Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Georgia Preview

The story of the 2010 CU Buffaloes has, so far, been a tale of two teams. There is the team that ground down a bad CSU team and beat the piss out of Hawaii in the second half two weeks ago, and there's the team who played like a glorified high school team in Berkley and couldn't score against Hawaii in the first half two weeks ago. What's the difference? Defensive short fields and running effectiveness.

Against Cal and in the 1st half against Hawaii CU was beset with short defensive fields and an ineffective running game. Routinely, in both instances, penalties and mistakes by the offense and special teams gave the defense short fields. Against Hawaii the defense was able to hold, against Cal they couldn't (that's the difference between playing a BCS school and a WAC school, btw). This also affected the running game. Against Cal, CU was held to a miserable 1.8 yards per carry (partially because sack yards are counted against you, but even with that taken into consideration the numbers were bad). In the 1st half against Hawaii, CU was held by a poor run defense team to barely over 3 yards per carry. CU couldn't get a hold on the field position battle, continued to put their defense in bad situations, and couldn't keep the other team's offense on the sidelines: that's why the Buffs struggled.

Against CSU and in the 2nd half against Hawaii, the opposite was true. CU was able to give the Buff defense a break by limiting turnovers and mistakes that could lead to poor defensive field position. Additionally, against CSU the Buffs had a deceivingly small 3.3 yards per carry (much of the 2nd half CU ran the ball to kill clock, not necessarily gain yards) and in the second half against Hawaii CU gained 5.8 yards per carry on 33(!) rushes. The Buffs ground down the opponents defense, kept our defense fresh(-ish), and limited big mistakes. It's football 101: run the football and limit mistakes and you'll win.


Georgia on my mind

(It's a good excuse to play a little Ray)

Hopefully, CU has learned some lessons from their 1st 3 games because a Georgia team with their back up against the wall is coming into town. After an opening win against lowly Louisiana-Laffayette, the Bulldogs have strung up 3 consecutive losses to SEC opponents. For all intents an purposes, if Georgia loses this game their season may well be over (at 1-4, I think it would be very hard for them to scrape up 5 wins in 7 games to make bowl eligibility). Georgia is in a serious funk this season. Team leader A.J. Green was suspended 4 games for selling his game used jersey, the Bulldogs have had 10 players arrested over the past year (including 1 this past weekend) and they just got off losing away to Mississippi State for the first time since the Truman administration (1951).

Offensively, Georgia will get a big boost this week from the return of WR A.J Green. Green is a probable high first round NFL draft pick next April, and will pose a challenge for CU's two outstanding corners. The Bulldog offense is lead by Freshman (RS) QB Aaron Murray who, while carrying the freshman label, hasn't really played like a freshman this year. It's not his fault that the 'dogs are 0-3 in SEC play. RB's Washaun Ealey and Caleb King are young, but talented. Honestly, this is a talented group who will pose match-up problems all over the field; this is a genuine SEC team with SEC talent, and while I may mock them from time to time, they aren't the best conference in the nation for nothing. The key will be locking up Green. If he's hauling down first down catches then the running game will open up and CU is in for a world of hurt.

(Hopefully, we don't see much of this Saturday night)

Defensively, the Bulldogs run the dreaded 3-4 scheme designed to stop the run. This is the same scheme that held the Buffs to 1.8 yards per carry against Cal 3 weeks ago. However, I sat down to watch the MSU game last week and saw a Bulldog defense who couldn't stop the run on short yardage. MSU ran a weird version of the option-read run scheme (one more focused on the inside hand off than an outside sweep) that seemed to get some yards leading me to think that CU's pistol based run schemes could be effective. One primary difference is that MSU's QB was a big dude who could just bulldoze to get a few yards. If Tyler starts to Bulldoze, we'd better get the stretcher ready. Georgia has been vulnerable to the passing game, but they were going up against, particularly in Arkansas, teams who can pass a whole hell of a lot better than CU can. Safety Baccarri Rambo and Linebacker Akeem Dent lead the Bulldog defense, and should be all over the field Saturday night.

Overall, Georgia should get a big boost from having Green back on the field. The offense really struggled last week, only getting things going in garbage time against a bad Mississippi State team. Green will make things easier for them; think of him like a B12 shot to the arm. I expect them to be a team fired up and desperate for a win. They will have a bunch of fans there (although we've seen what that can get you *cough* Cal *cough*) and this is a big game for them as well as us.

Prediction time

If it wasn't for off of the intangibles, I don't think CU would have much of a shot at winning. Not only is Georgia in a 3 week funk, but this is only the 4th time in 75 years that Georgia has played a regular season game west of the Mississippi. Additionally, a night game in Folsom is a thing of beauty. The crowd will be fired up, and maybe some of that 1990 magic will be in the air. The players will be filled with pride and history after being addressed by Coach Mac and other members of that '90 team. They should know by kickoff what this game means to both the history of the program and the fans.

(The crowd should be intense as we remember our national title)

CU is 7th in the nation in stopping the run and 40th in total defense. While the numbers are slightly skewed by Hawaii's insistence on passing, I do feel that CU is in the top 30-45 defenses in the country: good, not great. They will be strongly tested this weekend. With Green back, Georgia has the potential to really get going offensively, and it'll be up to corners Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown to keep tabs on him. This is a big statement game for those two young men, and they know it. Scouts will be watching and it's time to go earn their future paychecks. If they can keep Green from producing a handful of big plays, CU should stand tall on defense assuming the offense doesn't stab them in the back by giving Georgia short fields all evening.

Offensively, CU will struggle. This is an inconsistent unit beset by mental errors, penalties and a discombobulated offensive scheme. The key to a good Buffs offense with the current talent would be to get Tyler out of the pocket. When Tyler is out of the pocket good things happen: defenses have to respect his legs, the receivers can get open for big plays (see Clemmons, Toney), and big holes can open up in the ground game. Unfortunately, the CU coaching staff want to keep their "Ferrari in the garage" so to speak. They have drilled Tyler into staying in the pocket, essentially turning into half a QB. Were he to get out and pose a dual-threat more often he could be an effective and dangerous weapon. As currently used, however, he is little better than Cody. I expect this trend to continue. Additionally, while CU has increased carries each week (from 35 to 42 to 52) they are only getting a total average of 3.4 yards per rush; that is just not enough for a team that needs to run the ball effectively. It's because of this that I expect Georgia to hold the Buffs offense in check for most of the game.

While I've waffled all week, I think, in the end, it will come down to if the offense can cut the mistakes. I have seen nothing to this point that makes me believe they can. The game will turn into a low scoring grind 'em out slug fest, much like the previous 2 blackouts (FSU in '07 and West Virginia in '08). Unfortunately, CU will fall in the end 17-13. (I feel bad just saying that) Don't get me wrong, CU could win; this is a game that sets up well, after all. I want to think a special teams play or two could save us, I want to believe in the evening game magic, I want to believe that we'll stick with the no huddle and that it will give Georgia headaches; I just have a hard time actually believing in a team that continues to commit so many penalties and give their defense so many short fields. Maybe CU did turn the corner in the 2nd half of the Hawaii game, but I need to see it against a BCS school before I'll believe it's for real. Sorry.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ozzie's back... but what about Kenny?

Just like I predicted Monday, Ozzie's quitting talk was all bluster and he will be back next year (without an extension no less). This got me ruminating on the Sox future as both Ozzie and Kenny Williams futures have been up in the air recently. They (and their constant bickering) are integral to the identity and fortunes of the club.

As I talked about earlier this year, Ozzie-led Sox teams consistently beat expectations. Even this year the Sox were pegged by PECOTA (the industry standard in season stats predictions) to go 79-83. With 5 meaningless games to go the Sox have beaten that by 5, and, prior to the disastrous home stand of 2 weeks ago they had a decent shot at hitting 90 wins. Had the Twins played to their predicted 82-80, and not challenge for the league lead in wins like they have, the Sox would have a lock on the division. The bottom line is that the Sox under Ozzie are better than they should be. But he is not the only one who makes this team go.

Kenny Williams in a genius. After getting bashed by A's GM Billy Beane in Michael Lewis' "Moneyball," Williams got even by winning a World Series and becoming one of the most successful young GM's in the league. I really love having Kenny Williams as the Sox GM. I know with "Trader" Kenny that the Sox Organization will never quit like they would under Ron Schueler in the late '90s. This is the sort of attitude which helped bring the title of '05 and the constant focus on improving the ball club ever since. Under Kenny there are no rebuilding projects, only setbacks. Take the Manny deal this year: Kenny realized that Ozzie's insistance on a NL lineup in the AL was potentially costing the team wins so he went out and spent nearly $4mil for one month of DH-ing from a PED-user. Sure, the Sox have gone an embarrassingly average 13-13 since that signing, but at least we tried. The team construction, from the emphasis on pitching, to the reliance on veterans like Paul Konerko and AJ Pierzynski comes from Williams.

(As much as, if not more than, Ozzie, Kenny makes the Sox who they are. From: SI)

I'm always going to be cool with Ozzie as the manager of the Sox. Not only was he a team leader and a hero of mine growing up in the '90s, but he was the face of the '05 team that brought the first baseball title to Chicago in 88 years. It would be naive and hypocritical of me to say that a few years of temper tantrums and twitter fiascoes could erase all of that, and I certainly give him credit for everything the Sox gain on the field. However, I realize that it's the collaboration between Williams and Guillen that ultimately sets the tone for the franchise. Without one, I doubt the other will work well. While Ozzie returning is great news, Kenny, who has openly talked about running away and hiding from the stress, is just as important, and needs to be retained. Were Kenny to go, Ozzie would probably just spin out of control (if he hasn't already).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Civilization V review

I'd like to take a break from the nearly non-stop sports conversation to hit on the release of the 5th iteration of one of my favorite video game franchises: Civilization V

In the series you control a historical world civilization (Chinese, English, Mayan, etc.) from the dawn of man to the future. Along the way you expand your cities, research new technologies, and build armies so that you can wipe out your enemies. As opposed to, say the Total War or other RTS games, the Civ games are based on management skills and the leverage of cultural advantage. You go from controlling one fledgling encampment and one primitive military unit to controling a world-wide empire with a sprawling military rather quickly so organization and foresight is a must.

The Civilization series is well known for being addictive and beyond essentially every other game in the turn based strategy genre in terms of re-playability. Re-playability comes from the infinite number of ways the game world can be set up. The world can be random generated or preset. You can play against many or few other Civ's with varying presets to increase or decrease the game's inherent difficulty. The addiction comes from the "next turn button." Each turn of the game comes from you setting instructions over a set few game years. Build this, research that, etc. When you're done handing out instruction, that next turn button blinks at you, begging you to hit it to progress time a few years and process your inputs. The next turn button means progress on technological research, military production and city expansion. It's the payoff to all of your best laid plans, and is oh so damn enticing.

This current iteration of the series includes some interesting improvements over previous versions of the game. Initially, you will notice that the game looks astounding. The "sun" reflects of the water, the trees sway gently in the "breeze," and the grasslands transform convincingly into deserts in the equatorial regions. For a series that prides itself on world creation, the massively upgraded graphics help "set the illusion." This is combined with the new hexagonal game field layout. Your civilization now organically spreads over lush terrain, like an amoeba eating up food and gaining cells.
(This picture gives you a good look at the hex and the visuals.)

They've also tweaked the game-play. In previous installments, you would stack military units to create large roving military behemoths. In Civ 5 only one military unit is allowed per space, which means your military tactics are more akin to swarming and make you keenly aware of defensive positioning. Towns situated in valleys or on isthmuses are infinitely more difficult to capture from a determined defender, adding more strategy. Additionally, the onld tech-trees have been simplified and emphasized. Cultural and technological advancements have been separated, allowing you to focus on one or the other.
(Battle lines are actually drawn, rather than single stacks slamming against each other. Look! Flanks guarded by Calvary!)

Finally they've added city-states to the game. These city-states are a historical callback to the days of Constantinople and the Lombard League. They are self-serving city/civs who do not seek expansion. Instead they look to the larger, full-fledged civilizations to provide them with things. Meet their demands and they will share their wealth (be it gold, military units, or unique resources). Of course, you could always just conquer them to gain the advantages without the hassle of pleasing them, but they can be tough nuts to crack... The city-states act as a unique wild card, spicing up early game-play as pleasing them could be the difference between victory and defeat.

In the end this is a great update to the gold standard in turn based strategy. Civilization is a 20 year old franchise, and could be expected, even allowed, to show its age, but this new version is spectacular. It takes the history of the game, and tweaks it and changes it to create a whole new feel. Besides being addictive as hell, it can also be extremely challenging, and I'm sure it will provide many hundreds of hours of enjoyment. Great value for money, and a hell of a good time. If you've got the time, you'd be fool not to give it a try.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Grab Bag: Yay, it's game week again!

Ah, a nice and relaxing weekend of essentially nothing of consequence. Now on to a surprisingly full bag...

Georgia Stinks - I sat down Saturday night to watch the Georgia/Mississippi St game. Ohhhh boy is Georgia awful. Besides this being their 3rd straight loss, they lost in Starkville, MS for the first time since 1951. Woof. They couldn't move the ball at all on offense, only finding the end zone after the game had been decided, and their new and improved 3-4 defense couldn't stop an impotent version of the zone-read spread option. Whats more the 10th Bulldog (Georgia, not Miss St) arrest of the season took place Sunday when Demetre Baker was caught under suspicion of DUI and "other charges." This is a team full of bad mojo right now, and CU couldn't be catching them at a better time. Coach Mark Richt is the SEC's version of Dan Hawkins, and had the "I know I'm fired" look going Saturday night. ("The loss at State seems a tipping point. It seems the game in which the majority of Georgia fans stopped seeing Mark Richt as the answer and came to regard him as the problem." -link) I really don't know how much A.J. Green returning will help this team. Listen, CU is still facing an up-hill climb against Georgia on Saturday night, but I like our chances much more than I did 2 or 3 weeks ago.

(All the 5-star talent in the world won't help you if you're out-coached)

Dolphis v Jets - I've been a Dolphin "fan" since I was 5, and the Jets game is always on fraught with drama and consternation. While I don't care as much as I did when I was younger, I still cared just enough to use the Fins game as the "commercial flip-channel" from Mad Men Sunday night. While the Fins eventually lost, their 2-minute drill in an attempt to tie the game was exciting, but it never should've happened. With a 1 point lead with just under 2 minutes to go, the Jets scored a TD. They then kicked the extra point to go up 8.... why? Why don't they go for two in that situation? If they convert the game is, for all intents and purposes, over. If they miss, the Dolphins still have to go the length of the field just to tie the game. You essentially risk nothing. Getting 8 points with under 2 minutes left is only slightly more difficult than getting 7. Getting 9 is damn near impossible. It was negative coaching from Rex Ryan, and just one more example of chicken-shit NFL coach decision making.

Braylon Edwards - Speaking of Fins/Jets, the Jets trotted out Braylon Edwards after his 1 quarter suspension for arrest on suspicion of DWI. 1 quarter? Seriously? Just don't punish him at all. I was all fired up to talk about cultivation of a culture supportive of miscreants, but Deadspin stole my thunder. What I will mention is that driving into work today I heard some idiot talk about the fact that getting arrested isn't necessarily against team rules, and so he shouldn't have been suspended, even for one quarter. That's bullshit. It's the same dumb-ass excuse that baseball players gave when they were caught doing steroids (well, It wasn't against team or MLB rules...). Violating the law supersedes team rules, dumbass. A professional organization shouldn't need to hold their employees hand and explain that committing a felony is against team rules. I know for damn sure that If I go out and commit a felony on Saturday night, that I will not be welcome at work Monday morning; no one from HR has to tell me that. Yes, yes... due process and all of that. He'll deserve a 2nd chance once that process has run its course, but he needs to sit his ass on the bench until then.

Ozzie and the Cubs - Hey, look kids, Ozzie Guillen is threatening to quit/retire/join the Cubs again. That must mean the end of the season is upon us. He does this every year, and yet people still report on it. I imagine it's easy for a reporter to get Ozzie Guillen to say just about anything. Ask him "Hey Ozzie, would you like an extension?" and you get a story about how he wants "assurance that are firmer than his current contract." Ask "Hey Ozzie, would you ever manage the Cubs?" and you get a story about how he would consider it "if pursued." Ozzie will say the honest truth (or whatever pops into his head at the moment) to whatever you ask him; he's just that type of guy. He's a beat reporters dream: don't have a story for tomorrows paper, just ask Ozzie some leading questions and there he goes. I just don't understand how people haven't caught on to this yet. Yes, Ozzie will be back next year; no, Ozzie won't manage the Cubs; no, he won't retire any time soon; yes, he is a pain in the ass, but he's a pain that usually wins ballgames despite predictions to the contrary. He's a circus act, and I'm surprised that people still hang on every word that comes out of his mouth.

Winning my fantasy baseball league - On the lighter side "Lou Brown's Tire World" (my fantasy baseball team) won my league's title yesterday. It was a hard fought season, but my fantasy superiority shone through in the end. Pitching, hitting; my team has it all. Sure, only 5 of the 10 teams had owners who paid attention, but the point is I WON. WOOO HOOO, bring out the champagne! If the Sox and Rox don't want to win something, I guess I'll have to take up the slack.

(Way to bring home the title captain Lou!)

Happy Monday Everyone!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Beer Post: Gameday Beer-o-the-week - Bye Week edition

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

With the bye-weekend there is really no tailgating or watch-party opportunity. In that vein, I'm not going to run out to the store to get something special for a plain ole lazy weekend. So this week's tailgate beer-o-the-week will be whatever I have in my fridge. After a quick peek I'm ready to tab New Belgium's Ranger IPA as my BOTW.

I've always had a problem with New Belgium. Sure, anything they make is better than any American Style Light Lager that advertises on television, but I've never really enjoyed my New Belgium drinking experience. Honestly, I think Fat Tire tastes weird. About the only NB beer I can stomach is Ranger (That and 1554, which is awesome). Released just this past year, Ranger is a passable high production IPA. It's got all the right ingredients in all the right places, but it doesn't seem to have any inspiration or magic to it. It tastes good, I guess, but it's all rather uninspired. It's just an IPA. Sad, really.

Anywhoo, I got this 6-pack of from a friend, so I will respect the gift and christen my weekend with Ranger.

Happy Friday! Go Buffs, beat BYE WEEK!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bye Week Preview

Bye weeks piss me off. Football is not a sport I naturally enjoy, and while I can watch a baseball or a college basketball game for no reason what-so-ever, I must have a rooting interest (general or made-up) to stay engaged when watching football. So it's natural that my mind can tend to drift on a bye week. In that spirit, here's a list of things I'm going to do this weekend while the Buffs are resting (hint, none of it involves leaving the house):

Civ V - I've always been a huge fan of the Civilization series. This past week the newest iteration came out. If you've never played a Civ game before, and are thinking of giving it a try, be forewarned: they are more addictive than crack. I've lost countless hours to the "Next Turn" button blinking happily at me. Larger games can take 6 or more hours to complete, but the gameplay is engaging and varied. Since purchasing this on Tuesday, I've only been able to play a grand total of 1 hour; you better believe this will get some work over the weekend.

Community Season 1 DVD - I've been pushed by reliable sources to give this show a try. While I usually try to stay away from network television, I do like a good modern comedy show (especially one that's smart enough to not have a laugh track). The first disk arrived from Netflix this week, and I'm gonna give it a shot.

Maybe Watch College Football - My word there are some shitty games this week. Take for example the Big XII: Only two teams, Texas and Oklahoma, are playing BCS schools. Texas is hosting UCLA and Oklahoma is going to Cincinnati. Neither of those teams are any good. Overall, if the Big XII doesn't have a perfect week, what with the likes of South Dakota St (Nubs) and Miami OH (Mizzou) on the schedule, something is seriously wrong. Nationally it's not much better. I cant even bring myself to care about Alabama/Arkansas or Boise St/Oregon St. Seriously, not a single game this weekend is worth my time.

NFL Sunday - The roommates and I got Sunday Ticket which allows me to watch my fantasy team slowly die each week in real-time (I hate you Brett Favre). Even though I don't necessarily like the NFL, the Red Zone channel is awesome. You have access to every game, and there are no commercials. No annoying media timeouts, and no annoying "game-breaks;" just action. If there's one problem I've always had with football, its the lack of actual "game" over the course of 3 hours. Last year there was a Wall Street Journal article that talked about the fact that there's only 11 minutes of actual game action in any given football game. Hell, 58.5% of the time they're just standing around! The Red Zone gets rid of that crap and only shows you the most interesting thing going on at any given moment. I hope the person who came up with this gets a Nobel Prize.

Mad Men - I must watch this every week. If you know me at all, you know that time essentially stops Sunday nights when this is on. I can't say enough about this show, so I won't try. Suffice to say it's awesome. It also gives me an excuse to have a Macallan on the rocks. A really nice way to end a weekend.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

CU calls Big XII's bluff and the the Big XII folds

CU will start play in the Pac-12 next year, and ends up paying a lot less than previously thought to do so. CU will only have to forfeit $6.863 million of this years estimated $9.135 Big XII payout to head west a year early. This is an incredible win for the athletic department. Not only do we get to move west on the timetable we desire (the Big XII and Pac-12 too, btw), but we end up only giving up a relative pittance to do so.

(WOOOOO! 12-PAC! -link)

Think back to the day the conference switch was announced. Soon after the announcement, UT and its 4 little brothers decided to stick with the Big XII and immediately started up the PR machine to say that we'd have to pay $40bajillionzillion to leave the conference. "The financial hammer is falling and CU can't even afford to fire it's coach" the "orangebloods" scoffed. When UT returned to earth, and realized that CU leaving in 2011 is the best option for everybody, they "authorized" the Big XII to begin negotiations with a forfeiture of $15mil. For almost 2 months CU called their bluff.

There was Mike Bohn bemoaning to the Daily Camera that we will probably have to stay (awwww shucks). There was Pac-10(12) commissioner Larry Scott flippantly observing that the chances of CU heading west in 2011 as less than 50/50 (Oh noes! Woe is us). They created a lose-lose situation for the Big XII. Either we stayed an extra year, which they certainly didn't want, or they let us off the financial hook. All-the-while Chancellor DiStefano worked the back rooms to whittle that $15 million down. Even though CU would've settled for $9mil, DiStefano kept hammering away and got the final forefeiture under $7mil. The Big XII caved, for all intents and purposes, and CU won. As opposed to Nebraska, who had an "academic curiosity" to see if they could get their forfeiture down to zero, CU knew they'd have to give up something; but to end up giving up over $2mil less than your lowest acceptable figure is an incredible win.

Added in is the fact that CU will receive a loan from the Pac-12 to cover the forfeited revenues, so the loss in revenues won't cause CU to make it up using state funds or any other nonsense. Over the next few year we will have to pay that money off, obviously, but it'll be paid out of significantly higher revenues. While we were expecting $9.135 from the Big XII this year, in the Pac-12 we could see double that after you factor in a new television contract, equal revenue sharing, and the new Pac-12 championship game. The $6.863mil loan will be a drop in the bucket spread over the next few years: hell, CU is already reporting a 400% increase in donations from the state of California. I can't believe how good this turned out, and neither can the Regents:
"Very pleased," Steve Bosley said. "You have to be realistic. You always go into a deal saying, 'What's the worst? What's the most?' . . . I don't think we anticipated it to be quite this low. I was prepared for a little bit more." (-link)
The AD staff has done a great job. Unlike other schools (*cough* BAYLOR *cough*) we've handled the changing landscape of college football with style, professionalism, and class. We can be proud of the way our institution worked the situation to our favor, and kept us relevant for years to come. Kudos all around!

On a side note: what about the estimated $2mil (after television money is factored in) from the Ohio St game next year? Wasn't that supposed to go towards the Big XII exit? That's what I thought too, but since the Pac-12 is covering that for us, we can use that money elsewhere if we'd wish. Hrmmmm.... what else costs about $2mil.... DAN HAWKINS CONTRACT BUYOUT!!!!! So from now on, I shall refer to next years trip to OSU as the Mike Bohn Memorial Fire Dan Hawkins Road Trip (sponsored by Cinch Jeans).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pac-10 Move News Reax - UPDATED

UPDATE 9/21, 1:56p - So Yeah, my spidey sense was apparently wrong. I figured the Regents would drag their feet, but it seems we're very close to getting a resolution. This ESPN article talks about the movement. Apparently Oragnebloods is reporting that the Big XII will "let" CU go. Whatever, we're still going to have to forefeit some money (they still seems to be some confusion over forfeit vs pay; I'll trust the CU lawyers and Ringo over Chip Brown and the UT PR machine, but yadda yadda....) and we're dumping their ass on the curb, leaving regardless of the final scenario; if they want to say "let" they can. I still say we hold out til they break on the amount of the revenue forfeiture; they're already talking deferred forfeiture, so why not push it. I have a feeling they want us here less than we want to get out of the Big XII a year early...


Exciting news: the regents are meeting tonight to possibly talk about moving to the Pac-10 a year earlier which gives me an opportunity to go over the move.

As has been bemoaned frequently, CU's Regents only agreed to move in 2012 while Nebraska, Utah and Boise St all planned their moves for next year. To many it seems that, while CU was the first out of the gates on BCS conference moves, they're behind everyone else in actually arriving. This is not necessarily the case.

True, CU has been caught in a bind. The Regent's 2012 mandate temporarily binds Mike Bohn and Phil DiStefano's hands (but only to the point that they has to go back to the Regents to get further approval to move the timetable forward), but this wasn't necessarily a mistake. At the time, the Big XII was dissolving with UT and 4 of it's little brothers following CU west. Because of the 2yr language in the Big XII charter, and the possibility of a larger move to the Pac-whatever, the Regents were wise to only officially approve the 2yr route. I can only imagine they didn't afford the Athletic Department follow-up authority on the 1yr route at the time because of the pending discussions both with the Pac-10 and the Big XII over exit fees (or because they're control freaks. either way...).

I say fees, but the reality is that CU will not have to pay one dime to leave the Big XII. That's right. Fuck Chip Brown and his $40 million "straight-cash-homey" ramblings. Don't listen to David Ubben and his ESPN schlock. CU leaves having to pay nothing. The discussions are over revenue not received. The language in the Big XII charter is about revenue with-held from the member institution, not about penalty fees. According to estimates, CU will forfeit anywhere from $9.5 to 14 million in Big XII payouts. Yes, that lost revenue will hurt, but not as much as many outsiders think.

Throughout the summer, CU has gone about taking a few steps to mitigate the effects of the buyout. In addition to the $500k to be received from Coach Bzdelik as a result of his move to Wake Forest, CU will also receive $1.4 mil as a result of the football trip to Ohio St next year. (That number will eventually increase when the game gets picked up on television.) CU has also received assurances from the Pac-10 that they will help us defer the loss in revenues by giving us a cushioning payment and deferring re-payment over a few years-worth of future conference revenues. Remember, with Nebraska leaving next year, there will be no Big XII title game regardless of our conference affiliation; this will decrease potential revenues thus diminishing the "total" financial hit. Once again, Bohn and his staff are smart people, they wouldn't have sought this move if they didn't see financial gain. Not only are the doom-and-gloom stories over-wrought, but the future financial gains will make us entirely forget these discussions.

Finally, I don't expect anything final to come from tonight's meeting. More than likely the Regents will just vote to give Bohn and DiStefano the authority to further explore 2011 options. There is still the possibility of the Bix XII blinking and letting CU walk away with more money than currently thought; why would the Regents end that possibility tonight? Afterall, there will be further consternation with Nebraska over their early exit. The main point is that the efforts of DiStefano and Bohn to make an early move to the Pac-12 more financially pallet-able will be heard and discussed. This will make final approval of the early move more likely. This is just the first step, but I still believe that we will be out west this time next year.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Grab Bag:

Was that the last victory cigar of the season? Can the Buffs run the ball against good competition? Can a Hawk lead team continue to show that level of fight and emotion throughout the rest of the season? Did Hawk really headbutt a dude? Lots of unanswered questions left after the Hawaii game; could there be answers in this weeks bag? No, probably not, but lets dive in anyway!

Yes, that whole running the football thing - Last week I said CU would have to run the football against Hawaii, if only to prove they they can properly take game film study and apply it to game week prep. Good news; they properly prepared for Hawaii! Despite falling behind early, the Buffs continued to pound the ball; ending up with 52(!) rushes for 252(!) yds. They actually got a little lucky by only falling behind 10-0 at the half; it could've (should've) been much worse. Had the defense not stepped up (like men!) in the first quarter when the offense couldn't hold onto the ball, the Buffs easily could've been down by 3 or 4 scores. Imagine how different the game would've been if Jimmy Smith hadn't run his ass off from the other side of the field to make the TD saving tackle on the second play of the game, allowing for the first of 2 goal-line stands; if CU goes down 7 right away, it could've gotten ugly. Thankfully, that was not the case, and the CU offense was able to stick to the gameplan and smack Hawaii around with the O-line. Great job by all involved as Speedy and B-Lock became the first RB duo since Bobby Purify and Chris Brown to each go over 100yds rushing.

(B-Lock doing whatever it takes to run the football. From: The BDC)

Passing game still not there - The success on the ground almost makes up for the struggles through the air. While Tyler ended up with 200 yds passing and 2 TD's, 106 yds and both touchdowns came on 2 "lucky plays;" the 72yd busted Toney Clemmons catch (great job sticking with the play, though) and the 23 yd "volleyball" TD thrown to Scotty (his 2nd one of those btw). Of course you'd rather be lucky than good, but the passing game just isn't what I expected. Tyler's new-found inhibition against scrambling is actually hurting CU. When Tyler is not only a threat to run but actually running the defense opens up that little bit. Just look at that pass to Clemmons. When Tyler is "out-and-about," the defense can let a WR or two sneak behind them. A similar thing happened in the first half; Tyler just overthrew Kyle Cefalo. If Tyler is going to succeed as the starting QB he has to get out of the pocket and become a dual-threat.

(We need to get Toney Clemmons the ball more. From: The BDC)

Momentum into the bye week - CU now has 2 whole weeks to think about how awesome they are. With the bye next week before Georgia, the team has the unique opportunity of sitting at home and physically watching their opponent play live (and in color!). Georgia has stubbed its toe a few times already the year, and that combined with the second half output against Hawaii should give the Buffs some much needed confidence headed into the matchup. Imagine that, after all of that doom-and-gloom CU is not only guaranteed to not go into conference play with a losing record, the Buffs could (I said could) go in at 3-1. Think happy thoughts Buff nation.

That crowd is why Bohn is a great AD - The crowd of over 47,000 shocked the hell out of me. Yes, it was the home opener, but I was sure many people would bypass that game for the Georgia one. The weather was even lousy, yet the people still turned out for a game against a middle-of-the-road WAC school. It was a lively group, and they didn't even turn sour when things looked bad early. Kudos once again to the AD's office for getting butts in the seats.

(Surprisingly good crowd. From: The BDC)

Emotion: it's a good thing - You could tell the players were fired up starting the second half. Those first two drives were things of football beauty; 14 plays/80yds and 10 plays/60yds. Throw in a safety and a two-point conversion, and Hawaii was knocked back on its feet with 17 quick points out of the gate. By all accounts, Kiesau really tore into the offense at halftime, and the offense responded by coming out intense and ready to go. CU finally looked like a football team on a gameday. In a game built around intensity I've never been too sure about Hawk's "even-keel" philosophy, and I think CU has suffered as a result. But Saturday they were fired up, and it showed.

Hawk's nose - Speaking of being fired-up; Hawk got a little too fired up and head-butted a player who already had his helmet on (or got punched in the face if you believe baseless internet rumors). LB B.J. Beatty said "He was ready to go today, I think he wanted to play." (-link) Good to see some fire from Hawk, I guess he does want to keep his job. The vultures were circling on Saturday, and Hawk gave em an intense middle finger. Way to go, I guess...

(I know it's a bad picture, but it's the best I got.)

Bears and Dolphins 2-0 - Shockingly, my two favorite NFL teams have decided to go 2-0. The Fins have gotten their two wins by showing off their great defensive unit. The Bears have gotten to 2-0 by getting lucky against the Lions and playing a terrible Cowboys team. Not much analysis to go around here; all I'm going to say is Lovie Smith sucks and still needs to be fired. Sparano: you're still doing good work, keep it up!

Brett Favre and Vince Young suck terribly - A special "I hope you get ass cancer" message goes out to Brett Favre. For the 4th year in a row, I have somehow ended up with Favre on at least one of my fantasy teams (not for lack of effort trying to keep him away, either). While he was decent last year, severely reducing his turnover numbers, he has now reverted to what I call "one-eyed gunslinger" Brett. You see, Brett just can't see that 4th defender covering his intended receiving target, what with the cataracts and all. Good thing you came back this year Brett. At least with Tavaris Jackson you know that shit will fly. And you football Jesus (Vince Young): WTF, dude? All I needed was 4 weeks out of you, and I could've plugged Roethlisburger in. Now I have to scramble to find another option. FUCK YOU AND YOUR DAMN TURNOVER ISSUES!

(Fantasy Football Bitch Session now concluded)

Sox stagger drunkenly toward the finish line - Fuck me they've been terrible. Last week I thought they had a decent shot at 90 wins, now I'm wondering if they'll fuck up enough to hit break-even. Someone needs to take this team out back and put it out of its misery. 0-6 since that last post (at home, mind you). Damn, that's awful. I know they've been "sad-faced" by the end of the division chase, but they can at least try for the paying fans. At least they made it to football season before completely shitting the bed.

(Even Ozzie knows that's bad baseball. From: The trib)

Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Quick thoughts on Hawaii

This was a well deserved win. The defensive intensity displayed in the 1st quarter was finally matched by the offense in the 2nd half. CU ran the ball effectively (like everyone knew they would be able to) and stuck with the game plan even when things went south early on. It shows that the players are much better in Folsom (as they should be). Hawk staves off "the haters" (Thanks Ryan Miller) for another week, and the Buffs have 2 weeks to use the confidence to prepare for Georgia. Full recap Monday (and possibly Tuesday).

I'm a little drunk; night all!

Friday, September 17, 2010

K-State is a glorified Junior College

For a while Higher Education ranking service Kaplan/Newsweek had K-State in it's top 25 most desirable large public universities. Everyone who's been to Manhattan, KS will laugh at K-State being "desirable," but, none-the-less, there they were on that stupid list. They've now been dropped out of the rankings because KSU was misrepresenting their statistics:

"The piece of information causing the gaffe was not the Kansas weather, but K-State's reported admission rate. The school's planning and analysis office mistakenly reported to the National Center for Education Statistics that of all the students who applied in 2008, only 56 percent were admitted.

That would make K-State a selective institution. It's not.

The actual admission rate at K-State is about 98 percent, said Pat Bosco, vice president for student life." -link

HOOOOOOLY shit is that shit school easy to get into. Even CSU students get to laugh in the general direction of Kjuco-State.

I'm glad we're getting the fuck out of this conference.

Friday Beer Post: Gameday Beer-o-the-week - Wailua Wheat

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

This week the Hawaii Warriors come to Boulder for the season's first true tailgating opportunity. You may have noticed a trend in my tailgate beer picks: I pick a representative beer from the region of the opponent. This week, there is really only one choice: Wailua Wheat from Kona Brewing.

I love Kona Brewing. They do great work out there on the Big Island. Pipeline Porter and Fire Rock Pale Ale are some of my favorites to grab a six-pack of. Wailua Wheat, however, is by far my favorite Kona Brewing style. Brewed with passion fruit, this light, crisp wheat is great for hot days in the summer. Luckily, Boulder will stay in summer mode for at least one more weekend, giving me ample reason to grab a few Wailua's for the game. I just hope the Wailua Wheat is luckier than the Anchor Porter from last week.

Happy Friday and Go Buffs!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Silent Scare my ass

So Texas travels to face Texas Tech on Saturday. The Tech student government, concerned with reports from the last UT visit of some Tech fans who "cursed, spit and fought"with the UT fans, has called for a "silent scare" of UT during the game. Seriously, they want their fans to be quiet when UT has the ball. Here's the quote from the Tech Student President: "If we get the stands to be completely silent that has got to be threatening to any team."

(Silent Scare? WTF?!)

What in the hell? I thought in West Texas football was a way of life. Damn, I hope this kid gets the shit kicked out of him for being a dweeb.

Hawaii Preview

I'm going to get this out of the way: I fully expect CU to beat Hawaii Saturday. We're not going to play "well", we may not even "deserve" to win the game (whatever that means), but the game will end with a Buffs victory. This program, given it's history, conference affiliation, talent level, etc, should never lose at home to a one-dimensional WAC team in the 3rd week of a season. I don't care what's going on.

It's easy to be down on the Buffs after last week (believe me, I am), but I have been around this program too long to not know the script. CU plays like shit on the road; fans start screaming bloody murder, wanting everyone fired; CU comes home to the altitude, "circles the wagons," and narrowly beats an opponent they probably should beat anyway. It happens just about every year. In fact it happened twice last year: Kansas and the powder-blue A&M game. (Further primary examples: K-state in '08, Miami(OH) '07, Kansas '03... every season has one of these, these 3 are the best examples) They're called bounce-back games, and they happen all the time in sports.

And, thus, we turn our attention to the Hawaii (road) Warriors. After flying nearly 5,000 miles to get to West Point for their game against Army last Saturday, the Warriors only flew back as far as Las Vegas to prepare for CU (my roommate asked "what about classes?" I'm not entirely sure there are classes at the University of Hawaii). For any other team to go through that sort of globe-trotting excursion to get to a football game, I'd count it as an advantage for CU. Hawaii, however, is used to that kind of roadtrip, typically staying on the mainland at least one trip a year.

Hawaii, being your typical Run-and-Shoot Hawaii team, will throw the ball all over the yard. This isn't Big XII throwing the ball; this is "seriously, we hardly ever run" throwing the ball. Hawaii will throw and throw and throw. Hawaii QB Bryant Moniz leads the Warrior passing game, which is 2nd in the nation in passing yards(and 113th in rushing. YAY we're finally playing a team that rushes for less yards than we do! Unfortunately, it's by design, as opposed to our general football impotence). He will look to find star WR Kealoha Pilares early and often. Star corners Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown will get a lot of work Saturday (along with just about every DB on the 2-deep).

(This will be a familiar image come Saturday afternoon: Hawaii QB Moniz launching the ball down-field.)

Defensively, the Warriors are susceptible to the run. They've been gashed for 245+ yds in each of their first two games this year. A good team, with a good O-line should look to pound the run and keep the ball out of the hands of Moniz and that "electric" Hawaii offense. Unfortunately, Hawk doesn't seem interested in that type of game-plan as, at least according to Ringo; he's dismissing the Warriors vulnerability to the ground game just because Army is an option team. I expect us to figure out halfway through the 2nd quarter that we should've been running the ball the whole time (and using that success to open up play-action routes for our receivers); hopefully its not too late.

For CU, it's all about actually fixing the issues that have plagued the first two games of the season. We're 111th in the nation in penalties with 9.5/game! That's Oakland Raider-level bad. Hopefully, Hawk was just kidding when he said that all you need to do is remind the offending player that what he did was wrong to fix mistakes like all the dumb penalties from the Cal game (Seriously "can you do that? Yeah coach I can do that. Ok, well then, we've got that thing solved" damn near sent me into the mother of all tirades yesterday). Other than that we just have to stay out of a shooting match with Hawaii. We just can't score enough points to keep up with them. If CU keeps the ball, through a strong rushing attack and an absence of turnovers, we should win.

It would be a terrible way to repay Alfred Williams for all his contributions to CU athletics if we came out and laid an egg Saturday afternoon when we should be celebrating his entrance into the college football hall-of-fame. I'm saying we don't... barely. CU 27 - Hawaii 26.
(We just need a little dose of that Big Al magic, and we should squeak one out on Saturday)

Go Buffs!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hansen at least avoids the blame game

I'll give Tyler Hansen one thing; he didn't fall into the "blame-game" trap. While watching Hawk grasp for straws Monday afternoon (surprised with the performance after the best Thursday practice; we were one play from turning the game around... yadda, yadda, yadda), it was nice to see some of the players stand up for themselves, take accountability, and talk about what needs to be corrected.

While I wasn't comfortable with Tyler going all "Tebow" on us Saturday night (at least he didn't weep and whine like a little girl while doing it), it was nice to see the players step forward, and admit failure. They recognize that there is nothing good to come of the Cal debacle, and that no excuse will make up for playing better.

Hawaii preview tomorrow... (sigh)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Quick Posts: everyone gets their own bench on Saturday

Ringo says that there near 10,000 tickets available for Saturday. I'm setting the over/under of actual butts in seats at 30,000. Anyone want the over?

Quick-post: Random thoughts from dude at work

On CU's chances on Saturday: "I don't know if you guys plan to play on Saturday, but if so they better drink some 5 hour energy."

How come we haven't thought of this? Does it contain a banned substance?

Custer's Last Stand: Sox v Twins

I'll admit, I was overly grumpy yesterday. (Not like I didn't have cause) After I dropped 1,300+ words on how shitty the Buffs were on Saturday, I flippantly threw 100 at my beloved White Sox. Rather unfairly, I dismissed the accomplishments of this years team as "never that great of a team anyways." Upon retrospect (and a beer during the boring Jets/Ravens game last night), I realized I was way too harsh on a team that has a great shot at winning 90 games and has a small shot at 95. In the 109 years of White Sox history there have only been 19 seasons of 90 win baseball. To spit at such a season is truly disingenuous as a baseball fan. The reality is that the Twins have just been better. The Sox have won nine of their last 13 and lost 2 games in the standings. I shouldn't fault my Boys for falling to a better ball-club.

At first glance, the Sox aren't pretty. Built for a league that they don't compete in (Ozzie, we play in the American League. Next time the GM offers you a DH, take it!), and beset by injuries over the 2nd half, its honestly a miracle we're still talking even a 5% chance at the playoffs. Yet this team is built upon fundamentals that I usually appreciate. The Sox have a solid (on-paper) bullpen, a stronger-than-average starting 5, and a traditionally constructed top of the order (speed-contact-best hitter-power). Defensively, they are a competent team (2 or 3 guys (Rios, Ramirez and Buehrle) deserve serious consideration for gold gloves), and they've gotten career years out of Paul Konerko and Freddy Garcia.

Seriously, Paulie should be getting more love for this season. Most had thought his career on the downward swing coming into this season, and hes responded with one of the best offensive years in franchise history. Hitting well over .300 with near-as-makes-no-difference .400 OBP and slugging near .600, Paulie has shown he still has (some) gas in the tank. It's been a complete offensive performance, and one that should be rewarded with a new contract this offseason if only for the fact that he's been with the team since '99. I really should've been enjoying this team all year (At least since June 9th when they took off); I guess I was looking big picture a little too much.

(Hes been frickin awesome all year. From: The trib)

That's the curse of winning the World Series: nothing short of it will do any more. Teams like this 2010 bunch, prior to '05, would've gone down in Sox lore (just look at how middle-aged Sox fans revere the '77 team). Now I just mumble about how they stalled in late August, and fret about the next two years. It's sad really.

This team is good, and they get one last shot to prove it, starting tonight. This 3 game set, at home, against the Twins, is it. While some pundits have said just winning this series will do , only a sweep keeps any hopes of a 163rd game (and the playoffs) alive. Down six, a one game gain won't cut it. If only for confidence and bragging rights headed into next year, we need to spike the ball in their face. The damn Twins have been a thorn in our side since we won the division in the "homer dome" in 2000 (on a loss mind you). Hell, over the past decade, we've only had one winning season against them (2005). It'd feel good to make 'em sweat just a little bit down these final 2.5 weeks.

(Damn Straight Southpaw! Chase that thing back across the border! From: Jim Margalus and his invaluable website.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Grab Bag: Is it basketball season yet?

Woof, my ass still hurts after the Cal drubbing. Be sure to count the number of ways I call Hawk an asshat in this weeks bag....

Cal whups CU by 45 points - (I don't have the heart to write a full writeup tomorrow, so this will have to suffice). A senior laden team lead by a man fighting for his job and respectability shouldn't lay this type of egg, yet here we are. The Buffs came out ill prepared; the offense seemed absolutely befuddled by the aggressive 3-4 Cal defense, yellow flags flew all over the field, and, once again, the team seemed a step slow all day. By the time the Buffs looked up, they were in desperation mode. Tyler Hansen even tried to play Brifar by throwing a left-handed shovel pass that turned into 6 Cal pts; and thus the competitive portion of the game concluded.

It was the same performance as against CSU, only against a much better opponent.

It's the same old story; penalties, turnovers, and no preparation. Whats even more depressing is that the loss was almost entirely self inflicted. The Buffs gave Cal short field after short field to work with (through a series of poor special teams work, poor offense and penalties) and, if that wasn't enough, threw some penalties and turnovers-for-touchdowns in for good measure. The defense nobly tried to hold back the oncoming flood, but by the 7 minute mark in the 1st quarter, they were spent. With nothing left in the tank, the floodgates opened and the rout was on. Honest-to-God, by halftime my watch party had devolved into a games of Clue and Scrabble.

We may never know what would've happened if CU had shown up ready to play. While we looked slow and sluggish, how much of that was due to being morally defeated within 5 minutes? We probably still would've lost, but not by 45 points, and not in such an embarrassing fashion. None-the-less, we shouldn't be talking about wishing to have hung with a middle of the road Pac10 team

Devastating Performance - This is undoubtedly the most depressing performance by a CU team that I have witnessed since arriving on campus in 2002 (and believe me, I've seen some shit over that time). This isn't like losing to a legit outstanding Texas team in Houston when our coach had quit, or losing to Montana St cause no one knows where to line up; this is far, far worse. This loss may have erased all the goodwill that the athletic department had scratched and clawed to get over the last 6 months. Attendance will plummet and any enthusiasm or momentum that the move to the Pac12 would've brought may well have been washed away. It's going to be a long Fall....

(Talk about pictures being worth a thousand words, this one just about sums it all up. Head down, we trudge through a long dark corridor. Yeesh, this shit is depressing. From: TRR)

I cannot begin to tell you how glad I am that I didn't spend the money to travel west. To have spent $350-$450 on a weekend getaway only to get egg-on-the-face embarrassed like that would've been devastating to my already fragile psyche. It's not just that they lost big, it's the combination of factors; being embarrassed before our new Pac12 brethren, being embarrassed in front of over 7,000 CU fans who had circled this as the Western coming out party for the California fan-base, being embarrassed on national television, and being embarrassed when we're trying to negotiate a lower buy out from the Big XII. This is beyond bad.

You could hear the pity in the announcers voices; this is a devastating loss, and everyone knows it. At least we can now make the argument with a straight face that CU leaving the Big XII won't cause any lasting damage cause our exit will strengthen the league.

Could we still recover? - Sure. It's not the first time a football team has gone on the road and Wile E. Coyote'd it into a brick wall. Teams (including the '01 Big XII championship team) have recovered from devastating road losses before. Sometime shit just happens. However, I have absolutely no faith, given what the coaching staff has shown over the past 4 years, that we will see such a thing this year. Before the season started I figured a 4-8 season, and that prediction seems as likely as ever.

What happened to all the touch-ups? - We've heard time and time again over the past 12 months that all the team needed was a little touch up here and there; that CU was "this close" to being good. Instead we see the same penalties, the same lack of offensive game planning, the same lack of mental toughness. What little things have the coaches been working on?

I refuse to blame the players - I say coaches, cause that's who let Buff nation down Saturday. Sure, it's the players who have to execute, but preparation is the coaches responsibility, and its consistently lacking. It's not up to the players to game plan for an aggressive 3-4 defense. It's not entirely up to the players to mentally prepare for a BCS road trip. It's not entirely up to the players to fix mistakes like procedural penalties. That's on the coaches. Time and time again we've seen evidence of a lack of preparation; that the players aren't mentally prepared to face game day. These are 20yr old kids, it's not on their shoulders; it's up to the highly paid grown-ass men who "lead" them to get their heads in the right place, and the current staff has shown itself to be absolutely incapable of doing so.

Hawk has 2 and a half months left in Boulder - Well at least we now know that Hawk is finished. Barring a miracle run to the north title and a trip to the last Big XII championship, his ass is canned. Because of the coming general election, I highly doubt that Hawk will be fired mid season if it can be avoided. Bruce Benson and Phil DiStefano would rather eat a plate of brillo pads than make the amount of Hawk's buyout (and therefore athletic spending at the state's flagship university) an election issue. If anything, Hawk could be fired the day after the K-State game, giving the team a full two weeks to get over it and prepare for the final game. This would be an ugly move, and one I highly doubt Mike Bohn would go for. So, 5 minutes after the Nebraska game is more than likely the expiration date on Hawk's stay in Boulder. But that immediately brings me to the next question: who would want his job?

(I realize this shit is depressing, so here's a picture of bulldog puppies to cheer you up! They're so cute I almost forget how bad we lost this weekend!)

Hawk talked last year about arriving to find scorched earth where there should have been a football program. Most people rightly dismissed his ramblings as a desperate attempt to put his piss-poor record in better light. Well, the program certainly is starting to take on a scorched look now, and I wonder who would want to jump head first into this mess. If we can't find a real replacement, the Dan Hawkins hiring disaster may take decades (if ever) to recover from.

Pac10 commish says we're probably stuck in limbo for another year - More bad news: Pac10(12) commissioner Larry Scott puts the chances of CU entering the Pac10(12) conference next year at "worse than 50/50." And the hits just keep on coming. That was supposed to be the light at the end of the tunnel. Next year would be a whole new start, and whatever happened this year would be forgotten. Now, it looks like a long, dark road. Hopefully this is still just posturing, and that Beebe and the Big XII(X) will fold, but I'm starting to doubt that.

Sox season essentially over - In news that matters only to me: after last weeks stumbles in Detroit, and barring a 3-game sweep of the Twins and a minor miracle over the final 2 weeks, the Sox season is over. It's not that big of a shock, we were never that great of a team anyways, but it's still kind of sad to see the plucky southsiders crash at the end like this.

The problem is that with all of the win now attitude of GM Kenny Williams we have severely mortgaged our future with expensive veteran players. With the cheap control years of players like Floyd and Danks quickly coming to an end, how solid and financially viable will the Sox be in future years? The even more pressing issues of weather to re-sign WS heroes Buehrle, Konerko and Pierzynski are hanging mightily over the team, and the direction, and fortune, of my southside boys is in doubt. God only knows how all this is going to play out.

(Are these the last days of Cap'n Paulie in a Sox uniform? From: The Trib)

Calvin Johnson game winning catch that wasn't - Finally, in pro football news, yesterday a game winning catch by Detroit Lion Calvin Johnson was overturned because of a poorly constructed NFL rule. I understand that the rule states that he has to maintain control of the ball til he essentially gets on the bus (keeping two hands on it through the post game shower, buffet, and interviews); my issue isn't with the enforcement of the rule. My issue is with the construction of the rule. The purpose is sound (making sure the receiver "completes" the catch), but doesn't a receiver catching the ball cleanly, getting two feet, an ass, an arm, and a leg down while maintaining complete control of the ball show a "complete" catch? Only when he start to get up to celebrate did Calvin lose control of the ball. It's a cheap way to rob an outstanding receiver (and his teammates) of a cleanly caught game-winning touchdown. Also it cost me 9 fantasy points.

(Calvin deserved better. Chin up Megatron, you're still one of the best in the league. From: the trib)

Happy Monday! I hope everyone has a great week!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Quick Thought on the Cal disaster

Well, I was duped again.

Hawk the Snake Oil Salesman had me hook line and sinker. At least I'll rest easy in knowing he's going to be fired at some point in the next 3 months. Good riddance. Hope he enjoys the shitty color commentary he's sure to get on the mtn network.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Beer Post: Gameday Beer of the Week - Anchor Steam Porter

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

As the Buffs head west to the Bay Area, I'll tag local San Francisco beer Anchor Steam Porter as this week's Gameday Beer of the week!

(A six-pack of these little guys will do you well tomorrow)

I swear the first time I tried Anchor Steam's Porter I though I was drinking chocolate milk. They do a great job of crafting a sweet, rich porter without the heavy bitterness that can sometimes accompany the style. Good stuff, and easy to drink; Perfect for a tailgater who wants just a little bit more from their gameday beer.

Go Buffs!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cal Preview

Now that the business of taking little brother back behind the woodshed is over with, it's time to move on with the season. Up next the Buffs travel (along with 7-10,000 of their closest friends) to Bould... I mean Berkley, California to take on the Cal Bears. This is a game that could determine the outlook of the rest of the season. Win, and the schedule suddenly sets up nicely for a 7-8 win season. Lose and .500 could be a tough get. Beyond that it's a 12-Pac preview game, and we don't want to look like idiots in front of our new neighbors...

(There's gonna be a lot of Black and Gold there Saturday)

CU hasn't won a true road game since Texas Tech in 2007. That's a long time. Altogether, Dan Hawkins is 2-20 in games not played in the state of Colorado. That's not good. Can these Buffaloes buck the trend? Can they finally break the Hawk road jinx?

Breaking it in Berkley won't be easy. Sure, Cal's 52-3 drubbing of UC-Davis means essentially dick since the Aggies are a D-1AA school, but they took care of business the same as CU and have a high level of confidence coming into the game.

Offensively, true-freshman Keenan Allen showed a lot of promise in the first game by hauling in 4 catches for 120 yds and a TD, TB Shane Vereen is a great runner and had 2 TD's last week, and QB Kevin Riley (recruited by CU) had a very efficient 14-20-248-3-0 stat line last week. Cal is loaded with speed and talent all over their offense, and will be a tough challenge for a defense that only had to face a one dimensional CSU offense last week. Many football pundits (and Utah and Cal fans) have criticized offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig's play calling, but with a full year with the current players under his belt, I would expect overall offensive consistency.
(Kevin Riley is a solid Sr QB. He'll be a good test of the defense)

Defensively, Cal held UC-Davis to 81 yards last week. I don't care who you play, that's damn impressive. Interestingly, however, they didn't force any turnovers (hrmmm...). Honestly, it's real tough to tell what a defense has when their 1-AA opponent starts a true freshman at QB. I expect them to be a significant upgrade over CSU's D, but that's not exactly hard. They are lead by LB Mike Mohamad. They do have a weakness at DB (which contributed to the team's low preseason Pac-10 ranking. They were typically picked to finish 6th or 7th.) , which may be exploitable by the brand-new receiving corps.

The Buffs come in having a right to feel good about themselves. The win last Saturday was solid. Not necessairly impressive, but solid. In addition, they played well in last years nationally televised loss to Oklahoma St (their last road game). When I hear them talk about this being a "business trip," and having confidence, I don't immediately assume that they're blowing smoke. The Buffs feel that they will win this game. And I sort of agree with them.

Believe me, this legit optimism is rare from me. As I mentioned last week, I am cautiously optimistic about this team. While, I've been burned before, things are going too damn well. How good did Travon Patterson look in a CU uniform last week? His punt returns shortened the offensive playing field and his speed on routes prevents safeties from doubling Scotty and Toney. The running games needs a little work, but Torres was impressive for a freshman. Defensively, Jon Major looks like something fantastic and the corners are allowed to stand "on an island" which frees our safeties to both run support and double the slot receiver. There is a lot of flexibility with this team, and the talent compliments itself in key areas.

(Travon's USC speed makes a ton of difference. From: The BDC)

I honestly think CU will have a good showing this week. Besides the support factor (A full 10th of the stadium could be wearing black and cheering on the Buffs!) CU traditionally does well in western roadtrips. Sure Cal is a major upgrade in speed and size over CSU, but I think CU ends up matching up pretty well against them none-the-less. The Buff WR's should get open, and if Tyler can find them, the ground game should open up, allowing CU to control field position and the clock. On defense, I'm interested to see if the promise shown last week was a factor of CSU's impotence or a sign of good things to come. Cal isn't any where close to being the best team in the Pac-10, and, while they are talented, I think CU should find a way to beat them.

(I'm trying... but it's so hard to be optimistic about a Hawk lead CU team)

This is the first time Hawk has brought the Buffs to his home state, and I think he'll bring back a win. I wouldn't necessairly be surprised with a loss, but I would be with a blowout (either way). Final score CU 24-Cal 20.

Go Buffs!

Memory Lane: 62-36 reax

Last night the programming director at Altitude decided to put 62-36 on. This man (or woman) is a genius.


Here are a couple of good, laughable, and bad things I noticed.


The University I remember - A lot can happen in 9 years. The logo and uniforms have changed, the stadium has been expanded, and the tubas have added bell covers. Watching that game was like watching a snapshot of what would become my freshman year. I gotta a little misty-eyed actually.

Chris Brown and Bobby Purify - They were beasts. Honestly, just frickin awesome. Big shoulders, stood tall, and just shrugged off would be tacklers. Sure they were helped by a gigantic O-line and Brandon Drumm (maybe the hardest hitting full back I've ever seen. You could tell when he hit someone because it was 10x as loud as every other hit on the parabolic mic), but watching them run made me giddy. 3rd and 4th string RB's coming into that game, btw. That's depth, yo.
(Damn, he was good)

The coaches - Good ole Gary Barnett. He sure looked good over there, almost as befuddled as anyone that we hung 62 points on the Huskers. And look, Frank Solich! His forlorn countenance as he watched his precious corn machine disintegrate was hilarious.

The Laughable:

Crying Nebraska Kid - This never gets old.

(AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.... it never gets old. Just think, that kid is almost college age now...)

Brent Musberger and Jack Arute making assumptions - 3 things were stated as fact towards the end of the game. 1) Eric Crouch had lost the Heisman (he still won it). 2) Nebraska had lost their shot at the title (they still got the opportunity to get butt-whupped by Miami). 3) That CU would play Oklahoma for the Big XII title (OU lost the next day and CU played (and beat) Texas the next week). Obviously the 3rd was jumping the gun, but it's still laughable that 2 concepts as clear as day (that Crouch didn't deserve the Heisman and that Nebraska no longer belonged in the title game) ended up being turned on their head.

Buffs going for 2 up 55-30 - Musberger thought it was due to a scoring chart, when every Buffs fan knows it was to rub salt in the open wound. Damn shame it wasn't converted.

Bobby Pesavento stating he deserved a shot at the NFL - Lol, that's just hilarious. Good game, though.

The Bad:

CU's O-line - It was massive. Just fucking massive. Why is that bad? Well, why haven't we had that amount of size and talent across the line since?

Marcus Houston - Markeesha got his name mentioned. Prior to that I had completely forgotten he existed. Hope he enjoyed FoCo. Fuck him.

Craig Ochs - Towards the end of the game Musberger started talking about how promising the future looked for CU. The RB tandem was coming back (Chris Brown would've gotten the Heisman the next year without bruising his sternum and missing 2.5 games), much of the O-line was staying (Wayne Lucier!), and their "best football player" in Craig Ochs was coming back. Or, he was coming back until he shit down his legs against CSU and ran off to Montana (WTF?!). I will never forget him running away from Boulder after losing to CSU the next year. I don't care about his reasons, fuck him.

Anyways, for those interested Altitude is showing it again on Friday @ noon. Cal preview in a bit...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

That's gonna hurt - Sox lose and Twins win, Boys now 4.5 back

Yeesh, I was only kidding about the whole voodoo thing. I guess it makes sense that Freddy Garcia would lose to Justin Verlander, but to throw and injured back on top is just cruel. Add Sweaty Freddy to Gordon Beckham on the "Oh dear God no! Please just be hurt and not injured!" list. The Sox have already gotten more than could be possibly be asked for out of Freddy this year, and, with back to back outings with early exits due to back issues, we may have seen the last of his efforts in 2010. If only Peavy hadn't gotten hurt, the rotation wouldn't be flying by the seat of it's pants right now....

And, of course, the Twins come through with a pounding of the hapless Royals. So, over the course of the first 8 games of the road trip the Sox go 7-1, but don't gain a game! Speaking of voodoo, is that a necklace of shrunken heads around the neck of Twins coach Ron Gardenhire?

I haven't expected to win the division since my ill-fated trip home in August (when I was both ill and the Sox went 2-4 against their main division rivals), but this week has been just cruel. The team has been scratching and crawling; winning games they normally wouldn't and showing fight I honestly didn't expect to see. Yet the Damn Twins get a sweep at home against fellow division leader Texas and continue to return serve (a tennis metaphor?) over the same time frame.

(Yeah Manny, that loss is gonna hurt. From: the CST)

I won't actually concede the division yet, but it's all but over after the past weeks fruitless push.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hats for bat... keep bat warm.

So what do I have to do to get the Goddamn Twins to lose a game tonight? Live chicken? Cigar? Rum? You no help me now, I say "Fuck you Jobu, I do it myself."

Boise State and the BCS

I watched most of the Boise St/Va Tech game last night. Outside of the 1st quarter (with my roommate stating nonchalantly "it's over" after Boise St went up 10-0 with 55 minutes still to play) I wasn't really that impressed with either team. I did notice some size and speed improvements from Boise St (especially along the lines), but they're still an over-acheiving team who can get up for one or two tough games every year, and then coast through their cupcake conference schedule.

I struggle with this concept every year. I hate the BCS (As currently constructed. If it was used towards a playoff it would be tolerable), but I don't think Boise St (or TCU, BYU, Hawaii, Utah, or any other "BCS Buster") really deserves a shot at the "title." I think this is the rational view that most poll-voters take when they year-in, year-out put Boise St on the outside of the national title game looking in. Sure, their programs story is kind of cool, and everyone loves to root for an underdog, but does a team who only plays 2 or 3 competitive teams a year really prove themselves?

(How impressive would Kellen Moore's numbers be if he had to slog through a Big XII or SEC schedule every year? From: NBC Sports)

I honestly believe a 1 loss SEC, Big XII, or Big 10 team is more deserving of a shot at the title than a 12-0 Boise St (regardless of what made-for-TV game they put together to start the season). After they play Oregon St they will face absolutely no one worth a damn. Sure, it's not their fault their conference is made up of the San Jose St's and Utah St's of the world, but I can't give them the level of credit I will give to the "big boys." And what's more, I'm pretty sure the voters share my opinion (I know the computers who weigh strength of schedule will).

Hope they enjoy the Fiesta Bowl.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday Grab Bag: OK, time for the season to start

Big weekend; lots of goings on. There are two videos below. Never embedded my own video before, so this could get interesting. Strait to the bag...

Buffs Win: Well, as I always say "a win is a win." It certainly wasn't pretty on Saturday, but I'll take 1-0 however we can get it. I've seen some great breakdowns of the game, but I'm just not one for the scientific breakdown of football; I just want a Buffs victory. I'll save my "scientific" interest in sports for Basketball and Baseball, thank you very much. However, it was great to see a few things Saturday: Travon Patterson getting into the action early, Aric Goodman having a perfect day, and Scotty (DO!) setting the all-time receptions mark on a beautiful TD catch.

(Do the dance Scotty! - From: The BDC)

And don't forget that the much-ballyhooed "CU Sucks" banner that some CSU grads were going to have flown around the stadium ended up being flown around upside-down. My guess: either the pilot was a CU grad, or it was a CU plant all along. But it sure made for an easy laugh Saturday.

(Ah the sweet smell of a victory cigar!)

Honestly, I was just glad I was able to find some shade in the nether-regions of the 5th level.

Stupid Traditions: So every year a friend and I "sneak" into FoCo, buy a CSU flag at their bookstore, eat Mexican food at "el Burrito," make terrible jokes at how terrible the place is, and return home. Then, the day of the game, we burn the flag to show our contempt for CSU in general. It's a stupid tradition, but I figured I might as well include a video of the flag burning for educational purposes.

(burn baby burn)

Attendance Issues: 61,000 my ass. You know whats funny about that attendance figure? Even though they pulled that number out of their ass, that's the lowest attendance figure in the history of the game being played in Denver. Woof.

I took a video during the marching band's pregame of all the empty seats, but I figured that was an unfair indicator of true attendance. So I took this video midway through the 1st quarter...

(I know for damn sure that everyone there could fit in Folsom.)

Again, the novelty of this game in Denver has worn off. When you need 3 title sponsors to make a game financially viable, it's not really financially viable. It sure didn't help that the network with broadcast rights is seen by exactly no one so that there was no in-network promotion during the lead-up.

Parker Orms: It was tough to see Parker go down with a torn ACL. I was really excited to see the local kid play. He won the starting Nickel-back job only to go off early in the 1st quarter on a non-contact play. He'll probably get a medical redshirt and still have 4 more years in Boulder, but still, you never want to see a young man have to go through injuries of this type.

White Sox Sweep in Boston: Well, when they needed it, my Sox came through. 3 tough, well earned victories were a result of the trip to Beantown. Take Sunday for example: we score two runs on an infield single and throwing error to take the lead, only to lose it the next inning. Normally the Sox would lie down at this point, but extreme plate discipline lead to back to back run scoring walks to seal the victory in the 9th. It wasn't necessarily a pretty series from a baseball standpoint, but anytime you can walk out of Fenway with 3-straight wins is a good sign. If only Texas would've helped us out with the Twins...
(That's good victory, boys! From: the trib))

Baseball is not wholly conservative or liberal: Some idiot talks about baseball being a wholly conservative sport. He reasons that baseball doesn't change, is merit based, and inherently American (as if that makes it conservative). Now, I never want to get political in this blog, but this George Will-esque drivel needs to stop. I apologize in advance.

First off, baseball changes all the time. (Hell, the game was originally played to 21 "aces" and you could call your own strike zone) Advances in race relations (integration and immigration included), the evolution of the DH, advancements in technology (bats, PED's, stadiums, training techniques), and the evolution of the modern sporting financial structure have all come out of baseball. That's a lot of changing. Hell, even the rules have changed over the years. We're going to soon be seeing instant replay on fair/foul calls.

Further, one of the strongest workers unions in America is in baseball. Hell, Marvin Miller and the Players Union basically re-wrote labor relation laws in the 1960's and 70's. Free Agency? Player Pensions? No-trade Clauses? Labor disputes and strikes (along with the usual government intervention)? That's not very conservative. What about revenue sharing and tax initiatives to pay for new stadiums? Urban renewal projects? What sort of idiot doesn't even consider these things when talking the history of baseball.

As to being inherently American; this idea is born of the notion of the game as being pastoral. Anyone who believes that probably believes the game was invented in Cooperstown, NY by a Civil War general (completely false). It's an urban (read: liberal) assimilation of a British game played by immigrants. The game's spread throughout Latin American communities, and its subsequent effect on the make-up of club rosters, is a profound example of the "liberal" spread of the game and it's effect on the so-called "never-changing" game.

Halfway through the article, there's the quote about lack of administrative overrides or some such nonsense. I will never understand why conservatives don't see high profile umpires (Joe West, cough cough) as activist judges. More than that, the league office is constantly involving itself in day-to-day business. Kennesaw Mountain Landis (the first ever commish) is a prime example of the overreaching executive. You want to talk expansion of executive power, go talk about that guy. Institutionally, the owners and the commissioner are constantly tinkering with the game. The game was growing tiresome in the 1920's so the game was changed to favor home runs and more scoring. In the '40's and '50's baseball was at the forefront of societal change when it integrated. In the 60's and '70's they played around with the pitchers mound , expanded the schedule, and joined the rest of the country in west-ward and suburban expansion. In the '80's and '90's baseball embraced free agency, even more scoring, tinkered with the All-star game and the playoffs, and embraced media expansion. All of these major initiatives came from the league office.

Just because something is currently perceived as slow doesn't mean its conservative. At one point in time, baseball was looked upon as the fastest game in the world. It was a progressive, inner-city entity that was looked upon as an agent of change. Just the very notion of the game, that everyone gets their chance at bat is progressive.

(Here's at rhetorical question; if the game is so conservative, why isn't it the most popular sport in the most conservative area of the country (football dominates the south)?)

In the end, baseball is neither wholly conservative nor liberal. It's just baseball. It belongs to all of us who care about the game. Sit down, shut up, and enjoy. Idiot. (i'll put money on him being a Cub fan).

And with that, I'll never mention politics on the blog again...

Happy Labor Day, Everybody!