Shabbat Shalom

September 6, 2008

Saturday’s action is far from over, but already a number of interesting stories have developed.  Ohio State barely survived a rough game against Ohio.  Michigan nearly lost to Miami of Ohio.  Ole Miss made it a nail biter with Wake Forest, and East Carolina proved that they deserved to be ranked after totally dominating No. 8 West Virginia and that “potent offense” led by “Heisman Candidate” Pat White.  Washington’s Jake Locker was inappropriately flagged for excessive celebration and the referees handed BYU a close game in Husky Stadium.  And despite what many writers said might be a close game after a number of Penn State suspensions and dismissals, the Nittany Lions handed the Oregon State Beavers their own asses, wrapped up in cellophane in a carefully arranged gift basket of shame.

 

While that Big Ten victory was rather impressive (and it came over a Pac-10 team which makes my heart hurt just a little), the Big Ten was looking marshmallow soft until it happened.  Yes, Wisconsin and Purdue also got the job done today in convincing fashion, but let’s be honest, they were playing cupcakes.  When Michigan and Ohio State both trail for quite a while and barely hang on to win games that they scheduled as for-sure victories, I said to myself and out loud to my father, “Dude, the Big Ten sucks.”  All I know is, Ohio State needs a complete renovation if they don’t want to be totally embarrassed in the Coliseum next week.  Yeah, USC had the week off, and could look at the Ohio State game and think, “Wow, we are gonna punk these fools,” but you had better believe that regardless of how either team starts the game, USC is going to do Arizona proud and “bear down” in a serious way at home against the perennially overrated Buckeyes.  Boeckman is seriously at risk of being injured, and OSU’s young QB Terrelle Pryor didn’t show nearly enough promise to even challenge USC’s defense at all.  I can’t wait for the Big Ten’s best team to get trounced by the Pac-10’s best, a USC team that ends up coughing up a couple games most years regardless of being the conference champion.  Says something about the strength of the conference versus the Big Ten, does it not?

 

Staying within the Pac-10, my very own Oregon Ducks put up 66 points at home against a ridiculously weak Utah State team, so I can’t get too excited about the point total.  However, I can get excited about a couple of things.  One being the fact that LaGarrette Blount was able to get enough touches to break 100 yards on the ground, another being that a number of other bench players got a chance to gain some experience, and probably one of the best things about this game being that the Ducks were able to get a win wearing those ridiculous yellow helmets that everyone hates so much.  Not only did we break the curse that those helmets have thus far brought, but we were also able to get our one game a year to wear them out of the way safely, leaving the rest of the season potentially yellow-helmet-free.  Good idea, Ducks.

 

Now that I have gotten these few things off of my chest, I’m going to continue to watch this Miami vs. Florida game and root for a Hurricanes upset.

 

MOST LIKELY TO:

 

Never hear the end of it from the fans for those stupid yellow helmets – Oregon Ducks

Continue to struggle next week – Big Ten

Somehow turn it around and spoil some Pac-10 hopes – Oregon State Beavers

Suddenly realize being the head coach is more pressure than you thought – Bill Stewart

Make it to the BCS from a non-BCS conference – East Carolina Pirates (yaaarrrrrgh)

Be bored until next Saturday – me

 

 

 

 

 


Pot-Pourri

September 4, 2008

As I struggled to decide which story from the world of sports I wanted to touch on today, I found that there may not be a clear-cut candidate that is worthy of an entire post to itself, and this being the case I will combine a few stories that I feel are particularly noteworthy.

 

A Championship Pair (of Violations)

 

Former Kansas Jayhawks teammates Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur were sent home from an NBA rookie symposium recently because they were caught in their hotel room with girls (a violation of the symposium’s “no visitors” rule) and probably more importantly with marijuana (a violation of the “no drugs” rule and, well, the law).  While the media has been pretty rough on these two for making poor decisions, especially before they have even made their regular season NBA debut, I would like to point out how stupid we would all be to imagine that this kind of thing is rare.  Young men like smoking weed.  Young men like sneaking women into their rooms.  Young men like combining things they like, like weed and women, for instance.  But typically, a lot of young men can’t scrape together the finances to both a) purchase marijuana and b) buy dinner/drinks/etc for women in order to get them to sneak into their rooms.  But once you sign a multi-million dollar contract, suddenly both of those things are really easy to pull off.  I’m not perfect either.  I’ve smoked weed.  I’ve snuck women around.  Hell, I’ve even combined the two, so I can’t really dog these two for those things.  But I can really seriously question their timing.  Why not take a four day break from weed and women while the NBA is trying to teach you how to handle things just like this?  Once your symposium is over and you aren’t under the direct supervision and regulation of the NBA, you can do what you will in your own house on your own time, whether or not your decisions are intelligent.  A lot of people who are less educated about marijuana would insist that bad timing is not the issue but instead it would be a moral issue or perhaps just as serious of a substance abuse policy violation as the steroid scandal.  To those people, I would like to suggest that unless these two were competing in the National Artists League or the Competitive Music Creation Association, the only thing that marijuana is going to enhance is their capacity for eating Fun-yuns.

 

Sloppy Execution

 

On the same topic, four Penn State football players have been suspended for Saturday’s game against perennial Pac-10 spoiler Oregon State after police officers entered their apartment and seized a small amount of marijuana.  This seems even less surprising to me than the Chalmers/Arthur situation.  College kids smoking weed?  YOU ARE KIDDING ME!  What is happening in our society?  Oh yeah, the same thing that has been going on for years.  I’m sure this also happens literally all the time everywhere around the country.  College athletes smoke weed just as any regular college students smoke weed; surprisingly often.  I’m not saying that it’s a great idea or that they should be excused from their suspension, but I would contend that the real story here is the surprising laziness that getting caught by the police indicates.  Most college kids that smoke weed never get caught, either by their parents, their deans, campus security, and certainly not the actual police.  But one would assume that college athletes, who have something to lose, would be a little more careful about their illegitimate operations.  Again, this sounds like I am condoning this behavior, but basically my feelings about the whole thing center around the fact that I am not at all removed from the college environment so the most surprising thing to me is the sloppy execution, regardless of how pro-marijuana I am coming across in this post.

 

An Arrogant Bastard By Any Other Name

 

Last, and probably also least, is the “Ocho Cinco.”  Former Oregon State WR and current Cincinnati Bengals star Chad Johnson (or should I say the athlete formerly known as Chad Johnson) has successfully changed his legal name to “Chad Ocho Cinco,” and by doing so he officially claims the top spot on both the Stupidest Athletes and Cockiest Athletes lists.  Congratulations, Chad.  Now he can actually wear the “Ocho Cinco” name on the back of his jersey without ripping it off in the pre-game warm-ups.  Honestly, this is probably one of the most ridiculous things that has happened in the NFL in the past year, which hasn’t exactly been a smooth ride for the league, or for commissioner Goodell.  When I heard about it I thought it was a joke.  Now that I know it’s real, it’s even more of a joke than I thought it was to begin with.  This worries me about the coming generations of youth.  I never like to see athletes get injured, but wouldn’t it be ironic if 85 got hurt and for the rest of his career he could never get his health back up any higher than 85 percent?  Then the name would take on a whole new hilariously deserved meaning.

 

MOST LIKELY TO:

 

Smoke weed – college students

Win in Happy Valley on Saturday – Nittany Lions

“Fly High” in the NBA – Mario Chalmers                                         

Eat Fun-yuns – potheads

Have only begun his long list of shenanigans for this season – the athlete formerly known as Chad Johnson


Wait Just A SECond

September 3, 2008

Before I write a post in which I rattle off all kinds of stats from the 44-10 stomping of UW that the Ducks issued last Saturday night (which I promise I will), I am going to add to the never-ending argument about college football conference strength.  I hit on this argument in a previous post, and given a recent blog posting by my main man Ted Miller, who writes the Pac-10 blog for ESPN’s website, I decided it was important to reiterate.  But don’t go thinking I just feed off of other people’s blogs for my own material (although I often reference Ted Miller), I was also inspired to write about this after watching UCLA knock of Tennessee in overtime Monday night.

 

Every season, we hear about how strong the SEC is and just how much in front of the other BCS conferences they are.  They have “incredible depth” and “extremely tough schedules” which allows the pundits to forgive multiple losses and let them play in major bowl games while teams from the other “weaker” conferences get left out.  Yes, the SEC has long been successful, and it has much to do with their geographic locale and the culture that exists there.

 

The Big 12 and the Big Ten have also been lauded throughout history as being football powerhouses, and it cannot be denied that in the past, they indeed have produced much success.  Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State (among others), are all tremendous programs that have perennially been competitors.  Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Nebraska have been great in the past, although lately the latter two have been replaced in the marquee by Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Tech.  This speaks to the verifiable strength of the Big 12.  Now, while the Big 12 will make a lot of noise this year and should be rewarded for it, the Big Ten is more a less a joke.  Ohio State is going to get beat soundly by USC, Michigan is going to struggle again, and we all know what Oregon is going to do to Purdue.  I’ll give the Big Ten Penn State, they will probably have a solid year.

 

The beef that I have (again, reiterating) is with the SEC’s insistence that they are so much stronger than the Pac-10.  Since 1998, when the BCS era began, the Pac-10 is 10-6 vs. the SEC.  Ten wins, six losses.  Sure, its not total domination or anything, but it is a comfortable margin, and given the fact that the SEC seems to think they dominate other conferences, it’s an interesting contradiction.

 

A highlight in this argument as of late was Monday night’s shocker in Pasadena.  UCLA, a team picked by many to finish in the middle of the bottom half of the Pac-10, knocked off an 18th ranked Tennessee team that many pundits said was flying under the radar in the SEC and was poised to challenge for the conference title.  Sure, it wasn’t a blowout, and in the first half it was totally ugly.  But they bottom line is that UCLA gave Tennessee the ball FOUR TIMES in the first half on interceptions, and even with those turnovers the Vols were unable to get it done against a team they were supposed to easily dispose of.  That’s two years in a row that Tennessee has come out west and been beaten by a Pac-10 team at the beginning of the season (last year they were beaten by Cal at Memorial Stadium).

 

We’ll see what the Sun Devils can do when Georgia rolls into the desert in a few weeks.  Honestly I think that will bump the count to 10-7 overall, but it would really strengthen my argument if they pull the upset in Tempe.

 

And to reiterate yet again, USC is going to beat Ohio State, but that is hardly going out on a limb.

 

MOST LIKELY TO:

 

Win in Tempe – Georgia Bulldogs

Beat SEC opponents in major bowl games – Pac-10 teams

Still refer to the depth of the SEC even after Tenn and MSU got upset in Week 1 – sports writers from anywhere other than West Coast

Do hundreds and hundreds of pushups on Saturdays this season – me (Oregon points)

Suffer a letdown after a great victory in their opener – UCLA

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