October 30, 2007

It Has Arrived

You've been waiting months for this week to get here but it is finally here. You dream about it all year but it is still special when it gets here. That's right, we are talking about:
A) NBA opening night
B) Scott Boras admitting fault for texting Brian Cashman that A-rod would not be returning to the Yankees
C) Hyping the hype of Pats vs. Colts has finally begun
or D) Ryan Perriloux is in trouble again

The answer, of course, is A. That's right, the longest six season in professional sports begins tonight. The sport where even the players don't care about the regular season, where Stephen A. Smith and Charles Barkley are respected commentators, begins tonight. The sport that used to not be dominated by Kevin Durant begins tonight. GO HORNETS!

October 29, 2007

WOOOO!! (Or How The Red Sox Learned To Stop Losing And Love Moneyball)

We started our blog last night with: "Call me Bill Simmons." How right we were. Simmons begins his World Series recap:
"So if we win, who gets the MVP?" I asked my father Sunday night.
"I ... I don't know," he answered. "Ellsbury?"
Our conversation last night was similar, although ignoring Lowell altogether. How things have changed since October 2003. The second World Series win in the last four years was great for the one of us that is a Red Sox fan, and at least tolerable for the other. 2007 was nowhere near the emotional rollercoaster of 2004.

Simply put, the best baseball team in April was the best team in October.

More importantly for the Red Sox, the stage has been set for another title run in 2008 and 2009 (as Tim McCarver reminded us before the '07 squad had won a title). Terry Francona saw the big picture the entire season, shutting down Okajima and limiting Beckett when needed, keeping Gagne on the bench for most of the postseason, etc.

Just think how differently things could have been starting with A-rod going to the Yankees in 2004. The fight with Varitek in July, trading Nomar, keeping Manny, Dave Roberts, bloody sock, etc. A-rod was willing to take a pay cut to win a title. After four years of that he is looking for another record contract that may bankrupt whoever wants to have an MVP every few years and a chase at Bonds towards the end of the contract.
But that's neither here nor there. It has been a great year and the Red Sox are champs. Woo!

October 28, 2007

Live Blogging the World Series, Part III

8:07 PM PDT: Bobby Kielty has come off the bench and ensured that the Rockies' gaining of ground is short-lived. If we've said it once, we've said it a thousand times: when you think Red Sox, you start getting worried early about facing Bobby Kielty.

8:09 PM PDT: Infield hit for Ellsbury. Pedroia at the plate and the "this is meant to be a sweep" aura has engulfed all of Denver. You gotta feel a little bit bad for Denver fans. They were all excited when someone told them they had a baseball team, and that team is in the World Series. And the Broncos are looking like quite a disappointment.

8:10 PM PDT: The Fox announcers have just now reported and discussed that A-Rod is leaving, a full hour after we talked about here on 40AS. Ken Rosenthal said he had just talked to Scott Boras, but we believe he heard it here first.

8:12 PM PDT: Joe Buck: "John Henry is on his Blackberry and smiling. Is that a good sign?" Of WHAT?!?!

8:13 PM PDT: Tulo shows that the old adage is true that even if you're not hitting, you can always make a contribution with the leather. Great play by him, Matsui, and a scoop by Helton for a double play.

8:17 PM PDT: After a walk to Ortiz, the Rockies are changing pitchers. The good folks at Haley Barbour for Governor have just reminded Fox's Mississippi audience for the umpteenth time tonight that John Arthur Eaves is bad for Mississippi. For his part, Eaves' campaign appears to have spent all its money as the last ad we saw for that one was about 2 weeks ago. Hooray for Mississippi politics!

8:19 PM PDT: Manny is clearly trying to put this thing away with his first swing. Now he's gotten himself down 0-2. And now he's gone. Colorado has 6 outs to make up 3 runs, or else Rocktober is over.

8:24 PM PDT: Six outs left for the Rockies and the question has become: who's the series MVP to this point? Our guess is Ellsbury, came up huge in game three. Youklis didn't play really in 3 and 4, Beckett only pitched one game, Pedroia was only so-so for 2 and 4, Okajima was huge when he pitched but he's a reliever. Also, we see Gagne warming up just for the hell of it...good for him.

8:36 PM PDT: Atkins goes yard, ending Okajima for MVP and more importantly his night. 4-3 Red Sox, that was a pretty big homer for Kielty. The Rockies should be thrilled but in comes Papelbon....

8:45 PM PDT: Papelbon gets the second out. We've never met a man named Spilborghs we could trust. Former Tiger Hawpe up, and he flies out to current cereal brand Coco Crisp. On to the ninth, 4-3 Red Sox.

3:48 AM GMT: Top of the 9th, which could possibly be the last inning of baseball for 2007. Except for the Arizona Fall League.

3:51 AM GMT: First two Sox have gone down quietly. Is it weird that this is the first time possibly ever that a Boston team has visited Denver and Denver citzens have cared, but neither the Pats nor the Bruins were in town?

3:55 AM GMT: That's it for the top of the ninth inning. Three more outs from Papelbon and the Sox will be World Champs. Or, you know, the Rockies could score.

3:57 AM GMT: We're three outs away from a Red Sox World Series. Papelbon starts off strike one to Torrealba, then ties him up with strike two. Papelbon gets the ground out to second, there is one out.

4:01 AM GMT: You know what would be funny here? Eric Gagne! Given the choice of Gagne here for three outs and they give the Sox the 2007 AND 2008 World Series, I'd bet most Sox fans would decline. Papelbon ahead 0-2 and Jamie Carroll hits one to the wall. ONE MORE OUT!

4:06 AM GMT: Papelbon behind 2-1 to Manny Corpas. Will Corpas be Renteria tonight? It's 2-2........AND PAPELBON STRIKES HIM OUT...THE BOSTON RED SOX ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!

4:08 AM GMT: Folks (really just the two of us), it's been a blast. We'll be back to blog more later today, but for now there's sleep to be had.

Live Blogging the World Series, Part II

8:48 PM CDT: We just realized that in the last post we should have been writing "EDT" instead of "EST." Sorry--we know we don't "fall back" until next week. This time the one of us in Central Time is starting the post, so I'm switching. Deal with it.

8:49 PM CDT: With Mike Lowell on second, JD Drew grounds out. That's weird and unexpected.

8:51 PM CDT: Varitek with a big RBI grounder through the right side. The way Lester is going thus far, that's a huge run. Just heard from Tim McCarver: "What a slide by Lowell!" Wow, Tim. However: we do love the fact that the Fox national broadcast team is made up of such a couple of Cardinals homers. But we liked Joe Buck's dad more--growing up to the tune of Jack's "That's a winner!" after Ozzie's Cards would put one away is hard to beat.

8:53 PM CDT: The Red Sox offensive onslaught may be heating up--Lugo just got the 3rd hit of the inning. Lester just needs to not ground into a DP and Ellsbury will get a chance. Francona is having Lester bunt. Don't love that move, as bunting is a lot harder than people think and for an AL pitcher who never practices it it's nearly impossible. And...there's the inevitable strikeout. That's Cook's first of the night and thus first since at least August 10.

8:57 PM CDT: Jacoby Ellsbury, who could win WS MVP this year and ROY next year (weird!) has a chance to take a big step toward the first part of that equation and put this thing comfortably in Boston's control here. Deuces wild--2 balls, 2 strikes, 2 outs...he struck him out! Cook keeps it interesting.

9:02 PM CDT: Bottom five, big inning for Lester. This feels very similar to 2004. Is anybody else kind of disturbed by the Olympics-style intro music? Speaking of which, how did Saki get chosen to host an Olympics?

9:06 PM CDT: Aaron Cook with a hell of a play to get a bunt single. Could be big if Matsui makes it bigger, which he doesn't after a pop up. Tulo up, 2 down.

9:08 PM CDT: Lowell handles a hard hit ball for the third out. We're into the 6th, 2-0 Sox. Some NFL thoughts: can you think of a trade that's screwed both teams like Schaub to the Texans? What the Pats did today was shameful and classless (52-7 over Redskins), we hope they get condemned for it, karma has a way of working its way out in situations like this. Jags versus Saints next week could determine whether the Saints are a contender or not.

9:12 PM CDT: Top 6, and Cook makes a super play on a hard-hit ball up the middle by Pedroia. Cook appears to be a heck of an athlete.

9:13 PM CDT: The Southern Miss Golden Eagles closed the gap against UCF to 24-17, but UCF is insode the USM 5. There was a time we could say with a straight face that the Eagles were the best team in Mississippi. But now State seems quasi-legit.

9:16 PM CDT: Cook handles the Sox easily in 6th, which is huge. But even huger/more huge is this: SI reports that A-Rod is leaving the Yankees! Awesome! Now we just have to hope he doesn't play for the Cubs. That'd be horrible.

9:20 PM CDT: Holliday goes quietly to start the sixth. Very Manny like play for out number two as he saunters over to make an easy grab look tough. Lester gives up a walk and is done for the night. Nicely done Rockies fans giving Jon a nice applause on the way to the bench.

9:25 PM CDT: A-rod leaving is still kind of shocking. The Yankees got 4 good years from him, but the Red Sox have been to two World Series during that span. Our favorite potential locations for A-rod to go -- 3) Texas Rangers, 2) Seattle Mariners, and 1) Washington Nationals. Go Nats!

9:28 PM CDT: Delcarmen comes in and gets the strike out. Huge. There are nine outs for each squad left in a regular nine inning baseball game, just saying.

9:32 PM CDT: Mike Lowell chases Aaron Cook with a classic Coors Field blast that seemed like it was travelling through very thin mountain air. Wait...
The Rockies are still within striking distance, but with Former Good Pitcher Eric Gagne and Ridiculous Closer Man Jonathan Papelbon coming up the game is beginning to take on an air of inevitability.

9:38 PM CDT: Remember earlier when we said David Ortiz has ungodly bat speed? When JD drew strikes out by getting fooled on a curveball, like he just did, his bat speed is embarrassingly slow.

9:39 PM CDT: "This World Series Legend is brought to you by I am Legend starring Will Smith." Nice, Fox. Nice, Major League Baseball. The 7th inning stretch has arrived, and of course we need to not go to commercial so we can hear God Bless America. Because Take Me Out to the Ballgame does not show enough overt and conspicuous patriotism. However, it is hilarious when the Rockies fans cheer for "from the mountains..."

9:46 PM CDT: Here we go, nine outs left, Delcarmen facing Brad Hawpe from LSU.

9:49 PM CDT: Abram says "Former tiger Brad Hawpe has been not great in the WS" moments before former Tiger Brad Hawpe skies a home run to right. 3-1 Red Sox with Delcarmen struggling.

9:53 PM CDT: The Rockies fans waive their towels hypnotically as Timlin comes into the game, man on first, one out.

9:58 PM CDT: Timlin gets Matsui swinging, two outs. If you just heard a collective scream it was Red Sox Nation getting a look at Eric Gagne warming up in the bullpen.

10:02 PM CDT: Holliday is left in the on deck circle as Timlin strikes out Tulo. Most importantly, no Gagne yet. We go to the top of the eighth, 3-1 Bo Sox.

Live Blogging the World Series

Call me Bill Simmons. Up 3-0, we're live blogging the World Series. Thanks to FOX, we're stuck watching The Bourne Supremacy for a half hour until the game starts (much better than FOX's crappy pregame). We're not doing this blog for you, we're doing it for us. This is how our night goes:

8:15 PM EST: Some Onion links for your reading in the next fifteen minutes:
Red Sox Attempt To Break Fabled 'Curse Of Relief Pitcher Curtis Leskanic'
and World Series Flyover Turns Out To Be Full-Scale Airstrike
It's time to reverse the curse, go Sox!

8:20 PM EST: Jon Lester vs. Aaron Cook getting his first start since 10 Aug. So far no references to free tacos, but we'll keep you posted.

8:25 PM EST: Fred Willard to announce the Red Sox lineup tonight. We saw him on the Craig Ferguson Show just before the 2006 Rose Bowl, this has to be a good sign.

8:30 PM EST: And we're off...Ellsbury doubles off the second pick down the line to left. He might win rookie of the year next year.

8:35 PM EST: Ortiz singles to right, scoring Ellsbury and then Ramirez grounds into the 5-4-3 double play. After a full day of watching NFL on FOX today, we're kind of sick of the Taco Bell with the nachos bell grande and the car commercial where the girl runs into the car (or cops don't see the bank robbers). That's one time for each.

8:42 PM EST: Lester goes 1,2,3. For posterity sake we'd like to note that Texas is #15 in the newly released BCS and the Saints had a huge win over the lifeless 49ers to go to 3-4.

8:50 PM EST: Lowell grounds out followed by a JD Drew pop up to 2B, shocking for such a clutch hitter. Tek grounds out and we go to the bottom of the second. Interesting statistic, only the 2004 Red Sox have come back from a 3-0 deficit in postseason real sport history (hockey doesn't count).

8:57 PM EST: Todd Helton leads off with a double in the bottom of the second. Abram is happy to see this, as he has always admired Helton. Jeff: not so much.

9:02 PM EST: Former LSU Tiger Brad Hawpe walks following a couple of outs in a row; runners at the corners, but with 2 outs it's an ok situation for the Sox.

9:05 PM EST: In a microcosm of Helton's career, the Rockies waste his big hit as Torrealba grounds out to former Jackson General Julio Lugo.

9:06 PM EST: Rather than watch the Virgicolomentoflagantonio commercial again, here's a quick tour around the internet and television:

  • On ESPN.com, you can watch Trinity College's multi-lateral play to beat the Millsaps Majors. One of us has had many friends play for Millspaps over the years, and they always wanted on ESPN--just not like this. And, a kid who grew up close friends with jaybro was on the play-by-play on this clip, and if we may say so, did a darn fine job.
  • ESPN Classic is showing Major League
  • On ESPN, Southern Miss is losing 14-10 to UCF
  • The Bourne Supremacy is on NBC
  • Red Sox-Rockies is still on FOX, Bottom 3, still 1-0 Boston

9:16 PM EST: Cancer survivors thrown out by Rockies fielders: 1. Cancer survivors thrown out by Red Sox fielders: 0. Bastards.

9:20 PM EST: "People do crazy things in ads, like eat at Arby's." If that doesn't sum up watching an entire World Series, commercials included, nothing does. Meanwhile, Manny plays left field like the center fielder on our IM softball team junior year of college. Matsui on 2nd, one out for Lester.

9:25 PM EST: Jon Lester doesn't fear Matt Holliday. Jon Lester strikes out Tulo and Holliday to end the 3rd. To the top of the fourth, pedROYa, Papi, Manny due up.

9:29 PM EST: Papi is up with one out. The dude just looks like he is ALWAYS about to absolutely hammer the ball. Although he hasn't swung the bat yet and is now down 0-2. Also, it seems as though Ortiz's swing would not work for anyone else in the world. He has this hitch at the beginning when he loads up so much it's unreal, but his ungodly bat speed makes up for it. But this time the ungodly bat speed just gets him an ungodly pop up to short.

9:33 PM EST: Tim McCarver has just finished discussing whether the '08 or '09 Sox will be better than '04 or '07. The number of things wrong with this is beyond counting, but the main ones are: 1. Who cares? 2. How can you have any clue and why is it relevant? 3. It's a huge jinx to anoint this team as side-by-side with '04 before this game is over.

9:34 PM EST: Manny being Manny and lining out to left. A pitcher's duel for now--until the Sox explode in a couple of innings, as has been their custom.

9:40 PM EST: For your enjoyment: Manny Ramirez Escapes Murder Charges with “Manny Being Manny” Defense...Meanwhile, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner allegedly has won the Argentinian presidency, as if YOU would care. Terry Francona says Jon Lester is on a pitch count of around 180, and Julio Lou-O makes a great grab for out number two. Scary thought: Eric Gagne is the Red Sox most rested reliever.

9:42 PM EST: A-rod wins the Hank Aaron Award, but for some reason does not show up to receive it...what gives?

9:45 PM EST: Lester gets through the fourth. Top of the fifth, new post. Four down, five to play.

Some Highlights of a Great Day

We'll get to the football in a minute, but first the baseball:

  • 3-0. A few things come with being only one win away from a World Series title...
  • The Red Sox are 27 outs away from their second World Series in four years. There's hope for us all.
  • Jbrater said he'd eat mustard if Dice-K got a hit, moments before the rookie's RBI single, and he did.
  • Explaining his dislike for the Red Sox, the bartender at dinner last night said a guy he had never seen before at the bar came in with Red Sox gear on and started cheering for Julio Lou-o. From now until the end of time Julio Lugo will be known as Lou-o.
  • Think you're sick of the Red Sox now? Josh Beckett-27, Dice-k-27, Papelbon-27, Jon Lester-23, Dustin Pedroia-24, Kevin Youklis-28, Jacoby Ellsbury-24. These aren't your grandfather's Red Sox, these are your great grandfather's Red Sox.
  • You probably haven't heard this yet but tonight's starting pitcher for the Sox (Jon Lester) defeated cancer over the last year. We're not sure if FOX will pick up on this potential storyline, but it would be a shame if they don't.
  • The Red Sox bullpen (our MVP this series) will be trying out for America's Next Great Band or some crap like that...we get it, FOX.
  • The best part about tonight other than potentially winning the World Series: we get to remind everybody that only one team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit...the 2004 Red Sox.
  • Go Sox!

Now on to football:

  • We officially have no idea about this season. Texas won, lots of other teams lost (about half the teams that played this week). It was by no means pretty, but it gets Texas one win closer to the BCS discussion which we assume will start now.
  • Simply put, this Texas team is not all that good this season. Blame Greg Davis or Mack Brown or Benji Orlansky all you want, but when it comes down to it the players on the field are either too green or not good enough to make plays that we are accustomed to Texas teams making. That's ok. Maybe Texas will win out, maybe they'll lose out. Either way we won't be all that shocked (actually, we'll kinda be shocked by either outcome).
  • Jamaal Charles is special. We've been saying it all year. He's probably not being used to the best of his abilities, and the fumbling is crippling at time. But let's never forget this performance. We're hoping this gives him a boost of confidence and leads to big things the rest of the season and (more importantly) next season.
  • Things could be worse, we could be waking up as Aggies this morning like Martellus Bennett has every morning. Tellus tells us that he's not impressed by Kansas, adding "I promise you when we meet them in the Big 12 championship, we're going to win the game." Riiiiiiiiight. Every week brings a great Aggy quote.
  • Tulane's Matt Forte: 44 carries, 278 yards, 2 tds in another devastating loss for the Green Wave. For the season Forte has 1539 yards with a 6.6 YPC and is leading the nation in rushing by 300 yards.
  • BC finishes with Florida St, at Maryland, at Clemson, Miami PLUS ACC championship game. By the way, BC is #1 in the computers, so the only way they don't make the championship is because pollsters are dumb.
  • Texas caught a break catching Nebraska, KSU, and Iowa St this year. The Horns could have gone 0 for the North against CU, KU, and Mizzou.
  • Finally, this guy is going to be a Horn next year...should be fun.

October 24, 2007

On Bandwagons and Baseball

The World Series starts tonight in case you hadn't notice. We'll get to that in a second, but first we wanted to talk about the bandwagon fans popping up this time of year. One of us lives in DC and it has been beyond rampant. What we've got is a bunch of shameless, fair-weather, Colorado Rockies bandwagoners. Do you know how many people wearing Rockies caps we saw during the baseball regular season? Can't remember a single one. For fairness sake, let's say we saw one and forgot about it. This week, we've seen at least 3 or 4 Rockies fans walking around. Can you imagine if you saw a 300% or 400% increase in Red Sox fans walking around? There probably wouldn't be any hatless people (random Simpsons reference: "subject is hatless, repeat, hatless") out there. We don't know any Rockies fans, but we assume that you're better than this.

Now on to baseball. You undoubtedly noticed that Benji Orlansky called out Red Sox fans last week for being identical to the hated Yankees. That's cool. Actually, that's really cool. You know why? Because we aren't talking about the Sox as chokers, or cursed, or doomed to devastating Bartman-like failures. Instead, the Red Sox are good and that's what goes for smack talk these days. 16-3 in the last 19 postseason elimination games, having come back from a 3-1 deficit outscoring the Indians roughly 500-5 over the course of the last three games.

All thanks to Dave Roberts. 2004 ALCS Game Four, steals second, Sox win series, wins World Series, goes to World Series again three years later. Anyhow, the Sox have been to two World Series in the last four years, have a strong pitching staff, a dominant closer, good farm system, and one of the best managers in the game, all for $40 million less than the Yankees.

In other words, go Sox!

October 23, 2007

Keith Brooking -- Hero

See below as LB Keith Brooking makes a potentially season saving play for the Saints in the Saints 22-16 win over the Falcons. Only problem: Brooking (#56) plays for the Falcons. Enjoy.

Top Ten -- This Week

    We don't know what to say except that by the time this football season is over, we expect that every college fan that has ever had the gall to believe that he or she knows something about this game will be sitting indian style in the corner, head in hands, crying, with the 2006 Rose Bowl blaring on DVD behind them as a reminder of a time when there was some semblance of order and predictability in the universe.

  1. Ohio State -- Just keep chugging along.

  2. LSU -- Meet Les Miles, idiot-savant extraordinaire. Throw deep with 8 seconds left down 1 in field goal range? Sounds kind of like Nebraska 2002. Say what you will about Les, but the man has some serious testicular fortitude, and all's well that ends well, so we're happy. Bama may be the last serious challenge before the SEC Championship for the Tigahs. Mark May says LSU is battle tested and has gone on the road and learned how to win. LSU's road wins this season? Tulane and Mississippi State. Nice research, Mark.

  3. Boston College -- They don't move up by not playing. Tough schedule the rest of the way, but if they win out we'll support them for the championship game. Ohio State vs. BC is the anti-2005 Rose Bowl

  4. Kansas -- We smiled when Colorado had to convert a 4th and 18 on the final drive. Jaybro smiled when he realized that VY does not play for Colorado, so the 2004 nightmares were not to be rehashed. Kansas probably doesn't win out, but the thought of trying to fit Mark Mangino into the Superdome makes us giggle.

  5. USF -- Tough environment, at night, national television, South Florida doesn't lose a lot of points in our book for losing that one. Just tone down the Hook 'em signs. We're flattered but you're taking it too far. The simple fact of the matter, however, is that South Florida now has no shot at being in the Dome on Jan. 7 without tickets.

  6. Oregon -- This is a good football team, and those white unis they sported this week were the most inoffensive we've seen the Ducks wear in...well, ever. This weekend's tilt with Southern Cal will make or break the season--a win will put Oregon alongside LSU and OU as legitimate one-loss championship contenders.

  7. Oklahoma -- While ou decidedly sucks, they keep finding ways to win. This seems like a team that's close to slipping up again, especially after a very uninspiring ballgame against lowly Iowa State. Yes, the Cyclones are the Iowa State Champions--but the win over Iowa is their only one of the year. Wait a minute...ISU lost to Northern Iowa. The Panthers are an undefeated 7-0, so we suppose they are the best team in the state. But we digress. The sooners play the aggies in the UT Inferiority Complex Bowl on Nov 3 after an off date this weekend, and if Texas is to have any shot at the Big XII South we need the ags to win. If a&m wins this one and Texas and ou both then win out, you'll have a 3-way tie at the top of the division between them. With ou beating Texas, a&m beating ou, and Texas beating a&m the head-to-head would be a tie, so they'd go to the second tiebreaker: overall records. That would leave ou and Texas, and then ou would win because of the game in Dallas. So really, we need aggy to beat ou AND for ou to lose another one. And the Longhorns need to win out. Damn.

  8. Mizzou --We still have trouble believing that the KU-Mizzou game is going to be vital in determining the Big XII North champion in football, but here we are. After destroying Tech, the Tigers' next 4 games are Iowa State, Colorado, a&m, and K-State--all winnable games. If Kansas can come through its next 4 with 2 losses or fewer, then the Nov. 24 game will almost certainly determine who represents the North in the Alamodome on Dec. 1.

  9. Arizona State--Pay attention to us! We're Arizona State! We matter! The Sun Devils are 7-0 and lead the Pac-10 along with UCLA at 4-0 in the conference. How good are they really? We'll find out over the next 2 weeks. If they can hand Cal their 3rd straight loss (playing in Tempe, there's a very good chance) then the Nov. 3 game against Oregon will be Huge with a capital H.

  10. USC -- The smarmy and self-satisfied Pete Carroll is fond of saying that his team never looks at the rankings, they just play and let the rankings take care of themselves. But we've got a feeling that the Trojans are celebrating today as they make their return to the coveted 40AS Top Ten. You're welcome, Pete.

October 21, 2007

Karma Makes A Komeback

What a great weekend for life...let's recap:
  • Red Sox have a Game Seven tonight, we'll give up a new episode of The Simpsons any day for this
  • LSU wins as Inspector Clouseau strikes gold again as time runs out
  • Texas wins, enough said
  • Tulane wins behind 330+ rushing yards by Matt Forte
  • The Saints win, if only that whole Panthers loss hadn't happened...
  • One of us freaking nailed the LSAT
  • One of us has a girlfriend (note: same one as above)
  • 79 degrees and sunny for one of us
  • Finally, as noted in the comments for the post below, Benji Orlansky has made the leap into blogging. You can find him at http://www.indieleague.blogspot.com/. Jaybro, where y'at?

October 20, 2007

It Begins...

6-2, 4 games left. The Horns could go 4-0, ending 10-2 and having a very good chance at redeeming this season in a BCS bowl. Texas could also do a considerable degree worse, marking the 2007 campaign as one of Mack Brown's worst campaigns. All Aggy jokes aside, there are no cupcakes left on the schedule this season.

Reality is that Texas plays a four game schedule that begins next Saturday against Nebraska. Meanwhile, Iowa State(!) almost beats Oklahoma, Vandy exposed South Carolina, and A&M is kicking the crap out of Nebraska. Our question concerning the last one is: at what point is it ever a good idea to give your QB 30+ carries in a game. Poor Stephen McGee.

But we digress. After a dominating 31-10 victory over Baylor we will finally learn what this Texas team is made of.

If Doing Irish Jigs In Your Underwear Is Wrong, We don't Want To Be Right

If the whole baseball thing doesn't work out at least Papelbon can fall back on his dancing career.

October 17, 2007

Week This Top Ten

Yes, we're too lazy to figure out what week this is. Leave us alone.

1) Ohio State--The Buckeyes are currently the consensus number one, mostly because they're the only big name program that's still undefeated. Sorry, Boston College; your "big name" graduated 20-something years ago. Who will provide the "shocking" upset of this top-ranked team? And will it still shock anyone?

2) South Florida--We would like to agree with our fellow college football elitists and say that the Bulls aren't legit enough to be in the Top Two, and thus in the national championship if the season ended today. But here's the issue: the other undefeated choice at the top is BC, and USF actually has a better resume in terms of whom they've beaten than the Eagles do. So here we are.

3) Boston College--An unranked team at the beginning of the year, BC is suddenly in the national title hunt. And we say, good for them! It's fun when Boston College is the best Catholic school football team in America. Eagles QB Matt Ryan is a prototypical passer who is fun to watch. Now, if only BC fans can pay attention to football instead of hockey for a few more weeks...

4) LSU--Are we being homers and sooner haters by putting the Tigers ahead of ou? Maybe. But in all reality, a loss on the road in 3 overtimes against a ranked in-conference opponent whom you largely outplayed is better than a lackluster loss to an unranked team that has shown no other signs of having a good season. The only reason anyone has ou ranked fourth is that they happened to play Colorado before LSU played Kentucky.

5) Oklahoma--We hate these guys. If Sam Bradford wins the Heisman...whatever. The Heisman is bs anyway. There's only one guy who's having a season worthy of it this year, and he won't win it because he plays for Michigan and no one can get past their first 2 weeks. Though it could happen if the Wolverines beat Ohio State.

6) Arizona State--Why should the fact that ASU wasn't ranked in the preseason keep them out of the Top Ten? It's crazy talk, is what it is. These guys are playing great ball and are now the Pac-10's only undefeated team after Cal's debacle against Oregon State. The Sun Devils are one of the 3 teams left who may very well beat USC. We are enjoying that part of the season. If only Arizona could have made it happen...

7) South Carolina--The Head ball Coach has the Gamecocks playing really well right now, and a win over his alma mater in the final conference game on Nov. 10 could put The Other USC in its first SEC Championship Game. But they'll have to get through Tennessee and Arkansas first.

8) Kentucky--The Wildcats fans were a bit distracted leading up to last week's game by the basketball team's Midnight Madness and the beginning of the Billy Gillespie Era in Lexington, but the football team stole hoops' thunder with probably the biggest win in school history.

9) Oregon--Except for a tough loss to Cal, the Ducks Machine continues to roll. This is a great football team, and this Pac-10 race is (surprisingly to us) shaping up to be one of the most entertaining in the country. ASU, Oregon, Cal, and Southern Cal are all in the hunt and it's unlikely that any of them will run away with it until the very end. Though "unlikely" this season is kind of a meaningless word. (As a side note, it's worth mentioning that as Oregon has turned out to be a very, very tough team this season, Michigan's loss to them isn't all that bad. Yes, they got destroyed in Ann Arbor which is never acceptable, but at least that loss wasn't a true abomination like the App State one was. If Michigan continues to win and wins the Big 10, will Carr still lose his job?)

10) Kansas--That's right, the Kansas Jayhawks. To paraphrase BON from earlier this week, KU has not exactly played a killer schedule to this point. But they won in Manhattan against a hot K-State team, and they have absolutely destroyed the patsies they've seen. And that's what good teams do. KU is undefeated, bowl eligible, and suddenly a threat to win the Big XII North.

October 15, 2007

Why We Blog

Conversation between 11:10 and 11:30 EST last night concerning the Saints 28-17 win, highlighted by a Matt Hasselback interception by Josh Bullocks.

Jeff: they couldn't just blow them out they couldn't go up 35-10 and let me go to sleep
not that I would have but still
I like Lance Moore
you may have made a mistake by being online but not being there because you're going to get stream of consciousness here
couldn't have made this easy
grounding doesn't matter
Abram: yeah
Jeff: go away
you're bad luck
Abram: you started talking to me homey
Jeff: shhh shhh shhh
Abram: lalalalalalala
Jeff: don't respond sweety
kinda a good penalty
Abram: bla bla bla bla bla
talky talky talky
Jeff: I'm guessing 6 plays
I looked at the season
11 drives of 10 plays or more
Abram: how optimistic
Jeff: 3 tds
5 scores overall
Saints fan
you can't see but I'm pointing at myself
I'm going to be devastated if we lose
I'm reading "don't kill yoursef books"
roman harper leading the whodats in sacks
Abram: he's playing great don't worry
Jeff: from....?
Abram: bama
Jeff: nice
FYI that's 5
Scott Shanle, nicely done sir
Abram: they won't score here
Jeff: 6!
"I'm guessing 6 plays"
Abram: you called something somewhat different
Jeff: am I God?
read the transcript
we're blogging about this one
Abram: if you were a deity, you'd think you'd be able to materialize for yourself a date
Jeff: yea, working on that
Abram: keep me posted on progress
second half has been much less enjoyable than first half
Jeff: not outta the woods here
Abram: effing seneca wallace
good coverage there, had to be a perfect throw and was
Jeff: like that play
Abram: yeah
Jeff: that could do it

October 14, 2007

Horns Beat Best 1-6 Team in NCAA

With only one more win, Texas will be bowl eligible. It's a good day to be a Horns fan, albeit one with significantly diminished expectations. We're somewhat (read: very) disappointed in LSU's loss (one of us probably would use a stronger word than "disappointed" there), but pretty happy with the rest of the college football weekend.

"Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

If there's anything positive for Tiger fans it's that a one-loss LSU team is very likely to still be in the national championship game. The big fear right now has to be: would anybody watch a Boston College vs. South Florida championship game (as opposed to Ohio State vs. South Florida which could get huge David vs. Goliath ratings)? It might not even sell out.

As for Texas, there are no complaints. Colt McCoy was fantastic, Jamaal Charles begins the painful recovery from OU weekend by running hard in limited carries. Moreover, we got at least a small glimpse of a potentially successful post-Limas Longhorns passing game. The defense played well, although we figure it had as much to do with Iowa State being offensively challenged.

We probably won't learn too much about the Horns next week against Baylor, but at 6-2 we can begin to start about a BCS bid. We'll enjoy this break from competitive football before Texas hits the critical 3 game stretch (Nebraska, @ Okie State, @ Aggy) that will determine the success or failure of this season.

Finally this week we had this quote from A&M fat man Jorvorskie Lane:

"I liked it," he said. "You come to somebody's house, and they chant bad things about me. I must be doing something good on the football field."

Lane was referring, of course, to his guarantee of victory over Texas Tech. Lane carried the rock 13 times for 48 yards during A&M's 35-7 loss to Tech. Aggy this season seems to be one laugh after another.

October 10, 2007

Links (and other things) That Make Us Happy

We didn't start this blog to be depressed. We started it because we thought people wanted us to write down our conversations so they could read the general gist of them. 23,595 blog hits later (of which we assume a couple hundred are not just us and Brater), we're still ticking because our conversations make us happy.

So, in that vein, we won't mention that Limas is done for the year (along with David Thomas, Jake Delhomme, Deuce, Matt Leinart, and former Horn basketball "star" Mike Williams, to name just a few). We won't dwell on the fact that Texas is 0-4 in its last four conference games, or that the first episode of The Office wasn't all that funny. Finally, we won't dwell on the fact that the Saints had a 24 play, 90 yard drive that took up 10 minutes, which ended in a kicker brought in to replace an aging, reliable, well-liked older kicker (Morten Anderson anybody?) getting his 20-yard FG attempt blocked (although we aren't convinced the kick would have been good had he kicked it higher than 6 feet). Instead, here are a few things that are keeping us going (see if you can guess the one that isn't true!):

  • Stanford over USC (including a picture from the Rose Bowl)
  • Our favorite AL team (Bo Sox) is in the ALCS
  • The Yankees are not
  • Mangino: Cupcakes served their purpose
  • Kevin Durant for Rookie of the Year begins soon
  • Hockey's back!
  • Not only is hockey back but the Capitals are 3-0 for the first time in 5 years
  • VY is 3-1 and we get the feeling that people are starting to learn what we've known all along: VY just wins football games
  • Work's going great, thanks for asking
  • One of us just got engaged! (HINT: this is the one that isn't true!)
  • We're one day closer to the 2008 football season...the Saints are going to win the Super Bowl and Texas is going to kick the crap outta OU on its way to a title...We can't wait!

October 9, 2007

Top Ten -- Week Six

Sorry for the enormous amount of time in which we have been lackluster in posting. We'll try to do better.

Here is our Top Ten for this week. Much hand-wringing over the near-miss (which, honestly, was much more than we expected) against OU can be expected shortly. Also: how 'bout that Stanford Red! You will notice that, unlike the AP and coaches' polls, SC is not in the Top Ten in the Meaningless Rankings of 40AS because...they lost at home to Stanford!
  1. LSU -- Is there any reason to explain this? Yes, they were largely outplayed by Florida, but the points on the board at the end is all that counts.
  2. Ohio State -- A seemingly very good team in an obviously very bad conference. It's hard to tell a difference between the Buckeyes and the California Golden Bears, but OSU certainly has the best chance of finishing unbeaten because...who's going to beat them?
  3. Cal -- Played it safe this week--didn't play at all. That seems to be the only smart thing for a Top Ten team to do these days.

  4. South Florida-- Everyone says, "not South Florida! They're not a legitimate Top Ten team!" Well guess what! They're undefeated, and they play in the Big East. That's not the best conference in the country by a long shot, but it is better than the ACC. Which is why USF is ranked higher than...

  5. Boston College -- A good win against an underrated Michigan State team. Once again, they aren't going to blow good teams out of the water, but they might win 10-12 games this year.

  6. Florida -- Two losses? Yes. Still the only team that seems to be a real threat to beat LSU? You bet.
  7. Oklahoma -- We should have beaten these rednecks. Um...that is, the Sooners are a pretty good football team.

  8. South Panola High School -- The Tigers are our favorite high school team in Batesville, Mississippi. It's been over 3 years since they lost a game. We'd probably take them over the Horns right now.

  9. Oregon -- The Ducks have lost only to Cal in a great game, albeit in Autzen. Southern Cal had better watch out, or it could be headed for another conference loss before it even plays UCLA. The Bruins aren't that good, but they weren't last year either. Oh, and neither is Stanford.

  10. South Carolina -- The Head Ball Coach has his team looking like a threat to the Gators, and if they can beat UF they will finally break the glass ceiling that has so far kept the Gamecocks, along with Vandy and Kentucky, from showing up in the SEC Championship Game.

October 4, 2007

Cry kid, cry!

Two days, two straight wins on the line. It's 4:41 PM CST and OU still sucks.

The Cuyahoga River is on Fire! (Again)

This is Post #2 from contributor JBrater.

We should've gotten the live chicken

Before giving the 40 acres a brief respite from College Football, I'd like to give a quick shout out to former Wolverine Stevie Breaston, who ripped off a 73-yard punt return TD for the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Texas fans may remember Stevie from a recent New Year's Day, when he did his best "Vince Young in the 2005 Rose Bowl" impression in the... 2005 Rose Bowl. Alas for me but thankfully for y'all, it was not enough. Still, Michigan fans were not surprised to see Stevie hit pay dirt for the following reasons:

We miss you already, steven.

Anyway, to baseball. On Thursday evening, the Cleveland Indians will return to the playoffs, a notion that would have seemed completely ridiculous 30 years ago but not 10 years ago but then ridiculous again 5 years ago. That fact brings up several things I find worth mentioning. In no particular order:

1) The State of Ohio is Kicking the State of Michigan's Ass. In Everything.

There, I said it. Are you happy now?
No? Ok, I'll go on.

When the sweatervest took over as head football coach for the Ohio State Buckeyes and quasi-declared victory over Michigan, nobody took him that seriously. We're listening now. Since then, Ohio State has gone 5-1 against Michigan, as Lloyd (or, as the buckeye fans - or at least, the few buckeye fans who literate - call him, "LLLLL-yod,") is now turning into John Cooper against Tressel. (Uh, I mean,"Tresse-L?" Damn, we haven't even gotten enough wins to mock him by spelling his name improperly.) It looks unlikely that trend will end this year. But hey, a girl can hope. And a fella can, um, buy Depends? (warning: video is rated R).

Additionally, the Cleveland LeBrons officially ended Deeeeetroit Basketball's reign of terror in the the NBA Eastern Finals last season in a particularly excruciating manner. And now the Indians take the AL Central away from the motor city kitties, despite a herculean effort from The Big Tilde. I'm not sure what next season will hold, but the makings of a very strong Indians-Tigers rivalry are definitely there. Unfortunately, the tribe has landed the first punch. Ohio's recent dominance is a fact that ohioians... i mean... ohioites... i mean... ohians? ohioans? Eh, let's just go with "mongrel idiots"... something that those mongrel idiots are all too happy to remind us about. At least the Red Wings are dominating the Blue Jackets.

2) Chief Wahoo is Unbelievably Racist, and Yet...

he continues to be the Indians' (also racist) mascot. As far as the whole "Native Americans as mascots" debate is concerned, count me firmly on the pc side. I was watching a Michigan-Illinois basketball game last year, in what happened to be the Illini's home finale. According to the new NCAA rules, Illinois was required to retire their mascot, Chief Illiniwek, which is roughly translated as "chief white frat boy wearing a headdress and doing a fake tribal dance." The camera kept cutting away to weeping illinois fans watching Illiniwek's retirement dance. This was meant, I suppose, to illicit sympathy from the casual fan at the plight of the poor, victimized Illinois fans. Watching this made me livid. What right did these people have to mourn the fact that they were no longer allowed to cheapen and abuse someone's culture? Should we also feel sorry for a skinhead with hypertrichosis? General rule: if your country's founders murder millions of people, your school dresses someone up like one of said people to compete against teams named lions, badgers, and wildcats, and someone asks you to stop using that mascot, you do it. And you don't cry about it. Do you think these same people were so devastated when they read about the Trail of Tears in school? I doubt it.

Having said that, you can at least make an argument that using the names of tribes for school nicknames is, as opposed to generally offensive names for Native Americans, comparatively benign, particularly if local tribe representatives are ok with it. (I, for one, do not even think this is acceptable. If 95% of the Jewish community in Massachusetts with the last name "Cohen" thought it was ok to name their team the "Boston Cohens," I would still be against it.) Whether or not using a tribal name is ok, however, I think we can all agree that using the term "Indians" and a caricature that blatantly derides the ethnic features of Native Americans is a lot worse. I mean, look at this thing:

How is this still allowed? I just don't understand. Living in D.C., I often say the same thing about the "Redskins," (which, in case you were wondering, does not refer to the potatoes) and am frequently shouted down by local fans. These are just a couple of examples. The whole thing makes me sick. It's disgusting.

3) Major League is Now the Quintessential Baseball Movie.

When did this happen? Has anybody noticed that this film has been steadily gaining street cred since about 2000? I mean, it was always a classic comedy. Hilarious from the get-go. But lately, it seems that it has gained acknowledgement as a baseball movie qua baseball movie, and not just a dumb comedy. On the [Hot Shots - Major League - The Natural] continuum, the movie has moved to the right. I think this has happened for two reasons: First, Charlie Sheen now has a semi-legitimate career as an actor, retroactively rendering his past work less manifestly ridiculous. The same is true, to a lesser extent, of Dennis Haysbert. (Pedro Cerrano. Hat. For bat. Keep bat warm. Gracias.) Second, the recent rash of absolutely ridiculous and horrible mock sports movies (I mean, Balls of Glory? They're not even trying anymore) has made Major League look tame by comparison. And good. Kind of how W has made Reagan look like FDR. You could even argue that Major League is now "the" sports movie. I, for one, am darn happy about this. I've always loved Major League, and the more they show it on TBS and SPIKE, the better. Major League II and III? Well, they still suck. I guess II is ok. At least there's the scene with Omar Epps and Jesse "the Governor" Ventura starring in "White Lightning, Black Thunder" at the beginning. One final point on this: Is there any better vocal encouragement to give the pitcher on your beer league softball team than "forget about the curveball, Ricky... give him the heater"?
The answer is no.

4) Player Subplots

That's right. Enough to make Bob Ley squeal. Enough to make Bryant Gumbel a bit nippy. Enough to give Ahmad Rashad a... ok, I'm gonna stop there.
Let's start with the pitching. First, you have the emergence of Fausto Carmona and the reemergence of C.C. Sabathia. (the "C's" stand for "Cy Young winner- at least he should be" and "chew your food before you swallow, fat man.") Together, they form the best 1-2 pitching combo in baseball. To any whiny Red Sox or Yankees or Angels fans that are saying "hey, what about Beckett/Matsuzaka or Wang/Clemens or Lackey/Escobar!?!?!" I would say the following: you're wrong. Shut up. Jeff, that includes you. These two guys are lights out, and they're a lot of fun to watch on the mound. They also have some absolute killers in the bullpen, including a couple of Rafaels, Perez and Betancourt, who seem to be playing the Zumaya/Rodney set up role to Cleveland's mediocre, Todd Jones-esque Closer, Joe Borowski.

Then you have Kenny Lofton. That's right, Kenny Lofton. He of the 11 teams and the DHL commercial celebrating the fact that he's been on 11 teams. Isn't it cool to see this guy back in Cleveland, where he played his best ball, at the tail end of his career? Don't you hate having him up to bat if your team is facing his team at the end of the game? You should. I don't know if any player has drawn opposing fans' ire to a greater extent than Lofton over his career. It doesn't look like he'll make it to 3000 hits, although he does have a shot, but I hope this guy gets at least some consideration for Cooperstown. He's a career .300 hitter, a 6-time all star, and a 4-time gold glover. Just a guy who knows how to play ball.
In addition, you have the younger, better version of Kenny: Grady Sizemore, Rotisserie League stud and the very definition of "5 tool player." If you haven't seen him play, prepare to be impressed. Much like the Tigers' Curtis Granderson, he gives his all, and he does it all. (I apologize for all the Tigers comparisons, but there are actually a ton of similarities between these teams - it's not just my Midwestern bias. Look out, Yankees.)
All these guys are going to make the Indians fun to watch, but...

5) Most Media Outlets Will Still Focus on the Red Sox and Yankees.

I don't need to go on, because this has been well documented. Let's just hope they both get knocked out quickly (again) and all of said media outlets all get egg in their face (again).
Having said that...

6) The Cleveland Indians Might Very Well be Your 2007 World Champions.

And what a thing that would be. Honestly, has any sports city suffered more than Cleveland? Buffalo? Maybe... but only maybe. With Cleveland, you have 4 major sports teams, (if you count Columbus as Cleveland and hockey as a major sport - both are dubious) and they have all pretty much sucked for most of their existence. Worse still, when their teams haven't sucked, they've been bridesmaids to some of the most spectacular performances in postseason history. Elway: great. Jordan: greater. Jose Mesa: ouch. And worst of all, they had their football team stolen away from them IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. I can't imagine how crappy that must feel. Some of this misery is abating now, as LeBron has made a title look very possible if he can get, you know, some teammates, and the new Browns are kinda sorta starting to look ok, despite the Brady Quinn thing. And then there are these Indians. On paper, there's no reason they can't do it. But I mean, can they actually do it? Well, I hope not, because...

7) If Anyone but the Angels Comes Out of the AL, I Will Not be Happy Camper.

Why? Well...an AL team is going to win the World Series, because the Tigers aren't around to choke it away to a quadruple-A team. (Sorry for the Bill Simmons reference). The other 3 teams, meanwhile, are not options. The Yankees are the Yankees. The Red Sox are also the Yankees. And with Cleveland, there's the Ohio stuff. The deck is stacked against you, Michigan. Join the Vladimir Guerrero fan club and keep your fingers crossed.

Where can I get a rally monkey?

October 2, 2007

Chris Rose Freaking Nails It

One of our favorite columnists, Chris Rose, of the New Orleans Times Picayune, just hit the nail on the head with a recent article about the Who Dats. You can read the whole thing here, but here are a few select quotes that we liked:
And none of it is working. Something drastic is needed. Something really big and really bold.
Somebody needs to rob the grave.
Truthfully, the grave that I thought needed digging up was Buddy D's, so he could get back on the radio and call out this team for the bunch of squirrels they have become, maybe put the fear of the Point After in their hearts.
But that would not only be illegal, but messy.

So, until someone comes up with a better idea, an exhumation and a visit to St. Roch's may be the Who Dats' last hope.
Until then, the 2006 season still lies dormant under the turf at Saints Camp, resting in uneasy peace.

Also, coming closer to nailing it:
Now it's just more about preserving the bond that was made last year, and the year before that, preserving that intangible gridiron chakra that led to a nearly rapturous love affair between a city and a team.

"When the Saints used to lose, I felt I had a better sense of community. We were never really football fans around here. We were Saints fans. And those are two completely different things."

Finally, he closes with a quote from Deuce McAllister, who we have to think is one of the greatest guys in the NFL right now:
"Throughout our tenure together, the bond we have established is one that can never be broken and I find solace in knowing that win, lose, or draw, we all bleed 'Black & Gold,' " Deuce wrote.
He had me at hello.
Deuce signed his letter with one word: BELIEVE.

So, to all the national media attacking the Saints, remember: they may suck, but they're our suck.