Friday, August 31, 2007

Documenting My Addiction

I've quietly placed two more bets:

UW -3 at Syracuse
Notre Dame -1.5 home vs. Georgia Tech

Am I crazy? Nobody knows shit about the Dawgs and only Charlie Weis knows who the starting QB will be at Notre Dame. How could I have any confidence in these wagers?

I'm glad you asked. I do know that both of these gold-helmeted teams represent tarnished, talented traditions that need these wins very badly and I'm willing to risk it on that alone for more glory!

However, I think that'll do it for this weekend, win or lose tonight. Reason being that I've been placing too many faith-based bets and I've got to watch a few games before throwing down any more bones.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thursday Night Vindication

Big ups to Andy Gresh in yesterday's ESPN U College Football Insider Podcast for calling out the disrespect to Boise State after their coming-out season last year.

Quoth Gresh: "... and finally in the Top 25, Weber State at #24 Boise State. I hope Boise crushes, I wanna see them win a ton of games this year because I think it's disrespectul that Boise State, off of last year's finish, is #24 in the country.... Maybe I'm honking out for the small conferences, but I don't care: HOW can Boise State only be ranked 24th!!?!?! How can that happen? It's embarrassing!!"

And 'crush' they did. In fitting style last night they pummeled (admittedly I-AA) Weber State to the tune of 28 first quarter points en route to a 49-0 tally at half time, before calling off the dogs big time and crusing to a 56-7 victory. In any case they lived up to Gresh's call and made a fine statement going into next weekend's contest up in Seattle.

But signs of vindication were everywhere last night. Rutgers and LSU also lived up to the hype making their opponents look inept in convincing, cruise-control victories that also happened to safely cover the enormous spreads set in both games.

It was an auspicious evening for me, if not the Vegas bookies, and a great way to set the tone for this weekend's gambling picks which will be forthcoming later in the day.

Mainly, I'm torn on the Cal/Tennessee game. I bought into the West Coast hype last year and am still feeling the burn. Switters ran into the UT Vols in an Oakland hotel last night and confirmed that they are big and wear a lot of orange. So they're going to show up. Stil Ainge has a broken pinkie finger in his throwing hand. A sign of the apocalypse for the Vols? Thoughts? Advice? I'm ruminating.

The Season is ON!

Well, we've officially made it through the desert of the off-season as four of the top 25 teams in the country take the field tonight to kickoff the 2007 season.

LSU @ Miss. State
Buffalo @ Rutgers
Weber State @ Boise State
Murray State @ Louisville

As it's the first flight of games of the first week of the season my sense on betting these games is a little underdeveloped. But oth I-A only games have seemingly tempting lines and it's been so long my need for a fix is overwhelming, so here's my initial inkling:

*Earlier this week when the spread was 21.5 I was thinking 'LSU's a defensive team this year since I can't name their starting QB or RB off the top of my head and a defensive end is hogging the pre-season hype.' Given that double-digit home underdogs are generally good bets against the spread and it's crunch time for Sylvester Croom, I was liking Miss State to beat the initial spread in a valiant home loss against the Tigers. But something magical happens when a spread slips under the three-touchdown barrier and the #2 team in the land is involved. I'm taking the Tigers to cover 19.5

*Buffalo is the worst team in 1-A and facing off against a Rutgers team ready to prove that last year was no fluke. Ray Rice rocks and rolls tonight and Rutgers covers the enormous -31.5 riding on their head.

Going large on big spreads, here goes nothing...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Signs of the Season: Feldman's Back

Back in June we reported on the dire condition of ESPN's Bruce Feldman with the now evident theory that his strength (physical, mental and emotional) waxes and wanes with the proximity of college football. As it turns out college football is both Feldman's life force and mana and he struggles through a hellish, self-destructive depression through most of the offseason.

Said Switters at the time of the June 6 pic: "His picture definitely didn't look as bad during the season, maybe he just gets more and more fucked up until the next season comes around and his life changes for the better. Practically the same thing happens to me."

I agreed and wrote: "By August he will be twice the man he is today and we will hardly recognize his refound glory."

Well, judging by the picture posted now on ESPN we were right. Feldman is back at about 85% and looking fit here on Game Week 1, the veritable eve of college football. By Thursday at 7pm EST as Rutgers and Buffalo take the field and commence the season proper, we may even see a toothy smile on Feldman's face as his strength returns to full.

SEC's "Real Men of Genius"

Bud Light Presents, "Real Men of Genius" (Reaaaaal Men Of Genius)

Today we salute you, Mr. Delusional SEC Homer (Mr. Delusional SEC Hooooommmer!) Year after year, you say that your teams are the baddest in the land (Baddest rednecks around!) Ignoring stats, facts, bowl records, and out of conference results, you push on (Facts are for Yankees!) Because when you're drunk on Bourbon and your family tree is a straight line, those seven to three games look like quality football (Barn burners!!!) So here's to you, Mr. Delusional SEC Homer... keep fighting the good fight. (Logic is for wimps!)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Big Ten Network: Answer my Question!

After last week's post about the Big Ten Network, we received a comment that could be nothing other than a Big Ten Network schill (nothing against schills, by the way):

Anonymous said...

All split feeds are offered to cable and satellite providers. DirecTV has already said that it will carry all of the split feeds on its overflow channels so if your carrier gets the BTN you should be able to choose the game you want to watch or channel surf among all of them, just like ESPN GamePlan except for much lower cost.

If the BTN takes that much interest in what's said on this blog, then I at least invite this person to give me a link, a document, some sort of proof of this. I just can't imagine an average person reading this blog to use language like "just like ESPN GamePlan except for much lower cost."

If the claims made by this person are true, I pretty much withdraw all of my criticism of this new BTN plan......

Friday, August 24, 2007

My Pre-Season Top 25

Now that we've been snubbed for inclusion in MGodBlog's Blogpoll, I'm continuing my petition for inclusion (not letting our pride get in the way) here in public by creating and posting my own derivative and aribitrary pre-season Top 25 ranking, what I would have submitted to MGodBlog, with the Lutheran statement that I personally believe that pre-season polls, no matter what their origin, are a complete waste of time.

Now that I've nailed my dissenting view on the Church door, I'll lay out my entire plan for a Reformation of sorts from within the college football blogosphere. The plan, as it were, was to effect change from the inside, by infiltrating the blogpoll and convincing its members that we could one-up traditional media schills with their 'pre-season polls' through a righteous refusal to rank teams until a sufficient set of data from the field was collected.

Ideally, I would push for the end of the non-conference schedule, 4 weeks into the season, to bide our time, watching inter-sectional games and slurping beer in stony, scientific silence while we made our observations backed by actual on-field play and not plagued by the moronic conjecture of Mark May and the lisping geriatricity of Lou Holtz.

And this poll, issued in the 4th week would be a good poll. It would be better informed by fact than by East Coast bias and anybodies-guessing as to whether Michigan's secondary might emerge, when by then we might actually know.

Of course we have some idea, now. But is it fair? No. We don't have all the facts. We have old news. We have history. But does it matter in the end? Yes, but only insofar as it serves to screw a great team out of a fair shot (Auburn 2004?) And is that what we really want?

We have a unique opportunity here in the blog ranks to do things different and better than the traditional media. Yes we make it better by turning the news into a conversation, but even then we're following their lead. What about starting our own conversation?

On the other hand, had I been admitted into the exclusive ranks fo the MGodBlog Blogpoll, I might not be whining right now. I might have played ball and submitted a pre-season poll. Hypothetically, it would have looked something like this:

My 2007 Pre-Season Top 25

  1. USC
  2. LSU
  3. Michigan
  4. Texas
  5. West Virginia
  6. Florida
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Louisville
  10. Virginia Tech
  11. Ohio State
  12. UCLA
  13. Georgia
  14. Penn State
  15. Nebraska
  16. Auburn
  17. California
  18. Boise State
  19. Arkansas
  20. South Carolina
  21. Oregon
  22. Rutgers
  23. Hawaii
  24. Texas A&M
  25. Tennessee

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

College Football's Most Overrated

By way of the Detroit News, by way of ESPN (though I didn't notice this on the CFB
), college football's ten most overrated teams:

1. Florida State (-63)
2. Tennessee (-58)
3. Washington (-42)
4. Miami, Fla. (-35)
T5. Ohio State (-34)
T5. Nebraska (-34)
7. Florida (-33.5)
8. Michigan (-25)
9. Texas (-24)
10. Clemson (-22)

These rankings were made by taking the difference of teams' preseason rankings against their final rankings over the past 10 seasons and adding them all up to determine which programs had been the "most overrated" and "most underrated." The number (n) in parenthesis behind each team name above is that difference compounded over the past ten seasons.

Looking at the flipside of the results, we get college football's ten most underrated teams:

1. Washington State (+51)
2. Boise State (+48)
3. Oregon (+32.5)
4. Arkansas (+26)
5. Wisconsin (+23)
6. Louisville (+20)
7. Texas Christian (+18)
T8. Boston College (+17)
T8. Iowa (+17)
T8. Maryland (+17)

Any surprises here?

I'm not sure. To me overrated is about facing high expectations year after year, a byproduct of sustained success, indicating not really being overrated. Whereas with being underrated you have the advantage of flying under the radar early and moving up into the soft underbelly of the top 25 as a few surprise teams do every year. It is imminently easier, to start low and surprisingly rise when you don't face said expectations and real obstacles (like the SEC compared to Conference USA) or risk being overrated at all.

If Hawaii slips from a pre-season ranking of 25 out of the poll, they lose 1 spot in this ranking system and suffer no such ignominy as being called 'overrated.'

On the flipside, a team that has to start high (Michigan) and risk a more dangerous and unlikely path to win it all (which if you're starting high is the only way to match the commensurate rise enjoyed by the underrated) has a much tougher time and more to lose for failing. A drop from a pre-season #3 to a pre-season #8 somehow makes them look a bad, overrated team?

Maybe I'm being too liberal in my view of the term 'overrated.' Scientifically speaking this ranking is right if a team underachieves from where they're projected to finish, but that methodology assumes a lot of science that the college football ranking system just doesn't have.

Finally, given a liberal interpretation of 'overrated,' all college football fans see it as a bad thing, that overrated teams are bad teams. But the real truth, the truth that is continually betrayed by pre-season rankings, that the overrated list includes some of the most storied-names in college football, doesn't back up this claim.

9 of the 10 teams on the 'overrated list' have won National Championships recently. So who's overrated now? QED.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I Go Away, and Look What Happens.......

First thing's first: 12 days until I can watch the Ohio State Buckeyes play their first football game of the year. Yep, with ESPN GamePlan, you can watch all of your favorite team's games! All is well in the world, and nothing could be easier.

Wait a second....

Yeah, you already knew about this, but still. I am willing to pay hundreds of dollars to watch Ohio State beat the shit out of Akron, Youngstown State, and other non-conference lightweights. But it appears that I no longer have that option.

According to the Big Ten Network's website, there will be "35+ football games per season"!!!!

Wow! Thanks so much!

According to a detailed analysis, there are 45 Big Ten conference games alone, not including all 11 teams' non-conference schedules. But here's where the Big Ten Network really fucks us all:

Let's take the first weekend, September 1. According to the BTN website, they will be showing the following games:

Appalachian State at Michigan, Noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT
Youngstown State at Ohio State, Noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT
Florida International at Penn State, Noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT
Northeastern at Northwestern, Noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT
Bowling Green at Minnesota, 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. CDT
Indiana State at Indiana, 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. CDT

For your convenience, I've highlighted the games that are all on at the same time. But guess what? There's only ONE Big Ten Network, not four. So they show the game that will "split the feeds regionally among cable operators to allow Big Ten fans to watch the game with the most regional interest."

Regional interest my ass

If you live in the area where your team plays, most likely you'll be able to watch your favorite team play. But if you lived in the area where your team plays, most likely you can watch your game on local TV. So if NastyB (a _ichigan fan) and yours truly (a Buckeye fan) both live in California, which game are we going to get? Which game between Youngstown State vs. Ohio State and Appalachian State vs. Michigan will generate the most interest in California?

I'm composing an email right now to lobby on behalf of the OSU/YSU game, because Tressel used to coach at YSU. Maybe that's the only way to make sure we can watch our favorite teams.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Nick Saban, So What?

Saw this on ESPN's college football homepage along with some bloated Ivan Maisel piece about the walking, talking, coaching controversy that is Nick Saban and the only thing I think anymore is... So What?

Isn't it pretty much the American Dream to climb the ladder to success like Saban has? So why does everyone hold it against him? Wouldn't anyone else in the same position have made the same decision?

Things weren't going well in Miami and to pretend that he owed the Dolphins anymore loyalty than they would have shown him when the chips are down is crazy. Look at the shelf life of NFL coaches when they aren't winning. The franchises show no loyalty.

So good for him for recognizing a bad situation and securing a better one. Just like any employee, you do have to look out for number one. So why is this still a story?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Chat Transcript: The Return of Switters?

Seeing this controversial statement of the Pac-10's mettle over the Big Ten by ESPN's so-called 'experts,' a seam of white-hot rage woke Switters (erstwhile co-blogger of this blog) from his silent slumber.


horse shit
how could the pac 10 possibly be better than the big 10????
Sent at 1:54 PM on Thursday


sounds like a thin argument


you got that right
fucking jerks


sounds like you need to vent
the blog's been missing you...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Freep Hatin' on the Big Ten

As one of a handful of sources I cruise for Michigan and Big Ten coverage I might otherwise miss, the Freep (Detroit Free Press) has been notable lately for its decided lack of the de rigeur pre-season hope and optimism.

In fact, in lieu of the expected homerist hype, there's been a biting, negative tone to recent Freep coverage including:

Big Ten: Most overrated conference?

and, in response to the ridiculous Jim Harbaugh situation:

DREW SHARP: Hail to the hypocrites; U-M's arrogance is academic

The tone and intent of these pieces almost feels like teenage rebellion (see: biting the hand that feeds you). Though some of these criticisms may have some validity, the Big Ten hasn't been totally excellent lately, it's pretty shocking to see the hometown crowd sweeping the rug out from under the home team, particularly in the unproven, conjecture-laden and usually hopeful run up to the season. Where's the love Freep?

And more importantly, where's the journalistic dispassion and perspective wherein band-wagoning with Harbaugh is concerned? He's looking like a jackass not only among Michigan fans (just ask USC and the rest of the Pac-1o outside of, or maybe now including, Stanford) and it doesn't take an investigate journalist's spider sense to sniff that out, Drew Sharp.

Finally, amid all of this negativity, the Freep's strangest contribution was a sad recap of the false-start-filled odyssey of Drew Henson.

FINAL SNAP: Once a two-sport star, U-M's Drew Henson is fighting for his football life

Who needs at this most hopeful time of year to be reminded of the sadness of the past?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Pair of Tom Brady F-Bombs

Who knew? There is an emerging YouTube sub-genre devoted entirely to Tom Brady dropping F-Bombs. Witness:

Act I

Act II

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A Good Sign For the Season

My special lady announced yesterday that she's got an extra $500 burning up her purse that she'd like to use to buy us a new television set. Sounds good right? So I said, what's the catch. Well, she said, we have to renew our subscription to HBO.

Is that a catch? I can finally find out what happens to Tony Soprano and watch college football in glorious high-resolution each and every Saturday. I'm not seeing the catch.

This is how I know it's going to be my year. The fall is shaping up beautifully and the only thing the woman wants from me is more of my time planted on the couch watching the brand new TV for which she's personally willing to contribute five-hundo? Luck be a lady indeed.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Does South Dakota Hate College Football?

The above should need no explanation, since it is clearly the GeoMap Overlay report from Google Analytics showing the relative volume of traffic to by US State between January 1 and August 7 of this year.

Other than the horribly misshapen mitten of Michigan (um, where's the lakes?), the other disturbing feature of this map is NO TRAFFIC WHATSOEVER FROM SOUTH DAKOTA!!!!

Jeeze, what does it take to get you guys? Even population light-weights like Vermont, Wyoming and North Dakota sent a little love our way. Shit, we even got some Guam/Puerto Rico and "Minor U.S. Outliers."

Quirks in the data? Maybe. Or perhaps it's something more sinister. Should we question South Dakota's love for the great American tradition of college football?

So what up Rapid City? Pierre? Defecting to the Soviet Union? Boycotting the game out of extreme Nebraska envy? What will it take to get one South Dakotan to read this blog?

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Second Annual Foster's Oil Can Post

About one year ago, on this very blog, I thought it would be a good idea to extol the virtues of my second mistress (after college football) - the Foster's Oil Can. You see it has become something of a tradition to gather at the earliest excusable moment (and that comes earlier on the West Coast, mind you) on the first Saturday of college football season with a mess of these in a paper sack and drink them during the first round of games.

As with many things, it's about size. Which in this case means vital caloric content. The hopsy, yeasty goodness provides enough carbs to make it through the morning all the way to afternoon buffalo wings and pizza and ensures the requisite level of retardation that let's one know: you are shirking your responsibilities sufficiently and enjoying Saturday the way it was meant to be enjoyed since caveman times.

Only we're watching college football and the danger of death by sabre tooth tiger is low, so drink up and enjoy. If you're man enough, you may even be up to the Oil Can Challenge which is to finish at least one during each set of games and retire as many as possible with the goal of benchmarking a new high AND staying awake through the SEC night game on CBS.

Tallies for record consideration accepted starting September 1.

Interesting College Football Factoid: BSU

This is of course the time of year of lots of schlocky pre-season annuals, rankings and conjecture, but it is also a time when more sophisticated news sources navigate the domain of sycophantic college football fans, bloggers and parasitic pundits to put together their own analysis. After all, it is their weekly rankings that comprise the AP Poll and not (much to their chagrin) the bloggers of the CollegeFootBlogospher (who may know better on both counts).

If these pinnacles of print journalism are going to add any value to the already over-populated dialog, much of it increasingly insider informed, it may be their commitment to dispassion and pure cold facts. Many of these turn out to be interesting and can be taken home for future consumption, which all blogging merits aside, is more than I can say for most of what I read out here on the Internets.

To wit, The Washington Post, who ranks Boise State a safe but respectful (read: cowardly) 25 in their Top 25 list includes this fascinating factoid:

*Boise State at 44th is now the highest-rated non-BCS school in the Collegiate Licensing Company's latest rankings of royalties reported over the last year. The school earned $512,000 in royalties during that period, school officials said, which is up 56 percent from the previous year.

What is the standalone value of a fact? I don't know, but for me, this has it. And maybe that's only because it dovetails neatly with my reigning and advancing view that the WAC is where it's at in the non-BCS world.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Downloadable 2007 College Football Schedule

2007 College Football Bowl Season Amendment: The Downloadable Bowl Schedule is now available.

Yes it's awesome. But I cannot take credit for this work.

I received it in a string of email forwards at work and thought that the entire College Football Community should rejoice in its abundance. Witness this model of tabbed-Excel-spreadsheet, organizational excellence as it plots out by means of full-color, helmet graphics the entire NCAA 2007 schedule of college football games. The tabs are organized by conference and this thing will come in handy for visualizing at a glance what games to watch/bet on week by week.

To the anonymous hero who created this document. Thank you for having so much time on your hands. Step up and be recognized!

Click the Link to Download:

Awesome '07 Football Schedule