Friday, September 26, 2008

From the dark end of the street......

September 12th, 2008, and I quote:

So....we go to Columbia, then Tempe before coming back home for Bama. Based on what I've seen so far, we'll have a loss before we get to our bye week. Profetic, albeit innocuous, words from your favorite blawgger. Forgetting my prognosis just 15 days prior, at approximately 1:30pm Saturday I turned to my wife and asked her, "What is the best thing to come out of Alabama?" She grinned and prompted me to finish the old joke. "I-20." (Bah-Dum-Bum!)

Turns out I was wrong. Woefully wrong.

We woke up Sunday morning with reality staring us back in the mirror. We had gone to bed the night before hoping she would disappear into the late night shadows, proving that what we had just witnessed was a nightmare. But there she was with that subtle smirk, as if to say, "I told you so."

I drove my girls to church hoping the sermon would bring a better outlook than the eulogy given 'tween the hedges Saturday night. To set the tone for an uplifting beautiful fall day, I popped in some Van Morrison and turned up the volume a little. We sang. Especially Ainsley once we got to the 6th track, "Brown Eyed Girl". It's her favorite. Wonder why?

It used to be a loss like Saturday's would ruin my weekend. The scowl would last well into the next work week. But you can learn a lot from your kids. Whether you see it as they haven't yet learned the importance of college football in the south or that they just live in the now without the burden of being strapped to the misery of things that happen on the gridiron, you can learn a lot from them. So, like a street rat following the Pied Piper I fell in line behind Conner and Ainsley and began a routine that I was sure would bring not only solace, but answers. 

There are sooooo many questions though.....

On the plus side my Tivo got the afternoon off and quickly breathed a deep sigh of relief. It has been crazy tired from all of the Sunday afternoon rewinding (blip, blip!) and pausing and fast-forwarding (blip, blip!!). Digital video evidence of the whoopin' was deleted prior to going to bed Saturday night. I feared that keeping it on my "List" would only haunt me through the night.

Let's start with the good news.......(chirp!....chirp!) ........uhhh.........(chirp!).......umm....... the fans looked great!

Now let's plow through the bad. Strap up your boots! Penalties, poor tackling, poor play-calling, defense playing on their heels, penalties, poor game planning, some Bama fan spilled Papa Nama's coke, penalties, outclassed and out coached. Ugh! That was painfully cathartic! I'm not gonna dwell on each of these issues cuz I would be up all night and it would just be pouring salt into our wounds. 

But the penalties finally factored heavily into the equation that tipped the balance in the opponents favor. On the way home Jenn and I discussed the penalties, among other things. She challenged me that we had been this bad in the yellow flag area last year. I didn't remember it that way. So Sunday afternoon I decided to pay a little overtime to the BDB research staff and have them run the numbers. Senior BDB Data Consultant, Louis Poindexter, tells me the rankings are based on the number of penalties, not the yards.

2008 53 penalties for 437yds W-O-R-S-T ???????
2007 91 penalties for 760yds tied for 26th worst 11-2, 6-2
2006 78 penalties for 611yds tied for 41st 9-4, 4-4
2005 77 penalties for 697yds tied for 55th 10-3, 6-2
2004 94 penalties for 795yds 17th 10-2, 6-2
2003 119 penalties for 1032yds 5th 11-3, 6-3
2002 101 penalties for 879yds tied for 25th 13-1, 8-1


On a lighter note, Advisor Poindexter also tells me that the Dawgs are 101-3 against the Bye week in the school's history. There's something strange about the way he chuckled though as he clocked out this afternoon.....

On an even lighter note, Jenn and I faired pretty well as cornhole partners at the tailgate. Maybe now she'll join me as a tennis partner and put our undefeated (1-0) record to the test.....

Many apologies to frequent BDB reader, Chris "Jovi Rules" Nama. He won last week's trivia contest outright (sorry honey!.....) and BDB's editorial staff failed to catch that it was not mentioned in Friday's weekly prediction blog. Mr. Nama correctly recalled that Munson's famous "Hobnail Boot" call was the result of the play "P-44 Haynes". Well done Nama. Please follow the link below to claim your year's supply of Fat Tire brew!! And enjoy your VIP subscribership!

Chins up Dawg fans. The sun has risen and College Gameday has left town. The memories will continue to frustrate us, but there are worse things that can happen to a team than losing to a quality opponent in September. And if you're like me you are looking forward to the weekend off. We can all breathe a deep breath. Friday's prediction blog will be replaced by a look at what's ahead for our Dawgs as we approach the halfway point in the season.

"Little baby take my hand, you can help me share this load......." 

Have a great week everyone.


Funerals, Blackouts and Beaver Traps....OH SNAP!!

The best news I had all week was that my wife was able to fill up the Tank today, and it was right around the corner from our house. By the time she finished filling up, the line was all the way to Cumming. Having to rely on a gas 'n sip along 316 Saturday for enough gas to get us to the tailgate is as frightening as taking a team of super talented, over-hyped, ego maniacal football players into Corvallis for an ORANGE OUT!!

Every crimson pachyderm fan south of the Mason Dixon line is mocking the decision to blackoutSanford stadium Saturday night against the back drop of Gameday, ESPN and any other AP newswriter that lives within a 9 hour plane ride. If you haven't had the privilege of watching the Tide strength and conditioning coach, Scott Cochran blowing a gasket - knock yourself out! (If you're not into watching football players stretch, the "comment" is a little over a minute into the video) As for me, I didn't realize high falootin' technology like video cameras............YouTube.......... cleated shoes………had spread to Tuscaloosa.

I think the blackouts are getting way too much attention. If you really think about it, the true purpose is two fold: 1) to give the seniors a chance to have an impact on one of their final games 'tween the hedges, and 2) to energize the fan base. The color of the uniform really should have no impact on the game itself, at least after toe meets leather. But if Saban and Co. need to use it as a way of saying we're disrespecting them....more power to them.

Speaking of power, let's take a few lines to discuss the size of their big heftys. Terrence Cody drops a US gymnast in weight and still tips the scale at nearly 4 bills. We'll throw our true freshman Ben Jones, who played so well in the desert, against this behemoth and give him some support for sure. But the more bodies you commit to this monster, the more their linebackers run free. Then there is their O-line, led by Andre Smith. They like to come right atcha! Nothing really fancy, just "here's what we're gonna do, try and stop us." And no one has been able to stop them yet.

In contrast to the big uglies, skill positions and depth clearly go to theDawgs. Moreno, Stafford and Green have good depth behind them that Coffee, Wilson and Jones don’t. So I give us the edge in those areas....but will it be enough to overcome the possibility of getting beat in the trenches? Hopefully Searels, Fabris and Gardner have our big boys ready to play.......otherwise we could miss out on a chance to jump back up to #1 because.......... Oregon State set a Beaver Trap for the trojans of southern cali!!!

Turns out the Pac 10 is still the Pac ONE, we just had the wrong team in that ONE slot. Jacquizz Rodgers was moving faster than the cold beer at The Library last Saturday. Meanwhile the SoCal D-linemen were able to get off of the turf just in time to see the trail of dust. I won't pretend to have stayed up and watched the whole thing last night; I did make it into the 3rd quarter. But I did check the score first thing this morning at 5:13am. I quickly put a call into the one OSU contact BDB has this side of the Mississippi. A former bruiser for the Beavers, all he could mumble was, "Welcome......(burp!!)... to.....(inaudible) Corvallis........(series of expletives)!" The only thing longer than the plane ride back to LA will be the weekend of self-indulgence in Oregon. We can debate whether this eliminates the mighty second best team in the Pac 10 for many hours. But it seems a little premature......

You came here for one reason and that is to get my prediction. For some reason you now trust my humble opinion to supplement your gambling addiction....or maybe you just revel in my somewhat random ramblings. Whatever the reason for your visit..........I like the Dawgs to win, but don't expect to exit Sanford early, cuz this one goes down to the wire. I think the Tide exposes the youth of our Offensive Line Pups, but they band together to help Stafford and Co. take the win. By Monday the Coaches and Media around the country will be so impressed the Dawgs will be ranked as high as 5th...........

Dawgs 28
Sabanites 24

Be safe!


Monday, September 22, 2008

Arizona State reheated

.........ponderings from Mill Avenue.

I have consulted with TiVo to fill in the ......ahem!.......gaps of my recollections from the desert. 

First things first: for those Dawg fans who were stuck east of the grand canyon, you would be very proud of your fellow Dawg lovers who made the trip.  By 2pm on gameday, the local bars and eating establishments were readily admitting that they were not expecting 20,000 college football fans clad in red and black. I personally would never frequent an establishment like Hooters.........., but rumor has it they had brought in a total of 3 staff members to handle the Saturday afternoon pregame business. We chose a local establishment called "the Library" as we were looking for somewhere we could read up on the history and lore of Camelback mountain. Instead we found thirsty customers drinking beer that was warm because the cold supply had been consumed by the big machine in red and black that had come down the tracks.

Can you imagine the restaurants and waterin' holes in and around Broad St surviving with such a casual attitude towards the religion that is College Football?

Certainly there is a different attitude towards Saturday pigskin once you get...well...outside of the SEC. The businesses in Phoenix/Tempe and specifically in and around Mill Avenue close to Sun Devil Stadium are likely still counting their profits. What's more is there are thousands, yes ....... thousands of Dawg fans looking for a place to sell the remaining ASU season tickets they own. So if you are planning a trip out west around Thanksgiving..... the mighty UCLA Bruins invade the House of Heat!! 

The atmosphere for the game was special. I try to get to at least one away game a year and seeing one this far from Sanford was truly unique. National television, the view and the weather made it even more unique (not to mention being in the same stadium as Kirk Herbstreit's hair, I've never seen a UGA quarterback who gets highlights, must be a Big Ten thing). ASU fans were almost wholly clad in gold....I guess you call that a gold out! I told several of them how exceptional the Pac 10 was and they smiled back. So they have a sense of humor. 

Back to business, the game on the actual field was not as close as I predicted of course. Although the game was never really in doubt, the Dawgs never stepped on the Sun Devils throat. I think we can all agree that we were the superior team from the start. We had greater size, speed and athleticism. You can't really hear it on the broadcast, but there was a collective gasp when Knowshon "soared" into the endzone. The O line adjustments seemed to help against a good (not great, but good) defensive front. And the defensive line clearly has missed the talent of Kade Weston. It was good to get him back on a regular basis. 

That being said, there was still a lot of carelessness. Untimely timeouts, a couple dropped passes and PENALTIES!!! When I think of teams who are heavily penalized I think of teams I grew up really not liking. Miami comes to mind. I don't know about you, but I'm really uncomfortable with us being ranked so low nationally in penalties. What's more is we will NOT survive against the Bamas, the LSUs and the Gators giving up that many (free) yards. I know a lot of the calls have been questionable....but still...?? What do you think?

Before the taste of this most recent victory gets too stale, let's give some shout outs. The first goes to the Redcoat Band. They do a great job in Sanford of course. But there's something special about hearing our tunemakers on the road. Glory Glory! And to get to sit so close to the redcoats on Saturday reminded me of the days sitting in the student section. The second goes to AJ Green. I imagine nights like Saturday were why he chose UGA so early, but it's also why Dawg fans were so glad he chose us over the team we beat in Columbia, among others. 

A BIG Fat Tire Hater shout out to Ann McElroy. A woman not just brave enough to go on a guys weekend in the desert, but to survive it so gracefully.....remarkable! ......and thanks for Tylenol Saturday morning.....   ;  )

And I would be remiss if I did not give a special thanks to the voice of the Bulldogs, Larry Munson. I guess we knew this day was coming. Your voice and "get the picture" will be missed. 
Special Honorary Trivia Question: What was the name of the play that made Munson's Hobnail Boot call so famous? First correct comment wins.....