Clemson Up Huge; People Losing Their Shit Over A Kicker

Trash talk is late. I had some serious home maintenance issues here in the Cactus Patch, other distracting things, and a bunch of dopes that thought references to Louise Mensch and her band of crackpots might be fair content on this blog. Let’s reinforce one immutable concept: If you are referring to Louise Mensch, or any related endeavor, stop. Full stop.

Okay, it is a huge weekend of football. Before we get there, let’s acknowledge the weather in Suzuka for the F1 Japanese Grand Prix in 1976. The weather there is atrocious. But F1, unlike NASCAR and IndyCar, runs in the wet. It is what they do. And one of the most memorable races, and championships won, ever, happened in the Japanese Grand Prix at Mount Fuji. Bet you thought this was going to be all about football. Nope. We have multitudes here.

Eh well, back to the footballs….Oh, hey, the Natinals stunned the favored Cards behind Anibal Sanchez last night. It was indeed a stunner. Game Two of the NLCS is ongoing in St. Louis and the Natinals are, improbably, up yet again.

In the collegiate ranks, Oklahoma edged Texas in a game not really living up to the “Red River” thing. But a win is a win. Michigan finally scored a few points and won, while the Dawgs of UGA fell short. Ooof. Wisconsin and Clemson rolling despite the carping of people over field goal kickers. People, if you have dozens of points of lead, your field goal kickers are irrelevant. Florida at LSU is clearly the game of the day. It is in Baton Rouge though, and that may be a problem for the Gators as LSU has a functioning quarterback. If the Gators win down there, they are truly legit. Penn State and Iowa may be interesting on a lesser scale.

In the Pros, it is also a huge week. Pats beat the Gents in a throwaway game on Thursday night. The Houston Texans is a matchup of two truly exciting QB’s from the 2017 draft, Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. I’ll take Mahomes at home. Skins at Fins…which team will be the biggest loser? Dallas at Jets and Steelers at Bolts might be interesting in some other year, but not this one.

Lions at Pack in Lambeau is far more interesting. I think Matt Stafford and the Kittehs are better than they are being given credit for, as is the Green Bay defense. The question is whether Aaron Rodgers and the Pack offense really shows up. That never used to be a question.

Music this weekend by Rod the Mod. Also look for a young, pre-Stones, Woody on guitar.

Boomtown Blues Trash Talk

As the kids are wont to say, that was a hell of a week, and I’m only talking about Thursday and Friday. Also, too, there seems to be a second IC whistleblower on the horizon, per the NY Times. Things are happening fast, and in real time.

First up is the collegiate athletics. By the way, I honestly think all the Fair Pay to Play acts are, well, not good. They will give a very select small few rights to earn big money, and be seen as different by all the other college athletes that will never benefit. It is a caste system, and empowerment of the 1% off of Wall Street and onto the NCAA landscape. That is not a good thing.

Here is a piece by Michael McCann at the newly decimated Sports Illustrated, that I actually agree with. If Fair Pay to Play is to be enacted, it is absolutely necessary that it be done on a national basis, not a bogus piecemeal state by state basis, as some over aggressive voices are pushing. If you are going to do it, do it right. Join the national effort, not just try to make a name for yourself in your particular state.

Fair Pay to Play Acts are really ratifying that only a select few will ever profit off of the toils of the many. And the only recipients will be, with very few exceptions, in only football and basketball. The theory is not as evil as the result it will create. Irrespective of that merits discussion though, the siren song of state fame seems to be stronger for some noisy advocates than joining in a legitimate national plan. Shocker!

Alright, back to actual college football. It is a rather weak week for interesting games. Iowa at Michigan may be one of the best,and that is pretty telling. The best game is, arguably, Auburn at Florida. Jim White’s Gators have been a bit of a surprise, while Auburn was maybe larger on the preseason radar. The game is in the Swamp, which is huge for Florida. Auburn seems for real this year though, on both sides of the ball. That is the one game I will be truly watching. Mostly a whole lot of nothing after that this week.

As to the Pros: The Squawks beat the Rams in a great Thursday Night game. Off the top of my head, I think the Thursday Night football this year is already of a better quality than past years. Scribe said Vontaze Burfict should be banned from the NFL. I did not necessarily disagree, because his miscreant conduct goes back to college, and he played a couple of years here for the Sun Devils. He is a bad character, banning was arguably a fair result. Instead he will be suspended for the remainder of the year.

The Patriots have a lot of injuries, but they are playing the Skins, who are simply, and totally, fucked. Washington will be starting Colt McCoy, who may actually be their best option. If the Cards and Kyler Murray cannot beat the Bungles, they may not win a game this year.

The game that may be the most interesting is Tampa Bay at New Orleans. Teddy Bridgewater is no Drew Brees, but the Saints are seriously good, and playing at their home dome. Give Jameis Winston a smidgen of credit though, he is markedly better under Bruce Arians’ tutelage. This could be an excellent game. Vikes at Gents could be interesting, even though irrelevant mostly.

In a nod to Scribe’s coming comments, the Ravens at Steelers should be very interesting. Mason Rudolph did well last week; the Ravens not so much in a blowout loss to Baker Mayfield and the Brownies. Two different styles, and two teams that really don’t like each other. Excellent!

Green Bay at Dallas you would think would be a great game. But, even though I am a lifelong Pack fan, this is a tough road to hoe. Have to favor the ‘Boys. Lastly, the MNF game of Cleveland versus Niners in Santa Clara (yeah, that is still a dumbass location for the Niners to be playing in; what a joke), could be very good. Mayfield versus Garrapolo. Both teams are really looking up this year. Edge to SF though. I think…..

This week’s music is Boomtown Blues by Bob Seger, and it is from an under-appreciated early 80’s album, The Distance. Not sure what made me think of it, I have not thrown that album on the turntable for years, but here we are. Making Thunderbirds is also a truly killer cut on The Distance.

Since blowing the whistle is all the rage currently, I am including a second Seger cut, Let It Rock, this from the much earlier Bob Seger System, and it is an old song originally credited to Edward Anderson. Thing is, Edward Anderson was an early pseudonym for the one and only Chuck Berry. Seger’s version is awesome.

Rock on folks.

Non-Impeachment Trash Talk

No, there is not yet a voted resolution for a formal impeachment inquiry, despite all the rhetoric from Pelosi and idiocy by the gullible press. So what can a poor boy do, in addition to singing for a rock and roll band? Trash Talk, that’s what!

Last night, the ASU Sun Devils actually played well and pulled off an upset on the road at 15th ranked Cal in Berkeley. If ASU had not have stunk up their home field last weekend against Colorado, they would be 5-0 and looking good. But they are young and look to be up and down all year. As for today’s games, Virginia at Notre Dame might be interesting, but I think ND is actually good for once, despite their close loss at Georgia. USC at the Washington Huskies may be the matchup of the day. And Washington State at Utah could be really good as well. Rare that there are two Pac-12 games in this category.

In the pros, The Iggles beat the Pack in Lambeau. Should not have been so, but between some horrible refereeing and even worse coaching by Green Bay’s rookie head coach, that was the result. A wasted effort by Aaron Rodgers and Devante Adams.

Believe it or not, the undefeated Patriots go to undefeated Buffalo for the right to first place in the AFC East. Don’t see that very often! I’ll take the Pats. Keep in mind that Tom Brady has won more games in Buffalo than any Bills QB since Jim Kelly. Chiefs at Lions might…might…be interesting, depending on the health of Matt Stafford. Skins at Giants, Lol. Squawks gonna kill the Cardinals. Cowboys at Saints would be a killer game if Drew Brees were not hurt. It still looks to be a pretty decent Sunday Night Football game.

Music is, of course, the Stones. We opened with a reference to it, and so the song is here too.

Brown Is Leaving Town Trash Talk

As pretty much everybody knows by now, the Patriots have released Antonio Brown. He has been jettisoned by two teams in two weeks. That has to pretty much be a record for a player with actual ability. You can find all the particulars in this ESPN piece, including some of the implications, such as salary cap space.

I don’t have a lot to say on the subject. The Patriots should have never signed the erratic jerk in the first place. So why did they? As Brown proved immediately in his one game with them, he is really, really good, that’s why. One other point I would add is that I think the league and team was correct to have not suspended Brown, or placed him on the Commissioner’s exempt list previously. Setting that precedent based on an unsworn civil complaint about long past conduct, with no criminal case whatsoever, would be to sanction an extortion racket on NFL players and personnel.

The threatening and menacing texts he issued to a second accuser this week made the situation untenable though. That was happening in real time and cannot be permitted under the personal conduct policy. I am sure folks will have plenty to say, but that is it for me.

USC upset Utah last night in a pretty good game. The Trojans might be better than people thought, though they did take a hit on their QB in the process. As for today’s games, Notre Dame at Georgia is big, as are Michigan at Wisconsin and Auburn at Texas A&M. Locally, Colorado is in to visit ASU, can the Herminator keep the Devils rolling after their big upset of Michigan State in East Lansing?

On to the pros. Speaking of the Patriots, they have some serious O-Line issues – Fullback James Develin is out, right tackle Marcus Cannon is questionable, as are both top line tight ends Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo. Gonna be a lot of three and four wide receiver packages with quick throws. On a positive note, however, it is the Jets they are facing.

Ravens at Kansas City should be pretty interesting, and Jackson versus Mahomes may be a rivalry to watch for many years to come. Saints at Seattle is interesting, but less so without Drew Brees, who looks to be out for at least six weeks. Teddy Bridgewater is a great kid, and seeing him come back from a catastrophic injury has been fantastic. But he is no Drew Brees, and Seattle is brutal to play in. Rams at Cleveland also could be interesting in the Brownies are really back in synch. Dunno about that.

As we opened with Antonio Brown, we shall close with James Brown. All down with Brown today. Get funky.

Packers At Bears – The NFL Sun Comes Out Again Trash Talk

Trash Talk is back baybee! The NFL season starts for real tonight with the first game of the league’s centennial season. And, proving that even Roger Goodell and the NFL can occasionally get something right, the season starts with the Packers at the Bears. On Soldier field. Now that is a start to the season.

Honestly, the Bears are at home, and are probably, overall, the far better team. But the Cheesers have that Rodgers guy. If Green Bay’s O-Line can hold, they have a chance. If not, they don’t. It is pretty much that simple. Even a couple of Khalil Mackers to Aaron Rodgers will slow the Cheese train down. But, either way, it is one hell of a season opener.

There are a myriad of additional games on tap for Saturday in the college ranks, and Sunday, in the pro ranks. Not to mention the timeless speed of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Last weekend at Spa was a sensational race at, perhaps, the most beautiful circuit on the Circus calendar. Monza is not far behind, even if it is not the same as it once was with the feared steep banking.

So, Saturday is a big day here at Casa de bmaz as our daughter is coming home in the afternoon after six months on work assignment in India. We are extremely excited, but will try to get some more content up in the morning. If not, now you know why. The NFL sun is coming out starting tonight at Soldier Field. So the official Trash Talk season opening music is Sun King by The Cult. It is one truly kick ass song. Let’s rock and roll peoples!

Super Bowl Sunday 2019 Trash Talk

Well, here it is, Super Bowl LIII game day. The last time Atlanta hosted a Super Bowl, it was basically a disaster. It was freezing cold with frozen rain, transportation was sketchy, many integral events had to be cancelled, the game was a thriller and Ray Lewis was arrested for double murder for an altercation after the game. It was a black eye for Atlanta of epic proportion. Things have, by all reports, gone much better this time, and the newish Mercedes Benz Stadium looks beautiful and ready for today’s action.

There are a LOT of people who think the wrong teams are in the game, and it should be the Saints and Chiefs. The Saints fans actually have the better argument, they were robbed and jobbed at the end of the NFC Championship game. The Chiefs may have deserved to have a chance to get the ball after the Patriots’ touchdown drive in overtime, but those are the rules, and the Pats did what they had to do.

As to the the teams that are in the game, they both seem extremely healthy with little of note on the injury reports. Even the always nicked up Gronk seems at full speed and energized. And Julian Edelman will be on the field after being noticeably absent last year. Same for Dont’a Hightower, notably absent in the Pats’ De last year. The Rams’ biggest concern seems to be how to allocate snaps between Todd Gurley and the white hot CJ Anderson. If you have to have a concern, that is a pretty good one to have.

Both teams have potent offenses capable of taking the game over. So this game will be won on defense. The better D is going to win the game. The Rams quartet of Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, while maybe not the Fearsome Fousome of old, is pretty fearsome. The Pats have less (if any) big names on defense, but have been playing very well down the stretch and in the playoffs. As far as coaching, Sean McVay is a wonder kind and worthy of all the accolades he has received. Hard to envision that the edge still doesn’t go to Bill Bell with all his caginess and experience,and with Josh McDaniels still coaching up the offense and Brady.

The blueprint for beating the Pats is to get such immense pressure on Brady that he is rattled or hit constantly. It is no secret, that has always been the plan. The plan for avoiding this is for Brady to get the ball out fast in midrange and get the running game going with Sony Michel, James White and Burkhead. Look for a lot of play action and short flat throws, with an occasional shot to Gronk or Dorsett.

The trend line has the Pats favored by a couple of points, but I don’t see it. This is a complete pickem.

The national anthem will be performed by Atlanta’s own Gladys Knight, and that is a fine choice, but she should kneel in support of Kaepernick while doing so. That will never, of course, happen, but it should. The halftime show looks to be absolute rancid bullshit. So, today’s music will go back to a better time for Super Bowl halftime shows with a little bit of the Boss from ten years ago. Rock it up!

Championship Sunday 2019 Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler

There are notable football weekends in the year, both for the Pros and the Joes. In college, it is the rivalry weeks, usually late in the season, and the CFB semi-finals. In the Pros, it is the last week or two of the regular season and, then the Wildcard and Divisional weekends. But nothing matches the conference championship games weekend nor the Super Bowl.

So, here we are at Conference Championship Sunday. The best four teams over the regular season are still standing and ready to play today. No outliers. It is really who should be playing today. When the “final four” are who they should be, that is a good thing, and so it is today. The national media is framing it as really old QB’s versus young second year QB’s. I am not sure that is fair, the coaching styles and defenses are every bit as important. Sean Payton has a lot more experience than Sean McVay, while Bill Belichick and Andy Reid are a lot closer (with Bill Bel having the edge historically).

Let’s see what is on tap:

First up is Rams at Saints. They are the two best teams in the NFC, and New Orleans deserves the home site via a head to head earlier win. While most focus on the head to head Brees versus Goff passing matchup, I think it comes down to the running game. If the dual headed Rams attack of Gurley and C.J. Anderson get untracked, and the Rams outstanding O-Line run blocking might provide that, it could be a long day for the Saints in their home Superdome.

But the Rams have enough defensive line attack and pass rush to neutralize the incredible Drew Brees and make him throw into a very competent Rams secondary. It is really a great matchup. I have no idea who wins this, and would not want to bet real money on it.

Second game is Pats at Chefs. While, as noted above, the coaching history favors Bill Bel by a mile, Mahomes is a more accurate and mobile Brett Favre freak, and Reid is truly a great coach. The Pats, still, are as healthy as they have been all season, are playoff pressure battle tested, and have the likes of Brady, Edelman, Gronk and many other players. If they get beat, it will not be because they were too new for the stage. And let’s note again the relative health of the roster, which was not the case a lot of the regular season. The defense is picking up too.

As much as the Bolts were kind of compelling underdogs, the two best possible teams are playing today in KC. Note that the game is in KC where it will be seriously cold, but not as bleak as earlier thought as to weather. But it is not in Foxborough, it is in the cacophonous Arrowhead. On the flip side, if there is ever a well coached and experienced team to walk into that, it is Bill Bel, Brady and the boys. Something has to give.

For the Chefs, they cook on with their redshirt frosh Pat Mahomes blowing up the NFL passing game. He is really a freak. And really good. Tyreek Hill is in a similar category, and they still have a running game and Sammy Watkins on offense. Justin Houston and Eric Berry are back, apparently at full speed, which transforms the KC defense. Special teams seems to be a wash with both playing well. Also, remember, Belichick has a record of scheming for these kind of games. So, who wins? No clue! Chefs are home in the imposing Arrowhead, but if anybody can take them there, you would never bet against Bill Bel and Brady. I have no idea.

As we often do, I would like to notice a relevant sports story that is outside of the traditional games talk. Today, it involve a superb report by friend to this blog Adam Klasfeld at Couthouse News (he really is excellent, follow him). It involves NBA big man Enes Kanter, and it is an ongoing story, but this is an absolutely great interview and report:

Sitting on the same sofa where he watched his teammates lose by a point the previous night in London, Turkish Knicks star Enes Kanter opened up about why he missed the big game – a story he wants to share with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

“First, I would talk to him about the issues in Turkey and then, just meet him and talk about what’s going on, talk about my experiences and share my own personal stories,” Kanter said in an extensive interview on Friday from the lounge of his apartment building.

With their star center an ocean away, the Knicks squandered a one-point lead at the buzzer to the Washington Wizards at a matchup in London on Thursday night. Kanter skipped the game after the Turkish government put out a red notice and sought his extradition and prosecution.

“I put on my jersey because I still wanted to feel like I’m part of the team,” the 6-foot-11 basketball player recounted, arriving for the interview in a Knicks shirt.

Read the whole thing. And then think about how Trump, and his closely held administration, relentlessly sucks up to the tyranny and authoritarianism of Erdogan. Sports really intersects life more often than people think, but this is a blaring example.

Okay, that is it for Championship Sunday. So, laissez le bon temps rouler. Music by BB King. Roll it baby.

Divisional Playoffs 2019

Getting close to the home stretch in the NFL. There are four games this weekend, and the first one up is Colts at Chiefs. The weather looks to be very nasty, with below freezing temps and snow already accumulating. It will be interesting to see how young Pat Mahomes fares in this environment for his first playoff game. He has such a strong arm,that my guess he will be fine, and same for Andrew Luck. But the Colts have a far better running game than the Chefs, and KC run defense is not the best. Oh, and KC has not one a playoff game at home since the mid 90’s when Joe Montana was their QB. This has a real potential for a Colts upset.

The second game Saturday is Cowboys at Rams. Dallas really is starting to play better lately, and the Rams seemed to stall a little toward the end of the regular season. That said, hard to see the Boys having enough offense to keep track with Goff and Gurley, and the Rams defense is superior.

The early game Sunday is maybe the most interesting game of the weekend with the Chargers at Foxborough to visit Bill Bel and the Pats. The Bolts have the offense to make this very interesting, and have solid defense too. The Pats will need a big game from Sony Michel, and Brady and Gronk have to get out of their funk. And the Pats are basically at full health finally. It is tempting to take the Bolts in an upset, but not going to bet against the Pats. Nope just not gonna do it.

The late game Sunday has the Eagles at the high flying Saints. Drew Brees is simply a machine, and he has a hot running back duo in Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Fun fact, Brees and the Eagles’ Nick Foles both went to the same high school, though obviously separated by quite a few years. Foles has been absolute magic for the Iggles, but I think that luck runs out in NOLA.

As a fun little parting shot, today is the 50th anniversary of Super Bowl III in Miami, where Joe Namath and the Jets shocked the world by beating the heavily favored Colts. Here is a fun story looking back at that game and the really earth shattering consequences it had for pro football.

This weekend’s music courtesy of Van the Man.

Dancing With Ms. AOC (and other weekend talk)

Apparently the ignorant bigot Trumpalos set things a little bit of Footloose is now some kind of slam on AOC. But it it is not. It is just stupid. Seriously, what kind of bigots go there? AOC is bigger and better than that, why are her detractors not?

As Ray Davies and the Kinks would say:

Don’t be afraid to come dancing,
It’s only natural.

And off we go.

Yep, dancing is real. it is awesome, and completely great and @AOC is the epitome of that.

I hope I am not too late for critical Mr. Gun Scribe, but I have been at the vet with my one of my dogs, Kiki. I know he will write 1000 words of bullshit about “his” dysfunctional Steelers. So be it.

At this point, let us talk about teams that are actually in the playoffs. And, no, that is neither the Stillers or the Cheese. Nor the local dope Cardinals.

As to games and teams that can and will happen, let us lead with the AFC.

On ESPN, the Colts are already leading the Texans by 7-0. I do not feel good with it,and will not bet one red cent on it, because Deshaun Watson is really special, but Captain Andrew Luck seems on a real roll.

Second game today is Squawks at Boys. Hard to take a second road team on a home turf, but I will do that. Yes, I know, I will die with my hat in my hand, okay. So be it, and just wait for the next predictions for Sunday!

As to that….And, no I do not feel good about this, but I will take Phil Rivers and the Bolts over the Ravens. Rivers is a WAY better QB than people give him credit for being. This is his opportunity to show it or blow it. I think show it, but need to see it.

The Philly Special will be in Chi Town, The Windy City. Khalid Mack is the anchor the Bears defense always relied on. The importance of his arrival to the Midway because Chucky Gruden was, and is, a total dope, cannot be underestimated. The Bears have been transformed. They were a team on the obvious upswing, and are now legitimate contenders.

Hell of a last game for an insanely good wildcard weekend.

End Of Year/New Year’s Bad Boy Trash Talk

It is yet another end of the year. On a weekend, that, with the New Year holiday, will stretch out. So this will likely be the Trash Talk post that takes us through all that.

Speaking of an end of the year compendium, do go read Alex Pareene’s on the Huff Po. It is pretty spectacular.

Before we get to football, let us get to some historical level of skiing by Mikaela Shiffrin. Lindsay Vonn, appropriately, has the love and attention of the public attuned to skiing, but Mikaela Shiffrin deserves the same amount. If not more. What she has done, and is doing, is beyond remarkable.

Mikaela Shiffrin became the most successful female slalom skier in the 52-year history of the World Cup by winning the final race of 2018 on Saturday.
Only Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark has won more World Cup slaloms. He claimed victory in 40 events between 1974 and 1987.

By winning Saturday, Shiffrin also became the first skier, male or female, to win 15 World Cup races in a calendar year, moving one victory past men’s overall champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria, who has won 14 times in 2018.

Ms. Shiffren is only 23. She has quite a game changing future ahead of her.

Give Ms. Shiffrin a little attention. These are world class and historical level feats she pulls off every day.

Back to football. The games come up as this – First, there are the critical BCS games: Notable to this blog, the Gators and Wolverines are about to tangle in the Chik-fil-A Peach Bowl. This is literally Marcy versus Jim thing, will either one of them weigh in?

Later, of course, are the BCS semi-final games. First up is Oklahoma versus Bama. Oklahoma has an offense that only a team like Alabama might contain. I think the Crimson Tide rolls on, but it is no given, because Kyler Murray is scary good. In the other semi-final, Clemson, who would have been a heavy favorite against a Notre Dame team that arguably should not even be here, has three players suspended at the last minute. The most prominent of which is on defense, Clemson’s offense will be okay. Is that enough? Probably, but if you want to bet an upset, this could be it.

Off to the pros: The Colts at Titans is literally a play in game. The winner goes to the playoffs and the loser goes home. Captain Andrew Luck seems healthier than Marcus Mariotta. It is really hard to discount the extremely plucky Titans. But the Colts seem to have found some magic in the second half of the season. So, against some instincts, I will take the Colts to win even in Tennessee, though I am no where near sure of that. The next most winner take it game is Bears at the Vikings. Bears trying to find a way to a first round bye, and Vikes looking to clinch a wild card spot in the playoffs. The Bears sure look like the better team at this moment, but it is in Minnesota, not Soldier Field, so this looks to be a really interesting tossup.

Raiders are at Chefs. Chucky had a nice little PR spot with that win over the Donkos on the MNF closer for the year, but it is pretty hard to see them winning in KC. Chargers at Broncos is a far harder call. The Bolts look to be a far better, and healthier, team right now. If the Iggles beat the Skins, and the Vikes lose to Da Bears, Nick Foles and the Eagles slip back into the playoffs, as improbable as it may be.

Lastly, and curiously, maybe most interesting, is the Brownies at the Ravens. The once Cleveland Browns versus the now Cleveland Browns. With the playoff hopes of the old Brownies,and now Ravens, on the line. This is simply precious. And, in case you have not been watching, Baker Mayfield and the Browns have been on a roll. This should be an incredible game, irrespective of how it plays out.

This post has music from some lads from Liverpool. Bad Boy is one of their more under appreciated tracks. Behave yourselves!