Friday, November 30, 2007

Apparently the NFL doesn't care about announcers

So you didn't get to see the Packers loss to the Cowboys last night. Sucks to be you. I did get to see the game, thus I'm much cooler than you.

However, you should count yourself lucky if you didn't get the NFL network broadcast for 1 reason. The NFL network announcers may very well be the worst in the league. Gumble and Collinsworth are teaming up for the 2nd year of NFL network broadcasts for reasons unfathomable to mortal men.

Lets start with the less offensive of the two, Collinsworth. I will give Chris some credit for being extremely knowledgeable about the game. Too bad he is such a smug prick that every word that comes out of his mouth has the same effect as finger nails on a chalkboard. Collinsworth is convinced that he is one of the best WR's to ever play and still better than 80% of the players on the field. The sad thing is he was the more appealing figure in the broadcast booth last night.

His teammate Bryant Gumble apparently is considered a good broadcaster by someone. Apparently the NFL just figured he needs a little more time to get into the flow of being a play-by-play man. Apparently he likes the word apparently. Apparently I have picked up on this.

The running back picks up 8 yards on 3rd and 3 and Gumble comes out with "Apparently Marion Jones has picked up the 1st down. The Green Bay running back takes the ball to the Dallas 20 yard line and Gumble come out with "Grant runs to the 25". Rogers throws 7 completions in a row and Gumble comes up with "Rogers only needs 14 more to match Farve's 20 from last week". While these are not exact quotes, both the last two are approximations of what was said by Gumble on consecutive plays.

Last season I was shocked at how badly Gumble and Collinsworth called the thanksgiving game. But I was willing to chalk it up to inexperience working together. But here we are in year two and there has been no improvement. Gumble constantly mangles down, distance, names, plays, whatever. He is more likely to get a call wrong than right. If you were to start a drinking game you would have to have it where you drink when he gets a call right, since you wouldn't make it through the 1st quarter drinking when he gets something wrong. This comes from someone who used to play power hour as a warm-up before going to a bar or party, and once played it on Christmas Eve. just for fun.

It is exceedingly apparent that the NFL doesn't give a shit about the announcing team or Gumble would have been replaced by now. And while I personally hate Collinsworth, he could work in a booth where there was someone strong next to him who could keep him in line. Instead we get Gumble. Fuck you very much NFL.

Other thoughts from the game:

- Arron Rogers, nice job kid. I was completely against the Raiders trading Moss to the Packers for a package that included Rogers. I may have to admit I was wrong. He may not have completed the comeback, but he did seem to have "IT". Impressive for a guy getting his first extended playing time.

- So that was the same officiating crew as the New England vs. Indy game earlier this year. Glad to see they haven't improved and New England fans no longer can claim any bias from that game. The officiating team just sucks, they aren't competent enough to bring bias into the picture.

- To the Packers fans who think they would have done better with Woodson playing. Have you ever watched Woodson man up on TO? TO owns Woodson, and you would have had at least two more PI calls at critical times during the game with Woodson in there.

One game to watch this week.

This feature usually takes me longer to write than any other, but not this week, I'm mailing it in.

Watch Oklahoma vs. Missouri (game of the week anyway with the national title on the line.

For Oklahoma watch:

Duke Robinson, JR, OG, 6-5, 335 - Mauler on the line
Nick Harris, JR, FS, 6-3, 225 - Hard hitting ball hawk
Malcolm Kelly, JR, WR, 6-4, 218 - Big speedy WR
Curtis Lofton, JR, MLB, 6-0, 238 - Solid MLB prospect
Reggie Smith, JR, CB, 6-1, 198 - Good cover corner
Allen Patrick, SR, RB, 6-1, 195 - 2nd or 3rd round RB prospect emerging from Peterson's shadow.

For Missouri Watch
Chase Daniel, JR, QB, 5-11, 225 - Reminds me of Drew Breese
Martin Rucker, SR, TE, 6-5, 248 - Pass catching TE, will vault to 1st round with solid combine
William Moore, JR, FS, 6-1, 205 - Best player on Tiger D.

Talent wise Oklahoma should run Missouri out of the building. But Missouri is having one of those magical runs, and we all have to root for them to keep THEO out of the title game.

Apparently my TiVo will be getting a workout this weekend as I'm headed out to the wilds of WV with a gun this weekend (why else would you go to WV), and apparently I won't be getting to a full breakdown of the Raiders game from last weekend. But Apparently you don't have to pay anything to read my brilient diatribes so apparently you have nothing to complain about.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

7 Things to do with leftover Turkey

Well I'm sure that all of my loyal readers have had an empty hole to fill since I haven't posted in a week. I'm hoping they filled that hole in the same manner that I did, with Turkey and pie. Having the family Thanksgiving at my house this year reminded me that the leftovers, while cool at 1st, become redundant after a couple days, as every excuse for eating turkey is executed. But this doesn't qualify as one of the 7 things I learned, as I decided to use it as the intro. So lets dive into 7 other random thoughts from the last week.

1 - RIP Sean Taylor

I wish there was a funny angle here. I'm sure that had he just been injured I'd be riffing on some questionable reason that this is his own fault. But there is nothing funny here, there is a child who will never know her father, and yet another young man brought down too early. RIP Sean, those of us who only knew the player can never fathom the loss that your family is dealing with. Our thoughts are with your family.

2 - SANTA BABY

If its true that every person that goes to Hell has a personalized experience set-up based on their most disliked experiences, mine would have to do with malls/outlet malls and shopping around Christmas.

Due to the local weather yesterday (as seen in the Pittsburgh Miami game)I es hued hunting for going Christmas shopping with the wife. We headed North to the closest mega-outlet mall for a quick 5 hours of shopping, where only 1 gift was purchased. It was a Monday afternoon so the crowds weren't that bad, which is the only thing that kept me from slitting my wrists.

During the shopping experience, while I desperately clung to my sanity, the insipid song "Santa Baby" was heard no less than 4 times. Despite this being one of the worst Christmas songs ever, not once was the same version replayed. Nope, there was the Madonna version, the rap version, a Ska version, and the exceedingly gay version where some guy sang the song. Why is this song played in the 1st place? The Madonna version was bad enough, but for some reason multiple other performers have felt the need to cover it, and multiple store have decided that its catchy enough to put on their play list for the season. I am surprised that more retail personnel don't go postal this time of year as they are put through the Christmas version of the Chinese water torture through Christmas music.

3 - VICTORY FORMATION

Holy Shit, I didn't even know the Raiders had that formation in their playbook. They must practice that as often as the ever elusive triple reverse fake punt pass. Honestly I was surprised that one of the Raiders didn't jump offsides due to confusion on the field.

All in all, I'm just happy that the Raiders Finlay pulled out a win in one of the sloppy games this year. Having it come against a division rival just makes it all the sweeter. Sure this hurts draft position, but the team needs all the confidence building blocks it can get. I don't expect another win this year, but at least the Nation has a week of positive thoughts.

4 - BCS Mess clearing up

Well a couple weeks back I proposed putting me in charge of the BCS so that we would get the best game possible. I wanted to see LSU play Oregon. Well we may still get to see them play in the Dunder Mifflen bowl, but with Dennis Dixon (my Heisman choice) out the game will be as exiting as paper sales.

So it looks like we will be getting Missouri play West Virginia, provided Missouri can beat Oklahoma (not a forgone conclusion, but please win Tigers, THEO in the title game would set the college game back 50 years). I would be fine with this if the Family didn't have land in West Virginia. I predict that if West Virginia makes it to the title game the National Guard will need to be called in to quell the riots. But the war in Iraq has depleted the National Guards resources to the point that the entire state will burn before the situation can be brought under control.

I'm going to stock up on Amo and food now, since Pittsburgh is less than 2 hours from Morgantown. There is a good chance that the entire region may need to be bombed back to the stone age to bring it under control should West Virginia actualy win the total.

5 - If a tree falls in the Forest, I bet its loud as Fuck

I am new to the hunting game. I've always been interested in hunting, my old man hunted for years. But in high school I was involved in athletics, so missing school for hunting was a no-no since it would mean missing a game. Then I went away to college and lived in Connecticut for 6 misserable years, so I never bothered getting my liecence.

Now I'm in PA, I have a little disposable income to blow on gear and amo and I have taken up the sport. I've even gotten the old man to start hunting again so that we can spend some quality time together. A real Hallmark family moment.

So getting out to hunt for the 1st time in my life I learned a few things:

- Deer are much easier to find on the highway than in the woods.
- Sitting on your ass in ~30 degree weather is much colder than working in the same conditions. I was dressed for work the 1st day and froze my ass off. A trip to Walmart later and I was all set for Day 2.
- Leaves are loud, I mean realy loud. Sitting as quietly as possible listening for any sine of a dear moving in the forest. Every little gust of wind causes either the leaves to rustle. Or god forbid fall to the ground, where you can hear every branch the leaf hits until it settals to the ground with a mighty crash. I'm sure that there is something poetic that can be writen here. But instead I'll just stick with leaves are loud and any tree that falls must be a calamity.

That said, despite not even firing my gun, I'm hooked and will be back in the woods this weekend and potentialy next, avoiding falling leaves.

6 - Tom Brady Knee Watch

I have to admit, do to general exhuastion from fighting a cold, having family in for Thanksgiving, hunting and celebrating a rare Raiders win, I fell asleep on the couch shortly after kickoff of the Pats game vs. The Ealgles. According to ESPN I missed a great game, but the Pats won and Brady hasn't had his leg amputated, so I fail to see what could be considered great about it.

We can now cross the ghost of Buddy Ryan off our list of potential saviors for this season. So now the Pats head to Baltimore to ravage the Ravens (aren't alliterations fun, no they aren't). So I can finally feel confident that we are finally close to having the Patriots season ruined. I had thought that the Colts would take out Brady thanks to having the devout Dungey doing gods work. But I was off, God will have a hand in this, but it will be through God's linebacker, Ray Lewis.


Not only does Ray have God's backing, he has a knife and isn't afraid to use it. This will be the week that God shows that he is a vengeful God and Ray will be his avenging angel. Nothing more to say here, If you are rooting for the Pats you are rooting against God, fuckin heathen.

7 - Sports Talk Radio, yeah it sucks too

I have my Sirius radio on all day at work, but it is generaly background noise that I rarely pay attention to. Occasionaly something on Stern, ESPN or The NFL network catches my ear for a few moments. But getting work done so that I can waste time blogging takes presedent.

This weekend, while traveling from Pittsburgh to WV I actualy listened to the talking heads on ESPN as my old man and I bonded through akward silence. And what I heard was some truely incipid shit.

One talking head spent the majority of his show complaining about how Brett Favre got too much attention from Fox during Thursday's game. He went on and on about how Favre was the only story that the broadcast team was interested in talking about. And how he learned nothing about either the Lions or the other Packer players.

Hey Jackass, you are the media also. You want the other stories to get out there. Do some research and present the stories. Stop complaining and talking about Favre. Don't like the take everyone else has, give an original one of your own. But you couldn't do that since you are too lazy. I'm guessing that had Fox talked about the Lions and the young Packers, you would be complaining that they missed the Favre story.

Thats it for today, things should be back to somewhat normal for the rest of the week, so check back later for more Raider stuff and 1 game to watch this weekend. Maybe I'll get to both things. If not, well its not like I charge you anything to read my briliance.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Buying the Groceries

Couple of quick notes before we dive into this week's Raider diatribe:

- Don't know if I'll get a chance to post 1 game to watch this week, or anything else for that matter, As Family is coming into town for Thanksgiving Wednesday and I head to WV to hunt Friday. So both of you are on your own, unless I get motivated.

- It looks like the Merriman photo is actually a Photoshop job by the Chargers. But that shouldn't take away any of the delight we all share in laughing at the way MJD knocked Merriman's lights out. (I also know I spelled Shawne's 1st name wrong, I just thought he dropped the "e" when he got off the juice).

I've documented what I feel is the Major shortcoming with the Raiders at this point, the lack of a dominant defense and/or play makers on the offensive side of the ball. This by no means is ground breaking information that I'm putting out there. Anyone who has watched the craptackular display put on by the Raiders the last two seasons is well aware that the Raiders opponent has little to fear when game planning.

It is my opinion that the problem as it stands is the result of years of neglect by the Raiders in finding and obtaining playmakers through the draft. During the Gruden/Allen years the Raiders obtained talent through free agency and supplemented that talent with warm bodies in the draft. Unfortunately those Raiders got old and or moved on to greener pastures. The free agency landscape changed as teams got better at managing their cap situations and the Raiders failed to adapt and get their playmakers through the draft and supplement those players through free agency.

Looking back at the past 10 years of the Raiders draft, you have to go to 1998 and the selection of Charles Woodson to find a player that opposing coordinators had to game plan for. From that point on the Raiders drafted for need rather than best player available.

Need an upgrade at kicker - Jano 1st round '00
Need an upgrade at CB2 - PBuch 1st round '02
Need a CB due to Woodson contract - Namdi 1st round '03

Furthering the offense's downfall has been the Raiders reluctance to select offensive players at skill positions on the 1st day. Not counting the last draft the Raiders selected only 6 players(Porter, Tuiasosopo, Jolley, Johnson, Fargas, and Walter) who touch the ball on a regular basis in 30 picks.

Adding insult to injury has been the failure of highly regarded/drafted offensive lineman to step up into the voids left by the aging vets of the Gruden regime. Galler, Grove, Walker, not one has fully delivered on their promise. Some of this has to do with constant changing of schemes, and some to do with just not having "it".

As for the defense, a whopping 8 of those 30 picks were spent on the defensive backfields, while only 2 1/2 were spent on pass rushers (I give Williams a 1/2 since he was brought in as a pass rushing LB project). Dominant Defenses have dominant pass rushers.

Now, we shouldn't confuse this with a total dismissal of the Raiders draft ability. The Raiders have found quite a few gems in the late rounds over the last 10 years. Including:

Eric Barton
Rod Coleman
Shane Lechler
Ronald Curry
Oren O'Neal

These guys have all outplayed their draft status, however they are not playmakers and/or the Raiders have failed to retain them. (Lechler is a close to a playmaker as a kicker gets and Curry looked like 1 until injuries limited his speed.)

So where do the Raiders go to address this issue. Fingers have been pointed at Al for years for his love of speed and size over talent and football IQ. While this is a valid point, I look at the Raider's (I.E. Al's) philosophy that the Raiders don't rebuild, they reload. It is this lack of admission that the old ways aren't working anymore that has contributed more to the Raiders recent malaise than actual poor drafting. The Raiders have to admit that they can no longer look to FA to find their playmakers; they have to look to the draft for those players and to FA to fill out the roster.

It is time for Al to make a drastic change. I'm not calling for Al to step down, the man is the Raiders, but I think the man needs to admit that he can no longer have the final word on draft picks and free agents. He needs to bring in a true GM to perform the day to day football operations. Giving up this kind of control will be a hard pill for Al to swallow. But there is one man who I can think of that has the kind of relationship with Al and the football IQ that Al can trust to do the job right for him.

That man is the Big Tuna


Parcells and Davis have a long-standing relationship and enjoy mutual admiration. For years they were seen sitting together and comparing notes at the combine. Both have similar philosophies of terrorizing the QB, a strong run game and an opportunistic passing attack.

The rumor mills are rampant with speculation that Parcells is looking to get away from ESPN and get back into the NFL as a GM. The usual suspects of east coast teams are trotted out as potential landing places for the Jersey boy. But in today's world, why limit yourself to the east coast.

The traditional GM lives in the team’s facilities, working the phones and watching tape. However, thanks to the Internet, email and data sharing, who is to say that Parcells couldn't stay on his beloved east coast and handle things from a home office. Sure he would have to travel to Oakland for business at key times of the year (Camps, draft, meet with FA's), but his current job requires him to travel to Bristol on a regular basis, and any GM has to travel the country for certain events. There is no reason that geography should limit a GM's options anymore.

Do you think that Parcells can’t evaluate talent? He lead the morbid Pats back from the abyss to a Super Bowl run that ended at the hands of Brett Favre and the Packers, and left the foundation for the subsequent run by Bellichick. He turned a downtrodden Jets team into a division contender. His groundwork currently has the Cowboys as one of the top 2 teams in the NFC. Parcells has the eye for talent. The majority of which he acquires through the draft, exactly where the Raiders are weakest.

Parcells can also avoid one of his biggest annoyances by coming aboard with the Raiders, The media. Anyone who has ever watched a Parcells' press conference knows that his has little tolerance for the media. As a Raider Parcells could avoid the media like the plague that it is. The Raiders rarely, if ever make members of their front office available to the media. Parcells would no longer be forced to subject himself to the media’s constant badgering at press conferences. Shop for the groceries Bill, Al or Lane can deal with the media.

The biggest obstacle as I see it is the all mighty dollar. Bill is going to command one of the top GM salaries in the league should he decide to come back to a front office position. Here is where Al has to swallow his pride a bit and pay out. However, Al has one thing working in his favor. He rarely issues contract to front office personnel. Allen & Lombardi worked for Al without a contract. He paid them as consultants on a year-to-year basis, and they were free to go at the end of the year should the relationship not work. Parcells has had a wandering eye since his days in NE. This kind of relationship would allow Parcells the leeway to leave at his discretion. If he and Al can't work together, than leave, no buyout, no no-compete clause, just shake hands and move on. Win Win.

Can it work? I believe it can. Will it work? Its up to Al to make the 1st move, you know that the suitors are going to be lining up for Parcells' services, and most likely have already started working the phones. Al needs to move now to make this work.

Then we can all be treated to a Great Jim Ross moment, as at the Super bowl pre-game show, Bill stands up, gives TJ, Emmitt and Keyshawn consecutive chair shots and removes his shirt and tie revealing a Oakland Raiders T-shirt as the camera fades to black as Berman screams "BY GOD PARCELLS IS A RAIDER, PARCELLS IS A RAIDER THE NFL WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN"

I just got chills, but it could be this damn fever, I hate colds.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Stretching for 7

Here we go again, a list of 7 observations from the past weekend, lets hope at least 3 of them aren't totally fabricated:

1. Michigan v. THEO

I'd tell you about how totally demoralizing this game was to watch as a Michigan fan... if I had gotten to watch the fuckin game.

I can't tell you the last time I didn't get to see this game. But Saturday I had some other things to attend to so I wasn't going to be home for kick-off. No big deal, I could just Tivo the game and watch once I got home. So I go to the channel guide, head to CBS and they are showing the Pittsburgh game. Are you kidding me, the Pittsburgh players don't even want to see their game, let alone anyone else in the country. But hey look at that, ESPNa(lternate) has the game listed. I can Tivo and get on with my life.

So I get home, pull up my list of Tivo'ed items and push play on the Michigan THEO game. And all I get is a black screen with "Blacked out in your area". Touché Stuart Scott, you win this round. I didn't get to watch Lloyd Carr shit the bed for the last time against THEO, I'm heart broken.

2. New England continues to temp Karma

After watching a long day of football, I gave the wife the remote since I was sure I'd just fall asleep during the Pats dismantling of the Bills thanks to a slight hangover. So she watched some god-awful movie and I took a well-deserved nap. I was awakened at the end of the movie by my dog who was sure he was going to explode if he wasn't taken out to pee. So after freezing my ass off outside while he decided which bush to piss on, I came in, regained the remote and turned on the Pats game.

42-10, in the 3rd quarter. No big surprise. Lets see 4th down, in field goal range, and... the offense stays on the field. Belichick you are a genius, or a complete asshole.

I've brought up Karma here a number of times, and now I'm just waiting for it to bite the Patriots in the ass. It's only a matter of time now; neither Karma nor the football gods look kindly on Billy and his BS. IMO, they are just setting the Pats up for the most inglorious fall possible.

3. The Brady Knee watch

So the Buffalo wingman was unable to get the job done. So Karma's henchman is not an American Icon (Rocky), Gods left hand (Dungy) or a fat kid. So who do we turn our gaze to this weekend? In honor of Buddy Ryan, the entire Eagles D gets the nod this weekend.

The originator of the QB bounty, Buddy's influence needs to be brought back to Philly for the week. Not only on the field, but I want to see Jim Johnson smack Andy Reid and his sons around on the sidelines. After that he will have complete control of the team and free reign to injure anyone he wants. I expect the eagles to line up in kick block formation and send all 11 players at Brady's knee on the 1st play. Who cares if you let them score on the 1st play? They are going to score at will, unless you knock Brady out early, so what’s the harm in giving up 7 on the 1st play?

Buddy, call up your old team and make it happen. And while you at it let your son Rob know its OK to injure any Chief with the ball.

4. Is the QB making a comeback?

Since the retirement of Elway, Young, Kelly and Marino in short succession the league has seemed to be at a loss for competent signal callers. Your list of top flight QB's always seems only 3 deep. Of late its been Manning, Brady and Palmer (when healthy) and after that who would you start your franchise with? Farve has been on his last legs for 5 years, McNabb has been hot at times, McNair has a good healthy year and then just teased, Bledsoe was a statue, and Gannon had 4 great years. At any given time you had 28 teams who were looking for an upgrade at the position.

But lost among the Pats hype this year is that there seems to be a young crop of ball slingers (hehe ball slingers) that is poised to take their game to the next level.

Watching the Dallas v. Washington game I was impressed not only with Romo, but with how far Jason Campbell has come in 1 year. All over the league there seems to be young guns just an inch away from taking their game to the next level.

Roethlisberger
Anderson
Brees (don't blame him for NO downslide)
E. Manning (anywhere other than NY and he would be a star)
Rivers (as soon as the Norvel albatross takes another job)
Garrard
Schaub

Add in Peyton, Brady and Palmer all have at least 5 peak years left, and Romo and Campbell and that 11 teams who have damn good or emerging QB's. When was the last time you could say that?

And I'm not even adding in the top 4 QB's in the last 2 drafts, Young needs some weapons before getting any run from me, Leinart needs to beat out Warner but has shown promise, Cutler may just be in the wrong place at the wrong time (Denver's line is on the downside and the receivers hurt) Russell hasn't gotten a real snap yet.

Its been a rough 10 years for QB talent, with mercurial guys like McNabb and McNair getting put in the spotlight as the best, when they weren't quite up to Canton levels. (Don't get me wrong, they were both damn good QB's, but one was a system guy and one too injury prone). But the ten-year stretch of mediocre QB talent seems to be at an end with all the young talent breaking down the doors to compete with the leagues Big 3.

5. Chester the Molester

Why would you name you child Chester? I mean you are just setting the kid up for the nickname Molester. But sometimes its just fitting. Like when you let Chester Taylor loose against the Oakland Raiders behind the Vikings excellent Oline.

So Molest Chester did, fondling (have I taken this too far yet?) the Raiders D for over 200 total yards and 3 TD's. Now I can proudly say I saw this coming and in the 1 fantasy league that I'm in where Taylor was not on a roster, I picked him up as soon as I saw Purple Jesus go down, with this week in mind.

Did I need Chester on my team, no I also have Brady in this league, so it just resulted in a Belichickian romp against the guy who cut Taylor 3 weeks ago. But I did get to delight in pointing out to the 2 Vikings fans in the league that I was able to ride the Raider's misfortune in the game to another win, while they both put up L's. Small victories are all Raider fans can look for this year.

6. I see Yellow Flags in my dreams

No, I'm not talking NASCAR, I'm talking Raider football (or the football like product they put on the field). False starts on WR's, like we don't get enough of that from the Oline. Yet another week with an illegal downfield block on an Olineman when the screen pass timing is shot. (BS by the way, the pass had bounced off Fargas by the time Gallery whiffed).

When the Raiders were a team to be reckoned with, they had more than their fair share of penalties, but they could overcome them due to Gannon's leadership and an Oline who gave him minutes in the pocket. They no longer have that advantage.

Kiffen's #2 priority this off-season (finding a playmaker is #1) is instilling some discipline in the offense. Every Raider coach that I can remember has promised to address the penalty situation, but nothing has changed. I can accept aggressive penalties, give me an occasional hands to the face or late hit, I'm fine with it. But procedure and false start penalties, it's just sad to watch.

But while I'm expounding on the Raiders, lets put in a bright spot (yes I found one). Jano has been nails since trying for the 64 yarder. He is still getting touchbacks and now he is hitting long field goals like we expected when he was drafted. Maybe having a coach show some faith in him is paying off. Maybe all the fat drunk kicker needed was a little love after all. (Of course now I've jinxed him and he will miss a game tying/winning FG next weekend.)

7. Well I admitted that I'd be stretching to reach 7 things this week. I blame alcohol consumption. So here are some random things that I will put up in no particular order.

- Don't kick to Josh Cribbs, the AFC's Devin Hester, what would the Browns record be without him?

- Merriman needs to get back on the Juice. MJD put his lights out in what to date is my favorite play of the season. Now this before and after the juice picture from PFT:

Merriman claims that he is having his best season. And while the pundits laugh this off, due to his decreased sack #'s. I have to point out that sack #'s don't tell the whole story for LB's. But hey the media has to find an easy story, since anything deeper would be work. But since its Merriman, that’s as close to defending him I'll come, instead I'll just laugh at the incredible shrinking Shawn.

- Eagles fans got what they wanted, McNabb is hurt...again. Will they ever learn?

- You can't review a FG, but somehow the Ref's got the call right after the Ravens left the field. Why am I surprised this didn't happen to the Raiders?

- NE fans, enjoy becoming the NFL's bad boy team, the last true NFL bad boys are still getting every call against them 20+ years later. I look forward to the incessant whining, wait they are already whining when the team is winning. Great, we all get to look forward to NE fans becoming more unbearable.

- Magic Hat sampler packs are filled with good beer. I've know this for years, but now their holiday 12 pack has TO: and From: slots on them. My gift giving just got a whole lot easier.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Neutering the Backjudge (how to fix football officaiting)


Once again football officiating is called into question. Yahoo sports choose to worry more about the money in their article. But to me the bigger thing is the overall incompetence that officials show at all levels of football. The Big-10 has been notorious for years for having poor officiating crews with questionable calls at key times. While I don't recall any egregious calls during the Ohio St. v. Illinois upset, I'm sure THEO fans may be able to find something.

In the NFL there every couple years there is an outcry that the NFL should hire the officials full time so that they can concentrate on football. I'm not even sure how NCAA conferences hire their officials. But I do have an idea on how to fix this whole mess.

Officials should all be put into their own "league" the OFL. That's right, all football officials from college through the pros should be put into 1 pool. Then they are put on "teams" for the season and assigned games by the OFL league office. Not by the NFL, Not by the Big-10, not by the Patriot League. Based on your performance level you are assigned a division for the year and are trained for success at that level. Think of it like baseball's minor league system. NFL=the Bigs, D1 = AAA, D2 = AA and D3 = A.

Then comes the tough part. Grading the officials. As it stands now the NFL grades their guys and comes on the NFL network every week to explain how the bad call was actually the right call. NCAA conferences hand out their grades using paddles, and hooded robes like something out of Animal house (or maybe not, the article above says if you do bad you get the conference’s biggest game.) Grading under the OFL system becomes very public. As the top teams advance to the playoffs in the NFL and the BCS bowls in college, while the bottom teams are demoted to a lower league for the following season.

If say a back judge is outperforming his team’s level, the OFL would have the latitude to move call him up to replace a back judge that is underperforming. Or say a side judge on a team who is being demoted had a great individual year; the OFL could move him onto another same-level team.

Then there comes the question of guys who don’t want to move from the college game to the pro game. Due to the fact that there are so many college games, this actually shouldn’t be a problem. As for guys at the pro-level who don’t want to accept a demotion, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Pro sports is unforgiving to guys who can no longer produce, so is the OFL.

Who pays for the OFL, officials don’t sell tickets or get TV contracts. The NFL and NCAA would pay the league every year for using the league officials. This would in the short run cost the NFL and NCAA more as running a separate officials league would entail more overhead. However this would be offset as they would no longer be running their own official reviews, and it would help maintain the integrity of the game, which in the long run keeps the league stronger. In a perfect world the OFL would be self-sustaining so that the NFL and NCAA would not be paying the OFL and the league would be truly independent, but until officials start selling tickets, that isn’t going to happen.

Will this be a cure-all that eliminated bad calls? No, but it will remove the perception from fans minds that the leagues assign crews based on desired outcomes or that crews can use their bias against a team to influence the outcome of a game. Officials, like players, would be “playing” each game to ensure they keep their job, a bad called game could be the difference in getting paid at the pro-level and finding yourself working in front of 5,000 fans on a Saturday afternoon in east bumbfuck Kentucky.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Defending Lane


The Wonder kid has stumbled out of the gate for the Raiders, and some of the fans are getting restless. Opinions seem to be split just about down the middle on Raider boards I frequent on if Kiff is just out of his league or just has no talent to work with.

The issues raised by the detractors seem to fall into one of the 3 following complaints. Kiffen's play calling sucks, he is a poor judge of NFL talent and the Raiders have not improved from last year.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I cannot find fault in Kiffen’s play calling as a whole. He is willing to take risks (goes for it early and often on 4th down, Jano's attempt at history) and he seems to throw in some wrinkle each week (McCowns scramble to start the Bears game). The problem that Kiffen has is he is stuck with piss poor talent all over the field. He has 1 QB who can scramble, but can't fit the ball into tight coverage. One QB who can't move and fumbles if a stiff breeze hits him. A WR core that cannot create openings on a regular basis. And an offensive line still learning a new system, without all the parts needed to compete.

This is a talent issue, not a play calling issue. If you look at the Raider's infrequent big plays, they have either been set up by the play calling earlier in the game, or are the result of something the Raiders have seen on tape preparing for the game. This is indicative of good play calling, not bad. Which brings us to the 2nd complaint.

Kiffen’s lack of ability to identify NFL talent: McCown, Culpepper, Moses and Rhodes are plastered to the wall as poster children for Lanes lack of scouting acumen. McCown is a career NFL backup. He was hardly the organization's 1st choice to come in and hold down the fort until JRuss is ready. Once the organization was unable to sign any other Vets to lead the talent deficient Raiders, they pulled the trigger on draft day to ensure they at least had enough warm bodies in camp to get through the year.

Culpepper was a good NFL QB before his knee got shredded. After almost a full year of rehab he showed enough in a workout to get a shot with the Raiders. A shot that never would have happened had JRuss showed up to camp. In his 1st game starting with the Raiders he looked good against the Dolphins, due to the fact the Raiders ran at will. However it seems that his knee cannot stand up to the rigors of the weekly NFL schedule, and he has reverted to his post-Moss Viking form being unable to deliver the ball without his safety blanket when having mediocre receivers. Once again, he was brought in as a desperation move, not a long-term solution.

Moses stands out as an embarrassment to the Raiders drafting staff. Taken with the 1st overall pick in the 3rd round, there is no excuse for him not to make the team. But pinning this on Kiffen seems more than a little naive. How many times did Kiffen face Moses at USC, how much tape did he watch on a 3rd round defensive prospect leading up to the draft? This is on the Raiders scouts and defensive staff, not Kiffen.

Rhodes is a classic Al Davis free agent pick-up. Have a big day in the Super bowl and become a free agent and Al will try to sign you. Lets not forget Larry Brown and Desmond Howard, on second though lets try to forget. But Al needs to remember as he is proving the old adage "Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it".

Now lets look at those who Kiffen most likely had a hand in picking-up or leaving alone. Leading up to the NFL draft, Steve Smith, Dwayne Jarrett, and Ryan Kalil (USC players) all to a man all claimed, on Sirius NFL radio, that they felt that there was no chance that Kiffen would pass on them if they somehow fell to the 2nd round. As the draft unfolded Alan Branch fell (whom Kiffen did have to game plan against) fell into the Raider's lap.

Did Kiffen and the Raiders select any of these highly touted players whom Kiffen had experience with. No, they selected another Pac-10 product, Zach Miller out of ASU, who Kiffen had seen 1st hand. At this point in their careers would you select any of the guys the Raiders passed on for Miller over Miller? To me that is understanding the system you will be trying to run, and knowing who will fit the system.

The Failures of the Raiders to bring in players that fit Kiffen's scheme is a product of an undesirable team (no talent for a QB to lead) and the continued failure of the Raiders front office to resist reaches and projects. When you look at the draft, the player who most represents Kiffen's handiwork, is also the best player the Raiders have gotten out of that draft so far this year.

The 2 wins to date for the season, with the points that I've already laid out, what more did you expect Kiffen to produce? The Raiders have been competitive in almost all their games this year. Something that could not be said of last year's squad. Kiffen has realized the team's limitations and has tried to keep them in the game long enough to eak out a win. So far this has only worked once (Cleveland) however the signs are pointing to this team learning the system and being ready in a year or two to explode, should the Raiders be able to find some playmakers.

Id the play calling conservative, at times yes, but it has to be, unless you want to go back to 7 step drops for sacks all day. Is the talent level up to NFL par, no, but neither Kiffen nor any other HC could turn that ship around in one year. And that’s not the HC's job, finding the talent is the GM/front office's job.

So back off Lane. Sure we all wanted a quick turn around, but the Raiders needed a complete overhaul, not some touch-up paint. The Raiders need to stick with one system and build a team, they need to give Lane the time to build, not plans just as the foundation is being poured.

If You Watch 1 Game this week(end)

I have not hidden the fact that I am a Michigan fan. When planning my Tivo schedule for each Saturday, the Michigan game gets 1st priority. So it’s been tough for me to write this each week without recommending the Michigan game. But, I was willing to wait, since this was going to be their biggest game of the year since Appalachian St knocked them out of the National Title picture.

Things were looking good coming into last weekend. It was going to be Michigan vs. Ohio St. with national title implications for what seems like the 8th time in 10 years. We had a no doubt about it 1 game to watch. Then last Saturday happened. Michigan relapsed to early season form and Ohio St. decided to prove that Michigan wasn't the only Big Televen team that couldn't handle a spread offense.

Now the luster has been stripped from the game. Sure the Big Televen title is still on the line, but Honestly, the Rose Bowl is a let down for Ohio St. after the rest of this season, and a 3 loss Michigan team shouldn't be in BCS contention.

So do we look elsewhere for the one game to watch this week? The only other contender in my eyes is Oregon heading to Arizona. Both teams have plenty of NFL talent on the field, but the match up just doesn't have the historical significance to knock off Ohio St. vs. Michigan here.

So here it is, the Battle for the Big Televen championship, and the right to loose the Rose Bowl to a spread offense team.

THE Ohio State University

Is there a more annoying University in College Football? The answer is yes, Notre Dame. But THE Ohio State University is close. Why do they feel the need to call themselves THE Ohio State University? Is using THE really a stroke of branding genius? Were we confusing them with A Ohio State College? Should they throw a THE in front of Buckeyes to make sure that there is no confusion there? Making the full team name THE Ohio State University THE Buckeyes?

For the rest of this column I'll be shortening it to THEO, since the full name takes too long to type, and to invoke the Memory of Theo Huxtable, the most annoying black character of all time, until Will Smith. (Will Smith plays the same character in every movie, therefor he is a character, not an actor, so save it you coor light drinking Will Smith fans)

Jim Tressle is the Anti-Carr. Until Tressle took the reigns at THEO, Carr owned them. Now THEO owns Michigan. And the key reason is Tressle gets the most out of his players. Other than a couple of Defensive players, what THEO player has made a huge impact on the NFL during the Tressle era?

Ted Ginn Jr., and Anthony Gonzalez jury is still out
Santonio Holmes is looking good, if he can overcome his turdishness
A.J. Hawk and Donte Whitner are both Solid
Nick Mangold looks good
Will Smith had one really good year and...

That’s really the only impact players from a perennial National title contender. The only QB who was highly regarded as far as college is concerned; from the Tressle regime is Troy Smith. While most college contenders depend on top QB play, Tressle gets by without and puts top teams on the field. Keyword: Teams.

Once again this year, THEO brings a top-notch team to the field. But, I really have only 2 seniors to keep an eye on. Part of this is the number of guys who have come out of OSU the last two years. (They may not be impact players, but 17 players have been drafted out of THEO the last 2 years). And part is due to an insanely strong junior class. So once again, I'm going to break my own rules and feature juniors over seniors for THEO.

James Laurinaitis (ILB, 6-3, 247) Laurinaitis is the prototypical College MLB. As a true sophomore he won the Nagurski for best defensive player. For some reason he doesn't seem to get the Hype that past THEO linebackers have. But he is every bit as good, if not better than A.J. Hawk and should be drafted just as high if he comes out as a Junior.

Don't bother looking for a glaring hole in his game. He has the size speed and awareness to immediately translate his game to the next level. Plus his dad is former professional wrestler Animal which just raises his cool factor. If he played for any other team he would be one of my favorite players, but since he is a Buckeye, I have to hate him.

Malcolm Jenkins (CB, 6-1, 202) The next in the long line of standout THEO CBs. Jenkins is everything the past guys were and more. While guys like Winfield and Clements were a bit undersized and fit better in a zone scheme. Jenkins is the complete package with the potential to be a shutdown corner at the next level. Add the fact that he is an excellent tackler, like his predecessors, and you can see why Jenkins may very well be the 1st CB off the board come April, if he comes out.

Vernon Gholston (DE, 6-4, 258) One half of the best match up to watch this weekend (against Jake Long) Vernon may very well be the 2nd best DE in this years draft, once again, if he comes out. Gholston's sack numbers are down this year due to constant double teams, but this converted OLB has stepped up his game against the run in response. Making him a more complete player.

Michigan will most likely leave Long 1 on 1 with Gholston when he lines up on the right side. The winner of this match-up will solidify their draft stock and may very well determine the outcome of the game.

I'm going to end my breakdowns of the THEO juniors there, as the rest I feel would be best served to stay in school one more year. Although Brian Robiskie (WR, 6-3, 195) could declare if he finishes strong.

Others to Watch (Seniors):

Kirk Barton (RT, 6-5, 312) Senior leader on a mauling offensive line. May not have the athleticism to play tackle at the next level. But has the size and strength to be a project RT or RG at the next level for a man-blocking scheme.

Larry Grant (OLB, 6-1, 238) Junior college transfer who got a shot due to Hawk and Carpenter leaving. Has been a solid player, but over shadowed by Laurinaitis and Freeman. Late round/undrafted prospect.

Michigan


Who is Lloyd Carr? If this were Jeopardy the answer would have been "College coach who does less with more talent on a yearly basis". Michigan consistently produces some of the most exciting offensive players, while running the most pedestrian offense. Produces top defensive talent, while getting exposed scheme wise on Saturday.

Take a look around the NFL and you find Michigan players, look at the top recruiting classes every year, and you find Michigan in the top 10. Take a look at most disappointing team at the end of each college season and you find Michigan near the top of the list.

Carr had a strange hold on the Michigan boosters up until the Appalachian St. game this year. Sure there were rumblings going into last year, but an excellent run going into the THEO game eased the pressure on Carr. Then Appalachian St. and Oregon exposed Michigan again, and the writing seems to be on the Wall for the end of the Carr era.

The NFL draft will be littered with Michigan players again this year, as NFL teams once again will look past the lack of results on the college gridiron and base their rankings on the results at the NFL level of Michigan alumni. Leading this year’s list are:

Jake Long (LT, 6-7, 315) This years "Next Orlando Pace" Long appears to be the complete package at LT. Both an excellent pass and run blocker, Long looks to be the 1st Olineman off the board this year, and is almost a lock for a top 5 pick.

Long has excelled in Michigan's zone blocking scheme the last 2 years. Engulfing DE, getting down field on LB's and dominating whomever tries to rush the QB against him. Due to the fact he played in a Zone scheme, can he translate his success to the NFL if asked to perform in a Man scheme? That is the only question in his game.

Long is the unquestioned Leader of the Wolverines, as both Henne and Hart waited for Longs decision on whether or not to return for his senior year before making theirs.

Chad Henne (QB, 6-2, 225) Being a Michigan QB almost guarantees you a shot at starting in the NFL since Jim Harbaugh was at the helm. Henne now holds every Michigan record of note and the most talent of any Michigan in recent memory.

So why isn't Henne regarded as the top QB in the draft? Simple, scheme and injuries.
Henne has been handcuffed by the offensive scheme that Carr runs the last 2 years. Sure he wasn't ready for a wide-open offense when he was forced into a starting role as a freshman. But with the incredible offensive talent around him the last two seasons, there is no excuse for Michigan not opening up the playbook.

But instead, Michigan ran the same 10 plays over and over and Henne has had an injury riddled senior year.

IMO, Henne has the physical and mental ability to be a top 15 starter in the NFL. He will most likely never reach the level of a Manning or Brady, but with the right cast around him should be better than most of the QB's in the NFL. His future is brighter than his past.

Mike Hart (RB, 5-9, 195) The third part of Michigan's senior offensive tri-umber ant. Hart is Michigan's offensive MVP. When he is healthy and plays the Michigan offense is markedly better than when he is on the bench. Hart never fumbles, and almost never goes down on the 1st hit. Hart plays much bigger than his size, at the college level.

However, going into the draft, NFL teams will not be willing to overlook his size. This is nothing new for Hart as he has always been told he isn't big enough. But the injury bug has hit him this year, and NFL teams will use that as justification to downgrade Hart. Hart has put up 1st round RB numbers as a college player. But his size and injury history will most likely drop him into the 2nd round.

Shawn Crable (OLB, 6-5, 245) Crable is all over the field for the Michigan offense. He is their defensive playmaker. However I have two question marks for Crable to address in order to step up his game to the pro level.

Crable can be run at. If you run away from him he will track you down, run at him and he tends to get caught up in the blockers. Can he get stronger at the point of attack?

Crable, due to his athleticism, is allowed to freelance in Michigan's defense. Often with great results, but also opening up the field for the occasional big run. Can he adapt to being a system performer?

Someone will pick Crable early, most likely late in the 1st round, but their is plenty of homework to be done 1st.

Since this is most likely Carr's final season as Michigan coach, you can also look for most of the top juniors to declare instead of dealing with a new HC. At the top of the list is junior:

Mario Manningham (WR, 6-0, 185) Michigan's playmaker at WR enjoyed a breakout year last season. Manningham emerged on the seen as Henne's favorite target after Edwards moved on to the NFL. Manninghan looks bigger and faster on the field than he is listed. And his ability to stretch the field keeps defenses playing Michigan honest.

Manningham's draft stock will rise or fall based on his 40 times during draft season. He could go as high as mid 1st round, or as low as mid second. He has millions of dollars riding on his performance in shorts. This system rocks.

Other to watch (Seniors and Juniors likely to declare)
Adam Kraus (G, 6-6, 305) You would have to scan pretty far down most draft boards to find Kraus, but a zone-blocking scheme is going to take him much higher than projected.

Jamar Adams (S, 6-2, 210) Always seems to be around the ball, but often a step late. Another player who needs to run well to solidify late 2nd round status.

Brandent Englemon (S, 6-0, 200) May have earned himself a draft pick due to his breakout game against Illinois.

Terrance Taylor (DT, 6-0, 310) Should stay for senior year, but may declare early due to coaching shake-up.

Tim Jamison (OLB, 6-3, 255) Tweener DE/OLB prospect, should also stay for senior year.

Well I may have gone a little long here, but it is the game I look forward to most in college football every year. And it’s my blog so fuck off, if you don't like it read something else.

Monday, November 12, 2007

7 Things for Vetrans Day

Its Monday, so you know that I had to have learned something this weekend. And of course I need to share it with both of my readers. Besides, where else can you read about Being Lazy, Raiders Football, Paytons much needed Pep talk and the solution to bringing down Bill Simmons in one place.

So lets get right into it:

#1 - Being Lazy is a good thing

Is there anything better than a Weekend where you don't have to do anything? Well sure I had things to do, but most of them required going outside, and thanks to the weather they couldn't get done this weekend. So I was able to veg out on the couch, watch football and nap. Throw in copious amounts of mexican food, beer and leftovers and the hardest thing I did all weekend was set the timer on the microwave.

Sure I took the dog to the park and let him run around, but even that was generaly exertion free, as I was able to go to a little used section of the park and let him run off-leash. This mimimal amount of action cost me adjusting 1 lineup on a fantasy team, but the guy I was playing had SD's D (who the fuck starts SD's D against Indy) so I was destine to loose anyway.

Unfortunately I think this will be my last lazy weekend of the year, since I have parties/family/hunting/Christmas Bull to attend to each weekend for the rest of the year. Fortunately, I have plenty of vacation time left for scheduling of Lazy weekdays.

#2 - Florida football

Lets take this time to laugh at the once mighty Florida St. and Miami programs. Florida St's collapse against VT was a thing of beauty, well at least according to my Brother who was at the game. I was unable to watch as the game was blacked out for some unfathomable reason here. I also didn't get to watch a down of Miami getting run out of the Orange Bowl, but all you have to do is look at that score to get a good laugh in.

Florida may still be a top team, but at least they have already lost 3 games this year, so America's wang is officialy out of National title contention.

#3 - The Raiders offense continues to regress

Where do we start. The Bears putrid run defense held the Raiders in check (remember when the Raider's run attack was one of the best in the league? Me neither) The Raiders wide outs were unable to get consistant separation against a banged up Bears secondary. And when they did manage to get a little separation, McCown was unable to deliver the ball.

The most damning play came late in the game as the Raiders were attempting to drive into scoring position. McCown was pressured early, but managed to buy time with his feet. Reset and...wait...wait some more. Throw a piss poor pass down field just out of the reach of Tim Dwight. Where the fuck were the other recievers. Well I don't have a view that shows all 11 players, so I'll have to take the anouncers word for it. All the other recievers gave up on the play. When the Raiders allow the QB that much time, they almost always give up a big play. When the Raiders get that much time, the recievers just assume that the QB has been sacked.

That in a nutshell is the problem with the Raiders. There is not a WR on the team worth keeping right now. The only 1 I'm even interested in is Curry, but he seems to have caught a case of the drops. And if I have to I'll give Higgens a pass since he is a rookie. It would seem like I'm calling for a house cleaning, but that only leaves Porter and Dwight. Thats right there are only 4 WR's on the Raiders roster.

That is why you can't put Russell in. Well that and the Oline can't handle the 8-9 man fronts it is seeing. Putting Russell in when there is no one he can throw deep to in order to back off the safeties will only confuse the rook further.

Sorry Raider fans, until the team finds 2-3 competant WR's the offense will continue to look like shit. 4-12 will be a hell of an accomplishment at this point.

#4 - The Juice is Loose

By far my favorite game of the weekend was the Illini taking down theOSU. How great was it to see a spread offense take down the team that used spread offense elements to dominate the Big Televen the last few years.

Unfortunatly this means that the Wolverines will not go undefeated in the Big Televen for the next two years, as there is no sign that they have or will learn how to stop a QB like Williams consistantly.

For now I will just take delight in Jim Tressel and his sweater vest getting embarrassed by an unranked team. And showing that even if your coach has a sweater vest, it doesn't mean your team has any class. Nice brawl to end the game theOSU.

Now all we need is a Michigan upset next weekend so that not only does Ohio St. loose out on the National Championship, but they also loose out on the Rose Bowl. Eh, for some reason I don't see Carr being able to pull that off.

#5 - Payton Manning

The King of comercials has yet another spot running durring NFL games. At this rate the networks should just save everyones time and have Payton stand in front of a blue screen and flash up corporate images for 2 1/2 minutes. Hell, he could even say a little something about each product.

"If Cadilac should fail to turn you on try cialis for errectile disfunction while talking on your sprint phone to a united way volunteer."

The best is Payton's pep talk's. I'm particulary fond of his latest about getting 6-pack abs. Hey Payton, we all saw your "impressive" physique on SNL. You've got about as much definition as Britney Spears. I'm guessing that the only way you have a 6-pack is by drawing one on.

That said, watching the graceful way that Payton handled his 6-pack of INT's (oh so thats the 6-pack he was talking about) I think Peyton needs his own pep-talk.

Cue brick:

So you're having a little trouble taking a little misfortune like a man. Sure you've thrown 6 interceptions and are missing your friend Mavin. But thats no excuse to make this face.


We've all heard the excuses, your targets and oline are injured, your coach is calling bad time outs. How about stepping up and not throwing 6 INTs you whining bitch. Stop trying to be your generations Dan Marino, just because you've won 1 more Super Bowl than he has doesn't mean you can throw your team mates under the bus the way he did.

YOU CAN ACT LIKE A MAN. Or not, you've got enough FU money to have a nice life being 2nd Banana to Brady the rest of your life, you Frankenstien looking motherfucker.

#6 - The Brady Knee Watch is back

OK, since we've jumped on KSK's Brady kneecapping bandwagon, we are 0-2 in our predictions. 1st Rocky let down America by not living up to his name then Tony Dungy let god down by not taking rightous action.

So now we look to the Bills to make their biggest impact since falling on their faces 4 straight years in the Super Bowl. A quick perrusal of their roster leads us to 1 man who can raise his game up and end the national nightmare of dealing with Pats fans.



Kyle Williams,

Never heard of Kyle, yeah well me neither. Kyle is our choice based solely on his mug shot. Look at those eyes, he has a hungry look about him. Sure he has only 1 career sack, but I bet he can down himself some Buffalo wings. I'm guessing he is one of those guys who can just inhale the meat right off the bone. So Kyle, we are going to do some "Waterboy"-esque visualization. Look at Brady's leg and imagine its a wing from anchor bar. Thats right, just dripping with hotsauce. And it doesn't matter if you get a little sauce on your uniform, since the team cleans it for you. Thats right, no drycleaning charge for your favorite Louisiana St. T-shirt. You can really dig in and get messy. And just think off all the pizza you can buy collecting the bounty on Tom's knee. So get in there fatty and get crackin.

#7 - Time to forget about Simmons

I've got a little something to admit. I think part of the reason I've been so harsh on Bill Simmons is that I remember when his writing was funny and I could relate to it. I bashed because I cared. In the buisness that Simmons is in it pays to make people either love or hate you. It brings in page hits to ESPN's site, whether it be from fans who read every posting, or by people who can't stand you who want to spread some mock-indignation across the interweb.

Simmons, along with NE fans in general, took a turn for the worse following the Red Sox 1st ring in 80 some years (I don't care enough to know exactly how many). They became what they hated, Yankee fans. For years they had the lovable looser title to share with Cubs fans. Now they expected to be loved for being champions. Love US, Celebrate US, but do so on our terms, don't go buying a Red Sox hat if you haven't been wearing one since birth or you'll be labled a pink-hat.

They can't understand the backlash. The most publicly indignant figurehead for NE fandome is Simmons. So he has to rail against slights, real or percieved. To do otherwise would be risking Pink-hat status.

So Simmons has become a hypocrite, openly chearing for actions that he would have derided in years past.(Spygate, running up the score, try to go undefeated) Defending the indefensible (yes Bill the Pats are all class on and off the field, just ask anyone who has ever played against Rodney Harrison) and railing against the Refs. (How many times have you told Raider fans to get over it, Karma is a bitch Billy).

So I'm going to stop writing about Simmons and stop reading anything he writes. Love him or Hate him nothing you do can hurt him. But ignor him, now that hits him right in the overies.

I guarentee, if everyone who currently rushes to read his column each week and post their indignation across the web just stopped reading him and quoting him, his readership would drop by 70%. And the result would be hilarious. What BS would BS post to get readers back? Could his ego handle being dropped from ESPN's frontpage, would the sportsgirl leave him for Steven A. Smith?

So no, I'm not going to contribute to the bounty on Simmons head, I'm not going to break down his BS to show how stupid he has become. I'm going to start the ignor Bill movement. Because, other than personaly knocking his teeth in, nothing would be funnier to me than to watch him implode.

Now, Stuart Scott, its too much fun to bash him to stop.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Rehab is for Raiders?

Sometimes you just have to admit when you have a problem. I have friends who have gone through rehab programs, and according to them admitting you have a problem is the 1st step. Unfortunately I don't know what the next step is, since we were usually getting drunk when they would be telling me about these steps.

My problem is not alcohol, unless of course I'm out. My problem is that I watch every Raiders game, often multiple times. Except for the Gannon years, most of my time as a Raider fan this has been an excruciating experience. Sure there have been highlights here and there other years, Bo Jackson, Curry's catch in the snow. But for the vast majority of the time I've been watching, the Raiders have not been a dominant team.

The Raider's problem is that they have neither a dominant defense or play makers on offense.

Watching the rest of the NFL, I've come to the conclusion that a team needs one of two things to dominate. Either a dominating defense with a ball controlling offense or a play maker (or group of play makers) who tilt the field and keeps defenses up at nights.

Looking at the teams who have won the Superbowl the last ten years proves this fact out.

2006 - Indianapolis - Payton Manning with his ability to dissect a defence, was until this year, the guy who caused the most lost sleep among D-coordinators
2005 - Pittsburgh - Dominant D coupled with an incredible run game that kept the pressure off of the young QB.
2003, 2004 - New England - Tom Brady may not have the best physical gifts, but he has an uncanny knack for finding the open receiver. The Pats D was bordering dominant.
2002 - Tampa Bay - Dominant D coupled with an offense who gave them time to rest and didn't turn the ball over.
2001 - New England - The closest to breaking the trend as Brady was just emerging, but this was their best defensive year in the playoffs as they just shut down everyone.
2000 - Baltimore - Dominant D, power run game.
1999 - St. Louis - Warner, Faulk, Bruce, Holt, play maker, play maker, play maker, play maker
1997, 1998 - Elway and TD

I could go back further, but it would just be belaboring the point. So instead lets look at the most successful and disappointing teams this year.

Contenders

New England - Tom Brady now has another bona fide play maker in Moss (more on him later) the result is a scary good team. The D is no slouch either and the return of Seymore may see them return to borderline dominance.

Indy - Payton just continues to get it done, and the D continues to play at last years playoff level.

Dallas - Romo is emerging as a play maker, and the D is up and coming.

Tennessee - The defence has begun to dominate, hiding the fact that the offense is pedestrian.

Green Bay - The old play maker is making 1 last run with new targets and top D.

Pittsburgh - The D is dominant giving up only 98 points this year

Disappointments

Chicago - Last years dominant D has been ravaged by injuries

Baltimore - The team with the best record last year has suffered a letdown on D and can no longer make up for the lack of offense

NY Jets - Playoff team last year, no longer fooling anyone.

SD Chargers - New D coordinator unable to keep the dominant tag, Norv Turner effect (once again more later).

Phily - Old play maker no longer making DC's sweat, D no longer dominant.

San Francisco - Looked to build on Gores emerging status, instead find him injured and the team is now pitiful.


Which brings us back to the Raiders problem. While I don't know what the next step in a traditional program might be. The next step for the Raiders is obvious to me.

They need to either get the final pieces to make the D dominant (see my plan here) or get some play makers on the offensive side of the ball.

The Raiders have not had a nightmare inducing play maker since Bo Jackson. He only played part of the season and his career was ended early by injuries.

Tim Brown, while a great player, did not keep DC's up at night and never had the advantage of a Pro bowl caliber QB until...

Rich Gannon, he was a play maker, in the sense that Tom Brady was until this year. He scared teams due to his ability to always find the open man, more so than for his physical prowess. "Death by paper cuts" is a term I've seen thrown around, and is a perfect description of the team he helmed.

That's it, since Jackson's injury in 1990, the Raiders have lacked the kind of play maker that tilts the field. There have been players whom flashed potential (Porter, Kaufman), players who came in for 1 last hurrah (Rice) and players who shined brightly in the system (Garner).

Then there are the what could have been guys. Some will point to Marcus Allen, but IMO his best days were behind him by the time Jackson's injury occurred. And the reason he had some productive years as a Chief is that he sat so much in LA resting his body.

Randy Moss should have been the guy that the Raiders have looked for, for so long. Moss is proving this year that he is still perhaps the biggest game changer there is. But the Raiders don't have Tom Brady, and Norv Turner and Art Shell aren't the kind of disciplinarian coaches that can reign Moss in.

By the time Moss's first season was over and Turner was done proving Once and for all that he is not head coaching material (wait, he got another HC job in SD...HAHAHAHA sorry LT2, sucks for you) there was no salvaging Moss's stint in Silver and Black. Davis further exacerbated the situation by hiring Shell, who never showed any ability to provide discipline to any player not named Porter.

The Moss experiment failed, the Raiders cupboard was left completely bare. You go down the Raiders offensive roster coming into the past off season and their wasn't a proven player let alone play maker.

Porter - more disappointments than flashes
Curry - Injuries seem to have ended the game changing potential, still a good player
Jordan - Talks the talk, but can't seem to walk down the street without getting hurt
Fargas - Has been teasing teams since he was a Freshman at Michigan
Walter - beaten down and perhaps broken from the previous year

So with the trade of Moss looming over the Draft the Raiders had a choice to make. Instant gratification in the form of Calvin Johnson or take a chance on long term greatness in Jamarcus Russell.

The Raiders, in a move that somewhat surprised me, went with Russell. I was convinced that Davis wouldn't have the patience to wait for a QB to develop, let alone one with the huge hit or miss potential of Russell. I thought Davis would look to correct the Moss mistake with Johnson. However, the selection of Russell may well show that the Raiders brass has finally admitted that they are not 1 player away from greatness. They may have finally admitted they have a problem.

Which finally brings us to this season. The playmakerless Raider offense is slogging its way through yet another season. They have tried patching things up enough to get through the season without suffering the embarrassments of last year with limited success. (The struggles of Miami, St. Louis and San Fran have kept the spotlight off the Raiders). Leaving Raider fans to once again look to the future, with its dim light at the end of the tunnel.

Russell is currently the only Raider offensive player who is providing that light. Thanks to a unfathomable holdout he has yet to step on the field this year, and due to the current condition of the team probably shouldn't. So where do Raider fans look for the team to take the next step out of the abyss? FA and the draft?

Free agency is evolving due to two factors. 1st being teams are continuing to get better at handling the salary cap, and 2nd being the huge increases in the amount of money available due to the new CBA.

Ask yourself, who was the last offensive play maker to switch teams via free agency? Drew Brees was available due to AJ Smith's ego. You have to go back to Priest Holmes signing with KC to find a true offensive play maker who changed teams, and he was unproven at the time. Others like Gannon and Rice were either journeymen who just came to the right system, or aging Vets getting one last day in the sun. Not the long term answer this team needs.

So while the Raiders need to add players through free agency this off season, don't expect a game changer to come to the Silver and Black. This is where the Raiders can get the complimentary players who fit the system or can get another Rhodes, who doesn't fit the system and just wastes a roster spot.

Then there is the draft. The Raider draft history is the definition of crap shoot. Can they find that elusive play maker here? I've advocated using the 1st round to fix the defensive problems, but I'll admit its way to early to try and predict who will be there or when the Raiders will pick. Its long past time for the Raiders to trade down and stock pile picks. It looked like they had a chance last year with 11 picks, but too many of them were late round picks or reaches to help this year.

So the Raiders are left at the bottom of a long tunnel with the dimmest of lights flickering at the end. The positive is that they have admitted the problem, can they discover the elusive next step? Or will they relapse into old habits, overspending for free agents and drafting reaches?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

WTF????

I've never complained about where I went to High School. I enjoyed High School and didn't understand why so many people were in such a rush to get out of there. I mean classes were easy, we could always find beer for the weekend, and I didn't have a job.

But I now know that I was definately in the wrong school. This is what happens in Nottingham England high schools

After walking the boy round the classroom and spanking him with a whip - the action turned even more blue.

"She took off some clothes until she was down to her bra and pants, pulled out some cream, put it on her buttocks and told him to rub it in," the source said.

It was at that point the shocked teacher - who had not been told what the surprise was - called an end to the show.


You have got to be kidding me. 1st of all, what teacher lets a stripper spank a student and strip down to bra and panties and apply whip cream before stopping the show. I know that I never had anyone of this callibure for a teacher. Uptight bastards.

I would question what the stripper was thinking when she showed up to a school for her next performance. But she should be forgiven, since she is a stripper, and thats the most noble profession there is. Although I will question the selection of Britney Spears for background music. Why Britney when you could go with some classic Def Leopard or Warrent. Nothing says high class stripper like "Pour Some Sugar on Me" or "Cherry Pie".

This story however has lead me to the following conclusion. We need to overhaul the American educational system. Strippers should be hired by school districs to reward students for their hard work. You want to tell me that test scores wouldn't imporve if the students thought that they would be getting a trip to the champagne room for straight A's. There is nothing more important in a High School Boys life than seeing some titties.

And I'm convinced, due to the "naughty schoolgirl" emails that I receive that the girls test scores would also improve since all high school girls are bi. Plus the relevancy of their education would improve, since half of them will end up stripping at one point of their life anyway (the other half are fatties).

But we can't stop there. Strippers should be used by all respectable buisnesses to motivate employees. In fact I think my company would be well served to start this practice. I'm looking forward to my end of quarter lap dance already.

I'll even supply the whip cream.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

One Game to try to Watch

Slim pickings for 1 game to watch this week. Sure there are some great match ups, but for it seems that most of the country won't get to see the best match ups due to regional coverage. My 1st choice was going to be USC vs. Cal. And if I could truly choose 1 game to watch this weekend, that would be the choice.

But since I don't live on the West coast I'll be getting the Kansas Oklahoma St. game. Now this will be interesting to see if Kansas can remain undefeated, but for my purposes Adarius Bowman and Dantrell Savage are the only two guys who meet the criteria of who to watch.

I thought about a number of other games, but they all seemed so lopsided in talent, or were relegated to regional coverage that I dismissed them all.

So I'm going to direct you to grab some beer and a pizza Thursday night and tune into the misleader and watch Louisville at West Virginia.

If the preseason polls were right, this game would have national championship implications. But both of these teams are currently behind UConn in the big east standings. If you are behind UConn in your college football standings, chances are you aren't having a good year.

Now before I get started I'm throwing out one of my rules that established for writing this series. We will be looking at Juniors this week, not just seniors.

Enough babbling, lets get to the players.

Louisville


Brian Brohm (QB,6-3,225) If Brohm had come out in last years draft he would have competed for honor of being the 1st QB selected. He will compete for that honor again this year, but some of the bloom is off that rose. There are draftnics out in the internet who believe that struggling as a Senior, after proving yourself as a junior, is a good thing. I find this line of thinking convoluted. And truth be told, Brohm hasn't struggled as much as the Louisville defense has disintegrated around him. He has passed for 3,229 yards and 26 touchdowns with just 7 interceptions. Damn fine numbers there.

He has run a pro style offense, can make all the throws, he is a sure fire 1st round pick. I think that his drop in draft rankings is more due to the inability of the team compete for the national title.

Once the season is over, and the draft hype machine kicks into full gear, Brohm will be one of the faces plastered all over your TV again.

Harry Douglas (WR,5-11,176) This draft is going to be well stocked with smaller, fast WR. Douglas will be one of them trying to raise above the pack. Injuries slowed him earlier this year. But a strong finish to the year along with a solid draft season will keep him as a late 1st early 2nd round prospect. He should have no trouble finding holes in WV's porous secondary.

Malik Jackson (OLB, 6-2, 232) Last season it looked like Jackson was poised to breakout as a playmaking OLB for the Cardinals. This season Jackson has been lost in the shuffle and has seen his draft stock take a huge hit. Coming into the year he looked like a late 2nd round prospect, now he looks like he can go fishing until late day two. He needs to really come on strong to finish the year and post some great numbers in the draft season to re-establish himself as a top prospect. Could the coaching change have really effected his play this much, or did Louisville's losses along the D-line leave him too open to getting blocked.

Watch to see how he fights through blockers. Can he shed the blocks, or does he run around and make the play down field.

Mario Urrutia (WR, 6-6, 225) Mario has the prototypical size that NFL teams look for. His reported 40 time isn't ideal, but with the way he exploded in the opening game this year, it looked like Mario was looking to cement himself as one of the top receivers coming into this years draft. Since then Mario has been hampered by turf toe, and his attitude has raised a red flag with multiple personal foul penalties.

Mario needs to get healthy and keep his head on straight for the rest of the year if he wants to go on the 1st day. Many will look at him as a T.O. type player, complete with the baggage.

Others to watch:
Art Carmody (K, doesn't matter) top college kicker this year
Gary Barnidge (TE, 6-6, 235) late round TE prospect
Breno Giacomini (OT, 6-7,305) athletic tackle, watch if your team employs a zone scheme

West Virginia


Steve Slayton (RB, 5-10, 195) One of the most exciting players to watch in College football. Slayton is looking like a late 1st round pick if he comes out this year. Slayton running style and size leads to questions whether he can be an every down back at the pro level. However, with more teams featuring two backs in the NFL, he could easily find himself sharing time in an NFL backfield next season.

West Virginia's offense and embarrassment of riches in the backfield may actually be hurting Slaytons stock, as NFL teams will have questions about how he will fit into a pro style offense and if he can handle the full load if asked. IMO, whatever team picks him up will be happy to have him.

Pat White (QB/RB, 6-2, 188) White is listed as a QB on West Virginia's roster, however due to his style of play many sites see him as a RB prospect in the NFL. Personally, I would like to see him work out as a WR come draft season. And there is the problem for White, what do you do with him?

Rich Rodriguez's offense provides match up problems for his college football opponents and scouting problems for NFL teams. White is obviously a talent. How highly you rank him depends on how you see that talent translating.

My thinking of moving him to WR ties into the success that teams have had with Ward, Curry and Randell-El. For some reason I have my doubts about his ability to hold up to the pounding of being an NFL running back.

Owen Schmitt (FB,6-3,248) Fullback, a thankless position which has been significantly devalued on NFL draft boards. However Schmitt looks to be either option 1 or 1a for a team looking for a FB this year. So he can expect to hear his name called sometime around round 5 or 6.

Helping Schmitt is his ability to effectively run the ball and provide an outlet out of the backfield to compliment his excellent blocking. He has also lined up at TE at times and is a contributor on special teams. His versatility will earn him a spot on an NFL roster.

Others to watch:

Ryan Stanchek (OT, 6-4, 302) Junior who projects to guard in NFL, could use another year in college.
Keilen Dykes (DT, 6-4, 295) has shown versatility moving around the line due to injuries.
Darius Reynaud (WR, 5-10, 205) WV leading receiver, doesn't mean much in Rodriguez's system.

Hmmm, I didn't even try to be funny with anything this week, must have something to do with 13 hour work days. I need a nap.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Lowest Common Denominator

At one time I watched ESPN religiously. Sunday Countdown was as much a part of my Sunday as burning beer shits. However I have grown as a person and no longer regular subject myself to copious quantities of alcohol or crap sports journalism.

I had assumed that ESPN was targeting a younger demographic, or more likely Stuart Scott was in charge of the network. However, due to an article I read today and the comments left by the readers, I think the truth is much worse. ESPN is giving the average viewer exactly what they want, Extraneous bullshit that appeals to the lowest common denominator.

Check out the article in question here. I haven't hidden the fact that one of my favorite sites is footballoutsiders. They are linked over at the side of the site. I've also linked to an article by one of their writers recently. Hell, I've toted their "Profootball Prospectous" along with me on many flights, and pick it up at least once a week to read their take on the Raiders upcoming opponent. So I may have a slight bias toward the writer of the article, but one need not have a bias to blast the idiots who commented on the article.

Now, while I think footballoutsiders is great, and love the way they bring a different way of looking at the game to the table, I will admit to not always agreeing with Aaron Schatz, the writer of the article in question. Aaron played enabler to Bill Simmons in one of The sports guys rants about the unfairness of the scrutiny leveled against the Pats for spy gate. Now Aaron is an admitted Pats fan, and we will hold that against him, but collaborating with Simmons on that piece of garbage placed a black eye on what was becoming an excellent resume.

Now back to the article. Aaron points out that while Purple Jesus now holds the all time single game rushing record, he does not have the greatest game under the DPAR system, even for a rookie. While an interesting point, to me it raises more questions about the validity of DPAR as an effective statistical tool, than about the greatness of Peterson's game. Aaron attempts to explain this with the following paragraph

Why does Peterson's fabulous performance end up just seventh? The biggest reason is that he fumbled the ball away on a 12-yard run in the fourth quarter that would have otherwise put the Vikings in the red zone. Peterson also wasn't quite as consistent as these other backs from carry to carry. Addai, for example, did not have a single carry that lost yardage against the Eagles last year; Peterson had three carries for a loss this week.


By bringing up these points without further explaining how each item affects the overall DPAR rating, Aaron opens himself up to some criticism. However that criticism is easily countered by anyone with an understanding of the DPAR system. Unfortunately Fox sports readers don't possess that understanding, and don't seem to be interested in attaining it.

Here is some of the brilliance uttered by Foxsports readers:
Whatever dpar is, dpar is krap. Dpar is subject to personal bias and favoritism to the point of rivalling the New York Times when it comes to politics. Dpar is krap. Fox Sports....is this some lame effort to match the launch of the Fox Business Channel????

dpar is krap.....good luck with that Fox Sports.

WOW....DPAR?????? wtf? Sounds like another AD hater to me....it reminds me of the negative media he received as a freshman in College when he should have won the Heisman but they didn't want to award it to him because he was a freshman so they did a negative media blitz similar to this that kept him as a 1st runner-up to Matt Leinart....by the way what has he done in his 2 years in the NFL? Nobody wants an even longer explanation of these numbers....we know what we saw on CBS on Sunday and we also know that he earned more yards than a good percentage of the teams that were playing on the same Sunday....This DPAR whatever is a @#$#*&$% joke!

You actually took the time to write an article to try and convince yourself that Adrian "All Day" Peterson did not have the greatest single game performance ever by a running back, let alone a ROOKIE. What's with the hate and a great majority of fans don't even give a flying c.r.a.p about the DPAR it's a dumb stat system and devalues just how good a player is and overrates many players such as E. James (way overrated i'm starting to think now). Fact and it's as stone cold as ever is that Adrian Peterson is the BEST running back in the game right now and is better then all but two running backs ever that being Jim Brown and Barry Sanders. I give this an article the ranking of......flaming bag of poop at the doorstep for absurdity, hating, and plain out ridiculousness.

Trying to dumb down the achievements of a rookie just to try and make other players who aren't even in the same class look better is simply PATHETIC.

LOL What is this guy even talking about. How can you even write trash like this. Who even knows or cares about this ridiculous rating system. Watch the highlights on youtube. I mean seriously, AP got the record, dont cry about it. Give him credit for what he's done. AP AD!!!


So just to sum it up, Aaron is a "hater" (the lamest, I can't come up with a coherent argument to counter your point label there is), DPAR is crap because it doesn't agree with preconceived notions of rating play, and you can learn all you need to know about football by watching Youtube highlights.

I put part of the blame on Fox Sports for the headline they filed the article under
Under the microscope
Although Adrian Peterson set an NFL-record for rushing yards in a game, was it the best effort by a running back of all time?

This is just baiting the mouth breathers to come out en mass to defend Purple Jesus against the "haters" in the media.

I also put part of the blame on Aaron as noted above for not completely explaining how the lost yards and fumble lowered Peterson's ranking.

But mostly I blame the readers who comment. They are the reason that TV sucks, they are responsible for "Who's Next" being a feature on ESPN. They are the reason that FOX News has ratings and that CNN spends more time on what Britney Spears is doing than real issues in the world. They are responsible for the careers of Oprah, Rosie and Nancy Grace. They are responsible for the Stuart Scottification of the United States. They are why the terrorists are winning.

ESPN, and the litany of 3 letter networks understand that this is their audience. They know that by putting out garbage they are satisfing the need of these people to feel unchallanged mentaly.

Unfortunatly this is an issue that I can't start to wrap my head around an answer for. Writers like Aaron will continue to get lambasted by the average reader while FOX Sports happily counts the extra hits to the website by the disgruntled. The masses will continue to demand:

A sports anchor who screams BooYAH
A sports writer who writes the most Boston centric crap
Music written by a drum machine sung by a boyband/future stripper
TV featuring D-list stars dancing
A president who protects us from the gay's over...well its not like they are given any good choices

Its a sad state of affairs, but decades of coddelling the lowest common denominator in all facets of life (every team gets a trophy, classes where the slowest determine the pace of education, anyone can be president) have caused irreprible harm to a generation of Americans.

Hell, look at me, I just spent the last 30 minutes of my time at work writing this blog instead of you know... doing work. Maybe thats why I can't find an answer, I'm part of the problem... Nope, thats not it... clearly this is Stuart Scotts fault, lets blame him.

Monday, November 5, 2007

7 Things on Novemer 5th

I'll admit, I'm not even sure that I have 7 things to note after this weekend. I'm just winging it here. So if I through in a Peter Kingesque "Tony Romo leads the league in smiles" please don't hold it against me. OK, you should flame me if I put something like that in.

1 - Purple Jesus (Christ he's good)

296 yards, against the Chargers D, when you aren't even listed as the starter... Jumpin Jesus on a Pogo Stick.

Adrian Peterson could take the rest of the year off and still get the Rookie of the Year award. In fact, I'm calling on Childress to give AP the rest of the year off, even if it is going to screw one of my fantasy teams. The Vikings aren't going anywhere this year. Even if they somehow get past Green Bay and Detroit in the standings, does anyone think that they are going to get past the 1st round of the playoffs with the excrement they have at QB?

So Childress, find some minuscule injury to over blow and put Peterson on IR. Not having Peterson available might save your job and give you a chance to find a real QB for next season. Then unleash Peterson against the rest of the league with a complimentary passing attack next year. (This has nothing to do with my desire not to have the Raiders give up 400 yards rushing to Peterson when they meet later this year...nope nothing to do with that.)

On a side note, how far has the Chargers coaching staff fallen in 1 year. Not stacking the box against Peterson was one of the most ridiculous coaching displays I've seen. Norvell and the boys couldn't out coach a box of Cheetos.

2 - I promised a plug if the service was good

I wrote about dropping my home computer last week and mentioned that the guy at the Apple store said to send the computer to some shady Internet based site to have it fixed fast and cheap. So I did, and they came through fixing it fast and cheap.

The site is:

http://www.techrestore.com

sent out the computer Tuesday night and had it back Thursday night. Brand new screen, they even cleaned the damn thing, looks like new. Now if there is some hidden problem I don't know about I'll be damning them here, but for now they get my praise.

If you drop your laptop and don't feel like paying full price to get it fixed try them out.

3 - Cramming 108,000 in a stadium meant to fit 78,000 sucks

So I made the trip to Penn St. for the HUGE match up with Purdue, where both teams attempted to not be the most disappointing team on the field. For a game full of mistakes and poor play calling, it wasn't that bad. Hell it would have been enjoyable if not for 1 thing.

The 4 tickets that we had, entitled us to as much space as the top of my desk. I am now convinced that the "renovations" that Penn St. made to increase their seating capacity entailed scraping the numbers off of the bench seats and painting them back on 6" closer to each other.

Thanks to the 1 lane road leading to Penn St. and the parking that we found being 1 mile from the stadium according to our GPS, we walked into the stadium just after the opening kickoff. When we found our row, I was sure that someone was sitting in 2 of our seats. But I was wrong, that was just how little room they left us.

So I spent the entire game so close to the guy next to me that I'm thinking of getting checked for STD's, with my knee in the back of some poor slob in front of me and with a knee jambed into my back.

Thank god my buddy and I brought our wives and not some friends who were bigger than 5-2, 110lbs. (I will not print my wife's actual height and weight for fear she actually reads this far into an article about football, I don't feel like being killed in my sleep.)

As for the much hyped Penn St. home field advantage, you could have heard a pin drop for most of the game. The student section got loud at times, but the rest of the stadium was to cramped up to take in a large enough breath to yell.

Well except for the old man two seats down for me, who seemed to feel that Joe Pa was looking for his input on every offensive down. The shit that was coming out of this guys mouth had me laughing half the game. His call to throw the ball as Penn St. was trying to run the clock at the end of the game was classic.

Joe Pa may not be what he once was, but he has still forgotten more about football than that clown will ever know. I would have let him know that, but I didn't have enough room to turn towards him, and I was too close to the guy in front of me to yell without blowing out his eardrum.

4 - Screw the BCS, let me set the match ups

Since I write a blog I obviously feel that I know more than anyone else, just like any other blogger. The difference being that I'm right.

So I think that I should be the one to set the BCS match ups. Because otherwise we are going to end up with the same old shit that we seam to get every year.

So with me in charge, who do we get to see in the Championship game.

LSU vs. Oregon

LSU let 'Bama stay in it longer than they should have Saturday, but in the end showed once again that they are the best overall team in the nation. I don't see anyone giving them a game after they have 3+ weeks to heal up leading to the title game. So instead of pitting them against what appears to be the 2nd best team (wake me when Ohio St. beats a good team) let the Ducks play for the title.

Oregon has the best offense going right now. This should at least keep them in the game well into the 3rd quarter. Where as the Ohio St. offense blows and the game will be a repeat of last years against Florida.

So screw the rankings, and lets set the match ups based on providing me the most entertainment.

(Oh and just so you know, If I'm setting the match ups, ND will get a New Years day game... against Michigan. Since this is for my entertainment I'd like to see Michigan actually win a bowl game.)

5 - The NHL network rocks

With absolutely no fanfare or publicity, (just like the start of the new season) the NHL has launched a network here in the states. I have been informed that this network has been around at least one year in Canada, but its new to me.

Hockey is easily my 2nd favorite sport, but I hate the fact that I have to remember where .VS is on direcTV to find a damn game. And even then who the hell knows when a game will actually be on. So I was just looking for something to watch the other night and chanced upon the NHL network.

It was some program called "on the fly" or something equally forgettable. But the program was great. Live in game coverage with highlights from other game spliced in. I left this on for a good hour. Thing cut around quickly enough not to test my attention span. I feel like I actually know what is going on in the NHL for the 1st time since I left college and had time to keep up. (Lets face is ESPN and SI would rather cover a rock paper scissor contest than an NHL game).

As soon as football season is over, the NHL Network will be on my TV almost full time. At least until we get close to the NFL draft.

6 - Another week, another Raider loss

I admit, I cheated on the Raiders this weekend. I Tivo'ed the Raider game and went over to a friends place with the wife to watch the Pats/Colts and have dinner. I managed to avoid the Raiders score except for during half-time so that I only knew that Jano would miss his kick when I watched the game when I got home.

Well TiVo missed the first 7 minutes of the game since I set it to record the HD feed, and the early game went into OT. That, plus my 30 second skip button let me watch the whole game in less than 1 hour.

My quick impressions:

It may have cost the Raiders 3 points, but going for the 64 yard field goal made sense to me. If Jano had made that field goal it would have given the Raiders their first positive in weeks to build on (Hell the crowd went crazy even with the miss). Instead, Jano was Jano and hit the goal post, and the Raiders continued trudging toward a top 5 pick. (I need someone to calculate the odds that Jano could hit the goal post 1 out of every 5 attempts. He has to have set an NFL record for goal posts hit by now.)

McCown, Culpepper, Jeff George... it doesn't matter. The Raiders receivers can't get separation quickly, the line can't block for more than 3 seconds. Nothing is going to change until the blocking improves and the WR's are upgraded. I have been dead set against playing JRuss this year since he missed camp. But I think we are quickly nearing the time to let him get in and get exposed to NFL game speed.

I could just repeat what I've said time and time again about the D. Only the announcer's give Sapp any repect anymore Check out this article by Michael David Smith over at footballoutsiders to read someone elses take on what I told you here about Sapp. Add in the LB's overpursuit and the secondary is left out to dry on the run game way too often.

The fact that I'm having trouble finding anything to write about the Raiders which doesn't involve how to patch up hole via FA and the draft tells me how sad this season has become.

7 - The NFL officiating is shady

I'm a Raiders fan so I have a problem with NFL officiating by default. Sunday's game between the Colts and Pats showed me once again that the NFL official have predetermined notions of what to call before the game. In the 1st half the officials made numerous questionable calls in the Colts favor, which served to ensure that the "Game of the Century" was no blowout.

Moss can be called for Offensive PI on almost any play, well except for the play for which he was flagged. The catch on the sidelines that was overturned by replay wasn't even close.

But before you let Pats fans get away with crowing about how they got pass the Colts despite the Officials bias, look at the 4th quarter. The officials made numerous calls in the Pats favor to allow the comeback. Perhaps a "my bad" for the 1st half. There was a ridiculous Defensive PI call late in the game setting up a Patriots TD.

Unfortunately this isn't going to change anytime soon. Its been going on too long, and the NFL is too successful for them to try an remedy the situation. So we can all look forward to bad calls influencing the outcome of the game. It sucks, but football fans are going to be left to just deal with it. To the rest of you, I say welcome to the hell Raiders fans have been dealing with for years.

The Pats are on a bye this week, so no one is getting the best bet to end Brady's season this week. Maybe he can catch the clap or something, or maybe he runs into the '72 Dolphins this week. Who know, but I'm done with 7 things, so anything else here and you will need to pay me overtime.