Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2008 Upset Special Week #13

Need to get this one in early since all of the JV college teams play in the middle of the week (Oregon State included!). Call me a hater but I cannot stand talk about non-BCS teams being Top 15 teams. Having to play no more than one good team a season does not allow one to claim they are worthy of inclusion with the big boys. Boise State is a cute story because they beat Oklahoma a couple of years ago, I get that. But you're to tell me a week after beating Oklahoma they would have been able to beat Texas, then Baylor, then Colorado, then Texas Tech, then Oklahoma State, then Oklahoma? Not a chance. (Notice I sprinkled in a couple of average BCS teams in there just for fun.) And I don't want to hear any talk about it not being fair to non-BCS teams. Is it fair that I couldn't get into an Ivy League school because my SAT, GPA and a variety of other things were not strong enough? I contend that it is.

I ramble on about all of this because tonight one of the spectacular non-BCS teams plays tonight. Ball State is at Central Michigan (+7). Central Michigan has a quarterback that is supposed to be the poor man's Tim Tebow. Whether or not that is true I have serious doubts. One thing I do not doubt is that if Ball State played Washington State the Cougars would not even be the third worst team they played. Go here to check out the gauntlet of football powers Ball State has had to encounter on their way to football glory. If I'm not mistaken only one of those teams has a winning record (Navy is 6-4). So there you have it. I have a strong dislike for non-BCS teams crashing the BCS just as you would have a strong dislike if I decided I should be a practicing medical doctor because it just seems fair.

Last Week: So maybe me being an upset special picker is just as foolish as non-BCS teams playing in big boy bowls.

Season-to-Date: 2-9. Still better than the Bengals and maybe the Oregon men's basketball team?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

2008 Upset Special Week #12

Not a lot of barn burners this week to choose from. After perusing the lines I was a bit surprised to see Oregon a touchdown favorite but there is no way I would pick that game. Nearly by default the game that will result in me having a winning streak is in the Big XII. Kansas State (+6) is hosting Nebraska. I do not even know the records of these teams I just know that I can't stand Nebraska and Kansas State is so bad their coach was fired already, though he is still coaching. With all of that it is a shock that College GameDay is not in Manhattan this week.

Last Week: Pure domination. As has been the case all year my pick pulled off the upset. The Hawkeyes saved the Big Ten a lot of embarrassment.

Season-to-Date: 2-8. When you're good you're good. What can I say?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

2008 Upset Special Week #11

Here we go again. This week's pick came down to two games. One in the Pac-10 (hint: Oregon's premier community college is heading to LA) and one in the Big Ten. Since I am such a charitable fellow I decided to go with the game from the Big Ten. I am making this pick because the Big Ten needs this upset to happen. It is an incredibly weak conference that is painfully boring to watch. In the event that the Big Ten has another undefeated team I am confident they would be able to weasel their way into the National Championship. My predictions have been admittedly terrible but I can guarantee a Big Ten team would get throttled in that game no matter who the opponent is. In essence, I am making this pick because I have the Big Ten's best interests in mind. The Iowa Hawkeyes (+7.5) will take down the Penn State Nittany Lions. This is the last chance anyone has of beating Penn State so why not go with the beloved Hawkeyes. Their coach may be the most overpaid and their roster may have the most convicts but you have to love Iowa.

Last Week: Only a certain Pac-10 team's special teams were worse than my pick.

Season-to-Date: 1-8, surprisingly right on par with the resurgent Bengals.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cal Game Rehash

This recap of the Cal game is not late because the Ducks lost. It is late because I just dried off and now feel confident I can use the keyboard without ruining it. I did not see what the rain looked like on TV but trust that it was far worse than you could have imagined. As one who just spent eight years in Eugene I can tell you it was the worst rain I have subjected myself to ever. I could go to every Cal football game for the next 50 years, combine the amount of rain that falls on me and not get rained on as much as I did Saturday. I was the only one in our group that had rain gear and I was completely soaked by halftime. Luckily what my friends and family lacked in rain gear they made up for with beer and liquor. If not for that stuff I would have been watching the game alone. We were there for the entire game if anyone doubted our commitment. Some thoughts on the game as I remember them a week later:

The Lasik did no good. My brother-in-law could see better than he has in years but BearVision still stunk. From the other side of the stadium it was impossible to distinguish what sport was being played let alone who was playing. So you know, I am not a facilities snob. You will not find me bragging about Oregon's this and Oregon's that. It's all about winning games in my book so that will tell you just how pathetic BearVision is.

As for the play on the field. In my prediction I predicted that the special teams would be the difference since I did not break them down. I will only say that that was a major understatement. Drops, blocks and misses were present throughout the game. Never have I seen an early 4th quarter missed field goal change the momentum of the game. Up until that point the vibe in the stadium was all Oregon's and everyone knew it.

I give Cal fans credit. After the game I did not see any of them treating Ducks fans like second class citizens. I embarrassingly assured my wife's uncle that when he comes to Autzen (he calls it Autism) next year Ducks fans will not return the favor. They may have been extra nice to us because they too were miserable but whatever the case I appreciated the apathy of Cal fans at that point.

In the days that followed friends told me they were bummed for me and wanted to know what I thought about Oregon losing its national ranking. Maybe I love being a contrarian (okay, I really, really love being a contrarian) but does being ranked 24th mean anything? My response has been, "If you're not in the Top 5 or 10 it really does not matter." Teams ranked eleven through 119 generally go to crappy bowl games or none at all.

Lastly, this does not have much to do with the Cal game but Bellotti need not be fired. I actually like Canzano, we share opinions on a certain basketball coach, but I think his latest article is a stretch. I will have more on my thoughts relating to expectations for Oregon Football after the Stanford game, win or lose. And the result of the game will have nothing to do with my thoughts.

A Small Political Rant

(Warning: I am not a politician so when I talk politics it is real, not contrived. Therefore, I bounce from topic to topic and have a hard time making my points flow.)

I usually try not to talk too much politics on here. Though it is mentioned in the subtitle I figure it is best I leave that stuff alone. (Update: It is not in the subtitle. Oh well, you can still read this if you want.) Not too many people agree with my beliefs and certainly not very many people in my demographic. People enjoy reading what someone has to say about sports if they do not agree. It just fires them up to respond or wallow in the truth that was just read. When it comes to politics people take it far too seriously. The bottom line with thinking related to politics is that most people think their beliefs are the only ones. If someone else believes differently then they are terrible people. Don't believe me? Just be me in a journalism graduate school class during the '04 election and you will know what I am talking about.

Today the weird worlds of sports and politics intersected for me. As is my usual Friday tradition I wore a black polo shirt with a small, white Oregon 'O' on the left front breast. (I realize front breast is a bit redundant.) It very closely resembles the shirt that is to be worn at work so I have made the executive decision that I can wear it on Fridays. Before I made it to work I needed to stop at Kinko's to send out an item for express delivery. As I returned to my car a redneck came barreling through the parking lot. He glanced at my shirt and proceeded to 'M-F' me (sorry for not writing what he actually said, use your brain to figure it out) for wearing an Obama shirt. By the time I realized he was talking to me he had already passed. Trust me when I say that this guy was a redneck. He was driving a pickup, had a hat on with a bill that was curved to a near semi-circle, sported what looked like a Carhartt style jacket and well, said what he said.

The funny part about the incident is that if he had actually known what the 'O' on my shirt meant then he would have probably assumed I was an Obama backer anyway. Unfortunately, that is not the case. For fiscal reasons alone I am not prone to vote for a Democrat. And if the last few years are any indication, not a Republican either. Since I am so poor at this moment Obama's tax plan does not really tweak me. Rest assured, I am not out for handouts like a fair number of people. By the next election I hope to be close to needing a Republican in office for income tax reasons. I'll keep you posted on how that goes!

Now that I have tip-toed around the fact that I did not vote for Obama because I'm not that fired up about him I will try to win your hearts back. I abstained from making a selection on the presidential portion of my ballot. Maybe I am chicken but I could not bring myself to vote for someone just because. (The presence of the electoral college also made my vote pointless since I live in California and it was not going to be for Obama.) By choosing a running mate that is not smarter than me McCain lost my vote. That is one of my simple criterion when looking to vote for president. Are the people on the ticket smarter than me? I am not the smartest person so that is not a high bar to set but given Palin's performances I had to conclude that I would destroy her in any version of Trivial Pursuit. For those that want to say that T-Pursuit does not establish if one is smart or not, get a clue. It is meant as a joke. But if you know me you know you would bet your house that I would win that match up! Reading every word on the Internet allows for my brain to store an inordinate amount of pointless information.

The last little portion of the election that confuses me and forces me to question the intelligence of Americans is that local people did not get the boot like the national leaders. Though I am conservative (not registered with any party though) I found nothing wrong with Americans deciding it was time to give someone else a chance to drive the ship. But why doesn't that trickle down to the local offices as well? Here in my city things are just like they are elsewhere. Times are tough. But who wins the seats on city council? The incumbents. Give me a break. It is nice to put a new guy in the White House but what is he really going to do for the city. To be frank, nothing. The city council has a lot more to do with our day-to-day lives than does the POTUS.

Now that the American people have voted I hope Obama is up to the challenge. It takes tough skin to take the blame for everything that happens. You have to figure since Bush gets blamed for car wrecks, hang nails and attic fires that Obama will get blamed for weird things as well. As an American I am left to hope he can keep half the promises he made. We sure as hell know he made a lot of them. I am not going to stand in front of the Mormon temple and demand the results change because they are not as I would want them. Obama won fair and square so he is the one to take over and I can live with that.

In a terrible attempt to abruptly wrap this up I will return to my 'Oregon/Obama' shirt. After I chuckled at the idiocy of the redneck I got in my vehicle and proceeded out of the parking lot to the intersection. It just so happened that I was one lane over and one car ahead of the redneck at the red light. With my Oregon 'O' sticker on the back I can only assume he thought I was taunting him. His windows were rolled up by then so I was not able to hear the venom I assume he was spewing. How dare I wear an 'Obama' shirt and put an 'Obama' sticker on my vehicle!