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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, October 30, 2011

Week 9; I'm feeling salty

How awesome was that World Series huh? Game six was just great from the 6th inning on and game seven was just tense the whole time. Congrats to St. Louis for winning their 11th World Series Title and I can’t wait for Spring Training just five months away. Ahhhh baseball, you’re my number one. But, we’re here for college football so let’s get to that.

So, I’ve got a little egg on my face this week and I don’t mind admitting that. I went 6-4 on my picks this week so that dropped me back down to 91.5% accuracy on the season. I’m ok with that, but not ok with some of the results this week as you will see. Hey college football teams in contention, if you win a big game, the season isn’t over. You still have to play the next week.

Glory Glory to ol’ Georgia! It’s always a good season when you beat Florida. I don’t care what the rankings are (Georgia back in the top 25 by the way). The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is always an event and it’s ever so sweet when Georgia walks away with a win. And this 24-20 win, while not pretty, was beautiful.

Also, I need to congratulate QB Casey Keenum from Houston on breaking the all-time NCAA touchdown record for passing. Congrats Casey, you and your 139 TD passes can now go on to be a backup in the NFL just like the guys who occupy the two, three, four and five spots on that list; Graham Harrell, Colt Brennan, Kellen Moore, and Ty Detmer.

(I’ve had my Hater-Aid this morning fans, this could get ugly)

While we wait on the LSU vs. Alabama game next week, let’s get on with this week’s trick or treating…

GAMES OF THE WEEK:

#6 Stanford SURVIVES Unranked USC (the one from California) 56-48 in 3 OTs.
Um, hey, Cardinal fans; that wasn’t supposed to be that close was it? Didn’t think so. I do have to give Stanford a lot of credit here though because this was billed as a trap game and USC was/is slightly underrated this year. They aren’t great by any means, but USC does have a decent team. This may just add to the legend of Andrew Luck though since he and the Cardinal took the ball with about 3 minutes to go in the 4th down by 7 and ended up tying the game with only 38 seconds to go just to get the game to overtime(s). Once you get a game like this to the 3rd overtime it’s anybody’s contest to win. I hated seeing the USC back fumble and the game end like that, but this was an instant classic and a great game all around. And, it doesn’t matter how many times I see it, that Stanford Tree is just creepy.

#9 Oklahoma over #8 Kansas State 58-17
How could this be a game of the week? Well there are two teams ranked in the top 10 and the score was 23-17 and competitive at the end of the first half. Now, nobody was drinking the purple kool-aid coming out of Kansas State this year, but after Oklahoma got beaten at home last week, the potential was there. And, it was there… for the first half. Then, OU just blew the doors off K-State. Also, I’m only giving this game half of a game of the week since only one half was actually good. The other half goes to…

Unranked Iowa State over #20 Texas Tech 41-7
Are you fucking kidding me Texas Tech? Really? Was that win over OU soooooo great that you didn’t even bother showing up this week? This was pathetic and you should be in my Biggest Loser section this week. What a piss poor performance and you should be ASHAMED of yourselves.

Honorable Mention goes to: #10 Arkansas surviving Vanderbilt 31-28. Can Arkansas not win a game normally anymore? This is three weeks in a row that their game has come down to the last second. This week it took Vandy missing a short field-goal to sew up the win for the Razorbacks.

UPSETS OF THE WEEK:

Where do I even begin with this? Does anyone want to win the Big 10 Conference? But first…

Unranked Georgia Tech over #8 Clemson 31-17
There is always one game every year that just pisses me off. Generally that game doesn’t come from the ACC since, who cares right? But all year I’ve been (to my disgust) high on Clemson. And, I guess nobody there watches film on Tech and therefore doesn’t know how to stop the option. What the hell? If you thought the Texas Tech performance was poor; look no farther than Clemson for this week’s biggest lie-down. Excuse me; I need to go puke…

#14 Nebraska over #11 Michigan State 24-3
Speaking of hangovers… Sparty must have thought they were going to cruise to the Championship Game after beating Wisconsin last week. Um, remember Nebraska? Yeah, they play defense there. Michigan State managed just 187 total yards this week and had more penalty yards (90) than passing yards (86).

Unranked Ohio State over #15 Wisconsin 33-29
Ugh. I don’t know what makes me more nauseous, Georgia Tech’s big win or Ohio State’s. Wisconsin had a chance to stay alive and still make a run and they got help from Nebraska in their cause. But, this was just sad. Two weeks in a row now they’ve been beaten on long passes at the end of the game. This one a 40 yard TD pass with only 20 seconds left.

Is it the play of these teams or the fact that I care about how the ACC and Big-10 are shaping up this year? Whatever it is, I’m going to need some antacids.

PILLOW FIGHT OF THE WEEK:

Liberty over Presbyterian 27-20 in OT
We’re back in the BigSouth this week for another epic pillow fight. I’ve got to admit I have no idea what’s going on with this conference, but Liberty is now 4-0 in the conference and 6-3 overall. I think they may get my pillow fight powerhouse award this year. Liberty led 13-10 with 1:32 left in regulation. Presbyterian drove 50 yards on seven plays, capped by a 22-yard field goal to send it into overtime with 5 seconds left. Liberty scored, Presbyterian didn’t. Game over. Anyone have a guess on Presbyterian’s mascot? Hmm…? Yeah, the Blue Hose. I couldn’t make this shit up. Wow.

BEAT DOWN OF THE WEEK:

See Iowa State over Texas Tech from earlier 41-7.

Stats?
Total Yards: ISU 512; TT 290
Rushing Yards: ISU 368; TT 99
Turnovers: ISU 1; TT 3
Time of Possession: ISU 40:09; TT 19:51

Quote of the week: "Pretty obvious we got beat on both sides of the ball, in the kicking game," (Texas Tech Head Coach) Tommy Tuberville said. "They came in ready to play and they took advantage of us not really focused, coaching or playing the first or second half. I take total blame for that. I saw a lot of it coming during the week."

Really Tommy? And you didn’t feel the need to stop practice on maybe Wednesday or Thursday to address that? Wow.

BIGGEST LOSER: (Fan Edition)

Florida!

This week’s Biggest Loser is going to the University of Florida. Because, well… Fuck em’!
Every Georgia fan knows from the first time they yell ‘GO DAWGS!’ that each and every season has just one goal: Beat Florida!

After that, it’s: To Hell with Georgia Tech, Screw Tennessee, Beat Auburn and please don’t lose to either Vandy or Kentucky. (Each fan has their own order, that’s just mine).

The game was one that would warm the heart of any Georgia fan who longs for the days when Georgia had a dominant defense. The Dawgs held Florida to -19 yards on the ground. -19! Love it. The offense didn’t do much, and the kicker sucked, but the defense was just great. Florida has now lost 4 straight and it looks like Mark Richt may have just saved his job. Georgia is now 6-2 on the year after starting out 0-2 and if they can get by Auburn in a few weeks, they may just get a chance to lose the SEC title game in December.

Enough about Georgia being awesome though, let’s focus on Florida’s 4 game skid. It’s the first 4 game losing streak for Florida since 1988. They are now 100th in the nation in passing yards per game, only 41st in the nation in rushing yards per game and 72nd in the nation in points per game at 26.9. In the last 4 weeks they’ve been outscored 120-47. Will Muschamp said, "Obviously, I didn't do a very good job of getting our team ready.” Obviously. You went 2-13 on 3rd downs, had 14 penalties for 106 yards and 2 lost fumbles. Oh, and did I mention that you’re team was held to -19 rushing yards? I did? Good!

Florida had one kick return for 99 yards as the sole highlight. They relied on the kicker who made field goals of 43 and 40 yards and other than that there was only the first quarter drive that gave them any points. Oh, and John Brantley, Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson may want to double team you and lick the sweat off your ass, but nobody else cares. You suck!

I don’t care that this game was more about Florida’s ineptitude. GO DAWGS!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

OU Who? and the BCS. It's Week 8

World Series World Series World Series! Sorry, but it’s better than any of the other Fall holidays. Forget Spring Break, it’s the Fall Classic that should get kids out of school. Well, at least me anyway. I’ve been downloading and watching as you’ll see later in this post.

But, you didn’t come here to hear me ramble about baseball you’re here for our beloved College Football. And what a week it was; oh, we’ve got games to discuss this week fans. The BCS is back and now we can debate who had what kind of win and how computers will score it. Say what you want, it’s the system we have.

But before I get on with that there are two other items that I need to let you in on. My College has, after 100+ years, decided to start a football program in D-III by 2013. Not only will this tarnish our undefeated record (never played, never lost) it will give the students something to do on Saturday. Everybody knows that Saturdays at Berry are for either going home, or spending all day catching up on all the work you didn’t do during the week. Not watching football on campus! But seriously, I am happy for them and I hope they do well. Maybe they can make an appearance in our Pillow Fight of the Week in a few years.

Second, I would be a bad person if I didn’t use some space here to say Happy Birthday to my most loyal reader, my Mom. Happy Birthday Mom!

Anyway, let’s flip a coin, choose sides and get on with this week…

GAMES OF THE WEEK:

#16 Michigan State over #6 Wisconsin 37-31
What a game! Anytime two top 25 teams play and the game ends on a Hail Mary, it’s going to be the top game of the week. Awesome. We learned this past Sunday that the computers hate Wisconsin and we learned on Saturday that now it really doesn’t matter. The Badgers took a 14-0 lead early and it looked as if that offense was going to roll over MSU. But, the second quarter belonged to Sparta and Michigan State ended up taking a 23-14 lead into halftime thanks to a safety and a blocked punt in the end zone for a score. With a 1:26 left in the game Wisconsin finally tied it back up with two good drives. But, it all came down to a wing and prayer! I don’t think I would do it justice to describe it to you so you’ll have to go look it up on the highlights, but that was an awesome pass that bounced around and had to go to replay to be confirmed (or overturned as was the case here). They guy was called down short and I can’t say that I saw enough to overturn the call, but I could understand them doing so. If MSU can get by Nebraska next week they can cruise to the finish line and if it weren’t for that Notre Dame game we’d be talking about them fighting for a National Championship.

Texas Tech UPSETS #3 Oklahoma 41-38
The Sooners may have blown by the Red River Rivalry but they just got ROCKED by the Red Raiders! “OOOOOOO-klahoma where the winds come sweeping down the plains, and the football defeat, sure smells sweet, when standings come out on Sundaaaay!” (Sorry, that was uncalled for and my musical references will stop from here on out). But seriously, how did Oklahoma let this one sneak up on them? They looked awful in the first half! Texas Tech was up 24-7 at half and 31-7 early in the 3rd. However, from about half way through the 3rd to the end Oklahoma outscored TT 31-10. A tale of two halves football fans. The only problem is, Oklahoma can’t afford to play that way this or any other year when they’re sitting in the Top 5 and just waiting on November 5th for either LSU or Alabama to knock the other out of title contention. It was there! All you had to do was take it! Tommy Tuberville (TT coach) tried to give it to Oklahoma with some suspect calls in the second half, as is his style, but even he couldn’t save Oklahoma’s 39 game home winning streak.
I’m thinking this game is going to be with the Oklahoma program for a while and may even come back to bite them later in the year. (See: Next week at still undefeated K-State, Nov. 5 vs. Texas A&M and oh yeah, December 3rd AT Oklahoma State.)

Honorable Mentions go to:

#9 Arkansas clawing back to beat Ol’ Miss 29-24
Purdue pretty much knocking #23 Illinois out of this and any conversation with a 21-14 win.

UPSETS OF THE WEEK:
Unranked Syracuse over #15 West Virginia 49-23
Um, yeah the score is not indicative of the beat down that Syracuse put on West Virginia. Up 35-16 Syracuse called a halfback pass in before going into the end zone 2 plays later. The Orangemen’s defense put all kinds of pressure on the W. Virginia QB and never allowed them to run the ball. Syracuse may have made a huge step with this win and I’m by no means getting on the Orange bandwagon (even though they did win 8 games last year), but they played a physical game and made a statement this week. On the flip side of this, the West Virginia loss is really bad for the BigEast. The Mountaineers were the conference’s only top 25 team and their biggest game before this was a loss to LSU where they “played well.” And this conference STILL gets an automatic BCS bid.

Unranked Miami over #22 Georgia Tech 24-7
Can people please stop talking about the triple option like it’s something special? Two weeks in a row now GT has been stuffed by sub-par ACC opponents. If you want to stop the option, attack the backfield. Don’t let them get to or past the line of scrimmage. Play a 4-4 and call it a day. Right Miami and Virginia? Oh and bad news Tech fans, next week you’re going to get your asses kicked by Clemson then you get Virginia Tech. Guess it’s a good thing you racked up all those stats and got bowl eligible off of those studs at Western Carolina, Middle Tennessee, North Carolina, NC State, Kansas and Maryland. God I hate Georgia Tech!

PILLOW FIGHT OF THE WEEK:

Northern Illinois (5-3) Survives Buffalo (2-6) 31-30
The MAC is back!… in our Pillow Fight of the Week. Up 31-10 going into the 4th quarter NIU must have popped the champagne a little early and forgotten that a football game is 4 quarters not 3. Dozens of people were in the stands to see this comeback and it would have been amazing if it weren’t for the Bulls kicker MISSING the extra point to tie it with 14 seconds left. There was no pressure, there was no wind, that guy just shanked it. Ouch.

BEAT DOWN OF THE WEEK:

#10 Oregon over Colorado 45-2
I just like that Colorado’s one highlight was tackling the punter in the end zone for a safety in the third quarter. The only story from this game is that Oregon has depth. They were without their starting QB and RB and still put up 29 points in the first quarter. Colorado on the other hand has so many injuries everywhere I think the male cheerleaders may be on the O-line next week. Oregon now sits at 6-1 (again another LSU victim) and has a chance, unlike Auburn, to make a run. However, they’ll need to get by Washington and Stanford (both games on the road) and get healthy again if they want to make a push for the BCS title.

BIGGEST LOSER: (Soap Box Edition)

Sorry but I’m going to have to step away from college football for a minute and give this week’s biggest loser award to Tim McCarver and the FOX broadcast of the World Series. Now, I get that you want to appeal to the lowest common denominator when you broadcast a sporting event so that everybody can “understand” what’s going on. You want to throw in some humor and human interest from time to time just to spice some stuff up and I get that baseball occasionally needs some spicing up while a pitcher stalks around the mound or we’re waiting on the next batter.
HOWEVER, people who watch the World Series fall into two categories: those who are fans of the teams that are in the Series or, like me, are just avid fans of baseball. Passive fans and those who either don’t like or don’t understand baseball don’t watch the World Series. So, FOX, understand this and tell Tim McCarver to shut the hell up! He has to be one of the worst color men of all times. I can put up with Joe Buck’s smug attitude but I cannot abide McCarver. This guy is the MASTER of the obvious and more likely than not is seconds away from saying something that is just plain dumb. McCarver is that little annoying kid you always just wanted to punch in the mouth every time he said something because it was either about as useful as tits on a nun, or just plain stupid.
FOX should be required to have a crawler at the bottom of the screen that reads “FOX broadcasting and its subsidiaries do not endorse or condone the words spoken by Tim McCarver and accept no responsibility for a loss of IQ suffered by those who listen to him.” Prime example: Game One: "It's a five letter word: S-T-R-I-K-E" –McCarver in the 5th. Dumbass!
Check out some of these nuggets of wisdom from Game Two:
- “There are more right handed pitchers in the game than left handers… so moms don’t let you babies grow up to be righties.” Really Tim? Not only is your cultural reference about 30 years behind your average viewer, you just made a factual statement that EVERY red-blooded American over the age of 6 knows. Where is the guy sitting at home asking his friend, ‘Really Bob? There are more right handed pitchers?’
- “When a batter is facing a pitcher for the first time, usually the advantage goes to the pitcher.” Again, who doesn’t know this? And, why he felt the need to over stress the word ‘usually’ I’ll never know.
There were a few more but I seriously think my brain just rejected them and now I can’t remember. But this guy has made a living of mispronouncing multi-syllable words and just saying things that are just plain stupid. Tim McCarever… SHUT UP!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Week 7 of College Pig Skin

Week seven is the first time since December 6, 1982, no Sunshine State team is among the AP rankings, marking the end of 472 straight polls where either Florida, Florida State or Miami -- and usually all three -- were on the list. I’ve gotta say… I’m good with that.

I’m not going to touch too much on this Mountain West and C-USA merger. The MWC is already adding Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada next year while TCU is already planning on leaving. Boise State, Air Force and Central Florida could all be leaving to go to the BigEast. So, what we know is that we know nothing at this point. And, Boise State in the BigEast? Really? That just sounds like an oxymoron already. Just wait college football fans, this new “mega” conference will be screaming for a BCS bid to be automatic. Sorry, I ain’t buyin’ it boys. Your conference would be big alright; a big pile of B-level football.

It was a ‘Road Trip Weekend’ for most of the teams in the Top 10 and for me as well. I had to go back out to Muganlo this weekend for a visit since they’d been calling me for about two weeks. I figured if I got it out of the way this weekend, I could avoid being out there in the cold weather later. Also, I decided to finally break down and spend the cash to get the ESPN package for my computer. No more of this reading box scores and watching 1 minute highlights. I’m watching any and every game anytime I want. Oh yeah, time to step it up a notch.

Anyway, let’s flip a coin, choose sides and get on with this week…

GAMES OF THE WEEK:
#21 Texas A&M over #20 Baylor 55-28
Before you freak out let me tell you why this was one of the better games of the weekend. Offense. Baylor put up 480 total yards with 430 of those coming through the air off the arm of Archie Griffin’s grandson. Not to be outdone, A&M put up 681 total yards. That’s right 681. Wow. They did all that with 415 yards of passing and 266 yards on the ground while going 10 for 13 on third downs conversions. The Aggies NEVER punted. I know it wasn’t exactly the marquee game from the Big-12 this weekend with Texas and Oklahoma State taking the spotlight, but this game was entertaining to be sure.

#23 Michigan State over #11 Michigan 28-14
Don’t call it an upset. Michigan State was hyped up for this and had Michigan’s offense all kinds of shutdown for most of the game. The interception return for a TD with under 5 minutes to go put the nail in the coffin and gave Sparty the win. Nobody can claim this was a trap game because, the Spartans have now won four straight against Michigan for the first time since 1959-62, equaling Michigan State's longest streak in the series. And, what the hell was up with those uniforms? What is this the year of fashion in college football? Which NCAA official’s wife has been watching too many of those awful design shows on TV?
Honorable Mentions this week go to: #6 Oklahoma State over #22 Texas 38-26 and #17 Kansas State over Texas Tech 41-34. What can I say? It was the week of the Big-12 I guess. A lot of close games and some nice matchups.

UPSETS OF THE WEEK:
Take your pick:

Virginia over #12 Georgia Tech 24-12 where Tech just got run over and their triple option just looked dead.
-or-
Ohio State over #16 Illinois 17-7 where Illinois proved they were way over ranked by just giving the game away to OSU with turnovers and a complete lack of passion.

PILLOW FIGHT OF THE WEEK:
Virginia Military Academy (VMI) over Charleston Southern 21-17
This week it’s the BigSouth’s turn once again to show some muscle and provide us with another classic pillow fight. The VMI Keydets (yeah that’s right) defended the home turf and kept CSU winless dropping them to an 0-6 start while picking up their very first win of the year to run their record up to 1-5. The one highlight from this game would have been the 22 yard punt block return for a TD by CSU who then added a two-point conversion. After that I’m pretty sure all the excitement was in the fans enjoying a nice fall afternoon and watching the leaves change because not much of anything resembling competitive football was happening on Saturday on the VMI campus.

BEAT DOWN OF THE WEEK:
#4 Wisconsin over Indiana 59-7
Um yeah. News flash: Wisconsin has a great offense. And, you know its bad Hoosier fans when the Badger QB is out there throwing AND catching TD passes. Wisconsin didn’t even need to throw the ball (they did anyway) since on Saturday they racked up 332 rushing yards and just blew the doors off Indiana. Here’s a piece of advice for the Indiana coaching staff: You can’t attempt just 20 passes in a game where you’re playing one of the best offenses in the country. You especially can’t attempt just 20 passes when you complete only 8 of those throws. Actually 10 of them were completions but the other 2 were INTs. It was ugly out there.

Oh, and sorry Alabama fans you only won you’re game 52-7 so Wisconsin has you beat this week. Wait, what am I apologizing for? Alabama fans can't read this anyway.

BIGGEST LOSER:
UAB! Sorry Blazer fans but your 0-6 start has you as this week’s biggest loser. But wait! UAB is not alone at 0-6 in “major” college football… Florida Atlantic is also a paltry 0-6 to start the year. So that gives both Conference USA and The SunBelt an 0-6 team. The only reason I bring up FAU and UAB is because I’m secretly hopping that they both stay winless so that on Saturday November 26, 2011 when they meet in Florida for the last game of the year we will have the Pillow Fight to end all Pillow Fights. Come on guys, just 5 more losses to go. You’re already over half way there.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Week Six in The Land of College Football

Week six is behind us and I can’t say much about this week other than there were a lot of predictable outcomes and teams from the top 10 really just establishing who they are. I guess you could say this was a week where those in contention for the National Championship really had to prove they were for real and it appears that they all are. Trap games? I think not.

A few rivalries were on the slate but none of them will rate in our top games this week. (Sorry Red River fans, that was not even close. OU could have made that look a lot worse. Good thing Texas has that huge TV contract so everyone could see them get beat up this week). A couple of my favorite teams (this year anyway) also got wins this week including Arizona State and Kansas State, while Auburn once again showed their youthful inexperience. What did I tell you last week about Arkansas?


One NFL note, a sad day in football as Al Davis has died at the age of 82. Say what you want about how he ran his franchise but the man was a huge part of how the NFL got to where it is today and was a big part of the civil rights movement in California. He won't be missed by many of the higher ups in the NFL world; but should be.

Anyway, let’s flip a coin, choose sides and get on with this week…

GAMES OF THE WEEK:
#10 Arkansas over #15 Auburn 38-14
I know, I know. Not a great game but It had some great plays in it including a 92 yard run and a stellar performance by Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson who complete 19 straight passes at one point. How did Auburn go from unranked to #15 just by beating South Carolina last week? I was shocked when I saw this week’s rankings. Anyway, Arkansas proved they deserve to be the third best team in the SEC West behind Alabama and LSU and certainly a top 15 team in the nation. Defense looked good, offense looked great and we’ll just have to wait and see how they hold up through the rest of their SEC schedule.

#24 Texas A&M over Texas Tech 45-40
Offense! Offense! Don’t forget Tech came into this game undefeated at 4-0 and were playing at home. However, two blocked field goals by A&M (one returned for a TD in the 3rd quarter) made the difference on the day. Texas Tech as usual threw the ball all over the place and outgained A&M overall but the Aggies just played solid football and “it came down to the special teams.” Also, big thumbs down to the Tech fans for this little nugget: http://espn.go.com/dallas/ncf/story/_/id/7077711/texas-aggies-buses-vandalized-manure-texas-tech-red-raiders-logos

#14 Nebraska over Ohio State 34-27
I like to pick on both of these teams but this game warrants a spot in this week’s top games because of the comeback. OSU led 20-6 at halftime and 27-6 midway through the 3rd. This was Nebraska’s first Big-10 home game and their largest comeback in school history. Now, The Gay-Acorns did lose their starting QB in the 3rd and their offense did nothing after that, but you’ve got to think that a defense can hold a 21-point lead. Wow. Just another shining example of OSU sucking it up. Oh, and congrats Nebraska. (Yes this picture is what an actual Buckeye looks like… gay acorn).

Honorable Mention this week goes to: Georgia over Tennessee 20-12. The Dawgs got destroyed their last two trips to Knoxville but this week picked up a much needed win and got coach Richt his 100th win with the program. Georgia is now 3-1 in the SEC and tied with South Carolina for the East lead. There are still some tough matchups ahead, but with some amazing luck, they might just pull this off despite those two early losses.

UPSETS OF THE WEEK:
Unranked Wake Forrest over #23 Florida State 35-30
Again, this one was hard to call an upset (Wake came in at 3-1 to FSU’s 2-2) and FINALLY we’re going to be able to get FSU out of the top 25. From 5 to out in just a few short weeks. Awesome. Don’t look now Georgia Tech fans but Wake is 3-0 in the ACC and could be making their own appearance in the top 25 before too long. I know, they haven’t played anybody yet, but we’ll see. (They do host Virginia Tech next week and then travel to Clemson late in the year). Wake really just took the momentum in this game to start the second half and for the Seminoles it was too little too late and Wake sealed it when they recovered that onside kick attempt to end it.

PILLOW FIGHT OF THE WEEK:
Western Kentucky over Middle Tennessee 36-33 in DOUBLE OT!!!
EPIC PILLOW FIGHT!!! Western Kentucky earns their first win of the year to go to 1-4 while the loss drops MT to 1-4. I demand a rematch! The SunBelt Conference is just too competitive! Wow. Feathers were-a-flyin’ in this one. What can I say about this game? MT kicked a field goal in the second OT and W. Kentucky scored a touchdown on a RB pass from 7 yards out. The Hilltoppers’ (that’s W. Kentucky btw) running back Bobby Rainey also ran for 146 yards on the day and scored a TD early. Wow. The SunBelt just keeps putting up quality matchups for our Pillow Fights. Where is their network on the TV dial?

BEAT DOWN OF THE WEEK:
Every conference has their whipping boys and the SEC is no exception. So this week I’m calling it a tie between #2 Alabama’s 34-0 win over Vandy and #18 South Carolina’s 54-3 win over Kentucky.

Alabama’s QB A.J. MaCarron tossed 4TDs and went for 237yds on the day while their RB Trent Richardson put up his 5th straight 100 yard rushing performance with 107 yards and a TD.

South Carolina debuted their new offense and QB (see below) in a big bounce back win over Kentucky putting up huge yardage numbers (639). Somehow Marcus Lattimore was held out of the end zone but still managed 102 yards on the ground. Kentucky meanwhile had 96 total yards and committed SIX turnovers.

BIGGEST LOSER:
South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia (You know the guy who’s in his 5th year and has been suspended more times than the entire Miami defensive backfield).
This is either a picture of Garcia drunk again or right after another sack; I’m not sure.

Well well well; The Ol’ Ball Coach Steve Spurrier finally did it. I was wondering how long he would stick with that crapper of a QB after last week’s loss to Auburn which knocked them out of the top 10. This week Spurrier went back to what he’s good at and that’s putting up yards with an efficient QB. Granted it was Kentucky but Sophmore QB Conner Shaw really stepped up and basically ended the Stephen Garcia era at USC. Through 5 games this year Garcia put up these numbers: 61 of 118 (that’s a 51.7% completion rate) for 844 yards and 4TDs to go with his 9INTs which as of last week led all Div-I QBs in the INT category. Now, not to forget, he has rushed for 171yds on 34 attempts (5yd avg.) for 3TDs. But that’s Stephen Garcia. A 50/50 passer meaning he may complete every other throw and he makes a ton of bad decisions. In ONE GAME Conner Shaw went 26/39 for 311yds and 4TDS with 0INTs. He also rushed for 42yds. So, he has as many TDs in one game as Garcia has had in five and he didn’t turn the ball over. What more could that visor wearing mad scientist want? Stephen Garcia had better start packing his bags or pick up a clipboard because barring an injury this is Shaw’s team now. I like Spurrier’s quotes on the day: "It was just time to call some plays and see what happened," Spurrier said. "Gosh, we had over 600 yards,"

Thanks Coach! See ya’ next week!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Shoes, Guns and the French

So I’m going to be super lazy and bullet point a blog post. I’ll even go so far as to not even bother using actual bullet points and just use the dashes. Deal with it dear reader.

- Started making my own sweet tea at home in the apartment this past week. I’m having to make it in a liter and a half bottle so the first couple of batches were a little too sweet. Yeah, I drank it anyway, but I think I’ve got the mix down now.

- Got the Internet up and running at the house so that’s nice.

- Why do they call is breaking in shoes when it should be called breaking in feet? I’ve had this one pair of dress shoes for a few years now and have never really had occasion to use them outside of weddings and funerals and the rare occasion that I wore a suit. With starting the new job I figured, hey, I need to wear these shoes because I’ve been hauling them all over the world and now I have a job where I wear slacks and a tie most days. Well, my feet are none too happy about it. Two of my small toes on my left foot and the heel of my right are blistered and sore. I thought only women had to endure foot pain for the sake of fashion.

- Downloaded and watched a documentary called “African Cats” just because it was narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. I thought for sure it would be awesome. It was ok, but I knew it would fall well below expectations when I saw it was produced by Disney. I was so hopping to hear Samuel L. Jackson drop a few F-Bombs while describing a lion chase or something. Oh well.

- My Georgian residency card expired this past week and I learned they want about a hundred bucks for a new one. I don’t need one to be here legally, but it was nice cause all my info was in Georgian on there. I just got my school to translate all the information for me and then photo copied my front passport page to the back of it. All will be well.

- I was walking down the street the other day and saw this guy literally selling an AK-47 out of its case. He had these two other guys around him and they were talking about it. I couldn’t resist. I had to stop and at least try to listen in. Of course they were speaking Georgian and using vocabulary that was way above my level, but I did get a good look at the thing. I was still in my school clothes and I guess looking like I had money because the guy who was selling it turned to me and asked me if I was interested. I was not. I just wanted to get a good look at the thing. It looked awesome and I totally wanted to take it up in the hills and squeeze off about 200 rounds. I just thought that this was a funny example of how even though Georgia has come a long way; it still serves as a giant army surplus store.

- Got my hours reduced at school by two. No big deal. I was pretty loaded down and this at least gives me a break now in what was quickly becoming ‘kill me now’ Thursdays. The Ministry of Education decided that my second graders needed more Georgian Literature so instead of having them every day, I now only have them three days a week. I could see reducing their hours, but for Georgian Literature? I mean how many times can one really read Rustavelli in a lifetime?

- Started teaching private lessons this week. My first student was late for his first lesson. He’s Georgian, I expected that. Surprisingly though he wanted to talk about how Westerners are always on time and how Georgians can work on that aspect of their culture. I wanted to congratulate him on completing the first step ‘admitting you have a problem.’

- Got my first surprise day off from school this week. (There will be many more for random Georgian holidays and events.) French President Nicholas Sarkozy visited Tbilisi on Friday and since a lot of the streets would be blocked off, all of the Tbilisi schools decided to take the day off as to not have people showing up three hours late. Love when Georgia does stuff like this. Mind you, Sarkozy spent Friday morning in Azerbaijan and didn’t get to Georgia until the late afternoon to make an outdoor speech at Freedom Square and then take off the same night back to Paris. How this would have affected school traffic I’m not sure. But, I’m not complaining. See article here: http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24009 (Also: I’m glad he, “felt like” he was in Europe. Wish I could say the same thing.)

- I got a package from home in record time. Mom was the first to mail one off and it got from her post office to my hands in only 10 days!!! Amazing. I now have my winter coat and some awesome kitchen knives. Score!

- I’ve found my favorite brand of orange juice. It tastes the most like real OJ and says its 100% juice. But, and this goes back to my questions about Georgia and their customer service and pricing, the price of the OJ is kind of weird. For 1.5 liters of this OJ it costs you 4.75 Lari (not too bad) but for the 2 liter of the same brand it’s 6.75. What the hell is that? Two extra Lari for another half liter? No way!

- Just noticed that Monday is Columbus Day in America. As much as I like to make fun of random Georgian holidays, Columbus Day has to rank right up there on the list of most useless holidays. I for one think we should change it to Leif Ericson Day, (or [insert first Indian to cross the land bridge’s name here] Day) or just drop it all together. As if we don’t have enough holidays we stick this one in at the beginning of each October to show that we really don’t know who discovered America but that we’d all like a Monday off. And, by all, I mean those with government jobs because everybody else goes to work. I’d like to see us vote to strip the government of all of their holidays until they can prove that they actually do some work on the days when they are supposed to be there. (I’ll stop here because I feel a rant coming on).

Well, that was my week. I’ve got to run some random errands this weekend and then play our last softball game until spring. So sad that we’re preparing in advance for winter by shutting it down this early in October. But, it’ll start raining and getting cool here pretty soon as everyone rushes out to the fields to haul in their grapes.

Peace!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Observations on Tbilisi and Ranting

Let’s just say that I’m having a crap week already and hopping that it gets better. As I’m typing this I’m waiting on a guy to come install my Internet that was supposed to be here on Saturday. It’s Monday. I’m still waiting. Due to a number of things my mood has gone from light to dark and I just hope that by sitting down and doing a little reflexive thinking I’ll be able to snap myself out of it. I hope to write some more about what’s going on here in Tbilisi and with my school, but that’ll have to wait for another day.

So there are a ton of advantages to living in Tbilisi rather than the village. Duh; Right? But I thought I would list a few of them just to show some contrast and hope for a few laughs along the way. However, not all is as it was in the village. There are a few disadvantages. Also, I would like to have a small rant about customer service (or lack thereof) here in The Republic of Georgia. So that’s pretty much what this blog post is about. Not to spoil anything for you, but that’s what it is. I’ll also drop a couple of pictures in here as well. Enjoy!

Advantages to living on my own in the city:
- When I shut the door I have no stress, no noise and no kids. It’s just me. Ahhh…
- I wake up to an alarm. Not an hour before my alarm to livestock and screaming kids, I wake up to an alarm. Never thought that would be an advantage to anything, but it is.
- When I’m hungry, I eat. When I’m not hungry, I don’t eat. Amazing!
- I walk to work on paved streets. I take the metro two stops then walk, but when I do I’ve yet to accidentally step in or even have to walk around any fecal matter.
- It doesn’t stink. There isn’t that constant mixture in the air of wood smoke, gasoline, blood (yes blood from slain animals) and shit.
- My school is insulated. In fact, it’s been a little warm in there. Good thing we have windows that open and aren’t nailed shut. Also, all of our windows have glass in them.
- I’m not forced to drink alcohol and toast to things I don’t care about; EVERY NIGHT!
- I sleep in a bed not held together with chicken wire.
- I can eat breakfast and have real coffee. Hell, I can even cook breakfast at night if I want.
- Toilet.
- Shower.
- Hot water.
- Lights.

Disadvantages:

- People on the sidewalks and in public transportation. What is so hard about walking either in a straight line or not knocking into someone when there is plenty of room to go around?
- I don’t have an army of women around to cook and clean up. That’s my job now. (Not really a bad thing, but they did come in handy from time to time).
- Lack of anything resembling a line anywhere.
- Lack of customer service (see below).
- No real sense of a community.

Well the rant that I’m about to go on should give you a small clue about some of my daily frustrations here. The main thing that I run into everyday is the complete and utter lack of anything resembling customer service. This summer I did a fair amount of shopping while I was home. The one thing that struck me every time I walked into a store was that it seemed like somebody was immediately up in my face trying to help me. Before I could even look around there was somebody there saying hello and asking what they could do for me. My initial response was, ‘nothing, now go away.’ Oh how I wish I could have those people back now.

On my way home from either the metro station or the bus stop there are about 10 shops that all sell pretty much the exact same products at the exact same price. How does one choose which to go into? Here it really just comes down to which shop keeper is the nicest to you. Because, you can walk in and either get the ‘eat shit and die’ look as if you have just disturbed the most important thing that person was doing in their entire life or you get a simple ‘I’m ignoring you’ glance. Now, none of them will just greet you right off the bat, but a few of them will return your greeting. That’s right you, as the customer, need to be nice to them if you plan on getting anything. (A lot of products are behind the counter here and you have to ask for them. It’s not just walking in, grabbing what you want and paying for it).

You see most of the people that work in these shops are not the shop owners and are paid pretty much next to nothing for sitting there all day so they really could care less how much business they do or whether or not you ever come back to their store. You as the customer have to literally ‘shop around’ for the shop you want to use. It’s not just a matter of location it’s a matter of who is going to treat you with some common courtesy and respect. I’ll walk at least five minutes out of my way to get to a shop with good people working there. And, five minutes may not sound like a lot but in that five minutes I’m liable to pass at least five other shops that have the product I’m looking to buy.

This is not news to anyone in Georgia. It just seems strange to me because of my Western viewpoint. If say there were 10 BestBuys in your town. They all have the same thing and all have the same prices. You would go to the one that has the best customer service or is simply closer to your house right? Sure. Even better you could shop for the items online and just have them shipped to your house and avoid the hassle all together right? Sure. That’s the main reason I shop at larger ‘super markets’ here in Tbilisi for my basic products. I can walk up and grab what I need, not have to ask anyone to get it for me from behind the counter and then just go to the checkout girl and pay her. No hassle.

I guess my main question is why, if all those small shops have the same products at pretty much the same price, don’t they try to distinguish themselves with something like customer service? It has to be more than the low wage of the worker because even when you do go into one with a store owner present, you still get sneers. It’s not even a foreign concept. Go to the fruit and vegetable section of any local bazaar and you’ll literally see 15-20 stalls lined up next to each other all selling the exact same things. They will shout out to you and smile even just to get you to come to their stall and buy their fruit. They’ll haggle prices with you and throw in extras just so that you’ll come back to them in the future. These people see firsthand everyday what a little kindness can do for them and their business. That’s why I don’t understand the small shop owners. Hell even the people working behind the counters in the supermarkets are nicer and I’m sure they aren’t making that much more than the small shops.

Don’t even get me started on some of the waiters and waitresses here. There are certain restaurants that I will not go in ever again.

I hate the idea that I as the customer have to be nice just to get things done. I’m all for being polite and admitting to them that my Georgian is awful and that I need their help sometimes, but I should not have to go out of my way for them to get up off their stool and give a man a hand. Take the Internet company for example, if I call up and complain that the guy is now not only two days late he’s well over an hour later than he said he would be when he called me earlier today, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t even get here today because I would have caused more ‘hassle’ for them.

They say a little kindness goes a long way, but that street goes both ways and I think the Georgian shop owners could use a little course in the art of kindness. I’m just sayin’.

Well, it’s only two hours later and the guy has me up and running, so I guess I’m good to go. Internet. How I love you.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

College Football Week 5

Couple of things before we get started this week college football fans: One, no I will not go on a 20 page rant about how pissed off I am that the Braves blew such a huge lead in September to miss the playoffs and two I really want to go on a huge 50 page rant about how the Braves blew such a huge lead in September to miss the playoffs.

(Deep Breaths) Ok, let’s move on to why we’re all here and that’s college football. Am I alone in thinking that LSU should have been ranked #1 maybe a little earlier in the season than coming into week 5? And, I really have to wonder how many media voters are getting paid off. Hear me out. FSU was ranked as high as 5 coming into that Oklahoma game. Where are they now? It’s been proven on the field that they are not a top 15 team (despite the defense) and maybe not even a top 20 team. So, when you look back at OU’s win over #5 FSU it looks a lot better right? (I’m talking casual fan here not my intelligent readers). Then see this week and #3 Alabama’s win over #12 Florida. (Both OU and ALA winning those games on the road mind you). I think we can all agree that Florida is ranked #12 based off of past success not present day performance on the field. So, are the media voters trying to boost their ratings for TV coverage or are they really trying to pick the National Championship matchups before the season starts, crossing their fingers and hopping it all works out? By over inflating the opponent’s rankings and getting more “quality wins” there could be more in the works here than we think. With the BCS “formula” not coming out till after week 8 it gives the media almost half the season to set up their picks and let it play out before it’s taken out of their hands. And, while I have a lot of issues with the BCS, I think it’s better than leaving it up to the media and coaches’ polls.

Ok, I’ll take off my conspiracy theory hat here and get on with this week’s games…

GAMES OF THE WEEK:
#18 Arkansas over #14 Texas A&M 42-38
To me this was THE matchup of the week and one that I was looking forward to on the schedule. Welcome to the SEC Texas A&M! Here we don’t just play one half of football and then start wondering what Texas or Oklahoma is doing that week. Here we play 4 quarters of football and every week have to wonder if you’re going to get beat by any opponent in conference play. See Arkansas. Always a tough game especially when you’re playing them at home (This game was in Arlington, TX though so what’s A&M’s excuse?). A&M was coming off a tough loss to Oklahoma State last week and fell from #8 to #14 in the rankings. This week they got a preview of what it’s like to play in the SEC. A&M built up a 35-17 lead at halftime but managed only a field goal in the second half. If they’re going to compete and be a representative of the SEC they are going to have to shore up that defense that allowed Arkansas to pass for 510yds on the day and they are going to have to learn how to protect 2nd half leads. Two weeks in a row now the Aggies have been caught and passed in the second half. Goodbye Top 25?

#7 Wisconsin over #8 Nebraska 48-17
Welcome to the Big-10 Cornholers! Oh, sorry Cornhuskers. You’re mascot is corn, what do you want? Again, this was another matchup I was looking forward to because unlike A&M this really was a conference game for Nebraska this year. What happened to that vaunted Nebraska defense? I did not think this would be that big of a spread but the Badgers ripped off 3 TDs in the final 10 minutes of the first half and then 2 more in the 3rd quarter without Nebraska so much as taking a field goal attempt. Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez will want to forget about this week as soon as possible after throwing 3 INTs and 0 TDs (even though he did run for one). Wisconsin is set up to make a run at this thing this year, but tough road games with Michigan State and Ohio State are ahead on back to back weeks so we’ll have to wait and see how they hold up.

#13 Clemson over #11 Virginia Tech 23-3
Don’t call it an upset. If you’ve been reading the blog this year you know that (even though it pains me to no extent) I’ve been high on Clemson this year. VT is generally overrated to start every year, but Clemson is starting to answer the question of Pretender or Contender with a positive this year. This was a dominant road win for the Tigers even with Tajh Boyd coming back to Earth a little bit with his pedestrian 13/30 204yds 1 TD 1 INT day. And, by pedestrian I mean a pedestrian that just got hit by a car. Now it is the ACC, but Clemson is already 5-0 and looking to cruise through with only Georgia Tech left as a “quality” conference opponent.

UPSETS OF THE WEEK:
Auburn over #10 South Carolina 16-13
Ouch. USC was going to lose a conference game this year. We all knew that. But if you’re going to beat Auburn, this is the year to do it. South Carolina still has to prove that it can contend and win in the SEC year in and year out and this week was not a good one for that campaign. Especially since USC came in ranked 10th and really needed not only to get a win but crush Auburn to make a point. (And get some measure of revenge from that SEC Championship game last year) Now, I’ll give you that 10 was waaaaaay too high of a ranking for South Carolina, but still. And really this one came down to that final Auburn drive of 12 plays and 57 yards against a Gamecock defense that was just worn out. Great game but a really tough loss for Carolina. What’s even worse is now the fans have to hear it from those obnoxious Clemson fans too. “Oh we beat Auburn, why can’t you?” Rednecks. Gotta Hate Em’.

Kansas State over #15 Baylor 36-35
Apparently Baylor people don’t read this blog. If they did they would have read last week’s post when I told them to watch out for Kansas State. Oh that’s right Big-12 (well 12 – 3 or 4 teams) fans, watch out for Kansas State. The Wildcats are now 4-0 and still have three games to figure out who they really are before getting to that brutal stretch of OU, OSU, A&M, and Texas before finishing the year against Iowa State. Will we see Kansas State in this week’s Top 25? Could be a possibility.

Honorable Mentions to SMU over #20 TCU 40-33 in Overtime and Pitt over #16 South Florida 44-17. Really South Florida was ranked #16??? Talk about an overhype. I am so tired of South Florida and Central Florida and Coastal Florida and wherever in Florida that’s not FSU or UF or even Miami for that matter. You’re not real football schools. And South Florida your mascot is a Bull. When was the last time anybody saw a bunch of bulls in south Florida other than on a Cuban Grill? Get lost!

PILLOW FIGHT OF THE WEEK:
Lamar over SE Louisiana 48-38
Oh the Southland Conference. How do you put up such quality matchups week in and week out? Lamar is now 3-1 and this win drops conference rival SELA to 1-4 on the year. Ok, so how many of you actually knew that Lamar was a University? Really? Mascot? The Cardinal. And if South Florida Bulls aren’t strange enough when was the last time you saw a Lion on the loose in SE Louisiana? I would comment on this game, but I went to Lamar to find out more about the Cardinals. The 270-acre campus is in Beaumont, TX about 90 miles east of Houston and about 25 miles west of Louisiana. But… wait, this gets better. I wanted to make fun of Lamar, since it sounds like a body shop rather than a university until I looked at their football schedule and realized that last week they beat a team called Incarnate Word 45-35. That’s right, the University of Incarnate Word. You can’t even click on them from ESPN! I had to Google the thing. Here’s the link to IW’s athletics page: http://www.cardinalathletics.com/sports/2009/7/2/GEN_0702095708.aspx?tab=facilities You’re welcome.

BEAT DOWN OF THE WEEK:
#2 Oklahoma over Ball State 62-6
Gotta give OU some credit for taking their foot off the gas here and only scoring 3 in the 4th quarter. They did throw for 447 yards which may have been a touch too much but whatever. If you’re going to lay a beat down and trot out your offense for the home fans you might as well right? Ball State represented the MAC conference as well as they could with their 4 turnovers and paltry 2.6 yards per pass but really what did you expect when this matchup was announced?

BIGGEST LOSER:
New Mexico! Congrats you’re the only team in major college football to be 0-5. I say ‘Major College Football’ but they do play in the Mountain West Conference. Hey I guess they can look forward to beating Boise State at the end of the year right? Right? Let’s just say that I don’t have high hopes for Los Lobos who give up an average of 43.3 points a game while only scoring 17.8. Ouch. They fired their head coach after last week’s loss to FCS Sam Houston State and oh yeah, he had let some 19 year old recruit drive around in his SUV who then got stopped for drunk driving. Oops! This after last year’s incident where he was suspended for a game after punching an assistant coach in the face. New Mexico went 1-11 last year and this year may be a letdown; if that is at all possible.

Seeya next week!