Friday, October 31, 2008

The Crystal (Pigskin) Ball

Its been too long since I talked about College Football. November will be soon upon upon us, meaning a month of great football action which will separate the manly, sexed up wheat from the limp, non-bowl bound chaff. I have a few thoughts about the all important National Title Game contenders:

First, I think Penn State is leading the pack and (pretty much) controls its own destiny. The Fighting Paternos are undefeated and have only three games left to run the table. Only the Michigan State game looks particularly challenging, but baring a big injury or some weird voodoo I think they will finish undefeated with the Big Ten title. This should lock up a trip to the BCS title game... unless both Alabama and an Big 12 South Team (most likely Texas) also finished undefeated. But I don't see that happening. Any slip up by Penn State, however, and they are done.

Texas and Alabama also hold their own destinies in their hands. Texas has to go to Lubbock to face the also undefeated Red Raiders. If Texas can run its table, including the Big 12 title game, they are in like (Matt) Flynn.

Theoretically Texas Tech, if the can beat the Longhorns, will consume their life-force and become them, meaning they will only have to win out in order to be in like the aforementioned Flynn. But frankly I don't see this happening, as even if they beat Texas they still have OK and OK State, and then the big 12 title game to deal with.

Alabama is in the same metaphorical boat as Texas, but I think it will fall overboard sooner rather than later. Bama is a good team but I think that either LSU or the winner of the SEC East will get them at least once. They can still win the SEC and go to the BCSTG even with a loss, but they won't leapfrog an undefeated Penn State to get there.

Georgia and Florida need to win out, win the SEC, and hope for either a Penn State loss or a Big 12 South Fall from grace. Its possible but less likely.

No one from the ACC or Big East deserves consideration this year.

And finally... way out on the West Coast.... are the Trojans. If USC wants to go to the big game, they need to win out and get a lot of help. Their problem is that they really have no chance for any more signature wins against highly ranked teams. However, an 11-1 Pac-10 Champ USC team could (maybe) get in, provided two of the following things happen:

1)Penn State Loses
2)Missouri pulls an upset in the Big 12 Championship game
3)The winner of the Cocktail party loses another game but then goes to the SEC title game and beats Bama.
4) Bama loses twice, LSU wins the SEC west and wins SEC CG (not likely but possible).
5)The Big 12 South winner loses a game but then wins the Big-12 CG.

Basically USC is now 4th in line for 2 spots, so they'll need at least two of the three hypothetical conference champions to slip up in order for them to slide past and into the title game.

But there's another consideration which few people have brought up: technically USC is tied for first place in the Pac-10, with the OSU Beavers, and technically OSU has the tiebreaker as a result of their head to head win over USC. The Pac-10 does give out "co-champs" to teams which finish the season with identical records, but the team who won the head to head match up gets the nod for the Conference's automatic BCS bid (typically the Rose Bowl). What this all means is that(technically mind you) USC could go 11-1 but not really be first place in their own conference. All this is predicated on OSU winning the rest of their games, which could happen but is hardly a lock. And if it did happen, USC would be "co-champs" and not out of National Title Game contention, but the whole thing feels a bit hollow.

Of course, we all know that nothing is ever a sure thing in College Football, so any and all of these predictions are to taken with a Dinty-Moore sized helping of salt. Whatever happens, we have a great month of College Football to look forward to, culminating in every team taking the Month of December off right as they are playing at their best.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why does the NFL hurt us so?

My love of the NFL is the one thing that keeps me going. Yet, like many passionate romances, ours is a troubled one. I know the NFL loves me, and soon will leave that witch DirectTV so we can be together always. But my beloved pro football still finds little ways to hurt me. Idiotic TV blackout rules. Horrible announcers. Astrofuckingnominal ticket prices. An impotent and poorly designed replay system.

Now, another little slight has come to my attention: the Chargers have a bye week this week. Its not what you think. Teams need bye weeks, and the Bolts is scheduled at a good time for player recuperation. However, they also had an away game last week. And Halloween is tomorrow. Meaning that on the Sunday before and after All Hallow's Eve there is no Charger Home game. For those of you who are still a little slow on the uptake, let me spell it out: NO CHARGER GIRLS IN HOT SLUTTY HALLOWEEN COSTUMES THIS YEAR!!!

Let us observe the bounty from years past:

If we had trick or treaters like this in my neighborhood I might actually give out candy.

It can't be easy to cheer in that outfit. Or clean. That's dedication people!

Well Howdy!!! I'd like to celebrate the harvest with her.

Those Dwarfs have it so good.

Um... I'm not sure what this is...

Poor thing doesn't have a single merit badge. I'd buy some cookies from her though.

So Dammit, NFL, get your head out of your asses and think things out next year. In fact, I think you better use some of your clout to lobby Congress to have 16 Halloweens in 2009. That's Change we can believe in.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Badvertising: WHAT THE FUCK!

No words. Ok, saying "no words" actually requires that at least two words be used. Two > no. Whatever, this commercial was like a 2 X 4 upside the brain.

HAL is a Charger Fan

Good news Charger fans: apparently losing is actually getting us closer to the playoffs!

For those of you scratching your heads at that statement, let me explain: runs computer simulations of sporting events and entire sporting seasons, and one of the projections they put out is NFL Playoff odds, which are updated weekly as the results of games are fed into the computer.

Before the London Trip, the Chargers were given a 56% percent chance of making the playoffs. Not bad for a 3-4 2nd place team with no defense.

But now, after going to 3-5 and falling 1 1/2 games behind the Broncos, the Charger's playoff odds are 60%! Sweet!

At this rate, all we have to do is lose 5 or 6 more games and we'll be golden! Super Bowl here we come!

Monday, October 27, 2008


Well, we're in a bit of a pickle here. And I hate pickles.

Last time I checked, this is still the NFL, so the whole "You are what your record says you are" caveat is still in full force.

3-5. That's our record. Ergo, that's what we are.

We have an offense like a high maintenance sports car: when it works, it kicks ass. Too often, however, it sputters when we need it to purr.

We commit way too many penalties, with this last effort being particularly atrocious. Granted, a few were bogus, but it never should come down to the yellow hankies.

I would say we have a bad defense, but we don't. We have no defense. No pressure. No turnovers. No Sacks. No nothing. Its goddamn frustrating, because (almost) all the pieces are there from last year, but its like

3-5. Things are fucking grim.


All is not lost.

There are 8 games left, 5 of which are at home. The road games are no picnic, but the reality is that we have to be good enough to go to KC and win if we want to go to the playoffs.

The Broncos are 4-3 currently, with 5 remaining road games and some real tests coming up. They lead the Bolts by 1 and 1/2 games, which after this Sunday will either be 1 or 2 games.

The good news is that all the Chargers have to do is get to the season finale, a December 30th game at home against Denver, within 1 game of the Broncos in the standings. If the Bolts can get that close and then beat Denver in their last game, the division is theirs. The first tie-breaker is head to head, which would be tied 1-1. The second tie breaker is division record. Assuming the Bolts can those 3 games against the Raiders and Chiefs (and really, they will have to in order for this scenario to play out), the Bolts will hold the second tie-breaker by virtue of Denver's previous loss at Kansas City.

This sounds desperate, I know, and it kinda is. But the light at the end of the tunnel isn't faded yet, only dimmed.

First order of business is to light a fire under the Defense during the bye week, then unleash them on the Chiefs two weeks from now. A big win in that game is the start of a streak here.

Get healthy. Get ready to play some goddamn defense. Protect the House. Beat the Chiefs.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Political Baseball

I follow politics, in the same way some people follow American Idol or other crappy reality TV shows. I'm a numbers guy, checking and Intrade regularly to see where things stand. I hit some blogs, watch the Daily Show and Colbert first thing in the morning (damn cheapskate roommates who won't pay for cable!). I'm not a total junkie, but I'm pretty up to speed on the happenings of election season.

As a nation, we love "gaffes" by politicians: "Oh my goodness, so and so said something which was slightly wrong or misunderstood! Gaffe Gaffe! They are an idiot, unfit to serve in office or even breathe the same air as the rest of us Perfect Patriotic Americans". Of course, the reason we love gaffes so much is because that's pretty much all the news media ever reports on, but you take what you get. Besides gaffes, we love when candidates "flip flop", showing just how evil and untrustworthy they are.

The World Series is upon us, and with it comes an opportunity to pander. This year the Tampa Bay Rays are taking on the Philidelphia Phillies. Both teams are located in key swing states, so its only natural that the Presidential candidates should swing by and mention their success in their stump speeches. Just as natural is the overreaction to this harmless pandering.

First, Barack Obama, a known White Sox fan, told supporters in Philly that he would be rooting for the Phils in the Fall Classic. Later, in Florida, Obama praised the Rays and said he was "showing them some love".

Not to be outdone, Sarah Palin spoke to supporters in Pennsylvania, Florida and Massachusettes and took the oppourtunity to mention the local Baseball teams. In each place, she made the statment that "The (insert local team here) know something about turning an underdog into a champion". It was actually a clever line by political standards.

The reaction was swift from both sides, with McCain calling Obama out for flip-flopping on his all important World Series pick, and Democrats firing back with Palin's rare triple play of pandering. As a sports fan and follower of politics, I couldn't be more outraged. At the reaction, that is, not at Obama and Palin.

People, these aren't gaffes, and they don't really count as shameless pandering. "Rooting" for a team and "showing love" to a team are two different things. You can Root for one team and simultaneously show love to its opponent. This is especially true when you don't really have a passion for or against either team, as is the case with Senator Obama.

Similarly, in Governor Palin's case, her statements are able to coexist without any problem. She never said she was rooting for or against any team, she was merely stating the fact that these teams "know how to turn underdogs into winners", which is actually true in all three cases. The Red Sox won the World Series after being down 3-0 and 3-1 in two different ALCSes. The Phillies swiped the division title last year from the Mets despite a huge late in the year deficit. And the Rays making the World Series after so many years of suckitude is like something out of a cheesy sports movies.

Please people, lets keep the phony outrage for something important. Like how William Ayers introduced Barack Obama to Osama Bin Laden at one of Fidel Castro's lawn parties.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

NFL Picks: Week 8

Not bad last week, picks wise: I went 9-5, so my season record is now a virile 57-25-4. Try to keep your panties on, ladies.

As always, home team in caps, picks in bold, and the commentary is just sexy.

IGGLES -8.5 Dirty Birds

Jim Jones should blitz the Irish right out of Matt Ryan.

Chefs +13 That two timing hick slut

Time for another miracle performance by Herm's boys. And by miracle I mean they will lose by only 10.

UPDATE: For the second week in a row, there will be no LJ for the Chiefs, so for the second week in a row I'm changing my pick and going against them. JETS -13.

PATS -7 The Best team in Football (for the last 2 weeks)

Two teams coming off big blowout wins which are supposed to turn around their seasons. This wasn't planned very well, as only one of them could possibly win this week.

FISH +1.5 Bills

This could be a great game. Hard to imagine anyone saying that when the schedule came out in April.

RAVENS -7 Jamarcus Russell

The tubby one will commit 3+ turnovers, and the drunk one doesn't have enough leg to overcome that and beat the spread.

SKINS -7.5 The new Rule # 1

I doubt the Skins are nice enough to help another shitty visiting team get in the win column.

PANTHERS -4.5 Buzzsaw

Early game for a team flying west to east. Check please.

PennyHill -3 Hertfordshire

Gotta have it. Again. Its like we're a team of meth addicts.


I'd love to see these guys have a run in.

Kitties +9.5 MOO COWS

No way. No way do the Texans give 10 points to a team with no QB, no defense and a dumbass Wide Reciever who is about to become Dr. Huxtables son in law.

JAGS -7 L.T. Winslow's swollen man melons

After all he's been through, serving our country.... its so tragic...

Big Blue +2 STILLERS

The already married-off Members of the QB debutante class of 2004 square off. Thats alright, Rivers doesn't need a ring like you crazy attention whores. He has his Piggly Wiggly shirt, which is way cooler.

49ERS -5 Seachickens

Good God, what an awful game. And no Mike Nolan in his fancy Reebok Suit. Sad. At least The Samurai gets his chance to take the reins of an (ahem) "NFL Team".

Colts +4 TITANS

You know it too. Everything points to a Titans Romp, which is why the Colts will crush them.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bolts in Bagshot

The 3-4 Chargers traveled to England this week in order to prepare for their game at Wembley against the Saints. Even though its rough that they have to travel to another Continent for a game, I actually think that this will be better in some ways than their typical East Coast game routine, which consists of them flying out the day before and dragging ass during a 1PM start (See: Dolphins, Miami or Bills, Buffalo for proof).

They may be 8 time zones from Sunny San Diego, but the Bolts have most of the comforts of home because management really went all out in choosing their digs. They will spend the week in the town of Bagshot, near Surrey, which is outside of London. They are staying at the PennyHill Park Hotel. Take a look, this place is stunning. Its an old country estate will over 100 acres of ground, which means that Scifres could walk around all day punting and chasing a ball and never get bored. Hopefully they will be able to use this as an advantage as they get ready for Sunday.

By the way, thanks are due to the Pats, who curb stomped the Broncos tonight 41-7. Good job Matt Cassel, we owe you one. And tomorrow I get to go back to rooting against teams from Boston.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

NFL picks: Blown Coverage

To the NFL: Bite Me!

Let me be more specific: to whatever asshole negotiates the NFL TV contracts: BITE ME!!!!

I live in NYC. This weekend my beloved Chargers are playing in Buffalo, a game between two quality teams which will likely have big playoff implications. Buffalo is in the same state. The Bills are in the same division as the Jets. There are a lot of reasons that this game should be broadcast here in NYC.

Instead, its fucking blacked out. Why? Because god-for-fucking-bid that anything distract viewers here from the crapfest that will be the Jets against the Raiders. Its not even that they had to pick one game or the other to broadcast, they are on two separate stations, but the NFL is blacking out the Bolts game in this area. Bite Me, NFL TV contracts.

Last weeks picks were a perfectly mediocre 6-6, bringing my season record to 48-30-4. On to the picks:

BIG BLUE -10.5 49ers

Bounce Back game against a weak team flying cross country for a 1PM start.

Stillers -9.5 KITTIES

Only because Carson Palmer is still hurt.

CHEFS +8.5 The Kerry Collins Experience

Herm Edwards is due for another surprise effort out of his club, thus saving his job for another few weeks.

UPDATE: No LJ? No way! I'm changing to Titans -8.5.

DA BEARS -3 Vikings

Bears be pissed, Vikings be kinda sucky.

Norval's fantastic traveling circus featuring the never healing toe injury +1 BILLS

As always, we need this one. And the NFL needs to get its head out of its ass.


Panthers are tough at home and the Saints are due for another let down week.

Brad Johnson -7 Jim Haslett

Replacement who won the Super Bowl versus one replacement who screwed me out of my suicide pool.

Ravens +3 FISH

Birds bounce back in must win contest.

QB who scores TDs -9.5 QB who scores Safeties

Moo Cows extend their winning streak to 2.

Raiders +3 JETS

The Raiders have just enough pass rush and ball hawks for Favre to throw 3 picks and keep this close.

Colts -2 PACK

The train is gaining momentum and Aaron Rodgers ain't gonna stop it.

Inexplicable Week 6 Upset Victim -7 Inexplicable Week 6 Upset Victor

Damn u, ZORN! You violated Rule # 1 and cost me my suicide pool!

BUCS -10 Seachickens

Just too hurt to go on the road against a team like the Bucs.

PATS -3.5 Donks

I can't believe I'm back to rooting for a team from Boston, at least for this week.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Black Ink of Freedom

I haven't voted in a number of years. I used to vote all the time, but then there were a few mishaps with my registration which removed me from the voter rolls for a while. The excitement of this campaign year has awakened me from my political hibernation, and I'm actually excited to vote this time.

Here it is, my vote for President:

I was going to offer my Chinese Roommate the chance to fill in some of my absentee ballot, seeing as how people don't get to vote in his home country, but I thought that would be a big tease. Plus he wasn't at home.

Off I go to mail this and finish my civic duty!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Overrated Watch: Cleveland

To fans of the Cleveland Browns: shut the hell up.

Tonight the Browns got a huge win over the Defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants on Monday night football. The Browns were hurting for a win badly, coming in with a 1-3 record with their only win an ugly affair over winless bottom dweller Cincinnati. Then, in the waning moments of tonight's game, we heard that stupidest of chants coming from the Browns fans:

OVERRATED!!! (clap clap clap clap clap)

Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

This is the NFL. There are no "ratings". Whatever ratings there are mean absolutely jack squat since the NFL actually has playoffs to decided everything.

The Browns are now 2-3. They have a long way to go to get anywhere near playoff contention. Enjoy the victory over the previously undefeated champs. Don't spoil it with that stupid chant.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Do it A.J.: Free Gonzo!

Chiefs star Tight End Tony Gonzalez has apparently asked to be traded, and the team is shopping him for a 3rd round pick. The Chargers should do it if possible. It seems crazy but it actually makes sense: The Bolts are thin at TE with Chandler going on IR right before the season and Gates battling both his toe injury and his new hip injury. Who knows how long Gates can keep it up. Trade for Gonzo now and we'll be set no matter what happens to Gates.

I doubt even the Chiefs are dumb enough to trade him within their own division. But then again I didn't think they were dumb enough to hire and retain Herm Edwards for so long.

Badvertising: Routan Boom

From the Fourth Reich comes this ad campaign for the new Volkswagen. Its a minivan, which seems a little odd at first coming from VW. My guess is that all the girls who grew up driving the "New Bugs" and the Jetta have now reached prime breeding age so Volkswagen decided to make the smart move of transitioning into the soccer mom demographic. So the product idea is good, but the ad campaign is a little weird.

Brooke Shields is the spokeswomen for this mock "awareness" campaign. The idea is that this new minivan is so seductively engineered that woman are all horny for it. And since only moms drive minivans they have become horny for something else in order to get into the motherhood club. There are a few different commercials and even a 5 minute mockumentary available for viewing online. For now we'll just focus on the actual TV commercials.

I think this is one idea that sounds good in a brainstorming session but didn't really translate well onto television. Its pretty clever to suggest that women are so taken by that sleek Prussian precision that they are eager to get knocked up just so they can jump behind the wheel of a minivan. But something is lost in translation. I can't really put it into words but it comes off as kind of creepy.

The thing that really strikes me as odd is the casting of Brooke Shields as the spokeswoman for this whole campaign. At first glance it seems like a great idea, associating the still scrumptious Shields with your product. She's beautiful but familar, appealing to both moms and dads.

But Brooke famously had a battle with postpartum depression after the birth of her first child. It was a big thing, she even had a feud with crazy Tom Cruise over it because she had the gall to seek medical attention and Maverick thought she was a bad person and all she needed was a nice Thetan Cleansing. She apparently recovered from her PPD, which is great, but she's still associated with the condition by many people. So why would any sane company stake their advertising budget on Brooke advising women not to have children? I know its all in jest, but still, its just weird.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

NFL Picks: Week 6

Someone needs to tell Secretary Paulson to shut his damn mouth. After two weeks of major league level sucking, The Dow was actually doing OK today. That is, until around 3 PM when Mr. Genius Paulson gets on the TV and starts blubbering about how the economy is gonna keep sucking for a longer time than expected. The Dow instantly plunges 200 points and finished down 190 points on the day. Thanks a lot dumbass.

You're all I have left, my sweet NFL picks. Last week was ok, as I went 6-5-2, bringing my overall record to 42-24-4. Oh sweet, sweet NFL picks, you'll never plunge to a five year low on me.

As always, home team in caps, picks in bold.

Tom Cable +7.5 SEAN PAYTON

The Saints let Gus Ferrotte embarrass them. Jamarcus Russell is no Gus Ferrotte, but the Raiders can cover this spread nonetheless.

COLTS -4 Ravens

Time to really Christen the new building.

Kitties +6 JETS

Probably a shit pick, since the Bengals blew their wad last week against the Cowboys and will likely tank. But I'm really needing those shootout points from Housh and Coles. 3-3 here we come!

SKINS-13 Rams

Once again the Skins are disrespected? Only 13 points?

Fish +3 MOO COWS

Unless Sage Rosenfelds suddenly learns how to slide.

Bears -2.5 FALCONS

I can't figure if this should be a great, fun game or a boring ass slopfest. Either way the Bears should take it.

VIKES -13 Lions

Gus Ferrotte strikes again!

Jags +3.5 BRONCOS

Please God, Please. This can start to make up for the 3 fluke home wins that Denver has on their record.

Iggles -4.5 49ERS

Donovan says he's "embarrassed" by his play so far. God hath heard his lamentings and so sent him the 49ers.


Immobile QB + Dallas Pass Rush - Anquan Boldin + God's Own Agent on Earth + My Boy Romo + Pac Man all happy from hanging with ASU girls Saturday night = Boys win big.

BOLTS -5.5 Pats

Cause we need it bad, like a sailor home from a year at sea. The Bolts are gonna come back into their home port take care of business.

BROWNS +8 Big Blue

My head tells me no, but my gut says the Giants are in for a close one against a desperate Horse Balls trying to hold off Brady Quinn.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Power Outage 2: The unwanted sequel

I've seen this movie before: The Chargers go down under .500 early in the season, inspiring panic, anger, frustration and calls for everything from firing Norv to benching LT. Rationalizations are made: injuries, a tough schedule, a few bad breaks. The thing we have yet to see is whether this is a sequel of last year, where a 1-3 start ended with a 11-5 trip to the AFC title game, or if it is, in fact, a sequel of 2005, which ended 9-7 with the Bolts watching the playoffs from their living rooms. Lets hope its the former, and we can all look back on this later and laugh at how silly our frustrations were.

Today's game sucked in many ways. For all the blame that's gonna get heaped on the defense, the fact is that they got zero help from the offense for most the game. In one sense, they did there job pretty damn well, as they gave up zero points in the second half. On the other hand there was no pressure on the QB whatsoever and no turnovers.

The real culprit today was the offense, which converted 3-12 on third down and had several 3 and outs. It was especially bad in the first half, and the problem was that they simply could not execute. Each failed offensive series can be pinned on blown execution. The facemask by Manumaleuna which made 3rd and 1 into 2nd and forever. A false start which makes it 2nd and 15. A blown blocking assignment on an LT run which made 2nd and 1 into 3rd and 5. Poor protection by the line. Poor throws by Rivers, including that overthrow of VJ. Everyone gets a piece of this blame. Except Scifres, he was awesome, but when the best performer of the day was the punter its not a good sign.

We need to start faster. We need to execute. We need to beat the Pats next week. Things are tough and they are gonna get tougher for a while: New England, then another cross country trip to 4-1 Buffalo, then the Transatlantic trip to play the Saints. The Bolts need to suck it up and get it in gear. If they can get to 4-4 or 5-3 before the bye week we should be ok, as the schedule gets more favorable after that.

It starts on Sunday. Protect the House. Beat the Pats.

I've lost my mind Part 1: Exclusion

Resolved: That there should no longer be an NCAA I-A Football National Championship.

Yes, its come to this. I'm actually advocating that we do away with the national championship for the biggest college sport in the nation.

Now technically, I'm being stupid and redundant. That's because technically there IS no such thing as the 1-A Football National Championship. The NCAA does not sanction a championship for this division, which is incredibly ironic given that this is the biggest NCAA sport by far in terms of popularity, participants and (most importantly) money.

No, what we have is a so called "mythical" national championship. Actually we have several of these MNC's, but really only two have ever really been important: the AP and the BCS, which was formerly the UPI. Often they agree, sometimes they "split". Yet these so called Mythical Championships are the most agonized over prizes in all of college sports.

I don't make this argument lightly. Its taken a lot of thought and reflection to get to this opinion, and its not rock solid, but for now I think that the current system isn't good enough.

Every year we hear it, about how the BCS sucks and the national championship is bogus and how we must have a playoff to really decide things, just like every other NCAA sport and even the lower divisions of football have. For years I've resisted jumping on this bandwagon, but my time has come.

There are 119 football teams in Division 1-A (I will NOT call it the "Bowl Subdivision"). For all these teams there is a single national championship to compete over. This is not odd, as most NCAA sports have hundreds of teams per division pitted against each other for the grand prize. The difference is that those divisions there actually is a playoff for the title, and at least a theoretical chance that every team has a chance to get into that playoff if they qualify.

In Division 1 football this is not the case. Of those 119 teams, I can say with 99.9999% certainty, at the start of the season, that 63 of those teams have no chance of even playing for the championship. These are teams which are not members of the 6 BCS conferences. Granted, most of them probably aren't good enough to win the national championship. But its wrong that even if they could assemble enough talent they would not be given a shot.

This morning I was watching ESPN College Gameday, and the analysts were discussing BYU, currently undefeated and ranked # 8 in the polls. The question arose that if BYU were to go undefeated and all the BCS teams were to have at least 1 loss, should BYU be considered for inclusion as one of the two teams in the National Championship Game. Instantly there was an emphatic "no" from all the analysts. They almost seemed insulted by the idea. How dare some non-BCS upstart even be considered to play in the big game?

The argument they made had a bit of merit but it also easily dismissed. Basically, Corso argued that a 1 loss SEC Champion should get preference over an undefeated BYU team. Ok, maybe this is true. But remember people, there are TWO spots in the national championship game. That means there's plenty of room for both that 1 loss SEC team and BYU.

The flawed logic here isn't as important as the underlying reality which was revealed: that, barring some really weird circumstances, over half the teams in Division 1-A will never be given the time of day when it comes to selecting the national champion contenders. In my mind, this invalidates our supposed national championship as a farce.

Now, I concede that most of those teams probably couldn't hold their own with the big powerhouses on the field. I'm not advocating socialism or an "everyone gets a trophy" mentality. All I'm saying is that when you exclude over half the supposedly eligible field from the discussion before the first snap of the year, then the concept that this is a real championship is bogus. And when certain schools know that they have no chance of begin invited to the party, doesn't that give an unfair edge in recruiting the best players to those schools in the "in schools"? Of course it does. Take away that unfair barrier to entry and maybe we would see a few more non-BCS teams able to recruit enough to compete with the big boys.

There is more to this crazy argument swirling around in my crazy head. Please tune in later for Part 2 (and maybe 3 if I feel like it!).

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Lotus Logic

From upstate New York comes this story of aggrieved parents and religious leaders who desperately need to get laid. Or at least try some sun salutations.

Basically, the school there is offering the students yoga lessons, presumably as part of the P.E. requirement or something. What's the big deal, you ask? Are they worried that their little angels are missing out on math class while learning the downward dog? Do they question the benefits of yoga compared to more traditional Phys Ed programs like Dodgeball or Super Dodgeball?

Nope, the problem is that a lot of Hindu people do yoga.

So this automatically means that Yoga = Religion, so it violate separation of church and state. (Of course, if that religion=their religion, they'd be fighting tooth any nail FOR the program).

This is insane. Its stretching people. It encourages flexibility and breathing. If anything, we need more of this in all religions. I seriously think that Catholic Mass could be much improved if we dropped the Profession of Faith and instead got into Lotus position. Everyone would be healthier and happier, guaranteed.

I think my favorite part of this article is the quote from the Reverend who is apparently in charge of the outraged groups. He says of the controversy:
"People have made it a religious war, and it's not a religious war. We are basically concerned parents, saying we don't want our children participating in something that could cause them more stress and confusion,"
See, its not about religion at all. He just doesn't want them to participate in an activity proven to reduce stress, because he says it might be too stressful. Thank God (or Shiva) we have people like this to set us all straight.

Friday, October 3, 2008

NFL picks: Week 5

Another strong week last week. My picks went 9-4, which brings my season record to 37-19-2. If I was a betting man I'd be rich! Except of course I'd have no money to bet with in the first place, since the market has tanked and I've lost a fair portion of my net worth in the last 7 days. Also, I'm now out of my one cash suicide pool because of the Chefs upset over the Donks. It serves me right for picking a division rival who I was hoping would lose. It also serves me right for breaking rule #1 of 2008 suicide pools: pick against the Rams.

Oh well, time for some more picks. Before long I'll be swimming naked in piles of my imaginary winnings. As always, home team in caps, picks in Bold..

Bills +1 BUZZSAW

The undefeated AFC team is getting points? Against the Buzzsaw?

CAROLINA -9 1/2 Chefs

Hope you enjoyed that Denver win, Herm. Time to start another double digit losing streak.

Chicago -3 1/2 LIONS

I know Matt Millen was fired, and kudos to the Lions for (finally) getting rid of him. But as bad as he was, Millen didn't actually play for the Lions. Well, I guess no one really plays for the lions. The point is that they still suck, and this line is a joke.

JERRY & WADE -16 1/2 Marvin and Ocho

Hell of a spread, but the Boys are probably pissed after last weeks suckitude. With Carson Palmer still hurting I think this will get ugly.

Bucs +3 DONKS

A bit of Wishful thinking, but the truth is that the Bucs have what it takes to beat the Broncos: a strong defense and a good running game.

Indianapolis -3 MOO COWS

The Colts are coming off their bye week and scared as hell of going to 1-3.

JAGS -4 Pittsburgh

Bit of a weird pick, as the Jags haven't really set the world on fire, but I have a feeling that Big Ben is in for another long day.

San Francisco +3 Pats

A stupid pick, probably. Whatever, screw the Pats.

BIG BLUE -7 Seattle

Back from their bye with a vengence, the Giants should take care of business at home.

Skins +6 IGGLES

6 Points? This team beat Dallas in Big D last week! Of course, thats the problem: the Skins are always up and down. Part of me expects them to come off their Dallas win by laying an egg this week. But still, 6 points? Westbrooks is still hurting, and McNabb is apparently so fragile that Reid won't let him run a 6 inch QB sneak for a game winning touchdown (on that last note, I call bullshit: Reid made dumb call and then came up with a dumb excuse for it).

Bolts -6 1/2 FISH

Feeling a little nervous about this game. The Chargers have to start a lot faster on offense, and the defense needs an answer to that Wildcat Formation. Shut that down and we're in business.

RAVENS + 3 Titans

The final of this game is gonna be 2-0 or maybe 4-2 if they get into a shootout. Ergo, no way could the Titans cover 3 points.

Vikes + 3 Saints

This line seems very wrong to me. The Vikes can do 2 things: play strong defense and run the ball. The Saints will not be able to run on them, mostly because they suck at running against anyone, so they be forced to pass. Given the amount of passes they be forced to throw, I'm predicting a fair number of sacks and a few picks. On the flip side, the Vikes should run it right at the Saints and may dominate the time of possession.

One thing I predict is gonna happen which I am already dreading: Tony K will be critical of Reggie Bush the whole game. The Saints will try to run it a few times, get stuffed, and then Tony will bitch and moan about how Reggie is a bust and hate all over him. Reggie will get maybe 10 carries, behind a shitty O-line and straight into the teeth of a great run defense. His rushing numbers will suck, and he'll get compared unfavorably to Purple Jesus, who should tear shit up, behind a strong O-line against a weak defense. But don't worry about context or real analysis: Tony K is on the case of bashing Reggie Bush! And then he'll follow it up with another bad joke.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Mea Culpa featuring Ninja Cat

I know I promised NFL picks this morning, there was a delay. I promise they'll be up soon. In the meantime, please enjoy the adventures of Ninja Cat:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Thinkin Blue

Well, we stole one. The Dodgers overcame a 2-0 deficit, a hostile crowd and the team with the NL's best record to get a 7-2 win in game one of the NLDS.

Baseball is a funny game, especially when it comes to the playoffs. In football, the playoffs are a one and done deal. One team can have a good day or a bad day and pull an upset or have their season end prematurely. Its interesting that baseball, the sport with more games than any other by a factor of 2, should have the shortest opening round series of all the non-football sports, series which are best 3 out of 5. What's also interesting is that baseball seems so much more random than Hockey or Basketball playoffs.

Let me explain. In a basketball or hockey series, teams go out and play. Strategies may change over the course of a series, but the basic participants and their roles remain fairly constant. In baseball, on the other hand, you're only as good as your pitching that day (or maybe you're only as good as your hitting that day). In theory, two dominant starting pitchers can carry you all the way through the postseason. In contrast, a team which is otherwise strong but has mediocre pitching may falter and be quickly removed from the playoffs. But those pitchers which a team relies upon are often one shot deals. Kobe may have a bad game during a playoff series but he can turn it around the next game. If CC Sabathia has a bad day it may doom his team. I guess what I'm trying to say is that its odd that a sport with 162 games in in a season should have its playoff field be so small and be decided by such a small sample size of games.

I still don't think the Dodgers should be favored to win this series, but its certainly nice to get a win. All too often during my life as a Dodger fan we've limped into October only to be swept out by superior competition. We're usually lucky to get one pity win after going down 2-0.

I know I've probably jinxed the boys in blue by getting my hopes ever so slightly up. But screw it, we got Manny and a 1-0 series lead. Those jerks from Not Los Angeles better watch out if they dare to challenge us in the World Series.