Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Best Terrible Football Game You Ever Saw

I once did a long hiking/skiing trip across a glacier with a big group. It was 15 miles and 5 days long. One of the people on the trip knew nothing of trekking, so they thought it would be a good idea to bring a Jumbo-sized jar of peanut butter. It probably weighed 10 lbs. Of course, it got vetoed, but then somebody thought it would be funny to stick that 10lbs of peanut butter into the bottom of somebody's bag. After the first day of trekking, that person found it and they of course tried to stick it in somebody else's bag for the next day.
Which meant that each day, the real challenge of packing up and moving was not waking up or making breakfast on a glacier or putting on skis. the real challenge was making sure you didn't have the peanut butter.

that was Les Miles and Houston Nutt this weekend. Over the last few minutes, as Ole Miss tried to give away an 8 point lead like it was a 10lbs jar of peanut butter, LSU kept digging it out of thier bag and hiding it back in Nutt's sleeping bag.

Flipping between it and the brilliant work of Oregon/Arizona, I ended up sticking with this game because it was just so damn awful.

I think there were no less than 9 plays down the stretch that were absolute abomination of coaching/heads-uppedness, each so bad that it was enough to lose the game if it ended right there, each negating the previous horrific play as they went. In fact, though the final moment was simply astonishing in a vacuum, in context it looks more inevitable: with a single second left, trailing by 2 on the Ole Miss 6 yd line, LSU simply could not lose if they did ANYTHING right so they did the only thing that would allow them to lose from such a postion - nothing. They simply stood there and did nothing, which is to say they put exactly as much effort into a hand-delivered game-winning moment on the field as they would have if they had never left Baton Rouge.

So despite doing everything they could to stick the game in Ole Miss' backpack, LSU went home with the peanut butter.

To recap the Roddick-Federer Wimbledon Endless Tie-Breaker of Worst Coaching Ever:

1 - Ole Miss 25-LSU 17. Up by 8 in the final minutes, and perhaps after enjoying last week's WWII IN HD on Discovery, Ole Miss' Nutt continues a game-long commitment to banzai-charge blitzes, leaving screens and isolated receivers wide open, play after play, which LSU finally picks up on, allowing them to trip their way downfield for a TD.

2 - Ole Miss 25-LSU 23, Take 1. On the 2pt conversion to tie the game, LSU throws a fade to the corner (terrible call, see pt 3) which doesn't work but draws a PI in the endzone, forcing a replay of the down from 'half the distance', ie the 1.5 yd line. Sort of a Fail-push - the play didn't work, but the corner was crappy enough that his only option after getting smoked at the line of scrimmage was to commit the PI.

3 - Ole Miss 25-LSU 23, Take 2. ON the replay, LSU was now on the 1.5 yd line, essentially just a decent - not great, decent - push from the Oline from the endzone on a sneak, a dive, an off-tackle, a Tebow-jump-pass or whatever. Also, play-action is pretty much always lethal in this situation. AND THEY RUN THE SAME PLAY!! A fade to the corner!
   Let's do a thought experiment: How often could LSU's excellent-receiver/below-average-QB make that play without any defense on the field? Helmets and shorts, at gamespeed? Less than 75 percent, I bet. I know, I know: its 'almost impossible to defend' - right, because its almost impossible to complete. The angles, speed and timing of the play have to be the hardest way in football to make 2 or 5 or 10 yards. The receiver can't get jammed even a little, can't slip, has to nail the route and the throw is at least 15 yards to a tire-swing of a target, just over the corner but just short of the sideline and the guy has to haul it in, usually while falling and upside down, and have possession/one in bounds. A double reverse-halfback-pass-lerooski wouldn't work more often? Can we just blame Desmond Howard for the prevalence of that play? We'll just add it to his list.
So going for the same high-difficulty play twice in a row - the second time needing only 1.5 yards with a superior OLine - the second is an overthrow and no catch, and now LSU has probably lost the game.
Now LSU has to onsides it...

4 - And here is the part where Ole Miss' Dexter McCluster should be investigated: LSU's kicker attempts an onsides by skipping the ball DIRECTLY toward him.  Here, with a chance to seal away the game, McCluster (Ole Miss' best offensive player) ie either a) in on a fix or b) has a moment of panic and suddenly the words "10 yards!" explode in his brain and he somehow thinks that the RECEIVING team has to wait 10 yards on an onside kick.  So he freezes.
  Rather than fall on a ball kicked directly to him, winning the game, he matadors out of the way at the last second.
  And then McCluster turns out to be not just stupid but unlucky when the ball bounces directly to LSU's Brandon Lafell running in full stride, an onsides-recovery so perfect that it looked like a tape of Lafell throwing the ball to the ground played in reverse.
  Here's the lesson here: this was NOT a good onside kick.  LSU didn't "earn" this one. They needed a) Ole Miss' best player to inexplicably brain freeze and b) a 1-in-10,000 perfect bounce to recover it.

PEANUT BUTTER HIDDEN IN POCKET OF: NUTT (yeah, that was so bad it goes right past Duece, and now LSU can't possibly lose this game, right?)

5 - Now LSU miraculously has the ball with a short field and all the momentum that Houston Nutt could give them, and quickly marches down to the red zone in one of those, 'no way we're losing'-drives. Whereupon Les Miles promptly calls two drop-back passes, one of which draws a sack for a loss of 9, then on 3rd-and-19, an East-West screenplay that gets blown up for a loss of 7. 4th-and-26, with 26-seconds left.
  So again: Les Miles' terrible playcalls turned a first down in the redzone into a 4th-and-26 near the 40.
   At this moment, LSU has one timeout.

6 - As Douglas Adams put it, "and then time began to seriously pass."

7 - LSU calls timeout. 4th-and-26, 9 seconds left.
You read that right: Les Miles let three downs worth of time - 26 seconds down to 9 - tick off before calling timeout.
But Miles DID get the timeout, the team comes over to plan the next play and now we can expect LSU to retake the field with a brilliantly crafted game-winning mix of discipline, trickery and preperation.

8 - LSU does something 100% chaotic, graceful, athletic and unrehearsed and then shits on the dinner table.
Let's look at at it slowly:
 - On the 4th-down, LSU throws a long bomb (creative!), the Ole Miss guys are in perfect position to knock it down/pick it off and the LSU guy - tall, fast, insanely good at football generally - just flat outjumps them. I'll entertain arguments that Ole Miss should have jammed LSU's recievers at the line or whatever, but really it was a play that was decided entirely by recruiting and immune to coaching and that's that.
 - In fact, the only coaching in evidence was this: LSU's QB - preposterously - threw the ball SHORT of the endzone, ie none of LSU's coaches screamed in his facemask "THROW IT IN THE FUCKING ENDZONE".  THat's the extent of 'coaching' that could be deduced from that play.

9 - the dinner table: the LSU catch was made at the 6 and the clock stops for the first-down at 1 second (that was a best-case for LSU, by the way, since if the guy had caught it and landed on his feet rather than his butt, that second would have ticked off).

Now with the clock stopped for the first down, coming out of a timeout no less, of course LSU has its FG team ready to run out, get set and kick the chip-shot game winner.

Except they don't do that at all, and the regular offense lines up, with no sign of a kicker to be seen.

But OK, maybe they are going to run the Patented CashMoney Fade to the corner, or maybe they run a QB keeper at an unsettled Ole Miss D, or maybe they snap it and the QB drops back and runs in circles for 15 seconds waiting for one of his antelopes-in-pads to get open which they surely will against Ole Miss' undersized, burned-twice-just-in-this-blog-post corners.

And here is what happens: LSU's QB snaps it and spikes it, for a "stop the clock" kind of play, and up in the pressbox, the grizzled, white-haired, seersucker-suited Ole Miss' country-gentleman of a timekeeper grins just a little as he flips the switch to run the clock one second. They don't call it "One-Mississippi" for nothin'.


Les Miles, enjoy that Peanut butter.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

On the upside... They're BACK!!!!!!

Click for full resolution, which is very readable.

Did ya miss it? Click here:

(HT to comments section on EDSBS)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Z is for Zack Dumas

Today it begins.

Y is for Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29

There appears to be a documentary out now about the 1968 H-Y game, and with some justification. Consider:

• Both teams arrived undefeated, the first such meeting since 1909.
• Yale was the heavy favorite, ranked 16th, and led by QB Brian Dowling, a senior who had lost exactly one game as a starter dating to sixth grade (the Cincinatti City Championship game), and future NFL star Calvin Hill.
• Yale led 22-0 at half.
• And 29-13 with 42 seconds to go.
• At that point, Yale was on its back-up QB.

And then in 42 seconds, Harvard tied the game.

It went TD, 2pt, onside, TD as time expired, 2pt to end the game.

The headline is from the Harvard Crimson on the following Monday.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

X is for, err...uhh....Xylophone??

It's a tough one, X. You've basicly got energy drinks, late night workout tape and fat burners, Bill Gates' video game, all-wheel drive on an Infiniti and the fattest, laziest, too-much-too-soon generation ever.

Just kill me

In College Football, X is wholly owned by Florida State, home to"athletic" "running" "mistake-prone" quarterback Xavier Lee, Wide Righter Xavier Bietta and incoming freshman Xavier Duncan.

Not a lot to work with.

And then it hit us: why not use the bitchin'est slay-music-belching, P-magnet instrument ever, the 11t
h century's answer to the piano, the kick-through the cinderblocks axe-chords of the Xylophone.


Wow. From greatest pre-game/tunnel run/max bench song ever to me peeing pants watching that video 10 times in a row. THUN-DAH!

Not sure where to go from there. So here's an evil robot from
South Carolina...

and a fabulously pimple-faced science fair enthusiast who will probably save us all from the robots after he goes to Michigan:

And just for fun, two more fight songs on fabulously unacceptable instraments:


Georgia Tech

Saturday, August 22, 2009

W is for Wishbone

The 1986 Air Force-Army game at West Point, both running the wishbone, which is to say two of the last wishbone offenses facing defenses who see it everyday in practice.

A few things to note:
- Army's offense produced four 500-yard runners (2 over 1,000) that year.
- THere are two significant passes in this video. In one, the Army QB hangs one deep and gets his reciever blown up in the endzone, and the other ends in a touchdown-n0-touchback!-fumble. About what I'd hope for from an all-wishbone highlight package.
- For all the "Honor of the Game" and Officer/Gentleman crap that gets heaped on Academy teams, pay attention to how chippy this is, even for the 80s. THe hits at the corner invariably end two yards out of bounds, and the interior scraps end in a remarkably high percentage of post-impact posing.
- Skip to 5:17 for Air Force's QB making a vintage wishbone, valor-under-fire downfield pitch that would make Darian Hagan gasp.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This week's Beano Cook podcast gem

Discussing birthdays with Ivan, Beano told the story of UNC's #1 most famous
football player, Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice, who finished second in the
Heisman voting twice, one of only 2 guys to do that.

Out of high school, he was headed to Duke. But he got drafted, played
for a service team and came back to NC married. So he went to Chapel
Hill and told the coach he'd come to UNC if his wife, Sarah, got his football schoiarship. He would use the GI Bill.

the rest is "rah-rah-Carolina-lina, go to hell Duke!" History.

(As undergrads, they lived in the Carolina Inn, which today is the school's iconic, $250/night hotel a block off Franklin St.)

After reading a bit about it, I can add that Charlie and Sarah died in
their 70s, in 1993, a few months apart.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

V is for Video Games, V-necks, Vodka, and Various other clips

While trawling the backbays of YouTube in search of that perfect HD clip of Hakeem Nicks' behind-the-back catch in the Meineke Bowl, you run across some terrific stuff. Here's a collection:

1 . Video Games - Glitches in NCAA 2009.

Predictably, its not In The Game. It's In The Righteous Outrage.

"That is 385! That is near death!"

"The molecul-ah struct-shah of defensive tackle right der doesn' matter!"

"He's got his back turned. He's got ESP, folks."

2. V-necks and Vodka

Just about the whole mystique of the SEC can be seen or inferred in this clip of three Ole' Miss sorority dead-enders being quizzed by a radio bozo.

In 40 seconds, we learn that

1 - "Wake Forest first-string is all injured so we're cool."
2 - Vodka + Sprite + Ole' Miss fan = "good to go."
3 - Final grade for DaCoachO: B+ damn, but Miss'ippi gots some no-slack bitches.

(in fact, the girls might be going easy on da Coach O, who was 4-10 overall at the time this video was shot, had just been trounced by Kentucky and - despite Wake's depleted ranks and their fans Vodka-and-Sprite fueled support, lost to Wake 27-3 the next day).

3. Various stuff:

The Tragic History of "Semi-Tough"

Here's what this movie brings to the table:

  1. Burt Reynolds.
  2. Kris Kristofferson.
  3. Brian Denehy.
  4. All based on Dan Jenkins' debut novel of sex, drugs, TCU football, New York City and the immortal Big Ed Bookman, Shake Tiller and Billy Clyde Puckett.
  5. In 1977.

Lost forever to history. What The Hell happened?

And here's something even more remarkable I had never heard of until this post:

I'm unprepared in every way to even discuss this.

That Kid getting blown up at CSU. Kid, as in 4.

And Finally, The ooooooollll' hidden ball trick.
Is this a great clip because the runner was absolutely safe and the ref absolutely blew it because he absolutely - positively - had his back turned? Or because of the team-wide hissy fit LSU threw?

Friday, May 29, 2009

2009 National Spelling Bee Finals

(compilation of 7 running emails I kept during the last hour or so of the spelling finals on ABC)

(**to self: add that Ghenghis Khan/Conan quote about crushing enemies here)

Early Rounds
catching up a little late. Started tonight - the finals - with 11.

So far, an Indian girl from Vegas lost on a killer medical word with a hidden double-r in the middle. The color guy called it, said the hidden double-r is just a bitch. THe poor girl walked up terrified, and knew she was done as soon as she heard it. She even paused and thought about it right at the double-r, like the hot chick in a horror movie who comes to the door with the ax killer, grabs the door knob then stops as if she's not going through.... then goes through.
Next girl up bullied through a tough one and threw her hands up. Good sign. Its the ones who enjoy themselves who win.

Hey! It's Erin Andrews! In a tight shirt! I feel like that's just stacking the deck for the girl spellers - you're telling me any 12yo boy on earth is going to remember how to spell the whole periodic table with Erin Andrews in full Sideline Barbie 20 feet away? She's interviewing a kid who apparenlty has 'personality.' Oh, god, he's awful. He grabs her microphone, mugs and smiles. Guarantee you the first thing he does with ever dictionary he has is look up 'vagina'. can't WAIT for him to lose.

ramya auroprem. not a word. that's the next contestants name. from san jose. "geusioleptic" after they 'use it in a sentence'-sentence cracks up the audience (apparently they are trying to be funny this year), she knocks it out.

serena skye laine-lobsinger, from west palm beach. white girl. "conchyliated". she's a palm-scribbler. 3rd of 6 so far are, which used to be endearing but now its like NFL eye-black - just tired of seeing it. she barrels right into it... OUCH!!!!! When she finishes, the audience applauds - usually the sign that somebody nails the word - but she's wrong! THe word was so hard the audience got it wrong even though they can see it!

Asian kid. Kyle. glases. "avoirdupois" - apparenlty this kid, from Peoria, Ill, got a perfect score on the Written Test, whatever that is. apparently a serious sleeper.

Next girl, of Indian descent (grandmother flown in from Indian) is from Springfield Ill. Lord, she's got prescence. clear eyed, and on her game, finishes with a fistpump.

Commercial. Whadya bet we get an erin andrews after the break?

Early Rounds, Con't

kennyi aouad - terre haute ind. this is the cocky kid from before. he actually looks like a 12 year old michael jordan. really. "gyascutus" - a fictitious animal. G Y A S C U - he stops to ask a question - then restarts GYASCU...TUS. Completely playing to the crowd. I HATE this kid.

Now a nice outtake on an indian girl from Olathe, KS, which I think is where In COld Blood was set. She knocks down Blanmange as easily as she kills vivaldi concertos on her violin.

YES! I remember this kid!!! he was a finalist last year, no the RUNNER-UP last year. Major favorite and MAJOR mustache, and the sweatervest. So far the only guy who does hand doodling. - "Apodyterium" - bath house, or something. This kid EASILY shaves more often than me... here he goes. BING! hands on the face, just CRUSHED, compeltely in tears... standing O from the audience as he sits next to his mom. Announcer:"THis was his last chance...."

back to the happy girl "Derriengue...." - OH, the DREAD double-r rolls her up! That's double-r 2, smart kids 0. OUch. BIG smile with the bigger braces. Crowd favorite is out.

Erin is backstage with fellow florida-girl Serena. They discuss that her missed word was based on "conch"- wow, a whole 30 seconds with Erin Andrews having to say the word "conch" - i'm dizzy.

Another indian-descent girl. "simnel" - apparently a soup. nails it.

Tim Ruiter, the only Geeky white kid here (in fact, with Serena swimming with the conches, he's the last geeky white kid). "Passacaglia" - mom is DIRECTLY behind him in the camera shot, her arms out and head down in the 'can't even breathe' worried mom pose. Is the camera guy moving between kids to set that up or is that just luck. What does this kid look and talk like? Chris Cooper in Lone Star. Or that crazy nic cage-double movie about tulips. Or anything, really. Chris Cooper. THat's him, with glasses and geeky at 12.
Ruiter knocks it out, mom gives a thank-you lord Big Clap and we're into commercial with the heart of the Punjab order coming up.

Round 7

here's a ridiculous promo for the Bee showing fruit vendors, a black barbership and a fire department all entranced.

So with 7 left, we have. here's the toothy Ramya Auroprem. Easy to like her. "Axolotl" - a salamandaar.

Here's the calm asian, Kyle Mou. He's so icy, he should be dragging Rick Rossovich around.

"Plaidoyer." The pronunciation on that is like 7 sylables long. "An address by an advocate in court" - second straight french word for Kyle, who doesn't even wait for the origin before knocking it down.

Here comes the 27-year-old Aishwarya Pastapur, who loves Amelia Earhardt. "Goombay" - Caribbean calypso music. just like it sounds. And she knocks it down.

OK, its Ashy and Killer Kyle's to lose. They are money.

Here comes Kennyi the goof. He literally spelled the last word by singing. Let's just say it: he's African-American, so it would be fun to root for him here. But he's awful. I want him out. "Hypalllage" - boom. But didn't seem that confident on that one. no singing at least.

Kavya, the kansan violin player. - "baignoire" apparently, thats easy in french. starts with the handscribble.... boom. OK, Kavya's a contender.

Anamika veeramani gets "arrhostia".... definition given as an evolutionary trait that is pathological, like dinosaurs getting too big or hanging on to Greg Davis. uh oh. she's worried. asks for the definition twice.... and spits it out. dang.

Hey, it's Tim again, from Centreville, VA, just back from an Orchid hunt! (orchids, not tulips - I've been corrected by M) - "byssinosis" - bang.

gotta admit, all three of them look strong, probably Kavya, then Coops then Anamika, whose looked shaky on every word.

Round 8

Here's toothy ramya. iliopsoas. a ligament. she giggles at the funny sentence, which is about ordering iliopsoas

Kyle. too-big kahkis, falling over too-big running shoes. he is Oeillade - third french word. bang. he's like Bob Gibson up there. he hardly stands up before he's done.

Aishwarya -"xebec" - a Turkish sailing ship. that's "Zee-bec". She asks if it might be "zee-buc". struggling. concentrating.... shes in her head. collectively, its 11 straight correct words. 30 second bell. she squints her eyes and starts; "X E B E C" BOOM! 12 in a row.

Kennyi - "Grisaille" - monochrome painting. Hits it. 13 in a row!

Every time Kennyi sits back down, he mugs for the camera, which is inevitably right up in his face, egging him on. And invariably you see Ashy beside him giving him the 7th-grade 'get over yourself' face. If those two end up as the final two, they may have to put up an octogon.

Kavya comes up, gets "huisache" and immediatly gives the 'no problem' grin. knocks it down.

tell ya why i;m going for kavya: she's waring a white polo which is close to the shirts that until this year were the mandatory uniform for this. Thats one of the key things, that every winner, from the screaming "Eounym"-girl in 97 to the Spellbound girl and every goofy or teary highlight ever, they're all waering the same shirt. Gives it a sense of history, like they're not just competiting with each other but with the Greats from the past, like seeing OJ in his USC gear.
Not this year. Kyle and Tim are wearing yellow and Ashy has a blousy pink flowery top on. How many years until this turns into English soccer and kids are spelling arcane portugese verbs in Vodaphone shirts?

To Ashy: "Neufchatel" - that F may get her... "N E U F - yatzee! - C H A T E L"

the Orchid Hunter is back up. He's so gangster, he doesn't say "can i have the definition please." He says, "What does it mean?" Kid is straight Virgini-tucky gangster... - "Cretonne" here he goes: C R E T O N N and....

As we got to commercial, the announcer says it's 21 in a row! Three straight perfect rounds! This is the 2007 Hopkins-Duke of Spelling Bees!

Round 9

Welcome back to the 2009 Spelling Bee, where Stanford is driving against a shell-shoceked Trojan defense, down by 6, before a stunned Coliseum crowd!

OK, it's just 16 in a row, over 2.5 rounds, not 21 like the guy said, but still, if Toothy nails "amarevole", we'll be into the fourth set of a 2008 Federer-Nadal at Wimbledon level event. Sounds like "Ah'm a revilie" as in, "I am the Texas A&M mascot"


she says v - i - l - e. THe wily shwa trips her up. Still, a terrific, deep run by toothy, and we'll see who else gets through this round.

OK, here's Killer Kyle. " Becquerel - a unit of rad... never mind, he's done already. He's like watching Matt Hughes fight in 2003. It's over so fast you feel cheated.

Ashy... "Caerphilly" - a Welsh cheese. If she nails ANYTHING that was originally spelled in Wales, she might be unstoppable..... HAVE SOME! Ashy answers Kyle.

Kennyi.... come on, give him "colour" and don't tell him its british, anything at this point.... "Palatschinkin"... some kind of potato-romanian food thing. truthfully, that S is basicly silent...DING! I GUESSED IT! Tripped up by the silent S!
He gets a standing O as a crowd favorite, then walks over to his 28 year old brother for a big hug. Nice exit for Kennyi. Now, we've got a stage of heavyweights: Killer Kyle and Redneck Tim Vs. The Three Indian chicks. Let's get it on!

Kavya... hand scribbles - ecossaise.... bang....

Wow, Kavya, Ashy and Kyle could be here all night.

Anamika. let's see if she can hang on in what's become Moving Round. "fackeltanz"... sounds like "fock"-whatever. good times.
Missed it by about three letters. First complete flame out-miss. But she'll be back next year.

Orchid Hunter: "jacqueminot" - MONEY!

So here's your Final Four - Kyle, Ashy, Kavya, your basic Florida-SC-OU, and Col. Frank Fitts, United States Marine Corps (Cooper's gay-nazi-dad in American Beauty! YES!)

Round 10 - ps, there's a good chance i'm numbering the rounds wrong, but just know that the order rolls over with Time.

To set up the FInal FOur:

Kavya: white polo, nervous but sort of unaware of the moment. classic bee-assassin.
Kyle: there's a good chance he's just toying with everyone else
Ashy: great prescense, great style, but has gotten lucky at least once and I don't know if she's really Spelling Bee Champ material. Doesn't have that shut-in geek vibe.
Col. Fitts: complete wild card. Could be the George Mason of this group, could be the Lazlo Hollyfield to everybody else's Mitch (go ahead - google it).

Let's GET IT ON!

Kyle: NOOO!!!!! Schizaffin! Puts a P where the Fs, go! that was shocking!
Ashy: "Wisent" - I cannot stress enough that this word is pronounced with a "V". And she nails it.
Kavya: "diacoele"... With Kyle out, I think she just decided to let people know that she's not left handed, so to speak, by TWICE asking one of those killer-smart questions about the word's roots ("does it contain the greek root Ali, meaning to Whatever"). I really get the feeling she just broke from the pack and is challenging somebody to come with her.
Col. Fitts: "reredos".... stone behind an alter. nails it. he's not reacting, just handling business. And to be clear, the Chris Cooper thing is both looks and speech. He really looks and sounds like Cooper, with that trashy drawl.

Round 12

And here we go, down to 3 so its on with the CHAMPIONSHIP WORDS!!!!!! 25 words left. If 2 (or 3) are still standing, co-champs.

Ashy: poised, completely in command of the moment. "Antonomasia" - YES! She answers the Root-Breakaway from Kavya with her own two straight "is it from the greek root XXXX meaning XXX?" questions. THen knocks it down. Your move, Kavya

Kavya: hair pulled back, tall, long nose, terrific energy: "bouquiniste".... hand scribble and nails it.

WHAT??!?!?! Ashy and Kavya were pre-school friends before one moved away?!! This is fantastic.

Up comes Col. Fitts: "oriflamme" - no hesitation, no doubt, rolls right through the double-m, and am I the only one hearing echoes of VY-Bush/Lienart in this Tim-Ashy/Kavya?

Round 13

Ashy: Guayabera - american spanish. a short sleeved shirt meant to be worn untucked... the color guy is concerned she might make it 'harder than it is.' Come on Ashy, G U A Y A B E R A.... phew! First 'can't believe I got that!' smile from her.

Kavya: "Isagoge" - something about, err, school. She asks "does this contain the greek root iso meaning to unite"? when he says no, she clearly has it and rolls it off. I feel like I'm watching Alton on the Inferno in 05, a transcendent competitor in full howl.

The Colonel: "Sophrosyne" - dang, he banged that out like it was the chorus of a Michael Jackson song.

Round 14

Ashy: Menhir - DING! she put some Es in it, and the tears well up before the guy even calls the correction. Terrific run, but she just didn't have the Bee Magic. Kavya and the Colonel are the right finalists.

Kavya: by rule, Ashy isn't TOTALLY out until someone else gets one right in this round. So Kavya can close the door on her pre-school friend with this. TREMENDOUS moment.
"Phoresy" - she starts by smugly asking another greek-root question - she might as well have turned around to wink at Ash's boyfriend - and knocks it down.

The Colonel: Maecenas. generous benefactor. "My-cee-nus" He looks rattled. First one he clearly doesn't know cold.

NO! Throws a Y in there! (I'll just say: based on having watched a few of these, words based on people's names, even ancient names, are pretty much death. Imagine in 1500 years they ask a kid to spell "Kaylee"? How many unhint-able ways can that go?

So with Ashy and Fitts out, up comes Kavya to clinch, the gotta-win-by-2 rule of spelling.

For all the marbles.

"Laodicean" - the guy hasn't even finished pronouncing it before she lets a smile escape. this is over. A few hand scribbles and....


Kavya Chandravarian, touch every base cuz you just hit a home fucking run!!!!!!! WINNER!

THe white polo rules! Olathe, Kansas, GO CRAZY!!!!

and now that you're acutely aware of how dumb you are, ABC instantly cuts to its mental ether to dull the shame: stay tuned for Grey's Anatomy!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Lax Championship Index

The NCAA Lacrosse championship is later today, with Cornell taking on Syracuse. And you can never be totally sure about these things, but the odds are it's going to be great game.

Why? Because year in and year out, lacrosse puts on the Championship show of any sport, which we'll prove as we go along (
though at least one non-lacrosse player - Shaq - apparently, already knows).

But since writing about good lacrosse is easy (as we'll see), let's start with a little higher degree of difficulty and discuss, if we can, what bad lacrosse might look like.

The bottomline is, if either Syrcuse or Cornell beats the other by 5 or more goals in today's game, they will have largely locked up the title of Second-Ugliest Lax Championship of All Time. The current holder of that title - Second-Ugliest - is almost certainly Virginia's 2003 title, though UVA's 9-7 win over Johns Hopkins in the final is probably more correctly described as tepid for its low score than particularly awful. It was that year's semifinals that were just brutal: Hopkins beat traditional arch-rival Syrcuse 19-8 and Virginia destroyed Maryland 14-4 - two unwatchable games that combined for 21-points worth of blowouts. By at least a little, those semis were less fun than this year's, which were bloodless dismantling for Syracuse (17-7 over Duke) and Cornell (15-6 over UVA).

That makes the total semifinal point-spread of this year's games - 19 - the third-worst in tourney semis history, just 2 behind 2003's.

Hence, the chance for the Second-Worst title today.

Still, Cuse or Cornell would have to win today even more handily than they did in the semis (an outcome, one would think, made less likely by the ease of which both teams cruised) for 2009 to jump all the way past the just gawd-awful games that made up the 1977 tournament. In that spineless weekend, Hopkins and Cornell both scored 22 in the semifinals, the Big Red winning by 10 over Maryland while Hopkins thrashed Navy 22-6.

How ugly was that? In the 37 lacrosse final fours played other than 1977's, encompassing 111 games, none have come close to the 16-pt drubbing Hopkins put on Navy, and only 13 of those 111 games have been as one-sided as the 10-point Cornell-Maryland game.

In other words: one of the 1977 semifinals was the worst game - by far - in Final Four history, and the other was in the worst 10%.

The 1977 final was almost as dull: 16-8 for Cornell. In fact, I know of only one reason to not expunge the 1977 tourney from the record books - the tourney's MVP was Cornell's Eamon McEneaney, a three-time first-team All-American, widely viewed as the best athlete in Cornell history, and a partner at Cantor Fitzgerald who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. For Eamon, it stays on the books, and also, perhaps, so that Cuse and Cornell - barring an 11-point blowout final - won't go home as all-time ugliest champs.

Why all this talk about "Bad" lacrosse final fours? Two reasons.

One, the NCAA final four is the woodstock, class trip and county boat show of lacrosse, all rolled into one. People who play and follow lacrosse do so with a fury, and the annual final four is the reunion they start planning for on the ride home from the last one. So I'm not really trying to decide which final four was the "worst" (though its clear: it was 1977), as I am trying to make a backdoor illustration that the winner today - or any year - is only part of the story of the lax final four. Really, each year's full three-game event - always on memorial weekend - is its own entity, and the names and face of the semis - usually familiar, sometimes fresh - define it as much as the eventual champ.

And two: I wanted to see if I could do it. Because it turns out that talking bad lacrosee is, really hard, because lacrosse championships are, on average, WAY better than anybody elses.

How good? Let's have a look:

38: NCAA D-1 lacrosse National Championship games played prior to today
17: Decided by 1 goal

20: Decided by 1 or 2 goals
23: Decided by 3 or less (3 is the lacrosse tipping point; a 3 goal lead can evaporate in 5 quick passes; 4 goal leads feel and wear much sturdier)
3: Championship Games decided by more than 8 (a lacrosse blowout)

Put another way, over 60 percent of championships have been competitive to the final minute, while less than 8 percent have been blowouts.

For Comparison, "The" Final Four

3: NCAA Basketball title games decided by 1 point.
10: NCAA Basketball title games decided by 4 or fewer points.
10: Title games with a winning margin of 12 or more.
13: Title games with a winning margin > 10.

So, in simple language, if you watch an NCAA Final in basketball, you are as likely to see a one-sided game won by 12 points or more as to see a decision by 4-points-or-less. And you are considerably more likely to see a double digit final margin (a total of 13 title games have been decided by 10 or more).


2: Overtimes in the NCAA basketball title game since 1971.
8: Overtimes in lacrosse title game.

Of course, what the lax title game brings in competitiveness, it pays for with a stunning and inarguable lack of diversity.

7: NCAA title game winners - Syracuse, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, UVA, UNC, Cornell, Maryland.

Two stats to illustrate how insulated that is
Since the first NCAA lacrosse championship in 1971...
11: NCAA men's volleyball winners (7 just from California)
8: ACC men's basketball champs.

So that looks bad. But really, its worse than that:

1975: Maryland's most recent title
1977: Cornell's most recent title
1991: UNC's most recent title
1992: Princeton's first title, the last time the winner's circle saw new blood. Put another way, Princeton replaced UNC in a four-team rotation with Cuse, Hopkins and (less often) UVA that has sequested the title in thier ranks for 32 years.

But really, its worse even than that:

31: NCAA title games LOST by the Big Seven schools.
9.2: Percent of NCAA title game slots ever filled by a team outside the Big Seven.
Non-Winners Club title appearances:
2: Duke, Navy
1: UMass, Towson, Loyola

And really, its actually just a bit worse than that:

20: Total teams to ever reach the Lacrosse Final Four
18: Total teams to reach the Final Four since 1975 and who remain competitive today.
Outside of the 12 finalists, Yale, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Penn, Army and Brown have reached the semi. (Washington & Lee and Cortland St (a Baltimore-area school) were in each of the first four Final Fours, but neither today plays at an elite level).

Still, to even mention Penn's only Final Four trip is to invoke one of the sports - most seminal games, the Quakers 11-10 loss to the mighty 1988 Syracuse team. Widely viewed as the greatest team of all time - certainly to that point - the 1988 Syracuse team that Penn faced featured Gary Gait in the midst of what would end up being an NCAA record 70 goal-season, while his twin brother Paul had 47. In all Syracuse outscored its 1988 opponents 261-118 on the way to a 15-0 record.
All of which would make Penn's 11-10 loss in the semis - in Syracuse's hometown Carrier Dome, no less - one of the sports great Desperate Stands.
But with the tie scored 10-10 with 15 seconds left, Gary Gait stood on the left wing of Penn's defense and looked at the clock. Realizing the time left in the game, he sprinted toward the rear of the net, Penn's defender matching him step for step.
None of which was particularly remarkable.
However, as he reached the back of the net, he did something no one had ever done.
From outside the crease circle, he jumped towards net, throwing his stick forward in the air over the goal's crossbar, dunking the ball into the net before crashing into the goal.

(first 20 seconds of video, best I could find)

From behind the goal, he had slam dunked the game winner, a shot instantly legionized as the Air Gait.

Summing it up then, the boundries of the known lacrosse universe look like this:
7: title winners
5: finals losers
6: additional final four qualifiers since 1975.
18: Total currently-competitive Final Four teams.

Those teams break down into five catagories.
5: Ivy League teams
4: ACC teams (only those four conference schools field teams)
4: Baltimore teams (Hopkins, Towson, Loyola, Navy)
2: Upstate NY teams (Army, Syracuse)
3: Georgetown, Notre Dame, UMass

It's not exactly the UN of Sport, but hey, neither is water polo.

Are there signs of loosening? Perhaps. Cornell's appearance today marks the fifth time in the last four years that a non-Big Four school has played for the title, after UMass and Duke (twice) crashed the party from 05 to 07.

So some final stats, including Cuse and Cornell's appearance today, but before the game is played:
9, 19: Titles and Finals appearances, Johns Hopkins
10, 16: Titles and Finals (pending today), Syracuse.

THough Syracuse, with its glamorous history of Jim Brown and the Gait brothers, has the most titles, Hopkins can still claim that the road to the title goes through them. And let's never forget that it was Hopkins who turned back Duke in both 05 and 07 by a single goal in the final, keeping the sordid affairs of that program on Duke's campus out of the sport's top tier.

6,8: Princeton
4,8: UVA
4,5: UNC (best winning pct of the bunch, hope to say)
2,9: Maryland. ouch.

So in all, i'll be pulling for Cornell to break the 4-way lock at least back into 5 pieces, and to keep Cuse within a single game of Hopkins at the top of the leader board.

Have a good memorial day.

UPDATE: 'Cuse won. By 1. In overtime. Told ya so.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Shaq-lax calls his shot on twitter

UPDATE: The Index takes a look at some Lax history ahead of the Syracuse-Cornell final.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Crystal Blue

From my favorite twittering coach:

It was EDSBS that turned me on to Stewart, so HT to them. And I don't plan on rebroadcasting coach tweets here.

But as it happens, this particular entry - besides being gloriously un-coachlike - reminds me a few weeks ago when M and I heard Crystal Blue Persuasion in the car and both immediatly assumed that it was a drug song. And if you listen to it - drippy 70s keyboard, horn-infused 3-part psychedleic vocals, Willy-Wonka tripout lyrics - I stand by that assumption. Coming from the same time, meter and culture of 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,' how could it not be?

And, obvioulsy, "Crystal" is today (though perhaps wasn't when this song was written) the go-to euphamism for Meth. Everyone knows, that, right?

Well, according to enough Tube sources that I have to believe there's something to it, Crystal Blue is about any of that:

From Wiki (which echoes other sources):

The title of the song came to James while he was reading The Bible's Book of Revelation, according to James in a 1985 interview in Hitch magazine:

I took the title from the Book of Revelations[sic] in the Bible, reading about the New Jerusalem. The words jumped out at me, and they're not together; they're spread out over three or four verses. But it seemed to go together, it's my favorite of all my songs and one of our most requested.[1]

However, according to James's manager, James was actually inspired by his reading of the Book of Ezekiel where it speaks of the Blue Shekinah Light which represented the presence of the Almighty God and the Books of Isaiah and Revelation where it speaks of a bright future of a brotherhood of mankind living in peace and harmony.[2]

Blue Shekina Light?

So let's return to Coach Stewart's twitter.

At this year's Mieneke Bowl, after a breathless, vampire-battle of a win over UNC, Coach Stewart took to an ESPN microphone and basicly became a Joy Balloon that someone suddenly stopped pinching the end of. Screaming into Rob Stone's microphone he said:

On Pat White: "Every mom and daddy in the country want their son to be like Pat White. My wife and I want our sons to be like Pat White."

"Our kids may not be the best players, I know that, but they're the best citizens, they're going to be great husbands, great daddys, great men of faith, I bygawd guarantee that!"

(and then, he turns to Rob Stone):

"Thank you Rob Stone for all you do, thank you ESPN, we love you, ESPN made us, any night you need us, you just ask!"

So that's Bill Stewart, and God Bless. And if nothing else, his twitter feeds reinforces the all-heart, country-roads-take-me-persona he let loose on Stone.

So now we're back to 4am in Stewart's car on the way to practice. What did he hear in that song - and know about it - that makes for "Crystal practice?"

Did he think it was Meth? Amphetimines? Alice? Blue Moons? Hillbilly Heroine? WMD? I mean, this IS West Virgina? Was he planning on a practice, at 6am in the mountains of WV in March, that was akin to really good drug use?


Did he know all or some of the above, and wanted his team to play like the leviathon of Revelations, beaming with Blue Shenika Light?

Or was he just groovin' on Tommy and the Shondells and accidently skimmed across the top of it all with a twitter post?

Probably that last one. But how is that song not about drugs?

Kellen The Page

Maybe I enjoyed the Bobby Jindal (JINDAAAALLLLLL!) eruption too much. But YahooCF popped up this morning with Boise State's Kellen Moore on the front page. He's on the left.

Monday, April 06, 2009


A Cultprit Emerges!

A commenter on EDSBS points out that in 2001, Texas* was in the exact situation which UT seems to think it SHOULD have been in this time, namely: playing in the title game, having beaten top rivals in both divisions. That year it was OU and Colorado, who UT* had beaten earlier.

Texas* lost to CU in the title game, still another 'why they play the game' lesson, which you can record just below "to name champions."

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

April 1st

Happy April 1st, the first day of 2009's second quarter, and also the day for pranks and tricks. With perfect symmetry of structure, then, is this first play of this second quarter, glorious in both trickeration and in name, dubbed the McCluster Fluster for Ole' Miss wide receiver and speed bandit Dexter McCluster.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Know Your Buzzer Beaters

CLICK ON GRAPHIC TO GO TO FULLY DYNAMIC VERSION, with click-thru links to video

Saturday, March 28, 2009

What is it About Division II?

That Findlay shot in OT was great today. Just brilliant.

But let's not forget - LET'S NOT FORGET - that two years ago Barton College from Wilson, NC did this:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Know Your Canon Fodder

UNC-Radford: From this Radford-NCAA-party, pick the "hey we're on TV!" bench guys and the "Dang- Carolina?"-starter:

so Radford's domain is runet.edu, huh? Well, if you look up RU.edu, you don't get rutgers or rice or regent or anywhere in russia. You get Rogers State, which is in Oklahoma. Rogers State also has RSU.edu locked up, which really seems greedy.
(radford also owns Radford.edu).

So Radford is in - wait for it! - Radford VA, which is, err, in Virginia, nearer mountains than a beach, to judge from the aeriel pics.

Morgan State-OU:

All you need to know about Morgan State.

The favorite with 5 to go to finish the summer as my favorite Alphabet clip.

Memphis-Cal State Northridge
: I'm fairly certain CSUN ("C-sun", or alternately "Cal State-Northridge" or as Bill Simmons says with hilarious cluelessness, "C-S-Northridge") is the most famous bad school in America. CSUN is the state U that serves the San Fernando Valley, miles below the academic mastiffs of nearby LA and the state's UC campuses. It has long been the go-to punchline school for Los Angeles, which means that over the years that status has proliferated nationally thanks to jokes on TV and movies and just-often-enough peripheral appearances from its baseball and bball team.

The town of Northridge is a ridge-less valley city squeezed between the more-famous Reseda (Tom Petty), Granada Hills (better sports) and Chatsworth (you know why), and is distinctive in absolutely no way at all except for being the epicenter, and popular name, of the worst LA earthquake of the TV era.

Perhaps ironically, on the same day CSUN makes its Memphis curtain call (March 19), China Sunergy (CSUN-nasdaq) willl announce is full year 2008 earnings. Not sure what to expect on the call, but consider: CSUN Dec 28, 2007 - 17.07; last Friday: 1.65. So 2008 didn't have the pop for CSUN LLC it did for the CSUN Matadors.

Somebody should offer a parly of spreads of CSUN vs. Memphis against CSUN vs. FY08.

: It either is or was SUNY-Binghamton, after beginning life as a branch of Syracuse after its founding by The Guy behind IBM. But henceforth, in deference to its upstate NY lineage, we'll call it "the Bing". The Bing may not have the basketball pedigree - or any pedigree - of Duke, but that that doesn't mean they won't give Duke all the entitled smugness they can handle. From the top of the Bing's About Page:

The best public university in the northeast. Period.

Oh my.

On the same terribly self-impressed page, the Bing reports this at-first-blush impressive stat -
Students in top 25% of their HS class: 84%

Let's break that down just a bit... what percent of any HS class goes to ANY 4-year school? Less than 50% right? 25-30 go to work, 20-25 go to JC or less? So about 50? So 3 out of every 20 Bing students were NOT in the top half of their college-bound peers?

However, if the Bing is not quite the Harvard-on-the-Susquehanna it likes to think it is, it's no CSUN. First of all, the campus has a really terrific housing/dorm naming system. Each block of dorms - "college" - has a theme, and the names of the buildings follow the theme. So for the College-in-the-Woods, your building is named after an Iriquios Tribe. In the Hienman College, your dorm is named for former NY Govs (no word on the Spitzer Quad). The buildings in Hillside college are all named after NY state parks, and those in Susquehanna college are all named after - get this - tributaries to the Susquehanna, which flows through campus.

I ain't gonna lie: that's all cool as hell.

Another way in which the Bing differs from CSUN: it's shaped like a brain.

from wiki:
A unique feature of the main campus is that it is shaped like a brain. The primary road on campus creates a closed loop to form the cerebrum and cerebellum, and the main entrance road creates the spinal cord which leads up to a traffic circle (representing the medulla). The main road is thus frequently referred to as The Brain.

and, well, here it is:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Homer and the Heels Index

Or How Losing to FSU was the Perfect Plan!

I have a friend nicknamed Homer who is a looooong-time Duke fan because he went to geek-camp there when he was 12 or something. He emailed after the Heels lost to FSU:

"Buddy of mine has always sensibly insisted that it's best to lose no later than Saturday in the acc tournament, better even than winning the whole thing."

UPDATE: The Homer Theory Rolls On

Wisco 61, FSU 59;
UNC 101, Radford 58

Really? Cuz as of yesterday, that's me! Let's do an Index!

The first NCAA tourney that allowed 'at large' teams (ie, more than one team per conference) was 1974. We'll use that era to look at "Homer Teams", which is the why-not name we'll use for teams that "lost "no later than Saturday in the acc tournament" ie, non ACC-tourney finalist.

Homer Teams Vs ACC Runner-Ups

22: NCAA tourneys since 1974 (35 years) in which an ACC Homer Team advanced farther than the ACC runner-up.
6: NCAA tourney in which an ACC Homer Team tied the Runner-up's performance.
7: Number of times that the ACC Runner-up had a better tourney run than any ACC Homer Team.


60: Percent of NCAA tourneys in which a Homer Team outperformed the ACC runner-up.
80: Percent including 'ties', i.e. years that an ACC Homer Team advanced at least as far as the ACC runner-up.

And more recently...

81.25: Percent of years since 1992 that Homer team out-performed ACC Runner-up (no ties).

Lesson - 4 out of 5 times in the modern NCAA era, at least one ACC team that lost "no later than Saturday in the ACC tournament" has performed as well or better than the team that lost on Sunday. And since 1992, a Homer team has almost always performed better.

That's abjectly bad news for today's runner-up (please Duke please Duke please Duke!), because only one team is the RU each year. Those numbers are YOURS.

It's a bit trickier for would-be Homer team, since ever tourney (since expansion) produces 10 Homer-candidates that lose "no later than Saturday," and at least two or three of them generally make the tourney.
The trick is to be the right one.

Homer Teams vs. ACC Champions

9: NCAA tourney's since 1974 when an ACC "Homer Team" has been the best performing ACC entry (ie, advanced farther than both the ACC Champ and runner-up)
12: Same stat, including "ties" (Homer team equals performance of ACC Champ and runner-up)
6: Those occurances since 1990 (meaning that 2/3s of the best Homer runs have occured in less than half of the tourneys).
7: Same stat, with ties

Homer Lesson#2 - Since 1990, a Homer team has outperformed the ACC finalists in the NCAAs slightly more than 1/3 of the time... about what you'd expect if the two finalists and the next best team were all taken as 'equals.'

Technically, this fails the Homer Theory, but only the part about it being "better than winning the whole thing".

Runner-up: First loser. Again.

5: NCAA tourney since 1974 when the ACC runner-up was the top performing ACC team in the NCAA tournament, or 1/7 years.
0: Same stat, since 1996.
5: Homer teams that had the best NCAA run since 1996.
Homer Lesson #3 - Don't be the Runner-up

Final Championship Index

9: NCAA Championships won by ACC teams since 1974

5: NCAA Titles won by ACC Champs
2: NCAA Titles won by ACC Runner-ups
2: NCAA TItles won by ACC Homer Teams... including the last two (UMD 02, UNC 05)

So Cheer up, Heels - we got'em right where we want'em!

ACC's NCAA CHAMPS (ACC tourney result)
- 1974 NC State (Champ)
- 1982 UNC (Champ)
- 1983 NC State (Champ)
- 1991 Duke (RU)
- 1992 Duke (Champ)
- 1993 UNC (RU)
- 2001 Duke (Champ)
- 2002 Maryland (Homer Team)
- 2005 UNC (Homer Team)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Chick-fil-a Index

We'll be back to the CFB Alphabet tomorrow (anybody wild guesses at V? Anybody want odds?). All this video is missing is a reference to Polynesian Sauce and a lock against playing it on Sunday.

11: Years the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl was sponsored by the Atlanta Marathon, ie The Atlanta Marathon bowl.
2: by ratings, Chick-fil-a Peach Bowls in all-time top six ESPN bowl broadcasts, including 2009 Auburn Clemson game, ESPN's top broadcast of the bowl season (Auburn 23, Clemson 20 OT)
4: Consecutive wins by the SEC.
4: Consecutive SEC losses prior to current streak.
36: Average LSU winning margin (37, 35) in two last four games.
410: Calories in a chicken sandwich
400: 12 nuggets
370: Medium waffle fries
660: Vanilla shakes. God bless.


40-4: High school wrestling record (jr and sr years), including Ga state champion, of Dan Cathy, current Sr. VP and son of Truett Cathy, CFA founder.


Mostly for the music track, highlughts of 2007 CFA Bowl, Auburn-Clemson. Whoever Au.Tiger.96 is, he knows how to use an over-inflated Michael Bay-ish soundtrack.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Alliteration Index

"Come and sit by me side if you love me,
Do not hasten to bid me Adieu /
Just remember the Red River's Val Varley
And that guy who played for TCU"

10: Years in prison for Lonta Hobbs, former TCU RB and one of the stars of the legendary TCU-Boise State Ft. Worth Bowl.

Hobbs was rung up for selling drugs near his old HS stadium by the exquisitely named Red River DA, Val Varley.

Friday, March 06, 2009

U is for Unneccesary, Unsportsmanlike and Ultramarine Turf

(yip: starts with "U," means blue. I pulled it off)

Like orphans and sundresses, Boise State's secondary will hitchee.

Oh, they'll draw a flag. You'll get your first down. But you won't try that shit again, and by that shit we mean, 'advancing the ball.'

No. 1 - Jeron Johnson marking his territory against San Jose State on an overthrown ball to the sideline with a cheap shot to the back.

No. 2 and No. 3

First half of clip: Safety Ellis Powers with a two-steps late cheap-shot on Oregon QB
Jeremiah Masoli, knocking him out of the game (they are announcing line-ups as the clip begins)
Second half of clip: Johnson again, getting tossed from the game for "targeting a defenseless player" no less on an overthrown ball. Indeed, the reciever leaps for the ball while Johnson is 2 steps away, and the receiver tracks the ball with his head as it passes out of reach - and then Johnson levels him.

These aren't penalties or even that cheap, but more of Johnson blowing up Right-Angle-State teams:

Utah... (at the first down mark - instinctual!)


and Wyoming.... And this is not actuallyJohnson, but a big Samoan. Terrific big-boy hit, and even better Bad Announcing.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Crazy basketball Index

It's not college and its not football, but Alaska has no college football and an overabundance of Crazy in its basketball legacy, so it will always have a place on the Index.

To recap some of Crazy's high school basketball accomplishments that have been chronicled here:

1 - a few years back (04?), the Barrow high school girls played for and won the State championship against a team from Juneau. THe game was played the same day as 16 games in the NCAA tournament's first-round. Of those 16 games, only 3 matched opponents from campuses farther apart than the Barrow-Juneau title game.

2 - Mario Chalmers, NCAA Final Four MVP and now NBA player, balled at Service High in Alaska, which you may have known. You may not have known that, from Chalmer's sophomore-year team at Service, Chalmers was the third guy to play in the Show. Two players who were seniors that year went on to make NFL rosters.

3 - UAA, my alma mater dear, made the DII Final Four last year and in '06 scored 8 points in the final 12 seconds to beat somebody at home.

Which brings us to...


so this story features:

Tok - if not the heart of Crazy, then at least the Gateway to Crazy.
Central players named Skylar and Cronk.
THe two highest point totals ever recorded by a single player in a game in Alaska - 20 years apart, from adjacent fly-speck towns on the Canadian border, with the previous record holder sitting in the stands as the new guy broke his record.

74: Points scored by Skylar Webb for Tok High this year, breaking a 20+ year old Alaska state record, against a team from Whitehorse, which is in Canada and 400 miles from Tok.

View Larger Map
400: Miles - roughly

By reputation, Tok is the first "town" you hit inside Alaska after crossing over from Canada.

62: Previous record, held by Mike Cronk, of Northway High, a school actually closer to Canada, but without the big city glam of Tok.
1: Rows behind Webb's family that Cronk, now a teacher at Tok, was sitting for the game.
1:30: Total minutes Webb played in the fourth quarter after picking up his 4th foul late in the 3rd.
59: Webb point total at end of regulation.
15: Points in overtime.
38: Winning margin in Northway game when Cronk set the record.
1: Winning margin in Tok game, 83-82 - for Whitehorse.

So Webb scored the most points ever by a high schooler in Alaska, 74, and lost.

*** - regular season

Saturday, February 21, 2009

T is for Tom Osborne's Face


- Orange Bowl Guy

Hand it to OU fans - they treat their program's YouTube memories like a season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. The more akward, the more embarrassing, the more pathetic and debasing, the better.

There are at least three videos available on the 1985 Orange Bowl (including a recent Sunday Sermon here) where the Sooners lost to UW after thier horse-and-wagon cost them a field goal.

And here, preserved by Lucky4OU / Jim's Oklahoma Sports Page, is another great moment in football akwardness.

In 1978, the Tom Osborne-led Husker upset #1 OU, with Hiesman winner Billy Sims, in their annual showdown, handing the Huskers the automatic Orange bid for the Big 8, and a showdown for the national title with Penn State. However, NU fell asleep at the wheel the next week losing to Missouri. This sent Penn State to the Sugar Bowl to Face Alabama for #1.

The Orange Bowl then turned around and offered the 'at-large' bid to... OU, setting up a rematch.

The Orange Bowl commissioner - just as General-Buck-Turgeson-straight as a 1978 Orange Bowl Committee chair could possibly be - called OU first to extend the bid and then Nebraska to break the news.

For some reason, and somehow, both ends of both calls were captured on video.

Watch Tom Osborne - every inch as young, dapper and shiny as RFK - react to the news.

OU beat the Husker in the 1979 Orange Bowl, 31-24.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

S is for Stanford and the SEC. The other ones

As Sheen said to Biehn, "T
rust me with your life but not your money or your wife," and there's indeed no one I'd more gladly hand over the keys to my terrestrial days and nights than Sir Allen Stanford, Brigand Lord of The West Indi es!

Sir Stanford, before the fall.

Equally, there's no one I'd trus t less with anything I actually owned or held dear, as the SEC (subpeonas-and-jail-SEC, not beer-and-sundresses-SEC) is currently discovering, though apparently they could have just asked the English national cricket team.

Here's Uncle Allen with their WAGs (wives and girlfriends, one of them pregnant), as the players toiled below on both Uncle Allen's dime and private Antigua cricket field. Better still, the game in question is the finals of the Stanford 20/20 tournament last November, in which the "Stanford Super
sta rs" of Caribbean players beat the English team in a game for a $20 mi llion purse, which is approxi mately 458 zillion shilling-crumpets.

So his team beat them for $20 mil, made a mockery of their sport and generally played Good-to-be-The-King with their wives.

UPDATE: This came after Stanford announced the match by showing up at Lord's field in London in a helicopter, carrying a briefcase of American cash.

But once a Brigand Lord of the West Indies finds his taste for sponsored ladies, he soon aspires beyond churched-up cricket groupies.

And so it caem to be that Stanford Financial became the corporate sponsor of the cheerleading teams of the beer-and-sundresses-SEC's two most celebrated bella ambiente universitarios, LSU.... (check out the 'dismount' of the Tiger Cage, a minute or so in)

and Ole Miss, where the pool parties don't quit.

Sir Allen Stanford, Brigand Lord of the West Indies, most certainly not a descendent of Leland Stanford Jr., ne'er-do-well of SEC cheerleading pool parties and owner of a glorious P-bandit mustache, The Index salutes you!

"I said to my English colleagues that these Texan chaps are a bit different from the average person in Tunbridge Wells, Kent."

- Simon Dyson, executive chairman of the Cricket Foundation