Sports: Where Even “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” Isn’t Good Enough

20 12 2010

So, Edgar Renteria, you’ve just won the World Series and been named Series MVP. What are you going to do now? Not go to DisneyWorld, that’s for Super Bowl winners. If you said get low-balled by the Giants, give yourself a cigar.

Granted, Renteria is an aging shortstop who got hot at the right time helping to propel the San Francisco Giants to their first World Championship since 1954, but there is such a thing as “the court of public opinion.” Right now, The Giants look like a bunch of cheapskates.

Edgar Renteria played 72 games last season, the most important of which included that 7th-inning series-winning home run against Cliff Lee. Since then, the San Fransisco Giants have offered Renteria a $1 million dollar contract to stay with the team for 1 more year. Now, that’s a pretty standard salary for a back-up shortstop, but it is also roughly a third of the average MLB player’s salary. It is also a massive pay-cut…Renteria had a $9.5 million dollar option to play next season but the Giants declined to pick it up. To go from $9.5 million to $1 million is a public insult; either the Giants should have exercised the option, or just let Renteria go on his way.

Speaking to ESPN Deportes, Renteria says: “That offer from the Giants was a lack of respect. A total disrespect.” I agree. Renteria never held a gun to anybody’s head to get that $9.5 million option, and the guy just won a World Series for the Giants.

Maybe this is why they go a half-century between championships.





Geno Auriemma Thinks You Are All A Bunch Of Misogynists

20 12 2010

For those of you who don’t know (in my best Harry Doyle voice), and judging by the ratings that’s most of you, Geno Auriemma is the head coach of the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team. Yesterday, the UConn Huskies won their 88th game in a row, tying the record for consecutive victories held by the UCLA mens team of the 1970′s.  Then Auriemma invited all of you to kiss his ass.

For the previous 87 games, Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma toed the line as his Huskies racked up one win after another, saying simply that their lofty achievements were the product of hard work, perseverance and humility. But shortly after the Huskies on Sunday tied the 88 consecutive wins record held by UCLA’s men’s basketball team — a mark that has lasted for the past 36 years — Auriemma felt compelled to say what he likely has really wanted to for a long time.

Namely, his team may have been the target of critics who didn’t want a “girls” team tie or break a men’s record. In other words, gender haters.

“I just know there wouldn’t be this many people in the room if we were chasing a woman’s record,” Auriemma said Sunday during his post-record-tying press conference. “The reason everybody is having a heart attack the last four or five days is a bunch of women are threatening to break a men’s record, and everybody is all up in arms about it.”

I hate break this to you, Geno, but nobody gives a damn about the “record,” because nobody who is being intellectually honest compares your teams’ accomplishment to that of UCLA’s (I’ll come back to this in a bit). Rather, I am speaking for a lot of people who have been silent for fear of getting this exact sort of scatology from you or any other self-appointed defender of political correctness. The real question we have is: If you are such a great coach, why have you never moved up to where the money is?

A lot of the people in that room yesterday have had that very question in the back of their heads.  Thankfully, you took the opportunity to answer that question; you’re a delusional crybaby. In order to say what you did in that press conference, Geno, you have to believe two things: 1) There is an equivalency between men’s and women’s basketball, and 2) you are a big-time coach.

First, let me debunk the “equivalency” myth. There are so many functional and stylistic differences that to say men’s and women’s basketball are the same is to say that college football and the NFL are the same. The women’s game has a smaller and lighter ball, as well as  no backcourt rule and a closer three-point line.  Those points alone make them fundamentally different.

Stylistically, one of the only things on which I ever disagreed with the late legend John Wooden was his belief the women’s game was more “fundamentally sound.” I never understood how he could say that. There’s very little about basketball more fundamental than free throws and lay-ups. Here’s a test: watch a men’s game and time how long it takes to see five missed free throws, then watch a women’s game and do the same with five missed lay-ups. Note which one almost ALWAYS happens first, even if you wait to start the clock until somebody is in the bonus.

Sadly, there are numerous apologists for the Auriemma’s of the world, but luckily, they offer such a great means of exposing the difference for what it really is.

Geno Auriemma made coaching history Sunday. Great, now would somebody please give him a real job? Not that coaching UConn women’s team isn’t legitimate employment. It’s just that no matter how many games Auriemma wins, they will come with a gender-biased asterisk.

See that? The guy says it himself, but then says we are all sexists for thinking exactly the same thing. Do you understand that our lack of respect for Auriemma and women’s basketball has nothing to do with women, rather the fact that the game is a plodding, low-talent version of what should be a fast-paced, high-athleticism sport?

I also think Auriemma is as good a coach as Mike Krzyzewski, Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach or Dr. James Naismith.

Let’s just cut through the crap. Great coaches don’t come out in the middle of a press conference and detract from the accomplishment of their team by having a temper tantrum over gender bias. If the guy truly were a great coach, he’d be getting paid to be a great coach at the top level of his sport. Instead, he’s getting paid to be a coach at the level he can handle.

“You don’t stumble and bumble into history,” Auriemma said. If only all women’s basketball programs were as vibrant. Heck, if only four or five were as vibrant, it would be a lot harder to snicker when UConn’s streak is compared to UCLA’s. But it’s not Auriemma’s fault the competition is generally about three decades behind the Huskies.

Again, this guy is saying it for us, but then gets wrapped around his own axle. The quote is all about Auriemma’s need to be acknowledged as a great coach; he so wants mentioned in the same breath the true greats; again true greats don’t have to tell you how great they are. And…can we stop with the comparisons to UCLA? Don’t forget that the winning streak was only one accomplishment of Wooden’s Bruins; don’t forget about UCLA winning 10 championships in 11 years.  Even if you want to buy the “equivalency” argument, then UConn and Auriemma need to win 8 more championships in the next nine years.

The bottom line is men’s basketball is a bigger money sport. Bigger money means bigger talent. The NCAA mandates an equivalent number of scholarships, but it can’t mandate an equivalent level of talent. We even have court rulings that say women may play on men’s teams. But they don’t, because they can’t. Just like Geno Auriemma is allowed coach a men’s team; but isn’t able. If he could, he would. Rather, he is hiding his lack of ability to be a truly great coach behind his player’s gender, which ironically shows his lack of ability to be a truly great coach.





Here’s Why I Can’t Buy Cam Newton’s Story…

17 12 2010

I’m not going to dance around the issue; I’m just going to come out and say it.  I’m not buying Cam Newton’s story.

I will admit there is a lot of this story that has yet to emerge. I will admit there is still a ton of speculation that can be entertained.  I will admit that I believe the Newton situation isn’t all that unique; its just the one we know about. But that doesn’t change the fact I think Newton is full of shit.

I want to buy it, insofar as the Cam Newton story has all the elements of a first-class sports movie.  It easily could be the story of a kid who defies all the odds to become the Heisman trophy winner on the shoulders of one the most incredible season’s anybody has ever seen a college player have. Toss in his charisma and his “Madison Avenue” smile (trust me, if Cam skates on all this stuff and becomes a star in the NFL, you are going to see that smile selling all kinds of stuff), and its a box-office bonanza waiting to happen.

BUT…

Seriously, Cam, do you really expect me to believe you had no idea what your father was up to? Granted, there’s still a lot of this story we don’t know. But there are two things we do know.  First, Cam Newton’s father, Cecil, actively solicited cash in return for his son’s services. We also know that something made Cam change his mind about attending Mississippi State in favor of Auburn. He’s on record as saying he wanted to be a Bulldog. There’s even people on record as saying that Cam Newton went to Auburn because “the money was too good.”

There’s a clear contradiction between what all those  other people have said and what Cam has said. Naturally, we’ve hit the point in the story where Cecil Newton, the NCAA, and Auburn aren’t talking. However, there are some nuggets that can be mined from the NCAA’s statement when they re-instated Newton prior to the SEC Championship Game.  Keep the two things we do know in your mind as you read the NCAA’s statement.

Auburn University football student-athlete Cam Newton is immediately eligible to compete, according to a decision today by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff. The NCAA concluded on Monday that a violation of amateurism rules occurred, therefore Auburn University declared the student-athlete ineligible yesterday for violations of NCAA amateurism rules.

When a school discovers an NCAA rules violation has occurred, it must declare the student-athlete ineligible and may request the student-athlete’s eligibility be reinstated. Reinstatement decisions are made by the NCAA national office staff and can include conditions such as withholding from competition and repayment of extra benefits. Newton was reinstated without any conditions.

According to facts of the case agreed upon by Auburn University and the NCAA enforcement staff, the student-athlete’s father and an owner of a scouting service worked together to actively market the student-athlete as a part of a pay-for-play scenario in return for Newton’s commitment to attend college and play football. NCAA rules (Bylaw 12.3.3) do not allow individuals or entities to represent a prospective student-athlete for compensation to a school for an athletic scholarship.

In conjunction with the case, Auburn University has limited the access Newton’s father has to the athletics program and Mississippi State has disassociated the involved individual.

So, we have confirmation there was a price tag on Cam’s services. Cecil Newton did try to get money in exchange for his son’s commitment.That covers Thing #1 that we knew going into this. But there is a big, choreographed dance around Thing #2. Even the NCAA wants to buy Cam Newton had no idea this was happening. That’s the house of cards under which the NCAA is choosing to protect Cam Newton.

I’m not going to go into the whole bit about how this exact sort of stuff got USC put on probation and forced Reggie Bush to surrender his Heisman trophy; that’s an entirely separate issue.  I’m rejecting the notion that Cam Newton didn’t know about this., and I’m being openly skeptical of the NCAA and its motives.  It takes a while to get to my reason, but follow me for a bit; it’s worth it.

Deep down in places they aren’t willing yet to admit, the NCAA doesn’t buy Newton’s story either.  The NCAA knows it has a big problem on its hands, but wants to drag this out until it isn’t a matter of killing an event yet to come (declaring Newton ineligible now and sanctioning the other guilty parties BEFORE a Championship/Bowl Game or vacating Auburn’s season for playing an ineligible player during that same season); rather they would love to use the “magic eraser/retroactive approach” they used with USC, and most recently the Arizona State baseball team.

You can see this when you parse their language. There was no way the NCAA was going to impede the appeal of the SEC Championship, the Heisman, the BCS or anything else happening THIS season, but they are clearly reserving the right to visit their wrath on somebody at a later date. That’s the difference between the term used was “reinstated” and  “cleared.” The proof is in the timeline.

First, the NCAA concludes Part I of the investigation, determining that a violation had occurred.  By NCAA rule, Auburn is then forced to declare Newton ineligible. Auburn then requested his reinstatement, which the NCAA granted. Don’t forget this all takes place in a 48-hour period, and don’t forget this exercise in procedurism is designed for a specific purpose.

The NCAA needs to keep the idea alive that it is committed to the “sanctity of the student-athlete” or whatever bullshit phrase they use to pretend college football isn’t a multi-billion dollar industry. This is why the Newton case present such a problem. Cam Newton is clearly the NCAA’s big box-office attraction this season and they clearly are not going to limit his earning power. However, if they don’t act, they will blow the illusion of amateurism.

This leaves us with an illusion being protected by another.  Now, the NCAA needs you to believe that after an investigation that took months just to get to the end of Part I, all can be resolved in less than two days. Nobody should be advertising the fact the NCAA has been in constant contact with Auburn officials throughout the process, which means Auburn knew what the drill was once the word “violation” made it into an NCAA press release. Hence, the kind of discussion that can easily devolve into multiple volleys of press conferences and even dramatic speeches by attorneys instead became an orchestrated game of bridge, everybody playing the right card in the correct sequence.

Despite the circuitous route, this brings us right back to the importance of the difference between “reinstated” and  “cleared.” To pull off this “illusion within an illusion,” the NCAA needs to be able to play the “if we knew then what we know know” game. That’s why Newton isn’t “cleared.” Because later, after all the hype has died down, the games have all been played, and the awards have all been given, there will be the discovery of some “smoking gun” and Auburn will become the Alabama version of USC, vacated victories and all. The NCAA’s VP of Academic and Membership Affairs leaves that door wide open: “Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement.”

...plus piles of illicit cash...

Here’s what that means: The NCAA has the dirt on Cecil Newton; there’s hard proof of that. The NCAA knows he demanded money from Mississippi State, but can’t yet prove he made the same demands to Auburn. They are also pretty sure Cam Newton knew all of this, but they also can’t yet prove it.  We all know this is a game not about what you know, rather what you can prove.

Now for the fun part:  Cam Newton can pretend to be the hooker not knowing to whom they have been pimped; the question is who is paying the freight? We all know Mississippi State was solicited, and we all suspect Auburn was as well, but think about this… Remember the NCAA’s  “illusion within an illusion?” “I didn’t know” is what allows this investigation to stretch past the time all the NCAA has made all its money, and it all collapses once Cam Newton says “I knew.”

In short,  Cam Newton’s story always seems to be available to the highest bidder, and I just don’t have the scratch to buy it.





The Dubsism NFL Power Rankings: The Verge of the Playoffs Edition

16 12 2010

Now that we have 13 weeks of the NFL season behind us,  it time to take a hard look at what we thought would happen versus what did. In other words, it is time for another one of those exercises we love here at Dubsism about how wrong we were. The problem is we were right about a lot of stuff as well…

Rankings By Division

Teams in blue we project as division winners, teams in green as wild cards.

AFC East

What We Thought:

  1. New York Jets
  2. New England Patriots
  3. Miami Dolphins
  4. Buffalo Bills

How It Is Now:

  1. New England (Overall #1)
  2. New York Jets (Overall #9)
  3. Miami (Overall #13)
  4. Buffalo (Overall #31)

“While this is the Jets’ division to lose, both the Patriots and the Dolphins stand ready to snatch it away should they stumble.”

More like the Jets would stumble, just in time for the Patriots to show they are the best team in the league.

AFC North

What We Thought:

  1. Baltimore Ravens
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Cincinnati Bengals
  4. Cleveland Browns

How It Is Now:

  1. Pittsburgh (Overall #2)
  2. Baltimore (Overall #4)
  3. Cleveland Overall #21)
  4. Cincinnati (Overall #29)

The Steelers and the Ravens will see each other again come playoff time. Cleveland plays fundamental if not flashy football. But how right were we about the Bengals?

“This leads us to the team most likely to disappoint; the Cincinnati Bengals. The Queen City Kitties have been garnering a lot of buzz around Terrell Owens, Ochocinco, but this comes from the same mentality that worships the over-the-hill Brett Favre. It makes sense though, because T-Old and King Brett I have some things in common: they’re way past their prime, they are cancers in the locker room (when they actually show up), and they haven’t won anything in years. Ultimately, the fate of the Bengals falls on the performance of the offense. The defense is one of the best in the league, but if the offense doesn’t perform after the team invested in Antonio Bryant, Jermaine Gresham, plus two wide receivers drafted in the third and sixth rounds, heads will roll in Cincinnati. And at the end of the day, it will all be for not if Cedric Benson doesn’t repeat his solid 2009 season on the ground.”

It has GOT to be a kiss of death when your best offensive player is arguably a 75-year old Terrell Owens.

AFC South

What We Thought:

  1. Tennessee Titans
  2. Indianapolis Colts
  3. Houston Texans
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars

How It Is Now:

  1. Jacksonville (Overall #12)
  2. Indianapolis (Overall #14)
  3. Houston (Overall #16)
  4. Tennessee (Overall #23)

We might as well call this the Flip-Flop Division; we knew the Colts were too soft to win, but we had no idea Tennessee would implode as badly as they did, nor did we see signs of life in the Jacksonville Jaguars.

AFC West

What We Thought:

  1. San Diego Chargers
  2. Denver Broncos
  3. Oakland Raiders
  4. Kansas City Chiefs

How It Is Now:

  1. Kansas City (Overall #18)
  2. San Diego (Overall #17)
  3. Oakland (Overall #19)
  4. Denver (Overall #25)

What a train wreck this division is…Kansas City has just been exposed to be nothing without Matt Cassel, ex-Broncos coach JoshMcDaniels has already got the gas pipe, and Charges coach Norv Turner has to be next unless that team makes a miracle run deep into the playoffs. That likely isn’t going to happen because whoever wins this mess ultimately loses to the first good team they face in January.

NFC East

What We Thought:

  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. New York Giants
  3. Philadelphia Eagles
  4. Washington Redskins

How It Is Now:

  1. Philadelphia (Overall #7)
  2. N.Y. Giants (Overall #10)
  3. Washington (Overall #28)
  4. Dallas (Overall #15)

This is what happens when you make predictions. I had the Dallas Cowboys as the class of this division, possibly even of the entire NFC.  Thanks, Wade Phillips.  The fact that Jason Garrett has this team looking like it should really is an indictment of Phillips’ abilities as a head coach. I had given my beloved Philadelphia Eagles up for dead, and I think that prognostication would be correct if Kevin Kolb were still running the offense. Of course, the completely dreadful Deadskins are only in third place because of the early cratering of the Cowboys.

NFC NorthWhat We Thought:

  1. Green Bay Packers
  2. Minnesota Vikings
  3. Chicago Bears
  4. Detroit Lions

How It Is Now:

  1. Chicago (Overall #8)
  2. Green Bay (Overall #6)
  3. Minnesota (Overall #21)
  4. Detroit (Overall #28)

Somehow, the Bears succeed despite themselves. They are quarterbacked by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Cutler; they have a highly-ranked defense that can give up 30 points in the blink of an eye.  The Packers are too injured to play out the string, and nobody is all that surprised that the Vikings became a soap-opera that digested itself.

NFC South

What We Thought:

  1. New Orleans Saints
  2. Atlanta Falcons
  3. Carolina Panthers
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

How It Is Now:

  1. Atlanta (Overall #3)
  2. New Orleans (Overall #5)
  3. Tampa Bay (Overall #11)
  4. Carolina (Overall #32)

The Falcons didn’t really surprise us. The Saints didn’t really surprise us. Tampa Bay in the playoffs nearly gave us a pants-shitting moment. As did the fact this is arguably the best division in football. By our estimation, it is the only one with three top-12 teams, and it is the only one that will put three teams in the post-season. We thought that would be the AFC North, but that’s also why we buy our underwear in bulk at Sam’s Club.

NFC West

What We Thought:

  1. San Francisco 49ers
  2. Arizona Cardinals
  3. Seattle Seahawks
  4. St. Louis Rams

How It Is Now:

  1. St. Louis (Overall #20)
  2. Seattle (Overall # 22)
  3. San Francisco (Overall #26)
  4. Arizona (Overall #27)

Because somebody has to, I guess…Every possibility exists that the team who wins this division won’t have a winning record. Then we will have to listen to the same yahoos who cry that college football needs a playoff system cry about how playoffs don’t work because some team with a better record didn’t get in. Worse yet: The Rams have all the hallmarks of a team that could surprise somebody in the playoffs.

Overall Rankings

  1. New England Patriots  ↑10 (Pre-season Rank #11)
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers ↑11 (Pre-season Rank #13)
  3. Atlanta Falcons ↑14 (Pre-season Rank #17)
  4. Baltimore Ravens ↑1 (Pre-Season Rank #5)
  5. New Orleans Saints ↓4 (Pre-sesan Rank #1)
  6. Green Bay Packers ↔ (Pre-season Rank #6)
  7. Philadelphia Eagles ↑7 (Pre-season Rank #14)
  8. Chicago Bears ↑14 (Pre-season Rank #22)
  9. New York Jets ↓7 (Pre-season Rank #2)
  10. New York Giants ↑2 (Pre-season Rank #12)
  11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers ↑18 (Pre-season Rank #29)
  12. Jacksonville Jaguars ↑14 (Pre-season Rank #26)
  13. Miami Dolphins ↑6 (Pre-season Rank #19)
  14. Indianapolis Colts ↓6 (Pre-season Rank #8)
  15. Dallas Cowboys ↓11 (Pre-season Rank #4)
  16. Houston Texans ↑2 (Pre-season Rank #18)
  17. San Diego Chargers ↓14 (Pre-season Rank #3)
  18. Kansas City Chiefs ↑12 (Pre-season Rank #30)
  19. Oakland Raiders ↑8 (Pre-season Rank #27)
  20. St. Louis Rams ↑12 (Pre-season Rank #32)
  21. Cleveland Browns ↑10 (Pre-season Rank #31)
  22. Seattle Seahawks ↑2 (Pre-season Rank #24)
  23. Tennessee Titans ↓16 (Pre-season Rank #7)
  24. Minnesota Vikings ↓15 (Pre-season Rank #9)
  25. Denver Broncos ↓10 (Pre-season Rank #15)
  26. San Francisco 49′ers ↓10 (Pre-season Rank #16)
  27. Arizona Cardinals ↓11 (Pre-season Rank #16)
  28. Washington Redskins ↓5 (Pre-season Rank #23)
  29. Cincinnati Bengals ↓9 (Pre-season Rank #20)
  30. Detroit Lions ↓2 (Pre-season Rank #28)
  31. Buffalo Bills ↓6 (Pre-season #25)
  32. Carolina Panthers ↓11 (Pre-season Rank #21)




The New Big Ten: Adventures in Stupid

16 12 2010

I have to admit; it has been a busy few weeks and I really haven’t been able to focus as much attention on the things in sports that drive me nuts as I would have like to. But some things just are not going to escape my radar. This past week, the Big Ten announced its long-awaited new division names, its new post season awards, and its new logo.  Here’s a transcript of the tirade I had when I saw them for the first time.

B-16: Bingo!

“Oh my fucking God…look at this logo.  Does Jim Delany have an autistic kid or something? That looks like a Smurf with a bladder infection pissed on some alphabet blocks.  Seriously, I liked the Escher-ish qualities of the old one, what with its cleverly hidden “11.”  Now, not only do I lose my shtick about calling the Big Ten “The Big Eleven Ten,” now I have to pretend this new bullshit logo doesn’t try to suggest this league is headed for 16 members. I mean really, don’t tell me that “G” isn’t supposed to look like a “6,” or at least what a autistic kid being forced to work cheap for his dad thinks a “6″ looks like…Paterno was right, this league intends to consume the known universe.”

Then there’s the names of the awards. Just get a load of these 18 new trophies.  Each is named for at least two Big Ten football players of significance, but in that shitty “married couple whom you know isn’t going stay married” hyphenated bullshit sort of way. Here’s the list; you may want to wrap duct tape around your head to keep your skull from exploding from the sheer dumb-assery. Essentially anybody who played in the Big Ten and didn’t suck now has a trophy named after them.

From the Big Ten Network:

Championship Game Trophies

Stagg-Paterno Championship Trophy: Honors University of Chicago coach (1892-1932) Amos Alonzo Stagg and current Penn State coach Joe Paterno (1966-), the winningest major-college coach ever.

Grange-Griffin MVP: Honors legendary Illinois RB Harold “Red” Grange (1923-25) and Ohio State RB Archie Griffin (1972-75), the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner).

Postgraduate Awards

Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award: Honors former President Gerald R. Ford, a Michigan graduate and player (1932-34), and Iowa’s Nile Kinnick, the 1939 Heisman winner who was killed in a fighter-plane crash in World War II.

Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award: Honors Minnesota QB (1973-76), NFL coach and television commentator Tony Dungy and Indiana RB Anthony Thompson (1986-89), an administrator who also serves as a pastor at a Bloomington, Ind., church.

Annual Awards

Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year: Honors Northwestern (1941-43) and NFL QB Otto Graham and Ohio State (1992-95) and NFL RB Eddie George, who won the Heisman in 1995

Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year: Honors Bronko Nagurski, a three-time All-America and all-around athlete at Minnesota (1927-29) and Michigan (1995-97) and NFL CB Charles Woodson, the first primarily defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy in 1997).

Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year: Honors Woody Hayes, the Big Ten leader in conference wins (205) in 28 seasons as head coach (1951-78) at Ohio State, and his protege and former assistant, Bo Schembechler, who was 194-48-5 at Michigan from 1969-89.

Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year: Honors Minnesota (1986-89) and NFL RB Darrell Thompson who led the conference in rushing his first year and Indiana QB and NFL WR Antwaan Randle El, the first player in NCAA Division I to pass for 40 touchdowns and also rush for 40 in a career (1998-2001).

Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year: Honors Nebraska (1979-82) and NFL OC Dave Rimington, who won the 1982 Outland and Lombardi awards, and Ohio State (1994-96) and NFL OT Orlando Pace, who was the Outland and Big Ten offensive player of the year awards in 1996.

Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year: Honors Michigan State (1964-66) and NFL DE “Bubba” Smith, a two-time All-Big Ten first-team selection, and Penn State (1996-99) and NFL DE Courtney Brown, the Big Ten’s defensive player of the year in 1999.

Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year: Honors Purdue (1964-66) and NFL QB Bob Griese, a standout for the Boilermakers who won two Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins, and Purdue (1997-200) and NFL QB Drew Brees, who led Purdue to its first Rose Bowl since 1967 and also guided the New Orleans Saints to the most recent Super Bowl title.

Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year: Honors Wisconsin (1951-54) and NFL FB Alan Ameche who won the Heisman Trophy in 1954 and Wisconsin (1996-99) and NFL RB Ron Dayne, who won the Heisman in 1999.

Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year: Honors Ohio State (1968-70) and NFL DB Jack Tatum, a consensus All-America in 1969 and ’70 who was among the top five vote-getters in the 1970 Heisman race, and Purdue (1983-86) and NFL DB Rod Woodson, a three-time All-Big Ten selection who twice won Super Bowls and was named to 11 Pro Bowls during his pro career.

Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year: Honors Illinois (1962-64) and NFL LB Dick Butkus, a two-time consensus All-America who went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Chicago Bears, and Northwestern (1993-96) LB Pat Fitzgerald, the first player to win two Bednarik and Nagurski awards (1995-96) and is now the head coach at his alma mater.

Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year: Honors Wisconsin (1960-62) and NFL all-around athlete Pat Richter, an All-America selection in 1962 who after playing eight years in the NFL also served his alma mater as athletic director, and Michigan (1989-91) and NFL WR Desmond Howard, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1991 and was the MVP of a Super Bowl.

Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year: Honors Penn State (1966-68) and NFL TE Ted Kwalick, a two-time All-America who also was a solid performer for the San Francisco 49ers, and Iowa (1999-2002) and NFL TE Dallas Clark, a former LB who made the move to TE before the 2001 season and ended up winning the Mackey Award as the nation’s best at the position in 2002.

Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year: Honors Wisconsin (1959-61) and NFL K Jim Bakken, a solid contributor for his hometown Badgers who played 17 seasons as a pro, and Michigan State (1978-81) and NFL K Morten Andersen, an All-Big Ten player who kicked what is still the Big Ten’s longest field goal (63 yards) and played in the NFL from 1982-2007.

Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year: honors Thomas “Dike” Eddleman who was a three-sport star at Illinois (1946-48), starring in football and also being named the Big Ten’s MVP in basketball, and Michigan State (2003-2006) and current NFL P Brandon Fields, a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2003, 2004 and 2006 now playing for the  Miami Dolphins.

Can anybody live with the injustice that Reggie Roby was left off the punter award? I didn’t think so.

Then, last but not least, there is the whole bit about these idiotic division names. What the fuck is “Legend and Leaders” all about?  Is this some sort of corporate management retreat where we break all the supervisors from accounts payable into some sort of bullshit team-building exercise; “Legends” against “Leaders” in some sort of quiz about properly dealing with with a problem co-worker? Fuck that. I realize the traditional geographic names don’t work, but almost anything would be better than this. I would have less of a problem with “Beavis and Butthead” or “Laurel and Hardy” than this shit.  Seriously, this crap just screams of a focus group, and I really hate shit like that.

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

Leaders Division: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin

So, I’m a Penn State guy, and am I supposed to buy that the team led by living legend Joe Paterno is NOT A FUCKING LEGEND? I shant go any further on this part of the rant as the best riff on this comes from Sports Squared:

Leaders and legends?  Are we in some sort of children’s pee wee football league?  Were “Big” and “Ten” already taken?  I mean, is Ohio State pissed that they’re not considered legends? Or, hey Michigan, aren’t you supposed to be leaders or something? Isn’t that what you yell at me when you’re trying to sing your fight song?

Seriously, this is really an exercise in weak, Big Ten. In fact, I’m deliberately giving this article a weak ending hoping I can collect the Delany-Tim Brewster Award for Lame.





Today’s Desperation Breakdown: Yankees Sign Mark Prior

15 12 2010

Sure, I know it is only to a minor-league deal, but let’s be honest, the Yankees are acting like a guy who just got dumped. Worse yet, it isn’t that everyday, garden-variety dumping, it is that uber-bad kind where a guy gets dumped by a woman who barreled into his “this is the one” zone and then jerked the rug out from under him.

Face it guys. If you don’t know a guy who has gone through this, you didn’t see the signs. Have you seen a guy who after a dumping spent hours at home alone drinking store-brand chocolate milk and staring blankly at the Weather Channel, thinking even life under a tornado outbreak in Missouri would be better than the shattered, empty existence he now faces?  Have you ever seen a guy who after a dumping is now inexplicably dating fat and/or crazy chicks just because it means not being alone? Have you ever seen a guy who after a dumping reeks of such desperation that his social life becomes an ever deepening bomb crater of emotional need? If you have never seen that guy, you may be that guy; ever group has one.  Now, Major League Baseball has the Yankees.

Now that the Bronx Bombers got the heave from Cliff Lee, they’ve become the guy dating way below his league just to be dating somebody. Why else would a top-flight franchise like the Yankees have even the slightest interest in the exceptionally-finished Mark Prior. Sure, Prior isn’t fat or crazy, but he is the baseball equivalent of the 42-year old divorcee who is still just attractive enough to get Mr. Desperate to hang around just long enough to find out she is a bigger emotional dumpster fire than he is.  Stop and think about it…Mark Prior is the guy who can save your rotation from whatever you perceive to be wrong with it? Mark F—ing Prior?

Of course, we all remember Prior as a pure sex-symbol second-overall draft pick for the Cubs before a series of injuries destroyed his career.  Remember June of 2003 when he looked like what you would picture a clone-baby of Don Drysdale and J.R. Richard to be? In the eyes of baseball GMs, he was smokin’ hot then, and get this…he still has a career ERA of 3.51, and his fastball velocity is reportedly up into the low-90s.  That is the “still just attractive enough” part. However, he hasn’t pitched in the majors since August 2006, and since then, . Since then, he’s had myriad of surgeries and been cast off from the Padres, the Rangers, and some independent league team. This would be the “dumpster fire” part.

Brian Cashman or Hank Steinbrenner…take your chances with eHarmony; your odds are far better finding a major league pitcher there than getting involved with Mark Prior.





The Real Reason The Metrodome Roof Collapsed

15 12 2010

In all honesty, one can make a bunch of jokes about how the roof of the “Humptydome” coming down is just a metaphor for all the terrible teams that have played under the Teflon Sky. Make a list and see the trail of sporting tears that have called the Metrodome home. The only resident still there is also the one most affected by this current disaster; the Minnesota Vikings have lost every NFC championship game they have ever been in under that horrible roof. The Minnesota Timberwolves (with the exception of the Kevin Garnett era) have settled into being a perennial NBA doormat; a franchise that began its days under the Teflon Sky. And even the entity whose new stadium may have to bail out the NFL come Monday (I may be accused of breaking out a big glass of “Haterade” for this) but the Minnesota Golden Gophers lived through some of the worst years ever seen by a terrible program while they got their mail at the Metrodome. The only team that ever won anything in the Baggy-Dome were my beloved Minnesota Twins, and even they were ghastly for half of their years in that atrocity.

The Rise and Fall of The Third Reich...er...Roof.

I could even point out that the Metrodome was the front-runner on our list of the worst sports venues in America.  That was months before this catastrophe; and a catastrophe that has happened before. The Baggy-Dome has has a failure event with its Teflon Sky at least five times, which is not a great track record for a structure that is hardly 30 years old.

I even could get in to the litany of why the place is so terrible for sports.  But the Dome is a monument to plastic with terrible sightlines, not enough bathrooms, horrid concessions, and a roof and turf combo that completely made a joke of baseball; those are just symptoms. The root cause is this atrocity was built on the cheap.

Seriously, the Metrodome is like if K-Mart built sports venues; everything in the building screams cost-cutting move.  But that is to be expected when you have a venue that was built for less than $60 million, which roughly equivalent to $235 million today.  The air-supported roof was a cheap answer to told-school domes that preceded the Metrodome, such as the Houston Astrodome or the Louisiana Superdome.  When you stop to consider that stadiums built today estimate construction at $650 million, and have ended up costing over $1 billion, it really shows how much the Metrodoome was intended to shave the dime.

On top of that, Minnesotans, being the progeny of good, phlegmatic Scandinavian stock (read that as “cheap”) have milked more out of their cheap dome than anybody else. Indianapolis got rid of the RCA Dome, Detroit no longer uses the Silverdome for major events, and even the largest stadium of this type, BC Place in Vancouver, is currently undergoing a conversion to a retractable-roof design, abandoning air-supported technology entirely.

Sadly, these tragedies have commonality.

Now for the really ugly truth.  Minnesota is a place with a sad combination of a brutal climate with harsh extremes and a government that combines cheap structures with cheap maintenance.  It’s no accident that the people who built a cheap cloth roof in a place where two-foot snowfalls are not uncommon are the same who went the cheap route on maintaining steel bridges in a place that has 120-degree seasonal temperature extremes. It’s no accident that the Metrodome and the 35W Bridge are both structures built and maintained by Minnesota government that are both now monuments to the importance of knowing where NOT to be cheap.





Your Jamie Moyer Update: Could He Eat 50 Eggs?

15 12 2010

God Bless Jamie Moyer. Not only has he had an amazing career up to this point…

“Uh, wait,” you are saying. “Did you just say ‘up to this point?’  The man is 48 years old, and his elbow literally exploded off his body a mere matter of weeks ago. He’s gotta be done, right?”

…I’m sticking with “up to this point.”  In the spirit of Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke, Moyer is not going to stay down. In fact, as we speak, Moyer is recovering from the arm-rebuilding Tommy John surgery usually reserved for saving the careers of pitchers young enough to have been sired by Sir Jamie.

All that matters is Jamie Moyer is continuing to show why we here at Dubsism are the biggest fans imaginable of the should-be-Hall-of-Famer and legitimate Presidential Candidate. We sincerely hope that whether we are counting strikeouts or electoral votes, we are counting on Moyer in 2012.





Ask The Geico Guy: Is This The End For Brett Favre?

15 12 2010

Does a former drill sergeant make a terrible therapist? Let’s put it this way: Up until now, during this season the only person that didn’t know Favre’s career was over was Favre.  Forget about the “streak,” forget about “Weiner-gate,” forget about his usual symphony of indecision. Look at the fact he’s selling “See Ya” souvenirs on his web site.  That’s right, you Favre-o-philes, five  hundred clams will get you your own probably-not-that-limited edition “good-bye” football, which if you will notice, are unsigned.

Why aren’t they signed? Because Favre will need to learn to write left-handed as his right arm is dead and about to fall right off.

I’m no doctor, and I don’t play one on TV, but that is a hell of a lot more than a simple bruise. When your arm is more purple than a Viking jersey, and when you can’t feel your fingers, you are about two steps away from being that guy with a sleeve that flaps in the breeze.  Trust me, I had a similar situation a few years ago where I had a blunt force injury to my leg, after which it swelled to twice its size and turned bright purple.  Know what happened?  It had to be split open like a hot dog left in a microwave five seconds too long in order to keep it from needing to be chopped off.

That’s not a pretty picture at all, but it is one that could be in Favre’s future if he doesn’t walk away now. The fact that he may be back in the Viking saddle Monday night against the Bears is no no longer just an exercise in Favre going too far past the “should’ve retired” line; now it becomes a waiting game to see how much of egregious injury it takes to get him off the field.

Regardless, his days as an effective NFL quarterback are over, it is just a question of whether he walks off the field or has to be carried.





The Dubsism 2010-2011 College Football Bowl Matchups: How Wrong Our Predictions Were

8 12 2010

Bowl Championship Series:

BCS Championship:

  • Monday, January 10th; Glendale, Arizona;  University of Phoenix Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: #1 vs. #2
  • The Prediction: Alabama (SEC #1) vs. Ohio State (Big Ten #1)
  • The Actual Matchup: 1# Auburn (SEC#1) vs. Oregon (PAC-10 #1)
  • Payout: $18,000,000

The Silly Prediction:

First, the canned commentary:

This is the matchup that nearly everyone in the country wanted to see, and they’re getting their wish. Both teams will be putting their perfect records on the line in this matchup. Cam Newton—the nation’s top ranked passer and 15th best rusher—appears to be a lock for the Heisman trophy and will be leading the charge for Auburn.

LaMichael James—leads the nation in rushing—is another Heisman hopeful, who will be paired in the backfield with Oregon’s Darron Thomas. Thomas—who took over for Jeremiah Masoli at quarterback—has led the Ducks and their spread-option offense to one blowout win over another.

Expect nothing short of a shootout as both squads feature high-powered offenses that will be making multiple trips into the end zone on game day.

Now, the real commentary:

Auburn will win this game, and two years from now Oregon will be the BCS Champion when the Cam Newton thing finally hits resolution and Auburn has the title stripped.

Fiesta Bowl:

  • Saturday, January 1st; Glendale, Arizona;  University of Phoenix Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big 12 Champion/BCS vs. BCS At-Large
  • The Prediction: Texas (Big 12 #1) vs. Boise State (WAC #1)
  • The Actual Matchup: Oklahoma (Big 12 #1) vs. Connecticut (Big East #1)
  • Payout: $18,000,000

The Silly Prediction:

It might be more interesting to talk about the prediction that the actual matchup here. I don’t think we have ever picked at team to be in the BCS that didn’t even crack the 6-win bar of bowl eligibility.  Meanwhile, Boise State could have easily been in this game for the want of two lousy field goals. Instead, we get this complete and total mismatch.  Connecticut will be overmatched on nearly all fronts, and this should be a blowout win for Oklahoma.

But, how sweet would it be should the Sooners blow yet another bowl game?

Rose Bowl:

  • Saturday, January 1st; Pasadena, California; Rose Bowl
  • Matchup: Big Ten Champion/BCS vs. Pac-10 Champion/BCS
  • The Prediction: *Penn State (Big Ten #2) vs. Oregon (Pac-10 #1) * Penn State replaces the Big Ten Champion (Ohio State) which will be in BCS Championship
  • The Actual Matchup: Wisconsin (Big Ten #T-1) vs. TCU (MWC #1)
  • Payout : $18,000,000

The Silly Prediction:

Wisconsin has scored 70 points three times this season. Wisconsin is going to once and for all end this silly notion that a team that goes undefeated against a schedule full of Roast Beef State and South Southern Oklahoma Vo-Tech can be considered on the same plane with a program that deals with a conference where even the terrible teams are still big-time programs. Face it, if TCU played Purdue 10 times, TCU would lose at least four of those games. Just this year, TCU struggled to beat an Oregon State team that only won five games.

Orange Bowl:

  • Monday, January, 3rd; Miami, Florida; Dolphin Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: ACC Champion/BCS vs. BCS At-Large
  • The Prediction:  Georgia Tech (ACC #1) vs. Connecticut (Big East #1)
  • The Actual Matchup: Virginia Tech (ACC #1) vs. Stanford (Pac-10 #2)
  • Payout: $18,000,000

The Silly Prediction:

The Hokies usually don't need a shooter; they do it themselves.

Don’t look now, but in the last two seasons, Stanford has produced a Heisman runner-up (Toby Gerhart) and a lead-pipe cinch #1 overall draft pick (Andrew Luck). Couple that couple with the fact the Cardinal have taken on the identity of their pugnacious coach and have become a “smashmouth” team. This new-found toughness-meets-talent combination has Stanford ranked eighth in offense and eleventh in defense. This will prove to be too much for Virginia Tech, who will see an end to their 11-game winning streak.

Sugar Bowl:

  • Tuesday, January 4th; New Orleans, Louisiana; Superdome
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: SEC Champion/BCS vs. BCS At-Large
  • The Prediction: *Florida (SEC #2) vs. Utah (MWC #1) * Florida replaces the SEC Champion (Alabama) which will be in BCS Championship
  • The Actual Matchup: Arkansas (SEC #T-2) vs. Ohio State  (Big Ten #T-1)
  • Payout: $18,000,000

The Silly Prediction:

There’s one fact that tells this story.  Ohio State has a terrible  history against SEC teams in Bowl games (0-9).  That streak is going to continue.

Other:

Capital One Bowl:

  • Saturday, January 1st; Orlando, Florida;  Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: SEC #2 vs. Big Ten #2
  • The Prediction: *LSU (SEC #3) vs. *Iowa (Big Ten #3) *LSU and Iowa are in this game as both #1 and #2 from the Big Ten and the SEC will be in the BCS.
  • The Actual Matchup: Alabama (SEC #5) vs. Michigan State (Big Ten T-1)
  • Payout: $4,250,000

The Silly Prediction:

Welcome to the Close, But No Cigar Bowl. The Alabama Crimson Tide are sure to be disappointed after watching their season take an unexpected turn after their second half meltdown against the Auburn Tigers.  Michigan State may not have made it into a BCS Bowl game, but they get the next best thing. The trouble is that Alabama is a fan base with larger expectations, and they will not accept losing to a “lesser” program. Alabama has everything to lose, which is why they will not lose.

Cotton Bowl Classic:

  • Friday, January 7th; Dallas, Texas; Cowboys Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big 12 #2 vs. SEC #3
  • The Prediction: Nebraska (Big 12 #2) vs. Mississippi (SEC #4)
  • The Actual Matchup: Texas A&M (Big 12 #5) vs. LSU (SEC #4)
  • Payout: $3,575,000

The Silly Prediction:

This is where disappointment meets surprise. LSU is disappointed about Arkansas killing their BCS hopes, while Texas A&M is surprised to be playing on New Year’s days rather than Texas. But the Aggies earned it; Texas A&M started the season slow, but they played strong in the second half which included a six-game winning streak. Two of those victories came against opponents ranked in the top 10.  Meanwhile, LSU found itself out of contention for a BCS Bowl game after losing to Arkansas; the Tigers’ offense is seriously inconsistent and quarterback Jordan Jefferson has led that poor play.  The Aggies should carry the day.

Insight Bowl:

  • Tuesday, December 28th; Tempe, Arizona; Sun Devil Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big 12 #4 vs. Big Ten #5
  • The Prediction: Oklahoma State (Big 12 #4) vs. Wisconsin (Big Ten #6)
  • The Actual Matchup: Missouri (Big 12 #4) vs. Iowa (Big Ten #4)
  • Payout: $3,325,000

The Silly Prediction:

Missouri is a pretender, but Iowa dropped their last three games and nearly lost to Indiana before that.  In a battle of the poser against the seemingly out-of-gas, look for Iowa to squeak by on fumes.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl:

  • Thursday, December 31st; Atlanta, Georgia; Georgia Dome
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: ACC #2 vs. SEC #5
  • The Prediction: Virginia Tech (ACC #2) vs. Georgia (SEC #6)
  • The Actual Matchup: Florida State (ACC #2) vs. South Carolina (SEC #2)
  • Payout: $3,250,000 ACC; $2,400,000 SEC

The Silly Prediction:

Welcome to the Beavis and Butthead Bowl, because you can’t say “Seminoles” and “Cocks” in the same sentence without chuckling like an eighth-grade boy.  Both teams are coming off losses in conference championship games, and they both boast top-notch defenses. However, South Carolina features some potent offensive weapons; Marcus Lattimore will give Florida State a handful on the ground, while Ashlon Jeffrey will do the same through the air. Gamecocks will romp as they have something to prove after the beating they took from Auburn.

Outback Bowl:

  • Saturday, January 1st; Tampa, Florida; Raymond James Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big Ten #3 vs. SEC #4
  • The Prediction: Michigan State (Big Ten #4) vs. Auburn (SEC #5)
  • The Actual Matchup: Penn State (Big Ten #5) vs. Florida (SEC #7)
  • Payout $3,100,000

The Silly Prediction:


We’re not sure what to call this one…First of all, we are ignoring the whole “Urban Meyer quits” story. You can thank Brett Favre for that. Don’t forget, Meyer took a powder last year, and yo-yoed right back. If we do address this story it will be at a later date when we really know what is happening.

Now, back to the business as hand. This could be the Generation Gap Bowl, with octogenarian Joe Paterno meeting youngster Urban Meyer. It could be the Bible Bowl, with Moses Paterno and Pope Urban I. Or, it could be the Surprise Bowl, since I don’t think either team saw themselves ending up here back in September. After all, both teams had less than stellar seasons; both winding up at 7-5. The post-Tebow era in Gainesville finds the Gator offense to be ham-handed and failing time and again to find the end zone with any consistency. This means Florida was a surprise inclusion in the Outback Bowl, but they should come into the game with a strong home field advantage as the game is played in their backyard. However, that won’t be enough to beat the man with more bowl victories than anybody else. Penn State wins ugly, if there’s rain or cold weather this game could end 9-7.

Gator Bowl:

  • Saturday, January 1st; Jacksonville, Florida; Jacksonville Municipal Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big Ten #4 vs. SEC #6
  • The Prediction: Purdue (Big Ten #5) vs. Tennessee (SEC #7)
  • The Actual Matchup: Michigan (Big Ten #7) vs. Mississippi State (SEC #5)
  • Payout: $2,750,000

Has getting Michigan to a New Year’s Day Bowl game saved Rich Rodriguez’ job? Has getting Mississippi State into a New Year’s Day Bowl game made Dan Mullen a hot property for another job? Only time will tell, but the signs point to Mullen being the guy with the brighter future after this game.

Alamo Bowl:

  • Wednesday, December 29th; San Antonio, Texas, Alamodome
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Pac-10 #2 vs. Big 12 #3
  • The Prediction: *Arizona (Pac-10 #3) vs. Oklahoma (Big 12 #3) *Arizona replaces USC due to USC’s bowl ineligibility
  • The Actual Matchup: Arizona (Pac-10 #5) vs.  Oklahoma State (Big 12 #3)
  • Payout: $2,225,000

The Silly Prediction:

Picture a shootout, OK Corral style between two of the game most exciting quarterbacks. Look for Arizona’s Nick Foles to lead Arizona to 300 passing yards and 30 points, only to be bested by Oklahoma States Brandon Weeden’s 400 yards and 40 points.

Holiday Bowl:

  • Thursday, December 30th, San Diego, California; Qualcomm Stadium
  • Matchup: Pac-10 #3 vs. Big 12 #5
  • The Prediction: California (Pac-10 #4) vs. Missouri (Big 12 #5)
  • The Actual Matchup: Washington (Pac-10 #4) vs.  Nebraska (Big 12 #2)
  • Payout: $2,200,000

The Silly Prediction:

The Rematch Bowl: Nebraska ass-raped the Huskies 56-21 earlier this season. This  outcome won’t be any  different.

Champs Sports Bowl:

  • Tuesday, December 28th, Orlando, Florida;  Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big East #2 vs. ACC #3
  • The Prediction: Pittsburgh (Big East #2) vs. Clemson (ACC #3)
  • The Actual Matchup: West Virginia (Big East #2) vs. North Carolina State (ACC #3)
  • Payout: $2,130,000

The Silly Prediction:

Get ready for an old-fashioned shootout between quarterbacks Russell Wilson of NC State and Geno Smith of West Virginia. However, West Virginia has a significant advantage on the defensive side of the ball and will exploit that fact.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl:

  • Thursday, December 30th; New York City, New York; Yankee Stadium
  • Matchup: Big East #3 vs. Big 12 #7
  • The Prediction: West Virginia (Big East #3) vs. Texas Tech (Big 12 #7)
  • The Actual Matchup: Syracuse (Big East #4) vs. Kansas State (Big 12 #7)
  • Payout: $2,000,000

The Silly Prediction:

The most interesting thing about this game is it that it is yet another example that baseball-only ballparks make horrible football stadiums.  Check out how far away from the field the seats on the 50-yard line are, then think about what some poor slob paid for them in Yankee Stadium. As far as the game goes,  Syracuse’s offense is like watching the slow kid in kindergarten be spellbound by alphabet blocks, and they could get blown out if they can’t find a way to consistently put up points. Meanwhile, the Wildcats have a “Wal-Mart” version of that prototypical “gunslinger” Big 12 offense, led by quarterback Collin Klein and running back Daniel Thomas. K-State rolls in a snoozefest.

Sun Bowl:

  • Friday, December 31st; El Paso, Texas; Sun Bowl
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Pac-10 #4 vs. ACC #4
  • The Prediction: UCLA (Pac-10 #5) vs. Miami, FL (ACC #4)
  • The Actual Matchup: Notre Dame vs. Miami, FL (ACC#4)
  • Payout:  $1,900,000

The Silly Prediction:


Twenty years ago, this could have been a championship game. Now, it’s just a sad reminder of how neither of these programs really have any status anymore. Whoever is Miami’s new coach gets his first win against a Notre Dame team that despite its showing at USC just isn’t that talented.

Liberty Bowl:

  • Friday, December 31st; Memphis, Tennessee; Memorial Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: C-USA #1 vs. SEC #8
  • The Prediction: Houston (C-USA #1) vs. Arkansas (SEC #9)
  • The Actual Matchup: Central Florida (C-USA #1) vs. Georgia (SEC #9)
  • Payout: $1,700,000

The Silly Prediction:

Who do you like? The small program with the well-coached, well-rounded team, or the big program that has better athletes? In this case, we’re taking the jocks, but wouldn’t be surprised to see Central Florida pull off an upset signature win.

Music City Bowl:

  • Thursday, December 30th; Nashville, Tennessee; LP Field
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: ACC #6 vs. SEC #7
  • The Prediction: North Carolina (ACC #6) vs. South Carolina (SEC #7)
  • The Actual Matchup: North Carolina (ACC #6) vs. Tennessee (SEC #7)
  • Payout: $1,600,000

The Silly Prediction:

On the surface, this seems to be a perfect regional match. In fact, North Carolina wanted to schedule a Tennessee home-and-home series, but Volunteers weren’t volunteering, so the bowl selection committee pushed the issue.  North Carolina had the talent to be one of the top-tier teams in the nation, but an agent-tampering scandal cured that.  Despite that, the Tar Heels will be motivated to show what they have on a national stage against a faded-glory-not-quite-yet rebuilt Tennessee squad.

TicketCity Bowl (Dallas Football Classic):

  • Saturday, January 1st; Dallas, Texas, Cotton Bowl
  • Matchup: Big Ten #7 vs. Big-12 #8
  • The Prediction:  Northwestern (Big Ten #6) vs. Baylor (Big 12 #8)
  • The Actual Matchup: Northwestern (Big Ten #8) vs. Texas Tech (Big 12 #8)
  • Payout: #1,200,000

The Silly Prediction:

This match could have been interesting prior to Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa tearing his Achilles.  Now the Wildcat offense is in shambles and their defense could be declared legally dead in 19 states. Texas Tech should have no trouble disposing of Northwestern.

Independence Bowl:

  • Monday, December, 27th; Shreveport, Louisiana; Independence Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: MWC #3 vs. ACC #7
  • The Prediction: BYU (MWC#3) vs. Boston College (ACC#7)
  • The Actual Matchup: Air Force (MWC #3) vs. Georgia Tech (ACC #7)
  • Payout: $1,100,000

The Silly Prediction:

The over/under on total forward passes in this game might be as low as 15. Air Force and Georgia Tech both love to run the football, and that’s really all they can do; neither can really stop it. Expect Georgia Tech to run over Air Force as both teams rack up over 300 yards in rushing yards.

Military Bowl:

  • Wednesday, December 29th; Washington, D.C.; RFK Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: MAC #3 vs. ACC #8
  • The Prediction: Kent State (MAC #3) vs. *Wyoming (MWC#7) *Wyoming is in this game as the other Traditional/Contractual participant (ACC #8) will not be bowl eligible
  • The Actual Matchup: East Carolina (C-USA #5) vs. Maryland (ACC #4)
  • Payout: $1,000,000

The Silly Prediction:

Today's pirate: Less "Yarrrgh," more "Allah Akbar."

Well, we were right about the ACC having problems getting enough team bowl-eligible to meet its contractual obligations, but we had no idea the usually weak conference would be so putrid that even the teams that made six wins would get no respect. Maryland should handle the ECU Pirates, who really need to upgrade their logo to more accurately reflect a modern pirate.

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl:

  • Wednesday, December 22nd; Las Vegas, Nevada; Sam Boyd Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: MWC #1 vs. Pac-10 #5
  • The Prediction: *TCU (MWC #2) vs. Stanford #(Pac-10 #6) *TCU is in this game as MWC#1 (Utah) will be in the BCS.
  • The Actual Matchup: Utah (MWC #2) vs. Boise State (WAC #2)
  • Payout: $1,000,000

The Silly Prediction:

There will be blood. This will not even be close; there will be no talk of field goals deciding things. Remember when Utah faced TCU a few weeks ago? Remember how Utah nearly gagged on it against a  mediocre San Diego State team. All season, Utah posed as a Top 10 contender, but now Boise State is looking to exact some revenge on anybody who gives non-AQ teams a bad name.

Meineke Car Care Bowl:

  • Friday, December 31st; Charlotte, North Carolina; Bank of America Stadium
  • Matchup: ACC #5 vs. Big East #4
  • The Prediction:  Florida State (ACC #5) vs. Cincinnati (Big East #4)
  • The Actual Matchup: Clemson (ACC #8) vs. South Florida  (Big East #5)
  • Payout: $1,000,000

Clemson and South Florida could not be any more evenly matched. They are both pretty mediocre, but at the end of the day, Clemson is slightly less bland. The Tigers will flourish on New Year’s Eve.

Beef O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl:

  • Tuesday, December 21st; St. Petersburg, Florida; Tropicana Field
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big East #6 vs. C-USA #4
  • The Prediction:  Northern Illinois (MAC #4) vs. Central Florida (C-USA #4) *Wyoming is in this game as the other Traditional/Contractual participant (ACC #8) will not be bowl eligible
  • The Actual Matchup: Louisville (Big East #6) vs. Southern Mississippi (C-USA # 3)
  • Payout: $1,000,000

You will be challenged not to bring up your Beef O’Bradys over this match, and for several reasons. First, this is clearly the worst bowl name ever, easily outpacing the Poulan Weedeater Bowl.  It will also feature two teams with contrasting styles that will still find a way to remain crushingly uninteresting.  Southern Mississippi has the 15th highest scoring offense in the nation, while Louisville sports the 11th ranked defense. Despite all that, about 19 people will be watching.

BBVA Compass Bowl:

  • Saturday, January 8th; Birmingham, Alabama; Legion Field
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big East #5 vs. SEC #9
  • The Prediction: Marshall (C-USA #6) vs. Akron (MAC #5) *Marshall and  Akron are in this game as the other Traditional/Contractual participant (Big East #5 and SEC#9) will not be bowl eligible.
  • The Actual Matchup: Pittsburgh (Big East #3) vs. Kentucky (SEC #10)
  • Payout: $900,000 SEC; $600,000 Big East

The Silly Prediction:

Dion Lewis and Ray Graham are top-notch running backs who should put on a show. Other than that, expect a slog-fest with Pittsburgh emerging on top, notching a win for new Panther Head Coach (insert name here).

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl:

  • Thursday, December 30th; Dallas, Texas; Gerald J. Ford Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: C-USA #3/Army vs. MWC #4
  • The Prediction: Southern Mississippi (C-USA #3) vs. Air Force (MWC #4)
  • The Actual Matchup: Southern Methodist (C-USA #2) vs. Army
  • Payout: $750,000

The Silly Prediction:

While this may not scream “Must Watch TV,” it will provide a dramatic. Following in the Paul Johnson/Navy mold, Army has finally figured out that a service academy can compete by using an option running game. Army will take on SMU’s pro-style “Run and Shoot” offense with its own triple option attack which is ranked ninth nationally. SMU likely has too many athletes for Army to carry the day, but in any event look for an offensive show.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl:

  • Saturday, January 9th; San Francisco, California; AT&T Park
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: WAC #1 vs. Pac-10 #6
  • The Prediction: *Fresno State (WAC #2)  vs. Oregon State (Pac-10 #7) * Fresno State replaces the WAC Champion (Boise State) which will be in BCS
  • The Actual Matchup: Nevada (WAC #1) vs. Boston College (ACC #7)
  • Payout: $750,000 WAC; $825,000 Pac-10

The Silly Prediction:

Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick runs their “Pistol” offense with near perfection. Together with running back Vai Taua, they form one of the most menacing rushing combos in the nation. This should make for an “irresistible force vs. immovable object” showdown with BC’s stalwart rushing defense. Look for Kaepernick’s passing prowess to make the difference.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl:

  • Sunday, December 26th; Detroit, Michigan; Ford Field
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: MAC #1 vs. Big Ten #9
  • The Prediction: Temple (MAC #1) vs. Tulsa (C-USA #7) *Tulsa is in this game as the other Traditional/Contractual participant (Big Ten #8/9) will not be bowl eligible.
  • The Actual Matchup: Toledo (MAC # 3) vs. Florida International (Sun Belt #3)
  • Payout: $750,000

Perhaps we should call this “Replacement Bowl.” The Pizza people don’t get the MAC champion like they usually do, and they don’t get the usual bad Big Ten team because there just aren’t enough bad Big Ten teams to go around.  Instead, they get two teams that weren’t expected to go to Bowl games. The real question is will friends and family outnumber the scant few die-hard fans in attendance? Oh, and the Rockets carry the day, in case you care.

GoDaddy.Com Bowl:

  • Thursday, January, 6th; Mobile, Alabama; Ladd Peebles Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: MAC #2 vs. Sun Belt #2
  • The Prediction: Toledo (MAC #2) vs. Middle Tennessee State (Sun Belt #2)
  • The Actual Matchup: Miami, OH (MAC# 2) vs. Middle Tennessee (Sun Belt #2)
  • Payout: $750,000

The Silly Prediction:

If you were waiting for a Sun Belt vs. MAC clash, count your lucky fucking stars, because this is only the back half of a double-header between these storied leagues. Just about the time your intestinal discomfort has healed from watching the New Orleans Bowl, break out the Sam’s Club size bale of toilet paper and the donut pad, because three and half hours of this WILL cause uncontrollable anal leakage. If you can stomach it, expect the Redhawks of Miami to roll.

Hawaii Bowl:

  • Friday, December 24th; Honolulu, Hawaii; Aloha Stadium
  • Matchup: C-USA #2 vs. WAC #3 or Hawaii
  • The Prediction: East Carolina (C-USA #2) vs. Hawaii (WAC #3)
  • The Actual Matchup: Tulsa (C-USA #2) vs. Hawaii (WAC #3)
  • Payout: $750,000

The Silly Prediction:

Tulsa’s defense has been so unseen it might as well be on a milk carton. Tulsa’s team gets to be in Hawaii rather than Tulsa. Don’t think Tulsa gives a shit about this game. Expect the Fighting Rainbows of Hawaii to roll.

Humanitarian Bowl:

  • Saturday, December, 18th; Boise, Idaho; Bronco Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: WAC #2 vs. MWC #4
  • The Prediction: Idaho (WAC #6) vs. New Mexico (MWC #6)
  • The Actual Matchup: Fresno State (WAC #4) vs. Northern Illinois (MAC #2)
  • Payout: $750,000

First of all, what the fuck we were thinking with New Mexico? Seriously, I have no idea what we might have seen to think this team could win six games, but as long a s Mike Locksley is the head coach, this team couldn’t win a free oil change at Jiffy Lube let alone get to a bowl game.

About this game, it begs the question “How bad is Boise?” Jerry Kill bails on Northern Illinois to head for the frozen wasteland known as Minnesota just so he doesn’t have to go to Boise. What does that tell you? It tells me Kill knows that Fresno State has little chance to stop Chad Spann and the Huskies rushing attack, so why not go get a BCS job, even if it is the sorry-ass Gophers.

New Mexico Bowl:

  • Saturday, December 18th; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Universtiy Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: WAC #3/#4 vs. MWC #5
  • The Prediction:  New Mexico State (WAC #4) vs. San Diego State (MWC #5)
  • The Actual Matchup:  Texas-El Paso (C-USA #8) vs. BYU (MWC #5)
  • Payout: $750,000

The Silly Prediction:

This is a game of two teams going two completely different directions. BYU is playing solid football lately as of late, while UTEP looks like a fraternity team well into its third keg of beer. On top of that, UTEP’s main offensive weapons are both hobbled with injuries, and if they aren’t healthy by bowl time, BYU might have this one salted away by halftime.

Poinsettia Bowl:

  • Thursday, December 23rd; San Diego, California; Qualcomm Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Navy vs. MWC #2/WAC #5  OR MWC #2 vs. WAC #5
  • The Prediction: Navy vs. Nevada (WAC #5)
  • The Actual Matchup: Navy vs. San Diego State (MWC #4)
  • Payout: $750,000

The Silly Prediction:


Navy has a tremendous running game, and San Diego State will lack the athleticism to stop it.  Besides, Navy head coach Kent Niumatolo might just bite the Aztecs in half.

Texas Bowl:

  • Wednesday, December 29th; Houston, Texas; Reliant Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big 12 #6 vs. Big Ten #7
  • The Prediction: Texas A&M (Big 12 #6) vs. Minnesota (Big Ten #8)
  • The Actual Matchup: Baylor (Big 12 #6) vs. Illinois (Big Ten #6)
  • Payout: $612,500

The Silly Prediction:

Problem #1: Illinois does not travel well. Problem #2: Illinois head coach Ron Zook’s job may depend on a win. Problem #3: Baylor will be playing what is essentially a home game. Baylor has been a tough opponent all year and sometime following the latest Illinois disaster, Zook will be fired. Last year, fans and boosters were asking for Zook’s head amidst their fourth losing season in five years, which means this will be the last stand for Zook. When the Illini lose, it is all but over.

New Orleans Bowl:

  • Saturday, December 18th; New Orleans, Louisiana; Superdome
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Sun Belt #1 vs. C-USA #5
  • The Prediction: Troy (Sun Belt #1) vs. Memphis (C-USA #5)
  • The Actual Matchup: Troy (Sun Belt #1) vs. Ohio (MAC #4)
  • Payout: $325,000

The Silly Prediction:

What can you say about a game in which the participants are a 7-5 conference winner (Troy) and a team selected as a replacement because they seem to be more interesting than a middle of the pack Conference USA team? Take Ohio to win, but more importantly, don’t tell anybody you watched this game.








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