Wednesday, December 31, 2008

GDB NFL All-Pro Team

Before the playoffs start this week, GDB felt it necessary to honor the best players from the regular season.  Don't feel bad if your favorite player doesn't make this list, we don't reward reputations here, only pure brilliance and achievement.


QB - Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints.  It was a great year for quarterbacks, even with the injury to Tom Brady.  Anyone could argue for Peyton Manning or Matt Ryan to man this spot, but come on.  Brees threw for over 5,000 yards with his top 3 recieving weapons out for significant portions of the season and would have made the playoffs if he didn't play in the NFL's toughest division.

RB - Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings.  Any time you run for 1,700 yards without people noticing, you know you're damn good.  All Day made people in the NFL forget that the Vikes quarterback was Gus F'in Frerotte for most of the year, and thats quite an achievement.

RB - Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons.  The greatest free agent signing of 2008 helped the Falcons make it all the way to an 11-5 record.  

LT - Stephen Roos, Tennessee Titans.  A lynchpin of one of the strongest offensive lines in the NFL.

LG - Steve Hutchinson, Minnesota Vikings.  Still opening up big holes for All Diggity Day, even thought he may not be at an all-world level anymore.

C - Sean O'Hara, New York Giants.  Major part of the dynamic and versatile Giants O-Line, helped B Jacobs and Derrick Ward both get over 1,000 yards rushing.

RG - Tyson Clabo, Atlanta Falcons.  Symbolic of the Atlanta Falcons newfound success in the power running game.

RT - Jordan Gross, Carolina Panthers.  No team had a more dominant running game in the 2nd half of the season than Carolina, and Gross' emergence at right tackle had a lot to do with that.

WR - Andre Johnson, Houston Texans.  Simply a man among boys, Johnson is the most dominant individual player in the NFL.

WR - Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers.  When he ain't smacking teammates around, he's torching cornerbacks as the most explosive reciever in the game.

TE - Dallas Clark, Indianapolis Colts.  Him and Manning were a giant part of the Colts mad dash in the 2nd half of the season.


DE - DeMarcus Ware - Dallas Cowboys.  Despite the pathetic play of his overrated teammates, Ware continues to emerge as the best young edge rusher in the NFL, as evidenced by his 19 sacks and countless QB pressures.

DT - Albert Haynesworth, Tennessee Titans.  Buy the hype.  Everyone knew he had the talent going back to his Volunteer days, now that he's figured it out there are few as dominant in the game.

DT - Haloti Ngata, Baltimore Ravens.  Incredibly athletic for a 350 pound man, Ngata's run stuffing ability has allowed the Ravens' linebackers and safeties to be so aggressive and destructive.

DE - John Abraham, Atlanta Falcons.  As a pass rushing specialist there was none better in the game this year.  His constant pressure helped save the Falcons in many games this year.

OLB - James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers.  The best Steeler linebacker since Greg Lloyd.  Harrison is as good rushing the passer as he is at stopping the run, and he makes huge plays every game.

MLB - Keith Bulluck, Tennessee Titans.  This guy has been a great linebacker for over a decade.  His leadership and talent helped make the Titans defense so imposing this year.

OLB - Joey Porter, Miami Dolphins.  I never thought i'd include Peezy in a list like this, but it would be ignorant to dismiss his contribution the the miraculous Dolphins turnaround.

CB - Cortland Finnegan, Tennessee Titans.  The most physical corner in the NFL.

CB - Ike Taylor, Pittsburgh Steelers.  A couple years ago he was benched by his coaches, now he has improved into as close to a shutdown corner as the NFL rules will allow.

FS - Ed Reed, Baltimore Ravens.  The best safety the NFL has seen since Ronnie Lott.

SS - Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers.  Spiritual leader of the best defense in the NFL this season.  Can truly do it all on defense.

P - Mike Scifres, San Diego Chargers.  Led the league in average, good enough for me.

K - Steven Gostwowski, New England Patriots.  Led the league in points, good enough for me.

KR - Johnnie Lee Higgins, Oakland Raiders.  Not a great year for kick returners, but this guy scored td's and has an awesome name, which is good enough for me.

Coach  of the year - Tony Sparano, Miami Dolphins.  Took chances on unwanted players and then coached them up from a 1 win to an 11 win team.

Rookie of the Year - Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons.  How is it that he is better as an NFL rookie than he was as a college senior.  

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

NFL Regular Season Recap and other sports observations

Fall Semester in grad school can be a pretty heady undertaking, and it pretty much claimed Young Swole. I apologize for the lack of content on GDB, but i'm hopeful that i will be able to provide the cutting insight that the millions of readers demand. With that apology, I reflect on the recently completed NFL regular season and other significant events unfolding in the sports universe....


ESPN tried vainly to stuff aggravating stories like the Dallas Cowboys and Brett Favre down our throats all fall, and to the enjoyment of sane people across our country, both crashed and burned worse than the Hindenberg. First off we have the Cowboys, with their choke-artist quarterback, much-maligned reciever and the rest of the crew. I can't remember such a mediocre team being covered so closely, and I don't think a failure so rife with blame to be dispersed has ever been directed in the wrong directions. Recent days have seen TV commentators (Cris Carter) basically calling for Terrell Owens to be murdered while much greater problems have been largely ignored. Tony Romo continues to be excused of his pathetic play, mostly because he tries hard and bangs a girl that fat sportswriters jerk off to. Jerry Jones has recieved some blame for putting together a bunch of mercenaries and meddling with his coaches, but this has mostly been excused because he really wants to win badly, as if others didn't. Finally Pac Man Jones is made a laughinstock for his Sunday performance, as if he was responsible for Romo and Barber's fumbles and the entire defensive ineptitude. Bottom line here, everyone deserves equal blame, and to lump in entirely on loud black men while excusing white teammates screams of racism.

Onto Favre, who was made the biggest story of the season by ESPN in late summer when he signed with the Jets. He was awful on Sunday, throwing two of the dumbest picks i've ever seen. No one is more responsible for the Jets collapse than him, as evidenced by his 2td to 9int ratio in December. Yet his poor play has been largely excused because he was supposedly injured (as if no one else plays hurt) and that he was "curageous" to try and play in new york. Now we have to endure another offseason of will-he or won't-he when it comes to retirement. If his play is any indicator, then ol' Brett should just hang up his wranglers and go back to nowheresville Mississippi where he belongs.


- The biggest tragedy of the NFL season occurred late in the Tampa-Oakland game. It wasn't the ugly collapse by the Buccaneers against the hapless Raiders, no it was that Cadillac Williams got injured again. Last year, Williams tore a patella tendon in his right knee which doctors thought would end his career. Miraculously, Cadillac returned to the Bucs late in the season and was a big contributor for a team that suffered through injuries from Ernest Graham and Warrick Dunn. However, in the 4th quarter of Sunday's game, Cadillac tore the patella tendon in his left knee, and is looking at another career threatening situation. I've always loved the way Cadillac has run the ball way back to his Auburn days, and its heartbreaking that the same devastasting injury could happen to the same guy again. I just hope that he doesn't go the way of players like Willie Davis and Yatil Green and never make it back.

- All the NFL numbskull commentators aren't mentioning him, but Ed Reed would be my MVP this season. Reed was always a great player, but he has been simply dominant on defense this year for the Ravens. Every week it seems he's returning a TD for a touchdown or making a huge play on defense. His emotional contribution is arguably larger than any other player in the league as well, Reed is the identity of the Ravens and he has helped make them one of the most dangerous teams in the playoffs. My second place would be Peyton Manning, 3rd place Chad Pennington

- As a Lions fan, all i can really do is shake my head in embarrasment. Unlike the Dolphins and Falcons, i have no hope in the Lions actually turning this around. They are sadly mismanaged and do not have the intellectual capability to even acknowledge that they are clueless. There is literally no hope for this franchise. Whoever they draft will be wasted because they can't find good enough coaches. The coaches they do hire are either inept or lazy. I honestly don't even think they will win a game next year either. There are no good young players on this team and no rookie is going to be able to make that much of a difference. its sad to see the franchise this damn bad, but what's even sadder is they will continue to be this awful for a lot longer.

- I am convinced this is the year of Lebron. Silence me with that KG competitor talk, no one has had a greater will to win since MJ than Lebron. Plus he actually has decent teammates around him this year, which will lead him to his first of many NBA titles. Lock it in right now, he will be Sports Illustrated's sportsman of the year in 2009, unless Tiger comes back and sweeps the majors.

- The college bowls are in full swing, and they have been very good so far. Unfortunately it looks like the big bowls could all be letdowns, thanks to the mismatches created by the greed of the BCS and college presidents. If anyone thinks Penn State, Ohio State or Utah actually has a chance in the bowl game, then they need to get some smelling salts.

Coming up in Future Days: Young Swole's NFL All-Pro Team, The perfect solution for a BCS playoff, BCS Bowl Predictions, Australian Open Preview, Young Swole's Life Observations

Friday, September 26, 2008

College Football Preview

We haven't even reached Saturday and already we've had a colossal upset, as those wacky Beavers of Oregon State once again knocked off a supremely overrated USC team. Somewhere Mark May is fixin' to jump off a ledge, which would make everybody happy. And while this upset would be enough for most fans, we have a full Saturday to go, chock full of huge games across the country. Lets get it.
GDB Brew Battle of the Week

Oh my god to be in Athens, Georgia right now. Everywhere you turn, and everyone you talk to, is completely enthralled by the game tomorrow night in Sanford Stadium between #3 Georgia and #8 Alabama. There are so many angles in play here: 2 top-10 teams, heisman candidates, spectacular freshmen on both sides, return to glory for a famous team, shit-talking, SEC football in primetime, and of course the trim. What this all adds up to is a game, and an entire town, that is nearing bedlam. Lets take a look quickly at how both teams got here and what they do well, and then i'll dare make a prediction for tomorrow
THE TIDE: It hasn't taken Nick Saban long to put his imprint on Alabama. If you watched any of the Tide's victories over Clemson or Arkansas, you would see a superior physical team that plays ball-hawking defense and runs the ball very effectively. And with such a fast start, Saban's young squad is brimming with confidence. Alabama goes 3 deep with solid running backs behind one of the best O-lines in the conference, and have ample playmakers on the outside. On defense, linemen Terrance Cody and Brandon Deaderick have allowed playmaking linebacks like Rolando McClain to feast on opponents running backs. The Crimson Tide is a tough team that is only getting stronger.

Them Dawgs: For some reason the Dawgs have dropped to #3 in the polls despite being 4-0. They are now coming off their most complete game of the season against ASU and look to be coming into their own just as they start the SEC gauntlet. Knowshon Moreno has been spectacular at running back, Matt Stafford looks like the most experienced passer in the conference, and AJ Green has given them the deep threat that hasn't existed in Athens since Fred Gibson turned into a biiig biiiitch. The Dawgs are also doing an incredible job stopping their opponents running game, holding foes to under 50 yards a game. A lot of the credit for the defense has to go to Rennie Curran, who has been without a doubt the best defensive player in the nation, regardless of what idiots in Bristol will tell you. He saved Georgia against Carolina and is good for about 10 impact plays a game. Watch 35 on Saturday and tell me he's not the best linebacker in America.

What will decide this game: There are two huge issues that will decide this game. First is the play on both sides of the interior line. I doubt either Georgia or Bama can win this game if they can't establish the run. While Bama has had the better line units so far, they also have not faced an opposition as strong as the Dawgs. And despite the Dawgs struggles, the team is still averaging near 200 yards per game in rushing while leading the SEC in rushing defense. If young interior linemen like Ben Jones and Cordy Glenn can hold up against human sinkhole Terrance Cody, then Moreno should be able to get to the 2nd level and make his huge plays. It will be key for the Dawgs to mount a pass rush on the Tide as well, something they have not done effectively so far this year. The second big issue in this game will be quarterback play. Georgia appears to have a huge advantage at this position, and John Parker Wilson will have to play mistake-free for the Tide to win. So far this season he has not made the debilitating mistakes he was prone to in years past, but this will be the toughest defense he has faced all year and one mistake could be deadly. For Matt Stafford, he has to be patient and take what Saban's defense gives him. It is certain that he will see some unique coverage looks this week, and he must lean on his running game and preparation to make the correct reads.

Prediction: In week's past I've been very nervous for each Georgia game. I knew we'd struggle against SC despite their shittiness, and I also thought the ASU battle was a definite trap game. Now we're going up against Bama yet i feel very calm about it, because it seems to me as if the Dawgs are starting to come into their own. This is the type of game that players dream of, under the lights against a big time opponent on a national stage. Mark Richt is an amazing big game coach and he will have his boys fired up for the 745 kickoff. And while i don't discredit what Nick Saban can do, I am not sure his young team is quite ready to handle an atmopshere like Sanford Stadium will provide tomorrow night. The first 15 minutes of this game are huge. If Bama can keep it close than anything can happen, if they make a lot of mistakes then Georgia could blow them out of the water. Deep down, I feel like this is the game that Georgia makes its statement to the world that they are still the top Dawgs, and behind the excellence of Moreno, Stafford and Curran, the Dawgs win 28-14 between the hedges.
Other SEC Games:
Tennessee @ Auburn - This one could be really ugly for the Vols. Auburn is going to be pissed off at how they lost to LSU and that defense will be in full out search and destroy mode. Their offense is only getting better, and quite frankly it doesn't look like Tenneseee coaches have a clue of what their doing. I know the Vols usually win games like this and continue to annoy the shit out of you in the process, but i smell ass whooping on the plains. Auburn wins 34-0.

Ole Miss @ Florida - The Rebels seemed slightly frisky this year, until Vandy came in and stole their soul in the 4th quarter. Now they will either cave in or fight even harder against a big name opponent this week. The Rebs have the talent on the D-Line to make life difficult for Tebow, and Jevan Snead could give the Gator defense problems if he's on his game. I think this will be a pretty close game throughout until Flo-Rida pulls away late. UF wins 41-27.

Miss. St. @ LSU - LSU has the biggest win of the season to date against Arkansas. Now they come back to the Bayou to face a struggling MSU squad. If the Bulldogs get more than 7 points I will be shocked. LSU destroys MSU 51-6.


Illinois (22) @ Penn State(12). The Nittany Lions victory over Oregon State is looking a lot better now after last night, but they still haven't proven much in their fast start. They finally get a ranked opponent with a chance to prove they are the cream of the Big 10 crop. Now that Anthony Morelli has been turned into dog food, Penn State's offense has exploded. And with Illinois sporting one of the wackest defenses in the nation, don't look for the trend to stop. Penn State momentum + a white out in Beaver Stadium = Zook Ether. Penn State wins big 45-14.

TCU (24) @ Oklahoma (2). Oklahoma has been raping scoreboards this year thanks to Sam Bradford's greatness. TCU is a strong team out of the suprising Mountain West Conference. While it appears to be a mismatch on paper, TCU has a chance to make things interesting. The Horned Frogs always play inspired defense, which has led them to upsets of Oklahoma the last 2 times in Norman, including in 2005. The Sooners appear unstoppable right now but they cannot afford to look past these guys toward the Big 12 slate that awaits them. Usually OU doesn't melt down until the second half of the season, and I think they will win this game pretty handily because they just have too many playmakes for them Frogs to contain. Sooners 38-19.

Ranked teams on Upset Alert:

Keep an eye on South Florida at NC State, because the Bulls played like shit last week and could be looking ahead to bigger games. Plus Tom O'Brien is steadily improving his frisky Wolfpack. The other game I'm looking at is Clemson-Maryland. Both teams are about as reliable as a Charter Cable technician, and because of that its possible that those wacky Terps walk into Death Valley and knock off the still bitch-made Tigers. No Clemson word bond.

With that I'm off to begin preparations for tomorrow's game. Hopefully there will be a GDB field report with the day's festivities in Athens, but you never really know whats going to happen in this towwwwwn. Look for Sweezy on Gameday, and then enjoy a spectacular battle between the hedges later that night.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Saturday Preview

With most of the inter-conference battling complete, its about time for conference schedules to start. Nowhere does conference play get off to more of a bang than in the Southeastern Conference, where all 5 teams ranked in the Top 10 face stiff competition. There are also many other great games across the nation, so lets take a look at whats on tap complete with the world famous GDB predictions you all love.

A lot of dumbass college football fans and announcers hype up more famous rivalries like Ohio State versus Michigan as the best there is in college football, but when it boils down to the bottom line, no game in the 21st century has mattered more in terms of relevancy and pure football talent and ability than LSU and Auburn. We've seen three national championship teams emerge victorious from this battle in the last 10 years, and such all-pro's as Glenn Dorsey, Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown have cemented their legendary statuses in this annual war. The calling card of the battle of the Tigers has always been defense. Nowhere in the college football landscape will you see such a combination of pure talent, athleticism and coaching excellence on the defensive side of the ball. What this means that every game between the two teams are close, low-scoring and filled with intensity. Two years ago Auburn knocked off Jamarcus Russell and LSU 7-3 and last year LSU won on a last second touchdown in Baton Rouge. This year, the battle should be just as close as usual. While both teams come in struggling on offense, there is no shortage of talent on that side of the ball, just a lack of familiarity with new players and schemes. There has been no fall off on the defensive sides of the ball, where both teams are led by stalwart defensive lines. As always, tomorrow's matchup will be filled with brutal physicality. Lots of fans assume that low-scoring games are boring, but if you can't enjoy this game, then you need to get out of our goddamn sport and go jerk off to arena football or something.
Prediction: The passion on the field and in the stands will be incredible. Turn on ESPN at 745 to see what an SEC game in primetime is all about. All of that energy can mean one of two things early on: big plays or big mistakes. Look for a huge turnover early by the Auburn defense before both young quarterbacks settle into the game. Points will be at a premium, and the team that can run the ball most consistently will probably win. For that reason, I'm going to take LSU on the road in the upset. Charles Scott has been excellent so far this season, and Richard Murphy and Keiland Williams behind him are no slouches either. Auburn's offense is simply not ready to move the ball against a defense of LSU's caliber, and if they get more than 14 points I'll be shocked. Therefore I'm gonna take LSU on the road, 13-10, with a late field goal allowing them to pull out a thriller on the Plains.

Other Huge SEC Games

Florida at Tennessee: The best rivalry in the SEC during the 1990's has continued into the 2000's as well. Florida has gotten the better of the Vols recently, and is coming off a 39 point pasting of them last year in the Swamp. It would seem that with a healthy Percy Harvin coming back to complement Tim Tebow that another Gator victory would seem inevitable, however I can't get over the feeling that somehow the Vols are going to shock the world tomorrow. Remember last year, they got embarrased on the west coast and then ended up winning the SEC east, and the truth of the matter is that the Vols still have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. The key to tomorrow's game will be their ability to run the ball. With Arion Foster and Montario Hardesty, they have the talent to control the ball and keep Tebow and company off the field. If Tennessee commits to the run, they can keep in a close, tight affair. If they try to match big plays with Florida, then they are toast. Florida still hasn't found a running back to complement Tebow, which means he will likely have to carry the ball 20+ times tomorrow in Knoxville. If the Vols can keep the Gators one dimensional, and rely on their running backs and Gerald Jones to make the big plays, then they've got a chance in this one.
Prediction: F it, I'm going out on a limb and predicting Tennessee to score the upset. They are not as bad as they were against UCLA, and believe me they will be hyped up to prove to the world that last year was an aberration and that they aren't as shitty this year as everyone seems to think they are. The Gators didn't really impress me against Miami, and I have questions about their toughness in big games. Plus they are still really young on defense and have never faced a Knoxville crowd full of possum before. Look for the Vols to pound the ball all damn day and pull off the biggest upset of the season, 27-21.

Georgia at Arizona State: Both teams are coming off less than stellar performances last week. The Dawgs escaped with a hard fought victory over the Gamecocks while the Sun Devils were caught looking ahead to this one and ended up losing to UNLV. Tempe will be mad hyphy for this game, and one Young Swole wishes he was there to experience it along with the legendary ASU tail. Georgia has kind of been forgotten early in the season while the spotlight has gone to USC and other squads. Thats what makes this game so important. On a national stage in prime time, UGA has the chance to show that they belong with USC and Oklahoma. Thats why this game is so important not only in winning and losing, but also in perception. I have a feeling that tomorrow is when UGA puts it all together and shows off in dominating fashion against ASU. The Dawgs have the advantage on both sides of the ball in both speed and strength, and should be able to control the line of scrimmage. On offense, Moreno will run wild against a weak rush defense and on defense the pass rush will come out with a vengeance after being ridiculed all week for their wack performance against USC. Last year we made Colt Brenna cry on national tv, tomorrow night its going to be punk ass Rudy Carpenter's turn once we introduce him to Rennie Curran and a whole lot of SEC Speed.
Prediction: UGA wins big 45-22

Other Top 25 Predictions:

Temple at Penn State (16): Whats more embarrasing in Happy Valley, all the players arrests, Joe Paterno shitting himself regularly, or the early schedule Penn State has had this year? Penn State wins 48-16

Troy at Ohio State (13): Mark my words, Troy is not a bad team. They will move the ball against Ohio State with their spread offense. If OSU is still crying about their ass-whooping from last weekend, another brand of Trojans may give them more game then they were expecting. OSU wins damn close 28-26.

East Carolina (15) at NC State: The Pirates beat a Tulane team last week thats better than NC State, and the Pirates will probably have a huge rooting interest at this game. This is one of their last best chance to prove themselves against a big conference school, and they will get it done once again. ECU wins 34-16

Alabama (9) at Arkansas: The first SEC road game for all the young freshmen on the Tide. Arkansas is only going to get better as the season goes along, and they get 4 regular defensive starters back from injury this week. JP Wilson has to prevent mistakes in this game or else an upset could happen. Bama pulls away late behind a strong running game 31-21

S.C. State at Clemson (23): Stat padding game for Clemson, does nothing to prove that they aren't big bitches though. Clemson wins 52-9

Buffalo at Missouri (5): Buffalo is an improving team, but it will be a shock if Chase Daniel plays into the 4th quarter of this game. Mizzou wins 49-13

Wyoming at BYU (14): Max Hall probably won't throw for 7 td's again, but he also isn't facing a Pac-10 team this week either. 5 is probably more likely in another mormon domination. BYU cruises 45-17

Boise State at Oregon (17): Imagine if this game was played two years ago. There'd probably be over 100 points combined. This year however its a freshman QB for Boise going up against the Ducks 3rd stringer. Look for LeGarrette Blount and Jeremiah Johnson to get the ball a lot and wear down the Blue Fielders. Ducks win 38-21

Utah (20) at Air Force: I honestly don't know much about either team, but Utah would probably finish 3rd in the Pac-10 considering how shitty those teams are. Utah wins 28-17

South Florida (12) at Florida International: Any time 2 Florida teams you know it will be fun, and the Bulls have to guard against a let down after knocking off Kansas in a very emotional game last Friday. FIU will probably hang around early, before Grothe and company run away in the second half. USF wins 44-26

UMass at Texas Tech (11): The only thing more embarrasing than the Red Raiders inflated ranking is how they earned it. No wonder quarterbacks throw for 50 TD's a year in their system, they don't play anybody. Tech wins 70-13

Sam Houston at Kansas (19): Any fan that says only the SEC schedules cupcakes can STFU after seeing who these big 12 teams go up against. KU kills 63-16

Wake Forest (18) at Florida State (24): Easily the best game outside of the SEC battles. Its hard to believe that the Deacons are the proven entity and that FSU has something to prove in the game, but thats the ACC for you. Wake was lucky to beat Ole Miss at home, but they have confidence aginst the Noles since they've beaten them 3 times in a row. FSU's offense seems to have markedly improved in their second year under Jimbo Fisher's guidance, and they will have more depth in this game now that their suspensions are almost over. Their defense still swarms to the ball and will pressure Riley Skinner all day. (Quick tangent: Its bullshit that the media fawns over Tebow for his Christian beliefs and philanthropy while ignoring all that Antrel Rolle has done in his life. Go read up on the kid and tell me he's not as impressive as ESPN's love toy). This may be the game that FSU announces they are on their way back to the top, Noles win 35-24.

Rice at Texas (7): Who knows what mental state the Rice program is in after Hurricane Ike. What i do know is that Texas puts up 50 on the Owls, even though the game is a night game. Horns 55-17.

Fresno State (25) at Toledo: Pat Hill's teams usually play the big teams really tough, see USC a few years ago and Wisconsin last weekend. They also usually lose to shit tastic teams a few times a year as well. This is one of those cases. Toledo knocks off the Dawgs 38-24

(Yes, Yes, Yes, Maybe if i'm drunk, Yes, Yes, Yes)

Monday, September 15, 2008

College Football Wrap-Up

Another huge weekend of college football is in the books. Thankfully, I and the Georgia Bulldogs survived a trip to Columbia, SC. Unfortunately, many other top teams fell hard this weekend, including Ohio State in what will probably turn out to be the most overhyped game of the season. Lets take a look back and see how things broke in Week 3 of the college season

Team of the Week: USC Trojans. OK so maybe Ohio State proved once again that they are an overrated and soft team that is slow to adjust and even slower to recover, but lets not forget what USC accomplished. It wasn't that they only beat the Buckeyes, but the fact that they ripped their heart out and stomped on it was the most impressive thing about their victory. It would hard not to think they are the favorite to make the BCS Championship thanks to a weak schedule the rest of the way, but they will have to guard against complacency as they face inferior competition from here on out. But lets be honest, if the Trojans play that well each week, nobody is stopping them from Miami on January 8th.

Player of the Week: With all due respect to the sublime talents of Chase Daniel and Sam Bradford, this week's honor has to go to Max Hall of BYU. Anytime you lead your team to a 42-0 halftime lead and end up throwing for 7 td's alltogether, you have to be the player of the week. Furthermore, he helped prove to the nation that BYU is a legit contender to make a BCS game this season. Its incredible the quarterback lineage that exists in Provo, and Hall has definitely proven that he is the next great Mormon quarterback.

Wack Sauce Team of the Week: It goes without saying that this week's award goes to Ohio State. As if humiliation in the championship game the last two years wasn't enough, you have the audacity to get embarrased with the same team once again on national television. You are a squad full of inflated expectation and inflated sense of entitlement. The only reason you made those previous two title games was because you play in one of the worst conferences in America, one which is too pussy to schedule a conference championship like real conferences such as the Big 12 and SEC. Your coach is overrated. Jim Tressel still hasn't adjusted after getting reamed by Florida. Your players are overrated. Your quarterback is a journeyman at best and his ballyhooed backup isn't ready for this level yet. Your offensive line is slow and fat, your running backs and receivers are slow and unathletic and your precious little linebacker James Laurinaitis is scared of contact and isn't half the player Rennie Curran is. Go enjoy your little trip through the Big 10 and your game in the Citrus Bowl, where you will probably get dismantled by an SEC team once again. Just don't ever say you never get respected and that your going to shock the world again, because just like the state you live in, Ohio State isn't worthy of our time or respect.

Wack Sauce Conference Alert: Its funny how Pac-10 fans have argued in recent years that they are on par with conferences such as the SEC and Big 12. In all actuality, all those little ass schools are really just riding the coat tails of USC. This was proven this week in spades. Cal loses to pathetic Maryland, Arizona State loses to pathetic UNLV, both Washington schools get destroyed by Big 12 opponents too. Even UCLA, which seemed to be turning things around, got killed by 59 points in mormon country. Sure, USC was impressive, but when are they not? The bottom line is the rest of the Pac-10 schools play soft football and think too much of themselves. You will never be as good top to bottom as the SEC because you simply don't care enough to be. Just accept the fact that your conference is going to be known as the Pac-1 from now on, because the rest of you quite honestly deserve to be in the WAC.

GDB Top 10:
1. USC - Destroyed what is supposedly the best that the Big 10 has to offer. They better be careful not to get complacent though, the last time they went up to Corvallis they took a fatty L.
2. Georgia - Won a brutal game against South Carolina. I'm not going to punish them for winning like the AP did because the Cocks play us tougher than anyone on our schedule. If they go out west and obliterate Arizona State then the Dawgs will be right back up to number 2 trust me.
3. Oklahoma - Even in the touchdown highlights, it was painfully obvious how physically superior the Sooners were to Washington on Saturday. They may have the best offense in the nation right now.
4. Missouri - The Tigers haven't really played anyone yet, but their offense is outrageously good at the moment. I'm a little scared that David Maclin might be injury prone, and their defense has to get better if they want to make the Big 12 Championship.
5. Florida - Gut check time in Knoxville this week. Tennessee isn't as bad as they showed against UCLA and they will be insanely hyped to play the Gators after getting murdered by them last year. Tebow better have his superman underwear on for this one.
6. LSU - Despite the distractions from hurricanes and a new quarterback under center, LSU keeps on dominating thanks to their disgusting defense. If they can survive Auburn, they have a chance at another title.
7. Wisconsin - Huge win against a very good Fresno team. With that one out of the way and the fact that they get Ohio State and Illinois at home, the Badgers have to be considered the favorite for the Rose Bowl at the moment.
8. Texas - Their game was cancelled this week because of Hurricane Ike, and I feel this ranking is still inflated, but i can't punish them for not playing.
9. Auburn - Won an ugly game against Mississippi State. That offense hasn't clicked yet, and it doubtly will this week against LSU. Their defense is still nasty as hell though, which will keep them in every game they play.
10. Alabama - Their offense looked much better this week, but they better be careful not to look ahead to Georgia in 2 weeks or else they may suffer a similar fate that Arizona State faced.

Chase for the Heisman...Literally

With a third week of games in the books, we are inching ever-closer to that glorious time of year when the Football Bowl Subdivision teams start playing games that matter, instead of beating up on directional schools and hilarious also-rans like Nichols State and Florida International.

Front Runner: Chase Daniel, QB, Missouri
Week 3: 23/38, 405 Yards, 4 TD, 0 INT.
Season: 65/90, 973 Yards, 10 TD, 1 INT.
-So long as Daniel keeps putting up video game numbers on a top-5 team, the Heisman seems his to lose. The Tigers' week 1 matchup against Illinois makes it one of the few top teams (along with UGA and USC) to have faced high-level competition early, which is another plus for Daniel.

Others In Consideration:

Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Week 3: 18/21, 304 Yards, 5 TD, 0 INT. 1 Carry, 1 Yard, 1 TD.
Season: 64/81, 882 Yards, 12 TD, 2 INT.
-Another week, another massive stat line from Young Bradford. As if tossing five scores wasn't enough, he used his legs to punch one in right on the goal line. The only thing that keeps him off Daniel's level is that OU has yet to play a challenging opponent like the Tigers have.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
Week 3: 20 Carries, 79 Yards, 1 TD
Season: 46 Carries, 306 Yards, 7 TD
-Week 3 saw rather pedestrian numbers for Moreno, at least by his standards. You can probably contribute that to his facing a tough SEC defense, the type of which he will see weekly from week 3 through the rest of the Dawgs cruel and unusual schedule.

Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
Week 3: 17/28, 172 Yards, 4 TD, 1 INT.
Season: 43/63, 510 Yards, 7 TD, 2 INT.
-The bye week did not seem to hurt USC or Sanchez much, as the Trojans gave the Buckeyes their yearly nationally-televised humiliation. Sanchez is quite efficient and is continuing the long line of impressive QB's at Southern Cal. However, he has only half the numbers of Daniel in 2/3 of the games.

Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
Week 3: BYE
Season: 30/49, 393 Yards, 3 TD, 0 INT. 22 Carries, 92 Yards.
-Being the incumbent winner is one of the only things keeping Tebow in this race. He will have to pick up the pace to become the first repeat winner in who knows how long, and this weekend against a injured-yet-dangerous Tennessee team is a perfect opportunity to remind the world how Tim Teabow rolls.

Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
Week 3: 8 Catches, 164 Yards, 3 TD.
Season: 24 Catches, 395 Yards, 5 TD.
-Week 3 saw a memorable "remember me?" 3 touchdown performance by Crabtree, the best wideout in the college game. However, it might also be time to give some respect to...

Grahm Harell, QB, Texas Tech
Week 3: 31/48, 418 Yards, 5 TD, 0 INT.
Season: 93/152, 1251 Yards, 8 TD, 3 INT.
-Harell is often dismissed as a "system quarterback," but hell, whatever that system is, let me get some of that! The dude is a machine, and Crabtree presents a perfect target to throw tons of touchdowns to all year long.

Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
Week 3: 6 Catches, 172 Yards, 3 TD.
Season: 12 Catches, 223 Yards, 4 TD. 5 Kick Returns, 184 Yards, 1 TD.
-As the stats show, Maclin makes the most of his looks, often breaking out for huge yardage after the catch. His abilities as a special-teams threat make him doubly dangers for Mizzou's opponents.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Heisman Watch: Round 2

Some interesting changes in the early-season Heisman Sweepstakes took place this week. Here's a look at the second week winners and losers:


Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
Week 2: 18 Carries, 168 Yards, 3TD. 3 Catches, 30 Yards.
This guy is obviously as good as everyone thought he would be, and apparently deserving of the preseason love-affair the national media had with him. Expect to see him on even more magazine covers as long as he continues to be a TD factory.

Todd Reesing, QB, Kansas
Week 2: 32/38, 412 Yards, 3TD, 0 INT.
The completion percentage, total yards, and TD/INT ratio are no joke, even against Louisiana Tech. Reesing set the tone for what was the Week of the Big 12 Quarterback.

Chase Daniel, QB, Missouri
Week 2: 16/17, 245 Yards, 3TD, 0 INT.
Chillingly efficient as only 16 completions produced 3 touchdowns. And he only played for one-and-a-half quarters.

Sam Bradford, QB, Oaklahoma
Week 2: 29/38, 396 Yards, 5TD, 2 INT.
Young Bradford goes Boomer Sooner all over Cincy's face, but the 2 picks take some of the shine off his 5 TD's.

Jahvid Best, RB, California
Week 2: 24 Carries, 200 Yards, 3 TD.
Best emerges after a beastly performance in week 2. His stat line looks like 2007 Adrian Peterson shiz.

Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
Week 2: 21/35, 256 Yards, 2TD, 0 INT. 13 Carries, 55 Yards.
Teabow had a heavier workload in week two, but the completion percentage and rushing efficiancy are fairly pedestrian by his standards.


Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
Week 2: 7 Rec., 158 Yards, 1TD.
Another week, another TD for Crabtree. Lets see if he can live up to the TD-every-game prediction I made about him.

Chris "Beanie" Wells, RB, Ohio State
Week 2: DNP
Many would consider a missed game a big blow to a Heisman hopefull. However, I don't think a second-week game against Ohio is going to make or break a season. Being fully-healthy for a prime-time matchup with idle USC could be a restatement that Beanie wants to get paid.

Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
Week 2: DNP
An off week for USC before a huge matchup with Ohio St, and they still take the #1 spot in the poll anyways, so I guess Sanchez is just that good even when he doesn't play.


Pat White, QB, West Virginia
Week 2: 11/18, 72 Yards, 0 TD, 0INT. 20 Carries, 97 Yards.
After a spectacular start to the season, White shat the bed like Marwan after eating Chipolte. Losing to an unranked opponent makes this all the worse.

Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
Week 2: 2 Catches, 20 Yards. 3 Punt Returns, 34 Yards.
Maclin failed to score or even make much of an impact against a SEMO team that he should have lit up like a wet fart. He needs to make an impact in the passing game as well as special teams to take any votes away from his own QB, much less any other candidate.

Monday, September 8, 2008

College Football Wrap-Up

We are now done with the first 2 weeks of the college football season. After two weeks of relatively uninspiring matchups, it appears as if the preseason is about over. This week we get the huge USC-OSU matchup and SEC conference play begins in earnest. Before we get around to previewing a massive weekend of action, lets take a look back at how things shook out in week 2 around the country.

Team of the Week: East Carolina Pirates

The Pirates are honestly the team of the year so far, scoring two huge upsets over teams from the Virginias. This week's win over West Virginia was especially impressive, considering they stopped a heisman contender for a top-10 team the week after an emotional victory. The Pirates have always had good talent, see David Garrard and Chris Johnson, and now with a good coach in Sthkip Holthz, they have definitely become the best team in the Carolinas and could possibly win the ACC if they were in that league. People hyped up the Mormons from Provo as the BCS crashers, but it sure looks as if the Greenville Geechies have the edge on any team from outside the big 6 at the moment.

Player of the Week: Knowshon Moreno

Quite frankly, Moreno is the most explosive running back in the nation at the moment. Every time he touches the ball he is a threat to score, and he also has the strength and endurance to be an every down back for the Bulldogs. Consider that on 27 carries this season, Moreno already has 6 touchdowns, which means he scores a TD 22 percent of the time he gets the ball. He helped lead Georgia to a dominating victory over a bowl team and has them primed for success in the face of the most daunting schedule in the nation.

Wack Sauce Team of the Week: Ohio State Buckeyes

Yeah I know West Virginia and their annoying fans took a huge L this week, but even that wasn't as embarrasing as the performance The Ohio State (of losing big games) University put forth against lowly Ohio. The Buckeyes were only up 5 in the 4th when they scored a punt return aided by a block in the back to secure a victory. Their offense was slow and uninspired and there appeared to be no athleticism anywhere on the field. For a team that cries so much about being disrespected and how nobody thinks they are any good, they sure didn't convert many people to their cause this week. I guess their fans can hope that they were just looking ahead to USC, but between lackluster effort and an injury to Beanie Wells, their struggles may very well be more endemic of a team once again ranked higher than they should be.

Wet Bearded Clam of the Week: This week's honor goes to Jimmy Clausen. This loser was a supposed 5-star recruit who arrived at Notre Dame in a limo and basically thinks of himself as god's gift to football. In reality, he's a weak-armed overrated whiner who built his reputation by beating weak competition at a joke of a school in California who has done nothing but underachieve and embarrass himself at Notre Dame by throwing interceptions to people on teams like San Diego State. Its the arrogance and pomposity of Clausen and his coach Charlie Weis that have made Notre Dame a laughingstock in college football. At any other program he'd be 4th string by now, but instead this dope with a face of an emu, the arm of a girl and the attitude of a spoiled superstar continues to make an ass of himself each week he suits up.

Wild Bidge Action of the Week: To the homegirl who serviced her man on the mountain at the Texas-UTEP game, GDB salutes you. Not only did you console your boy who was suffering through an ass whooping, but you also got Bob Davie to become excited and circle your supple thrusting motion, way to go girl!!!

Top 10 Recap and GDB Rankings:

1. USC - Idle. They didn't play this week, but if they had they would have won so convincingly that they surely deserved to pick up the 20 votes in the AP poll that they did this week. Only at USC. Next Week - Ohio State

2. Georgia - Defeated Central Michigan 56-17. Good performance for the Dawgs, who now go on back to back road trips to South Carolina and Arizona State. Next Week - @ South Carolina

3. Oklahoma - Defeated Cincinnati 52-26. Another huge day for Sam Bradford (5 TD Passes). Its quite unfair how little attention is paid to this guy, who is putting up even better numbers that Tim Tebow had through the same point in his career. Next Week - @ Washington

4. Missouri - Defeated SE Missouri State 52-0. The team with the best offense in the nation also gets a great effort from their defense, which makes this team downright scary. Next Week - Nevada

5. Florida - Defeated Miami 26-3. Deceiving score because Florida was only up by 6 going into the 4th quarter. Huge concern that there still is no real running back to take the pressure off of Tebow. Next Week - Idle

6. LSU - Bye week because of Hurricane Gustav. Bigger problem is that Hurricane Ike may cause this week's game to be cancelled too, which would mean the Tigers would have to play 12 weeks in a row after that (good luck). Next Week - North Texas

7. Ohio State - Defeated Ohio 26-14. Buckeye fans better hope their team was saving the kitchen sink for the Trojans or else it could get really ugly on the west coast this Saturday. Next Week - @ USC
8. Auburn - Defeated Southern Miss. 27-13. Tigers beat a pretty damn good team, and the longer the season goes on the better that offense is going to get. Next Week - @ Miss. State

9. Wisconsin - Defeated Marshall 51-14. Best running game in the nation will get a severe test this weekend at Fresno State. Next Week - @ Fresno State

10. Texas - Defeated UTEP 42-13. I still think this team is overrated, but an impressive victory for the Horns in a very hostile environment. Next Week - Arkansas

Thank Brett Favre?

According to a recent report from Velo News, Lance Armstrong will come out of retirement to race in the 2009 Tour de France.

According to an anonymous source close to Armstrong, the seven-time Tour champ will race for absolutely no pay.

It appears that Armstrong will ride for Astana, a team that currently employs both Johan Bruyneel and Dirk Demol, formerly executives of Armstrong's previous team, Discovery Channel.

The Velo News report also states that Armstrong plans to post all testing of blood samples online in an effort to make anti-doping measures fully transparent.

Armstrong, a Texas native, turns 37 this year.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Heisman Watch: Inagural Edition

After the magic that was the first Saturday of college football, which yours truly celebrated by attending the Illinois/Missouri game in St. Louis, let's take a how the Heisman contenders started the season, and how they should finish if the voting was today.

Author's Note: I realize we only have one week in the books, but we will take a look at the Heisman Race every week and monitor how the situation changes.

1. Pat White, QB, West Virginia
Week 1: 25/33 208 Yards, 5 TD, 1 INT. 9 Carries for 63 Yards.
White put on an impressive showcase of all his skills yesterday, certainly faring much better than his former coach.
2. Chase Daniel, QB, Missouri
Week 1: 26/45, 323 Yards, 3 TD, 1 INT Passing. 9 Carries, 46 Yards.
Daniel looked like a maestro in St. Louis, doing his best Tim Teabow impression (which may have been better than the real thing). He has plenty of passing targets and is a smart, efficient runner.

3. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
Week 1: 4 Rec., 31 Yards. 3 Kick Returns for 145 Yards, 1 TD. 4 Punt Returns for 56 Yards, 1 TD.
Maclin put on a show Saturday reminiscent of Dieon Sanders or Reggie Bush. As thes stats show, he did most of his damage on special teams, living up to his reputation as a 1st Team All-American. Missouri is hoping a late-game ankle injury is not serious.

4. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
Week 1: 8 Carries, 59 Yards. 3 TD. 2 Rec., 53 Yards.
Knowshon was incredibly efficient in Week 1, finding the endzone three times on just eight rushing attempts. The receiving yards are an added bonus that will drive defenses crazy this year.

5. Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State

Week 1: 13 Carries for 111 Yards, 1 TD. 3 Rec., 10 Yards.
Wells looked everything like the strong runner that Ohio State needs him to be if they want to actually win a title this year. However Wells left the game with an ankle injury which would be devastating if he can't make it back when the Buckeyes play USC in two weeks.

6. Tim Teabow, QB, Florida

Week 1: 9/14, 137 Yards, 1 TD Passing. 9 Carries, 37 yards.
Teabow's teammates did a great deal of the work yesterday, which is great for the team but doesn't benefit Teabow's stat line.

7. Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

Week 1: 9 Rec., 73 Yards, 1 TD.
Crabtree had a nice game to start the season. I'm betting this guy could catch a TD in every game this year with the pass-happy Tech offense.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

College Football Predictions

A funny thing happened on my journey through the top 15 - life. Sweezy got a little busy with things and didn't have time to finish, but with the season kicking off tonight, I knew I had to get something together for the millions of readers out there who count on GDB to bring you the truth and knowledge. I'll give you the rest of my top 15 and then some specific predictions for each conference. Thank god the season is here.

The Top 15
15. Kansas (Tough schedule plus some big losses equals a tougher season in Lawrence)
14. Arizona State (2nd place in a weak Pac-10, Erickson is turning it around in Tempe)
13. Texas Tech (All the offense in the world, but they've always had offense, get some D now)
12. BYU (Mormons have some good players and an easy sked, no drunk bitches though)
11. West Virginia (Pat White is legit, but huge coaching and defensive questions)
10. Wisconsin (Could be a Rose Bowl year if they can beat OSU in Mad-Town)
9. LSU (Talent level will not drop off, Tigers still have the best D-Line in the nation)
8. Clemson (Tons of talent and an easy schedule, Tigers only need to grow some balls now)
7. Auburn (Best defense in the SEC + more explosive offense = Scary War Eagle
6. Florida (Easiest SEC schedule of all the top teams, injuries could cripple them though)
5. Missouri (Quite possibly could run the table before the Big 12 Championship game)
4. USC (I'll believe the offense when I see it, that defense will need to be great early)
3. Oklahoma (Best offense in college football, must prove they can win the big game though)
2. Georgia (Brutal schedule and big target might be too much even for the Dawgs)
1. Ohio State (If they lose the title game again, they should never be allowed back)
Conference Predictions
Big 10
1 - Ohio State
2 - Wisconsin
3 - Penn State
4 - Michigan State
5 - Illinois
6 - Purdue
7 - Michigan
8 - Minnesota
9 - Iowa
10 - Indiana
11 - Northwestern
Big 12
North South
1 - Missouri 1 - Oklahoma
2 - Kansas 2 - Texas
3 - Colorado 3 - Texas Tech
4 - Nebraska 4 - Texas A&M
5 - Kansas State 5 - Okla State
6 - Iowa State 6 - Baylor
Big East
1 - South Florida
2 - West Virginia
3 - Pitt
4 - Rutgers
5 - Cincinnati
6 - Who cares
Pac 10
1 - USC
2 - Arizona State
3 - Oregon
4 - Oregon State
5 - Cal
6 - UCLA
7 - Stanford
8 - Washington
9 - Arizona
10 - Washington State
1 - Clemson
2 - Wake Forest
3 - Virginia Tech
4 - Florida State
5 - NC State
6 - Who cares
East West
1 - Georgia 1 - Auburn
2 - Florida 2 - LSU
3 - Tennessee 3 - Alabama
4 - South Carolina 4 - Ole Miss
5 - Kentucky 5 - Mississippi State
6 - Vandy 6 - Arkansas
Heisman - Pat White, West Virginia
Best Running Back - Chris Wells, Ohio State
Best Wide Receiver - Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
Best Lineman - Duke Robinson, Oklahoma
Best Defensive Lineman - Ricky Jean Francois, LSU
Best Linebacker - Rennie Curran, Georgia
Best Secondary - Asher Allen, Georgia
Best Coach - Tommy Tuberville, Auburn
Weekend Preview coming up tomorrow....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

5 Reasons that Usain Bolt is more impressive than Michael Phelps

I was at work today with the dubious task of posting RFI's on construction drawings. For those who don't know, it has about the same enjoyment level of hand-washing septic tanks. After about 6 hours or so of looking through hospital drawings for miniscule details about elevator shaft openings, I began forcing myself to remain sane by focusing on the greatest debate taking place in the world today - whether Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps has been the more impressive athlete during the 2008 Olympics. The clear fact that Bolt has in fact been the greatest athlete in Beijing became more obvious as time passed, until I had in my mind 5 reasons why Bolt should be the lasting image of these Olympics. And for the record, I'm not here to rain on Phelps' parade, he was incredible, its just that in many ways he was upstaged and surpassed by a truly superhuman performance from Bolt.
Reason #1 - Less Races, but even more dominant.

The biggest accomplishment for Phelps is that he was able to win 8 events, not one singular performance in any of them. The problem in retrospect for this accomplishment, is that there were so many swimming races of similar distances and disciplines that it was easy for Phelps to win the majority of his races. On multiple occasions, Phelps ran the exact same distance and stroke and therefore won multiple gold medals. Other times, Phelps was racing against the same competitors he had already beaten, basically making the events deja vu as opposed to a unique accomplishment. Third, Phelps' main competitor wasn't even participating in these games. Ian Thorpe had impressively beaten Phelps four years ago in Athens, and could very well have challenged him again in Beijing. Without him, Phelps faced a weakened field that was much more vulnerable to domination. On the other hand, Usain Bolt has only had 2 chances to prove his greatness. It isn't Bolt's fault that there aren't multiple ways to run, and it isn't Bolt's fault that running different distances is much different than swimming different distances. The 100 and 200 meters rely on such different technical running styles that only three men have ever won both in the same Olympics. (The greatest track athlete of my lifetime previous to Bolt, Michael Johnson, didn't even bother running both events at the same time). In swimming, competitors often master one specific stroke and dominate at multiple race lengths (Peirsol, Janet Evans, etc.) Bolt didn't have that luxury, and yet completely dominated both of the toughest and most competitive events in track.

Reason #2 - Bolt was so dominant, that he could afford to celebrate during the race.

Another of the biggest criticism I'm hearing of Bolt that he was a boorish victor more interested in high-stepping that giving his best effort. I'll turn this around quickly in 2 ways. First of all, the way he celebrates has zero effect on the athletic accomplishments he made. He could strip naked, climb up to the olympic torch, and set himself on fire, but would that have anything to do with the race he just ran? Of course not. Secondly, Bolt was so incredibly dominant that he could afford to celebrate during the race and still break world records. While Phelps broke many world records as well, in many races he had very tight competition so that he could never do what Bolt did, basically affirming his greatness during the race instead of after the clock stopped running. Its funny that most track experts biggest qualm with Bolt is how he could have gone even faster if he hadn't celebrated, possibly further obliterating the most storied track record in history even more than he already did. Phelps went all out and set world-records, Bolt high-stepped it home like Deion Sanders and did the same damn thing, edge Bolt.

Reason #3 - It's rarer for track records to be broken than swimming records.

Real talk, breaking 7 world records in swimming is incredibly impressive. More real talk, every damn swim race in Beijing had a broken world record it seemed. The Water Cube was specifically designed so that world records would be broken. The depth of the pool was greater so that there would be less friction between the surface displacement and the bottom, and there were extra lanes built on the sides to absorb the water energy created by the swimmers. Even the swimsuits issued by Speedo were the most aerodynamic ever created. The result was that world records fell in swimming events at an unprecented rate. Even in Phelps' most dominant events, he wasn't the only swimmer setting records. Many times there were 3 or even 4 other swimmers at record pace while Phelps was winning. This fact doesn't cheapen his victory, but it does cheapen the magnitude that should be given to his world records. Meanwhile, Bolt was running on the same type of track his events have always been run on. There were no modifications that previous sprinters didn't have the luxury of having, and there were no equipment advantages that had never been there before. Bolt set his records in spandex and Nike's, Phelps won his in a space age swimsuit. There's a reason why the men's 100 meter record time has dropped about 0.2 seconds in my lifetime, its nearly impossible for a human to possibly move that fast. Swimming records drop by the seconds regularly thanks to technology. Track events are just a man's legs and a hard surface to run on, which makes the pure athletic ability the reason for unprecedented events, not a supercharged pool or what clothes he's wearing.

Reason #4 - Phelps got lucky on multiple occasions, Bolt didn't need luck to win

The Olympics were barely 2 days old, and Michael Phelps was already on the brink of a swimming loss. In the men's 4x100 medley relay, the US was trailing badly after he had left the pool. The announcers were already saying his dream of 8 golds was almost gone, when out of nowhere his teammate Jason Lezak saved his ass by improbably coming back to pass a French swimmer at the last possible second. Simply put, the gold Phelps earned in that race had nothing to do with what he did, but all on the efforts of his much more unheralded teammate. Next Friday night, Phelps found himself in another close race with his streak on the line. This time all his competitor had to do was outstrech his hands to win the gold, but yet inexplicably hesitated which let Phelps win in the closest swimming finish ever. Even after the event was over, the NBC commentary focused not on what Phelps did to win, but what his competitor did to lose. This race was not a victory earned by Phelps, but a victory given to him by the sheer luck of fate. Now lets compare Phelps' style of victory to Usain Bolt's. The Jamaican sprinter left so little doubt in the eyes of the viewer of his complete dominance, that there was no possible controversy or twist of fate that gifted him a victory. Bolt's own competitors, including previous 100 meter record holder Tyson Gay, were left in absolute awe of his sprints. Bolt not only set unprecedented records, but he did them in the most lopsided victory margins ever, even against the fastest fields ever assembled in the 100 and 200 meters.

5. Bolt broke his records in unfavorable conditions.

While Michael Phelps was racing to glory in controlled conditions at the Water Cube, Bolt was being thrown to the mercy of the elements outdoors. Sprinters can't choose what conditions they have to perform in, and in reality Bolt was performing in what had to be considered bad weather to try and set world records in. In Bolt's 200 meter triumph he was actually running into a headwind, which tried to slow him down during the race. What is so incredible is that Bolt still broke the record despite this, and that its guaranteed he would have broken the record by an even greater margin had the conditions even been neutral, let alone if they were actually favoring him. Swimmers of the advantage of having the natural elements taken out of play in their races, Bolt wasn't this fortunate and yet was even more impressive considering the negative circumstances affecting his races.

A lot of people have already made up their minds that Phelps is the better athlete. They don't like Bolt's celebratory style, they discount that he only won 2 races as opposed to Phelps' 8. They even put Phelps ahead because he's American and Bolt isn't. These same people will probably feel that i'm full of shit by even trying to argue for Bolt athletic superiority. I'm not even going to blast these people, for I am not of the ability to shape or change the beliefs of people who have already made up their minds on something. I am also not going to demean anything Michael Phelps did in Beijing, because he is an incredible athlete with incredible accomplishments. I just hope that people who read this and disagree with me at least read the points I tried to make and at least agree that Usain Bolt is worthy of just as much awe and praise for his athletic achievements as Phelps has earned, and that he is simply put the most incredible track athlete in the history of competitive sport.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

CFB Preseason Rankings - # 16

The Tennessee Volunteers have always been one of the most successful programs in the SEC. They've won national titles, conference titles, and produced some of the best players in the NFL. This year looks like the Vols will have another solid team, but unfortunately for them they will play in the toughest division and conference and the nation, which will make it difficult for them to make a repeat trip to the SEC Championship game. What's in store for the Vols, and can they actually make a run towards success in the brutal SEC East?

Offense: Erik Ainge developed into one of the best quarterbacks Tennesse has had since Peyton Manning left town, but him and quarterbacks coach David Cutcliffe have both moved on. Replacing Ainge will be Jonathan Crompton, who has talent but is unproven. If he can get the proper guidance from new coordinator Dave Clawson, then the Vols could be really good on offense because all around him are quality players. Arian Foster is one of the most underrated college players in all of college football, and now that he's running towards the end zone instead of running from cops he should be one of the best backs in the SEC. He'll run behind an experienced offensive line that returns 4 starters from a unit that only gave up 4 sacks last year. The man on the outside to watch is Gerald Jones, who looks poised to be the next great Tennessee reciever. Only a sophomore, Jones has Percy Harvin level talent and versatility and will give the Vols an explosive dimension that few other teams in the nation can possibly match.

Defense: Quite possibly, the key to the Tennessee season will be how the front 7 on defense can play. The Vols already lost leader Jerod Mayo to the NFL, and many of the guys around him still have not lived up to their potential. Defensive end Robert Ayers must provide a pass rush, and the young linebackers on the roster must be disciplined and technically sound for the defensive unit to stop the run. Thankfully for Vols fans, their secondary is one of the best in the nation. Strong safety Eric Berry is quite possibly the best secondary player in the SEC since Champ Bailey was killin' kids at UGA and he will now be rejoined by Demetrice Morley, who was All-SEC before being ruled academically ineligible last year. The corners also have a ton of talent and have the ability to shut down any opposing reciever they will face this year. Its all going to come down to the front 7 though, if Tennesee can't stop the rushing game then the entire defense is going to suffer greatly.

Coaching: Philip Fulmer is fat and disliked by many Tennessee fans. In recent years the Vols consistency has dropped off and many think its because Fulmer has lost his edge. He'll be under the microscope even more so now that Cutcliffe took the head coaching job at Duke. If you remember, Fulmer was almost out the door before he convinced Cutcliffe to return to Knoxville and resurrect his offense. It remains to be seen if this year's offense will be as good without Cutcliffe, or if Fulmer has the ability to lead his team to success without some of his top assistants around. Regardless, unless Tennessee beats either Georgia or Florida, Fulmer will remain on the hot seat in Knoxville well into 2009.

Predicted Schedule and Outcomes:

Florida - W
@ Auburn - L
Northern Illinois - W
@ Georgia - L
Mississippi State - W
Alabama - W
@ South Carolina - L
Wyoming - W
@ Vanderbilt - W
Kentucky - W

Not many teams can say that they will face 3 top-1o ranked teams among their first 6 games, and make a cross-country trip to face a Pac-10 teams. If Tennesee can win 2 of those 3 games against their top SEC foes than the rest of the season can set up pretty nicely. I'm giving Tennesee a win over Florida early in the season, but I just don't see how they can win on the road at UGA, who will be fired up after last season's ass-whooping, or on the Plains the week after an emotional matchup with Florida. Its also going to be tought to win in Columbia after playing for 6 straight weeks prior to that game. However, as tough as the SEC East is this year, a 9-3 record wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, though if the defense does not improve its possible that the Vols could be looking at 4 or 5 losses too.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

R.I.P. To A Football Pioneer

The following obituary appeared today in my local newspaper, the Quincy Herald-Whig. R.I.P. to the classiest guy ever to wear #4 for the Green Bay Packers.

August 14, 2005:
Herman Schneidman, a two-time member of the NFL champion Green Bay Packers in the 1930's and a longtime Quincy businessman and civic leader, died Tuesday in the Sunset Home. He was 95.

At 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, Schneidman made his mark in professional football as a blocking back, or the fore-runner to a fullback in today's game. He also played receiver, linebacker, and defensive back.

"There's a picture in the Pro Football Hall of Fame display for Clarke Hinkle showing him scoring a touchdown," said Aurie McGee of Quincy, Schneidman's nephew. "He later sent a thank-you note to Herm that said if it wasn't for his blocking he wouldn't be in the Hall of Fame."

After graduating from the University of Iowa, Mr. Schniedman joined the Packers in 1935 and in 1936 the team went 10-1 and defeated the Boston Redskins 21-6 in the NFL title game.

Two years later, the Packers lost to the New York Giants 23-17 in the championship game. IN 1939, Green Bay made history by recording the first shutout in a championship game by beating the Giants 27-0. Some NFL historians consider the 1939 team as one of the greatest in history.

After 1939, Mr. Schneidman briefly retired but returned to the Packers for the 1940 season. However, he was released before the season started and signed with the Chicago Cardinals so he could be closer to his home and business.

Mr. Schneidman retired for good after the 1940 season and joined the U.S. Navy, where he played on the Great Lakes Naval Station Team with the likes of baseball star Dom DiMaggio and future NFL Hall of Famer Otto Graham.

During his NFL career, Mr. Schneidman played in 46 games, rushing 13 times for 37 yards and catching 7 passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns. He also had an interception.

"He was pretty matter-of-fact about his pro football career," McGee said. "He really didn't talk about it his career unless you asked. One time he was showing us a team picture and pointed at one of the guys and said 'That's Curly Lambeau.' Curly Lambeau! Can you believe it?"

In September 2006, Mr. Schneidman received a warm welcome when, as the oldest living Pakcer, he returned to Lambeau Field to take part in alumni festivities.

During the weekend, he was introduced to players from Green Bay's 1996 Super Bowl team. "A lot of the guys were asking 'Who is that?'" McGee recalled. "Once they found out he was the oldest living Packer, they all came over and shook his hand."

Mr. Schneidman, who wore jersey no. 4, even left a surprise for the most recognizable Packer to ever wear no. 4. He signed a hat at Brett Favre's restaurant and left if for the quarterback. Several weeks later, he received a personal thank-you note from Favre. "Everything was perfect. It was a perfect day," Mr. Schneidman said at the time.

Mr. Schneidman was born in Rock Island on Nov. 3, 1912, and moved with his family to Quincy when he was 6. He was a three-sport letterman (football, basketball, track) at Quincy High School from 1929-31, where he captained the basketball and football teams. He received the Watson Honor Cup and the school's sports award during his junior and senior years. Mr. Schneidman is a member of the QHS Sports Hall of Fame.

Mr. Schneidman received an honorable discharge from the Navy and returned to Quincy in 1945 and entered the family business, Schneidman Distributors, with his brother Ed, who was then mayor of Quincy. Mr. Schneidman was also involved in many civic groups giving his time, expertise and money to benefit Quincy and the surrounding area.

Visitation will be from 4 to 6p.m. Friday at Duker Haugh Funeral Home. Services will be held at 9:30a.m. Saturday at Duker and Haugh Funeral home followed by a funeral Mass at 10a.m. in Blessed Sacrament Church at 7th and Adams St. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery with military honors conducted by American Legion Post No. 37.

CFB Preseason Rankings - # 17

Ever since Vince Young led Texas to the BCS Championship, it seems as if the Longhorns have been looking for a leader. Sure Colt McCoy put up big stats as a freshmen, but he certainly regressed last year and doesn't impose his will on the team as much as VY did. Now for the first time in many years, Texas will probably not begin the season in the top 10. While they have a ton of talent on the squad, there are huge holes to fill at running back and a shaky defense that needs to be filled. Can the Horns bounce back and make a statement in the tough Big 12, or will it be another Holiday Bowl come bowl season?

Offense: It seems as is Colt McCoy has been around forever, but in fact he's only going to be a junior this season. As a freshman, he was a revelation who led Texas to a better year than expected and caused announcers to gush about his baby blue eyes (No homo Musberger). Last season he became mistake-prone though, and turned the ball more than Young Swole's main girl Alicia Sacramone fell during the gymnastics competition. For Texas to be really good on offense, McCoy is going to have to be more responsible with the ball. Last year he had Jamaal Charles to give the ball to, but now he will be turning around to a group of talent yet inexperienced running back options. It looks like either Vondrell McGee or the greatly named Foswhitt Whitaker will replace Charles, but it's going to hard to match his explosivness. Texas also lost playmaker Limas Sweed to the draft, but look for Quan Cosby to have a great season now that he is the number 1 option for McCoy. As always, Texas should have strong line play and be able to control the line of scrimmage against its opponents.

Defense: Texas struggled immensely last year on defense, both failing to generate much of a pass rush or stop opposing recievers from burning an inexperienced secondary. For Texas to have any chance to win the Big 12 South, both these problems will have to be fixed because there are too many good quarterbacks and offenses in this league to try and survive with a subpar defense. The Horns have a ton of talent on this side of the ball, it just hasn't performed to the expected level yet. This is why it was so important that Texas hired Will Muschamp as defensive coordinator. Any observer who has watched Auburn's defenses over the past few years will know that Muschamp demands effort and intensity, as well as expecting his players to be fundamentally solid. With the talent at his disposal, and Muschamp's own coaching ability, I expect Texas to have the best defense in the Big 12 in a very short time. It may be too much to ask this year though, especially with the schedule loaded with great passing offenses.

Coaching: Mack Brown is still the man in Austin, but if his team continues to play undisciplined and underachieve, his same old criticisms are going to start to be whispered again about how he can't coach talent or get his players to win big games. Many people already think he lucked into a title thanks to the extroardinary ability of Vince Young, and quite honestly he's done nothing to disprove that since VY moved onto Tennessee. His hiring of Muschamp was an excellent move, and no one argues that Mack gets that 'cruitin done every year. He may need to overachieve this year more than ones in years past if he wants to avoid criticism, because there ain't much grace time between accomplishments in Texas, and he's used up about all he's had already.

Predicted Schedule and Outcomes:

Florida Atlantic - W
@ UTEP - W
Arkansas - W
Rice - W
@ Colorado - L
Oklahoma - L
Missouri - L
Oklahoma State - W
@ Texas Tech - L
Baylor - W
@ Kansas - W
Texas A&M - W

With 7 home games, and only 3 true road games, the schedule sets up nicely for the Horns. The problem is that they face arguably the toughest 3 opponents from the Big 12 North besides the South mainstays. The early out of conference games will be tougher than expected, and any complancency could mean that either Florida Atlantic or UTEP could pull a big upset. The game at Colorado starts a rough 3 game stretch that Texas may be underdogs in each. Its also going to be tough for Texas to win in Lubbock, because that Red Raider offense will be licking its chops to get at Texas' weak secondary. 4 losses isn't going to make the natives happy in Austin, but this squad doesn't seem to have the vintage Texas explosivness and athleticism, and they are playing a very difficult schedule. This team is going to have to get mentally tough really quick if they are going to survive this year and make it any further than the Alamo Bowl. At least the cheerleaders are still hot as f*ck though, which is always appreciated.

CFB Preseason Rankings - # 18

Eugene, Oregon is known for a few things. It is home to the largest collection of hippies in the United States thanks to its close proximity to some of the piniest herb in the lower 48. Its also the home of Nike, which pumps millions of dollars into the hideous uniforms worn by the University of Oregon football team. Many retinas have been scorched in recent years from viewing Oregon games since the Ducks have become the Pac-10's second best team and have played in many huge games. Last year it seemed like they might have what it took to win it all, but after losing Dennis "Deeznuts" Dixon to injury, the dream was vanquished. Now its 2008, will the Ducks hold onto their status as perennial Pac-10 contender, or will they slide down into mediocrity?

Offense: No offense was more dynamic than Oregon's last year. Led by the multitalented Dixon, the Ducks were a constant threat both running and throwing. Jonathan Stewart was also an excellent contributor who helped rid the notion of Pac-10 offenses being a collection of fruitcakes with wavy hair who play finesse football. Stewart, and Oregon, smashed some bitches faces in, which helped make them so effective. Now with those 2 stalwarts gone, the Ducks are going to have to reload with fresh ballers. Fortunately, there is plenty of talented players on tap. Running backs LaGarette Blount and Jeremiah Johnson could form the best tandem in the entire conference. They will run behind a talented offensive line that knows exactly how to function in the spread option attack. Oregon always has frisky receivers, and Jaison Williams has first round talent on the outside. The Ducks offense will still hinge on Dixon's replacement at QB. If Justin Roper can build on his Sun Bowl performance, this unit will ball. He may not have Dixon's athleticism but this offense has all the talent to be possibly the most dangerous in the Pac-10 this year.

Defense: The Ducks defense is built on speed and agressiveness, which helped them force a ton of turnovers last year. While the unit is a little on the smallish side, they can usually get away with this since the Pac-10 is such a wide open conference with few teams showing much interest in pounding the ball. The strength of the defense is the secondary, where safety Patrick "I am Asian, bitch" Chung should garner All-America consideration this season. Other standouts include defensive end Nick Reed and Jairus Byrd. Oregon has recruited well and has good depth at all positions, which will compensate for any injury concerns and allow the starters to continue to play their aggressive style that has made them one of the Pac-10's only effective defenses the past few years.

Coaching: Mike Bellotti may be an asshole, with a drunk wife to boot, but the man can coach football. He has built one of the nation's strongest programs where once one of the nation's wackest programs once lived. Thanks to recent success, Oregon is now able to pull in recruits from all across the nation, which is increasing the profile of the school even further. Bellotti thrives at taking in kids that are overlooked by the big California schools and turning them into stars in their own right. And though he may have lost 2 of the best players he's ever had, his coaching and recruiting have allowed the program the stability to remain a top flight contender regardless of who they lose on a year to year basis.

Predicted Schedule and Outcomes:

Washington - W
Utah State - W
@ Purdue - W
Boise State - W
@ Washington State - L
@ USC - L
@ Arizona State - L
@ California - W
Stanford - W
Arizona - W
@ Oregon State - L

Oregon's schedule flipped around this year, and most of their best opponents are now road games. This has made the Ducks schedule one of the most brutal in the entire nation, and will thoroughly test this squad. Oregon always seems to get out of the gates fast and the first 4 games are all very winnable. Then comes a daunting stretch of 4 road games in 5 weeks. Washington State is a dangerous trap game, and going to USC is not going to be easy with a young quarterback behind center. Getting a split out of trips to Tempe and Berkeley would be a success, but at this stage of the season its going to be hard for Oregon not to have less than 3 losses. Its possible that they could win out from this stage of the season, but wacky things always happen in the Civil War and Oregon State always comes on late in the season. Even though I'm predicting 4 losses, Oregon should remain one of the Pac-10's toughest teams week in and week out. Its quite possible that the 2008 crucible will set the stage for a big time run in 2009 once the schedule flips around again.