Tuesday, June 30, 2009

FTS Turns One Today!!

I started this blog a year ago today; Hooray! I honestly didn't know if I'd keep it up, but I did and a great cast of contributors has joined me along the way. Thanks for reading.

This week I'll predict some of the big conferences in more detail and, as promised, complete and post a full preseason top-25. Keep checking back and here's to many more years of sports, politics and pop-culture, all enjoyed from a safe distance.

It Wasn't All Arm-Tackling

Many a member of Dawg nation (me included) has criticized Willie Martinez for the GA Tech debacle. On so many plays, a Jacket ball carrier would break away, have open field, see that field closed down by a faster defender but be kept alive by sloppy tackling. So, what should have been 8-12 yard gains (still unacceptable yardage) turned into 50-60 TD runs. Why? Well, yes, arm tackling. You're not bringing down Jonathon Dwyer by slapping a forearm across his tree trunk thighs. You have to wrap up. Where do you learn that? Well, honestly, pee wee leagues. Where should it be further defined and ingrained into your physical programming? High school. Where should it be a constant, unerring action? A thing so basic it just 'is' without coaching? College. And when it's not there, it must be enforced, reprogrammed and players must be corrected and re-educated. We didn't see that. So yes, arm tackling was a problem...but after much reflection and reading things like this, arm tackling is more of athe symptom than the sickness.

The true illness was strategy. The reason so many thought the triple option would fail is that it is old-fashioned and simple. But that's how Johnson thrives with it. When everybody ran it, it was probably easier to adjust to, but now it's an anomaly that is blowing defensive minds. You can't play assignment ball against the Trip.Opt. - at least not Johnson's - because he will adjust. Watch the videos in the Smart Football Piece above. When we had it read correctly and assigned coverages properly, we limited the productivity. But Johsnon countered. And we answered with nothing. Nothing but open field and D'backs caught in headlights. What does that lead to? A soft middle for dives and isos, a jittery outside for sweeps and options, and a strung out defense covering everyone and noone and paying frustrated football. What happens when defenders are frustrated? You guessed it: arm tackling.

I'm not defending Martinez. I'm just saying maybe we're crucifying him a bit early and for the wrong reason. In reality, who should be able to counter the counter? The DC. It's his role as coordinator to catch the change and adapt accordingly. It's this level of strategy that makes football the greatest sport and we came up on the short end of it last year. So in reality it is his responsibility. But the arm tackling is just a part of the bigger beating. The real test will be to see what happens this season, after a year of film, practice and planning. And, chances are, if we don't come ready to dance and Willie-boy can't adjust, our d'backs might jsut arm tackle him into a new job next year.


Here's more. So, Willie Martinez learned to defend the option attack from Dave Wannstedt, who coordinated the 'Canes D in blowout wins over Nebraska and Oklahoma 20 years ago. Here's the problem: Paul Johnson has thrown in more wrinkles and can match wits with any DC. Coach M. cannot rest on the ol' Backbone D of the eighties to stop Tech. He has to adapt and counter more effectively - and efficiently - to win. Another problem? (And this is a purely personal, gut-feeling): But playing in an offensive system like this can be a bit boring at times. There's a lot of formulaic assignments to learn and execute, which can lead to unexcited players. Unexcited players lead to mediocre play and that's what we saw several times from GA Tech last season. What really sucks about this though is that they will ALWAYS be more excited to play us then we will to play them. That's just how it is.

Oh yeah, and the bad tackling; It's being out-coached and arm tackling. This line sums it up best:

"The A-back blocking the safety, plus some bad tackling on Georgia’s part, also led to Tech’s last touchdown." True, true.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Big 10 Expansion: This One Goes to Eleven - but should go to twelve...

With the current state of college football contracts and the post-season shake-out, it's time to realistically look at the Big Ten expanding. This issue is not new, in fact it's been in the air for years (in mean, PSU joined as the eleventh team almost 20 years ago), but it's always been a back-burner concern. However, every year, CFb becomes more and more a big business with records, coaches, bowl bids, championship games, and most profitably, conference revenue and TV contracts, forming the foundations of the industry. The wind has changed and the Big-10 knows it. The question is, what will they do about it?

Joe Paterno has been calling for expanding as quickly as possible, expressing his concern that the longer layoff has been hurting B10 teams. While other big time programs are playing into December, B10 teams are done by T'giving. "Everybody else is playing playoffs on television," Paterno said, and he's right. Playing longer keeps teams in playing shape and, most importantly, a bigger conference would mean a Championship Game - something Big-10 fans would embrace with as much fervor as their SEC counterparts.

Jim Delany, B10 commish, seems hesitant, though. "Just because you have a championship doesn't make you more competitive. ..The SEC game has been a marketing bonanza. I wouldn't discount that. But others have struggled with it." And, he's right. The ACC, MAC and CUSA have not built the excitement the SEC has. But, I think Delany's fears are unfounded. The Big-1o fan base would be as open and supportive of a CG as people in the south or in Big-12 country.

Beyond CG marketing and profit, expansion would strengthen the Big-10's claim at being an elite conference and in addition to their already extensive TV contract, could open a new market or two. Which, while certainly important in ratings and popularity, is absolutely necessary in recruiting.


Now we get to the fun part of this conversation: Who, then, should the Big 10 add to fill out the conference ranks? This could be easily decided if the Minnesota State Screaming Eagles were, in fact, a real team, but their non-existence could prove difficult in filling out a stadium. So, who? Well, let's explore the possibilities.

Notre Dame: This is the most obvious choice, but maybe the least likely to happen...right now, anyway. Face it: The Irish don't need a conference as much as the Big10 needs Notre Dame. While they're a perfect fit, they won't go easily or quickly. I feel Delany's aforementioned hesitance is rooted in patience and not fear. ND has an independent TV contract that's up for renegs soon and many think that could send them looking for a league to call home. If so, I'd bet the commish wants to have a spot open and a welcome mat out and, until then, is happy to dodge and dance around the issue. Next.

Raiding Neighboring Conferences: This, if looking to expand expeditiously, would be the B10's best bet.

The MAC: The team that joins has to be on par with the rest of the league and these little brothers aren't the way to go. Even Northwestern wins 10 games once in a while, I doubt the same could be said for a directional Michigan playing with the bigs. We need to look at other BCS conferences if we're going to got this route.

The Big East:
Cincinnati is right in the heart of B10 country, but what will they really add? I'd bet the Bucks like having the state on lock and the league needs to look for geographic and market expansion with their new addition.

Pitt - If the Panthers were bigger or better, or it was 1981, this would be a no brainer. But, the Fightin' 'Staches aren't a powerhouse or a traditional program anymore, and the Nits already dominate this market. As such, Pitt would be relegated to a 3rd or 4th choice. It would be nice to see PSU-Pitt kick-up again regularly, though.
West Virginia - New Market? Check. Competitive? Check. In fact, on the surface, WVU seems like a fine choice to flesh out the old Western league. But, there's just something about them that doesn't quite fit properly. They're too much Appalachian and not enough Rust Belt. Also, I would bet that the B10 would like to keep their academic profile where it is - the top of FBS - and the 'Neers would definitely put a damper on that.

Rutgers or Syracuse? These teams just don't say "Big Ten" to me. They're too far east and as such are perfect where they are.

OK, granted this is a long shot, but what if the old timers raided their nearest big-time BCS neighbor, the Big-12? Who would likely be the juiciest (yet somewhat attainable) targets?

Iowa State - This would make the Hawkeye-Cyclone in-state rivalry more important as now it would be a league game. You don''t get a new market or any real geographic gain, much like the Pitt option, but unlike that choice, this rivalry is still played regularly and remains intense, enough pros to make it easy for the B10 to look the other way on all the cons.
Missouri - The Tigers have never really seemed to belong to the Big-12 and the state does fit nicely into a geographic nook right under Iowa and beside Illinois. Not only that, but if this was a league game, then the high flying Tiger-Illini series wouldn't have to end in 2010 and the Big10 would gain a HUGE market in St. Louis. Another fine choice.

Who Else?

Navy has been hinted at, and while they'll add to the twin pillars of tradition and academics, they lack the chops to hang regularly with the Ohio States of the world. Not only that, but Annapolis is a bit too far away (see Big East above) and despite their location, the Middies don't bring the DC or Baltimore markets with them. A resounding Meh at this.

More mehs for Marshall, Kentucky and Lousiville (see WVU).

In the end, we all know that Notre Dame is the best fit, but it's just not going to happen quickly enough. Expansion is inevitable. Joe Pa knows it, I know it, and you know it. The Tillers and Tressels can cry foul on the idea and Delany can drag his feet waiting on the Irish to realize it's meant to be, but in the end, it's bigger than all of them. The Big-10 will expand sooner rather than later as TV money and fan bases demand it and if they want to thrive, they'll need to begin taking a proactive stance on it now.


GAWD DAMN IT!!! Bleacher Report posted a peice yesterday on this same exact issue. I guess it's on everybody's mind right now. I should have just sucked it up and finished this post Wednesday when I started on it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Preseason prognosticatin'

This would have been a pretty sweet pic for the cover of this year's game, don't you think? Anyways, onward to the non-pixilated variety of pigskin in my "Waaaaaaaaaay too early picks" for how this year of college football should shape up around 6 1/2 months from now:

1. Florida- I hate to type this out but the greatest player in college football is still leading this team and they return EVERYONE on defense 2x over, God help us.

2. Oklahoma- I think they have something to prove with everyone saying that Texas should have been in.

3. Texas- They didn't impress me against Ohio St. but the Red River shootout will be a classic once again.

4. Ohio St.- I like Pryor

5. USC- Should always be top 5 with Petey twittering in LA

6. Va Tech- Beamer ball abounds

7. Penn State- JoePa adds insult to injury for Bobby

8. LSU- They will win the west

9. Ga Tech- I don't know why, but it will work more so than not I think

10. Boise St.- It has been a minute since they made some noise

11. Cal- I like the rb

12. Bama- I don't like the qb situation

13. Ok St.- They will turn out just like their name in the end

14. UGA- Go dawgs?

15. FSU- Bobby makes a little noise

16. UNC- Butch is doing a good job

17. Notre Dame- What a cake ass schedule

18. Oregon- Consistently the most uniform choices

19. Cinci- Go Cats!

20. TCU- Always dangerous

21. Kansas- No reason

22. Utah- They stay in the conversation most of the time

23. Clemson- Dabo makes good early

24. Nebraska- How the mighty are starting to come back?

25. Miami- Talent has to produce at some point right?

So, there you go. My picks for 09 and I cannot wait for this season but who can?

Monday, June 22, 2009

NCAA '10 Demo - C-a-S is BACK!

I downloaded the demo for the newest installment of EA Sport's NCAA football franchise yesterday and gave it a play. Seeing as how you can only play a shortened version of a rematch between last year's BCS game, I chose Florida and got ready for 8 minutes of football [4 of which I knew would be terrible since the computer goes into urgent,quick-time, hurry-up mode at the actual 2-minute mark (which would translate into a real coach calling Hail Marys around the 8-minute mark of the second quarter), thereby ruining some of the experience] but was met with a new feature right off the bat. Did you follow all that? Good.

So, the new feature. You get to select at kick-offs, time outs, whatevers, how you want your team to play: Aggressive, Normal, or Conservative. You can choose to simply pick one option for the entire team, or choose specific aspects of the game. For instance, aggressive blocking leads to longer blocks, but more holding calls, aggressive running style could break a big play but lead to more fumbles, and so on. It seems cool - for now. But it could be one of those game gimmicks (game-icks?) that really doesn't amount to much down the line, after a season or two's worth of Dynasty play. I never seemed to choose correctly when it came to line play, because the Sooners were digging around in Tebow's pockets right after the snap and Bradford, er, I mean, QB 14 had more time to throw than even Peter Jackson could justify. I hung on to win, however, 17-10 and then explored the rest of the main menu where they tout the new and improved aspects of the game...and this is where I got really excited. There's a feature called "Team Builder" and that floored me as I was always a fan of the "Create-a-School" feature. I used it religiously and wondered why it had disappeared from the franchise, especially since we're getting more powerful consoles and deeper Internet interplay. Well, IT'S BACK!! And, better than ever, mofos.

You get to design your team online, via your computer, not the console, and even upload your OWN LOGOS! No more having to select from the Red Bull infused, Ed Hardy like, shit generic logos EA has. You can design (or rip off the net) whatever floats your boat and incorporate it however you see fit into your uniform and field design. Since discovering this, I've been at it almost non-stop. I couldn't even pull myself away from designing Hillman College's football team (The Cosby Show) while the property manager fixed my bathroom sink. Check it out, get designing, and I'll see you and whatever team you create on the gridiron sometime next month!

The Anderson University Coyotes are ready for some football:

Yes. Yes, it is a shamelessly stolen and paintbrushed Phoenix logo with a circle added to represent a full moon.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Stuff From All Over

1. Georgia State has agreed to play at Alabama on Nov. 20, 2010. Oh yeah, btw, 2010 is their first season of football ever. Can you say MURDER? To make it really interesting, they should have scheduled the Tide for their first game. So, the Bill Curry-SEC drama lives on.

2. Who works on Bethpage's grounds crews - Jesus? Must be to pull off the maintenance miracle they did last night. I mean, yesterday the whole place washed out before noon and looked like Phuket circa 2004. Today, the golfers teed off on an almost perfect, soft-in-good-way, course and have been blistering it.

3. Guys - if you have a girl who likes to pamper her skin but is hesitant to take a 'brogurt' blast facial, read this and get your presentation pitch ready. She'll be begging for it in no time...

4. I've seen The Hangover twice now and it was better the second go round, I think. it's one of the funniest movies I've seen in a while and if you haven't checked it out yet, do so quickly.

5. Fuck, it's HOT outside.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Good Beer Matters!

Be sure to check out Good Beer Matters, a blog described as a" collection of random musings on beer as well as a look at the many amazing craft beers we encounter at Trappeze Pub in Athens, GA and the men and women that make these beers special." It's just up this month and makes for some interesting reading on beer styles, homebrewing, and issues in the beer world. It's run by Eric Johnson of Trappeze Pub here in Athens (let's get on that site design!) and will become a regular read for me. In fact, I've been inspired to go have a beer right now, so good night, and as Eric says, "Think for yourself, drink the beers you love, and never stop exploring."


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

UGA make that paper, yo

UGA earned the 2nd highest revenue in college football and finished in the top 15 for overall athletics income, according to a report earlier this week. You can follow the link for the details, but I think this treat from LSU Freek over at EDSBS is much more entertaining.

Sun Devil Marketing = Hilarious

PLEASE check this out at EDSBS: http://www.everydayshouldbesaturday.com/2009/06/16/theres-something-dennis-erickson-wants-to-show-you/

From the post: "It is all very well done, though we might suggest one modification, brilliant marketing people at Arizona State: a filter. These are all screencaps from various submissions, and are not photoshopped."

And yes, they're right. This video will include whatever you put in. We even got a special 'From The Sidelines' shout out from Coach E himself. It's a lot of fun, even if they cut the 'F' off in the endzone and Sparky's a bit too happy to see me. But, it was a bit off putting having him call my cellphone...

And, of course, a shout out to the big game last season:

Too, too, too much fun.

Looking at Conference and Division Champions

Last week, I did some out loud (in print?) thinking, trying to flesh out my top-12 or so teams for the preseason. Doing it this way helps me think everything through and nail down some specifics that are just floating around in my huge, huge brain. Today, we'll be looking at potential conference/division champions through the regular season. I won't be taking on the actual CG's in the leagues that have them, though.

SEC East - Florida, in a runaway. Georgia will be good and Tennessee will be improved, but no one can hang with the Gators unless Florida allows them to.

SEC West - LSU, edging past the Tide. I think Ole Miss is a bit overrated going into '09.

Big 10 - Ohio State takes it with a win over Penn State on 11/7. A lot of people are taking Iowa as a dark horse, but it seems like they play all the good teams on the road and they love to collapse late.

ACC Atl. - FSU, or maybe Clemson...or NC ST. Not sure yet. This is a tough division to pickl. The 'Noles could easily disappoint and Clemson has flopped too many times to be reliable. The Pack looks like a safe outside shot, but I've always had a soft spot for them since the Rivers days. So, we'll say it's too close to call right now.

ACC Cst. - VA Tech. Easy.

Pac-10 - USC. This is always the simplest conference to pick. Everyone plays everyone else and there's not really any competition for the Trojans at the top.

Big East - Maybe Rutgers, or....shit, I don't know. SoFla? I'd honestly like to pick Cincy here, but I'm just not brave enough to do it. Yet. We'll see at the end of the month.

Big 12 South - Texas. Many people are calling for Oklahoma to finish #2 overall, which is a defacto pick for them to beat Texas. What I don't see is how. Texas, who won this game last year, solidified from last season wile OU lost key starters, especially along the O-line. Of course it is a passionate rivalry that can go either way...

Big 12 North - Nebraska. I just don't see Kansas getting it done, but Colorado and Kansas State look much improved (and play easy schedules). No matter though; I'm taking the Huskers.

MWC - I'll take TCU. I think everyone picking BYU is in for a disappointment..that, and inhaling the fumes left from that controversial '84 title. Now, the Frogs might not go undefeated or make the BCS (at BYU, hosting Utah late - both tough), but they will be a very good team with more talent overall than any team coming from the WAC or CUSA.

Speaking of:

WAC - Boise State by a longshot. The Broncos could be undefeated and go BCS busting again - whether they're better than a 1 or 2 loss team form the MWC or not.

CUSA - East - SoMiss. This is one of the easier picks for me right now. Lots of returning starters, building off of a bowl win, etc.

CUSA - West - SMU - psych! Seriously, I like Houston here, but Tulsa might repeat. A lot of people are making noise for UTEP, but I'm not sure if they can actually do it. Of course, they do have Mike "Roll Tide" Price at the helm...

MAC West - I'll take Dan LeFevour and Central Michigan again this season. Nobody saw Ball State coming last season and I honestly do not think there will be back-to-back surprise teams in this division. That said, though, the Chips do have to play rival W. Michigan on the road and the Broncs were very good (by MAC standards anyway) last season.

MAC East - I don't know. I honestly just don't know much about this division or any of the players or teams in it besides Buffalo. The Buffs were very lucky last season and I don't see them wining it again. No, for this division, I had to do some homework. And, this is the best I came up with: Kent St. or Bowling Green. Why? OL and starters returning for the Zips and faith in a the new coach for the Falcons. This will be a toss-up until final predictions.

Sun Belt - Troy...I guess. The Owls of FA can compete (relatively) and UL-L had a fun run last season, but I have to give it to the men of little-t troy.

Remember: This is only a working draft of picks (Obviously), but I should have it hammered out along with a finalized top-25 by the end of the month.

Friday, June 12, 2009

'Bama Vacates Wins, Gets 3 Years Probation

It was decided yesterday that Alabama football would have to vacate 21 wins over three seasons and be under the super-scrutiny of NCAA probation for 3 seasons. They will not, however, lose any scholarships. Chris Low has had some fun talking about what that means "never happened", including Tyrone Prothro's A-MA-ZING catch against SoMiss. But, does that also mean that his horrendous, disgusting, leg-snapping injury (no vid included, sickos, look it up yourself if you hate humanity that much) against Florida was for nothing? Just a thought.

As far as real effect, there's been much debate whether this is a true punishment or not. The wins go away, but the losses for the other teams do not. Teams don't suddenly become bowl eligible or get better bowl games. So, some would say, 'What's the Point?' But, others say it means more in the Internet/win-loss coaching clause era of CFB.

By the way, it's worth reading both of the pieces to get a little extra insight into this situation and athletic-castigation in general. Clay Travis' piece explains the actual infraction in clearer detail, as well.


UPDATE: Here's a list of the vacated wins:

Middle Tennessee
Southern Miss
South Carolina
Utah State
Mississippi State
Texas Tech (Cotton Bowl)

Ole Miss
Florida International

Western Carolina

They do, apparently, get to keep the '07 Tennessee blowout win (h/t Clay Travis).

Hotty Toddy, Gosh Almighty, Who the Hell is She?

Flim Flam, Bim Bam, She Thinking she's (unintelligible lyrics)...?

Maybe I spoke to soon about Ole Miss' chances next season. Powered by this rap video there's no limit to how high the Rebels can soar.

BTW, this video alone has brought racial relations in Mississippi at least to the 80's.

It's Getting Worse for Joe

There are rumors swirling now that Stephen Sommers has been removed from wrapping up the GI Joe film. Supposedly a test screening bombed, atomic style, and forced the personnel change. It has been reported that it was one of the worst testings in Paramount's history, which has forced much unplanned post-production. All this, of course, has been refuted by producer di Bonaventura who says none of this has happened and that the screening went very well. Either way, Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner is reportedly distancing himself from the project. Though, all this is kinda his fault for going with a shitty script that was rushed due to the writers' strike. You know, The Transformers was awesome and the sequel looks great. You cannot honestly tell me that it's impossible to do that with the Joe franchise. Maybe this will bomb so badly that we can just reboot the whole damn thing in a few years and pretend this whole photo-shopped sunglasses turd never happened. Or, maybe they'll really clean it up in post...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What happened to patient 67?

I saw this trailer for Scorsese's new movie today and I have to say that I'm intrigued. This clip seems even more apropos since The Moviegoer and I were actually just discussing Dennis Lehane today. That, and I just discovered The Wire on DVD, and Lehane wrote a few episodes. I enjoyed both the Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone adaptations, but must admit I've never actually read any of the author's original material. Shutter Island looks more like a Gothic horror tale than his usual depressing, "value-of-life", Boston-based mysteries. Honestly, it seems a bit atypical for ol' Marty boy to direct as well, but it's got Leo and his fake Southie accent, has a hint of Lovecraft and looks sufficiently creepy and entertaining. Check it out:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Videogamer, Vol. V

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings (Wii)

Joaj and you other XBox 360/PS3 owners shouldn't feel bad about not getting the new Indy game. It's riddled with the sorts of videogame problems you never notice until faced with them. Inconvenient checkpoints, shoddy controls, and general bugginess are far more dangerous than the Germans (calling them Nazis is apparently verboten) Indy is up against.

A good, old-fashioned Indiana Jones adventure (Indy's after Moses' Staff of Kings), decent production values (voice actor John Armstrong is spot-on vocally), and some creative game play are wasted. I enjoyed the on a rail shootouts, but I wouldn't have made it past the 2nd (of 6) levels if not for the Indiana Jones license. 

Staff of Kings is just another fine example of how ill-fitting motion controls are for most games. The whip motions seemed to default to the feet (the least devastating attack) and the motorcycle finale is the most creatively awful control scheme ever devised (you hold the Wiimote and the Nunchuk at 10 and 2 and turn). I didn't care for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess's controls, and they were tight and well-designed. Microsoft's Project Natal scares the crap out of me. For most games, I just want to mash buttons on a regular controller.

I give Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings 3 whips out of 10. It's only worth fighting through the flaws if you're a diehard Indy fan. (I am excited about playing Indy's classic adventure, Fate of Atlantis, which is a nice unlockable.) 

Bonus WiiWare coverage:

Swords and Soldiers. Play as cartoon Vikings, Mayans, or Chinese and conquer your opponents in silly, engaging real-time strategy. Emphasis on the fun but no pushover.

Lit. The scariest $8 game I've ever played. In this intriguing puzzle-action hybrid, you play as a high school student searching for his girlfriend in a dark-infested school. Chilly and original.

Top-12; Fleshed Out a Bit

I've been thinking a lot about next season and mentally revising and restoring (and then re-revising) my top-10 from last week. Well, I finally realized that I can use this blog to sort-of 'think out loud' about all this until I can hammer down a more polished and finite top-25 some time in August.

I'm standing by most of my top 10 (or, at least 5), and here's why:

1 and 2:

Florida is one of the most obvious preseason #1's in recent memory. Harvin's their only real loss, and one that can be easily patched with all the speed stocked up down there. Tebow's back and, this bears numerous repeating, Strong has every defensive player back on the entire 2 DEEP!. Now, hopefully, the new off-season offensive re-working won't hinder what comes naturally to St. Timothy and Meyer's game plan. If that transition goes smoothly, Florida might run the table through the regular season.

The Achilles Heel for this team is not it's talent, roster, or coaching. It's the brutal conference in which they play. The Gators very easily could (and probably will) lose a game in the meat grinder of SEC ball while Texas and Ohio State could roll through their slates unscathed, dropping the Gators to the Sugar Bowl.

Texas is, in my opinion, the most natural choice for the BCS game outside the Gators. This idea is nothing new as almost everybody has them picked in this spot, but the reasoning I'm seeing is just wrong minded. Many a pundit is talking up the 'Horns chances 'because OU is down.' my thing is, Who gives a shit if Oklahoma is down? Have we all forgotten that Texas beat the Sooners last season? They should have gotten the Big 12 CG nod last season and they'll be on a revenge run this year with McCoy at the helm behind a great O-line. All they need is a little defense to squash the shootouts that have recently become en vogue in this conference and they should be home free.

3, 4 and 5:

Speaking of Texas, remember how close they came to losing to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl? With Pryor securely at in charge, this team will be big trouble. I think they could knock off SC in Columbus (remember Texas a few years back?), run the B10 past PSU and challenge Texas and Florida for the Title. They're kind of in an opposite spot from Texas, in that all that they need is an offense to win a league that has recently become quite defensive.

Why do I have Ohio State ranked ahead of USC? See above. I think this is a good year to pick against the Trojans in a big game as they go on the road to a feisty Bucks squad. But they'll still cream Notre Dame and make a run for the title themselves.

Earlier I discussed an Achilles heel for Florida and here it is: LSU. According to my crystal ball, these teams will meet twice and the Tigers will probably take one of them. While everybody else picks Ole Miss or Bama to win the West, I fall back on my regular fave and pick the Bengals of Baton Rouge. It will come down to the 11/7 showdown with the Tide, but Miles and Co. will want revenge for the OT loss. It will be bigger than Saban this time and the Tigers should be business as usual in '09.

What Else?:

Oklahoma. This is a tough call. I mean, they're Oklahoma for fuck's sake and could just as easily steam through the league as Texas. But...I'm worried about their defense and O-line. they got gouged for points time and again last season and have lost a lot up front. I honestly think they'll lose at least 2 games, a dramatic, close call to Texas and a shootout to T.Tech or State.

I think I have VA Tech this high because I suffer from the pre-season disease most of us do: "Why shouldn't the ACC champion be in the top-10" disorder. So, I put them at 7. But in reality, I'm not confident on this one. I think their D will be as stout as ever, but what does that mean? The game with Bama will be a loss -a closer one than we think right now,though - and they'll drop 2 or so more (like maybe b2b against UNC and GT). So, they shouldn't be this high after all, I guess.

Here's one Steele and I actually agree on - Cal. I believe the Bears will have close calls with Oregon and SC, beat up the softer PAC-10 teams en route to a late show down with Oregon State and finish 10-2 behind Jahvid Best (Heisman Hype-full).

Don't Sleep On:

Alabama might have the best defense in all of CFB this season. That's a great weapon to have and my preference in the timeless O vs. D debate. However, the losses on offense will cost them in big games (LSU) and I see them as a s0lid #2 in the West.

I think the Big-10 might be in a little upswing this season. The Bucks look poised for another title run and Penn State looks to be running right along with them. Clark and Royster broke out last season and should carry a very dangerous offense through a pretty easy schedule. Like the SEC West, I see the B10 being decided on 11/7 (v. OSU).

Why's and Why Not's:

Why am I the lone prognosticator not drinking the kool-aid on Ole Miss? Because I know SEC football and Houston Nutt. What Ole Miss did down the stretch was nice, but without beating UF, they're no where near this heralded. I mean, what else did they do? Beat a collapsing LSU team and exposed the truth about Texas Tech? Big. Whoop. They also lost to Vandy, SoCar, and Wake early. You can argue close losses all you want, but I see more of the same this year and 8-4 will not do the princess as proud in '09. The Rebs will be 3rd in the West.

Notre Dame will finish 10-3. They have one of the most inexcusably easy schedules in D1 and enough returning players not to fuck it up. Clausen and a mature O-line could actually play their way out of a wet paper bag this year and that's all they'll really have to do for us to give them a BCS game. They'll be sandbagged by someone early and murdered by SC to reach 10 wins in the RS before being matched-up against a much better team in a big bowl...where they'll be re-murdered by whoever they play.

Who's the best non-BCS team? IMO, it's gotta be TCU. Everybody's riding BYU again this year, but don't buy it; take the Horned Frogs. Utah's down and the Cougs will be battered by their non-conf (OU, FSU) before the 10/24 match up with TC.

Lastly, I'll admit that Oregon was a stretch in the top-12. I was reaching a bit...but it's not impossible. I know the new coach and minimal returning starters are big warning signs, but we've seen the Ducks do more with less in the past. That, and I needed a #12.

Closer to Home:

What about Georgia being that high? Well, it's an odd numbered year which makes things easier for us schedule wise in the conference and no one's really looking at us as a contender, all of which plays right into Richt's hands. Stafford and Moreno are big losses, but we always have QB's and RB's in the stable and the D should be tighter (as long as Martinez has reinforced the radical defensive idea of 'tackling' this off season). If we go 10-3 this season, it'll be a surprise to most, but not me.

Comments, concerns, questions? You know what to do.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Here We Go Now!

Phil Steele's preseason mag came out this week, but I have not picked it up yet. Once I do, the summer time, pre-season picking, top-25 editing will begin in earnest. So, to ease into the transition, here's a quick top-10 (or...11...or 12...).

1. Florida - They lost Harvin, but the D's returning 22-deep and speed's never in short supply in G'ville.

2. Texas - The differences between the 'Horns and OU for me is O-line and QB. Bradford shouldn't have won the Heisman and the Sooners should have never been in the BCS Title game. I'll take McCoy and a line with 90+ starts.

3. Ohio State - If Tressel lets Pryor off the leash a bit (like he did in the Fiesta Bowl) things should be coming Roses in Columbus.

4. USC - Why Not?

5. LSU - Trust me on this one. It's not gonna be Ole Miss or Bama.

6. Oklahoma - Could be higher

7. VA Tech - This is a gamble. Will a true, powerhouse ACC team actually compete?

8. Cal - RISKY; But, Best is best.

9. Alabama - We'll see - a strong returning D ad easier schedule for a team that did complete an SEC reg. Season undefeated.

10. Penn State - After last season's run, i see good things in the Nitts' future.

And then,

11. Notre Dame - Are they really the 11th best team? Fuck, no. But they have a SOFT schedule and will be in a BCS bowl (getting blown out, of course).

12. Oregon

13. TCU

14. Georgia

Ummm, not sure what's next....or how long these picks will stay like this. There's some risky shit up there, I know, but it's all part of the process.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Something just looks terrible about this.

There were some really cool and fun things that could have been done with this franchise on the big screen. Just ask The Moviegoer, he has a great three-film-treatment that blows this away. I mean, one of the most important and dramatic story lines in all of Joe-dom is the Storm Shadow/Snake-Eyes relationship, back story and everything that unfolded from it throughout the franchise. If you really wanted to make a real, earnest run at a GI Joe film, they should have looked no further than the Marvel comic that launched with the 3-inch, Real American Hero toy line in the 80's...especially issue 21.

the famous silent issue

Now, I hope I'm wrong and this is actually a good movie - I just doubt that'll happen. It looks like a festival of incorrect origins, crappy battle suits, and generic action movie tropes. I will say, though, the effects look cool and whatever that rust/rot shit is bringing down the Eiffel Tower is cool(But I'd still like to see the Broadcast Energy Transmitter).

Ah, well - I just hope they don't mix up Blow Torch and Snow Job.


The girls are out, losing last night 3-9 in the elimination game with Washington. So, the Huskies will meet the Florida Lady Gators in the CWS final series. Alas, no Georgia diamond squad will hoist a trophy this season....oh, well; Football's right around the corner!