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.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pigskin Prognostication -- Big 12

The Big 12 is getting a bit boring. Every single year it's Texas, Oklahoma, some upstart North team, an upset here or there and bada bing bada boom season over.

Last year, Texas had 10 wins in a "down" year. Oklahoma turned a pre-season clusterfuck into a Big 12 title. Nebraska took the first step towards their grand reemergence by winning the North.

This year? Well, it looks to be more of the same.

Texas looks to be the big dog in the yard, with Colt McCoy leading a very good passing game and a run-suffocating defense. They do have question marks, namely on the offensive line and in the secondary. But their schedule is quite favorable, with their first real test being the Red River Shootout on October 6th (although hosting TCU the second weekend of the season could be tricky), which should give them time to address those problems, preparing them for tough road trips to Oklahoma St. and Texas A&M in November.

Oklahoma looks about in the same shape as they did this time last year: talent all across the board, killer D, but who the hell is gonna play QB? Redshirt freshman Sam Bradford was named the starter last week, but if he struggles early on, the Sooners will look to either junior Joey Halzle or freshman Keith Nichol. Schedule-wise, the Sooners have an early test when they host Miami on Sept. 8th, but other than the Texas showdown, the schedule is light. Their only road games are Tulsa, Colorado, Iowa St. and Texas Tech -- and with Tech entering a down year, none of those should really pose a threat (on the other hand, strange things happen in Lubbock).

As for everyone else? Well, Nebraska looks primed to continue their rise, but a schedule that includes home dates with USC, Okie St. and Texas A&M -- and road trips to Wake Forest, Missouri and Texas -- looks to be a tad too much for the Huskers to make any real noise.

But they should win the North with ease. Missouri is getting rave reviews this off-season, but come on people, it's freaking Missouri. Gary Pinkel is still the head coach. You done now? OK, you're welcome.

So, it's like I said before: more of the same. The winner of the Red River Shootout will win the conference, Nebraska will make a little noise in the North, somebody will pull an upset somewhere (Colorado over Oklahoma in Boulder, Sept. 29th), and that'll be that.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Pigskin Prognostication -- Pac 10 Edition

Go west young man, where offenses still embrace the "shoot first, screw the questions" Wild West mantra.

So, everyone and their mother has picked USC to not only breeze through the Pac 10, but win the National Championship. Well, that leaves me with two choices: go with the seemingly obvious pick of the Trojans, or actually grow some balls and pick someone else.

Well, let's look at some things. First, this is USC under Pete Carroll, the most dominant force in college football since... well, has any program been this dominant ever? Not in my lifetime, anyway. They have a Heisman contender in John David Booty, they return 16 starters, they have a literal stable of high school All-Americans in the backfield, and their defense is just plain sick.

On the flip side, Booty may be a Heisman contender only because he's USC's QB. Their schedule is no easy task this year -- the Trojans pay visit to Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, Cal and Arizona St. That game in Lincoln is the one that sticks out at me -- the Huskers are just looking for a win that says "We're back, bitches" and this is the perfect candidate. Notre Dame is down, but South Bend is no easy trip and Charlie Weis will have his boys pumped. Oregon can score with anybody, Cal is the biggest threat to USC's crown (remember the Bears shared the Pac 10 title last year), and the Sun Devils should be improved under Dennis Erickson. If the Trojans lost to Oregon St. and UCLA on the road last year, there's no reason to think they're invincible this year.

Cal is dangerous, we've known this for a few years now. But they haven't been able to get over that hump just quite yet. They took a baby step last year, and with a passing game as dangerous as theirs (DeSean Jackson is the TRUTH), I think they can make the big jump and win an outright Pac 10 title this season.

Weekend 6-Pack

Shinedown - Leave a Whisper
Steve Miller Band - Greatest Hits 1974-78
OutKast - Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik
Johnny Cash - The Legend of Johnny Cash
Saliva - Every Six Seconds
The Offspring - Americana

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pigskin Prognostication -- Mid-Major/Independent Edition

It's that time of year again: time for me to make wacked-out predictions that make me say "what the fuck was I thinking" five months from now.

Anywho, today is the Mid-Major and Independent portion of our program kiddies, which means you can go ahead and skip this because I have little to no idea what in the Wide World of Sports is going on when it comes to the little guys.

Party like a rockstar

-- The Horned Frogs (aka Fightin' Pokemans) have quietly built one of the best programs of the past decade, winning 11 games in three of the past four years. Their defense is annually one of the nation's best, and this year will be no different with nine starters returning. On the flip side, they haven't been able to field a formidable offense since LaDainian Tomlinson was running wild. While they should win the Mountain West, TCU probably won't crash the BCS party on the count of that little trip to Austin and all.

-- While everybody is running around looking for the next Boise St., why not look right at the Broncos themselves? True, they have question marks (namely at QB and DT), but this is another school that has been quietly stockpiling talent for a number of years now. Truth be told, if anything stands in the way of the Broncos getting back to the BCS, it's a tricky schedule that involves a home date with the perpetually sneaky Southern Miss and a season ending tilt at Hawaii... well, that or Ian Johnson going through the ole newlywed slump.

-- I have a backup plan for life, and that is this: if I ever feel that life is just plain shitty, I'm selling off just about everything I own and moving to Hawaii and opening a bar. Hopefully, if that day comes June Jones will still be coaching the Warriors. Because that offense is just damn fun to watch. In fact, the only thing cooler than the run n' shoot is the old Rainbows logo. Anywho, the schedule is ridiculously easy for the Warriors -- meaning Colt Brennan should put up some serious Playstation numbers (and further prove my theory that any QB named Colt is instantly five times better than his peers) and that Hawaii should rack up the wins big time heading into their last two games, at home versus Boise St. and Washington. While it's very weak, an undefeated season should put the Warriors in the BCS.

Party like a high schooler (not quite great, but they give it their all nonetheless)

-- Speaking of quiet winners, did you know the Golden Eagles have had 13 straight winning seasons? I used to hate seeing them on Bama's schedule, because even though we usually beat them (save for an embarrassing 21-0 beatdown in that dreadful 2000 season), they always scared the shit out of me. This year, Southern Miss has the best running back you haven't heard of in sophomore Damion Fletcher -- and a favorable schedule that should lead them to a Conference USA title. However, September trips to Tennessee and Boise St. will keep the Eagles from doing anything bigger (conversely, if they pull the upsets, look out).

-- Charlie Weis is recruiting his ass off, but this is just not the Irish's year. They lost too much and still don't have what it takes on defense. But trips to Penn St., Michigan and UCLA, along with home games versus Georgia Tech and USC, mean the Irish aren't heading to a third straight BCS bowl.

Party like a D&D nerd

-- What happened to the MAC? Remember when they were giant killers? Now... not so much. And adding Temple ain't exactly gonna help.

Winners

Mountain West - TCU
WAC - Hawaii
Sun Belt - Troy
C-USA - Southern Miss
MAC - Ohio

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

9 days...

Thank the Bear, the countdown to the season has finally reached single digits. Granted, there ain't much good football being played on August 30th, but any meaningful -- i.e. not NFL preseason -- football is better than no football (or Canadian "football").

As for Bama Nation, we have to wait those two extra days, and if this article doesn't make you want to invent a time machine right now so you could skip over the next 11 days, then stop calling yourself a fan.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I go to the beach for a weekend...

And I come back to find the Braves 5.5 games behind the Mets (thank God they're done with Arizona for the season) and Simeon Castille in a Tuscaloosa jail. Jeez.

However, the Braves get a chance to reprieve themselves before the end-of-the-month showdown with the Mets, as they play Cinnci, St. Louis and Florida over the next 10 days. Mark Teixeira has apparently decided to just try and swing the Bravos into the playoffs all by his lonesome, as he has hit two more homers already tonight (after hitting two yesterday) to bring his ATL homer total to nine in 18 games.

As for the Castille situation, apparently it's an overreaction on the Tuscaloosa PD's part. Everything I've read says that Simeon was simply horsing around with a friend and got busted for it. Even Daddy Castille is saying this, and he's the kind of guy who'd let his kid sit in a jell cell for a weekend to teach him a lesson. So, this seems to be no biggie.

Finally, the end of September/beginning of October looks to be a good couple of weeks for rock. The Foo Fighters are set to release Echoes, Silence, Patience And Grace on Sept. 25th -- and thankfully it looks as the most underrated band of my generation (well, either them or The Black Crowes) is gonna address this shitty ass Emo movement, as there is a song titled "Cheer Up, Boys (Your Make-Up Is Running)" -- while on Oct. 9th, Kid Rock releases Rock N Roll Jesus to both stores and strip clubs everywhere.

Friday, August 17, 2007

O holy night

The stars are brightly shining. That may be the biggest selling DVD in history.

Anywho, let's hope the Bravos can survive the weekend tilt with Arizona while the Mets have the oh so daunting task of going to D.C.

Weekend 6-Pack

311 - '93 - '03
Pearl Jam - rearviewmirror (2 Discs)
Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy
Incubus - Morning View
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Greatest Hits

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tuesday's not gone yet, just boring

Slow news day.

Anyway, Time has a pretty damn good read about the real culprits behind the devastation of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and why it is seemingly destined to happen again. Hard to believe it's been two years already, even harder to believe how quickly people forgot.

In sports news, ESPN.com is running their annual college football preview, and their experts have absolutely no balls. Not only did all 12 pick USC to make the title game, but all 12 picked USC to win it all. Is it the smartest and safest pick? Absolutely. But damn people, somebody grow some balls and take a chance (I'm still debating whether I'll grow some before my preview later this month... maybe).

Monday, August 13, 2007

19 days...

Until the season finally arrives. Perfect timing too, because apparently the Braves only beat the Mets these days, thus they'll be eliminated by September. Actually, with the way that each team is being punished my injuries and the creative ways in which each are finding to lose games, this will be one of those "exciting" pennant races in which somebody backs their way into the division crown.

Speaking of the Braves, here is a decision I would not want to be in charge of making. However, popular opinion seems to be the Braves will give Andruw Jones a one-year contract next year, and Scott Boras (Jones' agent) will accept in hopes of Andruw actually having a good walk-year.

Anywho, Dennis Dodd offers up his list of games to watch this season, and SI.com does as well -- only shorter and in photo gallery form. Lots of good ones this season, and I'm sure many more will pop up as the season goes on.

I have a serious love/hate relationship this time of year -- on the one hand I love seeing and reading all of the college football previews and feeling the building excitement/anticipation for the season. On the other hand, I've usually played too much NCAA by now and just want the real football to get underway already. Although, this year I've been playing less NCAA and more FIFA '07 for some reason (and that's just weird man, I don't even like soccer save for the World Cup). Whatever, a weekend at the beach and a few concerts between now and Sept. 1 will pass the time.

On a sad note, former WWE and WCW star Brian "Crush" Adams has passed away. The cause of death is unknown, but this has all the makings of a steroid/heart related thing. There's really not much you can say here -- the WWE has a glaring problem and continues to largely ignore it, all the while their current and former stars continue to die at incredibly early ages and at an alarming rate. What, is it gonna take the death of a Hulk Hogan or Macho Man to wake them up? Or maybe they'll address the problem when people just plain stop desiring to become pro wrestlers?

Friday, August 10, 2007

w00t!

The Bravos took another series from the Mets, closing the lead back to 3.5 games... now if the Mets would only lose to the other teams they play, we'd be in business.

Pretty pumped about my weekend agenda: tonight I'm going to see what is sure to be a great pitcher's duel between probably AL ROY Dice-K and The Best Lefty Not Named Johan Santana & Cy Young candidate Erik "Dammit Get This Guy a Cool Nickname" Bedard.

Tomorrow I'm going to the PAETEC Jazz Festival to see B.B King, Little Richard and Al Green.

Weekend 6-Pack:

The Black Crowes - By Your Side
Collective Soul - 7even Year Itch: Collective Soul Greatest Hits 1994-2001
Lynyrd Skynyrd - (pronounced leh-nerd skin-nerd)
Alabama - Mountain Music
Kid Rock - Kid Rock
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Is the season here yet?

No? Dammit.

Barry Bonds and 756

So Dennis Dodd has some pretty harsh words about Barry Bonds. I disagree with just about every word he said, but I won't go into that because I've already stated my case on the matter. However, there is one quote I'd like to respond to:
Would any one of us in 1999, only eight years ago, even remotely considered Bonds the best player in the game? Not a chance.
Whoa now buddy, say what again?

OK, it's widely thought/known that Bonds started taking something after 1998 -- because he was jealous of/resented the attention that Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were receiving for their home run explosion. So, let's assume that through 1998, Bonds was clean and pure. Here are his stats over those 13 seasons:

Career averages of .289 AVG/.408 OBP/.911 OPS/ + Career totals of 411 HR/1216 RBI/445 SB + 3 MVPs & 8 Gold Gloves

Are you trying to tell me those numbers aren't representative of one of, if not the, best players in the game? At the time I would've had no problem and no hesitation about putting Bonds as the best player in the NL, and behind only Ken Griffey, Jr. as the best player in all the land. Hell, if Bonds had retired right then and there, those are Hall of Fame numbers already. I know the media likes to play high and mighty, and I usually like Dodd's work -- but that statement is just ludicrous.

Bonds is acting as a scapegoat and it isn't fair, because everyone is to blame for the steroids scandal -- Bud Selig, the players, the management, the fans, the media... EVERYONE.

I think I've found a new musician crush

And no, she isn't replacing Kelly, she's more of a backup plan or something.

She = Miranda Lambert. Not only is she the damn near perfect blond hair, blues eyes Southern girl, but she's got a fire in her belly (Blender has a habit of bringing that out in folks, don't they?). Musically I haven't really heard her stuff. So off to Soulseek I go later tonight.

I just think attitude is plain SEXY. Seriously, I have things for women most don't, all because of the way they act. Like Amy Winehouse -- I say she's good looking and my friends are like "no way, dude" -- but man, the drinking and the tattoos and the general "I don't give a fuck" personality just gets me all hot and bothered, man.

You know what? This will probably get me in trouble somewhere down the line... oh well, at least it'll be fun.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

One down, two to go

The Braves take the first game of a HUGE three-game series in New York tonight, 7-3.

The bats are cooking lately, and the pen pitched shutout ball over the final four frames. Gotta feel pretty good about the chances of a sweep if you're a Braves fan -- Smoltz and Hudson are the starters for the final two games.

After this it's on to Philly for another big series.

Interesting Scoop Jackson column on the Barry Bonds situation.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Shreddin' solos

It seems the cool thing to do nowadays is make a list of the most kick ass guitar solos ever.

Now, I'd love to make a list on the subject, but I have some reasons why making such a list is damn near impossible:
  • It would take MONTHS of research -- and by research I mean doing nothing but listening to rock music all day, every day. Not that this is a bad thing, just time consuming is all.
  • There is no fucking way I could come up with a set list -- I mean I would disagree with myself at every turn, writing and then rewriting the list 100 times a day.
  • Just how in the hell do you determine the "best" solo, anyway? Length? Pace? Rhythm? I don't see how it can be done.
So what's a guy to do? Well, I know what I can do: make a list of my favorite guitar solos of all-time. How do you pick that list? Simple: they're the solos that when they come on, you start rocking the air guitar like a mofo.

Without further ado, in no particular order...

"Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
"Thorn in My Pride" by The Black Crowes
"Tangerine" by Led Zeppelin
"Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix
"White Room" by Cream
"Heartbreaker" by Led Zeppelin
"My Sharona" by The Knack
"The Ballad of Curtis Loew" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
The entire Back in Black album by AC/DC
"Level" by The Raconteurs
"Have a Cigar" by Pink Floyd
"Doesn't Remind Me" by Audioslave
"Black Betty" by Ram Jam
"Sleep Now in the Fire" by Rage Against the Machine
"Readymade" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Take it On the Run" by REO Speedwagon
"Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones
"Working Man" by Rush
"Little Wing" by Stevie Ray Vaughn
"Trippin' On a Hole in a Paper Heart" by Stone Temple Pilots
"Alive" by Pearl Jam
"You Really Got Me" by Van Halen
"Slither" by Velvet Revolver
"Ball and Biscuit" by The White Stripes
"You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told)" by The White Stripes
"Call Me the Breeze" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
"The Song Remains the Same" by Led Zeppelin
"Whipping Post" by The Allman Brothers Band
"Jealous Again" by The Black Crowes
"No More Tears" by Ozzy Osbourne
"Blue on Black" by Kenny Wayne Sheppard
"I Heard it Through the Grapevine" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
"Hotel California" by The Eagles
"Paradise City" by Guns N Roses
"Rocket Queen" by Guns N Roses
"Fade to Black" by Metallica
"One" by Metallica

OK, I'm spent.

Friday, August 03, 2007

I feel good

So, despite last night's blown game, I feel good about the Braves' chances this year. That lineup has absolutely no holes in it (assuming Edgar Renteria isn't out for too long). If the young starters hold their own (and Soriano regains his early season form), we'll go deep into October.

Also, I'm feeling good about the Ravens' chances this season. I LOVED the Willis McGahee pickup.

Lastly, I feel that Alabama could be a dark horse in the SEC race. But more on that at a later date.

Weekend 6-Pack

The Doors - Greatest Hits
Metallica - Metallica
Three Days Grace - One X
Rob Zombie - Past, Present & Future
Shinedown - Us and Them
Incubus - Make Yourself

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A little fun with conference alignments

I've read a good bit on conferences realigning lately, and it got me to thinking.

In 2009, Western Kentucky joins D-1A football, giving it 120 teams total. So, I got to fiddling around with conference alignments and have created what I think would be 10 pretty solid college football conferences.

I took into account geography above all else -- because university presidents whine so much about guys missing class time, so why not cut down on travel? Next, I tried to keep as many traditional rivalries in place as I could -- naturally, I couldn't fit all rivals into the same conferences, but that's why we have out-of-conference games. Lastly, I tried to maintain some sort of balance in regards to the strength of the teams -- that is to say, I tried not to create a mammoth like the current SEC or a weakling like the Sun Belt.

Here's the list, with some additional thoughts afterwards.

Big East
North: Boston College, UConn, Army, Rutgers, Syracuse, Buffalo
South: Navy, Maryland, Temple, Pitt, West Virginia, Penn St.

ACC
North: Virginia, Va. Tech, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Duke, N.C. St.
South: East Carolina, Clemson, South Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Miami

SEC
West: Memphis, Ole Miss, Mississippi St., Alabama, Auburn, UAB
East: Troy, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Middle Tenn. St.

SWC
North: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Texas Tech, UTEP, New Mexico St.
South: North Texas, TCU, SMU, Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M

Big 12
West: Colorado, Colorado St., Nebraska, Kansas St., Kansas, Tulsa
East: Arkansas St. Western Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Iowa St., Minnesota

Gulf Coast
West: Rice, Houston, La. Tech, UL-Monroe, UL-Lafayette, LSU
East: Tulane, Southern Miss., Florida St., Florida, South Florida, Central Florida

Mid-West
West: Illinois, Purdue, Ball St., Indiana, Northern Illinois, Wisconsin
East: Louisville, Kentucky, Marshall, Cincinnati, Miami-Ohio, Ohio

Great Lakes
West: Northwestern, Notre Dame, Western Mich., Central Mich., Michigan St., Michigan
East: Eastern Mich., Toledo, Bowling Green, Kent St., Akron, Ohio St.

Mountain West
West: Idaho, Boise St., Nevada, UNLV, Arizona St., Arizona
East: New Mexico, Air Force, Wyoming, Utah, Utah St., BYU

Pac 12
North: Washington, Wash. St., Oregon, Oregon St., Cal, Stanford
South: San Jose St., Fresno St., UCLA, USC, San Diego St., Hawaii

OK, there you have it. Is it perfect? Of course not. But I think I did a solid job of keeping in line with my three goals from above.

Geographically, I really wanted to put Colorado and Colorado St. in the Mountain West because it makes perfect sense. But after shuffling around teams forever, it just didn't work. Some conferences ended up short and some too big, and I was adamant about having 12-team conferences.

For the same reasons, that's why Rice and Houston aren't with their old running mates from the old SWC, and why Oklahoma and Okie St. aren't in the Big 12 with their old Big 8 counterparts.

Balance-wise, I definitely avoided making any ultra-strong or ultra-weak conferences. Yes, there are stronger conferences and weaker ones, but there isn't a ridiculous gap between them. I did have to shuffle some teams to get that balance, because originally I tried to keep as much as the SEC as I could, but that created an uber-division of Florida, Florida St., Tennessee, Georgia, Ga. Tech and Vandy. That also left the Gulf Coast conference really weak.

So, how would this benefit college football? Well, it essentially eliminates the "well this team plays a brutal conference schedule and that one doesn't" crap. Yes, some years some conferences will be tougher, but it wouldn't be like people comparing Troy's current conference slate to Alabama's.

With that balance, all teams get to play high profile games that give them exposure -- and that leads to more money, which leads to better facilities, etc., which leads to better recruits and subsequently better teams. Thus, giving everyone a better shot at winning their conference... in theory.

Speaking of balance, no one could complain about conference championship games or the lack thereof anymore, because everyone would play them. I like the SEC's format of scheduling: you play the other five teams in your division, and three teams from the other division -- with one of those teams on your schedule every year (Ex: Bama plays Tennessee every year out of the SEC East).

Here's how it goes: take the schedule down to 11 games -- eight conference and three outside the conference. Then have your conference title game. The 10 conference champs then get automatic bids to the 16-team NCAA Tourney, and there are six at-large bids. It's that simple. No more BCS-conferences and Mid-Major snubbing.

That -- in my view -- is a truly balanced college football world. Of course... it is only a dream that will probably not come close to becoming true in my lifetime.