot of starters from a very good team last year.

Friday, October 26, 2007

More Indian Sport News: University of North Dakota

UPDATE: Yes, Clearly I Got the Wrong School. The dangers of writing on the fly are manifest. I've made the changes, and thanks to all you kindly commentors who pointed the error with such sensitivity.

In what seems like a shockingly fairminded decision, a court settlement has given North Dakota three years to get the approval of the Sioux tribes in the state to agree to the nickname "The Fighting Sioux".

If the college can't get them, then the nickname must go, or UND will face serious NCAA sanctions.

It seems quite unlikely, outside of a huge payout to the tribes (even if they would go for that, which is also unlikely) that the name will be around past 2011. There just are not too many scenarios in which both Spirit Lake Nation and Standing Rock go along with it. Hell, the Standing Rock reservation isn't too crazy about the word Sioux to begin with. I quote their front page on their website:

The people of these nations are often called "Sioux", a term that dates back to the seventeenth century when the people were living in the Great Lakes area. The Ojibwa called the Lakota and Dakota "Nadouwesou" meaning "adders." This term, shortened and corrupted by French traders, resulted in retention of the last syllable as "Sioux."

I've heard the word translated as "snakes in the grass." Obviously, it isn't a compliment, either way. Many Sioux would prefer to be called Lakota or Dakota. And I doubt they are looking the University of North Dakota to become the Fighting Lakotas.

Because not mentioned in this story thus far, and an element that is important, is that the state of the art arena on the UND campus is named after a benefactor, an alumni, who happened to be a horrible racist, and the arena was designed purposefully to force the school to keep the mascot.

Ralph Engelstad was profiled by our own Garwood B. Jones, when he nominated Ralphie for our Sports Legion of Doom. It bears repeating that the man whose name graces the arena at North Dakota did this: "On April 20th in 1986 and 1988, he hosted birthday parties for Adolf Hitler at his casino in Las Vegas which featured bartenders in T-shirts reading "Adolf Hitler — European tour 1939-45". (source: Wikipedia)

It isn't hard to imagine that the American Indian tribes anywhere in the world will have a hard time believing that Ralph Engelstad was trying to honor them when he filled his arena with over 2000 Fighting Sioux images, and threatened to withdraw funding when the idea of a mascot name change was first floated. You see, Hitler fetishists don't have a lot of credibility amongst our Native American population. Or amongst our White Population, though a $100 million dollar arena in the middle of Bumfuck, NDAK will make White People put aside their principles.

The agreement reached today seems to suggest that the NCAA would be willing to look the other way when it comes to the more expensively lodged mascot symbols--the goal would be to either get the Sioux's approval, or change the name, and cover up the more prominent Fighting Sioux regalia.

Again, this seems remarkably fair-minded. I guess pussy little Dan Snyder can praise his lucky stars that his much more offensive Redskins don't have any Native American reservations in their bailiwick. This sort of fair-minded concept would make him upset, and he would certainly stamp his tiny feet. Because Dan Snyder is a pussy.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Preseason Basketball Rankings, pt 2

As we said last time, we will look at the Top 25 Rankings from Rivals.com, and let you know where we think they went astray. Unlike most countdowns, we think the most disagreement and drama will be at the bottom of the rankings, so we will be starting at the top, and working our way down. Part 1 here.

When we left off, we were casually dismissing Louisville as the #5 team in the country. And before you dismiss us, as bloggers who aren't even wearing pants right now, consider what we wrote almost exactly a year ago when the first pre-season polls came out: "No one is apparently willing to take a risk yet and say that both Georgetown and Wisconsin are Top 5 teams. But they probably are, and will be at some point in the season. Write it down!" So, we actually kind of know what we are talking about here.

That said, we may have been a bit too dismissive of Louisville. We definitely see them as a top 20 team, but Top 5 seems a bit too high for us.

Moving on to 6-10, according to Rivals.com:

Rivals #6: Tennessee
Why they are good: They will probably be running a 3-guard set, similar to what Villanova was running a couple of years ago, and their backcourt is frightful. I don't know why Chris Lofton is still in college, but he is, and he may be the best overall player at the 2 spot. He and Mario Chalmers of Kansas will be vying for that honor all year. Lofton about as perfect college shooting guard that you could hope for. Their frontcourt is stronger than Rivals gives it credit for. Wayne Chism will be the breakout player in a wide-open SEC. Bruce Pearl may be the best coach in the SEC.
Why they aren't THAT good: Frontcourt depth is an issue. They stay injury free, and it isn't an issue at all. I think this team is clearly better than Louisville, but the games will prove it, one way or another.

Rivals #7: Indiana
Why they are good: The Big 10 is wide open, and Indiana may indeed be the best team in that conference. I'm not convinced that, given the graduation of talent, and the very top-heavy quality of the conference, that any Big 10 team deserves to be a Pre-Season Top 10. Freshman Eric Gordon is considered by many to be the most overlooked newcomer in the entire NCAA. Rival's says he's the #2 Freshman in the country. We'll see. If he's Kevin Durant good, then yes, this could be a transformative year for a once proud team.
Why they aren't THAT good: The Big 10 was one of the most top heavy conferences in the country last year. Ohio State and Wisconsin, between them, said adieu to the four most talented players in the conference. In conference play will tell us little about Indiana. Head Coach Kelvin Sampson seems to be unable to start a year without controversy. When D.J. White is your best returning player, you have some work to do.

Rivals #8: Michigan State:
Why They are Good: Speaking of Big 10 bias. Last year, I spoke about reflected glory--that Big 10 teams were getting ranked higher because they played Ohio State or Wisconsin well. Michigan State was almost certainly one of those teams. They do return just about everybody from last year. They should be able to generate easy wins against at least half of the the Big 10 (Minnesota, Northwestern, Michigan, amongst others). Tom Izzo gets his teams good at the right time.
Why they aren't THAT Good: Drew Neitzel may be the most overrated guard in the country. Raymar Morgan at forward is much more of enigma that anyone would like to admit. He's got talent, but he will disappear during games.

Rivals #9: USC
Why They are Good: Tim Floyd's recruiting genius. OJ Mayo, one of the most talked about high school players last year will be one of the breakout new players in the super tough PAC-10. The average age of the starters will probably be hovering right around 19.75. If their recruits are as bad ass as they are supposed to be, then they will be Top 5 before November is over.
Why they aren't THAT Good: Rivals is too kind to discuss the rumors as to how sophomore guard Daniel Hackett suffered a broken jaw. We are not. OJ Mayo broke Hackett's jaw in a pick-up game. Rumors swirl about the incident--was it an inadvertent elbow, or was it a very purposeful punch? Hackett says it was an elbow, "sources" say it was a deliberate punch. Is Mayo a talented but angry player? Can this team gel? We'll see. One way or another, we'll be talking about OJ Mayo. Friendly preseason violence, we will note, rarely knocks a player out for the first 2 months of a season.

Rivals #10: Georgetown
Why They are Good: Returning just about everybody, except Glue Guy Par Excellance Jeff Green. I am trying not to be too much of a homer here, but I think this team should be about 5 spots up the list. Clearly the class of the Big East, with the best center in the game in Roy "Dr. " Hibbert, Big-East freshman of the Year in DaJuan Summers, and Patrick Ewing Jr. in the front court, along with Jessie Sapp and Jonathan Wallace in the backcourt. This is a Final Four team from last year, and the only player they lost was Jeff Green.
Why they are NOT that Good: They lost Jeff Green. Green was a talented, heady player, who kept his team in games they should have lost. Frontcourt depth is a concern. Backcourt is almost too deep. Lots of quality players, including a new freshman badass in Austin Freeman, and a underused Jeremiah Rivers could lead to some chemistry issues. That said, this team would beat Louisville 8 times out of 10.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Timberwolves End the Ricky Davis Era

First KG, and now Ricky Davis? Heavens forfend. The Timberwolves have given up Ricky Davis and Mark Blount in exchange for "Elephant Man" Antoine Walker (his head is monstrous, I'm sayin), Mike Doleac, and intriguingly injured Wayne Simien, some cash, and maybe a First Round Pick. That actually sounds like a pretty good deal to me. I'm about to (ugh) agree with Jim Souhan here:

If you're going to go through a losing season -- and the Wolves' preseason performances hint that they're headed for a horrific won-loss record -- you need to make the losing count. You need to speed the progress of players such as Brewer and Foye and hook the fan base with promise, because the current reality is not going to sell many tickets.

But seriously, this happened without even a rumor out of the media suggesting it might happen. Do you guys have sources worth mentioning at all? Do you just print whatever some flunky in the weight room tells you? How does a trade come off without even a hint of a smell of a rumor?

Why are newspapers failing? Is it because of the New Digital Paradigm? Or is it because you fucks don't have any real sources worth talking to or about?

I thought I was the guy writing from my parent's basement, clad in my footed pajamas. I thought you guys were the one with access, and all that shit. First, the classic insider in Sid Hartman predicts that the Wolves won't trade KG, despite all obvious evidence to the contrary, and then this trade happens without anyone apparently knowing about it? You suck!

To be totally fair, StarTrib beat writer Jerry Zgoda noted a week ago: "The Wolves' abundance of small forwards and big guards, their obvious commitment to youth and Davis' value as a proven scorer and his expiring $6.8 million contract all make him likely to be traded by February's deadline."

Good call, Jerry, even if your thesis was that Ricky needed to become a leader. You buried your own lede, son. And your argument was based on logic, not inside sources. Logic is insider kryponite, Jerry.

Anyway, back to the Current/Temporary Stable of Wolves...

As "news" sources have noted, thanks to their ability to count using their toes, and the fact that they can talk to Kevin McHale, we now "know" that the Timbies are probably not done dealing. Almost certainly not, as they have 3 extra players, most of them young, looking to either prove or redeem themselves.

As we noted in back in June, when he said something very similar, nothing scares a Twolves fan like hearing McHale say, ""We have some other stuff that we're probably going to do inside this deal." Sweet. Does Marko Jaric have a brother?

But given the number of moves the Timberwolves have made it is now fair to ask if they are looking to land some other unhappy superstar. They have 18 players under contract. They can only have 15. They are also in a weird position in which I'd say no one is completely untouchable.

Everything I've heard suggests that Al Jefferson is the least touchable. I would hope both Corey Brewer (who I've said before was underrated) and Chris Richard and Craig Smith are basically untouchable. Most of the other players on the roster, at this moment aren't worth that much, unless bundled. Does anyone want Marko Jaric after his two years here? Mark Madsen?

My best guess is we'll see some combo of workmanlike veterans + a young unproven, upside guy get traded away for a very good player. Something like Juwan Howard + Antoine Walker + Rashad McCants for Kobe.

There must have been a plan in place, because the collective value of every Wolf goes does when everyone else in the league knows they have to cut three of these guys. These trades don't make a lot of sense under that lens. Mark Madsen is the only player who could be cut outright, without causing some consternation amongst the Wolves faithful.

Perhaps we need to replace Juwan Howard with Mark Madsen in the scenario I suggested above. The Lakers did like their hardworking white boy before. And it is the home of Kurt Rambis. Maybe Theo Ratliff figures into this, as his salary coming off books would be a huge enticement for many a team.

I believe, even knowing the painful history of Timberwolf wheelin' and dealin', that something else is afoot. I doubt it is actually Kobe, but perhaps some young gun in a contract year--look for a 3 or 4 player for one player swap from the Wolves soon. Otherwise, these deals just don't make sense.

Tim McCarver is a Filthy Commentator

Late in Game 1 of the World Series, Never to Be Forgiven For His Overreaction to Randy Moss Joe Buck was discussing the fact that Matt Holliday will show TV audiences why he was so widely regarded as badass before this series was done.

I was in the other room, so I don't know exactly what Tim McCarver was talking about when he said this (and I paraphrase, as again, I was in the other room.)

But roughly (emphasis and suggestive quotes my own)

"Matt Holliday is a 'big' guy. 'Big' guys usually have a slow stroke. But Matt Holliday is a 'big' guy who strokes fast."

McCarver, you sick son of a bitch!

Twin Cities - Hot Bed of Duck Stamp Competition

No, not the art of stamping on ducks. That would be cruel & weird. You probably gotta go to Wisconsin for something like that. Unless it is the least funny (fictional or nonfictional) duck in history, Mallard Fillmore. Stamp him all you want.

According to the Star-Tribune (who better not be pulling our legs here) the US Fish and Wildlife Service has decided the Twin Cities will host the 2008 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest.

Why the Twin Cities? Maybe because we rule at this.

Last year's winner was Joseph Hautman of Plymouth, Minn. His painting of a pair of northern pintail ducks was chosen from among 247 images by a panel of five judges on Oct. 13 in Sanibel, Fla. His stamp will be the 75th duck stamp.

Minnesota wildlife artists have created 17 of 75 duck stamps - more than any other state - and Minnesotans have bought more than 9.1 million duck stamps since 1934.

Suck on that, other places!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Noble Redskins Lucky The Cardinals Have No Bite

The Redskins eked out a Fudgefest while the rest of IDYFT Cup won only thanks to turnovers and penalties (Detroit), lost (Raiders & Vikings), or were idle (Packers).

The Redskins, who had blown halftime leads in two of their last three games, managed to steal a greasy victory despite getting less ball-movement than FDR.

I respect Coach Whizenhoost's work on the opposite sideline; he had the Cardinals playing to win. They went for it on 4th down, they scrapped hard. QB Warner hung tough with a dislocated elbow but was not challenged with much pressure. The Cardinals were able to exploit the big weakness of the Redskins (moth-eaten O-Line) and keep the Redskins offense futile.

In games with misfiring offenses and decent defenses, special teams are usually the deciding factor. The Redskins punt and kick coverage have remained consistently excellent, and they bottled up the Cardinals return game. A blocked 2nd Quarter PA was a decisive factor in the two-point game. Rock Cartwright would have had a TD on a kick return but blew out his quadriceps, ouch.

The Cardinals special teams blocked a punt (setting up a TD) and executed a picture-perfect onside kick, but Rackers missed the last-second 55 yarder by a foot. On the balance, I'd say special teams were a push.

That leaves turnovers, and for once the Redskins managed to collect the ball a few times. S Sean Taylor picked off Robo-Warner for #5 on the season, leading the NFL. He's also dropped at least 5 INTs, which lets you know the Redskins safeties are excelling at closing in from deep coverage (without consistently making the big play). Game MVP LB London Fletcher did him one better, returning an INT for a TD. That's handy, because the Redskins O-Line simply could not open holes against the Cardinals front four.

The one TD drive the offense put together was sparked by a long WR Randel El catch and a sweet improvised option shovel-pass, in which QB Campbell kept the ball and ran for the 1st down. The O-Line did manage to let RB Portis punch in two short TD runs. The defense made some key plays (DE Carter forced a fumble on a sack, on one of the few instances when the Redskins had a pass rush; rookie S Laron Landry intercepted the two-point conversion with a minute to go) to bail out an offense that could not move the football.

The Redskins were lucky to escape this one with a win, no doubt about it. Luckily they face a real pushover next week, the 7-0 New England Patriots. Sure they have the highest margin of victory of any team in the NFL (+159 points, or 23 ppg). The Pats and QB Brady are on pace for blah, blah, blah.

Interesting side note, relating to the debate on the nickname "Redskins" in the world. Watching the game at my friend's house, they were visited by an artist who is represented in my friend's wife's gallery. He's a rather famous Indian artisan and jeweler. When he came in, he asked us who we were rooting for and I said "the Redskins" reflexively. He was not offended; on the contrary, he was rooting for the Redskins as well.

He said, "I just could never like the Cowboys."

The subtext was enlightening: given the choice, he obviously prefers Redskins to Cowboys. In the light of history, I guess that makes sense. He pronounced "Redskins" with the same Tewa glottal stop on the "d" as when they ask for a "Bu' wizer." So it sounds like "Re' skins" but with a hard stop between syllables.

I'm not making any specific argument concerning the debate over the name of the Washington football team. I just thought a perspective beyond the liberal-guilt whities or the paranoid-conservative whities might benefit from a little rouge coloring. One day, everyone will be able to enjoy the classic comedy of this diversity-minded short film from 1936, Whoops I'm an Indian.

Did anyone see the end of the Titans-Texans game? Holy crap, that was the game of the day. Hot hot hot, finally quenched by a double Kerry Collins with extra limes.

Obviously, I'm ready to look forward to next week.

4-2 Detroit travels to the 3-4 Chicago Poopsmell. Field conditions will play a role in determining the outcome of the game, but the Lions are lucky to get their trip to Chicago out of the way in October.

5-1 Green Bay travels to 3-3 Denver, who pulled themselves together to beat the 4-2 Steelers this week. An interesting matchup between NFC overachiever and AFC underachiever. The smart money rests on the homer AFC Broncos.

2-4 Minnesota hosts the flaming-out 2-4 Eagles. The Vikes need to keep the ball on the ground with the NFL-leading rusher A. Peterson for four quarters. I predict McNabb throws 50 times in this one. Desperation will be stinking up the loser's locker room like bologna-flavored incense.

2-4 Oakland travels to face the scrappy 4-2 Titans. Vince Young's availability is paramount for the Titans, but their defense could swallow up the Raider's paltry pass attack.

In other news, the first NFL game to be played in another country (sorry Mexico, you don't count) will be between the Giants and Dolphins. They want to promote the entertainement quality of the NFL so they schedule these two barfbags? The Giants are a nice surprise (for assholes) but the Dolphins are as bad as advertised. I guess the NFL was thinking the Brits wouldn't know we were off-loading two bad teams on their bloody pitch.

Roundhouse Kick of Political Punditry

If you are anything like me (which you are not. My Mom says that I am special. She has never once mentioned that you are special.) you are wondering just when the Sensei of Politics, Chuck Norris, was going to let us know who to vote for in the upcoming Presidential election.

Wait no longer!

Speak to us, Lone Wolf McQuade. Don't leave us in suspense!

"I won't leave you in suspense." (Phew!) "Though Giuliani might be savvy enough to lead people, Fred Thompson wise enough to wade through the tides of politics, McCain tough enough to fight terrorism and Romney business-minded enough to grow our economy, I believe the only one who has all of the characteristics to lead America forward into the future is ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee."
(via Talking Points Memo)

So, the man behind Walker, Texas Ranger and countless other cultural milestones wants you to vote for Huckabee. Your way is clear now. Unless you are one of those hippie sex freaks who thinks Huckabee was wrong to compare safe sex with beating one's wife:

"But it would seem to me that if we're consistent in saying reckless behavior is undesirable we should ask people to move their behavior to the standard and not move the standard to the behavior...We don't say that a little domestic violence is OK, just cut it down a little, just don't hit quite as hard. We say it's wrong."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Blogger Round-Up, Soccer and Junk

We haven't mentioned it here, mainly because we didn't watch it, but the US Men's National Team did beat Switzerland 1-0 earlier this week. If you want to simulate watching the game via blog, soccer superstore blog That's On Point has their commentary up.

Other people have thoughts on it, Like Demko over at the City Pages. Jmayers over at The Beautiful Game has his thoughts and the video of the goal. We found this video of Robinho working some crazy shit on the touchline over the Beautiful Game, too.


OK, back to other stuff. (But first, did you watch that? Holy shit, right? Robinho is the Holy Water Bug of St. Jesus Mountain)

Via the ever entertaining Amanda at You'll Never Blog Alone, we found out about these photos over at This Is Extra Time, featuring the US National team engaging in some dangerous horseplay in the hotel pool. Reminds me of when I was traveling to Jupiter Beach to play in soccer tournaments. It does not remind me of the time I was getting ready to try to stop a 5 game losing skid. I hope Carlos Bocanegra waited 30 minutes after eating to get in the pool. Eating hot Swiss poon! I apologize for that joke.

Sniffing the Touchline, Limey Bastards that they are, present a list of silliest NFL names vs. silliest Soccer names. They include Maurice Morris, because Brits pronounce "Maurice" as "Morris", and "filet" as "fillit." Then they have the cheek to suggest that their fucked up pronounciation of French words is a sign of our stupidity. Go eat some Bubbles and Squeak, you bastards! Go Banger Her and Mash! etc, etc. On the whole, it is a pretty entertaining list, though. They were even nice of enough to give out a special award to former college star Scientific Mapp. No love for his brother, Majestic, though.

This Suit Is Not Black has some thoughts on the importance of Rugby. She's surprised, mainly.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pre-Season NCAA Basketball Rankings

In what we hope will be an ongoing series, we will look at the Top 25 Rankings from Rivals.com, and let you know where we think they went astray. Unlike most countdowns, we think the most disagreement and drama will be at the bottom of the rankings, so we will be starting at the top, and working our way down. Let's not wait, yeah boss? Let's party why not?

Rival's #1: UNC.
Why they are good: Returning almost everybody from a pretty good team last year, except Brandan Wright. Lawson, Ellington, Hansborough, Ginyard.
Why they aren't THAT good: Roy Williams and Hansborough may be the most overrated whitey combo in the NCAA's. Hansborough is tough against undersized opponents, disappears against men his size. Not as quick as he is given credit for. Roy Williams has a habit of coaching teams to 2nd round losses in the NCAA.

Rival's #2: Memphis
Why they are good: Like UNC, returning a lot of folks, including Douglas-Roberts, Dorsey, and Dozier. It is a fantastic front-court.
Why they aren't THAT good: Head Coach Calipari seemed content to face cupcakes in the preseason last year, and this team ran through a week Conference USA. Will they face some real competition early in the year, and get tougher quicker? Their backcourt is young and unproven. Just because Rivals says that the new freshman is badass doesn't mean that he is.

Rivals #3: UCLA
Why they are good: Darren Collison in the backcourt, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute in the front court. Solid at every position, if not exceptional. Losing Afflalo isn't the dagger that people think.
Why they aren't THAT good: Being the top team in the PAC-10 isn't the same thing as being the top team in the ACC, or fucking Conference USA. This team is going to have their hands full, night in, night out. They are much more likely to lose to the 5th best team in their conference than Mempis or UNC is.

Rivals #4: Kansas
Why they are good: Mario Chalmers may be the biggest badass in the backcourt in the country. Brandon Rush, if he comes back full speed after tearing his ACL in May, and is still kicking an awesome old school fade, can and will score in bunches. Julian Wright was good, but this team should be able to replace his scoring without too much effort. Darrell Arthur could be scary good, now that he's a full time player.
Why they aren't THAT good: If Rush were healthy, this team would be a #2. With the team they have now, I would stilll put them ahead of Memphis. But this is Kansas--they will find a way to lose games that they should have won. The Ghost of Roy Williams haunts them still. Any team that relies upon a center whose name is a homonym for Chaka Khan is probably asking for trouble.

Rivals #5: Louisville
Nope, no reason for them to be here. Weird choice from Rivals. I think I'd put the next 10 teams they rank ahead of Louisville, and that includes at least 2 teams from the Big 10, which I'm well known to be prejudiced against. If Louisville makes it the Elite 8, I'll eat the Rival's hat of choice.

Does Martin Rogers Know He's Arguing With Himself?

Martin Rogers has an odd sort of article up on Yahoo. Taking quotes from a Thierry Henry interview in the NY Times, Rogers seems to think that Henry is singing the praises of the MLS. I haven't read the original article, I'm only reading Rogers' quotes, and I'm coming away with a very different impression.

But first let me quote two sentences from Rogers himself, that appear at opposite ends of his column. Put together, they argue a pretty consistent idea--older, formerly great European players will continue to come over here, because they want a working vacation in the MLS:

"Critics of Major League Soccer can deride the standard of play all they want, but they will not prevent the arrival of more international superstars over the next few years...But those who love to bash MLS overlook a key factor – lifestyle. Sure, the standard of play is not yet close to the levels of the leading European leagues, but the fact remains that plenty of people want to come here. "

But later, Rogers hates the idea that people would suggest that the MLS would be a working vacation. In fact, he suggests that people who think that Henry would be contemplating such a thing are awful bastards who don't know what a bad-ass Henry is. Which is weird, because that seems to be one of his own arguments.

But back to Henry. He's 30, which is an age that often marks a steep decline, particularly in players with speed-based games. Henry is all speed and finesse. He's under contract until 2011, as Rogers points out. Given Henry's recent decline (which Rogers doesn't seem to want to admit exists, but it surely does), are there other leagues that will want Henry when he is 34? I don't know.

But putting two of Mr. Rogers' sentences together reveals this disconnect pretty well, I think:

"Henry, 30, is under contract at Barcelona until 2011 and feelings can obviously change....Now, I fully expect another stream of emails criticizing MLS with claims that Henry will only come to the U.S. for a final payday, or that he'll be looking for an easier ride in a lower-level league in the twilight of his career. Such statements are insulting to one of the finest players on the planet. "

It should be noted that Henry's quotes seem to make him out to be one of the people insulting his motivations for coming to the MLS: "Don't get me wrong, I just love the U.S. I don't know why. I love the way you live. I love American sports. For me, it's a dream to go to training and then see a game of football, basketball, whatever game. For me, New York is the best city in the world."

Did I miss the part where he talks about how awesome the MLS is? This sounds a lot more like Lothar Matthaus than Rogers seems to realize. Regardless, if this flood of 30-something Europeans continues, than we will have to start marketing Columbus, Kansas City, and Houston differently. They can't all play in New York. I bet Ronaldo would love BBQ--Kansas City for him. Does anyone know if Zidane likes skiing? Maybe we can sucker him into playing for The Rapids.

Take that MLS Haters! Henry is willing to play here when he's pushing 35, and only in NYC, because he digs the culture of NYC! That means the MLS is garnering respect.

In attempting to make your point, Martin Rogers, I can only quote the Simpsons: "You got greedy, Martin."

Friday, October 19, 2007

Macalester Soccer vs. St. Thomas

St. Thomas, the Saint of finding Unique Ways of staying Virginal, had little help for his namesake school in St. Paul this past week.

Another great stop, again from Ryan Palmer

And a great goal, from the entire team. Look at the defense off the throw-in, badgering the Tommies (fuck you, Tommies!), and look at the great pass to Tettegah, who slots a beautiful assist to Carson Gorecki, who knows how to finish. I love this goal. There isn't a part of this build up that is amazing, but the build-up as a whole, is wonderful.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Jim Souhan is a Catty Bitch

Rookie RB Adrian Peterson has been drawing some attention of late, and with good reason. He ran for over 200 yards against Chicago over the weekend, and when the game was on the line, he received and ran back the kickoff that put the Vikings in position to beat the once mighty Bears.

No one, but NO ONE, ran for 200 yards against the Bears last year. And yeah, the Bears defense is faltering and injured, and their offense is missing the bruising 3.8 yards per carry of Thomas Jones, probably much more than they thought they would.

But you can buy a T-shirt that proclaims A.P. the Purple Jesus. And yet, Brad Childress refuses to call him his #1 back. Childress is going with very solid contributor Chester Taylor as his #1 back. Chester Taylor, who only ran for over 1,000 yards last year, whilst splitting duty with Mewelde Moore.

Some folks see the wisdom in not putting too much on the rookie's rather sensitive shoulders.

Reuben Franks, at SI, suggests that Childress has learned from experience:

A few years ago, back when he was offensive coordinator with the Eagles, Brad Childress had a talented young tailback named Brian Westbrook. He was fast, explosive and productive, and the temptation was there to give him the ball down after down, series after series.

Childress resisted. Westbrook's 5-foot-8, 215-pound frame wasn't ready for the workload, and despite pressure from fans and media, the Eagles brought Westbrook along slowly. Today, he's one of the most productive backs in football.

Jim Souhan, of the Star Tribune thinks differently:

We see the best runner in the NFL. Brad Childress, being an experienced football man, sees the backup running back the Vikings have been missing ever since Rick Fenney last pulled a hamstring.

Souhan goes on to reference, I'm not kidding, all of these people: Allen Rice, Alfred Anderson, Troy Hambrick, Reggie Harrison, Ted Brown, D.J. Dozier.

Ha-ha! I think I get what Souhan is trying to say! That Adrian Peterson isn't really a #2 back. Seeing as Peterson got 20 carries last week, I don't think Childress really sees him as a #2 back, either.

There is any number of reasons to rip the Childress braintrust--the 32nd in the league pass defense, up from 32nd last year; the decision to rely upon Tavaris Jackson, and whatever QB could be scrounged up a couple of weeks into the season, instead of going after reliable veteran QBs; relying on wide receivers like Bobby Wade and Turd Ferguson and Troy "Paddle-Hands" Williamson.

But Souhan has chosen to rip a semantic Running Back choice. Chester Taylor is a pretty good runner his own self (again--over 1000 yards last year), and if Childress calls Peterson his #2 back, even after handing him the ball 20 times, and asking him to field the crucial kickoff return in the final moments against the Bears, that seems forgiveable.

It may seem silly to call Peterson the #2 back on the team, but good lord, Souhan, that's hardly the biggest problem on the Viking team, is it?

I know it is fun to cruise through old Vikings media guides to come up with funny #2 running backs, but the fact is Adrian Peterson got the ball more than 20 times against the Bears. So you are really arguing about stupid semantic bullshit, instead of talking about this team's obvious (and avoidable) flaws in the secondary and at QB.

Why did you did you do that? Because it was easy. You catty bitch.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ugly Synchronicity

Via Deadspin, I found this article asking, essentially, "Wait, this isn't OK, is it?"

The "this" in question are these Cleveland fans:

Blackface, but Red, For Indians! No, it is most certainly not OK. One of the commenters on the site (a most interesting place, called Contemptster) said, "Get a life. Let these fans have some fun." As if a fan, witnessing their team take three games in a row from the Red Sox, would need to dress up like this to have fun. Note: the purveyor of the site was very much in the camp of this Not Being OK.

This highlights the attitude I've been discussing in regard to the Washington Redskins--the idea that a mascot is somehow important to a team, and that changing it, to make it not racist (as opposed to "less racist") is somehow a huge detriment to a team, or its fanbase.

These fans show up, not in redface, but dressed up as their team's mascot. Of course, their mascot is a disgusting caricature of a people who were arguably the victims of one of the longest and deadliest genocides in history. But it is a funny mascot! If the team were to change their name to the Paperbags, these doofuses would probably show up dressed in paperbags. I don't think there is hate in their hearts. I just think they are stupid.

Compare if you will, the equally insenstive, but apparently private preseason golf party some
Colorado College hockey players had, in which a group of four showed up to a costume party in blackface. They were instantly educated to their insensitivity, via suspension. Said senior captain Scott Thauwald, one of the offenders, in his apology:

“The intent was to have good costumes,” Thauwald said. “We realize now, even though there was no racial intent, that what we did was wrong. We’ve all learned a lot through the last couple of weeks, and we’ve apologized to the school and the people we directly affected, and I feel like a lot of the students were pretty welcoming to our apology. We made a mistake.” [Source: Colorado Springs Gazette]

Whether or not that sentiment is bullshit (which it very well may be) the difference is stark--four dickheads in Colorado got busted at their private pre-season event, and
the national media picked up the story.

A couple of dickheads show up in redface at a public event, they are allowed in (how could they not be? They are just emulating the mascot), they are photographed, and put on ESPN.com without a commentary of any sort. Just fans enjoying the game! It takes
an obscure blog to point out the sickness of it, and it gets picked up by a much less obscure blog in Deadspin. Will this vault to the national consciousness? Most certainly not! Too many ugly facts in there.

The Ugly Synchronicity that I mentioned in the title to this post is that the same evening those fans were making complete douchebags of themselves, Vernon Bellecourt was dying.

Vernon Bellecourt isn't the most famous name out there, in part because he was a Native American activist, and we simply don't talk about them. But he certainly knew the experience of being
American, and being Native-American (from the NYT):

"Bellecourt was born WaBun-Inini, meaning Man of Dawn in Ojibwa, on Oct. 17, 1931, on the White Earth reservation in Minnesota. His father was disabled by mustard gas in World War I, and his mother raised 12 children on government benefits in a home with no running water or electricity."

No one worked harder to get primarily white institutions to rethink their appropriation of Native tribal imagery as their sport mascots than Vernon, and it must have pained him in his latter years to see his work begin to regress.
To Quote Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman:

"Vernon was a catalyst for change. He campaigned endlessly against the use of stereotypical names and emblems, angering sports fans who think Indians are gone and that, if they weren't, they'd be honored by being called the "Fighting Sioux," and worse.

For nine years, this newspaper tried not to use names such as the nickname of the Washington football team. I won't mention it. You know what it is. In a backward move, that policy was relaxed four years ago, when editors decided that they would use the offensive nicknames, but only with "care and judgment."

The Washington nickname has appeared 750 times since."

What would have Vernon thought of those two men photographed above?

His response could not be easier to divine. I quote the recently departed Vernon Bellecourt

"We are a living people with a vibrant culture and we refuse to have our identity trivialised and degraded. Indians are people, not mascots for America's fun and games."

Fair thee well, WaBun-Inini, and fuck you Cleveland. I'm rooting for the Rockies.

Hog-Butchers Perform Ḏabīḥah Upon Noble Redskins

Image courtesy of the totally awesome Sugar Mountain Farm blog.

I knew we were in trouble when the Redskins busted out the full-length down parkas. In a cold drizzle, unremarkable for the deep north of Wisconsin's October, the Washington team was cold and they showed it.

When one team is shivering and miserable and huddled in masses, and the other team is still playing in bare arms, the true direction of the game becomes obvious. Never mind that the Redskins dominated the Packers in every statistical category. They showed weakness, and paid for it.

The Redskins dropped at least ten passes by my count. WR Santana Moss had his worst game as a Redskin with zero catches, biffing passes off his hands, fumbling away the game-winning Packers TD and finally taking a deep redeemer off his facemask.

Moss benched himself, which the coaches would have had to do anyway. He emphasized that he sat down because of tweaking his hamstring & groin, injuries which have caused him to miss the last three weeks of action. Moss says, "I would never come out of a game because I had dropped a pass or two. That's a coward. I just felt like my leg wasn't feeling well. I didn't want to be out there if I couldn't go 100 percent."

This is the difference between playing hurt and playing with an injury. Everyone plays hurt in football. Playing with an injury is a detriment to your team, as the Redskins discovered. I love Moss, but it isn't hyperbole to write that Moss and his tiny cold fingers lost the game for the Redskins. Said DT Corey Williams, who forced the fumble, "He was carrying the ball kind of wild. I just had to go for the ball."

RB Clinton Portis was ineffective behind the makeshift O-Line in the second half and fumbled on his own 10 yard line, losing his second red zone fumble in two weeks.

A shame, since the Redskins soundly beat the Packers on both sides of the ball. The Redskins outgained the Packers 94-56 on the ground and QB Jason Campbell out-performed QB Favre. Campbell completed 57% of his passes (despite numerous drops) for 217 yards, 1 INT 1 TD and one rushing TD to boot. He threw the ball well and consistently made good decisions. His only mistake of the day was the inexcusable 4th-and-2 completion for 0 yards. Despite taking a timeout, the Redskins rushed the play and Campbell immediately fired a ball to his FB in the flat. If he had read his proper progression, he would have seen Keenan McCardell wide-open on a quick slant.

Favre, by contrast, completed 51% for 188 (most coming in the form of a 1st quarter YAC), 2 INTs and 0 TDs. He chucked his record-breaking 278th INT to S Sean Taylor, and gun-slinged #279 to Taylor for good measure. It was a nice bookend to Favre's storied NFL interception career, which began with two INTs against the Redskins back in 1991.

The Redskins were unable to make anything out of the turnovers, nor were they able to recover any of the Packers four fumbles. On the other hand, the Packers turned Moss's fumble into seven points and a major shift in momentum. The Pack received some grossly unfair help from the referees.

Worse than the loss and falling behind in the IDYFT Cup is the fact that the already-gutted Redskins O-Line lost three players against the Pack, who were able to mount a consistent pass rush. The only starter from last year is Chris Samuels; from LG to RT it is 2nd and 3rd stringers.

The Packers did very little well, but CB Charles Woodson (who also had a very questionable INT that sure looked like simultaneous possession) made the game-changing play when he got the opportunity.

Next week, the 3-2 Redskins host the Cardinals and their 3rd string QB. The Defense should continue its dominance, but the O-Line is at DEFCON 1.

The Packers can feel good going into the bye week with the unlikely record of 5-1. Coach McCarthy said that the Redskins were the best team the Pack has faced so far, which tells you something about their 5-1 record. They'll travel to Denver in week 8 for MNF. The 2-3 Broncos haven't been able to score this year, but we've seen middle-pack AFC teams beating elite NFC teams for years now.

The 2-3 Vikings hope that RB A. Peterson can continue on the inside track as Rookie of the Year against Dallas. That young man certainly is talented, and remains the only spark of joy for Minnesota. I hope everyone has seen those highlights: damn, son.

The 3-2 Lions will travel to face the 2-4 Chicago Poop Smell. Field conditions will be a major factor in the outcome of this game.

The 2-3 Raiders could have a hard time in Tennessee, but the 3-2 Titans are inconsistent on offense. This could be a low-scoring affair, like Corky on a blind date.

1. Green Bay Packers (2 pts)
2. Detroit Lions (1 pt)
3. Washington Redskins (0 pts)
4. Oakland Raiders (-1 pts)
5. Minnesota Vikings (-2 pts)

Monday, October 15, 2007

College Basketball Season is Coming!

Whilst researching Mike DeCourcy, we stumbled across the fact that he was one of The Sporting News experts on College Basketball. His collegiate hoops articles didn't make us anywhere near as angry as his forays into the NFL, perhaps because it felt like he knew what he was talking about when it came to college hoops.

For example, here's a well-sourced, well-reasoned take on what is going on at Indiana, with Kelvin Sampson getting in trouble for calling his recruits the wrong way. My one beef is the idea that Indiana now has the players to compete for NCAA title. They will certainly compete in a rather suspect Big 10, absolutely. They may even get a very favorable seed in the NCAA tournament. But if they are in the final game, I'll eat the hat of DeCourcy's choice.

Here are DeCourcy's 8 Indisputable Truths for the year. The Truths that I agree with wholeheartedly are that the PAC-10 will be the conference of the year, and that Kansas is underrated. Kansas will probably manage to lose to the Richmond Spiders in the Sweet 16, but they'll look dominant up until that point. I also agree that the Gillespie lovers are expecting too much from Kentucky. Tubby Smith, while not perfect, was not the sole reason for the "decline" of Kentucky basketball.

I'm tingly with college basketball excitement. Go Hoyas! (Not that I'm not totally psyched for the Colorado vs. Cleveland World Series. That will be totally not boring at all. I am particularly interested in the pitching match-up between "That Guy" and "Who's That?". I can't wait!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Double Teamed

A poorly advertised IDYFT fun-fact is that the Big BM and Mr. Wice are allies in supporting their favorite NFL team. Unless, of course, you read this blog with attention to detail and make a real effort to know the IDYFT contributors (I'm looking at you Mike DeCourcy). So I've been getting it in multiple holes, four to be specific, from the stupidly optimistic Washington Foreskin fans pending their loss to the Packers this weekend in Green Bay (I'm taking it in both ear holes from talking to Big BM on the phone and both eyeholes from reading Wice's drivel, sheesh).

That the Packers are destined for victory this weekend and Barnyard is destined to hoist the first annual IDYFT Cup are self-evident truths. I can imagine zero ways the season will play out that prove the previous statement incorrect. We should be discussing interesting questions, like who between Wice and Mr. Norwood will sleep on the floor of Big BM's apartment (between his couch and coffee table if I recall the bet correctly).

Therefore, I respond only to offer the following statistics on Favre's interception record:
Favre 3.31 per 100 passes

George Blanda 6.91

John Hadl 5.72

League-wide 2006 3.17

Bart Starr 4.38

Otto Graham 6.00

Johnny Unitas 4.88

Fran Tarkenton 4.11

Joe Namath 5.85

Terry Bradshaw 5.38

Len Dawson 4.89

Bob Griese 5.02

Norm Van Brocklin 6.12

Sammy Baugh 6.78

Bobby Layne 6.58

Sonny Jurgensen 4.43

Joe Montana 2.58

Steve Young 2.58

Marino 3.02

Elway 3.12

Troy Aikman 2.99

Finally, my guess is the up and coming running back from Atlanta will spend an evening sleeping in "rash" country.

I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing

This Sunday, the collected favorites of the IDYFT bunch have another chance to prove that we're not all total fools. One of these games pits the two front-runners in the IDYFT Cup (as well as the NFC, I guess) against each other in a rare head-to-head Lombardi grudge match.

The other IDYFT teams have important games as well. The indoor Vikings are lucky to travel to Chicago in October, rather than December, in what could be one of the lowest-scoring Fudgefests of the weekend. Oakland will try to remain the leader (I kid you not) in the Quicksand Surprise AFC West by going to Nerf-tastic San Diego.

And no one has said peep to defend, honor or prosecute their teams. This, in their time of need (as we all knew it would be, by Week 6).

So I'll toss in my biscuits. The Redskins will dismantle the Packers in exactly the same way that they dismantled the Lions. The secondary will scare the Packers WRs, the D Line will press All-Time Interception Leader Brett Favre into INTs, we will run the ball hard and QB Jason Campbell will dissect the Green Bay secondary. KR Rock Cartwright will gash the Packers, despite having few opportunities to field kickoffs.

What worries me about the Redskins in Week 6? The knee of Clinton Portis.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Macalester Soccer: Yeahbutwhat?

We haven't checked in with either the women or men of the Fightin' Scots in a couple of weeks, and apparently, everything went to hell while we were laughing at Questionable Columnists, frisky Pandas and Shitty Trumpet players.

The Lady Fightin' Scots went on an unprecedented four game losing skid (seriously, I can't remember the last time they dropped two in a row, much less three, and 4? Fucking Four games? Crazy.) The Scottettes lost to Wartburg, Augsburg, St. Benedict, and Concordia (Moorhead) by a combined score of 6-2. The offense is clearly the problem at the moment, though the Lady MacBeth's may have righted the ship against the dirty Papists of St. Mary's, who they beat 2-0, this very evening.

The Scots face the Cornholios of St. Thomas on the 16th, in a huge game, rife with MIAC positioning implications. Don't get behind St. Thomas Women, Macalester--there's where they like it!

The Men of Macalester have been having similar problems, though for them it was somewhat more expected. But the last time I wrote about them, I stated that they had to get right against Wartburg, and then they absolutely had to take care of business againt MIAC doormats Bethel.

While the Scots did lose to Wartburg, they did finally break their scoreless streak, losing 2-1. Ryan Palmer stopped 13 shots to help Mac beat Bethel 1-0 (sheesh!). So, maybe, you'd think, there is some momentum to be gained, but the Lads dropped a goal in the first 2 minutes against St. John's Johnnies. First Two Minutes. I've seen it happen from the sidelines; I've sadly been on the pitch once or twice, and I still don't understand how anyone scores in 2 minutes. It should be impossible. And yet, it happened. But the men have put a good sheen on the week, by beating Concordia 1-0 a couple of days ago, to get themselves at .500 in the MIAC.

I gotta say though, asking for saves like this from your keeper doesn't seem like a recipe for long term success. Tighten' up Macalester midfield and defense. No way you should get beaten on a long throw-in, and no way you should let dinky passes to the top of your 18 go unchallenged:

That said, much praise to Eric Tettegah, which I sure hope is pronounced Titty-Gah!, for his game winner. You'll see patterns here--quick counter, short passes with a long ball, and a run from a winger. I'm sure the preferred thing for Tettegah to do in his position would be to put it in the mixer, but he went with the near post shot, and in this instance, it paid off. Good for you, Titty-GAH!

Thank You Miss Douglas, Stacy Hedger!

This could brighten anyone's day. I think Stacy was hoping the backing track would drown out her trumpet, which it doesn't. The fine dancework, the elaborate costuming, and the acting all come together to make this one of my favorite things ever. (via the always helpful AV Club Videocracy)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Move over Steve DeBerg, Green Testicles is back!

Yes, the Panthers have signed 43 year old (soon to be 44) Vinny Testaverde. But no worries DeBerg, your record for being the oldest man on a roster in the SuperBowl (44, Atlanta Falcons 1998) is probably safe.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hugging The Panda

These stupid tourists may think it is cute, but we know better, don't we, IDYFTers?

NBA Round Up: Bleeding & Broken Hearts, Broken & Bleeding Kness

Washington Wizard and liberal bleeding heart Etan Thomas will go under the knife to repair what is essentially a bleeding heart. Presumably, if the surgery goes well, Thomas will not only play in the NBA again, but he'll also accuse a 12-year old car crash survivor of being a liar and a cheat.

Hey, speaking of bleeding hearts, Chris Dodd is offering a chance to sit with him at the ALCS in Boston. Cough up $20.04, and you could be watching baseball with a Connecticut Senator who can't possibly win the Presidency. Still, sitting with a Senator, watching a Great ALCS--$20 seems fair.
Just seeing clips on ESPNews of Kevin Garnett, whilst wearing Celtic Green, blocking 3 different Minnesota Timberwolves has made me realize that it has really happened. Kevin Garnett is no longer a Wolf. And not only that, he's a Celtic. He assisted something called Kendrick Perkins twice!

It reminds me of Joe Jackson's "Is She Really Going Out With Him", with just a pronoun or two changed:

Is he really going out with them?
Cause if my eyes don't deceive me
There's something going wrong around here.

For reasons that surpass logic in anything meaningful way, aside from, "We need Good Press, STAT." The Knicks have signed Allan Houston. Two years removed from knee trouble that forced his retirement, the Knicks have said that Houston can still shoot. No shit. Can he run, dribble, or play 82 games? No word on that.

Allan Houston, as destiny demands, is living out his role as the Poor Man's Bernard King, right down to the starring/sad role on a franchise that doesn't know what else to do.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Mike DeCourcy Wants An Apology

So the braintrust here at IDYFT received an email from Mike DeCourcy who stated quite clearly that I had wronged him--in equal part for my choice of language in describing his column (and him personally), and for be so clearly proven wrong in our take of his column. The email asked (somewhat sarcastically, it seemed) when I would be publishing an apology. Without further ado, my apology:

Dear Mike--

In terms of tone, I am more than willing to apologize. You may have noticed the name of our blog, though: I Dislike Your Favorite Team. The blog is supposed to be irreverent and opinionated and even a bit juvenile (feel free to add to that whatever other buzzwords are being used to describe blogging these days.)

If you find yourself offended that I called you a dick, I certainly empathize. I know it hurts sometimes, as I have been called a dick numerous, numerous time, and it always cuts me deeply. I will apologize for that. As for the crack about not having played any team sports in a truly competitive environment--if that was unfair, I'll apologize for that, too.

Mike, in your email, you thought that Jay Glazer's piece on the Bengals' unhappiness with Chad Johnson proved something, and that I would be abashed and shamed by my take on the situation in Cincinnati.

However, the central point of your article and even Glazer's seems to highlight a central theme that we see repeatedly in various forms, to wit: "The Outlandish Wide Receiver Is To Blame". We've seen it with Terrell Owens (who I'm not happy about having to defend), Randy Moss, and now Chad Johnson. Two-thirds of those guys are on undefeated teams--funny how we aren't hearing complaints from their respective owners/anonymous management sources. Are those teams winning because those receivers toned down their acts, or are they less likely to get in shouting matches with their coaches when their teams are playing frightfully well?

Chad Johnson is an odd man, there is no doubt about that. His self-aggrandizing celebrations may distract from his teammates, and yes, he may even have a mighty ego. But that is why the Bengals are losing? They've lost key starters on offense, and their defense is just as bad as it was last year, if not worse (how many linebackers are they down to? Two?). Their off-season felonies were something for the record books.

You ignored all of those factors because they got in the way of your central thesis (one I'm sure the Bengal ownership doesn't mind seeing printed) - It's All Chad's fault. Jay Glazer's anonymous source can talk about how the "Chad being Chad" excuse is running out of gas for Bengal management. Does it mean a thing? Are they going to trade away Chad Johnson, because of this incident? They might, I suppose, and they'll be dooming their franchise for years to come, because they will be trading away their most talented player on either side of the ball at the moment. Who gets punished when great receivers get traded? Almost always the team that has given up on them. And not to get totally off-track here, but Jay Glazer isn't Bob Woodward and this isn't Watergate. Does a source "inside the organization" expressing concern that Chad is a showboat with a temper really need to be anonymous?

If the Bengals do stick the blame on Chad Johnson, it is the job of every one watching that team, and reporting on that team, to not just nod sagely and agree, but maybe, just maybe to say, "Umm--what about the stinginess of the owners who won't fix a clearly failed defense?" or "Two healthy running backs to start the season seemed like a bad idea."

So, sure, I'll say that I am sorry that I called you a dick. I didn't mean to offend. No, really--I didn't. It's how this blog works; we're pretty cavalier with our denigrating language. I've called other columnists much, much worse. (Hell, my dickish skepticism has been proven to be quite correct on occasion--with someone with about 50 more years of reporting under their belt than you). I would have thought that after 25 years of sportswriting, you had been called much, much worse too.

I'm sorry that I offended you. I'm sorry if you played years of varsity ball on some level and truly understand what it is like to be on the losing side of an embarrassing loss. In fact, even if you haven't had that experience, I still apologize for using that as a point against you. It was a cheap shot.

But as for you being proved right because of Jay Glazer's anonymous report that Chad Johnson's on-field tirade extended into the locker room at half-time? I don't think that proves much more than Chad's got a temper, and given the amount of Suck coming from that entire team, I don't think he's wrong to be angry. So, no, I will not apologize for being "proven wrong." I don't think I have been. I think the Bengals are pretty desperate to make their problems appear one-player deep, and Chad Johnson has unwittingly jumped right into that role. If they were 3-1 (and they could be, if their defense could stop anybody) then I think your column would not have been written. People wouldn't be complaining about the most dangerous weapon on the team to Jay Glazer.

And perhaps it will work. The inevitable and now announced suspension of Johnathon "Mr. 9th Bengal felony" Joseph certainly hasn't gotten much media attention. Nor, the equally well-sourced report (compared to Glazer's) that Marv Lewis is begging the Bengals to hire a General Manager. And that's just in the last few days of non-Chad Johnson Bengal news.

I think purposefully overlooking the offseason, the defense, and absence of Rudi Johnson in discussing the problems on the Bengals is horsepucky. Even Jay Glazer says the source of the most recent Lewis blow-up was that the entire team was lolly-gagging in practice.

In your email there was a suggestion that your article was about Chad Johnson and team's lack of discipline, which isn't what I read. The article I read suggested (and by suggested, I mean made explicitly clear) that if Chad Johnson would just shut up, everything would be fine. And that's still a very silly thing to suggest, and I don't apologize for pointing it out.

Finally, as you said in your letter, "Twenty-five years of sportswriting experience means more than you realize." That may be true. But I don't think it means as much as you think it does, either. Perhaps, The Truth lies somewhere in the middle--look at me, now I'm writing like a journalist!

Big Blue Monkey

Au Revoir Mssr. Strong

I ran across this story today and was saddened to learn that one of the best names to ever play in the National Football League is being forced to retire after 15 years due to a spinal injury. Mack Strong happened to be a pretty damn good fullback and football player too. It is my hope that the NFL will be a little more helpful to the players of his generation that suffer debilitating injuries, then they have to those who have come before him.
Running headlong into a linebacker or a defensive lineman is a tough assignment, so to do it several dozen times a week for 15 years is a real accomplishment and more than enough to make a real bad MOFO in any era. Mack Strong a fullback not only in name, but practice, I wish you happiness, and an occasional bar brawl to keep up appearances, in your retirement.

Monday, October 08, 2007

IDYFT Cup Update: Noble Redskins Slaughter Endangered Lions

In the first match between Washington and the dreadful NFC North, the Redskins thoroughly spanked Detroit in every phase of the game, exultant in a shimmering 34-3 ass-kicking.

QB Jason Campbell was untouched by Detroit's cheesecloth defense and responded with the most efficient game of his nascent career: 80% completions for 250 yards and 2 TDs. His performance was flawless, poised and confident. This despite being without star WR Santana Moss and WR Antwaan Randle El, who was on his way to another career best (7 for 100) before he injured his hamstring.

The other players responded with key catches, including H-Back Chris Cooley and new WR Keenan McCardell. The run game was in favor of the Redskins by 50 yards and 15 carries and the time of possession obviously followed. FB Mike Sellers, after a terrible showing against the Giants, flattened Lions on his two-TD day.

The defense was relentless and the D-Line had its best day, chumming up five sacks including a safety, two sacks and eight tackles by DE Andre Carter. Carter now has seven sacks in seven games, going back to last year. The LBs made brutal tackles and the hard-hitting secondary obliterated the highly-dubious former #1 passing offense.

Sad sack QB Kitna (the sweetheart of pasty-white loser fantasy owners everywhere) was broken into small, irregularly-shaped pieces. He threw for 100 yards (a 3.6 avg) and 2 INTs, earning a 34.9 passer rating. Remember, throwing ten passes out of bounds will yield a 33.3 passer rating. Kitna wasn't helped by his overhyped WRs, who started the game by falling down immediately to avoid the hit and quickly switched to avoiding the ball at all costs.

No one on Detroit seemed to want the ball after a few hits, which I find extremely gratifying. The Redskins jammed the lanky Detroit WRs, giving the D-Line time to break Kitna. The Lions were 1-10 on third down.

Listen up, because there is a lesson here. It's the same point I've been making about the Lions for years and I raised my voice when they once again selected a WR (Calvin Johnson, 1 catch for 3 yards and a dirty diaper) with their seemingly endless-supply of number-one picks. It doesn't matter whether your WR runs a 4.3 40-yard dash, dumbass, you can't throw the ball if you don't have an offensive line. Fire Millen? They should make him suit up and play QB as punishment.

The teams combined for nine fumbles -- not the sign of two well-oiled machines. The Redskins two-season long inability to seize the bouncing ball is still in evidence, though they closed out the game on INTs.

As flawed as the NFC looks this year, nothing I've seen so far makes me think the Redskins won't have a chance at the postseason if they maintain their combination of intimidating defense, hard running and poised passing.

The AFC still looks entirely dominant. Their best offense is the Patriots, averaging 36.4 ppg. Their best defense is the Steelers, at 9.4 ppg. Over in the NFC it's the Cowboys on O with 35.2 ppg and the Redskins D holding teams to 13 ppg.

1. (tie) Washington Redskins: 1 pt (vs. Det)
1. (tie) Green Bay Packers: 1 pt (vs. MN)
1. (tie) Detroit Lions: 1 pt (vs. MN & Oak, loss DC)
2. Oakland Raiders: -1 pt (loss Det)
3. Minnesota Vikings: -2 pts (loss GB & Det)

Next Sunday's 1 pm (EST) Washington at Green Bay game could be decisive in the 2007 IDYFT Cup. Catch the Excitement!
Newer Posts Older Posts Home