One For Basil Fomeen & His Toy Piano (NFL/CFB Notes)
--Today we've gone with longer more in-depth analysis of a few topics rather than our usual quip-py quickness. Perhaps we got full of ourselves after reading of our making SI.com's Top 50 Sports Blog list where Peter King said of us, "...this blog comes to my bed at night when I am naked and calls other blogs to laughat me..." A little creepy, but thanks just the same. And don't worry the sophmoric humor and well-endowed women are still within...so try to shake that image of Peter King as God made him...and Enjoy!
--MITT ROMNEY DECLARES WAR ON PORN (http://rt.com/usa/news/romney-porn-video-internet-889/) ...now here's an issue that peaks my interest. On the one hand I fear the economic implications for all those actors/actresses too ugly to make it in soaps, but on the other hand I'm sitting on two dozen copy paper boxes full of VHS tapes that could suddenly be worth something.
We'll be sorting the whole thing out Sunday Night at the inaugural OCCUPY STRIP CLUBS (OSC) protest at Bun's (...this ain't no bakery...) Gentleman's Club in West Orange, N.J. Meet us there and...Fight the Power!
Not to mention the cost of having to deport all those Russian dancers back to Drunk-off-yer-ass-istan or wherever they all come from...
--In the movie What About Bob? Bill Murray's character puts forth the assertion that there are "two kinds of people in the world- "those who love Neil Diamond and those who hate him..." Back in my High School days that attitude seemed to coalesce around The Grateful Dead. The Stoners loved them, The Jocks hated them and I somehow managed to straddle the line.
Then prior to my first live show I can remember being swayed to the pro-Dead camp as I hung out in the parking lot cooking burgers, drinking, smoking and generally getting my "Ultimate Fris" on as Steve Carrell's Michael Scott once put it...that is until we went inside...
As a casual fan I was expecting to hear some "Uncle John's Band", maybe a little "Friend of the Devil" followed by "Truckin'", but instead was met with a one hour improvised jam of "Space" in which the granny-dressed, flower child next to me claimed Jerry's hand turned into a flower at the 17 minute mark.
Thus I can believe, to some extent, the Miami Hurricane athletic officials who claim attendance was actually better than it looked for their home opener as many paying customers chose to remain in the parking lot and tailgate rather than sit through a lackluster contest vs. FCS member Bethune-Cookman, a school famous as the alma mater of former Bengals RB Boobie Clark and a 2009 sexual harassment case against 4 Professors which we find hard to believe aren't somehow related.
Still when a shot of the stands from across the field resembles a population density map of Greenland with everyone huddled in the lower level between the 40's something is wrong. And that something is that Miami is no longer very good.
Now this isn't a problem for the Duke's and Wake Forest's of the ACC who can count on Alumni support to nearly fill their modest stadiums despite the up and downs of their yearly fortunes. But for Miami and other big schools who Yahoo's Pat Forde reports are facing attendance drops (http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ncaaf--forde-yard-dash--empty-seats-fill-college-football-s-first-weekend.html) this is not an option.
In the early 80's Howard Schnellenberger turned around what had previously been a mediocre program and the subsequent prestige and money brought in by their 1983 National Championship made school officials act like Taxi's Jim Ignatowski when he bit into that pot brownie. Soon the 'Canes were bringing in such loose-moralists as Jimmy Johnson, Dennis Erickson, Butch Davis (see UNC) and Larry Coker to run their program and even embracing the secular end of the "Catholics vs. Convicts" rivalry with Notre Dame as the Bad Boy image, love it or hate it, made them the #1 draw, and money maker, in all of CFB.
But a deal with the devil has its costs. As other teams caught up with and even surpassed the Hurricanes in terms of recruiting, wins and marketability the monster they created could no longer be so easily fed. Miami found out they weren't simply a school with an extra-curricular football team, but a Semi-Pro franchise with a 76,000 seat NFL stadium to fill by a fan base who's ties to the University went only as far as the won-loss record and cachet of team merchandise could carry them.
The fans of The U. didn't just disappear over night they've been donning Alabama, LSU, USC and, worst of all, Florida Gators colors for years. And as that's happened Miami administrators have continually doubled down trying to find the quick fix that will return them to glory. Instead what they've gotten is an ongoing NCAA investigation focusing on recruiting violations by current coach Al Golden and a myriad of illegal booster activity by convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro who's dropping more dimes than Michael J. Fox at a parking meter trying to curry favor with law enforcement...oh and they have a very average football team that despite a come from behind victory over Georgia Tech yesterday and a 3-1 record was piked by Kansas State two weeks ago 51-13. So unless things break incredibly right expect Sun Life Stadium to be adding fans in coming years like that Greenland map will be adding population...though if this whole global warming thing kicks in, well, who knows...
--In the early 1900's German Count Alfred von Schlieffen developed an eponymous military plan designed to maintain Germany's place on the European continent and kick some uppity, Brie eating French ass in the process. However, by the time the idea was put into action at the start of WWI Schlieffen was dead, the blueprint had been tinkered with and no longer would a German right arm be brushing the English Channel in an attempt to envelope Paris. The subsequent clusterfuck of trench warfare that ensued is often blamed on this messing with conviction and, if I may be so bold, it also seems to be screwing with the Jets.
Now Rex Ryan is no mastermind field general, but like the Germans in 1905 this offseason he realized he was staring at a bad hand and needed to do something about it. That Schlieffen was trying to prevent his beloved homeland from being overrun from opposite ends by the French and Russians while Rex Ryan was worried about Kate Upton's boyfriend hardly makes them analgous but inspiration is inspiration no matter it's roots.
Mark Sanchez' girlfriend Kate Upton...the only one close to him who he wants to hear invoking the name of God...
So when the idea of winning with Mark Sanchez became untenable Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum hired Wildcat devotee Tony Sparano as OC, traded for Tim Tebow and put together a hybrid QB system that had no guarantee of success, but was certainly better than seeing the Sanch-ize get picked like the Smails kid's nose in Caddyshack on the way to another non-descript .500 season.
In Week 1 the von Ryan planned worked to perfection as Sanchez threw, Tebow ran and the D stepped up in a quick dismantling of Buffalo. But last week in Pittsburgh this whole theory went into mothballs and the Jets turned in another weak effort vs. a quality opponent on the way to a 27-10 drubbing.
Tebow appeared for exactly 3 meaningful plays including a personal 21 yard run, but did little else. And this against a Steeler D missing both James Harrison and Troy Polamalu in a game that Pitt did not pull away in until late in the 4th Quarter.
This pic is in keeping with the German theme plus it's Oktoberfest...not to mention it's inspired me not to give up...apparently there is a woman out there for me...
Whether Sparano played WWI Field Marshal von Moltke to Ryan's Schlieffen or vice versa is not the question. The bigger issue is why bother with the whole Tebow distraction and Wildcat planning if you're not going to use it. In a perfect world Tebow could be used as the ultimate offensive misdirection. Lull defenses into a Sanchez/Pass, Tebow/Run mindset early and then flip the equation letting Tebow throw over the top of encroaching safeties while Grounding-n-Pounding if they lay back vs. Sanchez. In other words use every option that the personnel avails you or don't even bother.
This week the Jets get Miami and rookie QB Ryan Tannehill before embarking on 3 games in 4 weeks vs. Division winners San Francisco, Houston and New England. So here's one disgruntled fan hoping the Jets not only get back to the right side of .500, but also get back on plan this week because these 10-27, 138 yd. performances from Mark Sanchez against quality opponents are starting to make me understand what Trench Foot was like.
--As a 9th Grade teacher I try not only to impart the curriculum each day, but also try to get the young adults in my classes to begin to take charge of their lives. Some I advise to be more proactive, some I advise to use more Proactiv, but either way I'm trying to get them to clean up potential problems before they get ugly.
This is why I'm high on the Atlanta Falcons and their coach Mike Smith this year. Unlike the aforementioned Rex Ryan Smith saw a problem coming well in advance, adjusted for it and then followed through on his plan. Thus the Begrimed Birds have gone from a run based offense revolving around Michael Turner to an up-tempo air attack that averts a potential disaster and gives them a better chance to win.
The best part is Smith and the Front Office didn't just spring this idea on the club overnight. They saw the aging of Turner and the growth of Matt Ryan crossing at a point around the present and prepared accordingly by keeping Roddy White, drafting Julio Jones/Jacquizz Rodgers, bringing in ex-Boise State coach Dirk Koetter as OC and began transitioning smoothly to their present attack.
After the finish to last season where they literally and figuratively dropped a deuce in the playoffs, shitting the bed in a 24-2 Wildcard loss to the Giants things could've gone south this year, but for Smith's foresight. Now with the Saints off their game and the Bucs/Panthers not ready to step up the Falcons have the NFC South to themselves and a potential Super Bowl run before them.
The ultimate key may be whether they can manipulate what appears to be a relatively easy schedule into Home Field advantage come January. As a warm weather, Dome, turf team that relies on speed Atlanta is precipitously better in the Georgia Dome than on the road particularly if that road goes through New York, Philly or Green Bay in the dead of winter.
At some point I don't give a damn if the cheerleader matches the article...this is that point...though I'm sure you're not complainin'...
Today the Falcons get the tough task of traveling across country off a Monday Night game to face the Chargers. It could also be claimed they haven't really been tested yet drawing the awful Chiefs and the Peyton half of the interceptin' Mannings in two solid, but not quite spectacular victories. Time will tell, but at least the Falcons have given themselves a chance to change the 10-6, one and done playoff cycle they've been caught in for several seasons now. There's still blemishes, but proactive/Proactiv that's the way to go.
--And the whole idea seems to have come not a minute too soon as news out of the ATL on Monday Night found RB Michael Turner blowing a blood alcohol reading only slightly lower than his YPC this year and being hauled in for DUI. Apparently police didn't realize that when Turner crumpled in a heap after two yards of walking a straight line it was more out of habit than inebriation. In his his defense The Burner told reporters, "...now Randy Travis...that guy's got a problem!" and this being his first offense he probably won't miss any time due to suspension. And somewhere cab companies are still failing to capture a tremendous market.
--Almost forgot Fred's Pick 'O The Day is the Raiders +3.5 over the Steelers...
...and like this girl I'd mull it over before investing...
No mas escribo, muy mas cerveza...I really should take more advantage of the Rosetta Stone lab in the Languages Department...but you get the picture. We're done till next time...and, of course, there's this...
And in a refreshing spin on Sesame Street...two of these things are not like the others...