Thursday, November 30, 2006

3rd Place and The Cups

That pretty much what Arsenal have to play for now this year. They way they have been playing lately, they need to shake themselves quickly if they want to be serious about that 3rd place spot, which is vital because it brings with it qualification into next year's Champions League.

Tough to get used to that for the 2nd year in a row they are out of the title race so early, when you consider that since Wenger took over in 98 96-97 they never finished out of the top 2 between 97-98 and 04-05. But it is what it is so people need to stop all the whining and complaining and support them in good times and bad.

They have shown in beating ManUtd at Old Trafford and destroying Liverpool that they are capable of outplaying and beating anyone in a one-off, so the FA Cup and Champions League are still very much in play. Of course they have to get a result next week at Porto in their final grouop stage match to get through to the knock-out stage of that competition, which will be the defining match of the season until the spring run in, since the CL has a layoff until said knock out stage starts in February. Making it or crashing out will have a huge impact on the team's mentality going forward as the middle of the season plays out.

Speaking of the huge CL match next week, an aside- most people are bitching about this because Th14 picked up a yellow last week against Hamburg, so because of the card accumulation rule he misses the huge match away to Porto. I think the bigger point is: forget the wrongful yellow card for a presumed intentional handball that never touched his hand- the more critical ramification of that horrible horrible call is that the perfectly legitimate goal was disallowed, giving CSKA 3 points and Arsenal none when they both should have gotten 1 point each. My point is that the table is currently Arsenal 10 pts, Porto 10 pts, CSKA 8 pts, and Arsenal need a result away to the 2004 Champions League Champions to assure qualification, when the standings should be Arsenal 11 pts, Porto 10 pts, CSKA 6 pts, and Arsenal should already be through to the knockout stage and next's weeks match would be little more than a training session. To me that is the bigger woulda/coulda/shoulda lamentation than TH14 missing the Porto match.

Final CL thought - amazing to think that it is completely possible that last year's champions (Barca) and runners up (Arsenal) may both crash out of this year's CL in the group stage. Barca must beat Werder Bremen outright or they are done, and Arsenal must get a draw at Porto (unless CSKA draw or lose to bottom dwellers Hamburg, then they are through even with a loss).

Shit. Damn. Motherfucker...

... is the name of a great song by D'Angelo off of a great album called Brown Sugar.

It also perfectly describes Arsenal's last 3 premiership matches, which have seen their title hopes destroyed before December.

Pretty much sums it up

Arsenal 1-1 Newcastle United. Sat. Nov 18. (match highlights)

Same old story. Concede and early goal, dominate the rest of the match, get a brilliant equalizer on a TH14 free kick, but finish 1-1 and drop 2 points against a 17th place team that you outshot 26-2.

Bolton 3-1 Arsenal. Sat. Nov. 25 (match highlights)

Same old story with Bolton. They used their physical style to bully the smallish, finesse, technical Arsenal, and ex-wunderkind Nicolas Anelka scored a stunner and added a 2nd against the club that made him famous. (aside: most Arsenal fans hate Anelka because of the way he left the club like a spoiled brat and boo him and will never forgive him and the rest, but I look at it differently- I just kind of laugh at the dude because Arsene bought him for 500,000 pounds as an unknown and sold him 2 years later for 22.3 million pounds. Arsenal 'used' him to help win the double in 98, made a 22 million pound profit off of him, and his career has been pretty terrible ever since then while Arsenal have enjoyed much success, so I don't really see the point in hating him- the club got absolute max value out of the dude and used the money to become even better).

The Arse had not given up more than 1 goal in any match all year, and here they concede 3. Hitting the woodwork three times just made it more painful. Title dreams are basically over, and there's still leftover turkey in the fridge.

Fulham 2-1 Arsenal. Wed Nov 29 (match highlights {with the voice of EA FIFA games John Motson})

As disappointing as it was dropping points to Villa, Boro, West Ham, and Newcastle this season, this is Fulham, who Arsenal simply own. Fulham had never beat Arsenal in the Premiership; in fact, in their 10 prem meetings Fulham have managed one 0-0 draw and 9 losses to the Gunners. Furthermore, they have not beaten Arsenal in any competition since 1966. Well, you can change that have to had, for they went 2-0 up in 18 minutes and held on to win 2-1 in what would have been a fantastically entertaining match for a neutral fan. RVPs stunning free kick from 30 yards out cut the defecit in half, but the red mist descended as Senderos was sent off for his 2nd yellow. Soon thereafter Henry scored a great and perfectly legitimate equalizer, but it was called back as he was ruled offsides. Unfortunately the replays all showed him to be onsides. Walcott then hit the post and that was that. This match was different from all the others in the Fulham had tons of chances and hit the bar themselves. So after not letting in more than a goal any match this season they have allowed 3 to Bolton and 2 in 18 minutes to Fulham (to a freaking American and a Canadian no less). 16 behind ManU and 13 behind Chelsea means the Prem is officially a 2 horse race this year.

Amazingly, Arsenal have conceded the first goal in 9 of their 14 prem matches, and their style of play works infinitely better when they score first than when their opponents do, since many teams that get 1-0 up on Arsenal just put 10 men behind the ball and close up shop. I could go on and on about what is or isn't the cause of the malaise and what should be done, but if you care that much about it then you already read ANR, Arseblog and the other sites and you've heard all the theories. I will only say that the people who are saying Arsene Wenger has lost the plot and should leave Arsenal are truly, truly morons.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Sad Day In Athens

Kanu, are you baked? How could you say such a thing after we beat our little sisters for the 6th year in a row? Look, dumbass, it's all right here.

Pre realization-that-Ball-is-gone joy.

It is a sad day because Reggie Ball's eligibility will soon be over and we will have to face a different Georgia Tech quarterback next year.

I realized today, at some point during the 2nd quarter (I think when he engineered that GT scoring drive from our 12 to our 22 to set up their field goal), how much I love Reggie Ball and how much I will miss him.

At halftime Solon called me and asked me what was going to happen. I said something like "Well, Ball has been inept but hasn't yet had any fuckups, so we should be due 1 or 2. That being said, we aren't doing shit. I bet we find a way to narrowly get ahead near the end and all we will need is 1 defensive stop and I fear like Vandy & UK we won't get it."

So when we valiantly went ahead by 3 with 2 minutes left I was starting to feel like a swami, and I was hoping that my premonition wouldn't come true. But the power of Reggie was stronger than I imagined. It wasn't enough for him to 1) fumble the ball away, which resulted in not only a turnover deep in his own end but a TD directly and 2) to keep it, slip and fall on their 2 point conversion instead of pitching it to a dude who could have walked into the corner of the end zone. Nope, he wanted to go out in style. So he patiently waited while we turned 4th & 17 for them into 1st and 10, and then threw a horribly thrown interception befitting a true freshman. Not quite throwing the ball away on 4th down because you don't realize that it's 4th down, like he did on his would be game winning drive 2 years ago, but that was always going to be difficult to top. This was a perfect way to cap his career against his school's biggest rival.

Oh how I will miss thee...

***Update: it appears I am not alone.

So that is why it is a sad day today. I don't know if we will ever again benefit from such shittacular play from the opposing QB in our rivalry with little sister.

A special word of props for Mo Massaquoi, who stared down the inner demons of earlier-in-the-year chronic drops and made 3 huge catches on the final scoring drive. Amazingly, the most important one was the one that didn't result in points: a 3rd down catch at the 5 where he knew he was going to get drilled, made a great catch, held onto the ball, was heady enough to fall forward and get the 1st down, and did get drilled. A huge play from someone whose confidence was very low much of the season, and on the next 2 plays he caught the winning TD and 2 point conversion. Like Bob Marley, perhaps he has conquered the evil spirits that earlier beset him.

Mo Mass: Duppy Conqueror

A special word of props also for Paul Oliver, who for the 2nd year running pretty much shut down Calvin Johnson (save for 1 circus catch TD last year). As great as Calvin is, imagine how amazing he would have been if he had gone to a school with a 1/2 decent QB and a team that actually could get him the ball and maximize his talents. Scary to think about - dude cannot get his ass out of Atlanta and into the NFL fast enough.

PO8 channeling Public Enemy: Shut 'Em Down.

For those scoring at home, that is six in a row and 13 of the last 16, with 2 of their 3 "wins" resulting from calls so bad that they would certainly have been overturned given the current replay system. Oh, and all 3 "wins" during a period when the NCAA found them to be cheating profusely and attempted to vacate said "wins". In other words, 1 legitimate win for GT since 1990. Feels great, until you realize that it is exactly how the Gators feel about us. Still feels great though.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Week 13 Useless Predictions

Arkansas +1.5 v. LSU

Air Force -10.5 @ UNLV

Oklahoma -5 @ Oklahoma State

Florida -8.5 @ Florida State

BYU -10.5 @ Utah

Georgia -3 v Georgia Tech

USC -8.5 v Notre Dame

Nevada-Boise OVER 56


Yeah, so due to some mondo changes at work in the last week or two my free time at work has been reduced by about 80%, thus the complete lack of posts recently.

I do have the honor of working today, however, and damn near the whole day will be downtime, so I hope to catch up a bit in between watching the games on the ol' Slingbox.

I hope everyone had a great holiday yesterday.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Week 12 Useless Predictions

Rutgers -6.5 @ Cincinnati
Loss. Cincinnati 30-11 Rutgers

Ohio State -6.5 v. Michigan
Loss. Ohio State 42-39 Michigan

Auburn -3 @ Alabama
Win. Alabama 15-22 Auburn

Washington St -8 v Washington
Loss. Washington State 32-35 Washington

Nevada -17 @ La. Tech
Win. La. Tech 0-42 Nevada

Totals: 2-3 (40%)
YTD: 36-37-2 (49.3%)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Too Productive At Work?

If unlimited internet access and instant messaging with your friends all day just aren't quite cutting into corporate productivity and efficiency as much as you would like, then I give you:

The virtual Nintendo Entertainment System

If you didn't waste enough hours of your childhood
with this, now you can waste more

Over 300 old-skool Nintendo games to choose from. Super Mario, Double Dribble, ExciteBike, Contra, Rush N Attack, Tecmo Bowl, Ghosts N Goblins, you name it.

Enjoy. Just don't be late to your weekly meeting because you are wrapped up in a bitchin' game of Castlevania.

"Sorry I'm late. I got caught up on the phone with a client."

*Nerd alert: if the games don't play in your browser, then you probably need to go to and download/install the latest version of java.

Monday, November 13, 2006

You Heard It Here First

"Mythical" National Championship Game:

#1 Ohio State v. #2 Arkansas

Ohio State beats Michigan
Cal beats SC
SC beats Notre Dame
West Virginia beats Rutgers (this might not even be necessary, but I think it will happen)
Arkansas beats MSU, LSU, and the Gators.

There you have it.

Your predictions in the comments.

The Great Football Weekend, Part Deux

If I had told you that Arsenal would dominate Liverpool 3-0 and asked you who the goalscorers would be, you would definitely choose Flamini, Toure, and Gallas, right? Of course you would. For those of you scoring at home, that is a backup defensive midfielder and the two central defenders.

Arsenal 3-0 Liverpool.
Flamini (41)
Toure (56)
Gallas (80)

Match Of The Day highlights (9:48)

Kolo makes it 2-0

Benitez was kind enough to play Gerrard out on the right, where he did exactly nothing. Henry did alot of tracking back to win balls, showing a ton of hustle that most other premier strikers in the world would not bother with because they would view it as beneath them - very impressive.

At this point it seems pretty clear that this Arsenal team can beat anyone, anywhere; they have already won away to ManUtd, and they certainly could beat Chelsea both home and away. That being said, I don't know that this group can be consistent enough to win the league over a 38 game season. That will come next year...

The big news of the weekend is that Barcelona wunderkind striker Lionel Messi broke his foot and will be out for at least 3 months. Backup striker Saviola injured his thigh and he will also be out for 4-6 weeks. That in addition to assassin striker & reigning pichichi Samuel Eto'o being out with a serious knee injury means that Barcelona will be up against it to defend their Champions League and La Liga titles this season (although they are currently in 1st place in La Liga).

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Houston Nutt's Call Of The Week
Presented By The Chronic

Official corporate sponsor of Houston Nutt's Call of the Week

In Fayetteville yesterday, Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt picks up the phone, starts dialing, and says "let me call this old coach...".

Over in Knox Vegas, Tennessee, Phil Fulmer sits at his desk in his office, hears cell phone ring, and picks it up:

Fulmer: "Allo?"

Nutt: "W'sup?"

Fulmer: "Nothing, what you doin'?"

Nutt: "Nothing, just kickin' it."

Fulmer: "{something indistinguishable}"

Nutt: "Nah. What you going to do today?"

Fulmer: "Uggh, look at some game film, eat a few bags of Cool Ranch Doritos and an entire Bison, then maybe get meet with some of my coaches for supper. Why, w'sup?"

Nutt: "Hey, did what's they name get after you yesterday?"

Fulmer: "Who?"


Saturday, November 11, 2006


This was stupid and helped give Auburn their 1st TD, but it is a cool picture.

We finally put it all together
and played to our potential.

Think about this: if Coutu doesn't get injured, we probably don't miss FGs against Vandy & UK, and there is a really good chance that we're 9-2 right now.

Our defense played like the Georgia defense vintages of 2001-2005. Auburn QB Cox was under pressure all day, was sacked 4 times, and completed as many passes to our D than he did to his team (4).

Damn it feels good to beat the shit out of Auburn.

Friday, November 10, 2006

All Things Are Possible

If the Dems can win the Senate, then who is to say that the Dawgs can't beat Auburn? It's happened before when things looked bleak.

Hopefully UGA VI can channel his daddy tomorrow:

7-28 down to 56-49 up. Damn Good Dawg.

I started UGA in 1992 and this is the first time since then that the game is anything other than the 3.30 or 7.45 game. Weird, but that's what happens when you suck as bad as we have. Weirder still that it's at 9.30 a.m. out here.

Unlikely as it seems, we can beat Auburn if we don't have any turnovers on offense and our defense does some covering, tackling, rushing the QB, hell, anything good at all.

GATA, Dawgs, or at least don't get caught misspelling the name of your school:

Good at cheating, not so much at spelling (or pronouncing
the name of their stadium in a way that makes any sense)

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Joe-Mentum: Prettiest Girl ln The Room

Wow, what a wacky night - it's 1 a.m. PST and it looks like Tester is going to do it in Montana, and pending a possible recount in 10 days in Virginia, where Webb won by less than 1%, the Dems did it, getting control of the Senate 50-49-1. Except that Joe Lieberman is technically an independent, making it 49-49-2.

So for all the talk about Nancy Pelosi and a possible recount in VA, the biggest winner tonight was Joe Lieberman. He went from an outcast who couldn't even win his primary to suddenly the prettiest girl in the room. Which is quite a statement, because he is not pretty.

Joe-mentum, bitches. He told you so, just 2 years early.

He is like the #1 high school football recruit, and 2 schools are trying to woo him. Except imagine that there are absolutely no recruting rules or regulations whatsoever. Money, hookers, coke, you name it is on offer. No matter what happens dude is getting some serious power and CT is getting some serious pork. A remarkable change of events for Ol' Joe.

Berkeley beat SF in the battle to see who could vote to impeach Bush & Cheney by the biggest margin: in SF the impeachment proposition passed 60-40 but Bezerkeley came even stronger at 68-32. Righties can take pleasure and relief that these measures are only cosmetic, because if they were real then that would theoretically make Nancy Pelosi Speaker Of The House President.

Could be worse, Red America: if Berkeley had their way, she would be POTUS

I'm tired and can't make it another 2 hours to confirm the MT result, so I'm off to bed, where unlike Karl Rove I will sleep like a baby tonight.

Week 11 Useless Predictions

Wisconsin -1.5 @ Iowa
Win. Iowa 21-24 Wisconsin

Navy -14 @ Eastern Michigan
Win. EMU 21-49 Navy

Arkansas -5.5 v. Tennessee
Win. Arkansas 31-14 Tennessee

Ohio State -23 @ Northwestern
Win. Northwestern 10-54 Ohio State

Cal -13.5 @ Arizona
Loss. Arizona 24-20 Cal

Oregon State -2 @ UCLA
Loss. UCLA 25-7 Oregon State

Totals: 4-2 (67%)
YTD: 34-34-2 (50%)

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Voting In California

In most states, people elect legislators who then formulate and pass legislation. In California, we elect legislators who then throw it back on our ass by creating an vast myriad of propositions that we voters then vote on. Hell we even had a special election last year with a bunch of propositions to vote on in a non-election year. Like everything else out here, it's kind of wacky.

On the one hand it's pretty cool, as it makes you feel like you are much more of a participant in the process and that your vote matters even more. On the other hand it's a hell of a lot of work: in addition to learning about the candidates, trying to figure out what either side of all of these propositions means and how you should vote. And as misleading, confusing, and irritating as commercials, mailers, and phone calls are for candidates, they are even more so for propositions. Yes on 1B! No on 83! Yes on 90! No on 1E! Yes on 87! No on 87! Yes on 87 damnit! No on 87 is full of shit! Yes on 87 favors special interests! No on 87 favors special interests!

It's honestly a lot of work; in Georgia there were some elections with a few preps here and there - no big deal. Today we had no less than THIRTEEN statewide propositions: 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 and 90. In addition, we residents of San Francisco had an additional ELEVEN propositions, A-K. That in addition to all of the normal candidate races. This afternoon at work I was cramming like a 10th grader in homeroom before a big 1st period test.

Another funny thing about voting in a big city: my polling place is one block from my house, but it is not a school or church. No, like last year, I voted in a 1 car garage below an apartment building. I wish I had my camera, it was kind of nutty.

Almost as nutty as this senate race is turning out.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Serenity Now

Kentucky 24-20 Georgia.

Not much to say, other than recommending that all Georgia fans immediately adopt Serenity Now as their mantra.

Vandy & UK in the same year - wow. After losing to Navin R. Johnson we turn around and lose to Red Foreman.

Can we please stop losing to funny entertainers?

As bad as it is it could be way worse - we damn near lost to MSU, Colorado, and Ole Miss - we could really be sitting at 3-7 and lets remember that 1 of our wins is against 1-AA Western Kentucky.

Could we beat Auburn? Sure, if we don't make stupid mistakes and turnovers. Same with Georgia Tech. But from all we have seen this year that sure doesn't look likely. I am not counting on it but I have seen stranger things, so I will believe until the scoreboard and clock tell me to stop. We shall see.

Some are talking about refusing a bowl bid if we go 6-6 and just getting it over it. I disagree, only because the team sure as shit needs the extra 30 days of practice that a bowl game brings, as that will have an effect on the team next year, especially for young Matthew. Additionally, the SEC is looking like they may very well have 9 bowl eligible teams this year, which is more than they are contracted to fill. So it is possible that Georgia could get shipped out to some wacky ass bowl. If that is the San Francisco bowl then I'm all for it, since I could walk to the game - literally. As embarrassing as such a scenario would be, for me personally it would be fun.

That being said, I would much prefer wins over The Cheaters (Auburn) and The Nerds (GT), an 8-4 season, and a Peach Bowl berth for the Dawgs.

Start practicing for Saturday: Serenity Now.

Invasor Es El Campeon Del Mundo

Results versus punditry/hype: Invasor is to Texas as Bernardini is to USC.

So after rambling on and on Friday afternoon, I was talking to a friend after work about the BC Classic, and I said "you know, watch Invasor win tomorrow and show me how stupid I am for knocking him about the 90 day layoff, since just earlier this year Barbaro won the Derby on a 5 week layoff after my dumbass completely threw him out because of it."

And so it came to pass
. And amazing performance to run down Bernardini after Bernardini made an amazing move around the 3rd/4th turn.

As Kenny Mayne has been saying all year: "Eeen-vah-zooor. Ee is the best." Congrats to him and his conncetions.

My pick of Premium Tap did in fact run a big race, finishing a solid 3rd. My theoretical across teh board bet on him and 4 horse exacta box would have put me in the black, but barely.

Amazing that Pletcher went 0 for 17.

TV ratings were abysmal - 50% less than last year on NBC, which were the worst ever, but wagering records were set on track and on TVG. Interesting.

Bernardini will be retired to stud.

Barbaro got his cast taken off

Derby trail starts in January.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Moment Of Truth For Bernardini

Breeders Cup Classic. Saturday November 4th. Churchill Downs.

Post. Horse. Trainer. Jockey. Morning Line Odds

1. Brother Derek. Dan Hendricks. Alex Solis. 30-1
2. Premium Tap. John Kimmel. Edgar Prado. 30-1
3. Bernardini. Tom Albertrani. Javier castellano. Even
4. George Washington. Aidan O'Brien. Michael Kinane. 10-1
5. Lawyer Ron. Todd Pletcher. Pat Valenzuela. 20-1
6. Perfect Drift. Murray Johnson. Garrett Gomez. 20-1
7. David Junior. Brian Meehan. Jamie Spencer. 10-1
8. Lava Man. Doug O'Neill. Corey Nakatani. 6-1
9. Giacomo. John Sherrefs. Mike Smith. 30-1
10. Flower Alley. Todd Pletcher. John Velasquez. 30-1
11. Invasor. Kieran McLaughlin. Fernando Jara. 5-1
12. Suave. Paul McGee. Kent Desormeaux. 30-1
13. Sun King. Nick Zito. Rafael Bajarano. 15-1

All year we have watched Bernardini effortlessly (has he been whipped once since the Preakness? Was he even whipped in the Preakness?) destroy all competition in the East en route to winning 7 in a row and climbing to the top of the Classic division rankings as a 3 year old. Bernardini has been absolutely dominant all year but hasn't faced very stiff competition yet. The question that everyone wants to know will be answered tomorrow: is Bernardini the super horse/freak/best horse in many years that everyone thinks he is? Or is he a really, really good horse that will be found out when he runs against the best of the best? Post time for the $5 million Breeders Cup Classic is 5.20 p.m. EST. Thirteen Grade I winners make up the best BC Classic field in a decade, so it will only take 2 minutes to find out the answer.

"He might be a super freak, super freak, he might be super-freaky, yow."

Out West we have seen Lava Man win 6 in a row (against better competition) while becoming the first horse to ever sweep the "Big 3" races in Southern California in the same year: the Santa Anita Handicap, The Hollywood Gold Cup, and the Pacific Classic.

"Ain't nobody dope as Lava Man, he's so fresh so clean"

All year these two have been on a collision course which has finally come to pass. There are lots of angles just with these two:

East vs West
Bernardini represents the East, home of the horse racing establishment, which has always looked down it's nose at horses from the West. As such he has been massively (and deservedly) hyped as the next super horse before really beating any great competition- the fact that he is great is beyond question. Contrast this to a northern Califoirnia horse named Lost In The Fog who just last year dominated the Sprint Division and came in to the Breeders Cup as the favorite. He had won all of his races but not against the greatest competition, so the Breeders Cup Sprint would answer the same question about his greatness. But as a California horse, many in the racing world doubted him as an impostor who would be found out in the Breeders Cup. As it turned out they were right, but I'm just hinting at the perception/attitude in racing when it comes to East v West, where Eastern horses are always hyped and overhyped and Western horses are always doubted, second guessed, and written off (I am NOT saying that Bernardini is overhyped, just trying to point out that his situation this year is almost exactly the same as Lost In The Fog's last year, but they are being covered so very differently). For more background on this rent Seabuscuit, remember the Sunday Silence-Easy Goer rivalry of 1989, or consider that the greatest horse of the 1st half of the 20th century, Man O' War, didn't even run in the 1920 Kentucky Derby partly because his New York blue-blood connections looked down on it as some meaningless "western" race. Lava Man represents the West and his accomplishments are respected but not nearly as hyped as they would be if he was an Eastern horse. Of course, in their defense, he is 0-3 career when he races outside of California.

Class Warfare
Lava Man is a blue collar horse who started out on the fairgrounds of Northern California and then ran in claiming races in Southern California before he became great. He was claimed in 2004 for $50,000 after finishing 2nd in a race at Santa Anita. He is your Joe Six Pack, workingman, every-man horse. Bernardini is a blue-blood horse owned by The Ruler of Dubai.

Age & Sex
Bernardini is a 3 year old colt; Lava Man is a 5 year old gelding.

Bernardini is the uber-talented athlete whose natural ability is usually enough to blow everyone else away. Lava Man is a battler, a grinder who has to fight for everything he wins with grit & determination. In sports cliches, Bernardini is the super gifted athlete who gets by on talent and Lava Man is the not as talented athlete whose success is due to hard work. Or in non-sports cliche, Bernardini is the kid in high school who never studies and doesn't really try but still gets As, while Lava Man is the student who works his ass off to get the same As. This may actually favor Lava Man, as he is battle tested and the Classic will definitely be a battle. Some wonder if Bernardini can buckle down and win a dogfight in the stretch, as he has never been in one.

So finally we get to see them meet, but don't think for a second that this race is just about these two. Invasor is from Argentina and won the Uruaguyan triple crown before coming to America and winning all of his races here. Invasor has been just as dominant as the aforementioned two all year and everyone was looking forward to the 3 way showdown in the Classic, as Invasor won his last 3 starts and is 8 for 9 lifetime. Actually everyone was looking forward to Invasor and Bernardini finally facing off in last month's Jockey Club Gold Cup, but Invasor had a slight injury, missed a few days training, and withdrew from the race, which Bernardini went on to win with minimal effort. So Invasor was forced to train up to the Classic and comes in off a 13 week layoff, which puts him at a major disadvantage. BUt talent and ability wise, he is right there with Bernardini and Lava Man.

Invasor has the talent to win, must overcome bad schedule

Those are definitely the "big 3", but the rest of the race is filled with great horses. Ironically named British invader George Washington is a freak on the grass in Europe and will be running on the dirt for the first time as his owners try to find out if he is such a super horse/freak that he can switch surfaces and distance and beat the best horses in the world. Flower Alley was 2nd in the Classic last year and dominant early this year before 2 poor efforts dropped him off everyone's radar. He then switched to white-hot Todd Pletcher's barn, out of which he will be making his first start. Some think Pletcher can find the magic in Flower Alley and get him to run back to his past greatness. 7 year old Perfect Drift is the Susan Lucci/always a bridesmaid horse that all the locals want to win. Sun King is a very talented horse, and longshots Suave and Premium Tap look very live and could be sitting on a big race. 3 year olds Lawyer Ron and Brother Derek were all the rage going into the Derby, but then fell off and have since come back strong and have a chance to return to greatness. And Giacomo returns to the scene of his shock victory in the 2005 Kentucky Derby- unfortunately for him, Spanish Chestnut isn't in the race to run a murderous pace, wear out all of his challengers, and leave it for him to pick up the pieces.

Stop rambling on and on like John Kerry, I'm almost asleep: just tell me who wins

I have no idea. I was on the Bernardini is a freak wagon very very early (like, right after the Preakness after mentioning the possibility even earlier) but now the rest of the world is too and even money against 12 grade I winners is not for me. Hell, he'll probably go off at 3-5. Then mid to late summer I really liked Invasor and thought that he could beat Bernardini & Lava Man, but the 13 week layoff scares me now. I'd rather have Lava Man at 6-1 than Invasor at 5-1 given the long layoff. I'd love to see Lava Man win it since he is a California horse, and a blue collar one at that, and I think of the big 3 he offers the best value at 6-1 (although I doubt he goes off at that). Of the rest I really like Premium Tap at 30-1; I'm buying the case for him laid out by Steve Haskin. So I guess I would go with a what-the-hell $5 across the board on Premium Tap and maybe an exacta box with Premium Tap + the big three.

No matter who wins, it will be exciting as hell and I can't wait to see it.

I don't have any real strong feelings in the other races, except that Henny Hughes will win the Sprint as the favorite. That horse is one of the best horses I have ever seen race, and one of the most beautiful too. The Turf should be awesome as well, with English Channel (who I cashed a nice ticket with on Derby Day) and Cacique resuming their rivalry, and Hurricane Run in there as well.

Who do you like?

Week 10 Useless Predictions

Air Force -5 @ Army
Win. Army 7-43 Air Force

Kent -15 @ Buffalo
Loss. Buffalo 41-14 Kent

Washington +16.5 @ Oregon
Loss. Oregon 34-14 Washington

Colorado -4 v. Kansas State
Loss. Colorado 21-34 Kansas State

Wazzu -16.5 v. Arizona
Loss. Wazzu 17-27 Arizona

BYU -15 @ Colorado St.
Win. Colorado State 3-24 BYU

Oklahoma State +18 @ Texas
Loss. Texas 36-10 Oklahoma State

Wisconsin -6 v. Penn State
Win. Wisconsin 13-3 Penn State

Totals: 3-5 (38%)
YTD: 30-32-2 (48.4%)

Bizarro CFB Week Continues

So the biggest game of the week is done and dusted before the sun even rises on Saturday, which in and of itself is bizarre simply because I don't think that it has ever happened . More bizarre-ness to ensue tomorrow:

Welcome to College Football Bizarro World

For the 1st time in its 16 year run, ESPN College GameDay will not be hosted by Chris Fowler tomorrow. ESPN won the TV rights to the Breeders Cup from NBC and have strangely chosen Fowler to anchor their coverage from noon-7 on Saturday. Strange because in Kenny Mayne they have a great (albeit quirky) announcer who is very much into horse racing, follows it and broadcasts it all year, and is very knowledgeable (he'll be on the broadcast just not anchoring like he usually does). Fowler not a big horse racing guy so it seems odd. Either way, he won't be on GameDay, which will give LD a different dynamic to analyze in his brilliant way. My guess is that Rece Davis will take Fowler's place, and that Fowler will at some point join in on the phone or something as part of the ESPN cross promotion extravaganza, with painful CFB-horse racing analogies aplenty.

As the Breeders Cup will be on ESPN from noon-7 EST, there will be no CFB games on ESPN until the 7.45 South Carolina-Arkansas matchup. So to get your noontine middle of the road or worse Big 10 matchup you'll have to look elsewhere: Iowa-Northwestern gets moved over to GamePlan.

If at the beginning of the year you were told that Wake Forest-Boston College would be the crucial ACC game that determined which of those 2 schools went to the ACC Championship game, you would have attributed such a statement to a terribly bad acid trip. Again, bizarro.

Georgia is again not on TV in any way, shape or form: the price of mediocrity I suppose. Although certainly the UK-UGA game is a better matchup than Utah State-Hawaii, Troy-UL-Lafayette, or Idaho-Nevada, all of which are on ESPN GamePlan.

And finally, it's November and RUTGERS is 8-0, ranked in the top 15, and will likely be in the national game of the week next week against Louisville. That is QEDMF bizarro.

West Virginia Title Challenge Photo Caption Contest

This picture was taken last night from inside Papa John's Stadium (I hope that it will be the first & last photo of a urine filled toilet to ever appear on this site, by the by).

Get creative.

Louisville pisses on WVU National Title dreams?
WVU title shot goes down the toilet in Louisville?

Louisville 44-34 WVU

First off, Pat White looks just like Mos Def. Not so much when the helmet is off, but with the helmet on he is a dead ringer (same face but different head shape). Can't believe that I haven't noticed this before.

Pat White & Talib Kweli are BlackStar.

Also, did you know that the Breeders Cup was on ESPN tomorrow? Just wanted to remind you in case you missed it.

The city of Louisville wakes up this morning with an enormous hangover after winning the biggest football game in their history and then going on a massive pub crawl all the way down Bardstown Road. Now they have today to sober up and rest before celebrating Breeders Cup tomorrow with copious amounts of Kentucky Bourbon.

Thursday night lights

The ticket fairy did end up making a mid-afternoon visit to Brain, so he was able to join The Hit at the game last night. They sent me a few photos from the evening's festivities.

Brain was hoping that there would be no couchburning

The game was actually very even, the difference being the fumble return for a TD and punt return for a TD early in the 3Q for Louisville. Brohm's TD pass to Urrutia was the prettiest pass I have seen all year. Maybe prettiest isn't the right word, best might be better - perfectly thrown, perfectly timed, no chance for the DB to get it, and put in a place to give his WR a sliver of room to land inbounds. It was just beautiful.

The Hit in street clothes is intimidating enough.
When he goes ninja on your ass, watch out.

As I said yesterday, Louisville is now West Virginia's #1 fan. They will need WVU to win out (in addition to winning out themselves of course) to have a chance to hold off a 1 loss SEC team or SC if they beat Cal & ND.

This dude obviously missed class today (yes it was 25 degrees last night)

Thursday, November 2, 2006

OMG Biggest Thursday Night Game EVA!!!

Usually the Thursday night game is something to ease you into the CFB weekend; it is akin to an appetizer which precedes the Saturday 7 course meal to come. Sometimes it is a good game, often it is not all that compelling.

But tonight is different, and makes this week a bizarro one in CFB. Tonight's game is by far THE game of the week, as it pits #3 West Virginia against #5 Louisville and will have a direct effect on the national championship race. It is certainly the biggest Thursday night game that ESPN has ever shown, and it dwarfs anything on offer on Saturday.

I talked to Brain & The Hit while walking to work this morning, and apparently tickets are going for $800. Each. A little birdie has dropped one down to The Hit from ticket heaven above, while Brain awaits a hopefully similar fate.

I don't have a great read on who might win, I only know that The Pizza Box will be insane tonight. I'm sure it will be loud enough to wake up all those Breeders Cup horses, or at least give them a good "what the fuck is going on?" from time to time, as Papa John's Stadium is a well-struck 3-wood from Churchill Downs.

The Pizza Box as seen from Churchill Downs

There are 2 things about this game that I want to mention though. First, the notion that the winner of this game will make it to the national championship game assumes that the team will win out, which would merit a big time NSFMF (not so fast my friends) from Lee Corso. Both teams still have to play Pitt & Rutgers, and all except for WVU-Rutgers will be on the road. The Big East teams may all cannibalize each other, and a 1 loss Big East team will have no shot at the brass ring. This point has actually been brought up a bit here and there.

My second point hasn't been discussed too much: whomever wins tonight immediately becomes the #1 fan of the team they beat for the rest of the year. Say Louisville wins. They not only need to win out to get to the title game, they may very well also need for WVU to win out to help them enough in the computers that they can stave off being overtaken by a 1 loss Florida, Auburn, or even USC/Cal winner. Same thing if WVU wins tonight. If the loser tonight goes in the tank and then loses to Rutgers and/or Pitt, that might be enough to screw the winner. Kind of a sleeping with the enemy dynamic going on there.

Of course the BCS anarchists out there probably want Rutgers to beat them both, run the table, and get shut out of the title game, which is still a possibility at this point.

The Big East this year has finally graduated from the kids table at Thanksgiving to the adults table. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Enjoy, and east coasters be glad that it doesn't start at 4.30 in the afternoon - slipping out of here early today is going to be tricky but I'm up for the challenge.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Brilliant Ineptitude

Arsenal 0-0 CSKA Moscow.

More of the same. I honestly don't know that I have ever seen such a lopsided 0-0 soccer match in my life. You would have to have seen it to believe it, because the 23-5 shot advantage and 64-36 possession don't tell the story. There are shots and then there are scoring chances, and then there are really great scoring chances, the kind that result in a goal 50% of the time. Well Arsenal had about 10 of those, and at least 6 or 7 where they missed the goal by a foot or less. As beautifully as Arsenal played, when it came to finishing they looked like the Kanu that plays for FC Red Stripes of the San Francisco Sport & Social Club Co-ed Rec League (although that joker did score 2 on Sunday in addition to his usual bad miss). Cesc and Rosicky both managed to miss with the wide open goal at their mercy. They really could have been up 5-0 at halftime - I'm not being hyperbolic. Hell, Arsene said that the 1st half was the best that Arsenal have ever played in Europe.

Yet despite all of that they didn't score and split the points. So whereas they really should already be through and the final 2 group matches should be glorified practice sessions, now they must do the business home to Hamburg and must get a result away to Porto on the final day. That disallowed goal that turned a draw in Moscow into a loss now looms large.

In honor of today's brilliant display but miraculous lack of a goal, Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday's features this vid of lots of tricks, flicks, and pretty play, but you will notice that, like today, not once does a ball actually go into the net.

Is dude really rapping about myspace? Weak.

ManUtd lost but are still in the driver's seat to go through, and AC Milan cruised. I still think that they are going to win the whole thing which will be the cherry on top of the Italian football joke sundae this year, since they should not be in the competition at all to begin with.

Here are the standings after 4 of the 6 group stage matches. Holders Barcelona, finalists Arsenal, and Italian power Inter Milan still have lots of work to do to qualify for the knockout stage. Can anybody beat (or even score on) Lyon?

The Week That Was

Georgia's loss to Florida is tricky. On the one hand, you can rationalize that if not for all the turnovers and mistakes we easily could have won. On the other hand, one could rationalize that if not for all the Gator mistakes they would have blown us out. It was nice to see us look like we were playing to win rather than not to lose; first time I've seen this since the South Carolina game really. And it's pretty obvious that Stafford is going to be very special once he gets some experience. I commented somewhere that it already feels that Georgia's notoriously unrealistic fanbase is expecting MS7 to be John Elway from the start of next year just because he is getting the reps this year. I think it will be a more gradual process than that, so I won't expect him to be John Elway until his Jr/Sr years. At this point the team looks like they could win out, could lose out, or could do anything in between. Kentucky is definitely not an easy, automatic win- hopefully we can beat them and then take our chances against The Cheaters and The Nerds.

Watching, or more accurately listening, to a college football game being called by Gary Thorne is a bizarre experience. The dude's voice IS the NHL playoffs, so it's weird to hear him call football. You expect at any minute to hear "Kovalenko SCORES!!!"

Arsenal drew 1-1 with Everton which is mildly disappointing until you realize that Arsenal had 29 shots to Everton's 2, 16 corner kicks to Everton's 3, and an amazing 70% of the possession; then it is massively disappointing. Just like the beginning of the season all over again. I guess not getting results but completely dominating is better than not getting results and getting outplayed, but it is frustrating nonetheless.

The complete and utter joke that is Italian football just keeps getting more joke-y. At this rate Juventus will be back in Serie A by Christmas and by March will be awarded a 10 point bonus as compensation for all the hard times that they have been forced to endure over the last year. What an embarrassment.

Too bad that ESPN didn't show Barcelona-Chel$ea yesterday; from the highlights I saw and from what I read it was a very good and intense match. Lampard's cheeky goal reminded me a little of Kanu's 3rd at Stamford bridge when he single handedly brought Arsenal from 0-2 down to 3-2 up in the last 15 minutes against the best D in the Prem at the time. Mourinho is bitching and whining again like a 4 year old girl. I'm about as moved as I am by Charie Weis claiming that ND don't get enough respect from the national media.