Monday, October 29

BlogPoll ballot #10: Let the bodies hit the floor.

It’s a Monday Night Massacre on the BlogPoll ballot, where six teams get broomed from the top 25 for losses of varying degrees of suckitude. This was a particularly challenging ballot to screw together -- on my first draft I had California up several slots for losing to Arizona State, Alabama up ten slots for doing nothing at all, and numerous other minor clusterfucks. It’s probably still not structurally sound, but of course nothing is set in stone until Wednesday at noon, so I have every confidence that you readers will apprise of me of each and every instance in which I’m a Pollyanna, naysayer, homer, hater, or random tollbag between now and then.

Games watched: Boston College-Virginia Tech, some of West Virginia-Rutgers and Mississippi State-Kentucky, Georgia-Florida, the end of N.C. State-Virginia.

1. LSU (last week: 1)

2. Ohio State (2)
Yup, the Buckeyes, despite a fairly dominating performance over Penn State, stay just below LSU. Why? Because that was their first win of import this entire season, and it was over a team that still managed to get handled by Illinois and Michigan. LSU, meanwhile, has wins over teams currently ranked 11, 18, 19, and 23 in the AP poll, and they needed three overtimes to finally give up the ghost in their one loss. On a neutral field, I think LSU wins. But who knows? There are a lot of big games left to be played by both teams.

3. West Virginia (7)

4. Oregon (6)
Sign of the Apocalypse #4,662 in a season that was hardly looking for more of them: Southern Cal has been all but knocked out of the Pac-10 title race and it ain’t even November yet.

5. Oklahoma (3)

6. Arizona State (9)

7. Boston College (5)
Am I an asshole for dropping the Eagles two slots after one of the most rapid, ruthless come-from-behind wins of the entire season? I don’t think so, considering that a) they can’t just pile the game on Matt Ryan’s back every single week and b) Virginia Tech and their prevent defense did their level best to give the game away. Still think they’ll win the ACC, though.

8. Kansas (12)

9. Missouri (8)

10. Auburn (13)
Seems too high for a team whose offense hasn’t exactly been rolling consistently over the last few weeks, yet Tommy Tuberville has made a habit of winning big games against long odds.

11. Georgia (NR/29)
Another team that seems too high -- regardless of the win over Florida, an 18-slot jump might be a bit of an overreaction. But let’s just say this -- if Georgia plays with the same fire and confidence the rest of the season that they had against Florida (and yeah, that’s a big if), they could very well run the table and win the SEC East in spite of two very embarrassing early-season losses. What this means, of course, is that they’ll be tied with Troy going into the fourth quarter this Saturday. As a Dawg fan, I am prepared.

12. Florida (4)

13. Wake Forest (17)

14. Michigan (18)

15. Texas (19)

16. Boise State (NR)

17. Alabama (23)
The Crimson Tide benefits handsomely from a whole slew of high-ranked teams getting thumped this weekend. They’ll either earn it with an upset win over LSU or lose and get knocked right back down again.

18. South Florida (11)

19. Southern California (15)

20. Wisconsin (25)

21. Virginia Tech (20)
Yup, only a one-spot drop despite a weird late-game collapse against BC -- but let the record show that their defense straight-up dominated the top offense in the conference for 56 minutes, and I’ve got them way lower than either of the mainstream polls do (the AP has them #11, the coaches have them #13).

22. Hawaii (NR)

23. Tennessee (NR/26)
I’m not terribly confident about this one, as the Vols still have three juicy opportunities to knock themselves back out of the SEC East race.

24. Clemson (NR)

25. Connecticut (NR)

The next five: South Carolina (16), California (22), Illinois, Penn State (24), Mississippi State.

Dropped out: Kentucky (10), Rutgers (14), South Carolina (16), UCLA (21), California (22), Penn State (24).

Sunday, October 28

Relentlessly tough, for when the going gets rough, the tough get their pictures in the press . . .

This is the day of days, and so the telling begins.
Douglas Coupland, Microserfs (1995)

Looking back, there were all kinds of signs it would be a special day. Baby sis and I spent the weekend down in Columbus, and on most weekends like that I would sleep late (which for me is about 8 a.m. or so), roll downstairs in my jammies and nurse a cup of coffee for the next couple hours, but this morning I went out to run with Pops and set a new personal best in my ongoing quest to work up to the Peachtree Road Race next year. And then Clark Gillett did something quite unlike anything I've ever known him to do in 29+ years of being his son: He went out and bought a 50" Panasonic plasma-screen TV. And the very first thing we watched on that TV was Georgia's upset win over the Gators on Saturday.

Even then, though, I wasn't expecting anything special from the game. Even when the very first play from scrimmage resulted in Tim Tebow getting dropped like a sack of potatoes nine yards behind the line. Even when Roderick Battle punched the ball out of Kestahn Moore's hands and Asher Allen ran it back to the Florida 39. Even when Georgia crept closer and closer to the end zone, every single play on the ground, I was thinking, What's going on here? They don't really think they can keep this up the entire game, do they?

But then The Celebration -- and yes, I'm capitalizing it that way because it's going to be remembered capitalized, just like Run Lindsay Scott or The Prayer on the Plains -- happened. I didn't even realize it at first; I was too busy jumping around the room like a maniac and traumatizing my poor dog by throwing her up in the air. When I sat back down, there were players all over the field, and at first I was thinking, Aw, fuck, how'd we manage to get in a fight already? But then it turned out to be a big bench-clearing party at midfield, and the rumors that it was a planned event were confirmed when Tracy Wolfson asked Mark Richt about it as he headed into the locker room at halftime -- with a 21-17 lead -- and he replied, "I told 'em if they didn't get a penalty for celebrating after the first score, I was gonna be mad at 'em."

The Celebration has already been discussed, and will continue to be discussed for the rest of the season and possibly afterward. It was called "courageous" by Kirk Herbstreit, "foolish" and "desperate" by the AJC's Terence Moore. Not surprisingly, Georgia partisans have mostly given it the thumbs-up, while Florida fans, even less surprisingly, were more than a little bit pissed. My sister thought it was awesome; my dad had a worried look on his face, saying it was an incredibly reckless thing to just hand Florida whatever field position they'd get from the Dawgs kicking off from their own seven and a half (where we ended up after not one but two unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties following the TD).

But it was a tremendously ballsy move that should forever erase any notion that Mark Richt doesn't have the temperament, passion, or sheer fire in his belly necessary to be the Dawgs' head coach.

For 17 years, not coincidentally starting with Steve Spurrier's tenure as the Gators' coach, Florida had been the dicks in this rivalry. I'm not saying that to whine or ask for sympathy; deep down, there's actually a little admiration in that comment. Florida began imposing their will on Georgia early in Spurrier's regime, and it didn't take long before the Gators realized they could pretty much do whatever they wanted to Georgia and the Dawgs would be powerless to do anything about it. Referring to our coach as "Ray Goof"? Sorry, you'll just have to sit there and take it. Dropping "half-a-hundred" on the Dawgs in their own stadium just to prove it could be done? You'll just have to take that too, and good luck ever returning the favor, since the home-and-home was a one-time deal and the game is headed right back to Jacksonville next year. Reggie Nelson publicly trash-talking Mo Massaquoi last year on the field? Don't bother me, little boy, I got a national-title game to plan for. And on and on. They were the dicks in this rivalry because they could be the dicks; you win 15 out of 17 and you can pretty much do anything you want . . .

. . . As long as the other team lets you, of course. And for 15 out of 17 years we'd let them, but Mark Richt, may there be peace upon him, decided we weren't going to do that anymore. Instead, we were going to be the dicks -- we were going to be so dickish we'd exchange 15 yards (OK, 22) for the privilege. We were going to be huge dicks and challenge Florida to do something about it. They got angry, oh yes they did, but apparently they got 12 points less angry than they needed to.

Sucks to be you, I guess. And please, Gator fans, let's have no more of this Melanie Wilkes hand-wringing over the end-zone party, OK? Y'all have whupped our asses for the better part of 17 years, and now, after one win -- no, one touchdown -- you all of a sudden want to bust out the fainting couches and complain about what big naughty bullies the Dawgs are? Save that melodrama for the Commodores this weekend, kids. You guys still worship at the altar of a former coach who turned opposing-coach-tweaking and score-running-up into an elaborate form of performance art, but one excessive celebration turns Mark Richt into Ernst Stavro Blofeld? Un-bunch your culottes from your righteously indignant asses and calm down -- and yes, we'll still sleep soundly tonight with big smiles on our faces whether you like our coach or not.

Weren't expecting that, were you?

Now, it's too early to declare the rivalry back on even footing. Yes, after years of losing with demonstrably better teams, we finally won one with a team everybody thought wasn't as good. Yes, 3-of-18 notwithstanding, we've actually split the last two. Yes, we've figured out how to score on the Gators for the first time in eons. It's not going to mean a whole lot if we lose next year and everyone says, "Well, back to the same old Georgia."

But I think a strong case can be made that we're not the same old Georgia, not as far as this rivalry is concerned, at least. In 1997 and 2004, we won with seniors at quarterback, other offensive skill positions, and several critical spots on defense. This year, we had seniors at . . . where? A couple on the offensive line, one receiver, and a couple guys in the secondary. Oh, and our kicker. Everyone else was either underclassmen and first-year starters. But now that they've solved the riddle for beating Florida without having to wait until their senior years to do it, who knows what else they might be capable of?

And who knows what else this coaching staff might be capable of, now that mild-mannered Mark Richt has gone into the phone booth and come out of it a bare-knuckle badass with a pair of titanium-plated testicles? The coach I chided earlier in the season for meekly accepting a blowout loss to Tennessee has turned into the guy who will walk up to you, knock the books out of your hands, and then dare you to do something about it. Mark, you just might be on to something with that "game-planning energy" thing -- go get 'em, coach.

Take 'em to the mall, pimp.

And go get 'em Dad, who in the face of long odds and a weirdly-shaped family room, stood tall and said, "Fuck it, I don't care that we don't really have a wall big enough to hang it on -- we're going plasma, and we're going big."

Mark Richt and R. Clark Gillett Jr.: Real men of genius.

Everything else that happened on Saturday was secondary, of course, but in case you're interested . . .

· The Cheerleader Curse deals another team a suckerpunch to the gut, and this time it's the South Carolina Gamecocks, who, after losing to Tennessee in OT, need Vanderbilt -- Vanderbilt! -- to lose another conference game to have a chance of winning the East Division.

As for the rest of the division, Georgia and Tennessee are now tied for first place (with the Vols, of course, holding the tiebreaker), but here's where it gets interesting. Obviously, Georgia needs Tennessee to lose another game, but if they do and the Dawgs win out, Georgia goes to the SEC title game. And even if Georgia loses to Auburn or Kentucky, they still have a chance if Tennessee loses to Kentucky or Vanderbilt, because then there'll be a three- or possibly even four- or five-way tie at the end of the season, and . . . damn. November's gonna be fun, isn't it?

· With about four minutes left in Thursday night's Boston College-Virginia Tech game, VT leading 10-0 and Boston College not having mustered any consistent offense to speak of, I muttered, "Well, looks like this one's over" and got ready to take the dog outside to poop before I turned in for the night. A few minutes later, Boston College had scored two TDs and beat the Hokies 14-10. Needless to say, that taught me, and I made no such pronouncements on Saturday, toward the Dawgs or anyone else.

· Wofford Terriers update: Wofford nearly blew a 37-3 halftime lead against the Western Carolina Catamounts on Thursday, but unpuckered in time to corral WCU's final on-side kick, run out the clock, and secure their seventh victory of the season. At 4-1 in the Southern Conference, Wofford has 6-2 Georgia Southern and 2-6 Chattanooga on the schedule and, thanks to an upset loss a couple weeks ago, need Elon to lose to either Furman, the Citadel, or Stony Brook down the stretch to win the conference title.

· At any rate, there was a price to be paid for all of the weekend's awesomeness, and it was the Washington Redskins getting sodomized to the tune of 52-7 by the already-anointed Greatest NFL Team In The History Of Ever, the New England Patriots. I'm real glad I'm not a betting man -- or, rather, that I'm too poor to be one -- because I would've seriously thought of putting some money on the 'Skins and the points in that one. Hooray for having no discretionary income left at the end of the month!

Aw, shit. Well, at least it wasn't the Falcons.

Friday, October 26

You cannot stop the Friday Random Ten+5, you can only hope to contain it.

As you're well aware by now, Georgia goes up against Florida this weekend in Jacksonville in the latest installment of the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, and as you're also well aware, Georgia's recent history in this series is not something we Bulldogs spend a lot of time bragging about. Our record is 2-15 over the last 17 years, in fact, which is especially inexplicable when you consider that we've managed to earn three SEC East titles, 13 bowl invitations, and six 10-win seasons during that time. It doesn't matter how good Georgia is, we just can't seem to get over the Florida hump.

But hey, life's like that, and Georgia's certainly not the only one working on a head-scratcher of a streak. Partly for the sake of informing the public, partly just to salve my own pain at the Bulldogs having sucked so much wind at Alltel Stadium lo these many years, I present Five Streaks That Defy Good Sense Or Logic:

George W. Bush: 4-0 in last four elections
In 1994, Bush upset sitting governor and All-World badass Ann Richards in Texas's gubernatorial race despite having nothing of note on his record other than a famous last name and a 466-458 record as "managing partner" of the Texas Rangers (oh, and giving Sammy Sosa the heave-ho). After four years of doing little more than cutting taxes and executing the mentally retarded, Bush won re-election. In 2000, the country (well, 47.87% of it) saw fit to put him in the White House, and then in 2004, despite mounting evidence that Bush was about as qualified to direct a global war on terrorism as Lindsay Lohan is to operate a particle accelerator, he got elected again. That's four straight victories, and as much as I'd like to think that his political career will finally be over after next year, I can't help but think someone's gonna be stupid enough to propose an amendment to the Constitution so that Dear Leader can serve a third, fourth, or even fifth term.

Fidel Castro: 48 straight years without being overthrown
Bush isn't the only dictator whose political longevity defies explanation, though. Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba back in 1959, and in spite of the fact that the U.S. took considerable pains to overthrow every other head of state in South and Central America during the Cold War, Fidel is somehow still hanging around (even though he's probably hooked up to a respirator and issuing political directives via a blink-once-for-yes, blink-twice-for-no system). If Fidel does kick the bucket, his mantle will apparently be taken up by his brother Raul, and I can't help but hope that Raul turns out to be the Billy Carter of the Castro family.

MTV: no videos shown in last 9+ years
The general consensus among mainstream historians is that a milestone occurred at approximately 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, October 20, 1998, when Prodigy's "Firestarter" became the last music video ever aired* on the cable channel. Since then, it's been an unbroken string of slipshod reality programming, ride-pimpings, and superfluous glimpses inside the lives of spoiled rich Californians so repellant even E! Entertainment Television won't touch them with a 10-foot boom mike. MTV executives insist that actual videos will eventually be rotated back onto their programming slate, and in fact a Kanye West video was scheduled to air in prime-time earlier this year -- but it was pre-empted by a "very special episode" of The Hills, and thus the streak continues.

* A small but vocal minority in the historical community claim that the last video to air on MTV was not "Firestarter" but in fact a Mary J. Blige performance of "I'm the Only Woman" shown 12 minutes later; however, since it was a live performance broadcast by satellite onto the set of Total Request Live, most historians do not recognize it as a "video" per se.

Toyota Camry: best-selling car in America for nine of the last 10 years
We've been over my general distaste for the Camry before; I don't think it's a bad car, it's just incredibly boring, certainly too boring to be a decade-long bestseller in a country that supposedly values individualism as much as the U.S. does. Given how many people in this country willfully subject themselves to commutes of an hour or longer every day, you'd think they might want something a little more invigorating than this, but apparently what they actually want is a sensory-deprivation tank. Diff'rent strokes, I guess.

James Blunt: at least four straight ridiculously hot girlfriends (and counting)
The popular conception is that Michael Bolton has set an unreachable bar for spinning a complete lack of musical talent into inexplicably hot arm candy, but one-hit wonder James Blunt makes Bolton look like a eunuch. Despite having nothing more notable on his musical résumé than that one song about stalking an ex-girlfriend on the subway -- you know, the one they played non-fucking-stop from September 2005 well into '07 -- Blunt has managed to get with a string of hot chicks, including, but not exclusive to, singer Camilla Boler, London socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, Jessica Simpson, and, of course, unfathomably gorgeous Czech supermodel Petra Nemcova (above). And then what'd he do? He cheated on Nemcova with a 21-year-old nurse in Scotland. Now, lord knows I hate to come off as judgmental, but you've got to be one arrogant motherfucker to decide that sleeping with Petra Nemcova isn't enough for you and you're entitled to have some strange on the side; I don't know how they do it in the British Isles, but down here in Alabama we single men don't have any problem with beating the crap out of dudes who pull shit like that. Nemcova promptly dumped his sorry ass, but you just know that talentless turd is going to pop up with some other model, starlet, or socialite on his arm any day now; if there's any justice in this world, it'll be Britney Spears.

And now the Ten:

1. The Who, "Happy Jack"
2. Mono, "Slimcea Girl"
3. U2, "North and South of the River"
4. George Baker, "Little Green Bag"
5. a-ha, "Take On Me"
6. Cornershop, "Brimful of Asha" (Norman Cook remix)
7. Randy Newman, "Louisiana 1927"
8. Richard Cheese, "Imagine"
9. Meat Beat Manifesto, "Nuclear Bomb"
10. The Streets, "Weak Become Heroes"

Feel free to leave your own logic-defying streaks and Random Tens -- not to mention prayers, pleas to Vishnu, or voodoo incantations for the Bulldogs -- in the comments.

Thursday, October 25

Stop tasing me, bro: Revisiting the Gators.

Hate the Gators! Hate! Hate! HATE!

What I said at the time: A bit of substantive football discussion, some of it actually favorable toward the Dawgs . . .

. . . I’m optimistic about the fact that Florida returns only two starters on defense, giving them the one defense in the SEC that may actually be greener than Georgia's. Only three guys on Florida's '07 defense have ever sacked anybody at the college level; only one (Tony Joiner) has ever intercepted a pass. . . . On the other side of the ball, Florida is without a real backfield rushing threat for what seems like the bajillionth year in a row, unless you count Tim Tebow, of course.

Man, everything sets up so beautifully for this game. Georgia's offense should be clicking by this point, whereas Florida's defense might still be working through some growing pains, meaning the Dawgs could be in a position to put some real points on the board for the first time in ages; history's on our side, too, as the last Florida team to face Georgia as defending national champions received a 37-17 bitchslapping in Jacksonville. If ever there were a year to say "We're gonna beat Florida this year" and mean it, this is the one.

. . . but all negated by a minor technicality known as Fifteen and Two:

We all know what the most ominous aspect of this game is for Bulldog Nation, and it's the fact that over the last 17 years, Georgia has barely been able to buy a win, much less a streak of any kind. It's at a point now where Mark Richt could dress up the New England Patriots in red-and-black uniforms, send them up against a Florida squad composed entirely of special-ed kids and Medicare recipients, and you'd still be standing there stroking your chin and going, "I don't know . . . " If the mental block was too much to overcome for a senior-laden 2002 Georgia squad that was probably the best team we've fielded since Herschel Walker, you really have to be downing some happy pills to think a sophomore QB, a rebuilt offensive line and an experience-deprived defense are going to be able to get over that hump.

For Georgia victory, take one. On second thought, take two.

What's happened since then: Both teams have put together records of 5-2, 3-2 in the SEC, but they've taken very different paths to get there. Georgia looked great against Oklahoma State, discombobulated against South Carolina, strong against Alabama, and sub-comatose against Tennessee; Florida started off dominating, then went through a month-long stretch that included a sleepwalky win over Ole Miss, a shocker of an upset by Auburn, and a valiant loss to LSU on the road, but appeared to be pushing the needle back toward "dominating" with a 45-37 win over then-eighth-ranked Kentucky last week.

Care to amend your initial statement, sir?: Superficially, yes. I doubted whether Tim Tebow would look nearly as impressive as an every-down starter as he did as a glorified change-of-pace back, but if there have been any "times this year when the kid does something stupid enough to remind Gator fans just how valuable Chris Leak's experience as a four-year starter was," I must've missed them. As for the defense, the Gators are actually doing a little better than I expected, particularly against the run, where they're 15th in the nation (94.4 yards per game). Granted, the picture gets a lot less pretty when you move back to the secondary -- at 256.6 yards allowed per game, they're a surprising 95th in the nation against the pass. But I have to think at least a little of that is due to the fact that they've frequently been blowing opponents out to the extent that those opponents had to go pass-nutty late in the game just to try and make the score look respectable.

These are two teams that seem surprisingly equal on paper -- same records, both have lots of talent at the offensive skill positions, both are trying to bring a whole bunch of young guys through the system on defense -- and yet it's hard, for this Bulldog at least, to think of the two squads as being on the same level right now; a 21-point humbling in Knoxville and a last-play-of-the-game escape against Vandy will do that to a guy. As much raw talent as there is on our offense, our passing game has been intermittent at best, sometimes because Stafford isn't throwing balls accurately, other times because our receivers still aren't catching them; the running game has been terrific so far, maybe the most solid it's been since Richt arrived in Athens, but the depth we were so juiced about in the preseason has evaporated and we're down to Knowshon Moreno and a bunch of bench players. Our defense is good at a lot of things but not really great at any of them, and has displayed a disturbing propensity for breaking-as-opposed-to-bending at some of the most critical junctures -- or, as in the case of the Tennessee game, every conceivable juncture. Our punting and kicking have been top-notch, and we've dramatically cut down on turnovers, but other than that it's hard to find any one matchup in which Georgia really seems to have Florida dead to rights.

So at the risk of pissing off Michael Elkon, why don't we discuss some intangibles? Oh, yes, let's. Actually, let's start off with a semi-tangible: injuries. The one getting the most press on the Florida side is Tim Tebow's elbow injury -- specifically, his non-throwing elbow, which automatically leads me to believe that it's not nearly as serious as some have advertised, but supposedly it's going to make Urban Meyer a little more circumspect in his playcalling. That I can see, because at last count, Tebow was accounting for 73 percent of UF's 3,124 total yards on the season -- his 578 yards on the ground still make him the Gators' leading rusher by a fair margin -- and Meyer is going to be loath to subject the Rosetta Stone of his offense to any more injury risk than he absolutely has to.

My hope that Tebow would be left comatose after being smothered in a freak brumski accident, sadly, have not come to fruition.

But to paraphrase Tracy Jordan, asking Tim Tebow not to run is like asking a bird not to fly, or a fish not to swim, or a tiger not to turn back into a Chinese dude at midnight. Teebs is gonna run whether anyone likes it or not; how much further injury Georgia's front seven has the capacity to inflict on him as a result of this is anyone's guess. Honestly, I think the Gator injury that will create more of an opportunity for the Dawgs is safety Major Wright's broken thumb. Wright had surgery Monday, and if he can't play, his fill-in will be Kyle Jackson; Gator fans look at Jackson the way we Dawgs look back on Jasper Sanks, if the comments I've read from Gator bloggers are any indication, which means Stafford could find some over-the-middle opportunities on Saturday.

Of the real intangibles, the one getting the most pub this week has been Georgia's bye week, their first in the week directly preceding UGA-UF since 1991. But as David Ching points out, that little nugget is more than a bit of a mirage, since Georgia got a 32-point hammering from Florida the last time we played them right after a week off; in addition, Florida is hardly worn-out or stale themselves, having had their open date just a couple weeks ago. What I'm more interested in is Kyle King's revelation that over the last half-century, Georgia is 5-1 when playing defending national champions, including a 37-17 humbling of the Gators in 1997.

Oh, I remember that day -- Robert Edwards running like a madman, "WE BELIEVED" in 100-point type on the front page of The Red & Black, everything.

So is any of this going to make any difference? Who knows. Georgia's barely been able to buy a victory in this series even when they've fielded a demonstrably better team; winning with one that's not demonstrably better is going to require at least a couple instances of pure blind luck. This season has been crazy enough all across the country that a Georgia upset this weekend would barely nudge the needle on my Surprise-O-Meter, especially given the precedent that was set just last year -- when a broken and bloodied Georgia team climbed out of a 1-4 midseason trough and turned their season around with a stunning blowout victory at #5 Auburn -- but I'm not holding my breath for that kind of lightning to strike again, at least not in Jacksonville.

What will happen depends, in large part, on Georgia's offense. In the Dawgs' last four losses to Florida, we've allowed 20, 16, 14, and 21 points, and still managed to lose by 7, 3, 4, and 7, respectively. Small margins all -- small enough that you'd think even a modicum of progress on the offensive side of the ball might be enough to turn things around for Georgia. Knowshon Moreno is awesome, and I think there's a better quarterback hidden inside Matt Stafford than the one we've seen so far this year; a bye week and a backs-to-the-wall scenario certainly worked wonders for Tennessee a few weeks ago (even though the bloom came off that particular rose in a hurry), so there's certainly a chance the Dawgs could rise up and deliver one of those pulled-straight-out-of-their-asses victories we came to enjoy so much at the end of last year. If that happens, it'll hinge on Stafford. As Senator Blutarsky describes, this game is gonna be one of those weird instances where we have to pass to set up the run, and that's gonna require both Mike Bobo having confidence in Stafford and Staff making on-target throws.

You must carry this team, young Matt. Carry it like you'd carry a keg . . . or a jeans-shorted coed.

A lot of on-target throws. Florida's averaging 35 points per SEC game in 2007, a bar Georgia has exceeded in only one conference matchup this year (hapless Ole Miss). So if you ask me how much offensive improvement is going to be needed to hang with the Gators, "a lot" seems like a pretty accurate answer. "More than we're capable of at the moment" seems even more so.

Under Richt, the Dawgs are 4-2 against the spread in the Cocktail Party (moral victory say what), so I can at least hold out reasonable hope for a game that doesn't get out-of-hand embarrassing early like the Tennessee game did. My prediction is that Florida throws a couple of scores on the board early, Georgia gimps around and puts one score, maybe two, on the board before halftime; as Tebow and his elbow get worn down and Florida's coaches start playing it closer and closer to the vest, Georgia chips away here and there at UF's lead, but a big late-game play by Teebs results in a score and puts it out of reach. Georgia loses by eight.

And in case you're scoring at home -- or even if you're alone -- yes, for the first time this season I'm coming right out and predicting a Georgia loss. Would I like to be wrong? Oh, yes, lordy, would I. But I'd also like Melissa Theuriau's phone number and a 1968 Alfa Romeo 33/2 Stradale. So . . . get back to me on that, I guess.

Hold me. Whisper some French stuff in my ear and just hold me.

I will run up and down Highland Avenue in front of my apartment building wearing nothing but a Georgia flag if: Georgia wins. Period. No "if we beat the spread" or any of that jive; legacy of failure in this series notwithstanding, I'm not baring my ass in the middle of Southside for a fuckin' moral victory.

Wednesday, October 24

The Peachtree Project, Day 108: Back in the saddle.

So when last we checked in on my quest to get back up to the point where I could run next year's Peachtree Road Race, it was August and I had just run a whole mile without stopping.

Well, there haven't been any updates since then, and there's a reason for that -- about the middle of September I had some minor back surgery that knocked me off track for a good while. But this past Monday, I decided it was time to get off my ass and pick it back up again. I figured that, given how long I'd been taken (well, taken myself) out of commission, I'd probably be back to square one, making it only as far as the end of my block before I got winded and had to quit.

But that didn't happen, oddly enough. At the time I quit, I was going just under 1.2 miles nonstop each morning; on Monday, I actually went further than the furthest I'd previously gone. And this morning I went 1.35 miles (with an additional ~0.4 on the way back to my apartment for good measure):

So my progress has been stunted a bit, and I may not make my original goal of 4 miles a day by the end of the year (the distance I was doing daily in college) after all. But I'm optimistic that I can still string 6.2 miles or so together by the time the Peachtree rolls around on July 4.

See you when I hit two miles . . .

Dine 'n' dash.

Does the waitress have her back turned? OK . . . cheese it!

While I was taking Jenna out to poop this morning, I walked by a USA Today box at the corner of 20th and Highland and saw this headline:

Wars may cost $2.4T
Estimate covers Iraq, Afghanistan at cost of $8,000 per U.S. resident

And in the online edition, I found this:

Wow, $2.4 trillion worth of wars and an incredibly expensive missile-defense system. In other words, a perfect time to make those tax cuts permanent!

Going back to the Iraq/Afghanistan story, that subhead jumped out at me because I don't remember ever having received an $8,000 bill for anything. I'm pretty sure I'd remember that, because I don't have $8,000 to spend at the moment. I'd be willing to bet there are a lot of people out there in a similar situation, and if there are millions of people out there who don't have $8,000 to spend, then I kind of wonder where the government is getting this $2.4 trillion to spend.

But whatever; I'm sure my kids and grandkids will take care of it.

Monday, October 22

BlogPoll ballot #9: My bologna has a second name, it's S-C-H-A-D-E-N-F-R-E-U-D-E . . .

As weekends go, this was probably the most satisfying one since the win over Alabama in overtime -- we got to see the two teams who've beaten us go down in high-profile flames, while two more teams we have yet to play also got whacked. Of course, this just makes all the more difficult the chore of sorting out where all these intricately connected SEC teams should be ranked, but . . . whatever.

As always, your comments, suggestions, and condemnations are welcome.

Games watched: UConn-Louisville, Alabama-Tennessee, the second half of Florida-Kentucky, LSU-Auburn, bits and pieces of Virginia-Maryland.

1. LSU (last week: 1)

2. Ohio State (2)

3. Oklahoma (4)

4. Florida (11)
I'm not sure Florida deserves to be in the top 5 with two losses, but their defeats at the hands of Auburn and LSU were very close and hard-fought, while their victories over Tennessee and Kentucky were pretty emphatic. I think they'd stand a better-than-50-50 chance of beating anyone below them.

5. Boston College (3)

6. Oregon (5)

7. West Virginia (12)

8. Missouri (14)
Missouri went up against a Texas Tech offense that was averaging exactly 50 points a game -- no, I'm not kidding, look it up -- and held them to only 10. If Mizzou has found a defense to go with their fast-paced offense, look out. They still have to face currently unbeaten Kansas, but if they get through the Jayhawks and end up in a rematch with Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game, they might beat the Sooners a second time around.

9. Arizona State (13)

10. Kentucky (7)
Tough loss to the Gators. Honestly, though, after the 3OT epic against LSU, I thought they'd come out a lot flatter than they did; they were in that thing right up until the very end.

11. South Florida (6)

12. Kansas (19)

13. Auburn (10)
This is still a good team, but neither the score nor the three-spot drop they incur this week really indicates just how completely they got dominated in the second half of the LSU game. From the second-half kickoff to the start of Auburn's final scoring drive, they were outgained 290 yards to 54, and nearly a quarter of their 296 total yards for the night came on that final drive. The offense seems to have kind of hit a wall since thrashing Vanderbilt a few weeks ago.

14. Rutgers (NR/29)

15. Southern California (18)

16. South Carolina (9)
I guess a lot of us kind of overestimated how far SC's offense had progressed since Spurrier put Chris Smelley in at quarterback. That was just an ugly, ugly loss, and while the Gamecocks still control their own destiny in the SEC East, it certainly doesn't bode well for their games against Tennessee or Florida.

17. Wake Forest (NR/27)

18. Michigan (16)

19. Texas (17)

20. Virginia Tech (23)

21. UCLA (NR)
They're 5-2 and just knocked off California, so I feel like they should be ranked somewhere, but I know they're only going to go up to Pullman and lose to Washington State next week so I almost wonder why I bothered. How does UCLA manage to play so well against so many good teams and then completely fuck it up against teams that are lousy?

22. California (8)

23. Alabama (NR)
Boy, was I ever living vicariously through the Tide on Saturday afternoon.

24. Penn State (25)

25. Wisconsin (NR)

The next five: Tennessee, Illinois, Michigan State, Georgia, Virginia.

Dropped out: Tennessee (15), Illinois (20), Texas Tech (21), Cincinnati (22), Kansas State (24).

Bye Week Mystery Meat: NOBODY expects the Vanderbilt Commodores!

Our chief weapon is a stifling front seven . . . and a running quarterback . . . our two chief weapons are a stifling front seven and a running quarterback . . .

Georgia had a bye this past weekend, so I get to decry the ineptitude of some other teams for a change. Remember this comment from Mark Richt in the wake of the Tennessee game that pissed me off so much?

“It’s not that surprising to see Tennessee’s D-line handle our guys like that,” coach Mark Richt said Saturday.

Well, we have a new frontrunner in the race for Most Ridiculous After-the-Fact Sandbagging Award, and it is . . . none other than Steve Spurrier. Take it away, Garnet and Black Attack:

"I'm not shocked at losing to Vandy. They're a good team. They were obviously a lot better than us today. We knew all along that we were sort of living on the edge at 6-1. We're not clobbering anybody, but we certainly played better against Kentucky and Mississippi State than we did today. We had our chances today. We had our chances and went backwards and couldn't score a touchdown. It's as simple as that."

Yup, sixth-ranked, 6-1, controlling-their-own-destiny-in-the-SEC-East South Carolina loses at home to Vanderbilt, and the Ol' Ballcoach says he's "not shocked." Apparently Spurrier's hobbies include alchemy, four-leaf-clover cultivation, and unicorn riding, because you've got to be a pretty jaded individual to sustain your first loss ever to the Commodores and not be shocked by it.

Pick your jaw up off the floor, son, Steve's got a whole stable full of these.

It's possible Spurrier meant his comment in a "In this crazy season, nothing's shocking" sort of way, but it certainly doesn't seem that way from the (admittedly limited) context. At any rate, I'm just glad some other team's fan base is tearing their hair out at the roots this morning.

The Vandy upset felt like the only SEC game I didn't get to see any of Saturday. The day started with Alabama-Tennessee at 11:30 a.m. on Lincoln Financial, a marriage that felt about as natural as plucking Richard Petty out of his #43 car and making him race go-karts with a bunch of kids at the beach, and while I did have a grand old time living vicariously through the Crimson Tide and sending gleeful text-message updates to an Alabama friend of mine who was imprisoned in a wedding for the first three quarters or so, my overall feelings on that game are doused with a generous helping of a sentiment beautifully expressed by Senator Blutarsky yesterday:

I know it’s a good thing for Georgia that UT lost this one. But I kept getting angrier and angrier watching it. How does Georgia get blown out by a team that lost to Florida and Alabama by a combined score of 100-37? Richt ought to lock Bobo and Martinez in a room with the game film of this one.

No shit. Looking back on Tennessee's body of work minus the Georgia game, you've got a team that got shelled by Florida, a currently not-so-great Cal team, and an Alabama offense that had barely been able to get out of its own way over the past few weeks; they also struggled a lot more than they should have in wins over Southern Miss, Arkansas State, and Missy State. This is an average team at best, which just makes it all the more infuriating that we went up there and played like the Keystone Kops on two doses of Tylenol PM. Whatever; I'm not gonna think about it, not gonna think about it, not gonna think about it . . .

Oops: I just thought about it.

One other thing I noticed about that game was that whenever the UT marching band started up a rousing rendition of "Rocky Top," which I remain convinced is the only song other than maybe "Rock & Roll Part I" in their repertoire, the Million Dollar Marching Band would start playing something over it. That seems like pretty sound strategy to me; if we're not doing this at UGA, we need to start next year.

So once Bama-UT was well in hand, baby sis and I saddled up and drove up to Somerville, where a recently engaged Auburn couple I'm friends with was having a big crawfish boil to celebrate the Auburn-LSU game. The celebration lasted about a half; even when LSU was down 17-13 and driving, there were murmurs circulating around the room to the effect of "We're fucked." Turns out they weren't, not once Auburn scored a touchdown to go up 24-23 with three and a half minutes left, but then somebody made the singularly boneheaded decision to squib-kick back to LSU -- I repeat, with three and a half minutes left -- so that LSU could start their final drive within a couple first downs from Colt David's field-goal range.

Now, everybody's been going on about Les Miles's insane decision to go for a touchdown pass at the end of the game instead of kicking a not-all-that-lengthy FG and winning anyway, but that was just Les being Les; he probably got all excited and forgot he even had that third time out in his back pocket. The most boneheaded decision of the day still belongs to whoever ordered the squib-kick. If LSU's offense has been owning you the entire second half -- and they had been, 290 yards to 127, 74 of Auburn's yards coming on their last-gasp TD drive -- what possible good can come of letting them start off at their own 42? Looking back over the play-by-play, it turns out that had actually been Auburn's KO strategy all day -- kick it short and preclude the possibility of a big return -- and it resulted in LSU starting drives at their own 17, 41, and 35 yard lines in the first half; none of those culminated in LSU scores. But LSU had only gained 137 yards the entire first half, and now they'd made some kind of halftime adjustment to where they were eating Auburn's lunch offensively. If their offense is already clicking like that, why make their lives easier for them?

And by the way, Virginia is now 7-1. Say it out loud: Seven and one. The team that could only come up with five first downs against Wyoming is now atop the ACC's Coastal Division.

Al Groh can't quite believe it himself.

Friday, October 19

Berfday Bostonblogging.

Monday night I was walking Jenna through my neighborhood and there were a bunch of student photographers from Samford University taking pictures for some kind of project they were working on. And as we walked by McNolia's on 11th Avenue, one of them asked if I would let Jenna be in one of the pictures. I said sure, and after getting her to sit and stay for more than five seconds at a time -- no small feat, you understand -- this is one of the photos that resulted:

(Photo courtesy of David Shirk, Unplugged Photography.)

I'm putting it up today because this is Jenna's third birthday -- yup, she's old enough to drink now (though that never stopped her before).

More pictures almost certain to follow . . . but no party hats. I think she suffered enough last year.

Thursday, October 18

The Friday Random Ten+5 battles our nation's lack of foreign-language proficiency.

You know, we live in a weird country where certain people will decry immigration both legal and illegal and demand that English be made the official language -- and then they'll turn right around and retire to their patio for a pilsner and a croissant, or maybe hop in their coupé and head down the boulevard to buy a quesadilla from some schmuck at a restaurant. Whether we like it or not, foreign-sourced words make our own language richer and more interesting, and I've got five candidates for foreign words we would do well to welcome into our own language with open arms. Here's this week's +5, the Five Amazingly Concise Foreign Words We Should Start Using In English:

This word has been bandied about before on this blog, but it bears repeating; the literal translation of the German is "one who sits when he pees." The word was conceived in response to a trend in Germany whereby women were evidently forcing their husbands or significant others to sit when they peed so as not to splash urine on the seat. It has come to refer to any wimp or easily intimidatable man.

Ex.: Despite his outwardly hawkish stance on national security, Joe Lieberman's willingness to fall in lockstep with Bush administration policy makes him one of the biggest sitzpinklers on Capitol Hill.

Bahasa (Indonesian) for someone who has a creative idea that only ends up making things worse.

Ex.: The "Who's Now" fiasco would seem to indicate that there are entirely too many neko-nekos running the show up in Bristol, Connecticut.

Slampadato (fem., slampadata; masc. pl., slampadati; fem. pl., slampadate)
Pretty simple: It's Italian for a person with an obviously fake tan.

Ex.: Back when I was in high school, you always knew Spring Break was right around the corner when the rich slampadate came to school the color of a buffalo wing.

OK, so this one's two words, but they kind of go together and they're both awesome. Bon-kyu-bon, literally, is Japanese for "big-small-big," in reference to a woman with big breasts, a small waist, and curvaceous hips. Apparently, thanks to an increasingly American diet (among other factors), Japanese women are getting taller and heavier, and a society that once liked its women petite and girlish is gaining a newfound appreciation for boobs and a badonkadonk; clothing designers are embracing the "bon-kyu-bon" trend as a result. A "bakku-shan," on the other hand, is pretty much the same as a "butterface" or a "Cleveland Brown" -- a girl who looks good from the back but not from the front.

Ex.: Miss June 2004 Hiromi Oshima, while certainly bon-kyu-bon, is most definitely not a bakku-shan.

Another German word that's been explained on this blog before, but man, it's just so awesome. Literally it means "a face that cries out for a fist in it," and if that's not a German word that would fit into the English lexicon every bit as comfortably as "schadenfreude" or "sauerkraut," I don't know what is.

Ex.: Few things in the world would give me more pleasure than to suckerpunch Sean Hannity right in his backpfeifengesicht.

And the Ten:

1. KRS-One, "Step Into a World (Rapture's Delight)"
2. DJ Shadow, "Mutual Slump"
3. Biz Markie, "Just a Friend"
4. Pet Shop Boys, "Disco Potential"
5. Banamarama, "Venus"
6. Avenue Q cast, "Mix Tape"
7. Madonna, "Ray of Light"
8. The Clash, "Straight to Hell"
9. The Chemical Brothers, "Piku"
10. Prodigy, "Everybody Is in the Place"

Drop your own Tens and/or favorite foreign words in the comments, s'il vous plait.

Wednesday, October 17

BlogPoll roundtable #5: We might as well be flipping coins.

Everybody cool with it if we just decide the game this way, too? I mean, we might as well.

This season has been backloaded with shocking upsets, out-of-left-field performances and former also-rans jumping up out of nowhere to become contenders; few have felt this more acutely than Joey of the blog Straight Bangin', who has watched his Michigan team get embarrassed on their home field by Appalachian State and Oregon but then turn around and lay waste to Penn State and Purdue. Now the self-loathing Wolverine tries to make sense of it all by hosting this week's roundtable. Crank that soulja boy indeed:

1. Coming into the season, many people had October 6th circled on their calendars because it was thought that the LSU-Florida game would be the single match-up that wielded the most influence over the rest of the sport. Now that a singular cataclysm has given way to a weekly series of upheavals, is there a single remaining game that has the greatest potential to deliver on the promise of unique significance foretold in scripture the preseason blogosphere? Which one is it and why?

Well, the obvious answer here is Ohio State-Michigan, since both of those teams stand a reasonable chance of having ripped through a weak Big Ten by that point, which would make Ohio State an undefeated national-title favorite -- and the Wolverines a dangerous upstart looking to definitively drive the last nail in the coffin of the App State loss (and quite possibly send Lloyd Carr out a champion in the process).

But if you'll forgive me for going SEC-centric on you for a minute, I think the Florida-South Carolina game on November 10 will also have major implications not just for the conference title but for the national crystal-football-hoisting one. Spurrier's Gamecocks control their own destiny in the SEC East at that point and will probably be favored in every game up to that one; if Steve can beat his old team for the second time in three years, that would likely put the 'Cocks in the SEC championship game, and on a neutral field against an LSU team Spurrier has already had one chance to get a good look at, who knows what might happen? If Ohio State and South Florida get nailed somewhere along the line, it'd be really hard not to put a 12-1 South Carolina team in the Big One, which would signal the kind of seismic shift in the SEC that Gamecock fans have been doing voodoo chants for ever since Spurrier put on his first garnet-and-black visor.

Somehow I don't see this happening two years in a row.

2. Bill Callahan's tenure has been so embarrassing for Nebraska fans that the school just fired the athletic director who hired him. Meanwhile, Tom Brady is doing just fine without Charlie Weis, even though he invented offense; Dream Coach Pete Carroll is facing criticism for his team's preparation and attitude; the Urban Meyer Revolution is televised but not as advertised due to an unreliable running game; Mack Brown's players get arrested a lot; and so forth. Don't get me started on Lloyd Carr. All around the country, coaches are under duress, even the beatified ones. Name a coach or two (or three) who most deserves the criticism and explain why.

I'm going to ignore the guys like Callahan and Dennis Franchione who are obviously toast at the end of the season, as well as the Karl Dorrells and Tommy Bowdens who are perpetually walking one tightrope or another. The first guy that the Evil Monkey in my closet points his accusatory finger at is Tom O'Brien. I guess I'll never know why he made the decidedly lateral move from Chestnut Hill to Raleigh, so I can only ask: Is the talent discrepancy between N.C. State and Boston College really so great that it explains a drop from 10-3 in your last year at BC to 1-5 (and no D-IA wins) with the Wolfpack? We all roll our eyes when a talented, qualified coach like Cutcliffe or Solich gets a premature axe from a dimbbulb AD, but maybe we need to come up for a new word for when a coach's ego prompts him to leave a great situation for pastures that don't turn out to be green at all. "Oh, man, it's starting to look like Jimbo Fisher really O'Briened himself by taking that Florida State job." Or something like that.

Don't think that Evil Monkey missed the fact that you dumped the Eagles for a team in your own division, sir!

Next car in the condemnation parade belongs to Weis. Yeah, yeah, I know, everything bad that has ever happened or ever will happen to the Fighting Irish is Ty Willingham's fault. But seriously, Chuck, you've now rotated three recruiting classes into your system, and you've got an offensive line that, if not exactly experience-heavy, is nonetheless packed with highly touted players. This is the best you could do with all that? Or maybe a 1-6 start is just an integral part of your fiendishly clever plan to take over Division I-A? (Actually, there may be a few Domers out there who believe that.)

And, of course, being a fan in the SEC, I am contractually obligated to do some grumbling about my own coach, but I think I've said my piece on that one and don't really care to revisit it again.

3. With few elite teams, a plethora of pretenders, and the aforementioned steady procession of upsets, filling out a ballot each week can be challenging. What is the single hardest decision you'll have to make this week when voting?

So many teams are hovering between "elite" and "pretender" status because they've been so schizophrenic over the course of the season. Like, I put Auburn at #10 in my last ballot, but is that the Auburn team that jumped on Florida early or the Auburn team that found a way to lose to Mississippi State at home? Which Tennessee team is actually sitting at #15 right now, the one that stomped all over my Bulldogs on October 6 or the one that got face-raped by Florida three weeks before that? By the same token, is #23 too low for a Virginia Tech team currently riding a five-game winning streak, or too high for a team that got a six-touchdown brass-knuckling from LSU? When you talk about "elites" and "pretenders" this season, you're not just talking about teams, you're talking about individual performances, and voting decisions are frequently based on rolling the dice and deciding which of those performances was the real deal.

4. This one is similar to the last question: many teams have sent voters mixed signals all year. Is BC really a top-five team? What am I supposed to do with South Carolina? Are there even two good teams in the Big Ten? Borrow a page from EDSBS and give me two teams to buy and two teams to sell.

OK, this is awesome and everything, but can you believe some of the stiffs in our conference?

I'm putting in a buy order for a hundred shares of Wake Forest, for starters. I know most of us patted them on the head last year, dismissed their improbable ACC title run as "cute," and assumed there was no way in hell it'd happen again, but after solid performances against Maryland and FSU, none of the remaining teams on their schedule look unbeatable. And who knows -- if they run the table and Boston College stumbles anywhere along the line, Wake is booking return tickets to Jacksonville.

Also buying: Texas Tech. Their offense, obviously, is nuclear-powered, but If their last three games are any indication, they might actually be learning to play a little defense. They have to end the season at Texas and at home against Oklahoma, but honestly, the way this season has gone, do you really want to count them out of either of those games already? My bet is that they win at least one.

(And even though I can see Joey running in slow motion and yelling "Nooooooo!" already -- or maybe he's just rolling his eyes and making the jerk-off gesture -- I'm saving some pennies on the side to buy Michigan, too. This team has gotten into just enough of a groove to be very dangerous -- and murder on the rest of the Big 10 -- if they've decided to make October/November '07 the Big Blue Redemption Tour.)

Selling: two "V" teams, Vanderbilt and -- sorry, dad -- Virginia. Despite the hype, I wasn't completely sold on Vandy as a bowl contender in the preseason, and though their 3-1 start did intrigue me a little, they’ve since been blown off the field by Auburn and lost to Georgia in a fashion every bit as heartbreaking and inexplicable as the uncompetitive Commodore squads of old. Maybe next year, guys. Meanwhile, Virginia's won six in a row since their season-opening embarrassment in Laramie, which should have me pretty impressed, but look closer -- that streak has been built on last-second field goals against teams like North Carolina and MTSU. That's not going to cut it against the Wakes and Virginia Techs of the world; the 'Hoos could still finish with eight wins, but I'd be shocked if it was any more than that.

5. Now that we know the strengths and weaknesses of many teams, explain to me how your team will make out over the remainder of the regular season.

Are you kidding me? The way this season has shaken out? I was talking with my mom on the phone earlier today and commiserating with her on how the Tennessee and Vanderbilt games had gone, and I told her that Georgia could very well win all five remaining games on their schedule -- Florida, Troy, Auburn, Kentucky, at Georgia Tech -- or lose all five of them. There's not a single gimme left on the slate, but neither are there any games in which a Georgia win would come as a cardiac-arrest-inducing shock.

Now, a repeat of this? Then you can go ahead and bust out the defibrillator.

I may end up paying for this big-time -- I certainly did when I predicted solid wins over South Carolina and Tennessee -- but I think the Bulldogs win ugly against Troy and Georgia Tech and then pull an upset in one of the other three. And as crazy as it sounds, I think that upset is most likely to come against Florida next week. If everything were to play out that way, Georgia would finish at 8-4 overall and 4-4 in conference, which might be good enough for the Music City Bowl and . . . a ninth win against a crap ACC team? A 9-4 finish wouldn't represent an improvement over last year, which would be disappointing, but after the last few weeks, I’ll take it.

I know stuff!, part II.

Caveat emptor, beeyatch.

Who could've predicted this wouldn't work out?

This might only be amusing to Georgia fans of a certain vintage, but a fellow alum sent me this story a little while back about Jerry Jones, how he's this kickass maverick owner of the Cowboys who has turned his team into a golden-egg-laying contender again and who craps pure excellence, and obviously as a Redskins fan I think this is all bullshit but I couldn't help but laugh about this part:

He looks for football talent the same wildcat way he sought oil.

"We're a franchise of risk-taking," said Jones, who celebrated Friday the 18th anniversary of his best deal, the Herschel Walker heist with Minnesota.

"When we haven't had success is when those risks don't pay off. Quincy Carter is a perfect example. If you really pinpoint it, all of [the struggles this decade] started with the Quincy Carter business."

Eager to make a quick transition from Aikman to a new era, Jones gambled that he could get first-round quality out of Carter's third-round talent. Splitting the difference, he drafted the quarterback in the second round.

I can just hear the rest of the Cowboys' front office muttering to themselves: "What you mean we, white man?" To read Jones's comments, you'd almost think that a) the decision to draft Quincy Carter came from the front office as a whole, when in fact it was Jones's alone, and b) that nobody had warned Jones about what a bust Carter would be, when in fact the exact number was "everybody."

Seriously, Jer could've asked anybody in the state of Georgia about Lavonya Quintelle Carter and would've gotten the same answer -- that way lies only madness, pal. And then maybe, at the very least, he would've hedged his bets with backups a little bit more stable than Chad Hutchinson and Ryan Leaf. But hey, it was still a fun ride, wasn't it? Tune in for the sequel to this article five years from now, when Jerry claims that Terrell Owens's selfishness took him completely by surprise.

Tuesday, October 16

Separated at Birth rides again.

Soon-to-be-available Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan and Beau Bridges?

Tennessee head coach Phil Fulmer and presidential hopeful Fred Thompson?

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and Death from "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey"?

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant?

Or, oddly enough, Sean Payton and Ben Stiller?

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio and Joe, the wheelchair-bound cop from "Family Guy"?

Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell and Prince?

(That one was pointed out to me by my sister while we were watching the Redskins gane on Sunday, but did you know that at six-foot-five, Campbell is fifteen inches taller than Prince? As Ann said, "That's two heads! Or a whole baby!")

Southern Cal quarterback John David Booty and John Hughes High School quarterback Jake Wyler from "Not Another Teen Movie"?

Ex-Florida/Miami quarterback Brock Berlin and "Heroes" supervillain Sylar?

Birmingham mayor-elect Larry Langford and Earle Hyman, Cliff Huxtable's dad on "The Cosby Show"?