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"Fear is a stranger to the ways of love. Identify with fear, and you will be a stranger to yourself." -ACIM

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bowls Week Two

Ok College Football fans, it was another short week in the bowls and the FBS only gave us enough games to wet the bowl appetite. But, a few of them showed some promise. Saturday turned into ACC day with three of its schools taking part in bowl games and going 2-1.

I went 4-3 on my picks for this week and am pretty much out of my pool at this point, but I’ll drag it out anyway for my own self loathing. Just kidding.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and I wish you all the best in the coming year as this will be the last college football post of 2008.

Moving on…

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl attendance: 30,197
Southern Miss over Troy 30-27 in OT
This was a third straight miss pick for yours truly. I figured Troy’s offense would put up some major points on turf in the dome and roll on over S. Miss. Not so fast… Southern Miss dominated the offensive categories; however this was a very competitive game with the halftime score nodded at 17. The third quarter saw Troy put up 10 points and then turn around and give up 10 in the fourth to the Golden Eagles. Troy ended up missing a field goal in OT and then it was up to Britt Barefoot to knock in the 39-yarder which he did. By the way, Barefoot is a great name for a kicker; too bad he actually wears shoes.
Southern Miss after starting the season 2-6 has now run off 5 straight wins to finish 7-6. I guess that’s good? I mean can you really get pumped about a 7-win season (4-4 in C-USA)? Even if you are Southern Miss, that can’t get you really excited. Troy on the other hand finished 8-5 and even though they lost this one I have to think they have a better chance of improvement since 3 of the losses came against major programs: Ohio State, Oklahoma State and LSU. And hey, they did win the Sun-Belt Conference.

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl attendance: 34,628
#11 TCU over #9 Boise State 17-16
What the hell? Come on Boise, I had you picked in this one! The Broncos finish 12-1 on the year thanks to a lack of offense in the second half after jumping on TCU and going up 13-0 in the second quarter. I guess when you get out rushed 275-28 what can you expect? So much for MAC’s prediction about these guys being a force next year. I don’t think that this team will get anywhere near 12 wins next year after they lose some seniors and fewer recruits commit to play on the blue turf. And, blowing a perfect season in the bowl game isn’t going to help moral. I really expected more from a 9 vs. 11 matchup, but then again I don’t think either of these teams deserved their rankings after watching this game. You can argue good defense all you want, but this was just a lack of play making by both squads. TCU dropped to 11-2 to finish the year but will be lucky to repeat that record next season. This bowl also gets my “Most Ridiculous Name for a Bowl Game” award. I know there are a bunch of bad ones out there, but this is just dumb. What does that credit union have to gain by sponsoring a bowl game? Are the good people of Boise or Texas going to start banking in San Diego County? No. Are you? No. Why not just let the Poinsettia Industry promote their fantastic holiday shrubbery?

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl attendance: 43,487
Notre Dame smacked Hawaii 49-21
Um… so we ran out of travel money so we need to invite some big name school to come play us in our little bowl and bring all their rich fans to spend money on our island. Who can we get… oh yeah! Notre Dame. Who knows maybe we’ll even beat them. Oh wait, we are not the Hawaii of 07. Thankfully dear reader I didn’t have to suffer through watching this one. I did however pick Notre Dame because, well Hawaii just sucked this year. I think the Irish could have won this one even if actual Hawaiian Warriors had been on the field throwing spears at their receivers. They should have done something about Jimmy Clausen before the game because even he looked like a good quarterback against that defense. 22/26, 401yds, 5TDs and no picks. Notre Dame only accounted for an additional 77 yards outside of Clausen’s performance. Guess that’s why they finished 7-6 and if you thought Southern Miss wasn’t happy about 7 wins, just ask the Irish how they feel. Hawaii finishes at 7-7 so, yeah… Aloha. Worst bowl game so far if you factor in final score and matchup.

Motor City Bowl attendance: 41,399
Florida Atlantic over Central Michigan 24-21
Let’s see CMU was 8-4 going into the game and its being played in their own back yard. You gotta pick Central Michigan right? Of course you do; and you’d be wrong. When it comes down to your team having to recover an onside kick, it’s never good. I do have to hand it to the Owls though. Nobody really gave them much of a chance in this game. Poor Detroit. The Lions suck and their college kids can’t even beat FAU which finished 4th in the SunBelt and ends up with a 7-6 record. This was a fairly competitive game overall, but I can’t say a SunBelt vs. MAC matchup gets me really excited on the Friday night after Christmas.

Meineke Car Care Bowl attendance: 73,712
West Virginia over North Carolina 31-30
Finally I picked a winner; just barely. This was a great game to watch and very exciting in the first 20 minutes with the score at 23-21 UNC with 10 left in the half thanks to a safety after failing to punch one in the end zone and giving WVU a long field. All congratulations go to Pat White for being the first guy in D-I (FBS) to start and win 4 bowl games in his career. The guy put his team on his back and with a lot of help form his offensive line went 26/32 for a career high 332yds; 3TDs and an INT. The pick aside it was a great performance by White and he threw some amazing passes for score as well as contributing 55yds on the ground. His last strike came in the fourth to tie the game with the extra point proving to be the difference. While White had a great day, I loved watching UNC’s Nicks go off with 8 catches for 217yds and 3TDs. This guy dragged a defender 7 yards into the end zone for his first and out ran one and stiff armed another for his second. He also had the best catch I’ve seen all year late in the game that you’ll just have to look up yourself. This was a very entertaining game and unlike ND vs. UH, this pitted regional rivals in a tight contest.

Champs Sports Bowl attendance: 52,692
Florida State blows out Wisconsin 42-13
The only thing I’m going to say about this is that I picked the right team because I read my own blog. If you go back through the year you’ll note that I’ve hated on Wisconsin all year. They even received a Biggest Loser one week. The Badgers might as well have stayed in Madison because this was not worth burning up the gas to go down to Florida and not show up for a bowl game. Wisconsin is yet another team to finish 7-6 while Florida State looks to be a young team on the rise after a few down years. 9-4 isn’t where they want to be, but its better than 7-6; right Wisconsin? I needed to do some laundry anyway, so the second half of this game gave me plenty of opportunity.

Emerald Bowl attendance: 42,268
California over Miami 24-17
Not a shocker here and an easy pick since the game was played 12 miles form the Cal campus and Miami had to travel about 3,000 miles. And guess what? Miami finished this week’s trend by finishing 7-6 on the year while Cal finishes strong at 9-4. At least Miami put up a fight (unlike Wisconsin) and did have a chance to get back in this game after tying it up at 17 in the fourth with a field goal. This game was all about Cal’s defense standing up at all the right times to keep Miami out of the end zone. And, Miami didn’t do themselves any favors by having five starters suspended (typical Miami football) and turning the ball over twice. Cal should be looking up for next year. They get to get rid of Nate Longshore and their schedule should be a little bit more favorable. If Cal’s defense comes back mostly intact next year I see them competing for the conference. And, while I would like to hate on Miami, I like Randy Shannon and I hope he does well as a head coach. If you get a chance look up some footage of this if you missed it. The stadium configuration was very interesting with both teams sharing one sideline since they were playing in AT&T Park.

Next week cranks up the Big Boys of the Bowl Season! Until then… Peace!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bowls Week One

Time to go Bowling!

I will keep you dedicated fans up to date on both the bowls and what will probably turn out to be my crappy picks on them (1-3 after week one) since I had to do it over the phone with five minutes left to get in my choices.

Congrats to Shane for getting married last week. Wish I could have been there but at least this way I didn’t get to make my reception speech where I told everyone about that one night at the gang bang… I mean… the cookies and milk sleepover…

Moving on…

Eagle Bank Bowl attendance: 28,777
Wake Forest over Navy 29-19
I had Navy because I thought they would be able to run the ball effectively and Wake would have a let down after the ACC season they finished. Alas, Navy got out rushed by Wake and Skinner had a good game going 11 for11 and a TD. Navy ended up giving away the game late with 14 fourth quarter points to lose by 10. Oh well. Navy is Navy and Wake will miss Skinner next year.

New Mexico Bowl attendance: 24,735
Colorado State over Fresno State 40-35
I missed this pick too since I didn’t care about either of these teams in the State Bowl. New Mexico is apparently cool enough to get its own bowl featuring two teams representing states. Well, Colorado Sate represents a state while Fresno Sate represents a city in a state. You still with me? Good. This game was all about offense with over 1,000 total yards; Colorado Sate getting over 600 of those. 21 fourth quarter points don’t hurt either and Colorado Sate finishes 7-6 to match Fresno State’s 7-6 and neither team should consider this a “good” year.

Magicjack St. Petersburg Bowl attendance: 25,205
South Florida over Memphis 41-14
I picked a winner in this one, well I picked South Florida, that doesn’t exactly make them winners, but they did win this game. 29 first downs and 35 minutes of possession will always help out. Memphis didn’t really put up too much of a fight in this one with South Florida out rushing them 232-66 and I’m kind of glad I didn’t watch it. Home games in bowl games are gay and I wish they wouldn’t do it. But, who would travel to see this match up?

Pioneer Los Vegas Bowl attendance: 40,047
Arizona over #16 BYU 31-21
Lots of people came out to see BYU fall apart and blow yet another pick for me one week one. How are you going to get upset by Arizona? The PAC-10? Come on man! This however was the best game of the day with the stats being pretty much equal and both teams putting up good offense and defense. (Comparatively). BYU drops their third game of the year to finish 10-3 and the BCS people can breath a little easier since the supposed system buster got busted by an Arizona team that finishes out 8-5.

Well I will see you people next week when we catch up on some classic match ups like Troy vs. Southern Miss and Hawaii vs. Notre Dame. Wow.

Peace be with you all and Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, Hanukah and Boxing Day.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Book Review: American Gods

American Gods By: Neil Gaiman

American Gods is an interesting book that will make you think while providing some entertainment. It won’t however make you think too hard or provide too much entertainment. But, a good book none the less.

The story revolves around a guy named Shadow who is released form prison and then gets caught up in an adventure or more like a quest to save the gods of the old world who are fighting to survive in the new world (America). There is no real time reference in the book but one can assume that it takes place in the present as there are cell phones and other modern technology.

The book’s premise is that the gods of the old world have been surviving here in America on what little belief people still have in them. They are fighting not so much to win over new believers but to keep the new American gods from killing them off forever. The old gods are weak because they claim that America is not their place and that America is a bad place in general for gods to try and survive. That is why Wednesday (an old Norse god and leader of the resistance) enlists Shadow to help him win a war between the old and new gods in America.

Are you confused yet? Don’t be. The book itself explains everything quite well after it gets the reader to suspend all reality and sets up how the gods got here in the first place. You then have to believe that the old gods still walk among us and scrape out their existence by working regular jobs. For example, there is an old Egyptian goddess who works as a prostitute and gets her clients to “worship” her as they have sex in order to get her strength. There are two gods that work in a funeral home who gain their strength by feeding off of the dead. (not as gross as it sounds) There are gods that work in convenience stores, cafes, and work as bouncers. It was interesting to see what Gaiman came up with for some of these characters and I found it funny at times.

Oh and after you get over the gods that walk among us thing, you also have to get to the point where your comfortable with Shadow’s dead wife showing up from time to time to help him in his quest and several trips to the underworld in his dream sequences. There are a lot of dead people that contribute to the story line and a few flash backs to the old world that you’ll have to get used to as well.

Overall I can’t give you too much on the plot without giving away the whole story. But, American Gods has a good flow to it and I found myself caught up in the quest with Shadow wondering where all this would end up taking him. He even dies at one point and then has to come back and contribute to the story again. You’ll think you have this book figured out about half way through, but the end has a little twist on it and, while good, is not exactly what you thought was coming.

So if you have a long train ride ahead or are just looking for a “different” kinda book to read one of these days, pick up American Gods and enjoy.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Jenkins College Football Playoff System

Ok, so like I promised, I have two different methods for a better system than the BCS without getting rid of big money bowls and the BCS system itself. There are 34 Bowls this year. Why not use them to do some good and truly figure out who is the best out there. I mean come on! Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech? Texas vs. Ohio State? (Buckeye fans get ready for another ass kicking.) And the Sugar Bowl is going to be worse than Georgia’s beat down of Hawaii last year when Alabama Rolls Tide over Utah. Utah vs. Alabama? Please. The only one that might be a game is USC vs. Penn State and I think USC is going to take it easy.

But first, this is what the computers gave us as a final standing:
BCS FINAL RANKINGS:
1. Oklahoma 12-1
2. Florida 12-1
3. Texas 11-1
4. Alabama 12-1
5. USC 11-1
6. Utah 12-0
7. Texas Tech 11-1
8. Penn State 11-1
9. Boise State 12-0
10. Ohio State 10-2
11. TCU 10-2
12. Cincinnati 11-2
13. Oklahoma State 9-3
14. Georgia Tech 9-3
15. Georgia 9-3
16. BYU 10-2
17. Oregon 9-3
18. Michigan State 9-3
20. Pitt 9-3
21. Missouri 9-4
22. Ball State 12-1
23. Northwestern 9-3
24. Boston College 9-4
25. Mississippi 8-4

Moving on…

The first system as you will see has no regard for conference affiliation and simply uses the top 16 BCS ranked schools (after conference championship games) in a simple playoff bracket. You’ll notice that I went ahead and played it off as well. You’ll also see that I took the top bowls for the playoff. The remaining 17 bowls can invite whoever they want and have games. I’d watch! They just don’t get a chance to play for the BCS National Championship

The second system is a little more complicated but brings the conferences into play. What you end up with is 24 teams with 8 schools getting a first round bye week. How do I come up with those eight? Well, you have the conference champions of the BCS conferences. (ACC, Big-East, Big-10, Big-12, PAC-10, SEC) as well as the highest ranked two champions from the other conferences such as the Sun-Belt, Mountain West, MAC or WAC… wherever. You then have 16 teams playing in the first round to advance with NO reseeding. If Texas has to play OU again, then so be it. You’ll see what I mean in a minute. With Oklahoma taking the number one spot over Florida in the BCS it kind of sets up some rematches, but, that’s this year. Other years could be different.

Playoff Idea Number One:

Round One:
#1 Oklahoma Gator Bowl #16 BYU
#7 Texas Tech Independence Bowl #12 Cincinnati

#5 USC Outback Bowl #10 Ohio State
#14 Georgia Tech Holiday Bowl #3 Texas

#4 Alabama Insight Bowl #13 Oklahoma State
#6 Utah Music City Bowl #9 Boise State

#8 Penn State Chick-Fil-A Bowl #11 TCU
#15 Georgia Capital One Bowl #2 Florida

Quarter Finals:
#1 Oklahoma Orange Bowl #7 Texas Tech
#5 USC Cotton Bowl #3 Texas

#4 Alabama Liberty Bowl #9 Boise State
#8 Penn State Rose Bowl #2 Florida

Semi Finals:
#7 Texas Tech Fiesta Bowl #5 USC

#4 Alabama Sugar Bowl #2 Florida

BCS National Championship Game:
#2 Florida vs. #5 USC
Florida wins 31-28

This is my second idea with the bye week built in and incorporating more teams. You’ll see again that I’ve played it off but didn’t put in too many upset calls.

ROUND 1
Game 1 #3 Texas vs. #16 BYU
Game 2 #7 Texas Tech vs. #18 Michigan State
Game 3 #11 TCU vs. #21 Missouri
Game 4 #14 Georgia Tech vs. #23 Northwestern
Game 5 #15 Georgia vs. #24 Boston College
Game 6 #13 Oklahoma State #22 Ball State
Game 7 #10 Ohio State vs. #20 Pittsburg
Game 8 #4 Alabama vs. #17 Oregon

ROUND 2 (* = Team receiving a bye week by winning conference)
#1 Oklahoma* vs. #14 Georgia Tech
#5 USC* vs. #13 Oklahoma State
#8 Penn State* vs.#10 Ohio State
#19 Virginia Tech* vs. #4 Alabama
#9 Boise State* vs. #3 Texas
#12 Cincinnati* vs. #7 Texas Tech
#6 Utah* vs. #11 TCU
#2 Florida* vs. #15 Georgia

ROUND 3
#1 Oklahoma vs. #3 Texas
#5 USC vs. #7 Texas Tech
#10 Ohio State vs. #6 Utah
#2 Florida vs. #4 Alabama

ROUND 4
#1 Oklahoma vs. #10 Ohio State
#2 Florida vs. #5 USC

Championship
#1 Oklahoma vs. #2 Florida
Florida wins 38-31

College Football Championship Week

Time for Championship Week in the world of College Football!

Ok, so this will be a shorter version this week since it was a Championship Saturday. Tune in tomorrow when I unveil to you the first ever Jenkins System for College Football Playoff. I’m telling you, it’ll be entertaining and much debate will ensue since I actually have two different methods of how this could/should work, both of which in my opinion are better than this stupid BCS system.

A fun day in the world of college football, as long as you aren’t a Missouri fan, and one of the best SEC Championship match-ups since 2003. It was a long day of TV watching and now I feel like my Fall hibernation should end and maybe I’ll start doing something on Saturdays rather than drinking and watching TV all day… well let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. The Bowls still have to be played.

On another note, what the hell Dr. Pepper!? How much money did they pay the NCAA to sponsor the whole day? Every game was Dr. Pepper this and Dr Pepper that. And did you notice that on the halftime challenges that the two girls from the SEC Championship game did better at the same toss game as the two guys from the ACC Championship game? Too bad the hot one lost.

Moving on…

CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES OF THE WEEK:
(Brought to you by Dr. Pepper; they threw me $5 for that)

SEC Championship Game
#4 Florida over #1 Alabama 31-20

I do believe I told you so on this one. Florida is just too strong and too fast for anybody to keep up with this year. I had predicted the score to be 45-20 so I guess I wasn’t giving Bama’s defense enough credit. The game was awesome though. Very clean and well played by both teams (only 8 total penalties and one late turnover) and just some phenomenal players on both sides of the ball. This game was SEC football. Tebow did what he had to do with the absence of Harvin (14/22 216yds. 3TDs and 57yds. rushing) and the Gators should be bringing another National Championship home to the SEC this year. I do hope a lot of people got to see this one because it was back and forth the whole game with neither team really taking over until Florida did so in the fourth quarter. I do think that Alabama was slightly overrated, but expect this team to be back next year despite losing their senior QB Wilson and a few linemen. As far as Tebow goes, I think he is the best college football player, leader, quarterback… you name it. He deserves the Heisman again this year. I hate to say it cause I hate Florida and Tebow, but the guy is hands down the best out there.

Big-12 Championship Game
#2 Oklahoma over #20 Missouri 62-21 (Beat Down of the Week)
To be honest with you, I quit watching this game at halftime. It wasn’t worth it. Oklahoma would have been better served to play Texas again and settle the Big-12 South rather than waste America’s time by playing Missouri and beating them for the second year in a row for the conference championship. Total domination for the Sooners after about midway through the second quarter. Missouri just had no balance in their offense and their defense was just pathetic. The Tigers got out played out willed and out classed; period! Rushing Yards: 243-60; Passing: 384-294; Turnovers: 3-0; all for Oklahoma. Whatever, this games unlike the SEC game, sucked! It was fun to watch Oklahoma do whatever they wanted to, but as far as a Championship game, I wanted to see more of a contest and less of a beat down.

ACC Championship Game
#25 Virginia Tech over #18 Boston College 30-12
Another rematch from 2007 and another win for Virginia Tech. It seems like BC can only take them out in the regular season and have no idea how to win it all. This was a much better game than the score would indicate though despite both teams making some big mistakes. The game was one of who wants to win it much like the ACC was all year long. I don’t want it, you take it, no you, no you… 7 total turnovers in the ball game and a late safety. For Tech it was the Tyrod Taylor show with the QB doing his best Mike Vick impersonation (11/19 for 84yds and an INT; 11 carries for 30yds and 2TDs). BC unfortunately relied too much on the passing game with a QB that just isn’t strong enough to lead them to a Championship. The only real entertaining portion of this game was the defenses that were all over the place. BC has some good linebackers! Anyway, the ACC had a down year and VT just had to not lose in order to win back-to-back titles.

MAC Championship Game
Buffalo over #12 Ball State 42-24 (Upset of the week)
You know, some teams want to win and some don’t. Ball State wanted it but just didn’t want it enough. Buffalo is a perennial loser in that conference and has had a great rebuild, but there is no way that Ball U should have let that happen. It’s as if someone walked up with a silver platter filled with the best that life has to offer; Conference Championships, BCS bowls and caviar and Ball State just sneezed all over it. The Cardinals were given a winning lottery ticket and decided to use it as toilet paper. This is why… the MAC is WAC!

RIVALRY WATCH:
Navy over Army 34-0

Zero if by land and 34 if by sea a seventh straight win for Navy! (I just came up with that). A tradition in college football is to watch one of these teams dominate the other and feel sad that no matter who wins, they all have to go off and “defend” our country. This is the life they’ve chosen and I for one, even though I disagree with them, am grateful for their choice. Neither of these football teams are ever any good, but I never put them in my pillow fights or beat downs, because both teams (Air Force too) are full of great men and I’m glad that for a few hours on a Saturday they can forget about their obligations to the country and just play some football.
On a completely different note. WTF Army? Those uniforms did not do it for me. I get it, wear camo and maybe Navy won’t see you. But it didn’t work out that way. Go back to your traditional uniforms next year.

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS:
ACC: Virginia Tech
Big East: Cincinnati
Big-12: Oklahoma
Big-10: Penn State
Pac-10: USC
SEC: Florida

C-USA: East Carolina
MAC: Buffalo
Mountain West: Utah
Sun-Belt: Troy
WAC: Boise State


MY Heisman Vote:
The stats don’t tell the whole story, but I’ll give them to you anyway. And, if you go look at the defensive stats for the teams these QBs played you’ll see that Tebow faced a hell of a lot tougher competition on defense than either McCoy or Bradford. Like I said before, best overall player… Tebow. I have way too much man-love for him on here this week. I need to go take a shower.

1. Tim Tebow; Jr. Florida: 2,515 passing yds, 28 TDs, 2 INTs, 15 sacks, 176.74 passer rating; 154 rushing attempts for 564 yards and 12 TDs; 0 fumbles.

2. Colt McCoy; Jr. Texas: 3,445 passing yds, 32 TDs, 7 INTs, 20 sacks, 179.20 passer rating; 128 rushing attempts for 576 yards and 10 TDs; 0 fumbles.

3. Sam Bradford; So. Oklahoma: 4,464 passing yds, 48 TDs, 6 INTs, 9 sacks, 186.29 passer rating; 40 rushing attempts for 65 yards and 5 TDs; 0 fumbles.

Come back tomorrow for what will surely be a much debated post about the playoffs. Have a good one people!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

College Football Week 14

Time for week 14 in the world of College Football!

Well it was rivalry week so you know I was glued to the TV all day watching some of the best matchups of the year. Teams had a chance to redeem their seasons, teams had a chance to flush their dreams down the toilet.

I’m going to have to go quick fire on some of these games this week because there are too many to talk about and too little time to talk about them. Let’s just say that games this week fell into two categories: great games, and not so great games. I’ve got to put in team’s records this week since it’s all over but the crying and politicking for bowl position for 90% of the schools out there (rankings reflect current week; polls will be shaken on Sunday). I’ve also put in the Rivalry Game names cause I love these games and how much they mean to people.

The conference championships are set and next week’s Championship Edition should feature a few good matchups with only the SEC able to really shake up the National Title hunt Unless the BCS loses more credibility and Missouri finds a way to win the Big-12. We’ll see, but if I had to put money on it, I’ve got Florida over Alabama 45-20 in Atlanta.

No time for big losers and pillow fights (we’ll save that for the crappy bowl games) it’s Rivalry Week!

Moving on…

GAMES OF THE WEEK RIVALRY EDITION:

#3 Oklahoma (11-1) over #12 Oklahoma State (9-3) 61-41
The Bedlam Series (1900)
Now this was a fun game to watch! Scoring all over the place and it seemed like the game was going to drag on to the last possession. But alas, Oklahoma decided that winning the Big-12 South was important and pulled this one out with 24 points in the 4th. Bradford had the game he needed to have with 370 yards and 4TDs and rushing for one as well. I believe the Zac Robinson may have been OKS’s best kept secret because he played great despite the one INT. He’s a junior, so look for State to have a better chance next year with the Big-12 losing Big-Talent at the QB spot this off season. Will the pollsters give OU enough to jump Texas? We shall see!

#7 Texas Tech (11-1) over Baylor (4-8) 35-28
Not a real rivalry, just two traditionally sucky teams going at it with one of them being “good” this year.
I guess Tech fans we’re holding their collective breaths hopping against hope that OU would lose and they could back their way into the Big-12 Championship. Sorry Red Raiders, but this wasn’t your year either. And, don’t try to play up Baylor like you expected this kind of close game. This one should have found its way to the blowout section, but it took 14 fourth quarter points to pull this one out and keep UT’s hopes alive. Tech was really in a no win situation this weekend and really the only satisfaction they can get from this is sticking it to Oklahoma one time if they fail to jump Texas in the BCS. And I guess the satisfaction of beating up on your ugly step-brother from Baylor. Overall a crappy game except for the final 12 minutes.

#11 Georgia (9-3) falls to #22 Georgia Tech (9-3) 45-42
The Clean Old-Fashioned HATE Game (1893)
Well. Yep. It happened. And, like I’ve said all year, Tech is either on or they’re off. This week they were on and found a way to snap Georgia’s 7-game winning streak in the rivalry. God I HATE the triple-option. I HATE the fact that Georgia’s defense couldn’t find a way to tackle anybody on the outside, and I HATE when we get away from what makes our offense work and try these stupid schemes to try and trip people up. But what I HATE most of all is Georgia Tech! And these stat lines from their running backs: R. Jones: 13 for 214 and 2TDs; and J. Dwyer: 20 for 144 and 2TDs. Jesus! The Jackets combined for 409 rushing yards on the day, Georgia’s worst performance of the year by far. They didn’t even have to pass the ball! It was all run, run, run! Damnit! At half UGA was up 28-12 and dominating this game. With a minute left in the third Tech was up 10. This season for Georgia boils down to three halves of football; the first against Alabama, the second against Florida and the second versus GT. Other than that… well 9-3 to finish ain’t bad, but far from where we want to be. Fuck Tech! And, congrats to Paul Johnson for turning that team around in his first year.

#12 Missouri (9-3) goes down to Kansas (7-5) 40-37
The Border War (1891)
Are you fuckin’ kidding me Missouri? Kansas had a chip on their shoulders and you acted like a team with nothing to play for. Remember last year? I get it, your spot in the Championship game was locked up before you kicked off, but that doesn’t mean you get to take the afternoon off. Douche-bags! Hey, season saved for KU and Reesing got his name back on SportsCenter for the first time in 3 months.

#17 Oregon State (8-4) gets skunked by #23 Oregon (9-3) 65-38
The Civil War (1894)
Are you fuckin’ kidding me Oregon State? One more win, just one more win was all you needed to knock USC out of the Rose Bowl and claim the PAC-10 Championship. And, better yet you could have done it against your one true rival Oregon! Lots of speed in this game but not much else. It was kind of weird to watch as both teams just tried to get guys out in space to see what they could do against some really piss poor defenses. It looked to me like the kick return was the favored play for both of these squads. I know it sure wasn’t the I-formation. There were 1,157 total yards in this game! To me it had a feeling that Oregon State was in this game the whole time despite the box score and Oregon’s dominance in the run game. Well, and the 2 INTs the Oregon returned for touchdowns.

#21 Boston College (9-3) over Maryland (7-5) 28-21
Another “mock rivalry” game but important over the last few years.
This was another good game to watch if you had it on your regional broadcast or if you were like me and ESPN had nothing else to show at the time. Plain and simple though, BC wanted it more and played better defense. The ACC is having a down year, but BC has a chance for some conference redemption if they can win the Championship Game and their Bowl Game to finish up 11-3.

#25 Pittsburg (8-3) over West Virginia (7-4) 19-15
The Backyard Brawl (1895)
Oh Pittsburg. You lost at all the wrong times this year and only the mining folks actually cared about this game since W. Virginia has had a shit season by their standards and no one cares about watching Cincinnati win the Big-East. But, even though it was on a Friday night, you still gave us a good one by coming back in the fourth quarter from a 15-7 deficit. I guess I do have to give the Panthers some credit for containing Pat White which it seems that most teams are unable to do.

Virginia Tech (8-4) over Virginia (5-7) 17-14
The Commonwealth Cup (1996)
I like this game even if I don’t get to watch it every year. These two teams hate each other about as much as Georgia and Georgia Tech do. And, I was hoping aginst hope that Virginia would find a way to pull this one off to set up a better ACC Championship game. They almost did too and I bet VaTech fans aren’t breathing too easy today after that one. Back and forth for most of the contest but it was Tech in the second half that did the scoring with Tyrod Taylor having both 137 yards passing and 137 yards rushing for the Hokies on the day.

BEAT DOWNS OF THE WEEK RIVALRY EDITION:

#1 Alabama (12-0) over Auburn (5-7) 36-0
The Iron Bowl (1893)
Auburn… please, just… whatever. Alabama Rolled Tide and just dominated this game despite only leading 10-0 at half. Bama actually showed some class by calling off the dogs in the fourth quarter or else this could have been UGLY. Auburn had won 6 straight in this classic rivalry so I’m sure this feels good for Alabama to finish up the regular season undefeated and headed to the Championship Game next week.

#2 Texas (11-1) over Texas A&M (4-8) 49-9
The Lone Star Showdown (1894)
Like there was any question Texas was going to crush A&M. They had to. Style points are a part of life in college football these days and with a chance (and now certainty) of a three-way tie for first, Texas needed all the boost they could get with OU breathing down their necks. We’ll see how the pollsters treat them, but things don’t look good for Texas which is sad because they beat OU on the field at a neutral site and will get denied despite it.

#4 Florida (11-1) over #20 Florida State (8-4) 45-15
The Sunshine Showdown (1958)
Always fun to watch the UF vs. FSU rivalry especially in a driving rain when all that speed on both teams has to deal with a wet turf and sloppy conditions. Nobody gave FSU a chance in this one and that was obvious from kickoff. FSU was never really in this game and their QBs Weatherford and Ponder just stunk up the whole stadium on Saturday. Tebow didn’t put up ridiculous numbers this week, but looked like he was having fun the whole time. Next week will show everybody how good Florida really is since they’ll probably be doing it without Percy Harvin.

#5 USC (10-1) over Notre Dame (6-6) 38-3
The Battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh (1926)
(The thing looks like a really painful dildo)
Yeah right, like I even need to comment on this game. Notre Dame didn’t have a prayer in this one. The Irish managed 91 total yards in the game and only 4 first downs after going 2-14 on third downs. Yikes. Rose Bowl here we come say the Trojans as long as UCLA doesn’t pull off a miracle next week.

Mississippi (8-4) over Mississippi State (4-8) 45-0
The Egg Bowl (1901)
Poor Sylvester Croom. The man didn’t have a chance when he got there and I don’t think he should have resigned after this one unless he knew he was going to get axed anyway. Croom has manufactured some great wins for Mississippi State over the last few years despite going 21-38 with only one winning season in five years. Croom you will remember was the first black head coach in the SEC and will be remembered as a pioneer for that. He’ll also be remembered for putting together some great defenses and some of the worst offenses in SEC history. Probably why he’s out of there; defenses had fallen off and offenses never got better. I’d love to see him as a defensive coordinator some where, but head coach maybe not.

Clemson (7-5) over South Carolina (7-5) 31-14
Battle of the Palmetto State (1896)
Go Crazy Clemson Fans! At least you beat South Carolina. This score was not indicative of the ass beating Clemson gave SC this weekend. Neither team has been that impressive this year with Clemson falling well short of pre-season expectations. South Carolina is destined to finish 3rd or 4th every year in the SEC East and can only hope to claim the Palmetto State every year. Rumblings may be coming from the Gamecock faithful if Spurrier can’t get them to a conference title soon, especially with Tennessee falling off the map.

CONFERENCE WATCH:

ACC: Boston College vs. Virginia Tech in a re-match from last year and a more traditional Championship Game for the conference. Sure, you might want to see a Miami or Florida State dominate, but I like having those two in the middle of the pack for a few years. Georgia Tech had a shot at this but their cold side kept them out of the conference championship for the second straight year.

BIG-EAST: Winner Winner. Cincinnati Bearcat dinner. Cincinnati had better send a thank you card to Pitt for taking out West Virginia and making them the winner by elimination.

BIG-10: Still Penn State.

BIG-12: A down and out Missouri team will meet either Texas or Oklahoma next week. It’s all up to the polls at this point. The three-way gang bang in the South did nothing for Texas Tech’s hopes on Saturday but there’s always next year, even if their head coach bails on them this off season.

PAC-10: Damnit! USC has found a way back in this one and as long as they don’t blow it against UCLA they’re headed to the Rose Bowl to face Penn State. Now I don’t mind that so much because it’ll probably be a better game, but it would have been nice to see someone else win the conference for once.

SEC: #1 and still undefeated Alabama against probably the best team in the nation Florida for the SEC. Hopefully this will be a good game and one team doesn’t decide to blow the other out of the water.

That's it for this week kids. I'm tired of typing and there are just too many arguments to be made about who should be where and why. Tune in next week when I let everyone in on what the playoff system would look like if I ruled the world.
Peace!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Book Review: Service Included

Book Review: Service Included; By: Phoebe Damrosch

Service Included by Phoebe Damrosch is another one of those quick reads that I recommend for anyone in the service industry or more specifically in food and beverage.
Pretty fun book throughout.
Damrosch starts off as a server in a casual dinning restaurant with all of her student, actor, artist and loafing coworkers and is trying to decide whether she should leave her current job to find a real one or if she should stay in the food industry.
She decides to leave her job but applies and gets a job at New York's "hottest" new restaurant Per Se operated by Chef Thomas Keller of California's famous French Laundry.
From there she tries to immerse herself in the food culture by reading and attempting to cook from Keller's French Laundry cookbook. (A few of these scenes in the book are hilarious). She goes through her training at Per Se and this takes up a good portion of the book as she must learn the proper way to stand, speak, walk and set tables. Generally, if your not into the 'behind the scenes' of how restaurants work, this might not be that interesting to you.
As the restaurant opens, she then has to get over the gender separation in F&B as well as try to master her new position. As she succeeds in this, she is promoted from back server to captain and begins to fall in love (as most female semi-biographical writers tend to do) and then has to balance work and love all in the same space and time.
The next section of the book is dominated by her new romance and the New York Times food critic that she must serve on four separate occasions. The entire restaurant is obsessed with the critic because his rating will determine if they will be able to continue to charge upwards of $15K per table for meals. (It's all about the experience of dining, not the cost Damrosch teaches us)
I'll leave the end off the book in case you want to read it, but it's all smiles for the most part as job, life and romance all seem to fall into place to wrap up a happy story.
To me this book was Sex and the City meets Top Chef meets Real World. Overall it was enjoyable, and a nice break from all the serious non-fiction I've been reading. Pick it up if you have a rainy afternoon to kill or just need a nice look at the NY restaurant scene from the eyes of one server.

Monday, November 24, 2008

College Football Week 13

Time for Week Thirteen in the world of College Football!

Had to wit till Monday for this post since there was no way I could make my arguments this week without knowing how that ol’ BCS poll turned out after the OU Texas Tech game. Looks like some craziness to me.
1. Alabama .987
2. Texas .920
3. Oklahoma .912
4. Florida .875
5. USC .797
6. Utah .785
7. Texas Tech .778
8. Penn State .752
9. Boise State .658
10. Ohio State .621
11. Georgia .602
12. Oklahoma State .570

Now we all remember Texas beating Oklahoma during the State Fair right? True, but if you have round-robin winning between the three Big-12 South teams, then who goes to play Missouri? The highest BCS ranked team; that’s who. Looks like Texas right now but Oklahoma has Oklahoma State during next week’s rivalry week and they’re ranked 12th which should be high enough that a win for Oklahoma would make up the .008 points they need to overtake Texas who only has upset opportunities ahead with Texas A&M. Could get crazy! And may God help us that Auburn doesn’t try to salvage their season by beating Alabama next week or FSU over Florida.

Also, Utah, Ohio State and Penn State are DONE! So, we’ll see how the computers treat them as they sit idol for the next 2-3 weeks of football. Utah has nothing to fear, but the other two had better watch out.

And, no; Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma did not make it into the games of the week despite being hyped that way. Neither did Middle Tennessee State’s beat down of North Texas 52-13. Ouch.
Moving on…

GAMES OF THE WEEK: (Rankings as of Saturday)

#7 Utah over #14 BYU 48-24 The Holy War!
Wait how is some Mormon on Mormon action a Holy War? Oh well. Not a bad game overall and it meant something for both teams with Utah trying to stay undefeated and BYU trying to even the records at one loss and potentially move into that much needed BCS top 12. But alas, Utah has finished the year at 12-0 and has survived as a fly in the ointment. Now they get to become either Boise State from a few years ago or last year’s Hawaii. We’ll see. Good game though total yards were just about even 419-415 for BYU and the only real problem for BYU turned out to be the second half where they managed only 7 points compared to Utah’s 21 in the 4th quarter. Oh and the 6 turnovers for BYU… well let’s just say you can’t do that and expect to win ballgames.

#19 Cincinnati over #20 Pittsburg 28-21 The Big-East Brouhaha
Ok, not the real name of this match-up, but come on… Cincinnati now controls the Big East however, they now have to face an upstart Syracuse in their final conference game. Nobody is taking this conference too seriously this year, but there are a few teams in there that know how to play that are just having down years. I’m talking to you W. Virginia! But there are 6 teams in the Big East with 7 or more wins. Who knew? Anyway, 14 points from Pitt in the fourth wasn’t enough to pull them through on Saturday and going 2-10 on 3rd down is never a good thing. Of course neither is netting 35 yards rushing and getting dominated in ever statistical category. Good win for the Bear Cats.

#17 Ball State over Central Michigan 31-24
Now normally I am anti Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday college football, but this was a good one for me since I wanted to see how Ball State looked compared to their ranking. Not bad! And, those guys have some speed on that team. I don’t think they play good defense, but they have some quick running backs. Small, but quick. I liked how their offense managed the game, but I give them no chance in a big time bowl game. Giving up 345 yards of passing and 466 total yards to a directional Michigan team is never good. You do have to give them some credit though, C. Michigan was 8-2 coming into the game and played well so we’ll see if Ball U can close out a perfect regular season next week against another compass point in Western Michigan (9-2). If they do they win the MAC West! WooHoo!

BEAT DOWNS OF THE WEEK:
Take your pick:

#5 Oklahoma over #2 Texas Tech 65-21
Score not indicative of ass kicking Oklahoma gave Tech. That was the number two team in the country?

#8 Penn State over #15 Michigan State 49-18
Sparty never had a chance in this game. Joe Pa was ready to go run, no walk, no hobble through the roses in So. Cal.

#4 Florida over Charleston, South Carolina’s own Citadel Bulldogs 70-19
You gotta love playing real games early and then making room in your schedule for teams like the Citadel. 705 total yards for Florida with the starters only playing a quarter and a half before turning it over to the practice squad.

RIVALRY WATCH:
#10 Ohio State over Michigan 42-7
That’s five in a row for OSU; this one was probably the most fun. Nothing better than poking a dead wolverine with a stick. Michigan is now 3-9! Worst season for Big Blue in my lifetime. I knew this was going to be a good year. Whatever, this game wasn’t worth watching for long. OSU isn’t that good and Michigan is that bad.

CONFERENCE WATCH: (Current Rankings)
ACC: Thanks to now #22 Georgia Tech’s win this is anybody’s conference to win. Tech is done with conference play but the Coastal division is still up for grabs with FSU leading the Atlantic but BC and Maryland may still have something to say. We’ll see how this plays out next week in an all out ‘Who wants to lose the ACC’ week.

Big-12: #13 Missouri in the North and #2 Texas, #3 Oklahoma or #7 Texas Tech in the South. My head is spinning. This will be one of those Give me a f-ing play off scenarios after next week. Either way, it’s going to be interesting if Missouri wins the Big-12 Championship Game and essentially kills the Big-12’s chance of having a representative in the National Championship Game.

Big-10: #8 Penn State. Winner winner chicken dinner. Congrats.

Pac-10: #17 Oregon State is still holding the lead on #5 USC and can clinch as long as they take out #23 Oregon on Saturday. If… if only if… OSU has a chance to ruin USC season twice. Once with their win and the second time by taking the conference… if. USC has UCLA left for conference play but shouldn’t lose either of their remaining games against Notre Dame or UCLA.
SEC: #1 Alabama and #4 Florida are still on track to meet in Atlanta where Alabama kicked off their season with a beat down of Clemson and will hope to do the same to Florida. I don’t see it though. Auburn is still dangerous but can only knock them out of the National Championship hunt. If Bama finds a way to lose to both the Tigers and Gators… ouch. We’ll see.

BIGGEST LOSER:
LSU!
Now this has been brewing for weeks! But, before I deem LSU the biggest loser this week let me first say that they are 7-4 and have been playing with their number 3 and 4 quarterbacks for weeks. They haven’t had a number 1 in there since Spring Practice. Their four loses have all come in conference and they were to Florida (10-1), Georgia (9-2), Alabama (11-0) and now Mississippi (7-4). Let’s see any team run through the first three without losing at least one and just ask Florida about Mississippi’s ability to upset somebody. But! LSU is this week’s biggest loser for a season long plummet into middle of the road obscurity and their fans apathy on the journey. What happened to the allure of the Tiger Eye? This off season had better bring in a QB and some changes on defense if LSU wants to get back into contention in the SEC West in 2009.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

College Football Week 12

Time for Week Twelve in the world of College Football!

Sorry about the unannounced Bye Week last week college football fans, but I was still depressed about the UGA/Florida game and it was a busy weekend for me. Never fear though, I’m back.

Well the College Football regular season is winding down and once again here we are with more questions to be answered from the BCS and games to be played before we know who our conference champions really are. Where are you PAC-10 and Big-10 on getting a Championship Games? Huh? Douchbags. Yes the BCS still sucks and I think I’m just as excited about Obama’s college football playoff plan as I am his healthcare agenda.

Please, let’s put some of these midlevel teams that are undefeated with the top two teams from the 5 major conferences and play-it-off. That’s 15 teams! You can’t do that! Sure you can. The Champion form each major conference gets a bye so you have 10 teams in the first round. (5 second place teams from the ACC, B-10, B-12, P-10 and SEC vs. 5 Mid-Major Conference Champions; and yes that includes the Big East). Then you play that last ten down in a double elimination round-robin style bowl extravaganza.

No time to pontificate, you saw the action; let’s get to the games…

GAMES OF THE WEEK:


#10 Georgia over Auburn 17-13 The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry
Glory Glory! Georgia escaped Jordan-Hare Stadium with a win after the defense decided to show up late and Auburn played their hearts out. Let’s face it, these two schools hate each other and this game is always worth watching. All you really need to know about this game is “Matthew Stafford to AJ Green for the… Touchdown!” And, there was some great defense on both sides of the ball.

Wisconsin over Minnesota 35-32 The Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Ass…
Oh… what? It’s an axe you say? Ahhh. I though it was because both of these teams were here for the gang-bang. An axe makes sense though right? Anyway, Wisconsin actually played football in the fourth quarter which is weird since they usually fall apart after 45 minutes. Two TDs and two safeties in the fourth brought the Badgers back from a 24-17 deficit and they hung on to win and become bowl eligible with their sixth win.

Boston College over #19 Florida State 27-17
Who wants to win the ACC? I do! I do! Oh wait, no I don’t. This game was a fun one to watch despite those ugly ass FSU all black uniforms. Wow. Come on guys. No white after Labor Day and no lame ass all-black uniforms after Halloween. Now FSU had 5 WRs suspended for this game (sound familiar FSU fans?) and that hut them but they still out gained BC through the air. This game was all about the defenses though and I have a hard time believing that a few thugs at WR would have helped them all that much Especially since Ponder was intercepted three times by the BC defense. Now the Eagles control their own path to the ACC Championship game and FSU can look forward to Florida in a few weeks.



BEAT DOWN OF THE WEEK:


#4 Florida over #25 South Carolina 56-6
Dear God! I feel bad for any team that has to play Florida at this point. They are just tough! Percy Harvin had 167 rushing yards and 2TDs and torched South Carolina’s defense twice. Tebow went for 173 and 2TDs through the air and 39 and a TD on the ground. This was a beat down in every phase of the game. Total yards: 519-173; Rushing: 346-53; Turnovers: 4-2. This was Spurrier’s biggest loss of his carrier and South Carolina had better be glad they are already bowl eligible because a loss like this can kill you.

RIVALRY WATCH:


Notre Dame over Navy 27-21
Now I have a hard rule that I can’t put the service academies in the Pillow Fight because those guys always play hard no matter what. Much love! And, both of these teams now sit at 6-4 so bowl eligible. This was one of those games where you are cheering for Navy to pull off two in a row over the Irish but alas, it was not to be. Those two late on-side kick recoveries were awesome and this was fun despite the lower level of talent on both teams. Navy just couldn’t put together an offense this week. (242 total yards, 64 passing and 178 rushing) Anyway, a tip of my cap to Navy for keeping this one close and still believing they can win and a wag of my finger to Notre Dame for making Navy your marquee game of the year.

CONFERENCE WATCH:


ACC: Boston College, Maryland, Wake and FSU al still have a shot at the Atlantic Division. Miami and Georgia Tech still have shots at the Coastal Division. There are still two weeks left, we’ll see what happens.

Big-12: #12 Missouri has locked up the North title and right now are waiting on #2 Texas Tech for the Championship Game. But, Tech still has to go to #13 Oklahoma and play Baylor at home to wrap it up which could set up one of the biggest upset games of the year. Now Baylor may be 4-7 but they have next week off to get ready and would love to beat Tech and knock them out if they beat OU.

Big-10: #8 Penn State has control and only needs to win against Michigan State to get to the Rose Bowl. But, if Michigan State wins and Ohio State beats Michigan, then it’s Ohio State. If Michigan and Michigan State win, then Michigan State wins the Big-10. Should be a fun week coming up.

Pac-10: Oregon State controls its own path to the Rose Bowl if they can take care of Arizona on the road and Oregon at home in the next two weeks. With that huge win over USC, the Trojans can now only watch and hope.

SEC: #4 Florida from the East and #1 Alabama from the West will meet in the Championship game and it’ll be a de-facto playoff for the National Championship as long as both take care and don’t get upset before December 6th.

BIGGEST LOSER:



Michigan and Rich-Rod!
Oh mighty Michigan how you have fallen. They used to say you can’t spell Lloyd (Carr) without 2 Ls. Well you’re going to need a new alphabet to spell Rodriguez with 8 Ls. That’s right for the first time in the 129-year history of Michigan football the Wolverines have 8 losses and sit at 3-8 while Northwestern now sits at 8-3 after their 21-14 win thanks to shutting out Michigan in the second half at home. I guess changing the system is going to have its problems, but 8 losses? We’ll see how it goes next year, but I give ol’ Rich-Rod one more season without a bowl game and he’s out of there. He can salvage the season with a win over Ohio State next week, but that’s not likely to happen.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Book Review: The War Within

Sorry college football fans, I took a bye week last week without telling you in advance. Oops. It was a busy weekend filled with beer and theater. I went to see a local production of 'Dog Sees God' and had some friends in town.

But I did finally make it through my book that I've been on for more than a month now. The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008 by Bob Woodward is not exactly a quick read and makes it into my genre of depressing literature. Wow. This was scary. The Bush Administration had/has/will have no clue what the hell they're doing in Iraq.
While this book drags on from meeting to meeting to briefing to briefing to back-channel communications and interviews you the reader are left to wonder... when are they going to get all this on track? It seemed to me that the Administration couldn't get out of its own way on the road to securing Iraq's future.

There were some "points of light" in the book from time to time, such as Colin Powell and a few of the people on the ground like Colonel H.R. McMaster. McMaster in my opinion after reading this is a great guy to have on our side and one who truly understands how to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people in an effort to win this war. I have always had a great deal of respect for Powell even after the Bush Administration set him up with all those fake smoking guns in the run up to the war.

One such conversation in this book that stuck out to me was between General Jack Keane and Donald Rumsfeld. When Keane said, "We never adopted a strategy to defeat the insurgency," Rumsfeld asked him to clarify and he said:

"Well, we don't have a mission to defeat the insurgency. If we did, we should be protecting the population. And the fact that we're not protecting the population has exposed it to al Queda, to the Sunni insurgents and the Shia militia that take advantage of it. And that's why we have the bloodbath that we have today." He said the Iraqis were not yet capable of handling security. "That's the problem," he said. "We put our money on that horse." And the horse had come up lame.

That quote basically sums up the first 150 pages of the book. The Administration and everyone in it are just now (2006) figuring out that the war is more about Saddam and WMDs. They are seeing more civilian deaths and the growth of the insurgency and have no idea what to do about it because not one of them had a plan or strategy. They didn't even think about it. It seems to me that they went into the war with a one-day-at-a-time mentality not a long term plan.

The book then goes to more of the same:
Bush: We don't have a plan on how to fix Iraq. What's the plan? Are we winning?
Defense Department: Um...
State: Well...
Army: You see this is a complex situation that needs to be looked at from...
Rumsfled: Shut up! That's right, nobody talks to the President without that information being censored by me first!
General Casey: Fine, then I'll just talk to Maliki. Oh wait, he doesn't even represent the ruling majority. Um...
Bush: Good! Keep up the good work people! Stay the course!

Then there is this statement which comes from just about every briefing between 2006-2007. On September 30, 2007 General Casey presented his view of the enemy to NSC:

"The enemy and the security situation is much more complex than ever before." He told them there are four major groups that must be confronted: Sunni extremists, Shia extremists, those carrying out resistance attacks on the coalition, and the Iranians, who were covertly undermining stability.

It just seemed to me that every meeting or conference included the phrase, "more complex than we thought." Really? They had no idea who it was they were fighting and why. All they knew was that Iraq was not secure and everyday people die there because it's not secure.

Then you get to page 175 or so and you realize they have come up with a plan. A plan! Here's what we're going to do... We're going to get people from the administration together and they are going to come up with a plan. Then, we'll get a bunch of retired Colonels together and they'll come up with a plan. We'll call them the Council of Colonels (sounds cooler). Then, we'll get a bunch of civilians to review current action and tell us where we've gone wrong in the past, so when we give them the new policy it looks like were making progress.

Then there was a guy named Satterfield from the State Department and some woman named Mehgan O'Sullivan who liked to stir the pot as much as possible. They were coming up with plans to present to the President while the Colonels were kept across the river in a bunker to hash out logistics.

"They were conducting a strategy review of an ongoing war without anyone in uniform in the room. And while the Council of Colonels was meeting separately, as long as Rumsfeld was in charge, the two groups could not merge."

This back and forth goes on till about page 320 when the first book ends and the second book begins. The first book takes you through all the personnel change and "The Surge." Allow me to sum it up for you:

Administration: We need to surge the troops!
Military: No we don't we need to deploy them in the neighborhoods and move into a more grass-roots campaign against the insurgents. Get the people on our side.
Administration: Hmmm... good point but what about Baghdad? We can at least surge there right?
Military: No.
Administration (mumbling): Get me a new general and Secretary of, whatever.
Military: You know what we should do?
Administration: We need a Surge!

Guess who won that debate?

Anyway, if you want to know every in and out of the internal "debate" that went on with the administration and military, then feel free to pick up a copy of Woodward's book. This was a little too detailed for me and I usually want more detail and less stroy in my nonfiction. But this, this was just depressing. I feel less confident than ever about the administration after reading this. There were a few bright spots, so I'm not knocking it 100%, but 99.9 just maybe.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

College Football Week 10

Time for Week Ten in the world of College Football!

This was a week of dream shattering proportions. Teams that had hope must now just play it out and hope for the best bowl they can get and some form of redemption. With the middle of the pack taking another big hit this weekend, anybody from #15-25 is anyone’s guess. The top five is now a tossup and who knows how good these #6-15 teams really are?

My Dawgs got embarrassed down in Jacksonville. I think everyone saw that coming though with Florida turning it on over the past few weeks and the Georgia defense looking suspect against the pass all year long. Can’t blame it on Stafford since the pics he did throw were late in the game and he had to make those throws to try and get us back in the game. Too bad all of them set UF up for close scores and made the final UGLY! Oh well, there’s always the Capital One Bowl. What’s in your wallet? Another disappointing season.
I need a tissue.

Moving on…

GAMES OF THE WEEK:

#1 Texas falls to #7 Texas Tech 39-33

Really a story of two halves. The first half was all Tech with the Longhorns looking flat on both sides of the ball. Tech did impress with some great defensive play all game long and had Colt McCoy on his ass more times than Mac Brown would have liked to see all season. The second half saw Texas make a push to get back in it and take the lead with 1:29 left in the game. But Tech proved they deserved this win driving the ball down and getting a patented great throw and catch from Harrell to Crabtree for 28 yards to win it and, eventually, let their fans storm the field. A great win for the Red Raiders and a devastating loss for Texas this late in the year. I would give the player of the game nod to Harrell, but I think Tech’s defense deserves the game ball for their entire game effort.

#14 Missouri survives Baylor 31-28
Oh the power of the late field goal! I have no idea how Baylor was able to hang in this one by scoring 21 in the second half to tie it at 28. But, I do know that Mizzou couldn’t afford to drop their third game of the year, especially to Baylor. This was one of those games like Florida vs. Vandy coming up next week. You know you have a better team, you know your playing well, but you have to go out there and prove it every week. Good job by Daniel getting his team down the field and scoring with only 2:31 left.

#21 Michigan State over Wisconsin 25-24
Oh the power of the late TD, FG, FG! Once again Wisconsin found a way to blow a 4th quarter lead and lose a game. This time however, they held a 24-13 lead with less than ten minutes left before the collapse began. Of course this got my attention because I walked in after work with ten minutes left in this game and thought I might actually see some Badger defense… no… wait… no. MSU is now 8-2 and has made a clear division between the top and bottom teams in the Big-10 which may give PSU a shot at the BCS Championship game IF they can run the table.

UPSETS OF THE WEEK:

#15 Florida State goes down to Georgia Tech 31-28
What did I just say about Georgia Tech being hot and cold? Hmmm? This week it was Hot Tech taking out a slightly over ranked FSU to put themselves at 7-2 on the year. Tech is now in the driver’s seat in the ACC despite both of their losses coming in conference.

#17 Minnesota falls to Northwestern 24-17
I just kept waiting on the Golden Gofers to fall apart and it took an upstart Northwestern team to finally take them out with :12 left in the game. A great interception returned for a TD finally did it and I was glad to see the Minn fans finally remember who they are. Gofers!

#18 Tulsa upset? by Arkansas 30-23
Ahhhh dreams of beating the system. Too bad Tulsa. This is what happens when you play real teams from real conferences. As you dear reader will remember I have been down on Arkansas all year as the whipping boys of the SEC West. (Now 4-5; 1-4 SEC) And, when Tulsa lined up on Saturday they learned what its like to play real football. Arkansas gets hit in the mouth every week, so don’t expect them to give up and roll over like the rest of the teams Tulsa plays on that crap ass C-USA schedule. I’m talking to you N. Texas!


BEAT DOWN OF THE WEEK:

#5 USC over Washington 56-0

Coach Willingham must be an avid reader of this blog because after being named biggest loser last week he went ahead and put in his resignation. I don’t blame him too much but Washington is really bad and a visit from USC didn’t do much to help his case. USC can now start making it’s case to get back in the National Title hunt, but don’t get too excited just yet Trojan fans.

RIVALRY WATCH:

Kansas over Kansas State 52-21 (The Mickelson Bowl)

Well you can’t win them all K-State. (or even 5 for this example) K-State now finds themselves at 4-5 on the year and having to fight like hell to get bowl eligible. Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa State are left for K-State while Kansas has Nebraska, Texas and Missouri left to go. Neither of these teams has a chance to make a push, but Kansas could determine how the Big-12 finishes up this year. Tale of the tape for this one was K-state’s 5 turnovers and only 91 rushing yards to go with 98 yards of penalties. Ouch.

PILLOW FIGHT OF THE WEEK:

North Texas over Western Kentucky 51-40

Score one for The Mean Green and the Sun-Belt Conference! Whoooo! Congrats you got your first win of the season and took out The Hilltoppers! Let’s see WKU is now 2-7 on the year representing, well nobody since they are a D-I Independent school so they play the shit off the bottom of every other conference’s boots and any teams who might need a warm and fuzzy warm-up win. Oh well, a win is a win right?

BIGGEST LOSER:

THE BCS!
Just wait and see. With all of these teams stacking up with one loss and the power of the conference politics, this is going to get bad. Where is the Plus-One system? I’ll get into this more next week.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

College Football Week 9

Time for Week Nine in the world of College Football!

A good week in the world of College Football. Lots of upsets and great games from the big conferences. Offense was the word of the day on Saturday with a lot of points being put up on scoreboards around the nation. A couple of teams didn’t look as good as the hype and a few proved they were in it to fight for some championships. Overall some great football on Saturday and too bad I missed a lot of it since I had to pull the night shift.

There is only one real note that I need to make about this week and it is on the Big-12’s defenses. I thought that the Big-12’s offensive numbers were inflated because of the style of offense they ran. I mean, we can all agree that the spread offense is going to put up some points. However, after watching the Texas Tech game and the extended highlights of several of the other Big-12 match-ups, I can tell you that every single defense that I saw SUCKED! No wonder TT hung 63 on Kansas. Even I can throw for 386yds in a game if every single receiver has a 5 to 10-yard cushion and I can set up every pass with a run game that faces no D-line pressure. Mizzou put up huge numbers against a bunch of slow ass Buffalos and Oklahoma and K State’s defense couldn’t get out of their own way in efforts to let the other team score. I mean go look at the highlights of every Big-12 touchdown from this weekend and then look at the SEC. There is a difference between scores and contested scores. Hell even Florida had to fight for every one of their scores against UK and they’re my Beat Down for this week.

Moving on…

GAMES OF THE WEEK:

#3 Penn State over #9 Ohio State 13-6
Defense. Can I get a little defense? Oh yes I may! What a game. This was the type of game Penn State needed this contest to be in order to win. Everyone knew that if PSU was to have any chance of winning they had to shut down OSU’s offense and hope for the best. And, that’s just what happened. The game ended on an INT by PSU in the end zone and the whole game was dominated not by the big names but by the guys you don’t hear about in the highlight clips every week. The two teams combined for only 568 total yards in the game! Hell, there were a few QBs from the Big-12 that had more yards than that. I’m starting to cheer for Joe Pa’ all of a sudden. I kind of want him to win something this year so he can go ahead and retire.

#1 Texas over #6 Oklahoma State 28-24
Oh Texas, you almost let OKSt. get by you there. Granted the Cowboys were in the top ten and had a good chance of pulling out an upset, but Texas did what a #1 team needed to do and that’s win at home. I do think that Texas may have lain down in the fourth quarter a little bit. UT went up 28-14 midway through the third and then did nothing else on offense for the rest of the game. 60 minutes guys, 60 minutes. A couple of turnovers didn’t help them much and they may have left a window open for a group of teams that are gunning for that #1 spot. Once again though this was the McCoy and Shipley show in Austin hooking up for 168yds and a TD through the air and combining for 58yds on the ground and a TD from McCoy. (Tebow loves him by the way).

#7 Georgia over #13 LSU 52-38
Oh my Dawgs hung 52 on LSU! I’m not going to lie; I was worried about this one. And, for those of you that will cry homer, I try to keep Georgia out of my top games, but this was a good one for many reasons. For one, unlike the Texas Tech v. Kansas game, this shootout actually featured defense. Stafford managed the game well going 17/26 for 249yds and 2Tds, while Knowshon went off for 163yds on the ground and a score. You’d have to look at the box score to see how back and forth this one was. Total yards = LSU 497 to 443. Rushing yards = UGA 194 to 188. Time of Possession = UGA 32:10 to 27:50. The key stat that separated the two teams was Turnovers = LSU: 3; UGA: 0. The Dawgs scored 14 points on two pick 6’s and that was truly the deciding factor. That, and some great defensive stops. Stat of the game... 30. LSU had won 30 straight home games that were played on Saturdays, with its last Saturday home loss coming in 2003.

UPSETS OF THE WEEK:

Wow, a bad week to be in the middle of the pack. But, if you go back and look at some of my previous posts, you would have seen three of these upsets coming. Explanations to follow…

Louisville over #16 South Florida 24-20
How many times have I said that South Florida was overrated? Hmmm? They are now 6-2 on the year with both of those losses coming from other Big East schools. Boooo!

Rutgers over #17 Pittsburgh 54-34
Another overrated Big East school and now you have a 2-5 Rutgers picking up their third win on the road against a “Top 20” program who should have been fighting like hell to win their conference and keeping some semblance of respect.

Virginia over #18 Georgia Tech 24-17
I believe it was just last week that I said Virginia wasn’t as bad as everyone thought they were. And now here they sit at 5-2 after beating GT on the road. You’ll also remember that I said Tech was a hot and cold team. Must have been chilly in Atlanta this weekend.

Indiana over #22 Northwestern 21-19
Um… ok, you will not see much mention of either of these teams in my other posts, because, really… who cares? Northwestern may be on a hard fall back to Earth with Minnesota, OSU and Michigan coming up in the next three weeks.

BEAT DOWN OF THE WEEK:

#10 Florida over Kentucky 63-5

Ouch! Blocked kicks setup Florida for some short early touchdown drives and before the fans even had time to get on their third beer it was 35-0. UK didn’t even score the safety at the very end of the game; it was a bad snap that went out of the end zone. This was the 22nd straight win for Florida over UK and the only highlight worth mentioning was the rushing TD for Tim Tebow that tied Emmitt Smith for Florida’s all-time mark.

Runner-up: #15 Missouri over Colorado 58-0 It’s really not that much fun picking on your retarded cousin is it?

RIVALRY WATCH:

Michigan State over Michigan 35-21
Another rivalry that used to mean something. Now it only means that Michigan State has rolled up a 7-2 record and Michigan is stuck on 2. (Thanks Miami of Ohio and Wisconsin) Ringer had 194yds on 37 carries with 2TDs and is looking like a back that may be able to prove himself at the next level. I think that without him Michigan State would only have 4 wins at most and with him they may have something to say about the Big-10 Championship with Wisconsin, Purdue and Penn State still left on the schedule.

PILLOW FIGHT OF THE WEEK:

Florida Atlantic over Louisiana-Monroe 29-28
A match-up of 2-5 teams? I can’t resist. This week’s pillow fight comes to us from the Sun Belt Conference. Somebody has to get to three wins right? (We know it’s not going to be North Texas, that’s for sure. 45-17 loss to Troy this week). It took a 22-yard touchdown pass with :20 left in the game but somehow FAU was able to get the last swing to connect in this epic pillow fight. Up next for the Owls is the Mean Green of N. Texas and I smell win number four.

BIGGEST LOSER:

The Washington Huskies!
The Huskies are now 0-7 on the year and while they may be bad they at least… well no, they are just bad. Only 4 of the 10 teams in the PAC-10 have winning records. So, it’s not like they are playing against really tough competition every week. And this week’s loss to The Fighting Irish (33-7) didn’t help matters that much. The Husky defense is giving up an average of 40 points a game while averaging only 16 points a game on offense. Their leading rusher is QB Jake Locher (whom you might remember from the Biggest Loser earlier in the year) with 180 yards… on the season! By the way, he’s missed the last three games due to injury. Better luck next year guys!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

College Football Week 8

Time for Week Eight in the world of College Football!

This is the last week of ‘polls that don’t matter.’ The BCS comes out on Sunday and people can start arguing about computers and “quality wins.” Wins are wins people. Either way, once the BCS is out everybody just needs to worry about where they are and fight for the one and two spots at the end. And we can all only hope that somehow Ohio State beats Penn State next week so neither Big-10 school can have a claim this year.

My Dawgs looked flat on defense this week thanks to those damn 12:30 start times. I hate those early games. The players aren’t ready, the fans aren’t drunk and nobody is ready for had-hitting football. But, a 24-14 win is… say it with me… a win. Good. And this one can qualify for the discussion too since Vandy was actually ranked. Knowshon looked good going off for 172 yards and a TD on 23 carries but Stafford was less than stellar and Georgia had better pick it up with LSU and Florida coming up in the next two weeks.

Moving on…

GAMES OF THE WEEK:

#13 LSU over South Carolina 24-17
So close to being an upset. SC lead this one 17-10 at half and the game was back and forth with a lot of hard hitting and defense all over the place. Even the Umpire got in on it tackling Carolina’s QB late in the second quarter. Really the second half was dominated by defense with LSU only able to put together two drives in the half (9 plays 53yds and 11 plays 83yds); both of which however ended in TDs. LSU had a hard loss last week to Florida and I expected them to play well, but SC always plays hard at home and this was a great game to watch.

#4 Oklahoma over #16 Kansas 45-31
Offense anyone? That’s 1,164 yards of total offense in this one. Sam Bradford finished 36/53 for 468 yards and 3TDs. That yardage is a school record by the way. I think people expected OU to have a letdown game after last week, but the offense looked good despite losing one of their top receivers in the first quarter. Oklahoma really pulled away early in the second half but KU showed some fight and you have to start to wonder about the Sooner defense since they’ve given up 76 points over the last two games. Hmm… But, a big shout to KU’s receiver Briscoe for catching 12 balls for 269 yards and 2 TDs. That’s a good day in any league.

#2 Alabama survives Mississippi 24-20
Defense anyone? Ol’ Miss had already tripped up Florida this year and had their sights set on Bama this weekend. 675 total yards in this one thanks to some great defensive play on both sides of the ball. Alabama is proving to be a fast starter, but is having some trouble closing out games. Mississippi outscored them 17-0 in the second half but much like Georgia two weeks ago, they dug too deep of a hole in the first half to climb out of.


UPSET OF THE WEEK:

TCU takes out #9 BYU 32-7 (The Crusade Game)

Christians vs. Mormons in a classic MWC upset game. Guess none of the Latter Day Saints could make the game and perform a miracle for the Cougars. This just goes to show that you should never put your trust in upstart programs (or religions) and never bet against Christ. Running was the key to the game with TCU racking up 240 rushing yards compared to BYU’s 23 (on 28 attempts none the less). The four turnovers didn’t help Mormon U either.

BEAT DOWN OF THE WEEK:

#6 USC over Washington State 69-0
Dear Lord! 69 to zip? Not even 3 points? This was the largest shutout win for USC since they beat Montana by the same score back in 1931. Now we all know that WSU is no powerhouse Montana (6-1 this year in the Big Sky), so this must have been bad. The Dirty Sanchez even threw for five touchdowns in the first half. As if the score wasn’t bad enough, total yardage went to USC to the tune of 624 to 116.

Runner up: New Mexico over San Diego State 70-7

RIVALRY WATCH:

Virginia over #18 North Carolina 16-13 in OT
I wouldn’t necessarily call this one an upset. North Carolina has been playing over their level all year long and Virginia isn’t as bad as their now 4-3 record would lead you to believe. North Carolina held Virginia to 3 points all game long till their final drive tied it up with less than a minute left. UNC kicks a field goal in OT; UVA gets a TD. Ballgame.

PILLOW FIGHT OF THE WEEK:

Tulsa over UTEP 77-35
This week’s pillow fight comes to us from C-USA. Offense anyone? If you thought that Oklahoma game had some scoring then you missed this one. Tulsa is now 7-0 on the year but that doesn’t mean anything when 4 of those wins came against other C-USA teams. But the 1,144 total yards made this an instant classic pillow fight. Tulsa’s QB went 21/27 for 434 and 5TDs with 1Int. 112 total points is just crazy and had to be entertaining as hell. Too bad the game wasn’t on TV anywhere except maybe the UTEP student’s center.

BIGGEST LOSER:


North Texas!
Let’s see, out of all the major and mid-major conferences in D-I there is one team that stands alone as the one and only winless team out there and that honor goes to the Sun Belt’s own North Texas. Sorry Shane, your team is the worst. 0-7 with conference leader and powerhouse Troy (4-2) coming up next. The “Mean Green” is averaging just under 16 points a game while giving up just under 51 a game. That’s an average margin of 35 points a game. Damn! N. Texas is #118 in the nation in points per game only better than Florida Atlantic and Wyoming. So for right now, North Texas is the NCAA’s Biggest Losers!