Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How the Hell Am I Supposed To Keep Track of These Divisions?

The biggest story of the 2010 offseason (conference realignment) has become one of the most exciting changes of 2011. There were some trivial moves amongst the irrelevant Western schools, but by far the biggest and most important was the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten.

I was wondering if I would ever re-use this picture. Hah hah just kidding, Kelly.

The Big Ten does not take on newcomers lightly. Hell I remember when Michigan State was the new kid on the block ... and they joined in 1949. In fact before Nebraska only three schools had joined our venerable institution in the 20th century: Columbus Community College The Ohio State University (1912), Sparty and Penn State (1990).

The addition of Nebraska means many things for the conference...a natural rivalry game for Iowa, an immediate contender for the championship, a conference title game ... but the most important is this:

How the hell are you supposed to remember who is in these new divisions?

Luckily for you the not-as-fanatical-as-MPF football fan, I'm here to help. Let's start with the basics.

One Division: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern

The Other Division: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin

That's all well and good, but that's not very easy to remember. After all, smart conferences divided their divisions with clean geographic lines. The Big Texas, formerly known as the Big XII, drew a line along the southern borders of Kansas and Missouri and split into the North and the South. (And much like the Union 150 years ago, that split didn't work out too well.) The SEC likewise has the East and the West. So even if you don't pay much attention to SEC football, you can probably look at a map and realize Florida and Georgia = East and Mississippi/Louisiana/Arkansas-based schools = West.

Getting back to our conference: you've realized there is not a clean geographic split (even though they could have drawn a line between Illinois and Indiana and had six on each side). What about mnemonics? Creating a word out of an acronym?

I suggest "MAIN" and "WOPPII." "Main" is a bastardization of "mmmIAnn" which is the three "M" schools (Michigan, Mitten State and Minny), IowA, and the two "NU"s (Armani and Husker). "WOPPII" represents Wisky, Ohio State, Purdue, Penn State, Indiana and Illinois.

Okay, so maybe you're more visual. Let's go back to geography then. Here are the 12 campuses, with colored dots for each division:

If you prefer to think about the East and West split, just envision these circles:

That's all well and good, but still not super helpful.

However, another way to look at it is this:

These shapes make a sideways blue "C" and a red "L". "Bluesy" has a nice ring to it, and conveniently includes Chicago, home of the blues and awesome American Buddy Guy. The "Red L" (also a Chicago reference, now that I think about it--damn.) contains three "red" schools (Wisky, OSU and Indy), and yeah, looks like an "L". And "Riddell" is the name of an athletics company, so that's pretty easy to remember.

So there you have it: "Bluesy" and "Reddell." Or "Main" and "Swoppii." Hell, it's no worse than "Leaders" and Legends," right?

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Thinnest SEC Preview on the Internet

Here at we prefer our college football with a Northern bent, with heavy coverage of the Big Ten, MAC and Notre Dame.

But let's face it, the football world starts with the SEC, home of the last five national champions (some of them even legal). And since you'll need to make your Pick Six selections pretty soon, and SEC Media Days wrapped up last week, you'll need to get up to speed.

There are tons of sites out there that cover the SEC in great detail, but since you're a reader, here's the bare minimum you need to know about each team before the Pick Six starts:

Alabama: Strong defense, popular pick to be in the national championship game. Tornadoes ripped through Alabama in April, killing dozens in Tuscaloosa alone and at least 243 in the state, so they are a sentimental pick, if you can get past their head coach.

Auburn: The key pieces of the tainted championship are gone. Don't pick them on pure principle of them being cheaters*.

Tennessee: Derek Dooley is in his second year. He once compared his team to Nazis (ok, technically, the Germans in WWII). Tyler Bray might be the best QB you've never heard of. Knoxville is awesome.

This is UT Coach Lane Kiffin's Twitter background. I grabbed it after he left but before the school could take it down.

LSU: Looking damn strong. Jordan Jefferson might actually be a good quarterback finally. Their head coach is nuts.

Florida: They have a new head coach whose nickname is "Boom Motherfucker." Their OC is former Kansas City Chiefs OC Charlie Weis. What they don't have is much offensive talent.

Georgia: I've been picking the Bulldogs off and on for years. They keep disappointing me. Mark Richt needs to win sooner or later. Stud RB freshman Isaiah Crowell brought a bulldog puppy to his signing day press conference, and that's pretty cool.

This kid could be Herschel Walker or he could be Maurice Clarett. But even *I* like this.

South Carolina: Steve Spurrier was cocky (pun kinda intended) at media days, and when Spurrier is lippy, that means he thinks he's got a winner. Keep this in mind.

Ole Miss: In the offseason they changed their mascot from the classically cool Colonel Reb to a bear wearing preppy clothes. Their head coach is insane.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Arkansas: Ryan Mallett is finally gone. They couldn't win the conference with him, why would they win it without him?

Mississippi State: I'll give them credit for this: when Cam Newton's dad said he wanted $200,000 for his son to play there, MSU told him no thanks. Won't make a difference on the field, but I do appreciate the burst of honesty in a dirty conference.

Kentucky: Basketball school. I think they field a football squad, not sure though.

Vanderbilt: Smart school playing against the 11 above. Pick only if you went there and at your own peril.

Good luck with your research, y'all!

* Improper grammar is at the sole discretion of the proprietor and in this case is not making fun of how Southerners talk, just being lazy.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Saturday, July 09, 2011

The Devil Warming a 'Special Hot Seat' for Tabloid Voicemail Hackers

Makes Ominous Promise: 'I've Got Ideas' for Murdoch, Brooks

NEW YORK--Satan, the Guardian of Hell, made a rare appearance on Earth to announce that he was preparing a "special hot seat" for the British tabloid employees who hacked the phones of murder victims and their family members.

"What those tabloid people did was some fucked up shit, pardon my French," declared the king of the underworld. "I mean, just this morning before I came up here, Pol Pot elbowed me and showed me a newspaper article about the case. He didn't even say anything, just shook his head and walked away. Pol Pot!"

It was revealed this week that employees at News of the World, a tabloid newspaper in London, had broken into the voicemail accounts of not only celebrities, but also targeted the phone of Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old girl abducted and killed in 2002.

A few days later the list of hacking victims was widened to include the family members of the 2005 terrorist attacks, and soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Photographers were able to capture this image before Satan disappeared in a puff of smoke.

The Devil, describing himself as "quite familar" with evil behavior, said the revelations required him to take visible, public action.

"To break into the voicemail of celebrities, that's cruel, unethical, blah blah blah," said the entity also known as Lucifer or Beelzebub. "Murder victims? This newspaper deleted voicemail messages, making the family think their child was still alive. I got a special place for people like that down at my place. I call it Special Hell.

"Rebecca Brooks? Enjoy your living days while you got 'em. I've got ideas. Andy Coulson? More like Andy HOT-son, when I get started on you."

Rupert Murdoch, chief executive of News Corp., decided to shut down the tabloid. But it was too little too late, according to the Prince of Darkness.

"Oh yeah, I've had my eye on 'Rupy', as we call him here," Satan said. "Now there's a long-term project of mine. There's a special hot seat I've got that ... you know, I'll let him find out."

The Devil took only a few questions before leaving and provided few details on his plans, saying only that the News of the World people were "on notice, and that's good enough for now." Asked why he chose a hotel on Manhattan's East Side, instead of London where the activities took place, for the site of his press conference, the Devil shrugged. "I guess it's always good to come back home," he grinned.