Saturday, June 28, 2008

Barack Obama... Just Another Chump

Swole was chilling at the Taco Stand last night before going to the America Party at JR's Bait Shack. Between watching ex-Tiger Jair Jurrjens throw a three hitter against the Jays and drowning brew after delicious brew, I caught a MSNBC feed which showed Barack Obama campaigning together with Hillary Clinton. Things are cool between them now, Hillary saying Obama is amazing and the greatest politician ever, Obama saying Hillary is an incredible woman and is very thankful for her support of him. There's even rumors that Obama may ask Hillary to be his Vice President, creating a "dream team" Democratic ticket for this fall's election.

Now wait a damn second.

Am I the only one who sees this as one of the most hypocritical political actions in recent memory?? I thought that Obama was all about "change" and now he's uniting with the old guard that he so successfully ran against. Are Obama supporters so nieve and blind that they can't see through this? Basically the only reason we even know who Barack Obama is today is that he fought against a political aristocracy that has been running this country for nearly two decades and which had disenfranchised millions of Americans with their greed, corruption and failure. He has become one of the most popular American politics thanks to a manufactured impression that he actually cares for the people who are going to vote for him and because he's not going to play into all the bullshit that Washington DC craps out.

Like many Americans disgusted with our political situation, I drank the Kool-Aid. Obama seemed believable and trustworthy moreso than Hillary Clinton or John McCain, and with his campaign for "change" so relentlessly conveyed to our nation it actually seemed that maybe in fact this was the brash new candidate that we needed to finally push the Bush and Clinton cartel out of our lives for good. Obama maintained his mantra and convictions in the midst of all sort of attacks from all sides such as the Jeremiah Wright fiasco, campaign financing and questions of leadership experience. When he finally received the democratic nomination for president it seemed like there had been a sea change in American politics. Our country had spoken and it had said that we demanded a candidate who would not repeat all the garbage of the last 20 years, but instead would bring a new vision to our presidency that was sorely lacking.

So now I look on the news and see this same Barack Obama, the man all about change and the new way of doing politics, teaming up with Hillary Clinton and basically making his whole campaign platform obsolete. If he had been true to his word, Obama wouldn't have needed Hillary's supports to aid in his campaign. If he had really believed in the message he has been delivering since the Iowa Primary, then it would have given him the faith that the American public would make him our next president despite earning the votes of the sore losers that didn't get their way when Hillary lost to him. Instead of being what he said he was, a candidate of change, Obama has finally shown his true colors. He really is nothing more than a new pretty face that did a great job of convincing American voters to support a candidate that will do the same things that has been done in the past, and has made so many in our country hate the political industry. Every Obama supporter got a slap in the face from a man they believed in because he really is no different than every grimeball politician that he seemed to try and be distant from. Barack Obama is nothing more than a hapless man that will abuse the American public and political process to ensure success and to continue a status quo in our government that has made our country fall far behind the rest of the world.

I should have realized it was too good to be true when i heard Obama speaking about all the changes he was going to make. I should have known that once Hillary finally lost that the two would probably unite in one form of another. I guess I made the mistake of trusting a politician, which is about as useful as trusting a used-car salesman. And maybe I feel like the idiot now for actually having hope in someone to emerge from the broken system that has become American politics, but i will tell you what. When Obama gets elected president, and becomes nothing more than the same politician that all his supporters had grown to hate so much, I'll be the one who will be there laughing at you for not realizing all this shit had happened right before your eyes and that you were too stupid to think Barack Obama was anything more than a hustler of your idealism.

Wimbledon 2008: What to Watch For

Wimbledon has been underway for nearly a week now and the Sweet 16 has almost been set. So far we've seen a number of big-time early upsets on both sides. Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic (3) and 5th Seeded Spaniard David Ferrer took L's over the past couple of days and Americans James Blake (9) and Andy Roddick (6) were both second round victims. The US men can't be taken seriously anymore as legit threats in majors as they both seem to bow out quickly and quietly almost everytime. The Women's half has seen more big names fall earlier than expected. Top Seeded Ana Ivanovic and 3rd seeded Maria Sharapova both failed to reach the fourth round thereby eliminating a large chunk of the male audience. This doesn't mean that there's nothing to watch. Far from it. Whereas the French Open didn't live up to the high ratings that world tennis officials hoped for after a highly entertaining Aussie Open, Wimbledon still has many lines to draw in the casual tennis fan.

Men's Bracket

-World #1 Roger Federer aims for his 6th straight Wimbledon singles title. That mark would help him pass Bjorn Borg's streak of All England Lawn Championships. His next matchup won't be easy though as he's got a date with the feisty Aussie Lleyton Hewitt (20). He's bound to bring his intimidating body-building sister with him for moral support.

-Last year's runner-up and 2008 French Open Champ Raffy Nadal (2) is looking to win his first Wimbledon title, but it will be a very difficult task as he will likely have all ranked opponents from here on out. His possible next round opponent Mikhail Youzhny (17) is definitely a sleeper to come out of this semi.

-Young Swole's boy Marcos Baghdatis from the land of Cyprus is the 10th ranked player in the world and he typically balls it up on grass. As the highest seeded player in his quadrant, he's got a great shot to make it to the final 4.

-The last Semi is extremely difficult to predict as most of the top-seeds have already taken a fall. I think the winner between Roddick raider Janko Tipsaravic (the Serbian had an epic match with Federer at the 08 Aussie Open) and German Juggernaut and Blake beater Rainier "Wolfcastle" Schuettler will be the man that emerges from this quad.

Women's Bracket

-On top of being smokin' hot, 18th ranked Nicole Vaidisova is also extremely frisky on the tennis court. The Russian will matchup with fellow countrywoman and equally bangin' Anna Chakvetadze (8). With Ivanovic out, it's one of these ladies to lose in this semi.

-#6 Serena Williams has to be the favorite in the second quadrant. She's always a monster in England and she has yet to drop a set yet this year.

-The Russians are well represented in the Sweet 16 and Elena Dementieva may be the best of the bunch. The 5th seeded woman in the world hasn't exactly blown away the competition at Wimbledon, but her quadrant isn't really the most challenging.

-The bottom semi is arguably the most intriguing. Two big names are on a crash course for a quarterfinal throwdown. #2 Jelena Jankovic may be a butterface, but her game is no joke. She's got one of the most aggressive serves in all of tennis and looks like the heavyweight right now. She's gotta deal with the beast known as Venus Williams (7) though and it won't be a cake walk by any means. Venus has won 4 Wimbledons and is the current defending champ. This could be the match of the tournament if it pans out.

Swole and I will try to keep everyone posted as the Bracket continues to evolve.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Stephen A. Smith Heckled in the 2008 NBA Draft

This video is the only recap you need of the 2008 NBA Draft. Wait till Kevin Love comes on and you'll understand the cheez doodle joke.

A Very Important Health-Related Article Every Woman Should Read

It can be found here:

But because of it's vital significance and importance, I will reproduce it fully:

Study: Fellatio may significantly decrease the risk of breast cancer in women

Thursday, October 2, 2003 Posted: 9:19 AM EDT (1319 GMT)

(AP) -- Women who perform the act of fellatio and swallow semen on a regular basis, one to two times a week, may reduce their risk of breast cancer by up to 40 percent, a North Carolina State University study found.

Doctors had never suspected a link between the act of fellatio and breast cancer, but new research being performed at North Carolina State University is starting to suggest that there could be an important link between the two.

In a study of over 15,000 women suspected of having performed regular fellatio and swallowed the ejaculatory fluid, over the past ten years, the researchers found that those actually having performed the act regularly, one to two times a week, had a lower occurance of breast cancer than those who had not. There was no increased risk, however, for those who did not regularly perform.

"I think it removes the last shade of doubt that fellatio is actually a healthy act," said Dr. A.J. Kramer of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research. "I am surprised by these findings, but am also excited that the researchers may have discovered a relatively easy way to lower the occurance of breast cancer in women."

The University researchers stressed that, though breast cancer is relatively uncommon, any steps taken to reduce the risk would be a wise decision.

"Only with regular occurance will your chances be reduced, so I encourage all women out there to make fellatio an important part of their daily routine," said Dr. Helena Shifteer, one of the researchers at the University. "Since the emergence of the research, I try to fellate at least once every other night to reduce my chances."

The study is reported in Friday's Journal of Medical Research.

In 1991, 43,582 women died of breast cancer, as reported by the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Len Lictepeen, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, said women should not overlook or "play down" these findings.

"This will hopefully change women's practice and patterns, resulting in a severe drop in the future number of cases," Lictepeen said.

Sooner said the research shows no increase in the risk of breast cancer in those who are, for whatever reason, not able to fellate regularly.

"There's definitely fertile ground for more research. Many have stepped forward to volunteer for related research now in the planning stages," he said.

Almost every woman is, at some point, going to perform the act of fellatio, but it is the frequency at which this event occurs that makes the difference, say researchers. Also key seems to be the protein and enzyme count in the semen, but researchers are again waiting for more test data.

The reasearch consisted of two groups, 6,246 women ages 25 to 45 who had performed fellatio and swallowed on a regular basis over the past five to ten years, and 9,728 women who had not or did not swallow. The group of women who had performed and swallowed had a breast cancer rate of 1.9 percent and the group who had not had a breast cancer rate of 10.4 percent.

"The findings do suggest that there are other causes for breast cancer besides the absence of regular fellatio," Shafteer said. "It's a cause, not THE cause."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

MLB Power Poll

Lotttttta action this week. After a stagnant Power Poll in the last edition, there were plenty of movers and shakers thit time around, especially in the bottom of half of the poll. While the top 3 look have been safe lately, there are a few teams in the middle that are making some real noise in hopes of knocking the big dogs off of their perches. Keep an eye out over the next couple of weeks because there could be trouble brewing for baseball's elite.

1.) LA Angels (48-31)- The Angels finally take over the top spot to become the fourth team to hold the distinction in the poll. There's very little separation between the top 3 clubs, but the Halos get the edge by virtue of their superior play over the past week. They swept the suddenly chilly Phils and won their most recent series against the Nats. Next up is the battle of LA as the Angels visit the Dodgers.

2.) Boston Red Sox (49-32)- Boston was looking very shaky up until Monday. Since the beginning of the week, they've won 3 of 4. Dice K is back, but he looked miserable in his last start lasting 1 IP and giving up 7 runs. Ouch. He'll look to rebound against Houston tommorow. The Red Sox still hold the best record at home in all of baseball, but they won't be seeing Fenway for a longggg time. They embark on their longest road stretch so far this year as they play their next 10 games away from Boston.

3.) Chicago Cubs (49-30)- The Cubs were dangerously close to losing their top spot last week after getting swept by the Rays last week, but they followed that with a sweep of their own over their cross-town rivals, so I thought maybe they'd righted the ship. Now they've lost 2 of 3 to the pathetically mediocre Orioles. I can't in good standing keep them on top any longer. The NL is clearly the weaker league right now and therefore the North siders take a tumble.

4.) Tampa Bay Rays (47-31)- The Rays have stormed back into the spotlight with wins in 7 of their last 9 games including two sweeps. Tampa's offense really sparked this week against Florida scoring 27 runs in three games. Today they also received a beautiful performance from Matt Garza who has finally started to pan out for Tampa. He tossed a one hit gem to shut down the Marlins. Get ready for a heavy weight matchup in the Sunshine state early next week as Boston comes to Tampa for a 3game set.

5.) St. Louis Cardinals (45-35)- Back to the NL where the Red Birds represent the number 2 team from the senior circuit. St. Louis has actually been outplayed by Milwaukee over the past couple of weeks, but with the much welcome return of Albert Pujols (4 for 4 against the Tigers today), the Cards can't be denied the 5 hole. They'll have to bring the heat in their next series against KC. The Royals swept them last week.

6.) Milwaukee Brewers (43-35)- That's right, the top 3 teams in the National League are all represented by NL Central teams. It shouldn't really surprise anyone as the division is the best and most competitive in all of baseball. The hottest team in the league has to be the Brew Crew, who have only dropped two contests in their last 10 games. Milwaukee's pitching staff looked pretty bleak after Yovanni Gallardo was lost for the year with a leg injury, but Manny Parra has stepped up to pitch respectably and Ben Sheets continues to dazzle the competition and the roster actually looks like it can hang with the Brewers high-octane offense.

7.) New York Yankees (42-36)- The Central is clearly a cut above the other divisions in the NL, but in the AL it's all about the East. Did you notice that the only team not from these two divisions in the top 7 is the Angels. Interesting. The Yankees are playing inspired ball lately, but they can't really gain any ground on the rest of the division because of how well the Red Sox and Rays are playing. They should be able to find some extra motivation over the next week as two of their series are against their two biggest rivals (Mets and Bo Sox).

8.) Minnesota Twins (43-36)- The only team hotter than the Brewers are the Twins. They've won 9 in a row and are right on the heels of Chicago for the AL Central lead. It appeared that the White Sox would never be toppled from atop their mountain, but things have changed with the sudden power surge in Minnesota. They've scored 57 runs during their win streak. The M brothers have been outstanding lately with Joe Mauer looking for a batting crown and Justin Morneau trying to top the league in RBI.

9.) Chicago White Sox (43-35)- The Chi Sox were able to squeak out a win today to hold their razor thin division lead over Minny. That lead could be non-existant next week because they've got a date with the Cubbies starting tommorrow. The one thing going for the White Sox is that they're home for their next 10 contests where they're 24-11 on the season.

10.) Philadelphia Phillies (43-36)- The Philles are very very lucky to hang onto the last spot in this poll. They've looked like absolute garbage lately (2-8 in their last 10). Sure they lead the NL East, but that's the same as the D-backs topping the NL West. Both divisions blow. It's kind of ridiculous. Most people thought that the East would be the dominant division not only in the NL, but possibly all of baseball. Instead the Mets and Braves have greatly underachieved and the Phillies are looking more like pretenders instead of contenders.

Also Receiving Votes: Oakland A's, Florida Marlins, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers

The NFL - Where Crime Happens

When I was a kid I lived in a very small town. We had a weekly newspaper that kept up with the goings-on in the town and one of the best parts was the police blotter that was included. Usually there were only about 4 items a week, but I always hoped some huge crime had happened or someone I knew had gotten arrested so that things would get exciting around our parts. Well as I'm realizing over the past few months, if our little town back in Connecticut can have a weekly police blotter for such things as speeding tickets and petty theft, than the NFL should too for all the arrests that occur on a nearly daily basis.

Brandon Marshall, a wide reciever for the Denver Broncos, was arrested for the third time this year yesterday for hitting his girlfriend. In other news, grass is green (except in Athens, go drought!!). Last week another wide reciever, Javon Walker, had his ass whooped in Vegas after apparently spraying a crowd with champagne. Cedric Benson has been arrested twice for DUI charges. Jevon Kearse got a DUI arrest last week. The list of players goes on and on. I'm even going to argue that this current NFL is the most crime-infested league in the history of American sports, and yet somehow the league is as teflon as ever. Television ratings continue to be high and the popularity of the sport is easily number 1 even if every team seems to have multiple players arrested during a typical offseason.

While the crimes committed by players in the NFL players are both terrible and embarrasing, they are not even considered to be a 'thug' league by society in general. Actually, college football is thought to be much more crime-ridden than the pro's even though that assumption is absolutely false. While players do get arrested on college teams, it should be considered that college teams have many more players therefore making crime more likely simply by sheer number. Secondly, it should be remembered that college players are, surprise suprise, college age. I know for a fact that I did some stupid shit in college that probably could have been arrested for, and I bet you every journalist or TV commentator that rags on thuggish college kids could say the same. The thing about NFL players is that they are grown ass men. I'm almost 25 now and i've cut out a lot of the stupid things in my life, why shouldn't NFL players be able to?

Another league that is commonly referred to as a "thug league" is the NBA. If you never actually watched a game, you'd think that every player in the league is a rapper wannabe who spends times with hoodlums and smokes weed. In reality, the NBA is filled with great people, black and white mind you, who have done a lot to clean up the image of the league while being highly active in charity and outreach events. Two examples of this include the league-wide effort to rebuild New Orleans during the All-Star weekend, and Stephon Marbury creating his own basketball shoe to be sold for 15$ so inner city kids could affort them. And yet these two events are spun in a way by our society so that potential crime at all-star weekend is a bigger story, and that Marbury is a selfish punk who only cares about himself, despite the fact that he's created his affordable shoe line and has donated over a million dollars to New York Public Schools.

As is usually the case, there are a lot of people to blame for this situation. Here's who should be taken to task, and what they are doing wrong:

1. The entire NFL. Its bad enough for the players and coaches in the NFL to do so many stupid things to get arrested, but its even worse for such a popular and succesful league to let this culture of violence be allowed to exist. Sure Roger Goodell played to the PR set pretty well by crucifying Michael Vick, and I guess he's done a fair job of suspending players with a criminal history, but its still pretty obvious that his own players don't fear his suspension policy. Its not stopping these guys from driving drunk, beating up their wives, being involved in drugs and possibly committing murders, so obviously something else has to be done. First of all, Goodell should make it clear that NO crime can be permitted, and if you do something stupid you are out of the league for good. If I got arrested, my employer would fire me tomorrow and it would be extremely hard for me ever to get a decent job again. So tell me why an NFL player should be any different, because he can catch a ball? Or because he's fat? The league should make it known that if you want to do stupid stuff, you don't belong. I really doubt Chicago would miss Cedric Benson, or the Broncos would miss Brandon Marshall in the long run.

2. TV Media. Not only does the media have a very visible love affair with the NFL, but it also has a pretty obvious bias towards the NBA and other sports. When a football player gets arrested, it usually draws a few murmors from the sports stations and a blurb on the bottom line of those news channels, but rarely is the story more deeply covered unless a station is forced to. This is because many major networks are in bed with the NFL and it would be bad business for them to draw a negative light towards the sport that pays the most bills. You think ESPN is going to hype up NFL crime the same way it does other sports, when it relies of Monday Night Football for so much revenue. And do you think GE, which owns NBC, is going to dedicate time to its networks to criticize the NFL when its trying to entice casual viewers to watch its Sunday Night Football telecasts? On the opposite end of the spectrum, any little news that comes out of the NBA is made into a huge deal. Carmelo Anthony has pretty much been vilified for a DUI arrest, which while stupid and dangerous is no different than what happens in other sports constantly. Shaq's apparent freestyle about Kobe is not just a story about two spoiled men with immense ego's, yet has to be something more about the thug rapper culture that permeates in the NBA. And events such as fights between teams like the Nuggets and Knicks are blown out of proportion to be an indictment of the entire league and its African-American players despite the fact that the same sort of event is glorified in sports like baseball and hockey, and worshiped as competitive fire in the NFL. With a double standard so evident in coverage, it's pretty obvious that public perception is trying to force people to like one sport more than another. Its pretty dumb for people to believe this crap, but I guess I wouldn't have a third group to blame if they didn't.

3. Our stupid society. While this last point could go on forever, I'll try to sum up this point in how it relates to this specific topic by saying that its time for people to try to form their own opinions and understandings based on their own experiences than by assuming that what someone else says is true. If I had a friend tell me that the Waffle House was the greatest resturant in the world and I believed him at face value, my own opinion on Waffle House would be invalidated because I never experienced their food enough to agree or disagree with his claim. Only by going to Waffle House and realizing that it is in fact the shittiest resturant in the world do I have the requisite evidence to not only question my friend's opinion but to support my own opinion. In the same way, we live in a society in which we are told what to think by others, instead of being encouraged to form our own individual opinions. And if what we are told plays into our pre-conceived notions of black men and their pursuits in life, than all the more better. 99% percent of casual American sports fans think Allen Iverson is a complete thug riding around smoking weed and slapping bitches, yet none of them have actually met him and gotten to know who he truly is. Iverson may in fact be exactly that, but it is unfair and wrong to assume anything about someone you really have no idea about. Yet because America seems to still fear black people so much, they eat up the idea that players in the NBA are threats to them, and that white NFL superstars like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are better people who we can feel safe in giving our adoration to, even though we know just as much about their true character as we do about Carmelo Anthony or Ron Artest. Racism is old, outdated and completely uneccesary, and it makes me embarrased that the majority of our society still uses it to form narrow-minded opinions of people and cultures they are simply too lazy and ignorant to try and better understand.

Tonight is the NBA Draft. One of the top prospects, Michael Beasley, is reported to be dropping because of "character issues". Among these character issues are that he is immature, and that he may not be totally dedicated to basketball. The evidence used to support this claim is that he carried around 4 cell phones in college, pulled a prank on a teacher once and attended 6 different high schools. What is failed to be mentioned is that Beasley is only 19 years old and that as a college superstar in a small town in Kansas, he was probably the center of attention anywhere he went. And I'd be willing to guess that there were other important factors playing into him moving around so much in high school than simply that he was immature. All of these indictments against Beasley not only further drive pre-conceived notions of NBA players and the sport in general, but also plants the seeds for opinion to be formed on Beasley based on racial stereotypes before the kid (19 is still a kid folks) has even bounced a basketball in the pro's once. So now if Beasley fails to win 10 NBA Titles or become the next Tim Duncan, its because he's lazy and immature instead of being that is simply not good enough to be what people expected him to be. I guess people can be critical of Beasley to a point, and the NBA isn't exactly the most wholesome organization of the face of the planet, but its situations like these that sum of the point i'm trying to make perfectly. In the NFL you can literally get away with murder, in the NBA you can't have more than one cell phone. Hopefully people will turn down Bill O'Reilly, Nancy Grace or the talking heads on ESPN long enough to realize the existence of this dichotomy, but then again this is America, where double-standards are about as common as high gas prices.

Strange But (Un)True

Orlando Hudson Just Striking Out To Crack Up Teammates

PHOENIX—Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Orlando Hudson has been intentionally striking out in an effort to make his teammates laugh, team sources told reporters. Hudson, who struck out in every plate appearance Tuesday against the Oakland A's, was overheard saying "Check this out" to teammates Justin Upton and Chris Young before intentionally taking a third strike during his first at-bat; swinging wildly high and wide at a pitch thrown low and inside; swinging several seconds after the ball had been caught by the catcher for a third strikeout; and during his fourth appearance at the plate, dropping his bat and starting to remove his batting gloves before the pitcher had even thrown the baseball. Upon walking back to the dugout, Hudson reportedly pretended to be disappointed with his performance by yelling, "Jeez, I just don't know what's wrong with me lately," causing his teammates further amusement. Following the game, Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin told Hudson that he could see what Hudson was doing and that he had better cut it out.

(The following is from and is, unfortunately, not true. But damn, wouldn't it be funny if it was?)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

They're Twins!!

Separated at birth? Perhaps...

Dan Haren Rob Danger

UGA Keeps on Winning

With the Georgia Bulldogs one win away from winning the NCAA Baseball Title, it dawned on me whole impressive a year its been for Georgia athletics in general. National titles won, outrageous comeback strories and incredible individual play has made Georgia the premier athletic school in the nation. And with our 28th national title a scant 9 innings away, I decided to recap the year that has been in UGA Sports.

This is the sport Georgia has always been known for, and in 2007-08 the Dawgs once again did not dissapoint. Even with a team that started only 4 seniors, The Dawgs finished with a 12-2 record and as one of the hottest teams in the nation. Georgia has been the winningest program in the SEC since Mark Richt arrived and quite possibly will have their best team next season since Herschel Walker was running wild between the hedges. A top-3 preseason ranking is a virtual guarantee, and with Heisman candidates like Knowshon Moreno and Matt Stafford combining with a deep and maturing defense, greatness appears to be right around the corner.

While our men's hoops teams seemed to be a dissapointment for much of the season, their run through the SEC tournament and into the NCAA Tournament made this year one of the most exciting in Georgia history. The Dawgs overcame suspensions and dismissals before the season began, season-ending injuries during the season, and acts of god during the SEC Tournament, and yet still became the greatest story of the NCAA tournament. The Lady Dawgs meanwhile, also reached the NCAA Tournament and continue to be a perennial contender in both the SEC and the entire nation.

Another year, another national title for the Gym Dawgs, who have now won 4 straight. This gives the program 8 national titles in its history, putting them in the same rarified air of such college dynasties like UCLA Basketball, Syracuse Lacrosse and UC-Berkeley Rugby. This year's team also had the highest collective GPA in the history of program, which shows they not only kick ass in gymnastics but are smart as shit too. Plus they are hot.

For the second year in a row, Georgia men's tennis won the national title, defeating Texas 4-2. This gives the program 6 overall national titles, and Georgia became the first back to back champion since Stanford in 1997-98. Georgia had 2 NCAA All-Americans and 4 All-Tournament players among those who earned yet another title for the program with the most all time titles of any school in the nation.

Tonight the baseball team will go for Georgia's third national title of this year. The Bulldogs won the SEC regular season title and won their regional before defeating the #1 seed Miami in the College World Series. The Dawgs are yet to drop a game in the College World Series overall, and have won three games with miraculous late inning comebacks. They are led by Golden Spikes finalist Gordon Beckham, who was drafted 8th overall by the Chicago White Sox, and relief pitcher Josh Fields, who was drafted 20th overall by the Seattle Mariners. The Dawgs are coached by Dave Perno, who was a player on the 1990 National Championship team as well.

As you can see, success is what we do down here at UGA. If its not winning national titles, then its having one of the illest music scenes in the nation. And not only does our school feature several geniuses in such graduate programs as Geography, Law, and Infectious Diseases, but UGA is also home to the greatest and deepest collection of gorgeous girls of any school in the nation. Any way you look at it, UGA is simply the greatest.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Italy - Spain Quarterfinal Preview

Yesterday was yet another shocking encounter at Euro 2008 as the young Russians knocked off the Netherlands in an epic match. The world was introduced to Andrei Arshavin, who reminded me of a Russian Messi, and it seems as if a golden generation of Russian soccer is about to emerge. Onto today, in which the final quarterfinal features two of the blue-blood soccer nations in all the world, Italy and Spain. Losing is not an option for these squads, yet one will go home from the tournament dissapointed and forgotten. Lets take a look to see how the squads match up.

How they got here: Spain has looked like one of the dominating squads of the tournament, running roughshod through Group D thanks to superb technical play and the superhuman abilities of David Villa. There has been little controversy in the Spanish camp, and they are entering the knockout stages as perhaps the most confident team in the entire tournament. On the other hand, the Italian journey to this point was much more interesting, as I guess we should have expected. First they were demolished by the Netherlands, then they barely managed a tie against Romania and finally beat a woeful France side. But they have made it to this point, and you can never dismiss Italy in any circumstance at the knockout stages.

Possible Starting 11's:

G - Gianluigi Buffon
D - Gianluca Zambrotta
D - Giorgio Chiellini
D - Christian Panucci
D - Fabio Grosso
M - Daniele De Rossi
M - Massimo Ambrosini
M - Mauro Camoranesi
M - Simone Perrotta
F - Antonio Cassano
F - Luca Toni

G - Iker Casillas
D - Sergio Ramos
D - Carlos Marchena
D - Carles Puyol
D - Joan Capdevila
M - Marcos Senna
M - Andres Iniesta
M - David Silva
M - Xavi
F - Fernando Torres
F - David Villa

Tactics Board:
In previous years, this would seem like a perfect opportunity for Italy to play their notorious "Catenaccio" defensive style, but the circumstances are setting up that said option may be impossible to employ. Between suspension and injury, Italy will be missing four regular starters, and the resulting substitutes are simply not good enough to hold off such a lethal attacking force that Spain has. We have already seen unexpected weakness in the Italian defense this tournament, and they may now be facing the best offense they have seen all tournament long. Italy's biggest advantage is probably in that their two wide defensive backs, Zambrotta and Grosso, are both excellent at going forward and supporting the offense. Spain, meanwhile, will try once again to control the ball and create chances through their midfielders. Their defense has been suspect at times as well, but they do have the height and strength to match up well with Italian striker Luca Toni.

3 Important Subplots to watch:

1. Can Italy hold their own in the midfield? With both Gennaro Gattuso and Pirlo out suspended today, the Italians are going to have to start some players they generally wouldn't. The big problem is that the Spanish midfielders are so technically strong and gifted that they could easily control the game and open up the Italian defense for Villa and Torres if the Italian midfield can't keep them under wraps. All of this means that the most important player on the field for Italy today will be Daniele De Rossi. He will have to be a bull in midfield and not let Xavi and Silva to have free reign to spread the ball around. De Rossi had a very good game against France and seems to be emerging as the next great Italian midfielder, but today he will have to play the game of his life if Italy wants to emerge victorious.

2. Which wingback will have a bigger impact on the game, for better or worse? Both of these teams feature fullbacks who love to run forward and join the offense. Italy's tournament was transformed when they inserted Grosso into the lineup thanks to all the chances he has created, and today he will be even more important in the offense because of the players out in the midfield. Gianluca Zambrotta also loves to move forward on the right, yet has been prone to disastrous mistakes. Similarly for Spain, Sergio Ramos is always moving forward, yet has made some awful decisions in defense. Quite simply put, mistakes by any of these three players could prove deadly because the strikers for both squads are too good to be given extra chances. Will this fear of a great mistake reign in the defensive backs or will they still throw caution to the wind and move forward?

3. Is Spain mentally ready to move forward in this tournament? So many times in the past, Spain has had a supremely talented team that goes home much earlier than what you would expect. Either through bogus referee calls like against Korea in WC 2002 or from shit-the-bed performances, Spain has earned the reputation of a mentally fragile squad who sooner or later will crash and burn in major tournaments. Today would seem a perfect chance to exorcise these demons with them facing a depleted Italian team while being themselves probably the most gifted team remaining in the field. We'll probably be able to tell in the opening minutes which Spain has shown up. Is it the squad that is all too familiar of their past and expects the inevitable failure to happen, or is it the Spain that realizes just how damn good they are and that Italy really doesn't even belong as the same field of them?


Every group winner has already been eliminated in the knockout stages, which does not bode well for Spain. And despite all the warning signs regarding Spain's history, I have the feeling that this is the squad that actually comes through on all the promise that is inherent within the team. Spain is never going to face a weaker Italy, and is never going to have better plays to attack these weaknesses then they will have today. I was dead wrong yesterday with the Netherlands within the first 15 minutes when it was obvious that the Russian speed and tenacity would not let the Dutch get into their customary rhythm, but Italy is an older team with visible deficiencies in its midfield which should allow Spain to play the game that they are so good at. And with the form that David Villa is in at the moment, I don't see how Spain does not exploit a mistake-prone Italian back four. I'm going to go against the country of my heritage, but I honestly can't see a way they can win this game if Spain plays how they have been, and how they should continue to. Spain wins decisively 2-0, setting themselves up a rematch with the diabolically emergent Russians.

*The above picture was included for my mom, who requested it be a part of the preview.

No Homo