In which Cooper returns with a steaming heap of bowl games, which you should not put in your mouth... unless you're Beyonce.
With the Sports As Life holiday break officially over I have decided to get down to submitting my picks for this week's upcoming bowl games. Due to the break and my lack of a computer with Internet access I was unable to give my predictions for the past few bowl games. The following are the bowl games I missed and what my predictions were. I am being honest with these, honestly.
I had correctly picked the following games:
Purdue to defeat Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl.
Texas to defeat Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl.
Boston College to defeat Michigan St in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Mississippi St to defeat Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl.
Penn St to defeat Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl.
I was incorrect picking the following games:
Houston to defeat TCU in the Texas Bowl.
Maryland to defeat Oregon St in the Emerald Bowl
Uconn to defeat Wake Forest in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
There are six bowl games this Monday, however only one of them, the Chick-Fil-A Bowl offers up a decent match up. There rest can be considered slightly better than bottom-feeder games.
Unfortunately I am pressed for time today so my picks will not be in depth. I have to actually do work at work today so I am phoning it in as the kids say.
In the Armed Forces Bowl I predict the California Golden Bears to defeat the Air Force Falcons. Cal at one point was ranked #2 in the nation and could have been ranked #1 if it wouldn’t have been for an upset loss against Oregon St which led them to lose 6 of their last 7 games.
In the Humanitarian Bowl I have Georgia Tech winning a close game over the Fresno State Bulldogs. I believe the winner of this game receives a generous donation from the Human Fund.
In the Sun Bowl I look for the Bulls of South Florida to easily handle the injury-plagued Oregon Ducks. The last 2 games of the season Oregon was down to it’s 4th string QB, who just happens to be the younger brother of former Charger Ryan Leaf.
The Music City Bowl has Kentucky up against Florida State. The Seminoles of Florida State have 30 + players suspended for this game following an academic cheating ring that had gone on through the season. I think some players are being asked to play both sides of the ball for the Seminoles in this one due to the lack of bodies. Kentucky will easily handle Florida State.
In the Insight.com Bowl we have an interesting match up of coaches in a way. Oklahoma State of course has Mike Gundy who famously let us know that he is in fact “A Man” and that he is 40! And Indiana has, or should I say had, coach Terry Hoeppner who sadly passed away after a recent, short battle with brain cancer. I am going with the sentimental favourite in this one and taking the Hoosiers of Indiana.
And finally we have the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, which proudly reminds us to “Eat Mor Chikin”. This game features the 15th ranked Clemson Tigers against the 22nd ranked Auburn Tigers. There is a definite conundrum picking this game going by the mascot factor, Tiger vs Tiger. I believe this game is the nexus of the universe. Earlier this season I had mentioned in my picks about how “Aubie the Tiger” from Auburn was the 3 time mascot national champion. I am sticking with a winner in this one. Being a tiger vs tiger match up it will be close right to the very end with each team knowing exactly what the other is doing. A George Senior vs Oscar type fight if you will. However, Aubie the Tiger prevails with a late field goal and lifts Auburn to victory.
Monday, December 31, 2007
In which Cooper returns with a steaming heap of bowl games, which you should not put in your mouth... unless you're Beyonce.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Since it's the last week of the NFL regular season I decided to actually write something about the Week 17 picks - but then I looked at the games this week, and 3 or 4 actually mean something. So I'm not wasting my time and yours writing about Kansas City at the Jets. I don't suspect anybody is actually around to read them - but that's no different than what would normally happen anyway. If nobody reads a blog, does it actually exist?
Me being the curious type that I am, I decided to compile the results of the football picks through the first 16 weeks of the season. The tally so far is 161-81. And while being right almost twice as much as I'm wrong is nice, I still think it was a bad idea not to pick the games based on the point spread. On the slim chance that I'm doing this again next year, the spread will definitely be included.
And now, the last regular season Riot of the year...
Friday, December 21, 2007
Cooper didn't get the memo about the Christmas holiday - so we've got another Bowl Bonanza for you before the break.
Here I am back to preview this weekend's bowl games. As I check the scores for the first time today I see that my prediction of Navy defeating Utah was a little shortsighted. Let’s see if I can come out of this weekend with a winning record, or at least a .500 record. We have 5 bowl games this weekend starting off tonight in New Orleans with the New Orleans Bowl. I believe Pat Fiacco is on there bowl committee and came up with the name. Who else would think of such an unoriginal name?
This year’s version of the New Orleans bowl pits the Florida Atlantic Owls (7-5), the champions of the Sun Belt Conference up against the Memphis Tigers (7-5), the 2nd place team from Conference USA. This is what is referred to as a “bottom-feeder” game. A game that is created just so two small school teams can pick up some TV revenue. One prominent Internet football scribe previewed this game with the following two words; “Who Cares”. Well I don’t. I can say I will not be watching this game. However, an Owl is no match for a Tiger so Memphis is your winner.
On Saturday we have 3 games on the slate. First up is the Papajohns.com Bowl from legendary Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. This match-up features the Cincinnati Bearcats (9-3), the 3rd place team from the Big East and ranked 20th in the nation against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (7-5), the 4th place team from Conference USA. Like all of you I did not see a minute of either team play this year so I can’t give you any honest player breakdowns that you can’t read for yourself on someone else’s column. From what I have read most columnists have a man crush on Cincinnati QB Ben Mauk. As far as the mascot match up is concerned the Golden Eagles have the advantage in the air. However, the Bearcat is some sick genetic cross between man’s most ruthless enemy the bear and an ornery house cat. Bearcats hands down. They are not only the more dominant species - but as a team they are ranked higher nationally and come from a much more competitive conference.
Later on in the afternoon we have the New Mexico Bowl, live from University Stadium in Albuquerque. “There’s a New Mexico!?” This game features the Nevada Wolfpack (6-6), the 4th place team in from the WAC against the hometown New Mexico Lobos (8-4), the 3rd place team from the Mountain West Conference. I automatically assume the New Mexico Lobos created this bowl game just so they can get some revenue dollars. Why else would this bowl exist? As for as mascots are concerned a pack of Wolves is pretty terrifying, but with there being not one documented case of a wolf killing a human in North America the intimidation factor wears off pretty quick. I wasn’t able to find out what a “Lobo” is so I provided a link to something similar. Terrifying, absolutely terrifying. Let’s hope that they don’t organize one day and kill us all. The Hobos of New Mexico take this in a walk.
The final game on Saturday is the Las Vegas Bowl, (Damn you Fiacco!) I was about to say that this is another useless bowl game however I see that ABC has Brad Nessler, Bob Griese and Paul Maguire as analysts. They only dust off this crew for big games. Anyway this year’s version of the Las Vegas Bowl has the BYU Cougars (10-2), the Mountain West Champions and the 19th ranked team nationally against the UCLA Bruins (6-6), the 4th place team from the PAC-10 conference. It is very rare that two teams face each other twice in one year but here we have that very situation. In the first match up early in the season UCLA defeated BYU 27-17 at home. That was before UCLA was decimated with injuries and their season went down the crapper. BYU has been one of the best teams nationally since losing to UCLA way back in week two. The thought of seeing a bruin go toe-to-toe with a cougar is somewhat exotic. I would have to think that the quickness of the cougar gives it the advantage over the slow, purposeful bruin. BYU takes it in a cakewalk.
The final game of the weekend is this Sunday. If you don’t feel like watching the Vikings and the Redskins you can tune into the Hawaii Bowl. This years game has last years Cinderella team Boise St (10-2), the 2nd place team in the WAC and ranked 24th nationally against the Eastern Carolina Pirates (7-5), the 2nd place team from Conference USA. I am not even going to waste my time breaking down this game. Boise St wins this one by about 6 TD’s and a couple of field goals.
We're foregoing the headshot today, as Chris Simon has got that one all locked up for the week. It wasn't a headshot but it was a savage act of goonery. So we're putting up a special holiday Sights & Sounds and then the Sports As Life World Headquarters are going to be closed for a week or so. Happy Holidays from everyone at Sports As Life!
Sight & Sounds – Special Christmas Edition
I wasn’t planning on writing anything until the New Year, but then I came across a video which has left me asking myself, “Why are the Killers trying to ruin my Christmas?” For one reason or another, this year I have had a tough time really getting into the spirit of Christmas. I have yet to see the Grinch Who Stole Christmas or Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer on TV, my wife and I have been too busy to decorate the house, and there just hasn’t been much Christmassy stuff in my world lately. But then, just as I am starting to get into things, the Killers come along and stomp on my Christmas spirit. Take a few minutes to watch the video for The Killers new Christmas song. Wow….right? I should probably now apologize for ruining your Christmas by having asked you to watch this video.
Seriously… what the hell were the Killers thinking? Do they have something against Christmas? Did Brandon Flowers not get any presents when he was a kid? Did he have a bad experience with a mall Santa? This is just awful. First, let’s ignore how creepy the actual song is and go straight to the imagery put forward in this video. Did I actually see a reindeer skull? Did I see a beetle crawling in the desert? Did I see the creepiest puppet show of all time? Is this bearded freak show actually wielding an axe with the intention of killing Brandon? Is he digging a grave while dancing? What is with Brandon’s completely expressionless face? Can you also see the hate for Christmas in his eyes?
Then there is the song itself. Before I start in with the negative, I will give this song one, and only one, compliment. The chorus is catchy. The words are terrible… but the melody is great. If this wasn’t a Christmas song, I may even like it… but, it is a Christmas song. There is not one recognizable Christmas song characteristic in this song. The lyrics are terrible and in no way represent the spirit of Christmas. The vocals by Santa will only succeed in scaring the bejesus out of anyone under the age of 11 (and in my case 27). Aren’t Christmas songs supposed to contain G rated material? Terrible, that is all you can say.
So, to get me back in the Christmas spirit…here is what I had to watch. Nothing says Christmas like cleavage and legs. Thanks Mariah!
Have a happy holiday season to all! Sights & Sounds will be back in the New Year.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Week 16 is going to be a quick one:
And that's it - there will be an NHL Headshot of the week tomorrow and a special holiday Sights & Sounds - and then we're all on vacation!
'Tis the season for Best of Lists and Phony Awards, so why should we be any different. Today Jeff K and I are giving you our picks for the best music of the year. Jeff's picks are up first and then mine follow...
So, Luke asked me to put together a list of my Top 3 albums and Top 3 songs of 2007. He asked me to do this about 3 weeks ago… and I am finally getting around to it at the last minute. Do you know what I realized in writing this? There has been slim pickings for music this year. It was actually a terrible year in music. I honestly had a real tough time coming up with 3 albums and songs. I am sure part of this is to blame on my laziness this year with music. I have not spent a whole lot of time looking for new music, and there hasn’t been much that has come across my desk. It seemed that every time I thought of a great album, it turned out to be released in 2006 or even 2005. I think another contributing factor to why I can’t find anything would be that I didn’t spend enough time thinking about all the music I listened to this year. So, if you disagree with something below, I don’t blame you. There are probably albums and songs I will think of after the fact. In any case, here is the quick list.
Top 3 Albums
1. Lotus Child – Gossip Diet: That’s right, if you know anything about this album, you will know that I am cheating right out of the gate. This album was released in 2006. I have, however, decided to break the rules (of which there aren’t any) and name this my favorite album of 2007. Why? Because I didn’t come across this album until early this year, and without a doubt, I gave it the most play of any album I own this year. This is an album that I just never got tired of. I am one of those people who is too lazy to change cds in his car, so usually listens to the same album for way too long. However, in this case, it was not a problem. The opening track “Lids” opens with one of the best piano intros ever written, and that pretty much sets the tone for the album. There really isn’t one song on the album I dislike. There is usually one song on every album that I will skip, but not with this album. If you haven’t heard of Lotus Child, check out their Myspace and listen to Archaeologists, Lids, and Kate….and the new track No Talking. So…check it all out.
2. Bloc Party – A Weekend In The City: Well, with my second pick I am now officially in the year 2007. A Weekend In the City is the Bloc Party’s sophomore album… and it is fantastic. Just as with the Lotus Child album, the first minute of the album really sets the tone. The intro to the opening track has the haunting vocals that are a big reason why I love the Bloc Party so much. The opening track is Song for Clay (Disappear Here) and you can check it out on their Myspace. The Bloc Party are definitely one of the top rock acts out there right now. I still like their first album, Silent Alarm, better - but this album is still outstanding… especially among all the weak albums of 2007. A Weekend in the City is a solid album from front to back.
3. Donovan Woods – The Hold Up: I am one of those people that seems to be always saying “listen to this song, this is definitely one of my favorite songs of all time” a little too often. Anytime something new comes along that I really like, I get pretty excited. So this may be why Donovan Woods has made my list. I recently came across this album, and haven’t stopped listening to it. Again, check out Donovan’s Myspace and listen to My Cousin Has A Grey Cup Ring and He Drinks Gas. If you aren’t sold after those two songs, well… you should get your music recommendations somewhere else. This album is outstanding, and the lyrics are phenomenal. I am not usually one to pay that much attention to lyrics, as I am more of a melody man, but I love the lyrics that Donovan lays out. The words combined with the way he delivers them really hits hard. Plus, Donovan Woods’ lyrics are very Canadian. I always appreciate bands like Sam Roberts and the Tragically Hip for writing words that you can relate to as a Canadian. Obviously, My Cousin Has A Grey Cup Ring is one of those songs, along with Car Won’t Start. I love this album, and it could have very easily been #1… but I like to give albums a bit more of a test of time that 1 month.
4. Honorable Mention: Tegan and Sara – The Con: This album didn’t make the list, but it almost did. However, I realized that it would have only made the list on the strength of their previous album So Jealous. That album is so good that I think it carried through to the way I look at The Con. Really, it isn’t nearly as good as So Jealous. Also, my four favorite songs of the album probably total about 6 minutes in playing time. They have too many 1-2 minute songs for my liking. Just when you are getting into the song, it is over. But, Tegan and Sara are the best band out there today, so I should include them in my list.
Top 3 Songs
1. Hey Ya – Obadiah Parker (Mat Weddle): That’s right, cheating again. This song was recorded in 2006… but again, I didn’t hear it until this summer. It turns out that you can listen to one song 10,000 times and not be tired of it. I won’t lie to you, this song did eventually reach a saturation point… but it is possible that I did listen to this song more times in a 6 month period that any song I have ever heard. I may have even listened to it 30 times in a row at one point. Mat Weddle’s vocals are amazing and this is without a doubt the best cover I have ever heard. This song is just down right catchy. Here is the YouTube clip that I stumbled across. Hey… I just listened to it again, and I still love it! “If what they say is nothing is forever, then what makes love the exception?”
2. What Goes Around – Justin Timberlake: I don’t see how I can go without listing a JT song and still be able to sleep at night. There is no point in hiding it. I like JT. He gets it done. Honestly, here is how it all started. Check this clip out of David Choi from YouTube covering What Goes Around. After hearing this I thought… that is pretty damn catchy. I immediately grabbed my acoustic guitar and started playing those 4 chords that make up the entire song and realized… this is solid music. Ever since then, I have been loving his music. Actually, I am still not sure that Love Stoned/I Think She Knows isn’t actually my favorite song. The reason I didn’t choose it is that it is the second half of the song that I really like. Check out this video for this song (which is actually a shortened version). From 3:29 on is amazing. I really dig it, and I think it may be the catchiest melody of 2007. As sad as it is, I may have a man crush on Justin Timberlake.
3. The Special Two – Missy Higgins: I don’t have much to say about this one other than the vocals give me chills. Missy Higgins might have made my top albums list, but I haven’t gotten around to listening to the albums I ripped yet. Here is the video.
And there you have it. I am sure I will change my mind in 15 minutes on every choice I have made.
Like Jeff said, we decided to put together this little Best Of list about 3 weeks ago – and I’m finishing my list even later than him.
And as much as I hate to agree with him, I’m inclined to agree that 2007 was a pretty sub-par year for music. And it really shouldn’t have been – quite a few of my favorite artists recorded albums… Against Me!, Tegan and Sara, Stars, The Weakerthans, and The White Stripes, among others. I think the problem for me was the almost total lack of solid albums from new artists – or at least artists I’d never heard before. Cold War Kids, The National and Donovan Woods are the only ones that really come to mind. I might be leaving out a couple but the fact that they don’t easily come to mind leads me to believe that I’m not forgetting anything.
But onward and upward – there was some great music released this year and that’s what we’re here to deal with. So here are my Top 3 albums of the year.
Top 3 Albums
1. Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
This one is a gimme for me because Modest Mouse is hands-down my favorite band. While this is not even my favorite album of theirs, it is sufficiently fantastic for it to be my #1 album for the year. There are a lot of Modest Mouse purists out there who hate the last few albums because of the more polished direction the band has taken – but if I wanted to listen to a band who kept making the same record I’d listen to AC/DC. Are they pop-ier than they used to be? Absolutely but the albums are also a lot more consistent all the way through now. My highlights are Spitting Venom (which absolutely blew the roof off Doris Knight Hall last month - and should always be listened to a maximum volume) and Parting of the Sensory. Like Jeff, this album has been in my car for many, many months and I have pushed the limits of my stereo system, as well as my ear drums, with the volume I listen to this disc at.
2. Band of Horses – Cease to Begin
If not for the Modest Mouse album this would have easily been my #1. The funny thing is that I’ve only been listening to it for a month or so, that’s how good it is. There is not one bad song front to back. And I would rate nearly every song as “fantastic”. Originality is such a hard thing to come by these days and Band of Horses has it in spades. The fact that I can’t really think of anyone to compare them to is probably a big part of why I like them so much. Honestly, just go buy this album – there is absolutely no way you could be disappointed by it. Songs to hear are The General Specific, Ode to LRC and Marry Song.
3. Bright Eyes – Cassadaga
This is the Bright Eyes album that I’ve been waiting for. His past few albums have had moments of serious transcendence but were always lacking consistency. I’m unbelievably jealous of Bright Eyes (Connor Oberst) as a lyricist – and Cassadaga did nothing to change that. Lyrics like, “I tried to pass for nothing but my dreams gave me away,” and “it’s not that often, but I think of her sometimes – just something quaint, a couple ships in the night” just bring me to my knees. Tops for me are If The Brakeman Turns My Way (and if I hadn’t imposed a rule on myself that my album and song lists couldn’t overlap, this would have been my song of the year) and Classic Cars.
4. Honourable Mentions: Against Me! for New Wave, Rilo Kiley for Silver Lining and Wayne Petti for City Lights Align
Top 3 Songs
Here are my top 3 songs of the year. Like I said I wanted to pick 3 that didn’t appear on any my albums of the year. Another requirement was there be a YouTube clip of the song – which is why some, like “He Drinks Gas” didn’t make the list. Click on the name of the song to listen to it.
1. Fake Empire – The National
If we had been doing the Top 5 albums of the year, The National’s Boxer would have been on it – but since we only did the Top 3 I can include this song here. There is nothing not to like about this song: great piano, deep soothing brooding voice, and a phenomenal drum fill that kicks in about halfway through the song. I defy you to listen to this song and not tap your foot or nod your head.
2. Hey Ya – Obadiah Parker
I tried so hard to pick Obadiah Parker’s cover of Idioteque for this list instead of Hey Ya – just to disagree with Jeff. But I couldn’t do it. Hey Ya is just too good. If I was only able to listen to one song for the rest of my life this song would be on my short list. The song is just so simple and I think that’s part of its appeal. Mat Weddle’s voice is almost as impressive as his beard. The live version on their Myspace site is superior to this solo version though.
3. Virtue the Cat Explains Her Departure – The Weakerthans
Since Jeff already broached the subject of man-crushes, I’m not ashamed to admit that I have a serious man-crush on Weakerthans lead singer John K. Sampson. His lyrics are always phenomenal – not everyone can make a song about an imaginary cat tragic and powerful. This song paints such a vivid picture I feel like I know what it's like to run away - you know, if I were a cat. Virtue… really hits its stride, at least musically, towards the end of the song and it is potentially heartbreaking.
I think I could have about 15,000 Honourable Mentions – so I think I’ll just leave my list as it is.
So that's it for the musical year that was - come January 1st we'll start compiling our list for next year.
“Without music, life would be a mistake…” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
The end of the year means two things - useless resolutions that will inevitably be broken approximately 1.3 days after January 1st... and made-up awards. We'll do the awards first - I'll wait 'til January to deal with my addiction to Duel.
We've got 4 award categories this year (as that's all I could really think of). All 4 of the Sports As Life contributors (as well as myself) were asked to pick one person/moment/story in each award category. So here we go...
The Mark Mangino Award (For Biggest Story/Moment of the Year)
Cooper: I am going to be a major homer on this one - but my choice for the biggest sports story/moment of the year (more moment than anything) is the Riders finally prevailing and winning the Grey Cup. I know I complained about this team as much as the next guy but it was still great to see them finally win one.
Jeff K: First, who in the hell is Mark Mangino? After Googling him, I did come up with this clip. After watching this, this award should probably be for the biggest blowup/meltdown in sports. How can someone of his health/physique have a fit like that and not go into cardiac arrest?
On to my pick for favorite sports story of the year - I would say Brett Favre. Brett is dominating at the age of 38. The Packers have been playing tremendous football all year and this all stems from Brett's play. After reading the Sports Illustrated "Sportsman of the Year" article where they gave the honours to Brett, I have decided this is the greatest thing in sports this year. Hopefully Brett can pull some sort of miracle out and beat the Cowboys and then Pats in the playoffs to take the Super Bowl... then he could retire already. Although, why retire when you are in your second prime?
Luke: I'm going to surprise everyone (and disgust myself) by saying this - but it's the New England Patriots. As much as I loathe that organization to its very core, I can't deny that what they're doing is unbelievable. We may never again see a team dominate with such ease and play so flawlessly (at least prior to the last few weeks). Through the first 10 or so weeks of the season they played football as close to perfection as is humanly possibly. And they just made it look so easy.
TH: England not making the Euro 2008 competition after being knocked out by Croatia 3-2 in their final match of the qualifying round. For a nation that worships European football this is a big one. Turkey made it. Romania made it. Poland made it. Even the neutral Swiss made it. Not only will England not be in the Euro Cup competition next year, they won't be in the World Cup in 2010. This will be the end of some of England's best international players' careers. I think that this will affect a whole nation's psychology and sense of self... and for that it is the biggest sporting story of the year. The award goes to England's collapse and the let-down of an entire nation.
Trebor: Kevin Glenn breaking his arm. That story meaning that the Riders, for the first time, wouldn't have to wait 23 years between Grey Cups... only 18.
The Pierre McGuire Mangasm of the Year Award
This award is given to a player who's jersey you would buy or makes you sit up and say 'wow' - basically your favorite player, regardless of sport.
Cooper: My choice for the Pierre McGuire Mangasm of the Year Award goes to Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings. As much as I dislike the Vikings and their horrific colour scheme, I am very impressed with how this kid runs. (Remember when you referred to a pro-sport rookie and couldn't call them 'kid') He is one of a few rare breed of running backs that possesses the speed and agility of a Gale Sayers and the brute power and strength of a John Riggins. It is a shame that he will most likely be gone from the NFL in a few short years. Taking pounding after pounding, week in and week out in the NFL eventually takes its toll (i.e: Ricky Williams, Priest Holmes, Jamal Anderson, Jamal Lewis). And with his history of injuries at Oklahoma (broken collarbone, sprained ankle) and now his torn LCL with the Vikings, it leads me to believe he will be going to the glue factory in a short time. Watch him any chance you get while he's still here.
Jeff K: My favorite player: Daniel E. Ruettiger... Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! Honestly, after thinking about it, I don't think I have a "favorite" player right now. So I guess I am taking resumes. There are a ton of players that I like, but none I would call my favorite. How sad is that? Later Edit: After more thought, I should have chosen Steve Nash as the winner for this award... simply for this.
Luke: With all due respect to Purple Jesus, who I've loved since the Jets game in the pre-season, my Mangasm of the Year is San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis. He runs like a gazelle and hits like Ike Turner... oooohhhh. Because he plays on an awful 49ers team I haven't been able to watch many of his games - but I did get to see him play on Saturday night. He laid a licking on Rudi Johnson (or possibly Kenny Watson) that made me get out of my seat, pumping my fist. /crosses fingers - Patrick Willis jersey for Christmas, Patrick Willis jersey for Christmas.
TH: Brett Favre, no doubt about it. Who would have thought that this old man - who was great in the mid-to-late 90's - would be having the year that he is. And seriously, who doesn't secretly root for this guy to win it all. To go out like Elway. To recapture a bit of his youth, and in turn a bit of our own youth. I am not a Packer fan, but I would most assuredly buy a Favre jersey. The award goes to: Brett Favre.
Trebor: Patrick Willis... maybe it came from watching the highlight of him against LSU. Just get all kinds of fired up over that. And though there hasn't been that many big hits (the Leinart hit has alright), he had back-to-back games with 18 tackles... so pretty good. He's also incredibly fast. In one of those games where he got 18 tackles he chased down a WR 62 yards from the line of scrimmage. Also I'm a fan of defensive play, despite being in all sorts of Fantasy leagues.
The Apollo Creed Award (For sports story that was beaten to death)
Cooper: My choice for the Apollo Creed Award is a toss up between the Mike Vick saga and the Barry Bonds home run chase/should their be an asterisk debate. I have a feeling that I am not alone in this, but I could be wrong.
Jeff K: Well there are some pretty obvious choices here. You have Michael Vick and his great decision making. You have the most lovable player in baseball, Barry Bonds, and his record-breaking home run and indictment. Honestly, between Bonds and Vick don't you have a couple great role models? Next you have anything that has to do with the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots... just ask Luke, who has repeatedly proclaimed his love for Pats coach Bill Belichick. The "Camera-gate" scandal was all you could hear for... well, it still is all you hear about. Also there was the reffing scandal when Donaghy bet on games he officiated in the NBA. So, in the face of all these dead horses that were beaten, what have I chosen? How about the Beckham's moving to Los Angeles. This shouldn't have received more than one day of media... and let's fact it, Victoria Beckham drove the story. If you take her out of the equation, you might not have even heard that David Beckham was moving to L.A. Honestly, I can't even think of what the US soccer league is called. NSL? MLS? Who cares? I hate is when Hollywood and Sports collide. I shouldn't have to see or read about Victoria Beckham when I am watching or reading sports news. By the way, what ever happened to Victoria Beckham's reality show? Good riddance.
Luke: I'm going off the board on this one... sure there was Bonds and Vick and Brady and steroids. But at least all of those stories were legitimately newsworthy, despite all the over-hyping that followed. My pick is something that I don't think even qualifies as legitimately newsworthy, not yet anyway. And it's the imminent death of the CFL at the hands of the mighty and terrible NFL. I haven't seen this much hand-wringing since O.J under the bathroom faucet in '94. Too soon?
TH: This is a tough one. Brady? Unbeaten Pats? But I have to go with Barry Bonds chasing the home run record earlier this year. Does anyone remember this now? After it happened Bonds, the Giants and excitement in regular season baseball just disappeared. But while he was chasing it that was all that anyone talked about on all the sporting networks... heck it even made it into mainstream news. Every time Barry and his sub-.500 team were playing that was the game that was shown. When he was a few away from the record, he every at-bat was picked up by all the stations that could pick it up - just to watch this over-the-hill steroid monster swing for the fences (usually striking out or walking after 4 or 5 pitches). This was going to be the biggest event in sports EVER... but it wasn't and the media jumped all over it like a hungry hobo. The award goes to: Barry Bonds run for the HR record... with honourable mention going to the Brady-loving media and the Pats chase for 'perfection'.
Trebor: "Spygames", "Patriot Games"... anything Patriot-related. Yeah, they are going to go undefeated and all but I just don't need to hear about it all the time. Coming a close 2nd is the Mitchell report... maybe because it's fresh?? It wasn't much of a story but it was hyped and the conference was a waste of time and the report proves nothing and it's an hour of my life I'll never get back. I hate baseball.
The Award for Most Howard Cosell Grave Roll-Overs (For worst sports commentary)
Cooper: My choice for the Howard Cosell Award goes to Mr. Bryant Gumbel of the NFL Network's Thursday Night Football. I was all pumped up to watch NFL football on Thursdays, however Mr. Gumbel's ineptitude at play-by-play has completely turned me off tuning in anymore. I am sure that I am not alone in this. Remember his quote, "Two Minutes Morning," instead of "Warning"? Classic!
Jeff K: I am about to make a few people very unhappy. Are you ready?... Don Cherry. I have always disliked Don Cherry. He is an idiot, plain and simple. I hate that he is so loved in Canada and is some sort of symbol of hockey. He is a crazy old man. He should be in the grocery store yelling at the cashier, not on TV. I just can't stand him, and I don't even care to go into more detail than that. The very close runners-up would be Chris Walby and Pierre McGuire. Coach of the Year Award: (I added this award for an excuse to link to this clip) The winner is - Rickey Jimmy.
Luke: It's Bryant Gumbel - hands down. He doesn't know the names of the teams, he doesn't know the names of the players, he doesn't even know what night he's calling the games on (on Saturday night he thought it was Thursday). All I need to say is that he's called Todd Collins, Tom Collins and Frank Gore, Al Gore. Next question!
TH: At first, I came up with Emmitt Smith. He is just the worst public speaker that could ever be - and he can't be forgiven for being an amateur because someone was dumb enough to pay him to slaughter the English language. But then I noticed the play-by-play/colour limitation (Ed. Note: originally the award was limited to booth personalities) and thankfully for my sanity Smith doesn't/can't do that (a person who would make me stop watching football altogether). So with that in mind, I would have to nominate the CBC/TSN CFL coverage teams. It doesn't matter which one you choose - they are all terrible. Walby, Suitor, Black... all of them suck so much it isn't funny. Could anyone make the CFL a bigger laughing-stock? YES, the idiots calling the games. There is Rod Black apologizing for everything, Brian Williams seemingly doesn't like football, Walby is a know-it-all loudmouth and Suitor... well, he is just there. K-Jo?!? Need I say more?
Trebor: This should really be like a Top 10, since there are so many to choose from. Emmitt is up there. If I watched TSN, maybe Palmer - TSN says he's an expert... how many snaps did he even take in the NFL? Madden comes close, not for taking an hour to figure out and describe why it's Three Rivers Stadium, not even for talking about Turducken. I go back to the game I watched in Wershington - Indy and San Diego. Peyton is bringing the Colts back on successive drives, completion after completion... to which John says, "It's almost as if Peyton is doing this on purpose"... thanks John. If I had to pick one... Keith Olberman really just annoys me to no limit. He was just doing highlights - "He could go all the... maybe only halfway... no, all the way..." If there was a tackle attempt or something then that's understandable, but the guy was clearly in fact going all the way.
So that's it for the SALUMATCYE Awards for this year. Who knows, we might even be doing this again next year. Feel free to nominate your own award winners in the comments.
This will probably end up being the final Sweet, Sweet Fantasy Baby of the season - so thanks to Trebor for guiding everyone through the muck and mire that is Fantasy Football.
And here come the pretzels...
Well I haven’t checked out NFL.com to see if long time reader CH won his game this week. I really don’t think I have to, I’m 99.9% sure that he lost for much of the same reason I lost in another league... studs not showing up.
Today with a few spare moments I wrote down the top positions. Qb - Brady, Romo, Favre, don’t know who would be 4th ??. WR – Moss, Owens, Housh (leads league in receptions and 4th in TD’s…who knew), Wayne (might be a stretch but only healthy WR on Indy so he’s a top guy). Then RB – LT, Peterson, Addai, Westbrook.
Of that list only 1 of the QB’s had positive points (Favre). Only… well, 0 of the receivers got a TD, which is the big thing - sure they got a few points for yards but so what. The RB’s... well some did a lot better.
So CH I know has Brady, Addai and Wayne… maybe 10 points combined from players who usually get between 30-40… so yeah I’m sure he lost.
In my keeper league I had: Romo, Housh, Wayne, Addai. Now usually I get between 120-130 points this week 63. It’s almost funny, none of my players performed. Willis, Witherspoon, Morrison all usually get 6-8 tackles this week 3, 4. Just bad all around.
What to take from it. An element of football that up to this point had been absent… the weather. Up until now sure there’s been the mud bowl and some rain here or there but this week we got snow and we got wind, we got smarts and we got Jessica (more on those later).
Before this you started your studs no matter what. What you were looking at was probably the match-up... Minny run def is top notch maybe I’ll sit my RB, Cincy has a def?? Who knew… I’ll still start whoever against them. Really what else was there to consider?
I got blindsided by the weather, mostly because I was out snowboarding and didn’t bother to check up on that stuff. If I had, I would have sat Tatupu in favor of Digorgio (MLB Buffalo). Why? Because I knew the Browns would have to run most of the day... oh well.
So this week Brady handed the ball off because of the wind, Cleveland players not named Lewis did nothing because of wind and snow. Could you really bench Brady or Moss that would take some serious gonads (funny word), or how about starting Cleveland’s defense... shudder. The weather - the last piece of the puzzle. Next year you’ll have it cased and be prepared..
This is my third year in Fantasy and I found out something new - who a player is rumored to be dating effects his game. Almost makes sense right??
I somehow managed to watch the Dallas game while doing some house work so didn’t hear the comments but I noticed the camera go up to a hot blonde wearing a pink jersey… All I said was ‘damn that’s a fine piece of…’ and then the second or third time … ‘Is that Jessica Simpson?' I know she’s hot but there’s got to be lots of hot girls there, if the game is really that boring spice it up a bit throw in a brunette or red head, I’ve been to Dallas - there should be lots to choose from.
It wasn’t until today that I realized that Jessica Simpson is one more poor Romo outing away from being (for lack of a better word)… Lynched. There’s blogs up already (Ed. Note: With Leather isn't a blog dedicated to lynching Simpson - it was just the first blog to come up when I Googled "kill Jessica Simpson". If you've never heard the You're with me Leather story - you must check it out), people are trying to make it so she can't come back to Texas Stadium… it’s really something.
I know if I was tossing the ball around in the backyard and she came out wearing that or well anything, yeah I would look over and I may even stare. But do you see a player being distracted by her being in a booth a hundred meters away while you have 300 lb guys chasing you??? Is she that hot?? I don’t have the answer to that last one, or wont answer for fear of the g/f reading…
Or maybe the thinking is it’s not the hotness that is the problem, but the well… hmm how to put it nicely… her being intellectually challenged???? Maybe people think that it’s rubbing of on Romo causing him to throw errant passes.
So next year, I will make sure I check out the Enquirer or whatever gossip magazines are out when I’m in the check-out line and maybe then I’ll get this Fantasy thing figured out.
Have you ever seen such a terrible, disrespectful, selfish play as what Westbrook did at the end of the Dallas game. I know one guy who has a new dent in his wall, only because he missed the TV. Really I didn’t think there was a player out there that would not run into the endzone. Maybe the Sports As Life braintrust can give another example. A couple of weeks ago against the Redskins he could have done the same thing but he elected to run it in, to the delight of all his Fantasy owners.
Why oh why would you do such a thing?? Owners thinking they outsmarted the weather and they were the greatest fantasy players out there when they saw the wide open space. You crushed them Brian, you crushed them. Maybe some will not return to the Fantasy leagues because they can’t escape the nightmares, or their wives' wrath over a dent in the wall. All because you had to go and do the right thing…for shame… for shame!
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Yeah, yeah it's late - sue me.
I've been having trouble coming to terms with the fact that I only went 8-8 last week. I've also spent quite a bit of time this afternoon handicapping all 32 of the College Bowl Games. It's not just for fun - I'm in a pool. I was going to post a picture of the notes I'd made but the picture was so monstrously big that my computer nearly turned against me. It wasn't all that exciting anyway.
But before we get to the NFL, I suppose we have to deal with this...
So we've officially got a Green Mile in Regina now eh? Do you think it's possible for everything relating to this football team to be any less original? First the Rider Nation and now this. Although I guess I shouldn't expect any less from a football team that took the same name as a team already in existence (Ottawa Rough Riders, 1876 - Saskatchewan Roughriders 1910). If we take out that space between Rough and Riders nobody will notice that they're exactly the same, right? Although in all fairness, news probably didn't travel across Canada all that fast in the old days. Saskatchewan probably didn't even know there were Rough Riders until 1963.
I also read something interesting on Rod Pedersen's blog this morning, which came by way of Gregg Drinnan - it was a question as to whether the Miami Dolphins could beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders, or vice versa. As I see it the CFL is entirely made up of players who are not good enough to play in the NFL. So despite what a team's record may be, the talent levels really aren't comparable. And who knows, maybe it wasn't a serious question to begin with.
I'm not going over every game this week because I'm a little pressed for time... and quite frankly I don't remember everything that happened anyway. But I can tell you this...
... Bryan Gumbel not only knows nothing about football but is also a colossal jackass - apparently. On Saturday night Gumbel referred to the game he was calling as Thursday Night Football. Sorry we woke you up for this Bryant. He also, and there's no way I could possibly make this up, referred to 49ers running back Frank Gore as Al Gore. I was just speechless after that - and I still don't really know what to say. That can't be anything more than stupidity. Bryant also displayed how smart he was by arguing with Deion Sanders for a full 15 minutes about the merits of San Francisco going for a 4th down. Obviously nothing was solved from this argument - but each party did get to enjoy the sound of their own voice the entire time. However, the best line was Gumbel's, even if I agree with you're opinion... and I don't. I can't tell you how much condescension there was in his voice. I haven't equal parts loved and loathed someone or something this much since... well, since the NWO.
... the only football I actually wanted to talk about was Miami finally winning a game. I was really hoping they would wait 'til next week against New England but having them beat Brian Billick is almost as sweet.
... also, it snowed in Cleveland.
... a couple quick programming notes - this is going to be the last full week of Sports As Life until after the New Year. I'll still be putting up football picks but it'll just be picks, no commentary. Cooper and I might also try to do a few things on a few Bowl Games - but we'll see. We'll be doing the BCS games in the New Year for sure.
... and tomorrow we're going to be running the Sports As Life Utterly Meaningless and Totally Contrived Yearly Awards... so make sure you check those out.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Here are today's Headlines. There will be no Headlines today, as I really don't have anything to say about anything other than football - and I'll do that tomorrow.
Actually I do have one thing to say today and it is this - Who are you and what have you done with the Calgary Flames?
Also, if the Price is Right tries to give you "a new car" - I would deliberately lose at Plinko if I were you.
Anyway, instead of your normally scheduled Headlines we're going to kick off the College Football Bowl Season. Between Cooper and myself we're hoping to have a preview or review of most of the Bowl games. First up is the Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday night. Here's Cooper's preview:
After a month-long hiatus I am finally back with my review of the upcoming Bowl Season, severed hand and all. This first Bowl game of the season is the San Diego Country Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (Even Jenna Jameson says that is a mouthful) Oh Snap! The Poinsettia Bowl is Dec 20th @ 9pm live from, I am assuming Qualcomm Stadium, home of the Chargers.
This year's version of the Poinsettia Bowl pits the University of Utah Utes (8-4), the 3rd place team from the Mountain West Conference up against the Naval Academy Midshipmen (8-4) who are an independent entry. I was not able to catch any Utah games this year but I did watch two Navy games, one in which they ended a 43 year losing streak against Notre Dame and the other was the Army-Navy game.
Navy is a fun team to watch. They run a very entertaining old school option style offense similar to the one used by Nebraska (when they were actually good). Navy will have an assistant as the head coach for this game after the former head coach Paul Johnson pulled a Bobby Petrino and dashed for Georgia Tech after the final game of the season. But as usual all of that “trivial” stuff like stats and trends and talent go by the wayside. The only thing that truly matters when breaking down a game is breaking down the mascot match-up.
The Utes are named after a tribe of local Native Americans that a group of Mormons most likely slaughtered in the 1800’s and then decided they were good enough to name a football team after.
On the other side, the Midshipmen represents a naval officer of the absolute lowest rank, who is most likely happens to be gay. And here is a link to their fight song. Apparently they have a former Ute on their team.
I have to tip my hat on this one to Navy. A group of native Americans who were most likely slaughtered is no match for a group of gay old salts.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Jeff K is off this week, so no Sights & Sounds today.
You may now panic. However, do not panic - we've brought in a special guest blogger for your reading enjoyment. Longtime reader and commenter TH is making his inaugural splash on Sports As Life. Be nice to him and maybe we can get him to come back sometime.
I was in Paris a few years back and decided to go to a Paris Saint-Germain football game (soccer) and the fans chanted and sang throughout – although I must say that my French is poor and I had no idea what they were saying, the singing was infectious and it was one of the most enjoyable sporting events that I have ever been too. Although the lighting of the road flares throughout the stadium probably helped.
Have you ever watched a Liverpool FC game? It is great watching the match on TV and seeing all those people singing… heck even in certain pubs filled with fans it is amazing to see. Can you imagine being surrounded by 40,000+ Liverpool fans in Anfield singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’:
When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high, and don't be afraid of the dark. At the end of a storm, there's a golden sky, and the sweet silver song of a lark. Walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain, though your dreams be tossed and blown. Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart, and you'll never walk alone... You'll never walk alone. Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart, and you'll never walk alone... You'll never walk alone.
Want more - then check out the variety of the songs for this one team in the English Premiere League: http://www.thefootballnetwork.net/main/s46/st706.htm
Now don’t get me wrong here, I am not trying to say that European sports are superior, they aren’t (personal preference and all the PC stuff… blah, blah, blah). It just seems that they have held onto certain traditions that we have/are letting slip. But fear not, all is not lost; we can save some semblance of tradition. Recently the Sports As Life regular Sweet, Sweet Fantasy writer Trebor and I went to an NFL game in Washington (see the pics a few posts back if you want).
Now being surrounded by almost 90,000 fans is great, but even better is when they sing after a score. Heck they even had a marching band in one end zone. Here is the modern version of the song “Hail to the redskins” that they use… plus I also included the older version:
The Modern Version
Hail to the Redskins!
Hail to victory!
Braves on the warpath!
Fight for old D.C.!
Run or pass and score!
We want a lot more!
Beat em, Swamp em, Touchdown,
Let the points soar!
Fight on…Fight on…
Til you have won, Washington!
The Original Version
Hail to the Redskins!
Braves on the Warpath!
Fight for old Dixie!
Scalp 'em, swamp 'em,
We will take 'em big score!
Read 'em, weep 'em, touchdown,
We want heap more!
Fight on... Fight on...
'Till you have won,
Sons of Washington!
Jeez, I wonder why they stopped using the old version?
Even better than the pro’s are the College ranks. NCAA football is huge down in the ol’ U.S.A., one could even say that it is bigger than the NFL. Trebor and I went down to Dallas to watch a Cowboys game a few years back and it was during the Longhorns/O.U. game. Wow, you would have thought that it was the World Cup final!!! When we said we were down for the football game people thought of the college game. Insanity. But aside from rabid fans are the myriad of fight songs that each college has its bands play while at the stadium… and I am not talking about a few unemployed trombone players droning out roll-out the barrel in the end zone, I am talking about full bands with lots of school specific songs. Check this site out – it may first strike you as a sub-par site, but it has all the songs (I don’t know about all, but a lot):
(Note: check this out as well)
I would have figured that the Sports As Life college writer would have dealt with this awhile back, but from his posts lately I assume that he has been struck with some debilitating illness…lazy-itis perhaps? I have heard that there is a lot of that going around these days. Nah, Cooper is a good guy… I hope he can find a new job when the editor fires his ass and replaces him with a chimp. But I digress, back on topic.
Heck even baseball can be exciting if you aren’t inundated with popular music being shoved down your throat (or in your ears). I was in Japan awhile back and decided to go to a JBL game in Osaka (seeing that Mr. Baseball with Tom Selleck is one of my all time favourite movies…seriously, I’m not joking). The Hanshin Tigers are a fun team to watch - the people sing songs that I can’t understand, but like PSG it was the spirit of the event that mattered, not the words. Although the cute Japanese girls with beer kegs strapped to their backs helped the atmosphere a lot. Oh, here - I found the fight song for the Hanshin Tigers:
Hanshin Tigers no Uta (Rokko Oroshi, romaji)
Rokkō oroshi ni sassō to
Sōten kakeru nichirin no
Seishun no haki uruwashiku
Kagayaku wagana zo Hanshin Tigers
Ō-ō-ō-ō Hanshin Tigers
Tōshi hatsuratsu tatsu ya ima
Nekketsu sude ni teki o tsuku
Jūō no iki takaraka ni
Muteki no warera zo Hanshin Tigers
Ō-ō-ō-ō Hanshin Tigers
The Song of the Hanshin Tigers (The Wind of Mount Rokko)
(An official English version, not a direct translation)
Dashing swiftly through the wind blowin' from Rokko
Like the big sun soaring in the clear blue sky
Mighty spirit of the youth shows the victor's grace
The name that shines in glory "Hanshin Tigers"
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Hanshin Tigers
Hooray, Hooray, Hooray, Hooray!
Powerful hits and skillful pitch achieved a thousand times
Trained with every discipline here at Koshien
Crowned with constant victory glorious, matchless feat
Always proud, invincible "Hanshin Tigers"
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Hanshin Tigers
Hooray, Hooray, Hooray, Hooray!
Strange song. Trust me when I say that it sounds a lot better in Japanese.
But even better than the singing, flag waving and drum banging… the balloons. Check this out. Now you can’t tell me that those balloons don’t look like sperm. Do you think that they are trying to say something? Who needs a 7th inning stretch when you can blow up a giant sperm shaped balloon and let it go into the air? Oh then again I have the sense of humour of a 14 year old.
Even more than this I hear that baseball is a thinking-fans game (which may explain why I don’t follow it). Fans trying to figure out what the next pitch will be, what the batter is going to try and do, what the base runners will do, etc. Try doing that with the latest jock-jams blaring in your ears.
I love going to live sporting events, and I can even handle music being played from time to time, but I don’t need to be distracted during the entire game. What ever happened to talking to fellow fans about the last play? Can’t do that anymore, all my senses have to be occupied all the time with music, jumbo-trons and the like. We are rapidly losing an important part of sport, the sounds... and that folks is a sad state of affairs.
- player/coach Reg Dunlop
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Well the Mitchell Report ended up being a slight disappointment - most of the players named aren't even in the League anymore. And many of the ones that do still play, I've never heard of. Roger Clemons, Andy Pettitte, Gary Sheffield, Miguel Tejada, Eric Gagne and Gregg Zaun were the biggest (active) names implicated. I must say, this morning's fake list was much more entertaining than the actual list... Glenallen Hill, come'on?
Anyway, enough enjoyment over the public humiliation of others. But I gotta say, after skimming through the 400 page document I'm a little worn out - worst... Riot... ever.
14-2 last week, try to do better this week...
Denver @ Houston
I may watch this game - but I refuse to enjoy it. Mike Shanahan coaching against his former Offensive Coordinator, Gary Kubiak, for the first time. Also Shanahan's son is apparently on the Houston coaching staff as well - or he plays for Houston - or he lives in Houston... it's something like that.
Cincinnati @ San Francisco
Nobody will complain about missing this game because they don't get the NFL Network. I think I've used that line before but it's never been truer than right now. Who exactly is playing quarterback for the 49ers in this game? I suppose I should find that out...
Buffalo @ Cleveland
Apparently Shaun Hill is the starting QB for San Francisco this week - according to NFL.com, until last week he had never even attempted a pass in 6 seasons in the NFL... Right, the Bills/Browns game... I don't know why, but I've got a feeling about this game. This game could potentially decide one of the wildcard spots.
Tennessee @ Kansas City
I'd like to thank the entire Chiefs organization for taking to heart the letter I wrote them last week. But in the future could we making the tanking a little less obvious please? What's that you say... oh you were tying? Ahh, you're just not very good at all.
Atlanta @ Tampa Bay
I don't know if Atlanta's coach quitting on them helps or hurts the Falcons. I could almost see a defiant Falcons team coming together to show how much Bobby Petrino was holding them back. But then I remember this is the Atlanta Falcons.
Winner: Tampa Bay
Seattle @ Carolina
You know - I'd sort of forgotten that Carolina even had a football team.
Green Bay @ St. Louis
This is another one of those I have a feeling games. Brett Favre in a dome, everything going great... something has gotta happen doesn't it? Sometimes I don't understand why everything must be so difficult - I'm trying to find out who is playing quarterback for St. Louis this week - because the Rams' 1st and 2nd stringers were out last week. And now there is no mention of any St. Louis injuries anywhere. The most recent injury report on the official Rams website is from November 9th. In fact, because of the difficulty this team just caused me - this is happening...
Winner: Green Bay
Baltimore @ Miami
The road to perfection continues...
NY Jets @ New England
This... ahhh... this is going to be ugly. My suggestions are: give the points, take New England, take the over and watch the ensuing carnage. The post-game handshake might turn into a fistfight if we're lucky. The Patriots have a pretty good shot at 70.
Winner: New England
Arizona @ New Orleans
Take the over - this is going to be a shootout. It's a shame to see Drew Brees playing so well now that my miserable Fantasy season is over. RIP Now With 15% Dogfighting (4-10) - you will not be missed.
Winner: New Orleans
Jacksonville @ Pittsburgh
This is the best of the early games (except maybe Buffalo/Cleveland), although I imagine I'm going to be watching the Massacre in Massachusetts - despite Phil Simms being involved in that event. Curiously absent this week was Anthony Smith's guarantee of a victory over the Jaguars. Funny that.
Indianapolis @ Oakland
I don't think anything could make me watch this game. Although this might be the reply to New England's crushing of the Jets in the morning. Could be interesting only for the anything you can do we can do better factor.
Philadelphia @ Dallas
T.O. finally speaks and he finally rips someone who actually deserves it - Keyshawn Johnson. All season on NFL Countdown Johnson has been generally condescending and well, prickish. If it wasn't for Emmitt Smith's continuing struggles with the English language, it would be Johnson's continuing parade of disinterest and arrogance that we would be talking about. Keyshawn calling T.O out for being immature and talking about his former coach... wow, I'm not entirely certain that Johnson has a lot of high moral ground here. I believe Keyshawn had a history of taking shots at his teammates as well. I suspect T.O. will be sufficiently motivated this week - as if playing against his old team wasn't enough.
Detroit @ San Diego
I'm picking San Diego even though there are a lot of reasons not too. Shawne Merriman is out, Phillip Rivers is hurt - and he's not real good even when he's healthy. But the most important injury might be fullback Lorenzo Neal. He's done for the season and LaDanian Tomlinson is going to miss him - you can be sure of that. Plus the Chargers are still coached by Norv Turner - at least for a few more games.
Winner: San Diego
Washington @ NY Giants
I can't believe I have to watch the Giants in prime time. Oh well, at least I'll get to see Todd "Tom" Collins.
Winner: NY Giants
Chicago @ Minnesota
So Minnesota is good now or what? It boggles the mind to think that Tarvaris Jackson might be the quarterback of a playoff team. Also, Kyle Orton is starting for Chicago this week - hide the key to the liquor cabinet!
The excitement and tension are palpable here in the Sports As Life Corporate Headquarters. Everyone will be gathered around televisions at 1pm waiting with baited breath because - it's Mitchell Report Day!
The feeling around the office is that we hope certain people (Roger Clemons - who, it's already been leaked, is on the list, and Alex Rodriguez) make the list - while others (Cal Ripken Jr and Ken Griffey Jr) don't show up.
There's something about the heroes of our youth getting labelled as steroid abusers and cheats that really doesn't sit well with any of us. Which is why we're hoping that the Report is mostly about players who have played in the last decade or so.
The NFL picks might be a little delayed this afternoon, as we'll be going over the Report like the Dead Sea Scrolls.
If Joe Carter somehow makes the list the 1992 World Series VHS tape is going in the garbage.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Here is the much anticipated return of Sweet, Sweet Fantasy Baby to Sports As Life:
The playoffs are here… well in 2 of my leagues anyway. Yahoo and espn start their playoffs in Week 14, yahoo has 8 teams in the hunt espn only 4.
My Espn league was an autodraft, was free and I didn’t know anyone in it so I paid little attention to it… I had Boldin as my #2 wr…oops. Also had kolby smith start instead of 3 other starting rb’s.. oops. I was really surprised it was playoffs, but even more surprised when I came away with the W.
This guy had Westbrook, T.O. Adrain Peterson. Those 3 players can win weeks by themselves..but not this week. It was close and if it weren’t for the fact that GB was playing the lowly raiders I would have lost but the 26 points by the DEF gave me a 5 point victory. On paper he had the better team and probably 6-7 times out of 10 he would win, but it’s not a huge upset. He went 10-3, I went 9-4-1 (stupid ties)
My other league it was a different case…..It’s a keeper league that costs money… I was the favorite to win... he beat me early on because of a monster performance by Rocky Mcintosh. I played him in week 13 won 144 to 96, I had high hopes. I’m sitting at work (only place I could at least log on) and it wasn’t a pretty sight.
He got great performances from Kevin Jones, and Andre Johnson... even his defense (Ernie Simms) lit it up. What was worse he had Rivers, who when I got here had thrown 2 int’s and Collins was taking snaps…"Yes" was my reaction, then later I find out rivers comes back in…oh oh….but he throws a pick…. I’m already thinking of ways to harass this guy over Rivers performance….. then I watched the screen to see rivers complete long touchdown drives and rack up the points…"damn you Rivers, somebody cover Chambers or Gates or something", screams could be heard through the hallways.
My team or certain players like Housh, Gore, Cribbs, my top notch D... with names like Morrison, Tatupu, Witherspoon, Willis all stunk it up. Another 1st round defeat leaves me questioning why do I participate in fantasy football. I started writing this before the Sunday night game, then sitting in some bar watching the game I suddenly loved football again, I watched Addai get 3 td’s and Wayne also get 1 to put me ahead by 15 points…. Thank you Baltimore!
Which brings me to the format of play. I’m not sure what is the best.. I’m in one league that there is no head to head, it’s just points: team with the most points at the end of the year wins.
This eliminates having the 2nd highest score in your league but still getting the L. Or not being the lucky guy who plays the loser of the group twice (loser either because of injuries or bad trades or starting people on byes).
Now in this league it is skewed because the top player has Randy Moss and Brady and after 14 weeks is like 300 points ahead of everyone. At first I didn’t like the idea too much but it is starting to grow on me, you really have to pick the right players/match-ups. Case in point #2-#5 are within 40 points of each other… If I had started Kevin Jones this past week, I’d be 8 points behind 2nd….. not bad after starting out dead last with Brees, Leinart tossing up negative points. However KJ has a reputation now of next to 0, 20 points, 0 , 20, ?? I’m guessing 0 this week but without Merriman who knows.
The yahoo league is alright, the final game will be played week 16 which is good. 8 of the 12 teams make the playoffs though. As the #2 in the league I don’t like this one but, I had a 11-2 record, the guy I was playing 7-6. He may have had some close games, but really he squeaked in and if I didn’t have Addai get 22 points I lose the week because of his usual mediocre players did better than expected, and my top players didn’t do anything.
This format also rewards the bad teams because they are at the top of the waiver list, so now Reggie Bush is out the Stecker sweeps begin. Well some guy at the bottom will pick him up and knock off a top team who probably has a very similar line up to when he started. If I’m at the bottom I love this format, upset special right.
Our NFL.com league is not bad 12 teams and 4 make the playoffs and it’s played week 15-16…. It may be the only thing good about that league. It would be better if I made the playoffs but being the 11th ranked coach doesn’t help.
Part 2 of this starts tues afternoon, just after going to the above mentioned ESPN site to see if the guy I defeated was crying or not. Turns out there’s a new twist, a European football twist. It looks like I play him again this week, then the 2 weeks are combined and a winner decided that way. I think this is stupid! Mostly cause I now will lose. Also 2 week playoff game… come on… then the final is based on week 16-17…I hate the idea of having playoff games determined on the 17th week... performances can be skewed so easily.
So for next year the format that I would like to see … I think money should also be involved, makes my format easier to understand.
6 teams make the playoffs. #1 and #2 get byes… have to rest their players after all. Chances are #3 and #6 are fairly close so it should be a good match up, if 6 comes out with a win probably no whining.
Then for that team who has a horrible draft or horrible luck…. Have a loser bowl. Another league I’m in does this. So 12 teams in the league 1-6 play for 80% of the cash, 7-12 play for 20%. That way even if your at the bottom you still have something to go for.
Good luck to CH this week, I hope you beat the Crushers. You may not need this advice but…. Don’t start Norwood….don’t own Norwood….until Dunn retires he’s not going to be worth anything. I’d also consider benching Bowe…. He had a good stretch but with Haynesworth going after Brodie or whoever is QB, Bowe may not see many touches. I have no clue why but Jabar is still available.
To open this week's Upon Further Review, we're going all the way back to last Thursday night. I know that must seem like a million years ago but please try and think back if you can - it'll be worth it.
... Bryant Gumbel is the worst thing to happen to the NFL since the Aaron Brooks Experience. Gumbel does the play-by-play for Thursday games on the NFL Network - and he is a strange hybrid of monstrously awful and unbelievably spectacular (if only from a comedic standpoint). To wit - as Redskins' QB Jason Campbell was on the turf writhing in agony - his kneecap clearly displaced - Gumbel remarked with total seriousness - Hmmm, doesn't look like we'll see him again tonight. Really Bryant? Gumbel also seemed mystified as to why the crowd in Washington was cheering Campbell as he was being carted off the field. And then to top it all off Gumbel - on at least two separate occasions, referred to Redskins' back-up QB Todd Collins as "Tom Collins." I kid you not. Bring back Gumbel to Gumbel!
... Why I love technology Part 1 - this is the exact text I sent to Cooper at 8:34pm as Jason Campbell was being carted off the field - "I'm getting on a plane for washington right now and I'm going to light gumble on fire."
... Unfortunately, I wasn't able to watch another football game until Sunday afternoon, as I was taping a Sport Not-Named Football for Mrs. Sports As Life. My kingdom for a second cable box.
... Why I love technology Part 2 and 3 - Since I was unable to actually watch the early games, I was following them on NFL.com. After Marion Barber III (my fantasy running back) scored his 3rd touchdown of the game, I sent the following text message to TH, who I was playing this week - "Mar-ion Bar-ber, clap clap clapclapclap." Obviously I have too much time on my hands.
... I know you're concerned but I was able to watch the end of the Dallas/Detroit game. The Sport Not-Named Football ended just before 3 and I was able to see Detroit's inevitable collapse.
... But here's what I didn't see in the early games:
- Jacksonville, Buffalo and Green Bay predictably all won by large margins.
- Cincinnati is so bad they could barely beat a team quarterbacked by Irving Berlin... oh, wait - Brock Berlin.
- The Giants have somehow won 9 games this year - and they're 6-1 on the road. Some things I'll just never understand.
- San Diego pulled off one of the great comebacks in recent memory - it was especially great since they're not so good. Of course Tennessee has Vince Young - he's no good either. LaDanian Tomlinson is a force of nature - nice to see him back in form
... San Diego was down 7 when I left my house and somehow by the time I got to TH's house 2 minutes later to watch the Pats/Steelers game, I was informed the game was in overtime.... As for the Pats/Steelers game itself - the result was pretty predictable, although the first half was pretty entertaining. It was nice to see Anthony "Guaranteed" Smith getting torched for two long touchdowns. I'm pretty sure that second-string safeties shouldn't be talking to the media about anything. As if the Patriots needed another excuse to pretend like they're disrespected. If I was running the Steelers, Smith would have been on the unemployment line on Monday morning.
... Phil Simms terrible, just terrible.
... Do you think the Colts stomped all over the Ravens just to show New England how easy it is to beat them? I do. I think it was a: you had trouble with them but look how badly we can beat them game.
... And people wonder why I wait until Tuesday (or Wednesday) to do the NFL review - it's so that I won't miss gems like this.
... Also Bobby Petrino has done his best Nick Saban impersonation and left the Atlanta Falcons with 2 games left in the season to coach at Arkansas.
... Also also, Cooper has just informed me that Bryant Gumbel will not be calling the Thursday game tomorrow night because he has the "flu" - a likely story.
A quick programming note: Trebor's playoff edition of Sweet, Sweet Fantasy Baby will be up later this afternoon. And the NFL picks will be up tomorrow.
Monday, December 10, 2007
I know everyone is caught up in the wonderful world of jurisprudence (Robert Pickton, Conrad Black, Michael Vick, Barry Bonds, and apparently the Mayor of Ottawa) but here are a few other things to read today...
Friday, December 7, 2007
Dela“where?” That’s right, as Luke posted Tuesday, I did win an all expenses paid trip to Delaware (a.k.a. business trip). However, I thought I would take a few minutes to write something up. Jeff K
I decided to search YouTube for “Delaware” and see if I could find a couple Delaware related clips to post. However, to no surprise, I found nothing worth watching… except for this montage. This will be more entertaining if you follow the NBC series The Office, but even if you don’t… I think this is a masterful montage. Seriously, this is one of the most well edited montages I have come across. Powerful stuff. You can tell that every scene had a lot of thought put into it. The lyrics sync up with the images perfectly. I really can’t say enough about it. NBC themselves couldn’t do any better. As a testament of how well it is made, my Wife said she almost cried…which probably means she did. You can question my masculinity, but this is emotional stuff.
So, instead of a Delaware theme, here are a few songs that I think are great montage songs… in other words, here are a few slow jams. I was going to put up more montages, but all the roads led back to Jim and Pam from The Office. There must be 9000 montages of those two… and Jack and Kate from Lost. So instead, here are just the audio only videos or official videos for the songs.
Eyes – Rogue Wave
Mat Kearney – All I Need
(I just Don’t Think I’ll Ever) Get Over You – Colin Hay (I couldn’t find an audio only video or official video, so this guy’s video will have to do
Mad World – Gary Jules
In The Sun - Joseph Arthur
Hallelujah- Jeff Buckley
And of course... How To Save A Life – The Fray (no link…I think this one has played to death)
Of course there are millions more, but these are a few of the top of my head.
Now for something ridiculous. I am going to assume that you have already seen this clip of the song Chocolate Rain by Tay Zonday, as the clip now has nearly 12 million views. But now there is a new version that is for promoting Dr. Pepper’s new Cherry Chocolate beverage. Wow… I mean seriously… wow. I think this is the definition of selling out. I suppose he should cash in on this as much as he can, because let’s face it, Tay won’t be releasing any gold albums in the future… this is a 15 minutes of fame sort of thing. However, you have to seriously question his integrity as an artist and person after seeing this video. It is like a low budget rap video. Most importantly though, the end of this video revolts me. Tay being doused with what is supposed to look like chocolate syrup… disgusting.
How about something even more ridiculous? Check this out. When watching this, you can almost hear the sound of women everywhere cringing. I don’t watch The View, but I have overheard some conversations on the occasions that my wife has been watching. One thing is for certain, when these women start debating anything that requires any sort of intelligence they sound like complete morons (and I am unfairly lumping them together… Joy Behar is tolerable). They should definitely avoid religion and politics all together, that is for certain. I am sure everybody remembers this other display of Mensa level intelligence from Sherri Sheperd? And of course there were the 9/11 conspiracy theories spewed out of Rosie O’Donnell’s mouth while she was on the show. Trust me when I say that I am not sexist, but after listening to these ladies, I think they should spend more time talking about baking cookies. Hey Ladies! Leave the news to the news people… I don’t like your View.
Note - All baking cookies-related complaints can be forwarded in writing to the following address:
Department of Internet Research, Cultural Oddities and Sensitivity Training
Sports As Life Towers
Thursday, December 6, 2007
A couple of things before we get into the NFL today.
First of all, I read on Rod Pedersen's site this morning that George Black is no longer the CFL's Director of Officiating. I look forward to receiving snarky replies to my questions from whoever the new Director is.
Secondly, I don't know if anyone reading this reads Deadspin as regularly as I do - but I think I have to stop reading it at work. I don't think covering up my laughter by pretending I'm coughing is working anymore. They're starting to see through my charade.
Chicago @ Washington
I suspect we won't be hearing the same level of outrage from people not able to get the NFL Network as we did last week. Green Bay/Dallas good - Chicago/Washington not...as...good. I hope that Joe Gibbs tries to shed his image of not being able to manage the clock but attempting to use none of his 6 timeouts for the game. That'll really show 'em.
Carolina @ Jacksonville
Hmmm... and all along we though it was the Texans offensive line that was terrible and not David Carr eh? I suppose time makes fools of us all. If not for a wealth of devastating injuries the Texans might be in the playoff mix, while Carr is Carolina's 3rd string QB behind a rookie and a 43 year-old with a bad back. Take of the gloves and cut your hair David.
NY Giants @ Philadelphia
In regards to getting a team to the Super Bowl, Eli Manning is sort of like the Titanic - he might get you most of the way there but it's not going to end well for anyone (note: I think I just made that up, but if it's a rip-off I apologize). And Philly taking a quarterback in the second round of the draft doesn't seem like such a strange decision anymore, does it?
St. Louis @ Cincinnati
I wonder if Jim "Chris" Evrett played some quarterback for the Rams last weekend? Didn't both Bulger and Ferotte get hurt?
Tampa Bay @ Houston
Do you realize that Tampa Bay will win 11 or 12 games? How on Earth did that happen? They're the NFL version of the Minnesota Wild - one or two skilled players give them a lead and then they'll put you to sleep with defence. I suppose being in a division with Carolina, Atlanta and New Orleans doesn't hurt either.
Winner: Tampa Bay
Miami @ Buffalo
I'll tell you what - Miami better win this game because if they don't their last three games are: Baltimore, New England and Cincinatti. I think Larry Csonka is going to spontaneously combust if the Dolphins go winless in the season the Patriots go undefeated.
Oakland @ Green Bay
After seeing Aaron Rodgers play in relief of Brett Favre last week and almost lead the Packers back, do you think San Francisco made the wrong choice in Alex Smith and his pre-pubescent girl hands? It was only one game I know, but Rodgers looks like he might be a worthy successor to Favre - of course learning from him for the past 3 years has probably helped a little.
Winner: Green Bay
Dallas @ Detroit
Well Detroit's in the middle of their customary collapse, aren't they? They're going to have to win out to get to that 10-win mark that Jon Kitna guaranteed before the season. And now they may have lost Roy Williams for the year. Dallas has one they can borrow.
San Diego @ Tennessee
Instead of actually talking about this game - which I have no desire to do - I thought I'd talk about the Wonderlic. There was so much talk last year about Vince Young's Wonderlic Test score - and this is nothing, if not a topical blog - that instead of actually talking about football, I'd rather talk about standardized testing. I did a little research and the perfect score is 50 (as there are 50 questions). The average score for "regular people" is 24, the average for football players is 20. A score of 10 means you are literate... Vince Young scored a 6. But to his credit he took it again and scored a 16. And I don't want to rag on Young because he seems like a genuinely decent human being... so here are some other famous Wonderlic scores (from FootballTangent.com): Donovan McNabb - 12, Dan Marino - 16, Akili Smith - 15 (Smith's second score was a 37, and apparently it's believed he cheated). I took a bastardized version of the Wonderlic as I was looking this stuff up... I'll keep my score to myself.
Winner: San Diego
Minnesota @ San Francisco
Minnesota has scored 41 and 42 points in the past two weeks - perhaps a celebratory boat party is in order... I was following a 2008 NFL Fantasy Mock-Draft this morning - yes, I am a nerd, this year's huge, embarrassing Fantasy failure isn't even over yet and already I'm thinking about next year's failure - and Minnesota's Adrian Peterson was the #1 overall pick.
Arizona @ Seattle
If Arizona wins this game they're only one game back in the NFC West... there's just nothing about that statement that seems right to me.
Cleveland @ NY Jets
Although I didn't see any highlights from the Cleveland game last weekend, I'm told they got legitimately screwed by the officials. The Jets meanwhile laid a New Jersey beating on Miami... and seconds after I wrote that sentence I came across a video with Jets' safety Kerry Rhodes and Sopranos alum Michael Imperioli. I don't really have anything to say about this game - I just thought I'd try to gloss over that fact. The Jets should probably just forfeit this game to get an extra week of preparation for the absolutely evisceration they are going to receive next week in New England.
Pittsburgh @ New England
This is the second-last chance for someone to beat New England this year - at least in the regular season (the Giants game in Week 17 is the other). As much as I'd love to think that Pittsburgh can slingshot Goliath - I don't see it happening. I suspect it's going to another one of those close games where New England makes the plays when they matter and Pittsburgh can't. Maybe I'll be doing laundry instead of watching that happen again.
Winner: New England
Kansas City @ Denver
Dear Kansas City,
Please tank the last 4 games of the season in hopes of improving your draft position. It's not like it's going to take much, you're not very good anyway. Nobody will even really notice I promise. You're already starting a guy at running back named Kolby and have a quarterback named Brodie - people are not expecting great things from you. I expect you to do everything possible to make sure either Jake Long or Chase Daniel is in a Chiefs jersey next year.
Indianapolis @ Baltimore
Indy probably should have lost last week and Baltimore probably should have won... and... and... sorry I got caught up in reading the wonder that is an internal ESPN memo.
New Orleans @ Atlanta
I don't think this is quite the game that ESPN had in mind when they scheduled it. The game probably looked good on paper many months ago - two exciting, up and coming teams battling for a division title on Monday Night. But that was before Michael Vick started killing dogs (ok, it was before we found out about him killing dogs) and the Falcons disintegrated like the Hindenburg. And the Saints have been Christina Aguilera-like teases all season long.
Winner: New Orleans