Tag Archives: Auburn

The Dubsism Top Fifteen Sports Stories of 2011

Being that we are at the end of what has proven to be a tumultuous twelve months, why not take a look back at the biggest sports stories of such a year? After all, I’m pretty sure nobody else does these sort of retrospectives…

15) The Establishment of Two All-Time Winningest College Coaches: Paterno and Krzyzewski

Will there again ever be a year in which we see the crowning of two all-time winningest coaches? We may not see either of those records (Paterno, 409 wins; Krzyzewski, 903 and counting) fall in the next half-century, let alone having them both occur in the same year.

14) Kevin Love’s Double-Double Streak

For nearly 30 years, Moses Malone’s record stood at 51 consecutive games, until Kevin Love scored 16 points and grabbed 21 rebounds against the Indiana Pacers for his 52nd straight double-double. Love’s streak ended at 53 three days later at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.

13) Two More Yankees Make The Record Books

Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter…Get ready for two more monuments behind the center field fence in Yankee Stadium.  Rivera notched his  record-setting 602nd career save, eclipsing Trevor Hoffman’s previous mark. And in the same season,  Yank captain Derek Jeter smoked a long ball to reach the 3,000-hit milestone, becoming only the the 28th member of the exclusive club and the first 3K Yankee.

12) The End of The Peyton Manning Era

The Colts spent two decades as an NFL afterthought before the arrival of the wunderkind Manning in 1998, and now neck surgery may spell the end of the Manning era in Indianapolis. Manning’s surgically rebuilt neck, his back-loaded contract, and the Colts prime real-estate in the upcoming NFL Draft form a perfect storm scenario in which if Manning does ever take an NFL snap again, it may be in a uniform not of Colt blue.

11) The Improbable Run to the Championship

When is the next time you will see such a harmonic convergence of “underdog” champions?

  • NFL: The Green Bay Packers make the playoffs as the bottom 6th Seed.
  • MLB: The St. Louis Cardinals literally make the playoffs as a wild-card on the last night of the season, then they win what may be the greatest baseball game in a generation, Game 6 of the World Series.
  • NHL: Granted, The Boston Bruins were a #3 seed in the East, which isn’t a prohibitive underdog, but nobody gave them a chance in the Stanley Cup Finals against the President’s Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks
  • NBA: Like the Bruins, the Dallas Mavericks entered the playoff tournament as #3 seed, but it was their complete domination of the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers which set the tone for the next two series, both of which saw Dallas facing teams which seemingly should easily over-match them in terms of talent on the floor. That was until Dirk Nowitzki decided to become unstoppable.
  • NCAA Men’s Basketball: Again, the #3 seed proved magical, as the Connecticut Huskies rode that to the top of the field of 64. The fact they played their way to that seed was only slightly short of a miracle, considering they entered their conference tournament as a #9 and had to play AND win four games in four days to ensure getting into the NCAA tournament. Honestly, the ten-game streak in the Big East and NCAA tournaments pulled off by the Huskies may be one of the great playoff runs of all time.
  • NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey: Another #3 seed…are you sensing a theme here? The University of Minnesota-Duluth (which is really the UCLA of hockey) had an improbable run to the championship of the Frozen Four.
  • NCAA Women’s Basketball: I know that it is hard to call a #2 seed an underdog, but let’s not forget the womens’ basketball world was dominated by a single goliath at Baylor which Texas A&M  had to slay, but there was the ever-present team dragons in Tennessee, Stanford, and Connecticut.

10) The NBA Lockout

In what may prove to be a Quixotic exercise in abject futility, the NBA owners locked out the  players on July 1st  for reasons I still really can’t understand given what has happened since the lockout ended.  Star players getting big money has been the rule in professional sports for decades; Babe Ruth was the first jock to pocket more than the President of the United States. But when the Samuel Dalemberts of the world world are getting $13 million a year in a league that can’t pull in big-time national TV money, the problem is much larger than a simple collective bargaining agreement.

9) The Death of the Man Who Made the NFL What It Is Today

There’s a certain amount of irony in the fact the world lost Al Davis and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il in the same year.  Much like the regime of Kim Il-Sung and his son Kim Jong-Il, the end of the Al Davis Era marks both the end of an era that once made the Raiders a serious factor in the world of the NFL, but now leaves them as an isolated dictatorship viewed as a pariah in contemporary circles.

Kim Il-Sung shaped at least a half-century of world history when he ordered the North Korean army into South Korea in 1950, starting a war that is still technically unresolved to this day. Al Davis forever changed the face of the NFL when he sued the league for the right to move his franchise as he pleased.

Much like Kim Il-Sung left his eternal mark on North Korea beyond the war, the legendary Raiders owner had six decades’ worth of unique impact on pro football. I would be lying if I said that I never criticized Davis.  Just a few months ago, I included him on my list of the 15 Worst Owners in Sports.  However, as I said in that piece, that criticism was reserved for the Al Davis of the past 20 years or so.

For those of you under 30, you may not believe there was a time when Al Davis wasn’t a batshit crazy Cryptkeeper look-alike and the Raiders were not the laughing stock of the NFL. In an 18-year span during the 70′s and 80′s, the Raiders won 13 division championships, made 15 playoff appearances, and took home three Lombardi trophies. This is the era when the Raiders were the winningest team in all of professional sports, and love him or hate him, Davis was a respected and visionary leader who helped build the AFL into a league so successful the NFL couldn’t beat it so they joined with it.

That paragraph only scratches the surface as to what Al Davis meant to the world of professional football.  Davis literally climbed the football ladder, going from college assistant coach to an NFL assistant coach, to head coach,  to owner to AFL commissioner, to Super Bowl champion,  and ultimately to the Hall of Fame.

Perhaps his single greatest honor is having made a record nine presentations of inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Al Davis made presentation speeches for  Lance Alworth, Jim Otto, George Blanda, Willie Brown, Gene Upshaw, Fred Biletnikoff, Art Shell, Ted Hendricks, and John Madden. Davis himself was enshrined in Canton in 1992.

Davis changed the game of football through sheer personality; a personality which was a collection of contradictions. At once, he was was loyal and rebellious;  cantankerous and vindictive,  yet sentimental.  Yet through all that, Davis’ name must be included amongst the founding fathers of the NFL; a name that must be mentioned with same reverence in NFL circles as that of George Halas.

His contributions to the league as a whole notwithstanding, there the matter of his success with the Raiders. His trademark slogans weren’t just some words on a banner, it was a philosophy that propelled the three-time World Champion Raiders to the very top of the professional sports world. In the 48 year marriage between Davis and the Raiders, they had 28 winning seasons, including 16 in a row from 1965 through the 1980 World Championship season.

Davis died earlier this year died at age 82 and it’s hard to dispute the Hall of Famer’s place among the most influential of the sport’s history-makers. Davis was controversial. He was a contrarian. But he was also a gift to the game.

8 ) The Ever-Deepening Cesspool That Is The NCAA

This is only layer one of what is wrong with the NCAA. The truly disgusting stuff comes later down this list. This entry is all about the corruption and the hypocrisy of the organization which is supposed to keep these factors out of college sports.

It all starts back in January when the NCAA first found violations at Ohio State, but let the players who committed the violations play in their bowl game.  The theme here is the NCAA clearly values money over integrity. Keep this in mind as you read.

In August, the Miami situation broke,  when it was reported that Nevin Shapiro was pumping thousands of dollars in illegal benefits to past and present Hurricanes players over the past decade.  The tale told by Shapiro from his prison cell (he’s currently parking his ass in a federal cell for his role in a $930 million Ponzi scheme) includes prostitutes, cars, cash,  and paid vacations, much of which he alleges were known of by Miami staff and coaches.  Shaprio dimed out the names of  73 current and former players.

University of Miami president Donna Shalala being presented a check by Nevin Shapiro.

Go back to the Ohio State situation. At first, this was just about tattoos. Then it mushroomed into costing head football coach Jim Tressel and starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor their jobs. In this case, it wasn’t so much the crime, but it was the cover-up which killed everybody. But the fact the NCAA dicked around for months only underscores the fact they are not really than interested in enforcement.

Then there’s the completely laughable finding that Auburn “committed no infractions” in the Cam Newton affair when there were admissions about cash payments totaling $180,000.

The best part is this isn’t just teams who are mired in unethical activity. The Fiesta Bowl committee was exposed in a 276-page report which detailed allegations of Fiesta Bowl employees being reimbursed for donations to state and local politicians (which happens to be a felony), $1,241 spent at a Phoenix strip club was illegally charged to an expense account, and the misappropriation of $33,188 bill for Fiesta Bowl’s president and CEO Junker’s 50th birthday party.  Junker has since been fired, but more stories like this will emerge until the swamp that is the NCAA is drained.

7) The Conviction of Barry Bonds

Another story indicative of what a depressing year in sports this really has been. Again, instead of talking about accomplishments on the field, we are dealing with matters decided in a courtroom.

In April, Bonds became the first player from a “major” sport to be convicted for an issue stemming from the latest round of scandal about performance-enhancing drugs. While he was acquitted of the more serious charges, just this past Friday U.S. District Judge Susan Illston issued a 20-page order refusing to overturn the obstruction of justice conviction handed down by the the jury in her courtroom  nearly eight months ago.

6) The Continuing Tectonic Shift in College football

Texas A&M is headed to the SEC. So is Missouri.  Syracuse and Pittsburgh are bolting from the Big East to join the ACC. West Virginia is trying to ditch the Big East for the supposedly greener pastures of the Big 12; the same greener pastures TCU left the Big East at the altar for.  In return, the Big East extended invitations to at least six teams, and the madness isn’t over yet.

5) The Phenomenon Known as Tim Tebow

I’ve been watching football for nearly 40 years, and I’ve never…repeat NEVER…seen anything like the Tim Tebow story. He’s either loved or hated; he’s either the future of the Denver Broncos or an impostor. Everybody has a strong opinion, and everybody is convinced they are right.

Frankly, I have no idea what to make of the guy, so I’m going to stick with the facts.

  • Whether or not the Broncos complete this miraculous run to the playoffs, there is no denying this team was on life-support when they handed Tebow the keys, and that team responded to him.
  • The Tebow story is one of the few uplifting stories in a year in sports filled with so many negatives.
  • Like it or not, Tebow is the biggest star in the NFL right now. Doubt that? Tell me another NFL player that had an hour-long special dedicated to him exclusively.

4) The Night of the Dueling Collapses

In the last story, I said I have been watching football for nearly 40 years. I can say the same for baseball, and again, I can say I never saw anything like the last night of the regular season.  In what was inarguably the wildest night in baseball I’ve ever seen, the Red Sox and the Rays,  and the Braves and the Cardinals entered the last game competing for the American League and National League wild-card berths respectively.

This set the stage for six hours of baseball that will be talked about for at least as many decades.

In the National League, the Braves blew a ninth inning lead, eventually losing in the 13th inning 4-3 to the Phillies.  This loss opened the door for the Cardinals to capture the wild card by cruising past the Astros 8-0 to complete their amazing late season run; one that found them trailing Atlanta by 10.5 games on August 25th but prevaiiling in the end by winning 23 of their final 31 games.

Believe it or not, the collapse in the American League was even more epic.  The Boston Red Sox  led Tampa Bay Rays by nine games on September 4th, which seemed to be an insurmountable lead. It wasn’t, as the Sox found themselves in need of a win on the last night of the season to keep their playoff hopes alive. The stars seems to be aligning Boston’s way; they seemed on the verge of staving off a historic choke-job, taking an early 3-2 lead over the Orioles while the Rays fell behind the Yankees 7-0.  But then somebody messed with the lenses of the Sox telescope; Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon surrendered consecutive hits to Chris Davis, Nolan Reimold, and Robert Andino to earn a season-ending 4-3 loss.  Meanwhile, the Rays regrouped and mounted a comeback on the shoulders of a pair of dramatic homers from Evan Longoria, including a 12th-inning walkoff game winner.

3) The Fiasco of the Los Angeles Dodgers

We may never know how sordid the details of Frank McCourt’s mismanagement of the Los Angeles Dodgers really are; what we do know is that after the Dodgers began showing signs of financial trouble in 2010, Commissioner Bud Selig made the decision to give the league control over the club’s day-to-day operations starting in April 2011.

Since then, we’ve been treated to McCourt attempting to overturn Selig’s take-over via the courts, then threatening to engage in more legal maneuvering over a proposed television deal with Fox Sports was rejected by Selig. Then since the Dodgers struggled to meet payroll deadlines, the club filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, all during which McCourt was embroiled in what may have been the nastiest divorce in the history of the state of California.

Thankfully, Major League Baseball and McCourt reached an agreement in October under which he will sell the team and the media rights by April 30, 2012.

2) The NFL Lockout

Really, all this lockout proved is that the NFL owners and players really don’t understand the problems they have. They think this new collective bargaining agreement solves all the acrimony we all lived through, but that’s an illusion made of money. Realistically, the NFL and the NBA share some common problems, namely that they have franchises in places they shouldn’t, and those franchises are draining the league’s resources. The difference is the NFL is the country’s most popular sports league, it is literally floating on money, so it can pave over it’s issues with revenue-sharing. When the NFL finally hits the point where it has priced itself out of the market (wait until you see what the new TV deal is going to do to your cable bill), all of a sudden the illusion made of money will disappear. Mark my words, the next NFL lockout (and there will be one) will look and sound just like the NBA lockout we just lived through.

1) The Penn State and Syracuse Sex Abuse Scandals

This is the one story here that transcends sports. We have all heard the allegations, we have all read ad nauseum about all the sickening details; there’s really no need to rehash them here. What matters most is that these stories should serve as a wake-up call to all of us. We all must take a stand in stopping this sort of abuse of our children, and we must do it now. There is no excuse for any other course of action.

To that end, this should serve as the moment of truth for the NCAA. It’s time to find out how many more Jerry Sanduskys and Bernie Fines there are out there, and it’s time to ensure they are stopped. If the NCAA can’t do that, then the NCAA needs to be dismantled.

Trash-Talking the 2011 Top 25

Because we are into the greatest 12 weekends of the year, it is also time to remind some people of just who they are. In other words, we are taking the pre-season Dubsism Top 25 and reminding them that they suck. Let’s be honest, a big part of college football is trash-talking. This is exactly why I intend to go through the Top 25 and say awful things about every team and state involved.

1) Alabama

It has to pretty obvious when even Auburn fans get it.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Bear Bryant is dead, and it is high time you assholes quit running around in those houndstooth hats.

More importantly, with all the schools now getting caught for (insert NCAA violation here) it really just has to be a matter of time before Alabama gets caught (again).  It’s been a program so dirty Mike Rowe should be investigating it.

2) Oklahoma

If the world of college football were a bunch of children, Oklahoma would be the one you tell its OK to take candy from strangers. There really is nothing quite like the crap OU fans will put you through as they are reminding you what a storied program the Sooners are. Of course, they generally have to do this after Oklahoma’s most recent choke-job against (insert lousy Big 12 doormat here or crushing bowl game loss here).

3)  Oregon

Ten years ago, you didn’t need to pay attention to this team and its seizure-inducing uniforms.  Now, since they’ve made it a point to recruit every Los Angeles street thug even USC won’t touch, we have to hear about them every year. Thankfully, now they’ve scheduled a real game in September, so hopefully we won’t need to hear about how great they are just because they can handle Washington State. Seriously, if you are going to pay to illegally obtain recruiting film, do it so you can beat somebody worthwhile.

4) Wisconsin

As long as the state of Wisconsin exists, R.J. Reynolds will never go broke since they own Kraft Foods, Miller Beer and Marlboro cigarettes, which happen to be the three dietary staples in America’s Dairyland.

Honestly, Wisconsin is like Penn State and the SEC had an illegitimate child. Joe Paterno himself couldn’t construct a better offense based on gargantuan, sausage-fed offensive lineman and a bruising running back who eats contact like candy. Then, their is the Wiscy-level of drinking, which easily can put even the most moonshine-riddled southern peckerwood to shame.

5)  LSU

LSUcks. I mean, they’ve won two titles in the last decade, but neither should count. The first was just Nick SabaNazi splitting the love with Petey Cheaty TrojanFace and the second was beating arguably the most over-rated (and by “over-rated” I also mean “terrible,” and by that I mean “Ohio State”) teams ever allowed in a BCS Title game. Not to mention Les Miles is a complete mental case.

6) Nebraska

What ever happened to Lawrence Philips?

Where do I start? First of all, there is the fact that finally this team is in a real conference, which means they get to go somewhere more interesting than the land of endless Kansas they’ve been imprisoned in for decades. Nothing can improve your situation more than never having to go to Kansas ever again.

Plus I still think  Big Tweleveten should have deferred Nebraska’s admittance until they specifically defined what a “Cornhusker” really is. I’ve been told it is just a guy who beats off in a cornfield a lot, and I just don’t think that is appropriate.  Not to mention it totally changes my view of “popcorn.”

Oh, and Tom Osborne molests collies.

7) Florida State

What can you say about an institution that makes the University of Florida look good? Florida State is the “strip mall” of universities, and it is exactly that level of non-sophistication which makes it perfect for Tallahassee, which is actually the capital city of Lower Alabamida.

8 ) Boise State

I’m so tired of this team. They’ve been playing this “David” bit against everybody else’s Goliath, and I’m totally over it. This is a team that has been living off that Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma a few years back, and they haven’t won anything meaningful since.  Join a real conference and play a real schedule, otherwise you are just a western Notre Dame.

9) Stanford

How can anybody have any respect for a school which is supposed to be full of the uber-smart, yet it can’t even figure out its own mascot.  The nickname is the Cardinal, not the bird or the pope-in-training, but the color.  Somehow, this color is represented by an ass-eating tree.  No wonder I weep for the future of this country.

10) Oklahoma State

You almost want to feel sorry for Oklahoma State…almost. The only people who go to Oklahoma State are the ones who couldn’t get into Oklahoma. That’ s gotta hurt all by itself; it’s like going to Costco because you couldn’t even get a membership at Sam’s Club. Worse yet, imagine having to deal with that kind of rejection while living in Stillwater. Even people in Tulsa think  Stillwater sucks.

Oklahoma State fans think somehow the success of their basketball team means anything to football fans. Their chants at football games are generally some unintelligent ramblings about the other teams love for male genitalia.  Of course, the hoards of douchebag fans which inhabit Stillwater have nothing but time to be so creative as the average OSU female tends to prefer female genitalia. This is why it is metaphysical certitude one of them will start carving up hookers and dumping them under T. Boone Pickens Stadium.

11) South Carolina

How is this not South Carolina's mascot?

Gamecocks… What else do I need to say? The jokes write themselves. Feel free to contribute your own.

12) Texas A&M

Legend has it that the “A&M” in Texas A&M used to stand for “All-Male.”  We’ve also noticed the” aTm” on the Aggies helmets represents a particularly nasty acronym, and I don’t mean “at the moment.”   I’m just sayin’…

13) Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech football is so boring, occasionally they will provide somebody who will shoot you in the head.

It used to be that Virginia Tech was the poster child for over-rated, waste-of-time East Coast football. Then Virginia Tech and Miami joined the ACC supposedly forming a superconference. That idea got so screwed up I’m surprised Barack Obama wasn’t involved in it.  But since they are on the East Coast this team for some  reason is always a “dark horse” national title contender. Tech is good for 10 painfully boring wins and an equally boring bowl victory. Honestly, watching a Virginia Tech game is like watching ice melt, except not as exciting.

14) Arkansas

There’s being a fan; then there’s going too far. Somehow you just know this is less about “supporting the team” and more about greasing the railsl for a serious discussion with the family about Daddy’s transvestism.

15) TCU

TCU sucks, which is likely more than you say about these girls.

Every year, TCU plays archrival SMU in a game known as the Battle for the Iron Skillet.  All this really accomplishes is to see which Christian Texas asshole school gets to lay claim to cookware. Big deal. What should really play happen is BYU should play Notre Dame every year so we can see which Christian asshole school won’t be a BCS buster.

16) USC

To see the source of this picture, look up "smarmy assloaf" in your dictionary.

From Merriam-Websters:

scha·den·freu·de

  • noun, often capitalized \ˈshä-dən-ˌfrȯi-də\
  • Definition of SCHADENFREUDE: enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others
  • Origin of SCHADENFREUDE: German, from Schaden “damage” + Freude “joy”
  • First Known Use: 1895

I’m going to enjoy this so much…words can’t describe how much I hate Lane Kiffin. He’s college football’s equivalent to that kid at your office who only has the job because he’s somebody nephew or frat brother or some other connection which has absolutely nothing to do with his crushing incompetence.  I can’t even begin to describe how fun it is going to be watching this pompous pseudo-fruit hurtle over the NCAA cliff.  I hope the they find out all the crap he did at Tennessee, then I hope they find more stuff he did at USC, then I hope they ban him from the game.

That won’t happen, but it would be fun to see Kiffin’s slime trail return USC to the Paul Hackett era, when the Trojans couldn’t beat TCU in the Sun Bowl.  God, what a sweet time that was.

17) Ohio State

I should leave this section blank, because I was really raised to believe that if you can’t say anything nice, then you shouldn’t say anything at all. But if I were to do that, then this whole article would be blank. What else can you say about Ohio, a state where the rivers catch fire and sodomizing a relative is considered a proper form of greeting? Seriously, Ohio is the reason why “To Catch A Predator” exists; 8 Saturdays a year 100,000 Buckeyes cram themselves into Ohio Stadium, which is the anus of the Big Ten. The best thing I can say about Ohio is somehow it manages to let those hillbilly dipshits from the SEC have self-esteem.

18) Michigan State

Really, I should just write a generic bit for all the Big Twelevten teams who aren’t Wisconsin, Ohio State, or Penn State.  They all really do the same thing. They become bowl-eligible, and then somehow lose to some peckerwood SEC team like Mississippi State “We Both Humped Our Sisters, But Our Accents Are Weirder” Bowl.  What makes Michigan State different is their coach who enjoys having heart-attacks after game winning field goals.

19) Auburn

Auburn has a long tradition of hiring mouth-breathers as coaches. There was the runt of the Bowden litter, then there was “Dumbo” Tuberville, and now there’s Gene Chizik. Chizik is an over-hyped bag of guts, which is perfect for a school full of frauds, closet racists, and over-inflated egos. Honestly, all that separates Auburn from being a southern-fried Notre Dame is the dark and barbarous Catholic Church.

20) Mississippi State

If you can’t play football, at least give us slutty, naked cheerleaders. This marks Mississippi State’s first measure of relevance in nearly a century.

21) Missouri

Don’t be mislead by the production, this isn’t a book, it’s a pamphlet. You can’t fill a whole book with “Be ranked until you play Oklahoma.”

22) Georgia

There’s a reason why they call it “UGAy.” Seriously, it doesn’t take much to figure out all those good, ol’ boys at Sanford Stadium secretly bat for the other team. After all, it was a dead give away when we noticed they love to wind down after their annual “Queer Beating” by doing the world’s biggest “elephant walk.” At least they aren’t playing “soggy biscuit” anymore…I think.  Not to mention “Deliverance” was set in Georgia. I wonder if Georgia football makes Ned Beatty clinch up just a  little.

23) Florida

If your bedroom looks like this, you will never have sex.

Gainesville represents the epicenter of culture in Florida, which means they have log sculptures of Tim Tebow and they change the urinal cakes at the stadium once a season.

24) Penn State

There is a rule out that says you can’t say anything bad about Joe Paterno, because he is the dean of college football. He is 643 years old, which is why he doesn’t seem to have the sense of urgency needed to beat a bunch of nipple-gummers like Iowa or Ohio State. The last time he had a sense of urgency was when he ran off the field to take a dump a few years ago.  It matters little as he will win more Big Tweleveten titles, even if it means we see a robotic JoePa patrolling the sidelines of State College.

25) Arizona State

These two tongue-lappers are a perfect representation of Arizona State. First, since they know they have been passed by Mississippi State on the slutty cheerleader scale, they get desperate for attention. This is the only reason girls like this make out with each other; so you’ll see past their sluttiness because they know every straight guy in America has that “two chicks” fantasy. The problem is they rarely will go all the way, much like Sun Devil football hasn’t seen a Rose Bowl since Jake “the Snake” Plummer.

The 10 Dirtiest College Programs Plus The Ones Of Which I’m Most Suspicious

Let’s face it,  college programs cheat. There’s an old saying in college sports, “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.” Recently, we here at Dubsism hung a tag of “dirty program” on Auburn, but to be fair, they are far from the only one. Hell, they probably are all dirty; just because your school may not have been caught lately just means they are more discreet.

Plus, let’s be honest…getting away with it is a hell of a lot easier for some schools than others. If you doubt that, all you have to do is look at the NCAA’s precedent of deferring punishment for for moneymakers during money-making season; of course this refers to the bullshit punishments postponed until next season for Jim Tressel and Jim Calhoun. Plus, if you look at the following list, you’re going to notice a distinct lack of the real power-players in college sports.

10) Wisconsin Basketball and Football — Major Infractions: 7  Just months after its basketball program reached the Final Four in 2000, the Wisconsin athletic department imploded when 26 football players were suspended prior to the season opener after the NCAA uncovered that members of the Badgers’ football and basketball teams were given special credit arrangements at a shoe store (this “free shoes” tactic will appear again on this list). The Badgers were handed five years of probation, including the loss of scholarships in both football and basketball.

9) Memphis Basketball Major Infractions:7  The  program at Memphis has has two trips into the NCAA doghouse. The Final Four run in 1985 dissolved the following year when head coach Dana Kirk was fired after the NCAA uncovered recruiting violations and vacated the appearance.  Then came John  Calipari,  who had the Tigers positioned to win the national title, but that later evaporated when Memphis got hit with three years of probation for Derrick Rose’s fraudulent SAT score and the $1,700 in free travel and lodging provided to his brother. Before penalties were levied, Calipari slithered off to Kentucky, which could soon find its way onto this list as the athletic program has six major infractions and the basketball program narrowly escaped the death penalty in 1989.

8 ) Florida State — Major Infractions: 7 Former Florida Gator coach Steve Spurrier once referred to FSU as “Free Shoes University,” which was really a reference to a 1993 scandal in which nine Florida State players went on an agent-funded shopping spree at Foot Locker. Then, in 1999 during a national championship run, Peter Warrick and Laveranues Coles were charged with felony grand theft for receiving $412.38-worth of clothes.

And in the sweetest moment ever, in 2009 Bobby “The Anti-Christ” Bowden was forced to vacate 12 victories because of an academic cheating scandal that also involved the men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball and men’s track and field programs. This not only is the best example of a program so corrupted it even torched the sports nobody cares about (a 2007 men’s track national championship was vacated), but these vacated wins meant Bowden would never  catch Joe Paterno as the FBS’s all-time winningest coach.

7) Wichita State Baseball and Basketball — Major Infractions: 7 Wichita State’s baseball and basketball programs have flourished, largely because they can cheat with the big boys. The baseball program has been one of the most successful in recent history, winning the 1989 College World Series and finishing second in 1982, 1991, and 1993. The basketball program reached the Final Four in 1965, Elite Eight in 1981 and Sweet Sixteen in 2006. Of the seven infractions, mentioned here, my favorite involved the basketball team getting punted out of any tournaments after the Elite Eight run in 1981. Seems that the following year, WSU got caught handing out cash payments and and freebie airline tickets. The best part, at the time the penalties were imposed, Wichita State led the NCAA in major infractions. Suck on that, big boys.

6) Oklahoma Football — Major Infractions:7  If you have a program on probation, and you would like to see it stay that way, just hire Barry Switzer.  Oklahoma forfeited nine games from the 1972 season because of violations that resulted from the alteration of players’ transcripts; and when Switzer left in 1988, the program was again on probation. Hard to imagine how one gets the the tag of “outlaw program,” considering there was the probation, oh, and a stretch in which there was a shooting and rape in athletic dorm, one player attempted to sell drugs to undercover agent, and another even player robbed Switzer’s home.  In his defense, he likely robbed his own coach because he wasn’t in on the gravy train resulting from being paid by personal checks from Switzer, the scalping of  game tickets, getting free airline tickets, or the usual money-pump stemming from the usual bidding wars during recruitment.

BONUS – Oklahoma basketball, brought to you by the scumbag formerly known as Kelvin Sampson. Kelvin Sampson, the same guy who later crippled the Indiana basketball program due to unethical recruiting practices, made 550 illegal calls to 17 different recruits, and that’s only what they could prove…but then again, cash is always hard to trace.

5) Texas A&M Football — Major Infractions: 7 They really should name an award for corruption after the old Southwest Conference. Between just SMU and Texas A&M, the SWC could have been the most corrupt entity in the history of college sports.  Cheating was compulsory in the SWC during the 1980s; the theory was if you weren’t cheating, you didn’t matter. Hence, this is the reason why the Jackie Sherrill era in College Station was quite successful. It’s also no coincidence the Sherrill era ended in 1988 when Sherrill resigned after the NCAA discovered that assistant coaches and boosters were providing improper benefits to recruits — one was given a sports car and another’s father was offered medical treatment. When a booster was found paying players for “do-nothing” jobs in 1994, A&M was considered for the “Death Penalty” as well.

4 ) Auburn Football — Major Infractions: 7  At least for now, because this doesn’t even include whatever may stem from the Cam Newton situation. Nonetheless, Auburn has a reputation for “kicking one on to the fairway” with not such infrequent occasion. The best was in 1991, when 60 Minutes aired recordings of head football coach Pat Dye arranging a loan for a player. That bought Auburn two-year bowl ban, one-year television-free,  and the loss of 13 scholarships over a four-year period.

3) Minnesota Basketball — Major Infractions: 7 This is what happens when your whole program hinges on a low-level clerical worker who decides she wants more money to do everybody’s homework, and you piss her off. For Gopher basketball fans, the name Jan Gangelhoff is forever tied to that of Coach Clem Haskins. Haskins literally had the majority of his career scratched from the books because he thought his players didn’t need to hit theirs.  During his stint as Minnesota’s head basketball coach, Clem Haskins oversaw runs to the Elite Eight, Final Four and an NIT Championship. Today, however, only the Elite Eight appearance remains in the NCAA record books, as everything Haskins accomplished from 1993-1994 forward was vacated.

See, the problem is that prior to the Golden Gophers’ appearance in the 1999 NCAA tournament, Gangelhoff ratted out everybody. She sang a song about writing more than 400 papers for numerous basketball players over several years. That proved to be just the tip of the iceberg, Haskins was accused of paying players, persuading professors to inflate players’ grades and ignoring sexual harassment concerns. The NCAA administered massive sanctions, notably docking five scholarships over three seasons and instituting recruiting limitations. The entire athletic department suffered, as the Athletic Director, Associate Athletic Director, Vice President for Student Development and Athletics, and the Academic Counselor were all forced to resign due to the scandal.

The moral of the story – if you are going to cheat, PAY THE HELP! No wonder Gangelhoff rolled over on the whole scheme – for writing over 400 papers, she was paid the heft sum of $3,000 for her work.

2) SMU Football— Major Infractions: 8  Two words – Death Penalty. This is why SMU football is still the poster child for corruption in college sports.  You just can’t have a secret fund to pay players; from 1974 to 1985, the school was penalized on five separate occasions. Because SMU was under such intense scrutiny from the NCAA, the powers that be had little choice but to levy the harshest penalty. As a result, the entire 1987 season was canceled, SMU was forced to cancel the 1988 season, 55 scholarships were smoked and the team was permitted to hire just five full-time assistant coaches instead of the regular nine.

1) Arizona State Baseball— Major Infractions: 9.  The classic example of the NCAA flexing its muscle on a program that largely doesn’t matter because it isn’t a huge revenue generator. Arizona State is primarily known for its baseball program, which has won five national championships and produced legends such as Reggie Jackson and fittingly, Barry Bonds. Last December, it was penalized for major secondary violations, resulting in three years probation and a one-year ban from the NCAA post-season. The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions cited the athletic program for improperly recruiting one player and giving improper benefits to several others. In 2005, ASU was given two years probation for a “lack of institutional control” (Have you read that phrase enough in this piece?) and giving illegal financial aid.

Remember the aforementioned “lack of power player?” It’s that lack that makes me cast an eye at the following; if for no other reason that the “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying” rule.

Ohio State – The crap-storm now surrounding the football program and head coach Cheatypants McSweatervest doesn’t surprise me, in fact it validates a long-held belief of mine that Ohio States’ success in so many sports had to be coming at the expense of the NCAA rule book. See the Florida State Entry. Not to mention, guys like Maurice Clarett should be a warning sign.

Duke – I don’t care how much hate mail I get for this, but I’m convinced Mike Krzyzewski is like the church minister who secretly like little boys. He’s got all the respect of the people who could out him, but none of them do because, after all, he is the minister. Besides, he’s also that hypocritical asshole who preaches about character and discipline, then stomps around on the sideline like the biggest petulant shithead out there. Face it, how the hell else does this school now attract the “one and done” talent they now bitch about?

Alabama – I think the following picture speaks for itself.

USC – What’s happening now is just for openers. I would bet money there are skeletons in the Trojan closet we may never know about.

Famous Sports Rivalries In Which I Hate Both Sides

The sporting world is full of rivalries which engender so much passion there are clear battle lines drawn between the camps. But what happens to those of us who may feel animus toward both sides? Here’s a list of several such examples that make the collective colon here at Dubsism slam shut like a steel bear trap.

12 ) Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox

It is almost impossible to find two teams that exemplify their shit-hole of a city more. Where better to put the two retarded little brothers of baseball who while steeped in history have accounted for one championship in 90 years than in one of the largest cities in the world that matters the least to anybody?

11) LeBron James vs. the City of Cleveland

Sometimes, you really have to wonder if we have completely succeeded in this country in growing a generation of complete morons we’ve put on pedestals. Nobody in the world would have blamed LeBron James for leaving Cleveland; nobody wants to be in Cleveland.  It’s little more than a “Mini-Me” to Chicago; a rust-belt, blue-collar city that nobody wants to be in; Cleveland’s population has been dropping steadily for 80 years. All he had to do was not be a douche-bag about it.  It really leaves you in a situation where you can’t figure out who is dumber, LeBron for screwing up a move millions of Clevelanders have made themselves or those same Clevelanders for managing collectively to sound like a bitter ex-wife.

10) Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Hate is actually too strong a term for this. The problem is the “Rhett Butler” approach is too weak, but it is closer to accurate.  Let’s face it;  I don’t really give a damn. I spent big chunks of my childhood in Southern California, which isn’t exactly where you develop strong feelings about Canadian hockey teams, and even though I loved the old-school Los Angeles Kings (seriously, we are talking about the pre-Gretzky Kings with the purple and gold uniforms that clothed an NHL retirement home; the Kings of my childhood featured such past-their-prime legends like Butch Goring and Marcel Dionne), you couldn’t watch the 12-team NHL of the 1970’s without knowing these two teams hated each other.  All I cared about in those days is that both of these teams arrived at the L.A. Forum with a boatload of Canadians who weren’t past their prime and put as ass-whipping on the Kings.  Even to this day, all I can say is “screw both of them; Canada sucks.”

9) Manchester United vs. Manchester City

For those of you not familiar with the English Premier League, picture this rivalry with the Red Devils of Manchester United as the New York Yankees with Manchester City as the old Brooklyn Dodgers. You perhaps didn’t really like the Dodgers, but they made a perfect underdog foil to those goddamn Yankees. But then the Dodgers went Hollywood, started winning and blew their lovability in the process, much like the Los Angeles Dodgers. 15 years ago, Man City was lovable in their feebleness, but then new ownership pumped that team full of money, and now they are every bit as douche-tastic as their cross-town rivals.

8 ) Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins

As a Philadelphia Eagle fan, this one is really a no-brainer. There’s an old saying that culture in an organization comes from the top down, and Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder are a marvelous reflection of that. While we here at Dubsism have postulated that Al Davis makes the Oakland Raiders the “North Korea of the NFL,” Jones and Snyder are both in line to ascend to the NFL’s “Crazy Old Man Owner” throne. Thankfully, their leadership (or lack thereof) has made these two franchises combine for a grand total of three playoff wins in the past 15 years.

7) Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Longhorns

Our Proposed Logo for the "Red River Rivalry"

The way these two preen over that silly Saturday in October…well, it really is sad to think either of these two believe anybody gives a shit about them or their “make-believe” rivalry.  It’s really sad that a couple of goofy-ass schools like Nebraska and Colorado are the ones who figured out the Big 12 is a repository for football nobody cares about.

6) Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears

This is much like the “love triangle” situation outline in the 1980 J. Geils’ Band hit “Love Stinks.” The Vikings think the Packers are their main rival, The Packers think the Bears are their main rival, and neither the Packers or the Bears even know who the Vikings are.

5) Arsenal vs. Chelsea

More from the English Premier League, so I will make another baseball reference…Earlier I compared Manchester United to the Yankees. Continuing on this theme, Arsenal would be the Red Sox and Chelsea would be the Mets, only if the Mets didn’t suck. They are two of the biggest clubs in the league, and they can buy pretty much any player they want. Whenever these two get together, it is an exercise in dysfunction that somehow manages to be successful, like a photo negative of the Dallas Cowboys.

4) Auburn vs. Alabama

When these two compete in the annual “Iron Bowl,” they are battling for the bragging right for the entire state of Alabama. This is like two bums fighting over the least piss-stained raincoat at Goodwill. Do you know what the best thing that ever came out of the state of Alabama was? An empty bus.  Alabama is just a collection of bimbos whose boyfriends still think Bear Bryant is alive, and Auburn thinks it is a real university.

3) Duke vs. North Carolina

What can we say about Duke that we haven’t said before? No matter their record, no matter their talent, no matter anything, Duke sucks.  As much as we have beat on Mike Krzyzewski for being a pompous ass-hat, North Carolina’s Roy Williams is in the same league, and not just figuratively. My favorite was last spring when Williams compared having a losing ACC record to the earthquake in Haiti.

“Our massage therapist told me, ‘You know, coach, what happened in Haiti is a catastrophe. What you’re having is a disappointment,’ ” said Williams. “I told her that depends on what chair you’re sitting in. It does feel like a catastrophe to me, because it is my life.”

I’m not sure what the state of North Carolina did to deserve such a pair of pure, uncut assholes, but better them than the rest of us.

2) Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees

The Yankees – Red Sox rivalry is one of the oldest, most famous and fiercest rivalries in North American professional sports.  For over 100 years, Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees of the American League have been intense rivals.  For nearly as long, fans of both teams have thoroughly annoyed the living shit out of the rest of us.

The rivalry is sometimes so polarizing that it is often a heated subject, like religion or politics, in the Northeastern United States.  In fact, since ESPN is also based in the Northeastern US, they believe the Yankees and the Red Sox are the only two teams in Major League Baseball, judging by their broadcast schedule.

1) Michigan Wolverines vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

College football gives us the twelve greatest Saturdays of the year, and it also give us the two greatest evils in sports. Ohio State and Michigan both represent all that is wrong with college football, and every evil that it contains.  Recent events have shown that Jim Tressel, a.k.a. Cheatypants McSweatervest is a disingenuous, lying prick, and the Michigan fan base just hasn’t come to terms with the fact they are not an elite program anymore. I can only hope and pray that the NCAA grows the balls to make an example out of Ohio State, but they likely won’t, and I hope it takes Michigan at least three more head coaches before they figure out that “elite” programs don’t get man-handled by Purdue.

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

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

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.

Ask The Geico Guy: Is Auburn a Dirty Program?

Do woodchucks chuck wood? Look, I’ll make it easy for you. I will explain this in a way almost any Auburn grad can figure out: a monstrously obvious rebus…that’s a “picture riddle” for you Plainsmen.

A rabid, yet not too bright fan base…

+

...plus piles of illicit cash...

-

...minus any semblance of legitimate academic standards...

=

...equals quarterback with a criminal record.

I Still Believe in “Innocent Until Proven Guilty”

The headline tells it all, I still believe in America that the accused are innocent until proven guilty.  To prove it, I still have a fun collection of hate mail I received for defending Ben Roethlisberger. But I have to admit, the Cam Newton/Auburn story is making it hard to maintain that faith. At least in the beginning, Roethlisberger kept his mouth shut except for one prepared statement on the matter. But this situation involving recruiting violations produces a new wrinkle every day, and a new opportunity for either Auburn or Newton to makes themselves appear guilty.  It is CRUCIAL you do not misunderstand that last statement. Until somebody shows me the “smoking gun,” nobody is guilty of any charge. But the accused in this case certainly are not helping themselves.

First of all, there are such things as reputations. In the Roethlisberger case, he had created a trail of instances where it was clear he exercised some seriously questionable judgement. Newton and Auburn both are no different.  Newton has some issues stemming his time at Florida, and Auburn has been through the NCAA sanction mill before. If forced to do so, I would much rather judge character rather than reputation; I would much rather judge facts than impressions.

Cruel, but fair...and hilarious.

Cam Newton arrested is actually old news, but with Auburn doing well and Cam Newton being talked about for the Heisman Trophy, it keeps coming up that Cam Newton was arrested 23 months ago and charged with felony counts of burglary, larceny and obstruction of justice after allegedly stealing a fellow students Dell laptop while attending the University of Florida. According to the police report, the burglary was reported on October 16th, 2008 and Newton was booked at 2:25 p.m. the same day.

Police had checked the Gatorlink wifi system at the college under Newtons’ account on the laptop. Newton then signed a waiver allowing police to view his Dell laptop which had appeared to have been painted black with Newtons name in white on the cover. When police checked the serial number on the laptop compared to the number the burglary victim provided the was only one digit that did not match; a “Q” instead of a “2″.

Because of the possibility of a mix up with the serial number, the police stepped away from Newton’s room to call the student and inquire about the numbers. Once the officers re-entered the room, the computer was gone and later it was found that it had been thrown from Newtons third story dorm room and was found near a garbage dumpster outside of the dorms. The charges were eventually dropped after a pre-trial diversion program.

An arrest, no conviction, and the charges were dropped after entry into a “diversion” program. What that usually means is the accused was a first-time offender who was given the option to enter the “diversion” program and upon completion the charges would be dropped. It a nice way of tacitly admitting guilt without ever having to officially admit guilt. in any event, in 99 times out of 100 it a nice way to skate on a non-violent felony charge.  If that weren’t enough, isn’t the simple act of chucking that laptop out the window another “makes ya look like ya did it” moment?

Another thing that bugs me are the table-pounding denials offered by Auburn coach Gene Chizik.  Loud denials are one of only two things that make somebody look more guilty than the old “no comment” routine, probably because they smack of “thou doth protest too much.”

“Let me tell you something: He’s the leader of the Heisman race because he deserves it. That’s fact,” Chizik said. “So distractions or whatever’s out there, whatever people want to drum up and dream up and try to distract, it is what it is and it’s not changing. Cameron’s going to be focused on playing Georgia this week. Nothing’s changed in terms of who he is and what he is. But he is like our son here, and I’ve got a problem with this, got a problem it.”

“Cameron Newton is one of the young men on our football team that has not only excelled as a tremendous athlete, he has done everything we have asked him to do since the day he stepped on campus at Auburn,” Chizik said. “So I want to make this very clear, because I’m wasting my time addressing allegations that completely, to be frank, blow my mind that they’re even out there because there are federal privacy laws that dictate that these things don’t even get out in public.

“But I’m standing up here on a very important week trying to defend something that quite frankly is garbage. Is there a wizard behind the curtain? I don’t know. Is there one? Is there two? Are there 10? I don’t know, and I don’t care. But what I do care about is coming to the defense of not only a great football player, but a great human being who comes from a great family.”

I never buy this stuff, because every guy in prison has somebody who will defend them regardless of the situation. No matter how flat you make a pancake, it still has two sides, and this stuff is just the opposite side of the accusations. It can be just as much unsubstantiated puffery as the other side, and it almost always hurts a case more than it helps. Chizik would have done himself and Newton a much bigger service by pulling a Paterno-like deflection, saying something like “I’m just worried about Georgia this week” and leaving it at that. Now he seems like a guy who has far more skin in this game than just his Heisman-caliber quarterback; perhaps he knows we aren’t far from “What did Chizik know and when did he know it?”

Speaking of Watergate references, Newton’s father Cecil sure as hell isn’t helping matters. The following non-denial denial gets about a 9.6 on the Nixon-o-meter.

“I’m not going to confirm nor deny nothing that has been taking place,” Newton told Thayer Evans of Fox Sports. “I’ve answered what I need to answer. If they’re out there, go with it and make the decision or determination based on whatever you’ve got to say.”

And if all that weren’t enough, now the FBI is getting involved. How many stories do you know that include the phrase “the FBI is getting involved” that have happy endings?

But what really gets to me is the attitude of Cam Newton himself. At least when Roethlisberger stood accused, he seemed to take the matter seriously. Newton, on the other hand, seems to have one of those incredibly smug grins on his face as if he is above the fray.

I’ve never met Cam Newton, but I’ve known plenty of guys who wore that same attitude on their faces, and every single one I knew had a huge fall coming their way. It drove me crazy when I saw that smirk on Newton’s face, not because it makes him look like he knows he did something and is going to get away with it, but because I knew there was a prior famous classic example and I couldn’t remember where I had seen it.  Then it dawned on me…

I guess it is fitting, since despite all the evidence to the contrary, The State of California believes he was not guilty…

Ten Nobel Prize Injustices and Their Equivalent Sports Injustices

We are suckers for lists. VH-1 always manages to suck people in with those “100 greatest songs of the 80’s” nostalgia-fests. Not to mention we sports fans never met a list over which we didn’t love to drunkenly argue. There’s even a website dedicated to such listery.  I’m no different; I can play moth to the candle flame of lists. Add that to some recent events in the world of famous, yet not really relevant awards, and you have what steered me to a list of 10 writers screwed out of Nobel Prize.
 
Never mind I never heard of half these guys. FlameHorse (whoever you and your three English degrees are…or is it whomever?) did a tremendous job of painting the picture behind just enough of that acrid, yet oh-so-pretentious clove cigarette aroma for me to see this is really an English major’s version of a “Who got screwed out of what award” or “Who should be in what Hall of Fame” list. We sports fans consume lists like that like a poet takes to cheap wine.
 
So, in an effort to promote understanding between those of you who inhabited the liberal arts buildings and those of us who actually graduated and got jobs, I seized the opportunity for a comparison study. Since you bookworms understand this collection of dead guys, and we illiterate knuckle-draggers understand sports, perhaps by laying the two side-by-side might give us all a glimpse into that scary, dark world opposite your own. 
Jorge-Luis-Borges
#10) Jorge Luis Borges 1899-1986
 
Borges had a good twenty years to be considered for a Nobel, and was hot in the running for one for many years, but the Nobel Committee refused to award it to him because of his support for right-wing dictators like Pinochet. Sounds like someone he shouldn’t have supported, but the Committee routinely awarded the prize to writers who supported left-wing dictators like Joseph Stalin. Pinochet was worse than Stalin? Borges wrote the finest surreal literature to date, and won the first International Pulitzer Prize. Politics seems a bad subject on which to argue.

 

Equivalent Sports Injustice :  Curt Schilling (if he doesn’t get into the Baseball Hall of Fame) – Granted, I realize I’m reaching into the future, but I just see this one coming. Please save the stats arguments, he is a viable candidate off the “bloody sock” and winning the first World Series for the Red Sox in 86 years. What will keep him out is his bombastery via his blog

46263-004-A74F04C5#9) Vladimir Nabokov 1899-1977

One of the greatest non-native writers of English. Nabokov’s most famous novel, and his finest, is Lolita. He wrote many more excellent works of fiction and criticism, translations of poetry. He was nominated in 1974, along with Graham Greene (not the actor), and lost to Eyvind Johnson and Harry Martinson, joint winners. The former was Swedish, and both were members of the Nobel Committee at the time.

Equivalent Sports Injustice : Penn State Getting Screwed Out of The 1994 National Championship – In a season that saw the Nittany Lions steamroll Southern Cal, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, and a Rose Bowl flock-shoot of the Oregon Ducks, Nebraska waltzed through a conference schedule facing only one team with a winning record, and bakery-fresh cupcake non-conference foes like a pre-Big 12 Texas Tech, Wyoming, and Pacific.

For those of you too young to remember, once upon a time the Big Eleven Ten rivaled the SEC as the best conference in the land, while the Big 8 in any season only ever had two teams worth anything. But a wave of cronism set in, as Huskers were awarded the title with the feeling that coach Tom Osborne should get a National Championship before he retired. 

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#8 ) W. H. Auden 1907-1973

One of the greatest 20th Century poets in history. He won the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, and profoundly influenced all poets, especially English-speaking poets, who have come after him. It is believed that the Committee turned him down because he made errors in a translation of a book by Nobel Peace Prize winner Dag Hammarskjold, and because he suggested that Hammarskjold was homosexual, like Auden.

Equivalent Sports Injustice : Auburn Refusing to Hire Turner Gill Because He Had a White Wife – Hypocrisy is a wonderful thing. The same Nobel committee that is historically has preached tolerance while being anti-semitic thumbs it nose at a country that in the same year elected its first black president and showed that inter-racial relationships are still not accepted in all circles.

Robert Frost

#7) Robert Frost 1874-1963

The greatest 20th Century American Poet, by far. The Bard of the Northeast. He won 4 (FOUR!) Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry, was awarded over 40 honorary doctorates from Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, and Harvard, among others. The only other winner of four Pulitzers for literature is Eugene O’Neill, who did win a Nobel. Frost’s fourth Pulitzer was awarded 20 years before he died. The Nobel Committee managed to ignore him for those 20 years.

Equivalent Sports Injustice : Bert Blyleven Not Being In the Baseball Hall of Fame - To say that Bert Blyleven wasn’t one the great pitchers in the history of baseball is just pure delusion. It doesn’t help that a lot of people who have votes can see past the Hudson River. Small-market bias explains why Bert Blyleven can’t get into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Sure he didn’t pitch exclusively in Minnesota, but he did spend the entirety of his career in the relative obscurity of what would become known as the “small market team,” meaning Minnesota, Texas, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Minnesota again, and the California Angels.  Although it would have given me intestine-shredding nausea to see it, my assertion is that had Blyleven pitched for the Yankees, he would have been a superstar.  Just for fun, consider the following comparison of Blyleven’s career numbers to Yankee legend and Hall-of-Famer Whitey Ford.

  • 287 wins – 25th All-Time (51 more wins than Ford at 236)
  • 3.31 career Earned Run Average (2.75 for Ford, who never pitched in the Designated Hitter era, or after the pitcher’s mound was lowered before the 1969 season)
  • 4,970 innings pitched – 13th on the All-Time list (3,170 for Ford)
  • 3,701 strikeouts – 5th on the All-Time list (1,956 for Ford)
  • 685 career starts – 9th on the All-Time list (438 for Ford)
  • 242 complete games (156 for Ford)
  • 60 shutouts – 9th on the All-Time list (45 for Ford)
  • Two World Series Championships: 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates and 1987 Minnesota Twins (4 for Ford, who pitched the whole of his career with the Yankees)
  • Won 20 games in 1973 (Ford only won 20 games twice, in 1961 and 1963)
  • One of only three pitchers to ever win a Major League game before his 20th birthday and also win a Major League game after his 40th birthday.  

 

256 1161 Image Ap Zola Na237-01376-2#6) Emile Zola 1840-1902
 
The greatest exemplar of the French school of literary naturalism. He wrote over 30 novels, and any one of them could have gotten a Pulitzer today, without competition. His 2 chances to win were spoiled for the same reason as the next entry.

 

Equivalent Sports Injustice : Alex Karras and Hugh Green not winning the 1957 and 1980 Heisman Trophies respectively - Apparently, college football isn’t the only place where eligibility rules ruin the day. Although technically, the Heisman Trophy is given to the “best player in the nation,” we all know that its really the “Sexiest Offensive Stats” award.

Henrik Ibsen#5) Henrik Ibsen 1826-1906
 
Norway’s greatest author, and one of the finest modern dramatic writers in history. He had 6 chances to win, since the award was begun in 1901, but he lost due to arguments over Alfred Nobel’s eligibility requirements, as laid out in his will. He intended the winners to exhibit “lofty and sound idealism.” But from 1901 to 1912, the Committee believed that he meant “ideal direction.” Apparently Ibsen, the father of modern drama, was not leading the literary world in the ideal direction.

Equivalent Sports Injustice : Peyton Manning not winning the 1997 Heisman – The exact inverse of #6. Heisman voters finally let their guilt catch up to them for shafting great defensive players like Alex Karras and Hugh Green by shafting a deserving quarterback in favor of a defensive back.

 
Proust#4 Marcel Proust 1871-1922
 
The author of the most monumental work of 20th-Century fiction, A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, In Search of Lost Time. It’s a 7-volume novel which exhibits one of the first, if not the first, example of stream of consciousness writing. And yet, the Committee award the 1920 prize to Knut Hamsun (Norwegian, which is closer to Swedish than French), for his monumental work, Growth of the Soil. Which one do more people read today? Yep, In Search of Lost Time.
Equivalent Sports Injustice :  Mick Tinglehoff Not Being in the Football Hall of Fame – The  Minnesota Vikings of the 1970’s were arguably the greatest team that just couldn’t get over that Super Bowl hump. Yet the team accomplishment of winning championships seems to be a criteria a mongst voters for individual enshrinement. When Pittsburgh center Mike Webster was inducted, he was called the greatest ever at the position as the Steelers won four Lombardi Trophies.
A big reason Fran Tarkenton is in the Hall is because he was behind Tingelhoff.

A big reason Fran Tarkenton is in the Hall is because he was behind Tingelhoff.

However, in Tingelhoff’s 17 seasons snapping for the Vikings, he played in and started 240 consecutive games, was named All-Pro 7 consecutive years and played in 6 straight Pro Bowls.
 
 
Bernice Abbott James Joyce 1926-1#3) James Joyce 1882-1941
 
The greatest Irish writer besides W. B. Yeats, who did win the prize. Joyce is also the greatest writer of stream of consciousness fiction in history. He practically invented the modern idea of speculative fiction, with his final work, Finnegans Wake, which is almost unreadable. He considered it his finest work, but is more famous for Ulysses, the Dubliners, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
 
Equivalent Sports Injustice :  That Mark Fidrych Didn’t Have a Better Career - Nicknamed “The Bird” for his lanky six-foot-plus frame, Fidrych pitched his way to the American League Rookie of the Year award in 1976. Known for his quirky behavior, he won 19 games in his rookie season and was a two-time All-Star before injuries prematurely ended his career. 
 
 

Tolstoy1#2) Leo Tolstoy 1828-1910

The greatest exemplar of literary realism in history, and possibly the greatest novelist in history. His two most titanic works, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, would have been more than sufficient to secure Knut Hamsun an award. If only Tolstoy had been born a little closer to Sweden, the Committee might have overlooked their arguable translation of Nobel’s will. Apparently, the Committee did not consider Tolstoy to be leading the modern literary world in “the ideal direction.”

Equivalent Sports Injustice :  The Houston Oilers’ Firing of Bum Phillips - The Oilers languished at the mediocre-or-worse level for most of theri existence prior to Phillps’ taking over the team in 1974. After the prototypical Texan hit the Houston sideline, the Oilers entered the “Luv Ya Blue” era, becoming a constant playoff team and main rival to the dynasty of the time, the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Despite the early success, Phillps was fired just six years later for failing to do something no one of the time could do; beat Pittsburgh.

Twain3#1) Mark Twain 1835-1910

The inventor of the American Novel, with Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and one of the all-time greatest novelists, humorists, essayists, critics, and all-around authors. Like Tolstoy, he had 10 chances to win, and ten times was passed over, in favor of the following eleven authors:

Sully Prudhomme, Theodor Mommsen, Bjornstjern Bjornson, Frederic Mistral and Jose Echeragay (both in 1904), Henryk Sienkiewicz, Giosue Carducci, Rudyard Kipling, Rudolf Christoph Eucken, Selma Lagerlof, Paul Heyse.

I’m willing to bet you’ve only heard of one of those. I have three English degrees, and I’ve only heard of one of them. I have, however, heard of Mark Twain.

Equivalent Sports Injustice :  The 1972 US Men’s Olympics Basketball Team Robbed of the Gold Medal – With three seconds left in the gold medal game, US forward Doug Collins hit two free throws to give the USA the lead 50-49 over the Soviet Union. But for some reason, the buzzer sounded before Collins’ second free throw.  On the Soviets’ next possesion, they inbounded the ball and failed to score. But after hearing the earlier horn and seeing a disturbance near the scorers table, one official had whistled a stop in play with one second remaining . As the Soviets were arguing they had requested a timeout before the free throws, the referees ordered the clock reset to three seconds and the game’s final seconds replayed. However, the clock was in the process of being reset when the referees put the ball in play, with the Soviets again failing to score.  The horn sounded and the US again began celebrating.

But because the clock was still being reset when the ball was put back into play, the Secretary General of FIBA, R. William Jones, ordered the clock to be reset again, giving the Soviets a third shot at the last three seconds. Another full-court pass came from the Soviets, Aleksander Belov caught the long pass and drove to the basket for the winning points as the buzzer sounded.

An Introduction to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association

It is the beginning of October here in Minnesota, which can only mean the beginning of hockey season. Now, for some of you, that means the National Hockey League. But for a few of us lucky ones, it means the tooth-shattering bliss that is college hockey, specifically it’s best league, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). 

The WCHA is to collegiate hockey what the SEC is to football. It has the tradition, the titles, and the best teams. But outside of it’s own territory, the WCHA is largely unknown despite the fact it may be one of the best sports leagues in the country. 

Luckily, the carnage of the college gridiron makes for a superb likening.  So, by comparing the hockey team about which you know nothing to a football program with which you are likely more familiar, you can share in joy that is the WCHA. And, for those of you who don’t have a grounding in either sport, I’ve also included a representative Simpsons’ character. If you aren’t familiar with The Simpsons, then I truly pity you.

Hockey School – University of North Dakota

Comparison Football School – University of Notre Dame

Representative Simpsons Character – Mr. Burns 

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Both schools have been around in their respective sports since the dawn of time, and due to their extreme amount of historic success, they are almost universally hated.  But they don’t care, since they have more money than any four people you can name. 

Hockey School – University of Minnesota

Comparison Football School – Florida State University

Representative Simpsons Character – Barney Gumble 

The U of M is, like FSU, really the world’s largest junior college full of drunks who somehow end up as helicopter pilots or something else useful. While big money hasn’t permeated hockey like it has football, Minnesota still gets it share of scandal. As long as they win, these indiscretions tend to get overlooked. 

Hockey Program – University of Wisconsin

Comparison Football School – Ohio State University

Representative Simpsons Character – Homer Simpson 

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More proof that bloated land-grant universities are where it’s at when it comes to fans blind on devotion, and/or some shitty, homemade grain alcohol. Seriously, once before a hockey game at the old Dane County Arena in Madison, I saw two Badger tailgaters drinking from their plastic bottle of choice, one a bleach jug, and the other a rubbing alcohol bottle. This ethanol-soaked dysfunction belies the fact that within their respective circles, they are almost universally loved, except by Mr. Burns and Frank Grimes. 

Hockey Program – St. Cloud State University

Comparison Football School – Auburn University

Representative Simpsons Character – Lisa Simpson 

They always seem to have talent, and never seem to win anything with it. If college hockey had an Outback Bowl, St. Cloud State would be in it every goddamn year.

Hockey Program – University of Minnesota-Duluth UMD

Comparison Football School – University of California-Los Angeles UCLA

Representative Simpsons Character – Lenny Leonard 

Their resounding cries of not being referred to as a hyphenated institution ping the eardrum with the same tone as “OW, MY EYE! I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO GET SUCCESS IN IT!” Both fall into that “C-minus” slot below actual respectability, yet just above “lovable loser.”

Hockey Program – Mankato State University Minnesota State University – Mankato

Comparison Football School – Memphis State University University of Memphis

Representative Simpsons Character – Carl Carlson 

Another minor player with an identity crisis; role is really limited to that of Lenny’s best friend and Homer’s drinking buddy.

Hockey Program – Denver University

Comparison Football School – University of Arkansas

Representative Simpsons Character – Frank Grimes 

Under-appreciated for how smart they actually are, since they had to work for everything they’ve got, and could be successful given the right circumstances. Yet, they are owned by Mr. Burns and usually find a way to finish behind the Homers of the world.

Hockey Program – Colorado College

Comparison Football School – Brigham Young University

Representative Simpsons Character – Ned Flanders 

“Charlie Church” types, who while seemingly inoffensive enough, still find a way to be patently annoying. This, of course, leads their kids to grow up to be closet cases.

Hockey Program – Michigan Tech

Comparison Football School – Georgia Tech

Representative Simpsons Character – Comic Book Guy 

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They’re smarter than you, and they really believe their school is better than yours. They will make sure you know it too, as nothing has the impact of pudgy egotists resplendent in their shorts scrawling their electronic screed from the back room of the Comic Book store.

Hockey Program – University of Alaska-Anchorage

Comparison Football School – Boise State University

Representative Simpsons Character – Nelson Muntz

 nelson muntz

The quintessential schoolyard bully; the one who will never win a championship, but will occasionally kick your ass and laugh about it.

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