Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Week 4 Review/Week 5 Preview

Week 4 Review: Can't Anybody Score on the Road?!?

Wow, I never thought the Ohio U. tailgate would be the highlight of my football Saturday! At 9 am there were scores of green-clad people of all ages--mostly mid 20s, but a lot of 50s and up as well--drinking keg beer (Heineken! Way to go, alumni association!) and happily chatting away. I felt a glimmer of recognition from my time at the ND soccer fields.

After the tailgate though, it was mostly downhill. The sun was as hot as the offensive ineptitude on the field. Both teams struggled to move the ball, and NU shuffled to a 9-0 lead on three FGs that they couldn't convert into TDs. The Bobcats had opportunities but kept blowing them, either by missing FGs or committing turnovers. A late TD made a 16-0 halftime deficit.

The third quarter provided a glimmer of hope when RB Sutton went out with an injury. This provided Ohio U's only success on offense, when they took over in NW territory after a turnover. Unlike previous attempts, bad-ass named QB Boo Jackson finally found the end zone, and a two-point conversation gave Ohio U eight points. This turned out to be the final: 16-8.

I learned from Phil Steele a few days later that Ohio U's long snapper was hurt, which helps explain the three blocked/missed FGs. It also explains (I hope!) why EVERY TIME Ohio U punted, they one-hopped the snap back to the punter. The first time, the fans said, 'oh, that's bad.' When it happened the second (and third) time, we said, 'are they TRYING to do that?'

I didn't see as much of ND/MSU as I wanted, due to coming back from Evanston and drifting off to sleep once on the comfy couch. That's probably good, based on the hand-wringing from Irish fans on the Internets. I think the bottom line is: this is a young team, they will improve in fits and spurts, and fail inexplicably at times. They might win all their home games and lose all their road games. That's fine with me...that's a 7-5 season (assuming a win over Navy at Baltimore). A bad performance like the MSU game has caused a lot of panic and grumbling given the high expectations we all had. I'm telling ya, Irish fans: calm down, and let's just see how the season proceeds.

For the second straight week I got Iowa updates via telephone from Dad. But alas, the blinding glare of the Wannstache subdued the Hawks, and our QB merry-go-round produced more frustrations and three-and-outs. To quote Hawkeye Joyce: "We went to the Pitt game and it was the PITTS - not the city, but the game." Iowa loses, 21-20.

Pick Six: After four weeks of football, we're finally seeing some separation. Since TM and I ended up picking three of the same teams, we knew the season would boil down to the top two lines: Ohio State and Auburn vs. Florida and Missouri. That pick doesn't look so good now, as my top two have two combined losses (to Top 10 teams, I might add) where Florida and Mizzou have held steady (against mostly weak foes, I might add).

Games watched at least partially(* means watched most/all of this game): Colorado vs. W. Va., Baylor @ UConn, Ohio @ Northwestern*, Florida @ Tennessee, ND @ Michigan State, Va Tech @ North Carolina, South Florida @ Fla. Int'l, Wake at Florida State, Ball State @ Indiana. LSU @ Auburn*, Georgia @ Ariz. St.

Week 5 Preview: Back Home

Conference play begins at Kinnick for the Hawkeyes, with a team I personally scouted last week: the Northwestern Mildcats Wildcats. Ferentz named Stanzi the starter, so I guess the Stanzi Era has officially begun. Sorry Art, the local kid just couldn't cut it. This is a winnable game for Stanzi and the Hawkeyes. NU's offense looked shaky and out of sorts. They could only get one touchdown, at home, against a so-so MAC defense. Naturally, the Hawks will surrender at least 21-24 points to that same offense. (Sigh.) The only question is, can Stanzi & Co. generate 22-25 points? By the way, Northwestern says Sutton is 100%....I'll believe it when I see it.


Notre Dame hosts Purdue. I'm wholly unimpressed with Purdue so far: in three home games they beat up a cupcake, struggled with QB-less Oregon, and struggled (again) with MAC-tastic Directional Michigan. If the defense steps up and keeps Curtis Painter in check, we should be fine. If we see another offensively flaccid game like last week, well, it's still not time to panic, but it portends another painful rebuilding year.

Dwummas. (And why do two of the dwummas have mixing bowls for helmets??)

Ohio takes a deep breath from their series of near-misses and has a September Homecoming game agianst VMI. Easy win, right? Except, uh, VMI scored 69 points against something called Chowan last week.

Pick Six: a couple interesting games, including Auburn hosting Tennessee. Both teams lost last week, but I have more faith in Auburn bouncing back. Clemson hosts Maryland, pitting TM vs. Cat in a loyalty test. USF goes to NC State, who had a big win last week over previously undefeated E. Carolina. Quigley puts himself in a no-win situation when Illinois goes to Penn State.

Nebraska content: After sleepwalking through three home games, Nebraska gets their first real foe in Virginia Tech. The Hokies do not look as imposing as we thought in August, due to QB problems and overall malaise. Since it's a home game, I'm picking the Huskers to win. But I'm reserving judgment on the team as a whole til they play Mizzou in Week 6.

Ohio Bobcat for a Day

Last Saturday MPF became an honorary Ohio Bobcat. There are three things you need to do to earn this honor and he passed the test with flying colors.

Criteria #1: Drink Beer With a Bobcat:
MPF first accomplished this feat many moons ago when he started dating me. On Saturday, however, he earned extra bonus points for drinking beer before noon (9:00 AM to be precise) with 200 other Bobcats at the Bobcat Bash.

MPF and Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis at the Bobcat Bash

Criteria #2: Wear Bobcat Paraphernalia to a Bobcat Event:
This was a close one on Saturday because MPF does not own any Bobcat paraphernalia. He does however own things that are green which, in this case, worked. Again, extra bonus points go to MPF for sticking the Attack Cat logo on his Jameson Irish Whisky t-shirt during the tailgate. Two people actually stopped him to ask where they could order their own Bobcat Jameson shirt!

The Bobcat Bash was an official University event... with beer!

Criteria #3: Learn the Ohio Cheer:
Ok so this one isn't hard except when you've been drinking for two hours with other Bobcats prior to an event (in our case, it doesn't need to be a sporting event... Bobcats like to party). MPF is, however, a words master so the Ohio cheer was not a problem. In fact, MPF showed so much Bobcat spirit he even made friends with our mascot Rufus.

As for what happened after the party, well every Bobcat knows football isn't the reason you go to Ohio University. As I explained to MPF on Saturday though, we may be bad at football but we are incredibly loyal... so a big Hi-O to the Bobcat fans who suffered through our fourth loss of the season. And an even bigger Hi-O to the Bobcat fans who showed up at 9:00 AM to tap the keg.

You know what they say, you can take the Bobcat out of Athens but you can't take Athens out of the Bobcat.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Week 4 Preview: Road Trip to Evanston

Okay, here's the lineup for Saturday:

Ohio at Northwestern
Notre Dame at Michigan State
Iowa at Pitt

Let's start with the game we'll be attending live in person. Despite being on the waiting list of this week's Bottom 10, Ohio might be the most talented 0-3 team in the country. I know that sounds like damning with faint praise, but look at the numbers. They lost last year's top running threat, Kalvin McRae, to graduation. In Week 1 they went to Wyoming and lost by one point. They faced the Beanie-less Buckeyes in the Shoe and held a lead in the fourth quarter. This, despite their No. 1 quarterback (Theo Scott) being knocked out and replaced by bad-ass named Boo Jackson. For their home debut in Week 3, they faced Brett Farve, Favre, whatever clone Dan LeFeevur, who is destined to be the next overachieving MAC QB in the NFL. Ohio lost by three.

So now they face the Smart Kids of Northwestern University, in the smallest, boring-est stadium in the Big Ten. NU has opened 3-0 by beating another smart kid school (Duke), a I-AA school (Southern Illinois) and doormat Syracuse. Northwestern will probably win, but hopefully Ohio has gained enough confidence to make it a close game, perhaps even pull out a win.

Child molestation is all in a day's work for Sparty.

Notre Dame survived its first real challenge last week, both in terms of on-field opponent and facing down the demons of 2007. This week is another test, since the Sparty-ND matchup is always unpredictable. MSU features Javon Ringer, a bull of a running back. The defense will need to bring him down by whatever means necessary. He won't pinball off you like Sam McGuffie last week, he'll just run you over. Hoyer is a strong, senior QB, but I am not impressed (yet) with the wideouts. MSU has been challenged once, in a road game at Cal, and while they lost they were in it the whole way.

After all, having survived blocking like this, last week we got blocking like this:

Meanwhile, after losing to Bowling Green (MAC Attack'd!) and edging past Buffalo, Wannstache has decided the solution is to just get better:

"I think we're right where we need to be. We just need to run better and throw better. That's the issue -- to be more effective. I don't think doing one or the other more is an issue. It's just an issue of doing it better."

Would you trust this man to lead your Division I football program?

This game will be a homecoming of sorts for coach Ferentz, who was a grad assistant on the 1980 Pitt coaching staff. Look at all this future talent (click for larger image):

Joe Moore is a legend, particularly at Notre Dame. Kirk, of course, went on to the Ravens and then Iowa. Foge Fazio was the next head coach at Pitt, served under Lou Holtz at ND and was defensive coordinator with some successful Minnesota Vikings teams in the 90s. Jackie Sherrill went on to Mississippi State, where he castrated a bull to motivate his players. Don't recognize the guy to Dickerson's right.

For Iowa and ND, here's a worrisome trend: winning the first road game. Rare is the school (I can think of only Wisky and Southern Cal) that has won its first road game, and the landscape is littered with those who traveled early to face decent competition and failed (Mich St, Ohio St., Meeechigan, California, Tennessee).

Pick Six:
TM and I both have a couple worrisome games: Florida at Tennessee for her, Auburn hosting LSU for me, and Wake Forest at Florida State (now ranked*) in common. FSU has cruised through two cupcakes, but they will be missing several players suspended in the wake of the academic cheating scandal. I don't know the details of the scandal but I think players smuggled a 64-pack into final exams instead of the standard 32.

This is how Florida State cheats.

Quigley takes a breather this week, after taking it on his furry chin last week. His six teams face this murderer's row: Troy (the team, not just one guy named Troy), South Carolina State, Sam Houston State, bye, Temple, Fake Miami.

Nationally, I expect Florida to handle Rocky Top and Auburn can score enough points on LSU's brutal defense. Arizona State's loss takes the luster off the Georgia matchup, but even in the desert the Bulldogs should be fine.

Viewing schedule:
11 am: Ohio at Northwestern (live)
getting updates: Iowa/Pitt
2:30 (or soon as we get home): ND at Michigan State
checking in on: Florida at Tennessee
6pm: Wake/Fla St
6:45 pm: LSU at Auburn
7pm: Georgia at Arizona St.

Nebraska: settle down Huskers, you don't play this week.

* By the way, take a look at who is lurking at the top of the "also receiving votes" section. Oklahoma State?!? Who have they beaten? (Answer: awful Washington State, Houston, I-AA (Southwest) Missouri State.) That merits them on the cusp of the Top 25? There are a ton of three-win teams out there (Iowa, Nebraska and Northwestern, to name three) with just as much merit.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Week 3 Review

Note to our Nebraska fan readers: You can skip this whole thing and read about just the Huskers by clicking here.

Week 3 Review

Notre Dame vs. Michigan. What I was expecting was this ...

... with the fans in the role of the third kitten. And what we got instead (in addition to drenched by the thunderstorm) was this:

I'm not sure what I can add to what's already been said about this game. Yes Michigan sucked. That does not diminish ND's accomplishment of getting up 21-0 in the first quarter and not letting them within two scores all game. A sucky team (like last year's) would have sucked to the suckiness of their foe. Instead, the Irish defense harrassed Michigan into committing turnovers, then converted those turnovers into touchdowns. We're not perfect, but it was exactly what this young, talented, tentative team needed: proof they can win.

No excuses will be accepted, Mr. Steve Brown:

"We don't have our heads down because we know who the better team was," defensive back Steve Brown said, referring to Michigan. "They beat us today. It happens, but in our hearts we know we're the better team."

To you, sir, I say: scoreboard, bitches.

Pick Six update:

Quigley really took it on his furry chin last week, with road losses by Ohio State and Kansas. Those two alone cost him 14 points. Clemson got back into the rankings at No. 23 off a beating of NC State and voters forgetting about the Alabama game. I took a hit with Ohio State and California, who inexplicably got thumped by a Maryland team that lost to a I-AA school. (TM may have something to say about this game in the comments.) Jahvid Best summarizes his team's performance thusly*:

Meanwhile, TM ticked up due to great performances including Texas (postponed), Florida (bye) and Wake Forest (bye). Remind me, why do I play this game?!?

The scores:

Nationally, here's who impressed me:

Penn State. Maybe Anthony Morelli really was that bad. Maybe the opponents are so weak, these victories don't mean anything. But so far Penn State looks insanely good on offense. They'll be 4-0 and rolling when they host Illinois in Week 5.

Kansas. I thought they were a one-year fluke, a basketball school. Although they lost to my Pick Six'er South Florida, Reesing and the offense looked like they could hang with anyone. Unfortunately for the Not Those Jayhawks, this year "anyone" is on the schedule twice in the form of Mizzou and Boomer Sooner.

Southern California. Damn. As in, "day-um" type damn.

Who did not impress me:

Rutgers. Maybe Fresno State and North Carolina really are good, but a combined 19-68 score in two games? Without Ray Rice and Brian Leonard, they appear to be One Hit Oh-Nee-ders.

The Beanie-less Buckeyes. C'mon guys. That was pathetic. Plus you cost me eight Pick Six points.

The SEC. Thaaat's right, Southerners. Take a look at that Auburn-Mississippi State score: 3-2. ONE field goal and ONE safety. This just proves the Big 10 is TWICE as good as the Southeastern.

And now, your Nebraska content. Nebraska defeated New Mexico State 38-7, their third straight anonymous opponent. It wasn't on TV here, possibly anywhere. They rest up this week for Virginia Tech, who used to be good but is having quarterback (and special teams) problems this year.

Week 4 Preview coming up soon.

* Yes I know there are two puking videos. Trust me, it's a coincidence, not a pattern.

Zambrano's No Hitter

Ron Santo 'Pretty Sure' Zambrano Is the Chevy Player of the Game

After throwing a no-hitter against the Houston Astros, the first by a Cub since 1972, Carlos Zambrano has earned the designation of the Chevrolet Player of the Game, Ron Santo hinted Sunday.

"Yeah," Santo said. "I'm pretty sure it's gonna be him."

As the Cubs radio color commentator, Santo is charged with selecting the top performer in each game. Shortly after the command performance, play-by-play man Pat Hughes asked Santo if he was ready to make his Chevy Player of the Game pick.

"Yeah, Patrick," he replied. "I think you gotta go with, ah, Zambrano tonight, Patrick."

* * *

Zambrano to Pitch on 12 Days Rest for Rest of Season, Playoffs

Coming off his no hitter on Sunday, the Cubs announced Carlos Zambrano will remain on 12 days rest for as long as the Cubs are alive this season.

Zambrano had last pitched on Sept. 2, where he lasted only five innings after several subpar starts led to a 7.43 ERA for August. After being inactive due to shoulder stiffness, then Hurricane Ike-related postponements, he did not pitch again until Sept. 14 against the Astros in Milwaukee.

"It's not ideal, obviously, cause now we gotta find extra pitchers for those other days," said manager Lou Piniella. "But with 'Z' pitching like that, we'll do it."

Zambrano's next start would have been Sept. 19 vs. the Cardinals at Wrigley. Under the new rotation, he'll pitch Sept. 26--back at Miller Park against the Brewers. His next start would be in the National League Championship Series, assuming the Cubs make it that far.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles in BG

Last weekend I had the opportunity to spend some time back in Ohio with my family. One of the reasons I went back after Labor Day (instead of for Labor day) was to catch the fabulous Black Swamp Arts Festival in my hometown of Bowling Green, Ohio.

Sarah Borges entertains the crowd in BG.

I have to admit that before Saturday I had never been to my hometown festival. I remember the year it started (Fall of 1993 - my sophomore year of high school) but I don't remember attending. Back then, the Black Swamp was nothing more than a small community festival. Over the years, however, it has grown by leaps and bounds and now features many nationally recognized fine arts professionals. And wouldn't you know, one of my most favorite bands, Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles , returned to the swamp in 2008.

As you may remember, MPF and I spent Valentine's Day with Borges and her band of merry Bostinites. Ever since then, I've had it in my head that I had to see Borges in Bowling Green. In fact, I told her so when we chatted after her show at Fitzgeralds in June. By that time, the third show and second state in which we had talked to Sarah, I think she was kind of sort of starting to recognize us.

I had all of these things on my mind when I caught the band at the Black Swamp last Saturday. MPF didn't make the trip to Ohio so instead I brought along my Dad (who has a history of seeing great bands with me) and former roomie Beth who went back to the homeland with me to visit.

The weather was perfect for an outdoor festival (low 70's, upper 60's) and the crowd was massive (well over a 1,000 people). I was very impressed with how the festival was set up as well as with the people who volunteered (including some old family friends that I had the pleasure of catching up with). All in all the festival impressed. The food was good, the beer was better (and cheap!) and the music was fantastic.

Speaking of music, here's the thing I love about Borges. She really knows her audience. She plays to the crowd, not in a snooty kind of way but in a "hey, I really appreciate you taking the time out of your evening to hear me play music" kind of way. I watched all night as she visited with people she clearly recognized from the first two shows she played in BG. At the end of the show she even brought a group of local kids up on stage to sing along with the band.

Borges knows how to speak to the crowd.

And then of course, there is the quality of her music. Borges(and the boys) did not dissapoint. They played a few new songs from as yet untitled record (which will hopefully drop in the spring of '09). They also rocked the house with many crowd favorites including "Diablito", "The Day we Met" and "Stop and Think it Over". Borges was cute, as always, in a mini-dress and cowboy boots and the band sounded smooth despite the fact it was guitar player Lyle Brewer's first gig with the band.

One of the more interesting things to me was the crowd for Borges. When did my hometown become so knowledgable about music? If they continue to draw the lineup they have had the past few years I'm thinking a trip back to Bowling Green in the fall should be in the cards every year. And it wasn't just the townies, I had a nice conversation with a couple that drove down to the festival from Ann Arbor, Michigan just to see Borges... now that is impressive!

Finally, I know you are saying to yourself, but did she know you? Well, yes actually, I think she did. We had a very nice chat after the show during which she joked the next time we see the band (she calls Mike and I her "multi-city couple") maybe it will be somewhere more exotic (wouldn't that be nice).

Sarah and I mug for the camera.

Thanks to my dad for capturing this moment!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Week 2 Review/Week 3 Preview: Hate Week

Ask and ye shall receive, Kelly...

Week 2 Review:

Week 2 was, as I predicted, boring. The only upset in the Top 25 was East Carolina taking down West Virginia. I think the absence of Steve Slaton (and their selection of a head coach) will hurt W f'n Va more than they realized.

By the way, ANY mention of Wva. makes me think of this hilarious clip of Pat White (current QB) mocking the "cat growl" that many cat-mascot schools play over the PA. (Note the scoreboard.)

And, of course, the sluggish The Ohio State win over Ohio U., which you heard about. A couple other teams struggled more than they should have (BYU, South Florida) but it was mostly status quos and blowouts. Iowa crushed the global version of a US state, 42-0. Notre Dame won. (looks around quickly, whistles at the ceiling) OK, good.

The only Pick Six loss was Quigley's unranked Cincy, to Oklahoma.

I don't have at this moment the fancy graphic like last week (I'll add it soon as I can), but everyone moved up a point. So TM 73; MPF 72, Quigley 45.

Update: Here it is.
Week 3 Preview:

Let Hate Week commence. The hate is oozing out of my pores so strongly, I need to take two showers a day to wash the hate off my skin:

Notre Dame hosts Michigan. Iowa hosts Iowa State.

Why hate Michigan? How about because their coach, Dick Rod, recruited and signed a kid who robbed a Smoothie King. Smoothies! What in this world is not sacred?

The best and brightest.

How about because they hold true to this concept of the "Michigan Man," which includes scholar athletes like Marques Slocum. (Slocum, if you read the link, has contributed to American literature such Bartlett's worthy quotes as "opera- no, musical- no, concert- maybe. play- no, performance- fuuuuuuuuuuuck no, other- no.") Surprisingly, Mr. Slocum is not on the roster this season, having failed to qualify academically.

I was looking forward to watching both games, but as it turns out we will be inside Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday, so I'll miss the Hawkeye-Cyclone hatefest. I am currently 1-1 in attending ND-Michigan games. My first experience was ugly, ugly, ugly and I've blotted it from memory. Unfortunately the internets have not, thus the link. The second was much better, a 28-20 win over the No. 8 ranked Skunkbears. I'll always remember rushing the field and how Himanshu (from India) had a grabbed small handful of grass as a souvenir, that he looked at with wonder, then carefully placed into a handkerchief and then back into his pocket. The look on his face said "what is this crazy American game....I love it!"

As for the 2008 version: I really think this can go one of two ways: the two ways I've witnessed personally. Either ND hangs in there, the offense gets a couple scores on a strong and talented defense, and stays in the game until the fourth quarter where they can pull out a 24-23 type win. Or, Michigan's offense starts to gel, their D shuts down our rickety, sophomore-heavy offense, and they roll to a 38-0 win. (It can be no other score.) Michigan eked out 23 and 16 points in their first two games, so I'm not expecting a WAC-tastic explosion of points. Therefore I'm hoping for the former scenario.

(One more note about Slocum: after you read his questionaire/manifesto, reading the comments here and here after almost as funny as the original. If you are having a bad day, just read one or both of these threads. You will laugh til it hurts. Hard to pick a favorite, but this one always gets me.)

The 2008 Notre Dame-Meeechigan game, illustrated with felines.

So getting back to my hate, I'll have to rely on updates from the homestead for the Hawkeye game. Although ISU is 2-0 like Iowa, they are breaking in a lot of new talent at skill positions. Those little bastards overachieved last year by beating us, one of only three wins all year, a game we should have dominated. It's at home. We're Iowa. We're bigger, faster, stronger, and don't smell like pig poop stuck to the bottom of our farming boots. We should win by 20, like the 1980s. But it's ISU, the one game they get up for, so you just never know.

If you're asking "why hate Iowa State?" you are not from Iowa. If you are from Iowa and asking that question, then turn off the computer, go outside, and ask the first person you see to please punch you in the face. (although if you really need some hate, I cannot outdo this. It's beyond vulgar so consider yourself warned.)

As for Pick Sixin': some upset potential this week, with Auburn (MPF) going on the road to Mississippi State. Mizzou (TM) and Texas (TM, MPF) face tougher competition but should still be fine. Cal (MPF)(now ranked No. 23, the first of the three "pick sixth" to make the rankings!)* should be fine against Maryland, who lost to a I-AA school (ouch!). The rest are pretty safe.

And nationally: The Ohio State (MPF, Quig) vs. The Southern California and South Florida (MPF) vs. Kansas (Quigley) are the two biggies. Look for OSU to hang tough but lose, and USF to expose KU as a one-year fluke. All that will shake up the scoring pretty good.

Other games of interest: Ohio, fresh off scaring the shit out of thousands of Buckeye fans, will host Central Michigan and Tim Tebow-lite QB Dan Le Fever. (phonetic cause I don't learn how to spell names like that). Maryland as mentioned will look for a shred of dignity against a Cal team that hung 66 on Washington State last week.

Go Hawks! Go Irish! (and much thanks as always to Orson Swindle for finding the WFVA pic and the Slocum article)

Husker Update (for Kelly cause she asked): Handled Western Michigan in Week 1. Handled San Jose State in Week 2. Should handle New Mexico State in Week 3. Big test in Week 4 w/ Virginia Tech. Bo Pelini: much better than Bill what'shisnamewe'veblockeditfrommemory.

* Yeah I just did two parens back to back. Cool, id'n it.

Lions, Tigers & Bearcats Oh(io) My!

It has been a crazy few weeks here at TMMPF.

First, we attempted to introduce a new kitty into our home (Quigley wanted to blog about the experience but I advised against it... I'm not sure you want to hear from him when he's angry). Second, we had back-to-back visitors to keep us busy. Third, the Cubs started losing which sent everyone in Chicago into a general panic (even though we know better) and caused massive upheaval in the time space continuum.

Quigley is master of the house.

Oh, and football started.

Speaking of football, Quigley is finally ready to reveal his pick six teams.

Ohio State: Oh boy was kitty worried last weekend. He thought OSU was the one pick that he could count on. Good thing his Buckeyes squeaked past the pesky Ohio Bobcats by a whisker. Quigley's pick of the Bucks came on a recommendation from his cousin Cosworth in Ohio.

Does this look like a cat you can trust? Quigley thought so.

Clemson: Well, Quigley admits this was not his smartest pick. His first inclination was to pick Missouri (they do, after all, have a quarterback named Chase). In the end, however, he went with Clemson just to be different. Unfortunately he picked the wrong Tigers. If he had a mil kring for every time that happened...

Kansas: An intriguing pick by kitty... and quite honestly, a classic case of mistaken identity. As you may recall, Quigley first took a stab at picking college sports during the 2008 NCAA Basketball Tournament. A major lesson from that experience was that bird teams are bad (if you are a cat, that is).

So why did Quigley pick the Jayhawks in the pick six? Well, apparently when he heard that the Jayhawks were getting back together and figured that nothing can beat this team... of course he failed to realize that the Kansas Jayhawks and the Minnesota Jayhawks are two different things. (Geography was never kitty's strong point.)

Quigley is a big fan of the sun... and of this band..

As it turns out, Quigley's choice of a bird school isn't all that bad. The Kansas Jayhawks Runningback? Angus Quigley.

Penn State: Lions. 'Nuf said.

Illinois: Because he is only 4 years old, Quigley cannot vote in November's election. He is, however, an staunch supporter of Obama and therefore considers his pick of the Fighting Illini as a shout out the Jr. Senator from Illinois.

Cincinnati: When Quigley took a look at his picks he noticed that he had Lions and Tigers but no Bears. He briefly considered the Cal Golden Bears but decided that if we going to pick someone golden it would be Golden Tate.

Only time will tell if Quigley's picks can keep up with TM and MPF.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Stand Up and Cheer

I don't know if you watched my Ohio Bobcats on Saturday but they nearly pulled off a colossal upset over some other ranked team from the state of Ohio.

We were so close, in fact, to bringing down the mighty Ohio State Buckeyes that I could barely watch the end of the game for fear of spontaneously combusting of pride.

Leading up to this game I kept saying that I just wanted to be close at halftime. I was there in '99 (the last time we played at Ohio Stadium) and I remember what a thrill it was to be leading at the half. Well, you know what they say. Be careful what you wish for.

On Saturday, after it was all over, I was downright mad. It turns out that I wanted a win, dammit, and we were oh so close. In the end, though, it wasn't meant to be. The Ohio State didn't fall and Ohio (The) University went home with an 0-2 record and a heavy heart.

A classic OU t-shirt broght back to life for this year's big match up.

But as Lee Corso would say...


We may have lost to the players on the field but there is no way in hell that we lost to that stupid marching band from buckeye land. From what I hear, the Marching 110 kicked ass.

As an example, here is some footage of the "skull session" at St. John Arena on Saturday. The skull session is a tradition at Ohio State - a sort of pre-game pep rally/band concert. Much like '99, the Marching 110 rocked the house. By the looks of this video, the OSU fans don't know what hit them. If they were smart, they would stand up for Cheer CHEER.

Go Bobcats, we'll see you in two weeks at Northwestern.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Week 1 Review/Week 2 Preview

Week 1 Preview:

There wasn't a week 1 preview because there wasn't much to preview. Notre Dame had a bye, and Iowa had a functional bye in I-AA Maine. On the national scene, I think I've had my say already.

Week 1 Review:

Iowa thumped Maine 46-3. ND handled bye easily. Ohio hung around with Wyoming and had a lead into the fourth quarter, but those sneaky bastards pulled out the win.

Nationally: it is time for the ACC to pick up the mantle of "power conference whipping boy" left by the Big Ten. Look at this catalog of failure: No. 9 Clemson laid an egg vs. Alabama. No. 17 Virginia Tech got beat by East Carolina, and on a blocked punt at that. Maryland (sorry) beat I-AA Delaware by only a TD. Boston College beat a MAC school (Kent St.) by only 21-0. (Were they MAC Attack'd?) North Carolina struggled with a I-AA school. And NC State got shut out by a Steve Spurrier team that proceeded to lose to Vanderbilt (smart kids school). Man. Remember when NC State went to four straight bowls with Phillip Rivers? Yeah, me neither. And Virginia...well, they kept it within 45 at home vs. USC. Only Pick Six'er Wake Forest represented the conference well with a road win over Big XIIer Baylor.

Speaking of blowouts: Illinois is by far the most talented team in the country to give up 50 points thus far.

Oh, and uh: Heh heh heh.

On the Pick Six front: All my teams handles their cupcakes. Cal was the only one with real competition, and Michigan State gave them everything they could handle. (My first "I told you so" of the season, if you don't count the predicted suckage of Clemson and Va. Tech.) I think this will strengthen Cal for their upcoming non-cupcake games. TinaMarie's teams also rolled by large margins.

Quigley, on the other hand....he made some bad picks. His justification is coming soon, I'm told, but for whatever reason he picked Clemson and Illinois for his Pick Six. Oops and double oops.

We entered the season evenly matched, but those losses dropped him pretty far back from the two of us.

Week 2 Preview:

This is shaping up to be the most boring week of the preseason schedule. No ranked team plays another ranked team. The "game of the week," as it were, is Top 5 Florida against the husking shell that used to be the Miami Hurricanes. The same team that lost 48-0 in the final game at its home stadium.

Having said that, I'm looking forward to how ND looks vs. San Diego State. ND will win of course, but how? With a balanced attack? Blitzing defense? Like a well oiled machine, or like a bunch of stumbling underclassmen? A 48-3 walk won't tell us much, but a 34-31 nailbiter portends a looooong season. The talent gap is too wide for this to be anything but a blowout.

Aaaaaah we suck!

Ditto for Iowa vs. Florida International, which is one of the worst I-A programs and may in fact be the very worst.

Ohio plays Ohio State. With or without Beanie Wells (and it'll be without), this is still ugly ugly ugly. Maryland plays Middle Tennessee State. Yawn.

On the Pick Six: the only game that should cause any nervousness is Q's Penn St. vs. Oregon State. Joe Pa has suspended three players for this game, and expect the Beavers to be pissed off about losing to Stanford (smart kids). PSU is still favored, but a motivated OSU upsetting a lackluster PSU would not surprise me.

The Importance of Ohio

Commenter83F has asked for a change of pace, something besides the flood of college football posts. There WILL be more college football, as the excitement of the season heats up. But for those seeking a little something different, here's a post on a topic slightly less important than the start of football.

The future of our country.

In the last two weeks, we've seen the next president of the United States (we think and hope) give a stirring oratory to 80,000 people in the only venue large enough to hold 80,000 people (a football stadium). And, we saw a 40-something PTA mom from a small town with almost no political experience explain why she should be a (72-year-old's) heartbeat away from the nuclear codes.

Vote if you want. Or don't vote, I don't care. Because I've been looking at the maps, and all I care about is: Ohio. (Someone get a tape recorder, I don't think I've ever said that before.)

The guy who runs this site called Electoral Vote has a thorough list of polls and projections. Here is his map as of today, September 5: (click to enlarge either map)

He's got a healthy electoral win for Obama, 301 to 224, with Virginia as a dead heat (13 electoral votes). He sees six states that went Bush in 2004 coming back to the positive side: Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota and our all important Buckeyes (and Bobcats).

Now take a look at this map, from a GOP site called Federal Review (which I found via Election Projection, a site linked in fairness by the good guy at EV.)

Source: this linky right here.

(His projections suck, but I can't argue with his motto of "Solve the world's problems one beer at a time.") He sees a much closer race, with a gap of 11 and 29 tossups (Viriginia plus Montana, Colorado and New Hampsha.) As you can see, they basically disagree on four of the six potential swings (from Rep/Bush in 2004 to Dem/Obama in 2008), as he concedes IA and NM for now. The "small three": Colorado 9, Nevada 5, North Dakota 3. That's 17 electoral votes, vs. 20 from the "Big O" (or the "Big OH") itself.

Taking Ohio out of the McCain column in this Republican-biased Federal Review projection gives Obama the win with 280 votes. Even assuming all 29 ties swing to McCain, he only has 249 (start) - 20 (OH) + 29 (swings) = 258 without Ohio. I don't care how many henchmen you stack the Supreme Court with, that's a winnah for Obama.

Even Election Projection (currently scoring it 278-260) gives Ohio to McCain. Steal that back, and it's 298-240, a much more comfortable margin. Not like I want Obama to lose states like CO and IA...victories there would show his ability to win hippies and farmers, who rarely agree on anything. But with Ohio, it becomes a moot point.

So get out there and do what is necessary to deliver Ohio. Even if you aren't in a rock band.

More football coming soon!