Friday, September 29, 2006

Athletic Dept. Releases Tailgating Rules & Regulations; Positively James Joyce-Like

So, the athletic department has sent an email listing the rules and regulations for fan behavior at Saturday's game. These are also available at the athletic department website, www.FireGaryBarta.com. They're ridiculous. To put it in perspective, it took God 173 words to give us the Ten Commandments. It took 1,294 words for the University to give rules for a football game. Among those rules:
  • No tailgating on university property after the game (as if anyone who has enough money to park on school property would stay up past Wheel of Fortune)
  • Parking spots in the Kinnick lot are reserved for I-Club members (Not me. Not you. Not College Gameday. This makes sense, though. All these geriatrics couldn't make it to the game in time if they had to park in Olive Court; it's really just the world's biggest handicapped parking zone)
  • For the rest of us, you can get on a train to the stadium starting at 3:00. See what it feels like to be a prize heffer on the way to the slaughterhouse.
  • No backpacks are allowed. However, I-Club members are allowed to bring their own team of sherpas to lug their crap to the luxury suites.
  • "Botas" are not allowed in the stadium. Apparently, boas are OK.
  • No objects may be thrown from the stands. I might break this one.
  • Hard liquor is strictly prohibited, mostly because anyone who parks at Kinnick remembers prohibition as "the good old days."
  • Inebriated people will not be admitted. Go ahead and try to stop me, Per Mar geriatrics.

"So, how do you guys like Hubbard Park?"

Well, this will likely be my last post before the game tomorrow. I'll be at Gameday tomorrow morning in an orange Maurice Clarett prison jumpsuit. I suggest you all do something similar. Enough is enough. It's time the students and the true fans rose up and delivered a swift kick in the groin to the administration, if only for doing everything in their power to ruin the biggest Iowa home game in 20 years. Oh, and Go Hawks.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Seventy-Two Hours - Target List Acquired

Just a few of the many reasons why THE Ohio State University deserves your scorn:

Sweater vests

Keeping their priorities straight


Getting their fans excited every year, only to lose to Michigan


Did I mention sweater vests?

Dane Cook (I don't think he has any ties to tOSU, but he must be stopped)



Oh, yeah, sweater vests

Coaches who get fired for punching a tiger


Sometimes, this is just too easy...

Hawkeye State: Rehashing the REAL stories

So, Terrell Owens attempted suicide last night. I'm not one to make fun of something like this...oh, who am I kidding, of course I am. Look, the fact that he's now saying he wasn't attempting suicide at all actually makes sense. I'm not saying he didn't try it. I'm just saying he's a media whore who feeds off this sort of thing. He has an enabler in ESPN (The Worldwide Leader in T.O. Information). He has a mouthpiece (albeit an incoherent one) in Michael Irvin. He LOVES this. Cycling uniforms. Situps in fatigues. Drew F'ing Rosenhaus. Idiotic books that fanatics snap up like crack. Jokes about his quarterbacks. Trade demands. Etc., etc., etc.

Did someone say T.O.? We got to be talkin' bout T.O.!

This jackass took up at leasy 10 minues of every SportsCenter by not doing anything. He was single-handedly responsible for 40% of Trey Wingo's dialogue from July through last week. And then the Cowboys had a bye and ESPN had to stay away for a week. Believe me when I say it was the best week of sports television since he joined the league (it still sucked, but not quite as much). But when you're so obsessed with yourself and your media image that you would do all the things listed above, and suddenly you're ignored for a whole week, you need attention so badly that you're seeing the baby crawl across the ceiling. And is there a better way to manufacture drama than a (non) suicide attempt. Of course, we all lap it up. I'm not going to make the obvious joke about this story (at least not until tomorrow), but I hate it nonetheless.

Now, obvious jokes about Ohio State? Those I'll make every day.

Well, maybe not today, because someone has to take a stand against T.O.-itis. Someone must talk about the real stories out there, and there are plenty of real stories out there. Of course, I'm not a reporter, so I'll simply steal other people's real stories.

U.S. involvement in the war in Iraq has now lasted as long as U.S. involvement in World War II. Tens of thousands of American men and women are over there now, fighting every day. I don't want to talk politics; I've tried to avoid it so far and will continue to do so. But I hope we can all agree that these brave people, fighting and, unfortunately, dying over there are more important than a football player's non-attempt at suicide.

To that end, I highly recommend the Deadspin article on Sgt. Adam Knox, a Reservist and rabid Ohio State fan who was killed in Iraq last week. Obviously, I want Iowa to win this week, but let's not lose track of what's more important here. God bless the soldiers and their families, Hawkeyes or not.

Funny stuff returns later tonight. I swear.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Real-Life Gil Thorp

Just a few thoughts while I wait for my head to explode at the idiocy of the administration and athletic department (mark my words, this Gameday thing is going to be an absolute fiasco; it's so poorly planned that Donald Rumsfeld is calling it short-sighted...is www.firegarybarta.com available?)

1. For over a year now, I have wondered why Illinois would hire Ron Zook. My original thought was that he's a good recruiter, and Illinois always seems to be losing their most talented high school players (most recently to Iowa). If someone could keep the bulk of that talent at home, they might have some success, even if they have had their brain infiltrated by alien mind probes which make it impossible to comprehend the game.

But then I found out that immortal sports cartoon Gil Thorp was created and published by Chicago Tribune, and it dawned on me: Ron Zook was hired to coach Illinois because Ron Zook is the real-life Gil Thorp. Just look at the two side-by-side:
And they say the same things, too. For instance, after winning the first four games of the 2004 season at Florida, Zook said, "I am excited where we are right now. I know people get tired of hearing the same thing, but we're way ahead of where we were last year. I'm not worried about four games from now. I'm worried about the first play against Kentucky, then I'll worry about the second. We can't get ahead of ourselves." Similarly, before the start of this season, Gil Thorp was asked whether he was worried or excited about his team. He responded, "A little of both. We'll know more Friday night."*

Also, both know nothing about football, constantly underachieve with teams loaded with talent, and never age. I think that's enough. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Ron Zook, the real-life Gil Thorp.

2. Pompey lost to Bolton this afternoon, despite completely dominating the game. Bolton got a goal in the 23rd minute against the run of play when Primus failed to properly clear a free kick. I can't blame the guy. After all, it's the first goal anyone has scored against Portsmouth this season. Had they held up in this game, it would have tied Chelsea's 2004 campaign for most games played without conceding a goal. They'll make it back.

3. "Studio 60" just started. I'm ecstatic over the return of Aaron Sorkin. There hasn't been a consistently well-written drama since he left The West Wing. For the uninitiated, go watch the last 6 episodes of the second season of West Wing. Your life will never be the same. Good to have you back, Aaron. Please don't leave ever again.

Until next time, Fire Gary Barta...

UPDATE: I guess they saw it coming, because www.firegarybarta.com is owned by The University of Iowa Athletic Department. See, THAT'S the kind of foresight we're looking for!


* By the way, if you think I know what Gil Thorp said about his team because I read it, you're right. It's a love/hate thing. It's so bad, and the characters are so poorly developed, that I can't help but read it. It's like watching 1/200th of a car accident every morning.

Just When I Thought You Could't Be Any Dumber...

Oh, Gary Barta. You sure have a strange way of showing your thanks. Saturday night, ESPN announced that College Gameday would be coming to Iowa City as the Hawkeyes host THE Ohio State University Buckeyes, the #1 team in the country, in a 7:00 p.m. game. It's the first time the show has been in Iowa City in ten years. Remember, when Gameday came to town for spring practice, almost 20,000 fans packed the north end of Kinnick. For a practice. FOR A PRACTICE. Needless to say, this is the biggest event to hit Iowa City since at least 1985, when the #1 Hawkeyes beat the #2 Michigan Wolverines.

Now, there are a lot of variables with Gameday on your campus: How close the crowd is permitted to get to the set, whether or not your obnoxious signage can be displayed, the clothing choices of the Herbstreit children. But there is one common thread to the choice of set location. See if you can pick it out:


Figure it out yet?


Hint: It's in the background.


Give up?


It's a football stadium! Of course! After all, where else would you put a program dedicated to all the pomp and circumstance, the pageantry, and the sheer enthusiasm surrounding the college game? Go where the fans are, right? And, good for us, the University of Iowa just spent millions of that hard-earned money, which you spent on tickets and parking passes and I-Club donations and, in my case, RENT, to build a new south end zone and outdoor pavillion, complete with a statue of Nile Kinnick himself. Where better to show off the facilities and the fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes? I can't wait until Saturday, when I can go watch the show outside the...

You are all goddamn morons.

UPDATE: The Gazette says it's all about parking spots outside Kinnick: "ESPN wants something close to Kinnick. Iowa pointed toward Hubbard Park, a nice green spot by the Iowa Memorial Union that wouldn't eat up parking spots at Kinnick."

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Just a reminder of two years ago. I would suggest turning the volume down, though. For some reason, people always seem to put Iowa football clip packages to really crappy music.

The Juggernaut, Week Three

A few thoughts while watching the almost unwatchable NFL Countdown and a nearly-as-bad Newcastle-Everton game on Fox Soccer Channel:

Just how big is Michael Irvin's tie knot going to get? I think he's going to walk out next week in an ascot. Between his ever-growing tie knot, his strange egomaniacal love afair with Terrell Owens, and a speaking style that makes Shannon Sharpe sound like Benjamin Disraeli, Michael Irvin has become the most ridiculous person in the world. The man is wearing an 8-button suit today. EIGHT BUTTONS. Tom Jackson called him retarded last week and nobody batted an eye.

We talkin' bout T.O.? We need to be talkin' bout T.O.!

Here's the point. The Countdown crew just had three arguments. Ditka and Jaworski discussed whether or not Vince Young should be playing (an absurd discussion; nobody can properly grasp an NFL offense in 2 months, let alone a person who spent his last three years running an offense built by Mac Brown). Ditka's argument was "the goal is to win football games." I'm not kidding. Then, Jackson and Irvin (with a combined 13 buttons on their suits) discussed whether Jay Cutler should be playing (equally absurd, if only because Jay Cutler might be the dumbest man to ever graduate from Vanderbilt) where Irvin unsuccessfully tried to change the topic to T.O. There was a third "discussion" after that, but I was bleeding from my ears and couldn't listen. And then Berman (who is wearing the ugliest tie I have ever seen) said it was "Debate 201 on NFL Countdown). I can't take it anymore.

The picks today: Jacksonville +7, Tennessee +11, Tennessee/Miami under 35.5, Baltimore -6.5, New York G-Men +3.5, and Denver/Patriots under 38.5. More to come later. Go Vikings.

You think a man with a 'stache like this
would lose to a man named Lovie?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

So Much for Notre Dame...Um, Well, Maybe Not...

Well, we've had our Lee Corso "Not So Fast, My Friend" Special of the early season. In one of the most insane comebacks I've ever seen, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame - I can't help myself - were resurrected from the dead tonight to get a win over the Michigan State Spartans. They were down 31-14 at the half and 37-21 at the end of the third. John L. Smith was smirking like a gomer.

And then it happened. A 43-yard touchdown pass from Quinn to Pretty Boy Samardzija ON FOURTH AND FIVE. A fumble converted into another touchdown. And then a pick six to take the lead. Passes bouncing off everyone and ending up in the hands of Irish receivers. Missed extra points. Fights. Rain. And the best part is that everyone who has ever watched MSU knew it was coming. Dez Howard just said it best on SportsCenter: John L. Smith is the only coach in America who could lose that game. This was inevitable. (By the way, Dez is now openly gloating over MSU's loss). In any case, consider the echoes sufficiently awake.

I'm not necessarily an Irish supporter, but it seems there is an inordinate amount of time spent bashing Notre Dame, regardless of how good they actually are. The rationale always seems to be based on the amount of attention the Irish get. Of course, most of the haters seem to be fans of other teams which also receive an inordinate amount of attention (especially idiotic Nebraska fans). I support ND only because I hate hypocrisy. And Nebraska.

God Save John Tyner. My apologies to Kevin Barstow. We should have a cable channel where we can watch Lou Holtz attempt to say "Samardzija" on a loop. And until that day comes, cheer, cheer, for Old Notre Dame...


The Day in the Premiership

Frankie Lampard (I've gotta say, he's probably my favorite non-Pompey soccer player) scored two. Chelsea won to go to the top of the Premiership. Sigh.

Man U only got a draw at Reading. That is pronounced "Redding".


Liverpool stomped Spurs in the "you call that underachieving? I'll show you underachieving!" game of the day.

Pompey don't play until Monday, so Chelski's run at the top of the table will be about 48 hours long. Play up, Pompey!

One More Down, One Very Big One To Go. One.

On this day
Which began as execution day

And, sure enough, became

Execution day

--The New Pornographers

So, it's over. It was never really in doubt, though it was never really overwhelming, either (save for the last 8 minutes of the second quarter). Now, before the panic sets in, Iowa fans, remember these things:

1. Iowa doesn't blow out teams in September. In the last 4 years, here are the results of September games against BCS-conference opponents:

* '02 Iowa State - lost by 5
* '02 Penn State - won by 7
* '03 Iowa State - won by 19
* '03 Arizona State - won by 19
* '03 Michigan State - lost by 10
* '04 Iowa State - won by 7
* '04 Arizona State - lost by 37
* '04 Michigan - lost by 13
* '05 Iowa State - lost by 20
* '05 Ohio State - lost by 25
* '06 Syracuse - won by 7
* '06 Iowa State - won by 10
* '06 Illinois - won by 17

So, as you can see, this is one of the biggest September wins over a BCS-conference opponent in the Ferentz era. And it probably should be, as this is one of the most experienced teams that Kirk has fielded and they were playing the unquestionable worst team in the Big 10 and a coach who desperately needs a new brain.

2. Iowa doesn't blow out Big 10 teams. The list of 25-point wins in Big 10 play over the last 4+ years is remarkably short.

* '02 Michigan State (44-16)
* '02 Michigan (34-9)
* '02 Northwestern (62-10)
* '03 Illinois (41-10)
* '04 Ohio State (33-7)
* '05 Illinois (35-7)

All of those games except for '02 Michigan were at Kinnick. Only one occurred in the first two weeks of Big 10 play. Remember, those teams were a combined 38-12. A 17-point win is about standard for Iowa, regardless of the opponent.

3. Say what you will about this team, but they made it to the last week of September without a loss for the first time since 2003. And a win is a win.

4. Double D looks like he's replaced Eddie Hinkel as Drew Tate's go-to receiver (though Herb Grigsby was able to haul in a couple of passes today, as well). That's big. He desperately needed that security blanket receiver that he knows he can go to.

5. We got screwed repeatedly by the officials (to the point that Ferentz went all Bobby Knight on the line judge's ass IN THE FIRST QUARTER) and still got the win. Of course, that might have something to do with the freshman quarterback and the mildly retarded coach on the other team. Not even bribes can overcome a lack of talent and intelligent playcalling.

6. Iowa State is playing tough with Texas, but is doomed to failure (as I'm typing this, a Texas receiver went up and literally ripped the ball out of the hands of an ISU cornerback; they can score at will). I'm just looking forward to the picture of that Lames fan on some street corner in Austin. Anyway, if things get tough, just remember you could be an ISU fan. Hey, speaking of pictures...

Look, kids, it's Bevo the Bull! No, wait,
it's just an ISU sorority girl...



Now, the bad news is that this team still doesn't look ready for tOSU next week. The defense might be there, and the fans certainly are ready (Gameday will almost certainly be there, as Herbstreit will have to call the game that night), but I don't know if the offense is quite there yet. Which leads to my question of the day: Why is Damien Sims not starting? I like Al Young. He plays hard, he's a smart kid, and he's been through a whole hell of a lot of injuries and keeps bouncing back. But Sims just looks better right now. Shouldn't that mean something?

So, sharpen up your "Maurice Clarett in a used Datsun with a semi-automatic weapon and a shiv" jokes, folks. It's time to get ready for THE Ohio State University. Honestly, I can't wait. I just hope Jim Tressel punches a player.

UPDATE: Gameday will be at Kinnick next week. Fowler just confirmed it on Gameday Final. Gentlemen, start your inappropriate signage!

Drink Milk, Because Juice Will Kill You

Iowa-Illinois this morning, and the first career start for Juice Williams. I always thought she was a country singer in the 80s. Turns out he is a quarterback from Chicago. Tough way to start your career, against the #14 team in the country and with a coach who may or may not possess a complete human brain.
Believe it or not, this is the head coach of a Division I football team

I'm typing this during the first quarter, and this Iowa team continues to terrify me. If we started any slower, we'd be running backwards. Stupid penalties, poor tackling, bad blocking up front, the list goes on. The same thing happened against the Cuse and ISU. Needless to say, it's time to start showing up in the first quarter.

UPDATE: Iowa still hasn't woken up, and Juice is 0 for 5 throwing the ball. The good news for Illinois, however, is that someone discovered former Giants slugger Kevin Mitchell and put him in their defensive backfield. In case you've forgotten about the 1989 National League MVP, he's already picked up a sack.

UPDATE ON THE UPDATE: Kevin Mitchell's page on baseball-reference.com is hosted by Dwight Gooden's Cat. The cat's quote: "Steak knives and crack don't mix I found out the hard way." Here's the story. Allegedly.

UPDATE: Has there ever been a worse team that talks as much smack as Illinois? They've lost 11 games in a row, and they're acting like the '89 Miami Hurricanes. By the way, it's the end of the first quarter, no score.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Ladies of the Night, Ames Style

Greatest. Picture. Ever.



Anyone want to volunteer a punchline? Or does the picture really say it all?

By the way, my comments on the Steve Alford contract extension, the new Aaron Sorkin show, the best of 80's music, and, of course, football, all coming this weekend. I have nothing better to do.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

You're With Me, NFL Highlights. No? Oh, Sorry, My Bad...

Some of you may have noticed that you've heard the phrase "rumblin' fumblin' stumblin'" a little less this season than last. That, my friends, is because the unbearable tub of lard that is Chris Berman and his partner in crime (the fantastic Tom Jackson) are no longer hosting NFL (say it with me) "Priiime-Tiiiime" every Sunday night. They have been replaced by Football Night in America on NBC, the Bob Costas show leading into the Sunday night game with Michaels and Madden. For a fantastic article on the difference in highlights on NBC than those on ESPN, read this. Berman and Jackson are now hosting a segment on SportsCenter called "The Blitz." While it may have a catchy and unique name and vaguely homoerotic commericals, it's not nearly what Primetime used to be. As the above-linked article says, ESPN lost its right to the postgame show when it lost Sunday Night Football. This was just another component of the trade made to get MNF on the Worldwide Leader in Cross-Promotional Gimmicks Vaguely Related to Sports.

So, now we know just about all of the components of the Sunday Night-Monday Night trade. Let's break it down, Steve Phillips Fake News Conference Style:

Q: Steve, why trade Sunday night for Monday night football?

A: Well, Monday Night Football is an established name in the game. We really tried to make Sunday night work. We really did. But, when it came down to it, Sunday night didn't really fit in our system. NBC came to us with an offer that would get us a marquee player in the game, and we took it. I think it was a great move.

Q: Steve, you know that MNF hasn't had its best seasons in the past couple of years. Low ratings, aging audience, poorer-than-expected performance in the clutch. Just look at the demographics. So why do you think your team can turn that around?

A: I think all MNF needed was a change in scenery. I mean, more than thirty years with the same squad can make a program complacent. Taking a player like MNF from a big market like ABC and moving it to a smaller market like ESPN is good for the player. It takes the pressure off to, you know, get ratings above a five share.

Q: But Steve, isn't it true that you had to throw in your stalwart Primetime to get this deal done?

A: Yes. We told NBC that we wouldn't give up one of our prize prospects to get this deal done. And we were able to make that work. We still have Quite Frankly and Around the Horn. Woody Paige is still here! But, to make the numbers work, NBC needed another guy. We had to give them Primetime.

Q: Aren't you worried fans might walk away from the team?

A: Not at all. Primetime was beloved, to be sure, but football shows that give you knowledge and insight are a dime a dozen. Just look at NFL Live, with Trey Wingo, Sean Salisbury, Mark Schlereth, and Mike Golic. Who wouldn't want to watch that? Plus, how much fun is Tom Jackson when he can't call Michael Irvin retarded?

Q: Finally, Steve, why do you think it didn't work out with Sunday night?

A: Well, I just think we had the wrong personnel to get through on Sunday night. Joe Theismann just didn't have enough to put it all together.

Q: Who will be helping with MNF?

A: Joe Theismann.

This man does not actually work for the Cubs.
I know. I was surprised, too.

There you have it. Three years from now, I guarantee there won't be a Monday Night Football. If it is still around, it won't be on ESPN, because ESPN's collective head is so deep in the sand to ever pull it off. Put that in your Budweiser Hot Seat and smoke it.

By the way, in a completely unrelated story, the Yankees' magic number is down to one, and the Twinkies are tied with Boston in the fifth. And we all know how great the Boston bullpen is. Might as well pop the corks of the champagne.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Would You Kindly Consider This Offer?

So, I think this is the first non-sports post here, but it's the season premiere of Deal or No Deal, quite possibly the most incredible show on television. It has drama propelled by great camerawork and music, money, smokin' hot women, the somewhat smartass banker (more on him later), and Howie Mandell (which means an opportunity for Bobby's World jokes). Plus, the contestants are absolute idiots. If you ever, EVER get north of $100,000, you have to take the deal. The odds turn against you as soon as you don't. And as soon as I say that, this guy turns down $130,000 and CRUSHES the board with his next four to get $249,000. Wait, he turned it down. Idiot.

Which leads us back to the banker. The wisecracks to Howie are fun enough, but the real story is "The Banker's Blog" on NBC.com. He just made something like 4 fat jokes about this guy, each one funnier than the next. I didn't think the Deal or No Deal experience could be topped, but it has, and in a glorious way.

UPDATE: The guy just got offered $400,000 cash. His wife is BEGGING him to take it. If he tuens this down, he's obviously a Republican.

UPDATE: He turned it down. Maybe he ate George Allen. The Banker just said "Maybe I should have sent 400,000 tacos." I'm not kidding.

Pompey Can't Play Much Higher


Going unmentioned at the end of this weekend was the exploits of my beloved Portsmouth, who went to the top of the Premiership this weekend with a 1-0 win over Charlton Athletic. It was a huge weekiend, where the (alleged) four best teams squared off. Arsenal, which is off to its worst start in years, found a way to knock off previously unbeaten Manchester United. Chelski beat a Liverpool side that looks absolutely horrible. In any case, the Man Yoo loss, coupled with the Pompey win, puts Portsmouth on top for the first time ever. Can this team win it all? No. They still haven't played any of the top seven or eight teams, and they don't have the guns to hang with the top 4. But they have a legitimate chance at making it into Europe (especially if big squads like Toon and Liverpool continue to underachieve), and it's gonna be fun to watch nonetheless.

Also, the BBC is claiming that an upcoming expose of corruption in the Premiership transfer market is going to lead to serious problems, and Harry Redknapp is being discussed as one of the named parties. That could change everything for this team, which really seems to respond to 'Arry. Nevertheless, Play Up Pompey.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

What State are We In, Again?

Congratulations to the Iowa Hawkeyes, the best team in the state.

Good news from yesterday: Iowa won. They came from 11 points back to win by 10. They could have quit at least twice, but they held on and came back. Andy Brodell learned how to catch this week and has turned into a pretty good punt returner. Drew Tate was positively Brett Favre-esque. Marshall Yanda had the best block since Bob Gallery graduated (and I heard the kid he hit is going to be OK). When the book is written on the 2006 Iowa Hawkeyes, Andy Brodell's touchdown at the end of the first half will be the turning point. Klinkenborg made Captain Kirk cry on national television. And someone finally told the Iowa State band to shut the hell up (it was me, actually).

Bad news: This team still isn't even close to ready for tOSU, and there's only two weeks left to get ready. Fortunately, next week's game is at Champaign, where the team is coached by a man who has yet to ever watch a football game.

Also, it's been deteriorating for a while, but the combination of the new ticket allocation practices, the student section move, the University's systematic war on tailgating, and the stadium "security" measures, has absolutely destroyed the atmosphere in Kinnick. It isn't close to what it used to be (and I'm talking 5 years ago). Instead of having the most rabid and devoted fans in the best seats, we have old farts listening to the radio broadcasts and golf clapping. Barta needs to fix this to make up for last week's idiotic decision to keep The Game in September.

Classless move of the game: The Iowa State band playing their fight song (I think it's that song from "Benny Hill") over the top of "In Heaven There is no Beer" after the game had ended. Your team lost on the road. You shouldn't even be in the stadium, let alone trying to trample on the home team's victory by playing your obnoxious music. Load up the tractor and go home.

Classless move of the game (part 2): I haven't heard anything from Todd Blythe yet, but I'm just assuming it was classless.

Not-so-classless move of the game: Dan McCartney's postgame news conference, where he didn't take any credit away from Iowa. I give him a hard time because he's the coach of the Clones and is borderline obsessed with beating Iowa, but he's generally a pretty class act.

I was going to blog about the National Football League* today, but I came home to find that my television finally died. Fortunately, I bought a new 50" flat screen HDTV Thursday. Unfortunately, it won't be in until Tuesday. That means I'll be watching on a 14" Samsung this afternoon. I'll probably have a post after the first round of games, but for the time being, my plays this week were Indy/Houston under 47, Seattle/Arizona under 47, Saints -2, Skins +6 (before Portis went down; not so big on that pick now), and Vikes +1. I have yet to look at any scores, so I don't know how I'm doing so far.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Gameday

So, we're a little more than 4 hours from kickoff, and I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish all fans on both sides of this dispute the best of luck. And a little more luck to the Hawks.

By the way, for those of you who were wondering, it looks like Julius Michalik is an assistant coach in Harlan. No word yet on the fate of Loren Meyer, though I'll bet he's still really slow.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Larry (Ha!)

I don't really have anything more to add here. I just love this:


You can't go wrong with the Natty, fatty

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The First Annual Hawkeye State Photo Caption Contest

OK, I used this picture already in the post below, but there is another great caption that can go along with it that I can't simply let go by the wayside:

Look! It's my big fat Greek Cyclone!

And that got me thinking: This picture has a whole lot of Iowa State frat people on parade. Throw in some reference to Nebraska and a Hummer H2 and it would officially represent everything I despise. What I am getting at is, these can't possibly be the only two funny captions that could accompany this photo.

So send me some more. I know I have about 4 readers, but let's see what we can get. Click on the envelope icon below and enter your response in the comments section. Winner gets a free beer from me this weekend. Get creative, Hawkeye Staters!

Throwing Stones at the Clones

Less than 72 hours to kickoff.

News of the day:

Tate was named as a captain and will almost certainly play. That should just about do it for any ISU hope of a Manson start (or a win, for that matter).

Responding to the infamous Lames billboard, Al Young said simply, "It's on. It's as simple as that."

Iowa AD Gary Barta and Cardinals AD Jamie Pollard announced today that the Iowa/Iowa State game will not be moved to the end of the season. They cited "competitive advantages" of keeping the game early. I supported Barta's hire, mostly because he said he would take the rivalry with Lames seriously, but this is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Barta said, “our goal, like Iowa State’s goal, is to win the conference championship. We want to get into the Rose Bowl or another BCS bowl. This game means a lot to the state. It’s important that we both focus on winning our conference championships when the game is over.”

Unfortunately, there is absolutely no logic to that statement. If your goal is to win the Big Ten, then why put a rivalry game early in the schedule where a loss destroys your confidence? A November loss to Iowa State would be much less damaging to Big Ten play than a loss in September. The BCS point makes no sense, either. A loss to Iowa State late in the year may drop Iowa's poll numbers more than a loss early in the year (see 2002), but Iowa's best chance of going to a BCS game would come by way of winning the Big Ten. Once again, a late game helps us get there. Move the game to November, when every one of Ferentz's Iowa teams has reached its peak. It would help Iowa State, too. If they were to make this the last game of the year, ISU's season would actually be over after the game (instead of being over only in their little minds). This way, they couldn't implode down the stretch in the Big XII north. Plus, a late-season loss to Iowa probably wouldn't have any effect on the decision of the Furniture Bowl selection committee.

Gary Barta had the wool pulled over his eyes
(we don't want to know what Jamie did with that wool)


In the same article, Jamie (I refuse to use any other name to describe him, because no other name would be as appropriately girly) told reporters that the State Patrol has reported traffic jams near the infamous billboard. Jamie asked if it was due to State fans slowing down to get a look. Of course it's not state fans, Jamie. State fans wouldn't stop to read the billboard, because state fans can't read. And those that can read don't have to slow the tractor down to get a good look.

I haven't yet brought it up, but Todd Blythe has been running his mouth considerably less this year after catching zero - I repeat, zero - passes against the stiff UNLV secondary (for ISU grads, that is one number less than one; it's a complicated concept, I know). To put it in perspective, my grandma caught as many passes last week as Todd. I've been reading that a USC transfer was covering him, and that should be the rationale for the shutout. I can't wait for Merrick and Paschal to lay the lumber to this idiot. You aren't so fast when you're knocked on your ass, son.

Today's target: VEISHEA

Ah, VEISHEA. Lames' yearly celebration of backwards visors, shirts with the collar popped, consumption of straight ethanol, and burning things. I always thought VEISHEA was French for "Todd Blythe got shut out by Nevada-Las Vegas." Turns out it is an acronym for the things Iowa State is best at: Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Industrial Science, Home Economics, and Agriculture. Note that football and basketball are not included.

Fifty bucks says these people couldn't find
Greece with an atlas, a compass, and Socrates


It doesn't really matter what VEISHEA stood for (though that home ec department is really something to be proud of; I wonder if that means Stevie Hicks can do his own laundry after crapping his pants Saturday afternoon), because now it stands for class, dignity, and intelligence. So much class that a student was murdered in 1997. So much dignity that cops were forced to use tear gas on students in 2004 after partygoers started throwing bottles and cans at officers. So much intelligence that they had to arrest Cardinal basketball player Jared Homan (of course, he wasn't thrown off the team, even though it was his third incident).

Iowa State students tear down the only traffic light in Ames; horsedrawn carriage accidents triple

VEISHEA was being touted as "the largest student-run, alcohol-free celebration of entertainment and education in the nation and second largest in the world." Of course, there is no information which backs that up, and saying that VEISHEA is alcohol free is akin to calling Dan McCartney svelt. The VEISHEA web site now quotes Gandhi, even though 98% of Iowa State students couldn't tell you who Gandhi was if you offered a heffer as a prize.

When the band refused to play another Toby Keith
cover, the sober, well-educated students of Iowa
State burned the stage to the ground


VEISHEA is set to return to Lames in 2006. And not a moment too soon; they finally replaced that stoplight. Stay classy, Iowa State. Stay classy, indeed.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I'm Avoiding September 11

I'm not going to wax poetic about 9/11. After all, I live in Iowa. There were many more people far more directly affected by it than I was. So, I'm going to follow the lead of Wonkette. Everyone remembers where they were. Everyone's story of where they were is as boring as everyone else's unless you lived in New York, worked at the Pentagon, or hung out with Cheney in his secret underground lair. Let's just all save the rest of the discussion. My only comment is this. The Quad City Times (occasionally written in complete sentences!) led with the headline "In a Flash, Everything Changed." This seemed to be echoed by just about everyone else. But it's false. Nothing is any different now, other than the fact we are in a couple of wars. The ABC News website led last night with President Bush placing the wreath in the reflecting pool at Ground Zero, but the next story was on the secret affairs of Princess Diana. The prosecution rests.

Back to the fun stuff: Fred Smoot and his band of merry men, coming off the NFL's final punishment for their Deadspin Hall of Fame-inducted, Gilligan-on-Cinemax-esque trip to Lake Minnetonka last year, take on the mighty Redskins tonight on ESPN's Monday Night Football. For a couple of months, I was hoping against all hope that someone, like Showtime, would pick up Arrested Development (my rage over its cancellation was hinted at yesterday). But now I'm glad nobody picked the series up. If whoever picked up AD was half as over-the-top with the hype as ESPN has been with Monday Night Football, I couldn't bring myself to watch it. Moronic clips on every Sportscenter of "classic" Monday Night games. Never-ending drivel on their announcing team (I love Kornheiser, but I can't watch this crap; Theismann completely cancels out any positive effect from Tony). A pregame show that started - I'm not kidding - at 11:30 Central.

Someone needs to tell ESPN that it's not going to work. You see, networks are paying tens of millions of dollars to show National Football League* games, even more for the right to show them in prime time. So why would ABC give up its claim to the biggest primetime football event of the week unless that was no longer profitable? I know there are people who genuinely care about football enough to watch 2 games on Monday night (otherwise, Merrill Hoge would be fired, taking the five-button suit market with him). But is there anyone who is willing to watch 7 hours of pregame before that? Don't people have jobs? I'm a Vikings fan, and I'm turning the game on mute, drinking a beer, and reading the newspaper. I'm sure as hell not watching pregame for 16 straight hours.

I'm not a huge NFL - whoops, National Football League* - fan. I'm more of a baseball/college football guy myself. I don't read Peter King. I go into convulsions at the sound of Ed Werder's voice as if I was Kramer watching Entertainment Tonight. So, while I can explain the rule 5 draft and non-waiver trade deadline, I know little to nothing about the National Football League* salary cap. I do know that it creates parity and is less flexible than the NBA cap or the baseball luxury tax. So can someone explain to me why Daniel Snyder is considered the football Steinbrenner "because he can invest a whole lot of money in his team"? Doesn't everyone have, more or less, the same amount to invest? Is it becuase he can make contracts with more guaranteed money? I don't get it. So, please, someone get me an answer.

Pick of the night: Vikings/Skins over 34.5

One more quick story: I don't know how many people caught footage of the riots in Columbus following tOSU/Texas on Saturday night. Deadspin and Every Day Should Be Saturday are reporting that, in the middle of the mattress-burning fun, a student ran his car into a police riot prevention checkpoint, injuring a fireman, a school administrator, and the administrator's husband. The best part of the story? The driver was an Ohio State male cheerleader.


"C'mon, Fred, doesn't the 'stache get me on the boat?"

UPDATE: They just showed Dan Snyder in his booth with Tom Cruise. Is it already Rod Tidwell's contract year?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Juggernaut, Week One

So, the Viqueens don't play until Monday night, but a quick rundown on the first couple hours of the opening Sunday of the National Football League.*

PLAYS OF THE WEEK - I liked the Eagles at -5.5 (win), a 3-team 6-point teaser that included Carolina, Seattle, and Indy (loss on Carolina), Da Bears at -3.5, and Bears/Pack under 35 (both pending). I also don't have a problem with Minny/Skins over 34.5 tomorrow night.

VIDEO GAME MOMENT OF THE WEEK - I don't have Sunday Ticket and haven't yet looked for a place to watch nine games at once, but I think we can call this one. After the Bears bore down for a field goal in the second quarter, Samkon Gado made the worst wedge return I've seen in a while. He literally ran into the back of his blocker and fell down. It looked like a kick return on the old John Madden Football for Super Nintendo (hereafter SNES). It was made in 1993, and didn't have a year after it because this little software company called EA Sports didn't yet know if there would be a John Madden Football 1994. I wonder how that worked out for them.... Anyway, the best part of that game was that you could call your defense early (dime package, LB blitz was completely unstoppable), then run across the line and beat up the opposing team in their huddle without ramifications.

In any case, it was an atrocious kick return. Domo oregato, Samkon Gado. Domo indeed.


JIMMY FALLON MOMENT OF THE WEEK - Has anyone else noticed that the annoying guy in the Mac/PC commercials is about ready to crack up every time the PC guy (John Hodgman, who is hilarious on the Daily Show) does something mildly funny? It's not exactly Professor Roger Claven offering lamb shanks to the weary business traveler Dave and the archery-loving Ms. Barbara Hernandez in the Welshly Arms Hotel hot tub, is it?

"I was just hanging my agent over the side of the Brill
Building and had Saturday Night Live on my Watchman"



WORST TEAM IN THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE* - The Green Bay Packers. And it's not even close. They're making the Bears offense look like the 2002 Rams.

RANDOM RANT AGAINST TELEVISION - Normally, I'd simply attempt to estimate how much time was spent on T.O.** on ESPN Sunday Countdown, but I'll save that for later. Instead, let's discuss the Fox robots. As in, did anyone else notice the return of the idiotic Fox robots? I couldn't believe they brought those back, either, until I read this article in USA Today last month:

The network surveyed viewers, Fox senior vice president Gary Hartley says, and found that Fox's many sound effects, blinking lights and animated graphics were seen as "pointless and annoying."

So they'll be reduced. However, he says, Fox is bringing back the on-screen robots that pop up on its coverage: 'We found we've lost some of the attitude we've projected in the past. Robots are sacred ground for that."

Let me get this straight: That sound effect that Fox used for every scoreboard change, which I think was ripped off from Robert Palmer's "Simply Irresistable" was annoying, but an animated robot doing the Roger Rabbit at the end of every commercial break is edgy? Who ARE these people? Also, nice use of "sacred ground." Schumer and Pataki used the same language this morning to describe Ground Zero as you did in describing fake robots. Not to mention that robots can't be sacred ground because they aren't ground at all.

By the way, the Fox National Football League* telecast has never - I repeat, NEVER - been more annoying than it has today. And the guy on their halftime show just confused Donovan McNabb and Daunte Culpepper. The Dancing Bear played two days ago and sucks at life.

DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK...NO, MONTH...NO, EVER (PART ONE) - The Hardee's jalapeno thickburger. Just about anyone who knows me knows that I love Hardee's and I love spicy food. This seemed like a dream come true. After seeing a commercial in the second quarter of the Chiefs/Bungles game, I went and got one. Not that spicy. Not that thick. VERY disappointing. The seasoned curly fries were as good as ever, though.

DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK...NO, MONTH...NO, EVER (PART TWO)- The War at Home is back? Really? Arrested Development didn't even get to finish its third season, but this steaming pile of crap comes back? I would be outraged, but then I remembered that the decision was made by the same people who thought robots were edgy.

FUNNIEST RUNNING JOKE OF THE DAY - The Fox telecast (I know, I'm beating a dead horse) keeps showing this clip of Jacksonville fans before going to commercial. The fans appear to be doing the tomahawk chop or repeatldly signaling for a first down. One guy, right in the middle of the screen, is wearing a beret. Someone explain to me how Jacksonville got a National Football League* franchise. I now wish them ill.

OK, halftime is coming to a close. Someone call Lovie and tell him to run the ball on every play in the second half. Until then...



* - I have been notified that using anything other than "National Football League" to describe the National Football League is in violation of copyrights, trademarks, and the Wisconsin penal code. Seriously, ask Mark Schlereth.

** - I would normally call him Terrell Owens, but his name has officially been changed to T.O. It's like when Mark Jackson became Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Yeah, I Knew it All Along...Bring on State

OK, so Iowa survived. Not a whole lot more to say here except:

1. I'm still not faulting Jason Manson (you expect a few turnovers from a career backup, and 2 of the picks weren't on him), but please, PLEASE bring Tate back next week. I'm begging you.

2. Gutsiest performance by an Iowa defense since, well, as long as I can remember. Six plays from the goaline and nothing from it.

3. Greg Robinson: Mack Brown called and said your playcalling was spectacular. Ron Zook wants your playbook.

Iowa State plays UNLV tonight. I heard Jerry Tarkanian coaches that team, and Stacy Augmon plays at strong safety. Could be wrong, though. But, at least for Iowa, the day is over. So let's get to it. Hawkeyes-Yokels it is.

It's early, but let's talk about appearance. Iowa is considered a solid liberal arts college in a cosmopolitan community. It is cultured, sophisticated, mature. Iowa sees Iowa State as a nuisance. They are fun to beat, but there is a larger prize at stake at the end of the year.

For ISU, this IS the season. After this game, football only gets in the way of Nascar races and tractor pulls, even for their players. They play in a cornfield with bleachers. They join fraternities. They destroy their campus every year solely for the sake of those fraternities. Crude. Barbaric. Destined to require government subsidies. That's Iowa State.

See, this situation is best illustrated by the famous Patrick Swayze/Chris Farley skit on SNL, when Adrien (Swayze) and Barney (Farley) are trying out as Chippendale dancers. Iowa is Adrien. It's confident. It's classically trained. It's built like a dump truck. It's the safe pick. Iowa State is Barney: overweight, disgusting. butt crack sticking out of the top of its pants, just hoping against hope that it can get this job or it's back on unemployment. That's why they play so hard against Iowa. Hawkeyes have a chance, albeit outside, of getting drafted and playing professionally. When they don't get drafted, they can fall back on their education and become doctors, lawyers, bankers, etc. For Iowa State, this is another four years of high school. This is all the glory that is left. There's nothing at the end of that tunnell but mama's basement, a poster of a girl you'll never get, and a Natty Light. And the absolute worst thing that could have happened for you just occurred: Iowa got a scare. They will spend the next week preparing to crush you. And crush you they will, because this isn't a team preparing for a pushover. This is a team prepared for a fight. This is a team that will play at a level you cannot match. And they're playing in an actual stadium and not a pasture.

ISU might win tonight. I hope they do. But my message to you, Clones: Enjoy the glory while you can. You'll be taking that combine back home next week with your tail between your legs (if your sheep would keep their tails there, Cyclone arrests would be cut in half). In the infamous words of Kevin Bacon, "Your boys are goin' down. There's nothing I can do about that now."

Are You Sure it's not Charles Manson?

OK, we're nearing the end of the first half, 7-7 tie between Iowa and Syracuse. A few quick points.

  • I know that this isn't a particularly exciting matchup, but what the hell is up with the ABC crew on this game? I know it's Gary Thorne, who is a hockey guy, but you would think that he would know the difference between a fasle start and delay of game, a quarterback sneak and a handoff, and a pass and a run. You would think. Unfortunately, you would be mistaken. He's missed all three so far. And he is the best part of this crew. The color commentator (who has, for good reason, not yet been identified) might well be Gerry MacNamara. Twice the camera has completely missed a play, either following a pass that didn't exist or staying with the quarterback for a pass that did. Bravo, ABC, bravo.
  • Manson hasn't played particularly badly. I would like to see him throw a pass to a receiver, but I can't blame him for relying on Chandler. After all, we all know that Andy Brodell couldn't catch a cold. We all forget that Herb Grigsby was born without hands and is actually using surgical gloves filled with gelatin and tied to his wrists.
  • I would like to apologize for tempting fate by calling for a win two nights ago. My bad.
  • Do you think Ferentz sat on the Tate announcement to the last second so that he can do a 1-800-BETS OFF commercial? "Hello, I'm Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz. If you find yourself thinking that my team giving 17 on the road is great, then punching a hole in your wall when you find out 5 minutes before game time that Drew Tate will spend the game knitting his girlfriend a sweater, you may need to call 1-800-BETS OFF."
Earlier in the week, I wrote that the Cuse reminds me a lot of Iowa circa 1999. Keeping with that theme, this game reminds me of Iowa-Nebraska 1999. Big-time team on the road against a beaten-down BCS-conference program playing in a half-empty stadium, game-time injury call on one of its best players (in that game, it was the NU halfback - Buckhalter, maybe), sluggish first half for the favorite, finished with a late touchdown that shifted the momentum. The signs are there. The Huskers won that game at Kinnick 42-7. I don't think Iowa has the offense to get that many in the second half, but 31-10 seems about right, and just enough to cover.

Also, is it too early to make fun of Northwestern? 34-17 loss to New Hampshire. At home. Ouch. Can't wait for the ineptitute that will be NU-Illini. That's gonna be sweet.

So, You're Telling Me There's a Chance...

















"That's not Red Grange, that's his backup E.B. Halsey"


Questions from a day of college football:

1. How bad is Illinois? They're down 30-0 to the State University of New Jersey at the half, and the Rutgers coach just said that his team isn't playing as well as they did last week. By the way, last week Rutgers beat North Carolina 21-16. That means Illinois is at least 40 points worse than the Tar Heels. Pam Ward just said "This game is in high definition, and what these fans have seen is a high-definition...good first half for Rutgers." You know she was thinking about saying it was a high-definition ass-kicking. You know it.

1a. How long has E.B. Halsey been in school? This guy makes "Grandpa" Jess Settles look like a true freshman. I guess he came back to make sure there is "A SURVIVOR AND A FIGHTER" on campus to mentor Juice Williams.

2. Michigan/Central Michigan are in a weather delay in my pick for "look-ahead game of the week" (Michigan plays the Fighting Irish next week). If this holds out, does Central Michigan +28 pay? Does the under? (By the way, my only picks today are Iowa -17 and Purdue/Miami (OH) under 53)

3. Is this going to be the worst day for the Big 10 since the St. Patrick's Day massacre in the NCAA tournament? I don't feel good about The Ohio State University at Texas. I feel even worse about JoePa going up against a Notre Dame team looking to wake up the echoes. Minnesota goes to Cal (I think they could take this one, but there is still no D in Minnesota). And Rutgers is getting ready to bury Chief Illiniwek in a pileon at the Meadowlands. Sure, Iowa, MSU, Northwestern and Michigan will win against cupcakes, and Inidana should beat Ball State, but if they lose all three marquee matchups today, including 1 vs. 2, this could be rough.

As for OSU, I'm not convinced they're that good. On the other hand, they're up against Mack Brown, whose team won a championship despite him last year. If Stoops didn't have a letdown year at Boomer Sooner, UT never would have made the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately, I think this is a lot like that UT/OU game last year. Texas' weakness, a freshman QB, is neutralized by OSU's realtive inexperience on defense. Texas' defense is athletic enough to stay with Ginn and Smith. And Ohio State's kicking is uncharacteristically putrid (0-2 FG's last week from their walk-on kicker). Texas runs the ball all night against the OSU front 7 and wins a slugfest (once again, despite Mack Brown).

4. Next week, Illinois plays Syracuse. Can we get Oregon State (who lost to Boise 42-14 earlier in the week), Vandy, and the Big 12 North to join in so that we might finally determine the worst BCS-conference program? Some sort of round robin tournament? This must happen.

That's all for now, though there may be a post during the Iowa/'Cuse game.