Wednesday, December 31, 2008

This is the NFL

Its been said before, by myself and by many people who know a lot more about the NFL than me. But its a truth that bears repeating:

You are what your record says you are.


If you're record says you are 13-3 and not in the playoffs, then thats what it is. If your record says 4-12 and you make the playoffs, then bully for you. The beauty of a playoff is that we can have set rules and then decide things on the field.

The Chargers are 8-8. They are division champs, so they will host a playoff game.

The Colts are 12-4, a wild card winner, so they will have to travel.

The Pats are 11-5, out of the playoffs and watching from their couches with their supermodel or MILF of choice.

In the NFC, the Cardinals are 9-7 division champs, so they'll host the 11-5 Wild Card Falcons.

"Unfair. A Travesty. A Sham. The Best Team Isn't in the Playoffs. The Best team to Never Make the Playoffs. Blah Blah Blah...."

The one single truth I know about football is that (almost) nobody knows anything about football. Prediction who would beat who or which team is really more "deserving" is less of a science than phrenology. So cut it out people. If you want to whine about "deserving" teams and "undeserving" teams and all that jazz, go watch the BCS. Its a freaking religion in that sport.

This is the NFL, where things are decided on the field.

You are what your record says you are.

NFL overload

So much to blog, so little time.

The Bolts are in the Playoffs! Holy Shit, the Bolts made the Playoffs!

And the Pats didn't despite an 11-5 record! And the Cowboys, Bucs and Jets all went from being WorldBeaters a month ago to cleaning out their lockers on Sunday. Mangini is out. Shanny is out. Romeo is out. Several other coaches will soon be out. My head is spinning.

I'll try to get caught up soon, hopefully before the Bolts take on the Colts on Saturday. Get better L.T., its your time to shine.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Snoopy's Christmas

It just isn't Christmas without the gang from Peanuts. In honor of Christmas, here's one of my favorite lesser known Christmas songs, "Snoopy's Christmas", complete with video!

Its a fun song but one which is actually more real than you might think. The Christmas truce between Snoopy and the Red Baron has actually happened in several different wars, perhaps most famously on the Western Front of World War I between British and German Forces. The two sides climbed out of their trenches, met in no man's land, shared their meager rations, sang songs, exchanged small gifts and even played soccer. Nothing says more to me about the importance of Christmas and the longing deep in the human soul for peace than that story. Its also a good reminder that there are plenty of fine men and woman still serving us in uniform in the far flung reaches of the world during this holiday season, and we certainly wish them a happy one and a quick return home.

Merry Christmas everyone, and of course a Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Tet, Yule, Festivas and anything else you may be celebrating. Have a great holiday and a very Happy New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Yes, You Can Sail the Seven Seas!!!!

Brings a new perspective to the whole "Navy Gay" joke. Though lets be honest, the Village People were hinting at this dynamic a long time ago.

In all seriousness, if this guy is half as qualified as the article makes him out to be then the Navy will be in good hands. Hopefully this can be a sign that DADT is on its way out and we can try to turn our focus what's really important in government and the military.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

RIP: My Productivity 1983-2008

Its officially dead. I'll never be productive again. I wasn't exactly a chinese sweatshop to begin with in terms of getting things done, but now what little glimmer of hope I have it gone. And its all thanks to

If you have any ambitions whatsoever, any goals you wish to achieve, do not click on that link. If not, then enjoy, and I hope you're good at spelling!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Badvertising: Optimum Triple Play

Its a little known fact that Cable Companies need to suck the sanity out of their customers in order to survive. They're like "sanity vampires", if you will. Each has their own method for sucking the life-force out of your brain so that they can feast on it like the sick twisted demons from hell that they are.

For example, Time Warner likes to feud with the NFL so we can't get NFL network. This means that we can't watch a bunch of games which were stupidly moved to Thursday nights for the very purpose of allowing us to watch them.

Comcast likes to... well maybe it would be faster to state the ways that Comcast doesn't try to drive the sanity from their customers. For example: as far as I know, Comcast has never egged a customer's house. And I'm not too sure about that. That's the only thing I can think of that they don't do in their quest to suck out people's sanity.

Here in New York there is a cable company called Cablevision, which packages its products as "Optimum", and calls its main service package "The Optimum Triple Play". Its your standard Phone, Internet and Cable package like you could get from any other company. But how does Optimum set itself apart? What method does it use to drive people insane in order to harvest their sanity?


Really annoying, crazy ass, shitty, catchy commercials.


"What's so bad about that?" you ask. "Commercials get repeated all the time". Shut up. You don't know.

First, lets enjoy a classic Optimum spot that ran every single day for about 6 months this year:

Those women's voices are like a drill in my brain. "8-7-7! 3-9-3! 4! 4! 4! Eiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii"

Its loud, its annoying, and what the hell is up with that rapping guy dressed in the sea serpent costume? Seriously, who thought that would make people want to buy cable?

After months of this torture, Optimum finally stopped playing this add. Apparently that well of insanity was tapped dry. Lucky for them, they found a new one:


Every single day. Always right during my episode of The Simpsons. Its become a reflex now that whenever I see the opening for this spot I rush to turn off the volume and then flee the room for a good 3 minutes, just to be sure. Its like a reverse Pavlovian experiment.

And another thing: WHY DOES THE PHONE NUMBER CHANGE? In the first its 393-4448. In the second its 333-4001. This is the same company advertising the same product. Did they deliberately change their phone number to one more suited to the melody of the new song?

One thing I love is the puppet in the second part of the add, the "adult" with long hair and goatee who still lives with his parents. Its really funny to have him as the one saying how great and fast the Internet downloads are, when you know he's using it to download Muppet snuff films at 100 MPS.

There's probably some really offensive racist aspect to both of these ads, what with the stereotyping of Latinos and all, but I'm a white guy and therefore wholly unqualified to bitch about that.

Ironically, I don't even think you can get Cablevision in my neighborhood, though the only reason I'd want to buy from them is if they promised to never show these ads on my TV again.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Yummy Victory

A post game picture from yesterday's comeback. Not sure who that player is. Kinda looks like a guy we used to have... Vincent ... Something... But it can't be him because he doesn't play for us this season.

The Great Escape (From Kansas City)

Take that PETA! You can't keep us down, not in a BBQ hub like Kansas City!

We won, the Broncos lost, so for at least one more sweet week we have life. Its a hell of a long shot that we'll still be in contention a week from now, but whatever. You take what you can get in this league, especially with the season we've had so far.

I think gave myself a headache from replaying the final touchdown call from Josh Lewin about 50 times. Josh is typically pretty excitable to begin with, but he's literally screaming his head off when the Chargers take the lead. Great Stuff, though I think I need some Advil now.

One thing that really is baffling to me is this clip of Norv's post game press conference (Sorry but I can't embed from that site). Specifically, right around the 0:56 mark, when he says something to the effect of "We wanted to give ourselves a chance to go score. The way onside kicks are in this league you have a pretty good chance. Roughly 50-50".


First off, is Norv actually saying that the decision to onside kick was some bold master stroke? Christ man, there was one minute left and you're down 5 points. What other option is there? Even with all the timeouts the best you can hope for if you kick it away is for them to bleed a bit of time, force you to use your timeouts, and then maybe get a good punt return.

Maybe Norv didn't mean that, exactly. Its hard to tell with the context of this clip, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. But the second part is crazy.

50-50 for onside kicks?

Um... Norv? The odds of recovering an onside kick aren't "good" at all. You're right, 50-50 would be pretty good. Except its not 50-50. It varies by year, but generally its about 2 in 10. As in 20%. As in less than half as much as 50%. And keep in mind, too, that stat includes "surprise" onside kicks which the defense isn't as ready for. Recovery rates for when the "Hands" team is out there tend to be lower.

This is disturbing to me. We all have our problems with Norv, but whatever his shortcomings he always struck me as a pretty football savvy guy in an academic sense. If he had any strength as a coach (and the jury's out on that) it was his deep knowledge of football in general. So the fact that he somehow thinks recovering an onside kick is a 50-50 proposition is scary. Maybe it doesn't really matter, since onside kicks are a desperation move and Norv's belief about their success don't really affect when to try or how often we recover. But what else is he misinformed about? What other vital information is missing?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Badvertising: Yes, Virginia

Too much Oklahoma-Texas on this blog recently. Time for a football break.

I was watching TV yesterday when this ad came up.

So it starts out all normal with Jessica Simpson and some dude reciting the famous "Yes Virginia" letter from the old New York sun. Its pleasant enough, though I have no idea what's being advertised yet. So I'm sitting there enjoying it and HOLY GOD IS THAT DONALD TRUMP?!?!

The Donald is there for some reason, reading his lines in almost comical fashion WHAT THE HELL? WHY IS SANTANA HERE WITH DONALD TRUMP?

It took a minute for the weirdness of this hodgepodge of B and C listers to sink in. As soon as it was revealed that the ad was for Macy's it all kind of made sense. Every celebrity here has some product line at Macy's. The two dudes I didn't recognize were Kenneth Cole and Tommy Hilfiger. I was really curious as to what Carlos Santana was hocking at Macys. Headbands? A cool clothing line? Electric Guitars? Nope, none of the above.

The answer is shoes.

Women's Shoes.

Apparently el Maestro de la Guitaraa Eletronica is also into Las Zapatas de las Chicas. Like pumps and high heels and fuck me boots. And Macy's apparently though he was the right person to sell them.

Overall this isn't a bad ad. In fact it probably gets points for shock value as you wonder just what's going on. I just hope those letters find their way to Santa Claus, I'd hate to think of that poor little girl at the end not finding a new pair of Carlos Santana's pumps waiting for her beneath the tree.

Boomer Bradford

Well, it looks like my half-assed Heisman prediction was wrong. Maybe next time I'll try using my whole ass to make a prediction.

Congratulations to Sam Bradford on his well earned award, and lots of luck. Heisman winners have... struggled in recent years following their win, both in the BCS title game and in the NFL, but for his sake hopefully he can shake the bad juju which seems to infect the statue.

Of course, this year the Heisman "jinx" is guaranteed to happen... and not happen. And that's a prediction using my whole butt. The reason is that Bradford's win sets up a Heisman versus Heisman National Championship game against last year's winner Tim Tebowandomygoditsonlybeen3hourssince thetrophywasawardedandI'malreadysickofthislineofpromotingthe nationaltitlegamedon'tyoupeoplerealizethatQBisincreadiblyoverhypedandwithouttheir speedyballcarrierslegbreakinglinesandpunishingD'splusalotofgoodluckneitherofthese QBswouldbeabletodoshit.ThewholeconceptoftheHeismanisabunchofstylizedoverhypedcrap!


The last time we had a Heisman versus Heisman National Title game it was Oklahoma's Jason White Versus Matt Leinart in the 2005 Orange Bowl, one of the biggest sporting disappointments ever. Oh it was fun to watch USC kick the Sooners up and down the field all night. And who can forget Ashlee Simpson's famous booing by the assembled multitudes at halftime? But the game itself was a major let down in terms of competitiveness. This game has a similar feel in terms of hype, so hopefully it will be more like the 2006 Rose Bowl instead.

My deepest, deepest condolences to Colt McCoy. This whole BCS screwjob keeps getting worse. Bradford's victory came in no small part because of his team's victory in the Big 12 Championship Game and invitation to the BCS Title Game. Which of course was made possible by the Big-12s 5th Tiebreaker rule, which for some stupid ass reason was the BCS standings, which were flipped because Oklahoma had the benefit of having a last minute high profile game against Oklahoma State.

I won't shed too many tears for McCoy. I'm sure his rumored girlfriend, pictured here (on the left) on what I assume is a deep sea fishing trip, will be able to cheer him up a bit and put a positive spin on the situation (she's apparently a very talented journalist in training). But lets take a minute to think about how screwed (in a bad way) he was by all this:

Because of a stupid tie breaking rule which I doubt anyone ever thought would actually have to be used, Colt McCoy, through no fault of his own, has missed out on:

The Big-12 South Title
The Big-12 Title
The BCS Title Game
and now (Probably) winning the Heisman Trophy.
McCoy finished in second this year, and seeing as he's already said that he'll be back next year at Texas its a no-brainer that he'll start the season at the top of everyone's Heisman list. Of course, you never can tell how things will play out, with injuries and juju and such. If this football thing doesn't work out, I suggest he try and become a reporter.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Boomer (Champion?) Sooner

I was puzzled at the fact that the BCS, a system which seems set up to screw a different team every year, managed to always give special treatment to the Oklahoma Sooners. Amazingly, this is Bob Stoops's 4th trip to the BCS title game, and even this year's controversy pales in comparison to that surrounding some of the other trips.

Oklahoma's first BCS trip was totally legit. They were undefeated and ranked #1.

Their 2004 trip was controversial in that there were 3 undefeated teams but, as always, there were only 2 spots in the title game.

Things were screwy this year in favor of Oklahoma, and they got a Big-12 Title, a BCSNCG trip, and possible a Heisman Trophy as a result of the Sooner Friendly BCS. But its not really right to blame the BCS entirely, as the Big-12 was dumb enough This years BCS inclusion of Oklahoma is more controversial than 2004 but it doesn't come close to being the most controversial selection for Stoops's Troops. That honor goes to their inclusion in the 2003 Sugar Bowl.

Oklahoma's 2003 title game appearance was perhaps the biggest BCS screwup of all time (or maybe not, there are so many its hard to keep track). Oklahoma lost the Big-12 title game that year. Didn't just lose, got hammered, 35-7, by a Kansas State team led by the original Pocket Hercules Darren Sproles. Despite not winning their conference and getting stomped badly on national TV, the BCS computers still ranked Oklahoma high enough that they were put in the Sugar Bowl against LSU. This led to the infamous split title of 2003, which stupid LSU fans are still bitching about to SC fans despite the fact that SC had nothing to do with it. Freaking hicks, go feed your stupid Tiger.

The Pac-10, the SEC, the ACC, the Big East, smaller schools, Texas, all have been on the short end of the BCS stick. Its truly impressive how many teams have been screwed in only a decade. But why does Oklahoma seem to always reap the benefits of the BCS computations?

Bob Stoops is married to Carol Stoops. Bob and Carol Stoops. BCS! They're behind the whole thing! Its all so simple people!


If Bob Stoops is so powerful, why has he lost so many BCS games?


Seriously though, I have something to say to the Oklahoma fan base. Let me preference this by saying that I am NOT a Texas fan. I don't have any reason to hate Oklahoma, either the team or the state. In fact, in the short time I spent in Texas and Oklahoma, I definitely preferred Oklahoma.

A lot of Sooner fans have recently accused Texas and its fans of being whiners and crybabies as a result of their BCS snub. Some even made banners and posters about the subject and took them to the Big-12 Championship game to display on TV. There seems to be a special delight among Sooners in rubbing this into Texas's collective face.

To any and all Oklahoma fans who are engaging this type of activity, I say this:


Essentially, you won a coin flip. It could just have easily been Texas which won the Big-12 South, Big 12 Title game, had their ticket punched for Miami and had their QB win the Heisman. You got lucky. Which is fine, luck is part of life, and I have no real argument against Oklahoma being selected. But seriously, try to show a little class. You were the beneficiary of a flawed system (again, I might add), so don't pretend like Texas fans don't have a legitimate beef with how things played out.

I know (I KNOW!) that if the tables were turned, and Texas had been selected, that the very same Sooner fans now delighting in taunting Texas fans for their anger would be up in fucking arms over the injustice of it all. And they'd have just as much a reason to be upset as Texas fans do now. So please, Sooner Fans, grow up and realize how lucky you are, enjoy it, and don't spoil it with poor sportsmanship. Florida already has Jesus taking the snaps, so it would be wise not to have too much bad Karma on your trip to Miami or you'll be up against not one but two different supernatural belief structures, and I don't even think Sam Bradford can deal with that.

I'll never understand how people can pull out the "don't be a whiner card" in situations like this. Jesus, these football teams are more important that anything else to some of these fans (not the greatest thing, but true nonetheless). You spend the whole year following, learning about, discussing, arguing, living and dying by every action your team makes. Now your team was screwed out of a lot of good shit for no real reason, essentially because you lost coin flip, and you're expected to not get pissed off about it? You shouldn't get mad and wonder who you have to screw to get a little justice?

By the way, the answer is Bob Stoops.

Heisman Thoughts

The Heisman Memorial Trophy, without a doubt the most hyped and over-analyzed individual award in all of sports, will be given out tonight. TV networks love the Heisman trophy because it gives them hours upon hours of material to babble about instead of doing something productive, which is why I've grown to dislike the Heisman Trophy over the years. The more they talk about it every single damn week, the less I seem to enjoy it.

The three finalists this year are all Quarterbacks for three of the most visible powerhouse teams in the country. Last year's winner, Tim Tebow, will try to become the second ever two time winner, and I think he's got a better chance than most people realize. The betting odds show Sam Bradford as the favorite, followed by Colt McCoy and then Tebow. McCoy and Bradford have had the advantage of ABC covering the Big-12 South every Saturday night for what seems like the last 2 months, and that's just the kind of national media exposure which would make either one a shoo-in. But you can have only one shoo-in, and adding a second makes both into shoo-outs.

The problem the other two contenders have is that they are basically the same candidate, ie the star QB of a Big-12 South power. Tebow, of course, is basically the same except that he's the star QB of an SEC power, and like many elections before it this one will have as much to do with geography as with worthiness.

In order to win the Heisman, typically you need full support from the voters in your geographic region plus a smattering of support from other pockets of the country. Tim Tebow's advantage is that he is basically the one and only shining star from the SEC. All the SEC voters will vote for him first, and anyone looking in at the SEC will vote for him before anyone else in the Conference. Colt and Bradford, however, will be fighting over the same base of voters and they're likely to split them. Adding to their disadvantage is the fact that the Big-12 has a number of other big name stars, including Graham Harrell, Mike Crabtree, Zac Robinson and Chase Daniel, who won't win but will pick away even more votes from Bradford and/or McCoy.

Maybe I'll be proven wrong, but it seems pretty obvious how the votes will split. If Bradford does win, it will basically be a result of his performance against over matched Missouri in the Big-12 Championship game, the last big game in the voters minds. If that's the case I'd be especially pissed if I were a Texas fan, since they had as much of a claim to be in that game as Oklahoma (more so in my opinion). So not only has the BCS screwed Texas out of a division title, Big-12 Title, and trip to the National Championship game, but it also screwed Colt McCoy out of a chance to win the Heisman which was instead afforded to Bradford.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blood for (Foot)Baal!

After a season of agony and disappointment, in which our playoff hopes stand at the very cusp of death, many Charger fans are wondering just what went wrong.

With the exception of Lo Neal, Turner and Merriman, this is essentially the same team as last year, a team which went 11-5, won 8 games in a row, and was three hobbled pro-bowlers from a trip to the Super Bowl. So what's changed? What have we done to anger the football gods?

The answer has made itself known. It has nothing to nothing to do with the pussification of the O-line, LT's injuries, a defense which can't tackle or pressure, a coach who can't manage a game, or a run of bad luck in a few close games. The answer is none of these things, and its been staring us in the pie hole this whole time: Veggie Hot Dogs.

PETA has declared Qualcomm Stadium as the NFL stadium most friendly to vegetarians.

Normally I wouldn't care about such a distinction, but anytime you're getting an award from PETA you're probably doing something that contributes to losing football games.

We, as Charger fans, need to do something to cancel out the bad football karma that PETA is sending our way. I think there is only one way to get things back on track. We need 3 wins and 3 Denver losses to get into the playoffs, and only some serious animal flesh based voodoo is gonna get the job done. I propose that every Charger fan do their part and for the next three weeks host or attend at many BBQs as possible. Carolina style, Texas style, Southwest style, whatever your local pitmaster's speciality is, dig in.

Don't skimp on the chicken either or the link sausage. Watching your figure? Throw some bacon on that salad! And I know the economy is tight, but surely a nice night out at Donovan's or Ruth Chris's can be justified if that Filet Mignon or T-Bone will help the Bolts sneak into the playoffs. Come on people, we all have to do our part.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

"Hey, we got one less Cy Young winner over here!"

The Baseball World has suffered another loss, as 4 Time Cy Young Winner and pitching savant Greg Maddux has announced that he will announce his retirement. That's how big a deal he is, he actually had to announce that he will be announcing, and damned if he doesn't deserve it. Maddux started with the Cubs, then spent the best years of his career with the Braves, then returned to Chicago for a few seasons before finishing his career bouncing back and forth between the Dodgers and Padres.

Maddux had a great career in the Major Leagues, winning 355 games despite a fastball which topped out at 90 MPH or so. He did it with pinpoint control, plenty of movement, and above all a level of baseball intelligence matched by few others. He bested Roger Clemens by a single win, which makes me wonder just how great Maddux could have been with some of Clemens's "health regime".

Even without any pharmaceutical help, Maddux managed 3371 Ks, a .610 winning percentage, and a career ERA of 3.16 which includes a few not so great years tacked onto the end. He walked only 999 of the over 20000 batters he faced, and actually had more wins, 355, than home runs allowed, 353.

As a kid I once wrote a school report about Greg Maddux (which I got 100% on!). Its amazing to think that even then, some dozen or more years ago, Maddux was already considered bound for the Hall of Fame. I remember reading an article as part of my research for that report, a piece which was filled with stories of how Maddux was very cerebral yet almost in a casual way. Baseball is just a game, its not rocket surgery or anything, but if there was ever was such thing as a pitching genius it was Greg Maddux.

But never mind all the wins, the strikeouts, Cy Youngs or the World Series title. Greg Maddux wasn't just some glasses wearing namby pamby pitcher, he could swing the lumber when he had too, as shown in this classic clip:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Toby Keith: War on Christmas

I have very mixed feelings about Country Music. Some is good, some is crap, which is true of most genres, but there's often a political and cultural slant which makes me uneasy. Toby Keith may be the best embodiment of this paradox. For ever boot metaphorically put into someone's ass, there's a threesome with Bobby Jo and Betty Lou. He'll feud with the Dixie Chicks in a way that makes him look like a moron and then turn out a CD full of music which I'm glad to have on my IPOD.

This video clip from Steven Colbert's Christmas special is just fantastic. Keith hams it up playing the part of the typical reactionary country western singer, with his tongue firmly in cheek the whole time. Or maybe he's faking that, and he really does believe that there is a War on Christmas. Who knows with this guy. Either way its a fun video.

Tuber Farmers of the World, Unite!

USDA Official Takes Courageous Stand Against Interstate Countercyclical Potato Pricing

I couldn't help it. I watch lots of funny videos, and a lot are funnier than this. But something about this tickled my inner political junkie. In a good way, that is.

The irony of the whole thing is that I hate potatoes.

Netflix Prize

From the New York Times Magazine comes this very interesting article about the "Netflix Prize", an open competition put on by Netflix. Its a lot like the "X Prize", in that the company has declared an open competition and is prepared to richly reward whoever accomplishes a set task. Except instead of building something boring like a spaceship, Netflix wants to slightly improve a series of mathematical algorithms, which is way more sexy and likely to get you laid.

The goal is to improve the accuracy of the Netflix recommendation software by 10%, and whoever can accomplish this will win the grand prize of $1 million. At first glance it doesn't seem that 10% should be so hard, but you have to realize that this is a 10% improvement from the point at which the original Netflix programmers stopped trying to refine their model. The marginal difficulty of even this small improvement is very high and despite the large prize and competitive teams working around the globe the closest anyone has gotten is about 9.4% improvement. Even this seems pretty good considering the daunting task of creating new algorithms which improve upon all the old ones already in use.

The biggest hurdle in getting to the goal appears to be coming from hard to rate independent films, which are generally very polarizing and harder to predict based on other movie preferences. Singled out as the biggest confounding DVD is the indie flick "Napoleon Dynamite", which by some estimates accounts for up to 15% of the uncertainty left in the models. "Dynamite" is a movie which most viewers either love or hate, and the overabundance of 1 and 5 star reviews, which apparently have little apparent relation to a rater's other movie preferences, wreaks havoc on the prediction algorithms. It would be easy if the world was easily split into "Dynamite" lovers and haters, but there is no apparent relationship between a Vote for Pedro and a rater's taste in other films.

Several other indie films which received wide release are also a problem for the programmers, which is probably fitting if you think about it. All these films thrive of being odd, unpredictable and "quirky" for quirky's sake, so its no surprise that they have to go and screw with perfectly good logical algorithms. On the other side of the coin, its not too surprising that studio films fit so nicely into such algorithms, since I'm convinced that most of them are conceived, written and green-lit by a computer.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mack Brown really is Bob Stoops's Bitch

Sucks to be the Longhorns. You have a great season, you actually win the Red River Shootout, you're one miracle play from going undefeated, and in the end your reward is to sit at home and watch two teams you have beat play for the Big-12 title.

I have no particular love for the Sooners or the Horns, but I gotta feel bad for Mack Brown. He had won the Shootout before against Stoops but only in years where his team came in as a large favorite. This year he managed to get his underdog team to win in Dallas, and his big reward is to watch Stoops take his team to the Big-12 Championship game and probably the National Championship Game, while his team will be thrown a bone by the BCS with a Fiesta Bowl matchup against Utah.

I've already expressed my opinion that the tie was decided incorrectly. In my opinion deciding of a conference championship or division title must be done taking into account only what teams do in conference play. The truth of the matter is that this tie was broken as a result of Oklahoma's slightly better out of conference schedule. This may not seem like a big deal, but consider another scenario: all the Big-12 conference results were identical, but Texas and Oklahoma each lost an out of Conference game and finished 10-2 instead of 11-1. Under this tiebreaker Texas Tech, the team which was disemboweled by Oklahoma just last week, would have likely been declared the champion of the Big-12 South on account of their superior overall record.

Looking to the SEC, whose championship game this Saturday will decide one half of the National Title Game matchup, I was floored when I learned that Alabama is a 10 point underdog against the Gators. Think about that: the undefeated, consensus #1 team in every poll is a double digit underdog to on a neutral field. What's more amazing is that I can't really say its wrong. Alabama has had a great season, but they have benefited from a schedule which, in retrospect, is much weaker than it originally looked. Their big wins against Clemson and Auburn aren't particularly impressive given the massive struggles of those teams this year. They had several close calls against mediocre teams, including now-unranked LSU, Kentucky and Ole Miss. Even their biggest win, when they smashed Georgia on the road, is less impressive given Georgia's (lack of) performance against Florida, struggles against mediocre Auburn, Kentucky and South Carolina teams and most recent loss to Georgia Tech.

Of course, Bama has a chance to shut me and all other critics like me up this Saturday. I do think they matchup fairly well against the Gators, though it will take very good execution on their part if they want to pull the upset.

Assuming things go as predicted, we'll have a Florida vs. Oklahoma national title game next month. This should be a great game with a ton of offense. You'll have at least one Heisman trophy winner in Tim Tebow and another possible winner in Sam Bradford, plus tons of speed and talent at every position.

Speaking of the Heisman, I think the Big-12's embarrassment of offensive riches will be its undoing. Bradford, Colt McCoy, Harrell, Robinson, Daniel and Crabtree will likely all split the Big-12 voting block into little bitty pieces. Meanwhile, a guy like Tebow will face little opposition from his SEC peers. Its a perfect divide and conquer scenario.

Prediction Follies

Yesterdays quick pics were mostly a disaster. I was right about Oklahoma "winning" the Big-12 South, but my last minute NFL picks were perhaps my worst bunch of the season. I went 4-8 with the Monday night game still pending. To be fair I would have gone 2-1 with my probable but never made Thanksgiving Day picks, but you get no points for probable wins.

Let this be a lesson: be wary of making public predictions off the top of your head. You need at least 15-20 seconds of deep thought per prediction to really get things correct.