Thursday, September 29, 2011

Weekly Picks


Pitt 23, SoFla 22 - UPSET ALERT! I've heard Thursday night described as the place ranked teams go to die. I'm afraid this could hold true tonight in Steel Town. Truly, there's no reason the Panthers should be able to pull this one out, but it's almost October and it's a weeknight game: weird - shit - happens.

Houston 45, UTEP 19 - Case and the Cougs roll. I wouldn't normally have picked this game at all, but, hey, fuck it, there's not a lot to choose from on a Thursday night.


BYU 40, Utah State 31 - Put the Cougars on UPSET ALERT, but still pick them to pull it out. The Aggies have had two close losses and would love to close out an FBS opponent, but I think BYU feels they've got something left to prove and would love to do that tomorrow night in Provo.


Arkansas 38, Texas A&M 30 - I'd love to see the Aggies win, but I don't see it happening. That one point loss to OKSt took a lot out of A&M and it might be hard to get back up for the showdown in Arlington. The Razorbacks on the other hand just got pissed off by that embarrassment against Alabama last week and will be wanting to take their frustration out on the nearest target.

LSU 44, Kentucky 12 - Cake walk. Which is just when the grass is pulled out from under you, ay, Les?

Boise State 47, Nevada 21 - Boise State remembers last season. That OT loss kept them from a BCS bowl - and possibly the BCS Championship - and Kellen and Co. would love to stomp a mud hole in the 'Pack as pay back. Look for the Broncos to be amped up at home on the blue turf, too.

Auburn 31, South Carolina 30 - UPSET ALERT. Both of these teams have been a little down so far this year. Despite their 4-0 mark, the Gamecocks have looked like a mediocre team at times. Especially disappointing has been pre-season darling Stephen Garcia, whose 3/7 ration makes me think even Auburn's "Roof on fire" defense could stop him. Melvin Ingram will have another TD, somehow, but the Tigers will convert a fake punt somewhere to make up the difference. This one should have all the crazy you can handle.

Virginia Tech 27, Clemson 26 - It's time now, Dabo. Everyone knows it; you, me, the Hokies. It's been fun and all, beating Auburn and Florida State, but Bud Foster has the narrative for the rest of your season folded up neatly in his lunch pail.

Alabama 24, Florida 13 - Florida looks like the best team in the SEC East right now. Maybe not so much after Saturday. This one's for Will "Fan Boy" Muschamp: No match for Saban are Muschamp and Weis; suffocated by the Tide D will they be. There is no try; do ro do not. And the Gators will not.

Wisconsin 27, Nebraska 17 - Russell Wilson, his 2,000 pound line and his two thousand yard backs are tired of hearing how overrated they are. Nebraska is a good team, but anything coached by Bo Pelini and QB'd by Tyler Martinez seems like it's one bad play from full on dumpster fire. The Blackshirts will do the best job of containment we've seen all season, but it won't be enough. E'ry day we Russell'n!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Let's Talk About Expansion

Well, it looks like conference expansion has heated up to a point of no return now. Syracuse and Pitt have made a jump to the ACC and A&M has officially been added to the SEC. Whether you like it or not, it's happening all around you and now it's time for the FTS take on what direction the SEC should go for a 14th team. You might not like what I have to say, but if your biggest argument is tradition, you obviously hate expansion anyway and your opinion is moot. Me, I'm looking forward and seeing great potential in this shake up, especially when it comes to giving the SEC even more power in the world of cfb.
  • First, I like Texas A&M. No matter who - well, almost - a Texas team is a boon to the conference. The state's population addition on its own, 20 million+, is enough to make a Lone Star add-on worthwhile, but the Aggies in particular are an attractive draw. A large chunk of that number is A&M fans. In fact, the Aggies have a large fanbase across the entire country; a little over 2 mil, actually. That makes it the largest fanbase in the entire conference. How is that not a great addition? The Aggies also have tradition. They played their first game in 1894, have an overall winning record, a National Title, and a Heisman winner. And, for you academics, they're an AAU school (making it only the 3rd in the SEC after Vandy and Florida) and would enter as the second highest ranked school after Vandy. It's the complete package and will make beaucoup cash for an already dominant conference.

  • Who should be the 14th team? I say screw 14, go 16. A sixteen team, four division conference is where it's at. As the first conference to go to twelve, split into divisions, and add a championship game, the SEC should be the first to add a divisional semi-final round. Of course, there's the revenue argument again; lots of money would roll in off those two extra games. Especially if they were played at neutral sites and operated as mini-"bowls" for the conference coffers. But you also add a whole new experience to the game. Conference championships are fun, imagine the fan experience in a play-in scenario. Bayou Bengal fans traveling and tailgating in Atlanta, Dallas, Jacksonville, Tampa, Charlotte, Memphis, wherever - it's awesome.
  • Criteria: My choices for expansion candidates are based on a few things. I want states contiguous to the current SEC but avoid those that are distinctly "northern" or already too culturally aligned with a traditional power. So, West Virginia and Missouri schools are fine, Indiana or Ohio schools not so much. I'm thinking stay east of the Brazos River and south of the Ohio River. Next, I want schools in states where there is no current SEC member - states that already have SEC schools bring nothing to the table. Money comes from untapped areas, not states already firmly under SEC control; we're empire building, not adding on a breakfast nook. Besides, the current members are ready to block any in-state expansion. SoCar will block Clemson, Florida will block FSU, UGA will block GT (and GT should not get an invite on principle - they had their membership and quit. Losers.), so why even open that can of worms? I'd also like better academics if we can get it, but it's not a back breaker if the other factors fit.

  • Before I give you my picks, a quick note on TV/money/expansion. The real money for television rights doesn't come from your big games - it comes from the small ones; the Tier 3 games. The entire country can watch Tier 1 and Tier 2 SEC games on CBS or ESPN. The extra money comes from selling the smaller games. Right now, each school handles their own T3 games themselves - think the Peachtree TV nooner - and they bring in a decent amount of money doing it. Outside of SEC territory, it doesn't make as much - almost 20x less. If you could package them into a new TV deal combined with the rebidding/renegotiations caused by expansion, you could really increase profits across the entire league. You also prevent ESPN from trying to ruin another league like they did with the Longhorn network. For more on this aspect, check out this Clay Travis piece; he explains it better than I can.

So, if we're going sixteen, who do we get? My votes using my criteria above: Missouri, NC State, and Virginia Tech.

  • There are A LOT of Mizzou haters out there, but I don't think they're thinking about everything that makes up the game today, especially on the business side of things. The state has a population of 6 million and a lot of that is concentrated in two major urban areas: St. Louis and Kansas City. That's a whole new state - arguably two with KC straddling the border the way it does - watching, consuming, and buying subscription rights to SEC games. As a football program, they'll be healthily competitive in the middle of the pack with only one direction to grow with new conference pipelines into states like Louisiana and Florida. True, Oklahoma is a powerhouse dripping with tradition, but with Missouri, you get to add to your middle class, you don't have an annoying in-state add-on (OK St.) to worry about, and you don't get any prima donna preconceptions. Oh yeah, Mizzou's also an AAU school with academic standing higher than most SEC'ers. You can argue geography, and it's certainly a legitimate concern, but it's not big enough of a problem to exclude the Tigers. They're further east than College Station and not that much further north than Lexington. Do they fit perfectly? No. Could they blend in sooner rather than later? Absolutely. Plus, most people don't realize that Missouri shares a border with Tennessee - imagine the fun cross-division rivalry you could build there.

  • On to NC State. Yes, they're a weaker draw than UNC and Duke who would bring strong basketball. But let's be real, this is a football decision and we all know it. Any added basketball incentives are just icing. And, the fact that they don't quite blend in with the other two makes them a good pick-up. UNC-Duke will never leave the ACC. State might. Once again, you get a new state in the conference footprint, but one that's geographically viable for the SEC. They bring a population over 6 million and the markets of Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham. Not too shabby. Not only that, but they're a solid middle-class addition, program wise, and should be easy to get. I'd bet they're tired of living in the athletic shadow of Tobacco Road and would enjoy finally having something the other guys don't. Academically, they don't bring much, but I'd be willing to overlook that for how good of a fit the Wolfpack are otherwise. They feel just like South Carolina did back in '91.

  • Lastly, Virginia Tech. This should be pretty self-explanatory. They always field a good team, and it would only get better with new pipelines into the recruit rich SEC. They'd become another natural rival for Tennessee and they haven't been in the ACC long enough to truly feel at home. It's almost too perfect. As far as we know, there's no rabid legislators waiting to force a Virginia tag-along so it seems now that it's just a matter of an invitation. The high academic standing, large state population, and access to new markets doesn't hurt anyone, either.

As a consolation prize, I would accept West Virginia. The school's fair at best, the state's small, secluded, with a small population, and no major markets, but the Mountaineers have a rabid fanbase and a solid program.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Final Why Not? Rankings

1. Tyrann Mathieu - the king of "hidden yardage."
2. LSU-BAMA - I can't decide. Only god can judge them, now.
3. Oklahoma - I guess. Please, someone, beat Big-Game Bob so we can end this charade.
4. Boise State - It's amazing how many people just straight up HATE on this team.
5. Stanford - More than luck.
6. Florida - Are you gonna catch Rainey and Demps?
7t. Cool Weather
  t. Oktoberfests
  t. Scary Movies
  #Autumn, baby
10. Hashtags
11. Georgia Tech - Once again, are you going to stop them?
12. Wisconsin - Can't wait to hear the excuses when they WAX Nebraska.
13. Vontaze Burfict's mental games against Matt Barkley
14. A&M to the SEC
15. Robert Griffin III - Has more touchdowns than he does incompletions. Yes, you read that right.
16. Nebraska - This will be a nice place holder until Saturday
17. Oregon - LSU keeps making them better and better
18. South Florida 
Wheel-about-to-fall-off division:
19. Michigan
20. Oklahoma State
21. Clemson
22. South Carolina
23. Illinois
The Tail End
24. Late night BBQ in downtown Athens
25. Winning Sports Trivia and getting ready to defend the title

Tuesday Night QB

I know it's late, but I got a little caught up with some things and then didn't feel like doing shit after work yesterday. But, now I'm a little more rested and realxed and ready to rehash the weekend.

Alabama and LSU are the best teams in the country. Alabama didn't just beat Arkansas - which is a little impressive on its own - they completely shut the Hawgs down. Offensively, they dominated the line of scrimmage and Richardson averaged over 7 ypc on the ground en route to a 200+ total yard performance. I'm remembering why this was my Heisman favorite on my number one team. What I didn't see in the off-season was how strong this LSU team would be. What they've done outside of Baton Rouge to ranked opponents makes me fear what they'll do to un-ranked foes inside Tiger Stadium. Now that I've written this, watch Les stumble over Kentucky...

I think Florida is the best team in the SEC East. It has some to do with the success they've found so quickly under new management and some to do with how spotty South Carolina has been. Honestly, SoCar was outplayed by Georgia. But we learned Saturday that Richt is content to play Richt-ball, choking kickers and hot seats be damned, so count out a late season Bulldog surge. Kentucky's wretched and Vandy can't quite close, so right now, it's all Gators. If they really want to impress me, beat 'Bama this weekend.

Oklahoma State - Texas A&M was a great game. Too bad our new brothers in College Station came up short. To their credit, Blackmon is ALWAYS OPEN ALWAYS. At least now I don't have to feel guilty pulling for the Aggies over Arkansas this weekend.

Well, it's finally time for Wisconsin to shine. It seems like everybody has been joining the chorus of "Yeah, they're good, but they haven't played anybody" and Wilson and Co. are in a perfect place to shut them up. The transfer QB has looked sharp and focused and the O-line still moves mountains, opening holes for twin thousand yard backs. I have been in love with how they've been winning more than who they've been beating. I feel like Nebraska's going to need to on fire for their fB1G welcome.

Denard gon' Denard, brah - don't try and stop it and certainly don't try and predict how.

Vontaze Burfict is the best defensive player not in the SEC West...if not the best period. He also has trouble with rules, limits, velocity control, skittles addiction, and RAGE. If I lined up across from him and he pointed at me, I'd just hand him the ball, retire my helmet, and take up kite-flying. The Sun Devils are a close loss to Illinois away from 4-0 and should not be overlooked out west.

Yes, that's right, Illinois. They are 4-0, even though they almost Zook'd it up this weekend. I guess his players actually want to win now.

When will the wheels fall of for Clemson? This weekend in Blacksburg seems like a good guess.

Round-Up: Toledo got screwed, Maryland got waxed, Godspeed, coach Kill, Will Muschamp does not like Star Wars, stop asking, pink slips are being printed in Oxford as we speak, and seriously what took so long to fire Mike Locksley? Seriously...?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Weekly Picks

Thursday Night

Cincinati 36, NCSt 27 - The Bearcats will win, put there will be some ugly spots in this game. O'Brien's sketchy punt calls and some serious Cincy interceptions. Somehow there will still be a lot touchdowns scored, though.

Friday Night

BYU 20, UCF 17 - These teams are both coming off serious disappointments, especially the Cougs who coughed up the ball 7 times en route to a 10-54 thrashing at the hands of Utah. I think this will be relatively boring with BYU pulling out the win.


Michigan 33, SDSU 23 - This summer, I picked SDSU to upset the Wolverines in the Big House. I AM NOT standing by that. Watch for the Aztecs to make some noise, but they won't be able to compete athletically. I'll take Shoelace to secure the victory.

Georgia Tech 34, UNC 21 - Why not? The Jacket offense is ROLLING right now and I don't see a depleted Tarheel D stopping them.

Notre Dame 27, Pitt 24 - The Irish getting back on track with two-in-a-row.

Georgia 31, Ole Miss 17 - CMR needs to win this one. I'm being a little conservative with the points; I think the Dawgs could score way more. Me thinks I smell a dumpster aflame in Oxford...

Alabama 33, Arkansas 20 - I have a feeling that the Tide will be clicking on all cylinders this Saturday. Arkansas will be a scrappy team, led by their offense, but they won't be anywhere near enough.

Texas A&M 41, OKSt. 37 - This could honestly go either way. If the Aggies can't find an answer to Blackmon, the Pokes could very easily take the W.

Clemson 26, FSU 23 - As far as we know, Manuel' s still out. For me, that's enough to pick a Tiger team that's surging over a 'Noles squad that's slumping.

South Carolina 30, Vanderbilt 20 - This will be a boring game.

Oklahoma 41, Missouri 23 - Sooners roll.

LSU 30, West Virginia 13 - Things could get crazy in Morgantown: Holgo, Les Miles, that nasty Tiger D, and these two fan bases lubed up on stadium beer. Right now, this pick is all about LSU's defensive play. I don't see the 'Neers being the team to find a way through it. 

Oregon 44, Arizona 17 - The Ducks will quietly roll to 11-1 and the PAC-12 championship.

Arizona State 27, USC 26 - Take the Vontaze and the points!

Vontaze likes Skittles...and quarterback rib particulate.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Early Leans

  • Cincinati 36, NCSt 27
  • BYU 20, UCF 17
  • Michigan 33, SDSU 23
  • Georgia Tech 34, UNC 21
  • Notre Dame 27, Pitt 24
  • Georgia 31, Ole Miss 17
  • Alabama 33, Arkansas 20
  • Texas A&M 41, OKSt. 37
  • Clemson 26, FSU 23
  • South Carolina 30, Vanderbilt 20
  • Oklahoma 41, Missouri 23
  • LSU 30, West Virginia 13
  • Oregon 44, Arizona 17
  • Arizona State 27, USC 26

Monday, September 19, 2011

Week 3 Why Not? Rankings

1. James Beam - a man for ALL seasons.
2. Oklahoma - beat Florida State
3. LSU - dear lord that defense
4. Alabama - a quiet and unassuming terror
5. Boise State - precision
6. Wisconsin - Everyday I'm Russell'n
7. Bulliet Bourbon - had it on flight of bourbons; it won h2h against all comers.
8. Beef - it's what's for dinner
9. Nebraska - a reckoning will be had in Madison
10. Florida - how is this truly more ridicuouls than having SoCar this high this early?
11. Lee Corso picking OU
12. Stanford - just lost their best defender for the year
13. Texas A&M
14. Oklahoma State
15. The upcoming Texas A&M - OK State match-up
16. Dan Mullen's white hot RAGE /cowbells in the background
17. South Carolina - how patriotic to keep Navy in the game
18. Clemson - They look a lot better than VA Tech now
19. Maker's Mark - great neat, better with a splash of spicy ginger ale
20. South Florida - is it a hate crime to beat on HBCU like that?
21. Arkansas - Alabama's making bacon this weekend
22. Baylor - keep an eye on that Iowa State showdown
23. West Virginia - Holgo's Hillbillies like vicodin, air rifles, and cheese sticks
24. Oregon - pay no attention to the Ducks...
25. Michigan - No directional school can stand up to the SHOELACE

Monday Afternoon QB

This will be pretty short. I kept a very close eye on the Georgia-Coastal Carolina game, but shortly thereafter, everything got real blurry. First, the Thursday game. Dear god did LSU's defense look good. And Alabama's is supposed to be even better? What's in the Mississippi River runoff?

On to Saturday. Ole Miss looked like a train wreck in Nashville; I hope they're as generous with the ball this Saturday when the Dawgs come knocking. Auburn's defense was an especially orange shade of on fire at Clemson; thankfully they get a pretty terrible FAU squad to rebound this week.

On, Wisconsin. I know No. Illinois is not a powerhouse, but I was really thinking this game would be their annual, early-year, near toe-stubbing. Not so. Russell Wilson dropped almost 350 and both backs topped 90 yards in the 49-7 romp. That Wisky-Nebraska game will be HUGE...or should I say B1G.

Bourbon is delicious.

The night game: Oklahoma won. That's about all I remember. I know a backup came in and another player got seriously injured. Then I went home and passed out at my desk.

RIP to the Big Twelve and the Big East. Surely these conferences' days are numbered, with the Super Pac-16 rumors recirculating and Syracuse and Pitt jumping to the ACC. UConn and Rutgers are running fast behind the Orange and the Panthers and TCU is wondering what the hell just happened.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

David Bennett Got His Dawgs.

A win is a win, even it comes against the likes of Coastal Carolina. The win is nothing to get too excited about, but how we won makes me ecstatic. I only noticed a few questionable things and the execution was crisp all the way around. It was a fun match-up, too - with Georgia having donated the equipment that Coastal used to start their program. And I learned more about the chanticleer mascot; a chanticleer rooster actually does have blue-ish feathers in and around the tail and the mascot name was inspired by Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Pretty Cool.

What wasn't cool? The kicking game. I know Walsh nailed a 56-yarder and all, but that first miss was atrocious. That makes three misses so far and we're only through three games. This is something that could bite us right in the ass in a close game. Also, the first offenive play call was questionable. Why run what's basically a wide receiver screen to start the game against an FCS opponent? I don't mind passing a lot early to help Murray find a rhythm, but let him use his athletes against inferior coverage - run deeper routes; they'll be open. Speaking off Murray, it seems like he's, well, just missing something. It feels like there's been no growth or improvement since last year. Very troubling.

I was also a little angry we went with Carlton Thomas so much when we're trying to establish Crowell as our feature back. But, that one became a little clearer when we saw the trainers seeing to Crowell on the sideline...I'm very concerned that this nagging injury thing could eventually sideline him for good. If that happens, add him to the junk heap of busted backs that have come through here. Something else: just go ahead and switch either Crowell or Smith to no. 21; then you can use them at the same time. Imagine the pays you could run out of a Smith-Boykin-Crowell package.

Now, I don't just want to complain and criticize. There were a lot of good things yesterday. We did shut them out, which is always nice, even against an FCS team. The defense showed some speed and Grantham deployed some fun sets, with Jenkins at end some and mixing up the front, with as few as two and as many five men playing down. We still didn't get a sack, but we did force some bad throws with pressure. Overall, a good day deensively.

Lastly, get well soon, Larry!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Weekly Picks

Thursday Night

LSU 30, Mississippi 22 - This a true Thursday night treat! It would be even better had the Other Dawgs had pulled it out last week, but I'll take weeknight SEC football where I can get it...especially with two ranked opponents. I have a feeling that Mullen's boys will be a little pissed heading into this game and charge out with enough jacked-up energy to make it a game. But, I just don't think it will be enough to knock off Les Miles and his grass-jinn voodoo. Tigers late.

Friday Night

Boise State 44, Toledo 13 - The Broncos might be a little rusty when they take the field in Toledo tonight, but I doubt it. Last week might not have been an anomaly and Toledo could be that scrappy, but I doubt it. Kellen Moore could have a tragic Coach-style high-fiving accident and be unable to play, but I doubt it. Broncos look sharp all night and ground the rockets.


West Virginia 31, Maryland 23 - The Terps will be in another uniform combo this weekend; this time, it's the all-blacks (which are kinda bad-ass). There's something I like about this Maryland squad, but I don't think they'll have enough mojo to fend off Holgo's Hillbillies.

Auburn at Clemson - I'm gonna say lightning won't strike thrice and Auburn finally loses. From the summer picks: "The '07 CFA Bowl, this 2010-'11 home and home, and the 2012 CFA kick-off classic; this cat fight's becoming quite the rivalry. Last year was a hard-fought, OT come back for Cam and crew that left Kyle Parker picking up pieces of lung. This year, Auburn has lost most of that BCS title team and Clemson brings back a lot of talent. While I don't think AU will struggle as much as Phil Steele does, I do think Death Valley gets the better of them. Clemson 29, Auburn 24"
Nebraska 30, Washington 13 - I think this will be less like the Holiday Bowl, and more like last year's regular season match-up. The Huskies might be 2-0, but they've certainly struggled to get there, including a squeaker over an FCS team. Nebraska didn't look great against Fresno State, but the ship will get righted this week and the blackshirts will be hungry. I've adjusted a bit from my early lean and picked a lower scoring affair, but it's still pretty much all Huskers.

Wisconsin 27, No. Illinois 16 - Yes, Wisconsin will win. Yes, it will be ugly. This is basically a home game for Northern, as the game will be at Soldier Field, and the Badgers are due for their early season odd job. It will be an ugly game at the half, but things will even out a bit for Wilson and Co. late. Double digits? Yes. Impressive? No.

Michigan State 31, Notre Dame 30 - HAHAHA

Florida 23, Tennessee 20 - Amongst all the talk about South Carolina and their clear path to ATL, Florida has unassumingly handled their cupcakes with juggernaut aplomb, sharpening their teeth for conference play. Tennessee has looked good in spurts, especially Bray, but Precious' boys won't be ready for the Swamp. They'll make it a game late, but Muschamp steal this one.

Texas 26, UCLA 24
- The Horns have Gilbert in the rearview and soon, the Bruins will have Rick Neuheisel in theirs.

Oklahoma at Florida State - This is INSANITY. Logically, I know FSU won't win, but my gut keeps telling me to pick 'em. So, once again, from the summer picks: "Throw last year out the window.  I know the Sooners are going to be a lot of folks' favorites for the BCS title in '11, but I'm not seeing it. I'm thinking there'll be some early struggles before the ship rights itself and the Seminoles in week 2 will be a tough opponent to play while OU's still finding themselves. Maybe I'm drinking the Jimbo-Aid, but I think FSU will be ready. FSU 30, Oklahoma 24"
Miami 30, Ohio State 20 - The Ineligi-Bowl. After seeing the turd the Buckeyes laid last week,  it's hard to take them seriously...especially against more athletic players. It will be ugly, and likely boring, with the 'Canes pulling away late.

Stanford 43, Arizona 23 - Couldn't pas up the late game! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Pro Combats

"Spartans, what is your profession?"
 The next round of Nike's Pro Combats have been released, and they're honestly pretty cool. At least most of them are. The Academies got a good treatment, especially Navy, and Michigan State has some really nice features. Sparty's feature a familiar base of dark green, but includes accents of black and bronze. Some say Michigan State did wear bronze as color in the 30's/40's, but I like to think it's a shoutout to the bronze age. Speaking of, check out the inside of the collar. It's Greek for "Come and take them!" A quote that Herodotus attributes to Leonidas at the battle of Thermopylae. Man, Nike went all 300 for this shit! Navy's helmt features the classy gold anchor logo and their undershirt features a Revolutionary flag motif taken straight from the banner flying on John Paul Jones' ship itself. Tradition, baby! LSU's are a bit plain, but have these sick 'eye of the Tiger' gloves. Ohio State's unis aren't that bad, but suffer from the UGA 'Why is this stripe so wide?' syndrome. Then there's Stanford. All I can say is, Cardinal, I feel your pain. Nike needs to tweak the recipe on their reds and then work on not using so much of it in their designs.The matte black helmet is kinda cool, though.

"Anchors Aweigh!"

The Best Wisconsin Shirt Ever.

If this god damn "Everyday I'm Shufflin'" song must exist and then be turned into horrendously unfunny captions, shitty memes, and lame message board jokes, then I'm glad whatever Madison-based t-shirt company designed this also exists.

Crowell Named Starter

And a resounding "duh" rises up from across Bulldawg Nation. He's the leading rusher so far in 2011 and hit SoCar for 118 and a couple scores last week, playing behind an injury-hampered Richard Samuel. That's a lot of pressure for the kid, but I agree with Richt, Isaiah's "a very special back."

h/t ABH

Early Leans

Heading into weekend three, it seems there are plenty of questions left to be answered for just about every team. I certainly do not have the answers to them and some of the key match-ups make picking a winner a coin-flipping prospect. I'm already a sub-par 10-9 on the year*, yet, I trudge on loyal readers, and here are my early leans for this weeks games:

  • LSU 30, Mississippi 22
  • Boise State 44, Toledo 13
  • West Virginia 31, Maryland 23
  • Clemson 29, Auburn 27
  • Nebraska 40, Washington 21
  • Wisconsin 27, No. Illinois 16
  • Michigan State 31, Notre Dame 30
  • Florida 23, Tennessee 20
  • Texas 26, UCLA 24
  • Florida State 30, Oklahoma 24
  • Miami 30, Ohio State 20
  • Stanford 43, Arizona 23 
* While they do count as losses, I did basically call SoFla and Baylor in week one.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Jaws Keeps it Real, Apologizes.

Ron Jaworski absentmindedly slipped a 'shit' into the MNF telecast last night. It's not really a big deal and it's hardly noticeable, but in this world, you gotta be safe. So, he had to apologize a few minutes later. Man, you should have heard the expletives I was popping-off; I have Brandon Marshall in both of my leagues and needed just a few more points to win. Don't even get me started...

Oh, well. Here's the clip. The line is, "Shit, you have to get rid of this ball just a split second quicker."

Week 2 Why Not? Rankings

Here you go:

1. Alcohol - undefeated against better judgement.
2. Alabama - slowly choking their opponents like a rag soaked in tree-poison and chloroform
3. Oklahoma - Sooners 44, BYE 0
4. LSU - My dad has a degree from Northwestern State.
5. Relatively custom uni-free weekend
6. Wisconsin - my secret crush team for '11. I text them when Georgia's not looking.
7. Boise State - The Broncos wideouts are still open in the Dome.
8. Stanford - academic honors blowout bump!
9. Wheedon-to-Blackmon. All day, e'ry day.
10. Florida State - ready for big game Bob.
11. Texas A&M - soon to be in the SEC.
12. Melvin Ingram's one recorded tackle vs. his TWO TOUCHDOWNS?!
13. Arkansas - They love America.
14. Virginia Tech - ECU's a bitch, man.
15. Baylor - Man, BYE was everywhere this week.
16. Oklahoma State - see no. 9.
17. South Carolina - beating Georgia doesn't get you much these days.
18. South Florida - Ball State ain't nothin' to fuck wit.
19. Denard Robinson
     t. Lights in the Big House
     t. The last minute of that game
22. Nebraska
23. Houston
24. The David Bennett interview.
25. Um, one that team that beat that other OK team.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday Evening QB

Well, I've got a sore knee, a crick in my neck, and sore throat/lost voice - all-in-all, I'd say the first home game weekend pretty well. Well, everything leading up to the game went well. On the field, things look a little bleak, but oddly enough, maybe not as bad as they did last weekend. Most of my day was consumed with either pre-gaming for or watching South Carolina-Georgia, so I didn't see as much as I would have liked. But between napping fits, late night hazes, highlight shows, and replays, here's what stood out to me.

First, 0-2's never good.

At least Auburn keeps football fun. They might not be a contender in the West, but they're 2-0 and have kept their games interesting...for the casual fan, anyway. I'd imagine it's been quite frustrating for Tiger fans, while heartbreaking for Utah State fans and downright confusing for those cheering for Mississippi State.

While we're at it, chalk-up that Georgia-South Carolina as another game where the casual fan probably had more fun than an invested party, especially the 4th quarter.

Alabama is exactly who we thought they were. I understand Penn State is not really a true proving ground in cfb anymore and that 'Bama didn't exactly roll over the Nits, but the Tide showed us exactly what we expected: Saban-ball. Alabama hit almost 200 rushing yards, had one QB play all day (QB with floppy hair who protects the ball, mind you), and their defense pretty much suffocated Penn State until late in the 4th. It's not pretty, but it wins.

Russell Wilson and Montee Ball looked great leading Wisconsin. But can they do it against a big-time opponent?I don't see why not. Every Wisky report is topped with a qualifier deriding the caliber of the Badgers' opponents. I think we all know that UNLV and an Oregon State squad coming off a loss to an FCS team are not powerhouses. But the Badgers haven't even looked momentarily uncomfortable at any point in these games. I'm not saying they'll blowout more serious competition by similar 30-40 point margins, but why do we treat them they - unlike some other teams with similar opening weeks - have so much to prove?

How about that first night game in the Big House? If you wondering if Denard Robinson could still do all those things that made him Denard Robinson in the constraints of the new offense, rest your head. Shoelace will always be Shoelace. If you were wondering about Michigan's defense, um, keep wondering. I saw a lot of this game through a sleepy haze, but there was no denying the excitement of that last minute.

Ohio State almost embarrassed themselves against Toledo. Actually, after a re-tabulation, we're being told that only beating the Rockets by five points is still pretty fucking embarrassing.

Speaking of re-tabulation, how's that official final from the Utah-USC game going over in Vegas?

Last, but certainly not least, my best wishes to Jerry Kill and his family.

A loss, and a reprieve

That pretty much sums up how 0-2 feels. h/t Dr.Sat.
0-2. It's never a good way to start the season, but there are untold stories in that mark that can change the entire shade of a season. Last week, the gnashing of teeth and the lamentation of our women could be heard across the entire Bulldawg nation, but, like I said, there was more to it than just "a loss." It was the way we lost. We looked undisciplined, poorly coached, out of sorts, and all types of other things I don't want to re-hash today. And we placed the blame in one spot: squarely on the head of the head coach. For a man as hounded and beleaguered by fan dissatisfaction and hot seat rumors as Richt, how could he allow his team to look like that? The turd laid on that GA Dome field only lit more torches and sharpened more pitchforks across the land of red and black; CMR was on his way out. His shot at slvation? The SEC opener against a favored rival, South Carolina. Needles to say, we didn't have much faith. Sure, some of us though the players would win, but none of us felt good about the coach's chances. Now, with that game in the books, the roars have quieted...somewhat. I find it hard to blame Richt for this one. If you want to argue that there were some individual, questionable calls, you certainly could - but, you could do that after every game called by every coach. There was nothing in this loss that I see as being laid solely on Richt. And while the masses will still cry out for his blood, their numbers will diminish slightly this week, as the more discerning among us take a step back and let a man who has certainly earned a bit of good faith have a fair chance. For me, and others who want to make a good decision for our program, not just have a reaction to the last two years, Richt has bought some time, some slack in the rope. Now, whether or not he takes extra rope and hangs himself with it, that's up to him. We are almost guaranteed a win next week, but the conference slate heats up after that, and depending on how Richt regroups, his seat could be heating up right along with it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Alongside Arizona's trip to Stillwater tonight is one of the most glorious events of all sports: the first NFL game. This Packers-Saints game this evening is a great way to kick things off, but there are a couple of other intriguing match-ups this weekend. I'm going to be neck deep in the NFL this season, as I've got two fantasy teams and a survivor league to keep up with. For some insight and prognostication, check out my man ltdx over at Living the Dream. He also brings some sweet pro wrestling nostalgia, as well!

Weekly Picks


Oklahoma State 41, Arizona 24 - I have no doubt that the Cowboys will score points. I just wonder how many they'll give up after allowing one of the local-Louisiana's to drop 30. I'm leaning towards things being a little more tightened up this week, so I'll take the Fightin' T.Boones to be more than the Wildcats can handle. I do like Nick Foles (and his almost perfect game last week), but he just can't do it all himself.


Missouri 30, Arizona State 27 - I was all set and ready to pick Arizona State here. I feel like they've got the depth and experience to win a match-up like this, not to mention Vontaze Burfict and the curse that causes the demon inside him to only be sated by the broken bones of his opponents. But then the Sun Devils went and called for a blackout. And while I'm a fan of the new unis in Tempe, this has 'jinx' written all over it. Nothing like all black in 115 degree weather, huh, Dennis? Give me the Tigers by a field goal.


Wisconsin 40, Oregon State 20 - Man, the Beavers were embarrassing last week. I look to see them fired up when they hit the field, hoping to make up for last week's disaster against FCS Sacramento State. I just don't think it will be enough early or hold out long enough to stop the Badgers. Man, I love this Wisky team and see them rolling away late behind that O-line, on the feet of their twin stud backs, and the with the arm/vision/athleticism of their new warlord, Russell Wilson. The 20 points is generous.

Mississippi State 31, Auburn 30 - Look for the Tigers to rebound from that nigh-on turd-ish performance last Saturday and give State all they can handle. Relf and the Other Bulldogs should be able to hold on, but not before Malzahn's offense torches them from goal line to goal line. Defense will be optional in this one.

Alabama at Penn State - Even without the QB spot settled, I'll still toss it back to my summer pick: "It'll be defense and Trent Richardson early and often and Penn State will slowly be suffocated...much like last season. Bama 27, Penn State 6"

Georgia 24, South Carolina 17 - Why do I do this to myself. Why?

Texas 27, BYU 14 - It took a gift wrapped TD from Ole Miss for the Cougars to leave Oxford with a win. I don't see the 'Horns being as charitable. Gilbert played fine and Malcolm Brown will only get better. As long as no one does anything stupid, this one could be locked away by the third.

Iowa 34, Iowa State 17 - Unfortunately, someone has to win and go home with the hideous Cy-Hawk Trophy.

TCU 30, Air Force 28 - And now we have no idea how to pick TCU. Air Force runs a tricky triple-option and the Frogs got out of sorts early last week. Honestly, any outcome outside of a Falcon-blowout would seem normal here. I'll take TCU by a narrow margin based on nothing other than the last few seasons' dominance in the MWC.

Stanford 56, Duke 3 - I just felt like picking  a blowout this week.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Week One 'Why Not?' Rankings

It seems foolish to do a top-25 considering how little we've seen and how much of that limited play was mismatched, sloppy, or both. But, I love it, so here goes, based on what we've seen, with no consideration for the preseason rankings, a top-25. This is one part what I watched, one part what I saw in highlights, two parts what made me laugh, and three flight of fancy. Garnish with whimsy and serve:

His Indian name is 'Passing Bronco.' I call him 'If Stafford Cared.'
1. Lightning - beats everything.**
2. LSU - beat Oregon.
3. Boise State - beat Georgia...but that might not mean much.
4. Oklahoma - looked good rolling
5. Maryland's 'State Pride' helmets - highest trending twitter topic by far*
6. Wisconsin - locked and loaded
7. Alabama - pick a QB
8. Stanford - cruised
9. Ohio State - Your current QB efficiency leader? Joe Bauserman. Deal with it.
10. Baylor, baby! - RG3 to the extreme!
11. Arkansas - left no doubt when there wasn't even a question.
12. Florida State - ditto
13. Virginia Tech - did not get Big House'd
14. This T-shirt.
15. Nebraska - Um, sure.
16. Texas A&M - tamed the ponies and crushed Craig James in person.
17. First half Houston
18. South Florida
19. South Carolina avec Garcia
20. Mississippi State
21. The humor factor of Morgan Newton sacking himself tied with the humor factor of SMU's horrific on-side "kick."
22. Florida - Brantley finally fits!
23. Oklahoma State (defense not included)
24. The return of Oktoberfests!
25. Oregon

* Holy Shit! Did Under Armour rip off a roller derby team? Yes. Yes, they did.
** Grab your tin foil hats, folks. There were UFO's spotted during the Notre Dame-SoFla lightning delay.

Lonestar Legalities

UPDATE 2: Rumor has it, the real motivation behind the lawsuit-ing is flexing enough muscle to keep Oklahoma in line. Apparently, Baylor will sign off on A&M if Oklahoma agrees to stay. That's some transitive guilt tripping, right there. But it's completely understood; if Oklahoma leaves, there's no saving the remaining teams as a league and that means mid-major invites for everyone!
UPDATE: Now Iowa State has jumped aboard the litigation bandwagon. Are we about to see some class action, cfb style?
The SEC has voted unanimously to accept Texas A&M as the league's 13th member. I think we all knew this would happen sooner rather than later, especially after the Big 12 basically said the Aggies could leave scott free - legally, anyway. And now we're seeing that Oklahoma may get fat and happy out in the PAC-12 and Texas can either follow suit or be successfully independent. Everybody's happy, right? Wrong. The little sisters are not ready to quietly fold up shop and fade into the night. Baylor is leading the charge to save Texas football, or, in reality, their attachment to a quality football league. The University has threatened legal action over the Aggies move. The Bears know that if A&M bails, the big boys will follow suit and they will be left out in the cold with the ranks of Rice/Houston/SMU, or worse, North Texas. The SEC will not accept the newly made men in College Station until they have assurances that no individual team will sue and this hint of litigation out of Waco is really gumming up the works. I doubt this southeastern snafu will slowdown the rumor mill, though, and with A&M's move inevitable, watch for all kinds of expansions and realignment possibilities to run through the news cycle.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday Evening QB

Well, weekend one is in the books, and I must say we saw some good games, great playmaking, poor coaching, and insane weather conditions. I love the Labor Day opening span; it gives us games from Thursday to Monday, five days of  football fun.

Thursday night we got to see Russell Wilson and Wisconsin keep it REAL all over UNLV. Neither Wisky back hit their high yardage mark - I think both finished in the 60's - but they looked great doing it and all the guys sat out the fourth quarter. I know UNLV is a hapless week one opener, but so were Western Kentucky and Utah State. I was impressed with how methodical the Badgers already looked and how much impact and flash Wilson's already having. This should be a gooooood team.

Friday night's highlight was Baylor edging TCU in a fun, high scoring affair in Waco. I told you to take Baylor; it was just their time. Will that translate into a great season? Probably not. Griffin cannot do everything alone and there are some big games down the line that will be harder to win than an emotionally charged home opener in front of an electric crowd. I got pretty drunk early, so I only remember Baylor building the lead early and then needing the late pick to secure the dub. Everything in-between - TCU's comeback - is a blur.

Saturday was an up-and-down day. Auburn's onside kick to stave off an upstart upset capped what was a very fun game to watch. The Roof was certainly on fire down on the plains, and in a rare case of misjudgement, Malzahn stuck to a game plan that was yielding no results. Mix that with a well-coached game from a disciplined team with a can-do attitude and some of the best hair in football and you get excitement.

Kerwin Williams, hair champion.
Ohio State and Alabama looked exactly how we all thought they would, lumbering to huge blowouts against the little sisters of Ohio.

The early afternoon games proved to be a little harder to figure out, mainly because of the weather. South Florida whipped Notre Dame before lightning around South Bend put the game on hold and Michigan was only beginning to pull away from Western MI when inclement weather did the same in Ann Arbor. This is about where I zonked out for a nice afternoon cat nap...actually, several of them. I know the games eventually came back on. I know that Michigan turned it on enough to be up three scores before the next delay and the eventual concession of the Broncos. And I know that ND-USF didn't finish up until the Irish had almost come back and Brian Kelley's face turned a nice shade of volcanic eggplant.

The twin kick-off classics were disappointing for me. First, I wanted to watch both games, but the geniuses at ABC/Disney/ESPN said 'fuck the ratings' and put the biggest games head-to-head. Highlights and stats make the LSU win over Oregon less impressive, as it seemed to have more to do with turnovers and sloppy Duck play than outright Tiger dominance. Not that I'm trying to take the glory from LSU. They beat what I thought was a pretty good team; it's not their fault the Ducks helped out so much. Still, though, it burned me in the picks.

The other game, Georgia-Boise State, sucked from stem to stern. Out of the gate, the Dawgs looked sloppy. While trying to implement new wrinkles on the first offensive drive, they drew two pre-snap penalties. Highly touted Isaiah Crowell's first carry was a turf slip for a loss of two yards. Injuries hit two of our most shallow spots: O-line and ILB. And, we saw some questionable coaching/scheming/decision making rear its ugly head again. Boykin gains 80 yards and a TD on one carry, so they never let him tough it again? A soft O-line getting whipped by Boise up front and you only use draws and screens on 3rd and long? No use of our better athletes in the slot? No defensive adjustment to the slants and curls until a quarter later? Both safeties five yards deep in the endzone on that first TD? I mean, Boise State did play a great game. They made few mistakes, adjusted to everything Georgia did, pushed them around up front, and cut them apart outside; they are a GOOD team, no doubt about it. It's just how Georgia lost that's driving me crazy. Richt's seat is about to get nuclear, because everything we saw Saturday night that led to the loss is all the shit we are all tired of seeing. People's short lists are heavy with Dan Mullen and Kirby Smart...but that's an issue for another time.

Sunday saw another win for lightning, with bad weather driving Marshall-West Virginia from the field twice. Holgo's debut was successful, but not glorious, so there will be some fans anxious to see what the offense truly looks like heading into next week's cakewalk with Norfolk St. I got screwed in my pick 'em, though. The spread was 23 points and I had WVU picked. They were cruising. Came back after the first weather break, still cruising. Up by 21, the game's called. Now I KNOW they would have scored at least one more TD. It cost me ten whole confidence points and was the difference between 4th and 8th place.

Texas A&M looked good against SMU. SMU also looked good against SMU at times. That onside 'kick' was one of the most ridiculous things ever.

Last night's game was pretty good, overall. Maryland's redzone woes kept it appropriately ACC-ish, though. Their State Pride unis, on the other hand, were blowing up. Whether you liked them or not, you were talking about them, and Under Armor saved millions on advertising.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

My One Thousandth Post!

Thanks for reading, loyal FTS'ers.