Thursday, October 27, 2005

Ranting Up A Storm

One of the worst things about the new dress code in the NBA is the number of Steve Harvey/Magic Johnson/ Michael Irvin suits that will be seen on the sidelines at NBA games. The suits will be outrageously bad and ugly, because of lack of personal style and because it's very difficult to put a 7 footer in Armani. If I were in the league, I would wear the loudest, most outrageous colors I could, like TNT's Craig Seger. I would do so to show the commissioner how silly the rule is. The great sports writer Frank Deford mentioned that it was ironic that the NBA and Stern would use the 'Hip Hop' culture to sell its brand, and then condemn its players for dressing in said style, as though it will somehow change the league's image. I've never, ever seen Dennis Rodman in a suit, and he played alongside the always suited Michael Jordan for several years in Chicago, and somehow, they won 3 world championships together. Go figure.

The Bush Administration is out to lunch. First they nominate Mrs. Miers for the position without completely vetting her, and then they act appalled when she doesn't turn out to be the candidate that she was already most certainly not in the first place. Conservatives were worried about her beliefs on abortion and affirmative action, and somehow that was strong enough to shame the President into allowing her to resign. I know he wishes it was a year ago, when he, Karl Rove and Co. were preparing to get 58 million of their friends together to go out and kick Kerry's ass on election day. What a difference a year makes. And if Scooter Libby and Rove are indicted, they will do the following in this order: 1) Resign 2) Do their probationary work 3) Write their books 4) Rove will open up his consultancy firm and they will both tour the country and the world giving very expensive speeches...Nothing changed.

Rosa Parks
I mentioned the other day that the President had nothing to say about our dear departed sister Rosa Parks. It was pointed out to me rather audaciously that Bush had mentioned Parks. At the time of my email, I had checked all available wire services and websites, and there was no statement posted. When I finally heard his statement, I realized that he had added her on at the end of a a footnote. It was also pointed out to me to be fair. I assume that fairness should be extended to a President who is not even fair to fellow Americans. And since he and I are in very different positions, his being the leader of the Free World, and mine being a photographer for Clear Channel, I will not judge solely. However, since he is the Chief Executive of the United States of America, I will, as is my constitutional right, question, harrass, analyze, dispute, argue and breakdown anything coming from the Bush Administration if I damn well please. And I will do so because on Dec. 16, 1791 the Freedom of Speech was ratified, thus giving American citizens like myself the right to do so. Be fair? Ask the displaced in the Gulf region if this President has been fair to them. Ask the students who will see a reduction in financial aid and student loans in years to come, thanks to THIS CONGRESS, if they think the President has been fair. Ask the soldiers dying in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places if it's fair that they are there. And when indeed, this President, who works for me, and not the other way around, is even the least bit fair with me and my fellow Americans, then just maybe I will be fair with him.

The fans of Louisiana deserve better than this. Granted the Saints being there has been a losing proposition from the beginning, and Los Angeles has been yearning for a team since the Raiders moved back home to Oakland and the Rams moved to St. Louis, but come on. At least put the team in a place near where their few fans were. At least put the team in San Antonio. San Antonio can support the team. San Antonio has a new venue that needs no repair. San Antonio is at least within a few hours of New Orleans, and much like NO has a flavor and style all its own. L.A. would just be another in a series of money making ventures for the league. They've let two teams leave in the past 15 years, why do they deserve another?

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

College Football Week 5 Analysis

I will admit that I was wrong. Sure, I wrote that little insurance line saying ' if they get to him early, and shut down the receivers and force him to be more mobile, then 'Bama's chances will increase heavily...' That was merely insurance, I didn't actually believe it would happen. Well, now I do. I was wrong quite a bit with my analysis for this past weekend's games, but since I've been writing about sports for 7 years now, I figure one bad weekend, shouldn't tarnish my record or my credibility. So with that, let's roll. And this week, because of the Tide, we're starting in the SEC.

#10 Tennessee 27 - Ole Miss 10
#4 LSU 37 - Mississippi State 7
#15 Alabama 31 - #5 Florida 3
Auburn 48 - South Carolina 7
Vanderbilt 15 - Middle Tennessee 17

No wonder Vandy wasn't ranked despite being 4-0 going into the Middle Tennessee game. The writers new something that several of us didn't, that it was possibly a fluke. Vandy lost a very close one in Nashville to their in-state rival by two. And I was wrong about that game too, though I did say in parentheses that they should win the game. Tennessee naturally rolled over Ole Miss, after playing two games on the road in one week. Very impressive stuff from Gerald Riggs, Jr. as he rumbled all over the Rebels all day. LSU handily defeated Mississippi State erasing the thoughts of their Monday night loss to the Vols. Auburn (naturally) beat the snot out of South Carolina. The ol' ball coach is having a tough time, and the road doesn't really look to get any easier any time soon. Talk about interesting roads, Alabama should have unbelievable praise heaped on them for their wonderful performance Saturday afternoon. They were fired up on special teams, defense and offense. Brody Croyle had as perfect a game as you could ask for, and worked well with his offensive weapons. And once again the Tide D disspelled the immediate aura around Urban Meyer's new offensive system at Florida, as they were held to one field goal all day. Chris Leak was left helpless against the raging horde that is the Alabama D as they forced him into one bad decision after another. In the second half, his receivers suddenly had short arms, dropping passes left and right as he yelled and implored them to keep their heads in the game. He looked like a whining child out there. It was not a good weekend for Leak. But then again, despite the greatness of Alabama's performance, on a routine pass, while up by 28, the most exciting player on their team, Tyrone Prothro, went up for the ball, and came down wrong on his ankle, and broke it. He didn't cry or wince, and was carried off on a stretcher. After I noted that he wasn't crying, my friend Trumaine said, "He's 5"10 and 180 lbs in the SEC, he ain't no punk!" What effect this will have on Alabama is uncertain, but it will be significant. Smitty, you were absolutely right, and for this week, you are the Big Kahuna.

This Saturday, Kentucky will lose at South Carolina, as Spurrier will beat up on the cellar dwelling Wildcats of the SEC. Florida will rebound from this past week's loss and travel to Starkville and beat the Bulldogs of MSU. I believe that the Citadel will outlast Ole Miss in a slugfest, and that Vandy will lose to the visiting Tigers of LSU. If Vandy beats LSU, then this past week's loss was merely a bump in the road, and the Commodores are for real. Arkansas will beat Louisiana-Lafayette in a close game in Razorback country. The Dawgs of Georgia, after having the weekend off will show just how good they are as they avenge last year's loss to Tennessee by coming away victors in Knoxville. They will have to figure out a way however, to CONTAIN Gerald Riggs, Jr. And DJ Shockley will have to have a near perfect performance with limited mistakes.

#19 Virginia 33 - Maryland 45
#3 Virginia Tech 34 - West Virginia 17
#21 Boston College 38 - Ball State 0
Duke 21 - Navy 28
North Carolina 31 - Utah 17
Wake Forest 31 - Clemson 27
#6 Florida State 38 - Syracuse 14
#9 Miami 27 - South Florida 7

The ACC upset of the week was easily the Terrapins of Maryland over the Cavaliers of Virginia. At home, Maryland stood its ground and beat its ranked conference rival and neighboring cousin by 12. V Tech naturally rolled over West Virginia by double digits, as BC put a hurting on reeling Ball State, leaving them scoreless. Duke let me down, and lost to Navy by 7 at home, while North Carolina proved me wrong and soundly defeated the Utes of Utah by 14. I was wrong again in choosing Clemson over Wake, who won by 4. And in the natural order of things category, Florida State beat Syracuse while Miami beat South Florida.

This weekend, the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech will defeat North Carolina State at Bobby Dodd Stadium on North Avenue, while North Carolina will lose to Louisville on the road. Boston College will edge UVA in one of the top games of the day, while Florida State will embarass Wake Forest in Tallahassee. Miami will destroy Duke, Maryland will down winless Temple and Virginia Tech will move to 6-0 after defeating Marshall at home.

The Big Ten
#17 Wisconsin 41 - Indiana 24
Iowa 35 - Illinois 7
Michigan 34 - #11 Michigan State 31
Penn State 44 - #18 Minnesota 18
#22 Purdue 28 - #13 Notre Dame 49

Wisconsin let the rest of the conference know that they wouldn't let up after their victory over enigmatic Michigan last week, by defeating Indiana by 17 this week. Iowa, as I called it, punched the Illini in the mouth and won by 28. Penn State took out a great deal of frustration on the visiting Golden Gophers of Minnesota and trounced on them by 26 points. Purdue, as expected lost to the visiting Irish of Notre Dame. But the big game of the week in the Big Ten was the Michigan-State game. With a great deal of talk leading up to this game, Michigan won the game by never letting up. And though I guessed wrong on the winner, I did note that the Wolverines would 'fight for everything they have to ruin State's chance at a perfect season.' And they did just that. Where be your jibes now Ryan?

The Buckeyes of The Ohio State University will travel to Pennsylvania and defeat the high flying and undefeated Nittany Lions of Penn State. I think that this week, Ron Zook will put it all together as the Illini will defeat the Hoosiers in Bloomington. Wisconsin will run roughshod through Evanston, Illinois as the Badgers will defeat Northwestern. At home, Purdue will beat Iowa and it depends on whic Michigan team will show up in Ann Arbor to decide who will win the Bucket this year as Michigan and Minnesota square off in a classic game.

The Pac 10
#1 USC 38 - #14 Arizona State 28
Oregon State 44 - Washington State 33
Oregon 44 - Stanford 20
#12 California 28 - Arizona 0
#20 UCLA 21 - Washington 17

In a close game all afternoon, USC pulled away from Arizona State. The Sun Devils led throughout the game and into the fourth quarter, but they never could put USC away. And with the Trojans' ability to score so quickly, a team has to be able to put them away. Reggie Bush and Lindale White will simply not let them lose. Arizona State is no slouch either however, and were one or two plays away from the upset of the season. As I called it, Washington State lost their first game of the season, while the Beavers of Oregon State rolled to an eleven point victory at home. Oregon naturally beat Stanford while Cal did the same to Arizona, leaving them scoreless. And for the second weekend in a row, Ty Willingham has proved me wrong, as the Huskies of Washington lost what I predicted to be a tight game, to the Bruins of UCLA.

This week, Washington State will defeat the visiting Stanford Cardinal, while USC will have a field day with the Arizona Wildcats at home. Cal will edge UCLA in what will be one of the top games of the weekend as the two ranked teams will go at it in Westwood. Arizona State and Oregon will play in the 'we just lost the last two games after we had a lead to USC' Bowl in Tempe, while the Sun Devils will maintain their flashes of brilliance and pull off the win at home.

The Big XII
#2 Texas 51 - Missouri 20
Texas A&M 16 - Baylor 13 OT
Colorado 34 - Oklahoma State 0
Nebraska 27 - #23 Iowa State 20 OT
Oklahoma 43 - Kansas State 21
#16 Texas Tech 30 - Kansas 17

The only game that I called wrong was the Colorado game, so I'll start there. I don't know what the Cowboys of Oklahoma State were doing, but they were truly lost out there. Texas steamrolled over Missouri by 31 as Texas Tech ran over the Jayhawks of Kansas for yet another victory. A&M should have never let it get this close, but in the end, they defended Kyle Field, as Baylor receieved its first loss of the season, in overtime. As I called it, Nebraska beat Iowa State to give the Cyclones their first loss of the season, while as I also called it OU ran over K State.

All roads in the Big XII lead to the most beautiful city in the world, Dallas, TX. On Saturday, the long awaited, much anticipated Red River shootout takes place in Dallas at the storied Cotton Bowl at 1pm EST. Texas will defeat Oklahoma. Vince will have a very big day. No need for extra talk, just know that for the first time in a long time, the Golden Hat will travel to Austin where it will reside as the first of many trophies that the Horns will earn this year. In the battle of Kansas, K State will edge their in-state rival Jayhawks. Both coming off of their first loss of the year, Baylor and Iowa State will play a great game that the Cyclones will win while Okie State and Missouri are a toss-up. Texas A&M and Colorado will battle all day with the Aggies coming away with the win, while Texas Tech and Nebraska will play a mammoth game in this battle of unbeatens in which Texas Tech will defeat the Huskers at home.

The real question is, what will the loss of Prothro do to Alabama? Only time will tell. Texas needs to beat OU handily this weekend, or the national championship hopes will be in doubt. USC is not unbeatable. That's not a profound statement, but rather a true one. They are not unbeatable, and quite human. At the same time however, they are so very dangerous, and that makes it infuriating to watch them. But, there will be some great games once again this weekend, particularly in the Big XII, SEC and even one or two in the Pac 10.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.