New Year’s Trash

I am a bit under the weather tonight, got some gunk with the color and consistency of Andersen’s Split Pea Soup in my sinuses and chest. Bleech. My wife and polar bear are taking good care of me, I have a blankie, a nice fire and a big screen; so life is good. Young little Miss bmaz is over at some friends’ house at a wild party holding up the family legacy. And, never fear, I ain’t dead yet, I brought some Champagne and Reefer from my friends Mick and Buddy Guy.

Tonight we have the Chick-fil-A Bowl from down south in Dixie, Hot ‘Lanta, with Tennessee taking on Virginia Tech (shown on ESPN). The Vols have actually been better this year than most people think in my opinion, but they need a quality quarterback in the worst way. Jonathon Crumpton has been very inconsistent, although he has had some moments. Virginia Tech seems a better bet. Also tonight, we have the Insight Bowl from right here at Frank Kush Field at Sun Devil Stadium, pitting the Minnesota Gophers v. the Iowa State Cyclones (shown on NFL Network). I am going with the Cyclones in an upset.

First up New Year’s Day is the Outback Bowl with Auburn and Northwestern from Tampa Bay (ESPN). Long time readers are really going to find this shocking, but I am not going to bet on the Big-10 team here; it just isn’t good business. At 1 pm Eastern, the big boys start play with the Capital One Bowl from Orlando, with LSU and the Joe Pas hooking up (ABC). This is a tossup; no idea how it will go, should be a good game. At the same time on CBS, Bobby Bowden has his swan song with the Seminoles taking on the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Gator Bowl from Jacksonville. Seriously against my better judgment, I think Florida State gives Bobby a happy sendoff.

Nurse Ratched

Nurse Ratched

At 5 pm Eastern on ABC, we got the Grandaddy Of Them All, the Rose Bowl with Oregon hosting the Buckeyes. Ohio State should dominate. Ha ha, just kidding; it IS the Rose Bowl, look for the Quackers to explode through the cloud of dust. At 8:30 pm Eastern, Cincinnati and the Florida Gators knock heads on Fox in the Sugar Bowl from Nawlins. Man, there are a lot of subplots going on here; I have no idea what will happen. Gonna pick the Gators though.

Saturday at 2 pm Eastern on Fox we have Ole Miss and Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl. You know, the Cotton Bowl is just not what it once was; kind of sad. Oh well, spectators get to watch Jerry Jones’ big screen. I’ll take OSU, but it could be a pretty interesting game. Also got something called the Papa John’s Bowl with Connecticut and the South Carolina Gamecocks on ESPN. Following the pizza-fest on ESPN is the Liberty Bowl with the Arkansas Soooeees and the East Carolina Pirates. Aaaarrrrr matey, a tossup it be. Following the Liberty Bowl, again on ESPN, is the Alamo Bowl with the Mike Leach less Texas Tech Red Raiders taking on the Michigan State Spartans. The Spartys are better than you think, and if Tech doesn’t watch out, they will get beat.

Monday night at 8 Eastern is the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl from Cards Stadium here in Phoenix, featuring the undefeated Boise State Broncos taking on the undefeated TCU Horned Frogs. I tell you what, if fans are the measure, it will be TCU all the way; there were so many on and around Camelback Mountain this afternoon that it looked purple from my couch window. But that is not the measure and this, to me, is the most anticipated game of all. A tossup I cannot wait for. Tuesday night is the Orange Bowl with Iowa and the Ramblin Wreck from Georgia Tech. No clue, it is not that exciting of a matchup. Both games are on Fox.

We will need a new thread for the Championship game so that’s it for now. Happy New Year Folks!

No More Mr. Perfect Guy; Colts Take A Dive

I am sorry, but I have to be blunt here. Somebody high in the Indianapolis Colts organization is a pussy. It is just that simple. If that offends you, sorry; but this is football and you have to man up baby. People have the gall to be yanking on Brett Favre for refusing to come out of a game that has important implications late in the season when the outcome is seriously on the line; but it is okay for the Colts to sit down Peyton Manning like some kind of delicate debutante in a game that had absolutely gigantic implications on the entire AFC playoff race? You have got to be fucking kidding me.

If I sound incensed; I am. I do not necessarily point at Peyton Manning for this unethical lack of manhood; but he is not off scott free. You think Brett Favre would have sat down for that shit? Hell no. Think Joe Montana would have? Nuh uh. Johnny Unitas or Bart Starr? Get out. But we don’t even have to look that far; you think Vince Lombardi would have backed off and put the taxi squad on the field like the Colts did? Hell no. And neither did Bill Belichick when the Pats were in the same position and had a chance to win the last games to stay undefeated.

But not the Indianapolis Colts though, oh no. Guess we should have known after the way the gutless wonders slithered out of Baltimore in the middle of the night under the cover of a snowstorm because they did not have the guts to be honest with their fans. Clearly they still don’t. Meet the new Irsay, same as the old Irsay.

How could the Colts so neuter their players? How could they steal the hopes and dreams of their fans and season ticket holders? If there was ever a man, a quarterback, built for this run it is Peyton Manning. The man works his ass off doing film study, repetitions and drills, both by himself and with his receivers and backs, all year long. Next to Brett Favre, the man Read more

Christmas Nuts & Bolts

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and all the other joyous holiday greetings from both me and Marcy. We have said it before, but not enough; you guys are the finest group of commenters and readers in the world. And we love you and thank you. Seriously. None of it happens, or works, without you. There are names I would list out, and you know who you are already, but won’t because I might forget someone unintentionally. Suffice it to say, thank you one and all, you are not just “like family”, you are family and you are valued and appreciated.

Now, as you might recall our own Surfer Dude, RanDiego, up and got hitched this year. I still owe he and Lady RanDiego a wedding present, so when the call came from the surf and sand for some Trash Talk for the big Bolts visit to Nashville to meet the Titans Christmas night, it was the least that could be done.

This has the makings of one great game. San Diego is not only on their usual furious December roll, they started early and have been relentless in maintaining it. Philip Rivers is playing MVP level quarterback, LT is healthy and productive again and the receivers (especially Vincent jackson) are coming up huge. The defense is playing quite solidly even in an off year for Merriman. In short, the Bolts look tough. But the same can be said for the Titans, who have been nothing less than remarkable after an 0-6 start. They are now 7-7 with only a hard fought loss to Peyton and the Colts blemishing their record in the last eight games. Vince Young is no Peyton Manning or Joe Montana yet, but he has really stepped up as a pocket quarterback and leader. He is flat out getting it done. The rest of the Titans have rediscovered Jeff Fisher football too. On paper, you have to give the nod to the Bolts; but this is in Tennessee, and the Titans still have thoughts of the playoffs and, even if not the playoffs, a winning season. This is a toss up.

Tonight is the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, which will be shown on ESPN. SMU v. Nevada. Always a fun game to watch, this year it is notable for heralding the first return to a bowl game for SMU (Southern Methodist) since receiving the NCAA “death penalty” 25 years ago. SMU is coached by June Jones, a great guy, consistent winner, creator of wild offenses (along with his mentor mouse Davis) and the guy who coached up the University of Hawaii Rainbows to unusual heights. Lot of interesting angles there. Nevada boasts the top rushing offense in NCAA and have a potent passing attack as well. Normally, you would have to look out for the Wolfpack’s tailback Vai Taua, who had a team high 1,345 yards on the ground; but he is unavailable for academic reasons as is one of the backup running backs. That is going to hurt. The average line heavily favors Nevada but I think that may have been before the unavailability of the Nevada running game was announced. I dunno, could with the equalizing factor of the missing parts for Nevada, this could be a real good one, and maybe an upset for the SMU Mustangs.

That is it for now. Marcy and/or I may be in to post tomorrow, maybe not; we will see. So, consider this an open thread for whatever you have got. We raise a toast to one and all. Cheers!

Trash Talk – Vaya Con Dios Uno Cinco

There seems to be a disturbing trend among professional athletes involving domestic disturbances and resulting auto incidents. The issue is particularly problematic for big cats, starting with a Tiger and now having consumed a Bengal. As you undoubtedly have heard, 26-year-old Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry, the 15 to OchoCinco’s 85, has died from head injuries suffered from a fall out of the back of a pickup truck in Charlotte, N.C. Henry had a checkered past but, by all accounts, seemed to have turned a corner and been a productive and positive force for the Bengals and his nascent family. A sad and startling end to a young life.

Henry’s death adds an interesting, if morbid, layer of intrigue to Sundays Bengals/Bolts game in San Diego. Will Carson Palmer and the boys be amped up or flat? Will it matter in the face of the roll the Bolts are on? I think the Bengals will play well, but still not have enough to overcome Rivers and the suddenly resurgent LT. Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s division foe the Steelers will be hosting the Cheeseheads in the Big Ketchup Bottle. Curiously, the common assumption was that the Super Bowl team to fall off and tank this year would be the Cardinals; instead it is Pittsburgh. The Steelers need a win against the Pack to avoid their first six-game losing streak in a decade. Unfortunately, Green Bay has been getting much better offensive line play lately and Aaron Rodgers and his receivers are still red hot. The Cheesers are too much for Big Ben and the Stillers. Read more

Trash Talk: Patriots Have A Strange Kind Of Mascot

Sports mascots are ubiquitous. College mascots are a tradition I suppose, irrespective of redeeming value, but pro mascots – with the exception of the San Diego Chicken, the Phoenix Suns Gorilla and, maybe, the Philly Phanatic are totally lame. Seriously. Then there are those big headed sausages the Milwaukee Brewers have. Are those even mascots?

But mascots, like Tiger Woods, are only human. They have indiscretions:

A prostitution sting in Rhode Island netted an unusual John, or, rather, an unusual Pat—as in one of the men who plays Pat Patriot, the huge-foam-headed mascot of the New England Patriots. Robert Sormanti, 47, was among 14 charged; there was no indication he was wearing his costume when busted.

And this:

Pat the Patriot, beloved mascot of the New England Patriots and inspiration to Boston-area children since 1960, has been arrested in a prostitution sting. But it gets worse: Evidently Pat was caught answering a naughty ad on Craigslist. Placed by a policeman in Rhode Island.

Rumor has it that local prostitutes called Pat by his other nickname, “The Revolutionary Minuteman.” They did not mean it as a compliment.

Ouch.

See, now this is the problem with the media in today’s society; it is so shallow. Where is the discussion of the extreme team spirit of Sormanti and his willingness to get “up” for the big game against the Panthers? Bill Bel does not lose three in a row does he? Read more

Trash Talk: Old Man River Showdown

Um, we’re a bit tardy throwing up trash this week, seeing as how Pittsburgh already has a 31-17 lead on Cincinnati. Only, we’re not that tardy–the game in question is in the Big East, not the AFC North, where Pittsburgh has already lost twice to Cinci this year.

Florida v. Alabama. Anyway, the big game this weekend, if you’re a football fan rather than an NFL fan, starts in just a few hours. JimWhite has been gloating all year, and we’ll soon see whether his gloat continues. I’ll be rooting for ‘Bama, but I suspect JimWhite will still be gloating come dinner time. In rather curious news, there were reports last week that at least a few winning NFL coaches are determined to take Tebow in the first round, so maybe this won’t be the end of his illustrious football career. Any guesses on what winning NFL program wants him? Pittsburgh? Indy?

Vikings at Cardinals. Now, if you’re an NFL fan–and particularly if you’re bmaz–then the highlight of the weekend comes when Old Man River North, Brett Favray, heads down to the sunny clime of AZ to meet Old Man River South, Kurt Warner, in bmaz’ backyard. Of course, with so many prominent old farts in this game, it may come down to who actually plays. Warner is still questionable with a two-week old head injury. And Antoine Winfield may not be back yet for the Vikes, either (admittedly, Winfield is not quite as old as the other two). Meanwhile, Adrian Peterson apparently hasn’t gotten enough speed on the field this with Brett Favre around, so he took it upon himself to drive 109 MPH on surface roads in Minnesota (funny, he doesn’t actually get caught when he’s speeding on his day job). Then Bernard Berrian joined the fun. I think Old Man River North wins this, only because he’s playing more consistently than Old Man River South, and with the Cardinals this year, home field advantage doesn’t amount to much.

Dallas at Gents. Does anyone actually care about the NFC East anymore? Does anyone think these teams are more interesting than Favray’s team or Drew Fookin’ Brees’ team? Eh. I say the Gents start turning their season around with this one, if only because the NFC East seems destined to remain in turmoil right until the end of the season.

Titans at Colts. When you think about it, Vince Young has almost as long a win streak going as Peyton does at the moment, if you count last year’s playoffs and discount the 2007 playoffs. And someone is bound to beat the Colts–no matter how good Peyton is, the team as a whole just can’t compare with the NFC’s leaders. That said, I’ve been burned so many times by teams failing to put enough points up against Peyton in the first half (am I really the only one who has noticed the Colts don’t show up for the first half this season?), that I’ll say the Colts win this, if only to avoid jinxing the Titans.

Pats at Fins. Really, after the Saints kicked the living daylights out of the Pats last week, who really cares about the AFC East, either? And given that Joey Porter is questionable, it ruins one of the story lines I was looking forward to. You see, Brady got some press this week for his newly active role in the Player’s Union.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is taking on a more active role in the NFL players’ union, becoming the team’s assistant players’ representative. And while many high-profile players avoid speaking publicly about labor issues, Brady says he’s glad to publicly support the efforts of NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith.

“I’m excited to see DeMaurice Smith heading our union. He’s a great thinker and what we need,” Brady told the Boston Herald. “What’s upcoming is challenging for the players. We’re very short-term focused. That’s the nature of the sport. We need to have a leader who sees the bigger picture.”

Brady said he believes strongly that the players deserve to be fairly compensated for putting their bodies on the line, mentioning former Bills player Kevin Everett, who suffered a serious spinal cord injury on the field, as a reason he thinks the union needs to fight for players’ rights.

And I thought it’d be interesting to see how Porter responded to Brady’s defense of players’ safety given Porter’s jawing about Brady’s whining for calls earlier this season. Then again, Porter couldn’t match that jawing with decent play the last time they played, so maybe it’s just as well. The Pats have yet to win a real away game, and the Jets just pulled to 6-6 with a win against Buffalo on Thursday. Which means Miami really needs this win for a chance to stay in the hunt to win another division in turmoil.

Big Upset. Call me crazy, but I think we’ll see at least one big upset this week, with one of the loser teams (Detroit, Oakland, KC, ‘Skins, or Cleveland) surprising the winning team they’re playing (Cinci, Stillers, Denver, Saints, Bolts, respectively). It’s just that time of the season. Obviously Oakland’s done that already a couple of times this year, but Heinz Field is tough. And, with Pittsburgh now up 38-24 in Heinz Field, the Stillers had better win against Oakland tomorrow if they want to avoid playing second fiddle to the local college team in Pittsburgh.

Update: Then again, with Cinci coming from behind to beat Pitt 35-34, maybe Heinz Field will be the place for some surprises this weekend.

Trash Talk: I’m An Excellent Driver Edition

Well I woke up this morning and got myself a beer
The future’s uncertain and the end is always near
Let it roll, baby roll, let it roll all night long.

These are strange days indeed we live in. One minute it is a quiet peaceful day after Thanksgiving, not even the sound of sugar plums and OPR reports dropping, and the next thing you know all hell is breaking loose in the Woods. Tiger goes Rainman driving in the driveway, and Elin Woods shows she’s got some game with golf clubs too. Go figure. You knew it couldn’t be long before Gloria Allred and Mark Geragos were involved. Ugh. The Woods family, sadly, will all be crawling from this wreakage for a long time.

But there is, thankfully, football to occupy our time, so let’s get to the games.

Student Athletes: Right now, and in my backyard, my ASU Sun Devils have just lost, via a late game moronic muffed punt, to the hated UofA Wildcats in what, at one time, was one of the best and nastiest rivalry games in the entire country. No longer, strictly ho hum now. Another game that was always huge, but has lost some luster is Trojans v. Bruins, which is a late game tonight (Fox Sports here). It may not be what it used to be, but very well may be an interesting game tonight. By the way, both TCU and Boise State are going to finish undefeated; I say put em both in BCS bowl games; these are good teams and they have earned it far more than some SEC team with two losses, and more than any flunky Big-10 team.

National Favre League: Again, there area a bunch of simply lousy games not even worth discussing. But the good ones have a lot to chew on. First up is Pittsburgh versus the Ravens in Baltimore. The big news here is that Big Ben is out, not going to play because of concussion symptoms. When Roethlisberger himself is making the call, you know it is real, he is a tough dude. So Dennis Dixon, who was a legitimate Heisman candidate, if not frontrunner, two years ago at Oregon before he hurt his knee, will get the start. He is a great athlete and can throw the ball, but has almost zero experience; ought to be interesting. The Ravens are desperate and have to have a win, but have not been playing well. This is a tossup, with the slight edge to the Ravens.

Peyton and the Colts at Houston is notable too. Can the Colts stay undefeated? Can Houston win a big game at home? I’ll take the Colts. Da Bears visit Old Man River in the land of the Norske. The other really interesting game, however, is the Cardinals visiting the Titans. Kurt Warner looks fine in spite of the hit last week, so the Cards look to be at full strength. The Titans have been resurgent with Vince Young though and are back to playing Jeff Fisher football. The Titans are on a mission, the Cards have the division pretty much wrapped up already because the NFC west is so pitiful. I’ll take the Titans in an upset.

By far the biggest and best game this week is the Monday Night affair down in the Big Easy. If I had more dollars than sense, I would head down for some hurricanes at Pat O’Briens and a 48 hour partay ramble. You know the Who Dat nation is going to be amped up and ready to geaux. This has the makings of another Dolphins/Bears Monday Night game from almost 24 years ago to the day. With only the Redskins, Falcons, Cowboys, Bucs and Panthers left on their schedule, if the Saints can overcome the Pats, they very well may run the table. The Pats are really rounding into form at the right time of the year. You knew they would. Most importantly, the New England defense is gelling. Couple that with a healthy Wes Welker and Brady getting back to the QB he is capable of being, and, well, you just cannot ask for anything more out of a regular season game. As Keith Jackson would say, “folks, this is gonna be a good un”. Drew Fookin Brees and the Who Dats are at home in the dome; give them a microscopic edge.

Alright, that is the slate; what ya got? Been kind of quiet here the last couple of days, time to make some noise fellow knuckleheads!!

Talkin Turkey Trash

Here it is, another big bird day! That means football and we have some trash to talk.

Some Preliminaries: ESPN has been reporting that the Buffalo Bills and Mike Shanahan had a seven hour sit down, and there is serious interest on both sides; we shall see. In other Bills news, Jim Kelly thinks Trent Edwards is a nice guy, but is why the Bills are finishing last. Notre Dame has cancelled all of Charlie Weiss’ recruiting trips, that were already set up for after the Stanford game that ends the season. Not a good sign; put a fork in him and carve him up, this turkey is cooked. Oh, and former Eagles offensive lineman Jon Runyan is going to run for Congress in New Jersey – just as soon as he is through joining the Bolts for the rest of the season. Clearly more worried about himself and money than learning issues and actually doing the dirty work of being a politician, he ought to be the perfect Republican.

The Games: First up we have Cheesers at Kittens. Young Matthew Stafford’s willingness, make that determination in the face of his coaches, to get in for the last play of the game last weekend versus the Brownies, and win the game with a TD pass on the last play earned him the team, and its respect, for good. He was already the man; but boy did that seal the deal. He is a stud and threw for 422 yards and five, count em five, TDs last week. Stafford has a hurt non-throwing shoulder; if he can’t go, which is likely, Duante Culpepper will get the nod. The Packers also had a big win over the 49ers, but lost Al Harris and Aaron Kampman for the year in the process. The Pack’s O Line is getting healthier, and not a minute too soon for Aaron Rodgers, who has takin a lickin and kept on tickin this year. This should be a surprisingly good game, especially if Stafford can go.

Next up is da Rayduhs versus the ‘Boys. Yeah, I dunno what to think here. Both these teams are infuriating. Oakland has a great defense and should not have been nearly as lame as it has been on offense. They have some players, I just think Jamarcus Russell has been a lead weight around their neck. But he is benched, and Bruce Gradkowski is at the helm now, and they are responding. Dallas, on the other hand, is 7-3 but has just sucked. Seven godamned points against the Redskins? Come on man. The Cowboys need this game though, because the Giants might be waking up. It is in Dallas, the ‘Boys usually win Turkey Day games at home, so I will go with them. If this game was in Oakland I wouldn’t though.

Last, but not least, we have the aforementioned Gents traveling to Mile High to visit the Donkos. As RanDiego keeps saying, the Broncs really need to think about wearing them striped socks and butt ugly unis for the rest of the year; they are a good luck charm. Two things are crippling Denver lately; Kyle Orton is hurt and they got nobody else (Simms is nice, but really sucks) and their new defense has been seen and schemed now. Most of all, Brian Dawkins, the key and soul to the D, has been hurt with a neck injury. Dawkins should play, if he is up to speed, that makes a HUGE difference. Still, Eli is feeling better with his foot and the Gents are coming around. I’ll take them tonight.

In honor of turkey day, how could today’s music not come from the Yardbirds? Happy Thanksgiving folks, and my thanks to one and all for being our friends and partners in the never ending expedition that is Emptywheel.

Ari Fleischer to Pimp BCS

There’s much that can be said about this

The college football Bowl Championship Series has hired Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary to President George W. Bush, to help improve its image.

[snip]

“Playoff advocates have had an easy ride where they have never been called on to explain exactly how they would create an alternative. There is tremendous division among playoff advocates,” said Fleischer. “While the BCS has its share of critics, once people see both sides of the issue, they will see why the system has its great support.”

And because a lot of folks are sliding into the Turkey holiday, I hereby give you an entire thread to say those things.

Trash Talk: Even Al Qaida Is Pimping The Cheesers Over Favre

Oh this is beautiful:

It seems that the Brett Favre-Green Bay Packers saga is such a worldwide phenomenon that it’s being used by detainees in American military camps.

According to a military official, detainees at a Wisconsin National Guard camp in Iraq are using Brett Favre as a manner of getting at the guard troops there.

“They know Favre by name,” said First Lieutenant Tim Boehnen, who is from New Richmond, Wis.

“One of the big words they know now is shenanigan. They’ll constantly talk about ‘Favre shenanigans,’ ‘He’s so good for the Vikings,’ and ‘The Packers have got to really feel bad about that one.’ ”

According to Boehnen, it started when troops there started decorating their camp in Packers colors.

Heh. I wonder how you say Ted Thompson is a big fat arrogant idiot in Arabic. And I wonder how the Cheeseheads respond; it’s not like there is much they can say back to the creative and pesky detainees in light of the ass whuppin Favre and the Vikes have laid on them twice. Even on the hallowed Frozen Tundra of Lambeau. Ouch.

In other tangential football news, Obama has been chucking the pigskin on the White House lawn with Drew Fookin Brees (thus today’s musical selection “They Call Me The Breeze”). From USA Today:

President Obama is exercising executive privilege to get youngsters off their butts, and to urge all Americans to volunteer for community service.
In a TV spot set to run on Thanksgiving Day, viewers will see New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees zinging a pass to an unseen player. As we look closer, we realize the receiver is actually President Obama. The playing field is the White House lawn. The defender is Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.

The 90-second public service announcement is a joint effort between the NFL’s Play 60 campaign to fight childhood obesity and the president’s United We Serve public-service effort.

Pretty cool, and a worthy cause too. Football on the lawn at 1600 Pennsylvania; somewhere JFK, RFK Read more

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