Conference Championships and NFL Week 14 Trash Talk

Pretty big weekend of football. After some thrills from Rivalry Weekend, and one very big disappointment from the Wolverweenies’ failure to slay the Sweatervests of Ohio State, this weekend serves up some great conference championship games and excellent late season matchups in the NFL. Let’s see what’s on tap:

In the college ranks, Louisville topped Cincinnati Thursday night, in overtime, in their farewell to the American Athletic Conference. And Bowling Green State absolutely put a licking on previously undefeated BCS Buster darling Northern Illinois. The busters are done for this year, we are on to the big boys. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State tee off in an early game, starting at 12 noon EST on ABC. That is strictly for masochists, and the Cowboys should roll the Sooners.

The real fun starts at 3:30pm EST on Fox when the Longwhorens kickck off against the Baylor Bears in the Bears’ den in Waco. Pretty easy to take Baylor here, and I will, but this might be close. Hard to believe, but Mack Brown got the Whorens gelled and playing fairly decent and probably saved his job. Which is just fine by me, I think the Whorens and Mack Brown deserve each other forever!

Then, only a half hour later, is the SEC title game at 4pm EST on CBS from the dome int Atlanta. Auburn is the favorite by a point over Missouri in the Battle of the Tigers. Auburn sure appears to be a team of destiny this year after their last second crazy wins over Georgia and Alabama to close out the regular season. Auburn has a great rushing attack and seems to score just enough on offense to win (also of course, special teams are solid). But Missouri, with James Franklin back in full charge of the offense after a mid season injury, has a far superior passing game and a plenty competent rushing game. Missouri has a clear edge on defense. I’ll take Missouri in a mild upset.

Sadly, it will take intervention from aliens to give Duke a chance against the crime concealers of Florida State in the ACC title matchup. game starts at 8pm EST and is on ABC. Unlikeliness aside, I will be rooting for the Dookies I just cannot shake that slimy press conference where a laughing and joking asshole of a public servant, DA Willie Meggs, gleefully announced he would not charge homeboy hero Jameis Winston with rape. Let me make one thing perfectly clear, and I can tell you this from experience: rapes cases are sent to juries every day, in every general felony jurisdiction court in the country, with exactly the “problems” Meggs claimed exist in the Winston case. Meggs and the Tallahassee Police had a victim who called rape from the very start and there was DNA evidence. That kind of case usually gets filed, irrespective of what the eventual outcome is. So DA Meggs, and the Tallahassee PD, which affirmatively tried to scare the victim out of cooperating and seeking prosecution, are gaint embarrassments to the law and their communities. What scum. As an aside, contrast the coddling of Jameis Winston with what happened to an ordinary male student at Auburn, who had his whole life sucked out from him by the university with no proper due process an confrontation ability. College athletics are run by a craven NCAA and controlled by boosterism and double standards for coddled athletes. Normal college life for regular students is increasingly a “zero tolerance” nightmare. Neither standard is appropriate, there must be a responsible middle ground.

And speaking of cowardly game over propriety scum, Ohio State is right back at it. Urban Meyer, Jim Sweatervest, whatever, same difference, just a different year. Marcus Hall sucker punched a Michigan player, and brutalized equipment and items in a fit of rage on the sideline before giving the double bird to the fans in the Big House last weekend. But, don’t fret, Mr. Morality, Urban Meyer (the moral compass behind Aaron Hernandez and the Pouncey brother’s college upbringing) has decided that simply “not starting” Hall, but letting him play the rest of the game, is really tough and more than enough punishment. Nothing has changed at Ohio State, and how Meyer ever got, much less maintains, his reputation as a “clean” coach is beyond baffling. As to the game, it is a pretty good match. OSU has the number two rushing attack in the country and Sparty has the number one rushing defense in the country. Power on power. Both have mediocre, at best, passing offenses, but Sparty has a far superior passing defense. The game is in the dome in Indianapolis, so weather not a factor. This game is too close to call, and is therefore a pick em, but GO SPARTY!

Last game is what, of course, really has me nervous. The Pac-12 Championship Game right here in Tempe, to be played on Frank Kush Field. The Sun Devils and The Tree. A grudge match between me and Fearless Roving Reporter Rosalind. The Sun Devils have had the feel of being the better team the second half of the season, after getting drubbed early in the year in Palo Alto. ASU has a better passing offense with Taylor Kelly, which is odd, because I think Kevin Hogan is actually a better QB. Both teams have solid run defenses, with a slight edge to Stanford, but the Devils have a lot better pass defense. Stanford has giant smart lugs on both lines, and they flat wear you out over the course of a game. It will be a real test to see if ASU can hang for an entire game (and not let the Tree take a huge lead early, like the first game). This and the B1G game are the two best games today, and they are both on at the same time. Shame.

Went long with the colleges, so only a quick look at the pros. Obviously, the biggest game is the SeaSquawks at Candlestick to visit the Niners. Seattle killed SF the first time around, but that game was in Seattle and the Niners have gotten their act together in last couple of weeks it appears. I think Seattle is the better team, and Russell Wilson the better QB and the game will be closer but the Squawks win. Other big time game is Panthers at the Saints. Carolina is the sexy pick lately, but I’ll take Drew Brees at home in the dome.

The Rams at Cardinals could actually be a great game. Pretty evenly matched teams, but the Cards are tough at home. Lastly, the Pack host the Dirty birds of Atlanta on the Frozen Tundra. No, this doesn’t look to be a great game, but if the Cheese can’t find a way to win, the season is done. If they can pull out a win by some means or another and get Aaron Rodgers back for the last three games, they might, possibly, have a chance. Looking grim though.

Music today is by the Glenn Miller Orchestra with a great big band jazzy version of Sleigh Ride. Very tasty.

82 replies
  1. rosalind says:

    go Stanford!!!

    and an interesting read ‘Pac-12 Championship: Hits to Arizona State’s helmets closely watched’

    “The blood, saliva and urine of 36 players has been regularly collected since the preseason. All of the players, most of whom are starters, volunteered.

    Fluid samples are being compared against data from Riddell impact sensors worn inside helmets since the first contact practice of the season. Of most interest are players who have received the hardest hits, the most hits and the handful of players who have been clinically diagnosed with concussions this season.

    The goal is to see whether molecules floating around in any one of the fluids indicate the presence of a head injury, said Matt Huentelman, associate professor of the neurogenomics lab at Phoenix’s Translational Genomics Research Institute.”,0,7885066.story#axzz2moQhNV2W

  2. Peterr says:

    Nothing about the MLS Cup championship, being played today between Real Salt Lake and Sporting KC on the frozen tundra of Sporting Park in KC? Game time is 3pm, with the playing temp estimated to be around 20 — with it falling throughout the game as afternoon turns into evening.

    Go Sporting KC!

  3. Peterr says:

    @rosalind: So it’s the Tree vs the Lab Rats in the SortaPac championship?

    Sorry, rosalind, but I’ve gotta go with the Lab Rats and bmaz on this one.

  4. what constitution? says:

    I’ll take the Team Playing for the Stanford Band this weekend, based largely on The Most Durable Back in College Football, Mr. Gaffney. If the ND game is any indication, Gaffney should carry 163 consecutive times for just under 652 yards (and three or four TDs)this week against ASU, all up the middle. Quite the throwback.

  5. Jim White says:

    Should Sparty beat the Nuts tonight, my bold prediction is that Meyer will spend at least part of the night in the hospital just as he did when Bama whipped the undefeated Gators in the SEC Championship in Saint Tebow’s senior year. And I will laugh my ass off when it happens.

    I will team up with Rosalind on the nightcap since I did time with the Trees. The Forkers’ best chance would be to get softball umpires to call the game and start Escobedo at QB.

  6. JohnT says:

    Gaffney Smash! TREEEEEEES FTW! ;-)

    Even though Seattle has the better roster, the Niners pwn the Squawks in Candlestick. Niners win

    Auburn wakes up from the dream today. I’ll take Missouri. (still shaking my head about how Scam Newton got away with a slap on the wrist while Dez Bryant got suspended). Plus, my niece’s husband played for Missouri. Go Tigers!

    PS Favruh’s still winning championships

  7. klynn says:

    Yep, I agree. Both players have been gems. And, it would be greatly appreciated by a number of Ohioans if M Hall would be kept in check. Hope it is a good match up and not a stalemate.

  8. P J Evans says:

    SF is going to have police in the stands, dressed as Squawks fans. They’d like the crowd to behave well, for a change.

  9. Jim White says:

    Hey, whaddya mean “That is strictly for masochists”? That was a fun game with a dramatic last minute win by the Land Thieves. And then they rubbed it in with another touchdown returning a fumble when Okie State tried the old multiple lateral thing that only the Trees (and their band) can execute.

    Over the years, it seems like the two Okie teams mess up each other’s postseason than any other rivalry pair.

  10. Peterr says:

    @Jim White: Hate to break it to you, but as rosiland can no doubt tell you in excruciating detail, it was Cal that did the multiple lateral thing, not the Tree and their band.

    The Tree and their band simply watched it all unfold and were powerless to stop it.

  11. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: Wisconsin knows snow. Boise State knows snow. Wolvereenies know snow.

    The only snow that Stanford knows is that white stuff certain people put up their noses.

  12. Peterr says:

    The MLS Cup Final is about to start, and it’s 21 degrees in KC. The players are warming up on the field, and every one of them is breathing steam. Reminds me of those old NFL Films showing Green Bay players sitting on their helmets in the snow of Lambeau Field, with the steam coming out with every breath.

  13. masaccio says:

    @what constitution?: Gaffney is good, but the Irish were without their starting nose guard, the excellent Louis Nix III, lost for the season to a knee injury. That was the difference in the game.

    ASU doesn’t have a Nix in the middle.

  14. masaccio says:

    @Jim White: I watched a good bit of that game, and I have to say that was the worst job of refereeing I have seen this year. The refs were watching some completely different game.

  15. klynn says:

    And this is why I love Trash Talk!

    Gottah a question for you… Since it appears we are doing away with our national symbol of a Bald Eagle with gripping talons and replacing it with the Earth Devouring Octopus, will our next pro football team be called The Octopi?

    (Hope you are well…btw you and EW need to convert some of your twitter feed into posts if possible. Some interesting content in your tweets!)

  16. rosalind says:

    @bmaz: hmmm, if you win i’ll treat you and yours to a meal while you’re out for the Bowl de Rose. if i win, you buy me dinner at our next meet up.

    as for points, y’all have to explain the ins and outs cause i’ve never actually paid attention to betting particulars…

  17. emptywheel says:

    @bmaz: Did some Christmas shopping today. Wandered the whole neighborhood and Mr. EW and I only got socks for each other. Bought some online stuff.

    These green fellas are doing alright. Alternately, the Nuts (as Mr. White calls them) were never that strong?

  18. emptywheel says:

    @bmaz: That’s how one distinguishes between the chilly and the truly cold climes: in the latter, you really do need to wear socks.

  19. Anonsters says:

    And the saddest thing of all: Alabama is still a better team than Auburn. Le sigh. Still, it’ll be nice to have the crystal football residing in the state of Alabama for another year. Going on 5 now.

    /not trying to jinx Auburn, really

  20. bmaz says:

    @Anonsters: I dunno, Auburn looked pretty good yesterday. well at least on offense. Maybe Missouri was just a very good team too. Hell of a lot better to have Auburn in the BCS than Ohio State though.

  21. What Constitution? says:

    The spouse had the best comment: “How does Stanford find guys that big who are smart enough to get into Stanford?” ASU didn’t have enough time to catch up after Gaffney ran all over them in the first quarter, even though the Stanford coaching staff caved in and let somebody else touch the ball on offense after that, which made it a fair fight. No, really, ASU tried but it just wasn’t to be. And yes, Alabama may be the best team in the country, but Alabama’s big guys were not smart enough to get into Stanford so they’ll be stuck in Alabama for some time to come, it seems. Indeed, they still probably all understood what the Stanford coach was explaining when interviewed as he left the field at halftime — that he wasn’t going to be the one to try a 57 yard field goal as time expired and risk having it run back…. The best game coming up may be the Rose Bowl on January 1, not the following week.

  22. bmaz says:

    @What Constitution?: It was the same deal when ASU played Stanford earlier in the year, Stanford sped out to a huge lead and ASU played nearly equal after that (actually better than stanford in second half of first game) but just couldn’t ever catch up. Oh well, that makes Stanford a better team. Period. Congratulations to the Trees.

  23. bmaz says:

    Where is everybody??

    There is some incredible football going on. Oh, and hey, this Troy Polamalu guy is pretty good.

  24. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: Out shoveling Not-News?

    The Chefs are eating the Washington Insults alive. Dexter McCluster is one decent punt return away from setting a new NFL single game record.

    But I’m still flying over the MLS Cup final last night. As a former keeper, penalty kicks are both a nightmare and also the ultimate challenge. If you block one, you feel great for a week. But facing 10 of them in the final? Neither keeper will forget this one for the rest of their lives.

  25. P J Evans says:

    I hadn’t heard about that gourd-and-twine phone. That’s cool, in the non-thermal sense of the word.

  26. scribe says:

    This Kitties at Iggles game is one of the most entertainingly entertaining games I can recall seeing since … the 1989 Owboys at Iggles Snow Bowl where, inter alia, Ed Rendell lost a $20 bet to a guy that the guy couldn’t throw a snowball off the second deck of the Vet and hit the field, and which led to Jimmie Johnson cursing the Philly fans for their vile, iceball-pelting-his-coif behavior.

    I gotta say about playing football in 8 inches of snow:


    And Suh’s indiscipline on that 2-point conversion may well have cost the Kitties their postseason.

    Why is it always Suh?

  27. scribe says:

    EW: yer teams ain’t doin’ so good today. The Browns … the f’g Browns … are up 12 on the Patsies with about 2 to go.

  28. scribe says:

    @scribe: And Cheatin’ Bill’s Cheaters just got the gift call of all gift calls.

    Gotta wonder who Satan got to sell their soul for this. Given the history of the Patsies and strange-calls-going-their-way, one would think Ol’ Scratch would be down to looking at the second deputy water boy b/c he’d already own all the other souls in NE’s employ.

  29. bmaz says:

    @JohnT: Lotta wild finishes today. I love snow games. All NFL games should be played in heavy snow.

    Except the Super Bowl. Playing the Super Bowl at Meadowlands in January is fucking nuts.

  30. bmaz says:


    Ladies and gentlemen, this is as good a receiver as has ever played. If he had played with Joe Montana and Steve Young for most of his career, he would be killing Jerry Rice. Spidey Fitz has done this with the pathetic (except for 2.5 Kurt Warner years) Arizona Cardinals. Seriously, dude is unreal.

  31. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: We could just move the season. Have it start with training camp in September, then the season starts in October. The regular season would end in early February, with the playoffs done right before March Madness takes over.

    And you’re right about playing the Super Bowl in the Meadowlands. There’s nothing remotely meadow-like within a hundred miles of the place. Also, if the Giants and the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets can’t figure out that their home stadium is not in their home state, it ought to disqualify the place as a Super Bowl site. Either that, or they ought to rename them the New Jersey Giants and NJ Jets. But until they can learn their geography, no Super Bowl for you!

    OTOH, a Super Bowl at Lambeau in a March snowstorm is the obvious way to go.

  32. Peterr says:

    Matt Prater of the Donks kicked a 64 yard FG right before halftime?!? Wow.

    (Not that I could see it, mind you, as the crazy NFL media rules indicate that since we got the Chefs v Insults for our early game on CBS, we get Celebrity Skiing instead of the Donks v Titans. Grrrrr . . .)

  33. bmaz says:

    @Peterr: Dammit, I don’t get that game either! But, I wasn’t kidding about Spidey Fitzgerald.

    And, yeah, Meadowlands. Get the fuck out. Bring all Super Bowls to Phoenix, where you have Scottsdale and Paradise Valley for all the week long party goodness and the Big Toaster for the game. New Orleans is still good too. Alternate between the two.

  34. scribe says:

    @Peterr: That would be a new NFL record, displacing Tom Dempsey’s 63 yarder for the Iggles sometime in the late 60s.

    And that was before the league started cheating by using a kicker’s ball for placekicks. So, it needs an asterisk.

  35. scribe says:

    @Peterr: It’s a tax issue. Given the dynamics of the salary cap (and other player-compensation issues we mere Earthlings know little or nothing about), the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS and Giants could never compete if their players had to pay NYS and NYC income taxes on their cap-limited salaries. Not that the J-E-T-S have more than a vague chance of competing, of course. I suspect the tax issues were a, if not the, major reason the JETS moved their practice facilities and training camp from Long Island to suburban NJ a few years ago. And I have little doubt the tax issues (among many others) played into the ultimate demise of Bloomberg’s and Woody Johnson’s mutual wet dream of a new stadium on the West Side of Manhattan, over (and perhaps displacing) the rail yards used for those dirty plebs’ subway trains.

  36. Peterr says:

    @scribe: But the tax issue didn’t keep them from keeping the “New York”, did it?

    If the money is the be-all and end-all of the J-E-T-S, fine. Just change the name when you change the location. Even Bill Bidwell figured out that when he moved the Cardinals into bmaz’ neighborhood, he needed to drop the “St. Louis”.

    I’m waiting for Chris Christie to enact a Truth in Location law, which ups the taxes on teams that play in NJ but try to claim they are located in another state.

  37. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: There are stories in St. Louis regarding Bidwell’s departure. They are NOT pretty, either.

    But that kind of makes my point even more strongly. If even an owner like Bill $%^@$!&# Bidwell can figure out that matching your name and your location matters . . .

  38. bmaz says:

    @Peterr: Well, he never matched the name so well. A lot of people, including a group led by Jerry Colangelo (who would have gotten the expansion franchise if Bidwell had not have com – and which I have always thought was a horrendous turn of events) and which I signed on to, wanted a total change of name and colors for the Cardinals to come here.

  39. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: But at least he figured out that he was in a new state — Arizona and not Missouri — which is a mental feat that seems to have eluded the ownership of both the Giants and J-E-T-S.

  40. scribe says:

    @Peterr: You might be too young to remember this, but back in the 70s the Giants – then the only team playing in Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands (the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS shared the stench of Shea with the Mutts) – were variously known – officially – as the New York/New Jersey Giants and/or the New Jersey/New York Giants. They also had funky NY/NJ logos on the sides of their helmets.

    Truth in advertising, after a fashion.

    Those Giants also sucked. IIRC, Ms. EW used to hang around with some of the muckety-mucks of those teams and can give you first hand recollections.

    And, when they changed back to just the plain Noo Yawk Giants, they got good and stayed good.

  41. Peterr says:

    @scribe: I’m older than you think, scribe.

    But “truth in advertising, after a fashion” is something only a New Yorker could say. Like the MOTUs of Wall Street, the Giants traded truth in advertising for a few almighty dollars, which is truly the height of fashion in the city that never sleeps. Gotta keep chasing those bucks, you know.

    The Giants didn’t suck because of their NY/NJ name. They sucked because they sucked. And a real New Yorker (or fan thereof) wouldn’t be afraid to admit it.

  42. scribe says:

    @Peterr: The unfortunate thing about these Toobz is that it is quite hard to communicate sarcasm, irony, or a sneering contempt without coming right out and saying “/s” or similar. The Giants have some level of aversion to the NJ identification b/c that identification correlates to one of the suckiest eras in their history.

    I remember watching the Joe Pisarcik handoff game with a friend, a South Philly boy who bled Iggle green and who blew a gasket in exuberance at that play. He also fully approved, later, when the Iggles brought Pisarcik on as a backup QB saying they owed him a job for that game alone. He was right, BTW.

  43. Bay State Librul says:

    Addition by subtraction.
    The Yanks pluck McCann, Ellsbury, and Beltran, lost Cano and Granderson
    No farm system?
    Do they have a back-up for Jeter?
    Not sure they improved their chances for a World Serious.
    Constanza may have fared better.

  44. bmaz says:

    @Peterr: Heh heh, if you had been here in the first two transition years, you might question that. Bidwell knew he was somewhere different, but he pretty much appeared to think he could rip off his new community like he was bringing the Green Bay Packers here. We were not that stupid.

    He also whined like a fucking baby about “having” to play in a “college stadium”. Sun Devil Stadium was 30,000 seats bigger than his former home, Busch, was, and one fuck of a lot more awesome. And after the first year or two, the fans here caught on to the fact that his product was shit.

  45. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: Of course he whined about the stadium. That was his purported reason for leaving St. Louis.

    If he didn’t whine, he wouldn’t be a Bidwell.

  46. bmaz says:

    @rosalind: Merry Clayton has gotten all the publicity lately, and rightfully so. But, if you have ever seen Lisa Fischer do Gimme Shelter with Mick, it will put goosebumps on your spine. She is fantastic too.

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