Saturday, December 31, 2005 

Bowling For Dollars

I just got back in from the debacle of a Peach Bowl, and I decided that I was sufficiently inspired to proceed with authoring the First Annual “Bowling For Dollars.” We’ve suffered through the miserable minor bowls, including that epic battle between Utah and Georgia Tech. I wish I could say yesterday was the low point of the Chan Gailey era, but we all know that’s not even close to being true. Name one other coach in America that has had more despicable losses in the last four years that has managed to get a contract extension! Name on quarterback in America that inspires less confidence than Reggie Ball! Seriously, the Jackets would be better off with Scott Bakula calling singles. Alright, I have to stop thinking about this or my head is going explode. Needless to say, I’m in a very fragile state of mind right now.

Okay, as I was saying, the worthless bowl games are in the rear view mirror (with the exception of the two shitty games tomorrow), and it’s time to focus on the games that matter. Before discussing each of the remaining Bowl Games, I have to provide this disclaimer: I SUCK AT PREDICTING COLLEGE FOOTBALL. On TWAD so far this year, I’ve gone 17-17-1. This week, however, I would be a sizzling 0-4 had I been making picks. Yes, I liked Miami laying the 6.5 tonight against LSU. I would have only missed that one by 43.5 points. Not good. I also liked Northwestern +2.5 against UCLA, and I would be calling for a full scale investigation of the NW kicker had I actually made the pick. Two missed extra points, a blocked field goal, and TWO on side kicks directly to the first guy in line for the Bruins that both go back to the house. Give me a break. This kid single handedly made sure that the Wildcats didn’t sniff the cover. Take heart, however, there is some good news. I have a .500 track record for the season, so things are bound to turn around. Right? That’s not all. I’ve actually grown a beard this week, and it looks pretty sharp, so even if I lose, I’m looking good doing it. So, I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

Now that I’ve taken care of my venting, and given all the necessary disclaimers, let’s get down to business, and turn this bus around. I may be 0-4 now, but I’m thinking about Boobie Miles. He would die to be in this with me. Boobie Miles is my brother, and these picks are for them. (If you didn’t get that reference then you must immediately run to Blockbuster and rent Friday Night Lights, and don’t talk to me until you have.

Iowa +1.5 @ Florida (Outback Bowl)
Florida looked tremendous in their season ending destruction of arch rival Florida State. Florida has Chris Leak. Florida is playing in their home state. Iowa gives up nearly 400 yards a game. Iowa lost to Iowa State by 20, and choked against Northwestern, and was 5-4 after 9 games. Florida should have no problem covering this. Right? Well, no. Consider that Iowa averages about 70 more yards a game than UF, 40 more yards on the ground, and they average nearly 5 yards a carry. Now, consider the fact that Chris Leak has spent most of the season looking more lost and overwhelmed than Les Miles (yes, I’m still taking shots at a coach that just won his bowl game by 37 points), and Urban Meyer’s offense produced only 16 points against Tennessee, 3 points against Alabama, 17 points against L.S.U., and 14 points against Georgia. Taking into account the 34 against F.S.U., that’s only 16.8 points per game against ranked teams. Well, Iowa is ranked, albeit barely, but 17 points isn’t going to be enough for the Gators. If you still aren’t convinced, then consider this. Why in the world would a team like Florida, ranked 18th in the country with wins over the ACC Champion and the SEC Champion, playing in their home state only be favored by 1.5 points over a 7-4 team that has only gone 1-1 against ranked teams this year? The answer is that somebody knows something we don’t. This is a classic sucker bet, it’s just too good to be true. Don’t fall victim, take the Hawkeyes.

Alabama +3.5 @ Texas Tech (Cotton Bowl)
Alabama couldn’t score with an unlimited line of credit in a whore house. Texas Tech, however, not only didn’t beat a ranked team this year, they only played one! How did that turn out? Well, I’m pretty sure Vince Young just scored again. Look, I know Bama looked horrible against Auburn, but they have had over a month to get healthy and regroup. Sometimes you just have to play a hunch. Not to mention that Tyrone Prothro is the real life Boobie Miles. Take the Tide, and find another game to watch because you are going to be sweating this one till the final gun.

Va. Tech -8 v. Louisville (Gator Bowl)
Forget the statistical comparisons. This game comes down to two things. First, Louisville is playing its second string quarterback. Two words: Beamer Ball. The over/under on interceptions returned for touchdowns is 2.5. The second, and most important thing to consider is how Va. Tech will respond to the disappointment of losing the ACC Championship and a BCS Bowl Bid on this same field three weeks ago. Nobody can predict this. If they aren’t into this game, and if Marcus Vick looks like he’d rather be pouring Boone’s Farm down the throat of a 15 year old girl, you may be in trouble. However, I wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of a motivated Hokie squad. Truthfully, if this was a regular weekend I wouldn’t even consider picking this game. Since it’s New Year’s Day, sort of, it’s my patriotic duty to pick somebody, so I’ll take the guys wearing the ugly uniforms.

Auburn -11 v. Wisconsin (Citrus Bowl)
If you’ve read any of my previous thoughts on Wisconsin you know that I love their tailback Brian Calhoun, but unfortunately for the Badgers, he won’t be enough to keep them close in this one. Wisconsin got thumped in 2 of their last 3 games, and they finished the season with a win at Hawaii. Am I the only person that thinks it’s weird that UW went to Hawaii for their last game of the season? Isn’t that what you do if you are on probation and can’t go to a bowl? Therefore, isn’t it kind of like UW has already played a bowl game? It’s all just strange to me. Anyway, here’s what I think is important here. Are you ready? Seriously, get ready because I’m about to say something bold and inflammatory for some of you. Here it is…I think Auburn is the third best team in the country right now. That’s right, other than USC and Texas, I don’t think anybody in the country is better than Auburn right now. They finished the season with a dramatic win in Athens against the eventual SEC Champion, and the next week they manhandled their 9-1 archrival in the season’s final game. That being said, I don’t think UW is one of the best 20 teams in the country so I wouldn't have any trouble laying the points here.

Before leaving the discussion of the Citrus Bowl, I would be remised if I didn’t note that this marks the 15th anniversary of Georgia Tech winning the National Championship by manhandling Nebraska in the Citrus Bowl. I was there. It was the greatest day of my life. My life peaked at the age of 13. Shoot me!

Notre Dame +5 v. Ohio State (Fiesta Bowl)
If you are frequent reader, you know that Notre Dame has been the greatest source of interest and debate on TWAD, so I’m going to keep this brief. When it comes down to it, neither of these teams has a truly impressive win this season. Both teams’ most impressive performances have come in losses. Notre Dame lost a classic to USC, and Ohio State lost a classic to Texas. Notre Dame has a great offense, and OSU has a great defense. So, let’s break this down scientifically. Notre Dame averages 5.7 more points a game than OSU; however, they give up 8.8 more points a game than OSU. Therefore, OSU should win this game by 3.1 points. Right? Works for me. Give me the Irish. And yes, I will be rooting like hell for Notre Dame to win this game, and when they do, I will call my buddy Robbie every hour on the hour until he says “I love Notre Dame. I respect Notre Dame, and I will never bitch about Notre Dame again!”

West Virginia +6.5 v. Georgia (Sugar Bowl)
I guarantee you that if you ask 100 Georgia fans to name two players on WVU’s roster, they couldn’t do it. Well, here’s two names you need to know: Pat White and Steve Slaton. These two guys are dynamic, and UGA won’t be able to bottle them up. UGA, however, has more speed than WVU has seen this year, and they are playing a home game in the Georgia Dome so they should win this game. I do think it’s going to be tight, and if Rich Rodriguez has watched any tape at all he will know that UGA’s All-American safety, Greg Blue, simply can’t cover the deep ball. Blue is great against the run, but he is nothing short of atrocious against the pass. If Rodriguez can find a way to exploit this, the Mountaineers could pull off a stunner.

Florida State +10 v. Penn State (Orange Bowl)
South Florida, Northwestern, and Michigan State all stayed within 10 points of PSU this year. Isn’t FSU better than those teams. Plus, FSU is playing in their home state. Not to mention the fact that the kids from PSU have spent the last month in freezing cold surrounded by women that have all packed on their winter weight, and now they are supposed to go down to South Beach and concentrate on a football game? No chance. Hell, even Joe Pa has probably been chugging Red Bull and Vodka and shaking his ass at Mansion. FSU might be up two touchdowns before the Lions’ hangovers start to wear off.

Texas v. U.S.C. (The Rose Bowl)
Yea right. Like I’m not going to milk a whole other column out of this game. At least you have something to look forward to on Wednesday.

Happy New Year, and Happy Wagering!

Thursday, December 29, 2005 

Making Another Call to the Bullpen

That's right, I'm making another call to the bullpen today. This week has been simply retarded at work, and since they actually pay me for that job I figured I needed to give it priority just this once. Before introducing today's reliever, I wanted to give you a quick preview of what's coming up on TWAD. There will be no post tomorrow, but on Saturday afternoon I will be posting the first every "Bowling For Dollars" feature. As if you couldn't guess, I will be providing a detailed discussion of each major bowl game (by major I mean Jan. 1 and later). I will probably have some more to say about this ESPN "Chasing History" feature they are doing with this year's USC team. I'm hopelessly addicted to it, but if I was USC I would hate it. Has there ever been a better motivational tool for a coach than Mack Brown simply turning on Sports Center for his boys and saying "this is what they think of your chances." Anyway, more on this later.

As for today, say hello to another All-TWAD commentor and the biggest degenerate gambler you are ever likely to know, Ryan Nordstat. Stats has been so kind to provide us with a detailed breakdown of today's Emerald Bowl showdown between Georgia Tech and Utah. There, of course, will be much talking of gambling in this entry. Enjoy.

Emerald Bowl (G. Tech v. Utah)

Quick, what team has the highest Bowl winning percentage in NCAA history (minimum 20 appearances)? Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Notre Dame, USC, Miami, Oklahoma, Florida State? All good, but not as good as The North Avenue Trade School who sits atop the list at 22-11 (.667).

Here are some tidbits of information to wet your appetite for the 2005 Emerald Bowl:

- Utah’s record against top 25 teams this season: 0-0… and I don’t think they played anyone in the top 50
- Tech’s record against top 25 teams this season: 2-2
- Utah’s key wins this season: At BYU in overtime, that’s all folks!
- Tech’s key wins this season: At Auburn, At Miami, Clemson
- Common opponent: Tech beat UNC 27-21, Utah lost @ UNC 17-31
- Utah’s starting QB: Brett Ratliff, 18/36, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 119 yds Rushing, 5.9 yd average, 1 TD
- Utah against the run/pass: 219.2 / 153.6
- Utah has scored at least 27 points in their last 4 games
- Tech has allowed less than 20 points in 8 of 11 games this season
- Emerald Bowl: Eastern team is 3-0 vs. the Mountain West
- Utah is 4-0 in its last 4 bowl games dating back to 1999
- Tech has outscored opponents 103-24 in its last 2 bowl games (2-0)
- I will be one of maybe 2k Yellow Jacket fans in attendance. Be sure to look for me on TV; I'll be the one running on the field to spoil the game if it looks like Tech won't cover 8.5.


Before looking at these trends and stats, I would have heavily favored Tech in this matchup. Now, I am as nervous as a whore in church.We all know Tech’s tendency to fold in big game situations…. errrr… any kind of situation. The Utes surely seem like the type of team Tech unexplainably struggles against… they definitely are mediocre enough. Will we see the Tech bowl team from the last 2 years that’s annihilated the competition? Or will the Utes from their last 4 bowl games show up again to squeak out a hard fought victory? Once again the unknown will be Reggie Ball- will he complete 50 percent of his passes and steadily guide the Jackets to victory, or complete 50 percent of his passes resembling Pop Warner QB making his first start? Can Ratliff enjoy the same success against a legitimate top 15, non-Mountain West defense? Should we expect a defensive battle or offensive shootout? Is there a bowl game harder to predict than this one with all the intangibles? It’ll surely be an East meets West, Mountain West vs. ACC showdown. Let’s just hope Ivan Drago beats (and finishes off) the little guy this time.

Tech 27, Utah 17

A few more thoughts on Wednesday’s bowl games:

- No matter how the officials called the Nebraska/Michigan game, they were certainly bound to be labeled "shitty Sun Belt officials" from the get go. I'm surprised they weren't criticized by both Carr and Callahan for the way they handled the coin flip.
- Had Michigan pulled off that quadruple or quintuple or whatever it was lateral for a td on the last play, it would have topped the Stanford-Cal band play. I haven’t seen that much passing backward since the Arsenal-Chelsea game I watched earlier today. Props to the tight end for trying to take it in himself against the last 2 defenders instead of tossing it to one of the speedy WR’s flanking him.
- BC should be ashamed of their 2nd half effort at Boise. The coach should hold all the players to curfew tonight, and schedule mandatory practice at 7 am tomorrow morning, seniors included. That might be the worst 2nd half performance and luckiest win of this bowl season. But at least the ACC is 2-0.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005 

Now Batting for Dunn...

Work is crazy today, and beside the fact that I'm on the verge of absolutely losing it, I just don't have time to post an article today. I, however didn't want you to go without your daily enlightenment, so I have asked resident Oklahoma Alum and all-star TWAD commentor Ryan Fite to give us a preview of OU's impending showdown with Oregon in the Holiday Bowl. Here's what the Oklahoma City Kid has to say:

Oklahoma Sooners (7-4) vs Oregon Ducks (10-1)

Critical Facts:
Oregon is favored by 3, with the over/under set at 55. I'd take OU and the under. I'll probably also be drinking alone after asking my wife to leave the room. Here are the games I have watched with my wife: OU losing to LSU, OU losing to USC, OU losing to Texas and OU losing to Texas Tech (she came in the room during Tech's game winning drive). Notice any trends? I'm sure she'll be just as happy watching some estrogen fest on Lifetime in the other room.

Game Preview:
OU and, I suppose, the other OU have met 5 times with the real OU leading the series 5-0. Their most recent meeting was September 2004, and the Sooners rolled 31-7 in the friendly confines of Norman, OK. That day Adrian Peterson went off for 183 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. The Sooners and Ducks are also scheduled to play in Eugene on September 16 of next year.

OU has had a down year, especially compared with the seasons since 2000. I suppose you could put a bright spin on it by saying that OU had the nation's toughest schedule and that the four teams that defeated OU were a combined 38-5, but that kind of talk is for whiney little bitches.
What the Ducks need to realize is that they are about to have a steady stream of Adrian Peterson. Everybody knows that OU's passing game is a joke, and that our offensive line is terrible. And, since our opponents have known that, they've stacked the line to stop the run. It hasn't worked. Once A.D. got healthy, OU started to roll. We've won 5 of our last 6 games, with the only defeat being a bullshit call at the end of the Texas Tech game.

OU's defense, much like Mike Tyson, is impregnable and will make Oregon's offense fade into Bolivia. While the stats aren't that great, this unit has played well. OU's sorry ass offense has put them in shitty position after shitty position, and there just hasn't been much that they could do about it. Now that AD is healthy again, the defense shouldn't be on the field as much, and they shouldn't have too many problems shutting down the Oregon passing attack.

For all you gamblers out there, you should consider the fact that Oregon is probably disappointed at playing in the Holiday Bowl while ranked #5 in the BCS. All their quacking reminds me of Cal bitching last year about getting jumped by Texas. Remember that Cal got waxed by Texas Tech.

My prediction is OU scoring between 28 and 31, with the other OU scoring 14-21. Even on the high end of those ranges, you still get under 55, and OU should win, so I'd take the points. In the spirit of full disclosure I should say that I won't be betting on the game. I plan on drinking the better part of a bottle of Jack, and potentially missing a half day of work. That's rich enough form my blood.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 

Holiday Musings & Vegas Baby!

It's two days after Christmas and I don't know about ya'll, but I'm finding it hard to get back in the groove of things. I woke up this morning much later than I had planned, and decided that it would be a good day to work from home. That, of course, translates to it being 11:15 A.M. and me having picked up a biscuit from Chic-Fil-A, watched "The Girl Next Door" for the 9th time on HBO 7, and not mustering the desire to take a shower yet. Good times. Well, I hope everyone had a great Christmas and start to Chanukah, and is ready to roll into the meaningful bowl games. I for one, am tired of attempting to get excited for games featuring 6-5 times with quarter filled stadiums. Even gambling on these games couldn't make them exciting. Trust me, I've tried. Now, that I've gotten that off my chest here's what else is on my mind:

  • 1:08 left in Overtime, a tie puts you in a position where you must win your final game of the season against one of the best teams in the NFC AND a couple of other teams must lose in front of you in order for you to make the playoffs, any you choose to punt on 4th and 2. I've tried to make sense of this from every angle, and I keep coming back to only two possible conclusions: 1) Jim Mora has no onions; or 2) Jim Mora had no idea what was going on, and was completely overwhelmed by the situation. In truth, it's probably a combination of the two. All I know is that I'm still devastated. This certainly wasn't the worst loss I've experienced, but it was up there. If you combine the fact that we had an overtime field goal blocked after the Bucs gift wrapped the game with a fumble on the opening kickoff of Overtime with the Bucs missing a chip shot field goal later in Overtime, with Mora's ridiculous decision, this game ranked as a 9 out of 10 on the pain scale of losing. I was on my way to Christmas Eve Mass when Mora called for the punt, and I almost drove my car into the retaining wall. It wasn't as bad as the Braves' 18 inning loss in Game 4 against the Astros, but it was worse than Reggie Ball throwing an interception at the goal line against UGA. In other words, it was really bad. I'm still really angry about it, so let's never discuss it again.

  • In the world of dorkdom, my buddy Robbie won our fantasy football league this weekend with a convincing win over my roommate and self proclaimed GM of the year, Hans. Seriously, I mention this not only to give Robbie his props, but consider this: Hans' team rolled to an 11-3 record with these guys on his final roster:

Brad Johnson

Ryan Moats

David Givens

Drew Bennett

Well, I think that is worthy of naming Hans the first annual TWAD Fantasy Football GM of the year. Congratulations Hansy, I know this is a big day for you.

  • Elisha Cuthbert in "The Girl Next Door" is simply unbelievable. I can't even find a way to properly and tactfully articulate this, so I'm going to leave it alone. Suffice it to say, I'm in love.

  • Did anyone catch George O'leary's gut wrenching 49-48 loss to Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve when his kicker missed an extra point in Overtime? Has anybody had more heart breaking Overtime losses than Coach O'leary? There was N.C. State in Raleigh when Kerry Watkins dropped a possible tying touchdown, there was Woody Dantzler and Clemson running through us in O.T. at home, there was the O.T. loss at home to Maryland after Joe Burns ran out of bounds with less than a minute left in regulation and Maryland was out of timeouts (I believe I punched a hole in Fite's apartment that night in Manhattan), and now this loss. Nonetheless, with what he's doing at UCF, Coach O'leary may finally be putting the resume' scandal in the past.

  • Okay, Shaq's hatred of Kobe has morphed from incredibly amusing to slightly disturbing. How about his post game silence when the sideline reporter asked him why he wouldn't even look at Kobe before the game? Scary!

  • I officially am a huge fan of Mike Tice after his "I'm a lame duck coach" press conference yesterday. It's pretty refreshing to actually hear somebody in sports be honest for once.

  • Less than three weeks until the season premier of 24! I'm not sure I can make it that long, so I might have to pop in the DVD's to season 1 while I'm working from home. Seriously, I've got a fever and Jack Bauer has the cure.


Finally, after talking to a few of the loyal readers of TWAD, I'm pleased to announce that we will be taking the suggestion of First Team All-TWAD member, Ryan Nordstat, and we will be having the First Annual TWAD Weekend In Vegas on the first weekend of this year's NCAA Basketball Tournament. We will fly out on Wednesday night March 16 and fly back on that Sunday afternoon. The Hotel is still to be determined, but let me know over the next two weeks if you are interested so I can work on the planning. In addition to the usual gambling, club hopping, and generally debauchery, I would also like to plan a morning golf outing during our stay. Again, let me know over the next few weeks if you are interested.

Friday, December 23, 2005 

All I Want for Christmas

Well, in the words of the sage and wise Clark Griswold, "we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse." That's right folks, it's Christmas time, and here are the things, in no particular order, I'm asking Santa to bring with him when he squeezes his fat white ass down my chimney tomorrow night:

1) Jessica Simpson or a girl that looks just like her.

2) An NFL team to see the wisdom in giving Chan Gailey another shot to coach in the pros.

3) The Falcons to make the playoffs.

4) The Red Sox to sign Roger Clemens.

5) Roger Clemens to go 2-12 with a .650 E.R.A.

6) The Red Sox to go 70 - 92 and draw less than 20,000 fans per game in September.

7) Grady Little to win National League manager of the year (take that Red Sox)

8) The Blue Jays or Orioles to win the A.L. East

9) Jessica Simpson or a girl that looks just like her.

10) Just once, I want Shaq to not talk out of the side of his mouth.

11) Pat Riley to lose in the Conference Semifinals and Jeff Van Gundy to have the last laugh.

12) Jeff Kent to sleep with Mia Hamm. (Doesn't he just seem like the kind of guy that would do that to a teammate)

13) Chris Benson's wife to sleep with the entire New York Mets roster. (Hey, she's the one that put it on the table!)

14) The O.C. to hook up to the juvenation machine and return to its former glory.

15) Paul Hewitt to substitute less than 70 times a game.

16) Adam Morrison to win college basketball player of the year and J.J. Reddick to write a heart felt poem about his disappointment.

17) Fox to reconsider its decision to cancel "Reunion" (How are people not watching this show? It's the perfect combination of CSI and "90210". Does it get any better than that?)

18) T.O. and Randy Moss both as Raiders. (Direct T.V. should pay one of their salaries because subscriptions to the NFL Ticket would go through the roof because nobody would ever want to miss a Raider game)

19) Dr. Shephard on "Grey's Anatomy" to leave his wife and get back together with "Dr. Grey"

20) Dr. Burke on "Grey's Anatomy" to kick Dr. Yang out of his house.

21) John Smoltz to win the Cy Young

22) Either Mike Vick to grasp the West Coast Offense or Greg Knapp to hit the bricks.

23) The Hawks to acquire a legitimate point guard.

24) USC and Texas to score a combined 120 points.

25) The Lions to draft another wide receiver.

26) Jack Bauer to defeat the resurging Taliban, assasinate Sadam Hussein and Fidel Castro, solve the United States border issues, and make love to a beautiful woman all in 24 hours.

27) Reggie Ball to pull a Jason Campbell.

28) Jessica Simpson or a girl that looks just like her.

29) A pay per view ultimate fighting match between T.O. and Donovan McNabb (this would undoubtedly be the highest grossing pay-per-view event of all time)

30) Kobe Bryant to shoot so much in a game that his right arm actually falls off on the court.

31) I would trade the 30 requests above for just one more World Championship for the Braves!

So, there it is, my Christmas wish list. I don't think I'm asking for too much here. In all sincerity, I wish everyone a tremendous Holiday Season whether you be celebrating Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, or some bizarre combination of the three. I hope that everyone enjoys their time with their family and friends this Holiday season, and please don't forget to keep in your prayers the men and women of our Armed Services that are spending this Holiday Season in foreign lands so that we may all have the pleasure of celebrating our Holidays with our loved ones this year and for many years to come.

Thursday, December 22, 2005 

Better Late than Never

This post is going up later than usual! That, however, is the least of my issues this morning. My roommate Hans informed me this morning that my other roommate had brought his girlfriend's dog to stay at our house today. That's cool, I have no problem with that except the fact that I am deathly allergic to dogs. We are talking violent sneazing, coughing, hives, the whole nine yards. Horrible stuff. So, the long and the short is that I can't go near this dog or else my day is a total disaster! The dog, however, happens to be in the same room as the bathroom where I keep my toothbrush and my hair brush. Luckily for me, I had an unopened toothbrush in my room as well as my deoderant. So, I can do everything I need to do without ever seeing the dog. Everything, that is, except comb my hair. So, here I am sitting in my office, in a suit, with the Mark Cuban hair do. Not good times.

Speaking of Mark Cuban, last night I read a detailed interview he recently gave to a prominent publication. I was struck by how bright this guy comes across in print. Whenever I see him interviewed I rarely hear what he has to say because I can't get past his psychotic looking eyes. The man exudes insanity and intensity when you see him interviewed, or when you see him at the Mavericks games. In print, however, he comes across as nothing short of brilliant. Clearly, he's got a lot going on upstairs to be as successful as he has been, but some of his ideas for the NBA, as well as his takes on how to run a successful business were striking in their sensibility and innovation. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggested that he's smarter than me. I'm simply stating that he is clearly a brighter man than he portrays at times.

Okay, the last thing I have to comment on today was covered at length in the comments to yesterday's entry. The Johnny Damon deal is the biggest story in sports right now, so I feel as if I must address it. My opinion is that it would have been a bad deal for anybody else in the Majors. To sign a lead off hitter with a career .290 average with a laughably weak arm for over $50 million to play in Yankee Stadium's center field makes very little sense to me. If you have ever been to Yankee Stadium you know that center field appears to stretch on forever. I'm not sure Damon can actually throw the ball from the warning track to second base. Jeter is going to be taking cut-off throws from where Andruw Jones would line up in center. Just doesn't seem like a wise move to put that kind of money behind this type of player. The Yankees, however, play by a different set of rules, and $50 million for them is a drop in the bucket. Therefore, it was probably a decent move for them. At the end of the day, however, what troubles me about this move is it's just another reason for us to hear endless talk in the national media outlets about the Sox and Yankees!!! At this point, I would rather slit my wrist with a dull blade than hear one more word about these "bitter" rivals. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to look for a letter opener.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 

Afternoon Delight

Here's a couple of links to brighten your afternoon:
As a general rule, this website is always good for a few laughs. Today, however, it's out of control. Take a few minutes and read what these folks have to say about Johnny Yankee.
Undoubtedly the funniest SNL piece in a long time. Completely safe for work, but be careful because the song will be stuck in your head all day.
A lot of you have probably seen this, but it is pretty cool. Andy Smith sent this to me in an email last week and I have spent way too much time breaking it down. At the end of the day, I think USC could potentially go 8-3 against that schedule. I think that '94 Penn State team with Kerry Collins and Kijana Carter that went undefeated but lost the National Title vote to a good, but not great Nebraska team; the '95 Nebraska team led by Tommy Frazier, Ahman Greene, and the certifiably insane Lawrence Phillips that dismantled an explosive Florida team in the Fiesta Bowl; and the '01 Miami Hurricanes that were, for my money, the greatest college football team of my life time.

That being said, conspicuously absent from the Trojans' imaginary schedule is the 2000 Oklahoma Sooners. What a great matchup this would have been. Possibly the greatest offense of all time versuse arguably the greatest defense of our life times. Seriously, people forget the murderous schedule OU survived in their legendary Hunt For Red October. In three consecutive games in October that year, those Sooners beat 3 straight top 10 teams on the road; Texas in Dallas, K. State in Manhattan, and Nebraska in Lincoln. Then, they went on to beat an explosive FSU team led by Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke 13-2 for the national title in the Orange Bowl. Why do I know so much about this team? I bet against them a total of 8 times in their run to the National Title, and I lost EVERY time. You don't forget teams like that.


Essential Knowledge

Last night, after a long day at the office, I stopped by Willy’s and picked up a little dinner and headed home. When I got home, I excitedly enjoyed my dinner as I watched one of the 213 “Modern Marvels” my roommate Hans has stored on the DVR. When Hans got home, as I’m apt to do, I began telling him how much I enjoyed my Willy’s, and the next thing I knew Hans and I were in a thoughtful and insightful conversation about the differences between the various Mexican restaurants around Atlanta. After this conversation, it became painfully clear that the knowledge exchanged in this conversation must be shared with the world. I’m not an expert on many things, but Mexican food happens to be on of them. I know that not everybody that frequents TWAD is an Atlanta resident, but at some point you are certain to visit here, so what I’m about to share is equally important to you. Without further ado, I present you with TWAD’s top 5 Mexican food establishments in the ATL:

Moe’s is beautiful for it’s simplicity. You walk in, the staff greets you with a big “Welcome to Moe’s”, you step to the counter and place your order, and you stand there and watch them make your food. It’s great, you can be in and out in less than five minutes. You can eat healthy, or you can attempt to induce a coronary with my favorite menu item, the Billy Barrou Nachos. The key ingredient on the nachos is the two huge scoops of pipe hot queso dip that they heap on top of the multi-color chips. If nachos aren’t your thing, you can always go with the Homewrecker, the Joey Bag of Donuts, or the I Said Posse quesadilla. Yes, there is no doubt that the names of the menu items are entertaining at first, but eventually grow tiresome. How many times can a grown man walk to a counter and utter the words “I’d like a Joey” or “I’d like an I said Posse”? Not always enjoyable. Another limitation of Moe’s is that you get the sense that on a scale of 1-5, the quality of the ingredients is about a 3. Also, you need to know going in that this is strictly “California Mexican”; therefore, there are no re-fried beans, only black and pinto beans. Despite these limitations, if you want a cheap, quick, and downright tasty slice of Mexican, Moe’s has a lot to offer.

4) Willy’s Cantina
In truth, I could write an entire article about the Willy's v. Moe's debate, but I won't. Okay, take everything I said about Moe’s, take away the greeting as you walk in the door, the annoying names, and bump the quality of ingredients from a 3 to a 5 and you’ve got Willy’s. Willy’s is kind of like Ashley Olsen, and Moe’s is sort of like Mary Kate. I think you get the picture. The only real problem with Willy’s is that the nachos are a little bland and lack the heapings of queso that you receive at Moe’s. Everything else on the menu, however, is just a notch above. I’ve gotten in the routine of ordering a regular chicken burrito with no rice and a regular chicken taco in lieu of the chips. I know it’s boring to always order the same thing, but why deviate when you are guaranteed satisfaction? I mean, a bird in hand is better than two in the bush. After all, isn’t this why people get married?

3) Rio Grande (near the corner of Roswell and Peachtree)
Honestly, I don’t have much to offer about the food at Rio Grande. It’s your traditional strip mall tex mex, or “dirty” Mexican food as I like to refer to it. In other words, it’s not that distinguishable from your typical El Toro, El Azteca, or El Charo that you can find in every strip mall across the metropolitan Atlanta area. What sets Rio Grande apart from others, however, is the atmosphere and the scenery. On a spring, summer, or early fall night, you can sit on the huge front patio with a group of buddies and drink a few adult beverages and sit back and watch scores of beautiful women congregating before they take to the clubs and bars of Buckhead. Seriously, 70% of the women at Rio Grande on a Friday night are a 7 or higher. I don’t care where you come from, that’s impressive. I hear the margaritas are pretty good too, but tequila gives me indigestion so I stick to the Corona.

2) Jalisco
Jalisco is truly a hidden gem. Tucked into the Peachtree Battle shopping center in south Buckhead, this is a family owned establishment that offers amazing food and impeccable service. The only drawback is that it’s a small place, and sometimes you have to wait up to half an hour for a table. Once you get a table, however, you can enjoy an amazing meal in less than 30 minutes. The food is of the highest quality, and it’s always served piping hot. My personal favorite is the combination dinner number 13 with a burrito, enchilada, and chille relleno. Also, the salsa is fresh and extremely tasty, and the chips are light, fluffy, but just crispy enough. If you dine there long enough, they will even engrave your name on a plague at your favorite table. Be warned however, it’s loud, and not the most comfortable place to settle in for a night of drinking with your friends. In fact, the alcohol is limited to beer and sangria. If you want a margarita, you are out of luck. At Jalisco, it’s all about the food.

1) Nuevo Laredo
Nuevo Laredo isn’t voted the best Mexican food in Atlanta every year for no reason. This is a one of a kind dining experience. The food is out of this world, the margaritas are supposedly amazing, and there are statues of the Virgin Mary in the parking lot! On the inside, the quarters are tight, but the atmosphere is fun. The walls are lined with pictures of famous patrons that have come from all over the world to dine here. The prices are a little higher than your run of the mill Mexican joint, a combination dinner will cost you between $10 - $12, but it’s worth every penny. I actually make it a habit to always order something different when I go to Nuevo Laredo. If forced to choose, my favorite dish is probably the chicken chimichanga, but you can’t go wrong with anything. The queso dip, however, is mandatory as an appetizer. It’s the absolute perfect consistency, not too runny but not too thick. It will change your life. Be warned, however, don’t expect to just waltz right into Nuevo Laredo. Any night of the week you can expect up to an hour wait for a table. Not to worry, however, you can enjoy a few beers, talk to friends, and even pay homage to the Virgin Mary if you like while waiting on the front porch. Once you’ve eaten at Nuevo Laredo, the thought of an hour wait won’t give you any pause.

Honorable Mention: 1) El Azteca on Ponce (great lunch location, but a man did die several years ago after eating there. I have no idea if the food had anything to do with it, but the possibility is enough alone to keep it out of the top five 2); El Azteca on Peachtree (solid food, but essentially a smaller version of Rio Grande); 3) El Amigo on Howell Mill (haven’t been there in years, but I used to drink big beers there in college so it deserves a shout out); 4) Chipotle (essentially a Moe’s/Willy’s knock off with higher prices and they don’t give you chips with your burrito); 5) Taco Bell (really, who among us doesn’t enjoy the occasional run for the border?)

So, there you have it, my break down of the best Mexican food in Atlanta. You can’t buy knowledge like that anywhere.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 

Farewell for Favre?

Unfortunately, I was right back in August. I've actually never been so upset that I was right. I had just finished my fantasy football draft when four of my buddies and I were comparing everybody's teams and players. Somehow, we got on the topic of Favre when I expressed the following opinion:

"The Packers would be better off without Favre. In fact, it was irresponsible of the Packers to keep playing Favre, and not build for the future."

Well, I got roasted for that opinion that day, and I don't expect the reaction to be much different today, but here's my case:

First, let me be clear that I think Brett Favre is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and I think he is still much more than capable of performing at a high level in the NFL. In fact, with the deplorable quarterback play in so many places around the league, Favre is probably still one of the top 5 - 7 quarterbacks in the league. The problem with Favre in Green Bay is that, while he may still be capable of greatness, he's the only one! Of course, very few people, if any, could have dreamed that the Packers would go into Christmas at 3 - 11, but everybody, if they were honest with themselves, could have told you at the beginning of the year that the Packers had NO chance to win the Super Bowl.

I happen to be of the opinion that the goal of every NFL team, and the obligation that they have to their fans and season ticket holders, is to reach a Super Bowl as soon as possible. For example, there is no doubt that right now Brett Favre gives the Packers a better chance to win each individual game than Aaron Rodgers. Neither quarterback, however, had a chance to take the Packers to the Super Bowl this year. The difference is that Favre won't be around long enough to have a chance to take the Packers back, Rodgers will. Therefore, for the good of the organization, Aaron Rodgers should have been taking snaps for the Packers this year! As things stand, the Packers have suffered through a 3-11 season and the heir apparent at qb has received no valuable experience. Brett Favre, however, gets a nice musical montage and every announcer takes at least 15 minutes to slurp him every time he takes the field. That's nice, and it's well deserved, but it's not the responsibility of the Packers leadership to allow Brett Favre an extended farewell tour at the expense of the organization. Again, the goal is to win Super Bowls as soon as possible, and by allowing Favre to continue to take snaps, the Packers are not living up to their end of the bargain with their fans and season ticket holders.

That being said, is Favre done? Hell no. Certainly, he makes some inexplicable throws these days, but he's still got a live arm, he still loves to play, and he's still Brett Favre for God's sake. He's thrown for over 3,300 yards this year, and he's going to throw for over 20 touchdowns. He, of course, has already thrown 24 interceptions, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that he has no legitimate receivers and he's constantly trying to make things happen for a desperate team. There are several teams that would have been better off with Brett Favre at quarterback this year, and there are several teams that would be better off with Brett Favre at quarterback next year. The Green Bay Packers, however, were not, and will not be one of those teams.

Monday, December 19, 2005 

Monday Musings

I'm getting my day off to a very late start today. After watching the Falcons get beat down Ultimate Fighting style in Chicago, I fell into a very deep and peaceful sleep last night. Some people may argue that its hard not to sleep peacefully when you are sleeping on a sun porch of a 100 year old house in the middle of winter, but I think it had more to do with the fact that I was finally able to come to terms with the Falcons last night. At the end of the day, I'm not upset that they got embarrassed on national t.v. and played so poorly that even the ESPN Sunday night crew was searching for nice things to say, I'm relieved. I'm relieved that I can stop wondering when they were going to start playing like a playoff team, because I now know that is not going to happen. I now know that the Falcons are just a decent team with a mis-used quarterback, and a coaching staff that doesn't appear to put much of a premium on discipline. At least, now, I know.

Now, here's a quick look at some other things that came in and out of my mind this weekend:

  • You may have noticed that I didn't give any NFL picks this weekend. I should have mentioned on Friday that there will be no picks for any of the last three weeks of the regular season. It's always a bad idea to wager on sports, but it's down right suicidal to wager on the last three weeks of the NFL season. You just have no idea what is going on at this point. You have some teams coasting to the playoffs, some teams fighting for the playoffs, some teams tanking in the attempt to win the Reggie Bush sweepstakes, and some teams like the Texans failing to understand they should be tanking. How pissed would you be if you were a Texans fan right now? I'd be furious. Anyway, just stay away from the NFL until the playoffs. If not, you will go insane watching things like the Browns winning on the road, the Texans winning, the Colts losing, the Jags beating the Niners by a point, the Seahawks struggling against the lowly Titans, the '91 Redskins inhabiting the bodies of the 2005 team, etc... I think you get the picture.

  • Jim Haslett DEMANDS a five year extension with complete control of football operations???? I don't know where to begin with this, so I made him man of the week!

  • Don't look now, the Hawks have won 4 out of 5, and Joe Johnson is looking like a franchise player. Don't get me wrong, I'm not drinking the Kool-Aid on the team or Johnson just yet, but it's fun to have a reason to watch.

  • Did Don Shula and Bob Griese really have a press conference moments after the Colts lost to the Chargers? Will somebody tell these guys they are both in the Hall of Fame and they should be better than this. Gross.

  • I was listening to the Hawks' post-game show on the radio yesterday and new color commentator Dennis Scott mentioned that he is now 37 years old! I almost drove off the road. I celebrated my 28th birthday last week, and I was feeling a little old, then I hear this. When your boyhood heroes start creeping up on middle age it's not a good feeling. In fact, it's down right depressing. If you need me, I'll be curled up in the fetal position for a few hours.

  • I read an article this weekend from a recent ESPN the Magazine about Eli Manning and his relationship with Peyton. Eli sounds like a pretty cool guy. Peyton, on the other hand, does not.

  • Brett Favre vs. the Ravens D on Monday Night Football. Five years ago this would have been "Must See T.V." Now, it's nothing more than a good excuse to log a late night at the office.

  • Last night's episode of "Grey's Anatomy" was a re-run of the opening episode of this season. This worked out well for since I jumped on the bandwagon a few episodes into this season. After this episode, I want to revise my opinion of Dr. Christina Yang. Not only is she the most reprehensible character on television, she may actually be the Devil! Yes, I watch way too much television, and I care way too much about the television I watch.

  • Finally, on a personal note, thanks to all my friends that showed up Saturday night to celebrate the fact that Colby and I have actually made it to age 28. I'm pretty sure that the over/under on me was set at 30 back in college. The folks holding the tickets for the under are getting a little nervous.

Friday, December 16, 2005 

Orange County Crisis

That's right folks, there is a crisis in the O.C. I, of course, am referring to the fact that what was once the most enjoyable show on television, "The O.C.", has turned into a disaster. "The O.C." did so much in its first season that I think that FOX could have never aired another episode, and it would have been a first ballot hall of fame television show on the strength of Season I alone. Since that first season, however, we have witnessed some of the most ridiculous and repetitive story lines in history. I mean, how many stray poor or lonely boys can Marissa bring into the mix? How many men can Julie Cooper seduce? How many lies can Julie Cooper tell? How many dudes can Ryan punch? How many guns can we see in Orange County? How many lives can Sandy Cohen touch? Don't get me wrong, I'm still an O.C. addict. I would never consider missing an episode. I just wish that the writers would have never gotten away from the formula that brought the show success in the first place: hot babes, bikinis, 1 funny guy (Seth), 1 villain (Luke), 1 lovable underdog (Ryan), 1 steady and wise adult influence (Sandy), and 1 MILF (Kirsten). Obviously, other characters were involved, and the show had to expand, but it was that basic formula that made the show a hit, and straying from that formula may very well be the downfall of what could have been a dynasty. I haven't come here today to simply trash something I love. Oh no, I have five suggestions of things that need to be done to save "The O.C." In chronological order:

1) Kill off Marissa. Yes, she's got to go. I wrote the other day that Dr. Christina Yang on "Grey's Anatomy" is the most reprehensible female character on television; well, Marissa Cooper is a close second. From the Oliver fiasco, to the lesbian affair (which should have lasted longer), to the shooting of Trey, to the inevitable disaster with this Johnny kid, Marissa Cooper has demonstrated the worst decision making abilities of any person, real or fictional, in recorded history. Every moment she is on the screen is excruciating, down right excruciating. The worst thing is that it sounds like Mischa Barton, the actress that plays Marissa, is just as stupid in real life. Apparently, the 19 year old actress has agreed to marry some 26 year old dude named Cisco. I don't even have the words to describe the stupidity of that situation. At any rate, bring this poor girl's drama to an end. Have her die of an overdose after learning that her mother now dips Skoal and lives in a trailer park. Trust me, this is in everybody's best interest.

2) Have Johnny and Ryan become boys. In the wake of Marissa's death, these two guys can be there for each other, and become tight. After all, they both loved Marissa. That's a strong bond. (Yes, I did just throw up a little in my mouth). Seriously, this would be great. These two guys become boys, start running around town partying and chasing chicks. This would provide the opportunity to re-introduce the random hottie into the The O.C. and would provide great entertainment for everyone. (Can't you just picture the type of B level actresses these guys would rake in at the pool house?)

3) Have Seth and Summer break up. Listen, I know this is a tough one. We all rooted for Seth to get Summer, we all were pumped when they had the cheesy Spider Man kiss in Season 2, and we've all genuinely grown to like these characters on a personal level. Okay, that might be a little dramatic, but here's the deal. Seth is the star of the show. He's absolutely hilarious, and he lifts everybody else's game to a whole new level. When the vast majority of his scenes are required to involve relationship talk, we don't get the full effect of the Seth Cohen self deprecating humor. When he's on his game, Seth Cohen is undoubtedly one of the funniest characters in recent television history. And be honest, didn't you like Summer better when she was just a bikini wearing, smoking hot, self centered bitch? I think we all did. We all see her now, as a sweetheart. That's not how she started, and in the beginning, when she was all those other things, the show was at its apex.

4) This is the most important one of all...bring Luke back! By the end of the first season, Luke's comedic value, unintentional as it was, was rivaling Seth's. Look, re-read what I wrote in #2 and then insert the Steve Sanders version of Luke, not the Cobra Kai version, and tell me how great that would be. The combination of the hotties and the unintentional comedy would send the show soaring to never before seen heights.

5) Make all these changes in time for next season, air next season over the summer and have it cover the time period before they go off to college. At the end of the summer season, pull the plug, call it quits. That's right, let's not attempt to construct the storyline where all the kids end up at Berkeley or Brown, or anywhere for that matter. Let's not move the setting of the show to another town. The name of the show is "The O.C." for God's sake. If they all go to Brown, are they going to re-name the show to "The Providence"? God, I hope not. Here's what I propose. The O.C. should learn two lessons from Dawson's Creek. (that's right, I'm now writing about Dawson's Creek!). First, it's never a good idea to try to pick up and move the location of the show. Those Boston years for D.C. were simply dreadful. Second, when you decide to bring a show like this to an end, go ahead and do the 2 hour reunion movie as the last episode. Seriously, D.C. got this perfect. When it was all said and done, the last episode was a two hour movie set 10 years in the future that tied up all the loose ends. (Joey and Pacey got together, Michele Williams' character died, Dawson was a successfully t.v. producer and get the picture.) The O.C. should do the same thing. Give us a summer full of partying, babe chasing, high comedy, and all the things that made the O.C. great to begin with, then, give us two hours set 10 years in the future to wrap things up. I can see it now, Seth works as a writer for a t.v. show and is married to Summer who is the model Soccer mom, Sandy Cohen is the Mayor of Newport, Luke and Ryan took over the Newport group, Johnny went off on the surf tour, got into drugs, and is now back in The O.C. counseling troubled youth, and Julie and Kirsten operate the world's largest upscale dating service, and Julie is married to Summer's Dad. (after last night, who doesn't see this coming?)

I truly believe "The O.C." is still a Hall of Famer, but unless they make some immediate corrections, it's going to be on the outside looking in. I only know one thing for certain, no matter what happens, I'll be watching every step of the way. Yes, I know I have a problem.

Thursday, December 15, 2005 

Comeback Week

This week, we have seen two notable comebacks in the NBA. The first came with enormous media attention, fanfare, and controversy. The second came rather quietly with noticeably little media attention and fanfare. In truth, most of us are probably rooting for the first of these comebacks to fail and the second to succeed. I'm, of course referring to the return to the court of Pat Riley and Grant Hill.

First, raise your hand if you believe that Stan Van Gundy really decided that he just couldn't stand to be away from his family anymore. He claimed that he wanted to spend quality time with his 14 year old daughter before she grew up and moved away to college. Is it just me, or can you think of a less enjoyable time for a Father to be around his daughter than when she is in high school? Boys, booze, drama. That's what Stan is likely to deal with over the next four years. I know Antoine Walker can be a royal pain in the ass, but to me, he still seems like a better alternative. The only thing I don't get is what Van Gundy has to gain by covering for Riley in this situation. If Riley really did force him out, why wouldn't Van Gundy simply say so, collect the rest of his contract, and take a new job after a few years off. As it stands, his public statements would make him seem like a hypocrite and a punchline if he actually takes a new job before his daughter goes off to college. I'm having a hard time understanding this, but I can't help but shake the idea that something underhanded went on here.

The reason I can't shake this idea, of course, is Riley. Even beyond the fact that he appeared to lay the groundwork for this move with his comments in the offseason, it's just hard to believe Riley because, well, he's Riley. Fair or not, the man gives off the aura of shadiness. Maybe it's the hair, maybe it's the $3K suits, maybe it's the less than convincing "Aw shucks, I'm really lost right now" routine. I'm not sure what it is, but there is something about Pat Riley that leads you to believe you just can't trust him. For example, just the other day, a buddy of mine was describing someone he had just met, and he said "he seemed pretty slimy, you know, slicked back hair, silk suit, real Pat Riley." Coincidence? You decide.

As for Riley as a coach, however, you can't argue with success. The man's record now stands at 1,087 - 502 with 4 World Championships, 7 NBA Finals appearances, 16 playoff appearances, 155 post-season wins, and 3 Coach of the Year awards. Those are impressive credentials, and he's off to a 2-0 start with the Heat this time around. Also, and most importantly in my mind, during his stints with the Knicks and Heat, Riley may have single handedly ruined the quality of play of in the Eastern Conference. The slow, brooding, often thuggish style of play he implemented with these teams set the league back light years, and ultimately allowed the Western Conference to develop into the far superior side of the NBA until the resurgence of the Pistons two years ago. Those Riley teams actually led to more rules changes than the officials in the 1972 Gold Medal game in Munich. Every time you turned around David Stern and the league was attempting to find a way to combat Riley's creation. Despite his overall success, Riley cannot be easily forgiven for this.

Ultimately, because of the way this all went down, and because of his star status, anything less than a championship for the Heat this year will be a failure for Riley. He de-constructed the team that reached Game 7 of last year's conference finals, and created a team that he felt HE could coach. Well, now he's got what he wants, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to seeing the look on his face every time Antoine Walker foregoes an open Shaq in the post to hoist a 27 footer. At the end of the day, maybe it's only fair that the man that brought Walker aboard has to try to coach him.

After his first six years in the league, Grant Hill appeared to be a sure fire Hall of Famer. Not only that, he was likeable and charismatic. He seemed to have the game of Scottie Pippen and the charisma of Michael Jordan. That was a sensational combination. Then, in 2000, he was traded to Orlando, and his body began to betray him. Specifically, Hill's ankle was a fragile as good china. Since 2000, he has played 114 out of a possible 328 games with the Magic. 67 of those games came last year, as he appeared to have finally made it back to his old form averaging 19.7 points and 4.7 rebounds a game. This year, however, Hill has missed the first 19 games with an abdominal injury.

Last night, to the cheers of the fans at Madison Square Garden, Hill made yet another comeback. His performance was less than stellar with 7 points and 5 turnovers in 23 minutes of action. The fact that he was on the court at all, however, made the performance memorable. Unlike Riley, Grant Hill is just the kind of guy you can't help but root for. He could have been one of the all time greats, and now, even though that no longer seems possible, you still want to catch glimpses of that greatness before he calls it quits. If you weren't enamored with Hill before all the injuries, he has to have won you over with his grit and determination to make it back. After all, he has no real incentive, other than pride and love of the game, to keep coming back. When he signed with Magic, Hill signed a 7 year $93 million deal. Even if he had never played a game for the Magic due to his injuries, he would have received every dime of that contract. Yet, he hasn't just packed it in. Instead, Hill has battled and fought tooth and nail in an attempt to "earn" his salary. In today's climate of "me first" athletes, his commitment should be celebrated.

Finally, one last thing about Grant Hill. I watched Grant Hill for all of his four years at Duke, and never really cared one way or another for him. If he had played for anybody else, I would have been a huge fan, but because he played for Duke the best I could do was not hate him. Then, on the first Monday night of April 1994, in the NCAA Title Game, Hill had one of the greatest performances I've ever seen. On the first play of the game, Hill went for a rebound and crashed to the floor violently hitting his tailbone. At that moment, it looked like Duke would have to try to upset Corliss Williamson, Scottie Thurman, Bill Clinton, and the heavily favored Arkansas Razorbacks without him. Hill, however, got up, shook it off, and sucked up the pain as he put up 12 points, 14 rebounds, and 6 assists to nearly single handedly lead a team made up of Tony Lang, Jeff Capel, Cherokee Parks, and the utterly hateable Chris Collins to the Title. Had it not been for Scotty Thurman's miracle three in the waning seconds, Coach K would have four NCAA Titles. Hill's performance, however, was one for the ages. It was the kind of performance that you will tell your kids about one day. Ultimately, it was the kind of performance that makes you a fan forever. Ever since that April night in '94, I've been Grant Hill's biggest fan, and I'm just hoping I get one more performance for the ages before he finally calls it quits.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 

Around The Web...

Here's a couple of websites I thought you all might enjoy.
My buddy Alec sent this to me last week, and I got a good laugh out of it.
Need a little inspiration on a Wednesday morning? As far as I'm concerned, this is the ultimate goose bump moment in movie history.
It's no secret that Bill Simmons is the inspiration for my blog. That being said, since I've started writing, I've tried to limit how much I read Bill so I don't end up simply regurgitating what he has to say. I did, however, read this article a while back, and I thought ya'll might like to take a look if you are looking for ideas for Christmas gifts.
Thanks Janet Jackson! I really appreciate it.
For $145 bucks you can have a life size Michael Vick on your wall! Would somebody please buy me Chad Johnson?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 

Where The Players Play

A few months ago I wrote about the experience that is a Falcons game. In case you missed it and don’t feel liking going back in the archives to read it, a Falcons game is not just a football game. A Falcons game is some kind of combination of a football game, a rap concert, and the world’s longest and biggest commercial for the sponsors. At any rate, tonight was a must win for the Falcons, and I had the pleasure of taking my Dad to the game. Originally, I was going to take my Dad, then it looked like my nephew would be going, but in the end it was Dad who was my wingman tonight. It’s an overused cliché, but my Dad really is one of a kind. This man seriously makes me look calm and politically correct. I figured our trip to the Dome would be the perfect opportunity to completely rip off my sports writing idol,’s Bill Simmons, and keep a running diary of the experience to share with all ya’ll. Since I haven't shared my blog with my family, I thought I was going to have to come up with a good reason to explain to my Dad why I was jotting down notes during the game, but not surprisingly, he never asked. I guess by now, he just figures I'm nuts, and it would be akward to point it out. Hopefully, this will give those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of attending a Falcons game in person an inside look at what the Georgia Dome experience is all about:

8:28 P.M.: Of course, I left the parking pass at home, so I pull my brand new ride into a parking lot that resembles a scene from Training Day. I pay the $20 to park only after being assured by the guy taking the cash that “nobody ever gets their car messed with here.” For some reason, I’m not sure I believe him.

8:40 P.M.: Dad and I are standing in a line 100 deep waiting to be patted down to get inside the Dome when Dad decides to lead a charge through the handicapped line. They let us through without flinching, and we are off to the races.

8:55 P.M.: Two hot dogs, two orders of fries, and two beers = $35!!! I’ve eaten really good steak for less than that. To be fair, the hot dog didn’t give me food poisoning. I guess it was a bargain.

9:02 P.M: The Falcons offense is introduced amidst large flames and smoke. When Vick is announced, the roof almost comes off the place. It really is unbelievable the way this city loves Mike Vick.

9:02 P.M.: I’m so happy we are wearing the all black uniforms. I can only assume that this means Jamie Foxx will be playing quarterback and Al Pacino will be delivering an overly dramatic incoherent half time address.

9:03 P.M.: I get mustard on my shirt. The over/under for this was actually 9:01 P.M.

9:05 P.M: The D.J. on the sideline makes his first appearance by imploring the crowd “Come on, come on, make some NOOOIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEE!!!” I hope this guy gets paid well, I’m not sure what we would do without them.

9:06 P.M.: Ludacris informs us that Atlanta is where the players and play, and we will all be partying until 8 in the morning. Dad seems really pumped that they are playing Ludacris.

9:08 P.M.: Toe meets leather, and we are off and running. The electricity in the building is amazing right now. I seriously am not sure I’ve ever heard it this loud. Everyone seems to get the fact that this is do or die for the Falcons. This is going to be a fun night.

9:09 P.M.: The Falcons go three and out. Great. The offense is picking up right where it left off in Carolina. I’m not so sure this is going to be a fun night.

9:12 P.M.: False start for the Saints. The crowd is losing its collective mind right now. Okay, this is fun again.

9:13 P.M.: Dad says “if I were the Saints I would throw at DeAngelo Hall all night.”

9:14 P.M.: DeAngelo Hall strips the ball free, recovers it, and returns it to the 12 yard line. Dad says “Holy Shit, I love that kid!” The crowd is now certifiably insane.

9:17 P.M.: The play stands as called! The lesson to be learned here is NEVER listen to Aaron Brooks. You would have thought that Jim Haslett knew this by now.

9:19 P.M.: Touchdown Duckett!!! It’s 7-0 Falcons, but I’m troubled by the fact that we are yet to hear from the twelve-piece soul band on the sideline. I mean, if I don’t here some R-E-S-P-E-C-T soon, I’m asking for a refund.

9:20 P.M.: T.V. Timeout

9:23 P.M.: Kickoff

9:23 P.M.: T.V. Timeout. You got to love Monday Night Football.

9:24 P.M.: “Come on, Come on, let’s make some NOOOOOIIIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” Thank God for the sideline D.J.

9:30 P.M.: Donte Stallworth breaks a DeAngelo Hall tackle, then he proceeds to talk trash to the entire Saints bench. Dad screams “oh, whose Johnny Bad Ass now?” I guess he’s not in love with D. Hall anymore.

9:39 P.M.: Hey, there’s the jazz band singing Gretchen Wilson? My universe is upside down right now. Dad looks troubled and confused. Oh, thank God, the sideline D.J. puts a stop to this. “Let’s make some NOOOOOOOOOIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEE” Shoot me!

9:40 P.M.: After 3 Falcons penalties, and 16 actual minutes, the Saints drive finally stalls, and the P.A. system blares En Vogue’s “Never Gonna Get It.” That’s right, we’ve gone retro!

9:41 P.M.: 47 yard field goal is good. 7-3 Falcons.

9:41 P.M.: “It’s your Birthday, It’s your Birthday…” Fifty Cent has made his first appearance, and now it’s a party.

9:41 P.M.: T.V. Timeout

9:43 P.M.: Kickoff

9:43 P.M.: T.V. Timeout. At this rate, I should be able to go straight from the game to work in the morning.

9:47 P.M.: Warrick Dunn catches big screen pass which leads to Naughty By Nature’s “Hip Hop Hooray”. I went to a football game, and a 7th grade dance broke out.

9:52 P.M.: Antowain Smith breaks a 23 yard run up the get the Saints out of the shadow of their goal line on the last play of the first quarter. The air just got sucked out of the Dome. I just look at Dad and shrug.

9:57 P.M.: D. Hall muffs a punt, but recovers. Dad puts his face in his hands. I’m actually worried about him.

9:58 P.M.: Michael Jenkins actually holds onto a ball. Nobody cheers; we all just look at each other in silent disbelief.

10:00 P.M.: 3rd and 3 on our own 28, and Vick throws a pick that is returned to the 6-yard line. Okay, I’m getting really worried.

10:01 P.M.: Antowain Smith scores on the first play. You could hear a pin drop. 10-7 Saints. There is NO way we can lose this game.

10:08 P.M.: Third and long, Vick is in trouble, and the whole building screams “RUN” at the same time. Vick, however, stands in the pocket and completes a pass to Jenkins for a first down. This is good, I guess.

10:09 P.M.: Dad looks at me and says “do they have to play music after every freaking play?” I look him right in the eye and say “yes.” He looks at me and says “thanks asshole.” That’s love.

10:19 P.M.: Mike Vick may have found his legs, Mora finally wins a challenge, and the referee offers an explanation that makes no sense. Who cares? It’s 14-10 Falcons, and the energy is back. We are having fun again.

10:26 P.M.: D. Hall picks off a pass and takes it to the house, but it’s called back for roughing the passer. Dad is convinced that this is somehow Hall’s fault.

10:33 P.M: Warrick Dunn breaks a 26 yard run, and Dad screams “that’s it Warwick!” About two years ago, I stopped trying to explain to Dad that his name is Warrick, not Warwick. He likes Warwick, so I leave it alone.

10:35 P.M.: Dunn to Vick to White for a 54-yard touchdown. Now we’re cooking. The place is going nuts, and we are all having fun. Dad says, “he threw that on a rope from his own 45.” I say, “actually Dad, it was the 35.” Dad replies, “no it was the 45, look at the replay.” The replay clearly showed it was the 35. I just look at Dad and say, “oh, you are right Dad.” Senility can be kind of funny if you think about it.

10:43 P.M.: Aaron Brooks is called for intentional grounding. For those of us that are Tech fans, this brings back great memories of the UVA game in 1998. I really appreciate Aaron Brooks’ ability to keep the other team in the game.

10:45 P.M: Hey, that’s the first time we’ve heard Outkast tonight. That can’t be possible. Somebody is going to lose their job over this.

10:47 P.M: Joe Horn catches a touchdown with :11 left in the half. Shit, their goes the air again. Can’t we just make this easy?

10:50 P.M.: I’m pretty sure we just had a white guy returning the kickoff. Unless that is Tim Dwight, things aren’t looking very good right now.

10:51 P.M.: 21-17 Falcons at the half. It’s almost 11 P.M. and we just got to halftime.

11:03 P.M.: The second half starts, and Ludacris again reminds us that Atlanta is where the players play.

11:07 P.M.: D. Hall has a big punt return called back for a block in the back. Dad again attempts to find a way to blame this on D. Hall. I’m about to lose my mind. How hard is it for these guys to just not hit somebody in the back? It’s impossible for the Falcons to return a punt without committing a penalty. This makes me very angry.

11:15 P.M.: “Welcome to the Jungle” blares between plays. If this game continues to drag along like this, they are going to need to do better than Axl to keep the crowd around.

11:16 P.M.: D. Hall lays wood and Dad says, “Jesus, he’s in on every play.” Call me nuts, but I think Dad might be smitten again.

11:19 P.M.: Aaron Brooks is again called for intentional grounding. Seriously, he’s my favorite quarterback in all of football.

11:24 P.M: Ladies and gentleman, Mike Vick has definitely found his legs, and sails to a big touchdown run. It’s 28-17, Mike Vick is running again, and the crowd breathes a huge sigh of relief.

11:25 P.M.: Dad and I agree that if we leave now he can be home by 1 A.M. Considering he hasn’t been up past Midnight since ’87, this is a no brainer.

11:32 P.M.: Dad drops $50 on souvenirs for his grandson and granddaughter, and we head to the car.

11:45 P.M.: We make it back to the car, and after careful inspection, it appears that all the windows are still intact. I’m certifiably giddy that the Falcons are going to win and my car wasn’t broken into. If you’ve been reading recently, you know that is no small feat.

So, there it is, a Monday Night at the Georgia Dome in the ATL where the players play and the music makes you drop to your knees. The Falcons are back in the thick of the NFC South race with a trip to Chicago on the horizon, and my Dad and I got to take in a game together. All in all, not a bad day. Not bad at all

Monday, December 12, 2005 

Monday Musings

  • After a 97-66 thumping of the second ranked Texas longhorns, I think we can all assume that Duke is okay. After several less than stellar performances in the early going, folks around the ACC were starting to think "hey, maybe these guys won't be as dominating as we thought!" No such luck. Behind J.J. Reddick's career high 41 points, the Blue Devils sent a message that was received all the way from South Beach to Chestnut Hill.

  • Even though he had a career high, and his team looked amazing on Saturday, don't you just know that the conversation in the locker room after the Duke game went something like this:

Sheldon Williams: "Hey everybody, before J.J. gets back from the media room, let's make plans for tonight. I say we take cabs into NYC and hit Level V. We'll get some bottles of vodka, talk to some ladies, and have the time of our lives."

Everybody (in unison): "Awesome. Let's do it."

J.J. comes walking in

J.J.: "Hey boys, where are we throwing down tonight? Let's get crazy."

Everybody (in unison): "Nowhere!"

J.J.: "That's cool, I need to spend some more time alone to work on my poetry."

Sheldon: "That sounds like a great idea man. Your poetry is off the hook."

My point? He may be the best shooter in college basketball, but it's almost a mortal lock that even his teammates don't like J.J. Reddick.

  • Would you believe that B.C. was down two points to Maryland with 2.2 seconds left last night, and they had the ball under their own basket, and they didn't even get a shot up? I thought you might. Nice job Coach Skinner. There is always one team a year that is ranked in the top 10 in December and they don't make the tournament. Does anybody know where I can buy stock in B.C. being that team this year?

  • Just when the Lions didn't think it could any worse, they gave up 171 yards rushing to Samkon Gado. Ouch! On the bright side, I'm sure they will be able to pick up a great wide receiver with the 5th pick in the draft.

  • I know I've been piling on Boston sports as of late, some of it deserved and some of it probably undeserved, but I heard something yesterday that set me over the edge. Can the Red Sox seriously be interested in signing Roger Clemens? All I ever hear is how hating the Yankees is a way of life in Boston. Now, they are considering bringing back the man that made his name with the Sox, but then sold his soul to play for the hated Yankees. Not only that, this guy went as far as to say he wanted to enter the Hall of Fame with a Yankees cap!!! Is there a greater sin than that if you are a Boston fan? There is no way you can take this guy back. It would be like if you caught your brother sleeping with your wife. I know he's family and you shared a lot of great memories, but there is no way you can ever have him over for Christmas dinner again! If they do sign him, and the Boston fans do anything other than boo him every time he takes the mound, I will lose all respect for the supposed greatest fans in the world.

  • The Bears finally lost yesterday, and yes, I finally slept well for the first time in 8 weeks.

  • In case you haven't noticed, the Seahawks are dominating everyone they face right now. It's no coincidence that things have finally come together since Holmgren was stripped of his GM duties. Why would anybody ever give a coach GM duties as well? Has this ever worked? How many times does it have to fail before NFL owners learn their lesson? Seriously, is the average IQ of an NFL owner even in triple digits?

  • In case you are in need of some supplemental income, I hear the Mets are giving money away to anybody that stops by the front office. I mean, they gave two million dollars over two years to a 47 year old man to pinch hit and play a little first base. I figure I could be worth a quarter million just to sit behind the dugout and scream expletives at the opposing pitcher. I put a call in this morning and will let you know when I hear something.

  • Is it just me, or is Sandra Oh's character on ABC's Grey's Anatomy, Dr. Christina Yang, the most repugnant and un-likeable character in all of television? Seriously, I love the show, but I find myself yelling curse words at Oh every Sunday night. That's probably not healthy, but I just can't stop myself.

  • Finally, I'm enjoying a nice run of success with my NFL prognostications. With a sizzling 4-0 yesterday, I'm at 19-9-1 on the year. I usually give you my Monday Night pick, but this week I'm going to have to sit it out. There's just too much on the line emotionally for me to complicate things with money. The Falcons MUST win tonight to stay in the playoff race. I'm going to have a terrible time concentrating today with this game looming tonight. Strange things seem to happen when the Saints and Falcons get together, so let's just hope the breaks go our way, and we march into Chicago next week still in the thick of things.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 

Mr. President

This Saturday night, in the brand new Nokia Theater in Times Square, Reggie Bush is going to be awarded the 71st Heisman Memorial Trophy. I know that Vince Young and defending award winner Matt Leinart will both be on hand, but unfortunately for them, they have about as good a chance as the UCLA defense of stopping the coronation of Reggie. In my lifetime, there have been many great players that have joined the fraternity of Heisman winners. Only Barry Sanders, however, had the ability to single handedly dominate a game the way Reggie Bush can. His numbers are certainly phenomenal. 1,658 yards rushing, 8.9 yards a carry, 383 receiving yards, 217 all purpose yards per game, and 18 total touchdowns are eye popping to say the least. The numbers, however, only begin to tell the story.

Many people, my self included, have probably over-used the video game analogy with Bush, but he really does do things on the field that we've only ever seen done in a Play Station game before. For example, when he stopped on a dime, put the ball behind his back, and reversed field for a touchdown against Fresno State, all I could think to myself was "R2, circle button, L1, speed burst." Okay, so I'm a dork, but I think you get the point. Personally, I've never enjoyed watching a player the way I have enjoyed watching Reggie Bush at S.C. I can't think of another guy I've ever seen that left me jaw on the floor speechless as often as this guy. I'm seriously shocked every time he actually gets tackled. The point of all this slurping is simply that I am really pumped about Reggie Bush winning the Heisman. The kid truly deserves all the accolades, and we've been lucky to watch him play. How many Jets fans do you think will be secretly rooting for their team to lose out so they can draft Reggie?

Speaking of the NFL, I'm going to take the weekend off from writing, so I'm going to go ahead and give you my NFL picks now. After the Seahawks taking care of business for me on Monday, I'm standing at a strong 15-9-1 in the NFL. As we near the time of the year where some teams are fighting for the playoffs and other teams are fighting for Reggie Bush, the sledding gets tougher, and you have to pick your spots. Here's what I like this weekend:

Pittsburgh -6 v. Chicago
Wait a minute. The Bears have won 8 in a row, the Steelers have lost three in a row, and the Steelers are favored by 6? What am I missing? Oh well, either somebody knows something I don't, or the bookmakers are figuring that another Kyle Orton 67 yard performance isn't going to get it done for the Bears. Either way, I'm buying. After all, I've sworn to bet against the Bears until I'm broke.

New England -4 @ Buffalo
The two time defending Super Bowl champs have won 3 of their last 4, and the Bills have lost 3 in a row, including last weeks catastrophic meltdown in Miami. Who knows? Maybe J.P. Losman will out duel Tom Brady, but I think I'm going to take my chances.

Minnesota -7 v. St. Louis
"The Love Boat, soon we'll be making another run, promises something for everyone...." That will never get old. The Vikings are 7-5 and all of the sudden fighting for a playoff spot. The Rams are 5-7, and are in worse shape than Mike Martz's heart. Hurry up everybody and jump on board, there's a wild card party on the Lido Deck at 1:00 P.M. on Sunday.

Seattle -16.5 v. San Francisco
The Hawks are 10-2 and sniffing home field advantage. The Niners are 2-10 and sniffing Reggie Bush. After they beat the Eagles by 42 in Philly on Monday night, how in the world can I not take them laying 16.5 at home against a team that couldn't win the Pac-10 this year.

I hope everybody has a great weekend, and I'll be back on Monday with some mindless and painful musings. If you have any suggestions for upcoming entries, please send them to me at If you don't help me come up with interesting ideas I will be forced to write about the NBA, and I know that scares you all.


Masters of Their Domain?

Before I get into the business at hand today, I have to tell you about a phone message I got last night. I really wish I knew how I could somehow save it, and post it, but I don't, so I will just tell you about it. My buddy Joseph, a Doctor and a Duke grad (a/k/a Every Jewish Mother's Dream), left me a message that said, "Dude, there was just a three minute stretch in the Duke game against Penn where there were nothing but white guys on the court. I just had to call and tell you." I don't know why, but I laughed out loud, alone in my car, for about five minutes. Good times.

Okay, on to the business of the day. When I first started posting "The World According To Dunn", my buddy Robbie suggested that I write about the newly released Master's Coaches Survey. At the time, I thought it was a great idea, but for whatever reason, I just never wrote anything about it. When Robbie and I first discussed the Master's Survey, I felt the same way about it that he did. In other words, I pretty much thought it was silly for all these old guys, who are no longer involved in college football, to be sitting around and passing judgment on today's teams. My reasoning was essentially that the game had changed in the time since these guys were at their best, and their "old school" tendencies and biases would make it impossible for them to legitimately evaluate today's teams. Essentially, I felt like these guys would be far less qualified than the active coaches to cast a ballot in the polls.

Over the course of the season, however, I have kept an eye on the Master's Survey, I've done a good bit of reading about it, and I've had the chance to hear several of the coaches interviewed on the preeminent Atlanta sports talk radio station, 790 The Zone. Now, its safe to say that I have done a complete 180 on the Masters Survey. What I've come to learn is that these guys take their job very seriously. For example, these guys actually sit in front of a t.v. on Saturday and watch all the big games. Furthermore, they are provided game tapes of all the games they didn't have the opportunity to watch live. Only after they have all evaluated the game tapes do they have a big conference call and sort out their rankings as a group. So, unlike the active coaches voting in the ESPN/USA Today poll, the Master coaches are actually forming their opinions based on what they see with their own two eyes. This can't be a bad thing. Also, as for my fears that their "old school" thinking would taint the Master coaches' opinions, all you have to do is track their rankings throughout the year to see that those fears were unfounded.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we need to scrap all the current polls and defer to the wisdom of the Master's Coaches Survey. What I am saying, however, is that there is a lot to be learned from how this poll is constructed. When the human element plays such an integral role in deciding what teams get the $14 million pay day in the BCS, doesn't it make sense that the folks voting actually be required to watch all the games, and have a detailed knowledge of the nuances and factors that make one team better than another team? Ultimately, if are going to continue to have human elements in the BCS equation, then we need to incorporate some of the lessons being taught by these masters of the game.

Finally, I would be remissed if I didn't touch on one of the most discussed and heated topics in all of sports this week. I'm referring to the question of whether Notre Dame "deserves" to be in the BCS. On Tuesday, I spent the better part of the afternoon debating this issue with my buddies Dave and Robbie. I won't bore you with all the details, but it was an awesome email exchange, and at the end of the day, we accomplished nothing. But, the discussion began with Dave's assertion that the only reason Notre Dame is in the BCS is because of the name on their jersey.

Well, I think there are three types of people in the world, 1) People who love Notre Dame; 2) People who despise Notre Dame (a/k/a protestants and SEC fans with huge inferiority complexes); and 3) People who really don't care about Notre Dame. I lump myself into the third description. At one point in my life, however, I was in group number 1. After the Coach O'leary debacle, however, I can't bring myself to care one way or another about the Irish. That, however, is neither here nor there, its essentially to keep everyone from flooding the comments box with "Dunn is a fucking Notre Dame lover comments" when I say what I'm getting ready to say. Below is listed how Notre Dame ranks in all the elements that go into the BCS calculations:

1) #5 in the Harris Interactive Poll (human voters)

2) #6 ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll (human voters)

3) #6 Sagarin Computer Rankings

4) #9 Anderson & Hester Computer Rankings

5) #14 Billingsley Computer Rankings

6) #10 Matrix Computer Rankings

7) #14 Massey Computer Rankings

8) #11 Wolfe Computer Rankings

Obviously, the humans like the Irish a lot more than the computers do. On its face, this would seem to support the assertion that a human bias exists towards Notre Dame. In order to make that determination, however, you have to look at how Notre Dame was treated throughout the year by the pollsters to determine if they have in fact been treated any differently than any other team would have been treated. I did this analysis in the aforementioned email chain on Tuesday, so instead of re-inventing the wheel, I'm pulling the direct text from the email:

"Okay, here's one last thing to consider. We are looking at things retrospectively. When N.D. lost to Michigan State 44-41 in overtime, they had gone on the road in the previous two weeks to beat the #23 and #3 teams in the country at the time. Therefore, they were ranked number 10 and they lost in overtime to an undefeated team that many people felt was one of the best offensive teams in the country at the time. At that point, they fell to #16 in the country. They then won two game in a row, including a road beat down of what was the #22 team in the country at the time. Therefore, they entered the S.C. game as the #9 team in the country. They lost a classic to S.C., and deservedly, did not drop from their #9 ranking. From that point on, they didn't lose again, while teams in front of them lost. So, your argument comes down to one thing, if there name wasn't Notre Dame, would they have gone from unranked to #10 in the country before the Michigan State game? Who really knows the answer to that, but looking at the two road wins it took to get them there in the context of that moment, I think that any team would have certainly made that jump. Consider this, an unranked Georgia Tech team beat the #16 team on the road in the first week and jumped to #17 in the country. The polls are very fluid for all teams at the beginning of the year, not just for Notre Dame. If you want a reason why the Irish are ranked where they are, you only need to look at the jump they made in the first two weeks of the season. Had people known where Pitt and Michigan would end the season, then N.D. certainly would not have made that much of a jump, but hindsight is always 50/50."

Well, I don't expect that argument to convince everyone to stop hating on the Irish, and just enjoy the fact that we have the best set of BCS bowls I can remember, but maybe one or two of you will side with me on that one. The only thing I know for certain is that if I spent less time talking sports, I would probably get out of work a whole lot earlier. Then again, I wouldn't have nearly as much fun as I do!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005 

Breaking News, Basketball Preview, and Crazy Yankees

Just a couple of things for your afternoon enjoyment:

I guess losing to 70-3 in your Conference title game does get you fired! Good for Colorado. If I was their AD, my first call would go something like this:

AD: Hello Coach O'leary, I was calling to offer you our head football coaching job.
Oleary: You are aware of my resume issue, aren't you?
AD: For God's sake George, we didn't fire Barnett after we found out he was running a program that made Miami in the 80's look like a nursery school! Just don't get your ass whooped in the Big 12 title game, and we won't have any problems!

All joking aside, Coach O'leary is as good a man as you will find in coaching, and Colorado should absolutely give him a call. As long as he has Lance Thompson recruiting for him, he will win wherever he goes.

My buddy Ben sent me this link to the LSU message board. I love it. These folks are great. As far as they are concerned, 12 games is enough for Les Miles in Baton Rouge. To be honest, if you called Butch Davis, and he was interested, why wouldn't you fire Miles? I know they went 10-2 and won the West, but can't we all see where this is headed. It's like when Britney married Jason Alexander! Put in the call, get the annulment, and move on with your lives. Don't let what Nick Saban did be ruined by a man that is overwhelmed by his surroundings.

My buddy Phil sent this to me. I really don't know what to say about it other than it's insane, really offensive, and incredibly funny. If anybody reading this is politically correct, then you might want to a) not watch this clip, and b) never come back to my site again. Thanks.

4) In last week's college basketball preview there was one glaring omission. My good buddy Joel Gerber, after much harassment by me, wrote a solid preview of his law school alma mater's upcoming basketball season. Somehow, when publishing all the previews, I left his off. The lesson? You guessed it, I'm a moron. Well, better late than never, here is Joel's preview of Coach Cal's Memphis Tigers:

I could talk about how great and HONEST John Calipari is; I could list all of the talent Memphis has this year (including Darius Washington, Jr., Rodney Carney, and its top freshman class); I could remind everyone again what a clean program John Calipari runs; I could go on and on about how Memphis just beat Alabama and UCLA and only lost to Duke by 3 Saturday night in Madison Square Gardens - but I think the following is all I need to say about Memphis this year: Central Florida, East Carolina, Houston, Marshall, Rice, SMU, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB, and UTEP. Yeh, that's right, Conference USA is loaded from top to bottom. See you in March (and then on probation within the year). GO TIGERS GO!

I'm still hoping to get at least one more preview from one of my less punctual friends and readers (um, Zach Harwell), of his Georgia Bulldogs. Coach Felton is doing good things in Athens, I just hope Zach can get us a preview before the SEC Tournament!


"Don't Give Up, Don't Ever Give Up"

Last night, while flipping back and forth between the Hawks, Boston Legal, The Victoria Secret's fashion show, and back to the Victoria Secret's fashion show, I was very fortunate to come across ESPN's coverage of the Jimmy V Classic at the perfect moment. No, I'm not talking about the inevitable moment in every BC game when Al Skinner awakes from his coma, decides to try to look smart by changing something up, and gets his team beat. I have a five year old nephew, and if my sister called me and told me his little league basketball coach was Al Skinner, I would drive 100 mph to Locust Grove, GA to pull him out of practice before he could "learn" anything from Al. He's awful, and it's laughable that BC is ranked in the top 10.

I'm sorry, I seem to have digressed. Back to the important stuff. Just when I tuned in to the Jimmy V Classic, ESPN was showing Coach Valvano's amazing speech from the ESPY Awards on March 4, 1993. Just about six weeks later, on April 28, 1993, Coach Valvano lost his battle with cancer. Jimmy V, however, lives on in amazing and powerful ways. The V Foundation, whose establishment he announced that beautiful night at the ESPY's, has raised over $50 million for cancer research, and the basketball tournament bearing his name is as strong as ever in its 11th year of existence. It only seems fitting that the man that was posthumously inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999 has his name attached to a tournament played in the basketball Mecca, Madison Square Garden. No matter what memories you have of Coach Valvano, I think its safe to assume they are good.

Who could ever forget Coach Valvano searching for someone to hug after Derek Whittenburgh threw up the greatest airball in history? Who could forget his on air antics as a broadcaster with Dick Vitale, and finally, and most importantly, who could ever forget the passion, eloquence, and unforgettable candor he spoke with that night at the ESPY's? I remember seeing that speech live. I was a freshman in high school at the time, and nothing had ever inspired me like that speech did that night. A lot has changed in the nearly 13 years since I first heard Jimmy V's unforgettable words, but one thing has remained the same: I was moved to tears when I first heard the speech in 1993, and I was moved to tears as I heard it again last night. Thanks for the memories Coach Valvano, and for giving me a full day every time I hear your words.

For those of you that have never had the opportunity to hear or read the speech, you can read the text or listen to the speech at:

I encourage you to take the 9 minutes and 35 seconds it takes to listen to it. I guarantee its worth it.

Weekly Top 7

All-Time Top 7 Sports Movies

7) Kingpin - "The world can really kick your ass. I only have a vague recollection of when it wasn't kickin' mine" - Roy Munson

6) Caddyshack - "Don't sell yourself short Judge. You're a tremendous slouch." - Ty Webb

5) Major League - "Want me to drag him outta here, kick the shit out of him?" - Rick Vaugh

4) Eight Men Out - "Say it ain't so Joe. Say it ain't so." - Pee Wee

3) Rocky - "If I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I'm still standin', I'm gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood." - Rocky Balboa

2) The Natural - "I coulda been better. I coulda broke every record in the book." - Roy Hobbs


1) Hoosiers - "My team's on the floor!" - Coach Dale


Getting this Laker team into the playoffs is the best coaching job Phil has ever done. Now he can list "The WAD" Man of the Week right next to his 9 rings on his list of accomplishments. Is there any reason for him to keep going?

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