Saturday, August 25, 2007
You may not realize that the Minnesota Golden Gophers went to 7 bowl games in 8 years under Glen Mason. He may have been a wily old tomcat who spent more time in gin joints than he did watching film. He may have blown a 31 point lead in the second half to lose to Texas Tech in the Insight Bowl last season. He may have once battled me for the affections of an underage co-ed the night before the Kansas/Kansas State game at Kelly's in the mid-90's (while he was the head coach at Kansas). But you can't argue with success and Minnesota won games under Glen Mason. You won't be able to say the same after Tim Brewster's first season as head coach. I'm not convinced Brewster was a good hire, based on the fact that he's never even been a coordinator before. He's been hung with the "great recruiter" tag, which is how he got the job, but can he rebuild a program? Given the Gophers history, he'll get the chance. Their diminished expectations are just what the Doctor ordered for a first time head coach. If he wins 1 game they aren't supposed to this season his first year will be considered a success. Their best shot at an upset is when Purdue comes to town on September 22nd. Yeah, a slim chance at beating Purdue might be the highlight of their season. It's like that. Aren't you excited Gopher fans?
Brewster is replacing Glen Mason's smash you in the face running game with a spread offense. Cool, eh? Problem is, 3-year starter and Minnesota's all-time leading passer Bryan Cupito (I know, he sucked, right? All-time leading passer? Wow. Not a lot of good QB's up there.) is gone. They always had an explosive offense under Glen Mason so I'm giving them a significant downgrade on the offensive side of the ball this season. Will the spread work at Minnesota? Not with inexperienced players at QB and WR it won't. They lost half of 2006's receptions to "graduation". QB1 will likely be the coach's son, Clint Brewster. I love shit like that. I can see them sitting around the nursing home in 20 years when a bitter and still shaken Clint says, "Hey, Pa? 'Member when we couldn't beat North Dakota St, at home? Member when you told those reporters it was my fault? Remember when mom left and you got fired after 2 years and took that job at the dealership in Coon Rapids?" Seriously, this is the only reason to watch Minnesota this year. This school is so far under the radar and has such a crappy PR Department that they had the amazingly awesome Laurence Maroney for 3 years and I didn't know he wore a diamond encrusted Kool-Aid medallion. What they fuck are they doing up there? Someone needs to introduce them to Facebook? Get with the times, mother fuckers.
It's at this point where I'm contractually obligated to talk about their defense (which allowed nearly 500 YPG last year). DE Willie Van DeSteeg is solid. They're bringing in some new guys. They have a new coordinator. So they have to be better this year... or do they? I can't talk about the Gophers D anymore.
The Gophers were 6-7 last season even though they were +18 in Turnover ratio. Translation: They got all the breaks and still couldn't pull out a winning season. What does all of this add up to? A really shitty team. How shitty? Shitty enough that I don't think they'll win a conference game. If they can steal one at Florida Atlantic and squeak one out against I-AA North Dakota State in October, they're staring a 2-10 season right in the face. I'm thinking on the evening of November 3rd (when they get waxed by the Zook Hook), at the Kitty Kat Klub (I did not make that up), deep in the bowels of Gopher Nation, they'll hearken back to the glory days of Glen Mason, shed a few rotund tears into their skunky fucking Pig's Eye, and wonder where it all went wrong. Simultaneously, on a bar stool somewhere in South Florida, a tanned, bemused, wholly intoxicated, Glen Mason will see the Minnesota-Illinois score, bellow a hearty laugh, throw down his tenth shot of Jameson's, and enthusiastically chase a frightened co-ed out the door. The more things change, the more they remain the same.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Last night, while sleeping in my bed I had a beautiful dream. I was the head coach for a Division I football team in a conference that had their own network. I had talent at every skill position, a rabid fan base, and the coolest mascot around. The players ran the right plays, worked together as a unit, and they never blew a 16 point fourth quarter lead against fucking Notre Dame. The guy who coached before me was clinically insane and completely unable to do his job under pressure. Everyone thought I walked on water and crapped beluga. I had money in my pocket, toys in the garage, and a cock like a Coke can. Food tasted like the nape of a woman's neck, wine tasted like tittays, and pussy tasted like, well, pussy. I was unstoppable.
Then the alarm goes off. I look at the clock and it's 4am. My wife elbows me out of bed and I'm off to work. You might think the worst part of my day is sitting in my caliginous office, all alone, watching game film from the previous season. You have no idea. It's not cool like a horror film, it's more like watching the same snuff film, over and over again. My players have sick talent, no doubt, especially at the skill positions. That's what makes it so hard to watch. They fly around the field, effortlessly, with frightening power and grace. Sadly, they frequently don't wait for the snap. They also run the wrong routes, scream at each other, and then laugh on the sidelines while getting hammered by Indifuckingana. After a couple hours of that, I start to puke blood into my Sparty trash can. That's how I know it's time to look at the schedule.
This is when things get really bad. If things go well (and I just know they won't) we can start out 2-0. This will only put more pressure on me and make it even more embarrassing when we piss the game away Sept 15 against The Wannstache. You probably don't know this, it's kind of a secret, but coaches make fun of Wanny all the time. No one respects him. We think he's a genuine retard. Rumor has it, his wife has to label his shoes "L" and "R" so he puts them on his feet accordingly. And we're gonna lose to them. I can feel it in the pit of my stomach. It's gonna be so bad I don't even wanna think about it. Then we have go play AT fucking Notre Dame! I know! After they beat us it's at Wisconsin (loss) and then a couple easy games, one of which we might actually win, and then it's the bad part. The really super bad part. I keep saying this to everyone and they don't believe me, but we have the hardest schedule in the Big 10, maybe the whole wide world! Our last 5 games are @ tOSU, @ Iowa, Michigan, @ Purdue, and we close with Penn St! Fuck! After I look at that for awhile my tummy feels funny and I start to get diarrhea, which tells me it's time to get ready for practice, which is like, totally the worst part of my day.
The players hate me. I thought I was just being paranoid at first, but I went through the showers yesterday and on the wall it said, "we hayte dis koach", in shit. I think showing them the playbook was a mistake. We went over it and all they did was complain about how hard it was. No one said a nice word about it. I worked SO HARD on it too. Just like the speeches I make where I say we're gonna beat Michigan. I really wanted to get everyone excited, like Mr. Tressel did when he took over at tOSU. Heck, I even stole lots of stuff from his speeches. But then when I was trying to sound real confident in front of the cameras, I'd look down and see those defensive lineman talking to each other and snickering at me. I'd like to see you try and sound cool while everyone's laughing at you! I'm not made of stone! It's even worse when we're practicing. The guys always run the wrong way and stuff. I know they're doing it on purpose! I'm not stupid. So when I tell them what they did wrong they laugh at me. Sometimes they say, "Coach, stop clownin'." Yesterday, I told Javon he hit the wrong hole, and I even raised my voice really loud, and he walked right by me, said "wash u ass", and just went back to the locker room. It really hurt my feelings. I know I shouldn't have raised my voice but sometimes I just feel like he just doesn't listen. No one listens to me. They all hate me. I never should have taken this job. I hate it. I hate this school. I hate that fucking creepy mascot. I hate myself. I don't wanna talk about this anymore. I just want them to fire me already and it'll all be over with.
-- Mark Dantonio, 1st year head coach, Michigan State.
“The charges are serious, and there’s a real gap right now between the information the police have provided and then also what the players have provided,” Ferentz said on ESPN. “What we’ve done is suspend both players indefinitely, and I think the only fair thing to do at this point is let it play out in the courts, and we’ll reserve judgment.”Granted, there may be no greater group of overreachers than state prosecutors. Ferentz would be crazy to take everything on a criminal complaint at face value. That said, as mentioned before, this is some of the most easily verified stuff possible. Online credit cards purchases, shipping addresses, and university computer equipment are all virtual guarantees of identification. So when the players and police are telling Ferentz two very different stories, it's awfully hard to imagine the truth is on the side of City Boyz, Inc. So while it would be nice to believe that the police are in the wrong, it seems far more likely that Douglas and Bowman are still being less than forthright with their coach, and that is not the way back to the field.
“I think what you have to do is let the legal system dictate what’s going to take place here and how accurate the charges are,” Ferentz said. “We’ve seen other instances in college athletics where it appears to be one way and turns out to be another. At this point, what we have to do is let that play itself out.If this defense of his players seems tepid to you, then you're not alone.
“Obviously, I want to believe our players — what they told me – but we have to go through the process. In the meantime, as far as the team goes, I think what we have to do is almost treat it as if both players are injured. We’ve got to proceed and get ready for the season.”If Ferentz is saying he "wants to believe" Bowman and Douglas, he's also saying he does not, in fact, believe Bowman and Douglas. In case you're keeping track, that's the third time he deferred to the legal process. While it's all standard procedures for coaches in this situation ("We have to see what the courts say," "I hope it's not true," etc.), Ferentz had opportunities to show real support for the young men, and he instead chose to (correctly) mention that the team is going to move on, instead.
Lastly, because I've got no time to write more about it, Susan Harman (easily the most competent sportswriter at the P-C) has a nice write-up on the linebacking corps this morning.
I'll be out of town for the rest of the weekend, so if anything major comes out at this afternoon's press conference (unlikely), you can bet that sweet, hot ass of yours that JHC, Hawkeye State, and our resident legal expert Ciroc will be here to cover it. Also, as we approach the start of the season: weekend posts!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
The Facebook pages of more than 20 underaged University of Iowa football players have photos appearing to show them engaging alcohol in various ways, from drinking to posing with liquor bottles or beer cans.OH MY GODDAMN GOD BEER CANS CANCEL THE SEASON!
In addition, several UI football players have messages attached to their profiles that discuss alcohol consumption, racial slurs and other offensive subjects.
The rest of the article is similarly stupid, and presented with an O'Reilly-esque disregard for irony. The reporter, Brian Morelli, seems content to play the "I'm just telling our readers what's out there" card, except for one key portion of the article:
The Press-Citizen e-mailed [associate athletics director Fred Mims] several of the additional images it found during its review of players' Facebook sites, and Mims did not immediately return calls for comment.Fuck you, dude. It's one thing to "report," but this business of trying to bust the players yourself is cheap bullshit.
Oh, in case you folks are curious, the reporter (Brian Morelli) is also on facebook... and is also dumb enough to make his profile public to the UI community. And this just in: Brian Morelli is lame as fuck. Some "highlights":
Interests: writing; juggling; biking; hiking; cooking; hanging out with my fam; people watching; pissing into my own mouth
[If you want to be a stickler, I made that last one up. -OPS]
He's also got some pictures of his kids, which he may have purchased on the black market. Even more disturbing, though, is one picture where the reporter is present:
We expect his indefinite suspension by 8 a.m. Monday morning.
L to R: Marques, Da Realest Bitch Alive
Not Pictured: Fuck Lion
Art can be scary and complicated at times, like a woman's anatomy. But occasionally it's so simple it makes you happy to be alive. The following comedy tower is built on the foundation of one of those Q&A's that the kids do on Facebook. What makes it art is the fact that it's beamed to you from the beautiful mind of Michigan's own Marques "Grand Marquis" Slocum. I could try to explain it, but I'll let you take a peak into the big man's brain courtesy of EDSBS.
This video tribute to the Texas Longhorns and Burnt Orange Nation is a disturbing, mind-bending trip through sight and sound. It's good sober but better at 3am when you stumble in from the bar. Also, Chum, if you're out there, we need one of these, post haste.
Our final piece of art today comes courtesy of the weekend editors at Deadspin. It's the funniest thing I've seen on Deadspin in a long time, maybe ever. The comments came from a Michael Vick thread at AOL Fanhouse and they were expertly compiled by Holly at Ladies...
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
The sheer feat of nine straight plays is, to be sure, amazing. I still have cannot get over the tackle Klinkenborg makes at the goal line. If he takes that direct line to the QB, all he accomplishes is knocking Patterson down as he crosses the goal line. Somehow he had the wherewithal to cross Patterson's face, square up, and drive him backwards at the 1-yard line. As stuffs go, it is picture perfect. Also, watch a healthy Mitch King wreak complete havoc in the interior line. If he can keep both his legs near 100%, he'll be a terror inside the tackles again.
Deep breaths, Hawkeye fans. We're but 10 days away from real football. Our long statewide nightmare will finally be over.
That's about all we know at the moment, this is BREAKING NEWS PEOPLE!
[4:15 p.m. UPDATE(!!!!): Now the athletic department is playing stupid. For crying out loud, guys. Either a deal's done or it isn't. Nobody's benefiting from this "I can't tell you; it's a secret" charade.
Case in point: Elizabeth Conlisk, the Big Ten Network's vice president of communications also denied the deal was completed. "I can't characterize the discussions in any way," she said. Thanks for doing your job, VP of communications. Big help. We're all really looking forward to even more not-at-all shady business from the Big 10.]
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
OPS says: Do we have more? Jesus yes, we have more. Fellow "City Boyz, Inc" and legal menace Arvell Nelson is (of course) involved. Seriously.
An arrest warrant has been issued for backup quarterback Arvell Nelson for failure to appear in court for a traffic ticket.
The 19-year-old freshman was cited in early July for driving with a suspended license. He failed to pay the fine or show up for his court hearing. Officials say Nelson has contacted the police department about the matter. (CBS 4)
I decided it was time for me to check in with The Hawkeye Compulsion's resident legal analyst, the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. He agreed that this is pretty damn minor. Arvell will likely get a tongue lashing from whatever judge he appears before, pay his fine, and that will be it. But it's awful timing to begin with, only made worse by its proximity to the season opener.
Now, as for DD and Bowman, OPS correctly laid out the law at issue. In black and white, they both face Class D felonies. But as first offenders who only stole $2000, they are likely to get a deal to stay out of jail. In fact, there's an outside chance of a deferred judgment that would keep them off probation. It's not to say they should return to the team (I haven't heard anyone arguing they should play this season, and most agree this is probably a Gots To Go situation), but it's unlikely DD or Bowman spend any time at 5th and Capitol (let alone Fort Leavenworth, as initially reported).
Finally, I asked Ciroc how he would defend these two. His words were poetic and moving, as always:
"Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I'm just a caveman. I fell into some ice and was thawed out by your scientists. Your world frightens and confuses me! Sometimes, when I see my image on the security camera at the country club, I wonder, 'Are they stealing my soul?' I get so upset, I hop out of my Range Rover, and run across the fairway to the clubhouse, where I get Carlos to make me one of those martini cocktails he's so famous for, to soothe my primitive caveman brain. Sometimes, when I'm watching a football game on my 60-inch high-definition television, I think, 'Are there demons inside this box controlling what I see?' I don't know. My simple caveman mind cannot grasp these concepts.
"But there is one thing I do know. I know that when a person, such as my client, logs onto a public university computer with his personally identifiable login identification and uses stolen credit card numbers to buy $2000 worth of hats and baggy shorts, he is simply too stupid to go to jail. Thank you."
Ciroc's words would certainly move the jury to acquittal. He does it every time.
For those of you interested in what, precisely, Dominique Douglas and Anthony Bowman are charged with, here's the full text of the relevant portion of Iowa code (emphasis mine):
715A.6 Credit cards.
1. A person commits a public offense by using a credit card for the purpose of obtaining property or services with knowledge of any of the following:
a. The credit card is stolen or forged.
b. The credit card has been revoked or canceled.
c. For any other reason the use of the credit card is unauthorized.
It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under paragraph "c" if the person proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the person had the intent and ability to meet all obligations to the issuer arising out of the use of the credit card.
2. An offense under this section is a class "D" felony if the value of the property or services secured or sought to be secured by means of the credit card is greater than one thousand dollars, otherwise the offense is an aggravated misdemeanor.
The first bolded text is--well, it's the title of the code. Actually, though, it's still important. It's Iowa code, which means it's not a federal crime (despite early rumors). That's good for Bowman and Douglas; if the feds take a case, you can be sure of three things: 1) there's overwhelming evidence that you did something very, very bad, 2) The Feds, having spent months meticulously preparing the case, are wholly uninterested in letting you plead down to a misdemeanor, and 3) with a conviction rate over 90%, you are grade-A fucked.
The second is a biggie, and it explains why the complaint alleges the young men "purchased or attempted to purchase" those (sigh) hats and shoes. Whether they actually received the ill-gotten property is irrelevant; the criminal act is the unlawful use of the card(s). Thus, if some anti-fraud person at the credit card company saw the transaction and nixed it, that wouldn't let Douglas or Bowman off the hook. And that is bad news for them: even if the situation was so fraught with ineptitude that the young men couldn't finalize the online purchases because they didn't know the billing address (highly plausible), the defense that the charges weren't actually made won't save them.
Lastly, the kids are accused of $2016 in attempted fraudulent purchases, which is more than twice the necessary amount for a felony. Their attorneys may try to argue that the two acts weren't in conjunction with each other, so unless they each tried to ring up $1008, one could move down to a serious misdemeanor. The judge, however, probably won't fall for the "unrelated and separate instances" defense, for some reason.
If the young men's attorneys can't get a plea bargain for misdemeanors, they are most likely facing felony conviction. I'm not assuming they're guilty, but this doesn't look good at all. I mentioned it before, but there's a whole lot of easily verifiable information that implicates them both. They used their HawkID to log into university computers to (allegedly) commit the crimes, for crying out loud. Unless they can prove the integrity of their passwords was compromised and that the goods were to be reaped by someone else with access to those computers, then they're going down.
The "good" news about that, however, is that as of 2001, a class D felon with no prior prison or jail time should "only" no more than two years [links to PDF file; page 4]. So if convicted, their lives would not be over. They'd be felons, but at least they wouldn't be in prison long enough to ruin their lives. One would hope so, anyway.
Let's hope, strictly for the personal sake of Douglas and Bowman, that their charges are reduced to misdemeanors. If so, they'd probably only face lengthy probation sentences. They definitely shouldn't expect to play a single snap of football this year, but maybe they can at least get their shit together while they're still on the right side of prison bars.
The best news is the following quote: Dale Arens, UI's trademark licensing director, said if the jerseys are pulled off the shelf that will be a decision made by the store managers. In other words, there are definitely some still out there for sale.
Readers, your challenge is to buy one and rep yo hood the same way #88 does. Any and all BBBBAAAAALLLLLIIIINNN pictures you send of yourselves (or your children) rocking the double-ocho will definitely get posted. Like, immediately.
Monday, August 20, 2007