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

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Week 4 is no more

Ooooo… Ahhh… Lots of that going on in week four. There were some juicy matchups and a few that didn’t disappoint. A Biiigg upset to get to this week and an actual “test” for Boise State. For the Georgia Bulldogs (who won’t get another mention in this blog after this) it was another disappointing weekend falling to 0-3 in the SEC thanks to the other Bulldogs from Mississippi State. First time in my life I’ve seen a Georgia team this bad. Ouch. But not a game of the week. I should mention #5 Oregon’s win over Arizona St. 42-31 but I don’t feel like it because Oregon should have won by more and needs a defense. Good weekend for the SEC as you shall see in this week’s…

GAMES OF THE WEEK:
#1 Alabama goes to #10 Arkansas and wins it 24-20
I don’t want to think that Alabama was shocked during the first half of this game being where as it was their first real road test against a quality opponent, but Arkansas jumped on them early and took a 17-7 lead into the half and was up 20-7 through most of the 3rd. The game was the story of Alabama’s Heisman Trophy winner Ingram and Arkansas QB Mallett though as both determined the outcome for their teams. I don’t want to go too stat heavy here but: Ryan Mallett vs. Alabama 1st Half / 2nd Half Comp pct 68.2 (15-22) / 62.5 (10-16) Yards 250 / 107 TD-Int 1-1 / 0-2 Score Led 17-7 / Lost 24-20. Whereas Mark Ingram gained 80 of his 157 rushing yards (on 24 carries for 2TDs) against Arkansas after a defender made contact with him. Two competitors went out and played. One wanted it more than the other and his team won the game. That simple. Alabama has Florida visiting next week for another top 10 matchup. Can’t call this a soft spot in the schedule.

#3 Boise State over #24 Oregon State 37-24
Boise needed a bigger win than this to justify that #3 ranking. Sorry to say, but they don’t play anybody else the rest of the year and Oregon State to me was their last ‘quality’ opponent this year. But, they did win the game and that has to count for something. And Kellen Moore is one of the better QBs in the nation so they have that going for them. He threw for 288 yards and 3 TDs in this one and made Oregon State’s defense just look bad. And, Oregon State was playing on the road and seemed to be playing catch up for the whole game. But, I still don’t believe in this Boise State team.

#17 Auburn over #12 South Carolina 35-27
When the number one SEC rushing offense (AUB) meets the SEC’s number one rushing defense (USC) what happens? Auburn rushes for 334 yards. South Carolina just looked way overrated in this game. I know they deserve to be in the top 25, but top 15? Not so much. They proved it with 4 turnovers ALL IN THE 4th QUARTER!!! Auburn QB Cameron Newton rushed for 176 yards and 3TDs and passed for 158 yards and 2 more touchdowns. Looks like Auburn had better protect him this year. By the way anyone else notice that Auburn may be a year early on their projection to make a run at the SEC West? They are 4-0 now with 2 of those coming in the conference already. I think this year’s Iron Bowl should be a good one.

#14 Arizona escapes unranked California 10-9
Down 9-3 with 1:15 left to play, your offense hasn’t scored all night, you’re at home for your conference opener and you’re ranked in the top 15 about to lose to an unranked Cal team. What do you do? Throw a TD pass and win it 10-9. Arizona has got to feel like they truly escaped from this one. Not only did they overcome 3 turnovers and a late push from Cal but Arizona more importantly stayed undefeated and alive in the PAC-10 race. Not the prettiest game of the week, but one of the better ones.

Honorable mention this week to #16 LSU taking out #22 West Virginia 20-14.

UPSET OF THE WEEK:
#7 Texas loses badly AT HOME to UNRANKED UCLA 34-12
Wow. Not since the 1997 game against this same UCLA program (UCLA 66 Texas 3) has Texas pulled such a crapper at home. The score should speak for itself, but the Bruins forced four first-half turnovers and chewed up the nation's #2 rushing defense with 264 yards on the ground. UCLA isn’t even that good. And, 7 of Texas’s points came in garbage time. What you wanna’ bet Texas stops scheduling UCLA as a non-conference opponent? I have no words for this one. Only; wow!

BEAT DOWN OF THE WEEK:
#11 Wisconsin over Austin Peay 70-3
What the hell? Really. You needed to score 70? You scheduled the Austin Peay Governors from Clarksville, Tennessee? (Yes, even I had to look that one up, and here is what downtown Clarksville looks like; pictured left) I know teams schedule crappy opponents to get easy wins, but Austin Peay? At least Wisconsin stopped passing once they racked up 3 touchdowns on 272 yards. Too bad they also rushed for 346yds for SEVEN! more touchdowns.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Whatever. This week should go to Terrelle Pryor of Ohio State who accounted for 348 total yards and six touchdowns in a 73-20 rout of Eastern Michigan (0-4 from the MAC) but that would be like giving a game ball to Mike Vick if he played the West Virginia School for the Blind. So, I’m not giving it to Pryor. Like Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy, this week’s award shall be vacated. Ouch.

PILLOWFIGHT OF THE WEEK:
Last week I went with UNLV to beat New Mexico in their MWC slap-fest. And boy did I pick a winner. UNLV won it 45-10. Way to go Rebels from a state that wasn’t in the CSA; but whatever. New Mexico is now 0-4.
This week we’re taking a trip back to the SunBelt Conference for (1-2) LA Lafayette’s visit to conference opponent (1-3) North Texas. I’m going to go out on a limb and pick the road team this week and say the Ragin’ Cajuns take out the Mean Green. Yes, those are their actual mascot names.

Have a great week college fans and I’ll try to be back next week with more sarcasm and fewer stats.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Back at it for another exciting year

Well this past week marked the start of year two in Muganlo’s fabulous public school. We technically started back on the 15th but that day there were absolutely no classes and the morning was spent out in the yard giving out certificates to the “good” students from the past year. I had to laugh about that too because as you moved farther and farther up the classes towards the 12th grade, the certificates became fewer and fewer. I think by the time we got to the 8th grade the criteria probably dropped to ‘did the student stay awake for at least half the year last year?’

Anyway, this year’s start was a lot more organized than last year that’s for sure. Last year after they made all the announcements and rang the bell, there was a bum rush style stampede for the doors as all the students ran to their classes. This year, I was prepared with my camera to record the chaos, but our assistant director actually managed to stop the herd and make them go in one grade at a time. She’s a tough woman and nobody is going to mess with her. See video below.


video
Like I said, there were no classes the first day since of course the schedule wasn’t written out yet. In fact today is one week into school and the schedule still hasn’t been finished. Our assistant director is taking it one day at a time, which means everyone has to show up for the first lesson to see if you actually have classes that day or not. For example on Tuesday I went in at 8:45am to find out that I didn’t have a class till around 11am. Oh well, such is school in Muganlo. I’m pretty sure this year I’m going to have Wednesdays off as I told my assistant director that I would not be the only one this year teaching all five days. Every teacher at my school has at least one day off every week and I’m doing my best to try and get the middle of the week off.

So far so good on my classes though. Despite the fact that my school has reduced rather than expand our English program and my director decided not to give me a room to use as an English cabinet, I’m finding some things to focus on. For example all three of my 6th grade groups whom I taught in 5th grade last year are doing just fine to start the year. One of the groups got split into two separate groups so they are a lot easier to handle and I got to be involved in splitting the groups (actually I stepped in and did it myself rather than having their home-teacher who knows nothing about their English ability do it). The other two groups seem to have some decent knowledge retention from last year. However, two of my star students from last year seemed to have fallen back to the pack and can’t even answer the simplest of questions. It’s really weird too. What is your name? My names she is Anvar. What?

Whatever, the school year has started and now it’s time to take it one day at a time and watch one lesson plan after another blow up in my face either due to lack of students, lack of teachers, random school cancelations or just lack of execution. But that’s why I like it. You never know what’s going to happen from one day to the next.

In other news, I am over my illness. For the two weeks leading up to school I was suffering from some food-born amebas that I picked up from somewhere. Fun times when you live with an outhouse. But, I was able to spend two nights in Tbilisi for the worst of it so I had showers, toilets and some peace and quiet. I was just happy that I recovered in time for school to start. Also, I had my teeth cleaned and my mid-service physical earlier this month. All is well and I am still in overall good health. Teeth cleaning here wasn’t as bad as it was in Kazakhstan, but it was interesting. Can’t wait to get home and have them properly cleaned.

Also, in celebration of the new school year… My family bought me a pig! That’s right; the Muslims bought me a pig. This is how it went down between me and my host-dad:
Me – Wait, that’s a pig.
Akif – Yeah a guy at my work has some and he gave me one, so I’m giving it to you.
Me – Can you eat it?
Akif – You want to eat it?
Me – Um yes.
Akif – You don’t want to keep it?
Me – No. I want to eat it.
Akif – Ok. I know a guy who can kill it and cook it for you. I can’t do that.
Me – But I can’t eat that thing by myself. I could try believe me, but I don’t think I could eat the whole thing.
Akif – We’ll help you eat it.
Me – You sure about that?
Akif – Oh yeah. Just don’t tell anybody around here.
Me – Ok. You bring back a cooked pig and I’ll be here ready to eat.

The next night, Akif sure enough shows up at around 7pm with this entire baby size pig cooked up. We’re talkin’ whole hog here. That skin was golden brown and delicious. And, in an effort to make the sacrifice to whatever, we cut the head off and with the feet, arranged them on a separate plate not to be eaten. I was cool with that. Head and feet are never some of my favorites. While I had some concerns for my family’s eternal damnation over their dietary slip, they were quickly washed away by the warm and greasy meat sliding from my hands into my mouth. Mmmm…

So that has been me these last few weeks. From amebas to good health and a teeth cleaning to school starting to pig picking. I know, it would sound strange anywhere but here.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week 3 was Weak

Yeah so week 3 didn’t look that exciting on paper and it really didn’t disappoint on the field either. There were just too many predictable outcomes and too many lopsided matchups. There were a few games that I thought would turn out to be close but other than our upcoming games of the week there wasn’t much to excite the college fan on Saturday. I thought TCU 45 – Baylor 10 would be better, Nebraska 56 – Washington 21 would be better, and no, just predictable outcomes with large point margins. In fact the only game that was a lot closer than it should have been was Michigan 42 – UMass 37. Michigan almost landed in this week’s upsets. Close.

GAMES OF THE WEEK:
#16 Auburn over Clemson 27-24 in Overtime
This was one of the few games I thought would be a good one this week and it didn’t disappoint. Clemson looked athletic and very fast to start this game and found themselves with a 17-0 lead early. But Auburn’s defense proved their toughness and had a ton of hard hitting tackles throughout the game. OT was interesting with neither team converting a TD but Auburn making a field goal and then watching Clemson miss their 31-yd attempt to lose. So the question is, did Auburn win or Clemson lose this game? I want to side with Auburn just based on their defense, but that’s a close call.

#7 Oklahoma over Air Force 27-24
This was a lot closer than I thought it would be. Tied up 10-10 in the 3rd quarter The Sooners pulled this one out after converting a crucial 3rd down on the last drive after AF pulled within 3. Oklahoma should be a little worried about their defense after giving up 458 yards of total offense with 351 of those coming from Air Force’s running game. Also, going 7-15 on 3rd downs is not all that great for an Oklahoma team that typically moves the ball well and can put together some long drives. A good win for Oklahoma though.

#11 Wisconsin over Arizona State 20-19
The Badgers of Wisconsin got a scare this week at home and it took a fabulous play to block an extra point to pull out the win. This game gave credence to the phrase ‘The all important extra point.’ Arizona’s line let a 5’9” safety get through the line and end their hope of an upset on the road. The game as a whole was good, but the ending here saved this one and maybe Wisconsin’s season.

#12 Arkansas over Georgia 31-24

Georgia did everything they could to try a pull an upset in Athens on Saturday. Well, everything except play pass defense. Granted Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett is one of the top QBs in the country but two of his touchdowns went to receivers that were wide open and he ended up passing for 380yds and 3TDs yesterday. Georgia while showing some guts this week (as opposed to last week) just doesn’t have enough offensive firepower without AJ Green to be a threat this year. But, all it would have taken for a win would have been a catch on the last play of the game. Georgia literally came within a finger tip of catching that Hail Mary pass and pulling out this upset. Well that and like I said pass defense.

UPSET OF THE WEEK:
#24 Arizona over #9 Iowa 34-27
I was not drinking the early season Kool-Aid on Iowa. I mean its Iowa. But they are good and this was sure to be a tough road test for them early in the season. That it was. Arizona played some good defense and Iowa just made too many mistakes. Missed extra points, interceptions, that just can’t happen when you’re playing a quality opponent and you’re supposed to be a top-ten team. This game really was just Arizona jumping on Iowa early and then playing good defense at the end to win it.

BEAT DOWN OF THE WEEK:

#5 Oregon over Portland State 69-0
Ouch. Not only is Portland not a state but a city in Oregon, they also gave up 668 yards to the Ducks from Oregon. A real state. What can be said about this game that hasn’t already been said about Afghanistan? It was that bad.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:

So last week I kind of snubbed Denard Robinson from Michigan and went with Bryce Beall instead. But this week he was the reason Michigan avoided the upset and pulled out a win. Robinson rushed for 258 yards on 28 carries and passed for 244yds for one touchdown. He had a better performance last week against Notre Dame and he should have been the player of the week. So cheers to you Denard! I still hate Michigan though.

PILLOW FIGHT OF THE WEEK:

My pick was LA-Monroe at Arkansas State. And your winner is… Arkansas State 34-20 over LA-Monroe in an early SunBelt Conference matchup. Ask yourself; are Arkansas and Louisiana in the actual geographic Sun Belt? Just a thought.
This week I’m going to go with New Mexico (0-3) going to UNLV (0-3) in a MWC pillow fight of the ages. I think I’ll pick the home squad and go with UNLV. Who knows though. I had forgotten the MWC even existed any more.

That’s it college football fans. Week three is in the books and thank God for that. Week four promises a lot more quality games and I’m looking forward to it and your comments on this blog.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week 2 of 2010

Yes. I am near tears over #22 UGA’s loss to #24 South Carolina 17-6 this week. The UGA vs. USC game is like Groundhog’s Day for Georgia fans. If you come out of your summer hole and see a win there will be a bright and happy season ahead. If you see a loss, it’s going to be a long cold winter. And this year is not going to be a good one. When has a Georgia team ever been run on like that by a freshman running back? (M. Lattimore 37 carries for 182 yds and 2 TDs.) Wow. Guess that 3-4 defense needs a little bit more work huh? NOT ONE TOUCHDOWN!!!??? I know AJ Green wasn’t there, but come on!

Anyway, that’s not the story of the week. Upsets! (See Below) Let’s get on to the…
GAMES OF THE WEEK:
#1 Alabama over #18 Penn State 24-3
I liked the line of, “This game was over when Alabama realized they were playing a young team not the legend of Penn State.” And Alabama just keeps cranking out running backs. Heisman Trophy winner out with an injury? No problem. Here’s another guy who’s going to run for 144 yards on you. Bama looks like they may be for real again and Penn State looks like they need to regroup and find a defense.


#2 Ohio State over #12 Miami 36-24
God I hate saying this, but OSU looks good and their QB Terrelle Pryor (233 passing yds. w/a TD and 113 rushing yards w/a TD) looks like he’s finally figured it out. Miami was a tough test early and the Buckeyes proved they’re ready to make another run at a National Championship. I will continue to hate on them until they do so… whatever. Miami can’t turn the ball over like that (4 INTs) if they want to compete this year.
I’m not even going to spend time on #10 Oklahoma over #17 Florida State 47-17. What did I say last week? If FSU loses big they are on for a downward spiral the rest of the year. Look for it.
Also, #23 West Virginia’s win over Marshall in Overtime 24-21 had to have been a decent game.
UPSETS OF THE WEEK:
Now this is the story of Week Two in College Football.
#13 Virginia Tech falls to Unranked D-II James Madison 21-16
Is this a story about VT falling off the national map by the end of week 2 or a blow to Boise State’s hopes of going to the National Championship game? BSU needed VT to stay in the top 15 or 20 for the year to make that win last week look like something. Now… not so much. Questions will start to fly in Blacksburg now that any hopes of a Championship birth are so far gone.
Unranked Kansas over #15 Georgia Tech 28-25
The only comfort I can have in a Georgia loss is that Georgia Tech lost too. Not a good weekend for the ACC contenders. Miami, VT, GT, and UVA all lost. Oh well.
BEAT DOWN OF THE WEEK:
We have a tie ladies and gentlemen! Maryland over Morgan State 62-3 and UConn over Texas Southern 62-3. Ouch. No comments needed on those two games.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
In a tribute to the other side of my brain Dave Beall, this week’s top performer is Bryce Beall (no relation; he’s 5’11” and 209Lbs. so Dave needs to gain about 100Lbs. to look anything like this guy) of Houston who rushed for 195yds and 3 TDs on only 19 carries and 10yds receiving in a 54-24 win over UTEP.

PILLOW FIGHT OF THE WEEK:
Last week I chose Eastern Michigan at Miami (OH) as my game and it did not disappoint. A true pillow fight that ended with Miami (OH) collecting a thrilling win 28-21.
This week I’m going to choose LA-Monroe (0-1) at Arkansas St (0-2). Again, someone has to win a game here.
That’s it college football fans. I was able to get some good Internet this week and hopefully I’ll be able to each and every Sunday (I doubt it though). Enjoy the start of the NFL season and I’ll be back next week. Go Dawgs… oh forget it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Welcome Back College Football

Oh thank the Lord college football is back. January seems like it was so long ago and Alabama’s National Championship defense is now finally under way. They start the year off as number one which is never really a good thing, but this week will be their first test as Penn State comes to Alabama to try and trip the Tide.

But that is not the point of this blog post. My question is: Are all the teams in college football playing for only one spot in the National Championship Game?

While the BCS was formulated to give us a true one vs. two matchup it has been proven several times over to be flawed in its final decision of which teams will actually occupy those spots. This year could be yet another example. Say today that #3 ranked Boise State, who won their first and toughest game of the year, finishes the year undefeated. (This is more likely to happen than not.) Then say you have current numbers one and two Alabama and Ohio State both finish the year with one loss and you have one of the other top ranked schools (TCU, Texas, Nebraska) also finishing with one loss. Are you telling me that Boise State by being undefeated would take one of the spots away from any of those one loss schools? Please. Say Texas beats TCU by 3 points and then loses to Oklahoma by 7 or fewer. The BCS would tell you that Boise State is a better team by beating UTEP by 14. Really? No Sir.
And Alabama plays in the SEC. Find me 2; only 2 teams on Boise State’s schedule that could beat @ #19 LSU, #21 Auburn, @ #17 Arkansas, OR #8 Florida. Hell throw in @ #24 South Carolina. And no Virginia Tech doesn’t count because the ACC has a terrible record vs. the SEC and I don’t think they could beat any of those teams right now.

I would love to go on for page after page about this, but I think I’ll wait a bit longer and see how it all shakes out. For now I’m going to reserve comment on the first week of college football because outside of that Boise State Virginia Tech game there wasn’t much going on. Don’t think I won’t mention the embarrassing loss by Ol’ Miss to Jacksonville State though. Wow. It’s nowhere near as big as that App. State v. Michigan game from a few years ago, but Ol’ Miss was expected to be somewhat good this year and that is not the way they wanted to start off.

Week two is the kind of week that college football fans will love. So let’s get to my games of the week.
Oh, by the way the blog will have to shift to a preview type with short commentary of the week before since I don’t actually get to watch any of the games. However, I will bring back some of your favorites like the pillow fight of the week and biggest loser.

GAMES OF THE WEEK:

#18 Penn State @ #1 Alabama
This is a big test for both of these schools in the first leg of a home and home match up. I think Alabama should come out on top, but this game is going to hinge on how well Penn State can play defense.

#12 Miami (FL) @ #2 Ohio State
A National Championship rematch from a few years ago. I like it. And, (mark this down because it’s rare that I do this) I give Ohio State some credit for agreeing to play this game. Miami is on its way back up and this isn’t an easy game for the Buckeyes. I think OSU will win, but this is going to be a good test for them.

#17 Florida State @ #10 Oklahoma
Another National championship rematch. Week two is awesome. This game should show FSU fans what they have this year. If it’s a blowout for OU then you can expect all the air to be let out of Florida State’s balloon this year.

#22 Georgia @ #24 South Carolina
Who wants to finish second in the SEC East? Or, who wants to make a statement and try to challenge Florida for the SEC East crown? We’ll see after the game. News: Georgia’s top WR AJ Green will miss 3 more games because he sold his bowl jersey from last year to an agent for $1,000. Really? Agents should be banned from college campuses like sex offenders from schools.
PILLOW FIGHT OF THE WEEK:

Eastern Michigan (0-1) @ Miami (OH) (0-1)
In games like this both teams just have to be thinking, “Gosh. One of us gets to win a game!”

We’ll see you next week college football fans! Happy couch sitting and leave me a note if something cool happens.