Thursday, June 05, 2008

Yep, I'm fucking old.

As I've progressed in life there are often times when I realize just how much I've advanced in age. I'm not yet at the point where this is a regular occurrence but when these moments do take place, they hit me like a ton of bricks. Today would be one of those moments. You see, I'm going on a cruise today. Only its not the kind of cruise that normally springs to mind when you think of a 30 year old drunkard. No, I'm going on a Disney Cruise. Thats right, Mickey, Donald and the whole goddamned cast of jew hating characters will be frollicking about with me and approximately 400 screaming, whining little shits.

This cruise was a Christmas present from my parents to our entire family, and since each of my sisters and there husbands are all firmly entrenched in familial existences, and my girlfriend has a daughter as well, the 'Rents thought it'd be a swell time to get the whole family together for a cruise. Ugggh. Don't get me wrong, I love my nieces and nephews and I love the rest of my family. I adore my girlfriend and her child. What I don't particularly care (read: loathe with extreme prejudice) are the children of other people and/or the presence of pasty white tourists. With that said, I'm guessing my hate sensors will be on overload over the next few days as I wade through a sea of just these types of people. Under normal circumstances I'd simply say "fuck it", grab a drink and head to the casino. Unfortunately, Disney Cruises don't have casinos (Are you fucking kidding me?) and I'm doubtful that the assembled staff members look kindly upon binge drinking.

So, here I sit...bags packed, smile plastered on my face with the hopes that this "vacation" turns out better than I'm anticipating. Wish me luck. God knows I'll need it.

Friday, May 30, 2008

I'm a man! I'm 30?

If you've ever wasted any of your time around these parts you're probably well aware of how unbelievably immature I am. Either because you know me personally, or because you've bothered to read a post or two. Even when I'm writing seriously, or seriously for me, about sports this space is still often filled with ill-timed jokes and frequent profanity. I'd like to think that I'll evolve from this at some point in my life but, as it currently stands, it doesn't seem very likely. By the time you reach your 30s you essentially are what you are, for better or worse. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy being me (save for the ever increasing power of my hangovers) its just that every so often I'm reminded of just how juvenile and immature I am. Yesterday was one of those days. I stumbled upon this site, and laughed like a little schoolgirl for the next 10 to 15 minutes. Its a sad commentary really. Clearly all it takes is the frequent and innapropriate use of profanity to make me laugh. I guess its good that all my kids live at least one state away...for all of us.

While I'm on the subject of immaturity, I figured I ought to post the trailer for the new Will Ferrell movie. Now, I know his last couple of movies have been formulaic, lazy pieces of crap but I've got a good feeling about this one. Maybe its the chemistry he shares with John C. Reilly, maybe its because I just spent fifteen minutes on borderbangers.com. You decide.



Okay, thats an awful lot of proof of my immaturity, not that you really needed any. Anywho, to show you I'm not a complete and total waste of space and $50,000+ in education (I guess thats debatable either way) here's the trailer for the new Chuck Pahlaniuk movie, Choke. The book was amazing, but I'm probably not the most unbiased critic when it comes to Pahlaniuk's work. I'd read anything that he writes, especially if its a book about a sex addict who makes money by faking that he's choking on food in swanky restaurants. I mean, who wouldn't find something like that interesting? Oh right...this paragraph was supposed to help prove that I am mature. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The sincerest form of flattery...

Growing up, I never really understood why people went away for Memorial Day (and Labor Day) weekend. Of course, a good deal of this confusion could be attributed to the fact that I grew up 5 blocks from the Atlantic Ocean. There's no reason to travel to sunnier, sandier locales when you reside in one that extremely sandy and sunny. As a result of this, these truly American holidays, as well as the traditions that come with them, were often lost on me. I don't recall a single memorable Memorial or Labor day weekend from my youth. In fact, I can't say I recall any until the last 5 or 6 years when I reached the age of homeownership for me and my friends. At this point, I had moved back to my childhood home (or very near it) so there were no trips to the beach. Rather, the beach was once again down the street (literally) and the weekends were spent on the beach, and later near a pool with lots of booze, food and friends. So, you see, I'd like to tack on the G:TB's Memorial Day weekend travel guide here but there will be no traveling for me.

Instead, my girlfriend and I have decided to throw our first real barbecue since we moved in together last June. (It was really her decision, but who am I to stand in the way of something that allows me to get hammered on the homefront?)

We have a pool, a grill and a group of friends with a propensity for binge drinking so we might as well do the good old American thing and have a Memorial Day shindig at our place. Plus, I've grown tired of monitoring my drinking during the afternoon hours of these Monday holidays, lest I find myself too incapacitated to drive home. This scenario works out much better for me. My girlfriend's the more masterful griller, my bedroom will be a few shorts steps away and the guests will be bringing all sorts of delicious foodstuffs for my continued consumption throughout the day. It should be a grand time. At least until one of my friends throws up in our pool.

However, I don't want to make it sound like I'm not doing anything to ensure this party will be a fun-filed afternoon for all involved. I'll be pouring plenty of shots throughout the day and I've secured some fine entertainment as well. Behold...



I don't see anyway that this isn't one of the greatest Memorial Days ever.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Live Blogging a Soccer Game? Sure, why not?

Since I "work" from home, a couple of the guys at G:TB asked if I was planning on Live Blogging the UEFA Champions League Final between the Premiere League's two most despicable teams, Manchester United and Chelsea. Well, I hadn't planned on it but, why the hell not? I'm going to be watching the game from my couch so I might as well offer my pithy observations on said game. A few years ago, I did this and the game turned out to be a classic. Of course, Jerry (who had yet to embrace soccer) made the comment that this game being considered a classic is one of the many reasons why soccer wasn't a sport he or many other Americans could love. I suspect he'd have a different opinion now that he's become a fellow Arsenal supporter ( I use this phrase loosely) after his prolonged stay in England a year or so ago.

Its tough for many Americans to understand just how big a deal tonight's game is for soccer fans all across Europe, but its an event that dwarfs our "Super Bowl" in both hype and viewership. Combine that with the fact that this game boasts two of the world's most deadly finishers in Cristiano Ronaldo & Didier Drogba and you've got something along the lines of a Colts-Pats matchup in the AFC Championship. Does this make Wayne Rooney the equivalent of Marvin Harrison and Michael Ballack into Randy Moss? I don't fucking know. I'm just trying to make this a little easier to understand for TJ. I know, good luck with that.

Anyway, I hope I've sufficiently Americanized (aka: dumbed down) this for you guys. Hey look, just writing about soccer brings out the previously dormant snobby Brit in somebody. One more thing, because you can't trust Russians to do anything right (save for the occasional revolution) it sounds as if the turf in Moscow tonight may rival the turf from the Dolphins-Steelers Monday Night game in Pittsburgh from last year. That should make for some high scoring, exciting action (sarcasm alert) and thus millions of unemployed Americans who'll use this game as an excuse to never watch another soccer game again. Hey, at least Clarence Seedorf is broadcasting this game in three languages. That'll draw in the common man. Oh, fuck it. Its soccer. You love or you don't. Join me...in the comments.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I'd like to invite the Spurs to...go fuck themselves...

I realize I went over this just a post or two ago but last night was yet another example of why the San Antonio Spurs are bad for basketball. They flop endlessly, they complain constantly and, for good measure, they dole out cheap shots against the instrumental players of their opposition. Now, I've heard some people today say that Robert Horry's pick on David West wasn't a cheap shot and, well, I think those people are completely out of their minds. Why exactly was Horry setting a pick in that situation? Watch the Spurs play and let me know if you ever see that pick and placement used within their offense.



I think you're going to be searching for some time. Its yet another in a long line of examples of why the Spurs are the only team that isn't a rival of my favorite teams who I fucking hate with the white hot passion of a thousand suns. Sometimes, I forget how much I hate them and then something like last night's game happens and I remember all over again. I refuse to believe that the way this team plays is coincidental. They are coached to play in this manner. Does anybody remember Horry being a noted cheap shot artist during his days in Houston or L.A.? I certainly don't. Of course, he gets to San Antonio and now he's fucking Vinnie Jones. It all comes back to that arrogant douche Poppovich. Yet another reason why I'll never trust a man who prefers wine over beer or liquor. Its unnatural, like his god damned cratered face.



Yeah, thats good solid defense alright Mark Jackson. Please. Sure, thats what "defense" is quickly becoming in the NBA, because the league and its officials refuse to do anything about the serial flopping that occurs in each and every Spurs game but thats not the way defense is supposed to be played. That's acting and bullshit.

If there's a God, I'll get to meet Bruce Bowen one day. And when I kick in the fucking knees he better go flying back 30 feet like I shot him with a Desert Eagle. A night in jail will never feel so satisfying.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Thanks TJ...

TJ brought me much joy to me this morning with his comparison of cartoon hero He-Man and frequent devourer (?) of heroes, Dana Jacobson. With that in mind, I though it only apropos to post my favorite all time Separated at Birth...Cavaliers Coach Mike Brown and my second favorite all time McDonald's character, Grimace.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Flop, Cry...Reward...

Let me say something before I get started here. I love basketball. Truly. I watch basketball of all forms on television. I play in 3 separate basketball leagues. On those days when I'm not playing in these leagues, I have a regular group of 15-20 guys with whom I play pickup basketball. Some of my friends and family may even tell you that I play/watch too much basketball. This love affair with basketball is precisely why I hate the San Antonio Spurs.

Don't get me wrong, the Spurs are both an immensely talented and well run team. However, they are also a team full of whiners, floppers and cheap shot artists. (Okay, that last one was primarily directed at Bruce Bowen but I'm pretty sure Kurt Thomas isn't fully free of guilt here either). As I sat watching the Spurs take down the Phoenix Suns late last night, I found myself intensely rooting for Phoenix. Or was it against the Spurs? Upon further reflection, it was most certainly against the Spurs. I have no reason to root for Phoenix but I cannot stomach watching what the Spurs continually get away with their actions. On two consecutive possessions last night, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan went flying to the floor without any contact from the opposition. Of course, both of these flops were rewarded with foul calls. Fouls that were charged to Amare Stoudemire and Shaquille O'Neal, respectively and changed the very tenor of the game. While Parker and Duncan each do their fare share of flopping they aren't even close to the most egregious violators of my basketball sensibilities. Manu Ginobili acts as if he's been shot nearly every time there is even the slightest bit of contact and is consistently rewarded by the referees. He's a great player, one of the truly underrated guys in the NBA but his style of play overshadows his talents and somehow makes him less of a star in my eyes. He's certainly not the only soccer-esque flopper in the NBA, just the most frequent and highest profile.

I've officially reached my breaking with both this team and flopping in the NBA. ( I consider the Spurs the primary reason flopping has become so pervasive.) The amount of flopping on picks, drives to the hoop and scrums underneath basket has rendered many NBA games virtually unwatchable and most Spurs games downright infuriating. These antics take away from the game and rewards players who look for an easy way out. The Spurs aren't the only team who do this, just the most successful. When you combine their style of play with the constant stream of incredulous looks they display whenever a foul is whistled on them it makes me want to reach out and punch their leader, Gregg Poppovich, in his pocked marked face. Some may say that the Spurs are merely engaging in gamesmanship and taking advantage of every opportunity afforded them. I say that they're borderline cheating and, most certainly, disrespecting the game.

To this team and organization, winning is the only excuse they need to attempt underhanded tactics (see: The unbelievably lopsided Kurt Thomas trade, which was executed with the assistance of former employee, Seattle GM Sam Presti. Which doesn't even begin to discuss the manner in which they employed the Hack-A-Shaq strategy in the Suns series). I can think of no NBA team that is more worthy of the public's scorn and venom. Yet, it seems as though only a few NBA fans care, or even notice, what this team has perpetrated upon the NBA. They have literally changed the way that the game is played and not for the better.

I'd like to see the NBA institute fouls for flops but that seems unlikely. I'd like to see the Spurs just play basketball and stop trying to find easy ways to win but that seems even less likely. More than anything, I want to see basketball played in a manner in which the most skillful and deserving team wins. Not because they know all the little, dirty tricks but because they outplayed their opponent. However, thats not where the NBA is right now and until something drastic is done its not going to happen anytime soon.

So, until that point I'll resign myself to rooting against the Spurs and for teams that at least attempt to play basketball in an honest manner. I'll sit on my couch, occasionally cursing the way this team plays and silently hope that the NBA, its referees and the fans will see this team for what they are...not just champions (because they undoubtedly are) but floppers and whiners deserving of our attention and shame.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

It ain't quite football but its close enough...

I was under the impression that any college football fan had already been made aware of the fact that ESPN is televising The University of Florida's Orange & Blue Game this afternoon. That is, until I received a bitter voicemail from TJ complaining about the recruiting advantages this allows the Gators whilst he cursed the name of Jeremy Foley. (Hey, we all get one of those...right Ron?).

Even though I'm a little disappointed that TJ somehow missed out on this news, I'm guessing he was knee deep in William & Mary practice reports, its still worth mentioning how utterly ridiculous today's broadcast is. It's one thing for a spring "game" (its a practice people) to be televised locally, or even statewide, which is commonplace in the south. However, its something entirely different for a game to be reaching all corners of our great country. As people much smarter (and gayer) than me are fond of saying, we're through the looking glass here. Its insane and somewhat inane that ESPN would deem a college program's glorified scrimmage as broadcast worthy, but thats where we as a college football nation have been heading lo these many years. And, I'm not one to stand in the way of progress...so I might as well add to the days festivities with a little guide of who/what to watch (with an emphasis on youth) for during today's celebration of Gator Football. (Note: Yes, this is just a practice. But a practice with a national television audience and 80,000 fans in the stands. If somebody can't handle the spotlight today, the odds on them delivering in front of hostile SEC crowds are slim).

OFFENSE

-Deonte Thompson: After redshirting last year, this former prep AA WR has been lighting it up this spring. He's amongst the fastest of all Gators and possesses some Harvin like moves with the ball in his hands. Hailing from the famed "Muck" (Belle Glade to be specific), much has been expected of Thompson since he signed with Florida. He's got a good chance to be UF's #3 WR this fall and big time performance today could go a long way toward making that a reality.

- Carl Moore: The nation's #1 JUCO WR is also expected to make a large impact on the Gator offense in the fall. Moore is unlike any other Gator receiver by virtue of his size (6'4", 220), speed and hands. He was slowed early by learning the Gator playbook but has come on in recent weeks. Think USC's Mike Williams in terms of size and potential impact in the red zone.

- Chris Rainey: Rainey's not going to be the workhorse back that Urban Meyer's craved since he set foot in Gainesville. However, he has the speed and moves to be a gamebreaker from the tailback position and ultimately take the Gator offense to the next level in terms of explosiveness. He's put on 15 lbs since last year when he weighed in at a paltry 155 lbs. Expect to see him break at least one run of over 30 yards. (Note: If you're betting on today's match races, take Rainey. You can buy me a drink with your winnings as a thank you).
-Emmanuel Moody (and/or Mon Williams): Here is where the Gators expect to find their workhorse back. Moody has struggled for much of spring adjusting to the spread and figuring out his individual responsibilities. However, the light has come on recently with Moody putting together a dynamite final week of spring. He's loaded with talent and ability, its a matter of him doing it when the lights come on in Gainesville, so today should be a good preview. Fellow texan Williams is coming off ACL surgery last fall but seems back to full speed. He's big, fast and has some moves to boot. One of these two will be the starter at tailback by mid-fall, well, if the Gators want to win the SEC then one of them better be.

- QBs (Cam Newton & John Brantley): You see, theres a chance Tim Tebow may get injured at some point in his career due to his proclivity for running headfirst into opposing defenders. As a result of this, a viable backup QB is essential for the Gators. Newton is a 6'7", 260 beast who actually dwarfs Tebow. He's got JaMarcus Russell like size and ability and, unfortunately, inaccuracy thus far. Brantley is a Gator legacy and was ranked as the best pure passer in the nation just two years ago. I like Brantley to grab the #2 spot right now.

DEFENSE

-Matt Patchan: One of the nation's top OT recruits, this early entry has played extensively at DT this spring with surprising results. New DL coach Dan McCarney loves his motor and size. He looks like he's got a shot to start his career over on defense. I've only read about his play in practice reports so I'm interested to see him in pads today.

- Safeties (Jamar Hornsby/Major Wright/Ahmad Black): Much was made of the Gators' corners inability to lock down receivers last year but, truth be told, the safeties may have been worse. Wright had a great freshman season but still has much to prove about his ability to play in space in the passing game. The other safety spot is wide open, and Jamar Hornsby and Ahmad Black are the leaders (at least until Will Hill and Dee Finley get to campus). Hornsby is an athletic freak who's just now getting healthy after tearing up a knee in high school and, thus beginning to make plays int he secondary. Black is undersized but is seemingly in possession of tremendous instincts and a thirst for hitting. If one of these two can play great today then they go into the summer as the leader.
-Carlos Dunlap: The biggest freak on a team full of them. He's 6'8", 290 and has blazing speed off the edge. The guy returned kickoffs in high school for Christ's sake. Florida needs to replace Derrick Harvey at one end and Dunlap has been the most dominant pass rusher for the Gators thus far in the spring. This is his coming out party, potentially.

- Defensive Tackles (Troy Epps/Torrey Davis): Florida has exactly zero proven DTs on their roster. Epps is a JUCO transfer who's played better as the spring has worn on. If he can make an impact on the line then the complexion of Florida's defense will change dramatically. Davis is the Gator's most talented DT but he's been an inconsistent presence during the spring due to his off the field issues. When he's on the field he can be dominant, he needs to prove that he get on the field and show a consistent effort level when he's there.

- Linebackers (Jeremy Finch/Lorenzo Edwards): One of these two guys will be starting at LB for Florida in the fall. Both are extremely young, athletic LBs who've been making tons of plays this spring. Finch was slowed by a broken leg during last year's game vs. Tennessee. Edwards redshirted in order to put on some much needed weight. At this point, I'd give Finch the edge based on his experience from early last year and his pass coverage skills but Edwards may be Florida's fastest LB.

So there you go. Erin Andrews is back at her alma mater, the stands are packed and I'm half drunk. Let's play football.

Friday, April 11, 2008

My flava's good, my flava's good!

Holy Shit! Max Kellerman once tried being a rapper? And he was signed to Ruffhouse Records? How has it taken so long for me to find this out? I mean, I always had some suspicions about his musical leanings, based on the beard and all but still. This. Is. Awesome.



Do you know what would happen if somebody got Max and Ric Flair together to record a single? My head would explode from the heretofore unseen levels of awesome. This is literally the only thing that could take my mind off of tomorrow's telecast of the Orange & Blue game. Well, almost the only thing.

Monday, April 07, 2008

This just in...

I'm a fucking genius. You see, thats what happens when I correctly pick the National Title game in my bracket. I get a little sold on my wisdom and intelligence. Unfortunately for me, I'm also a damned idiot and, honestly, the idiot shows up much more often than the genius. So despite being the only person amongst 25 or so people in my pool to pick tonight's Kansas-Memphis matchup, I'll be taking runner-up honors and getting exactly $0 for my trouble.

Oh well, at least I can point to my NBA Fantasy team being in the finals of the Wheelhouse/G:TB affiliated league as further proof of my limitless basketball knowledge. What? Oh, I lost to Slater this past week? And now I have to play TJ, who renames his fucking team every other week?

Wow, this is a little embarassing. I mean not nearly as embrassing as this , but still. How about we just get to tonight's game. Although there's a ton of really intriguing individual matchups tonight (Dorsey vs. Kaun, Rose vs. Kansas' 3 headed PG), the one I'm most interested in is Brandon Rush vs. Chris Douglas-Roberts.

I love CDR and think he's just as important to the Tigers as Rose with his size and ability to create off the dribble (Which is truly the basis for everything Memphis does on offense.) but he's yet to face somebody with the size & athleticism of Rush. If he can continue to efficiently score on Rush like he has all tournament, and year, long than Memphis will win. However...I think Kansas is just too deep along the frontline and Rush will make things tough enough on CDR to effectively slow down Memphis' halfcourt offense enough to win by 5. So that's it, its a 75-70 win for Kansas and Sasha Kaun yanking Bill Self's rug off his head in celebration.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Nice Pink Sweater BOB...

In keeping with the theme that I've created on this here blog. (That I'm a mess and have little ambition or follow through to speak of.) I've decided to scrap the second half of the 20 Things Ive Learned So Far in the NCAA Tournament. Shocking, I know.

Instead, I've decided to work some of these thoughts into picks for tonight's games. If you read the last post, which is doubtful, you already know to pay zero attention to the actual picks here. I'm guessing, completely and totally, but I do watch and play a shit ton of basketball so there's something to gain here if you can sift through all the bullshit. Or not. Lets just get to the picks.

(3) Wisconsin vs. (10) Davidson: I've made it clear how I feel about Dell's kid, as well as Dell's mustache, in the last few posts but I think the Magic carpet ride stops here for the Wildcats, uggh, I hate that fucking nickname. There should be a movement in this country to strip teams of boring, overused mascots like Wildcats and Tigers. Jeebus H, put some damn thought into it people. I'll take a Dirt Worshipper or a Bullet anytime over a Bear. Annnywho, I like Rob's gay paramour Bo Ryan here on the strength of, well their overall team strength on the boards and, of course, because my cousin Travon plays for Sconnie. Badgers (now that's a fucking proper nickname).

(3) Stanford vs. (2) Texas: If I was an NBA GM in need of a big man, the fact that the Lopez twins openly talk of their love for all things Disney and that Brook plans to write a comic book one day would send me scouting in Europe immediately. Hell, I'd try and work a trade for Josh Boone before I'd waste a top 10 pick on that bitch ( I mean, his basketball hero is Arthur Lee. Yes, that Arthur Lee.). So, I guess its obvious I like Texas here...well, I do. DJ Augustin gets all the pub (deservedly so, he's the best point in the country) but AJ Abrams is a deadly shooter and Dameon James is probably the most underrated player in the country. Connor Atchley's shooting should bring one of the Lopez's out of the paint on the high screen and roll, thereby opening up the lane for Augustin to create. Texas' versatility and home support are too much for Stanford and Trent Johnson's quarter sized nostrils.

(12) Villanova vs. (1) Kansas: If anybody else is coaching Kansas, then aren't they a near unanimous pick as the country's best team? I say yes. I've also been burned a number of times by Senor Self in March so I'm speaking with a light wallet here, but still. Look at that roster: 3 talented, experienced bigs, the same goes for the guards and then you have 9th year senior Brandon Rush in the lineup who can play nearly everywhere. They are loaded. Unfortunately, Self probably was last night too. I'll take the Jayhawks over...yep, the Wildcats in a game where Scottie Reynolds doesn't have enough help to make Kansas sweat much. Fun matchup to watch tonight: Corey Fisher vs. Sherron Collins. Both are city pgs, NY and Chicago, respectively. Both undersized, stocky and extremely good off the dribble. Who knows how much they go head to head tonight but when they do, it should be fun.

(Random notes: Scottie Reynolds has to be the least athletic, great player in the country. Watch him play tonight, he's not overly fast or big, he doesn't jump so well and doesn't really look the part of a big time collegiate guard in his on court movements. However, he's great at using different speeds and employing various fakes and pivots to get he and his teammates opportunities. Plus, his jumper opens up tons of lanes for him to drive. Sometimes his unorthodox game leads to some stupid turnovers but he brings far more to the table than he takes off it. A really unique player who's carried 'Nova most of the season.)

(5) Michigan State vs. (1) Memphis: The Big Ten should put special incentives in Tom Izzo's contract. I mean, if it wasn't for Izzo the Big Ten would've lost what little credibility it still has as a basketball power. (That Big Ten-ACC Challenge seems like a bad decision in retrospect, no?). Nearly every year this guy's teams play well above their head in March. Some writer was saying this week that its partially due to the fact that Izzo runs an NBA style offense with only a few sets/plays in the halfcourt and Big Ten teams are more prepared for them than any of the out of conference teams who they meet in the tourney. Sounds good to me. Also, its nice to contrast it against Calipari's offense, which is basically drive the ball and either (a) kick it out, (b) dump it low to a big, or (c) shoot. Seriously, that really is Memphis' offense. I don't think the simplicity matters tonight though. Memphis is going to throw a ton of long, athletic defenders at Drew Neitzel, and Kalin Lucas isn't going to light up Derrick Rose like he did Levance "Chubby Bunny" Fields. I'll take Memphis pulling away late and winning by double digits.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Twenty Things I've Learned So Far in the NCAA Tournament: Part 1

Well, the first (though I'm not counting it) is that there's really no point in trying to predict the outcome of the individual tournament games. First off, everybody and their in-laws is doing it, and secondly, um, I'm just not very good at it, as evidenced by the two previous posts. So, with that in mind, here's the first edition of Things I've learned So Far in the NCAA Tournament:

1. Stephen Curry can/will be a good NBA player. I was of the opposite opinion going into last weekend. Simply put, because he's a small (for college) shooting guard with average athleticism, I didn't see how he could carve out a niche in the pros. However, after watching him for the last two games it's become evident that he's a better ballhandler than I'd previously given him credit for. In addition, he moves extremely well off the ball (like a smaller Kevin Martin). If he sticks around at Davidson for two more years and continues to improve his handle and strength, I could see him being similar to Jason Terry in the NBA. If not, with that jumper, he's at least as good as Jannero Pargo.

2. Duke needs to successfully recruit talented bigs. For all the talk about Duke relying on the 3 too much this year, two things stood out to me through their two tournament games. First, their inability to guard the perimeter...how else do you explain Joe Mazzulla (or Renfroe from Belmont) consistently driving the lane on them? Secondly, Coach K has to figure out how to recruit true big men with talent to Durham. Some may say, that he hasn't recruited for size in recent years, but that simply isn't true. In recent years, he's brought in stiffs like Brian Zoubek, Eric Boateng and Michael Thompson. None of these players have lasted/will last at Duke and the result is that Duke is trotting out players like Lance Thomas and Kyle Singler at the 4 & 5 much of the time. If Duke's going to get back to the top, they'll need at least one big time post scorer and defender (see: Brand, Elton or Boozer, Carlos) to complement the seemingly endless array of jumpshooters that Coach K lures to Tobacco Road.

3. Roy Williams is a douchebag. Actually, I've known this for quite some time. A decade to be exact, ever since Roy Boy had Eddie Fogler call out Billy Donovan for allegedly shady recruiting tactics in the recruitment of Mike Miller. Make no mistake about it, Williams is Bobby Bowden. A lying, deceitful coach who gets over on the media and gets a free pass from many fans with his "aw shucks", good ole boy antics. (Plus, he's pretty overrated when it comes to X's and O's). Was there any good reason for Roy to have his starters in while up 30 with 4 minutes left against Arkansas? Of course there was...Roy Williams is a douchebag.

4. Washington State is the one underdog who nobody really roots for. Sure, you'll root for Wazzu against UNC, but you can bet your ass that you'll be rooting against them in the regional final on Saturday. And you know what? I don't blame you. While their style may be successful and they truly are one of the few major conference teams that can be classified as an underdog, they're nearly as painful to watch as 2 Girls/One Cup. There's just not anything aesthetically pleasing about watching this team advance deep in the tourney. One Bennett coaching in the Final Four (Wisconsin, 2000) is enough for this quarter century, thanks.

5. The ACC is weak. I hate to admit it, but its true. Though I attended an SEC school and grew up in the south, I was raised watching ACC basketball. Back when ACC basketball was the very best the country had to offer. Sadly, that's not the case these days. Too many schools are up and down from year to year and too often the league gets a pass because people erroneously think that its top teams are elite nationally (Duke, UNC) and thus cause more parity in the rest of the league than we see elsewhere. Now, if Clemson doesn't blow that big lead to Villanova then maybe I'm singing a different tune this week (and my bracket looks significantly better) but there's no denying that the ACC is down, and has been since it sent both Maryland and Duke to the Final Four in 2001.

6. All assists are not created equal. To prove this, I point to the games played by Drake's Adam Emmenecker against Western Kentucky and Stanford's Mitch Johnson against Marquette. Johnson posted 16 assists in an OT win to Emmenecker's 15 in an OT loss, but to compare these two games is ludicrous. Emmenecker controlled the game and set up his teammates all day long while handling the ball 80% of the time. Meanwhile, the majority of Johnson's assists were nothing more than lobs into Brook Lopez from 20 feet away, like the pass that set up Stanford's game winning bucket. Futhermore, Johnson wasn't even bringing the ball up court during most of the second half on Saturday. Now, I'm not saying that Johnson didn't play well. He certainly did, and anytime you can notch 16 assists to just 1 turnover its certainly an impressive feat. However, Emmenecker was practically an instructional video for point guards during his brief tournament stay while Johnson was, well, a brief post feeding tutorial.

7. AJ Price sleeps with a black cat underneath a ladder. I have no idea if this is true, but it might as well be. The poor kid just can't seem to catch a break since he arrived on campus in Storrs. After suffering a brain hemorrhage that nearly killed him his freshman year, he fought through adversity and self doubt to emerge as the Big East's best PG this season. He was the reason (along with Thabeet) that UConn seemed poised to return to the national stage this March. Of course, Price tore his ACL while driving for a layup against San Diego. UConn lost and now Price has a summer full of torturous rehab ahead of him. Here's hoping he returns healthy and sans any stolen computers.

8. Its not just PAC-10 refs who want to collectively blow UCLA. I mean, come the fuck on? The no-call against Texas A&M was ridiculous. I genuinely think UCLA is a good team and have a growing man crush on Darren Collison, but, at some point I'd like to see them earn one without the benefit of a call (or no-call) during the crucial moments of a game. Furthermore, why is everyone so damned sure Memphis is the weakest #1 seed when UCLA keeps barely escaping losses in the past month? Is Memphis' free throw shooting that much more worrisome than UCLA's stagnant offense and late game luck?

9. JP Prince will never, ever play the at Tennessee point again. Bruce Pearl moved Prince, the SEC 6th man of the Year, into his starting lineup on Sunday against Butler in order to give his team more size and versatility and also because Ramar Smith has been increasingly inconsistent late in the year. And you know what? It worked out great...until the last 1:30 of the game. That's when having Prince at the point nearly ended UT's season. Prince turned it over on three straight possessions late in regulation, thereby allowing Butler to send the game to OT. Of course, Pearl chained Prince to the bench in OT (quite possibly literally) and Tennessee went on to victory. I don't think you'll see Prince running the point tomorrow night against Louisville, but I do think the lack of solid PG play will be what keeps the Vols from going to San Antonio.

10. Butler got hosed. This doesn't need much explanation. I mean, can anybody really say they think that Butler deserved to get stuck not only with a 7 seed, but also in the East? Maybe Billy Packer or Jim Nantz but those guys molest collies so their opinion ain't worth much. Sure, Butler could've won against UT if they'd made more FTs down the stretch in regulation, but they shouldn't have been in that position. They deserved at least a 5 seed, and probably higher. Its too bad one the best 16 teams in the country isn't playing this weekend because the committee didn't bother to look past RPI and SOS long enough to watch Butler play. We've come a long way in terms of the amount of respect mid-major programs receive but clearly, we haven't come far enough.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Fuck yo Bracket! Fuck yo Bracket!!

With the first two brackets out of the way, we'll move on to the South and West this morning before the tournament kicks off in just over (wait for it)...two hours. Good Lord I'm excited.

South

Memphis vs. Texas-Arlington: The only intrigue in this game is whether or not Worldwide Wes will be on the sidelines. No way, Wes won't show up until at least the Sweet 16. Memphis.

Mississippi St. vs. Oregon: You couldn't have two more mismatched PGs than Jamont Gordon and Tajuan Porter if you tried. Gordon is a big (6'4"), bruising guard who thrives on bullying opponents in the paint while Porter is a midget (5'6") who is an absolute gunner. This guy takes shots that I wouldn't take in a pickup game. Gotta go with the SEC here.

Michigan St. vs. Temple: I have a feeling on this one, Neitzel's gonna struggle to get his shot and Dionte Christmas will introduce himself to at least 1/4 of the nation. Owls...Woo? Owls. (Wow, that was bad).

Pitt vs. Oral Roberts: Traditional tournament flameouts vs. a school known to hate flamers. Flameouts it is, Pitt.

Marquette vs. Stanford: Dominic James erratic jumpshot scares the shit out of me, but not quite as much as the incessant dribbling and questionable shot selection of Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford. Marquette.

Stanford vs. Cornell: The Lopez brothers are waaay too big for the Big Red, at least I think thats what Cornell is called. No matter, its not like I'll have to remember the nickname for long.

St. Mary's vs. Miami: This game feels like a reverse upset. I mean, is anybody picking Miami here? No? Alright, me neither.

Texas vs. Austin Peay: I think Texas is going to go out early this year because they're too dependent on Augustin and Abrams. Just not this early.

West

UCLA vs. MV State: So who's looks dumber? Jerry Rice when he was still rocking dreads whilst on the Raiders or Kevin Love and his skinny beard. Love, of course.

BYU vs. Texas A&M: TJ hates the Aggies and, well, so do I. BYU's defense is too much in this one.

Drake vs. Western Kentucky: The Hilltoppers are underrated but they're running into an efficient and talented bunch from Drake who still feel they have something to prove nationally. Drake.

UConn vs. San Diego: I'm not drinking the Kool-Aid on the Torreros and their late season run. I mean, that could kill my bracket.

Purdue vs. Baylor: Everybody's rooting for Baylor, well, except me. Purdue's scrappy and Matt Painter is an underrated coach.

Xavier vs. Georgia: Fuck Georgia, there I said it. I rooted for them on Sunday (Going against everything I know and love) and there's no way I'm doing that again this decade.

West Virginia vs. Arizona: With all the talk they'll be about Chase Budinger and Joe Alexander in this game, Jerryd Bayless is the best pro prospect you'll see. He's also going to have plenty of time to start prepping for the draft after the 'Cats lose to WVU.

Duke vs. Belmont: Duke's not as good as they're seeded, but they're miles ahead of Belmont, obviously. If this is on your TV, then it might be time to start drinking.

So that's it. Those are all the first round picks. Unlike Jerry, I have actually won money in these pools before. In fact, I've taken first place twice in the past three years so, you know, I'm pretty awesome and you might want to follow my lead here. Actually, I wouldn't ever mimic anything that I do but I've got 30 years worth of hindsight to teach me that lesson.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fuck yo Bracket!

I've been trying to figure out how to approach an NCAA Tournament preview and, well, I can't think of anything. I blame some of this on the fact that the University of Florida isn't involved for the first time since my first year of enrollment in said university. Think about that, thats a long damned time for a school that had no previous basketball "tradition" and is quite an impressive accomplishment for Billy Donovan and Jeremy Foley. To say nothing, of the two consecutive national championships that have recently been won by Florida. However, all that shit means nothing this year. The young Gators were a thorough and complete disappointment late in the season and, frankly, I don't expect it to change tonight in the NIT against San Diego State. I'll watch and I'll root hard because I think a long NIT run would be extremely beneficial to this young and somewhat fragile (from a long term perspective) team, but I won't root quite as hard as the last ten years. That's the truth.

You know why? Because the NCAA Tournament is the fucking show. It's my favorite sporting event and these next two days are my favorite sports related days of the year. With that in mind, I'm going to break down each region...one at a time. I'm only doing the first round picks, because that's all we're getting for the next two days. Since we're proudly working with an east coast bias, we'll start in the East.

UNC vs. Mt. St. Mary's: I wish that guy who got kicked out of Virginia for stabbing somebody still played at MSM. I think he'd do a great job guarding Hansbrough.

Indiana vs. Arkansas: John Pelphrey's hair is fucking ridiculous. This things a blowout.

Notre Dame vs. George Mason: Nobody's talking about this but Luke Harangody vs. Will Thomas is one of the best individual first round matchups. I'm picking the white guy, of course.

Washington State vs. Winthrop: The Bennett family is certainly skilled at coaching a winning style of basketball, but good God is it boring. The sooner Wazzu loses the better for all of us, but it ain't happening here.

Oklahoma vs. St. Joe's: Blake Griffin is freak. He's an NBA power forward right now. I'll take him and go against the unexplainable love for St. Joe's.

Louisville vs. Boise State: First round games in Boise are awesome, its in the rules. Unfortunately first round games involving Boise St. suck. Expect to see a 20 point Cardinal win and 30-45 minutes combined of announcer love for David Padgett. Really guys? David fucking Padgett?

Butler vs. South Alabama: I wish that South Alabama had ended up with a different draw because they ain't winning this game. Butler gave Florida all they wanted last year and I think they're going deep this year.

Tennessee vs. American: David Aldridge went to American. Did you know that? Well, now you know half as much about American as I do. I'm sure we'll both learn more together as Tennessee shoots them out of the damn gym.

Now, its time to move on the worst place on earth...the Midwest, naturally.

Kansas vs. Portland St: Every time I watch Kansas I hope that JaRon Rush will come stumbling out onto the court like Shooter in Hoosiers. Maybe this is the one...Jayhawks.

Kent St. vs. UNLV: The Runnin' Unibrows don't have enough talent to beat an underrated Kent St. team.

Clemson vs. Villanova: I like Clemson. I mean, I really really like Clemson. They're deep, they're athletic and Oliver Purnell is an extremely underrated coach. But did you know their starting PG (Hammonds) shoots 43% from the line? That's positively Gottleibesque. It doesn't matter against a one dimensional Nova team though.

Vanderbilt vs. Siena: Not sure why, but I think Siena's gonna knock off a Vanderbilt team whose record doesn't show how inconsistent they were all year.

USC vs. Kansas St: The Wildcats aren't that good outside of Walker and Beasley. Tim Floyd's a great defensive coach who I think will slow them down. OJ Mayo and Davon Jefferson are the freshmen moving on here.

Wisconsin vs. Cal St. Fullerton: Have you seen Bo Ryan do the Soulja Boy? Now you have, Badgers.

Gonzaga vs. Davidson: I'm taking Davidson here against my better judgement. I think they're weaker than last year's team inside but Gonzaga's not exactly known for bullying people so I'll side with my memories of Dell Curry's mustache.

Georgetown vs. UMBC: I guarantee that the bigs at UMBC are saying the same things about Roy Hibbert as Geoff at the Wheelhouse does. Just like when Geoff says it, it won't matter a bit. Hoyas.

Oh yeah...special thanks to Blogger for all the technical assistance. I'll be back tonight with the South and the West.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Reunited...

Over the past few years I've made numerous references to in this space to my litter of illegitimate children. While some may think I'm just talking shit in a (poor) attempt at humor, its the actually the truth. During my earlier years, I was a proud resident of Raw Dog City (Greg's brother Drew, whom many of you know, is the current mayor of RDC.) and thus, sired a number of bastards throughout the southland. I was always careful to keep these kids at least a state away to avoid any messy attachments that often arise when children wish to "reconnect" with their birth parents while also sending enough money to their respective mothers to ensure I would be without the myriad difficulties that may arise should these children choose to search for me on their own. While I went to many lengths to avoid contact with my seeds, its not as if I didn't keep up with their lives from a distance (like any self respecting rolling stone would).

Alas, I have lost track of a few of my brood in recent times as I've become older and more jaded. So, it was with a joyous heart that I watched yesterday as I discovered the first of my children (Tayquan) had not only matriculated to a four year university but had also acquired a few of his proud father's traits. Really, there's nothing like seeing your child become their own person. A person of conviction, a person of principles, a person who hates the University of Tennessee...

Monday, March 03, 2008

Spring is in the air...

I had planned to put a post together about my impending visit to my former place of employ, Space Coast Stadium, to watch the St. Louis Cardinals take on your Washington Nationals (You're American, aren't you?) but then I received an email from Jerry berating me for being excited for what is nothing more than a well publicized scrimmage. And you know what, he's right...Spring Training, especially Spring Training at this stage of March, is nothing more than a bunch of still rounding into shape (see: Pedroia, Dustin), pampered athletes trying to not get injured while simultaneously working to impress the local stripper population with whom they share bodily fluids for the month's entirety.

There's virtually no chance I'll get to see Pujols or Glaus or anyone else of consequence on the Cardinals today and, as we've all discovered recently even Elijah Dukes hasn't worked himself into mid-season crazy just yet (Give it time kids, er, foster kids). So, I guess the best I can hope for is a John Goodman sighting, or maybe an on-field appearance by the recently retired Robert Montgomery Knight (I've seen both at this game within the past two years). Well, that and the chance to enjoy a few beers and some beautiful weather with my old man as we discuss what in god's name LaRussa is doing to this franchise as well as how long it will be until somebody puts a bounty out on Bryan Burwell's head. Even if Jerry doesn't approve, I'm still pretty excited at the prospect of sitting in a baseball stadium this afternoon. Finally...just because, well, Spring Football is getting awfully close...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Win and they're in?

Unlike many sports fans, I don't subscribe to the theory that the NCAA Tournament renders the college basketball season meaningless. For some juggernauts, the early season matchups are relatively worthless, but for the vast majority of teams, quality wins are needed no matter where or when they fall on the schedule.

The University of Florida has presented both sides of this case within the past two seasons. When the Gators went on a late season skid last year, there wasn't a high level of concern amongst Florida faithful. Sure, Gator fans were worried about righting the ship in time for another run at a National Title but they never questioned whether or not Florida would receive anything other than a #1 or 2 seed (to say nothing of the lack of attention that most paid to the out of conference schedule). This year, however, has seen Billy Donovan trot out a new team almost entirely, and that new team needed to stack up wins in the early season in order to be adequately prepared for the struggles that would undoubtedly come in conference play for a team that boasts 4 freshman and 2 sophomores in its top 7. Despite some unexpectedly heady play by freshman guards Nick Calathes and Jai Lucas early in the SEC season, Florida's youngsters have struggled to fight through the fatugue that rough and tumble conference play often brings and, as a result, the losses have stacked up in the last few weeks.

So what does all this mean? Well, to put it succintly, Florida needs another win (or two depending on who you ask) to ensure their inclusion in the NCAA Tournament. For a team this young, the tournament experience cannot be understated with regards to building towards future success and that's why today's game against SEC West leader Mississippi State may be the most important game of any of these young Gator's lives. According to me, if Florida captures a victory today, they're in the tourney. With that in mind, I'll be liveblogging the Florida-Mississippi State game in comments here this afternoon. If you're drunk, bored or absolutely hard up for some quasi-human interaction, join me. I'll be the one with his fingers crossed.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Third times a charm...

Once again, the eyes of the world, er, south have turned to Daytona for the annual running of the Daytona 500. And, once again despite the fact that I live and grew up a mere hour away, I could not give a flying fuck. Honestly, I've never been able to understand the fascination with any form of car racing, much less NASCAR. Its all so monotonous same and there are absolutely no athletes involved in this "sport". I mean, have you seen Tony Stewart lately? He looks like Carl from ATHF with a rug on his head. I remember flying back from San Diego this time last year and stopping to grab a beer during my layover in Atlanta. As I approached the nearest bar, there were people stacked three rows outside of the bar just standing and watching TV. I thought to myself, did the President get shot or something? (Not true, I thought to myself, "Fuck me, there's no way I'm getting a beer."). Shortly thereafter, I realized that the crowd was gathered to watch the late stages of the 500. That's how blissfully out of touch I am with NASCAR, I had no idea the supposed Super Bowl of Motor Sports was even on until I stumbled across this stunning array of slack jawed observers. Anyway, fuck NASCAR, fuck the Daytona 500 and while I'm at it, fuck Brad Daughtery. Even as a child I knew you were soft.

However, I wouldn't want you to leave these parts thinking I'm completely un-southern. Because, well, some shit did sink in over the years, and my youthful love of professional wrestling was certainly the first and most disturbing alarm bell that rang in my parents' brains. So, because I was told that good things come in threes once by a bum I handed two dollars to, here's some WWF goodness to chase down those shots of the Naitch.

Koko B. Ware was right, you see, love can feel like a piledriver. Hell, just ask those poor saps who had their marriage proposals shot down last night. (Happened to my Dad back in '69...My Mom can be a real bitch sometimes. True story). Preach on, Koko, preach on...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I can't help that I'm custom made...

I have absolutely no interest in the congressional hearings that were conducted earlier today on Capitol Hill. In fact, I care so little that I willingly chose to watch First Take on ESPN2 rather than be subjected to that pointless shitshow (Choosing to listen/watch to Skip Bayless over something else is the ultimate indictment in my eyes). Basically, short of Clemens pulling a Col. Jessup, there was no way that anything definitive was going to spring forth from today's proceedings. It's a waste of time and I'm pretty good at wasting time all by myself, thank you very much.

I don't believe Clemens and I doubt I ever will, but that doesn't make him any different than hundreds (yes, hundreds) of other baseball players who ingested illegal drugs in order to gain a competitive advantage. Sorry, I just can't get too excited or interested in this, no matter how long it drags on. Now, these Ric Flair videos by Poodleface, well, that's something I think we all can endorse. Democrats, Republicans, midgets, hookers, midget hookers.

I just blew your mind for a second there didn't I? My bad, just sit back and late Naitch soothe your frayed nerves...



(Extra special shout to Arn Anderson for his appearance in the beginning of this video, the greatest wrestler ever to look like your next door neighbor/mechanical engineer)

Monday, February 11, 2008

WOOOOOOO!!!

Most people probably aren't aware that I wouldn't be the man I am today if it wasn't for Ric Flair. When I was young, impressionable and alone on many Saturday mornings the only thing worth watching on TV was often NWA Wrestling on TBS. Growing up in the South, TBS was a ubiquitous cable television presence and NWA Wrestling was one of its highest rated programs. At least partially because, it's a really nice show to watch while you drink light beer before you switch to liquor for the NASCAR race/College Football game. Anywho, Ric Flair was undoubtedly the star of the early years of NWA Wrestling and, frankly, after listening to his delivery in this video, well, lets just say I'm not surprised.

If that weren't enough, the Nature Boy is also an unabashed Gator fan who was often on the sidelines during the Spurrier Era. So, imagine my complete an utter joy when I stumbled across this video on EDSBS. It's pretty much the most amazing thing I've seen since my last illegitimate child's birth. But I only saw that on a shitty camera phone so this probably rates higher. I'll just leave you with the video while I try to figure out how to get this thing on my iPod.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Ogling High School Seniors is a Billion dollar industry...

As most of you are aware, yesterday was National Signing Day for College Football. Its become fashionable for people to say that they find the obsession with the collegiate destinations of high school athletes seedy and despicable, and while that's true, if you truly give a damn about your college's football future then you'd better be paying attention to NSD. As Ron Zook was/is fond of saying, "Its more about the Jesse and Joe's than the X's and O's". While this is a convenient excuse for a coach my roomates and I once dubbed Towlie (I have no idea what's going on) it's also quite true. You can be Bill Walsh himself, but if you have a roster stocked with 2 & 3 star recruits it's highly unlikely you'll be participating in any BCS Bowls on a regular basis. So, with that said, I'm going to go through some of the more notable events from NSD in bullet point fashion.

- Urban Meyer is a recruiting machine. It's true. He recruits earlier and harder than nearly every coach in the nation. His Friday Night Lights event at Florida transformed the way major programs evaluate juniors early on and has spawned numerous imitations throughout the country. A result of this is that Florida has often wrapped up nearly all of its class prior to NSD. This is a far cry from the days of Zook where it seemed half the recruits on Florida's board were still up in the air when the sun rose on NSD. Furthermore, Meyer's staff has continually rolled up top 5 classes during his tenure in Gainesville. After consecutive top 2 finishes each of the last two years, Florida fell to 3 or 4 this year. That's not an indictment on the class as much as it is a commentary on how class size affects rankings. Florida only had 22 scholarships available this year, as opposed to schools like Alabama, who signed 35 total players yesterday. The Florida recruit I'm most excited about? Glad you asked, its 6'1, 315 lb DT Omar Hunter from Buford, GA. He's the #1 or 2 DT in the nation depending on who you ask and also happens to be the second blue chip D-Line prospect that Meyer has stolen from Notre Dame in as many years. For the full list of Florida signees, click here.

- Randy Shannon has laid claim on South Florida. Of the many gripes that Cane fans had about Larry Coker, chief among them was his inability to lock down the nation's most fertile recruiting territory, Dade and Broward Counties. That was one of the major reasons why Miami hired Shannon. He's from Miami, he's black and he's recruited the area for years. Shannon pulled in nearly every recruit he targeted in South Florida this year, including every single prospect off National Champion Miami Northwestern. Expect to see as many as 10 of his 2008 recruits on the field and contributing next season. One thing to keep in mind about this class though: Miami signed 7, yes 7 linebackers in this class. Recruiting is about talent, but its also about filling needs. Unless Shannon's cooking up a heretofore yet unseen defensive alignment for Miami, this could prove to be a problem in the future.

- Pete Carroll laughs at every other coach in the nation. He's the best at recruiting. It's that simple. People may see that USC isn't perched atop the rankings like each of the past five seasons and wonder why. Thats simple, USC only had 15 scholarships available. Yet, even with such a small number, Carroll and the Trojans still managed to grab enough talent to sneak into the top 10 by grabbing blue chippers from all over the map, including pulling the nation's #2 ranked corner, TJ Bryant, out of Tallahassee Lincoln which has always been an FSU pipeline.

- Get ready to hate Nick Saban even more than you thought was possible. Saban followed up his disappointing debut in Tuscaloosa with the best recruiting class that the Crimson Tide has seen in a decade. That's easier to do when you don't need sleep like the other mortals who lead SEC programs. The state of Alabama was loaded with high school talent this year, more than anytime in recent memory and Saban got nearly all of them to stay home (save for William Green) and commit to Bama, including everybody's #1 receiver Julio Jones. I wouldn't expect this to be a one time occurrence. Saban brought LSU back to prominence by recruiting the ever living shit out of the South and there's absolutely no reason to believe this won't happen at Bama.

- Tommy Bowden has discovered a magic recruiting potion. You know what its called? Christianity. Seriously, Clemson...fucking Clemson pulled in the nation's #2 recruiting class despite the fact that Bowden's teams are an inconsistent, underperforming mess nearly each year. You know how he's done this? By using the same strategy that George W. Bush used to get reelected 4 years ago. When in doubt, stress you strict adherence to and belief in the good book. With people seemingly more beholden to their love of Jeebus with each passing year (especially in the South), Bowden has used this formula to convince loads of parents that their children are better off under his watchful Christian eye than anywhere else. (Who cares if CJ Spiller has been criminally under utilized during his tenure in Clemson). This sort of thing isn't new to the Bowden family, just tweaked a little to fit the our times. If you think I'm fucking around here, just read the quotes from Tiger recruits about why they chose Clemson.

- Fat Phil is running out of time...I mean you can virtually hear the clock ticking. Tennessee was once the SEC recruiting juggernaut and that allowed Fulmer and his staff to survive through what was often average coaching and downright negligent player discipline issues. However, times have changed in the SEC. The arrival of Mark Richt in Athens signaled the end of the Vols' annual pilfering of the state of Georgia and things have only gotten worse since then. The SEC is busting with high level recruiters (Meyer, Miles, Saban, Richt and more) and Tennessee has not enjoyed a run of tremendous on field success lately. That, with a return to the long honored Tennessee tradition of off-season malfeasance (UT players were arrested on two separate occasions while hosting recruits this year) and finally, the loss of ace recruiter Trooper Taylor to Oklahoma State resulted in a truly awful class for the Vols. Another poor SEC season with a couple embarrassing losses like this past year might signal the end of Fulmer's run in Knoxville. (Knoxville area Krispy Kreme owners are reaching for Xanax as you read this)

- The SEC is better than every other conference because it recruits better than every other conference. Don't believe me? Just take a look at the various top ten recruiting lists from Rivals, Scout and ESPN. They all feature at least 4 SEC teams, and often times 3 of those are included in the top 5. Jesse's & Joe's...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Finally...Greg has returned to the Dean Dome!!

That's right, I'm back baby. I've thought about coming back on a couple of other occassions, but I relented because I felt like my last post should stay up for awhile as a testament to my unbelievable stupidity (Seriously, how could I have chosen Ohio State just a year after they were throttled by MY Florida Gators?). Actually, its because I've been somewhat busy and I no longer work in an office (read: I've got better things to do with free time than sit in front of a computer writing this drivel), so there's another excuse to put on file for my chronic absenteeism. Anyway, since today is National Signing Day (post coming tomorrow...I swear) and tonight brings us Duke-UNC, I figured there was no better time for me to jump headfirst back into the deep end of blogging pool.

Everybody who follows college basketball loves to watch UNC & Duke battle, even if its only to root against one of the traditionally excellent and annoying bluebloods. However, this game has always been a little more special to me than most fans. I was a diehard Duke fan growing up (blame Quin Snyder and later Bobby Hurley) and always looked forward to it as if it were a Final Four or NBA Playoff game. In fact, one of the worst sports-related memories of my childhood is missing the Jeff Capel game because my mother didn't want to wake her sick son to watch what my Dad informed her would "probably be a blowout". Even though Duke lost that night, finding out I had missed such a historic game was a tough pill to swallow for a kid who was so in love with college basketball as well as the Blue Devils.


Surprisingly, I do not hate the Tarheels (growing up in Florida will do that). I actually quite liked the program prior to the arrival of Roy "I could give a shit about North Carolina" Williams and even attended basketball camp there in 9th grade with our compatriot Gregory F. Halderbroogle.


And that's where this story takes a twist, while the media is trumpeting the return of Dick Vitale this evening, the real story is the return of Greg to the Dean Dome for this historic rivalry. Sure, Greg's a little older, a little slower, alot more of a drunk and has virtually no jumpshot left to speak of but his return is sure to bring out the Carolina great tonight. You know, guys like Henrik Rodl, Kevin Salvadori and Scott Cherry. Oh yeah, they'll all be there. With a cast like that, how could this night not be magical?


I'll be here all night live blogging in the comments and hoping for some postgame reports from the Treehouse via Mr. Halderbroogle. See you around 9.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Dumbass vs. Douchebag: Who Ya Got?

After months of exciting and often times unbelievable college football action, we'll finally reach the conclusion of the most talked about college football season of all time tonight in New Orleans. The night of the national championship game is a bittersweet time for football fans. It signals the end of the emotion, pageantry and drama of college football for nearly 3/4 of a year while also supplying fans with the penultimate event in the sport (most of the time). This evening has been one of tremendous excitement and emotion for me for each of the past two seasons. Just two years ago, I sat on my couch slack jawed as I watched one of the greatest contests in all my years of watching college football sway back and forth between Texas and USC. It was one of those rare games that you can't bear to take your eyes off of, so great was the level of play and magnitude of the moment in the Rose Bowl that evening.

As if that game wasn't enough, last year's game featured my alma mater taking on the already annointed best team in the nation, The Ohio State University. I'm sure you saw the game and I'm sure I don't have to tell you it didn't come within miles of the drama that Young, Leinart and Co. supplied us with the year before. However, it did end up going down, as I told my girlfriend midway thru the 3rd quarter, as one of the "greatest nights of my life". This was no exaggeration on my part. After living in Gainesville through the majority of the Zook Era (shudders), this trouncing of the Buckeyes was, at once, satisfying, envigorating and even a little surreal. The teams whom I root for have had a tremendous run of championship success over the past two years but none of those championships came close to supplying the feelings of satisfaction and contentment that last year's demolition of Ohio State did.

So, why am I mentioning all this? Well, its probably because I'm not nearly as excited about this year's championship matchup as either of the last two years' and, frankly, I don't think I'm alone here. While tonight's game doesn't have the same cache as either of the past two games it is still the appointed National Championship game and I'll still be watching, as I'm sure most of you will too. So where does that leave me? At prediction time. Here's how it breaks down in my mind:

LSU is the most talented team in the country. I've maintained that since the beginning of the year, but I have also maintained that they are among the dumbest and most undisciplined teams in the country as well. I blame much of this on a head coach who I see as neither very smart or an exceptional game planner. Les Miles has had a number of very questionable decisions go his way in big situations this year and its saved him from being skewered by national and local media. Well, tonight the bloom comes off of Les Miles' rose. Ohio State, while far less talented than LSU, will come into tonight ready to redeem themselves after a year's worth of doubt from all corners of the sports media world and they'll be sharp on both sides of the ball. I think we're in for a close game tonight. A close game that will swing towards OSU because LSU will have too many dumb penalties (delay of game, false starts, illegal substitutions) and a few too may turnovers. The SEC has known Les Miles is overrated and often times overmatched as a big time Head Coach and tonight the rest of the country will as well.


OSU 28, LSU 24.