Thursday, December 06, 2007

Still alive

I apologize about the dormant state of Livin' -- I guess it can best be explained by the move from Baltimore to Boaz, and then again from Boaz to Tuscaloosa to live on a buddy's couch (he insisted), working a whole bunch, trying to find a place of my own (found and will be moving in January), and an internet situation that is best described as "I'll work when I fucking feel like it."

But I vow that Livin' will return around the New Year -- and it will be better than ever... maybe even revamped (not making any promises, but I have ideas).

Until then, I leave you with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' "The Waiting"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Prediction Time!

Last Week: 3-2
Season: 20-23-1

South Florida at Rutgers (+2)
I like the home field in this one.

Alabama (Pick 'Em) vs. Tennessee
Naturally, it depends on what Bama team shows up, but I think the close wins will boost the confidence of the boys in crimson.

Florida at Kentucky (+6.5)
Ride the hot team, especially when the Gators' weakness is their secondary.

Missouri (-3.5) vs. Texas Tech
I don't like Tech's D against Mizzou's offense, Gary Pinkel or no Gary Pinkel.

LSU (-10.5) vs. Auburn
Bounce back game for the Tigers, and that defense will feast on Auburn's weak offense.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rock N Roll Jesus

When Kid Rock was still in the process of making his latest release, Rock N Roll Jesus, he said in various interviews that he wanted to make a "timeless" rock & roll album.

Well, it may be too early to tell for sure, but the little white kid who can rock has done gone and made himself a pretty damn good rock CD.

I have long argued that Kid Rock is among the most underrated artists of my lifetime (up there with The Black Crowes, Foo Fighters and Stone Temple Pilots), mainly because he was unfairly lumped into the nu-metal scene. Kid Rock started rocking the mic back in the day when he was touring with Ice Cube and Too Short. His rap style was similar to the Beastie Boys, and they are among the patriarchs of the rap/rock style. Somewhere in the mid 90s, he "rediscovered my whiteness" as he puts it, adding even more rock style to his arsenal.

1998's Devil Without a Cause was a near perfect blend of Kid's hip-hop, rock and country influences. The label capitalized on his style and the fact that the hot bands at the time were the likes of Limp Bizkit and Korn. Similar styles? Sure. But Kid had -- and still has -- one thing they never had: variety. He utilizes his vast array of musical tastes, and uses them well.

Another long-standing argument of mine is that Kid Rock is more classic rock than any of those "The" bands that had Mick Jagger clones for lead singers and no imagination when it came to song writing.

Rock N Roll Jesus personifies that and then some. Kid has always used any different styles, but with each new CD he has fine-tuned his mixing skills -- he's slowed things down some without losing his edge, he's brought in a shit load of new instruments and arrangements, but now he's gotten the final piece down: lyrics.

Originally, Rick Rubin was set to produce this CD. Well, conflicting schedules or whatever didn't let that happen, but Rubin did impart one piece of advice (and I'm paraphrasing here): we know you're fucking Kid Rock, we get it already, sing about something else.

The Kid heeded that advice, and has delivered arguably his best work yet -- Devil is a classic in my eyes, tough to beat. However, Jesus is great on a different level -- Devil was a speaker busting, loud ass middle finger to the teenie bop shit that was dominating the airwaves at the time.

Jesus is a complete, diverse, toe-tapping, sing along record. What Devil lacked was that something for everyone -- it was a great hard rock CD, but not everyone is a hard rock fan. Jesus is a rock and roll record, plain and simple.


Kid displays all of his sides here, the American Bad Ass shines on the title cut and lead single "So Hott." The Pimp of the Nation boasts his act on tracks like "Sugar" and "Half Your Age." The part of him that wanted to be Dixie-fried Southern boy excels on "New Orleans" and "Blue Jeans and a Rosary." Hell, even two bonus tracks, "Lowlife (Living the Highlife)" and "Guilty" show off his great sense of humor -- because after all, being a rockstar is about having fun, and very few people have more fun than Kid Rock.

Now, he already did this on 2003's Kid Rock, but that album didn't feel like an album at all. It felt and played like a collection of songs put together without any direction. Jesus has a direction, a very true one. For this one, Kid added an introspective side not seen on any of his previous work. Maybe it's age getting to him, but Kid digs deeper than he ever has before. Before, it was about putting himself into his songs. Now, it's about putting himself into making his songs -- and it shows.

Kid said he aimed to make out a rock and roll record, and did just that by being what rock and roll is supposed to be: whatever the fuck it wants to be.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Who's Kool?

Used to be a time this thing was easy, I could just plug in the same teams -- give or take a couple -- for a good number of weeks in a row. Now? Hell with that... at least it makes for great football watching.

1. -- A test this weekend vs. Michigan State?

2. -- Maybe Matt Ryan should replace Eric Gagne...

3. -- What a story, and it could get better Thursday night at Rutgers... or it could come to an unhappy ending.

4. -- Don't count the Sooners out just yet.

5. -- Survived a scare at UNC, but a win is a win.

6. -- Good thing they got a bye between Syracuse and Miss. St.

7. -- So, uh, anybody still think the Cats are a fluke?

8. -- Seriously, where in the wide world of sports was Ryan Perrilloux down the stretch?

9. -- They shouldn't get punished too much for losing with a backup, redshirt-freshman QB.

10. -- Not quite out of the Pac-10 picture just yet.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Prediction Time!

Last Week: 2-7
Season: 17-21-1


Alabama (-6) at Ole Miss
All I ask is for one solid win, please, no more heart attacks.

Boston College at Notre Dame (+13.5)
Just a hunch.

LSU at Kentucky (+9.5)
Trap game.

Oklahoma (-12) vs. Missouri
Gary Pinkel Rule.

Arkansas vs. Auburn (+3)
Must win SEC game for both teams, the difference is that Auburn still has a real shot at the SEC West crown, while the Hogs are just fighting to avoid an embarrassing 0-3 start in SEC play.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

All work and no play make TD...

Sleepy.

There are two types of people in this world: those who can wake up early, and those who need about, oh say, 72 hours to kick it in gear should they be forced to wake up before 10 a.m. or so.

I would be the latter... times like 980987. For about the past five years, I have been conditioned in the art of waking up somewhere between 10-1, and going about my day -- be it class, work, lying around in my boxers eating Cheeze-Its and watching "Fresh Prince" reruns... whatever.

So, needless to say, the past week has not been up my alley. A slew of traffic obstacles resulted in my arrival in Alabama coming about four hours later than expected, at around 3:30 Saturday morning. Now, driving is oddly draining for an activity that requires you sit or an extended period, so I was pooped when I woke up later that morning to start watching football. Anywho, had to wake up early Sunday to fulfill the obligatory "look who's back in Bama" schmoozing -- and that's just the extended family here in northern Bama, I haven't even gotten to Tuscaloosa yet. Come Monday, I started my temporary delivery boy job here in the Gadsden area, meaning I have to wake up at the oh so lovely 6:30 a.m. time slot.

I need to get up on this "make a shit ton of money" plan of mine.

Yet another era ends in Atlanta

It was bad enough I had to deal with Andruw leaving, but now John Schuerholz is stepping aside as GM, handing it over to Frank Wren. Oh well, at least he'll still be in the organization as team president. Still, it ain't the same.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Columbus Day!

Yay Chris Columbus!

Who's Kool?

It's official: most unpredictable college football season EVER.

1. - Les Miles' gamble paid off, and the Bayou Bengals showed some grit coming back from that 10-point deficit. Hats off to you, gentlemen... (I smell a trap gaaaaammmeeee)

2. - Maybe the most quiet number two team ever.

3. - That D is something fierce.

4. - Is it a good time to be a Boston sports fan or what?

5. - Good teams win the close ones. So if the Bulls win the Big East, and Florida wins out, think the Orange Bowl officials are drooling over a Bulls/Gators showdown?

6. - Should cruise from here on out.

7. - Cocks' DC Tyrone Nix should be a head coach very soon.

8. - Gotta be worried about Pat White's durability if you're a 'Neer fan.

9. - That's right, I'm putting faith in Gary Pinkel, completely throwing my "Don't trust any teams coached by Gary Pinkel" rule out the window... at least until they prove the theory right by getting shellacked this weekend in Norman.

10. - Whodathunkit? I mena there aren't many teams playing better ball than the Bearcats right now -- in fact, there's only nine by my count.

Weekend reactions

Didn't watch the Bama game, but followed it online. Loved the 1st quarter... and then shit. If it ain't one thing, it's another... can we get just one solid, thorough win over a tough opponent please?

As for the Ravens... you know what? That is Ravens football: ugly, dominating defensive performance, just enough O to win. I'll take it.

OK, a new trend is pissing me off. What is with these douche bag announcers having a one-year memory? Apparently, Florida started everything last year. No teams used two QBs before last year. No team ever lined up a playmaker under center before Urban Meyer. Jesus Christ... Gene Stallings used to line up David Palmer at the QB spot for Bear's sake, it ain't like Meyer was breaking new ground by direct snapping to Percy Harvin. Off the nuts people, off the nuts.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Prediction Time!

Sorry for the quietness around here, but I've been busy with packing and moving and my truck deciding that it wanted new fucking brakes and a hitch installed. But hey, I don't question the Black Mamba -- if Mamba sends me a message that says "hey, new brakes or else I'm fucking these the hell up," well then, the Mamba gets it (my bank account also gets it, but not in such a satisfying way).

Anywho, the early edition of PT! is a result of tonights Kentucky @ South Carolina tilt and the fact I will somewhere on Interstate 81 southbound this time tomorrow. Big slate this weekend, so on with it.

Last Week: 2-4
Season: 15-14-1

South Carolina (-3.5) vs. Kentucky
I picked the Cocks to win the SEC East, I'm gonna stick with 'em. Plus, I like the idea of the Ol' Ball Coach devising something fancy for the putrid UK pass defense.

Alabama (-10.5) vs. Houston
Gut check time for JP Wilson and the offense. Big boy time for the defense. I'm cautious, but not scarred. It's homecoming, and Houston may be a good Conference USA team, but the depth still isn't on par. I think we see a HEAVY dose of Terry Grant, Glen Coffee and Roy Upchurch Saturday.

Oklahoma (-11) vs. Texas
Both teams got upset last weekend, the difference? The Sooners are pissed they blew it. Texas just got plain whupped. This one will get ugly, and fast.

Tennessee vs. Georgia (+1)
How the hell is UT favored? I don't give a shit if it is in Knoxville, that place is overrated anyhow. The Vols' D still sucks, and the Dawgs' offense is kicking it into gear of late. Plus, betcha the Dawgs remember that beat down in Athens last year.

Clemson (-5.5) vs. Virginia Tech
They had their token Tommy Bowden letdown loss last weekend, now the home field will help the Tigers down a Hokie team yet to find its identity on offense.

LSU vs. Florida (+9)
Everything is pointing against the Gators in this one... which is exactly why I'm picking them not only to cover, but to win outright. Death Valley at night is wicked, SEC football is wickeder.

Rutgers (-3.5) vs. Cincinnati
Poor Bearcats, Maryland done went and stole their thunder.

Ohio St. at Purdue (+7)
Good matchup between the OSU D and the Purdue O. The Boilermakers have whupped up on some creampuffs, but the home field should be enough to keep it close.

Missouri vs. Nebraska (+7)
Time to re-invoke the "never trust any team coached by Gary Pinkel" rule.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The year's first "Who's Kool?" power poll and some reflection on a sad day

First, the power poll I've finally come up with a name for -- one so friggin obvious... I mean, I'm a moron, I've only been doing a variation of this thing for about three years now on three different sites.

Anywho, I've always been a proponent of waiting a month until ranking teams, because preseason rankings only lead to horrible, disastrous, West Virginia vs. Michigan national title game predictions (seriously, thank God/Allah/Baby Jesus/Jewish God/Tom Cruise/Bear Bryant that I do not have money to gamble). But now that we have had a full month of games, the phonies have been exposed and the big boys have started pushing folks around, and the time is ripe for ranking.

2007's first Who's Kool?

1. -- No real challenges, but they have just straight run the fuck over people. I'm more of a passing guy, but damn if I don't love a good "hey, we're running it and you ain't gonna do shit about it" ground game. They get the nod over LSU because their two notable wins (Nebraska, Washington) have been on the road.

2. -- Most dominant team of the season so far, but Virginia Tech was overrated and South Carolina really missed some opportunities. That, and they've done it all (and will continue to) at home.

3. -- Now that the first big road win is out of the way, the Golden Bears could start rolling.

4. -- Because somebody has to go here, I reckon. Pretty good D, though.

5. -- To quote Harry Doyle, "At least, they're not from Canada."

6. -- Good God someone finish them off already.

7. -- Dem boys can score.

8. -- I feel like this is one of those "Tales of What If" episodes of Futurama, and somebody asked "what if one of those wacky EA Sports NCAA dynasty seasons where like five teams come out of nowhere and challenge for the title came true?"

9. -- Here because I think they just got stuck on cruise control and just couldn't kick in back in gear. Also because like 43 ranked teams lost last week, and someone had to be here.

10. -- Umm, I think the win in Tuscaloosa hath awoken the Dawgs.

The end of a GREAT era in Atlanta

The Braves announced today they won't re-sign Andruw Jones. I don't care how sucky he was this year. I don't care how long we knew this was coming. This just plain sucks. Andruw Jones is a Brave, and he should always be a Brave, end of discussion.

Even if he ends up in Baltimore (HA!), I'll still throw up a little next opening day when he takes center field in another uniform. Go to hell AOL/Time Warner, go to fucking hell.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Weekend roundup

One word: pathetic.

That was my original idea for this week's WR, as I decided I should only put as much effort into talking about my teams as they did in playing this weekend's games. Instead, I feel like ranting a bit.

Alabama looks miserable in a 21-14 loss to FSU

And miserable may be the biggest understatement in history.

Where do I even begin? The absolutely putrid 1st half? The 89 yards rushing? Terry Grant getting only nine carries? John Parker Wilson looking abysmal until the last few minutes again?

Did they even want to play Saturday? It was evident Florida State showed up to play football, and that we showed up to... fuck, enjoy lovely Jacksonville? Blown coverages, poor tackling, boneheaded penalties, people half-assing plays... it was all there.

Where the fuck was Lionel Mitchell? Marquis Johnson couldn't cover a wheelchair-riding old lady on Saturday, let alone a WR. Why was there no talk about this by CBS? They announced Mitchell as the starter, and then he wasn't to be seen all game, you think that's something the viewers might want to know guys?

It makes me sick when a team plays that poorly. It's one thing to lose, it's another to look like you don't give a damn doing it.

Ravens look equally pathetic in loss to Browns

Jesus, Mary and Joseph. When did the Ravens forget how to defend the pass? I mean, seeing Samauri Rolle get burnt by Steve Smith is one thing, but Braylon Edwards making Chris McAlister his bitch? Dude, what the fuck?

Again, this looked like a team who didn't care that they were playing a football game. They didn't looked all that bad, McNair threw for over 300 yards, McGahee rushed for over 100... but they just looked uninspired.

What a shitty football weekend.

Friday, September 28, 2007

PredictionTime!

Last Week: 2-2
Season: 13-10-1


Alright, enough of this sputtering above .500 crap, time for an unbeaten weekend to kick off a relentless surge... or more than likely, another mediocre effort. Thankfully, I have no money to lose gambling.

West Virginia (-6.5) at South Florida
I know a lot of people like the upset, but not I. The Mountaineers are faster than last year, and they also have that little revenge factor going for them. The Bulls are an up and coming program -- and that's exactly why they won't win this weekend, they're coming, but they ain't there yet.

Clemson at Georgia Tech (+3)
Time for the Ramblin' Wreck to bounce back after two straight losses, providing Tommy Bowden's annual letdown loss.

Wisconsin (-7.5) vs. Michigan St.
True, they have looked ugly this year, but this is a prime statement game opportunity for P.J. Hill and company.

Oregon vs. Cal (+6)
Oregon is hot right now, but I'm sticking with my preseason Pac-10 champion pick.

Florida St. vs. Alabama (+1.5)
Bobby Bowden loves us. So, naturally he's going to lose to us. Actually, his incredibly inept offense will do that for him. I'm looking for a breakout game from John Parker Wilson.

Florida (-17.5) vs. Auburn
Hmm, let's see... Auburn's offense is pathetic on a FSU level. Florida's may be the nation's best. Auburn was Florida's only blemish last year, this year they play in The Swamp. You know, I actually feel sorry for the Tigers... OK, I'm lying.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Foos and a book

Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace

The biggest complaint I hear about the Foo Fighters nowadays is that they "aren't fun anymore, man."

To a certain degree, I agree. The Foos are not the same goofballs who made the "Learn to Fly" video, but then again that kind of thing happens when you grow up and start families. You could argue that hey, what's wrong with a little fun? You'd be somewhat right, but then again you'd probably be the same person who would slam them for "never growing up." People will always find something to pick at. So the Foos aren't making goofy ass videos with Tenacious D anymore, big deal -- you can only go to the well so often.

The second main complaint is a little more reasonable, and that is their new stuff is not nearly as good as songs like "My Hero" or "Everlong." Again, I agree to a certain extent -- those are great songs, and admittedly the newer FF stuff doesn't have the same panache and overall catchy feel.

But that's exactly what I admire about Dave Grohl and company, their ability to evolve as musicians. They easily could've continued to put out clones of the aforementioned hits and called it a day. But they didn't, they experimented with new sounds, new styles, new themes and topics. They've put out a double album and a live acoustic album.

Is it better than old Foos? Depends on your tastes, I reckon.

That brings us to the new one, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. I think this is easily their best effort since 1999's There is Nothing Left to Lose.

Why? Well, because it's everything that their last two studio albums weren't. It has the beginning to end playability that One by One lacked. In Your Honor tried to mix the Foos' signature plug in and play loud sound with some decent acoustic tracks, but lacked symmetry and flow because the two styles were separated into two discs.

ESP&G does exactly the opposite, putting the two together along with songs that strike a fine balance between the contrasting styles. The CD starts off heavy with single "The Pretender," keeps it going for a few songs before hitting some mellower but still rocking tracks like "Come Alive," and ultimately ending with Grohl and a piano in "Home."

The beauty of this CD lies within the tracks that intertwine the two styles, and ultimately see the Foos branch out in directions they've never gone before. "Long Road to Ruin" has a great classic rock feel to it, and may be the best song on the CD. "Summer's End" is a bluesy, almost Southern rocker and right now stands as my personal favorite track. "Cheer Up Boys (Your Make-Up is Running)" and "But, Honestly" hearken back to the days of Foo Fighters yore, what with their catchy riffs and all.

Simply put, I dig this CD, a lot. In what has already been a great year for rock music, the Foo Fighters make it that much better.

The official Livin' man-crush adds another title to the Livin' book club

And here you probably thought I forgot about Chuck Klosterman, HA! Chucky K delivers another strong effort with his fourth book, the aptly titled Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas.

Once again, a must read for fans of Klosterman, and also a big recommendation for pop culture lovers. The array of topics Klosterman touches on in this one cover a lot more ground than his previous releases, and the short fiction piece at the end throws in something new to his arsenal. Not as funny as some of his other stuff, but just as thought-provoking and gripping.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weekend roundup

Damn you Gameday

So the Gameday hex continues, and whole civilizations crumble as they realize that Nick Saban won't go undefeated every year at Alabama.

Anywho, it was a tough loss to swallow, but Georgia earned it plain and simple. Matt Stafford made an ansolutely PERFECT throw in OT, I mean a half foot shorter and it's broken up, a whole foot and it's picked. They played hard, didn't let us get any backbreaking plays, and didn't kill themselves with mistakes. Well done, Dawgs.

Once again, we showed great resiliency and heart, and that's what needed the most changing. But, I do have some gripes. First, John Parker Wilson has got to be more accurate. He's overthrown receiver after receiver this year and it's cost us some touchdowns. I love his leadership skills and the way he runs the offense, but he's missing some throws that could really put us over the top. Second, where the hell was Terry Grant in overtime? Matter of fact, where the hell was he period? Eleven carries? Eleven!? I only saw the play live, but it seems to me like there was a ton of open field off tackle on our first play in overtime -- and Grant is the type of back who could've bounced that play outside and taken it to the house.

Some other notes from the game: First, am I the only one who got Mike Patrick's joke? Maybe the timing was a bit off, but I got a laugh out of it before cussing Stafford's name incessantly. The other thing is every media outfit ripping the student section (specifically the Greek part) for showering the Dawgs with cups and a bottle or two. Crummy act on the students' part? Absolutely. Something done only at Alabama? Fuck off, you holier-than-thou assholes. Seriously, that kinda stuff happens everywhere, and most places it's even worse. There's always gonna be a couple of bad apples who toss a cup or two, especially if you taunt them within striking distance, as multiple players and even a coach blatantly did on screen.

Whatever, bring on the Seminoles.

Ravens eek past Arizona

OK, this developing trend of letting teams back into the game in the fourth needs to stop immediately. Naturally, it all goes back to Brian Billick's genius offense and their habit of blowing their load early and not being able to keep any drives going late in the game. Oy.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Prediction Time!

Last week: 3-2-1
Season: 11-8-1


LSU vs. South Carolina (+18)
This line just jumped 1.5 points, interesting. I'll tell you though, don't slouch on SC's defense. I'm still not sold on the Bayou Bengals' offense. I don't see the Cocks coming out of Baton Rouge with a win, but I sure as hell don't see them losing by that much.

Penn St. (-2.5) at Michigan
Both of these teams have beaten up on exactly nobody. The difference? Penn St. has not gotten beat by a 1AA team.

Arkansas vs. Kentucky (+7)
I think people are underestimating the suckiness of the Hogs' pass D. I mean it's abysmal. We torched them, Kentucky will rape them. That said, Darren McFadden should also make the Kentucky D his personal bitch, because he does that sort of thing to defenses. But if the Cats are around in the 2nd half, Houston Nutt will not have a pleasant weekend.

Alabama (-3.5) vs. Georgia
Fuck Mark Richt and his sneaky ways, fuck the Gameday hex, and fuck, um, Auburn... yeah. I'm not saying we should book a weekend in Atlanta just yet, but what I am saying is that wins at Vandy and over Arkansas are vastly more impressive than wins over Oklahoma St. and Western Carolina.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Random stuff

Folks with ESPN Insider privileges are treated to two breakdowns of Saturday's UGA @ Bama tussle. The first being a breakdown of both teams' freshmen RB sensations by Todd McShay, and the second being a complete game analysis by Scouts, Inc. Both favor Bama, I suppose that's a little inspiring.

Been some talk about our jump from unranked to #16 in the AP Poll, and I guess there's some justification to that. But the thing is, this early in the year it's so hard to judge teams -- most haven't played anybody, and the teams that do play one big game instantly get attention if they win. So we beat the #16 team and a top Heisman candidate, now we get noticed. This is why I don't start my power poll until October, it just doesn't make sense to try and rank teams this early. We are a perfect example: first two games, Western Carolina and Vandy. Last three September games: Arkansas, Georgia, Florida St.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Well I guess I shouldn't look forward to Bama basketball this year

Ron Steele to take a medical redshirt for the 2007/2008 season

I mean... shit. Lock up another NIT season?

On the bright side, barring any early defections to the NBA, Mykal Riley will be the only significant loss after next season, meaning a 100% Steele returns to a stacked and experienced squad.

Weekend roundup

Excuse any errors in this post, I may still be suffering the after effects of the three strokes I had as a result of Saturday night.

What can I say about the game, other than... wow. It went from good to great to good to great to oh-shit-what-the-fuck-is-happening to son-of-a-fucking-whore-I-don't-believe-this to YES! YES! OH MY GOD I LOVE FOOTBALL YES! ROLL TIDE!

The passing game was great (outside of a couple of bonehead mistakes by JPW), the running game was a bit stagnant at times for my liking, but still alright. But that game-winning drive was a thing of beauty. It's a shame Mike Shula could never relay his penchant for comebacks as a player to his coaching days, because it has been far too long since Bama Nation has seen one of those. As Stewart Mandel put it, "Wilson, by the way, should begin entering every discussion of the nation’s top quarterbacks."

Defensively... well, what we feared during the off-season became true: our lack of depth up front hurt us. On the flip side, who the hell can stop Arkansas' run game? But, my problem lies within the fact that we almost let the passing game beat us. When you play a team like Arkansas, you cannot, CAN NOT fall prey to the play-action pass. You have to be disciplined and not cheat up to a point where it gets you burned. I know it's tough, but the secondary is supposed to be -- nay, has to be the anchor to this defense. That said, they made the stop when it mattered, and that's all you can ask.

This weekend Gameday will, um, "grace" Tuscaloosa with their presence -- not exactly music to the ears of any superstitious Bama fans. The Tide is currently 0-4 when Chris, Lee and Kirk set up shop on The Quad, including a 2002 loss to Georgia -- a date both memorable for two things: first, a squirrel causing a power outage in every building south of University Blvd., thus forcing my friends and I (and many others) to miss the show; and second... well, let's just say I swore an oath to never touch liquor again on gamedays until after the game (90,000 people + lots of screaming and jumping + intense Alabama heat = one hell of a headache).

The Dawgs are a lot more balanced than the Hogs (of course so is just about every team not named Navy, Hawaii or Texas Tech), but they haven't looked too impressive in games not involving a vastly overrated Big 12 team or a D-1AA team (see: they sucked balls against South Carolina). More on this later this week.

Ravens win... albeit a bit close for comfort's sake

So, bleepin' Kyle Boller managed to not lose the game, good for him (although he's extremely lucky to have Todd Heap catching his passes). Have I explained that nickname? Well I will now: it came from a rant of mine following some deplorable Boller showing, and somewhere in said rant I deemed him not worthy of a First Name 'bleepin' Last Name moniker (a la Aaron bleepin' Boone or the like), and thus bestowed the above nickname upon him, much to the amusement of my buddies Clint and Nate. Serviceable backup? Sure. Franchise QB? Hell fuck no.

The good news is there really isn't game we should lose until November -- Arizona, at Cleveland, at San Francisco, St. Louis and at Buffalo. That means the purple and black (and white and gold) should be 6-1 leading into the Nov. 5th Monday night showdown at Pittsburgh.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Prediction Time!

Last Week: 6-3
Season: 8-6


The games are starting to get fo' real, yo. No more excuses, gentlemen.

Florida (-7.5) vs. Tennessee
I'm not liking the Vols D's chances against the Gator offense.

Ohio St. (-3.5) at Washington
Everyone listen to me: this is still Washington. Yes, they beat Boise St., but this is still Washington. Not yet, people, not yet.

Alabama (-3) vs. Arkansas
Bring it Hogs, and prepare for a full box all day long. Casey Dick, meet Simeon Castille. Nation, meet Terry Grant.

Louisville at Kentucky (+5.5)
Three words: Middle Tennessee St. Granted the Wildcats' D is pretty damn bad, but they do have home field and Andre Woodson. Prepare for fireworks.

Georgia Tech (-6.5) vs. Boston College
Deadly D, damn fine running game.

USC at Nebraska (+9.5)
I'm most unsure about this one, but I think they'll keep it close at the very least.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thursday... things

Oden out for year
Bummer about Greg Oden, you hate to see someone get injured before their rookie season -- not to mention this is just piling on Blazers fans. But I think it'll turn out alright. Portland will more than likely get another lottery pick out of this, meaning next year's squad will be loaded. Oden is young, he should bounce back from this -- and apparently could use the rest.

Pats, lies and videotapes
This whole Patriots cheating thing has been overblown. My buddy Clint suggested a one-game suspension for Belichick -- sure, works for me. Every team steals signals, they were just dumb to use a friggin' video camera. But no one can convince me that they win/won solely because of this after seeing Randy Moss torch triple coverage.

Wounded Ravens
Sheesh, B.J. Sams is out for the season, Jonathon Ogden is out indefinitely. On the bright side, Ray Lewis did not tear his triceps, and Steve McNair thinks he'll play Sunday. Again: I hate playing in Cincinnati.

The year in music just keeps getting better
I've seen the Rowdy Frynds Tour, B.B. King, Little Richard, Al Green, Old Crow Medicine Show and Valient Thorr in concert this year. Linkin Park, Velvet Revolver and The White Stripes all released new CDs. The Foo Fighters and Kid Rock have new ones coming in the next month.

Now... Shooter mother fucking Jennings is releasing a new CD on October 23rd. Thank you music gods. The first single off the album is a cover of Dire Straits' "Walk of Life" -- it can be found on Shooter's MySpace page.

"I'd gladly trade all my big city livin' / For some rowdy women and a honky tonk tonight"

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Do we really want this?

By this, I mean the impending Led Zeppelin reunion show and possible following tour, which by all accounts is awesome news... sort of.

A couple of months ago I prayed like a Pagan to anyone who would listen for a LZ reunion tour, but now... now I'm not so sure.

It's not like something happened over the summer that made me come to this. But today at work as I read the story I thought whether a full-scale LZ tour is really what my generation of Led Heads wants, and more importantly what we need. For the people who actually grew up with LZ and maybe even saw them in their day, this is great of course. Why I'm not sure I can fully explain yet, but I have a feeling that when you get over 40 or so, things like seeing a band you grew up worshiping bring on a state of euphoria mixed with nostalgia that is probably only described as... cool, man.

Anywho, back to the reason this worries me in the terms of my generation of Led Heads. Our entire perception of Led Zeppelin goes way beyond their music. Obviously, we like LZ because they make the most kick ass music in the history of kick ass music. But for those of us who call them our favorite band or claim that their music has some life-altering meaning to us, LZ transcends band status and becomes an icon.

But what differentiates us from those who grew up with LZ and view them in the same mindset is to them, they were living, breathing god-like beings. They could see them, they could see they were mortal, they were humans just like them. To us, they are more straightforward god-like beings. We cannot see them as a whole, we do not view them as our equals, but as our superiors who reside atop a musical Mount Olympus. Part of their aura is that whole attitude of "Led Zeppelin is beyond awesome, if I could go back in time only once, it would be to see them live."

But we can't, and that elevates their status that much more. Chuck Klosterman put it perfectly when he said "Led Zeppelin sounds like what cool should look like." Exactly. Zeppelin gives us that something that we can't touch, the proof that there is something greater than what we have in front of us. It is their unattainability that makes them more than just a great rock band, but rock gods.

If they tour, and we get to see them, does it ruin that?

Granted it's not the same as seeing the original lineup in their heyday, at their zenith. I've seen what's left of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and it goes both ways -- yes I can say I've seen Skynyrd, but it's not the same. I saw Bob Dylan and Merle Haggard last year, I've seen the current lineup of Metallica. And it was awesome every single time. At the same time, there's always that "yeah, but..." aspect to it.

Does it ruin it? No. But Zeppelin is different. It's almost as if a tour would take away their immortality. Because the music would be the same, but the band wouldn't. It's more than just not having the elder Bonham -- I'm sure his son is a more than capable substitute. But Zeppelin live is presented as a larger than life experience. Robert Plant's sexuality set the mood. Jimmy Page's mysterious wizardry on the guitar put the audience in a trance. John Paul Jones and John Bonham brought the thunder that made it earth-shattering.

But now? They're all old and wrinkled. Can Plant still hit those notes? No doubt Page can still shred, as the tour with The Black Crowes showed. But do they still have that chemistry that made them the must-see live act they were? Can they still have that chemistry? Or would they just play the hits and be done with it? I fear that instead of going to see Led Zeppelin, I'd be going to see a glorified tribute band -- one who had every last detail about the band down, and if you close your eyes it sounds just like the real thing... but it's not the real thing, they don't have the soul. And there is my problem: would this, could this reunion even begin to possess the same soul that embodied and defined Led Zeppelin?

It's not as if they ended on a sour note between members -- once John Bonham died they ended LZ because they truly believed the band could not exist without him. This isn't a Pink Floyd situation where the band ended on such a bitter rift between members, that you want to see them reconcile to bring a finality to the group -- which their Live 8 performance accomplished. To a certain extent, maybe LZ should take a cue from Floyd. Maybe this one-time thing should be it. We should all watch and go, "yeah, that was nice, thank you for that" and be happy.

Led Zeppelin ended because it had to. I think we should respect and admire that. They have nothing to prove, nothing to gain from a tour.

So, if they tour, will I go? Abso-fucking-lutely.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Random Thoughts

Just end my misery already

An incredibly depressing article on ESPN, if you're a Braves fan anyway. This season has just been a huge disappointment if you ask me. I feel this may become a rant once their season is officially over.

Kayne speaks out again

Call Kayne West what you will, but the man is my no means dumb. And while his intentions may be somewhat selfish here, he comes to the defense of Britney Spears. He's right, too. Honestly, I'm shocked her people even let her do the thing in the first place -- and then MTV went and made things worse by nixing her original performance that had something to do with Criss Angel. Regardless, MTV pimped the hell out of her "comeback" and they knew people were going to tune in -- by the way, I was not one of them, and from what I've read all the good stuff happened off camera anyway (Kid Rock/Tommy Lee slapfest, Foo Fighters and Kayne West suite performances).

Some GREAT news

Kevin Everett, the Bills player who was thought to be paralyzed for life just yesterday, now appears on the way to recovery. That's just awesome, no other word to describe it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Weekend roundup

First things first: I am 100% convinced that I can someday be an offensive coordinator in high level football. Why? Because if Brian "I think I'll throw every single time we need one fucking yard" Billick can call plays for the Ravens, any person with some semblance of football knowledge most certainly can.

Aside from the aforementioned lack of common sense, he just has no clue how to find a rhythm for his offense. And if he does, he kills it right away. Receivers getting open on every play? Switch to the run. Line opening gaping holes and backs averaging about 6 yards a carry? Let's throw it. Other team getting intense pressure on the QB? Logically, you throw a screen or run a draw, right? Not if you're the offensive "genius" Brian Billick.

Jesus man, you're an idiot. After we took the lead 20-19, we have a 3rd and 1 on a potentially game clinching drive. And we throw it, and it's picked. Run the damn ball! If you're offense can't get the yard, they don't deserve it. And a 4th and goal on the 1 to win... and you throw? Granted, we got ROYALLY hosed by an absolutely horrendous offensive pass interference call. I mean that was horrible, seriously, somebody investigate that ref. That was atrocious.

I know what you're saying: "But it was a touchdown if the ref isn't a fucktard, wasn't that a good call?" No, it wasn't. It was only saved by a great catch by Todd Heap... who did not push off, not even in the least. Fuck that ref, may you get explosive diarrhea.

But we get a reprieve, and get the ball back to the 2. Third down, and we pass... again: if you can't get two yards in two plays running the ball, you don't deserve it. Of course, this pass is intercepted. The one ball Todd Heap will drop all year is picked off by a one-eyed (I vaguely remember him being blind in one eye college... I think) defensive lineman (Mike Myers, you may be a fellow Tider, but for the next week I hate you). Granted, Kyle Boller didn't need to throw the ball 879987 mph either, and I am MUCH more likely to forgive Heap than Boller -- on anything mind you, Heap and Boller could tag team my wife and I'd beat the ever living piss out of Boller and shake Heap's hand.

Anyway, it's only the first game, I'm not too worried. The o-line looked horrible, but that should improve. McNair rushed a bunch of throws, but that was a cause and effect thing. McGahee... meh. Line didn't open up too many holes, and he looked lost on some plays. Again, something that will improve. I did like his ability to get outside and play a part in the passing game though.

All in all, I'm still confident we can be a playoff team. Why? Because we had six turnovers on the road against a divisional rival, and yet we still were in the game until the final play. Anyone who buys into the Bengals because of tonight is an idiot, no way they are a playoff team over Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

The Tide looks good

Bama went into a tricky game in Nashville and pretty much dominated from whistle to whistle. The passing game still leaves a bit to be desired, namely J.P. Wilson and his new penchant for overthrows and the lack of Keith Brown (and pass protection is still a bit shaky). But Terry Grant is The Man. With all those weapons around him, JPW should settle down and get in gear.

Ar-kansas comes to town this weekend, and apparently Hog fans are quite confident. Observe this idiot in a Mark Schlabach chat on ESPN.com today:
Heath (Houston,TX): So will Dmac and Jones dominate Alabama again...I'm seeing over 500 All purpose yards between the two this weekend!!
Umm, again? When the hell has that ever "dominated" us? Was it last year when Leigh Tiffin missed five kicks in a one-point Arkansas win? Or maybe the year before in an Alabama win? It's official, the Arkansas fan base is the craziest, most delusional in the land.

Houston Nutt still has no concept of the forward pass unless it's thrown by his running back. Saban and Steele will pack the box and force Casey Dick to win the game. I'm not guaranteeing a Bama victory (not yet anyway), but no way in hell the Hogs come into Bryant-Denny and dominate.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Prediction Time!

Here's where the season really begins, week two. they say the biggest adjustments are made from the first to second game, so we should see teams show their real identities this week. A few tests this week, should be a fun weekend of football.

Last week: 2-3

Alabama (-3.5) at Vanderbilt
Blah blah blah, upset schmupset. Terry Grant goes buck wild again, and John Parker Wilson gets his as well. Vandy will hang for a bit, but the Tide rolls in the end.

Nebraska at Wake Forest (+8)
I like the Deacs to keep it close. Nebraska may be caught looking ahead to USC next week, and Wake wants to redeem themselves for a lackluster open to the year.

Oklahoma (-10.5) vs. Miami
I know a lot of folks like for Miami to come into Norman and cover, but I don't see it happening. I like where Randy Shannon is gonna take the Canes, but not this year. They'll keep it within reach for a good bit, but the Sooners will pull away in the end.

Georgia (-3.5) vs. South Carolina
Yes, I did pick South Carolina to win the SEC East. But man, the Dawgs looked damn good last weekend against Okie St. Blake Mitchell is back for the Gamecocks, but I don't see them winning in Athens.

Penn St. (-17.5) vs. Notre Dame
Irish fans, close your eyes. The Nittany Lions remember getting embarrassed last year in South Bend. I'll tell you, that Notre Dame team is just not good this year. Charlie Weis can say what he wants, but this is a rebuilding year.

Texas vs. TCU (+9)
The Longhorns looked mighty sloppy last week against Arkansas St. TCU, well they're a lot better. I'm not saying they go into Austin and get the win, but they put a scare to everyone wearing burnt orange.

Tennessee vs. Southern Miss (+10.5)
Don't look past this one, folks. The Golden Eagles are always a pesky team, and this is a classic sandwich game for the Vols -- in between last week's beat down at Cal and next week's showdown in Gainesville with the Gators.

Auburn vs. South Florida (+7)
Everyone is calling this an upset watch, which usually means I turn the other way. But Auburn didn't look one bit of good last week, and the Bulls defense is better than K-State's. Should be a close one on the plains.

LSU (-11) vs. Virginia Tech
LSU is gonna lose sometime this year, just not tomorrow night. The Hokie offense is putrid, and playing the Tiger defense in a night game in Baton Rouge is hardly the remedy. On the flip side, LSU's offense ain't much better and the Hokie D is just as good. But the home field will be pivotal, and the Bayou Bengals will make one big play to pull away (either a Sean Glennon INT returned for a score, or a Trindon Holliday touchdown return).

Thursday, September 06, 2007

NFL Preview

Not that I've been particularly good at picking the NFL, but whatever.

AFC

East: Patriots -- Just one of those all too easy picks.
North: Ravens -- The Steelers will push, but the Ravens D is still too dominant.
South: Colts -- Yawn.
West: Chargers -- Even Norv Turner can't fuck up all that talent... can he?
Wild Cards: Steelers and Jets -- Big Ben will be back to form, and last year was no fluke for the J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets.

NFC
East: Eagles -- I just feel a BIG comeback year coming from McNabb.
North: Bears -- This division really sucks.
South: Saints -- Another weak division, but Nawlins is plenty good regardless.
West: Seahawks -- Speaking of comeback years, Shaun Alexander will be back in a big way as well.
Wild Cards: Cowboys and Rams -- The Boys have all the puzzle pieces in place, and the Rams could go far behind emerging superstar Steven Jackson

Super Bowl
Seahawks over Patriots -- Alexander the Great shall reign supreme.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Weekend Roundup

Well, this weekend was certainly a case of the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good

Bama looked mighty impressive in their debut under Nick Saban -- though I didn't watch the game, I just read the recap and have seen a few highlights.

Terry Grant appears to be as explosive as people have been saying, but then again it was Western Carolina. Still, any time your team can average 7-YPC, you gotta be happy. Also, worth noting that Grant's first half (135 yards, 3 TDs) was better than 12 of the 13 running back performances last year -- with Ken Darby's 167 yard performance against Ole Miss the lone exception.

This week will be the real season opener however, when the boys in crimson visit Nashville to take on those pesky smart boys from Vanderbilt. Suffice to say this will be a game worth ordering on Gameplan -- and hopefully I will recieve a similar stroke of luck to last year when a one-game order magically turned into a "buy one get the rest of the season free!" promotion. Suck on that, Comcast.

The Bad

Did You Know? The no-hitter was the first time this season the O's got shutout. Oriole baseball: we may lose 30-3, but we still got 3.

The Ugly

Pathetic. Never have I seen a Braves team look that unintersted in a series -- against the Mets no less! As little as two years ago the Braves would've pulled their collective hearts out and used them for batting practice. But this year? They had no sense of urgency, none. I know we have major pitching problems, but come on.

Yesterday's win provided the smallest glimmer of hope. If the Braves can salvage at least two of three from Philly, then sweep the Nationals, next week's trip to New York could actually mean something.

Of course, it'd be swell if 1999 Chipper Jones showed up in all of his Mets-Killer glory.

In other news...

Scoop Jackson has done gone and lost his cotton pickin' mind. Tennis, better than college football? I won't dignify that with a rant.

Prediction Time! Week 1 results: 2-3. Thank you Cal and Troy. Auburn, FSU and Okie State: you suck. No, really. Auburn's o-line looked just plain not good. Florida St. still has the same lame offense -- and who predicted that? And I almost got a two-for-one when Tommy Bowden's inept coaching let the Seminoles back in it. Okie St. put up an early fight, but I thought they could at least hang for three, three and a half quarters... guess not. With Matthew Stafford looking the way he did, our Sept. 22th showdown in Tuscaloosa just got that much juicer.

Thanks a lot Michigan, you -- along with Miss. St. -- made my preview look nice and shitty. I mean, I know I'm not perfect, but damn... I'm not that dumb. Two things can happen here: Michigan goes 12-1, or the Wolverines have one ugly season. We shall see Saturday when Oregon visits the Big House (personally, wouldn't wanna be an Oregon fan right about now).

I'll tell you what, I'm about damn tired of every team getting a bye before they play Bama. Arkansas will get an extra week to prepare for their trip to Titletown on the 15th. Who takes a bye in the second week of the season? Whatever, I do not fear the Hogs. We handed the game to them last year, and by we I mean Leigh "1 for 3 against Western Carolina" Tiffin. Yeah yeah, McFadden and Jones. I get it, and I know run defense ain't our strength this season. But when your RB's passing line (1-1, 42 yds, TD) is better than your QB's (11-20, 108 yds), you don't skurr me. I'm fairly confident in the abilites of Coach Saban and Kevin Steele to come up with a counter for the Hogs' vaunted Wildcat formation.

You know, I have probably more hatred for Arkansas than I should. I think it just stems from the fact that all of their victories over us in my lifetime has been utter bullshit (aside from that 42-6 beatdown in 1998). I mean there was that year where they got away with having 12 men on the field the play before the game-winning touchdown catch that was actually an incompletion. Matt Jones single-handedly won the game in 2003 and 2004 (with the help of a flag-happy ref in '03). And don't even get me started on last year's game.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Prediction Time!

But first, some other stuff.

OK, what we learned last night: Rutgers, Louisville and Boise St. scheduled easy first games, and Mississippi St. is still just plain awful.

Wright Thompson writes his love letter to Southern Football, and it's pretty good.

Onto the Bravos, if ever there were a time to pounce on the Mets, this weekend is it. They just had their soul ripped out by Philly, and their psyche is already shaky when it comes to playing Atlanta. These next two series are the season for us, with Philly coming to town after the Mets. The Braves throw Hudson, James and then Smoltz this weekend -- and if we can't sweep with those three, I don't know what to tell ya.

Almost forgot: cool new site I discovered (and by discover I mean one of the guys emailed me and said "hey, check out our site"), Arm Chair GM. It's like a community blog/message board/Wiki/good time killer sports site. So, look me up over there (td2kool) and keep your eyes open for more of my wonderful writing (although I'm still unsure as to whether I'll just import stuff from here over there or write different things, we'll see).

Alright, time for the picks.

Georgia vs. Oklahoma St. (+6)
Arkansas vs. Troy (+23.5)
Auburn (-13) vs. Kansas St.
Cal (-6.5) vs. Tennessee
Florida St. (-3.5) at Clemson

Also, the Weekend 6-Pack will be on hiatus until after football season. Predictions are enough, I don't want you getting spoiled now.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pigskin Prognostication -- The Koolest Damn CFB Preview In All The Land

Yee. Haw.

It is here. It being the season. College football has arrived... and I'm at work. Joy.

Oh well, I suppose I'm only missing an LSU beatdown of Miss. St. (although I have a hunch the Dawgs are gonna cover the 17.5 point spread... just a feeling).

Nonetheless, I aim to please. And so, here it is: the only perfect* preview you'll see this year.

* - Not even close

The National Championship Picture

-- In a bit of irony, the Wolverines could be this year's Ohio St.: Unstoppable offense and surprisingly stingy D.

-- Speaking of fast teams, there's none faster. Is this the year the Mountaineers finally fulfill their potential?

-- Or will their Big East rivals ruin their season? With an offense just as deadly, it's possible.

-- Talent. Talent. Talent. But will Les Miles silence doubters and finally win the big one? Can the Bayou Bengals even survive the SEC?

-- It'd be a great story, but can Sean Glennon get his act together and lead the Hokies to New Orleans? The defense will certainly do their part.

-- Colt McCoy is back and healthy, and he's got weapons to use. If the Horns can plug the holes in their secondary, Austin could be celebrating a 2nd title in three years.

-- What else needs to be said? If there were an NFL minor league, this team could probably win it. As long as they avoid pitfalls in the tricky road schedule, the title is theirs for the taking.

-- Unless the Bears finally rise up and steal USC's Pac-10 crown. They have the offense to do it, can they play enough D?

The envelope please...

Everyone and their mamas are picking the Men of Troy. Me? No. Why? Because I have balls... maybe at the cost of brains, but balls nonetheless. Remember when the 2005 USC squad was the best team ever? Sometimes, the only sure thing about a sure thing is that it ain't sure at all.

With that said, I see a lot of blue and gold invading New Orleans in January. I like the West Virginia Mountaineers to find their defense, and continue to run by everyone on their way to Nawlins. Facing them will be the Wolverines of Meeechigan, who will finally shake their demons against Ohio St. But, much like the Buckeyes last year, they'll find their opposition's speed to be too much, and West Virginia will win a shootout and take the National Championship back home to those country roads.

Conference Predictions

ACC - Virginia Tech over Wake Forest
Big East - West Virginia
Big 11 - Michigan
Big 12 - Texas over Nebraska
C-USA - Southern Miss
MAC - Ohio
Mountain West - TCU
Pac-10 - Cal
SEC - LSU over South Carolina
Sun Belt - Troy
WAC - Hawaii

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pigskin Prognostication -- Big 10 (+1), Big East & SEC Edition

Due to time constraints, I'm just gonna go ahead and cram all of this into one thing, so as to finish up the whole preview before the games start tomorrow.

Big 11

Honestly, I see this season being exactly like last season... sort of. I like Michigan in the same way I liked Ohio St. last year: great offense, young but talented D, favorable schedule. The Wolverines get Oregon, Notre Dame, Penn St. and Ohio St. at home. Their only tough road trip should be the November tilt with Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium.

But, Wisconsin is a team to look out for. They can always run the ball, and their defense is pretty damn solid. But that schedule has some traps in it, namely to the tune of road games at Penn St. and Ohio St. However, if they can make it to that showdown with Big Blue unbeaten, look out.

Speaking of the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes, I don't see them challenging for the crown this season. Penn St. has sleeper potential if they kind find a running game and plug the holes in their defense, but they may be a year away. Ohio St. lost too damn much in my opinion, you just can't replace an offense like that and expect to make a swift transition. And the final four games on the schedule are dangerous (@ Penn St., Wisconsin, trap game vs. Illinois, @ Michigan).

I like for Lloyd Carr to silence the doubters.

Big East

This is a two team race, period. I like Rutgers and South Florida, but they don't have the depth that West Virginia and Louisville possess just yet. They'll win, just not the conference.

West Virginia has reached the point where they need to produce. Steve Slaton and Pat White are juniors, the defense has had two years to figure it the fuck out, it's time to win and win big for the Mountaineers. They have the two tough road games at South Florida and Rutgers, but you better bet they'll be focused on revenged against the Bulls and focused on the BCS by the time they make the trip to New Jersey. And just for fun, they added Noel "Oh my freaking gawd how did he do that!?" Devine to the already STACKED backfield. Scary.

In case you didn't know, there's a pretty decent offense at Louisville too. But, they have three slight problems. The first is the coaching transition -- however, with all that talent, they could draw up plays on the ground in the huddle and still drop 40 a game. The second is that defense, or lack thereof. Only four starters return and that run defense is a bit shoddy. Lastly, that schedule doesn't look good. A third week trip to new and improved Kentucky will be tough (and high scoring), and the last three games go @ WVU, @ South Florida and home against Rutgers. I think that stretch prevents the Cards from claiming the Big East crown.

SEC

You know what, I don't want any part of predicting this conference. Seriously. You could make a case for 10 of the 12 teams to win this conference, I'm not even kidding. The best I can do is offer a case for and against each of those 10 teams.

Florida -- For: Defending champs, and with Tebow at the helm that offense will be nasty. Against: Not exactly easy to replace nine starters on D and win the SEC.

Georgia -- For: Potential for a great offense. Against: Questions on D, and the schedule doesn't do them any favors.

Tennessee -- For: Erik Ainge may be the best QB in the SEC. Against: He lost his top three receivers, and the secondary defines inexperience.

South Carolina -- For: The Ol' Ball Coach is in his third year, and that's usually the season where teams click under his guidance. Against: Tough, tough schedule, and they still lack the depth of the big three in the East.

Kentucky -- For: Andre Woodson & the offense = damn good. Against: Defense = not so damn good.

Vandy -- For: Very good offense, and they have eight home games. Against: Those four road games are Auburn, South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee.

LSU -- For: Holy bejesus are they talented. Against: I'm not sold on Matt Flynn, the dude has started one game. And even though it was a win, it was a win against a Miami team that quit. No matter how many garbage time appearances you have, it's a whole 'nother story starting every week in the SEC. Oh, and Les Miles is the coach.

Arkansas -- For: Darren McFadden. Against: All the off-season soap opera shit, and Houston Nutt still does not know what the fuck a forward pass is.

Auburn -- For: They had an "off" year last year and still won 11 games. Against: Still questions on offense, namely with the line. Also, their four road games are Florida, Arkansas, LSU and Georgia.

Alabama -- For: Mike Shula did not leave the offensive cupboard bare for Nick Saban and Major Applewhite. The Tide just might have the best O in the SEC if the line plays up to its potential and a running back emerges (calling Terry Grant). Under Shula the Tide only got blown out once (against LSU in 2003), but they had trouble winning those close games. Saban will instill an attitude that will win those close games (assuming Leigh Tiffin doesn't miss 435 kicks in a game). Against: Can they stop the run? The secondary is top notch, but the front seven has major depth issues that aren't clearing up anytime soon. The homer in me says the pieces are there for a title run, but the realist knows that the coaching transition and the depth issues will take their toll.

So, my pick? Um...err... LSU over South Carolina. Regardless of whether I'm right, the SEC will be wild and extremely fun to watch this season.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Pigskin Prognostication -- ACC

Somewhere in the middle of writing my Big 12 preview, I realized that doing an "in-depth" preview of all the major conferences was pretty idiotic.

Why? Because I just don't give a damn about some of them. Now, don't get me wrong, I'll watch any college football game -- I love the sport. But, I don't care enough about some conferences to know every team inside and out.

The ACC is one of those conferences.

I mean, I grew up in ACC Country -- and during basketball season that's a great thing, but during football season... well, quite frankly it sucks big floppy donkey dick. The games were boring, the teams were second-tier, there were just no redeeming qualities about it.

The addition of Boston College, Virginia Tech and Miami helped, but it's still largely a boring conference.

That said, it's still college football, so I will attempt to preview it best I can.

Teams that will do good

-- What's with everyone giving up on the Demon Deacons? Not only do they have 15 starters coming back, but they have Micah Andrews returning after missing all of 2006 due to injury. If you listen to Wake themselves, they say they have more talent than last year. They also have a favorable conference schedule, with Florida St. coming to Winston-Salem, and they avoid Miami and Virginia Tech. They do have road trips to Boston College (the season opener) and Clemson, but other than that they're all good. Out of conference, they have a chance to make a national statement when Nebraska visits on Sept. 8th -- they also have tricky stops at Navy and Vanderbilt.

-- I'll tell you what, it's a crying shame that Hokie DC Bud Foster isn't a head coach already. The dude has coached some of the most dominant defenses for years now, yet still no head coaching job. This year, the Hokies will once again have a downright nasty D, and if Sean Glennon can get his act together under center -- taking some pressure off of sensational RB Brandon Ore -- then the Hokies offense should put just enough points on the board for the D (and they don't need much).

-- The biggest challenger to VT in the Coastal Division, the Rambling Wreck's D may be just as good as the Hokies'. They host VT on November 1st, with the winner more than likely winning the division. They do need to avoid their usual pitfall though, and with trips to Virginia, Miami and Maryland the opportunity will be there.

Teams that won't do so good

-- They got Jimbo Fisher, that's great an all, but uh, where's the running game gonna come from? And who says Drew Weatherford or Xavier Lee will pick up his offense right away? Too many tough road games (Clemson, Wake, B.C. and Va. Tech) for the Seminoles to win the conference this year.

-- There's the usual turnover from the coaching change to deal with, and they still don't have an identity on offense. The D will win them some games, but trips to Florida St., Va. Tech and B.C. will make life tough.

-- Uh, Tommy Bowden... still coaching.

And the winnah is...

Virginia Tech over Wake.