You will get nothing and like it, Orange-Man.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Syracuse travels to Iowa today for what I like to call a "resume game" for Greg Robinson. He knows he can't win, he's waiting to be fired at his current job, and he's just looking for a soft place to fall. You watch him when he greets Coach Ferentz at the end of the game, that's not a playsheet he's surreptitiously handing him, it's a resume. Hang on, first, let me tell you how Greg Robinson got here.

Greg Robinson: Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. That was the tag on G Rob for 20 years. He was a career assistant, primarily with the Denver Broncos, where he was the defensive coordinator when they won Super Bowls in both '97 & '98. He was a well respected coach but never got a head coaching job. His name was bandied about for countless jobs and he'd interview, but the team would "go in another direction". It was a mystery (to some). Finally, in 2005, he found someone to ch-ch-choose him. Greg Robinson and Syracuse said "I do" and he was finally a head coach.

He was the guy expected to bring their program back to prominence. They were thinking Heismans, bowl games, and conference titles. Things were looking grand! But tragedy struck this happy couple in their very first year of marriage. They were a bad fit, and moreover, Robinson was a shitty head coach. They won 1 game in his first season, coming off consecutive 5 win seasons under the much maligned Paul Pasqualoni. The natives were instantly restless but anxious to see what Robinson could do with "his boys" in the program. In 2006, after a narrow loss to Iowa in 2 OTs, they ripped off 3 wins in a row. It'd been a bumpy road but they were a happy couple again. They were thinking about a bowl game and maybe, just maybe, a conference title. But alas, they lost their next 5 games and things went to hell in a handbasket. In 2 seasons, Robinson had managed to have more losing seasons (yeah, 2) than Pasqualoni did in his 14 years as HC.

After a rough offseason where he shook a lot of hands, kissed a lot of babies, and told a lot of lies, G Rob had people convinced this was the year. There was talk of wreaking havoc in the Big East. They opened at home against the curiously ineffective Ty Willingham and the Washington Huskies. It was time for the Orange to put the squeeze on someone else for a change (I'm sorry). They came out of the gates like a drunken sailor, throwing enthusiastic punches around, flailing wildly, with none of them connecting. The Huskies beat the shit out of them on both sides of the ball. Syracuse managed to average 0.3 YPC on the ground against 2006's last ranked defense in the Pac 10 (also in that conference: Stanford). What's worse, on the defensive side of the ball, Robinson's forte!, they managed to make Jake Locker (no way is that a real name) look like Vince Young. If Beano Cook was alive he'd proclaim him a lock for 4 Heismans. It was one of those career/program defining games, partially because it was the opener on national television, but mostly because it was time for Robinson to deliver on all of his promises at once. He failed, let the whole family down (again), and this marriage is over. The worst part is, everyone knows it, and they're resigned to wait until someone finally puts in the paperwork to end it. Some people just aren't cut out to be a head coach (I'm looking at you, Dan McCarney). They don't have the pomposity, mental acuity, or sheer ego to stare certain failure in the face, and grin, that it takes to be a head coach in Division I football. Some guys are coordinators for life and G Rob is one of them.

The good news is, now the Orange have to travel to Iowa City and face the most ferocious defensive line they'll see all year. I'm predicting pain. Andrew Robinson will be huddled in the fetal position in the corner of the locker room at the half. They'll have to use promises of candy and a pony to get him out for the second half. Throughout the game, he'll pick himself up off the turf after another sack in 3rd & long, he'll go to the sideline looking for help and he'll see that blank look on G Rob's face that will tell him, "you're all alone out there, kid. Good luck." The whole game G Rob will have a faraway look on his face as he's mentally rehearsing what he'll say to Coach Fernentz in their 3 second post game handshake and just how he'll slip his resume to him.

So what's the one thing we need to do this week to win? Not a damn thing. Syracuse is one of the worst teams in college football. They don't pass well, run well, and they don't even tackle. We can go out there, run the same play all day and win. Nothing fancy, nothing cute, nothing creative. Syracuse is the drunk in the bar you don't bother with. You just let them do their thing and they'll fall down on their own. No reason to get your hands dirty with this one, Hawkeyes. Take your 30 points, try for a shutout, and we can all laugh at G Rob's resume after the game.

One more thing, it's a night game and we all know what that means. The tailgates still start at 6am, but instead of filing into Kinnick at 10:30, you drink for an extra 8 hours. I know, it's awesome, and I'm sorry I'm missing this one. However, I still ask that you follow JHC's 3 simple rules for being an Iowa fan:

1) Don't boo.
2) Don't chuck bottles at people (even if it's a dude wearing orange sweatbands).
3) If you drink, don't drive.

Make us proud out there.

Friday, September 7, 2007

There's a game on Saturday?

Think about the Syracuse football program. Do it. DO AS I SAY! Now, consider the names that come to mind: Donovan McNabb, Marvin Harrison, Troy Nunes, Larry Csonka, Jim Brown, etc. Their post-WW2 history is dripping with big names--big names that haven't been there for a long, long time. Now, without looking, name one current all-conference Syracuse player. Hell, name one current Syracuse player. You can't do it, can you?

Indeed, in the context of the past 60 years, the most remarkable thing about the Syracuse franchise might be how little they represent today.

They inherited the region's attention from fading programs in Annapolis and West Point in the early '50s. Aside from Pittsburgh borrowing the mantle for a decade starting in the late 70's--and perhaps a couple burps from Boston College and Rutgers--Syracuse has been the unquestioned king of college football in New England for as long as your grandfather's had pubes.

And yet, no matter what level of success they attained, they've never outshined New England's pigskin drug of choice: the NFL. It seems counterintuitive, but the attention given to college football in ESPN's neck of the woods is scant--especially considering the inordinate attention heaped upon nearby franchises in MLB and the NFL. Mock if you must, but imagine the anguish of so many years playing second fiddle to anything, much less the NFL. Let's be real. Iowa's been worse as a regional alpha dog over the last 25 years than Syracuse has been as a second fiddle. And yet here we find ourselves in 2007 with Iowa a prohibitive favorite.

So now Syracuse finds itself no closer to its big brother, decades of stellar play discarded like so many piss jugs on the highway. Indeed, their most remarkable youtube clips are The Stand and this clip. Watch for the instant replays, which take the following play from "ill-advised 13-foot leap" to "likely attempted murder."

So six decades and one tailback's soiled pants notwithstanding, what's there to expect from tomorrow's game? If it gives you any indication, TNIAAM has this to say:
How Fucked Are We?: Very. Last year was The Stand. Lost in that nail-biting finish was the fact that Iowa fully expected to cakewalk in that game. They remember that. And they are at home this year. In front of a sold-out crowd. And they smell blood. And urine.
Most revenge isn't spread-based, but then again, most opponents aren't late-aughts Syracuse. And with a look at the matchups tomorrow, it seems clear that Iowa will coast to victory.


Iowa OL vs. Syracuse DL

The Orange defensive line was miserable last Saturday, never so much as threatening Jake Locker (not a real name) or his partner in crime, Louis Rankin. On the whole, Washington rushed for over 300 yards on 41 carries, which is a sure sign that the Cuse defensive line is worthless.

Iowa, meanwhile, was solid on the line last week. LT Dace Richardson is practicing, but not expected to start (if play at all) tomorrow. No matter; LT Kyle Calloway (seen here in action) stoned big-shot DE Larry English to the tune of one tackle on the day. Expect the Hawkeyes to enjoy another easy day in the trenches tomorrow.

Iowa WR/TE vs. Syracuse DB

Catch the fucking ball, would you guys? Advantage: Syracuse, if only because the Hawkeyes will be doing the Orangemen's job for them.

Iowa RB vs. Syracuse LB

Albert Young and Damian Sims may not replicate last week's triple-double (or double-triple? whatever. they both had over 100 yards), but they should continue to rack up yards with impunity. Meanwhile, there is simply nothing good you can say about Syracuse's linebackers, who will be opponents in name only tomorrow.

Iowa QB vs. Syracuse D

Jake Christensen's numbers were rather lackluster against NIU (12-29, 133, 1 TD), but about half of the incompletions came from drops, so it's not as if he was lousy last week. Still, he seemed out of rhythm in the first half, often throwing passes unnecessarily hard. That, plain and simple, cannot continue. If it does, Iowa is in trouble.

Syracuse's pass defense allowed only 142 yards to Jake Locker, but that was only on 19 passes (which is in and of itself a mystery; WHY ARE YOU PASSING AT ALL?! Look at their front 7!). Jake Christensen should find himself in a similar role Saturday, tossing short- to medium-length passes whenever he senses the wide receivers getting bored. How do you folks feel about 13-21, 160 yards, and a touchdown? Good enough? Good.


Syracuse OL vs. Iowa DL

Washington registered seven sacks on hapless QB Andrew Robinson last week, though the number jumps to 11 if you count the teabagging that the starting four gave him. Worse yet, they allowed the Orange to tally eight yards of rushing on the day. Eight. Realistically, the Iowa defensive line should be able to reduce Robinson to the Grape Stomping Lady by the middle of the third quarter.

Syracuse WR/TE vs. Iowa DB

I'm still not sold on the secondary as yet, but they played with a spark that we, y'know, might have wanted to see last year too. Obviously, Godfrey will not continue to collect two interceptions a game, but his play was stellar throughout the course of the contest against NIU, and it's reasonable to think he'll continue to keep that up.

Syracuse's receivers are ho-hum, with Taj Smith an underwhelming first option. Another advantage for Iowa.

Syracuse RB vs. Iowa LB

Curtis Brinkley (son of Christie and Billy Joel) is the Orangemen's starting tailback, and while he is a solid receiving option out of the backfield, he was smothered in the backfield, tallying just four yards on six carries. Fellow tailback Derrell Smith barely fared better, with a whopping 19 yards on five totes against garbage-time defenders. The Iowa rush defense should allow similarly anemic numbers Saturday.

Syracuse QB vs. Iowa D

Poor Andrew Robinson. He had a pretty decent day on Saturday, going 20-32 for 199 yards and a score. But that offensive line against this Iowa front four? He may want to ask his trainers to reinforce his pads with steel. There is no area of play on offense where it looks as if Syracuse will have an advantage, and Iowa's defense will be typically strong. Is a shutout in the offing? Maybe. You certainly can't rule it out, can you?


Let's make one thing clear: If Austin Signor keeps leaving four easy points off the board, it will come back to haunt Iowa, and he will not be kicking for much longer. That said, he earned his spot as the starting kicker over the course of practice, so he's probably going to be better than the NIU game on the whole. If he isn't, he'll be yanked. Simple as that.

Between that, the shank job that Ryan Donahue pulled in the first quarter of the Syracuse game, and the generally baffling play of the coverage teams, I can't say Iowa's at an advantage here.


Greg Robinson's sheer ineptitude is going to come back to haunt me in about 48 hours.

You'll see.

Iowa wins easy. 37-7 or something similar.

IT'S GO TIME! (part 2)

So, the Zooker read my gambling post (below this one) and was a little miffed he didn't get mentioned. He's been calling me at least once a week since the Big 10 Media Conference. I finally gave him my AIM so he'd lay off on the drunk dials. The following is the unedited chat log from our conversation at 3:30 this morning:

3:34 AM

ZookHook: what up, brah???

3:35 AM

ZookHook: YO!! I see yer lite. I know ur in there. Answer meow or im callin yah!

3:36 AM

JHC: Hey.

ZookHook: awwww you shoulda been thurr tonite! IT WAS EPIOC!!
you wereeent sleepin were yah?/

JHC: I was. Shouldn't you be... preparing? I mean, you had a rough game last week...

ZookHook: pfffffffftttttt. We tottally beat em. Forget the scorez they know who won! Fuck yeah! Team America!! You kow whut movie thatz from?

3:37 AM

JHC: Yeah. Seriously, you guys gonna win this week?

ZookHook: Who we play?

JHC: Dude. Seriously. You have a game in 36 hours. Do you really not know who you're playing?

ZookHook: Fuck off! I know... itz in Champagne?

JHC:'s Champaign, Z.

ZookHook: "it's Champaign, Z!! I'm Big Boy!! Lissen to my facts!!! I know ALL!!!11

3:38 AM

JHC: Fuck it. I'm going to bed, asshole. Have fun.

ZookHook: NO!!! Dont hangup! Zooker cant sleeep> We still hitting the town when I come to the IC on ROCtoBeR 11?

JHC: You play Iowa on the 13th, Z.

ZookHook: Yeah yeah butt i wuz plannig to cum up a couple dayz early soz we could go out. Didjoo tell OPS I'm crashin wit himm>?

JHC: Z. For the last time, you cannot come up early to party. You have a game to prepare for and Iowa's fucking good this year. I really think you need to take this seriously.

ZookHook: gawwdd... yur killin mah buzz... arrrr you outtaa that shampppooo i sentcha?? I ogt lotz more

JHC: It's the pills, isn't it?

ZookHook: bigg tyme

JHC: You realize they're expecting you to go to a bowl game this year, right? Those recruits didn't come cheap.

ZookHook: fuck... i know... hey, joo ever ask coaach Fairrentz if he wuz hirin?

JHC: It's Ferentz, and, no. He wouldn't hire you, Z. No way.

3:42 AM

3:43 AM

3:44 AM

JHC: uhhhhh.... Z? You pass out again?

ZookHook: aaaaaarrrrrrggggggghhhhhh fuckkkk! My here!! WHERM I AT?

JHC: At your desk, I presume?

JHC: By the way, you play Western Illinois this week.

ZookHook: Seriesly? Whaz the line?

JHC: They're I-AA so there is no line.

ZookHook: Zookers goindown, broseph...

JHC: Good luck Saturday.

ZookHook: gggaaaaaahhhhh....


We don't gamble here at THC. It's a dangerous habit that's torn away at our nation's fabric. It's particularly disturbing when you read how many college kids are throwing away hard earned beer money to bookies. It's a national tragedy. However, we can't stop you from gambling and we're not judging you. In fact, we're here to help! So if you're going to gamble, stop by here first, and we'll guide you through the fog of your addictions. I know, you're probably getting the shakes, so, go ahead and read the story.

Notre Dame @ Penn State (-17)

My first thought was, that's a lot of points. I know, I know, the Irish suck, and yes, I hate them too. However, I'm hearing rumblings from Happy Valley that they're going to kill Lil Jimmy Clausen. Now, that may be true, but let's not forget that just last year Penn St got taken out behind the woodshed by Mr Fat and the Lepres, 41-17. Notre Dame is a different team this year, to be sure, but I wouldn't spend too much time watching film from your game, or theirs, from last week, lest you look past them and get upset at home by the nation's second biggest laughingstock. Penn State wins but take the points and put your money on Notre Dame. Speaking of laughingstocks -

Oregon @ Michigan (-8.5)
This is the most intriguing game of the week, and again, seems like a lot of points. The Big Blue Nation did not take their loss well last week. In fact, they're still talking about it. That's all they're talking about. Looking backwards is the quickest way to get your head removed in football. I haven't heard many mentions of the fact that they play Oregon. The Ducks have a shitload of talent at the skill positions and they also happen to run the same spread offense that bedeviled the Wolverines!!! last week. Thankfully, for Michigan, they're at home, as they are 6 out of their first 7 games (hooray for level playing fields!). If I'm Llllloyd! (and thank gawd I'm not), I'm hoping Mike Hart plays all 4 quarters and gets the chains moving early and often. Last thing I want is the crowd jumping on Henne's skittish ass early on or this really could be a lost season. I see a lot of similarities in these teams. They both have a tremendous amount of talent, great offenses, soggy defenses, and a penchant for showing up a couple times a year with their heads buried in their cavernous assholes. It'll be interesting to see who wants this one. If I'm a gambling man, I'm putting momma's house on Oregon.
Fun Fact: Oregon has been shutout all three times they played at the Big House. I'm thinking this streak comes to an end.

Wisconsin @ UNLV (+27)

After last week, Tyler Donovan left me wondering what the hell John Stocco was doing starting the last 3 seasons. He looked spectacular while throwing for 3 TD's and running for another. Scoring points should not be a problem against the Runnin' Rebels but can they stop them? UNLV will run the ball, relentlessly, and if you're a Wisky fan you have to hope coach Bielema's nasty demeanor will translate to his defensive line which got gashed for 5 yards a pop last week against Wazzu. This game will tell me a lot about the Badgers, who appear to the Big 10's most solid opportunity at a National Championship. Like the other games above, I'm advising you to take the points and the dog.

That's it for this week, and remember, bet as much as you want, I really don't give a shit, it's not my money. Just don't be gambling on every game out there. Pick 3 and bet as much as you want on them. That's why they call it gambling!
Good luck.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

"Say What You Will About the Tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at Least it's an Ethos"

You thought we were tough on Brian Morelli's Carl-Monday-esque look at Facebook. From last Wednesday's Press-Citizen letters to the editor:

The article on football players' facebook pages was interesting ("Alcohol abundant on players' sites," Aug. 23), in its association of disgusting misogyny with alcohol abuse, and in how it provided a springboard to change the subject midstream, and hype the 21-ordinance. Hopefully it's coincidental that it seemed such a masterful use of the propaganda tactic of demonization by association, in tying such vile comments to underage drinking.

Iowa City is above such tactics, even if its media isn't. Propagandists like Joseph Goebbels would approve, but it doesn't address the issues, and is quite divisive.

See how it works? I associated you with the Nazi propagandist, just because you used a Nazi tactic. It's similarly unfair to associate underage drinkers with misogyny. Alcohol may bring vile behavior into play, but only in vile people. The vast majority doesn't exhibit such behavior. Your Neo-Prohibitionist friends resort to such tactics, but you'd be wise to refrain.

Some friendly advice: Knock it off. You may not be better than this, but we are.

We may have been mean to Morelli. We may have exposed the hypocrisy in his own Facebook profile. We may have even let our readers advocate spamming him back into the stone age. But you have to hand it to us: We didn't call him a Nazi.

(Props to 'Cuse blogger Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician, who is obviously reading our local papers more closely than me.)

Not the Clone Zone, But it's Close: Big Ten Bloggers Roundtable

This week's Big Ten Blogger roundtable is brought to you by PSU blog There Is No Name on My Jersey, which is preparing to keep the echoes asleep this weekend.

1. Clearly, Week 1 was a huge week for upsets with Appalachin St. beating Michigan and Clemson beating FSU (though if that really shocked anyone I'd be surprised). What are your upset games for Week 2 and why?

We certainly have a liberal interpretation of upset, don't we? Didn't we all see Tommy's beatdown of his senile father coming from a mile away? Bobby Bowden is so old, he recently applied for a position with Per Mar Security.

I'll say it: Northern Iowa walks into Jack Trice and lays the lumber to Iowa State. UNI has a four-year starter at quarterback, enough talent at the skill positions to be scary, an experienced defense, and some confidence (they only lost by 1 point at Ames last year). And, after watching a replay of ISU/Kent State, I can safely say the Clones look as bad as they have since the Jim Walden era. Plus, I just really want to see this happen, and where there's a will, there's a way.

Am I the only person thinking we're giving too much credit to UCLA? Even though they have a wealth of talent and experience (and Ben Olson behind center), they're still being coached by Karl Dorrell, right? His presence alone is enough to make BYU a possible upset special this weekend.

I'm not predicting an upset here (though I like the Buffs to cover the +14 1/2), but is anyone else looking forward to Colorado at Arizona State? Dennis Erickson vs. Thunder Dan Hawkins, folks! Is there any way this game ends without an ASU reserve caught trying to steal something from the Buffs bench, followed by Hawkins beating him within an inch of his life?

Dan Hawkins: Once killed a drifter
just to get an erection

2. What do you think about the BTN? How'd it look? How were the announcers? Did the first weekend change your opinion of the BTN?

If you asked me this question on Sunday morning, I would have said "eh..."
  • Thom Brennanman suffers from Joe Buck overstatement syndrome and Charles Davis has repeatedly proven himself as a top-shelf moron (for those who don't remember, these two teamed with Barry Alvarez and Chris Myers in a sick, twisted attempt at ruining last season's Boise State-Boomer Sooner game). And this is their #1 team.
  • Mike Tomczak is unquestionably the worst color commentator in the history of the universe. He's so bad, he was fired by ESPN without groping anyone or calling anything gay. He called Iowa's 2004 6-4 victory over Penn State. At one point, the cameras caught a group of PSU students with their chests painted. Pam Ward (who sounded like Benjamin Disraeli in comparison to Tomczak) joked that Mike's children were in the group of shirtless kids. Tomczak, who obviously was born without a sense of humor, yelled back that his kids were at home with their mother. Yeah, he's an idiot.
  • They've provided Glen Mason gainful employment for reasons passing understanding.
  • There's a sideline reporter named MaryRachel Dick. I'm not making this up.
But their studio show wasn't too bad (especially if you remember all the old Gerry DiNardo jokes from his time at Indiana), and at least they found a spot for Mike Hall. Throw in replays and classic games during the week, and I'm pleasantly surprised.

3. Now that we're a game into the Season evaluate the Big Ten's strength.

'Twas not a good week for the Big Ten. Big Blue was certainly bad enough (and resurrected those complaints from last year), Minnesota was putrid, and the Zooker is still too busy smelling hair to win a game. Everyone else held true to form. It's far too early to make an evaluation, but it's a C+ right now.


Less predictiony/More predilectiony

1LSU 1
2Southern Cal 1
3West Virginia 0
4Oklahoma 2
5Louisville 5
6Florida 2
7California 7
8Texas 3
9Arkansas 0
10Penn State 3
11Ohio State 0
12Wisconsin 3
13Georgia 9
14Georgia Tech 12
15Virginia Tech 8
16Oregon 4
17UCLA 1
18Boise State 8
19Auburn 7
20Nebraska 1
21Rutgers 0
22Iowa 2
23Hawaii 2
24Alabama 4
25South Carolina 8

Dropped Out:

Michigan, Arizona, Florida St.

New Additions:

Georgia Tech, Boise State, Auburn

Weekly Judgement Time: We can finally judge these mother fuckers based on football, and judge them harshly, to be sure. I dropped Michigan (HA!), Arizona (It was the pills!), and Florida State (More tapioca, Mr. Bowden?) in favor of Georgia Tech, Boise State, and Auburn. Winning doesn't guarantee you keep your spot either. If you're playing a cupcake, you need to devour the fuckers in one bite, like Oklahoma, Louisville, and Georgia Tech did. If you don't show an appetite for bloodlust [read that: Texas, USC, Virginia Tech] and don't arouse me sexually with your play, I will drop you in the rankings. Football is a hard game and if you can't excite another man with your play then you need to be gone.

Pimpslap Alert: To Frank Beamer: I'm not really happy with you using a tragedy to motivate your team this year. They didn't seem very motivated anyway, so I think it's time to hammer out some X's and O's, brother. Don't know if you saw their game, but LSU is really good. When factoring in your QB, Sean Glennon, and his weaknesses [read that: everything], I think you can hold off on the preparation of that congratulatory "Win #200" cake. I can see y'all taking a thumping the likes of which you haven't seen for awhile. I saw some vicious defensive lineman this past week, but nobody is meaner than Glenn Dorsey. He will eat your fucking face clean off and grin when he shits out your face mask. My challenge to you is to have your O outscore LSU's D. You do that and I'll be impressed. This smells like a 35 point pounding to me.

The Replacements: Clemson, Texas A&M, Colorado, Purdue, Tennessee, Texas Tech (YARRR!!!), and TCU. These teams are all clawing at the glass trying to get a spot at the big boy's table. I'm watching them closely to decide who'll be Va Tech's replacement.

Syracuse Man is robbing you of the will to live

There is nothing about Syracuse Man to like, but it's his eyes that reach into your soul and turn your joie de vivre into a festering mass of decay and filth. You cannot look away from Syracuse Man, and you will never, ever be the same.

Gaze upon my wig and tremble, puny human!

(HT to TV Tan Lines)

Alex Kanellis's career is over

We mentioned last week that Alex Kanellis would be hanging up the cleats for the year. As it turns out, the concussions are forcing Alex off the field for good.

Eric Page over at the QC Times' (the site that should have replaced HawkCentral in your bookmarks long ago) has a writeup about Kanellis, and it's predictably depressing.
“You have to be smart,” Ferentz said. “Everybody’s career is going to end at some point. We all have a picture of when it’s going to end, and when it doesn’t end that way, it’s tough. It’s just not worth taking any unnecessary chances.”
And to be sure, by "unnecessary chances," Ferentz is referring to the vastly increased likelihood that Kanellis's brain would leak out of his ears the next time he concussed himself.

It's always a shame to see a young player's opportunity cut short for medical reasons, and this scenario is no exception. The good news is that Kanellis will probably stick around the program and help the S&C program, much the same way fellow medical casualties Vernon Jackson and Alex Wilcox are doing so.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

An Open Letter to Andy Brodell's Hands

Dear Andy Brodell's hands,

In the past, I have repeatedly compared you to cloven hooves. I have said you couldn't catch a cold. I have blamed you for the Indiana loss and the end of Drew Tate. I have ripped you so vigorously that my father has dubbed your owner "the whipping boy."

But it is a new season, and a new start for all of us. And so I write you to apologize. We might have gotten off to an unnecessarily bad start, but I need you now. We all need you now. Please, let me explain myself.

Your owner is a track star, undeniably one of the most explosive athletes on the team (just ask Texas). But we've seen these all-speed. no-hands guys before at Iowa (think of Khalil Hill, or Tim Dodge...better yet, don't think of Tim Dodge), with bad results. It's hard to play wide receiver when you can't actually receive. And, at the other end, we've seen the moderate-speed, catch-everything guys (Ed Hinkel is the ultimate example) who have been incredibly successful here. What we haven't had since at least Clinton Solomon, and probably since Tim Dwight, was a speed guy who could catch everything. We need that, and you seem to be the only thing stopping it from happening.

Week one is over, and I'm not going to dwell on the three passes you dropped. I've turned over a new leaf, after all. But we apparently have two top-notch running backs. We have a capable, if inexperienced, quarterback. We may or may not have a bulldozer offensive line (they looked great, but I'm not yet sold). We have a mean, nasty, vicious defensive front seven. We might even have some semblance of a defensive secondary. All we need is someone to catch the damn football.

Your owner seems to realize that fact. He told the press, "It's just a concentration error and fundamental mistake that can be cleaned up relatively easily, and they're plays that need to be made." I agree right up to where he claims this can be easily fixed. It it were easily fixable, it wouldn't be rearing its ugly head again this season. If it were easily fixable, Drew Tate wouldn't have checked himself into a psych ward last November. If it were easily fixable, this letter would be unnecessary.

There is no more time for excuses. Don't hide behind your youth or inexperience (James Cleveland, who is a year younger, made two great catches Saturday afternoon). Don't hide behind the relative unimportance of the drops (Iowa never had a lead over 13; this was never a blowout where plays don't matter). You are the hands of a junior and a two-year starter. There's nowhere left to hide.

I don't want to leave you feeling bad. I know you can do the job. You catch punts without a problem, and that is really tough to do. Rather, I want you inspired, and I realize I could not write words more inspirational than those of Brian Kinchen.

So let's go get 'em, hands!

Travis Meade is an acrobatic lover

There were plenty of expressions of joy from the players on Saturday, but none were as poignant and awe-inspiring as Travis Meade's celebration with unwitting teammate Damian Sims:
What a masterful run! Allow me to perform a Flying Romanian Throatclogger!

Revisiting the Douglas/Bowman Affair

In the weeks since his arrest, it seems like Anthony Bowman is going about his punishment the right way. He is open and apologetic to the media, and he sounds as if he understands why he's being punished. Now, unless we learn that his involvement in the case was much smaller than earlier reports indicate, he'll likely be suspended for the year--heck, even if he isn't, he's so far behind in practice time that he probably wouldn't play upon reinstatement anyway. As far as getting his career and life back on track, this is the way to do it.

Unfortunately, it's harder to say the same thing about Dominique Douglas; he has refused comment to the press, and I have no idea if he's planning on attending class this semester. Usually, though, the more uncertainty that surrounds a situation like this, the worse it ends up. Let's just hope James Cleveland's method of support was a "You are my friend and I really hope you turn it around" message, not "I think you have been wronged through no fault of your own and I expect no change in behavior from here on out."

Two digits, one world of uneasiness for Iowa fans.

Keeping The Man Busy, Week 2

Here's why athletic directors are frowning this morning...

And if we find out he let you change the preset radio stations, so help us God...: On Friday, Texas suspended wideout Billy Pittman for three games for the unspeakably criminal act of borrowing a friend's car during the summer. The NCAA equates such an act with a renunciation of one's amateur status, which is helpful knowledge if you still needed a reason to hate the NCAA with a blinding fury. In addition to Saturday's 21-13 blowout, Pittman will miss the next two games before returning against Rice on the 22nd.

Really, though, the NCAA ought to amend the rule about borrowing cars; an outright ban is unnecessarily harsh, especially for students whose parents can't afford to give them one. Call it the Hoopty Clause: a player may borrow a car if its list value is below $4,000 and it will absolutely, positively not get a normal person laid. If you need to get somewhere in a hurry, athlete, you can drive there. But it'll have to be in a Buick.

AND HOW ABOUT THESE GAS PRICES AM I RIGHT FOLKS: There is really no "good" way to be involved in a gas-stealing scheme, but
Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles is definitely not in an enviable position after his arrest early Friday morning. Broyles was observed pumping gas at a closed gas station in Norman, and upon further investigation (i.e. looking at the pump), the officer found out that Broyles was in possession of a manual override key that, along with a security code, allows one to pump gas out of a closed pump. If Broyles intends to contend that his transgression was an isolated incident, his prospects are dim; owner (and former Norman mayor) Ron Henderson said the station had been investigating unexplained shortages for "several months." Further, not even he has a key, much less his employees.

We eagerly anticipate Broyles' legal defense, which will probably allege two facts: (1) that the key had been left in the pump by a different careless criminal; (2) both Broyles and the owner of the station are big Spaceballs fans. In the meantime, he has been indefinitely suspended.

Getting it right, the NCAA way: As you might recall, the Oklahoma program lost a recruit named Herman Mitchell, a Houston native who was shot and killed on Friday, August 24. A prominent Houston businessman and Oklahoma booster named Adam Fineberg began raising money to cover the cost of the funeral for the Mitchell family. Classy, right? The NCAA (ever the purveyors of grace and goodwill) disagreed, and informed OU by the following Tuesday that such a practice was illegal. Sure, they granted the program a waiver two days later by setting up a strict set of fundraising guidelines, but what the hell? Was there really nobody involved the decision-making process who thought that maybe the NCAA shouldn't go all Fred Phelps on this kid's funeral? The family is laying their young son to rest, not laundering money. Chill the fuck out.

Monday, September 3, 2007

NIU QB Dan Nicholson speaks

This is such bullshit.

We got ready for the game by watching film of the Hawkeyes last year, and we were excited. How could we lose? They had good linebackers, a wholly immobile defensive line, and a secondary made of tinder and oily rags. I saw what Kellen Lewis did, and Kellen Lewis is no Dan "The Danimal" Nicholson.

Yeah. So imagine my joy when I drop back on third and decent during our very first fucking series and this #47 asshole doesn't just beat his guy, but then he comes after me so fast that my tailback just falls over instead of picking up the block. Thanks Justin. I'm sure you can stop a pass rush while you're sitting on your ass.

This sucked so much.

It was like that all. game. long. Seriously. I don't know who those fucking Chris Benoit maniacs were, but they kicked our asses. Do you have any idea how much it sucks to play football when you're getting knocked around and a 280-pound superhuman is burying his knee into your manhood? I don't think you do. It's miserable.

Look. I ain't a pussy. I'm "The Danimal!" I've fought through position battles, two-a-days, and that one linebackers coach on my high school sophomore team--the one who was kind of molestery crazy in the locker room. I know what toughness is all about! So believe me when I tell you that last Saturday fucking sucked and fucking hurt. Then there's Coach Novak, telling me to step into my throws and keep my head in the game. Fuck that.

Sorry for not stepping into a helmet aimed straight at my aorta, coach.

Those Iowa guys did damn near everything right. Yeah, we were within a couple scores, but even I knew we weren't going to win. Don't believe me? Watch the tape again. Lord knows Coach Novak's gonna make us. We had one shot at the end zone, and Greg (Turner) tipped it to that #13 guy. Great. Like he needed another pick.

That was it. That was the only shot we had at the end zone. The rest of the time, I had to deal with shit like this:
I didn't see getting my ankle wrecked in the gameplan.

no seriously, thanks guys. I felt like being the meat of a prison rape sandwich.

If Coach Novak wants me to get back out there against a team like that again, fuck it. Let him go five minutes against a real defense like that. Let him find out what it's like to get killed while you complete half your passes. Let him get angry after three picks and no shots at touchdowns whatsoever. Otherwise, fuck this, I am done.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Initial BlogPoll: Week 1

Things just got real. I've watched 12 games and read 50 recaps and box scores since we last met. My eyes are bleeding from football and I wouldn't have it any other way. We have a new #1, Michigan is gone, and so is Arizona (perhaps I was wrong about them). Boise State and Georgia Tech have joined the party. I shifted the poll liberally, based on what I saw and what I read. These spots aren't an entitlement, they're a reward, so if a team looks like crap, I'm dropping them. If a team looks sharp, like Louisville, they'll vault other teams. This is how I'm rocking it all season. Again, I'm open to suggestions and will adjust the poll accordingly before submitting it Wednesday. Tell me what you think.

1 LSU 1
2 Southern Cal 1
3 West Virginia 0
4 Oklahoma 2
5 Louisville 5
6 Florida 2
7 California 7
8 Texas 3
9 Arkansas 0
10 Penn State 3
11 Ohio State 0
12 Wisconsin 3
13 Georgia 9
14 Georgia Tech 12
15 Virginia Tech 8
16 Oregon 4
17 UCLA 1
18 Boise State 8
19 Florida State 1
20 Nebraska 1
21 Rutgers 0
22 Iowa 2
23 Hawaii 3
24 Alabama 4
25 South Carolina 8

Dropped Out:

Michigan, Arizona

New Additions:

Georgia Tech, Boise State