Saturday, October 21, 2006
Friday, October 06, 2006
College fans pride themselves on "traveling well." Buckeye fans are no exception.
But how does a fan exhibit allegiance and pride when he lives over 2,000 miles from the epicenter of his world? The local alumni hangout, of course. Buckeye fans in Southern California gather together every Saturday by the ocean at The Shack in Santa Monica. A unique bar that, interestingly enough, caters to the Midwest Buckeyes on Saturday and East Coast Eagle fanatics on Sunday. A friendly group of people that allowed me into their circle for a fall matchup versus Penn State.
I learned three lessons during the course of the game:
1) Buckeye fans are NERVOUS no matter what the score says
2) The opposing team always CHEATS
3) No matter who OSU plays, Michigan is the omnipresent DEVIL in the room
Thursday, September 21, 2006
par i ty [par-i-tee]
equality, as in amount, status, or character.
This season has shown fans, critics and pundits exactly what the roundball fanatics figured out during March Madness - talent is everywhere and anywhere....simply ubiquitous. Miami drops out of the polls, Florida State stays in the top 20 on shear rep and Louisville sits comfortably at #8 with their two star players out. Michigan absolutely throttled Notre Dame, LSU and Auburn played last at-bat and Oregon needed a bit of luck from their green uniforms and the zebra crew to scrape by an Oklahoma team without a legitmate quarterback. Hmmm, is this normal that any team can beat any team on any Saturday. The division between the #1 team OSU and the #10 team LSU appears minimal, at best. Last season, Texas and USC were clearly the top teams with perhaps OSU slightly behind; in 2004 USC, Oklahoma and Auburn shared the honors; and again in 2003 USC led the pack along with LSU and Oklahoma . Basically, there has always been the top teams preceded by the TOP teams; this season, it appears all the same.
par o dy [par-uh-dee]
to imitate for purposes of ridicule or satire.
No two teams in sports garner more attention than the Yankees and Fighting Irish. Either love'em or hate'em. Right now the haters are loving the wreckage laid upon South Bend by the Maize/Blue. Haters unload on talk shows and bleed their finger tips dry with "overrated" scribble. How quickly it all goes sour. Interestingly enough, history shows that teams with a loss early in the season have a much greater chance of fighting, err, clawing their way back to the top. Case in-point, last year's Miami team (prior to the Georgia Tech debacle) had the inside track to the BCS title game if Texas or USC stumbled down the stretch because the loss occurred week 1. So, for all the Domers that feel like Doomers, hold your head high. Despite the fact that the Irish suffered their worst defeat under the Weis administration, a lose stills equates to a lose despite the margin. Of course, a loss in East Lansing kills all hope during a "Return to Glory?" campaign and refuels a disappointing theme for the 17th year in a row. Is it truly a new season? Perhaps just another mockumentary on tradition.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
I've been a bad, bad blogger. No more bachelor parties and awkward moments that force me to skip the community boat outing so I can watch college ball all day long. I have been labeled anti-social....and rightfully so. BUT to incorporate the past weekend's obsession with celebrity escapades and truths, I can think of no other better way to kickoff the upcoming joy with a preview referencing star power potential. Where do I begin...ahhh, of course, one begins with the heavyweights Hollywood and then filters down to the minions. Action!!!
The Tom Hanks Level: Teams with distinguished careers and a never ending legacy. As respected for their past history as they are commended for their forthcoming success. The victors of these matchups will continue their golden ride of the 2006 season; the defeated will wallow only in the immediate outcome but find another project soon after.
LSU vs. Auburn
Michigan vs. Notre Dame
Florida vs. Tennessee
The Bruce Willis Level: This level incorporates games that look good on paper, feature significant programs, yet somehow the game like the movie will never live up to the hype. One team will rolllllllll over the other without a mention of another hostage/action movie.
Nebraska vs. USC
Louisville vs. Miami
Oklahoma vs. Oregon
The Andy Dick Level: Games that really don't appeal to anyone who doesn't attend either school, but somehow if flipping channels I end up on one of these games, there's a good shot that I will be privy to a underrated performance and amazing ending with a few laughs in the middle...and in the same breath, there's a good chance that will never happen.
Clemson vs. Florida St.
Iowa St. vs. Iowa
Texas Tech vs. TCU
If one of the games resembles a movie opening this weekend...
LSU/Auburn = Black Dahlia
Can a game create so much sensation in a fan? Two SEC powerhouses, two Top 10 programs, two teams slammed with talent and yet only one team can enjoy the headline, "Tigers Win!" As a movie fan, I felt the same awe when I saw De Palma, James Ellroy and Black Dahlia linked together in the same line. Ooohhhh, sounds like a can't watch/can't not watch thriller! Alas, can it all be so good? Can the Tigers (Bama/Bayou) entertain us with a well played nailbiter, OR will a defensive struggle ensue matching leg vs. leg in a AL box score resemblance? Will the gruesome events of 1947 make for Shining-esque cinema? Honestly, SEC defenses (and similarly Hollywood marketing campaigns) are so good that the offensive output and subsequent entertainment value of the game can be, well...slightly not so exciting. Translation: A good title often hides a mundane exhibition. Tigers win in the end. Bet the farm on this one.
Nebraska/USC = Gridiron Gang
Regardless of the hype that ABC or Espn or ABC or whatever pumps into this game, the bottom line is simple: it is what it is. My good friend Yaffe often quotes the following lyrics from the song "Lost In The Supermarket" by The Clash, "Long distance callers make long distance calls." And Pete Carroll players make game winning plays....over and over and over again. The Rock may bring his best performance (whatever that's worth) to this picture, and it just won't matter. Another feel good sports movie about underdogs achieving the impossible goal through resounding belief in one another. Awesome. Only one problem - Gridiron Gang resembles the The Program more than it reflects the style of "feel good" filmmaking that cemented the legacies of Rudy, Hoosiers and Invincible in fan's hearts. Translation: Nebraska looks enticing on paper, but unfortunately this team awaits the same fate as the film - DISASTER.
Michigan/Notre Dame = The Last Kiss
The college football nation has plenty of supporters for two of the signature programs in the country, BUT if you don't like the Wolves or the Leps does it matter a damn to you? Coincidentally, the Last Kiss markets Zach Braff's affiable, confused cuteness as the sequel to Garden State (everyone that has viewed the trailor knows what I'm preaching here), yet does anyone care? This game has the potential for an epic battle, and the storylines are vast: Irish tradition vs. Wolverine pride, Carr vs. Weis, Hart vs. Irish defense and so forth, but is this game as BIG as the media leads us to believe? Nobody knows the answer to this, yet this is why we watch. Translation: The matchup looks good in headlines but this game is not the epic that it has been built up to playout. Irish pull away and Braff gives America a break.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Week 1 - Hallelujah!
It's here. The 2006 season of college football. Of course, week one is usually the appetizer course of the schedule - fluff games creating excitement for the upcoming conference schedules. The marquee matchups this past weekend featured 3 distinct games: Cal vs. Tennessee, Notre Dame vs. Georgia Tech and Florida State vs. Miami.
Take a moment...
Everyone throughout the Irish community may now take a collected sigh of relief, please. Here's what I don't get: How was that type of game not expected? The Yellow Jackets beat both Miami and Auburn last year with the same principles that they employed on Saturday night: high intensity defense and a hit & miss offense. The Irish clearly looked jolted in the early going, but as a championship caliber team does, they adjusted and found a way to win. It wasn't very pretty, but regardless a win is a win is a win. Period.
Favorable game stat: 3rd down conversions - ND 7/16, GT 2/10
If I'm a Cal fan, I'm stunned. Absolutely and utterly stunned. There was not one indicator going into this game that warned of the upcoming Vol attack, an orange blitzkrieg, if I may. Now, anyone that has watched the Vols knows that they possess great defensive talent, BUT the offensive chemistry blew everyone off their couch. Didn't see that coming. Vol fans have a season to look forward to now (and this issue was VERY debatable right before kickoff).
Favorable game stat: Rushing yards - Tenn 212, Cal 65
How many picked Montana State over Colorado? Anyone??? What happened to the great football program in Boulder? At one time the Buffs were a minor league NFL team grooming prospects. You can watch the "Hail Mary" against Michigan on this blog complete with a collection of names that even the most casual NFL fan will recognize. Coach Hawkins has a considerable homework assignment this season - get the Buffs rolling!
Favorable game stat: Net passing yards - MS 211, CU 88
What is it about Pete Carroll and his Trojan squads? The two biggest stars in college football graduate along with a slew of other top notch talent, and USC simply reloads and doesn't miss a beat or touchdown for that matter. Wow. I never thought that SC could lose against Arkansas, but I felt growing pains and chemistry might show itself early and often. I know nothing! The defense may be the strongest aspect to this year's team and will potentially serve as the safety net until the offense becomes as potent as prior years. Simply scary for the opposition.
Favorable game stat: Total offense plays - USC 80, AK 59
Back to the north side...
The FSU/Miami rivalry hinges on streaks. FSU captured 5 in a row; Miami succeeded by rolling off 6 victories of their own. FSU took charge on Monday evening with their second consecutive victory. BUT, neither team looked impressive on offense. In fact, the teams combined for a total of 3 yards rushing. 3 yards! Miami squandered opportunity after opportunity, and their 2-minute offense withered against the Seminole defense. On the other side, FSU faired slightly better (and I only write this because they won the game) but not by much. Didn't the winner of this matchup catapult to the top of the BCS standings in prior seasons? Nobody in South Florida exhibited championship caliber football on Monday night.
Favorable game stat: 4th quarter scoring - FSU 10, Miami 0
Saturdays are back...