Friday, 07 January 2011

It’s Almost Game Time, Tigers!

We’re off to the 75th Cotton Bowl today. GEAUX TIGERS!!!

posted by retrophisch at 1:15 PM -->in LSU , football , fun , video
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Sunday, 31 October 2010

Running out of the tunnel at Tiger Stadium

Since LSU had a bye week this weekend, here’s a sight not many get to see:

The video was shot with a HD helmet cam attached to Seth Mannon, at the start of the game against West Virginia earlier this season.

posted by retrophisch at 9:58 PM -->in football , video
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Saturday, 04 September 2010

Callin’ Baton Rouge

I know the Tigers aren’t opening the season at home, but this time of year is when I miss the city I grew up in the most.

posted by retrophisch at 1:17 PM -->in football , video
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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

5 days to kickoff

Geaux Tigers!!!

posted by retrophisch at 5:26 PM -->in football , video
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Thursday, 26 August 2010

Less than 10 days to kickoff!

Geaux Tigers!!!

posted by retrophisch at 8:25 PM -->in football , video
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Friday, 09 July 2010

57 Days to Kickoff

Geaux Tigers!!!

posted by retrophisch at 6:57 PM -->in football , video
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Tuesday, 08 January 2008

Three times is charming

“Enjoy It Again! LSU Wins 2007 National Championship, 38-24”

LSU's Matt Flynn throwing against Ohio State
Photo courtesy of Associated Press

It was certainly a great night for the Tiger fans here in the Phisch Bowl. We had some fellow alumni over, as well as friends who are just college football fans, and their kids. We grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, had Zapp’s potato chips and Abita beer (Amber and Turbodog), even some king cake. We ate well, we cheered hard for our Tigers, and cheered harder still as the clock ran down in the fourth quarter.


posted by retrophisch at 1:19 AM -->in football
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Wednesday, 05 December 2007

Born to it

Monday night, my folks made the requisite birthday phone call, and while chatting with my dad, I was informed that thirty-seven years ago today, I witnessed my first LSU football game.

Not that I recall one lick of it, you understand, being all of two days old. But Dad held me and we watched LSU go at it against Ole Miss, which was quarterbacked by the legendary Archie Manning. Of the three games Archie played against the Tigers, this was the only one he lost, and the Rebels lost big, 61-17. Manning played the game with a protected broken arm. (They don’t make football players like they use to, though some come close.)

So for my friends who might not quite understand my passion for college football, especially the Tigers, you could say I was born to it, and it’s been with me ever since.


posted by retrophisch at 3:50 PM -->in football
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Monday, 03 December 2007

2007 College Football Bowl Schedule

In some cultures, it is customary for the one having a birthday, instead of receiving gifts, to give them to loved ones and friends.

Since I’m unemployed and living off of the labor of the hot number who agreed to swim through life with me, my gift to my college football-loving friends is a ready-made, iCalendar format calendar for the 2007 College Football Bowl season. From the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (there’s a mouthful) on December 20th through the Allstate BCS Championship Game (Geaux Tigers!) on January 8th, they’re all in there, complete with locations, the match-ups, and the station on which you can find the game, courtesy of ESPN. All times are for the Central time zone.

Just click on the link below, unzip the file, and open it in your calendar application of choice. (Provided said calendar application supports the iCalendar protocol. This was created in Apple’s iCal, so if you’re a Mac OS X user, you’re covered.) Enjoy!

2007 College Football Bowl Schedule

posted by retrophisch at 1:14 AM -->in football
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Saturday, 01 December 2007

I was wrong. It’s worse than I thought.

Some chatter by the sports media talking heads got me to wondering, so I did some research.

I was wrong when I stated that a team had to win their conference to play in the BCS national championship game, thus eliminating Georgia and Kansas from contention. According to the BCS Selection Policies and Procedures, the only requirements to play in the National Championship Game (NCG) is that the two teams must be ranked first and second in the BCS rankings.

What this means is that if the unlikely scenario I posited comes true, and Missouri, West Virginia, and Virginia Tech all lose, what we’d likely see is Ohio State and Georgia playing for the BCS championship. That’s right, one team that played its last game on 11/17, and the other on 11/24, each getting to play for the national title, and only one of whom won its conference. If that scenario isn’t just one of many which continues to scream the need for a playoff system, I don’t know what would be one.

What this means is that if somehow Mizzo, WV, and VT all lose—and things are tied up between BC and VT as of this writing—and LSU prevails, the pollsters would have to give my Tigers some serious love to vault them past Georgia and Kansas to put them in the national championship game. Otherwise, the best they can hope for is the Sugar Bowl. Given how badly they played last week against Arkansas, and the way they’ve struggled all through November, that may just be the best they should get any way. Geaux Tigers!!!

posted by retrophisch at 2:32 PM -->in football
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Sunday, 25 November 2007

The thoroughly unlikely, but hopeful, scenario

So the Tigers really blew it on Friday. Looking ahead to the SEC championship? Thinking of playing for the national title game? Distracted by the Miles-leaving-for-Michigan chatter? Whatever it was, the LSU football team was clearly not focused on getting past Arkansas, and it led to their number-one ranking being lost again in triple overtime.

Today’s BCS poll has the Tigers in the number seven spot, which is probably about right. (I think they should be ranked ahead of Virginia Tech, a team they trounced early in the season and which has not had as tough a schedule as the Tigers, but since when has playing in the toughest conference counted for anything with the polls?) It is possible for LSU to still advance to the BCS National Championship Game, but they need a lot of help, which they probably won’t get.

  1. The Tigers have to put the rest of the season behind them and take care of business against Tennessee in the SEC Championship. The same team that demolished a good Virginia Tech team in week two needs to emerge once again, because, quite frankly, we haven’t seen that team since around week two. The Tigers have a perennial problem of playing down to the level of their opponent, rather than at the consistently high level they should be playing at. This is what cost them the game against Arkansas, and could spell their doom against Tennessee.

  2. Missouri has to lose to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship. (Quite possible, as it appears that the Sooners are better now than when they beat Missouri earlier in the season.)

  3. West Virginia has to lose to Pittsburgh. (The most unlikely of these scenarios.)

  4. Virginia Tech has to lose to Boston College. (Will the Hokies fall twice in the same year to BC? It happened to Georgia against LSU in 2003. Unfortunately, this is probably the second least-likely outcome.)

If all of the above were to occur, LSU would theoretically be in the BCS Championship game against Ohio State. The season is over for Georgia and Kansas. Since they won’t win their conferences, they’re not allowed to play for the BCS title, despite being ranked by the BCS ahead of LSU.

What I think will actually happen is this:

  1. LSU beats Tennessee in a closer-than-it-should’ve-been contest to advance to the Sugar Bowl, much to the chagrin (again) of the Sugar Bowl committee and New Orleans Board of Tourism, both of which want the influx of cash from out-of-staters, rather than fans who can drive the 60 miles between New Orleans and Baton Rouge and still sleep in their own beds.

  2. Oklahoma upsets Missouri to win the Big 12.

  3. Boston College rallies from behind late in the game to upset VT.

  4. West Virginia trounces Pittsburgh much like what they did to Connecticut to advance to the BCS National Championship against Ohio State.

So we shall hope for the former scenario, while acknowledging the latter is far, far more likely…

posted by retrophisch at 9:55 PM -->in football
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Sunday, 04 November 2007

“But you can’t have a one-loss team ranked ahead of an unbeaten.”

Yeah? Why not?

Here’s the rub, looking at the latest AP poll and BCS rankings:

Ohio State may be unbeaten, but they haven’t exactly had a tough time in their lossless season. Of the three ranked teams they’ve played, and beaten, none of those teams have been ranked higher than 21. The Big Ten is not so big this season.

LSU, on the other hand, plays in the toughest conference in the land, widely acknowledged as such by the sports media and honest college football coaches and fans. As Mark May said one night on College GameDay Final, “Where do NFL scouts go first? The SEC.” LSU has played twice as many ranked teams to date as OSU, with a record of 5-1 against those opponents. None of those opponents were ranked lower than 17.

Sure, LSU hasn’t been putting up the big numbers against their opponents like the Buckeyes have done, but it’s easy to pad the score and go undefeated when you’re playing a bunch of nobodies. And this nonsense about Kansas leapfrogging the Tigers should the Jayhawks go undefeated? Please. The case for Kansas being number one or two is weak. Their only win against a ranked team was in-state rival Kansas State, which clocked in on the October 6th game day at number 24. Oklahoma has a much better case, even with its one loss, at a higher ranking, since both of its wins came against teams ranked above twenty. The Big 12 as a conference isn’t its usual powerful self this season either, but based on their schedule, I’d still put the Sooners ahead of the Buckeyes—and right behind LSU.

The Tigers have definitely had the hardest road to the national championship, and unlike OSU or Oregon, will have to play one more game to get there. (Barring, that is, back-to-back stumbles against Ole Miss and Arkansas, both in the bottom half of the SEC West.) Looking at the rest of the season, it’s very likely that LSU will be facing a Top 10 opponent in Georgia for that contest, eclipsing by ranking the twelfth-ranked Wolverines OSU faces on the seventeenth.

Ever since, and including, the game against Florida, LSU has been it’s own worst opponent, not the folks on the other side of the ball. Ivan Maisel calls it. The Tigers have played sloppy and undisciplined. It cost them at Kentucky, and made for much closer games against Florida, Auburn, and Alabama. Yet the Tigers still find ways to win against teams the likes of which Ohio State has nightmares about (Florida in Glendale earlier this year), and Oregon prays they won’t have to play in the post-season.

Why is so hard for an undefeated team to emerge from the SEC? Because the conference is just that good. Witness the rankings this week: no conference has more teams in the Top 25 than the SEC. Last season, no conference played in more bowls than the SEC. Last season, no conference won more bowl games than the SEC. (No one won as many as the SEC did, either.) You want to talk strength of schedule? Start with the Southeastern Conference, because that’s where the strength not only lives, but has drilled deep to lay the foundation the rest of college football wishes its conferences were built upon. At least five members of the sports media got it right this week: they cast their number-one votes for the Fighting Tigers of LSU.

If Les Miles can, ahem, “enlighten” his team to the point that the same Tigers who dismantled number-nine Virginia Tech in the second week show up for the rest of the season, the SEC Championship, and the national title game, God help whomever their opponent is.


posted by retrophisch at 8:45 PM -->in football
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Saturday, 20 October 2007

Feeling a little schizo today

Today is a historic day in the life of our little family: the little phisch is going to his first-ever live, in-person football game. My wife’s boss is a SMU alum, and secured us tickets to tonight’s contest against Tulane, which is where my wife graduated from law school. Before the game, we’ll be at the Tulane Alumni tailgate party, where I’m sure I’ll draw some stares, since I’m in my purple LSU shirt and tan LSU cap.

So here’s the rundown: with me in my LSU regalia, we’re going to be amongst Tulane grads for eats and drinks, assuring them that, yes, we’ll be rooting for the Green Wave during the game. We’ll be sitting in the heart of the SMU side of the field, amongst Mustang grads and their families, assuring them that, yes we’ll be rooting for the ponies during the game. Effectively, we’re going to be Switzerland, my wife told me earlier.

See why I’m feeling a little schizo with regard to college football today?

I’m just hoping it’s a decent football game. I’m also interested in checking out Gerald J. Ford Stadium, which is fairly new, having had its first games played in the 2000 season.

By the way, the game is on Fox Sports Network Southwest at 7 PM CST, so if you see the lone purple-shirt guy amongst a sea of blue, red, and white, that’s probably moi.

posted by retrophisch at 3:51 PM -->in football
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Friday, 31 August 2007

“Is the N in NFL for Nancy?”

The Dallas Stars have gone on the offensive, and hockey season hasn’t even started yet. As part of a new ticket sales campaign, several billboards have gone up around the Dallas metroplex, poking fun at the other three major sports, all represented in the metro area. The jab at baseball is a little weak, if you ask me, and the obvious NBA poke is time- and scandal-sensitive.

My favorite of the billboards, however, is the funniest and the most enduring. Taking a shot at the NFL, it reads:


Take that, Cowboy fans.

posted by retrophisch at 3:40 PM -->in football , fun , hockey
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Monday, 05 March 2007

Yeah, what he said

Tom’s thoughts on the National Anthem mirror my own.

The missus can regale you with many a tale of Super Bowl, college bowl, NASCAR, baseball, hockey, and other sports viewing wherein I severely critique the anthem singing because they fail in one of the ways Tom speaks of.

Look, we know you’re a good singer. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have been chosen in the first place. And if it’s a major sporting event, we know you’re a great singer.

(Or you’re just the flavor of the month, since we all know popularity doesn’t necessarily reflect impressive skill.)

(We do know that, right?)

posted by retrophisch at 1:41 PM -->in baseball , football , hockey , rant
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Sunday, 04 February 2007

Rex Defeatus Maximus

Well, the Rex Grossman Chicago fans have grown to fear and Colts fans have grown to love was the Rex Grossman that showed up for the Super Bowl™. And the Colts’ defense Colts fans hoped would show up did. Take away that the opening kickoff run back, and you have a blowout, ladies and gentlemen.

Had some fun geeking out on the technology used to show the American Professional Football National Championship™. (See NFL? Two can play the trademark game. Disclaimer: I graciously allow the use of this trademark by any and all persons in the United States and abroad except the National Football League™.)

Our church, like many others, decided to have a Party Which Shall Not Be Named™ to view the American Professional Football National Championship™ game. The kicker was this: said game would start whilst many members, notably the myriad teenagers who would be the prime audience for viewing of said game, were still in attendance of the 5 PM worship service. So, technology to the rescue.

Enter a church member’s TiVo, slaved to his Slingbox. This same fellow’s ThinkPad, with the appropriate Slingbox interface software, resides in the Dungeon, where the above-referenced game was going to be shown. The ThinkPad is hooked up to the Dungeon’s projector unit, resized to a viewing area of 55 inches to comply with NFL regulations. Voila! Kickoff for us was at 6:15 PM CST, and we didn’t have to endure Prince at halftime. (Much to the displeasure of some of the yoots in attendance; it was about a 50-50 split in the vote.)

It was a lot of fun listening to the cheers and jeers of the crowd for the commercials. For instance, the commercial featuring K-Fraud, er, Kevin Federline, was roundly jeered, until the end, when K-Fraud, er, Mr. Federline, is shown working as a fast food fry guy. The jeers quickly turned to cheers. Such is the opinion of most yoots, it would seem, of the former Mr. Britney Spears. (And sorry, Toyota, I can maybe buy that your new Tundra can haul that big load up that steep of a grade from a dead stop, but there’s no freaking way I’m buying it not sliding down the other side when the brakes are applied, anti-lock or not. Your commercial met with wide disapproval from our polled viewers.) Budweiser didn’t get any props from our yoots; apparently they don’t care how “old school” Jay-Z is, August Busch IV, you don’t show up Don Shula.

As a copyright holder myself, I wholeheartedly agree with Brent: the NFL was perfectly within their right to enforce their trademark against the church in Indiana. They just look like royal jerks for doing so.

The 55-inch restriction is a joke; if I had 300 of my closest friends over to my home where they, at no charge whatsoever, could consume beverages and food I purchased and cooked while they watched the Super Bowl™ on my 60-inch plasma (yeah, I wish), what’s the difference between that and the viewing at Fall Creek Baptist Church? (Trademark infringement and the church’s proposition to raise money for a mission trip aside.) That’s still 297 (or however you want to divvy up the households) Nielsen ratings the NFL and CBS aren’t going to get because these people are at my house, where the two are only getting a Nielsen rating of one. (And this is one they’re not even getting, because to have your home counted in the Nielsens, you have to sign your life away to get a little Big Brother Nielsen box.)

I’m not sure why the NFL chose this year to flex its muscle as it did against Fall Creek Baptist Church. I’m sure the NFL has been aware of churches and other non-profit institutions holding Parties Which Shall Not Be Named™ in the past. The American Professional Football National Championship™ has been around for too long, and Super Bowl™ Sunday (is that a trademarked phrase, too, NFL?) has become so ingrained in the American consciousness that I would be quite surprised if no one in the NFL hierarchy was aware of this practice. Again, they just look like royal jerks this go-around.

I, for one, had an enjoyable Super Bowl™ viewing this evening, even if we were limited to 55 inches when we could have gone to 72 or more. It was fun seeing and hearing the reactions of the teenagers, and watching my little phisch tear around the Dungeon while hocked up on watered-down—intentionally so—orange soda and cookies. I didn’t have to endure an obnoxious and overly lavish half-time show featuring a has-been artist. I got to hang out and joke around with Brent, and to a lesser degree, Nathan and Steve. I ate way too much pizza and way too many cookies.

I got to see Tony Dungy get the Super Bowl shot he deserved, and he led his team to victory. I’m happy that Peyton Manning will not become the next Dan Marino. I was glad former LSU Tiger Joseph Addai had a solid game, even if the rookie didn’t score a touchdown. No matter who’s playing, I’m looking forward to the Party Which Shall Not Be Named™ next year.

posted by retrophisch at 11:58 PM -->in football , tech
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Friday, 26 January 2007

Yes, but could he tame T.O.?

An observation I’ve made repeatedly to my spouse is that given the temperaments and egos of the engines of the Sodor Railway, I believe Sir Topham Hatt is experienced enough to manage a NBA or NFL team.

posted by retrophisch at 10:10 PM -->in football , parenting
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Tuesday, 23 January 2007

As if they don’t talk about the Cowboys enough in this town

I’d really hoped that Bill Parcells would stick around for another year as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, if for no other reason than to eliminate it as a topic of conversation and media salivation.

It’s not like this town isn’t hosting the NHL All-Star Game tomorrow night, or has a playoff-bound hockey team or anything…

posted by retrophisch at 11:30 AM -->in football , hockey
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Monday, 08 January 2007

SEC: Best conference in the land

Congratulations to the Florida Gators, who have secured their second national championship in 100 years of playing football. The Gators not only answered the question of the sports punditry—whether the Florida defense could slow down Troy Smith and the Buckeye offense—they trampled on it, threw it around, and crushed it in to the earth of the stadium in Glendale. Much like they did to Heisman Trophy winner Smith.

I’m sure the manhandling of Ohio State by Florida comes as a surprise to those who spend little time paying attention to SEC football, which, judging from the press coverage of the last month, leading right up to the kickoff, includes pretty much every sports writer and television personality in the country. These are the same pundits who seem fixated on the Big Ten, an independent team continually in the national mind only because of a TV broadcast deal, and a former-glory team from a mediocre West Coast conference. Perhaps now that two SEC teams have soundly trounced the aforementioned independent team and the season-long number-one Big Ten team, they will sit up and take notice of the powerhouse that is the Southeastern Conference. (Somehow, though, I doubt it.)

Lest, dear reader, you think I speak too quickly with this post’s pronouncement of the SEC being the best conference in the land, allow me to recap the post-season bowl records for you:

  • The Big Ten, from whence the former number-one Ohio State Buckeyes hail, finished a woeful 2-5 in bowl play.

  • The Big 12 finished only one game better at 3-5.

  • The pathetically mediocre Pac-10 finished at a pathetically mediocre .500, going 3-3.

  • The “up and coming” ACC, which was supposed to become a powerhouse conference after the uniting of Florida State, Miami, and Virginia Tech under the same banner, also finished even, at 4-4.

  • You may point to the Big East’s 5-0 record in bowl play as something worthy of note, until you compare the fact that the bowls in which the Big East played were of little consequence, with the exception of the Orange Bowl, which I am sure will be the lowest-rated of the BCS bowls because it featured a pair of teams pretty much no one cared about, nationally speaking.

What you should take from this then, dear reader—other than the fact that there are way too many bowl games now—is that the SEC finishes 6-3, and is home of the national champion for two of the past four years. The SEC earned more bowl spots than any other conference, and won more bowl games than any other conference. Yet I’ll wager you there won’t be more than one SEC team in the pre-season Top 5 for the 2007 season, given the fixations the sports media and coaches are afflicted with.

The 2006 college football season is now at an end, and I already await the 2007 season’s start in August. The SEC will be leading the way. Sports pundits, please pay attention.

posted by retrophisch at 11:41 PM -->in football
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Saturday, 06 January 2007

Question for Cowboys fans

How do you like Romo now?


Sorry, I’m a little giddy at the moment. I wonder what Drew Bledsoe is thinking.

posted by retrophisch at 10:28 PM -->in football
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Thursday, 04 January 2007

Speaking of overrated Notre Dame…

Mark Schlabach perfectly sums up my feelings regarding the constantly overrated Fighting Irish. Those pollsters who had them at #2 in the rankings at the beginning of the season look, well, pretty stupid right now, don’t they?

posted by retrophisch at 9:58 AM -->in football
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Sick of Saban

Dear ESPN,

I realize that it’s a pretty big deal that Nick Saban deserted the Miami Dolphins to become the highest paid college football coach in the country, but don’t you think it’s newsworthy that LSU exposed how overrated Notre Dame is in the Sugar Bowl last night, and that that should dominate the College Football home page?

Please rectify this at your earliest convenience.



Update: It appears I’ve been heard. (Shush and allow me this delusion, will you?) As of 12:20 PM CST when I checked the College Football home page, the upcoming championship game between Florida and Ohio State has replaced Saban as the main news of the moment. Still no love for my Tigers from the SEC-bigoted blowhards at ESPN.

posted by retrophisch at 9:49 AM -->in football
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Wednesday, 03 January 2007

Sick about Saban

Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick. How could you do this to us? How could you do this to the team you already had a commitment to?

I think I can speak for a lot of LSU fans in saying that we wanted to see the coach who brought the Tigers their second national championship do well. I’m not a huge fan of the NFL, and I don’t really cheer for any team in particular, but I wanted to see Nick Saban turn things around at Miami and lead a successful career as a NFL head coach. While I, like many, was disappointed to see Saban leave LSU, I could certainly understand his departure: after summitting the highest point in college football, he was ready for the next challenge.

Except Saban didn’t really give the next challenge the time—and thus, the effort—to do the same in the NFL that he did in the NCAA. It takes an extremely rare coach to turn a football team in a complete one-eighty in two years or less. Nick Saban, for all his prowess as a football coach, is not amoung that rare number. For Saban, the 2006 season in Miami was actually worse than 2005, and there must have been something in the Dolphins’ organization that told him 2007 wasn’t going to get any better. I could certainly be wrong, but Saban has never struck me as the kind of guy who would shy away from a challenge, unless he knew the challenge wasn’t worth it.

Then, of course, there’s the money. Nick Saban has become the highest-paid coach in college football, and he hasn’t won a game in Tuscaloosa yet. For all appearances, it appears that Pat Forde is right, and Saban is just as shallow as, well, pretty much anyone else. Not surprising, but certainly disappointing. Those who keep their word and stick around to the end of their contract become increasingly rare with each passing season.

But, Nick. Alabama? Alabama? LSU fans would be glad to welcome you back to the ranks of college football, even to the ranks of the SEC. But Alabama? Of all the teams you could have chosen to come back to, you have to pick the one with the most obnoxious fans in the Southeastern Conference. Fans who, though some of them aren’t old enough to remember Bear Bryant, pine for the glory days of Alabama football, and hope to see the ghost of the Bear return again to lead them to another championship. (And it doesn’t help that the same sports punditry which lauds USC and Notre Dame today for what those schools accomplished in yesteryear, do the same for Alabama and the days of Bear Bryant, as if there are no other schools in the south playing football and winning national championships.)

Then again, perhaps the Crimson Tide will get what they deserve. They want to win, and Saban has shown, at the college level at least, that he can deliver in that department. (After all, under Saban the Tigers were undefeated at Bryant-Denny Stadium, so we know it’s possible for him to win in Tuscaloosa.) But as Ivan Maisel points out, Saban is no Bryant, and now, having shown his true color—green—Alabama fans should in no way place any amount of trust in Saban sticking around for the long term. He may bring them a championship, but it’s unlikely he’ll deliver what they most lust for: a dynasty.

posted by retrophisch at 4:24 PM -->in football
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Sunday, 31 December 2006

Doomed by the dish

So it’s the biggest college football weekend of the year.

And I’m missing all of it.

I am not doing so willingly.

Friday, we had some thunderstorms in the area. Nothing too bad, though the rain was intense at times, and we had a few lightning strikes here and there. But it’s rained much worse, and we’ve had lightning last longer.

Our DirecTV satellite dish system became inoperable at some point Friday afternoon. Two days later, still nothing. It would seem, after all the troubleshooting I’ve done, that the problem is the dish is out of alignment.

My bride thinks the disalignment began with the severe cold snap we got last month, which brought in some ice, and we lost the satellite signal for about a day. She thinks, and I can’t find any fault in her logic, the weight from whatever ice collected on the dish was enough to begin the process, and wind since has steadily moved it more until it’s just off enough that we’re getting nothing.

Except last night.

At midnight.

When we were turning in, and I just kicked on the satellite receiver for the heck of it.

This morning, nada. Nothing. Reset all three receivers. Zip. Zero. On startup, the receivers never get beyond 0% in receiving the satellite signal. I’ve checked cables on all the receivers. I checked the cables in the OnQ box upstairs. My friend Drew suggested I disconnect one of the satellite lines from the multiplexer in the OnQ box and hook it directly in to one of the receivers, to rule out the multiplexer as the problem.

So I lugged my JVC 13-inch television, and the attached receiver, from the study, upstairs to the OnQ box, and plugged it in directly. Still nothing.

So, having ruled out everything else, it has to be the dish itself.

This is what was determined yesterday afternoon, when, after 24 hours of no signal, I called DirecTV technical support. (Note: If you have to do this, never waste time with the first-line customer service reps. All of the ones I’ve spoken with have been pleasant, but they’ve got limited knowledge, and your best bet is to ask them to connect you to “second-tier tech support”, where more knowledgeable folks reside.) The tech rep I spoke with, after I explained to her everything I had done to that point, said it sounded like everything had been ruled out but the dish itself. So she scheduled a technician to come out to the house to get up on the roof to realign the dish.



Just in case you didn’t catch that, the tech is coming on Thursday.

Thursday, January 4th. After which there is only one bowl game of any significance, the BCS Championship Game.

So if I get to watch any of the big bowl games tomorrow, it will only be due to Brent’s generosity in inviting me over to his place. I’ll get to watch the bowl game I care about the most, LSU vs Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl, over at Drew’s. (Which isn’t bad, since we all went to LSU, Drew and I were in ROTC together, and it’s always fun to watch the games with fellow alumni.) Still…Thursday?

Apparently the technicians don’t work on Sunday, and I can’t begrudge them a day off during the week. They’re not working on what is likely the second-biggest football day of the year (after Super Bowl Sunday, of course), since it’s New Year’s Day, and I can’t begrudge them having that day off, either. Likewise, no techs are being scheduled on Tuesday the 2d, as that’s the National Day of Mourning for President Ford. I can’t begrudge them that, either. And since Wednesday is the first day available after three straight days of unavailability, it’s booked solid when I called on Saturday afternoon. So I’m left with Thursday.

And while I can’t begrudge the techs the above three days off, I’m still left with the feeling that this all stinks. The timing absolutely sucks. At no point did anyone from DirecTV say, “Gee, you’ve been a customer of ours for nearly a decade. Let’s see how soon we can get someone out there.” Which would of course have made me deliriously happy, but we can’t always get what we want, which is someone out right now to fix the problem.

Because the problem is about twenty feet up, on the roof of our second-story home with a steep, pitched roof, and I have no ladder taller than eight feet. And while I don’t fear heights, the prospect of getting on the steep, pitched roof while it’s as windy as it is today—provided I had a ladder taller than eight feet—isn’t very appealing.

I know what those of you who know me are probably thinking: Why don’t you have Verizon’s FiOS TV, anyway? You have the fiber optic for Internet and phone, why not for television, too?

A good question, certainly, and the answer is this: because earlier this year, midway through January and before FiOS TV was available, my bride placed an order with DirecTV for two of their new satellite receiver/DVR units, and this locked us in to a new, two-year contract with DirecTV. Even though we were long out of our original contract. That’s why we don’t have FiOS TV. (And please don’t think I blame my wife in any way. The receivers these new ones replaced were old, and sucked, and we wanted DVR capability in the study and bedroom.)

I’m seriously considering looking into what it would cost us to break that last year with DirecTV. I’ve been looking at TiVo units direct from TiVo, because, despite the company’s problems, their product is still the best DVR available, and all others pale in comparison. There may be a hefty cost for a switch now, but I’m wondering if it would be worth it to never again have to worry about being doomed by a unaligned dish.

posted by retrophisch at 5:29 PM -->in football , rant , tech
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Sunday, 03 December 2006

Good bowl viewing appears to be on the horizon

There are times when it’s nice to be wrong, and I’m glad I was wrong regarding the poll voters living in yesteryear. They did the right thing, and put Florida in the BCS Championship game opposite Ohio State. That will be a great football game.

It looks like there will be several great football games featured in the upcoming bowl season. My Tigers will face Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl, and that looks like a great match-up. Michigan is going to face USC in a classic Big 10-vs.-Pac-10 Rose Bowl, and as usual, should be a good game, though I think Michigan is going to roll right over the Trojans. The Wolverines will be looking to prove something after seeing Florida vault over them in the standings, and I’m not sure the USC ego is going to recover from losing to UCLA. I’ll set aside my normal dislike for Michigan to root for them, as my dislike for the Pac-10 in general, and USC in particular, is so much stronger. (My best friend in high school—hi, Matt!—was from Ohio, and a huge OSU fan, so I picked up the Michigan dislike from him.)

Boise State against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl should yield another great game between well matched-up teams. Likewise with Arkansas and Wisconsin in the Capital One, West Virginia versus Georgia Tech in the Gator Bowl, and Tennessee against Penn State in the Outback. I know Brent is probably beside himself in anticipation of potentially seeing in person his beloved Auburn take on Nebraska in the Cotton Bowl. That should be another great game.

The only snoozer I see is the Orange Bowl. Will that many people really tune in to see Louisville take on Wake Forest? Granted, it will be the only college bowl game on that night, so I’m sure they’ll get a lot of viewers that way. (I confess, I’ll probably be one of those.) But I can’t imagine it pulling in the sort of ratings the other BCS bowls will. Louisville’s going to crush Wake Forest. I still believe the BCS needs to seriously consider the automatic bid for the Big East, and to a lesser extent, the ACC.

There look to be some good match-ups in the lesser bowls, too. Our local TCU Hornfrogs are in the bowl season opener, the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego, on December 19th. And what’s with these two minor bowls, the International Bowl in Toronto, and the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, being held after the first of the year? Get back to being scheduled before December 30th, as all minor bowls should be. ESPN has the entire schedule for your TiVo-setting pleasure.

So, go Florida! Go Michigan! Go Arkansas! Go Auburn! Go Tennessee! But most of all, Geaux Tigers!!

posted by retrophisch at 8:54 PM -->in football
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This year’s BCMess

Say, worshipers of the University of Spoiled Children: for there to be a dynasty, don’t you need to actually make it to the title game? Pardon me while I congratulate the Bruins of UCLA for an outstanding defensive effort, stifling the Trojans and keeping the overrated Pac-10 from a national championship shot.

So now all of the attention is on the poll voters, who will determine if Michigan or Florida deserves to play Ohio State on January 8th.

My two cents: the SEC is the toughest conference in all of the college football. To emerge undefeated from this conference, as Auburn did in 2004 (and was denied the national title shot) is one of the greatest team accomplishments in all of college football. Florida fell one game short of that goal this year, which is still a heck of an accomplishment, considering this is the SEC.

Michigan has a hell of a football team this year, no doubt about it. But Florida played one more game this year, and the Wolverines failed to win their conference, as that honor went to Ohio State. Frankly, I don’t think you should be allowed to play for the national championship if you fail to win your conference; this caused a lot of angst in 2003, when Oklahoma got to play LSU in the Sugar Bowl, even though the Sooners lost the Big 12 Championship game to Kansas State. In my mind, USC has a legitimate gripe they didn’t get the title shot in 2003, and I would hate to see the same thing happen to Florida this year.

I think the problem Florida will have with the poll voters is that too many of them are living in the glory days of yesteryear when the Big 10 and the Pac-10 did rule college football. Gentlemen, those days are over. The Pac-10 is a dim shadow of its former self, and the Big 12 has risen to national prominence. The SEC, Big 10, and Big 12 conferences are now college football’s elite. Florida and Michigan come from those conferences, but of those two, only Florida emerged as conference champion. My fear is that too many voters will overlook that fact.

Send Michigan to face USC in the Rose Bowl; you’ll get your big Pac-10 vs Big 10 bowl game to remind you of the yesteryear you seem fixated upon. Florida deserves to be in the desert facing the Buckeyes in January.

posted by retrophisch at 12:10 AM -->in football
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Saturday, 02 December 2006

How the mighty art fallen

We’ve known for quite a while now that the BCS was rife with flaws, but there is something seriously wrong with college football when Wake Forest is going to the Orange Bowl.

posted by retrophisch at 3:31 PM -->in football
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Sunday, 29 October 2006

All good things must come to an end

With St. Louis’s victory in the World Series Friday night, the perfect sports month comes to a close, even with three days left on the calendar. This was a less than perfect sports weekend for yours truly, given that the Tigers didn’t play yesterday, and in three weekend nights, the Stars only played once. They made the most of it, however, beating the Kings last night, 3-2, giving rookie netminder Mike Smith his second win in as many starts, and equalling the team’s best start ever at 9-2.

Oh well, I suppose I can always root for Carolina against Dallas tonight…

posted by retrophisch at 12:36 PM -->in baseball , football , hockey
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Sunday, 05 February 2006

Super Bowl commercials

My observations on the commercials shown during the Super Bowl. My top five are at the bottom.

I’ve moved the entire work below the break.


5:33 PM CST
I can’t believe Burger King wasted two million dollars (or whatever obnoxious amount the spots are going for this year) on the “Whopperettes”.

5:40 PM CST (That was a short four downs, Steelers.)
The “Magic Fridge” Bud commercial had me cracking up.

5:43 PM CST
Living in Texas, I get Spanish shoved down my throat enough, thanks, Toyota.

I liked the FedEx “Caveman” commercial. Something very Dilbertian about it.

Regarding it and the Bud Light “Bear attack” commercial, my wife ponders “Why do people think people getting killed or mauled is funny?”

5:51 PM CST
The Diet Pepsi-“Diddy” commercial left me flat. Nice use of an iPod, though.

5:58 PM CST
The Ameriquest “That killed’em” commercial is hysterical.

6:05 PM CST
The Diet Pepsi-Jackie Chan “Stunt double” commercial is genius.

SBC-AT&T, ho-hum. Can we work on upgrading the Cingular network instead of flushing money down the Super Bowl bowl?

6:12 PM CST
You would expect there to be a Budweiser Clydesdale football game commerical. You weren’t expecting the “Streaker”, were you?

Mobile ESPN: I like my sports, but…

6:17 PM CST
The monkey commercials are soooo played.

Cadillac’s Escalade coming up through the model runway is a cool effect, but otherwise a yawner.

6:19 PM CST
They are looking for any excuse to go to commercial, aren’t they?

Tom Cruise attempts to get you to donate more money to Scientology with the third installment of the Mission Impossible movie franchise.

I think it speaks highly of Dove that they spent their Super Bowl money on the Dove Self-Esteem Fund.

6:25 M CST
Further proof Disney has run out of creative ideas: let’s remake The Shaggy Dog with Tim Allen.

Ford scores big with Kermit the Frog and “It Ain’t Easy Being Green” for the new Escape Hybrid. (Take note, Toyota.)

The Michelob Ultra “Touch Football” commercial doesn’t score.

6:35 PM CST
I’ve already seen GoDaddy’s commercial, and it’s certainly the least risque thing they’ve run to date. (Only because this was the fourteenth cut of the commercial, and the network finally allowed it.)

6:38 PM CST
Further proof all of Hollywood has run of original ideas: let’s remake The Poseidon Adventure and shorten the title.

In case you couldn’t figure out that Gilette was releasing a five-blade shaver with all the teasers they’ve been airing the past two weeks, they actually show you the razor this go-around.

The extended Desperate Housewives plug with Shaq, Hawk, Sugar Ray (the boxer, younglings, not the band), and Hef brought a smile.

6:42 PM CST
A typical commercial.

6:44 PM CST
Good call, bringing in Kelsey Grammar to voice the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary commercial.

6:55 PM CST
I was wondering what the Sprint “Crime Deterrent” was going to be. That got a smile out of me.

I thought the NFL Network’s Super Bowl “Today we’re all unified” commercial was appropriately touching.

Nothing new with Nissan’s Xterra commercial. More bragging over the Motor Trend award.

The Rolling Stones may have been a “safe” choice, but they sound like crap. What a shocker they open with “Start Me Up”, the most recognized Stones song to the modern generation, thanks to Microsoft. Another thought: are the Stones heavy investors in those cryogenic businesses out in Arizona?

Maybe next year the network and league can come up with some entertainment that’s not putting out music no one listens to and has to rely on its thirty-plus year-old hits and brainless fans who show up tour after tour to shell out money to hear the same songs over and over.

7:20 PM CST
The Ford Mustang commercial you’ve been seeing for…well, quite awhile.

Typical cute commercial from Jack-in-the-Box.

One of the Nissan Titan “Work Truck” commercials featuring the theme from Stripes.

Is your local news channel putting out commercials like our ABC affiliate, touting their news team?

7:25 PM CST
The Disney commercials with the Seattle and Pittsburgh players practicing “I’m going to Disneyland!” is genius.

7:34 PM CST
I thought the time lapse of the meteor rock was pretty cool. Didn’t think it would result in a mobile phone being deposited on a beach.

7:42 PM CST
Budweiser’s “I won’t tell if you won’t” commercial with the pony “pulling” the beer wagon is cute.

Nationwide’s “Fabio shampoo” commercial starts off kind of funny, then gets creepy.

I liked the “Old Days” NFL Mobile commercial. “We ate non-organic foods and had to use the Internet!”

7:49 PM CST
Like most Hummer commercials, the “Love is Strange” one for the H3, featuring the giant robot and Godzilla clone having a “baby” just struck me as kind of, well, stupid.

The PS cleaning solutions commercial with everyone in biohazard suits was cute.

7:54 PM CST
I didn’t see it coming in CareerBuilder’s “That’s okay, I work with a bunch of jackasses.” That brought a chuckle.

The latest in Taco Bell’s “Good to Go” series for the Crunchwrap Supreme, featuring geek love. She’s pretty cute; ever since my love and I both started wearing spectacles, I’m noticing more cute chicks with them.

8:01 PM CST
Toyota is 0-2, this time with one of their “indestructible” truck commercials. The commercials shows a Tacoma, via time-lapse photography/video surveillance, getting bounced around by ocean waves while the owner is out kayaking or surfing, or something. Note to Toyota: try making a truck that doesn’t look effeminate, then we’ll talk about how tough they are.

8:14 PM CST
Another Sprint commercial, on music downloads to your phone, with a burning couch.

Nice usage of the sideline hash marks as sound levels in ESPN’s Monday Night Football spot.

Here in DFW, we got a Dodge MegaCab truck commercial, and an American Airlines spot featuring a guy packing for his wife so he can take her on a surprise dinner trip out of town.

Ho-hum spot for the Acura RL.

8:23 PM CST
Degree’s spot highlights a stunt man in various every day situations taken to the extreme.

I’ve never found the Emerald’s Nuts commercials very funny, and the “Druid under the stairs” one doesn’t so anything to change that.

The Fidelity-Paul McCartney spot you’ve seen numerous times before.

8:29 PM CST
Totally computer-generated, of course, but the Bud commercial that purports to show fans in a stadium with those flip signs pouring beer from a bottle to a glass is decent.

The MasterCard-MacGuyver spot is the best of the night.

8:34 PM CST
Another Mobile ESPN spot.

Nice Honda Ridgeline commercial featuring mud flap characters, who have “been around trucks for a long time”.

Here’s to Beer offers “Cheers” in multiple languages.

8:40 PM CST
Great spot for the World Baseball Classic.

The GoDaddy spot airs again.

The ESPN Monday Night Football spot airs again.

Commerical for the new Ford Explorer. (Was this a DFW/Texas-only spot?)

8:53 PM CST
Spot for the movie Running Scared.

Outback Steakhouse commercial with a guy speaking in an Australian accent trying to pry a boomerang off the wall. The whole schtick is “coming back”.

Spot from the Westin hotel chain, announcing they’re going all non-smoking.

Pro Bowl spot that I didn’t really get.

Game Over
I consider these spots shown immediately after the conclusion of the game to be the last Super Bowl commercials of the night.

Blockbuster lets everyone in the nation know they’re going after Netflix.

The same TGIFriday’s you’ve seen for the past few weeks, what appears to be a new All State insurance spot, and the same “Calendar” commercial they’ve been showing lately.

Top Five
These are my favorite commercials from tonight.

  1. MasterCard’s “MacGuyver”
  2. Bud’s “Magic Fridge”
  3. Ameriquest “That killed’em”
  4. Diet Pepsi-Jackie Chan “Stunt Can”
  5. Bud’s “Streaker”
posted by retrophisch at 5:37 PM -->in football , fun
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Super Bowl pre-game thoughts

Three and a half hours of pre-game coverage wasn’t enough time to get through all of the crap leading up to this game that you had to waste the first ten minutes of the “official” start of game coverage with the introduction of the MVPs from the previous thirty-nine Super Bowls?

Regarding the National Anthem: why do great singers feel compelled to remind us they’re great singers when they get up to sing “The Star Spangled Banner”? (I’m looking at you, Mr. Neville.) Just sing the song and show it some respect. (Side note to ABC and the NFL: you’re having a big enough spectacle at half time. There’s no need to make our National Anthem one, too.)

Did the Seattle Seahawks pick “Bittersweet Symphony” as the song to play when they were introduced? Dudes. Bad song to pick for a football game for the name alone. Bad song to pick for a football game for the music. (And I like the song.)

Then again, at least I recognized “Bittersweet Symphony”. The same cannot be said for the song which played when the Steelers were introduced.

Though the Steelers are the “road” team, they certainly appear to be the fans-in-the-stands favorite. Not surprising, given Detroit homeboy Jerome Bettis leading Pittsburgh on to the field.

posted by retrophisch at 5:29 PM -->in football
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Saturday, 21 January 2006

Shouldn’t dynasties win more than one?

Yes, they should.

Onepeat's proposed billboard

Above is the proposed billboard to be placed in a high-traffic area near the USC campus.

LSU grads in the Dallas area, annoyed by the media coverage over USC’s attempt at “a third-straight national championship”, have raised the necessary $10,000 for the proposed billboard, and are working with a Mobile firm in scouting for a suitable location. As you would imagine, even the Bruins are happy about it.

The message here, people, is that the Bowl Championship Series was created for the sole purpose of providing the means, in lieu of a playoff system, to determine the one, true national champion of Division I-A college football. God knows I have my myriad issues with the BCS, but it is, despite its faults, the system in place, and it should be respected. This is the vein of the message from

[Via Hugh via Xon.]

posted by retrophisch at 10:15 PM -->in football , fun
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Saturday, 31 December 2005

Thanks for nothing, Coach

Unlike the Tigers, the other SEC team that played yesterday apparently didn’t show up to play the whole game. South Carolina put up 21 unanswered points, then it was nearly all-Missouri the rest of the way. The Gamecocks managed to wake up in the fourth quarter, and tied the game at 31 aside before succumbing to Mizzou.

Steve Spurrier becomes the first SEC coach to lose at the Independence Bowl in thirteen straight appearances, ending the conference’s streak. As if we needed another reason to dislike Spurrier.

posted by retrophisch at 12:23 PM -->in football
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A new head coach. A devastating hurricane. Opening season games rescheduled. A heartbreaking overtime loss in what became the home opener, played on a Monday night rather than the traditional Saturday night due to another hurricane.

Then ten straight weeks of games. Ten straight wins. Then the eleventh game, in the eleventh week. For the conference championship. For a trip to the Sugar Bowl. For a chance to contend for the BCS National Championship crown, should one of the other favorites stumble.

But the hurricanes and the eleven weeks of practice, preparation, and playing take their toll, and the worst loss of the season is suffered. Adding injury to insult, the star quarterback is lost.

Cast down, sentenced to the next rung below the hallowed Bowl Championship Series.

Ranked number ten, facing number nine. The second-team quarterback is at the helm, in his first college career start. All of the pundits pick the number nine opponent. The fans pick the number nine opponent. On the same turf as the crushing loss three weeks before…

Oh, there were a few souls outside of Louisiana who picked the Tigers to beat Miami. Lou Holtz, God bless him, appears to be the only soul inside the USC-crazed ESPN crew without Trojan-emblazoned blinders on; he picks LSU as the winner of the 2005 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. By the end of the night, Lou is vindicated.

Things went great for the Miami Hurricanes.

For about five minutes.

On their first possession, they drove solidly down the field. The LSU defense, which collapsed against Georgia in the SEC Championship, held the Hurricanes to a field goal. It would be the only points Miami would score for the entire game.

It would be a game of few penalties, and fewer turnovers. Only one, an interception by the LSU defense against Miami’s freshman quarterback, put in the last four minutes of the game. It would be a game where many different words would be used to describe the play of the Fighting Tigers, of what happened to Miami, but it all keeps coming back to one word in particular.


LSU dominated the line of scrimmage, on both sides, from their first offensive series onward. The Tigers would score on eight straight possessions, beginning with the series that tied the game at three apiece.

Miami managed a mere 153 yards of total offense. Three of those yards was their total for the second half. The number-one pass defense in the country would give up 196 airborne yards and two touchdowns, without netting a single interception. The third-ranked overall Miami defense would give up a total of 468 yards, the most it has given up all season. The Miami offense would manage only six first downs. None of those were in the second half. The 37-point loss would be their worst bowl loss in school history.

This was the LSU team many expected to see this season. The team was disciplined, poised. The team was supportive of their new quarterback, and bent over backwards to take as much burden off of him as possible. The team was confident with Matt Flynn at the helm.

JaMarcus Russell is an incredible athlete. His play this year has been light-years better than last season. Yet Coach Les Miles may have to take a serious look at the position in the off-season. The better man for the job may have just led his team to a 40-3 victory over the last Hurricanes of the year.

posted by retrophisch at 1:05 AM -->in football
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Friday, 30 December 2005

Bowls lock arms

Speaking of college football, I have the Music City Bowl on in the background, and I noticed a few moments ago a commercial on behalf of the Football Bowl Association. Clearly, this is an opening salvo to maintain the status quo and not allow a playoff system for NCAA Division I-A football, the only level of any major college sport to not have a playoff system.

posted by retrophisch at 1:17 PM -->in football
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It’s nice to know I’m not alone

Jonathan Chait weighs in on why USC is overrated, noting how ESPN is leading the sports media in a frothing charge to bestow on the Trojans their—ahem—“third-straight” national championship.

[Thanks to my sweet for the Slate link.]

posted by retrophisch at 1:07 PM -->in football
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Sunday, 04 December 2005

Still no respect

Apparently, all common sense has left NCAA Divison I-A football rankings. Like we didn’t know that already.

Let me see if I get this straight: LSU begins the year with a new head coach; overcomes the fallout of Hurricane Katrina; has its season opener rescheduled to an off-week later in the season; has its second game, originally scheduled as a home game, played on the road, with a spectacular fourth-down play to win the game as time expires; has its third scheduled game of the year, now the first actual home game of the season, moved from Saturday night to Monday night, thanks to Hurricane Rita; loses said game to Tennessee in overtime, sloppily giving up a 21-point lead and allowing the Volunteers to tie the game; then wins every single game for the rest of the season, including beating Auburn, Alabama, and Florida, to clinch the SEC West.

The Tigers lose—and rightfully so, given the way they played—to Georgia in the SEC title game. So going in, LSU is the #3 or #4 team in the country, the #1 team in the SEC, but fails to clinch the championship. So this means a drop in the rankings for the Tigers, and they become the #2 team in the SEC, with the same record as Georgia, right?

That would be a no.

Not only did LSU fall out of the Top 10, to the likes of Notre Dame, Oregon, and Miami, because the loss—in the championship game—to Georgia gives them two conference losses, somehow Auburn—you remember Auburn, the team LSU defeated earlier in the season?—becomes the #2 team in the SEC and gets the bid for the Capital One Bowl. LSU goes to the Peach Bowl instead.

Not that I have anything against the Peach Bowl, seeing as how it’s sponsored by my favorite fast food chain. But it’s no Capital One Bowl. (NCAA football trivia: give the name of the Capital One Bowl before it was co-opted by corporate interests.)

So the trend continues. The Tigers got little respect, if any, in 2003 when they won the national championship, and given all they have been through this season, they get none at the end of the season either. Michael, Eric, my empathy with you deepens every year.

posted by retrophisch at 8:25 PM -->in football
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Saturday, 03 December 2005

I think Congress has better things to do

Let’s see: renewing the Patriot Act, the Senate needing to confirm Bush’s judicial nominees, as well as a Supreme Court nominee, et cetera, et cetera.

So what do they turn their attention to? Why, the Bowl Championship Series, of course.

Pay attention, because this is likely one of the few political issues Lawson and I will agree on: Representative Barton, you’re wasting your time, your colleagues’ time, the time of BCS board members, and taxpayer dollars. Congress has no business sticking its nose in to the BCS mess.

I wouldn’t go as far as Barton in saying the BCS is “deeply flawed,” though it has made some whoppers in the past few years: picking Oklahoma over USC to face LSU in 2003, and picking Oklahoma over Auburn to face USC in 2004 immediately spring to mind.

The solution to the problems of the BCS is not a Congressional investigation. Rather, the football bigwigs at the NCAA need to get together with the various bowl organizers and sponsors and develop a playoff system for Division I-A football where the championship game will be rotated among the bigger bowls. As the ESPN article notes, there’s a lot of money in the bowl games, particularly the BCS bowls, and a playoff system would theoretically kill off some of those dollars. I don’t believe that would happen; look at March Madness with NCAA Division I-A basketball.

Nevertheless, the overriding issue is money. If it wasn’t, then the cadets and midshipmen wouldn’t be crammed into the corners of the stadium for the annual Army-Navy game, but would be seated, out of respect, directly behind their teams’ benches. (We wouldn’t see that awful swoosh logo on those classically minimalist uniforms, either.)

Until the NCAA and the bowls figure out a way to not lose money, we won’t see the much-needed playoff system—for the only sport in Division I-A without a playoff system—for college football, and we will continue to have controversy over whom should play for the championship, and which team is truly number one.

posted by retrophisch at 5:05 PM -->in football , politics
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Sunday, 23 October 2005

And you built it that way why?

It rains nine months out of the year in Seattle. So why oh why would you replace an aging dome with an open-air stadium? Collective stupidity?

posted by retrophisch at 5:16 PM -->in football , rant
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Coastal elitism in college football

Or, The case against USC as #1.

You can blame the following on my friend Francisco, who got me started earlier this evening during an instant messaging chat.

Looking around college football, I continue to be amazed at how USC can be consistently ranked as the number-one football team in the country, given the conference they play in. It is very similar to the 1980s and 1990s, when Miami and Florida State were consistently picked as the #1 team any given year. I have deduced it is a form of coastal elitism on the part of the poll voters, much like the coastal elitism one has found recently in national elections and politics.

The majority of your sports media are concentrated on either coast of the nation. Their attention, therefore, is drawn to the teams likewise concentrated on either coast, to the detriment of the quality teams in the quality conferences in between the two coasts, a la “flyover country.” These quality conferences are the SEC, the Big 10, and the Big 12.

It’s very easy to go undefeated in the Big East when you’re playing against such powerhouses as Rutgers or Temple. Viz: Florida State K.O.’ed Duke today, and that’s worthy of their #11 ranking. At least now we have FSU, Miami, and Virginia Tech all in the same conference, the ACC. Too bad they are the only quality teams in the ACC, which means one of these three will, for the foreseeable future, always win the conference championship and contend for a national title. Miami’s presence was the only reason the Big East was ever in the BCS, since they were the only team from the Big East ever contending for the national championship. Now that Miami is in the ACC, the BCS needs to dump the Big East as an automatic BCS bowl-eligible conference.

USC is to the 2000s what FSU and Miami were to the ’80s and ’90s. They are the lone dominate team in their conference, so they go undefeated while beating up on the likes of Washington and Arizona. Then they have to worry about a single tough game at the end of the year, and having been built up by their success over mediocre teams and by the national sports media, they prevail.

Looking back at the 2003 season, it is a complete joke that USC, and the national sports media which backs it, should insist on a shared national title with LSU. (Disclaimer: I grew up in Baton Rouge and am a LSU alum, so yes, I’m biased. At least I admit it.) I agree that it was a travesty that USC did not get to play against LSU in the Sugar Bowl. I believe the same national sports media which lauds and supports USC today was also blinded by a declining Oklahoma program, and gave that team more votes than it deserved. Be that as it may, the BCS determined that LSU and Oklahoma would square off for the national title. The BCS used the same polls the national sports media voted in to make this determination. LSU won the Sugar Bowl, and was crowned college football’s national champion.

But the AP and USA Today poll voters rebelled against the BCS, and anointed Rose Bowl winner USC the number one spot. USC, and the national sports media which voted for them, thus claims a shared national title with LSU, the very thing the BCS was created to prevent.

This is despite, counting their respective bowl game opponents, that LSU beat four Top 20 teams during the course of the year while USC only beat two. You can make the argument LSU beat five Top 20 teams, but the BCS doesn’t credit LSU’s SEC championship victory over Georgia, since that was the second time that year the Tigers were victorious over the Bulldogs. This is despite the fact that Georgia was ranked higher at the time of the SEC championship than they were earlier in the year when they first lost to LSU. Using the BCS’s strength of schedule statistic, Georgia was a tougher opponent the second time around, and LSU beat them by a larger margin of victory. LSU also played one more game (the conference championship) in 2003 than USC did.

Statistically, LSU was the superior team. They played in the BCS championship game, and they prevailed. The Fighting Tigers of LSU are the sole national champions of college football for 2003.

Let us allow, for a moment, that there is a shared title for 2003 between LSU and USC. I, for one, would then like USC and the national sports media to acknowledge a shared national title for 2004 between USC and Auburn. Each team went 13-0. Including their bowl game opponents, Auburn beat five Top 20 teams to USC’s three. Again, the SEC team has the strength of schedule argument firmly in its camp. Auburn was denied the BCS shot, just as USC was the year before, by a national sports media still enamored with Oklahoma. You would think USC would have some empathy for Auburn, but no.

USC worshippers’ argument against a shared title for 2004 is that USC both won the BCS championship game and got the poll votes. My contention is that the poll votes are only useful as part of determining who is in the BCS championship game. After that particular game is over, who cares what else happened in the other bowl games? Hence, my contention that USC has no claim to a shared title in 2003.

That brings us to the 2005 season, and the end of week 9. USC is still #1, with Texas #2. (Disclaimer: I am a resident of the state of Texas, though I have no personal affiliation with the University of Texas, other than I would like to see the schools of my home state do well. Again, at least I admit to bias, little though it may be.) Up to this stage of the season, both teams have played the same number of Top 20 teams: three. However, Texas’s opponents have been higher ranked, and given those opponents, the wins more impressive. I look at Texas’s win over Ohio State as more impressive than USC’s win over Notre Dame. Certainly, the win by the Longhorns over Texas Tech today was more impressive than USC’s victory over Washington.

This is not to say that I think USC is a mediocre football team. I think they are a very good football team. A very good football team in a mediocre conference.

If I were voting, and in control of college football rankings, I could easily see a two-way tie for first. USC is neither of those teams. My two-way tie would be Texas-Georgia. USC comes in at #3, with Virgina Tech trailing them, not at their current #3 spot.

Looking at the history of college football over the past 30 years, it is consistently harder for an undefeated team to emerge from the SEC, the Big 10, or the Big 12, because a majority of the teams in those conferences are quality teams. Conversely, in the PAC 10, ACC, and Big East, in the past 30 years, a minority of teams in those conferences have been quality teams. Yet there is a disproportionate amount of these minority teams claiming the national title.

The PAC 10 is a stronger conference in 2005 than it was in 2003 or 2004. California and UCLA have both stepped up their game, and UCLA holds the same record as the Trojans of USC. (Yet they’re ranked down at #9; what does this say about the Trojans’ ranking at #1? That it’s overrated and undeserved, that’s what.) Yet saying the PAC 10 is a stronger conference in 2005 is like saying the ACC is a stronger conference in 2004, when Miami joined to form the championship triumvirate with FSU and Virginia Tech. As conferences, these two are not in the same league as the SEC, Big 10, and Big 12. And that fact should carry some weight when it comes to poll voting.

The BCS isn’t a perfect system for determining a national champion, and I have admitted as much in the past. Nick Saban, who led LSU to their championship for the 2003 season, stated he would like to see something on the order of “BCS plus one.” That would have eliminated the debate over a shared title with USC. (What would have eliminated the debate over a shared title is if the poll voters and the BCS would have gotten it right and put USC against LSU in the first place.) Auburn coach Tommy Tupperville echoed Saban’s sentiment a year later, when his team was denied a shot at USC. What is hinted at in this statement is something I have long contended: it’s time for a playoff system in college football, the only major sport without one. Rankings can be used to determine seeds, and you can use the bowls as the setting for the playoff games, continuing to rotate which bowl is the championship game.

In the end, you have a single team standing, and no one making a claim for a split title.

posted by retrophisch at 12:29 AM -->in football
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Tuesday, 11 October 2005

Two football games, one day

The Northwestern College Eagles, NCAA Division III, have done something no other college football team at any level has ever done: played two games in a single day. They started the day 3-2, and finished 5-2, outscoring their two opponents 106-14 and accumulating more than 1,000 yards of offense.

Bravo, Eagles, bravo.

posted by retrophisch at 11:30 PM -->in football
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Saturday, 24 September 2005

So we’re even rewriting sports history right now

Attention Steve Levy and the rest of ESPN’s anchors:

USC did not win the national championship in 2003.

USC did not win the national championship in 2003.

USC did



the national championship in 2003.

The Trojans did not play in the BCS national championship game for the 2003 season. The BCS was created to determine a single national champion. For 2003, that national champion is LSU.

USC is not a two-time defending national champion. If you continue to insist they are, then I expect you to also refer to Auburn as a current defending national champion.

posted by retrophisch at 10:13 PM -->in football , rant
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Monday, 14 October 2002

Why we need a college football playoff system

Can someone please explain to me why the Miami Hurricanes continue to be voted the #1 college football team in the country? I mean, look at these football powerhouses that Miami plays: Florida A&M, Temple, Connecticut, Rutgers, and Syracuse (sorry, Jim). They may play two or three good teams a year, and this is worthy of a national championship?

We are in desperate need of a playoff system for college football to determine a true national champion. We do it for every other major sport: the College World Series, the Final Four for basketball, and the Frozen Four for hockey. Why can we not do this for football?

The system is already in place with the various bowl games we have at the end of the year. You rotate the championship game from bowl to bowl like the BCS does now, and the other bowl games are part of the playoff system. I guess it’s the simple, common sense things that elude us sometimes.

posted by retrophisch at 12:59 AM -->in football
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