Saturday, October 31, 2009

Week 8 Review/Week 9 Preview

(Damn I'm late. At least it's up before the 11am games. --ed.)

Week 8 Review: the Cardiac Kids

Location: Notre Dame Stadium. And the car. (I'll explain.)

Games watched: Notre Dame-BC; Rutgers-Army; Tennessee-Alabama (on replay); Iowa-Michigan State (on the radio-oh-oh!); Southern Cal-Oregon State; Arizona State-Stanford (sleepily).

Pick Six: A quiet week, the biggest move being BYU's emasculation by the Horned Frogs. Here's a wagering tip from you to me; never trust Mormons against a horned reptile. Our bottom quintiles officially suck: even with ND moving back in at 25, we have a grand total of one points among our bottom six teams. Four of TM's teams moved up (which is total bullshit because Georgia Tech and Texas both had awesome dominating wins, and neither moved up), and you can guess what that means: TM 51, Quigley 49, MPF 47.

And a late update: In Week 7 of one of my pick 'em games, I got the week's highest score. (My team name is Northern Iowa. The guy who runs the game requires every team be named for a I-AA or lower level school.)

Iowa: We left the stadium and got in the car. After we got out on the interstate, we finally picked up the Michigan State broadcast team out of Detroit. As we drove west, that signal got weaker. We tried WMT out of Cedar Rapids--nothing. Then I remembered WHO out of Des Moines, but couldn't think of the dial location. Now here's proof that advertising works: when you start the online player at WHO's home page, you hear an ad that said, "Hi, this is Bonnie from Van and Bonnie at WHO 1040 for [name of dentist advertising]." So we flip there and we hear Dolph coming in just fine.

For the rest of the drive, it was flipping back and forth every few minutes between the MSU and Iowa broadcasts... we'd lose one, try the other, lose it, rinse/rather/repeat. By the time we got to Lake Shore Drive, Iowa was driving in the red zone and we lost the signal. When we got it back, it was 9-6 Iowa. When we got to the house, MSU ran the hook-and-ladder play. I sprinted into the house, flipped on the TV ... and saw MSU score the touchdown.

Dejected, I went back out to the car. (I had to bring in all the crap I left there when I sprinted inside.) I couldn't watch. I figured whether it was good or bad news, I'd want to hear it from Dolph and Eddie. To my surprise, 1040 was coming in crystal clear, like I was right there in Des Moines. As I packed up the stuff, I listened to that final drive, and the final four plays.

I think I'll always remember running from the parking lot and sprinting towards the apartment, where I found TM jumping up and down out on the sidewalk. Thank you Hawkeyes for these awesome memories. As a bittersweet coda, the next morning I went out to the car ... and all I heard on the radio was static. It was like the night before was all a dream.

Notre Dame: We enjoyed the game. I mean, we enjoyed the outcome. But for Pete's sake, at some point this team is going to have to beat an inferior team by 2+ touchdowns. This going down to the wire crap is not what we were expecting back in August. And still, 57 games into his college coaching career, Charlie Weis' "signature" victory is over ... Navy in (pick a year they went to a bowl).

Anyway, Iowa won, Notre Dame won, Michigan lost. Welcome back my friend:

Week 9 Preview: Back in the High Life Again

Seeing live football games is fun, but it gets tiring. We're going out Friday night so I'm looking forward to a Saturday of sleeping in, Gameday, Iowa at 11am, you know, the flowchart. In the evening we'll head to Steve's for the ND game and a football/Halloween potluck.

On the national scene, I think USC-Quack would be fun to watch, if it were not on at the same time as ND. The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is this weekend, and I'm feeling contrarian. Something about Georgia in this game ... I don't know if I can pick the outright upset, but I think it'll be close (Ed. note: since I wrote this, I did in fact pick Geo. to win). As long as I'm out on limbs, watch for Cuse to scare Cincy, more than they should. I like Tennessee over an erratic South Carolina. Which crappy team will win the Michigan-Illinois game? Can Jim Delany just cancel it?

Happy Halloween, Hawkeye Fans

(click for bigger version)

(via BHGP, naturally)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Week 7 Review/Week 8 Preview

(work busy. blogging compromised. words fantastic, despite constraints. --ed.)

Week 7 Review: don'tlookattheuscgamedidimentionthehawkeyesareundefeated?*

Location: Couch. (and by the way--damn it was fantastic.)

Games watched: Boise-Tulsa (kinda), Cincy-South Florida, Pitt-Rutgers (kinda), Iowa-Wisky, Oklahoma-Texas (during commercials), Ohio State-Purdue (snippets), ND-Southern Cal, Florida-Arkansas (during commercials), Kansas-Colorado, Bama-South Carolina (snippets), Washington-Arizona State (but that doesn't mean I remember, it was awfully late).

Iowa: Less than 24 hours after the Michigan win, the Hawk Shop sent out an email labeled "6-0! Six more to go!" While I appreciate the symmetry and rhyme, as a fan I thought it was a little premature. Anybody can get lucky for six in a row.

But then Iowa went to Madison, for the third (second) of their five (four) incredibly difficult road games, and still prevailed. Now we're 7-0, which is lofty territory. I mean, at this point in the season, not just any schmuck can go 7-0. (Parens indicate the questionableness yes damn right I just made up that word of Iowa State as a legitimate road game.)

ND: I predicted this game would be more like 2006, when ND was blown out of the water by a far superior Southern Cal team, than 2005, when a feisty underdog gave Goliath all it could handle down to the final play. Being wrong didn't feel any better when the end result was just like 2005 ... a close loss.

Pick Six: Ugh. A 3-3 record this week, with Ohio State, UCLA and Nebraska losing. At least Texas and Georgia Tech beat ranked teams (BYU took down a no-name), but it wasn't enough to offset losses. My only consolation is that my family members shared in these losses: Ohio State (and ND) for TM, Nebraska for Quigley. So while all scores are down, I keep my lead: MPF 56, Quigley 47, TM 46.

Week 8 Preview: Can We Please Beat These Jesuits?!?

Well it's technically Week 8 already here on Wednesday, with Anonymous Western Team playing Supposedly Worthy Conference Foe on A.W.W.L.S. But since that doesn't count:

Iowa: plays Michigan State. I'm nervous. But like I told an MSU buddy of mine, I've been nervous for every game this year. This run has been so unexpected, I'm just enjoying every single game I can. Plus, I won't be near a TV since we'll be coming home from ...

Notre Dame. This will be the second of two games at Notre Dame Stadium this year, and another rival who has had our number of late: the Boston College Golden Eagles. Over the summer many fans chalked this up as an easy win: BC lost its coach, all its QBs, and the heart of its defense in it's star MLB. Sooooo ... we're gonna beat 'em, right?

The OH: plays Kent. Better beat Kent. Seriously man. Kent State.

* -- every Wilco fan knows what song this references, right??

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wilco (the album review, kinda)

When Wilco's new record came out, under the deceptive title "Wilco (the album)," I meant to write a proper review. But, you know, work, and summer festivals, and seeing that movie based on a toy I played with as a child, and all that.

So to add a little context to the UIC show review, here are the notes from my first listen through the record, with some editorial remarks for clarity. (Hopefully you'll enjoy my midsummer snark.)


referring to "Wilco (the song)"... I'm not afraid to admit that I cheered and clapped ("WOOO!!") at the end of the first song. However, it drew a weird look from the co-blogger on the other side of the room.

There's a reason why the cliche "I prefer their earlier work" exists ... artists in general, and rock musicians in specific, create their best stuff when they are young, pissed off, confused, drunk, heartbroken. Rare is the artist who improves with age; most say their peace and disappear from the scene after a few albums/years. Let us appreciate an artist like Tweedy who, a decade after being the "other guy" in an early 1990s trio, formed his own band out of the ashes and was still producing his best material over a decade later. And yes, Carolyn and others, feel free to substitute "Dave Grohl" for "Tweedy" in that sentence.

In contrast to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which I HAD heard before it was released, this album feels like I've already heard it. I remember the anticipation, the uncertainty of listening to records like Summerteeth and Sky Blue Sky ... what's THIS ONE gonna sound like? Is it weird? Will I like it? None of that anticipation here. Critics elsewhere have theorized that the mundane title "Wilco (the album)" is a tacit acknowledgement that this one marks time while waiting for the next creative burst. To put it another way, Wilco has now accomplished (if that indeed is the right word) something the Jayhawks never did in roughly 20 years as a band: release two straight albums with the same lineup.

A good example: "You Never Know," which I thought was "I Don't Care Anymore." Yes, I have heard XRT play this one a couple times in the past few weeks. (Not "Pure Michigan," mind you, I'm talking once or twice.) But beyond its casual familiarity, it just sounds and feels like an "old" Wilco song (in the old comfortable shoes or sweatshirt sense, not the 1994 sense.) Another is "Sunny Feeling," a pleasant, mid-tempo, mid-Wilco era bouncer.

Solitaire: I was convinced this was a cover of "Good Vibrations" until the first or second line. I got confirmation from the co-blogger that it wasn't just me. Of course, this isn't anything new. (think "sesame street" on Being There )

Now I see why "Bull Black Nova" gets mentioned in the early reviews. It isn't necessarily the best song, or most noteworthy, it just resembles notable tracks off the last two releases (Kidsmoke and Impossible Germany).

Wilco (the Show Review)

(Football talk resumes soon, hopefully Weds. --ed.)

Wilco (the Show Review): Nothing to Prove

Seeing a band such as Wilco evolve from clubs and theatres to an arena, it's hard not to feel a little like Trent in "Swingers," who declared Mikey "all grows up." Sunday night we saw a band that despite making the jump to arena rock (in literal venue size if not musicality) felt it had nothing to prove in the promotion, and delivered a solid if not spectacular performance for the hometown fans.

None of these men are smiling. Why is that?

There were a couple times where I felt Wilco was getting too love with its weird self, the first coming minutes into the show. During the first two songs, the stage right (Nels Cline and Mikael Jorgensen) were thrashing uncontrollably and unmusically. It stopped after a while, but it was almost as if they were trying too hard to be avant garde-y. The other was how many songs (like "Sonny Feeling") didn't end so much as trickle off into noisy feedback and distortion. While the artist may find the dissonance of interest, the wind-down into noisy garble deprives the fans of the chance to applaud at a proper ending. Wilco might say it's cool; I just found it annoying.

Generally though, this was a band comfortable where it is at this point in time. They segued from an intense, insistent "Bull Black Nova" to the warm "You Are My Face" featuring a co-lead vocal by John Stirratt. Two notes about that: Jorgensen played eighth notes almost nonstop for about six minutes straight during "Bull Black Nova." That's gotta hurt the wrists. And Stirratt got to take lead when he sang the only non-Tweedy-sung work in the Wilco oeuvre, his "It's Just That Simple" off "A.M."

And this show had two highlights from a set-list selection perspective: I'd never heard live (to the best of my recollection) "At Least That's What You Said" and hadn't heard "Kingpin" in forever (possibly since the "Being There" shows in 1997). Plus: not so much a set-list addition as a new instrument: Glenn Kotche finally used the gong behind him on "I'm the Man Who Loves You."

While you never know what exactly will be the highlight of a Wilco show, Sunday night had several fine moments. "Misunderstood" featured about 20 "nothings," gleefully shouted by the audience, knowing the irony that this city, this fanbase, has sustained and supported Wilco throughout the years. "Impossible Germany" featured the face-melting work of Cline, while Pat Sansone and Tweedy* noodled on the counter-line. "Handshake Drugs" similarily ended in a wail-fest on guitar. And a new wrinkle: Tweedy stepped away from the mic to let the audience sing "Jesus, etc." I think we acquitted ourselves okay, considering it came out eight years ago and has a lot of similar verses.

The opener was Tortoise, who in accordance with the Wilco's Opening Bands Must Suck Act of 1999, sucked. And though it was, all in all, a fine hometown show, I do have just one more complaint: the absence of the Total Pros.

The encore provided a fitting reward to the hometown fans, an eight-song rumble that could have stood as a fine mini-set list of its own, with a three-song stretch from 1996's superawesome "Being There."

The president of the United States hangs out with Wilco! Or vice versa, maybe. But either way: exciting!!

Wilco (the concert)
UIC Pavilion (the venue)
October 18, 2009 (the date)

Wilco (the song)
Shot in the Arm
Bull Black Nova
You Are My Face
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
One Wing
At Least That's What You Said
Deeper Down
Impossible Germany
It's Just That Simple
I'll Fight
Handshake Drugs
Sonny Feeling
Jesus, etc.
I'm Always In Love
Hate It Here
I'm the Man Who Loves You

You Never Know
(band intros ... recorded sample triggered by Kotche)
Heavy Metal Drummer
the Spongebob song
Outta Mind (Outta Sight)
Hoodoo Voodoo
I'm a Wheel

* -- Not on purpose, but this might be the first-ever review of anything Wilco-related that has Jeff Tweedy as the sixth-mentioned member of the band.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Week 6 Review/Week 7 Preview

Week 6 Review: Sweet Home Iowa

Location: The parents' house, Iowa. It was nice, and relaxing, to be back home.

Iowa: Beat Michigan. Look, I wish I had more time to expound on this, but basically, my hate for Michigan has grown tremendously in the past two years. To paraphrase the chief of police in Malibu: I don't like their jerkoff coach, I don't like their jerkoff freshman QB, I don't like their jerkoff helmets, I don't like them ... jerkoffs.

So it was tremendously relieving to beat Michigan under any circumstances, much less a nationally televised game at Kinnick Stadium.

Suck it, retards.

ND: had a bye.

Pick Six: Texas dropped a point, edged out by Bama. Oh well, I should get that point back with a win over Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout. Meanwhile, OSU, Georgia Tech and Nebraska benefitted from good-looking wins. I'm sure the bread tasted fantastic? (UCLA did itself no favors, losing to the Quackheads.) Quigley had two losses in LSU and Ole Miss. TM pretty much held steady, with the appearance of Notre Dame noteworthy and adding a single point to her total.

We're halfway home, people, and here are your standings: MPF 68, TM 58, Quigley 52.

National: Six weeks in, I think we can safely declare these teams Not As Good As We Thought (NAGAWT):

Georgia (3-3)
Ole Miss (3-2)
Florida State (2-4)
Illinois (1-4) ... keep in mind, I expected them to be .500 at best so I'm really not piling on by listing them here, sorry Sarah
Colorado (1-4)

This picture is from two weeks ago. But holy shit, can you imagine a photograph of a guy MORE likely to get fired at the end of the year?

Grudging Respect Given To (GRGT):

Auburn (5-1)
Wisconsin (5-1)
Real Miami (4-1)
Los Quackos (5-1)
Washington (3-3)
West Virginia (4-1)

And hey, lookee who's 4-2:

Phil called it.

Week 7: The Rivalry of the Year

Notre Dame: Plays Southern California. You may be aware of this. You may be looking forward to the oldest, most tradition-heavy intersectional rivalry in the United States of America.

And now, courtesy of our friends at Blue-Gray Sky, read this cringeable stat:

More than SC's strong stats and deep depth chart is the unavoidable fact that the past few years worth of matchups have been a horror show of Irish ineptitude. The players and staff just don't know what it is like to experience success against Southern Cal. I can think of no better way to sum it up than with this unfortunately 100% true statement:

70% of the scholarship players on Notre Dame's roster were not a part of the program the last time Notre Dame scored a touchdown against Southern Cal.

Re-read that statement a few times and you might find yourself looking to make other plans for Saturday.

And if that wasn't bad enough, I made the mistake of looking at the website for AWWLIS (the Alleged Worldwide Leader In Sports), you may know them by the more familar Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, to learn this stat: since 1992, the cumulative score is Southern Cal 284, ND 95.

The 2006 game was 44-24. The most points SC has given up this year is 16. While those two stats seem incongruous, I'm expecting a 2006-like result.

If this were* an editorial cartoon instead of a LOLcat, the cat would be labeled "S.C. Defense."

Iowa: Plays Wisconsin in Madison at 11am. Now, I was looking at the rankings this week, and the AP has Florida at No. 1. But Florida is only 5-0, whereas Iowa is 6-0. That's better, right? Why aren't the Hawkeyes ranked above the Gators?

Pick Six: Big games for Texas (Q and MPF) and Georgia Tech (MPF) headline the slate. Oh, and the Irish (TM) vs. Southern California.

I'll be following the flowchart. Won't you join me? (in spirit if not literally. The couch ain't that big.)

* -- Occasional proper grammar use is at the sole discretion of the blog proprietor.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Week 5 Review/Week 6 Preview

Week 5 Review: Happy and Dry

Location: Blue recliner. (For the first half of ND game: Sarah's place, checking in on her kitteh.)

Games watched, at least partially: La. Tech-Hawaii (kinda), Colorado-West Virginia, Pitt-Louisville, Iowa-Arkansas State, Mitten State-Mitten (during commercials), ND-Washington, LSU-Georgia (during commercials), Miami-Oklahoma, Ohio State-Indiana (kinda), Auburn-Tennessee, USC-Cal (on the Internet), Idaho-Colorado State (barely, thru droopy eyes).

Iowa: I might be the only person in America to have picked Arkansas State to cover the spread. Definitely among my pick 'em group and the fans at BHGP. I just sensed that we are not a team to come out with a killer instinct and roll up a 42-0 type win. If Iowa did get up big, Ferentz would put in the reserves, keeping the score close.

But it never got there. After building a 14-0 lead, Arkansas State decided to run the UNI "How to Beat Iowa" playbook step-by-step, coming within an onside kick of a massive upset. I do think Iowa is deserving of its national ranking; I just think this team plays up or down to its competition, and needs a solid four-quarter effort against a surprisingly strong Michigan team to prove that fact. But there's no shining this shit of a game: they played well enough to get the win and not much else.

Notre Dame: Keep that Dr. Guffs canister handy: Notre Dame went down to the wire in its fourth straight game, a game that shouldn't have been this close. Instant replay karma took away a Washington TD, giving the Irish another chance to match this performance and keep it a one-score game. All I can say is, 4-1 sounds a lot better than 3-2 in the bye week. Southern Cal comes to town after the bye for the annual beatdown. Do you think there's a fifth straight close game coming?

Pick Six: Another decent week for MPF. Three wins and two byes. UCLA lost, pushing them further away from the Top 25, but I'll take five of six at this point. For TM, Cal out and Oregon up was basically a swap. Quigley has the biggest disappointment (Ole Miss) but also the biggest gainer (LSU). After a relatively quiet week, the standings are: MPF 58, Quigley 57, TM 55.

Polls: Some things in life have a way of self-correcting. Last week I was a little miffed to see who was ranked above 4-0 Iowa: Cincy, TCU, Houston? Frickin' Boise State? Could you honestly say their profile was better than Iowa, who just beat a Top 5 team on the road? This week I'm a little calmer: Houston is gone, and Miami has (grudgingly) earned their slot above the Hawkeyes. I don't know if Virginia Tech is the best one-loss team in the country--I'd give it to USC frankly--but at least Cincy has a chance to fall at South Florida this week, and as quality teams play quality opponents, hopefully midmajor distractions like Boise will fall to where they belong (oblivion or the sidestage at the very least).

So to review: Iowa, Notre Dame and Ohio all won. TM's Turtles won. Hell, even Drake and William and Mary won. Michigan lost. This week earns the:

This week's statistic of note: Scoring Defense. This will make Iowa fans happy (we're tenth in the nation, going up against No. 55) but Irish fans looking ahead to next week quite nervous (SC at third, 8.6 points per game).

Week 6 Preview: Westbound, for a Change

Notre Dame: has a bye. Getting ready for Southern Cal on Oct. 17.

Iowa: This weekend we're going back to Iowa, for a visit to the parents in the hometown. I'll be reading up on Michigan this week, trying to figure out if Iowa is the team to stop superfrosh Tate Forcier (Notre Dame wasn't, Michigan State was for a while, but not really) and if our offense can get in synch enough to score 20 or more against that blah Wolverine "D".

I want to see this again. I want to taste his tears. I want his quarterback broken into so many pieces, Quigley tries to bat at random body parts on the TV screen.

Pick Six: Now that we're into conference season, the Pick Six games get exciting, and there's more of a chance of our teams facing each other. For example, Florida vs. LSU should be a great game to watch, but it also pits TM against her kitty. If my Bruins can quack up Oregon (TM), will that get UCLA into the rankings?

Elsewhere: Nebraska (also a P6 team) plays at Missouri in the dreaded Thursday ESPN game, where the home team is something like 72-1 over the past 10 years*. I know Kelly is worried; I think the bread talk is just a cover for her nervousness about HLSE**. Bama/Ole Miss should be fun to watch; I see Saban pulling it out close. Ohio is favored at Akron. Woo Bobcats!

When else am I gonna have the chance to post a pic of a MAC kangaroo?

* Made up stat. Close enough.
** Husker Low Self Esteem, second-best acronym of the season thus far.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Summer's Over (An Escovedo Show Review)

No one agrees on when summer really ends.

Many will say the Labor Day holiday weekend is the end. People on academic rhythms (teachers, students, parents of schoolkids) will say the first day of school, or the literal-minded will say the autumnal equinox of Sept. 21 or 22 (if that's even what it's called, whatever, I'll let someone who knows science correct me in the comments). Or maybe it's when it's finally cold enough to put on a sweater or a hoodie sweatshirt, or even when college football starts.

In Chicago, when the last summer festival is over, summer is over. And summer ended last night on a crisp, un-summery evening with the Chicago Country Music Festival. The Petrillo bandshell's inexplicably lame headliner was one of the Big and Rich guys (I did see a nice set by the Flatlanders first) but for my money (the festival was free) the real draw was Alejandro Escovedo.

Alejandro Escovedo
Grant Park, Chicago IL

Always a Friend
Everybody Loves Me
This Bed Is Getting Crowded
Sister Lost Soul
Juarez ->
I Was Drunk
New song (I'm In Love With Love?)
Chelsea Hotel
Sex Beat
encore: Beast of Burden (Jagger/Richards) featuring Nicholas Tremulis

David Pulkingham, gtr
Hector Munoz, drm
Bobby Daniel, bs

In a little over an hour, Escovedo went from double-barrelled electric guitar rock to lamenting ballads to a Mexican instrumental. He once again proved why he is a national treasure, and in early October he provided a fitting sendoff to the real end of summer.

This show had the intimacy of the shows you hear about in Austin, at Stubbs or Continential Club or Cactus Cafe, during SXSW perhaps. The small stage was under a tent designed to hold 100 or so people, but with almost another 100 watching from the edges. It was a show where at the end of every song I sat up straight in my chair, realizing I'd been leaning forward, straining to absorb every word, every note. I also found it ironic that a representative of US99 (sponsor of the festival) introduced Escovedo, since they probably wouldn't play his music in a million years (charitably you could say because it's too hard to categorize; less charitably you could say because his music is authentic, and good.)

"I Was Drunk" had a neat flavor because David Pulkingham (Escovedo's guitar wiz) still had the Mexican guitar he played during the "Juarez/Rosalie" combo, imbuing the angry/sweet drinking song with a different texture. He debuted a song that he didn't think much of, but the crowd definitely enjoyed it. And that encore .... Escovedo strutted around the stage like a cross between a Chicano Jagger and Jack Black's frontman in the finale of "High Fidelity." I'm not a huge Tremulis fan, but it was clear everyone on that stage was having a lot of fun.

Escovedo was much more open and introspective than I've ever seen him, talking extensively about his father's life as a way of introducing songs from "By the Hand of the Father." For example, I learned that Al's father was a prizefighter during the Depression, and his father (Al's grandfather) was a drinking, abusive man ... Escovedo used the word "mean" to describe him. He also talked about being one of 12 children, eight of whom went on to be professional musicians. Escovedo is neither shy nor effusive, so it was neat to see him chat openly in this setting.

Escovedo also played Grant Park last summer, at the Free Fourth of July concert. But that set list was shorter, and as the opener of a three-band show, it had a more stilted, abbreviated feel. Being up on the Petrillo stage, yards away from the nearest fans, didn't help either.

Alejandro Escovedo
Grant Park, Chicago IL (Petrillo)
July 4, 2008:

Put You Down
Always a Friend
Everybody Loves Me --Susan Voelz wailed on violin.
Sister Lost Soul
Chelsea Hotel '78
"By the Hand of the Father" Suite: Juarez---> Rosalie
Real as an Animal

Speaking of the Chelsea Hotel, a New York-centric postscript: I remember talking to my sister as she was moving out of Manhattan, and how that experience of life in the city changes you. I told her that the Escovedo song starts out, "I used to live at the Chelsea Hotel, on 7th and 23rd" ... and how a few years ago, I would've just glossed right over that. But I actually heard that line, and processed it, and knew exactly where it was. Because I've walked past the Chelsea Hotel, stopped and read the plaque. I know the streets, I know that neighborhood. Just one of those little ways that life in Gotham changes you.

Friday, October 02, 2009

My Football Saturday

Having a routine is important. It prevents you from getting all confused, with questions like: "What day is it?" and "What am I supposed to be doing today?"

That's why you can follow along with this handy flowchart, illustrating a typical football Saturday for MPF. (click to make big)


Thursday, October 01, 2009

Week 4 Review/Week 5 Preview

Week 4 Review: Rainy Day Football

Location: Knoxville, Tenn.

Games watched, at least partially: Ole Miss-South Carolina; Michigan-Indiana (snippets); LSU-Mississippi State; Ohio-Tennessee (live); Iowa-Penn State (last 18 seconds or so).



We left Neyland Stadium and headed for a bar to catch the end of the late games. We were halfway there when I told Miller (who has a relative who is a lifelong employee and fan of Penn State) that Iowa had returned a blocked kick for a TD. Our pace picked up. Walking through the Old City, I looked through a bar window and saw an Iowa player intercept a pass and take a safe slide. That usually means the game is nearly wrapped up.

By the time we got to Manhattan's (a bar I highly recommend: great staff, cheap drinks, all around good times), I saw Iowa kick the field goal that iced it. What an amazing win. I wish I would have called it. Instead I will say:

For anyone my age or older, I'll translate: this means that Iowa has beaten Penn State several times recently, we have Penn State's number despite their generally being the better team, we "own" them.

So yeah, Iowa beat Penn State. But I still love Joe Pa. Check this out:

ND: We got occasional score updates via text message (thanks to Mom, Dad, Steve and Sarah for their efforts) and it seemed like things were going fine ... 17-7 ND in the third. But once at Manhattan's, the bottom line said Purdue 21-17. A bit later we saw the final plays. Danny Hope's call was just baffling. That is the kind of thing I'd expect from the Zooker or the Wannstache. You could chalk it up to a rookie mistake, but Hope was head coach for 5 years at Eastern Kentucky University before last year's apprenticeship under Coach Brimley. ND continues to win, close and unimpressive. A blowout win over a significantly worse team would look good right about now.

Pick Six: I bounced back from a crummy Week 3 with a dominating performance. All 5 teams in action (UCLA had a bye) won big ... Georgia Tech had the smallest margin of victory at 17. I didn't get a huge bounce in the polls, though: only 6 points. The Ole Miss and Cal losses hurt Quigley and TM, respectively, though TM's was offset by the re-emergence of Oregon. And suddenly a third of the way in, we have ourselves a ballgame: TM 54, Quigley 54, MPF 51.

National Roundup: The Ohio/UT experience deserves its own post, which it got. Penn State wasn't the only top team to go down ... Cal, Ole Miss, and Miami all did a swandive.

This guy from Cleveland Plain Dealer is my favoritest sports writer/AP poll voter in America right now. Not for putting Iowa at No. 5, but for his rational methodology that puts Iowa at No. 5. (For example, Boise at 2 is clearly apeshit, but at least there's logic.)

Coach of the Week: Kirk Ferentz, for beating Penn Sccchhhhhate. Runner-up: Technophobe Mike Leach for banning Twitter.

Week 5 Preview: Couch Time

This is going to feel like a bye week after all the activity of the first month, especially with my teams having relatively easy games. Iowa hosts Arkansas State, a Sun Belt (barely I-A) school. As long as they stay focused on the game at hand, they should win by 15-18 or more. ND hosts Washington, who scored the annual Pete Carroll upset, got ranked for it, then came crashing to the ground. With Clausen and Allen healthy/healthier, I expect a 42-17 type game. (If not at full strength, expect another Purdue or MSU, down-to-the-wire type game.)

Elsewhere: Ohio gets into MAC play at Bowling Green, which is Orange actually. Three exciting top 25 matchups: LSU @ Gowja, Oklahoma @ Real Miami, Southern Cal @ Entire Cal. So of course College Gameday is going to Florida State @ BC. Yawn.

I'm intrigued by Michigan having to go on the road for the first time, to Michigan State, who took out years of frustration on the Skunkbears last year. Will Sparty channel their anger of a 1-3 record into a beatdown? (I hope yes.)