Saturday, February 28, 2009

BCS Title Game, Tebow - Friday, January 9, 2009

BCS Title Game

So that was a very good game last night, not quite to the level of Texas USC in ’05, but good nevertheless. I really had no idea who would win the game before it started. When it did get going, I thought that Oklahoma looked clearly better than Florida, then they couldn’t punch it at the goal line. Incidentally, I would have made the same call that Stoops did there; going for it was a good move. It was early in the game and it didn’t really seem like it was going to be the defensive struggle that it turned out to be. Also the other goal line stand that Florida had was a fluky deal. Bradford put that ball exactly where it needed to be and the receiver mishandled it leading to a crazy interception. It could have easily been 21-7 Oklahoma and the game changes significantly at that point. But it didn’t and Florida made great plays and won the game. Their defense tightened significantly and put tons of pressure on Bradford and did not let Brown get going after he had a torrid start. Pretty impressive effort by Florida, they certainly earned that win.

Insect Quickness
Percy Harvin is a damn electric player and has a chance to be a gamebreaker in the NFL. I see no difference between him and Reggie Bush except that he’s probably a little faster and he’s probably more of a natural receiver. Anyway, he’s very talented. It’s too bad that we never got to see that guy Jeff Demps get free in the open field because if what the announcers say is true (that he ran a 10.02 100 meters), then I would have loved to have seen him streak by everyone. That’s a patently absurd time; it’s literally world class speed.

NFL Tebow
I was driving up to Duvall the night of the Heisman ceremony for a friend’s Christmas party and I was listening to the lead up to the event on the radio. They (Mel Kiper and some other guy) were interviewing each of the Heisman candidates and when Tebow came on, they talked about the possibility of switching positions in the NFL. Kiper asked Tebow how good his hands were (Tebow answered that he catches the snap pretty good out of the shotgun… ha ha ha). The point was, Kiper seemed to think that Tebow would be a good H-Back/Tight End type (he compares him to Frank Wycheck, if you remember him). Tebow was good natured about it but wasn’t really interested in talking about it. While they were talking, I was thinking, “Man, why so many questions? The dude has been a good QB for a couple years, let him show scouts etc what he can do and I’m sure he’ll be fine.” I didn’t see much of Florida this year (or last, really) to have an opinion on Tebow, but I did watch this entire game with the purpose of seeing if he really is a good QB, or a QB that projects to be a good QB at the NFL level. After seeing him play last night, in what was hailed as a classic Tebow type game (minus the interceptions, which we’ll get to) I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no way he is an NFL QB. He’s a great QB for the scheme that Florida runs, he seems to be a great rah-rah leader, he seems to be an inspirational leader who leads by his play and drive on the field, he seems to be a non-prick leader who everyone seems to love, he clearly has mobility and strength, he has great determination and a sense for the moment… all of those are great qualities, but I don’t think that he has enough qualities, right now, to be a successful QB in the NFL. Here are the issues:

  • Every single snap he took in the game was from the shotgun, every one. While people will same the same about Bradford, it wouldn’t be true. Bradford was under center about 45-50% of the time last night and threw from under center (and in I-formation) just as often as he handed the ball off. I realize that some teams run a lot of shotgun stuff in the NFL, but none of them, not one, run their QBs like Tebow runs. They only do that when they run that Wildcat formation stuff. My point is, he has way more to learn (or unlearn) as an NFL QB, moreso than guys like Chase Daniel and Graham Harrell who also run offenses almost exclusively out of the shotgun, but who throw it 95% of the time.
  • He has a very slow, very deliberate release. It was exacerbated in this game because on the other sideline sits Sam Bradford who has a very quick, compact release. Anyway, the problem with Tebow’s release is that it alerts defenders that he’s going to throw and where he’s going to throw. Because of this, he’ll have gigantic interceptions numbers in the NFL, even if he only threw two all year in the SEC (but we’ll get to that in a minute too)
  • He has well below average arm strength and must put his whole body into throws.
    I thought this was one of the weirder things about his game. He is such a strong guy and is physically huge, but his arm is weak. It was exposed for sure in that one pass that was picked off early in the game. Tebow tried to throw from the middle of the field (while he was in the pocket) to the sideline. The ball took forever to get there, it was poorly read (Oklahoma was in a zone and he didn’t see the DB), and the guy jumped the route and picked it off easily. It was the only throw of that type in the entire game that he attempted and it completely exposed just how weak his arm is. In Florida’s offense, there is no need for him to complete those types of throws. In the NFL, those types of throws are made repeatedly. He could learn to read the play better, but I don’t think that he’ll be able to throw it with enough velocity to be successful… oddly, it looked almost identical to the throw that Tarvaris Jackson made against Philly that Asante Samuel took to the house. So I suppose the argument could be made that if Tarvaris Jackson is in the NFL as a QB, so should Tebow… that doesn’t help Tebow’s cause… also, while he threw for 28 tds and 2 ints on the year, if all of the games looked like the Oklahoma game (in terms of the types of plays that they ran) I’m not surprised at those numbers. His passes are all “safe” passes and I doubt that any of them traveled any further than 25 yards in the air.
  • Well over half of Tebow’s completed throws come from designed sprint outs
    This goes to point no. 3. He rarely tried to throw from the pocket (except for that weird 1940s football card jump pass for a TD from the 5). Sprint outs are done occasionally in the NFL, but they are not a significant part of any NFL game plan because it essentially eliminates half of the field for the offense and also because NFL linebackers and linemen are ridiculously fast. All of them. So the play will get run down.
  • He locks on to receivers. This is a problem that can he can be coached out of and not a problem that is exclusive to Tebow. All QBs do this to some extent. Even in the NFL.
    NFL personnel types need to compare a guy to another guy in order to project his future in the league. So, as a QB, who is Tebow? Is he Donovan McNabb? He’s probably the same size as McNabb, and possesses the same type of running ability that McNabb used to possess, but his arm is significantly weaker than McNabb’s. Of the starting (and some backups) QBs in the league, there is not one player who Tebow remotely resembles. I suppose maybe Alex Smith from SF because he ran the same offense, but he’s not nearly as tough as Tebow, but Smith has a far better arm (and Smith’s arm is not strong). Tebow is a big guy with toughness, heart, running ability, and leadership qualities, but he has a weak arm and a quirky delivery that will lead to turnovers. He will not be a successful starting QB in the NFL, it won’t happen.

I think that he certainly is an NFL-caliber athlete, but just not a QB. Kiper, and all of the other scout-type NFL draft people (and apparently NFL personnel) are right to pick him apart. Ego is the only thing getting in Tebow’s way at this point. He should be able to see that he does not have the attributes, physically, to be an NFL QB. If he realizes that he won’t be a QB and commits himself to be a TE, then he’ll be in good shape and probably be drafted higher than if he demands that he be a QB. I think he’s 6’3 240, which is a pretty good sized TE prospect. I bet he runs the 40 in the 4.7s and benches 225 like 28-30 times. I’m sure he can block and I know that he can fight for yards and I’m sure he’s got good hands. He could be a pro-bowl type of TE if he dedicated himself to it. He will never be a quality NFL QB. So there you go. I know that it would be hard for him to switch from being a de facto leader of a team as the QB, but others have had to set that aside (Hines Ward, Antwan Randel-El, John Lynch etc).

To wrap it up, I know that I’m not the first to say these things about him, but I never really sat down and watched a game with it in mind. And my mind is made up.

Myron Rolle, Conference Championships - Friday, January 16, 2009

Biggest Winner
Myron Rolle, FSU Safety, Rhodes Scholar. He’s turning down millions to play football so that he can go study as a Rhodes Scholar and wants to become a neurosurgeon. Pretty damn unbelievable. However, I can’t remember where I heard it but some guy said that every NFL team would want to sign this guy because he’d be a great person in the community etc. I agree that he would be a good role model and community person. However, I don’t agree that every NFL team will be pining to draft him whenever he makes himself eligible for the draft. NFL personnel types have made it abundantly clear that they like players who are smart, but not too smart. If a player has too much intelligence, then they may start questioning the logic of a coaching staff and that causes dissention, which causes a team to lose. Also, NFL types are jealous types. They want their players to love football and football only, at least outwardly. When a player like Rolle, who at this point in his career, is already expressing that his life is about more than just football, and makes an overt statement to that effect—like I don’t know, say choosing to study at Oxford instead of going to the NFL for instance—then they’ll be skeptical of him and won’t pick him. I’m sure someone will pick him up whenever he’s ready and he’ll probably be a good player, but to think that he’ll be universally loved by the NFL universe is a mistake. But he’s a big winner in my book and he made a pretty cool choice.

Biggest Loser
Probably Jake Delhomme for putting on an amazing display of incompetence, and perhaps incontinence, by turning the ball over six times in a home playoff game. I thought he was dreadful a few years ago against Seattle in the playoffs (but that was because they bottled up Steve Smith and were down to their third-string RB), but I really thought that Carolina would take this game. He was terrible and is the sole reason why they lost. It was like they were filming one of those Southwest Airlines “want to get away” commercials during the game. He seems like a good guy, but that performance was infected, open-sore bad.

Playoff Predictions
Philly at Arizona
I’m not sure where to go with this game. Here’s what we know:
  1. Arizona is playing great on both sides of the ball during these playoffs.
  2. Larry Fitzgerald looks like the best WR in the game right now. He can do anything and does everything well. He’s big, fast, has great hands, he’s physical, and he makes plays. He’s the perfect WR. I would change nothing about him.
  3. Kurt Warner has not turned the ball over. I thought that Atlanta was going to give him problems because they were putting pressure on him, but they weren’t sacking him. I thought that he’d get rattled and fumble. Never happened. Didn’t happen against Carolina either. If he keeps getting the ball out early, their offense will be unstoppable.
  4. Edgerrin James is running well. He’s a good running back and wasn’t getting a lot of love during the season, but he’s so versatile and runs hard. If they continue to run the ball even if they aren’t getting a lot out of it, they’ll be better for it.
  5. Their defense is playing very tough. Of course, when Jake Delhomme gives them the ball it makes them look better, which is why I’m skeptical about picking them. Their D was made to look fantastic after what Jake gave them last week.
  6. They have a good kicker with a big leg.
  7. They are at home and will be playing in a dome because I’m sure they’ll close the roof, just as they did in the Atlanta game.
  8. Anquan Boldin is hurt and as of right now, I don’t know if he’s going to play, if he does, he’ll still be hurt, but will take a lot of pressure off of Fitzgerald.
  9. Donovan McNabb is playing great. He’s moving around in the pocket and making very accurate throws on the run and doing so at clutch times. I’m surprised by this.
  10. Bryan Westbrook has almost been bottled up in both games that they’ve played, but he’s broken out a couple different times to make up it. But he’s hurt, and I really don’t know if he can give them what they need.
  11. Philly’s defense is very good and can apply a lot of pressure on teams and has done so the past couple of weeks, but they’ve also played an F-level QB in Tarvaris Jackson and a QB who looked like he decided to throw with his left hand just to keep things interesting in Eli Manning. Warner will be playing in warm confines and is much better than both of those QBs I just mentioned, at least he’s playing better.
  12. While Philly’s D is good, they haven’t seen the talent at WR that they’ll see this week (even if Boldin doesn’t play, Breaston is good).
  13. Andy Reid looks like he’s wearing five layers of down, puffy coats when he’s really only wearing a windbreaker.
  14. Ken Wisenhunt looks like Ed Harris.
  15. Asante Samuel and Bryan Dawkins are playing great in the secondary.

All that said, I still don’t feel great either way. I can see a case for either team winning, but I really think that Arizona is going to pull it out, but I would not be surprised to see Philly take it. Which means that I’m interested in watching the game, so that’s good.

Prediction: Arizona 27 Philly 13

Baltimore at Pittsburgh
As I said before, these two teams (and Tennessee) are pretty much the same team. They have great defenses with big DTs, athletic and hard-hitting LBs, and playmaking DBs. I really like their teams, a lot. I’d love to root for a defense that beats the hell out of people and can get off of the field on third down. Because their defenses are so good, they run very conservative offenses, as I’ve said before, but I’ve also said that Pittsburgh takes way more chances with Roethlisberger than Baltimore does with Flacco. I do not think that Baltimore will be able to run the ball, at all. They’ll probably end up with like 45 rushing yards total for the game. I can also see Flacco with a line like 11-27, 1 TD, 2 INT. I think that they get the TD late and I don’t think it’ll matter. I think that Pittsburgh will be able to run a little since Willy Parker seems to be back from whatever ailed him earlier and Roethlisberger is mobile enough and strong enough to evade too many sacks and make some plays. He completed a lot of passes for first downs last week and it seemed to kill San Diego. I think this game gets out of hand and Pittsburgh, a team that I absolutely loathe because of Super Bowl XL, takes the game easily.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 23 Baltimore 7

So we’ll have a Pittsburgh Arizona Super Bowl and Pittsburgh will be favored by 8 points at least if that happens. I really don’t want them to win again.

Barack Obama - Thursday, January 22, 2009

I listened to a podcast this week featuring Bill Simmons and Chuck Klosterman. They were discussing a variety of topics; one of the topics was Barack Obama and Klosterman said that he likes him and all that but also said that people are so excited about him that they would proclaim his genius regardless of what he decided to do. He said that he could make it his administration’s priority to lower the price for aluminum siding and people would go crazy and say things like, “That’s why we elected him president!” I thought that was mildly funny. Simmons analogized that it was like a sports team that had just come off of a bad season, but that had just signed a big free agent. The big free agent would have a brief honeymoon period and then everyone would settle down and then look objectively if he was doing a good job or not. I kind of went along with that, but I found myself interrupting their conversation (in my head) and interjecting my own points and I think I have a much better one that they didn’t get to. I think that a more apt analogy would be something more close to home.

My analogy is a franchise that has been terrible for several years who then goes out and hires a big name coach who then has the twin set of expectations coming into office: (1) there is nowhere to go but up, because the last several years have been terrible and (2) there are tons of expectations because this guy has been successful and he’s expected to replicate that success here. So, when I say I’m bringing it close to home, I’m thinking that Barack Obama is to the United States as Mike Holmgren was to the Seattle Seahawks. Let’s just hope that when Obama leaves office, he doesn’t do so with the equivalent of a 4-12 season. The Seahawks were horrible under Tom Flores and vexingly inconsistent and underachieving under Dennis Erickson. Change was needed. The Seahawks needed to make a splash and needed to aim for the moon. They did when they nabbed Mike Holmgren after two Super Bowl appearances (with one victory). He was a super-duper star. He rose to prominence by learning under Bill Walsh’s system (paralleling Obama’s time at Harvard); he was wildly successful in Green Bay (paralleling Obama’s time in the Illinois State Senate and the U.S. Senate); and he became coach of a moribund franchise with all of the power to turn things around, and the resources to do so by coaching Seattle and having Paul Allen as an owner (paralleling Obama getting elected president and having all of the resources of U.S. history and innovation etc).

So there.

Biggest Winner
Barack Obama. All hail the President. Regardless of your political leanings, you have to admit that when the world cheers for a dude, loudly and continuously, then that dude has got to be a big winner, around the world and here in your email inbox.

Biggest Loser
Mark McGuire. I just saw that his brother ratted him out for using steroids. My first reaction to that was, “no duh,” and my second reaction was, “if I had a brother, and he did something like that to me, I’d put him between my steroidal-enhanced bicep and forearm and squeeze him into incontinence.” We all know that McGuire was on ‘roids, but still, I think that it would suck to be called out on it by your brother, even if he is estranged. It’s pretty weak sauce to cash in on your brother just to sell some books. Cheating in baseball sucks and I wish the steroid stuff would just go away, but disreputable dudes “exposing” the story doesn’t really help much either.

UW Hoops
I go to sleep early these days so I wasn’t able to stay up and watch the entire USC game, but I saw probably ¾ of it. Anyway, I mostly like what I see. I’ve said this before, but don’t like Brockman trying to do anything except rebound and get points off of rebounds. I cringe when I see him get the ball on the wing and try to do something with it. He really has no chance to turn that into a positive play. Actually they should never give him the ball there, so that’s the guards’ fault. He will either turn the ball over or he’ll be called for a charge because he doesn’t have any handles, at all. I suppose it’s possible that someone could foul him, but that’s the least likely of all things. If he does get the ball there, he needs to either pass it immediately or take a jumper. We know that he can’t shoot, so that means he needs to pass the ball. He really should have No. 86 on his back and running down the sidelines with shoulder pads on. Did he even play high school football? It’s pathetic if he didn’t, being as big as he is. That said, he’s not big enough to really do any damage offensively, or defensively for that matter. He has very short arms and is really only 6’7 max. He gets completely exposed when a bigger guy is on him like Taj Gibson (6’9 with really long arms) was last night. I’m sure NBA scouts don’t like him. I’d be pretty amazed if he actually got drafted, but if Mark Madsen and Brian Scalabrine are in the NBA, then he’s got a chance, I guess.

I like the athleticism of the rest of the team though. MBA is a very active player and Holiday and Gant are tough lengthy dudes who are trouble, defensively, for teams. Their complete and utter lack of size at the guard spots scare me a little though. Dentmon is the biggest guy they have that gets minutes. When your dudes are 5’11 (Dentmon), 5’11 (Overton), and 5’8 (Thomas) that’s a problem is they are playing big guards (like last night). They’re quick though, and when they hit their shots they are a tough team. But that dude from USC, Marcus Johnson (No. 0) was completely crushing them. Also, that dude DeMar DeRozen is an amazing talent. They said he’s 6’7, but he looks more like 6’5 or so, but anyway, he’s a smooth player with a very good looking jumper and silly athleticism. He’s going to be very good.

I’m looking forward to the UCLA game tomorrow, that should be pretty good. Hopefully they can get another W and keep tacking on wins, I’d really like to see them back in the tournament, it’s way more fun to watch then they’re involved.

Super Bowl Thoughts - Thursday, January 29, 2009

Super Bowl Thoughts
I’m going with the Cards in this game. I obviously want them to win because Pitt can eat it, but I also think that the Cards are good and are actually playing well. Warner has a history of holding on to the ball too long, taking sacks, and fumbling the ball, but he just hasn't done it for awhile (as an aside Roethlisberger has the same maladies…). He faced an extremely tough D in Philly and was able to handle them easily. Brian Dawkins is every bit the safety that Troy Polomalu is and Asante Samuel is better than any corner Pitt has. Pitt clearly has superior LBs and have gotten to the QB like crazy this year so I'm a little concerned about that, but the Cards have good, big TEs (6’7 Leonard Pope is one) that can help with blocks and I think that they are going to slow them up, if not stonewall them altogether.

Much has been said this week about how unbelievably poor Roethlisberger played in the Super Bowl against Seattle. It’s true. He was terrible. Of course, he was a second-year player and is much better now, but I still don’t like his game. I liken him to yard waste. People throw out yard waste because it’s waste, but it does have a purpose. It can be composted and all of that crap. But yard waste isn’t something that you want to keep around for that very reason, it decomposes and turns nasty if it stays around too long. That’s Roethlisberger. He is so gross for the majority of the game and then comes up with very useful plays on third downs and late in the game with his ability to shed tacklers and move around and make passes. So he’s not garbage, which has no use and you want to get rid of it as quickly as possible (e.g. Charlie Frye), but he is waste. I hate him. I might be picking against Pitt simply because I hate him and their team and I don’t want any part of me pulling for them. But I do believe that there are lots of things pointing to a Cards victory.

Anyway, Pitt’s D is fantastic, but the Card’s offense is equally fantastic. I also think that the Card’s D is much better than Pitt’s offense, so I’m leaning toward the Cards, with my heart and my head.

Prediction: Arizona 31 Pitt 24

Bonus prediction: one of Pitt’s TDs will be on a return of some sort (special teams or defensive).

Caveat prediction: I can absolutely see the game unfolding as such, much to my chagrin:
  • Cards win the toss, elect to receive

1st Quarter

  • Cards march down the field, Warner overthrows Boldin, Ike Taylor picks it off at the 20
  • Pitt goes to about midfield and punts
  • Breaston muffs the punt, Pitt recovers on the 10
  • Pitt scores on a 3rd and goal from the 15 (because they can’t run and Roethlisberger gets sacked) on a gross Roethlisberger toss to Heath Miller, 7-0 Pitt
  • Cards take the ensuing kickoff to the 40, move the ball to the 38 and punt
  • Pitt doesn’t do anything offensively and punts

2nd Quarter

  • Cards move the ball but don’t score and punt again
  • Pitt moves the ball to the 45 but stalls and punts
  • Cards get the ball back, move it and fumble, Pitt recovers on the Cards’ 30
  • Pitt scores a TD on a 15 yard Willie Parker run, 14-0 Pitt
  • Cards move the ball and kick a field goal to end the half, 14-3 Pitt

Halftime (of a GROSS game thus far)
3rd Quarter

  • Pitt take the opening kickoff and marches down the field to score a FG, 17-3 Pitt
  • Cards move the ball and Warner throws another pick
  • Pitt takes the ball down and scores on a 45 yard Willie Parker run, 24-3 Pitt
  • Cards get the ball and finally punch it in on a Fitzgerald catch and run, 24-10 Pitt

4th Quarter

  • Pitt goes on an 8:00 drive of runs and incomplete passes except for 3rd and 12, 15, and 8 passes by Roethlisberger and finally scores TD (pass to Limas Sweed), 31-10 Pitt
  • Cards go on a long drive, go for it on 4th down and don’t get it
  • Pitt takes the ball and does nothing exciting but chews up clock.
  • Cards get the ball back and do nothing.

Final 31-10 Pitt, MVP Willie Parker

Now that I wrote that I just got sick to my stomach. This game could absolutely unfold this way and it wouldn’t surprise me at all, I just don’t want it to.

Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s
Big game tonight. Unfortunately I’ll probably only get to watch the first half because I’m geriatric and go to bed at like 9:30. I’ve seen Gonzaga play a few times and I’ve been less than impressed with their effort. Losing to Portland State at home is inexcusable. I don’t know who they think they are, but they’re not good enough to just roll the ball out and dominate, especially with a guy like Austin Daye playing like his heart pumps apple juice. He’s a weakling. I think that he should stop wearing t-shirts underneath his jersey so that he’s forced to lift some weights to avoid the embarrassment of being a 20 year old man with the arms of a 13-year old girl.

UW and the Arizonas
I read Art Thiel’s piece on Isaiah Thomas yesterday and he said that several people have said that Thomas reminds people of Damon Stoudamire. I think that is a great comparison. They do play very similarly and are pretty much the same size. They are both crazy explosive scorers and both are left handed, which is interesting. If Thomas goes on to have the same type of career that Stoudamire does, then I’ll be really happy, as Thomas will be too, since Stoudamire was a first round draft pick (no. 7) and Rookie of the Year.

I like this team a lot. They are a much better team and a way more athletic team than they’ve had the last few years. They are getting to the line a ton of times; against USC and UCLA they got to the line 40 and 43 times respectively. That’s a ton of free throws especially when compared to how many times their opponents got to the line, USC 17 and UCLA 15. That’s ridiculous; they got to the line over 50 times more in two games. All while taking only six less field goals against USC and 12 less against UCLA.

The numbers are telling us that they’re being aggressive and taking the ball to the hole, something they have shied away from in recent years, instead settling for the jumper. Good things happen when they do this. Also, the numbers tell us that they are getting a lot of second chances because they’re getting so many rebounds. It’s exciting to see a team play aggressively and with talent. They’re a fun team to watch, even if they are frustrating at times with their really stupid turnovers etc.

The team doesn’t really have any spot-up shooters though and that will probably hurt them down the line, but I’d much rather have guys that can take it to the rim and shoot occasionally, than have a team full of Ryan Appleby’s who can do nothing well but shoot.

I have hope that they will take care of business in Arizona. ASU is good and UofA, despite their record, is a good team having beaten Kansas and Gonzaga this year and they’ve got two losses that are completely attributable to brain farts at the end of a game when a kid fouled intentionally because he thought they were losing, but were tied. Bad times. I could see UW winning both games and I can see them losing both. We’ll see.

Fiesta Bowl - Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A few thoughts about last night’s Fiesta Bowl…

It was boring, really boring, for most of the game. I DVR’d it and ended up fast-forwarding through a lot of the second and part of the third quarters.

Terrelle Pryor is not a very good QB at all right now. I say this realizing a few things:
  • He’s a true freshman.
  • The only game I’ve really seen him play is this one and Texas is a team that could have been playing for the national title… not exactly a lightweight outfit.
  • He’s asked to run a lot. Running a lot messes up throwing mechanics.

He has the chance to be a good QB, but right now I see a guy who:

  • has terrible throwing mechanics (fixable)
  • has a very weak arm (maybe fixable)
  • is grossly inaccurate –how many times did he short hop a ball to his intended receivers? Especially the attempted two-point conversion when they were down 15-17 (fixable)
  • is way, way, way more comfortable running that he is passing

I think that if he fixes his throwing mechanics almost everything about him will be better. He is completely off balance when he throws, which is why he doesn’t get much on the ball (hence the short hops) and why he’s so inaccurate. I have no idea if he’s a coachable guy or not, but he looks like a really cocky kid who may or may not listen to people who know what they’re talking about. I’m just going by what I saw on the field, his body language etc. I could be way off on him though. He's been compared to Vince Young and I think that is an apt comparison. Their running style is nearly identical. I am convinced that Pryor will be much more accurate once they fix a few things with his game (VY was a very accurate college passer in his junior year, a little over 65%). The QB run/pass spread offense (like Texas and Florida run) and the pass offense (like Oklahoma and Texas Tech run) make it very easy on the QB to complete a high % of their passes since they can see everything from the shotgun, so there is no excuse for Pryor to have a low % in the coming years unless he just sucks at throwing the ball in college, which is possible. Anyway, he can be good, but if I had to choose between him and someone like Skyline High School’s Jake Heaps, I might take Heaps. But that might be because I really detest the spread because it’s so simple, basic, and predictable, but then there are tons of programs that use it and win with it, so what do I know? I’m just a guy typing who doesn’t even get paid for his opinions.

The Announcing
The play-by-play guy for the game, Matt Vasgergean (who has done a lot of bad NFL games for Fox… which is to say he did a lot of Seahawks games this year) is terrible.

He’s one of those guys who thinks he is too cool to do the game, but that’s not why I thought he was so bad. Toward the end of the game he started saying stuff that just didn’t make sense and failed to point out a few things, such as:

  • When OSU was lining up to go for two when they were up four, he tried to explain that Tressel wanted to go up six so that Texas would have to score a TD and kick the extra point to win.
  • OK… first, that makes no sense to me because the extra point is a damn foregone conclusion in most cases and if they give up the TD, they still tie and go into OT. I think it was a weird decision to go for two. There was 2:06 left in the game and if they kicked the extra point, they’d be up by five (22-17). If Texas marched down the field and scored a TD, then OSU would be down by two (24-22, assuming Texas kicked the extra point). If there was any time remaining on the clock, OSU could win the game by kicking a field goal (25-24, as opposed to just tying it if they didn’t convert the two points). Even if they got the two point conversion (23-17) they’d still be down by one if Texas scored (24-23) and would still just need a field goal to win (26-24). I thought it was a very strange decision at the time and I still think so today. I think that the play-by-play guy should have at least questioned it at the time. It just didn’t make any sense to me. He must have been confused or something, his producer really should have gotten in his ear.
  • When Tressel challenged the spot of the ball on that 4th down that gave Texas life, Vasgergean didn’t understand why they were so upset at the time. The ref who came in to spot the ball initially put the Texas guy clearly short of the first down, so OSU was going crazy (happy) on the sidelines because it looked like the game would be over. Then some other ref came in and spotted the ball clearly over the first down line and THAT’S when OSU went crazy (angry). I think Tressel challenged it because he may have thought that since one guy spotted it so short that it would show on the replay… it did not and the refs made a good call, but Vasgergean missed the whole sequence and I think that it’s the play-by-play guy’s job to explain what’s happening. He didn’t.
  • The BCS. He continually mentioned the BCS and how this game would impact other BCS bowl teams. I had no idea what he was talking about. The Fiesta Bowl had about as much importance as the Poinsettia Bowl, which is to say it had no importance at all. I guess he could have meant that it would make a difference to OSU to win a BCS Bowl game since they’d lost the last two, but even that is a stretch. They were blown the hell out against Florida and LSU, but this game against Texas turned out to be a pick ‘em. It could have gone either way and there were no moments where OSU was “exposed” by being slow or whatever. The two teams looked even to me and the score showed that. What was particularly weird though was his insistence that the University of Utah was very interested in the outcome of the game. Really? I thought that Utah played in the Sugar Bowl, which was just another meaningless bowl game. I think he was trying to suggest that the outcome of the Fiesta Bowl would somehow have an impact on the national title. The national title game is being played on Thursday… it wasn’t played last night and it wasn’t played last weekend. If OSU beat Texas, then so what? So Utah would finish ranked 3rd? Under no circumstances would Utah be declared a national champion, it’s just not going to happen. I thought it was a weird comment and the color commentator just let him ramble.

The Plus-One Argument
After the Rose Bowl, everyone was up in arms about USC being left out of the national title picture. Fine. I think it’s brutal too, but a “plus one” would not solve the problem because the assumption is that USC would play the winner of the Florida/Oklahoma game. Well, what about Utah? They handled Alabama and finished 13-0. So all of the sudden USC is more entitled to the game than Utah (who beat the team that beat USC?). Everything short of a playoff is ridiculous and I can’t believe Todd Blackledge is such a proponent of the Bowl system and this plus one idiocy. Who gives a rat’s ASS about the bowls? Clearly not TV viewers given the numbers. I just have no idea what’s driving this and it makes me mad. The numbers would be staggering if Texas/OSU actually meant something, instead, it doesn’t and it will continue to be largely irrelevant until something is done about it.

Wildcard Round - Monday, January 5, 2009

Just a quick one here because I just watched playoff football this weekend and I have some fresh thoughts that I jotted down.

NFL Playoffs
I wish I was a betting man because I think that I would have made some money over the weekend. I went 3-1 in the wild card round (picking winners and against the spread I might add). Of course, if I would have put money on the games, I would have lost it all. It’s best that I just prognosticate with no real stakes… you know, sort of like in real life.

I was pretty confident in my picks, but I thought that if I was going to miss one it would be Atlanta and Arizona, not Indy and San Diego. Darren Sproles is awesome. He was incredible at Kansas State as I remember him putting close to 300 yards on Missouri. The dude is so fast and strong for his size and he carried that team on Saturday. Kim watched the game with me and fell in love with the diminutive dude, much the way she fell for Allen Iverson back in 2001 when Philly played L.A. in the finals. She has a soft spot for the little guys, I guess. Anyway, she really didn’t like Reggie Wayne because he showboated (Usain Bolted) when he slowed down after catching that weird TD when all of San Diego’s D was looking at the sidelines when Indy snapped the ball. When that happened, she began pulling for San Diego. She also said that football is much more enjoyable to watch when I don’t have a rooting interest because when I do, I’m not much fun to be around because she can feel the stress (so I guess it is a good thing that I don’t bet on games). Maybe I should just stop caring. That way I could watch more games, because I’m sure that’s exactly what happens when a baby joins the family.

Anyway, here are my thoughts on the games this weekend:

Baltimore at Tennessee
Baltimore looked dominant, defensively, against Miami on Sunday. Everyone knows that their D is tough, but I think that the conventional thinking was that since Miami had not really turned the ball over all season that they would be able to stay in the game because Baltimore’s offense is not dynamic. Then Ed Reed intercepts two passes (and should have had three) and runs one of them back for a TD. Baltimore had two other interceptions and another fumble recovery and pretty much destroyed Miami for most of the day. Despite the fact that they had so many turnovers, I really don’t like Baltimore’s hesitancy to do anything other than call safe pass plays and running plays on offense. I realize that it had led them to many victories, but it also keeps opponents in games. Baltimore had a number of three-and-outs and also settled for FGs. It seemed like Miami was getting absolutely killed in the game and they were only down 10 or so. I fully understand why they do what they do, but I also think it’s going to cost them against a team that can score and/or is equally tough defensively… which is why I’m picking Tennessee in this game.

Tennessee is as tough as Baltimore defensively and I think that they’ve got just a little more explosion/diversity in their offense. Kerry Collins isn’t asked to do a ton in Tennessee’s offense, but he gets quite a bit more latitude than does Joe Flacco, which is understandable, since Flacco’s a rookie. Because of that, I think that Tennessee will make a few more plays and win the game.

Prediction: Tennessee 17 Baltimore 10

Arizona at Carolina
My gut tells me that Carolina is going to massacre Arizona, but my head tells me that probably won’t happen. Even though Arizona looked fantastic against Atlanta (and they really did) I just think that they won’t be able to replicate that in Charlotte. They, like Seattle, have such a huge problem playing on the East Coast. It’s stupid, makes no sense, but alas, it’s true. That’s not the only reason I think Carolina will win this game though. I just think that Carolina’s D will put a lot of pressure on Kurt Warner and force him to either fumble or throw a couple of INTs and they’ll be playing catch-up against a team that can run the hell out of the ball. I think Warner will have a crazy stat line like 25-42 345 yards 2 TD, 3 INT, 4 sacks, 1 fumble lost. They played remarkably well on Saturday, but I just don’t think that they’ll be able to run that ball at all against Carolina and that Carolina will be able to run the ball and hit big plays with Steve Smith. They’ll control the clock and force Warner to throw way too much and that will be that.

Prediction: Carolina 30 Arizona 24

Philly at New York
I don’t know what to make of Philly. I think that they got extremely lucky to play a very weak Minnesota team. I will say this though, I was very, very close on the actual score in this game (I said it would be 24-13). However, I’m more impressed with my Adrian Peterson prediction. I said that he’d have something like 25 carries and 87 yards. He actually ended up with 20 carries for 83 yards. Not to continually toot my own horn here, but that’s not bad! I guess I’m just surprised, is all, but I shouldn’t be because Philly’s D is tough to deal with and Tavarious Jackson is a terrible, terrible, terrible QB, so there is no way that Philly was scared of him. That interception he threw to Asante Samuel was embarrassing. There is no way that a QB of a playoff team should ever make that kind of pass. He sucks.

So, about this game; I’m not sure how to look at it. New York is a bit hobbled by bullet wounds and other injuries. I really do like their team, and I trust them a lot more than I trust Philly. I think that NY’s WRs don’t match up really well against Philly’s secondary, but I do think that NY can run on them with their three (well, mostly 2 recently) backs. If Brandon Jacobs is OK, I think that NY wins this game, if he’s not OK, then I think Philly will take it. I also think that Eli Manning can make some plays and that he’ll get good protection to do so.

Prediction: New York 27 Philly 24

San Diego at Pittsburgh
So Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Tennessee look like the same exact team to me. All three have amazing defenses and all three run pretty much the same kind of extremely conservative, run-oriented offenses… in other words, Big 10 football at the NFL level. Isn’t it ironic that spread offenses and speedy defenses wins (big) at the college level, but doesn’t work at the highest level? I guess that’s because every single dude in the NFL is fast (at positions where speed is necessary) so the spread just won’t work consistently and beat-your-ass defense is at a premium. The spread offense almost led a team to a championship last year with New England, but when they ran up against a defense that was tidal-wave like, it folded. If you look at the teams in this year’s playoffs, there are two teams that don’t fit the mold: Arizona and San Diego. While both teams have decent to good defenses, they aren’t on the same plane as the other teams that remain. Also, do you know who else doesn’t fit that mold? SEATTLE, that’s who. Man, I really hope they do something about that in the off season. It really isn’t very fun to root for a team whose defense can’t get off of the field on third down.

So, back to this game. Pittsburgh looks like a team that can make some things happen. Like Baltimore and Tennessee, they have great defenses, but unlike those two teams, I think that Roethlisberger is given a little more freedom, which is funny to say, because their offense is very Ronald Regan, but maybe more McCain than say Baltimore’s George W. Bush.

Pittsburgh will neutralize Sproles, Tomlinson won’t play much and Rivers will get his ass handed to him.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 28 San Diego 15

Whatever happens, I do think it will be a very good weekend for football.

Steve Sarkisian and NFL Playoffs - Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A friend of mine grew up with former NFL TE Cam Cleeland who played at UW and who used to come back to UW in the offseason or off weeks to work out at the weight room. I guess several alums who were in the NFL used to do this relatively frequently. When Willingham took over he put the kibosh on that. I don’t know why that surprised me because it seems like something Ty would do. I guess he didn’t like the idea of anyone who is not directly involved with the team to be anywhere near his team. Yeah, because it’s a great idea to show your current players that once you’re no longer part of the team you’ll be banished. Also, why would you want your players to talk to successful people? What good can come of that? I’m so glad they fired him and I am truly happy that they have a guy like Sarkisian taking the reigns.

I like him for several reasons:
  • I liked him as a player even if he played for BYU, he’s the same age as me (which makes me an absolute failure, by the way) and I remember him playing really well for them.
    He’s called plays for a number of years now, has run an offense, has recruited, and has produced several successful players
  • I like his offensive system, I think the pro-style will be great for recruiting (because players, mostly QBs, will want to play for a guy who can prepare them for the NFL)
    He’ll also be great for Locker because, as I’ve said before, I don’t think that Locker would have progressed one bit as an NFL prospect if he remained in the running/spread “offense” that UW “ran.”
  • I think he has a great personality and I like his openness about everything
  • I know that I wanted a defensive guy, but I’ll take an up-and-coming coach who is energetic and who has great qualifications over a seasoned/retreat head coach or defensive coordinator
  • He is not Mike Leach. I did NOT want Mike Leach here. I think that his offense is really fun to watch, but people at UW would hate that style. They are programmed to think that it is still 1990-91 and those teams were tough and ran the ball extremely well… that’s what people equate with success and only a coach that brings that will truly be accepted by the blue hairs and those unsophisticated UW fans.
  • I think that he’ll re-integrate the alums and fan base and those factions are dying for it because they’ve been shut out under Ty’s regime.

NFL Playoffs
Even though Seattle will be sitting out this postseason, I am still very interested in the games this weekend. I love the NFL playoffs because it’s the only single elimination tournament of all the major pro sports. The finality is riveting, I think. Here are my thoughts on the games:

Atlanta at Arizona
Atlanta is an amazing story. That team was terrible last year. I thought that Michael Turner was good in San Diego, but when a dude goes from second string to starter it’s a crapshoot and I just figured that he wouldn’t do well in Atlanta because the team sucks so bad. So he went out and ran for 1,699 yards and 17 TDs, so I guess I was right. I didn’t think that Matt Ryan would do anything special and clearly he hasn’t since he lead his team to the playoffs and will get legitimate MVP votes.

Arizona is unimpressive to me, with the notable exceptions of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Those two dudes are absurdly talented WRs. They’re huge and they catch everything. I’m not sure what’s wrong with Matt Leinart. If he can’t be successful throwing to quite possibly two of the top 10 WRs in the league, then he’s horrible. Kurt Warner is still decent (and far better than Leinart) and it’s possible that their passing does enough to overcome any other deficiencies that they might have. Here’s my guess. I want Atlanta to win, so that means Arizona will and I’ll be upset about it, even though I couldn’t care less about Atlanta and am ambivalent at best regarding my feelings for Arizona.

Prediction: Arizona 38 Atlanta 24

Philly at Minnesota
I really don’t care about this game or either of these teams. Neither one will advance beyond this game. I do think that Adrian Peterson is awesome though and it’s cool to see him do well. He runs like he’s in a video game and has a break tackle rating of 99, which he probably does (I don’t have Madden). I do think that Philly has a very good defense and I’m guessing that they will hold Peterson to something like 25 carries and 87 yards, which means that Philly will win, despite the rampant inconsistency of their offense.

Prediction: Philly 24 Minnesota 13

Indy at San Diego
Peyton Manning is incredible. I have been a Peyton fan since his days at Tennessee. I’ve been a Volunteer fan since ’89. Those were the Carl Pickens, Dale Carter, and Heath Schuler halcyon days. I lived in Okinawa from ’84-’89 so I don’t have any attachment to the Huskies during that time. When I got here, one of the first games that I saw was a Tennessee game and I’d never seen their unis, endzone, offense, or cheerleaders and I was smitten. So I obviously paid attention to them during the Peyton Manning years (I believe Todd Helton was a QB w/Peyton and laid a vicious block on someone in a game that I saw) and was bummed that Danny Wuerfell peed all over Tennessee for all of Peyton’s years and really bummed that Charles Woodson beat Peyton out for the Heisman… what an atrocity.

Anyway, I thought that Peyton would never get a chance to win big and was convinced that it wouldn’t happen in the NFL… until he led them to the Super Bowl over the Bears. This is a long way of saying that I think that he’s going to light up San Diego. Phillip Rivers is a good QB even if he throws like his elbow is sewed to his ribcage, but I don’t think they’ll beat Indy.

Prediction: Indy 35 San Diego 27

Baltimore at Miami
Miami is another unbelievable story. They were perilously close to 0-16 last year and looked every bit as bad as their record. I must admit, I was pulling for them to do well mostly because I think that karmically, it seemed that Chad Pennington needed to do well at the expense of the NY Jets because they bounced him in favor of Favre. It couldn’t have worked out better.

As for Baltimore, I think that they are pretty damn good. Their offense is a lot better than what it used to be and their defense is just as strong as it always has been. I kind of like their chances to go relatively deep in the playoffs.

Prediction: Baltimore 23 Miami 13

Random College Football Games and Other - Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kansas v. Missouri
If you saw this game, you saw Todd Reesing get absolutely murdered on a hit in the third or fourth quarter. It looked identical to the hit Trent Green took early last year that resulted in a severe concussion and actually looked like he was killed on the play. Reesing scrambled to his left and stayed up too long and started to slide when a Missouri linebacker came in and just blasted him. Reesing was hit in the face and the back of his head ricocheted off of the ground. It was gruesome. But dude got up and proceeded to throw the game winning touchdown later in the game. Reesing is 5’10 and around 170 or so. He has some serious brussel sprouts. It was a fantastic game that featured tons of lead changes (including three in the last four minutes). Also, I remain impressed with Jeremy Maclin and insist that he will be a super-duper star in the NFL. Chase Daniel may have a career in the NFL as well so long as he plays on the right team. I don’t think he’s taken a snap from under center his entire career, so he’ll have that hurdle to overcome, but if he played for New England in 2007, he’d be fine, I think that Brady was in the shotgun for like 85% of his plays that year.

Oklahoma v. Oklahoma State
Both of these teams are very, very, very good. OK State could have easily won this game, but OU simply has too much on offense. That sounds like a preposterous comment given that OU won the game by 20 (61-41) but as I watched the game, the outcome was in doubt for a large part of it. By the way, Jermaine Gresham (OU’s TE) is phenomenal. Their running backs (DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown) are unstoppable. One of their WRs, Juaquin Iglesias is very talented, and of course, Sam Bradford is a nearly flawless QB. I’m in awe of his accuracy. He puts the ball exactly where it needs to be and has more than enough arm strength. I’d love for Seattle to draft him. I still love Hasselbeck, but Seattle needs to have a real backup QB to take over the reigns when Hasselbeck can’t go anymore. Bradford is simply awesome. I know that he has nearly all day to throw, but when he does throw, he never seems to make a mistake. Ever. I also should say something about Zach Robinson, OK State’s QB. That guy is pretty damn good himself and he’s got some crazy wheels as evidenced by 30-something yard TD run he had on 4th and 1.

Georgia Tech v. Georgia
I actually didn’t see most of this game, but I did tune in to watch Knowshon Moreno turn two screen passes into ridiculous, video-game like runs. He’s very shifty and fast, which I suppose is what a team would want in a running back.

I am definitely looking forward to watching the SEC title game this weekend. I think that Florida is on some kind of crazy roll, but then, so is Alabama. Should be interesting. I think Florida takes it 34-27. I’m also interested in seeing what kind of numbers Missouri can put up against Oklahoma. Those dudes can score and score a lot and Oklahoma’s D is not that good. I haven’t seen the line, but I’d have to guess that Oklahoma is a two-touchdown favorite to win the game. I’m going with a final of 55-45. I will NOT watch the UW game. I flatly refuse.

I watched zero minutes of NFL football this weekend, including Thanksgiving. Kim and I had Thanksgiving at our place and I didn’t get a chance to watch any of the Hawks game, which is just as well, evidently. I can’t get over how terrible they are. They’re 2-10. Cortez Kennedy was playing for this team the last time they went 2-14. I suppose it’s possible they duplicate that “effort” but it’s so weird. I did not see this coming. I think that I predicted that San Diego and Dallas would meet in the Super Bowl with San Diego winning. Um, that’s wrong.

I think these were my predictions, but I’d have to go back to look:

NFC East: Dallas (still alive)
NFC North: Green Bay (dying)
NFC South: New Orleans (dead)
NFC West: Seattle (dead and buried)
Wildcards: New York (best team in the NFL), Carolina (alive)

AFC East: New England (alive, surprisingly)
AFC North: Pittsburgh (alive)
AFC South: Jacksonville (dead)
AFC West: San Diego (dead)
Wildcards: Indianapolis (alive and thriving), Tennessee (very much alive)

I guess that’s not bad, but three teams that I thought would go deep into the playoffs: Seattle, Jacksonville, and San Diego have turned out to be colossal disappointments.

Portland - November 20, 2008

I was talking to my dad last night, he lives in the Vancouver, WA area, and just as we were getting off of the phone he said that the Blazers game was on ESPN. I decided to take a look. They were playing Chicago and I wanted to see Derrick Rose play. I watched most of the first half and I can honestly say that I am so painfully jealous of Portland. I’m from Washington. My provincial DNA tells me that Oregon is my enemy. Although I have many friends from Oregon and I’ve had good times every time I’ve been there (Portland, Ashland, the Coast) I have a hangup about the state.

My hangup stems from college, and coincidently it comes from the NBA. I was indifferent at best when it came to Oregon, generally, and Portland, specifically. Portland had the Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, Buck Williams, Kevin Duckworth, Jerome Kersey teams in the early 90s and while I didn’t like them, I didn’t really care about them. I never thought that they were good enough to be threatening so I didn’t pay them much mind. I also didn’t care about the University of Oregon because they had stupid uniforms with Donald Duck on them and their teams weren’t very good. At all. But then college started and I became acutely aware of Blazer and Duck fans. They are annoying. I didn’t understand why they were so passionate about their crappy teams and their state. I paid them no mind for 19 years and now I had to tolerate them telling me about their teams. I felt like I was being accosted by a vegetarian telling me how awesome tofu is. I’m indifferent when it comes to tofu. I’ll eat it sometimes and I don’t have a problem with it, but I certainly don’t care about tofu. I also have steak, ribs, and chicken available to me if I so choose… so why are you still talking to me about tofu? And why are you yelling at me about it?

I got so tired of hearing about Oregon that I went from indifferent toward Oregon to outright hatred toward Oregon. I’m more in the middle now as I’ve simmered down considerably in my advanced age, but it came back, slightly, last night when I saw what looks to be a perfectly constructed and coached NBA team in the Portland Trailblazers.

Portland plays beautiful basketball. They are young, but not too young. They are athletic and big. They are deep. They have a very good coach. They have smart players. They have unselfish players. They have talented players. We, in Washington, have no players. Incidentally, Chicago looks terrible. Two years ago they had the look of a team that was going places. They looked an awful lot like Portland does now, but I suppose they didn’t have anything resembling LaMarcus Aldridge (who they traded away for Tyrus Thomas on draft day… a terrible move when they made it and a worse move now since Aldridge looks like an all-star and Thomas looks like Stromile Swift, at best), or even Channing Frye, and they didn’t have a center like Pryzbilla or Oden … but they did have Ben Wallace, who wasn’t terrible, but didn’t have the ability or size like Portland’s guys. My point is, I was coveting Chicago’s lineup two years ago and now they look like they’re going nowhere. Ben Gordon is a terrible player. I’m not saying he isn’t a talented scorer, he is that, but he’s a terrible passer (he doesn’t do it) he has no feel for team basketball (he routinely shot with tons of time on the shot clock and with no sort of rhythm), and he can’t defend anyone (that’s been a problem for him since UConn). Larry Hughes is a basketball lover's nightmare, and he plays almost identically to Gordon on the offensive end. He does get a lot of steals though, which is ok, but it’s mostly by being selfish (e.g. gambling for steals rather than playing good D). I saw glimpses of the awesomeness of Derrick Rose (he is unbelievably fast out there) but his team was so far gone that he seemed lost. He probably should never give up the ball unless it leads directly to a dunk or a wide open shot.

Anyway, I just thought I’d write to tell you this. I was that moved.

BCS, Playoffs, and UW Football - Thursday, November 13, 2008

I've been asked about the BCS and playoffs and I thought that this would be a good opportunity to actually look at the problem and see if I could find a solution. I think I have one. Of course, this will never see the light of day, and it’s possible that this very scenario has been pitched to the NCAA, teams, TV networks, and dispensed with. I’m sure I’m not being revolutionary here, but I do think that I have some decent arguments and some historical data to debunk some of the common “arguments” against a playoff.

Here is the gist of it:
  • 8 team playoff, with the BCS rankings used to determine the top 8
  • 7 total games (first round, second round, championship game)
  • 3 games are the most that any team would play (put another way, only 2 more games than any bowl-bound team would play)
  • The remaining bowl-eligible teams will play in the other non-BCS Bowl games; there would be no change for those teams.
  • First Round (Friday, December 12 and Saturday, December 13)
  • Orange Bowl (two games; one Friday Night; one Saturday Night)
  • Rose Bowl (two games; one Friday Afternoon; one Saturday Afternoon)
  • Second Round (Saturday, December 20)
  • Fiesta Bowl (one game; Saturday Morning – winners of the Friday games)
  • Sugar Bowl (one game; Saturday Night – winners of the Saturday games)
  • Third Round (Saturday, December 27 OR Saturday, January 3)
  • BCS Championship Game (one game; Saturday Night) - this game was added a few years ago to allow for “BCS Buster” teams a chance at these games. This game is held at one of the BCS game sites and I see no reason to change that.

Seems like a pretty good plan to me. Here are some of the arguments I’ve heard and my answers to each:

Arguments Against Playoff

1. A playoff system would diminish the regular season and those games would no longer matter. College football would become college basketball where everything is about the tournament and nothing is about the regular season.

First, I’ll address the comparison to college basketball. College basketball teams play well over 30 regular season games while college football teams play 12-13 games. The college basketball tournament includes 65 teams. A college football playoff would include 8 teams. The margin for error in college football is tiny as compared to college basketball. It’s not even close. A team can lose 1/3 of its games and still make the tournament in college basketball (e.g. a team from a good conference that goes 20-10 is going to make the tournament). If a college football team loses 1/3 of its games it won’t be in the top 8 and will miss the playoffs (e.g. a team that loses 3-4 games will not be in the top 8. No team has been in the top 8 with more than 2 losses, see below).

Second, as I sort of already mentioned, teams have a huge incentive to win every game that they’re in because staying in the top 8 is very difficult, so seeding matters. Right now, Alabama is 10-0 and ranked No. 1. It’s possible that Alabama could lose two games (to Auburn and to Florida in SEC Championship game) and tumble out of the top 8. It’s also possible that a team like Missouri with two losses could jump in to the top 8 with wins in its remaining regular season games and a win in the Big 12 Championship Game. That’s drama and it’s drama all the way to the end of the season. It’s a preposterous argument that a playoff situation would diminish the regular season. It’s not easy to remain in the top eight, in fact, it’s extremely tenuous. I looked back at the BCS standings for the 2005, 2006, and 2007 seasons starting at week 9 and saw that teams fell in to various categories; teams that:

i. debuted in week 9 and stayed in the BCS top 8 for the last BCS ranking
1. 2005 – 4 teams
2. 2006 – 1 team
3. 2007 – 3 teams
4. Total – 8 teams

ii. debuted in week 9 and fell out before the last BCS ranking
1. 2005 – 4 teams
2. 2006 – 6 teams
3. 2007 – 3 teams
4. Total – 13 teams

iii. debuted in later weeks and were in the BCS top 8 for the last BCS ranking
1. 2005 – 4 teams
2. 2006 – 4 teams
3. 2007 – 4 teams
4. Total – 12 teams

iv. debuted in later weeks and were not in the BCS top 8 for the last BCS ranking
1. 2005 – 0 teams
2. 2006 – 5 teams
3. 2007 – 0 teams
4. Total – 5 teams

v. debuted in week 9, fell out of the BCS, got back into the BCS, did not appear in the BCS top 8 for the last BCS ranking
1. 2005 – 0 teams
2. 2006 – 0 teams
3. 2007 – 1 team
4. Total – 1 team

vi. debuted in week 9 or 10, fell out of the BCS, got back into the BCS, and appeared in the BCS top 8 for the last BCS ranking
1. 2005 – 0 teams
2. 2006 – 2 teams
3. 2007 – 1 team
4. Total – 3 teams

vii. debuted in the last BCS ranking
1. 2005 – 0 teams
2. 2006 – 1 team
3. 2007 – 1 team
4. Total – 2 teams

Sorry, I know that's a lot of numbers but historical trends say that two things are going to happen: (1) teams that are in the BCS top 8 early, won’t be there at the end, and therefore they won’t make the playoffs; (2) this obviously parallels no. 1, but teams that are not in the BCS top 8 early will be there at the end, and therefore they will make the playoffs. I think this absolutely kills the argument that the regular season will be cheapened. It’s enhanced. Each win counts because when the final BCS rankings are released, there are never any teams in the top 8 with more than 2 losses. Teams are in big trouble if they lose one game because they might tumble out of the top 8 and with 2 losses, it gets even worse. In 2006, LSU was in early and didn’t make it into the top 8 until the last poll. That counts as “drama” in my opinion. Also in 2006, Louisville debuted early, got bounced, and then crept back in for the last poll… same with Virginia Tech in 2007. As noted above, 13 teams, over ½ the field each year, starts out in the BCS and gets bounced. I think that is dramatic and the fan interest would be just as hightened, if not more, by a playoff system. As it is now, the only game that is worth anything is the championship game, and even that is flawed. The way the bowl system is set up now the other games are so uninteresting unless you’re a fan of the team in the game. Who cares about Georgia v. Hawaii? Or Utah v. Pittsburgh? Those games make a lot of money, but I think that they could be worth so much more with a playoff system because interest/drama would be high.

2. Adding a playoff would be a burden on teams and student athletes because they would be required to play too many games.

Another bad argument. Teams currently play 12-14 games per year, depending on conference championship games and if the team goes to a bowl game or not. If a playoff system is implemented, 8 teams will play first-round games. Those 8 teams will play the same amount of games that the rest of the bowl-bound DI teams. Four teams will play one more game as they move to the second round of the playoffs. Two teams will play two more games. So 3% of teams will have to play more than the rest of DI football, and 1% of teams will have to play two more. It’s a stupid argument that makes absolutely no sense.

3. Currently there is a huge amount of interest in college football, so we must be doing something right. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Preposterous. People argue and discuss college football incessantly because they really like the sport of college football. The non-playoff system is hated nearly universally, and just because you talk about something all of the time, does not mean you like it. For instance, George W. Bush is discussed ad naseum and his approval rating is in the 30s and 20s, so there you go.

4. The best team during the season doesn’t win.

Um, so? Every other sport decides their champion through a playoff system and the winner is decided this way. I’m not sure why college football wants to essentially be little league soccer where everyone is a winner. Why not hand out orange wedges at halftime?

5. Playoffs would be a burden on fans and travel/accommodations would be difficult.

Right, exactly how March Madness makes travel and accommodations difficult. Fans of teams and the teams themselves have NO idea where they’ll be headed until the Sunday before the tournament starts. That’s not exactly a lot of advance notice. I see no reason why this wouldn’t work in much the same way.

6. Bowl organizers won’t have enough time to prepare for a specific fan base of a team.

They do the same exact thing for whatever team is participating in their bowl. The only thing that they’ll change are the names and some colors in the hotels.

7. Bowls won’t be well-attended and local economy will suffer because fans of those teams won’t make their reservations in advance.

Well, the BCS selection happens about 4 weeks before the actual BCS games are played. In my scenario, this would happen in about 1 week, but could be extended, easily. Also, if a fan’s team is in the playoffs, there is no way that that fan won’t attend if he has the means and most people don’t spend the whole week at the game’s location. They may come for the weekend, which is exactly what will happen in a playoff scenario.

8. This system will lose money for schools, conferences, and TV networks.

I can’t see how, I really can’t. I can’t see how they wouldn’t double their money at a minimum.

So there you go. All questions answered. A playoff system would satiate fans, teams, conferences, TV networks, and pockets of all involved. It’s sheer buffoonery that this hasn’t already happened.

The Next UW Football Coach
I think that Fresno State’s Pat Hill might be a good person to get the job. His teams have always been undermanned from a talent perspective, but they’ve always played tough and they’ve either beaten teams they shouldn’t have beaten, or they’ve come close. I like what he can bring to the table. I don’t know if they’ll go after him, but I do like him as an option.

I don’t like Lane Kiffin as an option, though. Not because he got ousted from Oakland, because that’s not his fault, but I do fault him for taking that job in the first place. He’s a little too big for his britches if you ask me. I don’t want him around the program. I don’t think he’s the right guy.
I understand that people are excited about someone like Missouri’s Gary Pinkel, and with good reason, he’s taken them from absolutely nowhere to serious contenders in the Big 12. I wouldn’t mind him as the choice, but I wished that they would have gotten him four years ago instead of Willingham. I don’t mind his age, he’s 58 I think, but I’d like someone closer to 40 than 60… of course, Pat Hill is 57 and I want him, so what the hell am I talking about?

I’ve heard good things about Dave Christensen, Missouri’s offensive coordinator, but I’m more partial to a defensive coach though if possible. Usually defensive-minded coaches bring a tougher mindset to the game, they want to control the ball on offensive and beat the hell out of opponents on defense. I like that. I really didn’t enjoy watching Cody Pickett and Reggie Williams back in 2002, it was nice seeing the ball in the air, and they won some games, but if passes aren’t connecting the offensive goes nowhere. I like teams that can run the ball effectively because I view running the ball as imposing, physically, a team’s will upon its opponent. It gives linemen the opportunity to be the aggressors and I like what that does for the mentality of the team. That said, I love seeing a team throw the ball too because balance is a good thing. Having balance will keep the opponent unbalanced. I like watching a team that is able to dictate the game. From a defensive side, the same principles apply. I want my teams to be relentless and aggressive and to dictate to the opponent what they can do. I want my teams to be able to stuff the run and cause its opponent to be one dimensional. Anyway, as boring as it can be, I like teams that can dominate on the line because it can kill the will of an opponent when they’re getting manhandled.

So Texas’s D coordinator, Will Muschamp, is a guy that I’d like to have. I think that it’s highly, highly, highly unlikely that they’d be able to land him though, especially with jobs at Clemson, Tennessee, and possibly Auburn open. He’s a southern guy and has no roots in Washington, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to see him here.

I’m not enthralled with Chris Peterson at Boise State because I view that team as sort of gimmicky… perhaps that's what he needs to do at a place like Boise, and he’s been successful, but I don’t think I’m down with their style of play. Same goes for Mike Leach at Texas Tech. I think it’s fun to watch that kind of game, but I don’t think that I want to see UW running those schemes. I guess the same goes for Utah’s Kyle Wittingham because they run the spread there, but I think he was a D coordinator before he got the head coaching job, so maybe he wouldn’t bring the spread here.

Anyway, I think I’m drawn to Pat Hill for these reasons:
1. He’d probably take the job and be thrilled to be offered it
2. He’s tough, or at least his teams play tough, and UW needs that, badly.
3. He sort of looks like Jim Lambright, and I liked Lambright. They should have never gotten rid of him.

The Mealy Apple Cup
I consider myself a UW fan and I cannot stomach watching these games. I DVR them for the most part and sit down and watch and see something very bad on the TV. It’s unreal how horrid this team is. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even know when the game is on or if it is home or away, it has never been that way for me. (It’s like that for the Hawks as well… sadly). So when I do think to DVR the game. I do that, but then I end up watching Alabama play LSU instead and I feel better about being a fan of college football again.

That said, I’m looking forward to the Apple Cup. How often do you get to see two equally horrible teams battle it out in a rivalry game? There has to be some pride in these players to not be thought of as the absolute worst team in DI football, right? There are some talented individuals on each team and the defenses are historically bad so big plays will be inevitable. I’m looking forward to it. Sadly, it’s not the last game of the season for either team, which is just stupid. But nothing about this season makes sense for these teams, I guess.

I predict the following: Washington State 38, Washington 27. The pain continues…

Marcus Vick
For some reason I thought of Marcus Vick the other day, so I googled him and, SURPRISE! he was in trouble with the law. He was found guilty of a DUI less than a month ago. He has been a complete moron for quite some time. He also ran a 40 in the low 4.3s… at least he didn’t waste his talent.

Speed Story from the Beach
Here’s a very random story for you guys. This past summer, a bunch of friends went to the Ocean for what we hope will be an annual family trip. There were six couples and a few kids and some dogs. Remember, I’m older than you guys, so this sort of thing is acceptable. Anyway, we were tossing the football around at the beach, tearing the last remaining shreds of cartilage in our shoulders. One of my friends, Peter, was near me. He played RB at PLU and was really quite something. During college he was 5’10 and 190 or so and was very fast and very strong. So we’re out there playing catch and you know how you slip into rolls while playing catch… one guy becomes the WR and the other guy becomes a DB and the third guy tosses the ball… well, Peter was the WR in this scenario… he was trotting along and I was running along side him when he put on the jets and flew past me like I was running the other direction. He’s acceleration made me feel like a chubby girl. I’m a vain man, as you may already know, and I fancy myself as somewhat athletic, but that little burst of speed he showed me smacked me in the face and told me, “Scott, you are a marginal, at best, athlete.” Of course, Peter is exceptional, but still. He has a muscle on his upper thigh that I don’t think most people have. It looks like a bicep where a bicep shouldn’t be. We call it his “Horse Muscle.” I’m pretty sure that’s where he gets his speed. I went to college with him, so that’s why I know the whereabouts of this muscle, not that there's anything wrong with that...

The SEC, Jake Locker, and Five Favorites - Monday, October 13, 2008

Biggest Winner
Kerry Collins. Think about this, he’s gone from a first round draft pick, to a drunk-ass/racist fool, to a Superbowl QB, to no mans land as a washout, to a backup in Tennessee, to a starting QB while bouncing Vince Young from the position. Amazing. He was so done and has stormed back. He’s always had a great arm and he’s a very big guy (6’5 245).

Anyway, Collins was on his way out of the league and he’s made a huge rally and is leading one of the best teams in the NFL. It’s very, very clear that no matter what Vince Young’s health status is that Collins will man the ship from here on out. Tennessee looks like the best team in the AFC right now and a lot of that has to do with Collins’s steady play… so he’s my winner.

Biggest Loser
Cub fans. I feel for them. I really do. It’s got to suck to have your team be chronically crappy and then tease you a little by having a clearly dominant year and then have it end justlikethat. It’s like one day you’re sitting in the sun, drinking a beer, talking about how great things are and then someone comes along and hits you in the face with a bat. Terrible stuff. But, and here is something that bothers the hell out of me, what makes them so goddamn special? Ok, so they haven’t won a world series in 100 years. Well, guess what? Neither have the Mariners or a swarm of other teams (also, isn't this what happened to the M's in 2001). Who cares if they’ve been around for so long, it’s not as if these “long suffering fans” have been alive longer than anyone else and have had to endure disappointment on a larger scale than anyone else and I don't want to hear any of that "my grandpa rooted for this team and has passed this down to me" crap. My team hasn’t won either, so screw you, Cubs fans. You’re nothing to me. But you are losers.

The SEC – A Two-Parter

Part I – SEC’s Dominance

Regarding your question about SEC being so dominant, frankly, I think it’s the names. With apologies to super freshman Jacquizz Rodgers from Oregon State, the names in the SEC are unparalleled. I took a look at the SEC rosters and pulled the best names from the bunch. While every one of these names is comment-worthy, I’ve made some comments next to the ones that I think are even more deserving. Eat these with a spoon:

1. Da'Shaun Barnes
2. T'Sharvan Bell – nearly all of these names are made up, but many just combine two names or switch a letter here and there… but I don’t know what this is supposed to be.
3. Montez Billings
4. Quindarius Carr
5. Dax Dellenbach
6. Tez Doolittle
7. D'Antoine Hood
8. Sen'Derrick Marks,
9. Jerraud Powers
10. Jomarcus Savage – I love this one.
11. Rodgeriqus Smith
12. Neiko Thorpe

1. Undra Billingsley – Undra where? Undra there.
2. Prince Hall
3. Jerrell Harris
4. Jennings Hester
5. Dont'a Hightower
6. Star Jackson – famous person name.

1. Reshad Jones
2. Ramarcus Brown – blank-marcus is wildly popular, this is the first “Ra” I’ve seen, just as the one above is the first “Jo.”
3. Tavarres King
4. Bacarri Rambo – this guy will take you out drinking and kick your ass.
5. Sanders Commings
6. Twoey Hosch – ha!
7. Knowshon Moreno
8. Dontavius Jackson
9. Makiri Pugh – sounds like a pretty island.
10. Dannell Ellerbe
11. Rennie Curran
12. Brannan Southerland
13. Demarcus Dobbs
14. Trinton Sturdivant
15. Demiko Goodman
16. Tripp Chandler
17. Corvey Irvin
18. Neland Ball
19. Jarius Wynn

1. Demonte' Bolden
2. Arian Foster
3. Savion Frazier
4. Montario Hardesty
5. Marsalous Johnson
6. Denarius Moore
7. Demetrice Morley
8. Tauren Poole
9. LaMarcus Thompson
10. Prentiss Waggner
11. Ja'Kouri Williams – sounds like a rare bird in the South Pacific.
12. Ellix Wilson

Ole Miss
1. Jevan Snead
2. Marshay Green
3. Jamarca Sanford – deviation from blank-marcus, very sneaky.
4. Demareo Marr
5. Markeith Summers – marcus with a lisp.
6. Cordera Eason
7. LaDerrick Vaughn
8. Lekenwic Haynes
9. Kentrell Lockett
10. Jerrell Powe
11. Daverin Geralds
12. Rishaw Johnson – did his parents purposely forget the “ck” in rickshaw
13. Ferbia Allen – right next to Serbia.
14. Jacarious Lucas
15. LaMark Armour – I swear that I may just name any kid of mine LaScott
16. Lawon Scott
17. Peria Jerry

Miss St.
1. Delmon Robinson
2. De'Mon Glanton
3. Arceto Clark
4. Arnil Stallworth
5. ToJo Patterson – fantastic.
6. Taurus Young
7. Addison Lawrence
8. Karlin Brown
9. Templeton Hardy
10. O'Neal Wilder
11. Major Sosebee
12. Kendrick Cook
13. Jamayel Smith
14. Cortez McCraney
15. LaMarcus Williams – this name almost seems pedestrian now.

1. Markihe Anderson
2. Jamael Autry
3. Omarius Hines
4. Cornelius Ingram
5. Janoris Jenkins
6. Lerentee McCray
7. Kestahn Moore
8. Wondy Pierre-Louis – ok, this is a b.s. move by the parents. I wondy if he got his ass kicked in grade school.
9. Maurkice Pouncey – don’t call me Marcus.
10. Jacques Rickerson
11. Terron Sanders
12. Mon Williams

1. Jarius Wright
2. Tramain Thomas
3. 3. Shedrick Johnson - I wish this name was missing an “r”
4. De'Anthony Curtis
5. Khiry Battle
6. Shay Haddock
7. Jerell Norton
8. Jerico Nelson
9. Walner Leandre
10. Tenarius Wright – sounds like a fighter.
11. Jelani Smith
12. Damario Ambrose
13. DeMarcus Love
14. Deyonte Davis
15. Darcel Johnson

1. Moncell Allen
2. Zipp Duncan
3. DeMoreo Ford
4. Antwane Glenn
5. Ventrell Jenkins
6. Kyrus Lanxter
7. Trevard Lindley
8. Jayce Long
9. Mikhail Mabry
10. DeAunte Mason
11. Shomari Moore – I have the feeling that this guy carries a sword.
12. Taiedo Smith
13. Coshik Williams – gesundheit
14. Trevino Woods – this guy is a golfer, a hybrid between Lee Trevino and Tiger Woods.

South Carolina
1. Ladi Ajiboye
2. Jamarial Brown
3. Darantzy Brunson
4. Quanopheus Earls
5. Hutch Eckerson – porn star
6. Foxy Foxworth – actually, this name is more porny. That’s an amazing name right there.
7. Marque Hall
8. Aramis Hillary
9. Lemuel Jeanpierre – Is he a lemur or a mule?
10. Jarriel King
11. Captain Munnerlyn - amazing
12. Donte'e Nicholls
13. Travian Robertson
14. Hardee Sanders
15. Weslye Saunders
16. Gerrod Sinclair
17. Addison Williams
18. Jamire Williams
19. Shaq Wilson
20. Stoney Woodson – this guy rides a horse, wears a cowboy hat, carries a shotgun, and can drink whiskey very well.

1. Teriall Brannon
2. Derrius Dowell
3. Tim Fugger – quite possibly the best of the best porn names.
4. Theron Kadri
5. Gaston Miller
6. Darlron Spead
7. Johnell Thomas
8. Elvio Tropeano
9. Udom Umoh – I’m confused.

1. Keiland Williams
2. Trindon Holliday
3. Jhyryn Taylor
4. Shomari Clemons – it’s funny that this is the second time this name appears on the list. Maybe it’s really popular and I just don’t know it.
5. Stefoin Francois
6. Phelon Jones
7. Steele Hull – do you get the sense that he’s really strong?
8. Tremaine Johnson
9. T-Bob Hebert
10. Ciron Black
11. Cordian Hagans
12. Chancey Aghayere
13. Lazarius Levingston
14. Kentravis Aubrey
15. Sidell Corley

Whew. Now that was fun. I was disappointed in Alabama, Ole Miss, and Tennessee. I thought that they’d have more to chose from. Not that they didn’t have some incredible names, but it’s just that I expected more. I was really surprised that South Carolina had so many awesome names, but not at all surprised that Florida and LSU brought the Scrabble-heat. Good stuff.

Part II – SEC Trip

Location / Vacation Quality
I'd want to pick a place that represents the south, although I think that parts of the south differ pretty wildly from one another. I’d be willing to guess that Tuscaloosa is quite a bit different from Baton Rouge because of the whole Cajun influence, which is prevalent in Louisiana, but non-existent in other parts of the south. I’ve only been to Memphis (and that was the airport), Tupelo, MS, and New Orleans. Tupelo and New Orleans are nothing like each other.

I’m basing my location selections purely on what I’ve seen and read. So here’s my list, in order:

  1. LSU – They play a ton of night games at this stadium and I’ve heard it’s an unbelievable atmosphere. Baton Rogue is supposed to be a very cool town. Also, they have a caged tiger that the put in front of the tunnel where the opposing team runs out to the field and I guess it goes nuts. I’d love to see that.
  2. Florida – I’ve heard this place is incredible. Gainesville is a good town and the fans are rabid. It’s also cool that their stadium is nicknamed “The Swamp.” Plus the scenery is supposed to be "good."
  3. Georgia – I’m told that Athens is one of the coolest towns in the south and Samford Stadium has that interesting hedge on both sidelines. I’d like to see that. There is a lot of support for the team here.
  4. Tennessee – Neyland Stadium is the biggest stadium in the SEC (seats 109k, I think). It’s like Husky Stadium because the field is right next to a big body of water; the atmosphere would be awesome; they sing Rocky Top incessantly, which I think it is a cool song, but it would probably get old just like “Victory” does for USC. Their endzone is the ultra-cool checkerboard, there is orange everywhere. They have a cool entrance for the team... there's a lot to like here. I also think Knoxville would be a fun town to kick it in.
  5. Alabama – I’ve heard Tuscaloosa is a pretty cool place and a great college town. Obviously everything is all about the Tide in this place, so I'd probably enjoy myself here.
  6. Ole Miss – Oxford is different than Starkville if only because it’s more wealthy. Plus they have that Grove thing where people tailgate. I think it would be a pretty cool spectacle. One thing that I think is very weird about this place is that it looks like an “Old Money” type of deal and I’d probably hate every one of the kids that I’d see at the game, including their parents. The students dress up for the games, men wear blazers and ties and the women wear dresses. To a football game. It’s strange. But I do like tradition and this is it. I’m conflicted, obviously. Also, I think that Ole Miss has, quite possibly the coolest uniforms in college football.
  7. Auburn – I think the stadium is cool, they have a ton of tradition, although they call the place “The Plains” that doesn’t sound too awesome to me. Anyway, a friend of mine went to WSU and when they played Auburn a few years ago, he, and about 5 of his buddies went. Here’s what he had to say:
    a. I would definitely recommend Auburn, but, of course, that’s the only place I’ve been to. I don’t know how it could get any better than Auburn, not to say that some other SEC game wouldn’t be better. I bet Florida would be cool too. Jordan Hare (pronounced Jurden Hair) Stadium is awesome, it’s huge. The campus is pretty cool, the local bars are fun, they have the War Eagle Supper Club, one of the top college bars in America…they have the War Eagle fly around the stadium before the game, they do this thing called the Tiger walk, which isn’t that cool, but is pretty amazing. The locker rooms are like .25 mile from the stadium, and the players walk down this narrow corridor created by about 25,000 fans who are patting them on the pads and cheering them on as they walk to the stadium. I imagine that, if you were a player; that would get you pretty pumped to play. Tailgate parties in Auburn start on Wednesday night hahaha, it’s pretty f’in cool man. I’d recommend it
  8. South Carolina – I know nothing about this place because not much is said about it, but I've heard that Charleston is a fantastic town.
  9. Vanderbilt – I think that Nashville would be a cool town to visit because there is a lot of other stuff going on, but that’s part of the problem with this location. Most of the city is focused on other stuff and not the football team, with good reason since they are traditionally bad, but still, I don’t think the atmosphere would be very cool. It would be like going to see Stanford play. No thanks.
  10. Kentucky – They typically have pretty rabid fans and Lexington could be a cool place. Maybe. I’m lukewarm about this one.
  11. Mississippi State – I don’t think that Starkville, MS is a cool place. I don’t think that there is much to do here and generally Mississippi is a depressing place.
  12. Arkansas – I can’t think of any reason that I’d ever go to Fayetteville, Ark. Not one.
  13. WILDCARD: The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, Jacksonville, Fla. I'd get to see Georgia and Florida at a neutral site and it’s a traditional thing. However, I don’t think I’d consider this one because it’s not at a school and I wouldn't be able to see the campus etc.

As an aside, here is a partial list of my favorite unis:
a. Ole Miss
b. Virginia
c. UNC
d. Penn State
e. Clemson’s helmet
f. Auburn

Jake Locker, DB
A friend of mine asked me what I thought about Jake Locker's prospects as a safety. I say sure. He could play safety and may have a long career at the position in the NFL if decided to make the switch. He’s certainly fast enough and having played the position in high school, his instincts are probably still intact. He would be an imposing guy back there at 6’3 220. He’s pretty much what Taylor Mays is at USC, but maybe not as fast (Mays is really, really fast) and Mays is going to be a 1st round pick in the draft. I think that Locker would be a huge hitter and a game changer. If they do move him there, I think that the move ought to be permanent and that he should not play QB again. Goodness knows that UW needs help on defense… as for him playing RB, I suppose that could work, but for longevity’s sake, he shouldn’t play that position. Those guys last like 4 years in the NFL and then are discarded. It’s not worth it. Plus, when was the last time (in modern-non-segregated times) there was a white RB in the NFL that had any impact at all? I can’t even think of one.

Here are my thoughts on what I’d like him to do, in order of preference.

  1. Jake, leave for the NFL after this season (very, very unlikely) and play QB
  2. Switch to safety (either strong or free… but I think free because he can cover a lot of ground) and stay at UW, hone your skills and get drafted after next year or stay all 5 years
  3. Quit football and go back to baseball
  4. Stay at UW and play QB

Five Favorite Athletes

  1. Shawn Kemp/Gary Payton – I’m cheating here, but I can’t have a list without both of them on it and I can’t talk about one without the other. I loved watching these guys in the 90s. They were the squad when I was in high school and they lost to the Bulls when I was a junior in college. But they were so incredible together. Their chemistry was palpable and Kemp was freaking otherwordly out there. People were scared to death of the guy. He was a beast offensively and defensively and was the best player in the playoffs the year they lost to the Bulls. Including Michael Jordan, he was completely unstoppable. GP was incredible in his own right, but in a very different way. His defense was suffocating and he had a way of shooting that nasty-looking head cocked back “jumper”… he was a magician with the ball and never, ever got hurt. I miss those guys.
  2. Kevin Garnett – When I saw an episode of him on ESPN’s “The Life” a few years ago, I thought he was a great guy. He adopted some kid who was in trouble and was on some trip to Europe during the show. He seems like such a good dude who genuinely seems to care about his teammates, the game, and winning. I love him. I would have loved to have him on my team.
  3. Barry Sanders – There is no one today and no one before him that did the crazy stuff that he did against much better teams than Barry. Just go to YouTube and look for his highlights, he’s preposterous. And his average, AVERAGE year, was 1500 yards for 10 years. He was unbelievable. And he was so weirdly humble when he could have been the biggest showboating dick around. I love Barry.
  4. Deion Sanders – he was the biggest showboating dick around, but man was he incredible. I loved watching him sprint and weave his way around dudes when he was running a punt or interception back. His talents were crazy, plus dude could play baseball. Well. I almost put Bo Jackson here, but his career was cut so short… sad. He was a bad dude though.
  5. Chris Paul – I’m in love with is game. He’s so skilled and in such control of his team and I love it. He never seems to make a mistake and it’s not even a question that he makes his team way better than it would be without him. I think that they are going to make a strong push for the title this year by the way, especially since they signed James Posey. That dude is turning into a better Robert Horry in terms of championship karma.

Honorable Mention:

  1. Brandon Roy – I do love this guy for what he did for UW, his ability at the NBA level, his level-headedness, and his non-dickheadedness.
  2. Jake Locker – I seem to care way more about this kid than I should. I also am putting him above the team. I guess that means I really like him and, to paraphrase Hugh Millen, wouldn’t mind my daughter giving it up to him.
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